Pixel Scroll 4/2/20 Pixels Are Bigger On The Scrollside

(1) THE ANSWER, MY FRIEND. George R.R. Martin empathizes with the Kiwis at Not A Blog: No Fooling.

…The biggest news in that regard is that this year’s worldcon, CoNZealand, has also decided to go virtual.   I know what a difficult decision that was for the Kiwis, who have worked so hard bidding and winning the con, and dreamed so long of bringing fandom to their magical island.   New Zealand is one of my favorite places in the world, and Parris feels the same way.  We have been there several times before, and I know we will visit again… just not this year, alas.  I gather that pushing the con back to late 2020 or early 2021 was not feasible, for various logistical reasons, which meant that going online was the only real alternative to cancellation.   How that will work, I have no idea.   No one does, really.  It has never been done before.   The technical aspects are going to be daunting, no doubt… but I know that everyone concerned is going to do their best.   Fingers crossed.

If there is a silver lining in these clouds, this will give me more time to finish WINDS OF WINTER.   I continue to write every day, up here in my mountain fastness….

(2) HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL. Will the San Diego Comic-Con be an exception? SYFY Wire says “San Diego Comic-Con Organizers Remain ‘Hopeful’ That The Con Will Go On”.

“To our amazing Comic-Con and WonderCon fans: We understand how difficult the current climate has been for all of us and appreciate your continued support through these trying times,” said an announcement posted on SDCC’s official Twitter page. “No one is as hopeful as we are that we will be able to celebrate #SDCC2020 together come July.”

(3) ANY BOOB CAN TAKE AND SHOVE A BALL IN A POCKET. Nick Mamatas tells LitReactor readers why he doesn’t hold small presses in any esteem: “Ask Nick: Publishing 201: Why Are Small Presses Almost Always So Awful?”

…The sad and horrible fact is that most small presses are labors of love. By this I don’t mean a love of the written word or some community of under-published writers, I mean that the owners of small presses are seeking love, and one way to be loved, in the short term, is to splash around some money and the dubious promise of prestige and literary reputation.

Now, running a small press is difficult. The initial outlay can be extensive, and everyone you interact with is also a love-seeker. When one opens any business, the first people one meets aren’t customers with full wallets, but would-be vendors, jobseekers, glad-handers, and the like. Open a dry cleaner tomorrow and the first people through the door will be unqualified folks looking for work, kooks wanting to hang flyers about the school play in your window, a Little League team hitting you up for sponsorship, someone with a sob story about a shirt they need for a job interview that may keep them from becoming homeless in a week and so can’t they pleeeease get a “nice guy” discount of 70 percent, a batty weirdo complaining about non-existent smells and carcinogens, and the like.

In publishing, it’s worse. Writers, mostly not very good ones, line up for a chance to be published—the big presses have already rejected them all…. 

(4) ON THE NOSE. “Gene Roddenberry, Co-Pilot, B-17 41-2644 LOS LOBOS Of The 394th BS”Wings Remembered has a photo gallery about his war service.

Gene Roddenberry flew over 80 missions, most of which would have been as Bill Ripley’s co-pilot on LOS LOBOS. We have had this section of nose art from LOS LOBOS for more than 20 years.  During this time we had not been able to positively identify the B-17 that this nose art section was from. That changed recently when author and historian Steve Birdsall contacted with this information 

(5) ORSINIAN PASSPORT. Time to revisit the Library of America’s 2016 selection “Imaginary Countries, Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018)” (from Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia).

During her college years in the early 1950s, Ursula Kroeber began working on her first novel. She later recalled that the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia and subsequent events had “roused the political spirit in me,” but she hadn’t yet visited the countries of Eastern Europe and didn’t feel comfortable writing about them. She explains:

“I was twenty years old, working at one of the dining tables about midnight, when I got the first glimpse of my other country. An unimportant country of middle Europe. One of those Hitler had trashed and Stalin was now trashing. . . . I see the river, the Molsen, running through an open, sunny countryside to the old capital, Krasnoy (krasniy, Slavic, “beautiful”). Krasnoy on its three hills: the Palace, the University, the Cathedral. The Cathedral of St Theodora, an egregiously unsaintly saint, my mother’s name. . . . I begin to find my way about, to feel myself at home, here in Orsenya, matrya miya, my motherland. I can live here, and find out who else lives here and what they do, and tell stories about it” [from the Introduction, The Complete Orsinia].

