Pixel Scroll 11/16/23 Mobius, Larryus, And Curlyus, The Three Time Stooges

(1) THEY’RE THE TOPS. Charlie Jane Anders’ picks as “The 10 best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2023” are live at the Washington Post. (Registration required.)

People sometimes say science fiction basks in optimism for a better future, while fantasy is about nostalgia for an imaginary past. But this year’s most notable fantasy books worked to uncover historical crimes, while science fiction warned of coming evils.

The good news? The best sci-fi and fantasy books of 2023 will give you hope and strength in the toughest times….

This is Anders’ favorite:

‘To Shape a Dragon’s Breath,’ by Moniquill Blackgoose

This remains my favorite book of the year. An Indigenous girl, Anequs, becomes the first person on Masquapaug island to hatch a dragon’s egg in generations, which means she’s forced to attend the dragon-rider academy run by the Anglish colonizers. If Anequs can’t learn to behave like a proper Anglish girl, her adorable baby dragon will be put to death. A fascinating alternate history of North American colonization and a nuanced investigation of who gets left out of “civilization” form a worthy backdrop to a coming-of-age story that is cozy and hair-raising in equal measure.

(2) NOW AN EX-X USER. John Scalzi told Whatever readers today, “Yup, Done With the Former Twitter”.

Elon Musk, the most unfathomably insecure and pathetic billionaire the world has ever seen, has gone mask-off antisemite, and that means that while I had already reduced my participation on the former Twitter, now I’m off it entirely. I’m keeping the account so that no one can swoop in and take a screenname that’s been associated with me for the last fifteen years, but no more posting, and no more participation. Until and unless the service is sold to someone who isn’t Musk (and possibly even then, depending), I’m out, I’m through, I’m done….

4. Leaving the former Twitter is also at this point more than a little bit of a relief. I’ve noted above that I restricted my use of it recently to just career news and updates, but even doing that has become an increasing depressing and unpleasant chore, like having a storefront in a part of town where the windows are increasingly soaped up and the sidewalks are full of trash, and there are a bunch of Nazis on the corner, leering at cars driving by. It was no fun, in a place where I used to have fun. It was, finally, time to go. So I’ve gone….

Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist Örjan Westin also announced today that Micro SF/F is off of X:

And Thomas M. Wagner of SFF180 : Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Reviews will drop off tomorrow.

(3) WHERE TO FIND NEXT YEAR’S VIRTUAL WORLDCON. The Glasgow 2024 Worldcon has announced what platforms they will use for their “Online Convention” experience.

… Our technical platform will be based on Hopin Events from RingCentral for video streaming and Discord for text interaction and community forums.

We will be providing more details on the platform in January 2024…

For those who will be attending the Worldcon in person, Glasgow 2024 also has posted their “Disease Mitigation Policy”. It’s too long and detailed for an excerpt to serve, so please click through to read the document.

(4) A BOLT FROM THE BLUE. “The quest for Zeus’ lightning begins in new ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ trailer” at MSN. Premieres Dec. 20 on Disney+.

Adapted from Rick Riordan’s “The Lightning Thief,” season 1 of the new Disney series sets our demigods on their first big journey — and introduces Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hermes.

What do you do when one of the most powerful weapons in existence goes missing? If you’re the Greek gods of Olympus, the answer is simple: Have a bunch of kids go look for it….

Based on Rick Riordan‘s best-selling book series of the same name, Percy Jackson and the Olympians portrays a world in which the children of gods and humans gather at a sanctuary called Camp Half-Blood to hone their skills and learn how to defeat monsters such as the Minotaur, who makes its debut in the trailer. Season 1 will be drawn from Riordan’s first book in the series, The Lightning Thief….

(5) JMS Q&A. Gizmodo interviews “J. Michael Straczynski on Harlan Ellison’s Epic Sci-Fi Legacy”.

io9: How did you narrow down Ellison’s work for this collection? Considering how prolific and highly lauded he is, I’d think you couldn’t even collect his award winning stories without filling two massive volumes.

