Pixel Scroll 1/26/18 The Pixel Scroll Shadow Jury

(1) HE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM. Marissa Lingen praises the ConFusion committee’s handling of her report about a highly contentious audience member who tried to commandeer more than one panel at the con — “It’s not your turn, sir.” Here are a few excerpts from her step-by-step summary of what happened and thorough analysis of the issues involved.

…So let’s talk about my second panel, Disaster Response in SFF. I was moderating. A gentleman in the audience had enough of the free-flowing discussion provided by the panelists, apparently. He did not wait for Q&A or even raise his hand. He just jumped right in, interrupting the panel to lecture us with a long, hostile, rambling comment on his own theories of where this panel should go and how wrong we all were for not going there….

…Okay. So. I talked to some friends, some of whom were involved with the concom/staff, and given what I was saying and what they were hearing about his behavior, they encouraged me to file an incident report. ConFusion’s ops team did everything right here. Everything. They made sure that I was seated comfortably, offered water, offered my choice of report formats (written or out loud), that I had a person with whom I was comfortable with me for the whole time, that I could discuss my statement rather than just turning it in and not knowing whether it was getting any attention. They asked after my safety and comfort and what would make me feel safe and comfortable going forward at the con.

Here’s what felt like a sea change to me. Here’s what makes me write about this: they did not minimize OR maximize response. They were proactively interested in an incident of someone being rude and disruptive. At that point I was hoping that just having the incident report on file would be enough, that not having further confrontation would allow this person to go on with his con and simmer down, focus on time with friends, other panels, etc….

… 2. This was not sexual harassment. But it was gendered.

The person he approached to complain about me on Sunday was, like me, wearing some of the trappings of traditional femininity. The people who laughed in his face Friday afternoon with no complaints, no consequences to themselves? All male. All male and all masculine. And yes, I was the moderator on my panel–but he didn’t say a word about Patrick cheerfully saying, “Bye!” to him as he departed, or about Patrick backing up my moderating. There was no complaint about Patrick. It was all me.

I’ll cope with it. That’s fine. But see it for what it is.

Dealing with sexual harassment in convention spaces is hugely important. It has been hugely important for me personally. But don’t for a moment make the mistake of thinking that it is the only gendered interaction that matters. And don’t think for a moment that the dynamic would be the same if he’d decided to turn up glaring with Patrick or treat a male concom member the way he did the person on Sunday. It’s no accident he didn’t try–and so conventions need to be equally deliberate in their handling of this sort of thing. ConFusion was, and I thank them for it.

(2) GROWING EFFORT. John Picacio announced other pros have joined him and John Scalzi to fund Worldcon 76 attending memberships for Mexicanx creators and fans.

Ty Franck — one-half of the blockbuster literary team James S. A. Corey — has kindly joined my effort to improve #Mexicanx representation in sf/f. He’s now sponsoring one attending membership to Worldcon 76 in San Jose, while ace photographer Ctein is sponsoring two more attending memberships.

(3) NO-LONGER-SECRET AGENT. Scott Edelman lets you sink your teeth into Sicilian with Barry Goldblatt in Episode 58 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Barry Goldblatt

At the suggestion of Barry Goldblatt, who founded the eponymous Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency in September 2000, we met at Bella Gioia, a Sicilian restaurant in Park Slope. A wonderful choice! But that’s to be expected when you get together with Barry, for he and I have eaten the fantastic many times before at such restaurants as Alinea in Chicago and Olo in Helsinki—though this is the first time you’re being invited to eavesdrop.

Barry’s clients including such writers as previous guest of the show Fran Wilde, Christopher Barzak, Libba Bray, Charles Vess, Nisi Shawl, and many others.

We discussed why he ended up as an agent rather than an astronaut, the happy accident that led to him being taught by the legendary science fiction writer James Gunn, the time Lloyd Alexander caused him to burst into squee-filled tears, J. K. Rowling’s first U.S. book signing and how she changed children’s publishing forever, what everyone thinks they know about agents that’s totally wrong, the sorts of things he’s told authors to help take their work to the next level, why it sometimes makes sense for him to submit a less than perfect book, whether the YA market is doing a better job with diversity than adult fiction, what he’s been looking for that he hasn’t been getting, and much more.

(4) FUN MUSEUM. The Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery near Portland, Oregon has these events coming soon:

  • 1-28 Sunday Noon – Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons
    Learn the basics of Role Playing with paper; how to create a character, roll dice, join an adventure, and more.
  • 2-1 Thursday 7 pm – Games Talk with Kyle Engen
    Our Steward of Research Kyle will be talking about graphic design in games, using selected items from the collection.

