Pixel Scroll 6/6/17 Scrolltime For Pixels

(1) RABID DRAGONS. Vox Day has posted his picks for “Dragon Awards 2017”. Castalia House and John C. Wright are well represented, along with other things he likes. But poor Declan Finn — he’s not on the list.

(2) BOOZY BARBARIANS. Fritz Hahn, in a Washington Post piece called “A ‘Game of Thrones’ pop-up bar where you can drink Dothraquiris on the Iron Throne”, reviews the Game of Thrones Pop-Up Bar, which will be open throughout the summer and where you can drink The North Remembers from a horn as well as all the Ommegang Game of Thrones beers. But don’t take any broadswords there or the bouncers will confiscate them!

After pop-up bars dedicated to Christmas, “Stranger Things,” cherry blossoms and Super Mario, the Drink Company team is turning the former Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency and Eat the Rich spaces into five settings evoking George R.R. Martin’s novels. (Doors open June 21, just a few weeks before Season 7 premieres on HBO.) Immersive rooms include the House of Black and White (where you’ll find a Wall of Faces made of molds of employees and friends of the bar) and the Red Keep, where you can pose for a photo as House Bolton’s flayed man. There will be dragons and house banners, of course, though the real centerpiece will most likely be a full-size replica of the Iron Throne, which co-founder Derek Brown says “is going to be totally ridiculous.”

(3) OCTAVIA BUTLER SET TO MUSIC. A theatrical concert based on Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower is coming to Chapel Hill, NC in November.

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon is a celebration of all that’s progressive and uplifting in American music. Written by Toshi in collaboration with her mother — iconic singer, scholar and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon — this powerful theatrical concert brings together 200 years of African American song traditions to give life to Octavia E. Butler’s acclaimed science fiction novel, with revealing insights on gender, race and the future of human civilization.


(4) SPECIAL NASFIC OBSERVATORY TRIP. NorthAmeriCon ‘17 members have a chance to join guest of honor Brother Guy Consolmagno, the “Pope’s Astronomer,” on a special tour of the Arecibo Observatory. Find out how at the link.

There are 25 spaces available for the VIP tour, which includes the visitor’s center as well as a 30-minute behind-the-scenes tour in small groups. Since we anticipate that demand for the VIP tour may exceed supply, we are creating a lottery to allocate these spaces. An additional 25 spaces will be available on the bus for the Visitor’s Center only.

The lottery will close at 10 pm ET on Monday, June 12. So as long as you request a spot by then you have an equal opportunity to be picked.

Also, the convention room rate for the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino ends on June 12. Reserve your rooms at the this link.

(5) WHETHER OR NOT YOU WISH. “This is really a neat piece, about the universe where a fantasy princess became a warrior general,” notes JJ, quite rightly. Princess Buttercup Became the Warrior General Who Trained Wonder Woman, All Dreams Are Now Viable by Tor.com’s Emily Asher-Perrin.

Spoilers ahead for the Wonder Woman film.

Those who know the secrets of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride know that he started writing the story for his daughters, one who wanted a story about a bride and the other who wanted a story about a princess. He merged those concepts and wound up with a tale that didn’t focus overmuch on his princess bride, instead bound up in the adventures of a farmboy-turned-pirate, a master swordsman in need of revenge, a giant with a heart of gold, and a war-hungry Prince looking for an excuse to start a terrible conflict. It was turned into a delightful movie directed by Rob Reiner in 1987.

The princess bride in question was played by a twenty-year-old Robin Wright….

(6) HENRY HIGGINS ASKS. In “Why Can’t Wonder Woman Be Wonder Woman?” on National Review Online, editor Rich Lowry says that conservatives will find much to like in the new Wonder Woman movie. He also addresses the mighty controversy about whether the film is feminist because Gal Gadot has no armpit hair in the movie…

(7) FANTASTIC FICTION AT KGB READING SERIES. On June 21, hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Catherynne M. Valente & Sunny Moraine. The event begins 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar.

Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over 30 books of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, Radiance, The Refrigerator Monologues, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making (and the four books that followed it). She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Prix Imaginales, Eugie Foster Memorial, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus, Romantic Times and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, three cats, six chickens, and a small army of tulips.

Sunny Moraine

Sunny Moraine’s short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Nightmare, Lightspeed, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies, among other places. They are also responsible for the Root Code and Casting the Bones trilogies and their debut short fiction collection Singing With All My Skin and Bone is available from Undertow Publications. In addition to time spent authoring, Sunny is a doctoral candidate in sociology and a sometime college instructor. They unfortunately live just outside Washington, DC, in a creepy house with two cats and a very long-suffering husband.

KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, New York (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.). Remember to donate to their Kickstarter. Readings are always free.

(8) THE FIELD OF MARS. Esquire explains “Why Wonder Woman Has the Most Powerful Opening Scene In Comic Movie History”.

The opening scene in Wonder Woman is a stunning statement: On the enchanted island, the Amazonian women prepare for the day the god of war Ares finds them and tries to wipe them out. To prepare for the god of war is to prepare for war. The camera swoops through the training ground, capturing the Amazonian warriors as they practice wrestling, hand-to-hand combat, archery, and horsemanship. They clash, fists to skin, on a lofted pedestal. They flip from their horses in slow motion, and they smash each other to the ground, all gleaming armor and sinewy muscle as they whirl through the air, braids whipping and breastplates glinting.

It’s a purely physical display of beauty and strength. In a brief minute of film, these women redefine what it means to be a fighter, setting the tone for the rest of the movie: This is going to be two hours of a woman who was raised by women charging straight into the bloody fray of war. You just don’t ever see this bodily type of combat training with women in a movie, and it is enough to make you giddy with anticipation of whatever graceful punishment the Amazonian women will dish out against a real enemy.

(9) BLUE MAN GROUP. I guess they are not playing around. “21st Century Fox’s FoxNext Acquires Mobile Game Studio Group Developing ‘Avatar’ Title”Variety has the story.

FoxNext, the recently formed gaming, virtual reality and theme parks division of 21st Century Fox, is sinking its teeth into the $40 billion mobile games market.

FoxNext has acquired mobile-game developer Aftershock, the entity spun off from Kabam after South Korean gaming company NetMarble acquired Kabam’s Vancouver studio and other assets last December in a deal reportedly worth up to $800 million.

Aftershock — which has studios in L.A. and San Francisco — currently has three titles in development. The only one that’s been publicly announced is a massively multiplayer mobile strategy game for James Cameron’s “Avatar” franchise, in partnership with Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.

(10) WHEN HE’S WRONG. ComicMix’s John Ostrander has a bone to pick with Bill Maher. (And it’s not the one I expected.)

Maher is very attack orientated and each week he winds up his hour with a rant on a given topic., Usually, I find him really funny and incisive but Maher does have his blind spots. He is anti-religion — Islam in particular. He thinks the majority of American voters to be morons and says so, which I find to be a broad generalization, counter-productive and not true.

His past two shows featured rants that gored a pair of my oxen. One was on space exploration, such as terraforming and colonizing Mars, and the other was a screed against super-hero movies.

Maher argued (ranted) that we should not be exploring space or even think of colonizing Mars so long as we have so many problems here at home. Neal DeGrasse Tyson rebutted Bill the following week when he pointed out that any technology that could terraform Mars could also terraform the Earth and restore what has been ravaged. I would add that a lot of our technological advances are a result of space exploration. That computer you carry in your pocket? That’s a result of the need to reduce the size of computers while making them faster and stronger to be of use to astronauts in space. Sorry, Bill, you didn’t think this through.

Then on his most recent show, Maher was quite disdainful about superhero movies in general.

He said there were too many superhero shows on TV and too many superhero movies at the cineplex and blamed the genre for the rise of Donald Trump. He said they “promote the mindset that we are not masters of our own destiny and the best we can do is sit back and wait for Star-Lord and a f*cking raccoon to sweep in and save our sorry asses. Forget hard work, government institutions, diplomacy, investments — we just need a hero to rise, so we put out the Bat Signal for one man who can step in and solve all of our problems.”

