Pixel Scroll 12/18/16 Scroll Measured By Weight. Pixels May Settle In Packing

(1) PROMETHEUS AWARDS RECOMMENDATIONS. Members of the Libertarian Futurist Society can formally nominate a work for any category of the Prometheus Awards.

Here are the works nominated so far in 2016 for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel:

2016 Prometheus Award Best Novel nominations
(Nominations as of Dec. 17, 2016. Nominations deadline: Feb. 15, 2017)

  • Morning Star: Book III of The Red Rising Trilogy, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey, Feb., 2016)
  • Speculator, by Doug Casey and John Hunt (HighGround Books, Sept. 2016)
  • Dark Age, by Felix Hartmann (Hartmann Publishing, June 2016)
  • Kill Process, by William Hertling (Liquididea Press, June 2016)
  • Through Fire, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books, August 2016)
  • The Corporation Wars: Dissidence by Ken MacLeod (Orbit, 2016)
  • Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (TOR Books, 2016)
  • Written in Fire, (Book 3 of The Brilliance trilogy) by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer, Jan. 2016)
  • The Core of the Sun, by Johanna Sinisalo and Lola Rogers (Grove Press/Black Cat, January 2016)
  • Blade of p’Na, by L. Neil Smith (Phoenix Pick, October 2016)
  • Arkwright, by Allen Steele (TOR Books, March 2016)
  • On to the Asteroid, by Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson (Baen Books, August 2016)
  • Necessity, by Jo Walton (TOR Books, July 2016)

(2) THEATRICAL ALIENS. Alastair Reynolds’ story is being brought to the stage using puppets designed by Mary Robinette Kowal — “The House Theater of Chicago to Stage World Premiere of Sci-Fi Thriller DIAMOND DOGS”.

The House Theatre of Chicago presents their initial production in 2017, Diamond Dogs, adapted from Alastair Reynolds’ science fiction adventure by Althos Low and directed by Artistic Director Nathan Allen, playing at the Chopin Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., January 13 – March 5. Diamond Dogs is also a participant in the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, January 19 – 29. Preview performances are January 13 – 20. Opening/press night is Sunday, Jan. 22.

Diamond Dogs follows a 26th century team of humans and transhumans as they investigate a mysterious alien tower, bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Uncovering clues and solving puzzles, each crusader will make dangerous, eye-popping sacrifices to get to the mysteries atop the spire. Blood will spill. This thriller is one of 16 stories set in novelist Reynolds’s expansive Revelation Space Universe. Artistic Director Nathan Allen teams up with The House’s most inventive designers and guest artists to bring this unique universe to life. Body modification is the norm in the future, and award-winning puppet designer Mary Robinette Kowal, who is also an award-winning sci-fi author, articulates and re-shapes the actors’ human forms into powerful mechanized players battling for their lives. Reynolds is one of a new generation of hard science-fiction authors, a craft he began during his decade-long career as an astrophysicist with the European Space Agency. Diamond Dogs is a pure example of the “Deadly Maze Story,” a staple of Science Fiction since H. P. Lovecraft. This world premiere production at The House Theatre of Chicago marks the first of Reynolds’ works to be adapted for another medium.

(3) RESNICK ON WRITING. Joshua Sky interviews Mike Resnick for Omni.

JS: What other elements are important in a new writer? Is it attitude, is it talent? What’s your take on that?

MR: First, you’ve got to be a smooth enough writer so that it’s not an effort for the editor, or the reader to get to the bottom of each page. That’s essential. You’ve got to know how to push a noun up against a verb with some grace. And of course you should have a knowledge of the field, because while there’s still a million ideas we haven’t touched, there’s probably half a million ideas that have already seen print. And unless you have a totally new take on it you’re not going to sell it. There used to be a rejection slip from Amazing Stories, back when Ted White was editing it, where there’d be a number of boxes he could check to explain why he’d rejected it. The box he checked most was, “Heinlein did it better – and earlier.”

