Pixel Scroll 2/3/16 Superscrollapixelistbutextrabraggadocious

(1) THANKS FACEBOOK. Pat Cadigan joined the legions who have committed this social media gaffe — “Happy Birthday, Sorry You’re Dead”.

Well, it happened again…I wished someone a Happy Birthday on Facebook and then discovered they had passed away last year. This is what happens when you have an impossible number of Facebook friends, most of whom you don’t know personally….

Anyway, thinking or not, I have committed a birthday faux pas. And as usual, I feel awful about it. When the person’s loved ones saw that, they probably wanted to go upside my head. Because that’s how it is when you’re on the sharp end of a disaster, whether it’s something of epic proportions or the personal loss of a beloved friend or relative. Your life has changed forever, and yet the world goes on like nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Like, WTF? The stock exchange opens and closes. The sun rises and sets and rises again. People go to work, go home, go grocery shopping, go online, tweet, check Facebook––and they can’t even take a few extra minutes to find out if someone’s alive or dead? Seriously, WTF?

(2) THANKS TSA. James Artimus Owen shared a memo with his Facebook readers.

Dear TSA – I’m breaking up with you. It’s you, not me. Or anyone else you and American Airlines conned into this big threeway. We were awesome dates, going along with everything you asked for, giving you sweet, sweet lovin’, and lots of money, and always on time, and you didn’t care. You still just wanted me to get half undressed, and to feel me up, and poke me in my special place, and go through all my stuff – and then your drunk buddy American Airlines overbooked the flight…, and complained about carryons, and then broke their own damn plane while we were sitting here. And now someone is trying to “fix” things, but the air is off, and we have to sit here for another half an hour, and the paperwork is going to take longer than the repair. So, I just wanted you to know – I’m getting a private plane. With my own crew. And you can date my “people” but I’m not taking my belt and shoes off for you again just so you can lecture me about the difference between 3.5 ounces and 11 ounces.

(3) HOW DID SOME GOOD NEWS SLIP IN HERE? Hobart and William Smith Colleges (in New York’s Finger Lakes region) have announced that Jeff VanderMeer will join the Trias Residency for Writers for the 2016-17 academic year.

Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer

Winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, the Nebula Award, and three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, VanderMeer is the author of more than 20 books, including the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (“Annihilation,” “Authority,” and “Acceptance”), released in 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The trilogy explores, among other issues, environmental degradation in extremis, creating, as the New York Times puts it, “an immersive and wonderfully realized world” with language that is “precise, metaphorical but rigorous, and as fertile as good loam.”

During the residency, VanderMeer will teach one class in the fall of 2016 and work with a number of select students the following spring. Additionally, he will offer a public reading and lecture, participate in a service event for the greater Geneva community and curate a reading series featuring Dexter Palmer (who writes sf), Ottessa Moshfegh and a third writer to-be-announced.

Beyond his work on campus, VanderMeer adds that he is looking forward to “a creative writing visit to the super max prison [in Auburn, N.Y.] and a possible partnership with the Colleges’ environmental center.” He has also invited artist John Jennings, a professor at University of Buffalo, to visit in the fall of 2016 “for some cross-media conversation about narrative and creativity.”

…The Peter Trias Residency at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is designed to give distinguished poets and fiction writers time to write. Academic expectations allow for sustained interaction with our best students while providing the freedom necessary to produce new work. Residents are active, working artists whose presence contributes to intellectual environment of the Colleges and the town of Geneva.

(4) MORE THAN MONEY. “Stephen King On What Hollywood Owes Authors When Their Books Become Films: Q&A” at Deadline.

DEADLINE: So rather than making the old deal, with big upfront money, you figure you’ll make your money on the other side?

KING: The other side of this, too, is that if you do that, you can say to these people, what I want is a share in whatever comes in, as a result, from dollar one. So it isn’t just a creative thing, it’s also the side where I say, if you want to do this, let me make it easy for you up front and if the thing is a success, the way that 1408 was a success for the Weinstein brothers, then we all share in it together. You know, of all the people that I’ve dealt with, Harvey and Bob Weinstein were the ones who were most understanding about that. They were perfectly willing to go along with that. A lot of people feel like you want to get in their business. I don’t want to do that at all. I want to be part of the solution. There were things about the 1408 screenplay that I thought were a little bit wonky actually, you know. There’s a part where you brought in the main character’s sad relationship about how his wife had died, she’d drowned, and he was kind of looking for an afterlife a la Houdini. I thought, well this seems a little off the subject. But it was great in the movie.

DEADLINE: So you’re not an author who feels that what’s in your book is sacrosanct, even when it’s translated to the screen?

