Pixel Scroll 11/19/18 It’s Credentials All The Way Down

(1) WHEN VACUUBOT RUNS AMOK. John Scalzi shares the fun – “A Thanksgiving Week Gift for You: ‘Automated Customer Service’”.

To show my appreciation for you, my readers, here’s a short story I wrote to read aloud while I was touring with The Consuming Fire. It’s called “Automated Customer Service,” and it’s what happens when, in the near future, something goes wrong with a household appliance and you have to navigate an automated call system to get help….

…The automated system has detected that you are using high levels of profanity right now. While the automated system is in fact automated and doesn’t care what you yell at it, your bad attitude is being noted for if and when you are put in contact with a human representative. When you have calmed your sassy boots down a bit, press one….

(2) DESTINY UNLOCKED. NPR finds a sentimental story behind this book purchase: “Bookstore’s Tweet On The Sale Of A Children’s Book After 27 Years Goes Viral”.

A bookstore in England sold a children’s biography of William the Conqueror that had been sitting in its shop since 1991.

“I have just sold a book that we have had in stock since May 1991,” the Broadhursts Bookshop tweeted. “We always knew its day would come.”

The store’s tweet about the sale has since gone viral and received thousands of replies. Author Sarah Todd Taylor tweeted in response, “The book held its breath. It had hoped so often, only to have that hope crushed. Hands lifted it from the shelf, wrapped it warmly in paper. As the door closed on its past life, the book heard the soft cheers of its shelfmates.”

(3) ASPIRATIONAL GAMING. For everyone who doesn’t have this tech in their living room: “Game on! Pro video gamers open pop-up play space on Atlantic Ave. in Boerum Hill”Brooklyn Paper has the story.

A team of professional video gamers opened up a pop-up shop on Atlantic Avenue where experienced nerds can pay by the hour to dominate noobs on top-of-the-line gaming equipment, according to the group’s game-player-in-chief.

“We’re offering the opportunity to have a really truly premium gaming experience over here on some of the nicest computers in the world,” said Ben Nichol.

Nichol, who die-hard gamers may recognize for streaming his gaming exploits as Mr. Bitter on Youtube, now spearheads events and business development for pro-gaming squad New York Excelsior, which set up the temporary NYXL play space between Nevins Street and Third Avenue that features 34 top-of-the-line HP Omen gaming desktop computers, which at roughly $3,000 a piece, are each roughly equivalent in value to a well-maintained 2006 Volkswagen Jetta.

(4) TRANS-ATLANTIC FAN FUND. At midnight on November 22 the TAFF nominating period ends. There is still time to declare your candidacy to become the delegate to the Dublin 2019 Worldcon. See the TAFF homepage to learn what you must do to enter the race.

(5) I AM BATWOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR. This year’s CW crossover event in their “Arrowverse” set of shows now has a comic book cover to go along with it (io9/Gizmodo: “The DC/CW Elseworlds Crossover Gets the Mashup Comic Cover It Deserves”). Elseworlds will link up episodes of The FlashArrow, and Supergirl on December 9-11, 2018 and will introduce Batwoman, Lois Lane, and Gotham City to the connected universes. There are minor spoilers (most of all of which have already been shown in the various trailers for Elseworlds) in the io9/Gizmodo article:

As well as depicting Supergirl, Superman (not in his new black suit), Batwoman, and the bodyswapped versions of Green Arrow and Flash, the cover includes LaMonica Garrett lurking in the background as the Monitor, and our first look at Jeremy Davies’ character, Doctor John Deegan, a mysterious figure who works at Arkham Asylum and is apparently the catalyst that brings our heroes together and to Gotham in the first place.

(6) TIME WANTS TO BE FREE. BBC remembers “The clock that cost its inventor millions” (but saved him from Douglas Adams’s scorn) —

One of the world’s first digital clocks, which was made by a man in his shed, has been sold at auction.

Thomas Bromley, an engineer and amateur inventor, created his Digitron Electric Clock in 1961 at his home in Hull.

He held the patent to the design for three years but chose not to renew it – potentially costing him millions of pounds.

(7) TOLKIEN/LEWIS DOCUMENTARY RESUMES PRODUCTION. The documentary film series, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War, explores how the experience of two world wars shaped the lives and literary imagination of two authors and friends, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The series is based on Joseph Loconte’s New York Times bestseller. Photos from the series here — “Truly amazing!”

