Pixel Scroll 10/15/18 Scrolldenfreude

(1) WORLDS BEYOND HERE. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle is hosting Worlds Beyond Here from October 12, 2018 through September 15, 2019.

Looking at the connection between Asian Pacific Americans and the infinite possibilities of science fiction, World’s Beyond Here follows the path of a young Sci Fi fan becoming an empowered creator, limited only by imagination.

Popular science fiction has had a disappointing lack of Asian Pacific American (APA) representation in American media, based primarily on stereotypes. Despite this, APAs have had and continue to have a large impact in science fiction, often behind the scenes, and a number of pioneering APA artists, actors, designers, writers, animators, and directors have persevered and inspired new generations of fans/creators with their stories and visions. For many Asian Pacific Americans, science fiction addresses issues related to identity, immigration and race, technology, morality and the human condition, all while capturing the imagination through exciting adventures in outer space and time travel.

Michi Trota authored the exhibit text, and told Uncanny Magazine readers about her experience in “On Writing the Exhibit Text for Worlds Beyond Here: Expanding the Universe of APA Science Fiction”

The exhibit covers pop culture touchstones like Star Trek, Star Wars, time travel, “cli-fi,” and sentient robots, as well as how APA creators are imagining silkpunk worlds, reclaiming the genre from Orientalism, envisioning exploration narratives free from colonialism, and grappling with the ethics and morality of technological access and development, as well as science fiction’s ever-present questions of what it means to be human—all through the lens of APA experiences and perspectives.

She has a Twitter thread, starting here, that includes photos and art.

On Facebook, Trota posted the list of people who were consulted in the development of the exhibit – lots of familiar names there.

One of them was Mary Anne Mohanraj, who also posted some photos from the exhibit:

I was one of the people the curators consulted at the start of the exhibit, and though I didn’t have time to get as involved as I would’ve liked, I think I helped reframe their initial concept away from just focusing on tokenization and exclusion towards examining and celebrating the historic and current work of APA SF creators.

They even included a little thing I wrote about Spock. Is this the first time I’ve had work in a museum? I think it might be!

Artist Francesca Myrman showed Facebook followers a piece of her artwork that’s in the exhibit.

I am beyond honored that Ken Liu appreciated my artwork illustrating the world of the Grace of Kings for his May 2015 Locus interview. He’s used it a couple times since to illustrate the idea of “silkpunk” for various publications, but a museum show is above and beyond!

(2) OLD PEOPLE READ NEW SFF. James Davis Nicoll has his Old People reading “Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points by JY Yang”. Can they dig it?

This installment of Old People Read New SFF features JY Yang’s Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points. Some of us—well, me, mostly—only became aware of Yang when they read Yang’s Silkpunk works for tor dot com. Yang has in fact been active since 2012, published in venues from Clarkesworld to Apex. Some of us—well, me, mostly—should have been more observant. Although Yang’s protagonist Starling is in no sense human, it turns out Starling shares something vital with its human creators. But is that common element enough to endear it to my Old Readers?

Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points can be read here.

(3) SENDAK. The Society of Illustrators will host a “Maurice Sendak Exhibit and Sale” from October 23 until November 3.

The Society of Illustrators is pleased to announce a special exhibition of legendary artist Maurice Sendak’s work. Longtime friends and collectors Justin Schiller and Dennis M V David present a look at some of Sendak’s rarest pieces, including illustrations from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, a booklet commissioned by his British publishers as a 1967 Christmas keepsake. It is the only remaining manuscript for a published Sendak title still in private hands and is being exhibited for the first time publicly. In addition to these drawings, this exhibition will include more than a hundred watercolors, ink and pencil designs for Mr. Sendak’s various book, theatre and commercial work. All of the works will be available to purchase.

Admission to the exhibit will be free during special hours (Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5pm; Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm).

(4) KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED. In “Proof of life: how would we recognise an alien if we saw one?” on Aeon, Oxford postgrad Samuel Levin asks how you would recognize alien life from a photograph.  How would it be different from a bunch of rocks  The answer is that natural selection would show that aliens have adapted to their environment.

One thing that sets life apart from nonlife is its apparent design. Living things, from the simplest bacteria to the great redwoods, have vast numbers of intricate parts working together to make the organism function. Think of your hands, heart, spleen, mitochondria, cilia, neurons, toenails – all collaborating in synchrony to help you navigate, eat, think and survive. The most beautiful natural rock formations lack even a tiny fraction of the myriad parts of a single bacterial cell that coordinate to help it divide and reproduce.

