Pixel Scroll 4/7/24 Pixels En Scrollgalia

(1) HOLMES & WATSON. At Brandon O’Brien’s Afternoon Tea the author takes up the Elementary series: “Lapsang Souchong: Two People Who ‘Love’ Each Other”.

I’ve been thinking about this topic idly in my skull for quite some time, and since there are no real good places to put it—less than an essay, more than a tweet—I figured a good test of my discipline would be drafting it for a newsletter. So here’s me rambling about one of my favourite idle obsessions: the 2010s CBS procedural Elementary, in particular why its portrayal of the relationship between Holmes & Watson is one of my favourites. BIG SPOILERS, of course that goes without saying, but you’re already here, so…

(2) TINGLE Q&A. The Geekiary came back from the con with more proof that love is real! “WonderCon 2024: Interview with the Legendary Chuck Tingle”.

… “You don’t hear this so much anymore, but back in the day, conservatives had this sort of slippery slope dang baloney argument about ‘if we let gay people get married then what’s next? You gotta marry a tree? Are you going to marry a dang dinosaur?’ And I think that I always heard those arguments and I always thought why not? What would be wrong with someone marrying whoever, whatever, how many different people, different combinations. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, as long as you’re talking about consenting adults, the world would be a much better place if you took this conservative nightmare to the extreme, it would actually probably be more of a utopia.

“And so the Tingleverse in general, is kind of that conservative nightmare realized in that actually, it would be a really beautiful place full of love, and acceptance. And so, from the very first story, it is an unusual combination of lovers. But you realize if you read the book, ‘Oh, actually, that’s a really wholesome, beautiful, wonderful place that conservatives seem to just be terrified of.’”…

(3) “TRAD PUBLISHING IS LITERALLY FAILING AT DOING ITS JOB”. Lili Saintcrow cuts loose about the current WTF state of traditional publishing — “We Gotta Talk About (Trad) Publishing”. (Saintcrow’s fireworks are inspired by Lorraine Wilson’s analysis, “Is there a book submission arms race”, an article that Saintcrow praises as “perfectly lovely and … a hundred percent accurate”.)

…Publishing has always been an awfully exploitative business. For a long while the level of fuckery in trad pub was low enough for plenty of writers to make a reasonable gamble by submitting by the rules and building a career, but this is no longer the case. Which is not solely or even mostly a function of the pandemic, mind you–the problems were already there well before 2020 rolled around, but conditions since ~2016 have absolutely poured jet fuel on the fire and now we’ve got a multiple-alarm blaze. (You could even trace the problems to Amazon’s strong-arming, or further back to Reagonomics, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

The Big Five/Four have already offloaded the brute work of marketing onto individual authors, hollowing out their own marketing departments in order to line C-suite pockets. Now the crunch has reached editorial departments, where even salaried folk traditionally protected from a lot of industry bullshit are being ruthlessly overworked, underpaid, and just generally mistreated. (No, this is not a “pity the poor editors” screed, just a fact.) Consequently a lot of folk are leaving, and those who remain–or the shiny new ones coming in, thinking they’re going to score a good job–find it impossible to pick up the slack. The article linked above is absolutely correct that editors at the big houses are now being used as draft-horse project managers, which does not work with novels or nonfiction books. It just…doesn’t….

And there’s a lot more at the link.

(4) IN THE YEAR 2025. The 2025 UK Eastercon – named Reconnect — will be held April 18-21, 2025 in Belfast, co-chaired by James Bacon and Tommy Ferguson, with Deputy Chair Jo Zebedee. Get more information at the Eastercon Belfast website.

(5) GLASGOW 2024 PUBLISHES NEW PROGRESS REPORT. Glasgow 2024 today published Progress Report 4 (their fifth; the first was numbered as Progress Report 0). Anyone can download the PDF file from the Glasgow 2024 website.

The cover for Progress Report 4 (PR4), ‘Badger Finds A Charmawow’ is by Chris Baker (a.k.a. Fangorn), one of the Guests of Honour.

