Pixel Scroll 10/1 The Other Blog of Phileas Fogg

(1) Sir Terry Pratchett’s estate has announced the endowment of the Sir Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship at the University of South Australia.

The $100,000 scholarship recipient will also have the opportunity to conduct their research both at University of South Australia. and at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland for up to a full year in the course of their two-year’s study.

The collaborative scholarship builds on a growing relationship between two very different universities in two hemispheres, who share links both through research and their strong associations with Sir Terry Pratchett and is underpinned by an MOU between Trinity College Dublin’s Trinity Long Room Hub and University of South Australia’s Hawke Research Institute.

Pratchett was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of South Australia in 2014.

(2) Pat Cadigan celebrates the return of her hair in “And Then, Suddenly: The Silver Fox! Or OMG! I Have Hair!” Complete with photo gallery.

About a month and a half after my last round of chemo, my hair began to grow back. Not slowly, but at a natural rate, as if I had deliberately shaved it off. By August, when I was preparing to go to the world science fiction convention in Spokane, Washington, I had what could have been a pixie-cut that was just slightly too short. Ellen Datlow told me she thought it looked cute and I could probably get away without any head-coverings. I will always love her for that, truly.

There’s nothing more reassuring to someone recovering from chemo than to be told she looks cute with her short hair. I mean, really. It goes a long way toward recovery–not just a physical recovery but the psychological recovering of yourself from cancer patient to Who You Are. (Yeah, you may be both but it’s important to be Who You Are first, cancer patient second.)

Still, I left the head scarves on. I wasn’t quite ready to expose my itty-bitty head with its itty-bitty hair.

A month later, however, my hair was an inch longer and it was a different story.

(3) Larry Correia came back with great stories from Salt Lake Comic Con.

I had a Green Beret’s wife come by to pick up signed copies of everything. Her husband is a huge fan, and was currently deployed to an undisclosed location doing badass stuff to bad people. He recorded a video for her to play for me, and gave me a unit hat. That was neat, but even cooler, while I was signing her stack of books, somebody else standing in line had heard her story, and paid for all of her books while she wasn’t looking. Just to say thanks for her husband’s service, and then he walked away, anonymous. I didn’t even know until I got done signing, and Steve Diamond leaned over and said, yep, these are all already taken care of. She teared up. Because fans are awesome people like that.

No matter how busy I was, if I am ever in danger of pride, all I had to do was look at Butcher or Brooks’ signing lines, that literally stretched across ten aisles, to be put in my place. Holy crap. I’m a pretty successful author, but Jim does what I do, with another zero on the end of everything.

Speaking of Jim, several of us writers put together a game night. We played Fiasco, which is a perfect, silly, stand-alone RPG for one-off events. Think of it like a Cohen brothers movie, where everything is odd and goes sideways. Ours was like the movie Fargo. Poor Jim ended up as the only decent human being in the cast (a Mexican Catholic priest and champion of SOCIAL JUSTICE I kid you not, thank you so much Fiasco’s random complication tables). But don’t worry, after Jim was horribly injured when Steve and Allen blew up the meth supplies hidden in the basement of his church, Peter and I burned down the local Walmart to avenge him. Yes. It was that sort of game.

(4) Everything Wrong With Interstellar, Featuring Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson —

(5) RedWombat’s verse, which some have dubbed The Jellicle Troll, started life as a comment on File 770.

The Naming of Trolls is a difficult matter,

It isn’t just some sort of blog-a-day game;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a troll may have MORE THAN ONE NAME.
First of all, there’s the name that employers use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them everyday real wallet names.
But I tell you, a troll needs a name that’s not famous,
A handle peculiar, but easily shed,
Else how can he keep his trolling anonymous,
Or threaten his critics or wish them all dead?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a couple, too,
Such as Drizzt69, Quaxo, or Nazi-lol,
Such as Edgelord150, or HatesSJW-
Names that sometimes belong to more than one troll.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweet,
And IP muddlers and sock-puppets galore:
That the troll may continue to whargle and bleat–
Without any pause in his trollicksome chore.
But above and beyond there’s still one thing left over,
And that is the thing that you probably have guessed;
The thing human research has long since discovered–
(IF THE TROLL HIMSELF KNOWS, he will never confess.)
When you notice a troll in profound verbiation,
I’ll tell you his reason for courting suspension:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of attention:
Paid to his tedious
Shallow uninteresting
singular Self.

