Pixel Scroll 6/1/19 Nie Mój Scroll, Nie Moje Pixels.

(1) SECOND CARR COLLECTION IS A FREE READ. David Langford has released the Terry Carr collection Fandom Harvest II at the TAFF website. Download it free – and please consider making a donation to the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund as thanks.  

Complementing the 1986 Fandom Harvest and even longer, this further selection of Terry Carr’s fine fanwriting was assembled by David Langford with much help from others and released as an Ansible Editions ebook for the TAFF site on 1 June 2019. Cover art by Steve Stiles from The Incompleat Terry Carr (1988 edition). Over 118,000 words.

With thanks to Carol Carr for her permission and encouragement to produce this new ebook. (For the many further credits, see within.)

Langford spotlights his selections in the Introduction:

Of the above, Fandom Harvest was the first choice for a TAFF ebook since it’s not only the largest by far of these collections but was published as a printed hardback that was relatively easy to convert to digital text. The next logical step seemed initially to be an ebook of The Incompleat Terry Carr, but unfortunately there’s considerable overlap between this collection and Fandom Harvest. After removing duplications (“Trufan’s Blood”, the “Fandom Harvest” column selections, “The Fastest Ham in the West” and “Confessions of a Literary Midwife”), what remained of The Incompleat Terry Carr was an unsatisfactorily slim volume. This has been augmented with the fannish items reprinted in Between Two Worlds, the four best pieces from The Portable Carl Brandon, and many more notable articles, columns, editorials and stories not previously included in any Terry Carr collection. Ranging from 1955 to 1987, it’s a great read throughout.

And I appreciate Dave sending me the scoop in advance of the Monday edition of Ansible!

(2) UK GAMES EXPO ENFORCES CODE OF CONDUCT. Sexual violence in an RPG scenario hosted by a volunteer violated UK Games Expo’s code of conduct. The committee took action, explained in “An official statement”.

It was brought to our attention that in an RPG game on Friday afternoon a GM volunteer included content that was completely unacceptable and breached both the letter and spirit of the UK Games Expo.  The scenario included descriptions of sexual violence involving the players.  The players were understandably distressed and shocked by this content.

This content was not set out in the game description.  If it had been included in the submission it would have been rejected as unacceptable even for a game with an 18 rating. All games must still comply with the policies and the spirit of UKGE.

We have spoken personally to the player who first raised the issue and have unreservedly apologized for the distress caused. We are currently contacting the other players so we can offer them our apologies and any assistance they might need. We have made it clear that this kind of behavior and content has no place at UKGE and will not be accepted.

We immediately halted the game the GM was currently running and cancelled all of the games he was due to run.

The GM has been ejected from the show and will not be allowed access to any of the NEC halls or Hilton function rooms that are under the control of UK Games Expo.

He has also been banned from submitting any games for the foreseeable future…

(3) TRIMBLE NEWS. Bjo and John Trimble have closed their Ancient Earth Pigments business: “Saying Goodbye – Shop Closing May 30”.

After a year of illness and other personal hassles, we’ve decided to retire from the pigment business.

This was a painful but necessary decision.

What we’ll do next is still up in the air while John recovers from a seizure and hospital stay.

We may try to sell the whole business. Or sell it off piecemeal.

(4) HE BLINDED ME WITHOUT SCIENCE. James Davis Nicoll’s headline “Better Science Fiction Through Actual Science” at Tor.com seems to promise something — can he deliver? Well, no, so it’s fortunate he has another goal in mind anyway…

Science fiction purports to be based on science. I hate to tell you this, but a lot of SF is as close to science and math as Taco Bell is to authentic Mexican cuisine.

I revelled and still revel in mass ratios and scale heights, albedos and exhaust velocities, evolutionary biology and world history. (I’m not the only one. Big wave to my homies out there.) So…as much as I love SF, I’m constantly running head-on into settings that could just not work the way the author imagines. My SOD (suspension of disbelief) is motoring along merrily and suddenly, bang! Dead in its tracks. Perhaps you can understand now why so many of my reviews grumble about worldbuilding….

(5) CINEMA CRUDITE. At Fast Company, Patrick J. Sauer documents how “Luxury cinemas are fighting Netflix with steak tartare, expensive booze, and gourmet popcorn”.