(5) STORIES OF FUTURE PAST. Rocket Stack Rank adds another way to find the good stuff – from 2016. Greg Hullender explains:

Not everyone uses Rocket Stack Rank to find things to nominate; some people just use it to find stories to read. Toward that end, we put together a look back at the best stories of 2016, combining results from all the different reviewers, anthologies, and awards that we follow to produce a comprehensive ranked list.

“2016 Best SF/F Short Fiction”

In the future, we’ll try to do this by August (so the 2017 version should be available in just six months). We’ll have a few follow-up pieces that play with the statistics in this data.ef

(6) MORE LE GUIN TRIBUTES. In the Paris Review

The thing about Ursula K. Le Guin was that she didn’t actually look like a rabble-rousing, bomb-throwing, dangerous woman. She had a gentle smile, as if she was either enjoying herself or enjoying what the people around her were doing. She was kind but firm. She was petite and gray haired, and she appeared, at least on first inspection, harmless.

The illusion of harmlessness ended the moment you began to read her words, or, if you were so lucky, the moment you listened to her speak.

She was opinionated, but the opinions were informed and educated. She did not suffer fools or knaves gladly, or, actually, at all. She knew what she liked and what she wanted, and she didn’t let that change. She was sharp until the end. She once reviewed a book of mine and was not altogether kind about all of it, and I discovered as I read her review that I would rather have been chided by Ursula K. Le Guin than effusively praised by any other living author.

  1. There is no reason a book of ideas can’t also be deeply moving, gorgeously written, and inhabited by people who take rooms in your heart and never move out.

(7) LE GUIN FAMILY NOTES A SUGGESTED CHARITY. Ursula Le Guin’s family has stated that the charity closest to her heart is the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

(8) REAL SPACE OPERA. Atlas Obscura lets you “Listen to Ursula K. Le Guin’s Little-Known Space Opera”, Rigel 9. Recording at the link.

If you’re an Ursula K. Le Guin fan, you’ve likely spent a lot of time in Earthsea, home to endless archipelagos and magical beings. You might have ventured to Gethen, with its glaciers and androgynes.

But you may not yet have made it to Rigel 9, a world that offers small red aliens, two-toned shadows from its double sun, and—depending on who you believe—a beautiful golden city. The planet is the setting of the little-known space opera, also called Rigel 9, released in 1985. The opera features music by avant-garde classical composer David Bedford, and a libretto written by Le Guin.

(9) JOHN CREASEY OBIT. Filker John Creasey died January 25. His wife, Mary, made the announcement on Facebook:

My husband, John Creasey, passed away this morning around 0915 or so. I hadn’t gotten there by then (he WOULD pick the day when I DIDN’T make my morning visit!). He was still on a ventilator until a doctor officially pronounces him. He had been going downhill for quite a while (multiple systemic infection organ failures), and hadn’t really recovered from the last septic shock crash. He had been non-verbal and non-communicative for at least the last two weeks. I will post later about funeral plans and such. I’m not going to collapse yet; he’s been effectively mostly out of our lives for over a year, and barely aware for much of the last six months, and that only occasionally, so this isn’t really much of a shock. I’m just glad he’s finally not hurting any more.


Joe Bethancourt (hat), Richard Creasey (young man in tie-dye) and John Creasey (larger adult man) perform Bethancourt’s filk song “Fishin’ for Chickens” at ConChord in 2005.


  • January 26, 1964:  Hammer’s Kiss of the Vampire opens in its native United Kingdom
  • January 26, 1995:  Peter Weller stars in Philip K. Dick adaptation Screamers.


  • Born January 24, 1944 – David Gerrold

(12) THE SECONDS BLEED AWAY. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says it’s 2018 and time is running out:


2018: The failure of world leaders to address the largest threats to humanity’s future is lamentable—but that failure can be reversed. It is two minutes to midnight, but the Doomsday Clock has ticked away from midnight in the past, and during the next year, the world can again move it further from apocalypse. The warning the Science and Security Board now sends is clear, the danger obvious and imminent. The opportunity to reduce the danger is equally clear. The world has seen the threat posed by the misuse of information technology and witnessed the vulnerability of democracies to disinformation. But there is a flip side to the abuse of social media. Leaders react when citizens insist they do so, and citizens around the world can use the power of the internet to improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand action to reduce the existential threat of nuclear war and unchecked climate change. They can seize the opportunity to make a safer and saner world.

