Pixel Scroll 7/14/21 Still Crazy After All These Light-Years

(1) F&SF COVER PREVIEW. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction shared an advance look at the cover of its July/August 2021 issue by artist Alan M. Clark.

(2) A PERSPECTIVE ON AFRICAN SF. Marta Mboka Tveit discusses how “The rise of African Speculative Fiction and other exciting cultural production indicates that modernity is not an exercise in ‘catching up’ with Europe, but an entirely new condition” in “Makeshift modernity” at Africa Is A Country.

…First off, let me argue how excellent the rise of ASF is for everyone, but most importantly for us, the people of African descent. “The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it,” said James Baldwin. To make it, one must first imagine it; to make change, one must first imagine a different kind of future. ASF can be linked to the decolonization of the mind in many ways: we must break the molds of colonial prescriptions, education, and decisions about Africa’s place in the world, much like speculative fiction breaks the mold of what can and cannot exist.

ASF points to an insistence on partaking in the technology-steeped global future and represents a push to actively influence that future. Furthermore, publishing and sharing tales and ideas about the future shows a new kind of optimism and self-confidence. Newfound confidence also arguably comes from stronger and more frequent connections with cousins from another planet—those in African America—facilitated by modern communication technology and faster cultural exchange. Africa is looking to African America for cool self-confidence, and African America is looking to Africa for roots and authenticity. This has been going on for a long time. Increasingly, however, African American interest has given cultural expressions from the continent a boost onto the global stage. After five centuries of the rest of the globe telling Africa its cultures and inputs are useless, those cultures and inputs suddenly find themselves at the forefront of global “cool.” But this time around, we might actually gain something from it….

(3) SCORCHED EARTH. Elaborate attempts to sabotage Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Reddit “Ask Me Anything” yesterday prompted Paul Weimer to connect the dots, saying “the trolls are trying to ruin my life and the lives of those even lightly connected to me” in “A Quick Post on Trolls Again” on his Patreon. He attributes the attack to his having retweeted the author’s announcement of the AMA.

… So what they did is, just before her AMA, they set up a fake account very similar to her name (one letter changed to the number one) and set up their OWN AMA.  So, not only were they impersonating here (with plenty of comments and stuff about my supposed perfidy), Nicole could not actually do her own AMA at first.

And when THAT got sorted and she started her real AMA, the troll account started answering questions posed to her in the real AMA, until the moderators finally banned them from the AMA…. 

And the trolls also subjected Paul to a new round of harassment at work and by trying to get into some of his online accounts.

Nicole Kornher-Stace tweeted a thread of her own about the experience that starts here. A few excerpts —

And here’s a screencap of the Reddit moderator’s announcement while they were trying to manage the trollish invasion of the real AMA.

(4) ADA HOFFMANN BOOK LAUNCH. Ada Hoffmann’s The Fallen, the sequel to her debut, The Outside, was released yesterday. The author will be in conversation with Janelle Shane in a free online event on July 15 (3pm MDT/5pm EDT/10pm BST) on Facebook and YouTube

Released to immediate acclaim in 2019, The Outside was nominated for both the Philip K. Dick Award and the Compton Crook Award, so the follow-up, continuing the story of scientist Yasira Shien as she faces off against awesome AI gods and angels, is hotly anticipated to say the least!

Excitedly, to mark the next book in this eldritch-horror-meets-space-opera universe, Ada will (very appropriately) be in conversation with Janelle Shane, optics and AI researcher, host of the AI humor blog AIWeirdness.com, and author of the 2019 popular science book, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You

(5) I HAVE NO CATNIP AND I MUST SCREAM. Camestros Felapton presents “A Message From: The CattimothyTech Dept.” It was a great ride while it lasted. Which wasn’t long!

…Dear valued subscriber,

Thank you for joining us on the amazing journey into freedom. It has been a truly inspiring five thousand and forty seconds in which we came together in the spirit of unity that shaped our great nation. When our founder, CIO, CFO and CEO Timothy the Talking Cat outlined his vision for a truly free and anti-elite tech platform for all Americans, we were inspired by how many of you rallied around his cause to break free of the shackles of facebooktwittergoogle. …

(6) WHAT ABOUT. Space.com is actually complaining that the Emmys neglected genre despite the huge haul of nominations for The Mandalorian, WandaVision, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Lovecraft Country “’The Mandalorian’ receives 24 Emmy nominations, including Best Drama Series”.