(11) BEESE OBIT. Conrunner Bob Beese suffered an aortic aneurysm and passed away on Friday, June 2. He is survived by his wife Pat “PJ” Beese. Both were past Marcon guests of honor.

Bob Beese worked on Chicon IV (1982) and other Chicago cons.


  • June 6, 1933 — The first drive-in movie theater of the United States opened in New Jersey.
  • June 6, 1949 — George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-four, is published. I may have to run this again in two days — many sources, including the Wikipedia, say it was published on June 8. The correct date has probably been lost down the Memory Hole.

(13) NEW MIDDLE GRADE FICTION PRIZE. Joan Aiken’s estate and the A.M. Heath Literary Agency have announced the creation of the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize.

A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken, Joan’s daughter, are launching a competition to find a standout new voice in middle grade children’s fiction.

Joan Aiken was the prizewinning writer of over a hundred books for young readers and adults and is recognized as one of the classic authors of the twentieth century. Her best-known series was ‘The Wolves Chronicles’, of which the first book The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was awarded the Lewis Carroll prize. On its publication TIME magazine called it: ‘One genuine small masterpiece.’€¯ Both that and Black Hearts in Battersea have been made into films. Joan’s books are internationally acclaimed and she received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction in the UK for The Whispering Mountain. Joan Aiken was decorated with an MBE for her services to children’s books.

The Prize will be judged by Julia Churchill, children’s book agent at A.M. Heath, and Lizza Aiken, daughter of Joan Aiken and curator of her Estate. The winner will receive £1,000 and a full set of ‘The Wolves Chronicles’.

A shortlist of five will be announced on August 28, and the winner will be announced on September 14. [Via Locus Online and SF Site News. See guys, giving a hat tip doesn’t hurt at all!]

(14) SMALL BALTICON REPORT. Investigative fan journalist Martin Morse Wooster gives File 770 readers the benefit of his latest discovery:

I learned from the Balticon fan lounge that there was Mythbusters slash fiction. No one knew, though, whether in these stories Jamie and Adam did it before, after, or during the explosions (because as we all know, the four best words in Mythbusters are “Fire in the hole!”

I’ll probably have to forfeit one of my Hugos for reporting that.

(15) STRIKING AGAIN AND AGAIN. Mark Kaedrin takes a stylistic cue from his subject — “Hugo Awards: Too Like the Lightning”.

You will criticize me, reader, for writing this review of Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning in the style that the book itself notes is six hundred years removed from the events it describes (though only two hundred years removed for myself). But it is the style of the Enlightenment and this book tells the story of a world shaped by those ideals.

I must apologize, reader, for I am about to commit the sin of a plot summary, but I beg you to give me your trust for just a few paragraphs longer. There are two main threads to this novel. One concerns a young boy named Bridger who has the ability to make inanimate objects come to life. Being young and having a few wise adult supervisors, he practices these miracles mostly on toys. Such is the way they try to understand his powers while hiding from the authorities, who would surely attempt to exploit the young child ruthlessly.

(16) INNATE OR OUTATE. Shelf Awareness interviews John Kessel about “Sex (and Pianos) on the Moon.”

John Kessel is the author of the novels Good News from Outer Space and Corrupting Dr. Nice and the story collections Meeting in Infinity, The Pure Product and The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories. His fiction has received the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award for fiction dealing with gender issues. He teaches American literature and fiction writing at North Carolina State University. He lives in Raleigh with his wife, the novelist Therese Anne Fowler. Kessel’s new novel, The Moon and the Other (reviewed below), recently published by Saga Press, is set on the moon in the 22nd century and tells two love stories, in two politically opposed lunar colonies–the patriarchal Persepolis and the matriarchal Society of Cousins.

What was the genesis of The Moon and the Other?

