Pixel Scroll 5/13/19 She Loves The Pixel’s Uncle, Yeah, Yeah

(1) MCEWAN REBUTTED. Mark Tiedemann tees off on Ian McEwan and other offenders in “The Myopeia of the Lit Club” at The Proximal Eye.

… Ian McEwan, who has published a novel about artificial intelligence and somehow feels he is the first to discover that this thing has serious implications for people to be expressed through literature. Thus he now joins a long line of literary snobs who have “borrowed” the trappings of science fiction even as they take a dump on the genre. I would say they misunderstand it, but that presumes they have read any. What seems more likely is they’ve seen some movies, talked to some people, maybe listened to a lecture or two about the genre, and then decided “Well, if these unwashed hacks can do this, I can do it ten times better and make it actual, you know, art.”

…I have always thought that people who are dismissive toward SF have a problem imagining the world as someday being fundamentally different. By that I mean, things will so change that they, if they were instantly transported into that future, will be unable to function. Things will be radically different, not only technologically but culturally and therefore even the givens of human interaction will seem alien.

That is the meat, bone, and gristle of science fiction and I would like someone to tell me how that it not “dealing with the effects of technology on human problems.”

(2) KRAMER SIDEBAR. The judge who had Ed Kramer checking whether her work computer was hacked is in trouble: “Judge Kathryn Schrader barred from hearing criminal cases for 60 days” says the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader is reportedly not allowed to hear any cases prosecuted by Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter’s office for at least the next two months while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation sorts out a complicated dispute between the two public officials.

Porter confirmed news reports that a visiting Fulton County judge issued the ruling barring Schrader from presiding over cases for 60 days during a hearing Thursday.

The ruling stems from an unusual case in which Schrader accused Porter of hacking her work computer, and he in turn raised concerns that the county’s computer network may have been compromised. He then asked that she recuse herself from any cases his office is prosecuting.

…The unusual case first surfaced in March after it was revealed that Schrader hired private investigator T.J. Ward because she believed her work computer was being hacked. Ward, in turn, brought in convicted sex offender Ed Kramer, who Ward said has computer training, to look into the matter.

(3) OREO NEWS. Glows in the dark, no less!

(4) FIELD REPORT. Joe Siclari’s FANAC Flash summarizes their accomplishments at Corflu 2019.

We took the FANAC scanning station to Corflu FIAWOL last weekend, and scanned 3500-4000 pages (the count is not complete yet). We received material to scan and help from many Corfluvians, and are getting the scans up  on line. So far, we have a little over 1,800 of those pages online. They’re marked in the index pages as “scanned at Corflu 2019”. Fanzines scanned at Corflu include Terry Carr’s Innuendo, John D. Berry’s Hot Shit, Charles Lee Riddle’s Peon, Ron Bennett’s Ploy, some of Forry Ackerman and Morojo’s Voice of the Imagi-Nation, and lots more. At Corflu, we also received scans from Rob Hansen’s OCR project. There are some gems there too. Watch the “What’s New” on the Fanac.org page to get details on what’s been put online.

FANAC.org was given the FAAn award for Best Online Fan Activity at Corflu! It was wonderful to receive this recognition. The team on Fanac.org, Fancyclopedia.org, and and the Fanac YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/c/fanacfanhistory) is thrilled!

You can find Rob Jackson’s recording of the Corflu Saturday afternoon programs at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUstxv0rmRk&feature=youtu.be

(5) THE ORVILLE IS GO FOR ANOTHER ORBIT. ScienceFiction.com fills fans in on the renewal: “Seth MacFarlane’s ‘The Orville’ Will Return For A Third Season”.

The series had quite a few eyes on it with 3.16 million total live viewers combined with a 0.75 in the 18-49 demographic it hit the sweet spot for commercials. On top of that, the show gained a $15.8 million TV tax credit for the third season which was up $1.3 million from season 2. This was a nice bonus that was nothing to scoff at.

