Pixel Scroll 2/22/20 Come And See The Filers Inherent In The Pixel

(1) YOU’VE SEEN HIM EXPLAIN HUGO VOTING, SO YOU KNOW HE’S GOT THIS. Kevin Standlee, a volunteer in Nevada’s Democratic Caucuses, appeared on CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto to answer questions about the assistive technology being used there (not the one that sparked controversy in Iowa). See the video here.

Kevin added, responding to a File 770 email:

My specific role was “Precinct Chair,” meaning that I conducted the caucus for my own precinct (Lyon County precinct 40), conducting the votes and certifying the results to the site lead. (Seven precincts caucused at our site.) The Site Lead then took the official paper records, reported them to the party headquarters by telephone and by texting pictures of the records to the party, then he took custody of the paper records and returned them to the party headquarters in Reno.

And before I finished today’s Scroll Kevin had written a complete account (with photos) on his blog — “3 1/2 Minutes of Fame”. Plus, his photos of the CNN appearance start here, and photos of the Nevada Caucus start here.

(2) AXE FALLS AT DC. Dan DiDio was ousted as co-publisher of DC Comics yesterday, says The Hollywood Reporter: “DC’s Dan DiDio Out as Co-Publisher”.

…Since stepping into an executive role at the company, DiDio has served as DC’s public face at conventions and public events, and has worked to champion not only the company as a whole but specifically the comic book division — and comic book specialty market — as being integral to DC’s success on an ongoing basis. DiDio was also part of the push to expand DC’s publishing reach into Walmart and Target via exclusive 100-Page Giant issues, an initiative that proved so successful that the issues were expanded to the comic store market.

…With DiDio’s departure, Jim Lee becomes sole publisher at DC, in addition to his role as the company’s chief creative officer, a position he’s held since June 2018.

Why is he out? The Hollywood Reporter didn’t address the question. Bleeding Cool received an answer from unnamed sources: “So Why Did Dan DiDio Leave DC Comics Anyway?”

Bleeding Cool now understands that yes, DiDio was fired this morning by Warner Bros at 10.30am PT in their Burbank offices and he left the building straight away. I am told by sources close to the situation that he was fired, for cause, for ‘fostering a poor work environment’ – as evidenced, as we previously stated, by significant departures at the publisher by editors. Dan DiDio has a reputation of being a micro-manager from some, for being very involved in projects from others. And DC Comics was heading towards a big change in its publishing programme – one aspect of which was the much-rumoured 5G – or Generation Five. Which would have seen DC’s major figures Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana and more aged out and replaced with new characters taking the roles of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the new DC Timeline. And some folk at DC Comics were very much against this. But opposition never worried Dan, after all he was at constant odds with the direction the company line was pushed for pretty much his entire career as Publisher, and was always was striving to put comics first, as he saw it….

(3) FIRING THE IMAGINATION. At Boston Review, John Crowley interviews Elizabeth Hand: “Elizabeth Hand’s Curious Toys”

JC: Historical fictions are designed largely as a sort of medley: true details of time and place, actual persons of the period treated as fictional characters with their own point of view, invented persons who interact with the historical ones, real events that will form memories for the real people and for the fictional ones. You’ve long been drawn to this kind of fiction and its possibilities. What do you think its power is, for writer and reader?

EH: Well, as you know yourself, history is an immense sandbox for a writer to play in. I would add “fulfilling,” but can a sandbox be fulfilling? I love research, searching for and delving into primary sources in hopes of discovering some nugget of information that’s somehow gone unnoticed, that I can then use in a story. And while I always try to create as authentic and absorbing a portrait of a period as I can, I love playing with all the what ifs of history. Darger and Chaplin and Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht and others were all in Chicago at the same time: what if their paths crossed in some way?

JC: A theme of Curious Toys is how people in that period were fascinated with human oddities (fake or real), and you explore how, as much as that was about fear and wonder over the bodies of differently-abled people, it was also connected with the period’s gender rules and expectations. How much of this background psychology do you expect readers will sense?

