Pixel Scroll 1/31/17 Is It A Scroll? Is It A File? No, Its Super-Pixel!

(1) GENRE L.A. At last weekend’s 2017 Genre-LA Creative Writers Conference, dozens of professionals were on hand to share their experience and insight, among them Howard Hendrix, Gregory Benford and Robert J. Sawyer. Thanks to Greg for the photo —


(2) LIFE GOALS. Steve Barnes also spoke at the conference, and posted afterwards about his mission as a writer.

Last weekend I spoke at the GENRE L.A. science fiction/fantasy writer’s workshop, and boy oh boy, do I wish you could have been there!   I did two panels, but more importantly connected with friends and students from across the country.  One panel was on “Editing secrets of the Pros.”

On this one, I was with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, my buddies and partners, and once again was overwhelmed with how blessed I’ve been to have these giants in my life.   The wisdom I’ve gleaned from them over the decades has made ALL the difference in my capacity to thrive in my chosen field…and I HAVE to thrive here, because it is about 50% of my planned outreach to change the world.

Grasp the importance of that: I don’t just write to make money. Or to express myself.   Or to have fun…although all those things are important.  I write to create ONE MILLION AWAKE, AWARE, ADULT HUMAN BEINGS on the planet.  That dream powers me through all obstacles.

(3) CUTTING IT CLOSE. You’ve got a little time left to submit your 31st Annual Asimov’s Readers’ Award Ballot. The online form must be completed by February 1,

From short stories and novellas to novelettes and poems – and even best covers! – let us know your Asimov’s favorites this year.  Winners join the pantheon of Asimov’s authors who represent the Who’s Who of science fiction writers over the past thirty years.

(4) MYSTERIOUS FIEND. Mac Childs argues the advantages of playing “Peekaboo with the Devil: Strategies for Hiding and Revealing Your Antagonist” on the Horror Writers Association blog.

Just like any relationship, the special bond between a horror protagonist and her antagonist benefits from a little bit of mystery. In this case, the hero is a proxy for your readers, and the mystery comes from your story’s scariest villain, be it a human serial killer or a demonic creature or the mad scientist who, when left unattended for a few minutes, will inevitably create a horrific zombie plague.

There are a host of reasons why keeping your baddie cards close to your chest can help your story’s tension and overall terror levels. Obviously, if your plot line is even remotely similar to a mystery, you don’t want to give away the killer in the first act. You can stoke the tension by keeping your villain shrouded.

(5) WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. George R.R. Martin wants to make sure people understand that Gardner Dozois is sole editor of a new anthology, however, they have plans to edit more books together in the future.

My friend Gardner Dozois, long-time anthologist and winner (many many times) of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor, has a big new fantasy anthology coming out this fall. It’s called THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and it’s about… well… swords. Y’know. “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”

I have a story in the book. “The Sons of the Dragon” is the title.…

However, there is a lot that’s wrong out there as well. THE BOOK OF SWORDS is not my book. I didn’t write but a small part of it, and I didn’t edit it, nor even co-edit it. Gardner is one of my oldest friends and he and I have co-edited a number of anthologies together. We did OLD MARS and OLD VENUS together. We did SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS together. We did the huge award-winning cross-genre anthologies WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and ROGUES together. But we did not do THE BOOK OF SWORDS together….

Truth be told, I loved editing those anthologies with Gardner, and we want to do more together. We’re talked about MORE ROGUES and EVEN MORE DANGEROUS WOMEN, since those two books were hugely successful, and we have definite plans for OLD LUNA and, who knows, maybe eventually OLD MERCURY and OLD PLUTO and OLD URANUS. But we’re not doing any of that NOW. The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them… until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that’s done, maybe I can sneak another one in…

(6) RECOMMENDATIONS. Editor Rich Horton shares his “Hugo Nomination Thoughts: Short Fiction: Short Story”.

Lots of stories listed there, and they are all good stuff. Noticeable is, of course, Rich Larson, who really had an excellent year. I think there’s a nice mix, too, af fantasy and SF, some funny stories, some quite dark, hard SF, far future SF, action, philosophy. I’m leaning towards the top five listed stories (though, really, as with the other categories, all these stories are worthy) for my nomination ballot.

(7) FUNDRAISER. I remember searching used bookstores to complete a run of these — Analog Science Fiction & Fact; The 25 Bedsheet Issues”. A Canadian collector is selling his for $300 to support a local convention. They are still up for grabs at this writing.