J. Michael Straczynski: It was a process. I started with the stories that won the most awards—and there are a lot of those. Then I asked, “What are the fan favorites?” and “Which were Harlan’s favorites?” Then, after aggregating all the material, I wrestled with the combination of stories that would provide readers with the best perspective on Harlan’s body of work. Because he wrote all kinds of stories, I think it’s important for readers to understand the breadth of his work. From the horror and bite of The Whimper of Whipped Dogs and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, to the humor of I’m Looking for Kadak, to the gentle fantasy of On the Downhill Side, and the semi-autobiographical storytelling in All The Lies That Are My Life—they’re all there. I wanted the stories to serve as an entry point for readers who might not be familiar with Harlan’s fiction, and my hope is that these stories will drive readers to his other works….

(6) EXTERMINATE! IN LIVING COLOUR. “Doctor Who reveals first look at new colourisation of The Daleks” – and the Radio Times posted BBC images from the work.

… The original episode’s black-and-white visuals have been colourised for the new version and it will also feature a new score from composer Mark Ayres and new sound design.

The new colourisation will air on BBC Four on Thursday 23rd November – the date that marks six decades since Doctor Who’s first transmission….

(7) STEM SCHOLARSHIP CREATED. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’  AIAA Foundation is partnering with Blue Origin’s nonprofit Club for the Future to provide a $10,000 scholarship each year to one high school senior who has demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in aerospace engineering. The scholarship is known as “AIAA and Club for the Future’s Resilient Student Scholarship.” Students can apply here. Applications are due by January 31, 2024.

Any high school senior enrolling in a STEM program at a college, university, or technical institution who matches other qualifying criteria will be eligible. In addition to the $10,000 award, the recipient will be matched with an AIAA professional member to serve as a mentor. The scholarship will be offered to high school seniors who are AIAA members; high school membership in AIAA is free. The scholarship is specifically designed to empower and inspire students who have faced unique challenges, including but not limited to: students with disabilities; from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender minorities, or disadvantaged socioeconomic circumstances; and first-generation college students.

Students who apply for this scholarship will be asked to describe why they are interested in aerospace and write about their vision for their future career in the aerospace field. They also must submit a short personal essay on their values of compassion, tenacity, and resilience, and how they have used one or all of these traits to problem-solve or accomplish something in their life.

This scholarship follows other support for aerospace young talent development provided to the AIAA Foundation by Blue Origin’s Club for the Future, including a $1 million grant in 2021 for educational programs….

