Pixel Scroll 3/3/22 In Just Seven Days, I Can Make You A Pixel

(1) CALLING BLACK SFF WRITERS. The 2022 BSF Writer Survey conducted by FIYAH closes March 4 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. See complete guidelines at the link.

The BSF Writer Survey is back! FIYAH will be inheriting Fireside Fiction’s #BlackSpecFic Reports, and this survey will be used to provide context to those results in a report being released in the fall of 2022.

We invite Black SFF writers to submit information about their practices and insights on submission to SFF short fiction markets with a focus on the 2021 calendar year, as well as the impact of and experience with special offerings made during the summer of 2020. The responses we receive will allow us to:

  • Quantify the existence of Black speculative fiction writers seeking publication.
  • Provide submission context to existing publication data.
  • Expose the impact of doleful publication statistics on Black writers.
  • Enable markets to pinpoint their failings in attracting or publishing Black writers.

(2) FIYAH GRANTS. FIYAH is taking applications for The FIYAH Literary Magazine Grant Series Rest, Craft, and Study grants until May 15. Full information at the Grants – FIYAH link.

The FIYAH Literary Magazine Grant Series is intended to assist Black writers of speculative fiction in defraying costs associated with honing their craft. 

The series includes three $1,000 grants to be distributed annually based on a set of submission requirements. All grants with the exception of the Emergency Grant will be issued and awarded as part of Juneteenth every year. The emergency grant will be awarded twice a year in $500 amounts.

Applications for the Rest, Craft, and Study grants close May 15th.

1: The Rest Grant

The FIYAH Rest Grant is for activists and organizers with a record of working on behalf of the SFF community, but who are in need of respite or time to recommit to their personal projects.

3: Study Grant

This grant is to be used for defraying costs associated with attending workshops, retreats, or conducting research for a writing project.

4: Craft Grant

This grant is awarded based on a writer’s submitted WIP sample or project proposal, in the spirit of assisting with the project’s completion.

(3) AUCTION TO AID RED CROSS UKRAINE. Fan and editor Johnny Mains has set up an online auction of genre-related items in support of Red Cross Ukraine; it runs until March 12: “Authors And Artists Auction For The Ukraine” at Will You Send a Dinghy, Please? Lots include signed books from Kim Newman, Ramsey Campbell, Nicholas Royle, and participation in an online interview with Ellen Datlow. 

I, like many, have been shaken by Russia’s horrific attack on Ukraine. I stand in solidarity with all Ukranians. I’m aware I have a miniscule public profile, but if I can do some good with it, then it’s a privilige and my duty. Plus, children in Ukraine being put through that? It’s sickening. So I’m doing a charity auction – with all proceeds going to directly to Red Cross Ukraine as you’ll be donating the money directly to them after the auction ends. 95% of goods will be posted by those donating them – in one or two cases I’ve been asked to post on that person’s behalf.

For the next two weeks, until the 12th of March, I’ll be running a live auction. I have asked people to donate things and I’ll be donating stuff myself….

(4) SANDERSON KEEPS ROLLING. Brandon Sanderson’s editor at Tor, Moshe Feder, sounds like he’s in a bit of shock: “To say it’s a massive surprise is a massive understatement. While the immediate overwhelming response on Kickstarter is quite a coup for Brandon and his team. I hope I get to be involved.” 

“Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson” approached $20 million in pledges today. At this rate it could become the number one Kickstarter of all time by tomorrow night.

(5) GUESS WHO LEARNED IT’S HARD RUNNING A BOOKSTORE. Even building your house of brick can’t keep it from being blown down. Shelf Awareness reports “Amazon Closing All Amazon Books Stores”.

Big news from Amazon: the company is closing all of its Amazon Book books and electronics stores, as well as all of its pop-up and “4-star” stores, a move that was first reported yesterday by Reuters. Altogether, 68 stores are involved–66 in the U.S. and two in the U.K. There are some 24 Amazon Books stores around the country.

The company said it was making the move to concentrate its bricks-and-mortar efforts on Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Amazon Go and a new venture, Amazon Style fashion and accessories stores, the first of which is set to open in Los Angeles this year, and will feature a variety of high-tech touches, including “just walk out” cashierless technology….

(6) CAN’T KEEP UP. Charles Stross admits how hard it is to stay ahead of reality.

