Pixel Scroll 6/14/17 Will the Pixel Be Unbroken

As I was about to say yesterday, before I was interrupted…

(1) THE SOUND OF MONEY. Kristine Kathryn Rusch pointed her readers to bestselling writer Michael J. Sullivan’s a post on Reddit titled “Why Del Rey and I Will Be Parting Ways” and gave a complimentary analysis on the way Sullivan handled his audiobook rights.

Here, I want to applaud Michael and his wife Robin for their negotiating skills and for their attitude.

To summarize the highlights of the blog about Del Rey, for those of you who haven’t jumped over to read it, Michael and Robin learned from their first major contract with a traditional publisher to retain audio rights. Michael and Robin didn’t do so on that first big contract, and then the audio rights sold for $400,000, of which Michael and Robin saw only $200,000 (subsidiary rights in a standard publishing contract are split 50/50 with a publisher).

So — and here’s a nice bit of brilliance — Michael and Robin didn’t want to lose audio rights again. When the time to negotiate a new Del Rey contract came around, Michael and Robin had already sold audio rights to those books, taking those rights off the table entirely.

They thought through what they wanted, and rather than argue over the rights, or get the print publisher to bump an advance, or go through all of the little tricks that people on the other side of the table do when negotiating, Michael and Robin were proactive. They made sure they got what they wanted with audio first.

And there’s a lot more good information in Rusch’s post.

(2) THE FLUID PAST. Guy Gavriel Kay tweeted a link to this article, one in which he is cited and discussed. “‘Facts are not truth’: Hilary Mantel goes on the record about historical fiction”.

In Mantel’s view, the past is not something we passively consume, either, but that which we actively “create” in each act of remembrance. That’s not to say, of course, that Mantel is arguing that there are no historical “facts” or that the past didn’t happen. Rather, she reminds us that the evidence we use to give narrative shape to the past is “always partial” , and often “incomplete” . “Facts are not truth” , Mantel argues, but “the record of what’s left on the record.” It is up to the living to interpret, or, indeed, misinterpret, those accounts.

In this respect the writer of historical fiction is not working in direct opposition to the professional historian: both must think creatively about what remains, deploying — especially when faced with gaps and silences in the archive — “selection, elision, artful arrangement” , literary manoeuvres more closely associated with novelist Philippa Gregory than with [John] Guy the historian. However, exceptional examples from both fields should, claims Mantel, be “self-questioning” and always willing to undermine their own claims to authenticity.

(3) WEBCOMICS AT LOC. The Library of Congress now has a webcomics archive, collecting 39 strips including the multi-Hugo winning Girl Genius.

This collection focuses on comics created specifically for the web and supplements the Library of Congress’ extensive holdings in both comic books, graphic novels, and original comic art. Webcomics are an increasingly popular format utilized by contemporary creators in the field and often includes material by artists not available elsewhere. Webcomics selected for this collection include award-winning comics (Eisner Awards, Harvey Awards, Eagle Awards, and Shuster Awards) as well as webcomics that have significance in the field due to longevity, reputation, and subject matter. This collection includes work by artists and subjects not traditionally represented in mainstream comics, including women artists and characters, artists and characters of color, LGBTQ+ artists and characters, as well as subjects such as politics, health and human sexuality, and autobiography. The content of these websites is captured as it was originally produced and may include content that is not suitable for all ages.

(4) EARLY DAYS. Kalimac reminisces about “ Dark Carnival” bookstore.

But I remember Dark Carnival from its earliest days. It was the first sf specialty store in the Bay Area, long before Borderlands or Future Fantasy and even a bit before The Other Change of Hobbit or Fantasy Etc. (Of these, only Borderlands is still with us, and it had a scare not long ago.) I found it down on the south stretch of Telegraph, the first of its three locations, when I returned to UC in the fall of 1976. It was very small then, mostly a large semicircle of paperbacks, but there wasn’t a lot to stock in those days. Jack Rems, owner ever since, was usually there, as was his first clerk, a young woman named Lisa Goldstein, who’d occasionally mention she was working on a novel. It was published several years later and led her on the path to becoming the renowned fantasy author she is today, but then she was a bookstore clerk. D. and I would hang out down there and indulge in a lot of chatter with Jack and Lisa, but we’d also buy books.

(5) LA’S SHINING WEST TRIBUTE. NOTE: WE MISSED THIS ONE. On Thursday Los Angeles city officials will turn on the Bat-SIgnal.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will light the Bat-Signal over Los Angeles in a special ceremony honoring the late Adam West, who starred in the 60s Batman TV series as the Caped Crusader himself.

The ceremony will be conducted on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. PST at Los Angeles City Hall. Garcetti will be joined by unnamed special guests for the tribute, along with Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck.

Once lit, the Bat-Signal will be projected on Los Angeles City Hall for an undisclosed period of time.

