Pixel Scroll 10/27/17 Dark Scroll Crashes, Pouring Pixels Into Ashes

(1) ASSUAGING YOUR TBR GUILT. Fantasy-Faction’s Nicola Alter playfully advises about “Coping with Reading Guilt in 7 Easy Steps”.

Signs you might suffer from Reading Guilt of one form or another can include:

1. The pile of unread books on your shelf, be it virtual or real, makes you feel anxious every time you look at it.
2. You occasionally dust off that book your friend loaned you and pretend you are about to read it, knowing in your heart you are just preparing it to collect more nightstand dust.
3. The sight of a bookstore evokes complex feelings of longing and guilt.
4. The book-devouring speed of a well-read friend makes you irrationally envious.
5. The question, “have you read…” elicits an instinctual dread, because whatever it is, you’ve usually never read it.
6. When someone recommends a book to you, you smile and make enthusiastic noises to cover the sinking feeling in your stomach, because it’s just another to add to the endless list and you’ll probably never get around to reading it anyway.
7. You are so behind on that reading goal you set that it just serves to depress rather than motivate you.
8. You have a vague but pervasive feeling that you haven’t read enough of the “important” books.
9. The hunt for bookmarks depresses you, because you realise they are all wedged in half-finished books and you can’t bring yourself to remove them.
10. You participate in online “How many of these books have you read?” quizzes, even though you know the results will not cheer you up.

Fortunately, Reading Guilt is a very treatable disorder, and if you are exhibiting these symptoms, you are not alone. Here are seven easy steps to help you cope with Reading Guilt, and prevent it from getting in the way of your bookly enjoyment….

(2) A CHEESY EVENT. The Harry Potter Festival that promised to “bring the magic” to Jefferson, WI last weekend has been roundly criticized as a dud: “Angry fans say organizers of Harry Potter Festival in Jefferson were unprepared”.

Some Harry Potter fans are cursing their decision to attend last weekend’s Harry Potter Festival USA in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

Fans says organizers promised an immersive experience but were instead unprepared for the crowds. City officials provided an estimate that around 35,000 attended the event on Saturday.

Here are some of the main criticisms circulating on the festival’s Facebook page: 1) Visitors say hidden costs were added on top of the price of admission 2) the effort put into decorations were at the level of a high school homecoming and 3) poor transportation planning caused long lines for shuttles.

…For hours people waited to get to certain attractions that have also been highly criticized online.

One person commented on the festival’s Facebook page “‘Hagrid’ ate breakfast without his wig and played on his phone the whole time and did not get up once for pictures. Very disappointing, especially for $20 per person!”

Another person wrote “Went to the ‘prison’ – where nothing was happening?! Empty tennis court? So extremely disappointed.”

Others say they wouldn’t make the drive to the again and regret doing it the first time.

“We traveled an hour and a half,” Maria Remillard of Elk Grove Village, Illinois said.

“And once we got there we were basically stuck there. The bus lines were hours long. I ended up walking back to the fairgrounds to pick up our car so I could go back and pick up my parents, my sister, and my daughter,” Remillard said.

“‘The Owlry’ was a small VFW hall with one stuffed animal and one girl signing letters for an extra fee,” Remillard said.

(3) SUBURBAN BLIGHT.  Adweek highlights another scary ad: “Xfinity Adds Its Own Creepy 5-Minute Film to 2017’s Fright Fest of Longer Halloween Ads”.  See the video at the link.

The Comcast cable brand just unveiled its own five-minute horror short, titled “The Neighborhood,” developed by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and written and directed by Dante Ariola of production company MJZ.

The tale concerns a spooky old mask, made out of a burlap sack, that seems to be making the rounds in one suburban neighborhood on Halloween. But those gifted with it quickly come to regret their mysterious new present.

(4) PULP ART BOOK. IDW Publishing has released “The Art of the Pulps: An Illustrated History” co-edited by Doug Ellis, Ed Hulse, and Robert Weinberg. Doug Ellis gives the background:

“The Art of the Pulps”, co-edited by myself, Ed Hulse and Robert Weinberg, came out earlier this week, on October 24 from IDW. For me, it was a long wait, but I think the final book was well worth it. Bob and I actually started preliminary work on the book back in January 2016, so it’s been nearly a two year project for me. Bob unfortunately passed away in late September 2016, just as we were about to start working on it in earnest, but fortunately Ed Hulse was willing to step in and help see the book through to its completion. I think Bob would have been very pleased with how it came out.

