Pixel Scroll 9/13/20 Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mrs. Pixel?

(1) MINORITY REPORT? The Tampa Bay Times says “Pasco’s sheriff created a futuristic program to stop crime before it happens. It monitors and harasses families across the county.”.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened.

What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

First the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence and arbitrary decisions by police analysts.

Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.

They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines. They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.

(2) STAR TREKKING WITH WILL SMTH? We Got This Covered’s source told them “Paramount Reportedly Eyeing Will Smith For Big Star Trek Role”.

…According to our intel – which comes from the same sources that told us Captain Pike would be getting his own spinoff long before Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was announced – the studio are keen to recruit Will Smith to play a Starfleet captain. Although, at this time, it isn’t yet clear exactly what movie they’re eying him for.

After all, the canonical Star Trek 4 and Noah Hawley’s unrelated take on the material are both still rooted firmly in development hell, and Paramount could realistically end up making none or both of those sci-fi blockbusters. Still, with Robert Downey Jr. and Brie Larson both having found themselves linked to Star Trek recently as well, it would certainly appear that the studio are actively seeking an injection of star power to ensure that the next installment in the franchise can make it into production sooner rather than later.

(3) MEET THE MAYOR. Dan Snierson, in the Entertainment Weekly story Family Guy taps Sam Elliott to succeed Adam West as Mayor: See the first photos” says that three years after Adam West’s death, Family Guy has named Sam Elliott to replace him as mayor of Quahog.  Elliott will voice Adam West’s cousin, Wild Wild West.  (Adam West’s character on Family Guy was named Adam West.)

…He’ll be playing a key role: the new Mayor of Quahog, a post that became vacant after Adam West — who played Mayor Adam West in more than 100 episodes — died in 2017. West remained a presence on the show into the following year, as several episodes recorded before his death made their debut. Family Guy paid tribute to West several times, but almost two years after the actor’s death, the show finally acknowledged his passing in an episode that saw the high school renamed after him.”We wanted to take the time to respect Adam,” executive producer Richard Appel tells EW. “In having a conversation about ‘How do you replace him?,’ the universal belief was: he’s irreplaceable. And then the next question is, ‘Do you find a new mayor?’ In the world of Family Guy, he had an important role, and a role that was necessary for a lot of stories.”

(4) READING THE TRACKS. Amal El-Mohtar’s latest New York Times Sunday Book Review column “Power and Passage: New Science Fiction and Fantasy” covers Elwin Cotman’s Dance On Saturday (Small Beer Press) and Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds (Del Rey).

The discourse about reading fiction during the pandemic has followed two broad tracks: There are those who take comfort in the activity, and those who have found reading impossibly difficult. I belong to the latter camp, but I’m all the more excited to share the following books, which, while very different in genre and mode, shook me out of listless distraction with their originality.

(5) FACES IN SFF. Camestros Felapton made a discovery.

So that’s James Schmitz! I never saw a photo of him before. Nor saw him in person, even though he lived in LA – he didn’t come to conventions, and I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t answer my invitation to be on a Westercon program, although I suppose I made the attempt because he did interact with a few fannish book reviewers, like Paul Walker. (FYI, there’s a whole website devoted to Schmitz and his works saved at the Internet Archive.)

(6) SHREK GENESIS. [Item by rcade.] Some audio was shared on social media of Chris Farley performing as Shrek with Eddie Murphy as Donkey.

Farley, who helped the movie become greenlit by signing on to star in the title role in 1996, had completed 80 to 95 percent of the voice work for the film when he died of a cocaine and morphine overdose. Mike Myers was brought in and the script was rewritten, turning Shrek from sweet and American under Farley to acerbic and Scottish under Myers.

More details at this archived Jim Hill Media link: “How ‘Shrek’ went from being a train wreck to one for the record books”.

…Of course, back then, “Shrek” was supposed to have had a very different storyline. It wasn’t a movie about an ogre who just wanted to be left alone in his swamp. But — rather — it was about a teenage ogre who wasn’t all that eager to go into the family business. You see, young Shrek didn’t really want to frighten people. He longed to make friends, help people. This ogre actually dreamed of becoming a knight.

