Pixel Scroll 4/15/16 Barkleby

AKA Dogless In The Arena

(1) WHERE NEXT TREK FITS IN. IGN reports

Birth.Movies.Death.’s sources are saying that the CBS All Access show will be set in the classic continuity, which is to say not in the J.J. Abrams reboot-verse. Additionally, Season 1 of the series will be set before the era of The Next Generation, but after the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. That covers a lot of years, and BMD’s report is not specific beyond that, but essentially what this means is that the era that could be covered spanned the time of the Enterprise-B (the one captained initially by Cameron from Ferris Bueller!) and the Enterprise-C (the one that was destroyed defending a Klingon outpost, as we learned in the classic TNG episode ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’). Not that an Enterprise will figure into the show necessarily…

(2) THE CHECK STOPS HERE. Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic with Andy Duncan, Episode 6 of the series, unfolds at the Princess Cafe in the same booth where Harry and Bess Truman had lunch one Father’s Day more than 60 years ago.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy’s an award-winning writer many times over, having won a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a Nebula Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Plus he’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards. His collections include Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (which came out in 2000) and The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (published in 2011).

(3) BEHIND THE THRONES. Maureen Dowd interviewed Peter Dinklage for the New York Times “Dinklage and Dragons: Will Tyrion Win the ‘Game of Thrones’?” And blabbed a secret.

So now that the global hit — Season 6 starts in two weeks — has brought his character, the wily and louche “halfman” and “perverse little imp” Tyrion Lannister, into the sun-baked realm of Daenerys Targaryen, was it fun to act with the dragons? Or were they temperamental divas who chewed — or incinerated — the scenery?

“They’re not real,” he says, looking at me solemnly with his big, droopy blue eyes.

Whaaaaa? I am shocked, given the C.I.A.-level secrecy around the HBO show — which has sometimes confiscated extras’ cellphones and this year declined to provide the press with episodes in advance — that Dinklage would let such a huge spoiler slip out. (On a less top-secret note, HBO plans to make a comedy pilot inspired by my book “Are Men Necessary?”)

“The dragons are just a projection,” Dinklage says in his melodious baritone. “Ah, working with something that is not there. Sometimes I work with some actors who aren’t fully there. The guys in the visual effects department show you pre-visualizations, pre-vis. It used to be just storyboards, but now they’re really well done on computers, and you see the whole scene with you and the animated dragons before you do it, so you get that in your head. It’s neat. It’s cool. I like it.”

(4) A CENTURY OF FORRY. Monsterpalooza, April 22-24 at the Pasadena Convention Center, will feature a Forry Ackerman centennial panel on Sunday afternoon.

Forry 100th at MonsterPalooza

(5) TELEREAD COVERS HWA CONTROVERSY. Paul St. John Mackintosh, in “Horror Writers Association endures horrific meltdown over Bram Stoker Awards juror”, catches up on the David A. Riley story at TeleRead.

Riley, meanwhile, protested on his blog that: “It has been alleged by some people that I would be prejudiced against anything written or published or edited by non-white writers/publishers/editors. Utter twaddle. Yes, I am so prejudiced that I have paid for covers on two of the books I have published by Vincent Chong – one of my favourite artists. I am also in an advanced stage of negotiating with a black British writer to publish a collection of his stories.” Following that comment, the same Facebook respondent also posted: “That’s like saying I’m not racist I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND.”

Since I’ve found that my own past writings on the previous Riley controversy are being quoted in this context – as somehow “less negative than most” – I want to be quite clear where I stand on this go-round. Editorship of a revived horror anthology franchise is a totally different ball game to serving on a jury for a major award. Lisa Morton may say that “in specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works,” but I can’t see how a juror’s potential bias can not be an issue when appointing them to an awards jury. Would some worthy candidates boycott the Awards simply because Riley is on the jury? It’s already happened. Would the Stokers be tarnished by association? Ditto.

(6) ON THE BOTTOM. The BBC has pictures: “Film’s lost Nessie monster prop found in Loch Ness”.