EH: I never know what readers will “get” or not. To me, some things in a narrative seem perfectly obvious, yet are completely overlooked by readers (and critics). But I hope that my depiction of that period and its fears and bigotries is realistic enough that readers grasp how similar it was to our own time, even though many things have changed for the better. I came across an anti-immigrant government screed from around 1915 that could have been written yesterday by a member of the current administration. Gender expectations have changed since 1915; I suspect Pin would have very similar experiences were she to pull the same gender reversals today, though they’d be updated for the twenty-first-century workplace. I guess my real concern should be that some readers will think my historical depiction of an earlier era’s prejudices is fake news.

(4) AS SEEN ON TV. Nerds of a Feather’s Andrea Johnson poses the questions in “Interview: Myke Cole, author of Sixteenth Watch”.

NOAF: You’re also on TV! While us viewers only see the polished, edited version, you literally get to see what happens behind the scenes. Any funny or surprising stories from your experiences filming the Contact and Hunted TV shows? Is television something you hope to do more of?

MC: I love doing TV. For one thing, I love attention. I used to think of this as a character flaw (we’re all raised to be self-effacing and taught that seeking the spotlight is a sign of egomania), but I’ve come to accept that for better or worse, it’s who I am. TV is so much easier than writing. It’s grueling work (12-15 days when you’re shooting), but it’s compressed into a tight period (Hunted was two month’s work. Contact was one month’s work). I get paid more to do a single TV show than I do in a year of writing, and a book takes me 1-2 years to write.

But just like writing, just because you’re doing it at a professional level is absolutely no guarantee you will get to keep doing it. I thought that starring on two major network shows and having an agent at CAA (it’s really hard to get in there) meant my TV career was set. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The only real benefit of having done two shows is that I now have a gorgeous, professional “reel” (clips of me on TV) that I can show to other shows I am trying to get to book me. Otherwise, I’m basically at square one. So, I’m currently hustling for my next show and there’s no guarantee that I’ll get it.

(5) MAKE IT SO MUCH. ComicBook.com says the floodgates have opened: “Star Trek: New Movie, Two New Series, and More Confirmed in the Works”.

A lot more Star Trek is on the way. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish confirmed during the company’s 2019 earnings call that two more Star Trek television shows are in the works. These are on top of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the already announced Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Section 31, and the untitled Nickelodeon Star Trek animated series. Bakish also confirmed that the next installment of the Star Trek film series is being developed by Paramount Pictures. This was the first earnings call since ViacomCBS formed out of the merger of Viacom and CBS in 2019. The merger brought the Star Trek film and television rights under the same roof for the first time since the two companies split in 2006.

Bakish says that the reunited ViacomCBS plans “take the Star Trek franchise and extend it across the house.”

To that end, Bakish confirmed that a new line of Star Trek novels is on the way from VIacomCBS subsidiary Simon & Shuster. This line will include prequels tying into Star Trek: Picard. The first Picard tie-in novel, The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, was released in February.

Bakish also confirmed that more Star Trek comics are on the way…

.(6) DARK MATTERS. “Chasing Einstein: The Dark Universe Event” will be hosted by The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination on March 2. A screening of the feature documentary Chasing Einstein will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A.

Could Einstein have been wrong about the true nature of gravity? Does his general theory of relativity and the Standard Model need an update? Unprecedented advances in experimental particle physics, astronomy and cosmology are uncovering mysteries of cosmic consequence. Among the most challenging is the realization that 80% of the universe consists of something unknown that exerts galactic forces pulling the universe apart. The search for Dark Matter extends from the worlds most powerful particle accelerators to the most sensitive telescopes, to deep under the earth. Nobel worthy discoveries await. Scientists at UC San Diego are at the epicenter of the search for Dark Matter leading efforts to build the next generation of instruments and experiments to uncover its secrets.

