Pixel Scroll 1/2/23 It’s A Wonderful File

(1) BRANDON SANDERSON V AUDIBLE. Brandon Sanderson’s “State of the Sanderson 2022” published on December 22 featured revelations about his efforts to use his market leverage to curb the greed of Audible, Amazon’s dominant audiobook seller.

The four “secret project” novels that will be going to backers of his record-breaking Kickstarter will also be produced as audiobooks and put up for sale, but not on Audible. Here’s an excerpt, and there’s a great deal more information at the link.

AUDIOBOOKS for NON-BACKERS

On the tenth or eleventh of each month a book goes to backers, we will put the audiobooks up for sale. They will be on several services, but I recommend the two I mentioned above. Spotify and Speechify. 

The books will not be on Audible for the foreseeable future. 

This is a dangerous move on my part. I don’t want to make an enemy of Amazon (who owns Audible). I like the people at Audible, and had several meetings with them this year.

But Audible has grown to a place where it’s very bad for authors. It’s a good company doing bad things. 

Again, this is dangerous to say, and I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty. I have an Audible account, and a subscription! It’s how my dyslexic son reads most of the books he reads. Audible did some great things for books, notably spearheading the audio revolution, which brought audiobooks down to a reasonable price. I like that part a lot.

However, they treat authors very poorly. Particularly indie authors. The deal Audible demands of them is unconscionable, and I’m hoping that providing market forces (and talking about the issue with a megaphone) will encourage change in a positive direction.

If you want details, the current industry standard for a digital product is to pay the creator 70% on a sale. It’s what Steam pays your average creator for a game sale, it’s what Amazon pays on ebooks, it’s what Apple pays for apps downloaded. (And they’re getting heat for taking as much as they are. Rightly so.)

Audible pays 40%. Almost half. For a frame of reference, most brick-and-mortar stores take around 50% on a retail product. Audible pays indie authors less than a bookstore does, when a bookstore has storefronts, sales staff, and warehousing to deal with. 

I knew things were bad, which is why I wanted to explore other options with the Kickstarter.  But I didn’t know HOW bad.  Indeed, if indie authors don’t agree to be exclusive to Audible, they get dropped from 40% to a measly 25%. Buying an audiobook through Audible instead of from another site literally costs the author money…. 

Daniel Green analyzes “The Audible Situation” in this video —

(2) KING’S NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST 2023. The King’s New Years Honours list included a knighthood for Queen guitarist Brian May.

Dr Brian Harold May CBE. Musician, Astrophysicist and Animal Welfare Advocate. For services to Music and to Charity. (Windlesham, Surrey)

May also worked as a member of the New Horizons team, for which he wrote a song that debuted during the the New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019.

(3) MEDICAL UPDATE. Actor Jeremy Renner (Marvel’s Hawkeye) was in critical condition after a snow plow accident Variety reported on January 1.

…“We can confirm Jeremy is in critical but stable condition with injuries suffered after experiencing a weather related accident while plowing snow earlier today,” Renner’s rep confirmed with Variety. “His family is with him and he is receiving excellent care.”…

His reps later told Deadline:

“We can confirm that Jeremy has suffered blunt chest trauma and orthopedic injuries and has undergone surgery today, January 2nd 2023. He has returned from surgery and remains in the intensive care unit in critical but stable condition.”

(4) ROLLING OVER THE RESOLUTION. Owner of Colorado’s Mile High Comics, Chuck Rozanski, advises people to protect their collections, while confessing he still has more work to do on his own.

…Clearly, I am trying to protect our home through these defensive environmental actions, but I want to make note of the fact that I am also trying to protect my many personal collections, including my comic books. Inspiring me is the tragedy of one of our dearest family friends, who lost everything that she owned, including her 50-year comics collection and her vast science fiction books library, to that horrible Marshall inferno. My efforts may in the end prove futile, but at least some houses in otherwise incinerated cul-de-sacs in Louisville survived, so advance planning does at least seem to improve one’s odds. Just saying…

So, what have you done lately to protect your own collection? If you’re like me, probably not enough. I have (for example) vowed for the past nine years to elevate all of my storage cabinets in my personal comics vault to at least an inch above ground level, so that if another 20-inch deluge of rain materializes (as it did upon us in 2013) that the bottom of my storage bins (and everything sitting in the floor) will not get soaked (again). Have I accomplished that incredibly arduous task? Nope. I keep putting it off, while I have instead been traveling endlessly all around the country to buy even more comics. Sigh. I really do mean to be more diligent, but finding the time is truly hard. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to it this winter….