(6) BIOPIC APPROVED. At Amazing Stories, Dianne Lynn Gardner gives it five stars — “Tolkien: A Movie Review.”

…If I were to sum up the movie in one word, that word would be “sensitive”. I was brought to tears in a few places and I think those who have the sensitivity of an artist will enjoy the film. It’s no Lord of the Rings, no. Do not expect it to be. This is a story about a compassionate man with revolutionary ideas concerning the world around him, and his journey to tell the tale of evil and the fight for survival which often can only be heard through parables.

(7) DS9 NEWS. CBS News interviews director Ira Steven Behr and actress Nana Visitor about the new documentary, “What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

(8) BOLGEO TRIBUTE. The family obituary for Tim Bolgeo, who died yesterday, is online here.

…A lifetime reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Uncle Timmy was Founder and Chairman of Liberty Con 1 – 25, an original Board Member and Chairman of ChattaCon 7 – 11, and a staff member at numerous conventions throughout the southeast. He was the long running Editor/Publisher of the Fanzines The LibertyCon Newsletter (1987-1997) and The Revenge of Hump Day! (1997 to 2018)….

(9) GREEN OBIT. Patrice Green, fan and wife of SF author Joseph L. Green, died May 5, “after deciding that the glioblastoma she’s battled for 2 1.2 years had had enough,” says son-in-law Guy H. Lillian III. “She was deeply interested in Genealogy and had made several trips to Europe tracing her family roots. Glorious human being.”

(10) UPTON OBIT. Ilaine Vignes Upton (1952-2019), a New Orleans fan deeply involved in past DeepSouthCons, passed away April 26. She became a bankruptcy lawyer who practiced in Virginia.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 13, 1937 Roger Zelazny. Where do I start? The Amber Chronicles are a favorite as is the Isle of The DeadTo Die in Italbar, and well, there’s very there’s very little by him that I can’t pick him and enjoy for a night’s reading. To my knowledge there’s only one thing he recorded reading and that’s a book he said was one of his favorite works, A Night in the Lonesome October. (Died 1995)
  • Born May 13, 1945 Maria Tatar, 74. Folklorist who that if you’re not familiar with, you should be. She’s written, among several works, The Annotated Brothers GrimmThe Annotated Peter Pan and The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen which is reviewed here on Green Man.
  • Born May 13, 1946 – Marv Wolfman, 73.  Editor at both Marvel and DC, and writer of comics, animation, television, novels and video games.  Most known for The New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths, with George Pérez. Creator of Blade, and more characters adapted into movies, TV, toys, games and animation than any other comics writer except Stan Lee.  Winner of Inkpot and Eagle Awards, CBG Awards, 2007 Scribe Award for his novelization Superman Returns, and 2011 Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award. Notable fan activity was publishing Stephen King in Wolfman’s horror fanzine Stories of Suspense.
  • Born May 13, 1947 Stephen R. Donaldson, 72. I suspect y’all know him from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, his long running series. He’s got, to my surprise, a sf series called The Gap Cycle which he says “in part to be a reworking of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.” H’h. 
  • Born May 13, 1949 Zoë Wanamaker, 70. She forms one of the crowd in “State of Decay”, a Fourth Doctor tale. She’s Elle in The Raggedy Rawney and Madam Rolanda Hooch In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She’s Clarice Groan in the BBC Gormenghast series which I really should see. And I note that she made a return appearance on Doctor Who during the time of the Tenth Doctor in The End of the World” and “New Earth” episodes. 
  • Born May 13, 1951 Gregory Frost, 68. His retelling of The Tain is marvellous. Pair it with Ciaran Carson and China Miéville’s takes onthe samelegendfor an interesting look at taking an legend and remaking it through modern fiction writing. Fitcher’s Brides, his Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird fairy tales, is a fantastic novel!
  • Born May 13, 1957 Frances Barber, 62. Madame Kovarian during the time of the Eleventh Doctor. Fittingly she played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. I’ve got her doing one-offs on Space Precinct, Red Dwarf and The IT Crowd
  • Born May 13, 1958 Bruce Byfield, 61. No idea if he has academic training, but he certainly has a fascination with Leiber. He wrote Witches of the Mind: A Critical Study of Fritz Leiber which was nominated for a Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction, and many fascination sounding essays on Lieber and his fiction including “The Allure of the Eccentric in the Poetry and Fiction of Fritz Leiber” and “Fafhrd and Fritz”.
  • Born May 13, 1964 Stephen Colbert, 55. Ubernerd. Currently hosting charity showings of Tolkien. Genre credits a cameo as a spy in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the voice of Paul Peterson in Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the voice of President Hathaway in Monsters vs. Aliens.  

