Pixel Scroll 6/24/19 The Beast That Shouted “It’s Too Dark In Here To Read!*@%#$” At The Heart (Of Darkness) In The World

(1) TIME FOR A CHAT. Juliette Wade’s new Dive Into Worldbuilding features inventive storyteller Jaymee Goh. Watch and listen on YouTube, or read the synopsis posted on the site. (Or both!)

It was a pleasure to have Jaymee Goh on the show after seeing her at SF in SF last month! If you’d like to learn about SF in SF (Science Fiction in San Francisco), go here. At that event, Jaymee read a horror story called “When the Bough Breaks,” so we started out by talking about that story….

“When the Bough Breaks” is set in Malaysia, and has a condominium building that is similar to the one in the real world collapse. There are many buildings designed with a courtyard in the middle so kids can play. In her story, the courtyard is between the condos and the face of the hill, and it’s called “The Cradle.”

I was really fascinated by the way Jaymee used language in her story. She explained to us that this is exactly how Malaysians talk. She described it as the country having several major languages, and people having a basolect – one main language – to which they would add grammar and vocabulary from others. Maybe the base would be Malay, with Chinese and English added. Maybe if the person was middle class it might be English with Malay and Chinese added. In the story, it’s very clear that this is not an exclusively English-speaking community. When she was hanging with friends there would be various groups with different accents.

I asked Jaymee if she found it at all hard to balance the authenticity of the speech with the need for the audience to understand it. She said it’s not too hard to balance because there’s high compatibility, with a lot of vocabulary and grammar coming from English.

“This is literally how my family talks,” she explains. There are degrees of difference from family to family. She compares her work to the short fiction of Zen Cho, who uses more Hokkien in the text.

(2) STRANGER THINGS FINAL TRAILER. It’s almost time. Stranger Things 3 premieres July 4.

(3) THE FALCON FLIES TONIGHT. SpaceX launches their Falcon Heavy rocket tonight from Cape Canaveral… the first-ever night launch for Falcon Heavy, and carrying a huge complement of various projects. Besides both civilian and military payloads (including the STP-2 mission for the Air Force), two of the projects JPL has been working on for over a decade — the Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC) and a US/Taiwan joint weather data satellite called COSMIC-2 — are aboard the rocket. .

Forbes has a pre-launch story: “SpaceX Prepares For Its Most Difficult Launch With First-Ever Falcon Heavy Night Flight”.

A four-hour launch window for the rocket opens tonight, Monday June [24] at 11.30pm Eastern time. The rocket is set to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch will be streamed live online, which you can follow here about 20 minutes before liftoff.

SpaceX webcast

Falcon Heavy’s side boosters for the STP-2 mission previously supported the Arabsat-6A mission in April 2019. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters will attempt to land at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Falcon Heavy’s center core will attempt to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

(4) TOP CHILDREN’S BOOKS. The Independent’s Philip Womack lists the “30 best children’s books: From Artemis Fowl to Harry Potter”. I’ve read 14 of these.

But there isn’t room in this list for everything. I’m sure that every single reader will gasp at omissions and query the order. There are many personal favourites that I’ve left out, and many more 20th- and 21st-century writers whom I would have liked to include. 

This isn’t intended as a definitive ranking; but as an overview, and a guide. You’ll recognise many; a few perhaps will be not so well known, but deserve more attention. I’ve considered influence as well as originality; but crucially, all of the books here have stood the tests of time, taste and, most importantly, readers. Each one, whenever it was published, can be read and enjoyed by a child today as much as it was by the children of the past.

