Pixel Scroll 1/13/16 Scrollilas in the Mist

(1) MIND MELD. SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld asks —

Q: What Speculative Fiction titles are you most looking forward to consuming in 2016?

The answers this time come from Rachel Cotterill, Fran Wilde, Lisa Taylor, Paul Weimer, Foz Meadows, Rachel Cordasco, Lynn Williams, Amanda Rutter, Robert Davis, Sally Ember, Ed.D., Nick Mamatas, Delilah S. Dawson, and Sunil Patel.

(2) ARE THE GUNS BIG ENOUGH? Camestros Felapton has added Sad Larry to his line of Hugo figure trading cards. Looks like he’s holding a pair of .32 Lego Specials. Hmm. May need to rethink that. Larry was shooting a .44 Magnum when he was eight years old, and later in life was a licensed machine gun dealer.

Camestros will post additional figure cards posted over the next few days. He says they are all male, and that he is worried about the gender balance of the collection.

So 9 figures only one of which *looks* female (by the crude standards of lego), only one of which is referred to as female and some which could be female. That’s a pretty bad showing. I really want to add some more but avoid anything that looks like I’m mocking somebody’s appearance.

Funny that someone who’s messing with Sad Larry thinks that is what he should be worrying about…

(3) GOING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE. George R.R. Martin’s update on the progress of The Winds of Winter indicated if the manuscript had been turned in by year-end it could have been out by March. Chris Lough at Tor.com explains how a book could be produced at warp speed in “How Could The Winds of Winter Be Published In Only Three Months?”

…The production process is broken into six steps below, with an overall explanation of how the process typically works, coupled with speculation on how that process could be condensed into a span of three months. It should be noted that some of the terminology used may be publisher-specific, even though the terminology describes a universal process within the industry….

(4) LITIGATION. The Last Unicorn Film Tour investors have filed a lawsuit against Connor Cochran. Support Peter Beagle’s summary is:

They’re suing Cochran for $450,000, based on the original investment, not to mention punitive damages for fraud and all legal costs incurred by them. You can read the sordid details here in Sandbox-Complaint-for-Damages.

(5) MARGULIES OBIT. Character actor David Margulies died January 11 of cancer at the age of 78. He was best known for playing the mayor in Ghostbusters and Tony Soprano’s sleazy lawyer. The New York Times recalled:

In “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989), he played the mayor, Lenny Clotch, who evoked the incumbent New York mayor at the time, Edward I. Koch. In the sequel, Mr. Margulies invokes a former mayor (“I spent an hour last night in my bedroom talking to Fiorello La Guardia, and he’s been dead for 40 years”) and expresses skepticism that the citizenry’s obnoxious behavior is to blame for the river of pink slime that is inundating the city.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asks the Ghostbusters team (including Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd). “Go on television and tell 10 million people they have to be nice to each other? Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God-given right.”


  • January 13, 1128 — Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God.
  • January 13, 1930Mickey Mouse comic strip debuted in newspapers.
  • January 13, 1957 – The Wham-O Company developed the first Frisbee.


  • Born January 13, 1893 — Clark Ashton Smith
  • Born January 13, 1933 — Ron Goulart

(8) CAMPBELL AWARD PARAPHERNALIA. Okay, we’ll definitely be watching for this to show up.

(9) NO SANITY CLAUS. Steve Davidson at Amazing Stories proves he’s as tired as anyone of writers who don’t finish in “F**K YOU, Dead Writers”.

The other day I was reading some commentary on George R.R. Martin’s FAILURE to meet his latest installment’s deadline and about how concerned he was regarding fan reaction.

Then, this morning, I was reading the comments to David Gerrold’s latest analysis of the CBS vs Axanar lawsuit and was reminded of David’s FAILURE to get the latest War with the Chtorr novel out – for 23 years,

And THAT reminded me of Harlan Ellison’s FAILURE to finish up a certain anthology I don’t dare mention by name for fear of invoking the wrath of Elcin, the wind god.

And THEN I was reminded of the fact that these living icons of science fictional disappointment are pikers compared to some.

You can not imagine how absolutely apoplectic I am about Robert A Heinlein.  Or Arthur C. Clarke.  Not to mention Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Eric Frank Russell, Fred Pohl, A. Bertram Chandler, Leigh Brackett, Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, Henry Kuttner, Judith Merrill, C.L Moore, Doc Smith, Hamilton, Campbell, Bester, Chalker, Zelazny, Henderson, McCaffrey, Farmer, ….

