Pixel Scroll 12/21/17 Look! It’s The Pixel Scroll Repair Man!

(1) FRACTURED EUROPE. Bence Pintér interviewed Dave Hutchinson (in English) for his Hungarian zine Spekulatív Zóna.

The first installment of Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe Sequence, Europe in Autumn will be published soon in Hungary. Years ago I read that one and the two sequels, and now I wanted to know what Mr. Hutchinson think about the future of Europe, and how he came to create a spy, who is in fact a chef.

Europe in Autumn was published only three years ago, but the near-future you imagined with a fractured Europe could be the present soon. Independence movements are booming, Brexit in talks… Do you think the world you created for the books can become reality?

It’s been kind of horrifying to watch world events over the past few years – I started writing Autumn sometime in the very late 1990s and back then the idea of a fractured Europe really was a thing of fiction, although independence movements and micronations are nothing new. Now, it seems a lot more plausible. I’d like to say that I hope the world of the books doesn’t come about; I’m a big fan of the EU ideal and of Schengen. On the other hand, Rudi’s world has always seemed to me to be vibrant and full of possibility. I’ve heard it described as a dystopia, but I don’t think it is – certainly it wasn’t intended that way. I think it would be a very interesting place to live. Whether it will actually happen, I don’t think anyone can predict that. We seem to have gone from the old black-and-white certainties of the Cold War to something a lot more uncertain and fluid, with only a very brief period of hope between them.

(2) THE GOOD STUFF. Ann Leckie returns to tell us about “Some things I’ve read lately”.

Yes, it’s time again for Some Stuff I Have Read and Liked Recently. As always–I am not a reviewer or any sort of critic, and I’m not going to try to be one.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Ever since I heard that Nisi was not only working on a steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, but that she had gone and sold that novel to Tor, I’ve been eager to read this. I finally got around to it, and I highly recommend it. It’s pretty epic, really, it covers a couple decades in time, from the POVs of a wide variety of characters. Seriously, check this out if you haven’t already….

(3) ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. Anika Dane of Women At Warp cheers Star Trek: Discovery “I’m an Age-Appropriate Woman In Command: Hear Me Roar!”

It’s no secret Hollywood has a problem with women aging. There are fewer leading roles for women over the age of 40, and the supporting ones tend to be underdeveloped and fall into the category of mother, wife, woman sad because she’s old, or villain (sad because she’s old). …

[Discovery’s Admiral Cornwell] is experienced and she’s accomplished, and she’s Lorca’s peer, and also his superior. She couldn’t be that at twenty-seven, or thirty-six. Moreover, she’s a woman over fifty, whose eye crinkles and grey hairs have not been erased, who is presented on screen as attractive and desirable. Admiral Cornwell is not beautiful despite her age, she’s beautiful and powerful because of it.

(4) CROWDFUNDING SUCCESS. The James Tiptree Jr. Award made their Giving Thursday goal

We made it! The donations raised through our Facebook fundraiser plus the donations through the Tiptree website total more than $2400! The Tiptree Award will receive all the matching funds available to us! With the help of all who have donated and shared our fundraising message and matched the donations, we’ve raised more than $4800, half of our annual budget. Thank you all for your help. This award wouldn’t be possible without you!

Of course, it’s never too late to add your support to this successful effort. With your donations, you make possible our efforts to encourage the creation of speculative fiction that explores and expands our understanding of gender. And since the Tiptree Award is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, all donations are tax-deductible. https://tiptree.org/support-us/donate

(5) TIPTREE SYMPOSIUM TRANSCRIPTS. The expanded talks from the 2016 Tiptree Symposium have been published in Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology Issue #12.

(6) LE GUIN FELLOWSHIP. Applications are being taken for the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship, sponsored by the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS). The deadline to apply is January 5, 2018. Full guidelines here.

Purpose: The intention of the Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship is to encourage research within collections in the area of feminist science fiction. The UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) houses the papers of authors Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Jr., Kate Wilhelm, Suzette Haden Elgin, Sally Miller Gearhart, Kate Elliot, Molly Gloss, Laurie Marks, and Jessica Salmonson, along with Damon Knight. SCUA is also in the process of acquiring the papers of other key feminist science fiction authors.