(5) LIGHTS ON. Cora Buhlert renews two series of “spotlight” profiles she’s doing to make people more aware of works eligible for Best Fancast and Best Related Work.

The new “Fancast Spotlight” is for a channel called “Dennis Frey Books”.

Tell us about your podcast or channel.

I do a lot of content on creative writing on Twitch – lessons, reading excerpts from the community and my own books, longer workshops, throwbacks to the first works of different artists… aaaand it’s all in German. Sorry.

If that’s fine with you, there is about 100 hours of writing content from the streams on my YouTube Channel.

Buhlert also did a new “Non-Fiction Spotlight” for “Slaying the Dragon – A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs”.

Tell us about your book.

My book is the shocking and true story of the rise of Dungeons & Dragons and how it almost imploded in the 90s under the weight of terrible management decisions. If you’re interested in an representative sample, Dicebreaker excerpted the disastrous attempt of TSR to create a comic book company in the 90s.  https://www.dicebreaker.com/series/dungeons-and-dragons/feature/dnd-comic-books-failed-attempt-tsr-dc-comics

(6) ADDAMS UNKNOWN. David Gerrold reviews Wednesday, which he finds to be such a departure from the established characterizations that he calls it “the Addams Family in name only”.

…And that finally brings me to Tim Burton’s series on Netflix — Wednesday.

It reinvents not only the Addams Family, it reinvents the world they live in.

In the sitcom, in the movies, in the two animated films, the Addams Family exists in a world that is (mostly) normal, even mundane.

In the Tim Burton series, there are monsters, sirens, medusas, werewolves, shapeshifters, and more. Wednesday has an estranged relationship with her parents. Gomez and Morticia are both flawed, they can’t keep their hands off each other, and only Wednesday has the ability to solve their situations.

Also, this Wednesday has visions that clue her in to a horrific past at Nevermore University and the town of Jericho.

So this isn’t the Addams family that we are familiar with, it’s a reinvention. And it’s not the most endearing one….

(7) TODAY’S DAY.

January 2 is National Science Fiction Day. Sure, every day is science fiction day for some of us, but this date was picked for national observance because it’s Asimov’s birthdate.

John King Tarpinian thinks maybe this would be better called ABC Day…after Asimov, Bradbury, & Clarke.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. — C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Turkish delight is a popular dessert sweet in Greece, the Balkans, and, especially Turkey. But most Americans, if they have any association with the treat at all, know it only as the food for which Edmund Pevensie sells out his family.

I don’t know about you but I had no idea what Turkish delight was until I was at University as it wasn’t something that was carried in the stores where I grew up. A friend had a box and offered it up. It was, errr, sweet and chewy. I liked and I’ve since gifted quite a few times.

Turkish Delight, the name we know it by in the West is not inaccurate. The Turkish people make and consume an immense quantity of lokum in a wide range of varieties as it called in Turkey and it’s a popular gift, a sign of hospitality. The candy was invented in the early 19th century, apparently by confectioner Bekir Effendi, though that’s disputed by other Turks who say they invented it.

