Pixel Scroll 5/1/17 Heigh-Ho, The Derry-O, A Pixel We Will Scroll

(1) CLARA COMING BACK? In a spoiler-filled post, “This ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Could Be About to Return for the Christmas Special “, Lewis Jeffries speculates about the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

On Twitter, it has been stated that Eddie’s Diner has been booked by BBC Doctor Who for two days of filming. Hardcore fans know that Eddie’s Diner is in fact Clara and Ashildr’s (Maisie Williams) TARDIS in disguise. So this can only mean one thing, the return of Clara Oswald and Ashildr.

(2) HELP WANTED. James Ciment, PhD, Acquisitions Editor for Popular Culture at ABC-CLIO, has an opening:

ABC-Clio, a reference and academic publisher based in Santa Barbara, California, is looking for an editor (or co-editors) for a reference book on aliens in popular American culture—popular literature, film, television, graphic fiction, and other genres and media. Book length and specific content will be determined by the editor in consultation with the publisher. The deadline for submission of the manuscript is flexible, within a range of 18 to 30 months. The book is intended for the college, public and academic high school library markets. Requirements for the editor are flexible as well but editor must have significant publishing history in the field of literary/film criticism, popular culture studies and/or related fields. Academic affiliation is recommended but not required. Reference editing experience helpful. Editor duties include developing a TOC, soliciting contributing writers, and editor manuscript for content. Publisher will provide administrative support and will be responsible for copy-editing and indexing.

Interested persons should send their CV to acquisitions editor James Ciment at: james.ciment@ca.rr.com

(3) LET THE APPERTAINMENT BEGIN. Steve Davidson knows that as often as I need to invite people to appertain themselves their favorite beverage (after spotting one of my typos), I probably need to order in bulk. And if I’m doing that, the bottles should have a house label – which he has supplied.

(4) DERRINGER AWARDS. The 2017 Derringer Awards winners, for short mystery fiction, have been announced. Unfortunately, Bruce D. Arthurs’ Derringer-nominated short story, “Beks and the Second Note,” did not get the nod. Here are the stories and authors that did:

2017 Derringer Award Results

BEST FLASH STORY (1 – 1,000 words)

  • Herschel Cozine for “The Phone Call” (Flash Bang Mysteries, Summer 2016)

Best Short Story (1,001 – 4,000 words)

  • Linda Barnes for “The Way They Do It in Boston” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)

Best Long Story (4,001- 8,000 words)

  • Victoria Weisfeld for “Breadcrumbs” (Betty Fedora: Kickass Women In Crime Fiction, Issue 3, September 2016)

Best Novelette (8,000 to 20,000 words)

  • Terrie Farley Moran for “Inquiry and Assistance” (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, January/February 2016)

Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer

  • Robert Randisi

(5) POD DRAMA. Tor Labs is a newly launched dramatic podcast imprint. Here’s an excerpt from Patty Garcia’s press release.

Tor Books, a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy, announced today that it is launching TOR LABS, a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.

Helmed by Senior Editor Marco Palmieri and Editor Jennifer Gunnels, Tor Labs will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama which will be produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of the global hit podcast thrillers, The Message and LifeAfter.

(6) TRAVEL FUNDING SOUGHT. Three Brazilian fans; Andressa Dreka, Mayara Teixeira Dos Santos, and Luis Alessio are crowdfunding to come to the UK for Lazlar Lyricon 3, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funcon being run in Stoke on Trent in June.

The trio help run Obrigado Pelos Peixes (“Thanks for All the Fish”) an organization in Brazil that ran its own convention, Don’t PaniCon, last year, and plan another for 2017.

James Bacon notes:

A few special items were auctioned at the recent UK Eastercon to help raise money for the project. These included an official Hitchhiker’s quote towel from the 1980s and a pair of beer glasses with Hitchhiker inspired designs from the 42nd Cambridge Beer Festival. This raised GBP212 for the fund.

The crowdfunding is being carried out on a Catarse site, via https://www.catarse.me/OPPnoLazlarLyricon3.

As File 770 reported over the winter, Lazlar Lyricon 3 will take place June 9-11. Committee members include Stefan Lancaster, Emma J. King, David Haddock and Alan Sullivan.

The first two Lazlar Lyricons were part of a series of conventions in the 1980s, 90s and early 00s colloquially called ‘Fun Cons’, which also included the Incons, Dangercons, and several one-off conventions such as Year of the Wombat and Aliens Stole my Handbag.

