Pixel Scroll 2/10/17 Who Knows What Pixels Lurk In The Hearts Of Scrolls?

(1) GAIMAN ON PRATCHETT. The BBC says this is the first time it has featured Neil Gaiman’s complete tribute to Terry Pratchett from his memorial.

In April last year, friends, fans and colleagues of Sir Terry Pratchett gathered for a celebratory memorial service. The writer NEIL GAIMAN, Pratchett’s longtime friend and collaborator, read his funny and moving tribute, featured here in its entirety for the first time.

(2) HEAT CHECK. Jaym Gates is gauging interest in a speculative fiction anthology titled Nevertheless, She Persisted.

…Okay, so should I do an anthology of NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED, what female authors would be interested in contributing? What awesome female authors (especially POC and LGBTQ, ESPECIALLY immigrant and trans authors) should I be reaching out to?

And why only female authors?

Because this is a project about the struggles that women face from the moment their gender is announced, and the courage and tenacity that helps them rise above that deep and unending opposition.

It is a book about the experience of women, told in their voices. It is not a book about how others imagine it to be, but one deeply and personally influenced by their own fights and victories.

And sure, I’ll do an anthology as a stretch goal, titled I’M WITH HER. Men are welcome to submit to that one. But men are over-represented in the SF and political world as it is, and I want more women to be heard.

Yes, it’s fucking political. This project will be incredibly political. Intentionally. It will have middle fingers everywhere, between the lines and sometimes in them….

Gates has been editor/co-editor of spec fic anthologies Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place,  War Stories: New Military Science Fiction, Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring ’20s, and Rigor Amortis.

(3) BUSIEK INTERVIEW. Filers may be interested to know that comics guru Kurt Busiek is interviewed in the latest edition of SciFiNow magazine (issue 129). Kurt talks about his love for all things Wonder Woman in the interview.

There appears to be no sign of the interview on the SciFiNow website, so anyone wishing to read Kurt’s words will have to head to the nearest newsstand and purchase a print edition or download the digital edition.

Kurt’s name appears on the bottom line of the cover.

(4) HAWKING COMICS. Never let them tell you comics aren’t educational.

Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds of this century.  Bluewater Productions is bringing you his life story in this unique comic book format.  Find out all about the man the myth and the legend!

This 2013 comic book is currently for sale on Comic Flea Market.

(5) AIDING LITERACY. Ann Totusek, chair of Minicon 52, has a request:

Minicon is partnering with Little Free Libraries this year. If your club/organization or any individuals in your club or organization are stewards of a Little Free Library, and you think the Library is particularly photogenic or relevant to SF/F, or just generally well done, we’d love to have pictures of it for a display at Minicon to showcase how fandom supports literacy! Picture files could be sent to me – chair@minicon52.mnstf.org, or hard copy photos could be sent to our snail mail address- Minicon 52 PO Box 8297 Lake Street Station Minneapolis, MN 55408-0297

If you know of a fannish club mailing list that this would be appropriate for an announcement to, please feel free to forward it.

(6) FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE. And now a word from 1962 – via The Traveler at Galactic Journey: “[Feb. 10, 1962] Here Is The News (March 1962 IF”.

If “no news is good news,” then this has been a very good week, indeed!  The Studebaker UAW strike ended on the 7th.  The Congo is no more restive than usual.  Laos seems to be holding a tenuous peace in its three-cornered civil war.  The coup is over in the Dominican Republic, the former government back in power.  John Glenn hasn’t gone up yet, but then, neither have any Russians.

And while this month’s IF science fiction magazine contains nothing of earth-shattering quality, there’s not a clunker in the mix – and quite a bit to enjoy!


  • February 10, 1957 — Roger Corman’s Attack of the Crab Monsters opens in theaters


  • February 10, 1906 — Creighton Tull Chaney (stage name Lon Chaney, Jr.) is born in Oklahoma.

