Pixel Scroll 5/21/17 What A Strange Pixel — The Only Winning Scroll Is Not To File

Just an appetizer Scroll today, as my cold has devolved to the flu.

(1) DEMON MEME. And I‘ll make the first course of this appetizer “Occult sandwiches”. No excerpt (can’t get more lo-cal than that) because it looks to be one long Imgur graphic. Its style of humor will reward the attention of anyone who likes the kind of wordplay indulged in by Gaiman and Pratchett.

(2) THE REAL ATWOOD. Years ago all the focus was on Margaret Atwood’s insistence that she didn’t write science fiction. It kept us from learning so many very interesting things about her, as illustrated by this Guardian profile about “Margaret Atwood: a high priestess of fiction who embraces the digital age”.

At 77, Atwood combines the loftiness of a high priestess who does not suffer fools gladly with an unstinting generosity to those she deems not to be foolish. She is a passionate environmentalist, with a particular interest in birds, which she shares with her husband, Graeme Gibson.

If her determination to live by her principles occasionally seems incidentally comic — as when she embarked by boat on an international tour of a stage show publicising the second novel of her MaddAddam trilogy, The Year of the Flood — she also brings to her politics a healthy dose of intentional humour.

On a recent visit to her Toronto home, her longtime UK publisher Lennie Goodings was surprised to meet her carrying a paper bag bulging with four large rubber turkeys. “She showed them to me with that funny, head on a tilt, wicked smile of hers. They squawked when she pressed them.” It turned out that she and Gibson were about to present the prizes at an annual RSPB competition. “The winners each receive a rubber turkey from Margaret, at which point she conducts them in a squeezing squawking choir.”

Atwood traces her concern with the environment back to a childhood spent criss-crossing the forests of Canada with her entomologist father. She was the second of three children, and the family’s itinerant lifestyle meant that she did not go to full-time school until she was eight years old. She began publishing her poetry while a student at the University of Toronto, won her first major literary prize for a poetry collection published in 1964, and three collections later diversified into fiction in 1969 with The Edible Woman, about a woman driven mad by consumerism

(3) I KNOW I DIDN’T VOTE FOR IT. Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club blog just came online in May and they’ve attracted attention with their verdict:

1973: The Worst Hugo Award

1973 was a very good year. Income inequality was at its historical lowest in America, union density was at its highest, major victories were happening in civil rights.

But in the world of science fiction, it was the year that one of the worst novels ever to win the top Hugo award was honoured for all the wrong reasons.

And, yes, they already took into account the traditional loser in the debate.

(4) ELVISH. Greg Hullender (via Nicholas Whyte’s website) discovered Carl F. Hostetter’s “Elvish as She Is Spoke” [PDF file] and he enthusiastically forwarded the link with a flurry of comments.

It’s a linguistic assessment of attempts to flesh out Tolkien’s two Elvish languages.

The first key point is that Tolkien obviously wasn’t fluent in either language himself, partly because he kept changing them both, and partly because he doesn’t seem to have ever worked out all the details of the syntax. He doesn’t seem to have been trying to construct a language like Esperanto that anyone would actually use; he was simply having fun. So this is why he didn’t leave a lot of examples of Elvish text behind: he had difficulty writing anything in Elvish himself.

Second, the “neo” languages that people have tried to construct from Tolkien’s work are terribly naive, and often contradict some of the little bits of Elvish that Tolkien actually left us. The author compares it to the hilarious 19th-Century work “English as She is Spoke.” (If you don’t read anything else, skip to page 249, starting with “Elvish as She is Spoke.”)

That said, I think the author is a little hard on the neo-Elvish folks. Tolkien simply didn’t leave enough behind for them to do what they want to do. Lacking that, they’ve tried to be inventive. In the process, they’ve produced something that at least has a very Elvish “feel” to it, and (judging from the movies) sounds very nice. Also, the things that would make it more realistic (e.g. irregularity and polysemy) would make it much harder for native English speakers to learn. Even though neo-Elvish doesn’t withstand close study, it’s good enough for most people to suspend disbelief. That’s probably the most you can reasonably ask of a fantasy language.

