Pixel Scroll 7/23/18 A Double Negative Pixel

(1) WHERE THE IDEA CAME FROM. Nebula winner Rebecca Roanhorse discusses her work with Juliette Wade at Dive Into Worldbuilding: “Rebecca Roanhorse and Trail of Lightning”. (Video at the link.)

I’m so thrilled we could have Rebecca Roanhorse on the show to talk about Trail of Lightning! This is an exciting book and the advent of a really cool new world that you should totally check out.

Rebecca told us that she describes it as an indigenous Mad Max Fury road. It features an exciting adventure through Navajo country after a climate apocalypse. You’ll discover gods, monsters, and heroes of legend in a story featuring Maggie, a monster hunter.

I asked Rebecca where this idea was born. She explained that indigenous representation is very important, and she wanted to see a story where gods and heroes were in North America instead of Scandinavia or Ireland, etc. She also wanted a native/indigenous protagonist, a main character grounded in culture. The story takes place entirely “on the reservation” and uses some tropes of urban fantasy. The post-apocalyptic setting felt natural because, Rebecca says, “we’re headed there anyway.”

In terms of the mythologies referenced in the book, Rebecca says she kept it very Navajo. It’s important to keep in mind that not all native/indigenous stories are for public consumption. The advantage of working with Navajo material is that it’s a very large group with fifty thousand members, and many stories already out in the public consciousness.

(2) VALUABLE CONVERSATIONS. Amal El-Mohtar saw this was something people needed today —

“WisCon Guest of Honour Speech, 2017”

This convention drew me into an awareness of beautiful, hard, necessary conversations, and showed me how much feminism – something I thought of as a monolith, then, a common sense principle – was in fact a tapestry of conversations, many of them very difficult, many of them struggling to find a common language to address the very different problems we face at the intersections of race, class, disability, queerness, immigration status, indigeneity. This convention – by being, explicitly, a place where women come together to talk, to share histories and realities and speculations, to challenge each other and dream together of better, more just worlds – taught me most of what I know about these things.

I want to make you feel how precious that is – and how powerful. Because I am terrified of losing it.

*

We exist at a time when technology has made it easier than ever for us to talk to each other, and harder than ever for us to have conversations. We exist at a time when the internet has been colonized by capital, where every article plays a clickbaity game of “Let’s you and her fight.” We exist at a time when we’re encouraged to see conversations as slapfights, where titles read like mockeries of conversation: “No, So & So, You’re Completely Wrong About the X-Men” – “Yes, Such & Such, Wonder Woman is in Fact Feminist.” Why do we do this? Why is conversation forced into confrontation, into a battleground of winners and losers? Why do we talk about “losing” an argument instead of learning a truth?

To be perfectly honest, I think it’s a con – and not the good kind, not what we’re attending. A Mr. Wednesday con. A grift. A trick. A new, insidious way for the evil systems of our societies to continue preventing us from talking to each other, learning from each other, and loving each other.

(3) BACK FROM EUROCON. Edmund Schluessel’s “Eurcon 2018” report pays close attention to conrunning issues, for example:

…Eurocon 2018’s experiment in simultaneous translation, though, could have gone better. The quality of the program item translation was not an issue at all: well-established translator Thomas Bauduret was on hand. The issue was that M Bauduret would appear at the beginning of an English-language item unscheduled and offer translation, and if he was engaged then, by the simple nature of the beast, all the discussion that followed would move at half-speed, and a panel which was planned for 45 minutes suddenly had ninety minutes of material.

This issue of timing ran throughout Eurocon. Perhaps, having mostly attended either US conventions or things in the Nordic countries, I’ve become overly habituated to the appearance of a gopher holding up a “STOP” card to make sure the program ran to schedule. There was no such provision at Eurocon, nor did the program participants often feel a great need to follow the schedule closely. There were only four program rooms, but all it takes is one person claiming their 67 minutes of their allotted hour–and there were far more than one doing this–and the entire schedule becomes gummed up.

