(1) ’45 CALIBER. Ian Moore’s “Where to find the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards finalists” on Secret Panda is a Homeric compilation of publicly available material and alternative sources for learning about the Retro nominees. And it ends with a great cat photo.
…But what of the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards finalists? There is unlikely to be a Voter Packet for these, so how are Hugo Awards voters to go about making an informed choice here? Fortunately, many of the works that will be on the ballot are available online, either on the Internet Archive or elsewhere. Below I have compiled links to as many of these as I could find, and provided information about whether items are in print or otherwise….
(2) RESIZING THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. The Hard Times reports “Middle Earth Temporarily Bans Fellowships of More Than Five”.
MINAS TIRITH — The White Council of the Wise issued a decree today that all fellowships in Middle Earth shall be no larger than five companions for at least the next quarter-age to help slow the spread of the Samund-01 curse that has already killed over 30,000 elves, dwarves, and men.
(3) BLACKOUT. Connie Willis blogged her “Journal Of The Coronavirus Year III”.
…It does feel like we’re living through another Black Death.
But in recent days, as the horrors of the coronavirus pandemic have begun to unfold,
I’ve also been reminded of similarities of this pandemic to the Blitz:
1. The disruption of our daily lives.
The orderly schedules of the British people was completely upended by the Blitz. People found themselves sleeping under the kitchen table or in basements or tube shelters. They went to work in the morning after a sleepless night with bombs falling overhead, only to find that their place of work was closed or bombed out, and when they went home, they found that had been bombed out, too. Everything changed in an instant. Theaters and museums were closed, and the way of life they’d always known disappeared overnight as if it had never been….
She comes up with three more parallels before concluding –
Everybody’s rising to the occasion, and, in spite of my having occasional worried thoughts about all of us becoming the crazy characters in Shirley Jackson’s WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, we’re doing great. When this is all over, we’re going to be able to say, just like the British, “This was their finest hour.”
(4) SEEKING DONATIONS. The Ray Bradbury Experience Museum (RBEM) asks for help to open ‘The Martian Chronicles’ exhibit area for the Ray Bradbury Centennial celebration in “Green Town” in 2020. The donation link is here.
(5) WHO MEMORIAL. “Farewell, Sarah Jane” on the official Doctor Who YouTube channel.
Today marks the anniversary of the passing of Elisabeth Sladen, who played the Doctor’s friend Sarah Jane Smith. In a new video, scripted by Russell T Davies and narrated by Jacob Dudman, Sarah Jane Smith’s closest friends come together to say “Farewell, Sarah Jane”.
(6) MORE SARAH JANE. Coincidentally, SYFY Wire ran this story a couple of days ago — “Wire Buzz: Elizabeth Sladen’s Daughter In Doctor Who Radio Drama”.
Doctor Who is keeping it in the family.
Sadie Miller, the actress daughter of the late Elizabeth Sladen, is boarding the TARDIS in the role her mother made famous on the iconic BBC sci-fi series — that of intrepid investigative reporter Sarah Jane Smith — in Big Finish‘s highly anticipated audio drama Doctor Who: Return of the Cybermen.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 19, 1907 — Alan Wheatley. Best remembered for being the Sheriff of Nottingham in The Adventures of Robin Hood TV series, with Richard Greene playing Robin Hood. In 1951, he had played Sherlock Holmes in the first series about him, but no recordings of it are known to exist. And he was in Two First Doctor stories as Temmosus, “The Escape” and “The Ambush” where he was the person killed on screen by Daleks. (Died 1991.)
- Born April 19, 1925 — Hugh O’Brian. He was Harry Chamberlain in Rocketship X-M which you can see here. (It was nominated in the 1951 Retro Hugo Awards given at The Millennium Philcon but lost out to Destination Moon.) He would later play Hugh Lockwood in Probe, the pilot for Search, and Search itself, an SF series. His only other genre appearance I think was playing five different roles on Fantasy Island. (Died 2016.)