The book focuses on the colorful cover art of the pulps, along with a sampling of some black and white interior pulp art, containing roughly 460 images. But in addition to the images, there’s well over 50,000 words of text, written by some of the top experts in the pulp field. Besides contributions from the co-editors, we were fortunate enough to enlist the writing talents of (in alphabetical order): Mike Ashley (science fiction), Will Murray (hero), Michelle Nolan (sports), Laurie Powers (love), Tom Roberts (air and war), David Saunders (the great pulp artists), F. Paul Wilson (foreword) and John Wooley (detective). We think you’ll agree, if you read the book, that each did a bang-up job!

(5) DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS. Stevens Point author Patrick Rothfuss’ new show on Travel Channel, Myth or Monster, debuts with three showings this weekend on Travel Channel. Myth or Monster will first air 9 p.m. on Friday.

Rothfuss “dives into the past and consults with present-day eyewitnesses to expose the truth behind stories long believed to be sheer fantasy.”

The first episode is titled “Mothman:

Armed with new evidence of a modern-day sighting, acclaimed fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss investigates the local legend of an 8-foot-tall man-bird hybrid that has haunted a small West Virginia town for over 50 years.

(6) THE DICKENS YOU SAY. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap was disappointed: “‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ Review: Scrooge’s Origin Story Ends Up a Bit of a Humbug”

The history of Christmas is a fascinating one, from the biblical account of Jesus’ birth, to the church’s moving of his birthdate so as to capitalize on the popularity of pagan holidays like Saturnalia and Yule, to the Puritans banning it as a feast of licentiousness, to the abundant, familial celebration we know today. Standiford touches upon all of this, and on how the immense popularity of “A Christmas Carol” changed the culture around the holiday, but screenwriter Susan Coyne (“Anne of Green Gables”) and director Bharat Nalluri (“Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”) gloss right over it in a way that will leave most viewers befuddled by the film’s title.

While Dickens (played here by Dan Stevens) was a well-established writer by 1843, the author was in something of a slump before he decided to take a crack at writing a Christmas story. “Barnaby Rudge” and “Martin Chuzzlewit” were slow sellers, and his essays about his trip to America hadn’t flown off the shelves either; meanwhile, he and his family were grandly restoring a new house, and his constantly-in-debt father John (Jonathan Pryce) was one of many people in Dickens’ orbit with hands perpetually out.

(7) KING TUT. Someone apparently tutted at John Scalzi about his weekly photos of incoming ARCs and review copies.


  • Born October 27, 1948 – Bernie Wrightson
  • Born October 27, 1953 – Robert Picardo, who played the holographic doctor in ST-Voyager and is on the board of directors of the Planetary Society.

(9) LOOK OUT BELOW. Newsweek brings out Michael Rampino  to answer the question: “Did Dark Matter Kill the Dinosaurs? How Mass Extinctions Are Linked With Universe’s Mystery Ingredient”.

… Over the last three decades, some scientists have found a good correlation of mass extinctions with impacts and massive volcanism. Curiously they have also turned up evidence that these events occur in a cycle of about 26 to 30 million years. This attracted the interest of astrophysicists, and several astronomical theories were proposed in which cosmic cycles affected Earth and life on the planet.

My own hypothesis linked the Earthly events to the motion of the solar system as it moves through the galaxy.  Now, it seems that these geologic cycles may be a result of the interactions of our planet with mysterious dark matter.

How does dark matter affect our planet? Most dark matter can be found as huge haloes surrounding the disc-shaped spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way. But in 2015 physicist Lisa Randall at Harvard, proposed that significant dark matter is concentrated along the central mid-plane of the galactic disk.

During the cyclic movement of the sun and planets through the galaxy, we pass through the mid-place about once every 30 million years. At these times, the dark matter concentrated there tugs on the myriad Oort cloud comments found at the edge of the solar system. This gravitational perturbation causes some of the loosely bound comets to fall into the zone of the inner planets, where some would collide with Earth, producing a roughly 30 million year cycle of impacts and associated mass extinctions. As a result, dark matter may have killed the dinosaurs.

(10) TREMONTAINE. At Fantasy Literature, Marion Deeds reviews the book version of Tremontaine Season One by Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Patty Bryant, Racheline Maltese and Paul Witcover — “Tremontaine Season One: Magic can’t always be re-created”.

