Pixel Scroll 2/2/16 A Spoonful Of Pixels Helps The Medicine Scroll Down

(1) ALTERNATIVE FUTURISM AT UCR. Despite everything else that’s happened to sf studies there, the sun still rose over Riverside this morning and the University of California Riverside announced new events in its continuing Alternative Futurisms Series. The series is funded by a $175,000 Sawyer Seminar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Authors Daniel José Older and Walter Mosley will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 3, followed on March 3 by a panel of award-winning authors discussing the expectations of science fiction and fantasy produced by Caribbean writers….

“Throughout 2015-2016, the Sawyer Seminar on Alternative Futurisms is helping to build bridges amongst the various zones of scholarship and creation in people-of-color futurisms and fantastical narratives,” said Nalo Hopkinson, co-organizer of the yearlong seminar, a professor of creative writing and an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy. “Following a successful fall quarter, which included a conference, film screenings and panel discussions, the winter quarter is focusing on creators of people-of-color science fiction and fantasy.”

… “The Sawyer Seminar has brought together faculty, students and the larger community around the important question of imagining a diverse future,” said Milagros Peña, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS). “I am proud of CHASS’s continuing commitment to science fiction studies.”

Events scheduled this month and in the spring include:

Thursday, March 3, 3:30 p.m. Interdisciplinary 1113 – Panel discussion on Caribbean science fiction and fantasy. Panelists are: with Karen Lord, an award-winning Barbadian author (“Redemption in Indigo,” “The Best of All Possible Worlds”) and research consultant; Karin Lowachee, an award-winning author (“Warchild,” “Cagebird”) who was born in South America, grew up in Canada, and worked in the Arctic; Nalo Hopkinson, award-winning author (“Midnight Robber,” “Falling in Love With Hominids”) who was born in Jamaica and teaches creative writing at UCR with a focus on the literatures of the fantastic such as science fiction, fantasy and magical realism; and Tobias Buckell, a best-selling author who grew up in Grenada and whose work (the “Xenowealth” series, “Hurricane Fever”) has been nominated for numerous awards.

Monday, April 11, 4 p.m. (location tbd) – Readings by Ted Chiang, whose work (“Tower of Babylon,” “Exhalation,” “The Lifecycle of Software Objects”) has won numerous awards; and Charles Yu, whose debut novel “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe” was a runner-up for the Campbell Memorial Award.

(2) EARTHSEA OF GREEN. The Kickstarter appeal for Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin raised its target amount of $80,000 on the very first day. A total of $83,268 has been pledged by 1,164 backers as of this writing.

(3) RABID PUPPIES. Vox Day’s daily slate revelation was “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Fan Artist”, with picks Karezoid, rgus, Matthew Callahan, Disse86, and Darkcloud013.

(4) DAY VERSUS DAVIDSON. Vox Day also reacted to Steve Davidson’s attempt to get Andy Weir to repudiate slates: “SJW attempts to block Weir nomination”.

As for why I did not recommend Mr. Weir as Best New Writer last year, it was for a very simple and straightforward reason. I had not read his novel. Unlike so many of the SJWs, I do not recommend novels I have not read, writers whose books I have not read, or artists whose work I have not seen. Those who have not brought their works to my attention have only themselves, and their publishers to blame, if I remain unfamiliar with them. I am but a mere superintelligence, I am not omniscient.

It is perhaps worth noting, again, that I do not care in the least what a writer or an artist happens to think about being recommended; die Gedanken sind frei. People can recuse themselves, publicly repudiate, or virtue-signal, or perform interpretive dance to express the depth of their feelings about Rabid Puppies. It makes no difference to me.

That being said, it appears Marc Miller is not eligible for Best New Writer despite having published his debut novel in 2015. I shall have to revisit that category at a later date.

