Pixel Scroll 12/5/20 It’s A Flamin’ Platypus!

(1) WORLDWIDE SFF. The editor makes his pitch: “Celebrating International Speculative Fiction: Lavie Tidhar on The Best of World SF Anthology.

…I spent the past decade trying to pitch a simple idea to publishers: a mass market anthology of international speculative fiction for the bookstore shelf. The responses varied from, well, no response at all to an under-an-hour rejection (that one still hurts).

The idea is simple and, to me, both logical and necessary. I am of that new generation of writers who grew up in a language other than English, and who decided at some point that our way in is to write in this peculiar, second language. Somehow, we reasoned, against all odds and common sense, we’ll break through into that rarefied Anglophone world, maybe even make a go of it. After all, how hard could English be?

Many of the writers in The Best of World SF do indeed write in English as a second language. Others are translated, thanks to the tireless effort of passionate translators from around the world. As a sometimes translator myself, I know how rarely translators get acknowledged or, indeed, paid, and I made sure that they were paid the same for these stories as the authors themselves.

(2) CHILLING TRAILER. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns for Part 4 on December 31.

(3) FIND FANNISH PHOTOS. Carl Andor has a new site up with SF convention photos from 1973 through 2018 at thepacificoceanspeaksforitself.com

Hello and welcome! I initially created this website because costume.org’s “International Costumer’s Gallery” has been down for quite a while, and they only allowed me to post my costume photos. My convention photos include props, displays, celebrities, and sets, as well. Here, I’m able to post them all.

The gallery is accessible from this page.

This archive is a collection of convention and costume event photos going back to 1973. It includes Science Fiction conventions, Costume conventions, Costume College, and other events and exhibits. It will be added to over time, as the digitizing of negatives continues. The currently displayed photos are those that have been previously published on costume.org’s website, as well as photos not previously published. Since costume.org’s site is down for an indeterminate period of time, this will allow you access to my collection.

(4) BLOOM SINCE BRADBURY. The Guardian has an interview with 2011 Hugo finalist Rachel Bloom: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom: ‘Ten years ago, no one talked about a cultural problem in comedy’”.

On the day in April that Rachel Bloom finally took her newborn daughter home from the hospital, one of her best friends died. Her daughter had arrived with fluid in her lungs, into a maternity ward that was rapidly filling with furniture as other wards were transformed into Covid wards. Bloom, tired and elated to be home, had a nap. Her husband woke her with the news: Adam Schlesinger – the well-loved musician and one of Bloom’s closest collaborators on the musical-dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – had died from Covid-19 in a New York hospital, aged 52.

For a wild and strange period, it was unclear how to grieve. Schlesinger, like so many of this year’s dead, had no funeral. Jack Dolgen, the third part of the songwriting trio behind the TV show, came to mourn with Bloom, standing 15ft from her fence. Aline Brosh McKenna, the showrunner, stood in the street. “We didn’t know anything, there was no testing, we didn’t know how this thing spread,” Bloom says. “Now we have a Crazy Ex Zoom, where we all talk. But there’s nothing natural about it.”…

… Bloom was only 23 when her parody song Fuck Me Ray Bradbury went viral on YouTube, and just 26 when Brosh McKenna approached her for Crazy Ex. But she was already weathered enough by experience to know what she wanted on the set, particularly in the writers’ room. It “had to be nice”, she says. “People can’t be creative if they feel threatened. You need people saying random weird shit without feeling their boss will yell at them. And it worked. I think there has been an awakening of compassion, since, a reckoning with privilege.”

(5) VASTER THAN EMPIRES. “This Video Calculates How Huge STAR TREK’s Enterprise-D Is”Nerdist believes you want to know. And maybe you do! After all, I once figured out how tall a real-life Hugo rocket would be.

…EC Henry posted the video to YouTube, noting that even though everyone knows the Enterprise-D is big, it is, in fact, massive. And while that is, of course, a subjective assessment, relatively speaking it has to be true. In the video, EC says he used the enormous amounts of available data on the fictional ship to make his estimates. In fact, the nerdy artist (our description), used “comprehensive” blueprints of all 42 decks of the Enterprise-D. Which, while not canonical, still apparently provide realistic measurements.

