Pixel Scroll 4/8/18 Do Not Go Pixel Out Of That Good Hive, Buzz, Buzz, Against The Flying Of The Five

(1) WALK / DON’T WALK. This not-quite-infinite series of variations on Le Guin’s famous story: “Once upon a time there was a city called Omelas, where everyone lived good and happy and fulfilling lives” is a hoot!

“…the best predictions of our scientists suggest that there will be a slight average decrease in various hard-to-measure kinds of happiness, which nevertheless in total adds up to more suffering than this child experiences.”
And Outis said to the elder, “I will have no part in this evil thing.” And he took the child and bathed him and cared for his wounds. And the average happiness increased in some ways and decreased in others, and the net effect might have been negative, but the best results on the matter had p > 0.05, so the scientists of Omelas could not rule out the null hypothesis.

(2) SUE ‘EM, DANNO. Dorothy Grant gives the rundown on a scam to inflate payments from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program in “Book stuffing, KU reads, and Amazon’s Doing Something” at Mad Genius Club.

While I would hope that everyone who reads this is interested in being a real author making up real stories that are your own, writing them down, and publishing them, we are all aware that there are scammers out there, and people who care more about the money, than acting ethically or the readers. We also know that Amazon has a habit of taking a wide swath of potential wrongdoers, then filtering out and restoring the innocent.

Yep, they’re doing it again.

  1. David Gaughran gave us the first heads-up on twitter that Amazon has filed suit against an author for book-stuffing.

Forbes article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamrowe1/2018/04/07/amazon-has-filed-suit-to-stop-the-six-figure-book-stuffing-kindle-scam/#2af7a11b7344

Book stuffing is when authors take all their works and stuff them into the back of every other book to artificially inflate their page count. Some authors even stuff in newsletters: the goal is to inflate the page count as much as possible, and thus the payout on KU page reads.

(3) ATOMIC PILES OF LAUGHS. Scott Tobias profiles “artificial intelligence-assisted comedy” in “Can algorithms be funny? Veterans of Clickhole and the New Yorker team up to find out” at the Washington Post. What they do is put giant amounts of text into a computer and produce “interactive text collages.”  For example, they put all the Harry Potter novels into a computer and came up with a pastiche that said, “Ron’s ron shirt was just as bad as Ron itself.”  A lot of the weird pastiches they produce are sf.

Onstage at the Hideout, a small Chicago music club, two performers read passages from Civil War love letters. “Oh darling wife of the war,” one begins, “I shall always be a husband to you and the children and all the folks in our neighborhood.” He goes on to complain that “the boys from the army have taken my breakfast.” The news is worse back home. “Our horses are sadly on fire,” his wife laments. But they’re ever reunited, she promises, “I would kiss you as many times as there are stitches in the children.”

Rest assured, every word from these letters is authentic. It’s just that the words have been scrambled up by a computer algorithm and pieced back together, one by one, by writers with an ear for the absurd.

(4) WESTERCON BID NEWS. Seattle (SeaTac, using the same hotel as Norwescon) has formally filed what Kevin Standlee says is likely to be the only bid for the 2020 Westercon.

(5) REINCARNANIMATION. MovieWeb has learned that “Lucasfilm Has Digital Clones of Every Star Wars Actor”.

The digitally recreated Grand Moff Tarkin and Young Princess Leia in Rogue One were unsettling and creepy for some Star Wars fans. But that technology is almost two years old and only improving at an expedient rate. The next time an actor gets digitally inserted into a Star Wars movie, it’s gong to be a lot harder to tell the difference. And before long, the line will be completely burred. Soon, Lucasfilm and Disney could have the potential to create a whole Star Wars movie featuring an authentic young Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, which practical effects built around them. And this will be entirely possible, even for Carrie Fisher, as Lucasfilm has confirmed they have digital clones of all Star Wars actors both young and old.