The most interesting secondary character is Micah, a young county girl in the city, who is a math genius. Disguised as a boy, Micah is taken up by the university students because she has a gift for winning card games, and because she is a genius. Micah is a problematic character for some of the writers. She is neuro-atypical. In some of these novellas, Micah convinces me that she is somewhere on the autism spectrum. In the hands of others she reads more like an innocent, much younger girl (eleven or twelve). This wobbliness broke my suspension of disbelief. Beyond the problem of Micah’s characterization, tone in general is a problem, changing from episode to episode, and sometimes clashing with the previous chapter, as it does most noticeably in Episode Seven, “The Swan Ball.”

(11) THEY LOST HIM AT HELLO. Superversive SF’s Declan Finn says he was so offended by Star Trek: Discovery that he had already turned it off before they reached the part that was designed to offend him: “The STD That Will Never Go Viral”.

I gave up at the 40 minute mark. So, all of this is this is, of course, before I got to the stuff that was designed to offend me. I’m told there are gay, bisexual and other sexes all over the place, that the Klingons were supposed to be Trump supporters, that they use cussing but can’t say “God” on the show.  Heck, I didn’t even get far enough into the episode to see “Michael” assault her captain, take over the ship in a mutiny specifically so she could commit an act of war on the Klingons… which happened.

But they never got a chance to appeal to my politics. They never got a chance to offend me. They never got a chance to make me angry. Because they never got me to care. Because this isn’t Star Trek. This is just a bad parody.

This is one STD that will never go viral.

(12) THE NOT RIGHT. Prager University produced a video, “What is the Alt-Right?” which briefly mentions Vox Day.

What is the alt-right? What is its worldview? How big is it? Michael Knowles, bestselling author and host of The Michael Knowles Show, took a deep dive into alt-right culture. Here’s what he learned.

When a reader of Vox Popoli brought it to Day’s attention he teed off on the site’s namesake.

I would have been shocked if Dennis Prager had anything positive to say about me. He’s a mediocre thinker and a mediocre writer whose columns on WND were lightweight, little trafficked, and almost entirely forgettable.

(13) ARISTOTLE! Speaking of Aristotle….Camestros Felapton has now reached Chapter 6 in his dissection of Vox Day’s SJWs Always Double Down: Anticipating the Thought Police.

“It is one of more than a dozen such tactics that I have observed SJWs utilizing over the past few year, and what is fascinating is how many of these tactics were first observed more than 2,400 years ago by one of Man’s greatest thinkers, Aristotle.”

Having said that, we don’t get an illustration of social media bait and report re-imagined for ancient Athens (which might have been interesting). I’d imagine the advice would be simple from Aristotle – if somebody is trying to bait you then don’t let them wind you up. There is an excellent example from Jesus in the New Testament dodging a “bait and report” when he is quizzed about paying taxes. Mind you I don’t think Vox reads the New Testament much, particularly not a section where his God implies that you should pay your taxes.

Anyway, put my side trip to Jesus aside, Vox is back with our friend Aristotle. This time rather than Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Vox wants us to look at The Organon and in particular the section called On Sophistical Refutations. “Sophistical” here referring to sophists – the quasi-professional arguers of stuff and/or Plato’s contemporary philosophers not in tune with the Socratic wing of thinking.

Aristotle lists 13 fallacies and Vox goes through them all to some extent. I’m going to look at them from a different direction…

(14) LET THERE BE LIGHTS. Tesla in real-world success: “Turns Power Back On At Children’s Hospital In Puerto Rico”.

Tesla has used its solar panels and batteries to restore reliable electricity at San Juan’s Hospital del Niño (Children’s Hospital), in what company founder Elon Musk calls “the first of many solar+battery Tesla projects going live in Puerto Rico.”

The project came about after Puerto Rico was hit by two devastating and powerful hurricanes in September, and Musk reached out about Tesla helping.

Musk’s company announced its success in getting the hospital’s power working again less than three weeks after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello tweeted on Oct. 6, “Great initial conversation with @elonmusk tonight. Teams are now talking; exploring opportunities.”

Tesla’s image of the project’s solar array, in a parking lot next to the hospital, has been liked more than 84,000 times since it was posted to Instagram Tuesday.

