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.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • 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. First and foremost,

    it’s early on a Friday night and I guess everyone is out partying….

  2. (1) ASSAUGING YOUR TBR GUILT.
    Being back at work, playing Pokemon Go, trying to have a somewhat balanced life, the internet, all cut into book reading time. And so Mt TBR grows…

    (11) THEY LOST HIM AT HELLO
    Designed to offend him? No, not self-centred at all…

    “Scrolls Falls, Everyone Files”

  3. (1) ASSAUGING YOUR TBR GUILT.

    I’m presuming that this is a clever two-pronged coping scheme of assaulting your guilt whilst also assuaging it. 😀

  4. There is 1 (one) mass extinction unambiguously associated with an impact. And it happened at a time when the Deccan Traps were pumping a fuckton of crap into the air (although granted, not as much as the time the Siberian Trap lit up under a massive coal bed).

    An interesting discussion of Grand Unified Mass Extinction Theories can be found here.

  5. 11)I get the sense that for people on the alt-right, they WANT to hate Star Trek Discovery.

  6. #9: between your posting an excerpt of the text and my reading the original article, somebody corrected the quoted “myriad Oort cloud comments” to “myriad Oort cloud comets.”

    Doesn’t stop his theory from being a steaming pile of horseshit, though. We are already for all practical purposes at the central mid-plane of the Milky Way–we are 50 light years away from the center when the full thickness is 2,000 light years. 5 percent away from the center. There is no way that dark matter is more tightly contained in the central plane than that.

  7. @1: re tactic 5: I don’t angst over not finishing a bad book; I just don’t like not knowing what happens. A friend reports that their offspring reads the last page first, and only starts the book if they care how it got to that page, but I’d rather read hopefully, and maybe find that a surprise was justified.

  8. Also, the trailer for Runaways doesn’t look bad. But I don’t care for the aging-up of Molly.

  9. There is 1 (one) mass extinction unambiguously associated with an impact. And it happened at a time when the Deccan Traps were pumping a fuckton of crap into the air (although granted, not as much as the time the Siberian Trap lit up under a massive coal bed).

    I remember posting a link on this topic here once before. I managed to google it up, and it was back when someone else was blaming Planet 9 from Outer Space for the periodic extinctions. Here it is again.

    (Also, the Chicxulub impactor was probably an asteroid, not a comet.)

  10. (7) KING TUT.

    It’s clear from a number of the Twitter comments that there are a lot of people who don’t understand that Scalzi’s ARC posts are of random books sent to him unsolicited, most of which he will likely never read.

    A lot of people are asking why he chose to read such-and-such book (especially the Puppy books), or why his choices are so gender-imbalanced, or what he thought about a given book, on the assumption that he’s actually read all of these books which he very specifically said just came in the mail to him today.

    I guess he’s finally had enough of the stupidity, because he’s posted this.

  11. A lot of people are asking why he chose to read such-and-such book (especially the Puppy books), or why his choices are so gender-imbalanced, or what he thought about a given book, on the assumption that he’s actually read all of these books which he very specifically said just came in the mail to him today.

    Yeah, I’ve been having a more negative attitude than usual about the intelligence of humanity as a whole after having recently been spending waaay too much time reading this site.

  12. 11)I get the sense that for people on the alt-right, they WANT to hate Star Trek Discovery.

    Well, according to the initial promos (which were somewhat misleading), it has two women of colour as leads and there are gay characters who engage in such shocking acts as brushing teeth on screen and someone uses the f-word as a modifier, but they’re not supposed to say “God”, and besides, someone of the cast said something mean about Trump voters once, and it’s obvious why they were predisposed to hate it.

    Though it annoys me that those of us who dislike Star Trek Discovery for other reasons often get thrown into the same bucket as the alt-right folks. It’s possible to dislike Star Trek Discovery without being an alt-right type or hopeless nostalgic.

  13. (15) Incoming cheesy horror novel nostalgia buzz! That was the literature of my adolescence: astrology, psychic mind powers, aliencrafted pyramids and cheesy paperback horror novels with skeletons on the cover. I was totally stoked about graduating from S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume to grownup books, and I usually had at least one well-worn horror paperback lurking in the bottom of my patchwork leather shoulder bag. Right next to my feathered roach clip.

    Just finished the new Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage). Loved it fangirlishly, want it to win all the awards.

