Pixel Scroll 11/1/18 When You Gonna Give Me Some Time Scrollona

(1) SAME NAME, DIFFERENT GAME. At Strange Horizons, Abigail Nussbaum reviews Netflix’ “The Haunting of Hill House”.

…Netflix’s miniseries adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, by Mike Flanagan (who wrote most of the series’s ten episodes and directed all of them), throws most of that out the window. It takes only a few scenes for a viewer familiar with the book to realize that the only similarity between it and this miniseries are a few character names, and the fact that they both revolve around a Hill House which is haunted. To a Jackson fan (most of whom are, after all, extremely defensive of her reputation) this initially seems like sacrilege. Why use the name if you’re not going to honor the actual work?

Flanagan’s Haunting never offers a persuasive answer to this question. What it does instead, almost as soon as the issue is raised, is counter with a genuinely excellent piece of horror filmmaking that makes you forget, at least for a while, its total lack of fidelity to its source….

(2) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman orders up an interview with Steve Rasnic Tem in Episode 80 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Steve Rasnic Tem

…I now ask that you join me for lunch at The Fish Market with Steve Rasnic Tem.

Tem has published more than 400 short stories, garnering multiple award nominations and wins, including a British Fantasy Award in 1988 for “Leaks,” a 2001 International Horror Guild Award for “City Fishing,” and a 2002 Bram Stoker Award for “In These Final Days of Sales.” His many collections include Fairytales, Celestial Inventory, The Far Side of the Lake, and others. Some of his poetry has been collected in The Hydrocephalic Ward, and he edited The Umbral Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry. His novel Blood Kin won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award. His collaborative novella with his late wife Melanie Tem, The Man On The Ceiling, won the World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, and International Horror Guild awards in 2001.

We discussed the importance of writing until you get to page eight, what he did the day after Harlan Ellison died, why even though he was a fearful kid he turned to horror, the thing which if I’d known about his marriage might have caused problems with my own, how crushed we both were when comics went up to 12 cents from a dime, why his all-time favorite short story is Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor,” how TV shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” had an effect on the way he writes action scenes, why he made an early pivot from science fiction to creating horror, the way joining Ed Bryant’s writing workshop taught him to become a writer, how math destroyed his intended science career, the reason it took him 48 years to take Ubo from initial idea to finished novel, why beginning writers should consciously read 1,000 short stories (and what they should do once they’re done), and much more

(3) THESE BOOKS DON’T MAKE THEMSELVES. Jeannette Ng has written a fabulous thread on the history of book production, urging writers to think about this when worldbuilding. Starts here.

(4) DAWN’S SUNSET. For the second time this week, a long-duration NASA mission has come to an end due to exhausting its fuel supply. RIP Kepler is now joined by RIP Dawn. (CNN: “NASA’s Dawn mission to strange places in our solar system ends”)

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has run out of fuel and dropped out of contact with mission control, the agency said Thursday.

This ends the spacecraft’s 11-year mission, which sent it on a 4.3 billion-mile journey to two of the largest objects in our solar system’s main asteroid belt. Dawn visited Vesta and Ceres, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit two deep-space destinations.

Dawn missed two communication sessions with NASA’s Deep Space Network the past two days, which means it has lost the ability to turn its antennae toward the Earth or its solar panels toward the sun. The end of the mission is not unexpected, as the spacecraft has been low on fuel for some time.

It’s the second historic NASA mission this week to run out of fuel and come to an end, as NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope did Tuesday.

(5) HOSTILE GALACTIC TAKEOVER. Today’s Nature shares “Evidence of ancient Milky Way merger”:

An analysis of data from the Gaia space observatory suggests that stars in the inner halo of the Milky Way originated in another galaxy.

This galaxy is thought to have collided with the Milky Way about ten billion years ago.

One conclusion on which all of the groups agree is that the event might have contributed to the formation of the Milky Way’s thick stellar disk. Astronomers have speculated for several decades that an ancient satellite galaxy merged with the Milky Way in the past, because such  an event could explain differences in the motions and chemical compositions of stars in the neighbourhood of the Sun.

Here’s a PDF of the item.

(6) SABRINA SHORTCOMINGS. Taylor Crumpton’s op-ed for Teen Vogue analyzes “How ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Failed Prudence Night”.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is not a reboot. Yes, the new Netflix show features the same characters as the cheery ‘90s sitcom, but it has been updated to reflect our darker, more malevolent times. The show also aims to be progressive, with storylines that speak to marginalized communities and a diverse cast of actors in almost every scene.

But despite great intentions, the show falls short in its portrayal of its black women characters, specifically with the character of Prudence Night (Tati Gabrielle), the head witch of the Academy of the Unseen Arts and leader of the Weird Sisters.

