Pixel Scroll 10/6/21 Magical Mystery Scroll

A lot of catching up to do. Let’s get started!

(1) YOUNG PEOPLE. At Young People Read Old SFF, James Davis Nicoll turns his panel loose on a story that was heavy, deep, and real in 1971 and won Theodore Sturgeon his first Hugo late in his career.

Theodore Sturgeon was a widely beloved author whose work, I regret to say, never particularly appealed to me. Thus, aside from More Than Human, I am not widely read in his fiction. In particular, I have not read this specific story. Still, I do know something about ?“Slow Sculpture”, specifically that it won both a Hugo and a Nebula in a year when many observers might have expected some work from either Orbit 6 or Orbit 7 to win. Orbits 6 and 7 were remarkable anthologies, dominating award nominations in their years. For a story to edge out the Orbit stories, it must surely have been of remarkable quality. Right? And no doubt my Young People will as pleased to read ?“Slow Sculpture” now as reader were half a century ago. 

(2) SWECON GOING AHEAD. Fantastika, Swecon this year, has announced the con will run in Stockholm as planned November 19-21. No further postponement due to Covid restrictions is anticipated. (Fantastika was not held last year.) The con’s program is available.

(3) ASTRONOMICON CANCELS. On the other hand, the Astronomicon 13 (Rochester, NY) committee has decided to postpone until 2022 – due to Covid, and the loss of Canadian program participants.

With great sadness we must announce that due to the rise in Covid across the country and the border to Canada not being open yet, we must postpone Astronomicon this year.

Our tentative date for the con is November 4-6, 2022.

Most of our Guests of Honor and a good number of our program participants have signed on for 2022.

We want to bring you the Astronomicon that you deserve, and with the border being closed it causes us to lose between 10-15 program participants. That is unacceptable to us.

Join us next November for a great convention!!

(4) A TRAILER PARK IN WESTEROS. The Guardian’s Stuart Heritage frames the trailer for the forthcoming series: “Game of Thrones prequel: why we’ll all be hooked to House of the Dragon”.

…Set two centuries before Game of Thrones, it promises to chronicle the history of the fearsome House Targaryen. Until now, very little has been revealed about the series.

…But now things have changed. A first-look trailer has just been released and, although it is only 70 seconds long, the message couldn’t be clearer. If you liked Game of Thrones, you will like House of the Dragon. And if you didn’t like Game of Thrones, you will probably still watch House of the Dragon so that you can keep up with what everyone else is talking about.

(5) COUNTDOWN. The Horror Writers Association blog kicks off its “Halloween Haunts” series with “The Season Begins by Michael J. Moore”.

…In April, networks air “Halfway-to-Halloween” marathons, and time ceases to usher us away, as we begin to drift toward October.

Toward that shrieking, adolescent laughter. The sound of plastic wrappers, rustling as you walk. The smell of chocolate and caramel, and the feel of wooden doors against your bony knuckles. The shadows of monsters and superheroes, cast by the headlights of idling cars. Orange and black, yellow and green. The satisfaction of picking through your plunder at the end of the night.

This is the start of the holiday season. Not the 31st, but the first of the month. The morning the countdown begins. When slashers take over cable, and costumes go on display. Even non-horror-types catch the bug. Nostalgia beckons our inner children, inviting us to slip on a costume and knock on doors.

In October of 2019, I wasn’t ready for it to end, so I started writing a book centered around my favorite holiday. Then the pandemic struck, and lockdowns provided plenty of time to finish. My publisher, HellBound Books, has prepared it for release around that magical month this year….

(6) BREUER REMEMBERED. There will be a two-hour exhibition about “Amazing Breuer – Miles J. Breuer Czech Surgeon at the Birth of American Scientifiction” at the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles on October 14 starting at 6:00 p.m. Pacific. If you are interested in taking part, send an email to czechconsulatela@gmail.com.

The exhibition is organized to commemorate the 76th anniversary of a passing of the Czech-American writer Miles (Miloslav) J. Breuer, who died in Los Angeles on 14 October 1945.

