Pixel Scroll 11/19/23 When Your Phone’s On Fire, Pixels Get In Your Eyes

(1) JOANNE HARRIS Q&A. The Guardian hears from the author of Chocolat: “Joanne Harris: ‘When I first read Ulysses I hated it with a passion’”.

The book that made me want to be a writer
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t dream of being a writer. But I lived in a place where dreaming was generally discouraged. Being a writer was a fantasy, on a par with being a pirate, or a pony, or a space adventurer. The moment at which I realised that people could actually be writers was when I read the introduction to Ray Bradbury’s S Is for Space, and found him articulating things I’d assumed I was alone in feeling. The idea that the writers you love could become your chosen family was so potent that I carried it throughout my childhood and adolescence. I still do.

(2) ARE YOU LOOKING AT YOUR CARDS? In his opinion piece writer David Mack tells New York Times readers “You Don’t Want to Know How Much You Are Spending on Subscriptions”.

In recent years, much of my life as a consumer has shifted to what I like to call background spending. As I’ve subscribed to more apps and streaming platforms, significant sums of my money tend to drift away each month without my ever thinking about it. It’s as if it were a tax being taken out of my paycheck, but one that is spent on something silly or indulgent like a subscription box of international snacks, instead of — I don’t know — basic public infrastructure.

Think of it as automated capitalism. Spending without the hassle of spending. Acquisition without action. Or thought.

But while this swell of subscriptions was sold to me on the premise it would make my life more hassle-free, there was a certain sticker shock I felt upon actually discovering how much I’m spending without realizing each month ($179.45) — after I’ve already spent it, of course.

I can’t help feeling I’m being conned just a little. I admit I had forgotten I was paying monthly for the privilege of Apple TV+ after being hooked by the first season of “Ted Lasso,” before quickly falling off the bandwagon. When I reopened the app for the first time in eons, I was confronted with dozens of shows I’ve never heard of but to whose production budgets I’ve been contributing generously.

You see, the thing about background spending is it tends to happen, well, in the background without your full attention. And therein lies the point.

“Hand over your credit card details and let us take care of the rest,” these companies assure us. But by agreeing to this trade, we’ve become passive consumers who are allowing the balance of capitalism to tilt away from us. We have ceded one of our key powers as individuals: our agency.

And this laziness breeds more laziness because most of us can’t be bothered conducting regular reviews of our subscription spending. Indeed, economists estimate that buyers forgetting to cancel subscriptions can increase a business’s revenues by as much as 200 percent. It’s no wonder these companies feel that they can jack up the prices. We’re too lazy or busy to even notice or cancel!

I know it’s not just me who is suddenly living life as a smooth-brained subscriber. The average consumer spends $273 per month on subscriptions, according to a 2021 poll of 2,500 by digital services firm West Monroe, which found this spending was up 15 percent from 2018. Not a single person polled knew what his actual monthly spending was….

(3) TAKE TWO. “How William Hartnell’s Second Season Changed Doctor Who for the Better” explains CBR.com.

…After Season 1 of Doctor Who saw the TARDIS crew encounter cavemen, the Aztecs and Revolutionary France, the second season saw the series push the boundaries of the TARDIS’ trips to the past. The two final serials of Doctor Who Season 2 featured the first instances of extraterrestrial enemies from the future appearing in historical settings. In the first of these serials, “The Chase,” the trip to the past was only a fleeting moment in a wider story. However, “The Time Meddler” saw the Doctor contending with another time traveler for an entire story set in the past.

“The Chase” marked the final appearance of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright as the Doctor’s companions. Following Susan Foreman’s earlier departure, this meant “The Chase” was the final regular appearance of any of the Doctor’s original companions. The story also saw the return of the Daleks to Doctor Who for their third outing and their first journey through time. “The Chase” saw the Daleks using their own time machine to pursue the TARDIS. The third episode of the serial, “Flight Through Eternity,” saw the Daleks arrive on an old ship, terrifying the sailors they encountered into jumping overboard. It was then revealed that the ship was the legendary Mary Celeste, with the Daleks’ arrival effectively explaining the mysterious disappearance of the crew.

