Pixel Scroll 8/24/19 Do You Come From A File Down Under, Where Pixels Scroll And Men Chunder

(1) EUROCON NEWS. Eurocon 2021 will be in Fiuggi, Italy from March 18-21. It will be run concurrently with the annual Italcon, and Deepcon, hosted by the Italian cultural association DeepSpaceOne.

Future Eurocon bids include

  • 2022 in Esch, the southern region of Luxembourg.
  • 2023 in Uppsala, Sweden

(2) MORE DUBLIN 2019 PHOTOS. Dan Ofer has posted two sets of Worldcon photos on Facebook (set to public):

(3) DUBLIN MEETUP ISSUE. Wanda Kurtcu said on Facebook there are two people who should not have attended the meetup for PoC of African descent at Dublin 2019:

I had the opportunity to co-facilitate an POC of African Descent meetup at WorldCon. The description of the meetup was that it was ONLY for POC of African Descent. NOTE the PEOPLE OF COLOR (POC) requirement for this meeting.

There were two white men already in the room when I arrived. At no point did they request to be allowed to be part of our meeting. One said he was the editor of a spec sci-fi magazine and the other said he was there because his adopted son was Ethiopian and he wanted to see what the meetup was about. His son was not at WorldCon.

Neither I nor my co-facilitator asked them to leave because I didn’t want to cause any problems. In fact, I waited a few days to write this post to make sure I was coming from a place of mindfulness and not anger….

(4) LEIA. At D23 J.J. Abrams teased Carrie Fisher’s role in the final movie of this trilogy: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker reveals poster, epic new footage at D23”.

Director Abrams said of adding Leia into the film: “Of course, we can’t talk about the cast without talking about Carrie Fisher. And the character of Leia is really in a way the heart of this story. We could not tell the end of these 9 films without Leia. And we realized that we had footage from episode 7 that we realized we could use in a new way. So Carrie, as Leia, gets to be in the film.”

Continued Abrams: “But the crazy part is we started to work on this movie and I wasn’t supposed to be directing this movie [as Colin Trevorrow was originally tapped as director]. Then we lost Carrie. And I was hired on this film and began working. And I remember this thing that I had read that I actually thought I was mistaken. I looked in her last book, The Princess Diarist, and she had written, ‘Special thanks to J.J. Abrams for putting up with me twice.’ Now I had never worked with her before Force Awakens and I wasn’t supposed to do this movie. So it was a classic Carrie thing to sort of write something like that that could only mean one thing for me. We couldn’t be more excited to have you see her in her final performance as Leia.”

(5) FUTURE TENSE. This month’s Future Tense Fiction short story is out, part of a series Slate and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination“What the Dead Man Said” by Nigerian author Chinelo Onwualu. Tagline: “Read a new short story about climate change, migration, and family secrets.”

I suppose you could say that it started with the storm.

I hadn’t seen one like it in 30 years. Not since I moved to Tkaronto, in the Northern Indigenous Zone of Turtle Island—what settler-colonialists still insisted on calling North America. I’d forgotten its raw power: angry thunderclouds that blot out the sun, taking you from noon to evening in an instant, then the water that comes down like fury—like the sky itself wants to hurt you.

Read a response essay “The Scars of Being Uprooted” by Valeria Fernández, a journalist who reports on immigration.

Immigrants know what is like to deal with restless ghosts from the past. Some of us are haunted for the rest of our lives by the inability to have closure. But when the opportunity presents itself to face our demons, it’s never like what we imagined in our heads.

Chinelo Onwualu’s short story “What the Dead Man Said” speaks to and delves deeper than that universal theme. The reader enters a futuristic society suffering from climate change–induced disaster and migration, a place where human bodies of those once enslaved are treated as a commodity and where unhealed trauma lies beneath the surface….

(6) JOURNALING ADVISED. Fran Wilde ran a “Creativity & Journaling” online today. Cat Rambo tweeted some notes. A portion of the thread starts here.

(7) LITIGATON OVER HOTEL HIDDEN FEES. The New York Times reports “Marriott and Hilton Sued Over ‘Resort Fees,’ Long a Bane for Travelers”.

The hotel charges known as resort fees are again under scrutiny — this time, from state attorneys general.

Travelers loathe the mandatory — and consumer watchdogs say, confusing — fees, which vary by location and by the services they purport to cover. Some hotels charge the fees for Wi-Fi and gym access, while others may use them to cover in-room safes, newspapers or bottled water — whether guests use them or not.

The attorneys general in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska filed separate but similar lawsuits this summer against two big hotel chains, accusing them of deceiving travelers by failing to include the resort fees in their published room rates, making it hard for consumers to compare rates when booking online. The suits allege that the hotels’ “deceptive and misleading” pricing practices violate consumer protection laws.

The suits, brought against the Marriott and Hilton chains, follow an investigation of hotel industry pricing practices by the attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the attorneys general in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska.

Travelers searching for lodging, whether on hotel websites or on separate travel websites, typically are not made aware of the resort fees until after they have clicked past the initial search results page and have started booking, according to a complaint filed in July against Marriott International by the attorney general in Washington….