(6) TRACING BATMAN’S BAT BUCKS. In “How Does Batman make All His Money?” on looper.com, Chris Sims looks at the roots of the Wayne fortune, including how Bruce Wayne’s wealth began with Revolutionary War hero “Mad Anthony” Wayne and how Thomas Wayne’s marriage to Martha Kane united a financial empire with one based on chemicals.

All of this still leaves the question of where Batman gets his fortune in the world of Gotham City, but if you’ve read enough comics, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bruce Wayne’s infinite pile of money has an origin story just like everything else. The short version? The Waynes have always been rich.

As it turns out, they’re about as old as Old Money gets in America, with a merchant fortune that came over from Europe in colonial times, growing as Gotham City expanded to form the cornerstone of an industrial empire. In 2011’s Batman: Gates of Gotham, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, and Trevor McCarthy put the spotlight on Alan Wayne, a turn-of-the-century ancestor for Batman who helped to shape the city itself by funding the design and construction of bridges, tunnels, and key buildings — including Wayne Tower.

(7) ALT REVIEWING. Jon Mollison reviewed Sarah A. Hoyt’s story “Freeman’s Stand” in Rocket’s Red Glare for the Castalia House blog. He has a particular view of immigrants, as reflected in this excerpt —

I didn’t recognize the tonally inconsistent version of America presented. Perhaps the good old USA had fallen so long ago that the Sons of Liberty had cobbled together an approximation through scraps of history and lost lore. If so, this was never presented, and so instead of enjoying the action, I found myself wondering where this weird America came from.

Normally, I’d be loathe to resort to the petty tactic of mentioning the “About The Author” section of a collection, but in this case it provides an important clue towards understanding why Freeman’s Stand feels like such an alien version of America. The very first thing mentioned in Hoyt’s bio is that she was born and raised in Portugal. That’s the lead-off. It’s important that you know Hoyt is Portuguese before all else. And it’s only now, after the story is concluded, that the pieces fall into place. This is a story of “Nation of Immigrants” America written by an author with a very different perspective of America than one held by a reader born and bred within her borders. That is the source of the disconnect, and I found myself wishing that I’d known from the outset that Molly’s story was that an American outsider fighting for an outsider’s vision of America. It would have resolved a number of discordant passages within the tale.

This prompted Greg Hullender to observe, “Although Sarah Hoyt imagines herself to be a fellow-traveler, given her involvement with the Sad Puppies, it’s pretty clear from this post on the Castalia House Blog that, as an immigrant from Portugal, she can never be a “real American.” Not in any sense the alt-right recognizes, anyway.”

(8) WALKING DEAD. Carl Slaughter would like to tell you about it:

The Walking Dead is a tale of sheriff Rick Grimes and his small band of survivors as they’re transformed from coddled complainers into battle tested, zombie murdering badasses. The zombie subgenre has a rich history of social commentary. Whether they be the slow walking, brain craving type or of the fast running, shrieking persuasion, the figure of the zombie has been a metaphor for all sorts of things that keep us up at night. Zombies have represented everything from mindless consumers under Capitalism in Dawn of the Dead, to fears about public health crisis in 28 Days Later, immigration in World War Z, or mega corporations in Resident Evil. And then there’s the fact that zombies originated in Haiti, where many argue it was a metaphor for slavery. Zombies are projections of our own societal fears. The Walking Dead isn’t quite any of these. Instead, The Walking Dead explores a multitude of issues, like politics, psychology, and our relationship to death. Also, the joys of cosplay. The Walking Dead is, above all else, a show about philosophical bounderies. And three in particular: (1) What constitutes life (2) What constitutes living (3) What constitutes being human.

For homework, Carl recommends The Philosophy of The Walking Dead — Wisecrack Edition.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Tom Galloway, John King Tarpinian, Gregory N. Hullender, and Dann for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

103 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/14/17 Will the Pixel Be Unbroken

  1. Seconding David and Leigh Eddings’s The Belgariad as a comfort read and fifthing (sixthing?) Georgette Heyer. Also, Riddlemaster of Hed, the Amber series, McKinley’s Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, the first few Dark Tower books, The Stand, and when things are especially dark, everything L. M. Montgomery wrote. I also reread vintage mysteries whenever I’m bored.

    Nice to see not much changed, now the lights are back on.

  2. @ Mike Glyer and Heather Rose Jones
    On your very different topics, very well said.

    As to the puppies, Annie Bellet (IIRC) said the the sads and rabids were in the sads’ car but the rabids had stolen the keys are were driving it, without the sads noticing/admitting it. Sounds right to me.

    As to history, people are now studying how it is remembered as well as the facts that are known. This seems to be exactly the spot in which novelists like Mantel are working, contributing to how the past is remembered, I.e. The stories we tell ourselves about it. Fascinating stuff.

  3. @IanP, Matt Y, Acoustic Rob, Lenora Rose, MSB,
    The Pratchett books definitely. The City Watch ones are my favourites.

    @Cora, Ghostbird World Weary, Cheryl S,

    Georgette Heyer’s books keep coming up in comfort read discussions. I really must read her.

