Pixel Scroll 11/7/18 Neil Gaiman On A Mountain Of Books Holding a Kitten

(1) THE CRIMES OF VISACARD. BBC takes note as “JK Rowling sues former employee for £24,000”.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has launched a £24,000 legal claim against a former employee for allegedly using her money to go on shopping sprees.

Ms Rowling, 53, claims Amanda Donaldson broke strict working rules by using her funds to buy cosmetics and gifts.

Ms Donaldson worked as a personal assistant for the writer between February 2014 and April 2017, before being sacked for gross misconduct.

The 35-year-old from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, has denied the claims.

Legal papers lodged at Airdrie Sheriff Court allege Ms Donaldson wrongly benefited to a value of £23,696.32 by spending on a business credit card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.

(2) BLEEPIN’ RIGHT. Let K.M. Alexander expand your word power — “Raunch Review: Mork & Mindy/Starsiege: Tribes”.

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.

The Author: Garry Marshall and Dynamix

Work in Question: Mork & Mindy/Starsiege: Tribes

The Profanity: “Shazbot”

It’s rare for a fictional profanity to transcend its original source material and find new life in other properties. But that’s what we find with 1978’s Mork & Mindy’s “shazbot.” …

(3) MOVING UP AT TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES. Publishers Lunch reports:

In promotions at Tom Doherty Associates: Alexis Saarela moves up to senior associate director of publicity focusing on Forge; Laura Etzkorn is now publicist; Desirae Friesen becomes senior publicist with a focus on Tor; Saraciea Fennell is senior publicist overseeing publicity for Tor Teen and Starscape; and Lauren Levite is now associate publicist.

(4) DYSTOPIC DYNAMIC. In “How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism)” blogger Dan Wang says that economic stagnation and limited growth leads to depressing sf:

Much of the science fiction published in the last few decades veer towards cyberpunk dystopia.  (The Three Body Problem is an exception.)  We don’t see much change in the physical landscape of our cities, and instead we get a proliferation of sensors, information, and screens.  By contrast, the science fiction of the 50s and 60s were much more optimistic.  That was the space age, a time when we were busy reshaping our physical world, and by which point the industrial acheivements of the ‘30s had made themselves obvious.  Industrial deepening leads to science fiction that is optimistic, while digital proliferation pushes it towards dystopia.

(5) BOPPING AROUND THE GALAXY. Steve Carper helps Black Gate readers remember the “Space Conquerers!” comic strip. (Or in my case, provides a first-time introduction….)

Space Conquerors! ran for a full twenty years, from 1952, when a simple rocket trip to Mars was nearly unimaginable, to 1972, when their flying saucer casually strolled alien star systems. The science was an odd mix of realism and convenience. That first rocket to Mars could go faster than the speed of light but a later space ship, built in 2054, was deemed a marvel because it could travel at half the speed of light. It needed a proper eight years to get to get to Alpha Centauri from the moon. Or perhaps the marvel was that a 1957 sequence strives for an educationally accurate first trip to the moon, but somehow is set in 2057, three years after the star ship set sail.

(6) YOU BETTER NOT POUT. Laura Anne Gilman’s post “A Meerkat Rants: The War on Christmas Retailers” solves the angst shortage for readers of Book View Café.

…Because, yes Virginia, there is a war against Christmas holiday retailers.  And it begins with the first stores loading up Christmas decorations and candies the day after Halloween (Rite Aid and such, we’re looking at you, and you were already on our shitlist for not discounting Halloween candy the day after, what the hell is wrong with you?)

Look, anyone who is that into Christmas that they need it two months ahead of time?  Has the ever-increasing option to go to a 365-days-a-year Christmas Store.  Or buy things online.  They don’t need that in their local drugstore.  The rest of us walk in, take one look, and say “oh hell no,” and walk out again, often without searching for the thing we went in for.  Or if we do, we curtail any further impulse shopping, in order to escape as quickly as possible.

You jump the gun by a month or more, and shove your retail Christmas agenda in my face the first week of NOVEMBER?  I’m going to walk past your door, and go somewhere else.  And I know I’m not alone in this….

(7) SPACEX BEATS RUSSIAN PRICE. The Republic of Kazakhstan—ex of the Soviet Union and still the home of Russia’s primary spaceport—has chosen SpaceX over Russia for launch services (Ars Technica: “Kazakhstan chooses SpaceX over a Russian rocket for satellite launch”). Unsurprisingly, it boils down to money. The launch in question will place small satellites from a few dozen customers in orbit on the same launch.