(7) READING ALOUD. Cat Rambo says, “A lot of us have listened to SFWA’s Executive Director Kate Baker narrating podcasts over the years, but here’s someone narrating one of Kate’s pieces” — “Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches by Kate Baker” on Cast of Wonders.

This time the narrator is –

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her short stories and poems appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, Swift for the Sun, will be available Spring 2017. Follow her online and on Twitter.

(8) EPISODE ONE. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Meghan Ball and Kelly Anderson recap “American Gods Episode One: ‘The Bone Orchard'”.

Our reactions

Kelly: Welp. This show knows how to make an entrance! Pilots are all about being memorable, and I think I can say from the get-go this one certainly succeeded on that level. They went for a combo of stark, Tarantino-esque visuals, husky-voiced, gritty storytelling, and a grimy ‘70s vibe, and it all blends together to create the perfect mood for this story. It’s surrealist noir, if such a genre exists—everything is slightly off-kilter, and even the scenery makes you look twice (that alligator bar! I gotta get me one of those!). It’s as if somebody went back in time and gave Magritte computer graphics and possibly some acid, and I love it.

Meghan: That was an astonishing trippy-as-hell hour of television. I never thought I’d see the day someone actually followed through with bringing this book to life, and certainly not in a way so savagely, monstrously beautiful. I especially loved the use of music. Whoever chose it deserves a raise. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” playing while Shadow stares mournfully at Laura’s grave? Absolute perfection. They also used “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups in the bar scene, which is also mentioned in the novel. That was especially cool. Everything about the premiere felt lush and organic, and utterly real as it was surreal. I’m a fan of Tarantino movies, and even I was gasping in shock during the opening Viking scenes, which completely set the tone.

(9) THE LONG HAUL. At Vox, there’s an overview by someone who’s seen the first four episodes.

If you’re like me and haven’t read Gaiman’s iconic source material, the TV series doesn’t spend a whole lot of time trying to catch you up. There will inevitably come a point when — as blood rains from the sky and some god or another intones an ominous missive about death — you’ll squint and realize you have no idea what’s happening.

But that’s okay by American Gods. Having seen four episodes, I think it’s safe to say that the mysteries being explored by the show’s first season are intricate, and that Fuller and Green are in no rush to give away their secrets. This will be frustrating for people watching from week to week, but American Gods is making the bet that you’ll be intrigued enough by what it teases to stick with it — and on that front, it’s probably right.

(10) INDEPENDENTS’ DAY. The Seattle Review of Books covers #independentbookstoreday celebration: “Our Independent Bookstore Day, in photos”.

(11) GLOWING GOO YOU CAN CHEW. Where to find it? Cat Rambo has a clue.

My most recent newsletter is up and includes class news and a link to a recipe for edible glow in the dark gel: “News and More Stuff from Chez Rambo”

(12) SAX AND VIOLENCE. Echo Ishii watches old TV: “SF Obscure: Night Man “.

What do you get when you cross light jazz, Taylor Dayne, and questionable costume choices? And then you throw in special guest appearances by Jerry Springer and Donald Trump? Why you get Night Man, a show that surprisingly stayed on air for two seasons.

Night Man(1997-1999) is the story of Johnny Domino, a professional saxophonist, who is struck by lightning and earns a telepathic ability to see evil. It’s loosely based on an original comic. He also teams up with some scientists on the run who provide him with a special suit that allows him to deflect bullets and fly. It actually took a few episodes to figure out exactly what the suit does vs. Johnny Domino’s own ability- and I have the sneaking suspicion it was not entirely developed well by the writers.

(13) BAD MIKE.

So the rest of you better hurry and get that reading done or I’ll take a bite out of you, too.

(Or – and this was the point — you could wait to fling poo at the Hugo shortlist ‘til you’ve read it, something that never occurred to C. and Matt.)

(14) PURITY OF ESSENCE. Can penguins be forced to bark? Jay Maynard wants to “Make Penguincon Great Again” —  by kicking out everything he doesn’t like.

