Pixel Scroll 9/10/19 I Can’t Believe I Pixeled In Front Of The Dean Of Science Fiction!

(1) SNEAK PEEK. The folk at the seasonal SF² Concatenation have advance-posted a review of the Dublin Worldcon ahead of their autumnal edition.

The SF² Concatenation is largely run by Brits  — however, the conreport here is by Sue Burke, a US fan and sff author (Semiosis): “Dublin 2019”.

…Despite the inconvenience, the snaking queues became good places to meet new people.

The Auditorium held only 2,000, so events there required wristbands to get in, and we had to line up in the afternoon to get them. I didn’t attend the Opening Ceremony/1944 Retro Hugos, Masquerade, or Hugo Award Ceremony. (During the Closing Ceremony, I was instead standing in line at the airport). I wanted to get a wristband for the Hugo Awards, but the queue was enormous and located outside, next to the CCD, during a cold, windy rainstorm, so I abandoned that attempt. (In fairness to the organisers, I am not sure where else the queue could have been located. All available space inside the building was in use!)

Other than that, the convention was splendid: well-organised and always on time.  Events started at 9 a.m. with accessible yoga and a “stroll with the stars” morning walk, and ended in the wee hours at Martin Hoare’s Bar – known as Martin’s, named for the volunteer who was to be Fan Bar Manager but who died a few weeks before the convention.

…Other than [overcrowding] the convention was splendid: well-organised and always on time.…

…For me, one of the many high moments of the convention came on Saturday evening at the Bright Club Ireland, a stand-up comedy show. Steve Cross made an excessively deep, textual reading of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to determine the exact date that the Earth is destroyed by the Vogons.

(2) NOT EASY MAKING GREEN. That new Muppets comedy series? Fuggedabowdit! The Hollywood Reporter has learned: “‘The Muppets’ Disney+ Comedy Series Scrapped”. But Disney is greenlighting the talk show Muppets Now.

….Creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) and Josh Gad (Frozen) have walked away from the scripted comedy, called Muppets Live Another Day, which they had been quietly at work on for months, and Disney+ has opted to abandon work on the series.

…The decision to retool the planned Muppets show will not impact the unscripted shortform series Disney+ announced last month at D23. That show — Muppets Now — will feature beloved characters like Kermit and Miss Piggy alongside celebrity guests.

(3) ATTEMPTED THEFT. A BBC story reports — “Margaret Atwood says thieves targeted Handmaid’s Tale sequel”.

Margaret Atwood says thieves made concerted efforts to steal her manuscript for The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

The author and her publisher were targeted by “fake emails” from “cyber criminals”, trying to obtain the unpublished novel, she told the BBC.

She described the attempts as a “phishing exercise” that could have led to blackmail or identity theft.

“It was a commercial venture of a robbery kind,” Atwood said.

“People were trying to steal it. Really, they were trying to steal it and we had to use a lot of code words and passwords,” she told BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones.

“What would they have done with it if they had succeeded? They might have said, ‘We’ve got the manuscript, and we’re putting it up online [unless you] give us your credit card details’. Or they might have said, ‘Read this excerpt and download it. And if you downloaded it, a virus would have stolen your information’.

(4) NEW COINAGE. Ken Pelham offers advice about devising “The Jargon and Slang of the Fantastic” at the SFWA Blog.

…But don’t fear creating words. Heck, Shakespeare did it all the time. Just make sure they sound authentic to the world created. Sometimes those words even become part of our own Earthly languages. Like William Gibson’s “cyberspace.” We instinctively knew what it meant the first time we heard it. And J.K. Rowling may have added more words to the English language than anyone since Shakespeare. Time will tell….

(5) NEW DEAL. Ethan Alter, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story “‘Bonkers’ new ‘Joker’ sidesteps controversy, ‘Batman’ hook-up”, has an interview with Joker director Todd Phillips, who says that his film, set in a world resembling New York City in the late 1970s “was never meant to connect” to anything in the DC Extended Universe, “and I don’t see it connecting to anything in the future,” meaning it’s unlikely Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker will take on Robert Pattinson’s Batman.