  14. @ JJ re: (7) “or why his choices are so gender-imbalanced”

    The gender imbalance is relevant, though the blame is misplaced. It has frequently been noted that part of the gender imbalance in how books are promoted is the gender imbalances in what gets sent out as review copies and to whom. The question is then: knowing that Scalzi posts these “books received” photos to his many fans (with the presumption that they influence their reading choices), why do publishers send him gender-imbalanced review book packages? Especially given that he isn’t really a book reviewer so the only real benefit those publishers (and books) get from sending them is having the books appear in his “books received” photos. If the publishers aren’t catering to his actual reading tastes, then a particular skew in what’s provided is a pretty raw measure of which authors the publishers choose to promote.

  15. Cora on October 27, 2017 at 9:06 pm said:

    Though it annoys me that those of us who dislike Star Trek Discovery for other reasons often get thrown into the same bucket as the alt-right folks. It’s possible to dislike Star Trek Discovery without being an alt-right type or hopeless nostalgic.

    I think some of their arbitrary hate is based on a kind of bet they are making. What they are hoping for is a show that does badly and if they’ve pre-identified some SJW thing they can moan about then they can ascribe the poor ratings of the show on the those features rather than the others.

    As you point there is a lot wrong with Discovery independent of the Alt-Right moans.

  16. Heather Rose Jones: a particular skew in what’s provided is a pretty raw measure of which authors the publishers choose to promote.

    … and that’s assuming that they are even publishing the other kind of authors. :-/

  17. (1) ASSUAGING YOUR TBR GUILT. Heh, this was amusing and on point for me. Deep breath. I can’t read all the books. (hiccup) Sniffly.

    (11) THEY LOST HIM AT HELLO. “…designed to offend me” – ::eyeroll:: I’m pretty sure they have better things to do. “gay, bisexual and other sexes” – ::eyeroll:: Gay and bisexual aren’t sexes. This loser rant reads like a parody, it’s so silly.

    (18) RUNAWAYS. We have Netflix, not Hulu; I hope Hulu makes DVDs or Blu-rays or something (I’m so old school) at some point. :-/ I don’t want to buy a second streaming service just for one show, though I’m sure Hulu hopes we will. I shall resist!

  18. 11 & 18) I will never know how good/bad these shows are, as I am not paying for yet another streaming service. I do think that this point of view, above all else, will be the main cause if ST: D fails. I know of many people with Hulu subscriptions, so Runaways should be fine.

  19. 1. Guilt? I don’t get it. Every time I add to Mt. TBR, my emotional reaction is “Woo Hoo! Moooooore!”

    @Paul Weimer (11): Makes sense to me…Roddenberry’s vision is pure SJW, and it has remained a constant cultural influence since the mid-60s. What’s there for a pup to like?

    @Heather Rose Jones: I strongly suspect (not) that there is a clandestine puppy agent working at the local PO, who carefully removes select volumes from the daily pile destined for the Scalzi compound. It’s a long-range ploy…eventually they’ll use it to accuse trad publishers and Scalzi of something (and meanwhile, they’re all able to read books they don’t want to be associated with clandestinely)..

  20. 10) I noticed many of the same inconsistencies in TREMONTAINE that Marion Deeds did, though they didn’t kick me out of the story or spoil my enjoyment of it as strongly as for Marion. A stronger editorial hand might have smoothed over the style and consistency problems.

    Except… I’ve also read INDIGO, another Serial Box collection. With TREMONTAINE, even if the chapters hadn’t had authors names attached, it would have been pretty clear that different writers wrote different chapters. INDIGO appears to have have stronger editorial oversight, to the point where the style and tone are so consistent that I only know it’s a multi-author book because I’m told so. But that smoothness of tone also had the effect of making the story feel rather “meh” to me, like a very middle-of-the-road novel, very “safe”, as it were. So overall, I preferred flawed-but-intriguing TREMONTAINE over kinda-dull INDIGO.

    (No one ever said editing was easy. Putting together a multi-author storyline makes the job that much harder.)

  21. As someone who has written GBL characters (And is working on improving her TQIA ratio), I guarantee, I have NOT been thinking about Declan Finn or the alt-right ever when I decided a character wasn’t straight. I have literally been writing gay and lesbian characters since my teens (And attempting some very awful magical gender transformation stories without understanding T,Q, or I at all), when I really really wasn’t thinking of anything but myself. Consideration fo other audiences came later. Consideration that I am LOSING some people as audience came MUCH later, and is still never a driving force.

    I am equally sure that when someone writes a pro-guns big monsters shoot-em-up with a Confederate flag on his lapel and a scarcity of female characters is not thinking about alienating me. He’s* thinking about the people he wants to have read and love his book.

