Pixel Scroll 12/13/18 Have Space Suit — But No Visa; Can’t Travel

(1) DRAGON AWARD NOMINATIONS OPEN. Camestros Felapton found that the “Dragon Award Nominations Are Open Sort Of”  — the “sort of” meaning Camestros experienced the same thing that I did before I tried it out — the actual nominations page is updated for the 2019 awards, but the supporting pages (rules,etc.) are still loaded with last year’s information. They’ll inevitably fix that when they get around to it, I’m sure. No hurry.

(2) ANOTHER LOOK AT SFWA V. WOTF. Keffy R.M. Kehrli responded to Eric James Stone’s criticism of SFWA’s handling of the Writers of the Future Contest (linked the other day in Scroll item #1.) Kehrli’s thread begins here.

(3) A FEW WEE IMPROVEMENTS. In that alternate universe where Camestros Felapton is Doctor Who’s showrunner, here’s what he would have done differently — “Doctor Who: Changing Season 11”.

There are lots of good things to say about the 2018 season of Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker was great, it was often visually lovely, it took historical episodes seriously and to top it all Alan Cumming deftly eating the scenery.

In my list of least liked Doctor Who episode there is not a single one from the 2018 season but…

…the best episodes weren’t on the same level as the best episodes from previous seasons. What the season gained in consistency it lost in excellence.

I’m going to suggest some changes that I think would have given it a bit more oomph.

(4) SMELLIER ON THE INSIDE. TARDIS versus trashcan? Olav Rokne labeled his link, “The dumbest thing I have ever tweeted, And yet…I’m shockingly proud.” Thread starts here.

(5) SIXTIES SFF. The Library of America’s Fall 2019 offeringsinclude these volumes of genre interest:

American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s(two volumes)
Gary K. Wolfe, editor
Volume 1: Four Classic Novels1960–1966
Poul Anderson, TheHigh Crusade • Clifford D. Simak, Way Station • Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon • Roger Zelazny, . . . And Call Me Conrad [This Immortal]
Library of America #321 / ISBN 978-159853-501-3
Volume 2: Four Classic Novels 1968–1969
R. A. Lafferty, PastMaster • Joanna Russ, Picnic on Paradise • Samuel R. Delany, Nova • Jack Vance, Emphyrio
Library of America #322 / ISBN 978-159853-502-0
Boxed set: ISBN 978-159853-635-5
September 2019

The tumultuous 1960s was a watershed decade forAmerican science fiction. As the nation raced to the moon, acknowledged masters from the genre’s “golden age” reached the height of their powers. As it confronted calls for civil rights and countercultural revolution, a “new wave”of brilliant young voices emerged, upending the genre’s “pulp” conventions with newfound literary sophistication—and female, queer, and non white authors broke into the ranks of SF writers, introducing provocative new protagonists and themes. In American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s, editor Gary K. Wolfe gathers eight wildly inventive novels in a deluxe, two-volume collector’s set: Daniel Keyes’s heartbreaking Flowers for Algernon and Poul Anderson’s madcap time-travel novel The High Crusade; Clifford D. Simak’s Hugo Award-winning Way Station; Roger Zelazny’s Hugo Award–winning . . . And Call Me Conrad (published in bookform as My Immortal), restored to a version that most closely approximates Zelazny’s original text; Joanna Russ’s Picnic on Paradise, a pioneering work of feminist SF, and Samuel R. Delany’s proto-cyberpunk space opera Nova; R. A. Lafferty’s quirky, neglected, utterly original Past Master; and Jack Vance’s haunting Emphyrio. Wolfe’s introduction offers a new view of the genre’s best, and a discussion of his selections, that ought to provoke rethinking and debate among fans and critics. (Wolfe’s new collection is a successor to American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, the two-volume set he edited for us in 2012.)

