Pixel Scroll 3/15/17 I’m Scrolling On My Knees Looking For The Answer

(1) NO FLY ZONE. John Brunner in The Shockwave Rider said that ‘The future arrives too soon and in the wrong order.’ And here’s proof of that — “French hoverboard inventor banned from flying in France”.

The man who invented the Flyboard Air has been barred from flying his jet-powered hoverboard in France, sparking a debate over the country’s policies on innovation. In a Facebook post on March 10th, Franky Zapata, founder of the company that bears his name, said there is a “strong probability that the Flyboard Air will never fly again in France,” after officials from the French air gendarmerie told him he would be placed under criminal investigation if he continued to pilot the craft. Zapata added that he will now be “obliged to leave France” in order to continue his work.

“That is how innovators are treated in our country,” Zapata wrote in a French-language post. “I leave you [to] imagine my disgust after having produced more than 10,000 ‘made in France’ Flyboards.”

(2) DO YOU DIG IT? A road that is too close to Stonehenge will probably be buried, but there are many issues with the proposed tunnel.

It’s one of the world’s most famous ancient monuments: an instantly recognisable icon from a forgotten world, a place for quiet wonder and contemplation.

And yet for many people, the first and perhaps only glimpse they get of Stonehenge is from a traffic jam on the A303, one of the main routes between London and southwest England.

This could be about to change. A bold £1.4bn plan proposes ripping up much of the existing road and replacing it with a new route that includes a 2.9km (1.8 miles), deep-bored tunnel just a few hundred metres south of Stonehenge….

A far bigger priority is ensuring that the context of the wider landscape is preserved, such as that the sightlines between the area’s various monuments and barrows – thought to have been deliberately designed by the Neolithic engineers of ancient Britain – are left intact.

For instance, a key area of concern with the current proposal, and something that McMahon and others hope to be able to persuade Highways England to address, is the positioning of the western entrance. “It’s too close to one of the major funerary monuments in the landscape called the Normanton down barrow cemetery,” says McMahon, “and the road coming out also sits for part of its route on the same astronomical alignment as the midwinter setting Sun.”

(3) GRAMMAR’S SLAMMERS. Walter Jon Williams declares “Victory for the Oxford Comma”:

I stand proudly with the Oxford comma, as it stands for reason, clarity, and mitigates against incertitude.  (Try reading that sentence without the Oxford comma and see where it gets you.)

I am pleased to know that the US Court of Appeals agrees with me, insofar as they ruled that a missing Oxford comma was the deciding factor in the case of Kevin O’Connor v. the Oakhurst Dairy….

(4) 10-SIDED DICE YES, BLACK HELICOPTERS NO. An Ars Technica writer at SXSW found “The CIA uses board games to train officers – and I got to play them”.

Clopper recalls one day in 2008 when his “boss’s boss” called him into a meeting and asked him to develop new internal training exercises. Normally, these exercises test whether recent lessons and seminars have been absorbed by officers, and they usually involve “teams, flip charts, and briefings,” Clopper says. “Incredibly boring.” But Clopper had now been at the CIA long enough to reshape its exercises, his boss said, and he got excited: “I’m a gamer. I enjoy games, video games, tabletop games. Could we bring games into learning?”

He used SXSW to present three board games made for his training exercises over the span of a four-year period, one of which is still in development. The first is the one we got the most hands-on time with during SXSW: Collection. If that dry-as-a-desert name isn’t a good indicator, rest assured—this is not a game meant for retail or for the highest ratings at BoardGameGeek.

Collection compares favorably to the popular cooperative game Pandemic. In Clopper’s game, a group of players must work together to resolve three major crises across the globe. The object is for players, who each represent different types of CIA officers, to collect enough relevant intel to resolve all three crises. If any one of the three impending disasters boils over (as represented by three increasing “fire” meters), the team loses. Every game must have at least three players to fill the roles of “political analyst,” “military analyst,” and “economic analyst.” Those three are only able to collect intel in their specific fields, while additional players (up to seven on a team) have their own specialties.

The difficulty comes from the low number of actions each player can do per turn, along with how quickly the fire meter ratchets up.