PR4 includes news from all areas including:

PR4 also features a look back at the London Worldcon of 2014, the final entry in their history of British Worldcons.

(6) WILL GLASGOW CAP ATTENDING MEMBERSHIPS? Progress Report #4 includes this information:

… Our current projections are for between 6,500 and 8,000 purchased in-person registrant types (including 1- and 2-day tickets). This upper number, if everyone turns up, is probably above the maximum holding capacity for the site. So, there is a chance we may need to cap in-person attending registrant purchases, if we are not to get overcrowded. So, we are advising folk to join as early as possible to avoid this possibility effecting your enjoyment of the convention….

(7) TEXAS-SIZED COLLECTION. Morgan Dawn recommended Bluesky readers watch a 2022 video about the “Huge Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection”, which explores the sff collection at the Texas A&M Library, and takes viewers back to the early days of the university’s Cepheid Variable club and their annual AggieCon.

(8) A BELFAST BOOK. “Michael Magee: ‘There’s a disbelief at how I’ve ended up’”, so he tells a Guardian interviewer.

Michael Magee, 33, won this year’s Nero debut fiction award for Close to Home, now out in paperback, as well as last year’s Rooney prize for Irish literature (previously awarded to Anne Enright and Claire Keegan). Set in west Belfast, where Magee grew up, the book follows Sean, a working-class graduate who falls foul of the law as he struggles to make a life in the shadow of violence both political and domestic….

What did you read growing up?
In my later teens I had a very good English teacher who gave me Barry Hines’s A Kestrel for a Knave, which was the first instance where I’d read something that reflected my own reality. I didn’t grow up in a bookish house and didn’t start reading in my spare time outside education till I was about 12 or 13. Lord of the Rings was my gateway drug. As a teenager I wrote a ripoff of it, drawing maps that I dabbed with wet teabags and burned at the edges to age them. But I did all this on the shy! You couldn’t be seen reading books in the company I was keeping. As a young man I felt impelled towards toughness, inexpressiveness, which was at odds with who I was, and who I am. It took me a very long time to disentangle myself from that.

You must run into people who knew you back then.
Of course, all the time. There’s a disbelief at how I’ve ended up – I ask myself the same question – and also a kind of piss-taking, which is completely deserved: “Still writing your wee books, Mick, are ye?”…

(9) IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A BATH. Forbes believes they know “The Real Reason For Disney’s $11 Billion Streaming Losses”.

… For a number of months in 2020, Disney was almost entirely reliant on Disney+ and it came into its own. As people were stuck indoors during lockdown, the popularity of the platform surged and was hailed as Disney’s white knight. It was almost unthinkable that it could actually end up bringing the company to its knees but that is exactly what happened over the following years.

As subscriber numbers soared far beyond Disney’s forecasts, the Mouse got drunk on its own success and ploughed billions of Dollars into exclusive Disney+ content. By the time it was released, there was a vaccine for covid and the pandemic had receded. Consumers were left picking up the tab for blockbuster furlough payments creating a global cost of living crisis that endures to this day. It led to people cutting their streaming subscriptions and left Disney with a loss-making platform….

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 7, 1934 Ian Richardson. (Died 2007.) I do these Birthdays by seeing who I recognize and then doing a deep dive to see how interesting a given individual is. It’s not just what they did in our community that interests me but what they’ve done else as well. And Ian Richardson had an interesting career both here and elsewhere.

Ian Richardson

Where to start? He was at the right age, just about fifty, when he played Holmes in The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, a pair of made for television films. He also starred in BBC’s Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes playing Arthur Conan Doyle’s mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell.

What next? How about him being in Brazil? (I had to watch it three times before I liked it.)  He plays Mr. Warren, works in a rabbit-warren style place, a maze of Endless Corridors. A perfect bureaucrat he was.

He’s the Narrator of Dark City which was nominated for the Hugo Award at Aussiecon Three the year The Truman Show won.

In Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, he’s Polonius. In the play by Shakespeare, Polonius is a verbose, faltering and pathetic old man whose servile devotion to Claudius renders him untrustworthy in the eyes of Hamlet. Here he portrays that character perfectly. Yes, I do love the film. 