All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.

All 25 issues are in good+ and VG condition. No loose covers, torn, loose, or missing pages. Some minor shelf wear from long time storage, but less wear than may be expected for magazines of this age.. Each issue bagged. All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.

Analog bedsheet

(8) SUPER STARS. ScienceFiction.com says the actress we knew as Lois Lane will become a super-villain: “Teri Hatcher Returns To The Super-Verse With A Mystery Role On ‘Supergirl’”.

Teri Hatcher gained fame playing iconic comic book character Lois Lane on ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’, a romantic comedy spin on the comics that aired for four seasons on ABC television from 1993-97.  Now she is returning to the world of DC Comics with a recurring role in the back end of ‘Supergirl’ Season Two.  The role is a mystery, but is known to be the major villain and will span multiple episodes.

Hatcher played Lois opposite Dean Cain’s Clark Kent/Superman.  Cain, of course, has a recurring role on ‘Supergirl’ as Supergirl/Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers.  Fans can only cross their fingers in hopes that the two will have a ‘Lois & Clark’ reunion on ‘Supergirl’.

Hatcher previously made another guest appearance on a Super show, ‘Smallville’ on which she played Ella Lane, the mother of Erica Durance’s Lois.

(9) TRIVIAL FACT OF THE DAY. The shoes Neil Armstrong wore when he first walked on the moon — size 9-1/2 medium and worth $30,000 a pair — are still on the moon. They along with other material had to be jettisoned to compensate for the weight of the moon rocks the astronauts collected.

Even a pair of Air Jordans doesn’t cost that much!

(10) NOT DEAD, ONLY RESTING. The Spaceworks company wants to have a real-world stasis chamber ready by 2018.

A process traditionally used to treat cardiac arrest or traumatic brain injury is now showing promise as a possible method to enable long-term space travel through hibernation. Behind this effort is John A. Bradford, president of Spaceworks, and making this a reality is much closer than you might think.

Doctors refer to this strategy as something called “therapeutic hypothermia.” Essentially, the body is cooled slowly to a temperature between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius (normal body temperature is 37C). This will slow down both heart rate and blood pressure, giving doctors additional time to work on serious health issues.

The patient stays in stasis for about 2-4 days, although the technique has worked for as long as two weeks without any measurable harm. There’s evidence that even longer periods of stasis may be possible: a Japanese man once survived 24 days in a hypothermic state after a fall off a mountain ledge in Japan.

Bradford hopes through additional work to extend the safe period for stasis out to months, and says this technology and the equipment necessary can be automated easily and made space-ready.

Now, don’t assume that these stasis chambers will be like those you see in science fiction movies. While single person pods do work well, having enough of these would add a lot of additional weight to a spacecraft. Instead, Spaceworks is working on an open chamber capable of holding multiple crew members.

(11) CALL FOR PAPERS. The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) has invited papers for its affiliate session about “Popular Print Culture” at the 2017 South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Convention, November 3-5, 2017, in Atlanta. Abstracts due by June 1. Contact details are at the link.

Potential topics include print culture, history of the book, authorship, publishing history, ephemera, illustration, publishers’ archives, production, circulation, and reception. Papers addressing this year’s convention theme, “High Art/Low Art Borders and Boundaries in Popular Culture,” are especially welcome. What connections can be made between print culture/book history and the diverse world of popular culture? How has print culture reflected popular taste from the early modern world to the present?

Possible topics include:

Genre fiction
Sensation fiction
Science fiction
Gothic Ghost stories
Historical fiction/fantasy
Pulp fiction
Detective fiction/thrillers
Adventure fiction
Westerns Popular magazines
Newspapers Romance novels (Mills & Boon, etc.)
Reprint libraries
Dime novels
Penny dreadfuls
Ephemera (postcards, pamphlets, broadsides, advertising, etc.)
The evolving study of middlebrow writing
The borderlands of popular print culture (historical, geographical, etc.)

…Proposers need not be members of SHARP to submit, but panelists must be members of both SAMLA and SHARP in order to present.

(12) BY HIS BOOTSTRAPS. Applications are being taken for the “Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture” at Northern Illinois University through May 31.