…Sadly, the sci-fi genre wasn’t well represented in this year’s nominations, which were announced Tuesday  (July 13). Again. It seems only the big franchise names received any kind of attention. There was nothing for “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime Video or “For All Mankind” on Apple TV+ or HBO’s “Raised By Wolves” — and while that show gradually descended into insanity as Season 1 concluded, the actual performances were outstanding. And what about SyFy’s “Resident Alien” in the Comedy category? The eligibility period for 2021 submissions was from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, so all of those shows could’ve been recognized….

(7) DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. On the other hand, WandaVision’s team is a little surprised: “How ‘WandaVision’ Went From ‘Totally Bananas’ Underdog to Emmy Juggernaut” at Vanity Fair.

…Not that the WandaVision team expected it to happen, at least like this. “Honestly, I was like, if we have one nomination, we will have won,” says series showrunner Jac Schaeffer, who also earned a writing nomination. “The cards are kind of stacked against the superhero space when it comes to recognition and awards.”

By the time nominations morning arrived, Schaeffer may have been the only one—most pundits were betting big on WandaVision, though maybe not 23 nominations big—but when it started, WandaVision really was an underdog. It became the first Marvel project on Disney+ basically by accident, when the pandemic delayed production on other shows, meaning that the bright new future of Marvel on television was being introduced by a defiantly oddball story about grief, sorcery, and classic television. “I felt very secure early on sort of occupying this little corner of the sandbox,” Schaeffer says. “The idea was that Falcon and the Winter Soldier would go first and, and that we could be weird in this little space.”

Instead, WandaVision debuted in mid-January at the peak of a world-altering pandemic, which many viewers had spent stuck at home and, like Wanda Maximoff herself, filtering their realities through television. “There was sort of an element of kismet to it,” Schaeffer says. “The content of the show itself ended up being a reflection of what so many people were doing in their own homes, you know, retreating into their favorite shows as a form of comfort.”

On Emmy nominations morning, both Olsen and Schaeffer were busy sharing the celebration with the rest of the team, though it wasn’t easy to take in the scope of the success….

(8) DOUBLE UNDERLINE. Meanwhile, Adweek declares “Streaming Has Officially Taken Over TV Awards Season”.

No matter how you look at the nomination breakdowns released Tuesday, the story is clear: If it wasn’t already a sure thing that streaming is the future of television, the 2021 Emmy nominations have officially cemented it.

Streaming services accounted for four of the five top nominated outlets, with HBO Max (paired with HBO) and Netflix overwhelmingly dominating in terms of total nominations. Disney+, less than two years old, beat out every broadcast and cable network in terms of nominations and came in third overall.

Apple TV+, which isn’t even a breakout streamer (parent company Apple has mostly given it away for free since its launch), received more nominations (34) than all the broadcast networks aside from NBC. 

(9) WHAT’S AHEAD FOR AMERICA. James Davis Nicoll curated these “Five Speculative Visions of a Future America” for Tor.com. I was pleasantly surprised to find I’m not the only fan who remembers this one —

Rosinante Trilogy by Alexis Gilliland

Crisis and political necessity led to the formation of the North American Union, encompassing the United States, Mexico, Canada, and a few other nations. The formative crisis having past, the Union is held together largely thanks to the determination of a cabal of conservatives, the Creationist Coalition. The central figures in the Administration are determined to not let their power and influence slip away. Their resolve proves the North American Union’s undoing.

The Administration is long on steadfast purpose, but short on foresight. Assassinating a Hispanic populist governor alienates Hispanic North Americans. Paranoid attempts to capture a suspected Old Regime sympathizer force the sympathizer to see the Union as his enemy. Each move undertaken to ensure the Union’s stability instead undermines it, with the inevitable result that the North American Union collapses into independent nation states.

(10) EFFECTS HISTORY. BBC Radio 4 has aired the second installment of Unreal: The VFX Revolution “Digital Realms”.

How visual effects changed and how they changed the movies. Oscar winner Paul Franklin explores how film entered the digital realm.