Most Westerners  encounter it first in reading this novel (or possibly the Eighties television series, or the film). As you know, Edmund is tempted by Turkish Delight into an alliance with the White Witch, who has brought eternal winter to Narnia. When Edmund first encounters the witch, she asks him, “What would you like best to eat?” He doesn’t even hesitate. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 2, 1920 Isaac Asimov. I can hardly summarize everything he’s done here, so I’ll just pick my very short list of favorite works by him which would include the Galactic Empire series, the Foundation Trilogy which a Hugo at a Tricon, The Gods Themselves which won a Hugo at TorCon II and his I, Robot collection.  And no, I’ve not watched the Foundation series although I have the Apple + streaming service. Should I watch it? (Died 1992.)
  • Born January 2, 1940 Susan Wittig Albert, 82. She’s the author of The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, a series of mysteries featuring that writer. Really. Truly. Haven’t read them but they bear such delightful titles as The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood. She has non-genre series involving an herbalist and a gardening club as well. 
  • Born January 2, 1948 Deborah Watling. Best known for her role as Victoria Waterfield, a companion of the Second Doctor. She was also in Downtime, playing the same character, a one-off sequel to a sequel to the Second Doctor stories, The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear. No Doctors were to be seen. If you’ve seen the English language dubbed version of Viaje al centro de la Tierra (Where Time Began, based off Verne’s Journey to the Center of The Earth), she’s doing the lines of Ivonne Sentis as Glauben. (Died 2017.)
  • Born January 2, 1959 Patrick Nielsen Hayden, 64. In a fit of exuberance Wiki lists him as a “editor, fan, fanzine publisher, essayist, reviewer, anthologist, teacher and blogger.” Which is true. He’s won three Hugo Awards for Best Editor Long Form (2007, 2010, 2013), won a World Fantasy Award for editing the Starlight 1 anthology (1997). 
  • Born January 2, 1967 Tia Carrere, 56. Best remembered for her three-season run as Sydney Fox, rogue archeologist on Relic Hunter. She’s been in a lot of one-offs on genre series including Quantum LeapHerculesTales from The Crypt, AirwolfFriday the 13th and played Agent Katie Logan for two episodes on Warehouse 13.
  • Born January 2, 1979 Tobias S. Buckell, 44. I read and enjoyed a lot his Xenowealth series which he managed to wrap up rather nicely. The collection he edited, The Stories We Tell: Bermuda Anthology of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, is well worth reading, as is his own Tides from a New World collection. And his Tangled Lands collection which won the World Fantasy Award is amazing reading as well.
  • Born January 2, 1983 Kate Bosworth, 39. She’s Barbara Barga in the SS-GB series adapted from the superb Len Deighton novel. She’s both a producer and a performer on The I- Land Netflixseries where she’s KC, a decidedly not nice person. For a more positive character, she portrayed Lois Lane in Superman Returns.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Six Chix makes a mighty literary New Year’s resolution. It will probably sound familiar to a few of you!
  • Peanuts On This Day on Twitter brings us an sff-adjacent strip from January 2, 1973.

(11) HERE COMES THE DRAGON-PROWED BOAT. The Los Angeles Times asks “Why is a Swedish billionaire buying up California’s video gaming empire?” In recent years many game makers have been acquired by Lars Wingefors’ company, Embracer.

…Or as the tech-oriented website the Verge put it: “Embracer Group, the company forging one IP portfolio to rule them all.”

The strategy has sparked both criticism and confusion in the gaming world. Some gamers accuse Embracer of sacrificing artistry, while others find the company’s approach scattershot and incoherent. An Embracer developer defends the company’s approach, saying it supports game makers.

“If you look at them from afar, you might wonder what the company is doing,” says Simon Rojder, a programmer who is the founder of Mirage, a game studio in Karlstad that Embracer absorbed in 2016. “What he [Wingefors] does is find people who know what they are doing and then leaves them alone.

“This company is called the big dragon monster of gaming because they soak up everything. But they give you space to do your work. We feel quite independent, even if on paper we are not.”

Today, Embracer oversees 237 games being developed across 132 studios on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. More than 15,000 employees work for Embracer or a company under its umbrella.

In California, Embracer has a foothold in San Francisco, where it owns a studio that developed the free game “Star Trek Online.” Irvine is home to a recently acquired karaoke company, Singtrix, while SpringboardVR, a company focused on arcade development, is in Los Angeles. In Agoura Hills, Embracer runs global marketing for Vertigo Games, a Dutch game studio and virtual reality group. It also has a distribution contract with Exploding Kittens, an L.A. game studio named after the card game, which shot up in popularity after launching on Kickstarter in 2015.

Embracer’s rapid expansion comes as tech, gaming and moviemaking collide in a content race to grab the attention and dollars of any consumer they can. Fueled in part by a boom during pandemic-era lockdowns, the gaming industry’s price tag now rivals those of Hollywood and music…

(12) UNDERFOOT IN THE CRETACEOUS. Elsewhere in Sweden is a place where they study “The Fossil Flowers That Rewrote the History of Life” – read about it in The New Yorker.

The centerpiece of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, in Stockholm, is probably the Fossils and Evolution hall, in which an enormous Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton seems to yawn over crowds of starstruck schoolchildren. Nearby, tourists marvel at a triceratops skull and a velociraptor model. These iconic dinosaurs evolved during the late-Cretaceous epoch and went extinct about sixty-six million years ago, around the time that an asteroid smashed into the planet. It is difficult to think of any event in the history of life that has left a bigger mark on the human imagination. “I don’t think you can compete with the dinosaurs,” Else Marie Friis, a paleobotanist and professor emerita at the museum, told me the first time we spoke.