(7) DOCTOR WHO. RadioTimes.com sees the next Thirteenth Doctor special on the horizon: “Doctor Who Legend of the Sea Devils new writer, director and cast”.

We’re finally getting to learn a bit more about upcoming Doctor Who special Legend of the Sea Devils, with the episode’s co-writer, director and other new details confirmed in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine.

“It’s a bit of a swashbuckler,” executive producer Matt Strevens told DWM. “It’s the last ‘regular’ adventure story before you go into the machinations of a regeneration story.”

So who is behind this penultimate peril for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor? Well, co-writing the episode with Chibnall is Ella Road, a playwright and screenwriter who wrote Olivier-nominated play The Phlebotomist (later adapted for BBC radio) as well as episodes of upcoming Call My Agent remake Ten Percent. Legend of the Sea Devils marks the first time a guest writer has co-written a special alongside Chibnall, as well as Road’s Doctor Who debut….

And a RadioTimes.com writer thinks “Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary special should go full nostalgia”.

… David Tennant or Matt Smith coming back for a quick victory lap, on the other hand, is something everyone can enjoy, no matter how casual their relationship with the show. The polar opposite of fan-serving indulgence, it’s actually the biggest, most populist, most crowd-pleasing, big tent move Doctor Who could possibly make. (And this was true even in the 1980s, by the way, when the return of the Cybermen after an absence of seven years was an exciting event for everyone – including the kids who’d never heard of them.)

Even the return of Paul McGann, whose Eighth Doctor has had only fleeting screen-time, would be pretty simple to explain to viewers who aren’t familiar with him. And not just simple, but funExciting. A strange man in strange clothes rocking up and telling everyone he used to be the Doctor? That’s drama. That’s a story. Who on Earth is going to take flight at that?…

(8) ONCE LESS INTO THE BREACH, DEAR FRIENDS. In “The Sci-Fi Crime Novel That’s a Parable of American Society”, The Atlantic’s Cullen Murphy points out “What China Miéville’s The City & the City tells us about the state of the nation.”

… A few weeks ago, a long-ago conversation with a friend came to mind as I tried to bring some order to my bookshelves. My friend was not yet of a certain age, but he had, he confessed, crossed a line: He had made a transition from the curating stage of life to the editing stage. He was no longer collecting; he was deaccessioning. I lack his wisdom and maturity, and rather than editing as I sorted, I instead paused to thumb through and scan. And then I came across a book that made me stop and reread: The City & the City (2009), by the British writer China Miéville. It is a police procedural novel with a background environment that recalls Philip K. Dick. A crime needs to be solved in a society where two different cities—two separate polities, with separate populations, customs, alphabets, religions, and outlooks—coexist within the same small patch of geography. The names of the overlapping cities are Beszel and Ul Qoma….

(9) DID YOU MISS THIS WORLDCON PROGRAM? Morgan Hazelwood posts her notes about the DisCon III panel “Breaking A Story: Hollywood Style” at Writer in Progress. (Hazelwood also has a YouTube video version.)

The panelists for the titular panel were: Michael R Underwood, Nikhil Singh, Sumiko Saulson, and Rebecca Roanhorse as moderator….

(10) NEXT FANTASTIC BEASTS. “Set in the 1930s, the film centers on the lead-up to Wizarding World’s involvement in World War II” says IndieWire about the “’Fantastic Beasts 3’ New Trailer”. See it on YouTube.

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?


1940 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Eighty-two years ago this day, Larry “Buster” Crabbe starred in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, a black-and-white twelve-part movie serial from Universal Pictures. It would be the last of the three such Universal serials made between 1936 and 1940.

It was directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor, neither of whom had any background in genre undertakings of this sort beyond Taylor directing Chandu on the Magic Island and its sequel The Return of Chandu, serials which starred Béla Lugosi. This serial was written by George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey and Barry Shipman. George H. Plympton would go on to write the Forties versions of The Green HornetBatman and Robin and Superman.

The primary cast beyond Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon was Carol Hughes as Dale Arden, Frank Shannon as Dr. Alexis Zarkov and Charles B. Middleton as Ming the Merciless. It actually had a very large cast for such a serial.

