Pixel Scroll 4/24/17 Let Us Sit Upon The Ground And Scroll Sad Pixels

(1) UNORTHODOX APPROACH. Beginning July 18, a weekly podcast will be hosted by Sixth & I in Washington DC — “Harry Potter and The Sacred Text”.

What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast the reads Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text.

Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah, and Muslims read the Quran, Harvard chaplains Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile embark on a 199 ­episode journey (one chapter per week) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have in store.

The chaplains read the beloved series through the lens of instructive and inspirational text and extract lessons that can be applied to our own lives.

At the end of 199 weeks will something more emerge from these readings?

(2) JUSTICE IS BLIND. At Sharps & Flatirons, Peter Alexander says blind orchestral auditions have leveled the playing field — “Women in Classical Music: Some Good News, Some Bad News” .

First the good news: professional orchestras are filled with women today, a vast contrast to 40 or 50 years ago when orchestras were almost entirely male. This is now a viable career for the most talented women instrumentalists.

The bad news is that the picture is not nearly as rosy for women composers, who are not well represented on orchestral programs. And women conductors are no better off than composers.

The growing numbers of women in professional orchestras at every level can be traced to a single innovation that began around 1970: “blind auditions,” where competing candidates for open orchestral jobs play behind a screen. The selection committee does not know if it is hearing a man or a woman. The rapid change in the makeup of orchestras since 1970—casually visible and backed up by the numbers—is compelling evidence of the opposition women orchestral players faced before that innovation.

… In an article titled “Orchestrating Impartiality,” published in 2000 in The American Economic Review, researchers Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse concluded that “the screen increases—by 50 percent—the probability that a woman will be advanced from certain preliminary rounds and increases by severalfold the likelihood that a woman will be selected in the final round.” Their conclusion is backed up by 25 pages of charts, graphs and statistical studies.

(3) CON OR BUST AUCTION. The Con or Bust annual fundraising auction has begun and runs until May 7 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Con or Bust, Inc., is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions.

The available items include a signed galley of Ann Leckie’s next novel Provenance (to be published in October.) When I last looked, bidding was already up to $120.

Here are a few examples of the wide variety of auction items –

The whole list of auction tags is here.

(4) EMOJI CODE. There are four summaries, and I didn’t understand even one. Your turn! “Can you guess the Doctor Who episodes told in emojis?”

Test your Doctor Who knowledge by deciphering these emoji plots and guessing the episode!

If you’re stuck, answers are at the bottom of the page…

(5) LOOK, UP IN THE SKY. Talk about timing! Carl Slaughter referenced Larry Page in the other day’s flying car roundup, and today the news is “Larry Page’s flying car will be available to buy before the end of the year”

The Kitty Hawk Flyer is an electric aircraft that, in its current version, looks a bit like a flying Jet Ski. Cimeron Morrissey, who test flew the aircraft, wrote in a review that the final version would look quite different from the prototype, which doesn’t look all that practical.

A New York Times profile of the Flyer describes it as “something Luke Skywalker would have built out of spare parts.” The vehicle weighs about 100 kilograms and, according to Morrissey, can travel up to 25 mph. She likened the Flyer to “a toy helicopter.”

(6) PETER S. BEAGLE. Initially Barry Deutsch was signal-boosting an appeal for funds — “Peter S Beagle, author of ‘The Last Unicorn,’ is in dire need! Here are three ways you can help.” However, Beagle’s fans immediately came through on the short-term goal, which still leaves two longer-term needs:


Go to the Support Peter Beagle website and use the button there to contribute to a fund to help pay for Peter Beagle’s legal costs. You can leave a message for Peter in the paypal field; I am told he will receive and read all messages sent this way.


Peter Beagle has curated a Humble Bumble of unicorn fiction, called “Save the Unicorns.” You can pay as little as $1 to get a ton of novels to read, and support Peter Beagle at the same time! Important: In “choose where your money goes,” pick 100% Tachyon Press. Peter Beagle will get royalties and such from Tachyon for these Humble Bumble sales.

To be kept up-to-date on Peter Beagle news, follow @RealPeterBeagle on Twitter.

(7) UNGRADED HATE MAIL. Margaret Atwood answers Patt Morrison’s questions in the LA Times.

I can imagine your fan mail. I can’t imagine your hate mail.

I’ve gotten lots of hate mail over the years. I’ll probably get more once the television series comes out. But I’m not advocating for one thing or the other. I’m saying that what kind of laws you pass — those laws will have certain kinds of results. So you should think carefully about whether you want to have those results or not.