…The most troubling aspect of the conflict between Sabrina and Prudence occurs after “The Harrowing,” a pledging ritual that simulates the horrors experienced by the 13 witches during the Greendale Witch Trials. The last step in the ritual process mimics the hangings of the original witches by the mortals of Greendale; as Prudence leads Sabrina to the tree, Sabrina emphasizes the importance of the Academy as a safe space of community and inclusion for witches who have been subjected to violence by mortals for centuries. While in the tree, Sabrina calls upon the power of the dead witches and warlocks to effectively lynch Prudence and the Weird Sisters, and declares the end of “The Harrowing.”

The show did not issue a trigger warning for an image of a lynched Black woman in 2018; it comes on suddenly and in close-up view

(7) STATIONING GAS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The preprint paper “Securing Fuel for Our Frigid Cosmic Future” was discussed in a news story covering that article at Universe Today: “The Tools Humanity Will Need for Living in the Year 1 Trillion”

A preprint (that is, not yet peer-reviewed) paper from Harvard University’s chair of the astronomy department, Dr. Abraham Loeb, concludes in Securing Fuel for Our Frigid Cosmic Future that:

Advanced civilizations will likely migrate into rich clusters of galaxies, which host the largest reservoirs of matter bound by gravity against the accelerated cosmic expansion.

He opens with the question:

The accelerated expansion of the Universe pushes resources away from us at an ever- speed. Once the Universe will age by a factor of ten, all stars outside our Local Group of galaxies will not be accessible to us as they will be receding away faster than light. Is there something we can do to avoid this cosmic fate?

In his discussion, Loeb mentions various “cosmic engineering” projects that have been suggested and briefly examines their limitations. He then works his way around to suggesting an advanced civilization should move to a region with a high concentration of galaxies close together to provide a large fuel density, even as ones observable universe shrinks due to the accelerating expansion of the universe. He further notes that:

