Pixel Scroll 6/14/19 Of All The Pixel Joints In All The Scrolls In All The World, She Files Into Mine

(1) DUBBED. The Daily Mail’s headline is apt: “The knight who says Ni! Actor Michael Palin receives his knighthood from Prince William in 50th anniversary year of Monty Python”.

Sir Michael Palin managed to suppress a joke when collecting the ‘unbelievable’ honour of a knighthood from the Duke of Cambridge for his post-Monty Python career.

The writer and broadcaster was dubbed a knight by William for services to travel, culture and geography, making him the first star of the sketch show to receive the honour.

(2) CHANGING FORMULAS IN STORYTELLING. In “Love isn’t what it was” on Aeon, graduate student Sophus Helle says that animated films Disney has released in this decade, including Brave, Frozen, Finding Dory, and Inside Out, show that in these films “the ideal of heterosexual romance has been replaced by a new ideal: family love. The happy ending of our most watched childhood stories is no longer a kiss.”

…It’s not just the word ‘love’ that has changed meaning over the past 10 years of Disney. The word ‘family’ has done the same. Neither Mother Gothel nor the fairy godmother of Maleficent are the biological parents of the films’ main characters, but they still end up taking emotional centre-stage because the actual biological parents are either cruel and psychotic, as in Maleficent, or distant and idealised, as in Tangled. Parenthood is determined by one’s emotional bonds. As a result, the very question of what counts as a ‘family’ in Disney has become more ambiguous and more modern.

(3) BOMBS AWAY. NPR’s Scott Tobias advises, “Erase The Awful ‘Men In Black: International’ From Your Mind”.

If Hollywood studios are content to cannibalize the vaults in search of new hits, the first thing they should remember is why the original films were hits in the first place. For all the bells and whistles that went along with the original 1997 Men in Black, with its cutting-edge alien effects, the reason it works is extremely old-fashioned, rooted in an effective cross-pollination between fish-out-of-water comedy and mismatched buddy comedy.

…There’s a lot of plotting in Men In Black: International, which makes room for a diabolical three-armed seductress (Rebecca Ferguson) and a compact weapon of planet-destroying power, but the more the story unfurls, the deeper the film sinks into quicksand. Director F. Gary Gray and his screenwriters, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, have made the crucial mistake of believing the franchise needs complex world-building instead of streamlined comedy. Even if the events in the film made any kind of sense, they were never going to matter as much as the good time Hemsworth, Neeson and the two Thompsons are supposed to be showing us. And yet that’s where the emphasis lies.

The Boston Globe gives it 2.5/4 stars.

(4) FIRE TWO. NPR’s Andrew Lapin says “‘The Dead Don’t Die’ In Jarmusch’s Latest, But Your Patience Will”.

“This is going to end badly,” Adam Driver says, over and over with slight variations, in the new zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die. It’s both the movie’s catchphrase and raison d’être. Things tend not to end well in general, because people have a habit of taking bad situations and making them worse, and there’s no reason to suspect that will change when the dead are rising from their graves and feasting on the bodies of the living. To the extent that the film has a joke, this is it: Humans mess everything up, and in the end probably aren’t worth saving.

All fair points. But does that sound fun to watch? Maybe it could have been, in another universe, with this exact cast and this exact director. Jim Jarmusch is a national treasure, after all, and he’s already proven himself a master of idiosyncratic, cracker-dry comedies that play with our love of dead or dying cultural icons, from Elvis to diners to samurai. But as The Dead Don’t Die smirks through its ironic corpse pile-up, dispatching a parade of beloved actors like rancid meat and playing the same original Sturgill Simpson tune on loop, it’s hard not to wonder if the joke is on us for watching it.

And the Boston Globe gives this one only 1.5 stars.

(5) THEY LOVE TOY STORY 4. But wait! BBC says this one’s getting good reviews — Toy Story 4: What did the critics think?” Out today in the UK, the fourth (and supposedly final) instalment of Toy Story has been warmly welcomed.

Woody, Buzz and Jessie are returning nine years after they said goodbye to Andy and settled into their new home with Bonnie at the end of Toy Story 3.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy said: “It’s now certain what one of the summer’s blockbusters will be.