(6) RICHARD LUPOFF INTERVIEW. This is the intro to the Richard A. Lupoff: Master of Xero! Interview at Alter Ego #156 – text starts on page 20.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 13, 1961 The Phantom Planet premiered.
  • December 13, 1996 — Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! premiered.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • December 13, 1925 Dick Van Dyke, 93. Seriously you think I wouldn’t write him up? Bert/Mr. Dawes Sr. in Mary Poppins followed shortly by being Caractacus Pott in the film adaptation in Ian Fleming’s novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.(No it’s not the same character as he is in the book.)  He voices the lead character in the animated Tubby the Tuba film and plays D.A.Fletcher in Dick Tracy.  He narrates Walt: The Man Behind the Myth whose subject matter you can guess. Played Commissioner Gordon in Batman: New Times as well. Shows up in both of the Night at the Museum films which sort of interest me. And yes he has a role as Mr.Dawes Jr. in Mary Poppins Returns.
  • Born December 13, 1929 Christopher Plummer, 89. Let’s see… Does Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King count? If not, The Return of the Pink Panther does.That was followed by Starcrash, a space opera I suspect hardly no one saw which was also the case with Somewhere in Time. Now Dreamscape was fun and well received. Skipping now to General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Opinions everyone? I know I’ve mixed feelings on Chang. I saw he’s in Twelve Monkeys but I think I’ve deliberately forgotten that film and I’ve not seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus yet. 
  • Born December 13, 1949 R.A.MacAvoy, 69. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1984.  Loved her Black Dragon series. Other series include the Damiano, Lens of the World and Albatross. If memory serves me right, I read The Grey Horse at a time when I was obsessively into Irish myth and liked it a lot for its storytelling. 
  • Born December 13, 1954Emma Bull, 64. Writer of three of the best genre novels ever, Bone Dance: A Fantasy for TechnophilesFinder: A Novel of The Borderlands and War for The Oaks. Will Shetterly, her husband and author of a lot of really cool genre works, decided to make a trailer for the latter.  You can see it here. Oh, and the Faerie Queen is Emma herself.
  • She’s also been in in a number of neat bands, one that has genre significance that being Cats Laughing which has Stephen Brust, Adam Stemple, son of Jane Yolen, and John M. Ford either as musicians or lyricists. They came back together after a long hiatus at MiniCon 50 and you can read the Green Man review of the CD / DVD combo they put out here.
  • Born December 13, 1954 Tamora Pierce, 64. Her first book series, The Song of the Lioness, taking her character Alanna through the trials training as a knight, sold very well and was well received by readers.That Erie’s, like most of work, is set is in Tortall, world akin to European Middle Ages. What I’ve seen of it I like a lot. She would win in 2005 the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, a rare honor indeed. 

(9) PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS. Jonathan Cowie writes: “SF2 Concatenation is gearing up now (before the Seasonal festive distractions) for its next seasonal edition to be posted mid-January.But the science part of its content will include…” —

A fuller figure has oft (rightly/or wrongly) been associated with US citizens and even SF fans.  But it seems as if the rest of the world is catching up and, indeed, over-taking!

Research just published today in the BMJ suggests that a number of countries’ restaurant meals have more calories than their counterparts in the US…

Modelling indicated that, except in China, consuming current servings of a full service and a fast food meal daily would supply between 70% and 120% of the daily energy requirements for a sedentary woman, without additional meals, drinks, snacks, appetizers, or desserts.

CONCLUSION
Very high dietary energy content of both full service and fast food restaurant meals is a widespread phenomenon that is probably supporting global obesity. This arguably needs to be addressed.

Stanley Robinson’s Icehenge now a mathematical formula

Kim Stanley Robinson’s 1984 novel Icehenge depicts a long-lived future human society that forgets its recent past…  Now research published in Nature has revealed that in reallife events, concerns, music etc, decays from our cultural memory mathematically.