The added benefit of naturally-produced clusters is that they contain stars of all masses, much like a cosmic bag that collected everything from its environment. The most common stars weigh a tenth of the mass of the Sun, but are expected to shine for a thousand times longer because they burn their fuel at a slower rate. Hence, they could keep a civilization warm for up to ten trillion years into the future.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born November 1, 1897 — Dame Naomi Mitchison, Writer, Poet, and Activist from Scotland who lived to be over a hundred years old. Her genre writing includes the 1931 novel The Corn King and the Spring Queen, which contains open sexuality and is considered by contemporary genre editor Terri Windling to be “a lost classic”. Other genre works include Memoirs of a Spacewoman, which was nominated for a Retrospective Tiptree Award, Solution Three, and the Arthurian novel To the Chapel Perilous. As a good friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, she was a proofreader for The Lord of the Rings.
  • Born November 1, 1917 — Zenna Henderson, Writer whose first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. She is best known for her more than 30 stories in The People universe about members of an alien race with special powers who are stranded on earth, which were published in magazines and later in collections, including The People: No Different Flesh, and the stitched-together Pilgrimage: The Book of the People. Her novelette “Captivity” was nominated for a Hugo Award, and her story “Pottage” was made into a movie starring William Shatner, The People, which was a Hugo finalist for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1973. “Hush” became an episode of George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, which first aired in 1988.
  • Born November 1, 1923 — Dean A. “dag” Grennell, Writer, Editor, Firearms Expert, Conrunner, and Fan who edited numerous fanzines including La Banshee and Grue, which was produced sporadically from 1953 to 1979 and was a finalist for the Hugo Award in 1956. He published several short fiction works, and even dabbled in fanzine art. He ran a small U.S. gathering held the same weekend as the 1956 UK Natcon which was called the Eastercon-DAG, and another called Wiscon, which preceded the current convention of that name by more than twenty years. He is responsible for the long-running fannish joke “Crottled Greeps”.
  • Born November 1, 1923 — Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. It would require a skald to detail his stellar career in any detail. His first published speculative fiction was the short story “Trespass!”, written with Poul Anderson, in the Spring 1950 issue of Fantastic Stories. Childe Cycle, featuring the Dorsai, is his best known series, and the Hoka are certainly his and Poul Anderson’s silliest creation. I’m very fond of his Dragon Knight series, which I think reflects his interest in medieval history.  His works received a multitude of award nominations, and he won Hugo, Nebula, and British Fantasy Awards. In 1975, he was presented the Skylark Award for achievement in imaginative fiction. He was Guest of Honor at dozens of conventions, including the 1984 Worldcon, and he was named to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Filk Hall of Fame. The Dorsai Irregulars, an invitation-only fan volunteer security group named after his series, was formed at the 1974 Worldcon in response to the theft of some of Kelly Freas’ work the year before, and has provided security at conventions for the last 34 years.
  • Born November 1, 1941 — Robert Foxworth, 77, Actor whom you’ve most likely seen, if you’ve watched genre television or film. His first genre role was as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in the 1973 Frankenstein TV movie, followed by the lead role in Gene Roddenberry’s TV pilot The Questor Tapes, which never made it to series after NBC and The Great Bird of the Galaxy had a falling-out. He is well-known to Star Trek fans, having had roles in episodes of both Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, as well as Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, seaQuest DSV, and The (new) Outer Limits. His genre movie roles have included Beyond the Stars, Damien: Omen II, Invisible Strangler, Prophecy, The Devil’s Daughter, and The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and he provided the voice for the character Ratchet in the Transformers movie franchise.
  • Born November 1, 1944 — David Rorvik, 74, Writer and Journalist who published in 1978 the book In his Image: The Cloning of a Man, in which he claimed to have been part of a successful endeavor to create a clone of a human being. According to the book, at the behest of a mysterious wealthy businessman, he had formed a scientific team that was taken to a lab at a secret location, and after a few years of experimentation they managed to create a human ovum containing implanted DNA, which was brought to term by a surrogate mother and produced a living, cloned child. A British scientist whose doctoral work had been lifted for the theoretical basis outlined in In His Image sued for 7 million dollars, and after a judge ruled pre-trial that the book was a fraud, the publisher settled out-of-court for $100,000 plus an admission that the book was a hoax. No evidence for or against the cloning claim was ever produced, and the author to this day still denies that it was a hoax. (numerous conflicting sources list either 1944 or 1946 as his birth year)
  • Born November 1, 1959 — Susanna Clarke, 59, Writer from England whose alt-history Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature. It won the Hugo, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, and Locus Awards, was a finalist for Nebula, British Fantasy Society, British Science Fiction Association, and Premio Ignotus Awards, and was adapted into a 7-episode BBC series which was nominated for a Saturn Award. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories collects her short works, and is splendid indeed; it was a finalist for the World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, and Prix Imaginaire Awards. Interestingly, she also has a novelette included in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Book of Dreams anthology.
  • Born November 1, 1972 — Toni Collette, 46, Tony-nominated Actor of Stage and Screen from Australia who received an Oscar nomination for her leading role in the supernatural film The Sixth Sense, and had roles in Hereditary, The Night Listener, Fright Night, Krampus, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Tsunami: The Aftermath, and the upcoming Velvet Buzzsaw. She has provided voices for characters in the animated features The Boxtrolls, Blinky Bill the Movie, The Thief and the Cobbler, The Magic Pudding, and Mary and Max.
  • Born November 1, 1984 — Natalia Tena, 34, Actor from England who played Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter film franchise and the wildling Osha in the Game of Thrones series. She also appeared in Black Mirror’s feature-length special White Christmas and the superhero comedy SuperBob, and had lead roles in the Residue miniseries and the short-lived Wisdom of The Crowd series. She has a recurring role on Origin, a series set on a spacecraft bound for another system which premieres on November 14.
  • Born November 1 — Jaym Gates, Writer, Editor, Game Designer, and Crisis Management Educator who is currently the acquisitions editor for Nisaba Press and Falstaff Books’ Broken Cities line. She also writes and designs role-playing games, fiction, comics, and nonfiction, and has been editor of numerous SFF anthologies, including JJ’s favorite Genius Loci. She has presented on the topic of crisis communication and community crisis response to groups including the 100 Year Starship and the Atlantic Council, and is a creative partner on an educational project which uses role-playing games, storytelling, and game theory to teach students about managing crisis. She was the SFWA Communication Director for five years and helped to run the Nebula weekends during that time, as well as fostering communications with NASA, DARPA, library and school systems, and public media. She will be a Special Guest at the OrcaCon tabletop gaming convention in January 2019.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) TITLE POLL. The Bookseller has opened public voting for this year’s “Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year”. Voting closes on November 16, and the winner will be announced November 23. The shortlist for year’s six oddest titles includes:

  • Are Gay Men More Accurate in Detecting Deceits? by Hoe-Chi Angel Au
  • Call of Nature: The Secret Life of Dung by Richard Jones
  • Equine Dry Needling by Cornelia Klarholz and Andrea Schachinger
  • Jesus on Gardening by David Muskett
  • Joy of Waterboiling by Christina Scheffenacker
  • Why Sell Tacos in Africa? by Paul Oberschneider

(11) PROPS TO YOU. An LAist reporter managed to get in the door at “The Amazing Santa Monica Prop Shop That’s Rarely Open”.

It’s difficult to define Jadis, because it wears multiple hats: it’s a movie prop house, a museum of pre-computer-era oddities, a cabinet of curiosities, and a retail store.

Oh, and it’s also infamous for almost never being open. Like, ever.

“I tell people, not being open all the time just increases the demand,” Jadis’s owner Susan Lieberman said. “You would take me for granted if I was open regular hours.”

When you walk inside Jadis, you might feel like you’ve found yourself inside a mad collector’s lab: giant interlocking gears, microscopes, cabinets filled with old postcards and eyeglasses, quack science devices from the turn of the century. And if you clap or talk too loudly, there’s a talking head that might yell at you: “My brain hurts. Why you look at me like that. WHYYY?!”

 

(12) NUKE AVOIDANCE. They say all knowledge is contained in…. I thought it was fanzines, but apparently it’s in James Davis Nicoll essays. Today he points out “13 Stories About Surviving a Nuclear War — At Least Briefly”.

