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. Hmm. I’ve read 60 of those 100 listed on Amazon… some of the others are on my to-read-someday list… a couple of recent ones might be added to that list… and a couple are on my wouldn’t-read-it-if-you-paid-me list. About par for the course, I suspect.

  2. I do remember the first book I read off my father’s SF shelf (Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky) but that wasn’t my first exposure to the genre, which, I agree with Morris Keesan, was always there. In fact my father’s tastes had little influence on mine; his Heinlein and Van Vogt lost out to my favorites such as Le Guin and Leiber.

  3. Recent reading, in no particular order:

    The Sculptor. Holy cow, what a journey. How can a story like this not be thoroughly maudlin? Somehow it’s not. The art is unobtrusive, like it should be, to support the story.

    The Divine, written by Boaz Lavie and drawn by Asaf and Tomer Hanuka. A very different kind of graphic novel, a tale of children at war in Southeast Asia, not lacking in striking compositions and bright colors.

    The new story collection by China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion. As any fan of Miéville’s knows (and I’m a fan), to appreciate most of these stories you have to immerse yourself in a surface story that is not very understandable, to allow vague, sinister shapes to emerge from it. Emergence in fact is the the leitmotiv of “In the Slopes” where archaeologists are extracting casts out of the spaces in volcanic rubble like the corpses at Pompeii. But they are a varied lot of stories; for example the narrative of an unconventional psychiatrist who provides a direct sort of help for her patients in “Dreaded Outcome” has a very different tone from “Watching God” which is set in an obviously unreal village where mysterious ships are always passing. “The Dowager of Bees” is actually a fairly traditional narrative, and an entertaining one, about gambling.

    Short fiction: The best recently was “Please Undo This Hurt” by Seth Dickinson. Dominga is an EMT who cares too much and her best friend Nico just broke up with his girlfriend because he’s convinced he was doing her more harm than good. They ponder a radical possibility: if it was possible for a person to rewrite history so that they had never existed, would the two of them do it? One of the most original uses of the Lovecraftian I’ve ever read and a just stunningly well-written story.

    Some others that were interesting or fun:
    – “Bluebeard’s Daughter” by Angela Slatter, which intrigues because of its ambiguously moral heroine – a rare thing in fairy tales, even modern ones.
    – “Kia and Gio” by Daniel José Older. A growing-up moment for a teenage girl. A follow-up to the novel Half-Resurrection Blues, which I haven’t read, but am going to, because Kia and her family are so interesting. This story is complete enough to stand on its own, though.
    – “Monkey King, Faerie Queen” by Zen Cho. Just what the title promises: a culture-clashing tall tale.
    – “Sigrid under the Mountain” by Charlotte Ashley. Warriors may slay dragons and jarls may fight wars for gold, but the unheroic hero of this story is Sigrid who only cares about her fields, her cow, and her neighbors, including the neighboring kobolds. An old Norse tale with a great deal of charm.
    – “The King in the Cathedral” by Rich Larson. Starts with an image of an imprisoned king grimly plotting vengeance, then turns everything upside down.

  4. @bruce Star Ka’ats? I had those. But they weren’t my first. Like others, I just always remember Heinlein and Asimov and such being around.

  5. Add me to the list of people who can’t remember my first SF novel. The first short story was in my second grade reading book: Asimov’s “The Fun They Had.” But my real first introduction to the genre was probably watching Star Trek on our old black and white TV. It was kind of hard to understand why everyone kept making “green-blooded” digs at Spock until someone at school explained it to me.

    I’m sure it wasn’t the first novel I read, but “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” was one of my earliest and may have helped inspire me to become an engineer.

  6. Not qualified to say whether Cornwell’s military-history chops are pro-grade, but I find his portrayal of on-the-ground infantry (or naval, in Sharpe’s Trafalgar) actions almost as harrowing as the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan. (And “almost” primarily because it’s print rather than cinema.) I notice that Cornwell’s afterwords point out where he has altered events or persons and sometimes includes information from when he walked battlefields.

    And anyone who picks up the Saxon Chronicles (The Last Kingdom is the opener) will get a similar taste of Dark Ages combat. (Also a surprisingly strong flavor of Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture, and a distinctly non-Cadfaelian lack of sentimentality about the Church, too.) The shield wall is a terrifying place, and the men who stood in it were a scary bunch.

