Pixel Scroll 3/31/19 Those Who Do Not Learn Their Pixel Scrolls Are Doomed To Repeat Them

(1) HARD SF FOR HARD MONEY. In a field where a lot of magazines release their content free, you wonder how they survive. Here’s one answer to that question.Compelling Science Fiction editor Joe Stech says “Compelling Science Fiction is going to a paid subscription model”.

I’m proud that over the last three years we’ve released 63 phenomenal stories and paid professional rates to 57 wonderful authors. However, over the last three years I’ve also spent a significant amount of money keeping the magazine afloat. Year one I spent a lot, and years two and three leveled out to almost break-even (but revenue stopped growing). Based on these numbers, I’ve decided that I need to go to a subscription-only model to keep the magazine strong and growing.

(2) ANNE BUJOLD ART. Lois McMaster Bujold wrote on Facebook –

Recently, the work of my daughter Anne Bujold, presently an artist-in-residence at the Appalachian Center for Craft, was showcased by the local TV folks. They did an excellent job, I thought. The segment is now up on YouTube:

(3) EXPLOSIVE TOPIC. Steve Davidson is peeved at anyone who would call A. Bertram Chandler’s books “popcorn” reading:

I don’t care what anyone says: A. Bertram Chandler’s works are not “popcorn”.
Popcorn does not win awards, except at popcorn festivals…

Two of his stories are the UR tales for “humans locked in an alien zoo (The Cage) and “mutated rats take over” (Giant Killer); both were frequently included in anthologies of SF through the 80s.

Harlan Ellison was so impressed with his short story Frontier of the Dark that he talked ‘Jack’ into expanding it into a novel; then, when Chandler admitted he didn’t have his own copy of the original manuscript, Ellison pulled his copy of Astounding and sent it off (and the novel was written)

He wrote about major social issues in the 60s, well before they became mainstream…

(4) A SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY. Eric Flint preceded a very brief political opinion with a long introduction about why he rarely talks politics on Facebook. (See the opinion at the link.)

I don’t usually post political comments on my Facebook page for the same reason I don’t use my novels to expound my own political philosophy.

In a nutshell, It’s false advertising. My novels (and other pieces of fiction) purport to be entertainment, not political screeds. If I want to write political screeds, nothing prevents me from doing so. In point of fact, I _have_ written political screeds. Plenty of them. If you were to compile my various political writings done in the quarter of a century or so when I was a socialist activist, they would add up to several volumes worth.

But I wasn’t trying to make a living from those political writings, and so I didn’t try to pass them off to the unsuspecting public as “entertainment.” I didn’t do it then, and I’m not about to do it now.

Albeit watered down, I feel somewhat the same way with regard to my Facebook page….

(5) GENRE INFERIORITY COMPLEX.The Guardian’s Sam Jordison convinces himself this is no longer an issue: “‘Screw the snobbish literati’: was Kurt Vonnegut a science-fiction writer?”

I’m willing to concede that people may see things differently. The New York Times obituary may have been fulsome in its praise for Vonnegut, but it also noted that publishing Slaughterhouse-Five helped him to “shed the label of science fiction writer”. Vonnegut was painfully aware of this stigma; in an essay called Science Fiction, he wrote: “I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labelled ‘science fiction’ … and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.”

(6) KURT AND RAY. Open Culture remembers when they had TV shows on the same year — “Discover Ray Bradbury & Kurt Vonnegut’s 1990s TV Shows: The Ray Bradbury Theater and Welcome to the Monkey House.

…I never know exactly when to take Vonnegut seriously. He also calls TV everybody’s “rotten teacher” and says “I’m sorry television exists,” but he had long been a TV writer in its “so-called golden days,” as John Goudas put it in a Los Angeles Times interview with Vonnegut in 1993, when his seven-episode run of Kurt Vonnegut’s Monkey House, hosted by himself, would soon come to a close. Vonnegut found himself very pleased by the results, remarking of his stories that “TV can do them very well,” and especially praising “More Stately Mansions,” above, starring an irrepressible Madeline Kahn, whom he called “a superb actress.”