Nothing pairs better with a cold rainy Sunday and a warm baby Loxodonta quite like a Rockaway Nitro Black Gold Stout. About one-third of the way through Tim Burton’s Dumbo, I ordered a second, and as it was delivered to me in the dark, I was struck by the scene where V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton)–evil, conniving moneybags and Dreamland amusement park owner–explains to the scrappy, DIY road circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) that of course he should bring his entire operation, airborne pachyderm included, into his opulent fold. Why? Because the future of entertainment is bringing the people to you, not the other way around.

Sipping Dumbo suds at Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, I couldn’t have agreed more, and as attested by the typical full house, I was not alone….

(6) WOMEN IN ANIMATION. In “A Storyteller’s Animated Journey”, Beloit College Magazine’s Kiernyn Orne-Adams profiles Lynne Southerland, whose career in animation includes directing Cinderella and the Secret Prince and producing several episodes of Monster High and Happily Ever After.

…After Disney, Southerland moved on to Mattel to help develop shows for two of their toy lines: Enchantimals and Monster High. As a showrunner, Southerland was able to expand on those worlds while placing female characters—and their close friendships—at the center. She particularly enjoyed working on Monster High because of the opportunity to create more complex teenage characters, and she eventually developed the idea for Adventures of the Ghoul Squad, a miniseries in which the main friends—all children of famous monsters—travel the world to help others and solve mysteries….

(7) CASTING COWL. Rachel Bloom, of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and “F*ck Me Ray Bradbury” fame, voices Batgirl in the recently released animated video Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Batman, Batgirl and Robin forge an alliance with The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to fight against the Turtles’ sworn enemy, The Shredder, who has teamed up with Ra’s Al Ghul and The League Of Assassins.

(8) ETCHISON TRIBUTE. Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton, in “A Few Words About Dennis Etchison”, tells about her decades of friendship with the renowned author.

…I attended my first World Fantasy Con in 1993, in Minneapolis. Dennis met me almost as soon as I arrived, and started introducing me to everyone. One of the editors I met there – Stephen Jones – would buy my first short story a year later, and go on to become the editor I’ve worked with the most.

That convention was an amazing experience. I rented a car and became Dennis’s driver for a few days. At the time Dennis was embroiled in a feud with Harlan Ellison, and I still laugh when I think of him telling me that he’d put any five of his stories up against any five of Harlan’s stories (Dennis was also a wrestling fanatic, which made this even more amusing). I drove Dennis to a signing at the massive Mall of America; no one came to the signing, so Dennis, Poppy Z. Brite, and Melanie Tem read their stories to each other while I listened in….

(9) KINSTLER OBIT. Artist Everett Raymond Kinstler died May 28 – the New York Times obituary covers his beginnings as well as his years of celebrity:“Everett Raymond Kinstler, Prolific Portraitist, Dies at 92”.

…After serving at Fort Dix in New Jersey from 1944 to 1946, he returned to the comic-book business. He did a lot of work for Avon Comics, he said, because unlike some other imprints it allowed artists to sign their work. (Early in his career he used the name “Everett Raymond” for brevity’s sake, though he eventually switched to his full name.)…

As part of its Distinguished Illustrators Series, Norman Rockwell Museum exhibited “Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits,” in 2012.