Meanwhile, Phoenix choked up while paying tribute to his late brother, River. “When I was 15 or 16 my brother River came home from work and he had a VHS copy of a movie called Raging Bull and he sat me down and made me watch it. And the next day he woke me up, and he made me watch it again. And he said, ‘You’re going to start acting again, this is what you’re going to do,’” the younger Phoenix recalled while receiving the TIFF Tribute Actor Award. “He didn’t ask me, he told me. And I am indebted to him for that because acting has given me such an incredible life.”

What initially appeared to be a curious experiment is shaping up to be a sure thing, at least in terms of box office. According to some forecasts, Joker is on track to enjoy a $100 million opening weekend, topping last year’s Venom, which also billed itself as a darker alternative to the usual superhero fare. And the Toronto audience largely greeted the movie with cheers and applause, with the majority of the praise being directed in Phoenix’s direction.

(6) HORROR YOU CAN BANK ON. The Hollywood Reporter asks “Is ‘It’ a New Kind of Horror Franchise?” Tagline: “Never before has there been a series that’s been closer to being the ‘Avengers’ or ‘Star Wars’ of the genre.”

…But with only two films to its name, It is larger than its competing properties. Consider: It: Chapter One did around 40 percent of the Conjuring series’ combined global gross with just the first installment. It: Chapter Two‘s success remains unwritten, but short of disaster the film will cement this duology among the genre’s greatest blockbusters. Chalk that up once more to King’s name; that alone gives It: Chapter One and Chapter Two a built-in audience at a moment when the author’s material is a ubiquitous hot commodity. (See: April’s Pet Sematary re-adaptation, Hulu’s Castle Rock, the upcoming Doctor Sleep and In the Tall Grass.) Give credit to It‘s shapeshifting antagonist, Pennywise, too, a movie monster tailor made to scare the bejesus out of a wide viewing audience. Spiders might be your worst nightmare. Maybe werewolves. Maybe diseased hobos, mummies, your abusive father, your dead brother, a kindly old lady lurking naked in her kitchen or, last but not least, clowns. It has all of these (plus a very cute pomeranian that isn’t actually so cute after all).

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 10, 1935Popeye was heard for the first time on NBC radio.
  • September 10, 1993 — Fox TV first aired The X-Files.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 10, 1898 Bessie Love. In 1925, she starred in The Lost World based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. She wouldn’t show up again in a genre film until 1963 when she was in Children of the Damned followed by being in Battle Beneath the Earth a few years a later and then having a small uncredited role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She’d be in Vampyres, Gulliver’s Travels and The Hunger to round her genre career. Vampyres btw is described as a “erotic/lesbian vampire horror film”, an apparent subgenre in the Seventies. (Died 1986.)
  • Born September 10, 1952 Gerry Conway, 67. Writer who’s best known for co-creating with John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru the Punisher character and scripting the death of Gwen Stacy during his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man. I’m also fond of his work on Weird Western Tales at DC.
  • Born September 10, 1953 Pat Cadigan, 66. Tea from an Empty Cup and Dervish is Digital are both amazing works. And I’m fascinated that she co-wrote with Paul Dini, creator of Batman: The Animated Series, a DCU novel called Harley Quinn: Mad Love.
  • Born September 10, 1953 Stuart Milligan, 66. He first shows up as Walters on the Sean Connery-led Outland and a few years later we see him as a Police Sergeant on Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. He’ll play Richard Nixon in Doctor Who for two Eleventh Doctor stories, “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of The Moon”. 
  • Born September 10, 1955 Victoria Strauss, 64. Author of the Burning Land trilogy, she should be praised for being founder along with AC Crispin for being founder of the Committee on Writing Scams. She maintains the Writer Beware website and blog. 
  • Born September 10, 1959 Tara Ward, 60. She played Preston in the “Warriors of the Deep”, a Fifth Doctor story.  After Doctor Who, she shows up in one-offs in Star Cops and Dark Realm beforehaving a very minor role in the Justice League film.
  • Born September 10, 1959 Nancy A. Collins, 60. Author of the Sonja Blue vampire novels, some of the best of that genre I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. She had a long run on Swamp Thing from issues 110 to 138, and it is generally considered a very good period in that narrative.  She also wrote Vampirella, the Forrest J Ackerman and Trina Robbins creation, for awhile.
  • Born September 10, 1968 Guy Ritchie, 51. Director of Sherlock Holmes and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, both of each I rather liked,  and the live-action Aladdin. He did also directed / wrote / produced the rebooted The Man from U.N.C.L.E. which got rather nice reviews to my surprise as well as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which apparently sucked. 