This was the version of “Shrek” that Chris Farley was working on just prior to his untimely death in December 1997. According to folks that I’ve spoken with who worked on this version of the film, Farley’s voice work on the project was nothing short of heroic.

(7) YOU’RE THE TOP. The Guardian’s E Foley and B Coates rank “Top 10 goddesses in fiction”. Tagline: “In ancient myth – and novels by authors from Neil Gaiman to Toni Morrison – these ambiguous figures are sometimes repressive, sometimes inspiring.” Free registration required to read.

(8) SHORT CHANGED. Camestros Felapton finds out “Which Hugo story finalists don’t have a Wikipedia page”. But should they?

My capacity to generate (rather than just make-up) trivia increases every week. Today I get to tell you which Hugo Finalists in Novel, Novella, Novelette and Short Story do not currently have a Wikipedia page.

(9) CAMPAIGN BEGINS. “300 years on, will thousands of women burned as witches finally get justice?”The Guardian reports they might.

It spanned more than a century and a half, and resulted in about 2,500 people – the vast majority of them women – being burned at the stake, usually after prolonged torture. Remarkably, one of the driving forces behind Scotland’s “satanic panic” was no less than the king, James VI, whose treatise, Daemonologie, may have inspired the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Now, almost 300 years after the Witchcraft Act was repealed, a campaign has been launched for a pardon for those convicted, an apology to all those accused and a national memorial to be created.

“There should be an acknowledgement that what happened to these women was a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Claire Mitchell QC, the campaign’s founder, told the Observer. She pointed out that in Salem, the Massachusetts town where a series of infamous witchcraft trials took place in the 1690s, a formal apology for the 200 accused and 20 executed was issued in 1957. In Scotland – where 3,837 people were accused, two-thirds of whom are believed to have been put to death – there has been no such recognition….

(10) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

September 2005 — Fifteen years ago at Interaction, Susanna Clarke‘s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell won the Best Novel Hugo. The other finalists were River of Gods by Ian McDonald, The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks, Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross and Iron Council by China Miéville. It would be her last novel for fifteen years with only her only other work then being a collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories with illustrations by Charles Vess. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is also available in audiobook form as narrated most excellently by Simon Prebble. A BBC television adaptation was done ten years after publication. In 2006, it was reported that she suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome which she very recently reported that she had recovered from. Her second and soon-to-be-released novel is Piranesi which is not follow-up to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. 

