Pixel Scroll 3/28/16 I Want One Pixel, One Scroll, and One Freer

(1) THEMES. For the next 29 days, BBC  has the concert celebrating the music of Barry Gray available for free listening — “The Music of Barry Gray”

Stuart presents the iconic music of TV composer Barry Gray performed by Charles Hazelwood’s All Star Collective at St George’s Bristol. Barry Gray created some of the most memorable music on British television and film from the 1960s onwards including Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. His style combines big band swagger, sci-fi strangeness and soaring theme tunes. Conductor Charles Hazelwood is joined on stage by a stella cast of musicians including Jarvis Cocker and members of the British Paraorchestra.

(2) IT’S TIME. Geoff Willmets advocates “The necessity of deadlines” at SF Crowsnest.

Being creative to a deadline is actually good for you because it prevents your mind wandering from what is essentially a lot of hard work. As the deadline approaches, your brain becomes extremely focused on getting things done correctly. I’ve seen myself go into super-drive doing it and at the same time, knowing that giving myself a little distance from the work as well, actually helps as well. The early drafts often look slightly out of focus and polishing them just sharpens them up to what you want to achieve.

(3) JIM ANSWERS. Raymond Bolton interviewed Jim C. Hines about his novel Revisionary and life as a writer.

Most writers will envy your new situation. Why do you write and when did you first realize you were a writer?

I write because I enjoy it. I love inventing stories and sharing them with people. There are days when it’s frustrating or painful trying to get the story in your head onto the screen, and it’s just not coming out right. But then there are the moments when it comes together, or when you come up with a clever twist or idea, or you hit on something powerful. Those moments are amazing.

Plus I like fantasizing about swords and magic and robots and all that other cool, shiny stuff.

When did I realize I was a writer? That’s hard to say. I toyed with writing a bit as a kid. Started doing it more seriously toward the end of my undergraduate degree. To some extent, I started to really feel like a writer after my first fantasy novel Goblin Quest came out.

And then there are the days when I still don’t entirely feel like A Real Writer. Like I’ve been playing a trick on the world for 20+ years and having a blast with it, but sooner or later someone’s going to catch on.

(4) A CERTAIN GLOW. “Unexpected changes of bright spots on Ceres discovered”EurekAlert! – Chemistry, Physics and Materials Sciences does not think the explanation is an asteroid having  teenage complexion problems.

(ESO) Observations made at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have revealed unexpected changes in the bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Very careful study of its light shows not only the changes expected as Ceres rotates, but also that the spots brighten during the day and also show other variations. These observations suggest that the material of the spots is volatile and evaporates in the warm glow of sunlight.

(5) IT’S FIVE! At Tor.com, Myke Cole lists “Five Books About the Ancient World” – fiction books, that is.

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough

This book has a dated prose style that requires some plowing, but it’s worth the work for the incredibly compelling and well researched account of the genesis of Rome’s “Social War” that spelled the end of the Republic.

McCullough’s book is so respected that it’s often cited as a source in secondary scholarship. It’s particularly valuable for those seeking to understand daily life in ancient Rome, from the vaulted heights of the Capitoline Hill to the filth of the Subura, McCullough covers it all.

As with Graves, there’s more if you want it. The First man in Rome is the flagship offering in McCullough’s Masters of Rome series, a seven volume sweeping epic that will take you all the way from Marius and Sulla in 110 B.C. to Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 27 B.C.

(6) SURPRISING A LIFETIME ACHIEVER. Rowena Cory Daniells calls winning the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award “Another Lovely Surprise”.

It would be honest to say that I was stunned.

When I went up to accept the award and had to stand there while Sean read out my list of achievements. It was excruciating.

In my acceptance speech I told the story of my meeting with Robert Silverberg at the Australian World Con in 1999. We’d been wedged in a corner at an industry party where, being the socially awkward creature that I am, I’d said, ‘How does it feel to be the Grand Old Man of Speculative Fiction.’ To which he said, ‘Pretty strange considering that I used to be the Bright Young Thing.’

And there I was, giving an acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award when I used to be one of the vanguard of new faces.

 

Future Hugo by Taral Wayne

Future Hugo by Taral Wayne

(7) DEBUNKING DISQUALIFICATIONS. K. Tempest Bradford advances “4 Reasons Why You (Yeah, You) Are Qualified To Nominate for the Hugos”.