“More than that, how many other film series can legitimately claim to have hit four home runs in a row?” he added.

Variety’s Peter Debruge said the movie gives “satisfying emotional closure”, adding that “the fourth movie wraps up the saga beautifully”.

He added the film “explores the idea of purgatory: What’s it like for a plaything to be ignored, overlooked or entirely unused?”

(6) WOODY ON TOUR. Tom Hanks went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the movie, and showed he didn’t think much of the heavy-handed guidance he was given by the marketing division: “Tom Hanks Shares Disney’s Strict Rules for ‘Toy Story 4’ Media Tour”.

Hanks also decided to poke more fun at the late-night host by reading a surprising note Disney gave him for any time he would make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “When doing Kimmel, please do not mention the Academy Awards. What’s that about?” Hanks asked. After Kimmel questioned why they would add that note, the actor replied: “You got bounced, my friend!” 

With fans anticipating the fourth installment of the popular franchise, Hanks celebrated Toy Story 4 for adding new talent in Tony Hale, Keanu Reeves and Carl Weathers. Though he’s starred as Woody since the original film, Hanks revealed that Toy Story 4 may be the best film in the franchise. 

“I know it sounds ridiculous because I’m in it, but it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life.” 

Hanks also revealed that he didn’t know Weathers was in the film. “We never see each other. We maybe will run into each other when somebody’s session finishes and the other is waiting to go on, but at the premiere I saw Carl Weathers and I had to go shake the man’s hand because not only was he Apollo Creed, he was Action Jackson,” said Hanks.

(7) FAMILIAR VOICE. The new Maltin on Movies podcast brings us “Alan Tudyk”.

Alan Tudyk is a gifted actor and a familiar face who achieved cult status as a costar of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and its follow-up feature-film Serenity…but he’s also become the man of a thousand voices. If you’ve seen Wreck-it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, or even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story you’ve heard his facility with accents, dialects, and the ability to embody colorful characters. He also stars in one of Leonard and Jessie’s favorite unsung movies, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. Alan is only too happy to demonstrate his vocal talents during our hilarious interview. Angelenos can currently see him onstage in Mysterious Circumstances at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 14, 1908 Stephen Tall aka Compton Crook. Stephen Tall was the most common pseudonym of American science fiction writer Compton Newby Crook. He wrote two novels, The Ramsgate Paradox (in his Stardust series) and The People Beyond the WallThe Stardust Voyages collects the short stories in that series. The Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award was established by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society in his name for best first novel in a given year. He is not available in digital form in either iBooks or Kindle. (Died 1981.)
  • Born June 14, 1909 Burl Ives. No, I’m not including because of being him voicing  Sam the Snowman, narrator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in that film though I could argue it is  genre. No, I’m including him because he was on The Night Gallery (“The Other Way Out” episode) and appeared in several comic SF films, Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon and Earthbound. He also appeared in The Bermuda Depths which is more of a horror film. (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 14, 1914 Ruthven Todd. Scottish author of mostly children’s books whose series The Space Cats begins with Space Cat and features a cat who stows away on a spaceship.  He wrote several more conventional genre novels as well, Over the Mountain and The Lost Traveller. A Space Cats omnibusand The Lost Traveller are available at iBooks and Kindle. (Died 1978.)
  • Born June 14, 1921 William L. Hamling. He was a lifelong member of First Fandom. Editor of the Stardust fanzine in 1940, and Imagination and Imaginative Tales in the Fifties. He did the 1940 Chicon program book with Mark Reinsberg.  And his Regency publishing concern in the Fifties would do paperback editions of Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Bloch and Philip José Farmer. (Died 2017.)
  • Born June 14, 1949 Harry Turtledove, 70. I wouldn’t know where to begin with him considering how many series he’s done. I’m fairly sure I first read novels in his Agent of Byzantium series and I know his Crosstime Traffic series was fun reading. 
  • Born June 14, 1972 Adrian Tchaikovsky, 47. He is best known for his Shadows of the Apt series, and for Children of Time which won an Arthur C. Clarke Award. The After War series is multi author. He wrote the first, Redemption’s Blade, and Justina Robson wrote the second, Salvation’s Fire

(9) THINKGEEK SALE. The ThinkGeek website is moving its business the main GameStop website, and they’re doing a 50% off sales-final sale on the whole site if you use the code MOVINGDAY. While supplies last, of course. As for the future —

IS THINKGEEK SHUTTING DOWN?