When my daughter was little, I’d take her to daycare and watch her on the playground with other kids. There was a difference in the way that the girls and the boys played. The boys would run around, often doing solitary things. The girls would sit in a sandbox doing things together. So I began to wonder: To what degree is gendered behavior innate, and to what degree is it learned? I read up about primate behavior, including chimpanzees and bonobos, both related to human beings, but with different cultures. That started me wondering whether there are other ways society could be organized. I didn’t see myself as advocating anything, but I did consider how the world might be organized differently.

(17) THE SHARKES CONTINUING DELIBERATIONS. The Shadow Clarke Jury keeps its reviews coming.

Of the six novels on my personal shortlist, Emma Geen’s The Many Selves of Katherine North is the one that disappointed me most when I came to read it. I originally picked it partly because there was a slight buzz about it online, and I am always curious about novels that provoke online chatter. I chose it too because I’d gained an impression, mostly erroneous as it turned out, that the main character would spend a considerable amount of her time as a fox (and indeed, the novel’s cover art rather implies that this will be the main thrust of the novel), and I’m oddly fascinated by the human preoccupation with vulpine transformations (also, I happen to like foxes a good deal). When I initially wrote about my choices, I invoked David Garnett’s odd little novel of transformation, Lady Into Fox, but having read Many Selves and reread Lady Into Fox, I can see now that I was wrong, except perhaps for one thing, which I’ll come to in due course. Instead, as I read on I found myself thinking more about T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. Again, I’ll come back to that shortly.

Even before it was published, The Underground Railroad enjoyed a spectacular amount of pre-buzz. I came to it with a certain amount of apprehension — could any book possibly survive the weight of so much hype? — but expecting to admire it nonetheless. Colson Whitehead is a writer with a notable track record in literary innovation — he gave the zombie novel the full Franzen, after all — and has always been a better-than-solid craftsman. Yet in spite of judging it a perfectly decent book — it’s a thoroughly professional, smoothly executed, highly readable novel on an important subject — I found myself distinctly underwhelmed. Where The Underground Railroad is concerned and in spite of wishing I liked it better than I do, I remain in a condition of some bemusement: I simply cannot see what all the fuss is about.

It is hard to think of a work that does a better job of articulating the artistic tensions at work within contemporary literary science fiction than Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit. Set in the same universe as many of the shorter works that Lee has produced since first entering the field in 1999, his first novel speaks to what science fiction must become whilst paying excessive lip-service to what some would have it remain.

Some thoughts. If anyone has ever read my blog they will, I hope, see that most of the implicit criticism is aimed at myself, though obviously some of what follows touches on various discussions on the Shadow Clarke board.

Subjective taste and critical practise depend on so many factors, thus any reading will privilege certain aspects — close reading, theoretical base, genre knowledge, life experiences, political orientation. Once you remind yourself of that basic idea, it becomes almost impossible to defend the rhetoric and moralism that goes into a special pleading for this book or that. I like a bit of rhetoric and I like a bit of hyperbole — it’s fun. BUT my head would not have exploded if The Power had won this year now would it? It will be hard to stop but I probably should. Moreover, I CAN understand why Priest, Mieville, MacInnes, Kavenna or ANY novel didn’t make it on to the shortlist. The idea that there is some objective truth or taste out there that says differently now seems to me entirely bogus. Even amongst those with a depth and breadth of knowledge about the SF megatext there is no agreement or consensus about the books this year or any year.

There is legitimate concern that by labeling The Underground Railroad as science fiction, readers might dismiss the horrors presented in this geographically and chronologically distorted history, thus relegating it all to whimsical fiction. Yet the SFnal device is there for a reason, and Whitehead’s manipulations of time and space are critical to that purpose: as unnerving as The Handmaid’s Tale, as destabilizing as The Man in the High Castle, as cognitively demonstrative as Viriconium, and as psychologically resonant as The Dark Tower€”all works that utilize alt universe devices to bring sociopolitical and literary concerns into powerful, stark relief. Whitehead’s use of this device is complex and brilliant, although I was unable to grasp just how complex and brilliant it is until this project, which has forced me into the tedious and meaningless position of having to argue for its place in science fiction.

