Pixel Scroll 10/7/23 For All Fankind

(1) WAYS IN WHICH PRATCHETT IS STILL WITH US. Sam Jordison discusses “Pratchett power: from lost stories to new adaptations, how the late Discworld author lives on” in the Guardian.

“Of all the dead authors in the world, Terry Pratchett is the most alive,” said John Lloyd at the author’s memorial in 2015. This sentiment remains as true now, 40 years after the publication of Pratchett’s first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic. The anniversary has been commemorated in a set of illustrated Royal Mail stamps. There’s been a show dedicated to Pratchett at the Edinburgh fringe. A Kickstarter for a graphic novel adaptation of Good Omens, the book he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman, became the number one comics campaign in Kickstarter history, bringing in more than £2.4m; a second series of the TV adaptation was also released.

All this would make 2023 an impressive year by any writer’s standards – but happened in the month of August alone. The big event comes this month, with the publication of A Stroke of the Pen, a collection of rediscovered early stories. This past year also brought an animated adaptation of Pratchett’s children’s novel The Amazing Maurice, and a new set of Discworld audiobooks….

Naturally, the best paragraphs are the ones that quote Pratchett:

…Not that Pratchett was universally disparaged: the critics who actually read his books tended to like them. When AS Byatt reviewed Thief of Time, she said it deserved to win the Booker prize. Of course, Pratchett never got a look in. “Thank goodness,” he said, “because I think my earnings would have gone down considerably if I suddenly got literary credibility.” He also joked that when he was given an OBE for services to literature, those services “consisted of refraining from trying to write any”…

(2) BEARS DISCOVER TYPING. Margaret Grebowicz traces “Terry Bisson’s History of the Future” in The New Yorker.

… In 1969, Bisson quit writing for a decade and left New York for “hippie commune” work in the South and Southwest. He met his wife, Judy Jensen, in a commune, and they became involved in the May 19th Communist Organization, a group created by former members of the Weather Underground. In 1975, the couple moved back to New York to organize for May 19th, and Bisson worked as an auto mechanic in taxi garages and a copywriter. He sold his first science-fiction novel, “Wylrdmaker,” to the publisher David Hartwell in 1981, for fifteen hundred dollars. The novel was pulp: it told the story of Kemen of Pastryn, a satirical futuristic version of Conan the Barbarian. It wasn’t the book Bisson wanted to write, he told me, but “it was the smartest thing I ever did. That’s when I discovered you didn’t have to be fucking Hemingway or Fitzgerald to write a novel.” His second novel, “The Talking Man,” was more of a passion project—it was a fantasy novel set in the rural South, with junkyards instead of castles. “There was a sense of science fiction as a very urban literature and the future as a very urban place,” the writer Karen Joy Fowler told me. “Terry’s perspective was more land-based, regional, and populist.”

If May 19th had asked him to do anything risky, Bisson would have. But he was always suspected of being a “petit-bourgeois intellectual” and thus was kept on the sidelines. In 1985, he was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury, to identify friends who had gone into hiding, and who were suspected for bombings at the Capitol and three military bases nearby. He refused to comply, and spent three months in prison—a short stint, he notes, compared with those of his friends. There, Bisson started his third novel, “Fire on The Mountain,” an alternative history in which the abolitionist John Brown’s revolt at Harper’s Ferry succeeded. When it was published, in 1988, Bisson dedicated the book to Kuwasi Balagoon and the Black Liberation Army….

(3) THE 1440 MINUTE HATE. Sandra Newman, author of 1984 turnabout Julia, tells “What I learned about today’s rage culture from rewriting 1984” in the Guardian.

…Nowadays, the language of Nineteen Eighty-Four is used by rightwingers to indict “wokeism”. Any new coinage from the left is called “Newspeak”; any attempt to acknowledge moral ambiguity is dismissed as “doublethink”. With the single word “Orwellian”, a college’s overreaching speech policy, for example, is framed as an existential threat to the free world. But Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t a warning against a university’s inclusivity statement. It was a warning about men like Trump and Putin and the violent mass movements they inspire….

