Pixel Scroll 10/16/19 The Pixels In This Scroll Are Not For Eating!

(1) CHESLEY AWARD. Neil Clarke shows off this year’s beautiful trophy.

(2) HELP NEEDED TO FIND TEXT OF A BOB SHAW SPEECH. Rob Jackson and Dave Langford are planning an ebook of Bob Shaw’s legendary Serious Scientific Talks, to be added to the free library at the TAFF site (taff.org.uk). They have traced thirteen of these convention speeches — three never before collected — but not the final one. This was delivered at Confabulation, the 1995 UK Eastercon, and (perhaps with revisions) at the first Glasgow Worldcon later that year. Rather than the usual knockabout punning, Bob reminisced movingly about his 50 years in fandom. Can any Filer help with a copy, transcription or recording of this talk to complete the set?

Here is the planned cover, with artwork by Jim Barker from the five-speech collection The Eastercon Speeches (1979) edited by Rob Jackson.

(3) MODERATING CON PANELS. Matt Moore’s post from a few years ago surfaced again because it has so many useful things to say: “How to Be a Good Moderator for Panel Discussions at Conventions”.

Understanding your role as moderator

The moderator is there to make sure there actually is a discussion, and that it runs smoothly. Panelists should have a lot to say, but you need to guide the conversation. This means:

  • Everyone gets a chance to speak
  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • People can disagree and be passionate in their views, but it must be done respectfully
  • You stay on topic

(4) TALKIN’ ABOUT THE 451 WAYS. Alex Jay talks about drafting graphics for a long-ago video game in “Lettering: Fahrenheit 451” at Tenth Letter of the Alphabet.

In 1984 Byron Preiss Visual Publications produced a video game adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for Trillium. The book was published by Ballantine Books on October 19, 1953.

Byron Preiss gave an Atari console to me to create the graphics. I don’t recall the model number. Below are my ideas for the title sequence. Preiss wanted to use a salamander in the sequence.

(5) THE CRAFT IN LOVECRAFT. Learn how unexpectedly picky HPL was about space opera in “The Cthulhu Mythos and Space Opera by Bobby Derie” at the On An Underwood No. 5 blog.

…A keen amateur astronomer, Lovecraft largely eschewed the dynamics that made space opera feasible. In his 1935 essay “Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction” he railed:

“A good interplanetary story must have realistic human characters; not the stock scientists, villainous assistants, invincible heroes, and lovely scientist’s-daughter heroines of the usual trash of this sort. Indeed, there is no reason why there should be any “villain”, “hero”, or “heroine” at all. These artificial character-types belong wholly to artificial plot-forms, and have no place in serious fiction of any kind…”

(6) FELINE PERFECTION. BBC reports: “Catwoman: Zoe Kravitz follows Hathaway and Berry in The Batman role”.

Comic book fans will be purring with delight at the mews that Zoe Kravitz will play Catwoman opposite Robert Pattinson in the next Batman film.

Kravitz as good as confirmed her casting when she responded to an Instagram post by Aquaman star Jason Momoa in which he said he was “freaking stoked” by her latest role.

“Love that Aquaman and Catwoman spend the holidays together from now on,” wrote the 30-year-old, best known for her appearances in Big Little Lies and the Fantastic Beasts films.

Kravitz, daughter of rock star Lenny and actress Lisa Bonet, previously provided Catwoman’s voice in 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie.

The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves and starring Pattinson as a young Bruce Wayne, will be released in the UK in June 2021.