(6) Lo and behold! David J. Peterson’s book about conlangery, mentioned here yesterday, is today’s Big Idea at Whatever.

With The Art of Language Invention, my purpose was twofold. The first was to give the uninitiated a window into the world of conlanging: to see what it’s all about, to see the work that goes into creating a language, and, maybe, to see if it’s for them. The second, though, was to build a bridge between the original conlanging community and the conlangers to come.

(7) The minutes of the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting [PDF file], a 134-page epic by secretary Linda Deneroff, has been posted on the Sasquan website.

(8) Kate Paulk has a goal.

Inept message fiction makes puppies sad. Sad Puppies 4 wants to make puppies happy by returning the Hugo to its roots as a readers choice award – all readers, not just the small cadre who favor style over substance. Those who wouldn’t know substance if it bit them on the butt are of course in opposition to this goal.

(9) GUFF voting is closed. Now the administrators say they are doing a vote count before announcing a winner. Who should be Jukka Halme, as he is running unopposed.

(10) The story of “The Little Blue Man Hoax” at The Museum of Hoaxes.

The police began to search for what, or who, was causing these sightings. Their search ended when three young men — Jerry Sprague, Don Weiss, and LeRoy Schultz — came forward and confessed. The young men explained how all the reports of flying saucers in the news had given them an idea for a prank. They created a costume consisting of long underwear, gloves, combat boots, a sheet with holes cut out for the eyes, and a football helmet to which they attached blinking lights. They then spray-painted the costume glow-in-the-dark blue (inspired by a song popular on the radio at the time, “Little Blue Man” by Betty Johnson). Sprague wore the costume, noting that “it was my underwear and I was the only one it would fit.”

The trio staked out rural roads at night. Sprague would hide in a ditch, and when a motorist approached, he would leap out and run along the road to attract their attention before making a quick getaway by jumping into the trunk of the car driven by Weiss and Schultz. They did this on at least eight or ten nights, over a period of weeks.

The police let the pranksters off with a warning not to do it again.

(11) John Simm told the Guardian he can’t wait to move on from Doctor Who.

The actor John Simm has admitted that he is fed up with the attention he gets from Doctor Who fans.

The star of The Village and Life On Mars played the Master in five episodes of the BBC1 sci-fi programme.

He told the Radio Times: “I do get a lot of Doctor Who. God almighty, I’ll be so happy when that’s gone from my life. They’re lovely, I’m sure, but I won’t miss it.”

He added: “It’s great to be into something, but for goodness’ sake, really? I’m not the Master, I’m not that evil Time Lord who rules the galaxy, I’m just in Tesco with my kids. Leave me alone!”

(12) The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book (A Song of Ice and Fire)

In a world where weddings are red, fire is green, and debts are paid in gold, countless images leap off the page thanks to the eye-popping intricacy of the vivid settings and details. Now, for the first time, fans of this blockbuster saga can fill in the blanks and marvel as this meticulously imagined universe comes to life, one sword, sigil, and castle at a time. With dozens of stunning original black-and-white illustrations from world-renowned illustrators Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomi?, Adam Stower, and Levi Pinfold, this unique collector’s item expands the reach of an international phenomenon with flying colors.

 

Official game of thrones coloring book cover COMP

(13) I scientifically lifted this news from the October issue of Ansible.

With an eye on the coming film, the Royal Mail will issue no fewer than eighteen Star Wars stamps on 20 October. (BBC, 12 September)

(14) Camestros Felapton has weaponized one of File 770’s running gags…

[Thanks to JJ, Kevin Standlee, David Doering, Camestros Felapton, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z .]

