Pixel Scroll 12/16/18 Cold-Hearted Scroll That Rules The File, Removes The Pixels From Our Pile

(1) ROLL ELEVEN. Nicholas Whyte reviews “Doctor Who, Series 11 (or 37), 2018”, beginning with an overview, followed by comments on individual episodes:

…Overall I have enjoyed it. I don’t agree with Darren Mooney that this has been the weakest series of New Who; I really think that Series 6 (2011), which started with The Impossible Astronaut and ended with The Wedding of River Song, made much greater demands onthe viewer for insufficient payoff. However I think I will agree that the highest points of this year’s stories were not as high as those of previous New Who seasons; even Series 6 had The Doctor’s Wife. On the other hand, none of the low points was quite as awful as the 2007 Daleks in New York two-parter or the 2014 Kill The Moon. I do agree with Darren Mooney that it looks in general much much better than any series of Doctor Who ever has before. The absence of continuity (no theme music in the first episode, no Tardis interior until episode two) was disruptive but also intriguing. The new music is a welcome change (not that I hated Murray Gold, but he’s been doing it since 2004)….

(2) SON’S MEMORIES OF LE GUIN. “Ursula K Le Guin remembered by her son Theo Downes-Le Guin” in The Guardian.

One of the last trips I took alone with Ursula was to New York, in 2014, when she received a lifetime commendation from the National Book Foundation. She wasn’t enthusiastic about the travel, but the award was contingent on her presence. She snarled about this requirement for a few weeks, then allowed me to book the flights. I spent a couple of days with her before the awards, visiting her beloved sister-in-law and viewing “old friends” the Metropolitan Museum and the Frick Collection. In the indifferent and harsh light of a big city, I could see for the first time how small and frail she had become. The vitality of her mind and spirit had concealed her physical state from me. I was shaken by the realisation.

Three days into our trip, I walked her to the stage on which she delivered a speech that was, even by her high standards, fearless. With limited time, in every sense, she had decided to speak plainly to the defence of freedom that courses through her work: freedom of artistic and intellectual expression, freedom from dualism, freedom from oppressors. I’d read a draft beforehand and knew that she was delivering the speech of a lifetime. The audience sensed this as well, and for a few moments after she finished, the room crackled with love, support, excitement and (for some, I’d like to think) shame.

(3) A WINNER. Seeing the movie prompted John Scalzi to have many “Thoughts on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”.

2. It’s also a film where its chosen medium — animation — is exactly right for it. I think there’s a still a bit of aesthetic snobbery around animation, ironically particularly when it comes to superhero films. It’s still assumed to be a compliment if you say something along the lines of “that was good enough to have been live action.” In point of fact, this particular film wouldn’t have been better served as live action; live action and all its aesthetic requirements and expectations would have made it worse. The abstracting remove from reality that animation provides fits the film’s multiverse story and allows it to be a “comicbook film” in a way that most live-action superhero films can’t manage or look silly doing (see: Ang Lee’s Hulk).In live action, this film as it is would have come across as campy; in animation, it’s just doing its thing. This is of course more about our own expectations for live action and animation than it is about the mediums themselves. But you work with what you have.

(4) THE DRAGON CURE. After receiving an anonymous letter from a neighbor claiming that her three front-yard dragons violated the “true meaning of Christmas,” fantasy author Diana Rowland decided that the only proper response was … MORE DRAGONS!

(5) JUDGING SANTA CLAUS MOVIES. SYFY Wire’s “Ffangrrls” column examines “The best, worst and weirdest Santa Claus movies.” Good. Bad. Weird. Ffangrrls takes a look at four Santa Claus movies in each of these categories. It’s a pretty good bet that you won’t have even heard of one or more of these dozen, um, let’s say “classics.” Columnist Kayleigh Donaldson provides a trailer or clip and a fat paragraph on each:

GOOD: Miracle on 34th Street
BAD: The Santa Clause
WEIRD: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

GOOD: Rise of the Guardians
BAD: Silent Night, Deadly Night
WEIRD: The Polar Express

GOOD: The Nightmare Before Christmas
BAD: Santa’s Slay
WEIRD: Fred Claus

GOOD: The Spirit of Christmas
BAD: The Christmas Chronicles
WEIRD: Christmas Evil

(6) SPLATTERPUNK IN ITALY.At the Horror Writers Association blog: “Revelations on the New Horror Renaissance – an Interview with Italian Author/Editor/Translator/Poet Alessandro Manzetti”.

