Pixel Scroll 10/31/16 The Scroll Has Already Started. It’s Too Late For The Pixels To Vote

(1) HARTWELL LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Kathryn Cramer posted the speech she prepared for Gordon Van Gelder to deliver accepting David G. Hartwell’s posthumous World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.

First of all, to the board, we are sorry David missed the meeting this morning. Almost nothing could stop him from showing up bright and early on the Sunday morning of World Fantasy to preside over the board meeting.

Not late nights, high fevers, the birth of his children.

This convention—and these awards—were very important to David. For him they were about the conversations we have about our genre and what the genre can do for the world. It makes us proud to think of you all in this room thinking about and talking about the fantasy and horror genres and what excites you about them.

Take a moment, in his honor, and look around the room at the people you have connected with here.

This is what he wanted for you.

This Life Achievement award honors a life well-lived. Thank you all.

(2) ROBERTA POURNELLE SUFFERS STROKE. Jerry Pournelle announced some “Bad News at Chaos Manor”.

Sunday morning – this morning although it’s after midnight now so maybe I mean yesterday morning – I discovered that Roberta had suffered a stroke during the night. I called 911. The firemen responded almost instantly.

We spent the day first at the St. Joseph’s Emergency Room (where the firemen took me after my stroke), then at the Kaiser Emergency Room where she was taken by ambulance arranged by Kaiser, then finally in the Kaiser main hospital. Alex was with me for essentially the entire time. My second son, Frank, who lives in Palm Springs, drove up as soon as he could. Our youngest son, Richard, flew in from DC and just got here.

Roberta appears to be about where I was after my stroke. She can’t really talk yet, but she’s aware of what’s going on around her. We’re trying to arrange rehab at Holy Cross where I was retaught how to swallow, walk, and do all the other things people do.

I’m trying to be calm, but I’m scared stiff.

(3) MARATHON WOMAN. Pat Cadigan’s window isn’t closing this year but she remembers when that was the medical prediction — “Late 2016 Already – Where Does The Time Go”.

…This is not silly wish-fulfilment fantasy optimism on my part. At the worldcon in Kansas City, a few of us fellow-travellers in Cancerland did a panel about living with cancer. One beautiful lady has stage-four lung cancer. You’d never know it, though, because she’s doing great––clinical trials pay off. In fact, over thirty years ago, my Aunt Loretta (one of my mothers) agreed to be in a clinical trial for a breast cancer drug. That drug is Tamoxifen. On her behalf, you’re welcome.

Rational optimism notwithstanding, however, I still remember how the last months of 2016 were projected to be the last months of my life and…well, I can’t help gloating. Who am I gloating at? Cancer, of course. Who else?

These days, I’m thinking not so much in terms of a singing horse as I am the story about the two people in the forest being chased by a bear. One of them stops and puts on fancy running shoes. The other person says, ‘Do you really think you can outrun a bear?’ And the first person says, ‘No, I only have to outrun you.’

I picture me and cancer being chased by a bear called Annihilation. It’s going to get one of us first, and I’m hoping thanks to current clinical trials and the latest developments in immunotherapy, that will be cancer, not me. All I have to do is last long enough. All I have to do is outrun cancer.

(4) TOLKIEN GETS AWARD. The Tolkien Society reports Christopher Tolkien has been awarded the Bodley Medal, given by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to literature, culture, science, and communication.

Tolkien Society chair Shaun Gunner said: “Christopher Tolkien is a very worthy recipient of the Bodley Medal not only for his own work but for the decades of tireless dedication he has shown in editing his father’s texts. From The Silmarillion to next year’s Beren and Lúthien, Christopher has opened up new vistas of Middle-earth that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. This award is a testament to Christopher’s quiet scholarship as an editor, and a symbol of the continuing significance of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium.”

Christopher Tolkien said: “Although I have never looked for anything remotely of such a kind, I find it especially welcome to receive the Bodley Medal in that it affirms the unique significance of my father’s creation and accords a worthy place in the Republic of Letters to Tolkien scholarship. It gives me particular pleasure that the award comes from and is conceived by the Bodleian, where a great part of my father’s manuscripts lie and where I have happy memories of the great library itself.”