(5) THE BOYS. Coming from Amazon Prime Video in 2019.

In a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, THE BOYS centers on a group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys,” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than their blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty. THE BOYS is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven,” and Vought – the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes. THE BOYS is scheduled for a 2019 release.


(6) OPPORTUNITY LOST? We’re still waiting for it to phone home – and according to Gizmodo, “There May Still Be Hope for NASA’s Sleeping Opportunity Rover”.

It’s been months since NASA engineers have heard from the sleeping Opportunity rover, which powered down after getting caught in a massive dust storm on Mars that obscured its surface from the Sun. But all hope isn’t yet lost, as the space agency said in an update Thursday that a coming windy season on the Red Planet could help clear dust believed to be obstructing Opportunity’s solar panels.

“A windy period on Mars—known to Opportunity’s team as “dust-clearing season”—occurs in the November-to-January time frame and has helped clean the rover’s panels in the past,” NASA said.

In the meantime, engineers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—which oversees the 14-year-old rover’s operations—are increasing the number of commands to Opportunity and listening for any calls home in the event that it is still operational.

(7) THEY SCOPED OUT THE PROBLEM. But there’s good news about another piece of space exploring tech: Just a few days after putting itself in safe mode after a gyroscope failure, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been diagnosed, the problem addressed, and the telescope on its way back to normal (NASA: “Chandra Operations Resume After Cause of Safe Mode Identified”). Science operations should resume shortly.

The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode. The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that in turn led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode.

The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve. Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week.

(8) PAUL ALLEN OBIT. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died October 15 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Paul Allen and Bill Gates in 1981.

Allen’s pioneering work in PC’s and software made him a wealthy man – not that it came easily. The Digital Antiquarian’s post “A Pirate’s Life for me, Part 1: Don’t Copy That Floppy!” reproduced an open letter from Bill Gates published in 1976 that ended —

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however: 1) most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10 percent of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) the amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 per hour.

Of course, just a few years later they secured a deal to provide the software for IBM PCs, the foundation of their success.

Paul Allen effectively left the company he named (“Micro-Soft”) in 1982 due to serious illness, but remained on the Microsoft board of directors until 2000, and retained his stock, so when the company went public he became a billionaire.

His investments and philanthropy have often made news.

  • In a Gehry-designed building near Seattle’s Space Needle he created a dual science fiction and rock music museum with many exhibits drawn from Allen’s own collections. (The cream of those sf collectibles had been bought from Forrest J Ackerman.) And in 2004 the Science Fiction Hall of Fame was transplanted from the GunnCenter for the Study of Science Fiction to Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum. However, not even Paul Allen’s money could sustain things as originally conceived. The Science Fiction Museum was de-installed in 2011 and the place has been reorganized as MoPOP, a pop culture museum that includes science-fiction-themed exhibits.
  • He was the sole investor behind aerospace engineer and entrepreneur Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne suborbital commercial spacecraft.
  • He also donated $30 million to build the Allen Telescope Array, run by the SETI Institute near Mt. Shasta, an enormous ear listening for any sign of intelligent life in the universe.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ — and a guest!]