KING: No. And the other thing is, you start from the belief that these people know their business. There are a lot of writers who are very, very sensitive to the idea, or they have somehow gotten the idea that movie people are full of sh*t. That’s not the truth. I’ve worked with an awful lot of movie people over the years that I think are very, very smart, very persistent and find ways to get things done. And I like that.

(5) TIL DADDY TAKES THE T-BIRD AWAY. From The Guardian: “Elon Musk personally cancels blogger’s Tesla order after ‘rude’ post”.

Unimaginable wealth has brought Elon Musk a lot of benefits, from being able to build a private spaceflight company to planning a magnet-powered vacuum tube supersonic transport system between LA and San Francisco – and be taken seriously. But perhaps the best perk of being Elon Musk is the ability to be unbelievably petty.

The Californian venture capitalist Stewart Alsop learned that to his cost, he says, after he wrote an open letter to Musk about the badly run launch event for the Tesla Motors Model X (the newest car from Musk’s electric vehicle startup).

Headlined “Dear @ElonMusk: you should be ashamed of yourself”, the letter listed Alsop’s issues with the event: it started late, it focused too much on safety, and it was so packed that even people like Alsop, who had placed a $5,000 deposit on the car (which was originally supposed to ship in 2013, but had only delivered 208 cars by the end of 2015), didn’t get the chance to test drive it.

Alsop concluded that “it would still be nice if you showed some class and apologised to the people who believe in this product”.

Instead, Alsop says, Musk cancelled his pre-order.

(6) HARTWELL OBIT IN NYT. Here is the link to David G. Hartwell’s obituary in the New York Times.

Mr. Hartwell worked at several publishing houses before starting as a consulting editor at Tor/Forge Books in the early 1980s. At his death, he was a senior editor there. He was nominated more than 40 times for Hugo Awards, among the most prominent prizes in science fiction, and won three times for editing.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor, said in an email that Mr. Hartwell had edited and published hundreds of books, including Mr. Dick’s novels “The Divine Invasion,” “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer” and “Radio Free Albemuth,” as well as novels in Mr. Herbert’s “Dune” saga and Gene Wolfe’s “The Book of the New Sun” series.

He also compiled dozens of anthologies, many with Ms. Cramer, including “The Space Opera Renaissance” (2006) and “Spirits of Christmas: Twenty Other-Worldly Tales” (1989), and he wrote “Age of Wonders: Exploring the World of Science Fiction” (1984).

Mr. Hartwell championed genre fiction long before crossover hits like the “Lord of the Rings” films, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” broadened its audience.

(7) BERKELEY AUTHOR APPEARANCE. Carter Scholz, author of Gypsy, Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Lucky Strike, and Terry Bisson, author of Fire on the Mountain, at Books Inc. in Berkeley, CA on February 18th.

Carter Scholz, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Terry Bisson.

Carter Scholz, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Terry Bisson.

(8) DOLLENS ART REMEMBERED. Ron Miller’s post at io9 has a gallery of “Scenes from the 1950s Space Movie That No One Saw”.

Morris Scott Dollens is best known to aging SF fans as one of the most prolific space artists who ever lived.…

These three interests—-astronomy, photography and model-making—-led to an endeavor that that was especially close to his heart: The creation of a movie that would take audiences on a journey through the solar system.

It was to be called “Dream of the Stars,” and Dollens created dozens of meticulous models of space ships and alien landscapes. He assembled these into tabletop dioramas which were then photographed in the same way Hollywood special effects artists would create miniature effects scene. Dollens sent these photos to magazine and book publishers, who ran them with captions that declared that “Dream of the Stars . . .is said to be best space film yet.” I remember seeing these photos in books about space when I was a kid and desperately trying to track down this movie. It wasn’t until decades later, when I contacted Dollens while researching my book, “The Dream Machines,” that I finally learned the truth: that “Dream of the Stars” was just that: a dream.

(9) HAT TIP. The New York Post noticed a fan favorite is back — “’X-Files’ tips a (straw) hat to iconic ’70s TV character”.

The latest episode finds FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) interrogating a person of interest, Guy Mann (Rhys Darby), as they hunt for a reptilian “were-monster.” Mann’s quirky attire — straw hat, seersucker jacket and cheap knit tie — bears a striking resemblance to clothing worn by Carl Kolchak, the rumpled creature tracker played by the late Darren McGavin in the 1970s ABC series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”

The homage to McGavin’s vampire- and werewolf-hunter is intentional.

(10) HINES ON REPRESENTATION. Suvudu interviewed “Jim C. Hines on Representation and the Seeds of Possibility”, and Jim made his case in a lucid and fair manner, as he always does. It’s not his fault that his examples play so well against the next item in today’s Scroll….

I don’t understand why this is such a heated topic, but people get quite distraught when you suggest our genre should be more inclusive. Just look at the attempted boycott of Star Wars for daring to cast a woman and a black man in lead roles, or the oceans of man-tears surrounding Mad Max: Fury Road and its competent and kick-ass protagonist Furiosa.