(9) POOHDUNIT. As noted in the Scroll the other day, the house A.A. Milne lived in (with Christopher Robin) while writing Winnie-the-Pooh is for sale for lots of pots of honey. Not noted in the article is that Milne wrote a Manor House mystery, his only work outside of the Pooh stories, based on living there – learn more at The Green Man Review:

The Red House Mystery, published shortly before he became world-famous as the creator of Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh, is his only detective novel. In his tongue-in-cheek introduction, written after the Pooh craze had struck, he explains that “it is obvious now that a new detective story, written in the face of this steady terrestial demand for children’s books, would be in the worst of taste.”

For mystery enthusiasts, this is a pity…

(10) INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Steven H Silver says you’ll get a better deal buying J.R.R. Tolkien’s old home, which also is on the market right now.

(11) AVOIDING A CRASH. Poor machines – humans always gumming up the works. On All Tech Considered at NPR – “Self-Driving Cars Could Ease Our Commutes, But That’ll Take A While”.

The promise of automated cars is that they could eliminate human-error accidents and potentially enable more efficient use of roadways. That sounds, at first blush, like self-driving cars could also mean traffic reduction and lower commute times.

But researchers aren’t so sure.

(12) NUTS WANTED. In “How do you stop astronauts going mad?”, the BBC has a look at early space program history,when the shrinks had some bizarre ideas about what would make a great astronaut.

“Impulsive, suicidal, sexually-aberrant thrill seeker.” What kind of person might that describe? A Big Brother contestant? A Base jumper? A cult leader? Guess again. It is how some US Air Force (USAF) psychiatrists, back in the early days of the space race, imagined the psychological profile of would-be astronauts. Unless they were crazy, wreckless, hedonists, the doctors reasoned, there was no way they were going to be let anyone strap them into a modified intercontinental ballistic missile and then fire them into orbit.

Of course, the men in white coats were wrong, and were guided more by their lack of knowledge about space and the tropes of science fiction than reason. Instead, the personality traits of cool-headedness under pressure, deep technical know-how and sheer physical and mental endurance – “the right stuff” of Tom Wolfe’s book – ultimately led Nasa to six successful Moon landings and an utterly ingenious escape for the crew on Apollo 13, the mission that very nearly took the lives of its three crew members.

(13) MOOD MUSIC. The BBC answers the question “Can this radio detect your mood and play songs to match?”

Take Solo, the “emotional radio”, for example. A wall-mounted device that resembles a large clock, it features a liquid crystal display at its centre. When you approach it, the pictogram face shows a neutral expression.

But it then takes a photo of your face, a rod or antenna on the side cranks into life, and the LCD display indicates that it’s thinking.

“When it’s doing this, it’s analysing different features of your face and deciding how happy, sad or angry you are,” explains Mike Shorter, senior creative technologist at the Liverpool-based design and innovation company, Uniform, Solo’s creator.

“It will then start to reflect your mood through music.”

(14) UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM. What should Hollywood learn from Deadpool?

(15) LAMPOON ON THE WAY. Inquisitr reveals a “’Star Wars’ Spoof In The Works – ‘Scary Movie’ Team Continues ‘Lazy Comedy’?”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other Lucasfilm movies move forward into the sci-fi genre, but what of the parody/spoof genre of film? The Scary Movie team of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer will be moving forward as writers and directors of a new Star Wars spoof called Star Worlds Episode XXXIVE=MC2: The Force Awakens the Last Jedi Who Went Rogue, according to an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter.

(16) SPIDERLY ASPIRATIONS. “Scarlett Johansson Says Black Widow Movie ‘A Case of Timing’”Comic Book Resources has the story.

Scarlett Johansson is ready to star in a “Black Widow” movie, but according to the actress, a standalone film might be a long time coming. Johansson recently sat down with Total Film Magazine to talk about the upcoming cyberpunk thriller “Ghost in the Shell,” but eventually ended up touching on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s notable lack of a “Black Widow” film. Marvel Studios currently has a slew of superhero movies planned as far out as mid-2019, but despite vocal fan support for the idea

[Thanks to Michael O’Donnell, David K.M. Klaus, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/10/17 Who Knows What Pixels Lurk In The Hearts Of Scrolls?

