Pixel Scroll 10/7/19 Yet There’s Much More To Be Said

(1) FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION. Here is the cover of the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  The cover art is by Bob Eggleton.

(2) FIYAH SURVEY. FIYAH Literary Magazine’s “The Black Speculative Fiction Writer Survey” is open for responses again through November 30th.

This survey is designed to provide context to reports like Fireside Fiction’s #BlackSpecFic Reports. We invite Black SFF writers to submit information about their practices and insights on submission to SFF short fiction markets with a focus on a 13 month period. The responses we receive will allow us to:

  • Quantify the existence of Black speculative fiction writers seeking publication.
  • Provide submission context to existing publication data.
  • Expose the impact of doleful publication statistics on Black writers.
  • Enable markets to pinpoint their failings in attracting or publishing Black writers.

… For the purposes of this survey, participating writers:

  • must have submitted at least one piece of short speculative fiction to a paying market in the last 12 months. You do not have to be published in order to participate in the survey. Speculative fiction includes fantasy, science fiction, horror, paranormal and all of their included subgenres. “Short” fiction includes flash, shorts, novelettes, and novellas (under 40,000 words).
  • must identify as Black or of the African Diaspora (to include mixed/biracial)

(3) INSPIRED CREATURES. The “Natural History of Horror” exhibit will open October 10 at Los Angeles County’s Museum of Natural History, and run through April 19.

We have a strange curiosity for mysterious, eerie, and grotesque monsters. We love the thrill of intense, heart-pounding bursts of adrenaline that only horror movies can provide. In our new exhibition Natural History of Horror, explore the scientific inspiration for classic monsters from DraculaFrankensteinThe Mummy, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Get a glimpse of rare movie props, film footage, hands-on activities, and museum specimens.  

…Your senses will tingle as you hear about the scientific experiments and discoveries that inspired filmmakers to create four of the world‘s most iconic movie monsters: the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and Dracula. Whether these classics spotlighted sinister figures lurking in the shadows or creatures waiting unseen beneath the water, one thing is true: Each larger-than-life character had a surprisingly rich real-world backstory.

(4) UNTWIST THOSE KNICKERS. Shelf Awareness has retracted an earlier report. Now they say “U.S. Tariffs on E.U. Won’t Include Books”.

The report last week that books were included in the new tariffs on E.U. products imported to the U.S. was inaccurate. In fact, books will not be included in the $7.5 billion of tariffs, which are being imposed after the World Trade Organization ruled last Wednesday that the U.S. could tax $7.5 billion of E.U. goods to recoup damages after the WTO had determined in May that the E.U. illegally subsidized Airbus.

(5) ATWOOD’S LATEST. Kyra reviews The Testaments in a comment on File 770’s 2019 Recommended SFF List.

I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from this book. What I absolutely did not expect was … a pretty good young adult dystopian adventure story. It was a bit jarring when I realized that was what I was reading, as if I’d discovered that The Hunger Games had somehow been intended as a direct sequel to 1984….

(6) YOUR MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE. FastCompany reports: “In latest streaming wars move, Disney bans Netflix ads from its entertainment networks”.

In a move that reminds us that the streaming wars are already well underway, Disney has banned all Netflix advertising from its entertainment properties, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Netflix spent $99.2 million on U.S. TV ads during 2018, with about 13% going to Disney-owned networks, according to estimates made by the ad-measurement firm iSpot.TV. But with Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ launching next month, the Mouse has ramped up its competitive edge to gain any traction it can against its newest, biggest rival. Notably, the ban only applies to Disney’s entertainment networks, not Disney-owned ESPN.

Back in August, Disney announced that it had banned ads from any of its streaming rivals but then walked that back, citing complex, mutually beneficial business relationships with partners who are also competitors such as Apple and Amazon.