(13) FREE COMIC ONLINE. Marvel is giving you the chance to dive into THANOS from rising stars Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, the series that IGN is calling “one of Marvel’s most exciting titles” – for free.  THANOS #13, the first Marvel Legacy issue and the kick-off to Thanos Wins, is available now as a free digital comic for a limited time.

Head to www.marvel.com/redeem, enter the code THANOSWINS by Tuesday 1/30, and start reading now! Don’t miss the series that Comic Watch has raved is “the Mad Titan in all his power hungry glory.”

(14) WINTER WONDERS. Heavy Tokyo snowfall leads to snow-minions, snow-Jabba: “Japan’s amazing snowmen will blow your mind”. Photos at the link.

(15) INDIE PUBLISHER FOLDING. When Evil Girlfriend Media closes, it’s taking JDA’s Dragon Award-nominated novel with it  [link to Internet Archive]. Says JDA, “[it] will most likely not be available 30 days from now.” The publisher announced on Facebook they are ending the business:

Dear Readers,

I have notified our authors and editors that I am pulling their books from distribution. Their books will begin to drop from Kindle Select over the next 90 days with some as early as January 31. You can no longer purchase their books as an ebook but may borrow until the end of the 90 day period.

EGM went on hiatus last year for many reasons including that I took a new position with my employer. The commitments of this position make it impossible for me to continue in the publishing business. I hope you all support other indie publishers out there. It takes a lot of money, time, and dedication to create great books.

It has been a fast-paced and enjoyable couple of years. I look forward to the future and enjoying the great works the authors and editors I’ve worked with create.


Katie Cord

(16) AN INDIE PUBLISHER STILL WITH US. The Kraken Collective is celebrating its anniversary this week — #KrakenFriends2018 Is Here!

The Kraken Collective is an alliance of indie authors of LGBTQIAP+ speculative fiction,  committed to building a publishing space that is inclusive, positive, and brings fascinating stories to readers.


(17) SHARKE REFLECTIONS. Shadow Clarke juror Nina Allan’s “Afterwards: thinking about the Sharke”, posted last September, may not have been mentioned here before:

The Sharke has changed me in multiple ways, most obviously as a critic and as a reader. Looking back on the self that first conceived the project, I now believe I had become as entrenched within a certain comfort zone as any hardcore space opera fan, accustomed to looking in the same places for what I deemed noteworthy, places that accorded comfortably with my expectations, which in their turn had mostly to do with style. How much more interesting to strip away one’s assumptions and see what happens. To come at things from a different angle. To stop feeling the need to fight a particular corner in terms of what is good and what is best. Personally, I’m still not a fan of The Underground Railroad. To my mind, it is possibly the most ‘commercial’ novel on the Clarke Award shortlist and its bland surface texture renders it ultimately forgettable to me as a reading experience. I find some of the sentence structure, not to mention the use of science fiction in Tricia Sullivan’s Occupy Me to be far more interesting. I have found the abstruse weirdness and raw vitality of Ninefox Gambit hanging around in my mind far longer than, for example, the sensitively rendered but ultimately predictable dystopian role-playing of Clare Morrall’s When the Floods Came. Viewed from this new perspective, the landscape of science fiction looks much more exciting to me than it did even before the Sharke was launched.

(18) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. Lela E. Buis shares her “Review of Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff”.

The year is 1954, and African American war veteran Atticus Turner is traveling north to Chicago. His dad Montrose has disappeared somewhere in New England, and with his Uncle George and his friend Letitia, Atticus sets out to find him…..

This is an entertaining read, as the characters are all resourceful and end up accomplishing what they need to do through the application of determination and common sense. Regardless of the Jim Crow setting, the characters feel contemporary, as if Ruff has set characters with modern sensibilities into the Lovecraft milieu.

I’ve read some other reviews that promote this book by saying racism is the real horror in the story. I didn’t really see that. If you’re unfamiliar with the facts of Jim Crow segregation and the kind of discrimination African Americans faced in the 1950s, then I suppose this could be a surprise. Presumably Ruff set his story in this period at least partly to display the racial issues, but actually he skims over it as fairly matter-of-fact. Everybody deals and nobody gets lynched.

What really stood out for me instead was the message that these black characters read and treasure the SFF classics of the day by Lovecraft, Burroughs, Bradbury, Asimov, etc., without any disconnect because of their race. Is that so? Currently these writers are all considered to be both racist and sexist because they reflect the attitudes of their era….

