Pixel Scroll 11/19/19 Bleary-Eyed Pixeling, Bah

(1) KING OF FUNKO. Entertainment Weekly rejoices: “Bloody Hell! Stephen King (finally) gets his own Funko figure”. In fact, two of them.

Countless characters from Stephen King‘s lexicon of horror works have shrunk down to Funko Pop! vinyl form, from The Shining‘s “Here’s Johnny” Jack Torrance to It‘s Pennywise the shape-shifting clown. Now, King himself joins the list of auteurs immortalized in plastic.

Funko unveiled the acclaimed author in toy form on Monday through two new figures. One is a more standard King, dressed in black and holding a book. The other pays homage to two of his literary creations.

…King joins the likes of fellow author-to-Funko figures George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire), Dr. Seuss, and Edgar Allen Poe (“The Raven”).

(2) THE SUM OF ITS PARTS. Adam Roberts thinks “The Fix-Up” novel’s importance to sff as been underestimated.

…But my suggestion, which, come the Greek kalends, I’ll write up into a proper academic paper, is this: the ‘fix-up’ has had a much larger, perhaps even a shaping, effect on the entire later development of SF than is realised. I don’t just mean those occasional SF novels today that are made up of discrete elements tessellated: Simmons’s Hyperion say, or Jennifer Egan’s Visit From the Goon Squad—it’s also in the way TV shows like Doctor Who or Star Trek assemble mega-texts out of lots of short-story-ish discrete elements, something (as per the MCU) increasingly mimicked by cinema. Only die-hard fans read new SF short stories today, but the form of the short story feeds directly into contemporary SF in several key ways. Speaking for myself, I find these formal possibilities really interesting: the jolting dislocation of it, the quasi-modernist experimentation; textual tessellation but in a pulp, populist idiom. That’s entirely my bag.

(3) LECKIE REMODELS. Ann Leckie has unveiled her new website and blog — https://annleckie.com/

(4) CHEATER WHO PROSPERED. Jesse Pasternack argues that Psycho Invented the Spoiler Alert as We Know It”. And used the one Hitchcock revealed in pre-release publicity to trick audiences into falling for the rest.

This is how Psycho operates—by outlining rules beforehand, it seems to promise to play by them. All of Psycho’s advance press materials were designed to manipulate audiences. The rules that Hitchcock set for watching it acted as extra-cinematic devices that would help further jolt audiences. Psycho breaks every rule it sets up. It doesn’t stick to a single genre (it goes from realistic crime story to psychological thriller to murder mystery). It kills its main character. Its main villain turns out not to exist. The character who takes over the plot is revealed to have been taken over by another force, a long time ago.

(5) WARTIME SERVICE. Rob Hansen has added a photo gallery to his fanhistory site THEN that shows British fans in uniform from WWII. Arthur C. Clarke and Terry Jeeves are in the mix: “WWII: BRITISH FANS IN THE FORCES”.

(6) THE FUR FLIES. The second trailer for CATS has dropped. USA Today provides the intro: “You have to see Taylor Swift (and Judi Dench’s fur coat) in the new ‘Cats’ trailer”.

Are you ready to see Judi Dench as a cat wearing a gangster-sized fur coat?

The new “Cats” trailer released Tuesday delivers such epic Dench moments, more Taylor Swift shimmying as Bombalurina and plenty of new jokes, thanks to the internet.

“Tonight is a magical night where I choose the cat that deserves a new life,” Dench’s Old Deuteronomy ominously intones.

“Judi Dench giving us @JLo in Hustlers,” tweeted Marc Malkin of The Hollywood Reporter, sharing an image of Dench in a full fur (on fur) coat.

(7) MANDALORIAN RECAP. Dean E.S. Richard warns you before the spoilers begin in his column “Mondays on Mandalore: A New New Hope” at Nerds of a Feather. Before he gets that far, Richard says —

…Going back to its roots, back in the actual New Hope days, that is what Star Wars is. Even amidst galactic conflict and high stakes, there is silliness and, well, life.

All of this is to say that The Mandalorian is Star Wars. There are tons of moments that make you laugh – even at its most tense. The stakes don’t seem high, at least until the end of the first episode, even for our helmeted protagonist. In my semi-humble opinion, that is where stories are the best – we know the Mandalorian himself will survive, but what will that cost?