- Born April 19, 1933 — W.R. Cole. Author of A Checklist of Science Fiction Anthologies, self-published In 1964. Ok, I’m including him today because I’m puzzled. SFE said of this work that ‘Though it has now been superseded and updated by William Contento’s indexes of Anthologies, it is remembered as one the essential pioneering efforts in Bibliography undertaken by sf Fandom.’ Was this really the first time someone compiled an index of anthologies? I seem to remember earlier efforts though I can’t remember precisely who. (Died 2002.)
- Born April 19, 1935 — Herman Zimmerman, 84. He was the art director and production designer who worked between 1987 and 2005 for the Trek franchise. Excepting Voyager, he worked on all other live-action productions including the first season of Next Gen, the entire runs of Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, as well as six Trek films. As Memory Alpha notes, “Together with Rick Sternbach he designed the space station Deep Space 9, with John Eaves the USS Enterprise-B and the USS Enterprise-E. His most recognizable work though, have been his (co-)designs for nearly all of the standing sets, those of the bridge, Main Engineering (co-designed with Andrew Probert) and Ten Forward for the USS Enterprise-D in particular.” Not surprisingly, he co-wrote the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual with Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler.
- Born April 19, 1936 — Tom Purdom, 84. There’s very little on him on the web, so I’ll let Michael Swanwick speak for him in the introduction to his Lovers & Fighters, Starships & Dragons collection: ‘How highly do I regard Tom’s fiction? So highly that I wrote the introduction to the collection — and I hate writing introductions. They’re a lot of work. But these stories deserve enormous praise, so I was glad to do it.’ He’s written five novels and has either one or two collections of his stories. He’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects.
- Born April 19, 1946 — Tim Curry, 74. Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show of course, but it’s not his first genre appearance as he’d appeared a year earlier at the Scottish Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. And yes I know that he appeared in the live show which was at the Chelsea Classic Cinema and other venues before the film was done. Other genre appearances include playing Darkness in Legend, an outstanding Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, Farley Claymore in The Shadow (great role), another superb performance playing Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island and in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as The Player.
- Born April 19, 1952 — Mark E. Rogers. Best remembered for the Samurai Cat series which in the first book, The Adventures of Samurai Cat, lampooned Tolkien, Lovecraft and Howard. Indiana Jones. Burroughs’ Barsoom and Star Wars would also get their due. (Died 2014.)
- Born April 19, 1967 — Steven H Silver, 53. Fan and publisher, author, and editor. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twelve times and Best Fanzine four times. He’s a longtime contributing editor to SF Site and has written that site’s news page since its beginning. Over twenty years ago, he founded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and has served as a judge ever since. He publishes his own fanzine, Argentus, and is a Hugo nominee this year for his work on Journey Planet.
- Born April 19, 1968 — Ashley Judd, 52. Best known genre wise for playing Natalie Prior in the Divergent film franchise. She was also Carly Harris-Thompson in the Tooth Fairy film, and was Ensign Robin Lefler in a few episodes of Next Gen. She played Beverly Paige on several episodes of Twin Peaks as well.
(8) GAULD Q&A. On NPR: “Scientists Are Human, Too: Questions For Cartoonist Tom Gauld”.
As a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, of course I love the cartoon of the scientist being tempted by science fiction. Where did that one come from?
I think the scientist character in that cartoon is a bit like me when I’m making these cartoons, because I have to resist the temptation to draw silly robots and over-the-top science fiction technology every week. I am a SF/F nerd myself and while that’s one of the things that draws me to science, I have to remind myself to look in all the different areas of science to find cartoon themes.
(9) MARLOWE AND THE QUEEN. Francis Hamit, who frequently shared with File 770 readers his experience as a writer publishing via early indie platforms, and has spent years trying to get a movie made, sends this update.
I dissolved the Kit Marlowe Film Co, Ltd in February after five years and one month of trying to get CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE produced. My recent surgery for spinal stenosis, (the first of two with the second on hold now because of the pandemic) makes it impossible for me to produce anything, even if our great producer Gary Kurtz hadn’t died in September, 2018, the HMRC had not changed the EIS rules and Brexit had not changed all of the assumptions we had when we started the company in 2014. I’m an old poker player. I know when to fold a losing hand. Rising from the ashes, however, is the five-time award-winning screenplay and the curious fact that BFI says our letter of comfort for the film tax relief can be used by any UK film production company. That’s a twenty percent rebate on the spend in the UK. But coronoavirus has shut down the entire industry in the USA and UK. Except for “development” and I have that script and two others out for consideration. (Details on Facebook).
