Pixel Scroll 8/7/18 Not First, Nor Fifth, Nor even Frog, Just Little Old Me, PixelDog

(1) SAN JOSE LOCAL CUISINE. The Worldcon 76 Local Guide is now available as an app:

Announcing the Worldcon 76 “Local Guide” app from the Publications & Communications team. We’ve prepared it to help newcomers and visitors to San Jose with detailed information about the stores and restaurants that are nearby the Convention Center, downtown hotels, and the SJC airport. You can view the app on our website at: https://www.worldcon76.org/travel-lodging/local-guide

(2) WHITLEY ROBBED. Dave Chalker reported Eva Whitley’s bad news:

This is an update for family and friends of Eva Whitley. Last night her house was broken into while she was there. She was held at gunpoint and robbed of money and her phone. Physically, she was not harmed. But as you can imagine she is in rough shape emotionally. She’s going to try and rest now after a very difficult evening (wherein the police were not only not helpful but actively abusive) but when she wakes up later, she’s going to need all the support she can get.

David had already started a GoFundMe for her — “Save Mom’s July” – which has seen a new burst of donations since this news came out today. (It originally hit $3,793 of its $1,000 target).

(3) WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO READ? Nerds of a Feather features “6 Books with Martha Wells”.

  1. What upcoming book you are really excited about?I was excited about The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera, which comes out this fall, and I just got to read an ARC of it. The first book, The Tiger’s Daughter, was probably my favorite epic fantasy of last year. It’s an original, rich, fully realized fantasy world, with an epic story told from an unusual angle. The second book goes more into the threat looming over this world, and what the characters are actually fighting. I can’t wait for the next book.

(4) SPIDEY AND COMPANY. “Spider-Man Will Be Joined by Two MCU Veterans in ‘Homecoming’ Sequel” and Inverse tells you who they are.

Iron Man won’t be joining Spidey on his European tour in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, but Spider-Man will be joined by two MCU veterans even if Tony Stark doesn’t survive the end of Avengers 4. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are reportedly going to appear in the Homecoming sequel, due out next summer.

(5) HONEY BADGER BRIGADE LOSES SUIT. Nerd and Tie’s Trae Dorn tracked down the result: “MRA Group “The Honey Badger Brigade” Lose Their Lawsuit Against Calgary Expo, The Mary Sue”.

So it’s been a while since we provided an update on the lawsuit MRA group “The Honey Badger Brigade” filed against the Canadian convention Calgary Expo and US-based blog The Mary Sue back in Fall of 2015, but we finally have a resolution to the story. Last week, on August 1st, the Provincial Civil Court of Alberta ruled in favor of Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue.

To explain how we got here, the short version is that the Honey Badger Brigade had filed suit because Calgary Expo kicked the MRA group out during their 2015 event. Calgary Expo claimed it was because the Honey Badgers misrepresented the artist booth they were occupying and were disruptive to the event. The Mary Sue also ended up getting named in because they wrote about it? I guess? They also hired a disbarred lawyer and crowdfunded tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the case. Literally none of this case made a lick of sense.

And apparently the judge agreed.

(6) DOING INTERVIEWS. At Black Gate, the Uncanny Magazine crew tells how they prepare for and do interviews. “Uncanny Magazine Year 5 Meta-Interview: A Look at How Interviews Come Together”.

Caroline M. Yoachim does print interviews for the magazine, Lynne M. Thomas does the podcast interviews, and now we are introducing Matt Peters and Michi Trota as the video interviewers (and hosts) of Uncanny TV!

When we got the idea to write about interviews, we realized that we could do the post by interviewing each other, and BOOM, the meta-interview was born! …

Lynne: What kinds of interviews have you looked at to help shape your questions for Uncanny’s print interviews?  Are there any approaches or formats to print interviews that you would be interested in trying out to try to change things up?

Caroline: When I started doing interviews for Uncanny, the first thing I did was go back and read several interviews from past issues, to get a feel for what kind of questions to ask and the scope of the interviews. I also often glance at previous interviews from whichever author I’m interviewing, so I can avoid asking questions they’ve answered repeatedly.

As for interesting approaches, I remember there was an interview I did for Shimmer where I answered interview questions jointly with a character from my story. It was a fun way to mix things up a little bit!