Although it really doesn’t have any implications for the current discussion, it’s an interesting bit of trivia that Bryan Thomas Schmidt, who was on both the Sad and Rabid slates last year as a short fiction editor, was the person who edited Weir’s novel The Martian.

(5) BIGGER ISSUE. David J. Peterson argues that Puppy drama is overshadowing a really important issue – the lack of a YA Hugo.

No, to my mind the real injustice in the Hugo Awards is the lack of a separate award for YA fiction. More than anywhere else, YA is drawing new readers to science-fiction and fantasy. Yes, right now HBO’s Game of Thrones is huge, and it’s based on a very adult series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, but beyond, what else is big—and I mean big big—in SFF? A few series come to mind: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments. I’m sure you can think of others (oh, duh, Twilight, whatever you think of it). All of these are very successful YA series (all by female authors, incidentally), and all of them have been made into movies that range from moderately successful, to wildly, outrageously successful. Generally, though, unless it’s world-shatteringly successful, YA novels don’t stand a chance of being nominated for a Hugo, let alone winning (of all the books listed above, only two were nominated for best novel—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—with the latter winning)….

Writing YA fiction is a different endeavor than writing adult fiction. There are different rules in play; a different audience to consider. It’s a different approach altogether. Different. Not better. Not worse. But different. Think of your favorite YA novel and your favorite adult novel (two that jump to mind immediately for me are Matilda and The Great Gatsby). Can you rank one over the other? I can’t. It’s not because I can’t decide which one is better: It’s because they’re not even playing by the same rules….

And that’s my point with YA and the Hugos. YA is underrepresented, but it’s not because readers are ignoring it or anything like that: It’s because it’s competing in a category it shouldn’t be. Right now, enormous YA works are grabbing new readers by the truckload and essentially delivering them into SFF fandom, but they don’t have a seat at the table. This is an issue that has been raised before, but I think the whole Sad Puppy thing has really shoved it to the side, and that, to me, is a real shame.

(6) SEEKS LOVE. Meantime, James Troughton just cuts to the chase —

(7) FINDS LOVE. Congratulations Laura Resnick on the film option offered on one of your romance novels!

The deposit has cleared, which means it’s time to announce: I’ve been offered a film option deal for my romance novel, FALLEN FROM GRACE. This means I’ve licensed the right for a filmmaker to apply for development money from (of all things) the National Film Board in South Africa (where the story would be relocated and the movie made, if it’s made). It’s a multi-stage process and may never get beyond this point (or may never get beyond the next point, “development,” etc.), but I’m still excited. I’ve had an initial approach 2-3 times before about film adaptations (though not for this book), but no one has ever before pursued it beyond the initial “are these rights available?”

(8) BLUE TWO. The New Zealand Herald reports “First Avatar sequel to start shooting in NZ this April”.

The follow-up to the blockbuster hit Avatar will start production in New Zealand this year.

Director James Cameron is set to start filming the first of three Avatar sequels in April, which are scheduled to be released one year after the other.

The first sequel was supposed to come out in cinemas later this year, but delays have forced the release date to the end of 2017.

According to My Entertainment World, the film will start shooting in California’s Manhattan Beach and New Zealand.

The website also reveals the premise for the film, saying “Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) permanently transfers his consciousness to his Na’vi avatar and begins a new life with Princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) after they defeat the human colonisers.”

(9) DRAWERS IN A MANUSCRIPT. M. Harold Page recommends a book about period costumes at Black Gate: “Pulp-era Gumshoes and Queen Victoria’s Underwear: Stitches in Time: The Story of the Clothes We Wear by Lucy Addlington”.

It puts us in the shoes (and unmentionables) of the people we read about — the Pulp-era gumshoes and flappers, the Victorian Steam Punk inventors, the swashbuckling musketeers. They all feel a bit more real when we know how they dress in the morning, how they manage the call of nature, what fashion bloopers they worry about, how their clothes force them to walk or sit.