    @Greg Hullender,
    “Goblin Emperor” has become high on my list of comfort reads, and “Penric’s Demon” is on my Mt TBR.

    @Hampus,
    Those are not what I would choose for comfort reads, and I’ve been avid readers of all three!

    @Steve Wright,
    The Belgariad! Definitely page turners and an easy read.

  4. Soon Lee; Note my caveat, though. Heyer was an uneven writer. Try a book like Frederica first, or The Talisman Ring, or the Grand Sophy (With a big warning of one major anti-Semetic scene therein). Cotillion is popular but you need to be familiar with a lot of older Regency tropes too appreciate it, whether through her or others

    A good general rule is to take a chance if it’s a Regency or pre-regency romance novel (She has some in the Powder and Patch era, too.) and avoid most of her historicals. Her few mysteries are another mixed bag; not as consistently bad as the historicals are reported to be, but definitely YMMV.

  5. So I looked over my special books* stack to see what i missed for comfort reads and the only one appears to be The Last Unicorn. Beagle in general would definitely qualify.

    If for some reason I had to lose every book in the house, these are the ones to save. Not all of them are comfort reads — The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate are therein, and Thomas King, who is neither as depressing as Jemisin nor a particularly comforting read despite being funny — but comfort reads are well represented.

  6. J C Salmon –

    you come to the conclusion that Sarah Hoyt is not merely a de facto a fellow traveller of the Alt Right, but also considers herself to be such.

    Actually, he didn’t. You’re jumping to a conclusion not supported by what he said, which is that they were traveling the same path. Not that she’s ever identified past or present with the Alt-Right. Her rhetoric about the left may not be the song the alt-right is singing but the lyrics are awfully similar.

    In any event the alt-right, alt-white, alt-lite, alt-west, alt-whatever has broken up into so many subgroups it’s hard to keep it straight. Like metal subgenres the difference between Doom Metal and Death Metal might be important to the groups involved but most people don’t care.

  7. one of the most curiously life-affirming books I know.

    That reminds me of the White Trash Zombie series, which has a lot more about the value of a GED than I expected from a zombie book.

  8. And of course, there are authors mining the parts of history which aren’t quite so well recorded. Like the fantabulous Tim Powers. But that’s sort of a different thing. 🙂

    For “comfort” reading (not sure that’s the right term for me, but close enough): Sir Pterry, PG Wodehouse, and Bujold probably top my list. Others (in no particular order) include Charlie Stross’s Laundry Files, Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, Glen Cook’s Garrett PI series, Patricia Wrede’s The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Walter Jon Williams’s Drake Maijstral, Allowed Burglar series, Lindsey Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco books, David Brin’s The Uplift War (not the Uplift series, just this one) and assorted works by CJ Cherryh, Tom Holt, Patricia McKillip, Roger Zelazny, Seanan McGuire, and Jack Vance.

  9. J. C. Salomon on June 16, 2017 at 2:07 pm said:

    Mr Hullender’s comment adds exactly nothing to the bare fact of the review’s existence.

    Luckily Greg’s comment was simply an observation rather than a Phd thesis then.

    Come to think of it, by that token, your observation on Greg’s also has added nothing. Sh!t! My observation of your observation of Greg’s observation is adding nothing either! Now my observation on my own observation isn’t adding anything on top of that! And that last sentence on my observation of your observation of Greg’s observation is adding nothing either! [quick – somebody hit my reset button before I hit a stack overflow]

  10. Matt Y. tells me

    You’re jumping to a conclusion not supported by what he said, which is that they were traveling the same path. Not that she’s ever identified past or present with the Alt-Right.

    But Mr. Hullender’s comment is still visible above, including this:

    Although Sarah Hoyt imagines herself to be a fellow-traveler, given her involvement with the Sad Puppies, …

    As for Camestros Felapton, this is neither legal analysis nor Talmudic exegesis. If you cannot understand Mr. Hullender’s intent behind his words, or Mr. Glyer’s in repeating them, both those gentlemen are following this thread and can explain themselves to you if they so choose.

  11. Your inability to understand the idiom also remains up there too. We don’t travel in the same circles* but can certainly talk in them**

    *idiom clarification we aren’t actually inside of circles it’s a way of saying we might not be part of the same groups
    **nor are we talking about literal circles its a way of saying we’ve managed to arrive at the point started at.

  12. @Ghostbird: a fine distinction, but entirely reasonable.The way I answer the people who say Cherryh’s characters never have any fun is a variant of a line from Gigi — “it is sometimes given to them to have fun at last” — but they don’t spend a lot of time on self-doubt, and sometimes the payoff is spectacular. (I think Merchanter’s Luck could be made into a terrific movie; it would take a good writer to turn the backstory into a script, but ~”It was my name. I want it back.” makes the end of Kidnapped run away whimpering.)

