Pixel Scroll 10/1/20 Pippi Godstalking

(1) TOLKIEN IN COMMUNITY. Books From Fangorn blogger Inia Gwath in “Oxonmoot 2020: A Review and a Fellowship” reports on attending the virtual conference.

Being a Tolkien fan for so long, and someone who has been studying his works, one of my desires was to participate in one of the most important Tolkien fandom (and scholars) events created and organized by the Tolkien Society based in the UK. As I live far away, in Chile, and travelling is not cheap, I always thought that I would have to wait until being a granny (almost) to attend the event. But this year, despite covid bring us tragedy around the world, it also brought some great things. The Oxomoot had to be online, and allowed many more Tolkien fans and scholars from around the world, like me, to attend. This was the first Oxonmoot online ever, and it is estimated that it will be the only one for the others are expected to combine physical activities with online ones. The Oxonmoot has existed since 1974, a year later J. R. R. Tolkien left this world to reunite with Edith.

…I truly hope that next year I will be able to join again. It was such a great time and a beautiful opportunity to share the love for J.R.R. Tolkien, whose works join so many people and have given us hope and strength in the most difficult times, reminding us that not all is lost as we might think it is. Tolkien’s works have created a fellowship who unites readers from all over the world.

(2) IT’S ALIVE! The FIYAHCON (October 16-18) schedule is live.

We’ve got panels from all over the world, a bunch of ceremonies, newly added workshops, even a GAME SHOW planned for your interactive viewing pleasure. 

(3) INFINITE DIVERSITY EVOLVES. [Item by Olav Rokne.] At StarTrek.com, Carlos Miranda writes about the importance of diversity that reflects not only skin tone, but cultural signifiers. In a heartfelt article, “The Importance of Cristóbal Rios”,  he praises Star Trek: Picard’s inclusion of not only a Latinx character, but one who speaks Spanish, and who is more nuanced than previous depictions. 

I can’t quite describe the smile I had when we first heard Rios speak Spanish on camera — 9-year-old and 38-year-old me beamed enthusiastically. Rios curses (appropriately one might add) in Spanish, his ship is named La Sirena (Spanish for mermaid), one of his emergency holograms, Emmet, (the Emergency Tactical Hologram) also speaks and curses in Spanish, and he uses a classic Spanish nursery rhyme (one that most Spanish speakers would recognize, Arroz con Leche) to override La Sirena’s controls. This is a character whose cultural heritage and background is not simply window dressing, but in fact central to who they are as a person.

(4) FROM THE ORIGINAL POLISH. Rachel Cordasco has compiled “POLISH SFT: AN OVERVIEW” at SF in Translation.

Polish SFT is a wonderful mix of science fiction and surrealism, fantasy and horror, cyberpunk and fairy tale. Since the 1960s, when Stanis?aw Lem, Witold Gombrowicz, and Stefan Grabi?ski were first translated and introduced to Anglophone audiences; to the present day, when Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher universe is available in English across various media; Polish SFT has shown us the richly imaginative worlds explored by the language’s most creative writers. Here you’ll find nanobot swarms on alien planets, occult practices, timeless villages, professional space travelers, clones, elves, ghost trains, and much more. So enjoy this month of Polish SFT and tell us your favorite stories/novels/collections/anthologies in the comments!

(5) EISNER GRANTS AVAILABLE. Libraries are invited to apply for the 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries the American Library Association announced today.

The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) of ALA and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are pleased to announce the opening of the 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries grant cycle. These grants recognizes libraries for their role in the growth of graphic literature and awards funds and resources for graphic novel collection development and programming.

Through these grants the GNCRT and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation seek to continue to extend graphic novels into new realms by encouraging public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and honoring the legacy and creative excellence of Will Eisner. For a career that spanned nearly eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — Will Eisner is recognized as the “Champion of the Graphic Novel.”

