Pixel Scroll 4/17/20 We Go Scrolling Through The Park, Goosing Pixels In The Dark

(1) ON BOARD. Tim Pratt’s space opera The Fractured Void will kick off a new series of books from Aconyte based on the Twilight Imperium strategic boardgame. Pratt does a Q&A here about his novel, coming in November.

Tim Pratt

How do you get into the headspace of a completely alien species… ones who might not even have heads?
 
All the playable aliens in Twilight Imperium have something in common with humanity: they want stuff. Desire is the common language that drives character motivations (and character is what drives plot).
 
Whether you’re a telepathic serpent or an ocean-dwelling scientist with tentacles, the universality of desire makes you comprehensible.
 
Admittedly, there are some factions that are harder to write point-of-view characters for, because their mental process is so alien – the Nekro Virus and the Arborec come to mind – but there are tricks for writing entities that are insane by human standards or possessed of a group consciousness (stream of consciousness, first-person plural viewpoints, and so on). Science fiction is all about imagining alien mindsets, or familiar mindsets confronted by alien circumstances and writing Twilight Imperium will give me the chance to do both.

(2) FULLY PACKED. This week in “The Full Lid 17th April 2020”, Alasdair Stuart leads off with “The Patron Saints of Freelancing,” about the lessons freelancers can take away from the hard-travelling heroes of The Mandalorian and The Witcher.

The Mandalorian and The Witcher have a lot in common. Monosyllabic leads, a bone-dry sense of humor, plots about reluctant dads, tons of cool armor, not quite enough screen time for supporting female characters…

But underneath all that there’s another narrative, one that resonates with me on a deep level. Both shows are about freelancers. And not (just) the biblical ass-kicking you get handed either: the social pressures of the job, the ways you survive it and the people you meet….

He also takes a look at how The Letter for the King almost lands some really brave choices, and the new oceanic horror movie, Sea Fever. Interludes this week are Sam Rockwell, Margaret Qualley and Christopher Walken cutting various degrees of rug in some epic dance routines and, as ever, Signal Boost is crammed full of treasures.

The Full Lid publishes weekly at 5 p.m. GMT on Fridays. Signup is free and the last six months are archived here.

(3) READERCON CANCELLED. The Readercon committee has announced that the event, which was to be held in Boston this July, has been cancelled. The series will resume next year.

Since our initial announcement on March 15, the United States has become an epicenter for COVID-19. The Governor of Massachusetts has prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people through at least May 4, as of this announcement. Experts predict that continued social distancing efforts may be required until such time as there is an effective vaccine, a milestone we are not expected to reach in time for this summer.

Because the safety of all our members—and their families—is our top concern, we have decided to postpone Readercon 31 for a year. It will now be held July 8 to 11, 2021 at the Marriott Boston Quincy, and Jeffrey Ford and Ursula Vernon have graciously agreed to remain our Guests of Honor, with Vonda N. McIntyre as our Memorial Guest of Honor….

(4) LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE ISOLATOR. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, Christian Davenport interviews astronauts and explorers who have spent a lot of time in isolation for tips about how to survive the age of social distancing.  (Two tips:  don’t count the number of days you are isolated and have as many celebrations as possible.) “Even astronauts get ornery: Coronavirus advice from those who have endured social distancing in the extreme”.

…“I have no idea how many days I’ve been in quarantine. None,” said Scott Kelly, the former NASA astronaut who spent 340 days in space, the record for the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut. “I don’t think about it. I just think, this is my reality. This is my mission. And it will someday be over.”Today, instead of being confined on the International Space Station with a handful of crewmates, he’s restricted to his 1,200-square-foot, two-bedrooms-with-den apartment in Houston with his wife. But his philosophy is the same, as is his strict adherence to routine, laid out daily on a shared Google calendar. He sets his alarm for 7 a.m., eats breakfast, “then work goes to noon, and then lunch, and then work, and then physical training, then plan for the next day, then dinner, then free time.”

(5) HUGO COVERAGE. “Vermont Author Katherine Arden Nominated for Hugo Award” – Andrew Liptak’s report was published in the Vermont pop culture publication Seven Days.

The conclusion of the trilogy qualified it for this year’s Best Series award, which is the Hugo’s newest addition, established in 2017.