Imagine the backlash to a science fiction show in which the main starship crew—the captain, first officer, navigator, engineer, and doctor—are all women. The only male character is basically a switchboard operator.

(11) TIMING IS THE SECRET. Who knew Ghostbusters will be putting Jim’s example to the test? “Receptionist Chris Hemsworth is Here For You” at Tor.com.

Last night Paul Feig announced that the official Ghostbusters site is up and running, with the first trailer set to drop later this month. If you poke around on Ghostbusters.com (which also has pages for the original movies), you’ll find a new batch of images, featuring the ladies in civilian garb… and their adorable receptionist, played by Chris Hemsworth.

You know how there’s that silly TV/movies trope of putting glasses on a girl to make her less attractive? Yeah, that definitely doesn’t work here.

(12) CHATTACON REPORT. Ethan Mills of Examined Worlds writes about “The Importance of Community”.

Do we need Cons like ChattaCon today?  Aren’t SF fans all shut-in introverts who make snarky anonymous comments on blogs and YouTube videos?  Even if we do need communities, couldn’t we move the Con experience to the internet, where we’ve moved so much of our communal interactions in the 21st century? A ChattaCon Report While the internet is great (you’re reading it!), I think physical meetings are still an essential part of community.  To make my case, consider some of the things I did last weekend:

…One of the guests was Larry Correia (of the Sad Puppies).  I went to one of his panels with a few friends.  Given my opposition to the whole Sad Puppy fiasco, I was wondering what he’d be like in person.   Answer: not all that different than most author guests, although nobody asked him about the Puppies.

(13) SHOCKING. Max Florschutz at Unusual Things calls it “The Indie Scam”.

There are a lot of blogs, posts, and news articles out there decrying the pricing of the big publisher’s books. They make regular appearances on smaller author’s sites, reddit’s r/books, and very frequently in the circles of indie authors. “Publishers are making their books too expensive!” they cry. Look at the price of these books!

…Then came the bit I didn’t agree with. That everyone should flock (and was flocking) to ebooks and indie because the prices were so much better.

The problem is, this isn’t always true….

Let me tell you a story. About a year ago, I was attending a con and talking with a bunch of authors about ebook sales and indie publication. One man in the “group” we’d sort of formed in the hallway was a known trailblazer in the ebook world, one of the first authors to jump ship from his publisher and go straight indie, a decision that had been great for him. Naturally, he being the one with the most experience in success, everyone was letting a lot of questions and comments gravitate his way.

At some point, ebook pricing came up, and I mentioned I was trying to figure out a price for the draft I was about to finish. He shrugged and said it was simple, and asked me how long it was. 300,000-odd words, I said. Eyes wide, he shook his head, and then told me the best way to sell a book of such length:

Cut it up into 8 or 10 sections and sell them for $2-3 a pop.

This, readers, is what I’ve started to see as “The Indie Scam.”

You see, as already mentioned, a lot of indie authors will decry the cost of “big pubs” and their ilk. Like the classic meme, they repeat the line that the prices are “just too d**n high” while showing that their books are so much cheaper at their low, low prices.

But are they really? Well, in a lot of cases … no. And that’s the problem. It’s a misdirect. Because a lot of these indie books? They’re a lot smaller than what they’d have you believe.

(14) RABID PUPPIES TODAY. Vox Day’s picks for the Rabid Puppies slate in the Best Fan Writer category are Jeffro Johnson, Dave Freer, Morgan, Shamus Young, and Zenopus.

(15) KEEPING THE WARDROBE BUDGET DOWN. Den of Geek asks: “Saturn 3: the 1980s’ weirdest sci-fi movie?”

Saturn 3 wasn’t exactly the sci-fi blockbuster its makers might have hoped. Neither broad and upbeat like Star Wars nor as claustrophobic and disturbing as Alien, it instead became one of the great oddities of 80s science fiction. This is, after all, a movie which features such bizarre lines as “No taction contact!” and “That was an improper thought leakage.”

Then there’s the bizarre scene in which Kirk Douglas (nude, of course) chokes out Harvey Keitel after he utters the line, “You’re inadequate, Major. In EVERY department.”

Saturn 3’s by no means a classic, then, but it is undoubtedly one of the most weirdly fascinating sci-fi misfires of the 1980s.

(16) DON’T ORDER THE SOUP. Gizmodo touts a photo series created by Benjamin Wong, a.k.a. Von Wong.

A lovely shepherdess in a flowing white dress tends to her flock in these gorgeous photographs reminiscent of a fairy tale. The twist: the shepherdess is underwater, and her charges are white-tipped reef sharks.