I would love to have a rejection slip like that, but all Galaxy’s Edge’s rejections are personal. But yeah, you’ve got to know the field if you want to write in it. Which makes sense. I mean, shouldn’t you care enough about the field in which you want to make all or part of your living so that you’ve been reading it and know about it, and know what has been done to death and what hasn’t?

(4) ANSWERS WANTED James Davis Nicoll wants to tap into File 770 readers’ collective wisdom about project management tools useful for conrunners.

A local theatrical organization has ongoing communications challenges. The current means of communication (email, facebook, facebook messages) all seem to lend themselves to communications breakdowns [1]. I recall that Basecamp worked pretty well for the Tiptrees but Hipchat, Slack and Telegram have also been suggested as well. I know a bunch of you run cons. Would you recommend any of these tools?

[1] Facebook lends itself to amnesia but even in email it can be hard to find the specific email you want, particularly if you’ve forgotten it exists. Or never knew.

(5) BILL WARREN REMEMBERED. Scott Shaw! told Facebook readers that Svengoolie paid tribute to the late Bill Warren on this week’s program.

Tonight on Me-TV, during his presentation of Hammer’s 1960 classic THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, Svengoolie (AKA Rich Koz) made a VERY nice mention of Bill Warren‘s passing. He showed the photo of Bill with Robby the Robot and Kerry Gammill‘s cover for the new edition of Bill’s KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES! Sven mentioned Bill’s work with Forry Ackerman and his insanely voluminous knowledge about the films we all love. He even mentioned Beverly Warren! It made me very proud to see such a wonderful acknowlegement of the sweet, funny guy we all miss.

I wasn’t aware that Sven’s tribute to Bill was gonna be tonight, but surely some of you out there recorded tonight’s episode of SVENGOOLIE

(6) GABOR OBIT. Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917-2016) died December 18. Her Internet Movie Database bio says —

Undoubtedly the woman who had come to epitomize what we recognize today as “celebrity”, Zsa Zsa Gabor, is better known for her many marriages, personal appearances, her “dahlink” catchphrase, her actions, life gossip, and quotations on men, rather than her film career.

Her biggest genre credit was the movie Queen of Outer Space. She also appeared in Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and episodes of Night Gallery (segment “The Painted Mirror”), Batman, and Supertrain.



  • December 18, 1839 — John William Draper took the first photo of the Moon. (“Say ‘Cheese!’”)
  • December 18, 1968Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opens in New York


  • Born December 18, 1913 – Alfred Bester
  • Born December 18, 1946 — Steven Spielberg (Amazing Stories) and
  • Born December 18, 1958 — Steve Davidson (Amazing Stories)

(9) OUR REPLACEMENTS. Kate Macdonald looks back at early cyborgs in her “Review of ‘No Woman Born’ (1944) by C.L. Moore and ‘Lady in the Tower’ (1959) by Anne McCaffrey” at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

I teach sf to university students, and knew from the critical literature about gender in sf that sometime in the 1940s a writer called C. L. Moore published a landmark story about the first female cyborg. I tracked down a copy of ‘No Woman Born’ this year, and was deeply impressed. This story is a glowing beacon of fine writing and an impressive acceleration of how the cyborg operates in fiction. No longer a destructive masculine, war-making automaton from the post-WW1 years, this cyborg is a dancer and singer whose new flexibility and vocal range enhance her art, and successfully disguise her strength of purpose by using her femininity to cloak her developing ambitions. Deirdre is a person who is now a cyborg, and her humanity is totally present throughout this novella, despite her gleaming gold body, and her inhuman speed and agility.