(15) SOFTCOVER SCARES. Rise of a genre? “These ‘Paperbacks From Hell’ Reflect The Real-Life Angst Of The 1970s”. NPR did an interview with Grady Hendrix who argues that “horror” was not a mainstream term before _Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, et al.

On the appeal of horror paperbacks in the ’70s and ’80s

In the early ’70s, I think part of the appeal of these books is [that] they were written fast and without a lot of pretensions, and so in doing that, these authors were kind of capturing the time in which they were writing. And so you had in the early ’70s, late ’60s, all this fascination with the occult. Astrology was big, Time magazine had two covers that were like, “The New Age occult craze in America” and also there was a fear of our children — “What is this rock music and this LSD and this ‘Summer of Love’? Surely there must be a dark side there.”

And so these books really reflected a lot of where we were at the times and answered a lot of questions, and the answer to most of the questions was, “Yes, be very, very afraid of everything.” Jellyfish, mattresses, curtains, dogs, moths, caterpillars, children, dolls, clowns, puppets. But at least they were answers.

(16) NO RENDEZVOUS WITH THIS RAMA. Passing through: “Scientists Spot First Alien Space Rock In Our Solar System”.

It’s long been assumed that an interstellar object like this one should be out there, because giant planets in forming solar systems are thought to toss out bits of space crud that haven’t yet glommed into anything. But this is the first time scientists have actually found one.

The mysterious object is small — less than a quarter mile in diameter — and seems to have come from the general direction of the constellation Lyra, moving through interstellar space at 15.8 miles per second, or 56,880 miles per hour.

“The orbit is very convincing. It is going so fast that it clearly came from outside the solar system,” says Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s whipping around the Sun, it has already gone around the Sun, and it has actually gone past the Earth on its way out.”

(17) INSECURITY. The internet doesn’t know you’re a dog – or an AI: “AI Model Fundamentally Cracks CAPTCHAs, Scientists Say”.

A new model, described in research published today in Science, fundamentally breaks the CAPTCHA’s defenses by parsing the text more effectively than previous models with less training, George says.

He says that previous models trying to get machines to learn like humans have largely relied on a prevailing AI technique called deep learning.

“Deep learning is a technique where you have layers of neurons and you train those neurons to respond in a way that you decide,” he says. For example, you could train a machine to recognize the letters A and B by showing it hundreds of thousands of example images of each. Even then, it would have difficulty recognizing an A overlapping with a B unless it had been explicitly trained with that image.

(18) RUNAWAYS. Marvel’s Runaways will be on Hulu starting November 21.

(19) YOU HAD ONE JOB. Alien Invasion S.U.M. 1 official trailer.

[Thanks to JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

74 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/27/17 Dark Scroll Crashes, Pouring Pixels Into Ashes

  1. @Andrew M

    I just posted a YA Not-A-Hugo rec on the 2017 SFF page (link on header): Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray. It’s a young adult space opera with excellent characterizations and an absorbing story.

  2. On the subject of books about guns and wimmen – the new Stephen King, Sleeping Beauty (with co-conspirator Owen King) is, on its face, a pro-feminist anthem about how all the women vanish into cocoons like butterflies and then the world goes to hell and the bazookas come out. The women, however, engage in continual forehead-smacking ninny adventures without men to lead them around, and their leader is a sexy naked witch who likes to kiss girls in a sort of “come and get it, HBO” way. I’m glad I wasted my cash on the digital version instead of the hardback, otherwise there would be several new dents in my wall.

    The sexy naked witch is a facilitator but not a leader; she spends most of the book in the custody of the men, not leading the women, and is all about the women needing to make a decision, one where she doesn’t seem to get any input and wishes they’d make the opposite choice.

    The women on their own, also, seemed to make much more sensible decisions than the men (either on their own or with women around), aside from the disaster at the men’s prison, which seemed ill-set-up, to me. The big thing in the women’s community seemed to be that it would run Just Fine without the mens, but the women didn’t want to never see their sons again, which seemed to be all about Women Could Make Themselves a Paradise If They Weren’t Sentimental, an odd theme.

    [I also thought it was weird that the women never seemed to even consider it a drawback that the men could murder them all by (effectively) remote control, and indeed killed various off them off without warning or any way to defend against it, but no one thought that was a reason to go back and stop it.]