375 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/1 The Other Blog of Phileas Fogg

  1. It isn’t as if anyone would want to eat the results of pigeon shooting, after all…

    Pigeon soup isn’t bad. Although I’m not sure much of the pigeon is left after it’s been shot for no good reason. I’ve only had it once mind you and it was a combo pigeon/sparrow/dove.

    @Oneiros it’s really not as scary as the media makes it out to be. Most people aren’t running around with guns. They just make good news stories.

  2. @Aaron: “On a completely non-gender related note, I point out the difficulties I have seen many non-native English speakers seem to experience when trying to figure out when to use the gerund form of verbs in English.”

    …which, naturally, reminds me of Mission: Earth‘s use of [obscene gerund]. One of the few things I remember from that series…

  3. @Tasha Turner

    Healthy pigeons taste lovely. London pigeons would probably be poisonous, or at least not very good eating. After you’ve seen them eating cigarettes the urge to eat them disappears. 🙂

  4. Doctor Science on October 2, 2015 at 5:41 pm said:

    BTW, I created an image of Kyra’s dice (artist’s impression, based on her description). What do you-all think?

    They are very nice dice but I heard…well I heard from an filer in a tavern not far from here, that there was a legend, a legend too terrible to relate, but which tells of a set of dice forged in the sulfurous pits from the bones of the ancient greats of science fiction and each one bathed in the tears of fans until their mottled surface becomes inured of all pain – and on each face in blood soaked letters is inscribed the word ‘evil’. So they might be like that. 🙂

  5. @guthrie: (2001, novel v. film)

    My recollection is that Clarke, at least, considered both works to be one collaborative effort, to the degree that “book by Clarke and Kubrick” and “film by Kubrick and Clarke” credits were considered. One dead giveaway that the book was not written later is the setting. The book uses Saturn, and the film intended to, but switched to Jupiter for practical reasons (effects shots). Note that the novel of 2010 switched to Jupiter to match the movie; if the 2001 book had been written after the fact, I have no doubt Clarke would have made the same change there, too.

  6. @Camestros Felapton: Hahaha, great summary; so I believe we continue with: USA = Dystopian (tongue-in-cheek; I’m from the USA).

    @Doctor Science: I don’t see the dripping blood and fangs on those dice you rendered. Are you sure they’re the EEEEEEVIL dice?! Camestros Felapton’s version seems a bit more evil, if lacking in numbers. But then, I could totally see Kyra rolling dice without numbers, and just picking some combination to vex us all! 😉

    I look forward to the current bracket results, but I can’t vote here; too much I haven’t read, and Kyra[‘s dice] nicely didn’t pit my two remaining books against each other.

    ETA: @Chris Nelson (?) – thanks so much for the Huskies Live link – AAAAWWWWWWWW! 😀 I’m a sap. I’m bookmarking it.

  7. TAKE A STRESS PILL, AND THINK THINGS OVER.

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    2. Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    1. The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey

    I’m just finishing up my reading from the fantasy brackets, but it looks like Leviathan Wakes might be the next book from here.

  8. Kendall on October 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm said:
    Camestros Felapton’s version seems a bit more evil, if lacking in numbers.

    The numbers whisper to you slowly like a nagging feeling of regret that you cannot shake…

  9. @CF: LOL– er, (shudder). Okay, those definitely are Kyra’s dice. I’m backing out of the room, into the darkened room behind me, convinced that must be safer….

  10. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART FIVE:
    LOOK, DAVE, I CAN SEE YOU’RE REALLY UPSET ABOUT THIS BRACKET. I HONESTLY THINK YOU OUGHT TO SIT DOWN CALMLY, TAKE A STRESS PILL, AND THINK THINGS OVER.

    1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein

    Am I the only person who doesn’t like Anathem?

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    Sorry, Octavia.

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    1. Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    3. The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    2. Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    Difficult, cause these are all so very good.