You’re all dead and now you’ll NEVER finish ANYTHING! …

(10) CRITICAL MORASS. Lou Antonelli’s “On constructive criticism” manages to thread Lois Tilton, criticism, last year’s Hugos, and Catholic theology together on one string.

Most of the reviews of my short story “On a Spiritual Plain” boiled down to “The premise sucks, and it’s a weak story, and it’s badly written, and Lou Antonelli is a miserable human being, anyhow.”

Occasionally I was surprised by some genuinely thoughtful reviews. Any author worth his salt will recognize VALID criticisms. For example, saying a story of mine relies too much on dialogue and first person narration is valid; I lean on that a lot, and it indicates a weakness in my writing skills.

But IMHO, overall most so-called constructive criticism I hear simply reminds me (having been raised a Catholic) of original sin. Deep down, we’re all sinners, and it’s something we all have to fight constantly – to do good and help people, and improve the world.

Constructive criticism is usually just a justification for hatefulness.

(11) KNOW NOTHINGS. ScreenRant learned nothing about the next Star Trek series from an interview with the head of CBS Entertainment – because he doesn’t know anything either.

Despite being the launchpad for the new Star Trek series, CBS Entertainment’s new president Glen Geller revealed to Slashfilm that the show has been developed exclusively by and for the All Access streaming division.

“I’m not sure about the plans creatively for new characters. I don’t have anything to do with it. It really is for All Access. While the network will be broadcasting the pilot, I actually can’t answer any creative questions about it. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Star Trek. I think it’s going to be an exciting project.”

…While Geller says the new TV show will have no connection to the upcoming film, it may be inspired tonally by that franchise. Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), will executive produce the 2017 series. He’ll be joined by Heather Kadin, with whom he also produces CBS series Limitless and Scorpion.

The first episode of the sixth Star Trek series will have to be impressive enough to convince viewers to sign up for a subscription service to see the rest. Netflix has set a precedent for getting new fans to sign up in order to watch episodes of series like Orange is the New Black and Daredevil, and CBS will be hoping longtime Trek fans will be extra motivated. For $5.99 a month, viewers can watch the new Star Trek series, plus every episode of its five predecessors. The service also includes on-demand viewing and live streaming of many of CBS’s other shows.

Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22, 2016. The new Star Trek TV show will debut on CBS in January 2017.

(12) TOUGH TO BE TOLKIEN. Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison’s “Doing Tolkien Wrong” is a reprint of a 2005 article.

I was given The Hobbit for my sixth birthday, The Lord of the Rings for my ninth. I’ve read The Silmarillion. I own the extended edition DVDs of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King–even though I don’t own a DVD player. In other words, I love Tolkien as much as the next really geeky person.

So when I say that Tolkien is an affliction and a curse, you understand that I’m saying it for a reason.

Specifically, Tolkien is an affliction and a curse to fantasy writers. This is a horribly ungrateful thing to say, when it’s largely thanks to Tolkien that fantasy writers can exist as a sub-species today at all. Certainly it’s thanks to Tolkien that so many fantasy novels, especially series of novels, can get published. But, nevertheless, the genre has reached a point where Tolkien causes more problems than he solves.

The reason for this is that, while Tolkien was a genius and a godsend to readers prepared to love secondary-world fantasy, he is a terrible model for writers. And that for a number of reasons, ranging from, on the macro level, his use of the quest plot to, on the micro level, the nature of his prose style. Imitating Tolkien – in and of itself, not a bad idea – has become mired down in slavish adherence to his product, rather than careful attention to his process.

(13) DICK AWARD. Joel Cunningham’s post “This Year’s Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Take SF in Strange New Directions” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog gives the Hugos a little bump en route to praising his favorite sf award.

Sorry Hugos, but for my money, there’s no more interesting award in sci-fi than the ones named for Philip K. Dick. In the tradition of everyone’s favorite gonzo pulpist, the “PKD Award” honors innovative genre works that debuted in paperback, offering a nice reminder that you don’t need the prestige of a hardcover release to write a mind-blowing book (just ask William Gibson, whose seminal cyberpunk classic Neuromancer claimed the title in 1984), and in fact, if past winners are any evidence, the format might be seem as a license to take greater risks.

 [Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Will R., for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day  Soon Lee.]