(7) DRIVE THEM CRAZY. Engadget has discovered “Tesla will let you customize your car’s horn and movement sounds”. One hilarious option is coded but not yet operative:  

Electrek also found references in the Tesla Android app’s code to a currently unavailable “Patsy Mode” (named after Arthur’s sidekick in Holy Grail) that could play the coconuts when you summon your car from Auto Park. Things are about to get very silly in your EV, then, whether or not you’re actually moving.

(8) TAYLOR OBIT. Comedian Rip Taylor, a staple of daytime TV back in the day, died October 6 at the age of 84. SYFY Wire reminded readers about his genre resume.

…Aside from his career as a shtick-happy comic, he had a number of noteworthy genre roles, particularly in animation, where his unique vocal delivery got to breathe real life into his cartoon counterparts. His first major role animated role was in 1979’s Scooby Goes to Hollywood in 1979. Years later, he’d appear in two more Scooby-Doo projects, What’s New, Scooby-Doo in 2002 and Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico in 2003. He also voiced the genie in 1990’s DuckTales the Movie.

Additionally, he had roles in Popeye and Son, The Snorks, and The Jetsons. Later, he had a recurring role as Uncle Fester in the early 1990s animated series The Addams Family. More recently, he was the voice of the Royal Recordkeeper in the Disney short film series The Emperor’s New School, and he played another genie in the superhero family series The Aquabats! Super Show! His last role was in the 2012 horror flick Silent But Deadly.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • October 7, 1959 — First photos taken of the far side of the Moon, by Luna 3.
  • October 7, 1988 — The War of the Worlds series premiered. Starring Jared Martin and Lynda Mason Green, it would last for two seasons. Andria Paul of Highlander fame would join the cast in season two. 
  • October 7, 1988 Alien Nation debuted as a film. Written by Rockne S. O’Bannon, it starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin. It received a nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation in the Hugo Awards losing out at Noreascon 3 to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Both the movie and the series rate a 43% at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 7, 1926 Ken Krueger. Krueger co-founded and organized the first San Diego Comic-Con International convention, then called “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con,” in 1970. He attended the first Worldcon in 1939. I’ll leave it up to y’all to discuss his activities as a fan and as a pro as they won’t fit here! (Died 2009.)
  • Born October 7, 1942 Lee Gold, 77. She’s a member of LAFA and a writer and editor in the role-playing game and filk music communities. She published Xenofilkia, a bi-monthly compilation of filk songs which has been published since 1988, four issues of the Filker Up anthology; and has published for forty-four years, Alarums and Excursions, a monthly gaming zine. She’s edited more fanzines than I care to list here, and is a member of the Filk Hall of Fame along with Barry Gold, her husband. 
  • Born October 7, 1946 Chris Foss, 73. UK Illustrator known for the Seventies UK paperback covers for Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman and Skylark series among many that he did. He also did design work for the Jodorowsky version of Dune. Alien has his Spaceship design, and he did redesign of Gordon’s rocket cycle for the 1980 Flash Gordon film. 
  • Born October 7, 1950 Howard Chaykin, 69. Comic book artist and writer. His first major work was for DC Comics, drawing The Price of Pain” which was an adaptation of author Fritz Leiber’s characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in Sword of Sorcery #1. He would illustrate damn near everything else from Batman and The Legion of Super-Heroes for DC to Hulk and Iron-Man for Marvel (to name but two series) but I think his best genre work was his own American Flagg! series.
  • Born October 7, 1958 Rosalyn Landor, 61. She played Guinevere in Arthur the King, and Helen Stoner in “The Speckled Band” of Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes. She was the red headed colleen Brenna Odell in the “Up the Long Ladder” episode of Next Generation.
  • Born October 7, 1959 Steven Erikson, 60. He’s definitely  most known for his Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which began with the publication of Gardens of the Moon and was completed with the publication of The Crippled God, ten novels later. Though I’ve not read it, and didn’t know it existed, he’s written the Willful Child trilogy, a spoof on Star Trek and other tropes common in the genre. 
  • Born October 7, 1963 Tammy Klein, 56. She’s getting Birthday Honors because of the most-likely-unauthorised Trek audioseries she’s involved in called Star Trek: Henglaar, M.D. in which she’s Subcommander Nonia but she also been in some definitely really pulpy works such as Lizard ManJurassic City, Awaken the Dead and Zoombies.
  • Born October 7, 1970 Nicole Ari Parker, 49. She’s getting a Birthday Honor because she was Vanessa Anders in Time After Time, a short lived series (twelve episodes aired in 2017) based off the H.G. Wells novel of that name. Freddie Stroma played Wells. Anyone see it? Oh, and she had a recurring role in the Revolution series as Justine Allenford. 
  • Born October 7, 1979 Aaron Ashmore, 40. He‘s known for being Jimmy Olsen on Smallville and Steve Jinks on Warehouse 13. He also is Johnny Jaqobis on Killjoys. He also had a recurring role as Dylan Masters in XIII: The Series which I think is SFF. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Lio intercepts a message from outer space. It sounds pretty familiar…
  • Moderately Confused amuses by combining Halloween with a sff trope joke. I laughed.
  • On the other hand, today’s Off the Mark is truly bizarre.