Nope. On July 2nd, 2019, ThinkGeek.com will be moving in with our parent company GameStop. After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop

Daniel Dern returns from a personal scouting expedition to say, “Alas, the Con Survival Bag of Holding is out of stock, and I don’t even see the class Bag of Holding (which had been revised/updated in the past year, although I haven’t yet seen it up close and personal).”

(10) TROJAN APP. According to NPR, “Spain’s Top Soccer League Fined For Using App To Spy On Fans In Fight To Curb Piracy”.

On Tuesday, Spain’s premier soccer league, La Liga, was hit with a 250,000-euro fine — about $280,000 — for using its mobile phone app to spy on millions of fans as part of a ploy to catch venues showing unlicensed broadcasts of professional matches.

The country’s data protection agency said the league’s app, which was marketed as a tool to track game scores, schedules, player rankings and other news, was also systematically accessing phones’ microphones and geolocation data to listen in on people’s surroundings during matches. When it detected that users were in bars, the app would record audio — much like Shazam — to determine if a game was being illegally shown at the venue.

(11) VENICE OF THE NORTH. Like they say, if it’s not Scottish, it’s… “Scotland’s crannogs are older than Stonehenge”

Archaeologists have discovered that some Scottish crannogs are thousands of years older than previously thought.

Crannogs were fortified settlements constructed on artificial islands in lochs.

It was thought they were first built in the Iron Age, a period that began around 800 BC.

But four Western Isles sites have been radiocarbon dated to about 3640-3360 BC in the Neolithic period – before the erection of Stonehenge’s stone circle.

(12) BUILT TO LAST. BBC asks “How to build something that lasts 10000 years”.

Alexander Rose and a team of engineers at The Long Now Foundation are building a clock in the Texan desert that will last for 10,000 years. He explains what he’s learnt about designing for extreme longevity.

…Over the last two decades, I have been working at The Long Now Foundation to build a monument-scale “10,000 Year Clock” as an icon to long-term thinking, with computer scientist Danny Hillis and a team of engineers. The idea is to create a provocation large enough in both scale and time that, when confronted by it, we have to engage our long-term future. One could imagine that if given only five years to solve an issue like climate change, it is very difficult to even know where to begin because the time scale is unreasonable. But if you reset the scale to 500 years, even the impossible can start to seem tractable.

Building a 10,000-year machine required diving into both history and the present to see how artefacts have lasted. While we can slow the workings of the clock itself down so that it only ticks as many times in 10,000 years as a watch does in a person’s lifetime, what about the materials and location? Over the last 20 years I have studied how other structures and systems have lasted over time, and visited as many of them as I can. Some sites have been conserved by simply being lost or buried, some have survived in plain sight by their sheer mass, others have had much more subtle strategies.

(13) URSA MINOR. In Mission: Unbearable, Kuma Bear is tasked with a Mission to SpikeCon.

(14) DOCTOR SLEEP. The official trailer has been released for Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining.

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

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/14/19 Of All The Pixel Joints In All The Scrolls In All The World, She Files Into Mine

  1. (8) Happy birthday to Harry Turtledove! I started reading him with “A Death in Vesunna” which was under his Iverson pseudonym.

    I’m fairly sure I first read novels in his Agent of Byzantium 

    I think you mean short stories not novels – the Byzantium universe has only short stories, not novels, as far as I know.

  2. 7) Tudyk also plays the archvillain Mr. Nobody in the DC Universe show Doom Patrol and does a right fine job of fitting into the role.

  3. Andrew says I think you mean short stories not novels – the Byzantium universe has only short stories, not novels, as far as I know.

    You’re no doubt right but I’ve read or listened to so much fiction down the years that I’ve forgotten what was short fiction and what was long form. And I’ve discovered the brain trauma has made me forget much of it as well if I experienced it in the past few decades. I’m listening to a novel now I swear I read but I don’t remember a damn thing about it even though it was only a few years back that I read it.

