Pixel Scroll 10/3/16 Con-Ticky

(1) HOOKED. When the Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac leads with a title like this, it’s hard to resist ordering a copy whatever you may think about Harry Potter —

Excerpt: Characters Are Not A Coloring Book Or, Why the Black Hermione is a Poor Apology for the Ingrained Racism of Harry Potter

…I have felt as possessive about the Harry Potter canon as anyone I’ve ever met, so once again, when people are talking about Noma Dumezweni being cast as the adult Hermione, and the possibility that Hermione may not have been white in the first place, I can feel my (non-existent) entitlement begin to tickle. I have always been Hermione among my friends; it’s the rare character in which I saw myself reflected, validated in fiction; the character whose triumphs and losses were my own—surely no one else can have the last word on whether a black Hermione “feels right”? If it doesn’t feel right to me, there’s no way that can be retconned into the canon. That’s violating my childhood. I won’t have it.

Except that I was never a white girl myself. Through all my childhood years of hardcore Pottermania, I was a brown girl growing up in Calcutta, India.

(2) BIG-FOOTIN’ THE BIG-FOOTERS. The Washington Post’s Anna Fifield looks at the success of Godzilla Resurgence, which is the highest-grossing live-action film in Japan this year in part because Godzilla is now a symbol of a resurgent Japan that won’t take orders from America or anyone else anymore.

Now, in the wake of the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the theme takes on a different meaning. It is impossible to watch the flummoxed bureaucrats, the scenes of the boats being washed ashore and the fears of radiation without thinking of the tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of Japan five years ago.

When the United States suggests a nuclear strike on the monster, people object, saying that ­Tokyo will become a “zone that is difficult to return to” — using the same phrase applied to the area around Fukushima.

Kenji Tamaki, a journalist for the Mainichi newspaper, wrote that the film portrayed “the deep anxieties” of modern Japan and parodied a political elite in crisis.

“Interminable meetings, bureaucrats’ reports read in somnolent monotones, an emergency that just seems to go on and on and on,” he wrote in the left-leaning paper. “Echoes of real-life Japan circa spring 2011, when the government descended into chaos in the face of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.”

But the film also portrays a militarily stronger, more confident Japan. The prime minister, putting down the phone after speaking to the American president, mutters about how the United States is always giving orders.

(3) GLEICK BOOK REVIEWED. Thomas Levensen tells Boston Globe readers how “James Gleick looks at history, physics of time travel”. (Beware, this may disappear behind a paywall at some point).

In “Time Travel,’’ James Gleick has done a wonderful thing. The book delivers on the promise of its title: It dives deep into the science, the philosophy, and the imaginative writings that have explored whether human beings could journey into the future or the past — and what complications would follow if we could.

But this book shouldn’t be mistaken for a work of popular science; this is no “The Physics of Doctor Who.’’ Time-travel enthusiasts will certainly get the history, the basic physics, and a useful tour of the classic paradoxes of time travel and its implications. But the book pursues much greater ambitions as well.

Gleick — a preeminent science author and journalist for over four decades — has long explored some of this territory. Beginning with “Chaos,’’ published in 1987, and through six subsequent books, he’s played with heady ideas about determinism and free will, the pace of time, the physics of time, and more. Now in “Time Travel’’ those themes come to center stage as Gleick asks why, over the long century just past, we have so passionately pursued the idea of an escape from the relentless grip of time.

(4) FROM THE VAULT. Echo Ishii brings to light another ancient sf television series: “SF Obscure: Moonbase 3”.

I haven’t abandoned SF Obscure. In fact, good things may be on the horizon.

But a short note about two shows set on space stations Moonbase 3 and Space Island One.

Normally, when I consider shows set on space stations I immediately think of my two favorites Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. Drama. Humans. Aliens. Interstellar Wars. It’s space opera and the closest I am likely to come to a soap opera. And the relationships: Worf /Jadzia; Sisko/Yates;Kira/Odo. And the epic Babylon 5 romance of Sheridan and Delen.

