Roverfield 7/5

aka Muttropolis.


Last roundup tomorrow, July 6.

Banner art changes tomorrow.

What the future holds for File 770 arrives tomorrow!

Meanwhile, roundup content today is provided by Lou Antonelli, Joseph Tomaras, Jonathan Crowe, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Len Schiff, and Bonnie McDaniel. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Brad J. Book cover lifted from Will Reichard’s “Wishlist: Soviet Space Dogs”.)

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Genrecide” – July 5

The dispute that arose when the Sad Puppy selections did so well in the Hugo nominations has probably created a permanent split of science fiction fans – not one created by the literature, but for social reasons.

Both sides have said such horrible things about each other that I doubt the rift will ever be healed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some semantic distinction arises later – such as the Sad Puppies’ type of fiction being called spec fic as opposed to science fiction.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her blog Making Light started the civil war when she realized her chums – the usual suspects – were not getting their Hugo nomination notice emails as usual. She blew up and started the vituperation a week before the actual announcement was made – proving the point, as Larry Corriea was pointed out, that there is an insider clique after all.

Mike Glyer, who’s been running his fan site File 770 since dirt was invented, unfortunately has kept the wildfires burning by collecting up Puppy posts and republishing them on his site. The comments threads there have become the clearing house for all Puppy Kicker resentment.

I don’t believe either side of completely right or completely wrong, but it really doesn’t matter anymore, because regardless of how or who started it, and how it ends, thanks to the internet too much has been said attacking too many people by so many people that there will probably be a long-term drop in readership and popular support.

Perhaps in the future people will say they read magic realism, or space opera, or dystopia, or alternate history – but as a result of the Puppy Wars, no one will actually want to admit they read “science fiction” because of all the negative connotations in the wake of the current unpleasantness.


Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“I Lied: A Few More Words about the Hugos” – July 5

….As more people post their ballots and/or their critical response to the items on the ballot, I have been surprised at how critical judgment on Kary English’s “Totaled” has lined up. People who fault contemporary SF for leaving too little room for ambiguity have criticized it for unclear, unreliable narration in the early sections. (To which I respond: As if a recently revived brain-in-a-jar would be a reliable narrator.) People who have a habit of calling for “good stories” in the whiz-bang mode of military SF have praised the story for its emotional trajectory. It has scrambled the factional lines, and that, I think, suggests a few points in its favor. There is room for dispute over it, and is worth being revisited and debated on aesthetic grounds.

What I think is indisputable, unfortunately, is how thoroughly English herself stumbled over the politics of this year’s hyper-politicized Hugo. She went months after the announcement of the ballots before disavowing both the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates on which she had been placed: Long enough that most of the anti-canine wings of the Hugo electorate had already dismissed her as a fellow traveler, but not long enough to avoid the wrath of the Rabid Majordomo himself. I take this as an object lesson in how the center-right, quasi-depoliticized “common sense” that passes as “moderation” in the U.S. context can succeed, in a global context, only in pissing people off, whether in small matters (e.g. the Hugos) or in big ones (e.g. Guantánamo, drone bombings).


Jonathan Crowe

“Best Saga Proposal Revised” – July 5

So the proposal for a Best Saga Hugo Award (see previous entry) has since been revised: they’ve abandoned getting rid of Best Novelette, which was needlessly zero-sum, and have lowered the minimum word count. The proposal now says 300,000 words; the draft posted to File 770 at more or less the same time says 240,000. A series cannot win more than once, but it can certainly be nominated multiple times (so long as two new installments requalifies it) until it wins — I think of this as the “my favourite series better damn well win this time” provision.

I’m still not a fan: it’s going to be a popularity contest for very popular (if not always good) ongoing series. And any minimum word count is going to be exclusionary. A 240,000-word lower limit would have rendered ineligible the original Foundation trilogy — which won a one-off “Best All-Time Series” Hugo in 1966.

And as far as I can tell the amendment would still allow series to appear on the Best Novel ballot when the final installment is published, like The World of Time did last year.