The Hugo Award nomination period closes in just a few days. You’ve seen my recs, and over the weekend the #hugoeligible hashtag showcased so many more. But I know some of you are still thinking that you aren’t qualified to nominate because:

  1. You haven’t read/watched/listened widely enough (according to you).
  2. You don’t have enough nominations in every category to fill ever slot you’re allotted.
  3. You don’t have time to read all the cool stuff recommended here and elsewhere and on the tag.
  4. You’re “just a fan” and not anyone fancy.

I’m here to tell you that none of those things disqualifies you from nominating for the Hugos. None. Zip. Let’s break it down.

(8) PRELUDE TO A BALLOT. Abigail Nussbaum reveals “The 2016 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Best Novel and Campbell Award”.

There are three whole days left before the Hugo nominating deadline, but I’m traveling starting tomorrow, so the final post in the series listing my Hugo nominees goes up today.  As tends to be the case, the best novel category is the one I put the least effort into.  I don’t tend to read most books in the year of their publication, so I’m only rarely sufficiently up to date that I have a full slate of nominees in this category.  There are, in fact, more books that I would have liked to get to before the nominating deadline than there are on my ballot–books like Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings (which I may yet finish before the deadline), Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora.  Meanwhile, the always-interesting Campbell award is one that I tend to dedicate to short story writers–usually those who have impressed me over the year even if their stories didn’t quite cross the bar to make it onto my ballot.

(9) EBOOKS. Max Florschutz continues the debate about ebooks in “The Question of Value Part 2 – Responses”.

The market is failing the readers.

Okay, now that might sound like a harsh judgement to pass, and perhaps I could voice it differently (also, that could be taken way out of context, so aggregate sites, you do not have permission to use that line without context). When I say market, for the most part, I’m not referring to the books themselves, or what the authors are producing, though in a way, we share part of the blame.

No, what I’m referring to here is the actual market and the way ebooks are being handled. That is what is failing the readers.

I went though all those comments again this morning, this time armed with a pen and paper, and I wrote down each concern as I encountered them. When multiple concerns presented the same topic, I made check-marks next to each one. And at the end, almost all of them fit neatly into one of three areas:

  1. Misconceptions about ebooks that are not being properly explained to the readers, often overlapped with 2 and 3.
  2. Mishandling of ebooks by publishers.
  3. A general failure of the “User Interface” of ebook stores.

With these, maybe now you can see why I say the market is failing the readers. Granted, there’s a little bit of equal blame there. After all, it doesn’t help the market when readers go around spreading misinformation rather than learning about the topic, but at the same time, if the market is deliberately making this information difficult to glean, and in some cases actively working to obfuscate things from the reader’s eyes, well, then I would say it’s definitely failed.

So, I want to take a look at some of these concerns that were given, heading them under these three points, and see if we can’t cast a bit more light on things.

(10) BANDERLOVE. Mark Sommer at Examiner.com reviews Bandersnatch in “Creative collaboration demonstrated in the Oxford writers group the Inklings”.

“Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings” is the newly published adaptation of her 2007 book, re-written for a wider audience. “The Company they Keep” was meant for academic use. However, although the earlier book has been described as “easy and enjoyable to read” with “plenty to enjoy” for new fans and scholars alike, Glyer realized the “fundamentally academic” work should be updated. Besides being of interest to fans of Tolkien, Lewis, and the other Inklings, “Bandersnatch” also is also helpful to aspiring writers, artists, and inventors, providing suggestions on how to interact with others in the same kind of creative collaboration the Inklings did.

The title of the book comes from an often quoted line from a letter Lewis wrote to Charles Mooreman in 1959. Mooreman was researching a book about “the Oxford Christians,” which came out in 1966. After admitting the influence Charles Williams and he had over each other, Lewis writes, “No one ever influenced Tolkien—you might as well try to influence a bandersnatch.” (A “bandersnatch” is a creature created by Lewis Carol. Lewis was undoubtedly borrowing from a quote from “Through the Looking-Glass” where the White King describes his Queen: “She runs so fearfully quick. You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch!”)

(11) PUPPY COUNTING. Brandon Kempner introduces a series at Chaos Horizon, “Estimating the 2016 Hugo Nominations, Part 1”.