He’s The Wasp in Alice Through The Looking Glass. You really, really need to see the yellow wig that they gave to represent him being a wasp. 

Ian Richardson as the Wasp in a Wig and Kate Beckinsale in Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998).

He’s in From Hell as Sir Charles Warren, an actual historical figure, an Officer in the British Royal Engineers who was one of the first archaeologists. 

Finally he’s in that Midsummer’s Night Dream. You know the one that Ian Holm, Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg, David Warner and Judi Dench in it? He plays Oberon here. 

Wait, though, as I do feel obligated to note his two extraordinary performances outside the genre. He played Tory politician Francis Urquhart in the House of Cards series — oh so magnificently — and he was British spy Bill Haydon in the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy series. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) YES, YOU. Steve Lieber shared an unforgettable memo from Jim Shooter to the staff.

(13) THEY MADE THE SHIP THAT MADE THE KESSEL RUN. [Item by Steven French.] Atlas Obscura tells us the genre connection of Wales’ “Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre”.

THERE WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT the last ship to leave Pembrokeshire’s massive dock complex.

Following the success of the original Star Wars film in 1977, director George Lucas wanted a full-scale model of Han Solo’s fabled spaceship, the Millennium Falcon, for the filming of the next installment in the series, The Empire Strikes Back.

The job of constructing the 88-foot vessel fell to a team working out of the historic maritime dock complex at Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire…

Sadly, the model was sold for scrap.

(14) MAKE YOUR SPEED WORF FACTOR THREE. [Item by Dann.] “From the Starfighter to the Enterprise NCC-1701-D” in FLYING magazine.

From the late 1980s through the 1990s, Klingon Lt. Cmdr. Worf was one of the most visible characters on the popular TV shows Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Actor and pilot Michael Dorn, who was cast as Worf, made the character his own and ended up appearing in 276 episodes, the most of any other cast member in the Star Trek franchise’s history.

To Dorn, morphing into Worf each day was a lengthy process because of the amount of makeup and prosthetics required to bring the character to life. But when the cameras stopped rolling, it wasn’t the starship Enterprise that drew Dorn’s attention, it was a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. But there was a problem.

You see, Michael Dorn likes airplanes that go fast. Really fast. After moving through a few general aviation airplanes, he began buying and flying a long list of former U.S. military fighter jets. This desire to go fast also explains why he drives a Tesla Model X P100D today. “It has ‘Ludicrous’ mode,” Dorn says. “I live for on-ramps!”…

The list of aircraft Michael has owned includes:

Civilian aircraft

  • Cessna 172
  • Cessna 310
  • Cessna 340A
  • Citation 501SP
  • SOCATA Trinidad TB-20
  • Beechcraft Baron 55

Military (or military-grade) aircraft

  • HA200 Saeta  (Spanish and Egyptian Air Forces)
  • Lockheed T-33  (USAF, USN, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, German Air Force)
  • North American F-86C (USAF, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Spanish Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force)
  • North American Sabreliner 40A (USAF, USN, & USMC operated military configurations)
  • Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (USAF, German Air Force, Turkish Air Force, Italian Air Force)

(15) TRUE GRIT. “Life Beyond Earth: What Awaits Humanity on the Moon”Literary Hub makes it sound a lot less fun than Robert A. Heinlein used to.

…Moondust is a huge problem. Apollo astronauts were vexed by the sharp-edged powder, which got under their fingernails and into their noses, lungs, mouths, and eyes. Apollo 12’s Alan Bean said residual dust in the LM cabin “made breathing without the helmet difficult, and enough particles were present… to affect our vision.” The stuff is like “silty sand… [but] sharp and glassy,” according to the Lunar Sourcebook. Coughing and itching are nuisances, but simulated long-term exposure, in one study’s words, revealed “significant cell toxicity in neuronal and lung cell lines in culture, as well as DNA damage.” Mitigating the dust is a significant challenge, but astronauts and their equipment could be protected with invisible electrodes that activate what researcher Carlos Calle calls an “Electrodynamic Dust Shield”—shifting electric fields that keep the dust from sticking to a surface…

(16) NASFiC ECLIPSE. Joseph T. Major reminds us about a previous celestial experience:

 In 2017, too late to do anything about it, Mike Glyer had an interesting thought.  Why not have NASFiC in Nashville, during the August 21 eclipse?  But Ken Moore, the man who could have organized it, had died in 2009.