… When my Nineteen Eighty-Four book was announced, described as a “feminist retelling”, I was treated to a personal experience of how far things had gone. The news attracted a storm of misogynist and antisemitic abuse in rightwing tweets, blogs, YouTube videos, even newspaper articles. This was long before the novel was available to be read – before I’d barely written a few chapters. Still, all the attackers were sure what would be in it: a full-throated endorsement of Big Brother. …

(4) OHAYOCON MELTDOWN. Nerd & Tie is following the controvery between the owner and volunteers of a commercial sff con: “Ohayocon Senior Leadership and Volunteers on Strike After Removal of Con Chair Cody Marcum [Updated 10/6]”. A long post at the link.

…From what we’ve been able to gather, it appears that a group of Ohayocon staffers and volunteers had formed an informal union called Convention of Ohio Volunteer Network (COVEN) and presented a document of demands to Phelps and other members of the board of Cultural Exchange Society, Inc on March 4th, 2023. You can read a full version of that document here. …

Update 10/6/2023 (8:50pm CDT): Ohayocon has put out a statement regarding the current situation which is, frankly, confusing. In the statement, Ohayocon says “Contrary to misinformation swirling online, NO volunteers or members of the Senior Leadership Team have been fired from Ohayocon…” which is at odds with Phelp’s repeated, explicit statements that the con chair and marketing head had been fired….

(5) SMALL WONDERS 4. Co-editors Cislyn Smith and Stephen Granade are proud to bring a mix of flash fiction and poetry for the spooky month in Small Wonders Issue 4, now available on virtual newsstands here. Subscriptions are available at the magazine’s store and on Patreon.

The Issue 4 Table of Contents and release dates on the Small Wonders website:

  • Cover Art: “Rebuilding” by Carrie Alyson
  • “Katya’s Microscope” (fiction) by Monica Joyce Evans (2 Oct)
  • “Five Easy Hairstyles for Snake-Haired Girls” (poem) by Jelena Dunato (4 Oct)
  • “Granny’s Spider” (fiction) by Wen Wen Yang (6 Oct)
  • “On the bare unwelcoming shore” (fiction) by Zohar Jacobs (9 Oct)
  • “Drunken Supernova” (poem) by Keira Perkins (11 Oct)
  • “Faith That Builds Worlds” (fiction) by Eric A. Clayton (16 Oct)
  • “If We Live to Be Giants” (fiction) by Allison Mulder (13 Oct)
  • “Sever” (poem) by Lora Gray (18 Oct)
  • “Five Functions of Your Bionosaur” (fiction) by Rachael K. Jones (20 Oct)

(6) GOAL: DISRUPTION. “Spotify Gave Subscribers Music and Podcasts. Next: Audiobooks.” – in the New York Times.

Four years ago, Spotify’s business was stagnating. Apple had overtaken it as the top paid music service in the United States, losses were mounting and customer growth was slowing.

Daniel Ek, the company’s chief executive, decided that Spotify needed to transform from a music service into the everything store for audio. The first missing piece was podcasts, a business that has helped boost ad sales.

Now Mr. Ek has set his sights on another rapidly growing medium: audiobooks.

On Tuesday, Spotify said that it would begin offering 15 hours of audiobooks each month as part of its streaming service for premium subscribers in Britain and Australia. This winter, it will expand the offering to subscribers in the United States.

Spotify’s expansion into books has the potential to shake up the retail landscape for audiobooks, a fast-growing segment of publishing that has long been dominated by the Amazon-owned audio retailer Audible.

(7) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [Item by Ersatz Culture.]

Single day tickets now available

Announcement on Weibo ; Chinese-language announcement on the official site ; Damai.cn sales page . There is no corresponding English-language item on the official site, and I don’t think there were FB or Twitter posts either.

