Pixel Scroll 3/24/18 It Would Be The Last Pixel In The World That Scrolled By Molly Grue

(1) START AN INVESTIGATION. “Why the Hell Are These Books Out of Print?” demands James Davis Nicoll in a post at Tor.com. Here are a few of his examples:

Chester Anderson’s 1967 The Butterfly Kid is the first volume in the Greenwich Trilogy. It is without a doubt the finest SF novel in which a collection of futuristic hippies band together to save the world from drugs, blue space lobsters, and the nefarious Laszlo Scott. Anderson and his friend Michael Kurland feature as protagonists. It’s a delightful, light-hearted romp—although apparently not delightful enough, because it has been out of print for decades. The Butterfly Kid was followed in 1969 by Michael Kurland’s The Unicorn Girl and in 1970 by T. A. Waters’ The Probability Pad, both of which are in print.

(2) JOHN TRIMBLE HEART SURGERY. The Trimbles announced on Facebook:

John is getting heart surgery this coming Monday, and the doctor doesn’t want him to do anything strenuous for several months. So a very busy 2018 is going to be seriously curtailed. As for the cruise, we took out insurance, so didn’t lose all the money paid for it. If things go well, we will go next Spring.

John is in good health; in fact the doctor said he was as healthy as the average 60-year-old. The operation is a bit sudden, but when John’s heart checked out to be in the process of clogging, the doctor said he’d as soon operate before doing it during a cardiac arrest. Good thinking!

Good wishes are all John needs. Don’t send flowers, please. But if so moved, please make a donation to the Heart Fund. Any Heart Fund. Research helped to find John’s problem. We’d like to know that others can be helped, too.

(3) NOT READY FOR MORE LIKE THIS. Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club blog takes an iconoclastic look at Ready Player One in “Tomorrow isn’t about yesterday”, criticizing what they believe is nostalgia’s undermining effect on science fiction.

There is a subtle – but significant – difference between genuine appreciation for works from those who wrote before us and an ugly, toxic nostalgia that displaces the creation and appreciation of new works.

Which brings us to Ready Player One, a book that has become emblematic of the notion that the works of the past are somehow superior to those of the present or perhaps even the future.

… [I] will be forever grateful that Hugo voters did not include it on the ballot in 2012, despite the massive hype it received when published.

(4) WHAT’S THAT SMELL? Whatever you think about the games, this movie based on a famous old game sucked. The Guardian remembers: “‘The stench of it stays with everybody’: inside the Super Mario Bros movie”.

“We’re in the bedroom of King Koopa’s skyscraper; it’s a big set,” recalls actor and co-star Richard Edson. “Dennis [Hopper] comes in and he’s looking pissed off. He’s mumbling to himself, he won’t look at anyone. So the directors ask, ‘What’s up Dennis?’”

Something was about to go horribly wrong.

The incendiary actor-director, who had unapologetically told everyone he had taken the role for money alone, stood amid the grandeur of his character’s penthouse suite and exploded. “He just starts screaming at Annabel and Rocky,” recalls Edson. “He’s telling them they’re completely unprofessional, that he’s never seen anything like this. Rocky says ‘Dennis, what is it?’ And he yells: ‘You rewrote my lines! You call this writing? This is shit! It’s shit! And the fact you’d do it without asking me?’ He went on and on. He couldn’t control himself.

“This went on for 45 minutes. The producers were looking at their watches, Rocky and Annabel were looking at each other, like, what the fuck can we do? The actors were like, oh my God, this is amazing, this is better than the movie. Finally, they say: let’s go to lunch – but lunch turns out to be another two hours of Dennis screaming at the directors and producers about the state of movie making. Meanwhile, there are 300 extras waiting for the next scene. Rocky and Annabel start begging him – they’re like, Dennis, please tell us what you want, we’ll do anything.

