Pixel Scroll 5/23/18 Admit It – You Woulda Done The Same!

(1) HUNDRED BEST. Unbound Worlds knows there’s nothing like a “best” list to get everyone riled up. To that end they present “The 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time”. I’ve read a solid 15 of these, which tells you I’m not a big fantasy fan, but even I know they should have picked a different Pratchett book.

It was daunting, but we did it: a list of the one hundred best fantasy books of all time. What was our criteria? Well, we loved these these books and thought they deserved to be on the list. That’s pretty much it. This list is totally subjective, and with a cut-off of one hundred books, we couldn’t include all of the amazing fantasy tales out there. We hope you look through this list and agree with a lot of our picks, and that you also find some new stories to pick up. If there’s anything we left out, please add it to the comments below — we’d love to see what books would be on your list!

So without further ado, here’s what makes our list of best fantasy books of all time (arranged alphabetically)! Fair warning: your TBR pile is about to get a lot bigger…

(2) NEW GROENING SERIES. The Verge’s Andrew Liptak reports “Matt Groening’s new animated fantasy show will premiere on Netflix in August”.

Matt Groening’s animated epic fantasy series has a release date: Netflix has revealed that Disenchantment will premiere on August 17th. The company also shared a handful of pictures that show off an art style that will be familiar to anyone who’s watched Futurama or The Simpsons.

Netflix officially announced the series last year. It’ll follow a “hard-drinking young princess” named Bean, an elf companion named Elfo, and her personal demon named Luci as they encounter all manner of fantasy creatures in a magical kingdom known as Dreamland. Netflix ordered 20 episodes of the show; the first 10 will premiere this year.

 

(3) HELP FRANKENSTEIN AUTHOR GET BUSTED. Sculptor Bryan Moore hopes to crowdfund the rest of the expenses of the Mary Shelley Bronze Bust Project. So far people have contributed $3,546 of the $16,000 goal.

To celebrate the 200th publication anniversary of the legendary novel “Frankenstein”, we’re donating a life size, bronze bust of Mary Shelley to the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, WA on August 30, 2018!!!!

While I’ve donated the last six months of my time sculpting Mary, I can’t get her across the finish line without your help to pay for the considerable costs at the bronze foundry to mold, cast, finish and fire the patina on the bust itself.

Mary Shelley is the second of three busts that MoPOP has graciously agreed to accept in my horror author bronze bust series; “Dracula” author Bram Stoker was unveiled in October, 2017, Mary Shelley will be installed on her birthday on August 30, 2018 and Rod Serling will be unveiled in 2019 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of “The Twilight Zone”. As you’ll see in the video, I’ve also sculpted and donated bronze busts of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.

 

(4) SEEMS LIKE FOREVER. It was another busy day at the Romance Writers of America.

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • May 23, 1969 Destroy All Monsters premiered.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born May 23, 1933 — Joan Collins, who won genre fame as “City on the Edge of Forever’s” Edith Keeler.
  • Born May 23, 1986  — Black Panther director Ryan Coogler

(7) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian witnessed the first book tour at Non Sequitur.
  • And Lio seems to have the wrong idea about The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

(8) PERSISTENT BELIEVERS. Did you think this was a settled question? Oh, such a silly person you are… “Loch Ness Monster’s Existence Could Be Proven With eDNA”.

Is the Loch Ness real? We may soon have an answer.

A team of scientists have proposed using actual science to figure out if the mythical creature allegedly lurking in Scotland’s River Ness is actually real.

Their proposal? Using environmental DNA, or eDNA, a sampling method already used to track movements in marine life. When an animal moves through an environment, it leaves behind residual crumbs of its genetics by shedding skin or scales, leaving behind feathers or tufts of fur, perhaps some feces and urine.

Scientists think those residual clues left behind by a monster like that of the Loch Ness could be collected by eDNA and subsequently used to prove its existence.

