Pixel Scroll 5/25/19 The Stars Not Your Destination? Recalculating…

(1) BACK FROM THE NEBULAS. Connie Willis shares with Facebook readers some of her info from the “We Have Always Been Here” panel —

At the Nebula Awards weekend in Los Angeles this last week I was on a panel with Sarah Pinsker, Cat Rambo, and Eileen Gunn called “We Have Always Been Here,” about early women SF writers. We discussed a bunch of them and decided to follow up with a Twitter hashtag–#AlwaysBeenHere–and discussions on our blogs and Facebook pages of these terrific (and sometimes nearly forgotten) writers.

One of the reasons their names aren’t well-known now is that they, like everybody else in SF at the time, were writing short stories rather than novels, so their stuff can be hard to find. Great writers like Fredric Brown, Ward Moore, and Philip Latham found themselves in the same boat.

Here are some of the women writers I’d like to see be read by a new generation…

(2) UNREAD WORD POWER. Cedar Sanderson expands our vocabulary in “Tsunduko Tsundere” at Mad Genius Club.

…My daughter explained to me that tsundere is ‘typically someone who acts like they don’t want something, but they really do.’ In anime or manga it’s actually a romantic style. Argues with the one they are attracted to, but inside they are all lovebirds and sighs. I am feeling a bit like this in my current relationship with books, in particular paper books.

(3) HERO PICKER. In the Washington Post, Sonia Rao profiles Sarah Finn, who, as the casting director of Marvel, has cast more than 1,000 roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston:

The risk paid off. Downey’s performance as the morally torn superhero anchors the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga, which began with 2008?s “Iron Man” and concluded 21 films later with last month’s box-office behemoth, “Avengers: Endgame.” It’s difficult to imagine anyone but him in that role — a statement that could extend to any of the heroes, really.

That’s largely thanks to Finn, who took on the gargantuan task of casting every actor who appears in the MCU (aside from those in “The Incredible Hulk,” released a month after “Iron Man”). That amounts to more than a thousand roles overall, she says, ranging from characters as high-profile as Captain America to those as minor as his background dancers. The job — which Finn held for the first five MCU films alongside Randi Hiller, who now heads casting for live-action projects at Walt Disney Studios — calls for a certain prescience, the ability to predict what sort of traits an actor would one day be asked to exhibit in films that have yet to be written.

(4) STAN LEE ELDER ABUSE. Variety reports “Stan Lee’s Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges”.

Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, special aggravated white collar crime loss of over $100k; and one count of elder or dependent adult abuse.

The investigation into whether Stan Lee was the subject of elder abuse began in March 2018 stemming from actions allegedly taken by Morgan in May and June of 2018.

The grand theft charges stem from $262,000 that was collected from autograph signing sessions in May 2018, but that Lee never received.

(5) MORE ON JACK COHEN. Jonathan Cowie writes —

The funeral was mainly a family affair with Ian Stewart and I representing SF, and in addition to myself there were a couple of other biologists.

However there were over a hundred messages sent in to family.  And a few tributes read out including one from Nobel Laureate Prof. Sir Paul Nurse who was one of Jack’s student and who praised his teaching saying that every university departments needs its Jack Cohen.

  • Read Jonathan Cowie’sown tribute on his personal site.
  • And he’s archived an article he commissioned from Jack for Biologist way back in the 1990s on alien life here.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

May 25, 1953It Came From Outer Space premiered (story by Ray Bradbury).

May 25, 1969 — The first shave in space took place on Apollo 10.

May 25, 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope premiered on this day.

May 25, 1979 — Ridley Scott’s Alien debuts.

