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 ??

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(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. @Magewolf

    None taken. I hope the specifics are a little more concrete than that, though, even if you don’t find them convincing.

  2. Christ S: At least it [The Stars are Legion] isn’t a bloated trilogy.

    Wait, what, it isn’t? I mean, obviously this book isn’t, but it isn’t even the first volume of one? A science fiction novel that stands all by itself? What’s the world coming to? I guess I assumed it was in a series because all Hurley’s work so far has been, but this certainly makes it worth checking out.

  3. Have finished Leviathan Wakes. I felt it was a decent enough story. It certainly became more seriously science-fictional towards the end. I did rather feel that, while the Grey (actually brown) Goo was certainly treated as mysterious, the characters still seemed to have a rather clearer idea of what it might do than the evidence justified, as if they had peeked at later volumes in the series.

    I’m not sure if I want to read more. I clearly won’t have time to read the whole series before the Hugo deadline, so I don’t know if reading the second volume will help significantly. Does the series have an arc, or is it the kind that goes on for ever? Even if I can’t read all of it, the way I read it might be changed if I knew whether or not it was going somewhere.

    I feel that this, along with the Aaronovitch, Novik and McGuire series, falls under the heading of ‘if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing that you will like’. To what extent I do like each of them I am still unsure.

    I think I will now move on to online short fiction, not wanting to pay for anything more before I know what is in the packet.

  4. @Eli: “Teddy in character doesn’t know that he can’t kill the Man in Black, but that’s part of the fictional context of the game; it doesn’t mean he can’t perceive such things on an unconscious level.”

    Teddy is able to attempt harm upon the Man in Black. Therefore, at least one of the following must be true:

    1. “Do not harm guests” is not a core function, but one that can be overridden by narrative. Hugely bad idea.
    2. Teddy knows that his gun is nonlethal to guests. Makes no sense based on his observed reaction to its lack of effect.
    3. Teddy does not recognize the Man in Black as a guest. Less bad idea than #1, but only marginally so.
    4. Hosts only recognize not-guest-lethal items as usable weapons, thus preventing them from attacking guests with knives et al. Hmm. Maybe, but still has problems.

    Basically, I’ve seen nothing in the first two episodes to convince me that hosts can tell the difference between bots and humans. Remember, there’s a scene in the second episode where a hooker host is talking up another host exactly the same way she already has a guest, right up until the point where a guest randomly “kills” him. If the hosts can detect guests, does that interaction make any sense at all?

  5. The pop music in wild west surroundings is what made me love Westworld, plotholes and all. Most especially the one in episode 5. It feels almost like an homage to The Dark Tower, where there’s a rinkytink piano playing “Hey Jude” just to let you know you’ve entered a weird alternate dimension.

  6. @Andrew M – I think it’s a standalone, but don’t quote me. Unconceivable in this day and age, I know.

  7. @Andrew M – I felt the first two books had a strong cohesive arc. The third continues the story. I haven’t moved on to the fourth, but I’m excited to read it. I’m starting to think the first story arc is setup for an episodic series, but that’s just a guess.

    Hugo-reading-wise – still on Rosemary and Rue. I keep finding little logical inconsistencies that are bothering me, but that I may be imagining. Nothing that messes with the plot, but there’s a part, for instance, jurer Gbol vf guvaxvat nobhg ubj zhpu ure ynaqybeq jbhyq yvxr gb xvpx ure bhg bs ure ncnegzrag orpnhfr vg’f erag pbagebyyrq, ohg ng guvf cbvag, Gbol’f bayl orra bhg bs gur cbaq sbe fbzrguvat yvxr 9 zbaguf (6 zbaguf?). Ure erag fubhyq or cerggl zhpu znexrg engr, naq ure ynaqybeq eryngviryl fngvfsvrq jvgu ure granapl, hayrff gurer’f fbzr bgure snpgbe znxvat gur ynaqybeq jnag gb rivpg. Abjnqnlf, fher, 9 zbaguf sebz zbivat va, gur znexrg engr pbhyq cbffvoyl unir tbar hc 25%, ohg guvf jnf 2009, jura gur ubhfvat znexrg va FS jnf whfg vafnar, abg ongfuvg vafnar. I feel like that’s very petty, but I keep getting micro-annoyed by little things like that. A lot of what I’m not enjoying feels like first novel issues to me. I’m going to need to continue on to at least the second book before I have any idea what I think of the series. I’ll probably move on to the next Aaronovich after finishing this one.