Lynne: What is the most bizarre/memorable question you’ve ever asked in an interview? Have there been any bizarre/memorable questions that you’ve been asked when being interviewed?

Caroline: I’ve done relatively few interviews (either as an interviewer or as an interviewee) and while I have asked and answered good questions with memorable answers, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a question that was memorable/bizarre in and of itself. However, if future interviewers of me would like an unusual question to throw into the mix, I recommend: “Have you ever photographed the secret life of gummy bears?”

(7) GEEK SHOPPING. Daniel Dern calls your attention to these ThinkGeek Anniversary Deals

Like this Old Book BackPack (which I’m using to tote magic tricks to local events)

And the Con-Survival Bag of Holding (great for con-going day side pack, I use mine a lot, see lots of others in use)

RD-D2 Coffee press (not on my list, but maybe yours)

(8) RUH-ROH! Ursula Vernon gives a progress report from the garden. The thread starts here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born August 7, 1933 – Jerry Pournelle
  • Born August 7 — Tobin Bell, 76. Myriad genres roles in such productions as Alien Nation, Mann & MachineStargate SG-1, Strange Worlds, The X- Files and voice work in the current Flash series. Oh and played Jigsaw in the long running Saw horror film series.
  • Born August 7 — Wayne Knight, 63. Extensive voice work including The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, HerculesThe Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and the Green Lantern series. Appeared in Jurassic Park and credited as Nerdy. Also in Torchwood: Miracle Day and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • Born August 7 — David Duchovny, 58. X-Files of course, also Space: Above and Beyond and Twin Peaks, the Area 51  video game and The Lone Gunmen series.
  • Born August 7 — Harold Perrineau, 55. Regular cast on the BladeLost and Constantine series, also Z Nation30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
  • Born August 7 — Michael Shannon, 44. General Zod in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Also Fahrenheit 451The Shape of Water and Jonah Hex.
  • Born August 7 — Charlize Theron, 43. Genre roles include Snow White and The Huntsman with a sequel called The Huntsman: Winter’s War, other credits include Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (uncredited but her first role), Æon Flux, Mad Max: Fury Road and Mortica Addams in the latest reboot of The Addams Family.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro needs the public’s help to solve this robotic crime….

(11) WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS. John Scalzi is on to something — thread starts here.

(12) THE EIGHTIES. James Davis Nicoll quantum leaps his series into the next decade: “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1980s, Part I”.

(13) YOUR 1-STAR REVIEW, SIR. Yes, it’s so precious when people need to flag authors about them.

(14) CULTURAL CURRENCY. A criticism about 2140.

Well, I know what X, Y and Z were, but I don’t remember who they were. I take your point.

(15) DRAGON OVERVIEW. Cora Buhlert’s rundown “The 2018 Dragon Award Nominees and the Rise of the Kindle Unlimited Writing Factories” focuses on counting things like the ethnicities and sex of the nominees. She also has Internet Archives links to ballot reactions from Declan Finn and Richard Paolinelli (consisting of a little bit of reaction and a great deal of self-promotion, but what else is an author’s blog for?)

(16) TOP MAGAZINES. The Splintered Mind did its annual ranking – “Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines 2018”. Asimov’s is way out in front of this list of 50 magazines. Here are the criteria:

(1.) Only magazines are included (online or in print), not anthologies or standalones.

(2.) I gave each magazine one point for each story nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Eugie, or World Fantasy Award in the past ten years; one point for each story appearance in any of the Dozois, Horton, Strahan, Clarke, or Adams “Year’s Best” anthologies; and half a point for each story appearing in the short story or novelette category of the annual Locus Recommended list.

(3.) I am not attempting to include the horror / dark fantasy genre, except as it appears incidentally on the list.

(4.) Prose only, not poetry.

(5.) I’m not attempting to correct for frequency of publication or length of table of contents.

(6.) I’m also not correcting for a magazine’s only having published during part of the ten-year period. Reputations of defunct magazines slowly fade, and sometimes they are restarted. Reputations of new magazines take time to build.

(17) SHORT FICTION REVIEWED. Charles Payseur shares “Quick Sips – Uncanny #23 [August stuff]”.