It’s not a coincidence that the name of this imaginary country (Orsinia) and her own name both stem from Latin words for a female bear (orsa in Italian, from ursa in Latin)….

(6) ON LOCATION. LA Curbed has “The ultimate ‘Back to the Future’ filming locations map”. And holy cats! Who knew Marty McFly and fanzine fan Ed Cox were practically neighbors! (Well, within a mile-and-a-half of each other, anyway.)

4. McFly house

9303 Roslyndale Ave
Arleta, CA 91331

The McFly residence (built in 1954) still stands on Roslyndale Avenue in Arleta. Roslyndale and several nearby streets stand in for Hill Valley’s somewhat rundown Lyon Estates suburb.

(7) BENNETT OBIT. Voice actress Julie Bennett (1932-2020) died March 31 of complications from COVID-19. Here’s a brief excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter’s tribute — 

Her animation career began with “Fractured Fairy Tales” in 1960 on The Bullwinkle Show, and she voiced Cindy Bear for the first time a year later on The Yogi Bear Show, which featured Daws Butler doing his best Art Carney impersonation as Jellystone Park’s most famous resident.

She also voiced Aunt May on a 1997 Spider-Man animated series, did the talking for a Barbie doll and worked in films including the Judy Garland-starring Gay Purr-ee (1962) and Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966).

Her résumé also included Mr. MagooGet SmartThe Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, Garfield and Friends…

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 2, 2005 The Quatermass Experiment premiered.  It was a live television event remake of the 1953 television series of the same name by Nigel Kneale. Written by Richard Fell and directed by Sam Miller, it starred Jason Flemyng was cast as Quatermass, with long-time Kneale admirer Mark Gatiss as Paterson, Andrew Tiernan as Carroon, Indira Varma as his wife Judith, David Tennant as Briscoe, Adrian Bower as Fullalove and Adrian Dunbar as Lomax.  The critics really liked it and it became BBC Four’s fourth-highest-rated program of all time. It’s not that popular at Rotten Tomatoes where the audience reviewers give it only a 47% rating.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 2, 1914 Alec Guinness. Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy. (What? There were more movies after them? No!)  That’s it for filmed genre roles but theatre is another matter altogether. He played Osric first in Hamlet in the early Thirties in what was then the New Theatre, Old Thorney in The Witch of Edmonton at The Old Vic and the title role of Macbeth at Sheffield. (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 2, 1921 Redd Boggs. Los Angeles fanzine writer, editor and publisher. The 1948 Fantasy Annual was his first zine with Blish as a contributor, with Discord being nominated for the Best Fanzine Hugo in 1961. He was nominated for the Retro Hugo for Best Fan Writer, and Sky Hook was nominated for Best Fanzine. Boggs was also a member of First Fandom. (Died 1996.)
  • Born April 2, 1933 Murray Tinkelman. Illustrator who provided numerous book covers for paperback of genre novels for Ballantine Books in the Seventies. He’s particularly known for his work on the paperback editions of Brunner novels such as The Shockwave Rider which you can see here and Stand on Zanzibar that you can see over here. (Died 2016.)
  • Born April 2, 1939 Elliot K. Shorter. He began attending cons in the early Sixties and was a major figure in fandom through the Seventies. Some of the zines he worked on were Engram, the Heicon Flyer and Niekas. He was the TAFF winner at Heicon, the 28th Worldcon, in Heidelberg Germany. And he helped Suncon, the 1977 Worldcon. Mike has a detailed obituary here (Died 2013.)
  • Born April 2, 1940 Peter Haining. British author and anthologist responsible for a number of really cool works such as The Sherlock Holmes ScrapbookThe Legend and Bizarre Crimes of Spring Heeled JackDoctor Who: The Key to Time A year by year record (which covered all of classic Who) and James Bond: A Celebration. He was responsible for some one hundred and seventy books in his lifetime. (Died 2007.)
  • Born April 2, 1945 Linda Hunt, 75. Her first film role was Mrs. Holly Oxheart In Popeye. (Anyone here who’s disputing that’s genre?) She goes on to be Shadout Mapes in Lynch’s Dune. (Very weird film.) Next up is Dragonfly, a Kevin Costner-fronted horror film as Sister Madeline. And in a quirky role, she voices Lady Proxima, the fearsome Grindalid matriarch of the White Worms, in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
  • Born April 2, 1948 Joan D. Vinge, 72. Best-known for The Snow Queen which won a well-deserved Hugo and its sequels, her most excellent series about the young telepath named Cat, and her Heaven’s Chronicles, the latter which I’ve not read. Her first new book in almost a decade after her serious car accident was the 2011 novelization of Cowboys & Aliens. And I find it really neat that she wrote the anime and manga reviews for The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthologies.
  • Born April 2, 1978 Scott Lynch, 42. Author of Gentleman Bastard series of novels which is to my utter surprise now at seven. I know I read The Lies of Locke Lamora, but who here has read the entire series to date?  He’s also stated that there will be a sequel series set some twenty years on in the future with new protagonists which will also be seven books in length. And I see he was writing Queen of the Iron Sands, an online serial novel for awhile. May I note he’s married to Elizabeth Bear, one of my favorite authors? 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) MARVEL MAKES SOME COMICS A TEMPORARY FREE READ. Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comics subscription service, is now offering all fans “FREE access to some of Marvel’s most iconic stories from recent years, including now-classic Marvel Comics events and critically acclaimed runs featuring the Avengers, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and more. Fans who are social distancing will be able to escape into the Marvel Universe and revisit their favorite stories from a curated selection of complete story arcs – completely free – on Marvel Unlimited, starting Thursday, April 2 until Monday, May 4.”