(8) RESOURCES AND GOALS. Amanda S. Green has some advice about covers for indie authors in “What happens when you are avoiding NaNoWriMo” at Mad Genius Club.

Each of these images comes from Adobe Stock. If I broke down the monthly fee for a subscription, we’re talking about my having spent approximately $5 per image. When you consider how much a lot of authors pay for covers, that’s nothing. The fonts are all open source or free to use. Yes, the font work and text placement needs work. These are mock-ups to see if I liked what I was doing. That means there will be changes before the books go live.

Here’s the thing. Over the last couple of years, I’ve discovered a couple of things where book covers are concerned. First, it is important to review your covers every year or two. You need to see if they are still cuing genre and sub-genre properly. In other words, are they in line with what newer books are doing?

(9) AU REVOIR. Adri Joy covers the end of a trilogy in “Microreview [Book]: The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt”.

With so many action sequences to pack in, an entire system to liberate, and the overall arc with the Axiom to tie up, it’s almost inevitable that the ending of The Forbidden Stars gets a bit rushed. There’s nothing particularly unsatisfying about the events that transpire, but once things kicked off for the finale I found myself looking sceptically at the number of pages I had left to go, and one character in particular gets the short end of the stick when it comes to revealing their ending.

(10) LEND ME YOUR EARS. BGR’s Mike Wehner wonders why so few people – including him – ever heard of this station, which is definitely better than its ad: “NASA has a rock radio station, and the promo video is hilariously cringey”.

As the name implies, Third Rock Radio is a radio station that plays rock music. The “third rock” thing is a nod to Earth being the third planet from the Sun. The station plays a variety of rock tunes that often have some casual link to science or space. Basically, if a rock song has “Moon,” “Sky,” or “Rocket” in the title, it’s going to get played.

… NASA’s promotion of the station, on the other hand, has obviously been lacking. Even the promo video for the station has a mere 50k views despite being published over four years ago.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 19, 1919 Alan Young. He was David Filby and James Filby in The Time Machine. He was Stanley Beamish, the original lead in the unaired pilot of the 1967 Mr. Terrific series. It’s not the DCU character as the latter will not be created until 1997. And he was the voice of Scrooge McDuck for over thirty years, first in the Mickey’s Christmas Carol short (1983) and in various other films, series and even video games up to his death. (Died 2016.)
  • Born November 19, 1924 William Russell, 94. He played the role of companion Ian Chesterton in Doctor Who, from the show’s first episode in the end until the next to the last of the second season when the Companions change. Yes, I know the “Unearthly Child” was the unused original pilot.  He’s continued the role to the present at Big Finish. And yes, he’s in An Adventure in Space and Time.
  • Born November 19, 1936 Suzette Haden Elgin. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association and is considered an important figure in the field of SFF constructed languages. Both her Coyote Jones and Ozark Trilogy are most excellent. Wiki lists songs by her that seem to indicate she might’ve been a filker as well. Mike, of course, has a post on her passing and life here. (Died 2015)
  • Born November 19, 1953 Robert Beltran, 66. Best known for his role as Commander Chakotay on Voyager. Actually, only known for that role. Like so many Trek actors, he’ll later get involved in Trek video fanfic but Paramount has gotten legalistic so it’s called Renegades and is set in the Confederation, not the Federation.
  • Born November 19, 1955 Sam Hamm, 64. He’s best known for the original screenplay (note the emphasis) with Warren Skaaren for Burton’s Batman and a story for Batman Returns that was very much not used. He also wrote the script for Monkeybone. Sources, without any attribution, say he also wrote unused drafts for the Fantastic FourPlanet of the Apes and Watchmen films. And he co-wrote and executive produced the M.A.N.T.I.S.series with Sam Raimi. 
  • Born November 19, 1961 Meg Ryan, 58. I won’t say she’s been in a lot of SFF films but overall she’s been in some really great ones. There’s Amityville 3-D which we’ll ignore but that was followed by the terrific Innerspace and that segued into Joe Versus the VolcanoCity of Angels I’ve not seen but it sounds intriguing. Kate & Leopold is just plain charming. Oh, and she was the voice of the villain Dr. Blight for several seasons on Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
  • Born November 19, 1963 Terry Farrell, 56. She’s best known for her role as Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine. She too shows up as cast on Renegades that Beltran is listed in. She’s got some other genre roles such as Joanne ‘Joey’ Summerskill in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, and Allison Saunders in Deep Core. Interestingly she played the character Cat in the American pilot of Red Dwarf.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) MAY NOT RISE AGAIN. “Is UK Based Phoenix Conventions Out of Business?”Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn wants to know if this outfit is really and sincerely dead.

