Pixel Scroll 3/15/19 Pixelflay Hraka, Scroll Embleer Rah!

(1) THE NEW NUMBER TWO. Future Science Fiction Digest’s second issue was released today. The contents are available for immediate purchase, or you can read the stories when they become available as free reads on the site between now and May 15.

From the time of the dinosaurs to the heat death of the universe, from thinking and feeling androids to human consciousness spanning multiple bodies, from cats on the Moon to alien salad dressing that makes plastic digestible and delicious, these tales have something for everyone.

Table of contents

  • “Tideline Treasures, or Growing Up Along the Mile-High Dyke” by Tais Teng and Jaap Boekestein
  • “The Roost of Ash and Fire” by David Walton
  • “The Lord of Rivers” by Wanxiang Fengnian (translated by Nathan Faries)
  • “No Body Enough” by Dantzel Cherry
  • “An Actual Fish” by Natalia Theodoridou
  • “The Peculiar Gravity of Home” by Beth Cato
  • “The Zest for Life” by N. R. M. Roshak
  • “The Token” by Mike Resnick
  • “To Save a Human” by Svyatoslav Loginov (translated by Max Hrabrov)

Future Science Fiction Digest, edited by Alex Shvartsman, is a collaboration between Future Affairs Administration and UFO Publishing.

(2) OOPS REPAIR. “Marvel Fixes ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Poster Snubbing Danai Gurira After Fan Backlash”Yahoo! covers the kerfuffle:

Nothing — not spoilers, Easter eggs or even mistakes — gets past eagle-eyed Marvel fans.

When the new trailer and poster for the highly anticipated “Avengers: Endgamearrived on Thursday, superhero devotees pored over every last detail only to discover a glaring omission. 

The top credits feature every actor on the poster, including Josh Brolin who plays big bad Thanos and Bradley Cooper who voices a souped-up raccoon, except actress Danai Gurira.

(3) COPING STRATEGY. At Ink and Bourbon, Patrick LeClerc offers his advice for surviving a bad review: “Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth”.

…It’s going to happen. If you put your work out there, it’s going to get reviewed, and some people aren’t going to like it. We may love the good reviews, and I’ve been very fortunate that most of mine have been positive, but sooner or later, somebody’s gonna land a glove on you.

So how do you take it?

Ideally, you need to do three things. Most people don’t. Many people can get through one or maybe two. But to be great, you need to do all three.

First of all, you need to get back up.

These things happen. And they hurt and they suck, but it’s part of the game. It’s a part that you agreed to, tacitly at least, when you put your work out there. It’s not unfair. It hurts, because when we write, we basically stand naked on a stage, and that’s a very vulnerable place to be. But you decided to be there. So the first test is: Can you get back up? Can you write another book?

(4) SEMIOTIC BAGGAGE. Christopher Maverick’s post “Call For Comments: The (super)Power of Fashion and Symbols” at Vox Populorum follows this excerpt with analysis of the reaction to Alt-Hero comics. (The coincidental resemblance of the blog’s name to that of Vox Day’s appears to involve nothing more than taking inspiration from the same Latin term.)

…One of the most interesting thing about communication through symbols is that the meaning inherent in them isn’t just built by the person using the symbol. It has as much to do with the person viewing the symbol as well. I once got into a political argument with a cop on Facebook about #BlackLivesMatter vs. #BlueLivesMatter where he was trying to argue that cops don’t disproportionately kill black men and that they needed to have the discretion to discharge their weapons whenever they felt their safety was threatened. My counterargument was that it was hard to take his sense of professional discretion even remotely seriously when he had chosen a #BlueLivesMatter Punisher logo as his Facebook avatar, because no matter what he says, it’s always going to come across as “and also, I want to set myself up as judges jury and executioner, because I like to kill people for funsies!” He tried defend the icon by saying that it just meant that he was a fan of the character and implied nothing about his personal values. I retorted that it implied EVERYTHING about his personal values, because that is the image that he has chosen to announce himself and associate his identity with and therefore he bears all the semiotic baggage associated with it by anyone who comes into contact with him and sees it. Also, I’m kind of a dick….