 (5) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • June 24, 1983 Twilight Zone – The Movie premiered theatrically.
  • June 24, 1987 Spaceballs debuted.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 24, 1842 Ambrose Bierce. The Devil’s Dictionary is certainly worth reading but it’s not genre. For his best genre work, I’d say it’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” which along with his “The Tail of the Sphinx” gives you range of his talents. Both iBooks and Kindle offer up everything (as near as I can tell) he’s written, much of it free. (Died 1914.)
  • Born June 24, 1925 Fred Hoyle. Astronomer of course, but also author of a number of SF works including October the First Is Too Late which I think is among the best genre novels done. I’m also fond of Ossian’s Ride which keep its SF elements hidden until late in the story. 
  • Born June 24, 1937 Charles N. Brown. Founder and editor of Locus. I’m going to stop here and turn this over to those of you who knew him far better than I did as my only connection to him is as a reader of Locus for some decades now. (Died 2009.)
  • Born June 24, 1950 Nancy Allen, 69. Officer Anne Lewis in the Robocop franchise. (I like all three films.) her first genre role was not in Carrie as Chris Hargensen, but in a best forgotten a film year earlier (Forced Entry) as a unnamed hitchhiker. She shows up in fan favorite The Philadelphia Experiment as Allison Hayes and I see her in Poltergeist III as Patricia Wilson-Gardner (seriously — a third film in this franchise?). She’s in the direct to video Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return as Rachel Colby. (Oh that sounds awful.) And she was in an Outer Limits episode, “Valerie 23”, as Rachel Rose. 
  • Born June 24, 1947 Peter Weller, 72. Yes, it’s his Birthday today too. Robocop obviously with my favorite scene being him pulling out and smashing Cain’s brain, but let’s see what else he’s done. Well there’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film I adore. And then there’s Leviathan which you I’m guessing a lot of you never heard of. Is Naked Lunch genre? Well Screamers based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “Second Variety” certainly is. Even if the reviews sucked.  And Star Trek Into Darkness certainlyqualifies. Hey he showed up in Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Born June 24, 1950 Mercedes Lackey, 69. There’s a line on the Wiki page that says she writes nearly six books a year.  Impressive. She’s certainly got a lot of really good series out there including the vast number that are set in the Valdemar universe. I like her Bedlam’s Bard series better. She wrote the first few in this series with Ellen Gunn and the latter in the series with Rosemary Edgehill. The SERRAted Edge series, Elves with race cars, is kinda fun too. Larry Dixon, her husband, and Mark Shepherd were co-writers of these. 
  • Born June 24, 1982 Lotte Verbeek,37. You most likely know her as Ana Jarvis, the wife of Edwin Jarvis, who befriends Carter on Agent Carter. She got interesting genre history including Geillis Duncan on the Outlander series, Helena in The Last Witch Hunter, Aisha in the dystopian political thriller Division 19 film and a deliberately undefined role in the cross-world Counterpart series. 

(7) COMICS SECTION.

  • Grimmy offers a surprising hint about what Batman does in the bat’room.
  • The aliens almost give the traditional greeting to the first human they meet: The Argyle Sweater.

(8) NSFWWW. They made a little mistake: “Samuel L. Jackson is furious over ‘Spider-Man’ poster error”.

Living up to the name of his Marvel character Nick Fury, Samuel L. Jackson unleashed an expletive-laden rant on Instagram about an error in a “Spider-Man: Far From Home” poster.  

(9) TALK TO THE BUG. “Chatty cockroach gets Greeks talking on Athens streets” says the BBC.

“Hello, I live in the sewers of Athens,” says the cockroach. “Yes, me too,” says an Athenian walking past, apparently unfazed by the idea of an insect talking to him from a drain.

Little does he know that, only a few feet away, artists Myrto Sarma and Dimitra Trousa are crouching over a tiny microphone, impersonating the cockroach in a voice they have rehearsed over and over.

The artists are delighted the man is engaging with their insect, explaining how his life has changed over the past decade. He was recently made redundant and has struggled to support himself ever since.

“It’s not nice up here any more,” he complains, speaking into the drain. “I think you’re better off staying down there.”

(10) THE PLAY’S THE THING. BBC reports “Toy Story 4 breaks global box office record for animation”.

Toy Story 4, the long awaited fourth film in the animated franchise, has broken global box office records for an animated movie.

It earned $238m (£187m) since opening worldwide over the weekend, performing particularly well in Latin America and Europe.

The film struggled in China, however, and also failed to meet expectations in the US, where its $118m (£93m) fell short of a predicted $140m (£110m).

(11) OUTSIDE OF AN OCTOPUS. In the Washington Post, Lela Nargi interviews Alon Gorodetsky, lead researcher of a team at the University of California (Irvine) who is looking at the color-changing abilities of octopi (known as biomimicry) to come up with clothes that can make a user warmer or colder depending on what she desires. “How can an octopus help us stay warm?”

…Ever since, Gorodetsky’s lab at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) has been trying to make what he calls “technologically valuable things” based on cephalopods’ camouflaging skills. They’ve finally succeeded in creating a material that will let people, not disguise themselves as rocks and algae, but regulate how warm or cool they feel. The UCI team built this material using biomimicry — watching how a biological organism behaves, then imitating it.