“But he wasn’t through yelling at them. People were knocking at the door, producers were going out trying to tell people what the fuck was going on. Finally, Rocky and Annabel said, ‘Look, you rewrite the scene, or we’ll go back to the original, whatever you want.’ And finally he goes: ‘OK, we’ll do the scene the way it’s written now.’ Everyone sighs, we go back three and a half hours after it was meant to be done, we do the scene exactly the way it was written when he started.”

(5) THE CASE FOR CASH. Whether these creators’ games look to the past or future, they look like money says the BBC: “How video games turn teenagers into millionaires”.

Alex Balfanz is an 18-year-old student at Duke University in North Carolina. Every day he has lectures or seminars, followed by assignments. Like many students his age, he devotes a couple of hours per day, and many more at weekends, to video games.

But he’s not just playing them – he’s making them. And making a lot of money doing it.

“In the 10 months that Jailbreak has been released, it has already yielded seven figure profits,” Balfanz says of his cops-and-robbers adventure game released last year. A few weeks ago, it was played for the billionth time.

Balfanz is just one of thousands of young gaming entrepreneurs in their teens or twenties making money in an industry that made $36 billion last year.

(6) ENDANGERED SPECIES. Nobody was more shocked than the dino: “T-Rex goes up in flames at Colorado dinosaur park”.

The owners of a dinosaur theme park in Colorado said an “electrical issue” was behind the demise of a life-sized animatronic T-Rex.

Zach and Carman Reynolds, owners of the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience in Canon City, said in a Facebook post that the Tyrannosaurus Rex statue went “extinct” Thursday.

Mike Kennedy joked, “Are the humans fighting back against the coming robot revolution? But the dino park owners say they plan to replace the bot, so the resistance may need to strike again.”

(7) DOG STAR. NPR’s Chris Klimek says Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs takes Best in Show: “The Fast And The Furry Us: Wes Anderson’s Masterful ‘Isle Of Dogs'”.

You have an opinion, probably, on which of the two most common species of household pet you deem superior — and an opinion, possibly, on the fastidious filmography of Wes Anderson. But this much, at least, is fact: Nobody ever made a good movie about the nobility of cats.

Not even Anderson, who certainly seems like he might be a cat person, with his velvet-and-tweed blazers and his indoor scarves and his arched-eyebrow worldview. But no one will question his right-thinking canine-supremacy bone-a-fides after Isle of Dogs. (Go on, say the title out loud.) His dizzying new stop-motion epic is so visually rich, so narratively ambitious and so openhearted in its admiration for Japanese culture and the unshakable loyalty of doggos that it’ll likely roll right over the familiar cries that Anderson is too fussy or whatnot like a Corgi rolling over for a belly rub.

(8) ROTHFUSS AT WONDERCON. Comics Beat is covering a bunch of panels at this weekend’s WonderCon, such as “WonderCon ’18: Patrick Rothfuss Speaks of ‘What If’ at ‘Gather ‘Round the Campfire: Telling Tales'”.

Novels like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods are all considered literary masterpieces, but fantasy novels didn’t always get the recognition they do today. Even still there are those who see fantasy as pale comparisons to the likes of Hemingway, Buck, and Steinbeck. If this is the case, why do authors still choose to write in the fantasy genre?

At this year’s WonderCon, this question and others were heavily discussed at the “Gather ‘Round the Campfire: Telling Tales” panel. In attendance were authors Jenna Rhodes, Tina LeCount Myers, R.A. Salvatore, and WonderCon guest of honor Patrick Rothfuss.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born March 24, 1930 — Steve “The Blob” McQueen

(10) NICE BEANIE. John Scalzi gets more fannish all the time.

(11) CATS AND BOOKS. This image reportedly has gone viral even though the cat is wide awake!

Cats Are Seriously Unimpressed At Being Awakened From Their Nap To Pose Next To Related Works

(12) YOUR NEXT PARTY. Who wouldn’t like this?