  4. According to both Wikipedia and the ISFDB Brian Jacques on June 15th rather than the 15th.

  5. Stephen Fritter says According to both Wikipedia and the ISFDB Brian Jacques on June 15th rather than the 15th.

    Eh? One sec…. ahhh… I see… I got him a day ahead… OGH, delete him and use him tomorrow please.

  6. Andrew on June 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm said:

    Maybe he’s thinking of one or more of the historical novels – there are several set in the eastern Mediterranean.

    The book I enjoyed was”The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump”.
    (I also had occasion to write and ask him about a reference to one of his historical papers.)

  7. 12) Biggest problem with that is people suck and will destroy it for giggles.

    If they wanted it to last 10,000 years, a really good start would be to hide it from everyone – bit of a tricky project to conceal, though.

  8. @1: fascinating — I hadn’t realized that the definition of Sts Michael & George had been so spread. (Very crude summary: it was originally military, then civilian defenders like MI# chiefs and major diplomats were added, and now it seems to be for anything relating to affairs outside the UK.) I wonder whether any other travel writers/proponents have been so honored? Palin has certainly done a lot in this realm; I very much liked his recreation of Phileas Fogg’s journey.

    @8: I loved Space Cat back when I first had a library card — but the author is Ruthven Todd, not Todd Ruthven. (I wouldn’t have remembered that except for Sue Anderson putting it in one of her G&S filks — pastiching the advice in the opening of Act II of Princess Ida, “If you’d get an early start/Ruthven Todd will win the heart.”)

    @Andrew: ISFDB affirms that there’s a fixup novel titled after the series. I’ve found most of Turtledove to be a little labored, but IMO The Guns of the South was chillingly plausible and Household Gods (with Tarr) held together.

  9. (8) Burl Ives is also an important part of “Stimpy’s Invention,” the Ren & Stimpy cartoon that features one of the most painfully funny dystopic devices ever, the Happy Helmet. Okay, he’s not “Burl Ives” in it, he’s “Your old pal, Stinky Wizzleteats,” but I know Burl Ives when I see his face on a record sleeve, singing about ugly bugs (as he did in Disney’s SUMMER MAGIC).

    Scroll, little pixel! Scroll like the wind!

  10. (8) It’s pretty obscure these days, but the Burl Ives movie The Brass Bottle used to turn up on TV – he’s a genie who complicates the life of Tony Randall and his girlfriend Barbara Eden (a year before she herself became a Jeannie).

  11. Chip Hitchcock: I wonder whether any other travel writers/proponents have been so honored? Palin has certainly done a lot in this realm

    Palin was honored for “services to travel, culture and geography”. Note that when the Brits award honours for “culture”, it usually means for arts and entertainment — literature, film, theatre, and TV. I imagine that his contributions to Monty Python, theatre, and film contributed as much, or more, to his knightship as his travel writing.

  12. (1) Very appropriate.

    (2) Is anyone surprised that Disney reflects the changing culture it’s a part of?

    I’m staring to warm up to Tess.

  13. SPACE CAT was the very first book I remember reading, about age 6, and it’s been science fiction and cats ever since.

    Out of Print also has a Space Cat t-shirt available. (Looks like the onesie for wee ones is no longer available.)

    – – –

    And hey, my first title credit, I’m pretty sure!

  14. (8) Wikipedia’s entry on Hamling asserts that “Under the Regency imprint Hamling published novels and anthologies by writers such as B. Traven, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, and Clarence Cooper, Jr.” But I am skeptical that anything by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was ever published under that imprint; Wikipedia gives no evidence for this, nor does ISFDB or other bibliographies.

    Outside of Player Piano (Scribner’s) and The Sirens of Titan (Dell), all Vonnegut’s 1950s work consisted of short stories sold to magazines; I can find only three of these stories that were republished in the 1950s, all by publishers other than Regency: “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” (in Tomorrow, the Stars, allegedly edited by Heinlein), “The Big Trip Up Yonder” (later retitled “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” in Assignment in Tomorrow, edited by Pohl), and “Unready to Wear” in a Galaxy annual.