  7. Waterloo —

    Haven’t read Sharpe’s Waterloo, just the Cornwell nonfiction, Heyer, and Howarth years ago. For the early part of the battle, Cornwall gives Hougoumont the most importance, as the 1200 defenders immobilized 9000 attackers and held the right. But then if Grouchy hadn’t misinterpreted Napoleon’s orders on following Blucher, or if Gneisenau had succeeded in convincing Blucher that Wellington would betray him and retreat, things would have been very different.

    Stevie, fascinating about the Scots Greys’ charge. I love the (inaccurate) painting of the charge by Lady Butler.

  8. @BethZ:

    But then if Grouchy hadn’t misinterpreted Napoleon’s orders on following Blucher, or if Gneisenau had succeeded in convincing Blucher that Wellington would betray him and retreat, things would have been very different.

    So you’re saying it was a damn’d near-run thing?

  9. @Jim Henley

    So you’re saying it was a damn’d near-run thing?

    Well, I would, but someone beat me to it.

    Off to pack for Capclave. I think there will be others of the commentariat there.

  10. Oh, and I finished Ancillary Mercy last night. Unspoilery, I’ll just say that I wasn’t expecting to literally LOL so many times — which ups its place on my Hugo nominations list, frankly.

  11. @BethZ: Aaron and I will both be at Capclave. We need a Filer meetup!

    This whole Waterloo sub-thread reminds me, after too many years of not thinking about it, how much fun it is to try to say “Gneisenau.”

  12. I caved and bought a jar opener this year. I feel like less of a man. Mellon baller is too far. I will keep my male dignity to some degree and eat my melon with a spoon.

  13. You people are killing me. Just bought Cromwell’s The Winter King to see what his writing style’s like, and if I might like his book on Waterloo (which I know very little about – if there’s something I should read about that subject first, let me know).

    Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Without the instant gratification of kindle purchases, I’d probably forget half these books and save a lot of money. So I also blame technology or, more appropriately, I blame society.

    ETA: One of the simultaneously frustrating and awesome aspects of the F770 commenteriat is that I’m constantly reminded of all the fascinating subjects about which I know nothing.

  14. I absolutely remember the first SF I read.

    The year was 1966, and I was 10. A couple years before, I read Paul de Kruif’s Microbe Hunters and decided I wanted to become a doctor. Being me, the way I approached this goal was to go to the public library and take out all kinds of books about doctoring, and diseases, and medicine.

    Normally I got these in the non-fiction (children’s) section, but I also spent time looking through the fiction collection, what would now be called Juvenile and/or Young Adult — mostly looking for stories about animals, talking or otherwise. I found a novel I supposed was about someone learning to become a first-rate surgeon, and took it out without examining it closely.

    It was Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse, and by the time I finished it I was an SF fan.

  15. I’ve read 67 out of Amazon’s 100. I own one but have not read it yet. Of the rest, I count 9 that I can imagine reading someday, and 24 that are more or less “nope”.

  16. Oneiros, my husband has discovered that eating watermelon with an ice cream scoop is the quickest, easiest way. I am dismayed to admit that it actually works.

    On issues of the first and/or most important science fiction in my life, my problem is that as a child, I didn’t know there were such things as genres or types (like literary and not). I just knew BOOKS. So I really have no idea, because it didn’t occur to me that the Narnia books were other than just BOOKS (or that they had anything to do with Christianity) or that A Wrinkle in Time or Time at the Top were different from that bio of George Washington they made us read or my Nancy Drew books. I liked ’em all. And still do, actually. Hard SF is probably not going to end up on my TBR pile because I am remarkably stupid about science.

    I do like the Regency/Empire period, however, and the discussion of Georgette Heyer writing a book about Waterloo reminded me of a college history class on Napoleon, with lots of ROTC guys in the class for whatever reason. They didn’t like it at all that the professor preferred to teach the Napoleonic period with art (Goya) and music (Tchaikovsky) and other cultural references to give a wider perspective. They were furious they weren’t learning the military tactics and a battle-by-battle account of Napoleon’s march across Europe, while the rest of us liberal arts people were thrilled to avoid that. I wonder what they would’ve done if the professor had assigned the Heyer book. Hmm… Interesting to contemplate.

  17. Kathodus: One of the simultaneously frustrating and awesome aspects of the F770 commenteriat is that I’m constantly reminded of all the fascinating subjects about which I know nothing.

    I know — since I first became a Filer 6 months ago, I’ve been one of the Lucky 10,000 pretty much every single day. That kind of intellectual stimulation and challenge is beyond price to me (though there are sadly not enough hours in the day to take advantage of it all).