(9) BRADBURY HISTORY.  In this decade-old video, Roslyn Shapiro talks about Ray Bradbury’s writing group with her husband in the 1940’s.

(10) THE NO GOOD, VERY BAD… “The day the dinosaurs’ world fell apart” — lots of concrete details in this BBC article.

Scientists have a recording of the worst day on Earth; certainly the worst day in the last 66 million years.

It takes the form of a 130m section of rock drilled from under the Gulf of Mexico.

These are sediments that were laid down in the seconds to hours after a huge asteroid had slammed into the planet.

You’ll know the event we’re talking about – the one researchers now think was responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.

The high-resolution account of this catastrophe was recovered by a UK/US-led team, who spent several weeks in 2016 drilling into what remains of the crater produced by the impact.

Today, this 200km-wide structure is positioned under Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, with its best preserved central portions sitting just offshore of the port of Chicxulub.

The team pulled up a great long core of rock but it’s a particular 130m-long section that essentially documents the first day of what geologists call the Cenozoic Era, or as some others like to refer to it: the Age of Mammals.

(11) INSPIRATION. BBC’s current affairs and entertainment channel Radio 4 presents a 25-minute ‘religious’ program, Beyond Belief. Yesterday’s episode focused on the implications for religion of the novel Frankenstein.

Ernie Rea in conversation with guests about the religious content in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which is often lost in its interpretation on the big screen.

(12) LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. “Polaroid’s newest gadget gives analog life to smartphone photos”. FastCompany says the device goes on sale October 10.

It’s a shiny, tightly framed snapshot of a couple of friends of mine, posing as we share a booth at a New York diner. It’s almost (but not quite) square, with a distinctive white border that’s thicker at the bottom than on the other sides.

As you may already have figured out, the item I am cradling in my hand is a Polaroid photo.

But unlike the hundreds—thousands?—of Polaroids I’ve shot in my life, this one began its life as a digital image. I took it with my Pixel 3 smartphone and then used a new gadget, the Polaroid Lab, to transfer it onto a piece of proudly analog Polaroid instant film, where it developed before my eyes in classic fashion.

… For the most part, I liked how my Polaroid-ized photos came out—but not because they were perfect replicas of the digital originals. They were soft rather than crisp, with a dreamy color palette and an element of surprise, since two copies of the same image don’t necessarily develop identically. The current Polaroid Originals film is the best it’s made since Impossible revived the format, but it still isn’t as consistent as Fujifilm’s Instax.

(13) UNDER THE RADAR. Smithsonian’s 2017 article shows Moose and Squirrel were the real subversives: “How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire”, not the villains.

…The Variety Show format enabled three things. First, its gloss of adult sophistication completely undercut by silliness was incredibly attractive to me and my sister.  Secondly, it got us to delight in the work of a revolving cast of top-notch, old school voice actors who’d grown up in radio and knew how to sell a line.  June Foray, for example, is the common thread that weaves together the everyman fast-talkers of Warner Brothers films (she voiced Granny and Witch Hazel for Looney Tunes), the pop culture and political satire of Stan Freberg, and the Cold War kiddie fare of “Bullwinkle” (as Rocky, Nell Fenwick, Natasha, and more).

“Fractured Fairy Tales” were narrated by veteran actor Edward Everett Horton, a Warner Bros. stable favorite, and featured Daws Butler (Elroy Jetson), a Stan Freberg comedy show veteran, along with Paul Frees and June Foray. Before giving voice to Dudley Do-Right’s nemesis Snidely Whiplash, Hans Conried was better known as Captain Hook in Disney’s “Peter Pan,” as well as for his years’ long yeoman’s work on radio mystery shows, “I Love Lucy,” and “Burns and Allen.”

Finally, the show’s format and depth of talent connected my sister and me to a world of comedy that was well before our time, but helped us navigate what came afterwards. Apart from Sesame Street and the Electric Company (whose cast was a gift to future Broadway lovers) the cartoon landscape during the 1970s was bleak. I don’t know what happened during the Summer of Love to cause formerly respectable shops like Hanna-Barbera to go from “Jonny Quest” to “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels,” but it can’t have been pretty.

(14) IN THE DOCKET. The New York Post reports the late author’s relatives are contesting ownership of a valuable Ellery Queen collection: “Late author’s stolen book collection found after hitting auction block: suit”.