This early Czech-American science fiction writer was the author of the novel “Paradise and Iron” (1930), one of the first modern science fiction tales to warn of the dangers of a technologically oriented civilization, depicting a humanity threatened by what we today call artificial intelligence, and the co-author (with Jack Williamson) of The Girl from Mars, a thin 24 page work that became the first book in the world to be formally titled as science fiction.

At the turn of the 1920s and 30s, Breuer’s readers viewed this author as a major star of the science fiction genre. Discovered by Hugo Gernsbeck, Breuer contributed to “The Amazing Stories” and other pulp magazines.

He was born in Chicago to the Czech parents. Writing as “Miloslav” – the Czech version of his name – Breuer had published numerous stories also in Czech language (which were subsequently published in English in early science fiction magazines). 

(7) WAR’S IMPACT ON TOLKIEN. Renowned mythopeoic scholar Janet Brennan Croft will discuss Tolkien’s war experience and how war is handled in his writing: “Date with History: J.R.R. Tolkien (Virtual)” for the First Division Museum.  Thursday, October 7 at 7:00 Central. Free. Register at the link.

One of the reasons J.R.R. Tolkien is such a popular author is that he can be read at many levels. For the reader willing to look deeper than the adventure-story surface, there are many important themes in his works. War is one of the themes that runs through all of Tolkien’s books, especially The Lord of the Rings. Particular motifs appear over and over again: the effects of war on individuals, families, and society, whether war can ever be justified, and if so, the proper conduct of war; close friendships among groups of men; the glory and horror of battle. The depiction of war and its effects were drawn from his own life; he served in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme, and two of his sons fought in the Second World War. Like all artists, he absorbed the materials of his own life into his art. This talk will explore his personal experience of war and how it manifested in his legendarium.

(8) NO ONE CAN TALK TO A HORSE, OF COURSE. In a guest post at A Pilgrim in Narnia, Daniel Whyte IV expects Netflix will court controversy by producing a series about one of the books it holds rights to: “There Are No Cruel Narnians: What The Horse and His Boy Can Tell Us About Racism, Cultural Superiority, Beauty Standards, and Inclusiveness”.

Any potential adaptation of The Horse and His Boy will be fraught with minefields. Houston Chronicle editor Kyrie O’Connor claims it isn’t far-fetched to see the fantasy as “anti-Arab, or anti-Eastern, or anti-Ottoman” and suggests a desire to “stuff this story back into its closet.” While Lewis’ Narniad is emotionally stimulating and spiritually moving, it can be overshadowed by issues that led another popular fantasy writer and academic—Philip Pullman of His Dark Materials fame—to call it “one of the most ugly and poisonous things I have ever read.” He wrote that in a 1998 Guardian article titled “The Dark Side of Narnia.” Imagine what will be said about Narnia over twenty-five years later if Netflix dares to adapt The Horse and His Boy. (And I say to Netflix, as Aslan says to Bree, “Do not dare not to dare.”)

Indeed, as author, editor, and (somewhat) defender of C.S. Lewis, Gregg Easterbrook, wrote in The Atlantic two decades ago (partially in response to Pullman’s criticisms):

“Although Narnia has survived countless perils, the Chronicles themselves are now endangered… What’s in progress is a struggle of sorts for the soul of children’s fantasy literature.”

If the struggle is as eschatological as Easterbrook posits—and if Lewis’ reputation is indeed growing “beyond the reach of ordinary criticism” as Pullman argued in his ’98 hit piece—then it’s worth taking the time to look seriously at what the Narnia chronicles tell us about Lewis’ personal views and about the messaging (if any) encoded in the books….

(9) MEMORY LANE

1995 – Twenty-six years ago at Intersection, the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form went to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s two-part series finale, “All Good Things…“.  (Other nominated works were The MaskInterview with the VampireStargate and Star Trek: Generations.) It was directed by Winrich Kolbe from a script written by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga. The title is derived from the expression “All good things must come to an end”, a phrase used by Q during the story itself. It generally considered one of the series’ best episodes with the card scene singled out as one of the series’s best ever.  