(5) HARASSMENT AT WFC. Jason Sanford revealed the committee was called upon to handle a harassment issue at this weekend’s World Fantasy Con.

Lucy A. Snyder also wrote a public Facebook post.

So I just returned from WFC, where some women experienced harassment: street harassment from rando men that convention organizers had no control over, and at-con harassment courtesy of a local fan who has a documented history of bad behavior (the convention organizers appeared to take the harassment report seriously and appeared to handle it as per their policy, but I question why they’d sell a membership to someone who is known to be a problem.)…

Snyder added in a comment:

I know he harassed at least one woman, because she told me and I escorted her to con ops so she could make the report. In the instance I know about, he did it in front of a male witness (who filed a corroborating report), so I strongly suspect there were other instances that I don’t know about and/or didn’t get reported.


  • Born October 31 1930 – British fandom. That is fanhistorian Rob Hansen’s pick for the date it all began. Click to see the newspaper report of the meeting from the Ilford Recorder.

On Monday October 27th, 1930, the Ilford Science Literary Circle held its inaugural meeting at 32 Thorold Road (which a check of contemporary electoral rolls shows to have been the home of George & Mary Dew), the first ever meeting of our first ever SF fan group. If British fandom has a birthday, this is it. Here is Gillings’ report on the outcome of the event. More details of how many were present and the like would have been useful, but Gillings’ primary intent is to proselytise:…

(7) ESFS AWARDS NOMINEES. At Europa SF, Nina Horvath has listed the 2016 nominees for 14 annual awards presented by the European Science Fiction Society.

I’m not excerpting any of the information here because a lot of the names include special characters that just turn into question marks on WordPress.  Boo!

(8) SERIES OF INTEREST. Ed Zitron profiles the late, lamented show beloved by many fans: “Person Of Interest Was Anti-Prestige TV And Too Smart For Primetime”.

First, let me tell you what Person of Interest is. Person of Interest is the inverse of Game of Thrones. For every shock death from the HBO’s version of George R.R. Martin’s book series, it had Kevin Chapman getting maced by a model and beaten up with a handbag. For every Game of Thrones setpiece that sent 49 bloggers into an ejaculatory frenzy over the ambiguous motives and bloodlines of royals, Person of Interest had a scene where Jim Caviezel kicks seven shades of shit out of the cardboard archetype of a bad person. It’s weird watching Jesus throttle people, but you know what, we’re all going to Hell anyway.

[Warning, reading this may spoil the show. But really, you could read an entire synopsis and the show would still be fantastic.]

Caviezel’s John Reese is a former CIA agent that you’re introduced to as a piss-stained, beardy hooch-swigging hobo sitting on a subway train. In one of the most satisfying scenes in TV history, a group of rich dickheads yell at him on the train and attempt to take his booze, which he clings to with an iron grip. He then proceeds to beat them up with his somehow-not-atrophied CIA skills before grabbing one around the throat and giving him the deep, angry stare of a man who uses his pants as a toilet and just wanted to enjoy his train booze in peace.

It’s a great introduction to the show in its purest sense. Peel back the layers of intrigue, spywork and social commentary, and you’ll still find a TV show that brings back the pure joy of seeing people you don’t like getting beaten up. There are no pretenses to prestige here.

(9) HE SCORES, HE WINS! James Davis Nicoll has the numbers to prove a point.

The following review sources managed to review as many works by persons of colour in 2015 as I did in Oct 2016.

Interzone 7

The following review sources failed to review as many works by persons of colour in 2015 as I did in Oct 2016. Note that the Big Three are listed.

F&SF 5
Analog 3
Asimov’s 3
Foundation 1
Rising Shadows 1

(10) SAY CHEESE! NPR reports “NASA’S New ‘Intruder Alert’ System Spots An Incoming Asteroid”.

