Pixel Scroll 10/23 Gilligan’s File

(1) A sweet new image for science fiction loving dogs!

Cool Corgi Dresses Up As All 13 Doctors From ‘Doctor Who’ —

(2) What brand of cigarettes did Godzilla smoke? I never wondered before. See behind-the-scenes photos from the Japanese movie productions, including the fellow who wore the monster suit taking a smoke break. At Dangerous Minds.

Actor Haruo Nakajima (pictured above) spent nearly 25 years inside the rubber Godzilla suit that he gleefully trampled over mini-Tokyo in for various Godzilla or monster-themed films from the early 50s through the 1970s.

(3) James Lileks’ satire for National Review, “The Twitterverse Strikes Back against the Phantom Menace of Anti-Star Wars Racists!”, begins –

According to my Twitter feed, gullible people are complaining –

I should just stop right there and wrap it up, right? After breaking news like that, where could I possibly go?

…Anyway. If Luke comes out in the new film wearing the Leia slave bikini; if Chewie marries Groot; if Han makes a big speech about how the end of the Empire means they can rebuild the galaxy along the lines of, say, Denmark; if the main villain is named Ben-Ghazi — then you might complain that you’re being Force-fed some political drivel. Even then it wouldn’t matter.

(4) A pretty fancy bookmark. A map of Middle-Earth annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien for illustrator Pauline Baynes is being sold by Blackwell’s for 60,000 reports the Guardian.

A recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien reveals The Lord of the Rings author’s observation that Hobbiton is on the same latitude as Oxford, and implies that the Italian city of Ravenna could be the inspiration behind the fictional city of Minas Tirith.

The map was found loose in a copy of the acclaimed illustrator Pauline Baynes’ copy of The Lord of the Rings. Baynes had removed the map from another edition of the novel as she began work on her own colour Map of Middle-earth for Tolkien, which would go on to be published by Allen & Unwin in 1970. Tolkien himself had then copiously annotated it in green ink and pencil, with Baynes adding her own notes to the document while she worked.

Blackwell’s, which is currently exhibiting the map in Oxford and selling it for £60,000, called it “an important document, and perhaps the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years at least”.

It shows what Blackwell’s called “the exacting nature” of Tolkien’s creative vision: he corrects place names, provides extra ones, and gives Baynes a host of suggestions about the map’s various flora and fauna. Hobbiton, he notes, “ is assumed to be approx at latitude of Oxford”; Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.

David Doering argues, “I feel that such artifacts need to be in public, not private, hands. This is a critical piece of our cultural history and is of immense value. It should not allowed to disappear into private hands.”

(Fifth 4) John C. Wright explains how “My Elves are Different; Or, Erlkoenig and Appendix N”.

When calculating how to portray the elves in my current writing project (tentatively titled Moths and Cobwebs) I was thinking about Erlkoenig and Appendix N, and (of course!) about GK Chesterton. There is a connected train of thought here, but it meanders through some ox-bows and digressions, so I hope the patient reader enjoys the scenic route of thought.

First, Erlkoenig. I had noticed for some time that there was many a younger reader whose mental picture of the elves (those inhabitants of the Perilous Realm, the Otherworld, whose ways are not our ways) was formed entirely by JRR Tolkien and his imitators. They are basically prelapsarian men: like us in stature and passions, but nobler, older, and not suffering our post-Edenic divorce from the natural world. This is not alien to the older themes and material on which Tolkien drew, but there is alongside this an older and darker version.

(5) Nancy Fulda outlines “What To Expect When You Start An Internet Kerfuffle” for the SFWA Blog.

And so you write a blog post.

It is the most difficult and most magnificent thing you’ve ever written, pure words of truth sucked directly out of your soul. You feel triumphant. Liberated. (Terrified, too, but that doesn’t matter now.) You have said the Thing That Must Be Said, and you have done so with courage and clarity. You click a button, and send your words winging toward humanity.

And then, of course, the internet does what the internet does best.

It starts kerfluffling….

Day 2: Negative feedback.

Your post has reached people with opposing viewpoints. Many of them. Blog posts pop up across the internet, criticizing and often misrepresenting your stance. Angry comments multiply like weeds. Email conversations ensue. You become embroiled in a number of difficult and confrontational exchanges, often with people who seem incapable of understanding what you’re trying to say.