May 25, 1983 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi in theatres.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 25, 1808 Edward Bulwer-Lytton. In addition, the opening seven words from Paul Clifford : “It was a dark and stormy night”, he also coined the phrases “the great unwashed”, “pursuit of the almighty dollar” and “the pen is mightier than the sword.” ISFDB credits him with eight genre novels including The Coming RaceAsmodeus at Large and Last Days of Pompeii to name but three. He wrote a lot of short fiction with titles such as “Glenhausen.—The Power of Love in Sanctified Places.— A Portrait of Frederick Barbarossa.—The Ambition of Men Finds Adequate Sympathy in Women”. (Died 1873.)
  • Born May 25, 1916 Charles D. Hornig. Publisher of the Fantasy Fan which ran from September ‘33 to February ‘35 and including first publication of works by Bloch, Lovecraft, Smith, Howard and Derleth. It also had a LOC called ‘The Boiling Point’ which quickly became angry exchanges between several of the magazine’s regular contributors, including Ackerman, Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. He paid for the costs of Fan Fantasy by working for Gernsback at Wonder Stories. (Died 1999.)
  • Born May 25, 1935 W. P. Kinsella. Best I’d say known for his novel Shoeless Joe which was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, one of the few films that Kevin Costner is a decent actor in, ironic as the other is Bull Durham. Kinsella’s other genre novel’s The Iowa Baseball Confederacy and it’s rather less well known that Shoeless Joe is but it’s excellent. He also edited Baseball Fantastic, an anthology of just what the title says they are. Given that he’s got eighteen collections of short stories listed on his wiki page, I’m reasonably sure his ISFDB page doesn’t come close to listing all his short stories. (Died 2016.)
  • Born May 25, 1939 Ian McKellen, 80. Best known for being Magneto in the X-Men films, and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. I’m fairly sure his first genre role was as Dr. Faustus in an Edinburgh production of that play in the early Seventies. He also played Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre during that period. He’d played Captain Hook in Peter Pan at The Royal National Theatre, and was the voice of the Demon in The Exorcist in the UK tour of that production. Of course he was Dr. Reinhardt Lane in The Shadow, The Narrator in Stardust, Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes, Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast and finally he’s going to be Gus the Theatre Cat in the forthcoming Cats
  • Born May 25, 1946 Frank Oz, 73. Actor, director including The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors and the second version of The Stepford Wives, producer and puppeteer. His career began as a puppeteer, where he performed the Muppet characters of Animal, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and oh so patriotic Sam Eagle in The Muppet Show, and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. Genre wise, he’s also known for the role of Yoda in the Star Wars franchise.
  • Born May 25, 1946 Janet Morris, 73. Hey I get to mention Thieves’ World! Yea! In that universe, she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes. She has three series, both listed as SF though I’d call one of them fantasy, the Silistra quartet, the Kerrion Space trilogy and the Threshold series. 
  • Born May 25, 1949 Barry Windsor-Smith, 70. Illustrator and painter, mostly for Marvel Comics. Oh, his work on Conan the Barbarian in the early Seventies was amazing, truly amazing! And then there was the original Weapon X story arc involving Wolverine which still ranks among the best stories told largely because of his artwork. And let’s not forget that he and writer Roy Thomas created Red Sonja partially based on Howard’s characters Red Sonya of Rogatino and Dark Agnes de Chastillon.
  • Born May 25, Kathryn Daugherty. I’m going to let Mike do her justice, so just go read his appreciation of her here, including her scoffing at the oversized “MagiCon” pocket program and the pineapple jelly beans she was responsible for. (Died 2012.)
  • Born May 25, 1962 Mickey Zucker Reichert, 57. She’s best know for her Renshai series which riffs off traditional Norse mythology. She was asked by the Asimov estate to write three prequels in the I, Robot series. She’s the only female to date who’s written authorized stories. 
  • Born May 25, 1966 Vera Nazarian, 53. To date, she has written ten novels including Dreams of the Compass Rose, what I’d called a mosaic novel structured as a series of interlinked stories similar in to The One Thousand and One Nights that reminds a bit of Valente’s The Orphans Tales. She’s the publisher of Norilana Books which publishes such works as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress anthologies, Catherynne M. Valente’s Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects and Tabitha Lee’s Lee’s Sounds and Furies

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Incidental Comics takes “A Writer’s Routine” from A to Z.

(9) URSULA VERNON. A hound wants out of this chicken outfit. Thread starts here.