So it really looks like UK based Phoenix Conventions (and their parent company KJ Events) may truly be dead. We think. We’d be shocked if they aren’t at this point. Probably. Let me explain.

Yesterday we were forwarded a tweet from twitter user QuickInSilvr which declared that the company was filing for bankruptcy. While we haven’t been able to independently verify that claim, the company has entirely blanked out both their Phoenix Conventions and KJ Events websites. While the Facebook pages are still up, the Phoenix Conventions and KJ Events Twitter accounts have also been deleted.

(14) THE BLOB. This one’s a bit bigger than Steve McQueen’s adversary: “Supernova 1987A: ‘Blob’ hides long-sought remnant from star blast”.

Scientists believe they’ve finally tracked down the dead remnant from Supernova 1987A – one of their favourite star explosions.

Astronomers knew the object must exist but had always struggled to identify its location because of a shroud of obscuring dust.

Now, a UK-led team thinks the remnant’s hiding place can be pinpointed from the way it’s been heating up that dust.

The researchers refer to the area of interest as “the blob”.

“It’s so much hotter than its surroundings, the blob needs some explanation. It really stands out from its neighbouring dust clumps,” Prof Haley Gomez from Cardiff University told BBC News.

“We think it’s being heated by the hot neutron star created in the supernova.”

(15) A MULLIGAN. At Nerds of a Feather, Paul Weimer reconsiders his first Hugo ballot, beginning with The Big One (as GRRM calls it): “The Hugo Initiative: The Novels of 1999: A Retrospective: A Preview of My Genre Future (2000, Best Novel)”.

At the time that Hugo voting had ended, I had read four of them, and voted on that basis. (I had not yet read any Harry Potter and did not feel inclined to read through the series, I would feel different several years later) 2000 was about the first time I started to dip my toes into getting review copies, but it would be many more years before I got my “break” in that regard. I fondly remember getting an ARC of Darwin’s Radio, it was quite the surprise and delight.

(16) SPACEPORT FAIL. Space exploration is supposed to fill the skies, not the jails: “Putin’s pet space project Vostochny tainted by massive theft”.

Russia’s new Vostochny space centre has lost at least 11bn roubles (£133m; $172m) through theft and top officials have been jailed.

So what went wrong with President Vladimir Putin’s pet project?

Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee (SK) says it is handling 12 more criminal cases linked to theft in this mega-project, which Mr Putin sees as a strategic priority for Russia, because of its huge commercial potential.

The longest jail term handed down so far was 11-and-a-half years for Yuri Khrizman, former head of state construction firm Dalspetsstroy.

Prof Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), told the BBC the Vostochny scandal highlighted the scale of corruption in Mr Putin’s huge state bureaucracy.

“How can you deal with it without declaring war on your own elite? He’s not prepared to do that. This dependency on mega-projects almost invariably creates massive opportunities for embezzlement,” Mr Galeotti said.

(17) SOME PEOPLE. BBC wants to know “Why some people are impossibly talented”.

Polymaths excel in multiple fields. But what makes a polymath – and can their cross-discipline expertise help tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges?

If it weren’t for an actress and a pianist, GPS and WiFi might not exist.

In the late 1930s and early 40s, Hedy Lamarr was the already the toast of Hollywood, famed for her portrayals of femme fatales. Few of her contemporaries knew that her other great passion was inventing. (She had previously designed more streamlined aeroplanes for a lover, the aviation tycoon Howard Hughes.)