Another very direct, witty speculative writer in the same year’s issue of The Cable Guide, Ray Bradbury, appeared with Vonnegut as part of two “dueling, short features,” notes Nick Greene at Mental Floss, “under the auspices of promoting the authors’ upcoming cable specials,” Monkey House and The Ray Bradbury Theater. Bradbury was also an old media hand, having written for radio in the 50s, and seeing adaptations of his stories made since that decade, including one on Alfred Hitchcock’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Like Hitchcock, when it came time for his own show, The Ray Bradbury Theater in 1985, Bradbury introduced the episodes and became a public face for thousands of viewers….

(7) WHEN I’M (IN) ’64. Galactic Journey’s Victoria Lucas reacts to the adaptation of Jack Finney’s novel: “[March 31, 1964] 7 Faces and 7 Places (The movie, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao)”.

If you saw my review of Finney’s Circus of Dr. Lao back on June 16, 1962 you would know why I went to such (literally) lengths to see this movie.  It did not disappoint, but I did object to the interpolations of a soppy romance and a hackneyed Western takeover-the-town plot.  The “Circus” was filmed, according to sources, on the MGM back lots, although some of those Culver City hills must be pretty rough if that’s so.  My theory is that filming on location was out due to the many roles of Tony Randall, who plays Dr. Lao, the Abominable Snowman, Merlin, Apollonius of Tyana, Pan, The Giant Serpent, and Medusa.  All those makeup and costume changes (to say nothing of any other cast) must have needed the workshop of famed makeup artist William Tuttle and a large selection of MGM costumes, as well as (not credited) costumer Robert Fuca.

(8) SFF EVENT IN LISBON. Free admission to Contacto 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal on April 4-5.

Imaginauta (a literary publisher of speculative fiction), in partnership with the Library of Marvila and BLX, the Libraries of the Network of Municipal Library of Lisbon are pleased to present the 2nd Edition of Contact – Literary Festival of Science Fiction and Fantasy.


Come live two days filled with activities for whom a world just is not enough.

– Book Fair

– Book Launching

– Sessions with Portuguese authors

– Thematic areas (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Steampunk)

– Board games and narratives

– Speeches

– Movie theater

– Stories Counters

– Exhibitions

– Live performances

– Stand-up comedy

– Medieval Bar

– Activities for schools

Come join the new generation of science fiction and fantasy!


  • March 31, 1969 — Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse Five, published.
  • March 31, 1987Max Headroom made his television premiere.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 31, 1844 Andrew Lang. To say that he is best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales is a bit of understatement. He collected enough tales that twenty five volumes of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books  for children were published between 1889 and 1913. That’s 798 stories. If you’re interested in seeing these stories, you can find them here. (Died 1912.)
  • Born March 31, 1932 John Jakes, 87. Author of a number of genre series including Brak the Barbarian. The novels seem to fix-ups from works published in such venues as Fantastic. Dark Gate and Dragonard are his other two series. As  Robert Hart Davis, he wrote a number of The Man From UNCLE novellas that were published in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Magazine. The magazine apparently only existed from 1966 to 1968.
  • Born March 31, 1934 Richard Chamberlain, 85. His first dive into our end of reality was in The Three Musketeers as Aramis, a role he reprised in The Return of Three Musketeers. (I consider all Musketeer films to be genre.) some of you being cantankerous may argue it was actually when he played the title character in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold which he did some years later. He listed as voicing the Jack Kirby created character Highfather on the superb Justice League: Gods and Monsters but that was but a few lines of dialogue I believe. He was in the Blackbeard series as Governor Charles Eden, and series wise has done the usual one-offs on such shows as Alfred Hitchcock PresentsBoris Karloff’s Thriller, Chuck and Twin Peaks
  • Born March 31, 1936 Marge Piercy, 83. Author of He, She and It which garnered won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction novel. Of course she also wrote Woman on the Edge of Time doomed to be called “classic of utopian speculative sf”. 
  • Born March 31, 1943 Christopher Walken, 76. Yet another performer whose first role was in The Three Musketeers, this time as a minor character, John Felton. He has a minor role in The Sentinel, a horror film, and a decidedly juicy one in Trumbull’s Brainstorm as Dr. Michael Anthony Brace followed up by being in Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone as Johnny Smith. Damn, I’d forgotten he was Max Zorin, the villain in A View to a Kill! H’h, didn’t know he was in Gibson’s New Rose Hotel but then I haven’t then I haven’t actually seen it yet. And let’s wrap this up by noting his appearance in The Stepford Wives as Mike Wellington.
  • Born March 31, 1960 Ian McDonald, 59. I see looking him up for this Birthday note that one of my favorite novels by him, Desolation Road, was first one. Ares Express was just as splendid. Now the Chaga saga was, errr, weird. Everness was fun but ultimately shallow, Strongly recommend both Dervish House and River of Gods. Luna series at first blush didn’t impress me, so other opinions sought. 
  • Born March 31, 1962 Michael Benson. 57. Author of Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece. His earlier book Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes featured an intro by Clarke. Benson is an artist and journalist who also mounts shows of astronomical art and who advocates for such things as keeping the Hubble telescope operating. His site is here.
  • Born March 31, 1971 Ewan McGregor, 48. Nightwatch, a horror film, with him as lead Martin Bell is his first true genre film.  That was followed by The Phantom Menace and him as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a role repeated in Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens. His latest role of interest, well to me if to nobody else, is as Christopher Robin in the film of the same name.