  • August 24, 1966 Fantastic Voyage with Raquel Welch opened in theatres. It was based on a story by Otto Klement and Jerome Bixby. Bixby was a script writer for Star Trek writing four episodes: “Mirror, Mirror”, “Day of the Dove”, “Requiem for Methuselah”, and “By Any Other Name”.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 24, 1896 Stanton Arthur Coblentz. A very prolific genre writer whose  first published genre work was The Sunken World, a satire about Atlantis, serialized in Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories Quarterly starting  in July, 1928. Scattered tales by him are available in digital form from iBooks and Kindle but it looks no one has actually systematically digitized him yet. (Died 1982.)
  • Born August 24, 1899 Gaylord Du Bois. He was a writer of comic book stories and comic strips, as well as Big Little Books. He wrote Tarzan for Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics from the Forties to early Seventies.) He was one of the writers for Space Family Robinson which was the basis for the Lost in Space series. (Died 1993.)
  • Born August 24, 1915 James Tiptree Jr. One of our most brilliant short story writers ever. She only wrote two novels, Up the Walls of the World and Brightness Falls from the Air but they too are worth reading even if critics weren’t pleased by them.  (Died 1987.)
  • Born August 24, 1932 William M. Sheppard. I remember him best as Blank Reg on Max Headroom but I see he has a long history in genre with appearances in  Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (as a Klingon prison warden), The PrestigeMysterious Island (in which he played Captain Nemo), Needful Things, Elvira, Mistress of The Darkness, The Doctor and the Devils, Transformers and Star Trek (in an uncredited role as Vulcan Science Minister).  Series wise, he’s shown up, on Sherlock Holmes and Doctor WatsonBabylon 5The Legend of King Arthur, Next GenseaQuest DSVPoltergeist: The Legacy, Voyager and The Librarians. And yes, Doctor Who. He was Old Canton Everett Delaware III in “The Impossible Astronaut” story which featured the Eleventh Doctor. (Died 2019.)
  • Born August 24, 1934 Kenny Baker. Certainly his portrayal of R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise is what he’s best known for but he’s also been in Circus of HorrorsWombling Free, Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader series, The Elephant Man, Sleeping BeautyTime Bandits, Willow, Flash Gordon and Labyrinth. Personally, I think his best role was as Fidgit in Time Bandits. (Died 2016.)
  • Born August 24, 1951 Orson Scott Card, 68. Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win the two top genre Awards in consecutive years. Huh. I think the only thing I’ve read by him is Ender’s Game. So anyone here read his more recent works? 
  • Born August 24, 1951 Tony Amendola, 68. Prolly best known or being the Jaffa master Bra’tac on Stargate SG-1. He’s also had recurring roles as Edouard Kagame of Liber8 on Continuum and on Once Upon a Time as Pinocchio’s creator, Geppetto. His list of one-off genre appearances is extensive and includes AngelCharmed,  Lois & Clark, Space: Above and Beyond,  the Crusade spin-off of Babylon 5X Files, VoyagerDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyTerminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesAliasShe-Wolf of London and Kindred: The Embraced. He’s also been a voice actor in gaming with roles in such games as World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorWorld of Warcraft: Legion and Workd of Final Fantasy
  • Born August 24, 1957 Stephen Fry, 62. He’s Gordon Deitrich in V for Vendetta, and he’s the Master of Lakedown in The Hobbit franchise. His best role is as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. And he’s the narrator  for all seven of the Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings
  • Born August 24, 1958 Lisa A. Barnett.  Wife of Melissa Scott. All of her works were for-authored with her: The Armor of Light, Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant and Point of Dreams: A Novel of Astreiant. They wrote one short story, “The Carmen Miranda Gambit”. (Died 2006.)
  • Born August 24, 1972 Ava DuVernay, 47. Director of  A Wrinkle in Time.  She will be directing a New Gods film based upon the characters that Jack Kirby created. She and Tom King, who had the writing for recent Mister Miracle series (one of the New Gods), will co-write the film.
  • Born August 24, 1976 Alex O’Loughlin, 43. I discover the oddest things in doing these Birthdays. Did you know that an obscure Marvel character named Man Thing got used for a horror film of that name? This Australian actor who is much better as the lead for the retooled Hawaii Five-0 was in it. He’s was also in horror films Feed and The Invisible, both Australian, and The American Moonlight series where he’s a vampire PI named Mick St. John. It lasted sixteen episodes. 


(11) LATE BLOOMER. Like PJ Evans said after reading this, “It’s awfully dusty in here, all of a sudden.” Thanks to Soon Lee for leaving the link in comments.

My grandmother passed away. Her funerals were today, but here I’d like to talk about the most important thing I couldn’t spend too much time on in her eulogy: her love for Dungeons & Dragons. #DnD

She started very late, at 75, only a little over a year ago. One day I simply asked her if she’d like to try, and, like always when presented with something new, she said “Of course!”. So we grabbed my PHB and built up a character together.

My grandmother chose to be a forest gnome because they seemed the most happy of the races and she really liked the fact that she could talk to small animals. She went with druid just to double down on the animal-friendship theme.

(Also when we went through the character traits, I asked her: “Do you want to be a boy or a girl?”, and she answered right away “I’ve been a girl my whole life, it’d be fun to try being a boy for once”.)

So, we’re making her character sheet, rolling her stats (she gets a 17 and puts it in WIS) and chosing her first spells, and I ask her if she has a name in mind. “I don’t know, I’ll find one by tomorrow”.

That night, she does something that even I never expected: she goes on the Internet and reads every piece of lore she can find about gnomes. She barely knew how to Google, and yet here she was, browsing Wikipedia articles and D&D fansites….