Q. As the first Italian to be awarded the Bram Stoker Award, and as a purveyor of hard-core horror and even splatter-punk how would you describe your reception amongst your Italian peers? What inroads do you hope to make in Italy with your publishing and writing?

A. Here in Italy Splatterpunk fiction represents a small market niche (same goes for poetry, and, unfortunately, also for traditional horror fiction, excluding a few big names), anyway I have a good audience, fans of the genre follow me with great passion; they’re very fond of some of my main characters, and many of them are women (even if I write hardcore/Splatterpunk horror). Somedays ago was released, from Cut Up Publishing, my first dark psycothriller novel, ‘The Keepers of Chernobyl’, something different from what I wrote so far, and I think that this kind of works could reach a larger audience. My goal is always the same: connect myself to the readers, be their accomplice.

(7) RAMBO ACADEMY. Sign up for Seanan McGuire’s workshop: “Crossing Over: Moving from Fanfic to Your Own Worlds”.

Join prolific, award-winning, and overall amazing writer Seanan McGuire for a workshop that will discuss what writing fanfic teaches you and how you can use that in fiction involving your own worlds and characters. Using lecture, discussion, and writing exercises, Sanan will provide you with inspiration as well as the tools with which to apply that inspiration to your work.

This is a single session workshop taught on Saturday, January 12, 2019 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time.

Cost is 199 for new students; $79 for former Rambo Academy students and Patreon supporters.

Live classes are taught online via Google hangouts, are limited to 15 participants, and require reliable Internet connection, although in the past participants have logged on from coffee shops, cafes, and even an airplane. A webcam is strongly suggested but not required. If there is an on-demand version of the class, you will be provided with a free coupon for it, so you have access to those notes.

(8) THEY’REDEAD(POOL), JIM. Aw, Jeez, he’s at it again (HuffPost:Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Trailer Is Even Better When Everyone Is Deadpool”).

So much Deadpool. Truly a maximum effort.

And we thought the last “Avengers” trailer was better when every character was Deadpool.

Istanbul-based digital animator Saruhan Saral has outdone himself with a new take on the recently released “Avengers: Endgame” trailer. In Saral’s latest video, voice actor Mishka Thebaud brings to life the Merc with a Mouth. 

(9) WHALE TALE. ASLE-Brasil (Association of Literature and the Environment) interviewed Craig Russell about Fragment: “Craig Russell – Literature and Ecocriticism / Literatura e Ecocrítica”:

2. Z. Can you tell us about the specific characteristics of your narratives?

C. When writing, I find it’s important for me to find at least two interesting ideas that can play off of each other in the story. So in Fragment we have not only the catastrophic events that unfold when a huge part of the three-hundred-meter thick Ross Ice Shelf is thrust out into the ocean, but also the civilization changing interactions that come from humans and blue whales learning to communicate with each other. Then, I try to put my characters in a situation they can’t escape from. (Either because of physical limitations, like the three scientists who are held incommunicado aboard the submarine; or because of a sense of duty, like when Ring, the blue whale feels he has to stay near the Fragment, to warn other blue whale pods of the danger it poses to their survival. Once they’re locked into the situation I confront the characters with problems which I don’t know the solution to, and see how (and if) they can find a way to survive. 