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity gets a joke out of Fred and Barney.

(13) HOW TO CHECK THE LIBRARY FIRST. Lifehacker advises how to “See if a Book You’re About to Buy Is Available at Your Local Library Using This Extension” –  specifically Library Extension. It’s compatible with Chrome and Firefox.

The way the extension works is pretty simple: Just scroll through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads as you normally would. When you do, the extension will display where you can find the book at a local library as well. The extension has been available for Amazon for a bit now, but has expanded support over the years to additional spots as well.

(14) POLL CATS. There must be a reason it isn’t easy to get non-English speakers to vote in a poll on my blog. I’m sure it will come to me….

(15) ANIMAL ART. Coming tomorrow to The Getty Center in Los Angeles:

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

May 14–August 18, 2019

A vast throng of animals tumble, soar, and race through the pages of the bestiary, a popular medieval book describing the beasts of the world. Abounding with vibrant and fascinating images, the bestiary brought creatures to life before the eyes of readers. The beasts also often escaped from its pages to inhabit a glittering array of other objects. With over 100 works on display, this major loan exhibition will transport visitors into the world of the medieval bestiary.

(16) GRAPE EXPECTATIONS. Delish reports “There’s A Space-Themed Restaurant Coming To Epcot This Year” .

The next time you visit Epcot, you may be able to dine in outer space. Two years after announcing a space-themed restaurant would be opening near the Mission: SPACE ride, Disney World is finally gearing up to open the doors. While there’s no actual stratosphere breaking involved, from the looks of it, the dining room will look and feel like you’re on a space ship.

(17) SILVER LINING. Ron Koertge, South Pasadena’s Poet Laureate, was honored by the Independent Publisher’s Book Award with a silver medal for his illustrated books of poems about the secret life  of the Greek gods – Olympusville. 

Alice Kleman’s clever illustration of gods like Zeus and Persephone in modern dress contributes to the  magnetism of this book by a popular and prolific poet.   Gene Yang, recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, says, “Ron Koertge and Alicia Kleman will help you see  Mount Olympus with new eyes.  Who knew those old gods could be so funny, so charming and so disarmingly tragic.” 

The book is available a Vroman’s or directly from Red Hen Press. 

(18) AUTUMN ARRIVALS. Should you be so inclined, The Hollywood Reporter has a roundup: “Fall TV 2019: Watch Trailers for All the New Broadcast Shows”.

Includes Next 

An internal favorite of new Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, the drama is a fact-based thriller about the emergence of a rogue AI that combines action with an examination of how tech transforms culture in a way that isn’t always understandable. Manny Coto (24) penned the script and exec produces alongside John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Mad Men grad John Slattery stars and reunites with former AMC president Collier on the drama. The series hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment.
Time slot: Midseason

(19) ARMY UNPLUGGED. The Verge: “The US Army cut power to its largest military base to test reactions to a cyberattack”. Tagline: “This week’s outage at Fort Bragg was designed to test the ‘real world reactions’ of a simulated attack.”

Fort Bragg, the US Army’s largest base issued an apology earlier this week following an unannounced exercise to see what would happen in the event of a cyberattack. The base lost power for 12 hours on Wednesday and Thursday [24–25 April], and caused some confusion and concern on the base. 

