Pixel Scroll 4/28/18 The Great Emu-Scroll War Was Lost When The Pixels Attacked The Gazebo

Now, where were we when we were so rudely interrupted?

(1) INFURNITY. Camestros Felapton, the world’s most understanding cat owner, provides his pet with “Tim’s Facial Hair Guide to Infinity War”.

So, I’ve explained before that Timothy doesn’t distinguish human faces well. He is also confused by facial hair. OK strictly speaking he is confused by human skin, which he assumes is fur and hence is doubly confused by facial hair which he thinks is fur that is growing out of fur. Look, the main thing is he finds beards confusing and panics if I shave.

So, Marvel’s Infinity War has many characters and about 40%+ of them have facial hair (90%+ if we count eyebrows – do eyebrows count as facial hair? I assume so.) Some of them i.e. Captain America have gained beards for this film.

So to assist Tim to keep track, here is a field guide to various beard styles in the film….

(2) PUBLIC ASKED FOR PODCAST NOMINATIONS. The Parsec Awards Steering Committee is accepting nominations of podcasts for the 2018 Parsec Awards through June 15. Nominate here.

Any material released between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018 is eligible for the 2018 awards. Material released needs to be free for download and released via a mechanism that allows for subscriptions. Thus, YouTube, Facebook, etc.. series are eligible.

If you are a podcaster or author, please feel free to nominate your own podcast or story


(3) MORE STAR WARS. Disney announced “Star Wars Resistance, Anime-Inspired Series, Set for Fall Debut”. The series is set in the era before The Force Awakens.

StarWars.com is thrilled to announce that production has begun on Star Wars Resistance, an exciting new animated adventure series about Kazuda Xiono, a young pilot recruited by the Resistance and tasked with a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order. It will premiere this fall on Disney Channel in the U.S. and thereafter, on Disney XD and around the world.

(4) BROADDUS JOINS APEX. Maurice Broaddus has been named nonfiction editor for Apex Magazine. Jason Sizemore, Editor-in-Chief, made the announcement April 2.

Maurice is a prolific and well-regarded author who works in a multitude of genres. He is also the Apex Magazine reprints editor and now wears two hats for our publication. Upcoming authors Maurice has lined up for essays include Mur Lafferty, Mary SanGiovanni, and Tobias S. Buckell.

You can find Maurice Broaddus on Twitter at @mauricebroaddus and online at www.mauricebroaddus.com. His novella “Buffalo Soldiers” was recently published at Tor.com.

(5) SWANWICK CITES LE GUIN ON PRESENT TENSE: Michael Swanwick would be authority enough for many, but first he appeals for support to “Le Guin on Present Tense” before handing down the stone tablets:

Here’s the rule, and it covers all cases: Only use the present tense if there is some reason for doing so that justifies losing some of your readers and annoying others. (This rule goes double for future tense.) Otherwise, use the past tense.

(6) THINGS FALL APART; THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD: Aalto University reports 2.7 billion tweets confirm: echo chambers in Twitter are very real.

Bipartisan users, who try to bridge the echo chambers, pay a price for their work: they become less central in their network, lose connections to their communities and receive less endorsements from others.

(7) STARTING OUT AS A WOMAN SFF AUTHOR. From Fantasy Café: “Women in SF&F Month: Ann Aguirre”:

…I first sold to New York in 2007, over eleven years ago. That book was Grimspace, a story I wrote largely to please myself because it was hard for me to find the sort of science fiction that I wanted to read. I love space opera, but in the past, I found that movies and television delivered more of the stories I enjoyed. At the time, I was super excited to be published in science fiction and fantasy.

My first professional appearance was scheduled at a small con in Alabama. I was so excited for that, so fresh and full of hope. Let’s just say that my dreams were dashed quite spectacularly. I was sexually harassed by multiple colleagues and the men I encountered seemed to think I existed to serve them. To say that my work wasn’t taken seriously is an understatement. That was only reinforced when I made my first appearance at SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) six months later.

There, the moderator called me the ‘token female’, mispronounced my last name without checking with me first (she checked with the male author seated next to me), and the male panelists spoke over me, interrupted me at will, and gave me very little chance to speak. I remember quite clearly how humiliated I was, while also hoping that it wasn’t noticeable to the audience.