“This DNA can be captured, sequenced and then used to identify that creature by comparing the sequence obtained to large databases of known genetic sequences from hundreds of thousands of different organisms,” team spokesman Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago in New Zealand told Reuters.

It’s certainly not the first time that people, scientifically minded or not, have attempted to track the legendary monster’s existence. A sixth century document chronicles the tale of an Irish monk named St. Columba, who banished a “water beast” to the bottom of the River Ness.

(9) JDA WILL PROVE LOVE. Since his lawsuit won’t even get its first hearing til October, Jon Del Arroz came up with a new plan to make people pay attention to him: “Announcement: Rally For Freedom And Anti-Discrimination Demonstration At Worldcon 76 San Jose” [Internet Archive].

Civil rights activist Erin Sith, trans for Trump, and I talked about this briefly on our livestream last Thursday. As we are both minorities on the right, we’ve both had a lot of shared similar experiences where those of privilege on the left have treated us inhumanly because we left the proverbial slave plantation they set up for us. 2018 is the year we will let our message be heard, in unity, in love, and for tolerance and diversity.

We are planning a gathering outside Worldcon 76 in San Jose, on Saturday, August 18th, 2018. I’ve talked with the city of San Jose and the convention center and we are cleared to go on their end. We cannot allow these institutions to willfully discriminate and spew hatred just because someone is an outspoken political personality. With Worldcon’s actions emboldening ConCarolinas and Origins to similarly attempt to harm and discredit other popular conservative authors because of politics, enough is enough….

(10) ANTIMATTER. Gizmodo swears it happened in 2015: “A Recent Hurricane Shot a Bolt of Antimatter Toward Earth”.

The detector onboard the plane measured a phenomenon that scientists have been interested in for decades: terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. It’s unclear exactly how it happens, but lightning in storms seems to accelerate electrons to nearly light speed. These electrons collide with the particles in the atmosphere, resulting in high-energy x-rays and gamma rays that scientists have measured in satellites and on the ground. The rays could also result from collisions between electrons and their antimatter partners, positrons.

The team behind the newest paper had a tool called the Airborne Detector for Energetic Lightning Emissions (ADELE) on board a hurricane-hunting WP-3D plane, according to the paper published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

(11) UNDERGROUND. “New whisky distillery in Moray ‘like nothing else'”. It blends in with the landscape, but visits expected to double. Chip Hitchcock asks, “A side trip for next year’s Worldcon?”

The new distillery, on the Easter Elchies estate near Craigellachie in Moray, has been camouflaged under a vast turf roof, to blend in with the rolling hillside.

It is believed to be the most expensive in the country, going 40% over budget, with a total cost for the production facility and visitor centre of £140m.

The roof, with 10cm (4in) depth of turf and meadow flowers, covers 14,000 sq m.

Underneath are ventilation, vapour control, flexible waterproofing and irrigation systems.

Under those is a complex ceiling structure comprising 2,500 panels, few of them the same.

(12) HEAVY DEW. “GRACE mission launches to weigh Earth’s water” – BBC has the story. This is a replacement/upgrade for applauded 15-year-old satellites which will track icecaps, and sea/land exchanges.

A joint US-German mission has gone into orbit to weigh the water on Earth.

The Grace satellites are replacing a pair of highly successful spacecraft that stopped working last year.

Like their predecessors, the new duo will circle the globe and sense tiny variations in the pull of gravity that result from movements in mass.

These could be a signal of the land swelling after prolonged rains, or of ice draining from the poles as they melt in a warming climate.

The satellites were launched on Tuesday aboard a SpaceX rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

(13) SUMMA WHAT? Bakers are more activist in some parts of the country: “US student’s ‘Summa cum laude’ graduation cake censored”.

The South Carolina student’s mother had asked a local grocery store to print the term “Summa Cum Laude” (with the highest distinction) on her son’s cake.

The store censored the term “cum” deeming it offensive and put three hyphens in its place.

