Pixel Scroll 3/5/16 Confessions of a Wrap Artist

(1) NOW YOU KNOW. People will get a lot of use from Camestros Felapton’s video “Why You Are Wrong”.

All purpose explanation of why you (or whoever) is very wrong.

 

(2) PLAY ALONG AT HOME. Here’s what the judges will be starting with — “The Arthur C. Clarke Award complete submissions list 2016”.

Every year before I announce the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature, I first reveal the complete list of submitted books put forward for consideration.

This year we received 113 books from 41 publishers and publishing imprints, the second highest count for submissions after the record-breaking high of 121 submissions received for our 2014 prize.

To be clear, this is not a long list, but rather a complete list of eligible titles received from publishers who must actively submit titles to our judging panel for consideration. In other words, this is where our judges start from every year.

(3) TRINITY REJECTED. The Clarke longlist inspired Damien G. Walter to comment –

(4) JUMP TO HYPERSPACE STREET. Hollywood’s idea of making something new is to combine two old franchises. ScienceFiction.com explains — “What The–?! Sony Moves Forward With Merging ‘Men In Black’ With ’23 Jump Street’”

In what has to be the craziest news to come along in some time, Sony is looking to merge two of its franchises– ‘Men In Black’ and ’21 Jump Street’.  Director James Bobin (‘The Muppets’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’) is being courted to direct the film, which will star Channing Tatum (Jenko) and Jonah Hill (Schmidt) who will both also produce.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed ’21 Jump Street’ and ’22 Jump Street’ but are occupied directing the Han Solo movie for Disney.  The pair will serve as producers, however.

Sony has confirmed that neither Will Smith nor Tommy Lee Jones are being sought for the new film, as the studio hopes to use this installment as a springboard for a new franchise with younger stars.

(5) WHY SQUEEZING TOO HARD DOESN’T WORK. Steve Davidson draws on his intellectual property experience in “Mine! Mine! Mine! ALL Mine!” at Amazing Stories.

Delicately, you want your fans to let you know when you are getting it right and when you are getting it wrong. And if you’re smart, you figure out a way to successfully gauge that response and you use it. If you manage that most of the time, everything is almost always bigger and better and more successful than the last time.

I hear some say “the fans own it!”. Well yes and well no. The fans only own their collective response, but they can make no claim to the property itself. Suppose this P vs A thing totally blows up into open warfare and every Trekker and Trekkie on the entire planet refuses to have anything to do with Star Trek anymore. (Images of mass DVD burnings and the defenestration of action figures.) Paramount* could still create, produce and distribute anything Star Trek they wanted to (and shut down any and every other expression of Trek that isn’t approved), for as long as they wanted to spend the money. Maybe they’ll mine the Chinese audience for several years (decades). Maybe they’ll change the presentation and pick up a whole new audience of fans (Star Trek: Romance).

A few years back, Disney gutted their expanded universe for Star Wars. Part of the reason, I am sure, was to re-exert control over their property. In many respects it was a good way to create a dividing line between things that fans might be allowed to play with and things they weren’t to touch. Individual fans were upset over various decisions made, but it is pretty obvious that the collective response was of acceptance.

(6) DON ANDERSON OBIT. Don Anderson passed away on October 16, 2015. Robert Lichtman says, “In the early 1960s Don was a member of the N3F’s apa.  A search of the Eaton’s fanzine listings shows that he published titles such as Plack, Porp and Cry of the Wild Moose. He joined SAPS with its 199th mailing, April 1997, and remained a member until his death, producing 68 issues of Moose Reducks.”

Wally Weber and Robert Lichtman found the family announcement linked here which includes the information, “Donald was a United States Air Force Veteran who proudly served his country during the Korean War and was a retiree of Eastman Kodak Co.”

(7) GARY HUTZEL OBIT. TrekMovie.com reports

Gary Hutzel, Emmy Award Winning VFX artist known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has died at age 60.