Dear Reader, it was very noticeable. Afterward, David Brin, who was in the audience, came up to me with a sympathetic look and he made a point of shaking my hand. He said, “Well, I was very interested in what you had to say.” With a pointed stress on the word “I.”…

(8) WTF? Can you believe somebody is comparing what they’re marketing to “The Veldt” as if it’s a good thing? “Madison Square Garden cites Ray Bradbury as an influence on upcoming Sphere Arena in Las Vegas”.

Madison Square Garden officials lifted the curtain a bit on their MSG Sphere Arena entertainment venues coming to Las Vegas and London, with a demonstration Thursday that hinted at advanced technology going into the design and experiences for audiences within the new-generation venues.

In his presentation at the Forum in Inglewood, which his company rejuvenated in 2014 with a $100-million face and body lift, Madison Square Garden Co. chairman James L. Dolan cited a short story from science-fiction author and futurist Ray Bradbury’s 1951 anthology “The Illustrated Man” as something of a spiritual model for the new facilities.

In particular, he referenced Bradbury’s story “The Veldt,” which centered on a high-tech room of the future, called the “liquid crystal room,” which could synthesize any environment in which children desired to play or explore.


  • April 28, 2007 — Ashes of actor James Doohan and of Apollo 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper soared into space aboard a rocket.

(10) SIXTY-THREE. Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus takes his monthly whack at my favorite-in-the-Sixties prozine: “[April 27, 1963] Built to Last?  (May 1963 Analog)”.

If this trend continues, we can assume that our children and grandchildren will not only have Burroughs, Wells, Verne, Shelley, and Baum to read, but also reprinted copies of our present-day science fiction, as well as the SF of the future (their present).  Perhaps they’ll all be available via some computerized library — tens of thousands of volumes in a breadbox-shaped device, for instance.

The question, then, is whether or not our children will remember our current era fondly enough to want reprints from it.  Well, if this month’s Analog be a representative sample, the answer is a definitive…maybe.

(11) HORTON ON HUGOS. Catching up with Rich Horton’s commentaries about the 2018 Hugo nominees and who he’s voting for.

My views here are fairly simple. It’s a decent shortlist, but a bifurcated one. There are three nominees that are neck and neck in my view, all first-rate stories and well worth a Hugo. And there are three that are OK, but not special – in my view not Hugo-worthy (but not so obviously unworthy that I will vote them below No Award.)…

This is really a very strong shortlist. The strongest shortlist in years and years, I’d say. Two are stories I nominated, and two more were on my personal shortlist of stories I considered nominating. The other two stories are solid work, though without quite the little bit extra I want in an award winner….

This is by no means a bad shortlist. Every story on it is at least pretty decent. …

(12) SIPPING TIME. Charles Payseur finds stories with reasons for the season: “Quick Sips – Fireside Magazine April 2018”.

Spring might finally be arriving, and at Fireside Magazine that means the stories are about rebirth and new beginnings, even as they’re about decay and endings. For me, at least, spring always brings to mind thaw. A thawing of the world after the long freeze of winter. Which means new growth, new green, but also means revealing all the death that the snow concealed. The roadkill, the rot, the dead leaves not yet turned to mulch. And these stories find characters at this point, seeing all around them the evidence of death and pain, and having to make the decision to also see the life. To see the good, and to try and foster that good, to help it grow. These are stories that show people pushing back against the pressure to die, to be silent, and embrace a future full of the possibility of failure, yes, but also full of the hope of success. To the reviews!

(13) GENIUSES AT WORK. Nine letters from the 1940s by Freeman Dyson show “Another Side of Feynman” at Nautilus.

l through a long life I had three main concerns, with a clear order of priority. Family came first, friends second, and work third.”

So writes the pioneering theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson in the introduction to his newly published collection of letters, Maker of Patterns. Spanning about four decades, the collection presents a first-person glimpse into a life that witnessed epochal changes both in world history and in physics.

Here, we present short excerpts from nine of Dyson’s letters, with a focus on his relationship with the physicist Richard Feynman. Dyson and Feynman had both professional and personal bonds: Dyson helped interpret and draw attention to Feynman’s work—which went on to earn a Nobel Prize—and the two men traveled together and worked side by side.

Taken together, these letters present a unique perspective of each man. Feynman’s effervescent energy comes through, as does Dyson’s modesty and deep admiration for his colleague.

(14) ADVANCED TRAINING. Did MZW graduate from this course?