(5) WEARIN’ O’THE GREEN. Speaking of semiotic baggage, the Beverly Cinema in LA made a fascinating decision to pair these two films on a St. Patrick’s Day double bill.

(6) NOT A CLOSE ADAPTATION. BBC’s Nicholas Barber asks “Is Jodorowsky’s Dune the greatest film never made?”

…As bamboozling as they were, El Topo and The Holy Mountain were so profitable that a French producer, Michel Seydoux, contacted Jodorowsky in 1974 and offered to fund whichever film he fancied making next. Jodorowsky chose a science-fiction novel, Dune. When Seydoux agreed, Jodorowsky realised that he’d now have to sit down and read it.

Published in 1965, Herbert’s novel chronicles the battle for control of a desert planet called Arrakis – or Dune. Its teenage hero, Paul Atreides, leads armies and rides giant worms, and so, in the days before digital effects, putting Herbert’s sprawling interstellar saga on screen would have been a colossal feat. But Jodorowsky didn’t just want to adapt a book, he wanted to “change the public’s perceptions… change the young minds of all the world”. He wouldn’t be making a mere film, he recalls in a 2014 documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune. He’d be making an “artistical, cinematographical god”.

This grandly mystical tone was typical of the project. Seydoux rented a castle for Jodorowsky to write in, and when his screenplay was finished, the auteur set about recruiting collaborators – or, as he put it, fellow ‘spiritual warriors’. The first of these was Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, one of France’s most acclaimed comic artists. Working at what Jodorowsky has called a ‘superhuman’ pace, Giraud broke down the entire film into a storyboard of 3000 drawings. He began with a long, unbroken shot inspired by the opening of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, the difference being that the camera doesn’t just rove around a town, it crosses the universe. And he ended with pictures of Paul being murdered and then transforming into a sentient planet, before flying off to spread good vibes throughout the galaxy. Needless to say, none of this happens in Herbert’s novel….

(7) WALKING CARPET WEAVER. Michael Heilemann seeks the real origin story of “Chewbacca” at Kitbashed. Did Ralph McQuarrie or John Schoenherr have more to do with the character’s look? You decide!

The creation of Star Wars is a comprehensive mythology onto itself, populated by rarely documented anecdotes, like how The Millenium Falcon was inspired by a hamburger, with the cockpit being an olive off to the side” [1] (took me years, but I finally disproved that one) or “My original inspiration for Chewbacca was my dog Indiana.” [2], compelling enough to be repeated until they’re so prevalent that they must be true, and are accepted even by hardcore fans and Lucasfilm itself. Unfortunately sometimes they’re embellished truths or half-truths, sometimes entirely false and in pretty much all cases oversimplifying a truly interesting, and luckily exceptionally well documented creative process….

But while the official sources are often great, compiling from many different sources to dispel myths about Boba Fett’s ship, Slave 1 or tell in staggering detail the creation of the film from beginning till end as in the case of books like The Making of Star Wars, there are still plenty of dim, and in some cases even seemingly purposefully blacked out areas in the development of Star Wars.