The panelists will be —

  • Professor, and Founder of the XENON Dark Matter Project, Elena Aprile
  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics Brian Keating
  • Kaixuan Ni, Ph.D, Ni Group at UC San Diego. Dr. Ni leads the development of liquid xenon detectors for the search of dark matter.
  • Patrick de Perio, postdoctoral research scientist, Columbia Univerity
  • Steve Brown, producer, Chasing Einstein

(7) THE TAIL OF BO. Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson tells what his dog was like: “Bo Davidson 2003 – 2020”.

…Bo used his body.  He developed specific stances and specific locations, along with a variety of sounds.   One such was to come running up to you, circle once, face you straight on and chuff.  We quickly learned that this meant “I’m trying to tell you something and you are too stupid to figure it out.”  So we’d guess, and here’s the cool thing:  we’d know if the guess was right or wrong by what Bo did.  We’d offer (something like “do you need to go out”?) and if we were wrong, he’d look at whatever it was, but not move, then look back at us.  “Nope, that’s not it.”

Finally, if we were unable to come up with an answer, we’d say “show me”, and off Bo would go.  He’d walk right to the immediate vicinity of whatever it was (oh, I left food in the microwave – Bo standing, facing the microwave on the counter, or oh, your toy is way under the jelly cabinet – Bo standing facing the cabinet, then looking up at us, then back down at the floor).

Once he learned that attempts at communicating would be rewarded, he never stopped.

Steve still needs to pay some on-going expenses for Bo’s treatment and has a GoFundMe campaign here.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • February 22, 1918 — In Denmark, A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet in Danish), premiered. It is a 1918 Danish film about a trip to Mars. In 2006, the film was restored and released on DVD by the Danish Film Institute. Phil Hardy, the late English film critic, in The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction claims it is “the film that marked the beginning of the space opera subgenre of science fiction”.  You can watch it here.
  • February 22, 1956 The Mole People premiered. It was produced by William Alland, and directed by Virgil W. Vogel. It stars John Agar, Hugh Beaumont, and Cynthia Patrick. (Beaumont is best remembered for his portrayal of Ward Cleaver.)  The story is written by László Görög who also scripted The Land Unknown and Earth v. The Spider,  two other late Fifties SF films. Though I can’t find any contemporary critical reviews, currently audiences at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 28% rating. Oddly enough, the only video of it on YouTube is the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 airing which you can see here. That video alludes to the changed end which may have been done to placate the studio and their sensitivities to Fifties social mores.  

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 22, 1899 Dwight Frye. He’s  the villain in classic Universal Thirties horror films such as Renfield in Dracula, Fritz in Frankenstein and Karl in The Bride of Frankenstein. You might also know him as Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon. He’s uncredited as a Reporter in The Invisible Man. (Died 1943.)
  • Born February 22, 1917 Reed Crandall. Illustrator and penciller best known for the Forties Quality Comics’ Blackhawk (a DC property later) and for stories in myriad EC Comics during the 1950s.  In the late Sixties, he did the illustration work on King Features Syndicate’s King Comics comic-book version of the syndicate’s Flash Gordon strip. He’s been inducted into Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.  (Died 1982.)
  • Born February 22, 1925 Edward Gorey. I’m reasonably sure that his animated introduction to the PBS series Mystery! was my first encounter with him. I will recommend Gorey CatsThe Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas and The Doubtful Guest. Ok if he’s not genre but he’s still fun and delightfully weird. Oh, and do go read Elephant House: Or, the Home of Edward Gorey, with superb photographs and text by Kevin McDermott. (Died 2000.)
  • Born February 22, 1929 James Hong, 91. Though not quite genre, he became known to audiences through starring in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan in the late Fifties. Genre wise, his first role was in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! voicing Ogata/Serizawa. He then pops up in The Satan Bug as Dr. Yang and next is seen playing Ho Lee in Destination Inner Space. You’ll no doubt recognize Colossus: The Forbin Project wherehe’s Dr. Chin but I’ll bet you’ve never heard of, oh wait you have, Blade Runner in which he’s Hannibal Chew and Big Trouble In Little China which I love in which he’s wizard David Lo Pan. It’s back to obscure films after that with next up being Shadowzone where he’s Dr. Van Fleet and Dragonfight where he’s Asawa. He’s next in The Shadow as Li Peng but I’ll be damned if I can remember his role and the same holds true for him as Che’tsai In Tank Girl too.  He’s Mr. Wu in the very loose adaption of the classic The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Born February 22, 1933 Sheila Hancock, 87. Helen A. In the Seventh Doctor story, “The Happiness Patrol”.  Other than voicing The White Witch in an animated version of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, that’s it for her genre work as far as I can tell but it’s a role worth seeing if you’ve not seen it! 
  • Born February 22, 1937 Joanna Russ. Is it fair to say she’s known as much for her feminist literary criticism as her SF writings? That The Female Man is her best known work suggest my question really isn’t relevant as there may be no difference between the two. She was for a long time a influential reviewer for Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction where I think it would fair to say that you knew clearly what she thought of a given work. (Died 2011.)
  • Born February 22, 1953 Genny Dazzo, 67. She attended the first Star Trek Convention in New York. She has since been involved in the local SF con, Lunacon. Moving out to LA, she was on the committee for all of the LA WorldCons as well as the Westercons, Loscons, and AmineLA. 
  • Born February 22, 1959 Kyle MacLachlan, 61. Genre wise known for his role as Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks  and its weird film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Paul Atreides in Dune, Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden, Clifford Vandercave In The Flintstones, Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet (OK not genre, just weird).

