Pixel Scroll 10/7 The Sprite Stuff

(1) “The Phantom Fame: ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast,’ Secretly TV’s Most Influential Show”. Shea Serrano explains his theory on Grantland.

Repurposing existing Space Ghost images from the original cartoons, Lazzo created the first animated late-night talk show in 1994. Operated in tandem with Keith Crofford, a fellow Southerner with whom Lazzo shared an office as well as seemingly a brain, the show boasted a premise that was somehow both simple and endlessly, mutably ridiculous. Now retired from the business of fighting intergalactic evil, Space Ghost (real name: Tad Ghostal) and a support staff consisting of his imprisoned enemies Zorak (anthropomorphic mantis/bandleader) and Moltar (gravel-voiced lava man/director) flies face-first into show business, interviewing pop-culture luminaries through a monitor screen lowered into the chair where a guest would normally sit. Interviews with the celebrities involved were filmed separately, in largely improvisational fashion, then combined with the cartoon characters’ dialogue — often producing results diametrically opposed to the context of the original questions.

(2) Christopher Martin says “Everybody’s Invited To My All-Male, All-White Literary Panel” on McSweeneys Internet Tendency.

Dear Writers,

Congratulations on having a short story accepted for publication in the anthology Rusted, Lusted, Busted: Contemporary Southern Fiction, edited by myself and my good buddy Richard Head!

Richard and I, both of us straight cisgender nominally Christian white males, have put a shit-ton of work into this anthology, mostly over beers and hot wings at the local Tilted Kilt while our wives assumed 100% of the burden of watching our kids. Now this baby we’ve labored over is out and it’s time to party!

That’s why we’re hosting an all-male, all-white panel tomorrow at Lily White Books in Mansfield, SC, to celebrate the anthology’s release and your contributions to it. We’d love it if some of you could come be part of the panel!

Given the twelve-hour notice, however, along with our inability to compensate you in any way, and our unwillingness to compensate you even if we could, I completely understand that most of you — including all our woefully underrepresented contributors who do not identify as heterosexual white men — will not be able to participate in this seminal event, except perhaps as late-arriving, paying audience members ($5 at the door).

(3) SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld, curated by Paul Weimer, taps the contributors’ autobiographies.

For each one of us, there is a book, or a series, that hooked us on genre fiction. Maybe it was the first SF book you read, maybe you had to read a couple before you hit the one that hooked you.

Tell me what book got you to become a fan of SFF, and why?

Answering the question are Gail Carriger, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Yoon Ha Lee, Rachel Swirsky, Beth Cato, Tehani Wessely, Alan Baxter, Sarah Hendrix, Olivia Waite, Anthony R. Cardno, Ann VanderMeer, Sarah Williams, Pamela Sargent, Jaye Wells, Mike Glyer, Sabrina Vourvoulias, , Kerry Schafer, Jim Henley, Melanie R. Meadors, M L Brennan, Meghan B., and Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

(4) The author explains it all to you in “The Big Idea: Ann Leckie” on Whatever.

So instead of going over the AJ stuff again–what is a person? Who is anybody anyway?–I instead give you the Ancillary FAQ. These are all questions I’ve actually gotten (or oveheard) at one time or another.

Q: How can you possibly wrap the story up in one more volume? There’s too much going on; I don’t see how you could manage it.

A: The easiest way for me to answer that is to actually do it. Which I have, and you can see the answer for yourself wherever fine books are sold. Or at a library near you. I love libraries. They’re awesome.

Q: Will there be more books after this one?

A: There will be more books, and certainly more books in this universe, but not books about Breq. Nothing against her, I’ve had a lovely time these past three books, but it will be nice to do something different.

(5) Brian Fung’s article for the Washington Post, “’The Martian,’ NASA and the rise of a science-entertainment complex”, looks at the extensive cooperation between NASA and the producers of The Martian, and notes that NASA hopes to get more out of this film than other projects with which it has extensively cooperated (like the Transformers movies).

When Navy flyboy Tom Cruise got too close for missiles and switched to guns in the spring of 1986, what seemed like an entire nation got up to follow him. Military recruitment booths popped up in theaters, eager to attract young Americans who’d just seen Maverick tell Charlie about the inverted dive he’d done at four Gs against a MiG-28.