Fellowship description: This award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in SCUA. These short-term research fellowships are open to undergraduates, master’s and doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars, college and university faculty at every rank, and independent scholars working in feminist science fiction. In 2018, $2,000 will be awarded to conduct research within these collections. The fellowship selection committee will include representatives from the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS).

Past Le Guin Fellows — 2013: Kathryn Allan; 2014: Andrew Ferguson; 2014: Jennifer Rea; 2015: adrienne maree brown; 2016: Roxanne Samer; 2017: Theodora Goss.

(7) NAME THAT TUNE. By George, I think he’s got it.

(8) FEAT IN SEARCH OF AN AWARD. Not sure what category this deserves to win. Since he got it right the first time does that rule out editing?

(9) LAST JEDI. If reading articles about The Last Jedi now leaves me feeling jaded, then you probably started feeling that way two days ago (or fill in your own number). However, a critic for The Hollywood Reporter hooked me with the pop culture insights in “New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Is Failing Galactic Politics 101”.  YMMV. Also, BEWARE SPOILERS.

And that’s where we left off before the start of this new trilogy of Star Wars films. After decades of theorizing, fan fiction and “Legacy” stories, The Force Awakens had the exciting task of updating fans of the series about what happened in the decades since we last saw our favorite characters and rooted for the Rebellion. Would we see a New Republic and what would it be like? Who would be the enemy of that Republic and what would our character’s places be in it? The opportunities were endless, with the possibility of giving audiences a brand-new vision for the series, but would also require a deft touch. Yes, the series would have to build on viewers’ knowledge of Star Wars history, but it could also do what A New Hope did: thrust us into a new scenario and slowly give us more information about what transpired to get us here.

As a huge fan of the series, looking back on the new films after the opening weekend of The Last Jedi, I have to admit an incredible frustration and disappointment in the result. While walking through my local Target, I could not help but feel like The Force Awakens had failed what I’m now dubbing the “toy test”: I couldn’t pick up a Star Wars toy and tell you who each character was and their political standings in the newest round of wars, as depicted in the films.

(10) FAUX SHOW. And hey, this is sweet! The absolutely fake Disney/Pixar’s X-Wings Movie Trailer.

(11) ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. The BBC asks “Is The Last Jedi the most divisive film ever?”

Its audience score of 54% on Rotten Tomatoes (that’s the proportion of users who have rated it 3.5/5 or higher) is the lowest of any Star Wars film, including the much-maligned prequels (The Phantom Menace has 59%).

But something else is going on too – while fans are divided, film critics were largely in agreement.

The LA Times called it the “first flat-out terrific” Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. Time Out said it “dazzles like the sci-fi saga hasn’t in decades”. The Daily Telegraph said it is “Star Wars as you’ve never felt it”.

The Last Jedi has a critics’ score of 93% – that’s the proportion of writers who gave it a positive review – putting it level with A New Hope and The Force Awakens, and just 1% behind The Empire Strikes Back.

That puts The Last Jedi at number 49 on Rotten Tomatoes’ all-time list. And of the all-time top 100 films, The Last Jedi has by far the biggest gap between the critics’ score and the audience score.

(12) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 21, 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood, California
  • December 21, 1968 — Apollo 8, the first manned mission to visit the moon, is launched from Cape Canaveral.
  • December 21, 1979 C.H.O.M.P.S. and The Black Hole both premiered on this day.

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY JEDI

  • Born December 21, 1948 — Jedi Master Samuel L. Jackson

(14) COMICS SECTION.

(15) DREAM STREAM. Nerds of a Feather contributor “English Scribbler” can say it out loud: “Television review of 2017 – the year it beat cinema”.