(12) SURVIVING AS A WRITER. N.K. Jemisin argues against the attitude that writers with day jobs just need to tough it out. Thread starts here.

(13) CRIME IN SPACE. Maybe, maybe not: “Astronaut accessed estranged spouse’s bank account in possible first criminal allegation from space”.

NASA is examining a claim that an astronaut improperly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, The New York Times reported Friday — potentially the first criminal allegation from space.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain told investigators she had accessed the bank account of her spouse while on a six-month mission aboard the ISS in preparation for her role in NASA’s anticipated first all-female spacewalk, the Times reported.

McClain’s spouse, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, brought a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that McClain had committed identity theft, despite not seeing any indication of moved or spent funds.

Worden’s parents then brought another complaint with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, alleging that McClain had improperly accessed Worden’s private financial records and conducted a “highly calculated and manipulative campaign” to gain custody of Worden’s son.

McClain’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the Times that “she strenuously denies that she did anything improper” and “is totally cooperating.”

(14) LOOKING FOR CLASS M. LiveScience claims “Scientists Are Building a Real-Life Version of the Starship Enterprise’s Life Scanner”.

When the crewmembers of the starship Enterprise pull into orbit around a new planet, one of the first things they do is scan for life-forms. Here in the real world, researchers have long been trying to figure out how to unambiguously detect signs of life on distant exoplanets. 

They are now one step closer to this goal, thanks to a new remote-sensing technique that relies on a quirk of biochemistry causing light to spiral in a particular direction and produce a fairly unmistakable signal. The method, described in a recent paper published in the journal Astrobiology, could be used aboard space-based observatories and help scientists learn if the universe contains living beings like ourselves.  

In recent years, remote-life detection has become a topic of immense interest as astronomers have begun to capture light from planets orbiting other stars, which can be analyzed to determine what kind of chemicals those worlds contain. Researchers would like to figure out some indicator that could definitively tell them whether or not they are looking at a living biosphere. 

(15) DON’T FORGET. Todd Mason collects links to book reviews at “FRIDAY’S ‘FORGOTTEN’ BOOKS AND MORE…23 August 2019”. The reviewer’s name comes first, then the book and author.

This week’s books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some interest (or, infrequently, you should be warned away from); certainly, most weeks we have a few not at all forgotten titles, and this week is festooned with not-obscure writers and their books which have fallen mostly out of favor, or, even more often, been lost in the shuffle of their prolific legacy…i

  • Patricia Abbott: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Stacy Alesi: The A List: Fiction Reviews: 1983-2013
  • Brad Bigelow: No Goodness in the Worm by Gay Taylor
  • Les Blatt: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie; The Case of the Careless Kitten by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Elgin Bleecker: The Case of the Beautiful Beggar by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Brian Busby: The Squeaking Wheel by John Mercer
  • Rachel S. Cordasco: from 13 French Science Fiction Stories, edited and translated by Damon Knight, stories by Catherine Cliff, Natalie Henneberg, Suzanne Malaval
  • Martin Edwards: Midsummer Murder by Clifford Whitting
  • Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, August 1952
  • Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: DC war comics, July 1975
  • Barry Ergang: The Last Best Hope by “Ed McBain” (Evan Hunter)
  • Will Errickson: Unholy Trinity by Ray Russell
  • José Ignacio Escribano: “Ibn-Hakam al Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth” by Jorge Luis Borges (variously translated from “Abenjacán el Bojarí, muerto en su laberinto”), Sur, August 1951
  • Curtis Evans: recommendations to the Library of America
  • Olman Feelyus: Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
  • Paul Fraser: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1954, edited by “Anthony Boucher” (William White)
  • John Grant: Bad Debts by Peter Temple; The Lazarus Curse by Tessa Harris; When Elves Attack by Tim Dorsey
  • Aubrey Hamilton: Most Cunning Workmen by Roy (John Royston) Lewis; Bad to the Bones by Rett MacPherson
  • Bev Hankins: Family Affair by Ione Sandberg Shriber
  • Rich Horton: Stories of Brian W. Aldiss; stories of Rachel Pollack; The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones; stories of Greg Egan; stories of Lucius Shepard; The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury; The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer; Christopher Priest novels
  • Jerry House: “The Death Chair” by L. T. (Elizabeth Thomasina) Meade and Robert Eustace, The Strand Magazine, July 1899, edited by Herbert Smith
  • Sally Fitzgerald: “The Train” by Flannery O’Connor, Sewanee Review, April 1948, edited by Alan Tate
  • Kate Jackson: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers; Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
  • Tracy K: City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin; Behind That Curtain by Earl Derr Biggers
  • Colman Keane: Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg
  • George Kelley: The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Earl Stanley Gardner
  • Joe Kenney: The Anderson Tapes by Lawrence Sanders; Cult of the Damned by “Spike Andrews” (Duane Schemerhorn)
  • Rob Kitchin: Black Hornet by James Sallis
  • B. V. Lawson: The FBI: A Centennial History 1908-2008, Anonymous (produced by the US Dept. of Justice)
  • Evan Lewis: Hombre by Elmore Leonard
  • Steve Lewis: “The Spy Who Came to the Brink” by Edward D. Hoch, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, December 1965, edited by Frederic Dannay; “The Theft from the Onyx Pool”, EQMM, June 1967; stories from Forbidden River by Frederick Nebel; The Detective and the Chinese High-Fin by Michael Craven
  • J. F. Norris: Secret Sceptre by Francis Gerard
  • Matt Paust: Hollywood by Charles Bukowski
  • James Reasoner: Love Addict by “Don Elliott” (Robert Silverberg)
  • Richard Robinson: Have Space Suit–Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Sandra Ruttan: A Thousand Bones by P. J. Parrish
  • Gerard Saylor: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • Doreen Sheridan: The Suspect by L. R. Wright
  • Steven H Silver: “giANTS” by Edward Bryant, Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1979, edited by Stanley Schmidt
  • Kerrie Smith: Head in the Sand by Damien Boyd
  • Dan Stumpf: The Third Man by Graham Greene; Leonardo’s Bicycle by Paco Ignacio Taibo II
  • “TomCat”: Terror Tower by Gerald Verner
  • David Vineyard: Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
  • Bill Wallace: One by David Karp