To say “Top Gun” was a boon for recruitment would be an understatement. That year, the Navy signed up 16,000 more people than it did the entire year before, according to the author Richard Parker, writing for Proceedings, the U.S. Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. Other estimates suggest that among naval aviators alone, this spike in registrations amounted to growth rates of 500 percent….

With “The Martian,” NASA has the same opportunity defense officials had in the 1980s, only now with additional social media superpowers. By highlighting everything from the real-world technologies depicted in “The Martian” to explaining the science behind Martian dust storms to calling on young women to take after the fictional Ares III mission commander, Melissa Lewis, NASA’s hoping to turn moviegoers into the nation’s next generation of scientists, technologists and the other all-around bad-ass eggheads celebrated in the film. In the run-up to the movie’s release, NASA even made a major announcement about the discovery of liquid water on Mars that some believed was simply too conveniently timed to be a coincidence.

(6) The Motherboard’s Jason Koebler eschews any idea of a jolly NASA/media alliance from the very first words in his post “NASA Wants Astronauts to Use Mars’s Natural Resources to Survive”.

Humans have thoroughly wrecked Earth’s environment, now it’s time to move on to using the natural resources of another planet.

Fresh off the discovery of flowing, liquid water on Mars, NASA said Wednesday it wants ideas for how to best exploit the natural resources of the Red Planet for human survival…. NASA plans on giving away modest $10,000 and $2,500 prizes to people who can come up with potentially viable ideas for Mars resource use.

(7) Todd VanDerWerff asked the editors of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 to name “10 of the best science fiction and fantasy short stories ever” for Vox.

Because some of the most exciting American writing is happening in the fields of science fiction and fantasy right now, I hopped on the phone with the book’s two editors, Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams, to hear their picks for the 10 best science fiction and fantasy stories ever written.

They included stories from Malamud, Tiptree, LeGuin, Keyes, Harlan Ellison, Link, Bradbury, Borges, and others.

(8) Today In History –

  • October 7, 1849 – Edgar Allan Poe succumbs to a mysterious condition, days after having been found delirious in the streets of Baltimore. Tragically, only seven people attended his funeral. Quoth the Raven: Nevermore.
  • October 7, 1960 — CBS broadcasts the premiere episode of “Route 66.”  Why do we care? Because Episode #79, “A Gift for a Warrior” was based on a story by Harlan Ellison.

(9) “Superman’s Getting a Brand New Secret Identity” and io9 has the name. Spolier warning!

Spoilers ahead for today’s Action Comics #45!

Now that Superman (and Clark) are taking the heat for Lois’ story leaking his alter-ego, Kal-El has had to go into hiding and lay low. Fired from the Daily Planet when his co-workers discover they’d been in grave danger simply by being in Clark’s vicinity all the time, and facing persecution from the Government, Superman has vanished… and replaced himself with a mild-mannered trucker.

Yes, Clark Kent is now Archie Clayton! It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

(10) The Today show reunited the Rocky Horror cast for an interview, including Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf.

(11) Unlike many other original Ghostbusters cast members, Rick Moranis turned down the offer to appear in the reboot.

When the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot arrives in theaters next summer, nearly all the living actors from the original 1980s films — Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, et al. — will be doing cameos. But not Rick Moranis, who was offered the chance to appear in a walk-on role but turned it down. “I wish them well,” says the 62-year-old comedic legend, who’s so stunned by the outcry over his absence in the film that he decided to grant a rare interview with THR. “I hope it’s terrific. But it just makes no sense to me. Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?”

(12) In a follow-up to his “Fisking the New York Times’ Modern Man”, Larry Correia’s “Update! Modern Manhood ACHIEVED!” shares photos of his important new acquisition —

Yes! That is a melon baller! Despite my never buying shoes for her, my wife purchased this for me when she saw it in a store. Because Modern Manhood ACHIEVED!

Now all I need is some Kenneth Cole oxfords and a crying pillow, and I’m set.

(13) Coin World discusses a silver coin commemorating exploration of the space-time continuum.


A four-dimensional concept is now presented in a three-dimensional format.