Friis has come to believe, however, that the disappearance of the dinosaurs was not even the most interesting development of the Cretaceous period. She is more interested in a pair of easy-to-miss boulders near the feet of the T. rex, which bear impressions of some very old angiosperm leaves. Angiosperms, or flowering plants, are so ubiquitous today that one can hardly imagine life without them; they encompass at least three hundred and fifty thousand species, including everything from cactuses to wind-pollinated grasses to broadleaf trees, and far outnumber older plants such as ferns, conifers, and mosses. Yet the first dinosaurs, in the Triassic and Jurassic periods, lived in a world without flowers. The first angiosperms probably bloomed in the early Cretaceous, around a hundred and thirty-five million years ago. They ignited a revolution that reinvented nature itself….

(13) ONE AND DONE. “’1899′ Canceled: Netflix Not Moving Forward With Season 2” says Variety.

1899” will not receive a second season at Netflix. The news was confirmed by series co-creator Baran bo Odar through a statement shared to his official Instagram. The letter to fans was also signed by Odar’s partner and series co-creator Jantje Freise.

“With a heavy heart we have to tell you that ‘1899’ will not be renewed,” Odar wrote. “We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a second and third season as we did with ‘Dark.’ But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life.”

“We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there. But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure,” the statement continues. “We love you. Never forget.”

(14) LA MANCHA AND TATTOOINE. According to Ted Gioia, “Don Quixote Tells Us How the Star Wars Franchise Ends”.

…This is an important shift in the history of storytelling, and we need to pay close attention to it—because this is how Star Wars ends. This is how the Marvel Cinematic Universe loses its mojo. This is how the movie business will eventually reinvent itself.

The key person here is Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). And the amazing thing is that he relied on a knight to kill all the other knights, and clear the way for the rise of the novel.

Cervantes’s knight was the famous Don Quixote, celebrated in the book of the same name. And we could argue endlessly whether this book was, in fact, the first novel. The exact chronology here isn’t the key issue. The more pressing point is that Don Quixote made all the earlier books about knights look ridiculous. In other words, Cervantes pursued the literary equivalent of a scorched earth policy.

The title character in his book is a shrunken and shriveled man of about 50, who has gone crazy by reading too many stories about knights and their adventures. In a fit of delusion, he decides to leave home and pursue knightly adventures himself—but the world has changed since the time of King Arthur, and our poor knight errant now looks like a fool. Other characters mock him, and play practical jokes at his expense—and simply because he believes all those lies in the brand franchise stories.

We start to feel sorry for Don Quixote, even begin cheering for our hapless hero. Thus this protagonist, in Cervantes’s rendering, is both absurd and endearing. This is what raises the novel above mere satire—because we eventually come to admire Don Quixote for holding on to his ideals in the face of a world where they don’t fit or belong.

In other words, there is much to admire in this book, but this three-layered approach to reality is perhaps the most interesting aspect of them all. Here are the three layers:

  1. Don Quixote is just an ordinary man, not a hero by any means.
  2. But in his delusion, he pretends to be a hero, following rules and procedures that are antiquated and irrelevant. They merely serve to make him look pitiful and absurd.
  3. Yet by persisting in this fantasy, he actually does turn into a hero, although a more complex kind that anticipates the rise of the novel. He is the prototype of the dreamer and idealist who chases goals in the face of all obstacles.

The end result was that the old fake stories of knights were now obsolete, but something smarter and more sophisticated emerged in their wake. After Cervantes, readers demanded better stories—and not just the intellectuals and elites. The novel soon became the preferred narrative format at all levels of literate European society.

Believe it or not, this could happen again, even in Hollywood….

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Jennifer Hawthorne, Lise Andreasen, JJ, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/2/23 It’s A Wonderful File

  1. First!

    I’ve been listening something that isn’t a Nero Wolfe mystery by Stout, Her Forbidden Knight. It’s quite excellent. I don’t think I’ve experienced a bad story by him.

  2. (7)

    From the Simpsons:

    Martin Prince:
    As your president, I would demand a science-fiction library, featuring an ABC of the genre. Asimov, Bester, Clarke.

    Student:
    What about Ray Bradbury?