Just over two weeks after attending tickets/memberships for the con were halted without notice, the promised single day tickets have finally gone on sale.  Key points:

  • Adult (over-25) tickets are 128 yuan per day (around $18 USD)
  • “Teenager” (13-25) tickets are 78 yuan per day (around $11 USD)
  • For reference, the original 5-day ticket prices were 320 and 200 yuan ($44 and $28 USD) respectively
  • Tickets are only available for Thursday 19th through Sunday 22nd, i.e. not the opening day
  • Ticket sales will close at the end of Saturday 14th (presumably Beijing-time, but this isn’t explicitly stated)

Translations of some of the reply comments on the Weibo post reflect the above:

  • I bought three single-day tickets, which are more expensive than the pass, and I can’t participate in the lottery
  • Why is there no 18-day single-day ticket opening ceremony at 8pm。This day is a variety of activities, and by then there will be almost no one during the day。

Chengdu magazine cover feature on the Worldcon and SF generally –  https://weibo.com/1615055180/NmLaY6rLI

File 770 contributor Feng Zhang posted photos of the October issue of Chengdu Culture/Tianfu Culture, in which the Worldcon is a cover feature, and in which he is interviewed.

A couple of Xiaohongshu posts about the interior decor

  • The Wandering Earth 2 exhibit has progressed a bit since the video included in a Scroll a couple of days ago.  http://xhslink.com/KAbNfv  (I’ve attached the image, as there’s not much else to that post)
  • A company making large lamps seems to be making replicas of the planets to be displayed at the con. http://xhslink.com/739Mfv  The text of the post refers to “10 major planets”, so maybe Pluto-diehards will be in luck?

(8) CAN’T SLIP ONE BY HIM. A scholar suspects the language of Watership Down is spreading to English. “Lapine Lingo in American English: Silflay”.  

Lapine Lingo in American English: Silflay; Author(s): Thomas E. Murray; Source: American Speech , Winter, 1985, Vol. 60, No. 4 (Winter, 1985), pp. 372-375; Published by: Duke University Press

“The general conclusion concerning silflay and its infiltration into American speech, then, is clear: whereas the Russians may or may not be coming, the rabbits have definitely already come and gone, and in their short stay have left a significant linguistic imprint on a sizable portion of the American population. As for the future of silflay, I think it may warrant further attention. Will its popularity die a slow and inconsequential death, as is the case with so many nonce creations, or will it spread, either geo-graphically or socioeconomically, to other English-speaking peoples?  Moreover, what of the other terms that Adams created (over forty are listed in the Glossary at the end of the novel)? Will one or more of them charm some innocent lover of bunnies into increasing his or her vocabulary and thus propagating other aspects of the lapine lingo? Perhaps not, but given the current, unexpected popularity of silflay, the entire rabbit language phenomenon certainly bears watching.”

(9) NM-AZ BOOK AWARD WINNERS. The New Mexico Book Co-op has announced the 2023 winners of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