It also helps us decode some of the nuances. For example, men’s shirts were actually regarded as underwear until well past the Victorian period. If you took off your jacket, you’d immediately don a dressing gown. To be in your shirtsleeves was to be not entirely decent. The color of your shirt reflected your class and… and it’s a rabbit hole of nuance and snobbery. You just have to read it.

(10) X-FILES. If you’re in the market for a spoiler-filled recap of the latest X-Files episode, click Mashable’s “’The X-Files’ Episode 3 was a silly hour of TV that couldn’t have been better”.

(11) TOO MUCH LAVA. Open Culture today highlighted this eight-minute animation of the destruction of Pompeii from 2013. Well worth the eight minutes.

A good disaster story never fails to fascinate — and, given that it actually happened, the story of Pompeii especially so. Buried and thus frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the ancient Roman town of 11,000 has provided an object of great historical interest ever since its rediscovery in 1599. Baths, houses, tools and other possessions (including plenty of wine bottles), frescoes, graffiti, an ampitheater, an aqueduct, the “Villa of the Mysteries“: Pompeii has it all, as far as the stuff of first-century Roman life goes.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 commenter of the day IanP.]

280 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/2/16 A Spoonful Of Pixels Helps The Medicine Scroll Down

  1. @Xtifr

    I’ve been trying to think of another author from way back who is primarily known for YA/Juvenile, but most of the juveniles I read when I was young were by authors better known for non-juveniles, like Heinlein and Norton.

    Douglas Hill? I certainly associate him with several YA series that I read in my youth. Especially the Last Legionary books.

  2. Xtifr: I’ve been trying to think of another author from way back who is primarily known for YA/Juvenile, but most of the juveniles I read when I was young were by authors better known for non-juveniles, like Heinlein and Norton.

    Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Patricia Wrede…

    But what I’d really want is Garth Nix, so that winners can all be nixed. #alwaysrootforthewordplay

  3. At one time, there were five Daves in my circle of friends. Big Dave, Little Dave, Slayer (for Demonslayer, a D&D character of his), Cousin Dave (not my cousin, but the cousin of one my my friends), and Barney (who looked eerily like Barney Rubble from the Flintstones at the time.)

    Slayer and Barney still answer to those names; in fact, they’ll introduce themselves to strangers by those names…..

    Currently I have a (male) friend named Chris who is dating a (female) Chris.


  4. When I was in college it was Johns: John C, John O, John K …

    The roughest RPG I ever ran had four players: Richard, Robert, Ralph, and Ron.

  5. Jones would be a great choice. However, she’s relatively recent (died ~5 years ago); if you’re looking for history, E. Nesbit might do.

  6. k8:

    I know it’s not the main point, but I get really irritated when people confuse middle grade with young adult. Harry Potter and Matilda are middle grade. Having said that, I’d rather see an award for literature for youth rather than restrict it to YA.

    Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been saying this for years, so I’m glad to see it supported by a professional. Sometimes I feel I should just shrug and say ‘words mean what they are used to mean’ – sure, it would make for clarity if we used the term the same way publishers do, but we’re never going to purge the language of all ambiguity, so whatever. But then people actually say that a book can’t be YA, because it isn’t directed to the same audience as Harry Potter, and that’s seriously missing the point.

    I am worried by the proposal, because I’m not sure how the people making it are understanding YA – the proposal is clearly inspired by the emergence of YA (publishing sense) as a new and distinctive thing, but nevertheless people supporting it often use the term in the sweeping ‘all young people’s fiction is YA’ way.

    In my experience DWJ is also counted as Older Children’s (which I think is similar to middle grade, though the lines may not be drawn in exactly the same places).

  7. As to YA/youth more generally:

    In principle I agree with Heather Rose Jones: if YA (or youth) is a variety of SFF, why should it be privileged above other varieties of SFF? (I sometimes feel there is a subtext, that we clearly can’t be giving YA fair consideration, because if we did it would always win, since hundreds of YA works are published every year which – obviously – are better than the stuff that does win.) And if it is not a variety of SFF, but a distinct genre, of course it deserves an award, but why should that be a Hugo? There aren’t Hugos for crime or romance either.