If you’re going to ban birth control, if you’re going to ban information about reproduction, if you’re going to defund all of those things, there will be consequences. Do you want those consequences or not? Are you willing to pay for them or not?

Listen to the “Patt Morrison Asks” podcast and read the full interview at here.

(8) WHO’S THAT SHOUTING? Two writers here for the LA Festival of Books indulge in shenanigans. (Hm, just discovered my spellchecker has a different opinion of how shenanigans is spelled than I have – dang, it did it again!)

(9) CITIZEN SCIENCE. And they call the wind aurora whatever-it-is… Steve? “Aurora photographers find new night sky lights and call them Steve”

Relatively little else is known about the big purple light as yet but it appears it is not an aurora as it does not stem from the interaction of solar particles with the Earth’s magnetic field.

There are reports that the group called it Steve in homage to a 2006 children’s film, Over the Hedge, where the characters give the name to a creature they have not seen before.

Roger Haagmans of the ESA said: “It is amazing how a beautiful natural phenomenon, seen by observant citizens, can trigger scientists’ curiosity.

“It turns out that Steve is actually remarkably common, but we hadn’t noticed it before. “It’s thanks to ground-based observations, satellites, today’s explosion of access to data and an army of citizen scientists joining forces to document it.”

(10) A CERTAIN GLOW ABOUT THEM. If you don’t already know this story, you should: “Dark Lives Of ‘The Radium Girls’ Left A Bright Legacy For Workers, Science”,an interview with the book’s author Kate Moore.

In the early days of the 20th century, the United States Radium Corporation had factories in New Jersey and Illinois, where they employed mostly women to paint watch and clock faces with their luminous radium paint. The paint got everywhere — hair, hands, clothes, and mouths.

They were called the shining girls, because they quite literally glowed in the dark. And they were dying.

Kate Moore’s new book The Radium Girls is about the young women who were poisoned by the radium paint — and the five who sued United States Radium in a case that led to labor safety standards and workers’ rights advances.

(11) WHILE YOU WERE OUT: One big step for…. “Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks new space record”.

Peggy Whitson has broken the record for most days in space by a US astronaut.

Dr Whitson already holds records for the most spacewalks carried out by a woman astronaut and is the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS) twice.

Now she’s beaten the record previously set by Jeff Williams, who had a total of 534 days in space.

President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka have called Dr Whitson to congratulate her.

(12) AN EYEFUL. Forbes has a gallery of “The Top Cosplayers From Silicon Valley Comic Con”.

This weekend the second Silicon Valley Comic Con took place, featuring robotics, virtual reality and a wax statue of Steve Wozniak. But everyone knows that Comic Con is really about one thing, and that’s the jaw dropping cosplay. From menacing Jokers to an adorable Hatsune Miku costume, enjoy this roundup of some of the most eye-catching costumes at the show…


View this post on Instagram

My cape means business ??

A post shared by Mel ? (@_melanie.morgan_) on

(13) DOC WEIR AWARD. British Eastercon members voted the 2017 Doc Weir Award to Serena Culfeather and John Wilson.

The Doc Weir Award was set up in 1963 in memory of fan Arthur Rose (Doc) Weir, who had died two years previously. Weir was a relative newcomer to fandom, he discovered it late in life – but in the short time of his involvement he was active in a number of fannish areas. In recognition of this, the Award is sometimes seen as the “Good Guy” Award; something for “The Unsung Heroes”.

(14) SCIENCE QUESTION. I thought you could only get hit by a meteorite? (Unless it’s being smacked by a wet echinoderm he’s worried about.)


  • April 24, 1184 B.C. – Traditional date of the Fall of Troy, calculated by Eratosthenes.
  • April 24, 1990 – Hubble Space Telescope launched.


  • Born April 24, 1914 – Filmmaker William Castle

(17) CARTOON OF THE DAY. “Cat City” by Victoria Vincent on Vimeo explains what happens when a cat runs away from home to become a hairdresser and drinks too much!

(18) WILL WORK FOR CLICKS. Camestros Felapton renders another much-needed public service: “See how your favourite Games of Thrones Characters are related”. Go there to see the family trees.

(19) NOVELLA INITIATIVE. The Book Smugglers published the first 2017 entry in their Novella Initiative last week, Dianna Gunn’s novella Keeper of the Dawn.