(10) EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS. ComicsBeat’s Hannah Lodge advances “5 reasons DOOM PATROL is the best superhero show of the decade”. Reason number one —

Power Patrol 

The Doom Patrol isn’t a team of shiny superheroes, a team of super-villains working to thwart those heroes, or even bad guys with a change of heart. They’re flawed, but trying, and their quests are less of the greater-good variety and more of the personal, soul-searching kind (even if they do casually prevent an apocalypse or two along the way). Each of the team members has your standard issue set of powers. What’s different about this show is the way they view and use them: as consequences and reminders of the mistakes they made in life they must learn to use and accept rather than invitations to a virtuous or higher moral calling. It’s refreshing to see this team as a found family working for smaller stakes and through very human issues – more often through things like superhero therapy than sprawling battles.

(11) OBJECTION. We’ve all heard sf stories get criticized for bad science – but what happens when a Real Lawyer Reacts to Star Trek TNG Measure of a Man — an episode written by Melinda Snodgrass?

When Starfleet officer Maddox orders Data’s disassembly for research purposes, Data is thrust into a legal battle to determine if he is entitled to the rights enjoyed by sentient beings. Data tries to resign his commission but Starfleet won’t let him. Worse, against his will, Commander Riker is ordered to advocate against Data. Captain Picard must defend Data in a trial for his life. Is it a realistic trial? Does Data deserves all the rights and privileges of a Starfleet officer? IS DATA A REAL PERSON?!

(12) LINGO SLINGING. The Washington Post’s Avi Selk profiles linguist David J. Peterson, who created the Valyrian and Dothraki languages for Game of Thrones in “a 600-page document owned by HBO”.  Peterson explains he began his career by being irritated at a scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi where Princess Leia includes the words “yate” and “yoto” to mean “a wookie; a bounty; a thermal detonator, and 50,000 space credits.” Selk also profiles several other creators of imaginary languages, including Jessie Sams, who teaches a course in imaginary languages at Stephen F. Austin State University. “How a community of obscure language inventors made it big with ‘Game of Thrones’”

A running joke in “Game of Thrones” has Peter Dinklage’s character, Tyrion, repeatedly butchering the Valyrian language, despite his best efforts.

In the episode last Sunday, he’s trying to ask a military guard for permission to see a prisoner and comes up with: “Nyke m?zun ipradagon bartanna r?elio.” A subtitle on the screen translates this for us as: “I drink to eat the skull keeper.”

When the guard stares at him in confusion, Tyrion tries again but only utters more gibberish. Finally, the guard informs him in perfect English, “I speak the common tongue,” and takes him to see the prisoner. Hah.

It’s a simple gag on its face, but there’s a deeper layer. The language Tyrion is garbling actually exists….

(13) FOR THE ROCKET. James Reid’s assessment of a Hugo finalist category: “Hugo Awards Extravaganza 2019 – Short Story”.

I like short stories to be self-contained: a good idea or a complete story.  As such I often gravitate to stories that are focused on doing one thing well.   It also means that I tend to prefer vignettes, where Hugo short stories can be surprisingly long (7500 words or less).

Note: it’s hard to discuss a short story without spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip to my rankings and general comments.

(14) RETRO REVIEWS. Right this way to Evelyn C. Leeper’s Retro Hugo Novella Reviews.

There’s always one on each ballot–one finalist that is totally unavailable–and this year it is “Attitude” by Hal Clement. This will not stop it from winning, of course; Clifford Simak’s “Rule 18” won a Retro Hugo in 2014 for its 1939 publication, and it had been reprinted since only once–in Italian. I think I can safely say that he won on name-recognition, and the same could happen with Clement. (“Attitude” is available in NESFA’s Clement collection, but I have no access to it.)…

(15) THE WRIGHT STUFF. Steve J. Wright has completed his Lodestar YA Novel Finalist reviews.

(16) SCIENCE ESSAY CONTEST. Nature has launched a young writers nonfiction contest to find the most inspiring ideas about the research of the future.