The University Libraries, Northern Illinois University, invite applications for the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture. Funding is available to scholars who will be using materials from the Libraries’ major holdings in American popular culture. These holdings include the Albert Johannsen and Edward T. LeBlanc Collections of more than 50,000 dime novels, and the nation’s preeminent collections related to Horatio Alger, Jr., and Edward Stratemeyer. Eligible collections also include our comic book, science fiction and fantasy literature, and American Popular Literature Collections. Topics which could draw on the collections’ strengths might include the plight of urban children, image of the American West in popular literature, widespread use of pseudonyms, and stereotypical portrayals. Preference will be given to applicants who signify an interest in conducting research related to Horatio Alger, Jr.

The 2017 Fellowship award consists of a $2000 stipend.

The deadline for applications is May 31, 2017, with research taking place between July 1 and December 31, 2017.

(13) SCIENCE FICTION STUDIES. Four R.D. Mullen Fellowships are up for grabs. Applications are due April 3. Download a PDF with full details here.

Named for the founder of our journal, Richard “Dale” Mullen (1915-1998), the Mullen fellowships are awarded by Science Fiction Studies to support for archival research in science fiction. Starting with the 2017 competition, we have four categories of awards:

  1. Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $3000

  1. PhD Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $1500 Number: 2 awards are available each year

  1. MA Thesis Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $1000 Number: 2 awards are available each year

  1. Collaborative Undergraduate Research Award

Amount: Up to $250 Number: 2 awards are available each year

Application Process All projects must centrally investigate science fiction, of any nation, culture, medium or era. Applications may propose research in—but need not limit themselves to—specialized sf archives such as the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, the Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, the Judith Merril Collection in Toronto, or the SF Foundation Collection in Liverpool. Proposals for work in general archives with relevant sf holdings—authors’ papers, for example—are also welcome. For possible research locations, applicants may wish to consult the partial list of sf archives compiled in SFS 37.2 (July 2010): 161-90. This list is also available online.

(14) WIELDING A BRUSH. Larry Correia tells readers how to get started in one of his favorite hobbies, painting miniature figures, in a tutorial at Monster Hunter Nation.

Since I usually post my Work In Progress minis on Facebook I’ve been having a lot of people asking me questions. So this is going to be the big tutorial post for everything you need to know to get started with basic mini painting. And if you search, there are a lot of other tutorials out there, from painters way better than me, and then there are higher level tutorials that go into great depth just about particular techniques. Every little thing I talk about, somebody else has a big article about just that step.


Miniatures. This is easy. If you don’t have a cool Local Game Store (always support your LGS!) go to www.frpgames.com or www.miniaturesmarket.com and pick whatever you think looks fun. Warning. This is addictive and these little buggers can get expensive. Always check the clearance bin. Especially when you are learning, it is cheaper to learn on something that you snagged for 75% off. If you want something really cheap to learn and practice on, look up Reaper’s Bones. They are a soft plastic, but they paint up just fine.  (also Bones are made out of a material that doesn’t require priming, so when you are starting out you can skip that step and just get to base coating)…

(15) BLADE RUNNER HOMAGE. A team of filmmakers has been working for three years on their self-funded homage to Blade Runner and other Eighties sci-fi movies called “Slice of Life”. They’ve created enough material by now to produce a trailer.

“Slice Of Life” is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe. The whole film is made the old school way like the legendary SciFi movies of the 80’s (Star Wars, Alien and already mentioned Blade Runner). Think miniatures, matte paintings, rear projections – You won’t find any CGI here!!! Slice Of Life is a love letter to the Science Fiction genre of the 80’s. The production is on for the last three years and it is completely self funded.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

105 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/31/17 Is It A Scroll? Is It A File? No, Its Super-Pixel!

  1. Kip W on January 31, 2017 at 7:57 pm said:

    [1] The picture isn’t showing up for me, even though I refreshed. Other pics seem to be showing up just fine

    Likewise. It’s claiming to be a TIFF file but there is no there there as Gertrude Stein once said when she was a web-developer.

  2. #%%!&&@%#

    I shouldn’t be surprised, no matter how many times the picture showed up when I ran previews of the post to see if it would. Because the reason I repeatedly checked is that the image did not display in the draft. Presumably my helpful computer knew where to retrieve the image even though treacherous WordPress had no intention of showing it to the rest of you.

    I have an idea how to fix this….

  3. The picture isn’t showing up for me, even though I refreshed.
    Not getting it either, and it wouldn’t open with Windows – which tells me it’s a 250K TIFF.
    I did get it to open with Hypersnap, so it may be the file type. (When you get the “open with” window, click on “other” and tell it what program you want to use.)