(15) EJECT. Yes, this is me: I sometime I feel like I have finished delivering the info yet haven’t figured out how to end the sentence. “Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages” at Nautilus.

Imagine standing up to give a speech in front of a critical audience. As you do your best to wax eloquent, someone in the room uses a clicker to conspicuously count your every stumble, hesitation, um and uh; once you’ve finished, this person loudly announces how many of these blemishes have marred your presentation.

This is exactly the tactic used by the Toastmasters public-speaking club, in which a designated “Ah Counter” is charged with tallying up the speaker’s slip-ups as part of the training regimen. The goal is total eradication. The club’s punitive measures may be extreme, but they reflect the folk wisdom that ums and uhs betray a speaker as weak, nervous, ignorant, and sloppy, and should be avoided at all costs, even in spontaneous conversation.

Many scientists, though, think that our cultural fixation with stamping out what they call “disfluencies” is deeply misguided. Saying um is no character flaw, but an organic feature of speech; far from distracting listeners, there’s evidence that it focuses their attention in ways that enhance comprehension.

Disfluencies arise mainly because of the time pressures inherent in speaking. Speakers don’t pre-plan an entire sentence and then mentally press “play” to begin unspooling it. If they did, they’d probably need to pause for several seconds between each sentence as they assembled it, and it’s doubtful that they could hold a long, complex sentence in working memory. Instead, speakers talk and think at the same time, launching into speech with only a vague sense of how the sentence will unfold, taking it on faith that by the time they’ve finished uttering the earlier portions of the sentence, they’ll have worked out exactly what to say in the later portions.

(16) A MARCH IN MAY. Naomi Kritzer tweeted photos from a Mayday parade – including a notorious purple cat (who may or may not be named Timothy!…) Jump on the thread here:

(17) WHAT’S THAT SMELL. BBC tells how “Sentinel tracks ships’ dirty emissions from orbit” — unclear they’re picking up individual polluters yet, but that could come.

Sentinel-5P was launched in October last year and this week completed its in-orbit commissioning phase.

But already it is clear the satellite’s data will be transformative.

This latest image reveals the trail of nitrogen dioxide left in the air as ships move in and out of the Mediterranean Sea.

The “highway” that the vessels use to navigate the Strait of Gibraltar is easily discerned by S5P’s Tropomi instrument.

(18) EGGING THEM ON. Did anybody see this coming? “Chicken Run 2: Sequel confirmed after 18-year wait”.

The Oscar-winning animation studio hasn’t set a release date yet. Its announcement comes 18 years after the original flew onto the big screen.

Chicken Run is the highest-grossing stop-motion animation film of all-time – banking £161.3m at the box office.


(19) HOLD THE BACON. On the other hand, don’t expect to see this anytime soon: Hollywood Reporter headline: ““Tremors’ Reboot Starring Kevin Bacon Dead at Syfy”

Here’s a headline you don’t read every day: A TV reboot of a feature film toplined by the original star is not moving forward.

Syfy has opted to pass on its TV follow-up to 1990 feature film Tremors, starring Kevin Bacon.

…Bacon broke the news himself, writing on his verified Instagram page that he was “[s]ad to report that my dream of revisiting the world of Perfection will not become a reality. Although we made a fantastic pilot (IMHO) the network has decided not to move forward. Thanks to our killer cast and everyone behind the scenes who worked so hard. And always keep one eye out for GRABOIDS!”

(20) CHESLEYS. Here is the Association for Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) “2018 Chesley Award Suggestions List (for 2017 Works)”. The members have finished making nominations and ASFA says the finalists will be posted in a few weeks.

(21). UNSUSPECTED GOLDMINE. American news infamously neglects most countries of the world, but who knew there were big sf doings in Bulgaria? At Aeon, Victor Petrov discusses “Communist robot dreams”.

The police report would have baffled the most grizzled detective. A famous writer murdered in a South Dakota restaurant full of diners; the murder weapon – a simple hug. A murderer with no motive, and one who seemed genuinely distraught at what he had done. You will not find this strange murder case in the crime pages of a local US newspaper, however, but in a Bulgarian science-fiction story from the early 1980s. The explanation thus also becomes more logical: the killer was a robot.