    Martin Prince:
    I’m aware of his work…

  3. Sanderson says Audible pays 40%. Almost half. For a frame of reference, most brick-and-mortar stores take around 50% on a retail product. Audible pays indie authors less than a bookstore does, when a bookstore has storefronts, sales staff, and warehousing to deal with.

    That fifty percent is only true when they’re dealing with the major publishers and there’s a lot of conditions attached to it that actually make that fifty percent a lot less than that under certain conditions, ie certain stock can only be returned for full credit within a certain period. And the discount that they get from smaller publishers is much less.

  4. Um, there was a huge split in the late seventies, between those of us who followed the original three books of rules for D&D… wherein was the most important phrase: “these rules are just suggestions”, and to modify it as you would. We were also of the opinion of “AD&D? Burn it!”
    Of course, we all created our own universes, we didn’t buy pregenerated modules.
    Turkish delight… which is very different than the American version. Of course, my preference is for halvah.

    Birthdays:
    And Isaac was wonderful in person. (And before I get called out about him being hands-on… you’ve never seen him backpedal, while I did… when he started on the inimitable Paisha von Sternberg.
    Susan Wittig Albert – she’s the one author I kept following for mysteries. Too many “oh, yes, people are being killed around me, and I’m going to Solve Them All”, while in Albert’s China Bayles series, I believe her characters… as the PoV character’s a retired Houston criminal defense attorney who got fed up, and another’s a former cop.
    14. There is only one possible comment I can make: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD8bl3omDIU

  5. mark says Turkish delight… which is very different than the American version. Of course, my preference is for halvah.

    It’s rather easy to get the imported Turkish stuff here. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon, eBay and Esty all sell it at quite reasonable prices.

  6. The Apple+ adaptation of The Foundation Series, is epic in scope, has beautiful CGI and props, an interesting plot, and all the names of characters from the Foundation Series, but really nothing else.

  7. 14) I’m not really buying it, because we have had subversions and parodies of superheroes, space operas, etc… for decades now. Deadpool and Logan both subverted the Marvel style superhero formula (which is quite flexible in itself) as did She-Hulk and of course plenty of comics. Spaceballs, which very directly satirised Star Wars, came out in 1987, i.e. 36 years ago. Galaxy Quest, which did the same for Star Trek, came out in 1999.

    Will superhero movies always be as popular as they are now? Very likely not, though it will be more like the fading of the once popular western and musical genres (and oddly enough no one ever complains about too many westerns and musicals, though the glut of them was much worse than the superhero boom and lasted for decades). There still are westerns and musicals and occasionally some of them becomes popular and/or critical successes, but they’re no longer as dominant as they used to be.

    And much as Ted Gioia would like it, genres never really die completely, though they are sometimes transformed into other genres. All the current genres, crime/mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, horror, humor, adventure have been with us in some form for hundreds of years. Even superheroes have a very long history, depending on what you count as superheroes. If you only count modern style costumed heroes with superpowers, they go back to the 1930s. If you include heroes with a secret identity who don’t necessarily have superpowers, these go back to the early 20th century with characters like the Scarlet Pimpernel or the Gray Seal or Zorro. If you include all larger than life heroes with superpowers who have amazing adventure, they go back to antiquity.

  8. 1) But of course Audible is part of the evil Amazon Zaibatsu.This is your periodic reminder that Amazon also owns Goodreads and IMDb, so you shouldn’t trust either of them for reviews.
    I wonder if Audible isn’t looking at an anti-trust violation for that trick with the exclusivity clause. Microsoft tried the same thing back in the nineties, charging computer manufacturers for dual-booting other OSs along side Windows. This was part of the massive anti-trust suit against them in the early 2000s.

  9. Colin Kuskie says The Apple+ adaptation of The Foundation Series, is epic in scope, has beautiful CGI and props, an interesting plot, and all the names of characters from the Foundation Series, but really nothing else.

    It sounds like I can keep with my long-stand practice of not watching anything based off a work that i really liked.

    On the other paw, I discovered that Apple+ has all but the first season of the U.K. Avengers. All of the first season had the tape reused save three episodes.