  13. @Matt Y: “Fellow traveller” means someone in approximate agreement with a movement’s goals and sympathy for its tactics, or in Party jargon someone sufficiently neutral to be de facto assisting. Brad’s analogy was illustrating his claim of completely different goals and only incidental & partial alignment of tactics. You may claim he’s lying about his motivations, but you cannot call him a “fellow traveller” based on his words without misinterpreting the idiom, Brad’s analogy, or both.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock: Merchanter’s Luck is unusual for Cherryh’s works in that the main character’s internal struggles are almost all of them directly expressed in action and witnessed by the other characters—a movie could be made of it much more readily than, say, Finity’s End.

    (Okay, Heavy Time & Hellburner might also work, but I think the viewers would hate Dekker’s “What time is it?” even more than Ben does; and putting the audience in a murderous rage can’t be good for business.)

  15. @J. C. Salomon —

    “Fellow traveller” means someone in approximate agreement with a movement’s goals and sympathy for its tactics

    1. Goals = hijack the Hugos to (a) make political points about what types of books they thought should be winning and (b) promote the author members of their respective “in” groups.
    2. Tactics = slate voting.

    Yup. “Fellow traveler” (it’s a US award, so I’m sticking with US spelling) works.

    @Chip —

    they don’t spend a lot of time on self-doubt

    Not always true. For example, the MC in Foreigner spends most of the first three books doubting himself.

  16. On a slightly different tack, what do people prefer* for a comfort read?

    Right now I’m in the middle of a comfort-read of THE STAND.

    When I was growing up, my go-to comfort read was UP A ROAD SLOWLY by Irene Hunt.

    These days: Books by Dick Francis, Stephen King, Lawrence Block, John Sandford, Michael Connolly, Neil Gaiman and classic comic strips, including work by Milt Caniff and Leonard Starr.

  17. My comfort reading is widely scattered, and depends a lot on my mood and what else I’ve been reading lately. In no particular order:

    S.M. Stirling’s Changed World books
    Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books
    The Goblin Emperor
    Martha Wells’ Raksura books
    Some of the Vorkosigan books, notably A Civil Campaign and Memory
    Various mysteries, including the Benjamin January books
    Some Heyer, notably Cotillion, A Civil Contract, The Unknown Ajax, and Venetia
    Other things which are not coming to mind at the moment.

    A Closed and Common Orbit has recently moved into this category as well.

  18. pTerry and Heyer, you can never go wrong with for comfort. And Oor Wombat! Falco detecting in Rome. There’s also watching TV shows or movies you’ve seen a million times. MP&Holy Grail is comforting.

    @msb: That’s a good way of putting it.

    Oh, look, it’s a fedora saying “Well, actually”. What a non-surprise.

  19. Kurt Busiek: Right now I’m in the middle of a comfort-read of THE STAND.

    Yes, I can see that — I just wanted to say what a croggling sentence it is.

  20. Comfort reads:

    Alexander, The Black Cauldron
    Banks, Excession and Look to Windward
    Cherryh, Downbelow Station
    Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    Howard, “Tower of the Elephant”
    Herbert, Dune
    Le Guin, Voices
    Leiber, “Bazaar of the Bizarre”
    Miéville, The Scar
    Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, Lords and Ladies, Feet of Clay, Going Postal, Wee Free Men
    Tolkien, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

  21. Contrarius:
    1. Goals = hijack the Hugos to
    (a) make political points about what types of books they thought should be winning and
    (b) promote the author members of their respective “in” groups.
    2. Tactics = slate voting.
    Yup. “Fellow traveler” works.

    3. Nearly-universal condemnation of the works which have been getting recognized as Hugo Finalists for the last (10, 20, 30, 40) years as not being worthy, and as only having been nominated because of the race, gender, or politics of the author. 🙄

    I highly doubt that Hoyt would actually admit that she and the other Sad Puppies are fellow travelers with the Rabids. But there’s no question that they are very closely aligned, in terms of philosophy, motivation, and methodology, which is why I tend to refer to them all as just “Puppies”.

    If the Sads didn’t like being lumped in with the Rabids, there were plenty of things they could have done to distinguish themselves from the Rabids, and they very deliberately chose not to do those things. They made their doggie bed, and now they have to lie in it, whether they like it or not.

