Pixel Scroll 3/25/16 Phantom MacSpaceface O’Trollington

(1) SOLID NUMBERS. “So How Many Books Do You Sell?” is the question. Kameron Hurley dares to answer.

It’s the question every writer dreads: “How many books have you sold? ”

It’s a tricky question because for 99% of the year, those with traditionally published books honestly have very little idea. But two times a year – in the spring and in the fall – we receive royalty statements from publishers, which give a sometimes cryptic breakdown of what has sold where. So for those keeping track here with my “Honest Publishing Numbers” posts, here’s an update.

(2) HAND JIVE. Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration Honors Leonard Nimoy’s Artwork”.

More than 50 pieces will be featured during a 50th-anniversary Star Trek art exhibit honoring a half-century of exploring the final frontier. That includes the final piece of art created by original series star, the late Leonard Nimoy.

The event, which San Diego Comic-Con attendees will arrive just in time for, opens on July 21 at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts in San Diego, CA. It will then travel to Las Vegas, Toronto, and the UK.

The official Star Trek site is rolling out all the pieces bit by bit, but the artistic work of the beloved Nimoy was one of the first released. The piece, which depicts multiple images of Nimoy’s hand giving the “Live Long and Prosper” salute, was created for the Star Trek Art Exhibit.

The red, yellow and blue motif is a nod to the uniform colors worn by the Star Trek cast of characters in the original show.

(3) LISTEN UP. In “These hearing aids aren’t just for show A.k.a. This message speaks volumes”, Swedish fan Feeejay describes how her being hard of hearing impacted her experiences at the 2014 Swecon, her coping strategies, and how we can assist them.

What can you do to help? In social situations:

Face me when talking.
Repeat or double check that I’ve got the important information.
Help me sit in the center so I can hear everyone.
Speak clearly, and if I ask you to repeat yourself, try to raise your voice just a tad, but mostly speak slower and more clearly.
If you have a induction loop in a facility, use it.
Microphones should always be used, and if an audience microphone is available, use it too.
Alternatively, have the moderator repeat the questions.

When I’m at conventions, I always sit in the front row. If I’m in a panel I prefer to sit in the middle. This is what works for me — if you don’t know what works for someone else, try asking!

And how did it go at the Steampunkfestival?

Some panels went just fine, if I was placed in the center and didn’t get an audience question. Some panels worked less fine if the moderator forgot to repeat the audience question before someone answered it.

In one panel, I got an audience question and waited for the moderator to repeat it. My silence was interpreted as confusion or not having a good answer, so other panel members answered instead, while I looked like a question mark. I felt really stupid.

(4) THE MAGIC NUMBER FIVE. Lavie Tidhar, interviewed by Shelf Awareness, is asked a numerical question.

Your top five authors:

The writers who most influenced me (for good or bad) are probably Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler, Cordwainer Smith (the pen name of Paul Linebarger, who was an intelligence specialist and the godson of Sun Yat-sen and wrote the most extraordinary and peculiar science fiction stories). Tim Powers–I still remember discovering him for the first time and being so blown away. T.S. Eliot.

It’s a sort of Hardboiled Five, isn’t it? It’s more a list of people who directly influenced my writing in some way than anything else.

(5) READ COATES. Rachel Swirsky makes a “Favorite Fiction Recommendation: ‘Magic in a Certain Slant of Light’”

I met Deborah Coates when I was in graduate school at the University of Iowa. She and I were in a writers group together with a lot of other people. We called it Dragons of the Corn.

Deb writes beautiful magical realism, fantasy and science fiction. At one point, she was tossing around the term “rural fantasy.” Her prose is lovely, and the moods she creates are delicate and pervasive.

“Magic in a Certain Slant of Light” is one of my favorites of her short stories….

(6) HAMNER. Earl Hamner, Jr.’s family thanked everyone for their condolences on Facebook, and at the post provides addresses of charitable institutions he supported.