(8) ASIMOV’S AD. Is there a way they can deliver on this? Three of these four writers are dead.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 16, 1939 Tor Åge Bringsværd, 84. Writer, Editor, and Fan from Norway who co-founded Norwegian fandom. He and his university friend Jon Bing were huge SF readers in a country where SF publishing did not exist, so they founded, in 1966, the still-existing Aniara science fiction club and its fanzine at Oslo University. In 1967, they produced an SF short story collection Ring Around the Sun, which is known as the first science fiction by a Norwegian author. In 1967, they persuaded Gyldendal, the leading Norwegian publisher, into launching a paperback SF line with themselves as editors. Between then and 1980, this imprint released 55 titles which included the first Norwegian translations for many authors, such as Aldiss, Bradbury, Le Guin, and Leiber. He quit university to become a full-time SF writer, and since then has accumulated an impressive array of awards, including the Norwegian Academy Award, the Ibsen Award, and the Norwegian Cultural Council Award. (JJ)
  • Born November 16, 1942 Milt Stevens. Law Enforcement  Analyst, Fan, Conrunner, and Filer. Excerpted from Mike Glyer’s tribute to him: “Milt attended his first Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting in 1960 at the age of 17. By 1970 Milt was President of LASFS – he signed my membership card when I joined. He was somebody to look up to who also became a good friend. Milt won the Evans-Freehafer Award for service to the club in 1971. He was on the LASFS, Inc. Board of Directors for a couple of decades, and was Chair for around five years. After the original LASFS clubhouse was bought in 1973 Milt dubbed himself the ‘Lord High Janitor,’ having taken on the thankless task of cleaning the place. Milt was among the club’s few nationally-active fanzine publishers and fanpoliticians. He put out an acclaimed perzine called The Passing Parade. He coedited and bankrolled later issues of my fanzine Prehensile. For many years he was a member of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA). He was Chair of LA 2000, the original Loscon (1975), and later the 1980 Westercon. And he co-chaired L.A.Con II (1984), which [held] the attendance record. He was made Fan GoH of Loscon 9 and Westercon 61.” (Died 2017.) (JJ)
  • Born November 16, 1952 Candas Jane Dorsey, 71. Canadian writer who’s the winner of the Prix Aurora Award, and the Otherwise Award for gender-bending SF, for her Black Wine novel. She’s also won a Prix Aurora Award for her short story, “Sleeping in a Box”.  She’s one of the founders of SF Canada was founded as an authors collective in the late Eighties as Canada’s National Association of Speculative Fiction Professionals. At the present time, she appears to have little available from the usual digital suspects. 
  • Born November 16, 1952 Robin McKinley, 71. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast was her first book. It was considered a superb work and was named an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Rose Daughter is another version of that folktale, whereas Spindle’s End is the story of Sleeping Beauty, and Deerskin and two of the stories that you can find in The Door in the Hedge are based on other folktales. She does a superb telling of the Robin Hood legend in The Outlaws of Sherwood. Among her novels that are not based on folktales are SunshineChalice and Dragonhaven. Her 1984 The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery Medal as that year’s best new American children’s book. She was married to Peter Dickinson from 1991 to his death in 2015, they lived together in Hampshire, England where she still lives. They co-wrote two splendid collections, Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits and Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits. I’d be very remiss not to note her Awards, to wit a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword, then a Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, a World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection for Imaginary Lands, as editor, a Phoenix Award Honor Book for Beauty and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Sunshine. Impressive indeed!
  • Born November 16, 1962 Darwyn Cooke. Canadian comics artist, writer, cartoonist, and animator. His work has garnered myriad Eisner, Harvey, and Joe Shuster Awards. He did the art on Jeph Leob’s Batman/The Spirit one-off, and did everything including the cover art on the most delicious Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score. Cooke adapted for IDW five of Donald Westlake’s Richard Stark penned hardboiled Parker novels. (Died 2016.)
  • Born November 16, 1976 Lavie Tidhar, 47. The first work I read by him was Central Station which won a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It certainly deserved that accolade! The next work by him I experienced was The Bookman Histories in which Mycroft Holmes is murdered and, well, everything of a pulp nature gets tossed into alternate history England. Both absolutely brilliant and completely annoying at the same time. Unholy Land is another of his fascinating alternate histories. The last work I read by him was Neom, a sequel of sorts to Central Station, which might be one of his best works, period. 


(11) SCION OF GAMERGATE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The man just convicted of assaulting Nancy Pelosi’s husband has blamed his initial radicalization on anti-feminist gamers on YouTube. “Man Who Attacked Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Says Anti-Feminist Gaming YouTubers Radicalized Him” at Gamespot.

David DePape, who assaulted former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul, has stated that anti-feminist gaming content on YouTube led him to radicalization.

A report from KQED quotes DePape’s testimony on the third day of the federal trial against him, in which he described the process of his radicalization. DePape claimed that he once politically opposed Trump, until he began consuming right-wing conspiracy media. DePape was an avid gamer who encountered videos about the misogynistic harassment campaign Gamergate while looking up walkthroughs and tips.

DePape said, “I’d look up a [strategy to defeat a video game] boss, and it’d be a total different person, and these people would talk about how toxic Anita Sarkeesian is, over and over and over. I wanted to find out what was going on here. I wanted to get both sides of the story.”

This led to him consuming more and more right-wing internet content. DePape would listen to YouTubers and podcasters like James Lindsay, Jimmy Dore, and Glenn Beck for at least six hours a day, and even longer on weekends. While listening, he would play video games on mute in the Richmond garage where he lived without basic amenities like a bed and shower….

(12) USE THE TORT, LUKE. “Star Wars developer strikes back at class-action claim” reports Axios.

A class action complaint over a Star Wars video game’s missing content should be dismissed in part because the lead plaintiff already got a rebate, the game’s developer has argued in court.

Why it matters: The novel suit is seeking damages because a game maker didn’t deliver on the promise they offered when promoting their game.

Details: The case, Malachi Mickelonis v. Aspyr Media, Inc., revolves around the cancellation of the “Restored Content DLC,” a free update that had been planned for the 2022 Nintendo Switch re-release of beloved 2004 role-playing game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.