Most people now living are too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a fun time when the Americans and the Russians (who at that time were not good buddies but rivals), toyed with seeing just how close they could come to World War Three without pressing the (metaphorical) button. For various reasons, not least of which was that the balance of power of power greatly favoured the United States and the Soviets apparently didn’t fancy atomic suicide for some reason, the stand-off stopped short of nuclear war.

(13) DEATH WHERE IS THY STING. Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton was one of those asked to explain “How death disappeared from Halloween” for the Washington Post.

Sexy avocado costumes obscure the holiday’s historical roots and the role it once played in allowing people to engage with mortality. What was once a spiritual practice, like so much else, has become largely commercial. While there is nothing better than a baby dressed as a Gryffindor, Halloween is supposed to be about death, a subject Americans aren’t particularly good at addressing. And nowhere is that more evident than in the way we celebrate (or don’t celebrate) Halloween.

Halloween has its origins in the first millennium A.D. in the Celtic Irish holiday Samhain. According to Lisa Morton, author of “Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween,” Samhain was a New Year’s celebration held in the fall, a sort of seasonal acknowledgment of the annual change from a season of life to one of death. The Celts used Samhain celebrations to settle debts, thin their herds of livestock and appease the spirits: the kinds of preparations one might make if they are genuinely unsure whether they will survive the winter.

(14) MARVELMAN. Corporate and legal shenanigans enliven Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s new history Poisoned Chalice.

The comic character Marvelman (and Miracleman) has a fascinating – and probably unique – history in the field of comics. His extended origin goes all the way back to the very beginnings of the American superhero comics industry, and it seems likely that his ongoing story will stretch on well into the future. It involves some of the biggest names in comics. It’s a story of good versus evil, of heroes and villains, and of any number of acts of plagiarism and casual breaches of copyright. Poisoned Chalice wades into one of the strangest and thorniest knots of all of comics: the history of Marvel/Miracleman and still unsolved question of who owns this character. It’s a story that touches on many of the most remarkable personalities in the comics industry—Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Todd McFarlane, Joe Quesada and more—and one of the most fascinating in the medium. The story of Marvelman touches on the darker places of comics history, springing from the prehistory where greed ruled the day; it’s a complex tale that others have attempted to untangle, but there has never been as thorough or as meticulous a study of it as this book.

(15) ELEGANT SOLUTION. Greg Egan and fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya contribute to mathematics: “An anonymous 4chan post could help solve a 25-year-old math mystery”.

…An anonymous poster figured out one possible way to solve to the 4chan problem, satisfying the more mathematically inclined Haruhi fans. But in the process, they also helped puzzle out an issue that mathematicians have been working on since 1993. The anonymously authored proof (which was recently reposted on a Fandom wiki) is currently the most elegant solution to part of a mathematical problem involving something called superpermutations. It’s an enigma that goes well beyond anime….

… The 4chan proof outlines how to find the smallest possible number of episodes for the solution. But that doesn’t fully solve the problem. An even bigger breakthrough came earlier this month when sci-fi author and mathematician Greg Egan wrote up a proof that outlined how to find the largest possible number for any given superpermutation problem….

(16) THERE WILL BE (WATER) WAR. Gizmodo take’s a look at a new report that looks at potential areas of conflict over water could arise as climate change continues (“Here’s Where the Post-Apocalyptic Water Wars Will Be Fought”). They couldn’t resist the genre allusions.

A United Nations report published last week said we have about a decade to get climate change under control, which—let’s be honest—isn’t likely to happen. So break out your goalie masks and harpoon guns, a Mad Max future awaits! Now, as new research points out, we even know where on Earth the inevitable water wars are most likely to take place.

Sarcasm aside, this report is actually quite serious.

Published today in Global Environmental Change, the paper identifies several hotspots around the globe where “hydro-political issues,” in the parlance of the researchers, are likely to give rise to geopolitical tensions, and possibly even conflict. The authors of the new report, a team from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), say the escalating effects of climate change, in conjunction with ongoing trends in population growth, could trigger regional instability and social unrest in regions where freshwater is scarce, and where bordering nations have to manage and share this increasingly scarce commodity.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Big Data–L1ZY” on Vimeo shows what happens when a virtual assistant becomes an evil robot overlord!

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

91 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/1/18 When You Gonna Give Me Some Time Scrollona

  1. (3) This dovetails with the trope that abandoned buildings and towns just freeze in place, maybe getting a little dusty, but the saloon will still have a nearly-tuned piano (on which every note plays) and bottles with liquor in them (nobody looted the place), and the candles in the chandelier are lit and still have 4/5 of their wax.

    Life doesn’t play along, though. I was so excited when Dad took me to see a ghost town, and all it was was a bit of wood here and there that used to be a cabin. I was looking for that perfectly preserved time capsule from TV.