Moonbase 3  has no alien romance, I’m afraid, but lots of interesting science. This series was produced in 1973 by the BBC. The main reason I heard about it was because of the theme song by Dudley Simpson who also wrote the theme for Blake’s 7. It only lasted for six episodes-there wasn’t much  interest-but it’s good in the sense of looking back at how 1973 saw the future of space exploration….

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • October 3, 1955  — The children’s TV show Captain Kangaroo with Bob Keeshan in the title role was broadcast for the first time.

(6) WAR AND PEACE. Thanks to Kevin Standlee for pointing out that the WSFS Rules page (Constitution, Standing Rules, Ruling & Resolutions of Continuing Effect, Business Passed On to next year’s Worldcon, and the 145 page Minutes of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting) are now online at the WSFS web site.

(7) NPR ON UPCOMING YA FANTASY. Caitlyn Paxson makes three recommendations, all with strong female leads:

The three books that caught my fancy this month look wildly different on the surface. Traci Chee’s The Reader follows multiple characters through a fantasy world where pirates sail the waves and a secret society seeks to hoard the written word. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova draws inspiration from Latin American cultures to offer up modern teen witches on a journey through the spirit realm, and Sarah Glenn Marsh’s novel Fear the Drowning Deep paints a portrait of a little fishing village in 1913, where people are disappearing and creatures out of Manx folklore may be to blame. They have different cultural influences and different types of narrative – so imagine my surprise when I began to feel like these three books were circling in the same orbit.

(8) DON’T MISS ‘EM. Lady Business recommends “60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads”.

Science fiction and fantasy are booming across multiple types of media these days: television, superhero films with strong SFF elements, and gaming are all enjoying a solid boost from science fiction and fantasy concepts. But what types of stories led us to this excellent time to be a SFF fan? What books inspired and entertained us until we reached this moment? Here are 60 of some important and thought-providing texts from science fiction and fantasy’s long history.

These are books which many people loved, that created new fans, entertained old ones, or renewed someone’s love of genre. Perhaps they even led some of the authors we love today to write in the very genre that we all enjoy so we can keep moving forward. Check them out below; how many have you read? 😀

Note: all blurbs come from Goodreads!

(9) LESS THAN 1984 STEPS. What does it take to make an Orwellian cup of tea? Read on: “George Orwell’s 11 Tips for Proper Tea Making” at Mental Floss.

FIRSTLY

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays—it is economical, and one can drink it without milk—but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea….

LASTLY (SADLY NOT ELEVENTHLY)

Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

(10) PARTS UNKNOWN. Wil Wheaton knows the best tourist places.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Kevin Standlee, Rose Embolism, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

137 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/3/16 Con-Ticky

  1. Kyra – I preferred The Brides Of Rollrock Island to Tender Morsels, but TM was a Printz Honor book, so I understand why it’s the one on the list.

    As for the rest of the list…whenever I see lists like this one, I feel like I’ve read the wrong books by authors, because the ones I’ve read are rarely the ones listed. Oh, well. Time to add to the to-read list.

  2. You knew tea was going to bring me out, right?

    Orwell’s “proper” tea is a very English style of brewing, and he’s assuming a particular blend of black tea and though he doesn’t specify brewing time, if you’ve got loose leaves in the bottom of your pot and no way to pull them out (no bag, no infuser), that tea is going to steep for quite a while. That’s a style where “super strong so it stands up to some milk” is entirely appropriate, and he is, here, discounting the amount of sweetening/unbittering work the milk is doing. Really, what he means here but does not say (he perhaps assumes his readers are working from the same set of cultural assumptions) is that this is the proper way to brew an English style cup of tea. The idea of iced tea–sweet or unsweet–may or may not have been known to him but it was well outside the confines of what he’s talking about here as it is not English and certainly not “proper” the way he means.

    I like a nice English style pot of tea now and again, and I agree if you’re going to drink English style there’s no call for sugar. I also enjoy the occasional East Frisian style (thank you, cora!), which is similar in a lot of ways but does call for a bit of sugar, and it’s the only time I ever enjoy sugar in tea. All the sweet tea lovers in the South can have my share, I don’t want it.

    I find, btw, that a lot of stuff in the US that’s labelled “English Breakfast” won’t hold up to milk the way a bag of PG Tips would, and I suspect the folks selling it are blending it for American styles of tea drinking, which rarely include milk.