The story could just as well be a three-act play. It’s set in Deirdre’s apartment where Harris, her former manager, comes to visit her for the first time after her rehabilitation following a disastrous fire, then when he and her besotted surgeon Maltzer watch her first public performance on TV in her new body, and finally when Harris witnesses Maltzer’s threat to prevent any more cyborgs being made, and Deirdre’s command. ‘No Woman Born’ is not just a story of one person, it’s an opening up of possibilities: cyborgs are stronger and faster, so what will that mean for women, as well as for men? What will that mean for the humans left behind? Can relations between a man and a woman be the same now that the woman is made of metal? How will a woman feel about her body, when no-one is there to admire it? And does this matter? By creating a female cyborg whose primary attributes, in the eyes of the men who managed and created her, are her grace and beauty, Moore shows us that when a cyborg claims autonomy, she becomes nobody’s creature, and can decide how she will live her extended, augmented life. It is a tremendous, game-changing story for feminism in sf, and for how we need to learn to think about being post-human. It’s also beautifully written, with unforgettable images of Deirdre learning to see, to stand, move and dance humanly again, in her glittering robe of metal mesh, and her golden, visored face.

(10) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY MUSIC. If you are looking for a Christmas present for your favorite dark ambient fan, the Cryo Chamber label has been releasing massive collaborations named after Lovecraftian gods. The latest one is named Nyarllathotep. The albums are available in CD and digital formats.

A 190 minute dark soundscape album recorded by 25 ambient artists to pay tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. Field recordings from the deepest dark corners of 4 continents. Dusty tapes out of forgotten archives. Strings through crackling amplifiers and distorted drone combine into a sea of pitch black. Nyarlathotep is a manipulative being in the Lovecraftian Mythos. Unlike Cthulhu, or Azathoth, he delights in cruelty and deception. Causing madness is more important than destruction to him.

Smell the burning embers as you kneel outside the sunken temple before Nyarlathotep. Feel the raspy touch of the faceless pharaoh as he leads you to the ancient Pyramid. Hear his inhuman summoning call to gods beyond reality.

(11) AFROFUTURISM. The New York Times highlighted Afrofuturism in their Year in Style 2016 section. In the article, Ytasha L. Womack, author of the 2013 Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, speaks almost in counterpoint to the Puppies:

“When…in the imaginary future… people can’t fathom a person of non-Euro descent a hundred years into the future, a cosmic foot has to be put down.”

…Afrofuturism’s resurgence could not be more timely, arriving as it does in a climate perceived as indifferent, if not downright inimical, to racial and ethnic minorities. In her book, Ms. Womack recalls a time when black or brown sci-fi characters were all but invisible in the culture at large. As a girl, she would fantasize that she was Princess Leia of “Star Wars.”

“While it was fun to be the chick from outer space in my imagination,” Ms. Womack writes, “the quest to see myself or browner people in this space age, galactic epic was important to me.” It was in the absence of minorities from pop lore, she goes on, “that seeds were planted in the imaginations of countless black kids who yearned to see themselves in warp-speed spaceship too.”

Count among them Tim Fielder, a New York graphic artist and animator whose sci-fi illustrations, produced over a 30-year span, drew visitors last spring to “Black Metropolis,” at the Gallatin Galleries at New York University. Mr. Fielder’s pioneering cartoon narratives — notably those of “Matty’s Rocket,” his spirited black female cosmonaut, who will lift off next year in graphic novel form — are particularly relevant now, he maintained: “They let young artists know that they’re not on dangerous turf, that someone has gone there before them.”

(12) BEFORE YOUR EYES. NPR combines story and video in its report “Google assembles decades of satellite photos to show changes on Earth”.

Google Earth’s time lapse videos of earth’s landscape could make you think about the great baseball player Yogi Berra.

“I thought about one of the quotes attributed to Yogi Berra,” says Marc Levy, a political scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who specializes in issues of global health and development. “He said, ‘You can observe a lot just by watching.'”

To show just how much the Earth’s landscape has changed over the past three decades, Google sifted through 5 million satellite images containing three quadrillion pixels. The result is a series of high-resolution, zoomable time-lapse videos that capture, in unprecedented detail, the human impact on this planet.


(13) SCIENCE HISTORY. Genevieve Valentine reviews “’Hidden Figures,’’The Glass Universe,’ And Why Science Needs History” for NPR.