    *pronoun chosen with some intent, but acknowledged equally alienating stories can come from women or NB, at least the big guns vs big monsters.

  22. @Kendall

    You can actually put Hulu on hold for a period of time, either 4, 8 or 12 weeks. That’s what I did after I watched The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, I don’t know if you can keep doing that indefinitely. My hold is scheduled to come off the day The Runaways hits; I’ll probably watch that and put it back on hold again.

  23. Nearly done with Leckie’s Provenance. After that I want to read a few books to start getting me in the holiday frame of mind. What are some winter/holiday themes books that you guys like to read or would recommend?

  24. @Charon D. – Glad to see you enjoyed the new Pullman. I thought the trilogy was pretty great, but in subsequent years my glee at a Young Adult story about an epic quest to kill God has fallen off as I’ve mellowed about religion, and I’ve often wondered if I might find that the Suck Fairy has visited the series were I to re-read it.

  25. @Steve Davidson

    Makes sense to me…Roddenberry’s vision is pure SJW, and it has remained a constant cultural influence since the mid-60s. What’s there for a pup to like?

    Well, Brad once held it up as good politics free SF, only to be corrected by David Gerrold of all people, and one of the 2015 fan writer nominees (Amanda Green, Cedar Sanderson?) threw a fit about an LGBT couple in the Star Trek novel. But I guess they have cottoned on to the fact that Star Trek is SJW message fiction by now. Though oddly enough, quite a fw puppies seem to like The Orville.

    @Lenora Rose

    As someone who has written GBL characters (And is working on improving her TQIA ratio), I guarantee, I have NOT been thinking about Declan Finn or the alt-right ever when I decided a character wasn’t straight. I have literally been writing gay and lesbian characters since my teens (And attempting some very awful magical gender transformation stories without understanding T,Q, or I at all), when I really really wasn’t thinking of anything but myself. Consideration fo other audiences came later. Consideration that I am LOSING some people as audience came MUCH later, and is still never a driving force.

    I am equally sure that when someone writes a pro-guns big monsters shoot-em-up with a Confederate flag on his lapel and a scarcity of female characters is not thinking about alienating me. He’s* thinking about the people he wants to have read and love his book.

    *pronoun chosen with some intent, but acknowledged equally alienating stories can come from women or NB, at least the big guns vs big monsters.

    Same here. When I write characters of colour, LGBT characters, competent women, men who are not macho clichés, I don’t think of alienating the alt-right or “destroying the culture”, whatever that may mean, I think of writing a story that appeals to me and hopefully to others as well.

    The alt-right and various puppy types are not my audience (though I’ve shared a TOC with a prominent puppy before he went rabid and another puppy adjacent author is on my mailing list). There are authors and books catering to them (mostly they cater to each other), which is fine. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, telling the stories I want to tell.

  26. k_choll on October 28, 2017 at 10:23 am said:
    Nearly done with Leckie’s Provenance. After that I want to read a few books to start getting me in the holiday frame of mind. What are some winter/holiday themes books that you guys like to read or would recommend?

    At the risk of stating the incredibly obvious, Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather seems, well, incredibly obvious.

  27. Lenora Rose on October 28, 2017 at 9:04 am said:
    I’ve had characters that told me who they were – not my decision! – in my fic that will never be finished.

  28. I can honestly say I have never had any anxiety about my TBR pile, because for pretty much my entire life, I have been the fastest and most prolific reader among my circle of friends. There was one time back in grade school, when we had a school-wide reading competition which ran all year, and I discovered there was one girl in the school who actually read faster than I did–that’s probably the closest I’ve come to anxiety.

    On the other hand, if it will help assuage your anxiety, I will say that I have never thought less of someone because they read less than I do. I’d have to think less of most people if I did that, and I know way too many nice/cool/interesting people to think that way.

    While I love talking about books, I would rather have you be a nice, cool, and/or interesting person than have you be someone who has read a lot of books, but isn’t any of the above. 🙂

  29. PJ Evans:

    I’ve had characters that told me who they were – not my decision! – in my fic that will never be finished.

    I can’t quite say that. I’ve had characters tell me they absolutely, definitely ARE going to make that foolhardy teenagerish decision because they are teenagers. (Or absolutely definitely are not) and I have had characters insist on romantic inclinations where I didn’t intend some (and not where I did) but part of what leaks into that is that I know who they are.

    The way I describe the “Nope! Doing this instead!” moments in slightly more technical fashion is that I’ve told my subconscious “This is who they are”, and periodically my subconscious returns me a note, going “Based on the data presented, this plot point makes no sense…”

  30. k_choll: As well as seconding Hogfather I tend to suggest Connie Willis’s Christmas stories if it’s Christmas you’re going after and not something more broadly holiday. Sometimes you can see the plot map a bit too clearly, but the best of them are amazing.