    On green tea–no milk or sugar, no. If you’ve tried it and found it unpalatably bitter (as opposed to the mild and pleasantly bitter that I suspect Orwell means here and that may be an acquired taste) try a very short brewing time–use a timer. 1 minute. That’s it. Maybe even only 30 seconds. And/or try brewing at a lower temperature, either picking the kettle up just before it comes to a full boil (if you make tea a lot, you know that series of changes in the sound the water makes as it goes along fairly well already), or going all geeky and using a food thermometer to check when it’s about 175F. A good green tea is lovely. A substandard and/or iffily brewed green tea is not. IME most of the tea bags in the grocery store labeled “green tea” and even “sencha” are…not lovely.

    Oh, and yes, there are places where fish sauce is a perfectly acceptable addition to tea. I have not yet tried drinking it Presger style, though.

    There are quite a few different ways to brew tea, and different pieces of equipment to do it with, which was kind of surprising to me when I realized it. But basically there’s no one right way to do it–there are conventional ways to use particular vessels or treat particular teas, and past that if you’re enjoying drinking it, you made it right. If you’re not enjoying drinking it, well, you can play with types of leaves and water temps and styles of brewing–rinse your leaves and then a longer steep? Pack lots of leaves into a gaiwan and do a bunch of very short steeps with a small amount of water? Throw some leaves in the bottom of a big mug and just keep adding water as you drink all day? Whatever. It’s all good.

    Oh, and I have badly wanted to try tea leaf salad for some time.

  3. I’ve only read about 10 of the books in (8), mainly older ones. Lots of things to check out.

  4. (8) I’ve read about 40 of those books (there’s one more that I think I own and haven’t read, and I also stalled out on the Aguirre). Most of them I thought were brilliant, so I will be looking up the ones I haven’t read.

  5. The British Army runs on tea to such an extent that all their armoured vehicles feature a “boiling vessel” so they can have a brew up on the go.

    NATO standard cup of tea == milk and two sugars.

  6. I have had tea leaf salad at a Burmese restaurant in Gaithersburg, MD (which is closed now) and it was delicious. However, fellow DMV Filers can try it at the Mandalay Restaurant in Silver Spring, though I haven’t been there yet.

    OpLadyBusiness: Only 10 or so. Would have liked to see Sheri S. Tepper, Patricia McKillip, and Lisa Goldstein, though.

  7. @Rob Thornton ooo thanks! The link says it’s unavailable, but according to another link a package of 2 *is* available. Shipping is not cheap, but I will be having some version of tea salad in the nearish future.

  8. Ann Leckie,

    Tea leaf salad?

    The tea plants that I put in the garden are currently blooming. Are the flowers edible? I have hesitated to clip any leaves while the plants are getting established.

  9. @Ann Leckie. Yeah, I realized that Tea Salad Kit was unavailable so I deleted it from my message, but here is a link that is available for the Filers.

  10. (8) By my quick count, I’ve read 12, six more on Mount TBR. Then there’s another dozen ( plus three TBR) authors where I’ve read other books than the one listed. Not sure how to count the Tiptree, though; certainly read a numberof the stories, but probably under half.

  11. @Ann Leckie– Interesting. One of the things I like about “English Breakfast Tea” is that it has,a bit of a bite but doesn’t need milk. Hmm.

  12. Found the older comments about tea leaf salad just too late to edit my prior comment.

    And google tells me the flowers can be cooked in tempura batter. Still not sure about eating them raw.

  13. @Ann Leckie
    You’re welcome. And yes, East Friesian style the needs sugar and milk.