Sometimes it can even look really bad for the convention. I need to preface again: Eurocon 2018 put African SF discussions at the center of its programming, made a point of having African authors on hand, and this is a superb thing to focus on given many factors. The first expression of this track, though, was a presentation about African SF given by a white Canadian, Geoff Ryman, who overran, in large part due to the surprise simultaneous translation; and an immediate consequence of this running over was that the following program item, a talk introducing Afrofuturism by Black SF author Yann-Cédric Agbodan-Aolio, started late and was cut short. I’m not for one second claiming any sort of negative intent by the Eurocon organizers, but mindful of how things are going with Worldcon 76 I think it is important to emphasize the importance of elevating marginalized voices, and being seen to help elevate them. I saw a couple of program items that were about African writing, where African authors were on hand, but where organizers had chosen all-white or all-European/North American/Australian panels….

(4) PROGRAMMING TECHNIQUES. Mary Robinette Kowal outlines how she organizes Nebulas programming in a thread that starts here. Features of her plan include –

(5) MORE ADVICE. And Sarah Pinsker was inspired to say –

(6) MASON OUT OF HOSPITAL. Lisa Mason was attacked while walking in Oakland on July 11. She writes about it here — “Update: 7.23.18//Been Off the Internet Since July 11. A Man Violently Attacked Me; I’ve been in Highland Hospital”.

I was walking on the remodeled bridge of Lakeshore Boulevard where the sidewalk angles around the back of 1200 Lake Shore, a midcentury high-rise apartment and a switchback heads down to the lake. Suddenly I heard yelling. I looked to my left and saw an Hispanic man running up the slope amid the flowering bushes, his face and eyes filled with hate. I was shocked. I’ve never seen hate like that on a person’s face.

In one second he was up on the sidewalk with me. He pulled his fist back to punch my face. I ducked. Then he shoved me as hard as he could toward a pedestrian ramp leading to East 12th Street and two lanes of oncoming cars speeding around the curve onto Lakeshore. I back-pedaled with my feet, lost my balance, and, fell, hard, on my right hip on the concrete half in the street. I rolled over to a sitting position, but I couldn’t stand or move. My right leg lay at an odd angle.

Three bicyclists surrounded me with their bikes, shielding me from him. I looked to my left and saw him striding down the sidewalk, yelling, about to accost another woman, an Asian-American. She witnessed the Attack and backed away. Then he advanced on a white man and they exchanged yells. Then he ran down the sidewalk to the lake….

(7) SDCC REMEMBERS ELLISON. Via Amazing Stories I learned that Jan Schroeder recorded the Celebration of Harlan Ellison’s life held at San Diego ComicCon and uploaded the recording to SoundCloud.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born July 23 – Shawn Levy, 50. Executive Producer of Stranger Things and the Imaginary Mary series, also a forthcoming reboot of Starman; Producer of The Night at the Museum films.
  • Born July 23 – Tom Mison, 36. The Sleepy Hollow series lead, also the forthcoming Watchmen series, and a role in The Continuing and Lamentable Saga of the Suicide Brothers which is described as a fantastical gothic fairytale. Oh, and his Sleepy Hollow character appeared in the Bones series, a very weird episode that was.
  • Born July 23 – Paul Wesley, 36. Ongoing role in The Vampire Dairies, lead role in Fallen miniseries, also appeared in  Tell Me a Story, a contemporary twisted fairy tales series, and minor roles in such series as Smallville and Minority Report. Oh and in addition to being in a vampire series, he’s been in a werewolf series, Wolf Lake. 
  • Born July 23 – Daniel Radcliffe, 29. Harry Potter of course. Also Rosencrantz in National Theatre Live: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. 
  • Born July 23 – Lili Simmons, 25. Westworld and an ongoing role in The Purge series.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) TOOTLE PLUNK AND BOOM. Mariella Moon in Engadget.com discusses the PixelPlayer, a new device that “can recognize instruments in a video, identify specific ones at a pixel level, and isolate he sounds they produce” — “MIT’s music AI can identify instruments and isolate their sounds”. How could Filers NOT be interested in a PixelPlayer?

If you’ve ever played a YouTube video for what it seems like the thousandth time to listen to your instrument’s part of a composition, you’ll love MIT’s new AI. PixelPlayer, which hails from the institution’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), can recognize instruments in a video, identify specific ones at pixel level and isolate the sounds they produce. If there are several instruments playing in a video, for instance, PixelPlayer will allow you to pick the one you want to listen to — it will play the sounds coming out of that instrument the loudest and will lower the volume or everything else.