(13) THE SCORE. Steve Vertlieb hopes you’ll read his post about the composer for “Max And Me”:

Composer Mark McKenzie has written a superb score for the upcoming animated Mexican film production of “Max And Me”, concerning the life and martyred death of Franciscan priest Maximillian Kolbe, who gave his life so that others may live, in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  Here is my critique of this brilliant original motion picture score.

A note from composer Mark McKenzie regarding the release of his newest, most powerful film score…

One hundred thirty-five of London’s finest musicians gathered at Abbey Road Studios to record MAX AND ME including one of the most expressive solo artists of our generation, concert violinist Joshua Bell. Polish priest Maximillian Kolbe, tortured at Auschwitz asked those around him to not be overcome with hatred but to love for “Only love is creative.” His compassion lead him to sacrificially die in Auschwitz’s starvation bunker to help a man with children survive. The film makers, musicians and I hope this message of hope, love, and beauty amidst great darkness will be enjoyed by many and spread widely. A portion of each sale goes to the Shoah Foundation, Word Vision and Catholic Relief Services.

(14) BACK TO THE PAST. Even when there’s not a Mercury launch, science is smokin’ in 1962 says Galactic Journey: “[March 24, 1963] Bumper Crop (A bounty of exciting space results)”.

February and March have been virtually barren of space shots, and if Gordo Cooper’s Mercury flight gets postponed into May, April will be more of the same.  It’s a terrible week to be a reporter on the space beat, right?

Wrong!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Rocket launches may make for good television, what with the fire, the smoke, and the stately ascent of an overgrown pencil into orbit…but the real excitement lies in the scientific results.  And this month has seen a tremendous harvest, expanding our knowledge of the heavens to new (pardon the pun) heights.  Enjoy this suite of stories, and tell me if I’m not right…

(15) THE COURTS BE WITH YOU. Lucasfilm’s legion of lawyers couldn’t win this one: “Star Wars firm Lucasfilm must pay ‘failed’ Darth Vader film damages”.

A film-maker who sued Stars Wars producers Lucasfilm for blocking plans to make a film about Darth Vader has won almost £39,500 in damages.

Marc John, 46, of Buckinghamshire, claimed he was stopped from beaming a live interview with actor David Prowse to 1,200 cinemas.

He claims the film would have made about £3m, with his share worth £1.35m.

A High Court judge ruled Mr John could have made the film but for Lucasfilm’s interference.

Mr John, of Thornley Close, Aylesbury, claimed the Darth Vader interview and other scenes from the “For the Love of the Force” Star Wars convention in Manchester would have netted him a seven-figure sum.

It would have been broadcast in December 2015, just prior to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when anticipation and hype for the franchise was “sky high”, his legal team said.

(16) PRE-INTERNET ANTIQUE. Motherboard spreads the word that “You Can Now Play the First LGBTQ Computer Game, For the First Time”.

Caper in the Castro is a legendary video game, not because legions of die-hard fans continue to play it, but because it was thought to be lost forever. Now, what is largely considered to be the first LGBTQ-focused video game (it was released in 1989) is on the Internet Archive for anybody to play.

The game is a noir point-and-click that puts the player in the (gum)shoes of a private detective named Tracker McDyke who is, in case you couldn’t guess by the name, a lesbian. McDyke must unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Tessy LaFemme, a transgender woman, in San Francisco’s Castro district, an historically gay neighbourhood.

Caper in the Castro was coded by a developer who goes by CM Ralph and spread through early message board systems, known as BBS boards. The game was originally released as “CharityWare,” and came with a short message from Ralph asking the player to donate to an AIDS charity. Since those early days, though, the game was thought to be lost and unpreserved for future generations to enjoy or appreciate. Until now.

(17) BOUNCEHENGE. This 2012 item is still news to me! “English Artist Creates Life-Sized Stonehenge Bounce House”

Stonehenge is one of the most famous monuments in the world, but if you go to visit it you have to enjoy it from a distance. In order to protect the historical site, tourists must stick to a path that surrounds the stones and can’t actually walk among them. Recently, the Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller, created a monument of his own that visitors are more than welcome to walk through; in fact, visitors to this version of Stonehenge are encouraged to jump and flail about to their hearts content. There’s no need to worry about damaging this Stonehenge, for as visitors will quickly find out as they approach the structure, it is actually a bounce house.