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Rambo, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Jay Byrd, Michael Toman, ULTRAGOTHA, Karl-Johan Norén and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

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106 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/26/18 The Pixel Scroll Shadow Jury

  1. @Muccamukk: The other books in the Fall Revolution sequence (which includes The Cassini Division) are great, and can all be read as stand-alones; I particularly recommend The Star Fraction and The Stone Canal.

  2. Newton’s Wake is my favourite standalone, although I have a soft spot for Learning the World as Ken named a character for an anagram I made of his name.

  3. Andrew: I discovered this morning I misspelled Lingen’s name in the Scroll so I fixed that, and your comment (which I imagine picked up the Scroll’s spelling). I write this before catching up on all the comments, where it’s possible the appertainment is already in progress….

  4. Joe Sherry:1) Her last name is spelled Lingen. No “r”.

    Yes, thank you! As is the custom here — appertain yourself your favorite beverage!

  5. @18 I read a great deal of science fiction and fantasy when I was a child and young woman that was highly misogynistic and (to my eyes now) deeply offensive. In fact, the exceptions were rare and noticeable. (Left Hand of Darkness, I’m looking at you….) And they didn’t bother me at the time because That Was Just The Way Things Were. Boys had adventures. Girls were trophies. Boys did things. Girls got captured and had to be rescued.

    Although I’ve not yet read Lovecraft Country (Mount Tsunduku is about the size of Everest), I wouldn’t be even slightly surprised if the black characters read SF the way I did when I was a girl; learning to identify with the white characters as I had to learn to identify with the male characters.

  6. Well, to be fair, the publisher did admit to being an evil girlfriend. Shoulda took them at their word.

  7. (1) I went to the link and read the whole thing, and felt myself tensing massively as I read. I felt that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I read about the interrupter’s attitude and attacks. I have been in that position – I have been the target of attacks like that in a place I thought was safe. It was wonderful to hear that the convention handled it so well and positively, but I still felt that chill on my spine as she wrote about the need for a protective group. About the dangers of walking across a con floor alone and the awareness required for a lone female.

    I don’t know if society will ever be rid of the predators and boorish morons that make women, in particular, feel unsafe. But it’s good to know we are making progress.

  8. Darren Garrison notes Well, to be fair, the publisher did admit to being an evil girlfriend. Shoulda took them at their word.

    When I looked her imprint up, I used Amazon search which showed a total of fourteen books over five or so years. If you check her site, there’s nary a book there. If she was selling exclusively through Kindle Select which appears to have dropped here, no wonder she closed down.

    Ok I like being able to find books pretty everywhere which is why when I remembered I was looking for a certain Sranan Macguire novel and knowing that in a matter of minutes I would forget I wanted it I walked into the ndarest bookstore and ordered it.

    Books, digital or otherwise, that I have to seek out aren’t likely to be ones I’ll be reading.

  9. rob_matic on January 27, 2018 at 10:22 am said:

    I thought Learning the World was excellent.

    I actually re-read that one recently, I kept expecting one of the alien characters to be tortured to death by the government/religious police, but it didn’t happen. Now I don’t remember what book I read that in. I believe that it was a book that alternated back and forth between a human group and an alien group, and that the torture was in some way a consequence of contact with the human group, and the fact that the aliens had some sort of “woven” construction to their chest “skeleton” had some explicit mention in the text. Anyone have any idea what book I was remembering those details from?

    Mark on January 27, 2018 at 3:10 am said:

    I recently read The Wrong Stars and I also got a strong flavour of Chambers from it, which is probably unfair to Pratt who has been going for much longer, but this was the first novel of his I’d read.

    Read his Marla Mason books.

    Yes, that is an order.

  10. Also, for whatever it’s worth, taking Matt Ruff’s novel as evidence of how black readers thought about SF in the 1950s, when Ruff is a white guy born in 1965, is a shaky proposition. It’s Ruff’s conception of something that serves his story, and there may be black readers that felt that way and there may be others who didn’t, but it’s not actual historical data or even anecdote. It’s a white guy imagining up a tale.

    And Ruff did quite a bit of research…but he still has kids go to a local store called The Comics Emporium to buy comic books in the mid-1950s, probably because he’s not old enough to remember a time before comics stores, and it never occurred to him to research whether they existed back then or not.

    For my part, I thought the racism was the true horror of the book, because it’s what Ruff brought to emotional life most effectively, not because I wasn’t aware it existed. The supernatural horror, I thought, largely fell flat, because it didn’t feel Lovecraftian; it felt like pushbutton magic, learnable, understandable, dependable. Like Lovecraftian surface details with Gardner Fox underneath. But the racist world around them was deep and hostile and truly dangerous; it felt like the context in which the supernatural was just a tool.