But here we are.

(18) PERN RECOVERED. Book Riot reports: “Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy Gets New Covers”.

Del Rey Books is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a publisher of quality science fiction and fantasy novels. Among those titles are the three books that make up Anne McCaffrey’s original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy and the more than 20 novels that have come since. And now, they’re getting a new look.

After August 1, readers will be able to purchase the trilogy, Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon, with shiny new covers.

Images of the covers appear at the post.

(19) SUNSTROKED. The BBC knows about “A planet ‘hotter than most stars'”.

Scientists have found a hellish world where the “surface” of the planet is over 4,000C – almost as hot as our Sun.

In part, that’s because KELT-9b’s host star is itself very hot, but also because this alien world resides so close to the furnace.

KELT-9b takes just two days to complete one orbit of the star.

Being so close means the planet cannot exist for very long – the gases in its atmosphere are being blasted with radiation and lost to space.

Researchers say it may look a little like a comet as it circles the star from pole to pole – another strange aspect of this discovery.

(20) STORYTELLING. It’s great to listen to authors reading — if they’re any good at it. Book View Cafe’s Madeleine E. Robins advises how to do it well in “Modulation: The Art of Reading to an Audience”.

You’re telling a story. When you’re among friends telling the anecdote about that time in Marrakesh with the nun, the waffles, and the chicken, do you tell it in a monotone? Not so much. Reading in a monotone does not give your material dignity–it flattens it. So read as if you’re talking to your friends. On the other hand, unless you’re a really gifted actor, you don’t have to act it out. No, really.

And dialogue? Speak it as you hear it in your head, as if your characters were saying it. Use the emphases you hear them using. Pause when they do. (Maybe I’m overselling this, but when I write I hear the dialogue, so that’s how I read it. Your mileage may vary.)

(21) THE PHOTON OF YOUTH. Golden Oldies on Vimeo starts at a Fifties sock hop, then explains the horrible things that happen when the music stops!

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Lurkertype, Andrew Porter, Alan Maurer, Mark-kitteh, Ellen Datlow, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kendall, who may not have realized what he was doing at the time.]

89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/6/17 Scrolltime For Pixels

  1. I had a revelation this week: Prospero’s island is Omelas, and Caliban’s that kid.

    And if Caliban stopped bringing in the damn wood, the magic would grind to a halt.

  2. Still here. Still alive. Hoping to resume greater functionality in the immediate future.

    (1) The thought of rabid dragons is truly terrifying, I must admit.

    (10) Yes, Maher can be incredibly annoying.

  3. Ok, are there any (deep chortle) rules governing how voting is done for the Dragons? Or are they as tainted as were those done by the local alternative paper to pick their Best Of that allowed up to twenty five votes per day from each unique email address?

    Mind I have not seen a single publicist cite the Awards, either winners or runner-ups from the first year. The Hugos on the other hand get mentioned whenever possible…

  4. 18) The minimalism is interesting, and I like them better than the current covers. But the Michael Whelan covers are engraved on my soul.

  5. @Cat Eldridge —

    Ok, are there any (deep chortle) rules governing how voting is done for the Dragons?

    One rule, of course: vote early and often.

    I love the way VD reminded the mignonettes that they must use “real” email addresses to vote with. I guess they were so enthusiastic last year that they didn’t even bother to do that much. It’s very sad when that’s the measure of validity for an award — “Hey, all our voters had to use real email addresses!”


  6. I would have sworn there was a feature article on Dan Abnett’s MilSF here, but I can’t find it by searching. His book Embedded dropped into my hands from the exchange table at church Sunday. I picked it up to read a few pages after work and see how I liked it.

    Turns out I liked it well enough that I just now finished it. So much for an early bedtime. It’s very good. There’s actual SF in with the Mil, and the Mil is less weapons porn than people fighting for their lives and the lives of others. I gather there’s a sequel. I predict that will fall into my hands, too, possibly as some cash falls out of them.