I couldn’t find any contemporary reviews but our present day reviewers like it with the Movie Metropolis reviewer saying of it that “Of course, it’s corny and juvenile but that’s the point”, and one Audience reviewer at Rotten Tomatoes noted “Of curiosity value to film buffs. Those who want to see how these old matinee serials influenced George Lucas’ Star Wars films will enjoy this.”  It doesn’t get a great rating over there garnering only a fifty-seven percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 3, 1863 Arthur Machen. His novella “The Great God Pan” published in 1890 has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror, with Stephen King describing it as “Maybe the best horror story in the English language.” His The Three Impostors; or, The Transmutations 1895 novel is considered a precursor to Lovecraft and was reprinted in paperback by Ballantine Books in the Seventies. (Died 1947.)
  • Born March 3, 1876 David Lindsay. Best remembered for A Voyage to Arcturus which C.S. Lewis acknowledged was a great influence on Out of the Silent PlanetPerelandra and That Hideous Strength. His other genre works were fantasies including The Haunted Woman and The Witch. A Voyage to Arcturus is available from the usual suspects for free. And weirdly it’s available in seven audio narratives. Huh.  (Died 1945.)
  • Born March 3, 1920 James Doohan. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on Trek of course. His first genre appearance was I think in Outer Limits as Police Lt. Branch, followed by being a SDI Agent at Gas Station in The Satan Bug film before getting the Trek gig. His first genre series would’ve been Space Command where he played Phil Mitchell. He filmed a Man from U.N.C.L.E. film, One of Our Spies Is Missing, in which he played Phillip Bainbridge, during the first season of Trek. After Trek, he was on Jason of Star Command as Commander Canarvin. ISFDB notes that he did three Scotty novels co-written with S.M. Stirling. (Died 2005.)
  • Born March 3, 1936 Donald E. Morse, 86. Author of the single best book done on Holdstock, The Mythic Fantasy of Robert Holdstock: Critical Essays on the Fiction which he co-wrote according to ISFDB with Kalman Matolcsy. I see he also did two books on Kurt Vonnegut and the Anatomy of Science Fiction on the intersection between SF and society at large which sounds fascinating. 
  • Born March 3, 1945 George Miller, 77. Best known for his Mad Max franchise, The Road Warrior (nominated for a Hugo at ConStellation), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road. He also directed The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet segment of the Twilight Zone film, The Witches of Eastwick (nominated for a Hugo at Nolacon II), Babe and 40,000 Years of Dreaming
  • Born March 3, 1948 Max Allan Collins, 74. Best remembered for writing the Dick Tracy newspaper strip for many years and has numerous novels featuring the character as well. He’s novelized Waterworld and all of The Mummy films. He won the Faust Award for Lifetime Achievement. 
  • Born March 3, 1955 Gregory Feeley, 67. Reviewer and essayist. Clute says of his reviews “Sometimes adversarial, unfailingly intelligent, they represent a cold-eyed view of a genre he loves by a critic immersed in its material.” Writer of two SF novels, The Oxygen Barons and Arabian Wine, plus the Kentauros essay and novella.
  • Born March 3, 1982 Jessica Biel, 40. A number of interesting genre films including The Texas Chainsaw MassacreBlade: TrinityStealthThe Illusionist, the remake of Total Recall which I confess I’ve not seen, and the animated Spark: A Space Tail

(13) FANAC.ORG FANHISTORY ZOOM. The latest fanhistory Zoom at Fanac.org is now online: “Death Does Not Release You – LASFS Through the Years (Pt 1 of 2).”

From the YouTube description: “Legend (and John Trimble) has it that the slogan “Death Does Not Release You” came about when Ray Bradbury gave a talk at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and was asked to pay his dues. When Bradbury said his membership had expired,  Ernie Wheatley told him “death does not release you, even if you die”. Bradbury paid his 35 cents… 

This notable group of panelists, including artist Tim Kirk, TV writer and producer Craig Miller, filmmaker Ken Rudolph and convention runner Bobbi Armbruster are all current or former members of LASFS. They are fan artists, convention runners, fanzine editors and club officers. 

In part 1, the panelists talk about how they were welcomed into science fiction fandom and into LASFS (including how Ray Bradbury talked teenager Craig Miller into going to his first club meeting). There are stories about the drug culture of the 60s and its barbarian invasion of the club, as well as about the big movers and shakers of the 60s and 70s, many no longer with us, such as Bruce Pelz and Len Moffat. Even if you’ve never been to a LASFS meeting, this feels like a nostalgic family reunion. See Part 2 for the continuation.”