(11) HANDLING SOCIAL MEDIA. Fresh advice from the front.

(12) HOFFMAN WORKS MAGIC. Jo Niederhoff reviews “The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman” for Fantasy-Faction.

Lately I’ve been getting into fantasy that either crosses genres or plays with the rules of its own genre. Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic are two excellent examples of the former. In my review of Practical Magic, I described it as magical realism, and I stand by that. It hovers just on the edge of fantasy and literary without giving in too much to either side, which can be a delicate balancing act, considering how the two genres tend to feel about each other. The Rules of Magic has the same feel, but at its heart it is a book about growing up, so much so that I hardly noticed Frances and Bridget growing older to become the aunts from the first book.

(13) YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Charles Payseur wants readers to know this won’t be one of his more sober book assessments: “LIVER BEWARE! You’re in for a Drunk Review of Goosebumps #9: WELCOME TO CAMP NIGHTMARE”.

But first thing’s first. I’m drinking. Given then ending of this book, I’m drinking A LOT. I started with some regular Leinies a while ago and have now refined my palate with some IPA from Blue Oskars Brewing, which is pretty good. If I make it that far some Java Lava and bourbon is on the horizons after this, so forgive me if I descend into incomprehensibility. So now that you’ve been warned, onward to the book!

(14) ORVILLE. Tune in to The Orville Panel At Comic-Con 2018:

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Gregory Benford, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/23/18 A Double Negative Pixel

  1. 6) I’m not sure what the point was of making sure the ethnicity of each and every person involved was called out, but reading the entire blog entry, she sure wants to make sure you know the guy that hurt her is Hispanic.

  2. (6) Hip fractures are brutal, wishing her as full a recovery as she can get. There has been way too much violent crime in the Bay Area lately. Yesterday there was a murderer who went up to a random woman on BART (the subway) and cut her throat. They caught him today … at a different BART station.

    (10) I predict an onslaught of vocal isolation versions appearing on YouTube. Those can be nice.

  3. 6) She also seems to assume that all Hispanic people are immigrants, which is not the case, or that this man was, which is not evident from her story, and also that people being turned away at the border were attempting to enter the country illegally, which is also not necessarily the case (many were applying for asylum). And whatever her caveats, she seems to think a violent person is more likely to be an immigrant than not, which definitely is not a safe assumption. All very strange. But regardless of my disagreement with these things, and offense that she said them, I can see that the injury and shock were severe, and I hope she will recover faster and further than she is now fearing.

  4. 140% of a fifth!

    Today I lost 40 minutes because of a door that would not close. Ah, well.

  5. Meredith Moment: Delilah S. Dawson’s Hit and Strike are currently on sale for $0.99 each at US outlets. This promotion may be connected to the publication of the unrelated Kill the Farm Boy.

    Edit: Hey, Michael Underwood’s Celebromancy and Hexomancy (Ree Reyes books 2,4) are also $0.99! Hurrah!

  6. I have a hard time to concentrate enough to read new books, so for the last months I have read mostly comfort reads in the LitRPG genre. My last choice, Sufficiently Advanced Magic, was in a way a nice surprise.

    It is not really LitRPG, but it has some things in common with those tropes. We have dungeon hunting (named differently), we have obsession over numbers and increase in knowledge/techniques and we have Naruto/Potter-style studying, fighting fellow students for exams and so on.

    But in many ways it feels fresh. There’s no evil school bully nemesis. There is hinted of bi-sexuality in the characters without making a big thing of it, there’s even a non-binary person that fits very well in and with an interesting personality. One of the persons shows many autistic traits, and they flow naturally into the story. It actually shows how inclusion can make a story with old tropes still feel like something new.

    It is still comfort read, it is still no advanced literature, it is a bit irritating with all the obsession over the magic system (mostly a problem in the second part), but I like it.