    @kathodus and others
    I enjoyed Grimspace a whole lot, enough to read the rest of the series. The beginning is a bit rough, since a lot of things happen and you’re not entirely sure why you’re supposed to care for any of this (plus, every visit to Lachion a.k.a. the planet of the Delany references who behave like jerks drags the series down), but it gets a lot better. The series falters a bit later on, from about halfway through book 4 on, because Ann Aguirre finds ever more contrived ideas to keep Jax and March artificially apart, plus I don’t like March all that much. Vel is much better as a romance prospect. Ann Aguirre’s Dredd Chronicles series is excellent as well and I also like her forays into urban fantasy, paranormal romance (as Ava Gray) and post-apocalyptic SF (together with Carrie Lofty as Ellen Connor). I haven’t read her YA yet, because I often find that when I enjoyed an author’s adult books, their YA often seemed neutered, as if they’re holding back for fear of offending someone. No idea, if this is the case with Ann Aguirre, but it’s a common enough phenomenon that I’m careful with YA written by authors who otherwise write adult SFF.

  14. I’ll have to double check when I watch it at home, but I think the film version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children features an offense against tea — there’s one point where the girl with fire power is helping to brew tea, and it certainly seems like she’s applying heat directly to a kettle that contains both water and tea leaves. Which I always thought was a no-no?

  15. I have read a few of the books on the list:
    God’s War – I gave up on about page 50 because I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
    The Killing Moon – 10,000 Kingdoms remains my favorite Jesimin
    Ancillary Justice/ Dispossed/ Snow Queen/ Her Smoke Rose up Forever/ Handmaids Tale – Really, no comment needed, undoubted classics
    Primary Inversion – What Kyra said
    To Say Nothing of The Dog – I have a weakness for humor, love this book
    The Steerswoman – This is fantastic. The Steerswomen embody the spirit of scientific inquiry better than any other characters I’ve read.
    Old Man’s War – The characters didn’t work for me, we are told they are 60+ but they talk and act like twenty year olds.
    The Cloud Roads – Very imaginative
    Ancillary Justice –
    Dreamsnake – I read an excerpt from this book in school many, many years ago. One of the few things from that time I still remember vividly. Finally read the whole book a couple of years ago and the whole thing is just unforgettable.

  16. 8) I’ve read 27 of the 60, plus four more that were DNFs. I too would have liked to see something by McKillip, Tepper and Goldstein, along with Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Elizabeth Hand, but I guess any list has to stop somewhere.

    At home I most often drink coffee, but I like bad tea better than bad coffee, so I’ve consumed a lot of Lipton in restaurants over the years, no milk, sugar or lemon. When I brew tea, I have a single use ceramic pot with a removable tea strainer and some decent but not amazing loose leaf teas.

    Tea salad sounds intriguing.

  17. and it certainly seems like she’s applying heat directly to a kettle that contains both water and tea leaves. Which I always thought was a no-no?

    That’s how I make my tea, it comes out much stronger than if you add hot water to the tea leaves. Also helpful if you like your tea super hot, since the water cools quite a bit while you are steeping the tea.

  18. @cora plus I don’t like March all that much. Vel is much better as a romance prospect.

    Totally agree about March. Don’t think I got to Vel, but I was kind of hoping for Dina for a little while.

    Thanks for the steer on her other work, too – maybe I’ll try some of the paranormal romance and see if that works better for me..

  19. JJ: I’ve asked Mike to include the link to it on the permapage at the 2016 Recommended SF/F Page link up on the main blog header.

    Just added it.

  20. Xtifr: I expect you also know about John W. Campbell’s Unknown, which published a number of stories involving some formulation of “the mathematics of magic,” like Fritz Leiber’s “Conjure Wife,” DeCamp and Pratt’s Harold Shea stories. What distinctions do you have in mind that make the Lord Darcy stories the better candidates for being the first to introduce those tropes?

  21. Brief remarks on the individual books on the list:

    Grimspace – stalled out

    Primary Inversion – liked it, didn’t love it, but enough to read more by Asaro.

    Handmaid’s Tale – haven’t read but “know” gist by osmosis

    Range of Ghosts – liked a lot

    Flesh and Spirit – liked a lot

    Cordelia’s Honor – love Bujold.

    War for the Oaks – liked a lot. Invented a lot of what are now clichés. (I like her Bone Dance better).

    Synners – definitely essential, ahead of the pack.

    Foreigner – love this series, though other Cherryh possibly better.

    Jonathan Strange – something special- still saving up my first reread for a special occasion.

    Tam Lin – a real classic.

    King’s Dragon – great series, Elliott is even better in her recent work IMO but this is perhaps more “classic”.

