Pixel Scroll 5/31/19 Moon Pixel, Wider Than A File, I’m Scrolling You In Style Someday

(1) BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARDS. The winners of the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards were announced May 29. I believe neither is genre. (However, Sofia Samatar, past winner of a World Fantasy Award, is among the judges.)

Slave Old Man, written by Patrick Chamoiseau, translated (from the French and Creole) by Linda Coverdale, and published by The New Press, won for fiction. Of Death. Minimal Odes, written by Hilda Hilst, translated (from the Portuguese) by Laura Cesarco Eglin, and published by co-im-press, took the prize for poetry.

…Thanks to grant funds from the Amazon Literary Partnership, the living winning author and the translators will each receive $2,000 cash prizes…

The fiction jury included Pierce Alquist (BookRiot), Caitlin L. Baker (Island Books), Kasia Bartoszy?ska (Monmouth College), Tara Cheesman (freelance book critic), George Carroll (litintranslation.com), Adam Hetherington (reader), Keaton Patterson (Brazos Bookstore), Sofia Samatar (writer), Elijah Watson (A Room of One’s Own). The poetry jury included Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore), Katrine Øgaard Jensen (EuropeNow), Tess Lewis (writer and translator), Aditi Machado (poet and translator), and Laura Marris (writer and translator).

(2) SOUVENIR SEEKER OR ARMS DEALER? LA Times columnist Mary McNamara must learn new moves when she visits a new domain in the Magic Kingdom: “Tense and intense, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is not your mother’s Disneyland”.

As a SoCal mom, I know what it takes to do Disneyland: water, sunscreen, sturdy walking shoes, lots of cash, phone, snacks and whatever other gear the age and Disney-geek demographic of the group demands.

Strollers, mouse ears, matching shirts, lanyards clanking with tradable pins, whatever; I’ve always had it covered, down to the Band-Aids, hand sanitizer and Advil.

But I never thought to pack a back story.

Within minutes of entering Galaxy’s Edge, the park’s brand-new “Star Wars”-themed land, I realized this was a hideous mistake.

“Are you looking for a job?” A young woman in native-Batuu garb asked in a low voice as she sidled up to my daughter and me.

“Um, no,” I said. “We’re looking for lightsabers.”

“Keep your voice down!” she said. “The First Order is everywhere. But Savi’s Workshop is right around the corner.”

I smiled in what I hoped was a knowing fashion and moved away….

(3) WORLDBUILDING. Marie Brennan continues with “New Worlds Theory Post: Exposition, Pt. 2” at Book View Café.

When we first hit the topic of worldbuilding exposition back in May, I discussed the exposition on the level of prose: how to work setting details into your sentences without putting a neon stop sign on them saying “HERE BE INFORMATION,” and how to use the surrounding context to make those details convey story as well as facts. That works on a small scale, but when you get to more complex matters, you often have to think larger in order to work them into the story.

One time-honored way to do this is with a naive protagonist: someone young, inexperienced, foreign, or otherwise unfamiliar with the situation at hand. They don’t have to be ignorant of everything, and in fact it can be annoying if they are — at least in fiction for adults. In kids’ literature and YA, a naive protagonist is often a natural choice….

(4) REALISM V. NUANCE. L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright explains these paradoxical characters in “The Paragon of Realism, Superheroes!” at Superversive SF.

… Reality is complicated, and it is the job of an author to reflect this. So, how does one do this? Simple, he has cause and effect function in a way that makes sense to the audience. For example, let’s talk about Superman.

One of the complaints made against Superman is that he is unrealistically good, that a normal person with his power would abuse it. To this I say, their definition of realistic is wrong. Their argument is that: since he has so much power, he must abuse it. The thing they don’t get is that by not abusing his power and being a good guy, he is making the D.C. universe more realistic. Just look at General Zod to see what I mean.

… There are many kings and presidents who use their power for good without abusing it, like Abraham Lincoln or George Washington, who was offered a crown but turned it down in favor of becoming president and then retired to his farm. It is not impossible that there could exist a man that could use his power for good without letting it control him. If there is such a man, then we as authors should write stories about him, for he is a hero. If Superman is this man, is it  any wonder he can use his power without abusing it.

Just because he does good does not make him more or less realistic than any other hero in the D.C. universe….

…This kind of touch is what makes your story realistic, having the character make logical choices in accordance with his fantastic circumstances. His job is logical.