  7. @Hampus:

    There’s something about the way LitRPG books get marketed that almost instantly flips my “nope” switch. I think it’s the keyword itself – it’s unique enough that the books seem to be part of a big series or shared world, with no indication where anything fits in as related to anything else, but I’ve also seen it referred to as nothing more than a subgenre name.

    I don’t have a problem with the concept of portal fantasies which involve game worlds. I’ve read Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame and Robert Bevan’s much less serious Caverns and Creatures, and I’ve enjoyed both.

    So, since you’ve read some… what’s the scoop on “LitRPG”?

  8. Rev. Bob:

    “So, since you’ve read some… what’s the scoop on “LitRPG”?”

    I’m not sure if LitRPG is seen best as a genre or as a label for things gamers might like. It is a bit confusing because it is not strictly about RPG:s, it is about gaming – regardless of if the games are Role-playing games, first person shooters or something else. The only common thing is the connection to games and the obsession about growing or leveling up. But you will frequenty see Ready Player One on the lists of good LitRPG, even if it really isn’t.

    Most LitRPG:s I’ve read have some kind of experience system where you gain experience, level up, get points to put on attributes. The main characters constantly try to raise their skills to be able to handle harder monsters or to survive. I’ve found that I get about the same kind of tingly feeling on a characters growth in a book as I get when playing a RPG game on a computer, so it can be a bit addictive. And if they have good characters and story lines (which sorry to say is kind of unusual), it can be a nice experience.

    Just the other day, I read a sweet russian book named Restart about a man addicted to games who gets RPG abilities in the real world. And he starts to solve quests like getting a job, saving a dog, trying to connect with his familiy. All the time getting experience and trying to become a better person. It is ridiculous, but is a nice story of wish fulfillment and doing good.

    I think that if I would recommend a starting point, I would recommend Awaken Online which has all the most common tropes: A virtual online world that seems like reality for the players, leveling/experience/gaining powers, lots of looks at stats and placing points. It is one of those that is decent enough to get out of the self-publishing swamp.

    For one that is more of portal fantasy kind, the main character suddenly finding himself in another world based on game mechanics, you have The Land series by Aleron Kong. It is a fun one with lot of pop culture references and great writing, but on the other hand it is sometimes tiring with constant lighthearted macho bullshit and sprinkles of homophobia (this seems to disappear in later books).

  9. A lot of the current boom in translated Japanese light novels (prose with some manga-styled illustrations, and generally manga/animesque in tone) would fit in as LitRPG, I think. Some (like Sword Art Online) have a ‘trapped in a video game’ concept, while there are so many based around the idea of the protagonist being reborn in an RPG-ish fantasy world that the gimmicks to distinguish individual series are starting to get rather odd.

    (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isekai for some examples)

  10. I did read a Korean manga called The Gamer that is very LitRPG. It was kind of fun, but had the same problem as many LitRPG books or superhero comics. The hero grew too quick in power and became more and more epic until it was just plain ridiculous.

  11. Yay, Title Credit!

    Re: LitRPG I only recently realized that this was a thing. I’ve read a novel that was kinda LitRPG adjacent (It was really that sort of thing except for the stats and it turned me off thereby). It does seem to be some people’s bliss though.

    1) I was sad I wasn’t able to attend this one. I try to attend Juliette’s recordings as I can, now.

    11) Starving the clickbait. Hmmm

  12. We'd better get back 'cause it'll be dark soon and they mostly scroll at night.

    Mostly.

  13. @Hampus: “I think that if I would recommend a starting point, I would recommend Awaken Online which has all the most common tropes: A virtual online world that seems like reality for the players, leveling/experience/gaining powers, lots of looks at stats and placing points.”

    So… you’re reading about a regular guy who’s playing an immersive game, and he can log in and out whenever he pleases, with no external stakes? That doesn’t seem like it’d be my thing.

    The closest I’ve come to reading that kind of story was Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? a couple of months back, but I felt kind of tricked by that. (The reveal that Heropa’s a VR game doesn’t come until about a third of the way through the book.) Even then, there was a factor that prevented the players from escaping via logout, and if you got killed in-game (which wasn’t supposed to be possible, but it was happening), it’d fry your brain IRL… so there were genuine stakes. I wasn’t just reading about a guy playing a videogame; it was closer to Tron in that respect.