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born September 13, 1898 – Arthur J. Burks.   Served in the U.S. Marines during both World Wars, eventually retiring as lieutenant colonel.  Resigned after WW I, became a million-word-a-year man for the pulps, re-enlisted, wrote again afterward, perhaps 800 stories for us and others.  Interviewed in the May 33 SF Digest by Julie Schwartz and Mort Weisinger, later more famous than he.  (Died 1974) [JH]
  • Born September 13, 1926 Roald Dahl. Did you know he wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice? Or that he hosted and wrote for a sf and horror television anthology series called Way Out which aired before The Twilight Zone for a season? He also hosted the UK Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.  My favorite Dahl work is The BFG. What’s yours? (Died 1990.) (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1931 Barbara Bain, 89. She’s most remembered for co-starring in the original Mission: Impossible television series in the 1960s as Cinnamon Carter, and Space: 1999 as Doctor Helena Russell. I will confess that I never watched the latter. Her first genre role was as Alma in the “KAOS in CONTROL” episode of Get Smart! (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1937 – Dick Eney.  Active fan from 1949, including fanzines, filking, cons; also our neighbor the Society for Creative Anachronism.  Program Books for Discon I and II the 21st and 32nd Worldcons.  Toastmaster at the first Conterpoint.  Published Fancyclopedia II.  Fan Guest of Honor at L.A.con II the 42nd Worldcon.  Witty but pushed his prejudices; could be pithy and poisonous: earned applause, but we all knew It’s Eney’s fault!  (Died 2006) [JH]
  • Born September 13, 1943 – Mary Kay Bray.  Scholar whose work in the Black American Literature ForumExtrapolationFantasy ReviewThe Review of Contemporary Fiction, and the SF Research Ass’n Review led the SFRA in 2002 to establish the annual Mary Kay Bray Award for the best essay, interview, or extended review to appear in SFRA Review.  Filer Rich Horton is currently on the Award Committee.  (Died 1999) [JH]
  • Born September 13, 1946 Frank Marshall, 74. Producer of Raiders of the Lost ArkPoltergeistIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Indian in the Cupboard to name but a few he’s produced; there’s an even a longer list of films that he’s been involved in as an executive producer. His upcoming projects are the animated Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous series and the Jurassic World: Dominion film. (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1947 Mike Grell, 73. He’s best known for his work on books such as Green Lantern/Green ArrowThe Warlord, and Jon Sable FreelanceThe Warlord featuring Travis Morgan is a hollow Earth adventure series set in Skartaris which is a homage to Jules Verne. As Grell points out “the name comes from the mountain peak Scartaris that points the way to the passage to the earth’s core in Journey to the Center of the Earth.” The Justice League Unlimited “Chaos at the Earth’s Core“ episode made use of this story. (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1960 – Bob Eggleton, F.N., 60.  Almost five hundred covers and eight hundred interiors.  Magic, the Gathering cards.  Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award).  Many times a Guest of Honor, e.g. Loscon 27, Norwescon XXIV, Balticon 39, MidSouthCon 26, Lunacon 60 (with wife Marianne Plumridge); Chicon 6 the 58th Worldcon.  Artbooks Alien HorizonsGreetings from Earth, seven more.  Gaughan; Skylark; twelve Chesleys including Artistic Achievement; eight Hugos. International expert on Godzilla.  Here is Thrust 26.  Here is Why Do Birds.  Here is the Chicon 6 Souvenir Book (logograph “Chicon 2000” with Space ships at upper right).  Here is the Jul-Aug 08 Analog.  Here is A Bicycle Built for Brew.  Here is the Nov-Dec 19 F&SF.  [JH]
  • Born September 13, 1961 Tom Holt, 59. Assuming you like comical fantasy, I’d recommend both Faust Among Equals and Who Afraid of Beowulf? as being well worth time. If you madly, deeply into Wagner, you’ll love Expecting Someone Taller; if not, skip it. (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1974 Fiona Avery, 46. Comic book and genre series scriptwriter. While being a reference editor on the final season of Babylon 5, she wrote “The Well of Forever” and “Patterns of the Soul” as well as two that were not produced, “Value Judgements” and “Tried and True”. After work on the Crusade series ended, she turned to comic book writing, working for Marvel and Top Cow with three spin-offs of J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars being another place where her scripts were used. She created the Marvel character Anya Sofia Corazon later named Spider-girl. (CE) 
  • Born September 13, 1977 – Pola Oloixarac, 43.  One of Granta’s Best Young Spanish Novelists (2010).  Founding editor of bilingual Buenos Aires Review.  Savage Theories and Dark Constellations translated into English.  Has presented at Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, Univ. Toronto.  Of Theories she says “The book has sparked verbal violence and a sexist uproar precisely because it doesn’t deal with … issues … traditionally associated with ‘women’s literature’, but instead contains … traits solely reserved for men.”  [JH]
  • Born September 13, 1978 – Scarlett Algee, 42.  A dozen short stories for us; since Apr 2019 managing editor at JournalStone Publishing.  Has read nine of the sixteen Sheckley collections I know of, and ranks them, low to high: Divine Intervention (about even with How the Irish Saved Civilization), The People TrapShards of Space and Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?Pilgrimage to Earth and Notions UnlimitedCitizen in SpaceUntouched by Human HandsStore of Infinity (above Les Misérables).  [JH]

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro shows the kind of episode you can end up with if you misspell Star Trek.
  • And is Ziggy witnessing the Prime Directive being applied to himself?