Another example of this is the Science Patrol from Ultraman. In the Ultraman universe, there are giant monsters, generally called Kaiju, which are practically walking natural disasters.

…In a later season, someone on the staff realizes something interesting: the monsters are not innately evil. They are wild animals, so maybe we should have one of our heroes try not to kill them. Out of this idea came Ultraman Cosmos, the warrior of compassion. This is also something that comes naturally from the premise because a complicated interaction with the Kaiju makes the world seem more realistic, even with the fantastic premise.

All of these ideas take a premise and bring it to its logical extreme. ‘Realism’ so called, does not. ‘Realism’ only shows one small part of the human experience, while real realism shows as much of the human experience as is needed for the story, which is what all good stories show.

(5) ODYSSEY SCHOLARSHIP. George R.R. Martin announced Kyle De Waal is the winner of this year’s Miskatonic Scholarship to the Odyssey Writers Workshop in New Hampshire, given each year to a student working in the area of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. The scholarship is funded by Martin.

This year’s winner is Kyle de Waal, who loves to write anything with a monster in it, especially cosmic horror with a bent towards YA-lit. He also enjoys tabletop games, mountain biking, and Greek and Roman history. He lives in Canada with his border collie who is named after a poetic device: Volta.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 31, 1895 George Stewart. Author of Earth Abides which won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951. It’s worth noting that his novel Storm whichhad as its protagonist a Pacific storm called Maria prompted the National Weather Service to use personal names to designate storms. (Died 1980.)
  • Born May 31, 1897 Christine Hartley, better known as Christine Campbell Thomson. Best known for her horror anthologies published in the 1920s and 1930s. The first, Not at Night gave its name to the whole series, which ran to eleven volumes.  In all, there were 170 stories including ones by Howard and Lovecraft, and, according to bibliographer Mike Ashley, a hundred of these came from Weird Tales. All of the fiction she wrote was done under the pen name of Flavia Richardson. Neither the anthologies or her fiction appear to be in print currently. (Died 1985.)
  • Born May 31, 1907 Peter Fleming. Elder brother of that Fleming. Among his works is a novel written in 1940, The Flying Visit about an unintended visit to Britain by Adolf Hitler. It’s apparently a comedy. The Sixth Column: A Singular Tale of Our Time is also genre though it is now Forgotten Literature as his other book. (Died 1971.)
  • Born May 31, 1928 Bryce Walton. Writer on Captain Video and His Video Rangers though I can’t tell you exactly what that means as IMDB lists the numbers of episodes he did as unknown. He also wrote for Alfred Hitchcock Presents including “The Greatest Monster of Them All” which is definitely genre. He wrote one SF novel, Sons of the Ocean Deeps, and has one collection of stories, “Dark of the Moon” and Other Tales. (Died 1988.)
  • Born May 31, 1930 Gary Brandner. He’s  best known for The Howling trilogy. The first book was adapted quite loosely as into The Howling. Brandner’s second and third Howling novels have no connection to the movie series, though he was involved with writing the screenplay for the second Howling movie, Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf. Who came up with that title?  Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is actually the most faithful adaptation of his first novel hence the title. (Died 2013.)
  • Born May 31, 1961 Lea Thompson, 58. She’s obviously best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy though I remember her first as Beverly Switzler in Howard the Duck as I saw Back to the Future after I saw Howard the Duck. Not sure why that was. Her first genre role was actually as Kelly Ann Bukowski in Jaws 3-D, a film I most decidedly did not see. If you accept the Scorpion series as genre, she’s got a recurring role as Veronica Dineen on it.
  • Born May 31, 1968 John Connolly, 51. Best known for his Charlie Parker noir crime series where his character solves mysteries by talking to dead. His Chronicles of the Invaders written with Jennifer Ridyard, his wife, are more traditional SF as is the Samuel Johnson series.
  • Born May 31, 1976 Colin Farrell, 43. I remember him first as Bullseye in the much dissed Daredevil film. (It wasn’t that bad.) He was in Minority Report as Danny Witwer. And I see he’s listed as being the third transformation of Tony in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. H’h. Now he was Peter Lake in Winter’s Tale, a takeoff of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, a novel no film could do justice to. Oh, he’s Holt Farrier in Dumbo
  • Born May 31, 1995 Jeremy Szal, 24. He says he was (probably) raised by wild dingoes. He writes about galactic adventures, wide-screen futures, and broken characters fighting for hope in dark worlds. He is author of the dark space-opera novel Stormblood out in February 2020, the first of a trilogy. His short fiction has appeared in Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, The Drabblecast. He is the fiction editor for the Hugo-winning StarShipSofa, which once led to Harlan Ellison yelling at him on the phone. He carves out a living in sun-bleached Sydney, Australia. He loves watching weird movies, collecting boutique gins, exploring cities, and dark humour. Find him at http://jeremyszal.com/ or @JeremySzal

(7) COMICS SECTION.