Still, I’d promised this year’s con chair that she’d get a fair chance to address my concerns, so I came back one more time. Guess what? More hard-left GoHs — the odious Coraline Ada Ehmke, she of the Contributor Covenant that prohibits project members from being politically incorrect any time, anywhere, in any venue, on pain of expulsion (who had to cancel due to an emergency); Sumana Harihareswara, who I found out the hard way was a hard-core feminist as well; and Cory Doctorow, well-known left-wing author — more politically correct panels, 15 of them on such topics as “Queering Your Fiction” and “Let’s Get the Taste of 2016 Out of Our Mouths” and “Exploring Themes in Zen Cho’s Work” (with “Intersectionality, diaspora and immigration, the culture of British education, and queer relationships also appear in Cho’s stories over and over” in the description). When I was asked to submit lists of panel topics, I was instructed not to be controversial, but it seems the Left has no such admonition.

This was further borne out by the very first thing that happened at Opening Ceremonies: right after the con chair took the mic, she introduced one member of the convention committee, who proceeded to name 8 or 9 American Indian tribes that had lived in Southeast Michigan in the past and said that “we are their guests here”. That bit of virtue signaling came straight out of the political correctness playbook.

The con’s expanded harassment policy is also of the same stripe; it basically allows anyone to complain that they are being harassed on the flimsiest of excuses, and the con can then eject the subject of the complaint summarily with no recourse and no refund. This is the kind of policy that has routinely been used against those who are merely politically incorrect at other cons, most notably the Worldcon in Kansas City.

There were exactly two panels on topics that the Left would not approve of, both relating to firearms. In fairness, I will also point out that the con did, for the first time, officially sponsor and pay for the Geeks with Guns event. Still, the overall feel is that of overpowering political correctness.

All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion, for me: those who oppose the politically correct orthodoxy are not Penguicon’s kind of people. Oh, sure, they’ll happily take our money, but we’re not “one of them”.

I go to cons to escape the culture wars, not to get hit over the head with how much of a nasty, eeeeevil person I am for being a white male. We are all, first and foremost, SF fans and computer geeks. People should leave their politics at the door and celebrate SF and open source computing for their own sakes. For the first decade, at least, Penguicon did. It doesn’t any more.

Jer Lance disagrees with the diagnosis: “On the Need to Make Great Things Great Again”

Among my plans for the day, today, was to put together a quick writeup congratulating the staff of Penguincon for throwing an undeniably successful convention—the 15th in a series! Instead, I’d like to take a moment to respond to a long-time attendee’s paen to modern divisive politics; a blog post with the snappy title “Make Penguincon Great Again.” In his post, Jay “Tron Guy” Maynard makes the assertion that Penguincon has fallen to the “leftists” and resulting event is no longer one that is comfortable for people like him.

…Instead, I would like to focus on Jay’s proposed solution. Tron Guy—an attendee since the very first event—would “return the con explicitly to being nonpolitical.” Maynard yearns for the days when we focused on apolitical topics like Geeks with Guns – Societal & Political (year 1), Hidden Totalitarian Assumptions in ‘I, Robot’ (year 3), Don’t Be Evil: The Google Books Settlement (year 9), Technology as Legislation (year 5), and of course the keynote address from the very first Penguincon by Eric S. Raymond (on whose blog this Make Penguincon Great Again concept was born) which discussed “open source, the hacker culture, and the second amendment.” As Archie Bunker sang, those were the days!

In case my point was too subtle, Penguicon has never been any more apolitical than science fiction itself, despite claims to the contrary.

….I came to my first Penguincon in 2006 during its 4th year. I came for the tech conference side of the house and actively disdained the “comicon, nerd shit.” Over the ensuing 11 years, I have attributed a tremendous amount of my personal growth to my having been repeatedly and relentlessly exposed to things outside of my comfort zone through the convention. My hardline libertarian stance has softened to that of a moderate conservative through immersion in concepts that were foreign to me until such time as it was easier to understand them than repel them.

In that understanding, I’ve earned empathy….

(15) IT’S A THEORY. K.B. Wagers argues the change is happening: “The Rise of the Unlikable Woman”

There have always been unlikable characters in fiction, though the idea of the anti-hero?—?brooding, self-centered, wholly unredeemable?—?has long been considered a man’s territory. From crotchety but lovable Han Solo to the downright dangerous Riddick, no one complains that these characters aren’t people you’d trust to watch your house, let alone have a cup of tea with.

Women in fiction, by contrast, can only be unlikable if they are redeemable in some fashion or another?—?or if they’re ultimately punished. Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is struggling for redemption (and turned into a nursemaid for the Big Guy as a result). Were she still unrepentant about the death she’s dealt?—?as Loki is?—?she would find less compassion from the audience. Emma Bovary, in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, receives her punishment (in the form of her death) at the end of the novel as a result of her sexual desires.