The second half of the special Dinosaur issue of Uncanny Magazine brings even MOAR dinosaurs, with five new stories and three new poems. Two of the poems aren’t really dinosaur-centric, but the issue as a whole offers up a great diversity in styles and ways of incorporating the source material and expanding the shared space of the issue. Here we are treated to more stories of dinosaurs displaced in time, landing on the Oregon Trail, or in a strange fairy tale, or in the middle of a small town. There’s not quite the same focus on communication and understanding as before, though. Instead, these pieces look a bit more at violence, and hunger, and corruption. They don’t flinch away from showing some dinosaurs getting their feed on, as well as getting their freak on. It’s a strange, rather wonderful collection of short SFF, so let’s get to the reviews!

(18) GRAPHIC STORY PICKS. Joe Sherry’s review of his Hugo ballot at Nerds of a Feather goes into overtime: “Reading the Hugos: Graphic Story”

Today we’ll be looking at the six finalists for Graphic Story.  By the time this goes live we’ll be a full week past the close of voting and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed covering as many categories as I have, I’m ready for the reading and voting stage to be done. It’s a lot, even when it’s something I love to do.

Two works on my nominating ballot are here on the final ballot (Bitch Planet and Paper Girls), but the category as a whole is soli and filled with interesting and strong works. Like the novella category, though, Graphic Story is fairly dominated by one publisher: Image Comics. With four of the six slots, Image has a fair lock on the category. As great as Image is and how fantastic the comics, the category will be stronger if a wider variety of publishers are represented in future years (though, three of the works on my nomination ballot were also from Image – so there’s that)

(19) NEW SANDMAN STORIES. ComicsBeat presents a “Sandman Universe Exclusive: How Hopkinson & Stanton plan to break diverse new ground in the Dreaming”. Here’s the introduction to the interview –

From 1989-1996, Neil Gaiman and a group of artistic collaborators including Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and more crafted The Sandman. This 75 issue DC Comics/Vertigo series followed Dream and his primordial siblings, who collectively formed the Endless, through imaginative and transformative stories steeped in classic mythology and boundless imagination. To this day, The Sandman remains one of DC’s most beloved series. And now, eager comics fans will have the opportunity to return to the Dreaming once again with this Wednesday’s release of Sandman Universe #1, a special one-shot that introduces a new line of Sandman stories to the world.

One of these new stories is House of Whispers. Written by notable fantasy and sci-fi author Nalo Hopkinson and drawn by Domo Stanton with colors from John RauchHouse of Whispers follows two sets of characters. The first is the Yoruba goddess Erzulie, whose House of Dahomey is “where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep [in order] to beseech the flirtatious and tragic goddess to grant them their hearts’ desires and counsel them on their futures and fortunes.” The second is a group of four human girls in New Orleans who have stumbled upon a journal “filled with whispers and rumors” that threatens to unleash “Sopona, the loa lord of infectious disease.” Tied together by circumstance, Erzulie, cousin to Sopona, attempts to come to the aid of the humans, but finds herself in a crisis of her own as her House crashes into the Dreaming.

(20) BAT CASTING. From io9 we learn that  “The CW’s Live-Action Batwoman Is Ruby Rose”.

Both Variety and Deadline report that Rose, currently appearing in the giant-shark action movie The Meg, has been tapped to portray Kate Kane in both the upcoming Arrow/Flash/Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow crossover special and the potential Batwoman series being helmed by Caroline Dries that could air in 2019.

Rose, also known for turns in Orange Is the New Black and appearances in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and John Wick: Chapter 2, will first appear in the role later this year. The heroes of the CW’s other DC supershows (sans Black Lightning, off in its own universe) will head to Gotham City for the first time, where they’ll team up with Kate Kane—one of DC Comics’ few lesbian characters—for a new adventure.

(21) CATCH THE WAVE. We’re not talking about water here — “‘Extraordinary’ waves from Jupiter’s moon Ganymede spotted”.

Scientists have observed “extraordinary” waves coming out of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

The electromagnetic waves, also known as “chorus waves,” were spotted using the Galileo Probe spacecraft, which has a mission of surveying Jupiter’s wave environment.

“It’s a really surprising and puzzling observation showing that a moon with a magnetic field can create such a tremendous intensification in the power of waves,” Yuri Shprits, the lead author of the study, told the Independent.