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Hugo Blatherings” – July 5

Still, it means I’m going to be part of Worldcon for at least the next two and a half years. I’ll be voting in two more Hugos after this one. And I’ll be trying to actively look for things to nominate, as well. I’ll be checking out Renay’s Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom and the Hugo Nominees 2016 Wikia regularly once I’ve finished with this year’s packet to look for suggestions to read. I’ve already got a couple of things I plan to nominate, and a few more I haven’t finished reading yet but I think might make my list. I’ll post a few lists of possible nominations as I go, and once the deadline for nominations has passed, I might even post my actual nomination form.

The round-ups at File 770 have slowed down, mostly because there just isn’t that much to talk about the Hugos right now. Everyone is busy going through the packets or have finished voting and are just waiting for the convention. I fully expect another fake outrage to be manufactured soon, but I can’t guess what direction it will come from. I’ve been continuing to read David Gerrold on Facebook… he’s the guy that got me into this whole kerfuffle in the first place. I don’t think I would have cared as much if not for him.


Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: Novella” – July 5

The other shorter-than-a-novel-but-longer-than-a-short-story category, these tend to be longer reads, which is a shame because I didn’t particularly care for any of them. It’s also one of the weirder categories in that three of the five nominees are from the same author. Two of the stories are also significantly expanded versions of much shorter stories (which, given my complaints below, would probably have been much better for me). None of the nominees are particularly terrible, per say, I just failed to connect with them, and it makes me wish there was a little more variety here. I don’t want too dwell on this, so let’s just get to it:…

[Comments on all five nominees.]

For the first time this year, I’m actually thinking about deploying No Award on my ballot, if only to get past the ridiculous notion that one author wrote the three best novellas of the year or something. I mean, I guess such a thing is possible, but not with these three stories. That being said, Wright also wrote my clear favorite of the bunch, so I’m not slotting No Award very high.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)” – July 5

This is a Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form nominee for the 2015 Hugos. This is not a movie with any deep thoughts in its head. It’s pure, fun, over-the-top adventure, with colorful space battles and explosions…..


Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: Campbell Award” – July 5

(Note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of posts reviewing as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can before the July 31 deadline, and explaining why I will or will not vote for them.)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer advertises itself, famously, as “not-a-Hugo,” celebrating what the Worldcon community decides is the best new science fiction/fantasy writer of the year. Unfortunately, like so much of the rest of the ballot, this category has been tainted by the shenanigans of the Impacted Canines.

(Forgive me for sounding testy. Several weeks of slogging through godawfully bad stories not worth their weight in puppy piss will do that to you. I mean, if you’re going to behave lawfully-but-unethically and game the awards, can’t you at least nominate something halfway decent? Apparently not, as most of the ballot proves.)

Listed from worst to best….

[Comments on all five nominees.]


[Nothing to do with Sad Puppies, but an interesting article.]


619 thoughts on “Roverfield 7/5

  1. Dex, I don’t like or read zombie fiction at all (or see films or show).

    But I adore Rowland’s _White Trash ZOmbie_ series for all the things it does that zombie fic doesn’t do–ditto MIra Grant’s NEWSFLESH series (though the two authors’ works are very different in tone, setting, and events).

  2. Thanks for all the work, Mike.

    Now I have to decide if File770 ‘ s inevitable Hugo nomination should be in Fanzine or Related Work….

  3. Another vote of thanks. As a almost complete lurker, reading these roundups and these threads has helped me get past my anger at the puppies for crapping all over the Hugos.

    Although I do expect my productivity at work to go back up.

    Also, to all the published authors, and especially the comic writers, seeing you guys comment here has been a real treat. Thank you.

    On Edit:
    GSLamb, it already won for best Fanzine, so I suggest related work. It’d be cool to see it win in multiple categories. Of course, you can just nominate it for both categories and see where it falls out.

  4. I was puzzled by Hoyt’s assertion that “Fiction is not agit prop.”

    Sure, it isn’t. Except for the fiction that is.

    I wrote an agitprop one-act play once, as part of a class in fringe theatre. The professor liked it so much he arranged to have it performed as street theatre.

    It was undeniably fiction. Fantasy fiction, even, since it involved knights fighting dragons. And it was undeniably agitprop.

    So if she’s saying that fiction and agitprop are mutually exclusive things, then she’s wrong.

    And if she’s saying that agitprop simply isn’t an appropriate thing to do with SFF, then, well…she’s wrong.