The first satellite launched into orbit, Sputnik, launched from a spaceport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Central Asian country was then a Soviet republic. Later, the first human to fly into space, Yuri Gagarin, also launched from Kazakhstan. Today, despite its independence, this spaceport remains the primary launch site for the Russian space program.

However, when Kazakhstan wanted to get a small scientific satellite named KazSaySat and a technology satellite called KazistiSat into space, the country didn’t select a Russian rocket. Instead, it chose the US-based launch company SpaceX to reach orbit.

[…][T]he press secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry, Aset Nurkenov, explained why. “The reason for using a Falcon 9 for this launch is that it will be less expensive,” he said. “The total cost is a commercial confidentiality we can not reveal at the request of the American launch provider.”

(8) THE MONSTER. Adri Joy finally gets to read Seth Dickinson’s anticipated sequel: “Microreview [Book]: The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson” at Nerds of a Feather.

It’s been three long, interesting years between the release of Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant and its fair to say this long-awaited sequel, in which the Traitor becomes the Monster, has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year. The Traitor Baru Cormorant blew me away when I read it in 2015: I was still relatively new to modern adult SFF, and at the time I didn’t realise that it was possible to capture this type of political and economic intrigue in fantasy. Baru’s journey from island prodigy to rebel leader was immensely satisfying, as was the fact she was doing it all as a civil servant. Then, like all books, it ended, and as anyone who has read it will sympathise, it ended like that. I lost hours of sleep. If you haven’t read the book and don’t know what I’m referring to, let me warn you not to look for queer happy endings in this otherwise magnificent book and send you away to do what you will.

(9) SALMONSON ANTHOLOGY. Adri Joy also adds an entry to Nerds of a Feather’s series with “Feminist Futures: Amazons!”

Legacy: I read Amazons! in 2018, sandwiched between the Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, a trilogy about a sheepfarmer’s daughter who finds her calling as a warrior, and Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky, in which a woman veteran seeks restoration after killing the renegade demigod who took her entire world to war. In that context, the legacy of Amazons! – and, perhaps more importantly, the writers in it and the movement it represents – is one that has made a huge difference to the range and depth of well-crafted woman-centred fantasy narratives out there to discover. Reading the anthology has definitely piqued my interest in the stories that prefaced full novels, namely “The Dreamstone” – which started the Ealdwold series – and “Bones for Dulath” by Megan Lindholm, which was the first appearance of Ki and Vandrien (although neither is a work that the authors are primarily known for now). …

(10) O’NEIL OBIT. From the BBC — “Kitty O’Neil: Wonder Woman stuntwoman dies at 72”.

Kitty O’Neil, a stuntwoman who was Lynda Carter’s stunt double on 1970s TV series Wonder Woman, has died in South Dakota at the age of 72.

O’Neil, who lost her hearing when she was five months old, also doubled for Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman.

Her other credits included Smokey and the Bandit II and The Blues Brothers.

O’Neil’s success as a stuntwoman led her into the world of speed racing and she set a land-speed record for women in 1976 – which still stands today.

The New York Times version adds –

On a dry lake in Oregon in December 1976, Kitty O’Neil wedged herself into a three-wheeled rocket-powered vehicle called the SMI Motivator. She gave the throttle two taps to awaken the engine and then watched an assistant count down from 10 with hand signals. At zero, she pushed the throttle down.

The Motivator accelerated rapidly, though silently for Ms. O’Neil; she was deaf. Her speed peaked briefly at 618 miles per hour, and with a second explosive run measured over one kilometer, she attained an average speed of 512.7 m.p.h., shattering the land-speed record for women by about 200 m.p.h.

For Ms. O’Neil, her record — which still stands — was the highlight of a career in daredevilry. She also set speed records on water skis and in boats. And, working as a stuntwoman, she crashed cars and survived immolation.


  • November 7, 1954 – Giant robots attack Chicago in Target Earth.
  • November 7, 1997 — A version of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers premiered in theatres.


