Pixel Scroll 8/30/18 I, For One, Welcome My New Cybernetic Pixel Scroll Wrangler

(1) THE (AMERICAN) GODS THEMSELVES. Neil Gaiman pointed to Leslie S. Klinger’s announcement of a planned reference work about “American Gods”.

I’m thrilled to announce that next Fall, William Morrow will publish Annotated American Gods, with my notes based in significant part on Neil’s manuscripts, journals, and research material as well as many other sources, including conversations with Neil and answers to the questions of “Who are all these unidentified gods anyway?”. I believe that this will be a large-trim edition, with the notes on each page in the margins, based on the 10th Anniversary edition text. Among other things, the notes will highlight all of the significant textual changes that were made for that edition. There will be black-and-white images of various people, places, and maybe even gods!

(2) ATTRACTIVE IDEA. You might say the Worldcon’s YA award gets some love from the Word of the Day:

(3) TREK FEATURES IN PRE-EMMY ANNOUNCEMENT. Deadline hails fans with some award news: “‘Star Trek’ Beams Up TV Academy’s 2018 Governors Award”

“Bridge to engineering — what’s that, Scotty?” “Ach, it’s the Governors Award, Captain — comin’ right at us!” “Mister Spock?!” “It seems that Star Trek has been selected to receive that honor from the TV Academy next month, Captain.”

The award to Star Trek recognizes “the visionary science-fiction television franchise and its legacy of boldly propelling science, society and culture where no one has gone before,” as the Academy put it. The honor will be beamed up September 8 during Night 1 of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

(4) POETRY CONTEST DEADLINE. 40th Anniversary Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association Speculative Poetry Contest deadline is August 31. Acclaimed Irish poet John W. Sexton is this year’s judge and esteemed Texas poet Holly Lyn Walrath is Chair. You do not have to be a SFPA member to enter poems. Rules at the link.

(5) MORE TO CTHULHU THAN MEETS THE EYE. With HPL’s 128th birthday this month, Bryan Thao Worra takes on the question “How Can Writers of Color Reconcile H. P. Lovecraft’s Influence with His Racist Legacy?” at Twin Cities Geeks.

…When I would read a story like The Shadow over Innsmouth, it felt more relevant to our journey than most of the refugee narratives on the market. Someone arrives in town to discover peculiar folks are nice at first, then turn into monstrous horrors who have bizarre traditions they want the protagonist to partake in? That’s an oversimplification, certainly, but the seeds are there to be sown. It can be sensitive to have a conversation on the real politics that ignited the Laotian Secret War, but a conversation on an alien war between Great Old Ones and Elder Things, with poor humanity caught between mindless horrors duking it out? There’s a tale that could be told, although not without its complications. Are the Great Old Ones NATO or the Warsaw Pact to Lovecraft’s Elder Things and Elder Gods? Lovecraft’s Fungi from Yuggoth appear in The Whisperer in Darkness; there, the reader learns these creatures take the brains of their victims to their distant planet in shiny metal cylinders. Simple science-fiction horror or an interesting metaphor for the cultural brain drain of a country as refugees board the metal cylinders of American planes to escape to safety?

…If I encouraged my community to read only safe, respectable literature touching on Laos, we’d find our people depicted typically as the faceless, coolies, or the enemy. In the works of writers like H. P. Lovecraft, and others, I felt we could at least start to flip the script and assert our true authentic voice from an unexpected direction. When I began writing in earnest, I had a desire to avoid many of the colonial, imperialist, and feudal trappings that disempower us. I saw science fiction, fantasy, and horror as a way to discuss our journeys and to empower ourselves, even as there can be no doubt these genres are filled with any number of paranoid and small-minded figures who may know how to put a sentence together but not necessarily an inclusive core. But like any zone of literature, one works at it.