(5) WIZARDRY. Bradbury biographer Sam Weller tells why you should “Pay Close Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: 8 Things I Learned About Writing from Ray Bradbury”.

In 12 years, as one might imagine, I observed many of Bradbury’s creative secrets. I peered behind the Oz-ian curtain, as it were, and paid close attention. Bradbury was a master storyteller and visionary artist who created across an unprecedented nine decades. Fahrenheit 451. The Martian Chronicles. Dandelion Wine. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Massive collections of poetry. Massive collections of essays. Hundreds of short stories across every conceivable genre. He owned and operated his own theatre company. He wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. On a whim, he scripted an animated short film that was later nominated for an Oscar. He earned an Emmy for an animated television adaptation of his own YA novel, The Halloween Tree. Bradbury developed architectural concepts for shopping malls, the 1964 World’s Fair and EPCOT. There is a crater on the moon named, by NASA, for Ray Bradbury’s book 1957 novel-in-stories, Dandelion Wine.

The man was a force.

Not surprising then, that much of my own creative ethos is culled from what I learned working alongside Ray Bradbury….

(6) HARRIS OBIT. Jack Harris, producer of the original horror film The Blob (1958) died March 14 at the age of 98. He was also a producer or executive producer of Paradisio (1962), Beware! The Blob (1972), Schlock (1973) and other genre films.


  • The Ides of March – Julius Caesar finds out what happens when you keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


  • March 15, 1937 – H.P. Lovecraft joins the choir invisible.

(10) FRANCHISE CROSSOVER. CBS gets its clicks on Route 66 with “19 Star Trek References on The Big Bang Theory”. First is —

“Game over, Moon Pie.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Wil Wheaton is a regular guest star on The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon’s arch nemesis makes his first appearance in “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary” (Episode 5, Season 3), where he tricks Sheldon into throwing a Mystic Warlords of Ka’a card tournament.

(11) APOCALYPSE IN REVERSE GEAR. The Guardian interrupted the memorial service for paper books with this flash – “Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations driver appetite for print”.

Readers committed to physical books can give a sigh of relief, as new figures reveal that ebook sales are falling while sales of paper books are growing – and the shift is being driven by younger generations.

More than 360m books were sold in 2016 – a 2% jump in a year that saw UK consumers spend an extra 6%, or £100m, on books in print and ebook formats, according to findings by the industry research group Nielsen in its annual books and consumer survey. The data also revealed good news for bricks-and-mortar bookshops, with a 4% rise in purchases across the UK.

While sales through shops increased 7% in 2016, ebook sales declined by 4%. It is the second year in a row that ebook sales have fallen, and only the second time that annual ebook sales have done so since industry bodies began monitoring sales a decade ago.

(12) PERIODICAL PERFORMANCE. The March ratings are up at Rocket Stack Rank. Sarah Pinsker, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, and Michael Flynn have the top-ranked stories.

(13) EQUALS? Natalie Luhrs does her annual slice-and-dice of the Locus Recommended Reading List to show how many listed works are by people of various genders and races.

I wrote yesterday that one problem with pure counting exercises is that they don’t tap into the experience or emotion of the subjects. Today in Luhrs’ report I ran into a further  question – if the goal is diversity, and an analyst is considering numbers in isolation, what number equals winning? This came to mind when I read this passage in her section on race. Luhrs found that works by people of color on the list increased from 15.61% to 26.47% in one year. She commented —

Race Breakout by Year, Percentages

Nearly three quarters of the works are still by white people. Representation of POC has jumped by over 10% and that is a really good thing, but I believe there is still room for improvement.

Does Luhrs have a target number in mind that Locus has yet to reach, or is she failing to put in perspective what seems to be a radical effort to get diverse works listed?

(14) GROWTH IN AFRICAN SFF. This isn’t the first time someone has asked “Why Is science fiction so white?” The news is that the question was posed today by a journalist in Zimbabwe, Mako Muzenda.

The presence of these spaces – websites, magazines and publications – goes a long way in introducing readers to different writers, and getting aspiring authors the visibility they need. Ivor Hartmann has been involved in speculative fiction since 2007, with the release of his first book Earth Rise. After going from publisher to publisher, looking for someone to put his book on the market, Hartmann (a Zimbabwean) was finally able to get his story out with Something Wicked, which at the time was the only science-fiction magazine for the whole of Africa.