(11) US AT A GLANCE. Camestros Felapton is back from the multiplex — “Review: Us (spoiler free)”.

So I like horror best in small doses. I like a taste of it, circumscribed by the way horror overlaps with other genres (thrillers, fantasy and science-fiction). So I probably shouldn’t have gone to see Us.

Jordan Peele’s first film Get Out, was just about the right ratio for me. Undoubtedly scary and tense but also full of interesting ideas. The final premise was knowingly absurd and tapped into that rich seam of conspiratorial mythology of secret societies and grand sinister designs of powerful people.

Us has all of that and quite a lot more. There are no shortage of horror movie tropes in the film, indeed at a given moment the film plays along with standard styles of horror movie but only for awhile and then it moves on….

(12) PERMAFROST. At Rapid Transmissions, Joseph Hurtgen reviews Alastair Reynolds’ Permafrost and finds the parallels with La Jetee — and 12 Monkeys by way of La Jetee — are hard to miss, and make the book enjoyable.

The book wrangles a great deal over the time paradox. The time paradox wrangling is enough to make your head spin and the characters in the novel throw up more than once as a result of time travel paradox complications.

Paradoxically, Reynolds never has the characters reflect on the absurdity of humans developing futuristic technologies–nuclear power, time travel, artificial intelligence–while persisting in myopia about their impact on the environment. Reynolds isn’t treading new material here, Asimov discussed the problem of science’s interest in doing science over and above environmental concerns in The God’s Themselves (1972). But Reynolds’ story is quick, fun, and is sure to give you the feels. 

(13) A WORD FROM SOMEBODY’S SPONSOR. Daniel Dern writes:

I don’t know if this qualifies as a “Meredith Moment,” but, via KinjaDeals via io9, you can get 2 months of Kindle Unlimited for $1/month, before it automatically goes to the normal $10/month — not as cheap as the free 1-month trial, but good for 2x as long. I’ll be giving it a try, soon. (The deal is available for another month or so, but I’ll probably sign up today or tomorrow)

More info at the post: “Turn Off the Internet and Read Some Damn Books – Kindle Unlimited Is $1 For Two Months”.

(14) MORE DC. As announced this weekend at WonderCon: “DC Universe Unveils Expanded Digital Comics Library, STARGIRL Suit, & More at WonderCon!”

At no extra charge or increase in the price of a subscription, DC Universe subscribers will be able to enjoy access to DC’s enormous digital comics library, starting in April of 2019. (Each of these comics will appear at least 12 months after it was first published). That’s over 20 thousand comic books!

Daniel Dern notes: “This brings DC/U closer to Marvel’s streaming offering, which is ‘many comics each week once they’re at least 6 months old’ and 25,000+ comics. I’ll know (somewhat) more once I log onto my DC/U account and browse.”

(15) PUT ON YOUR AVENGERS FACE. Yahoo! enthuses: “Ulta and Marvel Are Launching an Avengers Makeup Collection, and the Prices Are Heroic”.