But history tends to get simplified; a map becomes a single road leading from point to point. It’s not surprising that some scientists who contributed invaluably to the field have been kept out of the dominant narrative because they were women, and they were considered anomalies of their time. (That those times practically overlap — meaning a steady line of crucial work being done by women — is one of those scientific patterns that tend to get forgotten.)

But in the last days of the 19th century and the early days of the 20th, Henrietta Swan Leavitt — one of the many woman “computers” at the Harvard Observatory — used the measurements of variable stars to determine fixed distances across space. And fifty years later, Katherine Johnson — a black woman working at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia when the state was still deeply segregated — would map John Glenn’s space flight, and America’s trip to the moon.

(14) RADIO ART. A few months ago we reported the drawing competition BBC Radio 4 was having  to draw episode art for their re-broadcast of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust radio adaptation. The program is airing this month – there will be a repeat Christmas weekend. Schedule here: Stardust – Next on – BBC Radio 4.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian,  Bruce Arthurs, Chip Hitchcock, Michael J. Walsh, Steve Davidson, and Rob Thornton for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

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55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/18/16 Scroll Measured By Weight. Pixels May Settle In Packing

  1. 12) Yeah, the Aral Sea is prima facie evidence that Man can, and does have an enormous, global impact on the Earth, no matter what climate change deniers want to think.

  2. When the going gets tough, the tough get scrolled.

    I came in at the tail end of Svengoolie, because the DVR is set for Batman. I saw a still of Christopher Lee draculating, and then it was ‘last joke’ time. I hadn’t realized that the show was new, or ongoing. I’m probably conflating it with another show that’s on a fringe network, hosted by beatniks. I’m glad Svengoolie’s still at it, and might pay more attention in future.

    I used to live in Newport News, and there we had Dr. Madblood, who had been hosting movies since the 70s. Before we left the area, I learned that he had been Richmond’s “Bozo the Clown” until 1975. We were there from about 1985-2005, so I missed that.

    Also, I got my first look at Turner Classic Movies’ 2016 In Memoriam reel. I caught it at the beginning, because the first thing I noticed was Abe Vigoda with his name on the screen. There seems little need for me to recap who all was in it. Bummer of a year, I must say. It ends with Gene Wilder’s somersault from Willy Wonka, followed by a snatch of dialog from Blazing Saddles.

    There were a couple of surprises, because the year isn’t over yet, and a couple of people in the roll haven’t died yet. (No, not really, but 2016 has a couple of weeks yet to break our hearts just a tiny bit more. Not that it makes me eager for the year to end, because then it’ll be 2017.)

  3. The project management question is in regards to a theatrical group I have been involved in for decades, one where I had a serious enough falling out with the ruling faction to rage-quit twice in the spring and summer. Since I stormed off, things have developed not necessarily to the company’s benefit, leading up a flurry of committee resignations* and a decision that the 2017 show was unworkable under current conditions.

    Even now, a collective is working to salvage the situation. I am somewhat optimistic some sort of show will happen in 2017.

    * I have an unearned reputation for vindictiveness, which I hope to dispel the next time I encounter a certain person, at which point I will congratulate them for not just having been president of a committee that set an all time record for resignations but setting an all time record for multiple resignations by a single person from the same committee (they held two positions).

    I have not worked out the phrasing for their minion, who has to hold some kind of record for resignations to positions held for a committee member who has served more than once.

  4. Ask not what your pixel can scroll for you – ask what you can scroll for your pixel.

  5. @Darren Garrison, The House Theater of Chicago is a live theatrical company, not a movie theater. “Diamond Dogs” is apparently going to be a live stage show.

  6. The House Theater of Chicago is a live theatrical company, not a movie theater. “Diamond Dogs” is apparently going to be a live stage show.

    Yes, that just makes it even harder, given that the story is about tbvat sebz punzore gb punzore, fbyivat chmmyrf. It would at best need to be a very loose adaptation.