To access Marvel Unlimited’s free comics offering, download or update the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android at the respective Apple and Google Play app stores, and click “Free Comics” on the landing screen. No payment information or trial subscriptions will be required for the selection of free comics.

This month’s free comics will feature instant Marvel Comics classics and can’t-miss events including:

  • AVENGERS VS. X-MEN
  • CIVIL WAR
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RED GOBLIN
  • BLACK PANTHER BY TA-NEHISI COATES VOL. 1
  • THANOS WINS BY DONNY CATES
  • X-MEN MILESTONES: DARK PHOENIX SAGA
  • AVENGERS: KREE/SKRULL WAR
  • AVENGERS BY JASON AARON VOL. 1: THE FINAL HOST
  • FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 1: FOUREVER
  • BLACK WIDOW VOL. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’S MOST WANTED
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER ULTIMATE
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL VOL. 1: HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER, MORE

Customers on the Marvel Comics App and webstore as well as comiXology will also have free access to these stories for a limited time.

(12) MCU NEWS. Bradley Russell, in the Total Film Magazine story “Everything we know so far about Marvel Phase 4, including new MCU movie release dates and cast news” has a detailed listing of forthcoming release dates for MCU films, including the revised Black Widow release date and what’s happening with Marvel series coming to Disney Plus.

…The last current Marvel Phase 4 movie – and probably the most exciting. Thor: Love and Thunder is coming on November 6, 2021, and will almost definitely shock you with its big reveal: Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is the new Thor (now officially called Mighty Thor). Just let that sink in for a moment.

(13) IN THE ISOLATION ZONE. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna notes that, in the first episode of “The Twilight Zone,” Rod Serling spoke of “the barrier of loneliness” as he discusses the seven best Twilight Zone episodes that deal with loneliness and isolation. “Seven ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes that are eerily timely during the coronavirus pandemic”.