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • At Family Circus, the kids ask their Mom a challenging genre question.

(11) BOOK FU. This seems like something no one should miss.

(12) WEASLEY SQUIRREL REVIVAL. Four Weasleys will reunite at a Dallas con happening at the end of March: “Harry Potter: Weasley reunion coming at Fan Expo Dallas 2020”. (John Cleese will be there too…!)

If you need a Weasley reunion, look no further than Fan Expo Dallas 2020. Four Harry Potter actors are getting together for some exciting times.

That’s right. You’ll get four of the Weasley siblings. And these aren’t the ones that you didn’t see enough off on screen. Fan Expo Dallas 2020 has managed to get the four Weasley siblings who spent most of their time on screen; the ones you cried over and rooted for.

Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, and Oliver and James Phelps will all attend the multi-fandom convention….

(13) FUTURE VISION. At CNBC’s Make It, “Elon Musk shares the science fiction book series that inspired him to start SpaceX”.

As a teenage boy, Elon Musk felt a “personal obligation” for the fate of mankind, according to the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance.

Musk’s love of books and the lessons he took from them inspired him to create “cleaner energy technology or [build] spaceships to extend the human species’s reach” in the future, according to Vance.

One set of those books Musk still recommends today: the seven-book “Foundation” science fiction series by scientist and author Isaac Asimov.

(14) 1968 ASIMOV AUDIO. Fanac.org presents a recording of Isaac Asimov’s talk at the 1968 Boskone.

In this audio recording (illustrated with more than 50 images), Isaac Asimov spends an hour talking about everything and anything. He is speaking to his extended family – a roomful of science fiction fans. 

Isaac speaks with great good humor about his writing (both science fiction and science fact), ribs his fellow writers, especially Lester Del Rey and others who were in the room, and tells stories about Harlan Ellison and John W. Campbell.  

He is charming and arrogant, explaining his view of women, why he doesn’t write for TV, his experiences on late night TV and more. 

This is an opportunity to get to know one of science fiction’s greats as his contemporaries did. 

Thanks to the New England Science Fiction Society (NESFA) and Rick Kovalcik for providing the recording. Brought to you here by FANAC.org , the Fanhistory Project. For more fan history, visit FANAC.org and Fancyclopedia.org .

(15) THEY, ROBOT. Plagiarism Today discusses “Why Web Scraping/Spinning is Back” and blames Google.

The big question is “What changed?” Why is it that, after nearly a decade, these antiquated approaches to web spamming are back?