  11. Catching up on a couple of topics…

    Breq, gender recognition, and 92%:

    My immediate reaction to that figure was, “yeah, but machines cheat!” I’ve been doing some reading lately on facial feminization surgeries, and what I’ve found is that there are a lot of visual cues that us meatbags don’t consciously identify but nonetheless see and evaluate, while software can quantify them with high confidence and relative ease. It’s just a matter of recognizing key features and measuring certain ratios, and computers are very good at the latter. The shift from ship to meat is going to completely strip Breq of any gender-identification routines the ship may have had, leaving her rudderless in a confusing sea of ambiguity, and I think the prose captured that very well.

    Guns and open carry:

    When I see someone carrying a firearm, I assume that it is loaded and they are prepared to use it. When I cannot identify the person as someone I know to have good judgment, or as member of a group that generally has such (ie. police, veteran), I assume further that the person is an active danger and is not just prepared, but eager, to use it. I then get the hell away. In short, I assume that anyone carrying a gun is doing so for a reason, and that if the reason is not obviously to protect, it is probably to to do harm.

    Am I being overly cautious, perhaps paranoid? It’s possible… but I am unwilling to take the risk of being wrong about life-threatening circumstances. If I flee a harmless person, I may be embarrassed, but I’m alive. If I fail to flee a dangerous person, I may die. I damn well know which option I prefer. It’s basic matrix-based risk assessment.

  12. “I came here to buy something,” I said, determined to keep from staring at the gun she held. “Seivarden is incidental.” In order to make this identification I had use Seivarden’s name – facial recognition required it, and no one I’d ever met had hesitated or guessed wrong, but I still hadn’t learned the trick of it. The eyes were roughly the same same distance apart, and the nose and cheekbones had a similar shape. I struggled to measure the contours of the face’s eye sockets, but was unable to improve accuracy by turning the lines, patterns, and spots apparent on the skin into a mathematical, measurable space.

  13. Unreated to anything specific (and hopefully Mike won’t mind me linking to this): Barnes & Noble in the USA has an online sale on some F/SF hardbacks – buy one, get one half off (list). I believe the “buy one” part is their discounted online price (seems to be around 25-40%, but usually 30ish%, off). So, one book for 30ish% off and a second for 50% off – nice, IMHO, and I see some of my “maybe-probably-buy” books listed! BTW, I have no connection to B&N; I just found out about it from Orbit’s newsletter, and figured maybe some USA-based Filers might be interested. It’s through the 6th, or while supplies last (?!).

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/buy-one-get-one-50-off-science-fiction-fantasy-hardcovers/_/N-2g1y
    (click “See All” to see a paged listing of all 156 books on offer – sorry, more than 156; that’s just the SF list)

    Anyway, I’ll be reading samples of Aurora, Seveneves, The Fall, The Fold, and Zero World this weekend to see whether I want to get any of them. The first two have seen a lot of praise; a blogger I read rec’d Zero World; I forget if I’ve read much about the other two, but I’ve been interested in them for a while. Any comments about The Fall and/or The Fold, or dire warnings to steer clear of any of these five? 😉

    Luna: New Moon is one of the sale books, but the sample didn’t grab me (though a reviewer I trust rec’d it, so it’s still under consideration).

    ETA: I goofed and only looked at the SF list…whoops, I think I see some fantasy titles on my list as well…. 😉 D’oh!

  14. @Doctor Science: (Kyra’s dice)

    I was expecting more tiny red horns and pitchforks, or at least fangs.

    @Kyra: (same, with CoC memories)

    Mostly unrelated, but Friday was a big Death and Food and Games day for me. I got three Kickstarter deliveries all at once. One is the “Fish Cook” app, about cooking seafood dishes in a contest. The second was the Superdeluxe Edition of “Lord of the Fries,” the classic card game of zombie waitstaff. Not only does the core box include two decks/menus (and a build recipe for a third), but I picked up all four other decks and a copy of “Dead Money” (poker-playing zombie waitstaff in the Old West) as part of the pledge. Finally, what really pulls the theme together is the “Kobolds Ate My Baby!” supplement: “Even More Things to Kill and Eat.”