(13) STAY HOME. Some of the principals of an independently-produced genre movie are asking that you not go out to see it. Gizmodo/io9 has the story: “Directors of Synchronic Ask You to Please Not Go See Their Movie”.

In a statement posted on Instagram, the three creators say that, “at the time of writing this, we personally wouldn’t go to an indoor movie theater, so we can’t encourage you to.” They explain that the film’s distribution situation is out of their control, and assure audiences that the film will be available via on-demand “in a few months” for those who want to watch it without risking their lives.  

(14) ANOTHER THREE-LETTER WRITERS GROUP REPLACES MOST OF ITS BOARD. The International Thriller Writers are regrouping and electing a new board after an internal meltdown almost as bad as though less public than RWA’s – Publishers Weekly has the story: “International Thriller Writers Regroup After Resignations”.

Less than three months after the resignations of all but two members of the International Thriller Writers association’s board of directors, the organization is rebuilding to better serve its members with an eye towards avoiding the recent controversies that have plagued it and several other organizations serving writers. Like other organizations, including most recently, the National Book Critics Circle, ITW has been forced to confront charges of racial insensitivity. ITW is also dealing with the aftermath of charges lodged with the organization as well as with Dallas, Tex. police that a male author affiliated with ITW allegedly assaulted a female author during a conference in late fall, 2019.

ITW members recently voted on a slate of 11 mystery and thriller authors who will join its board beginning in mid-October, including such notables as Anthony Horowitz and C.J. Box. Half of the new members are female, including Karin Slaughter, Kathy Reichs, and Lisa Gardner. ITW has created a new committee, diversity and outreach, headed by incoming board member Alexia Gordon. Veteran board officer Heather Graham and incoming board member Gregg Hurwitz will serve as co-presidents of the 12-member board.

In addition, in July the 16-year-old organization established a security and safety committee to draft a comprehensive process for dealing with violations of its code of conduct policies. The six-member committee includes at least one survivor of assault, a law enforcement officer, a district attorney, a psychologist, and a victim’s rights lawyer.

(15) RETRO VISIONS CONTINUE. Cora Buhlert recently revisited the first two Jirel of Joiry stories by C.L. Moore, “Black God’s Kiss” and “Black God’s Shadow,” gaining insights into the sword and sorcery genre in the process:

As I said a few posts ago, I will be reviewing vintage SFF stories beyond the confines of the Retro Hugos as well, beginning with “Black God’s Kiss”, a sword and sorcery novelette by C.L. Moore that was the cover story of the October 1934 issue of Weird Tales and also introduced the swordswoman Jirel of Joiry to the world. The story may be read online here. This review will also be crossposted to Retro Science Fiction Reviews.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point! Also trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence.

…Warning: Spoilers beyond this point! Also trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence.

“Black God’s Shadow” takes place a few weeks or even months after “Black God’s Kiss”. Our heroine Jirel of Joiry is still haunted by the events in the previous story and it shows… 

(16) RAMMING SPEED. [Item by Contrarius.] The beginning of the rebellion of nature? A plot for a new movie — “The Orcas” instead of “The Birds”? “Scientists baffled by orcas ramming sailing boats near Spain and Portugal” in The Guardian.

In the last two months, from southern to northern Spain, sailors have sent distress calls after worrying encounters. Two boats lost part of their rudders, at least one crew member suffered bruising from the impact of the ramming, and several boats sustained serious damage.

The latest incident occurred on Friday afternoon just off A Coruña, on the northern coast of Spain. Halcyon Yachts was taking a 36ft boat to the UK when an orca rammed its stern at least 15 times, according to Pete Green, the company’s managing director. The boat lost steering and was towed into port to assess damage.

A second article in The Guardian — Whalemageddon! “‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’: scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats”.

…The pod rammed the boat for more than an hour, during which time the crew were too busy getting the sails in, readying the life raft and radioing a mayday – “Orca attack!” – to feel fear. The moment fear kicked in, Morris says, was when she went below deck to prepare a grab bag – the stuff you take when abandoning ship. “The noise was really scary. They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat. And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. It was so loud that we had to shout.” It felt, she says, “totally orchestrated”.