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 6, 1942 Britt Ekland, 79. She starred in The Wicker Man* as Willow MacGregor, and appeared as a Bond girl, Goodnight, in The Man with the Golden Gun. She was also Queen Nyleptha in King Solomon’s Treasure based off the H. Rider Haggard novels. *There is only one Wicker Man film as far as I’m concerned. Whatever that thing was, it wasn’t Wicker Man. Shudder.
  • Born October 6, 1946 John C. Tibbetts, 75. A film critic, historian, author. He’s written such articles as “The Illustrating Man: The Screenplays of Ray Bradbury” and “Time on His Hands: The Fantasy Fiction of Jack Finney”. One of his two books is The Gothic Imagination: Conversations on Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction in the Media, the other being The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub.
  • Born October 6, 1950 David Brin, 71. Author of several series including Existence (which I do not recognize), the Postman novel, and the Uplift series which began with Startide Rising, a most excellent book and a Hugo-winner at L.A. Con II.  I’ll admit that the book he could-wrote with Leah Wilson, King Kong Is Back! An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape, tickles me if only for its title. So who’s read his newest novel, Castaways of New Mohave, that he wrote with Jeff Carlson?
  • Born October 6, 1952 Lorna Toolis. Librarian, editor, and fan Lorna was the long-time head of the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy at the Toronto Public Library and a significant influence on the Canadian SF community. She founded the SF collection with a donation from Judith Merril. She was a founding member of SFCanada, and won an Aurora Award for co-editing Tesseracts 4 with Michael Skeet. (Died 2021.)
  • Born October 6, 1955 Donna White, 66. Academic who has written several works worth you knowing about — Dancing with Dragons: Ursula K. LeGuin and the Critics and Diana Wynne Jones: An Exciting and Exacting Wisdom. She’s also the author of the densely-written but worth reading A Century of Welsh Myth in Children’s Literature
  • Born October 6, 1955 Ellen Kushner, 66. If you’ve not read it, do so now, as her sprawling Riverside seriesis stellar. I’m reasonably sure that I’ve read all of it. And during the High Holy Days, do be sure to read The Golden Dreydl as it’s quite wonderful. As it’s Autumn and this being when I read it, I’d be remiss not to recommend her Thomas the Rhymer novel which won both the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. 
  • Born October 6, 1963 Elisabeth Shue, 58. Best known as Jennifer, Marty McFly’s girlfriend, in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, she also had roles in Hollow Man and Piranha 3D.
  • Born October 6, 1986 Olivia Jo Thirlby, 35. She is best known for her roles as Natalie in Russian SF film The Darkest Hour and as Judge Cassandra Anderson in the oh-so-excellent Dredd. And she was Holly in the supernatural thriller Above the Shadows.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) NATIONAL BOOK AWARD. [Item by Darrah Chavey.] The National Book Award Finalists were announced October 5. Finalists of genre interest include:

Fiction

  • Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land

Young Readers

  • Kyle Lukoff, Too Bright To See
  • Amber McBride, Me (Moth)

Translated Literature

  • Benjamín Labatut, When We Cease to Understand the World, translated by Adrian Nathan West

Winners will be announced November 17. Winners will receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.

(13) THE MISSION. WisCon’s parent organization SF3 has posted a draft revision of its mission statement that emphasizes its opposition to white supremacy and racism generally: “SF3: Interim Mission, Vision, and Values”.

As noted in our Anti-Racism Statement, the SF3 Board is undertaking work to reexamine our organizational mission with the intent to eliminate white supremacy and build an organization and convention where all members can thrive and contribute. In connection to this work, we are sharing interim versions of a mission statement, organizational vision, and a clear statement of our community values which center inclusivity and explicitly reject racism and white supremacy.

These interim statements will guide our work over the next year, including community-wide conversations and strategic planning to develop a permanent and inclusive set of foundational documents for SF3 and its projects, including WisCon.

(14) CONNIE WILLIS’ CHRISTMAS STORY ANTHOLOGY. Steve Rasnic Tem posted a photo of the physical cover on Facebook. The book will be released October 26.

Library of America and Connie Willis present 150 years of diverse, ingenious, and uniquely American Christmas stories

Christmas took on its modern cast in America, and over the last 150 years the most magical time of the year has inspired scores of astonishingly diverse and ingenious stories. Library of America joins with acclaimed author Connie Willis to present a unparalleled collection of American stories about Christmas, literary gems that showcase how the holiday became one of the signature aspects of our culture.