    Black Sun Rising – liked it OK.

    Slow River – really really good. Have reread it quite a few times.

    Dragonsbane – love Hambly and this is a good one.

    Assassin’s Apprentice – liked it a lot, also it’s deceptively original.

    God Stalker Chronicles – great series.

    Valor’s Choice – lots of fun. Huff is the sort of skilled writer that makes it look effortless.

    The Killing Moon – liked it OK but prefer her other work.

    Howl’s Moving Castle – liked it a lot.

    Daggerspell – these books are some of my all time favourites. Have reread often – the strength of this initial volume becomes more apparent as the rest of the story develops.

    The Steerswoman. A brilliant series. Buy. Read. Join the rest of us in frustrated waiting.

    Beggars in Spain. Liked this a lot.

    Deryni Rising. I don’t love this as much as I did once but certainly seminal. The reread by Judith Tarr on Tor.com is great.

    The Dispossessed. A true classic. Loved it.

    Ancillary Justice. Really great.

    Dragonsong. Liked it a lot. Haven’t checked to see if the suck fairy got at it.

    Rosemary and Rue. Really like this series despite low tolerance for Sidhe and stories based on Irish (Scottish) mythology.

    Dreamsnake. Another genuine classic.

    The Thief’s Gamble. Really good series. Solid thorough background behind novel magic concepts and a lively story.

    Sunshine. Liked it a lot despite not liking (spoiler) novels.

    His Majesty’s Dragon – lots of fun, but I didn’t stick with the series.

    The Female Man. Read it, especially if you think you don’t need to.

    Old Man’s War – it was fine, didn’t blow me away or anything.

    The Grass King’s Concubine. Interesting but didn’t quite do it for me.

    (Note: I have not read the Raven Boys, but am highly amused by a character called Gansey. For US readers, imagine one of the characters is a boy called Sweater.)

    City of Pearl. This was good. I haven’t reread it for some reason. Must look it out and see if I want to get the sequel.

    (Tiptree, I have read a lot of her short stories but perhaps not all of these particular ones.)

    The Snow Queen. Big stonking melodramatic story, no surprise it won the Hugo. I really liked it back in the day.

    Farthing. Ticks my boxes but perhaps not for everyone. Walton’s books have amazing variety so if you didn’t like this try something else of hers.

    The Cloud Roads. A good start to an excellent series. The Wheel of the Infinite is still my favourite Wells.

    To Say Nothing of the Dog. A lot of fun – creates narrative tension over what are really not high stakes. The things that Willis often does that make me roll my eyes are either hardly there in this one or actually contribute to it.

  22. Michael J. Walsh said:

    “Current reading: Too Many Magicians by Randall Garrett. I’m…bemused? that this made the best novel Hugo shortlist.”

    Read it when it was serialized in Analog just over 50 years ago. My recollection of it was of it being an interesting locked room murder.

    I read it a couple times as a kid (along with the rest of the Lord Darcy stories) and got much the same thing out of it. The second time, I’d had some experience with the SCA, and that helped it resonate with me.

    It was a couple years later that I realized who Master Sir James Zwinge was.

    Xtifr said:

    Garrett basically created the genre of the fantasy detective.

    For a value of “created” which includes “filed the serial numbers off of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson”. 🙂 But yeah, I think I got much more out of the stories as mysteries than fantasies.

    I’m trying to think of modern equivalents to the Lord Darcy stories and failing. All the fantasies I’ve read with any kind of murder-mystery element lately have been more action-adventures than interested in sorting out the forensic details.

  23. (2) Mike Toole’s review is very much worth reading too.

    (8) Count me as another person who has read a lot of those authors, but not many of those specific books. I’m also trying to work out what John Scalzi is doing on an otherwise all-female list.

    Since no one’s said anything about Diving Into the Wreck yet, let me affirm that it is awesome, in multiple senses of the word, as are its sequels.

  24. (8) I know I’ve read 28 of them. There are others that tickle my memory but I’m not sure I read them. Others that I’ve read other things by that author but not these particular books, and sill others that had recently found my way into my TBR.