As long as we are examining number theory, the house number for Wil Wheaton’s fictional home on The Big Bang Theory is 1701.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ]

  • Born November 7, 1914 – R.A. Lafferty. Writer known for somewhat eccentric usage of language. His first novel Past Master would set a lifelong pattern of seeing his works nominated for Hugo and Nebula Awards as novels but not winning either though he won a Hugo short story for “Eurema’s Dam”. He had received a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, he received the Cordwainer Smith Foundation’s Rediscovery award. I’m going to confess that I’ve not read him so I’m leaving up to y’all to tell me which works of his that I should read. (Died 2002.)
  • Born November 7, 1954 – Guy Gavriel Kay. So the story goes that when Christopher Tolkien needed an assistant to edit his father J.R.R. Tolkien’s unpublished work, he chose Kay who was at the time a student of philosophy at the University of Manitoba. And Kay moved to Oxford in 1974 to assist Tolkien in editing The Silmarillion. Cool, eh? The Finovar trilogy is the retelling of the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, which is why much of his fiction is considered historical fantasy. Tigana likewise somewhat resembles renaissance Italy. My favorite work by him is Ysabel, which strangely enough is called am urban fantasy when it really isn’t. It won a World Fantasy Award.
  • Born November 7, 1960 – Linda Nagata. Her novella “Goddesses” was the first online publication to win the Nebula Award. She writes largely in the Nanopunk genre, which is not be confused with the Biopunk genre. To date, she has three series out: The Nanotech SuccessionStories of the Puzzle Lands (as Trey Shiels), and The Red. She has won a Locus Award for Best First Novel for The Bohr Maker which the first novel in The Nanotech Succession. Her 2013 story “Nahiku West” was runner-up for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and The Red: First Light was nominated for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her website is here.


(15) A NAME TO CONJURE WITH. Conjure, as in, his events disappear before happening. Trae Dorn at Nerd & Tie asks “Is Ray Jelley Running a Roman Themed Event Called ‘Like Caesar?’”

Some of you may remember that last year we ran a number of stories covering Angry Goat Productions and it’s owner Ray Jelley. If you don’t feel like trodding through half a dozen stories today, the short version is pretty simple — over the years a man named Raymond Francis Jelley has announced a series of events which then all ended up being cancelled prior to taking place.

There are a number of other details, including a lawsuit filed by a member of The Hobbit films, but that’s really the important bit.

In any case, after a string of announcements under the Angry Goat moniker, and a Harry Potter themed train under a different name, Mr. Jelley seemed to drop off my radar for a while. He seemed to go silent, and that was just fine as far as I was concerned.

Well, at least until recently.

Over the last couple of weeks, Nerd & Tie has received messages from multiple sources pointing us to an event called “Like Caesar.” …

(16) SHORT FICTION REVIEWED. Charles Payseur needs to be quick when the subject is Lightspeed — “Quick Sips – Lightspeed #102”.

It’s an issue of return in this November issue of Lightspeed Magazine. Two short stories and two novelettes make the issue a bit heavy, and for me a big theme running through the pieces is the idea of cycles and returns. Returns to childhood dreams, to classic books, and to familiar settings. There’s a look at childhood and how children are often confronted by some very upsetting things that they can’t quite handle, that they certainly shouldn’t have to deal with. And it’s a rather dark issue, centering death and abuse and trauma and a shift of the familiar for the strange, for the new and dangerous. Even so, there’s a beauty and a light that shines through a lot of these stories, where children can find their way through the darkness to someplace safer and free. Where even if there is loss, that loss can be honored, and remembered. And yeah, let’s just get to the reviews!

(17) SUBLIMINAL SHINTO. In “The Philosophy of Miyazaki” on YouTube, Wisecrack discusses how the Japanese religion of Shinto ensures that the characters in Miyazaki’s films learn to respect nature.

(18) THOSE DARN LEFTIES. No strawman is safe when it’s Sarah A. Hoyt’s day to write for Mad Genius Club: “Reading Authors”.

Besides all this, what IS the obsession with “male” in “don’t read white males.”  No, seriously.  I’m 56 years old an my early influences as were almost exclusively female: Enid Blyton, (who was the one that made me want to be a writer) the Countess of Segur and Agatha Christie.  Dumas and Shakespeare fell in there somewhere along the way, but so did Austen.

And in science fiction Anne McCaffrey was a major influence in my teen years.

So…. really?  What is this exclusively male voice that we need a break from.  Hell, given that I read a lot of cozy mysteries and most of those are women, reading a male now and then IS a break.