The star of the collection is arguably the Eyeshadow Palette (above), which includes 15 colors — mostly shimmers with a few mattes thrown in — for just $20. Under a lid that reads “Courageous. Tenacious. Fearless. Legendary,” you’ll find the aptly named shades Hero Vibes (copper shimmer), Games Changer (burnished gold), Save The World (champagne shimmer), Amazed (cream matte), Gauntlet (burgundy shimmer), Super Charged (mauve taupe matte), Out Of This, World (khaki brown shimmer), Last Shot (vanilla shimmer), Cosmic (eggplant shimmer), Smash (olive green shimmer), Legend (dirty aqua shimmer), Reassemble (smoky navy matte, I’ve Got This (ivory shimmer), Built For Battle (peach nude shimmer), and Fearless (moss graphite shimmer).

(16) WE THE FUTURE PEOPLE. In “Sci-Fi Writers Are Imagining a Path Back to Normality”, WIRED touches base with contributors to the anthology A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams

Tobias S. Buckell on metaphors:

Nora K. Jemisin was just saying on Twitter the other day that in science fiction we have this venerable tradition of using metaphor to dig at some of these problems—like race and power and structure and history—and that it’s been a mistake, because in the past we would always use the metaphor assuming that our fellow readers and fans of the genre were following along, getting the metaphor, and it turns out that they weren’t. In other words, you needed to be way more in-your-face and say, ‘This is what I’m trying to say.’ Because they were looking at a metaphor of an alien that is powerless and out on the fringes of society—and that that society was being racist toward, and things like that—and then when they were done with that story they’d say, ‘That poor alien,’ and they’d never make the implicit connection.”

(17) ARMSTRONG’S PURSE. Space.com shares a flock of photos as “Smithsonian Debuts Apollo 11 ’50 Years from Tranquility Base’ Exhibit”.

The Apollo 11 “50 Years from Tranquility Base” display case was installed on Monday (March 25) at the Washington, D.C. museum, opposite its Space Race gallery on the first floor. The exhibit offers a look at almost two dozen artifacts that flew on board the July 1969 Apollo 11 mission that landed Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon.

“’50 Years from Tranquility Base: Humanity’s First Visit to Another World’ highlights some of the smaller artifacts the crew needed to live and work on their way to and on the moon. Of particular interest are Neil Armstrong’s Omega chronograph, which hasn’t been on public display for over 20 years at least, and some of the items found in Armstrong’s purse,” said Jennifer Levasseur, a curator in the space history division of the National Air and Space Museum.

(18) TIME LORD. Beautiful video: “The guardian of the sands of time”.

Adrian Rodriguez Cozzani has a passion for time, the way it flows and the way we keep track of it. For nearly 30 years he has been crafting beautiful hourglasses and sundials by hand in his small workshop in Trastevere, a colourful neighbourhood in Rome, Italy.

[Thanks to ULTRAGOTHA, Cat Eldridge, Joseph Hurtgen, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Mlex, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Darren Garrison.]

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/31/19 Those Who Do Not Learn Their Pixel Scrolls Are Doomed To Repeat Them

  1. (10) I’ll admit that the only Jakes’ works I’ve read are from his potboiler historical series “The Kent Family Chronicles” (which begin with “The Bastard” – a controversial title at the time). I do recall that fans of his SF hoped to see the series (which petered out around the time it got to 1900 or so) would have a descendant of the family named Jonathan who adopted a strange visitor one Kansas night.


    (And probably already been done, but with some combination of the words that I can’t imagine right now.)

  3. “Oh, I’ve got a Brand New Pair of Pixel Scrolls, You’ve got to Godstalk me”

  4. Third fifth!

    (2) I’m kind of curious about the bunny with the shark fin strapped to its back.

  5. Mister Dalliard: Release the appertainment!

    (“Rover of Gods” would have made a nice scroll title back in the Puppy days.)

  6. 3) Andrew Lang also collaborated with H. Rider Haggard — he’s listed as co-author on Haggard’s The World’s Desire (a sequel to The Odyssey; it was collected as part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, so I know I’ve read it, but don’t have any specific memories) and I think he also provided some minor assistance with Haggard’s She.

