Pixel Scroll 6/11/16 The Incredibly Strange Scrolls That Stopped Living And Became Crazy Mixed-Up Pixels

(1) NEW HWA ENDOWMENT PROMOTES YA WRITERS. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has launched a “Young Adults ‘Write Now’ Endowment Program”  to fund teen-oriented writing programs at libraries.

The Young Adults Write Now fund will provide up to five endowments of $500 each per year for selected libraries to establish new, or support ongoing, writing programs. The program is currently open to United States libraries, but will be expanded in the future to include other countries, as part of the HWA’s global presence. Membership in the HWA is not a requirement.

HWA’s Library & Literacy team will select up to five recipients from the applications.

Applicants must fill in and submit the Application Form designed for that purpose; the Application Form will be published at http://horror.org/librarians.htm but will also be made available by contacting libraries@horror.org.

Eligibility: Public and community libraries will be eligible. The Applicant must outline how the endowment would be used (a ‘Plan’) and describe the goals and history (if applicable) of the writing program. In selecting the recipients, the team shall focus primarily (but not exclusively) on advancing the writing of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction (essays). An emphasis on genre fiction (horror, science fiction, fantasy) in the plan is desired but not required. The Applicant shall demonstrate that the writing program will be regular and on-going.

Recipients receiving funding will be able to use the monies for anything relating to the proposed/active writing program, including but not limited to supplies, special events, publishing costs, guest speakers/instructors, and operating expense. Monies may not be used to fund other programs or expenses for the library.

(2) EARTHSEA ARTIST. In a comment on Terri Windling’s blog, Charles Vess said:

For the last two years I’ve been slowly approaching the daunting task of illustrating all six of Ursula’s Earthsea books (collected for the first time under one cover). Through sometimes almost daily correspondence with her I’ve been attempting to mentally & aesthetically look through her eyes at the world she’s spent so long writing about. It has been a privilege to say the least. Carefully reading and re-reading those books and seeing how masterfully she’s developed her themes is amazing. And now, to my great delight (and sometimes her’s as well) the drawings are falling off my fingertips. To be sure, there will never be many ‘jobs’ as fulfilling as this one is.”

(3) OBE FOR PRINCE VULTAN. “Queen’s Birthday Honours: Charitable actor Brian Blessed made an OBE”. Perhaps better known to the public for playing Augustus Caesar or various Shakespearean roles, to fans Brian Blessed is synonymous with the Flash Gordon movie, or as Mark of Cornwall in a King Arthur TV series.

Chobham-based bellowing actor Brian Blessed has been appointed OBE for services to the arts and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The star, famed for taking to the screen and stage as Shakespearian leads, said the appointment came as a ‘complete surprise’.

“I am absolutely delighted,” he said.

“It is marvellous that the son of a Yorkshire coal miner should be given such an honour.

“A huge thank you to all of the people that nominated me.“

Mr Blessed has continued to pick up pace since his days as Prince Vultan in cult film Flash Gordon.

Astronaut Tim Peake is also on the list

The UK’s first official astronaut, Major Peake is due to return to Earth this month after a six-month mission and said he was “honoured to receive the first appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for extraordinary service beyond our planet”.

The honour is usually given for “serving the UK abroad”.

(4) HARRY POTTER OPENS. Twitter loved it. “The first reviews for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ are in and everyone is spellbound”. For example…

(5) AFI VIDEO. ”Spielberg, Lucas and Abrams honor John Williams” who received a lifetime achievement award at last night’s American Film Institute event.

Steven Spielberg reveals his favorite Williams scores, while Richard Dreyfuss, Kobe Bryant and Peter Fonda discuss the legendary composer’s work.

 

(6) OF COURSE YOU RECOGNIZE THESE. Those of us who bombed the elves/drugs quiz the other day need a softball challenge like this to regain our confidence… “Only a true Star Trek fan can spot every reference in this awsome poster” says ME TV.

The pop culture world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. This has given us loads of cool collectibles, from Canadian currency shaped like Starfleet insignias to Captain Kirk Barbie dolls.