(14) ASK JMS ANYTHING. J. Michael Straczynski did an Ask Me Anything for Reddit yesterday: “I’m J. Michael Straczynski, aka JMS, here for an AMA about my new novel Together We Will Go and my work across TV series like Babylon 5 and Sense8, films like Changeling, graphic novels, comic books, and more.” One person asked for an update about Harlan Ellison’s house:

…I will be taking photos and videos for my patrons (I don’t actually mean to keep flogging that, isn’t my intention, just came up thrice in a row in answer to this.) We’re busy fixing the place up, doing repairs, making it tour-friendly. It’s been a ton of work, as well as setting up the Harlan and Susan Ellison nonprofit foundation that will ensure his work and legacy are protected long after I’ve gone to dust. This is important because some writers’ estates have been ransacked in the past, but by setting up a nonprofit that is directly answerable to state and federal regulators, with a strong board of directors, it guarantees that not a dime goes in or out that’s unaccounted for or unchecked. Will have a lot more on that count to say soon.

(15) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 52 of the Octothorpe podcast, “Who’s Robert Picardo?”, celebrates an award nomination with a victory lap.

John Coxon, Alison Scott and Liz Batty have been nominated for a BSFA Award! (Also, Liz is on holiday, naturally.) We discuss that with worse audio quality than usual, before normal service is resumed and we talk about Hugo nominations and Eastercon bids.

(16) DAVID M. KELLY. Meet David M. Kelly, the author of Kwelengsen Storm, Book One of the Logan’s World Series.

Originally from the wild and woolly region of Yorkshire, England, David emigrated to Canada in 2005 and settled in Northern Ontario with his patient and supportive wife, Hilary. Foot surgery in 2014 temporarily curtailed many of his favorite activities – hiking, camping, piloting his own personal starfighter (otherwise known as a 1991 Corvette ZR-1). But on the plus side, it meant a transition from the world of IT into life as a full-time writer—an opportunity he grasped enthusiastically.

David is passionate about science, especially astronomy and physics, and is a rabid science news follower. Never short of an opinion, David writes about science and technology on his blog davidmkelly.net. He has supported various charity projects such as the Smithsonian’s Reboot The Suit and the Lowell Observatory Pluto Telescope Restoration. He also contributes to citizen science projects such as SETI@home.

What’s his book about?

When Logan Twofeathers takes on the job of head of engineering on Kwelengsen, the first habitable planet discovered by Earth, he thinks he’s leaving conflict far behind. But when he investigates the loss of a deep-space communications relay, his ship is attacked and crash-lands back on the planet.

With his new home destroyed by the invaders, Logan is stranded deep in the frozen mountains with an injured sergeant who hates him almost as much as the enemy. Against the ever-present threat of capture, he must battle his way through icy surroundings in a treacherous attempt to find his wife.

And when he’s forced to ally himself with a disparate group of soldiers and their uncompromising captain, Logan must face the reality that he may have lost everything—and everyone—he loves. Will he choose to fight? And what will it cost him?

Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca,

(17) WAVES HELLO. If Mars is the Red Planet, could we call Venus the Infra-Red Planet? Well, not exactly. But this New York Times article prompted the question: “Venus Shows Its Hot, Cloudy Side”.

Venus is so hot that its surface glows visibly at night through its thick clouds.

That is what pictures taken by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe have revealed.

The planet’s average temperature hovers around 860 degrees Fahrenheit, and thick clouds of sulfuric acid obscure the view. Until now, the only photographs of the Venusian surface were taken by four Soviet spacecraft that successfully landed there in the 1970s and 1980s, operating briefly before succumbing to the hellish environs.

During flybys of Venus, the Parker spacecraft pointed its cameras at the night side of Venus. It was able to see the visible wavelengths of light, including the reddish colors that verge on the infrared that can pass through the clouds.

“It’s a new way of looking at Venus that we’ve never even tried before — in fact, weren’t even sure it was possible,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary division.

In the Parker photographs, hotter locales like low-lying volcanic plains appeared brighter while those at higher altitudes like Aphrodite Terra, one of three continent-size regions on Venus, were about 85 degrees cooler and darker.

(18) THE SKY’S NO LIMIT. “Asteroid With Three Moons Sets A Record” reports Nature.