  7. Not quite (11), but over the weekend I zipped through The Verge‘s “Better Worlds” short story series.

    It’s got a bunch of really fantastic authors (and really beautiful art!), but most of the stories felt very slight to me. Like… not bad, and most of them does some imaginative work. But also very few of the stories have much of an impact; function as a story rather than as a bit of scene-setting or recapping internet arguments. And so reading the lot of them together isn’t an experience I can recommend.

    I’m wondering if it’s the short format, which is lovely for a lot of things but maaaybe not a collection of SF-nal future-building stories. Or is it part of being an assembled project, particularly in a magazine that isn’t focused on fiction?

    The ostensible theme of “Better Worlds” is, well, optimism, imagining happier futures. But most of the stories are… hardly that. Many of them are, indeed, rather bleak. I do think that this is a decent example of “hopepunk,” in that the focus in many of them (“A Theory of Flight,” Justina Ireland; “Monsters Come Howling In Their Season,” Cadwell Turnbull; “St. Juju,” by Rivers Solomon) is on fighting valiantly against that future oppression. I admit, though, I personally am finding hopepunk to be more depressing than straight-up dystopias.

    One story I did enjoy very much was “Move the World,” by Carla Speed McNeil — it’s place vis-a-vis the project’s theme is iiiinteresting, and it’s a great piece in its own right.
    I also enjoyed Kelly Robson’s “Skin City”, which has some of Robson’s characteristic excellent, vivid worldbuilding, with story woven in very nicely indeed.

  8. 4) He, and still 1632 was in many ways a pro-union political screed. I bought a signed copy at MAC2 and gave to my father that liked it very much. There’s a lot of swedish history in it that gives us an extra bonus when we read it.

  9. @Andrew:

    John Jakes may not have tied his Kent family into the Superman Kents, but that was done later by John Ostrander, who wrote a 12-issue comic series about a family who moved west (to Kansas) in the 1860s, called The Kents, and they were Jonathan Kent’s ancestors. This was a purely historical series, no superpowers or anything else fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much of it centered around “Bleeding Kansas,” the often-violent debate about slavery as the territory was preparing to become a state. The trade paperback collecting the 12 issues is out of print, but used copies are available, and I definitely recommend it.

    Cat, I had no idea that “Robert Hart Davis” was John Jakes — that explains why Davis was one of the better tie-in writers of the time. Thanks.

  10. Jeff Smith says Cat, I had no idea that “Robert Hart Davis” was John Jakes — that explains why Davis was one of the better tie-in writers of the time. Thanks.

    You’re welcome. I have twenty five minutes before Rachael, my Nurse, makes me go back ti sleep for several hours. Just woke up after four and a half hours sleep, great for me. Staphylococcus infection mean I always end up needing everything changed after a few hours as I soak the bedding when I fall asleeep at first. No idea why.

    Today’s the beginning of thevfourth week of my in-hospital stay.

  11. @Hampus Eckerman: “And still 1632 was in many ways a pro-union political screed.”

    I believe it’s politically effective pro-union writing because it is not a screed and it is good entertainment.

  12. With apologies to the Electric Light Orchestra.

    “I’ve got a pixel to the scroll
    I will be filing here any day soon
    I’ve got a pixel to the scroll
    But I’d rather see the Godstalk in your List

  13. Some interesting birthdays. I read a number of volumes of Andrew Lang’s colour-named “Fairy Books” when I was 9 or 10. The children’s section of the local library had a bunch of them. And at one time a I had a copy of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy edition of The World’s Desire, with the spectacular cover, and I’m pretty sure I read it, but I don’t remember it at all. McDonald’s The Dervish House was one of several novels I read about 10 years ago, when I hadn’t read much sf for a long time, that impressed me very much and helped rekindle my interest in the genre. I’ve read all his subsequent novels. I’m enjoying the Luna books. They feature quite a bit of sex and violence, which make me wonder if McDonald was reacting in some way to the relatively mild YA Everness books he was writing previously. I think the Luna books are strong, solid sf and quite gripping.

