Pixel Scroll 1/9/16 To Flail Beyond the Sunset

(1) USE THE FARCE. Entertainment.ie says this Twitter spat between Emo Kylo Ren and Very Lonely Luke is what the internet was made for. Here are the first two tweets in the exchange —

(2) BEWARE FAUX SPOILERS. Will R., who says Hobotopia is a long-running web comic, and one of the nicest things in all of the Internet, draws attention to its ostentatious Spoiler Alert for what turns out to be a pretty obscure The Force Awakens spoiler.

(3) ACTION FIGURES. Here are your prototype action figures for the Ghostbusters reboot. There wasn’t much chance Mattel would repeat the mistake Hasbro made with The Force Awakens of leaving out the female characters, was there?

Amanda Kooser at CNET already has play suggestions.

The action figures come from toy company Mattel and will be 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) in height. That’s a pretty standard size for action figures, so you should be able to fold them into imaginative play along with your Star Wars and Star Trek collection. The crossover possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to see what a proton pack does against Kylo Ren.

(4) STABBY WINNERS. Reddit’s r/Fantasy group has chosen the winners of the 2015 Stabby Awards. Here are the top vote-getters in 3 of the 15 categories:

Stabby Award

Stabby Award

  • BEST NOVEL OF 2015 Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
  • BEST SELF-PUBLISHED / INDEPENDENT NOVEL OF 2015 The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer
  • BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF 2015 The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Click on the link to see the rest.

(5) MEAN STREETS. Tobias Carroll at Literary Hub introduces a review by reminding everyone of the time Raymond Chandler mocked science fiction.

In a 1953 letter to his agent H.N. Swanson, Chandler indulges in a brilliantly entertaining, paragraph-long parody of sci-fi writing, which hits every trope and cliché of the genre. Oh, and he namedrops Google some 45 years before Larry and Sergey registered the domain.

Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It’s a scream. It is written like this: “I checked out with K19 on Adabaran III, and stepped out through the crummaliote hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timejector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Bryllis ran swiftly on five legs using their other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was ice-cold against the rust-colored mountains. The Bryllis shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn’t enough. The sudden brightness swung me around and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn’t enough. He was right.”

They pay brisk money for this crap?

In the case of Adam Christopher, Chandler’s rivalry with science fiction gave rise to literary inspiration. In the acknowledgements to his new novel Made to Kill, Christopher writes that “what I really wished did exist was Raymond Chandler’s long-lost science fiction epic.” He describes himself as “amused” by “the way Chandler hated science fiction.” There are a handful of nods to Chandler’s infamous riff on the genre peppered throughout Christopher’s novel, including as its epigraph. Made to Kill can be read as a science fiction-laced detective story and as a way of using the detective story template to investigate more archetypally science fictional themes of memory and identity.

The setting of Made to Kill is an altered 1965: John F. Kennedy is president, the Cold War rages on, and American society has had an unsuccessful dalliance with incorporating robots into everyday life. The last survivor of this program, narrator Ray Electromatic, is the detective at the center of this novel, drawn into a conspiracy involving Hollywood stars, radioactive material, and Soviet spies. Ray makes for an interesting protagonist in a number of ways: as robots go, he has an unexpected moral compass, and the fact that his memory only lasts for a day does a good job of establishing him as a less-than-reliable narrator from the outset.

(6) YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. David Gerrold says he’s learned from (bad) experience to avoid feuds, as he explains on Facebook.

Here are 5 of his 10 points:

4) “Forgive and forget” does not apply here. Everyone in a feud, no matter what side they’re on, has already succumbed to self-righteousness, simply by being in the feud. Self-righteousness is terminal.

5) A really spectacular feud, if it goes on long enough, if it gets loud enough, if it gets ferocious enough, will not only destroy the participants, it will destroy the community in which the feud occurs. (I have seen this happen multiple times, where whole forums evaporated because the toxicity reached armpit level.)