  1. Milne’s only non-Pooh book? Then what’s this?


    Near as I can figure, the key phrase is “based on living there,” but it took a few readings (and editing this comment) for me to get to that. Hmph.

    Oh, and speaking of Lampoons, I happened to pick up a pair of 1901 Harvard Lampoon issues at the downtown library’s sale annex. First thought on going all the way through both rather slim volumes: lame! (Well, you know how merciless we modern readers can be, Eh, Reader?)

    also: Read this file, or we’ll scroll this pixel!

    Whoops! (heh) Forgot to pull the handle.

  2. 2016 Novel Reading

    After Atlas by Emma Newman [Planetfall #2]
    Random Penguin  Roc, edited by Rebecca Brewer
    cover art by Anxo Amerelle, design by Adam Auerbach
    Synopsis: 40 years after the departure of the spaceship Atlas (the story of its passengers was told in Planetfall), the people of Earth await the opening of a time capsule left by its captain, and speculation about the contents — and how they might help the failing planet — runs rife.
    What I thought: This is not really a sequel to Planetfall, and can be read without reading the first book. The main character is the son left behind by the leader of the spacecraft Atlas’ colony expedition, and he has tried to make a life for himself on a dystopic future earth, despite spending decades under a cloud of uncertainty and resentment from the rest of the world because of his lineage. The future technology described here, and the political organization of the earth’s countries, are quite interesting, and the author builds the stakes nicely as the plot moves along. As with the first book, the ending seems a little abrupt; nevetheless, I found it a worthy read.

    Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
    Gollancz, edited by Simon Spanton
    cover art and design by Sidonie Beresford-Browne
    Synopsis: An “angel”, of indeterminate origin and purpose, is trapped on Earth, and they try to help achieve positive outcomes for human beings while endeavoring to find a way back “home”.
    What I thought: This novel opens in media res, and it’s one of those books that leaves a lot unexplained, and the reader has to figure out the background from the clues given as events progress. The main character is one for whom the reader can feel empathy, and there is some intriguing worldbuilding and plotting here. Like Kyra, I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. It would probably benefit from a second reading, but that’s not in the cards for me right now, given everything else on my reading list for Hugo Nominations. If there’s a sequel, I will probably do a re-read, then pick up the second one, because there’s enough here that’s unique and interesting to make it worth another go. If the synopsis appeals to you, I encourage you to give this book a try.

    Revenger by Alastair Reynolds [something # ]
    Gollancz / Orbit, edited by Gillian Redfearn
    cover art and design by Blacksheep
    Synopsis: An ambitious, worldly 18-year-old drags her naïve, congenial year-younger sister out on an adventure to serve on a spaceship in a universe where salvage ships compete to plunder caches of ancient technology when their surrounding protective bubbles periodically open. These ships navigate with the aid of communications via the found skulls of an alien race which died out millions of years before, which can only be operated by psychic “bone-readers”. Adventure, danger, and tragedy ensue.
    What I thought: This is a much darker, edgier version of A Long Way to a Slow, Angry Planet. Despite it being on Locus’ YA list, it is definitely not YA. I really, really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to a sequel. It’s on my Hugo longlist for now.

    The Gradual by Christopher Priest [Dream Archipelago #4]
    Gollancz / Titan Books, editor unknown
    Gollancz cover design by Julyan Bayes, us-now.com
    Titan Books cover design by Amazing15
    Synopsis: As a child, the main character watches his brother be sent off to never-ending war, from which he never returns. He grows up to be a highly-esteemed composer of music which is inspired by the islands he can see at a distance in the ocean – but he never forgets about his brother. Offered the chance to do a traveling performance tour with a group of other musicians, he takes it, with the hope of finding clues to his brother’s whereabouts. But he does not know about The Gradual, the strange time-twisting effect experienced by people who travel among the islands.
    What I thought: Set in Priest’s Dream Archipelago world, this novel promises much but delivers little. Like The Prestige and The Adjacent, it is a fantasy pretending to be science-fictional, without bothering to do any of the worldbuilding which would make the science-fictional part believable. Several interesting subthreads are introduced and later completely dropped, without any further development or resolution. I think I’m done with Priest’s books at this point, as I find them profoundly dissatisfying.