I’m going to start with my estimates from the end of the 2015 Hugo season using the final vote statistics. Here’s what I estimated back then:

Core Rabid Puppies: 550-525 Core Sad Puppies: 500-400 Sad Puppy leaning Neutrals: 800-400 (capable of voting a Puppy pick #1) True Neutrals: 1000-600 (may have voted one or two Puppies; didn’t vote in all categories; No Awarded all picks, Puppy and Non-Alike) Primarily No Awarders But Considered a Puppy Pick above No Award: 1000 Absolute No Awarders: 2500

I think those numbers are at least in the ballpark and give us a place to start modelling. Since you can’t vote against a pick in the nomination stage, we don’t need to know the difference between “No Awarders” and other more traditional Hugo voters. I’m going to combine all the non-Puppy voters into one big group, called the “Typical Voters.” I’ll initially assume that they’ll vote in similar patterns to past Hugo seasons before the Puppies. I’ll have more to say about that assumption later on.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

194 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/28/16 I Want One Pixel, One Scroll, and One Freer

  1. There’s a few quips I’d have with that list, particularly Clash of Eagles portrayal of Roman military life. The view of the Principate legion as set in stone is a little curious. First Man in Rome is a different story. I’ve been uncomfortable with those books, chiefly for the decision to portray the Caesarians as the brilliant man bringing order to chaos and everyone else as some kind of greedy, craven, tosser.

    However, a dose of cynicism applied to a lot of our texts about the fall of the Republic is a very good idea in general, and I dislike the occasional dismissal of Mccullough’s work as mere bodice rippers about the bold dreamy Caeser. Full on idolatry and hero worship of various classical figures is de rigour in Western letters for some time now; that a female writer will be dinged for it harder seems unfair. It reminds me of the cynics differentiation of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance – that they have similar setting, but one is written for men and spends time drolling over what a man’s man the hard boiled detective is and how large his guns are, while the other is written for women, trolling over the fabulous sex the protagonist finally gets to have after years/decades of blah.

  2. Is that an actual thing or just a joke? Surely you can have a paranormal romance that isn’t primarily urban and an urban fantasy that primarily contains no romance. They hardly seem synonymous at all.

  3. @Zil

    It’s a bit of both, inspired by witnessing a die-hard Jim Butcher fan make an ass of himself at a con a few years back. (Note: I kind of enjoy Butcher, not taking the fan as representative) The suggestion that the Dresdenverse and various Anita Blake novels might share some DNA, just emphasizing different things, was not taken well.

    I think there is a stereotype that UF is more for the boys, and PR is more for the girls. I think this is a stupid stereotype.

  4. Re: classical-historical novels. No love for the wonderful Lindsey Davis? Her Falco Roman-detective books are sharp-witted fun and clearly shaped by mystery-genre conventions, but The Course of Honor and Master and God are straight-up novels about people-in-their-times, with plenty of heart.

  5. Well, if you interpret the terms literally, so that ‘urban’ means ‘set in a city’, then indeed the concepts have nothing to do with one another. The way the term ‘urban fantasy’ is actually used, though – contemporary setting, legendary beings manifesting in the modern world – I think it’s true that the settings of UF and PNR overlap a lot, and it seems that PNR grew out of UF. Still, there seem to be perfectly clear differences of theme, and quite a lot of UF features women (so much so that this has, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes been seen as definitive of the genre) and, I suspect, is primarily read by women.

  6. TheYoungPretender: First Man in Rome is a different story. I’ve been uncomfortable with those books, chiefly for the decision to portray the Caesarians as the brilliant man bringing order to chaos and everyone else as some kind of greedy, craven, tosser.

    The first book in the series treats Marius as a sympathetic protagonist — but past that, it’s not unlike watching the Sopranos. The point of view characters get more unsavory as you go along, with the exception of the main women like Aurelia and Julia (the one married to Pompey).

  7. @Mike

    I’d been recommended the post Sulla ones when I read them; I’m not sure whether it suffered to start at that point or not. The research is, overall, quite good.

  8. Anyone read The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte? Granted it’s a King Arthur story, but the first two books are, pretty much, just about Romans in Britain. While I haven’t finished the series, I have found it really enjoyable. I really loved the first two novels the most, though, mainly due to it being a Roman/Britain story and not much else.

  9. I guess when I saw “urban fantasy” the first thing I thought of was the October Daye series, which *is* fairly rooted in its mundane city. (Though, regardless of how much romance it has or hasn’t, I wouldn’t have instinctively pegged its approach to the fantastical as “paranormal” either; it’s fae queens and dryads and prophecies and geasa, not ghosts and werewolves and ESP and telekinesis. Is that just me? Does anyone else feel a sort of distinction between those?)