(4) CALLBACKS. Radio Times revisits its roundups of the actors who played the time lord: “Doctor Who at 60: All the times the Doctors assembled for Radio Times”.

The Five Doctors in 1983 was a joyful celebration of two decades of Doctor Who – but also an odd one. William Hartnell had died in 1975, so the “original” Doctor was recast as Richard Hurndall, who bore only a passing resemblance to Hartnell. Although other past Doctors Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee readily signed up to star alongside current star Peter Davison, the fourth incarnation Tom Baker declined to appear. Instead, he allowed clips from his unfinished 1979/80 story Shada to be used, while for a publicity shoot his Madame Tussauds waxwork was pressed into service….

(5) AS TIME GOES BY. Kabir Chibber asks “Did ‘Demolition Man’ Predict the Millennial?” in the New York Times.

Now that we live in the future, we no longer seem to make as many films about the future — at least not the way we once did, when we tried our hardest to imagine a future as different from the present as we were from ancient history. Today, with all of human knowledge in our pockets, we prefer to think in terms of alternate timelines, paths not taken, the multiverse of infinite possibilities. We’re looking sideways, not forward. But for most of the existence of cinema, a glorious near-centennial from “Metropolis” (1927) to, let’s say, “WALL-E” (2008), people used celluloid to dream of what lay ahead….

…the one that I think got it most right is a 1993 action-comedy whose hallmark is a tremendous recurring poop joke.

In “Demolition Man,” a cop named John Spartan (played by Sylvester Stallone) is frozen in 1996, for spurious reasons, and thawed out in the year 2032, when Southern California has been merged into an enormous metroplex called San Angeles. He’s tasked with hunting down a homicidal maniac, played by a blond, mugging Wesley Snipes. The joke is that in this future, everyone is kind and gentle to one another. Lenina Huxley, Spartan’s ’90s-loving partner, explains that alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat, bad language and gasoline, among other things, are banned. “It has been deemed that anything not good for you is bad,” goes the tao of “Demolition Man.” “Hence, illegal.”

The movie’s pleasure doesn’t lie in its plentiful violence (well, some of it does). It’s in the humor that arises from these future San Angeleans’ disgust over Spartan’s primitive ways, like his desire to use guns and to smoke and to have sex “the old-fashioned way,” rather than through a virtual-reality headset. They mock him over the fact that he asks for toilet paper. (Everyone now uses something called the Three Seashells, which is never explained.) Spartan is baffled by new technology like the omnipresent Alexa-like morality boxes that issue instant fines for offensive language, and kiosks that offer words of affirmation on the streets (“You are an incredibly sensitive man who inspires joy-joy feelings in all those around you”). Stallone’s cop has been subliminally rehabilitated while frozen and wakes up knowing how to knit. “I’m a seamstress?” he laments.

What separates “Demolition Man” from other sci-fi films of much higher aspiration is that it imagined a future generation who might view our civilization, at the peak of its powers, as utterly barbaric. We’re not quite there, but it feels as if the world that the younger generations loathe is the one I was raised in. And in the process, this has turned the film, at least for me, into an explosive, sometimes vituperative allegory for aging. As Spartan finds out, it hurts to wake up one day and find that the world has moved on without you.

Some days I feel like I’ve woken up from cryosleep, and am looking around to discover that I’m the only one who misses our previous era of casual cynicism and dubious morality and brilliant jerks. Back in the ’90s, I sat in the cinema and watched this film like thousands of other people, never imagining that I might one day feel like Spartan. I am living in the future, and I don’t belong. Everyone else has moved on. I’m still wiping myself with toilet paper instead of the Three Seashells….

(6) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to polish off a Peruvian lunch with Alex Shvartsman in Episode 212 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Alex Shvartsman

My guest this time around is Capclave regular Alex Shvartsman, with whom I’ve pontificated on many panels over the years.

Shvartsman is the author of the new fantasy novel Kakistocracy, as well as The Middling Affliction (2022), and Eridani’s Crown (2019). More than 120 of his short stories have appeared in AnalogNatureStrange HorizonsFiresideWeird TalesGalaxy’s Edge, and many other venues. He won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction in 2014 and was a three-time finalist for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction. His translations from Russian have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionClarkesworldTor.comAsimov’sAnalogStrange Horizons, and elsewhere.