    The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
    Orbit Books, editor unknown
    cover photo by Shutterstock, design by Lauren Panepinto
    Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic future which has rebounded somewhat in terms of technology, privileged citizens can experience the 21st century firsthand through portals run by time-travel tourism companies. A tour guide is just biding his time until he is able to retire and enjoy life as he really wants it. But then, on what should have been an ordinary afternoon shopping trip, one of his tourists disappears, and he is obligated to try to find her.
    What I thought: Like Christopher Priest’s books, this novel has some really interesting premises and worldbuilding, and the plot is pretty interesting – right up until about 75% of the way in, when it totally loses its way. There are all sorts of intriguing starts to things which never get finished, and the book basically just trails off with none of the questions and mysteries it raises ever getting answered or solved. If you really enjoy Priest, you may very well enjoy this one. I found it supremely unsatisfying, and I’m wondering how it ever got published in its current form.

    Savant by Nik Abnett
    Solaris, edited by Jonathan Oliver
    cover art by Sam Gretton
    Synopsis: On a future Earth which is continually hidden from malign alien forces in the galaxy by a surrounding shield of invisibility sustained by psychics, some kind of data infection begins to slowly destroy the ability of the shield-generators, and the system monitors must figure out what’s wrong, and fix it, before the Earth becomes the target of those aliens.
    What I thought: This is another one which opens in media res, leaving a lot unexplained, and the reader has to figure out the background from the book jacket synopsis (information which, strangely, does not really appear anywhere in the book) and the clues given as events progress. It’s interesting, and I quite enjoyed it, though I am not sure that the experimental structure of the narrative works as well as it could. side note: There are a surprising number of typographical errors in this book. It’s not Baen-level bad, but the copyediting is poor enough that it’s noticeable.

    Windswept by Adam Rakunas [Windswept #1]
    Angry Robot Books, edited by
    cover art by Jessica Smith
    Synopsis: A Union leader on a planet where colonists struggle for survival in tough manual-labor jobs recruits (for a bounty) corporation indenture-breachers who decide to jump ship on their planet. New union members move into the lowest jobs and those ahead of them move up, which means that workers have a hope of eventually moving into better conditions and pay, or even perhaps retiring with benefits. She takes a huge risk in order to earn enough to finally retire and run her dream business – but, of course, no plan survives contact with reality.
    What I thought: Full of twists, reversals, and reveals – combined with the sort of sly and sarcastic humor that I love – this is a great gritty mystery-adventure, with a flawed but strong and likeable protagonist, and no Hollywood endings.

    Like A Boss by Adam Rakunas [Windswept #2]
    Angry Robot Books, edited by
    cover art by Kim Sokol
    Synopsis: The Union leader hero of Windswept, having finally attained blessed retirement doing what she loves and just wanting to be left alone, is called back to help when her former nemesis rebirths himself as a treacherous messianic leader for the downtrodden.
    What I thought: The author has done a great job here by upping the stakes and coming up with a new story which builds on and surpasses the previous book. The sly, sarcastic humor is, again, a great feature of the narrative – but does not detract from the seriousness and suspense of the plot or the gritty realness of the worldbuilding. I highly recommend both of these books.

    Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) [The Expanse #6]
    Orbit, editor unknown
    cover art by Daniel Dociu, design by Kirk Benshoff
    Synopsis (Wikipedia): Following the events of Nemesis Games, the self-described Free Navy, made up of belters using stolen military ships, has been growing even bolder. After the crippling attacks on Earth and the Martian Navy, the Free Navy has turned their attention to the colony ships headed for the ring gates and the worlds beyond. The relatively defenseless ships are left to fend for themselves, as neither Earth nor Mars are powerful enough to effectively protect them. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are called upon once again by what remains of the UN and Martian governments to go to Medina Station, now in the hands of the Free Navy, in the ring station. On the other side of the rings, an alien threat is growing, the Free Navy may be the least of humanity’s problems.
    What I thought: This is another great entry into the Expanse series. Franck and Abraham have definitely hit their stride in terms of plotting: keeping up the suspense, and adding new mysteries and storylines in as older ones get resolved. It’s very much an episodic series, though – I don’t think that most readers would find this book comprehensible or enjoyable without having read the earlier books.

  3. Oops, missed the edit window, but the first novel in Adam Rakunas’ Windswept series was published in 2015; Like A Boss was published in 2016.

  4. (12) It seems to me that “wreckless” would be a positive attribute for an astronaut candidate. (Still spelled that way at the BBC link.)

  5. @2 – There may be a market for this. And the buyers will probably get the quality they deserve.

  6. (4) HAWKING COMICS. Never let them tell you comics aren’t educational.

    Comics were responsible for greatly expanding my vocabulary. So there!

  7. @gottacook: I was wondering about that; the BBC doesn’t usually blow ]homonym[s. I’m also wondering whether they really don’t know any 1950’s SF or were trying to say the shrinks’ ideas were wilder than fiction.

  8. Kurt talks about his love for all things Wonder Woman in the interview.

    I do?

    I mean, I guess I remember that. But it seems an odd venue to publish it in. Let’s talk to a guy not terribly well-known for Wonder Woman about Wonder Woman!

    I hope I was coherent, at least.

  9. @JJ: Thanks for the novel mini-reviews! 😀

    /trapped in weeks of hectic work stress…trying to remember how to godstalk

  10. We can scroll if we want to, we can leave your files behind
    Cause your files don’t scroll and if they don’t scroll
    Well they’re are no files of mine

  11. Kurt Busiek: “But it seems an odd venue to publish it in. Let’s talk to a guy not terribly well-known for Wonder Woman about Wonder Woman!”

    Someone at SciFiNow obviously like you, Kurt. They had a “Complete Guide to Wonder Woman’ article a few issues back which also included a lengthy quote from yourself in a sidebar to the article, and they picked one of your Wonder Woman titles as one of the top ten must read WW series.

  12. I started Three Parts Dead this afternoon by the pool, intending to just read a couple of chapters and do a bit of work in the afternoon.

    Anyway I’m over 40% of the way through it, it’s evening and I got no work done. I’d say that makes it pretty good.

  13. @Oneiros

    Almost-snap: I’m letting Four Roads Cross enliven a long boring train ride right now. It’s the direct sequel to Three Parts Dead, and it’s really nice to be back with the characters again.

  14. @Tom Galloway: actually “Tarzan”, scripted by myself and produced by Pilot Porductions of NJ was the very first…seen by Gary Kurtz (who may still have a copy) and purportedly by Lucas, was probably the very first parody.

    Signature scene? the characters in the trash compactor are inundated by Heinlein novels….

  15. It is a good thing that I don’t design magazine covers for a living. Given that huge “KONG LIVES!”, I’d be waaay too tempted to caption that smaller photo “CARRIE FISHER DOESN’T!”

  16. edited to add to the above: it was the last film made by Pilot (other genre offerings were a parody of 2001 – “2001: A movie” – EVERYTHING was labeled and we had an extended zero gravity toilet scene;

    one of the principals ran away from jersey after a bad marriage and apparently took all the original reels with him, so no new reveals unless he happens to surfae and has hung on to them.

    I gave Kurtz a copy of “Tarzan” at Suncon in 77′. in order to meet the deadline we had a marathon editing session (3-4 days straight) and by the end, all anyone could say was “spaghetti”, as that’s what the footage on the cutting room floor resembled….for weeks after, no one could say/look at spaghetti without getting sick to their stomach while also laughing….