    Likewise, the series examples I gave earlier both involve the main characters getting physically sent into the game world and either being flat-out unable to go back or having to go through great lengths to do so. (In the C&C series, they make a brief trip back home, but a miscommunication means that they do so as their fantasy race selves rather than being “translated” back into their original bodies. A side effect is that the magician goes along with them, develops a taste for Arby’s fast food, and opens an imitation restaurant in the game world when they get back there.)

    Hmm. It occurs to me that The Matrix would fit the genre almost as well as Ready Player One does, if I’m understanding you correctly.

  14. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of manga uses that (transported into a world with video game rules) plot, but wasn’t familiar with the term “isekai.” It seems to be general to “alternate world” scenarios and not narrowly game-related ones, though. Check out this one as an example that explicitly uses game rules and point systems. This list isn’t as narrowly focused, but could have a few worth checking out.

  15. Rev. Bob:

    “So… you’re reading about a regular guy who’s playing an immersive game, and he can log in and out whenever he pleases, with no external stakes?”

    You hit the main problem of LitRPG directly. Various authors use different ways. In The Way of The Shaman, the protagonist is in prison and need to grind money to get out. In The Land, the main character is stuck in a new world. In other books one person tries to grind money to save his sick daughter, others have people locked into the games and so on.

    Awaken Online instead has poverty, classmate bullies and more serious things in later books. So yes, there are external stakes.

  16. Hm, does that mean that Tad Willaims’ Otherland series would count as LitRPG?

  17. If I understand LitRPG correctly, Melissa Scott’s Burning Bright could be an early predecessor. A VR-based RPG plays a role in the primary plot and it is the main topic of the secondary plot.

  18. “Hm, does that mean that Tad Willaims’ Otherland series would count as LitRPG?”

    It is often used as an early example.

  19. Would Diana Wynne Jones’ “The Homeward Bounders” be LitRPG? How about Saberhagen’s “Octagon”?

  20. 6) I wish her well and I hope she can afford to get the physical and occupational therapy this likely requires. It sounds like that will be a problem. This is a long term problem.

    I had a hairline fracture of my left femur several years back. The operation took half an hour. I’m no stranger to rehab and needed less time than the norm, according to the therapists-and I was still in a rehab facility for close to three weeks for a much less serious injury. She will most likely need some kind of assistive device the rest of her life.

    *SIGH*

    The stress she’s under is significant and probably explains her remarks.

  21. @6: It’s a pity Mason extended her personal disaster to a … misstatement … about the Oakland mayor’s action vs ICE.

    @Lenore Jones:

    She also seems to assume that all Hispanic people are immigrants, which is not the case, or that this man was, which is not evident from her story

    Contra my complaint above, she does say (far down the page) that she was told this specific assailant was an undocumented immigrant — although the quality of that report is uncertain. But her whole line about opening the border to violent gangs is (at least) statistically wrong.

  22. @Chip, I missed that. But of course, even if that’s true, it has nothing to say about other undocumented immigrants, just as if he were a citizen it would not reflect on other citizens.

  23. @6. I believe her attack was on July 11 but the post was written on July 23. The fact that tragedies and accidents occur in life and health insurance should be available seems to escape her. The calling out ethnicity (except for the bicyclists) and focusing on immigrants and Hispanics is not a good look.

    Going from her attack onto blaming ICE/open borders is….really not a good look and very tone deaf considering that on July 22, two young women were viciously and randomly attacked by a knife wielding man on BART also in Oakland. One(a teenager) was killed and the other was severely hurt. The assailant was white while the victims were black.

  24. Meredith moment for today –

    Peter V. Brett’s “Warded Man”, book 1 of his Demon Cycle series is on sale for $2.99 through July 28th.

    Two entries in the series were nominated for the Locus award and two were nominated for the David Gemmel Legend award. (three out of the five books have been nominated)

    The series features detailed world building. Humans live their lives by day, but by night they must hide behind wards to protect them from demons that coalesce up out of the depths of the earth. Creating those wards is a life or death skill.

    Are the demons there just to feed, or is there a more dire purpose to their nightly visits?