(12) THE INTERNET SAYS “OOPS!” At Examined Worlds, Ethan Mills asks “Was Social Media a Huge Mistake?” Of course it was, that’s why I hurried to read his post…

My concern isn’t so much that social media makes new bad things. Humans have always been intellectually and morally fallible. My concern is that it exacerbates our weaknesses in a deeply unhealthy way.

Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies

Social media exacerbates our cognitive biases and tendencies toward fallacious reasoning. “Fake news” and conspiracy theories are shared more quickly and are believed more widely. Social media successfully exploits cognitive biases like availability heuristic and confirmation bias. Social media echo chambers make us think our views are more popular or more correct than they actually are. 

Logical fallacies like Ad Hominem, Tu Quoque, Strawman, Red Herring, Appeal to Popularity, Appeal to Authority, and No True Scotsman frequently pass for good arguments. And social media algorithms and click bait headlines deliberately exploit all of this to keep us clicking, liking, and sharing too quickly, long before we have time to digest or examine anything philosophically. (Indeed, I suspect philosophical thinking is too slow for social media, although a lucky few on philosophy Twitter may be exceptions.)…

(13) SHORT SFF AT ANGRY ROBOT. Tomorrow Angry Robot releases its “first foray into short-form fiction” Duchamp Versus Einstein, by Christopher Hinz and Etan Ilfeld, something we reported this last week. But we’ve subsequently learned the interesting fact that co-author Etan Ilfeld is also the owner of Watkins Media, of which Angry Robot has been part since 2014. Does that change how likely it is there will be more short sff forthcoming?

(14) O2. The Nobel Prizes are being announced this week. First up – the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine: “How cells sense oxygen wins Nobel prize”.

Three scientists who discovered how cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels have won the 2019 Nobel Prize.

Sir Peter Ratcliffe, of the University of Oxford and Francis Crick Institute, William Kaelin, of Harvard, and Gregg Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University share the physiology or medicine prize.

Their work is leading to new treatments for anaemia and even cancer.

The role of oxygen-sensing is also being investigated in diseases from heart failure to chronic lung disease.

…Why does this matter?

The oxygen-sensing ability of the body has a role in the immune system and the earliest stages of development inside the womb.

It can trigger the production of red blood cells or the construction of blood vessels.

So, drugs that mimic it may be an effective treatment for anaemia.

Tumours, meanwhile, can hijack this process to selfishly create new blood vessels and grow.

So, drugs that reverse it may help halt cancer.

(15) NOT THE BIGGEST BANG, BUT STILL PLENTY BIG. “Milky Way’s centre exploded 3.5 million years ago”.