    Still, the characters were fictional, and their particular attitudes toward SF were fictional as well. I’m sure there were some black SF readers in the 50s who felt that way, but whether it was a majority reaction, I don’t know and wouldn’t presume to project from a white writer’s novel, just because the characters he made up were black.

  11. Slow starts is one of my few complaints about Cherryh. Not all her books or series have that problem, but it’s more common than I’d like. I almost couldn’t get past the start of Cyteen, but once I did, it totally knocked my socks off!

    In the case of the Foreigner series, I agree that the big slowdown was when she finally got to the main story, in the third part of the first book. But yes, it definitely picks back up later. Although not as quickly as some of her other works. But by the end of the second book, I was definitely starting to feel emotionally invested.

    On the other hand, the series has never really knocked my socks off the way Cyteen and some of her other books have. It’s good fun, but there aren’t any individual books that make me say, “wow, this is the one that makes the whole series!” There’s a bit of a sameness to the series, even as each new trilogy takes us to whole new places.

    Is it worth it? I think so, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a huge Cherryh fan! 🙂

  12. @Darren

    Okay…but the first book in the series doesn’t seem to have a UK ebook version (or at least not in the major stores) 🙁
    I’ll have to see if it’s on any of the smaller stores instead

  13. Cherryh is an acquired taste, I think—one that requires patience. The first Foreigner book spent the entire novel doing stuff that most other authors would have accomplished in six chapters, but because it’s so immersive, I stuck with it, and everything since.

  14. As for what I’m reading–I recently finished catching up with all the latest Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant, so I turned to some older Elizabeth Ann Scarborough I missed the first time around: Channeling Cleopatra, and its sequel, Cleopatra 7.2.

    The premise is, as you might guess from the title, rather silly. Silly enough that if these books were taking themselves seriously, I’d seriously consider throwing them at the nearest wall. Fortunately, the whole thing is rather tongue-in-cheek. Silly new-agey ideas about “genetic memory” combined with pseudo-science about genetic “blending” would make me weep if it weren’t clear that the whole thing is intended to be taken about as seriously as an Indiana Jones movie. And, in fact, the whole thing is a little reminiscent of Jones–except the archaeologists are a lot more realistic.

    So, with my disbelief fully suspended, I’m finding these quite a fun romp. Interesting characters, lots of evil plots and narrow escapes and last-minute rescues.

    If you’re looking for Great Literature™, you probably want to look elsewhere, but if you want some light-hearted, slightly pulpy adventures with a dash of real history/archaeology, and some Strong Female Protagonists, this could be right up your alley.

  15. Okay…but the first book in the series doesn’t seem to have a UK ebook version (or at least not in the major stores) ?
    I’ll have to see if it’s on any of the smaller stores instead

    If you can start with a prequel (that isn’t first in publication order) you can find it on-line here.

  16. Wow, a scroll full of discussion about two of my favourite writers, CJ Cherryh and Ken MacLeod. We just need to add Paul Macaulay and Kate Elliott and we are there.

    @Simon Bisson Good to hear someone laud the virtues of ‘The Corporation Wars’. I too think it is one of the best things published in recent years, but has not generated much buzz. It is difficult to separately consider each of the three volumes, as they don’t really work that well as standalones. But the ideas and concepts are mind boggling, and put together with panache. Certainly Hugoworthy, but for which category? I’m plumping for ‘Best series’ though.

    I agree that ‘Foreigner’ is an acquired taste, but was struck during my delving into audiobooks at just how good and immersive they were. There is unrelenting pressure and tension throughout ‘Inheritor’ and ‘Invader’, so much so that I was eagerly anticipating the next 40 minute installment on my drive to and from work!
    There is a sense that much of the action is in Bren’s head though, so physical actions are often secondary. It is also because the considerations are political and strategic, that the books work so well as internal monologues.

    For the latter books, the recent installments in ‘Tracker’ and ‘Visitor’ were I think, wonderful payoff books, as threads laid 10 volumes past came to resoluttion. Only to go haring off again into the uncertain future. There is however a return to meetings and conferences in the subsequent ‘Convergence’, which was a slight disappointment. What one can always be certain of with atevi though, is that there will always be servings of tea. And lots of it. No taverns though, nor snow.

    As for Paul MaAuley, I most enjoyed the elegeic ‘Quiet War’ and its sequel, and have enjoyed the recent ‘Jackaroo’ stories. With Kate Elliott I am eagerly anticipation the sequel to ‘Black Wolves’ which returns to the brilliant conceive world of the cloaked guardians.