6) Sociopaths and attention whores enjoy feuds. People who have not yet learned a modicum of restraint or self-awareness are the biggest victims.

7) Screechweasels and harangutans will outlast everyone and declare the victory of getting the last word. It’s a hollow victory, because most of the other participants will have walked away in disgust.

8) Reconciliation of any kind is almost always impossible — because there is always at least one person who needs to recap the past in one last attempt to prove the other side wrong.

(7) CALL FOR PAPERS. “Reframing Science Fiction”, a one-day conference on the art of science fiction, will be held in Canterbury (UK) on March 21. Keynote speakers: Dr. Jeannette Baxter (Anglia Ruskin University) and Dr. Paul March-Russell (University of Kent).

From William Blake and John Martin to Glenn Brown and The Otolith Group, artists have been producing works of art that are science fiction. And artists and their works have been incorporated into many works of sf.

Meanwhile, on countless book covers and in magazine illustrations, a visual language of science fiction has evolved: bug-eyed monsters; spaceships; robots and so on.

Art in the comic strip and the graphic novel has been the means of telling stories in visual form – whilst artists such as Roy Lichtenstein have made comic panels into art.

The call for papers (which opened some time ago) has a January 15 deadline.

We invite 300 word proposals for twenty minute papers on the intersection of art and sf across the media – painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, photography, film, performance, prose, dance, architecture and so on…

(8) ONE ISLAND’S OPINION. Colleen Gillard’s article “Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories” in The Atlantic is high-brow click-bait.

The small island of Great Britain is an undisputed powerhouse of children’s bestsellers: The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Significantly, all are fantasies. Meanwhile, the United States, also a major player in the field of children’s classics, deals much less in magic. Stories like Little House in the Big Woods, The Call of the Wild, Charlotte’s Web, The Yearling, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are more notable for their realistic portraits of day-to-day life in the towns and farmlands on the growing frontier. If British children gathered in the glow of the kitchen hearth to hear stories about magic swords and talking bears, American children sat at their mother’s knee listening to tales larded with moral messages about a world where life was hard, obedience emphasized, and Christian morality valued. Each style has its virtues, but the British approach undoubtedly yields the kinds of stories that appeal to the furthest reaches of children’s imagination.

And it works – people are coming unglued in the comments.

(9) FX. Doctor Science formulates a TV production axiom in “How special effects eat characterization”. The Doctor’s last paragraph says it best, but you should read it there. Here is the first paragraph:

I don’t think this trend is mostly an artistic or marketing choice, even though that’s what people in Hollywood usually say. I think “more explodey” is driven by the need to justify budgets, and by the individual interests of the people who have to do it.

(10) UNEMPLOYED KAIJU. They won’t be needing any special effects for Pacific Rim 2 — it’s dead, Jim.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the follow-up to director Guillermo Del Toro’s monsters-versus-robots epic is “off the table indefinitely” – and in its place, del Toro has entered talks with 20th Century Fox to helm a rather different sci-fi spectacular.

Del Toro is reportedly gearing up to take the helm on ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ a remake of the 1966 sci-fi classic which starred Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasance as members of a team who are miniaturized in a submarine and injected into the body of a dying scientist in order to save his life.

(11) CLASS. The Doctor Who spinoff Class will air on BBC America in 2016. It was already on BBC Three’s schedule in the UK.

The eight-part series is from young-adult author Patrick Ness, who is known for writing the “A Monster Calls” books. The series is exec produced by “Doctor Who’s” Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin and is a co-production between BBC America and BBC Cymru Wales. It is filmed in Cardiff in the U.K.

“I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself,” said Ness. “I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of ‘Class,’ to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your exams,” he joked.