In Keeper of the Dawn, the first novella from Book Smugglers Publishing, author Dianna Gunn introduces readers to strong-willed Lai. All her life she has dreamed of following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother and becoming a priestess in service to her beloved goddesses. But even after lifelong preparation, she fails trials and her next instinct is to run away.

Off in the north kingdom of Alanum, as she works to recalibrate her future, Lai becomes the bodyguard of a wealthy merchant, who is impressed by her strength and bravery. One night she hears stories about a mountain city where they worship the same goddesses she does. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple and do whatever it takes to join their sacred order. Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn, rich with female empowerment, is a multi-layered LGBTQIA YA Fantasy story about fate, forgiving yourself, and the endurance of hope.

Gunn also wrote a post about her inspirations and influences.

In many ways Lai’s story also mirrors the story of my own career. I’ve dreamed about being an author since the age of eight, and as a child I stubbornly believed I would have my first novel published before my eighteenth birthday.

Well, my eighteenth birthday came and went some years ago, and only now is my first book coming out. But I have already been a working writer for six years, writing marketing materials for many different companies and non-profits. More importantly, my dream still came true—just a few years later than planned.

(20) CLARKE AWARD CONTENDERS. A couple of Shadow Clarke jurors take their turn discussing what have proven to be group favorites, while another visits less familiar ground.

Part of the way it reworks things is that it’s not about the Up and Out, but the ups and downs. The rigors of life are always present: people make decisions, those decisions impact life, and they rarely have anything to do with that giant monstrosity towering from the south that hurls people into outer space. The Central Station of Central Station is a mere landmark, an economic hub and cultural icon, but as Maureen K. Speller points out in her review, “…even in science fiction, that so-called literature of the future, nothing lasts forever. The symbolic tropes – space ships, robots, AIs – will all eventually be absorbed and become part of the scenery.” The Central Station of the future is the airport of today: not that big of a deal.

This is a difficult, intractable, Gordian knot of a novel, the kind you recommend to like-minded friends more out of curiosity to see what they’ll make of it than from any reasonable belief that they’ll enjoy the book. Whether this novel – formally and stylistically perfect though it is, a rare gem of a debut that hints at that rare beast, a writer who knows precisely where he’s going and what he wants – can be enjoyed on anything other than a purely intellectual level is a debatable point; whether it can be enjoyed as science fiction still more so.

The Underground Railroad is about as significant a novel as American literary culture is capable of producing in the first quarter of the 21st century.

If you care enough about books to be reading this kind of essay then chances are that you have either purchased or taken an interest in this novel. Far from being organic and spontaneous, your decision to purchase Colson Whitehead’s latest novel is the result of almost every facet of American literary culture coming into alignment and choosing to imbue a single work with as much cultural significance as those institutions can conceivably muster. Already a winner of many prestigious literary awards and a beneficiary of both the Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, Colson Whitehead has now seen his sixth novel celebrated not only by Pulitzer and National Book Award judges but also by the – arguably more influential and economically important – face of Oprah’s Book Club.

(21) DOCTOR TINGLE AI. Applied Digital Studies Project uses a twitter bot to form new titles based on novels by Dr. Chuck Tingle. Not surprisingly, there is a good deal of butt and pounding in these titles. Still, some of them are funny.

(22) MYTHIC FIGURE. Today Chuck Tingle is busy burnishing his legend.

(23) READERCON. Tracy Townsend announced she will be at Readercon in Quincy, MA from July 13-16.

Guests of Honor:

Naomi Novik & Nnedi Okorafor

Memorial Guest of Honor:

Tanith Lee

Although Readercon is modeled on “science fiction conventions,” there is no art show, no costumes, no gaming, and almost no media. Instead, Readercon features a near-total focus on the written word….

(24) MOVIE RESTORATION. The Verge says those who have heard of it should be pleased — “Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi classic Stalker is getting an HD restoration”. And those like me, who haven’t, will be intrigued.

Cinephiles, rejoice! Criterion Collection will be adding a major science-fiction classic to its roster this summer: a restored version of Stalker, directed by Solaris filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.

Based off the 1971 Russian science-fiction novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Stalker was originally released in 1979. The film follows a man known as “the Stalker” as he leads an expedition into a mysterious, forbidden area known as “The Zone.” In the book, the mysterious Zone is the location of an alien visitation decades before the story, littered with fantastic pieces of technology and dangers; in the film, its origins are more obscure. But in both cases, reality there is distorted, and somewhere inside is a room that will grant visitors’ innermost desires. The journey to get there is physically and philosophically arduous, and it tests the trio of men traveling there.