We have been asked about a memorial or service and all I can tell you at this time is that Dad was emphatically opposed to the idea. He even made my mother promise him not to even consider the idea! So, we are respecting his wishes, but at the same time trying to imagine a way to remember him that he would like. (I.e., we all meet at the James River in Virgina and go fishing and drink a lot of Jack Daniels.) In the meantime, if you feel you need to do something to honor him, you will find below a list of organizations that Dad supported. A charitable gift in his memory would make him proud.


  • March 25, 1956 — Lon Chaney stars as “Butcher” Benton, The Indestructible Man.

(8) RED MARS HITS RED LIGHT. Deadline reports “Spike TV ‘Red Mars’ Series On Pause After Showrunner Exits”.

Spike TV has pushed the pause button on Red Mars, its 10-episode straight-to-series drama adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s best-selling “hard” science-fiction trilogy. The move comes as executive producer/showrunner Peter Noah has exited the project, produced by Skydance TV.

…. I hear Straczynski, who had written the pilot script out of his passion for the books, had the option to stay on as showrunner or leave and keep an executive producer credit. The writer, who had been busy in features and TV, opted for the latter, and Noah came in as showrunner. He has now departed too over what I heard were creative differences with Spike.

(9) THE MESSAGE. Chris Van Trump is “Back In The Sad-dle Again” at Shambling Towards Bethlehem.

…What bothers me about the whole Sad Puppies situation is how often the existence of talent in the opposition has been denied, by both sides in this small battlefield of the culture war. Obviously that was Correia’s point in kicking off the whole affair; to expose what he considered to be ideological filtering in the Hugo nomination and voting process.

Personally, I think he was right. Not because of some grand cabal of liberal hypocrites willing to trash good authors on the grounds of political dissent, but because communities develop specific cultures, and those cultures create preferences.

And WorldCon has its own subculture, and as a result its own preferences, and those preferences lean towards the kind of pretentious twaddle that bores me to tears. But hey, it has the right messages, and that’s what’s important.

Or is it?

You see, there’s something that bothers me more than the denial of talent on the grounds of ideology, and that is the degradation of talent in the service of ideology.

One of the problems you run into, and this is something I’ve seen in other mediums as well, is that when you place the perceived political and social value of a work over its artistic value when determining merit, you get, well, precisely what you deserve. Passive, politically-correct-for-your-critical-lens pablum. A checklist of boxes to be marked off, with the expectation of accolades if enough boxes are checked.

You get boring message fiction. Or games. Or art of any kind….

(10) ON THE DOGS. Lela E. Buis, in “Discrimination against the Puppies?”, applies the thoughts from her recent posts about multiculturalism to the Puppy dilemma.

But, is Kate Paulk telling it straight? I don’t quite think so. Unfortunately I’m not going to have time to read the whole list of recommendations before the award nominations are due, but I have worked through the short stories and some of the related works. I can’t speak for the novels, but much of what I’ve read are not neutral recommendations. If you’re keeping up with my reviews, these works are slanted to present the Puppies side of the recent conflict. That means they are written by SJW’s on the Puppy side.

Who’s right? I suspect the SFF community needs to consider the Puppies’ point of view. If you’re reading along on my social commentary, you’ll note that the 50-year era of multiculturalism has closed, and we are now entering a period where community is becoming more important. This means the actions of divisive activists will be less well received than in the past—on all sides. I know people like to fan the flames, but wouldn’t community building be time better spent?

(11) PERFECTION. Sarah A. Hoyt begins “Perfectly Logical” with an epic autobiographical introduction to justify her view about why people asked off the Sad Puppies 4 List.

….It wasn’t a stupid fear.  It was real.  Even though writers can’t control who reads them and likes them, if you’re liked by the “far right” you must be using “dog whistles” — and thus the blacklisting starts.

So those people asking to be removed from the Hugo recommendations which were made by fan vote?  Perfectly logical.  Getting tainted by association is a thing in their circles.