I also have a few hundred copies of The Shenandoah Spy and The Queen of Washington left in the distributor’s warehouse. I am reducing the retail price to $12.95 and $14.95 respectfully. This is slightly below my break-even point but will free up cash to get another book to market. Regular publishing has ls shut down so it may be DIY for the one I’m working on now STARMEN, a multi-genre romp that begins in El Paso, Texas in 1875 with the Pinkertons, who investigated all sorts of strange things. I might also do some crowd-funding.
Anyway those who would like to buy a copy of either book should call Pathway Book Service at 1-800-345-6665. The Shenandoah Spy is $12.95 plus shipping and handling and they take credit cards. The Queen of Washington is a hardbound at $14.95 plus shipping and handling. Amazon has a few copies at the old prices but has stopped taking third party distributors’ books to deal with the emergency. Both books are in e-book at $9.99 on Amazon Kindle and as audiobooks at Audible, Amazon and iTunes, sometimes for free.
Anyone who wants a signed copy should contact me directly. ([email protected]). (My other books are also available but not discounted.)
Direct sales will be $27.50 per book, $50 for two plus $5.00 shipping each and these will be signed. I’m running out of copies here and will have to order some from Pathway, which costs me for shipping. If they are able. In the current emergency. We can’t be sure. On the other hand they will be signed.
Gail Shalan and I are converting The Shenanoah Spy audiobook to a Young Adult title. That simply means we are going to cut the more graphic sexual content. Probably less than a thousand words that won’t be missed. Times have changed since 2008 when the book was first published and we don’t want to provide “triggers” that get some readers upset and detract from the story. That means the sexual content is still there but more is left to the imagination. Gail’s performance will be intact. BTW the audiobook is “free” if it is a title used to sign up for Audible and Gail and I split a nice bonus.
(10) RABBIT TRACKS. Up for sale are “Charming letters and early drawings by a young Beatrix Potter showing Peter Rabbit from the 1890s” – Daily Mail has the story
An archive of early drawings and letters by children’s author Beatrix Potter have emerged for sale for £250,000.
The charming illustrations date from the 1890s when the writer was honing her craft and had not yet become a household name.
One drawing from 1894 shows Peter Rabbit seven years before the first of his famous tales was published.
(11) A MONSTROUS REGIMENT. JDA shares another secret of his success.
(12) A WELL-DONE ENDING. Richard Paolinelli auditions as a script doctor.
(13) MIDDLE-EARTH’S BOTTOM LINE. “Here’s how much money the Lord of the Rings franchise has made” – Looper added it up. (If only they’d had a good script doctor!)
.. The first three films in Jackson’s Middle-earth franchise raked in nearly $3 billion worldwide. And no, that number doesn’t account for DVD or memorabilia sales, or the sale of the trilogy’s television broadcast rights.
(14) SFF ART ON THE BLOCK. Heritage Auctions’ 2020 April 24 Illustration Art Signature Auction online sale includes two cover paintings for Weird Tales: Virgil Finlay’s ‘The Thief of Forthe’ (July 1937) and Lee Brown Coye’s ‘The Vampire’ (July 1947).
(15) FROST READS. The editors of the Beatles-themed anthology Across the Universe, Michael A. Ventrella and Randee Dawn, are posting videos of various authors in the anthology reading from their work. Here, Gregory Frost reads “A Hard Day’s Night at the Opera.”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Steve Green and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
(7) My college roommate and I were big fans of Samurai Cat and a few years back I was able to get him (the room mate) a new copy signed by Mark.
(5) Watching it now.
Thanks for the title credit.
7) Although not genre, in 1983 I was fortunate enough to see Tim Curry on stage in Sheridan’s The Rivals in London, England, a very funny play. (The word malapropism derives from the character Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals.) Curry, of course, was wonderful. In the same month I saw Diana Rigg in Shaw’s Heartbreak House. It was a great month of theatre in London!