Add this wonderful poster to the heap of new Trek treasures, which comes to our attention via /Film and AICN. The work was created by artist Dusty Abell, whose resume includes character design on everything from Batman: Under the Red Hood to The Mike Tyson Mysteries.

Abell illustrated 123 items and characters seen in the three seasons of Star Trek: Original Series. Try and spot them all. Thankfully, he provided the answers, which we posted below.

(7) SUICIDE SQUAD. If Ben Affleck’s Batman appears in Suicide Squad (and the actor was spotted on the movie set), then there’s a glimpse of his character in this 30-second TV spot. Don’t blink.

(8) DID YOU SAVE YOURS? At Car and Driver, “12 Vintage Car Toys Now Worth Big Bucks”. This talking K.I.T.T. is worth $900….

From 1982 to 1986, car-loving kids around the country tuned in to the TV show Knight Rider on Friday nights. It featured a computerized, semi-autonomous, crime-fighting and talking Pontiac Trans Am known as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand). The premise sounds ridiculous today, but that all-new Trans Am was freshly styled for the 1980s—just like its co-star, The Hoff. The show was a huge hit, and toys flooded the market. One of the coolest was the Voice Car by Kenner. Push down on the cool vintage blue California license plate, and the Voice Car would say six different phrases. It came with a Michael Knight action figure, too.

(9) SALDANA’S SF CAREER. At Yahoo! TV, “Zoe Saldana Says Without Sci-Fi Movies, Filmmakers Would Cast Her as the ‘Girlfriend or Sexy Woman of Color’”.

“If I wasn’t doing these sci-fi movies, I would be at the mercy of filmmakers that would just look my way if they need a girlfriend or sexy woman of color in their movie,” the 37-year-old actress tells the publication. “Space is different…but we can still do better. We can still give women more weight to carry in their roles.”

(10) IX PREVIEW WEEKEND. The rest of you may not even know there’s a Wilmington, Delaware, but my mother grew up there and that makes me twice as glad to find some genre news coming out of the place, about a major exhibit: “Delaware Art Museum hosts famous fantasy, science fiction artists”. 

Imaginative Realism combines classical painting techniques with narrative subjects, focusing on the unreal, the unseen, and the impossible. The Delaware Art Museum is partnering with IX Arts organizers to host the first IX Preview Weekend September 23 – 25, 2016 at the Museum, celebrating Imaginative Realism and to kick off IX9–the annual groundbreaking art show, symposium, and celebration dedicated solely to the genre. Imaginative Realism is the cutting edge of contemporary painting and illustration and often includes themes related to science fiction and fantasy movies, games, and books. A pop-up exhibition and the weekend of events will feature over 16 contemporary artists internationally recognized for their contributions to Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Marvel, DC Comics, Blizzard Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast, among others.

The weekend will also include after-hours events, performances, exclusive workshops with artists, talks, film screenings, artist signings, live demos, and games. The artists represented include Greg Hildebrandt, illustrator of the original Star Wars poster; Boris Vallejo, who is famous for his illustrations of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian; Charles Vess, whose award-winning work graced the covers of Marvel and DC Comics; and Donato Giancola, known for his paintings for Lucasfilm, DC Comics, Playboy Magazine, and the Syfy Channel.

Other featured artists include Julie Bell, Bob Eggleton, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Ruth Sanderson, Jordu Schell, Matthew Stewart, William O’Connor, David Palumbo, Dorian Vallejo, Michael Whelan, and Mark Zug. Each artist will present original work in the pop-up show, covering the gamut from illustration through personal/gallery work in a wide range of mediums. All artists represented will be present at the Museum over the course of the weekend.

Ticket and registration information will be available this summer. Visit delart.org for details and updates.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 11, 1982 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial released

(12) SAY IT AIN’T SO. “Roddenberry’s Star Trek was ‘above all, a critique of Robert Heinlein” says Man Saadia at BoingBoing.