  17. While I’m not aware of any detective novels Milne wrote other than The Red House mystery, Milne wrote a lot besides the Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin books. A number of his pre-Pooh books can be read online, and the back issues of Punch (which hired him in 1906) also contain a fair number of short pieces of his.

  18. @Darren Garrison – Don’t sell yourself short. I would have bought that cover.

    Re Milne’so mystery:
    I read it ages ago, as the wife and I are avid mystery fans. Our copy had a foreword that mentioned Milne declaring he had written the “quintessential mystery novel” and felt that no more could be done for the genre.
    After reading it, I find Milne’s ego to be far greater than his skill at mystery writing.

    (4) – What, no mention of his Gangsta Rap career?

  19. Raymond Chandler rips The Red House Mystery to shreds in “The Simple Art of Murder.” I was glad I’d read and more or less enjoyed it before I saw the critique. He also murders The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in the same essay. Suffice to say he doesn’t care for the English murder mystery much at all, and less so if it requires an idiot plot with large holes to even work.

  20. (12) The Right Stuff now there’s a favorite book and a favored movie! –

    There was a pixel that lived in the scroll. They said whoever godstalked him would die. Their browser would freeze up, their screen would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The pixel lived at 154th-5th on the mockmeter, seven hundred and seventy posts down comments, where scroll could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no filer could ever pass. They called it — the ticky barrier.

    Also –

    Hey Pixel, ya got any Beemans?

  21. 5 – I know for sure there’s a little free library in Minneapolis that looks like the Tardis. The one by the U of M is nice and had a new copy of Left Hand of Darkness in it.

  22. John Mark Ockerbloom: While I’m not aware of any detective novels Milne wrote other than The Red House mystery, Milne wrote a lot besides the Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin books. A number of his pre-Pooh books can be read online

    The link cites most of what I have, excepting the novel Four Days Wonder (1933), about which I remember startlingly little. I’m rather fond of the short Punch pieces collected in The Day’s Play, The Holiday Round, Once a Week and The Sunny SideThose Were the Days is an omnibus of all four.

  23. @ Kip W
    I love Chandler’s essay, and a longer look at the genre called Snobbery with Violence, by Colin Watson.

  24. Not a novel, but Milne’s short-story collection, A Table Near the Band is described as being mysteries in at least one place. Archive.org has it, but only as a fourteen-day loan.

    Msb, I don’t know if Chandler ruined the English country-house mystery for me or if I just outgrew them. I can still read Sayers and enjoy it, but my recent revisiting of Christie mostly results in seeing a lot of lucky coincidences and stacked decks, with an undercurrent of bigotry. Luckily, it hasn’t ruined And Then There Were None for me: always a favorite (and I played the Judge in that one time, for one of the best directors I ever had).

    I can still enjoy Chesterton as well, though the bigotry goes round the corner from xenophobia to outright racism in at least one case, which is tough sledding for a character who’s described as nearly a saint at times.

    Running out of edit time, or I’d happily blather on.

  25. I don’t know who did the Deadpool piece, but he’s a smart guy and I’d like to see more from him. He reminds me of Tony Zhou.

  26. Kip W, please give me an illustration of bigotry in Agatha Christie. I haven’t noticed this. But I haven’t read them all yet.

    Regarding the structure of an Agatha Christie mystery, I don’t read them as books with believable plots. I read them as complicated puzzles, elaborate structures. The joy is in seeing if you can determine the answer before the big reveal. Unlike some other mystery writers, she never withholds information from the reader. One of the pleasures of re-reading Christie’s novels is seeing all the information that you read without realizing it.

  27. JJ on February 10, 2017 at 6:34 pm said:
    Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
    Adventure, danger, and tragedy ensue.
    What I thought: This is a much darker, edgier version of A Long Way to a Slow, Angry Planet.