A 30ft (9m) model of the Loch Ness Monster built in 1969 for a Sherlock Holmes movie has been found almost 50 years after it sank in the loch.

The beast was created for the Billy Wilder-directed The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, starring Sir Robert Stephens and Sir Christopher Lee.

It has been seen for the first time in images captured by an underwater robot.

Loch Ness expert Adrian Shine said the shape, measurements and location pointed to the object being the prop.

The robot, operated by Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime, is being used to investigate what lies in the depths of Loch Ness.

(7) INVENTED LANGUAGES. John Garth reviews A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages , edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, is published by HarperCollins, in “Teach yourself Dwarvish: behind Tolkien’s invented languages” at New Statesman.

It is only thanks to a talk that he gave in 1931 at his Oxford college, Pembroke, that we have his considered thoughts on language invention. From its title, “A Secret Vice”, onwards, he strikes a note of embarrassment: “I may be like an opium-smoker seeking a moral or medical or artistic defence for his habit.”

It was indeed a long-standing obsession. Although the editors of this new critical edition place his earliest inventions in his mid-teens, Tolkien told one interviewer that he began when he was eight or nine. His talk is a vigorous defence of the “hobby” and, with the support of the background commentaries provided by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, it becomes clear that the invention of languages has been a surprisingly widespread activity. A Secret Vice is a thoroughly engaging introduction for the outsider.

Tolkien describes hearing a fellow officer in a dull First World War army lecture exclaim dreamily, “Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!” Whether or not this is Tolkien in fictional guise, the scene is nicely conjured. “How far he ever proceeded in his composition, I never heard. Probably he was blown to bits in the very moment of deciding upon some ravishing method of indicating the subjunctive. Wars are not favourable to delicate pleasures.”

(8) GUNN REVIEWED BY LETSON. Russell Letson reviews Transgalactic by James Gunn for Locus Online.

…On one hand, SF traditionally sees itself as celebrating New Things so new that they haven’t even happened yet. On the other hand, there are the alternate history and steampunk subgenres (the latter of which quite deliberately adapts SF motifs and grafts them onto historical settings), so there is clearly an audience for retro-flavored entertainments.

And in any case, SF has worked and reworked its core materials since before the genre even had a name. With space opera, work by, say, Neal Asher, Iain M. Banks, Nancy Kress, Linda Nagata, or Walter Jon Williams is part of a tradition that goes back to E.E. ‘‘Doc’’ Smith and extends through Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson, Poul Anderson, and Jack Vance. Its story-space is a galaxy populated by exotic alien species, containing one or more star-spanning polities, possibly with a dizzyingly deep history. It is a setting made for explorations, intrigues, alien encounters, and wars – arguably a futureward projection of the condition of an Earth that still had blank spaces on the map, unknown peoples and societies, and tramp steamers to visit them.

This brings me to Transgalactic, the sequel to James Gunn’s Transcendental (reviewed in December 2013), which maintains its predecessor’s backward looks at earlier genre motifs and atmospherics. Transcendental echoes Olaf Stapledon in its embedded pilgrim-tales of alien evolutionary paths and ends with scenery and action right out of the SF-pulp version of lost-city adventures. Transgalactic continues that latter line, interleaving images and gestures from earlier cycles of science-fictional storytelling with more contemporary devices and shaping the whole concoction into an old-fashioned interstellar odyssey. …

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 15, 1983 — New-wave sci-fi classic Liquid Sky debuts in theaters.

(10) POPCORN WILL BE SOLD. Film exhibitors were courted at CinemaCon. Variety has the details — “Warner Bros. Offers ‘Wonder Woman’ Footage, Touts ‘Expansive’ DC Comics Universe”.

Warner Bros. talked up the “expansive” nature of the DC Comics cinematic universe during a presentation to exhibitors at CinemaCon on Tuesday, while debuting footage from “Wonder Woman” that highlighted the Amazonian warrior princess beating up a platoon of World War I soldiers. There was also a brief glimpse of love interest Chris Pine atop a motorcycle, as well as Wonder Woman using her shield to deflect gunfire, and riding a horse, sword drawn and ready for action…

The DC presentation ended on a high note with an ebullient Will Smith and the cast of “Suicide Squad,” a film about a team of super villains, taking the stage.