  • Born October 15, 1911 James H. Schmitz, Writer. An émigré from Germany to the U.S., he produced numerous short fiction works and novels, the best known of which is the space opera The Witches of Karres, which earned him one of his two Hugo nominations and has been translated into several different languages. Witches was an expansion of a novelette originally published in Astounding, where many of his stories were published. His short fiction, which also garnered four Nebula nominations, has been gathered into several collections, including a NESFA’s Choice “Best of” edition.
  • Born October 15, 1919 E.C. “Ted” Tubb, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan from England who between 1950 and his death in 2010 produced more than 230 short fiction works and 140 novels, the best known of which are his Dumarest series, and the Cap Kennedy series written as Gregory Kern. In the late 50s, he edited the magazine Authentic Science Fiction for two years. He was one of the co-founders of the British Science Fiction Association, as well as editor of the first issue of its journal, Vector. Interestingly, he also wrote several Space: 1999 tie-in novels in the 70s. He served on convention-running committees, and was Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1970 Worldcon in Germany.
  • Born October 15, 1923 Italo Calvino, Writer and Journalist who was born in Cuba, but grew up in Italy. His works range widely across the literary spectrum, across realism, surrealism, and absurdism. As a genre writer he is best known for his “cosmicomics”, linked stories which explore fantastical speculations about subjects such as mathematics, evolution, and human perception. At the time of his death in 1985, he was the most-translated Italian author, and he was recognized with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
  • Born October 15, 1924 Mark Lenard, Actor best known to genre fans as Sarek, father of Spock, in both the original and animated Star Trek series, as well as three of the films and two episodes of The Next Generation. He also played a Klingon in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and a Romulan in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and had guest roles in genre series Mission: Impossible, The Girl With Something Extra, Planet of the Apes, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Otherworld. During the same time period as the original Star Trek series, he also starred in the western Here Come the Brides, and SFF author Barbara Hambly famously worked a crossover of the two series into her early Star Trek tie-in novel for Pocket Books, Ishmael, where Lenard’s Brides character is one of Spock’s ancestors, and which also contained cameos by characters from Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica.
  • Born October 15, 1933 Georgia Myrle Miller, 85, Writer under the name of Sasha Miller who produced a number of fantasy novels and shorter works, including collaborating with Andre Norton on the five novels in the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan, a novel written in Norton’s Witch World universe, and GURPS Witch World with Ben W. Miller, a rule book for the role-playing game system.
  • Born October 15, 1935 Ray “Duggie” Fisher, Editor, Conrunner and Fan, who chaired the 1969 Worldcon in St. Louis, was on the committee for several other conventions, and was a founding member of the Poplar Bluff Science Fiction Club and the Ozark Science Fiction Association. His fanzine ODD was a finalist for a Best Fanzine Hugo. His contributions to fandom were, sadly, cut short by his death at age 52 due to complications of diabetes.
  • Born October 15, 1938 Don Simpson, 80, Artist and Fan who has done cover art and interior illustrations for numerous genre works. He also shows up in several of David McDaniel’s Man from U.N.C.L.E. tie-in novels as “Mr. Simpson of R&D”, and was the inspiration for the villain in McDaniel’s first U.N.C.L.E. novel The Dagger Affair. He is the proud possessor of a purchase order from the Smithsonian Institution for “One (1) alien artifact,” which he designed for the Air and Space Museum. He has been Artist Guest of Honor at a Westercon and other conventions.
  • Born October 15, 1942 – Lon Atkins, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan who chaired a DeepSouthCon and was editor of numerous fanzines and apazines, including eight years as co-editor of Rally!. He was Fan Guest of Honor at a Westercon, and a recipient of Southern Fandom’s Rebel lifetime achievement award. He was also a ferocious Hearts player.
  • Born October 15, 1969 Dominic West, 49, Actor, Musician, and Director from England whose most recent appearance was as Lara Croft’s father in the Tomb Raider reboot, but has also appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 300, John Carter, The Awakening, Hannibal Rising, and a version of The Christmas Carol, as well as providing voices in animated features such as Finding Dory and Arthur Christmas.
  • Born October 15, 1999 Bailee Madison, 19, Actor who starred in The Bridge to Terabitha at the age of 7, the series The Wizards of Waverly Place at age 11, and the series Good Witch which is now in its fourth season. Other genre appearances include Afraid of the Dark, The Night Before Halloween, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and Once Upon a Time.

[guest birthday bio from Mark Hepworth]

  • Born October 15, 1953  Walter Jon Williams, 65, Writer. A versatile author who has skipped around genres, including writing his cyberpunk novel Hardwired  without having heard of cyberpunk, while Metropolitan is a novel he insists is fantasy but fans persistently label as some flavour of science fiction. His near-future Dagmar Shaw series rather prophetically featured a Turkish revolution facilitated by social media just as the Arab Spring was gaining momentum. His longest-running series is the space opera Dread Empire’s Fall (Praxis), which he recently rebooted with the short novel Impersonations and the just-released novel The Accidental War. He has five Hugo nominations, ten Nebula nominations (winning twice), a Sidewise Award, and an assortment of other nominations including Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, World Fantasy, and Prix Imaginaire. He has been Guest of Honour for at least a dozen conventions, including WorldCon 75. Other work includes writing for Star Wars, Wild Cards, RPGs, TV, and historical novels, and he is founder and an instructor for the Taos Toolbox, an annual two-week SF writer’s workshop.


