Pixel Scroll 1/19/16 That Wretched Hive of Scrolls and Pixelry

(1) LE GUIN’S PROTEST. Ursula K. Le Guin’s letter to the editor in The Oregonian concisely explains the injustice of allowing Ammon Bundy and company to continue occupying a federal wildlife refuge.

Federal land: The Oregonian’s A1 headline on Sunday, Jan. 17, “Effort to free federal lands,” is inaccurate and irresponsible. The article that follows it is a mere mouthpiece for the scofflaws illegally occupying public buildings and land, repeating their lies and distortions of history and law.

Ammon Bundy and his bullyboys aren’t trying to free federal lands, but to hold them hostage. I can’t go to the Malheur refuge now, though as a citizen of the United States, I own it and have the freedom of it. That’s what public land is: land that belongs to the public — me, you, every law-abiding American. The people it doesn’t belong to and who don’t belong there are those who grabbed it by force of arms, flaunting their contempt for the local citizens.

Those citizens of Harney County have carefully hammered out agreements to manage the refuge in the best interest of landowners, scientists, visitors, tourists, livestock and wildlife. They’re suffering more every day, economically and otherwise, from this invasion by outsiders.

Instead of parroting the meaningless rants of a flock of Right-Winged Loonybirds infesting the refuge, why doesn’t The Oregonian talk to the people who live there?

Ursula K. Le Guin

Northwest Portland

Think Progress has a story about the letter with more comments by Le Guin.

Le Guin told ThinkProgress that the letter was printed unchanged, and she “got a pleasant note informing me it was to be published,” but nothing more from the paper or the author. A request for comment to the Oregonian’s public editor went unanswered as of publication.

The science fiction author is not alone in wanting the ranchers to return Malhuer to the public. Most Western voters, according to a recent poll, disagree with Bundy and do not want the states to take over public lands.

“We have been going out to the Steens Mountain area, on and near the Wildlife Refuge, for 45 years — first to teach summer classes at the field station, later just to be there in the grand high desert country,” she said. “We spend a week every summer on a cattle ranch very close to Refuge lands. I am proud to consider the family who own the ranch and the local hotel as friends, and I have learned a great deal from them. The Refuge Headquarters is a quiet, fragile, beautiful little oasis that is particularly dear to us.”

(2) WHAT IF BOOK FESTIVALS PAY WRITERS? Claire Armitstead’s opinion piece in the Guardian argues the burden of paying writers to attend book festivals would have unintended side-effects: “Book festivals are worth far more than fees”.

Philip Pullman became cheerleader for a growing band of refuseniks last week when he resigned as president of the Oxford literary festival because it didn’t pay speakers. Thirty more writers immediately picked up the chant, with a letter to the trade journal the Bookseller calling for all authors and publishers to boycott festivals that expected writers to appear for free.

…Edinburgh is one of the biggest festivals and an honourable exception to the no-pay rule, offering the same flat rate to all its contributors. But it’s not unusual to hear writers grumbling that this is tokenism, and no recompense for the hours (and expense) of travelling. So what is a reasonable return? Should it be calibrated to audience size, or offset against book sales? Or should it be a flat rate – only bigger than it currently is?

There are now more than 350 literary festivals in the UK, which adds up to a whole heap of calls on writers’ time and energy – and one argument is that if they can’t afford to pay contributors they should simply shut down. But small festivals do more than simply put writers on stage; they support local bookshops and create a buzz around books. They circulate flyers publicising authors and their work. They are part of the great reading group boom that has bolstered book sales by turning reading into a social activity.

…So while I have every sympathy for hard-pressed authors, I feel they need to be careful what they wish for. The logic of the marketplace – in book festivals as in every other arena – is that, were fees to become obligatory, the haves will end up having more, while the have-nots will find themselves banished to outer darkness. It would mean the end of a golden era of access to books and the people who write them. And that would be impoverishing for all of us.

(3) OXFORD MAY PAY WRITERS. Philip Pullman and other protesting writers have made the Oxford Literary Festival consider paying authors.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, the Oxford literary festival said that it “recognises and understands the strength of feeling in the literary community regarding the payment of speaker fees to authors and writers and we are sympathetic to this cause”.

But, adding that it is a registered charity that receives no public funding, with no full-time staff, supported by a team of 40 unpaid volunteers, the festival said that “for every £12 ticket sold, a further £20 in support has to be raised from our generous sponsors, partners and donors in subsidy”. The festival’s current supporters include FT Weekend and HSBC.