(6) LANDER OBIT. Actor David Lander, best known as Laverne & Shirley’s “Squiggy,” died December 4 at the age of 73 reports Variety. He voiced many genre roles.

…As a voice actor, Lander was the voice behind Smart Ass in the 1988 Disney movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” and was credited as Stephen Lander in “Boo” and “Zino and the Snurks.” He also voiced Ch’p in the DC Comics animated movie, “Green Lantern: First Flight” in 2009.

Lander most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney’s children’s show, “Goldie & Bear,” and Donnie the Shark in an episode of “SpongeBob Squarepants” in 2016.

(7) MEDIA ANNIVESARY.

  • In 1986, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s The Illuminatus Trilogy consisting of The Eye in the PyramidThe Golden Apple and Leviathan would be selected for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. All three novels were originally published eleven years earlier by Dell as separate novels with the trilogy coming out in 1984. It is his only win of six nominations for Prometheus Awards to date with The Illuminatus Trilogy being nominated twice.  The Schrödinger’s Cat trilogy has not been nominated to date. (CE)

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

December 5, 1945 “Aircraft Squadron Disappears in the Bermuda Triangle”.

…Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.

By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m….

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born December 5, 1830 – Christina Rossetti.  A novelette, a short story, two dozen poems for us, best known “Goblin Market”; much other work.  Applauded by Hopkins, Swinburne, Tennyson.  “In the Bleak Midwinter” set to music as a Christmas carol by Holst, later by Darke; “Love Came Down at Christmas” by many.  (Died 1894) [JH]
  • Born December 5, 1890 Fritz Lang. Metropolis of course, but also Woman in the Moon (German Frau im Mond) considered to be one of the first “serious” SF films. I saw Metropolis in one of those art cinemas in Seattle in the late Seventies. (Died 1976.) (CE) 
  • Born December 5, 1901 Walt Disney. With Ub Iwerks, he developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. During Disney’s lifetime his studio produced features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), PinocchioFantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards. In 1955 he opened Disneyland. In the Fifties he also launched television programs, such as Walt Disney’s Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, and the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” (EPCOT). I’ll pick Fantasia as my favorite film that he’s responsible for though I’m also very fond of Cinderella and Mary Poppins. And, of course, there’s “The Three little Pigs” with the weird note about the father of the little pigs. (Died 1966.) (CE) 
  • Born December 5, 1936 James Lee Burke, 84. This is one of the listings by ISFDB that has me going “Eh?” as to it being genre. The Dave Robicheaux series has no SFF elements in it and despite the title, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, neither does that novel. The character makes it clear that it’s very, very likely he’s hallucinating. Great novel. (CE) 
  • Born December 5, 1941 – Jon DeCles, age 79.  Two novels, a dozen shorter stories; “Haiku Portraits” (under another name, with David McDaniel) reprinted in A Tolkien Treasury.  Portrayed Mark Twain, whom I thus met and conversed with, at ConFrancisco the 51st Worldcon.  Knew Ben Bova at Milford.  See here.  [JH]
  • Born December 5, 1954 Betsy Wollheim, 66. President, co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief of DAW Books. Winner, along with her co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief Sheila E. Gilbert, of a Hugo Award for Long Form Editing. In the early Nineties, they won two Chesley Awards for best art direction. DAW is, despite being headquartered at Penguin Random House, a small private company, owned exclusively by its publishers. (CE)
  • Born December 5, 1961 – Nicholas Jainschigg, age 59.  A hundred covers, two hundred twenty interiors.  Here is the Feb 89 Asimov’s.  Here is the Dec 91 Amazing.  Here is Bears Discover Fire.  Here is Northern Stars.  Here is the Jul-Aug 99 Analog.  Here is an interior for “Still Life with Scorpions”.  Also card games, comics, landscapes, digital paleontology.  Gaughan Award.  Professor at Rhode Island College of Design.  “Amazing beauty can be found … between parking lots, between buildings.”  Website.  [JH]
  • Born December 5, 1969 – Erec Stebbins, Ph.D., age 51.  Microbiologist and SF author.  Three novels for us.  Mostly occupied as Head of the Division of Structural Biology of Infection and Immunity at the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.  [JH]
  • Born December 5, 1973 Christine Stephen-Daly, 47. Her unpleasant fate as Lt. Teeg on Farscape literally at the hands of her commanding officer Crais was proof if you still need it that this series wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. She was also Miss Meyers in the two part “Sky” story on The Sarah Jane Adventures. (CE) 
  • Born December 5, 1980 Gabriel Luna, 40. He plays Robbie Reyes who is the Ghost Rider rather perfectly in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Rather much better I’d say than Nick Cage ever did in the films. He was also Terminator Rev-9 in Terminator: Dark Fate, and he did voice work for the Black Site: Area 51 video game. (CE)
  • Born December 5, 1986 – Amy DuBoff, age 34.  Ten novels, plus more with co-authors; a dozen shorter stories.  Norton finalist last year.  Proudly says some readers call her the modern Queen of Space Opera.  [JH]
  • Born December 5, 1988 Natasha Pulley, 32. She’s best known for her debut Victorian steampunk novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street which won a Betty Trask Award. She has two other novels, Her second novel, The Bedlam Stacks, was published in while her third, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, is the sequel to her first novel. (CE)
  • Born December 5, 2002 – Caroline David, age 18.  With Peter David wrote Fearless, sequel to his Tigerheart.  She was 11 at the time but got full co-author credit.  Later she began sculpting (the word should really be sculping, but never mind for now) things like these.  [JH]