(12) BESTSELLER SNARK. Diana Gabaldon zinged George R.R. Martin – The Hollywood Reporter has the quote:

When asked by a reporter whether her work on the Starz drama [Outlander] — she penned a season two episode — would interfere with her meeting the deadline for the ninth installment in her saga — in light of Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin’s recent announcement that, of course, his next book will be delayed — Gabaldon didn’t miss a beat. “No. Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or what else I’m doing,” she said, adding: “He admits it himself that he likes to travel and he can’t write when he travels. That’s just the way he works. Everybody’s got their own writing mechanism. When I began writing, I had two full-time jobs and three small children.”

(13) TENTACLE TIME. Matthew Dockrey, designer of Sasquan’s Hugo base, made news with his new piece of public art in Vancouver (WA).

A newly installed tentacle sculpture is seen on Main Street in Vancouver Wednesday January 6, 2016. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

A newly installed tentacle sculpture is seen on Main Street in Vancouver Wednesday January 6, 2016. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

A giant steel tentacle bristling with saucer-sized suckers is slithering from the sewer in Uptown Village at Main and West 23rd streets.

Does it belong to an enormous octopus? A sea monster? Is it the tail of a dragon?

The imagination reels with possibilities.

The sculpture, created by Seattle metal artist Matthew Dockrey, is Vancouver’s newest piece of public art. Called “The Visitor,” the 5-foot-tall appendage cradling a genuine city manhole cover was installed Saturday. It will be dedicated at a celebration at noon Friday by the Uptown Village Association, Arts of Clark County, Vancouver’s Downtown Association and the city.

Karen Madsen, chairwoman of the nonprofit Arts of Clark County, said the artwork selection committee had sought a piece that was whimsical and interactive and that would endure over time. The sculpture, which Dockrey specifically created for the site in front of the old Mission Theatre, fits within the Steampunk art movement, she said.

(14) THE FRONT. Cedar Sanderson has pulled together the Mad Genius Club’s considerable wisdom about cover creation for self-published books into one post.

First and most important: before you start designing a cover, creating art intended for book covers, or even thinking about a book cover, you need to look at book covers. A lot of them. Specific book covers to your genre is even better, as there are subtle cues you need to know and recognize, even if you aren’t doing your own covers. So first, before anything else, go to Amazon and search for your sub-genre (space opera, paranormal romance, werewolf stories, historical military fiction, whatever it is) and look at the top 100 selling books. Not the freebies (unless you are looking at what not to do). Make notes of elements you like, things you hate, and the consistent notes that many of the covers have in common. When you’re done with this, you are ready to begin.

(15) HUGO PREP WORK. Shaun Duke has posted a crowdsourced list – “The 2016 Hugo Awards Reading/Watching List (or, My Next Few Months)”.

Last month, I asked for recommendations for my annual Hugo Awards reading bonanza.  A bunch of you responded with books, movies, TV shows, cookbooks, and so on.  The form will remain open for the next month or so, so if you haven’t submitted anything or want to submit some more stuff, go for it!

So, without further delay, here is the big massive monster list of stuff I’ll be reading or watching for the next few months…

(15) IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR. Doris V. Sutherland resumes her analysis of the comparative quality of Puppy and non-Puppy Hugo nominees in the past two races in “2014 Hugos Versus 2015 Sad Puppies: Novelettes” at Women Write About Comics.

Breaking down the above ten works, we have two stories from the 2014 Sad Puppies slate, four from the 2015 Sad Puppies slate, one from the Rabid Puppies and three that were not Puppy picks. In terms of numbers, this is a strong showing from the Puppies. In terms of quality, well…

Before I go on, I should—in the interests of balance—remind my readers that I generally liked the Puppy choices for Best Short Story; some had their flaws, but I felt that the only out-and-out dud was the Rabid slate’s “Turncoat.” Looking at the Puppy novelettes, on the other hand, I find myself decidedly unimpressed.

(16) ROCK ENROLL. NASA’s new Planetary Defense Coordination Office will coordinate asteroid detection and hazard mitigation.

NASA has formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The office remains within NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The office will be responsible for supervision of all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near Earth’s orbit around the sun. It will also take a leading role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential impact threats….