  15. John Hertz replies by carrier pigeon:

    My best Turtledove good deed was at Loscon XXIII where he was a Guest of Honor. I moderated Twenty Questions for Harry Turtledove. We ran out of questions submitted in advance. I got some from the audience and asked a few myself. In a magisterial exercise of self-restraint I did not ask “Why did Byzantium fall?” He has ever since been suitably grateful.

  16. Chip Hitchcock: I wonder whether any other travel writers/proponents have been so honored?

    Sir Richard Francis Burton? (In that his knighthood came two decades after his best known explorations, closer to the part of his life when he gained literary fame.)

  17. (1) yay!

    (3) I saw MIB international last night and it’s fun. The main problem is that it’s too predictable (if I can spot whodunnit, you’re not doing it right) and it doesn’t have enough Emma Thompson (few movies do). But I thought the leads were good together and saw good work by actors new to me, so I had a good evening.

    @ Lis Carey
    Do share your verdict on Tess, as I am hesitating about whether to read it.

  18. (1) Clever as their headline might be, the Daily Fail is a truly despicable organization which does not deserve and will not receive my clicks. For those who might feel similarly, here are some other sources for info on Palin’s knighthood: BBC News, The Sun (yes, they’re a sleazy tabloid, but they’re still better and more reliable than the Mail), The Irish Examiner, and the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

  19. gottacook says Wikipedia’s entry on Hamling asserts that “Under the Regency imprint Hamling published novels and anthologies by writers such as B. Traven, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, and Clarence Cooper, Jr.” But I am skeptical that anything by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was ever published under that imprint; Wikipedia gives no evidence for this, nor does ISFDB or other bibliographies.

    So you have no evidence that they didn’t publish in those imprints, just a feeling that they didnt? So Wiki or ISFDB could be right?

  20. ::waves from lurkerdom:: Yesterday was also my birthday! I’m not a contributor to the f/sf/h world–just a reader! I really enjoy Turtledove’s World War books, because I love the idea of aliens invading Earth while we are busily fighting each other. Happy to share a birthday with him. Will definitely need to check out Adrian Tchaikovsky!

  21. @Chris S. re (12)

    If they wanted it to last 10,000 years, a really good start would be to hide it from everyone – bit of a tricky project to conceal, though.

    Most of the article is about solving this problem. Very little of it concerns how the clock actually works. It’s a pretty good article. You should read it.

  22. @Beth —

    ::waves from lurkerdom:: Yesterday was also my birthday! I

    Happy late birthday, Beth!

    On the current reading front, I zoomed through An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass/Carol Berg and finished it last night.

    I can see why Berg chose a new pseudonym for this — the tone is very different from all her other books. It’s much less dark and dramatic and angsty than anything I’ve read from her before; and while there is certainly action and tension, there is little of the putting-her-characters-through-hell that she is famous for.

    I did enjoy the book — it had interesting characters, interesting magical talents, and some fun action. OTOH, I though it spent way too much time on setup, even granting that it’s book 1 of a series; and it didn’t really make much of an impact on me compared to her other books, since none of her characters really did much suffering (show me those thumb screws, baby!).

    Over all, I didn’t like it nearly as much as her previous stuff. But I’ll still be reading book 2 to see what happens. If anyone wants to try out more typical Carol Berg, though, try something like the Rai-Kirah, Bridge of D’Arnath, or Lighthouse series instead.

  23. @Beth, of course you contribute to SF/F. Writers need readers; films need viewers…

  24. @Beth, of course you contribute to SF/F. Writers need readers; films need viewers…

    Not to mention, as a commenter on File770 you also decide who wins Hugos, which authors get published by Tor and which Marvel/DC movies tank

    …did I just say that out loud?

  25. @Cat:

    You’re no doubt right but I’ve read or listened to so much fiction down the years that I’ve forgotten what was short fiction and what was long form.

    I understand that! I only noticed the issue because I’d love to see a Basil Argyros novel (because I loved the short stories) (which as Chip Hitchcock noted, do exist in a fix-up form, which could count as a novel).