    If she’s saying that writers don’t have to write agitprop, well, duh. But if so, she’s saying it really poorly, and neglecting the corollary — writers can write agitprop if they like, just like all those other things she says they can write if they like.

  5. What is Human Wave Science Fiction by Sarah Hoyt

    I am immediately reminded of Ta-Nahesi Coates’ July 4th column in the Atlantic: “A Letter to My Son”:

    When Abraham Lincoln declared, in 1863, that the battle of Gettysburg must ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” he was not merely being aspirational. At the onset of the Civil War, the United States of America had one of the highest rates of suffrage in the world. The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant “government of the people” but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term “people” to actually mean.

    The first question to ask about this “new” Human Wave is just how the participants define “human” first. *All* of their claims about the imposition of identity politics upon the poor white male body of sff implies that those who insist on identifying as women, as people of color, as sexual, romantic, and gender minorities (or heavens above, all of the above) are the ones who are imposing this narrow focus on “identity” instead of reacting to a centuries long cultural categorizing of bodies into identity categories based on excluding all but the narrow default of “people” i.e. “humans.”

    Now to practical points: her Cunning Plan!

    We should also en-list some critics and reviewers. I know some reviewers but not much about critics in their native habitat. However, someone else might.

    I’m an academic, and an academic who was an sff fan for decades before I got my Ph.D. (and who used Foucault to sneak feminist sf into my dissertation because dang, Foucault lets you do anything under the rubric of genealogy). I’m only guessing mind you that Hoyt means to talk about “critics” as including (if not limited to) academics. “Critics” as far as I’m concerned includes sf authors themselves (many of whom write damn good criticism about the genre, and have for decades); fans, ditto; independent scholars (who often overlap with fans, or started as fans—some of the Tolkien fan groups became sort of academic groups, i.e. Mythopoeic and Tolkien Societies specifically); and librarians (who could do scholarship on just about anything and DID, although friends are now telling me that there’s a corporate management style in some academic libraries demanding they work only on library science, and restricting funding for travel, etc. And “critics” often write reviews—but just as Hoyt does (omg I agree with her!), I see reviews and critics as different threads in a larger non-fictional net though the same people can write both and often do.

    But anyway, especially in recent years (no doubt in part because of the terrible awful cultural Marxists and postmodern and queer types), popular culture generally and science fiction and fantasy have become more acceptable for academic work (and not just in English departments—humanities generally—the Philosophers were right there early on with things like Star Trek and philosophy, etc.). So.

    She’s talking about enlisting (amazing how the military metaphors keep working) critics to help promote this Human Wave. I was at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts a few years back when the Interstitial Arts group came to do their presentation (have any of you heard how Harlan nearly killed ICFA off?). I’m not going to link because I’m at two links already, but Google if it you haven’t heard of it: it’s a group of mostly fantasy writers who formed a non-profit to support their vision.

    From their home page:

    blockquote>The IAF was founded by a group of literary, visual, musical, and performance artists for the purpose of developing and promoting interstitial art.

    What is interstitial art? It is art made in the interstices between genres and categories. It is art that flourishes in the borderlands between different disciplines, mediums, and cultures. It is art that crosses borders, made by artists who refuse to be constrained by category labels.

    Just as how in nature the greatest areas of biodiversity occur in the margins of land between ecosystems, it is our belief that some of the most vital, innovative, and challenging art being created today can be found in the margins between categories, genres, and disciplines.

    I like a bunch of the authors and artists involved in this group: in fact, I think it’s an interesting model, and although I doubt Puppies will want to follow it, they might be able to benefit from looking at what the IAF has done). I suspect it’s all too communal for these staunch individualist libertarian rhetoric types (who somehow sound so alike to the uninformed outsider). And as a reader I am very interested in the interstices (which is a term also used in some of the creepy icky postmod theory that so many love to hate), and the borderlands, and the crossing genre stuff. And I completely agree with them that marketing/corporate driven spaces do not do well by the works that fall into those categories (though I think that the growth of the internet and its challenges to some of the traditional media methods and venues is a boon for artists in the interstices). The foundation got its start in the early 1990s, though organizing it all took some time, and they do have academics and activists on the board as well as artists.