Cephalopods have a layer of skin that’s packed with pigment-containing cells called chromatophores. When you can’t see the cephalopod, it’s expanding and contracting its chromatophores between little upright points and big, flat disks. Think about drawing dots on a piece of plastic wrap, says Gorodetsky, then stretching the plastic so that those dots get much bigger….

(12) THE FUTURE? WE’RE THERE. The New York Times weighs in on a new HBO series scripted by veteran Doctor Who writer Russell T. Davies: “Review: In ‘Years and Years,’ Things Fall Apart, Fast”.

Ever feel like there’s too much happening? That the news is out of control? That there’s barely time to process one outrage before another replaces it, leaving just the faint memory and a little bit of scar tissue from the previous Worst Thing to Ever Happen?

“Years and Years” is not the escape for you.

The HBO limited series, from the British writer Russell T Davies, is about a lot of ideas: runaway technology, European nationalism, the failure of liberal democracy. But its overarching idea, driven home by its pell-mell narrative, is, “Man, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on these days.”

This six-episode limited series, beginning Monday, is half family drama, half speculative fiction. It starts in the present, with the adult children of the Lyons clan of Manchester welcoming a new baby into the family. Then it tears ahead five years into the future, its foot jammed on the accelerator, and shows us what rough beasts are being born elsewhere.

World governments continue to lurch toward right-wing xenophobia. China builds a military installation on an artificial island. War breaks out in Ukraine. A nutty, populist entrepreneur, Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson), runs for Parliament. Oh, P.S.: There are no more butterflies!

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/24/19 The Beast That Shouted “It’s Too Dark In Here To Read!*@%#$” At The Heart (Of Darkness) In The World

  1. (6) Buckaroo Banzai was a revelation for me when I saw it completely cold, having no idea what I would be seeing.

  2. @4: 18/30, counting Anderson and 1001 as half each because I’ve not read the complete corpus of either. I’m going to get to Matilda one of these days.

    @6: I’ve read bits of several of Lackey’s series but not cared to continue. She did do some very good filk lyrics before she started being published as a prose-fiction writer.

    @8: that was dim of somebody; I wonder whether someone said “This poster would work better if it were mirrored.”

  3. Chip Hitchcock: I’ve read bits of several of Lackey’s series but not cared to continue.

    I’ve not read any, nor yet seen anything said by a Filer (even when they were being complimentary) that made me want to read any of her books. If someone knows of an exceptional one they can recommend, I’d be interested in hearing it, given that she’s CoNZealand’s GoH.

  4. @Chip —

    @6: I’ve read bits of several of Lackey’s series but not cared to continue.

    If you’re not a 14-year-old girl, you needn’t bother.

    I read her Last Herald-Mage sub-series just a few years ago. It’s pretty much juvenile drivel, with plot holes you could drive a 747 through, yet somehow compelling as well. Incredibly angsty, with tooooo precious talking horses and lots of over-the-top elements; perfect for a young teen.

    Born June 24, 1947 — Peter Weller

    Go, Peter! There are just SOOOO many classic lines from Buckaroo Banzai, and they wouldn’t have been nearly as well delivered without the team of Weller and Lithgow.

    And he was also great in the non-genre role of the retired sheriff in the Longmire series. 🙂

    (4) I’ve only read 8 of the books/series listed — never was much for children’s lit!

  5. 4) I get 8 out of 30. But then children’s books are a lot more tied to language and nationality than adult fiction. Also, several of those books came out after I was out of target demographic.

    6) I really enjoyed Marcedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde novels back in the day. I particularly enjoyed Burning Water, which I bought in the same bookstore haul as Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly. Now that was a good bookstore haul.

    But because urban fantasy didn’t sell very well in the late 1980s/early 1990s and because Mercedes Lackey acquired a stalker who mistook the Diana Tregarde books for reality, she won’t be writing any more of them.

    Meanwhile, the epic fantasy for which Mercedes Lackey is better known, has never done it for me.

  6. (4) TOP CHILDREN’S BOOKS. If I squint a little and include ones where I saw a movie or TV show, and ones where I’m not sure if I read it but I believe I may have, then it’s 15. I haven’t heard of some of the other ones. (blush)

    (8) NSFWWW. In only marginally-related news, supposedly “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” will hit Netflix Wednesday, which means I may get to watch it for the Hugos (and myself). Maybe this weekend, since I’ll be all by myself this weekend.