Army officials told the Charlotte Observer that the exercise was designed to “identify shortcomings in our infrastructure, operations and security,” and wasn’t announced to the public in order to “replicate likely real-world reactions by everyone directly associated with the installation.”

[…] In recent years, officials have become increasingly concerned that the country’s power grid and infrastructure is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Such attacks aren’t unheard of: a couple of years ago, Ukrainian power plants and airports experienced such attacks, and US officials have said that they’ve detected Russian-linked actors targeting US facilities

(20) JUST A POWERFUL SUGGESTION. Inverse: “Origin of Loch Ness Monster and Other Sea Serpents Traced to Odd Phenomenon”. Tagline: “A form of mania gripped the world.”

The Loch Ness Monster is perhaps our most famous sea monster, known for drowning locals in front of saints and avoiding motorcycles on its early morning cruise back to the loch. But Scotland’s Nessie is just one of the many, many sea monsters people have allegedly seen. In the 19th century, saying you saw a sea monster was very common indeed. And the reason why this happened, a new study in Earth Science History argues, is based on something very real.

The collective illusion — that creatures in the water were actually mysterious monsters of the deep — was driven by so-called “dino-mania,” researchers reported this week. This conclusion is based on their statistical analysis of the nature of sea monster reports from 1801 to 2015.

[…] They are the first scientists to seriously test a theory first posited by American science fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp — famous for coining the abbreviation “E.T.” — in 1968. His hypothesis, reprinted in the study, is this:

After Mesozoic reptiles became well-known, reports of sea serpents, which until then had tended towards the serpentine, began to describe the monster as more and more resembling a Mesozoic reptile than like a plesiosaur or mosasaur.

(21) SCARY ROBOT VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “IHMC Atlas Autonomous Path Planning Across Narrow Terrain” on YouTube, software developer IHMC Robotics showed how they programmed a large Boston Dynamics Atlas robot to walk across very tiny blocks.

[Thanks to Joe Siclari, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Guy H. Lillian III, Chris M. Barkley, Daniel Dern, Nancy Collins, Michael J. Lowrey, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dave Clark.]

38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/13/19 She Loves The Pixel’s Uncle, Yeah, Yeah

  1. 10)Born May 13, 1937 — Roger Zelazny. [….]To my knowledge there’s only one thing he recorded reading and that’s a book he said was one of his favorite works, A Night in the Lonesome October. (Died 1995)

    I also own his narration of Nine Princes in Amber. It’s an old recording by a company called Sunset Productions.

  2. @me —

    I also own his narration of Nine Princes in Amber. It’s an old recording by a company called Sunset Productions.

    Correction — I had forgotten. I actually have the first six Amber novels read by him. The seventh switches to a different narrator.

  3. 11) I’ve always had a soft spot for Zelazny’s Jack of Shadows. And his Dilvish the Damned books, for that matter.

    The Gap Cycle (which I admit I haven’t read in full) is for those of you who thought that Thomas Covenant was too bright and cheery.

    And I would recommend the BBC Gormenghast series, if the opportunity presents itself. Jonathan Rhys Meyers makes for a magnificent Steerpike.

  4. Take the Scroll off Pixel, take the Scroll for free
    Take the Scroll off Pixel, and put the Scroll right on me….

    [click]

  5. 19) Bragg is far from the Army’s largest base, Both Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, both in Texas, are freaking HUGE. Hood covers about 335 square miles.

    Fort Bliss is the most misnamed thing in the world. Rangers of my era who did desert training there called it Fort Blister or Fort God Gave Up.

  6. (1) Well, that is one of the nicest, most measured ass-whuppings I’ve read in a while.

    “He [McEwan] will have reinvented certain wheels without realizing that the car to which they’ve long been attached has in fact left the garage and is in the process of acquiring an antigravity drive.”

    Ouch.