The people proclaiming that we: Larry, Brad, myself, John C. Wright, I don’t know if they were stupid enough to include Kevin J. Anderson and Butcher in that, but definitely everyone else in the list, had “ruined their careers” are right.  For their world and their definition of career.  None of the big four will ever publish us again, except Baen.

They are stuck in the old push-model days in their head.  They think that everyone down the chain will now boycott us.  And they want to make d*mn sure it doesn’t splash on them.

Meanwhile we’re living in a different world.  We’ve tried indie, and it worked.  (Even though in my case it was just toe dipping.  More to come once internet is fixed and bedrooms, kitchen and office unpacked. (It’s all we’re unpacking in this house.)

We’re living in a world where we can be rude to whomever we please, love our fans whoever they are, and have our own opinions.  Because NYC publishing is NOT the boss of us….

(12) CASTING DUDES. “’Why Can’t We Have One White Superhero?’ Said No One Ever” is the topic today at Angry Asian Man.

Many of us who were following the casting of Marvel’s upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series were disappointed when news broke that some white dude named Finn Jones would play the title role of Danny Rand.

Inspired by this thoughtful plea by Keith Chow of The Nerds of Color, over the last two years a vocal fan movement had swelled and rallied around the possibility of an Asian American Iron Fist. While Danny Rand has traditionally been depicted as white in the comic books, there is no legitimate reason why he had to be played by a white actor. This could have been an interesting opportunity to cast an Asian American actor in the lead role, and complicate and reclaim some of the more problematic, orientalist elements of the character’s mythos.

It was a nice thought. But alas, Danny Rand will be white and it’s business as usual. Some people had some gripes about that. And of course, some people had gripes about the people with gripes.

Comic book creator Joshua Luna, best known for his work as a co-creator and writer of such books as Ultra, Girls and The Sword with his brother Jonathan Luna, recently posted a funny comic offering his take on the Iron Fist casting. Imagine, if you will, an alternate dimension…

(13) BEST SF TV. Adam Whitehead offers his list of the 20 Best SF TV shows of all time at The Wertzone.

In the grand tradition of Gratuitous Lists, here’s a look at the twenty Best Science Fiction TV Shows of All Time (that I can think of today). The list is in alphabetical order, not order of quality, nor is there a #1 choice as I’d probably have a totally different choice tomorrow. So rather than argue about arbritary placements on the list, you can instead yell at me at what got left off.

In case you’re wondering, the list contains only overtly science fictional TV shows. No fantasy (that’d be another, different list) and no anime, as I’m not well-enough versed in the field. After some debate, also no superhero stuff as the SF credentials of those shows can vary wildly and there’s enough of them now to make for another list.

(14) LEGO ACTORS. The LEGO Batman Movie – Batcave Teaser Trailer.

(15) DO YOUR DAMN DUTY. The Onion has a jaded view of the Batman v Superman experience:

Promising that it would be best to just buy a ticket and take care of the unpleasantness right away, a new Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice promotional campaign launched this week reportedly urged filmgoers to simply get this whole thing over with. “Listen, you all knew this day was coming, so just go sit your ass in the theater, stare up at the IMAX screen for a couple hours, and be done with this shit once and for all,” said Warner Brothers marketing strategist Elizabeth Harris, who encouraged fans to make plans with friends right now so they could all bite the fucking bullet over opening weekend.

(16) PRE-SUMMER HUMMER. No matter what you may have heard about the movie, Deadline says Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set the cash registers spinning.

East coast registers are winding down and Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still on track to be the biggest pre-summer opening day with $80.5M (beating Furious 7‘s $67.4M) and weekend with $169.5M (outstripping The Hunger Games $152.5M) at 4,242 theaters. In sum, this is $20M better than where the industry originally estimated the film to be.

(17) THEME SONG. Darren Garrison’s salute to the late Garry Shandling takes a peculiar turn:

This is the theme to Glyer’s blog,
The theme to Glyer’s blog.
Glyer tweeted me and asked if I would write his theme song.
I’m almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Glyer’s blog?