Nevertheless, there was a possibility.  Bob Embler annually held Outsidecon, where fans got in tent and socialized.  What was so important about that?

Every year, in Kelly, Kentucky, there is Little Green Men Festival, commemorating the close encounter there in 1955.  In 2017, the Festival ran a day over, so the flying saucer people could see the eclipse.  And they stayed in tents, too, because hotel bills were $300 a day and a minimum of three days’ stay.

If Mike and Bob had got together, they could have organized a Kelly Outdoor NASF­iC bid for the 18th through the 21st.  Now that would have been better than the San Juan NASFiC.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Elle Cordova delivers “Real footage of the #eclipse”.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Dann, Bruce D. Arthurs, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]


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39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/7/24 Pixels En Scrollgalia

  1. First!!!

    Ian Richardson was perfect as Francis Urquhart in the House of Cards series. His asides to the camera are hilarious. He’s definately a character who you love to hate

  2. I have a confession— I have six new houseplants this week including a banana plant. And just ordered a seventh, a clivia that’s supposed to have yellow blooms.

    Since I don’t collect physical books except for rare signed personal copies, I spend my money on plants. Lots of them. My space isn’t run over by them as they exist in neatly defined areas.

    Now I’m off to tend to the alocasias. And this is not a First.

  3. (1) Never saw the show. However, Watson as a woman? May I point to “They Might Be Giants”, with George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward? And if you haven’t seen, it, you really, really should.
    (3) Not surprised. I also keep reading how many agents are leaving the field. And trying to get an agent is becoming near impossible.
    (7) When we lived in Texas, my late wife and I attended Aggiecon. Mostly good, though they had serious problems at times, since they could not call out to previous con runners who’d graduated.
    (14) Geez, an F-104? Like, those of us back then all built a model of the 101. And then there was the Studebaker my folks owned for about 9 months (before it died), that looked like that, minus the wings.
    (16) They could have run a hoax bid, you know.

  4. Just read We Gotta Talk… and she’s 110% right. My current novel* I spent seven months of ’22 looking for an agent. Spoke to some at cons, and no. Then, when Baen flirted with rehoming my first novel… I submitted it in Aug. Beginning of Nov, I sent a polite email to Toni, asking for a time frame when they might decide. Two weeks later, I got an email saying “end of the month.” Time went… and between the beginning of FEBRUARY, and mid-March, I sent three polite emails, asking what’s happening. I never got a response. Nothing. And that was after Toni had said “sounded interesting, and had me send her the mss and a copy of the review in Asimov’s

    A polite “no” would have been ok. But nothing?

    I’m not young. And this is only my second book, so I have no long backlist. And like most small presses, they’re not buying ads. So, a lot of the marketing’s all on me. (And the odds on my having a career of another couple dozen years approaches zero as a limit.)

  5. (1) Elementary was great. I watched the entire run, one 40 minute workout at a time.

  6. Very far from first, but enjoying the Zappa and Zager & Evans references.

    I’m old sigh

  7. 9) The article was from Forbes, and right leaning. Little of it is true. Disneyland is still crowded, as is Disney World. That initially funded other Disney products. Disney is far from down and out! Streaming I never got into. I buy the DVD’s, and I will continue to do so!

    10) Ian Richardson portrayed Oberon in the 1968 version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Tatania was played by Judi Dench. The cast also Diana Rigg, Helen Mirren, and Ian Holme.

  8. @Cat Eldridge
    Mostly cactuses, but some other plants also: haworthia, sansevieria, dracaena.
    (They need to tolerate heat.)