The winner in the Sci-Fi category is Avery Christy for Mountain Knight.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 7, 1938 Jane Gallion (Ellern). Writer, Poet, and Fan who was one of the members of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society subgroup The Blackguards, which hosted many parties and tournaments. She edited the fanzines Karuna, and Topaze (etc.), contributed to many other fanzines over the years, and was known for her three post-apocalyptic novels which were very early examples of feminist works involving explicit sex. (Died 2003.)
  • Born October 7, 1942 Lee Gold, 81. She’s a member of LAFA and a writer and editor in the role-playing game and filk music communities. She published Xenofilkia, a bi-monthly compilation of filk songs which has been published since 1988, four issues of the Filker Up anthology; and has published for forty-four years, Alarums and Excursions, a monthly gaming zine. She’s edited more fanzines than I care to list here, and is a member of the Filk Hall of Fame along with Barry Gold, her husband. 
  • Born October 7, 1945 Hal Colebatch. Lawyer, Journalist, Editor, and Writer from Australia who has written, singly or in collaboration, two novels and at least two dozen shorter pieces set in Larry Niven’s The Man-Kzin Wars series. However, his main body of work is non-genre, including six books of poetry, short stories, and radio dramas and adaptations. His non-fiction books include social commentary, biography and history, and he has published many hundreds of articles and reviews in various news and critical venues. (Died 2019.)
  • Born October 7, 1946 Chris Foss, 79. UK Illustrator known for the Seventies UK paperback covers for Asimov’s Foundation trilogy and E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman and Skylark series among many that he did. He also did design work for the Jodorowsky version of Dune. Alien has his Spaceship design, and he did redesign of Gordon’s rocket cycle for the 1980 Flash Gordon film. 
  • Born October 7, 1947 John Brosnan. Australian writer who died way too young of acute pancreatitis. He used at least seven pseudonyms, and wrote scripts for a number of what I’ll generously call horror films including one I know that somehow I saw — Carnosaur.  If you like your SF with a larger dose of pulp, his Sky Lords trilogy (The Sky LordsThe War of the Sky Lords and The Fall of the Sky Lords) is damn good. Airships, airships! (Died 2005.)
  • Born October 7, 1950 Howard Chaykin, 73. Comic book artist and writer. His first major work was for DC Comics, drawing “The Price of Pain” which was an adaptation of author Fritz Leiber’s characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in Sword of Sorcery #1. He would illustrate damn near everything else from Batman and The Legion of Super-Heroes for DC to Hulk and Iron-Man for Marvel (to name but two series) but I think his best genre work was his own American Flagg! series.
  • Born October 7, 1956 Rick Foss, 67. Historian, Writer, Food Connoisseur, Conrunner, and Fan who has had around a dozen short fiction works published, mostly in Analog, some of which are in his Probability Zero universe. He is also a food writer, maintains a blog of interesting and little-known stories about food and cooking, has published the book Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies about the history of airline food, and has had occasional food-related contributions on File 770. He is a member of LASFS and SCIFI, has worked many Loscons and other conventions, and chaired Loscon Sixteen in 1990. Along with his twin brother Wolf Foss, he was Fan Guest of Honor and Toastmaster at Windycon 19 in 1992.
  • Born October 7, 1959 Steven Erikson, 64. He’s definitely most known for his Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which began with the publication of Gardens of the Moon and was completed with the publication of The Crippled God, ten novels later. Though I’ve not read it, and didn’t know it existed until now, he’s written the Willful Child trilogy, a spoof on Star Trek and other tropes common in the genre. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Candorville livestreams a generation clash.
  • Candorville finds a reason to be grumpy about the Updated Drake Equation.

(12) FOR ALL MANKIND MISSION ART. Collectspace.com covers an interesting item: “New collectible pin buttons depict ‘For All Mankind’ space mission patches”. (The direct link to the Icon Heroes product page is here.)

As recently announced by Apple TV+, the fourth season of “For All Mankind” is set to debut on Nov. 10. Created by Ronald D. Moore, along with current showrunners Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert, “For All Mankind” explores how humanity’s space exploration efforts may have proceeded differently if the Soviet Union had beaten the United States to landing a man on the moon.

One of the ways the show has distinguished its timeline from our own has been the inclusion of altered or entirely new mission patches worn by the astronauts in the series. For the past three seasons, Icon Heroes, a pop culture collectibles company, has sold limited edition replicas of the “For All Mankind” embroidered emblems.

Now, the Irvine, California-based company is offering those same alternate Apollo artworks, space shuttle symbols and Martian marks as collectible pinback buttons….

(13) 2023 LAUREATE AWARD. The National Fantasy Fan Federation has announced the 2023 Laureate Award winners. The Laureate Award was first given in 1941.