In addition to science, the forthcoming seasonal edition of SF2Concatenation will have SF news (relating to publishing, TV and film), forthcoming SF as well as fantasy book titles, and convention reports including this year’s Worldcon, plus another in a series of articles of scientist SF authors favourite scientists.

(10) STAN LEE CAMEO. [Item by Mike Kennedy. Vanity Fair: “Behind the Scenes of Stan Lee’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Cameo”. Fair Warning: THE VANITY FAIR ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS, though none are (intentionally) included below. (Their spoiler warning appears immediately after the paragraphs quoted below.)

It won’t be his last, but it may be his best.

Though he died last month, Marvel Comics legend and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee pre-recorded several cameos for upcoming films before he passed—including a touching, animated appearance in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Loaded with a heavy significance that resonates independent of his death, this emotionally resonant appearance is nothing like the zippy, superficial live-action and animated appearances Lee made in the past. That’s because the Spider-Verse filmmakers were determined to honor Lee’s legacy by breaking open narrow definitions of what it means to be a hero—and because of some personal events in Lee’s life that made his Into the Spider-Verse cameo particularly weighty. (The cameo also happens to be wickedly funny, which is part of Lee’s legacy as well.) The filmmakers—including Into the Spider-Verse’s three directors—took Vanity Fair behind the scenes of Lee’s appearance, as well as the in memoriam title card that closes out the film.

(11) A SPACE FIRST. BBC says they made it: “Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully reaches space”.

The latest test flight by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully rocketed to space and back.

The firm’s SpaceShip Two passenger rocket ship reached a height of 82.7km, beyond the altitude at which space is said to begin.

It marked the plane’s fourth test flight and followed earlier setbacks in the firm’s space programme.

Sir Richard is in a race with Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to send the first fee-paying passengers into space.

(12) BACK IN THE AREA CODE. It can be called a success once the data’s sent back — “Parker Solar Probe: Sun-skimming mission starts calling home”.

Just weeks after making the closest ever flyby of the Sun, Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe is sending back its data.

Included in the observations is this remarkable image of the energetic gas, or plasma, flowing out from the star.

The bright dot is actually far-distant Jupiter. The black dots are repeats that occur simply because of the way the picture is constructed.

Parker’s WISPR instrument acquired the vista just 27.2 million km from the surface of the Sun on 8 November.

(13) BOGUS BOT. Reminds me of the 19th-century chess-playing automaton. From the BBC: “Robot turns out to be man in suit”.

A robot on show at a Russian state-sponsored event has turned out to be a man dressed in a costume.

Robot Boris featured on Russian TV and was apparently able to walk, talk and dance.

But soon after its appearance journalists began to question the bot’s authenticity.

In a picture published afterwards on social media, the neck of a person was clearly visible

(14) HISTORY BELOW THE WATERLINE. “Lake Titicaca: Underwater museum brings hope to shores”.

…The 9,360-sq-m building will have two parts, one located on the shore where pieces salvaged from the lake will be exhibited and another semi-submerged part which will allow visitors to see some of the underwater structures, dubbed “hidden city”, through glass walls.

(15) SEASONS’ EATINGS. Visitors to the UK will have noticed their strangely-flavored potato chips, but the strangeness is spreading to pizza, croissants, and ham: “Marmite sprouts? Why retailers are pushing the boundaries with festive food”.

Many readers will find the thought of Christmas tree-flavoured crisps revolting, but Iceland is betting its customers will feel the opposite this festive season.

The crisps are part of the supermarket chain’s festive food range, and have a distinct pine-like taste thanks to their pine salt seasoning, which is made with pine tree oil.

It is part of a wider trend for novel, sometimes bizarre fusion foods that has swept the UK over the last few years as retailers vie for our attention and our cash.

(16) WELL, SHEET. “Nasa’s IceSat space laser makes height maps of Earth” – BBC has the story.

One of the most powerful Earth observation tools ever put in orbit is now gathering data about the planet.

IceSat-2 was launched just under three months ago to measure the shape of the ice sheets to a precision of 2cm.