The jig is up!

In a twist straight out of a pulpy page-turner, a son says he discovered his late mystery-novelist father’s signed books had been stolen — after seeing them go up for auction at Soetheby’s, according to a new lawsuit.

Upper West Sider Richard Dannay — son of detective-fiction author Frederic Dannay — claims 33 of his dad’s signed books were stolen by his step-mom Rose, passed to her son Terry Koppel and eventually given to Sotheby’s for auctioning, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed late Wednesday.

Richard says he didn’t even know the books existed until he got the brochure from the auction house on Nov. 18, 2016 which described the collection as “The Terry R. Koppel Collection of Ellery Queen,” the court papers say.

(15) CONFLICT OF INTEREST CONTINUES TO FUEL CONFLICT. Washington Post economics columnist Steven Pearlstein discusses the debate between writers v. agents in Hollywood, saying that showrunners ought to end their memberships in the Writers Guild of America so that they can be “honest brokers” who are neither writers of talent agencies and then can act as a check on talent agencies’ power. “Big agencies and studios have a lock on Hollywood. It’s high time to apply antitrust law”.

… Five months ago, with the backing of 95 percent of its members, the Guild instructed writers to fire their agents unless they agreed to limit themselves to making money the old-fashioned way — taking a 10 percent commission for every contract they negotiate. Some of the small and midsize agencies agreed. But the Big Four — William Morris Endeavor, United Talent Agency, Creative Artists Agency and ICM Partners, which together negotiate 75 percent of the writers income — refused. The big bone of contention: a decades-old industry practice known as “packaging.”

These days, four of five TV shows and movies are said to be “packaged,” meaning that a talent agency has put together a group of its clients — actors, directors, writers and other talent — to participate in a project. For this, they earn a packaging fee that, in television, is almost always 3 percent of what a network pays the studio to produce the show, or somewhere between $15,000 to $30,000 per episode. Although these package fees are paid by the studios out of the production budget, they substitute for the traditional 10 percent commissions that writers, actors and directors would otherwise be required to pay their agents. The agencies claim that packaging is saving writers $49 million a year in commissions. The writers contend that whatever they are saving in commission is more than offset by the lower salaries they earn when production budgets are squeezed to pay packaging fees to their agents.

… The five-month standoff has also caused a rift among the writers, some of whom are having second thoughts about the Guild’s hard-line strategy. With the quiet encouragement of the agencies, more than 500 guild members are backing a slate of dissidents running against the current leadership in an election that will be decided Sept. 16.

The dissidents — headed by top “showrunners” such as Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,” “Arrow”), Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”), Aaron Sorkin (“West Wing,” “Network”), John Wells (“ER,” “The West Wing”) and David Kelley (“Big Little Lies,” “Goliath”) propose to reopen talks in the hope of reaching a “reasonable” compromise with the agencies.

On Twitter, the dissidents have been called “scabs” and “shills,” while the current leadership is accused of waging a needless battle and weakening the Guild as it heads into more important negotiations next year on a new contract with the studios and networks….

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “To Scale: The Solar System,” a 2015 video on YouTube, Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet travel to Nevada’s Blackrock Canyon to build a scale model of the solar system so large that Neptune’s orbit is seven miles in diameter.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

35 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/10/19 I Can’t Believe I Pixeled In Front Of The Dean Of Science Fiction!

  1. Andrew: I guess so. My search didn’t reveal it. Too good to be true that it had been unused immediately after you left it.

  2. (10) is very interesting – and it certainly fits with the fossils in the Hell Creek formation.

  3. 12) This is an update of a previous product that the company made when they were still called “The Impossible Project” (the old Polaroid company went bust, the trademark on the name for bought up by TIP).

    For my money, no Land camera will ever top the SX-70 that I used while travelling around Egypt.

  4. (8). In addition to his comic book work, Conway wrote the 1971 novel “The Midnight Dancers,” which was part of Terry Carr’s Ace Science Fiction Special series, and the 1974 novel “Mindship,” published by DAW.

  5. (16) There is a one-to-ten billion scale model of the solar system on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The sun is about the size of a grapefruit, and, yes, Pluto is represented. (Check it out in 2021 when the Worldcon comes to Washington.)

    At that scale, the star Alpha Centauri would be located somewhere in California. Like Douglas Adams wrote, space is really BIG!