218 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/13/16 Scrollilas in the Mist

  1. I don’t send friend requests to anyone on FB I don’t already know, but I’m baffled when people send me requests out the blue and don’t also message me about why the want to be my friend. If nothing else, it proves they’re not a spambot. Otherwise I’m just left guessing why they want to be my friend, and since I don’t think of myself as being too interesting, I’m always a bit suspicious.

  2. @ Heather Rose Jones

    Do I read that right that you may have a book coming out this year? I really enjoyed Daughter of Mystery and The Mystic Marriage, so I look forward to your next one also.

    And I found so many new-release books this year that I had no idea existed at the end of 2015. Maybe I’m just always Jenny behind-the-fair but I don’t set my reading schedule in January! Surely there must be other readers like me, looking for good stuff right up until the buzzer sounds and we have to turn our nominations in.

  3. Shao Ping: I don’t send friend requests to anyone on FB I don’t already know, but I’m baffled when people send me requests out the blue and don’t also message me about why the want to be my friend.

    Even if someone does send a Message along with a Friend Request, it often goes unread — because a lot of people on Facebook don’t realize that they have to look in their “Other” bin (now called “Message Requests”) to see if there are any messages from non-Friends there.

  4. Lorcan & Dawn,

    I have the box sets of Clannad and After Story(After Story is where the real emotion is). I thought Fuko’s arc was good and I liked her occasional appearance at just the right moment after her arc was done.

    What I loved was how the writers managed to package so much emotion into what, if Clannad were a RPG, is essentially a side quest.

  5. John Seavey: Well, if CLU tried to friend you on FB, then maybe the comment under his name left here today is genuine. I will approve it after all. (Antonelli had approved comments under another registration — if he’d used it, this one would have posted automatically. That’s why I was dubious.)

  6. Speaking of Robin Hood, Mark Evanier (newsfromme.com) points out that Brian Bedford has died at age 80, and that Mr. Bedford was the voice of Robin in the Disney animated thing.

    It may have been mentioned before I started reading here that composer Pierre Boulez died very recently. This is the age I’m at. Whoever I’ve heard of is in danger of going out from age-related infirmities.

  7. We’re talking about different Clannad sountracks here — Clannad the Irish music group did the soundtrack for an 80s Robin Hood series.

  8. Re: Campbell regalia. OK, the tiara’s worked, even if I’m suspicious that people may be starting to vote by deciding who’d look most interesting in the tiara. I can live with a scepter. But I draw the line at the official Campbell Corgi.

  9. There were TWO good things about Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood. One of them was indeed Alan Rickman. The other was Morgan Freeman. Whenever I have a chance, I like to quote Morgan Freeman’s line after the small child asks him why God painted his face. After being taken slightly aback, he beams and says, “because God loves wondrous variety.” That line and Alan Rickman’s performance redeem the entire movie.

  10. Vasha:

    *reparses the phrase “Clannad soundtrack*

    Yes, that makes much more sense, thank you!

  11. Howard Pyle’s Robin Hood was such a formative part of my childhood that it’s almost spoiled my ability to appreciate any other depiction, written or visual. (I can barely remember the Robin Hood parts of Ivanhoe even though I also read that multiple times in youth. Sorry, Sir Walter, you may have been a pioneer of the pseudo-medieval, but you weren’t the greatest practicioner of it.)

  12. > “I have to selfishly confess that the explosion of ‘most anticipated books of 2016’ lists makes me anxious that people will have already decided what their favorite books of the year will be before I even know whether Mother of Souls will be a 2016 book or not.”

    I understand this worry, but I just wanted to say, speaking only for myself —

    1) Several of my “most anticipated” books of 2015 turned out to be books I didn’t like at all. Most anticipated doesn’t mean favorite. These books aren’t even out yet!

    2) Based on previous years, I’m likely to read at least three or four times as many 2016 SFF books as I listed (plus many that are not SFF), if not more, so I’ve got plenty of space to find new things. And I keep a constant eye out — my reading schedule certainly isn’t set now. Books get added on to my list throughout the year.

    3) I consciously keep a watch out for small press, self pubs, authors that are new to me, and anything else that happens to catch my interest.

    and finally …

    4) I have a space reserved for “Mother of Souls” as one of my most anticipated books of 201_ whatever 201_ happens to end up being.