Incredible, right? As of now, these digital clones are being used sparingly and are often mixed with live-action footage of the actor to create scenes that would be impossible to shoot or are deemed far to expensive to do practically. We’ve seen this with Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One, and we’ve also seen it in The Last Jedi, even if you didn’t know that’s what you were looking at.

(6) MCCANN OBIT. Chuck McCann died April 8 reports Mark Evanier. Much of his career revolved around children’s television, however, the Wikipedia recalls that he was in vogue as a TV/movie actor back in the Seventies —

In the 1970s, McCann’s life and career shifted west, and he relocated to Los Angeles. He made frequent guest appearances on network television shows including Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, Columbo, The Rockford Files and The Bob Newhart Show. He appeared in the 1973 made-for-TV movie The Girl Most Likely to… and was a regular on Norman Lear’s All That Glitters.

In addition, he co-starred with Bob Denver in CBS’s Saturday-morning sitcom Far Out Space Nuts, which he co-created. The 1970s also brought him fame in a long-running series of commercials for Right Guard antiperspirant: he was the enthusiastic neighbor with the catch phrase “Hi, guy!” who appeared on the other side of a shared medicine cabinet, opposite actor Bill Fiore.

McCann impersonated Oliver Hardy in commercials for various products (teaming with Jim MacGeorge as Stan Laurel),

John King Tarpinian sent along a photo of McCann meeting Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury and Chuck McCann

If you want to see his act, watch “Chuck McCann & Dick Van Dyke as Laurel & Hardy & The Honeymooners.”


  • Born April 8, 1974 – Nnedi Okorafor

(8) CANDLES ON THE CAKE. Steven H Silver celebrates Okorafor’s natal day at Black Gate in “Birthday Reviews: Nnedi Okorafor’s ‘Bakasi Man’”.

Nnedi Okorafor was born on April 8, 1974.

Okorafor won her first Carl Brandon Award for the novel The Shadow Speaker and she won the Carl Brandon Award and the World Fantasy Award for her novel Who Fears Death, which was also nominated for the Nebula Award. She won the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for her novella Binti in 2016. Her fiction has also been nominated for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Andre Norton Award. Okorafor has collaborated with Alan Dean Foster and Wanuri Kahiu on short diction. She co-edited the anthology Without a Map with Mary Anne Mohanraj.


  • Daniel Dern is right – Curtis knows how to throw a party.

(10) POISONING PIXELS IN THE SCROLL. Nature celebrates an April birthday boy: “Tom Lehrer at 90: a life of scientific satire”.

Much of Lehrer’s oeuvre — some 50 songs (or 37, by his own ruthless reckoning) composed over nearly three decades — played with tensions at the nexus of science and society. His biggest hit, That Was The Year That Was, covered a gamut of them. This 1965 album gathered together songs Lehrer had written for That Was The Week That Was, the US satirical television show spawned by the BBC original. ‘Who’s Next?’ exposes the dangers of nuclear proliferation. ‘Pollution’ highlights environmental crises building at the time, such as undrinkable water and unbreathable air.

The rousing ballad ‘Wernher von Braun’ undermines the former Nazi — who designed the V-2 ballistic missile in the Second World War and later became a key engineer in the US Apollo space programme. In Lehrer’s view, it was acceptable for NASA to hire von Braun, but making him into an American hero was grotesque. “‘Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?’/‘That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun” — lines that still resonate in today’s big-tech ethical jungle.

(11) FINDING THE RETRO NOMINEES. Nicholas Whyte, with an assist from Carla, presents “How to get the 1943 Retro Hugo finalists” —

(12) CAST OF FAVORITES. And for your collecting pleasure, here is where you can get a copy of the Fifth Annual Science Fiction Film Awards (1978).

The 5th Annual (first televised) Science Fiction Film Awards. Hosted by Karen Black & William Shatner (who performs an absolutely jaw dropping rendition of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Rocket Man”) Starring Buzz Aldrin, Richard Benjamin, Ray Bradbury, Mark Hamill, Charlton Heston, Wolfman Jack, Quincy Jones, Piper Laurie, Christopher Lee, Paula Prentiss, Ralph the Robot, Lord Darth Vader, and many more. Included are the original broadcast TV commercials from 1978!