But now, women characters are rising up from the ashes of these expectations….

(16) SIGNS OF THE TIMES. On Planetary Post, March for Science participants joined host Robert Picardo in support of space science and exploration in Washington, D.C.

(17) CLARKE CENTER. Episode 7 of Into the Impossible, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination’s podcast, takes you to ”New Spaces”.

We’re looking at new spaces in space, speaking with Drs. Yvonne Cagle (astronaut and physician) and Adam Burgasser (astrophysicist). We talk about why we send humans into space, the discovery of potentially habitable worlds at TRAPPIST-1 and how we imagine them, the role of interstellar art, the evolution of human physiology in zero-g, why the scariest thing about being an astronaut might be finding yourself on stage at the Oscars with Dr. Katherine Johnson, subject of the film Hidden Figures, and how important it is that we remain vigilant in our embrace of diversity across disciplines.

(18) BAT EXCLUSIVITY. ScreenRant claims there are “15 Things Batman Can Do (That No One Else Can)”.

Given his intensive combat training and genius-level sleuthing skills, the Dark Knight Detective is one of the most formidable heroes in the DCU (or the world of comics in general), giving him a skill-set that dwarfs many of his superpowered peers.

  1. He Has Contingency Plans to Take Down Enemies…and His Friends

As we stated earlier, Batman prepares for everything. And we mean everything. In addition to strategizing on how to take down all of his arch-enemies and other deadly threats, he does what some might see as a betrayal–he creates contingency plans against every one of his fellow Justice League team members (in Grant Morrison’s 2000 Justice League: Tower of Babel storyline).

Using his genius intellect, he develops brutally efficient ways to neutralize his teammates’ powers: he binds Green Lantern with his own power ring, makes Aquaman terrified of water, uses fire against Martian Manhunter, liquid nitrogen to subdue Plastic Man, virtual reality against Wonder Woman, and he even creates a weapon to give The Flash seizures.

His strategizing backfires, however, when Ra’s al Ghul steals his plans and takes down his allies. Needless to say, his fellow Justice League members were none too pleased with this, and they  subsequently had his membership revoked. It’s not easy for Batman to have friends.

(19) BATMAN & BILL. Hulu is releasing Batman & Bill on May 6, which is a documentary about Bill Finger’s contributions to the Batman mythos. FirstShowing.net explains the “Official Trailer for Hulu Doc ‘Batman & Bill’ About a Batman Creator”

“The most mysterious man in Gotham City wasn’t in a mask and cape.” Hulu has released an official trailer for a documentary titled Batman & Bill, which will premiere exclusively on Hulu starting early May. The documentary “unmasks” one of the greatest secrets in the comic industry – that Batman wasn’t created by Bob Kane alone, it was primarily Bill Finger who created the iconic superhero. This seems like a fascinating doc with plenty to offer for comic book fans, including inside stories and excellent art from the early days of Batman. It’s cool to see a doc like this that actually looks worth watching on Hulu.


(20) BATMAN & BOB. Offered on eBay and now marked down from $1,500 to $1,050, a signed first edition of Bob Kane’s autobiography Batman & Me with original signed ink Batman drawing by Kane.

Batman & Me. Forestville: Eclipse Books, 1989. First Edition. Copy number 144 of 1000 numbered copies signed by Bob Kane with an original ink drawing of Batman by Kane. The autobiography of the artist who created the immortal comic book character Batman in 1939. Extensively illustrated. Fine in slipcase.

(21) THE FIRST HALF OF HISTORY. Fanac.org has posted a recording of a 1968 Worldcon comics panel with Marv Wolfman and Harry Harrison. I guess a few things  have happened since then:

Baycon, the 26th WorldCon, was held in Oakland, California in 1968. This very entertaining panel features a discussion about contemporary comics by the then relative newcomer, Marvin Wolfman, and a plethora of engaging stories by Harry Harrision. Harry talks about Bill Gaines (EC Comics) and working with Wally Wood. The stories are funny, the context and history of the field are priceless. Moderated by Paul Moslander, this excellent recording is courtesy of the Pacifica Radio Archives.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Rambo, James Bacon, and Bruce D. Arthurs for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

195 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/1/17 Heigh-Ho, The Derry-O, A Pixel We Will Scroll

  1. Cassy B

    Matt Y, Assassin’s Creed: Mordor Edition ok, it sounds like I’m really going to enjoy this, then. Not played any LOTR games, but very much enjoyed the Ezio Assassin’s Creed, and was enjoying Black Flag until it glitched

    I loved all the Ezio games, felt that AC3 really dropped the ball on the modern day story and then they just mostly just continue to wander further away from it. Which is sad as it felt like there was a lot of potential around the bleeding effect and other things that just goes nowhere.