The real answer is that web scraping never really went away. The nature of spamming is that, even after a technique is defeated, people will continue to try it. The reason is fairly simple: Spam is a numbers game and, if you stop a technique 99.9% of the time, a spammer just has to try 1,000 times to have one success (on average).

But that doesn’t explain why many people are noticing more of these sites in their search results, especially when looking for certain kinds of news.

Part of the answer may come from a September announcement by Richard Gingras, Google’s VP for News. There, he talked about efforts they were making to elevate “original reporting” in search results. According to the announcement, Google strongly favored the latest or most comprehensive reporting on a topic. They were going to try and change that algorithm to show more preference to original reporting, keeping those stories toward the top for longer.

Whether that change has materialized is up for debate. I, personally, regularly see duplicative articles rank well both in Google and Google News even today. That said, some of the sites I was monitoring last month when I started researching this topic have disappeared from Google News.

(16) FROM POWERED ARMOR TO CRAB SHELL. “Anytime you think I’m being too rough, anytime you think I’m being too tough, anytime you miss-your-mommy, QUIT! You sign your 1240-A, you get your gear, and you take a stroll down washout lane. Do you get me?”  He’s had quite a career since playing Sgt. Zim in Starship Troopers – the Maltin on Movies podcast interviews Clancy Brown.

With films ranging from The Shawshank Redemption to Starship Troopers and recent TV appearances on The Mandalorian, Emergence, Billions, and The Crown (as LBJ), Clancy Brown is the living definition of a “working actor.” He’s also been the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants for more than twenty years! Leonard and Jessie have been after him for many months to appear on the podcast and finally found a day he wasn’t on a soundstage; it was well worth the wait.

(17) AND THE JUDGES SAY. Paul Weimer assesses the end of a trilogy at Nerds of a Feather: “Microreview [book]: The Poet King by Ilana C Myer”.

In The Poet King, Ilana C Myer sticks the landing, in completing the Harp and the Blade trilogy, a poetical and lyrically rich fantasy of the tumultuous return of magic to a fantasy land, and the poet central to the mythically infused events.

(18) EL SEGUNDO. Paul Weimer also reviews a second book in a series — “Microreview [book]: The Hanged Man, by K D Edwards” at Nerds of a Feather.

The Last Sun introduced us to a fascinating world of Atlanteans, their world gone, living on the occupied island of Nantucket. A world where the most powerful Atlanteans carried terrible magical power, Rune, last heir of fallen House Sun, became wrapped up in the machinations of other, great Houses, and slowly coming into his own power in the process. An unusual sort of urban fantasy, The Last Sun was notable for its invention, its strong character focus, and the queer friendliness of Atlantean society.

Now in The Hanged Man, K.C. Edwards continues the story of Rune, and Brand, his bonded Companion, and their slowly accumulating set of friends, lover, and allies.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Karl-Johan Norén, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/22/20 Come And See The Filers Inherent In The Pixel

  1. @9: Gorey may not be solely genre, but he definitely qualifies for the birthday list; aside from the strange qualities of The Doubtful Guest, he was the designer (set, ?costumes?) for a Broadway revival of Dracula. How much of his work is genre depends on where you place non-supernatural horror (as was … discussed … here recently). Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey is obsessively footnoted to prove the truth of the weirdnesses in his life; there’s more psychobiography (repeated argument/speculation about his sexuality or lack thereof) than I really care for, but the story is almost as strangely fascinating as his work — at least provided that it is taken in pieces the size of his work rather than read all at once.

  2. 9) Gorey also had a story (“The Stupid Joke”) in ?Kirby McCauley’s Dark Forces anthology.

    16) Admit I’ve not clicked through to the interview yet, but for me Clancy Brown will always and forever be the Kurgan from Highlander. And the creepy preacher from Carnivale.

  3. (9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Happy RIP Birthday to Edward Gorey; I’ve always loved his work.

    (10) COMICS SECTION. ::snort::

    (11) BOOK FU. Eek! Such violence on books!

    First fifth or something like that.