This is the theme to Glyer’s blog,
The opening theme to Glyer’s blog.
This is the music that you hear as you read the comments.
We’re almost to the part of where he starts to Pixel Scroll.
Then we’ll read Michael Glyer’s blog.

This was the theme to Michael Glyer’s blog.

For those scratching their heads (starting around 30 seconds in):

(18) FLAME ON. Stoic Cynic rocked this verse.

With apologies to BOC:

You see me now a veteran
Of a thousand Usenet wars
I’ve been living on the edge so long
Where the posts of flaming roar

And I’m young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I’m not sure if there’s candy left in me…

[Thanks to Karl-Johan Norén, Michael J. Walsh, John King Tarpinian, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

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295 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/25/16 Phantom MacSpaceface O’Trollington

  1. 12) Many of us who were following the casting of Marvel’s upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series were disappointed when news broke that some white dude named Finn Jones would play the title role of Danny Rand.

    As with Fantastic Four, which notably featured a black dude playing Johnny Storm, the problem with casting Danny Rand as an Asian is that the movie will suck. If you ditch the existing story established by the comic because RAAAAACIST!!!!! then you have thrown out along with it the things which made the comic successful.

    Iron Fist backstory is important to the comic and it’s important to the movie. You either value the comic and stay within the limitations set by it, or you slap the name of the comic on something that has nothing whatsoever to do with it and hope for the best.

    Marvel movies which have succeeded wildly like Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America value the comic. The ones that crashed and burned did not.

    Nobody likes SJWs meddling with their favorite comic characters. Dr. Strange is a white guy. Iron Fist is a white guy. Luke Cage is a black guy. Blade is a black guy. That’s how it is. Leave it alone, or kiss a hundred million bucks goodbye.

    And by the way, on another note. Since when is it neccessary for the lead character in a kung fu flick to be Asian? Are there no white dudes that do hand to hand fighting? Are Savate and Bartitsu not a thing? Did Europe not have a history of fencing, archery and spear fighting? Not to mention the modern, uniquely American art of the gunfight?

  2. @Dawn

    My use of “multi-culti” was not intended to be antagonistic. I was trying to avoid TLDR territory. I’m aware that others use it more dismissively. Within the context of my post, it is not dismissing anyone.


    True. From the 1980s/1990s, I couldn’t reasonably pick something out as being less worthy. Heck at this point, I’d have a hard time picking out one thing from any of those authors I named that was better than the nominated items. My point is that there is a heck of a lot of good work out there that is overlooked when it comes to the Hugos. Unfortunately, that can get lost in things.

    With respect to more recent recent short list nominations, I’d go with the following as being below the level of the recent series that I named:

    The Last Colony – Scalzi
    Zoe’s Tale – Scalzi
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – Jemisin
    The Goblin Emperor – Addison

    I enjoyed all of the above. In fact I own signed signed copies of a couple of them! But I had a better experience with pretty much all of the series on my list than I had with those four books. FWIW, I thought Scalzi’s OMW to be a great book and worthy of everything that came his way as a result.

    While I don’t have a suitable replacement, Vinge’s “A Deepness In The Sky” didn’t really trip my trigger that well either.


    She also believes there is a blacklist used by the Big 5 and she’s on it. I suspect many of the editors have never heard of her but I could be wrong

    I believe Sarah’s position is that she had a good relationship with a traditional publishing house until she revealed that she didn’t share the stereotypical “New York publishing” political perspective that leans pretty heavily to the left. Again, based on what I’ve read, her treatment by the publishing house staff went downhill thereafter.

    There’s been an awful lot of overwrought invective tossed back and forth since then, but I believe that summarizes her complaint against the traditional publishers.

    The obvious missing flip side is how the perspective of the folks from the publishing house.


    As above, I was trying to stay out of TLDR territory. Perhaps “non-binary gendered” would have been more appropriate? I usually don’t include “checkbox” complaints in my Goodreads reviews, although I sometimes add them as a postscript on my blog. Realistically, it’s only an issue for me when the rest of the story falls flat. At that point, the checkbox fiction issues are more secondary/tertiary nits to pick than significant writing flaws. In the case of “Dinosaur Lords”, one or two make make it into my Goodreads review as they influenced the story. I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.