(22) THE LIVING END. Deadpool 2 – How It Should Have Ended. You heard it here fifth.

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

82 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/7/18 Not First, Nor Fifth, Nor even Frog, Just Little Old Me, PixelDog

  1. Rev. Bob says Speaking purely for myself, I hate coming up with names. I’ll give you plot and character for days, but good names are my Whazzizface’s Heel*. I might fall back on modern or historical reference purely because I can’t really have the RKS Insert Name Here open fire on the UBP I’ll Think Of Something. Might be good for a laugh, but not in a serious story.

    I like the approach Banks took in his Culture series where the AIs all took weird names such as All Through With This Niceness And Negotiation Stuff, Sanctioned Parts List and Of Course I Still Love You, the latter being a diplomatic ship.

  2. On ships’ names:
    Someone wrote an actual book about it, sometime before mid-1992 – I saw it that year at Vroman’s – and it got fairly interesting.
    The book did discuss the name “Enterprise”, using it as a good example of transfer-by-capture: the British captured a French ship with the name, and then, later, the US captured the British ship with the name. It’s been around for about 300 years now.

  3. @avery abernethy: As it happens, I’m pretty sure the way Mike Glyer hears about many if not most stories (that then get included in scrolls here) is that a reader sends him a note — i.e., this is a community, and Mike is not a public utility. So, you’ve done that, more or less. Um, yay? (I most often send him items of possible interest in off-forum e-mail. But then, I’m not telling tales with notably poor factual accuracy, in a failed attempt to play dumb moral-equivalency games in public.)

  4. Novella Recommendation: Rogue Protocol (Murderbot #3), Martha Wells

    This one’s really good, folks. I didn’t like Artificial Condition quite as much as All Systems Red, but Rogue Protocol definitely returns to the excellence of the latter. Murderbot is as cranky, anxious and sarcastic as ever, but now it’s found something to care about, and this gives an intriguing, welcome dimension to its character. I can’t wait for the last novella.

  5. @Bonnie McDaniel: Yay! I just got my audiobook last night, but I foolishly started Bujold’s Falling Free a couple of days ago, sooooooo I really just need to wait till I finish that.

    On the plus side, I’m enjoying Falling Free, so I don’t really have any regrets, I suppose. 😉

    – – – – –

    In other reading news, I’m almost 2/3 through S.J. Morden’s One Way, which is very good. It’s sort of like The Martian with a little less science and a chain gang of convicts and an over-the-top weird/evil warden in place of Watney. And a couple of sorta mysteries about what’s going on (and even the whole setup, really).

    ETA: That’s in print, BTW. Next up may be Boffard’s Adrift or I may reach back a bit to read Cawdron’s Retrograde, which from what @JJ says sounds somewhat similar to and a little better than One Way.

  6. @ Greg Hullender

    I don’t think this is a novel vs. short fiction distinction in how the purpose of reviews is viewed. In several different indie publishing communities, the attitude towards book reviews is “reviews should promote the novel; if you don’t have anything nice to say, just keep quiet; negative reviews are a betrayal of the community.” One of the places that attitude seems to come from is marginalized writing communities that felt shut out from mainstream publishing and developed an intensely mutualistic relationship between authors and reader-reviewers because the readers had such a small pool of authors writing what they wanted that they didn’t want to discourage anyone.

  7. The discussion about 14) reminds me of the incongrous naming of ships in The Collapsing Empire. There were other references to 20th century ephemera that also seemed highly unlikely. Those features significantly undermined my experience with that book.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Delay is preferable to error. – Thomas Jefferson

  8. @Magewolf @Rev. Bob
    Reusing ship names is pretty common, both for civilian and military vessels. A local shipping company has a thing for the names Europa, Columbus and Bremen for passenger liners. They’re currently on the third Europa in my lifetime and have had ships of these names in service since the 19th century. If there is more than one vesssel of the same name in service at the same time, they are usually numbered.

    So a 22nd century US space force ship named Yorktown would be feasible, but a United Earth Force vessel wouldn’t be, because they would probably draw names from other and wider sources. Coincidentally, The Expanse, which normally is very good in the naming department, has a UN battleship named Nathan Hale. Never mind that it’s not very likely that the UN would name a battleship after a fairly obscure figure from the American revolution. Naming the ship e.g. Kofi Annan would have made a lot more sense.