  • October 16, 2001 — WB first aired Smallville which would run for ten seasons. Starring Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk and Annette O’Toole, it ran five years on the WB and the last five on the CW. The series lives on in comics and novels. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 16, 1924 David Armstrong. He never had a major role in any genre show but he was in myriad ones. In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. alone he appeared in twenty-two episodes in twenty-two different minor roles, he was a henchmen twice on Batman and had two uncredited appearances on Trek as well. He showed up on Mission Impossible, Get Smart!, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and even The Invaders. (Died 2016.)
  • Born October 16, 1925 Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, 94. She first shows up in a genre work as Sibyl Vane in The Picture of Dorian Gray. A few years later, she’s Queen Anne of France in The Three Musketeers. Somewhat later, she’s Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. She voices Mommy Fortuna in The Last Unicorn, and is Granny in A Company of Wolves. And yes, she’s in Mary Poppins Returns as The Balloon Lady.
  • Born October 16, 1947 Guy Siner, 72. He’s one of only ten actors to appear in both the Trek and Who franchises. He appeared in the “Genesis of the Daleks”, a Fourth Doctor story, and on Enterprise in the “Silent Enemy” episode. Interestingly, he shows up on Babylon 5 as well in “Rumors, Bargains and Lies”. 
  • Born October 16, 1952 Ron Taylor. He got his break with the 1982 off-Broadway production Little Shop of Horrors as he voiced Audrey II in the show which ran for five years and over 2,000 performances. He didn’t do a lot of genre, showing up only on Ice PiratesQuantum Leap, Twin Peaks and Deep Space Nine, plus voice work on Batman Beyond. (Died 2002.)
  • Born October 16, 1958 Tim Robbins, 61. His first genre role was Phil Blumburtt in Howard the Duck. He played Erik in Erik the Viking, and is in The Shawshank Redemption as Andy Dufresne. He’s Woodrow “Woody” Blake in Mission to Mars. He was Harlan Ogilvy in the truly awful War of the Worlds followed by being Senator Robert Hammond in the even worse Green Lantern.
  • ?Born October 16, 1965 Joseph Mallozzi, 54. He is most noted for work on the Stargate series. He joined the Stargate production team at the start of Stargate SG-1’s fourth season in 2000. He was a writer and executive producer for all three series. He also co-created the Dark Matter comic book series with Paul Mullie that became a Syfy series. 
  • Born October 16, 1973 Eva Röse, 46. Most likely best-known for her role as the android Niska in Season 1 of the Swedish Real Humans upon which AMC’s Humans was based. She also was one of the voice cast for the animated Creepschool series, and was Jasmie on The Befallen, a supernatural series that lasted one season there. 

(9) INSERT LIGHTSABER SOUND HERE. Major League Baseball’s Cut4 blog declares “The best possible way to interrupt a live interview is with a lightsaber”.

The Nationals finished off an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals on Tuesday and are headed to their first-ever World Series. Champagne was flowing, players were dancing, Max Scherzer was being Max Scherzer and a couple MLB Network analysts were still on the field — trying to wrap their heads around what had just happened. And then, well …

(10) IF YOU WERE A DESKTOP DINOSAUR, MY LOVE. Gizmodo teases, “Lego’s New Dinosaur Fossils Turn Your Desk Into a Miniature Natural History Museum”. Photos at the link.

You can claim to be interested in historical artifacts like pottery, suits of armor, and maybe even a mummy, but the most compelling reason to visit a museum, even as an adult, are the dinosaur fossils. If your hometown happens to be lacking in museums, however, Lego’s new Dinosaur Fossils set puts a small collection of thunder lizard skeletons on your desk, no admission required.

(11) SMILE AND THE WORLD SMILES WITH YOU. Delish claims “People Are Loving The Joker Frappuccino Even More Than The Movie That Inspired It”.

…First, you’ll have to ask for the barista to draw the smile on the side of the cup in strawberry syrup. Next, they’ll blend a Matcha Green Tea Creme Frappuccino. Then, Pyper suggests you ask for matcha powder to be mixed into the whipped creme but you honestly could probably just get it on top. That’s finished off with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and there you have it.

(12) BOMBS AWAY. The Mirror (UK) names the “Biggest box-office flops of the 21st century”.  There are three genre films atop the list. One of them is —

4. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

Starring Eddie Murphy in a dual role, the critically panned sci-fi comedy managed to earn a Razzie nomination for worst film, worst actor, worst director, worst screenplay and worst on-screen couple (both for Eddie Murphy and a cloned version of himself).

It managed to make just £5.73 million on a budget of £81.83 million.

(13) MOBILE SUIT xEMU. “For NASA’s New Suits, ‘Mobility’ Is The Watchword”NPR has the story. (The BBC has more pictures here.)

NASA has unveiled prototypes of its next generation space suits to be worn inside the Orion spacecraft and on the surface of the moon when American astronauts return there as soon as 2024.

At the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., two NASA engineers modeled the new suits destined for the Artemis program, one known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), designed for walking around the lunar surface, and the other, the Orion Crew Survival System, a bright orange pressure suit to be worn when astronauts launch from Earth and return.

The design criteria? After keeping the crew safe, including America’s first woman moon walker, it’s all about mobility.

To that end, the suited models demonstrated bending, squatting and walking around in the bulky garments.