(14) TODAY’S CLICKBAIT. Frog in a Well asks “Was Hirata Atsutane Japan’s first Science Fiction writer?”

Maybe. Well, sort of. It kind of depends on how you define things.

Hirata Atsutane (1776-1843) was one of the key thinkers and popularizers of Japanese Nativism. He was a prolific writer, and most of what he wrote was aimed at proving that Japan was the center of the universe. In particular, he argued against Chinese learning, which was pointless, and to the extent it was any good, the Japanese had done it first. He argued against Indian (Buddhist) learning, which was pointless, and to the extent it was any good, the Japanese had done it first. He argued against European (Dutch) learning, which was pointless, and to the extent it was any good, the Japanese had done it first. As you may guess, he was a bit polemical. He was also pretty important in the creation and popularization of a specifically Japanese identity.

One of his important works is Senkyo Ibun (Strange tidings from the realm of the Immortals), 1822. This is an account of his interviews with the teenage tengu Kozo Torakichi. Tengu are the trickster/mountain goblin figures of Japanese folklore. Torakichi claimed to have been raised by them, and to have learned all the secrets of true Japanese-ness in the process.

(15) PERSONAL 451. Mr. Sci-Fi delivers “Ray Bradbury & Fahrenheit 451 – The Untold Story.”

Sci-fi whiz Marc Zicree shares stories his dear friend and mentor Ray Bradbury told him about the genesis of Fahrenheit 451 and gives a history of the work that includes first editions, plays, radio versions and movies.

 

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Kendall, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

225 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/23/18 Admit It – You Woulda Done The Same!

  1. When counting down the great baseball novels, one should not forget Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.

    Oh, this was quite good indeed. An entirely different Coover from The Public Burning, but just as interesting, imho.

    I don’t know that I qualify as a “sports nut” as per JJ, beyond maybe the odd bit of soccer or curling, but I am becoming quite the baseball fan. I played in high school (third base!) but was never much a fan of watching the professional game until a couple years ago when my friend (novelist and sportswriter Stacey May Fowles) brought me back to it with her very personal writing about the sport, and now I probably watch 100 Blue Jays games a year, easily. Baseball seems to inspire some very fine writing indeed; it is, in a sense, a very powerful mythology that you can see enacted in front of you over and over again in ever-changing variations. It is very, very slow most of the time however, with spectacular bursts of action that are over in a second, and it is heavy with nuance. Being a fan requires you to be comfortable with a certain kind of stillness, and to sort of… embrace boredom? There’s a lovely book of baseball essays called The Utility of Boredom that talks about it better than I can. I get why it’s not a sport for everyone, but I do very much love it.

    I didn’t suggest you did; I reacted to your declaring that current generations aren’t reading authors such as John Crowley, who had a new novel come out six months ago, to what looks like pretty good reception.

    As to this: I’ve only discovered Crowley in perhaps the last year, and almost the only store I’ve seen to stock any of his work beyond the latest is a specialty bookstore. Since learning about him I’ve been keeping an eye out for his backlist at various bookshops, both corporate and indie, and have found effectively nothing beyond a single, battered copy of Little, Big at one branch of a big corporate store, and a copy of The Chemical Wedding at a single indie shop. The reader who recommended him to me was quite right to do so, but I would argue that his overall visibility to readers not already familiar with him has been quite poor for quite some time, though likely through no fault of his own.

  2. @ August

    As to this: I’ve only discovered Crowley in perhaps the last year, and almost the only store I’ve seen to stock any of his work beyond the latest is a specialty bookstore.

    Absolutely. I’ve been collecting Crowley for years and most of the time I find his books in used stores (if I am very lucky). He is way overdue for an extensive reprint series from someone.

  3. @Hampus: whether horror with clear fantastical elements is fantasy is something of a theological question, but I come down vigorously on the pro side; is a ghost story not fantasy simply because the ghost is a vicious sod (or even a disembodied force of malevolence) instead of a charming incompetent like Simon de Canterville?