  22. @ Soon Lee: Adding to the chorus about being careful with Heyer. Of her Regencies, some of the ones I like are:
    – A Civil Contract: A fine character study about a marriage of monetary necessity and how, over time, the couple involved grow into genuine mutual affection.
    – The Unknown Ajax: This one is built largely around trope-inversion and is a Lost Heir story. Said heir is considered unsuitable by virtue of low birth, but he does a bang-up job of taking the wind out of an old tyrant’s sails. Mystery crossover.
    – The Quiet Gentleman: A very different version of “the heir is considered unsuitable”, also with a mystery crossover.
    – The Masqueraders: Two escaped Jacobites, brother and sister, have to disguise themselves as the opposite sex; both hijinks and drama ensue. There’s also a Lost Heir storyline. All of it needs quite a lot of authorial privilege, but it’s a good romp.
    – Venetia: A more-or-less standard Rake’s Redemption plot, but succeeds by virtue of its characters not being as standard as all that. It’s about as close as Heyer ever gets to racy. If you like this one, there’s quite a bit of fic on AO3 exploring their further… adventures.
    – Cotillion: I love this because it’s an outstanding example of Nice Guy Gets the Girl. And he does it by being good-hearted and considerate and willing to put himself out even when it’s terribly inconvenient, while the Bad Boy that the heroine originally wants shows his ass in public over and over again. Side note: the story also contains a very sympathetic portrayal of a mentally-impaired character.
    – Pistols for Two: This is a collection of short stories, and may be a good way to dip your toe into both the genre and the author.

    The Grand Sophy is problematic not just because of the ugly splat of anti-Semitism in the middle section, but also because it suffers from the Libertarian Plot Problem: it only works because there’s an author standing over it to make it work. Sophy would be a very uncomfortable friend to have in real life, because she’s a bulldozer who is always convinced she knows what’s best for everyone. It still gets a nostalgia pass from me, but you may bounce off it.

    The Reluctant Widow is one that I will anti-recommend. Gaslighting from hell; the heroine, having been trapped by a series of errors into a situation which is genuinely dangerous for her, has her perfectly reasonable qualms brushed aside as “feminine hysterics” by everyone else around her and nearly dies of it. It would take very little tweaking to turn this into a horror story. Which is a shame, because it also contains one of my favorite secondary characters.

    I tried two of her mysteries at one point, bounced resoundingly off both of them, and never attempted another one.

  23. Leonard Starr’s “Annie” was outstanding. Grey was still signing when I was beginning to look closely at comics, but I’m wondering if it was being ghosted already. I just remember some coot with a lantern who called himself Bald Ego. It was like a parody. So Starr’s run on the strip was like two hundred and twenty volts of fresh energy in it, and it was exciting in a way it hadn’t been on my watch.

    I see there are some collections of his tenure on the character. I need those. I was off somewhere looking in the other direction when he was doing other strips, but his name stayed in my mind from some panel blow-ups in Couperie and Horn’s History of the Comic Strip.

  24. @JJ: As time goes on, more and more people have come around to the Unipuppist School. The Sads may be the only ones who haven’t.

    makes note to get all possible flu shots and stock up on hand sanitzer and surgical masks before meeting Kurt

    Huh. Timestamps are 56 minutes ahead of real time. File 770 has finally achieved its own time zone!

  25. Lee, I bounced off a couple of Heyer’s mysteries, and also some of her historicals. (Don’t much care for Sophy, either, for the reasons you point out.)

    [The clock says it’s 7:32pm – my computer, in the same time zone, says 6:35pm. At least it’s the same date}.]

  26. I think Sophy was Heyer’s take on Emma. My favorite is probably Sprig Muslin, not least because it makes me laugh every single time I read it (and I’m not easily amused by books), but I frequently reread five or more of her books in a row before moving on to something else.

    eta: I’m off by just one hour.

  27. J. C. Salomon

    @Matt Y: “Fellow traveller” means someone in approximate agreement with a movement’s goals and sympathy for its tactics, or in Party jargon someone sufficiently neutral to be de facto assisting.

    And Hoyt is has been in approximate agreement with the goals of a movement (against ‘Cultural Marxism’ and anything that is done at what is considered the expense of the SFWA) and has expressed sympathy for the tactics applied. Sufficiently neutral to be de facto assisting, and even sufficiently useful to be used by Vox and the Rabids.

    So we agree! Not Alt-right but sufficiently useful to those that are. And Greg’s original point about sufficiently neutral enough to be used by the alt-right yet always someone they’d never welcome.

    A delightful illustration of the non-point you thought he made.

  28. @lurkertype

    Oh, look, it’s a fedora saying “Well, actually”. What a non-surprise.

    *snort*

    Pupperfluff aside… I’m in the middle of the second Temeraire book. It’s a great relief after having just finished reading the shaky starts of two other series. I’ve said it before, but I love Kovik’s dragons. They are basically huge, scaly cats.

    Saw Wonder Woman on Thursday. My favorite Super Hero movie in years. Someone commented on a previous thread that they had just watched it for a second time, and was surprised to have enjoyed it more the second time, given the slow bits in the movie. Which was interesting to read, because I was talking about the movie with a friend who wants to see it and was wondering if it’d be good a second time, or if the slow bits would drag. Nice that isn’t the case for at least one Filer. I may see it again.

    Reading more about Temeraire after seeing Wonder Woman got me wondering how those books would work as movies. I suspect it’d be impossible to replicate the dragons on the big screen, but maybe?

    ETA I was going to say something about the Puppy thing, inspired by Matt Y’s bringing metal into the conversation. Had a bunch typed up and everything, then realized that between Matt Y’s metal-mentioning comment and the next one, I was saying pretty much exactly the same thing, but with metal genre examples.