1. “Time Enough at Last”

One person’s mass-casualty event is another person’s opportunity to finally get a little reading done. Burgess Meredith plays the clerk who hides in his bank’s vault to enjoy a few page-turners. When that girded vault allows him to survive a nuclear attack, the clerk is left gloriously alone — just himself and stacks of books to happily devour. The twist, of course, is to watch his step — isolation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

(14) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. The Guardian reports “Cats can infect each other with coronavirus, Chinese study finds”. (The study doesn’t show feline transmission to humans, however.)

Cat owners may wish to be more cautious about contact with their pets, as a study from China has revealed Covid-19 can be transmitted between cats.

(15) ORIGIN OF $PECIE$. David Quammen reviews three of the very many works about Darwin and his theories in “The Brilliant Plodder” at New York Review of Books.

…One lesson from all this is that Darwin’s name sells. A less mercantile way of viewing it is that Darwin’s name stands for what Daniel Dennett has called “the single best idea anyone has ever had,” and therefore serves as a portal to scientific and philosophical ruminations of vast depth and breadth. We can’t stop reading and talking about Darwin, 138 years after his death, because the great theory of which he was co-conceiver (with Alfred Russel Wallace) and chief propounder (in On the Origin of Species) was so big and startling and forceful, yet so unfinished when he died in 1882, that there’s always more work to do. We’re still trying to figure out how evolution by natural selection—Darwin’s dangerous idea, in Dennett’s phrase—applies to every aspect of life on Earth, from virulence in coronaviruses to human social behavior. 

(16) WE WERE NOT ALONE. “Three human-like species lived side-by-side in ancient Africa”.

Two million years ago, three different human-like species were living side-by-side in South Africa, a study shows.

The findings underline a growing understanding that the present-day situation, where one human species dominates the globe, may be unusual compared with the evolutionary past.

The new evidence comes from efforts to date bones uncovered at a cave complex near Johannesburg.

The research has been published in the journal Science.

The new work also revealed the earliest known example of Homo erectus, a species thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans (Homo sapiens).

The three groups of hominins (human-like creatures) belonged to Australopithecus (the group made famous by the “Lucy” fossil from Ethiopia), Paranthropus and Homo – better known as humans.

Andy Herries, from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues evaluated remains found at the Drimolen Cave Complex using three different scientific dating techniques: electron spin resonance, palaeomagnetism and uranium-lead dating.

(17) FOR THE FAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING. BBC has learned an online buyer has won an opportunity to launch a commercial rocket for 40 million yuan ($5.6m; £4.5m) in central China.

According to the official People’s Daily, popular online shopping platform Taobao live-streamed the sale of a commercial rocket yesterday evening.

The official China Daily said that the rocket was “a small launch vehicle” in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, which has already seen eight commercial launches.

Buyers were told that they could paint the body of the rocket and the launch platform, and that they could visit the launch site and control the launch.

Posters advertising the livestream, headed by celebrity shopping anchor Wei Ya, went viral on Wednesday 1 April, leading many to speculate they were part of an April Fools joke.

But national newspaper Global Times says that Taobao confirmed that “this is for real” in an online post.

(18) THEY LOST ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter knew what the contestants didn’t on tonight’s Jeopardy! But in this case, is that something to brag about?

Category: Movie Monsters.

Answer: “Based on a 1960 Hugo Award-winning novel, this movie starred Casper Van Dien & Denise Richards as soldiers fighting insect-like aliens.”

No one could ask, “What is ‘Starship Troopers’?”

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Guitarist Mike Dawes won’t explain where his composition “William Shatner’s Pants” got its name, but it’s a good tune and an immortal title!

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

31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/2/20 Pixels Are Bigger On The Scrollside

  1. “Of making many Files there is no end, and much Scrolling wearies the body.”

  2. @9 (Guinness): That’s it for filmed genre roles. uhm, The Man in the White Suit.

    @9 (Lynch): “up to” seven? Wikipedia shows #4 coming out in 18 months, and #’s 5-7 as “forthcoming”; I don’t know where they got the titles from, but it’s not clear that he has even started #5 — source?

  3. Chip protests rather annoyingly Lynch): “up to” seven? Wikipedia shows #4 coming out in 18 months, and #’s 5-7 as “forthcoming”; I don’t know where they got the titles from, but it’s not clear that he has even started #5 — source?