  17. @Kurt Busiek: For my part, I thought the racism was the true horror of the book, because it’s what Ruff brought to emotional life most effectively, not because I wasn’t aware it existed. The supernatural horror, I thought, largely fell flat, because it didn’t feel Lovecraftian; it felt like pushbutton magic, learnable, understandable, dependable. Like Lovecraftian surface details with Gardner Fox underneath. But the racist world around them was deep and hostile and truly dangerous; it felt like the context in which the supernatural was just a tool.

    That sums up my reaction to the book (which I did like a lot) perfectly. (I also had no idea there was such a thing as “sundown towns”, or that they existed in Massachusetts, where I grew up.) But also, my recollection is that one of the characters draws his own comic books because that’s the only way there are ever any black protagonists.

  18. @Kurt and PhilRM: Kathodus has a comment on Buis’ piece I love.

    Oh, also, I thought the horror was more in the everyday reality of living with white supremacy. Notice the protagonists were not horrified by the supernatural, but rather dealt with it in a matter-of-fact way, the same way they dealt with the ever-present threat of white mobs or police. Their lack of concern faced with horrors that would destroy a milquetoast Lovecraftian protagonist is subtly horrifying.

    That may be giving Ruff and his book too much credit, but I really like that interpretation.

  19. Mark on January 27, 2018 at 1:53 pm said:


    Even better – thanks!

    In my Tim (or “T.A.”) Pratt Marla Mason ebook collection, I have the novels plus a handful of novellas or short stories that are now or were at one time published on-line. I have them organized as best as I could determine in in-universe (not publication) order, if you decide to try to catch ’em all, this order may help:

    MM 0 Bone Shop
    MM 1 Blood Engines
    MM 1.5 Pale Dog
    MM 2 Poison Sleep
    MM 3 Dead Reign
    MM 4 Spell Games
    MM 5 Broken Mirrors
    MM 5.5 Shark’s Teeth
    MM 6 Grim Tides
    MM 7 Bride of Death
    MM 8 Lady of Misrule
    MM 9 Queen of Nothing
    MM 10 Closing Doors

    The “point” entries are short stories. There are 1 or 2 short stories that I don’t have (so can’t place in order) plus one other that I do have (Ill Met In Ulthar) that I can’t clearly determine the placement and don’t have numbered.

    (You can find some other of his short fiction here.)

  20. I guess I’d call the Foreigner series “deliberate” rather than “slow”–though there is a pacing pattern of gradual buildup from encounters/negotiations/puzzlements to climactic physical action (assassination attempts, coups, seiges, gunfights) in many of the books. I confess that I’ve never felt impatient across the years–except for waiting impatiently for the next entry. The books are immersive, intensely procedural and analytical, and almost obsessively close-grained. I’m sure there’s a hard-SF-purist critique of the likelihood of the atevi species itself (I could draft one in about ten minutes), but that’s a given I’m willing to give in order to have all the rest.

    Not to advertise myself, but my review of the last of the MacLeod Corporation Wars books is somewhere below the fold on the Locus site right now. (And a half-finished review of Cherryh’s Emergence is waiting for a nasty headcold to back off enought for me to finish it.)

  21. @Shao Ping: That may be giving Ruff and his book too much credit, but I really like that interpretation.

    I think that was deliberate on Ruff’s part; at the end of the novel, when Caleb Braithwaite threatens them with the vengeance of the other lodges, they just laugh at him. “Do you think we don’t know what country we live in?” I also took that as an admission on Ruff’s part that his ‘Lovecraftian’ horrors paled in comparison to the racism.

  22. No taverns though, nor snow.
    Talking about snow, and remembering skiing downhill, that there is. (There’s a scene in Emergence where nand’ Bren is comparing being paidhi to looking at a downhill run where the lower end of the slope is in fog.)

  23. Russell Letson on January 27, 2018 at 2:46 pm said:

    I guess I’d call the Foreigner series “deliberate” rather than “slow” […]

    I don’t think the series is slow. I just think it has a slow start. Once it gets going, it carries on at a decent pace throughout. (Though I think “deliberate” is a fair assessment.) But I know a lot of people have had doubts after the first book–I’m one. If I weren’t such a huge Cherryh fan, I might have balked there, but as I say, I do know that her stuff can start slowly. And yes, I’m glad I kept going. 🙂

  24. Kudos to the ConFusion committee for doing a good job gathering the data about a complaint and (apparently) neither over- nor under-reacting.