(13) GOOD IS NOT BAD. Rich Horton is working his way through the Hugo nominees. Here are his comments on Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty.

…But even before the award nominations, Six Wakes was getting some good notice, and I bought it and read it after the Nebula nod. And, you know what – I liked it. It’s a good fun fast-moving read. I’m glad I read it.

But – well – you saw that coming, right? There had to be a but. The thing is, there are lots of enjoyable novels published any year, and I’m glad when I encounter those. But I can enjoy a novel and not think it worthy of an award. And, really, that’s the case with Six Wakes. It’s fun, it’s pretty darn pure hard SF (with the understanding that “hard SF” absolutely does NOT mean “SF that gets all the science right”), it’s exciting. But, it also has some annoying logic holes, and it doesn’t really engage with the central (and very worthwhile) moral issues it raises as rigorously as I wish it had, and the prose is just OK….

(14) ARISTOTLE. Nitsuh Abebe explores the question “Why Have We Soured on the ‘Devil’s Advocate’?” at the New York Times Magazine.

…That name dates back to the 17th century, when the Roman Catholic Church created an office popularly known as the advocatus diaboli — a person tasked with making the case against the canonization of new saints, scrutinizing every report of their miracles and virtue. How could a claim be trusted, the thinking went, if it hadn’t been rigorously tested? Plenty of educators will still tell you that devil’s advocacy isn’t just useful as a practical matter but also as an intellectual exercise: Imagining other perspectives and plumbing their workings is essential to critical thinking.

But on today’s internet, the devil’s advocate is less admired than ever, and it’s often the advocate’s own fault. The problem isn’t just debate-club tedium. Last year, on Slate, the writer Maya Rupert neatly outlined just how toxic devil’s advocates could be on a topic like race. She noted that they often seemed to be adopting the stance of a disinterested logician in order to air beliefs they knew were socially unacceptable to hold in earnest; the phrase “just to play devil’s advocate,” she wrote, had come to occupy the same role in her life as “not to sound racist, but. … ” A black person continually asked to consider — just hypothetically, just for a moment — whether she was possibly inferior to other humans would have to be masochistically broad-minded to entertain this challenge more than a few times before dismissing it, and the sort of people who presented it, forever.

A little more than a decade ago, around the same time online sentiment began to turn against the devil’s advocate, it also seized on a close cousin: the “concern troll.” If the devil’s advocate playacts disagreement with you for the sake of strengthening your argument, the concern troll is his mirror image, a person who pretends to agree with you in order to undermine you. The concern troll airs disingenuous worries, sows doubt, saps energy, has reservations, worries that things are going too far. At first, the term described purposeful double agents — people like the congressional staffer suspected, back in 2006, of posing as a Democrat to leave comments on liberal blogs suggesting everyone abandon the candidate vying for a Republican incumbent’s seat. But the term has evolved in such a way that, at this point, a person can very easily qualify as a concern troll without even knowing it.

A tidy summary on the “Geek Feminism” Wiki site explains why this is the case: Even earnest concern-airing can be pernicious, turning every discussion into a battle over basic premises. …

(15) UNEVENLY DISTRIBUTED. The BBC reports “The Swedes rebelling against a cashless society” where the elderly are especially likely to be left out.

However, while Sweden’s rush to embrace digital payments has received plenty of global hype, and is frequently flagged as an example of the Nordic nation’s innovation, there are growing concerns about the pace of change.

Some worry about the challenges it poses for vulnerable groups, especially the elderly.

“As long as there is the right to use cash in Sweden, we think people should have the option to use it and be able to put money in the bank,” says Ola Nilsson, a spokesperson for the Swedish National Pensioners’ Organisation, which is lobbying the government on behalf of its 350,000 members.