    But I think the Not A Hugo proposal squares this circle neatly. It treats YA (or youth) as a distinct genre, but one with which SFF has a special relationship, which seems fair.

    I think it also solves the definitional problem and the ‘what if it’s good enough…’ problem; if it’s Not A Hugo, it won’t actually disqualify books from the regular Hugo, and as a result we won’t need a definition which will rigidly separate the class from the regular Hugo – we can go with ‘voters decide’. The ‘that’s not proper YA’ problem can be overcome by calling it Youth; I take it voters will be sensible enough not to nominate anything that isn’t even arguably for youth.

    (I have heard that the plan is actually to make it a person award, and that I really don’t think is a good idea; the person awards we have now cause enough problems. But it can be Not A Hugo without being a person award, just as the Norton is Not A Nebula.)

    (Cooper and Nesbit, and I think Alexander, are also children’s writers, by the way.)

  8. I worked for eight years at a place that had two IT guys called Bill.

    Well, called Bill everywhere outside the context of work. They were, for most of those eight years, the entire IT department, and were collectively called “the Bills.” Individually, we called them by their respective last names.

    And even here in 7143, all these centuries later, I remember them fondly.

  9. 50% of the men in my office are called Steve. It made learning names when I joined a lot easier….

  10. Naming awards after people is always fraught, but I’m cool with an award named after DWJ. Or Ursula Le Guin (hey, she’s written some kidlit!). 🙂

  11. Thanks to everyone who weighed in on this. I think Pris is going to become a Sheryl, though. It’s still at the rough draft stage, and I’m big on visual flow. 🙂

  12. Our SFF Fan group contains a Big Jeff, a Little Geoff and a Medium Geoff (who joined in that order), although to be fair Little Geoff has moved away from our centre of coagulation (Portsmouth, Hants) and is no longer an active member.

  13. Last year’s Hugo Graphic Story finalist “Rat Queens” had ‘Four Daves’.

    Credit blamefor the inspiration came from Kip W’s “Rickscrolled!” comment in the previous Pixel Scroll.

  14. The most striking example of coincidence of names is surely Evelyn Waugh’s first wife, who was also called Evelyn.

  15. I remember a new member coming into a Bhigg House music circle, and I looked at the men and said, “Well, remembering them will be easy. We have Dave, Dave, David, Dave, and Wolfgang.”

    There was a reason we were not going to name our boys David or James (or current top 10 baby boy’s names like Jacob and “Every name that ends with an -aden sound”). And yet we wanted to make sure their names were familiar and easy to say, so both are within the top 100. So far, no repeats in our social circles including his schooling, but the elder is only 4…

    I worked once in a place where a lot of the floor workers were either Filipino or immigrants from Sierra Leone. At one point I said I was pretty sure we were the only business west of West Africa which had two people working there named Kadiatu Mansaray.

    I have written a story with two characters with the same first name. I’ve insisted on keeping it that way so far, but the number of ways and tricks I needed to learn to make sure no reader was likely to mix them up (And no character, except for a key moment which justifies not changing it – at least until an editor says “nope. doesn’t work”) makes me strongly advise against doing this where avoidable. A nickname for one, a lot of use of surnames, a couple of narrative tics that happen in the presence of one but not the other…

    Same first letter I am less obsessive about, but they have to be very different. Bruce and Belladonna might not get confused, but Alec and Adam might, for instance.