  7. (20) I was reading a story yesterday about people who are going to try finding a large critter claimed to be living in Iliamna Lake, in southwest Alaska. (It’s at the head of the Kenai Peninsula, southwest of Anchorage.) Whatever it is can apparently break 4-inch steel spring clips (the first pic in the story is a guy holding one that hasn’t been broken).

  8. @Douglas Berry
    That comment took me down a small rabbit hole, looking at numbers. Fort Bliss is big, but it’s next door to White Sands, which is the largest in the US, by area – it’s huge! (I drove across it on US 70, heading from Texas to California. Took a couple of hours, due to traffic being jammed. But it’s still a long way across, about 40 miles, with a traffic light at the entrance to Holloman AFB.)

  9. I just read a nice short story by Jody Lynn Nye in Gamer Fantastic, a 2009 DAW anthology of fiction depicting the play of role-playing games. I was not enjoying the book at all before Nye’s tale because every writer before her leaned so hard on jokes about gamers being overweight slobs who guzzle caffeinated sodas.

    Nye’s “The Roles We Play” was about a Zurich psychologist in 1910 devising a primitive form of roleplaying as therapy for two troubled men. The choice of Ernest as the doctor’s surname was a nice nod to E(rnest) Gary Gygax.

    Nye’s the author of over 40 novels. Does any Filer have a favorite of hers they can recommend?

  10. (1)

    “He will have reinvented certain wheels without realizing that the car to which they’ve long been attached has in fact left the garage and is in the process of acquiring an antigravity drive.”

    An apt description of McEwan.

  11. @11: I read the first (and shortest) of Donaldson’s Gap pentalogy, thought the post-essay was interesting (thought I don’t know how individual a reading of Wagner it is), then tried to read all 5 as a block. Big mistake. I haven’t reread the Mordant’s Need pair in some time but thought well enough of it that it stayed during a ~80% compression cull.

    @17: Who knew those old gods could be so funny, so charming and so disarmingly tragic. only half a dozen other authors I can think of reasonably quickly (by book contents, not names); the conventional illo would be discouraging, but it’s appropriate to a lot of the myths.

    @21: the blocks aren’t that small — they’re several times the size of the robot’s feet — but the leg crossing-and-decrossing while maintaining balance is seriously impressive. Next thing you know they’ll have it dancing Bu?imiš, although probably not at the pace Avital plays it at
    (forward to ~2:20 to get past the noodling, and note that this is a slow performance)

  12. rcade: Are you looking for humorous fantasy, humorous science fiction, co-authored books, or? I liked Jody Lynn Nye’s Taylor’s Ark series and her Mythology series. I enjoyed her contributions in McCaffrey’s Brain Ships universe – The Ship Who Won and The Ship Errant – and her continuation of the Myth books. Her Imperium series is humorous military sf. Recently, she co-authored with Travis Taylor two YA books set on the moon – Moon Beam and Moon Tracks, which I also liked.

  13. Another Colbert masterpiece is from Selected Shorts where he reads Bradbury’s The Veldt. He’s amazing!

  14. I have noticed that my kitten Nevyn has a some kind of distortion field around him, making him harder to take photos of. Late Eddie has the same. It is as if they have Fuzzy Field Projectors hidden in their fur somewhere, making themselves more blurry. My brother had the same problem trying to take photos with his phone.

    I guess it has something to do with their staring at invisible creatures and reacting to things that aren’t there. The Fuzzy Field might be a secondary effect of astral awareness.

    Sir Scrittles is much easier to take photos of. When he is still. Which doesn’t happen that much. He might have to move faster because of lack of Fuzzy Field.

    Anyhow, started to look through the Hugo packet. Think I will be more active with the reading this year. Starting to get my reading habits back.

  15. Creator of Blade, and more characters adapted into movies, TV, toys, games and animation than any other comics writer except Stan Lee.

    I think Jack Kirby may have more adapted characters than Stan, even.

    And if there are others ahead of Marv, Len Wein might have a case, but I’m not really sure.

    And then there’s Charles Schulz and Osamu Tezuka and others along those lines, but they’re probably not intended to be included.