“We’re not against the cashless society, we just want to stop it from going too fast.”

(16) THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE… What we can see from the ground is only part of what happens: “Hunting mystery giant lightning from space”.

The electrifying effects of storms are frequently observed from the space station.

Yet when lightning strikes downward, something very different is happening above the cloud tops.

Known as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), these unusual features were first spotted by accident in 1989.

Minnesota professor John R Winckler was testing a television camera in advance of an upcoming rocket launch, when he realised that two frames showed bright columns of light above a distant storm cloud.

(17) SOLVING FOR 2001. The BBC Culture post “Why 2001 remains a mystery” actually dwells less on mystery, and more on interesting parallels with Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.

It’s been 50 years since the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and we’re still trying to make sense of it. Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction masterpiece is regularly voted as one of the greatest films ever made: BBC Culture’s own critics’ poll of the best US cinema ranked it at number four. But 2001 is one of the most puzzling films ever made, too. What, for instance, is a shiny rectangular monolith doing in prehistoric Africa? Why does an astronaut hurtle through a psychedelic lightshow to another universe, before turning into a cosmic foetus? And considering that the opening section is set millions of years in the past, and the two central sections are set 18 months apart, how much of it actually takes place in 2001?

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Chadwick Boseman hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and appeared in a Black Jeopardy! sketch:

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Kevin Standlee, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Nicholas Whyte, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Danny Sichel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]

109 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/8/18 Do Not Go Pixel Out Of That Good Hive, Buzz, Buzz, Against The Flying Of The Five

  1. @5: “improving at an expedient rate”? If they intended “exponential”, that’s a new level of sloppiness. The prospect of digitized actors was discussed by Connie Willis, but I don’t see any reference to the “Darfsteller” problem: getting the personality, not just the image. Maybe the personality doesn’t matter that much?

    Edit: @1 isn’t quite demented, but it’s very … creative.

    and First!

  2. 10) cracked me up with its timeliness, given our mentions of Lehrer in yesterday’s scroll comments. 😉

  3. 2)
    The book stuffing scam has been a big topic in self-publishing circles for a while now. The books in question can mostly be found in romance, particularly in popular subgenres such as contemporary romance or new adult romance. SFF seems less affected so far.

    Since I’m not in Kindle Unlimited, I’m not directly affected by the problem. But since these stuffed books read mainly by bots are also occupying high spots on the Kindle store bestseller list, they affect everybody’s visibility.

    Except when I’m on holiday, making big purchases or shopping online, I actually prefer paying cash, because that way it’s easier to keep an overview of how much you spend. I also don’t like paying small purchases such as a cup of coffee by card.

    In general, I feel everybody should have the ability to pay the way they want. Besides, not everybody has cards (e.g. children, teenagers, homeless people often don’t) or is comfortable with them. There are also logistical issues. How do I give a coin to the neighbours’ kids or a cash present for a birthday or what do I put into a beggar’s or street artist’s pot, if there is no cash?

    Finally, the supposedly impending abolition of cash (which absolutely no one is planning in Germany) is a big talking point of the far right that they use to stroke fears (“they’re not just abolishing cash, they’re stealing your money to line their own pockets or give it to dirty foreigners”). And I’d rather not give the far right any more reasons to stoke fears.

  4. 15) He, never really thought about it. But it is true that we hardly use cash even at flea markets or between friends. We send money to each other using mobile phones.

  5. Sending money via mobile phone would work for cash gifts and flea market purchases. Not sure if it would work for children too young to have smartphones or for street artists or beggars, though many of them probably do have smartphones.


    Happy birthday to Okorafor!

    I’ve been really enjoying this Birthday Reviews series, especially as it tends to be picking out once stories I’m not familiar with.

    (13) GOOD IS NOT BAD

    I really liked the concept of Six Wakes when I heard about it, and I certainly enjoyed reading it, but looking back I’m not sure it’s really stayed with me that well. I think I have to echo Horton and say it’s longlist not shortlist for me – and that’s still pretty good.