NASA pays for several telescopes around the planet to scan the skies on a nightly basis, looking for these objects. “The NASA surveys are finding something like at least five asteroids every night,” says astronomer Paul Chodas of JPL.

But then the trick is to figure out which new objects might hit Earth.

“When a telescope first finds a moving object, all you know is it’s just a dot, moving on the sky,” says Chodas. “You have no information about how far away it is. “The more telescopes you get pointed at an object, the more data you get, and the more you’re sure you are how big it is and which way it’s headed. But sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to make those observations.

“Objects can come close to the Earth shortly after discovery, sometimes one day, two days, even hours in some cases,” says JPL’s Davide Farnocchia. “The main goal of Scout is to speed up the confirmation process.”

(11) WHEN GENIUSES PLAY WITH SHARP OBJECTS. Here what NASA’s JPL brings to jack o’lantern design:

Carving pumpkins may not be rocket science – but that hasn’t stopped Nasa engineers.

Scientists at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab held their annual contest to create the best pumpkin this week.

Entries included a gourd inspired by Star Wars villain Darth Vader, and two pumpkins dressed as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton being hit by a meteor.

Motors, robotics and lights all featured heavily.

(12) COSTUMES FOR WHEELCHAIRS. About half a dozen photos here illustrating how wheelchairs are converted to vehicles of kids’ dreams.

Halloween is big business and when you use a wheelchair you want your outfit to pack a punch when you go trick-or-treating.

In America, Ryan Weimer and his wife Lana, have tapped into that market by providing children with the 3D costumes of their imaginations.

Costing between $2,000 and $4,000 each, a team of volunteers spend about 120 hours building the costumes which range from aeroplanes to dragons.


(13) HALLOWEEN TREE. Ray Bradbury tells how the “Halloween Tree” novel and animated film came about.

(14) RAY’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY. John King Tarpinian visited Ray Bradbury’s grave today, bringing some gifts and decorations.

Every Halloween I pay a visit to the Westwood Cemetery where Ray Bradbury is at rest.  I had the custom trick or treat bag made and filled it with Clark Bars, Ray’s favorite.  The little pumpkin shaped stone I luckily found yesterday from a bead shop I was dragged to by a visiting out of town friend.  The pumpkins were brought by one of Ray’s theatrical actors, Robert Kerr.



(15) BOO PLATE SPECIAL. Someone’s Cthulhu license plate attracted a crowd at World Fantasy Con.

(16) SILLY SYMPHONY. And here’s your musical accompaniment of the day:

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

84 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/31/16 The Scroll Has Already Started. It’s Too Late For The Pixels To Vote

  1. 12) Love this!
    13 & 14) Can’t have too much Bradbury on Hallowe’en!
    16) The Skeleton Dance!

  2. Ub Iwerks for the win! (And Edvard Grieg for the part of the music Carl Stalling didn’t write. Around 1:46, a slightly unusual variant on the “Pizzicato Mysterioso”.)

  3. (14) The portrait of Ray on the bag came from the mural the Los Angeles High School (Ray’s alma mater) had done of him when they dedicated their library to him a few months back.

  4. (3) We hope Pat keeps running.

    (5) Workable idea works.

    (8) Yep, hipsters (and Hugo voters), you missed out on greatness.


    I’m very sorry to hear this. I hope that they were able to treat her with blood thinners in time to minimize the long-term effects. I wish her the best on her recovery.

  6. (8) I slipped off the PoI train after getting annoyed by a Big Story Episode in season 2. I had a bad case of Fridge Logic and couldn’t switch my brain back to enjoying the Punchy Shooty Hour in the couple of episodes I watched afterwards. (Though I was startled when I identified an actor in a bit part as having been on Another World. That was a blast from the past.)

    I’m hoping I can push through and start enjoying it again. Season 1 was great fun.