Lamarr met a kindred spirit in George Antheil, however – an avant-garde pianist, composer and novelist who also had an interest in engineering. And when the pair realised that enemy forces were jamming the Allied radio signals, they set about looking for a solution. The result was a method of signal transmission called ‘frequency-hopping spread spectrum’ (patented under Lamarr’s married name, Markey) that is still used in much of today’s wireless technology.

It may seem a surprising origin for ground-breaking technology, but the story of Lamarr and Antheil fits perfectly with a growing understanding of the polymathic mind.

Besides helping to outline the specific traits that allow some people to juggle different fields of expertise so successfully, new research shows that there are many benefits of pursuing multiple interests, including increased life satisfaction, work productivity and creativity.

Most of us may never reach the kind of success of people like Lamarr or Antheil, of course – but the research suggests we could all gain from spending a bit more time outside our chosen specialism.

…As David Epstein has also reported in his recent book Range, influential scientists are much more likely to have diverse interests outside their primary area of research than the average scientist, for instance. Studies have found that Nobel Prize-winning scientists are about 25 times more likely to sing, dance or act than the average scientist. They are also 17 times more likely to create visual art, 12 times more likely to write poetry and four times more likely to be a musician.

(18) THE FLAGON WITH THE DRAGON. Bookworm Blues’ “Ten Mini-Reviews of some Great Nonfiction Books” includes Sarah Chorn’s rave for The Poisoner’s Handbook.

I have to admit, if you tell me to go read a book about forensics, I am not going to be excited. I don’t know why, but while that sort of thing may interest others, it does almost nothing for me. So, going into this, I read this book because of the poison, not because of the forensics.

That being said, holy crap was it interesting. The chapters are broken up by poisons, and the author tells readers how the poisons were used, some specific cases of said poisoning/incidents, and how this incident transpired and impacted the evolution of NYC’s forensic medicine, and all of this happened during prohibition.

So, selling points: prohibition, poisonings, forensics.

(19) FIRST CONTACT. [Item by Carl Slaughter.] When dealing with little green men, sending and receiving signals involves a relatively simple technological achievement — harnessing radio waves.  Making first contact with an extraterrestrial, or them making first contact with us, initiates what will prove to be a very challenging conversation.  “Language is all based on culture and requires a common frame of reference.  If you told an alien, ‘I’m taking an Uber to buy some coffee at Starbucks,’ you’d have to explain what Uber is, then explain what a car is, then explain what the Internet is, what a phone is, an app, coffee, Starbucks, stores, the monetary system.  All stuff that is intuitive to modern humans.  Translating the words of an extra terrestrial civilization is just the first step.  Understanding what they’re saying is the more challenging task.”

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

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/19/19 Bleary-Eyed Pixeling, Bah

  1. (11) I thought Uneartly Child was the broadcast first episode (I wasn’t quite born yet, so I’m not an eyewitness)

  2. (8) RESOURCES AND GOALS.

    But most importantly: does your cover have a tavern in the snow on it? 😀

  3. The Wikipedia entry for An Unearthly Child didn’t clear it up for me — but those of you who know the series better may be able to.

    …the original recording of the first episode, which was later scrapped due to technical issues. Several changes were made before the final recording, including the character’s costumes and mannerisms; the Doctor’s suit and tie was replaced with an Edwardian outfit, and he became more affectionate towards Susan

  4. 17
    I’d be a lot more surprised, except that multi-field interests were pretty common in the schools I went to. (About a third of the students were in music programs in middle school. High school didn’t have so many – fewer places – but people still had multiple fields of interest. There’s a wall of music-program trophies that’s more impressive than the display of sports trophies.)

  5. (11) Alan Young is probably best remembered as the lead in Mr Ed, a relatively early TV fantasy show, of course, of course. And DC’s Mr Terrific is not really a 1997 creation, but a 1997 reimagining of a 1940s character.

  6. 11) Alan Young – Does being the comic foil of a talking horse count as genre? If so, let us not forget Mr. Ed. I was fortunate enough to have met him on a number of occasions, including helping him with two of his book signings. I have to say he was a very sweet and humble man. He retired to the Motion Picture Film & Television Country House. For his last birthday I brought him an Uncle Scrooge ball point pen. The only other actor I took the time to visit at the Actors House was Bud Abbott. Darn good company.