Highly-regarded as a prominent American portraitist, Everett Raymond Kinstler began his career as a comic book artist and illustrator working for the popular publications of his day. The artist’s original illustrations and portraits of noted celebrities—from Katharine Hepburn, Tony Bennett, and Tom Wolfe to artists James Montgomery Flagg, Alexander Calder, and Will Barnet [was] on view in a lively installation that explores the process of capturing likenesses of his subjects for posterity.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • June 1, 1955This Island Earth premiered.
  • June 1, 1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock could be found in theaters.
  • June 1, 1990 Total Recall made its memorable debut.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 1, 1874 Pierre Souvestre. He was a journalist, writer and avid promoter of motor races. He’s remembered today for his co-creation with Marcel Allain of the master criminal Fantômas. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. Some of these could be considered genre. (Died 1914.)
  • Born June 1, 1937 Morgan Freeman, 82. Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight trilogy and less notably Azeem in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (and yes I saw it). He’s God in Bruce Almighty as he is in the sequel, Evan Almighty.  And he played the President in Deep Impact.
  • Born June 1, 1940 René Auberjonois, 79. Odo on DS9. He’s shown up on a number of genre productions including Wonder Woman, The Outer Limits, Night GalleryThe Bionic Woman, Batman Forever, King Kong, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered CountryEnterprise, Stargate SG-1 andWarehouse 13. He’s lent both his voice and likeness to gaming in recent years, and has done voice work for the animated Green Lantern and Justice League series.
  • Born June 1, 1947 Jonathan Pryce, 72. I remember him best as the unnamed bureaucrat in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He’s had a long career in genre works including Brazil, Something Wicked This Way Comes as Mr. Dark himself, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End as Governor Weatherby Swann, The Brothers Grimm, in the G.I. Joe films as the U.S. President and most recently in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as Don Quixote. 
  • Born June 1, 1950 Michael McDowell. Screenwriter and novelist whose most well-known work is the screenplay for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. He also did work on Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas though he’s not listed as the scriptwriter. He wrote eleven scripts for Tales from the Darkside, more than anyone else. And he wrote a lot of horror which Stephen King likes quite a bit. (Died 1999.)
  • Born June 1, 1966 David Dean Oberhelman. Mike has an an appreciation of him hereThe Intersection of Fantasy and Native America: From H.P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko which he co-wrote with Amy H. Sturgis was published by The Mythopoeic Press. ISFDB lists just one genre essay by him, “From Iberian to Ibran and Catholic to Quintarian”, printed in Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 1, 1973 C. E. Murphy, 46. Her Urban Shaman series was one of the best such series I’ve read in recent years. She had The Walker Papers – Alternative Views which used other characters as viewpoint narrators but none appealed to me alas as much as Joanne Walker, her primary character. 
  • Born June 1, 1996 Tom Holland, 23. He’s known for playing Spider-Man in five films: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home

(12) PUNCHLINE CREATOR. At Kalimac’s Corner, DB digs up more info about award-winning comics writer E. Nelson Bridwell, ending with perhaps his most widely-known contribution to pop culture: “this is the joke”.

…Evanier’s announcement credits Bridwell with co-creating a comic called The Inferior Five, which I’d never heard of either. A quick visit to its Wikipedia page proves that it’s exactly what it sounds like, a sort of precursor to Mystery Men, a rare case of a superhero movie I rather liked. So I might enjoy The Inferior Five as well, especially as Evanier says that Bridwell’s “writing was marked by a wicked sense of humor.”…

(13) THE LAST TIME THE WORLD ENDED. Steven Heller goes retro in “Outer Space and Inner Peace” at Print.

In 1951, astronomer Kenneth Heuer, author in 1953 of The End of the World, wrote Men of Other Planets (Pellegrini & Cudahy, NYC) where he speculates on the kinds of humanoid life that was possible on the other planets, moons and asteroids of outer space. In those days thousands of people were actually trying to book passage on space ships. With jet propulsion and atomic fuel bringing space travel into realms of possibility, the mysteries of flying saucers, possible invasions of the earth from another worlds were closer to reality and yesterday’s science fiction was moving into tomorrow’s news.

The full-page scratch board illustration by R.T. Crane adds both a science fact and fictional aura to the quirky propositions in this book…

(14) D&D MENTORING. James Alan Gardner shares some “Idle Thoughts on Role-Playing”.

(Spoiler alert: even though it’s called Dungeons & Dragons, beginning level characters should not try to slay a dragon. They will fail. However, I have a policy with brand new players: I promise that their characters won’t die in the first three sessions. If they really do try to slay a dragon, the dragon may just beat them up, take all their stuff, and leave them naked outside the nearest town. Or more likely, the dragon will singe them a bit, then say, “Okay, if you don’t want to die, you have to agree to run an errand for me…”)

(15) KIRK IN THE BEGINNING. Rich Horton revisits the dominant fan artist of the early Seventies: “The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist: Tim Kirk” at Black Gate.

It would be fair to say that for me, coming into contact with fandom in this period, my image of “fan art” was formed by Tim Kirk’s work, along with two more artists who won for their 1970s work, William Rotsler and Alexis A. Gilliland.

(16) WALK THIS WAY. The New York Post’s 2013 profile of the band contains a previously unsuspected (by me) bit of sff trivia: “First KISS”.

…Simmons then modeled his demon walk after a serpentine, loping-gaited martian named Ymir that stop-motion effects master Ray Harryhausen designed for the 1957 science fiction film “20 Million Miles to Earth.”