Best Fan Writer — Martin Lock
Best Fan Artist — Jose Sanchez
Best Fan Website — Fanac.org from Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, and Mark Olsen
Best Non-N3F Fanzine — Simultaneous Times Newsletter from Jean-Paul L. Garnier
Best N3F Fanzine — Tightbeam
Best Podcast — Simultaneous Times
Best Novel — Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Best Shorter Work or Anthology — Return to Glory by Jack McDevitt
Best Pro Artist — Austin Arthur Hart
Best Editor — Toni Weisskopf
Best SF Poet — Michael Butterworth
Best Comic Book — New Think 1.0
Best Anime — Chainsaw Man
Best Manga — Mindset
Best Television Show, Film, or Video — Heath Row’s Productions
Best None of the Above — Manuscript Press (Rick Norwood) and aruffo.com for reprinting the daily comic strip Alley Oop

(14) RALPH CRAM’S OEURVE. “The University Architect Who Also Wrote About Haunted Buildings” in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

The architect who created the look of Princeton’s campus wrote ghost stories. Fittingly, Ralph Adams Cram’s stories are about haunted buildings, and what haunts those buildings is the past. In a story collection that he published in 1895, empty houses prove, over and over, to be anything but. In a crumbling castle near Innsbruck, Austria, where a devilish nobleman once set the ballroom on fire while his guests danced inside, two “ghost hunters” get caught up in a danse macabre. In a secluded convent near Palermo, Italy, a visitor follows a beckoning specter to the site where, a century earlier, the nuns bricked up one of their sisters in the convent’s walls, a heartless punishment for a sin of the heart. In an abandoned old manse in the Latin Quarter of Paris, rumored to have once been a favorite haunt of the city’s witches, a gang of young “rake-hell” students spends the night on a dare, with predictably ghastly results.

The thesis is straightforward: We inhabit buildings, and they inhabit us, in a larger sense than we might think. In 1907, a group of archaeologists who planned to do excavations in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey performed séances to get advice from the former inhabitants on where to dig. Cram wrote a defense of their methods, arguing not that they dialed up literal ghosts but that buildings are a deep well of memory that outlasts their inhabitants. (The archaeologists found what they were looking for, but England is so crowded with historical odds and sods that they find kings under parking lots, so their chances were already good.)…

(15) TAKE TWO. The solar system has no suspenders but it may have two belts. “Puzzling objects found far beyond Neptune hint at second Kuiper belt” in Science.

Beyond Neptune’s orbit lie thousands of small icy objects in the Kuiper belt, with Pluto its most famous resident. But after 50 astronomical units (AU)—50 times the distance between Earth and the Sun—the belt ends suddenly and the number of objects drops to zero. Meanwhile, in other solar systems, similar belts stretch outward across hundreds of AU….

A new discovery is challenging that picture. While using ground-based telescopes to hunt for fresh targets for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, now past Pluto on a course out of the Solar System, Fraser and his colleagues have made a tantalizing, though preliminary, discovery: about a dozen objects that lie beyond 60 AU—nearly as far from Pluto as Pluto is from the Sun. The finding, if real, could suggest that the Kuiper belt either extends much farther than once thought or—given the seeming 10-AU gap between these bodies and the known Kuiper belt—that a “second” belt exists…

(16) ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH. “NASA rover makes adventurous trip, then snaps stunning Mars picture” at Mashable.

It was a long slog. But NASA‘s Curiosity rover did it.

The space agency’s car-sized robot, which has ventured up Mars’ Mount Sharp for nearly a decade, successfully traversed rocky terrain to arrive at a scientifically-intriguing site made by ancient avalanches of boulders, debris, and water. Today, this place, Gediz Vallis Ridge, exists as a prominent hill blanketed with large rocks.

After making the arduous trek (scientists worked to find a passable route to this area for three years), the Curiosity rover turned around and snapped an expansive image of the Martian landscape beyond, which NASA released on Oct. 5.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Juli Marr, Andrew (not Werdna), Mark Roth-Whitroth, Steven French, John-Paul L. Garnier, JeffWarner, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/7/23 For All Fankind

  1. Rick Foss was also a travel agent, and got a lot of business from L.A. area fans. There was the 1982 Chicon flight where a number of fans were aboard and baffled flight attendants by following the movie without headphones. (It was “Star Wars”. Of course they could follow it!)