    Regarding the Clock of the Long Now, I recommend Stewart Brand’s book on the subject which came out 0.2% of the Clock’s proposed lifespan

  26. @Peer: Shush!

    “Who controls the Hugos now, who keeps the non-Tor writers down – We do, we do!”

  27. @JJ: IIUC, cultural contributions and general good deeds usually are recognized by ranking in the Order of the British Empire (cf Terry Pratchett for literature, or Henry Winkler for work against dyslexia); Palin got an award named after the two great (albeit ~mythical) defenders, suggesting his travel outweighed his comedy.

    @OGH: Burton was known for more formal diplomatic service as well as going past boundaries and writing up the experience (or translating often-debatable very-foreign work), but he did get an M&G (which I hadn’t realized); without seeing the citation, I wouldn’t argue how much the writing mattered or didn’t.

    @Cat Eldridge: if a Wikipedia article about A asserts something about B that isn’t backed up by the Wikipedia article about B, I’d be inclined to disbelieve the assertion; ISTM that fact-checking and cross-checking in Wikipedia are sometime things at best. It’s not impossible that ISFDB volunteers have failed to index Hamling publication of Vonnegut, but we recently saw (in the case of John Norman) that mere sleazy publication isn’t enough to hide something from ISFDB. I suppose Vonnegut could have written porn under some never-uncovered pseudonym, but the evidence that Hamling published anything of his is very weak; if I cared to dig through the Wikipedia protocols I’d put “[citation needed]” on that assertion.

  28. Hugo reading: Is there any preferred reading order for the Xuya stories? Apologies if this has been asked before!

  29. In my earlier post I had also referred to the Vonnegut page in the Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections, Combined Edition, by William G. Contento, which seems to be a very thorough accounting of pre-early-1980s short-story reprints (I spot-checked a few other authors). It lists every original and reprint publication of each Vonnegut story up through the 1970s, as well as his two single-author anthologies of the 1960s. No Regency editions of his stories or novels.

    Cat, of course I appreciate your work, but I would not take Wikipedia at face value when no source is cited for a given statement represented as fact. (The journal that employs me requires every reference listed by authors of scientific papers to be published – or at least online as a bioRxiv or arXiv preprint – and available to be checked by any reader.)

    Incidentally, ISFDB does show that the other named authors (Farmer, Bloch), as well as Sheckley, Budrys, and Cordwainer Smith, did have novels or story collections published by Regency from 1961 to 1963 (www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/publisher.cgi?1412).

  30. @Contrarius

    Is there any preferred reading order for the Xuya stories? Apologies if this has been asked before!

    These days, I think the right answer to this question (regardless of author or series) is almost always to read them in publication order.

    However, in this particular case, the Xuya stories generally stand alone pretty well, with little or no overlap in terms of characters.

  31. Today I learned that Tom Hanks is a fan of Action Jackson. The man truly is perfect.

  32. @Greg —

    These days, I think the right answer to this question (regardless of author or series) is almost always to read them in publication order.

    Ptui. I nearly always prefer to read series in chronological order, regardless of publication order. But to each their own.

    However, in this particular case, the Xuya stories generally stand alone pretty well, with little or no overlap in terms of characters.

    Great, thanks!

  33. Birthday citations re publications claims using ISFDB and Wikipedia are not intended to as rigorous as academic standards. I’d note that even Clute can make amazingly weird mistakes, ie the Encyclopedia of Fantasy listed not one but several of Charles de Lint’s characters as pen names for him. That error in turn got picked up by the early Wiki page for de Lint.

    So let’s keep in mind that, as I just said, the Birthday notes aren’t intended to academically rigorous briefings on an individual but rather something that will get y’all engaged in a conversation. I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to prove that a Wiki or ISFDB claim is indeed accurate, nor am I going to tsk, tsk them when you prove they goofed.

  34. P.S. If anyone cares, the first-published story in the Xuya universe, “The Lost Xuyan Bride”, is available for free through KU — published in Interzone, #213 December 2007.

    Story #2, “Butterfly, Falling at Dawn”, is $2.99 on Amazon — Forever Magazine Issue 23.