  6. 16) I’ve seen most of the stations of the Solar System that’s set up in Ithaca. But yeah, Space is big. Really Big.

  7. Meredith Moment:

    Semiosis by Sue Burke is currently available at Amazon US for $2.99. I thought it was pretty terrific, if not perfect.

  8. @6: interesting — the NPR review said it’s too long and botches the ending (the local paper was kinder but didn’t rave — 3/4 stars), but maybe King is review-proof — or maybe he’s just doing something different enough that people don’t yawn at whatever comes out.

  9. @Rich Lynch: there are similar Solar System scale models at the Space Center in Houston, and on the waterfront in Corpus Christi. I just found out there’s one organization that was responsible for all three of them.

    When I walked the one in Corpus Christi, I worked out places that Alpha Centauri could be: the best locations I came up with were Baker Lake in northern Canada, and Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

  10. I don’t think it would be possible to fit Alpha Centauri into the Sweden Solar System. Well, not while keeping it on Earth’s surface. If at 1:10^10 scale, Pluto is ~3000 km away (rough estimate of “DC to closest bit of California, according to eyeball”), at the SSS 1:20 * 10^6 scale, it’s be 150 000 km away, and that’s awkwardly about half-way to the Moon.

    Howeever, that means that if someone builds a scale model of Sirius A or Sirius B, the Moon’s surface MAY be a good place to put them (although at that point, the “Sweden” in “Sweden Solar System” starts being very very arguable).

    In other SSS news, there’s a new Jupiter model, at the reception of Hotel Clarion, Arlanda Sky City. Looks like it was unveiled about week and a half after my live-tweeted tour of the inner planets, so at some point I may have to re-do the tour, starting at Jupiter, ending at the Sun.

  11. There’s a solar system in Australia too – in Melbourne I think.

    I don’t understand this fixation on Polaroids – it was a crappy technology then, it’s still a crappy technology now, as well as expensive.

  12. Chris S. on September 11, 2019 at 7:40 am said:
    I don’t understand this fixation on Polaroids – it was a crappy technology then, it’s still a crappy technology now, as well as expensive.

    Hard disagree. And I’m sorry, I gotta rant about this.

    There are a lot of bad Polaroid cameras (Prestos, 600 series, Supercolor … etc.) that had plastic lenses and shoddy mechanisms. But some of the better models (mostly SX-70 style cameras) are really quite good.

    Not only do you have the immediacy of the physical artifact, the Polaroid has some image-making advantages. Because the image is projected onto a large film area, you get a very shallow depth of field. When done right, the colours are more vibrant than most film stock (and have a gamut that can’t entirely be reproduced on screens).

    Iconic photos, such as the portrait of Kurt Cobain used on the cover of the Rolling Stone the week he died, were taken with Polaroids. Mark Klett used a Polaroid for is image “Contemplating the view at Muley Point, Utah, 1994.” Andy Warhol’s portrait of Mohammed Ali was done with a Polaroid SX-70. Ansel Adams’ stunning Polaroid image of Yosemite Falls is in the Smithsonian. There are a lot of truly stunning photographs that were taken with Polaroid cameras that simply would not have been the same if the artist had used a different camera.

    Trick is, you need to be careful when using these cameras. They’re quite light hungry, and the rollers need to be cleaned often to avoid opacification failures. The reputation of Polaroid as “crappy” largely comes from people not realizing how much light you need to use these cameras effectively, not knowing how to maintain their cameras, or using one of the cheap (Box-Type) models.

  13. @ Olav Rokne:

    Wouldn’t you get most (if not all) of those advantages from any medium-format camera? I guess the colour profile would require having both film and paper with the Polaroid characteristics.

  14. @Olav
    The 600-type image quality is good enough for most purposes. (For people like me, who have trouble getting stuff in focus, it was easy to use.) You might want to look for an SLR-680.
    (I was in a store last week where there were digital cameras with the Polaroid name on them.)

  15. The good thing about Polaroid (at least, the non-negative version) is that you know what your final print looks like right now. Everything else, you’ve got to develop, print, etc., and those can change the image.

    I used to use a lot of Polaroid in recording very fast analog oscilloscope waveforms. It was the best way to record the old green CRT images, before everything went digital.

  16. On my last visit to Montreal, I saw The Polaroid Project, an exhibit on the history and artistic usage of Polaroid film and equipment, at the McCord Museum. The exhibit is a co-production between the MIT Museum and other institutions, and closes this Sunday; I don’t know where it’s going next.