    @Various in re. Mercedes Lackey:

    (a) Like @Cora Buhlert, I enjoyed the “Diana Tregarde” books back in the day!

    ETA: They are an early example of what-is-now-called-urban-fantasy.

    (b) Unlike @Contrarius and despite not having been a 14-year-old girl at the time ::side-eyes Contrarius::, I loved the “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy when I first read it, and re-read the series a couple of times, IIRC. And despite still not being a 14-year-old girl, when I listened to the audiobooks at some point (a few years ago???), I still enjoyed them. (grin&shrug) It’s probably rare or perhaps unheard of for me to discover I don’t like something I originally loved, so it’s unsurprising they still have a place in my heart. Angst and all. 😛

    @JJ: All that said, I doubt the “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy would be your cup o’ tea, so I don’t recommend them to you.

    ETA: Second fifth is best fifth.

  7. Robert Westall’s Blitzcat was on my list of books I would have liked to try and adapt for movies, back when I was trying to sell screenplays in the 1990’s. Done today, Lord Gort would probably be portrayed with CGI rather than using a real cat.

  8. 1. I’ve got 15. I tried some of the others but couldn’t finish them. I was surprised at how many of them that I had never heard of.

    6. Re Peter Weller, we really liked the short-lived series Oddyssey 5. My roommate and I still quote Buckaroo Banzai all the time.

    Hi everyone! Still here mostly lurking because most days I’m running too far behind too comment…

  9. 4) 12/30. As Cora said, childrens books are very country specific. No swedish list could exist without being half full of Astrid Lindgren and Moomins. The rest are most likely unknown outside Sweden nowadays, possibly with the exception of Nils Holgersson.

    The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is a story written by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf about a boy called Nils who is turned into a small gnome and then travels around Sweden on the back of a goose. It was written to try to teach children about swedish geography in a more fun way. To my big surprise, people recognized him in Syria when I visited, some 15 years ago. Turns out the japanese had made a TV-series based on the story that then had been translated into arabic.

  10. (4) Holy crap, 28/30. And that’s mostly because he picked a different Robert Westall (I will maintain that he’s wrong – The Machine Gunners is still definitive.) But, as noted by others, that’s mainly because I’m British and thus much of the list is part of my cultural heritage. Genuinely surprised at the omission of both Paddington and Winnie-the-Pooh though.

  11. 4) I’ve read seven. Notable omissions seem to be Enid Blyton, which I read a lot as a kid. Also Wimpy Kid and Rick Riordian which all the kids nowadays seem to be reading.

  12. 1) Missed being on this one, alas

    4) My children’s bookj reading is…poor

  13. 4) 12/30, and that’s based on a possibly optimistic memory of which fairy tale collections I read.

    My own childhood reading list included (n.b. — these books all long predated my actual childhood):

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22070580-assignment-in-space-with-rip-foster?ac=1&from_search=true

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3093659-scavengers-in-space?ac=1&from_search=true

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9774188-barry-blake-of-the-flying-fortress?ac=1&from_search=true

    8) Despite also not being a 14 year old girl, I read great piles of Mercedes Lackey, primarily Valdemar, in my early 20s and enjoyed them quite a bit at the time, although I don’t have any real desire to revisit them. I do still love the Jody Lee covers. (And I bought several filk audiocassettes from Firebird Arts & Graphics back in the day, including a tape of Peter Beagle performing songs. I wish that had ever been rerelease in some kind of more modern format.)

  14. (6) I recently read a dozen Bierce stories. He invented Carcossa (“An Inhabitant of Carcossa”), wrote a robot story (“Moxon’s Master”), wrote some ghost stories, and wrote an invisible monster story (“The Damned Thing.”)

    I’m really enjoying his work and Saki’s and O’Henry’s, who are three authors I was forced to read in high school and have avoided until now. They are very funny. I never thought I’d laugh at a cavalry scout and his horse falling to their deaths over a cliff, but I did.

  15. 4) 20/30. Doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern to which I read and which I didn’t.

  16. 20 out of 30. The other 10 appear to be mostly British-centric and not published in the USA, at least not when I was the target age.
    I choked when I saw Pilgrim’s Progress. NOT a book I think would get a child interested in reading. I have read it, mostly to see why Jo Marsh and her sisters liked it so much. It was quite a slog to my modern eye.