    One young man finds that he cannot hide any longer. So he leaves his small village to see what the rest of the world looks like. He travels to strange lands, meets new people that actually take the fight to the demons, and is betrayed by one who claimed to be his friend.

    The story is told against a background of diverse cultures that have a hard time coexisting, fatalistic and constricting religious sentiments, and a general societal attitude in favor of submission over individual action.

    And FWIW, I nominated the series for best series this year.

    Regards,
    Dann
    In a room full of ducks, sometimes the one that woofs is needed to point out the quacks.

  25. @Hampus:

    In that case, I think I’ll trust my original instincts and pass. I mean, YKIOK and all that, but it sounds from your examples like the stakes tend to be more kludgey than I’d enjoy. Plus, I’m having flashbacks to sitting on a couch for hours watching a friend play one of the Final Fantasy* games, which still stands out as one of the most boring activities I’ve ever tried. I mean, he was having fun, because he was playing a game, but watching it did nothing for me.

    * An inaccurate title if I’ve ever seen one.

  26. Rev. Bob:

    Yeah, LitRPG is absolutely not for everyone. And the stakes can sometimes be well made and other times look very forced (Awaken Online is the one where it works, but I don’t want spoil it by telling how). Writing is usually on the level of DragonLance or The Destroyer, except they know how their character sheets look. You kind of have to be in to it. It is for the fun, not for the great reading.

    As I said, I read LitRPG now because I find it hard to concentrate on the good stuff, so I go for the light and funnily stupid instead.

    For you others – there is some movement to separate GameLit from LitRPG, the former the broader term, the latter more RPG specific with skills/levels/xp and so on. But LitRPG is more well-known and is often used in the ssme way as the broader term.

  27. (6) Wow, that was a hateful rant. It’s terrible to see someone who should understand the power of words spin a violent crime and lie about our mayor’s actions, just to advance a xenophobic political agenda. ETA: on the positive side, she may just be ignorant, given her ideas about no ICE == open borders and etc..

  28. Re: Isekai

    Technically isekai is any portal fantasy I think. However the big boom in them has been on the back of game based ones. So even though you still get the portal kind if you say isekai most people assume you are talking about the game kind.

    A lot of it, and I mean a lot of it, is badly written mindless teenage male wish fulfillment but since so much of it is pumped out you can find some pretty good stories as well. Also as the genre has “aged” and with people being told that the best way to get published is to write an isekai the need to do something to make yours stand out has lead to some fun innovation. Like more female based ones, less overpowered ones, being reincarnated as a member of the “ugly” fantasy races or monsters, comedies and so forth.

    Game Isekai

    In Another World With My Smartphone From what I have read I consider this the platonic ideal of the Mary Sue isekai. A teenager is killed by a lightening bolt, goes to heaven and is told by God that it was a mistake. He then spends a fair amount of time trying to make God feel better about making a mistake. So he is then given a chance to be transported to another world to live with a gift from God. God suggests super strength, wealth, or being popular with the ladies( nudge,nudge, wink,wink). But the boy asks to keep his smartphone and have it work in his new world so God says fine he would just not be able to send messages back home everything else would work. God puts his number in the phone before he sends the boy off and tells him to call if he needs anything. So the boy gets to his new world and finds out that God maxed all his stats, gave him access to all 9( I think) kinds of elemental magic and gave him unlimited “personal magic”. Personal magic is a single unique spell outside the normal magic system that some some people are born with. Except the boy can learn to cast any personal magic. And then the adventures and girl gathering get started.

    So the kid starts the books as one of the most powerful people in his new world and he has God on speed dial. It is hard to beat that.

    Log Horizon My personal favorite. Everyone logged on when the newest expansion of a popular MMO goes live gets pulled into another world that looks and somewhat acts like the game as their character. This is very much an ensemble piece and spends a lot of time dealing with the players trying to learn to live in their new world and find out what is going on.

    Much slower paced then most isekai and more nuts and bolts.

    Overlord Another favorite. A guild-leader is the only person in his guild to stay logged into his favorite VR MMO as the servers are shut down for good. Surprisingly when the countdown to shutdown hits 0 he stays logged on. After a bit of exploring, he finds that he can not log off and his guild buildings seem to have been transported to another world different from Earth or the game world.

