Pixel Scroll 12/3 The God Stalk De-Steams The Gnocchi

(1) SPELLING BEE. Blake Hennon has the answers in “Is it Wookie or Wookiee? The Times’ definitive ‘Star Wars’ style guide” at the Los Angeles Times.

When most people think of “Star Wars” style, Princess Leia’s side-buns hairdo and white robe or Darth Vader’s fearsome black helmet and cape probably come to mind. For copy editors, it’s more likely how to punctuate a jumble of words such as Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope or whether to spell Chewbacca’s species as Wookie or Wookiee.

With the venerable space opera about to start bringing new stories to the big screen at the planned rate of one per year — and the upcoming fleet’s worth of Times stories that will cover all the developments and details of the on- and off-screen “Star Wars” saga — The Times’ copy desk decided it would help in editing to have an organized guide to facts, names and terms that might appear in our coverage.

I volunteered to put it together, and relied on the films; Lucasfilm’s publicly available databank; the Academy Awards’ database; images of officially licensed products; and Times precedence, stories, style rules and tendencies (which sometimes override other groups’ preferences). To answer the questions above: “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”; Wookiee.

(2) MORE STYLE. In the same spirit, but by a different creator as far as I can tell —

(3) FAN SERVICE. Mark Hamill goes undercover as a stormtrooper (one word) on Hollywood Blvd. to raise awareness for the Omaze charity that’s giving away a chance to win two tickets to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere in exchange for a $10 donation. The contest ends in less than two days.

(4) FROM HEADCANON TO THE SCREEN. “7 fan theories so good they actually came true” at RadioTimes.

  1. The Doctor’s Tardis is supposed to have 6 pilots

Considering he’s a centuries-old genius and Time Lord, the Doctor always did seem to have a bit of trouble piloting his Tardis – but fans had a solution for why that could be (apart from it being an obsolete Type 40, of course).

Given the time machine’s central console was hexagonal (and all the controls therefore couldn’t be reached at any one time), could it be that the Tardis was intended for not one, but six pilots?

This fun idea circled around for a while and made some appearance Doctor Who spin-off media before it was finally embraced by the main series in 2008, with David Tennant’s Doctor enlisting all his friends to help pilot the time machine in series 4 finale Journey’s End.

(5) THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT. “It’s what’s on Mark Watney’s smartphone,” says Will R.

Through a new service (“IFTTT Blog – Houston, we have liftoff”) you can get things like a notification when the season changes on Mars.

(6) BE YOUR OWN ANT FARM. Becky Chambers remembers playing an ancient PC game: “Extended Memory: SimAnt”.

Despite the complexities, my task was clear: recruit as many followers as I could, then march into enemy territory. “Oh my god,” a distant voice in my head said. “This is a Zerg rush…with ants.” I do not know what this voice meant. As an ant, I am ignorant of such things.

(7) SUBCONTINENTAL COMICS. Henry Jenkins “In Search of Indian Comics (Part Three): I Mean, Really, Where Are They?”

So, here’s the bottom line: India has a new generation of gifted graphic storytellers, who are doing comics that speak in direct and powerful ways to the country’s politics, comics that experiment with new visual languages for comics, often drawn from the country’s rich and diverse folk traditions. These artists are slowly but surely producing work that people should be paying attention to. But, you can’t really find them in Indian bookstores when you go looking and they are not making their way into comics specialty shops in the United States. If you want to find India comics, you have to look online.

(8) KEG BUST. Andrew Porter says, “This almost (not really) makes up for HPL’s bust no longer being the World Fantasy Award….”  Lovecraft Reanimator Helles Lager from Narragansett Beer.

The History: HP Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West—Reanimator’ and the 1985 film adaptation, Re-Animator, are horror fan favorites. In the story, Dr. West and his accomplice experiments with human reanimation by injecting fresh corpses with a serum meant to bring the dead back to life. We wanted to create a serum to resurrect one of our own; our beloved Bock beer.