NASA’s long-term planetary defense goals include developing technology and techniques for deflecting or redirecting objects that are determined to be on an impact course with Earth. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission concept would demonstrate the effectiveness of the gravity tractor method of planetary defense, using the mass of another object to pull an asteroid slightly from its original orbital path. The joint NASA-European Space Agency Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission concept, if pursued, would demonstrate an impact deflection method of planetary defense.

Even if intervention is not possible, NASA would provide expert input to FEMA about impact timing, location and effects to inform emergency response operations. In turn, FEMA would handle the preparations and response planning related to the consequences of atmospheric entry or impact to U.S. communities.

(17) AFRICAN SF. There are six African authors on BSFA Awards Longlist.

Sarah Lotz has been nominated in the Best Novel category for Day Four, the follow-up on her bestseller The Three.

Chinelo Onwualu of Nigeria has been nominated in the Best Non-fiction category for her essay “Race, Speculative Fiction And Afro SF”, published by the New Left Project.

The Best Short Fiction category features four other African nominations:

Unfortunately Samatar’s story won’t be eligible for the award as she announced hers is a reprint of a 2012 story.

(18) ANIMAL FARM. The extended trailer for Disney live-action movie The Jungle Book looks pretty good.

(19) WUV. Matthew Johnson contributed these instant classic parody lyrics in a comment.

Star Base… LOVE.”

Love, at Warp Factor Two

Beam aboard, we’re expecting you

Love, it’s a captain’s reward

Make it so, it warps back to you


The Love Base

Soon we’ll be plotting a different course

The Love Base

You’ll learn a new way to use the Force


Won’t stun anyone

It’s fruity drinks ‘neath the double suns

It’s the Love

It’s the Love

It’s the Love

It’s the Love Base

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Brian Z., Will R., Standback, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

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143 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/9/16 To Flail Beyond the Sunset

  1. BethZ: My local library was well-stocked with Freddy, too.

    Everything but the elusive Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig.

  2. @BethZ
    How could I forget Freddy and Mrs. Wiggins and Jinx? Those books were a world where I spent a good amount of time, and now I’m in the town Walter Brooks came from. His papers are at U of Rochester. It seems scandalous to me that the local libraries don’t all have a complete set of his books. I probably have more than any one of them that I’ve been to. There was a “World of Freddy” sort of book in the used section at our Barnes & Noble, and of course I didn’t have the wherewithal that day, and have never seen it since.

    They even had science fiction stories, like the baseball team from Mars.

  3. Andrew M – Middle grade for us typically books geared for kids ages 10-14, but there’s clearly some variation. A book classified as for 8-12 would definitely fit. But, that doesn’t mean a book for ages 10-14 necessarily goes to our children’s department. Our teen department is for grades 6th through 12th, so we sometimes have to make a decision about where certain books fit best based on the content and what we know about our patrons’ interests. Obviously, anyone can check anything out from any department, but we want to get books in the best location possible. (ETA: I think the publishing industry might use the 8-12 age range, but that isn’t necessarily how all libraries/librarians interpret middle grade – especially when we’re talking about reading level rather than content)

    The Newbery is tricky in that it is for books suitable for an audience up to and including age 14. A winner could, conceivably, be a book geared towards ages 14-18 (since it includes 14 year olds), but it typically isn’t. The Printz award is geared towards YA titles, but sometimes you get books like Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy that is both a Newbery and Printz winner and firmly a middle grade novel. And of course, situations like last year when the Printz honor and the Caldecott honor (which is for picture books for ages up to 14) was awarded to the graphic novel This One Summer. To say that this horrified some people (based on the book’s content) is an understatement, but it was perfectly within the scope of both awards’ criteria.

  4. @RedWombat

    Very true. Eva Ibbotson is brilliant.

    Also missing, because she’s from New Zealand and not British (although she does count as a “British subject” and so has won the Carnegie twice, and is generally extremely influential over here), is Margaret Mahy. Few authors come close.