  14. @10: (I consider all Musketeer films to be genre.) Can you expand on this? I only saw the first of the pair starring Michael York, and that ~45 years ago, but I don’t remember anything making it any more genre than other swashbucklers. It might have been a little too modern in sensibility, since it came some years after Start the Revolution Without Me pretty well torpedoed the ~straight-to-overwrought genre of Hollywood historicals, but that’s a separate issue.

    @10 ctd: IMO, the Luna books are an excellent demonstration of some of the delusions of libertarianism — but they’re also both good stories (in my reading) and plausible SF (assuming the will to spend the start-up money and the discovery of more efficient propulsion, which is a covert assumption in a lot of SF even these days).

    @Cat Eldridge:

    Staphylococcus infection mean I always end up needing everything changed after a few hours as I soak the bedding when I fall asleeep at first. No idea why.

    Some infections play hob with the body’s thermostat; I had the same thing, alternating with so-cold-I-needed-five-blankets spells, during a bout with something whose circumstances point to food poisoning. That was easier to work through than staph; here’s hoping your therapy progresses OK.

  15. Chip queries

    Can you expand on this? I only saw the first of the pair starring Michael York, and that ~45 years ago, but I don’t remember anything making it any more genre than other swashbucklers. It might have been a little too modern in sensibility, since it came some years after Start the Revolution Without Me pretty well torpedoed the ~straight-to-overwrought genre of Hollywood historicals, but that’s a separate issue.

    To me, the entire premise is a fantasy trope getting acted out against and within other fantasy tropes. In the end, it’s a metafiction no more real than Kushner’s Riverside setting is.

    .Some infections play hob with the body’s thermostat; I had the same thing, alternating with so-cold-I-needed-five-blankets spells, during a bout with something whose circumstances point to food poisoning. That was easier to work through than staph; here’s hoping your therapy progresses OK.

    The good news according to the morning visit from the doctor who rushed the inflammation marker tests from the blood taken from me a few hours ago is that the antibiotics are working.

    The bad news is that they are working very, very slowly so I can indeed expect to be here roughly another month as these sort of infections are some of the worst to eradicate. And I can’t go home until it’s fully eradicated.

  16. 4) If Eric Flint wrote a book with a factually-unchanged Erik Prince as the villain, the people posting on his Facebook would be asking “Man, did you have to make that war criminal failson that evil? It’s a little over the top!” But the real-life dude, protected by the magic of Party Affiliation, gets praised as like a builder of roads or whatever they’re claiming. Absolutely wild shit.

  17. I love the beginning of the Luna books, where teenagers on the moon play chicken with vacuum – racing to an airlock without a spacesuit. Just seems like so much what teenagers on the moon would do.

  18. @16: I wonder why Adams thinks his anthology is pointing “back to normal”. A common thread on the left is that the US is a racist (etc.) country, not just a country with too many racist (etc.) chowderheads; if so, Trumpism is simply a less-covert version of the norm shown by other historical points, e.g. the Japanese internment, the rise of George Wallace, Reagan’s gibberish about “welfare queens”, and the reaction to Colin Kaepernick. “This is what we really are” may be an attempt to fiat the Overton window’s placement in a way that “This is what we should be” is not, but it’s not convincing — and it’s an odd retreat from the sometime ideal that SF can point the way forward.

  19. @bookworm1398: Sounds a bit like the shenanigans the moon teens get up to in John Ford’s (excellent) “Growing Up Weightless”

  20. Chip asks:

    Can you expand on this? I only saw the first of the pair starring Michael York, and that ~45 years ago, but I don’t remember anything making it any more genre than other swashbucklers. It might have been a little too modern in sensibility, since it came some years after Start the Revolution Without Me pretty well torpedoed the ~straight-to-overwrought genre of Hollywood historicals, but that’s a separate issue.

    I think that the Musketeers as portrayed on film are a metafiction far removed from the reality of the actual Musketeers. Dumas was paying homage to a group that he had a great fondness for, and in turn film makers took that once removed material and created a fantasy world with sword fights, evil religious figures and so forth. It’s not much realer than Kushner’s Riverside Is.

    Some infections play hob with the body’s thermostat; I had the same thing, alternating with so-cold-I-needed-five-blankets spells, during a bout with something whose circumstances point to food poisoning. That was easier to work through than staph; here’s hoping your therapy progresses OK.