  • The update would have restored storyline content that was infamously cut before the original game shipped. Those missing bits have so far been available only on the PC version via a mod made by fans who salvaged the content from the game’s code.
  • Aspyr announced in June it was canceling the DLC, and offered download codes for other Star Wars games to compensate.
  • In July Mickelonis sued, saying he “felt completely duped” and sought damages over alleged violations of California consumer law. Late last month, the suit was modified to include 17 more plaintiffs.

Driving the news: Aspyr Media asked a court last month and this month to toss out the suit, according to court filings reviewed by Axios….

(13) AI SPEAKS FOR THE DEAD. The late French singer Edith Piaf will narrate her own biopic with a voice re-created by AI. The Piaf estate approved. “Edith Piaf AI-Generated Biopic in the Works at Warner Music” in Variety.

“La Vie en robots”? More than 60 years after her death, legendary French singer Edith Piaf will come to life in a new biopic that will use AI to recreate her voice and image.

Warner Music Group announced that it has partnered with Piaf’s estate for “Edith,” set to be a 90-minute film set in Paris and New York from the 1920s to the ’60s. (Piaf, known as the “Sparrow of Paris,” died Oct. 10, 1963.) The film will be narrated by an AI-generated facsimile of Piaf’s voice and promises to “uncover aspects of her life that were previously unknown.”

“Animation will provide a modern take on her story, while the inclusion of archival footage, stage and TV performances, personal footage and TV interviews will provide audiences with an authentic look at the significant moments of Piaf’s life,” the music company said in announcing the project….

(14) ARSENIC AND OLD PAGES. American Bookbinders Museum delivers a webinar about “The Poison Book Project” on November 18.

Dr. Melissa Tedone will discuss the discovery of arsenic in Victorian-era bookcloth and how this discovery influences our understanding of Euro-American bookbinding materials and manufacture. The Poison Book Project investigates the use of toxic heavy metals (including arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury) in mass-produced 19th-century books. Come learn how and why toxic compounds were used in bookbinding and how the Poison Book Project is using crowd-sourced data to enhance our understanding of this aspect of book history. Melissa will also share how to identify potentially ‘poison books,’ tips for safer handling, and how interested bibliophiles can contribute to this research.

… Melissa is the lead conservator of the Poison Book Project, an investigation of toxic colorants in nineteenth-century Victorian bookcloth, and a founding co-chair of the Bibliotoxicology Working Group. “BibTox” is an international cohort of conservators, conservation scientists, librarians, and health and safety professionals who are developing best practices for the identification and management of historical bookbinding collections with potentially toxic components.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Fanac.org has posted a video conversion of a Sixties fan film “Frankenstein…[a not so gory version]” produced in 8mm by the Delta SF Film Group.

This 1963 fannish production of “Frankenstein … [a not so gory version]” from the Delta SF Film Group, starts with a panorama across a mad scientist’s lab featuring “Entrails of Aldiss” and “bheer”. It’s an entertaining and complete story in less than 4 minutes, starring British fans of the day. You’ll be (un)amazed at the special effects, the pathos of the story and its shocking ending. It’s good fun, and Delta group went on to produce many more short films. Bill Burns, who provided this and other Delta Films tells us “The individual films date from 1963 to 1970, and were made on 8mm silent film to which a magnetic stripe was later added and the sound dubbed on. They were then shown mercilessly at club meetings and Eastercons, and suffered accordingly.” For more about the Delta SF Film Group, see the Fancyclopedia article and see the text of Bill’s talk at Manunicon (2016 Eastercon) at https://efanzines.com/Alien/indexd.htm

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Lise Andreasen, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/16/23 Mobius, Larryus, And Curlyus, The Three Time Stooges

  1. Oh look I see a First!

    Oh chocolate fans — Trader Joes has bags with generous amounts of foil wrapped chocolate coins in them for sale now. As I had an appointment with Jenner, my nurse practitioner, this afternoon, I stopped there on the way over and I bought bags for the check-in service folk there.

  2. First?
    (8) Given that a lot of early mags – Amazing and others – republished Burroughs, Verne, at al….
    (13) No. Just no. Not going to see it.

    Oh, and masking? Hell, yes. I’d avoided COVID all this time, then we were at Windycon this last weekend, with most people not masked. I went without.

    Tested this morning, and I’ve got it. On Paxlovid now.