Three grants will be awarded: two recipients will receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants which provides support to libraries that would like to expand their existing graphic novel collection, services and programs; and one recipient will receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant which provides support to a library for the initiation of a new graphic novel service or program. Recipients each receive a $4,000 programming and collection development grant plus a collection of Will Eisner’s works and biographies as well as a selection of the winners of the 2021 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International. The grant also includes a travel stipend for a library representative to travel to the 2021 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL to receive recognition from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. An applying librarian or their institution must be an ALA Member to be eligible and the grants are now open to libraries across North America, including Canada and Mexico….

(6) GLUG GLUG. James Davis Nicoll bellies up to the bar for “Tales From the Science Fiction Barroom” at Tor.com.

…Recently I put out a request on social media for readers to suggest authors and works now obscure that deserve mention. To my surprise, someone suggested Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart.

…How on Earth could Tales from the White Hart be considered obscure? Well…for one thing, the author has been dead for over a decade. The collection is an astounding ten twenty thirty forty fifty sixty-three years old, which is to say it’s as ancient to a new SF reader in 2020 as H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine was for the new SF reader in 1957, when Tales first came out.

Tales from the White Hart is also an example of a genre once popular that seems to have fallen into comparative obscurity: the barroom tale….

(7) GREENHOUSE EFFECT. The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda warns “When book storage is limited, people get desperate. Don’t make the mistakes I did.”

…As some readers may recall, in my first report on reducing my biblio-clutter I mentioned having stored some books in a disused greenhouse. By “some books” you should be picturing two or three thousand. Now keeping any part of a library in a glass building designed to be tropically warm and moist is unquestionably a terrible idea. But I was tired of paying for an expensive storage unit in Kensington and this particular greenhouse allowed air to circulate freely and, really, it would all be okay, wouldn’t it?

Sigh. What would we poor deluded humans do without magical thinking?