The story of how Chewbacca came to be is one of these. A fascinating look at what happens in the space between idea, page and screen….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 15, 1935 Judd Hirsch, 84. Best known in genre circles for playing Julius Levinson on Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence. Other than anappearance on Warehouse 13 in the amazing “Secret Santa” episode as Isadore Weisfelt, he’s done virtually no genre acting other than a cameo on The Muppets and The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t where he was Count Dracula.
  • Born March 15, 1939 Joseph D. Olander, 80. Anthologists aiming for works that we’re to be, I’d guess, within the University market in the Eighties, as American Government Through Science Fiction  co-authored with Martin H. Greenberg and Patricia S. Warrick, or Run to Starlight, Sports Through Science Fiction, with the same co-authors.
  • Born March 15, 1943 David Cronenberg, 75. In him, there’s something to make anyone horrified from such as Scanners and Videodrome to the later Existenz. Me I’ll take The Fly for pure grossness. 
  • Born March 15, 1946 Chris Morris, 73. First genre writing was in the exemplary Thieves’ World shared universe, such as “What Women Do Best” with Janet Morris, and “Red Light, Love Light”.  He’s also written in the Merovingen Nights, Heroes in Hell and Sacred Band of Stepsons saga series.
  • Born March 15, 1967 Isa Dick Hackett, 52. An Amazon producer and writer for and helped produce The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and The Adjustment Bureau, all of which are based as you know on works by her father. 
  • Born March 15, 1985 Kellan Lutz, 34. He’s best known for playing Emmett Cullen in the Twilight Saga franchise. He has since played Poseidon in Immortals, Tarzan in the animated film of the same name and Hercules in The Legend of Hercules. He also was Ridley in the Chinese fantasy Guardians of the Tomb, and appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street as Dean Russell. 
  • Born March 15, 1986 Jai Courtney, 33. He portrayed hero Kyle Reese in Terminator Genisys and villain Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad. Other genre roles portraying Eric in Divergent and in the sequel, Insurgent. He was Macbeth in a 2017 production of the Scottish Play at Melbourne Theatre Company. 

(9) HE’S BACK. Deadline can only report it happened, they can’t explain why: “Disney Reinstates Director James Gunn For ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy 3’”.

…The decision to rehire Gunn –he was fired last July by Disney after alt-right journalists made public a fusillade of decade old social media missives that made light of pedophilia and rape — was one that was mulled and actually made months ago, following conversations with Disney studio leadership and the team at Marvel Studios. Why the change of heart? After the firing, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn met with Gunn on multiple occasions to discuss the situation. Persuaded by Gunn’s public apology and his handling of the situation after, Horn decided to reverse course and reinstate Gunn.

… There will be an inevitable chorus of those who will gripe about Gunn’s return, but creatively, Guardians will benefit from his return. The entire cast of the film was outspoken in its desire to have Gunn back, saying that those satiric tweets did not match his personal actions.

(10) A DIFFERENT WAY. Charlie Jane Anders salutes “The Left Hand of Darkness at Fifty” in The Paris Review.

When I first read The Left Hand of Darkness, it struck me as a guidebook to a place I desperately wanted to visit but had never known how to reach. This novel showed me a reality where storytelling could help me question the ideas about gender and sexuality that had been handed down to all of us, take-it-or-leave-it style, from childhood. But also, Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic novel felt like an invitation to a different kind of storytelling, one based on understanding the inner workings of societies as well as individual people.

Of course, The Left Hand of Darkness is literally a guidebook to the fictional world of Gethen, also known as Winter. The book takes the form of a travelogue, roaming around the nations of Karhide and Orgoreyn. And by the time you finish reading, you might actually feel like you’ve been to these places, to the point where you kind of know what their food tastes like and how the people act. But for me, and for a lot of other people, The Left Hand of Darkness also left us with a map that leads to another way of telling stories.

(11) SIGNED UP FOR THE DURATION. Gary Tognetti kicks off a collection of “Novel Reviews – March 2019” at The 1000 Year Plan with a look at Elizabeth Bear’s new novel. Other authors reviewed: Zen Cho, John Scalzi, Brad Torgersen, and Brian Trent.

…An early moment in Elizabeth Bear’s expansive new space opera Ancestral Night has narrator Haimey Dz offer a meta-commentary on the ancient, 19th century novels she reads during the long hours spent drifting through space: “They’re great for space travel because they were designed for people with time on their hands. Middlemarch. Gorgeous, but it just goes on and on.” Ancestral Night is a busy and boisterous novel, complex and beautifully composed, but also with a tendency to labor its points.