  13. @ Cat

    Well, that’s the thing: I don’ t know yet whether I’ll have a book in 2016 or not. (Actually, I do know that I’ll have one — my first foray into self-publishing for anything other than a freebie — but that’s an entirely different matter.) I have a delivery date, in mid-year but haven’t been told the pub date yet.

  14. “Howard Pyle’s Robin Hood was such a formative part of my childhood that it’s almost spoiled my ability to appreciate any other depiction, written or visual. “

    Yes, Pyle’s is great, but did you ever try the one by Rosemary Sitcliffe? It was fantastic.

  15. I finished Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald. I was so impressed with his Botanica Veneris and a couple of his other short stories set in his Luna universe that I was eager to read the novel.

    And yet, it didn’t quite work for me. I think the problem is that in a short story I can suspend disbelief long enough to accept the “libertarian dystopia,” but at novel length I kept mumbling to myself “These aren’t corporations–they’re organized crime families. This would never last. Earth would send troops.” The way everyone was bisexual bothered me too. If everyone’s sexual orientation were that fluid, we’d have never needed a gay-rights movement.

  16. I don’t know what my most anticipated book of the year is, but my first anticipated book is the new Tim Powers, Medusa’s Web, out in the next few days.

  17. T. Kingfisher will have a book out called “The Raven & The Reindeer” hopefully in February.

    It’s my most anticipated, but probably not for the same reasons as anybody else… *grin*

  18. @ Heather Rose Jones

    Count me in with Kyra on her #4–whatever your next book is called, and whichever year it comes out, I am already anticipating it!

    @ Red Wombat

    Ooo and I’ll anticipate that one also!

  19. 2016 books I’m looking forward to

    Fire Touched, Patricia Briggs
    I’m a big Patricia Briggs fan and love her fun UF Mercy Thompson series. This is one of the few books I’ve pre-ordered

    Four Roads Cross, Max Gladstone
    I’m behind on the series. I’d like to read this and the previous book.

    Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, Lois McMaster Bujold
    Rereading this. It was a joy to read the eArc. I’m not sure how well this book stands on its own so I doubt I’ll be nominating it. But I highly recommend it to those who’ve read at least the Cordelia books within the Vorkosigan/Milesverse and enjoyed them.

    Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire, Michael J. Sullivan
    One of my favorite epic fantasy authors.
    Set in the world of his popular series, the Riyria Revelations, The First Empire series unveils new truths for Sullivan’s long-time fans while providing a great entry point for new readers.

    The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley
    I suspect this will end up on my related work shortlist. Her blog posts and other articles on related topics have been well worth reading.

    Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal
    I pretty much love anything I’ve read by her. This sounds interesting

    Ilona Andrews doesn’t have any books coming out but expects to drop a few novellas

    I have ~50 books on Tasha’s Amazon wishlist of books releasing in 2016. I’m sure the list will grow. I’ve found them through:
    1. iO9
    2. Goodreads 2016 lists (not always accurate)
    Can’t Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2016
    The “Can’t Wait” Books of 2016
    Can’t Wait Books of 2016

    YA Novels of 2016

    3. Barnes & Nobles blog which Mike Glyer has included in round ups
    4. Other “books in 2016” links Mike Glyer has included in round ups (thanks!)
    5. Customers also bought on Amazon as I added recommended books to Hugo wishlist – one of the best ways to find other pre-order books I’ve found
    6. Updates from Amazon & Authors of new books available for pre-order & sale
    7. Filers

    ETA: RedWombat – another anticipated read

  20. @John Seavey: That’s legit creepy, right?
    Kinda creepy but it happens. I have people FB friend me after reading stuff I’ve written on the net. I took a while to post here because I knew both SP & RP puppy leaders read comments and it could lead to harassment. Eventually I decided since I have a plan set up in case of harassment I shouldn’t let them keep me from joining in and letting filers know how much I enjoyed their discussions. Instead I’ve had a few filers friend/follow me on various social media (Goodreads, Twitter, FB) as well as check my currently dormant blog/website out. Someday I hope to start blogging again and clean up formatting problems at the website.

    @Heather Jones Rose
    Let us know when your book goes up for pre-order/sale. I’ll be looking forward to it whether it’s 2016 or 2017. After reading and enjoying your series so much and knowing it was in some ways a response to Swordpoint (do I have that right?) I reread Swordpoint and for the first time read the other books in the trilogy and the shorts which have been bundled into the ebook reprint of Swordpoint. It was Interesting.