A cataclysmic energy flare ripped through our galaxy, the Milky Way, about 3.5 million years ago, a team of astronomers say.

They say the so-called Sifter flare started near the super massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy.

The impact was felt 200,000 light-years away.

The discovery that the Milky Way’s centre was more dynamic than previously thought can lead to a complete reinterpretation of its evolution.

(16) PRIVACY V. SAFETY. “Facebook encryption: Should governments be given keys to access our messages?” BBC has the story.

Governments in the UK, US and Australia have asked Facebook, in an open letter, to roll back plans to bring end-to-end encryption to all of its platforms.

Facebook, rocked by privacy scandals, responds that everyone has the right to a private conversation.

It is the latest in an age-old battle between privacy and safety, which has played out between governments and tech firms ever since digital communication became mass market.

What is end-to-end encryption?

As the name suggests, this is a secure way of sending information so that only the intended receiver can read it.

The information is encrypted while it is still on the sender’s device and is only decrypted when it reaches the person intended. Nobody, not even the platform owner, has the keys to unlock it.

Is there evidence encryption has hampered police enquiries?

When the BBC asked the Home Office to provide examples, it could not do so.

The real issue is the fact that Facebook will no longer be able to police its own content, it said.

It pointed to the fact that last year Facebook sent 12 million reports of child exploitation or abuse to the US’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and it would no longer be able to do this if it had encryption on all its platforms.

It is something that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg addressed directly in a Q&A with staff about the issue.

“When we decided to go to end-to-end encryption across the different apps, this is one of the things that just weighed the most heavily on me,” he said.

(17) RUBY ROSE. In the Washington Post, David Betancourt interviews Ruby Rose, star of “Batwoman,” who explains that even though she identifies as gay and Batwoman is gay, “you don’t fight crime in a gay way or a lesbian way.” “Ruby Rose knows Batwoman is a step forward for LGBTQ superheroes — but she’s more interested in how she saves the day”.

…Rose did a bit of soul searching when CW called. Shooting a network TV season often means filming almost year round, leaving a limited window for Rose to make movies. She would have to move from Los Angeles to Vancouver, where most of the CW’s DC shows film.

But ultimately, Rose answered the bat-signal call — the role was too emotionally appealing to pass up. She tried to think of any upcoming role she’d been offered that could make her feel the same way. There weren’t any.

“[This role is] something that we all wish did exist when we were growing up [watching] television. It would have helped [us] as well as other people feel less alone and less misunderstood or all confused or isolated and different and not unlike many other things that come with being young and gay,” Rose said. She hopes the show will impact people who feel alone — “and empower them to feel like they’re a superhero too and that they can change the world too.”…

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. 2001 A Space Odyssey, Epilogue. Featuring Frank Poole on Vimeo.

Some 203 years after astronaut Frank Poole is murdered by the Discovery’s A.I. HAL 9000, his body encounters a Monolith.

Using practical models and digital versions of the tricks used in the original, with respect to Stanley and Wally.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cliff.]

53 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/7/19 Yet There’s Much More To Be Said

  1. (7) I know the wife is going to kill me but our car will get the cocoanut clippty clop sound the day it is pushed down to the car.

  2. 10 ) As you may remember, I am a big fan of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Originally, Andrew Sullivan’s 1999 article in Salon turned me onto the first book and I was hooked. I have glanced at a few of his non-Malazan works but did not find them appealing.

  3. (17) The picture in that article must be from a later episode, as Kate Kane wasn’t rocking the fuschia wig and lipstick last night.

    The first episode definitely intrigued me enough to keep watching, and Ruby Rose was good in it, but the pilot seemed…a bit rushed and overstuffed, to me. Hopefully in later episodes they’ll slow down the pace a bit and let the characters breathe.

  4. 10) I read ‘Willful Child’ earlier this year and found it ‘meh’. Not sure if practice made better as I did not attempt sequels. The quality of Mazanlan did not make it to SF spoof.