(10) FORGET SHERLOCK. Who was his favorite character? The Guardian has unearthed a photo of Arthur Conan Doyle cosplaying Professor Challenger: “The photo is the clue: Arthur Conan Doyle’s love for his Lost World hero”. See the photo at the link.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger, the fictional scientist and explorer who discovers a forgotten land of dinosaurs, went on to inspire a string of adventure films, including Jurassic Park. He was a headstrong and irascible antihero, but there is now proof he also served as his creator’s literary alter ego.

The evidence of handwritten notes and amendments, laid out this week with the first publication of the full manuscript of Conan Doyle’s original and most famous Challenger story, The Lost World, show the author not only posed for a photograph of himself dressed as the professor, but also initially gave the character his own age and address.

Conan Doyle spent much of his writing career distancing himself from his best-known creation, Sherlock Holmes, and his family later spoke of the great detective as “a curse”. Yet it seems Conan Doyle was happy to be confused with Challenger….

… Conan Doyle even persuaded his friends to join him in posing for a mocked-up photograph of the story’s imaginary expedition team. They appear grouped around a table before they set off for a hidden mountain plateau above the Amazon river in search of creatures from the Jurassic age. Conan Doyle hoped the image of himself in a fake beard and bushy eyebrows would give his story an air of authenticity, but the editor refused to print it.

(11) MAY IN DECEMBER. Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t the only 19th century author cosplaying his own characters. Karl May did it, too: “The Life of Armchair Adventurer Karl May”, a photo gallery at Der Spiegel.

Karl May, who died 100 years ago, was an impostor, a liar and a thief — and one of Germany’s most widely read authors. He embellished his own biography with as much fantasy as the scenarios in his adventure novels, and when the deceit was finally exposed, he never recovered. But his legend lives on. Here, May dressed as his cowboy character Old Shatterhand.

(12) FULL OF STARS. “The Astronomical Beadwork of Margaret Nazon” at WCC Digest.

…But it wasn’t until 2009, when Nazon’s partner showed her images sent back from the Hubble Space Shuttle Program, that she reached her astronomical epiphany: what if she beaded the stars? Turns out, the different sized and colored beads were the perfect medium to depict the twirls, swirls, and clouds of supernovas, galaxies, black holes, and other out-of-this-world phenomena.

(13) SALAD AD ASTRA. NASA Harvested Radishes on the International Space Station” reports Food & Wine.