    🙂 good analogy

  28. …please give me an illustration of bigotry in Agatha Christie.

    Offhand, there’s the use of the poem, “Ten Little N***rs” in the original version of And Then There Were None. (It was the title, and is referred to throughout the story. Later replaced by “Indians,” as in the nursery song by Septimus Winner.)

    There’s also a character’s dismissal (in the same work) of having left natives to die in the brush, something like: “They don’t see death as we do.” I can’t remember now if this was his sincere view [dancing around spoilers here], but the idea of justifying our part in the deaths of non-white races because they don’t value life like we do is squicky to me.

    I Googled up an article on “Agatha Christie’s Top Ten Racist Moments,” but found some of those were more a matter of bygone norms or failed taste. Here’s something, though:

    It was one of those enchanting evenings when every word and confidence exchanged seemed to reveal a bond of sympathy and shared tastes.

    They liked dogs and disliked cats. They both hated oysters and loved smoked salmon. They liked Greta Garbo and disliked Katharine Hepburn. They didn’t like fat women and admired really jet-black hair. They disliked very red nails. They disliked loud voices, noisy restaurants and negroes. They preferred buses to tubes.

    Product of her times, I know, but she seems like an even farther back time when that kind of casual statement was viewed as unremarkable by those it didn’t directly affect.

  29. KipW: That last Christie snippet is from 1935 (Death in the Clouds–I had to Google it). A few years later, in The Big Sleep, Chandler has Marlowe reflect that gay men have “no iron in their bones.” (Actually, I think it’s “pansies,” but my copy is buried in the basement.) I haven’t read much Christie (though I quite like the TV reimaginings), but casual bigotry of all flavors is so common in popular fiction of all periods that only the most egregious get more than an “uh huh” from me. Some British prejudices and stereotypes might register more strongly with Americans because they are are class-based–a couple of items in the Christie passage strike me that way.

    That said, I suspect that one mark of a more-than-ordinary artist is the ability to see past the conventions and assumptions of the moment and perhaps to provide a point of view that reveals their limitations and pathologies, even if only partially-consciously. Or maybe that’s my modernist preference for art that is distanced and ironic and skeptical. Forget the turtles–it’s fallen humanity all the way down.

  30. About the racist in “And then there were none.”
    The Poem is used in other countrys often (was still used in my childhood in the 80es), and quite frankly that is probably more not thinking (and the poem is very fiting for the theme and famous) than beeing racist.
    About that character, no beeing very spoilerish, but the point of “And then there were none” is that all the people are killers that have gotten away with it, and the killer is killing them from the last horrible to the worst. I don’t think Christie did exspect the readers to agree with the character.

  31. Kip W, thanks for the head’s up on this. I didn’t know it wasn’t always Indians, and being American, always thought of them as American Indians, not Asians. I was really startled as a child when I realized that, once upon a time, some British referred to anyone not British, French or Northern European as some variant of black, colored, darkies or worse words. I grew up on “Little Brave Sambo,” clearly Asian (which makes sense given that tigers are featured prominently in the story) in the picture book I had, and had no idea that it had ever been “Little Black Sambo.”

    What I notice most in Christie is the classism of 1930’s Britain.

    Russell, sometimes the casual racism and sexism of books from the past makes me wince, but I don’t often let it prevent me from enjoying the story most of the time. Even as a kid, though, the ending of Little Women drove me around the bend and I haven’t reread it, though I enjoy the movie versions, principally because they change the end. So I understand if people cannot easily set aside these lapses, because sometimes I can’t either.

  32. Different subject, new post:

    I noticed on the Worldcon site that it says Hugo nominations are open until March 18th but I haven’t received any email or anything. Does anyone know what’s going on? Should I contact them?

    Also, does it really cost $185 to purchase a supporting membership? I’ve been buying a supporting membership every year for myself and my roommate since the Hugos were under siege. I don’t want to pass this year, but that’s awfully expensive for a hobby. Maybe I’ll have to pass on actually voting this year. 🙁

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