    Currently listening to ‘Downbelow Station’, which still hits the spot and is still capable of launching socks. I did enjoy the conclusion of Patterson’s Heinlein biography. i might even brave some re-reads! My non-genre read is the very enjoyable ‘Less’, of which i’m pretty sure RAH would have disapproved..

  5. 2) I’m sorry, but I still keep trying to expand that as Fandom Is Yet Another Hobby.

  6. Recently finished Jagannath, a collection of delightfully odd short fantasy by Karin Tidbeck, a Swedish writer who decided early in her career that the only way to ensure she had enough markets to submit to was to become genuinely fluent in English. She does her own translations in both directions.

  7. (9) “October 7, 1959 — First photos taken of the dark side of the Moon, by Luna 3.”

    Should be “far” side of the moon — the moon doesn’t have a dark side.

  8. bill: And I suppose there wouldn’t be much point taking a picture if it was dark.

  9. @Mike Glyer: Well, if you’ve got a really big flash cube…

    @Lis: I highly recommend Tidbeck’s very strange SF novel, Amatka.

  10. (12) “Ad Hominem, Tu Quoque, Strawman, Red Herring, Appeal to Popularity, Appeal to Authority, and No True Scotsman” sounds a lot like a C-lister group of super (and not-super) heroes. Or the Doom Patrol’s 2nd-tier Rogues Gallery. Or the drinks list at the Usenet Bar & Grill.

  11. @7: I wonder whether they’ll share. Other hybrids are being required to make noise at low speed so that people with little or no sight can hear them coming; I’d be happy to set my Prius to make coconut noises, although AFAICT it’s old enough that it doesn’t come under the rule (which probably means rigging it would be non-trivial, sigh).

  12. On the Howard Chaykin: I wonder if the title was “The Price of Pain-Ease”? There’s a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story called that.

  13. The Wells buff shoots a reproving glance over his pince-nez: Wells did not write a novel called Time After Time – possibly you’re thinking of Jack Finney’s Time and Again?

    @Lis Carey: I read Jagannath a little while back, and would certainly recommend it, though maybe not as a comfort read: my notes at the time say “like T. Kingfisher, only with the warm humanity drained away and replaced with exquisite ice-cold poison”. (Yes, that’s still a recommendation, by my lights at least.)

  14. There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.

    An interesting Erickson offering is his recent Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart, in which aliens with indistinguishable-from-magic technology bring peace and prosperity to Earth, which really annoys some people but there’s nothing they can do about it so pbbbbt.

  15. Steve Wright; The Wells buff shoots a reproving glance over his pince-nez: Wells did not write a novel called Time After Time

    He’s referring to the novel by Karl Alexander about H.G. Wells, which was turned into a movie by Nicholas Meyer in 1979.

  16. Patrick Morris Miller: An interesting Erickson offering is his recent Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart, in which aliens with indistinguishable-from-magic technology bring peace and prosperity to Earth, which really annoys some people but there’s nothing they can do about it so pbbbbt.

    I really liked that novel; I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I liked that it went somewhere I wasn’t expecting.

    I was not so impressed with the way he disrespected a couple of famous Canadian science fiction authors by very pointedly omitting their names from an in-story list of famous Canadian science fiction authors.

  17. Thanks for the title credit Mike!

    10) I love Chris Foss’s work. I used to stand for ages in front of bookshelves just looking at the covers. I remember being surprised on a trip to France when I found the cover art for many books had been transposed to entirely different titles. Oh, and I believe Chris Foss was also an art consultant for The Guardians Of The Galaxy movie.

  18. (5) Kyra’s review dovetails nicely with something I’ve been thinking about: have we gotten to the point where YA fiction is having a significant influence on the way that adult fiction is written (and vice versa, of course)? It feel like, post the Harry Potter and Hunger Games phenomena, half of the readers for YA (if not more so) are much older than the target audience. It wouldn’t surprise me if Atwood took inspiration from the dystopian sci-fi YA novels that were in vogue relatively recently.