  10. (2) IT’S TIME:
    I’ve long said that the reason why I originally joined an Amateur Press Association (good lord, over twenty years ago now; I’m now the production manager) was that having a hard deadline meant that I was encouraged to actually write things down rather than assuming I would get around to it eventually.

    Of course, it’s also led to some fairly impressive feats of procrastination, such as the time I went out and mowed the lawn rather than write…

  11. @Stevie

    People still sometimes write about the VHS v. Betamax video competition

    I work for a company that specializes in transferring and restoring material from old formats. Not only do people still try and argue that one with us all the time (answer, we don’t care as long as you pay us, but I’ll take VHS any day), I’ve come to the firm conclusion that almost no one knows what the hell they are talking about.

    Actually, given the variety of material we work with I’ve come to the conclusion that almost no one knows what they are talking about. That goes for everything from Beta tapes to 8mm films to the most recent video shot on an iPhone.

    For example, iPhones (and all other camera phones) don’t actually record at the framerate they say they do. If you pull the video into diagnostic software it reveals that they all use variable frame rates, which means that instead of a fixed 29.97 frames per second like it claims it actually can have quite a bit of variation on a second-by-second basis depending on the resource demands on the phone at the time. I’ve seen ‘29.97’ video with frame rates that vary from 17 fps up to 35.

    Does this matter for playback? No it does not. But it totally screws you if you try and do any editing with the footage! Your audio will rapidly drift out of sync every time. There’s a few bits of software that will automatically correct for it, but not many and they are not perfect. There’s ways to deal with it, but they require you really knowing what you are doing. We do good business from people who recorded weddings or other events and thought they could edit it down easily.

    I always laugh at those “this commercial was shot on {insert phone here}” advertisements. Sure they were. With $10k of lighting equipment and dozens of hours of post work on workstations that cost as much as a car.

  12. @Andrew M: I think it’s true that the settings of UF and PNR overlap a lot, and it seems that PNR grew out of UF. Still, there seem to be perfectly clear differences of theme, and quite a lot of UF features women (so much so that this has, as I mentioned earlier, sometimes been seen as definitive of the genre) and, I suspect, is primarily read by women.

    I’d suggest you stuff your “suspect”. This is the problem with gut feelings instead of real market research. Most of the time people are wrong, wrong, wrong. The majority of discussions I’ve had on File 770 about both UF and PNR have been with men. Readers of UF are fairly well split based on several months of research I did between men and women. PNR readers lean more towards women but much of that is the way trad publishing markets the books as indie PNR has a more even split because they are less likely to do pink covers.

    @Zil

    I guess when I saw “urban fantasy” the first thing I thought of was the October Daye series, which *is* fairly rooted in its mundane city. (Though, regardless of how much romance it has or hasn’t, I wouldn’t have instinctively pegged its approach to the fantastical as “paranormal” either; it’s fae queens and dryads and prophecies and geasa, not ghosts and werewolves and ESP and telekinesis. Is that just me? Does anyone else feel a sort of distinction between those?)

    I read plenty of UF and PNR which has similar elements as you mention in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. Supernatural or paranormal or mythological/gods/goddesses is pretty typical. Different authors choose different ones. Some use a few. Some use a lot (Kevin Hearne has tried to use from every possible group). How big a role the city plays differs but the stories for the most part are based in a single city (Kevin Hearne again goes against the norm but is based in a single city just travels a lot in later books).

    If I recall correctly October Daye takes place in San Francisco. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews is in Atlanta post-apocalypse. Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher is Chicago. Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter is New Orleans with side trips. Incryptid by Seanan McGuire is New York and I’m drawing a blank on where the family home is. Tanya Huffs Blood books which became a TV series were in Toronto. Tanya Huff writes a number of other Urban fantasy series. Kitty Norville by Carrie Vaughn (now completed) is Denver with side trips.

    In addition to vampires and shapeshifters some of the above authors include gods/goddesses from various past religions/mythos, current natives American beliefs, Asian beliefs, Indian beliefs, prehistoric creatures, historical figures, dragons, aliens, and more.

    PNR is even more diverse in my experience. However between the cold I’m getting over and a crazy week with 3 doctor visits my mind is drawing blanks on examples of UF/PNR books/series I enjoy which don’t have vampires or typical lycans/shapeshifters.