Hailing originally from Ann Arbor Michigan, Gary Hutzel left his mechanical engineering studies behind to move to Santa Barbara, CA to pursue a career in the film industry. There he studied photography at the Brooks Institute and subsequently began his motion picture career working as a video camera operator, which sparked his interest in visual effects. His early VFX work was as a freelancer on CBS’s The Twilight Zone, a gig that got him noticed by the team putting together the then Star Trek reboot, The Next Generation.

Hired to work on Trek in 1987, Hutzel lead visual effects for The Next Generation for the first five seasons of its run. After the end of TNG’s fifth season, Hutzel and VFX colleague Robert Legato transferred to the new Star Trek show on the block, Deep Space Nine, which Hutzel worked on for its entire run. One of his most notable contributions to DS9 is his work on the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” in which Hutzel oversaw the integration of footage from the Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” into the freshly shot DS9 footage.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 5, 1954 Creature from the Black Lagoon has its world premiere.

Creature from the black lagoon poster

  • March 5, 1963 — The Hoola Hoop is patented.

(9) KEN LIU’S CALENDAR. Here’s where you’ll find Ken Liu in April:

  • Waterford Public Library, 4/2/2016, Waterford, CT. Reading at 2:00 PM.
  • The Library of Congress, 4/8/2016, Washington, DC.
  • The University of Maryland, 4/8/2016.
  • Thomas Kang Lecture. I’ll be speaking with Professor Christopher Bolton of Williams College as the headliners: “Silkpunk, Technologized Bodies, and Translation: Cases in Chinese, Japanese and American Popular Culture.”
  • Arkansas Literary Festival, 4/15-4/17, Little Rock, Arkansas.

(10) BENFORD ON THE ROAD. Gregory Benford sat for a photo while in Nashville for a signing on March 3.

(11) FREE AIN’T CHEAP. Mark Lawrence crunches the numbers in “The cost of promotion!”

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to know what to do with the ‘free’ books a publisher sends you. Sending them out into the world is the natural thing to do – but it’s going to cost you 100s of $$$ and may very well not generate anything like enough sales to justify the cost.

(12) MEH POWER.

(13) WHO YA GONNA CALL LATER? At Entertainment Weekly, “The painful what-if that haunts ‘Ghostbuster’ Ernie Hudson”.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking.

The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

I’m panicked. I don’t sleep that night. It was like my worst nightmare is happening. The next morning, I rush to the set and plead my case. And Ivan basically says, “The studio felt that they had Bill Murray, so they wanted to give him more stuff to do.” I go, “Okay, I understand that, but can I even be there when they’re established?” And of course, he said no, there’s nothing to do about it. It was kind of awkward, and it became sort of the elephant in the room.

I see this differently now—and I don’t mean any kind of animosity or anything towards anyone, certainly not towards Ivan or the guys. I was a single dad, and we were struggling to kind of hold on and pay the rent. I still needed to do this job. 30 years later, I look back at the movie and it works very well the way it is. I think the character works with what he has to work with. But I’ve always felt like, “Man, if I could’ve played that original character…”

(14) STARTING TO COUNT. Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizon dips his toe in “The 2016 SFF Awards Meta-List”.

In 2016, 4 different awards have already announced their nominees: the Philip K. Dick, the British Science Fiction Association Awards (BSFA), the Kitschies, and the Nebulas. Not a lot so far, but has anyone emerged as an early leader? Here’s the list of everyone who has gotten more than one nomination:

Europe at Midnight, Dave Hutchinson (2 nominations, Kitschies, BSFA)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (2 nominations, Nebulas, Kistschies)

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

213 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/5/16 Confessions of a Wrap Artist

  1. He is, in short, batshit crazy.

    He thinks that Hugo authors regularly sold millions of copies of single books in the 1980s. That’s evidence of a less than familiar relationship with reality right there.