  7. Today’s reading didn’t include anything genre.

    However, having the dealership decide that my warranty covers the repairs on my car, plus a rental for the couple of days they’ll have it, feels downright fantastical.

    Mr. Ed is definitely fantasy. However, if you have fond memories of the show, and your sensibilities have evolved over the intervening decades, don’t rewatch too much of it. Best way to keep your fond memories. Unless, of course, you’re as fortunate as jkt, and can base those fond memories on knowing Mr. Young!

  8. OK, there are two versions of “An Unearthly Child” – the one that was transmitted, and an earlier, unbroadcast pilot. Both versions survive and have been released on DVD. It’s interesting to compare the two – the earlier one has very different characterisation by William Hartnell and Carole Ann Ford, not to mention a specific origin for the Doctor ( “We come from the forty-ninth century.” )

    William Russell was also Lancelot in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, the first (UK) series to be (partly) made and broadcast in colour (the first one to be wholly made in colour was Gerry Anderson’s Stingray, but you all knew that anyway.)

  9. 11) Elgin was indeed a filker – in fact, as a regular at OKon back in the day, she was part of my introduction to filk. I own both of the albums she recorded together with Randy Farran.

    11bis) I personally remember Beltran for playing the title character in the 1985 black comedy Eating Raoul, which starred Mary Woronov, who played G’Kar’s aide in an early episode of Babylon 5. If I recall correctly, she couldn’t handle the somewhat severe Narn prosthetics, so the character was written out (by way of airlock mishap) and another brought in.

  10. 2) If we’re going down that route then I suspect the truest mode of mimesis is this 60s novel – which I’ve never read but remember hearing about – that came as individually-bound chapters in a box, to be read in any order.

  11. Surely William Russell’s 95 if he was born in 1924, not 94?

    Well, there was this time machine, see….

  12. Wiki nows says William Russell is 95 so I guess that they have some rule as to when this automatically updates and that this depends on their choice of time zone (and when you consult Wikipedia). Safer do do the math yourself?

  13. Sophie Jane @ 2: Isn’t that the setup of Ellison’s long story “The Deathbird”–twenty-six (I think) sections, to be read in any order the reader chooses? I remember one story from that book having such a setup, because I was a teenager who decided not to go to my Uncle Paul’s funeral and stayed at my Uncle Grant’s house and read that book instead.

    In retrospect, the book, which was exceptionally good, could have waited.

  14. 2) I don’t have much to say about the thesis, but I’m bemused by his description of Hyperion (1989) as a novel of “today.”

    Also, it’s interesting that Roberts distinguishes Hyperion from the earlier fixups, when at least one of the parts (“Remembering Siri”) was first published as a short story.

  15. @John A Arkansawyer

    I remember The Deathbird was in sections, but I’d forgotten they were to be read in any order. I know there were other experiments in non-linear writing around then too but they tended to have more structure than than that – what little I can remember was either cyclical or concrete poetry.

    Still, I think physical chapters you can assemble in any order is subtly different from the feel of a static list of fragments… or a hypertext novel like Geoff Rymans’ 253, for that matter.

  16. @Sophie Jane: “Still, I think physical chapters you can assemble in any order is subtly different from the feel of a static list of fragments…”

    I’m sure that’s so. It was I read it. I made the conscious decision to read the odd-numbered or -lettered (I think the chapters were lettered, but I could be wrong) sections, then the even ones. I had to make an effort to skip correctly through the sections as I thumbed the book. Not a problem if you can just shuffle the deck.

  17. Meredith Moment: The ebook version of a certain T. Kingfisher’s The Seventh Bride is available for $0.99 at Amazon. Check your fave outlets.

  18. Mike says Wiki nows says William Russell is 95 so I guess that they have some rule as to when this automatically updates and that this depends on their choice of time zone (and when you consult Wikipedia). Safer do do the math yourself?

    Me? Math? I think not. We and that skill ain’t on good speaking term most days.

    He was 94 when Mike published that post which was last night. He is 95 today which is not when the post would have gone up. So 94 was the correct age for him at that time.