(12) TEMPORARILY HAPPY. Paul Weimer finds things to admire about this romance space opera novel — “Microreview [book]: Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik” at Nerds of a Feather.

The novel does play the genre conventions of romance more than it does the conventions of science fiction. The plot and character beats fall into a relatively conventional pattern, but they are well executed and they mesh well with both the characters and the space opera universe. Readers who come to the novel for the romance plotline between Ada and Loch should be well satisfied with the storyline. Since this is a first novel set in a greater universe, I suspect this would be classified as a HFN (Happy for now) rather than strictly a HEA (Happily ever after) conclusion.

(13) PAPA REPLACEMENT THEORY. BBC reports on science showing an “Ancient migration transformed Spain’s DNA”.

A migration from Central Europe transformed the genetic make-up of people in Spain during the Bronze Age, a study reveals.

DNA evidence shows the migrants streamed over the Pyrenees, replacing existing male lineages across the region within a space of 400 years.

It remains unclear whether violence played a role or whether a male-centric social structure was more important.

The result comes from the most extensive study of its kind.

Researchers reconstructed the population history of Iberia (modern Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra) over 8,000 years – the biggest slice of time tackled by a single ancient DNA study. The region has been a crossroads for different cultures over time.

(14) SSTO? Prepare to launch: “UK’s air-breathing rocket engine set for key tests”.

The UK project to develop a hypersonic engine that could take a plane from London to Sydney in about four hours is set for a key demonstration.

The Sabre engine is part jet, part rocket, and relies on a novel pre-cooler heat-exchanger technology.

This pre-cooler system will begin a new phase of testing in the next month or so in Colorado, US.

Meanwhile, the core part of the engine has just gone through its preliminary design review.

Signed off by experts at the European Space Agency, the review sets the stage for this central section of Sabre to begin its own demonstration campaign at Wescott Space Cluster in Buckinghamshire next year.

The company behind the project, Reaction Engines Ltd (REL), says it is making good progress.

Not only would Sabre power units enable rapid, point-to-point transport inside the atmosphere, but they would also allow reusable vehicles to make the jump straight to orbit without the need for multiple propellant stages – as is the case now with conventional rockets.

(15) ARE WE THERE YET? They’re on the way: “Astronauts who survived Soyuz breakdown blast off to ISS”.

Two astronauts who survived a failed Soyuz launch last year are now on their way to the International Space Station.

Nasa’s Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin were on the rocket when it malfunctioned in mid-air on 11 October.

The two men are now flying with US astronaut Christina Koch after a successful lift-off from the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz MS-12 launched at 01:14 on Friday local time (19:14 GMT Thursday).

This is Mr Hague and Mr Ovchinin’s first flight since the aborted launch last October.

That time, the rocket was forced to make an emergency landing two minutes after take-off because a sensor had been damaged while it was being built.

[Thanks to Bill, JJ, Mike Kennedy, StephenfromOttawa, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Alex Shvartsman, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

42 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/15/19 Pixelflay Hraka, Scroll Embleer Rah!

  1. Brief summary of the second half of Foundation and Empire “Always certain, Seldon wrong”

  2. Headache.

    Thunderstorm very close. Do not fancy my chances of becoming a superhero if struck, so basic safety protocols in place.

  3. Thanks for the link back. And Hahaha… that’s correct, our website has nothing to do with Vox Day at all (*shudder* at the thought). We’re a podcast that talks about issues in popular culture with a rotating round table of both academics who study pop culture and fans. “Vox Populi” just means “voice of the people” in latin… and is the common phrase for “man on the street” opinion reports. “Vox Populorum” would be “Voice of the Peoples” which we chose because we try to have different kinds of opinions and be truly intersectional (academic, non academic, male, female, straight, gay, white, black, etc… and any other places along the spectrum beyond those categories). Also, we liked that ending in “orum” gave it the feeling of a “forum”.

    That said, we usually go by the podcast name anyway “The VoxPopcast” ? So yeah… we would… not exactly be… in the good graces of the Comicsgate types… as should be evident by the post.