The image is part of the latest series from conservation photographer Benjamin Wong, a.k.a. Von Wong, who has a bit of an adventurous streak, taking his models into the field for a bit of storm-chasing and to underwater shipwrecks—all in the name of capturing that perfect shot. This time, he took model Amber Bourke to Fiji, a hot spot for ecotourism specializing in shark dives.

But his focus isn’t on thrill-seeking or purely aesthetic pursuits; in this case, he wanted to draw attention to the plight of sharks worldwide. “Sharks are almost always depicted as menacing and terrifying, yet it is humans that are responsible for killing them in the millions just to make soup,” he wrote on his blog. “I wanted to create a series of images that would help break those stereotypes.”


[Thanks to James H. Burns, David K.M. Klaus, John King Tarpinian, Jeff VanderMeer, Susan Toker, Moshe Feder, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Stick.]

221 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/3/16 Superscrollapixelistbutextrabraggadocious

  1. (5) Do not anger the only supplier of your craving. So there, entitled-techbro.

    (10) Someday I may disagree with Jim Hines. Hasn’t happened yet. Also, his new book cost me a LOT of sleep this week. So good.

    (13) The scam may be common, but it isn’t always working. I can’t tell you the number of Amazon reviews (often the most highly-rated) which point this out — even when the first part is free — and vow not only not to buy the rest of the book, but nothing by the author ever again. They demand that even trilogies have some sort of complete story/resolution sans cliffhanger, even if plenty of threads are left for the next books. More people seem to be ag’in it than falling for it. If people want serials, they buy serials. Not one book chopped into random pieces.

    (14) The RPG emphasis may be b/c so many of Teddy’s elk are actually gators? I too am one of those non-existent women who never started playing D&D in 1978.

    @TheYoungPretender: “Two stars.” will never not make me laugh. SPRB has been on my list since I first read them.

    @Eli: gnashes teeth They have to keep doing these bar meetups till I’m able to go to one! (How far is it from a BART station?)
    I looked at the Kindle version and the series got to 52% of the way through the first book, although of course they added stuff (like Avasarala, yay).

    @Kyra: Hooray, another Filer who likes “Radiance” as much as me! I like Valente in short form but bounced off her novels, till this one. Stunning. I couldn’t think about much of anything else for a while after I finished it.
    If you like Valente, you will like it. If you don’t, you still might. (There are a couple of excerpts on tor.com, which was what interested me). If you are a Puppy, you definitely won’t like it.

    Wait, JJ’s a man? Huh. boggles

  2. lurkertype: Wait, JJ’s a man? Huh. boggles

    Does this mean that my salary will go up by 28%?

    I could use that. Between special food, medications, and the wine required every time one of the little brats escapes on me, my SJW credentials are using up a significant amount of my take-home income.

  3. Peace Is My Middle Name on February 4, 2016 at 2:48 am said:

    “DM of the Rings” is cute, but I much prefer the ingenious, hilarious and astonishingly logical “Darths and Droids”.

    Ah yes, the webcomic that made the phrase “Jar Jar, you’re a genius!” go viral! They admit to being inspired by DM of the Rings, but yes, I think they’ve gone way beyond it in quality and humor. Here’s a link to where it all starts.

    Re: Cherryh. I second the recommendation of Merchanter’s Luck. That’s the one that initially sucked me in. It’s a short-but-fun story. I initially bounced off of Downbelow Station, but ML helped me get into the Alliance/Union world, and after reading a few more, I was able to go back and finally appreciate DS. Rimmrunners would probably be a good entry point too, but Merchanter’s Luck definitely Worked For Me™. 🙂

    The problem with Cyteen (which I love) is that you have to get through the very depressing first third to get to the good parts. If I hadn’t already been a Cherryh fan when I started it, I’m not sure I would have made it that far. But boy did it pay off! I seem to remember posting something about Cyteen just a couple of days ago, though, so I won’t repeat myself too much.

    As for Foreigner, the first book was a bit slow (and sometimes confusing), but once I got past that, again, I loved it. After about a dozen books, the series did seem to start getting a bit repetitive, but it’s a rare series that can carry on that long without doing so, so I can’t complain too much.

  4. Another woman who started playing D&D in 1978 — and I got my husband into gaming rather than vice versa. Though our face-to-face game these days is Numenara and the D&D is online only.

  5. I’m a woman who only got into D&D around 1981 at the advanced age of ten. I feel like such a pretentious latecomer.

  6. I’m really appreciating all the commentary on the Cherryh books. I remember reading and Forty Thousand in Gehenna, Cyteen, and Regenesis — but that was probably 20 years ago, and I don’t really remember much else about them apart from the fact that they involved a colony ship and I enjoyed them.