    More out-there: how much of the YA signifier is reliant on publisher branding? The Testaments isn’t considered YA; come to think of it, many books with teenage protagonists aren’t despite containing similarities to the books that are, and the ones that are get to be sold in Scholastic book fairs. Not to mention the difference between “young adult” and “middle grade.”

  19. It’s an interesting question, N, and I for one don’t have any ready answers. I personally think YA is a stylistic category as well as a marketing one, so publisher branding isn’t the be-all and end-all for me. But in the absence of the marketing category, I’m having to take a sort of “I know it when I see it” attitude.

    Certainly I don’t group every book with a teenaged protagonist into YA. Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir, another marketed-to-adults book I recommended on that thread recently, has a teenaged protagonist and nothing that absolutely signifies it as NOT being YA … but I didn’t consider it particularly YA, either, so didn’t put it in that category. In The Testaments, however, the YA tropes were so strong and obvious to me that it seemed like an obvious fit for the category.

    Now, from a marketing perspective, I can see lots of reasons not to market The Testaments as YA — doing so could have driven away a portion of its market without particularly bringing in anyone new. The Testaments had a built-in cross-genre, cross-age audience, so why tell any of them, “this is not for you”? But does that mean it shouldn’t be treated as YA if (to me) it obviously is?

    And in terms of my reviewing it, as a YA adventure story, it’s decent, but if it’s meant to be considered as sociopolitical literary SF in the manner of The Handmaid’s Tale … well, then it fails pretty spectacularly. I gave it a four-star review based on what I thought it was trying to be, but I could have given it a two-star review based on what it was marketed as being. Which is correct?

  20. 10) I also love Chris Foss — I think I mostly know his work from the pictures that were included in the various Terran Trade Authority books back in the day.

  21. I feel like my unconscious heuristic for determining, “Is this YA?” goes something like this —

    1) Is it marketed as YA?
    The Handmaid’s Tale — No
    The Testaments — No
    Gideon the Ninth — No
    The Hunger Games — Yes

    2) Is the protagonist (or protagonists) teenaged?
    The Handmaid’s Tale — No
    The Testaments — Yes
    Gideon the Ninth — Yes
    The Hunger Games — Yes

    3) Does the book have a focus on matters that are either unique or important to the adolescent experience (e.g., school, conflict with parents, first love or crush, first political awakening)?
    The Handmaid’s Tale — No
    The Testaments — Yes, three or more
    Gideon the Ninth — No
    The Hunger Games — Yes, one or two

    4) Does the book contain tropes that are commonly associated with the YA genre (e.g. love triangles, teenager separated from parents, teenager given an unusual amount of autonomy and responsibility, chosen one narrative, friends-to-enemies, enemies-to-lovers, etc.?)
    The Handmaid’s Tale — No
    The Testaments — Yes, three or more
    Gideon the Ninth — Yes, one or two
    The Hunger Games — Yes, three or more

    If I was to assign a “YA score” based on that, with 6 as “ultimate YA” and 0 as “not even remotely YA”, it might look like:
    The Handmaid’s Tale — 0
    The Testaments — 5
    Gideon the Ninth — 2
    The Hunger Games — 5

  22. I am in the middle of Gideon the Ninth and independently of anyone, I was struck how the writing felt like YA prose. I cannot say why without more analysis, but I stick by my intuition. Perhaps Muir was going in a YA direction and the publisher decided to to take it to the adult market (for reasons that would make sense to a middle-aged editor).

  23. @ Joe H – ah yes, the TTA books! A friend had a couple of those and boy did I covet them.

  24. Perhaps Muir was going in a YA direction and the publisher decided to to take it to the adult market

    Possibly so. As I said, I don’t think there’s anything about it which screams “This ISN’T YA!”, and a straight-up description of the plot has some pretty YA characteristics. I just didn’t think it was so clearly YA that I gave it “even though this isn’t marketed YA I will review it as YA” status.