  • A little-known fact of airline piloting — The Argyle Sweater.
  • This Monty shows that some things simply can’t be handled by a Universal Translator.

(11) THAT’S WHO. Mashable invites you to “Trip out to the new ‘Doctor Who’ title sequence, made by a longtime fan”:

The sequence is the work of a visual effects artist only known as John Smith, who made his own opening back in 2010 as a 16-year-old fan and posted it to YouTube.

“I had no idea what I was doing, but was so excited for Matt Smith’s first series that I decided to try what every Whovian-turned-VFX-Artist does at some point… making my own title sequence for the show,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post.

Eight years later, Smith was tapped to create a real sequence for the latest series.


(12) WHAT’S GALLIFREY LIKE? And Gizmodo consulted an array of scientists and left convinced that Doctor Who’s Gallifrey Would Be a Nightmarishly Awful Place to Live”.

…Assuming that large red star isn’t just extremely close to the planet, it could be a red giant nearing the end of its life. What of the other? For clues, we can look to the planet’s flora.

The Tenth Doctor referenced trees with silver leaves. Lillian Ostrach, a research physical scientist at the US Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center, told Earther the silver color could come from the absorption of strange metals from Gallifrey’s soil. It could also mean that those plants evolved to absorb a different type of solar radiation than Earth’s green plants do….

(13) HISTORIC SFF PHOTOS. The Forbidden Planet bookstore archive hosts images from their instore events — from 1978 to 1989, including signings with Mark Hamill and Dave Prowse, James Doohan, Nick Rhodes, Jon Pertwee, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey and others.

(14) FANNISH PARADISE? Well, at least one day a year…. “Uzupis: a tiny republic of free spirits”.

Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. On this day, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into the republic (every other day, the border is not guarded), use the local (unofficial) currency and treat themselves to the beer that flows from the water spout in the main square (yes, really).

(15) A LOT OF BIRTHDAYS AGO. Walter Jon Williams was interviewed about cyberpunk by phone in this 1991 episode of the Chronic Rift TV program.

In our second season premiere, Andrea Lipinski and Keith DeCandido welcome editor Brian Thomsen, physicist Joseph Pierce, and author Walter Jon Williams to our Roundtable discussion of the cyberpunk genre. The Memorable Moment is from the classic film, “H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond”. Trivia: We resolve the cliffhanger by introducing a race of beings called, “The Dork”. We also have a new animated sequence and theme song. The sequence was created by Mike Fichera who wanted to emulate the feel of the “Terminator” movie. The theme song was created by Victor Fichera. It would be the theme song for the rest of the series and was used when the podcast started. Victor recently updated the theme for our Facebook Live show. Originally Aired: September 2, 1991


(16) TSUNDOKU OR NOT TSUNDOKU? Most of us own books we’ve read and books we haven’t. Kevin Mims considers the importance of owning books we’ll never get around to finishing — “All Those Books You’ve Bought but Haven’t Read? There’s a Word for That” at the New York Times.

In truth, however, the tsundoku fails to describe much of my library. I own a lot of story collections, poetry anthologies and books of essays, which I bought knowing I would probably not read every entry. People like Taleb, Stillman and whoever coined the word tsundoku seem to recognize only two categories of book: the read and the unread. But every book lover knows there is a third category that falls somewhere between the other two: the partially read book. Just about every title on a book lover’s reference shelves, for instance, falls into this category.

(17) DISABLED PEOPLE DESTROY SF. Charles Payseur returns to review Uncanny in “Quick Sips – Uncanny #24 Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! [October Fiction]”.

It’s the second month of Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! As before, I’m breaking October’s offerings into two parts, the fiction and the poetry, and starting out with the six new stories exploring futures near and far. This month’s pieces definitely focus on some grim realities—hospitals and universities and families and cities where disabled people are not exactly the priority, or at least not in the ways they want. The stories look at characters trapped by circumstance and (largely) by tragedy, brought to a crisis because their situation is getting worse and worse. And in each case, they must make decisions either to sit down and be quiet or to fight back, to try to follow their own hearts. The works are often dark, often difficult, but ultimately I feel reaching for healing and for peace, for a space that the characters can have as their own, which is much more about freedom than confinement. To the reviews!