“What if Superman decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House and grab the president right out of the Oval Office,” a character asks in the extended trailer shown to the audience, setting up the film’s stakes. “Who would stop him?” The answer was a rag-tag group of amoral avengers, brought together by shadowy government operatives looking for an edge in a world of metahumans.

Smith promised that “Suicide Squad” will “fill those theaters up real thick,” while director and writer David Ayer pledged that “thirsty, hungry people are going to show up.”

(11) BYE KITTY. Rachel Swirsky bids “Farewell to Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series about a werewolf named Kitty”.

Poor Kitty Norville. Everyone always laughs at the werewolf named Kitty, even though, as she points out, she had the name first.

I’ve read every single one of Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series staring a werewolf named Kitty. So, of course, just like Mary Robinette’s Glamourist Histories and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, Carrie’s books ended last year.

The best one is book four. It packs a hell of a punch…

(12) STAR PROJECT. SFWA’s latest Star Project is By the Silver Wind by Jess E. Owen.

Fair winds to you!

If you’re already a member of the Gryfon Pride, please, make yourself comfortable, find a mossy rock to lounge, or go explore the amazing rewards for this, the campaign to fund the final volume of the Summer King Chronicles.

To those who are new, welcome! You’ve entered the world of the Silver Isles, where gryfons rule, dragons roam, ravens riddle, and wolves sing. I hope you’ll stay and become a member of the Pride!

The SFWA Blog explains:

This is a model Kickstarter for all self-published professionals. Congratulations!

SFWA makes small, targeted pledges to worthy Kickstarter projects by non-members, designating them  “SFWA Star Projects.” Projects are selected by the Self Publishing Committee, with coordination by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections are based on the project’s resonance with SFWA’s exempt purposes, and special preference is given to book-publishing projects in appropriate genres.

Funds for these pledges come from the SFWA Givers Fund. When pledges result in receiving donor rewards (such as signed books), these items will be auctioned off at fundraising events, to help replenish the Givers Fund.

The project has 10 days left in its campaign. All support is appreciated.

(13) 55 YEARS AGO IN THE UK. Galactic Journey’s overseas corresponded Ashley Pollard delivers “[April 15, 1961] London Calling (A Peek At UK Fandom)”.

Now a Red star has risen in the East — Vostok — aboard the ship is the first human in space: Major Yuri Gagarin, who is now a Hero of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and by extension a hero for all mankind.  The local prestige of our former wartime allies had plunged due to the recent discovery and capture of the Portland Spy Ring, causing ripples of concern over secrets lost, so having Major Gagarin take over the headlines has been welcome change — if only from one kind of paranoia to another: Reds with atomic secrets versus Reds in Space!  And because it turns my liking for all things to do with rocketry into a respectable talking point at parties.

Certainly, Thursday nights conversation at The London Circle, a meeting of like minded science fiction fans, was of nothing else.  (The London Circle was the basis for Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart.  I will not be drawn into the recent fan feud that has split the group because I attend for the absence of the pub and the chance to have a G&T with ice and a slice. How very non-fannish of me.)

Of course, this being Britain, we had to draw comparisons to Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass Experiment and the British Experimental Rocket Group and what happened to the hapless astronaut to leaven the concerns of those who see Soviet dominance in space as threat to World Peace.

As you can well imagine our conversations were more along the lines of aliens returning to Earth with Major Gagarin, and what would the Russian counter-part of Bernard Quatermass do?

(14) CHARITABLE COSPLAY. Will R. writes, “There seems to be a real thing over here–maybe it’s true in the States too–of people cosplaying for good (not to say cosplaying isn’t good for its own sake, I just mean explicitly to help others). We watched a doc one night on Star Wars cosplayers, who invest thousands in being Boba Fett or whatever, and do a lot of charity events in costume. It’s cool. Real heroes, you ask me.”