According to Roddenberry himself, no author has had more influence on The Original Series than Robert Heinlein, and more specifically his juvenile novel Space Cadet. The book, published in 1948, is considered a classic. It is a bildungsroman, retelling the education of young Matt Dodson from Iowa, who joins the Space Patrol and becomes a man. There is a reason why Star Trek’s Captain Kirk is from Iowa. The Space Patrol is a prototype of Starfleet: it is a multiracial, multinational institution, entrusted with keeping the peace in the solar system.

Where it gets a little weird is that Heinlein’s Space Patrol controls nuclear warheads in orbit around Earth, and its mission is to nuke any country that has been tempted to go to war with its neighbors. This supranational body in charge of deterrence, enforcing peace and democracy on the home planet by the threat of annihilation, was an extrapolation of what could potentially be achieved if you combined the UN charter with mutually assured destruction. And all this in a book aimed at kids.

Such was the optimism Heinlein could muster at the time, and compared to his later works, Space Cadet is relatively happy and idealistic, if a bit sociopathic.

(13) ECOLOGICAL NICHERY. John Scalzi observes “How Blogs Work Today” at Whatever.

I don’t think blogs are dead per se — WordPress, which I will note hosts my blog, seems to be doing just fine in terms of new sites being created and people joining its network. But I think the role of the blog is different than it was even just a couple of years ago. It’s not the sole outpost of an online life, although it can be an anchor, holding it in place. What a blog is today is part of an overall presence, with a specific role that complements other online outposts (which in turn complement the blog). I do it myself — longer pieces here, which I will point to from other places. Shortform smartassery on Twitter. Personal Facebook account to keep up with friends; public Facebook and Google Plus pages to keep fans up on news — news which is often announced here and linked to from there.

(14) MY OBSERVATION ABOUT HOW BLOGS WORK TODAY. Same as he said. Just look at how I’m getting my traffic. 🙂

(15) HISTORIC SNARK. News, but not from this timeline.

(16) DIGITAL COMICS. David Brin presents “A look at some of the best Science Fiction Webcomics”, an engaging précis of 20 current or favorites from recent years, with sample graphics. (Ursula Vernon’s Digger is on the list.)

This time let’s follow-up with a selection of yet-more truly creative online comics, some serious space dramas, others satires or comedies. Many offer humorous insights as they delve into science, space, the future… and human nature. You’ll find star-spanning voyages, vividly portrayed aliens, frequent use of faster-than-light travel (FTL), but …. no superheroes here! …

Outsider, by Jim Francis, is a full-color, beautifully illustrated “starship combat space opera.” Set in the 2100s, humanity has ventured out to the stars, only to encounter alien refugees fleeing war between the galactic superpowers Loroi and Umiak. With little information at hand to base their decision upon, humanity must decide: which side should earth ally with? When the starship Bellarmine finds itself caught in enemy crossfire, a hull breach sends Ensign Alexander Jardin drifting in space — where he is picked up by a Loroi ship. As the outsider aboard the alien ship, he slowly begins to understand this telepathic, formidable, all-female crew — and gain insight into earth’s place in the cosmos. Then he finds himself in a unique position to save humanity….

Quantum Vibe, by Scott Bieser. This sequential science fiction webcomic offers some real substance. The story begins five hundred plus years into the Space Age on the orbiting city, L-5. After a doomed relationship falls apart, our fierce heroine, Nicole Oresme, becomes technical assistant and pilot to Dr. Seamus O’Murchadha, inventor of electro-gravity, who needs help with his plan to delve into “quantum vibremonics.” Their adventures through the solar system include escaping assassins, diving into the sun’s corona, visits to Luna, Venus (terraforming underway), Mars, Europa and Titan. Earth is ruled by large corporations and genetically divided into rigid social castes – and even branched into genetic subspecies, multi-armed Spyders and Belt-apes. Libertarian references abound. A bit of a libertarian drumbeat but not inapropos for the setting and future.  I’m impressed with the spec-science in the series, as well as tongue-in-cheek references to SF stories, including… Sundiver and Heinlein.