    When naming spaceships, it does help to take a look at what ships (not just military vessels, but also freighters, cruiseliners, yachts, etc…) are named in the real world. Because usually, any organisation that owns a number of ships has a pattern for naming them. For example, the German navy names its ships after German states and cities. German coast guard vessels are named after islands. German submarines only have numbers, which is kind of dull. The White Star Line had a thing for names ending in -ic like Titanic, Britannic, Olympic. The Cunard Line liked names ending in -ia (Lusitania, Mauretania, Carpethia). The Hansa Linie shipping company gave its freighters names ending in -fels (Rheinfels, Braunfels, Drachenfels) and -eck (Stahleck, Lahneck, Schwaneck). The FL shipping company liked names starting with a P like Pamir, Passat, Parma, Padua and indeed their ships, which were some of the last tall ships in regular service, were known as the Flying P Liners. The Maersk shipping company names all of its vessels for port cities. The car transporter company Wallenius-Willemsen names all of its ships for operas. The Aga Khan named his yacht after his favourite horse.

    So if you have a spaceship or several to name, try to come up with a pattern, avoid anachronistic names and avoid anything tied to a major disaster (i.e. no Titanic, no Lusitania, no Wilhelm Gustloff, no Pamir, no Andrea Doria, no Estonia, no München), unless you want to make a point.

  9. (14) CULTURAL CURRENCY – If there are still financial markets in 2140, they likely will be using Black-Scholes modelling, remembering Bernanke and Lehman Brothers, and otherwise at least giving lip service to all the crashes that ever happened. It’s been nearly 100 years and there are still traders who can tell you, as if they’d been there, what the 1929 crash looked like. Plus tulips often come up and that was much, much longer ago.

    Also, I got the distinct impression that KSR was taking the common observation that science fiction is set in the future but about today and being both intentional and playful with it.

  10. @cabbage — the bars show on the nearby food map and both the bar map and bar list. And both Haberdasher and Paper Plane are in there, because my husband Andy added most of the bars and they’re among our favorites.
    The bars don’t show on the All Food map for assorted app-development neepery reasons. .

  11. RN naming is frequently based on a theme within a class of ships. Though the theme is often just “starts with letter.” So the new Astute class includes HMS Astute, Audacious, Ambush and Artful with Anson, Agamemnon and Agincourt under construction.

  12. @cabbage: Delighted to hear the recommendation of Paper Plane and Haberdasher as bars, and especially the latter for mixed drinks. As the guy who (with heavy help from Andy Tremblay and from Doug Berry’s diligent work on (the prerelease of) the Local Guide, I felt bad about being completely unqualified to judge cocktails, being a beer/wine and occasional port quaffer almost entirely. But, for whatever it’s worth, File770 people will be gathering immediately after Opening Ceremonies (around 6:30pm) on Thursday the 16th, at

    Forager Tasting Room & Eatery
    420 S 1st Street, s. of W. San Salvador Street
    http://sjforager.com/
    (408) 831-2433

    What’s not been lined up is a Friday Filer meetup. Anyone hate this or have a better idea than this place for dinner?

    7pm on Friday the 17th
    Back A Yard Caribbean Grill
    80 N Market Street, north of W. Santa Clara Street
    http://www.backayard.net/
    (408) 294-8626

    This is about 1/2 km north of McEnery, and serves amazing Jamaican food. Tables are big enough, it’s not too noisy, and it probably won’t be jammed. Friday, it’s open to 9pm. (Restaurants open past 9 are still not the rule in San Jose. Locally, even Mountain View is better for that.)

  13. TIL that I understand references to Ancient Greek battles far better than things from the American revolutionary war. Temporal distance isn’t the only deciding factor in these things, I guess.

  14. @Cora Buhlert: the principles of naming will depend on the breadth of the culture in question. Starship Troopers used names from large-scale actions for major troop carriers, and individual heroes for pickup ships, from throughout history (at least as it would have been taught in 1920’s Missouri — I don’t recall seeing any Asian names); I expect that he would have said there was certainly a Thermopylae carrying Mobile Infantry somewhere in the fleet. This breadth may have been part of his point, along with his giving the hero a nationality that IIRC had supplied nobody higher than messboy to the Navy he knew.