BelfastLive reports on one example — “Batman swoops into Northern Ireland Hospice to make patient’s dream come true”.

Batman swooped in from Gotham City to make a super fan’s dream come true – and share some crime-fighting secrets.

Northern Ireland Hospice patient Gary Owen – a self-confessed Dark Knight fanatic – received a very special visit from his hero today.

Gary, who is 28 and comes from Newcastle Co Down, chatted for more than an hour with the man in black, discussing movies, comics, Batman gadgets, and how to deal with villains.

The caped crusader brought special gifts from Forbidden Planet Belfast and exclusive Batman vs Superman merchandise – before Gary and his family watched The Dark Knight Rises movie.

A spokesman for Northern Ireland Hospice told Belfast Live: “Gary’s passion for Batman and super-heroes was obvious to Northern Ireland Hospice nursing staff and inspired them to create a special memory for him and his loving family.

“We created a cinema in the Day Hospice for Gary and family to watch the Dark Knight Rises, and Batman came in with gifts and comics.

“He and Gary chatted as if they had known each other for a long time. It is occasions like this that make lasting memories for families….”

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will R. and Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]


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93 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/15/16 Barkleby

  1. (14) CHARITABLE COSPLAY.

    I guess he’s somehow never heard of the 501st Legion?

    Started in 1997, the Legion has more than 8,000 members in more than 50 countries, on 6 continents. Their mission is to promote interest in Star Wars, facilitate Star Wars cosplay, and contribute to their local communities.

    I’ve seen members of the 501st at every SF con I’ve been to (and read about their presence at a lot of others I didn’t attend).

    According to the 501st’s Charity website, “In 2013 Legion members helped to raise $262,328 through our own fundraising efforts, attended events that helped to raise over $32 Million Dollars for charity. Our members donated over 28,946 ‘man hours’ wearing our Imperial Costumes all in the name of fundraising and charity!”

    My favorite of the 501st projects about which I’ve read is their outreach to girls who are bullied by boys for being Star Wars fans.

    They also maintain a Hall of Honor website for 501st members who have died. There are some pretty wrenching stories there, of good people whose lives were unfairly cut short.

  2. Wait-girls being bullied by boys for being Star Wars fans?

    I thought I’d heard of stupid reasons for bullying (come to think of it, they’re all stupid) but that one’s the stupidest one I’ve heard of to date!

    I’ve lived too long. My head hurts, can I go home now?

  3. @Roberts Reynolds – Ayup. I was lucky enough to be a GoH at a con where it had made the news recently that a local girl (probably eight or nine–I’m bad with kid ages) had been informed that Star Wars was for boys and she shouldn’t have a Star Wars lunch box. (It got bad enough that adults got involved, anyhow.) The girl in question attended, got a round of cheering, and was presented with a lightsaber.

    It was pretty awesome that the con did that, but damnit, it shouldn’t have had to.

  4. Whee, I did a subtitle! That was not anywhere in my mind when I tried to rephrase “no dog in this fight,” but I’m tickled that it got picked up and went so well with the main title–which I adore, btw.

    (On that note – we’ve already done “A pixel scrolled in Barkley square”, haven’t we?)

    I guess he’s somehow never heard of the 501st Legion?

    Dunno about him, but I hadn’t, and thanks to you I now have, and I’m glad! #TodaysLucky10K

  5. Robert Reynolds: Wait-girls being bullied by boys for being Star Wars fans? I thought I’d heard of stupid reasons for bullying (come to think of it, they’re all stupid) but that one’s the stupidest one I’ve heard of to date! I’ve lived too long. My head hurts, can I go home now?

    Surely you’ve heard of women being subjected to the Fake Geek Girl purity testing and bullying? This is just the grade-school version of that.

  6. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Dunno about him, but I hadn’t, and thanks to you I now have, and I’m glad!

    I know, isn’t it awesome? I got curious after seeing a bunch of them at a con some years ago — they were there with an absolutely magnificent Darth Vader, and I got a photo of them.