    In any case, thank you once again, and I certainly invite you or any of your readers to comment on the post so that we can address things on the show and listen and let us know what you think.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  4. Day four of my in-hospital stay. Staphylococcus culture still being done so I’m still on the general anti-biotics for now which means likely at least another three days here. Bone surgery *hurts*. Bone *infection* hurts even more. Hospital food sucks.

    I’ve got a private room tonight as my toommate went home earlier and no one else got moved. I’ll likely get someone in the morning.

  5. @Cat Eldridge
    Sending many good thoughts your way, and hoping that the pain stops soon.

  6. P J Evans says Sending many good thoughts your way, and hoping that the pain stops soon.

    I just my late evening dose of morphine and OxyContin so the pain should be descressing shortly. The second course of antibiotics just started for the evening as well too.

  7. @ Best wishes Cat. Hope this round does the trick.

    10) For me, Left Hand’s questioning of what patriotism really means was more significant than the gender question. Over time, society has moved towards caring less about gender roles. But the idea that loving your country doesn’t mean hating the other-that victory is everyone benefiting, not your country maintaining its relative superiority. Those ideas are still rare in society.

  8. I got my Hugo noms in before midnight, but I couldn’t come up with many worthy contenders: mainly Adrian Tchaikovsky, David D. Levine and Elfquest. I’ll be taking a year off from Hugo voting and nominating so that I can focus on reading godawful crap and ancient classics. I enjoy the voting part but nominating is hard work.

  9. Just finished Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. It was enjoyable, but I didn’t like it as much as her 2015 Nebula winner Uprooted–which it is not a sequel to, in case you were wondering. The characters were interesting and engaging, but the story felt a bit plodding at first. Fortunately, it picked up nicely as the book went on.

    I think my biggest complaint might have been the multiple-character first-person writing. It wasn’t particularly confusing, which is the big risk with this trick, but it was occasionally distracting. Mostly, though, it just felt like stunt-writing, rather than something done to enhance the story.

    Still, the story had some nice twists and interesting ideas which, for me at least, outweighed its minor flaws.

    I also just finished an older book that I really loved: Brain Plague by Joan Slonczewski. I’d heard good things about Slonczewski, but hadn’t read anything of hers before now. And this one was fun and weird; one of my favorite combinations. It introduces you to one of the most charming and personable diseases you’ll ever meet!

    No, seriously. It’s about intelligent nanomachinery. An idea that stretches my credulity, but Ms. Slonczewski is a biologist, so I’ll reserve judgment. Oh, and the people who host them. “My body is holding elections this week, and boy I hope the pro-human faction wins!” 😀

    The book apparently shares a setting with several of her other books, but is basically a standalone, and I definitely recommend it, if you are looking for something off the beaten path.

  10. 10) I legitimately had to close my office door while reading Charlie Jane Anders’ essay because I kept starting to cry. Really well-written piece, but I find it hard to explain why I found it so emotionally tumultuous to read.

  11. Forgot to cheer about the pixel scroll title being in Lapine. Woohoo! Hoi hoi!

    Also, @Cat, may your hospitalization be smooth, brief and uneventful.

  12. (10) A DIFFERENT WAY.

    That’s an interesting analysis of Left Hand of Darkness. It makes me kind of want to read the book again, with the benefit of an enhanced perspective.

    There’s a bit of a whopper in that, too: Theodora Kroeber was Le Guin’s mother, Alfred (or A.L.) was her father.

  13. Cat, chiming in with wishes for a quick, dull, and sufficient hospital event. (It’s important, you see, that these wishes be spaced out instead of all at once, so some of us hold off a bit.)

    Also: Glad for Hampus’s improving news.

    You can’t scroll there from here!

  14. @5: I still think a theater near LAcon 2 had the best bill: Red Dawn, Oxford Blues, Purple Rain. (Alien, Meatballs, Escape from Alcatraz is close.)