    @Andrew:

    (14) 122 years ago was 1896, so it’s more like Americans being deeply aware now of the meaning of “Free Silver” and “Cross of Gold.”

    A nitpick: those were slogans over political arguments (and losing arguments at that); the actions of Lehman Bros. and Shrub are heavy facts. (@Cora is probably right about Bernanke.) The closest fact I can think of is the Spanish American War — but that, like the Iraq war or the “Great Recession”, seems a bulkier fact than the people responsible for it. (\I/ remember Hearst and his “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” (which a Wikipedia footnote says probably didn’t happen), but that’s partly because I’ve been personally abused by a Hearst branch and partly because Hearst behavior was imitated by Charles Foster Kane.) I suspect Afinogenov is correct about people in 2140 being more conversant with these names (and especially the event details) than plausible, but I’m not willing to read it to find out.

  15. I caught the very end of an episode of ST:TNG recently and there was some mention of the starship USS Merrimack. This is probably a reference to the naval battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack which isn’t exactly obscure, but I don’t know how much attention it gets outside of the US. (There is a USS Monitor according to the Star Trek wiki.)

    The thing is that by the time the battle occurred, it was no longer the Merrimack, but had been turned into the CSS Virginia. I’m told that people who grew up in the south take exception to it being called the Merrimack. I’d like to hope by the time we get to the enlightened future, they might have corrected this historic misnomer.

    Now someone explain why the Lensman super ship is called the Boise. (Other than that’s where E. E. Smith married Jeanne Craig MacDougall.)

  16. @Jack Lint: “Now someone explain why the Lensman super ship is called the Boise.”

    Because that’s where the first interstellar drive was designed, maybe.

    I just assume any references like that – to people or places with no obvious significance – involve events which are in our future but the story’s past. Star Trek does a fair bit of that: a couple of recognizable names, then an unrecognizable one which refers to some 22nd-century something.

  17. Jack Lint: Now someone explain why the Lensman super ship is called the Boise. (Other than that’s where E. E. Smith married Jeanne Craig MacDougall.)

    That’s really the best possible explanation, don’t you think?

    However, I note that the U.S. Navy commissioned a warship named the Boise in 1938. Maybe that was in the news and made it seem like an even better idea?

  18. When writing GURPS Traveller: Ground Forces, I had to design several pieces of military hardware. Some already had names from earlier versions of the game, some I had to name myself.

    For the advanced infantry battledress, I named the three classes Redding, Rearden, and Colom. Those were my main three Drill Sergeants at Infantry OSUT, and I thought they deserved the tribute.

  19. Dang…OGH beat me to it.

    While going down that rabbit hole, I learned that E. E. Smith worked at a local company (Dawn Doughnuts – now Dawn Foods) that is still operating today. Which was interesting for me.

    Regards,
    Dann

    I am the American Dream. I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country. That’s exactly what I’ve done. – Whoopi Goldberg

  20. @Kendall
    I recently finished Morden’s One Way and was a little bored. I didn’t find the MC particularly likable so wasn’t particularly interested in the outcome. And I thought the evil “warden” was over-the-top bullying and mean. I realize now that what I liked about The Martian was that there was humor in it as well as science.

    LOVED Martha’s Rogue Protocol! She does snark so well.

    Currently listening to The (sort of) Dark Mage by Nelson Chereta. Just OK so far but I’m not in the mood for this kind of humor so not sure yet if I’m going to finish.

  21. Ita: I recently finished Morden’s One Way and was a little bored… I realize now that what I liked about The Martian was that there was humor in it as well as science.

    I enjoyed One Way but thought that it really suffered by comparison to Peter Cawdron’s Retrograde. If you haven’t read that yet, I highly recommend it. It’s got great science, plus a mystery and bonus character development, neither of which were part of The Martian (which I also loved).

  22. Cool, looks like I was looking at the All Food map. Thanks Kevin and Rick, for all your hard work on listing places. There are so many great eats downtown that it must have been tough to check them all off!

  23. Bravo, Cassy B! She’s a good dog, she just…

    No, let me start again. She’s a lovable dog, and a damn good thing, too. (She and her partner in crime got one of the gem squash vines today, and they are lucky I got a full meal worth of squash already, or there would be Dire Repercussions.)