Three stfnal installments of Bob the Angry Flower:

(8) MODERATELY GOOD OMENS. William Hughes explains the flaws that keep the first episode from perfection: “’In The Beginning,’ Good Omens struggles to let its more heavenly elements shine” at AV/TV Club.

There’s a question that inevitably dogs (or maybe that should be hellhounds?) the production of any TV or cinematic adaptation of a popular book: How close do you hew to the original text—i.e., the stuff that presumably got people in the door in the first place—vs. softening or changing it for the natural rhythms of human speech? It’s a query that gets extra tricky when the original author and the person doing the adapting are one and the same, which might help explain why screenwriter Neil Gaiman has filled so much of the first hour of his new Amazon series Good Omens with long passages taken directly from his and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 book. …And yet, Good Omens’ pilot occasionally feels like sitting through the process of listening to a friend read you some of their well-crafted short fiction while an energetic, eye-catching slideshow plays—provided, of course, that your friend was Frances McDormand, and she was also pretending to be the voice of God.

(9) NEWS SCOOP. Delish discovered that “Baskin-Robbins Is Adding Two Stranger Things-Inspired Ice Cream Flavors To The Menu”.

Earlier this week, BR announced two Flavors of the Month for June: Eleven’s Heaven and Upside Down Pralines. The first is a waffle cone-flavored ice cream (I know, WOAH) with chocolate-coated sugar cone pieces and chocolate icing. The latter is chocolate with praline pecans and chocolate caramel swirled in.

If you think those sound epic just wait, because there’s more:

  • The Upside Down Sundae includes praline scoops and toppings on the bottom.
  • The Demogorgon Sundae is served in a waffle bowl that “frightfully resembles” the monster.
  • Byers’ House Lights Polar Pizza Ice Cream Treat is basically an ice cream and candy ‘za. It has a Snickers ice cream crust and topped with fudge and M&M’s to look like Christmas lights.
  • USS Butterscotch Quarts are filled with butterscotch toffee ice cream and a toffee ribbon.
  • Elevenade Freeze = ice cream + Minute Maid Lemonade.

(10) BOOK EXPO. “What if they gave a Book Expo and no one came?” asks Andrew Porter, who shared his photos of the autographing lines on Wednesday afternoon, first day of the exhibits.

From Publishers Lunch (behind a paywall) — “Book Expo Panels: Retailers, Breakfast Authors and More”:

As predicted, this year’s Book Expo is effectively a one-day show played out over three days. After a quiet start on Wednesday, Thursday at least has attendees filling the very wide aisles, spacious lounges, empty booth slots and open meeting rooms at a convention that is more profoundly than ever a downgraded, modest shadow of its former self. (It’s very sustainable, though; exhibitors are using generous lengths of plain pipe and drape, rented chairs, and simple printed panels over fancy fixtures and displays.) With a generally quiet line-up of panels as well, one Thursday afternoon that still offered some substance of note focused squarely on physical retail.

Publishers Weekly’s public article: “BookExpo 2019: Slow Start to a Buzzy Show”

The noon opening for BookExpo on Wedesday led to a quiet start for this year’s fair. But as the day progressed, the crowd steadily built and by late afternoon, a palpable buzz began to fill the hall, as people lugged tote bags full of galleys and promotional swag.

Prior to the opening, more than 100 people, many of them book bloggers and independent authors, lined up to get an early start on the galley giveaways and literally dashed into the hall the moment the floor opened.

(11) MORE PORTER PHOTOS FROM BOOK EXPO.

  • For the YA near-future novel “Contagion,” Charlesbridge wrapped their display in Caution tape:
  • Pilgrim’s Progress: The Graphic Novel. Porter says, “The artwork reminded me of Basil Wolverton…”
  • Who knew? Dayglo and UV posters are back!