  35. Anyone here read Kameron Hurley’s “Mirror Empire”? Anyone have any thoughts? I decided to page through what I could buy with my Kobo points and that’s the first SF/F entry that 1) I didn’t already own and 2) looked like it might have promise….

  36. @Cassy B
    I just got it a couple of days ago, but haven’t read it yet. (I spent half the night reading “Ancestral Night”, which I got at the same time. Outside of the type being harder to read than necessary, that one’s good.)

  37. Cat Eldridge on June 15, 2019 at 2:59 pm said:

    Birthday citations re publications claims using ISFDB and Wikipedia are not intended to as rigorous as academic standards. I’d note that even Clute can make amazingly weird mistakes, ie the Encyclopedia of Fantasy listed not one but several of Charles de Lint’s characters as pen names for him. That error in turn got picked up by the early Wiki page for de Lint.

    So let’s keep in mind that, as I just said, the Birthday notes aren’t intended to academically rigorous briefings on an individual but rather something that will get y’all engaged in a conversation. I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to prove that a Wiki or ISFDB claim is indeed accurate, nor am I going to tsk, tsk them when you prove they goofed.

    Just to say that the birthday entries are appreciated even though I rarely comment on them 🙂

  38. The Dead Don’t Die is enjoyable if you expect absolutely nothing out of it except the chance to hang out with some actors you like, and the occasional weird idea that has nothing to do with the story. If you really hate lazy metafictional humor, there certainly is some of that but, like everything else in the movie, it’s intermittent. I don’t think it’s nearly as thematically grim as the reviewer makes it sound – a lot of people do get eaten and they talk a lot about the end of the world, but overall it’s just a lark.

  39. @Contrarius: Thanks for the Xuya info, especially the BCS links; they have audio versions, yay! Let’s not talk about my minimal Hugo reading so far, but I’m trying to listen to what I can. 🙂 So that’s helpful to me!

    In other news, hai, folks! I caught up on File 770. Insert confetti-ball emoji here. 😉 Oh wait, there’s already a new post up. . . . 😛

    ETA: WordPress still hates me, so I bookmark and check manually; apologies if I miss replies going forward, as I start commenting on File770.com once more. I sign up for comments, but rarely get e-mails even though I see replies when I visit the posts I commented on. Oh well.

  40. @Beth in MA: Happy birthday! I also enjoyed the Worldwar books, though in my case one of the biggest reasons for it was one idiosyncratic to me. (Well, and to fifty or so other people in the USA.)

  41. @CassyB I got The Mirror Empire in a sale, a while back. It didn’t blow my socks off, but it wasn’t bad. My caveat would be that it’s the first of two and it isn’t entirely satisfactory as a stand-alone – nor so good that I’ve felt compelled to buy the second half.

  42. @JJ: Thanks for posting that; I’d been on her site eons ago and totally spaces on checking it out connected to Hugo season. I’d read some of the free “Dominion of the Fallen” stories via her site before, but I forgot how much Xuya short fiction she had.

    And cool, a few others have audio versions at the magazines that printed/reprinted them. (I only checked the ones that mentioned magazine names I know do audio – didn’t have time to follow up on the rest.)

    https://uncannymagazine.com/article/hundred-seventy-storms/
    http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/audio_01_15/
    http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/audio_01_14c/

  43. Paul King: I got The Mirror Empire in a sale, a while back. It didn’t blow my socks off, but it wasn’t bad. My caveat would be that it’s the first of two and it isn’t entirely satisfactory as a stand-alone – nor so good that I’ve felt compelled to buy the second half.

    It’s the first of three in the Worldbreaker Saga; The Broken Heavens is scheduled to come out in November.

    I’ve read Mirror Empire, and it’s good, but it’s a complex and meaty book, and requires a substantial investment in terms of taking time to read and understand. It’s not a “beach read”.

    I haven’t read the second (Empire Ascendant) yet, because I knew that I would need to re-read the first before taking it on. I’m currently waiting for the third book to come out, before I read them all in one go.

  44. @Cat – I also really appreciate the birthday entries. They’re great conversation starters.

  45. @JJ —

    De Bodard has a page on her website with links to all of her works which are available to read for free online. The Xuya stories are labeled as such; there are at least 14 of them.

    Aha, thanks!

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