Reanimator beer

(9) TOR PICKS 2015 BEST. “Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2015” picked by Jared Shurin, Alyx Dellamonica, Liz Bourke, Nial Alexander, Mavesh Murad, Amal El-Mohtar, Alex Brown, Caitlyn Paxson, Stefan Raets, Theresa DeLucci, and The G. (Naomi Novik’s Uprooted is prominently mentioned by several contributors.)

Liz Bourke

…I know what my two absolute favourites of the year are, though. Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory (Tor) and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy (Orbit) tie for first place in my heart. One is an adventure story in a steampunk-influenced city on the American Pacific coast in the late 19th-century, whose eponymous protagonist finds herself running headfirst into all kinds of peril—including international espionage plots—while falling in love with another young woman. The other is the capstone of a fantastic trilogy about power and personhood, and what you do with what’s done to you: it brings all its threads together, and ties them up in a conclusion that’s as perfect as it is unexpected. If you’re only going to read two novels published this year, my recommend is read them.

(10) T-SHIRT TNG. Have you been there, done that? Now own the t-shirt!

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

(11) HOLD MORE MEETINGS. At Open Culture,“Read the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless, Kafkaesque Guide to Subverting Any Organization with ‘Purposeful Stupidity’ (1944)”

Will R. demurs, “I have no comment on whether this applies to anything currently under discussion in the world of science fiction.”

(12) OBITUARY. SF Site News reports artist Jon Arfstrom died on December 2. Arfstrom is believed to have been the last of the classic Weird Tales cover artists to be alive.

(13) GEEK PARENT MUCH? The MarySue has you covered with “Baby’s First Con: A Geek Parent Survival Guide”

Lesson 3: Prepare Line Distractions

Lines and waiting are a fact of life with cons. This is easy when you’re child-free and have access to your phone/book/daydreams/whatever. But with a baby, wait times are an event in themselves. Most parents—and hopefully that includes you—have some tricks that can be parsed out over time to try and keep the baby occupied. A good idea is to prep for the con like you would for a long road trip: have new toys/books to spring forward, and use whatever tricks you have up your sleeve. For example, our daughter is fantastic when getting hand-fed small snacks (Cheerio’s, Yums, etc.). We made sure we had an inventory of these and used them as our first go-to when she started to get impatient, albeit at about half the speed we’d normally feed them. We also got lucky in that our baby recognized some of the characters we’ve introduced her to thanks to the cosplayers, so we could point out Batman and catch her interest for a few minutes.

(14) DON’T TELL BRAD TORGERSEN. Cracked.com lists “6 Depressing Realities Of Writing Young Adult Fiction”. First up: Oh noes! You can’t tell a YA book by its cover!

#6. Covers And Titles Are Often Shameless Lies

There’s an old saying about judging a book by its cover; we’re not sure how it goes, but it doesn’t matter because titles and covers both appear to be generated completely at random. At least, in the world of Young Adult novels. Jack named his latest book The Librarian. At the publishers’ request, it became Double Agent. A little editing later, and the title was Escape From Besmar. A little more, and that was subbed out in favor of the catchier Springheel. At one point, the title was Black Sheep. Then Three Bags Full. Then Three Bombs Full. Then, at last, they settled on a title that pleased everyone: Switchblade.

The book is currently available under the title The Cut Out….

(15) XENA. Lucy Lawless on the “Xena” revival, her new show and seizing life with both hands at Women in the World.

But with the apparent revival of Xena in the wings, fans and media want to know, will she return as the legendary character she brought to life two decades ago?

…So the question of Lucy Lawless’s age, 47, is central to the Xena reboot, raising obvious retorts: Harrison Ford, 73, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 68, and Bruce Campbell, 57, are all reprising action hero roles they played in their youth without any criticism or complaints being raised about their age.

Lawless won’t go on a rant about it. She shrugs it off, half kidding: “They’ll give the Xena role to a 27-year-old.’’