  3. I second that motion! Or third it…

    (2) Daaang. It’s too trolly for Scalzi!

    (8) They might need to update that ad…

    (11) I’m shocked, appalled, and dismayed. Also, if reading that sort of post makes you attack people, rather than making you question what’s in the posts, then you already had it in you.

    (13) Ack… That sounds freaky. The estate has approved, but I’m not sure I like it.

    By the way, my mother met Edith Piaf — the real one — in Dijon one evening. IIRC, Edith Piaf was looking for a popular restaurant or night spot, and my mother pointed the way. (I think her older sister had just taken her to the Piaf concert that night. But her sister was already having vision problems, so she didn’t recognize Piaf because it was getting dark.)

  4. (8) As mark said above, reprinting older works was once a magazine staple, so it would be an interesting retro-style step. (In my local SF Group’s Book Club, I generally nominate old classics, leaving the best new works for others to pick.)

    The other possibility is if taking out a subscription gives one access to archive copies that include those authors. Anyone know?

  5. 2) The time I spend on formerly-known-as-Twitter is growing less and less worthwhile, so I’ll probably be gone there by the end of the year. A large number of the people I followed on f-k-a-T are on Mastodon and BlueSky, where I have accounts, so those two are already plenty timesink-y.

    5) Am I just filthy-minded, or does that cover remind anyone else of a certain notorious image/link that went viral a few years back?

  6. (13) The estate, of course, has the right t approve. I disapprove. Not that anyone cares.

    (8) I doubt they’ll get new material from three of those writers.

  7. (9) Today’s Birthdays – Born November 16, 1952 — Candas Jane Dorsey

    I’m just reading, as an ebook, the just recently released third of her mystery series. A departure for her for sure. It’s breezy, progressive and, I guess, fun. Despite being a straight(?) mystery, it does have a sort of SF element.

  8. At tonight’s LASFS meeting (held over Zoom, as we have done since the Pandemic lockdown began), we remembered Milt Stevens on his birthday, and said nice things about him. He is much missed. He was a good friend to Debra and me.

  9. 2) I’ve started seeing said platform referred to as Xitter. Choose your own pronunciation…

  10. Any Filers trying to solve the annual Caboodle Hidden Books puzzle. I have an annual contest to complete with my sister.
    As usual, plenty of genre content for us to savour.


    I have half solved, but more work to do…

    Currently reading ‘Kingdom of Silence’ by Jonathan Grimwood (lost it seems to SF as Jonathan Courtney Grimwood, but still producing great historical fiction under the Courtney-free moniker-also good thrillers as his brother Jack)

  11. Still recovering from travel – my body is in a time-zoneless state, wandering among the hours of the day.

    (8) Possibly intended to imply “Hey, we published these guys who were big or got big – check out who we’re publishing now” – but awkwardly put.

  12. Ken Richard’s says Currently reading ‘Kingdom of Silence’ by Jonathan Grimwood (lost it seems to SF as Jonathan Courtney Grimwood, but still producing great historical fiction under the Courtney-free moniker-also good thrillers as his brother Jack)

    He actually used Jon Courtney Grimwood for his SF work. I picked up this edition of his 9 Tail Fox novel this past week specifically because I liked the design of the book. The novel is also excellent.

  13. (2) If you leave Twitter, keeping your account alive but dormant is definitely the right thing to do. I made all my tweets private. Even people who aren’t famous could be exploited by namesquatting scams of the “Help! I’ve got an emergency and need money right away” kind.

    These days I’m inclined to call the company “Xitter,” with the “x” pronounced like “sh” for euphony.

  14. (15) Bill probably already knows the music playing in the background is from Barbarella (1968).

  15. (9) Attn: Cat Eldridge – for next year’s Today’s Birthdays

    Robin McKinley has started to blog again and has discussed her move to/living in Scotland a few times.

    McKinley’s blog

  16. (3) I am not happy with Glasgow 2024’s so-called “Disease Mitigation Policy”. It recommends mitigations but does not require them. It is not even as strong as the Covid Policy at the 2023 Eastercon where many members nonetheless got Covid.

  17. 1) Organizations that put their shit behind pay and/or registration walls massively overestimate my desire to engage with their content.

    2) This isn’t an airport, you don’t need to announce your departure.