Some authors describe this as chasing your characters up a tree, and then throwing rocks at them.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • December 16, 1917 Arthur C. Clarke. When I was resident in Sri Lanka courtesy of Uncle Sam in the early Eighties, nearly every American ex-pat I ran into was reading The Fountains of Paradise. I never saw him but he was well known among the small British community there. I’ll admit that I’ve not read that much by him — Childhood’s EndRendezvous with Rama  and that novel are the only long form works by him I’ve read. I’m certain I’ve read The Nine Billion Names of God collection as well. And I’ve seen 2001 myriad times but I’ve never seen the sequel. (Died 2008.)
  • December 16, 1927Randall Garrett. Ahhh Lord Darcy. When writing this up, I was gobsmacked to discover that he’d written only one such novel, Too Many Magicians, as I clearly remembered reading reading more than that number. Huh. That and two collections, Murder and Magic and Lord Darcy Investigates, is all there is of this brilliant series. Glen Cook’s Garrett P.I. is named in honor of Garrett. I’ll admit I’ve not read anything else by him, so what else have y’all read? (Died 1987.)
  • December 16, 1928 Philip K. Dick. OK, confession time. I’m not a fan of his work so the only acquaintance I’ve with him is the first Bladerunner film which I’ve watched in its various forms many times. (Died 1982.)
  • December 16, 1937 Peter Dickinson. Author who was married from 1991 to his death to Robin McKinley had a number of truly great works, both genre and not genre, including EvaThe Tears of the Salamander and The Flight of Dragons. His James Pibble upper class British mystery series are quite excellent as well. (Died 2015.)

(11) LINGUISTICS. Available as an on-demand class: Juliette Wade’s “The Power of Words”, “Everything Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Need to Know about Linguistics at the World-building and Prose Level.”

In this class, we will discuss the study of linguistics and its relevance to genre writing. Author and linguist Juliette Wade shows how linguistics differs from the study of foreign languages, and gives a survey of eight different subfields of linguistics. She examines principles of language at levels of complexity from the most basic articulation of speech sounds to the way that language is used to participate in public forms of discourse. For each subfield, she looks at how it can be used to enhance a writer’s portrayal of characters and societies in a fictional world. After completing this examination of linguistics and its relevance to in-world languages, Wade moves to the meta-level to talk about using the principles of linguistics to hone point of view and the effectiveness of narrative language in storytelling.

(12) BUNNY TIME. Tim Goodman supplies “‘Watership Down’: TV Review” for The Hollywood Reporter.

In 1978, the film Watership Down became legendary for scaring the bejeezus out of children everywhere, drawn there by parents who either didn’t read the book or thought it would hide — not graphically triple down on — all the violence from the book. It’s funny now because so many people have harrowing stories of how that defined their early childhood.

On Christmas Day, Netflix, in a co-production with the BBC, will drop the eagerly awaited, star-studded latest version, a four-part effort that tones down the movie’s bloodshed and finds a good balance, letting Adams’ story unfold as it did in the book (with some tweaks) and suffering no loss of drama by curtailing those awful bunny screams.

Having seen the whole thing, the biggest obstacle the new version has to overcome is that the animation is decidedly flatter than what modern moviegoers are used to in the last chunk of years (decade?), and it’s often difficult to figure out which rabbit is talking or which rabbits are in peril as they fight other rabbits to survive. The saving grace to all of that, of course, is the magnificent voice cast that seems to be employing every available actor in Britain.

(13) CATCHING UP ON 2017. Lady Business delivers a blast from the past, asking contributors to recommend “Media released before 2018 that you didn’t get to until thisyear and loved.” First on the list —

Jenny

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. What a treasure. I have already yelled about that book in this space, but basically this is a gem of a middle-grade book that you’ll love if you love Eva Ibbotson. I have been responsible for at least five purchases of this book this calendar year, and three of those are me giving it as a gift for Christmas. I regret nothing.

(14) FREE READ. Vice’s Motherboard “imprint” has posted a free short story, “The Bonus,” by Liz Maier.

Two hundred extra hours of life per month, and only a few would have to be dedicated to the Company. Who would say no to not sleeping, to the bonus?

(15) APPROACHING GENRE. An NPR interview: “Lin-Manuel Miranda On ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ And Writing His Way Onstage”.

Audie Cornish: I was reading that your favorite song from the original Mary Poppins movie — maybe not favorite, maybe you have a mixed relationship with it — is “Feed the Birds.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda: [Laughing] “Openly hostile” is probably my relationship to it as a child.

I mean, that’s a little strong.

Yeah, no. I just found it so sad. The notion of this bird lady, who cares for these birds and sits on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, I couldn’t bear it as a child — it was too much for me. And so, I only saw the first two-thirds of the movie many times as a kid: As soon as “Feed the Birds” came on, I would turn it off. Such was VHS technology.