    @Lis: so you were where they were! Rain started an hour later (just after getting out of concert rehearsal) ~25 miles south of you, with lots of clouds-lit-by-lightning but very little audible thunder.

    @Xtifr: to each their own. I thought the multiple voices in Spinning Silver gave a lot of added depth to the world, and were clear enough that I rarely had to ask myself “Who’s talking now?” It’s odd, because in other ways I’m not great with multiple inputs, but in reading it seems to work — e.g., I loved The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

    @bookworm1398: an interesting point — I don’t remember taking that away even on a recent reread, but I was not reading under the most coherent circumstances. Ai’s pushing from the outside for cooperation is debatable given current understanding of colonialism (although Anders sees this as muted), but Estraven running with it in opposition to the narrow-minded in both polities is even more significant considering that the book came out in the middle of the hottest side effect of the Cold War.

    The essay is oddly sloppy; in addition to mixing up parentage (as noted above, Hair was about a lot more than the shock value of long-haired men, and in Venus Plus X gur frggvat ernyyl vfa’g gur shgher; gur ovfrkrq ner na rkcrevzrag, nf Nv fhfcrpgf Trgura jnf, ohg bar frg va pbagrzcbenel Rnegu.

    And here’s also hoping that Cat’s hospital stay will wrap up without any excitement.

  15. For those tracking the mundane adoption of Hugo-style voting: a local electoral screwup has caused my hometown paper to come out directly in support of ranked-choice (which seems to have overtaken “instant runoff” as the preferred term): How to prevent another Fall River recall election pitfall. Requires “signup”, but all it demanded from me on a separate browser was a bogus email address with “.com” at the end.

  16. Paul Weimer says Best thoughts that you get out of that hospital soon, Cat

    Latest lab tests took a turn for the worse according to the Doctor who visited a few hours ago as the staphylococcus levels went decidedly up so my stay’s likely extended. As they went up with the decidedly killer mix of antibiotics now pumping into my blood, I really don’t care to know what it would’ve been like untreated…

  17. (5) I miss the cut rate drive-in theaters that would just randomly throw movies together to make up a double or triple bill. Like a family movie with a horror film or violent action picture. I guess the presumption was that no one was watching anyway.

    For St. Patrick’s Day, how about The Crying Game and Leprechaun 4: In Space.

    (14) Well, that would bring new meaning to Chuck Berry’s Run, Rudolph, Run: “And then away went Rudolph, whizzing like a sabre jet.” (The sabre here was the North American F-86 Sabre.)

    Rikki, don’t scroll that pixel. It’s the only one that you own.

  18. Paul Weimer says CAt dammit ?

    Yeah indeed. Mind you bone infections are the hardest to detect and the hardest to treat as they’re literally hidden away. The cat-scan and unltra-scan I had failed to show anything being wrong beyond the bone itself being damaged. Only a MRI shows what’s truly going on. And there’s only so many of them available in any given market.

  19. @Cat — Continued wishes for a good outcome.

    @Jack Lint — This was entirely self-inflicted (well, because they were the discs I had gotten from Netflix), but there was one time years ago when I followed up The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh with the Hong Kong film Untold Story.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103743/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_180

    (Long story short: Kind of a loosely-based-on-a-true-story version of Sweeney Todd, where a restaurant owner simultaneously solves the problem of where to dispose of the bodies of his murder victims, and where to source meat for his delicious, delicious steamed pork buns.)

    In retrospect, I kind of wish I’d finished the night with Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge — that would’ve led to some interesting dreams.

  20. Bonnie McDaniel says Sorry to hear this. Hang in there.

    I will. Bone infections are complicated because at home treatment options are possible as the average apartment is not nearly clean enough to allow for the risk of getting a secondary. Infection which in turn gets into the bone tissue. So it becomes a matter of fully eradicating the bone infection in hospital.