Spanning from the origins of the American tradition of holiday storytelling in the wake of the Civil War to today, this is the biggest and best anthology of American Christmas stories ever assembled. From ghost stories to the genres of crime, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, humor, and horror, stories of Christmas morning, gifts, wise men, nativities, family, commercialism, and dinners from New York to Texas to outer space, this anthology reveals the evolution of Christmas in America–as well as the surprising ways in which it has remained the same.

(15) SHAT TALKS SPACEFLIGHT. Anderson Cooper went one-on-one with William Shatner about his upcoming flight on New Shepard Blue Origin.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Darrah Chavey, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Acoustic Rob.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/6/21 Magical Mystery Scroll

  1. (6) The only Breuer I’ve read is “the Gostalk Distims the Doshes” – which is terrific of course.

    (9) “All Good Things” is my favorite Trek movie (it’s a movie, I say!)

    (10) Happy birthday David Brin!

  2. 10) By coincidence, I’m midway through a Riverside reread myself — just started The Fall of the Kings, and I’m planning to read Tremontaine for the first time afterwards.

  3. (8) There are real issues with Narnia, and the ones mentioned with regard to The Horse and His Boy may be the most salient right now, but Pullman can just go take a flying leap.

    In slightly less sfnal news, I now expect to be bringing Cider home on either October 16 or October 23. Puppies mostly weaned! Even the adopted ones!

  4. Andrew (not Werdna): “The Gostak Distims the Doshes” turned into a fannish catchphrase in Ye Olde Times (so old, they even predate my entry in fandom).

  5. Mention of Elisabeth Shue moves me to mention that 1987’s ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING can be considered (very slightly) genre-adjacent. Sara (Maia Brewton), the young girl Shue is trying to babysit, is obsessed with the comics character Thor and wants to believe the long-blonde-haired, muscular, hammer-carrying fellow they encounter late in the movie is actually Thor. (“Thor” is played by Vincent D’Onofrio in an early role; he was kind of a hunk in 1987, so the casting worked.)

    (The movie’s also a lot of fun even without the genre reference. It’s one of those “What can go wrong?” stories where everything goes wrong. Elizabeth Shue is great. Re-watched the film a couple of weeks ago; still very enjoyable.) (Though some of the dialogue is not as, ahh, socially acceptable as it once was.)

  6. Welcome back, Mike! Hope you’re feeling better, and continue to do so!

    (14) Connie Willis did an anthology of her own Christmas stories back in ’99, which I own, and would rate as decent, but not her best. For a brief moment, though, I thought this might be her second such, which struck me as perhaps a bit too obsessive! But if she’s only acting as editor, then I suppose it’s a fairly reasonable amount of obsessive.

  7. (10) A small correction. The Uplift series began with Sundiver. To be fair it is rather forgettable.

  8. Paul King: Well, I won’t use that as an excuse because I should have remembered, on account of having done an interview with Brin on a convention program early in his career when Sundiver was one of the few works he’d then produced. I remember reading it in preparation for that program — even now I can almost visualize the paperback cover.

  9. Welcome back!

    1) I am not a fan of Slow Sculpture and am even less positive about it than JDN’s team. The protagonist is a wizard rather than a scientist, operating courageously without peer review or external funding. The love interest comes out of nowhere and exists only to be cured and fall in love with him. The tone is indeed well executed, but struck me as rather less special now than it did on first reading. I guess it may be better written than most of the stories it was competing with; as far as I can remember I have read only one, which I liked rather better.

  10. Nicholas Whyte: You may have something there about “the tone is indeed well executed” and how that would have compared with other work appearing in 1970. Sturgeon’s lyrical storytelling was considered a cut above most others’, however, 50 years later there are a lot of people in the field who bring that level of prose to the table.

    I’ve also wondered if Sturgeon’s Hugo and Nebula awards for the story were to some degree a valedictory to a long career, like awarding John Wayne the Oscar for True Grit. Sturgeon only had one more work nominated for either of sf’s two major awards the rest of his career (the Nebula, in 1974). He died in 1985.