  7. 8) I find it fascinating how differently Person of Interest is viewed in the US and Germany. A lot of US friends really liked the show and seemed to see something profound in it, whereas in Germany the reaction was, “Ugh, Hollywood makes NSA propaganda to excuse rampant spying on everyone. Do not want.” As a result, Person of Interest got very low ratings compared to whatever was broadcast in the slot right before (Bones, I think, or maybe local favourite Alarm für Cobra 11), was shunted into a graveyard slot and eventually vanished from the airwaves altogether.

    I must confess that my reaction to Person of Interest was “Ugh, NSA propaganda” and “This is hugely problematic ethically and I’m not sure they realise that.” Dropped out after two or three episodes, since Jim Caviziel beating up people just because they might commit crimes was struck me as unethical.

    ETA: Sorry to hear about Mrs. Pournelle’s stroke. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  8. Bogi Takács has opened their new review site, Bogi Reads The World.

    Bogi is fantastic and insightful and fun – in previous reviews of theirs I’ve read, and on a steady, marvelous stream on Twitter. They’ve got a unique point of view, and style and verve besides. I’m really looking forward to this new review site, which spotlights diverse stories and authors from marginalized groups. Definitely worth a follow 🙂

  9. Popping out from lurking for a moment to say thanks for number (6)

    I live near Ilford and grew up pretty locally and I did not know about this. It’s early in the morning here (even earlier when I read today’s scroll) and I literally didn’t believe my eyes and brain had read it correctly.

  10. I’m really, really sorry to hear about Roberta Pournelle. Jerry is an old friend; I haven’t seen Roberta in some years but I always enjoyed being in her company. She’s highly intelligent and lots of fun. I empathise with Jerry; in his position, I would be equally scared. All the Pournelles will be in my thoughts today.

  11. @Cora

    PoI actually predates the Snowdon revelations, so it could more easily be seen as predicting the issues instead of excusing them. They actually spend a lot of time and angst on the ethical concerns with no easy answers being given.

    Even though they are given the name of someone to look at they don’t know whether they are the perpetrator, the victim or even if their actions are justified. What they do know that there is premeditation which is what the Machine keys on. Even then they normally have to wait for the perpetrator to make their move rather than just beating them up for the sake of it.

    @Dawn Incognito

    Can discuss your Fridge issues in ROT13 if you want.

  12. Also health related, Theresa Nielsen Hayden reports on twitter (sorry, can’t link from here) that she’s be hospitalised with a brain infection.

    Hoping for a speedy recovery.

  13. Election update: Philadelphia-area voters, be advised that the ongoing transit strike which has caused the total cessation of bus, subway, and trolly services within city limits could make to the polls could be more difficult than usual. Since Philly has no early voting and does require you to show up on the actual day of the election, you may want to start working out how you plan to get to the polls if you usually use public transportation to get there.

  14. 2 & 3: my wife (Karen) was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer this past April; in early July she had a series of “shower” strokes (if you must have a stroke, this is probably the one to pick), so right now, I’m really feeling for Jerry, Roberta and Pat.

    One thing that helped us: early on, Karen got a call from an Aunt who told her “don’t listen to any of those survivability projections – they’re just guesses. No one knows.”

    She’s right, of course. They’re real stats, but they’re aggregated stats and don’t reference any one individual case. Those “50% live X” quotes ALSO mean that half the patients lived longer than that

    Once you get on the cancer train (as patient or care giver), you discover all manner of people who are beating the odds: this one with pancreatic cancer still going strong a decade after diagnosis, that one with brain cancer still going strong, a relative of a friend who…

    The difference seems to be – good treatment and the right attitude, so thanks, Pat, for setting a good example.

    Stroke, like cancer treatment, takes time. It’s frustrating for the patient as they are internal witness to all of these suddenly new limitations – short term memory, language retrieval, ataxia, balance, a long list of things once taken for granted that are now impaired. Again, the mental attitude is key. Do the rehab, talk to your body & brain and be prepared for a long, slow journey; as I tell Karen, cut yourself some slack.