  2. Aaron: He thinks that Hugo authors regularly sold millions of copies of single books in the 1980s. That’s evidence of a less than familiar relationship with reality right there.

    He also thinks that Hugo authors got million-dollar advances on books. He’s not even familiar with this planet — never mind this universe.

  3. @Bonnie McDaniel

    “Fail Burton, AKA James May….”

    Wait, what?! It’s the same person?

  4. He also thinks that Hugo authors got million-dollar advances on books

    Hey, I slammed my Hugo down on the desk at Penguin and they started adding zeroes to my advances.

    I just wish they’d added them to the right side, not the left. Sigh…

  5. JJ Said:

    The Puppies’ entire argument is predicated upon their insistence that the Hugo Awards should represent the taste of all SFF fans. This is why they keep bringing up “million-sellers” and big media conventions — books that the Hugos weren’t intended to recognize, and cons that Worldcon members have never wanted their con to be.

    Not arguing with you but pointing out the obvious – that isn’t what they nominate. And they hate Scalzi and not too happy with GRRM. They refer to him as “Rape Rape” Martin.

    Bat Shit Crazy indeed. I was going to use that term but Lindsay Graham has made it his own lately.

  6. Zenu: Vox insults GRRM with that term. It’s not common among Sad Puppies, like CHORF or something like that.

  7. @Bonnie McDaniel

    Wow. OK. That explains quite a bit. It’s actually kind of a relief to know that there’s only one person doing that.

    @RedWombat

    Thats just more of your pro-Right agenda isn’t it?

  8. In the case of Scalzi, they seem to try to solve the cognitive dissonance by claiming that he doesn’t actually sell very well, and that Tor is conspiring to make him look more popular than he really is, as part of their evil plot to destroy the world of SF.

  9. @Zenu, Aaron and JJ

    Not to mention that he thinks that Wells, Haggard and Burroughs brought SFF mainstream popularity…

    I’m voting for alternate universe myself, perhaps as background for the Puppy LARP?

  10. Jamoche on March 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm said:
    Aww, how cute – I think I’ve found next year’s Puppy Best Dramatic pick: according to its director, Gods of Egypt didn’t fail because it was obvious from the first trailer that it was going to suck (although if it really *had* been Snake Plissken vs the Goa’uld, that might’ve been fun), it failed because of the critics:

    I had the good fortune to see a preview for it with a crowd of bright, funny, trope-savvy young people who ripped it to hilariously awful pieces as it played.

    It didn’t appeal to *any* of my video-gaming, mythology-loving, action-adventure movie fan, computer animation connoisseur, sfx geek, or wargaming young acquaintances except as the butt of facepalming jokes.

  11. @Mike

    I see at MonsterHunterNation or did back when I was initially checking into this whole debacle. Correia and GRRM had a bit of a back and forth.

  12. I would claim that you’ve lost sight of the goal. You don’t want anything that benefited from a slate to ever win a Hugo, whereas I merely want to destroy the slates.

    No, my aim is the same as yours: to destroy the slates. The difference between us is that you think we can destroy the slates by stopping them getting a sweep, whereas I think there is a strategy which slaters could adopt which would allow them to get three spots per category, have a significant influence on the result, and continue happily for many years.

    I agree that we should vote for whatever is worthy. Refusing to do so would have much worse consequences. Nevertheless, by doing so, we are allowing slaters to skew the ballot. There are more than five worthy works per year, so ‘worthy’ is not the same as ‘would have been nominated anyway’. This means that slaters can use their influence to create a ballot which consists of worthy works, but is not the ballot that would have resulted from free voting, and is biased in favour of a particular outlook.

  13. Stevie:

    It’s late over here, I’m tired, and I’m happy to leave side issues aside, but there is a large and gaping hole in your logic when you assert that in order to nominate more works people will have to read more works. They don’t. What they have to do is remember to nominate the works which they read which they thought were worthy.