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Outer Space” by Sabine Hossenfelder on YouTube is a video about space travel done by a singer whose day job is as a theoretical physicist.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jeffrey Smith, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/15/18 Scrolldenfreude

  1. The central conceit of Metropolitan is geomancy. It’s used to build a world that looks almost like a tech-world, but the centrality of geomancy in powering it is, I would have thought, hard to miss. I don’t know how one can call that science fiction rather than fantasy. I mean, unless you’re working with a definition like, “I hate fantasy, but I like this, so it can’t be fantasy.”

    Think good thoughts for me, Filers. Wednesday I’m having a colonoscopy, so Tuesday is prep day, which probably won’t kill me, but no promises.

  2. (1) Mary Anne Mohanra was a panelist at the first convention I attended, so I’m always happy to see references to her turn up.

  3. 8) The late Paul Allen was also the owner of the Octopus, a mega-yacht that occasionally doubles as a research vessel. The Octopus was built at a shipyard not far from where I live and I actually know some of the people who built her.

  4. Lis — sending good thoughts. I’ve had four, and know well that the prep is No Fun At All.

  5. (9) Mark Hepworth: are you sure? I rechecked my copy of Impersonations and it looks to me big enough to be a novel.

    @Lis: enjoy your prep day. I’ve had to put off my next colonoscopy due to my other doctor appointments.

  6. Good luck Lis

    Mt Tsudoku is books you intend to read, but haven’t yet. If it’s a dictionary and you don’t intend to read it, it’s not part of the mountain. Same for books you started and rejected.

  7. Jeff Jones: are you sure? I rechecked my copy of Impersonations and it looks to me big enough to be a novel.

    That bit was from me, not Mark, and you’re right: it was put out as part of Tor.com’s novella line, but it was actually a short novel of around, IIRC, 55,000 words. Thanks for the correction.

  8. Lis: I’ve toyed with the notion that the geomancy in Metropolitan is based on some tech that the inhabitants of that that world have forgotten how to control, except through an interface that looks like magic. Here in 7432 we use our geomancy to encourage Williams to write the third book in the series.

    PS hope the prep goes well.

  9. Lis: I’ve toyed with the notion that the geomancy in Metropolitan is based on some tech that the inhabitants of that that world have forgotten how to control, except through an interface that looks like magic. Here in 7432 we use our geomancy to encourage Williams to write the third book in the series.

    But has it worked yet? Do you now have the third book?

    Re: Prep. My sister told me, don’t do the magnesium citrate prep; Google Miralax prep and do that.

    Ran it by a couple of nurses, and they said basically, oh hell, yes, do the Miralax, not the magnesium citrate. Significantly less unpleasant!

    So that’s what I’m going to do. Will report back if I’m still alive late Wednesday. (Last time, due to complicating factors I went go into right now, I wound up with aspiration pneumonia. This should not normally be considered a risk of the colonoscopy procedure.)

  10. I first found the works of E C Tubb through his Space:1999 novelisations. That was when I was young and naive and thought that writing novelisations was a sign of quality rather than a sign of needing money.

  11. 8) I went to the Science Fiction Museum some 10 years ago. Even then, it seemed to me that it was being treated as an afterthought to the music side, so this news doesn’t surprise me much.

    9) The Witches of Karres may be Schmitz’s best-known novel, but I’ll argue that his Telzey Amberdon stories are better-known overall. I was very pleased some years back when Baen re-released all the Hub stories in 4 collections, intelligently sorted into solo Telzey stories, stories with Telzey and Trigger Argee, stories featuring Trigger, and miscellaneous related stories. Also, the NESFA Press book includes a wonderful foreword written by Janet Kagan.

  12. Good luck, Lis. Gut flossing is no fun. I’m due for one next year.

    Wednesday I’m going in for a mammogram and a DXA scan. No nasty prep for those, but I very much do not enjoy the boob-squisher.

  13. @Lis: I had a colonoscopy just about a month ago, and my prep involved Dulcolax and Miralax. It wasn’t what I’d call fun, but I’ve been through worse.

    (Take it from one who knows: you can open up store-bought chicken stock, use some of it, and freeze the rest. You can thaw the frozen stock. At that point, you throw away any that you haven’t used. Do not refreeze it and hope to thaw and use it again. That was worse than the Miralax. Much worse.)