  25. MiceAge has a new Disneyland update that includes details about the new Guardians of the Galaxy makeover for the Tower of Terror, and some epic-sounding stuff about Star Wars Land that we may or may not eventually see.

    A couple of acronyms they don’t bother explaining there:

    TDA = Team Disney Anaheim (Disneyland’s management)
    WDI = Walt Disney Imagineering (the artists and engineers designing and implementing the rides)

  26. Thanks everyone who gave opinions on Too Many Magicians. I realize that I’ve never been much of a mystery novel person; I generally don’t try to figure out “whodunnit” and just want to be taken on a fun ride. (Also, if I’m reading about forensic investigation and CSI-type stuff it’s usually of the non-fiction variety.)

    (8) My total is approximately 13: 12 read, .5 of the Tiptree anthology to date, and wasn’t “Synners” a short work first? I swear I’ve read it but I don’t remember it being a novel. I’ve read both the novella and novel versions of “Beggars in Spain” and much preferred the former. A ton of the rest have gone on the TBR.

  27. Yay for the Thor Heyerdahl shout-out in the title! Heyerdahl was a guy with some very eccentric ideas about prehistory, and an adventurous way of pursuing them– a successful publicist and a damn fine writer. I have read Kon-Tiki many times, and some of his other books too.

  28. (10) Dinnie diss the King o’ the puddin’ race.

    The burrito wagon near the office does a haggis burrito, how’s that for fusion food?

  29. Best not to tell Wil Wheaton about the haggis burrito. Some people have very strict definitions on what constitutes a burrito.

    Didn’t Number Ten Ox tell us that we have no idea what tea is because the only stuff that makes it out of China is the floor sweepings?

  30. IanP said:

    The burrito wagon near the office does a haggis burrito, how’s that for fusion food?

    The food cart pod near my workplace includes a cart offering Scottish-style fish and chips. One of the fish options is mahimahi.

  31. 4) Loved Moonbase 3 in a somewhat qualified way: it was done in 1973 on a BBC budget, so the special effects didn’t extend much beyond “painting over the Fairy Liquid logo when making the rocketships”, but the basic idea was sound. It was, for the most part, a deliberately realistic series, with not a great deal of action, but a lot of emphasis on character – there was a lot of “cracking up under pressure in a confined environment” going on. This leads to some pretty good performances from the cast… and, to be fair, some pretty rancid ones, too.

    It comes across more as a fascinating oddity, now, but I think it’s still well worth a look. (Best episode, for me, was number 2, “Behemoth”, in which a scientist dies in mysterious circumstances, leaving behind him notes which seem to point to the possibility of life on the moon. It’s an intriguing idea, well developed over the course of the episode – and it doesn’t depart from strict scientific realism, either.)

    (Worst episode? The last one, with the Earth threatened by a piece of pure pulp-magazine bafflegab, and a truly bizarre performance by guest star Michael Gough, apparently playing Bertrand Russell on nitrous oxide. Never mind.)

  32. @Petréa Mitchell

    We’ll batter and deep fry anything. Haggis included.

    ETA wow, big suckers aren’t they?

  33. Petréa Mitchell: The food cart pod near my workplace includes a cart offering Scottish-style fish and chips. One of the fish options is mahimahi.

    From the Far East coast of Scotland?

  34. IanP said:

    We’ll batter and deep fry anything.

    So I hear. One of my regrets about my trip to the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow was that I never found an opportunity to try the deep-fried pizza.

  35. So there’s an essay circulating about “costuming” vs. “cosplay” and why the author is dead set on never using “cosplay”. Money quote:

    Do not expect a community that spent decades defining who they were to rename themselves on the whim of the newcomers—especially since that new word was an inaccurate descriptor of these very people, written by a man who does not costume, will not costume, and refused to use the correct translation of the word “masquerade” in favor of what he considered to be a more denigrating word.

    The author doesn’t appear to generally disapprove of younger fans, anime fandom, or anime, just the word “cosplay” itself.

  36. I see a definite distinction between “costuming” and “cosplay”. To me, “cosplay” involves a far deeper immersion in role-playing and acting than costuming. If one is costuming, one can break character; if one is cosplaying, not so much. ( A costumed dryad will talk about how they achieved the effect of bark; a cosplaying dryad will look at you blankly and tell you that she grew that way….) I hasten to add that these are my personal definitions and not official in any way, shape, or form.