    Well, I thought I had already answered this, but just to go over it again:

    In order to nominate five works, I need to read five works.

    Many people who are potential nominators will not, in the ordinary course of life, have read five eligible works. They may not normally read short fiction at all, and they may not normally read novels in the year in which they first appear.

    Hence, to find five things to nominate, they will have to read more works.

    This is not a purely academic point. A lot of people value the Hugos because they give them guidance on what to read. I suspect that many of the people who signed up last year to save the Hugos come from this group. Such people will not, in the normal course of things, read a lot of eligible works before the nomination deadline, because they are waiting for guidance from award shortlists on what is worthwhile. (The whole system of awards depends on an award coming quite early in a book’s lifecycle; that’s why awards are a sales boost, and why the Hugo Reader Packet is possible.)

    I see lots of people here describing the way they are energetically searching out things to nominate. Good for them. But I am not sure how many people can be expected to do that.

    And yes, I know I don’t have to nominate five works. If the aim were just to widen participation, generally, this would be fine; have everyone nominate the one work they have read and enjoyed. If, however, the point is that we need as many nominations as possible to stop slates, there is pressure to nominate more, and for many people that means reading more.

  14. Geez, maybe some people ought to read all the short fiction and write about it so other people might find some stuff to check out.

  15. Clearly that helps. If I were just reading whatever came to hand, I might have to read fifty things to find five Hugo-worthy ones. With recommendations guiding me to the good stuff, ten should probably be enough. Still, with three categories, ten works in each category is quite a commitment.

  16. @Cassy B

    Francesca, what is The Kraken King about and who is it by? If you mention it in the same breath as The Goblin Emperor, that gets my attention…

    Haven’t read it, but seeing the two works mentioned together, I was imagining a plot along the lines of…

    King George V, in order to secure continued rule over the high seas, enters ill-advised dynastic alliance with the Deep Ones. Spawn gets raised in a secluded seaside castle. In World War II, an air raid wipes out most of the Windsors. Can the young Kraken King preserve his nation and break the stranglehold of the German U-Boats?

  17. I’ve found that even with recommendations, I need at least five books for every one I think is worthy. If even that is enough. I’m quite sure I will not be able to fill up half the ballot. Which is ok with me for this year.

    For next year, I will start a bit earlier.

  18. You know, if Teela Brown and her genetically based luck can be science fiction, I don’t see anything in Watchmaker that world disqualify it from being science fiction.

  19. I am beginning to think, from 1936 to 2016, that fandom isn’t fandom unless someone is arguing somewhere about which books “count” as science fiction and which don’t.

  20. Arthur Clarke himself, who churned out hard-SF stories about near-earth space, the Moon, Mars, Saturn and so on with no FTL, time travel or antigravity, also wrote fantastic stuff like Childhood’s End or the last act of either 2001 or Rendezvous with Rama, and famously said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

    Meanwhile, over in Middle Earth, the Elves are not clear what humans mean when they say Elves are/have/do magic, since the Elves understand it, so it isn’t magic to them.

  21. @Peace Is My Middle Name:

    I am beginning to think, from 1936 to 2016, that fandom isn’t fandom unless someone is arguing somewhere about which books “count” as science fiction and which don’t.

    It was part of my introduction to fandom. What’s SF, what’s fantasy, what books you must read (which no one agrees on), whose a Fan/fan/reader. What I learned in my first year of fandom in my 30s was we argue a lot about definitions and whose in and whose out. Immediately followed by books are good, have you read and welcome newbie who doesn’t meet any of requirements would you like to volunteer?. I was thankful I had a guide and in short time a number of guides or I would have run screaming confused by Fandom’s cognitive dissonance.

  22. @PIMMN – I am beginning to think, from 1936 to 2016, that fandom isn’t fandom unless someone is arguing somewhere about which books “count” as science fiction and which don’t.

    Pretty much. With everyone not really acknowledging their stance is a subjective one.