(6) MORE ON JOHN WARD. Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) board member Jeff Tidball addresses the question “It Is Wise for GAMA to Seek a New Executive Director”. As Mark Hepworth noted in comments, Tidball very carefully avoids saying why Ward was not kept on. He does say that Ward was appointed ten years ago in very different circumstances:

The GAMA board of directors announced on Friday that it is not renewing the employment agreement of its Executive Director, John Ward. (Read a copy of the press release hosted on this site.) A fair number of members want to know why, and that’s great, because it indicates that GAMA’s members are interested in the governance and management of their trade organization.

The board’s decision arose in a closed meeting of the board, so the details and voting record of individual board members are confidential. The board’s consensus in recent discussion has been that the decisions made by the body are the decisions of the entire body, and so it would be inappropriate to publish a list reciting the votes of each member.

(Side note: This is based on very recent dialogue, the ultimate resolution of which is still pending. The question arose in the first place when a previous board decision led to a board member’s business being threatened. So, if you’ve seen or been part of board meetings in the past where detailed notes and vote-tallies were circulated, that’s why what I’m reporting here may be different from your experience.)

I wasn’t on the GAMA board ten years ago when John Ward was hired as its Executive Director. Many people, some of whom were intimately involved in the hiring process, some of whom were on the board at the time, many of whom were acquainted with the state of GAMA at that time, have assured me that John Ward was the best candidate for the position of ED when GAMA faced existential crises of finances and responsible organization. I believe them.

It’s been suggested that because John was the right person for that job, ten years ago, he must therefore still be the right person for the current job. There’s a logical disconnect there. The right person to turn a company around is not necessarily the right person to envision its future. The right person to fight a war is not necessarily the right person to rebuild the landscape. And so on. The skill sets are different.

Circumstances change, and GAMA’s have changed. The change is largely thanks to John Ward. The board gives him credit for what he’s done and applauds what he’s accomplished. So make no mistake: I thank John Ward for the hard work he’s done for GAMA. At the same time, I believe that a new voice and skill set would be better to lead GAMA for the next ten years.

(7) ALTERNATE NATURAL HISTORY. Ursula Vernon did a bunch of these today. Not in a single thread, so you’ll need to seek them out. Here is the premise and two lovely examples:

(8) BOUNCED OFF THESE BOOKS. Liz Lutgendorff finds most of the books that topped NPR’s poll “shockingly offensive” — “I read the 100 “best” fantasy and sci-fi novels – and they were shockingly offensive”. (The poll was a product of 5,000 nominators and 60,000 voters.) Lutgendorff used this test to help evaluate the list:

The test had three simple questions:

1: Does it have at least two female characters?

2: Is one of them a main character?

3: Do they have an interesting profession/level of skill like male characters?

It was staggering how many didn’t pass. Some failed on point 1….

Many failed on my second criteria, like Out of the Silent Planet or Rendezvous with Rama.

C S Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet was one of the oldest books on the list, aside from Jules Verne. It’s an early attempt at explaining space flight and encountering an alien race. Most of the plot revolves around the main character, Ransom, trying to understand the aliens before managing to escape back to earth.The most entertaining aspect of the book is the ludicrous physics. There is one woman in the story, who Ransom exchanges about three sentences with before she wanders off. Perhaps you can forgive that on age, the book being from 1938.

The same can’t be said for Rendezvous with Rama, which was written in 1973. It was critically acclaimed and won many of the main science fiction prizes such as the Nebula Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award, the Hugo Award and Locus Award. The story centres around a group of space explorers who have to investigate a mysterious spacecraft that enters the solar system.

While there are more women, almost all are subordinate to the main male lead. There is one female authority figure who is on the Council of Rama (the organisation directing the efforts of investigation), but she doesn’t play a significant role. I also got distracted by the fact that, inexplicably, the male lead sleeps with almost all the women mentioned in the book.

Finally, most would fail on the third part of the test because the women characters were all mothers, nurses or love interests. They were passive characters with little agency or character development, like the women in A Canticle for Leibowitz and Magician. They were scenery, adding a tiny bit of texture to mainly male dominated world….