  21. @John Seavey, I apparently have a high tolerance for creepy because that didn’t ping my meter. Also, you really did make a funny comment.

    I don’t have a list of most anticipated books for 2016, although I have preordered the upcoming books by Kevin Hearne and Patricia McKillip. My TBR mountain seems to grow without any active effort on my part, so I usually just rely on serendipity (and a lot of online book talk).

    I finished Updraft by Fran Wilde last night and loved almost everything about it, but the thing I did not love will probably keep me from reading the next book in the series. I’m a little sad about that, because the world building is amazing.

  22. Cheryl S –
    I don’t know that a friend request from most people would have pinged a creepy meter. But given Antonelli’s past actions, I, personally, would have been very cautious if that had happened to me.

  23. @Cheryl S. et al: I’m actually feeling guilty about it, now, because I really did jump to conclusions based on some of the Puppy stuff that happened, and that is unfair of me.

  24. Non-genre notes for today’s scroll:

    Clannad the Irish folk band: add me to the list of people who think the wheels fell off after 1980, when the Robin soundtrack music came. I did love the first five or so albums. As a friend wrote in an apazine: “I wish them well, and I hope they enjoy all the money.” I do treasure the memory of seeing them live in what was essentially a house concert in 1979: I had to move my feet out of the way every time Pol the bass player wanted to set his instrument down.

    Alan Rickman: I’ll commend the film “A Little Chaos” (2014) to the Rickman fans. Alan Rickman directed it, co-wrote it, and plays the supporting role of King Louis XIV. The king has commissioned the gardens at Versailles, and the young widow Kate Winslet gets a subcontracting job to build one of the garden features. (Rather anachronistic, that, so perhaps we could call it a fantasy? 🙂 )

    note to @red wombat: it’s a gardening movie!!

  25. I would definitely be wary of a CLU friend request, given his vengeful nature, but yeah, that comment was funny, and he is a fellow writer.

    Reading-wise, I just finished The Fifth Season. Almost threw me off in the first chapter with its colorful prose, almost threw me off with its grim and initially not likeable characters, but ultimately was an engaging story and a fascinating world. My first foray into N.K. Jemison’s writing, as far as I know (may have read a short story or two, but those flit right out of my head after reading until I’m reminded of them). Almost certainly on my shortlist.

  26. @ Tasha Turner

    Alpennia wasn’t specifically a response to Swordspoint any more than it was a response to all the other books that just missed being the book I needed them to be. But Swordspoint was sort of the final straw in convincing me I simply needed to write my own stories.

  27. I don’t have an anticipated in 2016 list, either, but I do have the following books pre-ordered from amazon:

    Mar 1 – Chaos Choreography: An InCryptid Novel, Seanan McGuire
    Apr 5 – Visitor: A Foreigner Novel, CJ Cherryh
    Apr 5 – Labyrinth of Drakes: A Memoir by Lady Trent, Marie Brennan
    Jun 14 – League of Dragons: A Novel of Temeraire, Naomi Novik
    Aug 16 – The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth), NK Jemisin

    I will of course be buying a lot more than those 5! I usually don’t purchase ebooks until I am ready to read them. (Though I do put them on the wishlist to remind myself about them.)

  28. @Hampus

    Rosemary Sutcliffe was a amazing writer; I happily reread her stuff notwithstanding the fact that it’s been a long time since I was a child, or even a young adult, insofar as I know very little about how to define YA.


    I worry that Ursula Vernon may be following in GRR Martin’s footsteps; she has created a remarkable work of Military Fantasy, pushing at the envelope, thinking outside the box, revolutionising the way in which we look at combat, yet we are still waiting on tenterhooks for the next novel in the series.

    I mean, obviously the artist must be given room to explore their creative needs, and of course I will buy T Kingfisher’s other novels anyway, but it’s hard when you are waiting and wondering which beloved character may get the chop in the next volume, particularly if a teddy bear is sitting on one’s head…

  29. John Seavey: I don’t know if you saw it, but our gracious host let an Antonelli post out of first-post moderation on the previous page. He said he sent the request because he thought it was a funny post.

  30. @ULTRAGOTHA, @John Seavey – Everybody gets to decide their own tolerance for, well, everything. Guilt free! However, it looked like a poll that was weighting heavily to one side, so I thought I’d offer my take.