  7. (6) As a sort of prophylaxis for the inevitable “damn you, 2016” sentiments, consider the perspective on death of Peter Cushing; long departed yet not absent from the Star Wars universe.

    Also, The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast is selling shirts to commemorate their upcoming 100th episode. Actually, they are going to do a 24-hour live streaming event. Shirt purchases will help fund Scares That Care; a charity that enjoys a lot of support in the horror sub-genre.


  8. Darren Garrison: Theatre actually has a good many clever ways to adapt to all kinds of effects and circumstances, partly because nobody expects it to represent everything literally. I tend to think a weakness of tv and film is that we want the special effects to be literal and perfect; if one leaves a room, one has to go into the next room or a hallway, and be shown doing so. Never mind what is demanded of special effects. Theatre can use a shifting set, or a rotating platform, or just the characters moving a few feet and picking up a different prop. It beckons more imagination.

  9. The Smothers Comedy Brothers Hour did one of the funniest bits I ever saw on TV in response to Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey.” Tom and Dick were two workers at the Honey House Museum, a museum dedicated to the home where Honey lived and Honey played, and Honey grew up. Apart from the fact that Dick actually sang it better than the hit single, the joke was how literally the house was furnished to tell the story of Honey in the exact order it’s presented in the song. (At the moment Dick is singing, “when she was there and all alone,” we see a solitaire set-up on the table.)

    What brought it to mind was that the set itself was perfect, and somehow clockwork-like. It was a revolving set, and as they went from room to room, it turned so the audience and cameras were always seeing the crowd of tourists being shown the museum (and gift shop).

    Bobby Goldsboro, by the way, admired the sketch, and told an interviewer that it hadn’t been his idea to record the song in the first place.

    Our director on “Where’s Charley?” used a revolving sofa (a pouffe) for a crucial scene in the show where I, the mercenary uncle, am trying to romance a man dressed as a wealthy woman. The two of us worked out all the business with the director adding and subtracting, and it was a hit with the audience. After the second night, the wheels started coming off the plywood undercarriage of the pouffe, and, I swear, they liked it twice as much. We could do no wrong, and it was all thanks to George’s genius idea of the spinning furniture. I wish they’d taped that show.

  10. “When you open the overhead files, please be aware that the pixels may have scrolled during reading”

    And is it “Gods Talk” Or God-Stalk”? (Id prefer the latter, because I like the mental picture it projects)

  11. There are some things you can`t cover up with incense and powder
    I thought I heard you mention my name, can`t you pray any louder?
    Don`t come any closer, don`t come any nearer
    My visions for you can`t get any clearer
    Oh, you just want to hear Gods talk
    You got a loaded imagination being fired by God’s talk
    But I can`t say the words you want to hear
    I suppose you`re going to have to play it by ear
    Right here and now

  12. Jack–

    Have you been saving that fine filk for the right opportunity, or was it sudden inspiration?

  13. Thanks!

    And I thought Ive read The lady in the tower by McCaffrey mentioned above. But its not in my database (yes I had a database for the SF Ive read in Prä-internet-times), so apparently I didnt. Probably wasnt out in German and Ive read only german versions back then. Anyway – were other stories set in the same universe perhaps? Because the describtion seems vaguely familiar…

  14. I had a look, and it appears that “The Lady in the Tower” was incorporated into The Rowan. Which I remember reading and enjoying many moons ago.

    It was the first book of a series, and I definitely read #2 (Damia) and #3 (Damia’s Children). Which I vaguely recall not liking as much as the first, and probably ditched the series at that point.

    Looks like McCaffrey’s Unicorn books are also in the same universe too.

    ETA: crud. I meant the Pegasus books.

  15. So, Rogue One was good. Is it worthy of a spoiler thread, where comments such as Dann’s may be hosted?

  16. The production of DIAMOND DOGS in Chicago is NOT the World Premiere. I saw a reading of this play in Washington in 2015, and the play had been staged in Milwaukee the year before that.

  17. @Mark,

    I apologize for the spoiler. Thought my comment was obtuse enough to avoid being in that category.