  10. Wednesday: I for one have been enjoying the series. In it Wednesday is a rebellious teenager who is trying to not be like her parents. (Like that NEVER Happens) After she is expelled from yet another high school her parents Gomez and Morticia enroll her at Nevermore Academy (Not University, its a private high school not college level) where she is among others who are outcasts. Yes there are Werewolfs, Sirens and Shapeshifters. Wednesday has inherited a gift for psychic visions from her mother and she sees visions of the past and present as well as the future. It’s no so much as re-inventing the Addams as much as looking at them in a new light.

    Turkish Delight: I have found imported Turkish Delight at the Lotte Plaza stores. (Lotte Plaza is a Korean chain of speciality grocery stores featuring Korean, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian as well as South American, Indian/Pakistani Groceries. Their Fresh Produce is great, as well as fresh seafood and meats.)

    Jeremy Renner: I have seen reports that he was run over by his snow plow which was identified as a Tucker Sno-Cat and after seeing a picture of one, I can easily believe they would do the kind of damage that would kill you or send you to the hospital in critical condition.

  11. Turkish Delight – I can find it at the Middle Eastern importer that I buy my halvah, and olive oil (by the 3.1l jug), that’s right next to the Indian importer….

  12. 9) Cat, Susan Wittig Albert’s mystery series about herbalist/lawyer China Bayles at least flirts with our genre occasionally. Her best friend Ruby is apparently genuinely psychic, and the herb shop is apparently haunted.

  13. @Thomas the Red
    I guess he didn’t know to pull the key when he had to get off the machine. (This is something that everyone from farm country knows to do: machinery can’t be trusted to not go into gear and run you over.)

  14. 8) Lokum is easy to find in the Turkish supermarkets here in London these days but it’s been a couple of decades since I last saw the British stuff – large, soft, slightly irregular in lemon or rose flavour packed in a box full of icing sugar – that sold mainly as a Christmas gift. No great loss to the world, on the whole, except as a reference point for Lewis.

    (Lttle chocolate-coated rectangles of “Fry’s Turkish Delight” are still a thing, but not much like actual Turkish Delight)

  15. Iain says I wonder if Audible isn’t looking at an anti-trust violation for that trick with the exclusivity clause. Microsoft tried the same thing back in the nineties, charging computer manufacturers for dual-booting other OSs along side Windows. This was part of the massive anti-trust suit against them in the early 2000s.

    Errrr no. There’s lots of exclusive product out there. Simon & Schuster does it with their Stephen King ebooks at first before they release them to the usual suspects; Apple has a lot of exclusive iTunes releases too. The streaming services are almost all exclusive deals.

  16. 9) Foundation-the-series is very different from the books; for one thing, it has characters. I like it.

  17. That’s a very fine pixel scroll title.

    I actually encountered Narnia + Turkish delight through an animated version of the story.

    Cory Doctorow has also written about the Audible situation.

  18. Deborah Watling, as a child star, was a regular on the 1950s The Invisible Man series; she had a very long career indeed.

    @Sophie Jane: ah, yes, Fry’s Turkish Delight, “Full of Eastern Promise”. No, it’s not like the real stuff.

  19. I had Turkish delight in Turkey; it’s very nice, except for shedding confectioner’s sugar down your front. I tried the rose flavor, also rose jam and rose tea.

    (14) weird factoid: Cervantes was an Armada survivor: he was wounded in the journey up the Channel and offloaded to the Low Counties, escaping the return around Ireland that killed most of his comrades. Also a highly productive and talented playwright, BTW.

  20. @Msb: I don’t think Cervantes was involved with the Armada. He did fight – and was wounded three times – at Lepanto, but that was back in 1571. Fun factoid: this gets celebrated in the final verse of G K Chesterson’s poem on the battle, which also has him dreaming of a foolish knight riding in vain.

  21. Now I think back, iirc the alt.books.cs-lewis FAQ had to have a paragraph about Turkish Delight because American Narnia fans often didn’t know what it was and were disappointed when they tried it. “Keep your expectations low, it’s supposed to be very sweet and cloying to eat in quantity” was the summary.

    I don’t often eat it now but when I do, it’s usually the hazelnut kind. The contrast of flavours and textures works best for me

  22. @ Sophie Jane – that reminds me of a comic passage in Gravity’s Rainbow where the protagonist, an American soldier in London, is obliged to eat an assortment of chocolates given to him by a sweet old lady, and we get descriptions of how horrible each one is. Maybe it’s a thing, that American’s don’t like English sweets? I know when I lived in the US I certainly didn’t take to Hersheys.

