Pixel Scroll 1/16/18 You Were Scrolling As A Pixel In A Sci-Fi File When I Met You

(1) VAN GELDER AUCTION BENEFITS PKD AWARD. Norwescon announced that Gordon Van Gelder, administrator for the Philip K. Dick Award, has put 18 sff books up for auction on eBay, including several first editions and signed editions (and some signed first editions), as a benefit for the award’s administrative fees. The Philip K. Dick Award, is presented annually to distinguished science fiction books published for the first time in the United States as a paperback original. The award ceremony is held each year at Norwescon.

(2) SECOND TAKE. Strange Horizons got some pushback about sexism in Adam Roberts’ review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and has now supplemented the original with an edited version —

Editor’s note: This review has been edited to remove sexist commentary about Carrie Fisher. The original version of this review can be read here. For additional background, please see this Twitter thread.

(3) TRUE GRIT. The BBC reports on “Transport Scotland’s fleet of gritters and their gritter tracker”. Contractors Bear Scotland ran competitions to name the various vehicles, and what roads they’re covering can be viewed online.

Thanks to social media, Transport Scotland’s fleet of light-flashing, salt-spraying kings of the road have become a bit of a sensation.

Followers have been glued to their screens following the roads authority’s Gritter Tracker.

They were surprised to find out the vehicles had humorous names like Sir Andy Flurry, Sir Salter Scott and Gritty Gritty Bang Bang….

The force was with the people of Ayrshire during Tuesday’s snow flurries, their roads were being protected by Luke Snowalker.

Along with strong snow-slaying names like the Ice Destroyer, Snow Queen and Ice Buster, more unassuming gritters like Fred, Jack and Frosty have also been out and about keeping the country moving.

Not forgetting Sprinkles, Sparkle and Ready Spready Go.

(4) ANOTHER HORRIFIC LESSON. Chloe N. Clark continues the excellent Horror 101 series with “Surrounded by Others–Anatomy of a Pod Person” at Nerds of a Feather.

As a child, two of my earliest film-related memories are watching the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and watching the John Carpenter version of The Thing. In both, what stuck with child me was the depiction of a monster who not only could be anyone, but also could be someone that you think you know so well: your crewmate, your friend, your lover. This early exposure to these two films led to a longtime obsession with pod people (which the Thing is not technically, but I’m extending my definition here to any monster who can appear in the exact visage of someone you know and trust). As a child, there was a visceral terror to the idea, because the world was one I trusted. As an adult, while I don’t think pod people are likely, they still strike a certain fear because the concept at the heart of pod people’s terror-making is very much real. In this edition of Horror 101, I’ll be diving into the anatomy of a monster (a thing I’ll do occasionally in this series).

(5) ABOUT THAT VENN DIAGRAM. Sarah at Bookworm Blues was caught up in a kerfuffle yesterday, and analyzes the underlying issues in “On Twitter and Representation”.

While most of the comments I received yesterday were displaying the righteous indignation I’m still feeling, there were a handful of others that made their way to me through various means that said something along the lines of, “I just love reading SciFi and Fantasy. I don’t pay attention to the gender of the author.” Or “Does the gender of the author even matter?”

Comments like that bother me about as much as, “I don’t see your disabilities.” Or “I don’t see color.”

As much as I don’t want to be defined by my chronic illness, or my disabilities, they absolutely are part of who I am, and by refusing to see them, you are, in a way, refusing to see me. You’re only seeing pieces of me. Not seeing my disability doesn’t make it go away. Putting me in a box will limit the reaches of my work, rather than expand it.

In another example, women tend to get paid less than men here in the good ol’ US of A, and not seeing the gender roles in that situation, is refusing to see the problem.

Representation matters. It matters for a hell of a lot of reasons. It is important to show young kids everywhere that they can be, do, accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Seeing disabled characters in literature normalizes disabilities in important ways. It provides education to those who might need it. It also gives me someone I can relate to in the books I read, and that right there is absolutely priceless.

This graphic that I posted yesterday doesn’t just have a dearth of female authors on it, but it also lacks any people of color, disabled authors, LGBTQ authors and basically any minority group at all. It’s a list of white male fantasy authors…

and Robin Hobb.