  29. Leonard Starr’s “Annie” was outstanding. Grey was still signing when I was beginning to look closely at comics, but I’m wondering if it was being ghosted already.

    Harold Gray died in 1968, and Starr began his run on the strip in 1979, so yeah, there were other hands in-between. Between ’68 and 1974, there were runs by Robert Leffingwell, Henry Arnold, Henry Raduta, Elliot Caplin, Tex Blaisdell and David Lettick, the bulk of it being by Caplin and Blaisdell.

    Between ’74 and ’79 they ran reprints of older Gray material.

    I just remember some coot with a lantern who called himself Bald Ego. It was like a parody.

    Bald Ego seems to have been around in 1969.

    So Starr’s run on the strip was like two hundred and twenty volts of fresh energy in it, and it was exciting in a way it hadn’t been on my watch.

    Starr was not only a terrific cartoonist, but he may be the best writer the American “story strip” has ever seen. Now that Classic Comics Press has finished publishing a complete run of his ON STAGE, someone needs to pick up the baton and collect ANNIE…

  30. Kathodus

    I suspect it’d be impossible to replicate the dragons on the big screen, but maybe?

    Have you ever watched How To Train Your Dragon? There is a similarity between the human / dragon relationship in both and how the dragons behave. That might be the closest we ever get, though who knows.

    And as someone who has been in the ‘that’s folk metal not prog metal’ subgenre fights I almost expanded way too much. Now that’s a divisive fandom! I’d call alt-right babymetal for the name alone, but it wishes to be that cool when it’s mostly a Creed cover band 😉

    Non-sequitor but Alestorm is pirate metal and has a great new album

  31. Re: Heyer as comfort read

    When I was doing my Graduate Student Instructor thing for entirely too many years, I powered my way though grading finals and term papers by rewarding myself with chapters of Heyer at set intervals. It was exactly the sort of “don’t ask me to think” read that balanced out the grading. I have never managed to make it through any of her historicals. Well, ok, I did trudge all the way through An Infamous Army, but it had romance cross-over characters which was enough to keep me going. I’ve read some of her mysteries — much more readable than the histories but not as fun as the romances.

    At some point, after spending years trying to track down her more obscure works, and when a couple of different publishers were slowly re-issuing the majority of them, I set myself a goal of owning every novel she wrote. (Or at least all the ones listed in her Wikipedia entry.) Just to do it. At this point I’ve managed everything except three modern romances: Barren Corn, Helen, and Pastel.

    I haven’t actually read all of the ones I’ve acquired (even if you left out the histories), but every once in a while I allow myself to be a collector of highly specific books, regardless of practicality. (The main category I have leave to collect in is historical grammars and dictionaries of the Welsh language.)

  32. @Matt Y: “I don’t know about the shows but in the comics that’s not just speculation it’s flat out said.”

    I’m the other way around; I watch the shows but haven’t read the comics. So far as I recall, that panel hasn’t made it onto the show. As far as exploring the theme, I think the constant escalation of what Our Heroes have to do to defeat their opponents – whether we’re talking about the walkers, the Governor, or Negan – does exactly that. The “good guys” have to keep getting more savage, and with Negan in particular (the show’s latest/current Big Bad), there’s been some reflection in the fan community that if he’d been our viewpoint character, we’d probably see Grimes and his band as bad guys.

    Me, I’m fascinated by the way Negan functions as a conquerer turned feudal lord. Yes, of course he’s brutal – that’s rather the currency of the realm – but he is doing something nobody else is. He’s taking these separate groups under his wing and saying, “You don’t have to be good at everything any more. Do what you’re good at, pay me my tribute, and I’ll take care of defending the borders.” If he was more trustworthy, fair, and less capricious, he might be a good leader instead of merely an effective one.

    Which, IMO, goes right back to that theme. Grimes, for all his faults, is trying to do right by everybody on his side, not just his chosen elite. He’s having to learn how to build coalitions on the fly, because he can’t defeat Negan with pure moral authority. He needs an organization behind him.

  33. @Kurt, OGH: (comfort-reading The Stand)

    1978, 1980, or Uncut edition?

    I don’t have a lot of comfort reads – I’d rather tackle the Tsundoku Massif most of the time – but on that shelf are Stephen King’s It, a handful of Heinleins (Double Star, The Door Into Summer, Assignment in Eternity, and The Past Through Tomorrow if I could find my copy), Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon series, and Robert Asprin’s Myth and Phule series. On some occasions, I might toss Weber’s Honor Harrington series in there. I’ve got a “contact poison” shelf on Goodreads that closely approximates the full list, but they’re not exactly identical.

    On the question of Hoyt and the alt-right… from my experiences with her, she at least identifies with “the right” and I wouldn’t be shocked to find her embracing “alt.” Granted, I haven’t seen her in a couple of years, but she’s not exactly shy on panels. She fits in very well at what I alternately think of as PuppyCon and ClimateDenialCon.