“While I did publish it with them (Something Wicked), I was distressed at the lack of publishing venues for speculative fiction in Africa. So rather than moan about it I started up an online weekly magazine,” explains Hartmann. His decision led to the creation of StoryTime, which ran for five years until Hartmann switched to solely publishing anthologies. With enough experience in the industry behind him, Hartmann decided to take the plunge and address the inadequacies in African science fiction head-on with AfroSF, the first Pan-African science fiction anthology.

“Of course, now there are loads of African online magazines but back then it was all new territory for writers and readers. No longer were we held back by the excruciating logistics and heavy capital needed to run a print magazine.”

What had started off as a fringe movement is growing into a vibrant community of people dedicated to letting Africa’s voice be heard in speculative fiction….

(15) IN THE JURY ROOM. The Shadow Clarke Jury has produced three more thoughtful reviews.

The Underground Railroad is, perhaps, the best novel of 2016.

I qualify that statement only because I have not read every novel published in 2016. Nobody has. But I have seen nothing to suggest that I am wrong in this assessment. And I am not alone in this view; the novel has, after all, won America’s National Book Award.

I consider it the best, in part, because it is a novel that speaks to the moment the way that few other books do. It captures the screams of Ferguson, the anger of Black Lives Matter, the despair in the face of the renewed racism that celebrated the last American election. It is a book that places the experience of being black in America today on a trajectory that puts it closer to slavery than we ever like to think. And it does all of this with intelligence, with beauty, with subtlety, with wit and with invention. It uses the tools of the novel the way those tools are meant to be used, but so seldom are.

It is a book that held me with its first sentence, and continued to hold me, with horror and delight, through to its last sentence.

It is a good novel, perhaps the best novel; but does that mean it is the best science fiction novel?

What is Kavenna’s book actually about, though? This question is harder to answer than it first appears, no doubt intentionally so. As suggested above, the outline appears simple: Eliade Jencks, having failed to enter Oxford as a student, takes a job waiting tables in the cafe of the Tradescantian Ark Musuem and continues to conduct her researches in the evenings and weekends. While working at the cafe she makes the acquaintance of a Professor Solete, an eminent don whose magnum opus is the eponymous Field Guide to Reality, a theory of everything that will finally bring together his lifelong researches into the nature of life, death and the origins of the universe. Unfortunately, Professor Solete dies before the book can be published, and when his acolytes enter his rooms in search of the manuscript they find only a locked box, labelled ‘For Eliade’.

I start with Achimwene because he reminds us that one of the central themes of Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station is the telling of stories, and science-fiction stories in particular. Indeed, the narrative itself is an embodiment of a pivotal moment in sf storytelling: the move from short story to novel. The earliest sf novels weren’t novels as such; they were formed from several closely connected short stories, sometimes reworked to strengthen those connections, and were known as ‘fix-ups’. Central Station is a fix-up par excellence, bringing together Tidhar’s various Central Station stories, some of them substantially reworked, with a couple of new stories added to the mix, and a Prologue that introduces the novel as an act of storytelling, while itself participating in the act of storytelling not once but twice.

(16) A (SUIT)CASE OF CONSCIENCE. Is this “the perfect Tyrion Lannister cosplay” as Reddit  says, or in incredibly bad taste? YOU decide!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Merrick Lex, Andrew Porter, JJ, Mark-kitteh, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

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62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/15/17 I’m Scrolling On My Knees Looking For The Answer

  1. The room for improvement I was referring to was in categories other than just First Novel and Short Story. I was not as clear as I could have been. And no, I don’t have a target number in mind. Why on earth would I? I’m not the decider.

  2. (11) Maybe younger readers are learning that publishers can’t yank print books off their shelves in the middle of the night.

  3. 13) really? It literally says in the bit quoted that the 10% jump in representation is “a really good thing”. If we’re talking quotas, what’s your target for the number of good ally cookies and reassurances that must be given before it’s OK to hold the opinion that more improvement is possible?