  5. <sigh> Well, Lela Buis has gotten it wrong yet again. She completely misses the fact that when her last blog post was linked here, it was pointed out here that she was conflating convention safe spaces with convention harassment policies.

    And now she’s accusing all the people who felt unsafe having Crazy Uncle Lou be at Sasquan of “harassing” the Sasquan concom:

    the kerfluffle dates from last summer when WorldCon management made a decision some felt was contrary to their published policy, which was allowing Lou Antonelli to attend the convention after he SWATed the guest of honor prior to the con. The guest of honor did not complain to convention management, but various other employees and attendees apparently harassed the management committee that made the decision, attempting to have it reversed. Afterward, the harassment continued. I disapprove of this.

    Well, Lela, I disapprove of you presuming to tell other people that they don’t have the right to feel threatened and unsafe by the presence of someone who has a well-documented, extensive history of stalking, harassing and threatening people who do or say things that he doesn’t like — someone who had deliberately attempted to increase police sensitivity and response at Sasquan, putting the members there at risk.

  6. Kyra on January 10, 2016 at 4:33 am said:

    ULTRAGOTHA, I’ll admit that a large part of my reaction to the book is due to a personal preference on my part — it tends to be really hard for me to get into an explicit “everything is fated / I am but a tool of destiny” plot.

    Can I ask what it was that you did like about it? I’d honestly like to know!

    I actually didn’t see that as “everything is fated”. Merlin is afraid for his life several times, as well as ones where he just says right out he’s not worried because it’s not his time to die. He is also afraid of things outside his own life. Just because he’s seen his own death doesn’t mean other people’s lives are safe. (And I’ll spoil a bit and throw out that it’s not absolute that he’s actually seen his own death.)

    I don’t see that “everything is fated” is more of a lack of worry at the survival of the main character than that the story is in First Person! The narrator must survive because he’s telling the story!

    These were probably my earliest introduction to the Matter of Britain that wasn’t just a straightforward telling of Standard Arthurian Myth. I loved the more realistic historical setting (I now do 6th century Kentish Saxon reenacting on occasion–if Arthur existed that would have been the time period). I liked Merlin’s childhood, the atmosphere Stewart created, her language (oh, so rich) and the whole set up she created.

    After I’d learned more about that time period I spotted all sorts of anachronisms but those stories have still avoided a visitation by the Suck Fairy. They were the ones that hooked me on other books dealing with the Matter of Britain.

  7. RedWombat and Meredith – Ibbotson and Mahy are both amazing and neither get enough love here in the US.

  8. Recs: Well, I’ve finally seen The Force Awakens.

    I liked it, and it will go on my ballot, but I don’t think it’s the best SF movie of the year. Of the movies I’ve seen, that honor still has to go to Fury Road, followed closely by Predestination.

    Graphic Novels: Did someone here mention Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor? If so, thank you thank you. It is fantastic. It’s a meditation on art and life, and how much of the latter a person is willing to sacrifice for the former. (The book is also incredibly heavy, just from the weight of the thicker paper, I suppose.) I’m very much a comic-book newbie, but this is really good.

  9. I can’t recall if I ever read any Margaret Mahy; both The Haunting and The Changeover sound like exactly the sort of books I’d have loved as a middle grade reader, but published just a couple years too late for me to discover them, especially if they didn’t really make it to the U.S. I know I never read Ibbotson.

    I have a one-year-old nephew and keep getting the urge to buy books to give to him later on! I know it’s futile. Just because I loved Freddy the Pig back when, would he? Although those Mahy books sound great, will they suit his taste when he’s ten?

  10. McJulie on January 10, 2016 at 11:41 am said:
    Re: David Gerrold on feuds. He’s absolutely right, but I don’t know what to do about it. It’s human nature to get sucked in, which of course explains a lot about this whole Puppy business. When the alternative to getting into it with somebody is letting a jerk say a horrible thing and letting it go completely unchallenged… I’m obviously not immune…

    The fans already did something about it.