…Sure, I went to see The Last Jedi  this week like everyone else with the inclination and ability to do so, and it was wonderful. But it felt like, well, a box of popcorn in nutritional terms compared to the hearty vegetable stew of series below. So in no particular order, here is a very personal, haphazard list of series I have been amazed by. Whilst they don’t all quite fit into the classic Nerds Of A Feather, Flock Together genre areas, all share a spirit and flavour with the incredible works highlighted on these pages…

(1) Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Originally feeling like a compelling yet shallow computer nerd version of Mad Men (all mysterious arrogant male protagonist dipped in retro nostalgia), this series became, long before this astonishing forth and final season, one of the most accomplished and daring dramas of this decade, and culminated in the best conclusion to a series I’ve seen since possibly Six Feet Under (a work to which this owes much debt). Nothing else this year matched the emotional impact of seeing these five colleagues and friends arrive at a finish line that for once was allowed to be set with purpose and patience by the creators. The setting and subject became less and less relevant (though no less enjoyable) as the masterplan of the writers emerged – that this, like all the greatest tales, was about emotional connections and the rewards that they bring, and the tolls they take. The last three episodes made my smile and cry more than any film, book or other show this year. Exemplary acting, music, sound, cinematography, dialogue to wallow in… superb.

(16) HEERE’S RAY. A wise friend of mine hinted that there hasn’t been enough Bradbury in these pages lately. Let’s drop in Ray’s appearance with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show on March 1, 1978:

(17) TWO RAYS. And Episode 17 of the Ray Harryhausen Podcast “Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury”.

A very special episode of the Ray Harryhausen podcast, as we explore the Ray’s lifelong friendship with legendary author Ray Bradbury.

Phil Nichols from The Centre for Ray Bradbury Studies joins us for an in depth discussion on a relationship which was to span 8 decades. After meeting in the mid-1930s, the two became best friends, and would speak on at least a monthly basis for the rest of their lives. We explore the circumstances that would lead both men to become legends within their own fields of interest, and the early influences which inspired them both to greatness. Both Rays left an incredible archive of their own, and so we examine the parallels between the collection of the Centre for Ray Bradbury Studies, and the Foundation’s own archive.

The show also contains a never-heard-before interview with Ray Bradbury’s daughter Susan, recorded at Ray Harryhausen’s memorial in 2013, where she shares her memories of ‘Uncle Ray’ and their enduring friendship.

(18) HORTON ON SHORT SFF. One of the field’s grandmasters has added a prime story to his resume: “Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction’ at Locus Online. (Covers F&SF 9-10/17, Analog 9-10/17, Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/17/17, Lightspeed 10/17, Tor.com 9/6/17.)

The most exciting short fiction news this month is surely the appearance in the September/October F&SF of a new story by Samuel R. Delany. Even better, “The Hermit of Houston” is exceptional work! It’s set some time in a strange future and is hard to get a grip on (the best kind). From one angle it seems a sort of pastoral utopia, from other angles utterly horrifying. It’s mostly about the narrator’s long-time lover, an older man named Cellibrex (sometimes), and about the hints he lets drop of some of the true nature of this future. There is extremely interesting treatment of gender, politics, law, custom, and memory – and I don’t get everything that’s going on in the story, in a good way. One of the stories of the year, I think.

(19) DEVELOPING FIELD. The Washington Posts’s Rachel Rackza, in “In young-adult novels, queer love stories have begun to feel mainstream”, discusses how teenage LGBT readers have read novels by Cassandra Clare, Audrey Coulthurst, and Anna-Marie McLemore and found comfort in reading YA fantasy with gay characters.

For Mackenzi Lee’s whip-smart “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue,” the author wanted to showcase an authentically positive representation of queer identity in centuries past. “I wanted so badly with this book to say to queer teenagers: ‘You have always existed even before there were words or vocabulary or acceptance,’ ” she said. “I wanted them to know they have not only existed, but they thrived and had fulfilled romantic and sexual lives with people they love.”

(20) SUN-DAY DRIVERS. See: “What Happens When 2 Neutron Stars Collide” — text, and very short video.

An international team of astronomers has concluded that when it comes to theories about colliding neutron stars, Einstein got it right. Everybody else, not so much.

A neutron star is what’s left when a star burns out and collapses in on itself, leaving a small, incredibly dense ball.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted that when two neutron stars collide, they would generate a gravitational wave, a ripple in space time.