“This is the first suit we’ve designed in about 40 years,” Chris Hansen, a manager at NASA’s spacesuit design office, said. “We want systems that allow our astronauts to be scientists on the surface of the moon.”

Amy Ross, NASA’s lead spacesuit engineer, said: “Basically, my job is to take a basketball, shape it like a human, keep them alive in a harsh environment and give them the mobility to do their job.”

(14) WHAT APRIL SHOWERS BRING. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.]“Unmanned ship to go on 400-year-old journey across the Atlantic”. This will be a real test for artificial “intelligence” — how will it aim for Virginia and wind up in Massachusetts?

A fully autonomous ship tracing the journey of the Mayflower is being built by a UK-based team, with help from tech firm IBM.

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship, or MAS, will launch from Plymouth in the UK in September 2020.

Its voyage will mark the 400th anniversary of the pilgrim ship which brought European settlers to America in 1620.

IBM is providing artificial intelligence systems for the ship.

The vessel will make its own decisions on its course and collision avoidance, and will even make expensive satellite phone calls back to base if it deems it necessary.

(15) CUBE ROUTER. Working one-handed and with obstacles, “Robot hand solves Rubik’s cube, but not the grand challenge”. Includes video.

A remarkable robot, capable of solving a Rubik’s cube single-handedly, has demonstrated just how far robotics has advanced – but at the same time, experts say, how far we still have to go.

OpenAI’s system used a computer simulation to teach the robot hand to solve the cube, running through routines that would take a single human some 10,000 years to complete.

Once taught, the robot was able to solve a cube that had been slightly modified to help the machine tell which way up it was being held.

Completion time varied, the research team said, but it generally took around four minutes to complete the task.

Using machine-learning and robotics to solve a Rubik’s cube has been achieved before. Notably, in March 2018, a machine developed by engineers at MIT managed to solve a cube in just 0.38 seconds.

What’s significant with OpenAI’s effort is the use of a multi-purpose robot, in this case a human-hand-like design, rather than a machine specifically designed to handle a Rubik’s cube and nothing else.

(16) TERMINAL MAN. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] “And ‘Lo!’ – How the internet was born”. The writer underestimates undergraduate students…

In the 1960s, Bob Taylor worked at the heart of the Pentagon in Washington DC. He was on the third floor, near the US defence secretary and the boss of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa).

…Next to his office was the terminal room, a pokey little space where three remote-access terminals with three different keyboards sat side by side.

Each allowed Taylor to issue commands to a far-away mainframe computer.

…Each of these massive computers required a different login procedure and programming language.

It was, as the historians Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon put it, like “having a den cluttered with several television sets, each dedicated to a different channel”.

…The solution was proposed by another computing pioneer, physicist Wesley Clark.

Clark suggested installing a minicomputer at every site on this new network.

The local mainframe – the hulking Q-32, for example – would talk to the minicomputer sitting close beside it.

…The network designers wanted message processors that would sit quietly, with minimal supervision, and just keep on working, come heat or cold, vibration or power surge, mildew, mice, or – most dangerous of all – curious graduate students with screwdrivers.

(17) DOGGIE DINER. It can’t be easy to get a real dog to forego eating a meatball. Although maybe the meatball is fake, unlike the dog? “New Trailer for Live-Action ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Teases Iconic Spaghetti Dinner Scene”. Hypebeast breaks it down.

Following the first trailer for Disney’s forthcoming live-action adaptation of the renowned pup love story, Lady and the Tramp, the second trailer for the highly-anticipated film has arrived. Pegged as the first of the entertainment conglomerate’s original movies to premiere via Disney+, the film will take on the memorable story of a cocker spaniel named Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) who finds love with a stray mutt named Tramp (Justin Theroux). The film will also star Janelle Monáe, Thomas Mann, Kiersey Clemons, Benedict Wong, Ashley Jensen, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Dave Langford, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/16/19 The Pixels In This Scroll Are Not For Eating!

  1. (17) “Oh, this is the Scroll, it’s a beautiful Scroll
    And we call it Pixela Scrollte”

  2. Ooooooh…..I really like this year’s Chesley. Congratulations to Neil Clarke, it’s well deserved.

  3. @8: For those who know her only as camp or beyond fashion, Lansbury’s most surprising genre role is probably the ice princess in The Court Jester.