The crew waited a tense hour and a half for rescue – perhaps understandably, the coastguard took time to comprehend (“You are saying you are under attack from orca?”). To say this is unusual is to massively understate it. By the time help arrived, the orcas were gone. The boat was towed to Barbate, where it was lifted to reveal the rudder missing its bottom third and outer layer, and teeth marks along the underside….

(17) D@MN ROBOTS. Abandon hope, all ye who own phones. Inverse reports a study: “Does ignoring robocalls make them stop? Researchers uncover 2 key findings”.

More than 80 percent of robocalls come from fake numbers – and answering these calls or not has no effect on how many more you’ll get. Those are two key findings of an 11-month study into unsolicited phone calls that we conducted from February 2019 to January 2020.

To better understand how these unwanted callers operate, we monitored every phone call received to over 66,000 phone lines in our telephone security lab, the Robocall Observatory at North Carolina State University. We received 1.48 million unsolicited phone calls over the course of the study. Some of these calls we answered, while others we let ring. Contrary to popular wisdom, we found that answering calls makes no difference in the number of robocalls received by a phone number. The weekly volume of robocalls remained constant throughout the study.

(18) DAY GO SNOW, DAY GO SLEET, DAGOBAH. Starbuck’s “Been There” series of cups includes this souvenir of Dagobah. This one is “pre-owned.” I wonder when this series came out.

[Thanks to John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Michael Toman, Cora Buhlert, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ken Richards.]

51 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/13/20 Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mrs. Pixel?

  1. (18) There are three mugs: the other two are Bespin and Hoth.
    (Note: they are not Starbucks merchandise.)

    Hoping that people are safe from smoke, fires, and wandering viruses!

  2. 18) DAY GO SNOW, DAY GO SLEET, DAGOBAH. Starbuck’s “Been There” series of cups includes this souvenir of Dagobah. This one is “pre-owned.” I wonder when this series came out.

    April last year is when they showed up at the Disney resorts but they’ve been around Starbucks oddly enough since June of the year before.

    Now playing: “Echo Beach” by Katrina and The Waves

  3. 11) I like humorous works and have enjoyed several of Tom Holt’s books – the first one I read was Don’t Lose the Doughnut. I have also liked some of the very different novels he has written as KJ Parker.

    For a humorous fantasy Meredith Moment- The Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames is on sale at Amazon today. The prior book, Kings of the Wyld had me laughing a fair amount.

  4. (1) There really isn’t any SF connection in this story beyond the headline— the article, to its credit, makes it very clear that there wasn’t anything particularly “cutting-edge” about the Pasco sheriff’s policies, beyond the use of buzzwords like “intelligence-led” and the fact that they entered their notes into a computer instead of using a cork board or whatever, and that their main tactic for “stopping crime before it happened” was just to harass people constantly with the explicit goal of getting those people to leave town. It’s worth reading the whole thing, not so much for any insights into the use of data in law enforcement as just to see how badly an unaccountable police force, armed with a bunch of empty business jargon and led by an inexperienced but well-connected blowhard appointed by a governor who is himself a white-collar criminal, can abuse its authority and terrorize people without using (much) physical violence. In other words, have a drink or a kitten or some other form of stress relief handy before reading the story.

  5. Martin Wooster say Martin Wooster on September 13, 2020 at 8:05 pm said:
    I thought JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL won the Hugo in 2005 (NOT 1995).

    It did as the write-up notes. Someone made a minor goof in editing the header which happens. I’m sure It will be corrected shortly

  6. 16) Ha — I didn’t expect you to actually post those, but I was kind of entranced by them. And I found other articles about the same thing in other news apps as well — I’m not the only one who had my attention grabbed.

    Can’t you just see those attacks as the opening scenes of some eco-horror movie?