  7. I’m currently trying to get a Hugo finalist review up every day, over on my WordPress blog. Right now, I am doing short-ish reviews of the short fiction, possibly because I am also reading New York 2140 and it is taking a while. (I’m not going to use the phrase “wading through” – because New York is full of water, ho ho ho – as it’s actually more readable than I expected. But then I’m not a big KSR fan, so my expectations were low.)

  8. (13) GOOD IS NOT BAD.

    Of the ~60 novels published in 2017 which I’ve read, Six Wakes was one of the handful which, when I finished them, I thought, “Wow! That was great!”

    But looking at Horton’s list of novels he thought were Hugo-worthy, I think that our tastes do not overlap very much; several of them I haven’t read because their synopses do not appeal to me (and one of them is a “no way in hell”). 😉

    So I’m fine with agreeing to disagree with those who found Six Wakes less than stellar. For whatever reasons — one of which is that I love science fiction mysteries — it hit my sweet spot. I still haven’t been able to force myself to pick up The Stone Sky and Raven Strategem, because I found the previous books kind of a slog. I’m procrastinating by reading the Raksura books instead.

  9. As far as me and Mr. Horton’s list, some of our taste overlaps, and others would, like JJ, leave me cold. That’s the joy of all this, plenty of fish in the sea to nominate and enjoy what we all like. It just so happens that more of the electorate agrees with JJ and myself regarding Six Wakes than with Mr. Horton

    8) Happy belated birthday to Nnedi Okorafor!

  10. 14) I’d been thinking about some of this, and this right here gets exactly at what I didn’t quite realize I was thinking:

    There’s hand-wringing, derailing, distraction, tone policing, silencing, gaslighting, “sea lioning” — a label for every depressing rhetorical habit that could possibly present itself, each term a tool for narrowing down the number of ideas waiting in line for your consideration. Taken as a whole, this taxonomy feels both totally rational and slightly desperate — a way of insisting, against abundant evidence to the contrary, that a productive conversation remains possible.

  11. @ Hampus Eckerman:

    “Swish me a pixel”? Sweden is, in general, surprisingly ahead, as far as “automating things with computers”.

    The tax return processing (at the tax office) has been under heavy automation since the mid-70s, and was sufficiently advanced to allow for the “simplified return” in, um, “late 80s” or “early 90s” (if memory serves me right), which is basically the tax office sending you a pre-filled self assessment for and going “you OK with this?” (if you’re not, you can then fill a blank form out yourself).

    edit: The simplified return was least as early as 1987…

  12. For anyone interested, we’re starting a discussion of All Systems Red by Martha Wells – on Forumania:

    The schedule is:
    Sunday April 8 – Cover & blurb
    Wednesday April 11 – chapters 1-2
    Saturday April 14 – chapters 2-3
    Tuesday April 17 – chapters 5-6
    Friday April 20 – chapters 7-8

    All are welcome, but please, no spoilers; several of the folks in the discussion group haven’t read it yet!

    (Forumania is the successor to (the deceased) Compuserve; making a new login is free; there’s no spam or obligation.)

  13. (15) From what I’ve seen when I’ve visited Sweden, everyone – including pre-teen kids, street artists and beggars – has a smartphone and a Swish (a mobile payment system) account. At least if they are resident. As a visitor, I can’t use Swish, or pay for parking or trams/buses with a mobile.

    ISTR there have been street robberies where the robbers demanded a Swish transfer, without considering that it’s a fully tracked bank transfer. I expect that the solution to that is for robbers to go full Guild of Thieves and issue receipts and a small item (like a souvenir donkey that dispenses cigarettes when you lift its tail), and claim that the robbed person bought the item and simply regretted it. What’s the statutory item return period?