That’s exactly what physicists saw for the first time last summer with LIGO, the new gravitational wave observatory.

(21) YOU’VE GOT MAIL. You could send wild game (dead) or people (living) once upon a time — “The strangest things sent in the UK post”

“There was nothing in the rules to say you couldn’t send people”, Mr Taft said.

In 1909 two suffragettes, Miss Solomon and Miss McLellan, used the Royal Mail’s same-day courier service to post themselves to 10 Downing Street so they could deliver their message personally to Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.

But a Downing Street official refused to sign for them and the delivery boy had to return the women and explain to his bosses why he had failed to make the delivery.

Yet Miss Solomon and Miss McLellan were not the UK’s first “human letters”.

W Reginald Bray, an accountant from Forest Hill in south-east London, claimed to hold that honour having posted himself successfully in 1900, then again in 1903 and for a last time in 1932

(22) THE NEXT GENERATION. Funny but not exactly sensitive — Robert Jackson Bennett’s post at Tor.com: “My Terrible Children Are Both Fake Geeks”.

This is way different than when I grew up, when we kept renting a wobbly VHS of A New Hope from the library, and then my dad brought home The Empire Strikes Back and suddenly we realized that they had made more of these movies, oh my God.

So the Large Son is absolutely drowning in genre exposure. He lives in an age of abundance that I was utterly denied. But does he take advantage of it? Does he religiously memorize all of the various planets, as well as the types of ships?

No. He does not. For a whole damned year he called Darth Vader “Star Vader,” and he still calls Boba Fett “Bobo Fett,” and he calls every kind of land transport an “AT-AT,” which is just abysmally fucking wrong in every kind of way. I created a spreadsheet for him but I am fairly sure he only gave it a cursory glance. Perhaps the most galling thing about it all is that, incredibly, despite having never actually watched a Star Wars movie in the six years of his life (he says they are “too loud,” which, okay, sure), he somehow already knows that Vader is Luke’s father, and he’s just utterly fucking blasé about it, too.

(23) GHOST NOUN. An annual tradition continues — Larry Correa’s “CHRISTMAS NOUN X: THE GHOSTS OF DIE HARDS PAST”. (Thoughtfully linked here to a Wayback Machine page.)

Santa gestured for one of his elves to start the PowerPoint slide show.

“As you can see, this reality is much like ours, but their timeline diverged in the 1980s. Because of the misguided actions of their less militant Christmas Ghosts, they were deprived of the greatest Christmas movie ever made.”

“The Firefly Christmas Special?” asked the elf running the computer.

“Oh no, very few lucky universes got that.” Santa chuckled, as he thought about the heartwarming scene where Jayne’s mom had knitted him a Santa hat, which he’d later used to strangle a reaver. “Besides, that was a two hour TV special that aired during Firefly’s fifth season. I’m talking about how this world was deprived of the greatest Christmas movie ever made… Die Hard.

There were gasps around the conference table. That was inconceivable. And only boring losers and communists didn’t think of Die Hard as a Christmas movie.

“I know, right? Christmas there is dull and lame now. So we’re going to use the Christmas Noun to send Tim back to 1988, so he can make sure Die Hard actually happens like it’s supposed to.”

“I don’t know, Santa… Since this crosses into another alternate universe’s jurisdiction, isn’t this a job for Tom Stranger?”

Santa shook his head sadly. “Unfortunately, since Larry Correia first started writing the Christmas Noun stories, Audible.com came along and offered him large sums of money to write Tom Stranger stories exclusively for them, so I doubt Tom will show up here. This is up to us and Tim and any other characters who we still own the rights for!”

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Olav Rokne, John King Tarpinian, Bence Pinter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

48 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/21/17 Look! It’s The Pixel Scroll Repair Man!

  1. I’ll second Ms. Leckie’s recommendation of Everfair. It may not have made the Hugo finals, but it had a very well-deserved place on the Nebula finals. Very entertaining; Shawl is someone I’m going to be watching.
    —-
    (22) THE NEXT GENERATION. Speaking as a child of fandom myself, I suspect that Mr. Bennett is going to discover that things will get worse before they get better. Not long after hitting puberty, I stopped going to cons almost completely for several years. My parents were mortified!