The 1970s saw the very first onscreen digital effects in films like Westworld. Those first pioneers of CGI already spoke of digital humans, indeed of entire films being made within the computer, but Hollywood was unconvinced. By 1979, some of those visionaries like Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, later founders of Pixar, were working for filmmaker George Lucas, who primarily wanted new digital tools for editing and compositing and to explore computer graphics. Their first all-digital sequence created life-from lifelessness with the Genesis effect for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Meanwhile Disney itself was creating TRON, a spectacular mix of state-of-the art animation and pioneering digital effects that took audiences into cyberspace for the first time. In their different ways these two films were the true harbingers of the digital revolution that would bring profound change to moviemaking within little more than a decade. And then came Terminator 2’s chrome shape shifter-the T1000. The revolution was underway.

(11) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2006 – Fifteen years ago, Catherynne M. Valente would win the Otherwise Award and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for The Orphan’s Tale: In the Night Garden. (It would also be nominated for a World Fantasy Award.) Two years later, she won a second Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for The Orphan’s Tale: In the Cities of Coin and Spice.  Both volumes are available from the usual suspects for just five dollars and ninety-nine cents. 

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 14, 1904 — Zita Johann. She’s best known for the lead performance in Karl Freund’s 1932 film, The Mummy which also featured Boris Karloff. She wouldn’t show in another horror film for another fifty-four years when she was in Raiders of the Living Dead as a Librarian as her original career only lasted three years. She quit film to work in theater where she where she was a partner of John Houseman, her husband, who she was married to from 1929 to 1933, and with Orson Welles as well. She also taught acting to people with learning disorders. (Died 1993.)
  • Born July 14, 1906 — Abner J. Gelula. One of the many authors* of Cosmos, a serialized novel that appeared first in Science Fiction Digest in July 1933 and then has a really complicated publication that I won’t detail here. It was critiqued as “the world’s most fabulous serial,” “one of the unique stunts of early science fiction,” and conversely “a failure, miserable and near-complete.” The entire text, chapter by chapter, can be read here. *To be precise,  Earl Binder, Otto Binder. Arthur J. Burks,  John W. Campbell, Jr., Lloyd Arthur Eshbach. Ralph Milne Farley, Francis Flagg, J. Harvey Haggard, Edmond Hamilton, David H. Keller, M.D., Otis Adelbert Kline, A. Merritt, P. Schuyler Miller, Bob Olsen, Raymond A. Palmer, E. Hoffmann Price and Edward E. Smith. Gulp!  (Died 1985.)
  • Born July 14, 1926 — Harry Dean Stanton. My favourite genre role for him? The video for Procul Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. No, I’m not kidding.  He also played Paul of Tarsus in The Last Temptation of Christ, Harold “Brain” Hellman in Escape from New York, Detective Rudolph “Rudy” Junkins in Christine, Bud in Repo Man, Carl Rod in Twin Peaks twice, Toot-Toot in The Green Mile, Harvey in Alien Autopsy and a Security Guard in The Avengers. He didn’t do a lot of genre tv, one episode of The Wild Wild West as Lucius Brand in “The Night of The Hangman” and a character named Lemon on Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the “Escape to Sonoita” episode. (Died 2017.)
  • Born July 14, 1939 — Sid Haig. Best remembered as having a lead role in Jason of Star Command as the villain Dragos. He had one-offs in BatmanMission: Impossible, Star TrekGet SmartFantasy IslandBuck Rogers in the 25th Century, and MacGyver. His Trek appearence was First Lawgiver in “The Return of the Archons”, and someone in casting at Mission: Impossible liked him as he had nine different roles there. He was Royal Apothecary twice on Batman, not a role I recognize. (Died 2019.)
  • Born July 14, 1943 — Christopher Priest, 78. This is the Birthday of the One and True Christopher Priest. If I was putting together an introductory reading list to him, I’d start with The Prestige, add in the Islanders (both of which won BSFAs)and its companion volume, The Dream Archipelago. Maybe Inverted World as well. How’s that sound?  
  • Born July 14, 1949 — Brian Sibley, 72. He co-wrote (with Michael Bakewell) BBC Radio 4’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. He also adapted The Chronicles of Narnia, and Titus Groan and Gormenghast for the same. Print wise, he’s responsible for such works as The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide and The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy. His only Award to date is a Sir Julius Vogel Award which is given by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand (SFFANZ) and the National Science Fiction convention for Weta Digital: 20 Years of Imagination on Screen.
  • Born July 14, 1964 — Jane Espenson, 57. She had a five-year stint as a writer and producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she shared a Hugo Award at Torcon 3 for her writing on the “Conversations with Dead People” episode, and she shared another Hugo at Chicon 7 for Games of Thrones, season one. She was on the writing staff for the fourth season of Torchwood and executive produced Caprica. And yes, she had a stint on the rebooted Galactica.
  • Born July 14, 1966 — Brian Selznick, 55. Illustrator and writer best known as the writer of The Invention of Hugo Cabret which may or may not be genre. You decide. His later work, Wonderstruck, definitely is. The Marvels, a story of a travelling circus family is magical in its own right though not genre. His next work, Kaleidoscopic, due out this autumn looks to just as fantastic. 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • Gasoline Alley, after a week or so following a colander-hat-guy “hearing ghost voices,” solves the mystery.
  • Broom Hilda needs a proofreader just as much as I do.