  14. @Lis

    I dunno either, but enough people do it that WJW has complained about it at some length.

    I think that at that point his output had been predominately science fiction so maybe his fans were just expecting more of the same, and with the magic being presented in a fairly technological way it was possible to read it that way.
    I’m now musing on whether Foundryside owes a debt to Metropolitan – industrialised magic, shades of cyberpunk, etc

  15. Best of luck, Lis.

    @Mark. I have a copy of Foundryside as yet unread, but I am curious as to where it sits in the conversation of SF (also thinking about Swanwick’s IRON DRAGON”S DAUGHTER in this progression, too).

  16. @Lis:

    But has it worked yet? Do you now have the third book

    The Magic eight ball keeps saying "Try again later".

  17. Lis, best wishes for your procedure; may it be as least unpleasant as is possible. I’ll have you in my thoughts until we hear from you how it went. <3

  18. @18 Yes, there are gray areas, and not just with reference books—though I did in fact read all the way through Fowler’s Modern English Literature, decades ago.

    It feels like there’s a difference between the collections you’re read part of and intend/expect to go back to, and the ones you bought for part of what they contain, and don’t want to read other parts. Maybe because they include stories you’re interested in, but know you won’t read the poetry; or there are tories by several writers, and you wanted that otherwise-unreprinted work by your favorite writer, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to read the stuff by an author you know you don’t like, not while there’s so much else out there.

    If I had a “books in progress” shelf again (when I have more room….) it would include the collections I hope to go back to soon, but not the “unfinished” ones that I’m keeping because I might want to reread a story, or because maybe I’ll be in the right mood for the unread part one of these years. But that’s partly because, the way my mind works, a thirty-item “unfinished” shelf isn’t a resource, it’s at best an inconvenience because a large stack makes it harder to find things, and at worst a burden (if I start thinking I “should” be reading those books).

    If they were all in electronic form, I might try tagging books as read/in progress/done with even though I haven’t read the whole thing. (Maybe I should try that with at least the ebooks I have in Calbre.)

  19. @Paul —

    @Mark. I have a copy of Foundryside as yet unread, but I am curious as to where it sits in the conversation of SF (also thinking about Swanwick’s IRON DRAGON”S DAUGHTER in this progression, too).

    Not sure what you mean by “conversation”, but yeah, Foundryside is definitely fantasy. “Industrialized magic” fits quite well.

  20. (5) I really enjoyed these comics – there’s a lot more going on than just the gore and snark, though there is plenty of those – and the trailer captures the spirit pretty well. That said, man, if ever an adaptation had a chance to be an all-time disaster…

  21. The genre hallmark of Williams’ Metropolitan books is that they treat the supernatural as though it were natural–or, to put it another way, they posit as nature something that in our cosmos would be seen as supernatural/magical. It’s an entire alternative metaphysical system. This take on the supernatural, that it can be known and manipulated and even engineered–along with a non-gothick/medieval/faerie-land setting–is what makes the books feel a lot like SF. The lineage of this kind of story goes back through Unknown Worlds to the Edwardian ghost-breaker/occult-detective, and probably all the way back to Renaissance hermetic philosophy, which tried to rationalize the supernatural.

    On edit: I just looked up my long-ago Locus review of City on Fire and see that I wrote something very like the above more than twenty years ago. What I tell you two times is true.

  22. Miralax instead of magnesium citrate? I’ll have to ask about that next time (far too soon); the handful of pages I was given didn’t have that option. (Having once been gigged for “bad prep” and required to come back early, I’m cautious.) OTOH, I did figure out that “White Cranberry” (mostly white grape, but enough albino cranberry squeezings to be a bit tart without violating the stricture against red liquids) was good at cutting the vile taste of the magcit.

    @Lee: I would also point to The Demon Breed, which I recall as having a strong female in the lead without any of the extreme male-gazing of the Trigger and later Telzey works.

  23. Doctor Science: The Wikipedia article about Stand on Zanzibar says 7 billion. I happen to be rereading the novel lately but I couldn’t recall a figure being specified, maybe because I haven’t gotten to that item in the book yet.

  24. @ Doctor Science. About seven billion people, they would all fit standing on the island of Zanzibar

  25. “Mr. Scott, have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of scroll?”