  16. Just be glad you are not writing about Anglo-Saxons: members of noble families usually had names that alliterated, partly because the poetry alliterated instead of rhyming and they wanted the bards to be able to sing commercials about their lineages. 🙂

  17. Bitty wrote:

    Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Patricia Wrede…

    Jones, Cooper, and Wrede (and Nix) are all much too recent, I think. Some of them are even still alive, and I’m really reluctant to name an award after a living author. Also, if this not-a-Hugo is going to fall under the banner of WSFS, I think it’s better to look at SF authors, rather than fantasy. (At least to start.) That will help distinguish the award from whatever similar award the WFC (for example) might come up with.

  18. Duplicate names at work: At my first full-time job, in a department of around 20 people, there were 3 Steves, plus a fourth who was a frequent visitor from another office. At the time I left, there were 3 Brians. Along the way, there was a stretch where the users I was working with included two metallurgists whose first name was Ross and a third whose last name was Ross.

    Fun with character initials: The Years of Rice and Salt is made somewhat less of a slog when you start noticing that as characters are reborn, they keep coming back with the same first initial.

  19. “Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
    Another one Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face!”

  20. I’m not sure why recency is a problem; how long had John W. Campbell been gone when his award was founded? I think founding an award in honour of the recently dead is a very natural gesture of remembrance. (And indeed, there is a rather major precedent for naming an award after a living person, though I’d agree Nix is not an obvious dedicatee.)

  21. @Soon Lee:
    I always try to give credit when due, so that when it’s time to assign blame, it looks like I’m still doing the same thing. I was hoping I might have inspired that, I mean, once someone else made it clear enough that I (not recognizing the song) could get the joke.

    @Peace Is My Middle Name
    I mentioned it, though not by name.

    Reminded obliquely, as usual, of an ad for Lay’s Potato Chips that I heard on the radio, long ago, which involved native Hawaiians promising to let Captain Cook go free… provided he could eat Just One Lay’s Potato Chip. He failed, of course, and then they sang the song, and for the tag, the Hawaiian chief (or chef) tells the next man he resembles the late Captain.
    “Yes, I’m his brother.”
    “Then you may go free.”
    “Thank you! But… why?”
    “Too many Cooks spoil the broth.”

  22. PS: A science fiction (not fantasy) writer best known for his young people’s fiction is John Christopher, though if one worried about recency that would be a problem for him as well.

  23. Re: multiple matching names. This is a nerdy group–surely I can’t be the only one to automatically think “Chandler, Duke, McNamara”?

    Someone should write a book about a future world (warning: simplistic, culturally-insensitive joke ahead) conquered by an Islamic India where every character is named Muhammad Patel.

  24. In all this discussion of YA awards, I feel like I’m being a spoil-sport if I note that there is already a committee studying the question of a Worldcon-associated YA book award, and that while brainstorming award ideas/names/concepts from scratch is an entertaining exercise, those who are seriously in favor of the idea might look into whether the existing committee needs assistance.

    I fully understand the impulse behind the brainstorming. And I suspect that no one actually thinks the question will be decided on this blog. But when we get to the point of discussing exactly who the award should be named after… Well, just saying.

  25. @Andrew M: “if YA (or youth) is a variety of SFF, why should it be privileged above other varieties of SFF? […] And if it is not a variety of SFF, but a distinct genre, of course it deserves an award, but why should that be a Hugo? There aren’t Hugos for crime or romance either.”

    Neither is the case. There are YA and Youth books in all kinds of genres, not just SFF. Easy (if old) examples that come to my mind are the “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators” and “Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew” books, which are basically youth-to-YA mystery. Nothing to do with SFF at all, unless some of the cases touched on that genre.

  26. 11) Pompeii. The August date usually ascribed to the eruption of Vesuvuis comes from Pliny the Younger’s account of the event, but it probably wrong. Seeds found among the ruins show that certain crops had already been harvested that would not have been avialable until October, so that is the more likely date, regardless of the memory of the man who was witness to the disaster. He did not, after all, write of it until much older, and likely misremembered the season.

  27. Well, yes, obviously the whole of YA (or youth, but I’m not going to type that out all the time) is not a variety of SFF: I meant YA with SFFnal themes.