    [And I thought it was even weirder that in a book about the essential natures of men and women, published in 2017, nobody ever even brought up the idea of trans women. It felt like as glaring an omission as the near-complete lack of non-whites in THE STAND.]

    I didn’t think it was a successful book, overall — it kept hitting me that there were parts that were unfocused or poorly justified (why did the men start rioting? it’s not unjustifiable as a story element, but they didn’t bother to do it), and stretches that were fuzzily written. But when it was on, the prose and storytelling were compelling. It just wasn’t as consistently on as solo King the Elder.

    I’ve read some Owen King short stories, but I think I need to read one of his novels, to get a sense of whether I’m just not simpatico with his work, or if it was just the collaboration that wasn’t working…

  3. @11 — My current work in progress has a bisexual character, and I have to admit that I did it solely to offend Declan Finn. All other considerations — writing a good story, having a consistent theme, consistent characters, etc. — went by the wayside, because my main purpose in writing it was to annoy him. And I’m glad to hear that he gives up on things that bother him about two-thirds of the way through, because when I get to that point I can just relax and write what I want again.

  4. @Kurt — let me know what you find in Owen’s short stories, right now I’m blaming him for my least favorite novel written by his old man.

    Disagree with the women being sensible on their own. I felt they were ninnies with regard to the power and plumbing, and with the expedition where some of them got killed chasing after something silly, and with that one character’s death-by-hemorrhage while everyone stood by helplessly. Maybe I just know a disproportionate amount of women that can operate generators and halt bleeding and travel beyond city limits without getting themselves killed. It felt like some kind of backhanded patronizing way of declaring women are morally superior because they are ignorant.

    Spot on about the essential natures, too. No transmen, no transwomen, nobody’s intersexual. Though there were a couple of gay/lesbian characters, there also seemed to be a lot of stereotypical tragedy associated with them. There were indeed some men that wanted to murder all the women and it wasn’t exactly clear why they didn’t. A great big mess of a book.

  5. (12) — I see Teddy’s still demonstrating the same attention to detail that he brings to his editoring work. Perhaps items 12 & 13 should have been numbered 5 and 5 as a reminder of his prowess in that field.

  6. @Lisa Goldstein: I sense sarcasm (and look forward to reading all three thirds of your WIP when it’s complete).

    Regarding Philip Pullman: I really enjoyed The Golden Compass and Subtle Knife, but I didn’t think Amber Spyglass was completely satisfactory. V jnf ybbxvat sbejneq gb Ylen naq Jvyy erwrpgvat obgu gur bccerffvir fbpvrgl gung perngrq gur Tbooyref naq gur eroryf jub fnpevsvprq na vaabprag puvyq gb bcra gur tngr orgjrra jbeyqf, naq svaqvat fbzr orggre nygreangvir gb obgu, naq V rkcrpgrq gur zragny vyyarff bs Jvyy’f zbgure gb or pbaarpgrq va fbzr jnl gb gur Fcrpgerf gung rng gur fbhyf bs nqhygf. I am looking forward to reading the new Pullman.

  7. @Bonnie McDaniel: Thanks, I hadn’t heard of that “on hold” thing.

    @Lisa Goldstein: LOL and I would like to read that book. 😉

  8. I adored Northern Lights and then spent most of Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass wanting to punch Will in the face, but I would have been between the ages of 8 and 10 at the time so I’m not entirely sure how I would feel about the character now. Possibly less likely to break out the pitchforks the moment he was a condescending so-and-so to Lyra?

    (Did they really censor the NA edition of Amber Spyglass, as Wikipedia says?)

    I thoroughly enjoyed the National Theatre productions. Great stage.

    I’ve been known to hate-read (and hate-watch) but I’m not sure I could manage to hate-write. Hard enough getting in all the bits I’m doing for me without also putting in things to annoy people who won’t even read it.

  9. @Meredith @Charon D – That’s disgusting and embarrassing. Not surprising, necessarily, but ugh.

  10. Well supposedly Robin McKinley’s the Blue Sword was a certain amount of rage writing after meeting a book that promised a woman going on Middle East flavoured adventures and turned into a stereotypical millionaire Sheikh romance. And I have a (stupendously rough) half draft of a book inspired by a deconstruction of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. So rage writing yes. Hate writing? much less convinced the fruits of that labour would be palatable.

  11. My current work in progress has a bisexual character, and I have to admit that I did it solely to offend Declan Finn.