(9) NELSON OBIT. An opportunity here to take note of her fascinating career — “Miriam Nelson, 98, Golden Age Dancer and Choreographer, Dies” in the New York Times – even if Jerry Lewis provides the unlikely genre connection:

Miriam Nelson, whose seven-decade career as a choreographer and dancer spanned the golden ages of Broadway, Hollywood and television, died on Aug. 12 at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 98.

Much of Ms. Nelson’s movie work was for nonmusicals. She choreographed the madcap party scene at Holly Golightly’s apartment in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), and also appeared in it as the glamorous party guest in gold brocade and pearls who argues with the man wearing a fake eye patch.

Behind the camera, Ms. Nelson taught … Jerry Lewis to hoof it like a space alien in “A Visit to a Small Planet” (1960) and the whole cast of “Cat Ballou” (1965) — led by Jane Fonda, who she said was a balletically trained natural — to execute Old West dances for the hoedown scene.

(10) THE ROADS MUST SCROLL. Today’s trivia –

Moving sidewalks may have been synonymous with airports since the mid-20th century but the technology was known even earlier. A “moving pavement” transported people between exhibits during the Paris Expo in 1900 and science fiction novelist H.G. Wells even mentioned them in his 1899 tale “A Story of the Days to Come.”

Sources: USA TodayA short history of airport moving walkways “ (2016) and QIMoving Walkways”)

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 31, 1797 — Mary Shelley. Author of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818) considered by many to be very first genre novel. Though not appreciated for it until rather recently, she was a rather excellent writer of biographies of notable European men and women.
  • Born August 30 — R. Crumb, 76. Ok, this is a weird associational connection. Back in 1966, The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick was illustrated by R. Crumb in Weirdo #17. Crumb days text is by Dick. It’s really, really weird. You can find it here.
  • Born August 30, 1955 – Judith Tarr, 63. Perhaps best known for her Avaryan Chronicles series, and myriad other fantasy works. She breeds Lipizzan horses at Dancing Horse Farm, her home in Vail, Arizona. Need I note horses figure prominently in her stories?

(12) WORKING FOR LEX. Here’s one of the DC Crossovers that have been discussed in Scrolls — Lex Luthor Porky Pig Special #1 variant,. Became available August 29, according to Graham Crackers Comic Books.

Facing financial and personal ruin, a desperate Porky Pig applies for and gets and entry-level position with LexCorp. Grateful to his new benefactor, Porky becomes Luthor’s most loyal employee and defender. But when a major scandal breaks in the news and Lex is called before a Congressional Committee, guess who is about to be offered up as the sacrificial pig?

(13) ESA ASTRONAUT INTERVIEW. Newsweek interviews European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti about her time after her stay on the ISS and her current role on the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway project (“Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti: NASA Lunar Gateway Is ‘Natural Next Step in Exploration’”).

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is [… the] first Italian woman in space […] the former fighter pilot spent almost 200 days on the International Space Station (ISS) from 2014 to 2015—a record spaceflight for an ESA astronaut.

As well as investigating how fruit flies, flatworms and even human cells behave in space, Cristoforetti gained fame for brewing the first espresso on the ISS….

Q:           What is your role with the Gateway?

A:           I’m a crew representative for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway project. It’s a space station that will be built around the moon in the early 2020s. For human spaceflight, you always want astronauts involved so that they can give a little bit of perspective to the future crew members, users and operators. I’m just starting that, I’m just getting myself into the topic.

(14) INNERSPACE. The Psychedelic Film and Music Festival debuts October 1-7 in New York, and will explore “the medicinal and therapeutic use of psychedelics and investigate the existence of inner worlds through trance music and science fiction, horror, surrealism, fantasy and virtual reality film.”