    But Black Flag is fun because pirates, I think that glitch is a UPlay related glitch which is really annoying. If you like that I thought AC Rogue improved upon that formula and was interesting, but it’s not on current gen consoles as far as I’m aware.


    *silently shuffles Gilded Cage much further down the tbr*

    Anyway, A Conjuring of Light was good, wasn’t it? I had a couple of issues – the plot appeared to involve some characters wandering off to pick up an actual plot token at one point, which seemed a very…standard…choice – but given that she had a lot to wrap up it was a fine effort and the overall series was great.

    Is City of Miracles out already? *checks* oh no, out on Thursday in the UK, that’s way too much temptation!

    Yeah I dug Conjuring though you’re right it even felt like a very convenient solution to their predicament to pop off and see the wizard so they can get a heart, brain, or whatever they needed to solve their particular overall plot and subplots. Still I thought that it was handled well with the tension of the consequences of using the plot device and the constant forward momentum of the pace. Good stuff. The cover art is what really drew me to it so great job on their part as well.

    Gilded Cage has one of those world’s where some of it doesn’t make sense but if you tweaked it then the plot wouldn’t work at all. It’s not terrible but it’s one of those books that the more I thought about the world and characters the more I disliked it

  2. @Eric Franklin: OK, that tips me over the edge with Comixology Unlimited. *off to sign up*

  3. From page 14 of A Closed and Common Orbit:

    This was a small kind of good, the kind of good that was only the opposite of the Mothers being angry. Sometimes it was real hard to guess when they’d be angry.

    oh no
    *steels self*

  4. Magewolf, Shadow of Mordor is a fun game but I was rather disappointed with the DLC

    DLC? DiLithium Crystals…?

  5. It’s not strange, clif, that you would say something so predictable, but it is strange that I have been wondering whether people would be rushing to defend C. and Matt if they had been voicing Puppyish opinions about the books they DID read. So you see, in a way I have already run your thought experiment.

    and what did you learn from your experiment? I doubt our conclusions will be at all similar … but I’m curious.

  6. one wonders … would there be as much pearl-clutching going on had THIS been said.

    1. If you think the conversation here is “pearl clutching”, I would venture to say that you have a very low bar for what constitutes “pearl clutching”.

    2. I would not care what they had said if they were talking about the Dragon Award nominees, although if they were making similar assessments without having read the books, I would roll my eyes at them.

    3. I wouldn’t care because I simply don’t care about any aspect of the Dragon Awards.

  7. Chris S:

    “@Hampus – thanks for the link, I think I’ll purchase that – and give the authors some cash.”

    You read swedish? I’m getting lost here. Or did I confuse links?

  8. Cassy B

    Magewolf, Shadow of Mordor is a fun game but I was rather disappointed with the DLC

    DLC? DiLithium Crystals…?

    Down Loadable Content. Expansions to the main game, I’m assuming since you purchased the Xbox One version you’ve got the Game of the Year version because I believe that’s the default one on the marketplace, which means you have all the extra content.

    Otherwise it’s mostly content to sucker people into buying a season pass pre-release of the content that is rarely ever worth it.

  9. The meta-discussion on what assumptions of opinions on things that weren’t said over things that were said about books that weren’t read might create a pixel hole in space time and scroll us all.

  10. @Matt Y – Well, when I think ahead to the 2018 shortlist, I cannot help but sigh, knowing that once again some books I will probably not have read will have been added, some of which will most likely be not at all what I will have preferred to read, and possibly not particularly creative, particularly given the banner year 2017 will have been for creative SFF.

  11. @Andrew Hickey

    From your review:

    Braindead is, roughly speaking, a series for people who liked The West Wing but wished more of the characters had their heads explode or had their brains eaten by alien insects.


  12. @Mark:

    No, thank you! I’m very curious and interested but my initial reaction to elements of the first two chapters means I will need to keep checking in with myself and take breaks if necessary. (I did not do this while reading Too Like the Lightning and ended up with a sleepless night.) If I brace myself then I can only end up pleasantly surprised. If that makes any sense.