  7. (14) A variation of Internet Rule 34 states that any source containing two or more characters of the same gender will eventually have slash written about it by somebody. Mythbusters RPF isn’t even that obscure a fandom, although it still qualifies for Yuletide. (I think. Can’t say I’ve ever nominated it, RPF not being my particular cup of tea.)

    As a friend once said to me: “it’s not true that I could write slash about a blank screen. I need at least a small dot – then I could write Blank Screen/Small Dot.”

  8. @Contrarius: Meh, it’s entirely possible to set up fake/disposable accounts that you can pick mail up in for like 5-10 minutes (long enough to get your Dragon confirmation email), or I think even some that set up autoforwarding to your real address for X minutes. (I know this because one of the many hats I wear in my business is related to the amount of fraudulent signups we get on our apps etc).

  9. @Oneiros —

    Meh, it’s entirely possible to set up fake/disposable accounts that you can pick mail up in for like 5-10 minutes (long enough to get your Dragon confirmation email), or I think even some that set up autoforwarding to your real address for X minutes.

    That’s exactly my point. You can get as many “real” free email addresses as you like through places like gmail, hotmail, google, et al, and it only takes a minute or two to do so. But evidently the mignonettes couldn’t even be bothered to go to THAT much trouble while they were stuffing their ballot boxes last year.

  10. @Contrarius: lol, sorry, yeah, you’re right 🙂 it’s super easy to freep even just using the legit sources everyone knows about. That, plus probably tiny userbase for the award = craptastic awards.

  11. (20) STORYTELLING.
    That’s generally good advice. I remember reading an interview with Garth Ennis in which he said that he would speak the dialogue he’d written out loud. If it sounded clunky, he’d change it.

    (Maybe George Lucas should have given that approach a try.)

  12. From what I understand, if you have a gmail account, you can customize email address variants so there are nearly an unlimited number of them tagged so that they never go into your main inbox, and you don’t need to do anything to in advance to use them. If VD’s fans had only known this, they could have stuffed the dragon awards ballot box.

    @John A. Arkansawyer: Embedded sounds interesting, but if there’s a sequel to it, I can’t find it at Amazon or Kobo, and it’s not mentioned at his wikipedia or ifsdb.org pages. If you find it, let us know.

  13. Bruce A: If VD’s fans had only known this, they could have stuffed the dragon awards ballot box.

    What makes you think that they didn’t? I’d say that the results rather clearly indicate that they did — 10 of VD’s 14 picks won.


    They should have several drinks named after Sean Bean, none of which you can finish.


    Reader, I lol-ed.


    I saw another thing commenting on the presence of Robin Wright (that inevitably I can’t re-find in the twitter firehose), which was pics of her and Carrie Fisher, commenting that their Princesses had grown up to be Generals.

    It’s looking like the box office results for it are very solid, so hopefully that means a sequel in which they continue to trust the creative team.


    If you’re still following these, you’ll find some interesting stuff in the comments on the Ninefox Gambit review and the “Clarke Thoughts” guest post.

  15. Mark: I saw another thing commenting on the presence of Robin Wright (that inevitably I can’t re-find in the twitter firehose), which was pics of her and Carrie Fisher, commenting that their Princesses had grown up to be Generals.

    Mebbe this one?

  16. @Kip W I had a revelation this week: Prospero’s island is Omelas, and Caliban’s that kid.

    I like this. Though I suppose it’s also true that we’re all living in Omelas, every day.

  17. @Bruce A:

    You don’t even have to start worrying about tags. Gmail ignores dots., so if you have “anemail” as the “local part” (that is, the bit that goes before the “@gmail.com”), all of “an.email” “an.e.mail” and any other “.” will simply be ignored. So, at least, if you have an N character local-part, you have (without looking massively fake, even though it isn’t) 2 ** (n-1) “does not compare as string-equal” email addresses.

  18. @Bruce A: Angry Robot says here they bought two books: “Next year will see two novels set in the same stunning future-war setting. EMBEDDED…” (What follows is a nicely-done promo/book jacket description, which I’ve elided.)