This year, Nature turns 150 years old. To mark this occasion, we are celebrating our past but also looking to the future. We would like to hear from you. Nature is launching an essay competition for readers aged 18 to 25. We invite you to tell us, in an essay of no more than 1,000 words, what scientific advance, big or small, you would most like to see in your lifetime, and why it matters to you. We want to feature the inspiring voices and ideas of the next generation

The deadline for completed essays is midnight GMT, UK time, on 9thAugust 2019. The winner will have their essay published in our 150th anniversary issue on 7 November, and receive a cash prize (£500 or $ equivalent) as well as a year’s personal subscription to the journal. For further information and to submit, visit go.nature.com/30y5jkz. We are looking for essays that are well reasoned, well researched, forward-looking, supported by existing science, and leave room for personal perspective and anecdotes that show us who you are. We encourage you to entertain as well as to inform; we are not looking for academic papers, an academic writing style or science fiction (though clearly those with an SF interest may have interesting ideas.

(17) BIG BANG’S BREXIT. Okay, it’s safe to talk about The Big Bang Theory again — its final show has aired in the British Isles and western Europe. British media reaction includes:-

(18) ANOTHER LEGO BRICK IN THE WALL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Ars Technica: “Massive Lego National Cathedral built with Vader, droids, Harry Potter wands’. The National Cathedral is using LEGOs to raise money for a restoration fund, and is including sff references (see added emphasis below) in the 1:40 scale model structure.

As millions of dollars in donations stacked up for the Notre-Dame Cathedral following the horrific fire last month, the Washington National Cathedral was quietly building its own restoration fund—brick by plastic brick.

[…] [Instructions were] created by the designers and professional Lego aficionados at Bright Bricks—are used by volunteers and kind donors who buy individual bricks and place them on the growing replica by hand. The bricks go for $2 each and all the money goes toward the $19 million needed to repair damage from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011.

[…] While the size of the project is impressive, what’s perhaps more remarkable is that Santos is designing and assembling only with off-the-shelf Lego bricks. This requires some creative workarounds and repurposing of parts. Small stone angels that sit at the foot of the tomb of Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee (the first Episcopal bishop of Washington and a key figure in the Cathedral’s construction) are represented by Star Wars droid heads. Part of the ornaments along a stained-glass window are made of droid arms. A cross at the altar of the basement chapel (Bethlehem Chapel) is made of Lego tire irons, and an ornate railing on the outside of the back of the cathedral is made of Harry Potter wands. The Lego cathedral will also include a Darth Vader head, replicating the actual Darth Vader “gargoyle” that sits high on the Northwest tower.

(19) RELEASE THE KAIJU. The “Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Knock You Out – Exclusive Final Look.” Movie comes to theaters May 31.

Following the global success of “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse, an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, P J Evans, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

57 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/25/19 The Stars Not Your Destination? Recalculating…

  1. (14) RETRO REVIEWS.

    Most of the old-style fanzines don’t really do it for me, but I quite like reading Leeper’s MT VOID (empty void). She’s a 12-time finalist for the Best Fan Writer Hugo.

    There are no fancy graphics or UI, there’s just SFF news, reviews, and the occasional opinion piece or letter-of-comment, and she puts it out every week.

  2. (12): As a non-linguist, I also found that scene extremely irritating in its sheer laziness. (Compare the hilarious subtitled Han/Greedo conversation in Star Wars.)

    I greatly enjoyed Peterson’s The Art of Language Invention.

  3. @2 would be more believable if he’d checked how to spell “tsundoku”.

    @4: Variety apparently believes the LAPD are prescient, starting an investigation based on things that haven’t happened yet. Or was there something prior that didn’t get mentioned?

  4. JJ: I was hoping someone would point that out. However, I thought if I put that in the intro it would inevitably sound like I was encouraging people to treat her work as immune to criticism.

  5. Chip Hitchcock: @2 would be more believable if he’d checked how to spell “tsundoku”.

    Which “he” are we talking about. Cedar Sanderson is a woman.