 

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, ULTRAGOTHA, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, Steve Vertlieb, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Barrett.]

53 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/24/18 It Would Be The Last Pixel In The World That Scrolled By Molly Grue

  1. 17: English Heritage and similar organisation throughout the rest of the UK and Europe have of course been up all night resetting megaliths to account for the switch to summer time.

  2. About 1: It is even worse her in Germany.
    We have so many dead series were some books were printed and then the project was killed.
    Out of print what I learned recently are for example the Alcatraz Books 3 and 4 (5 was never relased in German). Sucks when you have family who likes the first 2.

  3. @StefanB

    Here in the US Sanderson’s Alcatraz series switched publishers. First 4 were from Scholastic, but they didn’t want to do the 5th. They were out of print for a while, but Tor picked it up and reprinted the first 4 as well. Now that that’s settled here maybe international contracts will be forthcoming.

  4. @StefanB.
    Yes, incompletely translated series are a real problem in Germany. There are so many books I’d love to share with family and friends, but I can’t, because they aren’t translated or the publisher didn’t do all of them.

  5. 1) I’ve read a bunch of these books but no longer have copies of some of them. It would be nice to have a copy of Psychohistorical Crisis, for instance, which was a completely successful in my view writing of a novel in a post-Foundation verse with the serial numbers just lightly dusted with powdered sugar, rather than rubbed off.

  6. I’ve been getting those “here is a code to reset your twitter password” texts on and off for years. I assume this is because I signed up for twitter early enough to have my first name as my twitter handle, and people either mis-enter something like Vicki3, or type “Vicki Theirname” in the “please reset my password” instead of their actual handles.

    I just ignore the messages. On the other hand, there’s no specific reason someone would want to impersonate me; people just like short/easy usernames and email addresses. Scalzi has a lot more Twitter followers, and a much wider reputation on and offline, than I do.

  7. @1: IMO, The Butterfly Kid is OOP because it’s a piece of hippy-dippy fluff for which the kindest word is “inoffensive”; at best, it’s very much of its period. wrt the Kingsbury, it’s my impression that the Prometheus responds as much to purity of politics as to quality of work (I think that’s the award I heard David Friedman saying that about); the grooming (mentioned in a footnote) may also have affected its getting reprinted. OTOH, I still love Doorways in the Sand (went out of my way to find a copy some years ago because mine had disappeared); slight (IIRC the last thing Z did before falling off the Amber cliff) but a lot of fun. And Growing up Weightless was my Ford epiphany (I missed The Dragon Waiting and wasn’t reading short work or Trek books then) and is still worth rereading; someday I’ll have all the motivations sorted out.

  8. [3] Who the gods would make mad, they first make nostalgic.

    [6] Reminds me of when the giant ape at a goofy golf course in Virginia Beach was burned by vandals. Stood around for months with his face burned off, needing only an appropriate-sized diver’s helmet to be Robot Monster and start delivering impassioned monologues about the Hu-Man.

    Or maybe it reminds me of the dinosaurs at the amusement park we took Sarah to in China the day after we got her, where the dinos were each broken down in some way, and engaged in repeated movements that weren’t quite what the makers intended (like with one limb at a wrong angle throughout).

    Or else it reminds me of my cousin’s roommate’s mantle full of Japanese wind-up toys (a novelty in the early 80s) that later were caught in a fire. My cousin found him sadly putting the partly melted little abominations into a box afterward, and quashed the notion of suggesting they wind them up and see what they would do now. It wasn’t the time for it.

    “Beulah, scroll me a pixel.”