We have had an amazing start to this 2nd chapter of our production. We hit the ground running from Panavision, London, thanks to their generous donations.  From there we secured an abandoned boarding school in Hastings to create some amazing reenactments.  With today’s early call in Liverpool, we shall get to work, but enjoy these shots from our reenactments.

(8) A FLOP. Whew! You can smell 1963 from here! Galactic Journey’s Traveler calls this new issue of F&SF — “[November 19, 1963] Fuel for the Fire (December 1963 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”.

The once proud golden pages of F&SF have taken a definite turn for the worse under the Executive Editorship of one Avram Davidson.  At last, after two years, we arrive at a new bottom.  Those of you with months remaining on your subscription can look forward to a guaranteed supply of kindling through the winter.

(9) STAN LEE TRIBUTE. At the Smithsonian movie producer and instructor Michael Uslan eulogizes his hero and mentor, whose superheroes taught him countless life lessons — “A Letter to Stan Lee, Comic Book Legend, Written by One of His Biggest Fans”.

What about what you did for me personally in life? …

  • I was 13 when I read in a fanzine that if a fan mailed you a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with a typed interview with space for you to answer after each question, you would respond. I still have that interview with all your hand-written answers. That was the moment you became my mentor, introducing me to the history of Marvel and the comic book industry.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born November 19, 1924 – William Russell, 94, Actor from England who played Companion Ian Chesterton to First Doctor William Hartnell in the Doctor Who series from 1963 to 1965; in the 1990s he recorded bridging scenes as that character, to make up for lost episodes in the VHS release of the Who serial “The Crusade”. In 2013, he was portrayed by Jamie Glover in the docudrama Doctor Who: An Adventure in Space and Time; he himself had a cameo role as a security guard. Other genre appearances included a recurring lead role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, playing one of the Elders from Krypton in the first two Superman movies and The Duke of Gloucester in an episode of Robin of Sherwood, and a part in the film Death Watch.
  • Born November 19, 1953 – Robert Beltran, 65, Actor of Stage and Screen who is undoubtedly best known to genre fans as Commander Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager, though some of us remember him from the 1980s cult film Night of the Comet. He also had appearances in The Mystic Warrior, Cry of the Winged Serpent, Shadowhunter, Manticore, and Fire Serpent, and guest roles in episodes of Lois & Clark and Medium, as well as the fan-made web series Star Trek: Renegades and a voice role in the Young Justice animated series. One of his theater roles was playing Oberon in the California Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Born November 19, 1954 – Kathleen Quinlan, 64, Actor whose first genre role was in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Marilyn Lovell in Apollo 13. She also appeared in Event Horizon, Independence Day, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Breakdown, The Hills Have Eyes, Horns, Warning Sign, and Trapped.
  • Born November 19, 1958 – Charlie Kauffman, 60,  Writer, Director, Producer, and Lyricist known for surreal genre films Being John Malkovich, Adaptation (for which he won a Saturn), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (for which he won an Oscar). Last year, together with John Lee Hancock and Patrick Ness, he was announced as one of the writers of the upcoming film adaptation of Ness’ Chaos Walking book series, but I see no indication that progress has been made towards it being filmed.
  • Born November 19, 1959 – Allison Janney, 59, Oscar-winning Actor of Stage and Screen whose genre roles include the films Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Wolf, The Way, Way Back, and the remake of Miracle on 34th Street,  and voice roles in Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Finding Dory, Minions, Over the Hedge, and the upcoming animated reboot of The Addams Family, and in animated TV series including Aliens in the Family, Robot Chicken, and DuckTales.
  • Born November 19, 1962 – Jodie Foster, 56, Oscar-winning Actor, Director, and Producer who played the lead in the Hugo-winning film version of Carl Sagan’s Contact, for which she received a Saturn nomination. She has also received Saturn noms for her roles in horror films The Silence of The Lambs, Flightplan, and Panic Room, and she won a well-deserved Saturn trophy for her early horror role at the age of thirteen in The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. Other roles include Elysium, the recently-released Hotel Artemis, and voice parts in the series The X-Files and the animated Addams Family.
  • Born November 19, 1963 – Terry Farrell, 55, Actor best known to genre fans for her role as Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Film appearances include Hellraiser III, Legion, and Deep Core, and she has had guest roles in The (new) Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, Red Dwarf, and the fan series Star Trek: Renegades. In the Deep Space Nine crossover episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”, her character gushed over Spock; this year, she married his son, Adam Nimoy.
  • Born November 19, 1973 – Sandrine Holt, 45, Actor from England whose latest genre role is in the TV series The Crossing, in which refugees from the future seek asylum in the present. Prior to that, her extensive genre resume includes guest parts in the most recent run of The X-Files, Witchblade, The (new) Outer Limits, Mutant X, The Phantom, Sanctuary, Fear the Walking Dead, The Returned, The Listener, Damien, Friday the 13th: The Series, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and Mr. Robot. Film appearances include Terminator Genisys, Starship Troopers 2, Underworld: Awakening, Fire Serpent, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

(11) THE WINNING CRATER IS… Tech Crunch pays attention as “NASA chooses the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission”.