    In a normal year, I read 80-100 genre novels and maybe half again as much shorter fiction. What is different this year (because I’ve never nominated before) is that I’ve focused on work written in 2015. I have 10 novels, 13 short stories, six novelettes and eight novellas on my longlist. So, probably average in award worthy to not.

    I’ll leave gaps where I don’t have much interest, but it won’t be in the fiction categories. I’m okay with that.

  23. Defining genre is not an effort worth taking seriously. Feel free to do it if you enjoy trying. I for one have made my own efforts in the past and rarely have the energy to wade into it again just because it’s come around again on the guitar.

    The alternative to definition is characterization. Everyone will have a different set of characteristics that tend to put a work in a particular genre, naturally. However, they’ll tend to agree on enough to keep them from going down the meta-discussion rathole of having to agree on the total of the subject of discussion.

  24. Scifantastical Rhapsody

    Is this book sci-fi?
    Or is it fantasy?
    Written in a genre
    Not based in reality.
    Open your book
    Take a close look and see…
    I’m just a writer, I need no sympathy
    Add space elves all night and day
    Like Warhammer 40K
    Anyway the book goes, doesn’t really matter to me
    Toooooo meeeeeee….

  25. Lowell Gilbert on March 7, 2016 at 10:32 am said:

    Defining genre is not an effort worth taking seriously.

    Which is why WSFS doesn’t even try. We define Hugo eligibility as works of “science fiction and fantasy” and the effective definition is “What you (and you, and you, and yes, you too) point to when you say ‘science fiction and fantasy.'” We assume that the collective decision of all of the people participating represents a consensus definition, even though individuals will complain about individual works.

    Anyone who complains that the result of a democratic process doesn’t reflect their own personal desires and that therefore the entire process is broken doesn’t understand how democracy works.

  26. Haven’t read it, but seeing the two works mentioned together, I was imagining a plot along the lines of…

    That sounds like it might make an interesting novel. From here in 1864, it’s alternate future history!

  27. RedWombat :

    Is this book sci-fi?
    Or is it fantasy?
    Written in a genre
    Not based in reality.
    Open your book
    Take a close look and see…
    I’m just a writer, I need no sympathy
    Add space elves all night and day
    Like Warhammer 40K
    Anyway the book goes, doesn’t really matter to me
    Toooooo meeeeeee….

    Wombat, you just killed our fun
    Now we’re seeing red;
    All our genre lines are dead.
    Wombat, I sneered at fantasy,
    And now you’ve thrown those rules away
    Wombat, ooooo-ooooo-ooooh
    I don’t mean to make you cry,
    But I’m going back again to space opera.
    Carry on, carry on, ‘cos what you write don’t matter…

  28. I wonder how Locus, which awards books separately in the SF and Fantasy categories, handles it? What do they do if different people nominate the same book in different categories?

    Personally, I like the idea of awards in both categories, even though I not only admit that the border is not always clear, I actually shout it from the rooftops! Most works don’t fall on the border, and for those that do, a rough consensus for the purposes of awards can’t be impossible to achieve.

    Among books that don’t fall on the border, I tend to prefer SF, so I’d like to know what the best SF books are even in a year where the best genre work overall happens to be fantasy.

    (My canonical example of hard-to-categorize is Roger Zelazny’s pair, Lord of Light and Creatures of Light and Darkness. The former is full of fantasy tropes, but seems to try to ground the whole thing in reality, making it at least marginally SFnal, while the latter is full of SF tropes, but never tries to explain its magic or gods, making it barely fall on the side of fantasy. In my opinion. But someone probably could, without much effort, argue the exact opposite, or any combination: SF/SF, SF/F, F/SF, or F/F. And I’m ok with that.)

  29. Xtifr on March 7, 2016 at 12:57 pm said:

    I wonder how Locus, which awards books separately in the SF and Fantasy categories, handles it? What do they do if different people nominate the same book in different categories?