Simon Boswell will be there —

Renowned film composer and noted psychedelic Simon Boswell will headline a night of music on October 3 at Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side for a special concert at The Inaugural Psychedelic Film and Music Festival. Performing with his musical group The AND, Boswell will play pieces from his illustrious film composition career in rock, electronica, gothic horror and futuristic styles.

Mr. Boswell is notable for integrating electronic elements with orchestral instruments to create vibrant and atmospheric soundtracks for widely praised cyberpunk, horror and science fiction films including Santa Sangre (1989), Hardware (1990), Dust Devil (1992), Shallow Grave (1994), Hackers (1995) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Television Music for the BBC series The Lakes (1997) and in recent years has composed for several film projects and toured worldwide with The AND, performing live music against video backdrops of remixed content from his impressive film resume.

Tickets available on Ticketfly: https://ticketf.ly/2nyeb1o

(15) IN VINE VERITAS. Someone reading today needs this book – just not sure who it is. Altus Press announces plans for “Tarzan, Conqueror of Mars”. (No indication there is any connection with the series of similarly-themed action figures from days gone by.)

In 2014, Altus launched The Wild Adventures of Tarzan, with Tarzan: Return to Pal-ul-don. Two years later came the monumental King Kong versus Tarzan, a dream project long thought unachievable.

Now, in association with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Altus Books, the Wild Adventures announces its most breathtaking project to date.

Tarzan, Conqueror of Mars!

Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his amazing creations have long dreamed of reading a novel in which the Lord of the Jungle visits the Red Planet and encounters John Carter.

In Tarzan, Conqueror of Mars, this finally happens!

When a witch doctor’s sorcery hurls the ape-man’s soul out of his magnificent body, Tarzan discovers himself on a weird, treeless landscape, a dying planet inhabited by creatures unknown to him. Marooned on Mars, Tarzan must learn to survive in an unfamiliar environment. With no hope of rescue, the ape-man begins the arduous journey that takes him from being a friendless stranger on an alien world to his rise as a force to be reckoned with. For on Barsoom—as Martians style their home planet—there exists apes. Great apes of a type not found upon Earth. Hairless giants resembling gorillas, but possessing two sets of arms. Not to mention ferocious lion-like monsters known as banths as well as the elephantine zitidars.  Tarzan will go up against these fearsome creatures, and so begins the perilous march that elevates him from naked and unarmed castaway to the undisputed Ape-lord of Barsoom!

Written by genre giant Will Murray, TarzanConqueror of Mars ultimately brings the famed Lord of the Jungle into open conflict with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ other great hero, John Carter, Warlord of Mars. In the end, which one will be victorious?

(16) DRIZZT IS BACK. R.A. Salvatore’s Timeless, on-sale September 4, marks the return of Drizzt Do’Urden, the legendary dark elf fighter that’s been a mainstay of fantasy books and the successful Forgotten Realms RPG games for over 30 years.

Not only will readers get more of the swashbuckling, sword-and-sorcery action Salvatore is known for; they’ll also get to know more of the characters who dwell in the Forgotten Realms.

Salvatore is unique, because he was one of the originators of modern Epic Fantasy—but he has continued to evolve, and to take on new fans. With TIMELESS, a master of Epic Fantasy is poised to make a huge splash in a beloved genre.

(17) SEND FOR THE MUPPET CORONER. According to Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers, “‘The Happytime Murders’ Review: Puppet Raunchfest Is Dead on Arrival”.

A few critics are calling it the worst movie of the year. Unfair! The Happytime Murders, the R-rated look at a serial killer running wild in a puppet-populated L.A., has what it takes to be a contender for worst of the decade. Directed by Brian Henson (son of the late, great Sesame Street and Muppets icon Jim Henson) and starring a painfully stranded Melissa McCarthy, this toxic botch job deserves an early death by box office….

(18) EIGHTIES UNERASED. James Davis Nicoll continues his Tor.com series with “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1980s, Part II”.