This is important because, I get pretty fed up with women authors putting out work that’s just as good, if not better, than their male counterparts and not getting equal recognition for it. This isn’t a Divide and Conquer thing, it’s a We’re all in it Together thing. Someone’s effort shouldn’t be seen or overlooked based on any of their minority or majority qualifiers. The fact that when asked for a list of fantasy authors the first ones someone gets are white male, says a whole lot. And the truth is, I think this inequality is so ingrained in our culture that it really isn’t even noticed until something like this happens. Maybe we don’t mean for this to happen, but in a way, the fact that this happens without malice or intent makes it just that much more insidious.

Women have basically cleaned the clock in the past few Hugo Awards, and where are they on charts like this? One of the most awarded, celebrated authors in our genre today is N.K. Jemisin, a black female fantasy author, and she deserves recognition for her accomplishments, but where is it in a list like this, and why in the world didn’t her name come up when someone was polling Twitter for fantasy authors? Nnedi Okorafor is getting her book Who Fears Death turned into a television show, and I’ve seen her name, her image, herself routinely cut off from many articles. Namely, when Vice News tweeted about this deal, and the graphic that followed wasn’t of the author who wrote the book, but of George R R Martin, and the book cover….

And today an alternate version is making the rounds –

(6) JACKET. Neil Gaiman’s cover reveal for the U.S. paperback.


  • January 16, 1939 — The comic strip Superman first appeared in newspapers.
  • January 16, 1995 Star Trek: Voyager premiered.


  • Born January 16, 1948 – John Carpenter celebrated his 70th birthday today – no matter what you may have read. Entertainment Weekly caught the competition’s mistake in listing him as deceased.

Happy birthday John Carpenter! Rotten Tomatoes has some bad news…

The mega-popular film review aggregation site mistakenly declared veteran film director dead Tuesday in a since-deleted tweet.

The 70-year-old horror icon is very much alive, though RT seemed to have a different impression when it honored the Halloween and The Thing director’s birthday…

(9) SEARCHING FOR A SIGN. Further Confusion was held this past weekend in San Jos and they have lost track of a convention icon —

(10) CATAPOSTROPHE. Apparently Kazakhstan is switching from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet, and the result is loaded with apostrophes, so the words look like they came from a bad SF novel. The New York Times has the story: “Kazakhstan Cheers New Alphabet, Except for All Those Apostrophes”.

In his 26 years as Kazakhstan’s first and only president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev has managed to keep a resurgent Russia at bay and navigate the treacherous geopolitical waters around Moscow, Beijing and Washington, keeping on good terms with all three capitals.

The authoritarian leader’s talent for balancing divergent interests, however, suddenly seems to have deserted him over an issue that, at first glance, involves neither great power rivalry nor weighty matters of state: the role of the humble apostrophe in writing down Kazakh words.

The Kazakh language is currently written using a modified version of Cyrillic, a legacy of Soviet rule, but Mr. Nazarbayev announced in May that the Russian alphabet would be dumped in favor of a new script based on the Latin alphabet. This, he said, “is not only the fulfillment of the dreams of our ancestors, but also the way to the future for younger generations.”

…The modified Latin alphabet put forward by Mr. Nazarbayev uses apostrophes to elongate or modify the sounds of certain letters.

For example, the letter “I” with an apostrophe designates roughly the same sound as the “I” in Fiji, while “I” on its own sounds like the vowel in fig. The letter “S” with an apostrophe indicates “sh” and C’ is pronounced “ch.” Under this new system, the Kazakh word for cherry will be written as s’i’i’e, and pronounced she-ee-ye.

(11) ON TONIGHT’S JEOPARDY! Rich Lynch says the game show Jeopardy! included an Asimov clue in the first round of tonight’s episode, mentioning the Hugo Award. The returning champ got it right!

(12) WHERE’S THE BEEF? Astronaut John Young, who recently died, once got in trouble for smuggling a corned beef sandwich on a space mission.

Gemini 3 had several objectives, from testing the effect of zero gravity on sea urchin eggs to testing orbital maneuvers in a manned spacecraft, which would aid the future moon landing. But another imperative was to test new space foods. Grissom and Young were sent up with dehydrated packets that they were meant to reconstitute with a water gun.

According to Young’s biography, “A couple of congressmen became upset, thinking that, by smuggling in the sandwich and eating part of it, Gus and I had ignored the actual space food that we were up there to evaluate, costing the country millions of dollars.” The House Appropriations Committee convened to mull over the sandwich incident, and one representative even harangued a NASA administrator, calling the sandwich stunt “just a little bit disgusting.”