  2. (8) As always, the birthdays are appreciated and enjoyed. Occasionally, I add a name or two, but it is never meant with the intention of “your list is lacking because it omitted . . . “; just, rather, “Oh, by the way, here’s another you may find of interest . . . “. Having said that, consider adding to the list:

    (1940) S/Sgt Barry Sadler. A special forces soldier in Viet Nam who wrote and sang the multi-million selling “Ballad of the Green Berets” (which you can hear Carl Spackler muttering in Caddyshack, at one point). His connection to an SFF list of birthdays is a series of novels he wrote about Casca Rufio Longinius, supposedly the Roman centurion who thrust his lance into Jesus’s side during the Crucifixion. Casca was cursed to live until the Second Coming, and the novels describe his life until the 20th century.

  3. 10) Joy of Waterboiling has my vote for sure. I’m afraid to actually look up the book description in case the title starts making sense.

  4. (1) I can’t comment on Nussbaum’s review because I haven’t finished watching the series, but on the question of why Flanagan bothered to use the title if the story was going to be entirely different, he actually had a good deal to say about that in this interview.

    (14) The book about Marvelman is new in that it hasn’t been in print before, but Ó Méalóid has been serializing it for a long time at The Beat, starting here. It’s very, very, very thorough.

  5. 6) Now I don’t have Netflix and I haven’t seen much more than the trailer of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but I still wonder why so critics seem to be determined to find negative things about the show. Because to me it looks like a perfectly fine mildly scary show for teens, starring a young actress who’s been good in anything I’ve ever seen her in (mostly Mad Men and the Flowers in the Attic adaptation of a few years back). And even if it isn’t perfect, it is certainly better than the 1990s version, which I for one found unwatchable (but then I wasn’t the target audience).

    8) My mother and grandmother were big fans of the 1980s soap Falcon Crest (which featured a lot of actors well known for genre roles), so I will always associate Robert Foxworth with the character of Chase Gioberti, who was supposed to be the good guy of the series, except that I disliked him for some reason, probably because I had a huge crush on his nemesis in the show, played by David Selby (and I was overjoyed to learn that he started his career playing a werewolf in Dark Shadows). I remember that Foxworth was in a lot of genre shows in the 1980s and 1990s, usually as some kind of military officer.

    @bill
    I have an odd fondness for the Green Beret song, considering I’m not a military person at all. I knew vaguely of the Casca novels, but never connected them to the Green Beret song.

  6. Re the Zenna Henderson bio, the standard we generally use is that a book of stories by one author is a collection, and a book an editor puts together of stories by different writers is an anthology.

    This is not a hard and fast rule in the publishing industry, but has been observed pretty consistently in the sf field for a long time.

  7. Jeff Smith: the standard we generally use is that a book of stories by one author is a collection, and a book an editor puts together of stories by different writers is an anthology.

    I should have caught that, it was a bit rushed today. Thanks for the correction.

  8. Cora Buhlert on November 1, 2018 at 8:40 pm said:

    6) Now I don’t have Netflix and I haven’t seen much more than the trailer of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but I still wonder why so critics seem to be determined to find negative things about the show.

    In the relevant scene

    Gur fubj unf gur fgnaqneq gebcr bs n cnpx bs Zrna Tveyf ng gur uvtu fpubby gb znxr gur cebgntbavfg’f yvsr zvfrenoyr. Va guvf pnfr, vg vf n wbvarq-ng-gur-uvc (abg yvgrenyyl) frg bs guerr jvgpurf, bar bs juvpu whfg unccraf gb or oynpx.

    Va gur frgggvat bs gur frevrf, nebhaq gur gvzr bs gur Fnyrz jvgpu gevnyf, 13 jvgpurf jrer nyfb gbegherq naq xvyyrq va Terraqnyr. Fb gur ybpny Ubtjnegf unf na rkgerzr unmvat evghny fhccbfrqyl onfrq ba gur gevnyf gubfr jvgpurf–n evghny gung fbzrgvzrf yrnqf gb qrnq fghqragf jub erznva nebhaq nf tubfgf.

    Fb gur zrna tvey jvgpurf unmr Fnoevan nggrzcgvat gb xvyy ure. Gur ynfg fgrc vf gb unat ure sebz gur fnzr gerr jurer gur 13 jvgpurf jrer unatrq. Ohg zrnajuvyr Fnoevan unf orseraqrq nyy gur tubfgf bs fghqragf xvyyrq qhevat gur unmvat naq pbaivaprq gurz gb uryc ure. Fb nf gur guerr zrna tveyf jrer nobhg gb unat Fnoevan, gur tebhc bs tubfgf hfr Tubfg Zntvp be jungrire gb yvsg gur guerr zrna tveyf vagb gur nve ol gurve arpxf, naq Fnoevan jbhyqa’g eryrnfr gurz hagvy gurl npprcgrq ure pbzznaq gung gurer jbhyq or ab zber unmvat.