    Kudos also to Lingen for the detailed writeup. For many years people who’ve been on the receiving end of behavior like this have been, in effect, brushed off. You don’t have to be brushed off too many times before you give up and/or leave. I hope that Lingen’s detailed example of it being handled well will make others more willing to speak up in the official channels.

  25. @several: I also just finished The Wrong Stars; it wasn’t bad, but it reminded me of the one other Tim (“T.A.”?) Pratt I’ve read — it felt like he needed to learn more about what to put in and how to organize it. (Commenters noting the lack of variation in tension make a point I see in retrospect.) I wouldn’t call it Chambersesque in that I did not think it was dealing seconds, as blatantly manipulative, etc., but it was blah enough that I’m not sure I’ll look for the 2nd book even though he’s set up something that a competent author could entertain with.

    @Arifel: I’ve read and enjoyed the first five Foreigner trilogies. (I haven’t read the latest because I got the last book in it just two weeks ago — I hate not being able to finish continuing action, and I don’t have a block of time just now.) I kept reading more because I was a Cherryh fan than because of investment in the characters, but I can’t judge how important that is to you — you may find #1.3 enough of a conclusion to pass on the rest. Note that the first two trilogies have a bit of a gap between parts 1 and 2; after that they’re really trisected stories.

    Excellent points on the Ruff. IIRC Buis has made a political fool of herself; has she shown any critical chops? And I loved Kathodus’s quoted comment — reminds me of a cartoon Poul Anderson attributed to one of his no-nonsense characters “Of course they’re pallid and mushroomlike, Howard! They’re mushrooms!”

  26. That may be giving Ruff and his book too much credit, but I really like that interpretation.

    It’s a nice conceit, and may well have been intentional, but what it amounts to is making the Lovecraftian stuff not Lovecraftian. Reducing Lovecraft to “Oh, look, big weird alien. Magic spells. Gotta be careful, but if you can handle racism it’s no big deal” just isn’t Lovecraftian any more. It’s monsters and magic, but Lovecraft in name only.

    I think LOVECRAFT COUNTRY is a terrific novel about racism, and an enjoyable urban fantasy. But I don’t think it succeeds at saying Lovecraftian shit isn’t creepy compared to racism, because I think it presents an un-creepy faux-Lovecraft.

    Victor LaValle’s Lovecraftian novella manages to tackle both the racism and the eldritch horror in a way that feels credible for both, not like one’s being denatured to force a comparison.

    So I guess my overall reaction is: If that’s what Ruff was going for, I think he could have made the Lovecraftian stuff credibly Lovecraftian and still have had the black characters handle it better than the white ones, because they’ve got more experience at shifting, untrustable, corrupting, inchoate evil.

    But I think what’s on the page, when it comes to eldritch horror, feels flat.

  27. @StephenfromOttawa: interesting link, even if it shows the author’s blindness;

    Socialist countries generally do devolve into fascist and repressive societies, held together with the bindings of terror. And they don’t take 400 years to do so.

    is past selective and approaching bull.

  28. @Kurt Busiek: But I don’t think it succeeds at saying Lovecraftian shit isn’t creepy compared to racism, because I think it presents an un-creepy faux-Lovecraft.
    Yeah, that was my main criticism of the novel: it’s just not really very Lovecraftian. LaValle’s Black Tom managed the combination more effectively.

  29. @Chip Hitchcock: I don’t endorse the quoted sentence or the apparent politics of the author, which certainly aren’t mine. I just thought the piece was interesting and Filers might not have seen it.

  30. I think Buis may just be being deliberately contrarian. Of course the racism is central to the book and a source of a good deal of its emotional impact and the suspense in the story.

  31. StephenfromOttawa: I think Buis may just be being deliberately contrarian.

    No, she’s actually written that review to the best of her ability. It’s why I stopped reading her “reviews” more than 2 years ago, after about the 5th one, and why I don’t even bother looking at her site when I do my Hugo Review Roundups. Her “reviews” are singularly lacking in insight, and usually completely miss the point. 🙄

  32. @PJ Evans
    Yes there are numerous references to downhill skiing through the Foreigner books. And Bren also refers to his role being like the top of a downhill slope in ‘Defender’. But he mentions nothing about fog, so perhaps he is less sure about his role 14 books later. (though I remember being struck at how desperately unsure and bewildered Bren seemed in the first few books, comapred to the experienced operator now on display). And too, ‘deliberate’ is a fine descriptor for the series

    @many Yes read on ‘Lovecraft Country’ was that the true horror was in the ingrained and institutional racism the characters experienced and dealt with on a daily basis. I’ve not read any Lovecraft, so defer to the more experienced as to how Lovecraftian it is. I really enjoyed the book though.