Let us journey onward, this time to women who first published speculative fiction in the 1980s whose surnames begin with B….

For example:

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff cannot be the sole Bahá’í author/musician active in speculative fiction, but she is the only one I know. Her body of work is small enough—eight books or so—that one could read the entire thing in a week or two. Those who might want just a taste could try The Meri, in which a young woman with great magical potential struggles against a society profoundly suspicious of magic. Alternatively, you could explore her shorter work in the collection Bimbo on the Cover.

(19) EPIC NERD CAMP. Karen Heller’s Washington Post article “‘Growing up, we were the weird ones’: The wizarding, mermaiding, cosplaying haven of Epic Nerd Camp” profiles Epic Nerd Camp,  a summer camp in Starrucca, Pennsylvania where “men in kilts and women withhair stained with all the colors of Disney” can eat bad summer camp food, fight off bugs, and spend their days engaging in LARPing, cosplay, “wandmaking, sword fighting, boffer games, Quidditch, waizarding, chainmaille, escape rooms and FX makeup.”

Heller credits Dr. Seuss with originating the word “nerd” —

Nerds have been with us forever, but the term seems to have been coined by Dr. Seuss, circa 1950. (From “If I Ran the Zoo”: And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo/And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep, and a Proo,/A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too.) The word gained further popularity on TV’s “Happy Days,” where the Fonz applied it to almost any young person who was not the Fonz. Around the same time, geek — once the name for carnival performers who bit the heads off live chickens — came into its modern interpretation, referring to intense enthusiasts.

(20) THE WALK NESS MONSTER. A sauropod stepped in something, once upon a time: “170-million-year-old dinosaur footprint found in Scotland”.

An extremely rare 170-million-year-old dinosaur footprint has been found in Scotland. Paleontologists, however, are keeping its precise location secret until they can complete their research.

The footprint was discovered earlier this year by Neil Clark, curator of paleontology at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum. Clark told Fox News that he had just given a talk in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands and decided to “visit the Jurassic rocks” in the area.

“After about a half hour looking, I spotted the footprint and was able to immediately recognize it as the footprint of a sauropod dinosaur,” he told Fox News. “I had to do a double take on the footprint as I couldn’t believe that such an obvious footprint had not been seen previously, considering the number of researchers who visit the coast each year.”

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

84 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/30/18 I, For One, Welcome My New Cybernetic Pixel Scroll Wrangler

  1. Without checking, I think the commander in Rendezvous with Rama is called William Tsien Norton, the two named female crewmembers are Laura Ernst and Ruby Barnes, the gay couple have the surnames Calvert and Mercer, and the other crewmember I can remember is Jimmy Pak.

  2. @Bruce Arthurs: I’m so glad your wife came through the surgery okay!!!

    @Darrent Garrison: Thanks, I’m not sure I’d heard of “Theodore Rex” before. Ooh, and a Whoopi Goldberg movie! 🙂

    @C.A.Collins: Re. A Study in Honor, there seem to be plenty of Sherlock Holmes homages out there these days, though probably I’ve just noticed a few and gotten the impression there are more than there really are. Anyway, it’s clearly a draw for some, but it makes me uninterested in a book or story. No doubt I’m missing some good stuff as a result, and I have plenty to read anyway. But hearing a book or TV show is a take on Holmes & Watson just makes me skip it completely. My rambling point being, I agree (despite not having read the book) – file off the serial numbers completely!

  3. And I wanted to add that for Feist The Riftwar Saga is the wrong book, the Kelwansaga is a)better and b) has a female protagonist.
    For Hoob other stories in the world have a female maincharacter (even if there is sometimes used to much rape in her works)
    Old Man’s War is perhaps also the false Scalzi

    Other works that are clasic and imho, had a good chance to be on the list:
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Dune, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World(I would call the last 3 scifi-Literatur), Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?(or somethink else from Dick), 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Martian Chronicles, The Time Machine, The War Of The Worlds, The Left Hand Of Darkness and one Verne and Heinlein should be on the list.