Young was given a reprimand, the first ever for a member of a NASA space flight. He eventually regretted smuggling the sandwich into space, especially as the story came up over and over. But Grissom remembered it as “one of the highlights of the flight.” Grissom himself was in hot water for nicknaming Gemini 3’s spacecraft Molly Brown after the musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” (Grissom’s first space flight ended with his capsule sinking into the ocean after re-entry.) Grissom forced irritated NASA administrators to back down after he suggested the name “Titanic” as an alternative.

(13) STARGAZING. From the BBC, “Hubble scores unique close-up view of distant galaxy”.

The Hubble telescope has bagged an unprecedented close-up view of one of the Universe’s oldest known galaxies.

Astronomers were lucky when the orbiting observatory captured the image of a galaxy that existed just 500 million years after the Big Bang.

The image was stretched and amplified by the natural phenomenon of gravitational lensing, unlocking unprecedented detail.

Such objects usually appear as tiny red spots to powerful telescopes.

(14) RATS ACQUITTED! New simulations show “Black Death ‘spread by humans not rats'”.

“We have good mortality data from outbreaks in nine cities in Europe,” Prof Nils Stenseth, from the University of Oslo, told BBC News.

“So we could construct models of the disease dynamics [there].”

He and his colleagues then simulated disease outbreaks in each of these cities, creating three models where the disease was spread by:

  • rats
  • airborne transmission
  • fleas and lice that live on humans and their clothes

In seven out of the nine cities studied, the “human parasite model” was a much better match for the pattern of the outbreak.

(15) RARE CASES. BBC considers “The mystery of why some people become sudden geniuses”. Chip Hitchcock notes, “Readers of old-time SF may recall H. L. Gold’s ‘The Man with English.’”

But until recently, most sensible people agreed on one thing: creativity begins in the pink, wobbly mass inside our skulls. It surely goes without saying that striking the brain, impaling it, electrocuting it, shooting it, slicing bits out of it or depriving it of oxygen would lead to the swift death of any great visions possessed by its owner.

As it happens, sometimes the opposite is true.

After the accident, Muybridge eventually recovered enough to sail to England. There his creativity really took hold. He abandoned bookselling and became a photographer, one of the most famous in the world. He was also a prolific inventor. Before the accident, he hadn’t filed a single patent. In the following two decades, he applied for at least 10.

In 1877 he took a bet that allowed him to combine invention and photography. Legend has it that his friend, a wealthy railroad tycoon called Leland Stanford, was convinced that horses could fly. Or, more accurately, he was convinced that when they run, all their legs leave the ground at the same time. Muybridge said they didn’t.

To prove it he placed 12 cameras along a horse track and installed a tripwire that would set them off automatically as Stanford’s favourite racing horse, Occident, ran. Next he invented the inelegantly named “zoopraxiscope”, a device which allowed him to project several images in quick succession and give the impression of motion. To his amazement, the horse was briefly suspended, mid-gallop. Muybridge had filmed the first movie – and with it proven that yes, horses can fly.

The abrupt turnaround of Muybridge’s life, from ordinary bookseller to creative genius, has prompted speculation that it was a direct result of his accident. It’s possible that he had “sudden savant syndrome”, in which exceptional abilities emerge after a brain injury or disease. It’s extremely rare, with just 25 verified cases on the planet

(16) KEVIN SMITH’S RATIONALE. Sebastian Paris, in “‘Star Wars’: Kevin Smith Weighs In On The Backlash Against ‘The Last Jedi’” on Heroic Hollywood, says that Smith, in his Fatman on Batman podcast, says that one reason many fans were disappointed with The Last Jedi was that they expected Luke Skywalker to be like Obi-Wan Kenobi and were disappointed when he turned out to be someone else.

(17) 2017 IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR. Rich Lynch’s 19th issue of My Back Pages [PDF file] is now online at the eFanzines.com website:

Issue #19 absolutely deplores the undearly departed 2017 as one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and has essays involving historic mansions, convincing re-enactors, subway cars, Broadway shows, urban renewal, pub food, deadly duels, famous composers, iconic catchphrases, tablet computers, 1930s comic books, noir-ish buildings, foreboding edifices, unpaid interns, jams & singalongs, storm warnings, ancient palace grounds, Buddhist temples, worrisome fortunes, sushi adventures, retirement plans, and lots of Morris Dancers.