“We have of course been aware of the debate regarding author payments for some time, but given the limitations of the tight budgets we run to (the festival’s last audited accounts show a loss of £18,000 in 2014) paying each speaker would require an additional 15% in costs or £75,000 for the 500 speakers across our 250 events planned for 2016,” said the festival.

Once this year’s event in April is over, organisers have nonetheless said that they “will meet with all interested parties to discuss how to achieve payment of fees for all speakers – while safeguarding the presence of our record levels of unknown writers for 2017 and beyond”.

(4) ONE LORD A’LEAPING. Middle-Earth political science student Austin Gilkeson lectures on “The Illegitimacy of Aragorn’s Claim to the Throne” at The Toast. (Traffic to the post is hyped by the GIF of a flaming Denethor hurling himself from the promontory of Minas Tirith.)

After the War of the Ring and Denethor’s death, Gondor did embrace Aragorn as its new king, partially because he’d arrived at the head of an army of the Dead. But while “commands a terrifying ghost army” is a fantastic qualification for fronting a Norwegian black metal band or a community Halloween parade, it’s less than ideal for ruling a vast and diverse country of the living.

Even worse, Aragorn’s supposed suitability to rule is directly tied to his pure Númenorean blood….

Given that the Númenoreans ruined their civilization to the point that it was personally destroyed by God Himself, the Gondorrim probably shouldn’t have been so quick to crown a long-lived, pure-blooded Númenorean like Aragorn. They’d probably have been better off elevating Pippin Took to the throne. Hobbits at least dally with the good things in life: hearty food, heady ales, fireworks, and weed.

(5) EVERYMAN HIS OWN NUMENOREAN. Stephen Hawking issued another warning that humanity may wipe itself out in years to come.

Cheery physicist Professor Stephen Hawking says that mankind could be wiped out by our own creations within the next 100 years.

Answering audience questions at this year’s BBC Reith Lectures, he said that our rush to understand and improve life through science and technology could be humanity’s undoing.

He has previously suggested that colonising other planets will be the only way that the human race can survive, but he warns that we may lose Earth to some kind of major disaster before we have a chance to properly do so.

“Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low,” he explained, “it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years.

(6) SFWA KICKS IN. Science Fiction Writers of America has begun donating to some non-members’ crowdfunded self-publishing efforts.

Beginning in January, SFWA will be making small, targeted pledges to worthy Kickstarter projects projects by non-members, designating them a “SFWA Star Project.” Projects will be selected by the Self Publishing Committee, coordinated by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections will be based on the project’s resonance with SFWA’s exempt purposes, and special preference will be given to book-publishing projects in the appropriate genres.

Funds for these pledges will come from the SFWA Givers Fund, from a $1000 pool approved by the Grants Committee in December. When a pledge results in receiving a donor reward such as a signed book, these items will be auctioned off at fundraising events, to help replenish the Givers Fund.

The first two Star Projects are:

SFWA President Cat Rambo also blogged about the initiative.

Over the past few years, I’ve been helping with the effort to open SFWA doors to professional writers publishing outside the traditional structure, to the point where we are the only writers organization (I believe) to accept crowdfunded publications as membership qualifying material. The Star Project effort ties in nicely with that and it’s gratifying to see SFWA continue to expand to match the changing needs of professional F&SF writers.

(7) BETTER THAN THE FILM. Rachael Acks has a completely entertaining and THOROUGHLY SPOILERY review of SyFy’s theatrical release 400 Days. You’ve been warned. And it’s safe to read the first paragraph, where nothing is given away  –

400 Days is the first theatrical release film from a company (SyFy) that’s been cranking mediocre to howlingly (we hope intentionally) funny terribad movies out onto its cable station for years. Getting in to movie theaters is a big deal, a major investment, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee a movie’s actually good, right? Let me tell you, I’d rather watch a SyFy offering any day than Transformers 4. But is this Syfy going legit, so to speak?

(8) RSR INDEXES ARTISTS. Rocket Stack Rank has now added exhibit and viewing tools for a wide number of creators eligible in the Best Professional Artist and Best Fan Artist categories. Gregory N. Hullender says, “The value we’ve added here is that we’ve gathered together hundreds of online images and set up a lightbox so people can riffle through them quickly.”