…On Monday, American astronaut Kate Rubins plucked 20 radish plants from the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) on the International Space Station (ISS), wrapping them in foil and placing them in cold storage until it’s time for their return trip home on SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission in 2021. According to a NASA fact sheet, 11 experiments have been completed growing veggies for human consumption as part of this program—from ‘Outredgeous’ red romaine lettuce in 2015 to Mizuna mustard last year. NASA says radishes made for a logical next step as they mature in less than a month and have a “sensitive bulb formation” which allows for analysis of CO2 effects and mineral acquisition and distribution.

(14) DRONING OVERHEAD. “Police Drones Are Starting to Think for Themselves” – don’t take the New York Times’ headline literally – yet.

…Each day, the Chula Vista police respond to as many as 15 emergency calls with a drone, launching more than 4,100 flights since the program began two years ago. Chula Vista, a Southern California city with a population of 270,000, is the first in the country to adopt such a program, called Drone as First Responder.

…Shield AI, a start-up in San Diego that has worked with police departments, has developed a drone that can fly into a building and inspect the length and breadth of the premises on its own, with no pilot, in the dark as well as in daylight. Others, including Skydio and DJI, a company in China that makes the drones launched from the roof of the Chula Vista Police Department, are building similar technology.

The Chula Vista department treats drone video much as it does video from police body cams, storing footage as evidence and publicly releasing it only with approval, Capt. Don Redmond said. The department does not use drones for routine patrols.

For privacy advocates like Mr. Stanley of the A.C.L.U., the concern is that increasingly powerful technology will be used to target parts of the community — or strictly enforce laws that are out of step with social norms.

“It could allow law enforcement to enforce any area of the law against anyone they want,” Mr. Stanley said.

Drones, for instance, could easily be used to identify people and restrict activity during protests like those that have been so prevalent across the country in recent months. Captain Redmond said the Chula Vista department did not deploy drones over Black Lives Matters protests because its policies forbade it.

(15) THE BIRDS. “The beauty of starling murmurations – in pictures” – a photo gallery in The Guardian.

Copenhagen-based Søren Solkær , best known for taking photographic portraits of big names in music and film such as Björk and David Lynch, has spent the past four years capturing starling murmurations. Inspired by traditional Japanese landscape painting and calligraphy, these stunning photographs are collected in a new book, Black Sun.

“The starlings move as one unified organism that vigorously opposes any outside threat. A strong visual expression is created, like that of an ink drawing or a calligraphic brush stroke, asserting itself against the sky,” says Solkær.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “I’m Flying” from the 1960 TV Version of Peter Pan is an excerpt from a musical broadcast on NBC featuring Mary Martin as Peter Pan, with choreography by Jerome Robbins and a song by Carolyn Leigh and Moose Charlap.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, Contrarius, Jeff Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Carl Andor, Cath Jackel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

34 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/5/20 It’s A Flamin’ Platypus!

  1. THE ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY was not “written by Robert Anton Wilson.” As the jacket shows, the book was written by TWO authors. Robert Shea, who was a fan, should not be forgotten!

  2. @ Cora Buhlert

    Sorry, but as far as I am concerned, the “Queen of Space Opera” designation still belongs to Leigh Brackett.

    Yup.

  3. (9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Proudly says some readers call her the modern Queen of Space Opera.

    Yeah, that’s one of the unknown authors who got their self-published work slated onto the Nebula ballot. I read the sample extract of the book, and it was BAAAAAAAD.

    Maybe we could avoid repeating mindless propaganda put out by random self-promoters, eh?

  4. (9) Fritz Lang also directed the first Doctor Mabuse movies, the first of which is surely genre-adjecent as Mabuse is depicted as mesmerist with the almost supernatural abiltity of telepathic suggestion. The author of the original novel, Norbert Jacques, stated that Mabuse was deliberately patterned after earlier villainous characters such as Fantômas, Fu Manchu, and, especially, Svengali.

  5. @Cora Buhlert: Hence, I suspect, the “modern” in the phrase “modern queen of space opera.” (Not that I’m trying to assign titles to anyone, I hasten to say.)

  6. @HoosierDragon
    Yes, the Dr. Mabuse movies, both the first three directed by Fritz Lang as well as the later instalments of the 1960s Mabuse series are great and very definitely SFF. From the second movie on, Mabuse is basically a malevolent spirit who hops from body to body, causing chaos and committing crimes.