“The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. “Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life.”

The crater is located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator, with some of the oldest and most scientifically interesting landscapes Mars has to offer, according to NASA scientists.

(12) INVENTIONS OF THE YEAR. Popular Mechanics put together a list of the most impactful inventions; 1 per year (“65 Best Inventions of the Past 65 Years”). “Since the list starts in 1954, PM has declared that Nothing Interesting Happened Here™ in  or before my birth year, should that make me #Sad?” asks Mike Kennedy.

1954: Microwave Oven

1955: Polio Vaccine

1956: (Computer) Hard Drive

1957: Birth Control Pill

1958: Jet Airliner

etc.

(13) BUGS, MR. RICO! Since “These 4,000-Year-Old Termite Mounds Can Be Seen From Space” you can assume aliens flying wooden spaceships will be landing somewhere else…

Scientists have discovered an immense grouping of freakishly large termite mounds in northeastern Brazil. Obscured by trees, the previously undetected array occupies a space equal to the size of Great Britain.

As described in a new paper published today in Current Biology, the regularly spaced termite mounds date back nearly 4,000 years and cover an astounding 230,000 square kilometers…

(14) IS DNA DESTINY? The Hollywood Reporter rings up another Netflix genre show: “Netflix Orders Sci-Fi Series ‘The One’ from ‘Misfits’ Creator”.

The streaming giant has picked up 10 episodes of the show from Urban Myth Films and StudioCanal. The series is based on a novel by John Marrs.

The series is set “five minutes in the future” in a world where a DNA test can reveal a person’s perfect partner — the one you’re genetically predisposed to fall passionately in love with. But it also raises other questions: Who hasn’t thought about whether there is someone better out there? What if a hair sample is all it takes to find them? The idea is simple, but the implications are explosive.

(15) MAGICIANS SEASON 4. The Magicians returns with all new episodes on January 23 on SYFY.

Based upon Lev Grossman’s best-selling books, The Magicians centers around Brakebills University, a secret institution specializing in magic. There, amidst an unorthodox education of spellcasting, a group of twenty-something friends soon discover that a magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real— and poses grave danger to humanity.

 

(16) OMG IT’S THE ENTERPRISE! [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Somewhere out there in space an odd thing is happening. An image of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, writ much, much larger than the fictional ship, has been found ( NASA: “Abell 1033: To Boldly Go into Colliding Galaxy Clusters”). A composite image using X-ray, low-frequency radio wave, and optical data is a somewhat distorted but nonetheless recognizable depiction of the Enterprise. From the NASA press release:

Galaxy clusters — cosmic structures containing hundreds or even thousands of galaxies — are the largest objects in the Universe held together by gravity. Multi-million-degree gas fills the space in between the individual galaxies. The mass of the hot gas is about six times greater than that of all the galaxies combined. This superheated gas is invisible to optical telescopes, but shines brightly in X-rays, so an X-ray telescope like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is required to study it.

By combining X-rays with other types of light, such as radio waves, a more complete picture of these important cosmic objects can be obtained. A new composite image of the galaxy cluster Abell 1033, including X-rays from Chandra (purple) and radio emission from the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) network in the Netherlands (blue), does just that. Optical emission from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is also shown. The galaxy cluster is located about 1.6 billion light years from Earth.

(17) SHIT LIT. Upon reading Gizmodo’s report “We Finally Know How Wombats Produce Their Distinctly Cube-Shaped Poop”, Daniel Dern immediately recognized the potential sff reference to be made —

Which, of course, to us Olde Phartz, immediately calls to mind what story?

N Znegvna Bqlffrl, ol Fgnayrl T. Jrvaonhz, of course!

Text of story available at Project Gutenberg.

(18) NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. What subliminal advertising is at work here?