    But I didn’t go to the presentation they did (I heard later that there was generally a lot of confusion as the presenters and audience tried to figure out some common ground and ways of talking, but that was from academics, so I don’t know what the artists thought). I still haven’t worked out all the reasons, but it has to do with boundaries (that make writing scholarship on works whose authors are still living possible, letting me focus on the texts and not the authors), the firm belief (as a creative writing teacher) that an author should not be “telling” the reader what to think or how to respond, and a sort of generic “herding cats is easier than herding academics” attitude.

    But I admire the work they’re doing!

    Thinking of the IAF in comparison to the puppies, and now this “Human Wave” idea, it’s amazing how many things there are in the sff communities that show fans involved in actively shaping the work and the criticism and even demographics of fandom that work, and comparing them to this very very sad temper tantrum of the last few years. And yeah, they wanta support this whatever it is sf, go for it: edit anthologies! Create their own prizes! Do cons! Write reviews of sf they think is “Human Wave” (Now I’m seeing sports fans doing THE WAVE only with sff fans at cons). Give presentations at academic tracks or fan cons OR at the conventions for sff research (SFRA, ICFA come to mind). Nobody would oppose that (though a bunch of us might ignore it, but that’s kinda life.)

    Here’s my favorite part of the post:

    Because we are rebelling against enforced conformity of style and opinion, of belief and ideology, this list is not “though shalt nots” but “You’re allowed to.”

    Funny, when we get to the guidelines, it seems to me they’re all “you shalt not” (emphasis mine in the blockquote below):

    2 – Your writing shouldn’t leave anyone feeling like they should scrub with pumice or commit suicide by swallowing stoats for the crime of being human, or like humans are a blight upon the Earth, or that the future is dark, dreary, evil and fraught with nastiness, because that’s all humans can do, and woe is us.

    3 – Your writing should not leave anyone feeling ashamed of being: male, female, western, non-western, sickly, hale, powerful, powerless. It should use characters as characters and not as broad groups that are then used to shame other groups. Fiction is not agit prop.

    4- Your writing shouldn’t be all about the message. You can, of course, have a message. But the message should not be the be-all end-all of the novel. If it is, perhaps you should be writing pamphlets.

    5 – You shall not commit grey goo. Grey goo, in which characters of indeterminate moral status move in a landscape of indeterminate importance towards goals that will leave no one better or worse off is not entertaining. (Unless it is to see how the book bounces off the far wall, and that has limited entertainment. Also, I’m not flinging my kindle.)

    Now one might quibble and say “shalt” or shall is a much stronger verb than should: it’s certainly old enough to go back to Old English.

    Oxford English Dictionary entry on “shall” (shalt is archaic form—I’ve pulled out the major definitions that have “shalt” in the text examples (“shalt” appears 12 times in the entry for shall, in the text examples):

    5. In commands or instructions.
    (a) In the second person, equivalent to an imperative.
    Chiefly in Biblical language, of Divine commandments, rendering the jussive future of the Hebrew and Vulgate. (In Old English the imperative is used in the ten commandments.)

    6. In the second and third persons, expressing the speaker’s determination to bring about (or, with negative, to prevent) some action, event, or state of things in the future, or (occasionally) to refrain from hindering what is otherwise certain to take place, or is intended by another person.

    a. In Old English sceal, while retaining its primary sense, served as a tense-sign in announcing a future event as fated or divinely decreed. Hence shall has always been the auxiliary used, in all persons, for prophetic or oracular announcements of the future, and for solemn assertions of the certainty of a future event.

    I’m not finding much on “should” in the OED subscription database, but in the Oxford Dictionaries “American English” (aha) online, the first one seems pertinent:

    Definition of should in English:
    modal verb (3rd sing. should)
    1 Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions:
    he should have been careful
    I think we should trust our people more
    you shouldn’t have gone

    So it might be possible to quibble that “should not” is not the same as “shalt not” but…………’s walking a pretty fine line.

    And on a larger, more comprehensive note: her guidelines and comments remind me of beginning students in my creative writing classes who think (they actually say so, or ask me) that they can learn to write in such a way that *everyone* who reads it will get their intended message.