It’s been 20 years since Xena: Warrior Princess was launched and became the top-rated syndicated TV program in the United States and a highly popular franchise across 108 countries. The character of Xena emerges from a dark past to defend the oppressed, fighting gods, warlords and kings, and living outside the conventional definitions of masculine and feminine. The series ended after six years, in 2001, with the brutal death of Xena, her head cut off, her body turned to ashes. Outraged fans have since cried out for a resurrection and, obliging, NBC plans to reboot Xena and has tapped Rob Tapert to re-develop it.

Problem is, Lawless knows nothing about it. She was blindsided when the news about a Xena revival leaked. A woman with The Hollywood Reporter asked her about the reboot plans, but Lawless denied it. “I thought she was misinformed,’’ she says now. “It was I who was misinformed.’’

(16) GoT TEASER? The Game of Thrones Season 6 teaser. I can confidently say I didn’t understand it. But io9 seems to. Maybe you will, also.

(17) CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME. Cards Against Humanity went offline on Black Friday and offered customers the ability to buy nothing for $5. They got nearly $72.000… most of which they spent on themselves!

11,248 people gave us $5, and 1,199 people gave us more than $5 by filling out the form more than once. One enthusiastic fan gave us $100. In the end, we made a windfall profit of $71,145.

Cards Against Humanity is known for our charitable fundraising – since 2012 we’ve raised nearly $4 million for organizations we love like Worldbuilders, the Sunlight Foundation, the EFF, DonorsChoose.org, the Wikimedia Foundation, and the Chicago Design Museum. We even started a $500,000 full-ride scholarship for women getting degrees in science.

There’s been a lot of speculation about how we would spend the money from Black Friday, and we’re happy to announce that this time, we kept it all. Here’s what we bought….

(18) ROLLING STONE. Star Wars fatigue is probably setting in already, but Rolling Stone has good interviews with several major cast members (plus a few spoilers, of course) in “’Star Wars’ Strikes Back: Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Movie of the Year”.

“The world is so horrible,” says Mark Hamill, Luke’s closest earthly representative, sitting in the shadow of swaying trees in his rather pleasant Malibu yard. At 64, Hamill is older than Alec Guinness was in the first Star Wars, and is in the process of regrowing a distinctly Obi-Wan-ish beard. “Between the Middle East and gun violence and global warming and racism, it’s just horrible. And people need this. It’s therapeutic.”

The “this” in question is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, out on December 18th and directed by geek hero J.J. Abrams, fresh from rebooting the Star Trek franchise.

(19) ANCIENT SPECIAL. And if you weren’t fatigued before, well, just watch the elusive Star Wars Christmas Special from that bygone era….

(20) MUSICAL INTERLUDE. I remember hearing the song on Doctor Demento but the video is news to me: The Firm – “Star Trekkin'”

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Hampus Eckerman, Will R., Mark-kitteh, James H. Burns, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

178 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/3 The God Stalk De-Steams The Gnocchi

  1. At this point, “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” has accrued meaning because of all the uses and discussion of it as the canonical example of a meaningless but syntactically valid sentence.

  2. @BGHilton: LOL!

    @Andrew M.: I got Foxglove Summer free somewhere (World Fantasy 2014?) and when I see it, I always think I should buy book 1. Yes? I thought I owned book 1, but I suspect I just thought very strongly about buying it, ‘cuz it’s not in the house and not in my book database. I keep waiting for my spouse to read Foxglove so I can know whether to buy the earlier books. 😉

    I keep reading about Cogman’s next book, but it appears to be out in the U.K. only so far. I’m not sure why it lags so much. I bought her first from the U.K. because there was no indication it was coming out in the U.S. (and she herself didn’t seem to know if it would ever be, when I asked). Of course, it came out in the U.S. after I broke down and bought the U.K. vesion. Le sigh. 😉 Well, The Invisible Library‘s on my short list of books to read before the Hugos.

    I loved The Girl With All the Gifts, though it slowed a little in the middle, and I agree the first part was the best overall. But I’m confused – what is Ender’s Game accused of doing? (We may need Rot-13 for this.)