  8. @Rev. Bob: To your last question, hosts do talk to/flirt with/attack other hosts all the time, both for realism of the narrative when there are guests watching, and also (as one of the programmers describes it) for “practice”. But there are many, many indications all through the show that they know, on an instinctual level, who the guests are. If you don’t feel they’ve made that sufficiently clear in the first two episodes, okay, but it is absolutely the writers’ intention.

  9. I’m dubious about that explanation for blind auditions.

    Back in the 1950s the school bands had blind audition/competition for chairs, with lower chairs challenging the higher chairs, and they were done blind, with the other band members voting. It was generally acknowledged that this was to keep the Popular Kids from winning.

  10. @Andrew M: The Expanse series does go through some major changes in focus and scope, it’s definitely not just the same kind of stuff as the first book… but those changes don’t really get going in a big way till the 3rd book.

  11. @ChrisS
    Glad to see a similar opinion on The Stars are Legion. The further along I go, and the more I think about the book, the more I realize I hated, hated it. Definitely a lot of the same issues you bring up too. I cannot see what it is people are gripped with here.

    In other news, I finished Ninefox Gambit. Man, I started to feel like I should’ve been writing notes through the thing. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and would maybe read the next books when they’re released. But it definitely took a lot of attention and focus.

  12. 3. Teddy does not recognize the Man in Black as a guest. Less bad idea than #1, but only marginally so.

    Without getting into details of future episodes, my thinking from early episodes was that hosts don’t know guests are different from them. They have programming that makes them receptive to guests in order to facilitate storylines, but don’t realize this receptiveness is because guests are different.

  13. Okay, I’m confused. Does anyone else remember a price reduction in Too Like the Lightning? Some time in the last couple weeks? I swear it went on sale for super cheap and I bought it, but when I look for it in my orders, it isn’t there, and I still see it on my ereaderiq list with no indication that the price had changed. I’m thinking I imagined it, and it was actually a book from one of the series that are up for the award, or a Campbell, or something. I dunno.

  14. Does the series have an arc, or is it the kind that goes on for ever?

    The second book is kind of a rerun of the first in some ways, but after that, things change and progress, and seem to be going towards a particular destination.

  15. OK, the Mad Mad Max trailer is sheer genius.

    @Chris S

    Well, yes, but I think the idea is that gur npghny Yrtvba bs jbeyqfuvcf vf svar, be ng yrnfg pneelvat ba oebnqyl nf vagraqrq, vg’f whfg gung gur crbcyr (be “crbcyr” nf gur fgbel riraghnyyl znxrf pyrne) ner abg qbvat fb jryy. Vg’f vzcyvrq gung ol zbivat nebhaq gurl znl or zrffvat jvgu gur rpbybtl naq pnhfvat grzcbenel qvr bssf rgp. Fb | guvax vg’f pbafvfgrag gung gur fuvcf ner fgvyy qbvat gurve guvat, be ng yrnfg abg snvyvat ng engrf gung ner ivfvoyr gb gur ivrjcbvag punenpgref.

    @Andrew M AFAIK Stars are Legion is a standalone.
    Re The Expanse, the arc definitely expands – I’m up to book 3 and there are Definitely Big Changes in the plot.

  16. @ Andrew M: The Expanse seems to have several levels of arc. It’s almost possible to discuss it without spoilers if I keep things vague enough:

    There’s a really big story that is developing in the background of everything and (at least by the end of Book 5) is just getting past basic setting up. There are mid-sized arcs revolving around system-wide politics and smaller ones that just span a book or two. The end of Book 3 is a point where the setup of the biggest picture and the system-wide politics stories bump into each other to change the scope and direction of the series dramatically while wrapping up enough threads that I found it a good place to stop and read a few other things before going back to it.