Carl Hostetter is part of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship which has spent decades having scholarly fun exploring Tolkien’s languages.

(5) COMIC SECTION. Wiley in Non Sequitur today comments on the cartoonists’ favorite award, the Reuben.

(6) REUBEN AWARD. The National Cartoonist Society will present the Reuben Awards on May 278. The 2016 Cartoonist of the Year nominees were announced March 2.

LYNDA BARRY is a cartoonist and writer. She’s authored 21 books and received numerous awards and honors including an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from University of the Arts, Philadelphia, two Will Eisner Awards, The American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Washington State Governor’s Award, the Wisconsin Library Associations RR Donnelly Award, the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2016. Her book, “One! Hundred! Demons!” was required reading for all incoming freshmen at Stanford University in 2008. She’s currently Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity and Director of The Image Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were she teaches writing and picture-making. Lynda was nominated for Cartoonist of the Year for 2016 and will be the recipient of the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award at the 71st Reuben Awards dinner in Portland Oregon this year. You can follow Lynda on Twitter at @NearSightedMonkey.

STEPHAN PASTIS is the creator of the daily comic strip Pearls Before Swine, syndicated by Universal Uclick. Stephan practiced law in the San Fransisco Bay area before following his love of cartooning and eventually seeing syndication with Pearls, which was launched in newspapers beginning December 31, 2001. The National Cartoonists Society awarded Pearls Before Swine the Best Newspaper Comic Strip in 2003 and in 2006. Stephan is also the author of the children’s book series Timmy Failure. Stephan lives in northern California with his wife Staci and their two children. This is his ninth nomination for Cartoonist of the Year. Visit Stephan’s blog and the Pearls Before Swine website.

HILARY PRICE is the creator of Rhymes With Orange, a daily newspaper comic strip syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Created in 1995, Rhymes With Orange has won the NCS Best Newspaper Panel Division four times (2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014). Her work has also appeared in Parade Magazine, The Funny Times, People and Glamour. When she began drawing Rhymes With Orange, she was the youngest woman to ever have a syndicated strip. Hilary draws the strip in an old toothbrush factory that has since been converted to studio space for artists. She lives in western Massachusetts. This is Hilary’s fourth nomination for the Cartoonist of the Year. You can visit Rhymes With Orange online here.

MARK TATULLI is an internationally syndicated cartoonist, best known for his popular comic strips Heart of the City and Lio, which appear in 400 newspapers all over the world. He currently has written three books in a children’s illustrated novel series titled Desmond Pucket, which has been optioned for TV by Radical Sheep. He also has two planned children’s picture books coming from Roaring Book Press, an imprint of McMillian Publishing. The first, Daydreaming, will hit bookstores in September 2016. Lio has been nominated three times for the National Cartoonists Society’s Best Comic Strip, winning in 2009. Lio was nominated for Germany’s Max and Moritz Award in 2010. This is Mark’s third nomination for Cartoonist of the Year. You can follow Mark on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mtatulli/ and find his Lio strips here http://www.gocomics.com/lio.

ANN TELNAES creates editorial cartoons in various mediums- animation, visual essays, live sketches, and traditional print- for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons. Telnaes’ print work was shown in a solo exhibition at the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in 2004. Her first book, “Humor’s Edge”, was published by Pomegranate Press and the Library of Congress in 2004. A collection of Vice President Cheney cartoons, “Dick”, was self-published by Telnaes and Sara Thaves in 2006. Other awards include: The National Cartoonists Society Reuben division award for Editorial Cartoons (2016), The National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award (2006) — The Maggie Award, Planned Parenthood (2002) — 15th Annual International Dutch Cartoon Festival (2007) — The National Headliner Award (1997) — The Population Institute XVII Global Media Awards (1996) — Sixth Annual Environmental Media Awards (1996).

Telnaes worked for several years as a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. She has also animated and designed for various studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Taiwan.

Telnaes is the current president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) and is a member of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS). This is Ann’s first Cartoonist of the Year nomination.You can visit Ann’s website, http://www.anntelnaes.com, and follow her on twitter at @AnnTelnaes.

And there are 45 nominees in 15 NCS Divisional Categories. Needless to say, it’s a lot more entertaining to look at the illustrated lists over at the NCS site.