    I’ve written about the Mabuse movies a couple of times for Galactic Journey as well as for the now defunct zine Thriller UK.

    @Xtifr
    Even if we narrow it down to authors still alive and active, there are still more than a dozen authors who would deserve to inherit the “Queen of Space Opera” crown from Leigh Brackett more than Amy DuBoff.

  7. (9)

    James Lee Burke, 84. This is one of the listings by ISFDB that has me going “Eh?” as to it being genre. The Dave Robicheaux series has no SFF elements in it

    So don’t put him in the birthday list. Problem solved.
    (9)

    (the word should really be sculping, but never mind for now)

    Why so? I checked M-W Unabridged, and the OED. Both include “sculpt” and “sculp” as verb forms. Neither listed any problems with using “sculpt”. Both noted senses of “sculp” as “obsolete” or “colloquial” or “jocular”.

  8. Cora Buhlert: Even if we narrow it down to authors still alive and active, there are still more than a dozen authors who would deserve to inherit the “Queen of Space Opera” crown from Leigh Brackett more than Amy DuBoff.

    There are a lot more than that.

    C.J. Cherryh
    Catherine Asaro
    Lois McMaster Bujold
    Ann Leckie
    Martha Wells
    Elizabeth Moon
    Linda Nagata
    Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    K.B. Wagers
    Mary Robinette Kowal
    Emma Newman
    Elizabeth Bear
    Kameron Hurley
    Becky Chambers
    S.K. Dunstall
    Ann Aguirre
    Rachel Caine
    Melissa Scott
    Jennifer Foehner Wells
    Suzanne Palmer
    Rachel Bach
    Claudia Gray
    Una McCormack
    Arkady Martine
    Megan O’Keefe

    I’m sure there are a lot more, but I can’t be arsed to make an exhaustive list.

  9. I mean, yeah, if I were to start seriously considering candidates for the new Queen of Space Opera, I would most likely start with authors I’ve actually heard of. But maybe that’s just me… 😀

  10. @JJ, that is one helluva list. I haven’t read them all but at least I’ve heard of them.

  11. BGrandrath: that is one helluva list

    It is! 😀

    I read a lot of science fiction and space opera. And if someone’s going to have the utter hubris to refer to themselves as “the modern queen of space opera” and they don’t actually have the chops to back it up, then they shouldn’t be surprised if they get clapped back about it.

  12. @JJ

    Really? Kowal? I mean, she’s great, she’s on my “will gift to people” list, but I’m not sure I’d put her on a list for space opera specifically – she’s closer to a queen of alt histories (esp with strong romantic elements, esp with actual fantasy or sci fi elements) in my opinion.

  13. Meredith: Really? Kowal?

    It’s a list of women who have written some epic space opera — not a list of women who have only written space opera. 😉

  14. @JJ

    Oh I didn’t think it was! But for Queens of Space Opera as a title vs “people who have written some neat space opera once or twice” it seemed to me that their careers ought to focus on the genre a bit more than Kowal’s does. Most of the others on that list that I’m particularly familiar with have space opera as their “primary” or most well-known genre.

    (Curse of Chalion’s my favourite Bujold, but I don’t think I’d be terribly controversial if I said that while she’s a versatile writer and a dab hand at fantasy and romance, space opera’s where the main body of her best known work lies.)

  15. 5) As a kid in the early ’80s, I suspected the saucer of Kirk’s Enterprise was mostly computer systems—a 1960s-style, room-sized mainframe, massively scaled up.

    9) You come at the queen, you best not miss! If Space Opera is an elected monarchy, my vote goes to Cherryh.

  16. JJ says It’s a list of women who have written some epic space opera — not a list of women who have only written space opera.

    For which I thank you deeply as there’s several names there that I’d not associated with space opera. I’m off to Audible now to see which are represented there.

    Now listening to Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas

  17. I’d add to the list of women who have written some epic space opera Sharon Lee of the Sharon Lee and Steve Miller writing the Liaden Universe.