    But I don’t see any sign of the second one appearing yet, and it’s been a while. That’s a pity, but it looks like he’s been a busy boy anyway. I hope it comes out eventually.

  19. “Embedded” was a very nice suprise. I knew Abnett for his Warhammer 40K books, but this one was better.

    “Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero” was less good, but still good enough

  20. I (and others) know Abnett from his comics writing, which includes a number of more sf than the usual superhero books such as Legion of Super-Heroes, Guardians of the Galaxy (before the first movie; I believe Abnett and his former writing partner are responsible for the movie’s Guardians membership with respect to having that group of characters become a Guardians membership), and various 2000AD strips.

    Re: John Ostrander’s comment “That computer you carry in your pocket? That’s a result of the need to reduce the size of computers while making them faster and stronger to be of use to astronauts in space.” Much as I like Ostrander’s writing, while space may have had the occasional smaller, faster, stronger moments, Moore’s Law with respect to computing power doubling about every 18 months indicates to me that the pocket computer would’ve happened even if we’d never had a space program.

  21. Tempest/Omelas mash up inspired this:

    Once, if I remember well, my life was a feast, where all scrolls opened and all pixels flowed.

  22. Msb
    “This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.”

    That’s the line I used for my final paper in that Shakespeare class. Subtitle: “Masters, Servants, and Slaves in The Tempest.”

    The treatment of Caliban in particular, contrasted with Fernando, Ariel, and associated sprites, illustrates a number of ways that ‘Masters’ maligned their lawful property and justified their mistreatment.

    There were a lot of behaviors shown by the gentle, enlightened Prospero that are very much the same as those shown by slaveowners, and the same behaviors are still shown by racists today: the certainty that they’re ‘lazy,’ and ‘stealing’ from their ‘betters,’ or the conviction that they lust after all women (especially white ones), or the patrician anger at the fact that they complain after ‘all we’ve done for them.’

    I was careful to point out that The Tempest arranges its facts so that everything Prospero says about his unruly charge is true, and that his beliefs about aboriginal peoples were shared by the culture, which believed that all ‘primitives’ were constantly horny (except those noble Esquimaux), and that all New World fruits and vegetables were aphrodisiacs (including potatoes).

    Prosper calls all the sprites his slaves as well, yet other than verbally scolding, he never shows any rancor to them, and never seems to use them to haul wood. Only Caliban keeps the home fires burning. Possibly Prospero wants to keep him busy, or possibly he wants to keep him ignorant. I touched on the European fear of ‘educated savages,’ memorably expressed in the most racist passage I’ve yet found in the Father Brown books, where the saintly detective flatly states: “The negro who has just swaggered out is one of the most dangerous men on earth, for he has the brains of a European, with the instincts of a cannibal. He has turned what was clean, common-sense butchery among his fellow-barbarians into a very modern and scientific secret society of assassins.”

    The title quote comes up again in the paper’s wrap-up, where Prospero nobly takes responsibility for his misshapen minion: “This thing of darkenesse, I / Acknowledge mine,” he says, and Caliban groans, “I shall be pincht to death” as he recalls the years of exquisitely sadistic pains and torments delivered by Prospero’s fair sprites. “It’s best for all,” I concluded, “that Prospero stands up and tells the audience that the play is over… so that Caliban can vanish into thin air, and his fate need never be spelled out or dwelt on overmuch.”

  23. @3: there was something based on …Sower at the local theater college recently; I passed because (among other things) the book without its sequel is a serious downer, but I’d be interested in hearing a report from anyone who saw it.

    @Galloway: “Moore’s Law” is an observation, not a principle of physics. Would there have been such a focused concentration on getting more ~circuits onto a chip without the space program? (cf both the jet engine and the world’s first successful passenger jet (707) coming out of military programs). ISTM that researchers and grad students saying “we could do such neat things if we had a faster computer” is less effective at shaking the money tree than something so public as the space program.


    Doesn’t seem much interest amongst the Rabid faithful about the genre’s most prestigious set of awards.