    I’ve wanted, for a while now, to re-read those, and to read the rest of Cherryh’s books. But there are so many now, and I can’t read the new ones coming out without reading their predecessors first, and there are so many other new books coming out every year that I want to read, so it’s something I haven’t gotten to yet (nor will I, probably, in the foreseeable future).

    I hope that I live long enough to retire (given my history, a dubious assumption) — at which point I may finally be able to start making a dent in Mount File770. Right now it’s growing faster than I can chip away at it. Discussions like this help me decide how to prioritize reading of non-new books.

  7. Hal Winslow’s Old Buddy on February 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm said:

    “Everyone” knows that the only TRUE D&D is the original tan covers (+Greyhawk, just so we have thieves)!! Maybe we’ll grant you Blackmoor, but only if you have sea adventures in your campaign. But we don’t need no stinkin’ miniatures, and every DM is a GOD who can dictate house rules as long as they are articulated in advance . . .

    Here now, did not D&D begin as a miniatures-centered game, spawned from a miniatures wargame from the very start?

  8. Yeah; while D&D can be played without miniatures, it requires tossing out most of the mechanics present in favor of DM handwaving.

    Some of the “old school” style (not all, mind you) is about playing smarter in the portions of the game that don’t require die-rolls because once the dice start rolling, you’ve lost control of the situation. Some “old school” games/gamers are in favor of more hack & slash and combat, but many others focus on the problem solving without the safety-net that narrative oriented gaming and DM’s desire to protect plot relevant PCs leads to. I’ve found that once you drop a bunch of players new to D&D or older style sandbox adventuring into a game that doesn’t pull punches but adheres to the rules, the early high-lethality levels off as the players grow accustomed to making better choices.

  9. Cherryh’s hit or miss for me, too. I liked Cyteen and Serpent’s Reach. Didn’t care much for the sequel to Cyteen whose name I can’t remember. I think I tried reading Forty Thousand in Gehenna too early (I was 12 or so).

    The Foreigner books leave me cold; in between tea and elaborate meetings and everything, nothing much actually happens, and the atevi feel like the azi all over again. Wearing black, working in pairs, man’chi instead of the Contract.

    The main Chanur series was decent, but Chanur’s Legacy (which I read first) was awesome. Maybe it was the accumulated worldbuilding it rested on, or maybe it was the effect of the author having to cut the fat to fit everything into one book. Whatever, it’s easily my favorite Cherryh work of all time.

  10. I started playing D&D in 1980. I left my original blue Player’s Handbook and all my issues of Dragon at home and my little brother still has them, but I held onto the first edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, with all my cryptic little notations.

    I have this mental filter that translates “no women do X” into “no women willing to hang out with me do X.” It makes life much more harmonious.

  11. @PIMMN

    Harrumph! 😉
    Yes, the Creators (Gygax, et al) had been playing Chainmail and toy soldiers, but “we” (speaking as one of a group of variously-gendered persons who bought about 20 of the first 1000 copies of the rulebooks in Fall 1974) didn’t possess among us a single copy of the Chainmail combat rules, so until Greyhawk came out the next spring and gave us more insight into the way Gygax was departing from Chainmail to roleplay, we were relying on photocopied attack and saving throw charts for combat, which we constantly argued about. A few of our players had played Napoleonic toy soldiers (and one of them is still a Napoleonic re-enactor who went off to Europe for the Waterloo bicentennial reenactment last year), but we had no fantasy minis. Our initial adventures were all in dungeons, which we mapped on graph paper, and we died again and again and again (my first character was killed by a giant toad in the first room we entered).

    So we plead ignorance–we didn’t know what we were doing, so when we ran into gaps, we just made it up as we went along.

  12. @lurkertype: “They have to keep doing these bar meetups till I’m able to go to one! (How far is it from a BART station?)”

    Not far— it’s here.

  13. I had completely forgotten I had read Rusalka, sometime in high school I think. I don’t remember a thing about it other than I read it because one of the characters was in Barlowe’s Guide to Fantasy. At one time I tried to read all the books he mentioned. Never did however.

    One of these days I should give her another shot. The first books to really influence me (before that I read a lot, but mostly just for fun) were Russian (Pushkin and Dostoevsky mostly) and I don’t think I was the best audience for her at the time even though I also enjoyed sci-fi and fantasy.

  14. “Yeah; while D&D can be played without miniatures, it requires tossing out most of the mechanics present in favor of DM handwaving.”

    What dungeon mechanics require miniatures? You can make that argument for wilderness, since otherwise you get in fights about who can close on/attack whom and so forth, but as long as you have “marching order” in the dungeon, it’s pretty straightforward. And with most players back then starting in dungeon campaigns, when they went to the wilderness (and were slaughtered by 400 kobolds summoned by a DM who didn’t know to adjust encounter charts and had the kobolds stand in queues waiting to attack the PCs two at a time), they continued to play without them. I saw hundreds of people play D&D before I ever saw a set of miniatures actually used in game play. Some of our group even competed in Gencon tournaments in the 70s, and miniatures weren’t always used there, either.