    “Smoke me a pixel, I’ll be back by scrolltime” – Five Rimmer

  14. I would not scroll them on the street
    I would not scroll them for a tweet
    I would not scroll them with a hog
    I would not scroll them on my blog
    Nor on a bus, barge, barn or bike
    So go and file them, Pixel Mike!

  15. 1) That’s fantastic.

    I didn’t care for Six Wakes myself, but clearly other liked it.

    Just finished reading “The Wrong Stars” by Tim Pratt and loved that book. It manages a difficult balancing act of introducing new plot twists and hidden information without having such a complicated conspiracy that I start to roll me eyes and feel its unrealistic.

    Also picked up “Old Mars” on sale and am flipping through it. So far it seems my original instinct to avoid this book was correct, Indiana Jones in space is not a sub genre that appeals to me.

  16. A question for the hive mind:

    My partner is looking for science fiction books for a twelve-year-old. Specifically SF, because she already reads a lot of fantasy, and her father wants her to read more science fiction. We’d like books about girls or women; that would include stories about mixed-gender groups of people. Middle grade, YA, and adult books are all fine, but these are for someone who actively dislikes romantic plots and subplots: she’s still at the “ew, there’s kissing in this book!” stage.

    For background/calibration: She rereads a fair amount of fantasy. She really loves Tamora Pierce, and the Enchanted Forest books (i.e., Cimorene). She likes Harry Potter. She adores Joan Aiken’s Armitage stories, but bounced off The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. She had to read the Iliad for school, and purely loathed it, but quite liked Esther Friesner’s novels about Helen (Nobody’s Princess/Nobody’s Prize) and the Rick Riordan books. She liked the Hereville comics about the orthodox girl who wants to fight dragons and ends up meeting a troll. She hated Tolkien, and also hated The Color of Magic so much she didn’t want to read Wee Free Men at all, though I think it would have interested her otherwise.

  17. And of course I forgot to tick the box for comment notifications, this time when I actually want that.

  18. Horton liked Six Wakes better than I did. I seem to be out of step on this one — abandoned it around 120-130 pages in. The Nebula nod indicates it was respected by writers. I’ll have to check out some more discussion of the book and see if I can understand what I missed.

  19. Vicki, one that comes immediately to mind is Alastair Reynolds’ Revenger. It’s a standalone (at least at the moment) about two sisters, 18 and 20 at the start I think, but written for adults and as far as I remember, little to no on-screen romance. It’s a space adventure with some interesting worldbuilding.

  20. (13) I loved the setup and premise of Six Wakes. A locked-room mystery, on a spaceship, in which a bunch of shady clones investigate their own murder is pretty damn cool 🙂

    But I found the execution fairly disappointing. Mysteries can be fantastic vehicles for exploring a science-fiction setting or premise, and Six Wakes definitely does that, exploring many disparate facets of ubiquitous cloning. But it pretty much starves the investigation plot. The various flashbacks feel like worldbuilding and, well, background material; I don’t come out of them feeling I know more about the current situation or like anything in the investigation has changed. They don’t feel to me like they’re advancing the mystery.

    Most of the book doesn’t feel like it’s answering questions, nor raising new ones. It adds backstories and detail, but the book feels like it’s aiming for breadth, not depth — which I’d love in plenty of other situations, but that doesn’t work for me as a compelling murder investigation.

    And so it’s not really surprising that the story’s conclusion feels disappointing and almost inconsequential. It’s not a moment of all the pieces falling into place; it’s more like ticking a box, going “well, somebody needs to be the bad guy here, so I guess I’ll supply one.”

    It’s a great concept, and fun, and it went by quickly. But it also read to me like a book gradually deflating, opening with some grand promises and then kind of not knowing how to follow them up.

  21. The reason I will not exhibit this pixel is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own scroll – The Pixel of Dorian Grey

  22. Vicki Rosenzweig on April 9, 2018 at 6:45 am said:

    and also hated The Color of Magic so much she didn’t want to read Wee Free Men at all, though I think it would have interested her otherwise.