    So I looked them up on the internet and was really stunned to see just how widespread the organization is, and the many wonderful charity projects they do (they will even hire themselves out for media appearances, and give the money to charity).

  7. it had made the news recently that a local girl (probably eight or nine–I’m bad with kid ages) had been informed that Star Wars was for boys and she shouldn’t have a Star Wars lunch box.

    But I’m the asshole for wanting to get rid of gender. *headdesk*

  8. (14) – this seems relevant:

    Buzz Lightyear wins battle over driving licence
    14 April 2016
    A man who changed his name to Buzz Lightyear for charity has won a battle with the DVLA to have a driving licence in his new name.

    Mr Lightyear, formerly Sam Stephens, had changed his name by deed poll but said the DVLA would not honour his request, citing reputational damage.

    The 26-year-old from Devon, who also has a tattoo of the character, said he had now been issued with a new licence.

    The DVLA said a “range of evidence” was needed with the application.

    The spokesman said: “We recognise people may choose to change their name for many reasons. The driving licence is an important official document which is used both here and abroad.

    “That is why we look for a range of evidence to support the application before we update our records.”

    Mr Lightyear said he wanted to do “the most outrageous thing” possible to raise money for the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, and chose the Buzz Lightyear theme because Toy Story was his favourite childhood film.

    As part of his fundraising campaign, Mr Lightyear got a tattoo on his leg, ran the Brighton marathon in April 2015 and signed the deed poll on the finishing line when he reached his target of £2,000.

    “Cancer’s not the greatest thing and in children it’s horrible”, he said.

    He said his original application to change his driving licence was rejected in May 2015, despite having sent the DVLA his legal paperwork.

    The electrical wholesale manager described how his new name meant he had struggled to book tables at restaurants, and had had online shopping orders cancelled, but would still do another “name-changing fundraiser”.

    “I’m not married yet – I am looking for Mrs Lightyear”, he said.

  9. “I guess he’s somehow never heard of the 501st Legion?”

    I thought it was Levi’s?

  10. @JJ Yup. Anthologist, author and reviewer Andrew Liptak, who also does stuff for I09 and B&N, is an enthusiastic member of the 501st.

  11. @JJ-No, I’d never heard of that before. It sounds totally asinine. Silly me-I’ve never even remotely considered the idea of “testing” someone because they said they geeked on something. I always figure they know their own interests better than I could.

    It’s things like that which make me glad I’m a hermit. The more I see of people, the better I like animals.

  12. On eBooks, an interesting study by Kobo:

    Digital reading driven by older women, study claims
    Research carried out for the ebook retailer Kobo finds three quarters of the most active readers are women over 45

    Fuelled on a diet of romance and crime, new research claims the digital reading revolution is being powered by “prolific” readers who are predominantly female and over 45.

    A study carried out for ebook retailer Kobo suggests that women represent 75% of the most active e-readers – defined as readers who spend at least 30 minutes a day using electronic books.

    “They are the engine that powers the industry,” said chief executive Michael Tamblyn. “The industry has intuitively known this, but we wanted to shine a light on it.”

    […]

  13. Surely you’ve heard of women being subjected to the Fake Geek Girl purity testing and bullying? This is just the grade-school version of that.

    Grade-school? If only. This is something a grown man actually posted on a forum I frequent:

    Sorry but its true. Star Wars in its current form is dead to me, seeing every movie going forward be all about the women in the lead, sorry I won’t be watching. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Disney since they pander man hating grabage to kids in movies like Frozen. Nothing will make me happier than when Ghostbusters bombs this year. Your all really showing your white knight mindset since your attacking me for speaking the truth.

  14. Just finished our Wombat’s The Raven and the Reindeer this morning.

    Wow. What a story. Really delightful, the parts with the [ROT13] guebng phggvat [/ROT13] were genuinely disturbing, and now I’m sad because I want to read more and I can’t because it’s over.