“I realized I couldn’t copy the movements of Mick Jagger or the Beatles because I didn’t have a little boy’s body,” Simmons says. “But I could be a monster.”

(17) THERE IS ANOTHER. Besides the lunar-landing prize – BBC tells how “GEBCO-NF Alumni robots win ocean-mapping XPRIZE”.

A robotic boat and submersible have won the XPRIZE to find the best new technologies to map the seafloor.

The surface and underwater combo demonstrated their capabilities in a timed test in the Mediterranean, surveying depths down to 4km.

Put together by the international GEBCO-NF Alumni team, the autonomous duo are likely now to play a role in meeting the “Seabed 2030” challenge.

This aims to have Earth’s ocean floor fully mapped to a high standard.

Currently, only 20% of the world’s sub-surface topography has been resolved to an acceptable level of accuracy.

(18) OCTOBER SKY REDUX. “Students attempt to launch self-built rocket”.

Look up into the sky and it’s hard to imagine where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins.

Commonly referred to as the Karman line, that imaginary border is 62 miles (100km) away and on Friday a group of students from across the US and Canada are hoping to send an unmanned rocket through it.

It’s the brainchild of 19-year-old rocket-obsessed North Carolina University student Joshua Farahzad, who said he came up with the idea during his “boring” summer vacation last year.

“I was always fascinated with space, I built a small rocket in high school after watching a movie called October Sky, and thought to myself how one day I’d like to build a bigger one,” he said.

…Without the help of a large financial backer, engineering professionals, or teachers, Operation Space began collaborating on the project remotely from their various locations across the US and Canada, using a Slack message channel, video chats and phone calls.

Operation Space is not the only group of students to build and launch spacecraft. Last month, students from the University of Southern California (USC) successfully sent their Traveler IV rocket across the Karman line.

While he’s full of praise for them, Joshua said his team is unique. “USC is cool but we are different because we are doing this all remotely with no university help,” he explained.

(19) COMING TO AMERICA. Pieces in our time: “This Lego-Themed Pop-Up Bar Is Made From 1,000,000 Building Blocks”.

A Lego-themed pop-up is coming to six U.S. cities this summer. The Brick Bar, which is not technically affiliated with the brand btw, is built with over 1 million blocks and will debut in NYC June 19.

The bar opened its first temporary location in London back in January 2018, and the “nostalgia trip” was an instant hit. Now the concept is expanding to a number of North American cities including New York, L.A., Miami, Houston, Cincinnati, and Denver. It will also hit Toronto and Vancouver in July.

“The bar will feature sculptures made completely from building blocks as well as an abundance of blocks for people to shape into their own creations. There will also be local DJ’s spinning tunes all day,” the website says. “We will have an Instagram worthy menu as well including a Brick Burger and Cocktails!

(20) A FORK IN THE ROAD. Compelling Science Fiction Issue #13 is available for purchase. Beginning with this issue, says publisher Joe STech, the magazine no longer posts its contents free online.

We start with LA Staley’s “Steps in the Other Room”. An elderly woman reports that her husband has been kidnapped. This seems difficult, since he has been dead for many years (2040 words). Our second story is “Sasha Red” by Tyler A. Young. In it, a woman fights to rescue refugees from Mars (6100 words). The third story this issue, Mark Parlette-Cariño’s “Bodybit,” is a story about the social effects of a fitness device that tracks sexual performance (4630 words). Next we have “What We Remember” by Mark Salzwedel. This one is first-contact story about a telepathic fungus (2800 words). Our fifth story is “Love and Brooding” by M. J. Pettit. Inspired by mouth-brooding tilapia, this story explores a very alien life cycle (5000 words). Our final story is “Steadies” by returning author Robert Dawson. A doctor is conflicted when she decides to prescribe her husband an anti-cholesterol drug that has also recently been found to strengthen relationships (3400 words).

(21) SYKES ADMIRATION SOCIETY. Nerds of a Feather’s Brian calls this books “the best kind of big mess.” “Microreview [book]: Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes”.

…This novel is an exercise in trusting an author. When it starts like another novel I didn’t like, it proved me wrong to misjudge it. When it doesn’t explain its setting or history from the start, it respected my patience by giving me enough to keep going and eventually answering my questions…

(22) OPENING THE WAY. Paul Weimer considers where this tale leads: “Microreview [book]: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow” at Nerds of a Feather.