  15. @JJ: Thanks for the link to that Sleeping Embers of An Ordinary Mind review. I’ve been interested in this novel since Nina Allan raved about it on her blog.

  16. PhilRM: Thanks for the link to that Sleeping Embers of An Ordinary Mind review. I’ve been interested in this novel since Nina Allan raved about it on her blog.

    If you read it, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it!

    I have just enough art training and background to be dangerous (but not employable) at it. So SFF books which incorporate the world of art in some way are really interesting to me.

  17. The Paladin is my favorite Cherryh novel. Assuming she does an autograph session at Philcon this year, I will be there front and center with my copy.

    While I liked the ideas in Wave Without a Shore, I was kind of “meh” on the book as a whole.

    I was not impressed with Brothers of Earth, which I believe was her first novel.

  18. JJ, have you read When The King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermere?

    Or Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss?

    Or The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold?

    All SF/F books about artists.

  19. ULTRAGOTHA: JJ, have you read When The King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermere?

    Or Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss?

    Or The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold?

    All SF/F books about artists.


    Mount File770 +1 +1 +1… Mount File770 asplodes…

  20. ULTRAGOTHA: JJ, have you read…

    JJ: (smiles sweetly) Why, thank you, ULTRAGOTHA. I’ll check into those.

  21. Try Passion Blue first.

    Then you can tell me how you liked it. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard good things.

    Or is that too transparently self serving? 🙂

    ETA You’re welcome, kind sir.

  22. Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss
    In Library, Available. Requested.

    The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold
    In Library, Available. Requested.

    When The King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermere
    Not In Library. Ordered from Amazon Marketplace.

    Dammit. You do realize that right now I’ve already got on my shelf, checked out from my library, 12 – 2015 novels, 10 – 2015 novellas, 1 – 2015 collection, 1 – 2015 anthology, and 1 – 2015 non-fiction book?

    Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

  23. @Eli: 3 blocks from a station AND pirate-themed? Now that’s my kinda bar.

    @JJ: Phew. I thought I’d become Radchaai for a minute there.

  24. ULTRAGOTHA: Good Lord, how do you READ all that stuff before the due date?

    Initial checkout is 4 weeks. Depending on how much time I spend fucking around on File666 when I’m not at work or trying to pretend that I have a real life, I read a novel every 1-3 days. When the due date gets close for some books, I check which have holds against them (meaning renewals aren’t allowed) and which I can renew (for 3 more weeks), and I concentrate on reading the holds and then turning them in on time, while renewing the others.

    It’s a juggling act. 😉

  25. When you’re done with When the King Comes Home, Stevermere has two other books in that universe and three written with Patricia Wrede….

  26. If we’re talking about SFF books about artists, we have to mention The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust.

  27. ULTRAGOTHA: When you’re done with When the King Comes Home, Stevermere has two other books in that universe and three written with Patricia Wrede….

    David Goldfarb: If we’re talking about SFF books about artists, we have to mention The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust.

    Dammit!  I   hate   love   hate you all.

  28. I liked Rusalka, because I was in a mood to read about exhausted people trudging around a forest. I also liked Gate of Ivrel, but it ran into the limitation that I kept waiting for something to happen. that’s one of the things I think about Cherryh: she keeps threatening to have something happen, and people run around and tie themselves into knots over what’s going to happen, and then if something happens, you may have to reread to see if it actually happened.

    On the other hand, I haven’t read Foreigner, but I dislike it, because I was in a Foreigner LARP. On team Earthpeople, aka Team Butt Monkey, AKA Team Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Us We Had a Losing Hand Before We Started? Yeah, I as a little annoyed.

  29. David Goldfarb: The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust
    In Library, Available. Requested.

    I might as well admit it. I am a Slave To All The Books. <sigh>

  30. Stevie, a gentle reminder about the First Rule of Holes. You are not covering yourself with glory here, and I read your initial comment exactly the way that JJ and Ultragotha did. Doubling-down after you’ve been called out on dickishness is something I expect to see in some fora, but not so much here.

    Whoever mentioned seeing Larry Correia at Chattacon: I’m not at all surprised. Chattacon is very much an Old Phart Phan con, and based on posts seen around the Net from names I remember from my days in Tennessee fandom, there are a number of people associated with it who have fallen down the Fox-hole.

  31. @ULTRAGOTHA: You’ve piqued my interest re. Passion Blue, and I was going to ask you how it was, but then I read whree you say you haven’t read it! ;-( Trickster! I vaguely recall it didn’t sound like it was up my alley, so I never picked it up. Hmm.

    ETA: “Passion Blue is a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012″ – this may be why I never picked it up.