  6. @Chip
    The SFGate story on this says there was an arrest warrant outstanding, and that the lawyer for Morgan thought he’d set it up for him to surrender on Tuesday. (Also there was a matter of a quarter-million dollars in income that didn’t make it into Lee’s accounts, after going to Morgan’s office.)

  7. Mike Glyer: I thought if I put that in the intro it would inevitably sound like I was encouraging people to treat her work as immune to criticism.

    I don’t consider Snodgrass’ work to be immune to criticism. However:

    I realize that this guy’s schtick is pedantry about dramatic productions based on current American legal standards. <– But applying American legal standards to a universe-wide Federation existing 350 years from now is a bit myopic, no?

    Also, his repeated harping on Data’s attire as a seque to hawking the sartorial wares of his podcast sponsor is just eyerollingly-bad. It’s not a “one-piece jumpsuit”, it’s his uniform, and it’s absolutely appropriate attire for a courtroom operating within the rules of the organization for which his attire is the uniform. 🙄

    Now, I’ll admit that I tend to yell at the screen for things like Marg Helgenberger picking up with her bare hands a piece of evidence at a crime scene in CSI, but I don’t see much point in nitpicking on dramatic license taken in an imaginary courtroom for an imaginary organization which has different imaginary legal standards 350 years from now.

  8. JJ: I realize that this guy’s schtick is pedantry about dramatic productions based on current American legal standards. < – But applying American legal standards to a universe-wide Federation existing 350 years from now is a bit myopic, no?

    If I was designing a YouTube show about “real lawyers” with an American host I’d want that kind of myopic consistency. That’s really one of the sources of entertainment — an implied rigorous standard of practice.

    And maybe ST:TNG has a bit less bias than ST:TOS, however, Roddenberry’s tendency was to project current American assumptions into the future. In this case, the “Real Lawyer” is meeting the brand on its own terms.

  9. Mike Glyer: In this case, the “Real Lawyer” is meeting the brand on its own terms.

    Hey, if this guy can find an audience for his podcasts, power to him. (But ack, the cheap shilling for his clothier is really cringeworthy.)

    I had the audio for this segment running while I did a bunch of different other things, otherwise I’d be demanding that 25 minutes of my life back. 😀

  10. The guy doing that podcast – has he ever seen “Court Martial” from the original series? Lawyers and uniforms, and I don’t recall anyone thinking that there was anything strange about it. (IIRC, they wore their dress uniforms for it.)

  11. 14) Attitude is also available in the anthology Travelers of Space. I was able to get it from my library; others mileage may vary. But it’s not impossible to locate.

  12. (1) I actually just found a C.L. Moore collection in our local Little Free Library today. I think I’ve read most of the stories, and own several, but it seemed worth grabbing anyway, just in case.

    I personally think Andre Norton was the best SF writer of her era. Not the best female SF writer–the best writer, period. (I do admit that strong cases can be made for Bradbury and Sturgeon as well, but I don’t wanna hear about “The Big Three”.)

    And speaking of women writing SF (though not-so-ancient), I just stumbled across an interesting one that’s new to me: K.B. Wagers. Her Behind the Throne: The Indranan War Book 1 is a sort-of-feminist Space Opera which reminds me a bit of Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire, if the two main characters of that were merged into one foul-mouthed, violent, mercenary, take-no-crap unexpected-heir-to-the-throne. (It predates Scalzi’s work by a year, or I might almost have taken it as an homage.) I’m only halfway through, but I’m definitely enjoying it so far.

    The author’s bio says that her nonfiction writing has won two Air Force Space Command Media Contest awards. I don’t know what those are, but I like the sound of them. 🙂

  13. Xtifr: And speaking of women writing SF (though not-so-ancient), I just stumbled across an interesting one that’s new to me: K.B. Wagers.

    OMG, how is it that you’ve missed the squeeing from me and Kendall and Cora and Mark-kitteh and others about this? She’s up to Book 4, and the series is absolutely awesome. Enjoy! 😀

  14. JJ says OMG, how is it that you’ve missed the squeeing from me and Kendall and Cora and Mark-kitteh and others about this? She’s up to Book 4, and the series is absolutely awesome. Enjoy! ?