  24. @Jack Lint:

    The thing is that by the time the battle occurred, it was no longer the Merrimack, but had been turned into the CSS Virginia. I’m told that people who grew up in the south take exception to it being called the Merrimack. I’d like to hope by the time we get to the enlightened future, they might have corrected this historic misnomer.

    The irritation seems to be variable; Wikipedia’s article about the USS Monitor refers to the CSS Virginia, but another article confirms my recollection that one of the crossings of the James River estuary is the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. ISTM reasonable that Starfleet would choose the clearer name even if they didn’t decide not to accept a regional … renaming.

  25. @Ita & @JJ: I just finished Morden’s One Way, like, minutes ago, and I liked it a lot. It had some problems, including Frank was a bit of an idiot and, as another character said, very incurious – unrealistically so, perhaps. He’d walk to the edge of looking into something thoroughly, then back off. On the other hand, with his background, maybe that made some sense, and they were in a “we’ll tell you nothing and you’ll like it, you’re prisoners” kinda atmosphere.

    Still, I liked the book and am looking forward to more from Morden. [rot13] Yvxr gur frdhry gung’f pbzvat. V nagvpvcngrq gur raqvat, ohg nyfb unq n srj bgure fpranevbf va zvaq; V’z vagrerfgrq va frrvat jurer vg tbrf sebz urer. [/rot13] But this was definitely a grim book, very different from The Martian in tone and characters, despite some other similarities. And Brack was way over the top.

    [ETA: I liked the chapter intro pieces with background on the project, but they bounced around too much, time-wise; I wish he’d just done them in a linear fashion. IMHO it would’ve worked fine and been easier to follow, but maybe there were some bits saved for late in the book that I’m forgetting, which would’ve been tough to use earlier on….]

    I’m probably going to read Rob Boffard’s Adrift next (or something else from my birthday haul), to have a break between books set on Mars. 😉 Then I’ll probably read Peter Cawdron’s Retrograde after that and see how it compares.

  26. Orbit baffles me. They published both Morden’s One Way and Boffard’s Adrift, but the latter, while a larger physical book, has huge margins (1.5 to 2 times One Way‘s) and noticeably smaller type. The book’s larger size seems to be mostly from the margins. It’s 50 pages longer and clearly is a longer book (I just found wordcounters.com but don’t know if it’s accurate).

    I can read it, but it would be more enjoyable if they’d made the margins less huge and the font a bit larger. I just went from one book to the next, so the difference in the books is really striking. And since they have these huge margins, why not use the space better and make it a bit more readable? The words are lost in a sea of whitespace around them. 😉 I have a couple of theories, but know nothing about publishing, and mostly all my theories (even the more charitable ones) lead to “poor design in this one book.” (My other Orbit books have better margin and font sizes.)

    Side Note: Yeah, I know, ebooks let me change font sizes; that’s one reason I read more ebooks these days! But for various reasons, I still buy, read, and enjoy print books as well as ebooks. Anyway, this was a gift and I wouldn’t have wanted it in ebook. LOL until now, maybe.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble/gripe. 😉 What a non-problem, I know. Just kinda thinking out loud and wondering why, if they had to (for some arcane publishing reason) print it at this book size, they make it look more normal inside.

  27. Kendall: I can read [Rob Boffard’s Adrift], but it would be more enjoyable if they’d made the margins less huge and the font a bit larger.

    I read it last week, and found it a bit “meh”. It’s The Poseidon Adventure In Space, with marginal character development and a high body count.

  28. @Core Buhlert

    Coincidentally, The Expanse, which normally is very good in the naming department, has a UN battleship named Nathan Hale

    That seems more plausible as a name than Rodger Young.

    Nathan Hale, after all, has an ASCII character named after him.

  29. @cabbage: Plaudits, according to my understanding, should primarily go to Doug Berry, who worked tirelessly on, and was responsible for, the WC76 Local Guide. (Thanks, Doug!) Both Kevins (Kevin Roche aka Evil Kevin and Kevin Standlee, aka Good Kevin as we say at BASFA) have of course done great works in other areas, too.

    (Also, sorry about the upthread sentence whose middle portion was stolen by the Julenissen. Should have been ‘As the guy who arranged the Thursday Filer pub gathering following Opening Ceremonies….’)

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