    An individual human being decides. That used to be Charles Brown. It’s presumably now Liza Groen Trombi, although she might have delegated the job; I’ve never asked her.

    This method only works with an individual person who has absolute authority, without appeal or recourse, to make the decisions. WSFS doesn’t like giving anyone that authority. We have to give Administrators enough power to do their jobs, but we do everything we can to limit their authority to merely administrative tasks like determining word counts and date of publication.

  30. @ Red Wombat

    Scifantastical Rhapsody

    If I weren’t fighting off a brain-eating cold (or maybe flu), I’d plunge in and help complete that!

    Or…no…I wouldn’t because in that case I”d be at work. But the thought is there!

  31. @Kevin Standlee: that makes sense, but I can’t help but think there are algorithmic ways to arrive at a rough consensus. (Note that this wouldn’t be for the Hugos, which work the way they do, and I’m fine with that.)

    The easiest approach is simple majority rule. If more people nominate a work as fantasy than as SF, then it’s in the running as fantasy.

    To make things a little more fair to the work, you could add something like: if it doesn’t make the short-list in the category the majority chose, then, as long as a sufficient quantity (perhaps 1/3 of the people who nominated it*) thought it worked in the other category, then it would still be in the running there. This would only help in the case where one category was getting a lot more nominations than the other, but would provide a nice safety net for borderline-genre works in such cases.

    * You could say if it got any votes in the other genre category, but one vote could be a simple mistake of categorization.

  32. Andrew M on March 7, 2016 at 6:11 am said:

    In order to nominate five works, I need to read five works.

    But you don’t need to nominate five works. If you’ve only read three works that you consider Hugo-worthy in a particular category, nominating those three is better than nominating nothing at all. In particular, it helps defeat the slates.

    If every person who is eligible to nominate this year managed to find at least one work to nominate in each category, I don’t think the slates would have a chance! More would be better, but some is better than none! The main reason slating worked so well last year is that most people didn’t nominate anything. Especially in the short-fiction categories.

  33. To: @MikeGlyer @Wally Weber and @Robert Lichtman,
    My name is Melissa Anderson, My Dad was Donald Anderson Aka Andermoose.
    I saw that Robert left a message on my Dad’s Obit. March 5th and wanted to reach out and thank him, But I cannot find an email address for anyone.
    I also wanted to thank all you guys that knew him. We spent many hours talking about his many trips to the meet ups.The fun he used to have talking about everyone. He so wanted to go to the last one in Newcastle but his health just wouldn’t allow it.
    Thank you for giving him many years of memories.
    Melissa

  34. @ Cassy B.
    The Kraken King is a book by Meljean Brooks and part of the Iron Seas series. I have been trying to construct a sentence, but anything I have come up with makes the book sound utterly ridiculous. I’ll do tags instead: steampunk, zombies, kraken=WMD=clockwork=genetic engineering, oriental menace, zeppelins, biological warfare, love, mechanical flesh engineering. It still sounds ridiculous, but I loved the book and the characters.

    The difference between the two is that I reread the Goblin Emperor immediately: I intend to reread the Kraken King, but it is a bit down in my TBR stack.

  35. microtherion on March 7, 2016 at 8:40 am said:

    King George V, in order to secure continued rule over the high seas, enters ill-advised dynastic alliance with the Deep Ones. Spawn gets raised in a secluded seaside castle. In World War II, an air raid wipes out most of the Windsors. Can the young Kraken King preserve his nation and break the stranglehold of the German U-Boats?

    Microtherion, I’d read the hell out of that.

  36. Camestros Felapton: Your filk invoked a response in me that led to graphs.

    Oh, dear gods, would somebody please take the imaging software away from Camestros? Next we’ll be looking at pie charts of File770 comment topics.

  37. @JJ:

    Oh, dear gods, would somebody please take the imaging software away from Camestros? Next we’ll be looking at pie charts of File770 comment topics.