Astronomers have discovered an unprecedented three moons in orbit around an asteroid.

‘Binary’ asteroids, which have one moon, are fairly common. Triple asteroids, with two moons, are rare. Now, the identification of the first known quadruple asteroid — Elektra, which orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter — shows that two is not the limit.

Previous observations had shown that two moons circle Elektra, which is roughly 200 kilometres wide. A team led by Anthony Berdeu at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand in Chiang Mai re-assessed Elektra by analysing images of the asteroid taken in 2014 by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal, Chile. The scientists used sophisticated image-processing techniques to detect the third, faint moon….

(19) ELDEN RING. George R.R. Martin had a hand in the Elden Ring video game, which is now available.

…Of course, almost all the credit should go to Hidetaka Miyazaki and his astonishing team of games designers who have been laboring on this game for half a decade or more, determined to create the best videogame ever.   I am honored to have met them and worked with them, and to have have played a part, however small, in creating this fantastic world and making ELDEN RING the landmark megahit that it is…

View a short live-action intro trailer below, or see the full six-minute overview trailer here.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chris Barkley, Rob Thornton, Jennifer Hawthorne, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/3/22 In Just Seven Days, I Can Make You A Pixel

  1. (12) “…his Mad Max franchise, The Road Warrior (nominated for a Hugo at ConStellation), Mad Max 2, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road…”

    Small clarification: Mad Max 2 is The Road Warrior. As far as I know, the second title was used only in North America.


    Ok am I being churlish to note that these aren’t actually bookstores, but just mostly sections within larger stores and temporary pop-ups that are quite unlike real bookstores? I don’t think so.

    Whole Foods carries a few Folkmanis puppets and I bough one there, a ring tailed lemur, as a gift for the daughter of Meghan, my osteopathic manipulative therapist at Martins Point. (It now gets its own chair at the table for supper I’m told.) However Tree House Toys downtown carries dozens and dozens of them. That’s the difference in both cases between what Amazon and Whole Foods does and what true independent retail does.

    (Why did I buy it there? Because the streets are still icy and my still compromised post-surgical knee is too risky on them. Come summer I’ll gladly go there.)

  3. (12) I also liked Arthur Machen’s “The White Powder.” It sort of reminded me of a more famous Victorian story. To avoid saying more…
    Gur raq znqr zr guvax bs “Gur Fgenatr Pnfr bs Qe Wrxlyy naq Ze Ulqr.” Va snpg, V jbaqrerq vs gung jnf ubj Ivpgbevna ernqref ernpgrq gb gur eriryngvba va gur Fgrirafba obbx jura gurl ernq vg orsber gur cybg jnf jryy xabja.

  4. 11) I love the old Flash Gordon serials–I have a set of them on DVD. One thing not mentioned: “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe”, soundtrack by no less a musical light than Franz Liszt. His long piece “Les Preludes” is, as far as I can tell, all of the background music, main title theme, etc. etc. It was also one of Liszt’s best, in my opinion.

  5. (9) Sumiko Saulson is editor for the sleazy pulp horror novel I just finished last night, and I am stoked.

    I just spent my first day in my office downtown since 3/13/20. We’re still remote four days a week but now we’re all showing up physically on Thursdays. It was nice to escape from my tyrannical cat and enjoy the view from the 32nd floor again but it’s definitely unnerving being around all those people, and downtown SF is nowhere near as crowded as it used to be.

  6. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson says I love the old Flash Gordon serials–I have a set of them on DVD. One thing not mentioned: “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe”, soundtrack by no less a musical light than Franz Liszt. His long piece “Les Preludes” is, as far as I can tell, all of the background music, main title theme, etc. etc. It was also one of Liszt’s best, in my opinion.

    I might not have mentioned Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe here but it has come up at least a half dozen times before in the Birthdays.

  7. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson: Franz Liszt — I only knew this piece as “the music from Flash Gordon” at the time I started living in the dorm as a freshman. Then one evening I could hear it being played on someone’s stereo next door and I dashed to ask what it was called and was there a record out.

    Thanks to that discovery I soon learned enough about the composer to get the reference when the movie Lisztomania came out a few years later.

  8. Ref James “Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott” Doohan, whose 102nd birthday is today 3.iij…what would be better as his epitaph: “Beamed up!” or “Me crrrystals couldna stand it!”?