Freefall, by Mark Stanley, a science fictional comedy which incorporates a fair amount of hard science; it has been running since 1998. The serialized strips follow the comic antics of the crew of the salvaged and somewhat-repaired starship Savage Chicken, with its not-too-responsible squid-like alien captain Sam Starfall, a not-too-intelligent robot named Helix, along with a genetically uplifted wolf for an engineer — Florence Ambrose. Their adventures begin on a planet aswarm with terraforming robots and incoming comets. The light-hearted comic touches on deeper issues of ethics and morals, sapience and philosophy, orbital mechanics and artificial intelligence.

(17) HEALTH WARNING. Twitter user threatens Tingle tantrum. Film at 11.

(18) CAN PRO ART HUGO BE IMPROVED? George R.R. Martin and Kevin Standlee have been debating the merits of Martin’s preference to have a Best Cover instead of Best Pro Artist Hugo. Standlee notes the failure of the Best Original Artwork Hugo in the early 1990s, while Martin ripostes —

It didn’t work because we did it wrong.

The new category should have replaced “Best Professional Artist” instead of simply being added as an additional Hugo. Keeping the old category just encouraged the voters to keep on nominating as they had before, while ignoring the new category.

Also, it should have been “Best Cover” instead of “Best Original Artwork.” I understand the desire to be inclusive and allow people to nominate interior illustrations, gallery art, and whatever, but the truth is, covers have always been what the artist Hugo is all about. Let’s stop pretending it’s not. Freas, Emshwiller, Whelan, Eggleton, Donato, Picacio and all the rest won their rockets on the strength of their cover work. No artist who does not do covers has ever won a Hugo.

Making it “Best Cover” makes it about the art, not the artist. Writers have a big advantage over artists in that their names are emblazoned on the covers of their books. With artists, we can see a spectacular piece of work without knowing who did it… like, for instance, the incredible cover for Vic Milan’s novel, mentioned above. People nominate the same artists year after year because those are the only artists whose names they know. It’s very hard for someone new to break through and get their name known.

It would be easier if the voters could just nominate say, “the cover of DINOSAUR LORDS,” without having to know the artist’s name.

(19) IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF BEING RIPPED OFF. We take you back to Turkey and those thrilling days of yesteryear when Ömer the Tourist in Star Trek debuted. The 1973 cult comedy science-fiction starred film Sadri Alisik as a Turkish hobo who is beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise.

The film, which is the eighth and final in a series of films featuring Alisik as Ömer the Tourist, is commonly known as Turkish Star Trek because of plot and stylistic elements parodied from Star Trek: The Original Series episode The Man Trap (1966) as well as the unauthorized use of footage from the series. Although unofficial and part of another franchise, it is the first movie taking place in Star Trek universe, filmed 6 years before the official motion picture.

This movie gained fame in Turkey for the phrase “Mr. Spock has donkey’s ears,” which Ömer repeatedly says to Mr.Spock in the movie.

The film is available on YouTube – here is the first segment.

(20) THE REAL REASON THEY’RE RESHOOTING ROGUE ONE. I strongly suspect Omer the Wanderer’s screenwriter has moved on to late night TV and is working for Stephen Colbert… “The Trailer for ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Reveals a New Character”.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Will R., and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]

99 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/11/16 The Incredibly Strange Scrolls That Stopped Living And Became Crazy Mixed-Up Pixels

  1. Astronaut Tim Peake is also on the list

    The UK’s first official astronaut, Major Peake is due to return to Earth this month after a six-month mission and said he was “honoured to receive the first appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for extraordinary service beyond our planet”.

    Goddammit, does NO ONE remember Helen Sharman?

    “Official” astronaut? Is that the hook they’re hanging this on? What, are they saying she was a stowaway or something?

    Also: Less first than Kip, but more fifth than him, too.

  2. Women: we are just figments of our own imagination.

    In other news I’m reading Kameron Hurley’s The Geek Feminist today. Parts of it are familiar from past posts of hers I’ve read, some are new to me, some of it I’m loving, some has me ranting, lots and lots of highlighting of great points. Not finished yet but highly recommend.