(14) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Is Jason Cordova trying to suggest John Scalzi ripped off two of his novels? Here’s a screencap of Cordova’s Facebook post.

What seems clear to Cordova might not seem so clear to anyone else. Scalzi’s “Preservation Society” in his title phrase sounds like it’s about a rather different subject than Cordova’s “Urban Revitalization Project.” And Cordova’s own title resonates with a line from Godzilla 1985 (as quoted in the Wikipedia) — “That’s quite an urban renewal program they’ve got going on over there” – a coincidence that would be of no more than trivial interest but for Cordova’s complaint.  

As for Cordova’s The Corruptor – the Amazon blurb says this is what the book is about:

…The single greatest advance in computer technology since the invention of the microchip, the Warp is a virtual reality gaming system so advanced that players aren’t just in the game, they are the game. And inside the Warp lies the most cunning of all games, the de facto king of online gaming. It is the one game said to be unbeatable: Crisis.

The Warp was flawless, and the game was perfect. Until something went terribly wrong, trapping Tori Adams and her friends inside it, unable to log off and free their minds from the uploaded virus in their brains. With no other options available and time running out, they must do the one thing that has never been done before—what experts say can’t be done—they must beat Crisis in order to save their lives.

I have read Scalzi’s Lock In but not Cordova’s book, however, from the latter’s description they appear to have about the same degree of overlap as Ready Player One and The Matrix.

(15) HYPE TIME. Two members of the MCYouTube react to the upcoming film FreeGuy featuring Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi. “Deadpool just slipped into the MCU early, to make fun of Ryan Reynolds”.

…like so many other studios, Disney is facing the question of how to goose up active interest in a film it’s been teasing since 2019. The apparent solution: Bring in Deadpool, dump him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and have him promote the film.

(16) GAIMAN ON SCREWTAPE. Brenton Dickieson shares “Neil Gaiman’s Introduction to The Screwtape Letters, Marvel Comics Edition” at A Pilgrim in Narnia.

… someone sent me a snapshot of the introduction to an edition that is slightly different than my own gifted copy of the Marvel Comics version of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. This other edition does not reproduce Lewis’ own 1941 preface as mine does. Instead, it has a special introduction written by Neil Gaiman.

As readers will know, Gaiman is not simply a giant in the fantasy world–outside of the horror genre, I think American Gods is the most important work of fantasy on the continent–but one of the new generation pioneers of the graphic novel medium. He is also a lifelong Narnia fan–and, we discover here, a lover and appreciative reader of Screwtape. Leaving beside any technical matters you might normally find in an introduction, Gaiman still manages to orient the reader to the book in their hands while giving us a sense of what he loves about Screwtape as a theologically interested but not specifically religious reader.

Besides some good swipes at the American Christian culture war (the ’90s one, not the current one) and a perceptive description of Narnia, Gaiman draws the reader to Screwtape for entertainment, delight, and wisdom. Gaiman’s perspective of Screwtape‘s impact has reminded me of that larger group of readers of Lewis that keep coming back to his works….

(17) MIGHT BE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF. Fonts In Use looks back at the design of “Philip K. Dick paperback covers (Panther Science Fiction)” from the Seventies.