    I went for years not caring what pups said or did. After EPA goes into effect I expect to go years again without caring what pups do or say. You have one more year of crap.

    And now little Teddy Beale is going after the Goodreads Awards. That’s a cough in a thunderstorm. I don’t expect to care much about that at all.

  11. Thirding Eva Ibbotson. Fans of Diana Wynne Jones should check her out.

    A friend swears by the Freddy books and hands them round to suitably aged children.

  12. @Peace Is My Middle Name: I am intrigued (and love Diana Wynne Jones).

    I checked out Ibbotson on amazon, and see a number on Kindle.

    I grabbed _Which Witch_ because, love the title, and WITCHES!

    Thank all the Filers for the rec!

  13. Fourthing Eva Ibbotson. Which Witch was really nice, but my favourite was The Great Ghost Rescue. And I see that I now have a reason to check out Diana Wynne Jones.

  14. Do kids today still know Freddy the Pig? I don’t see him around much now, but I had a couple books I reread till they fell apart.

    Wilson is just… all over the place. Their stories seem, to me, to quit rather than end. So all the similes and adjectives end up leading to anticlimax. Frustrating.

    Thanks to whoever(s) recommended the GN “Sculptor”. Sad but great. I read the ebook edition and zoomed in on panels.

  15. @lurkertype:

    [Wilson’s] stories seem, to me, to quit rather than end. So all the similes and adjectives end up leading to anticlimax. Frustrating.

    I actually appreciated the ambiguous ending of “Kaiju maximus“, thought the mix of doubt and hope was just the right note. “The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” ended reasonably well wrapped up but I would have appreciated just a little more clarity about what Demane would do next; he’d clearly reached a turning point in his life, but turning to what, I wasn’t quite sure.

  16. I will confess a certain amount of fellow-feeling for Ibbotson, which is probably largely imaginary on my part, but she wrote all those children’s books which are really really good, and then some romances that get shelved as YA or adult apparently based on bookseller fiat, and a flat out adult novel, none of which did anything much and went out of print, so she kept writing kid books.

    I love her more adult work very much and wish there was more, but her kid books had a lot of bounce and charm, and I totally see why they did so well. But you can see the same plot elements cropping up between kid and adult books, and as someone who occasionally finds themselves yanking elements out of one manuscript and cramming into another, I’m…sympathetic? “Talking crow worked here, let’s put it over here, too..,”

  17. Vasha:

    Just remembered that I bought Howl’s Moving Castle at that time, so it is in my TBR-pile.

  18. Red:

    and a flat out adult novel,

    Which one is that? I have a long, long TBR list, but there’s always room for more…

  19. JJ

    Thank you for going in to bat against the dangerous nonsense spewed by Lela; thanks to the varying time zones I am in the middle of night here and insomniac to boot. You’d think they would have got this sorted by 2781, but you would be wrong.

    I’m baffled by the fact that Lela and her ilk are so very ignorant of reality; they seem to live in a bubble where nothing could possibly ever go wrong for them, and bad things only ever happen to other people. She’s a fool, selfevidently, and someone who has never had to grapple with the fact that bad things do happen to good people.

    I am too tired to grapple with her idiocy; I always knew that bad things happen to good people. One would have to be remarkably dumb not to realise that being a slave on the Death Railway is definitely a bad thing, and if she wants to believe that someone in the career military, with skills which would have let him fly a desk for the duration of the war, who instead volunteered as a rear gunner when the life expectancy was measured in days, not months, was not a good person, then she has no idea of honour, nor of duty, nor of courage.

    It’s odd, isn’t it? The people drumming on their chests about how they are the big brave baddies are the ones who never put themselves at risk; it’s so much safer sabre rattling from behind the rear lines whilst other people do the fighting, and frequently the dying.