  3. 8) I may have had one of these, but if I did, its long long long gone.

  4. @Tasha Turner I finished that last week. It was fantastic! My TBR list exploded with all of the great writers she mentioned.

  5. A Charles Vess illustrated collection of the complete Earthsea books? That sounds delicious.

    I think it would be nice if there was a Best Cover Hugo also. The art categories feel too vast a space to survey and hence end up paradoxically covering a narrow field. Covers are more accessible and more memorable – and it also easier to discuss what works and what doesn’t about a cover rather than a piece of art in general.

    [On a side note and as an example, I think the cover of Dave Freer’s recent book is great. ]

  6. (3) There is a typo in that. Everyone knows that the correct way to write it is BRIAN BLESSED!

  7. Camestros Felapton: On a side note and as an example, I think the cover of Dave Freer’s recent book is great.

    I sense the influence of Timothy the Hacking Cat’s mad skillz in that one.

  8. (5) The whole AFI ceremony is on TNT Wednesday night. I have my DVR set.

    (11) I think that was when I saw it for the second time — we’d won tickets to a preview a week or so before and I vividly recall spending that week telling EVERYONE I knew to see the movie and complaining that I had to wait a whole week before watching it again. Phone hooome…

    (15) V. funny stuff! A few of them are so close to plausible.

    (20) Colbert’s true geekdom is delightful to watch.

  9. (3) OBE FOR PRINCE VULTAN.
    It’ll be a BIG BOOMING OBE!

    (8) DID YOU SAVE YOURS?
    I thought the point was that if everyone had saved theirs, they wouldn’t be worth anywhere near as much: scarcity is a driver of price, yesno?

    (18)

    It would be easier if the voters could just nominate say, “the cover of DINOSAUR LORDS,” without having to know the artist’s name.

    No necessarily, as additional information might still be needed to disambiguate e.g. between UK & US covers (or other editions).

    A Prince-ly title suggestion: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today 2 Pixel Scroll through this thing called file (770).”

  10. @kathodus: @Tasha – good to see a woman finally admit you are all imaginary.

    I can’t decide on the right response:
    1. Just doing my part for mankind
    2. You must be hallucinating if your having a conversation with an imaginary woman. 😉

  11. Camestros Felapton: A Charles Vess illustrated collection of the complete Earthsea books? That sounds delicious.

    About 15 years ago, a friend was kind enough to let me read their hardcover copy of Stardust. It was not a graphic novel, but it was a novel with lovely interior illustrations which really enhanced the story.

    It appears that those were by Charles Vess. So I would be thrilled to see what he produces for an Earthsea omnibus.

  12. (17) HEALTH WARNING. – I…what?

    @Camestros – OK, I just spent an embarrassingly long amount of time trying to figure out how that Freer cover worked before realising it wasn’t for a hardcopy….

  13. (12) I’d completely forgotten that “Space Cadet” had orbiting nukes enforcing peace. Yikes. But since I read it during the MAD years, it probably went right past me. I liked Trek better — and Gary Seven even blew up an orbiting nuke so we didn’t do that.

    @kathodus, et al: Maybe it’s only British women who are imaginary.

  14. Let’s not forget BRIAN BLESSED’s* role in Blackadder the First, where he was pretty much the best thing about the show. (Blackadder didn’t get really good till Blackadder the Second. Which all by itself justifies all the praise the show in general has gotten, to be fair.)

    As for Saldana’s comments, I think she’s right, but I’m not sure she would have been just a few short years ago. I’m really boggling at how quickly Hollywood has changed its minds about women in SF!

    As for Brin’s webcomics, AARGH! I’m barely keeping up with the webcomics I have already! I don’t need more! (But some of those look quite good. *sigh*)

    eta: oh yeah, I think I like the Hugo-for-cover-art idea, but I’ll wait to hear what others say before forming a firm opinion.