In reaction to the nomination, Arden said, “The first time the Hugos came onto my radar was when I read Ender’s Game over and over as a kid. It had ‘WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD’ emblazoned on the cover.”

That introduction is common to genre fans: The award can help readers cut through the overwhelming pile of stories and find the best ones. “The possibility that a book of my own will have a similar bit on its cover is thrilling and surreal,” Arden said.

(6) OBJECT LESSON. James Davis Nicoll’s latest Tor.com article, “Shiny Cosmic Objects and the Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe”, is of interest in its own right, and triggered a good conversation about sff history in the comments.

It’s just the sort of object SF authors might find notable enough to namecheck. More importantly, it’s something at which curious, technically advanced species would want a closer look. Call it a Leinster Object.

(7) ROWAND OBIT. LASFS member Ken Rowand (1948-2020) died April 12 of cancer. In years gone by he was a regular at the clubhouse’s Hell’s Bridge games and Magic Tournaments. He lived in Northern California for awhile in the early 1980s and did work for the Star Wars Fan Club, such as conducting the interview with Ralph McQuarrie published in Bantha Tracks #15 (1982). He is survived by his wife Marta Strohl.

(8) DAVIAU OBIT. Five-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Allen Daviau, who collaborated with Steven Spielberg and other film directors, died of COVID-19. NPR paid tribute: “‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ Cinematographer And Spielberg Collaborator Dies.

…In a statement, Spielberg said his old his friend was, “a wonderful artist, but his warmth and humanity were as powerful as his lens.”

Daviau was born 77 years ago in New Orleans, and started out making music videos long before MTV existed. In 1968, he teamed up with Spielberg for the short film Amblin. They went on to make the memorable 1980’s films Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, and E.T. the Extra -Terrestrial….

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 17, 1956 X Minus One’s “Jaywalker” first aired. Written by Ross Rocklynne who was a regular contributor to Astounding StoriesFantastic Adventures and Planet Stories, and who is a finalist this year for the Retro Hugo for his “Intruders from the Stars” novella. George Lefferts wrote script. The cast included Bob Hastings, R.E. Johnson, Terri Keane  and Connie Leinke. You can hear it here.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 17, 1923 Lloyd Biggle Jr. He was the founding Secretary-Treasurer of Science Fiction Writers of America and served as Chairman of its trustees for many years. Writing wise, his best known series was about the Jan Darzek and Effie Schlupe troubleshooting team, and the Cultural Survey.  I find it interesting that he wrote his own Sherlock Holmes stories from the perspective of Edward Porter Jones, an assistant who began his association with Holmes as a Baker Street Irregular. There’re are two novels in this series, The Quallsford Inheritance and The Glendower Conspiracy. (Died 2002.)
  • Born April 17, 1923 T. Bruce Yerke. Involved in LASFS early on, serving as its secretary for many years, and instrumental in recruiting Ray Bradbury to the club. Forrest J. Ackerman, Morojo and he co-edited the Imagination! zine which won the Best Fanzine 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards at Loncon 3. His unfinished biography though published biography, Memoirs of a Superfluous Fan, is a good look at the early days of LASFS. (Died 1998.)
  • Born April 17, 1942 David Bradley, 78. It’s his Doctor Who work that garners him a Birthday honor.  He first showed up during the time of the Eleventh Doctor playing a complete Rat Bastard of a character named Solomon in the “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” episode. But it was his second role on the series as actor who was the First Doctor that makes him really worth noting. He portrayed William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time and then played the role of the First Doctor again in “The Doctor Falls” and “Twice Upon a Time”, both Twelfth Doctor stories.  He is also known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film franchise, Walder Frey in Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in The Strain.
  • Born April 17, 1948 Peter Fehervari, 72. Ok, I’ll admit I’m including him because he’s written a number of novels set in the Warhammer Universe and I’ve never read anything set there. Who here has read the fiction set there? Is it worth reading, and if so, is there a good starting point?
  • Born April 17, 1959 Sean Bean, 61. His current role that garners him recognition is his performance as Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, but he’s worked in our area interest a long time.  His first genre role was in GoldenEye as the the antagonist of Bond, Alec Trevelyan (Janus).  Next he shows up as Boromir in the first of The Lord of the Rings films. He played Dr. Merrick in the horror SF film The Island and was James in horror flick The Dark high purports to be based off Welsh myth. Following in the horror vein, he’s Chris Da Silva in Silent Hill (which gets a sequel later in Silent Hill: Revelation) and in yet more horror is John Ryder in the remake of the The Hitcher. (Was it so good that it yearned for a remake? I doubt it.)  Black Death — yes more horror — and the character of Ulric ensued next. Finally, something not of a horror nature in playing Zeus in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief happened. I’m going to forgo listing the subsequent horror films he’s in and just finally note that he’s in The Martian playingMitch Henderson. 
  • Born April 17, 1972 Jennifer Garner, 48. Back before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were Marvel Comic movies. Such was the case with Elektra and its lead character of Elektra Natchios. Don’t remember anything about the film anymore. She also had the same role in Daredevil which was at best an OK film.
  • Born April 17, 1985 Rooney Mara, 35. She first shows up as Mary Lambert in Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, a slasher film, followed by being Nancy Holbrook in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and then Tiger Lily in Pan, a prequel to Peter Pan. Since then, she’s been M in A Ghost Story, and lastly is Molly Cahill in Nightmare Alley.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) MAKING HEADLINES. As anticipated Cora Buhlert’s Hugo nomination made the news in her other local paper, too, the Kreiszeitung (County Paper): “Sie ist eine Auserwählte”. The tagline says (according to Google Translate) —