  25. @Cliff — My original TTA books were lost to the void many years ago, so a few years back I found replacement copies of all four (including at least one, maybe two, that I hadn’t owned originally). And then I backed the Kickstarter reprinting Spacecraft 2000-2200 AD (or whatever the exact date range was).

    I especially liked the sections dealing with derelicts and weird phenomena &c.

  26. @Kyra: The applicability of your metric for “scoring” YA books might prove exceedingly useful in the future. Get it patented.

  27. @ Kyra. A big difference that I see between books marketed as YA or adult is the amount of R-rated material included – explicit sex scene Y/N?
    A second difference is the amount of unexplained complexity. In The Poppy War, there are a lot of words devoted to explaining why the characters feel and act as they do. In the Handmaid’s Tale, nobody explains their positions, the reader is expected to use their preexisting knowledge of the politics and human nature to fill that in – teens may not be able to do that.

  28. 10) Aaron Ashmore —
    ..but …but — what about his twin brother Shawn ?!
    He was Iceman in the ‘X-Men’ movies that started in 2000; he was Ged in the 2005 adaptation of ‘Wizard of Earthsea’; and he guested on a bunch of genre TV shows like ‘Smallville’ and ‘Fringe’ among others.

    If only one of the brothers gets acknowledged, Thanksgiving dinner at the Ashmores will be very uncomfortable.

  29. A big difference that I see between books marketed as YA or adult is the amount of R-rated material included – explicit sex scene Y/N?

    That’s true, and had occurred to me as another marker, although it doesn’t always apply. The Testaments has one on-page sexual assault, but most of it is described rather elliptically — not at all explicit. And Gideon the Ninth barely gets past the “dreamy gazing” level. And of course, you can find quite a number of YA books with sex scenes.

    A second difference is the amount of unexplained complexity.

    Agreed, and the degree of emotional explication is part of what I think of as the “YA style” but again it’s not universal; I can think of plenty of books marketed to adults where everything is spelled out.

    I’m not really disagreeing with you in any way, just noting that these are markers, not universal truisms — a book is “YA” to me if it ticks some (amorphous) number of these markers, even if it doesn’t tick all of them, just as an “adult” book can tick some number of them without automatically becoming YA.

  30. @ Joe – yeah, I remember the last image in the Spacecraft book was described as a UFO on some foreign planet. I remember thinking the planet looked truly alien, and the various shot-in-a-quarry TV shows and movies were rather disappointing in comparison.

  31. @JeeJay: Don’t forget (pfft) Jake in the Animorphs television series.

    Fun fact: Aaron appeared in one of the episodes, when Ax had to morph into Jake after the latter got infested with a Yeerk.

  32. Reminder: The “Leif & Thorn” Volume 2 Kickstarter has only 3 days remaining! It’s only $800 away from its goal, so if you were thinking of backing because you love “Leif & Thorn”, go for it now! 😀

    This is an awesome webcomic described by the creator like this: “A sparkly queer bilingual fantasy comedy. Featuring trauma recovery, slow-burn romance, cross-cultural communication, and baby unicorns.” It has ongoing storylines and a new strip six days a week + Saturday bonus art, so yes, an update every day. It’s one of my favorites, probably in my top five (of many, so “top five” here means something). Try it out!

  33. (10) I never read American Flagg!, but a couple years ago I read through Chaykin’s original sf work for DC Comics: the 1970s sword-and-planet epic IronWolf, the 1990s sf epic Twilight, and then the 1990s Ironwolf revival. Some great stuff in there, ranging from goofy fun to disgustingly grim.

  34. Steve Mollmann says I never read American Flagg!, but a couple years ago I read through Chaykin’s original sf work for DC Comics: the 1970s sword-and-planet epic IronWolf, the 1990s sf epic Twilight, and then the 1990s Ironwolf revival. Some great stuff in there, ranging from goofy fun to disgustingly grim.