(16) DISNEY+ NOTES. Can’t tell the programs without a program… Here’s what The Hollywood Reporter knows: “Disney+: A Comprehensive Guide to All Its Programming (So Far”.

Disney will officially enter the streaming wars in the fall when it launches its direct-to-consumer platform, Disney+, in November.

The platform, in the works since August 2017 when it was announced during an earnings call by Disney CEO Bob Iger, saw the media behemoth begin to pull its films from Netflix in a bid to use fare like Marvel features to incentivize potential subscribers to the service.

Make no mistake, Disney+ is the company’s biggest bet yet. The service — designed as a competitor to Netflix with a monthly price of $6.99 — will be a home to Disney’s massive animated feature library as well as assets from Lucasfilm (Star Wars), Pixar and Marvel, including new scripted offerings from the latter two companies.

Disney+ will be a separate service from its majority stake in Hulu and sports-themed ESPN+. While viewers will have to pay for each of the three services, they will all exist on the same platform — meaning subscribers can use the same password and credit card for each and all….

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Martin Morse Wooster, Contrarius, Karl-Johan Norén, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]

67 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/24/19 Do You Come From A File Down Under, Where Pixels Scroll And Men Chunder

  1. (13) Time for “High Justice”?

    (10) “Brightness Falls from the Sky” is terrific!

    Stephen Fry wrote an SF novel “Making History” btw

  2. Stephen Fry was also the voice of the narrator (or was it the Guide?) in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

  3. @8: typo: Raquel Welch. Saving the drink for tomorrow night as I have to wake up sound tomorrow morning for archery.

    @9: Card’s later works are at best a very mixed bag — mining and overmining the ideas thrown off in the first Ender books, rewriting the Book of Mormon as a 5-volume sci-fi, out to some really nasty recent fantasy. I wouldn’t recommend spending time on any of them.

    @jayn: specifically the movie, not the radio or TV series.

  4. 9) I know that I’ve read “A Planet Called Treason” but couldn’t tell you if I liked it–which may be an answer right there. Also “The Folk of the Fringe” which I did like-mostly-IIRC, the last part didn’t really ring for me. But his series/etc I’ve not gotten into–I tried with “Ender’s Game” because I’d read the short story in Analog but the book itself left me cold.

    13) Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

  5. How interesting that Tiptree and OSC share a birthday. Hmmm!

    Born August 24, 1951 — Orson Scott Card, 68. [….] So anyone here read his more recent works?

    Card was my favorite author for years, back in the day — like in the 80s. But he really started to lose it by the end of the first Ender series (Children of the Mind), and it’s been kind of downhill from there. I did read a few more of the Enderverse books after that, and I read the first Pathfinder book, but he never recovered the spark that he’d had in his earlier career. (And yes, I liked the Alvin Maker books, even though they were pretty blatantly Mormon proselytizing.)

    I heard him speak in person in the very early 90s, when I was living in Salt Lake City and he went to speak at BYU. It was SUCH a shock and disappointment for me — that was the first time I realized what an *ss the man is, at least about some things. Sigh. More heroes with feet of clay!

    But yeah, if you ever want to try OSC, stick with the earlier stuff.

  6. (9) Don’t forget Jorge Luis Borges and A. S. Byatt! Both have done tones of genre work, and both are brilliant!

  7. (9) @Cat, re: OSC:

    Card was a huge influence on me as a teen/youngling (90’s and early aughts).
    I liked Speaker for the Dead even better than Ender’s Game, as an intense, character-driven first-contact story, with different cultures figuring each other out.

    For my money, the best thing to revisit of Card’s would be his short fiction — Maps in a Mirror is a massive anthology, Card’s abilities and variety are on full display, and his essays (introducing sections and reminiscing about individual stories) are extremely good.

    I can also recommend his two books on writing very highly, even if you (like me!) are not a writer. One is Characters and Viewpoint, the other is How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. He’s extremely clear, extremely accessible, and has fantastic insight.
    When it comes to understanding story structure, his “MICE quotient” has been invaluable to me (and, despite multiple attempts, I haven’t seen it recapped as clearly as his book makes it). MICE (mileau, idea, character, event) is a kind of rough taxonomy that outlines a few fundamental kinds of stories, with the expectation that most books layer multiple story-types together. The key is that different focuses come with different promises/expectations — so if you start a story as an Idea piece (“Who murdered Mr. X?”), it’ll feel unsatisfying if the conclusion is working on an entirely different axis (“Action-packed battle sequence”).