  11. Britt Ekland also guest-starred in the original Battlestar Galactica two-part story “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero” – several times over, as she played a bunch of clones.

  12. I have a lot of favorite Sturgeon stories, and “Slow Sculpture” is not one of them–in fact, I had to look it up before I could even remember what it’s about. They should have just given him a special award for being Ted Sturgeon and left it at that.

  13. (1) Being familiar with both “Slow Sculpture” and Gerald Jonas’ “The Shaker Revival,” also featured on that same Galaxy cover at the link, I might wonder whether the latter would elicit more of a reaction among that group of younger readers.

    (I don’t subtract too many points for Jonas’ failure to consider any kinds of people besides the blacks and the whites in his near-future America; other stories were similarly neglectful at the time, e.g., Norman Spinrad’s novella “The Lost Continent.”)

  14. Xtifr on October 6, 2021 at 10:03 pm said:

    (14) Connie Willis did an anthology of her own Christmas stories back in ’99, which I own, and would rate as decent, but not her best.

    Indeed, she did, and I’m in general agreement that, while decent, it probably wasn’t her best work. She also put out a book last year I believe called “Take a Look at the Five and Ten,” which is currently in my TBR pile. She’s made no secret of her huge love of Christmas (Doomsday book set around the holiday as well, which is of course one of her finest novels). Everyone’s got their thing. For some its tea and tea sets; for others a cherished holiday; for me… probably moose. Expect more moose in my stories in the future.

  15. Welcome back!

    (8) Quit reading the post after the author referred to “females” too many times. It does usefully refer readers to Matt Mikalatos’ Lewis reread on Tor.com, which makes the best possible case for the Narnia books with both generosity and honesty. I haven’t read Pullman’s article, but would like to.
    I got off the Narnia train when I realized that Lewis was using a fantasy story to beat readers over the head with Christianity. And though Lucy and Jill were important figures for me, as girls with agency, I would recommend other books for today’s kids – the Suck Fairy has damaged the Narnia stories pretty badly.

  16. I liked “Slow Sculpture”, but my favorite Sturgeon is probably “The Widget, the Wadget, and Boff”.

  17. Meredith moment: Stephen Fry’s the Hippopotamus, his brilliant send-up of country house murder mysteries is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine.

  18. 10) I believe that Kushner and Sherman’s series are among the best “and” novels to date (with the Expanse series being the main rivals). Normally, I am quite suspicious of dual author novels because many of them seem to be marketing exercises of one sort or another.

  19. Jim Janney said I have a lot of favorite Sturgeon stories, and “Slow Sculpture” is not one of them.

    A much more insightful discussion of the story, and its fellow nominees, can be found at the Superdoomed Planet blog.

  20. Jeffery Reynolds: [Willis] also put out a book last year I believe called “Take a Look at the Five and Ten,” which is currently in my TBR pile.

    My reaction to the story was that it’s enjoyable, but not worldshaking:
    This is very much a Connie Willis holiday story, with the usual elements of her stories: comedic mixed messages leading to misunderstandings, a mildly-malicious antagonist, a bit of a mystery which gets solved, and a happy ending. This is the sort of thing you will enjoy if you enjoy this sort of thing. If you’re not a Willis fan, this won’t change your mind, but if you need something cheerful and uplifting, this may be just the ticket.

     
    Jeffery Reynolds: Expect more moose in my stories in the future.

    A møøse once bit my sister… No realli!

  21. Rob Thornton I believe that Kushner and Sherman’s series are among the best “and” novels to date (with the Expanse series being the main rivals). Normally, I am quite suspicious of dual author novels because many of them seem to be marketing exercises of one sort or another.

    I fully agree. The Fall of Kings is among the best pieces of fiction ever written, period. Audible once bundled all of their Riverside productions together so one pleasurable summer pre-knee surgery when I was still taking long walks, I listened all the way through all of that wonderful fiction.

    Now playing: Violent Femme’s “Hallowed Ground”

  22. I think the Fall of the Kings was the last book that had me up until 6AM just reading, and ending still feeling awake (2-3Am is not totally rare, though almost never on a work night. 6AM is something I almost never did in high school or college years, even in the days of supposed “all-nighters”)

    I still reread the last chapter or so the next afternoon to make sure I hadn’t dreamed up a particular clever bit. (No, it was all Kushner/Sherman).