    Fortunately for their sanity, I had developed a love of SF. What I hadn’t developed was the shy introversion which is so common in fandom. I even started to grow some (gasp) social skills! I barely fit in at all any more.

    In my twenties, though, I began to remember how much fun cons were, and I realized that I could just go and enjoy them without making them the center of my world. 🙂

  2. (11) ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES.

    I saw The Last Jedi on the SuperMegaSoundScreen last night, and the reason for all the man-baby whining and bad-review bombing by them became immediately apparent: ng yrnfg 6 fgebat jbzra punenpgref, va cbfvgvbaf bs nhgubevgl, cbjre, naq/be urebvfz, naq n zna jub vf pbaivaprq gung ur vf fznegre guna rirelbar tbvat ebthr, abg bapr, ohg gjvpr, naq eblnyyl shpxvat vg hc obgu gvzrf cyhf na nqqvgvbany obahf shpxhc.

    Ah, the manbabies are nothing if not predictable.

  3. (10) FAUX SHOW. I saw this a while back methinks, and it still gives me nightmares. 😉

    (22) THE NEXT GENERATION. Heh, I think I remember this from its original posting, back in May. Still cute.

  4. (18) I enjoyed a lot of Delaney’s “The Hermit of Houston”, but I also found it opaque and incoherent (not in a good way).

    I feel like this is a story I need a real guide to appreciating, and I’d absolutely love for somebody to write something in-depth about it.

    Until then, I can understand how Horton can write “This story? I didn’t really understand it. BEST OF THE YEAR”, but boy is it frustrating :-/

  5. (8) That would be the Best Fan Writer Hugo, but to do that, it must be spelt dhilapidated.

    (11) Is “divisive” about to become the most divisive word when discussing films?

    That said, the RT score for critics is essentially meaningless, since it reduces everything into the ratio of “not that bad” to “not that good”. The audience score might very well be equally meaningless.

    Myself, I enjoyed “The Last Jedi”, but viewed as a movie it suffered from bad pacing and a script that depended on too many idiot balls.

    (22) Robert Jackson Bennett’s obviously just upset that his elder son is a transformative fan with his Batman-Minecraft crossover, while he himself is a stodgy curative fan.

  6. Jeez, guys! Give a warning before you use the d*v*s*v* word! Some of us is sensitive.

    (Heading out for holidays away from my laptop. Ave gud’n!)

  7. (22) The pictures of the kids are great – you can just tell they’re not even trying to be fans (what with one of them going through teething pains and all).

  8. 1)I’ve chatted online with Dave casually about this sort of horrifying realization.

    Oh, and I wholeheartedly recommend his books.

    8) :Thinks, and decides not to make a Baen books joke here:

    15) I do think we ARE in a golden age of television.

    21) Griffin and Sabine were never like this…

    @JJ I am going to finally see it tomorrow, so I will find out for myself. I admit to frank curiosity what has gotten them so so riled.

  9. Off-topic but… it’s getting to the time of year when I will buy a whole bunch of digital comics as they are likely to be on sale. Any recs? I’m not really into Marvel/DC stuff. Recently I’ve really enjoyed Wayward, Monstress, The Spire and Descender.

  10. rob_matic on December 22, 2017 at 5:35 am said:

    it’s getting to the time of year when I will buy a whole bunch of digital comics as they are likely to be on sale. Any recs?

    (Having been, ahem, doing research on behalf of article(s) I hope to sell), here’s some semi-alternate suggestions:
    1, Get an account with HooplaDigital. It’s free, they partner with libraries. This gives you access to 500-1,000 comics and collections, e.g. digital versions of story arc collections, typically between 100-300 pages. The # you can “borrow” per month is determined by your library (probably between 5-10), but the price is right, and they auto-time-out, so impossible to incurr late fees. Note, UI sux.
    2, Try a ComiXology Unlimited account, access to ~ 10,000 comics, no # limits. 1st month free, $5.99/month after that. Note, UI sux.
    3, ComiXology also has a bunch of freebies for anybody, no monthly $ needed, just having an account. And they often have great freebies during Xmas and/or SDComicCon.