  2. Dang Jetpack didn’t sent a notification for the Scroll.

    I guess my workaround doesn’t work anymore.

    And yet notices go out for other posts…

  3. (15) Darn it. I was hoping for another asteroid belt.

    (16) Curiosity is definitely The Rover That Could. Good work, Curiosity.

    Everything hurts.

    Waze generally does a fine job for me, but sometimes when I really need a direct route and am too frazzled to make the best choice myself, it decides I must want the scenic route. And when it happens, I realize when it’s become totally impractical to start over.

    But Cider did get her blessing at my church’s Blessing of the Animals.

    But everything hurts.

  4. Edited to Add: I got a notification!

    (3) That 1984 retelling sounds like it could be interesting — or terrible. I remember the controversy about “The Men” (her gender plague book). It sounded like a messy premise.

    (4) Dang! That sounds even messier.

    (10) Someday, I’ll read Steven Erikson…

  5. Anne Marble: I believe you, but then why don’t I get a notice for Scrolls when I get them for other things?

  6. @Mike Glyer

    I believe you, but then why don’t I get a notice for Scrolls when I get them for other things?

    Because Jetpack is also messy?

  7. (6) Spotify giving 15 hours of audiobooks each month makes absolutely no sense at all. No borrows an audiobook based on its length, so why this? They’d should have offered up one audiobook per month.

    I listening to Elizabeth Hand’s A Haunting on the Hill, the authorised sequel to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

    Until this news item, I’d not considered at all, it’s running which I discovered was 10 hours and 19 minutes. If I listened this on Spotify, that’d be it for their free offer.

  8. (0) No jetpack for me!
    (2) Now I want to read some of that. But… “ornery grandma escapes, and hangs out with the bears? There is only one followup:


    (15) I am assured that astronomers ignore the “Pluto is not a planet”, given the conference was over, and 90% of the attendees had left when that was voted on. To quote the Plutonian alien who was in the Masquerade at Denvention in ’08, “Pluto is a planet!”

  9. z: Thanks for the link — and to a source in English. I have put up a post with the results.

  10. 10) I’m currently reading/rereading Malazan — I read books 1-5 back in 2004 or so, so decided it made sense to start over at the beginning. At the rate I’m going, that probably fills my dance card into sometime in 2024.

  11. 10) The principal text of the Malazan world (sometimes called Wu – it’s a Steely Dan reference) may be the ten book tentpole, but Erikson and partner in crime Ian Esslemont’s corpus contains a huge array of prequels, sequels, and sidequels. There are charts suggesting how to read the whole megillah most enjoyably.

    An unrelated Erikson work is Rejoice, a Knife to the Heart, in which aliens drop by and make everything better. I’m sure there’s a reason the unreservedly utopian novel has a title more befitting a slasher movie festival.

    @mark: In my house, Pluto is damn well a planet.

  12. RE: 3) (Nowadays, the language of Nineteen Eighty-Four is used by rightwingers to indict “wokeism”. Any new coinage from the left is called “Newspeak”; any attempt to acknowledge moral ambiguity is dismissed as “doublethink”. )

    Actually, it’s quite literally the other way around.

    On the radical side of the right wing, there is restricted speech in schools, banned books (due to such subversive subjects as freedom of speech or expression, sexual orientation, or, Big Brother forbid, independent thinking and critical thinking). Anyone who digresses from the official line is labeled either subversive or an “elite.” (undefined, as most of the elected representatives on the right are college educated, so the definition is as hazy as the term “fascist,” and generally applied toward anyone who disagrees with the party line).

    Education is cherry-picked and teaches history with carefully edited selections to support the conservative agenda. (Anything else is considered “woke,” and suspect, even if it depicts actual hisotry.)

    Absolute allegiance to a charismatic leader is demanded. The creation of an “us versus them” landscape engenders distrust and denial toward any legislation that might be from the “other” side, even if it benefits the people, or is a clone of legislation from the “them” side.