    Yeah I’m finishing book four now. It’s an awesome series with an absolutely stunning main character and an unique setting that’s not seen elsewhere in SF though I vaguely remember a Joel Shepherd series maybe had that a similar setting.

  15. I also finished my graphic story reviews… and have moved on to the retro novellas; in fact, I’m currently in the middle of “Attitude”. PDF files of old Astoundings are easily discoverable online (and, for that matter, it’s not hard to get old anthologies from bookfinder sites – a good chunk of the retro finalists can be found in just one old anthology, which I got for about eight quid.) It’s not like I’m an assiduous researcher – if I can’t find something in five minutes with ISFDB and Google, I generally don’t bother. So if I’ve got hold of something, it’s easy to get.

    The court scenes in “Measure of a Man” always annoyed me – I’m no lawyer, but I could come up with better arguments than theirs. (Among them: it’s established in the very first TNG episode that Data has a full commission as a Starfleet officer, so it’d be bloody weird if he could get that without begin a legal person. And Riker can switch Data off by pressing his back – so what? Any Vulcan can switch Riker off by pinching his neck, and I wish they would.)

  16. (18) We got to see the Lego construction so far and the plans on our trip to the National Cathedral this spring, and even contribute to it. I’d missed a lot of the Easter eggs, which is a good excuse to visit it again.

  17. 97) Kinsella also wrote one called “The Iowa Baseball Conspiracy”, which apparently should count as genre, from the post I just read about it. A league (and a 2000-inning game!) that seem to exist only in one or two minds, time travel, and so on.

  18. (9) Speaking of Ursula Vernon, I just finished reading her two Clocktaur Wars books, starting with Clockwork Boys, and I was really impressed. It’s really one long novel divided into two books, but it’s great! (N.B. it’s published under her T. Kingfisher pseudonym.)

    Anyway, I gave it five stars, which I only do for about 4% of the books I read.

  19. 1) Gideon Marcus of Galactic Journey is editing an anthology of SFF stories by largely forgotten women writers of the 1950s and 1960s, which should come out in July. It includes several of the names on Connie Willis’ list as well as a few which aren’t on her list.

    @Xtifr
    Yes, it really seems that you’ve missed all the squeeing about the Indranan War books here at File 770. But rejoice, you’ve got a treat ahead of you.

  20. JJ on May 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm said:

    OMG, how is it that you’ve missed the squeeing from me and Kendall and Cora and Mark-kitteh and others about this?

    Huh. Good question, I suppose. My attendance here is spotty, sometimes, especially in the early days of my visits, when I mostly skimmed for puppy news. Also, in general, I don’t care for MilSF unless it’s written by a woman[1] and I may not have registered the name K.B. Wager as female[2], so I might have glossed over the discussions. I’m really not sure. But in any case, I’m glad to learn I’m not alone in enjoying these.

    cheers

    [1] Women seem rather less prone to glorifying macho posturing and the ugliness of war for some reason.

    [2] One of the few time, I suppose, that the use of sexually ambiguous initials has worked against an SF author. 🙂

  21. Andre Norton was a prolific and successful writer, but I think she has plenty of competition for best. At the time I was devouring her works I was also reading Heinlein and I would be hard-pressed to say that Norton was better.

    But that reminds me of another author I liked at that time, Sylvia Engdahl. I only read one of her books and I can’t even remember the title, but I do remember enjoying it. One to check out, perhaps ?

  22. @Paul King: At the time, I would have called it a toss-up between Norton and Heinlein, and possibly given Heinlein the edge, but revisiting their works later, I find that Norton holds up a whole lot better.

  23. @Paul King: Enchantress from the Stars? I love that book completely when I was 12 or so.