    Works I am personally happy to see on the list not mentioned:
    American Gods, The Princess Bride, The Kingkiller Chronicles(the most problematic of those), Stardust, The Road, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

  4. @Lis Carey: I skimmed the article and got the impression she thought SFF was stupid (e.g., making fun of character names or worldbuilding), which makes me wonder why take on this task. Her points may remain, but she needlessly distracts from them by trying so hard to make fun of the books for inane reasons. It didn’t help that she referred to it as a “best” list when it’s just the results of a poll of people who may or may not have read any SFF in the past X years (pick your favorite value for X).

    @Msb & @JJ: It’s unsurprising that it’s a nostalgic list, given it was a general poll, not an actual curated “best” list. Shoot, many voters in the poll may not have read much SFF past (to pick a year at random) 1985. 😛

  5. Andrew Porter: I hate these retro-opinions from today’s perspective. I bet D-Day’s action on the beaches of Normandy had very few women fighting.

    I’m sure that you’re well aware that an actual war battle, and literature from decades ago which is still being touted as exemplary today, are two very different things, and that your comparison is nonsensical.

    I understand that it’s not enjoyable for you to have pointed out the flaws in the works that you’ve enjoyed for decades. I know that it grieves me to recognize how flawed are some of the works I enjoyed when I was young.

    Consider how unenjoyable it is for people now to be told that works which are rife with sexism, misogyny, racism, and homophobia should be considered the “100 Best”.

  6. Cassy B. on August 31, 2018 at 10:47 am said:

    Ky, thanks much for “Howard Was A Dingus”!

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  7. Bruce: Glad to hear that your wife came out of surgery ok. Here’s to a swift recovery

  8. @Bruce Arthurs
    I’m glad to hear that Hilde has handled the surgery well. I hope she gets better soon.

    @StefanB.
    I like the Outlander books quite a bit, but they’re not unproblematic. First of all, there is a lot of rape and sexual violence, though men are as likely to be targeted as women and indeed the most infamous rape scene involves a male victim.

    And while the Outlander novels feature gay characters, particularly the first book had unpleasant undertones of “gay equals evil” due the main villain being a gay man. Though Gabaldon introduced a positive and likable gay character in Lord John Gray later in the series and even gave him his own spin-off historical mystery series.

  9. Just checking — this older tablet seems to have my name and email address still filled in.

    ETA : Yep. Once. Now it isn’t.

  10. @Darren Garrison: Sorry for the typo above (“Darrent”…my fingers really want to type a “t” after an “n”…I used to type “cront” instead of “cron,” which confused a colleague who wasn’t very Unix-savvy).

    Ahem. Anyway, thanks for the additional link. Oh poor Whoopi. 😉

  11. Re: Holmes & Watson retellings – Given how many of these we’ve had in popular media in recent years, clearly there’s a fairly high level of general interest in updated versions of this pair with no need to “file the serial numbers off.” There has been a repeated point floating around twitter recently that there’s a tendency to call a trope/motif/retelling “tired” just around the time that it shifts from being re-told with default identities to when it begins to be retold with marginalized identities. Did we need Cumberbatch reiterating yet one more straight white male Sherlock Holmes, simply shifted to the present day? Should they have filed off his serial numbers? Did people feel a need to call that retelling out on the basis of unoriginality?

    I’m very much enjoying A Study in Honor and find the re-imaginings of the characters and setting to add fresh light on the characters.

  12. Heather Rose Jones: Re: Holmes & Watson retellings – Given how many of these we’ve had in popular media in recent years, clearly there’s a fairly high level of general interest in updated versions of this pair with no need to “file the serial numbers off.”

    I find complaints about reimaginings of popular literary series such as Sherlock Holmes bizarre, since I have yet to see anyone (apart from myself, as someone who does not care for the originals) complaining that Lovecraft reimaginings are tired.