The drawback to the Best Fan Artist exhibit is that it features only semiprozine cover contributors at the site, and a link to eFanzines’ cover index where one can see some artwork in fanzines produced as PDFs. I will be the first to agree there are technical barriers and questions about permissions in the way of indexing art from PDFs (in contrast to semiprozine covers which are already available online) – however, RSR needs to figure out how to present fan art on a level playing field.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 19, 1990 — Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures in Tremors, seen for the first time on this day in 1990.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born January 19, 1809 – Edgar Allan Poe

(11) CONRUNNERS COULD USE MORE FANS LIKE THIS. Icelandic strongman Hafthor Bjornsson, known for his role as “The Mountain” on HBO’s Game of Thrones set a Guiness World Record for being the fastest person to carry two refrigerators 65 feet.

(12) CLEVELAND THANKS THE FANS. In response to a club’s charitable work, “Cleveland celebrates Star Trek’s roots with thank you to The Federation”.

Cleveland City Councilman Martin Keane will present a resolution of appreciation at 7 p.m. PJ McIntyre’s, on Lorain Avenue in Kamm’s Corners, is hosting a celebration from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

According to the resolution, the 60-member Cleveland chapter, named the USS Challenger — named to honor the crew of the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger — has raised $15,000 for local charities, and has conducted annual drives for food for local food banks; supplies for local animal shelters; Toys for Tots campaigns and supported March for Babies, Heartwalk and Laura’s Home.

Given that the reporter pointed to another Cleveland/Star Trek connection — did you know Majel Barrett was a native of suburban Shaker Heights? — it’s a pity no one told her that Roddenberry previewed the show for fans at the 1966 Worldcon in Cleveland.

(13) LOVECRAFT LETTERS. Heritage Auctions will take bids on a parcel of 10 handwritten letters by H. P. Lovecraft at its Rare Books Auction #6155 on April 6. The letters to aspiring author Frederic Jay Pabody are full of writing and publishing advice.

Lovecraft recounts recent visits with his “literary friends” R.H. Barlow and Adolphe de Castro, the suicide of Robert E. Howard, other “weird” fiction authors, the nature of good marriages and bad marriages, religion (or the lack thereof), Atlantis, some splendid passages about the nature of “seriously artistic” weird fiction, and his repeated inveterate hatred of typewriters.

One highlight from the letters includes a hand drawn map or, as Lovecraft calls it, a “rough Mercator’s Projection chart” of Kusha, a land associated with the myth of Atlantis.

Another letter, displaying Lovecraft’s somewhat morbid sense of humor, describes his short story “The Haunter in the Dark”, in which he kills off a character based on his friend and fellow writer Robert Bloch, as “a kind of revenge.”

In both ‘The Dark Demon’ and ‘The Shambler from the Stars’ Bloch has a figure modelled more or less after me come to a hideous end. Well- I’ve survived other fictional deaths – Long having left me as a charred cinder on the floor of my apartment over a decade ago in “The Space-Eaters.” In a recent unpublished mss. Kuttner kills off Bloch, himself, + myself under thin disguises… slaughter de-luxe! I am decapitated – but my head is later found with its teeth buried in his carotid artery. Nice, wholesome ideas the boys have!” (December 20, 1936).

(14) BUGS. Kudos to Black Gate’s John ONeill for turning today’s entomological headline into a beautiful genre blog post – “I Don’t Mean to Alarm Anyone, But We’ve Discovered Giant Insects on Monster Island”.

(15) PEOPLE OF EARTH. TBS has given a series order to People of Earth, a comedy starring Daily Show alum Wyatt Cenac as a skeptical journalist investigating a support group for alleged alien abductees.

In the series, from Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels (The Office) and formerly known as The Group, Cenac’s Ozzie Graham slowly becomes sympathetic to the survivors’ stories and eventually comes to suspect that maybe he is an abductee, as well.

The cast includes Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory), Oscar Nuñez (The Office), Michael Cassidy (Men at Work), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Selfie), Brian Huskey (Veep) and Tracee Chimo (Orange Is the New Black).