  13. I went over to the Black Gate article to read Mr. Maynard’s ideas for the un-named SF/F award and started snickering at this line in the first part
    “We the undersigned believe that those who recognize achievement in science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) have lost sight of the core question to be answered when evaluating a work in the genre: “Does it tell a good story?”
    Sooo, basically it’s “We all think you morons wouldn’t know a good story if it bit you in the ass” and that’s going to bring them in?
    Best YA is for those under 18? I read Asimov’s “Foundation”; Heinlein’s “Stranger” and “Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by 16–would they be listed as YA?
    After reading the comments and Mr. Maynard’s remarks ‘Throwing it (the award) in David Gerrold’s face”? I’m tempted to write in and suggest they call it the “Bitter” Award.
    Other than that, I finished “Amberlough” by Lara Elena Donnelly and I’m still emotionally caught up in it. It resonated.

  14. Apropos of media that you keep thinking about, I would like to plug the movie Get Out. That was the best movie that I have seen in quite a long time. A true horror film in the original sense, as in invoking a sense of horror. Not the torture porn or slasher style of film that is usually meant when using that term. And there is just so much going on in that movie thematically. Lots of little details in the beginning come back around at the end.

  15. I’m finding Too Like The Lightning to be kind of a slog. I mean, I guess I’m interested in it, but I just am not having a lot of fun with it. I appreciate the worldbuilding, but it just is not capturing me like I was hoping it would. I just hit the halfway point. I think I’ll carry on, as the last 50-pages or so have been getting somewhat better. I was thinking though, that here I am at the halfway point of a book and I really couldn’t tell you much about the plot other than (rot13) gurer’f n xvq jub pna, rffragvnyyl, qb zntvp naq crbcyr jnag gb uvqr uvz. Naq fbzrbar fgbyr n cbchynevgl yvfg sebz n arjfcncre naq crbcyr ner znq nobhg vg…V thrff? V qba’g ernyyl xabj.

  16. @Harold Osler

    Please tell me more of Amberlough – I’ve downloaded a sample because it sounded intriguing, but haven’t looked at it yet.

  17. I really enjoyed the pilot of Amazon’s The Tick, and will be watching the series when it debuts in August. I hope it will be an Amazon show worth watching.

  18. @k_choll

    I’m not the best person to persuade you as I didn’t really get on with it myself, but the plot is definitely about to get a bit bigger.

  19. k_choll on May 2, 2017 at 11:11 am said:
    gurer’f n xvq jub pna, rffragvnyyl, qb zntvp naq crbcyr jnag gb uvqr uvz. Naq fbzrbar fgbyr n cbchynevgl yvfg sebz n arjfcncre naq crbcyr ner znq nobhg vg…V thrff? V qba’g ernyyl xabj.

    Without spoiling:
    *the society isn’t what it seems to be
    *powerful people are up to no good
    *some sympathetic people are also up to no good
    *there is a lot of no good going on basically but people have been ignoring it and now it is getting hard to.

  20. clif – Hugo nominees must be discussed in the approved manner everywhere – including the internet. For some, tabulating “approved” Hugo discussions causes anxiety. For others, slight tabulation errors of approved Hugo discussion causes stress.

    Puppies sometimes emerge from individual’s anxiety closets causing despair and trauma. “Puppy adjacent” may cause anxiety. Beware if a puppy is adjacent to an object or person. Any puppy can cause this: cute, smelly, happy or sad. A puppy need not be rabid to evoke anxiety. Best avoid any puppy and anything a puppy has been adjacent to. Napalm is the approved disinfectant. No puppy can be ignored by those suffering acute puppy anxiety.

    I hope this eliminates your confusion.

    See Berkeley Breathed for detailed examples of anxiety closets. Often genre-related objects emerge from one of these closets. Even bassalope puppies.

    [For everyone else, there is a $25 Humble Bundle for ebook copies of all of Breathed’s work.]

  21. K_choll – I’m 20% through TLTL and your ROT13’d summary is exactly what I got out of it about 10% ago. I’m worried if it’s another 30% of the book before the story starts unfolding a bit more. I’m kind of intrigued and frustrated so far.