(19) PLONK YOUR NONMAGICAL TWANGER. Victoria Lucas heard something in 1963 – it may have been music. “[November 7, 1963] This Performance Not Wholly Silence (John Cage and his art)” at Galactic Journey.

I really don’t know how to describe it.  I realized that I was trapped, because I didn’t know where my host or driver was.  I didn’t even know—with my poor sense of direction—if I could find the car and house again in the dark, but it wouldn’t help even if I could, with no keys.  I contemplated going out and sitting in the lobby (rather than outside in the snow), because the noise from the piano harp, legs, sounding board, and everything else Tudor wired was so loud.  That was how and why I experienced the breakthrough I did.  I couldn’t leave.  I decided to stay and started to resent the people who were leaving, although I soon didn’t care.  They couldn’t help leaving any more than I could help staying.  The music was loud and had no melody, no rhythm, nothing definable to get a handle on it.  It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before.

Exactly.  That was exactly it: I had never heard anything like it before, and eventually that was why I stayed in the concert hall rather than sitting in the lobby.  At some point early on it was obvious that the music and dance were on separate tracks, had nothing to do with each other.

(20) WORD OF THE YEAR. “Words, words, words: ‘Single-Use’ Is The 2018 Word Of The Year, Collins Dictionary Says” – NPR has the story.

The English-speaking world’s growing concern for the environment and the ubiquity of disposable items that are used only once has pushed the word “single-use” to the top of Collins Dictionary’s list of “Word of the Year.”

Collins says there’s been a fourfold increase in the usage of the word since 2013, in part thanks to news coverage of environmental issues.

Single-use “encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment,” Collins says.

(21) GOING APE. Jeff Lunden’s NPR article “‘King Kong’ On Broadway Is The 2,400-Pound Gorilla In The Room” discusses the fascinating live effects – but since this is a musical, it’s strange to see not a word about the songs, etc.

…Let’s start with the old school. Ten puppeteers are onstage moving the beast.

“They’ve got ropes down there which are connected to the wrist and the elbows, so they can move it,” Williams says. “It’s basically the oldest style of puppet — a marionette.”

Khadija Tariyan is one of the puppeteers who operate Kong’s legs, arms and torso on the stage.

“To be Kong, we are one with Kong,” she says. “We wear these black hoodies, and we’re all in black outfits, and we’re for the most part quite hidden. And we — we’re in a crouch position, so you don’t necessarily always see us — we’re almost like his shadows. And then there also moments in the show where we are able to come out and almost express his feelings, like when he’s curious about something, we do have a little appearance.”

(22) UNLEVEL PLAYING FIELD. Still need the Equal Rights Amendment they tried to pass 40+ years ago — “League of Legends firm sued over workers’ sexism claims”.

League of Legends’s developer is facing legal action over allegations it paid female employees less than men because of their gender and tolerated sexual harassment.

The action against Riot Games is being pursued by one of its former workers as well as a current staff member.

It follows investigations by the Los Angeles Times and the news website Kotaku, which made related claims.

Riot has not said if it will challenge the accusations.

(23) THE BLAME GAME. Forbes’ Erik Kain lists “The 5 Biggest Problems With This ‘Diablo Immortal’ Fiasco”.

It doesn’t help that early reports from players of the Diablo Immortal demo are largely tepid at best. It doesn’t help that we PC and console players are not only aware of the mobile game industry’s bad monetization practices, but also of the limits of mobile gaming’s inputs and controls. We know for a fact that Immortal won’t be as good as a PC Diablo title. It’s not possible.

So we’re left clueless as ever, still wondering when and what the next real Diablo game will be.

With a bungled announcement, one might expect that fingers would be pointed at Blizzard and its surprising incompetence on this front, but sadly that was largely brushed under the table as everyone began focusing their ire on the usual suspects: Gamers.

And ReviewTechUSA did a YouTube commentary:

Yesterday, Activision’s stock fell by a staggering 7.2 percent. This put the stock on track for having the lowest close it had since January 2018. Fans are still outraged over Diablo Immortal and there is even a petition with over 35,000 signatures asking for Blizzard Entertainment to cancel the game. However, on the other side of the coin analysts are excited for the mobile title and predict it will bring Activision and Blizzard over 300 million dollars of revenue annually.


[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Sheila Strickland.]