  19. My latest cover for Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler is going to have feathered raptors on it. Naked JurassicFranchise type raptors are a dime a dozen but raptors covered in tropical plumage require some artistic expertise.

  20. Charon Dunn:

    My latest cover for Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler is going to have feathered raptors on it. Naked JurassicFranchise type raptors are a dime a dozen but raptors covered in tropical plumage require some artistic expertise.

    You mean like these guys? I mean the pudgy and cute ones.

  21. @BravoLimaPoppa Exactly! I’m going to take raptors away from the manly patriarchy’s depiction of them as naked, scaly architects of death and feminize them as cute fluffy architects of death as my intrepid heroine struggles to rescue her favorite boy band from an ill-fated music festival set on a dinosaur planet.

  22. “He was 94 when Mike published that post which was last night. He is 95 today which is not when the post would have gone up.”

    So he’ll be 96 tomorrow then? 😛

  23. @Charon and BravoLimaPoppa —

    @BravoLimaPoppa Exactly! I’m going to take raptors away from the manly patriarchy’s depiction of them as naked, scaly architects of death and feminize them as cute fluffy architects of death

    Which brings to mind Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes, a 2019 book with one very large, very NON-cute feathered raptor-analog architect of death with a prominent role in the story — whose name is Congeniality. (There’s also a sword named Jeff.) Don’t remember if Congeniality’s color is ever discussed!

  24. Re: Ages: Coincidentally, I heard the following story from a friend Monday. He had recently visited his father to celebrate the old man’s birthday.
    “Well, I was 87,” the father said.
    “Dad, you were born n 1931. You’re 88,” my friend corrected.
    “I am 88,” the father replied, “but I was 87.”

  25. 9: I managed to slog thru the first book in that series, but decided not to read the rest for several reasons, not least of which was naming a character “Ibn”, as in “son of”.

  26. On raptors: one of my friends says she keeps imaging T. rex in mating season with pink plumes around their necks.

  27. Jake on November 20, 2019 at 10:34 am said:

    9: I managed to slog thru the first book in that series, but decided not to read the rest for several reasons, not least of which was naming a character “Ibn”, as in “son of”.

    Well I guess Ben and Mac are also first names…

  28. @Cam —

    Well I guess Ben and Mac are also first names…

    Not to mention “Fitz”, which has always amused me.

  29. @PJ Evans I just wrote a scene where our heroes interrupt a gentleman rex doing a mating dance for a lady rex, using his little arms to dazzle her with glimpses of the bright white spots underneath his wings. Which is kind of similar to what birds do, as well as boy bands, so I see no reason why rexes wouldn’t.

    @Contrarius I’ll have to check that out. I haven’t delved too deeply into Sam Sykes’ books yet but I enjoy his mom’s work.

  30. Contrarius on November 20, 2019 at 11:44 am said:

    @Cam —

    Well I guess Ben and Mac are also first names…

    Not to mention “Fitz”, which has always amused me.

    Fitz O’MacSon, the famed grandchild of Ben MacSon

  31. @Cat Eldridge: If Russell’s birthday was the 19th, he’d probably already turned 95 when the post would have gone up (~0300 20 Nov 2019 UTC) even if counted by the minute instead of the day. The same counting applies to all the other living birthdays.

    @John A. Arkansawyer: I’m curious where it’s documented that “The Deathbird” could be read in any order? (I’ve just re-skimmed the version in Deathbird Stories, which has no such note.) It’s not that long (it won for novelette, not novella), and while there are a lot of side trips I’d say the (slim) majority of sections form a linear narrative — and just skipping alternate sections leaves out pieces of the narrative, not to mention losing context for later sections.

  32. Fitz O’MacSon, the famed grandchild of Ben MacSon

    I’m over here in the corner, snickering about that one. (It’s way close to some of the stuff I’ve seen in medieval Irish genealogies.)

  33. naming a character “Ibn”, as in “son of”.

    I got bounced out of something earlier in the year when female Welsh descended characters were named as Firstname ap Something.