  9. Sam Long: Good question — I’d know the answer if Scotty was a Chuck Tingle fan.

  10. What about my pixel? You’re lucky you still have your brown paper zine, small type!

  11. It’s true, I am editing Charon Dunn’s sleazy pulp horror novel. Elsewhere in the metaverse, S.H. Roddey over at Mocha Memoirs Press is putting the final spitshine on my novel, which is both a horror story and paranormal romance.

  12. 4) Sanderson: Most-funded Kickstarter by tomorrow night? Looks like that’s pretty conservative: as I type this (12:30 AM CST) it’s only $80,000 short of that, and still ticking up as I watch. We’re talking tomorrow morning. Early.

    And man! I hope Sanderson’s team realizes what they’ve set themselves up for: aside from the physical books themselves, they are going to be sending out something like 200,000 subscription boxes of merchandise over the course of a year.

  13. (19) I’ve been hearing that the PC version of Elden Ring is pretty buggy. The Playstation and Xbox versions are apparently fine, though, so the PC version will probably get sorted out fairly soon. Have also heard very good things about the game as a game, though it is one of those brutally-hard Dark Souls-like games that I’ve always been a bit too scared to try.

  14. (6) CAN’T KEEP UP
    IIRC Stross stopped writing in the near future Scottish setting (“Halting State”, “Rule 34” because events were getting too unpredictable. That was in the early Noughties. Things have only, um, Accelerated, since then.

    “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Scroll”.

  15. @Soon Lee
    And at least “the Scotland in the EU and Uk isnt” – thing is even more plausible now.

    Who had the decaffinated pixel with extra space Goo?

  16. (12) I’ve spotted Doohan in an episode of The Twilight Zone, too. Weirdly, Doohan has connections with two other franchises – one SF, and one just loved by many of us – Doohan played a WWII pilot who lands a passenger plane after food poisoning incapacitates the regular pilots in “Flight in Danger” – the film that was remade into “Zero Hour” which was parodied by “Airplane!” And the supervising producer of “Flight Into Danger” was Sydney Newman, who went onto produce “Doctor Who”.

  17. David Goldfarb says And man! I hope Sanderson’s team realizes what they’ve set themselves up for: aside from the physical books themselves, they are going to be sending out something like 200,000 subscription boxes of merchandise over the course of a year.

    Sanderson’s staff isn’t setting themselves for anything such thing. They’ll be hiring companies to do both the production work and the actual shipping of the boxes and even the books out when they’re ready. They only things that they will provide is the financial backing and a database of individuals getting the product. This isn’t a Worldcon where you do it yourself.

  18. @Charon Dunn – This past week I went back to the office for the first time since March 2020. As you said, it was good to get out of the house and away from the feline overlords. Downtown Grand Rapids is also very quiet right now. The rest of the staff is expected to start trickling in over the next couple of months, but right now it is a surreal experience to occasionally be the only person in an office which can hold over 200.

  19. I am, as usual, conflicted about the real world giving me writing prompts. On the one hand, it is a seemingly never-ending fount of inspiration for Trigger stories. On the other hand, well, I think the world would be better without that inspiration.

  20. Meredith Moment: Shards of Honor (the first(?) Vorkosigan book) is currently $3.99.

  21. Lis Carey said:
    It’s 6800 C.E., I’m lost, and Cider says it’s darned tough to pick up a scent trail across time to get us home.

    Hope you get home safe! And: I want to read that story!

  22. Joe H. says Meredith Moment: Shards of Honor (the first(?) Vorkosigan book) is currently $3.99.

    It’s the first published in 1986 but Falling Free which came out two years later is actually set earlier than it is.

  23. Cat Eldridge: There’s a fun discussion to be had about what order to read certain series in.

    In fact, I can think of two series where I arrive at different conclusions.

    I like to read the Vorkosigan series in publication order because Bujold was (of course) figuring out the universe and inventing the interconnected cultures as she went. If you don’t start with the earliest published stories but read them later, you kind of wonder why the characters don’t seem aware of some things that are strategically important which would have existed all along.

    By comparison, if you start reading Poul Anderson’s long Technic / Empire series in publication order, you might wonder what all the excitement is about. Because by the Sixties he was a much better writer than when he started the series in the early Fifties.

  24. @Mike
    Ran into the early Poul Anderson problem when we did an early (and out of copyright, a classic move by SFFaudio) Flandry story. It’s not as good as subsequent stories, by a long way.