    I got good news and not so good new this morning. They rushed the inflammation tests off the blood samples taken just a few hours ago and they showed the antibiotics are working. However they are working so slowly that’ll be at least a month likely before it’s fully cleared up and I can be released.

  21. Luna series at first blush didn’t impress me, so other opinions sought.

    I enjoyed Luna: New Moon so much I’m going to reread it before I start books two and three in the series. It is crazy oversexed but the inter-related familial politics reminded me of Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber. The end of book one packs a wallop. I would’ve kept right on reading into book two if it had been out yet.

  22. (10) Well, the Musketeers movies also star Christopher Lee as Rochefort, so they must be genre. No? What else? Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu? Even though he’s probably more famous for religious and historic epics, I always think of Heston being purely genre with Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, and The Omega Man.

    Scroll Over Beethoven
    Wish I was a Wild West Pixel
    A place where nobody dared to scroll…They call it PiXeldu

  23. 15) Note 1 – Obviously, the image copied here isn’t the eyeshadows, but the shimmer powders. The eye palette has the better names and colours…

    Note 2: If this is the only shimmer powder “Highlight palette” on offer (And it seems to be), they did a really blatant mistake. A sadly common one. As the palest of the pale, I can use 2-3 of those, but when Danai Gurira and Tessa Thompson can’t use things named for the movie franchise they are now a part of…

  24. Any musketeers book or movie is going to be “genre.” The question is, which genre? Most swashbucklers are as unrealistic as any SF/F, but in a direction that generally has nothing to do with the kind of contrafactuality offered by the fantastic. On the other (not necessarily opposing) hand, I have long argued that historical fiction offers many of the same pleasures as SF/F, just with a different set of generating rules. Certainly the pre-classical Mediterranean of Robert Graves’ Hercules, My Shipmate is as strange as any scratchbuilt genre-fantasy world, and I personally prefer the work of Bernard Cornwell, C. S. Forester, Patrick O’Brian, and George MacDonald Fraser to most of the routine military SF on offer.

  25. Meredith Moment of Note: “Worlds of Exile and Illusion,” a Le Guin omnibus of the early Hainish novels Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions, is available in ebook form for $2.99 from Amazon, Apple, and probably the other Suspects.

  26. So, if I were to bite on the KU deal, is there anything interesting Filers could recommend?

  27. 10) I remember Chamberlain for the miniseries adaptation of Shōgun, which is not genre qua genre but its stranger-in-a-strange-land theme is well represented in SF.


    didn’t know he was in Gibson’s New Rose Hotel but then I haven’t then I haven’t actually seen it yet.

    I wouldn’t hurry.

  28. You could regard the Musketeers as alt-history (just not very alternate). If that’s not enough there’s always the Musketeer-inspired The Phoenix Guards by Steven Brust

  29. Not sure if anyone else knows about this, but Amazon Prime members can get a free e-book every month via the Amazon First Reads program. I learned about it via a release from Mark Lawrence. His new YA novel “One Word Kill” is the SF selection for April.

    UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/firstreads

    AUS https://www.amazon.com.au/kindle-dbs/firstreads

    US https://www.amazon.com/firstreads/

    The premise sounded promising to me, but not enough to want to read the book. But it might be attractive for others…so here you go.

    Also, you can sign up to get monthly notices for the program.

    I don’t have issues. I have subscriptions.

  30. If you have a definition of genre broad enough to include “The Three Musketeers,” then I think it’s broad enough to include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” The Holy Bible, and large parts of Wikipedia. 🙂

    That said, I know at least one editor who has said that in his view, all fiction is fantasy. In a sense, you can’t argue with that, but I don’t think it’s a particularly useful definition.

  31. katster: So, if I were to bite on the KU deal, is there anything interesting Filers could recommend?

    After the KU program started, I looked into it. I was hugely put off by the fact that it rewards cheaters who have come up with all sorts of inventive ways to get a bigger piece of the pie, which means that honest indie authors who play by the rules get screwed. I view membership in KU as supporting a “screw the genuine writers” model, so I won’t do it. (Here’s what Scalzi says about Kindle Unlimited.)