 

[Thanks to Will R., Brian Z, Cat Rambo, Jim Reynolds, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

213 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/19/16 That Wretched Hive of Scrolls and Pixelry

  1. Jo Walton’s sonnet for David Hartwell.

    And in another direction, the discussion of South Park-based nickname from someone who, by his professed faith, shouldn’t know about it reminds me of the observation that Right-thinkers on social media so often have handles or icons or header quotes that come from sources who would repudiate most of their views. George Carlin, for instance, or Star Trek, or other entertainment figures who are known for their liberal slant on life. I guess they can’t all use Eric Cartman, and nobody really seems all that deep-down enthusiastic about Day By Day, or Mallard Fillmore, so I guess they must go by default to images of avowed philosophical foes to find avatars cool enough to stand in for them on social media.

    Meanwhile, nobody’s cool enough to stand in for me. Not even me. I’m guessing it’s because I originally signed up for Gravatar under my Road Runner address, but I use my Gmail address for pretty much everything else. Contemplating getting my actual image legally changed to a white circle atop a white half oval.

  2. Dann –

    The character development for Rey wandered too close to Mary Sue territory for my tastes.

    Like Anakin who was an immaculate birth due to the force, or Luke Skywalker who knew how to pilot an X-Wing and use the force in order to pilot and destroy the Death Star despite having only shot womprats and not believing the Force existed shortly before.

    Those Mary Sues really ruined all of the movies before now!

  3. @Tasha and others — yeah, Leia is my favorite Disney princess.

    I’m curious about Brad T. I was re-reading something on Scalzi’s blog from mid 2012 (the “who gets to be a geek?” commentary on an article by Joe Peacock). In the comment stream, Brad T commented a couple of times; in all cases, he was lucid, coherent, he stated his point-of-view and didn’t insult anyone. So when did he become radicalized?

  4. @Bruce Diamond, @Cheryl S.
    Thanks for identifying the cover artists.

    In cases where the cover art was attributed to a stock photography/illustration service, I chose that over the cover designer (responsible for the text type/color/layout and logos on the cover) since the category is for artist, not designer. If only a cover designer was identified, I assumed that person also created the art used in the design. That resulted in the removal of Lauren Panepinto as artist for a few book covers.

    @Vasha
    I’ve added the novels except “Disciple of the Wind” because a large image was not available from Amazon. I think five covers for Chris McGrath’s art is enough to show his style. 🙂

  5. DMS, I listened to I AM PRINCESS X on audiobook. It did not really make much of an impression on me; I’m struggling to remember much of the plot or characters.

    I’ve read several of Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century books and enjoyed them much better. Also just finished MAPLECROFT last week; Lovecraftian fiction is a subgenre I’m usually cold on, but Priest’s mashup of Lizzie Borden and the Cthulhu-verse was intriguing and creepy.

    (Wow, apparently “Cthulhu” is included in my spellchecker.)

  6. In the comment stream, Brad T commented a couple of times; in all cases, he was lucid, coherent, he stated his point-of-view and didn’t insult anyone. So when did he become radicalized?

    When he decided there was promotional value to it.

  7. Surprised a good Mormon boy like Brad even watches “South Park”! It’s rated TV-MA, which Mormons aren’t supposed to watch. It’s got all that cussing, sex, scatology, and literally called Mormonism “dumb dumb dumb dumb” in a musical episode. Admittedly, they were kinder to Mormons than Scientology.

    Well, that same episode’s ultimate moral was “Sure, the beliefs are dumb, but Mormons are nice people, so who cares?” And another episode established that in the SP universe, Mormonism actually is the correct religion. Parker and Stone are on record as genuinely liking Mormons, even if they don’t share the beliefs.

    Couldn’t say how much of that informs BT’s take–I’m uncomfortable with mind-reading–but there you go.

  8. I’m a trifle squicky on policing BT’s Mormonism, since I myself am so far lapsed from Catholicism that I have to stop and mutter to myself to be able to recite a Hail Mary (and also don’t actually believe in the divinity of Christ, but that bit bothers me a lot less.) As our respective sins go, him watching South Park probably comes in a whole lot lower than the decades of confession I have failed to attend. JCW, ok, he raves about his faith pretty much hourly, but I don’t think BT uses his as a bludgeon most of the time, so it’s not my place to get involved.

    I am not gonna pick at the Cheezy-Poof in my brother’s eye on this one.

  9. Eric Wong: In cases where the cover art was attributed to a stock photography/illustration service, I chose that over the cover designer (responsible for the text type/color/layout and logos on the cover) since the category is for artist, not designer. If only a cover designer was identified, I assumed that person also created the art used in the design. That resulted in the removal of Lauren Panepinto as artist for a few book covers.