    I rather enjoy the various reimaginings of old, venerated properties. My complaint is that most of them tend to be romance-heavy, rather than spec-fic-heavy, since my interest lies in the latter rather than in the former.

  13. Thanks for all the good wishes, folks. Having the surgery over lifts one heck of a weight from over Hilde’s and my head. (She was stoic about the risks; I was terrified.)

  14. @Heather Rose Jones: I haven’t been interested in SWM Holmes & Watson stuff, either. For me (don’t know about anyone else), it’s unrelated to SWM or marginalized identities; it’s probably more related to me not having read the source and not being a mystery reader.

    Well, I liked “Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother” starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, & Marty Feldman, decades ago, but that was a spoof/parody, really. 😉

    @JJ: I doubt you’re the only one who’s tired of Lovecraft reimaginings. Of course, being tired of either one [ETA: I mean Holmes or Lovecraftian stuff] doesn’t have to have anything to do with being tired of the other, or some other retelling/reimagining. Someone could be interested or not interested because of familiarity or ignorance of the source, for example. All kinds of reasons.

    Re. Lovecraft, I have yet to read the source, but I have enjoyed some board and card games loosely derived from it, e.g., “Arkham Horror.” I loved LaValle’s “The Ballad of Black Tom” a few years ago and also liked Daryl Gregory’s Harrison Squared and We Are All Completely Fine a lot. But I read Gregory’s stuff because he’s an awesome writer of weird stuff – i.e., I was a fan of him – not because those works were Lovecraftian (more like in spite of?). Anyway I’m more open to Lovecraft-derived stuff thanks to LaValle, Gregory, and board and card games, so, e.g., Ruthanna Emrys’s first novel’s on my list to try.

    Sorry to ramble; y’all are making me think about why I may be drawn to or disinterested in some of this stuff.

  15. For me, it’s fairy tale retellings that I’m tired of. Most of them are not nearly as new or revolutionary as they think they are, since quite often the revolutionary new idea has been done before and better in a 40-year-old Czech children’s movie.

    I don’t mind the Holmes and Watson retellings or the Lovecraft retellings, as long as they bring something new to the table. There also was a mini-wave of Narnia retellings a few years ago, but that seems to have petered out thankfully.

  16. @Cora Buhlert: Oh yeah, fairy tale retellings usually make me keep moving. But then, I really enjoyed Novik’s Uprooted, which I believe was based on something. But I wasn’t familiar with the source material and it was novel-length; ISTM the short stories I’ve read are less likely to hold my interest.

    I suppose in all these things (Holmes, Lovecraft, fairy tales, etc.), I should just take each one as it comes and give it a chance. but hey, I need to filter somehow! 😛

    Then there’s fanfic, which is in the same vein, no? But I haven’t been interested in fanfic since my teen/college years reading “Darkover” Fanzines.

    Exceptions exist to anything I say. 😉

  17. James Davis Nicoll: Sure! Never say no, is my motto!

    Spreadsheet sent. I included a list of all the URLs I found, if you want to use it to create a “Twenty Core SFF Books” tag for those posts so that they can be easily found.

  18. I haven’t read A Study in Honor, but for those on the pro-Holmes/Watson side I can say the The Tea Master and The Detective by Aliette de Bodard is worth your time.

  19. For me, it’s fairy tale retellings that I’m tired of. Most of them are not nearly as new or revolutionary as they think they are, since quite often the revolutionary new idea has been done before and better in a 40-year-old Czech children’s movie.

    I agree 100%
    I dont know, which movie you are talking about, but with czech and fairy tale, I think of the Arabela-tv-series (and later Rumburak).

  20. I haven’t read A Study In Honor. I’ll have to check it out, as I love retellings/reconfigurations of Holmes/Watson. I’ve read so many that it makes it hard to recall specific titles on occasion. I read a short piece with Holmes and Watson on the Titanic helping Jacques Futrelle solve an on-board murder before the ship sinks!