  9. (1) I really liked Elementary. Jonny Lee Miller’s body language was perfect for the character. At a crime scene, he practically vibrated with impatience while waiting for everyone else to catch up. Lucy Liu was an intelligent Watson, not dumbed down into comedy relief like poor Nigel Bruce in the Basil Rathbone movies, and the article has it right about the relationship between the two, a powerful mixture of respect and platonic love.
    I remember the show straying into science fiction territory every now and then with one person being zapped by a nuclear-powered lighting gun!

  10. 10) Ian Richardson was also Lord Groan in the BBC’s undeservedly forgotten adaptation of Gormenghast in 2000.

  11. Carl says Ian Richardson portrayed Oberon in the 1968 version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Tatania was played by Judi Dench. The cast also Diana Rigg, Helen Mirren, and Ian Holme.

    Cat checks Birthday… Carl, you did read it? So you did notice this?

    Finally he in that Midsummer’s Night Dream. You know the one that Ian Holm, Helen Mirren, Diana Rigg, David Warner and Judi Dench in it? He plays Oberon here.

  12. @Carl. The article may not be accurate but “Disneyland is always full” is not a persuasive argument either. You can look at their financial records for the last few quarters and they look.,, okay. It’s not failing but it’s not growing like expected either. Streaming especially has cost a lot more than initially thought and features like being able to buy line passes from the Disney+ app have not materialized.

  13. Cat-
    I was on the phone when I posted this. I’m having to multitask. You see how well that works! Haha.

    I have the DVD of that version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and it was amazing to have all those people who went on to do genre and so much more (though I wasn’t that fond of Richardson’s later Grey Poupon mustard commercials!). I was a little put off by Diana Rigg’s go-go boots and miniskirt, but the production more than made up for it.

    I recall seeing the original US broadcast on NETWORK TELEVISION in 1968. How they got past the censors with Judi Dench in pasties and a g-string, I’ll never know! I also didn’t know until much later that one or more of her children were part of the faerie assemblage.

    At the Shakespeare 400th Birthday held in Stratford Upon Avon, and broadcast on PBS, She was rolled out on a reclining couch, and gave those immortal words, “What creature wakes me from my flowery bed?” The audience howled with laughter and applauded her for a full minute! Priceless!

  14. Never saw the show. However, Watson as a woman? May I point to “They Might Be Giants”, with George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward? And if you haven’t seen, it, you really, really should.

    They Might Be Giants is a fantastically awesome movie. And Elementary was a fantastic TV show,

  15. (15) I’ve heard engineers say “the moon is made of asbestos razor blades”. The dust is beyond brutal.

  16. Carl: you were put off by Diana Rigg’s go-go boots and miniskirt? Why? (Esp. since it was 1968…)

    (can’t sleep, so…)

  17. (15) Currently reading “A City on Mars” which covers Moon and Mars dust dangers.

    (1) Glad to see “Elementary” getting some respect.

  18. Ian Richardson was also in ‘The Magician’s House’, playing the Magician. IMDB also tells me he was in ‘Strange’, which I haven’t seen but looks to be genre from its description.

  19. I loved Elementary. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu made a great Holmes/Watson pairing. I think it’s far and away the best modern adaptation of the Holmes stories.

    @mark: I’d call They Might Be Giants more of a meta-Holmes story, but yeah, a brilliant film.

  20. 3.) Lili’s rant was absolutely correct. One reason I went into self-publishing was that as a (at the time I decided–2010ish) late middle-aged woman with no interesting habits, I simply was not visible in the traditional publishing market. This assumption was fueled by friendships with successful midlist women writers who were starting to struggle with publishing when they hadn’t before, plus a convention experience. Along with other friends my age who were both trad and self pubbed, we went to a panel where a high-level New York editor talked about what they were looking for and trends they saw.

    All of us walked out of that panel with the sinking feeling that “New York doesn’t want us.” I had a raft of rejection slips that repeated the theme of “love your voice, love your work…can’t sell it.” I decided that I could either continue to chase traditional publishing with diminishing returns, especially as I watched my already-published friends struggle, or I could leap into self-publishing. I haven’t regretted that choice, especially as I continue to discuss the business of publishing with both tradpub and selfpub authors.