    I got some other game-related stuff as well, but that’s work related, so it doesn’t count. 🙂 I’m still watching for more news on CoC7’s progress, though.

  15. Fantasy novels in B&N’s sale that I may get: Uprooted, Sorcerer to the Crown, and The House of Shattered Wings. All have gotten solid praise; de Bodard’s book is certain (already read the sample & know I want it!). I was all but sold on Uprooted based on Cheryl Morgan’s review, although Pat from Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist trashed it (LOL, for once he didn’t praise or trash a book and still give it a 6 or 7!).

    I’m not listing books I may buy as ebooks, but there are, of course, other books B&N has on sale that one day I’ll probably buy. Clearly, I need a job reading, instead of this stupid programming crud. 😉

    But if anyone has dire warnings about any of these 3 fantasy novels, I’m all ears. (I’ve read enough good stuff about them that they’re pretty solidly “must…buy…”, heh.)

    (Sorry to ramble. But it’s about books!)

  16. Okay, now that I’ve caught up in this thread and abandoned hope on the others, time for a dice story.

    In a rather popular card game, there is one card which has effects that change according to a die roll – but it explicitly says you can use ANY die. A few of us got together, for online values of togetherness, and thought it would be neat to create a custom die with six sides to have on hand when that card came up. Since the card’s best effect was granted by rolling a 1, we thought this would look boring, and I helped create some more interesting expressions to go on the faces.

    Layout: 1, one pip, π raised to the power of 0, 3! divided by 6, ln(e), and i raised to the power of 4. The layout doesn’t really matter, but I do recall that the pip is opposit the 1.

    Some time later, the card game went through a rules revision, and the best result became “6 or larger,” so we redesigned the die…

    New layout: seven pips, log-2 (256), floor of π squared, 9.9 repeating, the cube root of 1331, and the integral from -3! to 3! of dx. Laid out in the usual style, of course, with seven opposite twelve and so forth.

    I finally got to show both versions to the game’s designer in late June. He was quite amused. 🙂

    [For those who are not math geeks: “floor” as a function means “chop off the fraction,” and the integral from x to y of the “dx” function is equal to y – x. “3!” means the factorial of 3, which is 3 * 2 * 1, or 6. I think that covers most of the “huh?” expressions.]

  17. Regarding gun control.

    In sweden, it is not very common to have guns. If you want to own your own gun you need a reason. You are a collector, you practice for sport, you are a hunter and so on. You need to have a weapon cabinet at home that can be locked and not easy to break in to. This is where your weapon should be at all times when you aren’t expected to use it.

    You only get a permit for the kind o weapon you are expected to use. I.e, a hunter gets a permit for rifles, not for handguns. People shooting for sports typically don’t have their own handgun at home, they are stored at the club who can have its own license.

    Sweden is a country that has roughly 3% of the population of us. We should around 3% of all school shootings in US. Around 3% of all mass shootings. That would be 10 mass shootings this year. Perhaps one school shooting.

    We have had one school shooting in sweden. In 1961. We had 30 shootings in total for the whole country last year. None of them a mass shooting. And that is the usual.

    So yep, gun control is good. And even better is not to have the US culture of guns. And thats all I have to say about it.

  18. The index tag at the top is not up to date and it’s hard to search for this stuff! 😀

    1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Because it’s got the oddest take on this one I’ve seen in a while: Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    That whole hive mind thing takes you a long way: Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    ARGHdammitabstain

  19. People shooting for sports typically don’t have their own handgun at home, they are stored at the club who can have its own license.