Roslyn Gothic arguably saw its most extensive and iconic use on the paperback covers with works by Philip K. Dick as published by Panther Books.

Designed by Harry Winters, Roslyn Gothic was released by Visual Graphics Corporation (VGC) in 1972, to be used with their Photo Typositor, a popular display typesetting machine of the phototype era. There were three styles; Medium, Bold, and Outline. The sans serif of condensed proportions is infused with some traits that seem to harken back to Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil: counters in dg, or p are tear-shaped, e has a diagonal bar while the top arm of K is vertical, some stems in mnu are slightly curved, A is asymmetrical, and G is pointed at the bottom. Several of these features can also be found in German typefaces from around 1900, like Sezessions-Grotesk or Skulptur. By giving his design a large x-height and tight letterspacing, Winters turned these influences into a quintessential 1970s display typeface. With its punchy yet slightly alien-looking shapes, Roslyn Gothic became a popular choice on book covers in the science fiction genre.

(18) SPEAKER FOR THE TREES. No, we’re not talking about the Lorax. In this video of “Trees, Chainsaws, and the Visions of Paradise in J.R.R. Tolkien” from 2002, Tom Shippey discusses Tolkien’s relationship to trees, the literary function of forests, and the under-rated sophistication of Hobbit poetry. This quote comes from the YouTube transcript —

…Perhaps the best example of this comes from a colleague of mine now a professor of Harvard who tells this anecdote which I shall rapidly pirate. He said that some it must have been at least thirty years ago when he was a student backpacking his way around Europe he found himself in Oxford and he went to the University parks and he found a bench there and took his backpack off and sat down on the bench and looks at the parks for a bit. And at this point I’m an old guy came up very well-dressed and he came along and he sat down on the bench and he started to talk about trees. Trees, how beautiful they were, trees, some particularly beautiful trees, trees, now some trees he was personally fond of, trees, the awful things people did to trees, trees, how awful people were who did these awful things to trees trees, what we ought to do to these awful people in the world. But at this point my colleague said he was beginning to get rather nervous, picks his backpack up and edged away reflecting that you know they haven’t got all the weirdos locked up yet by any means. But next morning he got the local paper and discovered a picture of the old weirdo in it and it was of course the distinguished professor talking who was in the paper because he’d been collecting an honorary doctorate… 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Gordon Van Gelder, Anna Grace Carpenter, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/14/21 Still Crazy After All These Light-Years

  1. 11) Valente’s Orphan’s Tale novels are awesome and definitely worth reading.

  2. Rob Thornton says Valente’s Orphan’s Tale novels are awesome and definitely worth reading.

    I always wanted a hardcover one volume edition of these, well I hesitate to call them novels as they are much, much more than that.

    Now listening to Gareth L. Powell’s Hive Monkey and reading Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer: The Complete Advetures

  3. 3) Today at work was the worst experience yet, when it comes to the trolls.

    So yeah.

  4. (12) I got to meet Sig Haig at a signing. I picked a Dragros photo to be signed— and was gleeful to find it there. (What fun it had been to watch him play that villain!) When I told him I watched “Jason of Star Command” as a kid, he said that I must have been very very young at the time. So that alone makes it one of the best celebrity encounters ever. 😀

    (14j) You’re right, those books don’t look that similar. To me, Lock-In was more about the widespread effects of a plague and a resultant condition on our society and the politics involved, Also, neither book was the first to imagine a virtual world. I’ll leave it up to the experts to remind me which book wins that award.

  5. 14) Judging purely from the Amazon description, I’d say it seems far more like Cordova’s The Corruptor cribbed from Piers Anthony’s 1993 novel Killobyte than that Scalzi took anything from Cordova’s.

  6. So “virtual reality is a thing”and “kaiju are a thing + societies are a thing” are not exactly super special unique ideas that Cordova came up with anyway, but I think this is just one of those “the publishers sent me books again” posts – I was under the impression that Scalzi didn’t actually read all of them on account of needing time to write stuff and eat and sleep and talk to his family occasionally. I couldn’t find another reference that suggested he’d definitely, actually read it rather than just glanced at the back long enough to write a blurb.