    I really enjoyed some of Strauss’s earlier work, like the “Arm of the Stone” duology. Her “Way of Arata” duology was especially good! I remember sending her quite the gushing e-mail.

    @JJ: Please report back on Passion Blue and if you enjoy it, consider Strauss’s “Way of Arata” duology! No artists, though, so you needn’t hate me. And, well, I don’t know what kind of books you like anyway, so take this vague rec with the hefty grain of salt it’s due.

    More authors should write self-contained duologies (that don’t later become longer series, either).

  32. JJ:


    FYI, this is a thing that a particularly clueless Puppy created a couple of months ago. No links, as

    (i) It’s lame and whine-y
    (ii) Even the pup seems to have given up on it, with no updates in almost a month. I figure let sleeping dogs lie.

    ETA: ” self-contained duologies ” – Oooh, ooh! Please read the Dreamblood duology by Jemisin. It’s, to me, her best work.

  33. snowcrash: File666

    Can you give me a hint? Googling does not seem to reveal anything Puppy related.

    Perhaps as a link to File333?

  34. Kendall: Please report back on Passion Blue

    Happy to do so. Along with sending the Evil Side-Eye to ULTRAGOTHA.

    Kendall: and if you enjoy it, consider Strauss’s “Way of Arata” duology!

    NO. Oh, no. You are NOT going to sucker me in further, Mister.

    Mount File770 is currently up to 1,217 books (not counting sequels to some of those books, which I haven’t even bothered putting on the list yet).

  35. Mount File770 is currently up to 1,217 books

    Sweet Jesus! I thought my to-read pile of ~100 or so was bad!

  36. That’s it. I’m off to read more of Paul Cornell’s A Better Way to Die, which includes 4 Jonathan Hamilton stories, a series which I madly adore and for which I am awaiting a first novel (screw you, Doctor Who fans, you can get into the goddamn queue just like the rest of us).

  37. snowcrash: It may be easier if I mis-spelt it as “a particularly CULeless Puppy”

    Ah, thanks for that.

    It’s very sad to see someone caught in such an endless cycle of “poor, poor, pitiful me” self-pitying indulgence — instead of them recognizing that fiction reviews are not done for the benefit of the author (although this does not — and should not — preclude the author from having the maturity to learn from them), but rather for the benefit of the reading public.

    It’s painful to see such an infantile, self-destructive, obsessive behavior on the part of an author. But how many of us were ever able to take being told unpleasant truths by someone else? Usually it takes a breakthrough of self-insight to recognize them and make a change.

    I hope for this person’s sake, that at some point, he is able to do so.

  38. So great to find so many Cherryh fans here. Cat (I think!) said something very useful: “her basic pattern was ‘everything starts out horrible and gets worse'”.
    After reading Gate of Ivrel, and being very badly scared by it, I hesitated to continue with the Morgaine stories and even to start the Mri trilogy, so I asked one of the guys in the local SFF bookstore, “Does anything really bad happen?”
    And he said: “Generally, with a Cherryh book, the worst thing has already happened, and the characters are trying to deal with it.” That seems to be the key.
    Glad to share favorite books with so many people. I loved Legacy, particularly for the humor; Cherryh wrote that she had further ideas for Hilfy and Compact space, but her publisher turned them down. I liked Paladin so much I tracked down a hardback copy with marginally less awful cover art than most (the Baen cover had Taizu with long nails and black nail polish). Like IanP, I also love Bet Yeager: “Master Sergeant Elizabeth A. Yeager, sir. Retired.”
    Best wishes for better health, Stevie!
    For those interested in Rusalka and sequels, Cherryh has revised them, so you may want the new e-versions from her online shop.

  39. I’ve also enjoyed all of the Cherryh discussion here. I came across ‘Gate of Ivrel’ on a second hand table decades back, and have eagerly sought out her work since. My entire share house in Adelaide devoured the Chanur books, which I was able to order from F&SF books in NY. Every six months or so a group of us would unbox $100USD worth of forty or fifty new books, picked form the catalog.Those were the days.
    I treat the Foreigner series like a matinee serial at the cinema – every year or so an new treat to enjoy, reaquainting ones self with old friends. After 5 trilogies, the tales are like comfy old socks. I’d love some variety, or something new, but am realistic enough to be thankful for the enjoyment which comes.

    Finished ‘Uprooted’, and was very impressed with this take on the wizard in a tower trope. Went in unexpected directions, and to great effect. Next up is ‘The Fifth Season’, which I hope lives up to the buzz. I’ve not read Jemisin’s work before.

  40. Is The Sun, the Moon and the Stars actually SFF? I had heard that there were no speculative elements in the actual story.