The genre was flourishing in small Bulgaria in the last two decades of socialism, and the country became the biggest producer of robotic laws per capita, supplementing Isaac Asimov’s famous three with two more canon rules – and 96 satirical ones. Writers such as Nikola Kesarovski (who wrote the above murder mystery) and Lyuben Dilov grappled with questions of the boundaries between man and machine, brain and computer. The anxieties of their literature in this period reflected a society preoccupied with technology and cybernetics, an unlikely bastion of the information society that arose on both sides of the Iron Curtain from the 1970s onwards.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Cora Buhlert, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Jason, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day johnstick.]

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/28/18 The Great Emu-Scroll War Was Lost When The Pixels Attacked The Gazebo

  1. 20. CHESLEYS.

    Yay! A bunch of the works I submitted made the list. And I’m especially delighted to see on the Best Art Director list Christine Foltzer, who has been doing absolutely fantastic work for Tor.com, and Betsy Wollheim, for DAW Books.

  2. (14) Opossums eat ticks. Ticks spread a number of extremely nasty diseases. They are, in effect, public health workers, a benefit to us all.

    MZW is not qualified to even apply for admission to the course.

  3. Yay! Everything working – and I’m number 1!

    There’s a message from Bonnie at my blog saying she can’t access here – so the new address must be still working its way through the net.

  4. Camestros Felapton: Yay! Everything working – and I’m number 1!

    If only Patrick McGoohan had lived along enough to find out….

    There’s a message from Bonnie at my blog saying she can’t access here – so the new address must be still working its way through the net.

    Yes, she’s getting error messages in three different browswers. Is delayed propagation of the new DNS really a thing?

  5. Mike, I hope that everything is working smoothly now, and you can get some much-needed relaxation time. Thanks for getting this straightened out for us!

  6. Let me be the, er, 12th to comment on this, our new Pixel Scroll!

    (5) SWANWICK CITES LEGUIN ON PRESENT TENSE. Kendall’s corollary is: “There’s never justification.” 😛 Well, okay, I admit I don’t hate it nearly as much as I used to. But oh lordy, people are reaching for second person way too often; it rarely works for me. But de gustibus, etc.

    (11) HORTON ON HUGOS. I like reading his thoughts on the nominees, even if I don’t always agree. I actually agree with him on a fair number of these, though I haven’t read a few of them just yet. Yes, it’s amazing: I’ve read and/or listened to most of the short fiction already!

  7. Tiptree used present tense all the time, so as her literary trustee I got pretty comfortable with it. The story “Yanqui Doodle” switches back and forth between past and present, and I couldn’t figure out why. When working on the posthumous collection Crown of Stars I looked at the story several times without makeup no sense of it (I swear I typed “making any sense” there, but I kind of like the autocorrect). One night I cleared off the dining room table and spread the story out page by page, and just went over it again and again, and finally had my “aha!” moment and realized what she had meant to do. The manuscript was incorrect, as was the original Asimov’s publication, but I was now able to fix it.

  8. Kendall: Thanks to your comment I realized I left out the space in Le Guin. I’m going to appertain myself a beverage. After today, boy do I need it!

  9. @Kendall: “Kendall’s corollary is: “There’s never justification.” 😛 Well, okay, I admit I don’t hate it nearly as much as I used to.”

    I edited one novel where the author used past tense for the bulk of the narrative, but switched to present tense for dream sequences. When I asked, they said that dreams seemed to them to have a certain immediacy that the recounting of lived events and memories lack. Good enough for me, but I still recommended applying blockquote-style side margins as an additional cue to the reader that this was a deliberate choice and not the sort of sloppy tense-shifting that is all too common in indie fiction. (The first such scene in the book happens without warning. It’s deliberately disorienting, because the narrator is confused by what’s going on, but I wanted the reader to realize that Something Is Strange Here without being told so in text. The tense shift contributed to that, but IMO not quite enough by itself. After that, of course, the narrator realizes what has happened, the reader gets told, and now there’s a precedent for the other cases.)

  10. 5) I’ve written one fairly long fanfic in present tense, because when I was thinking about it that was how it presented itself. But also, in fanfic you can blow off anyone else telling you how you should write. 🙂

    10) One can only imagine the horrors of the Suck Fairy visits to 1960s SF for readers 50 years from now.

  11. 5) Ah, echo chambers. Or “communities” as we call them when we’re not finding them curiously unreceptive to our very original thoughts about what they’re doing wrong.

  12. @Mike

    DNS servers cache previously resolved IP addresses for a period of time, so it can take some time before the old address is forgotten. Shouldn’t be longer than 24 hours.