  9. Cleveland ConCoction 2018 put up a 50-minute video of Seanan McGuire giving a panel on Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. With zombie test subjects for demonstration purposes. LINK The sound is a little iffy at times, but you can hear Seanan throughout. (Not always the questions that she’s asked.) Well worth watching.

  10. Charon D. on March 25, 2018 at 12:13 am said:
    (3) Now that was the silliest review I’ve read in a while.

    Uh. Thanks?

    But it wasn’t really a review, rather it was a meditation on the political subtext of a certain strain of science fiction fandom, and their yearning for an idealized past.

    Basically, I’m asking people to reject the notion that the works of the past are better than those being written today. #SicSemperNostalgia

  11. Tor.com counters @3 with Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is Smarter and More Insightful Than You’ve Been Told, but the comments are harshly divided; I remember reading about the book when there was a second wave of enthusiasm and deciding I wasn’t interested. I was a nerd and/or geek by sometime around age 6 and still am, but in addition to the arguments about misogyny etc. the book sounds like it was written precisely for people surprised that McCartney had a band before Wings — where I remember when Beatlemania hit the US.

  12. 1) I have at least one of those Women of Wonder anthologies. Periodically I take it off the TBR shelf and try to read it, and inevitably bog down a few stories in. Eventually I’ll probably give up and put it in the cull box; for this woman, it’s just not that wonderful.

    (Yes, I’m back at least to some extent, because I’m doing well enough to sit at the computer now. I should know in a week or so whether I need another round of chemo or can move on to radiation therapy.)

  13. the grooming (mentioned in a footnote) may also have affected its getting reprinted

    Adult men perving on tweens is common enough in classic and well regarded sf I would be astounded if that aspect played a role in it being out of print.

  14. Ivan Bromke: Basically, I’m asking people to reject the notion that the works of the past are better than those being written today. #SicSemperNostalgia

    You’re bound to win that argument. The tendency towards what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” assures that happens in every generation.

  15. The tendency towards what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” assures that happens in every generation.

    Oh, I like that phrase.

  16. @Mike Glyer, And the tendency towards human mortality assures that this, too, shall pass. <wry grin>

  17. @OGH Thank you, I had to go wiki Chronological Snobbery and found a delicious C.S. Lewis quote that every period has its own characteristic illusions, which “are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.” I wonder what our current ones might be?

    Apologies if I ruffled any feathers for terming that exhortation-not-a-review silly. I usually take the side of kids-these-days versus whatever newfangled fad their elders are railing against. I just thought it was a little over-the-top to term Kline’s nostalgia wallow as something that falls short of fascism only by virtue of its apathy. I lean more towards the Tor article.

  18. (1) When someone wants an out-of-print book, I always encourage them to find it on Amazon (where someone is almost certainly selling it used, and, even if not, we input the entire contents of the Library of Congress at one point, so there should at least be a page for anything ever copyrighted in the US) and then look down the right-hand edge of the page until they find this text:

    Tell the Publisher!
    I’d like to read this book on Kindle

    Then click the link. Amazon uses the feedback to convince publishers that it’s worth their while to create a Kindle edition. They’ll even send you an e-mail notification if it happens.

    That may seem like an exercise in futility, but I’ve been pleased several times when something I’d asked for turned up on a Kindle–sometimes a few years after I’d asked for it.

  19. Charon D. on March 25, 2018 at 10:21 am said:
    @OGH Thank you, I had to go wiki Chronological Snobbery and found a delicious C.S. Lewis quote that every period has its own characteristic illusions, which “are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.” I wonder what our current ones might be?

    Apologies if I ruffled any feathers for terming that exhortation-not-a-review silly. I usually take the side of kids-these-days versus whatever newfangled fad their elders are railing against. I just thought it was a little over-the-top to term Kline’s nostalgia wallow as something that falls short of fascism only by virtue of its apathy. I lean more towards the Tor article.

    Oh, sorry if I gave the wrong impression — feathers remain entirely unruffled! I actually love the fact that people disagree with me. I would spend all day debating this, if I could 😀 How boring would it be if everyone agreed with me?