  18. @Dawn & @Peer – I’m currently almost finished with To Ride a Rathorn (book four) and I’m finding it very enjoyable. Not sure it exceeds God Stalk, but it’s close.

    I did find the plot and world becoming very confusing starting in book two, and the Tori chapters are never, in any book so far where they’ve appeared, as good as the Jame chapters, but I’m looking forward to re-reading the series once I’ve finished the last book. I suspect some of the confusing elements will make a lot more sense the second time around.

    (2) That sounds very interesting. I’m not a big fan of puppets, but I can imagine this would be either amazing or horrible (maybe a continuum of amazing to meh for those who are big fans of puppets).

    (10) Oh man, I was very excited to see “Lovecraft country music”, then realized I’d misunderstood (I suspect OGH intentionally misled me!). Regardless, dark ambient with Lovecraftian themes sounds interesting, just not as novel as country music with Lovecraftian themes.

  19. kathodus, re: Lovecraft country music — my wife left me, my truck died, and Cthulu ate my dog….?

  20. Shit shit shit, a truck just drove in the same xmas market in Berlin, I visited with my kids just an hour earlier. Im totally in shock and dont quite know what I should do with myself right now. Im sure as hell wont be able to sleep now. Please post something about books or songs or something for me to keep my mind of things!

  21. In the thread a few days back discussing The Cold Equations being ripped off from A Weighty Decision in issue 13 of Weird Science, I mentioned how pulpy AWD was. Well, I’ve been reading more of the stories from Weird Science, and I have to say that they are as a whole also very pulpy. A lot of that pulpyness comes from fitting 3 or 4 stories per issue–the stories have to be written only in broad strokes and would have been much better off having each issue being a single story.

    Beyond length, the prose is very purple, the writers never used a period when they had the option of using an exclamation mark, and they never made a point subtly when they could hit you over across the head with it like a sledgehammer. The ending of many of the stories is fully predictable by half-way through, some of them from the first page. (One notable example–a short story involving an alligator puppet on a kid’s show making an off-the cuff remark about running for president, and people making jokes about giving the puppet write-in votes. (t seemed the obvious end would be the puppet winning. Except the puppet winning happened only near the end gur chccrgrre vf oebhtug orsber pbaterff naq pbasrffrf gung gur “chccrg” jnf npghnyyl na nyvra cnenfvgr yvivat ba uvf unaq naq pbagebyvat uvf npgvbaf–naq jura gur bgure nyvraf urneq gung bar bs gurve bja unq orra ryrpgrq cerfvqrag, gurl cbherq bhg bs gur fjnzcf naq gbbx gurve cynprf ba gur unaqf bs zvyyvbaf bs Nzrevpnaf, xrrcvat gurve chccrg cerfvqrag. V qvq ABG frr gung pbzvat. (Naq fgvyy n orggre raqvat guna gur 2016 ryrpgvba.)

    And I’m sure some of you will love Miscalculation from Weird Science 15. (By which I mean some of you will really, really hate Miscalculation from Weird Science 15.)

    Overall, the quality of the stories really helps one understand the sneering disdain the general public had for SF in the 1950’s. Any charm the comics have today come from them being so old (much like a coprolite.)

  22. @Peer:

    I’m glad you and your kids are safe. You’re probably going to be in shock so please take care of you.

    I don’t know about books or songs. But I will mention the most soothing anime I can think of: Polar Bear Cafe. I don’t know if it’s available in Germany, but if it is you may want to check it out. A panda mother is tired of her son lazing about the house and tells him to get a job. In his job hunting, he finds a cafe run by a polar bear. It’s a sweet slice-of-life show with plenty of terrible puns. The predators and prey get along well, and everyone drinks coffee and eats cake. (And sometimes go cherry-blossom viewing and get totally smashed.)

  23. Peer, that sounds horrible! I’m sorry.

    Today is somewhat better than yesterday. I have taken whacks at some bills, and hope to do more tomorrow.