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70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/7/18 Neil Gaiman On A Mountain Of Books Holding a Kitten

  1. @John M. Cowan:

    I recall that story as the astronaut entering the capsule to find that one of his fellows had written that on a sign and propped it up on an instrument panel. I associate the story with John Glenn, but I’m not sure… and making the sign sounds like classic Wally Schirra.

  2. 23) I would have been one of the persons booing and that is because of the microtransactions. I have too low impulse control to play games with microtransactions. They tend to cost me a lot of money before I have to delete them. I can scrape along with Pokemon Go, but it is an effort to not pay and that is when already having reached lvl40 and not being on Xp hunt anymore.

    It is getting harder and harder to find a new game without microtransactions which means less and less games that I can play. So I am kind of happy that Blizzard is getting a serious amount of badwill. Because they have chosen an earning method based on gambling addicts.

  3. @Chip Hitchcock

    @Cora: I am interested but not surprised to hear that @18’s conclusion is flat-out wrong rather than just unsupported. It’s possible he was confusing SF with horror, which I’ve seen reported as cycling with the (local?) economy — people being less interested in being terrified when the daily grind (or lack thereof) is quite terrifying enough, thankyouverymuch — but that’s cyclic (so far) and on a much shorter period (5-20 years depending on measures, phase of the moon, etc.).

    I think you mean 4. 18 is the Sarah Hoyt item, though your comment would apply just as well there.

    At any rate, I’m not sure if the conclusion in article under 4 are globelly wrong, they just don’t apply to Germany at all. No idea why this is so, though one potential explanation is that most of the people working in the manufacturing sector the author extolls so much don’t care for SF and in fact don’t read much fiction in general. Through my day job, I’ve met a lot of people – engineers, foremen, etc… – working in the sort of industries the author praises so much and none of them was an SF fan. And while there are a few scientists among German science fiction authors, engineers are rare, and most German SF authors come from the humanities.

    Another thing the author fails to mention is that the really well paid manufacturing jobs in Germany in the car industry, the aerospace industry, the shipbuilding industry, the energy industry, mechanical engineering, etc… are almost exclusively male. A lot of companies operating in these fields have an almost 90% male workforce and the few women usually work in administration, human resources, etc… As an interpreter, I’ve been the only woman in a room full of men plenty of times.

    As for horror being popular during good times, but not during bad times, that theory doesn’t really work either. See the American horror film boom in the early 1930s, during the grimmest time of the Great Depression (and in Germany during the 1920s in the economically grim times of the Weimar Republic. Or the general horror boom in the 1970s and 1980s, generally a grim time with economic troubles, the oil crisis, terrorism on a scale much worse than today (even though plenty of people seem to have forgotten that), the Watergate scandal in the US, the tail-end of the Vietnam War, environmental fears, fear of nuclear war, etc… And currently, as the world is getting a lot grimmer again, we’re experiencing another horror resurgence.

    @cmm is also right that SF tends to reflect current concerns. Also see how certain themes sweep through the genre and we suddenly see a flurry of stories, novels, etc… about this or that theme. And today’s SF writers are more interested in writing about marginalized identities, who does and does not count as human, etc… than about our glorious technological future (TM). We actually do have a lot of stories about AI at the moment, but they’re less about the glorious technological future (TM) and more about identity, personhood, moral responsibility, etc…l filtered through AIs.

  4. About nanopunk–or, really, about the tangle of nonce genre terms that wind up enshrined in Wiki articles–

    I track these things partly because of my training/background (lexicography and taxonomy are embedded in any English teacher’s education) and partly because I’m just a fussbudget about words. “Nanopunk” strikes me as one of those faux genre labels that come out of a readership–faux not because utterly false but because what they really signal is something more like “contains ingredient X”–a motif marker–and a story can have any number of motifs. (Nagata’s early novels are also far-future Stapledonian space operas.) The “punk” part is wobbly because once upon a time it signalled a particular cool, streetwise, borrowed-from-punk-rock attitude that somehow became a marker for anything new or edgy or cool. Nagata is a very cool writer, but not in that mirrorshades-and-leather-jacket sense.

    When I searched on Nagata and nanopunk, one interview I found has this exchange from 2014:

    Q: And what do you think of the nanopunk label, which has been frequently used to describe your work?

    A: As for the term nanopunk, I don’t care for it. “Cyberpunk” was cool. The rest seems derivative—but if readers find it a useful way to sort books, that’s fine.