You may get hate mail. Depending on what you’ve said and who you’ve said it to, the content of those emails may be very, very ugly indeed. Your hands are trembling by the time you click the delete button.

By the end of the day, you’re afraid to check your email. Comments are still rolling in, and somehow, even the positive messages only make you more aware of the bad ones. You wonder whether this was all a mistake. At the same time, you can’t stop refreshing your screen. The rest of your life has ground to a screeching halt; deadlines missed, meals skipped, loved ones neglected. Even when you’re not online, your thoughts are spiraling around what’s happened there.

And people are still retweeting your post.

(6) Today’s Birthday Boy

  • October 23, 1942 – Michael Crichton

(7) Last weekend the Iron Hill brewery chain in Pennsylvania offered Harry Potter-themed fare reports Philly.com.

The pub will serve Dumbledore’s Dubbel, a sweet Belgian ale; and Voldermort’s Wrath, a West-Coast style IPA with an intense bitter hop flavor. In addition to the limited brews, a Harry Potter-themed menu will be served for those hungry wizards. Items include:

  • Aunt Petunia’s Mulligatawny Soup
  • Slytherin Smoky Pumpkin Salad
  • Ron’s Corned Beef Toasts
  • Hogwart’s Express Pumpkin Pastry
  • Dumbledore’s Cauldron Beef Stew
  • Butterbeer-Braised Pork Loin
  • Pan-Seared Chinese Fireball (salmon)
  • Mrs. Weasley’s English Toffee Crumble

For the non-beer drinker: Butterbeer and autumn-themed mixed drinks will be available.

(9) Details about J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter play are online. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will pick up 19 years after the seventh book, and it will focus on Harry and his youngest son, Albus. Here’s a brief about the plot play’s website:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

(10) Here’s some artwork from the forthcoming production.

(11) The pilot and second episode of Amazon’s original series The Man In The High Castle can be viewed for no-charge here through  11:59 PM PST on Sunday, October 25 in the U.S. and UK.

The season launch of all episodes will be November 20.

(12) Andrew Liptak recalls the history of science fiction in Playboy magazine at Kirkus Reviews.

(13) Alastair Reynolds covers his trip to Russia on Approaching Pavonis Mons.

My wife and I are big on art, and we’d long wanted to visit the Hermitage. I can safely say that it was everything we’d hoped it would be, times about ten, and although we went back for a second day, you could cheerfully spend a month in the place and not see enough.

(14) Zombie George R.R. Martin will soon be on the air:

For all you Z NATION fans out there, and those who aren’t (yet) too, my long-anticipated guest starring role as a rotting corpse is scheduled for the October 30 episode, “The Collector.”

(15) At Teleread Chris Meadows pays tribute to prolific Amazon reviewer Harriet Klausner, who was an important part of the growth of online book sales via Amazon.

Harriet Klausner, at one time one of the most recognizable names on Amazon, passed away on October 15, at the age of 63. Klausner was a speed-reader who was one of the most prolific customer reviewers on Amazon, with over 31,000 reviews to her credit at the time of her death. According to a 2006 Time profile of her, she read an average of 4 to 6 books per day. Although the details of her death were not disclosed, it must have happened fairly quickly—the last review on her Amazon.com reviewer page is dated October 12.

(16) Jonathan R. Eller speaks about Fahrenheit 451 at Wisconsin Lutheran College on October 26.

Eller at wisc luth coll

(17) The wisdom of the Fred!

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Robotech Master, Phil Nichols, Steven H Silver, David Doering, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day the indefatigable Will R.]

423 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/23 Gilligan’s File

  1. No Award was cheered because the plurality of people in the audience voted for No Award. Just like almost every winner, almost every year.

    I honestly thought the Hugo Awards were about showing love to authors, and I’m honestly sad to be proven wrong.

  2. @BrianZ – my point was that your precis of l’affair de pouppies desole et rabide was both fair AND balanced. His poor fans. His poor fans.

  3. It’s about showing love for the field. That’s why most categories are for best example of some work of a particular form, not for some individual. (Individuals are awarded in the fan categories—Writer and Artist.)

  4. Mallarmé said there was that within him which would count the buttons on the hangman’s noose. Leckie realizes that bit lives in many of us.

  5. Nigel: look at the final numbers again and tell me with a straight face that John C. Wright fans all voted in lockstep.