    .

    JJ, re Mercedes Lackey. If you like humor, try The Sleeping Beauty, which is part of her 500 Kingdoms books (re-telling fairy tales). Reader, I LOLed.

    I also enjoyed the first few of her Elemental Masters series (though not the later ones). Try The Serpent’s Shadow. Come to think, these are also loosely based on fairy tales. I admit, I’m fond of the genre.

    .

    Hampus! My wife loves The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. She’s told me about it many times but we don’t have a copy, and it doesn’t appear to have an e-edition. I’m unexpectedly thrilled someone else has heard of this book. Though obviously it’s much more well known in Sweden.

  17. I tried to read the Valdemar Herald-Mage books in my 30s or so. I’m a horsewoman. Book met wall–hard. I don’t care that the horses weren’t really supposed to be horses, the concept didn’t work because it didn’t fit horses as I knew them. C.J. Cherryh’s nighthorses in the Finisterre books (Riders at the Gates, Cloud’s Rider) behaved more like I thought magical horses should behave–just because those books caught the wicked sense of humor most equines possess.

  18. @bookworm1398 Notable omissions seem to be Enid Blyton, which I read a lot as a kid. Also Wimpy Kid and Rick Riordian which all the kids nowadays seem to be reading.

    It’s very much an adult’s list of children’s books that are good, I think, as opposed to a list of books children like to read. Which isn’t at all a problem, but it does make me think of the last time I was in the children’s section of Foyles bookshop in London. They had two completely separate sets of shelves – “children’s classics” were all tasteful covers and authors active before 1980 to appeal to adults buying gifts, and the other was all paperbacks in day-glo covers with foil and holograms to appeal to kids making their own choices.

  19. @Joyce: half of my enjoyment of Cloud’s Rider was the savage deconstruction of Lackey’s “teenage girl whose parents don’t understand but her magic horsie worsie wuvvvvs her” glurge.

  20. (4) I get 14, including Pilgrim’s Progress. Which I agree isn’t particularly for children, although at least starting it is needed to properly appreciate The Enchanted Duplicator

  21. @Joyce —

    I’m a horsewoman. Book met wall–hard. I don’t care that the horses weren’t really supposed to be horses, the concept didn’t work because it didn’t fit horses as I knew them.

    If you haven’t already, you really should try Katherine Arden’s books, starting with The Bear and the Nightingale. She also has magical talking horses, but I **loved** them. They seemed very horsey to me. 🙂 (Also, I recommend the audio version — great narration!)

  22. My wife put up a free web edition of _The Wonderful Adventures of Nils_ on her site some years back: https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/lagerlof/nils/nils.html

    This is the English translation by Velma Swanston Howard, in two parts. The second part, _Further Adventures of Nils_, is at https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/lagerlof/further/further.html Note that some cuts were made from the original Swedish version (supposedly with the approval of the author).

  23. A postscript re. Mercedes Lackey:

    #1 I went from the “Last Herald-Mage” trilogy to the “Arrows” one, which she wrote first but is much later in time. I’d read the writing wasn’t as good because they were her first novels, and unfortunately I never finished the second in that trilogy. I knew this could happen and should’ve just moved on to some other Valdemar books, but other than a few short stories in mixed (ETA: I mean non-Valdemar-specific) anthologies, I never got around to it. But maybe one day I’ll try an audiobook of a different Valdemar sub-series.

    #2 At some point, IIRC, she (and her husband?) started a web site with online superhero fiction – short fiction? Audio? Both? It intrigued me, but I lost track of it and never explored it. I believe this may be the “Secret Chronicles,” which I found and appears to still be going strong (except the web site looks like a boring blog layout instead of the art-heavy site I remember). It looks like it has a few novels from Baen, too. Anyone remember this/ever read or heard any of it?

    #3 She co-wrote with a few notable authors like McCaffrey (brain ship), Bradley (Darkover), Norton (short series with elves & dragons), et al. As one does.

  24. (4) I get 16 out of 30. 17, if you count “Wind in the Willows, which for me is DNF.
    I’d guess that “Pilgrim’s Progress” is a children’s book in periods where children are considered small adults once they get to about age 7.

  25. 9) Not exactly SHINBONE ALLEY or archy, but it seems interesting.