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

27 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/19/18 It’s Credentials All The Way Down

  1. So it isn’t just me then — I was thinking that really didn’t look much like the version on my TV in 1966, although I’ve since seen drawings of all sorts of interesting configurations of main hull, engine(s), and sometimes other stuff.

    Edit: Fifth!

  2. World’s Best Cat Litter is an excellent product. I have a slight preference for Naturally Fresh, the walnut litter. It has better odor control but doesn’t clump as firmly as World’ Best.

    I remember Robert Beltran in Night of the Comet. I liked that movie.

    On the Popular Mechanics list – a lot of that stuff was around earlier than I realized. My dad used the Cray when he was an engineer at the Air Force. He told me there was a long waiting list and they got a 15 minute slot around 2 AM that saved them three years of calculations.

  3. In an alternate timeline, Terry Farrell went from playing Jadzia Dax to portraying Diana Prince.

    Okay, so that takes some explaining. Back in those days, there were constant debates about what famous actor would be best for which superhero role; Wizard magazine even made a monthly feature out of the hobby. In one such discussion, when Wonder Woman came up, I remember thinking that most of the usual suspects were too petite for the role… and it struck me that Terry Farrell was both an exception to that objection and not a name commonly suggested for the role. I still think she would have been perfect for that as she was leaving DS9, not least because she’d gained a significant fan base as Jadzia and the show had afforded her numerous opportunities to handle fight scenes.

    So, fast-forward to the 20-teens, and I encountered her at DragonCon’s Walk of Fame. (I’d brought a non-Trek item for her to sign: the DVD insert to Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School, which I believe is her first big-screen credit. She played Rodney’s son’s love interest.) Anyway, as there was no line at the time, I mentioned my opinion and asked if – had the role been available – she would have taken it. Her answer was a happy yes, and I thus choose to believe that in some alternate timeline, that is precisely what came to be.

    Speaking of alternate timelines, I have been continuing my glacial erosion of the Ent graveyard which abuts my own Mount Tsundoku. After finishing the most lackluster Star Wars novel I can ever remember reading (Crosscurrent), I moved on to Harry Turtledove’s Gunpowder Empire, the first of his Crosstime Traffic books. It started slowly, but in the end it was a serviceable story that made me wish I knew where I’ve stashed the rest of the series. (And yes, I do know that each successive book involves a new cast and a new timeline. I still wanted to read the first one first.)

    I shall not have that problem with Tanya Huff’s “Confederation” series, which I have as three volumes (the first two novels are in one omnibus) and presciently kept together. I’m only about fifty pages in so far, but I like the lighter, witty tone quite a bit. I do not expect to have much trouble finishing this series, aside from the physical inconvenience of the omnibus’s thick spine and narrow gutter. Yet another reason to prefer ebooks, IMO.

  4. My re-read of the Malazan Book of the Fallen has slowed down in the middle of Toll The Hounds, which is not surprising because TTH’s pace is almost glacial and the main plot is almost nowhere to be found. Though I am gbgnyyl pehfurq jura gur Uvtu Cevrfgrff bs gur Erqrrzre vf sbeprq gb qevax gur Qlvat Tbq’f oybbq naq gheaf ba ure tbq.

    Hopefully I can push through to the next book and get back to the main plot.

  5. Reading: It’s been a few years, so I decided it was time to revisit the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom. Currently in the early part of Gods of Mars, arguably Burroughs’ best book overall, and still loving just about every page (or Kindle screen-equivalent).

  6. @ Rev Bob. I would have liked to have seen Farrell in that role.

    Reading: Just finished Forever Watch by David Ramirez. The author’s bio says Ramirez programs for the chronobiologists of EUCLOCK. Which is a real thing. Disappointingly, they are not involved with time travel, they study circadian rhythms.
    The book does not involve either time travel or circadian rhythms. Its a very well constructed book, seems to start out as a typical generation ship story, then goes off in unexpected directions. I’m impressed at the way the reveals are done, there was a clue to one of them in the very first chapter of the book and it provides a “that makes total sense but I would never have guessed” moment. I was a little disappointed in the moral at the end, I feel it doesn’t give humanity enough credit.

  7. bookworm1398: Just finished Forever Watch by David Ramirez. ts a very well constructed book, seems to start out as a typical generation ship story, then goes off in unexpected directions. I’m impressed at the way the reveals are done, there was a clue to one of them in the very first chapter of the book and it provides a “that makes total sense but I would never have guessed” moment. I was a little disappointed in the moral at the end, I feel it doesn’t give humanity enough credit.