    His other stuff… well. His Alvin Maker series is flavorful and inventive, but I shudder to think of rereading it now, since it goes deeply into race relations and colonization and my trust level in it is below zero.
    I reread Pathfinder, which was kind of fascinating — on the one hand, a white Mormon author (who was mega-popular) writing in the ’90’s about an all-POC cast determining that Christopher Columbus’s travesties justify undoing all of history and Western civilization is… kinda cool? On the other hand: SO MUCH CRINGE. It’s a “read ’em and weep” situation.
    Ender’s Shadow is when I feel he just stopped doing new stuff.

  8. I liked Card’s A Planet Named Treason but thought Cordwainer Smith did a better job of it. The relatively recent Treasure Box was repulsive, deliberately, I think, for effect.

  9. 9) I did read all Orscon Scott Card’s books in the Alvin Maker series and I think it was only the last one I wasn’t that fond of. But the first two I remember as brilliant.

    The Ender series I stopped at Children of the Mind that I found horribly bad, but the first two were great and the third ok if forgettable.

    The only others I tried was Lost Boys, that I can’t remember a word of, and Homebody that was a-dime-a-dozen haunted house story and quite boring.

    And as usual, my secular upbringing may havr caused me to miss, suppress or plain ignore everything mormon in his books. When reading summaries now, I see there’s a lot of references to it, but I can’t remember much of it. Was the same with Narnia, I just thought some parts were strange and couldn’t see any thing christian with them until reading about them on the net and then re-reading with that in mind.

  10. 9) Making History was award-winning? Funny. I know I read it, but I can’t remember anything about it at all.

    Agreed that Speaker For The Dead was fantastic.

    My first Tiptree, 10,000 Light Years From Home, I picked up in a department store’s bargain bin. I think I was attracted by the cover (yeah, I did a Brad, but I was only 15 or so). I was blown away, particularly by the opening story, And I Awoke And Found Me Here On The Cold Hill’s Side. That and Dangerous Visions (also found in a – different – department store’s bargain bin) had a profound effect on my taste in SF after an earlier diet of Asimov and Clarke. I adored Brightness Falls From The Sky, too.

  11. There are people grumbling on Twitter that the Tiptree Award should change its name rather than recognize a “murderess.” This is my first attempt at trying to put things in context. It’ll probably change before we put it out officially, but you gets get to see the first draft:

    Alice Sheldon died in 1987. By now, not only are there many people who never had the chance to read the James Tiptree stories while assuming that the author was male (and then have to look at them again with different eyes when the truth came out), there are now many people who never had the chance to read her stories when she was alive. She has always been a historical figure to them.

    The broad strokes of the Tiptree story are that Alli Sheldon started writing science fiction under a male pseudonym when she was about fifty, successfully posing as Tiptree for ten years, and writing for another ten after her secret was revealed, still using the Tiptree name at her publishers’ insistence but acknowledging her true identity. Then, one night, she shot both her husband and herself, killing them both.

    I knew Tiptree through correspondence, and Alli through phone calls and visits. She was very open about the suicidal tendencies that had plagued her throughout her life. She also told me that neither she nor her husband (Huntington, nicknamed Ting) wanted to outlive the other. (Whenever I talked to Ting, the subject never came up.) There were times when Alli said she had her gun out (including at least once when I was talking to her on the phone), but that “Ting isn’t ready yet.”

    Ting first became blind, and then bed-ridden. I hadn’t spoken to Alli in the weeks leading up to that final night, so I don’t know exactly what she was going through at that time. I know she wrote notes that she left around the house, with instructions and information that the responders and her lawyers might need. She took the unfinished manuscript of her last novella (a love story) out of her office and placed it in the living room. She called her lawyer and told him what she intended to do. He called the police, who got to the house while she was still making preparations. She convinced them the lawyer had misunderstood her. They checked in on Ting, and then they went away. Alli completed her task.

    We her friends knew it was coming, but that knowledge didn’t make it less distressing. Could anyone have stopped it? Probably not: This was 1987, and the actual suicide note left out with all the new instructions was dated 1979.

  12. I haven’t read any of Card’s work, as far as I know, and at this point I have no intention of doing so. Summaries I’ve seen of Ender’s Game don’t appeal to me. Maybe I’m missing something important.

  13. From what I recall, Speaker For The Dead was Card’s best novel but you do have to read Ender’s Game first. I do agree that his writing went down the tubes shortly after that. My guess is that his shorter pre-Ender works are probably the most likely to survive in the long run.

    As for Tiptree, I read Up The Walls Of The World when I were a lad and enjoyed it much.

  14. Did you know that an obscure Marvel character named Man Thing got used for a horror film of that name?

    Man-Thing obscure? Surely this can’t be true about a monster so many of us identified with in adolescence. There was nothing I wanted more as a 12-year-old than a Giant-Size Man-Thing. If the Man-Thing was touched you while you were afraid, you burst into flame. This concept felt very consistent with what I was being taught as a young Catholic.

  15. I loved a very early Card novel called Hart’s Hope, but loathed A Planet Called Treason. I stopped reading after Speaker For The Dead (which was good).

    I don’t condone what Tiptree did, but I have always felt way more pity and horror than outrage. Call it double standard if you will. Or maybe it’s that I lived with depression too, and know what it means.