    * Yes, all caps is indeed the correct way to spell his name.

  15. @Kristin: @Tasha Turner I finished that last week. It was fantastic! My TBR list exploded with all of the great writers she mentioned.

    Missed this earlier. Might be the invisible women thing. Yes I can see a bunch of books being added to my TBR on a reread unless the Kindle version has put them at the back in the “books mentioned” section to make it super easy to buy. I have several friends I want to gift The Geek Feminist if they don’t own it already.

  16. (18) It would be easier if the voters could just nominate say, “the cover of DINOSAUR LORDS,” without having to know the artist’s name.

    Is it just me, or is that a competent but unremarkable cover? The ASoIaF calendar image that GRRM has posted is fantastic, but that Milan cover is just… whatever.

  17. Tasha Turner on June 11, 2016 at 9:14 pm said:
    @kathodus: @Tasha – good to see a woman finally admit you are all imaginary.

    I can’t decide on the right response:
    1. Just doing my part for mankind
    2. You must be hallucinating if your having a conversation with an imaginary woman. ?

    Kathodus could be a writer, they’re always having conversations with imaginary people

  18. Iphinome: Kathodus could be a writer, they’re always having conversations with imaginary people

    Yeah, you know, that’s a really cheap shot. I have found kathodus’ posts to be consistently well-reasoned and considered. 😐

  19. @JJ

    Yes you should totally see that as an attack on Kathodus and not a joke about writers talking to the characters in their heads. That’s the way to go here.

  20. Iphinome: Yes you should totally see that as an attack on Kathodus and not a joke about writers talking to the characters in their heads. That’s the way to go here.

    If I misinterpreted your remark, I apologize.

    Poe’s Law has an overwhelming effect online when people have not met each other in real life. You might consider using smileys for that kind of statement.

  21. JJ on June 11, 2016 at 9:15 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: A Charles Vess illustrated collection of the complete Earthsea books? That sounds delicious.

    About 15 years ago, a friend was kind enough to let me read their hardcover copy of Stardust. It was not a graphic novel, but it was a novel with lovely interior illustrations which really enhanced the story.

    I have Stardust in quasi-comic form somewhere. Vess & Gaiman are a great pairing. The Bone spin off/prequel “Rose” was also fabulously well done.

  22. Iphinome: Thank you for the conditional apology.

    Thank you for your non-acknowledgment, of the ambiguity of your statement, and of the fact that I am not a mind-reader, given the somewhat heated discussion which occurred in another thread on gender.

  23. JJ, even I got what Iphinome was saying on the first pass. I think calling it either ambiguous or insulting is a bit of a stretch.

  24. snowcrash on June 11, 2016 at 9:24 pm said:

    @Camestros – OK, I just spent an embarrassingly long amount of time trying to figure out how that Freer cover worked before realising it wasn’t for a hardcopy….

    I think it is a neat step forward in ebook covers. I don’t know who designed it but whoever did it clearly thought about what a good cover for an ebook should be like (i.e. work as a thumbnail on Amazon) but also took an extra step and thought what they could do with a thumbnail that you couldn’t do with a hardcopy cover.

    Also, cute cat.

  25. Rev. Bob: even I got what Iphinome was saying on the first pass. I think calling it either ambiguous or insulting is a bit of a stretch.

    Clearly, it wasn’t a stretch, since that’s what I got. I was pretty startled and re-read it several times trying to see if there was something I was missing.

  26. JJ: Will do, as soon as someone explains how an unbiased observer could see riffing on the imaginary person thing as an attack.

  27. Ugh, sorry for starting that fight. I was making a silly joke after a Saturday of beers, and really was just ticking the follow box.

  28. Iphinome: Will do, as soon as someone explains how an unbiased observer could see riffing on the imaginary person thing as an attack.

    I can only perceive your comments here based on my past observations of your posting history here.

    I perceived it as an acerbic comment, given that context. I’ve apologized for being wrong.

    If you wish to continue flagellating me for misunderstanding, that is, of course, your prerogative — however, it does not contribute to me thinking that my perceptions are incorrect.