  18. For me falling in love with fantasy and science fiction was along the lines of the Zen parable about walking along in a dense fog until suddenly you realize your coat’s been soaked through with moisture. My dad read me so many different things as bedtime stories when I was a kid, from The Hobbit to The Castle of Otranto to Candide to The Princess Bride (Dad’s “good parts” version of Goldman’s “‘good parts’ version of Morgenstern’s tale”, heh — he basically skipped all the meta-stuff and just read the story, which my 10-year-old self appreciated although didn’t realize at the time) to Ivanhoe to The Lord of the Rings to… And he had years and years and years of back issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (not gonna try to estimate how many linear feet of shelf space, due to childhood dazzlement effect) and I think I read all of them by the time I moved out.

  19. I finished Claire North’s Touch last night. It was really well done, and satisfying. Between that and Harry August, if she keeps this up, I think she is going to end up being one of my favorite authors.

    Thus far, I have Touch, Dark Orbit, The Trials, and Nemesis Games on my list of Hugo contenders. I suspect that Ancillary Mercy will join them shortly. I’ve still got a huge list of 2015 novels to read though, so that list may very well change before next March.

  20. The first thing I really fell in love with was Edgar Allan Poe. Read anything I could find in swedish. Then spent a lot of time trying to find collections of ghost stories. My real love for SFF started when I was good enough at english and found my fathers library. But I had started a small love affair before with Jules Verne, HG Wells and others.

  21. I didn’t exactly “get into” science fiction; that would suggest I was once out of it. Third generation fan, first convention was the ’62 Westercon, when I was three.

    My gramma was a book addict. She wasn’t just into SF, but she had a pretty sizable collection of it. Especially for those days. My mom got hooked on her mom’s SF, and then decided to check out one of those convention things she’d heard about. It was love at first sight, and she began attending as many as she could.

    Thus, before I could even read, I got to hang out with people discussing SF, and talking about bits of this story and that. I think that probably qualifies as my introduction to SF. Especially since, years later when I was reading some of those books for myself, I frequently came across parts that I remembered hearing about when I was younger.

  22. @Vasha

    “The King in the Cathedral” by Rich Larson – I rather liked the game-playing golem, and the imagery of the Cathedral worked really well. Rich Larson seems quite prolific – I’ve also read Edited, Meshed, Don Juan 2.0, and Going Endo from him this year, and I can see yet another byline from him in the latest Clarkesworld. I’ve found something of interest in all of those stories, which is pretty consistent work from him.

    I’m going to have to pick up Three Moments of an Explosion very soon, I feel. I’ve actually not read much short work in the last few weeks because I wanted to tackle the novels pile a bit, but
    I’ve mentioned before that I really liked “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls,” by Aliette de Bodard. @SFEditorsPicks just declared it “best SF novella of the year to date”

  23. JJ on October 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm said:
    I finished Claire North’s Touch last night. It was really well done, and satisfying. Between that and Harry August, if she keeps this up, I think she is going to end up being one of my favorite authors

    Hmmm. I did need something after the inevitable mourning phase of finishing Ancillary Mercy. Thanks for the reminder!

  24. @Mark: Yes, I went and read all of Larson’s newest stories too. They are character-focused, no matter what odd setting they’re in, and generally find warmth and human connection (the exception being his latest, “Ice”, which is a sadder story but equally humane). “Don Juan 2.0” was amusing for its contrast between human love and AI love.

    I just acquired a stack of Asimov’s and will put de Bodard at the top.

  25. @Steve Wright
    “Hmm. I’ve read 60 of those 100 listed on Amazon… some of the others are on my to-read-someday list… a couple of recent ones might be added to that list… and a couple are on my wouldn’t-read-it-if-you-paid-me list. About par for the course, I suspect.”

    About 45 for me. I’m not a fan of horror and only recently found some Urban Fantasy that I like (Briggs, mostly, but now Aaronovich[sp?]and Stross, thx to File770), but there were a handful of books that I’ve read and enjoyed that I wouldn’t have classed as the top 100 SFF.

    In particular, of the one’s I’ve read, I wouldn’t have listed The Daughter of Blood or Thomas Covenant/Lord Foul’s Bane.

    The list is heavily skewed to the last 10 years. Uprooted, The Martian, Blood Music, Wool, Ready Player One, Graceling, WW Z, Good Omens, How to Live…, Cloud Atlas, The Way of Kings, The Road, Among Others, Ancillary Justice, Uglies, The Hunger Games, Old Man’s War, Jonathan Strange…, Annihilation, The Name of the Wind, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Rook, The Windup Girl, Red Rising, The Magicians, The Goblin and the Jinni. I may be off by a couple either way.