  16. I agree with Anna re Tiptree — I don’t approve, but to the extent I can from my perspective, I understand what shed did, and I feel pity. Depression is terribly hard to deal with.

    Further — as Cat noted in the original birthday post, her second novel was called Brightness Falls from the Air, not Sky! The quote is from Thomas Nashe’s eerie poem about the plague, “In Time of Plague”, which is also the source of a D. G. Compton title, Farewell Earth’s Bliss.

    As for Card, I haven’t read much of him lately, but Hart’s Hope is good, and a couple of novellas are very good: “The Originist” (a Foundation story), and “Gloriously Bright”, the “good parts” version of an otherwise terrible novel, XENOCIDE.

  17. Whatever knows fear — burns at Man-Thing’s touch!

    At this point I’ll likely never read another Card book again, but the other one I’d add to the discussion is Maps in a Mirror, his massive collection of short fiction, in which, in addition to the stories proper, he wrote introductions/notes for every story that were often interesting & perceptive.

  18. @Stephen —

    Maybe I’m missing something important.

    There isn’t enough time in one reader’s life to get to every “important” piece of sff available out there, so don’t sweat it.

    I’ll second or third the recs for Card’s short stories, and also for Hart’s Hope. Also Enchantment. Except for Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, I liked his early fantasies better than his early sf.

  19. rcade says Man-Thing obscure? Surely this can’t be true about a monster so many of us identified with in adolescence. There was nothing I wanted more as a 12-year-old than a Giant-Size Man-Thing. If the Man-Thing was touched you while you were afraid, you burst into flame. This concept felt very consistent with what I was being taught as a young Catholic.

    Funko, maker of many a pop culture figure, has Man-Thing among its offerings. You can see it here at Amazon. And yes I think I’m going to get him.

    My latest purchase from Funko was Jane Foster, the female Thor. She was superbly done.

  20. Re: Card
    Read Ender’s Game back in the day but preferred DUNE. I did read Speaker and Xenocide too
    I read one of the Alvin Maker novels but that didn’t jell for me. I did like Hart’s Hope, back in the day, like Anna notes above.

    Apparently, looking at his Wikipedia page, he has written a lot I never heard of.

  21. @Rich Horton: Oops. I accidentally substituted ‘Sky’ for ‘Air’. A sign I should reread the book?

  22. Hart’s Hope was kinda creepy the first time I read it and didn’t get better after that.

    Ender’s Game deserved it’s Hugo and Nebula at the time. Speaker for the Dead more than deserved them. I liked most of the Alvin Maker books, minus the horrid slave-raping.That said, I no longer read Card. I won’t even donate his books to get them out of my house, lest other people read them. I find I’m incapable of throwing out my own books (but I have thrown out some Piers Anthony books for a friend so I found out I can throw out OTHER people’s books) so there they sit in a pile. I’ll probably throw them out the next time we move.

  23. Cliff on August 25, 2019 at 2:23 am said:
    9) Making History was award-winning? Funny. I know I read it, but I can’t remember anything about it at all.

    It won the 1998 Sidewise Award: http://www.uchronia.net/sidewise

    That’s actually why I read it, when I was reading all the Sidewise winners.

  24. Since we’re talking about OSC, I’ll admit that I have long loathed his writing, both in terms of style and in terms of the quasi-fascistic underpinnings of his philosophy.

    He’s a third-rate Heinlein wannabe that weaves in clumsy and unsubtle evangelical Christian/Mormon dominionism into every narrative. His lone-hero Jesus analogues who redeem a fallen world set my teeth on edge.

    I get it that people love Ender’s Game, though I’ve never seen the appeal (IMHO, it’s a childhood empowerment fantasy of the shallowest kind). One of my professors in college assigned the first of the Alvin Maker books to the class in a course on modern fantasy literature, and I found it execrable.

    Worst of all was Pastwatch, which I started reading because one of my alternate history friends insisted it was “a great work.” I literally could not bring myself to finish it because of the racist assumptions oozing off almost every page.

    IMHO, OSC is the most overrated author in the history of science fiction and fantasy. Though I know that’s not an opinion shared by many people (such as most of the people I am in a book club with).

  25. @Stephen: I would definitely ask “important for what?” if someone said I should read a book or story because it was important.

    When Marissa Lingen posts about what she’s been reading, that includes nonfiction that she read as background for something she’s working on and “if you’re looking for information on $specific_narrow_topic, it’s here. A nonfiction book might be important for the study of French history but optional for general readers; fiction might be important for people who are reading in a specific genre or subgenre. Tolkien is important in a number of genre contexts, as well as being a good writer; I couldn’t honestly say “read The Lord of the Rings, it’s important” to someone who doesn’t like sff but reads a lot of mystery novels.

    I don’t believe that there is any book that’s important for everyone to read.

  26. @ Vicki Rosenzweig I meant something like “There are these award-winning books that everyone who follows the genre except me seems to have read. I don’t think I would like them, but maybe they are reference points in everyone’s minds when they talk about sf, or maybe they were influential in ways I’m unaware of”. Not that I’ve been told these are “important” books but don’t know why.

    I still have no intention of trying them. I had a 2nd-hand copy of Ender’s Game for a while but I got rid of it. OlavRokne’s comment above has the ring of something I might well agree with.