    Mike, it’s a nice photo, once I got it to open.

  4. (1) The picture is showing up for me.

    (14) Wielding a brush: Nice minis! I tried to paint some minis for a long-ago D&D campaign. Everything went well until I went to spray on the clear top coat…. And grabbed my can of gray primer by mistake.

    My more experienced friends assured me that everyone does that at least once, but I had lost my nerve and gave it up. I stil like to admire other people’s work, though, and gaming conventions are great for that.

  5. 14) That’s a pretty great painting tutorial. great advice, particularly with the tatoos and tartan shading. My only quibble is he didn’t mention the need to THIN YOUR PAINTS. God, please, thin your paints by dipping your brush in water after dipping in the paint. Otherwise your figs look like a six-year-old who got into Mommy’s make-up.

  6. @10: “Now, don’t assume that these stasis chambers will be like those you see in science fiction movies.While single person pods do work well, having enough of these would add a lot of additional weight to a spacecraft.” Ding! Thank you for playing….

    It’s a pity they had to stick in that snark. Even SF movies don’t claim that cold-sleep pods are “weight”less (properly, massless); the point (which may be so assumed that nobody bothers to make it explicit any longer) is to reduce the amount of resources that have to be carried. Does anyone have a current figure on the daily mass of material that is outright used up (rather than recovered by expending energy) per person on the ISS? I’m guessing there’s \some/ air and water lossage in addition to food consumed, but don’t know whether it’s significant.

  7. Did anybody else think the Book of Swords was going to turn out to be a Fred Saberhagen tribute anthology?

  8. Catfish: Not til you dropped the reference — now I’m convinced that’s what it should have been.

  9. In other news, my wife and I have made reservations for Helsinki, which means I get to visit my very first WorldCon this August!

    Very excited about this. It’ll be my first convention, or fannish event of any kind really, outside of Israel. I shall endeavor to expect the unexpected, but I hope I’ll be seeing a bunch of you there 🙂

  10. (5) I’d be more enthusiastic about the possibility of more Old [planet] anthologies if Venus/Mars showed any sign of dropping to a reasonable price as ebooks. Love the idea, but I’m not paying $13-$15 each.

    Yes, I’ve been away for a few days. Among other things, I caught up with Emerald City – which, to my great amusement, used a song from Dark Side of the Moon in its most recent episode. I also had a fun Thursday night, in that I watched the premiere of Riverdale and had a lovely time comparing notes on it with an Archie Comics artist via Twitter.

    My take on EC: Intriguing, but I’m not totally sure if I’m sold on it. I do like seeing the different takes on various characters, and I love what they’re doing with Tip’s dysphoria. Completely makes sense; it’s one of those elements that was Right There in the original and is finally getting some well-deserved attention.

    Riverdale: Much less material to judge, obviously, but I really enjoyed the premiere. The characters were recognizable for people who know the classic comics, but there are enough tweaks and updates to make them fresh and add some welcome twists. Nice to see Kevin Keller on the screen, and making him Betty’s pal is a neat way to do it. I like the new version of Josie and the Pussycats, and my headcanon is that Josie’s still upset about getting whitewashed in the movie. (I don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoilers.) Looking forward to Thursday not just for the second installment, but because Powerless kicks off immediately beforehand (on another network). Similarly, I’m looking ahead to next week to see if I want to make X-verse tie-in Legion my primary Wednesday night show or catch it via On Demand.

    Last thing for now: My total books read for January comes to 43, and I’m about a quarter through #44. I hope to finish it and 45 by the end of the week, so I can start in on an SF book before the bundle containing its three sequels expires next week.

  11. (3) ARGGG.

    I subscribed to Asimov’s for maybe half of 2016, by ebook, much of which is still languishing on Mount TBR (my Kindle has a category for “Unplumbed Grotto of Short Fiction,” and for good reason.

    But I did read some, and I’ve got several stories that are well-deserving of a Reader’s Award nod.

    Unfortunately, the web ballot rejects your form if you fail to have three favorites in every single category.

    Sigh. Yeah, yeah, I guess they don’t want people to flood the award with bullet voting or whatever. But, oof, I wanted to vote :-/

  12. 14) I’m definitely in favor of supporting the local FLGS whenever possible. A lot of RPG games these days seem to be launching on kickstarter or using kickstarter as seed money, but there’s nothing like getting stuff from The Source.