    As for whether YA is a distinct genre; that depends on how you individuate genres. If you define them by subject-matter, then clearly YA SFF is part of SFF, YA mystery is part of mystery, etc. But if you define them by traditions and communities (as lots of people do, and as is, I think, to some extent implied by the very idea of genre awards), then there seem to be distinct children’s and YA traditions and communities, both of writers and of readers. I’ve seen it said that YA SFF is harder to separate from YA generally than from adult SFF; it shares a tone and feel with other YA works. And with children’s books, the community between them certainly seems stronger than the divisions: E. Nesbit wrote works with fantastic content and works without, but no one thinks for her as having a double career or anything like that. (Though I think she also wrote adult works, and they are seen as separate.) And the demand for an award does seem to come from the sense that YA is a distinct Thing, even if ‘genre’ isn’t quite the right word.

    (This doesn’t mean we can’t give Hugos to YA. We can go beyond the limits of genre SFF, provided a work has a speculative theme, as we do when giving them to works published as mainstream.)

  28. I think we should name the YA awards after me. Because that would be cool.

    Also, not that it has any bearing on the awards, but I remember being confused when Urban Fantasy started being a thing — UF as in Emma Bull and Charles de Lint, not what it’s evolved into since — and thinking that this whole approach of modern-day people interacting with fantasy creatures hidden among us wasn’t something new at all.

    Then I realized that most of the examples I thought of off the top of my head were children’s fantasy. It was doing it for adult readers that made a shift in perception. Not that people weren’t aware of the children’s fantasy, but they thought of it as a separate category.

    Anyway. What all this means is that the award should be named after me. Or Yolanda Albertson, just for the initials.

  29. Kurt Busiek: Calling dibs first should count for something. You’re the first person I’ve seen to suggest a name for this YA non-Hugo.

    If somebody in 1953 had your initiative, we’d probably be calling those rockets the Daves or SaMs. And since these are/were not-very-self-effacing guys, it’s hard to believe it didn’t happen anyway.

  30. Kip, I couldn’t find an audio clip for the Lay’s commercial you mentioned, but it turned out the ad was written by Howard Kaplan, who presented the script for the ad in his memoir NINETY DEGREES AT 49. Google Books has portions of the book available; the script for the “Captain Cook” ad (and several others) is on page 261-262.

    My first thought had been that it sounded like a Stan Freberg piece, but when that didn’t produce results, I looked a little further.

    I also found the University of Maryland has a large collection of radio advertising from 1954-1964, which may include the Lay’s ad. But only about a quarter of the 3300 discs have been transferred to DAT, and there’s mention of a possible fee involved.

  31. We could call them the Kay-Bees like the defunct toy store chain.

    Oh, sure. More promo for Karen Berger, I see.

  32. So, I was looking at that business meeting report. The fact that they refer to the Newbery as an award for YA indicates that they either have no idea what the Newbery is (it is for text of books for ages 0-14) or they’re really confused about what YA is. ALA’s award for teen/YA books is the Printz award. Seriously, if this is what they’re referring to as proof of potential books, they really need to make it an award for youth literature, not young adult. They mention the Printz in the list of awards, but it really is the one they should use when looking for YA book examples. It’s the award that honored House of the Scorpion, Shipbreaker, The Monstrumologist, Skellig, and Nation. Also, since the Newbery is only for US Authors or US residents, using it to gauge potential past Hugo books is limiting.

  33. @Bruce Arthurs:
    Wow! Thanks for the info. You’re saying it wasn’t Freberg, which (though I hadn’t thought about it at all, ever) seems almost surprising. It was a nice little ad; didn’t even play the natives’ voices for laffs, if memory serves. The next suspect after Freberg would be the “Chickenman” production team (Dick Orkin et al), which did some good radio ads, but I kind of think they came along later than this. Internal evidence (that is, evidence that is in my head and nowhere else) says maybe about 1970 or slightly earlier, because my head memory is that I listened to the ad on WLS from the sleeping porch of my grandmother’s house in Brookfield, which occupied a particular time frame. I used to listen to WLS from Colorado at night sometimes, and was enough of a [me] at the time that I was excited to hear it from near the source when I was in the Windy City.