I still say Elrond should have pushed Isildur in. Would have saved a hell of a lot of trouble.
(2) RESIZING THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. LOL at the title and at the parody of real world events. As my Mom reminded me today (not that I needed a reminder, granted), we have to laugh or we’ll cry.
(8) GAULD Q&A. I may have to buy his new book (which isn’t in stock for another week).
(7) Hugh O’Brian was on the original pilot TV movie for Fantasy Island in 1977. He plays a big game hunter whose fantasy is to be hunted. He spends at least a portion of the movie handcuffed to Victoria Principal while people shoot at them.
I really liked Search when it was on. I don’t think I’ve seen an episode since, so I don’t know how it’s held up. It was pretty fantastic at the time, but now you could probably have the same effect by giving the field agents a smart phone with a good data plan.
Today is also the anniversary of the first Simpsons short on the Tracey Ullman show in 1987. Given the sheer number of Simpsons episodes and the frequent use of genre plot elements, where does the Simpsons rank in the list of genre TV shows?
It’s also Bicycle Day. I thought that meant a celebration of pedal power, but no, it’s the anniversary of Albert Hofmann’s ride home on his bicycle after taking LSD on April 19, 1943.
Mike Mignola did sketches of breakfast cereal characters for a charity auction. Quisp and Quake were particularly good. You can see them on eBay. Money raised goes to World Central Kitchen.
@Anyone: In case you didn’t notice or don’t read awards posts at File 770 (WUT), check out the Tolkien Society Awards post and the awesome Best Artwork by Jenny Dolfen. (I gushed a little on the comments as I explored her work.)
Dolfen’s new to me and she’s great, IMHO; anyone familiar with her work? Anyone read her book (self-illustrated, of course)?
Anyway, I wanted to draw attention to her winning piece and her work. I really, really like her stuff a lot from what I’ve seen. 😀 Heck, she even has a zebrataur. 🙂
(7) I don’t know whether Tim Curry was ever in any stage production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but in the movie (directed by Tom Stoppard himself), Richard Dreyfuss was The Player.
10) Loved seeing the Beatrix Potter drawings.
12) Sam should have pushed Frodo out the airlock.
@7 (Cole): the quote appears to be missing a word; ISTM it should read “one of the essential pioneering efforts…” — which is correct; they’re not claiming it was first. However, I’m not sure they’d be wrong if they did, as both Day and Strauss only indexed magazines (per memory, and their entries in SFE), and Tuck and Bleiler seem to have focused on novels.
Nice, Andrew! This might be my favorite scroll title yet.
I love Tom Purdom’s work.
I did not know Ashley Judd is my elder. It doesn’t change anything, and it probably doesn’t matter, but there it is.
(12) Betteridge’s Law of Headlines obviously applies here (any question posed in a ‘headline’ will always be answered with ‘no’.) It does make me wonder if he has even read the book though, especially if he thinks that’s the ‘ending’…
No, not the frickin internet archive. You can read I, Rocket right on the website for the magazine that published it. Right effin here
12) Guys, is it gay not to murder your friend when the chips are down?
11) I wonder how the regiment feels about being “done” by JDA?
12) Not an expert on Tolkien or anything, but didn’t he always intend for Sam to be the real hero of the story, or at least it’s true heart? The “average unsung Englishman”, and all that?
P.S. I just read Tor.com’s reminder that Network Effect, the new Murderbot, is coming out May 5. Only two more weeks! Squeeeee!!!!
eta — oh, and btw, Meredith Moment: Tor.com currently has all four Murderbot novellas for FREE in advance of Network Effect‘s publication. Only on the Tor.com website, I think.
@Contrarius , they are releasing one each day, and each for only a day. So today and only today, you can get All Systems Red.
From my partner’s net-cruising, today’s thoroughly needed language-crossing portmanteau word: “pandemishegoss”.
I noticed that after I posted!