    The Source being the name of my local FLGS/Comic store… 😉

  13. The Source being the name of my local FLGS/Comic store…

    Darkseid has been barred from the store, I hope.

  14. Amazon’s February “Monthly Deals” for SF/F ebooks include Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL for $1.99, Octavia Butler’s KINDRED for $2.99, and a “box set” of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently books for $1.99. Among the other offerings, the only one that tempted me is Stephen Woodworth’s FRAULEIN FRANKENSTEIN, which sounds like it might be an interesting homage/sequel/spinoff to Mary Shelley’s original.

  15. @Catfish

    I had the same thought as I started reading the post 🙂

    I loved that series once upon a time. We even played one of my first RPG campaigns using it as background.

    Sadly a re-read a couple years back suggests – the suck fairy has not only visited, but has dirtied all the dishes, soiled the sheets, changed the locks, and is currently claiming squatters rights in the local court system.

    Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be 😛

  16. @Stoic Cynic

    My SF Book Club collection “The Complete Book of Swords” is one of my prize possessions. An entertaining read with some enjoyable subtext, IMHO. I read it every 8-10 years. The suck fairy must have missed my copy. 😉

    I found the collected volume of The Lost Swords at a second-hand bookstore a few years back. Now that was forgettable.


  17. RE: The Saberhagen Swords. Being a roleplayer and a frequent GM, I’ve, um, borrowed various swords from the set for my roleplaying campaigns…

  18. Question for the group, I need some of the Iphinome version of nutty nuggets (female protagonist who wields a sword, feudal setting, medium on the magic, think Green Rider) will The Chronicles of Elantra do it for me?

  19. @Dann

    Just the knowledge that an untainted copy exists brings me great comfort! It must be protected and preserved at all costs… 😛

    It was actually a used bookstore copy of “The Complete” that spurred my re-read. I also picked up a copy of Empire of the East at the same time. After the DNF Swords re-read though I’ve been avoiding reading it. If I crack the covers I fear Elephant may have become a mouse. I may have to move it back on to the TBR list. Ardneh preserve us!

  20. @ Stoic Cynic

    Just the knowledge that an untainted copy exists brings me great comfort! It must be protected and preserved at all costs… 😛


    mumblemumble…if this darn thing had a “like” button….mumblemumble


  21. @Iphinome

    I thought I already posted this. The Internets conspire against me!

    I’m not sure if graphic novels are in your wheelhouse. I recently read Red Sonja: The Witch of the Frozen Wastes and enjoyed it a great deal.

    I’m not sure if Frank Cho is in your wheelhouse. He was a part of the team that developed that graphic novel.

    Spoilers…sort of.

    Gur neg unf n urnil Pub vasyhrapr; zhfphyne jbzra va varssrpgvir nezbe. Fb vs gung vf na vffhr, gura orfg gb zbir ba.

    Nyfb, gur fgbel vf n erchecbfrq Pbana gnyr. Va gur bevtvany gnyr, gur jvgpu jnagrq gb zngr jvgu Pbana. Gur erfhyg vf n zbqrfg yrfovna ivor.

    On other news, I gave Nick Cole’s Wasteland Saga a try. Read the free sample. Liked it enough to buy the three book compilation. I’m curious to see where this goes.


  22. @Iphinome
    I highly recommend the Chronicles of Elantra, but I’m not sure that they meet your requirements.
    The female protagonist is a police officer in a medieval type city, so its a little different from your typical feudal world. No-one makes stew, instead they mention buying food from street vendors. I found the setting and the characters fascinating. There are multiple races in the books, none of which are dwarves or elves.
    Also, its quite heavy on magic, the protagonist generally uses magic to save the day. The magic is very mysterious and doesn’t follow logic or rules, if that’s something that you care about.
    Each book is self contained, so you can try one and see if you like it.

  23. @Dann While I’ve enjoyed a few graphic novels, I tend not to seek them out and mostly find that Hugo category to be a chore. Pictures are distracting, stories are better when they play in my head. But thank you anyway.

    On my shelf all you’ll find is a little Utena Manga and The Crow.

    @bookworm1398 well the first one is only $5, but I’ve also already blown my budget on Kris Longknife series books. If the world doesn’t become less sucky, amazon’s going to make a mint off of me this year. I like how in Green Rider Karrigan only has one weird trick to get you out of danger, and has to come up with non-magical answers when it won’t suit. Having too many spells… I dunno, The Magician’s Guild worked for me and Sonea didn’t even have a sword so maybe….