(18) MUNDANE COMMERCIALS, WHAT ELSE? Should you run out of things to watch, there’s always this collection of Dos Equis “The Most Interesting Man In the World” ads – at least 8 minutes worth.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Richard Williams–Animating Movement is a piece on Vimeo by the Royal Ocean Film Society that describes the techniques of the great Canadian animator whose best known work is the Pink Panther and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, IanP, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Greg Hullender, Martin Morse Wooster, Rich Lynch, ULTRAGOTHA, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/16/18 You Were Scrolling As A Pixel In A Sci-Fi File When I Met You

  1. 10) Maybe they should have asked Borat Sag’di’ev, the author of Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, what he thought.

  2. Glad Kevin Smith liked the new SW movie. His podcast about it was a lot of fun.

    But (spoiler, kinda?)

    So we see that shot, the one they used in the trailer with the Knights of Ren standing in the rain in the middle of the wrecked Jedi school… and they are all wearing their snazzy bad-guy armor and Kylo is brandishing his “I’m a bad guy” lightsaber. Did they have time for a shopping trip!? This can’t be more than an hour or so after That Thing in That Guy’s Bedroom where That Other Guy woke him up. How does that work?

  3. @19 is stunning — but I wish they’d explained how he managed to find the money for most of the clips shown. I can see Hollywood coughing up for a leader like the Pink Panther, or for a big-budget film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but who funded some of that madly beautiful other work — which (I got the impression) was done by hand rather than by computer?

  4. 6) Maybe my expectations are getting confused across the different parts of the internet I hang out on, but I am becoming quite baffled by cover reveals and art celebrations that don’t name the artist – in this case, Victo Ngai. Like, I get why we don’t laboriously name check everyone who worked on a book (artists, editors, beta readers, etc. etc.) every time the book is mentioned, but in the specific case of drawing attention to how fabulous the art is, I feel like it should be automatic to name check the person/people responsible?

  5. F&SF is offering an annual Kindle subscription for $5.

    I can’t recommend this highly enough. F&SF has absolutely amazing material, but getting your hands on back issues is a hassle. Five dollars now, and you’ve got the whole year’s worth.

    Links here. Enjoy 😀

  6. 2) That Strange Horizons review was awful for any number of reasons. I grow weary of jaded reviewers who have done this so many times they’ve utterly lost any ability to get to that sense of wonder place. Of course, it’s easy to pick holes in the plot of TLJ. You know what else is easy? Picking holes in the plot of the original Star Wars. Think about the linchpin /that/ particular movie hangs by.

  7. The excised part of the Strange Horizons review belonged more in a magazine like “Esquire”. It certainly is not something I expect to see in a publication like “Strange Horizons”.

    I finally got round to seeing “The Last Jedi” at the weekend having somehow avoided spoilers. It was a fun movie and the illogicality of the plot was certainly no worse than in some of the earlier movies. In other words, it’s a worthy addition to the franchise.

  8. 5) I saw a different alternative Venn diagram yesterday with Sarah Rees Brennan at the centre but I’d not seen the original. It’s nice to have some context. (I’ll see if I can find what I saw but it was on Mastodon, which doesn’t have good search facilities.)

  9. @ Arifel

    Went through the same exact thought process. Glad to see the correction, I seem to recall Gaiman is generally quite conscientious about that sort of thing.

  10. F&SF is offering an annual Kindle subscription for $5.

    NB, it may well renew for $30. My $5 subscription did last year.

  11. @NickPheas: Ah; true. The special price is for one year; it’s not ongoing, which makes sense.
    You can set the subscription to expire rather than silently renew. And IIRC, cancelling a Kindle subscription gives you a pro-rated refund.

  12. I took advantage of the 5 pound F & SF subscription last year, but chose not to review at 30 pounds per year. I seem to have been able to take up the special offer again, as my account has again been debited 5 pounds. It is a very good deal at the special price.

  13. 5) Sadly, I can’t shake the mental image of someone looking at the first diagram and saying, “Wait, Robin Hobb is a woman? OH GOD NO! COOTIES!!!!!”

  14. 5) I’m sorry to hear people are giving Sarah grief over this. :sigh:

    10) I say this and was pondering this, and how languages can work for, or against, a particular alphabet. There is a bit within YEARS OF RICE AND SALT where one of the Chinese characters is convinced that Chinese logograms are the best because they could be adapted to any language easily. And then there is of course the reverse with Wades-Giles vs pinyin, to say nothing of things like writing English in Tengwar letters…

  15. (10) Changing alphabets seems like an awful lot of effort for very little gain, but I could be wrong about that. Excess and badly used apostrophes, on the other hand, really bad idea.