I believe he wanted to illustrate that no single person could be The One to stop evil. It requires everyone to step in and do what they can, knowing it won’t be enough but trusting that others will pick up the fight and carry on. For instance, Merry and Pippin bring the Ents into the fight which stops Saruman and frees up the Rohan to go save Gondor, which allows Aragorn to bring the army to the Black Gates to distract Sauron at the pivotal moment.
@Lorien Gray: Yeah. Gandalf notes that Bard’s people and the Beornlings held back allies of Sauron that could have ravaged Rohan (and that the defeat of Smaug kept a powerful dragon out of the fray, as well). The Blue wizards were probably helping indirectly as well.
@Andrew – yes, and I think there’s something (in the Appendix maybe?) about the Rivendell elves fighting to the east and stopping an army that would have prevented Aragorn’s army from arriving. Someone pointed out to me that there are actually elements typical of a heist movie in Tolkien’s story – a gang, all doing separate jobs at the just the right place and just the right moment to take advantage of Mordor’s weaknesses. It still makes me laugh to think of LoTR as a mashup of a heist story and a fight-the-unstoppable-evil story.
(12) Without Smeagol ex Machina, Sam would have been left with a desperate choice, let Frodo be taken by the remaining Nazgul or push him in. Being Sam, he probably would have gone over with him, holding his friend and saying, “Now, now, Mr. Frodo. Don’t you worry. Sam is with you to the end.”
All of Middle Earth would have praised Frodo except for Gandalf, who is all magical and knows everything. The truth would have driven him to drink or maybe to smoke something else.
Of course, this may be just the isolation speaking.
12) Holy hobgoblins, no!! That would be worse than adding/modifying characters in ways that were not in keeping with the original text. Mostly thinking of turning Arwyn into a battle elf on this one, but other examples exist.
One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. – Golda Meir
Currently reading BECOMNG SUPERMAN and it is really amazing but also heartbreaking. Needs all the trigger warnings. I can’t stop reading, because it is so compelling, but sometimes I just put the tablet down for a few minutes and cry and pace in the apartment.
This is a difficult read. This is going to be a very difficult category to decide.
In current Hugo reading:
I finished The Name of All Things yesterday (sequel to Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons). Oddly, it uses the same narrative structure as the first book — two prominent characters take turns relating bits of the story, with a third prominent character acting as a sort of archivist and omniscient commentator — even though these were three DIFFERENT characters than the three narrators in book 1. This made the device seem even more contrived than the last time around, though it did lead to some interesting effects. I can’t wait to see if she does the same thing AGAIN in book 3.
In general I wasn’t quite as interested in the story of this one as the first one, but it’s still full of crunchy worldbuilding details and twists and turns and complications, and still an impressive achievement for a novice author. And there’s a humongous dragon made out of humongous swords, which is pretty cool. And in audio it had a new narrator team, since the narrating characters were different from book 1, so I didn’t have to listen to Vikas Adam again (sorry, Vikas, it’s not you, it’s me!).
Anybody here read Emily Tesh? I don’t vote in the Campbell/Astounding category for short-story writers (sorry, Nibedita Sen!), ’cause I just don’t think the achievement of a short is comparable to that of a novel, which makes Tesh the only other nominee whom I haven’t read any of so far.
In non-Hugo reading, I’m now about 1/3 into Deathless Divide, sequel to Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. Having fun so far!
Definitely painful to read. I was reminded of a statement JMS made in the Lurker’s Guide http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/072.html
I understand that a lot better now.
It’s been decades since I last read LotR, but I recall thinking that behind the disposal of the Ring lie both the virtue of mercy (Frodo has spared Gollum) and the notion of providence (Gollum is thus available to follow his own tragic trajectory when Frodo’s nerve fails). Not surprising for a Catholic writer.
Nevertheless, Sam might indeed be a kind of normative figure–the kind of hero that writers of epics tend to under-emphasize because they don’t seem to make the big sacrificial or battlefield gestures. But Tolkien would certainly have noted the role of Wiglaf in Beowulf, or the actions of his fellow soldiers during the Great War. And Sam does get the curtain line.
There’s an article in the New Yorker about cosplayers making face masks: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/27/the-superfans-springing-into-mask-making-action
“Never has the ability to whip up a Spider-Man mask or a Stormtrooper helmet been so useful.”