  7. (2) WGTC is a notorious clickbait site which works on the same principle as tipster sheets: make 20 random guesses, then capitalise on the single prediction which came true. Seriously, Mike, they are not a genuine news source, and lending them credibility only serves to diminish your own.

  8. (16) Did we learn nothing from 1977’s Orca? I seem to recall there was an orca out to get revenge on Richard Harris and it takes out a house, a boat, Bo Derek, and all sorts of things. So don’t mess around with orca.

  9. Eli: About (1), I wanted to signal boost that story because it’s just awful — I think we agree what’s going on there.

  10. Mike Glyer: I couldn’t tell my Intersection from my Interaction.

    I saw so much I broke my mind, I just dropped Intersection my Interaction was in.

  11. “‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’: scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats”

    I guess they haven’t read Moby Dick, which was inspired by a real event.

  12. To me Roald Dahl was the author of the two most horrific Alfred Hitchcock shows: Lamb to the Slaughter and Man from the South. Nothing he wrote after those was surprisingly scary.

  13. (10) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell was a book I didn’t know I wanted until it existed – and it turned out I wanted it quite badly!

  14. Added content for the post I’ll remember to click on: I finally watched “Safety Not Guaranteed” last night, which was delightful.

  15. @Jack —

    (16) Did we learn nothing from 1977’s Orca? I seem to recall there was an orca out to get revenge on Richard Harris and it takes out a house, a boat, Bo Derek, and all sorts of things. So don’t mess around with orca.

    In packs, even!

    @Cliff —

    “‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’: scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats”

    I guess they haven’t read Moby Dick, which was inspired by a real event.

    That headline was a bit disingenuous — the person being quoted was a researcher specifically talking about the population of orcas involved in these particular attacks.

    Whales of various species have occasionally attacked ships throughout history, including a famous case in the 70s in which an orca sank a family’s schooner — made into both a book and a movie called Survive the Savage Sea.

  16. Andrew (not Werdna): I’m glad you liked Safety Not Guaranteed. A very nice, low-key kind of film. One that has stayed in my mind since I first saw it.

  17. I think the BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was done in 2015, ten years after publication.

    far away in time 😉

  18. (10) I am impressed at how British that short list is. It’s been a bit of a disappointment how rarely local authors get to the top these past few years. Compare the Loncon 3 list (Stross the only non- North American), Worldon 75 (Cixin Liu likewise), Dublin (entirely North American), ConZealand (Tamsyn Muir being the only North American on the Best Novel shortlist and possibly the only kiwi on the whole ballot).

  19. @P J Evans: Did you think I’d never thought of that? Yes, obviously that is what the headline writer (for the Tampa Bay Times, not Mike) had in mind. But “if we heard that a teenager committed or was suspected of some petty crime at some point, we’ll harass the kid and the kid’s family until they move out of town”, which is what the article is actually about, is not dystopian SF— it’s just ordinary oppression of a kind that’s happened for a long time. The somewhat out-of-the-ordinary parts in this case are the scale it’s being practiced on in that county, the use of business jargon to make it sound like something innovative, and the fact that it’s in a mostly white area.

    I’m not complaining about Mike having posted the link; I’m not even really complaining about the paper having framed the article in this misleading way that buys into the Pasco sheriff’s ridiculous claims of having done something “futuristic”, since I presume the paper’s goal was to make people more likely to read the story and it’s important for people to read the story. I’m just pointing out that if you read past the headline, it’s about something quite different than the headline implies.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  20. I’m very eager to read more Susanna Clarke. BTW, for anyone who’s read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and hasn’t read The Ladies of Grace Adieu, it’s well worth checking out. Uneven, but some of the stories are gems.

  21. I’m a subscriber to DailyScienceFiction the online short fiction (pro-paying!) magazine that publishes a new story every week day (https://dailysciencefiction.com/). Today’s email from the editors included a note that while they have over 10,000 email subscribers, very few are paying subscribers leaving the magazine’s future at risk.
    1) If you’re looking for a daily source of good short SF, I suggest you subscribe to their mailing list
    2) If (like me) you hate to see a pro-paying market go away, please consider sending them a little money (they ask for $15 a year – $15 for 260 stories). Further details here https://www.facebook.com/DailySF/posts/3315035585208673?tn=-R

    Andrew (not affiliated with DailySF, just a fan).