    Now, see, I totally disagree with that — because art designers are artists. I think it’s really bizarre that you don’t consider them artists. Most of them will have art and graphic design degrees.

    It’s the cover designer who can take a perfectly ordinary photo(s) and, using fonts, positioning, and color and shadow alterations, turn it into a fantastic work of art.

    I’m not saying that photographs are chopped liver — I’m just saying that on books, it’s usually the design and not the photograph (which is usually stock and not exceptional artistry) which really makes the cover.

    I’m guessing that you’re a photographer and not an illustrator, painter, or art designer; this would explain our wildly differing points-of-view.

  10. Having a hard time formatting this, so…

    This…

    In the comment stream, Brad T commented a couple of times; in all cases, he was lucid, coherent, he stated his point-of-view and didn’t insult anyone. So when did he become radicalized?

    And then…

    When he decided there was promotional value to it.

    I somewhat disagree. Scalzi, who is a bit right of center, politically, was considered a froody dude by at least social libertarian types, and even some right wingers until around about when Elevatorgate happened, which is to say, when feminism reared its egalitarian head and shouted to the world, “hey, could men be a little less creepy sometimes?” Scalzi came out hard for feminism and his previous right wing allies have never forgiven him. He turned coat at that point and was therefore an SJW, a liar, and someone who could never be correct about anything. Admittedly, that’s what I gleaned following this stuff non-obsessively, but it makes sense from what I’ve seen.

    Insofar as his actual beliefs go… God bless his heart.

  11. @The other Nigel

    I’m curious about Brad T. I was re-reading something on Scalzi’s blog from mid 2012 (the “who gets to be a geek?” commentary on an article by Joe Peacock). In the comment stream, Brad T commented a couple of times; in all cases, he was lucid, coherent, he stated his point-of-view and didn’t insult anyone. So when did he become radicalized?

    Sometime after his breakup with Scalzi? I wasn’t active much around that time but something caused BT to stop being a part of Scalzi’s blog community. I’ve never felt the need to track the whole thing down. It gets alluded to occasionally when BT comments there.

  12. @ErrollC – Cheryl S, did Polynesians introduce rats also? They did in NZ, but we didn’t do land-based mammals at all.

    I think not, although Wikipedia says yes (but provides no citation). Given the length of time various non-European peoples inhabited the Hawaiian islands without apparent reduction in the native bird populations, either the Polynesians had magical rat wrangling powers or the introduction of rats didn’t occur until European ships arrived.

    @RedWombat – But I might make a couple new islands nearby and start offloading native species and ban all non-researchers on pain of the dictator’s extreme displeasure.

    Well, there are dozens of uninhabited islands, atolls and islets in the Hawaiian archipelago, some with water sources, so you wouldn’t actually need to use your powers to make new islands. Also, there’s Kaho’olawe, which is uninhabited except for a small group of researchers and transient volunteers. It’s just a short boat ride from Maui, so resupply would be really easy.

  13. @Cherl S – Thing is, I just know that if I pick a random uninhabited atoll, it’s gonna be the primary breeding ground for long-eared purple albatrosses but nobody caught that, or whoops, there are ants (like on that one seabird nesting island that has the evil formic-acid shooting ant super colony and the poor volunteers shoveling out catfood, treacle and poison to get a foot or two of ground at a time) or whatever.

    Human track record with islands that look clean is…poor. Might be easier to just dredge one up and roll the dice.

  14. None of the information for her Universe Press specifies what rights they buy, what percentages the author gets, or whether they negotiate advances. I’m okay with that from a big name press with an established record because they’ll have a widely varied range and I can see their books in stores, but a place with no established track record run mainly by a person whose experience isn’t in publishing needs to give at least some clues what their authors are in for besides “hey, you got published!”. Maybe it’s too many years of writer beware but I am not liking their guidelines.

  15. @JJ: art designers are artists

    I had skimmed through ten years of Professional Artist nominees and all were illustrators, none seemed to get nominated by fans on the basis of creating text with great type/color/layout for book covers, so I stuck with tradition. Maybe it’s time for change, but I’m an engineer so I’m not qualified to get into a deep discussion about book cover art. 🙂

  16. Greg Hullender: We looked at the original cover (for the self-published book) and it does differ significantly from the cover on the professional version. Our guess is that for copyright purposes they considered it a derivative work, but for Hugo purposes it might well be considered a significant modification. If it gets nominated, I think it’d be up to the committee to figure it out.