A 2015 $2 coin in the name of Cook Islands visibly explains the relationship between space and time, as created by scientist Hermann Minkowski. Building on Albert Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of Relativity, Minkowski suspected the existence of a fourth dimension (time, in addition to height, width and length), in which space and time are connected geometrically, and he created a diagram illustrating the connection.

The Prooflike half-ounce .999 fine silver $2 Space–Time Continuum coin was issued by Coin Invest Trust. It was struck by B. H. Mayer‘s Kunstprägeanstalt Mint in Munich, Germany.

The reverse of the coin depicts the Minkowski diagram, a geometric illustration of the formula of special relativity, which is engraved in one of the diagram’s columns together with the inscription SPACE–TIME CONTINUUM. The center of the high-relief coin is marked with a magnetic sphere, which can be removed.

The obverse, whose shape is a mirror or inversion of the reverse, displays the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the issuing nation and the face value.

Einstein incorporated Minkowski’s ideas into his general theory of relativity in 1915, six years after Minkowski died.

(14) A black eye for Myke Cole?

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

209 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/7 The Sprite Stuff

  1. @Steve Wright on October 8, 2015 at 6:55 am said:

    Is there nowhere nice I can visit in contemporary SF and fantasy?

    One of the reasons I liked Best of All Possible Worlds (Karen Lord) so much is that I could see myself living on Cygnus Beta very easily. I would probably even have a job to support myself in a city.

    And my favorite line from Ancillary Mercy (paraphrased, I don’t have the book in front of me):
    Lbh ner ab ybatre zl pbhfva.
    It made me laugh. I could hear the petulance! Lovely.

  2. Go Set A Watchman is similar in my mind to Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/p/star-wars-j-w-rinzler/1030251354/2670289563756?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP2246&k_clickid=3×2246&kpid=2670289563756

    It was an adaptation of an early source that would become something else.

    It is not a sequel or prequel continuing the same characters or events from an in-universe sense. In Go Set A Watchman’s case, it didn’t even get the benefit of a complete editing process which may have altered it further: upon reading the draft manuscript, Lee’s editor told her to scrap it and go the Mockingbird route. And there it sat until now.

    I’ve seen more than a few reviews make this important distinction, but too much sloppy marketing set the expectation that it was a continuation/sequel to Mockingbird.

    Silly But True

  3. @Sylvia Sotomayor:

    One of the reasons I liked Best of All Possible Worlds (Karen Lord) so much is that I could see myself living on Cygnus Beta very easily.

    Thanks – I shall have a look for that one! (As an old-fashioned Blake’s Seven fan, though, I hope that’s a much nicer place than Cygnus Alpha….)

  4. Criticize that, and I say you’re the one wanting to take away women’s voices by taking away the voices of their white heterosexual spokesmen. You’re the real bigot here.

    LOL! Love the McSweeney piece. Well done. 🙂

    Re the Mind Meld Q&A — I was listening yesterday to an audiobook of The Picture of Dorian Gray and realizing that it might be the book that got me interested in fantasy. I read several around the same time (age 14-15) that probably share the credit: The Once & Future King, The Face In the Frost (Bellairs)… and Oscar Wilde’s novel.

  5. Steve Wright on October 8, 2015 at 9:07 am said:

    Thanks – I shall have a look for that one!

    Yes! More progress on my quest to get more people to read Karen Lord’s SF!

    Hope you like it.

  6. @Morris Keesan That many people really know what book hooked them on SF? I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading SF and fantasy, except during those few years when I couldn’t yet read. There was no one book; there were always all of them.

    For some people, that book, the one that hooked them, is like falling in love. There is a distinct before and after, a dividing line between the world that was and what comes after.

    For others, it’s also like falling in love, no distinct edges to tell you when it happened, just a gradual realization that it has.

    I’m from the first category and for me, it was The Martian Chronicles, specifically the piece Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams picked as one of the best of all time. I know where I was when I read it and even something about how it made me feel, although it was a very long time ago and I’ve forgotten a lot of other really important things in the years since (what time was my first child born?).

    So, yeah, I have no difficulty believing that lots and lots of people remember a particular book and the circumstances surrounding reading it.