    I’m still keeping with run-of-the-mill adventure stories that are distracting enough to keep my attention but don’t require too much work from an already overwrought brain.

  24. (female protagonist who wields a sword, feudal setting, medium on the magic, think Green Rider)

    Have you tried C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Jiory?

    Generally adventuring women in Norton’s fantasies are the party mages but there’s one exception I can think of. In Witch World Loyse gets flees an arranged marriage by dressing as a man and becoming the dour mercenary Briant.

  25. @Iphinome — Have you read Cherryh’s Morgaine books? Female protagonist with a sword (of sorts), medieval settings. Technically, the story is told not from Morgaine’s point of view, but from that of her companion Vanye, but still …

  26. @Joe H. This is the part where I get myself shunned (again) by saying I’ve never been able to get into Cherryh.

  27. Nope, no shunning, at least not on my part — she’s one of my favorite authors, but I can see how her style could be hit-or-miss for some folks.

    How about Ari Marmell’s Widdershins books? (Although ‘Shins is more of an acrobat/thief than a swordswoman.)

  28. @Iphinome:

    As I recall, although it’s been a while, I read three of Cherryh’s novels and got maybe fifteen percent of the way into another before drifting away from it. I guess you could say I’d had my fill of Cherryh’s pi.

  29. @Iphinome Have you tried the work of K.V Johansen? There is a fair amount of magic (and a God under every rock and tree), and plenty of male characters too, front and center, so it might not be quite the female Sword and Sorcery heroine addict approach I think you are looking for. But I do love her work dearly and you might like it too. (BLACKDOG is where you should start).

    She’s just in one published story so far (in EVE OF WAR), but I do have a heroine, Captain Owltree, you might like. She’s a mercenary captain turned defender of a government in exile.

  30. Thinking of female protagonist with sword, what comes to mind is Half the World by Joe Abercrombie, the second (and in my opinion the best) book in his “Shattered Sea” trilogy. The setting is post-holocaust Nordic and the culture and technology are more or less medieval.

  31. I re-read Empire of the East fairly recently. It had dated, but I still enjoyed it for the nostalgia value. Don’t think I ever read all the Swords books, some for sure but the library never seemed to have them in the right order.

  32. @Catffish/OGH: Some of us oldpharts might have expected were expecting a reprint of Moorcock’s trilogy, which predates Saberhagen by a couple of decades

    @Rev Bob (re Emerald City): where in the original do you find Tip’s dysphoria? Cross-gender disguise/masking, whether voluntary (see Shakespeare) or not (Achilles) is an old trope; I don’t recall anything from the books suggesting that Ozma had gender-identity issues after her guise was removed. She may have missed the ]freedom[ of being a nobody instead of a queen, but that wouldn’t be gender-based.

    re recommendations for Elantra: I’m interested, but leery of (a) echo titles and (b) series that already have that many books in them. Is there a useful entry point after the first book? Do the books continue to improve (or at least be worthwhile) or do they start to get formulaic? Answering @Iphinome’s original query, can you stomach middle-period MZBradley? If her personal history hasn’t turned you off permanently and you can stand culture-clash rather than pure-medieval and what-is-it vs it’s-certainly-magic, The Shattered Chain and Thendara House may be worth a look
    @Nicoll: s/Jiory/Joiry/
    @Joe H: I’d say the Morgaine books are Clarke’s Third Law rather than fantasy, but the difference isn’t clear to the viewpoint character.
    @Iphinome: my default recommendation for people trying Cherryh is Merchanter’s Luck; it’s shorter than much of her work and not as compressed, but it’s science fiction rather than fantasy and has two protagonists (one male) and so may antipique your interest.

    For the amusement of slang enthusiasts (and some oldphart fans), the BBC sources some of the 3000 words for drunkenness

  33. @Iphinome, has nobody mentioned the “Deed of Paksennarian” trilogy by Elizabeth Moon? Sheepfarmer’s Daughter is the first one. There are further books in this world, but the “Deed” trilogy is self-contained. (Warning; make SURE you have the third book to hand before you finish the second one; the second one ends in a Very Difficult Place…)

    Very emphatically a Heroine With A Sword. She starts the first book as a farmgirl who runs away to become a mercenary. (Not a spoiler; happens in the first page.) Then things get interesting for her…. Some magic; not obtrusive but there in the background. There’s something of a D&D flavor to this novel, like with Feist’s Riftwar books.