    See, I think you’ve got the wrong cover for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I think the Hodder cover is the one which is award-worthy.

    And look at this epic mini board game I found while digging up that cover!

  17. Eric Wong: I had skimmed through ten years of Professional Artist nominees and all were illustrators, none seemed to get nominated by fans on the basis of creating text with great type/color/layout for book covers, so I stuck with tradition. Maybe it’s time for change, but I’m an engineer so I’m not qualified to get into a deep discussion about book cover art.

    I think we may see that changing — because of the advent of digital artists and the sophistication of the tools they are using. Artists no longer have to use a brush and pigments to be fantastic painters.

    Look at the Trigger Warning cover: it’s a composite of 4 stock photos, but what makes it a beautiful cover with an eerie, desolate, subtle dread-inducing feel is the way that the cover designer has combined those elements. Should the 4 stock photographers get credit for that cover? Hell, no. Should the stock photographer who took the photo of the tree on the front of The Glittering World get credit for that gorgeous cover? Hell, no.

    I’d be interested in knowing which book covers of Lauren Panepinto’s you chose not to credit to her. It’s possible that the stock photos are indeed the main feature — but given that I’ve seen some of her fantastic work, I suspect that the photos are merely pedestrian, and it’s her design and use of them which makes them amazing.

    ETA: Here’s one of Panepinto’s covers. You can’t tell me that it’s the photographer who is the real artist on this one.

  18. @RedWombat: As a bonus, a built island could have R’lyeh and Lemuria theme parks off on peninsulas.

  19. I would say, however, that for me “Best Fan Artist” (and the other fan categories) is not just about artistic merit, but about contribution to Fandom

    To me that makes the award sound somewhat insular. As if to get the award you have to already part of the tribe.

    Hugos, to me, should be purely about creativity and not someone’s participation in ‘club activities’.

    And I feel no obligation to search through DeviantArt to find the best artist there for my nomination.

    This is sorta why I am ambivalent about the award. Back in the day it would have been relatively easy to scope much of the fan art, but the modern explosion in fandoms and the amazing creativity that has gone with them is beyond any one person’s ability to encompass.

  20. Petréa,

    This was the clinching line for me:

    Maintain the sharp boy/girl product division. Marginalize girl characters in items not specifically marketed as girl-oriented.

    I was reading somewhere else about how this attitude bleeds out not just into marketing material solely at boys, but kills creative endeavours that use toys sales as a side-line.

    Paul Dini spoke of the pressure he was under in the Teen Titan days to dumb down the drama in favour of hijinks aimed at 8 yr old boys. There was a heavy inference that TT got cancelled early because of the female following.

    And then there was the atrocious decision Nickelodeon made with Legend of Korra, only okaying the first season because they didn’t think boys would watch it! Then when the extra seasons were made they screwed up the promotion and release schedule, almost as if they wanted it to fail.

    Another splendid line of stupidity:

    They put a huge investment into marketing and merchandizing the Kylo Ren character. They presumed he would be the big breakout role from the film.

    Just as the ST Voyager execs thought Neelix would be the break-out character.

  21. RedWombat,

    I suspect in this case they were also expecting another Darth Vader

    How much would it cost for me get a ‘Cheer Up Emo Darth’ picture of Kylo along the lines of Emo Boy

  22. Bruce Baugh wrote: “@RedWombat: As a bonus, a built island could have R’lyeh and Lemuria theme parks off on peninsulas.”

    Would a R’lyeh theme park be one where admission is free, but you have to pay to get out?

  23. Just as the ST Voyager execs thought Neelix would be the break-out character.

    Of course, when they had that episode with “Tuvix”, I thought he was more interesting than Tuvok and Neelix put together…

  24. Tintinaus: Just as the ST Voyager execs thought Neelix would be the break-out character.

    Gah. There were parts of Voyager that I really liked, but Neelix was the failure mode of Quark. I thought that his character was so poorly done (and his honey-sweetie — gag, blech — relationship with Kes so awful) that it really doomed the show from the start.

  25. @Paul Weimer

    Of course, when they had that episode with “Tuvix”, I thought he was more interesting than Tuvok and Neelix put together…

    *choke* I saw what you did there. 😀

  26. @ Aaron That’s a bit spooky, that Torgersen has fixated on you that way. You have my sympathy. I hope he gets over it soon.

