Pixel Scroll 1/15/16 By Grabthar’s Hammer, You Shall Be Scrolled!

Schedule note: There will not be a Scroll on January 16 – I will be away at a meeting and won’t have time to prepare one. I’ll still moderate comments, since I can do that by using my Kindle to check in periodically.

(1) DOWN THESE MEAN FOOTPATHS. Peter McLean, author of Drake, explains some of his work in a post at Black Gate, “On Writing Modern Noir Fantasy”.

A Noir world.

So what’s that? Noir needs to be dark, by definition, but I don’t think it has to be tied to any particular time period. The classic Hollywood Noir is set in LA or New York in the 1940s but it can work equally well in the backstreets of ancient Rome or the mean cantinas of Mos Eisley, or even in modern South London for that matter.

Noir implies bitter, cynical black-and-white men in hats and beautiful, dangerous women with secrets to hide, but it doesn’t have to be that either. You could have a hard-bitten battle-scarred female veteran of an alien war as your main character and still be writing Noir.

It’s about the feel and the vibe rather than the place or even the people who occupy that place. Noir is about dark thoughts and dark motives, deep introspection followed by double-crosses in back alleys and brief moments of sudden, brutal violence.

But there is a certain aesthetic as well, and I think that’s important. To understand the visual motif you only have to look at how the old movies play with light and shadow, the half-seen faces and the way sunbeams stream through the slats of a blind into the air of a smoky room.

(2) LISTEN IN. Leah Schnelbach of Tor.com was there for – “Race, Publishing, and H.P. Lovecraft: A Conversation With Daniel José Older and Victor LaValle”.

Earlier this week, a large and enthusiastic crowd packed Greenlight Bookstore in defiance of freezing temperature and threats of snow. Greenlight hosted a launch party for Midnight Taxi Tango, Daniel José Older’s second novel in the Bone Street Rumba series. But rather than the usual reading-and-wine-soaked-light-conversation that is the centerpiece of most literary events, this party soon became a lively and wide-ranging conversation about race, publishing, and the true legacy of H.P. Lovecraft. Older’s reading was fantastic, but it was his discussion with Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver and the forthcoming The Ballad of Black Tom, that turned the event into one of the best literary nights I’ve ever attended.

(3) FREAKY FRIDAY. Washington Post writer Peter Marks reports the Disney Theatrical Group and Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia are producing a musical version of Freaky Friday, which will receive its premiere this fall. The musical will be composed by Tom Kitt with lyrics by Brian Yorkey.

In a deal that rockets Signature Theatre into a whole new producing orbit, the Arlington company will team up this fall with the Walt Disney Co. to present a world-premiere musical version of “Freaky Friday,” with a score by the Pulitzer Prize-winning team behind “Next to Normal.”

(4) BEAR NECESSITIES. Adam Rowe’s “The Taxonomy of Crazy Fantasy Art: A Visual History of 1970s Polar Bear-Drawn Sleighs” at the B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog, a glorious post idea in its own right, includes this insightful quote —

As one blogger at the Ragged Claws Network puts it, “Chaykin’s attempt to supply Urlik Skarsol’s polar bear team with a semi-plausible harness […] actually diminishes rather than enhances Frazetta’s gloriously silly original concept by drawing undue attention to the mundane question of how, exactly, the fantasy hero’s cool mode of transportation could be made to work in the real world and whether Chaykin’s design is, in fact, a viable solution.”

(5) NOT HAPPY DAYS. Geek Art Gallery shows what forces would have been awakened if these new heroes and villains had met while attending Star Wars High School.

(6) YODA YOU CAN TALK LIKE. Infogram by Grammarly.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Alan Baumler.]

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307 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/15/16 By Grabthar’s Hammer, You Shall Be Scrolled!

  1. I used to sing The Sun Is A Mass to my boys when they were babies. Also Particle Man, Cowtown, Turn Around and Constantinople. If they were still awake I went into American Pie and after that I gave up and sang Alleluia.

    They’re all traditional Irish lullabies.

  2. @Tasha Turner —

    When I mentor writers about dealing with their first one star review I suggest they look up their favorite authors. Then celebrate making it to the big time as they are in good company with all the greats.

    The person from whom I got my first one-star review had given Consider Phlebas a two star rating. It was very difficult to take the one star personally after I’d discovered that.

  3. Glaurung the Golden, Father of Dragons isn’t at all good, but is an actual character. (So is Smaug. Ancalagon, not so much.)

    Yevaud and Orm-Embar from Earthsea also come to mind.

  4. @Jim Henley: I rewrote the ending for “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”

    LOL! Thanks, that was great. 😀 Like a “How It Should Have Ended” bit.

  5. Thanks to Lexica, Lis, World Weary and Kendall – and I hope I caught everyone…

    Jim Henley: I quoted your version of Itsy Bitsy Spider to my husband over supper. He laughed.

  6. @Vasha, @Cheryl S, and @lurkertype – Finished Wylding Hall today, and was glad I took your recommendations to heart. I’m not sure if I’m really impressed or what, but the filer recommendations I’ve followed through with have almost all been excellent.

    It reminded me of a less artsy House of Leaves in its creepiness and not-quite horror.

    Hand’s writing doesn’t get in the way of her storytelling, and though at times I’d lose track of which POV I was on, I more often found myself enjoying how combining the subjective nature of all the (slightly) unreliable narrators’ recollections gave a clearer view of the events they were remembering than any one would have.

    There were no surprises in the story, but it was well told, and elements are lingering in my mind.

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