(7) BATTLE OF THE BOTTLES. Ommegang Brewery is coming out with an additional three beers in its Game of Thrones series, this time in a new line called “Bend the Knee”.

Bend the Knee:

When fans last gripped their glasses at the end of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, the great houses of Westeros were on the brink of an epic conflict. Cersei had ascended to the Iron Throne as the first queen of Westeros, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark had just reclaimed the North, and Daenerys Targaryen had set sail for the Seven Kingdoms. To commemorate the coming melee in the Emmy® Award-winning show’s epic seventh season, Brewery Ommegang and HBO Global Licensing are excited to announce a new beer in their collaborative series: Bend the Knee Golden Ale.

Paying homage to the struggle for control of the Seven Kingdoms, Bend the Knee will be available on draft and in a series of three collectible 750ml bottles, all finished in matte black and adorned with one of the three Great House sigils: Stark, Targaryen, or Lannister.

And while the show returns on July 16, fans can mark their calendars for the official nationwide release of the beer, which will be on shelves around Memorial Day.

(8) A CARD OF HIS OWN. At last night’s Nebula Award ceremony veteran SFWA volunteer Steven H Silver was given a great surprise — he has been added to the Science Fiction Historical Trading Cards Series.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Greg Hullender, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

147 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/21/17 What A Strange Pixel — The Only Winning Scroll Is Not To File

  1. @Jack Lint
    Elvish is everywhere
    Elvish is everything
    Elvish is everybody
    Read Return of the King

    Michael J. Fox has no Elvish in him.

  2. Lurkertype: I have a good report to make about my health. The flu-like symptoms have abated. I still have the cold. Saw my doctor today and was prescribed a couple things for the cold symptoms. Things should be back to normal soon.

  3. @Cassy B
    I wish there was a page with the last, say, 100 comment listed. Or 200. Or 1000….
    I wish that the sidebar list of Recent Posts linked not to the post, but to the most recent comment on the post.

    @James Davis Nicoll
    The time travellers come from a period only 43 years away, no more distant from us than Nixon’s resignation, but somehow in that time every revolving door in Britain has been uninstalled and all knowledge of them erased.

    And they must have stopped watching movies in which revolving doors are a plot point, like the Christopher Reeve Superman and Will Ferrell in Elf.

  4. @World Weary: “Atwood as a person is someone that I respect less the more often we hear from her. She has a lot of opinions but they never seem to be considered ones. To be fair, I am apt to dislike any SF author who claims not to write SF. Pretentious snobs, the lot of them!”

    It seems that every time Atwood is mentioned, someone has to bring up her alleged disavowal of SF and someone else has to get irritated about it all over again, ignoring every subsequent statement she’s made and even the context of her original statement.

    In order to think she was being a “pretentious snob”, you’d have to think that she claimed to be above writing science fiction— that her own work was supposed to be something better. There are odd things she’s said that could certainly give that impression by themselves, like how she thought SF has to have “monsters and spaceships”… but she’s said enough other things over the years to make it clear that she does have respect for SF, just had an idiosyncratic definition of it that led her to think she was supposed to use the broader term “speculative fiction” if her work had a mundane setting and not much attention to science. And she’s acknowledged that other people use a definition that would include her work and she’s fine with that.

    There is no point in continuing to hold a grudge about how Atwood is supposedly sneering at SF. If she ever was, and I don’t think she was, she hasn’t been doing so for a long time. She’s probably not widely read in it and doesn’t speak like an insider; so what?

  5. lurkertype: I had the flu back in the 80’s, and was telling myself it wasn’t that bad, it was just a cold, no big deal. Then I realized I could not follow the plot of the episode of “The A-Team” that was on my TV. It was too complicated.

    *snort*

  6. I always placed Margaret Atwood in the group of writers who use science fiction and fantasy tropes but aim for the “mainstream literary” market. In my opinion, we’re talking about folks like Kurt Vonnegut, Colson Whitehead, Kazuo Ishiguro, Cormac MacCarthy (specifically The Road), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveller’s Wife), and David Mitchell.