  31. (11)

    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.

    You’re so vain
    You probably think this casting’s about you
    You’re so vain,
    I’ll bet you think the cussing’s about you
    Don’t you?
    Don’t you?

    [too tired to do the whole song]

    (10) Speaking of Serial Box, has anyone here read/listened to Bookburners? It sort of intrigued me but not yet enough to buy it.

  32. Nearly done with Leckie’s Provenance. After that I want to read a few books to start getting me in the holiday frame of mind. What are some winter/holiday themes books that you guys like to read or would recommend?

    Didn’t she also write some book that started outside a tavern in the snow? That sounds like it should be seasonal.

    [Ahem, hides behind sofa…]

  33. [too tired to do the whole song]

    His tinfoil hat was strategically dipped below one eye…

    (Scansion and meter have always been my downfall…)

  34. I do sort of understand why people aren’t getting the significance of Scalzi’s piles of new books, because the practice of sending out books in this way is rather odd. I remember another blogger, less famous that Scalzi, who regularly posts about the books they have received that week, once getting a comment saying ‘I have no idea why people are sending you these things’.

    I don’t think they can be sending him books just so that eh will put them in his photos – after all, they send books to lots of people who don’t publish photos – so presumably they do hope he will review them – or, as he says, invite the author to do a Big Idea thing.

    Also, John Crowley has a new book out?

  35. @Lenora Rose

    I am equally sure that when someone writes a pro-guns big monsters shoot-em-up with a Confederate flag on his lapel and a scarcity of female characters is not thinking about alienating me.

    Motives might be somewhat more mixed than that. Some authors of the canine persuasion have openly stated that they were hoping to stir up outrage, and others are at least counting on vice signaling: that their readers will enjoy their writing more in the belief that it would surely outrage those other people.

    And while I have no reason to believe you have any such motives, the practice as such is not entirely unknown on the left either; after all, the term épater les bourgeois was not coined by conservatives.

  36. kathodus: I thought Pullman was wrong about religion from the start (and I also thought his use of Metatron was an annoying way to wriggle out of confronting God squarely), but I still found it a beautifully constructed world and story.

    (I get the sense he has mellowed a bit anyway.)

  37. This reminds me that we ought to be checking out likely candidates for the YA not-Hugo. The Pullman strikes me as a prime candidate, and the sort of thing that would get the award off to a good start, as Bujold did for the series award (though of course I can’t say whether it’s actually deserving until I’ve read it).

    Frances Hardinge has a new book, A Skinful of Shadows: her books are always worth reading, though I get the sense this isn’t making quite as much of an impact as the previous two. Her works have had difficulty getting attention from Hugo people because of the gap between UK and US publication, but it looks as if this is appearing in the US this year too (though I’m finding this a bit hard to confirm). Apparently ‘people who ordered this also ordered The Book of Dust‘.

    I’ve just been reading Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger – the series is appearing very fast, two volumes out and the first already in paperback. It is quite exciting but, from what I’ve seen so far, rather lacking in depth – it has a bit of a Van Vogtian ‘twist every eight hundred words’ quality. (Camestros: it contains something that might be of interest to Timothy.)

    Any other suggestions?

  38. (11) That’s kind of a misleading lead-in to his piece. He focused quite a bit on writing and production values and how the show seems to be missing those marks. Or at least not living up to the show’s potential.

    Regards,
    Dann

  39. @Kathodus and AndrewM
    When I first read His Dark Materials I was very much an angry atheist cheering those meddling kids on in their fight with God, then I mellowed too and am now more of an occasionally-grumpy agnostic. I haven’t revisited the original trilogy for exactly the reason Kathodus mentioned, but I was pleased to find I’m still astounded by the worldbuilding, and the ease with which I slide into loving the heroes and hating the villains. This new installment throws in some fiendish Christianity while giving friendly nods toward pre-Christian gods, and I usually find that kind of gnostic splitting tiresome, but Pullman manages to make it palatable. It’s similar to reading C.S. Lewis or Robert Heinlein – while I’m not totally aligned with the author’s belief system, I can still appreciate the [insert metaphysical metaphor here] out of their art.

    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.

  40. Dann: (11) That’s kind of a misleading lead-in to his piece.

    Not really. It’s the payload for which the rest was the delivery system. It’s the impact comment he wants to leave the reader with. [Rudeness redacted.]

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