  29. kathodus you didn’t start a fight. As far as I can tell, everyone’s cool with you.

    I’m cool with you. *offers a fistbump*

    JJ you apologized conditional on you being wrong which hints you think might have been right and when that was pointed out you blamed me.

    If you want to call that flagellation then I’m sorry.

    See how that sounds? So I’m going to refine it.

    I’m sorry that my words created a misunderstanding and led to an argument. That goes out to you JJ and to the other people reading this.

    Intentions don’t excuse actions but my intention was to get a chuckle out of people by reminding them that writers have imaginary people living in their heads.

  30. (2) EARTHSEA ARTIST: Very much looking forward to this. I hope they include all the short stories as well. There are 2 from the 1960s that aren’t part of the Tales from Earthsea collection. And there’s the novelette (novella?) she wrote in 2014.

  31. Iphinome: Intentions don’t excuse actions but my intention was to get a chuckle out of people by reminding them that writers have imaginary people living in their heads.

    I apologize for misunderstanding your intention. Thanks for your clarification.

  32. Finished off “The Aeronauts Windlass” and… meh.

    The main problem is that there was never given any reason to like or even feel empathy with the characters. There was absolutely not character development, everyone was more or less the same at the end as they had been in the beginning even if there was some messaging going on about how we should think differently.

    We have some messaging going on about how brilliant Captain Cardboard is, but not really any actions to support it. The cats are arrogant assholes. In the beginning people call them pests and it was obviously a good description.

    And jul gur uryy qbrf rirelguvat bs inyhr xrrc ba orvat haqrsraqrq? Jr unir na vagehqre nezl gung pna zhfgre n ybg zber crbcyr guna gubfr vaunovgvat gur cynpr. Rira jura gur rarzvrf ybpngvba vf xabja, ab bar pnerf nobhg fraqvat sbe fhccbeg. Be rira univat fhccbeg ba fgnaqol. Pncgnva Pneqobneq vf frra nf oevyyvnag orpnhfr rirelbar ryfr ner gbgny zbebaf.

    This was not a good book. The last 100 pages were an effort to finish.

  33. Hampus – aside from some slight disagreements re cats, I agree. The plot holes are particularly egregious.

  34. I really liked the cats, but apart from that, yes, Hampus, I agree with you: the characters are all archetypes, with nothing to break them out of that predictability, nothing to make them really interesting and “real” as people.

    I find it interesting that so many people mention the word “cardboard” when discussing the characters in The Aeronaut’s Windlass — because that is exactly the word I kept thinking of when I was reading the book and waiting for the characters to actually take on some life of their own (which they never did).

    It was an okay book for a “beach read”. But it was as if the author had gone through a book-writing template, ticking various archetypal characters and situations, and pressing a “Compose” key at the end which actually wrote the book (sort of like the AI-written SF movie script in the scroll a couple of days ago).

  35. Further linking two items, Helen Sharman’s trip was supposed to be a purely private venture with no government involvement hence the “Official” added to Tim Peake’s description, and BRIAN BLESSED has been through astronaut training at Star City in the hope of a Soyuz trip.

  36. My current reading has been Campbell-related; Sebastian de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade was quite fun in a swashbuckly sort of way, though if you can’t spot the plot twists at least three chapters ahead of Our Hero, you should have yourself checked for brain death. But this is often a problem with swashbuckling heroes, who have to be clever enough to get out of desperate scrapes and deadly perils, while also being stupid enough to get into them in the first place….

    I’m finding Pierce Brown’s Red Rising rather more of a slog; so far, it seems to focus on just how very horrible the bad guys are, and I’m finding it increasingly hard to believe in Brown’s world-building as a consequence. (De Castell’s villains are also pretty nasty, but it’s a sort of credible, human-scale nastiness, which I find easier to deal with.)

    In both books, it is a bad time to be the hero’s beautiful, sensitive, intelligent and socially-conscious young wife, by the way. The shadow of the refrigerator looms large over these ones.

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