    (This is from the sentidodelamaravilla blog–I’m not sure what inserting the whole link will do to F770’s filtering.)

    Normally I would check the jessesword site for citations, but Firefox insists that it’s not safe. Anyhow, enough word-nerd burrowing around the intertubes in search of word origins. . . .

  5. John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon:

    A 1,600-word note by me on Lafferty’s Past Master is linked via the right-hand column.

    As to what should be said about him, my note ends

    Grinding away all but the satire, and even the structure, would leave a very flat book. Lafferty’s imagination, his poetry, and his artist’s hand fill it with fire. He was one of the most original authors we have known.

    As to finding his books, don’t forget used-book shops, public libraries, book dealers at science fiction conventions.

  6. Hampus Eckerman: “And why should everything be punk?”

    And so began PunkGate, the political scandal arising from the tendency to name new SFF subgenres by appending “-punk” to a descriptor.

  7. @Hampus re 23. I was discussing this with a colleague who’s a big game player. Apparently microtransactions now account for a huge fraction of revenue in some games. And only 1% of players actually engage in the transactions. So yes, it seems very likely that these games are taking advantage of people’s addiction.

  8. @Soon Lee: Which led to the subgenre of GatePunk, in which the street finds its own uses for scandals and conspiracies–or is the street a presidential palace, slumming?

  9. I’m slowly boxing up my dead-tree library to give to charity. I had a good selection of Lafferty, so I went to get the books to offer to send to filers… and discovered that the Lafferty books were some of the ones that were destroyed in the crawlspace flood I had two years back. *sigh*

    However, if any Filer is looking for specific books (mostly from 1970s through the 2000s, but some later) from any particular author, I’d be happy to send them if I have them. Limited time offer, as I’m boxing them up and they won’t be available for much longer…

    Email me at (rot13) [email protected] or put requests in the most recent Pixel Scroll.

  10. @Magewolf: “I meant that many people blamed the not goodness on the decision to go with a console version not the auction house.”

    Is this not essentially my point?

  11. @Oneiros:”Is this not essentially my point?”

    Maybe? My feeling are that some of the problems with Diablo 3 were because of the hoops they had to go through to make a console version but mostly it came down to a monumental failure of vision. It probably would have been a better PC game without the console version but it still would not have been a good game, in my opinion. But it was easier at launch to just blame everything on the console game wagging the dog, as it were.

  12. The -punk suffix first went off the rails with steampunk, which is generally not punk at all, but is so well-known that there’s a whole family of genres derived from it, like clockpunk and dieselpunk. It’s a bit of a historical accident: the earliest uses of the term did involve punkness, but by the time the term actually caught on, it had somehow lost that association.

    I’d complain about the lack of punkness in these genres, if it weren’t for the fact that “steampunk” is just too well-established at this point. I don’t want the linguists to laugh at me and tell me my theories are “full of awe”. 🙂

    I will complain, though, about uses which don’t match either the cyberpunk pattern (technology and punkness) or the steampunk pattern (fantastic anachronisms in a specific historical era). But those two patterns seem to have caught on, and it seems too late to complain about either one.

  13. @Xtifr:

    It’s a bit of a historical accident: the earliest uses of the term did involve punkness, but by the time the term actually caught on, it had somehow lost that association.

    Yeah,, the first steampunk novel I encountered (“The Difference Engine”) had a lot of the punkness about it. I think that the googles and gears aesthetic proved so appealing to people that it became the defining characteristic of the subgenre, rather than “punkness.”

  14. @Magewolf: I basically agree with that, yeah. However, I do think that switching to a console-friendly version was ultimately a good thing because it’s hella fun on Switch.

  15. @Xtifr:

    The *punk thing came around full circle for me when a friend of mine opined that perhaps a term like “neonpunk” should be coined for the 1980s aesthetic involving corporate dominance, ubiquitous computing, implants, etc. I gently reminded him that “cyberpunk” already existed, and that was the end of that discussion.

  16. @Andrew: for a long time, I thought the term “steampunk” had been coined specifically to describe The Difference Engine. I was rather startled to discover that the term actually predates that novel. (Though it didn’t really catch on till later.)

    @Rev Bob: Ha! That’s excellent!

  17. @Xtifr:

    I was rather startled to discover that the term actually predates that novel.

    So was I.

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