    Every time I sit down to write, my primary consideration is always, “What will Declan Finn think of this?” That’s the true north on my creative compass.


  12. Writing something, because some other story squandered an awesome premise or just did everything wrong? Sure, that happens all the time, at least for me.

    Writing just to piss off Declan Finn? Sorry, pal, but you’re not even on my radar when I write (and only very rarely, when I don’t).

  13. let me know what you find in Owen’s short stories, right now I’m blaming him for my least favorite novel written by his old man.

    I didn’t enjoy the short stories, on balance — they were well-written but leaned toward literary in a way that I didn’t find appealing. When I read Joe Hill’s stories, I thought there was a balance between literary and commercial, and enough of a sense of fun that I wanted to read more. With Owen King, it didn’t make me want to read more; they were more alienated than fun.

    But at some point I’ll try a novel and see if it’s less experimental, more direct.

    Disagree with the women being sensible on their own. I felt they were ninnies with regard to the power and plumbing, and with the expedition where some of them got killed chasing after something silly, and with that one character’s death-by-hemorrhage while everyone stood by helplessly. Maybe I just know a disproportionate amount of women that can operate generators and halt bleeding and travel beyond city limits without getting themselves killed. It felt like some kind of backhanded patronizing way of declaring women are morally superior because they are ignorant.

    I didn’t get that impression. The inability to travel out of town was a mystic thing, all part of how the world’s decision, for whatever reason, would be made there. Had they avoided the men’s prison something else would have gotten them. And what I remember was that they were making progress on the generators, and the hemorrhage was a case of not having the right specific skills in that particular small town, among the women who’d at that point fallen asleep.

    My gripe about the prison collapse was that it was choppily and abruptly written, and the hemorrhage that we’d seen much the same scene, already, and better, in THE STAND. [The generators was something covered in THE STAND, too, but there they had far more people, so the expertise they needed was in larger supply.]

    Spot on about the essential natures, too. No transmen, no transwomen, nobody’s intersexual. Though there were a couple of gay/lesbian characters, there also seemed to be a lot of stereotypical tragedy associated with them. There were indeed some men that wanted to murder all the women and it wasn’t exactly clear why they didn’t. A great big mess of a book.

    It was pretty messy, yeah. I think the men that wanted to burn the sleeping women simply stopped finding them easily, after a while. But there were a number of plot threads that seemed to start without much set-up or dwindle away without much resolution.

    I have these imaginary scenario where I blame them on interpersonal dynamics between people I’ve never met, so they’re entirely imaginary, not rooted in any facts. Ultimately, I enjoyed the parts of the book that I thought read well, but I doubt I’ll go back and reread it any time soon. And I’ve read TOMMYKNOCKERS twice.

  14. Marshall Ryan Maresca: That’s the true north on my creative compass.

    And do you also think Santa’s elves look like penguins?

  15. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 10-29-2017 - Amazing Stories

  16. I have to admit that I’m so oblivious about religious matters that I didn’t even realize Pullman’s trilogy had things that might offend people until long after I’d read it. Of course, SF has a long tradition of taking the piss out of organized religion. Compared to some of the stuff I read as a youth, back in the sixties and seventies, Pullman was fairly subtle. 🙂

  17. @Charon D

    But it isn’t even explicit! What the hell. Poor North American fans. :/

    (I’m still annoyed that they changed the title of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the USA – the first book I ever read with the philosopher’s stone in was even an American book! It just seems so condescending to American readers.)

    @Lenora Rose

    Yeah, rage-writing because “this book is WRONG and I will write a BETTER one” makes perfect sense, as a motivation/inspiration. Hate-writing just seems like a lot of effort for low reward, you know?

  18. Re Bonnie McDaniel’s YA Not-A-Hugo rec: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray is currently 99p on Amazon UK.

  19. And do you also think Santa’s elves look like penguins?

    The resemblance is uncanny!

  20. @Meredith, that made me mad, too. And, worse, I understood that they also modified the text, changing “hoover” to “vacuum” and “revise” to “review”, and so forth. For me, reading texts with different contexts is part of the fun. I had enough funds to order the original texts shipped (from the UK version of the Big River). Grrr

  21. @Mike

    Not really. It’s the payload for which the rest was the delivery system.

    I think of it more like a MIRV. He had other observations about production values and writing that are independently worthwhile.

    But opinions vary.


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