    When she’s a bit older, tell her Colour of Magic is the least-best of the Pratchett books and perhaps do try Tiffany Aching. The earlier ones of her are much better and don’t contain even a milligram of Rincewind.

    If she likes fantasy, but her dad wants her to read some SF, try The Steerswoman books by Rosemary Kirstein. They are adult books with adult concepts (by which I mean the scientific method, not sexy times). there is one scene of torture in the first book, though it’s rather fade to black (or more accurately, the POV character goes out of eyesight while the torture is happening and thinks very hard about other things.)

    Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, the books have strong friendships, lots of puzzle solving, fascinating cultures and worldbuilding, and complex characters–even many of the peripheral characters are fleshed out well.

  23. I keep thinking that The Colour of Magic should be a cross between The Source of Magic and The Color of Distance.

  24. @Vicki Rosenzweig

    For SF with a teen girl protagonist, Saving Mars + sequels by Cindy Swanson went down a treat with my daughter at a similar age and set of likes. (I’m 90% sure that they were recommended to me on here as well)

  25. Vicki Rosenzweig on April 9, 2018 at 6:45 am said:

    A question for the hive mind:

    This question is of interest to me since I’ve got an 11 year old with similar tastes.
    She likes the Mysterious Benedict Society (trilogy, science fiction-esque), Zita the Spacegirl (trilogy, space fantasy, graphic novel), The Tiffany Aching portion of Disc World and the Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Longbow Girl (archery, time travel, Wales, standalone), the Skulduggery Pleasant books (ongoing series, YA, urban fantasy), the Super Hero High books by Lisa Yee (tie in fiction, series), anything by Raina Telgemeier – ideally as author and artist, but she’ll take her as artist (varied genres, graphic novels).


    Now that I’ve regurgitated what I know she’s read (let’s hear it for library reading programs), I’ll suggest a few more:

    PC Hodgell’s Godstalk (fantasy, ongoing series). Monsterblood Tattoo (steampunk, trilogy).
    Arc of a Scythe (scifi, heavy concepts) series by Neal Schusterman.

    And the kiddo got into my Girl Genius graphic novels so I lifted the cap there and she and I share those. That’s a you’ll need to evaluate yourself series before you turn them loose. They also have novel tie ins (Agatha H. and the Airship City, Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess and Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle).

    And I suspect she’s getting into the books (lot of Warren Ellis, Buck Godot, Karl Schroeder, my gaming books) that survived Harvey but have no hard proof.


  26. Contributing editor, yay.

    @Vicki Rosenzweig

    The Dancing Meteorite by Anne Mason (girl trained to interpret for aliens investigates mystery)

    Warriors of Taan by Louise Lawrence (mixed gender group deals with Earth people settling on their world)

    Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (mixed gender group in dystopian future with a virtual reality game that’s more than it seems)

    All low/no romance ya

  27. Oh, you also might try A Wrinkle in Time books by Madeline L’Engle. They are SF but have a fantasy feel.

    The movie is different from the books. But she might enjoy it. Give it a try!

  28. @Vicki Rosenzweig

    Replica by Jack Heath (all girl mystery thriller with robots)

  29. Vicki Rosenzweig: If she’s allowed some fantasy with science fiction, I’d recommend the updated Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. The updated series, alas, is still only available in ebook format. The kids don’t age up enough to think about kissing until book 9. A number of off planet adventures as well as Earthbound stories meanwhile. Diane Duane’s bookstore is at https://ebooksdirect.dianeduane.com/products/young-wizards-new-millennium-editions-9-volume-box-set

  30. 13 – I loved Six Wakes, no but anything. I felt how he does about some of his nominees like Spoonbenders the same way though. I liked it a lot but don’t consider it award worthy. Six Wakes came out in a strong year though, while I’m glad to see it receive a nomination I don’t see it going home with a trophy.

    2 – Was a good rundown of the issue, I wasn’t familiar with it but not surprised as some authors treat writing as a get rich quick scam when it takes a lot of work, years, and luck.