  13. I saw this post on Reddit

    Okay, so I read a short story that’s eligible and now I can’t find it. I believe the title was “Sea Dog” and it was about an android dog-like guardian that is supposed to be guarding the coast but has developed protectiveness for a family that lives nearby.
    Ring any bells? Google search is totally failing me.

    It rings no bells with me. Does it sound familiar to anyone else?

  14. I’m supposing there’s a definitional reason Something Wicked This Way Comes isn’t urban fantasy (or others of his). Too rural, maybe, or missing some key elements.

    Kurt Busiek
    Tch. A friend who I sent that link to (big fan of Cleary) said her name was pronounced Clarey on the basis of that. I tried to verify it, but the video just kept showing me a rotating circle until I got tired of waiting and took the word of my ex-friend.

  15. @Dawn Incognito

    OK, finished mount char. I do believe my word choice was poor. That certainly wasn’t casual, not going to suggest it for my mother, but I’m quite impressed. He really got me interested in each viewpoint quickly as he introduced them. At this moment, in the book afterglow, I feel it was the best book I have read from last year.

  16. I’m supposing there’s a definitional reason Something Wicked This Way Comes isn’t urban fantasy (or others of his). Too rural, maybe, or missing some key elements.

    Or the genre term “urban fantasy” arose in the 1980s, and doesn’t often get retroactively applied.

  17. Digital obsolescence hasn’t been a problem to me for ages. When I get a new computer, I simply mirror my home directory across, and I keep my data in open formats.

    Of course, it helps that modern “format wars” have to do with the arrangement of bits on plain-old-files, rather than the physical incompatibilities that were present in the VHS v Beta days. I have zero products from Microsoft or Apple in my home, but I can pull data from either one simply by attaching an ethernet cable to it. I may not be sure what to *do* with the data once I get it onto my system (which is why I stick to open formats), but simply reading it is no longer a problem.

  18. @ Eva, welcome to another Graves & Renault fan! The Persian Boy is indeed terrific, tho my favorites are The Praise Singer and The Mask of Apollo.
    @ Kip W, yay Graves! I made the mistake of reading both Claudius books over a weekend (got a bit nauseous) because I was so struck by the TV series. But the one I re-read a lot is Homer’s Daughter (“Princess Nausicaa” writes The Odyssey) …

  19. “Sea Change” is one of the stories I am agonizing between for the fifth spot on my Short Story list; also “The Farm” by Elana Gomel, “Hadley Full of Hate” by Michael Hearnshaw, and “Pocosin” by Ursula Vernon. I guess I will know which of them takes it by which happens to be in my ever-changing ballot at midnight on the 31st. Arrgh.

  20. I am a big Renault fan too. I can’t quite understand her enthusiasm for Alexander the Great, from my reading of history; but her version of him does fit into her particular narrative of Greek (Athenian) history, which is ongoing starting chronologically with Theseus (The King Must Die); it is important in this context that Aristotle was Alexander’s tutor. I am only surprised that Myke Cole suggested starting Renault with The Last of the Wine; it’s her first historical novel and is clumsy in parts. For example this was her first attempt at depicting an ancient Greek character experiencing what they perceive as an interaction with gods; she got good at that later but in this novel it didn’t work.

  21. Snodberry Fields: OK, finished mount char… He really got me interested in each viewpoint quickly as he introduced them. At this moment, in the book afterglow, I feel it was the best book I have read from last year.

    That book is firmly on my Hugo nomination list. I would tell you that that type of fiction is not really my thing — but that book just blew me away. It is very much a case of having “the Something Extra that I expect Hugo-worthy books to have”.

  22. I did not love “Sea Change”. I’m going to have to re-read it (it’s been at least a couple of months) to make sure that is my final answer.

  23. I’ve actually been listening to The Persian Boy the past few days! I’ve always liked it because of it’s outsider POV, which I think lets the reader handily understand a lot about both the ancient Persian and Macedonian/Greek cultures.I also think that it softens up Alexander so that he’s a more sympathetic figure to the reader, as we’re more likely to forgive, or at least understand, his faults, just as Bagoas does.

  24. @Snodberry Fields:

    I know, right? I was really surprised at how great it was, and it kept getting better.

    Btw, Scott Hawkins is eligible for the Campbell. 😉

  25. @Ryan H

    So, not much chance of you retrieving my Blake’s Seven episodes from my VCC?