  22. kathodus
    Yeah, I feel like the past 100-150 pages (out of 200) haven’t done much regarding expanding the story. It’s done a bit of worldbuilding, but really hasn’t explained much about the characters, who’s who, why things are going on, etc etc. There’s been a lot of time that this feels like a textbook, but without explanations about what the history is about. Based on some of the other comments, I’ll definitely keep going and see what happens with it.

  23. @steve / @Hampus: Fortunately I’d left my mug in the other room, so my keyboard is still usable. and @OGH: I saw what you did there.

  24. kathodus

    @Matt Y – Well, when I think ahead to the 2018 shortlist, I cannot help but sigh, knowing that once again some books I will probably not have read will have been added, some of which will most likely be not at all what I will have preferred to read, and possibly not particularly creative, particularly given the banner year 2017 will have been for creative SFF

    I feel that way every year though some of the works I enjoyed might not be very creative at all. My own shortlist has little overlap with the Hugo one, but that’s honestly one of the things I love because sometimes it’s trying out something outside of my usual interests or just for the discussion. I love a good book fight. It’s worse when it’s a banner year as there’s more of a chance that something I didn’t get time to read getting shortlisted while some that I liked might’ve gotten lost in the shuffle for others.

    But while some books I want to get shortlisted might not make it, a banner year for the genre I count as a win for everything but my backlog.

  25. @World Weary

    I very much enjoyed Get Out as well. Managed to catch the very last showing at my local cinema, I’m looking forward to watching it again when it comes on disc as I think it’ll be one of the ones where you’ll look on earlier scenes in a very different light.

    Ebfr’f vafvfgrapr gung Puevf arrqrq fubj gur pbc uvf VQ sbe rknzcyr.

    Also getting me some humble bundle penguin lust.

  26. @Matt Y – I was trying to make a joke, actually, just being obtuse, as usual.

    I’d read three of the books on the novel shortlist, and enjoyed them all (even if I thought one was not particularly good, it was still enjoyable). The Hugo Awards have a particular slant, and it’s not always my thing, but in my main interest – novels – the shortlist is still a good recommendation list.

  27. @Mark–I’ve been trying to think why this book so affected me. I tried to describe it to afriend by saying it had elements of “Cabaret” and “Casablanca”‘s moral greyness. I mean, the main characters are a performer in a seedy nightclub whose real income is from smuggling and his lover, an intellegence officer who is technically supposed to be keeping an eye on him but uses the situation of getting info as an excuse not to arrest him. Everyone in Amberlough has secrets.
    Watching the book unfold as fascism rises and everyone makes choices where they can’t win and allowances to get by even though you know it won’t end well caught me up and the last part of the book broke my heart.

  28. Wow, what looked to me to be some very mild criticism of people who pass judgment on works they haven’t read sure has blown up overnight, hasn’t it? Of course, people do that sort of judging all the time. I remember the outrage last year when a big UKish paper printed an article on Pratchett by someone who hadn’t read any, but was sure it was all crap. These guys (using the term “guys” in the Californian non-gender-specific sense) were simply following a long tradition. But it’s a tradition where you should at least expect at least some mild criticism, so I can’t muster much sympathy for their complaints. (Does their reaction count as pearl-clutching? Or is that about the programming language?)
    The Appertainment poster is cool, and as a healthy cis-het male who grew up in fandom, I’m a fan of hot blue women, but, the “Boobs and Butt pose” seems a little over the top. Maybe I’ve just been overdosed after reading too much Escher Girls? 🙂

    (To be fair to the artist, he seems to have gone out of his way to find a B&B pose that didn’t involve grotesque distortions of anatomy–unlike many–so please consider this a mild criticism.)

  29. Xtifr: I’m a fan of hot blue women, but, the “Boobs and Butt pose” seems a little over the top.

    Maybe Jim C. Hines will be inspired to do one of his sendups of the pose? Then people could have their choice of labels, as well as beverages.

  30. kathodus

    @Matt Y – I was trying to make a joke, actually, just being obtuse, as usual.

    It could not have been a joke that went over my head, I would’ve caught it because my reflexes are so fast.

  31. … are there any other Amazon shows worth watching?

    Catastrophe is a funny comedy starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney as an Irish woman and American man who become a mismatched couple forever teetering on the brink of romantic disaster after she becomes pregnant from their week-long fling. I find the show’s cynicism endearing.

    Carrie Fisher played the oddball mother of Delaney’s character and was the only actor allowed to improvise, he said in an interview. The third season, which I have yet to see, features some of her final acting performances.