    Some of the many problems are that his character was a Lich Necromancer so he is trapped in another world as a giant Skeleton, the Guild npcs seem to have come to life and he has no idea what is going on or where he is. Also his guild was pvp focused with monster players only and a strong anti-human roleplaying element so almost all the npcs are evil human haters. Oh on top of that something seems to be playing with his mind deadening his emotions.

    Hai to Gensou no Grimgal Apparently groups of people with amnesia show up quite often in this world. And lucky for them the people of this world have a need for warm bodies to throw into the maw of war against the demi-humans. So the newcomers get to chose to starve or go out to kill goblins and hope they last long enough to level up.

    It’s selling point seems to be “isekai but with more depression”.

    Kono Subarashii Sekai Another favorite. This is a parody of the isekai genre . The MC dies after trying to push someone out of the way of a truck, apparently an incredibly common way to die. However in his case the truck stops in plenty of time so he just pushes a girl down on the road for no reason then he dies of a heart attack brought on from fright. Then he is brought before a Goddess who tries to get him to go to another world to kill a demon king with the help of one gift from her. However she spends a fair amount of time laughing at the way he died even showing how the EMT’s stood around his body ,laying in a puddle of urine, making fun of the way he died. So she finally just starts to force him into the other world after he refuses to pick a gift then at the last moment he shouts out that he wants her to come with him as his gift. So her powers are sealed and she gets shipped off with him. Then the pair go on to show just how awful people they are in very funny ways gathering two more dysfunctional members as they go along.

    Portal Isekai

    Youjo Senk A Japanese salaryman is killed by a man he just fired. “God” shows up to take his soul to be reincarnated while complaining about too much work. Salaryman berates “God” about his incompetence and doubts his divinity. Salaryman gets reincarnated into another world as a small blonde not-german orphan girl,Tanya Degurechov, right before not-germany gets into a belated WWI but with magic. Tanya at age 9 volunteers for the army, rather then waiting until 12 when she would have been drafted because of her magic power. Tanya then sets out on her battle with “God” winning condition on her side getting a safe, cushy desk job away from the front, on “God’s” getting her to worship him.

    Knights & Magic Nice guy mech(giant robot) lover dies then gets reincarnated in a world that has magic powered mechs. In this case the guy is reborn as a normal child until he sees his first mech battle which brings his memory back. Has the whole computer programming helps with using magic deal so he becomes a prodigy. He ends up in control of his home country’s mech production fairly quickly then goes into a frenzy of mech improvements. Very big on engineering.

    Has an unusually amoral MC. He cares about mechs and not much else so for example he mostly sees deaths from mech battles as the eggs you have to break to get the good stuff, mechs fighting each other.

    Drifters Warriors get pulled into another world at the moment of death to fight in a war against monsters and other warriors from Earth. Most notable for the testosterone and that it looks like the big bad is Jesus Christ.

    Hataraku Maousama! Revere Isekai with a demon lord fleeing from a hero ending up on Earth where magic hardly works so he and his companions have to find work. Comedy, can be very funny at times.

  29. @6 Wow! A lot of victim blaming here for describing the attacker and the circumstances around the attack. This was grievous physical harm.

  30. Thank you, Magewolf! I’ve never tried Isekai, so I ordered Hai to Gensou no Grimgal which was the one that looked interesting and was available on Kindle.

  31. Mallory and Kathodus said what I would say about #6.

    Really looking forward to Trail of Lightning!

  32. @ Lenora Rose.

    I really enjoyed Trail of Lightning! The book needed some investment on my part; Roanhorse didn’t babysit us with Dine words but expected the reader to follow along.
    tangent. It’s always surprised me that this is expected for some dialects (e.g. Gaelic) but it’s viewed as too much work for others (caribbean, Dine etc)./tangent
    I also thought it did a fantastic job with showing someone who has emotional scars and living with the aftermath. It’s hot and I’m tired and not doing this book justice but go read it!

  33. (6) I just read her post. Wow.

    All sympathy to her for the initial attack.

    I’m going with the assumption that everyone whose ethnicity she didn’t think needed to be mentioned was white.