    Ironically, that’s not something we do in Ireland because of worries over gun crime. Land’s not cheap here; so shooting ranges are way out in the countryside. Looks great by day, if a pain to get to. But by night, it looks far from any garda station and unmonitored by night, so sticking fifty to a hundred pistols in one safe in one place miles from the nearest gardai and quite probably miles from anyone’s home so that absolutely nobody is nearby… that’s a recipe for someone to rock up in a JCB digger, smash through the wall and drag the safe away to crack open at their leisure and then sell on the pistols (worth about 3,000 euro each) to local drug dealers for a few hundred quid each.

  20. It isn’t as if anyone would want to eat the results of pigeon shooting, after all…

    Very wrong. Farmers aside, why else would you shoot them? Hell, there’s a very popular series of books and TV shows in the UK based on the idea of shooting them (and everything else) and eating them – River Cottage

  21. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART FIVE:

    1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey

    BTW – For the UK people – Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton is 99p at the moment on Amazon Kindle. Much easier to read than the 1200 page hardcover!

  22. @Tasha

    Poor people doing crime is much easier to see than rich people doing crime. Poor people doing crime are more likely to go to jail leaving spouse & kids to make it on less which leads to the next generation doing crime. So for me each time you describe “how bad the neighborhood was” I see how we as Americans have failed.

    Problems boil down to lack of leadership and inequality. That’s a whole other conversation and rabbit hole we can charge down later, but to make matters succinct, I basically agree with you.

    As for guns, I don’t carry one daily and my current position doesn’t require one. My spouse does, but her second job is training women on how to defend themselves. I view firearms as a tool that I don’t want to use, just like my first responder/military training and other obscure bits of knowledge.

    As for immigrants, I’m mostly live and let live. We do have some related issues in the area, stressed out social services, educational funding, cultural clashes and some crime. The most of major crime isn’t related outside of a percentage of drug trafficking and a few violent instances. (One horrific honor killing of two girls…)

    The majority of the meth dealer/user traffic, when the neighborhood was worse, was Caucasian native born. As much as television fans like “Breaking Bad”, we won’t watch it, we know too many people affected by meth, in our area and in both our families.

    As for how other counties and areas handle violence and guns, we are probably a few generations or more away from a better solution. There’s cultural issues, too many weapons and a fragile society in many places that’s a large disaster from riots and looting.

    We are involved with our neighbors, our city and our county. Can’t speak much for my state or nation, too much money has twisted government and society on those levels.

  23. I… I thought I’d have more time to prepare myself for this. To screw my courage to the sticking point. To unearth my copy of Fledgling, and refresh my memory. But no, it is suddenly upon me and I am not ready… Yet vote I must.

    2. Fledgling, Octavia Butler

  24. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART FIVE:

    1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

  25. I made a mistake last night (tired I guess) and voted for Anathem and Ancillary Justice… both very good books, but I haven’t read either of their bracket opponents. If it isn’t too much trouble I’d like to withdraw my votes. Sorry.

  26. StephenFromOttawa: I made a mistake last night (tired I guess) and voted for Anathem and Ancillary Justice… both very good books, but I haven’t read either of their bracket opponents. If it isn’t too much trouble I’d like to withdraw my votes. Sorry.

    If you feel passionately about those books, you’re allowed to vote for them even if you haven’t read their opponents. 🙂

  27. Allowed, but not required to. Some does and some don’ts.

    I do not make windows into voter’s souls.

  28. 1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    1. Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    2. Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

  29. 1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

  30. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART FIVE:
    LOOK, DAVE, I CAN SEE YOU’RE REALLY UPSET ABOUT THIS BRACKET. I HONESTLY THINK YOU OUGHT TO SIT DOWN CALMLY, TAKE A STRESS PILL, AND THINK THINGS OVER.

    1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    Have not read any of these, I fear. What is this Girl with ….? it clearly has a lot of support. I looked at a copy in my local bookshop, but the blurb on the back tells you only the protagonist’s initial situation, which doesn’t really explain what the book is about.

  31. @Andrew M.: To a first approximation, The Girl with All the Gifts is a zombie-apocalypse novel. So not my thing, as a rule, but Carey makes it work.