@Kevin Harkness — Are you saying that Frodo was not a hero for faltering at the last moment?
Finished BECOMING SUPERMAN. Wow Amazing memoir.
Contrarius: Anybody here read Emily Tesh? I don’t vote in the Campbell/Astounding category for short-story writers (sorry, Nibedita Sen!), ’cause I just don’t think the achievement of a short is comparable to that of a novel, which makes Tesh the only other nominee whom I haven’t read any of so far.
I rarely have more than a couple of nominees in that category. I nominated Tesh this year. Silver in the Wood may not be novel length, but it’s a novella, so it’s not insubstantial. I’m not big on folktale and fairytale retellings, but I thought this version of The Green Man story was really good, enough that I’m looking forward to the second half of the duology, Drowned Country, which is coming out in June — and I ranked Silver around number 15 out of the 55 novellas I read for the Novellapalooza, if that’s helpful.
@Jeff Smith – No. My definition of a hero is a person (or Hobbit) who goes to the limit of their mental and/or physical strength, pushing against fate in a good cause. Frodo certainly did that. He bore the ring until it broke him. I don’t think the definition has to include winning, even though Frodo did triumph by accident.
Changing the subject, has anyone read “Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey”? I’m thinking about the hardcover, since I’m a fan of his work, but I’m not sure if this biography is worth the dollars.
Thanks, JJ! And yeah, I thought about novel vs. vella vs. short for awhile, and decided I’d stretch my inclusiveness as far as vella. I’m aware that it’s an arbitrary line, but I gotta start somewhere. 😉 I’ll look for both her vellas!
The thing that drives me spare about #11 is that this isn’t even close to the end. There’s triumphal returns, weddings, funerals, the Scouring of the Shire, and the passing away of the Third Age. If you think the story ends with the destruction of the ring, you missed the story.
(Or, possibly, only watched the movies. I don’t really remember how the movies ended.)
For those who haven’t already–for an extremely limited time, Tor is offering the first four Murderbot books FREE! One per day for the next four days! Does require signing up for their newsletter, but that’s hardly a burden. (I’ve been getting it for over a year.)
Xtifr: What can I say? I bought all the Murderbot stories as they came out and have pre-ordered the next one. (And reread them several times by now.)
@Mike Glyer: Not everyone is as sensible as you. Sadly. 😉
Dann665: it’s a pity Israel’s recent leadership has forgotten Meir’s line — when they weren’t making a policy of trampling on it, sometimes with ascatological metaphor.
@Kevin Harkness: I read the Gorey biography, and thought I had mentioned it here about a year ago. (Possibly I was just too late for that year’s recommendations.) My notes say it was fascinating when read in chapters (it would have been a slog to read straight through) and that the author spent more time than I thought was reasonable speculating about Gorey’s sexuality. Also the footnotes are ~99% documentation and ~1% expansion, so skim a chapter’s worth for any enhancements unless you really need to know where he got all the information from.
@Lydy Nickerson: the movies included the ?presentation? of Aragorn and Arwen, and Frodo’s final departure; Paolinelli may have misread the fact that Sam gets the last word in both, but I suspect there’s a … simpler … explanation.
@ Chip Hitchcock: poor reading comprehension? It’s… a very American interpretation, concentrating on just the hero, and just one of them, really, and ignoring all the complexity and context which gives the story its richness.
@Beth in MA: you are so right. I’m glad I read Becoming Superman, I nominated it, I doubt I’ll ever read it again (at least in its entirety), and I am going to go pet my cats now.
@Lydy Nickerson: your first explanation is charitable; your more-general observation strikes me as all too plausible. Many years ago I wrote (and lost) an essay-review about Brunner writing a USian-style story (The Shockwave Rider) with its solitary-superman hero in a US setting, adjacent to a UK-style story (The Stone That Never Came Down) about a random group of ordinary decent people coping with a sudden opportunity to do better in a UK (/European) setting. ISTM that Dickson heroes are a particularly pathological genre instance of the US tendency; it’s arguable that the monster CEO salaries in this country are a real-world example.