    I read that book about 3.5 years ago. I remember really enjoying it (I see that I gave it 4 stars), though it had some things that kept if from getting to Hugo-worthy level for me. Reading the Amazon reviews, I remember a lot of it, but strangely, I don’t remember the ending, just that I thought it was pretty well done. Now I am going to have to request if from the library again so I can flip through it and refresh my memory.

  8. >Reading: It’s been a few years, so I decided it was time to revisit the dead sea bottoms of Barsoom.

    Always love to hear from Burroughs fans. What do you think about the attitudes on a late reread? Are there any “expired social values” that a problem for you?

  9. >Always love to hear from Burroughs fans. What do you think about the attitudes on a late reread? Are there any “expired social values” that a problem for you?

    Yeah, A Princess of Mars has some icky stuff about Indians in the opening chapters (when he’s still prospecting in Arizona); and the off-hand mention that the slaves all loved “Uncle Jack” (to say nothing of the fact that John Carter fought for the Confederacy). And the gender stuff is … suboptimal, to say the least. But I imprinted on them at a fairly early age, and once I get caught up in the story I can usually kind of get past the more problematic bits.

    I do think I’d have a lot more trouble revisiting Tarzan these days; it helps that almost all of the Barsoom stuff happens (obviously) on an entirely different planet, so the “expired social values” are mostly in some of the similes & metaphors that Carter uses when discussing his adventures, or in some of the comparisons he draws with Earthly examples.

  10. >Yeah, A Princess of Mars has some icky stuff about Indians

    One interesting thing about Burroughs (besides laying the groundwork for Sword & Sorcery) is that he was born in the 19th century. There was a disaffection then with industrialized society and a romantic yearning for a free life and a simpler existence. Unfortunately a lot of that comes across as racism and sexism these days.

  11. Reading: Was looking for lighter fare, and now reading The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff, after finishing The Enchantment Emporium. Just what I was looking for!

  12. @ JJ but strangely, I don’t remember the ending, just that I thought it was pretty well done

    The personal ending for the protagonist was well done. But jung V qvqa’g yvxr jnf gung qrpvfvba gung gur prafbefuvc naq xrrcvat bs frpergf jnf gur evtug guvat gb qb. Crbcyr jbhyqa’g fgnl pbzzvggrq gb gur zvffvba vs gurl ernyvmrq gur gehgu.

  13. @Lela
    The 19th century – and most of the 20th – was incredibly racist and sexist by current standards. I’d be surprised if any book written then didn’t have parts that make people go “ick”.

  14. (3) There are quite a few high end specialized computer hardware gaming companies. Some have been around for decades (FalconNorthwest) and some were bought by bigger manufacturers (Alienware – Dell).

    The high end computers only provide an online gaming advantage for:
    a] Flight Sims or First Person Shooters
    when
    b] You have a really fast internet connection

    Otherwise, the computer itself makes little difference.

    I’ve had 2 Alienwares (preDell) and 2 FalconNorthwests and both held up for a very long time gaming wise. I’m using a 2 year old Falcon Northwest Talon now. I gave my 7 year old Talon to a nephew who had to replace a graphics card to make it better than his machine.

    The newer specialized gaming rigs run liquid cooled systems which are very quiet. Modern graphics cards run so hot that if you use fans they can start sounding like prop aircraft.

  15. Rev. Bob says I shall not have that problem with Tanya Huff’s “Confederation” series, which I have as three volumes (the first two novels are in one omnibus) and presciently kept together. I’m only about fifty pages in so far, but I like the lighter, witty tone quite a bit. I do not expect to have much trouble finishing this series, aside from the physical inconvenience of the omnibus’s thick spine and narrow gutter. Yet another reason to prefer ebooks, IMO.

    The final book in that series is up next on my listening list as soon as I’m finished with Seanan McGuire’s The Girl in the Green Silk Gown which is quite amazing. The Privilege of Peace is apparently the final novel in that series though she’s left herself wriggle room if need be.

  16. I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs in my teens and twenties. Barsoom, Pellucidar, the Venus stories, Tarzan, Caprona, I read and enjoyed them all. Then, a few years ago, I found a new to me Burroughs book in a bookstore and happily took it home. I cracked it open, started to read and abandoned it after a few pages, because the magic was gone. Perhaps it was just a substandard Burroughs or perhaps the suck fairy visited his books in the meantime.

  17. I accidentally requested A Peace Divided from NetGalley without realizing that it’s really the second in the second Confederation series, (having only read The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff previously), and while it was OK, I strongly recommend reading the earlier works in the series first.