    About 25% of that list looks to be published in the last 10 years. Not saying there isn’t a lot of fine reading there. Just a curiosity. (I read almost all of the 19th century and earlier 20th century stuff, most of the late 20th century, and less than half of the 21st century. Maybe this just means I’m getting old. 😉

    I’m really feeling my age here in 9988!

  26. @Doctor Science
    “Oh, and I finished Ancillary Mercy last night. Unspoilery, I’ll just say that I wasn’t expecting to literally LOL so many times.”

    Yeah, I want some stories with/about the translator and that particular cousin.

  27. I was reading when I was two years old, so it’s no surprise that I have no idea what my first SFF read was. The earliest I remember was Louis Slobodkin’s The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree, and I still remember where it was shelved and in which branch of the local library. I can, however, mention the one weekend that I credit with making me a fan.

    When I was younger, my mother liked going to the local flea markets and yard sales. Sometimes I’d go with her, sometimes her boyfriend, sometimes all three of us. One weekend, she came back from a trip with her boyfriend with a dozen paperbacks that they’d picked up for me for a dime each. I remember that one of them was a Bradbury anthology, R is for Rocket or S is for Space. Most of them – nine, I think – were by this guy with a funny last name: Heinlein. The exact list isn’t important; what matters is that I read and enjoyed all of them. That treasure trove led to me seeing Heinlein’s Friday in the store and buying it because I connected it with the books in that stack.

    Of all the things one can say about Friday, what really made it significant to me wasn’t even anything Heinlein had written – although it does remain one of my favorite Heinleins. No, one of the “praise” reviews at the front mentioned something about how fans would recognize the connections to another of his books. Wait – I liked this guy, I was a fan, but I’d missed that! The reviewer didn’t even name the other book, the fiend! I’d just have to keep searching until I found it, and that was the beginning of a quest I’ll never forget.

    I picked up everything I could find of his. I’d find new books – often Baen reprints; it was the mid/late 80s – in chain bookstores. (Waldenbooks “Otherworlds” club, represent!) I usually had a couple of hours to kill after high school, and there was a used book store on the other end of the tunnel. That’s where I found Sixth Column and Door Into Summer and so many of the three cover styles I associate with classic Heinlein: the abstract line art on white, the stenciled-style name running up the side, and the black covers with a small image at the bottom. A few years ago, Vincent di Fate signed the copy of Assignment in Eternity (his cover art, of course) that I’d picked up in a Knoxville Waldenbooks after verifying that no, there was really no difference between the $1.95 copy and the $2.50 copy aside from the price. This was shortly after I introduced myself to him as “the guy who butchered your artwork for the mug” that LibertyCon was giving out that year.

    (About that: di Fate drew the original LibertyCon logo – a grayscale tall/skinny rendition of the Statue of Liberty. I was charged with finding a way to put it into a short/wide printable black-and-white strip for the metal coffee mug. The con chair assured me they had complete rights to the image, not seeming to understand why I was so nervous about Getting This Right. I was terrified that I’d defile the art, that di Fate would hate the hack job. Instead, he told me about a few ways other cons – not named, of course – had stretched and squashed his work to cram it into whatever template they had. He was happy I’d shown him the respect of doing my best to make it work, and when he finally saw it, he was pleased with the result. I count that as the only time I’ve collaborated with a legendary artist, and it’s not likely to happen again.)

    I’ve always loved SF, further back than I can remember. But that path from the Dime Dozen to Friday to the rest of Heinlein… that’s what made me a fan.

  28. Someone wrote:

    “Kitty saves the world”.

    Something that eats and sleeps 20 hours a day saves the world? Is it kind of a reverse SPEED, the longer the cat is inert, the longer the world conti8nues on?

  29. Dog pupils can be red in photos, or yellow. In the case of Dally, my late, beloved BC who had one blue eye and one brown eye, one red and one yellow eye.

  30. Cat eyes usually reflect green, but most Siameses reflect red — I think the partial albinism is affctig the chemistry inside the eye as well as the fur, so the pigments are wrong for the green reflection.

  31. Finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant last night. Hoo boy. The book, and its main character, is brutal, ruthless and uncompromising. I give Seth Dickinson props for writing such an unlikable character and making her, if not exactly sympathetic, at least understandable–I knew why she was doing what she did, even as it horrified me. It’s probably on my Hugo list, and I’ll definitely nominate Dickinson for the Campbell. But I need Breq as a mind cleanser after this one.