He’s also the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects series of humorous SF/F, as well as a variety of other anthologies, including The Cackle of CthulhuHumanity 2.0, and Funny Science Fiction. For five years he edited Future Science Fiction Digest, a magazine that focused on international fiction. And on top of all that, he’s one of the greatest Magic: The Gathering players ever, ranking way up there in tournaments from 1998-2004, something I hadn’t known about him even though I’ve known him for years.

We discussed how intimations of mortality got him to start writing fiction, what he learned as a pro player of Magic: the Gathering which affected his storytelling, why he set aside his initial urge to write novels in favor of short stories, which U.S. science fiction writers are more famous in Russia than their home country, the reason his success as a writer and editor of humor came as a surprise, why he feels it’s important to read cover letters, the secret to writing successful flash fiction, his “lighthouse” method of plotting, and much more.

(7) THE INVENTORY WILL BE FLYING OFF THE SHELVES. In “Brian Keene: ‘Let’s Open A Bookstore!’”, Keene tells readers of Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog why he and Mary SanGiovanni are doing so.

….But the idea of that second revenue stream still haunts me, and it haunts Mary, as well. In the years since that sobering conversation in the kitchen, when Doug Winter scared the hell out of us, she and I have gotten married. We make an okay living together — as good of a living as two midlist horror writers whose core audience is beginning to age out can make. But we are fifty-six and forty (clears throat) and most of our readers are that age, as well. Over the next two decades, that audience will continue to dwindle. We are painfully aware that those royalties will lessen over time, and that we could very well go the way of the giants.

So, we decided to do something about it. Mary wasn’t inclined to become a forest ranger or a tugboat captain, so we opted for a different second revenue stream instead — one that is connected to writing, but doesn’t involve writing. One that, when managed properly and professionally, can supplement those royalties and advances. One that will allow us to give back to our community and our peers, both locally and nationally, and keep those forgotten giants in the collective memory a while longer, as well as elevating today’s new voices, so that they will one day be giants, too.

We’re opening an independent bookstore….

(8) FUGUES FOR DROOGS. “Newly discovered string quartet by Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess to have premiere” reports The Guardian.

He is best-known as the author of A Clockwork Orange, his 1962 savage social satire, but Anthony Burgess saw himself primarily as a thwarted musician. Although self-taught, he was a prolific composer, and now a previously unknown piece for a string quartet is to receive its world premiere following its discovery.

The score was unearthed in the archive of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, an educational charity in Manchester, his home city, where it had been overlooked among uncatalogued papers donated by his widow, the late Liana Burgess.

Professor Andrew Biswell, Burgess’s biographer and director of the Foundation, told the Observer: “Nobody’s heard it before. We’ve got some very good musicians from the Hallé Orchestra who are going to perform it. Thirty years after his death, Burgess is finally coming into focus as a musician.” The world premiere takes place at the Burgess Foundation on 1 December….