    The reason why I tend to get aggravated with them is 1) Generally they don’t play the SF/F game very well no matter how well they can write and 2) They sometimes feel the need to reassure the literary crowd that they are still above genre literature by putting the genre practice down in some way, shape or form.

    So I think Atwood is very guilty of No. 2. If it wasn’t for Le Guin holding her metaphorical feet to the fire, she would probably still deny everything.

  7. I did not know about Atwoord’s collected essays on SF. I will have to revisit my opinion. Oh well.

  8. @Rob Thornton — I was about to agree with your opinion, so let us know if you revise it. I was even going to add Junot Diaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a great book full of great writing … and constant mean putdowns about how dudes who dig AD&D and LOTR are never ever going to score.

    Contrast with Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay. Dude’s a big old nerd and he loves nerddom, and it shows.

  9. @Chip Hitchcock

    shotgun sequencing as described requires several copies of the same stretch of DNA, isolated from copies of any other stretch; neither of these applies to Vinge’s description of library conversion.

    True. My headcanon was that Vinge’s method also captured information about the shape and shade of each paper shard, allowing the process to work without multiple copies of the same work (and with different books in the machine at the same time).

  10. Small bits of paper are also a lot larger and potentially easier to identify and analyze than tiny molecules of DNA. In any case, there was so much more to that book than just the giant shredding machines. The Rabbit was wonderful. The YGBM virus was fascinating. The dancing buildings and the war with the Pratchett fans! And so much more. Once I got over the disappointment of discovering that it wasn’t going to have any new species of fantastic aliens (which, I freely admit, is normally one of Vinge’s strong points), I found it delightful.

  11. I just realized I mis-typed; when I split up epub omnibuses I split them in Sigil, not Calibre. Sigil is a fairly user-friendly epub editor and works well for this purpose. You can see the files that make up the volume in order (usually they split one file per chapter) and delete them as necessary to pare down to one volume. Obviously you’ll want to be very careful NOT to over-write your master copy when you save….

  12. Water wheels! They would be amazing in a SE Asia near future SF which didn’t also contain a Japanese sex robot, a money+race obsessed Malaysian Chinese whose country has been Taken Over by Evil Intolerant Muslims, a seedy white dude who inexplicably punches above his weight socially, and a backdrop of Thailand Is So Plucky And Independent! And that makes them also brutal and nationalistic! Shrug!

    And lol, of course Myanmar is literally described as nothing but poverty because even when it exists, Myanmar never gets to be anything but poverty and occasionally a bizarrely renamed Vietnam standin for white macho men to play with (looking at you, The Divine) (I don’t actually have the expertise to make this sweeping statement and would LOVE to be proved wrong!)

  13. @lurkertype:

    One thing you can say in favor of “The Gods Themselves” is, it didn’t have any Dianetics in it.

    Uh, wha? I’ve never heard that Asimov was any kind of believer in or supporter of Dianetics.

  14. @Mark (Kitteh): I indeed started Penric #1 last night and I’m enjoying it! I don’t really have time for it (so! much! Hugo! reading!), but I’m glad I started with it.

    @Arifel: “Monstress got a lot clearer for me by about chapter 3” – Cool! I actually started confused with chapter 2 (“is this a flashback? why does the author believe I’ll recognize this place name?”) and skimmed a bunch – I should’ve just focused more, or paged back to check the place name. (Hey, it was late.)

    @Johan P: I started using that trick of the browser history suggestions a while back, but I got super-confused one time when I clicked a suggest from a year ago. 😉 Now I pay a bit more attention when I click suggestions like that.

  15. @Greg Hullender (et al.): The rape in Hominids doesn’t have zero effect in that book, e.g., part of her reason to take the job, her reaction to certain people & events, @JJ’s theory on its purpose (which makes sense to me), et al. Anyway, it’s a plot point in book 2 and book 3, so it comes back. :-/

    When I re-read-via-audio Hominids a while back, it wasn’t as good as I remembered, but I enjoyed it okay. But then I moved on to Humans and stopped listening partway through – very tedious, and I haven’t gotten back to it, so it’s unlikely I’ll listen to Hybrids. I liked this series a lot, years ago, but it really doesn’t hold up.