    There is, of course, misinformation from the “Ministry of Truth” fed regularly through social media to control and direct the people. Bills are forwarded after such misinformation sufficiently denigrates a target group to generate enough voters to pass, taking away rights and levying restrictions on said groups.

    Any deviation from the party line is unacceptable, and is labeled subversive, and is attacked with false claims to incite fear, violence, and hatred of the general population.

    It is people a fact that people who live in constant fear don’t think about what they’re told, no matter how spurious. They can and will be misled. We’ve seen the effects of such tactics during World War II, and now we’re seeing them here.

    I certainly hope that the moderate right conservatives who look at facts and are critical thinkers can win out over the far right. There is, after all, only one race, the Human race, and one country, which, if divided, as the saying goes, “cannot stand.”

    RE: 14)

    I came across a hardcover book called “Britain’s Haunted Past,” by J.A. Brooks, published in 1990. The ISBN is: 0-7117-0521-6. It contains 221 pages of interesting accounts of haunted places in England. It is a snapshot, not a comprehensive history, of some of England’s supposedly haunted places. It’s a fun read.

  13. (3) In the article the obvious is not stated: that it is not especially creative to do a re-make of 1984, if you’re not as good a writer as for instance Michel Tournier (he wrote a great novel about Friday in Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (1967)), forget about it, try to come up with some ideas of your own instead of trying to make a career out of others…

  14. Don’t blame Jetpak, the culprit is WordPress. Chose a CMS that follows industry standard (code and so on) and you have less problems, if any.

  15. Based on previous explanations of solar system formation and Saturn’s ring formation, doesn’t the gap between belts suggest a large body has swept up the region?

  16. Carl Andor on October 7, 2023 at 10:44 pm said:
    “Anyone who digresses from the official line is labeled either subversive or an ‘elite’ (undefined, as most of the elected representatives on the right are college educated…)”
    What i find the most galling is the numbers of Conservative and Ultra-conservative politicians who complain about ‘The Elites’, when they themselves graduated from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, or some other Ivy League school.
    The hypocrisy and/or cognitive dissonance is colossal, and yet they are not called out by their constituents, who themselves cultivate a carefully maintained simplistic view of very complex issues.
    So “Elite” is indeed definable, and all you have to do is crack open a dictionary. Sadly, a large percentage of the US population decline to engage in that simple educational process.

  17. No jetpack for me. Sigh.

    (3) Writing books in response to other books is a long-standing tradition and there’s no good reason why Sandra Newman shouldn’t get a chance to try it.

  18. “try to come up with some ideas of your own instead of trying to make a career out of others…”

    And incited by the Grauniad, John Scalzi catches a ricochet.

  19. RE: Pluto, planet or not?

    Hey, anywhere I hang my hat is home.

    “Le Petit Prince” had a planet that was sooooo much smaller!

  20. In the article the obvious is not stated: that it is not especially creative to do a re-make of 1984, if you’re not as good a writer as for instance Michel Tournier (he wrote a great novel about Friday in Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (1967)), forget about it, try to come up with some ideas of your own instead of trying to make a career out of others…

    Sandra Newman is 21 years into a successful career as a novelist. She isn’t riding anyone else’s coattails. I question the premise that retelling 1984 from the perspective of Winston Smith’s lover Julia Worthing lacks creativity. If anything the challenge of finding something new to say from the same story elements as one of the most read (and most assigned) books of all time would be massive.

    Julia comes out Oct. 24 and looks promising from all the pre-release hype, but the degree of difficulty in writing a companion to Orwell is considerable. I’d wager a lot of novelists with well-respected careers would take a pass on this assignment.

  21. WRT #10 and Howard Chaykin. He drew a graphic novel version of Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination”.

    I’ve got volume 1, covering the first half of the novel. It’s great.

    Volume II, finishing the novel, had a far more roundabout and difficult path to publication so it’s not easy to find. I’ve never seen it so can’t comment on it.