  17. Read A Closed and Common Orbit. Loved it, found it to be better than the first book with more interesting characters and a coherent story arc. The ending was weak, Sidra’s decision seemed a little abrupt.

    Too Like the Lightning. The world was fascinating. But I really disliked the writing style. And I prefer my sci-fi without miracles.

  18. @bookworm1398

    I’ve just finished Too Like the Lightning today, and haven’t yet got my thoughts together properly, but I found it intensely frustrating throughout, and then it just stopped. I’m not sure how to put it yet, but as an example, it felt like the author was presuming a lot of good faith on the reader’s part to sit through infodump after infofump (admittedly fairly well-done infodumps about a fascinating construction of a world) without actually doing anything to justify that good faith – apparently we’re just supposed to trust that the next book has sufficient payoff?

  19. @ Mark. I was prepared for the ending based on other people’s comments here so that didn’t bother me so much.
    What was most frustrating was the parts where she addressed the reader and said, hah! I know what you are thinking because your stereotypes are x. And half the time that’s not what I’m thinking. Because my unconcious biases and stereotypes are different from the authors. Her seeming inability to understand that was annoying

  20. @k_choll

    In other news, I finished Ninefox Gambit. Man, I started to feel like I should’ve been writing notes through the thing. Overall, I really enjoyed it, and would maybe read the next books when they’re released. But it definitely took a lot of attention and focus.

    Have you read The Battle of Candle Arc? It’s a novelette (7973 words) set in the same universe. I think it was someone here on File770 who recommended it, but it’s great. I’d given up on Ninefox and someone told me to give that one a try. It clarified lots of thngs, piqued my interest in the whole universe again, and I restarted Ninefox and enjoyed every page of it from there on. I’m sure it’s just as great a read after finishing the novel.

  21. Alert — Late Scroll tonight. I’m on my way to the Scalzi/Doctorow signing in Pasadena.

  22. @JJ: And yet the “professional” cosplayers are never anywhere near as good as the “amateurs” who are Masters or even Journeymen at the masquerades at Worldcon, regionals, or CostumeCon. They know it too — you don’t see them there. They’d never be admitted to the International Costumers Guild because of shoddy workmanship.

    @Bruce Arthurs: my dad had one too. My brother and I also tended to look at it when left alone. Obviously in the bathroom b/c the closets didn’t have room enough for both of us.

    @Chris S: that’s my opinion as well. She writes well, and vividly, but all the characters are terrible people in a crapsack universe. Who needs that in their leisure time when we already have enough of it IRL? I don’t require everything to be fluffy bunnies and candy hearts, but I do need a few decent people around.

    The October Daye books really pick up steam with the third — I for one wouldn’t judge anybody who read good summaries of the first two and jumped in there.

    Regarding Westworld: I was surprised, after all the discussion, that it didn’t make the Hugo ballot. Be interesting to see where it placed when the full stats come out.

  23. @Mark-kitteh

    (re: The Stars Are Legion)

    I’m not so sure about that. If you remember, Xngnmlean vf ebggvat sebz gur bhgfvqr va, jvgu gur gragnpyrf oynpxvat naq snyyvat bss, naq Mna’f jbeyqfuvc jnf nyy gbea hc naq ebggvat gbb, hagvy Wnlq’f onol jbeyq ertrarengrq vg. Jnfa’g vg pbzcnerq gb pnapre? V’z abg fher gur vaunovgnagf pnhfrq gung. Znlor rnpu fuvc unf gb or ertrarengrq rirel fb bsgra.

    I think this book is a stand-alone, but I hope Hurley writes some more stories in this universe. I would love to know how the Legion was created, and who did it.

  24. @ Rev. Bob: It doesn’t make a lot more sense if the office is 2.5 meters square. That’s not a very large room, and if it also contains a large desk, well…

  25. Lee on April 25, 2017 at 6:36 pm said:
    @ Rev. Bob: It doesn’t make a lot more sense if the office is 2.5 meters square. That’s not a very large room, and if it also contains a large desk, well…

    Well, that’s an 8 x 8 foot office, a standard desk is 30 inches x 60 inches, that’s plenty of room for 4 people to have a meeting. I used to have a 10×10 foot office, with a desk and a credenza across the back wall, and fitting three side chairs in for a meeting was not that big a deal.