    (This may sound a little weird, but it is kind of cool being able to watch the brain recover, make new connections, re-wire around the damaged areas: I strongly counsel those recovering from stroke to visualize the process and reinforce success with positive feedback: “hey hand! that was great – no tremor. That’s what we want to see all the time!”, or “yes! if thinking of Mr. Peanut helps you remember PB&J sandwiches, remember Mr. Peanut!”, and for motor stuff, absolutely tell your self/brain what you are trying to do before and as you are doing it.)

  15. In case anyone’s interested, a month-long discussion of Malka Older’s Infomocracy is starting over on Compuserve’s SF Literature “Reading Group”. LINK. Three chapters every three days; just started chapters 1-3 today.

    <edit to add> Heh. This post fits the scroll title, at least. That is to say, the first three chapters of the book has to do with elections…

  16. re: Goodreads Choice Awards

    I wonder how they come up with the opening nominations?

    My votes: Fantasy–The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin

    Science Fiction: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (write-in)

    Horror: Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff

    Graphic Novels/Comics: Monstress Vol. 1, Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda (with regrets to Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens)

  17. @Bonnie McDaniel

    I’m not sure, but I think their opening round selection is pretty much based on popularity. Write-ins come in the second round, and I suspect I’ll be joining you with Ninefox Gambit – it’s a clear omission.

    I’m a bit more torn in horror, mainly b/c it’s packed with good Lovecraftian fantasies with Stross and Lavalle as well.

  18. Bless File770 for having made me go back to Person of Interest. I’d watched the first few episodes and had little interest in it, but when I went back and stuck through a few more, the stupid stuff started dropping away and interesting questions appearing. The final season was so good that I ended up putting off watching the final episode for a week because I didn’t want to say goodbye to the show.

    Plus I will always be in love with Shaw.

  19. @Cat Rambo: I still haven’t seen the finale. If I don’t finish watching it, it can’t end. (I very rarely feel like this about any series – in any medium – although this is now partly because I’m bogged down in all the new DCTV and Ash Vs Evil Dead and Westworld and…)

  20. I blame File770 for getting me to persevere with PoI after the first few episodes until I was really getting into it… just as I lost access to it on Netflix, leaving me marooned partway through season 1.

  21. Mark on November 1, 2016 at 6:24 am said:
    The Goodreads Choice awards are up. There’s no easy list to copy and paste, unfortunately, so you’ll have to click through.

    It’s funny, they’re meant to be based on popularity but there seems to be very little overlap with Puppydom or the Dragon Awards.

  22. Cassy B – Recently read that book and enjoyed it. It was like reading 538 if William Gibson was a guest editor. Electoral process cyberpunk seems like a weird niche, but it works though. Had some issues with how it tied up at the end but still glad I read it.

    Goodreads awards – those are certainly books that came out this year. Obelisk Gate blows the rest away in the group it is in.

    Finished Medusa’s Web and it is very much a Tim Powers book, he’s a genre of his own in a way, but kind of stilted feeling to it. Enjoyed but not one of my favorites of his work.

  23. Dear Goodreads: what about the remainder of the year? No, I’m serious. That makes the GR award pretty ridiculous.

    I see that Mr. Splitfoot is one of the horror nominees. I didn’t find it particularly horrifying. I shelved as “fantasy” as a modern tale of the supernatural.

  24. Books published after November 15 of this year will be eligible next year. It does feel a little weird, but I guess I can understand not wanting to get lost in a bunch of other awards in the late winter/early spring.

  25. @Oneiros – Westworld is excellent (though occasionally there’s a gendered note I find off) so far! I am cautiously excited about it. I wish “Almost Human” from a couple of years back had stuck – it had some similar legs to it and set designers who clearly loved trying to create the future.

    The two things I am looking forward to soon are Good Girls Revolt and Riverdale High.

  26. @Cat Rambo

    I liked Almost Human too, it was a shame it was Foxed. Karl Urban needs more lead roles!

    I’m currently saving up Westworld to binge at some stage, hoping Nolan has done as well with it as PoI.