  24. I don’t know about books or songs. But I will mention the most soothing anime I can think of: Polar Bear Cafe. I don’t know if it’s available in Germany,

    Might be watchable here. If not, there is always the manga.

  25. Thanks to all for the kind word, hugs and videos. Polar bear cafe is indeed soothing. Thanks Darren for the link. I dont know yet what to say to my students tomorrow, as this seems to have been a terrorist attackt. But Im much calmer now.

  26. @Peer, I left a market a bit less than an hour before a bomb went off, killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child. The horror mostly wore off after a few years, but the gift of my life has never left. Hugs if you want them.

    I have no videos, but I can do book talk.

    I really liked the new Becky Chambers book, which I hadn’t realized was out because it’s not available in my area in dead tree form. It’s rather different in tone from A Long Way…, but it has interesting world building and something to say about the nature of friendship, interdependence, and what it means to be alive.

    I have also just finished Daughter of the Sword, by Steve Bein, that I think was recommended here. The only way I got to the end was by reading a few pages and then moving on to the next chapter. I don’t know why I don’t like it (maybe some sense that the contemporary character was like she was for plot reasons?), but I didn’t. I might be willing to read another book in the same setting, though, because the bones of good storytelling were there for me.

    I totally parsed this the wrong way on first reading, and had some interesting mental images as a result!

    @ Jack Lint: Thank you! I had that earworm myself, and your lyrics made it even better.

    @ Peer: “The Lady in the Tower” was originally a short story, which McCaffrey expanded into the novel The Rowan. Maybe that’s what you read. There are several more books in that series, of which Damia has had the worst visit from the Suck Fairy: “She’d been looking for men who were her intellectual equals. How could she have forgotten that a woman’s most important function begins with physical domination?” Ew, ew, ew.

  28. @Peer, I offer you Breaking Cat News, “Cats Reporting on the News That Matters to Cats”. If I did it right, the link will take you to the start of the currently running Christmas special–a cat soap opera featuring an ill-considered wedding, lost love, treachery and deceit, psychic twin sisters, and Laundry Canyon. And there’s an archive of the earlier stuff.

  29. Glad to hear that you and your family are safe, Peer. That was indeed a horrible incident and will lead to even more ugliness, I fear.

  30. @Kathodus Fett’s Vette … Star Wars Galaxies … (sniffles) I spent most of the Bush presidency there.

    About the cheeriest thing I can think of right now is how lucky we all are to live in an age with so many different ways to indulge in denial of reality.

  31. @Kip W: I remember the Honey sketch — including the ending argument over which of them had to be the Honey Husband for the next set of tourists. I remember so many good pieces of various sizes from them, and I didn’t even see the first season. (Do you remember Liberace and the long piano?) I would like to have seen some of those sketches live (e.g., Indecision), just to see how they managed to get all the pieces to happen in sequence live.

    I wonder if Goldsboro disclaimed all the sticky songs he recorded, e.g. “Watching Scotty Grow” — ISTM that was all he did….

  32. I signed up for Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s newsletter and got my free copy of Diving Into the Wreck. I liked it, though I found the similarities to water-diving a trifle contrived (why isn’t their gear at least as puncture- and tear-resistant as my Level 5 gloves — don’t use a mandoline without one!).

    But I want more! and I can’t figure out which volume is next — this one appears to be made up of multiple novellas. Novellae? Anyway, what do I read next?

  33. Chip Hitchcock
    Try as I might, I can’t forget “Watching Scotty Grow.” If “Honey” was treacly, “Scotty” was ultra-saccharine. “B-L-R-F-G” spells “Mom and Dad.” Gag me with a spoon. There were a lot of these inane things around, trying to grab your heart as you tried to get by them unnoticed. The Country-Western ones were an order of magnitude worse. I think they dispensed with melody entirely and just had someone blather on for two and a half minutes. “Giddy-up go, Daddy! Giddy-up go!” Come to think of it, no spoon needed.

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