    I’d say that American Flagg! falls on the goofy fun end of things. IRRC Flagg is supposed is an ex-porn star turned sort of ranger. There’s a talking cat and, well, it’s just a lot of fun.

  35. 10) I have read a few American Flagg! issues, and they were fine. The most notable issue was a very raunchy parody of Flagg written by Alan Moore.

  36. I had a letter printed in American Flagg. I think it was about shoes. Well, the part of the letter they printed was.

    On Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Gerry O’Driscoll, the doorman at Abbey Road Studios, is heard saying, “there is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it’s all dark.” In the original recording he goes on to say, “What makes it look light is the sun.”

    I have to say that the thing that Wikipedia and YouTube have done best is clear up where those weird audio snippets came from in various albums.

    Scroll you down pixel, rest you

  37. Steve Mollmann notes There is also a talking cat in Twilight! Must be a thing of his. (In that case, it’s very obviously a tribute to Cordwainer Smith.)

    If I remember correctly, the cat in American Flagg was named Raulo and had a cyborg like technology to assist him. Now admittedly I’ve read it in thirty years and with my shattered memory, that’s just a guess.

  38. Currently reading: Theodora Goss’s Athena Club book 3: The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerising Girl. A lot of people thought the second book was too long and unfocused. I don’t agree–at least with the unfocused part–but in any case, the third volume is back to a less-effective-doorstop size, and is still lots of fun!

    “Dark” can also mean “undiscovered” or “unknown”, as in “darkest Africa” (which is not a reference to the color of people’s skins, nor to the amount of shade that jungle trees provide). So the far side of the moon is quite reasonably called the dark side, even though that’s highly misleading and should probably be discouraged. (People still have enough trouble with that the notion that things in the sky are objects, let alone that the sun can light parts of them we can’t see.) What I like to say is that there hasn’t really been a dark side of the moon since ’59. Except, of course, for whatever parts are currently in shade. 🙂

    I kinda liked the Alien Nation movie, though (in an unusual turn of events), I thought the TV show spin-off was better.

    (6) And so it begins. Soon, we’ll speak in hushed whispers of the days when entertainment could be distributed at all without the blessings of our Fearless Leader, Mickey, and his big-eared stormtroopers.

  39. @bookworm1398: the reader is expected to use their preexisting knowledge of the politics and human nature to fill that in – teens may not be able to do that. I think that depends a lot on exactly what is left out, but I may be channeling Brust’s hilarious “Writing Fantasy for Adults” panel (last Saturday panel at the 1993 WFC), in which the panel skewered all of the cliches then common on writing-for-kids panels, e.g. complaining that for adults you had to spell everything out. Consider Treason of Thorns, marketed as YA but having barely enough explanation of an alternate world to let the plot go forward, while leaving a lot of things unexplained.

  40. @Steve Wright–No, definitely not a comfort read, but neither did I find it dark beyond my ability to relax and enjoy the writing and the ideas. The comparison I saw was to Tiptree, and that may have helped set my expectations appropriately.

  41. Kyra. I wasn’t disagreeing either, just adding some things that strike me particularly as an adult reader. I suspect teens notice things like the age of the protagonist more, its not something that’s so prominent to me.

  42. My future (theoretical) electric car will have as it’s low speed warning:
    1) TIE Fighter,
    2) TARDIS,
    or
    3) Godzilla, with obligatory stomping and building destruction sounds.

    “Clop, Clop, Clop went the Pixel. Zing, Zing, Zing went the Scroll…”
    JeffW.

  43. @Xtifr: so she carries on with the hook from the end of #2? Fun times — on my TBR pile.

  44. @Chip Hitchcock: Yes, it jumps right back in where we left off, and at least some of the things we were worried about are indeed a problem. (Is that sufficiently non-spoiler-y?)

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