    Did I say that they were all actually published? I did not. There are seven planned which makes it that many in total. I have faith that Lynch will write and publish them. Just like I have faith that Ms. Bear will have Machine out this autumn and therefore have preordered the audiobook on Audible.

    It’s the same faith I have that I’ll see the the sequel to Arkady Matine’s A Memory Called Empire, A Desolation Called Peace. We as fans constantly deal needing with believing in writers to deliver books that don’t exist yet.

  4. Chip protests (Guinness): That’s it for filmed genre roles. uhm, The Man in the White Suit.

    Didn’t notice that one. Thanks much!

  5. (9) I am saddened by the possibility that Cat has not had the opportunity to enjoy The Man in the White Suit. On the other hand, maybe this is an opportunity!

  6. 17) I would think the point of buying something like this is to have everyone know you bought it. I don’t get the buyer name not revealed part. Anyway, look forward to seeing how the rocket gets decorated.

    Scott Lynch – Loved the first book as a well written caper novel. Didn’t care for book 2 as much. Partly that is because a lot of the book takes place at sea and I just don’t care to read about ships. Partly it’s because 2 is a bit of a transition book setting up for book 3. Book 3 I also loved, while it has capers it’s a much deeper and more emotional book.

  7. Lis Carey says I am saddened by the possibility that Cat has not had the opportunity to enjoy The Man in the White Suit. On the other hand, maybe this is an opportunity!

    Keep in mind that I’ve a much better memory for what I’ve read than for what I’ve seen. Even post-brain injury that holds true, so it’s entirely possible that I did see it once and didn’t really remember it.

    Right now, I’m still retraining my brain some three years on to accept the idea that live video is acceptable. Animation is fine, live not so much.

  8. 18) One could be forgiven if they don’t connect the movie and the book seeing how they’re only casually related.

    Soooo…

    Read more books.

    Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes.

    Psychic pussycats as purrfect pandemic pick-me-up. A solid three stars; might be three and a half, not speaking Spanish kept me from appreciation what’s probably some lyrical swearing. It did have a couple debut novel get-it-out-of-your-system moments. Otherwise enjoyable. Did I mention the kitties?

    Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

    At this point, one could be forgiven for being so totally over the whole magic plus detective story genre, I thought I was. Then this popped up on Overdrive. I was wrong. I very much enjoyed my time spent with Ivy, lies and all, while she investigates a murder at a magic high-school.

    Four stars. Recommended.

  9. (9) Since his name was mentioned recently in connection with the Lester Musketeer movies, it was George MacDonald Fraser’s birthday. I never got too far on the Flashman novels, but will recommend the Dand MacNeill stories and most of his other novels.

    Also Barry Hansen, known to the world as Dr. Demento. Where would we be without Dr. Demento?

    Speaking of Linda Hunt, has anyone seen Space Rangers? It only lasted six episodes. Looks mildly interesting.

    (13) There’s the episode Two with Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson as two survivors of some conflict in an empty city and of course they were on the opposite sides. Or The Invaders which has an isolated Agnes Moorehead dealing with an alien invasion. Maybe The Long Morrow which works out to be about loneliness but more as a reveal in the end.

    It’s time for Pixel Scroll. This is it. Here it comes. Pixel Scroll!

  10. (19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Guitarist Mike Dawes

    My thanks to whomever suggested this one. I’ve got to look into him more. Great guitarist, and I bet he learned a lot from My Hero Tommy Emmanuel. I am counting on life being back to at least relatively normal by September, when I have tickets to go see Tommy at the Ryman — I’ve been to several of his concerts over the years, but none for more than three years now!

    In re Scott Lynch — The likelihood of his finishing the Gentleman Bastards series is not at all as certain as average authors finishing other series. His second book was delayed by years because of his well-publicized (that is, discussed publically by Lynch himself) battles with depression, and that may well slow down the rest of the series as well. Though I’ve been very pleased to see him get as far in the series as he has up to this point.