  31. Vicki Rosenzweig
    And I just thought of some oldies, but were goodies (to me 30+ years ago) – Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey.

    I know she’s out of favor in many circles, but I remember reading those books to pieces when I was a kid.

  32. @BravoLimaPoppa3

    Re Dragonsong/singer, they also have the advantage of being technically SF for the dad but really fantasy for the girl! I really loved that subseries at that age, but I’ve no idea if they stand up to the taste of modern teens or not.

  33. I STRONGLY recommend getting the Young Wizards series in the New Millenium editions if ebooks are not an issue. Especially Book Six, A Wizard Alone. I haven’t reread the earliest ones to really follow the general timeline changes (Mostly tech stuff like phone access), but with that book, it’s the entire depiction of autism that got redone.

    (I’m currently reading Wizards at War, or book 8.)

  34. Or, and there’s some romance in them (certainly in the second), Dreadnought and Sovereign by April Daniels. SF-y, ca “now”, but with super-heroes.

  35. Vicki Rosenzweig: An oldie but still in print: Alien Secrets by Annette Curtis Klause. The mass market cover has the character looking older than her ‘almost thirteen’ years. A mystery set on a space ship.

  36. Vicki Rosenzweig:
    Four more:
    Mars Evacuees (and sequel Space Hostages) by Sophia McDougall
    Moon Beam by Travis S. Taylor and Jody Lynn Nye
    Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughan

  37. (I’m Vicki’s sweetie, with the 12-year old niece.)

    Thanks JJ! I hadn’t known about the Reynolds, and will look into it.

    Kathryn and Lenora, I gave her So You Want To Be A Wizard (old edition) when she was 9, and The Book of Night With Moon this past winter. It should probably have been the other way around, but Vicki keeps reminding me: Any plan that requires a time machine is a bad plan.

  38. There’s an SF juvenile by Vonda McIntyre that might work: Barbary. If you can find it, anyway. I happened on it in a secondhand store. It’s older, so it’s probably worth reading before handing it to a kid.

    There’s an orphan who’s moving to a space station, and she loves her cat too much to leave it behind, and all kinds of things happen as a result.

  39. Ultragotha, the Steerswoman series is a favorite of mine, and it’s been on my list of books to give/suggest to her when she grows up. I hadn’t thought of her as nearly mature enough for it. Partly because of the torture, but mostly how the overall adult concepts are handled. (Not scientific method so much as genocide.)

    Did anyone here start reading the series when you were young? I didn’t discover it until I was past 30.

  40. @Chip Hitchcock: back in the early 80s when I was working for EE&T at AT&T (electronic education & training, american telephone and telegraph) we were developing software and hardware for what was at first “interactive video discs” (and later morphed into all manner of interactive multi-media – the first touch screens, computer controlled phones, the first analog to digital converter boards, etc), and, at the time, we came to realize that it would be possible to take a series of images of an individual in a variety of poses and digitally animate the “missing” frames of movement between one pose and another.
    We didn’t quite have the horse power to do it then, but it was apparent that such would be along in the not too distant future.
    We then realized that we could go farther: digitally capture, from EXISTING film, an archive of an actor’s movements and facial expressions. Create a library, suitably indexed, and bring folks “back to life” in new films.
    What they;ve announced now is both an enhancement of those early possibilities, but also not quite (yet) the full range of what they will eventually be able to do.
    (we almost got to take all of the Chuck Jones Road Runner cartoons, create the “library” mentioned above and use it to create a video game in which the player played Wile E Coyote; you could earn stuff from the ACME store to try and catch the road runner, but the real objective of the game was to get to see the “death” scenes….

  41. One of the things that struck me about Six Wakes is that while there were certain rules and principles about cloning that we’re told are societally accepted, later on some of the characters said or did things that indicated to me that they didn’t truly believe those principles. However, this didn’t get explicitly discussed or addressed. I would have liked to have the characters dig into those discrepancies.

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