    3) “We will enforce the Code of Conduct in all applicable situations, including when another member’s choices about disease mitigation do not match yours…. For example, you may neither encroach on someone’s space who has asked you to stay 2 metres away nor may you yell at someone who is not wearing an N95 mask.” Sounds reasonable, I’m on board. Hampered only by my American inability to take the metric system seriously, of course.

    5) That cover design is hilarious. @Bruce Arthurs, its definitely not just you. I had the same exact thought.

    6) Eh, I dunno about colorizing old B&W stuff. I think sometimes it’s better left alone. Still gonna watch it on Thanksgiving, though. After the football, of course.

    9) Darwyn Cooke was one of those guys where you could see a single frame of work and know immediately who had done it. Steve Dillon was the same way and so was (in a different way) Rob Liefeld.

    13) Creepy, no thanks.

  18. @Quatermain
    They were telling people who read them where they’ll be. And why they’re leaving. It’ isn’t an airport, it’s a community, and they’re being polite.

  19. @PJ You really think that the people who want to engage with Scalzi for whatever reason are unaware of the many and divers avenues they can do so in? It’s pure virtue signalling. If he were as appalled as he puts on, he’d have quit when the sale was announced and he’d have quit quit, none of this ‘I’m still on there but I’m not going to use it’ nonsense. If nothing else, at least now he can focus less on writing staggeringly unoriginal tweets and focus more on writing staggeringly unoriginal novels

  20. @Quatermain Indeed, since Scalzi has more than 200K followers there, he’d like them to know where he’ll be if they’re concerned.

  21. (2) All the good people are gone. It’s like that “now you have a Nazi bar” anecdote. Does Jorts the Cat have an alternate outlet? I live in an area with lots of Chinese people, so of course X is pronounced “sh”. I mean, we just had Xi Jinping visiting. Would also accept X in Spanish pronunciation as “h” (aspirated).

    (6) Colourisation looks serviceable. I’m sure that took more time and money than several years’ worth of 60’s episodes!

    (11) Duh? Although I also agree with @Msb.

    (12) Excellent title.

    (13) For someone who was known for her distinctive voice, this is SO wrong.

    @mark: Get well soon, and hope you don’t get long Covid. This is why I wear masks EVERYWHERE except my own house, or that of my equally-masked BFF.

    So thankful the last con I went to was able to require masks (allowance made for kids, autistics, etc.) and proof of vaccination/exemption. I had immense fun and no one I knew came down with anything but regular post-con crud.

    Needless to say, even if I had the money for travel and to pay someone to look after the credential, I wouldn’t be going to Glasgow. I am fond of breathing, and the mild dose I got a few years ago (before Paxlovid and boosters) has made that harder. I didn’t have asthma before.

    I remember Milt. Didn’t see him that often, but he was always pleasant to talk to at the California cons I saw him at, and of course a fount of faanish history.

  22. Quatermain whines If nothing else, at least now he can focus less on writing staggeringly unoriginal tweets and focus more on writing staggeringly unoriginal novels

    Ok, you don’t like him, that’s obvious. But I’d say that you’ve not read his work if you declare them to be “staggeringly unoriginal” as I’ve read enough of it to say they are quite original and Redshirts which won a Hugo that it deserved most definitely.

    And Zoe’sTale, well, just say it evoked strong feelings in me, a rare thing indeed. One of the finest reads that year.

  23. Agreed. The codas are what took that book from a light amusing thing to something truly meaningful.

    Also, I generally find the anti-Scalzi tirades have something beyond Scalzi’s writing driving them.

  24. The time and energy that Scalzi previously put into Twitter, he seems to now be putting into Bluesky. So no net gain for novel-writing. (I read Starter Villain and quite enjoyed it; I honestly think that with that and Kaiju Preservation Society he’s found a real métier.)

  25. The time and energy that Scalzi previously put into Twitter, he seems to now be putting into Bluesky.

    He’s actually splitting his efforts between Bluesky and Threads.

  26. Thanks to those wishing me a speedy recovery. I never even lost smell or taste, thankfully. And… we got back from Windy Mon eve, started a sore throat, was afraid of a cold… but it wouldn’t resolve, and Thurs morning I tested, and Thurs eve I started Paxlovid. Definitely improving – the throat’s a lot better.