Forty years ago, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Fountains of Paradise won the Hugo Award for Best Novel at Noreascon Two. (It would also win the Nebula.) It was simultaneously published the previous year by Gollancz and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. It would beat out John Varley‘s Titan, Frederik Pohl‘s Jem, Patricia A. McKillip‘s Harpist in the Wind and Thomas M. Disch‘s On Wings of Song. A space elevator is also constructed in the course of Clarke’s final novel, The Last Theorem, which was co-written with Frederik Pohl. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 1, 1914 – Donald A. Wollheim.  One man deserves the credit, one man deserves the blame, and Donald Allen Wollheim, yes, Don Wollheim is his name! Hey!  As Tom Lehrer said explaining the song I allude to, this is not intended as a slur on DAW’s character, but only given for prosodic reasons.  DAW, earning praise and otherwise, even in the incident for which he was most blamed also did good.  As a fan he among much else was a founder of FAPA and the Futurians, editor of The Phantagraph.  As a pro he edited The Pocket Book of SF, first mass-marketed SF anthology; he was editor at Avon and Ace, eventually his own DAW Books, with a creditable yearly World’s Best SF 1971-1990.  In publishing an unauthorized U.S. ed’n of The Lord of the Rings, which brought on an authorized one among much else, he has been called responsible for the fantasy boom.  First Fandom Hall of Fame.  Forry, Gallun, Solstice Awards.  Pro Guest of Honor at Nolacon II the 46th Worldcon.  I’ve always liked The Secret of the Martian Moons.  (Died 1990) [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1922 – Terry Jeeves.  Four short stories, including one in Tomorrow; famed mainly as a fan.  Founding member of British SF Ass’n, two years editor of Vector.  Three-part Checklist of “Astounding” for 1930-1959.  Essays, letters, reviews, in AnalogAsimov’sBanana WingsHyphenMatrixSF CommentaryZenith.  His own fanzine Erg.  First Fandom Hall of Fame.  Fine fanartist; Rotsler Award; see here.  (Died 2011) [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1929 – Martha Beck.  Hospitable mainstay and often hostess of All-Night Fandom.  Active in the N3F (Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n).  Fan Guest of Honor at ChambanaCon 4, Genuine ConFusion, Archon 12, Windycon XVII.  First Fandom Hall of Fame, as Associate Member.  (Died 2002) [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1935 Dame Julie Andrews, DBE, 85. The original Mary Poppins! I could stop there but I won’t. (Hee.) She had a scene cut in which she was a maid in The Return of the Pink Panther, and she’s uncredited as the singing voice of Ainsley Jarvis in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Yet again she’s uncredited as in a Panther film, this time as chairwoman in Trail of the Pink Panther. (Andrews was married to Pink Panther producer Blake Edwards [d. 2010] which may explain the pattern.) She voices Queen Lillian in Shrek 2Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After. And she’s the voice of Karathen in Aquaman. (CE) 
  • Born October 1, 1944 – Rick Katze, F.N., 76.  (I’d tell you his name rhymes with Harry Bates, but have you read “Farewell to the Master”?)  Diligent fan made a Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award) decades ago.  Discharged various thankless duties.  Chaired three Boskones – oh, you say that’s no contradiction?  Edited NESFA Press books including The Best of Poul Anderson.  A remark to me at Torcon 3 the 61st Worldcon was a model of discretion.  [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1948 – Mike Ashley, 72.  Co-editor of Fusion and Xeron, emerging as anthologist.  History of the SF Magazine, originally with reprints, revised without them in four volumes 2000-2016 (through 1990).  Thirty volumes so far in The Mammoth Book of — ; a dozen are SF.  Half a dozen books on the Matter of Arthur.  Several dozen others, some ours, recently Lost Mars (2018; “from the Golden Age of the Red Planet”; Univ. Chicago Press).  Pilgrim Award.  [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1953 John Ridley, 67. Author of Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn novels. Both excellent though high on the violence cringe scale. Writer on the Static Shock and Justice League series. Writer, The Authority : human on the inside graphic novel. And apparently there was the writer for Team Knight Rider, a female version of Knight Rider that lasted but one season in the Nineties. (CE) 
  • Born October 1, 1960 Elizabeth Dennehy, 60. She played Lt. Commander Shelby in “The Best of Both Worlds,” a two-part story on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was her second genre role as she was Renata in Recall the previous year. She also showed up on Quantum Leap, GattacaWishmaster 2: Evil Never DiesGeneration X, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, Supernova and The Last Man on Planet Earth. (CE) 
  • Born October 1, 1967 Celine Kiernan, 53. She’s best known for her Moorehawke trilogy set in an alternate renaissance Europe, and she has written two books so far in her Wild Magic trilogy. She reads the first three chapters of her latest novel, Resonance, over at her blog. Being a gothic fiction, I’d say it’s appropriate for this time of year. (CE)
  • Born October 1, 1973 Rachel Manija Brown, 47. Co-writer of the Change series with Sherwood Smith; Laura’s Wolf, first volume of the Werewolf Marines series. She wrote an essay entitled “The Golden Age of Fantasy Is Twelve: SF and the Young Adult Novel” which was published in Strange Horizons. The first two Change novels are available at the usual digital suspects. (CE)
  • Born October 1, 1976 – Angela Woolfe, 44.  Seven novels.  Also writes for The Guardian and Vogue. Knowing that in SF we can assume little about what we are to expect, she calls a title-role woman scientist Avril Crump whom we are thus not startled to see bald, pink, round, bumbling, lovable. Uses two other names, one for legendary movie stars appearing on a magical sofa with advice to the lovelorn.  [JH]
  • Born October 1, 1979 Holly Elissa, 41. A Canadian artist, actress, filmmaker and activist who, given that a lot of genre video is produced in Canada, not surprisingly shows up in one-offs on Outer LimitsStargate SG-1 and Stargate AtlantisVoyage of the UnicornBattlestar GalacticaKyle X/YEurekaSupernatural,  FringeFlash GordonColonyVan Helsing and Arrow.  (CE) 
  • Born October 1, 1989 Brie Larson, 31. Captain Marvel in the Marvel film universe including of course the most excellent Captain Marvel film. She’s also been in Kong: Skull Island as Mason Weaver, and plays Kit in the Unicorn Store which she also directed and produced. Her first genre role was Rachael in the “Into the Fire” of the Touched by an Angel series; she also appeared as Krista Eisenburg in the “Slam” episode of Ghost Whisperer. I just wrote up a review of her Funko Rock Candy figure at Green Man Review. CE) 


(11) SAY IT THIS WAY. [Item by rcade.] Podcast producer Jay Hamm writes on Twitter, “COMICS FANS, you’ve been pronouncing creators’ names wrong for far too long. I can’t take it anymore. Here’s a thread to put you right.”