    (10) CRITICAL MORASS – I always feel for authors who read their reviews, good and bad, and wish they wouldn’t. There are very few reviewers, amateur or professional, who offer the kind of nuanced, mostly egoless critical appraisal that would actually help a writer and, as someone (could it have been Lois Tilton?) wrote upthread, that particular work is already done anyway.

    Beta readers, your partner and friends, and your editor are where you go for helpful advice that makes your work better.

  31. Re: unexpected CLU friend requests

    I’m up for that. It’s not every day one has the chance to friend a Tron character!

    Re: definitive Robin Hood

    That one’s easy. My definitive Robin Hood just made a really bad Tron joke and is almost completely incompetent with a bow and arrow.

    (True story: My mother now regrets not giving me a middle name that starts with an N, because then I’d be “Rob N. Hood.”)

    Re: Ben & Jerry’s as consolation

    Never works for me. All these pints of Chunky Monkey, and I have yet to find even a gram of genuine primate – chunky or otherwise.

  32. My favourite Sutcliffe is Knight’s Fee but she gets the honour of writing the first thing that squicked me out in The Lantern Bearers when Aquila finds his sister worn down to acceptance post rape in the Saxon camp.

  33. @Stevie – I actually was working on it just a few weeks ago! (And mine, at least, are much shorter than GRRM’s…)

  34. Well, thanks guys, now I’ve got some unholy mashup of Enya and the Dango Song in my head. smacks head, hears record scratch noise, and then “under the moonlight, the serious moonlight” Whew that’s better.

    @John: Creepy. Even if well-intentioned, still creepy.

    A Campbell cloak is definitely the next on the list. It’s so SFF. And it MUST sparkle or glow in the dark or both. It gots to have stars on it, either stylized or realistic. Maybe galaxies and nebulae and stuff. Meredith wants dragons. Obviously, it must be color-coordinated with the tiara. I never know what any of the nominees look like, so I don’t/won’t decide who’ll look best or worst in the regalia.

    Just finished “The Fifth Season” and might read it again va puebabybtvpny beqre. It is NOT a cheery fun book at all, but so well-written. I really really did not like her previous work, but I liked this a lot.

    I’m super-anticipating the sequel, as well as Fourth Whatever by Gladstone, b/c I adore those books. Then I have to reread all of those in numerical order. And FINALLY, the final Temeraire. And the last Libriomancer (sob) by Hines, already pre-ordered. Also, I read a very very early version of “Ghost Talkers” and it is going to be amazing and I will buy it immediately if not sooner. Need the next Lady Trent memoirs and next Bujold, although those are borrow not buy.

    I’m so old that my definitive Robin Hood is Errol Flynn. The Saturday TV matinees ensured I saw a lot of movies from well before I was born. Robin of Sherwood was pretty good though. So was Bergin’s. I kept wishing Bergin could have been transplanted into Coster’s place and we’d have had one good movie.

    @Greg H: “Luna” suffers greatly from being half a book, improbable bisexuality and mob-run libertopia aside. Also, most of the characters are terrible people.

  35. RedWombat

    Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity* and I am immensely thrilled to hear that you have been at work on your magnum opus within these last few weeks. Also, very good point about GRR Martin adhering to the code of ‘if it’s less than 1000 pages then it’s not a novel.’

    * Ok; humanity, goblins, elves etc.

  36. Re: Improbable bisexuality

    I speak only for myself, but I’m not super keen on the everyone-is-bisexual-really concept. It erases sexualities left right and centre, and also feels a bit like it contributes to bisexual invisibility in a way. If we’re all bisexual, why would the various problems specific to bisexuality need attention? No, I’m not a fan.


    Meredith wants dragons.


    I would accept a dragon in constellation form since there should be stars anyway.

    Or a dragon riding or piloting a rocket. That would be cool, too.

  37. I think a lot of people identify as more single-mindedly attracted to a single gender than is strictly true. In Kinsey terms, I think we’ve got a lot of social pressure to identify as 1 or 7 rather than 2 or 6; “weakly bi” tends to get erased.

    But that’s one opinion. Doubtless many others disagree, and that’s cool.

  38. Heather Rose Jones: I’m looking forward to anything and everything you publish (in the meantime, I’ll fill in by reading the new series I discovered today because of your review — I didn’t even finish the review, and I was buying the first Beth Bernobich novel in the _River of Souls_ series, and I’ve been yanked completely in and under, so THANK YOU!).