    My creative writing classes are workshop based, and I spent a lot of time teaching them how to do constructive peer responses—including the very simple but hard to learn “start by describing what you see happening” (in the poem or story or novel chapter or memoir). After the group gets good enough to simply describe their reading experience, I heard a lot less about how they can make sure everyone will get their “intended message.”

    What she’s talking about in those guidelines assumes a writer can control the interpretation of their text, especially number 2 (much of the very small amount of Puppy writing I’ve read does in fact make me feel like scrubbing with pumice, etc.). And I gather from the reviews/comments I’ve seen here and links to others that I’m not alone in this response! (And this desire to control the message seems linked to their anger at the round-ups and commentaries here–they cannot block their critics.)

    And trying to control critics, reviewers, or readers’ responses to your work is bound to lead to disappointment and major flame wars (I often link my class to the Anne Rice attempt to tell her readers they were doing it wrong as a warning to them about what not to do in the workshops or in response to readers of their published work).

    Has this “Human Wave” manifesto (published in 2012) actually led to anything other than blog posts and attempts to game the Hugo Awards?

  6. @everyone

    Don’t leave! 😀 I believe there are plans afoot for us to have new posts to hang out on and discuss stuff, only with less Puppies.

    @Matt Y

    I’m happy to see more martial arts recommendations. 😀

  7. The puppies will cause Science fiction to somehow split and part of it be renamed? Seriously?

    These guys think they are so much larger and more influential than they are.

  8. Re Laika: If you get emotional about animal things and poor old Laika in particular, under no circumstances should you listen to Space Doggity by Jonathan Coulton. I love JoCo and it’s a great song, but it has been (so far) a one-timer for me because it made me ugly-cry.

  9. Not martial arts precisely, but how about The Admiral: Roaring Currents? It’s a Korean period piece set in the year 1597 when a dozen Korean ships went up against a much larger Japanese fleet. Pretty much the entire second hour is an epic naval battle. Similar to (but much better than) 300: Rise of an Empire.

    Also Firestorm, a recent Hong Kong police movie with completely ridiculous shootouts — possibly the closest thing I’ve seen to what an FPS game would look like to an outside observer.

  10. @Stefan Mitev @4:36 am: “recently I’ve been making my way through Jonathan Strahan and Rich Horton’s Best of the Year anthologies for stories published in 2014…

    I’d like to ask for some characterizations of the Jonathan Strahan and Rich Horton best-of series, which I just noticed at the bookstore this past weekend. How do they compare with the long-running Gardner Dozois series? And, does David Hartwell still compile a best-of? Anyone else? I’m mostly looking for “core” SF here, not the fantasy and horror best-of anthologies I’ve noticed.

    (Sad digression: I don’t get to bookstores much since Borders closed: the remaining independents have limited hours and locations which are annoying for me to work with.)

  11. Finished another work that I first heard of as a result of all that’s been going on this year: Digger.

    What a delight!

  12. cmm on July 6, 2015 at 9:08 am said:

    Re Laika: If you get emotional about animal things and poor old Laika in particular, under no circumstances should you listen to Space Doggity by Jonathan Coulton. I love JoCo and it’s a great song, but it has been (so far) a one-timer for me because it made me ugly-cry.

    JoCo really excels at nerdy-sad-sweet songs. I’m Your Moon is a love song from Charon to Pluto about Pluto’s de-planeting. I Crush Everything is a love song from a giant squid to the boats it just wants to hug. Blue Sunny Day is a wonderful song about a suicidal vampire.

    And the two Portal closing songs, of course.

  13. Speaking of Korean films: Shiri is worth watching. One of the first (or the first?) big budget films to come out of modern Korean cinema. North Korean assassin is sent to live in South Korea, is chased by South Korean police. Stuff ensues.

  14. rrede: So it might be possible to quibble that “should not” is not the same as “shalt not” but…………’s walking a pretty fine line.

    I realize this isn’t the point you’re making, but somehow I find myself visualizing Gandalf bellowing, “You should not pass!”

  15. I realize this isn’t the point you’re making, but somehow I find myself visualizing Gandalf bellowing, “You should not pass!”

    “You would not like me when you pass!”