But the Nasa spacecraft’s laser instrument is also now returning a whole raft of other information.

It is mapping the height of the land, of rivers, lakes, forests; and in a remarkable demonstration of capability – even the depth of the seafloor.

“We can see down to 30m in really clear waters,” said Lori Magruder, the science team leader on the IceSat mission. “We saw one IceSat track just recently that covers 300km in the Caribbean and you see the ocean floor the entire way,” the University of Texas researcher told BBC News.

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

50 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/13/18 Have Space Suit — But No Visa; Can’t Travel

  1. First?

    8) I saw Starcrash in the theater (I was young and foolish); don’t make the same mistake I did.

    Emma Bull remains one of my favorite authors and I keep hoping that someday we’ll finally get the sequel to Territory.

  2. 8) I first saw Starcrash in 1992. “Imperial battleship, halt … the flow of time!” and (Texas accent on) “The nuclear exhaust ports have been gutted … by fire!” (Texas accent off) have been in my vocabulary ever since.

    I would buy (15) if I saw them in a local supermarket, but despite the new budget airline flying out into Detroit out of Reykjavik, I don’t think I will make the trek solely for Christmas-tree crisps.

  3. The item “Well Sheet” is unnumbered, though it appears to be intended as separate from items (11) & (12), which it is between.

  4. (8) I hadn’t thought about Somewhere in Time in quite a while, but it has something in common with another unequivocally genre film (Groundhog Day): Rachmaninov’s 1934 Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, specifically the 18th variation. In the latter, it’s what Bill Murray learns to play on piano, whereas in Somewhere in Time the full piano-and-orchestra version is heard more than once.

  5. Mike Kennedy: Good eye. I’ll bump that to the end, give it a number, and you should appertain yourself the beverage of your choice!

  6. Emma Bull remains one of my favorite authors and I keep hoping that someday we’ll finally get the sequel to Territory.

    I’d glady settle for a sequel to War for the Oaks: Eddi and the Fey go on Tour.

  7. 1) I’ve seen Starcrash as well and even sort of enjoyed it in the way one enjoys a dumb movie on late night TV.

    15) I’ve had homemade pine needle liqueur and it was pretty tasty. The battered and fried Brussels sprouts don’t sound too far out there, tempura is a thing, after all. And I’d buy the winter berry and prosecco crisps in a jiffy.

    Meanwhile, I received another mystery package from an address in Malta today and a swordwielding maiden and her litter of credentials have now joined the viking couple. I still don’t know who sent them, but if it was someone from here, thank you.

  8. @ Kevin – I think they mean ‘Iceland’ the supermarket chain in the U.K., not Iceland the country. Same thing tripped me up recenty.

    A friend of mine once made chocolate-covered Brussels sprouts. I love chocolate; all England can at least agree that sprouts are a good thing to come out of Brussels. And the combination, it turns out, is simply awful.

    I hadn’t really thought of UK ‘potato chips’ as having weird flavors (possible exception being hedgehog) until, returning to the U.K. recently. I brought my American wife a packet of roast chicken flavor from the corner store. She was not impressed.

  9. 8) I bet a lot more people have seen Starcrash now, thanks to its inclusion in the revived Netflix version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. With Jonah and the bots riffing along I found it a complete delight – the Amazon robot had me howling with laughter.

  10. I always love it when related things randomly turn up together. We saw All the Money in the World, with Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty. Two days later, we were at the museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, and Christopher Plummer narrated the film about the tar pits that they show there.

  11. rochrist says Emma Bull remains one of my favorite authors and I keep hoping that someday we’ll finally get the sequel to Territory.

    Will tells me she’s working on it but no time frame on when it’ll be published.

  12. It would be a minor error to do a Best of the 60s with Mindswap instead of Dimension of Miracles. It is a disaster to do it with neither.