(25) SUBTITLES IN I KNOW NOT WHAT LANGUAGE. The Justice League Official International Trailer dropped today.

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


(26) A VISIT TO MARVEL. SlashFilm leads readers on a “Marvel Studios Offices Tour: A Behind-the-Scenes Look”. (Photos at the site.)

The Marvel Studios offices are located on the second floor of the Frank G. Wells Building on the Walt Disney Studios lot. When you exit the elevators, you are greeted by a wall-to-wall mural featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a big Marvel Studios logo.

Marvel Studios began in a tiny office in Santa Monica that they shared with a kite factory. After that, the company moved to an office above a Mercedes dealership in Beverly Hills. They were based out of Manhattan Beach Studios for a few years before Disney asked them to move onto the Burbank lot in 2014. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that Marvel fully decorated their offices….

(27) BOMBS AWAY. A new record for a domino toppling specialty was set in March.

A group of domino builders in Michigan created the world’s largest “circle bomb” using nearly 80,000 dominoes.

The Incredible Science Machine team broke the Guinness World Record for “Most dominoes toppled in a circle bomb/circle field” by creating a series of 76,017 dominoes that toppled from the center of a circle to its outer edge.

“The Incredible Science Machine Team is very passionate about domino art and sharing it with an audience to amaze and inspire them,” team leader Steve Price, 22, said.

A total of 18 builders from the United States, Canada, Germany and Austria spent 10 days constructing the domino formation at the Incredible Science Machine’s annual event in Westland, Mich.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mart.]

133 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/24/17 Let Us Sit Upon The Ground And Scroll Sad Pixels

  1. @Bonnie McDaniel

    (re: The Stars Are Legion)

    Uzzz, V jnf fher V erzrzorerq n punenpgre fnlvat gung zvtengvba jnf pnhfvat gur ceboyrzf orpnhfr crbcyr jrera’g va gur evtug cynprf gb cebqhpr gur evtug cnegf, ohg V znl or jebat be gur punenpgre znl unir orra jebat!
    Rvgure jnl, V’q nterr gung n ovg zber pner naq nggragvba zvtug unir oebhtug bhg gurfr vffhrf orggre – V gbb jbhyq ybir gb xabj zber nobhg gur jbeyq(f).

  2. @Paul King f The Black Company is interpreted as being about WWII then the fact that they end up working for the White Rose definitely needs to be taken into account.

    That’s an interesting point, and well worth thinking about. Thanks.

  3. @ Dawn Incognito

    Re Too Like The Lightning, I suspect you are correct about the element you rot13ed, it does seem to be worryingly significant.

    The fragmentary nature of it is one of my big concerns about judging it as it stands alone – because it just doesn’t. There’s not even any real subplot resolved that you can point to as a partial breakpoint. I’m sure that publishing it this way makes sense from a marketing and selling POV, but for voting purposes I feel I’ve only got half a story to judge from.

    @various re October Daye

    Thanks for the hints on reading the series. I read #1 a few years ago and was wondering where to start from again, so the suggestion of starting from #3 sounds good. I’m going to wait and see what’s in the packet first though…

  4. @John A Arkansawyer: the Berlin Philharmonic musicians elect their conductor; all of their conductors (including the brand new one) are men.

  5. @Mark:

    I am not judging Too Like the Lightning a complete book, and I feel like it was done a disservice by being a finalist this year, instead of it and Seven Surrenders as a duology next year.

    I can see why the break point was chosen to be where it was, I believe I can see the major shifts in the narrative, I’m not sure how all the threads will be tied together but see enough skill in the writing to trust that they will be.

    Can I get back to that other plot in rot13 with ya? Most of the reviews I’ve read totally gloss over it…

    V haqrefgnaq jul gur Zneqv onfu’ jnf gnetrgrq; Zlpebsg gryyf Fnynqva gung ur unf gb fgbc gur Zneqv cyna. Gur gbegher frrzf gb unir orra qrfvtarq fb gung Zlpebsg jbhyq or pncgherq naq rkrphgrq. Vf guvf fb gur jbeyq jbhyq abj unir oybbq ba gurve unaqf? Rira gur tragyr Pbhfvaf onlvat sbe qrngu?