  41. @msb

    So great to find so many Cherryh fans here. Cat (I think!) said something very useful: “her basic pattern was ‘everything starts out horrible and gets worse'”.
    After reading Gate of Ivrel, and being very badly scared by it, I hesitated to continue with the Morgaine stories and even to start the Mri trilogy, so I asked one of the guys in the local SFF bookstore, “Does anything really bad happen?”
    And he said: “Generally, with a Cherryh book, the worst thing has already happened, and the characters are trying to deal with it.” That seems to be the key.

    So does that make Cherryh grimdark before there was a grimdark?

    More seriously, I have a couple of her books in my ‘to read’ pile and all this discussion has me looking forward to reading another of her books.


  42. @Hal
    All of the rules pertaining to combat and magic both assume and require use of miniatures. This includes movement rates, weapon and spell ranges, and areas of effect. Like I said, these can be handwaved by the DM, but it essentially means throwing out a good chunk of the mechanics.

    Adjudicating encounters based on marching order alone could work in hallway encounters, but in any rooms or open areas, having the visual aid is great and, if anything, can make the encounters more memorable. There are some encounters that I wouldn’t crack out minis for (rat-swarms, bugs, a nest of snakes), but they’re great for stand-up fights and any situations where tactics come into play; plus all of the rules for encounters assume that you’re using them.

  43. Cirsova, I’ve played D&D for almost 40 years, without miniatures more often than with them (although I admit that painting figs is fun). It just requires a decent mental map of who is where.

  44. @Lee: “Whoever mentioned seeing Larry Correia at Chattacon: I’m not at all surprised. Chattacon is very much an Old Phart Phan con, and based on posts seen around the Net from names I remember from my days in Tennessee fandom, there are a number of people associated with it who have fallen down the Fox-hole.”

    This was the first year in a while that I skipped Chattacon, and it was because they invited Correia as a guest. I guess you could say my canine allergies were acting up. Not all Chattafans have gone on the Fox hunt, but I’ve come to realize that an uncomfortably-for-me-large segment of them have. To some degree, I blame the election of Obama; conservative politics really seemed to take a sharp turn for the worse after that. (Come on, Trump trotted out Sarah Palin to endorse him and was not immediately treated as a nitwit. That’s not a good sign!)

    @JJ, Oneiros:

    I’ve got around 1200 books on my TBR stack. That doesn’t count the 582 in Gehenna limbo that need to have their formatting checked before they’re allowed onto the mountain, or the bundle-buys that haven’t found their way into my Goodreads lists yet, like my complete set of Lightspeed. Granted, I’ve read some of the limbo books in dead-tree; that’s the big reason I keep that number apart from the proper TBR count. So, all considered, call it 1600 on the mountain, conservatively?

    And that’s with having read two books from the stack this morning, after reading the previous four books in the setting because the latest installment concluded the storylines. (The Eerie Cuties and Magic Chicks series, which are published in the same volumes and sometimes cross over, are kind of hard for me to classify. On the one hand, they read as teen-focused manga; the main characters are 14-17. On the other hand, there’s a rather high amount of barely-figleafed nudity and sexual forwardness… even in EC, which is the “younger” storyline.)

    @snowcrash: (File 666)

    Wow. That rant against “constructive criticism” is… well, no surprise, actually. Explains a bit, though.

    @cirsova: “All of the rules pertaining to combat and magic both assume and require use of miniatures. This includes movement rates, weapon and spell ranges, and areas of effect.”

    When I was introduced to (A)D&D, I was perpetually baffled by the equation of one inch to several feet. I’d never heard of miniatures, not seen any, nor used hex/square maps, so the concept was utterly alien to me. Now, I could follow the idea of using 10×10 as a unit by which I could map places out on graph paper, but it never occurred to me that one would then use bigger maps and put things on them to show where people were. I just ignored the weird “inches” numbers in favor of using whatever scale worked to represent the actual “feet” dimensions with whatever knickknacks I had on hand. (Surely I’m not the only one who pulled spare dice out of the bag so that the fighter was the yellow d12, the mage the purple d4, and so on.)

  45. Artists and self-contained duologies: check out Children of Chaos and Mother of Lies by Dave Duncan! One of the major characters is an artist. In fact, he’s a favored devotee of the goddess of art, which means that he has taken a vow of poverty, but has been granted the power to work minor miracles if they can be justified as beautifying the world. (E.g.: he rescues someone by making the bars on a window vanish because they look tacky; when it’s decided they need to cover up the fact that the escape was aided by magic, he makes them reappear by deciding that the building looks unbalanced without them.)

    Also you get an unusual spin on the Evil Death Goddess who turns up in so much fantasy. And werefolk.

    Oh, did I mention that this takes place on a dodecahedral world? And the author has really thought through the implications, like the fact that streams will tend to run toward the center of each face, to create a lake with a curved surface…

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