Read the link to learn that Jeff Lemire rhymes with “fear” not “fire”, Mark Millar rhymes with “brr” not “bar”, Chip Zdarsky is “anything goes” and mysterious things are afoot in the name of Frank Quietly.

There ought to be one of these for SF/F.

(12) I DUB THEE. The next group of space bound astronauts named SpaceX’s newest spaceship ‘Resilience’ ahead of a major launch — they didn’t break a bottle of champagne over the prow, however.

…Four astronauts — NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi  — are set to climb aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on October 31, roar into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, then spend a six months aboard the International Space Station.

Their mission, called Crew-1, will be the first of six round-trip flights that NASA has contracted from SpaceX.

The company tested its human spaceflight capabilities this summer, when it launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a test flight called Demo-2. That marked the first time humans had flown aboard a commercial spacecraft, and the first time the US had launched its own astronauts since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

Behnken and Hurley named that capsule “Endeavour” after they launched. Now, following that longstanding tradition of naming spacecraft, the astronauts on the upcoming mission gave their new spaceship the name “Resilience” on Tuesday.

(13) SOMETHING BORROWED. [Item by Bill.] The Scroll recently linked to “Loose Ends”, a story made up from the last lines of SFF books.  I just today ran across Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen, a feature length film made of clips from 400+ romantic films — but it includes a number of genre films.  The very first scene, for example, is from Avatar.

(14) OCTOBER THE FIRST IS ON TIME. Andrew Liptak has posted his monthly list of anticipated sff books.

If there’s any bright spot, it’s that October is an excellent month for new book releases — there are a lot of heavy hitters from the likes of Kim Stanley Robinson, Alix E. Harrow, V.E. Schwab, Rebecca Roanhorse, and many others. I’ve rounded up 24 of them that you should check out.

(15) BY GRABTHAR’S HAMMER… WHAT A SAVINGS. “Potty training: NASA tests new $23M titanium space toilet”Yahoo! News says it will soon be on its way to the ISS.

NASA’s first new space potty in decades — a $23 million titanium toilet better suited for women — is getting a not-so-dry run at the International Space Station before eventually flying to the moon.

It’s packed inside a cargo ship set to blast off late Thursday from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Barely 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and just 28 inches (71 centimeters) tall, it’s roughly half as big as the two Russian-built toilets at the space station. It’s more camper-size to fit into the NASA Orion capsules that will carry astronauts to the moon in a few years.

Station residents will test it out for a few months. If the shakedown goes well, the toilet will be open for regular business.

(16) SPAGHETTI ICE CREAM. Not really genre, just sounds weird.

You don’t need a fork to eat this plate of spaghetti. Just a spoon will do. And that’s because it’s not actually spaghetti. It’s Spaghettieis—vanilla ice cream noodles topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings. Dario Fontanella, the inventor of spaghetti ice cream, invites us into his dessert shop in Mannheim, Germany to sample this ice cold treat. Did we mention it’s served on a bed of whipped cream?

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Think of ST:TNG reimagined as Data, “A wholesome 90s sitcom revolving around the beloved android crewmember of the starship Enterprise-D.”

[Thanks to Sultana Raza, Chris M. Barkley, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, rcade, Bill, Jeffrey Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credt goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/1/20 Pippi Godstalking

  1. First?

    6) I do wonder that maybe mores changed the barroom tale into a forgotten subgenre. Culture changes.

    OTOH my favorite scene/bit in an inn/tavern/bar is the alpine inn in THE DRAGON WAITING (which I believe got mentioned in a previous scroll as being re-released)

  2. (8) My small town library couldn’t afford to get a copy of Fountains of their very own, but rather, worked out a deal with a larger library system to get their copy for a few months – and so special arrangements were made for people who wanted to borrow that precious copy – instead of free lending, I paid a dime a day to borrow “Fountains.” I read it fast, therefore – and enjoyed it.