  3. Certainly there is a lot of good work out there that for whatever reason slips through the cracks and doesn’t make the awards ballots.

    What does that have to do with what the Puppies did?

  4. dann665: “While I don’t have a suitable replacement, Vinge’s “A Deepness In The Sky” didn’t really trip my trigger that well either.”

    While I consider it the best Hugo Winner of the last couple of decades. Seriously, knocked my socks right off!

    Which just shows ta go that tastes can and do vary! 🙂

  5. @Xtifr

    Indeed! The only time I’ll complain is when folks start dismissing other works instead of simply having a healthy “it takes all kinds” attitude.


  6. Thanks, dann, that’s why I asked. I prefer “multicultural” for what I think you were getting at. It doesn’t have the dismissive-of-other-cultures quality that I associate with “multi-culti”.

    Deepness in the Sky didn’t do that much for me, iirc, but I loved Fire Upon the Deep. Excellent aliens.

  7. @ Xtifr

    Documents turned up showing that one of the founders objected to “you” because it was (in his mind) inarguably plural.

    Oh, Fox was co-author on an entire book on the topic, not simply documents turning up. 🙂 Assuming you’re referring to

    Fox, George, John Stubs and Benjamin Furley. 1660. A Battle-door for Teachers and Professors to Learn Singular & Plural: You to Many, and Thou to One. (courtesy of the facsimile edition put out by Scolar Press in 1968 which, by some amazing used bookstore luck, I own a copy of)

    But my sense of that book is not that Fox’s primary concern was purely a pedantic grammatical/semantic one (as opposed to the socio-linguistic concerns regarding asymmetric “you”-ing among persons who should be equal in God’s sight), but rather that he was bringing in the grammatical/semantic argument to bolster his position against honorific-you because he knew he wouldn’t get anywhere on the simple leveling argument.

    But I do confess I haven’t read the book in complete detail.

  8. @Heather Rose Jones: actually the source I had in mind was Epistle 191, discussed on Language Log here. But you may be right about the broader context. It’s not an area where I can claim a great deal of expertise.

    A brief excerpt:

    “For plural and singular was the language of God, and Christ, and all good men, and of the prophets and apostles; but the confused world, that lies in confusion, cannot endure it, who live not in the fear of God, neither follow the example of good men, but are in the double tongue, quenching the spirit, and hating the light of Christ Jesus, which is single.”

    Which certainly a fascinating argument. Not one I consider particularly compelling, but then I have trouble with the initial premises, so I’m not the best judge. I find it fascinating in any case, though, whether or not it was his primary motivation.

  9. @dann665 – The only time I’ll complain is when folks start dismissing other works instead of simply having a healthy “it takes all kinds” attitude.

    I’ll complain about other things too, but that is a pet peeve. I don’t know if it’s sloppiness in writing, talking, or thinking, but I generally dismiss out of hand anyone who appears to think their personal taste is an arbiter of anything.

  10. Petréa Mitchell on March 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm said:

    Right, it’s not a cognate. It’s also not a very good parallel, because Usted is third person singular, not second person plural. A closer parallel is tu/vous in French.

    Usted is the second person singular deferential and translates as “you.” Ustedes is the second person plural and also translates as “you.” Vosotros is a regional usage. See this for more discussion of the various forms of “you” in Spanish.

    The cognates still are there (English/Spanish/French):


    They all appear to trace back to proto-Indo-European, even though some went via the Germanic and some via the Latin branches of the family.

  11. @Dann665

    My vague recollection, from a post Hoyt made last year, is: her first series tanked, her publisher dropped her, and no one else was willing to pick her up until Baen did.

    She viewed the drop and unwillingness to pick her up as politically motivated. Which could certainly be the case but equally well, and to my mind more likely, could have been a commercial decision to not continue taking a chance on a writer with no track record outside a failed series.