    I’ve enjoyed several of Sawyer’s other books a lot, but haven’t revisited them, so maybe they wouldn’t hold up – no idea. I remember one of his more recent books (past 10 years or less?), I enjoyed a lot but wanted to throw across the room so badly! He seems to be writing more mainstream (and on topics that don’t interest me as much) these days. He’s an oddly popular-but-people-love-to-hate-him author. I was a big fan, back in the day, but now am more meh, especially after giving up on re-reading Humans.

  16. @David Goldfarb: Heh. Maybe it’s just always something good to say about a book? “Well, at least it doesn’t have any Dianetics in it!” 😉

  17. A Muslim once ran after me in Kuala Lumpur.

    I’d dropped some money and he was handing it back to me.

    Also would a rain-powered water wheel really be that good an idea in SE Asia? It only rains consistently a few months of the year, and outside the rainy season you can go weeks without seeing any at all. Even in the rainy season you can have several days of no rain followed by an evening of torrential downpour.

  18. Hey, enter to win 35 UF books. The e-mail I got said “Jake Bible and Diana Pharaoh Francis have teamed up with over 35 fantastic Cozy Mystery authors…” and these are UF, so – COZY MYSTERY FANTASY??? To harken back to a thread from last month. 😉

    (I haven’t looked at the list closely, so I don’t know whether they’re really all cozy mystery UF stuff or not.)

  19. @Rob Thornton:

    2) They sometimes feel the need to reassure the literary crowd that they are still above genre literature by putting the genre practice down in some way, shape or form.

    So I think Atwood is very guilty of No. 2. If it wasn’t for Le Guin holding her metaphorical feet to the fire, she would probably still deny everything.

    That is a weird use of the word “so” in your last paragraph, because it isn’t preceded by any reason for you to think that, as “so” normally would be; you seem to be saying “I’ve decided that Atwood is in a category of people who sometimes do X. Therefore, I think she is guilty of X.”

    And then you go on to explain why she shouldn’t even be given credit for statements that would otherwise seem to mitigate her “guilt”, because she doesn’t really mean them. Whatever… I have no idea why some people are so invested in this grudge, but clearly nothing is ever going to assuage it if the response will just be “oh that’s really just thanks to Le Guin”.

  20. @Charon D.:

    I was even going to add Junot Diaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a great book full of great writing … and constant mean putdowns about how dudes who dig AD&D and LOTR are never ever going to score.

    Contrast with Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay. Dude’s a big old nerd and he loves nerddom, and it shows.

    Pretty sure you have confused Diaz’s characters’ opinions with the author’s. No one could’ve written Oscar Wao who was not in fact a big old nerd.

  21. @David Goldfarb: “They’d Rather Be Right” is full of Dianetics-inspired stuff. Which automatically means anything of Asimov’s is superior.

    Water wheels run in streams, regardless of rain. They could be seasonal. And since the city was below sea level, with dikes and pumps and stuff, it’d be trivial to run streams of water through water wheels. Or at least think of them and dismiss them for good reasons.

    But why bother with getting simple tech right when you can also get complicated fake tech wrong, while you’re slinging Asian stereotypes and creepy fantasies?

    Yay Mike’s health!

  22. Eli, I didn’t mean to sound so harsh. I always forget people can’t tell my tone when reading. I thought that I had moved it into hyperbole by the way I wrote it. I apologize if I struck a nerve or hurt anyone’s feelings.

    Atwood’s opinions that I find problematic are some of the things that she says in other contexts, such as doubling down on her support for Galloway.

  23. @Lurkertype: ah, yeah, my brain is mostly switched off today. Combo of early starts and late nights. Anyway, it completely makes sense to reclaim some power from the water-pumping process at the very least, and then not a huge leap from that to building them over natural water flows too.

    Anyway, stupid stereotypes is enough to make me not want to ever read the books.

  24. I’m obviously in the minority here, but I really liked “The Windup Girl”.

    I also didn’t think Blackout/All Clear was that bad. But then it wasn’t until after I read it that others pointed out the numerous mistakes that causes a UK to cringe. My biggest problem with it was the characters not sharing important information (because of plot *reasons*) when they interacted.