  16. Are you looking for humorous fantasy, humorous science fiction, co-authored books, or?

    My preference would be to start with something in either genre that Nye wrote singly, though the McCaffrey collaborations also intrigue me. Taylor’s Ark looks like a fun epidemiological romp packed with SJW credentials. Thanks for the recommendations.

  17. rcade, a few years ago I was fan GoH at a tiny convention where Jody Lynn Nye was author GoH; she’s a delightful human being as well as a funny author. I enjoyed her Mythology books; I was unaware of the Imperium books and will rectify that oversight immediately.

  18. J on May 13, 2019 at 8:16 pm said:
    (1) “He will have reinvented certain wheels without realizing that the car to which they’ve long been attached has in fact left the garage and is in the process of acquiring an antigravity drive.”

    Ah yes, one of my favorite Fred MacMurray films from my youth. (Wow was he in a lot of films! per a quick IMDB skim) (The Absent-Minded Professor.”)

  19. Wasn’t Fort Bliss where all the German scientists scooped up in Operation Paperclip were originally sent? Certainly the rocket scientists ended up there. So it’s genre.

    Once pixels scroll up who cares where they scroll down
    “That’s not my department,” says WvB.

  20. Yet another Colbert genre credit is his creation of Tek Jansen, star of comics, cartoons, and apparently non-existent novels.

  21. 1) I fondly remember Mark Tiedemann’s very fine Secantis series.His response to Ian McEwan’s faux pas and double downs is right on point, though I have mixed feelings about those folk now saying that they damned well won’t read McEwan’s novel. Smacks of nose cut off to spite face, and is just the atitude which lead to McEwan’s ignorance of the genre, and hence his mistaken opinions. I’ll perhaps get it through an inter-library loan, and see how it stacks up to the classics of the field.

  22. So far the first Eurovision semi-final is “None of them please”…

    It’s not looking like a vintage year.

  23. (11) Maria Tatar wrote “Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature” in 1978, one of the few (and possibly the first) scholarly books on the subject of hypnosis in literature. A very interesting read.

  24. @Anthony, the trouble with Eurovision these days is that the Quality Control on song selection by competing countries is too good. It too often eliminates the unusual in favour of the bland. One no longer sees spectacular examples of WTF were they thinking when they picked THAT. Sadly reduced to a highly exuberant and enthusiastic display of averageness. Requires drinking games and a big group of friends up for a party!

  25. @Douglas Berry

    Perhaps they were thinking of headcount instead of acreage??

    Regards,
    Dann
    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Dorothy Parker

  26. (11) I fondly remember the 70s Denver con when our trivia team, buoyed by the presence of Teresa Nielsen (later TNH), handily defeated the highly favored opposition, which included Roger Zelazny. The deciding factor was all the Zelazny questions.

    I also have good memories of the 1984 Dallas fantasy Fair, at which Marv Wolfman answered all my outstanding questions about Herbie Popnecker and explained Richard B. Hughes. I knew Marv was a fan, because of references he had dropped in his work over the years, and the fact that he had placed third in a story writing contest in Herbie comics, back in the 60s.

    Unlike most so-called pixel scroll titles, this one actually deals with the effects of scrolling on computer pixels.

  27. @Ken Richards: despite its appearance on the NYT list, the knowledgeable comments I’ve seen about the McEwan, combined with his attitude of invincible ignorance and my experience with other mundane authors stepping into the field, sum up to Life’s Too Short (to waste time with this when there are a lot of books out there by people who actually know what they’re doing). Please report back whatever you conclude. I’ve seen some worthwhile attempts (e.g., the Brookmyre discussed here), but they are not common.

  28. @Chip Hitchcock, I will certainly do so should stars align and life prove long enough! To which Brookmyre do you refer. I have read and enjoyed ‘Places in the Darkness’, but would argue that Chris Brookmyre is an author who knows and respects the genre, so perhaps not the model for discussion. Attwood and Lessing perhaps more so (note I crashed out on the first Canopus, and have not returned to try again!).