  27. That’s a bit spooky, that Torgersen has fixated on you that way. You have my sympathy. I hope he gets over it soon.

    It is probably more of an inconvenience for him than me. I mostly don’t think about him except when something by him pops up here, but I am apparently living in his head quite a bit. I usually only notice his obsession when I get hits on my blog from the MGC, which are almost all the result him linking to it.

  28. Would a R’lyeh theme park be one where admission is free, but you have to pay to get out?

    Get out? I think there’s a bit of misunderstanding here.

  29. Bruce Arthurs, I am a big fan of Maplecroft and it’s sequel, Chapelwood. I also thought Bloodshot was fun, but haven’t yet picked up any of the Clockwork Century books. Princess X is aimed at a younger audience (high end of MG, low end of YA) and includes some illustrated content. Thanks for the impressions on the audiobook. I read in paper, e-, and audio formats and if I get this one, it will be the paper version.

  30. @Dann665:

    Rey beats Darth Emo despite having just an experience of touching a light saber, and having zero training.

    Here, Abrams was uncharacteristically careful to provide narrative justification. We are shown that at the time of the big fight, Kylo Reddit is seriously wounded and fatigued. It’s all visual cues – blood seeping past his hand and landing on the snow – but it’s still deliberate storytelling.

    The repair thing I can see as in the penumbra of her years of doing salvage work on starships plus stuff about her mysterious background we’re not told. The fight in the camp doesn’t come with obvious prior justification, so each of us has to either accept it as, “Here is a thing you need to know about Rey: she’s learned to be an effective scrap-fighter somewhere.” or reject it as, “I have been shown no prior reason to believe she should be able to do this,” or roll with it as, “It’s a weird convention of screen adventures that everyperson protagonists can often hold their own in conflicts where they’d be outclassed in the real world.” I can totally see Rey’s combat prowess breaking some people’s SOD, and also it not breaking other people’s. I was in the “roll with it for various reasons” camp myself.

  31. SPOILERS DAMMIT.

    Look, I’m not a terribly spoiler-averse person, but I am trying to get to this movie without seeing too much about the details.

    (“Rey is actually the main character” I can handle as a spoiler and in fact wanted to know early – take that, Hasbro – “The badass is actually kinda emo” I can take as a warning. “Someone seems to be considering a competent female as a Mary Sue” is practically a given about reality. But I have now been spoiled for scenes, and character deaths and relationships I should have as a surprise. When it happens opn Facebook, I get that’s a risk I was taking, but here…)

  32. THere’s a spoiler thread for a reason. Use it. http://file770.com/?p=26630

    Mike, can you move the spoiler conversation there?

    And Tintinous; you’re still within the five minutes to edit; please do your fellow scrollers a favor and delete the above and put it in that spoiler thread.

    ETA: Thank you, Tintinous.

  33. Jim Henley: Sure, but it was really my fault for approving dann665’s comment before moving it (which, honestly, didn’t occur to me til Cally asked.)

  34. @JJ, I’ve come around to your way of thinking about crediting the cover/jacket designer as the artist in the case of stock images used for the cover art. The page has been updated with a note.

    I got most of the artist credits from ISFDB.org and assumed they were cover artists, but a quick check on “stock-like covers” this morning shows some of them are cover designers (Chris Brand, David G. Stevenson, Jim Tierney, Will Staehle).

    I’ve added Lauren Panepinto back, added Rob Grom, credited Will Staehle with “A Darker Shade of Magic,” and updated “The Annihilation Score” cover.

    As for the other cover for “A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet,” send me the artist name and website and I’ll add it to the page.

    Thanks again to everyone who helped identify the artists of the books in the Unknown section! There’s just one left now. 🙂

  35. > “As for the other cover for ‘A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet,’ send me the artist name and website and I’ll add it to the page.”

    Back of mine (which has that cover) says:

    Cover photographs (c) Christoffer Meyer (landscape) (c) Shutterstock.com (figure)

  36. @Jim Henley

    I agree that different viewers can and will have different reactions. From my perspective, there were just too many separate issues where explicit character development fell short. Separately/individually, a little SOD is easy to handle. Together? Not so much.

    @ Lenora

    Sorry about that. It wasn’t intentional.