  13. (5) SWANWICK CITES LEGUIN ON PRESENT TENSE. Kendall’s corollary is: “There’s never justification.”

    Nick’s corollary: unless you are Damon Runyon, in which case you can do no wrong.

  14. (1) I feel T’Challa has been put in the wrong camp He looks trimmed to me, and he’s a very high tech hand to hand fighter, so this doesn’t actually negate the premise. M’Baku fits the Let It Grow camp.

    Incidentally, is it possible to comment on Cam’s blog without registering a blog of my own that I will never update?

  15. Nickpheas, Cam’s blog is a WordPress blog, so you should just be able to use the same e-mail address and nym that you use here. He may just have to fetch your first post out of the moderation queue.

  16. 21) SF was pretty big on the other side of the Iron Curtain – I guess everyone knows big names like Lem and the Strugatsky brothers, but there were plenty of others about. There were a few attempts to showcase the best of it for western readers – a couple of anthologies spring to mind: Darko Suvin’s collection Other Worlds, Other Seas and Mirra Ginsburg’s collection of Russian SF, The Ultimate Threshold. There may have been others – the name of Josef Nesvadba springs to mind.

    These things made for interesting reading, because there’s a whole set of different implicit assumptions at work in the cultural background. The Strugatskys’ “Noon Universe” stories were a case in point – I decided, eventually, that they were the anti-Star Trek. The Trek universe features a powerful central authority with a fleet organized on military lines, but which has a Prime Directive that forbids interference in other cultures; the Noon Universe has precious little central authority beyond a couple of licensing bodies, and interstellar exploration is in the hands of independent civilians who interfere pretty much all the time…. Anyway. There was plenty of interesting Cold War era SF from the old Soviet bloc, that’s for sure.

  17. I like present tense and I don’t understand why some people don’t. Heck, I’m writing this comment in present tense right now, and I bet you didn’t notice or care.

  18. I mean, let’s say that instead I’d written: “I liked present tense, and didn’t understand why some people didn’t. Heck, I was writing the comment in present tense at that very moment, and I’d have bet no one noticed or cared.”

    Here’s what I would have lost:

    1) Immediacy. Instead of something happening right now, it’s a story I’m recounting about an event from the past.
    2) Connection. Because it’s about something that happened in the past, it can no longer be a direct message to you, the reader, at the very moment of writing, but a report of something said or done at a previous time.
    3) Tension. If the story is being recounted, then the narrator must be alive or conscious to recount it. Past tense stories where the narrator dies are vanishingly rare.

    So I lose all that, but gain approval from some readers who have never been able to get past the arbitrary stylistic tradition of their bedtime stories beginning “Once upon a time”? Feh to that, I say!

  19. Aaaannnndddd we’re back. Hopefully. My global comment ticky doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ve switched it off and back on again. Next step will be to hit it with a hammer.

    Some recent reading: A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. This YA finalist is the last on my pile of “finalists I’d already bought but not read”, so someone here must have recommended it. I thought this was good but not great, but with the proviso that I’m obviously not the target audience for a YA book about a teenage girl! What I liked – the background of the English Civil War was an interesting choice, and the premise of the protagonist discovering she’s part of a deeply creepy family with supernatural connections made me think of Tim Power’s work (and that’s high praise IMO). What was okay – the protagonist herself was interesting but ultimately didn’t grab me, but I think that’s where the “target audience” thing comes into it. I’ve only read one other of the YA finalists – Summer in Orcus – and I think this one settles into a comfortable second place behind it.

    In other news, I’m still reading Way of Kings in sections. It has five convenient parts, each the length of a shortish novel itself, so I’m interleaving each section with another book. After two parts I can see some interesting plot being set up, and the worldbuilding is fascinating, but I think that very few authors would be allowed to get away with such a leisurely pace.

  20. Present tense works for me sometimes in short stories and in comic books. Never in novels. I think I have managed to read 3-4 books written in present tense, but I have always felt irritated while reading.

    Second person worka well for rpg games. Otherwise I can’t remember any occasion when I’ve liked it.

  21. Gimme gimme just one more [click]
    Because the first one just didn’t stick
    Any more [clicks] would make me sick
    So gimme gimme just one more [click]!

  22. By the time you see this pixel, you will have been scrolling in the present tense for as long as you can recall.

  23. 10) My memory of “The Dueling Machine” comes from book publication. I remember it being a lot better than the reviewer and don’t recall there being a dual (sigh) credit. Was there rewriting between the magazine publication and the rework into the first third (I assume–I recall three long complete-ish sections) of a novel?