  6. Nick

    Indeed so; I’ve just been refreshing my memory of the numbers at the website. I had forgotten just how vast the difference between No Award and the runners up were in the fiction categories in particular were…

  7. It’s about showing love for the field.

    I guess I have to grant you that, but I still didn’t feel the love.

  8. What got me reading science fiction again last year, after many years of my SFF tastes being almost entirely fantasy, was joining a book club. Oddly it had that effect in spite of my not liking most of the club’s selections much! Just the fact of discussing them was energizing and reminded me what I did find interesting. If there was one book that gave me a real “gotta have more of this” push at that time, it was Slow River.

    It wasn’t AJ because I haven’t read that yet! I’m waiting for AM to arrive at the library and then will read the whole trilogy at one time.

  9. Is it Feed Brian Z Day and no-one told me?

    @Mike Glyer

    In addition, I also won’t be hosting lists that count the frequency that works have been recommended for Hugos here. And I think it would be nice if no one “helpfully” creates such a list on another site.

    If you see me mention any particular tagging style for Possible Library Thing Project that would violate this, please let me know. I want to be careful in avoiding any slating or appearance of slating.

    I’d already decided to, if I formed a basic list for here, leave off frequency of recommendation and names too (since they can be counted), but if any list at all would be too much, let me know that, too. Basically, if anything is likely to cross the line – and I think I usually discuss these things in advance – I’m open to criticism or advice on avoiding it. If anything goes up which hasn’t been mentioned previously and crosses the line, I’m happy to change it (if its Library Thing) or have things edited out (if its here).

    That counts for everyone, by the way, not just OGH – although of course Mike gets the final say since he’d be hosting/associated. Criticism and advice is always welcome.

  10. I’d still like to know what reaction to No Award would have been considered appropriate. Literally anything, including dead silence, could have been spun as an affront to the puppies.

  11. Meredith: A list of everything people have recommended for the Hugos here should be fine — I’m counting on there being lots more than five recommendations per category, of course.

  12. Mike Glyer on October 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm said:

    Jim Henley:

    I am qualified to say it made me, personally, excited about reading science fiction again for the first time in a couple decades.

    There’s another stream of books people could talk about. My flagging interest in sf was revved up again by David Brin’s Startide Rising when it came out in 1983.

    I felt similar. They may have been flawed, but Brin’s books were exciting and interesting, exploring cool astronomical phenomena and plausible science.

  13. A list of everything people have recommended for the Hugos here should be fine

    Are you asking Kate Paulk not to include Filer’s recs in her final tally? I believe her words were that she’ll include all the recs from any site “that will have me.”

  14. I don’t care what Wright says about anything.

    On to books!

    Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald: The somewhat cheesy title probably would have put me off this, were it not for all the positive reviews I kept seeing. And thank god for those reviews, because I adored this book. It’s one part “warring corporate families and political intrigue”, one part “let’s explore and examine cultural norms in the context of a “new” society”, and one part “holy fuck, the moon’s going to kill us all”. This is Part 1 in a duology, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Highly, highly recommended.

    Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear: I bounced hard. Karen’s voice grated—it felt like an over-the-top caricature of the dialect of a person in her circumstances. (Others might disagree, of course.) There were some very diverse characters, but far too many characters seemed interchangeable or one-note. (There were residents of the brothel, for example, who I couldn’t really tell apart.) And it was really hard to care about the plot when Karen’s voice was so nails-on-chalkboard to me.

    The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee: The title is a misnomer—the characters of “Mirror” and “Goliath” are part of this tale, but it’s far from being just “their” tale. This is a very dark fairy tale (actually, more like a series of interconnected dark fairy tales) whose overall plot is difficult to describe. It’s about magic clocks, brutalized children, identity . . . and more things besides. Parts of this were very well done, but I thought some parts needed a firmer editorial hand. (It is a debut, by the way.) The pacing was, at times, somewhat off, but the prose and imagery were vivid.

    Updraft by Fran Wilde: I couldn’t finish this. It started off with some very interesting worldbuilding, but the plot relied far too heavily on characters acting like complete and utter morons.