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 19, 1911 Mary Elizabeth Counselman.  Writer of genre short stories and poetry. “The Three Marked Pennies” which she wrote while she was in her teens published in Weird Tales in 1934 is considered one of the three most popular stories in all of that zine’s history. There’s but a smattering of her at the usual suspects but she did get published— Masters of Horrors, Vol. Three, Mary Elizabeth Counselman: Hostess of Horror and Fantasy collects seventeen of her short stories and it’s readily available, and The Face of Fear and Other Poems collected much of her poetry.  It was published by Eidolon Press in an edition of 325 copies, so good luck on finding a copy. (Died 1995.)
  • Born November 19, 1936 Suzette Haden Elgin. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association and is considered an important figure in the field of SFF constructed languages. Both her Coyote Jones and Ozark Trilogy are most excellent. Wiki lists songs by her that seem to indicate she might’ve been a filker as well. Mike, of course, has a post on her passing and life. (Died 2015.)
  • Born November 19, 1943 Allan Cole.  Author and television writer, who wrote or co-wrote nearly thirty books. As a script writer, he wrote for a lot of non-genre series and a few genre series, The Incredible Hulk and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which are of course familiar, and two, Dinosaucers, an animated series, and Werewolf, a horror series, that I’d never heard of at all. Genre wise, he and Chris Bunch wrote the Anteros / Far Kingdoms series, and they also wrote the Sten Adventures which was a critique, according to Bunch, of SF writers who were fascinated with monarchies and their fascist rulers. (Died 2019.)
  • Born November 19, 1955 Sam Hamm, 68. He’s best known for the original screenplay (note the emphasis) with Warren Skaaren for Burton’s Batman and a story for Batman Returns that was very much not used. However because of that, he was invited to write a story in Detective Comics for Batman’s 50th anniversary and thus, he wrote “Batman: Blind Justice”. He also wrote the script for Monkeybone. Sources, without any attribution, say he also wrote unused drafts for the Fantastic FourPlanet of the Apes and Watchmen films. And he co-wrote and executive produced the M.A.N.T.I.S. series with Sam Raimi. 
  • Born November 19, 1958 Charles Stuart Kaufman, 65. He wrote Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, both definitely genre. The former was nominated for a Hugo at Chicon 2000, the year Galaxy Quest won. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was also a Hugo nominee, losing to The Incredibles at Interaction. 
  • Born November 19, 1975 Alex Shvartsman, 48. Author of the delightfully pulpy H. G. Wells: Secret Agent series. A very proficient short story writer, many of which are collected in Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories and The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories.

(10) FOR THE MORE LITERAL-MINDED. The anniversary of Doctor Who inspired BBC Future to ask “Is time travel really possible? Here’s what physics says”.

Doctor Who is arguably one of the most famous stories about time travel. Alongside The Time Machine and Back to the Future, it has explored the temptations and paradoxes of visiting the past and voyaging into the future.

In the TV show, the Doctor travels through time in the Tardis: an advanced craft that can go anywhere in time and space. Famously, the Tardis defies our understanding of physical space: it’s bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.

While time travel is fundamental to Doctor Who, the show never tries to ground the Tardis’ abilities in anything resembling real-world physics. It would be odd to complain about this: Doctor Who has a fairy-tale quality and doesn’t aspire to be realistic science fiction.

But what about in the real world? Could we ever build a time machine and travel into the distant past, or forward to see our great-great-great-grandchildren? Answering this question requires understanding how time actually works – something physicists are far from certain about….

(11) A SHOE-IN. “Reebok Releases Line of Harry Potter Shoes for Fans of the Wizarding World”CBR.com has details. (And honestly, the idea of these designs is more interesting than the execution.)

… The Harry Potter sneaker collection includes four colorway variants of the Reebok Club C 85 ($110), which comes with interchangeable laces and embroidered crest patches of the four Hogwarts houses. The message “It’s not Hogwarts without you, Hagrid” is also inscribed inside the tongue of the shoe as an homage to the character and a tribute to its actor Robbie Coltrane, who passed away in 2022. This variant is expected to be well-received among die-hard Harry Potter fans, who now have official footwear to represent the Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Gryffindor house….

… The Reebok Instapump Fury 95 ($250) is inspired by “He Who Must Not Be Named,” with its prominent black suede accented by the Death Eaters’ Dark Mark. The sleek design also has snake and scale details homaging the Slytherin house. For more casual Harry Potter fans, the Reebok Classic Leather ($100) offers a staple sneaker with details referencing the Deathly Hallows — an “Invisibility Cloak” textile lining the shoe’s tongue, a Resurrection Stone metal lace lock, and lace tips designed after the Elder Wand. Finally, the Classic Leather Hexalite ($120) evokes the Patronus spell with its silvery blue gradient fade, glow-in-the-dark and reflective details, and Patronus animals featured on the tongue label….

The Reebok Instapump Fury 95

(12) PREMEMBER THOR FIVE. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Yet more news/speculations about Marvel Thor movie #5.

Obviously, this is all speculation, guesswork, and subject to change. I’ve submitted this item mostly for the item title.

(13) UNTANGLED. Sony/Marvel’s Madame Web opens in theaters on February 24.