  25. @Oneiros Good point – if they were rain powered, you’d have to have a very efficient way of capturing and storing the power from irregular heavy storms which are going to provide the bulk of the energy, and they’d become next to useless in dry seasons. In lowland Myanmar and I assume most of Thailand as well, the hot season just before monsoon is the point of heaviest demand for electricity, because its roasting and humid and everyone wants their air conditioners and electric fans running as much as possible, so if you are reliant on rain then you end up with no electricity at the point where you need it most. That could be a severe shock for all the parts of Thailand where people are used to 24/7 electricity, but would be business as usual in Yangon, where reliance on hydroelectricity (dams run dry in hot season) and general lack of capacity already makes March – May a candlelit sweaty delight most years…

    (Then there’s large parts of the country that have no electricity at all, but that’s a whole other thing)

    Edit: Yes or put them in streams etc. as Lurkertype says! I’d forgotten the city was below sea level.

  26. Can I just say I’m glad that so many people here share my intense dislike for Blackout/All Clear and The Windup Girl. Especially since it was pretty much impossible to criticise the latter back when it first came out without being called a climate change denier. I still remember criticising Bacigalupi’s Shipbreaker for factual errors and being called a “shill for the oil industry” for my troubles.

    Hominids is along with Spin one of the Hugo winners of the past fifteen years or so that has completely escaped my memory. Rainbow’s End I only remember because the mall bookstore near the university had a copy and I kept wondering whether to buy it, since I don’t much care for Vernor Vinge. Eventually, I decided to buy it, if it actually won the Hugo, as a reward for myself after passing my oral MA exams. So Rainbow’s End won the Hugo and I passed my exams and dropped by at the bookstore afterwards, only to buy a completely different book, because it sounded a lot more interesting than Rainbow’s End.

    Regarding Margaret Atwood, the claim that she didn’t write SF, because SF is about giant squids or some such thing, originates from a BBC radio interview that’s not available online (and trust me, I tried). The first reference to that interview I found was an old issue of Ansible. And since Margaret Atwood had refuted that claim lots of times since then and published a whole essay collection on SF (which is well worth reading and was on my best related work ballot the year it came out), not to mention that there are several geeky references even in Atwood’s realistic work which always made me suspect that she’s one of us, I believe she’s been misquoted. Though until the BBC makes that interview available again, we won’t know for sure.

  27. @Kendall–Hey, enter to win 35 UF books. The e-mail I got said “Jake Bible and Diana Pharaoh Francis have teamed up with over 35 fantastic Cozy Mystery authors…” and these are UF, so – COZY MYSTERY FANTASY??? To harken back to a thread from last month. ?
    Don’t really recognize any of the authors and I do read a lot of cozies.
    Not sure how that’s supposed to work–from the covers, at least, they appear to be the usual UF books with erotic subtext or are blatently erotic where the cozy mysteries usually aren’t. I’ve been blind-sided by some UF books.
    I think your email was trying to cast a very wide net–like how Ebay sellers seem to list some things as Art Deco/Art Nouveau/MCM/Retro/Mod.

  28. “I’m obviously in the minority here, but I really liked “The Windup Girl”.”

    Me too.

  29. There’s a epub-split plugin for Calibre

    David H: Ta, that looks the sort of thing. The omnibuses are all in Calibre anyway with original versions backed up elsewhere so I can start again if I need to. If that fails I’ll try Cassy B’s suggestion in Sigil which I’ve poked at in the past but not used to any extent.

  30. I just found The Windup Girl too grim and depressing.

    Rainbow’s End on the other hand I really enjoyed, though I too had been hoping for a far-flung space opera from Vinge at the time.

  31. I thought The Windup Girl was pretty good. If I ever reread it (unlikely) I’ll have some of these criticisms in mind. However I’m not as bothered by impossible/impractical imaginary technologies in my sf as some other readers.

  32. I agree with Eli re: Junot Diaz. Reading Oscar Wao I got the clear impression that the author not only played D & D himself, he was quite at home and unashamed wirh nerd vocabulary like using Sauron to describe effectively a Dominican dictator. I think he drew clearly the reasons why Oscar was unattractive, and D&D wasn’t the cause, IMO.