    More seriously, it must get old very, very quickly when people want you not only to retrieve what you can. but also confirm that they were right all along; I can also recognise the mindset which maintains that if it says X then it must be X, notwithstanding the fact that the evidence shows otherwise.

    I can imagine the conversations where your clients triumphantly announces to others that you agree with them, but the second set are more likely to complain that you just don’t know what you are doing, because if it says X then it must be X. Altogether a pain in the proverbial.

    Fortunately I am unlikely to trouble you since I regard information technology as magic which I cannot practise, and belong to the point and pray school of photography. If anything useable emerges I am thrilled, surprised, and grateful.

    This has some relevance to the Hugo nominations; I’ve just finished the Allen M Steele novella The Long Wait, which others had found outstanding, and was surprised to arrive at the end feeling that it was a nice story, but nothing more, or less, than that. I’d rather expected to feel something strongly in one direction or another; VHS teeing off against Betamax if you like. I do wonder whether the shenanigans surrounding the Hugos in recent years have subconsciously conditioned me to towards expecting something more dramatic.

    Equally, your customers convinced that the frame rate must be what it says it is, even when it isn’t, remind me of some of the disconnect from reality we have seen over the Hugos. And on that happy note I think I can squeeze in another couple of stories before the closing bell rings, and remind people that Perilous and Fair, a collection of essays on Tolkien’s female characters, is eligible for the Related Works category, and, in my view, an eminently worthy candidate. Strictly speaking I suspect most people would jib at describing Shelob as fair, but she’s certainly perilous.

    ETA

    ‘Pocosin’ is a wonderful story!

  26. I just finished my very first Hugo nominations form. Nothing in one category (fancasts), but most of the rest of the slots are filled in. I have gone back and forth with fiction categories, since I had six in each that I thought were award worthy and am still not convinced I picked the right five, but barring some compelling last minute thoughts, I’m done.

  27. Msb
    I haven’t come across that particular Graves retelling of the Odyssey. I did, however, read Hercules, My Shipmate (lucky I looked it up—I was ready to put the words in the wrong order), which embodies many of his theories as to what myths were really about.

  28. @Eva: Welcome! Do you have any book recs for us?

    @Glenn: I enjoyed your story, it had some very nice turns of phrase and a logical order. Good following of the form of the original, and good relating to the kerpupple. But it wasn’t gosh-wow enough for Hugo nominating. However, I’m glad to have read it.

    (5) I dunno about the Smale. The organization of the legions hasn’t changed in 1000 years? And then, no spoilers, but something out of the realm of tech and physics happens later on, which is less believable than the Roman Empire not collapsing.

    I’ve read both Claudius books, and I gotta say I like the TV series better; Graves’ writing was deliberately dry. Plus Derek Jacobi, Patrick Stewart, John Hurt, and BRIAN BLESSED! I watched it in the original US run, once a week every Sunday night. It was assigned homework TV in my Latin class, which delighted me.

    I liked “I Am Livia” and of course LeGuin’s “Lavinia”. And all of Lindsay Davis.

    (9) I’ve been working with computers in some fashion since (eep!) 1974, and my first email address ended in .ARPA, because there wasn’t .com, .org, edu yet. But I still haven’t grokked Calibre to go cracking all my books everywhere. So I’ve got Kindle books, Nook Books, and Google Play Books. There’s probably at least one book that I’ve got 3 copies of, on different machines.

    I don’t see his problem with Lend. It’s right there in the list, like Mark-kitteh said. I’ve used it just fine. Where does he live? I go through the library and occasionally delete books that are a waste of electrons, and update those which have gotten a new edition. I have been lent a book featuring a certain 🐙 .

    @Mark-kitteh: I read it on Kindle and it was “Silverspires” every time. This was 2-3 months ago. Country differences in the file? Different settings? NTSC to PAL conversion?

    @Hampus: Don’t say that out loud. Kate Beaton is a very proud Canadian, specifically a Nova Scotian, which is reckoned as still kind of separate from Canada, and definitely NOT America.

    I really liked “Sea Change” but it didn’t make my ballot. Vombatus Rufus did. (Or is she a Lasiorhinus?)

  29. lurkertype:

    “Don’t say that out loud. Kate Beaton is a very proud Canadian, specifically a Nova Scotian, which is reckoned as still kind of separate from Canada, and definitely NOT America.”