  25. Re: Computing and Space

    Moore’s Law requires the parts that make the computers to be be cheap enough to be toyed with and made en masse, and made small. Without the space program, and the Air Force’s Minutman program, transistors stay much larger, often bespoke, and the not the miniature mass produced things you need them to be before you can start talking about Moore’s Law.

  26. (12) Bookstore ads in 1949 in the Times of London said June 8 for Nineteen Eighty-four. It was released the following week, on June 13, in the United States.

  27. 1 –

    But poor Declan Finn — he’s not on the list

    Since it’s an award they can game it and win it should be interesting to see the infighting between various vigilant self promoters about who they should be gaming it for. Cronyism hoedown!


    Doesn’t seem much interest amongst the Rabid faithful about the genre’s most prestigious set of awards

    Not enough sticking it to someone else to appeal to that crowd most likely. You can see it in pretty much any Puppy blog post about anything, even writing advice will veer around to the valiant battle against Big Publishing, SJWs or some other boogeyman.

    10 – Weird how Maher took it as sitting back and waiting for a hero when a lot of those superhero movies are about how you can’t sit back and wait for someone else to do it.

  28. Bookstore ads in 1949 in the Times of London said June 8 for Nineteen Eighty-four

    “FAO Winston Smith, Records Department, Ministry of Truth: Incorrect date of publication given in the Times during June 1949”

  29. And now, it’s competition time! Can you guess who wrote the following extract? (Competition organizers are not responsible for headaches, nausea or damage to contestants’ monitors from blue or red pencils)

    The cloudwrack parted. Preston, lightheaded from his dive, wondered if he were hallucinating. For it looked like the cloud had opened a huge, red eye. It was staring at him.

    Like a hooded lantern opening, a strange, bright, ruby beam, wide as a highway, spilled out from the center of the apparition and splashed across the knotted textures of surrounding cloud. Perched between the clouds, was an erubescent maelstrom surrounding by streamers of bright vapor. A tightly-wound spiral of electric discharges surrounded the vapor clouds.

  30. I might have to pick up that Story Bundle, even though I’m not normally into LGBT fiction. One of the authors, Catherine Lundoff, works in my building, and I’ve never read anything by her.

    @JJ, sorry, I didn’t have my flags turned on.

    (1) No Declan Finn, no Lou Altonelli, Declan’s pick for best Alt History, although Lou did post a reply at VD’s slate announcement.

  31. Is it strange to admit that one of the reasons I do the Biblical readings in church is because it’s good practice for reading my own work? (not even close to the only reason.) I’ve been praised several times for reading emotively. Though personally I also just don’t get why a passage full of “give joyous praise!” exhortations can be read by others in a calm mellow voice.

    Niall McAulay: I’m assuming the writer is best known in these parts for being no relation to our own Steve Wright….

  32. Concerning Moore’s Law, the impact of the Apollo program was mostly to facilitate the initial development of integrated circuits and provide a proof of concept for commercial computer firms. Moore’s paper where the law is proposed argues that by the early to mid 60s, the economics of commercial electronics were driving the further development. Smaller was cheaper, and cheaper wins, even more with mass produced products than with government projects.

  33. Pasting the second of those paragraphs into Google, it guesses The Red Debt by Everett MacDonald from 1916.

  34. robo_matic:


    Doesn’t seem much interest amongst the Rabid faithful about the genre’s most prestigious set of awards.

    Well, of course. They have to put in effort to mess with the Hugos. The Dragons don’t even lock the safe, metaphorically speaking.

  35. @Niall: Based on the sentence using the word erubescent, I had guessed file770 reader favorite JCW and when I searched for that sentence in quotes, Google’s first choice was my guess!

  36. Glad to see the Storybundle has already gotten mention here (so I don’t have to feel weird about being the first). It’s always tough sitting on the knowledge that this sort of deal is coming up and not really being able to hint about it in advance.

    For those who, like Bruce A. ordinarily “aren’t into LGBT fiction” it’s ok if you buy and read it thinking of it as just plain ordinary fiction. We won’t mind! (And we won’t tell.)

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