  18. (9) James Lee Burke. Among the web pages listed on the summary page for the author is SFE3 (aka The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction) which specifically identifies the works in question as genre works.

  19. JJ’s list is good. There is plenty of people with a better claim to modern Space Opera, IMO. Cherryh, I think, holds the title, although there are a LOT of Princesses Royal these days, and that’s a Good Thing.

  20. Stephen Fritter says James Lee Burke. Among the web pages listed on the summary page for the author is SFE3 (aka The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction) which specifically identifies the works in question as genre works.

    Yeah but I’ve read all but the most recent in the Dave Robicheaux series and there’s nothing there at all fantastical. It’s a brutal, realistic series. Just because ESF says they’re genre doesn’t make them genre.

  21. Great list, JJ.

    And I agree that the inheritors to the crown of the queen of space opera are either C.J. Cherryh or Lois McMaster Bujold.

    This also illustrates a common problem with self-published authors who are not all that well read in the genre they write beyond the top 100 in the Kindle store, but make extravagant claims about themselves about beging the biggest author in genre X. The “leading voice” is probably the most notorious example, but there are many others.

    I’m a big fan of James Lee Burke (as is my Mom), but I’ve never come across anything remotely genre in his books either.

  22. Kathryn Sullivan: I’d add to the list of women who have written some epic space opera Sharon Lee of the Sharon Lee and Steve Miller writing the Liaden Universe.

    Thanks, Kathryn! That’s one of those series I haven’t read yet, though it’s on Mount Tsundoku. Longstanding series with many books of which I haven’t read any are very daunting, but I try to tackle at least one each year. This year it was Cherryh’s Foreigner and Alliance/Union series (I’d only read a couple of her books many years ago and Alliance Rising last year, so I had a lot of catching up to do).

  23. The Liaden Universe books are very good and very much a steady feature of my best series Hugo ballot. But yes, it’s a lengthy and sprawling series.

  24. Cora Buhlert says I’m a big fan of James Lee Burke (as is my Mom), but I’ve never come across anything remotely genre in his books either.

    So how are the last three or so in the Dave Robicheaux series? It’s been awhile since I’ve dropped in him.

  25. I’m baffled by the insistence of several commenters that there are no genre elements in James Lee Burke’s novels. The Robicheaux novels may be marked by ambiguous elements, but the protagonist regularly comments on the immanence of a supernatural world. At the end of “Electric Mist,” he has all but convinced himself that the “ghosts” he saw were hallucinations, only to have his daughter not only identify a figure in a book of Civil War photos as a man she saw walking with Robicheaux, but also point out that Robicheaux himself appears in one of those photographs. In another book in the series, a crucial telephone call turns out to have been made by a dead man. In yet another, the antagonist is a demonic figure whose name, literally, is Legion. The most recent novel features an apparently supernatural time traveler.

    In another Burke series, Billy Bob Holland is literally haunted by the ghost of his former partner, who he accidentally killed. At the climax of one novel, he sees the villain carried off to Hell on a fire truck manned by the ghosts of men he and his ancestors wronged. The Grail figures in other novels, particularly “House of the Rising Sun.”

    Burke leaves room to deny the supernatural, as do classic ghost stories from “The Turn of the Screw” to “The Haunting of Hill House.” But to insist that his work cannot be regarded as having genre elements is frankly quite foolish.

    BTW, has anyone sent you the New York Times link from a few days ago where Dolly Parton recommends Octavia Butler’s “Kindred”?

  26. I don’t know–the Alliance/Union series seems a little too believable to be proper Space Opera. I mean, c’mon! An Interstellar Republic!? No Galactic Emperors? Who’s going to sing if you don’t have Emperors?

    Now the Vorkosiverse has at least two Emperors! Not to mention Counts and evil Barons and all that good stuff! That’s proper Space Opera! Much as I love Cherryh, I think my vote is leaning towards a different Grand Master. 😀

  27. @Xtifr: Sing? I’ve got at least three Alliance/Union songs in my usual repertoire. Six if you permit Compact and Merovingen.

    I’m pretty far from opera, though.

    (I don’t suppose there’s a way to shoehorn the Ealdwold novels into A/U. That would make seven.)

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