    @Stevie: Some of usdidn’t mention Sellotape because we’ve never heard of it, but we use Scotch tape. 😉

    Also, eek, I’m behind on Scalzi’s yearly showcase! I read the first one a few days ago and found several books of interest. Anyone have comments about these?

    Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
    Slavemakers by Joseph Wallace (didn’t sound interesting to me when I originally heard of it, but now does)
    The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger (I’m not into Westerns, but this intrigues me)
    The Last Witness by K.J. Parker

  3. Kendall: I haven’t read “Barsk”, but I have read the author’s other work (set in a completely different universe), which I adore, so I’m hoping to get that one.

    In fact, the lovely Miss Ghlaghghee (RIP) had bacon applied with Scotch tape, and still forgave her person. She can still be viewed at baconcat.com

  4. @Kendall:

    K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt, apparently for when he wants to write serious/classical fantasy instead of comedic stuff. I haven’t read The Last Witness, but I’ve got two other KJP books in my stack.

    Speaking of Scalzi’s showcase, I should also put in a general plug for J.B. Rogers’s The Freshman’s Curse. Caveats: (a) it’s explicit erotica, so it’s very NSFW, and (b) I edit and e-format the series, so I’m not exactly unbiased. It’s the story of a woman who wakes up as a man barely a month after starting college, with no idea how or why it happened. She has to learn to cope with her new circumstances while trying to find a way back to her old life, and naturally romance enters the picture to further complicate matters. The related short fiction is lighter, more traditional smut; the first story is out now, and we just put the second one – a holiday novelette – in the pipeline for a December 15th release.

  5. Kendall: Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen

    I was unimpressed by the synopsis for this, but I attended Schoen’s kaffeeklaatsch at Worldcon, and he made me totally want to read the book.

    I guess this is not surprising, given that the premise of his Conroy stories sounds eyerollingly dumb. In actuality, I found the stories to be incredibly good and utterly enjoyable — I would call them “The Success Mode of Clever”.

  6. @Jim Henley: quite obviously a reboot the first time I saw the first trailer. They’re playing the generations game, simple as that. Though its more like generation and a half game. If this had been delayed by a handful of more years, I’d be taking my grandson to see it (as I’m sure some are). Which makes sense. Interests and personality traits are often said to “skip a generation”.

    This film is really about nothing more than Disney insuring that the next gen will be taking THEIR kids to the Disney Star Wars ride at the parks. (Not really expecting much from it at all, but am anticipating a Marvel films, superhero, frenetic action type thing to be up on the screen.)

  7. Stevie on December 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm said:

    Also, you will not be tragically disappointed by the discovery that the upper classes are not what they used to be.

    Perpetually in debt? Hocking the old tiaras? Living in the guest cottage because the lodge roof leaks?

  8. @ Lis Carey
    Thanks for the reviews. You’ve convinced me to move Weighing Shadows a wee bit further up the pile. 😉

  9. @Rev Bob

    “Pig flavored” is insufficient. True bacon must actually be made of pig. “Turkey bacon” is a contradiction in terms.

    Imagine the horror of living in a country where “bacon”, unless otherwise specified, is beef bacon.


    I feel your pain. I’m sure you (like me) have an extensive list of non-halal outlets specifically identified and graded?

  10. It just occurred to me that that GoT teaser could be featuring Ser No Longer Appearing In This Series.

  11. Beef bacon and turkey bacon are gruesome.

    Duck bacon, as it turns out, is lovely.

  12. Peace

    Duck bacon? That sound…interesting. Smoked? Cured? I love duck meat, so this might be right up my tastebuds! Probably works, in part, because of all the fat in duck meat?

    Where do you get it? Yeah, I could google, but where’s the conversation in that?

  13. @snowcrash: “Imagine the horror of living in a country where “bacon”, unless otherwise specified, is beef bacon.”

    You must mean jerky. The only way the words “beef bacon” go together is in the phrase “Angus beef bacon cheeseburger” or the like.

  14. @junego:

    I found it in the supermarket in the specialty sausages cooler. The brand around here is Maple Leaf Farms and it appears to be both smoked and cured.