  4. @11 – The fall in ebook sales may be due to price increases in ebook format compared to print. I read US print/ebook breakdown stories from two sources this year and changes in relative growth rates was attributed mostly to price points.

  5. For what it’s worth, Wikipedia has the current US population as 62.6% white, 77% if you count hispanics and latinos who are white. 6% asian, 13.2% black, 17% latino/hispanic (apparently including those who are also counted as white).

  6. @1: I can’t be sure from the story whether the inventor is being somewhat abused or a total jackass. Even a small jet engine makes a hell of a racket –if he was running it near people I’m not surprised there were complaints — and if he actually tested the hoverboard anywhere near its alleged 10,000-foot ceiling, I’m pretty sure he’d be in violation of US laws as well (just like that idiot with the lawn chair and the balloons).

    @3: he stands for clarity of the Oxford comma with a turgidly mismatched collection of terms. Grumble.

    @15: I’m going to have to reread and think about Speller’s review; I found Central Station overfreighted, but she gives good context.

    @16: I’m not sure it’s brilliant; Mel Brooks showed how to play a very short person in Spaceballs. Now if he were playing Miles Vorkosigan, who is shown getting up on a bench to salute his new fiancee….

  7. Arifel: There’s approximately a 10% difference between the cited numbers, however, isn’t the one-year improvement 69%? That’s quite a jump. Maybe the people there are trying to do what Luhrs has been wanting?

    God knows I’ve been guilty of dogging Locus for this and that over the years — including about how this list ignores Baen Books, and if that ever changed I’d try to encourage the behavior.

  8. Chip Hitchcock: I can’t be sure from the story whether the inventor is being somewhat abused or a total jackass.

    I had already come to the conclusion that it’s the latter — based on the same concerns that we have right now with irresponsible and unregulated use of drones.

    This is typical asshole behavior — claiming that he’s being punished for being an innovator, when in fact he’s being punished for going about things in an unethical and irresponsible manner.

    If he came over to the U.S. to fly his device, he’d be faced with the same issues — and rightly so.

  9. I stand proudly with the Oxford comma, as it stands for reason, clarity, and mitigates against incertitude. (Try reading that sentence without the Oxford comma and see where it gets you.)

    Even with the comma, it’s either saying that the Oxford comma stands for mitigates against incertitude, or he fucked it up.

    Better to say that the Oxford comma stands for reason and clarity and mitigates against incertitude. Except that it doesn’t.

    “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God” is a common example of an Oxfordless sentence that gives the wrong impression. But it’s just as easy to posit its sister sentence, “I’d like to thank my mother, Ayn Rand, and God” as an Oxford-equipped sentence that’s just as misleading.

    Either sentence can be fixed by reordering the nouns for non-comic effect, or rewriting the sentence. But overall, the Oxford comma is useful when it clarifies and not so useful when it confuses. So rather than having a rule demanding its use no matter what, better to make it optional, and let its use be guided by clarity and taste.

    I don’t use it when it adds no clarity to a sentence, because it doesn’t serve a purpose. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, what’s it for?

  10. @Kurt: (on being Oxford commatose)

    I usually opt for the Oxford comma, on the grounds that its absence tends to imply a link between the last two items in the list. If I say I went to the store and bought bread, juice, bacon and eggs, “bacon and eggs” looks like a single compound item rather than two independent items.

    In my experience, using the comma adds clarity more often than it lessens it, and if there’s ambiguity either way, I’d rather edit the sentence to make it clearer. But then, I’m a programmer by trade, and as such I’ve learned to despise ambiguity. Ambiguous specs lead to bugs. 🙂

    And yet, I love puns; go figure. I attribute that to the habit of asking how instructions can be misconstrued. Fix it in code, exploit it for humor.

  11. Arifel: There’s approximately a 10% difference between the cited numbers, however, isn’t the one-year improvement 69%? That’s quite a jump. Maybe the people there are trying to do what Luhrs has been wanting?