If it has an equivalent in this movie — not so much that I would turn off the movie — there’s a beautiful song in our film called “Where the Lost Things Go.” Mary Poppins is singing to these children — they’ve lost their mother the year before. And she sings about it in such a smart Scott Whitman lyric, because it’s about loss and it’s about grief, but it’s also in a way that a child can understand and is not condescending, it doesn’t talk down, doesn’t baby-talk. It’s just really beautiful. If I were a kid at the time, I probably would’ve fallen apart at it.

Your character offers a kind of path of joy and advice out of that mood. I’m thinking of a song like “Trip a Little Light Fantastic.”

That’s sort of Jack’s MO, is that he sees the light in any situation. He looks for the bright side, the hope, even in a dark time or in a dark place, and it’s a lovely sentiment. It’s also eight minutes of nonstop dancing. It was one of the last numbers we shot, and we basically spent the entire movie shoot rehearsing for it.

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” (audio only) from Mary Poppins Returns.

(16) MYTH REFURBISHED. Paul Weimer’s latest contribution to Nerds of a Feather is “Microreview [book]: In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard”.

The story of the Beauty and the Beast, bound relationship to a monster as a price for a service or favor, is a story that spans the globe, and strikes at the heart of a lot of myths and tropes about family relationships, gender politics, power dynamics, autonomy, freedom, choice and a whole lot more. Beauty and the Beast is far more than dancing animated clocks and the song “Be Our Guest”. In The Vanishers’ Palace, Aliette de Bodard takes the Beauty and the Beast story in new directions, giving a strong critique of some of the tropes, interrogating others, and providing a queer friendly narrative, amongst many other strands, in a densely packed novella.

(17) SHATNER ON PARADE. Parade magazine has made their recent interview with William Shatner available online (“William Shatner on His Christmas Album, Shatner Claus, & Why Star TrekIs Still So Popular”). In the usual style of Parade interviews, breadth is emphasized overdepth. It touches on Shatner family holiday traditions, his country album Why Not Me?, recent memoir Live Long And…: What I Learned Along the Way, non-Trek movies he’s involved in, and his longstanding Hollywood Charity Horse Show.

(18) SNL. The New York Times coverage of the most recent Saturday Night Live includes two skits of genre interest.  

Several celebrity guests turned out for the final new “Saturday Night Live” broadcast of 2018, including Alec Baldwin, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon and Robert De Niro.

In the show’s opening sketch, Baldwin returned to play President Trump in a sendup of the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

While it’s rare to see “Saturday Night Live” offer up topical comedy in the waning moments of an episode, the show did just that in a sketch that imagined Theresa May (McKinnon), Britain’s prime minister, struggling to host a Christmas-themed talk show after having survived a party confidence vote.

As McKinnon opened the show, she said, “What a dreadful week it’s been. My Brexit deal is falling apart. I almost got voted out and no one in the world likes me at all. But it’s still Christmas so let’s try to have some cheer tonight, shall we?”

She went on to introduce guests including her predecessor, David Cameron (Damon); Elton John (Bryant); and the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort (Mikey Day), whom she introduced as “the one person in Britain more reviled than me.” Day apologetically resisted McKinnon’s attempts to compare her to him: “If you could maybe not lump us together, I just can’t have that be the pull-quote from this interview,” he said.

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

56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/16/18 Cold-Hearted Scroll That Rules The File, Removes The Pixels From Our Pile

  1. 2) That one got me crying.

    3) I’ve always preferred the animated Super-Hero movies to the live-action ones. There is something that goes missing when using real actors and enviroment. Perhaps the archetype is dilluted, the symbolism more vague, the postures and expressions less defined.

    5) What? Santa’s Slay is a great movie!

  2. 10) There were his “Queen’s Own F.B.I.”, which was for Campbell. It used psi instead of Magic, all the same.
    Brain-Twister/”That Sweet Little Old Lady” (Astounding 9-10/1959; 1962)

    The Impossibles/”Out Like a Light” (Analog 4-6/1962; 1963)

    Supermind/”Occasion for Disaster” (Analog 11/1960-2/1961; 1963)

  3. @10: the non-Darcy ~comedy collections Takeoff! and Takeoff Too have some clunkers, but also a lot of good stories; they’re mostly not parodies despite the titles, but “Backstage Lensman” is a brilliant one. I remember being unimpressed by Unwise Child (reaching for ideas he couldn’t work out?); his psi-power trilogy with Laurence Janifer (as by Mark Phillips) was fun but unmemorable.