    My mother was also career military; back in the bad old days in 1947 she had to resign once she became pregnant. But she served throughout the war on RAF bases continuously attacked by the Luftwaffe; people tend not to realise that the Battle Of Britain was only the beginning of the air war. She lived, as they all did, knowing that each moment could be their last, and they tried to make the most of them. The pilots and crew knew, only too well, that the guys who made it back alive could be dreadfully injured, their faces burnt beyond recognition, but they did the mission briefing and then got into their cockpits and flew their own missions.

    I’m sorry for this being so long, but I wanted you to understand why I am so grateful to you.

  20. Speaking of YA books, I liked the Five-yard Fuller books when I was young but no one else I ever talked to had heard of them. They count as fantasy I think because of the strength enhancing tonic and the dinosaurs. But they were mostly funny sports stories. Even checking online they seem to be mostly unknown.

  21. @Stevie: “if she wants to believe that someone in the career military, with skills which would have let him fly a desk for the duration of the war, who instead volunteered as a rear gunner when the life expectancy was measured in days, not months, was not a good person, then she has no idea of honour, nor of duty, nor of courage.”

    A small point of disagreement: it is entirely possible to be honorable, courageous, and have a solid sense of duty without being a good person. I’m not saying anything about any specific individuals, merely pointing out that the willingness to die for a cause does not make one a saint. After all, the other side is full of people with those same qualities.

  22. I would prefer that people skip out on sense of duty. Sometimes I think it stands in opposite of honour and courage.

  23. Sense of duty is like determination: it’s context-sensitive. It’s good to feel a sense of duty about good things, and good to be determined about them. It’s bad to feel a sense of duty about bad things, and bad to be determined to keep doing bad things.

  24. @Stevie: indeed, it’s always the REMF and chickenhawks who do the most talking, least walking, most sniveling when things don’t go exactly their way.

    @Shao Ping: what an amazing piece of writing! It’s like when the women used to go around giving out white feathers to “cowards”.

  25. I’ve had, at different times, three stalkers. Two were stalkers of the opposite gender whose intent was “romantic”. One of them managed to obtain my new address and phone number again after I finally moved. I’ve also had a stalker of the same gender, whose intent was “I’m going to come and sort you out”, and who worked very, very hard at trying to find out my place of employment (presumably so they could try to smear my name and reputation and cost me my job).

    What Buis fails to understand is that the things Crazy Uncle Lou has been doing are called “precursor behaviors” — so-named because the people engaging in them often escalate into worse and worse behavior which, unchecked, can eventually culminate into violence or worse.

    If his behavior last summer had had consequences, it’s possible (not, I think, likely — but possible) that that would have been a wake-up call for him. But there were almost no consequences. He got to go to the Hugo ceremony, and within a week or so he had recanted his apology and gone back to his same-old behavior online, playing himself up as being a victim of it all and feeling sorry for himself, rather than recognizing that he was guilty of harassment and putting Sasquan members at risk, and genuinely making an effort to change his behavior.

    For Buis to trivialize the very real concerns of the Sasquan members makes me feel angry and ill. If she’d ever had to go through this, she might understand why other people feel the way they do, and why those feelings are utterly legitimate.

  26. Yes, Zelig is inserted into all kinds of real footage. I know y’all know that already, but I loved that movie. But he wasn’t a forgotten man — he had the ability to change to suit his surroundings, and he became famous because of it, in a 1920s new fad sort of way.

    I didn’t 🙂
    I picked Gump for my “what’s that guy doing in that picture, I was there and I don’t remember him” pseudonym because it’s hard to avoid knowing about Gump, and a lot of people saw the originals of the videos he was inserted into. Zelig’s way more obscure.

  27. Eva Ibbotsen doesn’t get nearly enough love…

    The Great Ghost Rescue was how I discovered Ibottsen and then I started buying all of her kids books I could find. I suppose I should give them to my nieces and nephews but I am not sure I am ready to let go yet.