    Fb V’z fher gung gur fpevcgf jrer jevggra orsber gur punenpgref jrer pnfg. Bar bs gur guerr zrna tveyf gung jrer gb trg gurve arpx-onfrq pbzrhccnapr unccrarq gb or oynpx ohg abguvat va gur ragver frevrf znqr abgr bs gung va nal jnl. Gur punenpgre jnfa’g nobhg orvat oynpx, gur punenpgre jnf nobhg orvat n jvgpu. Gurer jrer 16 unatrq be fbeg-bs-unatrq punenpgref fubja ba gur frevrf. 15 bs gurz jrer juvgr. Fb znlor gurl fubhyqa’g unir pnfg n oynpx npgbe ng nyy, naq gura vg jbhyqa’g unir orra “enpvfg?”

  9. A cynical person might wonder if hatchet jobs on popular topics could possibly be a calculated way of increasing web traffic by encouraging outraged fans to rush into the fray to defend their beloved whatever.

  10. Happy birthday, Naomi Mitchison! The Corn King and the Spring Queen is a terrific novel. I found it, and Memoirs of a Spacewoman, in my local usedbook store and still have both. Would love to read more of her work.

  11. Kip Williams on November 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm said:

    Life doesn’t play along, though. I was so excited when Dad took me to see a ghost town, and all it was was a bit of wood here and there that used to be a cabin. I was looking for that perfectly preserved time capsule from TV.

    There’s always the Chernobyl tours if you’re looking for an authentic post-apocalypse experience.

  12. (1) Okay, you’re gonna get me STARTED.

    I was a little reluctant to watch Haunting of Hill House, which several people enthusiastically urged me to try, because I scare so easily.

    After I read The Exorcist (in my 40s), I slept with the light on for 4-5 nights. When I saw The Shining, my dad had to hold my hand and keep telling me when I could open my eyes again; I was in my 20s. I still get the willies over Night Gallery episodes I saw as a child decades ago. I am, IOW, a scaredy cat when it comes to horror stories.

    And yet I was bored, bored, bored throughout Netflix’s Hill House, and rolling my eyes so often in exasperation that I’m lucky I didn’t do myself an injury.

    I found it stagey, self-conscious, illogical even within its own context, predictable, repetitious, poorly written. There were some scenes I thought were badly acted, but I didn’t blame the actors, who mostly seemed solid–I thought the script and story were just so clumsy that even capable actors couldn’t make a lot of those scenes work.

    i am baffled by the popularity of this show that struck me, start to finish, as a tedious hot mess. I kept on watching, thinking that since multiple people I know had enthused about it, it might get better. But it just kept getting worse. By the end, I regretted that I hadn’t followed my instinct and abandoned it after an episode or two.

  13. (8) Either David Rorvik’s age or year of birth is out by 10 years.
    (10) I look at these every year and usually find a couple of them are sufficiently interesting to get copies.

  14. On a completely different subject, if I may…. What happened with that tiresome troll/cyberstalker’s lawsuit against WorldCon, claiming “discrimination” after they banned him for boasting about his intentions to violate the CoC? I vaguely seem to recall reading on this site in summer, before WorldCon, that the court’s first review or action on the filing would be in October—which has come in gone. Did I miss anything? Is the troll out of WorldCon’s hair, or is he still being a nuisance to the committee?

  15. Iphinome,
    There are lots of ones I can look at online, including movies. Almost every shot is composed with aching perfection, and I can even look at them barefoot. I did go exploring some about ten years ago in Massachusetts, taking photos of the deceased Mountain Park in Holyoke. If I’d gotten there ten or twenty years earlier, there might have been something to photograph.

  16. “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature”: does that mean number of footnotes in the work? Because I reckon Infinite Jest must give it a good run for its money.

  17. 7) “all stars outside our Local Group of galaxies will not be accessible to us as they will be receding away faster than light”

    Please help me understand how this might be possible?

  18. Cliff on November 2, 2018 at 6:04 am said:

    Please help me understand how this might be possible?

    Well, if they’re going that way at a significant fraction of the speed of light, and we’re going this way at a significant fraction of the speed of light, add those two together and that would be more than the speed of light.

  19. I don’t think it’s a simple sum because of relativity. Any two bodies moving away in opposite direction from a shared origin at 0.5c are not moving at a relative speed of c to each other.

  20. @Cliff: (I think) The article is talking about the expansion of space, not the motion of objects in space – and it is possible for the expansion of space itself to result in apparent distances increasing faster than the speed of light. This would have occurred in the “inflationary period” early in the life of the universe, and if (as it currently appears to be the case) the expansion of the universe is currently accelerating, more and more of the universe will become inaccessible to our descendants. John Cramer talks about “The Big Rip” here https://www.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw126.html and this technical article https://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/9902189.pdf provides additional context.

  21. Cliff says in reference to my Birthdsy note: “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature”: does that mean number of footnotes in the work? Because I reckon Infinite Jest must give it a good run for its money.

    Well I’ve never read Infinite Jest and I did it was my award so you’re welcome to give out an award yourself. My main objection to the footnotes there was the information being placed therein clearly could’ve been incorporated into the body of the text. And for Pity’s sakes, a footnote that runs across the bottom of three pages?!?