    Just to refine my argument a little: It’s not that Cline falls short of fascism, but rather that I’d say that he takes the same intellectual premise (yearning for a better past), and goes in a completely different direction. Both are intellectually reactionary, though.

    As an odd aside, when I first read the book (on the advice of some of my friends), I was so incensed with the toxic nostalgia of the work that I spent the subsequent two years refusing to read, watch or listen to any albums, books or movies that had been published more than three years previously. The moment that an album was more than three years old, I deleted it from my iPod.

  20. Chip Hitchcock on March 25, 2018 at 6:43 am said:

    @1: IMO, The Butterfly Kid is OOP because it’s a piece of hippy-dippy fluff for which the kindest word is “inoffensive”;

    That explanation falls short when you consider that its sequels, The Unicorn Girl and The Probability Pad (both by other authors) have been been reprinted, despite the fact that both are universally considered lesser works. Especially the latter, which, despite being a friend of Tom Waters, I have to admit was little more than a not-as-good retread of TBK, featuring almost all of its worst elements.

    There’s plenty of inoffensive fluff which gets reprinted, and much of it is by authors much less capable than Mr. Anderson.

    I think The Butterfly Kid remains out of print for two reasons. Although neither one alone would really explain it, together, I think they do.

    1. Chester was gay man who had no children. Given the era he came out, he may have been estranged from his family. After he died, it was probably really hard to find the person to ask for permission. I knew him, and I haven’t a clue where to start looking.

    2. For quite a while, positive and realistic stories about hippies were near-anathema in the industry. George RR Martin has written about how hard it was to find a publisher for The Armageddon Rag for just this reason. Even today, the mere mention of hippies provokes an automatic “hippy-dippy” reaction in some people. While there is quite a bit that’s “dippy” about the era, there’s also a lot that was decades ahead of its time–and much of it is stuff that still makes conservatives uncomfortable. (In fact, it was the non-dippy stuff that made the conservatives most uncomfortable. Hippies were supposed to safely remain shallow, easily-mocked stereotypes, and books like TBK and The Armageddon Rag challenged those stereotypes.)

    Number two started to change in the nineties, with the sixties safely a full generation away, but Anderson died at the beginning of the nineties, which meant that number one became a factor just as number two was ceasing to be one.

  21. @Ivan Bromke — I’ll admit to kind of a parallel nostalgia reaction, where I’m unable to write anything set less than a thousand years in the future, so that the handful of pop culture references that do make it in are shrouded in mysterious antiquity, just because I’m so tired of redigesting the past in a genre committed to the future.

    I didn’t find RP1 fascist though, and in fact I kind of enjoyed the way it wrestled nostalgia away from the Sgt Pepper venerating generation. I was enjoying life and discovering the greater community of nerds in the early ’80s, so I probably have rose-colored memories.

  22. Armageddon Rag was a great book – I’m glad I still have my original paperback of it, but as I recall, in addition to difficulties in getting it published, it didn’t sell well, driving Martin’s career into different directions.

  23. @Chip Hitchcock

    the book sounds like it was written precisely for people surprised that McCartney had a band before Wings — where I remember when Beatlemania hit the US.

    Not to be pedantic, but as someone born after The Beatles broke up, I think it’s the other way around – I was only vaguely aware that McCartney did anything other than The Beatles until I was in my 20s. That’s somewhat embarrassing to type, but it’s true. Your point holds, though.

    Meredith Moment: Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng is on sale (Amazon US) for $1.99.

    Did a quick F770 google search and found a previous scroll pointing to a quick review: http://file770.com/?p=39661

    Not to give OGH all the glory, the review is here: https://www.starburstmagazine.com/features/starbursts-books-2017

    Snippet:

    a notably dense yet utterly absorbing tale of two Victorian Era Christian Missionaries head into the land of fairies to bring god to godless. It’s wonderfully bleak and though it’s hardly poolside holiday reading, it’s rather fun.