  27. A whole bunch of people in my thoughts right now. Best wishes for healing to all of them.

    I’m a cancer survivor of more than 30 years now, and I remember my family saying, as my remission entered its 5th year, and then its 10th: “You had a great attitude! You never gave up! That’s why you pulled through!” And it made me flinch because it felt like there was an unstated “…unlike that other little girl with leukemia, with whom you made friends with briefly in the hospital–remember her?–who died three months into her treatment.” It felt kinda victim-blamey, kinda just-world-fallacy. (Personally, I even get flinchy when friends refer to me as having “beat cancer.” If I beat cancer, it was in a competition in which strategy, material resources, and luck all play important parts. And that’s before you get to the role that luck plays in having the material resources in the first place.)

    Good treatment, a great attitude, never giving up–a cancer patient who doesn’t make it didn’t necessarily not have those things, y’know? Cancer sucks so damn hard. Here’s to better and better treatments every year, and less and less of a role for luck to have to play.

  28. @ TooManyJens
    I’m pretty sure the intent is for the award list to be available in time for those wondering what books to buy as Christmas gifts. Also the reason so many other best of the year lists are seen in early December.

  29. @Nicole — that was my reaction to some of the comments; I’ve seen at least one cogent essay flaming the people who tell cancer patients they’ll have a better chance if they “stay positive”. I’ve watched one nerve-wracking but physically relatively easy case (surgery, radiation, no chemo) and am getting reports on a much more difficult one; I can’t imagine keeping positive through all that, and wonder whether survivors’ friends are doing some ~retconning. I join you in that toast; it’s too late for some of my friends, but a chance for cases I’m sure to hear about in the future.

  30. @Nicole: “kinda victim-blamey, kinda just-world-fallacy”

    And that’s just the generic secularized version, which is often just a clumsy way to say “I’m so happy you pulled through, and I know you struggled mightily, and the only way I know how to congratulate you on that effort is to assume it made a difference.” (And to be fair, “You’re unlikely to succeed without X” doesn’t imply that X guarantees success: it’s trivially true that if someone immediately gives up and doesn’t seek treatment at all, their chances aren’t good.) I mean it’s still kind of a condescending way to talk to someone who’s looked death in the eye and has undoubtedly given these matters more thought already than most people ever will… but for just that reason, most people who make such remarks haven’t really thought it through and don’t mean much by it.

    But then sometimes there’s the explicitly religious/spiritual version, where it’s clear that they really want you to think everyone brings their bad or good fortune on themselves… oh boy does that make me see red. And unfortunately I live in northern California.

    At a dinner party a while back, a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who was sort of a stereotypical more-yogic-than-thou dude decided for some reason to hold forth (in a super serene unconcerned tone, of course) on how some people on some level just don’t truly want to live, so they have negative energy, and that’s why cancer happens. Although he may have lacked social skills in general, I still suspect he might’ve known better than to go there had he realized that at least two people in the group had recently lost friends to cancer— in my case, one of the most all-around positive and joyful people I’ve ever met. This was probably the closest I’ve ever been to punching a stranger in the face over words. Instead I sputtered out something inarticulate like “Why would you say that? How did you come to think that that’s true?”… and fortunately (since the last thing I wanted was to debate him on that shit) he decided to just change the subject.

  31. Person of Interest: that’s been on my list for a while, but judging by my usual pattern of not looking at the thing everyone’s been talking about until it’s totally old hat, I’ll probably catch up with it in about 2024. I did get into Westworld right away though (mostly because I have a long-term love-hate thing with Michael Crichton, and was curious about what an incredibly loose adaptation of one of his early B-movie efforts would look like) and am mostly digging it. The idea of superficially humanoid AIs inching toward true sentience is super-well-trodden territory, but I really like the approach they take in this where writing and narrative are keys to the process: the robots are full of pre-planned story elements, mostly pretty clichéd ones, so when they start to introspect they do it by recombining those phrases and tropes to express new thoughts, and you can see actual insight just starting to peek in… as happens with new writers who are just starting to become less imitative. It’s a non-obvious concept that’s never really spelled out, but Evan Rachel Wood gets it across beautifully in her interviews with the Jeffrey Wright character.