  37. IanP on October 4, 2016 at 6:22 am said:
    The British Army runs on tea to such an extent that all their armoured vehicles feature a “boiling vessel” so they can have a brew up on the go.

    NATO standard cup of tea == milk and two sugars.

    So just like builders’ tea but in a big camouflage teapot?

    My folks drink gallons of tea in a Northern English style which involves steeping the tea for so long that the tannins grip your throat and you have palpitations after two mugs. No sugar, but softened with just a dash of milk (unpasteurised of course).

    In Turkey, tea is brewed using an elaborate two vessel method and is served in a tulip-shaped glass. It should be the colour of rabbit’s blood. Only barbarians add milk.

  38. Petréa Mitchell on October 4, 2016 at 9:33 am said:

    Xtifr said:

    Garrett basically created the genre of the fantasy detective.

    For a value of “created” which includes “filed the serial numbers off of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson”.

    Heh, more like “stuck a piece of tape across the name ‘Sherlock’ and wrote in ‘Darcy'”. Filing anything off would have required a lot more work. 🙂

    But Holmes wasn’t exactly a fantasy detective. So I think Garrett still gets credit, even with his barely-disguised Expy.

    It was a couple years later that I realized who Master Sir James Zwinge was.

    Yeah, in addition to numerous expies of famous fictional characters, the series was full of thinly disguised versions of real people–in many cases, people you would expect to meet at a Worldcon in the sixties. Which presumably helped the Worldcon members form a favorable impression of the series.

    Today, those references are a lot more obscure than they were back then.

  39. (Whoops, double-posting because I missed this comment the first time, and now the edit window is closed.)

    Mike Glyer on October 4, 2016 at 9:06 am said:

    Xtifr: I expect you also know about John W. Campbell’s Unknown, which published a number of stories involving some formulation of “the mathematics of magic,” like Fritz Leiber’s “Conjure Wife,” DeCamp and Pratt’s Harold Shea stories. What distinctions do you have in mind that make the Lord Darcy stories the better candidates for being the first to introduce those tropes?

    Oh I don’t. Garrett was merely among the first to use “Magic A is Magic A”. He was friends with Leiber and de Camp, and I’m sure he wouldn’t want to steal their thunder. But I’m fairly certain he was the first to use it specifically to combine fantasy with Fair-Play Whodunnit. (With the obvious exception that he violated rule 2, deliberately, to prove that rule 2 was unnecessary.)

    Heck, de Camp was one of the thinly-disguised characters in Too Many Magicians, so I’d say that Garrett was trying very hard to give credit where it was due.

  40. @ghost bird

    Totally agree about March. Don’t think I got to Vel, but I was kind of hoping for Dina for a little while.

    Thanks for the steer on her other work, too – maybe I’ll try some of the paranormal romance and see if that works better for me..

    Jax/Dina would have been an awesome pairing, but Dina finds a lover of her own in the second book. Vel shows up near the end of the first book and doesn’t seem like a likely romantic prospect at first. He grows a lot in the later books.

  41. rob_matic: In Turkey, tea is brewed using an elaborate two vessel method and is served in a tulip-shaped glass. It should be the colour of rabbit’s blood.

    About 25 years ago, I met two Egyptian guys while naively attempting to walk to the Sphinx from a hotel in Giza. This was before one worried about being dragged off and decapitated by ISIS, though I suppose I could have been mugged. Certainly my clothing screamed AMERICAN.

    Anyway, they proved to be friendly, and after they took me horse riding around the pyramids at sunset, we went to visit their grandfather who served tea in small glasses. As I recall, it was milkless, very strong, and very sweet. Since I didn’t really know how to say I’d had enough and didn’t want to offend when they offered me more, I drank many glasses. Didn’t get much sleep that night.

  42. Today’s read — Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia McKillip

    I’ve been reading Patricia McKillip for almost 40 years. Cracking open one of her books is always like getting tea with an old friend I haven’t seen for a while, and it’s always a pleasure. I could go on for quite a while along these lines, but I’ll spare you.