    The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp: I picked this up because I saw it recommended on a list with The Library at Mount Char, which I adored. This was . . . okay. Reasonably entertaining, but nothing that blew me away. It’s part of the “vampires are actually a horrific predator species, not altered humans” horror subgenre. Fun protagonist (an aging, sarcastic, homosexual antique dealer), but many of the other characters felt thinly-drawn, the plot wasn’t quite as epic as I think it meant to be, and the pacing was much slower than I thought it should have been.

    Radiance by Catherynne Valente: This was . . . wow. I can’t recall ever having read anything quite like this before. Told through a series of diary entries, movie scripts, movie transcripts, recorded debriefings, and various and sundry other such mediums, this is (broadly) the story of the life (and death?) of Severin Unck, a filmmaker in a universe where humans can and do live on all the planets in the solar system. To say any more would probably be a spoiler. Definitely a strong Hugo contender, in my opinion, and a book I’m looking forward to re-reading.

  15. Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald: The somewhat cheesy title probably would have put me off this, were it not for all the positive reviews I kept seeing. And thank god for those reviews, because I adored this book. It’s one part “warring corporate families and political intrigue”, one part “let’s explore and examine cultural norms in the context of a “new” society”, and one part “holy fuck, the moon’s going to kill us all”. This is Part 1 in a duology, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Highly, highly recommended.

    I just started reading it, and it’s great.

  16. @Mike Glyer

    Gotcha. If any category gets five or less, should I leave it out? (I think yes, I should.) Ten or less? (I think also yes, but YMMV.) What’s the cut-off?

    Retro Hugo’s – same rules?

  17. @BrianZ – I thought you said they were outraged about EW? And how can you tell whether my face is straight or not over the internet? And I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the way you like to tell people to tell you something, or ask them if they’re telling you something, as a way of putting words in their mouth and shifting the argument to something they weren’t arguing. So much fun!

  18. Are you asking Kate Paulk not to include Filer’s recs in her final tally?

    There! Ah, rhetoricals.

  19. Nigel

    I was doing so well, and then you got me on the rhetoricals. I wouldn’t mind so much, but the whisky was quite expensive…

  20. IMeredith — I’d think you’d have a hard time sorting out what people think is Hugo-worthy from the comments unless people actually utter words like “will probably be on my ballot”. I know that during my short fiction reading project I’ve mentioned various interesting stories in the comments here which aren’t actually on my list of the potentially-award-worthy.

  21. “The Dervish House” and “Surface Detail” were the books that got me excited about science fiction again.

  22. @TechGrrl1972: Actually, one of the advantages of the Hugo-style IRV is that it reduces the risk of vote splitting. If one person gets two works (or more) on the shortlist, their fans’ votes will converge on the one most popular. In 1999, Michael Swanwick was on the Best Short Story ballot three times, and in fact won.

    This didn’t happen with Wright’s novellas because No Award won in the first round, so the IRV made no difference. If all of Wright’s fans had all put the same one as their first choice, No Award would still have outpolled it two to one.

  23. @Vasha

    I was thinking of being a bit looser than that, and cover things talked about for the season since one person’s ‘hey this was interesting but I’m not going to vote for it’ is another person’s ‘this was great! straight on the list!’. 🙂 Assuming it wasn’t posted in purely negative terms, it’ll be on there, and I plan on being clear that these were things talked about as good rather than being on someone’s shortlist – since that could easily change between reading and reccing and the actual nomination deadline, anyway.

    An example of this (although I was even more flexible on whether something was considered ‘good’ for the sake of completeness, since older works are less accessible) would be the preliminary 1941 Retro Hugo list – which when it gets updated and reposted will have the names stripped out and any categories without the required number of candidates (whatever that ends up being) removed – and perhaps added back in later on if they get more suggestions.

    That’s the plan at the moment, anyway – subject to change in response to advice/criticism/prevailing atmosphere/fickle whims. 😉

  24. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste but Altered Carbon really rocked me back on my heels in away nothing had done since Use of Weapons in the early 90s

  25. @Mike Glyer. We were at Sasquan too, and we voted for EPH. We’ll be at Midamericon as well. And we’re hopeful that EPH really does do the job. It’ll be enough if it limits the slates to 2 or 3 finalists because then a) they’ll get tired of going to the trouble of nominating things that don’t win and b) the ones who want to destroy the Hugos entirely will be frustrated as well.