    Here’s some specific non-Marvel/DC titles I’ve enjoyed:
    PAPER GIRLS
    TREES
    SAGA
    INVINCIBLE

    And speaking of public libraries, they increasingly have “graphic novel” collections, which often (also) means “title story arc or whatever collections, e.g. Tom King’s recent heartbreaking VISION mini series

  11. @Daniel Dern

    Thanks, actually I live in Turkey and have UK bank accounts which limits my options a little e.g. I use Comixology but their Unlimited service isn’t available to UK members.

    Here’s some specific non-Marvel/DC titles I’ve enjoyed:
    PAPER GIRLS
    TREES
    SAGA
    INVINCIBLE

    Thanks! I like Paper Girls and Saga (although I’m a bit behind with Saga as I’ve been waiting for the Turkish language versions to hit the shelves). I’ll check out Trees and Invincible.

  12. Joe H. on December 22, 2017 at 8:06 am said:
    FWIW, my current favorite comic series are Lumberjanes and Giant Days.

    Giant Days is half price at the moment on Comixology so I’ve just grabbed volume 1.

  13. I am a DC Comics person, so right now I am reading the Metal event and the Batman/TMNT crossover (so sue me). As usual, I must say nice things about Astro City (published by Vertigo), because it is a great non-DC superheroes series for people who don’t usually read that sort of thing.

  14. rob_matic on December 22, 2017 at 5:35 am said:
    Off-topic but… it’s getting to the time of year when I will buy a whole bunch of digital comics as they are likely to be on sale. Any recs? I’m not really into Marvel/DC stuff. Recently I’ve really enjoyed Wayward, Monstress, The Spire and Descender.

    My top picks for 2017 (specifically new series that are more science-fictional than superheroic)
    1) My Favourite Thing Is Monsters
    2) Colossi (From Vault Comics)
    3) Turncoat by Ryan O’Sullivan
    4) Doom Patrol (Seriously? A comic book by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way? How can this be so good?)
    5) Extremity

    Extremity is about a young artist who gets caught up in a war and in the course of it, loses her hand. It’s a discussion of loss and the effects of war and such. Really good.

  15. A general comment on gender representation in The Last Jedi — not even a comment, really, just some numbers. You know that thing that’s been studied that shows that people perceive that when a group of people has around 1/3 women or when a conversation has around 1/3 female contributions that the women are over-represented?

    I ran the numbers on the cast lists at imdb.com for The Last Jedi.

    “First billed” actors
    9 men
    6 women (40%)

    First 10 of the “first billed” actors
    7 men
    3 women (30%)

    Full cast – credited
    52 men
    19 women (27%)

    Full cast -“rest of cast” (i.e., uncredited)
    28 men
    0 women (0%)

    Total full cast, both credited and uncredited
    80 men
    19 women (19%)

    This is “women taking over Star Wars”. Ah, but the female characters are central and important, so the “takeover” is more obvious when you look at percent of the dialogue, right? I can’t find a dialogue-by-gender analysis for the movie yet, though this article looks at the franchise history for non-white and female representation across several factors. In A New Hope the female first-billed presence at 13% (i.e., two women) dwarfed the female dialogue presence of 6.3%. In The Force Awakens, the first-billed presence and dialogue presence were functionally identical (ca. 27%) but this only brought the dialogue presence in line with overall averages for that year. I have a suspicion that when the stats come out for female dialogue presence in The Last Jedi comes out, it won’t be significantly different from the first-billed representation. But at 40%, that of course means that women have successfully elbowed all men out of the franchise.

    Note: I find the complete absence of women from the “uncredited rest of cast” list significant. It says something about what the unmarked default remains.

  16. (11) I havent seen it yet, but the reactions make me even more want to see it. Ive read earlier in the Internet, the complaints that Rey is just too good. They wouldnt make a man like that.
    Clearly nobody has ever seen James Bond or the Bourne-Movies. Or Obi Wan.

    No Mr. Pixel, I expect you to scroll!