  34. Regarding Georgette Heyer’s historical novels, I quite liked Beauvallet. But then, it’s an Elizabethan historical romance with pirates, so what’s not to love? The Spanish Bride, on the other hand, drags in spite of a fascinating historical background and being based on a true story.

    One Heyer favourite I haven’t yet seen mentioned is Arabella. The Talisman Ring is another good one.

  35. For comfort reads, the Gor series.

    Seriously though, besides some of the others mentioned here, my comfort reads include John Sladek’s Mechasm/The Reproductive System, Bradley Denton’s Lunatics, Ted Reynolds’ “Can These Bones Live?,” and in mysteries, most of the John Thorndyke novels of R. Austin Freeman and the Dr. Priestley novels of John Rhodes.

    And of course for the opposite of comfort reading, most anything else by Bradley Denton, Blackburn in particular.

  36. @JJ —

    But there’s no question that they are very closely aligned, in terms of philosophy, motivation, and methodology, which is why I tend to refer to them all as just “Puppies”.

    If the Sads didn’t like being lumped in with the Rabids, there were plenty of things they could have done to distinguish themselves from the Rabids, and they very deliberately chose not to do those things. They made their doggie bed, and now they have to lie in it, whether they like it or not.

    Absolutely — all of this. The Sads missed so many opportunities to be Not-the-Rabids. There’s a world of difference between paying lip service — merely saying “We’re not the Rabids” — and actually distinguishing one group from the other.

    Oddly, though, the Sad’s biggest attempt at actually being Not-the-Rabids — their switch from slates to an open recommendation list — spelled their downfall. Because that showed them to have nothing uniquely interesting to offer the sff community after all.

  37. Kurt Busiek

    I’d like to see more 50s Orphan Annie strips. Thanks for the ghost list there. Leffingwell and Blaisdell I’d heard about. I’m almost surprised Caplin didn’t do more interesting work, though I guess family isn’t everything. Chances are anyone continuing the strip would have been tasked with making it the same as what went before, and those weren’t Grey’s best years.

    In some ways, I came along at the wrong time. Gould and Capp and Grey and others were still doing their strips, and I was seeing the remnants of glory instead of the real thing. When I started finding reprints, and after reading Couperie & Horn (always looking for more great reads like Feiffer’s opus), my opinion of Gould and Grey went up significantly. I was already sold on Li’l Abner in the papers, and saw the strip’s glory days in a paperback collection that did violence to the fine details of the art, but which had been skillfully edited to eliminate daily redundancies and move the plot swiftly.

    From sixth grade on, I used to sometimes walk from school into town and go to the library to camp out on a microfilm reader where I’d read months worth of strips, especially Abner (and his noble-ish quasi-ancestor, Oaky Doaks) until the sideways scrolling motion made me carsick and I’d have to quit. Self-administered aversion therapy—which failed, fortunately.

  38. I’d like to see more 50s Orphan Annie strips. Thanks for the ghost list there. Leffingwell and Blaisdell I’d heard about. I’m almost surprised Caplin didn’t do more interesting work, though I guess family isn’t everything.

    Elliot Caplin wrote a lot of comic strips; they’re almost universally functional but dumb. THE HEART OF JULIET JONES is emblematic of his skill — the stories move along and the dialogue has some snap, but the plots are perfunctory and everyone’s a moron.

    Chances are anyone continuing the strip would have been tasked with making it the same as what went before, and those weren’t Grey’s best years

    As it happens, Caplin seems to have been told to make it non-political and unobjectionable to anyone. So it was just dull.

    From sixth grade on, I used to sometimes walk from school into town and go to the library to camp out on a microfilm reader where I’d read months worth of strips, especially Abner (and his noble-ish quasi-ancestor, Oaky Doaks) until the sideways scrolling motion made me carsick

    I spent a summer’s Saturdays at the Boston Public Library, reading TERRY AND THE PIRATES and STEVE CANYON (and other strips that caught my eye, like PENNY) from the 1930s to the early 1960s. Great stuff.

  39. Contrarius on June 17, 2017 at 12:51 am said:

    Oddly, though, the Sad’s biggest attempt at actually being Not-the-Rabids–their switch from slates to an open recommendation list–spelled their downfall. Because that showed them to have nothing uniquely interesting to offer the sff community after all.

    It may have made them not unique (not that they were unique in offering slates), but it was the right thing to do–while the Rabids have proven that they have no interest in doing the right thing. So that’s really a fundamental difference. The Sads have shown some mild interest in doing the right thing.

    It may have basically killed the group (we’ll see how things play out), but it they’d backed it up with a forum for generally discussing interesting SF of a conservative bent year ’round, they might have actually have gotten somewhere. I mean, not to “guaranteeing their authors get awards”, but at least to “providing a useful service to the community” and “promoting writers they like”.