  16. I’m happy to see more martial arts recommendations. ????

    Well, somehow people got through several pages of recommendations without mentioning:

    Drunken Master II (yes, I know they said Hong Kong period Jackie Chan, but DM2 deserved explicit mention)

    Hero (not a very western ending, but so much better for it)

    The One (excretable plot, lovely choreography especially for the final fight sequence)

    Oldboy (Hammers and hallways. Do I need to say more?)

    The Raid (another from the hammers and hallways school)

    Grosse Pointe Blank (ignore the film, focus on the fight scene by the lockers, then look up who Cusack is fighting)

    The Transporter trilogy (for just good old-fashioned physics-be-damned choreographic fun) and Man of Tai Chi while you’re in the popcorn mood.

    13 Assassins (the remake, which gives a pretty good depiction of samurai reality for this genre of film).

    Oh, come on, seriously? Nobody mentioned Seven Samurai, the original 47 Ronin or Yojimbo? Come on you guys!

    And even though I’m effectively mentioning him twice, the ending credits to every Jackie Chan film ever (well, other than the porn ones, obviously). Lots of movies don’t even bother to say “don’t try this at home”; Chan showed you why you shouldn’t. Now that took intestinal fortitude.

    Also, most of the older hong-kong style martial arts films are going to be more impressive than the more modern hollywood ones because even where the actors take pains to do it right (the Matrix actors spending months in physical training for example), the cuts used in western cinema happen so fast that the physical flow of the action is lost and the scene just looks fake to us. Compare it with any of the longer-cut hong kong stuff and you’ll see what I mean, the sequences flow much more believably (well, outside of the wire work, I’m taking about the up-close-and-grappling stuff).

    ps. Oh, and pick any very early Segal stuff if you want to see something that looks like aikido if you squint hard enough. It’s interesting for that, but turn off the sound and fast-forward through the rest of the, erm, “plot”…

  17. Re: Laika

    …if you’re interested in a more upbeat song about Laika the space dog, try The Adam Burns Band’s “Laika”

  18. Well, having managed to lock myself into my bedroom (don’t ask) I have brought joy to the hearts of the construction workers opposite by climbing out of the window onto the balcony, en route for the fire escape entry/exit.

    I carefully selected my outfit to look as non-burglar as possible, i.e. Caribbean bling, though I must confess to a certain glee in the fact that I can still climb out of windows, should the need arise. On the other hand it’s certainly not going on Facebook, since my daughter would disapprove; I’m looking forward to growing old disgracefully, which requires a degree of judicious editing.

    Given that Baen have apparently given up editing, since it doesn’t change sales figures, I can at least dispose of one of the nominated long-form editors without further ado.

    And I propose to ignore the fact that Sheila Gilbert was on the slate because she knew nothing at all about slates, and has a minimal, verging on invisible, web presence; I do not intend to penalise her for not knowing that the web harbours slime balls beyond her ken. Daw has been publishing amazing books for many decades which makes them close to my heart…

  19. Jim Parrish: Gandalf is a perfect example!

    And I see despite multiple proofing runs I worked the html. And there is one confusing pro ref.

  20. Given that Baen have apparently given up editing, since it doesn’t change sales figures, I can at least dispose of one of the nominated long-form editors without further ado.

    Forgive me if I’ve missed it, but is there a source for that claim? I know it’s been repeated here, but I don’t remember a credible source being sited.

  21. Matt Y on July 6, 2015 at 7:54 am said:
    Nice! Looks like it went on for pages. As an avid watcher of that genre I’ve got a bunch of my own as well. If you haven’t seen The Raid or The Raid 2 I highly recommend those movies. I have a huge list myself if you want a deeper pile.

    YES! The more suggestions the merrier.

    Some of my favorite repeat-watches: Ip Man, Ong Bak, Chocolate, Fist of Legend, Iron Monkey, and two or three dozen more I can’t think of right now. 🙂

  22. Tai Chi Zero is great, though the immediate sequel, Tai Chi Hero, is a little disappointing.

  23. Oh, and a fanvid for you all:

    Us is a love letter to fandom and fannish works (specifically, transformative works fandom, but I think it works for everyone). Thing I wish I’d known I could nominate #a lot. 🙂

    (Its also why I own Regina Spektor albums. This happens to me a lot after watching fanvids.)