  7. (14) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. I have read Scalzi’s Lock In but not Cordova’s book [Corruptor], however, from the latter’s description they appear to have about the same degree of overlap as Ready Player One and The Matrix.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Cordova has mistaken his book being featured on Scalzi’s New Books and ARCs as “Scalzi has read my book”. Poor sod, I’m sure it’s going to be devastating when he realizes his book was just one of hundreds that Scalzi has plugged without actually reading them, before donating them to the Bradford, Ohio Public Library.

  8. (14) Shorter Cordova: LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!

    Okay, Jason, we’ve all seen you there. Now be quiet, the grownups are talking.

  9. “urban renewal program”, according to the Google ngram viewer, took off in the 50s and peaked in the early 60s. “$disaster urban renewal program” is harder to search for, but I’ve seen values for $disaster that include everything from fires to nuclear weapons; it’s hardly new.

  10. @Jamoche: Nuclear urban renewal dates back at least to 1972’s “Request for Proposal” by Anthony Lewis.

  11. 3) Paul I am so sorry.

    14) Re The Corruptor: I would argue that Cordavas Book reminds me from the Sypnosis more about a mix Otherland by Tad Williams and the mentioned Ready Player one, than Lock In. Lock in is more about dealing with disabilities and what Anne Marble said than I see parales to Cordavas book. If we use Cordavas criterias than I wonder how many similar books we find. (Not talking about Scalzis new book, because I don’t know enough of it, the same as Jason)

  12. StefanB: 14) Re The Corruptor: I would argue that Cordavas Book reminds me from the Sypnosis more about a mix Otherland by Tad Williams and the mentioned Ready Player one, than Lock In.

    Remember that neither Cordova nor any of his buddies have actually read Scalzi’s book. Cordova is just guessing what it’s about, and that’s why he thinks they’re similar. Anyone who has read Lock In and the synopsis for The Corruptor would be able to tell that they have very little in common.

  13. 14)

    “How do I protect my idea? Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.” United States Patent and Trademark Office (which also handles copyrights, trade dress, service marks &c)

    So yeah, but no.

  14. (12) Christopher Priest: The Affirmation was the novel that made Priest one of my favorite writers. Part of that is for personal reasons, but I think it’s also a very good introduction. The Islanders is wonderful but very oblique (even for Priest!) and I think it helps to have read about the Dream Archipelago before.

    For an off-beat choice, I’m also a tremendous fan of Fugue for a Darkening Island. It’s not a typical work by him, but after Brexit and 2016 it’s a book I sadly keep coming back to.

    But really, I’m not sure there’s a bad place to begin. Read him, he’s wonderful!

  15. (14) There’s plenty of prior art for Cordova’s thing but the ‘you must defeat this part of the game in order to escape’ makes it sound an awful lot like ‘Sword Art Online’.

  16. JJ says Cordova has mistaken his book being featured on Scalzi’s New Books and ARCs as “Scalzi has read my book”. Poor sod, I’m sure it’s going to be devastating when he realizes his book was just one of hundreds that Scalzi has plugged without actually reading them, before donating them to the Bradford, Ohio Public Library.

    It’s also worth noting that Scalzi has long since stopped doing this feature. All he does now is is an image of a stack of recent books that have arrived in the post with a note asking comments by his readers. That’s it, absolutely not a single comment on any of them not even in the commentary that follows by his blog readers.

    Now listening to Gareth L. Powell’s Hive Monkey

  17. @Shao Ping: I know Priest doesn’t consider it one of his major novels any longer, but I think The Inverted World permanently altered the shape of my brain.

  18. (12) At the age of 90, Harry Dean Stanton starred in the excellent film “Lucky” which I would encourage everyone to track down and watch.

  19. 11) I’d really like to second, third, or even fifth the recommendation for Valente’s books – if you’re interested in writing anything with nested stories and frame tales, they are probably the best F&SF examples of doing it well that I know of. (And if you’ve got suggestions for similar ones, I’d love to hear them.)

  20. Regarding Christopher Priest, I second The Affirmation as a good one – also, possibly, The Glamour might be a good entry point to the world of Priest.

    I remember reading Jason Cordova’s stuff when he was gamed onto the Campbell Award (as it was then) ballot by the Sad/Rabid Puppies. And he’s accusing other writers of unoriginality? That’s… special.