    In addition, the way KU works has provided incentive for people to publish massive amounts of garbage as well as just lots of really mediocre work. It’s pretty much impossible to wade through that and find the gems without a huge amount of work — and I’ve got far better things I want to do with that time, like actually read good books.

    I’ve settled for saving money on books by requesting books from my library, buying bundles through StoryBundle and Humble Bundle (though the quality of the bundles can be very variable, and I don’t buy them all), getting daily e-mails of special sales on e-books from Open Road Media, BookBub, and Kindle Daily Deals, requesting books through NetGalley and reviewing them, and buying at full price (or waiting for a sale) for the few books I have not been able to get through one of the other means.


  32. Just briefly adding to the debate of the genre of The Three Muskateers. I think my argument would be that its got to be understood as at least genre adjacent because its so influential on so much high and epic fantasy. You can look at the literary history that Terry Brooks provides in the annotated edition of The Sword of Shannaraas an example. (Incidentally, the introduction might be the only interesting part of that book.) I don’t think that Brooks’ story is unique. It’s not the only way to read the novel, but it certainly belongs in the conversation about that particular subset of fantasy.

    I should also note that I’m a big fan of the film. It was something I watched a decade or so ago and came in with fairly low expectations but I really enjoyed and it’s held up after several views. The film really understands and embraces the comedic elements of the text. I wasn’t as big a fan of the sequel, which felt a bit too misogynistic to me.

  33. Speaking of tie-in makeup ranges, Temptalia’s started reviewing the Urban Decay x Game of Thrones stuff that’s coming out later this month and it looks like pretty decent quality so far. The eyeliner reviews are here, two of the lipsticks are here, and the preview swatches of the whole lot (including stuff she hasn’t reviewed yet) are here. The highlighter palette looks a bit more varied than the Marvel one, even though it’s just a trio.

    (Temptalia also reviewed the recent Ciaté x Jessica Rabbit collection, but to sum up: Lipstick and highlighter good, eyeshadow palette godawful.)

  34. @Andrew: Sounds a bit like the shenanigans the moon teens get up to in John Ford’s (excellent) “Growing Up Weightless” I have no idea how you can make that connection; the one vaguely secretive/illicit thing done by the six principles in the Ford (which I also love) is trivial, and they are shown as generally more responsible than some of the adults. I think I recall one point where one of them does a move that shouldn’t be done in sight of tourists because it requires substantial experience with Lunar gravity to be safe, but that’s massively removed from the McDonald, in which even experienced people can get themselves killed with a moment’s carelessness.

    @Cat Eldridge et al: I don’t see how a story’s not being perfectly historically accurate, or using tropes that were later transplanted into fantasy, makes the story fantasy itself — but that’s an argument over definitions rather than facts, which gives room for all the usual boundary questions (e.g., was Shelley the first SF writer, or Swift, or de Bergerac, or Lucian…?). The Riverside books have three factors that Dumas doesn’t: they were written by genre authors, they happen in a place that explicitly has no connection to our world (not even an imaginary country somewhere on known ground), and at least one deals with the awkward possibility that magic existed in the past and may still be trying to get its camel’s nose in the door — but I’m not prepared to argue that they are clearly fantasy rather than some border entity.

  35. @katster: I share JJ’s misgivings regarding KU. But, if you do give it a go, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction has its back issues up for free on KU 🙂
    Here’s a quick list of my own favorites from 2018, which might help point you toward good starting points.

  36. Eric Flint: I don’t use my novels to expound my own political philosophy.

    I hate to break it to you Eric, but yes, yes you do.

    Now, you don’t make it the main feature of your novels, and I certainly wouldn’t say that you beat the reader over the head with it the way that Puppies do, but your political philosophy is very much present in the novels you write. Fish, water, swim, etc.

  37. @Chip Hitchcock:

    I wasn’t suggesting that the kids in “Growing Up Weightless” got involved in illegal activities, just that the activities they did get involved with sounded like real teenage activities (I’m thinking of the gymnastic challenge they set up for the “new kid”), just as the vacuum racing in the Luna books sounded like realistic teenage activity to bookworm.

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