(12) SURPRISING STRIKEOUT. Kat Hooper concludes “Record of a Spaceborn Few: Third time’s not the charm” at Fantasy Literature.

…So many people love Becky Chambers’ WAYFARERS trilogy and all three books have been nominated for several awards. After reading the entire trilogy, it’s clear that it’s just not for me. I thought The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was a cool-sounding title, but the story was “like watching Barney & Friends while eating cotton candy.” I liked A Closed and Common Orbit even less, finding it dull and unchallenging. Both novels have very little plot or tension, but they do contain heart-warming scenes and sweet messages about cooperation, diversity, and other nice things.

Record of a Spaceborn Few has the same problem, but magnified….

(13) DYNAMIC DUO. Black Gate’s Elizabeth Crowens interviews one of the “Power Couples in the World of Speculative Fiction: Jim Freund and Barbara Krasnoff”. (Unexpectedly, the NYRSF Reading Series is mentioned only in photo captions, although their names appear on File 770 in connection with that more than anything else!)

Crowens: You guys are native Brooklyners, right?

Both: No.

Barbara: I’m the native Brooklyner. He’s from Queens.

Jim: I’m from Jackson Heights. She is from Canarsie… originally. It’s like the line from Captain America: Civil War when he meets Spider-man. Captain America is fighting him at the airport and says, “You’ve got heart, kid. Where are you from?” and Spider-man says, “Queens.” Captain America looks at him and says in a confrontational tone, “Brooklyn.”

(Laughs): That’s great.

Jim: Best line in the movie.

How did you guys meet?

Barbara: Online, basically.

(14) SUPPRESSING MALARIA. “GM fungus rapidly kills 99% of malaria mosquitoes, study suggests” – BBC has the story.

A fungus – genetically enhanced to produce spider toxin – can rapidly kill huge numbers of the mosquitoes that spread malaria, a study suggests.

Trials, which took place in Burkina Faso, showed mosquito populations collapsed by 99% within 45 days.

The researchers say their aim is not to make the insects extinct but to help stop the spread of malaria.

The disease, which is spread when female mosquitoes drink blood, kills more than 400,000 people per year.

Worldwide, there are about 219 million cases of malaria each year.

(15) PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF. Here’s the ultimate good example when it comes to attempts to sweep up orbital debris: “UK satellite ‘sets sail’ for return to Earth”.

A British satellite in space has just “set sail” to return to Earth.

TechDemoSat-1 was launched in 2014 to trial a number of new in-orbit technologies but has now reached the end of its operational life.

To bring it out of the sky faster than would ordinarily be the case, it has deployed a “drag sail”.

This large membrane will catch residual air molecules at its altitude of 635km and pull TDS-1 quickly into Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up.

There is a lot of interest currently in “clean space” technologies.

The orbital highways above the planet are set to become congested with thousands of spacecraft in the coming years, and serious efforts need to be made to tidy away redundant hardware and other space junk if collisions are to be avoided.

(16) INSTANT CLASSIC. That old time edition is good enough for Matthew Johnson:

Give me that old time purple prose
Those long sentences soothe the soul
I reminisce about the pros of old
And that old time purple prose

Just take those old novels off the shelf
I’ll read Lord Dunsany by myself
I want some adjectives, sweet and low
I like that old time purple prose

Don’t try to keep me to a word count
In ten minutes I’ll be past that amount
I’ll savour adverbs Bulwer-Lytton chose
In his old time purple prose

Call it bad writing, call it what you will
Edgar Rice Burroughs can thrill me still
With each dependent clause my hunger grows
For that old time purple prose.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cath, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jenora Feuer.]

36 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/31/19 Moon Pixel, Wider Than A File, I’m Scrolling You In Style Someday

  1. What’s New, SJW Credential, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa.

    (10) What was the event last year discussed in a Pixel Scroll which had a dealer’s room with no customers.

  2. And May ended on a very pleasant note as it was in the low Seventies here today. I’m off to bed tonight having downloaded earlier tonight from Audible earlier their production of Alien III: An Audible Original based on the William Gibson script that was never used, it should be interested listening!

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever read George R Stewart’s “Earth Abides”, but I know I’ve read “Storm”. (It’s pretty good. You get the meteorologist watching it, and all the people who have to deal with it, including a passenger train that gets snowed in somewhere around Donner Pass.)