  13. I liked Somewhere in Time. I saw it on video sometime in the 80’s and found it charming and had discussions with my brother about the “Stable time loop” that the movie accomplishes.

  14. I think I was about 12 when Somewhere in Time came out. My friends and I really liked it, thought it was something special. Part of that may have been that most genre films that we had previously seen were aimed lower, sort of like Starcrash, which I remember enjoying in the theater as a child and finding unwatchable later on TV though my older brother enjoyed watching the star whose name I’m too lazy to look up but I believe was a former playmate.

    Hated General Chang but I disliked most of ST VI.

    War for the Oaks is my favorite Emma Bull novel.

  15. Somewhere in Time (which is, of course, the adaptation of SFF author Richard Matheson’s novel Bid Time Return) did not do that well at the box office upon release — it came out the same weekend as The Blues Brothers, and because of an ongoing strike by SAG, the actors were not allowed to promote it (talk about being overshadowed and doomed to obscurity!).

    However, it was nominated for an Oscar for Costumes, a Golden Globe for the Score, and won Saturn Awards for Best Film, Music, and Costumes. And it became a huge cult hit, and spawned a fan club which has held a convention on Mackinac Island every year for almost 30 years now. The soundtrack became one of the most popular movie soundtracks of all time, eventually selling more than a million copies, and continues to sell well to this day. (It was the background music for my wedding dinner, two decades after the film’s release, and no less than 4 people came up to me at the head table during dinner and asked me to write down for them the name of what they were listening to.)

  16. (5) Errors in this article ( not due to Mike): The High Crusade isn’t time travel and Zelazny didn’t write My Immortal.

  17. Is Library of America’s promotional material normally that bad? It has the unfortunate effect of suggesting they really don’t care about this lowbrow genre stuff.

  18. What startled me about the “Christmas tree flavored” crisps is that they claim to use actual pine: many of the odd-sounding crisp flavors turn out to be purely artificial, of the “we made this flavor in a test tube and people said it tastes like roast beef” sort–though for all I know artificial grape has the same genesis. (Rather than someone setting out specifically to look for grape, roast beef, or grass (as seen in the Harry Potter tie-in jelly-beans) flavor to put into food.)

  19. 8) R.A. MacAvoy is a really really good writer. Both the Damiano trilogy and the Lens of the World series blew me away when I read them. They are totally recommended.

  20. Re:12: The article says the bright spot is Mercury, you say it’s Jupiter. The former seems much more likely. Did they correct it since you cited it?

  21. @5: I detect a certain … disjunction? … between volumes 1 and 2; the press release suggests this is deliberate.
    @Andrew/@StephenFromOttawa: I noticed those errors, went to the LoA’s contact page, and wrote them a sharp comment, although I didn’t think to ask whether they were being more careless with genre than with their “highbrow” collections.

    @8 (re Plummer): ST6 was a decent action movie, like the other even-numbered movies. (I don’t know whether people still speak of the evens as OK and the odds as overlong; that was the observation at the time.) I’ve seen Imaginarium once, which is not enough to have an opinion of whether Gilliam recovered from the death of one of his actors or wound up with a mess.
    (re Emma Bull): From what I heard at the time, they were trying to make a complete film of War for the Oaks but couldn’t raise the funding; there may be more bits than that trailer lying around. And the band’s name is Cats Laughing. (The band’s material was mostly not genre, but they did get a shout-out in an early issue of Marvel’s X-Men spinoff Excalibur(?).) wrt the review wanting remastering: clean versions of (IIRC) everything but “White Rabbit” exist on the albums they cut in the early 1990s (or so), but I don’t know where those can be found; I’m not lending my cassettes, as those are too easy to damage.

    @11: [[for when one of the space-for-tourists competitors actually has a passenger instead of a dummy, an old story I don’t \think/ has been Pixeled:]]
    Champagne in space: High-tech bottle gets test flight
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45494204

    @12: @OGH: “It’s” s/b “It”

    @13: paging Dr. Maelzel….