  22. Because I reckon Infinite Jest must give it a good run for its money.

    Its genre elements are probably too subtle to qualify, but there’s always Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

    (I typoed that as ‘Pale File’ on my first attempt.)

  23. @Andrew – thanks! That makes sense.

    @Cat – sorry, didn’t mean to be picky. Just trying to make a conversation out of your post. Infinite Jest’s footnotes are actually at the back of the book. When I first started reading I avoided them because it seemed too distracting to keep flicking back and forth. But I soon employed two bookmarks, because the footnotes contain a great deal of humour as well as back-story. And there’s one or two that extend to more than a whole page of small type.

    @James – to be fair, Infinite Jest’s genre elements are pretty subtle too.

  24. Cat Eldridge, regarding footnotes, Terry Pratchett was famous for not only footnotes, but multiply-nested footnotes…

    And Jasper Fforde, in one of his Tuesday Next books, has actual plot and character dialogue moving forward via footnotes. (Don’t recall which book, however.)

  25. Cliff says to me: @Cat – sorry, didn’t mean to be picky. Just trying to make a conversation out of your post. Infinite Jest’s footnotes are actually at the back of the book. When I first started reading I avoided them because it seemed too distracting to keep flicking back and forth. But I soon employed two bookmarks, because the footnotes contain a great deal of humour as well as back-story. And there’s one or two that extend to more than a whole page of small type.

    That approach would’ve worked for me. As it was, I gave up reading the novel somewhere around the hundredth page as she kept dumping needed information into those bloody footnotes and I kept losing track of that actual story when I went back back to it. Herbert in Dune used appendixes to show the reader needed information that later, less skilled writers have been just dumping in the text itself.

    Warning: I’m awake and quite alert this morning having had my fourteen month long headache finally retreat from being at an a full on eight on the one to ten scale or so for the past three days to its usual six which is a MAJOR difference. I’ve been using far more Imetrix the past three days that I’m frankly comfortable doing and thus feeling much better this morning as I didn’t need any this morning.

  26. Just finished “Red Moon” by KSR. A strong contender for my Hugo nomination ballot for this year. I’d really like to see a review by someone knowledgeable about China: I may be impressed due to ignorance.

    There are a couple things about the book production that puzzle me:
    1. why is there no acknowledgement or afterword? KSR must have had a lot of help with the China stuff, in particular.
    2. Each chapter begins with a Chinese word or phrase and then its translation. Why is the Chinese only in Roman-letter transliteration, and not also in characters?

  27. The series of THoHH seems to be largely based on season 1 of American Horror Story.

  28. Cliff on November 2, 2018 at 7:14 am said:

    I don’t think it’s a simple sum because of relativity. Any two bodies moving away in opposite direction from a shared origin at 0.5c are not moving at a relative speed of c to each other.

    Nope, they really are moving apart that fast. Read this.

  29. @5: so Doc Smith was at least partly right; has anyone spotted Arisians or Eddorians meddling with our history?

    @8: Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. That’s … arguable.

    @11: why Jadis? For those of us with memories for trivia it’s an ill-omened name even if they think they’re presiding over a ruin, but the about-us page doesn’t say anything about the source of the name.

    @13: interesting arguments, but I see no allowance for the fact that death has been so pushed off since the tradition was (per the article’s report) imported. Average lifespan has increased massively not so much because more people live to extreme ages as because fewer people die relatively early.

    @bill: I was told many years ago of the Rhode Island public radio (TV?) station that announced it was going to play Sadler’s song continuously until the station’s pledge goal was reached; reportedly the pledges came pouring in.

    @ULTRAGOTHA: Alas, there seems to be no hope of an e-version [of Henderson] This is unclear; the tech to provide e-versions seems to be improving.

    @Cat Eldridge: And for Pity’s sakes, a footnote that runs across the bottom of three pages?!? I recall a footnote in an old edition of either Kidnapped or Treasure Island that took up at least two pages and possibly three; my recollection is that Clarke was using somewhat old-fashioned forms to reflect the period of the story. She wasn’t pastiching Dumas (as Brust does), so there wasn’t quite such bulk in dialog, but the huge footnote may have been deliberate/reasonable.

  30. Laura Resnick: On a completely different subject, if I may…. What happened with that tiresome troll/cyberstalker’s lawsuit against WorldCon, claiming “discrimination” after they banned him for boasting about his intentions to violate the CoC?

    The case was transferred to Santa Clara Superior Court and now has a first hearing date of December 18. See Pixel Scroll for 9/21/18 Item 12.

  31. Footnotes*: A few years back I picked up, for about $1.99, a Kindle edition of the complete works of H. Rider Haggard, who was himself known to use a footnote or two. In the edition that I have, the footnotes must’ve been printed on the bottom of the page, but when the file was dumped to Kindle, they didn’t do any actual formatting so periodically I’ll just run into a apostrophe somewhere in the text, and further down in the text I’ll find *it could be worse the actual footnote just kind of smooshed in there.