  11. @Jack Lint: I’ve seen Space Rangers. It has its fans… my own take is that it will while away a few hours of your time in.a reasonably painless and occasionally amusing way, but don’t expect anything novel or stimulating. (I did once write a lengthy review of it, but it’s lost to the ravages of time and defunct websites. My description of the main lead was “the most intrepid lawman ever to strike fear into the hearts of evildoers since Sonny Crockett hung up his pastel coloured t-shirts and called it a day.” )

  12. @iphonome

    Assault on Mt TBR now proceeding to camp 1

    If I have to drive anywhere – Delany’s ‘Nova’ via audiobook

    Afternoon reading – ‘Complete Works of HP Lovecraft’

    Evening comfort – ‘The Princess Bride’

    …I have come to scroll the autumnal pixel.

  13. @Iphinome: I liked Chilling Effect enough that I’ve recommended it to a few folks, but not enough to rave about it. Pretty solid for a first novel though. And a few clever video game references that made me chuckle. I’m definitely willing to read more by Ms. Valdes.

  14. This is what I wrote about Chilling Effect:

    I would have told you that a book set in space, with telepathic cats, and a cover by Julie Dillon, would be enough to make it a winner. Sadly, after more than 150 pages (out of 450 pages), I have to confess that it’s not.

    It seems as though more and more SFF books are being written as if they are based on actual videogame or RPG gameplays rather than an integrated plot, and this is one of them. The plot is based on a clever ship’s captain, whose sister is kidnapped and held ransom by a space mafia in exchange for the captain making a series of apparently unrelated cargo runs to different planets — most of which, unsurprisingly, end in failure or even disaster.

    I wanted to care about the captain and her crew, and I wanted to enjoy this book, but it’s more of a series of vignettes than a novel, and neither the characterization nor the adventures were interesting or exciting enough to keep me reading.

    Gamers will likely enjoy this novel. There are lots of Spanish words and phrases used, and reading comprehension and enjoyment will be enhanced if the non-Spanish-speaking reader keeps a translation device handy. (I did get a good laugh out of “gato tuerto”.)

  15. @Jack Lint:

    Also Barry Hansen, known to the world as Dr. Demento. Where would we be without Dr. Demento?

    I don’t want to know where I’d be without Dr. Demento!

  16. @Cat Eldridge: I would read ~”the series is up to N books” as meaning there are N books available to the public, not counting books that have been scheduled, announced, planned, or left somewhere even deeper in vaporland. YMMV.

    It occurs to me that Lynch and Bear may be the most accomplished pair of productive SF writers married to each other since Knight and Wilhelm. (I know Dixon and Lackey are married, but the bits of their work that I’ve read have been mostly ordinary; Kushner and Sherman are both excellent when they can get published, which isn’t nearly as often as I’d like.) Any other current examples people can think of?

  17. @Chip —

    Any other current examples people can think of?

    Not a pair of authors, but I love the marriage of Cat Valente and Heath Miller. SOOO convenient for an author to have a great narrator right at hand. 🙂

  18. @Chip – Any other current examples people can think of?
    Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

  19. Meredith Moment Redux/Extended:

    Angry Robot’s extended their half-off sale through midnight on next Saturday, April 11. Whose midnight? No idea, so if you plan to take advantage of their sale (half-off buying directly from them; all DRM-free), plan to buy early enough since it’s probably midnight U.K. time, methinks.

  20. 3) The only part where I take issue is the implication that small press publishers are axiomatically only dealing with low-quality authors/works. As a matter of percentage, then the amount of dross is probably higher. Suggesting that small presses only put out garbage is…umm….garbage. My experiences with big-5 published books haven’t been all that great either. YMMV, as always.

    Separately…

    The IGMS library is currently available for free during the current difficulties. I enjoyed their work while I was a subscriber.

    http://www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com

    Also, I finished the Neon Leviathan collection by T.R. Napper. The stories show a heavy influence from George Orwell and Philip K. Dick. “The Weight of the Air, The Weight of the World” is a novella from the collection that is on my shortlist for next year. The rest of the collection was quite good as well.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Tolerance always has limits – it cannot tolerate what is itself actively intolerant. – Sidney Hook (1975). “Pragmatism and the tragic sense of life”

  21. 3) Is Nick Mamatas braced for lists of long-lived small presses and seriously good writers who have placed books with them and small presses that pay (however modestly) as promised?