    But if that doesn’t work, there will have to be some other options. Making the lists longer won’t work because they’ll make the slates longer. The best idea I’ve been able to come up with is a way to make the lists longer when needed. For short fiction, at least, the committee couldn’t make it too much longer without hitting the 5% limit. Also, requiring them to identify the “slated” works would discourage them from making the list arbitrarily long. To add one would mean pissing someone off. There’s a difference between saying “we decided to add one more work” and saying “because John cheated, we decided to add one more work.” And if it really were unjust, the fans would vote item #6 below No Award. (The biggest takeaway from Sasquan is that the fans are smart.)

    Anyway, with luck, EPH will work fine, the puppies will mellow out and/or run off, and there won’t be any more problems.

  26. IanP

    I rated that pretty highly; actually, given the quite ludicrous attacks on Anne Leckie and her novels, I’m surprised that some idiot hasn’t denounced her as stealing the idea from the book where they put a younger version of the personality in a sleeve in order to try to kill the grownup…


    I have forgiven you; of course, if it had messed up the iPad my generosity of spirit probably wouldn’t have stretched that far…

  27. @Will R: Standing ovation. Possibly the best GI theme song filk ever. The verse describing the crew is particularly splendid.

    JCW: Always wrong, but authoritatively so! Authoritarian personalities are so cramped. Narrow. Crabbit. Wasting all their time looking for the One True Set of Rules, and then wrenching everything into it. Procrustean!

    But Puppies don’t dare read their bêtes noir, because it’s much easier to argue against a mistaken idea of something than against actual facts.

    (And Seanan/Mira got nominations in different categories, under different names, in wildly different universes. With no slates. And paid her own way.)

    Even in YA “girly” books, the Fae/Elves are often scary. They’re beautiful, but you go away from home and your life is forever altered, even if they’re cute boys. The faeries/elves have always been problematic, even in Tolkien, and he got that from the old legends. The Faerie of Seanan McGuire’s books are terrifying and amoral. I expect JCW hasn’t read those either.

    I really liked “Karen Memory” and put in on my ballot (There, Kyra!). I found all the characters delineated well, and the action and world-building were swell.

    “Aurora” I’m struggling through, but my eyes are glazing over and I suspect it’s not going to make the longlist. Sorry, Stan.

    “Radiance” is something I want to start handing out on street corners and in airports. I’ll settle for telling Filers they MUST read it. It went on my ballot as soon as I could recover the ability to type. Heck, I might just pre-emptively vote it #1 on my final ballot for being Gobsmacked. (no relation to God stalked)

    “Watchmaker of Filigree Street” is also on my list. It’s just Swell. Terrific characters. The discussion earlier in this thread — yeah, what you guys said. And I am convinced that ur ohvyg n arj Xngfh because I will NOT have it any other way.

    Desperately need to score a copy of “Luna: New Moon” and “Last First Snow” since I still have a slot open in Novel. Also need another Novella. I have 9 Short Stories and will need forehead cloths there.

    The Corgi has slain me.

  28. Jim Henley:

    I am qualified to say it made me, personally, excited about reading science fiction again for the first time in a couple decades.

    I can’t say it made me excited about science fiction again, but it did get me more interested in space opera. I’d somehow missed that Iain Banks guy, for example (his sf, not his lit-fic), and I went back and caught up on him.

  29. @BrianZ

    No he said they didn’t take sex into account when thinking and speaking about people.

    Well, that would be inaccurate. There were plenty of times when the Radch characters talked about people having sex (who knelt to who, who was fun in bed but might be a social liability later, etc.) It was the gender of the people having the sex that was not made much of.

    That’s a great point and maybe should have been explored more. I disagree, though. I think technology drives culture as well.

    Goes both ways. I think culture has a huge influence on what technologies are developed. A culture has to believe that something is acceptable, useful and necessary before any technology to do such a thing becomes developed enough to be practical and widespread. For example, our own culture had the minimal technological hardware and knowledge necessary for artificial insemination since ancient times, but no one actually TRIED it until the late eighteenth century, and it only became generally used in the twentieth. The culture had to change before it occurred to people such a thing could be done, and then that it should be.

  30. One of the things about gender in the Ancillary books which is entirely different from Left Hand of Darkness (and, I think, from 2312, although I haven’t read it) is that the Radchaai use imposing their forms of gender and language onto annexed cultures as a part of the oppression. Its notable that the cultures which hold the closest to a gender binary (among other things, like not wearing gloves) are typically treated very badly, and are not considered truly citizens/Radchaai.