  24. A friend when I was in college sent me a copy of The Butterfly Kid because she said it reminded her of my writing (I did a humor column in the campus paper in those days, which at the time I thought was highly entertaining and which I’d be afraid to re-read now). I remember liking it, but I had no idea there were sequels. I’ll have to track them down

    (Also, I had a huge crush on the girl who sent me the book, which may have influenced my opinion of it.)

    Haven’t read Ready Player One, although I did read Cline’s book after that, the name of which escapes me now. It seemed basically like the movie The Last Starfighter. The movie didn’t do much for me, and Cline’s book did even less, so I have little interest in RP1.

    As an aside, has anyone read The Magician’s Apprentice? I keep seeing it on the bookshelf in my laundry room, but I’m hesitant to add to my growing TBR pile (real and virtual) without knowing whether it’s going to be worth my time when I someday get to it.

  25. Andrew says Armageddon Rag was a great book – I’m glad I still have my original paperback of it, but as I recall, in addition to difficulties in getting it published, it didn’t sell well, driving Martin’s career into different directions.

    I read a long time ago but I too thought it was good. It certainly portrayed the Rock and Roll scene of that time through his use of a serial numbers filed version of the Stones.

    Simon R. Green in his Nightside series, where the secret corrupt magical heart of London is the setting, has the Nazgul on a world tour that brings them to Nightside. But then he also has a member of the Stones on their stop there mating with a succubus…

  26. @Chip Hitchcock. I’d rate A Night in the Lonesome October with Doorways in the Sand and I’d put Eye of Cat ahead of both of them. There’s good stuff in his shorter works too. If Zelazny “fell off the Amber cliff” it was while writing the second series.

    I remember Madwand As being pretty good,too. A shame the third book was never written. (The first, Changeling, wasn’t so great due to its origins as a script for an animated movie)

  27. Has anybody else had page-loading problems here?

    Lee: It’s great to see you posting again!

  28. @Jeff Jones: Yes, as of this morning. I’m pretty sure I know what it is in my case; my iPad has fits ever time a post with a lot of video links goes up. When it finally scrolls off the first page I know things will go back to normal.

    I deal with it by finding a link to one Pixel Scroll, then using the Pixel Scroll tag to find the others–then I can navigate by the comments links on the side. Round-about, but it works well enough.

  29. I have altered the post with all the videos so that all but the first come after a “jump” (more tag). Perhaps that will improve loading. I’m curious whether it will.

  30. @Xtifr: it’s been a long time since I read tBK, but I recall it as the opposite side of the coin from …Rag. My recollection of it glorifying the sort of behavior Ellison limns in “Shattered Like a Glass Goblin” is probably excessive.

    @various: Amber (as I was following it at the time) was where Zelazny tried something of a scope he couldn’t handle and lost control of. (I remember telling someone in ~2000 that Martin’s claim to finish aSoIaF in 5 books was unlikely and instanced Zelazny’s claim that he’d finish the Amber story in 3.) Amber 2 is certainly worse, but Amber 1 was a problem. …October is the sort of game that I find amusing at shorter lengths, sometimes; people’s tastes will vary, but jamming a bunch of unnamed trope-figures into a short book and manipulating them isn’t my cup of tea. I forget which of Madwand/Changeling I read and had no desire to continue with, and don’t even remember why — although I don’t remember it as being as horribly labored as his Sheckley collaborations. (Those could be anyone’s fault; I loved Sheckley’s 60’s works when they came out but am less amused now.)

  31. I’ve got very strong, possibly false memories of a large format trade paper illustrated story by Chester Anderson. Could it be “Fox and Hare”? I can’t find a cover online.