    I’m not a Lovecraft fan (Clark Ashton Smith was a better writer in my view) but HPL’s essay Cats and Dogs is enjoyable. The mythos I can take or leave.

  21. @Peer
    I was actually thinking of Arabela and Rumburak, but also of Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella and others along those lines.

    In fact, Arabela already did pretty much everything those modern day fairy tale retellings did and did it better 40 years ago.

  22. I like Lovecraft’s mythos more than I do his actual stories, with a few exceptions. As for Holmes, I think my favorite twist on that canon is Fred Saberhagen’s The Holmes-Dracula File, in which we discover that aside from a bit of grooming, Vlad and Sherlock could be twins. (The author notes that the description of both characters in the seminal works is strikingly similar; he capitalized on but did not invent it, although he invented an in-universe explanation. And yes, at one point in the story the two men switch roles.)

    I’m a fan of twisted perspectives and new takes in general, though. I may see the destination coming from a mile off, but what interests me more is the journey.

  23. When people talk about re-tellings of old tales being done to death, I think about all the many many re-tellings of the Arthurian cycle, or of the Iliad or of any number of other beloved stories that keep being reworked and re-interpreted. The question isn’t “has this story been told before” but rather, “given that there is an existing readership who are familiar with this story-structure, how can I use that lens to examine this other thing over here?” I’ve recently written a fairy tale reworking. Did it say anything new or startlingly different? Probably not. But it provided a lens that I could use to illuminate other themes and motifs specifically because it brings along certain expectations and rhythms that I can set up for the readers. Sometimes it’s that, although a story has been told over and over already, it’s never been told for this set of people or by that set of people. And that can be important. I can matter deeply that a set of readers or writers who have never had a chance to place themselves within that popular and oft-used story-structure now has a chance to join the others who have had that chance. (Many many times.)

  24. @Heather Rose Jones, I agree. I have found many fairy tale reimaginings wonderfully refreshing. Oor Wombat has written several that I loved, for instance. I’ll be interested to read yours.

  25. @ JJ & James Davis Nicoll
    Many thanks for a prospective new list. I have read deeply in my areas of interest, but not as broadly as I would like.

  26. We do not use the name fairytale in Sweden, we call them Saga’s. A Saga is more a style of book, like a fantasy book with a certain voice to it.

    I’ve found that I’m happy to read new Saga’s, but bot always retelling of old ones. I did have that taste when I was younger, but lost it somewhere.I have nothing against putting an old story in a totally new context with all characters renamed and perhaps some new added, but will skip out if keeping to much of the old.

    TL;DR: I am not interested in reading The Count of Monte-Cristo from a different perspective, but am still happy with books like Bester’s The Stars My Destination.

  27. To expand a bit about fairy tale retellings, a part of the problem I have with them is that they often are based on the sanitised Disney versions, which are retellings in themselves, i.e. we get a retelling of a retelling. So many fairy tale retellings are engaging not with the fairy tale itself, but with a specific retelling. It’s as if all the Lovecraft retellers were yelling not at Lovecraft himself, but at The Ballad of Black Tom or Winter Tide.

    With some fairy tale retellings, there is also a sneering attitude towards the source material, which bothers me. Plus, particularly American writers tend to throw a whole bunch of related, but different classes of stories into the big pot labeled “fairy tales”. In Germany, we distinguish between folk fairy tales, which have no author (the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault were compilers) and art fairy tales, which are new stories written in the style of fairy tales by a known author such as the stories of Hans Christian Andersen or Wilhelm Hauff (and oddly enough, none of the retellers ever tackle Hauff stories). There also are sagas, which are like fairy tales, but contain a kernel of historical truth (The Pied Piper of Hameln is an example), and legends, which are fairy tale like stories about the lives of religious figures and saints.

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