Seckenhausen – “You have been nominated.” These four words were in an email that Cora Buhlert had discovered in her mailbox about three weeks ago. At first she thought it was just a Worldcon newsletter, but then she read the next word

Cora says, “I’m quite stunned about the extensive coverage. I suspect part of the reason is that since sports events, city council sessions, festivals, etc… don’t take place at the moment, local journalists have more time and space to report about other things such as North Germany’s first Hugo finalist. 

“I also got invited to contribute a book recommendation to the World Book Day coverage of one of the two local papers, which again has never happened before, even though I used to hang out on the edges of the local arts scene.”

 (13) NOT SPARING THE ROD. In “Shorefall: Come for the heists and explosions, stay for the debates”, Fantasy Fiction’s Bill Capossere leads into a review of the new Robert Jackson Bennett novel with this exhortation:

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Once upon a time there was a small group of uber-powerful folks who truly messed up the world. Luckily that was ages, sorry, I mean, Ages, ago. But now one of those ancient badass power users is potentially going to return and hoo boy is the world in trouble if he gathers all his power yet again. Thank the gods for the plucky group of scruffy underdogs who are definitely not a fellowship and who have decided to risk their lives to prevent the Dark Power’s rise. Anyone? Bueller?

OK, yes. We’ve all heard it before. So you might be forgiven if, upon learning that Robert Jackson Bennett’s newest title, Shorefall (sequel to the fantastic Foundryside), is about a spirited group of outnumbered and outgunned people trying to prevent the resurrection of an ancient power, you think to yourself, “Oh man, not another one of these!” You might be forgiven. But then again, you might not be. Because that would mean you haven’t been paying attention to Robert Jackson Bennett, because you would know he doesn’t do “another one of those.” And really, nobody should be forgiven for not paying attention to Robert Jackson Bennett, who has proven himself to be one of our best writers. Consider yourself duly chastised….

(14) SPACEX MANNED MISSION “Nasa to launch first manned mission from US in decade” – BBC has the story.

Nasa has announced that next month it will launch its first manned mission from US soil in almost 10 years.

The rocket and the spacecraft it is carrying are due to take off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre on 27 May, taking two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

Both the rocket and spacecraft were developed by private company SpaceX.

Nasa has been using Russian rockets for manned flights since its space shuttle was retired in 2011.

(15) 1984 BALLET. Available on YouTube as a fundraiser, the UK’s Northern Ballet production of 1984.

Winston Smith lives in a world of absolute conformity, his every action is scrutinized by Big Brother. But when Winston meets Julia, he dares to rebel by falling in love. Based on George Orwell’s masterpiece and choreographed by [former Royal Ballet dancer] Jonathan Watkins, 1984 pushes the boundaries of contemporary ballet and won the dance award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in June 2016. If you can, please help us to protect our people and our work during these unprecedented times and make a donation when you watch:

It is now available to watch online until May 2 as part of their “Pay As You Feel Digital Season.”