    Bearing in mind I didn’t pay that much attention when the post was fresh and may have mangled it in recollection now…

  12. @Dawn

    Thanks for asking.

    I also liked A Fire Upon The Deep very much.


  13. I use “ye” for second person plural in speech practically every day of my life. Many Irish people use the same or the competing “yiz”, I might even do it more than most because I’m a fluent speaker of Irish (which has the same distinction in pronouns and verb forms; as often, English is the outlier.)
    ObSf, to be Usenetty for a moment: in one of Tolkien’s extra bits somewhere, he explains that the Hobbits’ dialect of Westron had lost the use of polite “you”, so Merry and Pippin were familiarly thee-ing and thou-ing high ranking lords and therefore giving the impression that they were of high status.

  14. I am always very skeptical when people claim a series was dropped for entirely political reasons. I’ve had a series end when they eventually became unprofitable, and my politics are diametrically opposed to Hoyt’s. There was never any question about why, other than “the accountants say it’s time to try something new.” Many people have series end. They’re not a pension plan. I’d want to see sales numbers.

    That said, I can certainly see why “they dropped me for political reasons!” is easier on the ego than “they dropped me because my books just weren’t moving.” Since I’d never heard of Hoyt’s series…oh, well, who knows? But I’d want a lot more information.

  15. Stoic Cynic: [Hoyt] viewed the drop and unwillingness to pick her up as politically motivated. Which could certainly be the case but equally well, and to my mind more likely, could have been a commercial decision to not continue taking a chance on a writer with no track record outside a failed series.

    It’s quite possibly that, or given the way she’s reacted to bad reviews and anyone who disagrees with her on anything, she may also have been dropped for being more trouble than she was worth. Which is of course, going to be portrayed as “they didn’t like my politics!” the same way people asking to be removed from the SP4 list is being portrayed as “they don’t like our politics!” rather than what it really is, “they don’t want to be associated with us because we’ve behaved like assholes!”

    She’s demonstrated herself repeatedly to be an unreliable narrator, so I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone she portrays as doing something against her “because of her politics”.

  16. Kendall said:

    I don’t know if this is correct or not, but this page says “usted” is second person, but uses third person verb forms – distinguishing between the pronoun and the verb form, I guess.

    An English speaker who has trouble wrapping their head around referring to the person they’re talking to in the third person can think of Usted as a second-person pronoun using the “wrong” verb forms if it helps them keep it clear in their head.

    ETA: But one also uses third-person verb forms even if not providing the pronoun, when speaking formally. (A giveaway that an author who decides to sprinkle a bit of Spanish dialogue into their book has used Google as their translator is people addressing complete strangers with second-person forms…)

  17. @RedWombat

    What made the story stick in my head, to the degree it did, is Hoyt, herself, stated the books weren’t hitting sales projections and were moving slow. So the narrative isn’t popular series killed by politics. It’s more: if her politics had been aligned with the publisher they would have seen it through even underperforming as it was; other publishers would have snapped her up despite the track record.

  18. @Stoic Cynic
    Which continues my point that Hoyt doesn’t understand the publishing business. It’s a business. Publishing houses make decisions based on short-term sales all the time as other authors here have attested to in the past.

    ETA: It’s like being self-published means you get to be rude to everyone. No it means your now self-employed and your image and reputation fully lies on you and your decisions and behavior. You can’t blame anyone else when something goes wrong. Your daily blogging is your PR department.

  19. A Fire on the Deep was more ambitious, but I thought A Deepness in the Sky was more successful. I admit, I have a hard time deciding which of the two I liked better, but overall, I think Deepness wins on the quality of its storytelling, even if it was a slightly less stunning story to tell.

    Honestly, I’d put either one up against pretty much anything else that’s won a Hugo. So I’m certainly not going to complain about anyone who thinks FotD has the edge. 🙂

  20. 1) I’ve haven’t been able to do my Filing very consistently lately, so wasn’t sure if I was just missing Meredith’s posts or if she wasn’t participating as much lately. Please add my hopes that she gets enough spoons and maybe mention that we’d be delighted if she comes back, even for just a short visit.