  7. No color in the pupil?! Seriously — they obviously haven’t seen the ruby glow from a Siamese cat’s tapetum lucidum when struck by the beam from a flashlight in the dark…

  8. Watched Into the Woods movie last night. I could write a book about how badly the story’s been barbered, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because it hit me that:


    THAT, my friends, the way to flounce.

    If that’s not the greatest flounce in movie history, I don’t know what is.

  9. @Jim Henley

    For the record, I didn’t spend the bulk of my Mind Meld piece implicitly rebuking Brad Torgersen. No way did I do that.

    I’m sure nobody would have possibly thought so 😉 . Honestly, it’s been almost impossible for me not to implicitly rebuke the puppy points when discussing good books – their points are so accusatory and politically partisan that the kernel of truth is lost in all the shit.

    Reading-wise, I’m almost done with the first PC Peter Grant. Much fun is being had. Unfortunately, something (yesterday’s mind meld?) convinced me to go back and re-read Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It’s D&D porn, which I’d either forgotten or never noticed*, D&D being the water in which I swam in high school.

    Putting off Mercy a bit longer.

    * Yeah, it says D&D on the cover and all, but I hadn’t noticed how much like a campaign the story reads.

  10. @Susana S.P

    No, no insta-love in the Erin Bow. It seems at first like she might be going there, but as I said, the story really doesn’t go where you expect.

    I looked up Scorpion rules on Goodreads and it’s getting lots of not-great reviews saying it’s boring and the characters are flat. That’s not how I found the book at all! It does get good reviews too.

  11. Yeah, it says D&D on the cover and all, but I hadn’t noticed how much like a campaign the story reads.

    Did you not know of the series of Dragonlance adventure modules tracking the same story that were released concurrently with the books?

  12. Laertes –

    I was getting a bit rolley-eyed by Into The Woods the movie (and I am a BIG Sondheim fan) and trying desperately to not compare Streep to Peters … and then that song came by. My Ghu did Streep *nail* that song. Brava.

    I think the film was badly unbalanced by the lack of “No More” in the second act, and I would have given much to see how they handled “Agony, Reprise” given what they did with “Agony”. There are some other changes I think were bone-headed (not that thrilled with Depp) and still others that were brilliant (I liked what they did with “On the Steps of the Palace” a lot).

    All that said, I did nominate it for a Hugo in Best Dramatic Presentation—Long Form. I should watch it again from Netflix.

  13. @Aaron

    Did you not know of the series of Dragonlance adventure modules tracking the same story that were released concurrently with the books?

    Now that you mention it, I do. Once my friends and I graduated from D&D to AD&D I stopped buying modules. This is because I was cheap. I’d actually only purchased one or two myself, anyway. My friend’s dad (a small-town preacher, for what it’s worth), who taught us how to play, had some older modules that we used, but we started our own worlds and campaigns once we had the various textbook-style manuals. From what I remember of us back then, I also suspect we would not have liked to enter into an already-written story. We wanted to create our own.

    What I remember of the Dragonlance series of books, though, was that it fit into my very narrow concept of what Fantasy was supposed to be – a party of adventurers embarking on a quest to save the land/world. Tolkien’s skeleton. Other Fantasy series I’d read – The Prydain Chronicles, the Shannara series, even Narnia and to an extent the Thomas Covenant books – roughly followed the path I’d first come across in The Hobbit, then LotR. I haven’t played D&D in more than two decades now, and have been exposed to a much larger variety of Fantasy since then. That’s given me the hindsight to see just how narrow in scope the Fantasy I read back in the 80s/early 90s was, and it’s hitting me bang in the face how completely enveloped in D&D-specific tropes the book is, with a pretty targeted diversity of character types obviously meant to sell the game or at least provide an example of how to play it. That hadn’t occurred to me before.

  14. @ULTRAGOTHA: Yep. “No More” and “Agony, Reprise” are my #1 and #2 problems with the picture. It’s a looong list, but those are the headliners. Next on the list is that the changes made to the Rapunzel storyline undermine the Witch’s epic flounce.

    The second act is just rushed. The Baker and Cinderella and the Witch are all lacking key character beats. If you already know the story, your brain can fill in the missing bits, but my wife (who’d never seen the full version) got pretty badly lost.