    Very highly recommended

  15. I’ve never been accused of being a Fake Geek Girl. I was, however, saddled with “nerd” and “bookworm” and “teachers’ pet” in school, and later earned the nickname of “Science Fiction” from a coworker because I “was always carrying some honking great book”.

    And now we have nerds like me who were teased and ostracized for their geekiness gatekeeping the Proper Geek Pavilion. I just don’t understand. Geekiness is not a zero-sum game.

  16. Well, Star Wars in its current form may be dead to him but I doubt that anybody connected with Star Wars gives a toss. Why should they?

    It’s a business, and Disney want to make money; they have very good idea of what is going to make money for them, and the idea that they may expend even a nano second in response to a grown man throwing a temper tantrum about not getting what he wants is ludicrous.

    It seems to me that you have to be in a very bad mental state if the thing that will make you most happy is a movie tanking. There are a lot of things which I’m really looking forward to doing this year – for example, my daughter is accompanying me for a cruise around archaeological sites in the Med this summer – which is definitely happy making.

    The odd thing about this sort of rant is that people don’t notice how pathetic they seem; they are so busy complaining about other people having fun that it seems unlikely that they ever have time to have fun themselves…

    ETA

    ‘The Raven and the Reindeer’ is brilliant!

  17. @Aaron:

    Thanks! I loved that, both the song and the video! The idiots still won’t get it, but they seldom do anyway.

    Nobody has to prove anything to me. I’ve got enough on my hands managing my own life.

  18. I didn’t check, but I’m sure that Dinklage interview was from April 1st. Those dragons are obviously real. C’mon, people!

    Re: Star Wars boys club… I swear I remember that Star Wars lunch box debacle, but the more I think about it… could be any of several moments of systemic stupidity – could be one I missed, even, or didn’t bother clicking through because I often don’t have the energy to read that same story over and over again. Speaking of which, I just saw this (I think David Gerrold posted it on Facebook): http://warhornmedia.com/2016/03/07/an-open-letter-to-rey-from-star-wars/

    Warning: it’s kind of like if you took James May and squished JCW’s Christian posturings into his misogynist rants. Less vitriol than either, but some “smartest asshole in 8th grade” level snark. I made it about 1/3 of the way through. Not sure if I can then say tl;dr, but my tl;dr for it is “strong women in movies are utterly unrealistic because women generally aren’t stronger than men, and also there are some misogynist passages in the Bible that prove women are weak and primarily intended to be mothers.”

    On to less squicky subjects… currently reading/recently read:

    The Throne of Bones – Brian McNaughton
    I may have mentioned this already. I loved this book. A tribute to the classics – Smith, Vance, Leiber, Howard, Lovecraft, etc. – but updated to include way too much gore and some horrible sex. Some of the story lines are straight out of my favorite Slayer album from the mid-80s. I read somewhere that it was like stories from the common people of Mordor, or something like that, and I agree. Everyone is evil and gross. Well, almost everyone, but nobody gets out okay in the end. I feel like I shouldn’t have found it quite so enjoyable, but, well, there’s no accounting for taste. I was also dead sick as I was reading it (which made some of the gorier parts harder to deal with).

    Hawkwood’s Voyage – Paul Kearney
    Didn’t someone here recommend this? I couldn’t find it in a google search, but I swear I just read a recommendation for it here, maybe a week or two ago. This was a quick read. I believe it’s a secondary world novel (I’m not entirely sure what that means, so I figured I’d just say it is and let the old usenet-era rule about asking questions take care of it for me), set kind of in Europe/Spain circa 1492, with three basically opposing forces – the general Western world, the Inceptines (sorta parody of Catholic stereotypes and excess), and the Mereds (sorta parody of Muslim stereotypes and excess). Magic is real, and looks a bit like what I’d imagine the pre-Enlightenment view of magic would be, and there are werewolves (shifters). The titular character is sailing across the Western Sea to find the fabled Western Continent. A quick read, pretty fun, some violence (some of it sexual, so warning about that), not bad. I’ll pick up the next book at some point.