    Regards,
    Dann

  37. Thanks guys. It’s a frustration to me that I can’t get to the movie and squeee and discuss along with you all, possibly not for another week and a bit. So I’m getting unfairly prickly.

    Positive stuff to do with recent media we’ve been behind on: I’ve been kinda mainlining Welcome to Night Vale. I think I still like the Hidden Almanac better, but it’s getting to be the podcast equivalent of short story vs. novel and harder to compare (but I still want to know what’s going to happen to Pastor Drom re the cultists…).

    And the hubby and I are watching Jessica Jones at last, which, yeah. Darker and scarier but easier to watch for me than Daredevil, because it knows the violence is bad (especially the bits that don’t look like violence) where Daredevil seem to think it’s okay as long as the right people are punched.

  38. Soon Lee said:

    Returning islands to their native state is doable but takes a large amount of resources & time.

    The native state of islands is barren volcanic wastelands. What you are trying to do is make distinctions between species that drifted to the islands on various occasions on trees knocked down by hurricanes and species that drifted to the islands on various occasions on trees knocked down by humans and carved into boats. Both kinds of introductions are alien and modify the ecosystem. Change is utterly inevitable and evolution doesn’t happen without extinction. Want islands returned to their native state? Nuke ’em from orbit, it is the only way to be sure.

  39. @Lenora Rose:

    And the hubby and I are watching Jessica Jones at last, which, yeah. Darker and scarier but easier to watch for me than Daredevil, because it knows the violence is bad (especially the bits that don’t look like violence) where Daredevil seem to think it’s okay as long as the right people are punched.

    Oh let me fifth this. Let me fifth this five times.

    Thanks guys. It’s a frustration to me that I can’t get to the movie and squeee and discuss along with you all, possibly not for another week and a bit. So I’m getting very prickly.

    It actually makes me feel worse that I didn’t like the movie that much. In the best of all possible worlds, I could trade you my viewing!

  40. @Lenora Rose, Jessica Jones took me a long time to watch because of how hard each episode was. So good, but so hard to watch.

  41. I imagine Jessica Jones would be utterly painful for the survivors of several different kinds of abuse and manipulation and trauma. It is really obviously not for Everyone.

    But for those who have the stomach for it, it also kind of validates their right to feel what they feel about what happened. It doesn’t minimize “I had to keep smiling”, much less actual rape, and while it does note some coping mechanisms are unhealthy (Jessica’s drinking) it also seems aware they are coping mechanisms, not just bad behaviour. At least so far.

  42. @Lenora Rose

    They’re also mining many Hardboiled Detective and Noir tropes, the drinking is in keeping with that too. If it wasn’t socially unacceptable to the audience she’d probably be smoking like a chimney too.

  43. Jack Lint: I wonder if this was spurred by the debate with Kristen Lamb who appeared in MGC comments as Author Kristen Lamb.

    If so, then Hoyt has massively missed Lamb’s point in registering and commenting under that username, which was not Look at me! I’m an author!, but I AM the author you fricking misquoted in your blog post and please FIX IT NOW.

  44. Kyra: Back of mine (which has that [The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet]cover) says: Cover photographs (c) Christoffer Meyer (landscape) (c) Shutterstock.com (figure)

    And no Cover designer credited inside the back flap or on the copyright page? That’s kind of weird. Usually there are both photo and design credits.

  45. Eric Wong: JJ, I’ve come around to your way of thinking about crediting the cover/jacket designer as the artist in the case of stock images used for the cover art. The page has been updated with a note… I’ve added Lauren Panepinto back, added Rob Grom, credited Will Staehle with “A Darker Shade of Magic,” and updated “The Annihilation Score” cover.

    Oh, cool, I’m really glad to hear that. Thanks! If the main substance of a cover is a fabulous photograph, the photographer should definitely be credited as the artist. When it’s just a stock photo which has been substantially artistically enhanced, it’s different.

    I think as time goes on, we may see the Professional Artist nominee longlist evolving from all illustrators/painters to a mix of those and cover designers, because so many book covers now are either digital composites of more than 1 image, or a basic image which has been artistically elaborated-on to the point where it bears very little resemblance to the original image.

  46. Darren Garrison said:
    The native state of islands is barren volcanic wastelands.

    While you make good points in what follows, that isn’t the normal definition of native.

  47. > “And no Cover designer credited inside the back flap or on the copyright page?”

    Not one I’ve been able to find, no.

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