  23. @ Jeffrey Jones: I don’t mean to be pedantic, but the Sturgeon novella is “The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff”. Without the brackets it would be an entirely different story.

    I thank Anthony Boucher for including it in his mighty two-volume Treasury in 1959, which I received in the early 1970s through SFBC as so many readers did.

  24. Fall of the Kings got nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature the year that Patricia McKilip’s also excellent Ombria in Shadow won. As Niven put it, TANJ.

    Now playing: Beach Boys’ California Dreamin’

  25. Okay, this comment was posted last night for a minute or two, then vanished. Let me try and recreate it.

    14) I preordered American Christmas Stories as soon as it was offered. Here is the table of contents:

    Bret Harte, How Santa Claus Came to Simpson’s Bar
    Louisa May Alcott, Kate’s Choice
    Mark Twain, A Letter from Santa Claus
    J. B. Moore Bristor, Found After Thirty-Five Years—Lucy Marshall’s Letter
    Mary Agnes Tincker, From the Garden of a Friend
    William Dean Howells, Christmas Every Day
    John Kendrick Bangs, Thurlow’s Christmas Story
    Jack London, Klondike Christmas
    Stephen Crane, A Little Pilgrim
    Paul Laurence Dunbar, An Old-Time Christmas
    Pauline E. Hopkins, General Washington
    Jacob Riis, The Kid Hangs Up His Stocking
    George Ade, The Set of Poe
    O. Henry, A Chaparral Christmas Gift
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman, According to Solomon
    Edward Lucas White, The Picture Puzzle
    Margaret Black, A Christmas Party That Prevented a Split in the Church
    Dorothy Parker, The Christmas Magazines: And the Inevitable Story of the Snowbound Train
    Robert Benchley, Christmas Afternoon
    W.E.B. Du Bois, The Sermon in the Cradle
    Ben Hecht, Holiday Thoughts
    Heywood Broun, Bethlehem, Dec. 25
    Christopher Morley, The Tree That Didn’t Get Trimmed
    Sherwood Anderson, A Criminal’s Christmas
    James Thurber, A Visit from Saint Nicholas
    Langston Hughes, One Christmas Eve
    Damon Runyon, The Three Wise Guys
    Leo Rosten, Mr. KAPLA*N and the Magi
    John Henrik Clarke, Santa Claus is a White Man
    John Collier, Back for Christmas
    Edna Ferber, No Room at the Inn
    John McNulty, Two People He Never Saw
    Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Butler’s Christmas Eve
    Katherine Anne Porter, A Christmas Story
    Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, “Santa Clo” Comes to La Cuchilla
    Ray Bradbury, The Gift
    Raymond E. Banks, Christmas Trombone
    Mildred Clingerman, The Wild Wood
    Shirley Jackson, from Raising Demons
    Grace Paley, The Loudest Voice
    Mari Sandoz, The Christmas of the Phonograph Records
    Joan Didion, The Big Rock Candy Figgy Pudding Pitfall
    John Updike, The Carol Sing
    Tomás Rivera, The Night Before Christmas
    Thomas M. Disch, The Santa Claus Compromise
    Pete Hamill, The Christmas Kid
    Gene Wolfe, The War Beneath the Tree
    Cynthia Felice, Track of a Legend
    Ed McBain, And All Through the House
    George V. Higgins, The Impossible Snowsuit of Christmas Past
    Ron Carlson, The H Street Sledding Record
    Steve Rasnic Tem, Buzz
    Amy Tan, Fish Cheeks
    Ann Petry, Checkup
    Sandra Cisneros, Three Wise Guys
    Connie Willis, Inn
    José R. Nieto, Ixchel’s Tears
    Nathan Englander, Reb Kringle
    Nalo Hopkinson, A Young Candy Daughter

    Stuart McLean, who was Canadian, tells some of my favorite Christmas stories. It’s best to listen to them. The Christmas Pack contains hilarious stories like “Dave Cooks the Turkey” and (our favorite) “Polly Anderson’s Christmas Party.” Highly, highly, highly recommended.