  4. (4) In the general context of (if I understand correctly) talking about what good writing ought to be like, it seems advisable to avoid making glaring logical and definitional errors during the argument. For instance, the very first thing Lamplighter says is that “a writing technique called gritty realism” is when an author does [X]—where X is by no stretch of the imagination the actual definition of “gritty realism”, but rather one of a huge number of things that might be called that, this being the one that the author most dislikes. Another one that jumped out at me is a circular-reasoning bit, about halfway down, where she says maybe there could be a person who’s like [Y]; now, suppose that Superman happens to be that person; then, “is it any wonder” that he is like [Y]? Indeed, it isn’t any wonder.

    Anyway, I do agree with the overall proposition that it can be good to have some characters who aren’t totally horrible. But if that needed to be expressed, I’m not sure this is the best way to go about it.

  5. While it’s cool to share a birthday with Colin Farrell, as it happens, I exploded screaming into the world one day after, on May 31, not May 30. One day off. I do appreciate the addition, though.

  6. Jeremy Szal on May 31, 2019 at 7:25 pm said:

    While it’s cool to share a birthday with Colin Farrell, as it happens, I exploded screaming into the world one day after, on May 31, not May 30. One day off. I do appreciate the addition, though.

    Given the time difference between Australia and Ireland though…

  7. Stewart’s Storm was adapted into a Disney short that I saw in a drivein in the 1970s (I think) – also Stewart’s book is why they call the wind Maria.

    I have read Earth Abides, but not Storm

  8. Jeremy Szal says While it’s cool to share a birthday with Colin Farrell, as it happens, I exploded screaming into the world one day after, on May 31, not May 30. One day off. I do appreciate the addition, though.

    Those are the 31st of May Birthdays. Mike just has the heading wrong.

  9. @2: oh goody, a giant LARP where people who aren’t ubergeeks are lost. I’d been hearing about this (due to indirect connections) as a possible stop around WFC, but it sounds like marmite to me.

    @Eli: did you know Lamplighter was a puppy-traveler (at least)? I figured the essay wouldn’t be worth reading; thanks for confirming it has the expected level of plausibility.

  10. (2) They’re publicizing this domain very very heavily, and not just in the more local areas. I’ve seen obvious PR stories in SFGate and the Sacramento Bee.

  11. @Chip: Yeah, I’m passingly familiar with all that stuff, mostly from reading this blog. But I hadn’t read her writing at any length and I figured this particular subject might be less likely to lead to anything that would greatly upset me. And it didn’t; it was just not good.

  12. 4) George Washington was a slave owner. I do think that was abusing power and not for the good.

  13. Kevin Lighton: Whew, today I was one of those editors who adds more mistakes than he takes out…. Bad OGH!

  14. “Oh one more click, just give me one more click….”

    Speaking of George Washington, I read Phenderson Djèlí Clark‘s Hugo nominated short story about Washington and was mightily impressed with Clark’s prose style. Not sure where the story will end up, but it is a contender in my book.

  15. I thought folks might be interested in the new trailer for Pixar’s upcoming movie Onward:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8DKg_fsacM

    (Incidentally, Mike – I looked for an email address to send this link to you as a scroll story, but couldn’t find one. I’m sure I’d noticed one before. What’s the protocol for passing on stories?)

  16. @Hampus/@A. P. Howell:

    Here’s an interesting article on Washington’s slaveholding https://www.history.com/news/george-washington-and-the-slave-who-got-away

    Among other details: Since Pennsylvania had passed a law freeing any slaves that had lived in the state more than 6 months, Washington made sure that his slaves were moved out of state periodically, so this residency requirement was never met. Per this article https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/opinion/george-washington-slave-catcher.html Washington, apparently aware that slavery was not popular in the North, went to some efforts to keep his use of this loophole secret.

  17. 12) That was pretty much my reaction to Spaceborn Few, too – though I’m perhaps a little more positive. The characters were likeable and I cared about their lives, but the endings were all a bit too perfectly happy and went on too long. In the end, I started to find it cloying and the rest of the book suffered in hindsight.

    Also… I’m not the best judge, but the “simple way of life/sharing what we have/traditions under threat” stuff makes me think the setting is a white American’s idea of a Native American reservation? It’s not a criticism, exactly, but it does make it all seem a bit familiar.

    I’m still working my way through the novels, but I think I think the short stories are some of the strongest stuff this year. My favourite is probably the P Djeli Clarke, but Brooke Bolander’s is very good too.