    No one would ever mistake it for pig meat, but it is pretty tasty.

  15. @Mike:

    It is a little-known true fact that God deemed pork to be unclean because he wanted all the bacon for himself.

  16. @ Vicki Rosenzweig

    So what’s happened to “colorless green ideas” is sort of the opposite of that thing where, if you repeat word or phrase over and over, it loses all meaning?

  17. @ heather rose jones – “semantic satiation” (or “saturation” or, sometimes, “satiety”).

  18. Beef bacon and turkey bacon are gruesome.

    Turkey bacon is at least bacon-flavored. (I got in a discussion about whether it could be kosher. The other party maintained that it’s the principle that counts.) Turkey pastrami is also acceptable, IMO.

  19. Rev. Bob on December 5, 2015 at 9:23 am said:
    It is a little-known true fact that God deemed pork to be unclean because he wanted all the bacon for himself.

    [nasal passages experience unexpected flow of coffee]

  20. Hey, I’ll step up to defend turkey bacon. I really like it. I cook up several strips at a time, and after it sets in the fridge for a while, it’s almost like jerky. Makes a nice snack.

  21. Kendall:

    I got Foxglove Summer free somewhere (World Fantasy 2014?) and when I see it, I always think I should buy book 1. Yes?

    Yes, definitely; though it does have the same problem of leaving it uncertain just how some things fit in.

    I keep reading about Cogman’s next book, but it appears to be out in the U.K. only so far. I’m not sure why it lags so much.

    It happens the other way round too, of course. Some books never reach us at all, or only reach us after they win awards.

    But I’m confused – what is Ender’s Game accused of doing? (We may need Rot-13 for this.)

    Cerfragvat trabpvqr flzcngurgvpnyyl. Juvpu V qba’g guvax vf snve jvgu ertneq gb Pneq – Raqre vf gur jrncba, abg gur crecrgengbe. Ohg Zrynavr vf gur crecrgengbe; naq rira vs jr qba’g guvax fur jnf evtug, jr ner cerfhznoyl zrnag gb srry ure fvghngvba sebz gur vafvqr naq haqrefgnaq vg.

  22. Talking of Halal, a friend of mine is Lebanese and his folks run a Halal pizza shop. So where traditionally you send bacon or ham, this has been replaced with lamb.

  23. There used to be an Italian restaurant in the Greenwood area of Seattle run by a Greek family; you could get spaghetti and stuff with lamb. Man, that was good.

  24. Turkey bacon is fine if you ignore the fact that it has the word “bacon” in the name. If you’re expecting bacon, it’s a grave disappointment, but once you get past that, it’s a perfectly nice turkeyish treat.

    Duck bacon, on the other hand, sounds like it could work really well! I’d be more than happy to give that a try, if anyone wants to send me some. Heck, even if it doesn’t taste like bacon, it should be vaguely baconish for all the right reasons! 😀

  25. @ Peace
    re: duck bacon

    OK, you made my taste buds scream. I found your supplier, Maple Leaf Farms, and ordered some duck bacon and duck wontons (which sounded really yummy). It’ll be at least a week, but will report my findings when I’m full :-9

  26. Turkey pepperoni has enough spices and salt in that it’s acceptable. Not greasy enough, though. Is there duck pepperoni?

  27. Keeping kosher I was excited when Facon came out a couple years ago. That would be beef “bacon”. All things considered it’s much better than vegetarian and vegan versions of bacon. I’ve yet to find kosher turkey bacon in New England or New Jersey/New York.

    During my conversion process people kept mentioning turkey bacon would be kosher. Apparently would be & is available have nothing to do with each other.

    Facon is not bacon it’s bacon-like. But after >15 years without bacon it’s better than nothing.

  28. @ Danny Sichel

    Yeah, I think I ran into the technical term once or twice while getting my linguistics PhD. I just figured the description would be more useful for ordinary conversation. (But thanks for explaining it to me.)