  21. @Cat
    Best wishes for a quickly successful treatment.
    Re: Spinning Silver, the problem I had with it might be something only another Jew might’ve had with it; I didn’t believe in the initial narrator’s situation. A lot of the worship and lifestyle among Jews with any religious conviction (as the narrator and her family at least nominally have) is communal. Certain important prayers cannot be spoken except in a group of ten or more men. The communal bathhouse is required for certain rituals. The butcher is needed if one requires kosher meat and isn’t learned enough to know the proper manner and blessings to slaughter the animal with. And so forth. It was hard for me to believe in their isolation as something any religious family would consider acceptable.

    Or safe. Another thing that bugged me was how exposed the family was to theft and murder, with no apparent mechanism for either their protection or enforcement of debt collection. IIRC, in actual medieval Europe the local aristocrat often had that function, because high taxes levied only on Jews were an important part of their income and also had the effect of deflecting the local population ‘s anger about taxes onto Jews instead of themselves. But in the novel there doesn’t seem to have been any question of some local baron taking that role. The danger the family was in made their situation seem so untenable from the outset that I couldn’t believe they would ever have put themselves in it to begin with…which affected my belief in all that followed.

  22. Cora Buhlert says Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this, Cat. Let’s hope that the latest antibiotic cocktail does its job and wipes out this infection.

    We’re actualy in a holding pattern until Monday when the epidemiology lab at Maine Medical re-opens for bacterium culture processing. Right now, all we know is that it’s a really nasty strain of staphylococcus and not one commonly encountered in North America. Hence quite difficult to treat.

  23. Chip Hitchcock on March 16, 2019 at 6:42 am said:

    @Xtifr: to each their own. I thought the multiple voices in Spinning Silver gave a lot of added depth to the world, and were clear enough that I rarely had to ask myself “Who’s talking now?

    Oh I don’t mind multiple voices. Many of my favorite books, and all that. And I don’t mind first-person. It’s combining the two that can start to get awkward, IMO.

    And yeah, I think Novik did a pretty good job of pulling it off. Like you, I rarely had to ask myself who was talking. But rarely isn’t the same as never. And the problem, minor as it was, could have easily been avoided with third-person. Or even with something as simple as putting the name of the character as a chapter heading (a trick I’ve seen some writers do).

  24. Lis Carey asks hopefully I hope you’re feeling better now, Cat Eldridge.

    Not really. The post-bone surgery arm hurts like fuck and I’m having my bladder decide to fail this afternoon. It’s going to take awhile to get this infection under control.

    Thank the Queen of Air and Darkness that I’ve got someone taking care of my kitties, and that I’ve got Infinite Jukebox, my iPad, so that I can do work, check email and of course do the all important Birthdays.

  25. For the most part, I enjoyed Spinning Silver, and the narrative aspects worked fine for me. I think Novik is very good at writing beautiful but accessible prose.

    My problem with the novel is that is has not one, but two, women choosing in the end to stay with selfish, abusive husbands. The “a bad man can become a good man, if only a woman loves him hard enough” trope needs to die a fiery death. It hasn’t caused as much damage to our society as the “when a woman says no, she really means yes, you just have to convince her harder” trope, but it’s still done a lot of damage. 😐

  26. @Cat, hope the treatment works asap!

    @Hampus, glad they’ve found something that works for you!

    @JJ

    Given some of the ships Novik gravitates towards writing in fanfiction, I wouldn’t expect that trope to disappear from her pro work any time soon. Although there aren’t usually any women involved in the fic.

    (I love her fic just as much as I love her pro work — it kept me relatively sane during times when that was hard — but, yeah, I’m pretty sure, based on her usual tags, that she’s fully aware of what tropes she’s using and their more dubious aspects. YMMV whether that makes it worse.)

  27. @Cat, I’m sorry it’s not better. I hope the tests to identify exactly what you’ve got enables more effective treatment.

  28. For S:t Patrick’s Day, there’s no more greener film than Green Lantern (being famously full of green), so I suspect the perfect double-bill would be Green Lantern and one of the Hulk films.

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