  15. Mike Walsh: Use of “curate” to mean “editor”.
    A) doesn’t know the word’s meaning.
    B) suffers from adjectivitius
    C) is trying to appear sophisticated
    D) is actively getting old fashioned dusty stories that might fit into the 1928 AMAZING
    E) All of the above.

  16. Lbh ner ab ybatre zl pbhfva.

    It turns out that the Provisional Republic of the Thousand Eggs is not a bad place to visit…

  17. Regarding the melon baller ….

    Doesn’t even have to be deadly: consider what MacGyver could do if he was trapped with nothing but a melon baller and some baling wire.

  18. Jamoche on October 8, 2015 at 11:35 am said:

    Regarding the melon baller ….

    Doesn’t even have to be deadly: consider what MacGyver could do if he was trapped with nothing but a melon baller and some baling wire.

    He could make a really, really small radio telescope.

  19. The dictionary says of curator: “especially: one in charge of a museum or zoo or exhibit.” (Emphasis mine.) Note that “especially” does not mean “exclusively”.

    As you get older you will inevitably begin to observe language changing, just as it always has. I was amazed when I realized this; I thought it was a slower, intergenerational process, until I realized that my own speech had changed. Anyway, when you realize this, you can react one of two ways. You can either become horrified that “they’re doing it wrong” (despite the fact that your parents probably thought the same thing about you), or you can be pleased that you can actually watch this amazing phenomenon in action!

    I’m a science fiction fan, and hence, somewhat of a neophile. Which is why I chose the latter. (Chose may be too strong a word. I simply was pleased at the discovery.) I simply do not understand how science fiction fans can be such luddites when it comes to innovations and changes in language.

    And heck, in this case, it’s not even much of a stretch to consider an anthology to be an exhibition of (written) art. It’s not like painting or sculptures are the only kinds of art that can be exhibited. At worst, I would consider the usage slightly pretentious, but still well within the traditional (old-fashioned, boring, out-of-date, primitive, regressive, mundane) meaning.

  20. BTW, I’m just back from the annual Ninc conference. Novelists, Inc., @ 850 members, is an organization for career novelists working in all genres (we focus on commercial fiction, not literary), mostly people doing this as a full-time living (though some members do have day jobs).

    And it reconfirmed that other genres are just aghast at the Puppies. Full-time writers in various genres kept saying to me all weekend, “Are their Puppy campaigns and quarrels making them better or more productive fiction writers? Are they releasing more books as a result of doing this? Are they increasing their sales and expanding their markets by doing this?”

    My best guess: No.

    If you invest the kind of time and noise (and vitriol) the Puppies have invested in the genre world this past year, and it does NOT serve (or even aim for) any of those goals, then serious writers in other genres–people for whom this is a career–are just bemused and appalled.

  21. Recent reading: Bernard Cornwell’s Waterloo. Now I can go back and reread Heyer’s An Infamous Army with a much better idea of the battlefield. And Cornwell can tell a story.

  22. I read a story that’s going on my Hugo list: “Farewell Blues” by Bud Webster, the cover story of the Jan/Feb F&SF. A novelette (or Novelet, as is F&SF’s way).

    It both calmed my brain and stretched it in different directions. It lingered, it crept into my dreams, it had such a sense of place with all the senses used.

    Highly recommended, esp. if you like Cajun country or jazz/blues, or just lovely and vivid use of language.

  23. We seem to be on a theme here. One of the first I SFF (it’s both) books I remember reading on my own was Sir MacHinery by Tom McGowen which involved Merlin and a robot.

  24. Aaron –

    Did you not know of the series of Dragonlance adventure modules tracking the same story that were released concurrently with the books?

    Not directed at me, but the Dragonlance trilogy and Shadowrun’s Never Trust a Dragon were among the first books that really turned me onto the genre as a kid. Didn’t know they’re were adventure modules or even what either game the books were based on at the time, for that matter I’ve never played a pen and paper RPG as I didn’t know anyone into that.

  25. BethZ

    For many years Georgette Heyer’s Infamous Army was required reading at Sandhurst, England’s equivalent of West Point, as the best short description of the battles extending over two days, usually referred to as the battle of Waterloo in English sources.