  29. Ken Richards: I have read and enjoyed ‘Places in the Darkness’, but would argue that Chris Brookmyre is an author who knows and respects the genre

    I got that novel from the library because I was intrigued by the synopsis, but I have to admit I was highly dubious because most of the time when I’ve tried so-called “literary SF” it’s been a massive disappointment*. This is what I said about it:

    At first I wasn’t sure whether I would want to finish this, because it starts out with a hint of a misogynistic social setup, and two really unlikable main characters. But a little patience was rewarded, and it ended up being a solid SF mystery on a space station with great worldbuilding and character development. I really, really enjoyed this book, enough that it is on my Top Ten-ish list for 2017 novels.

     
    *The Wanderers, Spaceman of Bohemia, Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind, The Gradual, The Adjacent, The Tourist, Golden State, Countdown City, Underground Airlines, The Gone World, Tomorrow and Tomorrow, The Rift, The Ice, The Machine, Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks, The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome…

  30. @JJ Your review of ‘Places in the Darkness’ is a fair one. Still, I think Brookmyre’s crime novels are his strongest suite. The Jack Parlabane series is very much a comfort read for me, despite occasional verbosity. The latest, ‘Want You Gone’ is a very effective tale of the interplay of a hacker and journalist with really bad guys. Lots of genre adjacent references in ‘A Snowball in Hell’, ‘All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses and Eye (James Bond with a twist)’, ‘Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks’ (a tricky look at religious charlatans and shonks), A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away'(lots of Doom references!) for starters. The gaming based ‘Pandaemonium’ was a bit less successful. He is still a ‘must read’ for me. usually hits the spot.

  31. I read Brookmyre when I can find him; US editions don’t always happen, and aren’t always bought by libraries when they do as they’re sometimes only available as not-really-solid trade paperbacks. ISTM that part of the success of his SF work (modulo an error any SF editor should have gotten) was that he wasn’t trying to Do Something New, let alone Show Everyone How It’s Done; he was working in the same general feel and feeling as his mundane works. For contrast, see Laurie King, whose mundane non-hyperthriller mysteries I like but whose Califia’s Daughters was post-apocalyptic — not an utter failure but not strong.

  32. Thanks for your recs, Ken. I don’t read much non-SFF these days, but a couple of these sound pretty interesting.

  33. (14) “There must be a reason it isn’t easy to get non-English speakers to vote in a poll on my blog. I’m sure it will come to me….”

    I do get from whence you are coming.

    While your musing that, ponder how English speaking book SF fans get a handle on say upcoming Russian writers and novels. Or editors on identifying works to get translated. Or Western European convention organisers an idea which Eastern European to invite as guests. Etc, etc.

    Non-Anglophone SF Awards have their place and value.

    Now, if the poll had been for the top Anglophone SF Awards then that’d be fine.

  34. Jonathan C: Now, if the poll had been for the top Anglophone SF Awards then that’d be fine.

    The poll was for which awards the respondents found most meaningful, to which they paid the most attention. So it’s fine, anyway.

  35. (19) Ft. Bragg is the most populous Army base, with >200,000 (troops, family, retired, etc.) living there.

    Fort Bliss is 1700 sq miles.
    White Sands Missile Range is 3200 sq miles, the biggest (area) in the US.

    @Jack Lint Wasn’t Fort Bliss where all the German scientists scooped up in Operation Paperclip were originally sent? Certainly the rocket scientists ended up there. So it’s genre.

    Only the rocket scientists. Aeronautical engineers, etc. went to Wright Patterson AFB. Others went to other places In 1950-1951 von Braun’s team (rocket scientists) moved to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (my home town), from which Marshall Space Flight Center was peeled off in 1960 (they developed the Saturn V). It was only in the last couple of years that the last of the original Peenemuende rocket team died.

    (20) Links in the article to the research paper go to paywalled copies; one of the authors has posted an accessible copy here.

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