(16) PHANTOM RETURNS. Also available for a very short time – today and tomorrow – “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary special to be streamed for free on YouTube”.

Musical maker Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream his anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera on his new YouTube channel from 7pm on Friday (17 April).

The 25th-anniversary concert production, filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011 features Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine. It will be available for 24 hours – so worth planning for a Friday night or Saturday matinee!

The show is the third in a new series of Lloyd Webber’s works that are being streamed for free online while a lockdown of UK households continues, which has seen theatres closed up and down the country. You can tune in here on Friday for more.

(17) IF I HAD A HAMMER. A Late Show with Stephen Colbert excerpt discovered thanks to Gizmodo (“We Could Watch Cate Blanchett Showing Off Her Thor and Hobbit Props Forever”).

The star of “Mrs. America” on FX and Hulu wields some serious hero weaponry in this pajama party interview with Stephen Colbert.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Steve Green, Francis Hamit, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Russell Letson.]

36 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/17/20 We Go Scrolling Through The Park, Goosing Pixels In The Dark

  1. @10: I loved Biggle’s work when it came out; I’ve hesitated to reread lest the Suck Fairy spoil my memories. A number of his stories also made effective use of his professional/academic knowledge of music, some dating back to when the arts in SF were mostly parodies (in one direction or the other); I don’t think anyone has been as good in that aspect since, although I can’t judge more rock-oriented books like The Armageddon Rag as clearly as I can Biggle’s classical-oriented work.

    edit: first!

  2. (13) Great review. I’ve got RJB’s Shorefall winging it’s way to me now. I was so excited that the indy bookstore, Bull Moose in ME, was sending it out before it’s official release date! And it is selling new copies of Foundryside for only $19, while Amazon is selling them for $26 and up, USED.

    I have to admit I was crushed that his Divine Cities Trilogy didn’t win Best Series Hugo.

  3. I don’t read much game-related fiction, but I hear things 🙂

    The early Warhammer fiction had some notable names from British SF – Kim Newman (writing as Jack Yeovil) Brian Stableford (writing as Brian Craig) and Ian Watson (under his own name, but for Warhammer 40K). The Jack Yeovil titles got some attention at the time.

  4. @Paul King The early Warhammer fiction had some notable names from British SF

    Also a Warhammer short story by Stephen Baxter (and possibly a 40k one too, though I don’t think I ever tracked it down), a story and several novels by Ian Watson, and a rather gory trilogy of Wahammer novels by editor David Pringle, writing as David Ferring

    According to Brian Stableford, GW’s marketing people didn’t know the book trade and offered what were for the time stupendously large flat fees in lieu of royalties – Pringle made sure the word got around.

  5. On a different note, I found Lloyd Biggle quite variable, but his short story Monument is well worth a look, among with the three(?) Jane Darzek novels.

  6. Cora, that’s fantastic news about the local coverage! Congratulations. You deserve it.

  7. (10) Drachenfels by Yeovil/Newman was the first appearance by Geneviève Dieudonné who had a series of books in the Warhammer series before switching over to the Anno Dracula universe.

    Not Warhammer, but I enjoyed some of The Dark Future (now Dark History because it was set in 1995) books that Newman, Stableford and Stuart Moore wrote.

    It’s also Kerry Wendell Thornley’s birthday who as Lord Omar was co-founder of the Discordian Society and co-author of Principia Discordia. Also, according to an affidavit to the California School Employees Association, President of the Fair-Play-for-Switzerland Committee and Sinister Minister of the First Evangelical and Unrepentant Church of No Faith.

    Pix out the Jams

  8. (10) @Chip Hitchcock: I think Biggle’s The World Menders from 1971 is an under-recognized masterpiece of anthropological SF.

    @Sophie Jane: according to isfdb, there were five Jan Darzek novels, of which I somehow missed the last. Of the four I’ve read, my favorite is the fourth, Silence is Deadly, which despite its title and slightly cheesy McGuffin (which is even admitted within the novel to be kind of absurd) is another fine work of anthropological SF; the relationship between Darzek and the little girl, Sajjo, is simply wonderful.