  3. I got Fountains of Paradise as a review copy. I was still doing a lot of reviews then, either in my own zine, or for Delap’s F&SF Review. I remember reading it on a bus on the way to my job.

  4. 16) Spaghetti ice isn’t all that weird. It’s basically just vanilla ice that’s pressed through a spaetzle noodle press (okay, those can be hard to find outside Germany) with strawberry sauce and white chocolate flakes. Occasionally, you also get varieties with different types of ice cream or with added fruit, caramelized nuts, etc… Pretty much every ice cream parlour serves spaghetti ice these days. I don’t have it all that often, but kids love it.

  5. I have a chance to get some review copies of NESFA Books — what I need are reviewers! Contact me at mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com if you ae interested.

  6. (9) Brie Larson also appeared in three episodes of Community, a series so genre-adjacent it kept sticking its head through the curtains to see what was going on on the other side.

    (16) Clearly a dish best served cold.

  7. Data….that name rings a bell….hence, no doubt, that famous song, “Data, Data, Data Data ding ding ding”,

  8. @8
    Clarke was on fire after working on 2001.

    Meeting with Medusa is my “if you only read one science fiction story make it this one” story. I didn’t like Rendezvous with Rama but a whole bunch of other people did. Then there’s the string of novels Imperial Earth, Fountains of Paradise, 2010 and The Songs of Distant Earth…he was in a groove, at least for me. YMMHV.

    Speaking of which…I am occasionally astonished when I note how much time has elapsed since some event which seemed just yesterday just yesterday.

    I enjoyed those White Hart stories, but the clock is merciless. (Time being a delusion, or at least a sensory phenomenon, I suppose it is more accurate to say humanity is merciless.)

  9. Generally, when I mispronounce a name, it’s because I’ve never heard it said out loud. Sometimes, it’s because the phonemes involved are actually a bit of a struggle for those of us who haven’t grown up with them.

    Yeah, I think there might be other reasons the barroom tale isn’t as popular anymore.

  10. The most recent edition of Mike Ashley’s series covering the sf mags are among my favorite books. I hope someday they will make their way to electronia. I’d love to read them all one last time.

  11. Speaking of new books coming out (okay, not BRAND new, but this year) — I’m currently listening to Angel of the Crows, the latest from Katherine Addison. I love the narrative voice — and in audio, the narrator is fantastic. She’s new to me, Imogen Church, and I really love her. It’s very unusual to have a female narrator doing a first-person male POV, though, so I suspect Twists Coming Ahead.

    For at least the first three hours this is pure Holmes fan fic, in a mildly steampunkish setting with angels and werewolves. Holmes is an adorable angel (yes, actual angel) named Crow (picture a manic Cumberbatch only sweeter and with more smiling), and Watson is named Doyle. Up to this point the plot hews way too closely to the original Holmes, but I’m enjoying everything else about it. I’m hoping it will hare off in some unexpected direction before too much longer.

    In other reading, September was a relatively slow month for me.

    Jim Butcher — Ghost Story, Cold Days, Skin Game, Peace Talks — I finished refreshing myself on the older Dresden books, and finally got started on the new ones. I still love this series to death, but I gotta say Butcher’s odd gender-related attitudes grated more this time around. He’s got plenty of strong female characters, and he’s not afraid to have Dresden either get his ass kicked or saved by women, BUT his constant sexualized descriptions of his female characters do get old.

    Zachary Pike — Orconomics — I dnfed this one after about five hours. The conceit that bands of adventurers are drivers of a country’s economy, and the humorously cynical behind-the-scenes schtick that went along with it, were cute for a while, but they got old. Nicholas Eames kept my interest better a couple of years ago with a vaguely similar idea in Kings of the Wyld. The book wasn’t bad, but I stopped caring.

    CJ Cherryh — Chanur’s Venture, The Kif Strike Back, Chanur’s Homecoming. I read all of these decades ago, and I reread (listened to) The Pride of Chanur a couple of years ago. I like this series, but there are so many machinations and complications, and all the characters themselves are so confused throughout, that it can get frustrating. Otherwise, fairly typical Cherryh with interspecies politics, cultural misunderstandings, and a human-out-of-water, though told from a non-human POV. Good narration by Dina Pearlman.

