Pixeless Scroll 4/2/18

It’s not so much the long day I just put helping deal with business for my mother, it’s that forgot to pack my mouse along with the laptop.

So let’s make this a do-it-yourself Scroll — pitch in whatever you’ve got!

Then, as Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day!”

164 thoughts on “Pixeless Scroll 4/2/18

  1. “With or without foot in it?”

    Without the foot. I don’t want to damage Scalzi and I think the damage it would do to me to let the foot remain would be beyond repair.

  2. @Paul Weimer

    The Kelly Robson interview was good, thanks. It also confirmed something I’d been wondering about – “We Who Live in the Heart” is set in the future of “Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach”.

    @John M. Cowan

    Magician: Apprentice is only the first half of Magician. It’s a long time since I read it but I can’t imagine being chopped in half has improved it.

    @Arifel

    BRW to be settled by dramatic readings?

    @Lis Carey

    I can’t speak to the Kobo, but the kindle paperwhite is an excellent piece of kit. Well worth paying for over the bog standard kindle.

    @Mike

    Ditto others interpretation of that tweet. Never underestimate the fear that you’ve written something slightly ambiguous near fans and will therefore be spending the next hour fielding helpful corrections!
    Also much agreement about lack of mouse. I can’t do any complex work requiring multiple windows or c&p using a touchpad, I just don’t have the muscle memory for it. I’d be better off using my phone at that point.

  3. Mark-kitteh:

    “Magician: Apprentice is only the first half of Magician. It’s a long time since I read it but I can’t imagine being chopped in half has improved it.”

    If I remember correctly, it was chopped in half (in the US) because it was improved – or at least expanded. The first version was shorter, but when Feist got more known as an author, he managed to get it published as he originally intended. Being much longer, the american publisher decided to cut it into two parts.

  4. @NickPheas What happens if Empire of the Petal Throne were to invade D&D

    People say that, but nothing in the book is anything like as interesting as Empire of the Petal Throne. (Necessarily, I guess, because plagiarism and also accessibility to readers of Big Commercial Fantasy, but it’s still a shame. Read Martha Wells’ “Wheel of the Infinite” instead.)

  5. @ Ghostbird – People say that, but nothing in the book is anything like as interesting as Empire of the Petal Throne. (Necessarily, I guess, because plagiarism and also accessibility to readers of Big Commercial Fantasy, but it’s still a shame. Read Martha Wells’ “Wheel of the Infinite” instead.)

    What do people think about Feist and Janny Wurts’ Empire Trilogy? Is it really that close to the Empire of the Petal Throne? I have Man Of Gold in the TBR pile and now it is looking at me reproachfully.

  6. @Rob Thornton

    I’ve not read the Empire Trilogy, but I think recommend Man of Gold? I only hesitate because it’s been a decade or more since I last read it and my memory may be selective. The writing’s a bit rough in the first chapter, but it settles down to a decent pulp adventure in a very different kind of fantasy setting.

  7. Astro City news:
    Not only is the series continuing as OGN (what probably a lot of people here allready know), it is in devolopment as a TV series.

    The Pilot is worked on by Kurt himself.

  8. Do not agree with the Empire of the Petal Throne comments concerning Feist and Feist/Wurts. Granted, there are two cultures, one vaguely medieval Western European and one vaguely Japanese with Chinese and Aztec additions. And if you think that most of fantasy over the last 60 years is a Tolkien ripoff then you might worry here too. If you think there is room for more than one fantasy series per cultural tradition, there is not really a problem.

    Also, the plots are not primarily D&D quests. Magician is castle intrigue, boy growing up and war chronicle as much as small group quest, while the Feist/Wurts is mostly large scale political intrigue.

  9. The Empire trilogy was pretty good when I read it as a teenager 25 to 30 years ago. And unlike the Magician’s Apprentice, I still remember some details about it.

  10. I liked the Empire trilogy more than the Riftwar (that being the name of the trilogy starting with Magician), because it was a lot less derivative. The main world in Riftwar is your standard RPG setting with gruff dwarves, beautiful standoffish elves, a feudal medieval human society, and so on, so even if the writing is compelling and there are good characters and not too many plot holes, it’s a bit samey. The second book in that trilogy in particular felt a lot like a RPG quest.

    Empire, by contrast, is set in a much more alien world, drawing from different sources, and with a female protagonist.

    I have still enjoyed re-reading both series, and did keep up with Feist for another two or three sub-series in the universe. (My favourite might be the one about the ex-convict ex-soldier who rejects the whole quest to save the world thing and tries to make it in the world of commerce instead – it’s a good story about deal making, opportunity spotting, luck, and a very flawed main character who despite himself does grow to become a somewhat decent person.)