    @Kendall: if the list wasn’t about roots, why include Dunsany?

    43+ of Pringle’s list. 34+ of Bookriot’s (female authors); I wish they’d picked a more-competent October Daye book rather than #1, but otherwise I didn’t see any why-on-earth-is-that-on-the-list (and only a couple on Pringle’s), which puts them ahead of the original.

    re Dick Francis: I’ve read about all of his work; it varies, but a lot of it has interesting arcs of characters dealing with change. Unlike @Niall, I find most of the researched works good; the computer story was probably more accurate in the first part — I’ve read Langford’s comments on early UK PCs — than in the second (a ?decade? later), implausibly showing no tech change. The works listed as by his son Felix alone are mostly OK, but I heartily disrecommend Pulse — the first female lead in all the books is a ridiculously weak reed, which is strange as the secondary women working with horses in several recent books are not. (That’s a useful effect of being mostly individual books rather than a character series; each fits in the year it was written, and so do not miss social changes over time.)

    re baseball: Cheryl Morgan said some time ago that it’s about the possibility of action, not the action itself. (She was something of a fan despite being British.)

  4. @Rob Thornton: “I’ve been collecting Crowley for years”

    How many parts of him do you still need before you can start assembly? 😀

  5. re baseball: Cheryl Morgan said some time ago that it’s about the possibility of action, not the action itself. (She was something of a fan despite being British.)

    This is a very good way to put it. It’s a game of anticipation!

  6. @ Rev. Bob

    How many parts of him do you still need before you can start assembly?

    Shhh!

  7. So far as baseball novels are concerned, does A Prayer For Owen Meany count? 🙂

  8. @robinareid

    Succumbing to Peer Pressure!111!!!!

    Hey, I hardly applied any pressure at all!

  9. @August

    I played in high school (third base!) but was never much a fan of watching the professional game until a couple years ago when my friend (novelist and sportswriter Stacey May Fowles) brought me back to it with her very personal writing about the sport, and now I probably watch 100 Blue Jays games a year, easily.

    Fowles is a tremendous writer. I reviewed ‘Baseball Life Advice’ for Bluebird Banter last year and was struck by how effectively she described the strange and subtle ways that being a baseball fan informed the other parts of your life and relationships. Blue Jays sports fandom especially seems to have a plethora of tremendous female artists, writers and fans who really embrace the team and all aspects of the game. I’m an old school fan, born the year before opening day and following the team my whole life, and even after all those years, it amazes me how new and surprising the game can be season after season. If you’re not already, Joanne Cornish at Hum and Chuck is another terrific writers to keep an eye on.

  10. @Rob Thornton: “I’ve been collecting Crowley for years”

    For Rev. Bob:

    I’m reviewing the situation,
    for the gossip on my plans has become rife:
    Found the pieces, wrote the oration,
    I can bring Aleister Crowley back to life!
    And he’ll play a tutor’s part for me,
    the Golden Dawn he’ll start for me,
    “Do what thou wilt” he’ll chant for me,
    Forbidden drugs decant for me,
    He’ll curse for me and hex for me,
    the neighbors he will vex for me …
    …I think I’d better think it out again!

  11. @Chip Hitchcock: “if the list wasn’t about roots, why include Dunsany?”

    Unbound Worlds? You’d have to ask them, but my first thought is (based on their intro) that enough of their team read and loved it that it made their list. It’s really pretty simple; I take their intro at face value.

    If you didn’t mean the Unbound Worlds list, then I misunderstood what you’re asking, sorry.

  12. @Rob Thornton: “I’ve been collecting Crowley for years”

    Is this sort of like the Vecna thing too?

    Re: copies of Crowley
    My dead-tree copy of “Little, Big” has rather small print & I am beginning to wonder if that is also part of the difficulty I have been having with the readability.