    Nine Goblins – T. Kingfisher
    Someone here brought it up (Tasha?). I can’t remember why, but I immediately bought it. I love how our resident marsupial writes stories with characters that are generally kinder than most, but doesn’t neglect the dark. Loved this book. My main quibble is: poison oak doesn’t work like that! (unless it does, on Goblins). Bonus points for Wiggles the kitten.

    Mad Ship – Robin Hobb
    I ate up the first book in the series a few years back, but got bogged down a little over halfway through this one. It’s so relentlessly negative, and when you find out one of the mysteries… it was so epically, terribly horrible that I had to bow out for a while. Well, that, and the increasingly grim prospects for the Vestrit family. Re-started it yesterday and almost stayed up all night reading it.

  19. I liked Rey and thought she was awesome. But then I’m a feeeeeeeeeeeemale so what do I know.

    Here, have a bunch of TFA gifs with added garlic bread to get rid of the taste of misogyny: The Garlic Awakens.

  20. Thanks! I loved that, both the song and the video!

    I’m glad you liked it! I love pretty much everything the Doubleclicks have done. If you want nerdy folk music there are few better.

  21. I don’t understand the objections to Rey as a powerful force user. In the prequels, we saw Yoda fighting opponents three times his size and five times his weight. Their head canon must include that midichlorians need high testosterone environments to thrive? The ancient fragile knee-high guy can be a bad ass warrior but the much larger stronger and healthier woman is SJW bs?

  22. Spouse and I get some crap because we weren’t that enamored of TFA. But as it happens, we loved the new characters (with the exception of Kylo Ren, who would never be given a position of power anywhere beyond a pre-school recess yard). It was the inclusion of the older characters and the general play-it-safe pandering to original fans (of which we are two) that we found annoying. (Or maybe it was just the generally scattered and convoluted nature of the storytelling that we didn’t like.)

    But Rey and Finn? And whoever that other guy was, who was played by some actor I’m told I should have recognized but didn’t? Hell, yes. Bring ’em on. They were fun, and I loved BB-8, even though I kept wondering how he kept desert sand from jamming up the joint between his head and his body.

    And I still have yet to see a single Rey tie-in product in the wild.

  23. Jamoche on April 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm said:
    There’s no joint, BB-8’s head stays on with magnets.

    Yeah, I know. But throughout the whole movie I kept thinking AUGH! DUST!!

    I fixate on weird stuff sometimes. 🙂

  24. Interesting that Star Trek is now with CBS, when it started on NBC. This new series will be the second one by one of the “big three” networks. I’m glad to see that they’re going to ignore the reboot—I actually enjoy the Abrams movies, but they have problems (to put it mildly).

    Of course, if they really wanted to mess with people’s minds, they could declare that only shows which appeared on one of the “big three” are canon. Which would even fit in with starting right after TOS (the only other show to appear on one of the big three). I’m sure they’re not that insane, but I think it would be funny to see people’s reaction to such a move! 😀

    As for Star Wars, I didn’t mind the reappearance of old characters at all. What bothered me was the recycling of old plots! But the new characters are what really saved the new movie. I thought Finn was the most interesting one; finding out what goes on in a stormtrooper’s head was fascinating (as my avatar might say). But Rey was decent too. Yeah, she was crazy OP*, but that seems to be pretty common among Jedi. Luke was just as OP, and he was a whiny, annoying little bitch. So Rey wins big time!

    (So far, though, I still prefer R2D2 to BB-8, but we’ll see how the character develops in future movies.)

    * A lot of people have called her a “Mary Sue”, which only reveals that they have no idea what the term means. And also suggests they haven’t seen any of the other SW movies… 😀

  25. @World Weary

    I don’t understand the objections to Rey as a powerful force user.

    Things started to go downhill once I realized “Rey” was her last name and her full name was “Mary Sue Rey.”

    Her only weakness seemed to be ignorance. She immediately excelled at anything she put her hand to. I actually enjoyed the movie despite that–ignorance can be a powerful liability–but longer term, a character without weaknesses is a very dull one.