    Ohg…gur gbegherf frrzrq crefbanyyl pubfra. Trarin jnf pehpvsvrq, Yrvtu srq gb yvbaf. Obgu bs gubfr gbegherf nffbpvngrq jvgu eryvtvba, ng yrnfg va bhe ntr. Vf gung qryvorengr? Jul cnegvphyne gbegherf pubfra sbe rnpu Zneqv onfu’ zrzore? Be nz V bireguvaxvat vg orpnhfr vg obgurerq zr fb zhpu?

    Svanyyl, jung jnf gur Pnaare onfu’ fhccbfrq gb or? Gur bar gung jnf fb fcrpvny gung jnf nyzbfg qrfgeblrq va gur rkcybfvba? Jrer gurl fhccbfrq gb or nffnffvaf, naq gung’f jul Zlpebsg naq Fnynqva ner ubj gurl ner? Jnf gur snvyher bs gung rkcrevzrag jul gur Fnarre-Jrrxfobbgu onfu’ orpnzr gur nffnffvaf? (Jvgu gur Frafnlre Whyvn pbzcyvpvg naq pnhfvat gubfr fhvpvqrf, zrguvaxf…) Gb jung raq?

    Arrrrrgh, I’m going to read Seven Surrenders pretty much as soon as Hugo reading is done so I can get answers to these questions. I have high expectations, and my disappointment will be extreme if Palmer fumbles these balls she’s juggling

  6. @ John A: I strongly disagree (and I don’t think it’s nearly as simple as you claim), but I would be willing to listen if you feel like expanding on that premise.

    @ Nicole: Yeah, that, but even more, gur jnl gur cubarf jrer orvat jbaxl va obgu qverpgvbaf naq fur whfg oyrj vg bss. Bar zvffrq pbzzhavpngvba pna or fuehttrq bss, ohg fur unq gjb be guerr bs gurz naq vg arire bppheerq gb ure gb guvax gung fbzrbar jnf zrffvat jvgu gur cubarf? Gung qbrfa’g evat gehr (cha vagragvbany).

    @ Rev. Bob: Boy howdy, is that true! My partner and I are used to setting up in two 10×10 spaces for events. A few years ago there was one that had 8×8 spaces instead, and OMG was it cramped. Also, remembering that gives me a physical reference for how large such an office would be, and yeah. Spacers might not find it too crowded, but Earth humans certainly would.

  7. @Ghostbird

    My problem with all that is that the Black Company was brought in as outside experts who were loyal only to who paid them to keep the Lady from having to have a Waffen-SS equivalent drawn from her own new empire.

    And I think still think the Nazi/Communist link is weak in general.

  8. I loved Ninefox Gambit but to read it I let go and just went with the story – I didn’t try to understand what was going on in the early chapters. It paid off for me by coming together later. Looking forward to book 2 which I pre-ordered.

    Too Like Lightning – book hit way too many of my triggers and I DNFed it. Based on comments here I won’t be picking it up and trying again.

    I picked up Stars Legion by Hurley but keep putting reading it as her books are always so bleak with few if any likeable characters. Guess it’s time to tackle it.

    Any thoughts on the album in short presentation?

  9. @Tasha,

    Yeah, I don’t know when you bailed on Too Like the Lightning, but I can confirm that it will continue to be deeply ghastly and triggering.

    (Why am I so compelled by things that borderline traumatize me?)

  10. Dawn Incognito:

    Svanyyl, jung vf hc jvgu n Hgbcvn jurer nyy gur jbeyq yrnqref ner frpergyl cneg bs na vaprfghbhf gurbybtvpny frk phyg, jvgu n pensgl Znqnzr fcvqre chyyvat gur fgevatf? V svaq gur uvqqra jverf zhpu yrff vagrerfgvat guna gur enoovg jbhyq unir orra, gb fgrny gur nanybtl sebz gur obbx.

    V qba’g guvax vg vf ‘n Hgbcvn jurer…’. V guvax vg’f ‘n cbgragvnyyl Hgbcvna fbpvrgl juvpu vf nobhg gb pbyyncfr orpnhfr…’

  11. @ Tasha

    Clippng’s Splendor & Misery seems to be garnering a lot of favorable attention. For example, Ann Leckie said some very nice things about it on Twitter. I enjoyed the album overall.

  12. Dawn Incognito:

    Been there, done that. As a kid, I gravitated to things like paperback EC reprints that I would encounter in drug stores. A gut punch of pathos and gore! And it really does seem like I purposely head for things like this sometimes just to see if I can become blasé enough that aspects of it wouldn’t bother me so much any more.