  4. (9) It’s not at all genre, but James Hong is also brilliant as the sleazy private investigator Mr. Shin in Black Widow with Debra Winger and Theresa Russell.

    While Dwight Frye did play Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon, that was in the 1931 film version, not the Humphrey Bogart/Mary Astor classic from 1941, where Wilmer was played by Elisha Cook Jr.

  5. @Chip: I saw that production of Dracula, starring Frank Langella, in Boston. Gorey designed the sets, which were absolutely stunning.

  6. I encountered Reed Crandall’s work in the sixties, so I knew him from stories in the Warren comics like Creepy and Eerie, and Edgar Rice Burroughs illustrations for Canaveral Press.

  7. PhilRM makes a great catch: While Dwight Frye did play Wilmer Cook in The Maltese Falcon, that was in the 1931 film version, not the Humphrey Bogart/Mary Astor classic from 1941, where Wilmer was played by Elisha Cook Jr.

    Thanks, my source didn’t note what Maltese Falcon that he was in. Anyone seen the earlier version?

  8. I’m not sure why there’s any question about the genre-relatedness of the author of The Haunted Tea Cosy! It’s right there in the name! But yes, even Gorey’s not-quite-as-obviously-genre works are brilliant. Loved The Gashleycrumb Tinies when I was young. “A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs.”

    (Yes, some folks worried about me when I was a kid, but, really, I hardly ever go out on murderous rampages. No more than two or three times a year, I swear.) 😀

  9. The Monster Attack did an enjoyable podcast on The Mole People. Host Jim Adams grew up watching monster movies, so he comes at these movies with love — and knowledge. Did you know the actors who played Ward Cleaver and Alfred the butler were both in the movie? He also discusses serious aspects, like the way the movie deals with themes of religion and power (daring for a 1950s monster movie), and why That Ending was chosen.

    http://monsterattack.projectentertainment.libsynpro.com/the-mole-people

  10. A quick shout-out to Russ’s 1975 short-short story “Risk,” which is about a man from her/the reader’s own time waking up in the future and complaining that it’s too safe and boring. In current terms, I’d say she’s snarking about gbkvp znfphyvavgl.

  11. 18) Thank you for putting my review in the scroll. 🙂 I do like it when a second book gets things right that were missed (IMO) in the first book.

  12. 9) People talk a lot about Joanna Russ and SF feminism, but I would like to add that she has a startlingly great prose style. When I picked up the collection Hidden Side Of The Moon, I was blown away by how good the writing was and for the most part she has not disappointed since.

  13. 9) Gwyneth Jones has a great new biography of Russ, from Univ of Illinois Press (2019).
    8) Mole People is quite bizarre. The protagonists are dragged down into sand pits like quicksand where subterranean captors have enslaved the moles. Scenes of mole people being whipped in fiery caves where they are tossed mushrooms to eat are surrealistic because the acting is so terrible and the script so pathetic, you can only watch the film as a metaphor for our sick culture.

  14. 9) When I was eight years old, Edward Gorey’s opening for Mystery was the scariest thing on TV.

  15. Hi folks, again.

    Still have the kitten that grew into a 13 pounds of solid muscle spotted beast. Still in the mental headspace where it’s better to avoid people than be an a-hole and drive them off.

    Read…

    A Memory Called Empire – Hard to rate. I should love a cross between Ancillary Justice and The Goblin Emperor but for some reason felt a bit empty at the end.

    Maybe if the sunlit had been replaced by a heroic SecUnit, then it’d be perfect.

    The Shades of Magic Trilogy – liked it though it’s a touch overhyped. Good, fun, socks still on my feet. Perhaps if they added a heroic SecUnit to save the humans when they do stupid things.

    Terminal Alliance – This was just plain fun. Humans ARE the SecUnits.

    Cast in Wisdom – More of the same. If you liked the first 14 books then this is just like them. If you didn’t like the first 14 books why are you still reading?

    Kaylin is almost as good as a SecUnit.

    Gideon the Ninth – First 5 pages…

    Uhg this is overwritten, please don’t let the whole book be this.