    @10 ctd: I’m not much of a Dick fan either, but I recall Ubik as making some sense once all the pieces were sorted out.

    @12: someone else unimpressed by the animation — but if the voice cast is that good I might have to find this.

  4. 10) I’ve only ever read one Dick novel — Man in the High Castle, and this after seeing the TV series. But I’ve seen & enjoyed many, many films adapted from his work, unfaithful though they may be.

  5. Any article mentioning low points of NuWho that doesn’t mention eye-snot monsters is suspect.

  6. 1) I’d given up on regularly watching Doctor Who by that point, but I happened to be in the UK when “The Impossible Astronaut” aired and watched it and it was utterly awful in a “What the hell did I just watch?” way. The person who was travelling with me and got roped into watching was a very casual Doctor Who viewer and couldn’t make any sense of the whole thing at all.

    4) Those are some awesome lawn dragons. Every neighbourhood should feel honoured to have such awesome dragons guarding it.

  7. The Microsoft Store is currently selling six of Kirsten Beyer’s Star Trek Voyager ebook novels for 99 cents each:

    Full Circle
    Children of the Storm
    The Eternal Tide
    Protectors
    Acts of Contrition
    Atonement

  8. I’ve enjoyed many PKD short stories but don’t care for him at novel length- too much “what is really real?” for me.
    Clarke also- I like his short stories but not the novels. They are not really novels, just a collection of short stories set on the same timeline with some ineffectual attempts to connect them.

  9. @OGH: Click not what the File can Scroll for you; Click rather what you can Scroll for the File.

    @Chip: “Backstage Lensman” has this amusing line “… he made that curious gesture known as Grey Seal. No entity has ever donned or will ever don that Grey uniform without making that gesture. It is the only way you can get the zipper closed.”

  10. 10) I much enjoyed a whole lot of Peter Dickinson’s work, beginning with the Inspector Pibble books, which I don’t recall (except maybe for one) being “upper class”. Anyway, for his birthday I posted reviews of a couple of late fantasy collections (in collaboration with his wife Robin McKinley): Fire; and Earth and Air.

    I like a lot of Philip K. Dick’s work, and here’s a review of any early novel, an Ace Double half, DR. FUTURITY.

    As for Randall Garrett, yesterday for his birthday I chose to cover the “Queen’s Own FBI” or “Psi-Power” series that Joseph mention, here. To be fair to Garrett, while I didn’t like those books much, he was often quite entertaining. Besides the Darcy books, his short fiction collected in TAKEOFF might be worth a look. The late Gandalara novels, really mostly by his wife Vicki Ann Heydron, were pretty entertaining as well. The novelet “Despoilers of the Golden Empire” is worth a look — Garrett had fun selling John Campbell a clearly non-science fiction story.

  11. 10) Dickinson’s Changes trilogy remains influential on British SFF; not only did it redefine the cozy catastrophe, but it was written in reverse. We start at the end with The Weathermonger, before exploring the heart of a changed Britain in Heartsease, and then at the beginning with the dark heart of British institutional racism with The Devil’s Children.

    Wonderful books.

  12. Not a Meredith Moment precisely, but I suspect there’s a fair amount of crossover, so:

    Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak, is currently $1.99 on Kindle.

  13. @10. Garrett’s collection of shaggy-dog stories, Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot.

  14. @bookworm1398:

    Clarke also- I like his short stories but not the novels. They are not really novels, just a collection of short stories set on the same timeline with some ineffectual attempts to connect them.

    Which Clarke have you read? I know of a few (The Deep Range, Childhood’s End, arguably 2001) where the first part was originally published separately, but ISTM that your charge doesn’t apply to most of the novels — Earthlight, A Fall of Moondust, The City and the Stars, etc. I’m not a fan of Clarke’s later work because it’s just not very interesting — maybe too many tech marvels investigated by cardboard characters? — but it’s never struck me as being short stories pasted together.