    Some of the stories I enjoyed as a teen don’t appeal to my son. He found Fred Brown’s THE STAR MOUSE a bit too verbose. I suppose there are whole sets of books that were considered children’s books, but kept in print by adults.

    I discovered Ambrose Bierce at the age of 12. Going through his FANTASTIC FABLES and THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY altered the way I viewed people.

  26. “Hampus! My wife loves The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. She’s told me about it many times but we don’t have a copy, and it doesn’t appear to have an e-edition. I’m unexpectedly thrilled someone else has heard of this book. Though obviously it’s much more well known in Sweden.”

    Our old 20 crown bill used to have Nils on them. I’ll see if I saved any. The book can be ordered on Amazon.

  27. John Mark Ockerbloom on June 25, 2019 at 8:19 am said:

    My wife put up a free web edition of _The Wonderful Adventures of Nils_ on her site some years back:

    Oh, thank you! It even has the illustrations.

  28. Nils is also available on Project Gutenberg. I think they have the full illustrated version on the internet archive too, but it is down for maintenance now.

  29. 6) Weller: Also in a very interesting episode of Fringe.

    Lackey: I could have sworn I’d read something by her, but looking at her cv all I could come up with was the Ship Who Sang follow-up with McCaffrey … maybe.

  30. (6) June 24 is also Chuck Taylor’s birthday. If you’ve seen a movie with a nerd or computer hacker, there’s a good chance they were wearing Chuck Taylor All-Stars basketball shoes.

    I saw Buckaroo Banzai in the theater when it originally came out. I was in a small-ish town and it didn’t even play a whole week. Probably better not knowing much going in. I have friends who saw it after it became a cult movie and none of them seem to think it stands up to its reputation.

    Leviathan gets played a lot on Comet. It has a cast of actors I tend to like. I think I’ll stop and watch a bit of anything with Daniel Stern in it and it has Amanda Pays between Max Headroom and The Flash.

    The Pixel Scroll Preservation Society

  31. I received this love letter from my ISP. It could affect the availability of the blog for a three-hour period later today:

    Today, between 4:00pm and 7:00pm PDT, we will be performing a software upgrade on your shared MySQL server.

    We expect the process to take up to 1 hour total,…

    You may notice that your MySQL databases are unreachable for brief periods, or your website may behave unexpectedly while we complete the upgrade. This is normal, and your sites and databases will be back online as soon as the upgrade is complete!

  32. 4) If Enid Blyton, Astrid Lindgren, the Moomins and the Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson (no, I have no idea why he has a surname in Germany, but not elsewhere) had been on that list, I would have gotten more, because these were all translated and widely available when I was a kid. Throw in German authors like Michael Ende, Otfried Preußler and Max Kruse and I would have gotten even more.

  33. 4) As long as we’re naming personal favorites — I read all of Walter Brooks’ “Freddy the Pig” series.

    But this list, despite being rather UK-centric, doesn’t even have “Winnie-the-Pooh”.

  34. Despite being well past the age of 14. I’ve enjoyed the Tregarde books as well as the Wizards of London series, which take fairy tales as their basis.

    I’ve also sat with Misty at conventions and seen person after person come up to tell her how deeply the Valdemar books affected their life — sometimes with voice trembling and tears in their eyes, that’s how excited they are to meet her.

  35. I think one reason the Valdemar books in particular hit such a chord with a lot of people is because at the time (late 80s/early 90s) they were one of the few series, especially YA-friendly series, to incorporate LGBTQ protagonists in a relatively matter-of-fact way.

  36. Jack Lint:

    (6) June 24 is also Chuck Taylor’s birthday. If you’ve seen a movie with a nerd or computer hacker, there’s a good chance they were wearing Chuck Taylor All-Stars basketball shoes.

    I happen to be wearing high-top Chucks at the moment.

  37. @4, read 17; saw the play Matilda (just last week!) and the film How To Train Your Dragon; don’t know if those last two count..

  38. @Ultragotha: I was also surprised at Pilgrim’s Progress; I think it struck me as heavy-handed even when I was in elementary school, and I wouldn’t subject anyone to it now. The Phantom Tollbooth (not listed) has a moral or two, but it’s not one long dictatorial allegory. And I’d heard of Nils — but only because there was an English-language copy of the second half somewhere in the 2 weeks 55 years ago that I was in Sweden; I’ve never seen it since.

    @Contrarius: I grew up bounded by horses (all three sides of our plot) but have had nothing to do with them since — but Arden’s portrayals certainly feel real to me.