    Ten more pages…

    Now that we’re past that and into more standard prose let’s see where this goes.

    Halfway through…

    This works, I see why people liked it.

    2/3rds through…

    You threw in those adverbs just to dick with me.

    3/4ths through…

    I’m having fun but I’m also counting the beats and it’s about time for you to get to it.

    4/5’ths through.

    There you go, no you didn’t fool me but it was well executed and I’m still having fun, carry on.

    100%…

    That was fan effing tastic, bring on the next book… Six more months? string of lyrical cursing that would make Chuck Wendig blush

    Not even a Secunit could have made this better, all the stars.

    The Necessary Beggar – This is a book that I read. There sure are words, thousands of them. No SecUnit could save the soft humans from being awful to each other. Maybe I’ll go back and reread Gideon.

  16. 1) I wonder which is more complicated, caucus voting or the Hugos…

    9) The Mystery! opening was my first introduction to Edward Gorey as well.

  17. (1) I have also posted how my portion of the Nevada caucus went. Much of it was quite similar to my experience with SF/F conventions. I moved and set up chairs and tables, posted signs, checked people in at registration, listened to people who were having difficulties and when possible helped them, made announcements to a crowd of people without benefit of a PA system, ran a public meeting, and then helped clean everything up afterwards. The tech worked (mostly; one bug that didn’t affect the results), so I didn’t have to actually count IRV ballots by hand, but even that wouldn’t have been difficult, as we had the voting data on paper if necessary. There were fewer advance ballots cast in my precinct than are typically cast to elect people to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee, and I’ve counted that multiple times by hand.

    Nina: Counting Hugo Award ballots is significantly more difficult than caucus voting, which is at its heart a two-round preferential ballot with no need to carry through to a single winner.

  18. @ Nina. I would assume the hardest part is the Hugo nominations with titles spelled various ways and checking eligibility.

  19. 9) Another remarkable, non-genre, Gorey work is “The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel”. Maybe it qualifies as ‘horror’ — but probably just for professional writers.

  20. I know we haven’t posted our 2020 Recommended page yet, but I wanted to squee over this book since I interrupted my Hugo reading for it: Light of Impossible Stars, Gareth L. Powell. This is the final book in the Embers of War trilogy, and it’s a crackling good read that brings the series to a satisfying end. It doesn’t stand alone well since you do need to have read the first two books to understand what’s going on. But this definitely vaults the Embers of War series to the top of my 2020 Best Series list.

  21. Iphinome: I’ll tell you what, you finally convinced me to read Gideon (without even waiting to see if I have to in the event it’s a Hugo nominee).

  22. @Mike Glyer I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    You said something similar when I gushed about This is How You Lose the Time War, so I hope you also liked that one.

  23. I think my introduction to the Mole People was the rubber masks that used to be on sale in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Finally seeing the film was somewhat of a disconnect because it’s more about the underground civilization than the BEMs.

    It’s one of the few movies that starts with a history lecture on some of the wild theories about what’s in the center of the earth.

    “Listen to them, the children of the scroll. What pixels they make!”

  24. @Xtifr: “The Gashleycrumb Tinies” were always my favorite. 🙂 We’re not murderous, just dark!

    @Iphinome: LOL, SecUnits can improve many books, ’tis true.

    . . . . .

    Meredith Audible.com Moment o’ the Day:

    Scott Sigler’s EarthCore is the Audible.com Daily Deal for $4.95. This is a sci-fi thrillerish novel about an attempt to drill for a huge platinum deposit that runs into something three miles underground that’s been waiting and guarding for centuries. (Cue ominous music.)

    IIRC this is a revised version of the original novel. I listened to the original version (narrated by Sigler) lo these many moons ago, as it came out; it was one of the first audiobook podcasts back in the day. I enjoyed the original a lot! I like this new narrator a lot, too; it’s Ray Porter, who does an excellent job on Peter Clines’s “Threshhold” books.