    Ah, one of the October Daye stories from the Hugo voting it was. “My name is April ap Learianth,” […]. “I am the daughter of January ap Learianth…”. ‘April ferch January’ would be acceptable for that relationship, but ‘ap Learianth’ is just wrong and using ‘ferch Learianth’ for both would get Mr Learianth a very hard stare…

    Mind you I was already losing WSOD by the continual use of “Sir Daye” which for much of history would result in a short introduction to the pointy end of Mr Sword if used to an actual knight…

  34. @Charon —

    @Contrarius I’ll have to check that out. I haven’t delved too deeply into Sam Sykes’ books yet but I enjoy his mom’s work.

    It’s a fun book, for certain very grim and bloody definitions of “fun”.

    😉

    Don’t be too disappointed if Congeniality doesn’t seem terribly close to a raptor to you. Maybe more like one of those “terror” birds. Close enough?

    terror birds

  35. Chip says If Russell’s birthday was the 19th, he’d probably already turned 95 when the post would have gone up (~0300 20 Nov 2019 UTC) even if counted by the minute instead of the day. The same counting applies to all the other living birthdays.

    My write-up, my rules so the official time zone I declare for these is the time zone where OGH is when he posts them. Given that when they were born would varied obviously by where they were born, your answer Chip is way too pedantic.

  36. Best known for his role as Commander Chakotay on Voyager. Actually, only known for that role.

    That sounds like a challenge to me. I also know Beltran for Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, which like Eating Raoul was a Paul Bartel film that starred Mary Woronov.

  37. @Chip Hitchcock: “I’m curious where it’s documented that “The Deathbird” could be read in any order?”

    Since you don’t find it in your copy, I’m wondering now, too. My memory could play me false.

  38. @JJ

    But most importantly: does your cover have a tavern in the snow on it?

    Nope, but it has exploding spaceships in space. Which every self-published space opera or military SF cover must have, otherwise readers will have no idea that the book is SF.

    11) A very young Robert Beltran was also in the post-apocalyptic film Night of the Comet.

  39. Just dug out my copy of Deathbird Stories and the first section of Deathbird proper begins:

    This is a test. Take notes. This will count as 3/4 of your final grade. […] Operational note: these sections may be taken out of numerical sequence: rearrange to suit yourself for optimum clarity. Turn over your test papers and begin.

  40. Ah — I was looking for something separate rather than in what I thought of as text (since I remembered there are multiple other parts of the story that look like my 4th-grade reading-comprehension workbook with added attitude). I guess you can take the author literally, but Ellison was never what I’d call a trustworthy narrator — I suspect he was trying to play with people’s heads. (Or possibly just yell in triumph; when he got the award, he said he’d given a first draft to Silverberg, who read it, dropped it, and said “Burn it!”) I do wonder what I’d think about it if I encountered it for the first time now — I’m less inclined to think I understand what instructions actually mean.

  41. @Cat Eldridge: You approached this pedantically; I answered in kind. Extending, I’ll note that when @OGH posts, about 3/4 of the day is gone in his time zone, which is most of the way around the world from the date line — IFF you insist that someone doesn’t change age until the minute of their birth, which is a distinction I’ve never seen observed; most people consider they’ve rolled over whenever they wake up on the day. And if you’re going to make up rules, will you apply them consistently, or randomly? The other listings that I’ve checked all treat the person’s age as having rolled over.

  42. @Joe —

    I’m about 99.7% sure that the inspiration for Congeniality is a grim & bloody version of Final Fantasy’s chocobos.

    I know zilch about Final Fantasy, so I’ll take your word for it. But IIRC I did see some comment or other from Sykes about the book giving nods to Final Fantasy and/or that general sort of videogame, so it stands to reason!

  43. @Anthony

    I got bounced out of something earlier in the year when female Welsh descended characters were named as Firstname ap Something.

    I assume from the context that these are naming conventions of non-human (faerie?) denizens of the modern world. Given that, their names might well reflect the same shifts in usage that occurred in Welsh as early as the 16th century, when “true” patronyms began being passed on as fixed surnames and losing their literal meaning. That is, after all, how we got the inherited surnames Price, Powell, Bevan, Bowen, and any number of others.

  44. @Cora

    Nope, but it has exploding spaceships in space. Which every self-published space opera or military SF cover must have, otherwise readers will have no idea that the book is SF.

    Snort!

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