…The novel is a rather slippery fantasy to try and get a hold of. Is it a Portal fantasy, as the back matter and the title suggests? Yes, and no, the Portal aspects of the fantasy are not the central theme. Is it a coming of age story, of a young woman coming into herself? Yes, but there is much more going on with theme, history, theory and thought on it. The book is, however, a fantasy about the power of stories, and where stories come from, and how stories, for good, and bad, accurately and inaccurately, shape us and mold us, and make us what we are–and sometimes, if we find the right story, what we want and need to be…

(23) RETRO REVIEWS. Steve J. Wright has completed his Retro-Hugo novella finalist reviews:

Novella

(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Albatross Soup on Vimeo, Winnie Cheung solves the riddle of why a guy killed himself after having a bowl of albatross soup in a restaurant.

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

48 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/1/19 Nie Mój Scroll, Nie Moje Pixels.

  1. (11) Jonathan Pryce also played the Master (brilliantly) in the Doctor Who charity special “Curse of the Fatal Death”

    “A big Scroll of Pixel-ly Poxel-ly, Filely Wiley stuff”

  2. Not only did Jonathan Pryce play the President of the U.S. in that G.I. Joe movie, he played Chief Justice William Rehnquist in WOMAN OF GOLD AND he was one of the better Bond villains!

  3. I’m actually wearing a Tim Kirk t-shirt as I read this scroll! Although, as you might guess, it’s not a relic from the seventies. Tim was GoH at Baycon in 2009, and that was a commemorative shirt I could not pass up!

  4. Oh, for what it’s worth, there’s two items numbered 15: KISS and Kirk.

    At three fives each, that’s a whole mess of fives! 😀

  5. Sorry to hear the news about the Trimble’s pigment business. But I”m reminded of a verse from that old filk-spiritual “Were You There?”:

    Were you there when I published my fanzine? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when I published my fanzine? (Were you there?)
    Sometimes a LoC from Bjo Trimble (Trimble)….
    Were you there when I published my fanzine?

    Best of luck to ’em!

  6. Tim Kirk has always been a special favorite of mine. When Don Keller and I started publishing fanzines, our first three issues of Phantasmicom had to be produced by ditto machine; I finally had a mimeograph in time for the fourth issue. Don would send ditto masters to Tim, who would send them back with drawings in one corner or another, and then we would type the text around them.

    When Ann and I got married (1972), Tim sent us a cartoon of bride and groom dragons designed to be printed up as wedding invitations and thank you cards.

  7. (23): As a note to anyone else reading the retro novellas: The Magic Bed-Knob was heavily revised in the 50s, and every edition since then that I can find uses the revised text. This is unfortunate, because (IMO) the original edition is vastly superior. The 50s publisher apparently decided that removing every reference to WWII would make the book more timeless; the result instead is anodyne and weirdly lacking in context (particularly the middle section, which originally features the kids visiting London in the middle of the blitz; removing the blitz aspect deprives the whole adventure of tension). If you can track down the original text, I think it’s worth doing so. You can tell if you’ve got it because the opening line is different: “Once upon a time, in England, during the war, there were three children” (the revised text simply opens “Once upon a time there were three children”).

  8. 13. I have that book and it’s quite fetching.

    Yes, The Ymir was from Venus, but it is possible that the title of the movie confused the author….

  9. 14 “Fighter: We’re on a Mission from God”
    Cleric : “Don’t blaspheme. You mean a Dragon”
    Fighter: “Oh, yes, sorry”

    22) I had a busy week, reviews at Tor, S&F and Nerds of a Feather.

  10. I don’t read many anthologies, but I picked up the Martin H. Greenberg-edited Gamer Fantastic a while back at a Petro Stopping Center in Florida because I love that there are still spinracks full of SF/F paperbacks at a few gas stations in the U.S. (Every Petro I’ve been to has them.)

    Here’s the low-to-no spoiler review I posted on GoodReads:

    This anthology doesn’t live up to the inventive premise of telling stories where roleplaying games and reality intersect. I was ready to quit after the introductory material and early stories all hammered the same worn-out joke about gamers being slovenly fast-food addicts, but I stuck around to see what Jim C. Hines would do with his story “Mightier Than the Sword.” His entertaining tale was about libriomancers who could pull weapons and creatures out of SF/F novels, a premise he later expanded into a book of that name. I liked his references to real writers and novels, including a subtle, self-deprecating joke about himself. Reading Jody Lynn Nye’s engaging “Roles We Play” about roleplaying being used as a therapeutic tool in the 19th century has motivated me to seek out her novels. Kristine Kathryn Rusch ended with an intriguing story about a magical RPG store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The rest was forgettable, including a five-page perfunctory tribute to E. Gary Gygax after his death.