  16. There is a bit within YEARS OF RICE AND SALT where one of the Chinese characters is convinced that Chinese logograms are the best because they could be adapted to any language easily.

    The many mutually unintelligible versions of Chinese, and the way it was historically used to represent unrelated languages like Korean and Japanese, would be real-world evidence that could confirm them in that view.

    (Chinese characters still are used in Japanese, but they originally didn’t have the admixture of local syllabic characters.)

  17. About (10), you have to keep in mind that the Cyrillic script for Kazakh is decidedly imperfect. In particular, it uses the Cyrillic letters for u and i to write five and three sounds and sound sequences, respectively: Kazakh has a “front i” (not actually front; the pronunciations of many Kazakh sounds show developments from the original Turkic forms, such as sh > s, then ch > sh, y > zh and then e > ye, and so on), pronounced like the Russian 61 letter (?) and written like Latin-script i, and a back i, pronounced rather like the u in “cut” and written like i without the dot (the capital letters are upper case I with and without a dot), and Cyrillic i, ?, is used to write iy, Iy, and i in Russian loanwords, while Cyrillic u, y, is used to write w, iw, Iw, üw, and uw. The use of Cyrillic u is especially irritating because w is the mark of the infinitive, so all Kazakh verbs end in that letter in the dictionary, so you can’t tell from the spelling whether a verb whose infinitive is written consonant + w has a stem that ends in i, I, ü, or u.

    As for the apostrophe, it doesn’t come out of nowhere; it’s used in Uzbek Latin script as well.

  18. Lis Carey on January 17, 2018 at 3:22 am said:
    (10) Changing alphabets seems like an awful lot of effort for very little gain, but I could be wrong about that. Excess and badly used apostrophes, on the other hand, really bad idea.

    Literacy rates jumped massively in Turkey when they dropped the Arabic alphabet and adopted a modified Latin alphabet. Vowels and vowel harmony are important in Turkic languages so there is a real benefit in representing them properly in the orthography.

  19. (15) That ain’t the way I heard it! Terry Ramsaye’s 1925 book A Million and One Nights details a Muybridge who muddled most things he attempted, but who happily took credit for the work of others. An engineer named John D. Isaacs took the clumsy notion of having a running horse break multiple strings to set off shutters and invented something (clockwork and electromagnets, I seem to recall) that took shots at even intervals. Looking online, I see that Ramsaye has now been hotly contradicted in favor of Muybridge’s claims (prompted by a resentful Isaacs), so I won’t say I know the real truth—just that it ain’t the way I heard it.

  20. (15) This reminds me of the recent “Genius Plague” by David Walton (though the inciting cause is not injury, but infection, of course).

  21. (16) Perhaps more accurately, I thought Luke had grown as a person; developed some sense of self-reliance and personal responsibility. It was disappointing to learn that he still wants to go to Tosche Station after all.

    Meh-level Star Wars is better than no Star Wars. Stealing beats from Episode V after Episode VII stole beats from Episode IV didn’t help much.


  22. re: 10
    Isn’t there a bit in Barrayar where Cordelia is reading a book written in English but using the Cyrillic alphabet?

  23. Dann – Well he had kind of grown as a person, but that person was once the whiny kid who wanted to go to the Tosche station. Honestly I thought it felt right, here’s a character who lost his family, learned he had magic, helped take out the Empire and get closure with his father and learning he has a sister. And yet doing incredible things and being one with the Force, none of that stop his student and family member from being seduced by the Dark Side and his other students being murdered. It sort of makes sense that he’d be resentful of himself, of the Force, and the Jedi for having all that power and yet be powerless to stop one of the few remaining family members he has from potentially turning into the monster his father once was. I mean what has the Force, the Jedi, or the wars ever done for him other than kill or take away more family members? That he’d withdraw from all of it while trying to find answers makes sense to me.

    And I don’t think it’s a matter of taking personal responsibility, if anything the movie showed he took more blamed himself and took responsibility for failing Ben Solo rather than accept that Ben made his own decisions.