  4. (10) OK, OK, I’ve got a plan. I set up a fake website that says it is a competition to win a Lego dinosaur. Right? And I say to the people in my house “Look a cool competition to win a Lego dinosaur! I’m going to enter this competition”. Then I just BUY the lego dinosaur, then I put it in a parcel with a note saying “congratulations you won!” then I post that to myself. Then nobody will ever know that I just bought it for myself.


  5. Sean Doollittle has been a major Star Wars fan for years. He and his partner posted photos of their cosplay for the last Star Wars movie. The name he close for Players Weekend was “Obi-Sean.”

  6. @Camestros It’s foolproof so long as you don’t use your own return address. That one has tripped me up a few times.

    October 16 is David Zucker’s birthday. Part of the team that gave us Airplane! Top Secret! and the Naked Gun movies. Probably some bits of SFF in there somewhere…

    Also Nico who gets credit for singing All Tomorrow’s Parties which became the title of a William Gibson novel.

    What pixel should a poor file scroll for all tomorrow’s entries?

  7. 8) Guy Siner’s shiningest moments have to be on ‘Allo ‘Allo as Lt. Gruber, he of the little tank and the unrequited crush on Rene Artois. (This must be “genre,” because our history’s occupation of France wasn’t at all funny or incompetently run.)

  8. “You’d better scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll, take a file or two….”

    “I’ll be your pixel,
    show who you file,
    in case you don’t scroll.”

  9. @Jack Lint: Airplane II is definitely genre — but Wikipedia tells me Zucker had nothing to do with it. I don’t see anything in IMDB that looks like it might be genre, but I didn’t actually dig into the summaries; feel free to give specifics.

  10. So I was hanging around the tattoo parlor yesterday, posing for photos of my nicely healed catband. After I told the artists that the name of the band is “The Credentials,” I wondered if there was a post somewhere explaining the origin of the term SJW Credentials as pertaining to cats. So I started researching and found enough cross-references to keep me out of trouble for several hours.

    I have been doing lots of strange research lately. I have infiltrated several parrot and macaw owners’ groups, ostensibly claiming I’m thinking about getting a pet bird, but actually I’m writing about baby dinosaurs. I might need one of those Lego things as a, um, research aid business expense.

  11. Charon Dunn says
    So I was hanging around the tattoo parlor yesterday, posing for photos of my nicely healed catband. After I told the artists that the name of the band is “The Credentials,” I wondered if there was a post somewhere explaining the origin of the term SJW Credentials as pertaining to cats. So I started researching and found enough cross-references to keep me out of trouble for several hours.

    So what did you find for the origin of the term SJW Credentials? I’ve not been able to find anything at all.

  12. From what I have heard, the origin stems from a Kurt Busiek post on File 770:


    Kurt said (and this is a direct quote, I promise Kurt!):

    But if you really want suggestions for what “SJW” means from people here, I’ll offer mine: “People who own Siamese cats.”

    Let’s settle on that. It’s clear and unambiguous. For instance, it would mean that I grew up in an SJW household, but since childhood have not been an SJW. You can use it to sort people into SJWs, former SJWs, friends of SJWs, people who might someday become SJWs (my wife is allergic to cats, so not me) and so on, all with a very high degree of clarity.

    Go tell the Puppy leaders we’ve settled on a definition. See whether they join us in that welcoming clarity. If not, perhaps you should ask them what they mean by it, since by doing so, they’ll be trying to describe the worldview of those they see as the “other side,” which will involve trying to see things from the point of view of others. And that, after all, is something you apparently think Puppies are highly willing to do because of a single blog post by one of them, when she wasn’t coughing and spitting at her own mention of Tor Books.

    “People who own Siamese cats.” I’d be delighted to settle on that as the definition. It does make me wonder why the Puppies are so angry at cat owners — at least Siamese cat owners — but once we’re settled on the definition, maybe we can think about it from their point of view and figure out why they have this seemingly-irrational stance. It could be a valuable exercise for both sides, and bring about the rapprochement that you hope to achieve by exhorting one side do all the understanding and accommodating.

  13. @Rob Thornton

    Thanks! That narrows it some. Kurt left that comment May 23, 2015. At that time, only Siamese cats were SJW credentials.

    By the May 20, 2016 pixel scroll (item 10), it was a thing. Somewhere in that 362-day range is the first instance of a (not-necessarily-Siamese) cat being referred to as a credential.