“Meanwhile, in another universe…” In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who may have clairvoyant abilities. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women destined for powerful futures…if they can all survive a deadly present.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Saturday Night Live’s “Old-Timey Movies” sketch shows found footage of L. Frank Baum writing while being constantly photobombed (or whatever the right word would be).

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

27 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/19/23 When Your Phone’s On Fire, Pixels Get In Your Eyes

  1. (2) Fortunately, I contribute to radio stations I listen to, and the Guardian. Once a year. I have a flip phone, so no apps.
    (5) Sounds like a parody of Time After Time (1979). HG Wells, having built a time machine that returns automatically, chases Jack the Ripper. The Ripper to him: “You thought the future would be peaceful. This is my future, not yours.
    (7) Which leads to a huge question, one that affects me, personally. I’m published by a small press. Ebooks available via them… or Amazon. I can buy a limited number of books for a reduced price, and after that, for a less reduced price. How the hell could I get my book(s) into their store? So far, I’ve only given Sally of Larry Sand, Bookseller a number on consignment.

    Oh, and Mike – no problem here, but I never could comment on the other post.

  2. (2) My brain must be wired wrong. I don’t subscribe to monthly boxes of international snacks, or more superficially reasonable meal kits, or even dog toys and treats intended for larger dogs participating in high-performance dog sports.

    And I know which streaming services I subscribe to, and why and what they cost me. I notice price increases and decide if that service is still worth it. I swear to God I have no grasp at all of how the minds of opinion writers for major outlets work.

  3. I spend on two streaming services (Hulu and Paramount+), an audiobook service (Audible) and a multitude of Patreon underwritings including an epidemiologist who covers Covid most excellently. My ebooks are acquired from Apple Books almost entirely though occasionally they don’t have a title and then I get from Kindle.

    I rotate though the streaming services as I’m watching different series, i.e. eventually I’ll pick up Peacock to see Law and Order when the next abbreviated season is up in its entirety.

  4. I pay three bucks a month to a small Filipino gaming company for my subscription to GeoGuessr, a game that basically plops you down on a random google map somewhere on the planet and challenges you to figure out where you are. Well worth it. I also pay an equivalent monthly sum for a service wherein K-Pop stars cheer you up with pictures of their pets and other cute things at random intervals; I find it therapeutic. I try to only sub one stream channel at a time though, and I refuse to pay for subscription-model Adobe.

  5. 9) All of the dates say November 20, which is tomorrow, and wrong at least one the one I spot-checked.

  6. 9) Elgin was very much a filker; I attended her concerts at OKon, own both of her albums, and wish I could find a copy of her songbook. She’s part of the reason I became a filker (and part of the reason I majored in linguistics).

    @mark: “Ninety years ago I was a freak. Today I’m an amateur.”

  7. (7) I wish them nothing but the best, but I think opening a brick and mortar bookstore to fund ones retirement strikes me as…optimistic to say the least.

    Mark: The vast majority of bookstores (at least in the US) order their books from Ingram. Anyone can put their books on Ingramspark which will make them technically available to order, but stores most likely won’t order something unless they are fairly certain that they will sell it (i.e. a customer has specifically requested it).

    Also, apologies if this seems overly harsh or if I’m off-base, but if all your small press is doing for you is making your books available through Amazon, they’re really not doing anything you can’t do for yourself.

  8. (2) That reminds me… I have some shows to catch up on…

    (4) That explains the waxen expression…

    (7) Hmm. A possible home for some of my weird horror paperbacks when I start to make some room on the shelves. (Other bookstores wouldn’t appreciate them in the same way.) The book “Paperbacks from Hell” has made some forgotten titles collectible.

  9. Re: Subscriptions. I don’t have any! Nada! Zilch! Where do people find time to watch / listen / game?????

    Re: Is Time Travel Possible?
    YES! We do it EVERY DAY!
    1) A forward stream in time!
    2) In fact, in 2013, I time traveled 4 times! Standard time to Daylight Savings time, Los Angeles to London time, British Double Summer Time, London to Los Angeles time.

  10. @Chet Desmond: “Also, apologies if this seems overly harsh or if I’m off-base….”
    I was thinking the same thing. Mark, are you sure you’re not being scammed?