  32. Wow, what looked to me to be some very mild criticism of people who pass judgment on works they haven’t read sure has blown up overnight, hasn’t it?

    By the time we’re done with them they won’t even silently mouth the title of a book until they’ve read it twice and listened to the audio edition.

  33. More Hugo Reading:

    A Closed and Common Orbit:
    I like it a lot and expect to do a few rereads in the future. The book is deservedly on the shortlist, but it lacks a bit of the (for me) necessary mindblowingness to win. Clear first place for now, but I haven’t read Lee, Palmer and Jemisin yet and expect one of them to take over.

    Ninefox Gambit:
    15% in. I’ve just preordered Raven Stratagem.
    Ticks box “mindblowing”

  34. I like the Appertain label.

    That looks like Taral Wayne’s rendition of Cypher from E.T. and Elizabeth Bryan’s Gremlin Trouble.

  35. Jenora Feuer: That looks like Taral Wayne’s rendition of Cypher from E.T. and Elizabeth Bryan’s Gremlin Trouble.

    Yes. It was also the cover of File 770 #163.

  36. Shirley the name is “Appertain Yourself”?

    It says so in the relevant phrase, “Appertain yourself, a beverage”.*

    *Comma may** have been inserted for effect.
    **Not maybe, definitely.

  37. Right… I think that image was actually used as the back cover of one of the original issues.

    <sigh> Now I want to dig out all my issues of Gremlin Trouble again. I really enjoyed that comic.

    *peers at issue* Well, the Penneys are also local; I’ll probably see Lloyd at Ad Astra next weekend. And while I don’t really know ATom, the artwork reminds me a lot of Matt Howarth.

  38. rcade: By the time we’re done with them they won’t even silently mouth the title of a book until they’ve read it twice and listened to the audio edition.

    This was never the basis for the criticism, and I’m getting really tired of people pretending that it was.

  39. @Mark

    Hap & Leonard is based on the books by Joe R. Lansdale – who also writes fantastika. I guess you could most easily describe it as a crime show with a strong sense of place however that doesn’t really do justice to it. Some of the characters, and the situations are much larger than life with an ambiguous darkly comic tone and it almost has an absurdist feel.

  40. This shortlist hasn’t been much to my (admittedly plebian) tastes. I gave up on both TLTL and All the Birds over 100 pages into them. I enjoyed them well enough while I was reading them, but never really cared about them. In the periods between reading sessions, I was never sorry that I had to set them aside. If I finish all my other Hugo reading, I might go back to them and try again. It felt like homework.

    OTOH, my roommate nominated Birds. She has a lot more patience for working while reading than I do.

    For me, both of these books are more Hugo-worthy than Aeronaut’s Windless, but I enjoyed the latter much more.

    So far Obelisk Gate is at the top of my list. Instead of being a weaker entry, as book two in a series so often is, it greatly expanded the world building of the first book.

    Currently reading Three Parts Dead and enjoying it very much.

  41. This was never the basis for the criticism, and I’m getting really tired of people pretending that it was.

    Never? Scroll up. Mike writes in the post you’re commenting on, “(Or – and this was the point — you could wait to fling poo at the Hugo shortlist ‘til you’ve read it, something that never occurred to C. and Matt.)”

  42. the “Boobs and Butt pose” seems a little over the top

    It’s pretty mild by the standards of Escher Girls. Some of theirs are much more extreme.

  43. rcade: Mike writes in the post you’re commenting on, “(Or – and this was the point — you could wait to fling poo at the Hugo shortlist ‘til you’ve read it, something that never occurred to C. and Matt.)”

    Exactly. The issue isn’t that they haven’t read all the finalists (which your previous post implied), or that they’ve opined on the ones they have actually read.

    The issue is that they were making sweeping statements about the Hugos and the shortlist even though they’ve read less than half of it.

    This is, what? the third or fourth time now that I’ve pointed this out? How hard is it to understand what’s been said?

  44. @andyl I enjoy the Hap & Leonard books, but not so much the show . I only watched the first season. Things that were funny on the page seemed a lot less funny on the screen, and a lot more mean spirited. YMMV

    Lansdale describes Hap & Leonard “when noir happens to good people.”

  45. A correction; the Tower of Babel JLA storyline referenced in the Batman item was written by Mark Waid, not Grant Morrison (it was one of Mark’s first stories after replacing Morrison on the book).

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