  24. 5)-The thing I noticed about the two diagrams is that the first one has three or four writers I’ve never even heard of, much less read and several I’ve never read anything by, while the second one has only one writer I’ve never heard of and every other name is someone I’ve read and enjoyed. That, at least for me, makes the second one much more interesting.

    As an aside to the comments, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not you “see” my disability. It matters how you behave towards me in connection with my disability. Jo Walton nailed it in Among Others with two comments by Mor and I hold a warm place in my heart for that novel forever because she did.

  25. Ferret Bueller on January 17, 2018 at 4:10 am said:
    the Russian 61 letter

    The Win7 character map labels that one as Cyrillic character yeru [?, ?]
    (Russian tends to have a lot of apostrophes when transliterated to Latin characters, also.)

  26. So we can write spoilers for “The Last Jedi” now without rot13?


    I thought a key point (mentioned by Snoke as well) is that the Force tends to balance itself. If you raise up a strong Dark Force talent, a corresponding Light Force person will rise up somewhere else. Luke didn’t want to believe this, but the creation of his school caused the Dark Side to rise up somewhere–and the “somewhere” was inside Luke himself. He worried about Ben, but it was Luke’s own evil action (almost-action) that triggered things. (And we knew from earlier episodes that Luke had a weakness for the Dark Side.)

    I thought that was an excellent explanation for why Luke gave up. He could never tame the Dark Side inside himself, much less elsewhere in the universe, and any future attempts to create more Jedi would just feed the Dark Side elsewhere.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I think Kylo was onto something with his idea that Light and Dark should rule together. Perhaps the longstanding error was the attempt to separate the two.

    Maybe they need a new slogan: “Light is the left hand of darkness/And darkness the right hand of light.” 🙂

  27. English in Cyrillic characters rang a bell, because I just read Who? by Algis Budrys, and there’s a brief reverie in it by a Soviet spymaster wishing that they really had spies like the ones in the movies, who don’t make mistakes or leave loose ends, who bring home the borscht, who you don’t have to doublecheck, and who (trying to approximate without looking it up) just walk right into the convenient file rooms and go to the correct file, with the name they need nicely visible on the outside in good, clear Cyrillic letters.

    And I was on a piece of exercise equipment when I came to that part, with nobody to read it aloud to. That I knew of.

  28. There are some comic fans here so I ask around if anybody knows “The chronicels of hate” by Adrian Smith?
    The reason I ask is that there is game coming out, losely based on that IP: I dont know the graphic novel, but the game (and the pretty much appaling) video seems to be made with a very special demographic in mind – it looks like stirring controversy for controverys sake. What I read from reviews the graphic novel seems grimdark, but not necessary feature profanity, rape etc. Can anybody tell me, how dark and “shocking” the graphic novel is?

  29. Peer Sylvester on January 17, 2018 at 11:37 am said:
    There are some comic fans here so I ask around if anybody knows “The chronicels of hate” by Adrian Smith?
    The reason I ask is that there is game coming out, losely based on that IP: I dont know the graphic novel, but the game (and the pretty much appaling) video seems to be made with a very special demographic in mind – it looks like stirring controversy for controverys sake. What I read from reviews the graphic novel seems grimdark, but not necessary feature profanity, rape etc. Can anybody tell me, how dark and “shocking” the graphic novel is?

    I dunno about the graphic novel but from the video the game looks terrible. Even as a teenage boy I would have been embarrassed by that.

  30. @James Moar: ISTM that the theoretical advantage of logograms tends to disappear when weighed against the obstacle to general literacy that they present; memorizing a lot of similarly-shaped blocks with frequently-random meanings takes time. When I was doing language support for my last employer’s software, I read (IIRC in the blowfish book) that Japanese official documents, newspapers, etc. are limited to ~2000 Chinese-derived symbols because of the difficulty of learning them; I don’t have other confirmation, but I find this plausible.

  31. I don’t know “The Chronicles of Hate”, but Adrian Smith is an illustrator who’s done a fair amount of work for Games Workshop – the Warhammer 40,000 line, for example. Looking at the video, the game appears to be targeted at people who think WH40K is too mannered, dainty and refined for their tastes. Well, good luck to them.

  32. (5) I have read only 5 of the writers in the first diagram (including Robin Hobb) but almost all in the second one, though I note there’s several useful spaces for others I admire, especially CJ Cherryh. Although I truly believe that the universe centers on LeGuin.
    Interestingly, when 4chan recently labeled Scalzi’s work as “degenerate” (!?§!), they added him to an all-white-male list including Herinlein, Gaiman and Banks. Plainly, those guys hadn’t read LeGuin or Jemisin, to name only two. Is this “girl/POC cooties” having a protective effect?