  18. Even regarding Abraham Lincoln, there are some really problematic speeches regarding slavery, so he at least wasn’t consistently good on a Superman level. But to be honest, it was more than 20 years since I read them, so I might have forgotten context.

    I think the article is missing one point, by making it as easy as Superman having a nice foster father with a country upbringing. The matter of a higher perspective. Superman is brought up on earth. He has super senses. Depending on version, he has grown up with receiving a lot more information by listening, smell and other things. He can see bacteria with his own eyes. Things happening far away. This with an enormous processing speed in his brain.

    With so much more information on both the small and the large, he must have a totally different outlook on the world on a grander scale, and I guess with some kind of christian upbringing, the thoughts about “free will” and consequences must be something he always have had to think about. For his whole life. This makes an enormous difference to ordinary humans and also to other superhumans that have received their powers as adults.

    General Zod, in Lamplighters example, is born on Krypton in most versions and has had no special powers during his upbringing. He’s also a soldier. For him, suddenly getting enormous powers thrusted upon him and already having a military mindset, it is a total different thing than having your whole life, including your childhood, to come to terms with them and ponder their use and meaning.

    Superman is an alien. We don’t fully know how his brain works. That, a unique upbringing, a unique possibility to see the world on different scales, well, I find it hard to argue about what should be “realistic” with regards to him.

  19. George R. Stewart was a professor of English at U.C. Berkeley. He wrote a very wide variety of books. I think he was a wonderful example to his students.

    Earth Abides is his only science fiction novel, but it is deservedly a classic. It has a grand scale. And it was progressive for 1949 in a way that I think still holds up well.

    Storm is not science fiction, but as the title indicates, the main character is not human. Stewart followed up with Fire which is also good.

    Another interesting book by Stewart is Pickett’s Charge. It invented a new genre, the micro-history, looking at the last action in the Battle of Gettysburg minute by minute.

    The California Trail tells the story of the explorers and pioneers who opened up the path to the west. A recurring theme in the book is that the best way to get your name on the map is to be the biggest screw-up. Donner Pass should be named Stevens Pass but Stevens, as well as being first, did everything right, so his name is only on a creek in Santa Clara County. (SF writers take note.)

    There are a lot more Stewart books I have yet to read, but I’ve enjoyed everything by him that I have managed to find.

  20. When I think about Washington and slavery, I fully admit that he has a problematic early history, but I’m always reminded of Arlo Guthrie’s introduction to Amazing Grace, where he talks about John Newton’s history: “Anyone who can turn around is a friend of mine.” I may be grading on a historical curve, but having Jefferson around, especially at the point where he rebuffs Thadeus Kosciusko, kind of brings the curve into clear relief.

  21. @Hampus —

    4) George Washington was a slave owner. I do think that was abusing power and not for the good.

    I think the point was that he did not become worse when he gained the additional power of the presidency, and he did not abuse the power **of the presidency**. Nobody was claiming that he was perfect in the first place.

  22. Cliff: My email is mikeglyer [at] cs [dot] com

    It’s on the “About” page, which I should revise to make it easier to spot.

  23. @Tom Becker
    The creek may not be much, but its name is attached to a major street.

  24. @P J Evans: A major street with miles and miles of car dealerships! Actually, I like the creek. My dad’s best friend grew up nearby and used to catch steelhead in the creek, back when it was more wild. Now Mountain View has a nice bike trail along it going out to the Bay. And if you drive up Stevens Canyon Road it’s an interesting way to get to Skyline Blvd. Old Mr. Stevens did well to settle in the area, even if he didn’t get his name on the pass that he pioneered. He didn’t have to starve to death either.

  25. (12) I had a similar reaction to Spaceborn Few, though I kind of liked The Long Way and was quite fond of A Closed and Common Orbit. The world building was quite enjoyable, but I felt there was little happening in that world.

    Was really impressed by Spinning Silver. I really should read Novik when she’s NOT being nominated for a Hugo.

    Currently trying to read The Calculating Stars. A powerful story, but I think space colonization is a completely unsuitable plan to save civilization, and the author’s (or at least the narrator’s) insistence that it is the only suitable plan is a turn off for me.

  26. Lodestar finalist The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, which was not in the packet, is 99p on Amazon UK at the moment.

  27. @Cliff (re clipping): unicorns taking the ecological niche of raccoons? I’m in.

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