    Dives back into research pit

  14. @Charon: I used to own a parrot (specifically, a Pacific parrotlet, which one of the smaller types), so I may be able to answer some questions for you if you’re still researching.

  15. 8) Concerning Landsbury, though I never thought of this before, The Pirates of Penzance, like most of Gilbert&Sullivan, is genre, isn’t it?

  16. @Nina — I’m basically soaking up the bird-person ambience, so any bird anecdotes are welcome. I’ve learned bird people like to call their pets “fids” (feathered+kids), and many of them are obsessive enough to post close-ups of poop. I’ve learned that most birds bite, and you shouldn’t let them ride around on your shoulder unless you know them really well. One bird-loving ophthalmologist put up a gruesome post about eye injuries inflicted by “mostly” tame birds.

    I’ve learned lots of breeders sell unweaned chicks to owners who think eyedropper feeding will help them bond with their bird, but in actuality it’s frowned on and lots of chicks die in the attempt, so I’m going to use that in my story.

    Since there isn’t a whole lot of dino behavioral stuff available, I’ve been filling my head with bird lore, and the creatures in my lost world act a lot like seabirds in huge colonies, eagles, vultures, ravens and parrots.

    Somewhere in the course of worldbuilding it occurred to me that people would probably capture bird-sized feathered raptors and keep them as pets, selectively breeding them for bright colors and cute faces, just like budgies. (Just don’t let them near your eyes.) So I made my heroine a pet-dino enthusiast who belongs to lots of pet-related groups, supports raptor rescue and dreams of fostering hatchlings someday.

  17. Charon Dunn says Since there isn’t a whole lot of dino behavioral stuff available, I’ve been filling my head with bird lore, and the creatures in my lost world act a lot like seabirds in huge colonies, eagles, vultures, ravens and parrots.

    I had conversations with Kage Baker about her parrot who she firmly believed was really a dinosaur. The parrot’s now with her sister Kathleen.

  18. @Charon: Yeah, breeders selling unweaned birds is really controversial. I got Sweet Pea (my parrotlet) when she was already weaned.

    When birds are angry, they puff up their feathers, and sometimes also hold their wings out from their bodies, which is supposed to make them look bigger and more threatening. If your raptors are feathered, they might have similar behavior.

    Parrots are also quite smart. African greys are pretty famous for their intelligence, but other parrots are reasonably smart too. They’re also very social animals, so an owner should spend time playing with them and make sure they have toys in their cage to play with.

    One really cute thing parrots do when they’re happy and content is to pull one foot up into the feathers of their lower abdomen, so that they’re standing on one foot. They’ll often sleep this way.

  19. Charon Dunn: By the May 20, 2016 pixel scroll (item 10), it was a thing.

    It had become a thing within a few months after Kurt’s comment.

    Sep 5 2015:
    Rev. Bob: Well, “SJW” is right out. It’s been months, and I still haven’t received my Siamese cat!
    Kurt Busiek: There’s been an administrative backup at the factory with the notary-seal-stamping process.
    Soon Lee: Wait, I haven’t received my Siamese cat either, but if the process requires cruelty to Notary Seals (a detail mysteriously omitted in the SJW application form) then I cannot in good conscience be party to such activities. Please cancel my SJW membership forthwith.
    Yr Hmbl Crrspndt

    Leslie C: Now, calm down; you will all get your Siamese cats. There have been a few minor glitches that have nothing to do with the scratches on my arms or the half-empty container of chocolate-color hair dye.
    Lis Carey: Oh no! Fraud in the Siamese cat distribution system!
    TooManyJens: You mean all this time, the Sad Puppies have really been about ethics in Siamese cat distribution?
    JJ: It’s been very sad, being only Half An SJW for the last 5 weeks or so, but I am pleased to report that yesterday I received my new, notaried-by-seals replacement rescue Siamese. I seem to have gotten one of the early prototypes, as the color points are the entire body of the cat. However, as there appears to be only a minimum of hissing and growling, and it seems that amicable integration with the existing SJW credential is likely, I do not wish to register a complaint that you have, in fact, actually sent me a Basement Cat.

    Sep 15 2015:
    Mike Glyer to Mark-kitteh: Yes, you with the Gravatar holding….what is that anyway?
    JJ: It’s a Siamese SJW credential. I’m shocked at your ignorance.