  33. Kurt Busiek –

    For my part, I thought the racism was the true horror of the book, because it’s what Ruff brought to emotional life most effectively, not because I wasn’t aware it existed. The supernatural horror, I thought, largely fell flat, because it didn’t feel Lovecraftian; it felt like pushbutton magic, learnable, understandable, dependable.

    This much describes my feelings on it as well. Like with Underground Railroad by Whitehead I know of the history however it’s one thing to know the history and another for a story to bring it to life in a way that’s gut wrenching. Which is great writing!

  34. Thanks all for the Cherryh perspectives! I’ll definitely add Invader and Inheritor to the TBR-sooner list, and see how it goes from there. It suspect her style will be too slow to work with my terrible auditory attention span but I’ll keep the audiobooks in mind too (not least because they, unlike the ebooks, are available on Audible UK and don’t require *mumble mumble* shenanigans for me to support the author without a US credit card).

  35. I’m way behind on Matt Ruff’s works – I loved his first novel (“Fool on the Hill”) and enjoyed “Sewer, Gas, and Electric,” so I really should get back to his work.

    What I remember most about “Newton’s Wake” is the culture clash between the Scottish artifact scavenger and the society she discovers (avoiding spoilers) – each group saw the other as representing something obviously evil.

  36. @Shao Ping – Thanks!

    @Kurt Busiek – Funny, after I made that comment on Buis’ blog, I read your comment here and wished I’d thought about that before posting. I agree, the Ruff book is not Lovecraftian. It borrows the trappings, but is really a book about the horrors of racism.

    Aside from that, this comment section is making me wish I had the same amount of time I had as a child to read, and also could spawn a couple more of me to help out. Argh! So many good books, so little time!

    ETA: Also, I just realized Ruff is the reason I read “Sundown Towns.” I wrote about it here a few times while I was reading it (it was an infuriating read). I highly recommend it, especially for white USians.

  37. (14) WINTER WONDERS. Awesome! I can’t even pick a favorite; they’re all very groovy. 😀

    @Mark (Kitteh): I second the “Marla Mason” rec and I’m sorry it’s not readily available the way you want it. It’s a great series (though I’m a bit behind). Pratt has other (non-Marla) good stuff, including some short stories I’ve enjoyed a lot.

    [ETA: IMHO Pratt’s a very good writer; The Wrong Stars is his first SF novel, IIRC – he’s (at least to my mind) known up till now for his fantasy, urban and weird and literary, so it is new territory for him. I’m looking forward to it, though!]

    – – – – –

    I’m very surprised the Earthsea books are all $7.99 or $8.99. Wow, those are some short books (and the oldest is 50 years old) to be priced so high. Thanks, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (I’m not looking for Earthsea ebooks; I’m happy with my print ones. I just ran across this, is all.)

  38. Whoops, too much editing and didn’t clarify: I meant the Earthsea ebooks are those surprising (to me) prices.

  39. Le Guin’s passing has probably caused a boost in sales, which her publishers and her estate are probably more than happy to take advantage of. And honestly, I can’t really blame ’em. Of course, I don’t need another copy, so I don’t have to blame ’em. 😀

  40. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 1-28-18 - Amazing Stories

  41. (15)

    Has EGM announced that they are allowing rights to revert to creators without a legal fight? That should allow them to continue distributing their works either via self publishing or with another publishing house.

    @Cat Eldridge

    Now I strongly submit that JDA claiming he’s the leading Hispanic sf writer does make him a first class jerk…

    Making the claim doesn’t make him a jerk. Insisting that everyone else accept it as fact…..


  42. @Dann: Making the claim initially may not have been a jerk move (it could have been simple ignorance), but sticking to it once the counter-evidence was presented is pretty jerky.

    On the bright side, looking into the claim is what lead me to recently discover Ann Aguirre and A. Lee Martinez, both of whom are excellent, recommended, and look like their careers are doing much better than JDA’s. So I guess I should thank him for that, although I suspect I would have discovered at least one of them without his help. 🙂

  43. Maybe it makes him more of a fool than a jerk? In either sense, as “a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person” or a jester – after all, they were known for their silly clothing and story-telling. Maybe all the lies JDA’s been telling are meant to be silly stories paralleling our President’s foolish (in the first sense) words and dishonesty. He does, after all, ape Trump’s literary style.

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