  32. I’m a big 80s pop culture geek, at least insofar as radio, cartoons, toys, and movies go, and Ready Player One was a hard DNF for me. I got tired of the way the narrator went on, and on, and on about the various pop culture references. His company was just wearying. I was also couldn’t bear to watch the first sympathetic female character downgraded from Worthy Opponent to Sidekick And Love Interest while the main character got more and more awesome; friends who’ve read the whole thing assure me that my prediction was not wholly wrong, but I do admit that, not having finished it, I can only speak to the sense of dread having read thus far inspired, and not to what actually happens in the book.

    Two things about the nostalgia angle were disappointing me by that point in the book. One was, none of the 80s call-backs surprised me. It read like a teen in the 2010s who’d just discovered his parents’ record/CD/video collection. I know 2040 doesn’t put the 80s out of living memory, but it seems to me that the book’s era shouldn’t remember and venerate the exact same things that, say, adults in our era who actually grew up in the 80s did. The set of things that mid-to-far-future people consider historical gems will not be the same set of things prized by those living through that history.

    The other thing was an utter lack of reference to anything created after 1989, as though creativity just stopped. This is why Ivan’s article really rang true for me. The author didn’t seem willing to imagine the pop culture to arise in our future, or even to acknowledge the pop culture of the 90s and 2000s, or even remember what came before 1980, not even to have the protagonist shoot it down as inferior. (But again, not having finished the book, I can’t say those things never show up; all I can say is that by the time I put the book down for the last time, those things had been almost entirely absent.)

    I think there could have been a version of the story that better demonstrates the link between “nothing good has been created since 1980” and “we’re living in an extreme scarcity economy, in a sort of economically post-apocalyptical world, everything sucks, I wish I lived in the past.” When standards of living in the protagonist’s present are abominably low, and the media of the 80s shows the sitcom families having big houses and front yards and driving their own cars and raising happy healthy kids, the pop-culture nostalgia is, at least in part, a displacement of an understandable yearning for a past standard of living. I think I’d have been more willing to buy into the protagonist’s “chronological snobbery” if a better case had been made for its link to his generation’s poverty. I think the book may have tried to make that case, but for me it was drowned out by the narrative voice being one big nostalgiabating session.

  33. in THE BUTTERFLY KID, Lazlo Scott was based on the early dirty annoying Bob Dylan. So said to me by Larry Janiver, who was Tuckerized as the Pornographer.

    I kind of liked SUPER MARIO BROTHERS. overly long, strange but different. If you look carefully in the last few scenes, you’d notice that one of Bob Hoskins’ hands isn’t moving much. He broke it.

  34. 5 – One thing that’s kind of cool about that is that it isn’t far off how game development was done back on the commodore or atari, small teams or individuals of 20 somethings putting together a game. Though now they can publish it a lot easier than through mail order and staying up copying tapes/floppies/cartridges. More things change and so on.

    16 – Cool! The work going into the preservation and archiving of games is really neat and great to see, especially when it comes to games like this that would’ve faded out.

    17 – I want to go!

  35. John M. Cowan on March 25, 2018 at 1:14 pm said:

    As an aside, has anyone read The Magician’s Apprentice? I keep seeing it on the bookshelf in my laundry room, but I’m hesitant to add to my growing TBR pile (real and virtual) without knowing whether it’s going to be worth my time when I someday get to it.

    I’ve read a Trudi Canavan novel by that name. It’s passable, but heavy on the worldbuilding and a bit too much romance focus for my taste. I’ve read better from her.

  36. John M. Cowan: As an aside, has anyone read The Magician’s Apprentice? I keep seeing it on the bookshelf in my laundry room, but I’m hesitant to add to my growing TBR pile (real and virtual) without knowing whether it’s going to be worth my time when I someday get to it.

    If it’s the Trudi Canavan 2009 novel, you can read a sample here.
    If it’s the Kate Banks 2012 novel, you can read a sample here.

    (these are Overdrive samples; click on the right side of the page or swipe right-to-left to advance pages)

  37. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano: Could there have been a trade paper issue? The memory is very strong–I know the book I’m thinking of exists–but not what it is or who wrote it. And it’s been long enough that I don’t recall the innards of it very well either.

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