    Oct 8 2015:
    Lis Carey Anyone in need of an SJW credential? My mother’s cat is not finding my sister’s home acceptable. She demands a single-human household. No other cats. Cat-friendly dogs okay. Will be adoptable in the New England area through the Greater Derry Humane Society. Email me.

    Oct 21 2015:
    Bigelow T: My official SJW-authorized kitty arrived today! He is not, however, Rosie, and I am not in Vermont. He is also not Siamese. But he is still pretty awesome.
    Lis Carey: Rosie regrets she is not available to be your SJW-qualifying kitty, but is sure her distant cousin will do an excellent job. My SJW credential is a Chinese Crested Dog, the dog that knows it’s really a cat. And in 6639, everyone else finally realized it, too.

    Oct 21 2015:
    JJ: In digging up Buggles videos, then spending another hour or two compulsively clicking through to a bunch of (according to YouTube) related videos, I discovered that my new SJW credential, a black Tribble with claws, seems quite partial to 80s music, as the purring and trilling only got louder. (I discount any possible amplifying effect that may have been caused by the accompanying singing on my part.) The older SJW credential, a snowshoe Siamese, adjusted to the singing long ago, and remains unimpressed.

  20. @JJ — I located another reference to “SJW credential” on 9/10/15 by you, and I think it is safe to pronounce you the Coiner.

    @Nina — Thanks! I was just watching videos of peacocks in turf fights, and cockatoos screaming abuse with their feathers puffed out, and thinking that would look even more dramatic if a raptor was doing it. Bird behavior videos are lots of fun. And I love the idea of raptors sleeping with one foot tucked under their feathers!

  21. Charon Dunn: I located another reference to “SJW credential” on 9/10/15 by you

    Ah, I missed that one. It was a complaint to the SJW credential supplier, who turned out to be producing fraudulent bootleg credentials.

    JJ: I wish to file a complaint about the replacement SJW credential you sent me last Saturday to replace the one I farewelled last month. Not only is it an “all-body-points” Siamese, it does not meow. Instead, it coos and trills and purrs. The truth is now clear to me.

    You sent me a black Tribble with claws. If not for the fact that my remaining SJW Siamese is getting along with it splendidly, I would be demanding a full refund and replacement.

    As it is, I fear that my SJW badness has been greatly diminished by this reduction in credentials. I am expecting the Puppies to send me a membership invite any day now.

  22. @johnstick: as a longtime G&S fan, I dispute your assertion that they’re almost all genre; if you include them en masse you’d have to include a large fraction of English comedy.
    Genre: Thespis, The Sorcerer, Iolanthe, Ruddigore
    Mimetic (albeit parodistic and often highly improbable): Trial by Jury, Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Princess Ida, The Mikado, Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers, Utopia Ltd., The Grand Duke.

  23. JJ says As it is, I fear that my SJW badness has been greatly diminished by this reduction in credentials. I am expecting the Puppies to send me a membership invite any day now.

    I suspect the Puppies have you on a permanent Do Not Call list.

  24. @Chip, I was not totally serious. I don’t think any succinct attempts to draw the line between genre and nongenre work well. Some days I feel conservative and some days expansionist. On the conservative days I would find your list sensible.

    But there are certainly fantasies sold as genre that are devoid of the supernatural and less fanciful than Princess Ida or Yeomen. And there are alt-histories sold as genre which are more history and less alt than Gondoliers. Claiming that works are not genre because they are comedic in intent or social commentary does not work: comedy and social commentary have always been important parts of science fiction and fantasy writing.

    In my expansionist moods, I would be glad to claim large parts of English comedy for genre. They can sit beside the entire beginning of the western canon from Homer to Dante, all magic realism, all gothic, all utopian, and much else besides. Western literature began as fantasy, and fantasy is the more general category. Nonmagical realism is a late developing subcategory.

  25. In my expanionist moods, I claim that all fiction is a subset of fantasy (else it wouldn’t be fiction), and that any fiction which is reasonably believable (including mystery, romance, slice-of-life, etc.) is a subset of science fiction.

    But I admit that definition is a pretty hard sell, and usually go with something a little more restrictive. 😀

  26. @johnstick: I did not say one word about comedy being involved; parody doesn’t have to be funny. But there is nothing alt about Gondoliers — there were still remote and little-known lands — and I see nothing whatsoever fanciful about either Ida or Yeomen. I understand some people drawing the boundaries very wide, but ISTM that making the whole body of writing a grey area is a bit loose.

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