    In fact, I’d say that the most damning thing about the Sads is that after a half-hearted attempt at doing the right thing, they threw in the towel when it became clear they weren’t going to be guaranteeing anyone awards. (Well…that and their non-critical response to the Rabids.)

  40. I have a dream that the Fort Collins, Colorado public library will allow Archive.org to scan their newspaper microfilms and put them online for all to view. As I understand it, those microfilms—those deteriorating microfilms—are the only remaining run of the newspaper. That the library discarded the bound volumes when they were shot to film.

    Folks, they had a GREAT comics section over the years! Don’t look at them now, though.

    I also spent some weekends and evenings more recently at the Swem Library at William & Mary, first scouting and then photocopying all the Dr. Seuss political cartoons from their bound volumes of PM. I went just in time, as they were in the process of moving the volumes out to a storage facility. While I was at it, I copied a bunch of other interesting stuff (photos and artwork from the Disney animators’ strike—my scans were used by the Disney Family museum, they tell me). Six months or so later, the book of Seuss WW2 cartoons came out, but if I’d known about it, I might not have gotten all the other great stuff. They even had pages from a parody of PM some university (Harvard?) created, and some of that was funny!

  41. @Xtifr —

    It may have made them not unique (not that they were unique in offering slates), but it was the right thing to do–while the Rabids have proven that they have no interest in doing the right thing. So that’s really a fundamental difference. The Sads have shown some mild interest in doing the right thing.

    I agree with you that the Sads have never been as bad as the Rabids, and that dropping the slates was the Right Thing to Do. However, that does not magically make the Sads into Good Guys. They were traveling the same road and using the same tools as the Rabids — they just weren’t as extreme or as committed in their efforts.

    It may have basically killed the group (we’ll see how things play out), but it they’d backed it up with a forum for generally discussing interesting SF of a conservative bent year ’round, they might have actually have gotten somewhere.

    Absolutely right again. And their failure to do anything of the sort reveals a lot about them.

    In fact, I’d say that the most damning thing about the Sads is that after a half-hearted attempt at doing the right thing, they threw in the towel when it became clear they weren’t going to be guaranteeing anyone awards. (Well…that and their non-critical response to the Rabids.)

    I’m with ya all the way.

  42. The Sad Puppies’ biggest problem, it seems to me, is that they were/are so overwhelmingly focused on disliking stuff.

    They’re angry that what they like doesn’t win awards, and what they don’t like does, and they’ll rant at length about what they don’t like, making up conspiracies to explain away why it’s winning, but when they try to talk about what they like, all they’ve got is “it’s fun and it sells well,” even for stuff that doesn’t sell well.

    They seem to want someone else to do the praising and positive reviews, just as they want someone else to handle the awarding, just so long as they’re berated into the proper mindset. And when they talk about what that mindset is, it doesn’t actually match their complaints — many of them seem to love heavy-handed message fiction, for instance, as long as it’s their message.

    But they want to reap the rewards without even doing the work of being supportive fans. They seem to want “the masses” to do that for them, while they just bark at wrongthinking liberals if they get out of line.

    But so it goes.

  43. @ Cora

    I think I’d tend to count Beauvallet as among the romances rather than the historicals. But maybe my categorization is based on an assumption that if I liked it, it wasn’t a historical!

    If I had all the time in the world, I might do a complete re-read blog of Heyer. But I don’t have that time.

  44. I love that this is a place where you can find the latest sci-fi, a consensus on Heyer, and an extended Iliad metaphor. Plus cats, filk, and recipes. We got it all! *

    @Kurt: Destruction is easy. Creation is hard.

    * Except Shoggoth, who may have been the shadowy conspiracy behind this year’s Hugo Novella finalists. Maybe we shouldn’t have sent him away in the time machine. Maybe when shoggoth time comes you can shoggoth—but not before.

  45. @kathodus
    I believe that Peter Jackson’s interests still have options on the Temeraire books. So the involved CGI folks have experience with dragons and warfare.

  46. lurkertype, I dunno about your shoggoth Hugo hypothesis; when it vanished in the time machine it took a metric ton of pulp novels with it. Surely it’ll be in a digestive torpor for at least a decade….?

    …no, wait. It took a *time machine*…. <sigh>

  47. Evidently all that Perry Rhodan didn’t agree with it and it started Sad Shoggoths, to get more representation on the Hugo ballot for Great Old Ones. But it learned from past failures and concentrated on only one category and works of actual quality.

  48. Once in a while, destruction isn’t easy. From The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, by Danny Lyon:

    It took over six months to bring down the fourteen stories of 100 Gold. The hand-mixed concrete had to be smashed with a punch, and then the steel reinforcement rods had to be cut by burners. With all the buildings disappearing around it 100 Gold seemed somehow to always still be there. Its last two floors were pulverized by a shovel and ball.

    On the other hand, I have no idea how long, or how easy, construction may have been.

    Offered as a quaint factoid that doesn’t change anything.

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