  11. Meredith Moment: Kobo has Leckie’s “The Raven Tower” for $2.99 – the price goes up tonight.

  12. @ambyr: yes, it’s not easy digging into the publication and edition history of these things sometimes – I’ve just done “Thieves’ House”, which of course has had some back-references to “Ill Met in Lankhmar” inserted into it since its original publication. My general policy, I’m afraid, is to wimp out and not mention the dodgy bits – normally, they’re of interest only to obsessives like me (I could go on for some time about variant texts of “The Skylark of Space” and what they say about the editors’ priorities), but I have to agree that The Magic Bed-Knob suffers from the elision of the wartime references. If I were a serious reviewer, I’d have to go into these things in more detail….

  13. @Steve Wright Yeah, I’ve been having the same ponderings about “Thieves’ House.” I have the copy published in Two Sought Adventure (1957); I don’t know how it compares to either the original 1943 version (which I can find scans of, but I hate reading PDF scans if I can avoid it) or the later reprint in Swords against Death (1970), the 2017 stand-alone audiobook edition, or any of the intervening versions.

  14. 5) Our local multiplex has been implementing a version of this model in which the auditorium becomes an extension of the basement family room, complete with restless and vocal six-year-olds, parents getting up several times to take ankle-biters to the bathroom, food smells, and conversations whenever the screen action falls below the KABOOM! level. And when the lights came up, that stretch of five seats looked like an abandoned picnic site, but that was the cleanup crew’s problem. (They grumbled. Teenagers grumbled at the mess.)

    Of course, this was my experience at Endgame, and I suppose a screening of Booksmart might have a different vibe. Though I suspect the food smells are going to cross audience demographic lines.

  15. 2 Meredith 2 Moment: Also on sale today: Jenn Lyons’ The Ruin of Kings, Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, and Ken Liu’s Broken Stars.

    On a tangentially-related note, I can’t decide which I like more: When I go to Amazon.com to search for something and I can’t get a grid view; just a list that I have to keep scrolling through, or when I go to Amazon.com and type in an author’s name and five of the first eight items that come back in my search results aren’t even by the author I entered.

  16. @Russell: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain, which has been doing food and booze for 20 years, addresses at least one of those issues by having a strict no-talking policy – they really will throw you out, at least if another audience member has complained about you. They also set aside certain showtimes as “family” times when they won’t bother enforcing the noise rule on kids. Nothing to be done about the smell of food, though – it’s not a good place for anyone who’s bothered by that.

  17. Speaking of unusual variant texts, there was a version of “Childhood’s End” in which the opening chapter was updated from featuring the first rocket to space to featuring the first interstellar flight – but the rest of the novel was unaltered, including the parts about characters who are in middle age and were adults during WWII.

  18. @ambyr and @Steve J Wright
    I also have the edited version of “Thieves House”, which has references to “Ill Met in Lankhmar” inserted. The paperback edition of Conjure Wife has also been edited, likely more than once. Though archive.org is usually quite well supplied with original issues of Unknown and Astounding, so getting the original should be possible.

    I’m a little surprised that Leiber didn’t edit “Thieves House” again, because the very last Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story, “The Mouser Goes Below” refers back to “Thieves House” and expands the role of what is basically a walk-on character in the version I read. But then Leiber was in his late seventies at that point and probably no longer keen on going back to edit decades old stories.

    Regarding The Magic Bed-Knob, children’s books are often updated to remove content considered problematic by later generations.. Sometimes, this is justified, e.g. in the case of blatant racism (but they left the racist bits in), sometimes it’s not. In this case, I don’t think it is justified, because the fact that WWII happened shouldn’t really be news to children.

    There are some classic German children’s books which have been altered as well. For the Nesthäkchen series by Else Ury, one entire book has been out of print for decades, because it was set during WWI, and was only recently reprinted. Oddly enough, once it was reprinted, it turns out that while the protagonist was swept up in WWI nationalism, the author was actually quite critical of the character’s behaviour.