    “Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a pixel worker?”

  26. @Doctor Science: according to Wikipedia, Unguja (the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, and formerly referred to as Zanzibar, which I presume is what Brunner had in mind) has an area of 1666 square kilometers, so for 7 billion people that’s 0.24 square meters per person, so a square just under half a meter on a side.

    @Lis: Good luck, hope it all goes smoothly.

  27. Speaking of Walter Jon Williams, he was born 10/15/1953.

    Also born 10/15: P. G. Wodehouse (1881), who has a few minor genre-ish credits; Mario Puzo (1920), who wrote the first draft of the 1978 Superman film; (plus some trivial book about guns and cannolis); and Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain) (1926), who was a writing machine from the early 1950s until his death in 2005. His works include pulp SF stories early in his career, the screenplay for the Hitchcock film The Birds, the novel The Blackboard Jungle, and a series of police procedural novels set at New York’s 87th Precinct.

  28. Bill: Speaking of Walter Jon Williams, he was born 10/15/1953.

    Which is what is listed, right?

  29. Yes, it is. I checked Cat & JJ’s list, saw nothing between 1942 and 1969, and thought he was omitted. Didn’t jump down to the guest portion.
    Ignore it, please.

  30. Apropos of nothing —

    Help me out, all you smart people. Is Senlin Ascends, by Josiah Bancroft, eligible for the Hugos this year or not? I know it was originally published a few years ago as an indie and has been republished by Orbit this year, but I don’t know its complete publishing history or how that works out in terms of eligibility.

    Thanks in advance!

  31. Quoting Stand on Zanzibar (end of the first Context chapter):

    if you allow every [person] a space one foot by two you could stand us all on the six hundred forty square mile surface of the island of Zanzibar

    That works out to almost 9 billion people; 7 billion may be somewhere deeper in the text than the above. That’s definitely loosely spaced; building safety codes in the US expect floors to support 150 pounds (once, about an average person) per square foot.

  32. Both ISFDB and the paperback’s copyright page lists Senlin Ascends as having a 2013 self-published edition, an August 2017 ebook Orbit edition, and a January 2018 print Orbit edition.

    I’d think what this would come down to is whether there are any sufficiently major changes between previous editions and the 2018 print edition to consider it a new work—the precedent that comes to mind is Oor Wombat’s Summer in Orcus. I’d personally be surprised if the 2017 and 2018 editions were particularly different but the only copy I have is the 2018, so that’s purely speculative on my part.

    The strongest counterargument to the above, I think, would be counting the Orbit print edition as the “first [publication] in the United States of America” per section 3.4.2. I don’t think this is correct but won’t claim 100% certainty.

    On the other hand, I’d think the upcoming (December 2018, per Bancroft’s website) publication of The Hod King would trigger Series eligibility assuming the release date is hit.

  33. @Goobergunch —

    The strongest counterargument to the above, I think, would be counting the Orbit print edition as the “first [publication] in the United States of America” per section 3.4.2. I don’t think this is correct but won’t claim 100% certainty.

    Thanks for the input!

    I’ve been perusing the Hugo rules and the Amazon website today, and I **think** it is not eligible. I was not certain about the self-pub effects (the rules say self-pubs do count), and whether it was originally pubbed only online (the rules say that doesn’t matter — print and epub are treated the same). And then I’m seeing both 2017 and 2018 pub dates by Orbit, and I didn’t know whether both of them were correct or determinative if correct. And I didn’t know whether the original self-pub was in the US or elsewhere.

    So confusing!

    But it looks like the final answer has got to be “not”.

    Which I wanted to know in order to figure out whether the book should be removed from the “Hugo Eligible Novels” list over on Goodreads.


  34. “Industrialized magic” is at the base of what I’ve been calling “municipal fantasy”.

  35. I like the term “municipal fantasy”, although ISTM that it could be applied a little more broadly; do you know the Matthew Swift books, by “Kate Griffin”? I’ve just tripped over (early in The Midnight Mayor a discussion of how contemporary mages discovered (e.g.) that an eye graffito in a commuter-rail headhouse is a better scrying tool than a bowl of fancy water, and a double red line (UK for “absolutely no parking(/standing?)” is a great shield, and other effects of the modern city — Le Guin wouldn’t be happy with the lack of numinality, but most of the book isn’t so mechanical.

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