  27. @OlavRokne —

    I get it that people love Ender’s Game, though I’ve never seen the appeal (IMHO, it’s a childhood empowerment fantasy of the shallowest kind).

    It is an empowerment fantasy of a sort, but it’s also the story of how a kid (and a whole generation of kids) gets warped, abused, and ultimately destroyed by The System, and what he tries to create from the rubble (Speaker for the Dead).

    (And yes, feel free to insert Jesus comments here — from a Mormon perspective, because Jesus came back and traveled through South America in the Book of Mormon.)

    Like the The Sparrow/Children of God duology, I think it’s a great shame that many people read Ender’s Game without also reading Speaker for the Dead. There’s a reason why BOTH books won the Hugo and Nebula.

  28. Card drives me bananas precisely because he’s a very good writer. If he were [names omitted here to avoid drawing any of them to this discussion], I would have, from fairly early on, once I had easy enough access to sf to not fall on every instance of it like water in a desert, have read a few pages and put down any of his books.

    Instead, he kept drawing me in for far too long, obstinately hoping that this time he wasn’t going to wind up going places and doing things that would leave me creeped out and regretting the decision to ever pick up the book.

    Honestly, if you were the right age for Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, how could you not love them? The man really can write, even if his more unpleasant views always get in there and spoil things, and after his views became more explicitly and broadly known, they started doing so earlier and more openly. I no longer make the mistake of picking up anything by him, and I was never a really enthusiastic fan of his, but I do understand why people were.

    And, you know, all the hearts and flowers and an “If Lis were the god of the Hugos” award for “The Originist.” A wonderful story, and, possibly because it was an Asimov tribute, he didn’t Go There with the views and attitudes that made his stories always, in the end, creep me out and regret ever starting them.

  29. Incidentally, if you ever happen to get into a debate about OSC’s views on homosexuality, and your opponent starts saying something like “Hey! OSC isn’t homophobic! He’s got plenty of sympathetic gay characters in his books!”

    Here’s how I respond: Yes, his gay characters are often (not always) good people. BUT, consistently over multiple books, Card never allows his gay characters to have happy, fulfilling lives UNLESS they renounce their homosexuality and either remain celibate or go on to have straight relationships. In one book he goes so far as to create a situation in which his main character gives in and has ONE homosexual experience, and that dooms him to never being able to have sex again. And, of course, there’s the infamous “Hamlet’s Father”, about which generally the less said the better (and yes, I’ve actually read it), in which Card equates homosexuality with pedophilia and claims that Hamlet’s father molested several of the younger characters and made them gay.

    So, yes, the man’s a flaming homophobe despite all his carefully chosen words to the contrary.


  30. (7) The way I heard the story, ‘resort fees’ at hotels arose mostly as a sneaky ploy to evade local taxes imposed on accommodation charges. A hotel would do its version of Hollywood accounting by reclassifying part of the room charge as being for (non-optional) ‘resort’ services, ergo declared not subject to (widespread) taxes specifically on transient accomodation fees.

    I’m not at all surprised that the state attorneys-general are bringing the hammer of God down on what it essentially tax evasion, just that it took until now to happen.

  31. OlavRokne on August 25, 2019 at 10:07 am said:
    Since we’re talking about OSC, I’ll admit that I have long loathed his writing, both in terms of style and in terms of the quasi-fascistic underpinnings of his philosophy.

    He’s a third-rate Heinlein wannabe that weaves in clumsy and unsubtle evangelical Christian/Mormon dominionism into every narrative. His lone-hero Jesus analogues who redeem a fallen world set my teeth on edge.

    I get it that people love Ender’s Game, though I’ve never seen the appeal (IMHO, it’s a childhood empowerment fantasy of the shallowest kind). One of my professors in college assigned the first of the Alvin Maker books to the class in a course on modern fantasy literature, and I found it execrable.

    I never got around to reading Ender’s Game the novel, because I’m old enough that I read the short story first and I found it harrowing (in a good sense). In it it’s very clear that Ender is both a victim of adult cruelty and, although unknowing, guilty of genocide.

    In general I found, as long as I read him, Card a very good writer, but yes, INCREDIBLY creepy. There came a point, I think about the time in Treason the disbodied head of the king was kept alive despite horrible suffering, when I realised that the creepiness and cruelty were an end not a means and I finally stopped.

  32. (3) Do the laws of Ireland allow exclusion based on race?
    (7) To me, resort fees seem much more common than the sampling quoted would suggest.

  33. @Hampus: What, you got all the way to Children of the Mind? Would that be a subliminal desire for penance, on your part? ISTR I hurled the prior volume, My Dinner with Ender (er, Xenocide) against the wall with great force, and gave up.

    Most often, Christian allegory (let alone Mormon allegory) flies past me, FWIW, because it’s just something I came late to studying. As a young lad, I even got all the way to volume seven (final volume) of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia thing before suddenly realising the whole damned thing was a tiresome tract for Lewis’s weird mutant form of Christianity. In retrospect, Lewis hadn’t exactly been subtle, but The Last Battle veritably grabs the reader by the throat and yells the message — and finally my 11-year-old heathen self said ‘Oh, so this is like Jack Chick except without the cartoons? And Aslan equates to the carpenter guy? Got it.’