  11. I recall Feist’s Magician as a solid, workmanlike coming-of-age fantasy novel… but I also remember that my copy, at least, was loaded with typoes and misprints, to the point that some thirty-five years later I still remember how annoying that was, more than I remember any particular plot points. Be aware that Apprentice is the first half of a book with no real resolution; they just (if memory serves) chainsawed it apart at the 50% mark.

    I think the Daughter of Empire trilogy is better; I’ve actually re-read that one. But if the book is free in your laundry room….

  12. @Meredith: that first link is fascinatingly appalling; I’d heard bits and pieces (like a cartoon of a fight shown as a few random objects briefly rising above a board fence) but not how mobbish it had gotten. The second confirms my disinterest in RP1.

  13. I guess I am out as far as recent fiction, having bought a collection of Fitz James O’Brien.from a company called LEONAUR. They seem to be editing up a lot of spectral fiction and early SF. The $$ I spent on this was easier on my wallet than trying to find earlier editions of his work. I’m at my job and the company won’t allow me to set up links.

  14. At this point, Feist has acknowledged the influence of Empire of the Petal Throne on the original Riftwar trilogy — apparently, the inspiration for the books was an RPG campaign in which Tsolyani forces were invading a more conventional D&D setting — although Feist says he didn’t know the origin of the material when he adapted it into the novels (presumably he was a player, not a DM, at least in those sessions?).

    I remember reading the Riftwar books back in the 80s and enjoying them well enough; and revisiting them later when the restored, expanded edition of Magician was released. But that was before I knew about the Empire of the Petal Throne situation, so I’m not sure how that would color a revisit.

    The Empire trilogy is much better — and it also very definitely moves Kelewan away from the original Tekumel model by making it more distinctly Chinese/Japanese in feel.

    I’m also a huge, huge fan of Man of Gold (the first of M.A.R. Barker’s Tekumel novels). The prose is serviceable, but the setting just sank its hooks into me and never let go.

  15. By the way, the collection Old Mars edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois is on sale at US Amazon for $1.99. Old Venus is not on sale at this time. Or at least it’s on sale for me; I put the link in a private window and found it listed at the regular price, so give it a try and see if you’re lucky, I guess.

  16. Sympathy on the lack of a wee, sleekit, cow’rin’, tim’rous beastie. I worked with Photoshop for years, and was at first frustrated with a regular mouse. I was able to have a trackball for a good while (with a medium-sized 8-ball replacing the one that came with it), but found that there were some tasks (creating masks, particularly) where going point-to-point with a regular old mouse gave me the finest control. It was always advantageous to be able to switch to the regular mouse at such times.

    When I got my first graphics tablet at work, it was a Wacom, and those came with a wireless mouse that I could switch to for just such occasions. Jump ahead a few years, and my old Wacom became unusable here at home, left behind by a driver I couldn’t update for my current system. I opted for a new tablet that uses either a pen or fingers, but no mouse. It won’t even work with my old Wacom mouses. I still miss being able to go point-to-point with the shift key, drawing lines with the tight control I used to have. Life’s just a big old glide pad now. I want me mousie—but I’d only be able to use it on top of the pad. My desk is clear glass.

  17. @Lis About 1 year ago we did a long review of e-readers, including doing things like buying Kindles and sending them back. At our home, my wife chose the Kobo Aura One primarily because the Kobo’s 7.8″ screen made for easier reading than the Paperwhite 6″. The long battery life of the Kobo is a plus. The better integration of Kobo with the library system’s Overdrive was a plus. The difficulty in loading the Kobo with any Amazon-only works was a minus. I will cry the day my Nook Color HD+ dies unless something better hits the market by then. I have been watching the market but nada yet.

  18. @Owlmirror

    Smol Person: What’s a wombat?

    Maybe not THE answer but an answer:

    Diary of a Wombat

    A particular favorite for my stepson back at the right age. Always guaranteed for giggle making.

    ——————————————————————————-

    On a separate note:

    Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

    Holmes: “To the curious incident of the mouse in the night-time.”

    Gregory: “The mouse did nothing in the night-time.”

    Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

  19. A few weeks ago an astronomer announced he’d spotted an interesting bright new object…before having to issue the correction “oops, nope, that’s Mars”.
     
    Now a couple of his colleagues have kindly written up his discovery in a paper, published under the names of Michael B. Lund, Robert J. Siverd, and Ponder Stibbons.

    Also: “submission for Sunday’s Acta Prima Aprilia“.

    A bit fishy, what?

  20. http://deadline.com/2018/04/neil-gaiman-a-beautiful-minds-akiva-goldsman-to-adapt-fantasy-novels-gormenghast-for-fremantlemedia-north-america-1202356738/

    Oh, please let it be good.