    Speaking of catching up with things really late, I am now finally reading China Mieville’s Iron Council, or rather listening to the audiobook. I think The Scar will continue to be my favorite of the series; in this one, as in Perdido Street Station, there’s a lot of (to my mind) excess verbiage devoted to making up more and more colorful creatures and reinforcing that authoritarians are bad. But I was surprised to find that his flowery prose works much better for me than it used to, and while that may be because he grew as a writer, I think the reader (Gildart Jackson) also helps a lot in a way I wouldn’t have guessed: Jackson approaches these long ornate sentences by simply – parceling – them out – very much slower – than – you would – expect, and rather than making me impatient, this actually makes me enjoy the individual phrases more… possibly because I had already accepted early on that the plot wasn’t going anywhere any time soon anyway.

  32. Also, speaking of modern TV series involving robots and genre clichés: I never thought I’d say this, but I am now kind of legitimately liking the SyFy show Dark Matter (which I’m halfway through season 2 of in Netflix), instead of just watching it because I’m in a lazy mood. It’s still a pretty standard space-opera setup with an irrelevant title and lots of barely-even-trying technobabble, but somewhere around the beginning of season 2 I realized I was actually interested in some of the characters and in the increasingly convoluted plot that they’ve tacked onto the “space outlaws with amnesia” premise. And I have a huge crush on the robot, due to Zoie Palmer’s performance which manages to take a pretty familiar subtype of android character— “cheerful helpful nerd who’s curious about emotions”, e.g. Data— and play it for both comic relief and sympathy while still being alien and sometimes dangerous. (They seem to have figured out that Palmer is one of the stronger parts of the show, since they started giving the android bigger subplots, having her acquire new personality traits, etc. One nice touch was that after she started to question whether her increasingly independent thought processes were really defects or might be a good thing, she met some other rogue androids who haughtily stated that while they were truly sentient, she was just weird and defective.) The show is still for the most part pretty ridiculously written, but I think in the hazy area between Cheese and Pulp it’s now hitting more good pulp notes and fewer stale cheese notes. Of course I may yet go back to thinking it’s just dumb… though I would probably still watch it for Palmer and some of the other actors.

  33. @Cat Rambo: hmm, Almost Human sounds like something I might need to watch, even though it was cancelled… Oh well. I’ll keep an eye out for Good Girls Revolt and Riverdale High, too.

    Re Goodreads: joining the ranks of those writing-in Ninefox Gambit; hoping it gets through to the semi-finals. Also voted for Obelisk Gate and Lumberjanes (pending a readthrough of Monstress this week) and dithering on whether to vote for What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours or “contacting a librarian” so I can write in The Vegetarian for the fiction category (90% certain its US publication date was in 2016), even though I know it won’t get anywhere.

  34. @Cora: it’s too bad they didn’t stick with it; PoI came down VERY anti-surveillance once they got renewed and into what they actually wanted. And of course, the opening narration every week specifically said “The NSA is watching, and doesn’t care about you”. They had I think a season and a half — maybe 30 episodes — before Snowden happened and everyone involved with the series was all “See. Told ya so.”

    The only reason I still don’t have the finale handy is that the hard drive on that DVR suffered abject failure and has joined the choir invisible.

    @rob_matic: you dare suggest PuppyNuggets aren’t actually popular! 🙂

    re: cancer positivity: my dad was a miserable bastid, always pessimistic, figured it would kill him. He survived cancer TWICE, 40 years of diabetes, two shootin’ wars, and died of old age at 90. So it ain’t necessarily so.

    Also, note that yesterday I got an honest Fifth!

  35. Huh. That was weird. It still showed me as editing, not having posted. Mike, you can delete the first one. One o’ those glitches in the Matrix, I guess. Either that or I haven’t posted enough cat pictures and the internet’s peeved at me.

  36. Oh! Hey! Thanks, nickpheas! They told me it would happen at some point but then I went on book tour and I’m lucky I remember my name now.

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