    Another more difficult to explain example is the Pucki series by Mgda Trott. The books date from the early 1930s and were originally set in Silesia. Postwar reprints changed the setting to Lower Saxony, because Silesia was no longer part of Germany. I read the edited versions and always found the descriptions a bit off, because I knew the places where the story was supposedly set and they didn’t look like that. I was even more confused when the series followed the heroine from age 5 to age 35, but completely failed to mention WWII. What makes the Pucki edits even more inexplicable is that the cover art of the Pucki books hasn’t changed since the early 1930s, so everybody knew that these were old books anyway. I remember reading several other older German children’s books as a kid which were set in places that were once German, but no longer are, so it’s not as if there was a general policy.

  19. @PJ —

    Many thanks to both PJ and Joe for the Meredith Moments! 🙂

  20. @Contrarius
    Joe H sold me on a copy of “A Memory of Empire” (and also “Black Sun Rising”, by C S Friedman).

  21. One thing which occurred to me about The Magic Bed-Knob, actually, was that the explicit WWII references might not have been needed, even – I’m a child of the 1960s, but even I knew why three children would be sent to the country, or why it would be so dark on the London streets at night. It’s possible, even, that explicit references might have been thought unduly triggering…. My mother was a perfectly level-headed person before Alzheimer’s got hold of her, but she was a child in Liverpool during the war, and was never comfortable watching WWII themed TV shows or films – they kindled too many bad memories in her. I guess I could see a sensitive editor toning down the references, just because of that.

  22. @PJ —

    @Contrarius
    Joe H sold me on a copy of “A Memory of Empire” (and also “Black Sun Rising”, by C S Friedman).

    I already had audio of all of those except the Liu (and I think I have an audio of the Friedman too!), but I like to also have text versions of books that look especially worthwhile, when I can get them cheap. 🙂

  23. Went to a church used-book sale today and picked up “State of the Art” (Banks) and the Ash trilogy (Gentle) both of which I have intended to read for a long time – whoo-hoo! But will have to postpone reading them until after Hugo reading is done…

  24. Speaking of Hugo reading….

    Did anyone here read Children of Blood and Bone and actually LIKE it?

    I just started it for the second time, and it’s already about to kill me. The first time I dnfed it because the hackneyed prose was driving me batty, and I’m finding that I don’t have any more tolerance for it on this try than the first time around.

    So if anyone thought it was a worthwhile book — why? What did you like about it? I know it has been incredibly popular, so I’d really like to hear some of its good points from real sff readers.

  25. @Contrarius No help here; I thought it was dreadful on every level of craft.

  26. @Contrarius
    I can’t help you either, I’m afraid, since I’m having a really hard time with this year’s Lodestar finalists in general. There’s only one book I actually like, Dread Nation, everything else is full of annoying characters, stupid plots (or no plot – see Tess of the Road) and sometimes clunky prose as well. Okay, so I’m not the target audience for YA, but I do enjoy it on occasion. This year’s finalists, however, are just bad.

    As for Children of Blood and Bone, I’m as mystified as you are. I know that it got a lot of advance hype before it was even released, but plenty of other books get lots of advance hype as well and still don’t catch on, when they don’t live up to expectations. But people actually seem to like this one.

    The fact that the author behaved really badly and accused Nora Roberts of all people of stealing her title doesn’t help either.

  27. I hardly know what to say.

    I enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone.

    I enjoyed a different mythological structure, and I like Zelie, although admittedly not her brother. And I seem to have completely missed the new sof her accusing Nora Roberts of anything.

    So, no idea.

  28. @Contrarius

    I have Dread Nation at the top of my ballot, but I liked Children of Blood and Bone well enough. I liked the worldbuilding and mythology more than anything else–the characters, especially the romance, came up a bit short. I think the author will do better with the next book.

  29. @Cora, @Ambyr, @Lis, @Bonnie —

    Thanks, guys!

    Of the part I read, I didn’t mind the plot or the characters too much. But I found myself wincing at nearly every sentence because of all the tired, TIRED phrasing, and I just about threw my earbuds across the room at those stupid cat creatures (a snow leopard analog in an African-analog country?? SERIOUSLY??). That was just incredibly lazy worldbuilding, IMHO, and the story wasn’t worth the pain of suffering through the prose.

    I think I’m gonna dump it again. Life is too short!

    @Cora —

    There’s only one book I actually like, Dread Nation, everything else is full of annoying characters, stupid plots (or no plot – see Tess of the Road) and sometimes clunky prose as well.