    Looking at the percentage increase like that is not particularly informative though – if the number of works had gone from 1/300 to 3/300 that would be a 200% increase but it would be hard to support a positive narrative about increasing diversity from those three figures alone. And again, Luhrs does give credit to the positive trends both in the pull quote above and elsewhere in the article, as well as giving targeted areas where it would be nice to see improvements in the near future, so I still think it’s unfounded to suggest that she doesn’t have the “perspective” to recognise that actually she is getting what she wants – or that she needs to articulate some objective goal in order to express dissatisfaction with the way things are now.

  12. (3) what Kurt Busiek said. The sample sentence stank. I oppose the Oxford comma, except when needed for clarity, for two reasons: its general uselessness and the fact that most people can’t use commas correctly, particularly in parenthetical phrases, so it’s safe to use a few as possible.

  13. (15) IN THE JURY ROOM

    I’ve just finished The Underground Railroad and am still digesting it, but Kincaid is asking the exact same questions I am. Firstly, is it a good novel? Absolutely yes. In particular, the lead character is compelling throughout the story. Secondly, is it a good Science Fiction novel? He says yes, I’m still digesting. My initial thoughts are that the main science fiction element of the railroad is more of a narrative device than anything else. Possibly Whitehead didn’t want to engage with the historical Underground Railroad because he wanted to tell stories that weren’t already familiar?
    The other element that Kincaid thinks makes it good SF is the bunching together of elements of history to present them to the character (and so the reader) in a coherent way. Kincaid says “each stage of her journey transports us into a different alternate reality, a reality in which some aspect of post-Civil War black experience is amplified”, which is a good description IMO. This makes me think of the movie of Hidden Figures, where a sprawling historical narrative has been somewhat moved around, placed in the same time, given fictionalised characters as placeholders for various real people, all in the service of dramatising real events for the audience. So, is what Whitehead does in The Underground Railroad an act of SF, or an act of dramatisation?

    The other review of a book I’ve read is of Central Station. I liked CS as a work but found the narrative too scattered for my tastes in a novel. MKS makes a strong argument for the scattering of the narrative creating space for her to see herself in it. I’m not so convinced by her equating of it with the early fix-up novel – it certainly is a fix-up, but even then I think it’s doing more deliberate jumping around in its setting than I’d expect. Possibly I haven’t read the right fix-ups though – anyone got any good examples of ones that resemble Central Station?

    If the stated idea of the Shadow Clarke was to provoke discussion about SF novels then they’re achieving their aim in this batch of reviews – asking what is science fiction and what is a novel is a pretty good starting point.

  14. Mark-kitteh: The other review of a book I’ve read is of Central Station. I liked CS as a work but found the narrative too scattered for my tastes in a novel.

    I found it blindingly obvious that Central Station was a fix-up “novel” where a bunch of short stories, in several different settings, had a mention of a character from one of the other stories inserted in passing to make it seem to be one novel — and I didn’t think that it worked as a coherent whole at all.

    If he’d published it as a collection, instead of a novel, I’d have been willing to evaluate each of the stories on their own merits. But I found the promotion of it as a novel to be dishonest, because the retcon tie-ins were clearly an afterthought, and it doesn’t read anything like a novel.

  15. WJW’s sample sentence is confusing because “as it stands for reason, clarity, and mitigates against incertitude” sounds as if “mitigates” is a third noun* following “reason” and “clarity”. Better version might be “as it stands for reason and clarity, and mitigates against incertitude”.

    *(There’s no noun version for “mitigates”, but if there was it would sound like some kind of unpleasant intestinal parasite. Or possibly some minor historical Greek fellow: “Shut up, Mitigates,” said Socrates.)

    ETA: Ninja’d by Kurt.

  16. @11 my ebook purchasing rate has dropped a lot because I’ve been spoiled by sales. I’ve bought enough in 99p sales that I could probably never buy another book again, so now I’m only picking things up that I REALLY want to read.
    Also, lifestyle changes mean I suddenly have dramatically less time to read.

  17. (5) The piece about board games at the CIA is interesting, but frustrating – those of us who do design board games will read that and think “sure, it’s actually really easy to design a game that does what is being described there, but we have to design games for a more general market”, and that means that some of the things that make games difficult have to be dialled down because players do prefer a positive play experience since gaming is generally a social activity!