    And if you’ll allow me to Meredith up these comments there are a couple of indie comics bundles on itch.io right now. The Cartoonist Coop has 40 items for $25: https://itch.io/b/2129/the-cartoonist-co-op-showcase-bundle and Adam Szym’s organized a bundle supporting PCRF with 121 items for $10: https://itch.io/b/2154/comics-for-gazas-children (There’s some overlap)

    I’ve only read a few of each, but the PCRF one has both volumes of Reimena Yee’s “The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya” which is more than worth the ten bucks all by itself. Here’s the blurb for the first one:

    In the first volume of the Eisner-nominated online graphic novel, we follow Turkish carpet merchant couple, Zeynel and Ayse through the 25 years of their marriage, and how the strength of their love pulls them through the tragedy of Zeynel’s death and return as a vampire.

    A historical romance set in 17th century Istanbul, featuring a majority Turkish Muslim cast.

    A healing story about the power of faith, love and mercy, that guides us even in the worst of personal tragedies.

  11. 5) I absolutely think that Demolition Man predicted Millennials/Gen Z, although probably not in any way that either would find flattering. Edgar Friendly’s speech is one of my favorite film moments and something I occasionally use in bits and pieces here and there.
    “I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who wants to sit in a greasy spoon and think, “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter and buckets of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati and run through the streets naked with green Jello all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to.”

    12/13) I will happily watch both of those off of Disney+ (which is one of the few subscriptions that I have, along with Prime and Spotify) but the last Marvel movie I really felt the need to see in the theater was Endgame.

  12. WRT #2. That much $$$ every month for subscriptions?
    That’s two weeks of groceries for my household, including cat food, health & beauty, paper products, and everything else non-food oriented that comes from the grocery store. That is, not just food.

    WRT #5 Demolition Man was and is an amazing, underrated film.
    If you haven’t seen it, you should!

  13. Chet Desmond says Also, apologies if this seems overly harsh or if I’m off-base, but if all your small press is doing for you is making your books available through Amazon, they’re really not doing anything you can’t do for yourself.

    Your idea of what small genre presses are is not at all accurate. Most of them never get sold though Amazon in any meaningful sense as most of their books are purchased by customers who are fans of a particular writer and know that press has a title forthcoming for that writer as they are on the email lists as those publishers.

    I’ve got a personally signed copy of Peter Beagle’s Mirrior Kingdoms: The Best of Peter Beagle in which the inscription he calls himself an old tomcat. It was put by Subterranean Press in 2010. There are no copies for sale now. Or are there of The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version for that matter.

    And really a small press does a hell of a lot more than just making books available for sale anyways. Editing, printing, design, copywriting which in more complicated than you think it is and so forth need doing.

  14. @Lis Carey

    My brain must be wired wrong.

    I swear to God I have no grasp at all of how the minds of opinion writers for major outlets work.

    You and me, too.

    We do Amazon and Netflix. I have a Patreon budget of less than $10 a month. Xfinity. And that’s it! We don’t sign up for random monthly services that get forgotten. We certainly can’t afford almost $200 per month for services about which we have forgotten.

    5) The short answer is yes And that’s why Demolition Man is priceless. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Demolition Man knew it was a train.

    John Spartan: Whoa, whoa, whoa! I’m gonna tell you what you’re gonna do: [turns to Earle] Why don’t you get a little dirty… [turns to Scraps] …and you, a lot clean. And somewhere in the middle… I don’t know, you’ll figure it out.


    To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am – M.C. Escher

  15. Cat Eldridge: You’re making a lot of assumptions and jumping to a lot of conclusions about me (and being a bit condescending, if I’m being honest. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention though.) Note the operative word “if” in my statement. And note also that my comment was in response to someone who was asking how to get his books into physical stores, which would imply that the small press he publishes through is not doing that for him. This might not be the case, which is why I apologized in advance if I was off-base.