    Anyway, when I’ve run into Card at fannish events, I’ve shied away from saying hullo, because I fear I’d not be able to curb my sense of humour, which would have me thanking him, Family Research Council, and the Mormon Church for pumping vast riches (an estimated $30M+) into the faltering 2008 California economy to carpetbag-purchase Proposition 8 (junked three years later in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and firmly repudiated by the voters). I’ve been clear what I thoulght about that, but there’s no real point in taunting.

  34. @bill: Like most countries with anti-discrimination laws, the Republic of Ireland specifies applicable scope: The parts of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 concerning discrimination on grounds of race ban it in the context of sundry aspects of employment. Those of Equal Status Acts (ESA) 2000-2004 concerning discrimination on grounds of race ban it in the context of goods sales, provision of commercial services, accomodations, eduction. The Republic also recognises the EU’s European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), but with the Irish Constitution holding primacy over ECHR in the event of conflict (and the same applies for other, similar international treaties).

    Not what you were looking for, methinks.

  35. Really liked the original Ender trilogy, but even then there were signs of him starting to milk the series. Only other book of his I’ve enjoyed was The Worthing Saga, a collection of updated early shorts.

    The increasingly obvious asshattery just made me stop looking.

    Edit: I’m having terrible deja vu about this whole thread…

  36. I liked a lot of Card books and probably will read an Alvin sequel if one comes along but he does have a tendency to have plots than justify horrible things. “Hart’s Hope” has a hero struggling to defeat the evil rape-victim; Ender kills a child in a calculated manner in the first chapter (and yet I’ve talked to people who have completely forgotten that aspect of the plot).

  37. @Contrarius: (And yes, I liked the Alvin Maker books, even though they were pretty blatantly Mormon proselytizing.) They seemed much more subtle than the XYZZY of Earth pentalogy — not that I’m a great measure of subtle.

    Card in person, when he wasn’t on one of his hobby horses, at least used to be a decent sort. (The last time I was close enough to hear about was ~15 years ago, so I can’t comment on more-recent behavior.) And I’ve read singer/songwriter Janis Ian’s comment that ~[he’s never been less than courteous around her]. (Context: Ian and her long-term companion got married around Torcon 3, because the US was still being a prat about gay marriage.) His writing, OTOH…

  38. @Camestros — Yes, “Hamlet’s Father” is really beyond the pale … it’s almost as if Card said, “Well, everybody says I’m homophobic anyway, so I’ll show them!”

    @Lis — Indeed, “The Originist” is remarkable, and should have got a Hugo. That story shows him as a “writer”.

  39. @Chip —

    They seemed much more subtle than the XYZZY of Earth pentalogy — not that I’m a great measure of subtle.

    I only read one or two of those. I do remember that series had one of the gay characters who had to go straight “for the good of humanity”, though.

    Card in person, when he wasn’t on one of his hobby horses, at least used to be a decent sort.

    He wrote many great essays and reviews and such back in the day. He also wrote some incredibly offensive and disingenuous op-eds more recently.

    @Rich —

    @Camestros — Yes, “Hamlet’s Father” is really beyond the pale … it’s almost as if Card said, “Well, everybody says I’m homophobic anyway, so I’ll show them!”

    In the interest of honest reportage, I gotta say that I went back and dug out my 7-year-old review of that book after I posted my comment above — and I had forgotten that the book was less blatantly homophobic than I had remembered. I did think it was rather stupid, but some of what I wrote above doesn’t match with what I wrote in my old review.

    If anyone’s interested, I put it on Goodreads, here. It’s very rough and I didn’t bother to rewrite it, but curious folks might find it informative.

  40. Andrew,

    Ender kills a child in a calculated manner in the first chapter (and yet I’ve talked to people who have completely forgotten that aspect of the plot).

    I will admit that it has been decades since I read Ender’s Game, but my memory was that Ender intended to hurt the other child severely in order to prevent future bullying, not kill him. So while he was calculated about it, “I’m going to hurt this person” is not exactly the same as “I’m going to kill this person.”

  41. Nancy Sauer: I will admit that it has been decades since I read Ender’s Game, but my memory was that Ender intended to hurt the other child severely in order to prevent future bullying, not kill him. So while he was calculated about it, “I’m going to hurt this person” is not exactly the same as “I’m going to kill this person.”

    Ender actually kills two different children in the course of the book. In both cases, they were bullying him, and he made the choice to beat them so severely that it would deter them from ever bothering him again.

    Both children died. In both cases, the adults hid the deaths from him, so that he never had to wrestle psychologically with the implications of what he had done. I found this horrifying, especially since it was portrayed as “ya do what ya gotta do”, and none of the men I have seen and heard raving about how the book was so fantastic and they felt that it accurately captured their childhoods (as the unappreciated geniuses they were, in their minds) has ever mentioned how problematic that aspect of the book is.

  42. @Rick Moen
    That sort of information was exactly what I was curious about.
    Based on what you said, if Ireland sees Worldcon as either a commercial service or a public accommodation, then a panel that excludes on the basis of race is probably not legal. (and that doesn’t mean that a white guy trying to attend isn’t being rude and/or trollish).

  43. @bill: You’re welcome to look up the particulars of the statutes, but based on my brief readings, the Worldcon seemed in no way within the cited categories. (I’m most familiar with US and UK law, have scant acquaintance with Irish law, and am just someone with a longtime interest in legal matters, not an attorney, and definitely not your attorney.)

    By the way, you possibly misread my term ‘accomodations’ as ‘a public accommodation’; not sure. Very different things.

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