  22. (11) On Tom Holt – a very fun writer. He’s quite prolific, with 50 or so books as Tom or Thomas Holt, and another dozen as K. J. Parker. I’ve read a couple of his historicals and enjoyed them as well. But don’t go buy a dozen and read them close together, as some of the themes and situations get reused – no surprise for someone so prolific, and quite forgivable.

  23. (14) Wow. Reading between the lines, it sounds like a powerful amount of sh*t hit the fan without any of it becoming public. Given some of the things implied by the makeup of the security and safety committee, they’ve got an explosion of bad press just waiting to happen.

  24. @Steve —

    (11) On Tom Holt – a very fun writer. He’s quite prolific, with 50 or so books as Tom or Thomas Holt, and another dozen as K. J. Parker.

    Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City was one of my favorite books of the year last year. I’m very much looking forward to its sequel, How to Rule and Empire and Get Away With It. Oddly enough, given their titles, neither one of these are comic novels.

    A boo me, that’s the only Parker novel I’ve read so far (I’ve read a short story or two as well). I gotta work on that!

  25. No Wikipedia pages for Hugo finalists? There are gaps all over Wikipedia and sometimes, when you try to fill them, the Wikipedia trolls tell you that an award is a niche interest and not worthy of an individual entry. They wore me out when I had to fight very hard to have John Bangsund and Bruce Gillespie accepted, but lost out in my fight for ANZAPA. I was just over-run.

  26. And Piranesi just dropped onto my Kindle!

    …but it’s much shorter than Strange and Norrell, so it didn’t do too much damage.

  27. Perry Middlemiss says No Wikipedia pages for Hugo finalists? There are gaps all over Wikipedia and sometimes, when you try to fill them, the Wikipedia trolls tell you that an award is a niche interest and not worthy of an individual entry. They wore me out when I had to fight very hard to have John Bangsund and Bruce Gillespie accepted, but lost out in my fight for ANZAPA. I was just over-run.

    Once upon time, the Encyclopedia of Fantasy made the mistake of listing several characters that Charles de Lint had created as aliases for him. The Wiki page done not by him picked that up and listed them as names he’d published under. I knew it wasn’t true as he has used just one alias, Samuel M. Key. I corrected. It was changed back. I corrected it again. After the third time, I was informed that I could no longer edit that page as I was vandalising it as its official editor knew the facts and I didn’t.

    Wiki makes the Puppies look friendly.

  28. Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t have a Wiki page. So many of my friends do.
    But then I wonder who would write it, and how much misinformation it might contain. And how impossible it would likely be to correct the errors. Book editors are bad enough. (No, you may not correct the grammar of that quote from Shakespear!) Today I started to read a Wiki about a British serial killer: it was so detailed and thorough that my usually strong stomach would not let me get past the half way mark. Do I really want to be in company with that sort of thing?

    I am reminded of the grade school teacher who punished a child for correcting her mistakes while acknowledging that he was correct.

    Maybe I should learn from Agamemnon. Stay away from the net!

  29. It’s not just WIkipedia. My brother-in-law is on IMDB. He says he doesn’t ever look at his entry because it is so full of errors and omissions. (He’s a tech, not an actor.)

  30. @Cat: On the bright side, the de Lint wiki page now seems right (I didn’t see any aliases other than Samuel Key.

  31. Andrew (not Werdna) says @Cat: On the bright side, the de Lint wiki page now seems right (I didn’t see any aliases other than Samuel Key.

    I’m reasonably sure that de Lint has control of it these days. Samuel M. Key by the way was the small monkey figure that sat on the desktop computer he had at the time of writing Moonheart.

    Now listening to: the end of Simon R. Green’s Moonbreaker

  32. One of my great great grandfathers has a Wikipedia page. It omits the two most interesting things about him, and I have no interest in adding them.

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