    Honestly you’re being very presumptuous in your last statement. I am well aware (from firsthand experience as a matter of fact) of what is involved in publishing a book. And I’m well aware of the many fine small presses and what they do. Again, this is why I said “if that is all your press is doing for you.” I know, personally, many fine editors, cover artists, layout designers (and I know how to use Vellum to do layouts myself) and if it wouldn’t bore people to tears I could expound at length on the relative merits of offset print runs vs. print on demand.

    To paraphrase the great poet O’Shea Jackson: You don’t know what I be knowing.

  16. I’ve heard about Ingram Spark in the last year – the author who was using it said it was expensive just to get someone on the phone, and the services were not good. They were going elsewhere.

  17. @Chet Desmond and Jake: sorry, but you’re both utterly wrong. And I have no intention of ever self-publishing.

    Let’s see, I picked up a book that was self-published at Balticon. Interesting, with heavy use of African themes. Unfortunately, he needed to spend $500 or $1000 before publishing… on a copy editor. Sentence fragments, tenses that change, conversation inside a paragraph, rather than a new one for each speaker.

    My publisher worked with me on the covers of both books, and they’re fabulous. I paid nothing out of pocket for that.
    Far bigger: esp. in my next novel, Becoming Terran, one of the three major PoV characters has a language processing disorder. Unlike someone who, say, speaks French, I can’t get by with a word or accent occasionally, because there’s no way for the reader to understand what the character, or the people she deals with, are facing.

    The small press paid for a copy editor. Then my editor looked at it, and sent it off to me, I sent that back, and then the senior editor ran copy editing on it, and found more misspellings, at which time I realized I needed to go through it para by para, and found and fixed a number of things, including three scenes sequence.
    For all that copy editing, I would have been out of pocket for a 92k word novel somewhere between $1500 and $2000 for the copy editing alone. I paid nothing out of pocket.

    Oh, and it should be listed by now on Ingram – they were working on a deal with Ingram when I last heard, well over a month ago.

    Now explain to me how this is a “scam”. They’ve invested a lot of money and time in me, and on my next novel.

  18. (3) Very cool, but the worm concept wasn’t new. Canadian National Railway’s logo was designed in 1959 and went live the following year. There may be earlier instances, for all I know!

  19. Mark: you asked a question and I tried to answer it for you. I’m not sure how that warrants the condescension of your response. It seems a lot of people on this site have an argument already prepared in their head, regardless of if it actually fits the comment they’re responding to. I never said your publisher was a scam and the other person you’re responding to merely asked a question. If you want to be dismissive to people who are trying to help you, that’s certainly your prerogative. However, the fact remains that there are many, many “publishers” who exist to take advantage of writers. Shutting down discussion about the matter serves no one except the scammers.

    I’m sorry to hear about the writer you talked to. They definitely got ripped off by that editor. I could give them names of numerous freelance editors who would do a much better job for less money.

    I would suggest that you check out the books (and blog posts) of Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch who, after long careers in the traditional publishing industry, have been very successfully self-publishing for over a decade. But, you have clearly already made up your mind that self-publishing is beneath you. So I can only wish you the best of luck.

  20. @Chet Desmond: sorry, but I read your response, and a) you saw condescension where there wasn’t any – I was responding to the suggestion that my publisher was a scam. And “the writer [I] talked to, they got ripped off by their editor”. I think you really need to reread what I actually wrote, not skim it. I said that they needed to hire a copy editor. That it was clear they had not done so – is that clear?
    Sure, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch, both of whom started published by major publishing houses, and were already big names. I have none of that, and you might want to read up on how much advertising is involved, how much it costs, and consider whether an individual who’s self-publishing is willing, or can afford, to spend that kind of money.
    As I asked, please read what I write, and don’t skim and interpret – I’m saying what I mean as clearly as I can.

  21. 2) Ah, I see you mean ex-Buzzfeed David Mack, not genre author David Mack. I always have to check when I see that name. And I do know how much I’m spending on subscriptions, because I check every few months, like a responsible adult.

    11) Forgive me if I cannot bring myself to be interested in shoes featuring a raging transphobe’s work, and memorializing someone who supported her.

    @Jake – “if you’ll allow me to Meredith up these comments” – I will permit it, though I don’t think I’m what or who you meant! Still, I consider myself authorized to permit any Meredithings.

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