  22. (10) Howard Chaykin. In addition to his adaption of “The Stars My Destination”, he also did a graphic novel version of Samuel Delany’s “Empire”. Most excellent. He also inked a portion of “The Shadow” comic book art by Michael Kaluta.

  23. “Orwellian” is not used only to denote Big Brother-type governments. It’s used for methods of rhetoric and thought and is both appropriate and frequently used for situations that fall short of dictatorship.

    It’s often used to indicate methods of manipulating the language to make it difficult to express or (as a long-term goal) even to think of certain ideas. The language Newspeak in 1984 is designed to accomplish this. Some of the most obvious examples, e.g., “people’s republic” for “autocratic state” or “liberate” for “conquer,” do come from propaganda for such states, but the idea is broader.

    Certainly some people slap the term on too many things, and we have to watch out for diluting terms through overuse, but too strict an attempt to narrow them is equally mistaken, and attributing the broader uses to dishonesty leads to paranoid pedantry.

  24. @Gary McGath–

    The language Newspeak in 1984 is designed to accomplish this. Some of the most obvious examples, e.g., “people’s republic” for “autocratic state” or “liberate” for “conquer,” do come from propaganda for such states, but the idea is broader.

    Such as the use of “people’s republic” to suggest that American cities and states that generally vote Democratic are in fact evil, unAmerican commies. That one got tiresome when Newt Gingrich was still Speaker of the House.

  25. @Carl Andor–The planet in Le Petit Prince also had a breathable atmosphere, and I think, though I may be misremembering, Earth-normal gravity or close to it. Pluto doesn’t.

    Pluto is a Kuiper Belt object, and King of the Dwarf Planets.

    And Mickey Mouse’s dog.

  26. 3)

    But Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t a warning against a university’s inclusivity statement. It was a warning about men like Trump and Putin and the violent mass movements they inspire….

    It was a warning about men like Stalin and the mass murder (oops…I was supposed to say “re-education”) he was committing. Putin would probably like a return to something more Stalinesque.

    6) Greaaaat…

    My biggest complaint with Spotify is that they won’t let me turn off podcasts or otherwise hide them. Spotify is a great music platform. I use something else for podcasts and do not want to shift over to Spotify for that purpose.

    Now we will have to wade through audiobook offers along with podcasts to get to the music. Greaaaat.

    Regards,
    Dann
    They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning. – Clint Eastwood

  27. 8) Curiously enough, while I’ve never heard “silflay” in any context outside the books, my husband and I have incorporated a couple other words from Watership Down into our everyday conversations.

    Specifically: hrair, to represent an indeterminate number, and tharn for that deer-in-headlights feeling.

    Anybody else?

  28. I’ve been known to say “Tana forfend” but that’s from Julian May. From Watership I like to point out that my Chief Rabbit has told me to do something-and therefore aim going to do it.

  29. Lis: Please don’t change the subject. The city of Cambridge has been called the “People’s Republic of Cambridge” since at least the sixties, and it’s long devolved into a joke.

    The issue at hand is whether “Orwellian” can only be applied to totalitarian states, and whether illiberal speech codes in educational institutions and other organizations really don’t deserve the term — in fact, are really rather nice — because the people and organizations who are subjected to them are merely subjected to disciplinary action or rudely pulled out of a panel rather than being shipped off to a Gulag. The claim is disingenuous. It’s an attempt to deflect criticism by manipulating words. Which, come to think of it, can be considered low-level Orwellian.

  30. mark says:

    (2) Now I want to read some of that. But… “ornery grandma escapes, and hangs out with the bears? There is only one followup: …YouTube video Waltzing with Bears…

    This was also covered by Terry Hynes with music by Seamus Kennedy, and from the intro, it seems like Terry wrote it, so Pricilla’s version is a cover, but it very much reminded me of a 1967 Dr. Seuss classic “My Uncle Terwilliger Waltzes with Bears” especially the chorus.

  31. Following the recommendation of a friend, I’ve recently started watching this astrophysicist’s YouTube channel. This is her take on the whole ‘Pluto thing’:

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