  24. Sad too to see that this is the penultimate round-up. I’d been hoping they might switch to weekly or some such. Thanks to Mike for all his work. I think if any of us want to nominate File 770 next year it ought to be in the fanzine category.

    I liked the bit in one of Julian May’s books (Intervention?) where the aliens secretly rescue Laika.

  25. I know none of you know me from Adam and thus this will sound like the typical “my cousin’s aunt’s neighbor’s chiropractor’s secretary”… but I have a friend who’s a freelance proofreader and copy editor for Baen. So they do still use proofreaders and copy editors, or at least they did when last we spoke a couple of months ago. I’m given to understand that sometimes the requested turnaround time is fairly short, though whether that’s authors missing deadlines or what, I don’t know.

  26. Catching up on the weekend’s posts, I note one more “brain in a jar” instance.

    I’ve never been a fan of Star Wars “Expanded Universe”/tie-in writing (what I’ve sampled has not been very well written or imaginative) but I do like the “action figures” if they are detailed and well-sculpted, especially the aliens and droids—even “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” background characters (I have multiples of Amanaman and Ephant Mon.) In a couple those fleeting moments in Return of the Jedi, in the background in Jabba’s palace you will see a large spider-like droid walking along—dangling from the front is a glass globe, partially filled with liquid, with a brain inside. I never noticed it myself until it was marketed as a mail-away toy under the name of “B’omarr Monk.” (You can read the “expanded universe” explanation here, for what its worth: and )

    Also, re: kidlit, when I started seeing commercials for the 2014 CG movie Home, I googled up that it was (probably loosely) based on a book called The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex and made a note to give it a read if I come across it. I’ve been reading it currently, and I think it is worth a recommendation. The author is creative, funny, and writes good prose. It is mostly a text novel, but has frequent small illustrations and the occasional stretch of manga/comic like pages to provide backstory for the alien’s point of view. I’m not sure exactly where it would fall in reading level—probably skews a little young to be YA, possibly more middle-school level, though it does have an occasional light swear word and mild references to reproduction (the aliens have 7 sexes—boy, girl, boygirl, girlboy, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy.) (I’ll watch the movie after I finish the book and probably hate it, as I do the majority of book-to-movie translations.)

  27. Just finished Ancillary Sword. very good, but not as good as Justice. TGE still has it beat for my vote. starting 3BP next but it doesn’t sound like my usual sort of thing so I don’t have high hopes.

    Been meaning to ask, any thoughts on Christopher Nuttall? Brit MilSF writer. I’ve only read one of his books (first of a series) a while back and the main thing I remember was that it was like a submarine battle in space…hunted ship eluding the more powerful enemy and striking back as much as possible. The main thing I remember liking about it was its use of plain old rocks as ammo in projectile guns. Not so much pew-pew as klunk-klunk…

  28. Ken:

    I’d like to ask for some characterizations of the Jonathan Strahan and Rich Horton best-of series,

    I can’t speak to the quality of the anthologies, but I will say that JONATHAN STRAHAN AND RICH HORTON is the most disappointing Susanna Clarke novel ever.

  29. Chris Hensley

    Camilla Bacon-Smith, in ‘Science Fiction Culture’, page 195, specifically quotes Jim Baen as saying this, and contrasts him with Sheila Gilbert of Daw, who does edit. You will need to go in via Google Books, since the url is ridiculously long, but I have no reason to believe that Baen has changed its policy on this.

  30. Meredith –

    For classics:
    Crippled Avengers aka Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms (one of the best ever), 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (the end fight is one of the more amazing choreographed martial art fights I’ve ever seen), Master of the Flying Guillotine, Mystery of Chessboxing, Five Fingers of Death, One Armed Swordsman, Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Come Drink With Me, Sonny Chiba’s Street Fighter (the special effects are hilarious and gruesome), Enter The Dragon, Police Story, Once Upon a Time in China, Fist of Fury, Fist of Legend, 36 Chambers

    I’m a big fan of Jet Li so Kiss of the Dragon (under rated one in my opinion), The Enforcer, The Legend, Romeo Must Die, Hero, Unleashed, and Fearless.

    More modern:
    IP Man 1 and 2, Ong Bak (the 2nd had a fantastic end fight scene but the movie isn’t very good, third you can skip), The Protector, Dragon, Undisputed 3, The Forbidden Kingdom, Killzone, The City of Violence, Chocolate, The Revel, Born To Fight, BKO (movie sucks, action is awesome), Man of Tai Chi, Merantau, Raid, Raid 2.