  25. Mike says There’s a fun discussion to be had about what order to read certain series in.

    There certainly is. Falling Free Is listed first on her website which why I noted that it’s earlier in the chronological order of the series.

    By comparison, if you start reading Poul Anderson’s long Technic / Empire series in publication order, you might wonder what all the excitement is about. Because by the Sixties he was a much better writer than when he started the series in the early Fifties.

    Oh definitely. The latter works are much better written both as stories and in their use of the characters therein. The early stuff just is not very readable.

  26. Cat Eldridge: It’s sad to think of early Poul Anderson being called “not very readable” when you consider that he made such an impression on the field at the start of his career that — only a dozen years after his first published story appeared — they made him Worldcon guest of honor in 1959.

  27. I know some people have started to wonder what the excitement was about when starting with Shards of Honor. I think it’s pretty decent for a first novel, but I can see it might leave some people puzzled when told that it’s part of one of SF’s most popular and acclaimed series, or why it won the first ever Best Series Hugo.

    I actually started with The Borders of Infinity myself, and that worked just fine, so I tend not to worry too much about the “proper” reading order. 🙂

  28. Both The Broken Sword and Brain Wave were published in 1954. An all-time fantasy classic and an all-time SF classic.

  29. Tom Becker: As they say, it’s a difference of opinion that makes horse races. When Brain Wave was reprinted in pb in the Seventies I wrote a review saying it wasn’t very good.

    However, I share your esteem for The Broken Sword.

  30. (5) Unless I get hit by a bus or something, I will live to see the day when the only bookstores are run by monied oddballs who don’t care that they are losing money.

  31. Mike says It’s sad to think of early Poul Anderson being called “not very readable” when you consider that he made such an impression on the field at the start of his career that — only a dozen years after his first published story appeared — they made him Worldcon guest of honor in 1959.

    We were discussing specifically the Flandry stories, weren’t we? I didn’t say anything at all about the rest of his early oeuvre, did I? I’m personally fond of both Broken Sword and Three Hearts and Three Lions, two earlier works.

  32. Cat Eldridge: You’re right, we were talking about a particular future history series. He wrote lots of things outside that series.

  33. Mike says Mike Glyer on March 4, 2022 at 5:20 pm said:
    Cat Eldridge: You’re right, we were talking about a particular future history series. He wrote lots of things outside that series.

    It’s also worth emphasising that Poul and Karen were one of the kindest, most intelligent and certainly warmest couples that our community was ever graced with. That cannot be repeated too often.

  34. Series reading order:
    In general I prefer to read in publication order & experience the evolution of the writer along the way as well. But when I’m recommending a series to someone else, it’s always with a caveat that the first book of a series is almost never the best one. It also helps if I know their preferences.

    So if I were to recommend the Discworld novels, I’d probably go with “Guards! Guards!” but if I know they like parodies & sword’nsorcery, then “The Colour of Magic”/”The Light Fantastic” would be entirely appropriate. Regardless, I would also add that watching Pratchett grow as a writer as the series progresses is one of the joys.

    I am also reminded of the spearpoint concept that I first encountered via Jo Walton. The reason some volumes are regarded as a series highlight is dependent on the groundwork that happened in earlier volumes. If you read just “the best book of the series” without knowing the context, the foundations laid by the previous books, you wouldn’t be able to properly appreciate it.

  35. @Mike Glyer: Dang. You’re probably right about Brain Wave. But it was such a classic idea. Now I feel like I have to reread it.

  36. There are some series (Elric, Fafrd & the Gray Mouser, Hornblower) where I do still prefer to read them in series chronology, but these days, I often end up preferring publication order, all other things being equal.

    (Having said which, the reason I said Shards of Honor was first(?) is that’s how it’s listed on the Amazon series page, but I wasn’t sure if that was actually true or just mostly true.)

  37. Joe H. says Having said which, the reason I said Shards of Honor was first(?) is that’s how it’s listed on the Amazon series page, but I wasn’t sure if that was actually true or just mostly true.)

    The author on her website says that it chronologically is the second novel. I certainly trust her way more than I trust Amazon.

  38. @ Miles Carter. There might be some that are money laundering operations

  39. Amazon may not have recognized Falling Free, set 200 years earlier and with no common characters, as being part of the same series.

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