    @Andrew: that’s one of the many good ones; there are many that require context (e.g., “Forget the goddamn strawberries!”), but one that doesn’t is “Unfortunately, the [space drive], while it could completely neutralize intertial mass, never quite knew what to do with gravitational mass, which seems to come and go as circumstances require.” I’ve read that Smith himself was very amused by this story, including its naming Gimble Ginnison’s ship the Dentless.

    @Doctor Strangelobe: the Feghoot books are by Reginald Bretnor, often under his anagram “Grendel Briarton”

  15. I believe Feghoot is the creation of “Grendel Briarton,” an anagram of Reginald Bretnor. “A gritty pearl is Michael, L.L.D.”

    On edit: Too slow on the keyboard with the correction. Nevertheless, the punchline (recalled from a Feghoot of a half-century or so ago) stands. Such is the power of the pun.

  16. Pixel scroll, pixel scroll, pixel scroll rock
    Pixel scrolls swing and pixel scrolls ring
    Scrolling and linking up bushels of fan
    Then the pixel hop had began

    Pixel scroll, pixel scroll, pixel scroll rock
    Pixel scrolls rhyme in pixel scroll time
    Cosplaying and straying in pixel scroll land
    To the sounds of the pixel scroll band

    What a bright time, it’s the right time
    To web surf the night away
    Pixel scroll time is a swell time
    To get caught up in a fandom array
    Giddy-up pixel horse, pick up your feet
    Scroll around the clock
    Mix and a-mingle in the pixeling feet
    That’s the pixel scroll,
    That’s the pixel scroll,
    That’s the pixel scroll, rock

  17. Camestros Felapton: A work of genius!

    (Must remember when it’s seasonal to do something with “Easter Parade” because it includes the lyrics “On the avenue, Fifth Avenue…”)

  18. @Dr. Strangelove — as Chip Hitchcock and Russell Letson point out, the Feghoots are by Reginald Bretnor, writing as “Grendel Briarton”.

    Randall Garrett wrote a similar series of 8 vignettes, “Through Time and Space with Benedict Breadfruit”. These were similar to Feghoots but included puns on authors’ names, including as I recall one about an attic in which people got very horny, or a “Randy Garrett”. They appeared in Amazing Stories in 1962.

  19. 4) I find it sad that the worst Christmas Grinches are those who call themselves Christian, yet get bent out of shape at someone’s festive lawn decorations (dragons are cool!) or grumpily demand a “Merry Christmas” when offered a cheerful “Happy Holidays”. As a not-so-insecure Christian I get tired of those who would demand everyone celebrate the festive season exactly like they do. Especially considering modern-day Christmas celebrations (in the USA certainly) are a mish-mash of religious and very old pagan traditions.

  20. (3) I agree with Scalzi. My son and I went to see the Into the Spider-Verse film yesterday, and although we were primed to enjoy it – we’re fond of (most of) the current rash of costumed superhero films – we were both really bowled over by this one. Clever and fun, visually stunning. Hits some predictable dramatic beats, but does it in such style that one barely notices.

    It even deals with panache with the fact that it is, once again, a Spider-Man origin story. Several of them at once, actually.

  21. “Backstage Lensman”: I still cherish the committee politics of the dark council of the [M]Eich. “How they arrived at any decision whatever is starkly unknowable to the human mind.”

  22. Up on the post top
    Click, click, click
    Down thru the comments with
    Good Scroll Pix

    (4) Home Depot has one of the Christmas lawn dragons on sale for 30% off. (They had two other Christmas dragons that had been sold out.) I like the little image they provide to show you the scale of the dragon to a person. Of course you could just buy one of the Halloween lawn dragons and give it a Santa cap.

  23. @Sheila Strickland
    I don’t get this whole policing how other people celebrate the holidays anyway. Some people in my neighbourhood have IMO ugly holiday decorations, but that’s their business, not mine.

    Besides, those dragons are awesome.

    @Joe H.
    This is the first I hear that there will be a Dark Crystal sequel. I loved the original movie back in the 1980s and hope this new one will do the original justice.

  24. @ Chip. I’ve read Imperial Earth, Fountains of Paradise and 2001. Obviously a lot I haven’t read. But my impression of him is that he was a ‘Big Idea’ writer, not so concerned with characters and plot. One Big Idea per story worked really well. Several ideas in succession in a novel, not so much.