    As Bart said to Lisa at a splatter movie, “If you don’t look, you’ll never become desensitized!”

    I wonder if something similar is going on with my ongoing efforts to get over my initial dislike of some composers and writers. I’ve overcome some early impressions and opened my horizons up a little. I doubt I’ll ever love Mahler, but I’ve at least managed to enjoy some of his songs.

  13. @Andrew M:

    Well noted, thank you. I guess it’s another case of waiting and seeing how it all plays out in the resolution.

    @Kip W:

    My mom was a big true crime buff, so I ended up looking through Zodiac and Helter Skelter a little too young. I’ve had a fascination with the darker elements of humanity since.

    I’m sure some of it is catharsis, but some is just sheer impact. I couldn’t sleep the night after I finished Watchmen. I wept through the final episode of Haibane Renmei and spent the final episode of Kino no Tabi sitting on the edge of the seat with one hand over my mouth waiting for the hammer to fall.

    I guess that’s better than when I get caught up in a murder trial. There was one in Calgary this winter that obsessed me to no good end. The news is really unhelpful in that regard.

    As for modern composers, I’ve been in a choir for a few years and have tackled some 20th century stuff that I would never have chosen to listen to on my own (eg. Max Reger’s Requiem). There are often some beautiful segments, but also a lot of dissonance or bizarre time signatures that I just can’t get a grip on. I enjoy being surprised by music, but I still need a recognizable beat or meloody, thanks!

  14. @Dawn Incognito

    Gur pbairefngvba orgjrra Zlpebsg naq Fnynqva pregnvayl pynvzf gung – gur cyna jnf sbe Zlpebsg gb qvr, naq gur vagrag frrzf gb unir orra eriratr (sbe gur qrnguf bs uvf onfu? Vs fb qbrf gung zrna fbzrbar unf nyernql orra pbzzvggvat zheqreref gb “uryc” fbpvrgl?)
    Ohg lrnu….gur npghny gbegher qrgnvyf ner fb tenghvgbhf naq fcrpvsvp gung tvira gur erfg bs gur obbx gurl cebonoyl unir frireny ynlref bs fvtavsvpnapr, ohg jung gung vf jr qba’g xabj. Guvf vf bar bs gur guvatf gung sehfgengrf zr nobhg gur obbx – ryrzragf gung cerfhznoyl jvyy orpbzr pyrne ohg unir ab cerprqrag va gur pheerag ibyhzr. Va gur pnfr bs gur gbegher vg pheeragyl frrzf gbgnyyl haarprffnel qrgnvy.

    Gur Pnaare onfu jrer qrsvavgryl fbzrguvat fcrpvny – gur obbx zragvbaf gung nygubhtu gurl jrer grpuavpnyyl freivpr sbe gur bguref gurl unq orra pubfra fcrpvnyyl ol gur Rzcrebe.

    @Andrew M

    V qba’g guvax vg’f n znggre bs orvat n cnegvny Hgbcvn, be n snvyvat Hgbcvn, V whfg guvax vg’f n shyy ba qlfgbcvn jurer gur znffrf nccneragyl qba’g ernyvfr gurl’er haqre gur guhzo bs na vagreyvaxrq byvtnepul naq unir orra sebz gur fgneg. V’z abg fher vs Cnyzre guvaxf gung gubhtu.

    (@Both, Camestros is doing a chapter by chapter series on TLTL on his blog at the moment)

  15. When it comes to the West’s composer-oriented musical traditions, my tastes go right up past Bach and skip over to serialism and minimalism (with stops at Debussy and Satie). I am so used to hearing classical tonality around me that I find it way too familiar and too bland, though Greg Bear’s Infinity Concerto/Serpent Mage duology got me interested in Mahler.

  16. Re: October Daye. I found the comments on the series very useful. I’d hoped to hear that the series starts roughly and smooths out as it goes. It makes sense, with a new writer. At least I’m enjoying the first one enough to read the second, rather than skip to the third. That would be a last resort.

  17. @Dawn

    I’d read more than 50% of Too Like Lightning when I DNFed. The sensuality combined with the detailed murder reminiscences from the sociopath protagonist were just one of the problems I had with the book. Unlike you I prefer fluffy & fun or at least something redeemable in my protagonist and their worlds.