  26. Mike, you have my hopes for as painless a recovery as you desire.

    1
    Slow Sculpture was almost certainly a lifetime-achievement Hugo, but surely that’s okay. Though I admit I don’t read any Sturgeon these days, he certainly lit my fire when I was a kid.

    4
    Is that Matt Smith? My favorite Doctor. Man can rock a fez.

    6
    That’s a name.that reminds me of Groff Conklin. Man, those anthologies were something else!

    7
    IDK, Tolkien seemed adamant that his story was not about the War. Such is exegesis, I guess.

    8
    Due respect to you Lis, but I have to side with Pullman.

    Brins Existence is exhausting, and is kind of a set up for a punch line, but I still recommend it. It takes Dos Passos as a model and is full of sociological speculation.

    Speaking of Dos Passos, I’m a collector of LoA and I am looking forward to this Willis-edited Christmas volume. My fave Willis story is a Christmas novela, Newsletter. She do love Christmas.

    15
    I’m not sure how I feel about Shat in space. It’s kinda like Gibson having written Neuromancer on a manual typewriter. OTOH, if he’s into it, good for Bill!

  27. @Brown Robin: Tolkien said that LotR wasn’t about World War II (which makes sense, because much of it had been developed before the war), but he freely acknowledged that World War I was an influence on the book, as I recall (he did take violent exception to the idea that it was an allegory about WWI, though).

  28. bill: Anyone want their very own sculpture of H. P. Lovecraft, as designed by Gahan Wilson?

    I figure that some avid REH fan would be keen on having that particular trophy.

  29. Lewis’s attempt to promote Christianity to kids backfired horribly in my case! I found the death and resurrection of Aslan to be bizarre, confusing, and remarkably counterproductive. So I asked my mom about it, and she explained the reasons for it, which, basically left me thinking, for many years, that Christianity was just stupid. I eventually figured out that Lewis’s poor attempt to explain an idea didn’t necessarily mean the idea was bad, but I definitely still think it was a really poor attempt to explain.

    As for Sundiver, it was nearly the first Brin I read. A co-worker gave me a copy, saying, “hey, you read sci-fi, right? This was written by a guy I went to school with!”

    “Is it good?”

    “Haven’t read it. I’m not into that stuff.”

    With that underwhelming recommendation, the book ended up sitting on a shelf, unread, until the next year, when I went to file my just-finished copy of the latest Hugo winner, Startide Rising, and realized I had another book by the same author.

  30. Andrew (not Werdna) wrote:
    “Tolkien said that LotR wasn’t about World War II but he acknowledged that World War I was an influence on the book, as I recall (he did take violent exception to the idea that it was an allegory about WWI, though)”

    I missed that distinction. Thank you.

  31. Xtifr:

    (14) Connie Willis did an anthology of her own Christmas stories back in ’99, which I own, and would rate as decent, but not her best. For a brief moment, though, I thought this might be her second such, which struck me as perhaps a bit too obsessive! But if she’s only acting as editor, then I suppose it’s a fairly reasonable amount of obsessive.

    As I understand it, she writes (and usually publishes) a Christmas story every year. Which, at the length of her career, would indeed mean she’d have enough for another collection of her own. Assuming that she has kept up the tradition and not hit a point where she no longer wants to play in that ground.

    Still, I’m just as glad this isn’t a second such collection but instead a rather broad anthology.

    Not sure I want to add it to the teetering Mount TBR now (I am trying to be pickier about what books I buy) but there was definitely a time it would have happened.

  32. (he did take violent exception to the idea that it was an allegory about WWI, though)

    It seems likely that, as a medievalist, he viewed allegory in a rather strict ‘X represents Y’ manner, hence the strength of the denial.

  33. @Brown Robin

    I missed that distinction. Thank you.

    No problem!
    @James Moar

    It seems likely that, as a medievalist, he viewed allegory in a rather strict ‘X represents Y’ manner, hence the strength of the denial.

    Yeah, that seems likely to me too (Lewis had the same strict definition of allegory).

  34. I’m sorry that the Christmas anthology won’t include my favorite American Christmas story, “Mary and Joe, Chicago Style” by Mike Royko.

  35. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 10/10/21 - Amazing Stories

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