  9. i wasn’t able to focus well enough to read at the beginning of the lockdown but now I have the reading groove back. Books read:

    The girl in the tower by Katherine Arden. I liked this better than the first book, which was also good. But now the characters have ‘found’ themselves and are getting on with doing things more.

    Odd jobs by Heide Goody
    The end of the world is nigh but there is no need for the end not to happen in an orderly fashion.
    This was a good book with compelling characters and great dialogue. I just don’t know about the basic premise though.

    The rosewater insurrection by Tade Thompson
    Alien invasion, civil war, personal feelings – all come together perfectly in this intriguing story which finds the perfect win-win solution at the end. Although this is part of a series it works fine as a standalone book.

    Accepting the Lance by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
    Wraps up all the existing storylines satisfactorily. This is one of my favorite series.

  10. Actually, what was better about Colbert than the Blanchett interview was the parody of all the “sports” ESPN is putting on when there are no sports. That was pretty funny.

  11. 10) Jennifer Garner was also the lead in 13 Going on 30 which is a delightful movie and at least genre-adjacent due to the dream/time-shift element of the plot.

    Regards,
    Dann
    They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning. – Clint Eastwood

  12. @Sophie Jane: I remember both versions of “Monument” quite well; the novel is a bit padded but good enough that it survived my ongoing purge. (His last-published novel, The Chronocide Mission, did not; I don’t remember whether the small press that published it included an explanation of whether it was an early work they’d dug up or a late work he hadn’t been able to sell.) Of the 5 Darzek novels, Effie Schlupe is not in the first (in which his ~partner Jean gets engaged to a client) and I do not remember reading The Whirligig of Time.

    Recent reads worth noting:
    x Rivka Galchen’s Rat Rule 79 comes with many recommendations (Snicket, Lethem, etc. and a ?local? library IIRC) for succeeding both the Alice books and The Phantom Tollbooth; it’s a bit too much pasted together rather than plotted to work really well, but was fun and strange.
    x Sara Hanover’s The Late Great Wizard ought to have irritated the hell out of me, but it makes much better use of tropes of intrusive fantasy than most examples and the narrator, who is trying to help an incompletely-phoenixed wizard who was on her elder-care route, feels plausible rather than ingratiating. ISTM she grasps some of how to cope with magic a bit too readily considering the number of different frenemies etc. of the wizard show up, but I’m definitely reading the 2nd (just out) to see where she goes.
    x Lavie Tidhar, The Violent Century (because older e-books can be retrieved from the library where physical reservations can’t be): Wild Cards meets Le Carré — lots of treachery as people who’ve had Powers dropped on them randomly try to cope and get used. A Doctorow forward claims the book overturns the entire idea of winning by punching people, but ISTM it’s more about how variably a variety of people deal with the unexpected.
    x Aliette de Bodard, In the Vanisher’s Palace: compressed enough that I’ll have to reread; I think it sort of fits in her Viet ‘verse but there’s more making SF look like (and even parallel) fantasy (in this case mostly “Beauty and the Beast” for two women) than I remember from her Hugo nominees or the Sherlock pastiche, with a dose of the aliens-have-ruined-us background of Varley’s “Eight Worlds”.

  13. @PhilRM Thanks! I hadn’t known about the other novels – looks like at least one is available on Kindle in the UK, too.

    @Jack Lint

    The only Dark Future stuff I know is by Newman/Yeovil – four novels, one (Route 666) a kind of fixup. Is there more by other authors out there?

    I enjoyed the Dark Future stuff too – not much official background material meant Newman could really go to town with the alt history and music/movie references. (I’m particularly fond of Tarkovsky as a crooner, and the “Mersey sound” of Ken Dodd and the Diddymen.)

  14. You can file all of the pixels some of the time, and file some of the pixels all of the time, but you can’t file all of the pixels all of the time.

  15. I remember Lloyd Biggle with some fondness, but the details are getting fuzzy with time. Like Chip Hitchcock, I find myself worrying about the activities of the suck fairy in that arena. Still, I don’t remember anything in particular that would rise above the usual suckiness of the era.