    I thought Dread Nation has been the best so far, but I enjoyed both The Cruel Prince and Tess of the Road. The Cruel Prince has a terrible title, but I thought the writing and characters were good (I’m an angst addict, so YMMV); and Tess of the Road was appealing, if not terribly deep. I haven’t read The Invasion yet, but I liked The Call well enough — not a real standout, but good descriptive writing, if somewhat… maybe tropey?… in content. And I haven’t even tried The Belles yet.

    The fact that the author behaved really badly and accused Nora Roberts of all people of stealing her title doesn’t help either.

    Yeah, I heard about that. SUCH a stupid thing to do — and to Nora Roberts, no less! Yikes!

    @Lis —

    I enjoyed a different mythological structure, and I like Zelie, although admittedly not her brother.

    I wish I had been able to stand the bad writing long enough to really get into the story, because the part of the plot I did make it through wasn’t terrible. But I just couldn’t stand all that worn-out phrasing… over, and over, and…..

    Oh well! Thanks again!

  30. Lis Carey: I seem to have completely missed the news of her accusing Nora Roberts of anything.

    Adeyemi got a bit too big for her britches and really put her foot in it, ginned up a Twitter mob against Nora Roberts, and then followed up with a non-apology.

  31. @Contrarius
    The Cruel Prince probably suffer from my dislike for stories about evil fae. I did enjoy Our Wombat’s subversion of the trop in “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Appreciation Society”, but I don’t much care for the unsubverted trope. And I also find all of the characters in The Cruel Prince unlikable. Ditto for The Belles, which I actually had high hopes for.

  32. @JJ–Thanks for that link. That was very foolish of her. How would she have coped in the 1980s, when at one point there were two very different books with the title Cuckoo’s Egg?

    Badly, I suspect.

    But I also see that I read, or rather listened to, her book and reviewed it in August, months before she put her foot in it so badly, which is no doubt why I missed it. Enjoyed her book, but wasn’t thinking about it or her in November and December.

    Hopefully she has learned something. Maybe her agent has explained to her about titles, and about phrases that have been in use for centuries.

  33. @Andrew

    Ash was split into four parts for US publication. So if you have three books you are probably missing one. (Or did you mean something else. I’m aware of one other book in the same world – Ilario)

  34. I don’t think there’s any of the YA books that I liked without reservation. Tess of the Road and Dread Nation are probably my favourites, I was happy to have got round to reading both of them. Cruel Prince was good except that IMO there’s a big hole in the setup that I can’t really ignore. Children of blood and bone I dnf-ed last year because although I was interested in the setting the plot was heading in a generic direction and wasn’t particularly interesting me.
    I’ve yet to try The Belles.
    Finally, The Call/The Invasion are going at the bottom of the pile – I started with The Call and won’t be bothering with The Invasion. It seems like the plan was to be as supergrimdarkerest as possible – and I like a bit of grimdark on occasion – and there was nothing else good about it to make me want to stick with it.

  35. Lis:

     How would she have coped in the 1980s, when at one point there were two very different books with the title Cuckoo’s Egg?

    Or in 2010 when a novella and a novel both titled Palimpsest were nominated for a Hugo (and there was a well regarded novel in the 1980s titled Palimpsests as well)

  36. @Mark —

    I started with The Call and won’t be bothering with The Invasion. It seems like the plan was to be as supergrimdarkerest as possible

    I think you’re getting close to what my problem with it was. Not so much that it was grim, but that it seemed self-conscious about being grim: “Here we are! We’re being grim! Grim now, I say! You see us being grim, right?” OTOH, I did like the prose.

    I’m finishing Record of a Spaceborn Few now, which I had dnfed a few months ago halfway through because I Just Didn’t Care. I still don’t much care, but I think I’m getting a little more appreciation for what Chambers was aiming at — regular people going about their regular lives doing regular stuff. Not gripping, but it certainly is a change from run-of-the-mill sff.

  37. Dear folks,

    I’ve been in touch with Jenn, John and Bjo Trimble’s daughter about John’s health. Yes, he had a seizure, but it was two months ago. After a short hospital stay, he was released and put on antiseizure meds.

    He’s finished a round of physical therapy, and he and Bjo are doing well. In fact, they are off on an Alaska cruise until the middle of the month, and they will definitely be at Westercon/NASFiC.

    So, everything is good.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

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