  18. (16) Might also be a hand pulling a rabbit out of a (unseen) hat.

    @Rev. Bob: I liked “Gunpowder Empire” better than the following ones but YMMV.

    Read the new “Rivers of London” book. Quite recommended. Better than the last one. Previous story points worked into text, but certainly don’t start here. Many characters return, as you want them to, and Things Are Revealed.

  19. I was a moderately big Burroughs fan in my teens, [mumble] years ago. Re-reading the Mars series more recently, I was pleasantly surprised at how few signs of the suck fairy were present. I mean, it’s very definitely a work of its time, with all that implies, but unlike some authors of his era, Burroughs didn’t seem to go out of his way to be horrible.

    I thought his prose held up fairly well too. Pulpy, but engaging. I have a much lower tolerance for that sort of thing than I did as a kid, but my “my god this is hackwork!” alarms didn’t go off anywhere near as frequently as I expected. (Which is not to say they were silent, but…) 🙂

    I remember Night of the Comet with some fondness, but I confess I never realized that it was Commander Chakotay in that, until now.

    Apropos of nothing: I recently stumbled across a rather bizarre series on Netflix US that some here might find interesting. It’s a Korean show from last year called “Strong Girl Bong-Soon”, and it was apparently a pretty big hit over there. It’s a…a superhero romantic comedy with occasional touches of horror. There were parts I found a bit iffy, though I suspect some of that was just cultural differences, but overall, I quite enjoyed it.

    The protagonist is a tiny, demure young woman who just happens to have super-strength. (It’s complicated.) Seeing this petite woman standing up to gangsters and politely giving them a chance to not be horribly beaten was probably the best part of the show. The deep sigh she gives whenever some guy twice her size decides to not be intimidated by her mere glare is just great.

    Then there’s the romantic triangle, which they played as cartoonishly as possible, with swirling hearts and flowers magically appearing whenever Bong-Soon spots her crush. Which leads to emotional whiplash when they suddenly jump to scenes of the serial kidnapper who is prowling Bong-Soon’s neighborhood, abducting women–scenes which occasionally gave me flashbacks to Silence of the Lambs and probably deserve some trigger warnings for sheer creepiness.

    My biggest complaint is probably the stereotyped depictions of gay men in the show. But A. at least they had some, and B. I did get the feeling that they were trying to put some positive spin on it. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this aspect of the show, in part because I’m not sure where Korean society is at about such things.

    There’s also some violence towards women (see trigger warning above) that bothered me as well, but the super-powered female protagonist helped offset my distaste for that.

    Despite those and a couple of other minor issues, though, I still liked it.

    Subtitles only, so if you hate that, you probably shouldn’t bother.

  20. @Cat: “The Privilege of Peace is apparently the final novel in that series though she’s left herself wriggle room if need be.”

    Well, drat – I only have the first four and was not aware there were more. Books 5-8 have been duly added to Ye Olde Wishlist. (And double-drat, I apparently did not buy the first books through Amazon. I was hoping for a Matchbook discount on the digital versions.)

    @Lurkertype: (Crosstime Traffic)

    I am hoping that the later books aren’t so gradual about getting to the plot. I think the first half of Gunpowder Empire was setup. Sure, I get that one needs to do some worldbuilding to introduce the home setting, the nature of crosstime travel, and the new timeline, but I was hoping to get to the main conflict sooner. (IMO, the complication promised on the back of a given book should happen within the first fourth of the book, if not sooner.)

    @Xtifr: (Bong-Soon)

    I won’t be seeing that in the foreseeable future – no Netflix – but the premise reminds me a bit of Jennifer Estep’s “Bigtime” superhero romance series and Lexie Dunne’s “Superheroes Anonymous” series (which has a new volume due out next week!).

    Fun tidbit: Although they don’t take place in compatible worlds, there are Easter-egg-level references to the other series in each of Estep’s works. For example, the Mythos Academy kids get takeout from the Elemental Assassin’s Pork Pit, and Bigtime’s Fiona Fine is a renowned designer in the EA books, but neither the EA nor MA settings include costumed superheroes.

  21. 3) For those that are interested: the New York Excelsior are playing the Philadelphia Fusion in a homecoming exhibition match on 12/1 — streaming live on the Fusion’s Twitch channel.

    The game in question is Overwatch, which is itself a strongly SFFnal sixty-years-in-the-future first person shooter.

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