    Sorry Bookworm Blues is having a hard time for doing such a good job.

  33. @ MSB: Plainly, those guys hadn’t read LeGuin or Jemisin, to name only two. Is this “girl/POC cooties” having a protective effect?

    Well, you have to remember, in order to call women writers degenerate, they’d have to acknowledge that women can write in the first place.

  34. I’ve read 6 of the 15 in the first diagram, think 2 of those are hack writers, and have never heard of one of the remaining 9 authors.

    In the second diagram, I’ve never heard of one of the authors, but have read 13 of the other 14. I don’t care for the works of 3 of them, but have to admit that they’re competent and I just don’t like the type of SFF that they write.

  35. I’ve read 12 of the writers in the first diagram, only two in the second one. But why no jokes in horror? >.<

  36. 8 in the first diagram, 10 in the second. More that I read regularly in the second group, more “one and done,” in the first group.

    This could say something Deep about me, or not.

  37. I’ve read 10 authors from the first diagram (pace Robin Hobb) and nine from the second diagram (It would have been nice to see Patricia McKillip in there somewhere). My “squee” ratio would be higher in the second diagram thanks to Hand, Hurley, Kiernan, Wells, Bear, and (of course) Ursula K. Most of the authors in the first diagram don’t really excite me any more (unless, say, Oathbringer is handy when I need to defend myself).

  38. I recognize all but one of the names in the first version and all but two in the second, but I can’t find it in me to care enough to count how many authors in each I’ve read, much less how many I like. The second has a higher number of names in my “In case of emergency, save these books” stacks, I can tell that much at a glance.

    Just finished Jim C Hines’ Terminal Alliance. I laughed in a few places, but it also has JIm’s usual underpinnings of thoughtful commentary.

    Started reading All Systems Red by Martha Wells. It’s a book about a bot who just wants to get back to their entertainment but has to do its duty and keep its crew alive instead — that made me want to hide out somewhere and just finish reading the book while I have stuff to do and kids to keep alive. At least it was on a day off work…

  39. P J Evans:
    “The Win7 character map labels that one as Cyrillic character yeru [?, ?]”

    In case anyone’s actually curious and has trouble reading it, it’s No. 251 here. Or see Wikipedia here.

  40. @Greg: (Luke, TLJ, and the Dark Side – spoilers!)

    My take is a lot more straightforward: After the destruction of his school, Luke fell.

    To be more specific, he succumbed to the Dark Side through fear and despair, rather than hate and anger. Instead of becoming an active force for evil or remaining an active force for good, he took himself off the table. The Force balanced by taking a largely unopposed icon of Good out of the fight while an acolyte of Evil gathered power and influence. When Rey showed up, he’d completely given up – we see this both in his scorn for the very idea of teaching her and in the naked horror he displays at her abilities and choices.

    That’s the heroic act I think Rey deserves to get credit for: she turned Luke back to the light, and she did it without having a Palpatine there to put on a torture show and force him into action. Unlike Luke’s elevator talk with Vader or Rey’s elevator talk with Ben, she leads Luke back into the light by literally being a good example. She draws him back in the same way that one might coax a stray cat onto the porch with gradual offerings of food.

  41. 10) Cretan Linear B script is a syllabary. The syllable-characters of a syllabary have a vowel and sometimes a consonant. This makes it less than perfectly suited for writing words which have two or more adjacent consonantal sounds. This burdened Michael Ventris when he was trying to explicate Linear B.

    So is katakana. In The American Black Chamber Herbert Yardley discusses the rendering of “airurando”. That’s “Ireland”.

  42. @Rev. Bob

    That is an interesting/useful perspective and certainly modulates my criticism….somewhat.


  43. Rev. Bob

    Instead of becoming an active force for evil or remaining an active force for good, he took himself off the table

    Also thinking about it, aside from blocking themselves off from the force isn’t that essentially what both Yoda and Obi-Wan did? People upset at Luke for going off the map to meditate of what it all means after his problems should be annoyed that Yoda did the same thing. Those doomed not to learn from past mistakes, and so on.

    And yes part of that was because too many of the story beats are the same from V to VIII however I appreciated the differences in both how the came to try and learn from their masters, confronting their dark side, etc.

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