    But surely Camestros knows that pie charts are almost always bad.

  38. Book Reading:

    Updraft by Fran Wilde: This book is definitely worth reading, but I guess I’m not understanding the massive amounts of love it seems to be getting. After I finished it, I was kind of thinking, okay, on to the next book — and I wanted to figure out why I had that sort of “whatever” response to it.

    I finally decided that it was because, while the worldbuilding is pretty interesting (though there are a few things which get handwaved which I felt should be better explained), and the plot, though not original, is certainly made more so by weaving it into the world, the character development leaves something to be desired. It just felt flat to me; none of the characters’ internal lives really gets explored. It was sort of an Eight Deadly Words situation where the worldbuilding was interesting enough to keep me going.

    I suspect that part of my ambivalence was the main character’s selfishness and self-absorption — when their actions cause severe hardships for others that will last a lifetime, their response was essentially “Gosh, I feel kinda bad about that — oh, well, on to what’s really important now: Getting What I Want”. Flawed characters are fine, but I like to see them achieve some growth — and I didn’t feel like the main character ever really grew in awareness of how their own actions affected other people, or took responsibility for those consequences.

    Depth by Lev A. C. Rosen: I really enjoyed this book. It’s a detective / mystery story set a couple hundred years in the future, when the polar caps have melted and much of the world’s landmass is under water. It’s set in a New York-morphed-into-Venice-at the 21st floor. There are some interesting worldbuilding details — but the focus of the story is definitely on the mystery, not on the science fiction.

    The main character and supporting character are both women, but they’re very much not stereotypical women; I am sure that this enhanced my enjoyment of the book. I found the reading and the resolution of the mystery very satisfying. If I didn’t already have several “wow” books on my Hugo nomination longlist, this would probably be a contender.

    Novellas:

    “Witches of Lychford” by Paul Cornell: I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. It ends up being kind of a “three females bond together to fight evil” story. Worldbuilding does take precedence over character development, but I did care about the characters.

    “Sunset Mantle” by Alter Reiss: Halfway through, I was thinking, “wow, this is definitely going to be on my Hugo list” — and then it got bogged down in lengthy, detailed descriptions of battle, which pretty much stomped that enthusiasm out. Again, the character development here is on the lighter side — but the character interactions are really interesting.

    “The Dire Earth” by Jason M. Hough: This is a prequel which sets up the characters in his already-existing Darwin Elevator series (which I have not read). It’s like the first few episodes of “Lost”, where the catastrophic event occurs, a motley, disparate group of survivors are thrown together, and we get to know them and their backgrounds a little.

    “Rolling in the Deep” by Mira Grant: I don’t know how Seanan McGuire manages to do this, but no matter how little I think I’m going to like her horror books, I end up thinking that they’re some of the best horror I’ve read (and I don’t read a lot of horror, because I don’t really care for it; I’m more into science fiction and space opera). A sensationalist docudrama TV network hires a small cruise ship and its crew, and sets out to create a program on “Do Mermaids Really Exist”? Like all Grant stories, not a happy ending — but an interesting one.

  39. Camestros, I tried to “Like” that, but WordPress refused to allow me to.

  40. Jim Henley on March 7, 2016 at 6:53 pm said:

    @Camestros: Ah yes! Genuinely horrifying. I salute you.

    No, no, the salutations must go to the steadfast programmers behind Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet which truly has a wood grain effect as a regular option for shading your pie-chart BUT apparently has no way of making the category names appear in the key of the pie-chart. I think they do this to make me occasionally wistful for Microsoft products.

    snowcrash on March 7, 2016 at 6:54 pm said:

    @Camestros

    Filers: We work 0.002% harder than everyone else?

    Oh at least that!

    lurkertype on March 7, 2016 at 6:42 pm said:

    Camestros, I tried to “Like” that, but WordPress refused to allow me to.

    WordPress is smarter than it looks! 🙂

Comments are closed.