  29. IME, the best ersatz-meat alternatives are Asian, from countries that have had strong Buddhist presence for many years. Unfortunately, this means that kinds of meat that aren’t common in those countries aren’t available in ersatz form. So, no “bacon” and not much “ham”. But the faux duck breast is remarkable (if you’re in Berkeley and can get to Long Life Vegi House on University, try their broccoli and faux duck breast in garlic sauce. So good. And if you’re in downtown Oakland, Golden Lotus is amazing).

    Ph? fans: look for the term “ph? chay” (which sounds to an anglophone ear more like “gai” than “chay”) on the menu, which indicates suitable for Buddhists. There is some remarkably good ph? chay out there, it just takes finding.

  30. @lurkertype & @JJ: Thanks for the feedback re. Schoen’s work!

    @Rev. Bob: I read about the big reveal re. Holt/Parker a while back, and was amused. I’ve had zero interest in Holt’s comedic books, but his Parker books usually sound interesting to me. I should’ve read one before now!

    @Andrew M: Peter Grant book 1 going onto my list. 🙂 I’m okay with the uncertainty.

    Re. Card, ah, thanks for explaining! V qba’g srry Pneq qvq gung (V unira’g ernq nyy gur obbxf, gubhtu…). V pna frr jung lbh zrna er. Pnerl’f obbx, gubhtu V’z fgvyy abg fher V’q pnyy vg rknpgyl flzcngurgvp; gur raqvat vf fnq, VZUB! (V thrff nf frra guebhtu Zrynavr’f rlrf, vg orpbzrf n ovg ovggrefjrrg sbe gur ernqre? V’z abg fher V’q rira tb gung sne.) Pnerl qbrf cebir jung V jbaqrerq jura n lbhatfgre (naq rira na nqhyg) – pna fbzrbar jevgr n obbx jurer onfvpnyyl gur tbbq thlf ybfr va gur raq – sbe fbzr ernfba, V nyjnlf sryg yvxr gurer jrera’g ernyyl nal obbxf yvxr gung (gubhtu V haqrefgnaq jul…jub jnagf gb ernq “naq gurl nyy ybfg/qvrq, gur raq” n ybg?) – nafjre: n erfbhaqvat LRF. Gb zr, gur tbbq thlf ybfg, fb vg’f abg n flzcngurgvp trabpvqr.

    (I don’t promise total coherency, and I realize gurer ner bgure obbxf jurer onfvpnyyl gur tbbq thlf ybfr/rirelbar qvrf/rgp.)

    Anyway thanks again!

  31. Kendall: I think the later books actually make it clearer that he is not doing that. (I don’t have to ROT that, do I? It’s sufficiently mysterious, without context.)

  32. Andrew M: Kendall: I think the later books actually make it clearer that he is not doing that.

    My issue with that is that the vast majority of fanboys only seem to read the first book, which certainly does seem to glamorize it and make the protagonist a hero for it (as well as making him a hero for killing a couple of bullies). # of copies of Ender’s Game in my library: 58. # of copies of Speaker for the Dead: 15.

  33. But @JJ, unless gurl fgbc ernqvat orsber gur raq, how could anyone read it like that, really?

  34. Mock duck is amazing in the right sauce. A bunch of us who had extensive Chinese food experience had a debate over whether it was indeed mock or not in a fancy restaurant. It’s probably the best fake meat ever.

    @Kendall: You are obviously lucky not to have fanboys in your life. What JJ said is exactly how most of them take it.

  35. lurkertype: You are obviously lucky not to have fanboys in your life. What JJ said is exactly how most of them take it.

    For years, I’ve heard (adult) guys go on about how fantastic and cool Ender’s Game is, and what a great character Ender is, and how they identify with him.

    I finally got around to reading the book a couple of years ago, and I was horrified. It wasn’t at all what I expected, based on the effusive, enthusiastic recommendations I’d received.

    The part they’re “identifying” with is the brilliant prodigy part. They see Ender as a hero who triumphs over all the bullies and the shitty adults. They completely miss the tragedy of the story (which is why I put quotes around “identifying”, because if they were actually that brilliant, they wouldn’t think of Ender as a hero or idolize him, or miss the main point of the book, which is the tragedy).