  13. Soon Lee: My dead-tree copy of “Little, Big” has rather small print & I am beginning to wonder if that is also part of the difficulty I have been having with the readability.

    I usually read e-books these days in the Overdrive app in Sepia mode with the Largest Arial font (I have found this to be the easiest e-reader format for me), and I have found that I seem to fly through books much faster that way than when I read print books, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  14. My dead-tree copy of “Little, Big” has rather small print & I am beginning to wonder if that is also part of the difficulty I have been having with the readability.

    As a datapoint, at least — the two times I didn’t make it through, I was reading the Morrow paperback; the third time (when I read it all the way through and thought it was terrific) was with the e-book.

    It hadn’t occurred to me that I might have been bogging down on the print, but it’s certainly possible…

  15. @Soon Lee: “My dead-tree copy of “Little, Big” has rather small print & I am beginning to wonder if that is also part of the difficulty I have been having with the readability.”

    Perhaps you need an ecopy. You could adjust the font size and call it Little, Big, Bigger.

  16. Coming late to this: 43 of the Unbound Worlds list (and another 10 waiting to be read), 47 (+1) of the Pringle, 23 (+7) of the Bookriot. Adding to what other people have said about the subjective nature of the exercise, I’d suggest that any list intended for publication will have a particular audience in mind, which is not necessarily the File770 audience.
    As to the content of the original list, I thought it was pretty good. Long enough that it couldn’t be overwhelmed by the blindingly obvious choices, short on you-have-got-to-be-joking selections, and decently stocked with good-choice-more-people-should-know-about-this books and titles to investigate.

  17. I read 34 of the BookRiot list and only 11 of Pringle’s list, probably because Pringle focusses on older books, which often date from a time when availability of English language books was spotty and so I missed quite a bit. Besides, I was always more of a science fiction than a fantasy reader. And considering the extortinate prices for imported books in the 1980s, when a mass market paperback easily cost me three times its cover price, I usually went for science fiction over fantasy.

    Regarding baseball, my hometown actually has a premier league baseball team, which I only know about because the son of a colleague is one of the players. But not a lot of people care about baseball and those who do are usually expats.

    I don’t mind reading books about sports I know little about and have zero interest in, e.g. I have read books about cricket, American football, etc… But I actively avoid books about baseball, because they tend to descend into a lot of philosophizing about baseball, its meaning, the American way, etc… Summerland is the only Michael Chabon book I haven’t read, though I’m a fan of his work.

  18. Soon Lee on May 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm said:
    Re: copies of Crowley
    My dead-tree copy of “Little, Big” has rather small print & I am beginning to wonder if that is also part of the difficulty I have been having with the readability.

    The parts in a tiny font turn out to be enormous

  19. @Kendall

    Thanks very much for the pointer. de Castell’s Spellslinger series has been out for a while. I’ve been meaning to give it a go for a while.

    Sorry for the delay. I was unable to open anything at orbitbooks.net for a couple days.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Wisdom includes not getting angry unnecessarily. The Law ignores trifles and the wise man does, too. – Job:A Comedy of Justice

  20. 45 pringles, only 19 vanrys (many too new for my reading), only 33 all-time-greats (would be higher if they picked the “best” books by an author).

    distance lends perspective, always harder to judge on recent events/books. pringle list good for the time period covered. But unlikely to be extending. And maybe hard to extend I think with very diverse expansion in 90s and 00s.

    “of all time” just irritating over-statement. “my favourite of all time” is okay, “best of all time” just does not measure up.

    and although rightly said pringle list contains some perhaps “worthy” rather than good, “all-time” list has some that are definitely not even worthy let alone good… Belgariad? Dragonlance? surely you jest. Not even excuse of being new and excisting.

    But, all three lists interesting, some I already have no interest, but several reminders of “should get around to that”, or others look interesting. still catching up on previous century books though… keep on finding new old books to read!

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