    It’s not a question of quality, either. In a 2019 workshop, I had a credible NYT bestselling author tell me that I was “90% there” and that I should try a high-concept story with traditional publishing because he thought I could make it big in tradpub. So I developed an idea, signed up for World Fantasy with a notion of pitching it, and–well, as always seems to happen to me–the wrong kind of lightning struck. We know what happened in 2020.

    @mark–one of those tradpub midlist friends with an agent had a story concept pitched to Toni Weisskopf at Baen, pre-pandemic. Despite assurances of interest, it sat at Baen for two years before being withdrawn. Stories like this are why I did not pursue an agent or traditional publishing by the mid-teens.

  21. What I’ve noticed (over the shoulder of an experienced short-form writer seeking an agent for a novel) is that agents are now asking prospective clients to take on tasks that previously would have been the agents’: identifying target audiences, comparing submitted work to current market trends, coming up with marketing labels and strategies–in addition to the now-expected task of establishing a “platform” from which to direct future marketing/promotion efforts (which, of course, will fall on the writer’s shoulders). And this is before getting taken on by an agent.

    I suspect that this is, in part, the result of publishers pushing some of their traditional workload onto agents, as well as to the simple matter of the volume of writers attempting to enter the traditional publishing space. What used to be functional filters have become clogged, and nobody wants to be Roto-Rooter.

    I can understand why one response on the part of writers might be to avoid the whole interlocking mess and try self-publishing, but that means taking on all the specialized tasks previously supplied (at some cost) by agents (and perhaps publishing-specialist lawyers), acquiring editors, production editors, proofreaders, designers, marketers, and even warehouse and shipping staff. Yeah, I know, e-books and Amazon. It’s still an enormous pile of work, and if what one is good at is writing, it’s a giant distraction.

  22. Russell; The argument is that more and more of those tasks ARE falling on the writer.

    There’s still merit in the trad pub, but it’s growing less, and harder to believe, and every task they half-ass or pass on to the writer makes one more writer decide they can do that much themselves.

  23. I liked Elementary, but it had a lot of silly moments. One mystery hinged upon the fact that a country (Macedonia?) was having a referendum about joining the EU. For the scheme to work, the “Join” side needed to win and within days of the referendum, the country was supposed to switch currency to the Euro, rendering the previous currency worthless.

  24. Without naming names, I know that Baen is sometimes the publisher of last resort after trad publishers have turned down a writer whose material fits Baen. What Baen offers up is substantially worse than trad publishers but a lot better than nothing as one publicist pointed out to me.

    It doesn’t help when your trad publisher decides despite rather good sales to end your contract on your all of your series.

  25. @mark
    I loved “They Might Be Giants.” That movie inspired my first major attempt at writing a longer story.

    (3) Sigh. I’m not surprised that traditional publishing is getting worse (again). 🙁

    (10) I discovered Ian Richardson when Dad and I watched the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy series. I also remember liking him as Dr. Bell — and was disappointed the series was canceled. I kinda liked the Grey Poupon commercials.

  26. @John Elliot: yes, Strange was definitely genre, with title character John Strange (dunno if he was related to Stephen) as an ex-priest turned literal demon hunter. Richardson played the sinister Canon Black, who had a very odd mostly-adversarial relationship with Strange; there was clearly a lot of history between them, and if the show had run more than six episodes, we might have found out more about it.

  27. Joyce R-W – what do you do for copy editing? My reading is that it’s $1500-$2000 at least for a professional.

  28. MAN, I wish Strange was available in the US (legitimately), either physically or on streaming. I don’t remember if I ever saw the full series — I just remember a friend lending me his VHS copy, which my VHS player promptly ate.

  29. @mark…WHAT???? That pricing is more what I would expect for line editing.