    And games have been used within organisations for training purposes for decades, so this is hardly a novelty. I guess it’s the fact that it’s the CIA and that enough people now board game as a social activity for this to be noteworthy.

  18. The article on CIA using games feels like mainstreaming. “Hey folks, the CIA uses games, which means its okay for you to play them too!”

    COIN games are interesting, though, because of their asymmetry. CUBA LIBRE for instance means playing very differently if you are the rebels, the students, the Batista regime, or the Mob.

  19. Oh, and it seems that I have won the DUFF race. Which means that I am headed toward Melbourne for Continuum.

    Thank you to Mr. Glyer for being one of my original nominators to make this possible!

  20. Paul Weimer: Oh, and it seems that I have won the DUFF race.


    (Dare we ask how far you were above “No Award”?) 😉

  21. Yay, surprising title editor!
    For those who want to keep score: In the tournament of books the two genre books Version Control and All the birds in the sky have advanced, while Underground railroads have not.

  22. @JJ. I don’t know precisely, except that it wasn’t a complete sweep (there were some “No Award” votes). When those totals are out, I will link of course.

  23. Oh, and

    “sure, it’s actually really easy to design a game that does what is being described there, but we have to design games for a more general market”, and that means that some of the things that make games difficult have to be dialled down because players do prefer a positive play experience since gaming is generally a social activity!

    I dont see that. A game for the general market is probably more difficult to design, but simply because it has different objectives: It should be fun for one thing. The rules should be clear, if there is no instructor standing beside who explains, offers help and probably changes some rules if something is not fully thought through. I also thought, that making games based on other games is of course much easier, than start from scratch.
    So I was not frustrated at all by the article 🙂

    TBS: Volko Ruhnke does some cool stuff with boardgames – mainly that he uses themes that havent been covered before and uses great partnership dynamics. They are a bit above my prefered playing time though 😉

  24. Paul Weimer: When those totals are out, I will link of course.

    Yah, I was only kidding, I voted for you and am quite happy you will be going. 😀

  25. A little bit of last minute reading, trying some stories from Analog made freely available via their readers awards. Prodigal by Gord Seller is about a family who pay for their pet dog to be given sentience and intelligence. There’s some good stuff in there about ethics and power relationships, albeit the tone is a bit wonky at times – the story isn’t sure if it wants to be funny or serious. (Novelette. Free link via Mike’s story on the awards)

  26. I really liked both The Underground Railroad and Central Station and enjoyed reading the reviews. I wasn’t sure Underground Railroad really qualified as science fiction or fantasy but I have come around to the view that it does qualify, by virtue of its presentation of different imaginary American societies.

  27. Read Sunshine by Robin McKinley and it was wonderful. At last vampires that were horrible, looked dead, did not behave like humans and still had that eroticism, but more coming from fear than from attractiveness. A bit too many infodumps and some minor irritations, but this was truly a great vampire book.

  28. The thing that really annoyed me about Sunshine: The heroine is a baker. Half her life is about trying to make the perfect cinnamon rolls. There are recipes at the back of the book, well, the edition I bought anyhow. But not one for cinnamon rolls!

  29. No recipes in my version. I feel cheated! On the other hand, cinnamon rolls are a staple in swedish baking, everyone knows how to do them.

  30. @Bruce Arthurs: There’s no noun version for “mitigates” What’s wrong with “mitigation”? Maybe “mitigation of” rather than “against”; I usually see “mitigate” used almost like “mollify”, a redirection rather than direct opposition, and dictionary.com supports this. (So that’s \another/ infelicity in WJW’s screed; he’s used either the wrong verb or the wrong preposition for that verb.)

  31. Oh God, how did I miss this?

    A new SF movie by Luc Besson? Count me in. I mean, I KNOW it cannot will not have the charme of Fifth element, but still… There is always hope in the banaba stand?

  32. Paul Weimer on March 16, 2017 at 3:33 am said:

    Oh, and it seems that I have won the DUFF race. Which means that I am headed toward Melbourne for Continuum.


  33. Happy Hugo nomming, all. Tomorrow’s a busy day, bleeding into Shabbat, so I probably won’t be around for the excitement — but I am with you in spirit, and my ballot’s in too 🙂

  34. @ Bruce A.: I think the noun form of “mitigates” is “mitigation”.