    SF/F publishing history is in part the history of small presses–many of which, to be sure, were not economically viable or were run by rogues or were kept operational because they were subsidized by the money and labor of their proprietors and volunteer help (and remain so e’en now). But small presses produced most of the SF-specific research and critical material I used early on (particularly Advent, but later NESFA and Starmont and Dragon and Locus), and small presses were putting material from the magazines into hard covers before mainstream publishers caught on (Arkham, Gnome Press, Fantasy Press, Shasta) . I could go on, but it’s easier to just point at the “Small Presses and Limited Editions” article in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia.

  22. @ P J Evans, you beat me to it but I was gonna put in a plug for Jane’s Groundties books…and her Ring books are good too

  23. @Iphinome: I’ve been meaning to thank you for these periodic book mini-reviews. Thanks to everyone who does that sort of thing! But you started this relatively recently and I wanted to mention I appreciate it. 😀

    (14) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Don’t let your pet sneeze on you regardless. Bleck.

    (19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. I’ll try to just enjoy the music, which BTW I do like. I imagine some weird, mostly-repetitive lyrics going through his head as he plays, though.

  24. Kathryn Sullivan — aauugghh! I should have thought of them as they’re regulars at Boskone. (IIRC Steve rarely writes on his own, but that’s hairsplitting.)

    I skipped over @3 as the summary seemed full of … attitude; it’s odd I wasn’t more defensive, considering that I produced four books for NESFA Press. (That was some decades ago.) It’s true there are a lot of crappy small presses out there — I see some of them every year in giveaways and postcard-ads — but I suspect that a lot of them are more like vanity presses, being a way for wannabes to get their own work in print; there are a lot of small presses that print good work that’s just not as commercial as the big houses are looking for. Locally I’d point to Small Beer’s long and impressive track record (I know there are others, but SB has been around long enough that even a primarily-conrunner like me knows them); further afield, I’d note that Wizard’s Tower (England) has published two BFA-nominated books in the last two years (as noted here — I just read the first of the pair). Answering the quoted section directly (since I don’t have the stomach for the full article): I suspect that most small presses are about getting work they believe in published, rather than swanking around as a fur-reeul Publisher, and are more likely to publish work that small groups of people praise highly rather than work that everyone can agree is crap (or at least poorly-done).

  25. Re: Small presses. Back in the mid-1980s, Don Keller and I decided the world needed more sf-related nonfiction for Russell Letson and others like him and us, so we started Serconia Press. We didn’t publish a lot before we fell apart, but we sold out our print runs of criticism and essay collections by Brian Aldiss, Samuel R. Delany, and John Clute; paid all bills and royalties; and ploughed whatever money remained into the next book. We definitely did it for love.

    Re: birthdays. It might be of interest that Elliott Shorter was one of only a handful of Black fans active in the latter half of the 20th century. His cousin Velma “Vijay” Bowen was also active. They came from a distinguished family – Elliott’s father was a New York State Supreme Court justice.

  26. Are we doing #NotAllSmallPresses? 😀

    I don’t know a lot about small presses, and most of the ones I do know about are pretty good–but then I probably wouldn’t know about them if they weren’t. But I don’t find it too hard to believe that there’s a lot of bad ones around.

    I would actually expect genre small presses to be better, on average, than regular ones, because the market is smaller, so they’re more likely to be labors of love than desperate schemes to make a few bucks. But then there’s also small presses run by and for crazy people, from white supremacists (VD) to flat earthers to god-knows what, which have their own issues.

    So…yeah. The idea that small presses may be generally bad doesn’t shock me.

  27. And of course even Gnome Press for all that it published very good vlbooks, was so poorly run, that people told Marin H. Greenberg to change his name so that his reputation would not be tarnished by the stain associated with the publisher of Gnome (the “H”-less Marty)

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