  34. @Andrew M (up a ways, but I think on this page): I’m not thrilled with YA books (or anything) getting two bites at the apple, i.e., the same work potentially winning two Hugos. Because “not a Hugo” aside, it would be a Hugo in all but name (more so than the Campbell; it would be WSFS’s award, not sponsored/given by an outside company via Hugo voters). On the other paw…

    @Kurt Busiek & @Jack Lint: …I like the Kay-Bees, only because those are my initials, too. 😉 …

    @Name Game: … and to tie it all together, someone else in my office has the initials “KB” also. BTW I love all the stories here about name wackiness. 🙂

  35. Kurt Busiek on February 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm said: Also, not that it has any bearing on the awards, but I remember being confused when Urban Fantasy started being a thing — UF as in Emma Bull and Charles de Lint, not what it’s evolved into since — and thinking that this whole approach of modern-day people interacting with fantasy creatures hidden among us wasn’t something new at all.

    I remember thinking – “Oh… like Buffy”. Is Joss Whedon the modern father of urban fantasy.

  36. TheYoungPretender on February 3, 2016 at 7:03 am said: It’s why I think we can’t ignore the Puppies, much as we might really, really like to. They’re a part of our fandom, and something we need to show we can contain.

    No they are not. They are tea-puppies first. Readers second and not a part of Fandom as a general rule. There leaders may be part of the SFF scene which is why they use politics to stir up the tea-puppies. They are just selling books.

    The puppy movement has very little to do with SFF.

  37. I am confused about the YA discussion. Is Harry Potter not considered YA? I am thinking here of “Goblet of Fire”.

  38. Zenu – Most people I know in kidlit see Harry Potter as middle grade fiction, with some seeing the last couple books as maybe YA. For me, even though the characters age and the books get darker, I think they all still have middle grade sensibilities. YMMV, though. The increasing darkness isn’t a factor for me, but that’s probably because I’ve read plenty of middle grade fiction that’s just as dark if not darker.

    One thing about child readers is that they often like to read up, which means they often like to read about characters older than they are. This is why the age of the characters in the story can’t always be used to determine the type of book it is. A book about 12 year olds will probably be enjoyed by 10 year olds, while the real 12 year olds often want to read about kids older than they are.

  39. Is Joan Aiken, MBE from way back enough? I don’t know of any awards named after her.

  40. I remember thinking – “Oh… like Buffy”. Is Joss Whedon the modern father of urban fantasy.

    BUFFY the movie was 1992, and the TV series was 1997.

    The stuff I was talking about, the Bull/de Lint wave of urban fantasy that the term was coined to describe, includes WAR FOR THE OAKS (1987), YARROW (1986) and LITTLE. BIG (by John Crowley, 1981).

    So, no. “Urban fantasy” as a genre (and as a term) predates Ms. Summers. I think of her as an avatar (but not the only one) of the fangbanger/asskicker-of-the-fantastic approach that pretty much buried the early urban fantasy authors and got them to rebrand (or at least to try to rebrand) as “mythic fiction.”

  41. A book about 12 year olds will probably be enjoyed by 10 year olds, while the real 12 year olds often want to read about kids older than they are.

    That’s classically why SEVENTEEN Magazine is aimed at 14 year olds.

  42. Kurt Busiek: War for the Oaks

    Given that it won the Locus Magazine award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, I’m guessing that the book is actually better than it sounds based on the synopsis?

    Interestingly, there was a short film/trailer made for it. Somebody’s SCA chapter had a whale of a good time making that.

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