    Anyway, I already own this new/revised audiobook, but haven’t heard it yet. I still recommend it, based on the original novel and the new narrator. 🙂 But whether it holds up after all this time and whether the revised version is better or worse or the same . . . I can’t promise. So caveat emptor, but hey, it’s only $4.95!

  25. @Kendall —

    I like this new narrator a lot, too; it’s Ray Porter, who does an excellent job on Peter Clines’s “Threshhold” books.

    Oooo, Ray Porter is good.

    The plot doesn’t sound all that appealing, though…. OTOH, Ray Porter….

  26. @Contarius: Porter seems perfect for this kind of book, if that makes sense.

    . . . . .

    Another Meredith Moment, this one of the more traditional ebook variety.

    Ninth Step Station #1 (“season 1”) is $1.99 in the U.S., at least, from Serial Box (uses DRM). This is a joint effort, of course, by Malka Older (creator and head writer), Fran Wilde, Jacqueline Koyanagi, and Curtis C. Chen. In a divided future Tokyo, a local cop and a U.S. Peacekeeper must work together to solve crimes. I loved Chen’d “Kangaroo” books, FWIW, but I’m not sure this is really my kind of book. Anyone read/heard it? (I don’t care much for Emily Woo Zeller’s narration style, so if I get this at some point, I’d get the ebook.)

  27. I’m hoping Gideon the Ninth isn’t a Hugo nominee. I enjoyed the book and the buzz has some substance behind it but it has a not-entirely-cooked aspect to it. I suspect the sequel will be better.

  28. I absolutely loved A Memory Called Empire. The Cast in … are a strange thing. They consist almost entirely of conversion, half of it conducted inside people’s heads. I snap them up like peanuts, but I’m kind of ….come on, get to the point! Although the one a few volumes back in which the Emperor came to dinner at Kaylin’s house was pretty great.

  29. @Kendall
    I checked Kobo, and they have that 9th Step Station, as well as another one that’s free, but I can’t tell from their site what the difference is.

  30. I’m hoping Gideon the Ninth isn’t a Hugo nominee. I enjoyed the book and the buzz has some substance behind it but it has a not-entirely-cooked aspect to it. I suspect the sequel will be better.

    I’m not too big on Gideon the Ninth either. The book feels like it is trying too hard to go YA and the resulting prose style really distracts me from the meat of the novel.

  31. Discussions of voting systems always remind me that I’d really love to know what the Condorcet (pairwise comparison) winners of the Hugo ballots were. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way to determine that without the unreleased raw data, though I’m not sure. And, I mean, no voting system is perfect, and choosing the IRV winner instead of the Condorcet winner is perfectly reasonable, but I’m still curious.

    Currently reading: Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde are forced to team up to fight vampires. Grabbed this one on a whim, and am definitely enjoying it, though it’s not without flaws. It’s an epistolary novel, supposedly from letters and diary entries collected by a secretive organization called the White Worm Society. The style might be the books biggest weakness, as it doesn’t really feel like 19th c. writing to me. Though that’s not totally a bad thing, as I have a low tolerance for 19th c. writing styles–but Stoker and Wilde are two of my favorites of the era. Also, the book uses the word “gipsy” a lot, which is period-correct, but I find a trifle disturbing. But I do like the characters and story. And I did learn (first fact I had to check) that Stoker’s wife had previously been engaged to Wilde! Still scratching my head over that. Anyway, I’m enjoying seeing Wilde cast as a reluctant hero, so I’m having fun.

  32. @Iphinome: I’ll fifth Mike’s comment about Gideon (though it’ll have to wait juuuust a little longer as I finish off The House of Sundering Flames and follow it up with Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982)

  33. @Iphinome re: Gideon the Ninth

    (Lovely to see you posting, I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t seen much of you recently.)

    I’m afraid I’m still at “I don’t like any of these people and I have no idea why this is set in space rather than EpicFantasylandia and I’m not sure I have a reason to keep reading.”

  34. @Heather Rose Jones

    That’s so nice of you. You didn’t notice because you see me on the twitter dot com.

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