  24. Paul King and Andrew: The Engdahl you encountered was probably Enchantress from the Stars, since I seem to recall that that was her best known book. But Sylvia Engdahl was (I think “is”) a relatively prolific and accomplished YA writer, which might be why you didn’t find many of her other works–she has apparently been writing for adults late, though. Here’s a link to her website, fyi: http://www.sylviaengdahl.com/about.htm

  25. With Xtifr, Kendall, Cora, Mark-Kitteh, JJ and Cat Eldridge all touting The Indranan War series by K. D. Wagers, I can’t recall the last time a book and author I’d taken absolutely no notice of before was so widely recommended on File 770. Book 1 is going on my virtual Tsundoku.

  26. I remember Enchantress from the Stars fondly, but I think I liked the sequel (Far Side of Evil) even more — for one thing, it was the first time I’d encountered the concept of a sensory deprivation tank.

  27. rcade says With Xtifr, Kendall, Cora, Mark-Kitteh, JJ and Cat Eldridge all touting The Indranan War series by K. D. Wagers, I can’t recall the last time a book and author I’d taken absolutely no notice of before was so widely recommended on File 770. Book 1 is going on my virtual Tsundoku.

    The author is also a really nice person. The present novel is one I’m reading is the digital galley she sent me for review. And she agreed to be interviewed by email, something I’m looking forward to doing!

    Supper tonight per the order of Jenner to counter my severe anemia caused by my bone infection is beef and lots of green veggies gently sautéed. That and an iron supplement should bring my levels back up eventually.

  28. @P J Evans: does the SFGate story also say that the investigation began 14 months ago, wrt actions taken 11-12 months ago? That was what I was questioning; the obvious answer is that Variety intended to say the investigation started in March 2019, rather than March 2018.

    @OGH: fine, I should have said “they” — but it’s still spelled “tsundoku”.

  29. @Xtifr: I wouldn’t call Wagers’s work MilSF, unless you want to handwave about the extent of the gray area between MilSF and whatever-flavors-you-like; the character is yanked out of smuggling into politics, and gets stuck with some continuation-of-politics-by-other-means, but I didn’t find the kind of drooling over weapons, tactics, and general violence that has turned me off even some of the MilSF recommended on these screens. (Maybe they’re thrillers? Not really; too much at stake.) The absence of that is why I vacuumed up the books as soon as they appeared (uncommon behavior for me, as I generally prefer to read short sets after they’re completed); I didn’t bother squeeing over them as I thought they’d already been vigorously recognized here.

  30. Chip Hitchcock: I wouldn’t call Wagers’s work MilSF

    The series involves a whole lot of fighting by military elements, both from spaceships and on the ground. I don’t know how it can not be called MilSF. Sure, it’s also political SF, but that doesn’t make it any less MilSF.

    ETA: I refuse to allow the mindless, gun-glorifying garbage published by B*** to define what MilSF is.

  31. JJ: ETA: I refuse to allow the mindless, gun-glorifying garbage published by B*** to define what MilSF is.

    Aw, g’wan — somebody needs to throw a grenade through the Overton window!

  32. @Chip Hitchcock: well actually it’s spelled 積ん読 if you want to be really pedantic about it. Also her definition of tsundere is partial at best.

  33. Chip Hitchcock on May 26, 2019 at 5:38 pm said:
    a few seconds with Google found a couple of stories from June 2018.

  34. Chip Hitchcock on May 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm said:

    I didn’t find the kind of drooling over weapons, tactics, and general violence that has turned me off even some of the MilSF recommended on these screens.

    Yes, that’s the sort of thing which turns me off of MilSF in general, but it’s certainly not a mandatory feature of MilSF, which is why I don’t reject MilSF completely. Just that overwhelming majority (mostly written by men) which does feature that sort of thing. 🙂

  35. I know it’s a thing that book bloggers do, but I find the practice of coming here in response to a link and sucking up for clicks really off-putting, and it kind of makes me feel like I should stop sending Mike these links. 😐

  36. I also missed all the gushing! Didn’t so much as recognise the title or author name at the beginning of this thread. You were all obviously very subtle about your noisy appreciation. 😉

    @JJ

    Really? I quite like it. If they gushed for paragraphs it would be a bit weird, but a quick “thanks and hi” seems perfectly fine to me. Plenty of Filers also say thank you when their personal blogs get linked, and I wouldn’t want to be more discouraging to those who aren’t regulars.