  17. WRT Rotten Tomatoes and The Last Jedi:

    “Rotten Tomatoes Denies being hacked”

    But of course they would. Anecdotes aren’t data, but everyone I know who is into the fandom loved TLJ. And it’s banked $500 so far, which you aren’t going to do without packed theaters and some repeat business.
    I can’t see it until next week, so will judge for myself.

    This:

    Alt-right claims they are driving down Rotten Tomato scores for TLJ

    could just be opportunistic claiming of accomplishments that they aren’t really doing.

    But the alt-right really hates it that men are being shoved aside for wimmin….

  18. (18) A writing instructor once told me that “there’s a big difference between ‘tension’ and ‘confusion.’ Tension is when the readers are wondering what’s going to happen. Confusion is when they’re wondering what is happening.”

    I really, really wanted to like the Delaney story. But it was just too confusing.

  19. Jack Lint on December 22, 2017 at 11:08 am said:

    The Scrolluffalo

    Lol!

    A pixel took a scroll through the deep dark wood
    A troll saw the pixel and the pixel looked good

    “Where are you going little bright pix?
    Come and have lunch in my house of sticks.”

    “It’s terribly kind of you Troll but no,
    I’m going to have lunch with The Scrolluffalo.”

    “A Scrolluffalo? What’s a Scrolluffalo?”

    “A Scrolluffalo? Why don’t you know?
    She has terrible thoughts and terrible looks,
    And terrible words in her terrible books.”

    “Where are you meeting her?”

    “Here, in this scroll,
    And her favourite food is a roasted troll!”

    “Roasted troll! I’m off!” Troll said.
    “Goodbye, little pixel,” and away he fled.

    “Silly old Troll! Doesn’t he know,
    There’s no such thing as a Scrolluffalo?”

  20. I’m told this year it’s The Highway Rat. All I can think of is putting it to Deep Purple’s Highway Star.

  21. (21) It used to be, at least, not abnormal to send children by mail in the US, too.

    Reading Penric’s Mission because I can, and no one can stop me.

    Send beef stew. Beef stew rather than chicken soup, because I gave blood yesterday, and it has left me a bit wiped out. Well, a lot wiped out. Can provide tea, for myself, and for anyone willing to deliver the beef stew.

    Awaiting the chance to go see The Last Jedi.

  22. (15) DREAM STREAM. Nerds of a Feather contributor “English Scribbler” can say it out loud: “Television review of 2017 – the year it beat cinema”.

    (1) Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

    Originally feeling like a compelling yet shallow computer nerd version of Mad Men (all mysterious arrogant male protagonist dipped in retro nostalgia), this series became, long before this astonishing forth and final season, one of the most accomplished and daring dramas of this decade, and culminated in the best conclusion to a series I’ve seen since possibly Six Feet Under (a work to which this owes much debt). Nothing else this year matched the emotional impact of seeing these five colleagues and friends arrive at a finish line that for once was allowed to be set with purpose and patience by the creators. The setting and subject became less and less relevant (though no less enjoyable) as the masterplan of the writers emerged – that this, like all the greatest tales, was about emotional connections and the rewards that they bring, and the tolls they take. The last three episodes made my smile and cry more than any film, book or other show this year. Exemplary acting, music, sound, cinematography, dialogue to wallow in… superb.

    I could not agree more.

    Season four was brilliant. It sticks the landing and breaks your heart simultaneously. I’m not sure that I could ever watch those last three episodes again.

  23. @rob_matic: Most of my favorite comics these days are ongoing web comics – not ones that’re like newspaper strips, so, mostly not one’s anyone’s heard of, it always seems like anyway. So this may not be of help, if you’re looking to buy (but if you like any of them, you could donate!). 😉 Most of the SFal ones are:

    Can of Beans (really more slice-of-life; the fantasy element’s tangential, TBH)
    The End (SF with aliens; early on takes place for a little while at a sci-fi convention!)
    Galaxion (far-future SF about a ship using an experimental drive; the last ship to try it disappeared; will they find them?)
    Love Not Found (SF with various sexualities, genders, et al. in a time/place when touching is outdated)
    O Human Star (inventor who sparked the robot revolution dies before it takes off & wakes up 16 years later in a robot body)
    Order of the Stick (D&D parody with long-running storylines; quasi-stick figure art but it works)
    Skin Deep (urban fantasy…ish; it’s had several stories of varying lengths and is now in a very long-running one)
    Vattu (fantasy/furry; tough to describe – the “clash of cultures” thing mentioned on the about page doesn’t really do it justice)
    Wilde Life (man moves to a small town, rents an old house with a ghost of a 19402 mathematician, and things get weirder; sorta urban fantasy in a small town)
    The Young Protectors (superhero comic with gay main character; currently doing a NSFW storyline, though that’s not the norm)

    There are others I’m far enough behind on that I feel embarrassed thinking about rec’ing them, so I’ll stop there. I admit that recommending a long-running comic may be tough. On the other paw, I’ve picked up long-running comics by reading a few pages at the beginning and finding, days later, I’ve caught up on 3 years of great stuff! 😉

  24. Delany used to be one of my top three favorites, and I still love him, but I admit he can occasionally go overboard with the weirdness. And when he does, he can be hit-or-miss. I will definitely be checking out the new story, but I wish y’all had made me more confident that I’ll love it. Because I certainly want to. 🙂
    —-
    On the topic of Webcomics, I have to pass along a recommendation I got from Charlie Stross. I follow a bunch, and this is the best one I’ve stumbled across in a couple of years. It’s called Kill Six Billion Demons, and it features both a charmingly bizarre story with a lot of dark humor, and some really outstandingly elaborate art that is both beautiful and grotesque. Oh, and some first-rate worldbuilding.

    “The first wisdom – abolition of self,

    The second wisdom – always brew coffee before breaking fast.”

    – Vym Yrttr, priest of ATUN

  25. Heather Rose Jones, may I quote your figures (with credit)?

    So, a YASID: someone on twitter I thought described a two book series as being about genderfluid shapeshifters. It was not practical to follow their link on my phone but when I fired up the laptop I could not find the link. Anyone know what series it could be? Might be self-published.

  26. @ James Davis Nicoll

    All I did was count up apparent actor genders from Imdb.com and quote the NY Times summary of the conversational data analyzed by USC’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab. (The NY Times article was discussing both gender and race, but I was limiting my summary to gender.) Feel free to mention my name, but please credit the original sources, esp. the USC SAIL group which is doing some fascinating research.

  27. @ James Davis Nicoll

    a two book series as being about genderfluid shapeshifters

    I have no idea whether this is the series being referenced, but the description is reminiscent to some extent of Alma Alexander’s The Were Chronicles (Random, Wolf, and Shifter are the titles I can find on Goodreads). Part of the worldbuilding is that certain groups of shifters “imprint” on a creature present during their first change, and the female protagonist of the first book imprints on a male human and therefore changes into a boy during each full moon. I found some of the gender-essentialism uncomfortable, but it was an interesting concept. But I think it’s only the one character who does a gender-fluid change.

    As I say — no idea whether it was the one you’re trying to track down.

  28. @Xtifr:

    I will definitely be checking out the new story, but I wish y’all had made me more confident that I’ll love it.

    Please don’t let me get you down! This is literally the first Delany I’ve ever read, and look — Horton absolutely loved it 😀

  29. @Standback: If you have literally read no Delany till this, then please don’t let it fix your impression of Delany’s writing till you’ve at least had a shot at more of the short fiction. Some stories in Aye, and Gomorrah are better than others, and the best of them are as good as short fiction gets.

  30. @John:
    Yes, definitely.
    I can be opinionated, but I’ll wait to be opinionated once I’ve read an author’s established classics, not a single new piece that flumphed in my direction. 😀

  31. @Iphinome – thank you for the Shattered Starlight recommendation! Caught up, bookmarked to follow …

  32. @Xtifr: Thanks for recommending “Kill Six Billion Demons.” I’m not sure I’m going to stay with it, but it’s interesting and has weird-but-good artwork! 🙂 I inhaled a bunch the other day and bookmarked where I left off, so I can pick it up again soon.

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