    One of the reasons I’ve put off reading Hurley’s book is I expect similar problems and because she writes women characters it’s harder to brush it off than all the other SWM books of same concepts (oh how unconscious bias affects us even when aware).

    Jemisin’s books while brutal and hitting a number of my triggers usually have some hope and I find a number of her characters not wholly horrific if not exactly likeable.

  18. @Tasha:

    I think I remember your posting about DNFing TLtL now.

    Through the first half of the book, I kept reminding myself that Mycroft was not a reliable narrator and that he was a criminal and I should question his views. Then we learned his crimes and holy fuck.

    I hold out hope that book 2 will resolve things in a way that does not romanticize some of the truly fucked up things in book 1. But I also totally understand anyone who decides to get off that ride because it’s brutal.

    (And I generally prefer my protagonists damaged yet sympathetic. Even the scarily efficient killers.)

  19. @Tasha – I had that problem with the Bel Dam Apocrypha. I tend to enjoy grimdark, but this was also… oppressivedark. I found it claustrophobic. Got about halfway through book one.

  20. @Tasha

    It’s basically impossible to review TLTL in great detail without committing massive spoilerage, which I guess is why the nastier elements don’t seem to have come up in reviews. From your description you seem to have DNFed on the particularly bad bit, which is pretty reasonable if you ask me.

  21. @ Mark. Thanks for mentioning the chapter by chapter read. I need to check it our to clarify some of my reactions.

    Jr ner gbyq gur jubyr Znqnzr pnony vf n erprag guvat gung unf qrirybcrq va gur ynfg pbhcyr bs qrpnqrf. Orsber, gurer jrer zber yrnqref, gur yvfgf hfrq gb pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag anzrf engure guna gur fnzr anzrf va n qvssrerag beqre. Gur pne zheqref ner nyfb n pheerag trarengvba guvat.

  22. @Mark, bookworm1398,

    V ubcr gb frr zber Znegva Thvyqoernxre naq Cncn vairfgvtngvat pevzrf! Gung svany puncgre znqr zr srry n gval ovg orggre nsgre gur tebffarff bs Qbzvavp naq Fnynqva naq gur Zneqv gbegherf.

  23. @Dawn Incognito: (Why am I so compelled by things that borderline traumatize me?) tl;dr version: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”? Other possibilities: we learn more at the edges than at the center; we need to know we still can react. All of these are subject to personal circumstances, which reflects on a general statistic that sales of horror go up and down with the economy.

    When I joined my current chorus over 40 years ago I didn’t realize they had a strong reputation in 20th-century music (including premiering Poulenc’s “Gloria”); somehow even the 2nd-audition set piece (a recitative from Hindemith’s setting of Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed”) didn’t clue me in. But I’ve found stretching my mind around the music useful and interest-holding (added to my life list this season: Rorem, Tippett, Pärt), although I don’t know that I’d have the energy to do this if I had more mundane obligations or chaos to deal with.

  24. Chip,

    Actually, after my posts I did some deeper thinking, and in my case it’s almost certainly related to PTSD. In my home, negative emotions were unpredictable, explosive, and terrifying, and if I dared express them I was usually lectured or berated on how they were incorrect. So it is catharsis, in that it’s much safer to feel and express anger, sadness, or fear as related to media.

    (It’s also not as harmful as getting wrapped up in all the atrocities in our real world that I am powerless to change.)

    Also, as I am much more familiar with anxiety and despair than joy (happy things and successes go down the memory hole, any error gets permanently pinned to the WHY DAWN IS A FUCKUP bulletin board), there is a certain masochistic aspect. I don’t enjoy wallowing and rumination, per se, but they’re ingrained habits. So I may glom onto those items that distress me, and worry at them just because that’s how I roll. Yay?

    re: 20th century classical, I agree that it stretches the mind quite a bit. I really like the structure of Baroque music, and Mozart is always incredibly fun to sing, but it’s nice to get challenged. Nothing quite like finally nailing a section that you’ve been struggling with (although I am, of course, more likely to recall the sections that I never quite master). And usually even the pieces that baffle me have transcendent moments.