    Of course, without Blucher those of us in England would probably be speaking French; he performed the most difficult feat for any commander. He was old, and sick, and had spent hours on the battlefield trapped under his dead horse, and yet he managed to rally his beaten army and march to the aid of Wellington and the allies, who otherwise would have been destroyed as a fighting force by Napoleon’s forces.

    I appreciate that Cornwell writes in a way amenable to those who aren’t interested in military history from a professional perspective; I much enjoy his work in a light hearted fashion. But I really can’t see him reading the whole of Wellington’s Dispatches, or the many diarists of the Peninsular campaign; nor, for that matter, is he likely to quote Wellington’s acerbic response to some idiot who wanted to know what being in a battle like Waterloo is really like…

  26. So this Watchman book is a parallel universe of TKAM? Eh, they do that in comics and anime all the time — perhaps us fen are better-equipped to deal with alternate universes than the litfic types and mundane novel readers.

    That McSweeney’s article was so on the nose it might as well be a nostril. Minus the token “I hate girls” girl.

    The Vox article was great. Especially Hill’s closing. He’s really become a terrific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, which I imagine was tough with the gigantic shadow he grew up in.

    Now I have to go off and read the stories I didn’t, or re-read the stories I did.

  27. @Lis Carey


    I hope she writes more books in that universe, as there are still a number of unanswered questions.

  28. One of the first I SFF (it’s both) books I remember reading on my own was Sir MacHinery by Tom McGowen which involved Merlin and a robot.

    Loved that book. I’ve swiped the name twice for comics, once at Marvel, once at DC.

    If I find another place to swipe it, I may just do that too.

  29. This week, from not-my-preferred bookstore, I picked up: Captain Marvel Vol 3, The Dark Forest, and Updraft. In e-books, I picked up ebooks for: Owl and the City of Angels, White Trash Zombie Gone Wild, Witches of Lychford, and Emperor’s Shadow. This weekend, I’m going to Rocket City Lit Fest, where my copy of Furiously Happy should find me. And I’ll be pretty close to the comic book store so I’ll try to pick up Bitch Planet.

    Waiting for me to pick up from my preferred bookstore are: Archivist Wasp (read the ebook, want a physical copy), Walk the Earth a Stranger, A Pocket Full of Murder, The House of Shattered Wings, Empire Ascendant, and Ancillary Mercy. I just have to make it there one of these weekends. Or finally take them up on the offer to ship me stuff.

  30. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    Hee. Yes. That scene had me rolling on the floor, laughing.

    Oh what a charming song! indeed. I’m afraid to read that scene out to my mother – she might start singing the song.

  31. Today I’m reading Toad Words and Other Stories by T. Kingfisher and have added Boar & Apples to my short story Hugo nominee list.

    I’m then moving on to The Sword of the South by David Weber because I had my husband get it from the library forgetting which series it was.

    After that I have too much lined up as “next”. Not sure how I’ll be picking. List includes Lagoon, Cold Iron, Sorcerer to the Crown, Apex Magazine, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and F&SF

  32. Science fiction has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. However, the YA-type SF that really flipped my lid was The Green Futures of Tycho by William Sleator. It was the first truly menacing SF that I had ever read and the book was my first true introduction to the causal knot that is time travel.

  33. Stevie–

    Hadn’t known about the Heyer at Sandhurst. Cornwell certainly has read in the diarists though — he took a lot from The Recollections of Rifleman Harris and others in the Sharpe novels. He quotes a lot of the reminiscences of the three armies in this as well. The maps were illuminating, as Heyer doesn’t include them, and the battle is still gripping after 200 years.

    Certainly not the most scholarly history, but a very enjoyable read. I hadn’t known Clausewitz was there, for example.

  34. Didn’t know they’re were adventure modules or even what either game the books were based on at the time, for that matter I’ve never played a pen and paper RPG as I didn’t know anyone into that.

    I’m sure there are a lot of people who read the books without being aware of the game connection. But Kathodus said that D&D was the water he swam in in high school, which prompted my question, since the fact that there was a parallel series of adventures published alongside the books was a fairly big deal in the D&D world at the time.