    I’m also a bit confused because the story talks about the five books in the [Gormenghast] series, but I’m only aware of four — the original trilogy, and then Titus Awakes, the one that I believe was completed by his wife and published for the first time just a few years ago.

    I keep meaning to revisit the original trilogy. Maybe this’ll be the impetus I need.

  21. Meredith Moment:

    No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin is on sale today at The Usual Suspects for $2.99.

  22. @Joe H

    I think there’s an odd side-story novella as well. I’ve not read it though.
    I imagine the deal acquired the rights to all five published things for completeness, and the article author is therefore looking at a press release saying five books.

  23. Bizzarro from last Saturday is related, and plausibly appalling. That’s a generic link; I expect somebody knows how to get to this directly, but the only way I can find is to hit the left arrow (3 times as of this posting); the obvious links for JPG stop 2 years ago.

  24. @Mark — Yes, I’m sure it’s something along those lines.

    And TBH, I think the BBC made the correct decision when they limited the first adaptation to just the first two books (Titus Groan and Gormenghast).

  25. @Ghostbird: I got bogged down in the first few pages of The Man of Gold because of the writing; on your suggestion I’ll return it to Mt. TBR.

    Scroll on, big pixel, scroll on.

  26. Owlmirror: That’s not what it looks like to me, to echo Kendall & JJ. That is, it isn’t a strict prescription to not let repeats occur, but rather, that a more diverse set of Fan Writer winners [and that diversity is demonstrated by lots of non-repeating] is better than a restricted set of Fan Writer winners [with lots of repeats due to being so restricted].

    Thanks to all who weighed in. I’m going with your take on it, then. In fact, I’m in favor of a diverse set of Fan Writer winners myself — voted for Nussbaum last year — even though my accepting a nomination might not seem consistent with that idea.

  27. @ambyr: I hope to see Pandemic Legacy season 2 on the ballot next year, although Im not sure about the US release.

    Over Easter I finished some ebooks:
    The strangebird from Jeff Vandermeer is a sidestory of Borne and it’s important to have read Borne. I guess you could understand it without knowing Borne, but it draws most of its appeal of showing some new angles on the events there. However, I liked the new stuff most and I did like the beautiful prose. The story however was a bit predictable. If you loved Borne, you will get enjoyment out of this, if not, well, then probably not for you. Im somewhere in the middle.

    Beneath the sugar sky from Seanan McGuire however was right up my alley! Its the third book of the wayward children and while I got much enjoyment out of the first two, Both where not Quite „There“ for me: I thought the first was to short for the murder mistery and the second had the disadvantage of being a prequel, where the ending was known. Now the third one finally lived up its potential (for me)! It being a road movie / quest it gives all the characters something to do and while you may say its not the most original take, it perfectly fits the world and tone of the wayward children. I really enjoyed this!

    I also finished „The science of Games of thrones“ by Helen Keen. Now im sceptical about „Science of..“- books and i wouldn’t have touched it because of the cover, if not a blog I follow basically said: Its quite good, dont judge it by its cover. Its legit.
    And yes it is, there are a lot of interesting tidbits in it and some of these questions are answered quite satisfying. But Keen goes wide instead of deep and I wished she had pursuied some of the interesting stuff more and left out the things that have only a flimsy connection to the books. And while aware that I am reinforcing a German stereotype I have to say that I found the jokes quite lame and distracting. So nothing great. But certainly worth the 3€ I payid for the ebook!

    „Scrool to the left, scroll to the right. Lets do the wookieloki“

  28. @Mark, Joe H – the side-story is called Boy in Darkness; I’ve got it somewhere. The titular Boy is never actually named, and neither is Gormenghast, but it’s generally assumed that this fits in somewhere between the main events of Titus Groan and Gormenghast… though it’s entirely possible to read it as something unrelated and self-contained.

  29. @Steve Wright — Thanks! I might even have that around somewhere in some anthology or other …

  30. @Robert Reynolds:

    Meredith Moment:

    No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin is on sale today at The Usual Suspects for $2.99.

    Oooh! Thanks for the heads-up!

  31. The pad on this here Thinkpad is possibly the worst I’ve ever used, overly sensitive to touches sending the insert point to random points in the screen. The whole thing rocks when you try to use the “button” areas too which is disconcerting. This makes using it to play XCOM: Enemy Unknown an adventure. “I appear to have launched that missile strike on myself….”

    Otherwise I gave up on mice years ago, using a mixture of trackballs, touchpads and occasionally the trackpoint nipple when I’m not just keeping my hands on the keyboard and alt+tabbing between windows.

    Of the trackballs I’ve had, I’ve seen two of them being used in TV but only one as a pointing device. One has been used by NCIS’s perky Goth Abby Sciuto for several seasons, and the other was used to manually pilot Moya in Farscape.