    Quartermain: “can’t take metric seriously”? Ok, so you’re ok with wasting millions of dollars on a Mars lander that didn’t, because one group used metric, and the other didn’t? And making us less competetive, given only Liberia and … is it Myanmar? are the only countries in the world besides us to not use metric.

    And thanks so much, because I have to have two sets of sockets, and wrenches, to work on my car, or put a futon frame together. grump

  27. @Quatermain complains about Scalzi with “If he were as appalled as he puts on, he’d have quit when the sale was announced and he’d have quit quit, none of this ‘I’m still on there but I’m not going to use it’ nonsense.”

    The second sentence in the post linked above literally says “I’m keeping the account so that no one can swoop in and take a screenname that’s been associated with me for the last fifteen years…”

  28. I apologize for the late replies; a friend of my wife’s car, like the SpaceX rocket I got to see launch, also had a (comparatively minor) rapid and unplanned disassembly and I spent most of Saturday fixing it for her and doing my own work (plumbing, electrical) around the house.

    @Cat I read ‘Old Man’s War’, where he ripped off Haldeman and Heinlein. And then I read ‘Redshirts’ which at best is a media tie-in along the lines of ‘My Enemy, My Ally’ or ‘Spock Must Die’ (while not being as well-written as either) and at worst is just glorified fan-fiction (and it makes me think that that year must have been a very sparse and dreary year indeed if nothing better could be found to give a Hugo to). And then I read ‘Fuzzy Nation’ which…yeah. Three strikes and yer out, Johnny. I remain comfortable with ‘staggeringly unoriginal.’

    @rochrist I’m actually not part of some vast, labyrinthine anti-Scalzi conspiracy, I’m just one dude with an opinion. Disappointing, I know. Sorry.

  29. (13) Not that it mattered much, but the Czech Radio already did this in the summer for a part of reading from the memoirs of singer Karel Gott (1939–2019, who might be summarised as the Czech Elvis and Germany’s, I don’t know, Dean Martin?); see for example their tastefully titled https://english.radio.cz/pop-legend-karel-gott-speaks-beyond-grave-using-ai-8788709 (Later news, after this became the Radio’s most-listened book reading ever, also said “After the project’s final end the voiceprint will be deleted from servers and stored in a protected off-line mode to prevent any abuse.” Hah.)

    So shall I take it that this is still rare elsewhere?

    (9) Not that this mattered, or he could learn about this somehow, but my best wishes to Mr Bringsvaerd! Apparently, very little of his writing has appeared in English. A pity; I was lucky to read in a formative age his 1971 “?Faen. Nå har de senket ?takhøyden igjen. Må huske å kjøpe nye ?knebeskyttere.” (?Damn. They have reduced the ?ceiling height again. Must remember to buy new ?knee-protectors.), a remarkably darkly-humorous overpopulation story in the form of a small lexicon linked through by references, so listed as an early example of “hypertext fiction” (by authors who are aware of it). It would have been a pride of place in the New Worlds, or at least Galaxy, Orbit, Interzone etc. The story is available online (in various forms) if you wish to try machine translation.

  30. @Quatermain–I find it interesting that, of Scalzi’s, by my count, 26 novels, you say you’ve read:

    His first, Old Man’s War, riffing on a theme previously used by Heinlein, and then Haldeman. Each of them has a different approach to it, and you don’t describe Haldeman as ripping off Heinlein–even though there’s a much closer resemblance in the basic set-up, there. (Note:I’m not saying Haldeman “ripped off” Heinlein, because he used a similar theme and set-up, while saying different things in it. That’s your thing.)

    Fuzzy Nation, an updating of Piper’s Little Fuzzy, which was licensed by the Piper estate. It does not claim to be “original.”

    Redshirts. Based on Star Trek, certainly. It satirizes the improbably high death count of redshirt on away missions with major characters who can’t be killed off. Which is to say, it satirizes a much commented on weakness of a beloved but sometimes lazily written TV show. It’s funny. It makes those low life expectancy extras into real characters. And it has been compared to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

    Not your cup of tea. I get it. But it’s a good book that a lot of people enjoyed and respected.

    But it seems like after not liking Old Man’s War , his first novel, you sought out his two later books most vulnerable to being dissed as “unoriginal,” and the dread “fanfiction.” With the implicit assumption that fanfiction=worthless.

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