    The use of gender within the world-building is to take a culture, strip sexism out of it, and see what forms of oppression and prejudice remain (which is, as it turns out, most of them – including some that are, in our world, deeply intertwined with sexism). The use of ‘she’ as a literary choice forces the reader to abandon reliance on male as a default, which for many readers seems to have been very thought-provoking (a particular character in Sword is often cited as a specific example of this), and I don’t think dismissing their experience is helpful.

    The world-building choice and the literary choice inform and influence each other, but they are not the whole of each other. Focusing on the word ‘she’ misses a lot. Focusing on a single AIs difficulty distinguishing gender without sufficient experience with any one culture misses even more – especially since many people have helpfully pointed out in previous conversations that misgendering is common in our world even within familiar cultures where the cues are well-known.

  31. @jayn — artificial insemination is only useful, agriculturally, if you’ve got reliable refrigeration; freezing, in this case.

    Medicine and food were both transformed by the creation of a reliable cold chain after Hitler’s War. (From technologies mostly originally developed to aspirate aircraft engines.)

  32. TechGrrl1972 on October 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm said:

    ISTR that Hugo voters in the past have not reacted well to multiple noms in a single year, tending to vote splitting and thus causing the nominee to miss out, where they might have taken the rocket home if all their fans had been able to coalesce around a single work…

    That’s not how Instant Runoff Voting works. If it was, Doctor Who wouldn’t have won so many times that people have started proposing rules that would prevent multiple episodes from the same series from appearing on the same ballot. As the number of places you hold on the ballot increases, the chance of winning increases as well. If we didn’t have No Award on the ballot, it would reach 100% if you had all five nominations. That’s because even if the fans of the author/series split their votes, the slightly-less-popular finalists will drop and (in general) you can expect the votes for the same author/series to switch to one of the other finalists. With IRV, you don’t get vote splitting. You cet vote concentration.

    Yes, I admit that there are mathematically possible cases, like say a series having four nominations and having their votes split four ways perfectly, with the fifth work having slightly more than the four others; in that case, those four works will all simultaneously cancel each other out. It’s possible, but so unlikely that I don’t worry about it.

  33. Yeah, I never really had a “getting back into SF” phase. I did have a getting back into comics phase after Watchmen came out, though.

    I also had a sort of getting back into fantasy phase, after becoming a bit of a science fiction snob, but that wasn’t really triggered by any particular work. It was more of a case of the genre beginning to diversify after a period of blindly following Tolkien. I’m still not much into high fantasy in general, but I’m a big fan of humorous fantasy, fantasy noir, some urban fantasy, and a few way-off-the-beaten-path things like McKillip and Wolfe.

  34. Wow, those first two episodes of Man in the High Castle are phenomenonal. On the whole, may be one of the best adaptations of him ever. Fingers crossed.

  35. @lurkertype
    “Watchmaker of Filigree Street” is also on my list. It’s just Swell. Terrific characters. The discussion earlier in this thread — yeah, what you guys said. And I am convinced that ur ohvyg n arj Xngfh because I will NOT have it any other way.”

    Oh yeah, that is definitely my head canon on what happens, too.

    “Also need another Novella. I have 9 Short Stories and will need forehead cloths there.

    My strategy is to use long lists, too. I’m at 11 shorts and told myself I’d only go to 10 per. I’ve been waffling back and forth between 2 all day for which one to eliminate. Getting low on forehead cloths. I may flip a coin! So far, I’m only at 4 or 5 in the other written story categories.

  36. Meredith

    I found it somewhat surprising, whilst pottering around archaeological sites, to discover that in just about any Greek city state, apart from Athens, women were entitled to hold property and took far more of an active part in the political, economic and social structures of their cities. Yes, the manly men of Sparta, so beloved of Plato when it came to getting the Athenians off their damn triremes and onto proper battlefields where they could fight shoulder to shoulder in a manly way against the Spartans, had no problems with leaving women to sort everything out whilst they got on with the fighting.

    It is particularly unfortunate, for women at any rate, that Rome had gone with the example of the most repressive of all states, ie the Athenian’s; it rings bells with the Radchaii imposing gender roles on all its conquered worlds, as the Romans did, since this is Anne writing we can be pretty sure she intended those bells to ring.