  32. Chip says Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. That’s … arguable.

    Such statements are always arguable. Your opinion is no more valid than the one we made in that Birthday note. I can’t speak for JJ but I find that statement to hold true. So there.

  33. ULTRAGOTHA on November 2, 2018 at 6:58 am said:

    Zenna Henderson is one of my favorite authors. Happy Birthday!

    The entirety of her People stories are collected in the NESFA Press book Ingathering: The Complete People Stories. Including a story only published in that book.

    Alas, there seems to be no hope of an e-version

    I just looked in my ebooks folder on the phone I’m browsing from right now, and I have it. It seems to have been converted from an HTML version and probably isn’t “official.” there is a copy on archive.org (“borrow” only) with the same battered cover. I also found a less well-formatted version in this so-called “private” ebook collection.

  34. Cat Eldridge on November 2, 2018 at 10:16 am said:

    Your opinion is now more valid than the one we made in that Birthday note.

    Glad to see that you could come to an agreement…

  35. Darren Garrison says to me that Glad to see that you could come to an agreement…

    I actually asked OGH to fixed the ‘now’ to ‘no’ as that’s what I meant. But such statements are always subjective. I think Gordon is a fine writer and such, some might not. That holds true for any writer, doesn’t it?

  36. I know I’m late to the party, but I’m jumping on the Foundryside (by Robert Jackson Bennett) bandwagon. This is a complex thriller that, to me, is a unique marriage of epic fantasy with physics and quantum mechanics, due to its “scriving” magic system that twists and manipulates reality with exacting (and dangerous) strings of symbols, called sigils. There are also themes in this book of colonialism and classism, and what seems to be a recurring Bennett motif: the sins of the past rising up to bite the present big-time. It’s five hundred pages, but it’s well-paced with compelling characters. (x-posted to 2018 Recommended SF thread)

  37. @Doctor Science Thanks for the info! RED MOON is on my TBR pile for when I’m ready for it. I am looking forward to it.

  38. I just got word that my reserve copy of the Freeze Frame Revolution has come in, so I know what my weekend is going to be like.

  39. Re: Jadis: I’m reminded of a used bookstore that popped up not too far from my house. The owner insisted you had to ring the bell or knock to be let in at all*, things were in minimal order and mostly on the floor**, and the one time I was browsing in there, he spent most of the time I was present talking on the phone to someone about how poor and annoying a business model it was just expecting people to come in off the street and browse casually in hopes of making a sale. ***

    Unlike the owner of Jadis’s apparent opinion of her magical specialness, though, this just reinforced my utter disinterest in ever going back. Part of the appeal of a used bookstore can be quirky disorder, and an amazing bookstore can survive a less than ideal bookseller, but this was a tiny hole in the wall which seemed to be hiding a lack of much real selection behind disorder. It closed in a very few months.

    * not the only store I’ve been in where this is the case, but the others have legit security concerns due to location, seem to make it easier to get their attention to unlock, and don’t treat having to answer as an imposition.
    ** which can be part of the charm of the right bookstore, but this didn’t feel like “we have too many books and not enough hours in the day or shelf space, we can’t possibly sort them all”. it felt like “I took a few of them out of the boxes, what more do you want?”
    *** Certainly the only place where I have encountered such a generalized and complete antipathy to the concept of customers as a whole, rather than bigoted bias against specific kinds of customer. Also, I have friends who sell used books or other merch online, or only at fairs, or in other non-store-owning methods, and even the ones who see no advantage in a set physical location don’t treat the idea of a physical store as some weird alien concept or newfangled Millenial trend.****
    ****And yes I am aware Millenials are now getting into their 30s and the teenagers still getting hit with the stereotype are actually another generation onward.*****
    *****After the discussion above, the multiple and nested footnotes became obligatory.

  40. They’re Scrolling the Pixels to Filegard!

    @Lenora Rose:

    Your story reminds me that somewhere I’ve read of a bookshop where every prospect sneezes, and only Mann (the proprietor) is vile.

    @Cliff: Glad it helped.

  41. I’m in the middle of Foundryside right now and loving it. The scrying magic system reminded me of software the way it works with simple end-user symbols backed by the complicated dictionaries. The way the security can be hacked by fooling the code about the current time/location. And cooling the stacks is a major problem. (And I have a feeling we are going to get around to uploading minds though we will see)
    Anyway, great characters, truly imaginative world-building. Acknowledging the greyness of practical moral questions without becoming nihilistic.

  42. Not that I didn’t already have an ecopy, but I bought a physical copy of Foundryside whilst in Canada to support the bookstore that showed up at Scintillation. I still need to push it up the TBR pile.

    Currently reading? A CONSPIRACY OF TRUTHS by Alex Rowland, which, in a deep cut some of you may get, kinda reminds me (in the worldbuilding anyway) of De Camp’s Novarian novels (CLOCKS OF IRAZ).

  43. Chip Hitchcock: @8: Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. That’s … arguable.

    So make your argument. He was a Worldcon GoH, so somebody thought he was up there. What number on the list do you think he has to be to be “one of the best”?

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