    I’ve never been much of a fan of MilFic in general, whether genre-ish or not, and I’m always dubious of books based on games, so I’ve never gotten around to any of the Warhamster or WH40k stuff, but I do have friends who say that some of it is better than you might expect. If I were to try any, it would probably be WH40k, just because I like the idea of hamsters in space. 🙂

  16. @Sophie Jane There was another go at them in 2005-2006 from Black Flame who also republished the original books with new trade dress. There should also have been a novel by Eugene Byrne that was lost to a computer crash and United States Calvary (clever title) that was promised in 1991 but never published.

    In Krokodil Tears there’s a reference to Neil Gaiman having written an inflammatory Tintin book and currently working on a gritty reworking of Lucky Luke.

  17. Colbert is my hero, and I will hear no bad words spoken of him. He helps to keep me sane.

    That said, I never watch his interviews — only his opening monologues and anything else he does before the interview segments begin.

    As for MilSF, I quite enjoy some of it, but I think we can all agree that a great deal of it is completely disposable. I’ve also heard that some WH40K stuff is surprisingly good, but like others here I’ve never tried any!

  18. @Contrarius: I dislike Colbert’s “I am smarter and so are you” attitude. I think it’s counterproductive. But when I see him, I do enjoy watching him work the camera during monologues. He’s really good at moving around on stage. My dislike for his schtick doesn’t cloud my appreciate of the skills he uses.

    And this was GREAT! You can see how delighted he is. More like this, please.

  19. Heh. One of the very few concerts I attended in college — Talking Heads!

    And yes, Colbert IS smarter. ;-D

  20. @John A. Arkensawyer:

    I’m with Contrarius on Colbert—I’m pleased as punch with him. He’s great and he’s out there doing what needs to be done.

    Finally got my Deutsche Grammaphon CD/Blu-Ray combo for Johann Johannsson’s orchestral setting of Stapledon’s Last And First Men Once I manage to play the Blu-Ray, I’ll give it a capsule review.

  21. Colbert reminds me of the apocryphal story about Adlai Stevenson’s reply to the women who said all thinking Americans would to vote for him: “That’s not enough. I need a majority.” I’ve always wondered at the people who thought that was a good reply. Witty surely, and flattering to his supporters, but not winning over many votes.

    Stevenson apparently didn’t say that, perhaps because he was smart enough not to brag about being smart. I got a lot less stupid myself once I learned that lesson.

    That said, the choir can always use a little preaching, too, so I shouldn’t be so harsh:

  22. @JJ @Camestros @Joyce Reynolds-Ward
    Thank you. I was stunned at how big the article was.

    @Xtifr

    I’ve never gotten around to any of the Warhamster or WH40k stuff

    I’d totally read Warhamster, but I doubt it’s what the target audience expects.

  23. @Cora Buhlert: Heh, I wish I could claim it was original, but “Warhamster” is actually a long-running joke by artist John Kovalic (who did the illustrations for the game Munchkin), from his tabletop gaming comic, Dork Tower.

  24. In case anyone else didn’t previously get to see the Le Guin documentary of 2018? 2019? (much discussed here, including its poor distribution): it’s available on Kanopy. Not sure how long, or how many cable services carry it (or if it’s also accessible by computer), but possibly of interest. I saw it last night and was impressed — not a lot I didn’t know, but well-organized and respectful without being worshipful.

  25. @ Chip Hitchcock re: Aliette de Bodard, In the Vanisher’s Palace

    I don’t believe it’s intended to be part of the Xuya Universe. More of a stand-alone. Definitely Vietnamese flavored setting, but that’s not at all surprising.

  26. As regards Warhammer, I have read a few by authors I know from outside the franchise. Guy Haley and Dan Abnett have both written a number of Warhammer novels. Abnett, in particular, is a very prominent comics writer. The ones I have read have been readable but unmemorable. You do need to have some familiarity with the background though. The fact that the game started as a set of miniature wargames rules, not even rpg rules like D&D, gave the authors considerable scope. I believe the games now reflect the novels as much as the other way round.
    I recall that White Dwarf, the Games Workshop magazine, used to have a comic strip called Thrud the Barbarian. Thrud’s sidekick was a were-hamster, I wonder if that influenced the creation of the Warhamster joke?

  27. I adore Colbert. He’s funny as hell, but he’s also not afraid to ask hard questions. His show is one of the highlights of my evening during this lockdown.

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