  37. JJ on May 26, 2019 at 6:21 pm said:
    Chip Hitchcock: I wouldn’t call Wagers’s work MilSF

    The series involves a whole lot of fighting by military elements, both from spaceships and on the ground. I don’t know how it can not be called MilSF. Sure, it’s also political SF, but that doesn’t make it any less MilSF.

    ETA: I refuse to allow the mindless, gun-glorifying garbage published by B*** to define what MilSF is.

    While I’m also reluctant to limit MilSF to being all that ‘US Marine Corps in space’ guff, I still personally wouldn’t call the Indranan books MilSF. To me, it’s more of a space opera of the Star Wars variety.

  38. I also consider Wagers to be Space Opera (Political intrigues! Vast populated star systems! An Empress!) more than MilSF, although it is MilSF-adjacent.

  39. I love the Indranan books with a fiery passion.

    I also tend to gravitate to MILS by women. I don’t think they’re exactly that though. Space Opera seems like a better fit if the series has to be categorized.

  40. @KasaObake: is romanji (or whatever the transliteration is called) not considered spelling?

    @various: the things I’ve seen put up as MilSF tend to ignore, downplay, or actively despise governance, and to suggest (as in a quote I think I’m recalling from Starship Troopers) that no solutions are final until they’re effected by a military (not necessarily government-based) force. This is not exclusively male; I picked up Huff’s An Ancient Peace on Michelle West’s recommendation and found it just as much not-my-taste as the xxx Valor xxx or two I’ve looked through. ISTM that a key to at least the first Indranan trilogy is that there are some problems, both internal and external, for which the military is useless (when they’re not an outright hindrance). I do see gradients — I’d say the Kylara Vatta books are sometimes in a gray area (involving some cross between picaresque and space opera) and sometimes tending MilSF, especially in the new pair — but I’d disrecommend Wagers only to people who dislike any military at all in their SF. Thanks to @rob_matic and @Cassy B for “space opera”, which I wasn’t coming up with last night.

  41. @P J Evans: a few seconds with Google found a couple of stories from June 2018. Did those stories cover events then (matching Variety‘s report), or 3 months earlier?

  42. JJ: I know it’s a thing that book bloggers do, but I find the practice of coming here in response to a link and sucking up for clicks really off-putting,

    If they all bother you I understand that, though for myself there’s a gradient. I admit I have enough vanity that I’m glad to hear that someone was happy to be mentioned in the Scroll. After all, I spent a lot of years writing this blog when it got maybe 400 hits a day and it would be a big deal if a blogger with a large community linked to me and I got a burst of traffic. It’s great to be able to pay it forward.

    Occasionally we also get a “yes, but what about me?” kind of link, which I know from my internal stats doesn’t get much if any response, so I just let it go.

    If there’s a discussion happening in comments where a participant has written something substantial on their own site about the topic and chooses to link to it, they usually include some explanation with the link, and that adds value.

  43. Ok, Wager’s work may or may not be MilSF, but in the context of “how did you miss all the squeeing?”, I would probably have assumed it was MilSF just because of the “War” in the title, which would have affected how much attention I paid to the discussion. That’s why I mentioned MilSF in the first place, and accidentally started this whole debate.

    It wasn’t an accusation. 🙂

    Nevertheless, I have to say that any definition of “MilSF” other than “science fiction focused on the military” strikes me as bizarre. Chip Hitchcock’s definition would seem to exclude The Forever War, which is generally considered a classic of MilSF, even though it doesn’t exactly “suggest […] that no solutions are final until they’re effected by a military […] force.” I mean most MilFic (whether sfnal or not) is pretty gung-ho, but that doesn’t mean Catch 22 and MASH aren’t MilFic, despite their hos being utterly ungung. 🙂

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