  24. First Moment of Meredithery on this our new homeworld?

    Dan Simmons’ The Terror is currently $2.99 on Amazon.

  25. Re: tenses

    I read a lot of YA, and most of that (at least the stuff I’ve read) is in present tense. In fact, I’m a little bit startled to come across a YA book in past tense. The present tense was jarring at first, but I got used to it.

    Just finished (finally) Emil Ferris’ “My Favorite Thing is Monsters.” I can see why it’s gotten so many nominations (both Hugo and Eisners) but I thought the middle section dragged on forever. Not that Anka’s story isn’t important, but I don’t think the book as a whole is for me.

  26. I’m getting Notifications for Comments which, when I go to look at the threads, aren’t there. I presume those poor Filers are posting on the old version, and their comments will be lost in time, like pixels in rain.

    Meanwhile, I am not getting Notifications for the comments which I can actually see on the threads, despite having turned my WP subscription to All Comments for File 770 off and on again a couple of different times, and getting confirmations from WP that I’m subscribed.

    I did at least get New Post Notifications for the new threads which Mike has posted. The original Barkley one got lost, and he had to re-post it, so I put a copy of all of the lost comments on the new thread.

  27. @Mike Glyer: I knew something was wrong, but my brain wasn’t up to figuring out what. But hey, if anyone deserves appertainment, it’s you! 😀

    @Rev. Bob: I’ve seen that sort of thing (present tense for dream sequences, or even certain other special sequences), and that is fine – even works well. There are definitely special cases (as with second person, even: see Jemisin’s “The Broken Earth” trilogy) that work great.

    And hey, the whole “Sin du Jour” novella series by Matt Wallace was in present tense and, while it worked a little better in the early days when there were audiobook versions, it worked fine (showing I’ve clearly gotten a lot more used to present tense!).

    @Lee: In fanfic, no one can hear you scream. 😉

  28. @Kyra: Well, reading comments posted on a blog was (ahem) always different from reading fiction – apples to oranges. Though the follow-ups poking fun at this were amusing, Kyra & @Various.

  29. Meredith Moment(s):

    Perchance To Dream by Charles Beaumont is on sale for $1.99 at Amazon US.

    Walter Tevis Sci-Fi Novels (three Tevis novels bundled together) is on sale at Amazon US for $3.99

    Five books by Pamela Sargent are on sale at the usual suspects for $2.99 each. Sorry about not including titles, but my hands aren’t up to that much at the moment.

  30. Old Norse epics are written in past tense, except for battle scenes, which are in the “historical present”: “Aragorn turns to run up the stair, but he’s tired and stumbles. The Orcs leap forward to grab him, and Legolas shoots the foremost with his last arrow. This doesn’t even slow down the others, they leap over the corpse and up the stairs.'” I don’t recall seeing this done in English, but it could be quite effective. It’s very much an oral technique, but also gives a cinematic feeling.

  31. Hurrah for the return of the File! I’m glad everything seems to have gone relatively painlessly, fingers crossed that it transitions to totally painless very soon. And thanks again Mike for all the effort you put into this site.

  32. @Doctor Science
    French, Spanish and Italian novels commonly switch into the “historical present tense” for action scenes. When the scene is over, they’ll switch back to the usual narrative tense (i.e. passé simple for French, preterito for Spanish, and passato remoto for Italian).

    These languages all have the extra complication that they’ll use the imperfect past for background and the narrative tense for sentences that advance the action, so perhaps readers are just more used to tense changes. (And what a thing to have a tense for infodumps!)

    Curiously, French and Italian (northern Italian, anyway) no longer make significant use of their narrative tenses in normal conversation, but they are heavily used in literature (even children’s stories), and you can use them in speech if you’re actually telling a story. You almost never see them in newspaper articles though.

  33. Swanwick on present tense: My next novel REWRITE is my first in present tense because it’s about living again through the same era. But I agree in general, while noting that sf opens fresh windows for present tense use mainstream does not.

  34. Testing…

    Edit: Hurrah! It works now. I had been trying and having my comments vanish into the ether. Will post something coherent soon.

  35. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is having a subscription drive to celebrate their 250th issue. They’ll increase their submission word-count limit to 15K or beyond, if they get enough new/renewing subscribers.

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