  26. @Xtifr

    A lot of people have called her a “Mary Sue”, which only reveals that they have no idea what the term means. And also suggests they haven’t seen any of the other SW movies… ?

    I think most people use “Mary Sue” to refer to any character who starts at zero and then excels at whatever he/she cares to do. Wikipedia seems to agree with that definition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue Did you have a different definition in mind, or do you somehow think it’s not an accurate description of Rey?

    I don’t think anyone in the original stories was a Mary Sue. Luke couldn’t even lift his spaceship out of the mud.

  27. kathodus: Speaking of which, I just saw this (I think David Gerrold posted it on Facebook)

    OMG, I clicked that link without reading any further on your post. And I’m reading, and I’m reading, and I’m thinking, hey, this guy is doing a great satire — and then, about halfway through, I finally realized that he is actually dead serious, and honestly believes that the wimminz should keep themselves barefoot and helpless in the kitchen so that the menz can feel all manly and useful and powerful by being in charge and protecting them — and that the entertainment industry is guilty of something horrible and heinous because they are subverting that with strong female characters who have agency and power.

    What a tosser. 🙄

  28. The Wikipedia article (unsurprisingly) seems a bit self-contradictory. But it certainly says:

    “Mary Sue” today has changed from its original meaning and now carries a generalized, although not universal, connotation of wish-fulfillment and is commonly associated with self-insertion. True self-insertion is a literal and generally undisguised representation of the author; most characters described as “Mary Sues” are not, though they are often called “proxies” for the author.

    I have a hard time seeing Rey as any sort of proxy for the author(s), let alone self-insert.

    I also don’t remember any scenes where Rey lifted spaceships out of the mud. But I do certainly remember scenes where she didn’t automatically succeed at everything she put her hands to. As I remember it, she got her ass kicked, and was captured. And yes, she managed to (more-or-less) rescue herself before the rescue team arrived, but still….

    Yes, she was clearly OP, to a nearly ridiculous extent. On the other hand, she’d been on her own for quite some time, unlike Luke, who was still living with parental figures when he was found. So she probably had a level of confidence that Luke lacked, and confidence seems to be a big key to The Force.

    I’m not saying I thought she was a great character. She certainly had Sue-ish tendencies. I just think that a lot of people exaggerate her flaws, and overlook how bad some of the earlier characters were (in particular, Luke). And yes, I suspect that some of the hate is because she’s a girl.

    Bottom line: if it had been a guy who got captured, but then managed to rescue himself, I don’t think he would have gotten anywhere near as much hate. But girls who are captured are supposed to wait for a guy to come along and rescue them. Rey didn’t do that, which is, I think, why a lot of people (not necessarily you) think she’s a Mary Sue. Girls don’t do that!

  29. I think the question of whether Rey’s character can legitimately be called a “Mary Sue” was pretty much beaten to death in The Force Awakens Spoiler Thread.

    My take on it is that the arguments being made about Rey being a Mary Sue can be turned around and made about almost all male characters in SFF movies — except that, strangely, no one has done the same for those male characters — and my perception is that the people making those arguments about Rey are defending their conscious or unconscious biases, rather than advancing a legitimate argument.

  30. @Xtifr

    Bottom line: if it had been a guy who got captured, but then managed to rescue himself, I don’t think he would have gotten anywhere near as much hate. But girls who are captured are supposed to wait for a guy to come along and rescue them. Rey didn’t do that, which is, I think, why a lot of people (not necessarily you) think she’s a Mary Sue. Girls don’t do that!

    I don’t have a problem with her rescuing herself. Heck, as I said, I enjoyed the movie. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t notice that Rey excelled in everything she did–even though she hadn’t done it before. Flying a spaceship, using the force, fighting with a light saber. You name it. Real mastery takes time and effort. I agree that’d be boring to watch, but did they need to have her be an instant expert in so many different things?

    As for the meaning of “Mary Sue,” I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. As a linguist, though, I’ll tell you that we don’t believe it’s possible to have a word that “most people misuse.” 🙂

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