    Rachel Aaron — Night Shift Dragons — Third in her Detroit Free Zone UF series. I enjoy this series, but I didn’t like this installment as much as the first two. Too much moralizing throughout, too slow for too long at the beginning, and the romantic relationship (don’t worry, they hardly even kiss) was way too mushy this time around. Still not bad, just not as good as the other books. Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller, whom I like a lot, but I know a fair number of people don’t.

    Now playing: “Payola Blues” by Albert Lee

  12. @brown robin – Imperial Earth is one of my favorite SF novels; it’s rare to meet (so to speak) another fan! For those who haven’t read it, it’s a leisurely stroll through a future utopia with no real dramatic tension. Indeed, very little happens at all. It’ll never be a big budget TV series but I would love that.

  13. I still like the White Hart stories which I first read some thirty years ago. And bless the Suck Fairy for not visiting them were still quite pleasant when I re-read them several years back. I think Niven’s Draco’s Tavern stories are a superb modern version of them.

    Now playing: Jay Ungar and Molly Mason’s “The Farmer’s Set”

  14. @PhilRM: When “Community” briefly emulated “Fringe” and when “Community” showed up on “Rick and Morty” the genre-curtains were certainly being breached…

  15. The other factor for mispronunciation is learning to read by sight instead of phonics. I was an early reader and was reading at a reasonably high level for my age before I ever encountered phonics (one memory is of being bullied, then challenged at a school bus stop about being able to read already. The challenger whipped out a sixth-grade social studies text with small print. I remember flummoxing the bully by reading it correctly).

    That said, those of us who were first sight readers also easily mangle Anglo-based words as well as non-Anglo words. In some cases I have a much easier time with non-Anglo words because I a.) learned French and basic other languages phonetically and b.) transliteration tends to be phonetic. I still don’t do phonics well, even when I had to teach it as part of reading remediation as a special ed teacher. But phonetic marks? Aaagh, I can never get them quite right.

  16. @Joyce —

    The other factor for mispronunciation is learning to read by sight instead of phonics.

    Tell me about it. I pronounce “salmon” wrong for years and years, and I still have to stop and think when I read the word “subtle”.

    As for pronouncing personal names — one of the reasons I never use my real name in internet forums is because nobody can ever pronounce — or spell — it correctly. This despite the fact that it’s a good old-fashioned Murcan name — lots of old pioneer ladies had the name. So mispronouncing names isn’t limited to furrin-looking ones!

  17. 16) It’s such a staple dish here, that until quite recently thought it would be known everywhere. Only learne two years ago or so that it was invented in Germany 🙂 I used to save my allowance for spaghetti ice cream when I was a kid. Nowadays most “Italian” Ice cream places here also offer ice pizza and some even ice lasagne.

    Film Flam Flug I smell the Scroll of an Englishman .

  18. I remember flummoxing the bully by reading it correctly

    I don’t know whether to be appalled by your bully or impressed by their interest in literacy.

  19. I don’t know whether to be appalled by your bully or impressed by their interest in literacy.

    They were confident that I couldn’t do it which would give them more grounds for mockery.

  20. We were actually discussing “Tales from the White Hart” at our monthly SFFWA dinner this year, and I have been reading it as desert, one story at a time. I don’t want to gobble all the desert at once, the way I used to at banquets before I got fat.

    The demise of the bar tale is pretty simple. We no longer find alcoholism amusing.

    Jerry Lewis made quite a bit of money making light of the mentally challenged until he realized it was a Bad Thing and became a champion for the welfare of the people he had derided.

    But at core, the bar tale is not about drinking, it is about gathering. The advantage of the bar was that it provided a gathering place where people ‘loosened up’ and were willing to expose themselves in ‘tall tales.’