    I think adults whose kids read that book need to have a conversation with their kids about what really goes on in the book — because, clearly, a lot of them don’t have the wisdom or life experience to understand it.

  36. I think there’s a great deal of people who read Ender’s Game and stopped, to their, and moreso everyone else’s detriment.

    I’ve not only run across people who kept going Yay Ender, but also those who somehow identified with bloody Peter/ Locke. To me, that’s not so much a sign of People Missing the Point, as it is of People to Smile Politely At and Run Away From.

  37. JJ: Yes, exactly. They don’t seem to realize they’re glorifying a truly terrible person, who’s basically a sociopath (From a family of them). And wow, do they get mad when you point them to a) the classic essays about him compared to Hitler (one of the times it’s really appropriate), and b) the other one about the huge* gay subtext.

    It really shouldn’t be a YA book; way too problematic to let the kids read it without an adult explaining the actual point.


  38. lurkertype: Yes, exactly. They don’t seem to realize they’re glorifying a truly terrible person, who’s basically a sociopath (From a family of them).

    I guess I wouldn’t be quite that harsh on Ender. The reality is that he is greatly oblivious to the horrible things he does, because the adults keep shielding him from the knowledge of what the results of his actions are, and from the consequences of those actions.

    And of course, by the time the second book rolls around, he has grown up enough to start to understand the gravity, and the tragedy, of the things he’s done, and has begun to try to make amends. The problem is that most of the fanboys don’t read that far, so they never gain that understanding with him.

  39. It’s been ages since I’ve read Ender’s Game but I thought a major part of it was how war was self-defeating. In order to fight, you must understand and empathize with the enemy, but as soon as you have empathy for them, you can’t simply destroy them. For me, Mazer Rackham was one of main characters in the book.

    This, of course, does not prevent misreadings and I’m not even entirely sure John Kessel misreads it.

  40. @snowcrash: Well, I went “Yay Ender” at certain points . . . but he’s one f’d up guy, and his story’s not a happy one.

    ETA: No, I did not go “Yay Ender” when he hajvggvatyl xvyyrq n obl rneyl va gur obbx.

    People identifying with Peter, just . . . yipes!

    @lurkertype: It wasn’t a YA book until YA become A Big Thing and someone decided young protag == YA, thus This Book Is YA. On the other paw, YA = young adult, not kid (which to me means someone a lot younger) (but I dunno what the marketing age ranges are here). Still, I don’t believe I read it as an adult; there was no real YA when I read it. Anyway, unless you’re talking about a really young kid, I don’t feel it needs adult supervision, ‘cuz I didn’t have any.

    BTW I’m confused; comparing Peter to Hitler, I can see, but not Ender to Hitler. Of course, Card compared Obama to Hitler (head explosion) (yes I know he’s not the only one who’s such an absurd comparison).

  41. @JJ: Basically agreed with your latest comment.

    @lurkertype: “From a family of them” – I forgot to say, I don’t see this (Ender or, especially, most of his family). I only remember Peter as a sociopath in that family (but then their parents were basically non-entities in the original novel; not sure if later novels or short stories retcon’d them into sociopaths).

  42. Kendall: No, I did not go “Yay Ender” when he hajvggvatyl xvyyrq n obl rneyl va gur obbx.

    Not once, but TWICE. That the fanboys seem to cheer these incidents, rather than to understand the horror of them, is truly frightening.

    Kendall: unless you’re talking about a really young kid, I don’t feel it needs adult supervision, ‘cuz I didn’t have any

    But then, you obviously “got” it. You’re the exception, not the rule. I’ve lost count of the guys I’ve heard rave about the book who read it as boys and clearly did not “get” it. That’s why I say an adult discussion should generally accompany a child reading the book.

  43. I keep forgetting to say (so, apologies for multi-posting) – these two books (“Ender” and “Speaker”) are probably two of my favorite books. I should-relisten to them soon. 🙂

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