    That being said, her short stories, while still enjoyable, are not the works of hers I love the best. Many of the ones in this collection are impressionistic and elliptical, feeling more like the beginnings of longer tales than tales in and of themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but not my preference. So, no surprise, the stories that I liked best are the longer ones which went into more depth. “The Gorgon in the Cupboard” was excellent. And the book also contains a reprint of the classic “Something Rich and Strange” — a deservedly award-winning work with some of McKillip’s most vivid imagery, on a topic that is if anything even more relevant than when it was first written more than 20 years ago. I read it back when it came out, but it was nice to have an excuse to read it again.

    The rest of the stories weren’t as much to my taste. That will not, however, stop me from buying each and every McKillip when it comes out.

  43. 8): 38/15/7. (For ~8 of the 15 I’ve read multiple others, just not that one book.) I’ll have to look at some of these, but I’m also amused by the pick-something-by-every-female-author approach; I don’t see why anyone would hold up Deryni Rising as exemplary, even if it isn’t as church-sodden as the work after the first trilogy. Some of the choices are just strange; e.g., Novik has grown a lot since beginning Temeraire, and I wouldn’t point to Foreigner as any of the {best{written,contribution-to-genre},most{feminist,accessible}} Cherryh. (I see Kyra also remarked on this and several other choices.) They could have picked \something/ by MZBradley; maybe even the work that doesn’t reflect her real-world behavior is considered contaminated? (Rob Thornton notes other authors that I agree should displace some of this list.)

    @Dawn Incognito: I’m not much of a mystery fan either, but I thought Too Many Magicians was well-written and -plotted; the female characters may not please today’s readers, but they’re ahead of the period in which it’s set (~Mad Men era).

    @Xtifr: you were Garret’s page? Kewl! I’ve always wished I’d met him; contemporaries’ comments make him sound fascinating in person.

    @Kyra (re list): Bear improved massively over her first several books; it’s also possible that space-operatic SF isn’t her forte, so consider forgetting Dust and trying something later/fantasy. I too thought Rosemary and Rue was very weak; I restarted with #4 (Late Eclipses) after other good experiences and found they were a lot better. (But McGuire covers such a huge range; I’ve enjoyed most of the recent work except Newsflesh, which is her only work a friend likes.) The listmaker seems to be picking series beginners even when the series improved over time.

    also @Kyra: Urban Fantasy (before that meant “Usually Sex & Guns”), Huh? what UF pre-1987 are you thinking of? It was very new then; the other template author I’d point to is Charles de Lint, of whom that would not be a fair assessment.

    @Petrea: there are many real and other-fictional people in the Garrett; Edward Elmer ThD and Lord Bontriomphe (and his boss the Duke of London) come to mind immediately.
    @Xtifr: who is de Camp disguised as?

    Recent reading: Shawl, Everfair. There’s a lot crammed into the ~120,000 words: a large cast of characters, over a million square miles of Africa for a mainstage (plus bits in other parts of Africa and scattered around the Western world) and 30 years of history. (Turtledove would have made half a dozen books out of this.) Add borderline steampunk \and/ some magic, and it’s a lot to take in. However, Shawl gets considerable realism out of characters and plotting; nobody does all the time what the omniscient reader can see would be right, and there’s one decision that is predictable even though massively foolish.

  44. Regarding tea: I remember reading a Playboy interview with Patrick Stewart years ago where he complained about Americans nuking water in the microwave and dunking a teabag in, and calling it tea. He insisted that the water must be boiling. Not hot, but boiling, in order to be correct.

    I still feel a little bit guilty when I heat water in the microwave.

  45. I still feel a little bit guilty when I heat water in the microwave.

    With all due respect to Sir Stewart, anyone who tells me that I am doing something “incorrectly”, when I prefer it more the way I have been doing it, will have their opinion on the matter duly and completely ignored by me.

  46. One note on Moonbase 3. It actually was considered lost by the BBC, who did not know of any existing copies until it turned up on the SciFi Channel in 1993 It turns out that FOX still had NTSC copies (it was a co-production with the BBC) and didn’t realize the BBC had wiped their copies.

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