    2) re: Vinge – 4th or 6th or whateverith the squee for Deepness and Fire. I loved both, but Fire has more punch, gravitas, something, imo. And, yeah, excellent aliens.

    3) @Kurt re: Bujold. I’ll also jump on her fanwagon (She’s one of my auto-buys) and also recommend The Curse of Chalion as a non-Vorkosigan introduction.

    4) @ all. Great discussion on singular and plural ‘you’ forms. I love the bits of knowledge/trivia that Filers share. English might be slightly more intelligible if it still had singular and plural forms.

  21. @Dann665: Thanks, and I was unclear, I guess. Mostly I was confused what unusual gender stuff had to do with what sounded (from your brief aside and the review I read) like . . . plain old gay sex. (shrug) No worries; if I read the book, I’ll find out. Please do link your review from the comments when you post it, if you don’t mind. 🙂

  22. @Kendal
    Thanks! It was a typo that worked better than the original ‘bandwagon’. I’m keeping it and won’t charge a whole lot if anyone else wants to use it :^}. Actually, I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere has probably coined it before, but it was fumble-fingers for me, not wit. :-9

  23. @Lois Tilton: When “thou” was in common use, it definitely had familiar/impolite connotations. If you said “thou” to someone you wouldn’t normally be entitled to, that would be an insult (implying that you have a higher social status). There’s a good example in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Sir Toby Belch is advising his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek on how to write a letter issuing a challenge to a duel:

    Taunt him with the license of ink. If thou “thou”-est him some thrice, it shall not be amiss; and as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed of Ware in England, set ’em down.

    Now, in Classical Latin the second person pronouns are tu and vos, and the distinction between them was purely one of number, with no informal/polite connotations. As against that, several Latin authors had a tendency in their writing to use first person pronouns in the plural, which I always found a bit confusing. (“What, have you got a mouse in your toga with you?”)

  24. @Kendall and Andrew M: I’m mostly kidding about Amber not being nominated. I like using awards to learn about new things and The Chronicles of Amber are still widely read so I’m glad other books were nominated.* Plus as Andrew notes, books in a series are hard to nominate since individual books don’t really stand alone. A series Hugo would be great though.

    I’ve also never read Zelazny’s non-Amber books so going over the list reminded me I really need to pick up a copy of Lord of Light.

    *Same with Le Guin though in truth she, Christopher Priest, and Stanislaw Lem would win all the awards were I in charge. But that would be boring and I wouldn’t learn what others liked.

  25. @Shao Ping: So far, Lord of Light is the only Zelazny I’ve read. Absolutely a worthwhile read.

    Should really look up the Amber books some time…

  26. Just remember: there’s only five Amber books. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. There’s only three Indiana Jones movies, only one each Matrix and Highlander movie, and only five Amber books! Forget these facts at your peril! 🙂

    (Actually, unlike a lot of people, I don’t hate the second Amber series, but it’s definitely a major drop-off in quality.)

  27. Further signal boost on the squee for both Deepness and Fire. I’d be hard pressed to say which I prefer, both have their own merits. Both are right at the top of my all time favourites list tussling with Use of Weapons and Player of Games for the top.

  28. On pronouns:

    I grew up first in Germany, where at the time (1970s – early 1980s), there was a marked difference between “Du” (singular / familiar) and “Sie” (plural / formal) for the second person singular pronoun: “Du” was only used between people who were close, or to a child by either adults or other children; “Sie” was used to address any adult who was not considered close. This Wikipedia article in German gives an overview. But more recently, it seems that “Du” is becoming more generally accepted – which, since I haven’t lived in Germany in quite a while, I have not really had a part in, so it makes me a bit uncertain how to address people in German (would ‘Sie’ be considered expected, or archaic? conversely, would ‘Du’ be the expected, or considered rude and overly familiar?)