    To Whom It May Concern: In F770 brackets, I am one of those who will happily vote my passions even if I haven’t read their opponent of the moment. I wouldn’t do that for the Hugo finals, but IMHO this ain’t the Hugos. It’s a fun, silly way to arrive at a localized favorite-books list that might well change substantially if we re-ran the voting when people were in slightly different moods and stages of reflection.

    Separately: People’s triggers are people’s triggers, and I respect that. But if anyone is under the impression that Breaking Bad is pro-meth or even blithe about it, no. It’s not.

  32. On Scientific American, Ed Regis, in his excerpt from a book on “pathological technologies” is not thrilled by the idea of a manned voyage to the stars. He doesn’t seem that much more thrilled by man in Earth orbit, either.

  33. @JimHenley

    I got Slow Bullets as an ebook for Kindle, since it’s new and short and sounded interesting. Having just finished it, I can say without hesitation that it is an ebook for Kindle by Alastair Reynolds.

    I agree wholehearted with your review. I think you hit all the high points of the story very well.

  34. @Mark Dennehy

    As I said to Tasha, the problem isn’t with nice, healthy pigeons that you want to shoot and eat. The problem is that London pigeons are diseased, mangy looking feathered rats that are about as appetising as eating rubbish on the street. Because that’s what they eat, up to and including discarded cigarettes. Country pigeon shooting = A+, pass me the gravy and game chips, London pigeon shooting = ew gross are you try to poison us all?

    (Although I have nothing but the greatest of respect for their smarts. I’ve seen them pretend to be injured to get extra bread and use anti-pigeon spikes as scaffolding for nests.)

  35. 1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein
    Futile anti-Stephenson protest vote

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    3. Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    2. The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    1. Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    I enjoyed the Carey, was impressed that genocide was the logical answer, but somewhat squicked by it.

  36. Thanks ULTRAGOTHA… I had already downloaded a Kindle copy, but haven’t read it yet.

  37. London pigeon shooting = ew gross are you try to poison us all?

    Ah, only London pigeons. Well, yeah, they’re a bit like avian clams in that regard. But without enough sparrowhawks…

  38. @Andrew M: If you’re willing to take a chance, IMHO the less you know, the better (but I get frustrated when people tell me that…). It’s easy enough to Google and find out more, honestly. Or you could do like me and read a decent online or iBooks/Kindle/etc. sample, get roped in, and buy it from that.

  39. Andrew M, you really don’t want to go into The Girl With All the Gifts knowing anything more than the basic frame setting, which is that this story is set post-zombie apocalypse. Really, avoid spoilers. (I didn’t even know that much; I picked it up based on the high opinion people here expressed for it. But zombie-apocalypse is fairly obvious from early in the book, so that, at least, isn’t much of a spoiler.)

  40. 1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    1 Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    3 The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    2 Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

  41. Jim Henley: If I haven’t read one of the books, or if I feel ambivalent about which to choose, I always vote for God Stalk.

  42. 1. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein

    Kirstein

    2. AN UNCOMMON PROTAGONIST
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    Leckie

    3. FUNGUS, BIOWEAPON, OR PROTOMOLECULE
    1 Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold
    2 The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    3 Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

  43. Forehead Cloths! Getcher penultimate Bracket Forehead Cloths here! Remember, with every gross, you get FREE a cast-plastic model steamroller about to SMASH INTO SMITHEREENS a model of one of Kyra’s Evil Dice! Collect the whole set! Trade with your friends! Taunt your enemies!

  44. Meredith – re. pigeons, I went to school in central Edinburgh, and recall the pigeons as usually having one leg and looking horrendously ill in various ways. But that was more than 20 years ago.
    Now the pigeons in central Edinburgh usually have both feet and don’t look half so ill and dangerous. I suspect reductions in pollution of all sorts, and perhaps some interbreeding with escaped racing pigeons, has meant they are better off now than then. Perhaps there is also more food, what with the increasing numbers of tourists around for longer.

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