    Red Wombat: And also wanting to read your new work as well!

  39. I want a number on the Kinsey scale for “this all just seems like so much more work than when I was nineteen.”

  40. @Hampus: I somehow missed Sutcliff, but have her queued up now. Thanks.

    @Ken Josenhans, re Clannad concert: Lucky dog! But I’ve got some favorite concert memories too, such as Finest Kind raising the roof in a coffeehouse. Their encore, by request, was “A Pilgrim’s Way” with its magnificent Peter Bellamy tune that swept everyone home on an exhilarating wave.

    Recent reading: Silver on the Road, by Laura Ann Gilman, left me a bit underwhelmed. I kept waiting for the central concept to make sense, but it never really did. Supposedly the Territory, the center of the North American continent, between the Mississippi and the Rockies, was placed under an Agreement before ever the Spanish and other Europeans arrived, by a power Christians call “the devil” (and if he’s nothing to do with them, why is his watchword, maleh mishpat, in Hebrew?) And supposedly this area is far more magically alive than the rest of the continent, not clear why. Supposedly the devil is the most benevolent of non-intervening authorities, protecting those who’ve signed on to the agreement but letting them, and the unaffiliated such as natives, be and do whatever suits them so long as they harm none. There is much skirting around the problem of colonialism and expansionism. And lots of unanswered questions, such as the reason, other than the author’s covenience, why the lingua franca of the Territory should be English.

    That aside, the storytelling is pretty effective. We ride along with a 16-year-old heroine, Izzy, as she learns to be the devil’s Left Hand, extending his justice to everyone in the Territory. Her development is well plotted; she overcomes overwhelming doubt annd confusion (having been thrown into a huge responsibility almost unprepared!) And figures out what the job needs, how to exercise the power that the devil loaned her, and how to exert authority when no one’s inclined to heed her because of her age and sex. Her companion and mentor, Gabriel, is a bit less developed because the author is obviously holding back a lot about him for a sequel; this suppression felt artificial to me.

    The writing is mostly graceful, doing a very good job of conveying the feeling of crossing prairie on horseback, and with some spine-tingling depictions of the Territory’s magic and its supernatural perils. She does not have such a good hand with dialogue, though, and courts comparison with B movies whenever she decides to have a character deviate from standard speech, whether it be a native or a “mad” magician. (And I’m not fond of the trope where the major effect of “madness” is to make a oerson speak in flowery, circuitous language.)

    So, good in parts, but I doubt I’d seek out a sequel.

  41. Rev. Bob on January 14, 2016 at 6:43 pm said:
    I think a lot of people identify as more single-mindedly attracted to a single gender than is strictly true.

    That’s a weird fetish, who are these people? Most people I know have sexual orientations.

  42. @Rev. Bob

    I think a lot of people identify as more single-mindedly attracted to a single gender than is strictly true. In Kinsey terms, I think we’ve got a lot of social pressure to identify as 1 or 7 rather than 2 or 6; “weakly bi” tends to get erased.

    That might be true, although I’ve never seen a paper on it that really convinced me. (We’ll probably have to wait until there’s zero stigma to get really good answers.)

    But in “Luna,” everyone is a 3. Or else they’re considered unhealthy. This only applies to the ~1.5 million people on the moon colony though. A newcomer from Earth is surprised by it, and it’s attributed entirely to culture.

    That I find impossible to believe.

  43. In high school, I read and then re-read Rosemary Sutcliff’s “Sword at Sunset” so many times that when I graduated, the librarian gave it to me. I still have that battered copy, but I’m afraid to read it now for fear that the suck fairy may have visited since my last read, over 20 years ago. I re-read “Eagle of the Ninth” every so often, and it seems to have fought the little monster off. But I’m reluctant to risk it with Sword.

  44. I don’t believe that everyone is bisexual, or that everyone who is bi is attracted to the same number of men and of women. (Proof by contradiction: I exist, I’m bi, and “attracted to as many men as women” doesn’t describe me.)

    I do find it plausible that, in a culture where being anything other than a Kinsey 3 was considered unhealthy, a lot of people would try to pass as 3’s, some more successfully than others. Also that some people from that culture, if they were at all bi, would do their best to talk themselves into that sort of equal attraction.

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