  33. Vinge’s novel is deliberately titled Rainbows End, not Rainbow’s End.

    I thought it was a bit lightweight.

  34. Vinge’s novel is deliberately titled Rainbows End, not Rainbow’s End.

    You know I had that right to begin with too.

  35. @Soon Lee

    I’m obviously in the minority here, but I really liked “The Windup Girl”.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong; I liked it too. The technology flaws are minor bumps, not fatal to the story. It’s as though the author came up with some cool ideas and liked them so much that he didn’t think through the implications. It really comes down to whether you can suspend disbelief again, or if those things trouble you for the rest of the story.

    I’m puzzled (but not surprised) that others had brought this up to him. At first I was going to say that, well, it was a book signing, so maybe he only half listened to me, but then I remembered that a) I got there early and had a few minutes to chat with him alone and b) during his talk, he said something like, “although someone has pointed out to me that this technology was actually so powerful that they should have been able to use it to fix their water problems.” So I know he really did hear me.

    Or maybe the angle was just slightly different. Instead of “this technology is dumb–it violates the second law of thermodynamics” it was “this technology is too powerful.” Or maybe it was just that I lead off with “I’m a big fan of yours . . .” 🙂

  36. @lurkertype: “They’d Rather Be Right” is full of Dianetics-inspired stuff. Which automatically means anything of Asimov’s is superior. Examples? There are a lot of stories about fixing one’s mind that AFAICT have nothing to do with Dianetics. Wikipedia says that Langford says that it may have won due to Scientology, but doesn’t provide a link; I suspect there wasn’t enough organization at the time to stuff the nominations (as in 1987), let alone the final ballot, at a time when Dianetics was bankrupt and Scientology was very new — even given the much smaller number of Hugo voters at that time.

  37. @Anthony: “This might be a question for Rev Bob, but is there an easyish way of automagically splitting an omnibus like this back into individual volumes?”

    My answer to the general question would be to use the guide David H. linked to, but also to point out that the omnibus is DRM-protected with an expiration date… so splitting this particular one up has ethical issues.

    However, while I’m posting anyway…

    The season finale of The Flash is tonight, and I have one irrational request: find some way of telling us that the main character could hang up the tights and go be a barber if he felt like it.

    Why, you ask? Because then jr pna pnyy guvf frnfba’f onq thl Fnivgne, gur Snfg Unveoraqre. 😀

  38. Don’t really recognize any of the authors and I do read a lot of cozies.
    Not sure how that’s supposed to work–from the covers, at least, they appear to be the usual UF books with erotic subtext or are blatently erotic where the cozy mysteries usually aren’t. I’ve been blind-sided by some UF books.
    I think your email was trying to cast a very wide net–like how Ebay sellers seem to list some things as Art Deco/Art Nouveau/MCM/Retro/Mod.

    I read a lot of UF, but I only recognise a handful of authors in this giveaway. I suspect a lot of them are self-published, since at least one of the names I do recognise is. One or two look like urban fantasy/cozy mystery hybrids, the rest like regular UF. No idea about the heat level, but then sexual content doesn’t bother me, unless it become seriously gratuitious.

  39. Was I the only one to notice that in the giveaway image, the first and last covers are the same?

  40. @Harold Osler: I wonder if someone mixed up descriptions from different promotional give-aways; I did feel like those covers didn’t quite match up to the cozy concept.

    Re. Ebay, tell me about it – my other half and I have gotten annoyed repeatedly in years past at people using “centaur” to describe things that are not centaurs. I don’t know if it’s guile (but they won’t trick us into buying something we don’t want, so why bother?) or ignorance (no, seller, a satyr is not a centaur!).

    @Cora: Yes, my impression was some or many may be self-published (and others from a small publisher).

  41. @Rev. Bob: Heh, I missed that. I guess they didn’t have the right number of covers to make a nice orderly set or something. Good eyes, you!

  42. Harold Osler on May 23, 2017 at 12:39 am said:
    Kendall Grey might be UF, but she’s definitely on the erotic end of UF. (Not my thing. I read two of her trilogies, and wasn’t that impressed by them.)

  43. As for any idea of Atwood being a pretentious snob…

    “Angel Catbird”

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