  21. @Steve Wright
    I wonder if that’s why the name was familiar to me. Or maybe it was because he was one of those who attacked Jason Sanford over the post about Baen’s Bar. Or some Puppy incident.

    It’s better publicity for writers to become well-known because they get great reviews or wonderful word of mouth (and not just from fans of one persuasion)… End up on a lot of wish lists… Sell a lot of books.

  22. Wait a second…. I wrote a short story about a hallucinated D&D game back in the 80s. Has this Cordova guy being going through my old papers!?

  23. It’s also worth noting that Scalzi has long since stopped doing this feature. All he does now is is an image of a stack of recent books that have arrived in the post with a note asking comments by his readers. That’s it, absolutely not a single comment on any of them not even in the commentary that follows by his blog readers.

    This isn’t true, he still does both regularly, although Athena seems to manage the actual posting of the One Big Idea posts now.

    Edit: In fact, one is up today.

    Edit (again! 🙂 I see now that the actual mention of Corruptor was in a ‘Just Arrived’ post. So kindly disregard my entire post!

  24. rochrist says Edit (again! ? I see now that the actual mention of Corruptor was in a ‘Just Arrived’ post. So kindly disregard my entire post!

    I’m ignoring your post but I need to point to out that One Big Idea posts are not by either of the Scalzis as those are guest columns where an author talks about how a book came to be. His daughter has a rather neat series on Japanese food boxes right now, and her father is happy to talk his music room…oh and he loves posting cat pictures. Really loves posting cat pictures.

  25. @Andrew: The nuke reference I found was from 1968: “If Johnson dropped the H-bomb, Valenti would call it an urban renewal program.”

  26. I gave up on In the Night Garden when my mental stack overflowed. I agree that it’s amazing for what it is. I should probably give it another try sometime, maybe with a stack of index cards handy.

  27. The description of Cordova’s Corrupter is essentially identical to Sword Art Online which was written between 2003 and 2008 by Reki Kawahara and filmed starting in 2012.

  28. @PhilRM: I can see how it would! It’s the first Priest I read (thanks to the NYRB), and it’s something else. I need to re-read it.

  29. @Jamoche: Now I’m thinking that that quote inspired Anthony Lewis!

  30. Jim Janney says I gave up on In the Night Garden when my mental stack overflowed. I agree that it’s amazing for what it is. I should probably give it another try sometime, maybe with a stack of index cards handy.

    If you can’t handle them as entire novels which they really they aren’t, just think of them being like A Thousand and One Nights and treat each of the stories separately. Yes, they’re connected but they do to a certain extent stand on their own merits.

    I do wish they’d been recorded as audiobooks as that’d been a splendid listening experience indeed with the right narrator!

  31. I do wish they’d been recorded as audiobooks as that’d been a splendid listening experience indeed with the right narrator!

    I haven’t double checked, but I seem to recall that Valente herself did a live reading of them during lockdown, which has probably been recorded and is available somewhere.

  32. Kyra says A quick search indicates that I remembered correctly and they are available on YouTube.)

    One moment while I look for them… found and bookmarked, so thanks kindly. These will make most delightful listening! Let’s hope they get converted by Audible into an audiobook at some point.

  33. Hell, Lock In doesn’t have anything really to do with virtual reality in the first place! It’s about telepresence, which is almost the opposite! And, unlike Cordova’s book, which sounds like a copy of countless of earlier books (Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash is what leapt to mind for me), Lock In actually seemed like a fairly original idea.

    I’ve only read a couple of books by Christopher Priest, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. I really should look for more…

    Harry Dean Stanton didn’t just appear in Repo Man–he stole the movie! 🙂

  34. Xtifr says Hell, Lock In doesn’t have anything really to do with virtual reality in the first place! It’s about telepresence, which is almost the opposite! And, unlike Cordova’s book, which sounds like a copy of countless of earlier books (Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash is what leapt to mind for me), Lock In actually seemed like a fairly original idea.

    Plots get recycled many times. Heinlein once had a riff on that. It is what authors do with them that matter.

    Neither of the Scalzis review any books. Not sure that was a deliberate decision though I suspect it is. Athena has her monthly TokyoTreat reviews and John has his New Books and ARCs round-ups but not a book review is to be seen. I don’t know if he even provides blurbs these days.

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