    I charge by the hour and give an estimate based on the 1st 30 pages and overall page count. $35 per hour, and at a couple of hours a day, I can usually keep the time at 10 hours for a manuscript under 90k words. For a fairly clean manuscript, that is. As an ex-paralegal (one of the many things I’ve done over the years), I’m comfortable handling billable hours. One job required tracking to the tenth of an hour. I’m not that intense and prefer to calculate based on quarter-hour increments.

    The other thing is that I feel flat by-the-word rates penalize those writers who strive to produce good-quality, clean manuscripts. I would sooner help other writers who might not have the big bucks, especially newer writers. Call it paying it forward for those writers who have helped me in the past and given me breaks.

    I spent a couple of years working on a volunteer WordFire Press copyediting team, have journalism experience, and taught remedial writing for ten years. The amusing part of that teaching experience (part of my special ed work) was that some of the classroom teachers often asked me for points of grammar clarification.

  30. My biggest impression from Elementary was how fantastically Lucy Liu was dressed. Greatest fashion sense of all time. I hope some of her outfits were saved for posterity.

  31. @Mark:
    She just seemed to be a clone of her Mrs. Peel stuck in a Shakespeare play. The other non-faeries, while not by any stretch clothed in Shakespearean garb, were less ostentatious and less of a distraction. To see Judi Dench in her green body paint, g-string, and pasties and in the next scene, Diana Rigg in her mod getup, was quite a dichotomy. But then again, the filming style seemed heavily influenced, in my opinion, by Easy Rider.

  32. As long as people are talking about Elementary, I’d like to give a shout-out to its Moriarty. Which is awkward, since naming the performer would be a massive spoiler, as the character is initially presented as using an assumed identity with which Holmes has a history. But the performance and writing are both spectacular: you really feel that this is someone who is Holmes’s intellectual match, capable of deep-laid plans, and dangerous as all hell. (FWIW, I found the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty to be a severe disappointment in all but the last of these…)

  33. @ Bookworm “The article may not be accurate but “Disneyland is always full” is not a persuasive argument either”

    I’m going to Disneyland shortly. Do you want photos of the crowds?

    It’s been my experience that people, especially those who consider their expectations to BE reality, generally see what they want to see regardless. Those who boycotted Disneyland because of the construct of a “Wokeness” agenda believe that their boycott has made an impact. I’ve boycotted certain places and products, along with many other people, but most if not all are still there and doing a booming business.

    The folks that are most vociferous about “wokeness” at Disneyland bristle at seeing a Black mermaid or heroine, or a voice actor who is gay, and absolutely act out when they see someone who looks like they “might be” one of the demographics they are trying to disparage, erase, or at worst, eliminate from the face of the earth (even though it’s more likely 99% of the time that they’re wrong.)

  34. @Robert Thau: Absolutely. Quite possibly the best on-screen Moriarty ever.

    There’s a scene (again, no spoilers) with just Holmes and Moriarty that manages to both highlight Moriarty’s sociopathy and be heartbreakingly sad.

    I also want to give shout-outs to John Noble as Morland Holmes and Ophelia Lovibond as Kitty Winter.

  35. Consumers were left picking up the tab for blockbuster furlough payments creating a global cost of living crisis that endures to this day.

    The more I reread this sentence the less sense it makes. Disney+ overpaying for new shows when it was flush with subscribers during the height of the pandemic caused a global cost of living crisis?

    The Forbes link includes a graph that’s supposed to show how terrible Disney+ is doing, but instead shows a streaming service rocketing up from 26 million to 164 million from 2020 to 2022, then still keeping 149 million of them as of 2024.

  36. @rcade — The sentence is opaque, but reading the Forbes article reveals that:
    Govts made massive furlough payments during the pandemic to people who lost their jobs.
    In response to higher taxes (to pay for furloughs) and inflation (another way of financing govt spending), consumers had less money to spend, and dropped streaming services in response. Further, as lockdowns ebbed, people weren’t staying home a much, so didn’t need streaming services to occupy them.

    As a result, Disney+ lost on average ~1 million subscribers every month from Sep 2022 to Dec 2023.

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