    Wonder if it was canadian references I didn’t get then. 😛

  30. Re: House of Shattered Wings.

    I just checked against dead tree copies of both the US and UK editions. Cover blurbs and a random glance at the interior text show the house name as “Silverspires” in both.

    If you have your e-copy in epub format, Calibre’s Edit Book function give you the opportunity to fix that kind of typo. (Though it’s a fairly full-featured ebook editor and probably not for the faint of heart without a knowledge of nHTML and CSS.)

  31. @nickpheas – That means you’ve got nearly 48 hours to cram some podcasts in!

    In my next iteration, I’d like to be someone who can listen to podcasts. I have a lot of Welcome to Night Vale episodes to catch up on. 🙂

  32. If we’re talking about Robert Graves, can I sneak in a quick plug for Count Belisarius? Draws heavily on Procopius, of course, but it’s in a tighter narrative format (the Secret History wanders all over the place) and adds some sort of psychological realism – to a cast of characters, and a historical setting, that you wouldn’t dare to make up.

  33. Cheryl, if audio-only is hard for you, I know that fans have posted transcripts of Welcome to Night Vale. I would recommend reading along, rather than just reading(as so much is tied up in Cecil’s performance), but it might help.

  34. Kate Beaton would likely tell you she’s from Cape Breton, which is culturally closer to Newfoundland than to Nova Scotia (of which it is officially a part).

  35. I love binge-re-watching I, Claudius, but I can never escape the compulsion to chart out all the genealogical and marriage relationships as I go, because otherwise I can’t keep track.

    On an entirely different note…

    I’m working to line up some specific-topic beta readers for Mother of Souls and suspect I’m going to need all the help I can to fill in some gaps. My long-winded explanation of what I’m looking for is on my blog. The themes I expect to have the most difficulty covering all relate to one of my main viewpoint characters. Serafina Talarico is a second-generation Ethiopian immigrant to Italy in the early 19th century (as well as being magically talented) and I’d very much like to line up some beta-readers who can provide feedback on issues of immigrant experience, culture loss, and PoC experience in historic Europe, both from a research point of view and from a reader-enjoyment point of view. Any assistance putting me in contact with beta-readers who would be interested/willing to participate will be much appreciated.

  36. @rcade,

    AFAIK, no date has been, uh, announced for the announcement:

    After nominations close, the Hugo Award Administrators will tally nominations, confirm eligibility, and begin contacting potential finalists. Under the rules of the World Science Fiction Society, every potential finalist must be given an opportunity to decline nomination to the shortlist. Once this process is complete, the current Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, will announce the shortlist of finalists for each category. It typically takes several weeks to complete the eligibility and contact process. MidAmeriCon II has not said when they plan to release the shortlists.

  37. lurkertype
    I’ve put in a request (Inter-Library Loan) for the 6-hour BBC radio adaptation of “I, Claudius” that they did in 2010. I’ll be taking a long-ish drive (two days up, two days, down, and possibly another four to six of additional driving—personally, I’d trade some of that for flying this time), and it would be nice to have along. Derek Jacobi does Augustus in this one. (I got some good use out of Orson Welles’s 3-1/2 hour version of “Les Miserables” on a recent driving trip, and have enjoyed his shorter adaptations as well.)

    Steve Wright
    Plug away! I really enjoyed Belisarius. Even getting a copy to read was an adventure—it’s apparently kept in our library’s crypt, and someone had to go down and fetch it up. I have since purchased my own copy.

  38. Hampus – I am a USian, and read Hark, A Vagrant (Beaton’s first collection) with my web friend Google open next to me, because I am pathetically ignorant of Canadian history, and so, so, so many other topics. It was very slow, but very educational , and then very funny going.

  39. Oh, and now I’m panicking totally over time zones viz, I live in England and had cheerily assumed that midnight on the 31st is obviously English time.

    That cheerful assumption seems to be wrong, and I should very much appreciate some kind person telling me when the nominations closed by English time.

  40. @Stevie,

    London is UTC+1 (at the moment), whereas the nominations use PDT (Pacific Daylight time) which is UTC-7. So you have eight hours more after midnight on the 31st English time before nominations close. I would get my final updates done sooner rather than later just in case there is a software hiccup. (Someone correct me if I’ve screwed this up)

    Shorter me: the UK hits midnight eight hours before e.g. Los Angeles which is in the PDT timezone.

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