  23. In Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Strong Poison”, both the narrator and Wimsey are very much in the anti-Turkish Delight camp. I suppose it depends if you’ve got a sweet tooth. I remember seeing the British variant in Waitrose fairly recently, within the last year or two, but prefer the utterly inauthentic Fry’s version.

  24. @Cat Eldridge: I was referring to this if indie authors don’t agree to be exclusive to Audible, they get dropped from 40% to a measly 25%. Buying an audiobook through Audible instead of from another site literally costs the author money
    Audible is literally fining authors for using other sites. That’s exactly what Microsoft was doing; fining manufacturers for selling the competition. That’s anti-competitive and possibly illegal, I’m sure of it.

  25. The New York Times has a bonus crossword puzzle each month for subscribers. This month’s is titled “National Science Fiction Day” and references Isaac Asimov in the 1-Across clue. It has disappointingly little other SF content in it, however.

  26. Mm- re Isaac A , I was present in 1974 on his only UK visit. (He would not fly and he came over and went back on the QE2 and France, to Central NYC where he lived.) This was held at the then venue for the (in)famous London “Tun” (always, even today, 1st Thu of the month, Central London, without fail, regular SF fen meeting). That pub location was about to be demolished and alto I briefly said hello, I had a more interesting conversation with his (1/2 neglected) wife there!! He also, a little later, had a joint public meeting with Arthur C in Central London and that event was sound recorded. And thereat, one could hear a pin drop!! (I’ve been searching for my audio casette recording of that, since!)

  27. 8.) When I was a kid growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I thought that Turkish Delight was something like Aplets and Cotlets. I once got my hands on the real thing at a T.J. Maxx, and decided I liked Aplets and Cotlets better.

    3.) When I was teaching, a colleague’s husband died in a very similar incident during quite a snowy year on Mt. Hood, involving a Bobcat. I don’t think they ever clarified if he had a heart attack first and fell into the Bobcat’s mechanism, or if the heart attack was a response to being crushed.

  28. Andrew (not Werdna) – hey, we’ve just gotten past that season when everyone laments that their favorite alien is missing.

    Y’know…
    “No El, no El,
    Where is the son of Laura and Jor-El?”

  29. I’m surprised Sanderson recommended Spotify; apart from not realizing they had audiobooks, they came under fire last year for how little they paid musicians/bands based on streaming. Hopefully their compensation to authors for audiobooks is better.

    I started using Audible back when they were separate from Amazon, and I still do, although I’ve reduced my subscription and try to use them only for more well known authors. I use Libro FM more often now, especially for debut authors/indie authors.

  30. Not giving up my Audible account; it is the only place to get some authors. But I like Libro better, and I’m getting different things from Audiobooks.com.

  31. Avilyn says I started using Audible back when they were separate from Amazon, and I still do, although I’ve reduced my subscription and try to use them only for more well known authors. I use Libro FM more often now, especially for debut authors/indie authors.

    I only use them as I find their offerings in general are more than adequate. And their genre offerings are quite excellent.

    Some authors I know personally say that they like Audible snd have no problem with them, but they have agents who deal with them. Part of the reason they like them is those exclusive deals as they represent a nice bonus piece of revenue for them.

  32. I’m surprised Sanderson recommended Spotify; apart from not realizing they had audiobooks, they came under fire last year for how little they paid musicians/bands based on streaming. Hopefully their compensation to authors for audiobooks is better.

    Spotify has also been called onto the carpet for doubling down on U.S. right-wing covid-related disinformation via spending all that money to exclusively broadcast THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE (which also has a racism problem). Quite a few musicians got the heck off that platform about it, including big names like Neil Young. (See also.)

    Re: Turkish Delight – I’ve discovered that the rose-flavored stuff just tastes like soap to me*, but the lemon-flavored stuff is a joy when I can get a hold of it. There’s a lovely splurgey kitchen-and-pantry goods store in downtown Boulder called Peppercorn, and they will usually have a few boxes in stock around the holidays.

    *Conversation I have had too many times:

    Me: Meh, I don’t like cilantro.
    Them: You must be one of those people with the gene that makes it taste like soap!
    Me: No. Rose flavor tastes like soap. Marjoram tastes like soap. Lavender flavored things sometimes taste like soap. Cilantro just tastes like cilantro.
    Them: Then what’s the problem?
    Me: I don’t like the taste of cilantro. It happens.

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