    @Cliff: I’m not surprised that Brussels sprouts coated in chocolate are awful; they’re two radically different kinds of bitter. Diced sprouts with bacon are wonderful — but then, just about everything with bacon is wonderful (at least for omnivores). And IIRC there are stranger flavors of crisp than hedgehog, e.g. firecracker prawn.

    @Vicki Rosenzweig: evergreen as natural flavoring has history, probably because it’s so easy to come by, not too volatile and vaguely soluble. (ISTM that many natural flavors fail on at least one of those counts, e.g. who would sacrifice expensive roast beef to make a cheap flavoring?) Retsina is the obvious example, but I ran into a recipe for spruce beer (flavored with twig tips(*)) when I was homebrewing (~1990), and recently found a commercial variety put out by a Philadelphia-area craft brewery.

    (*) This was described as a recreation of a known style, not a brewpub weirdness like the apricot-and-peppermint brew served at a place that failed shortly afterward.

  22. Didn’t Walkers do sprout crisps this year? (Brussels sprout flavored potato chips.) I recall seeing someone posting a photo of them on twitter. I have to admit that no matter how festive, I really don’t like sprouts.

    Pringles did the whole Thanksgiving meal with a set of different flavored chips. It wasn’t widely available. You had to order it quickly online.

    Trader Joe’s had a turkey and dressing seasonal kettle chips this year. I found them somewhat uneven. Some chips tasted just like stuffing while others tasted like that chicken powder you put on the cheap ramen noodles.

    I still don’t understand why ketchup/catsup chips haven’t caught on in America given how french fries with ketchup is a staple of our diets.

    All the SF shows having people eating flavored pills or stuff from a tube when the future was really all about the potato chips.

  23. @Chip @Vicki
    The mermaid-signed coffee chain currently is promoting a juniper-flavored latte which one review described as tasting like too many gin-and-tonics.

  24. @Chip Hitchcock:

    Thank you for complaining directly to LoA. Looks like they fixed the problem already; the text now says: “In American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s, editor Gary K. Wolfe gathers eight wildly inventive novels in a deluxe, two-volume collector’s set: Daniel Keyes’s heartbreaking Flowers for Algernon and Poul Anderson’s madcap novel set in medieval England, The High Crusade; Clifford D. Simak’s Hugo Award-winning Way Station; Roger Zelazny’s Hugo Award–winning . . . And Call Me Conrad (published in book form as This Immortal), restored to a version that most closely approximates Zelazny’s original text”

  25. Slightly off-topic, but just weird and interesting.

    So … one of the co-hosts of Hugo-finalist podcast Verity! works for the same government department as me (Alberta Environment and Parks), in the same building as me. On the same floor.

    The funny thing is that I took her photo at Worldcon this summer during the pre-Hugo official posed photos and thought “She looks familiar, I’m sure I’ve just seen her at various Worldcons / SF conventions.”

    But no, I recognized her because her desk is about 20 feet from my office, and we’ve met in passing on numerous occasions, though she’s in the correspondence unit and I’m in the communications unit.

  26. 8) Of Emma Bull’s novels, I prefer Falcon to Finder. I find the latter literally unmemorable; on the two or three occasions I’ve reread it, I recognized next to nothing.

  27. @Andrew
    LoA clearly hasn’t read “High Crusade” – it definitely isn’t set in medieval England.
    *sigh*

  28. @P J Evans: At least part of it takes place in Medieval England; that’s closer than calling it a time travel story.

  29. Jim says Of Emma Bull’s novels, I prefer Falcon to Finder. I find the latter literally unmemorable; on the two or three occasions I’ve reread it, I recognized next to nothing.

    I disagree but I think I like because I’ve read all of the Borderlands stories and novels that Terri Windling helped create the overarching concept for. If you’ve not read deeply of that fiction, I’ll agree it’d fall somewhat flat. It’s appeal rests on it being grounded within that reality and the characters therein.