    @Hampus Eckerman: Our old 20 crown bill used to have Nils on them. That’s wonderful! I wish more countries had such a broad sense of what is important; right now we’re stuck on whether that SOB Andrew Jackson will be replaced by Harriet Tubman (passed under Obama, blocked ~”to make sure it gets done right” by the regime).

    re the people who quote Buckaroo Banzai: a friend some years ago said he was in a group stopped at a ski-trail junction, and asked “Where are we going?” “Planet Ten!” says someone. “When [are we getting there?]?” [a skier shooting past the junction:] “Real Soon Now! I loved that moovieeeeeee….”

  39. Mercedes Lackey’s not my thing but I did just want to highlight that using “teenage girls like this” as a term of contempt isn’t an especially good look. Makes it sound like your problem is girl cooties and not the writing.

  40. (4) 16/30. Surprised not to see The Phantom Tollbooth or Pippi Longstocking there. Also Daniel Pinkwater and the Oz books were staples of my reading as a child.

    (6) I’m another Mercedes Lackey fan! I re-read the Valdemar books regularly, because they are now comfort reading for me. Agree, that they aren’t for everyone, but I first read them at a time when I really needed them. And now, comfort!

  41. I also enjoy Mercedes Lackey, despite not even being close to being a 14 year old girl. Valdemar can be comfort reading, but the series I go back to most often is the Dragon Jousters (fantasy ancient Egypt with tameable dragons).

    Secret Chronicles is superheroes, yes. I tried the first one when I found it free, bounced off hard, don’t remember much else about it.

  42. Mercedes Lackey’s not my thing but I did just want to highlight that using “teenage girls like this” as a term of contempt isn’t an especially good look.

    Along those lines, aren’t teenage girls the biggest reason there’s a thriving young adult fiction market today? Here’s a stat from 2014 that 60.5% of young adult readers are female and 54% of them are aged 13 to 29. It’s either them or female readers in their twenties who deserve the most credit for making that happen.

  43. @Sophie Jane —

    Mercedes Lackey’s not my thing but I did just want to highlight that using “teenage girls like this” as a term of contempt isn’t an especially good look. Makes it sound like your problem is girl cooties and not the writing.

    You may have missed the multiple times I’ve mentioned it, but I’m a girl myself. See where assumptions get you? 😉

    Actually, I mentioned 14-year-old girls because they (or at least I was at that age, and generally young adolescents that I’ve known) tend to be fans of over-the-top drama and angst, and because young teenagers aren’t yet conversant enough with literature in general to be especially sensitive to massive plot holes.

    It isn’t a term of contempt — it’s a term of defining something’s optimal audience.

  44. I feel I have found my tribe. Ms. Lackey’s writing sets my teeth on edge.
    I thought the UF was okay-ish. Those had plots that moved along and no too-cute-to-live angel horses. Still a ton of head-hopping and telling, but not unreadable.
    And I felt that way when I was a 14yo girl.
    I’m going to second Contrarius: the target market for the Valdemar books is horse crazy 12-16yos.

  45. @C.A.Collins:
    the target market for the Valdemar books is horse crazy 12-16yos.

    ObBujold: Ekaterin Vorvayne (as she was) would have fit into that category

  46. Mike Glyer, I actually went to that list and read it just to see if Freddy and Jinx and Mrs. Wiggins et al had gotten the nod. I can still find them on the shelves at some local libraries here, which is fitting, since this is his town (his papers were left to the U of Rochester), but they’re slowly vanishing, being replaced on precious shelf space by books about farting ghosts.

    I’d have put Edward Eager’s handful of books on such a list, but I’m sure most kids haven’t seen them. I got a copy of Seven-Day Magic for a quarter when our local library decided to make room for, well, farting ghosts, I guess. Even though I already had a matched set of Eager, I couldn’t resist having that particular one in ex-library format.

    At a con once, I got to ask Brian Bolland what he thought ROBOCOP owed to Judge Dredd. He started to answer but was interrupted by his SO who declared the con was over, and we all went to lunch. (This was a local con a friend put on, and he found out the day of the event that the friendly local dealers who’d accepted his flyers were then turning around and throwing them away. It took him some years, but he paid off all his debts from the sad affair.)

    You are a Scroll of the Universe… and whether you can hear it or not, the Universe is ticking behind your back.

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