  25. @Chip, @Dawn, @Tasha – I enjoy a lot of things that I see are upsetting to other people – horror and grimdark in particular – but there are some works within pretty much any genre that throw me off because they mess with my head. I have no problem, for instance, with ASoIaF or with Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy, but like I mentioned before the Bel Dam Apocrypha was too much for me. I’ve also read a novel by… oh man, I forget her name, but it’s basically a mystery novel set in the Midwest, and while I finished it, it gave me similar feelings of claustrophobia. I think darkness that feels overly dramatic or cartoonish tends not to bother me unless I’ve experienced it directly. Not sure. I don’t have much in the way of concrete examples, but I have definitely noticed that, as much as I like the grim and the dark, I have my limits, and what I find too much other people may find tolerable and visa versa.

  26. on 20th-century music: The handbell choir I was in did some modern pieces. One of them was an adagio and allegro written by one of our members – he was a senior in high school at the time, and has been editor of at least one music magazine as well as a performer.

  27. @Mark

    V qba’g guvax vg’f n znggre bs orvat n cnegvny Hgbcvn, be n snvyvat Hgbcvn, V whfg guvax vg’f n shyy ba qlfgbcvn jurer gur znffrf nccneragyl qba’g ernyvfr gurl’er haqre gur guhzo bs na vagreyvaxrq byvtnepul naq unir orra sebz gur fgneg. V’z abg fher vs Cnyzre guvaxf gung gubhtu.

    Vg jnf cerggl boivbhf gb zr sebz irel rneyl ba (jnl orsber gur eriryngvbaf) gung guvf jbeyq jnf n qlfgbcvn. Nsgre nyy, vg unf yrtnyvmrq fynirel (jungrire whqvpvny ernfba, vg’f fgvyy fynirel), znaqngbel gurencl frffvbaf sbe rirelobql, ab serrqbz bs eryvtvba naq rirelobql yvirf va jung srryf yvxr fghqrag syngfunerf nyy gur gvzr. Guvf fbhaqf irel zhpu yvxr n avtugzner gb zr, juvpu vf jul V jnf pbashfrq ol erivrjref pnyyvat vg n hgbcvn.

    Znlor guvf vf vagragvbany – nsgre nyy, uvfgbel vf shyy bs nyy fbegf bs anfgl qlfgbcvnf jub gubhtug gurl jrer hgbcvnf. Ubjrire, V’z abg ragveryl fher gung Cnyzre vf njner gung fur unf qrfpevorq n hgbcvn.

    Pbvapvqragnyyl, gur fynirel guvat cvffrq zr bss zhpu (zvfgerngzrag bs cevfbaref vf n crg crrir bs zvar) gung V jnf abg arneyl nf ubeevsvrq ng Zlpebsg’f pevzrf nf V fubhyq unir orra. Gur jbeyq naq gur crbcyr jrer fb njshy (rkprcg Oevqtre) gung V jbhyqa’g unir zvaqrq vs Zlpebsg xvyyrq gurz nyy. V pbhyq unir yvirq jvgubhg gur qrgnvyrq qrfpevcgvbaf gubhtu – gbegher, rfcrpvnyyl pbzzvggrq ol punenpgref jr’er fhccbfrq gb flzcnguvmr jvgu, nf nabgure uhtr crg crrir.

    Not sure how I will rank Too Like the Lightning. It’s not a pleasant book, let alone a favourite, but I found it surprisingly compelling in spite of its flaws. I guess it will go somewhere in the middle.

  28. @Chip Hitchcock: I did not know either of those facts about the Berlin Philharmonic! Let me ask about another fact I don’t know: Do they use blind auditions? I would expect electing a conductor would consistently get more female conductors only if the orchestra members were auditioned blind. And so…

    …@Lee: I should’ve stated that caveat. My thinking is that an orchestra with a sufficiently large number of women in it–forty percent seems about right for a minimum–is pretty likely to elect female conductors when they’re the best candidate. I agree it’s not as certain to work as I’d said, but I will stand by the simple part.

    About choir (practice for which I missed today): I wish I were a better musician, because I’ve found my way into songs I didn’t like by learning to sing them. The two big examples for me are “Hallelujah” and “Born This Way”. I never cared for either song till I sang them (except the time “Hallelujah” was sung at a friend’s funeral).

  29. @John A. Arkansawyer: I do not know whether the Berliners do blind auditions; the fact that they have (by quick count) 17 women out of 130 listed players suggests that they either don’t at all or may not have for long. (Where those women are ranked also suggests backwardness.)

  30. @Chip Hitchcock and @Lee: Then it will fail to provide equity to female conductors under those conditions. My idea is no good without blind auditions or some equivalent for hiring into the orchestra. Thank you for that correction! I was naive to assume every orchestra wanted the best possible performers.

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