  17. @bill
    We used Polaroid in some of my classes for similar purposes – the air-table with blinking pucks, mostly. And I worked, briefly, at a QA lab where we used it for photographs of parts (and for duplicating photos).

  18. P J Evans on September 11, 2019 at 10:54 am said:
    @Olav
    You might want to look for an SLR-680

    I would love an SLR-680.

    But it’s third on my list of next cameras to buy after the Mamiya RB67 and an upgrade to my mirrorless body.

    Ingvar on September 11, 2019 at 9:50 am said:
    @ Olav Rokne:

    Wouldn’t you get most (if not all) of those advantages from any medium-format camera? I guess the colour profile would require having both film and paper with the Polaroid characteristics.

    Polaroid film is larger than medium format. 7.341 x 9.078 cm for polaroid SX-70 film (the image size) versus 6 cm x 6 cm for a Hasselblad 500CM crop of medium-format film.

    Either way, my main point is that Edwin Land’s invention of instant film is not “crappy technology” like Chris S. suggested. It is extraordinary, has had a lot of practical applications, and is capable of a lot of beauty.

  19. @Miles Carter: Atwood uses tech (I recall a to-do about a remote-signing pen some years ago) but she’s no expert; the incoherence may come from her attempting to relay what experts told her.

  20. (8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Oh, you tease! 😉 Victoria Strauss only has two books in the “Way of Arata” duology (The Burning Land and The Awakened City); it’s not a trilogy. You got my hopes up for a minute by writing “the Burning Land trilogy,” but I don’t mind.

    Anyway I love those books! Her “Stone” duology (see previous link), The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone, is also very good.

    Happy Birthday to Victoria Strauss! 😀 And thanks to @Cat Eldridge for the Birthday list.

  21. Did I mention the awesome webcomic “Leif & Thorn” by Erin Ptah has a new Kickstarter for volume 2? Well, it does! 😀

    And here are a few Meredith Moments:

    Underwater espionage in 2099: The War Beneath (The Rise of Oceania #1) by Timothy S. Johnston is $2.99 from ChiZine Publications (uses DRM). I liked his “Tanner Sequence” trilogy a lot (The Furnace, The Freezer, and The Void), so I’m on board for this one. It sounds completely different.

    Exciting adventure fantasy: Spellslinger (Spellslinger #1) by Sebastien de Castell is only 99 cents from Orbit (uses DRM). @Contrarius and, IIRC, a couple of others have recommended this series. Orbit sez it’s “bursting with tricks, humor, and a whole new way to look at magic.”

    ETA: The audio sample for Spellslinger sounds good.

    A blend of intense erotica and political fantasy (so, NSFW?), according to PW: Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1) by C. S. Pacat is $1.99 from Berkley (uses DRM), originally self-published.

  22. (13) Not that we understood the political satire in BULLWINKLE – why they couldn’t get postcards from Paris on a kids’ show, the kindly farmer in Gettysburg (Ike), how easily Boston took Washington or that goof gas was unnecessary for Congress.
    And much holds up – the Confederate defender shares 2 names with Sessions, and when Wrongway Peachfuzz replaced de Oogle Boid, his weather predictions were as accurate as Trump’s. Of course, terrorizing weathermen to get the forecast you want is more in line with Fearless Leader, and when the Earth tilted on its side, no one denied the climate change.

  23. @Chip Hitchcock. True about the tech issues. She also comes off as thinking that women aren’t allowed to vote or weigh in on abortion issues. If that’s not true, then her views on the topic were expressed badly for a professional wordsmith.

  24. @Kendall —

    ETA: The audio sample for Spellslinger sounds good.

    Yes, I love this series. It’s marketed as YA, but it is less YA in tone after the first book. No sex, no graphic violence. Joe Jameson narratesthe audio, and he’s great.

    A blend of intense erotica and political fantasy (so, NSFW?), according to PW: Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1) by C. S. Pacat is $1.99 from Berkley (uses DRM), originally self-published.

    This series is VERY NSFW. Very. Both from sex and violence. It is somewhat famous amongst the mm romance community, and extremely popular when first self-published. Very intense books, gripping writing. Not for the faint of heart, did I mention? I haven’t read the Berkley version, so I can’t say how much it may have been rewritten.

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