    The coffee house had a similar function in the 1700s, but uppers like caffeine don’t offer the same loosening up setting as downers like alcohol. The coffee house has, in some ways, replaced the bar as a gathering place once gain, but really, it is hard to imagine the habitues of a Starbucks paying attention to someone telling a story: today’s soundbite, egocentric world does not teach ‘giving stage,’ or paying attention to the words of anybody else in the room.

    Interestingly, I have experienced that mise en scene at science fiction conventions of the past, in room parties where everybody focused on some wonderful raconteur (usually a writer) telling a tale of personal experience such as may, or may not, have veracity. The bar tale, after all, is told by someone onstage about events that are offstage.

    I suspect the grandparent of the bar tale is probably The Canterbury Tales.

    I wonder if somewhere in Cyberspace there is, perhaps, a chat room sort of thing where people gather and tell tall tales, one to the other?

    It would be a refreshing alternative to the social media experience of thrust, riposte, thrust, tally the damage, attack again.

  21. The spaghetti ice cream story was fun, like most of the Great Big Story pieces.

    Cora Buhlert: So the German for spaghetti is “spaghetti?” And in German this would be “Spaghetti Eis?”

  22. @Jon DeCles

    It takes a bit of time to build up a decent follow list (by which I mean, people who reblog the stuff you’re interested in as well as producing good original content), but I’ve found that of all the social media websites Tumblr is excellent for the “amusingly told stories about past events in their lives” genre.

  23. @Contrarius:

    For at least the first three hours this is pure Holmes fan fic, in a mildly steampunkish setting with angels and werewolves.

    FYI, the author explicitly acknowledges this in a note at the end. (Seeing a definition of wingfic in a traditionally-published novel greatly amused me.)

  24. @Goobergunch —

    FYI, the author explicitly acknowledges this in a note at the end. (Seeing a definition of wingfic in a traditionally-published novel greatly amused me.)

    Oh, there is never even a little attempt to hide it. I mean, naming the doctor Doyle is kinda a clue, amongst other things. 😉 I haven’t figured out yet why Addison made the choice to do it that way, but the reasoning behind it may become obvious later. ::shrug::

    At 4 1/2 hours the plot has started branching out more. I’m still enjoying everything I was enjoying before, and I’m starting to see more originality in the plot as well. And I’m also starting to see a few hints of that plot twist. We Shall See where it goes from here.

  25. Cora Buhlert: So the German for spaghetti is “spaghetti?” And in German this would be “Spaghetti Eis?”

    Well, the controversial German spelling reform of the 1990s tried to push “spagetti”, but it never caught on and now the Duden (the OED/Merriam-Webster equivalent for the German language) recommends “spaghetti” again. And yes, it’s called Spaghetti Eis.

    As Peer said, ice cream pizza and ice cream lasagna are also available at many ice cream parlours. Here is a photo plus a recipe for ice cream pizza. And here is an ice cream lasagna

    If you want an idea how popular spaghetti ice is in Germany, this site with stockphotos of ice cream sundaes for ice cream parlour menus (no, I didn’t know that this existed until today either), has 126 photos of variations of spaghetti ice.

  26. Was the Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon series the last hurrah of the barroom tale? If so, it was a pretty impressive one, and one that was pretty influential on the early days of the Internet.

    As for Clarke–when I was 12, he was my least favorite of the “big three”, but by the time I was 20, he’d moved to the top, and probably still is today. Though my ranking of the big three among SF writers in general had also fallen during that time.

  27. Xtifr asks Was the Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon series the last hurrah of the barroom tale? If so, it was a pretty impressive one, and one that was pretty influential on the early days of the Internet.

    I’d argue that Niven’s Draco’s Tavern stories are damn good SF and contain none of the Puppy friendly politics that spoils so much of his other fiction. I read them as they came, and listened to them again several years back. No Suck Fairy there at all.

    Now watching: season five of NCIS New Orleans.

  28. @Cat Eldridge: I thought the Draco’s Tavern stories were a little older, but isfdb says that both series started in 1977, so I’d say they’re every bit as qualified, yes.

  29. Resnick’s The Outpost was another in the tavern stories vein. I don’t know how influential it was, but it was on the Hugo and Nebula longlists in 2002.

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