  32. With all of the Dragonlancing that has occurred in this thread, it made me recall a rather interesting point.

    I’m not suggesting that Dragonlance was the first to introduce a disabled protagonist in a key spot, but Raistlen Majere was certainly the first and most widely popular disabled fantasy protagonist that I can recall from the mid-80s.

    Silly But True

  33. My relationship to Dragonlance was weird. I bought the first modules and loved reading them, but never ran or played them. And aside from any questions about railroads, they seemed like they’d be a pretty classic case of having to fight the system (AD&D) every step of the way to actually use.

    But the novels. Oh how I hated them! Not because I read them and didn’t like them, mind you. I didn’t actually read them. But in my first career I managed stores for Waldenbooks, and these particular stores had only a small space for the SF & Fantasy section. And Random House’s proliferating TSR novels line came to eat what seemed like my whole section. Grr! I thought, every time I opened a new shipment of the things. And, Grr!

    And now I know at least one person who wrote a TSR novel or two, and I feel a little abashed. At the time, I just knew these were substandard licensed product rathe than real books. But truth be told that was an assumption. It certainly brought me up short, looking through the current Mind Meld column, to see A Real Writer citing a Dragonlance book as the thing that made her A Real Fan.

  34. Adding, in those days I was wont to quip, “We used to dream of roleplaying games that would allow us the depth and sophistication of real books. Instead we got books with the shallowness of RPGs.”

    I was kind of a snot as a young man.

  35. @RWS:

    Kitty is her name. She is also a werewolf. She did not change her name after getting bitten. This is a source of mild humor in the books: the werewolf whose name says “cat.”

    This is not a hard concept. Would you object to a werewolf named Leo on the grounds that he should be a lion?

  36. @redheadedfemme
    “… It’s probably on my Hugo list, and I’ll definitely nominate Dickinson for the Campbell…”

    Is Dickinson eligible? From comments I saw at either Amazon or Goodreads, I got the impression his short stories had been published for several years.

  37. Robert Whitaker Sirignano on October 9, 2015 at 6:23 am said:
    Oddly the pupil of eyes differ in some photos of creatures. With people , it is red. In a dog, it is green. Is this because they don’t see color?

    IIRC, dogs sort of see color, but not as many as we do. On the other hand, we don’t see as many as bees.

    The reason the reflection in pupils is a different color in different species (and sometimes within the same species) is down to the composition of what is behind the pupil, that is, the retina. Cats have a layer of cells either behind or between the retina that reflect light, called tapetum lucidum, so that the total amount of light striking the retina is increased, and allows cats (and dogs, and owls, and other animals) to see much better than we do in semi-darkness. We don’t have the tapetum lucidum, so all that you see when you are directly in line with a source of light (as is the camera) is the red reflected off the retina.

  38. Sorry, to correct what I said above: the red eye effect (which is completely separate and independent from the eyeshine seen in animals with tapetum lucidum) is not light reflected off the retina but the structure behind the retina, on which I will not elaborate more. It’s red because as a structure is is very vascularised, that is, rich in blood vessels.

    As for red-eye and eyeshine appearing at the same time, here’s Wikipedia:

    Cats and dogs with blue eyes (see eye color) may display both eyeshine and red-eye effect. Both species have a tapetum lucidum, so their pupils may display eyeshine. In flash color photographs, however, individuals with blue eyes may also display a distinctive red eyeshine. Individuals with heterochromia may display red eyeshine in the blue eye and normal yellow/green/blue/white eyeshine in the other eye. These include odd-eyed cats and bi-eyed dogs. The red-eye effect is independent of the eyeshine: in some photographs of individuals with a tapetum lucidum and heterochromia, the eyeshine is dim yet the pupil of the blue eye still appears red. This is most apparent when the individual is not looking into the camera because the tapetum lucidum is far less extensive than the retina.

  39. Finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant last night. Hoo boy. The book, and its main character, is brutal, ruthless and uncompromising. I give Seth Dickinson props for writing such an unlikable character and making her, if not exactly sympathetic, at least understandable–I knew why she was doing what she did, even as it horrified me. It’s probably on my Hugo list, and I’ll definitely nominate Dickinson for the Campbell. But I need Breq as a mind cleanser after this one.

    Yes, I’d much rather spend time in the Radch at its worst than in Baru’s world.

    Better tea, too.

  40. My first SFnal memories do not include my introduction to the genre. Back in elementary school, I do recall reading Silverberg’s Time of the Great Freeze, and disdainfully giving Harrison’s Bill the Galactic Hero a miss because then-me thought it was a little kid’s book, and then-me was most certainly not a little kid.

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