  30. @Andrew/@StephenFromOttawa: I got email back from LoA just after noon; the errors have been corrected.

    @Lenora Rose: IIRC, the story said “Jupiter” when I sent Mike the link; usually the BBC is slow to put in corrections, so somebody must have spoken very sternly to them. (Jupiter isn’t impossible, but Mercury does seem more likely to have photobombed that shot.)

  31. Gee, how do the “luxury” Christmas tree crisps differ from the bargain Christmas tree crisps?

    Don’t “Marmite sprouts” combine TWO inedible foods into one product?

  32. @Andrew / @P J Evans: by the time I read the email (~1pm), the text had been further corrected to say the story was sited in medieval England and on the planet Tharixan. I guess the correction got someone else’s goat….

    @Cat Eldredge: IIRC, the Borderlands shorter stories are in a relatively stable setting; one win to Finder is that the characters change (plus we get some interesting context/backstory, and a cameo by John M. Ford). But (per Jim) different people are struck by different things; I’ve never been inspired to reread Falcon but now I’ll have to do so.

  33. It’s been years since I read them, but wasn’t Finder kind of the middle part of a trilogy, bookended by the two Shetterly novels (Elsewhere and Nevernever)?

  34. And now I see that you already noted the updated correction.

    I’m reminded of David Itzkoff’s article from 2007 which suggested various SF books to current politicians (in a humorous manner) https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/books/review/Itzkoff-t.html – but the brief summaries of almost every SF book contained at least one notable error.

    For example:

    “Starship Troopers,” by Robert A. Heinlein: An impressionable young man is drafted into an intergalactic military campaign and finds that war solves all problems.

    “Foundation,” by Isaac Asimov: A supergenius with a knack for predicting the future determines that things on Earth are about to get very bad very soon. In return for his service, he is arrested.

    “Ender’s Game,” by Orson Scott Card: A gifted child from a privileged family defeats a race of inhuman warriors without ever having to leave the comfort of his war-simulator machine.

    (The hero of Starship Troopers wasn’t drafted, Foundation had nothing to do with Earth, and Ender was by no means from a privileged family)

    (I know getting the plot descriptions right wasn’t Itzkoff’s point, but it still annoyed me).

  35. Joe H. asks It’s been years since I read them, but wasn’t Finder kind of the middle part of a trilogy, bookended by the two Shetterly novels (Elsewhere and Nevernever)?

    No, the novels by Will take place separately from her novel and involve characters not present in her novel. You’ll find the first chapter of Elsewhere up under Words at Green Man as you will the first chapter also of Finder as well. You can see how different they are.

  36. OK, clearly it’s been entirely too long since I read Borderlands.

    (And speaking of reading, I’m finally getting around to K.V. Johansen’s Blackdog. Not very far yet, but I’m enjoying it.)

  37. Coming to the party late —

    MacAvoy’s Lens of the World trilogy is one of my favorites of all time — I very highly recommend it.

    And Somewhere in Time is one of my favorite slightly-guilty sappy-movie pleasures. Thanks in no small part to the Rachmaninov, which has been some of my favorite music for decades. Perfect pairing.

    eta: pointless trivia alert! Rachmaninov’s last public performance was at one of my alma maters. Google it if you care at all. 😉

  38. The mermaid-signed coffee chain currently is promoting a juniper-flavored latte which one review described as tasting like too many gin-and-tonics.

    They make it sound like this is a bad thing.

  39. I made a pork stew with juniper berries once and was too generous with the measurement. Tasted like gin-soaked meat and I’ve never tried to repeat it.

  40. @Andrew: That’s quite a collection of howlers. I see the Heinlein description makes another blatant error; the area covered is larger than Niven’s Known Space, but it’s a long way from being “intergalactic” — unsurprising, as the Earth space navy’s drive is only about three times as fast as Known Space’s. (“400 Mike” vs 3 days per light year).

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