    @ Paul: Congratulations!

  35. Report of 2016 Novellas Read

    Loved it, Award-Worthy
    Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan
    The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley
    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
    The Coward’s Option by Adam-Troy Castro
    Runtime by S. B. Divya
    Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny
    Brushwork by Aliya Whiteley

    Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Downfall of the Gods by K.J. Parker
    Dreams and Slumbers by Seanan McGuire
    Lustlocked by Matt Wallace
    Pride’s Spell by Matt Wallace
    Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson
    Patchwerk by David Tallerman

    Worth Reading
    The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
    The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell
    Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
    The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
    Project CLIO by Stephen Baxter
    The Devil You Know by K.J. Parker
    The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds
    The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson
    The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
    Down and Out in Purgatory by Tim Powers
    This Census-Taker by China Mieville

    Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw
    A Window Into Time by Peter F. Hamilton
    The Burning Light by Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler
    The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

    Sorry I Bothered
    The Warren by Brian Evenson
    The Emperor’s Railroad by Guy Haley
    The Ghoul King by Guy Haley

    Did Not Finish (but probably good fantasy if you’re into romances)
    A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (27%)

  36. Report of 2016 Novels Read
    (not as many as I’d hoped, sadly, due to increased novella reading, and dealing with the shit-show that country has become in the last 3 months)

    Loved it, Award-Worthy
    City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
    A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
    Summer in Orcus by Ursula Vernon
    Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers
    Impersonations by Walter Jon Williams
    Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
    Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu
    Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen
    The Invisible Library, The Masked City, The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
    Transgalactic by James E. Gunn

    The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel
    Arkwright by Allen Steele
    Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
    Borderline by Mishell Baker
    Like A Boss by Adam Rakunas
    Vigil by Angela Slatter
    Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire
    Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold
    After Atlas by Emma Newman
    Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
    Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
    The High Ground by Melinda M. Snodgrass
    The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
    The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

    Worth Reading
    League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
    The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher
    Infomocracy by Malka Older
    Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer
    Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor
    Remanence by Jennifer Foehner Wells
    Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
    The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross
    Time Siege by Wesley Chu
    Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
    Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle

    Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
    Supernova by C.A. Higgins
    Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja
    Unforgettable by Eric James Stone

    Sorry I Bothered
    And Again by Jessica Chiarella
    Yesternight by Cat Winters
    The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome by Serge Brussolo
    The Gradual by Christopher Priest
    The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
    Version Control by Dexter Palmer

    All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (20%)
    Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (32%)
    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (30%)
    Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (100%)

    The Seveneves “Let Us Agree That This Abomination Never Existed, And Never Speak of It Again” Award
    Crosstalk by Connie Willis

  37. My Best Series Choices

    Diving Universe by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    Dread Empire’s Fall / The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams
    October Daye by Seanan McGuire
    Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Temeraire by Naomi Novik

  38. I agree with the criticisms of Williams’ criticism of the Oxford comma. On the other hand, I think criticisms of the Oxford comma itself are equally misguided. Neither version is superior. They each have advantages and disadvantages, and it really boils down to a matter of taste and/or the style guides in use at your publishing house.

    I use the Oxford comma because it’s more-or-less standard in the US, which is “where I keep all my stuff“. 🙂

  39. JJ, I have Summer In Orcus listed as a T. Kingfisher book, because that was the byline on the epub.

    Ursula, which name should we nominate you under for this book?

  40. Cassy B.; I have Summer In Orcus listed as a T. Kingfisher book, because that was the byline on the epub.

    Yes, it’s what’s on the interactive online TOC page as well. Thanks for catching that.

    I’m quite sure that the Hugo Admins would be able to catch and correct things like that, where the title is the same but two different pen names for the same author are used — but there’s no need for me to make things any harder for them. I’ll correct my ballot. 😀

  41. Also, I’d just like to thank Kendall and the other people who raved about Curtis C. Chen’s Waypoint Kangaroo. Because of that, I pushed it to the top of Mount Tsundoku; I was able to get it from the library and read it a couple of days ago — and it is indeed excellent. I am eagerly anticipating the next one in the series. 🙂

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