    I don’t know if it counts but The Good, The Bad and The Weird is one of my favorite movies.

  31. Also District B13 and the sequel are good fun, the sequel is pretty much just over the top action scenes from start to finish with a goofy plot tying it all together but I loved it regardless.

  32. The El Rey Network, for people who have fairly expansive cable packages, is running Shaw Bros. martial arts films every Thursday night.

  33. @Kurt Busiek:

    I can’t speak to the quality of the anthologies, but I will say that JONATHAN STRAHAN AND RICH HORTON is the most disappointing Susanna Clarke novel ever.


    This right here is the reason I’ll keep coming ’round after the puppies have gone. File 770: Come for the schadenfreude, stay for the community.

  34. You do realise that now you are calling the whole thing off, there will be an up-tick in Puppy blogs crowing about the defeat of the dreaded SMOF and his File770 minions and you will have to start up again at least for a little while to document their crowing.

    I sort of picture them Gollum-like sneering

    “I hates them my precious, the nasty SMOFs casting their non-partisan gazes upon us. But now our Truthiness is safe from their prying eyes”

    On a side note, I tried to watch the Colert Report segment on Truthiness and it is geo-blocked. For a segment like that, which I would argue is one of the seminal pieces of modern comedy, not allowing the world to watch it is a travesty.

  35. Is the coinage and deployment of Puppy-Kicker an acknowledgment that the Pups couldn’t make “CHORF” happen after all?

  36. Fred Davis

    And from the other side there’s Jagi Lamplight’s mission statement for the Superversive movement.

    Are we sure that isn’t an Onion article? It reads like satire.

  37. Another vote of thanks to Mike for the roundups. I really appreciate the work that has gone into them.

  38. @Matt Y

    Thanks for the recs! Yes, District B13 is great. I haven’t seen the sequel yet.

  39. *puzzle* I could be utterly out to lunch on this, but I thought a Grey Goo scenario is the one where we all get dissolved by nanites or bacteria or whatever. Like when they made those bacteria that turned cellulose into ethanol or whatever it was, and then somebody said “wait, what if these get out onto trees?” and narrowly averted The End Of All Things.

  40. You’re right, Wombat.

    The mistake is in thinking that Hoyt knows what words and phrases mean.

  41. I’ll join in with those who have been very much enjoying the general conversation that has piggy-backed on the puppies threads. (Though it would be disingenuous of me not to admit that the warm-and-fuzzy glow from seeing people say nice things about my books has been a significant attraction.) The firehose nature of the comment threads has prevented me from doing more than dipping my toe into the conversation here and there as a participant, but if there were a continuation of the conversational signal with the puppy-related noise stripped out, I hope I might be able to change that.

  42. Anything by Tony Jaa, especially “Where’s My G–D— Elephant” (aka “The Protector”) for the spiral hotel scene as well as the final Mook fight at the end.

    Most of the recent IP Man films. It seems like there’s been a glut of them in the past few years. I did like “The Grandmaster” for cinematography, even if the plot is silly.

  43. Fred Davis on July 6, 2015 at 10:40 am said:

    And from the other side there’s Jagi Lamplight’s mission statement for the Superversive movement.

    I got to “distained” and backbuttoned So. Hard.

  44. @ Heather Rose Jones – Really enjoyed Daughter of Mystery Went and bought Mystic Marriage immediately upon finishing!

  45. I just want to know at what age are they giving kids Steinbeck to read. Probably about the same age as Aussie kids are asked to read the short story Death of a Wombat, the most depressing thing I have ever read.

    I thought Of Mice and Men was great, but we got it to read in Year 9(age ~14).

  46. And from the other side there’s Jagi Lamplight’s mission statement for the Superversive movement.

    That… is the most ridiculous dreck. Not to mention the mispellings really early on, I just… seriously?

    How did she get to her age without knowing how those two stories end? How was she a child who “distained” Cliff Notes and never read them herself? How is “sometimes shit ends badly” a lie? How does not reading happy literature lead to not asking for help?

    The mind boggles.

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