    One thing that I love; it gets into the nitty-gritty of what it actually takes to be a mercenary. Lots of details of daily life and training. You can tell Moon was in the military.

    Love this trilogy; I go back and re-read it every few years.

  34. @Chip Hitchcock — Yes, the Morgaine books are definitely Clarke’s Law SF, but I’d say that they scratch the same reading itch as more traditional fantasy, at least for me.

    Also, how about Brad Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai? (Which, conveniently, is currently $2.99 for Kindle.) I think it leans more epic than sword & sorcery, but the main character, Çeda, is a former pit-fighter. I admit I haven’t read the novel, but I read a short story of his that’s a prequel to the novel, and I quite enjoyed it.

    Edited to add: Yes, Merchanter’s Luck is another great Cherryh book.

    And I also support Elizabeth Moon’s Paksennarian trilogy, which I should probably reread one of these years. And that might also point in the direction of some of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, although I’d have to go back and check to find specific titles.

  35. @Joe Ha, I didn’t see 12 Kings was on a Kindle sale. Excellent! (I’ve read an ARC of it last year. Given its relatively tight feel on the city, I think its more S&S than epic.

  36. @Chip Hitchcock: “where in the original do you find Tip’s dysphoria? Cross-gender disguise/masking, whether voluntary (see Shakespeare) or not (Achilles) is an old trope; I don’t recall anything from the books suggesting that Ozma had gender-identity issues after her guise was removed.”

    That’s why I said what I did. If you’ve known all your life that you’re a boy with boy parts and wake up one day with girl parts, that damn well ought to come with some gender dysphoria issues.

    I can understand Baum not doing anything with that, given his era, but in a modern reimagining where we know about this stuff, that’s a nice, juicy slice of character development that’s Just Sitting There, practically begging to be used. And yet, in every other modern reimagining I’ve seen, it isn’t even touched. Either Tip and Ozma are two different beings/personalities and the flesh morphs accordingly, or they blithely accept the change without blinking an eye. Bravo to EC for actually having Tip react even semi-realistically when “he” wakes up with boobs!

  37. @Iphinome

    Since StephenFromOttawa mentioned Abecrombie, there’s also:

    Best Served Cold

    Since it’s Abercombie, grimdark and low magic. It was a bit too much Kill Bill meets the Renaissance for my taste but YMMV.

  38. @Chip Does anyone have a current figure on the daily mass of material that is outright used up (rather than recovered by expending energy) per person on the ISS? I’m guessing there’s \some/ air and water lossage in addition to food consumed, but don’t know whether it’s significant.

    Sorry not to have a direct answer, but the Apollo-era Living in Space by Mitchell Sharpe was, I think, at one time the go-to source for information on what an astronaut used up in space. Up until the space stations, I don’t think anyone worried about recovering water, because fuel cells were the primary source for electricity and they produced water as a by-product. Now that solar cells are the electricity source, water is actively recovered (my wife has worked on equipment to re-process urine, and has a bottle that looks like commercial bottled water, but on careful reading of the label, turns out to be cleaned-up pee).

    Not all water gets recovered. I recall reading (here on File770?) a story about moving a panel in MIR, and behind it was a large globule of water than had formed, and it was mucky, brown, putrid, and probably a floating ball of bacteria and mold.

  39. @Ipinome
    The Copper Promise and sequels by Jen Williams should be right up your alley. Sword and Sorcery with a female protagonist. As far as I know, there are three books so far. The latest just came out.

    The Bloodbound trilogy by Erin Lindsay might also fit the bill, even if it’s more epic fantasy than sword and sorcery. The protagonist is a scout turned royal bodyguard. Eligible for this year’s best series Hugo BTW.

    Finally, have you read the Hawk & Fisher series by Simon R. Green? These are a bit older (early to mid 1990s), but great. It’s basically a mystery series set in a fantasy city. The protagonists are a married couple who work as city guards. She has a sword, he uses an axe. There were six short novels originally, which have been repackaged into two omnibusses. There’s also a prequel of sorts called Blue Moon Rising, which is excellent in its own right, but doesn’t quite match what you’re looking for.


    In other news, my wife and I have made reservations for Helsinki, which means I get to visit my very first WorldCon this August!

    Very excited about this. It’ll be my first convention, or fannish event of any kind really, outside of Israel. I shall endeavor to expect the unexpected, but I hope I’ll be seeing a bunch of you there ?

    Looking forward to seeing you in Helsinki.

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