  28. When asked by a reporter whether her work on the Starz drama [Outlander] — she penned a season two episode — would interfere with her meeting the deadline for the ninth installment in her saga — in light of Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin’s recent announcement that, of course, his next book will be delayed — Gabaldon didn’t miss a beat. “No. Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or what else I’m doing,” she said, adding: “He admits it himself that he likes to travel and he can’t write when he travels. That’s just the way he works. Everybody’s got their own writing mechanism. When I began writing, I had two full-time jobs and three small children.”

    I wish writers didn’t slag each other off. It becomes very hard not to point out that Outlander is to AGOT as Barbie is to Dontello’s David.

  29. Rev. Bob, Hampus, Bruce, Lurkertype

    I agree that duty can be, and quite often is, abused; I do, however, think that we need something like that concept. I’m thinking of human rights in particular; there can be no genuine human rights without people accepting that we have a duty to respect the rights of others, just as we expect others to respect our rights.

    For me rights and duties are the two sides of the same coin; it’s not a one way street. That idea seems to be alien to those in the ranks of the Rabs, who talk a great deal about their rights, but seem oblivious to the fact that other people have rights as well.

    I agree whole heartedly on this one.

  30. @Stevie:

    I didn’t say anything about duty. I just observed that it’s possible to be an honorable, dutiful, courageous jerk.

  31. Rev. Bob

    Apologies; I didn’t realise that your definition of a saint is anyone who’s not a jerk. I suspect that my subconscious was taking the Rev. bit literally whilst the conscious part of my brain was completely misunderstanding your point.

    I fully accept that innumerable wars have been fought with good people killing good people, as well as bad people killing bad people, plus combinations thereof; Bob Dylan did not write in vain, though he did omit the fact that you don’t have to have a god on your side to slaughter millions. Stalin managed perfectly well without one.

  32. @Shao Ping, @lurkertype: It is a great story, but that link is to a somewhat condensed version. You can find the whole thing here (or, go read the whole collection The Things They Carried, which everyone should do anyway).

  33. Re: Tentacle Time: I love that art installation! I saw that Dockrey had posted a few photos of his progress on his web page, but had never seen what it was supposed to become; when I saw it it, was an odd truncated hollow spiral of perhaps three quarters of a turn, so I’m glad you put up a picture of the finished sculpture; thank you!

  34. (4) STABBY WINNERS. Yay, great to see some love for Schafer’s The Labyrinth of Flame! 😀 It’s on my short list, and it won’t be the first thing to budge if something must fall off the list.

    (13) TENTACLE TIME. Ha, very nicely done.

    @Greg Hullender: Thanks for the link to Miller’s “Calved”; I loved several of his past stories, so I’m happy to try another. I’ll save it for later ‘cuz I need to go to sleep now.

    @Kyra: Wow, quite a range there! Five Children and It – oh, I hope this holds up for me if I re-read it. I looked into audiobooks and found some of this series (and The Enchanted Castle) that I liked, and some that I didn’t, but I had trouble finding a set of them by one narrator that I liked (and that weren’t abridged, IIRC, unless I’m misremembering the abridged/not-abridged part). So I haven’t re-read them via audiobooks yet, but I hope to.

    @JJ: “double godstalk” – Double-secret-probation godstalk??? 😉

    @Star Wars Fans: I saw the movie on Saturday, yay! I liked it a lot! Not perfect, but very good and quite enjoyable.

  35. “Five Children and It” reminds me, I was touched to see a shout out to “The Railway Children” in Terry Pratchett’s “Raising Steam”.

    It’s been increasingly painful reading Pratchett’s last few works, but I am glad he managed to get a few old style cameos and appreciations in before the end.

    Oh, ad @Kendall, welcome to the Spoiler side of the Force.

  36. Argh, my kingdom for the ability to “click to edit” and check the box to subscribe to comments. My kingdom, I say!

    (I.e., /god-stalk!)

    ETA: I do love this Pixel Scroll title, despite never having read the book in question. 🙂

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