  25. For what it’s worth, one PDK novel that I loved was “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.” Surprised that Hollywood hasn’t mined that yet for a movie.

  26. 10) Peter Dickinson

    The James Pibble mysteries are all set in what I call “bottle worlds”, which are closed off from the mainstream of society. These books struck me as SF-adjacent, in that untangling the mystery requires untangling the world-building. I loved them in the 1970s and 1980s. I don’t see class as one of their major themes.

    The Glass Sided Ants Nest: a New Guinea tribe transplanted whole to a London building

    The Old English Peep Show: a theme park

    The Seals: a monastery

    Sleep and His Brother: a hospital for children with an incurable science-fictional disease

    The Lizard in the Cup: a Greek billionaires island

    One Foot in the Grave: a nursing home, where Pibble is an elderly resident.

    My understanding is that Dickinson turned to upper class stories after the Pibble series ended. King and Joker and its sequel are about alternate-history British royalty.

  27. Count me in as a PKD reader. My favorite book is probably Man In The High Castle followed by Ubik and Flow My Tears. Least favorite may be Do Androids Dream—though I do like the movie adaptation.

  28. 2) Le Guin is also mentioned in the current issue of Columbia Magazine (Winter 2018). She earned her M.A. in French at Columbia in 1952.

    link

  29. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 12/17/18 One Dream, One Soul, One File, One Scroll, One Pixeled Glance Of What Should Be | File 770

  30. (12) That is a very reassuring review. It’s got me looking forward to the new Watership Down animation with a lot less trepidation. Notably, it sounds like it does a better job of conveying the story than the 1982 animation did; I loved it as a kid for the striking visuals (especially the separate style used for the storytelling/mythology) and for being a story about rabbits that damn well used their claws and drew blood, but it wasn’t until long after I’d read the book a million times and then rewatched the movie that I realized how weirdly and unnecessarily incoherent it was in terms of plot. This new adaptation sounds a lot better on that front.

    FWIW, I’m in the middle of yet another reread. Less than three months since the last one, I think. It’s pure essence of comfort reading, language to wrap myself up in on a cold or sickly day. Hot tea, warm blankets, and “The primroses were over.”

  31. @Rich Horton: I should have remembered the Breadfruit stories — not the same name or as widely seen but I can get someone misremembering. The joke was especially pointed because the last pun isn’t provided: he gives a handful of synonyms but not the obvious one.

    @Sheila Strickland: almost all “Christian” traditions are mashups from previous religions; Christmas is celebrated after Saturnalia rather than at the attested time of year, “Easter” has the same polytheistic linguistic root as “estrus” (appropriately for a festival to encourage the earth to be fruitful), All Saints Day ~= Samhain (IIRC there are Christian names on the other six quarter- and cross-quarter-days, although they’re rarely noticed), and so on. wrt “Happy Holidays!”, this quoted to me from yesterday’s net:

    A: Merry Christmas!
    B: Happy Holidays!
    A: I said Merry Christmas!
    B: Do you know anything about Hanukkah?
    A: No.
    B: It’s about Jews in several hundred BC killing the invaders who made them practice another religion. Happy Holidays!

    (summary of a somewhat longer post.) Yes, that’s not precise, but it’s a good answer to the ChINO Grinches.

    @Joe H: re Dark Crystal series: Please, oh, please, let it not be terrible. That’s going to take some doing; I didn’t think much of the original, and in my partner’s recent first seeing it hadn’t worn well (although some of that may have been live “effects” that I expect won’t be repeated as such). The new could work in ways that satisfy fans of the old (e.g., @Cora).

    @bookworm1398: One of those is a not-quite-novelization, and the other are IMO past his best work — definitely into One Big Idea per story worked really well. Several ideas in succession in a novel, not so much. even if not quite at Langford(?)’s comment about later Niven: “Mind-boggling ideas; pity about the plot.”

    @Heather Rose Jones: the previous movie came out in 1978. I remember it being previewed at Iguanacon and thinking it was a promising beginning, but not having time to stay — there was this Worldcon bid….

  32. Chip Hitchcock: B: It’s about Jews in several hundred BC killing the invaders who made them practice another religion. Happy Holidays!

    And they said “Happy holidays?” How remarkable for people in several hundred BC to anticipate a word from Old English.

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