  32. I’m still happily using my Kensington “Expert Mouse” trackball (the billiard-ball size), with at least one spare tucked away. (One tip: the sensors in the base, below the ball, periodically need cleaning… a shvitz of compressed air works wonders.)

  33. Speaking of last night’s episode of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, hijinks hilites included:
    – One of the targets for “creating time breakage” was a guy named Barry. No, not Allen, some college kid name Barry Obama. Yeah, full first name Barack.
    – In reference to that or something else, one of the Legends (“heroes”) quips he should hold onto a copy of his birth certificate
    – When Gorilla Grodd (initially a baddy over on THE FLASH, but guest-baddying on LEGENDS a few episodes ago) stomps in to do in the young Obama, GG of course quips, “It’s time to Make America Grodd Again”
    – One plot point requires getting the voice of John Noble (Legolas in LoTR) saying some stuff… so two of the Legends time-zip to the shooting set in New Zealand, to con JN (played by himself) into saying said stuff.

    See io9 for more. Or watch the episode.

  34. O. Westin:

    “. (My favourite might be the one about the ex-convict ex-soldier who rejects the whole quest to save the world thing and tries to make it in the world of commerce instead – it’s a good story about deal making, opportunity spotting, luck, and a very flawed main character who despite himself does grow to become a somewhat decent person.)”

    My favourite too.

  35. the voice of John Noble (Legolas in LoTR)

    That would have been an interesting take on the character…

    Denethor is the name you were looking for. Or possibly Orlando Bloom?

  36. Daniel Dern:
    Kensington for the win! That’s the one I used for years, until some circumstance made it unfeasible. I liked that it occupied its space and didn’t need the whole desk, and I had one at home for a while that I was able to use playing Marble Madness. When I bought the 8-ball at the pool supply, they asked if it was for a gearshift. Apparently, most of the ones they sold that way were. I think I was the first trackball owner they encountered.

  37. @Daniel Dern: I loved last night’s “Legends” – the “Run, Barry, Run” addressed to someone other than Barry Allen was also nice.

    Haven’t thought of “Marble Madness” in years – I played that one in arcades.

  38. Sigh. Taking a page from Vox’s playbook, JDA’s put pretty much all the people who have told him to take a flying leap on his “happy frogs” list, and then tagged us all in on it on Twitter.

    And that’s about as much effort as I wish to devote to tossers today. My garden has gone from winter to SPRING!!!!! in the last week and I am running around frantically trying to keep up with the starting of seeds and the planting of plants before it is suddenly summer.

  39. RedWombat: JDA’s put pretty much all the people who have told him to take a flying leap on his “happy frogs” list, and then tagged us all in on it on Twitter.

    He’s posted a half-hour video which consists almost entirely of mocking the last names of the Hugo Finalists and denigrating the ones who are women, POC and LGBTQ — and, unsurprisingly, engaging in no actual discussion whatsoever of the content of the works in question. What a shining example of the nice, Christian guy he keeps claiming to be. 🙄

    A few of the more hilarious moments include him claiming that he is good friends with Lois McMaster Bujold, that his steampunk novel is better than any of the YA Finalists (none of which he’s ever heard of), and that his 4.5-star rating on 15 reviews for his latest novel clearly demonstrates that his writing is better and more well-liked than Scalzi’s, whose Collapsing Empire only has a 4.1-star rating with 576 reviews. 😆

  40. There are so many things I could do with half an hour of my time. I think I’m going to find one. Pulling weeds. Editing this novel. Mixing a hundred fifty pounds of potting soil in a wheelbarrow…

    OH! Which reminds me, gang—if you have, like, “used” potting soil? Mix it with 1/3rd coconut coir—you can get the blocks on Amazon, they rehydrate beautifully—and dust liberally with bat guano! You need a wheelbarrow or similarly sized trough to make the mixing easier, but I am having luck with that to refresh potting soil so far. (I also have a package of seabird guano leftover from Valentine’s Day that I’ll try on the next batch.)

    Granted, it hasn’t been tested against full blazing summer and hard use from tomatoes, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

  41. The thing about Christianity is that every believer falls short of the savior’s example and is aware of it, and as a result, sarcasm about how far someone has fallen short is like rubbing salt in the wounds of a bunch of readers, while predictably having no effect on the intended target.

  42. @JJ —

    A few of the more hilarious moments include him claiming that he is good friends with Lois McMaster Bujold

    Oh. My.

    Has he ever even READ the Vorkosigan series? Has he ever even HEARD of Cordelia Vorkosigan, or Donna/Donal Vorrutyer?? Or the decidedly bi Aral??

  43. Mike, then it might be a good idea for JDA to stop proclaiming how good a Christian he is. (I believe that there are some things in the bible about that. Something about street corners and sinners comes to mind.)

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