    Then I moved to Sweden, where everyone has been calling each other ‘du’ (singular) since the 1960s/70s du-reformen“, since the previous Swedish habit had become increasingly complex in order to largely avoid the wrong pronoun, and instead tried to use titles or names. Apparently, ‘ni’ (the plural, more formal pronoun) is making a comeback, about which I can understand there are mixed feelings.

    On a more general level this Wikipedia article on the T-V distinction gives a lot of useful background and summary.

  29. About pronouns and Plain Speech: I’m not any kind of expert, but I happened to see a bit of some reality program about some Amish people (Amish Mafia maybe?) and one of the Amish folks mentioned that in the dialect of German they speak, they use “Du” and not “Sie”, such that they were surprised when they spoke to someone who speaks contemporary German and heard “Sie”. Like “what in the world are they using the plural for” surprised. I don’t know if they preserve the peculiar nominative conjugation that the Plain Speech has in English, with “thee are” instead of “thou art”. Do they say “Du bist” or “Du sind”? I don’t know. (It’s 4:30 am on the Sunday of a convention, and I can’t seem to fall asleep, so please forgive any errors in my half-remembered high school German.)

  30. “Apparently, ‘ni’ (the plural, more formal pronoun) is making a comeback, about which I can understand there are mixed feelings.”

    When people say “ni” to me, I take it as a personal insult. Next step is “eki-eki-patang” and then it is already too late.

  31. My SO, when learning German in the late 1980s, was told that it was possible to be ticketed for addressing a police officer as Du rather than Sie.

  32. Apropos of something (maybe), when we were shown the difference between sein and heißen in my first German class, the example was:

    Er heißt Oskar Meier. (His name is Oskar Meier.)
    Er ist Wiener. (He is a resident of Vienna.)

  33. When I’m in charge of language, I think I’ll have the pronouns take the verb form of the appropriate number, rather than the plural verb form.

    So a formal “you” art.
    A singular “they” is.

    This is more logical.

  34. I haven’t been keeping track too much, but I rather love how you seem to semi-regularly have a clever post about ticking the box like “Ricky *Tick*y Tavi” quickly followed by “oops! I didn’t tick the box.”

  35. Lois Tilton: When I’m in charge of language, I think I’ll have the pronouns take the verb form of the appropriate number, rather than the plural verb form. So a formal “you” art. A singular “they” is. This is more logical.

    I find the difference between USians and Commonwealthers on this interesting. USians say “The group has decided” or “The staff is going to”, whereas those British-adjacent folks say “The group have” and “The staff are”.

  36. @Shao Ping: If I just stuck to /god-stalk, I’d no doubt make fewer mistakes. ::blush:: What’s really silly is I believe in this case, I’d already subscribed but just forgotten to remove my bookmark, which makes twice I’ve done this particular mistake! Gak.

    Honestly, I’m not quite as flakey as I seem. 😉

  37. Ok, I’m way behind on File 770 comments but I wanted to respond to some of the comments.

    Re Lois McMaster Bujold

    Her writing reaches another plane at Mirror Dance. I enjoyed all her earlier Vorkosigan books, but I feel you can draw a line for quality of writing between that book and the ones that came before. That said, I still don’t enjoy all of the later books on the same level. Paladin of Souls is one of her best books though I reread Curse of Chalion more often as it is a more fun read.

    Blackout/All Clear

    It was my favorite book (one long book published in two volumes) of that year. That said, I found the first 50 or so pages dull as she is still placing her characters. It’s only after they are stuck in the past that the book grabbed me. However, the themes surrounding the importance of human ties moved me to tears at the end. Apparently, I have a minority opinion on this book here at File 770.

    Fire in the Deep is a wonderful book. I haven’t missed a Vinge since then.

    Hugo nominations Still don’t feel that I read as much as I wanted, but declared myself done and entered my first ever noms. Will be curious to see if anything I nominate even makes the top 15.

  38. World Weary
    I liked Blackout/All Clear too. Enjoyed it while I was reading it, and afterwards when the history elements were picked apart, I found that the knowledge didn’t travel back in time and ruin my experience retroactively.

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