    It may seem odd to spend many weeks trudging around archaeological sites, and come out of it with thoughts about SF/F in general, and gender roles in particular, but this is what humans do. Or at least, the humans physically capable of doing the trudging; I try to look at things as a sort of proxy viewer for those who can’t, well aware that I am in remission and, since this is not a dress rehearsal, I really need to grab everything I can get…

  37. @Stevie

    There’s an unfortunate tendency to simplify the past down to very broad generalities – which usually includes writing off the idea that women ever made a contribution instead of just being crushed under (manly) foot. I always enjoy reminders that that wasn’t the case. Its one of the many reasons history has always been one of my favourite subjects. 🙂

  38. I have an oddish question, but a sincere one. People talk about “Tolkclones” or “Extruded Fantasy Product” all the time, as if they were truly a pandemic in fantasy. Yet I can’t offhand think of any I know of that aren’t Terry Brooks (And even he seems to have some series’ that are considered less clonish), maybe David Eddings (More often accused of cloning himself Trilogy to trilogy), or tie-in novels set in RPG universes (And not all of those).

    Can people name or ID some others?

    Because my formative impression of fantasy in my childhood (before and into the 80s) is McKinley, McKillip, Wrede, Le Guin, Tolkien himself, Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. I skipped Brooks, was bored by Eddings after the Belgeriad (Did I finish book 5? I don’t think so), and did read Dragonlance. (and McCaffrey had dragons so sorta fit in my opinion). So fairly Western European, but aside from Dragonlance, far from cookie-cutter.

  39. @Stevie

    I take it you’re referring to something in Sword or Mercy as I can’t place that from Justice. It wouldn’t surprise me though, I was a third of the way through Justice before I heard anything about the puppy mess and their bizarre claims about it. Even then I was immediately thinking, are they talking about the same book I’m reading? WTF?!

    With all the focus on it I find it difficult to criticise the book fairly without falling into “damning with faint praise” or “small minded male butthurt” territory. As far as I’m concerned it heartily deserved its award haul though.

    However to me it is placing about third on my own personal favorite book I read this year scale, after Broken Monsters- which has actually turned me onto urban fantasy in a way that nothing had done before- and Exiles Gate- took me 25 years to read it after getting it from the library, realising it was the fourth part of a series I hadn’t read, forgetting about it for 15 years, then finding the omnibus edition of Chronicles of Morgaine, finding that was only the first three books, finding Exiles Gate was out of print, and so reasons…

  40. @Meredith:

    The use of gender within the world-building is to take a culture, strip sexism out of it, and see what forms of oppression and prejudice remain (which is, as it turns out, most of them – including some that are, in our world, deeply intertwined with sexism).

    Yes! I have a lost half-sister out there somewhere. Maybe you’re her!

  41. @IanP

    Mm, it almost seems unfair to do a proper discussion about it when it comes in for so much irrational hatred, but I think that it would be more of a disservice not to treat it fairly and reasonably – with criticism where appropriate. I felt that Justice was flawed, personally, and I enjoyed Mercy a great deal more. I think Leckie needed a couple of books to really get into the swing of novel writing vs short story writing. But the flaws aren’t closely related to the use of gender, in my opinion!

    @Jim Henley

    LOL! Not unless your parent(s) were in London sometime in late 1988. 😉

  42. IanP

    You have read

    Exiles Gate

    for the first time. I am trying to curb my envy, but it’s not working very well; I would love to have that book unread and leap into it.

    But I’m really, really glad that you have finally got it, and the story itself grabs you and I hope you really, really enjoy it.

    Please do!

  43. IanP said: I’d still like to know what reaction to No Award would have been considered appropriate. Literally anything, including dead silence, could have been spun as an affront to the puppies.

    Indeed. And I’ll add that grownups who attend the results ceremony for a compettive process normally prepare for the possibility that their preferred option might not win. (And if you bring your children, it is good parenting to prepare them for that possibility too.)

  44. Brian Z:

    I honestly thought the Hugo Awards were about showing love to authors, and I’m honestly sad to be proven wrong.


    Do you expect people to give awards to the tools of a vandal who foists his choices on us, and demands, ‘Let me have my way, or you’ll be really sorry!’? I was there. The applause for No Award was hardly ‘raucous’, and no more than ‘his fans’, and he, deserved.

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