    Yes, outright lying about what the Oakland mayor did.

    She seems upset that the doctor told her up front that her injury could be quite serious.

    I’m curious as to why she was “cruising along on minimum medical insurance.” It sounds as if that was a choice, not an inability for some reason to qualify for an ACA-assisted decent plan. What, did she think she was too good to ever be in an accident? (Granting that few people expect a violent attack.)

  34. Mallory on July 24, 2018 at 10:05 am said:

    @6. I believe her attack was on July 11 but the post was written on July 23. The fact that tragedies and accidents occur in life and health insurance should be available seems to escape her. The calling out ethnicity (except for the bicyclists) and focusing on immigrants and Hispanics is not a good look.

    I broke my arm rather badly on a business trip in 1997, and her affect in her blog reminds me of providing the same information yet again for more forms and people at four different medical offices in two states – times, locations, relative details, just the facts. It reads to me like a police statement.

    She seems upset that the doctor told her up front that her injury could be quite serious.

    My limited experience has been that medical people like (for some value of “like”) to bring up the worst case outcomes first so their patients will be relatively pleased when things don’t turn out quite so badly. There’s a certain “I’m about to break the bad news” look that they seem to learn in med school. (My break healed better than expected, after two surgeries and a lot of boring PT I’m at 90-95% of normal on good days: hers sounds much, much more serious)

    tangent. It’s always surprised me that this is expected for some dialects (e.g. Gaelic) but it’s viewed as too much work for others (caribbean, Dine etc)./tangent</

    A local radio station used to go to great lengths to pronounce Spanish names correctly when Latin American issues were in the news. When Poland's Solidarity movement came along, the philosophy seemed to be pronounce them any way you want.

  35. Lin McAllister: My limited experience has been that medical people like (for some value of “like”) to bring up the worst case outcomes first so their patients will be relatively pleased when things don’t turn out quite so badly.

    That’s a nice side effect, but it’s not why they do it. They do it because it’s human nature for a person to grab onto and fixate on what what they want to hear (i.e. best-case scenario), so physicians need to make sure that a patient hears and understands the things that they don’t want to hear. The best way to accomplish that is by putting the worst case out there first, when the patient hasn’t already got a better case scenario on which to fixate.

  36. Lis whenever you comment I am reminded of the quote about Vince Lombardi, “He treated us all equally……like dogs.”

  37. @Lakedog–

    Lis whenever you comment I am reminded of the quote about Vince Lombardi, “He treated us all equally……like dogs.”

    I am not sure I understand your meaning. Would you care to clarify?

  38. Thanks Magewolf for the summary/overview. Not something I’d come across before!

  39. The Worldcon scheduling mess has hit the news at Daily Kos. Some of the commenters are, um, less than current with SF.

  40. @Avery Abernethy

    @6 Wow! A lot of victim blaming here for describing the attacker and the circumstances around the attack. This was grievous physical harm.

    Victim blaming is blaming the victim for the attack. Nobody here has done that. The victim has blamed the attacker’s nationality and/or immigration status for the attack. This is the equivalent of Greyland’s generalized attack on the LGBTQ community because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of specific people. It’s bigotry.

  41. @avery abernethy: look up the definition of “victim blaming”. Nobody is saying that she did anything wrong leading up to the accident; several of us are pointing out the holes (and at least one massive misstatement) in her lashing out 8 days afterward.

  42. … misstatement … about the Oakland mayor’s action vs ICE.
    lie about our mayor’s actions,
    Yes, outright lying about what the Oakland mayor did.

    Mason said:
    the shameful Mayor of Oakland warned eight hundred KNOWN VIOLENT CRIMINALS that ICE was planning to apprehend them.

    Mayor Schaaf said:
    “Earlier today, I learned from multiple credible sources that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing to conduct an operation in the Bay Area, including Oakland, starting as soon as within the next 24 hours.”

    That looks very much like the mayor of Oakland sent out a warning that ICE on the move.

    Where’s the lie?

  43. That the 800 immigrants were all known, violent criminals.

    In any case, screaming about violent Hispanics coming for you with hatred in their eyes given the current atmosphere that exists in this country is beyond irresponsible.

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