  35. I was thoroughly indoctrinated as a fan of science fiction thanks to TV, movies, tabletop gaming and comics before I started reading novels, and I think the first SF book I ever read was the first Warhammer 40,000 tie-in. Certainly the books that made me into a heavy reader were the BattleTech, Robotech and Star Wars ones.

    If I was to pick the thing that really made me a sci-fi fan though, it’d be 80s comics in the UK. I was an avid reader of Eagle and Transformers for many years, and occasionally picked up 2000AD. I didn’t know it at the time, but my first Alan Moore comic was Halo Jones

  36. The first sf book that really disturbed my thinking in upsetting and lasting ways was Down to Earth by Patricia Wrightson. My first real encounter with the idea of solipsism, among other things.

  37. BethZ

    There were an awful lot of Peninsular diarists; my impression with the Sharpe novels was that Cornwell had certainly read a few, but hadn’t set out to read them all. Georgette Heyer did.

    I am, of course, somewhat biased on this; when I was young my paternal grandmother would exhort me to remember, in times of doubt or difficulty, that numbered amongst my forebears was the man who led the charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo.

    That charge was almost as stupid as the charge of the Light Brigade; it’s really not the sort of thing one wants on one’s genetic CV. I do greatly admire Blucher; on the forced march to reach there in time he would get off his horse, and walk alongside his men, to encourage them and to ask them

    Would you have me break my word?

    Which demonstrates, I suppose, that the Prussian code of honour was good at emotional blackmail…

  38. Aaron –

    I’m sure there are a lot of people who read the books without being aware of the game connection. But Kathodus said that D&D was the water he swam in in high school, which prompted my question, since the fact that there was a parallel series of adventures published alongside the books was a fairly big deal in the D&D world at the time

    Ah, gotcha. That’s pretty cool actually, considering how much I loved the books back when I read them it would’ve been amazing to play an adventure through the same situations. Sounds like I missed out.

  39. Fun to see some comments about Cornwell and Waterloo. I haven’t read the Sharpe’s Waterloo novel yet, but I recently I read Cornwell’s nonfiction book about the battle. This choice was a byproduct of having just previously read The Longest Afternoon by Brendan Simms, which concentrates on the action at La Haye Sainte, in the author’s opinion the pivotal action in the battle. Though, of course, it’s only because of everything else that happened, or failed to happen, in any great battle that one can float these theories — like the 20th Maine’s success at Gettysburg only matters because the rest of the line held.

  40. Different era (Viking invasion of Britain rather than Waterloo), but Amazon UK currently has a Cornwell book for 99p – The Last Kingdom.

  41. My first SF book, actually the first book I remember reading, was SPACE CAT by Ruthven Todd, at age 6. Lifelong interest/obsession with both cats and SF followed.

    Mark, that Amazon 100-Books list seems not that badly skewed towards newer books to me. Quite a bit less than I expected. There’s a link to the Readers’ Picks list on Goodreads (nearly 800 books nominated), which is considerably more skewed towards newer books (and also changes as more votes are cast).

    Give me a melon baller, a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler, and a really long lever, and I will move the world.

  42. 13) As a coin collector, I can tell you that a $2 silver coin doesn’t COST $2. They put that on there to pretend its money, and not a piece of jewelry or a token. But you can’t get it in your change or at the bank. Stuff like that has to be bought from the mint or from a dealer who bought it from the mint, and I’ll wager it costs at least $40!

  43. Coincidently, I have a rather badgered Wellington: Years of The Sword by Elizabeth Longford in the pile.

    Heyer is superior to Cornwall, but the Sharpe books are always good fun, and he definitely took more pains than usual over Sharpe’s Waterloo. Also, the feature length TV versions are a notable example of Sean Bean repeatedly not getting killed.

    ObSF: the BBC JS&MN adaption has an excellent scene set in La Haye Sainte (or possibly Hougemont), but I can’t remember how that played in the book.

  44. @BethZ

    “Recent reading: Bernard Cornwell’s Waterloo. Now I can go back and reread Heyer’s An Infamous Army with a much better idea of the battlefield. And Cornwell can tell a story.”

    Loved An Infamous Army. Well, love all Heyer. The descriptions I’ve read of Waterloo make me shudder at the carnage. I picture myself standing in the defensive square while cannonballs fly and calvary charge and flinch inside.

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