  26. @bookworm1398: You seem to regard the addresses to the reader as Ada Palmer addressing us. They are not. They are Mycroft Canner addressing his audience, whom he imagines to be his contemporaries or his posterity. A fair number of those disconnects between how Canner imagines his reader and how you the real reader actually are, are deliberate worldbuilding on Palmer’s part.

    In other news: my fireball is now officially an event.
    Sunday night I was walking north, and I saw a very bright meteor with a distinct light green tinge to its glow, and a glowing trail behind it. I filed a report with the American Meteor Society. So did 16 other people, and the map of our sightings is here!
    (One peeve: they said the time was “about 2:00 UT” – I looked at my watch right after, and it said 8:53 PM my time. Oh well.)

  27. One peeve: they said the time was “about 2:00 UT” – I looked at my watch right after, and it said 8:53 PM my time.
    That’s correct though – CST is UT – 6, and it would be UT – 5 for CDT.

  28. @lurkertype: I admit to having stopped watching masquerades many years ago and to never having seen someone I knew was a professional cosplayer(*), but I wonder what backup you have for your claim that the professional cosplayers’ work is inferior? Do you have samples and specifics? When I was involved, workmanship at masquerades was judged separately from the stage presentation; does ICG require close-up inspection?

    * Arisia had such a jump in attendance after they lifted the cap that I can’t see them paying; I would expect that the stunning hall costumes are enthusiastic amateurs — especially since few of them feature skin and many are male, contra JJ’s comment.

  29. @bookworm1398, @Mark:

    I also knew the book was a diptych, so was prepared for a big setup and no resolution. It’s kissing “No Award” on my ballot because it doesn’t have an ending, but I thought the beginning was quite fascinating, even though I feel the middle may be going off the rails.

    Bookworm, I think you have to keep in mind that Mycroft Canner is an unreliable narrator. (I don’t think his views are Ada Palmer’s.) ETA: Ninja’d by David Goldfarb! His asides to the reader and some of his attitudes about gender were aggravating me, and I found myself bickering with him more and more until the 60% mark. At which point I take it to rot13:

    V unq n ybg bs ceboyrzf jvgu gur gbegher naq gur nttenaqvmrzrag bs gbegher. Gur ovgf qrfpevovat gur gbegher bs Xra Zneqv vashevngrq zr; fpbeavat n 13-lrne-byq sbe oernxvat haqre gbegher. Gur Pnaare Orng synfurf gb gur orngvat, encr, pnaavonyvmngvba naq zheqre bs Vovf Zneqv yvgrenyyl znqr zr srry vyy.

    V’z nsenvq gung Frira Fheeraqref jvyy trg vagb gurfr gbegherf va zber qrgnvy. V npghnyyl oryvrir gung gurl’yy or eryrinag gb gur cybg. Gurer vf n frpgvba arne gur raq bs GYgY nobhg gur “qrngu bs gur znwbevgl” naq Zlpebsg fgngrf gung gurer vf fgvyy bar ynetr znwbevgl, onfrq ba jung lbh ner abg engure guna jung lbh ner. V srne gung vf “n xvyyre” jvgu nyy gur gnyx bs yvorengrq uhznaf. V rkcrpg n qnza svar cnlbss ba gung cybgyvar.

    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.

  30. @ kathodus: IMO McGuire doesn’t really hit her stride on this one until the third book, but after that each one just gets better. I had some issues with the second book which boiled down to “Toby doesn’t seem to have a healthy level of paranoia, which is odd for someone raised with the fae.” That gets better fast, and the twists and turns in the later books are refreshingly different (again IMO).

    BTW, did you forget to send me your address for that zine, or should I check my spam filter?

    @ Lois: That may have been true (and very progressive!) in your high school, but it pretty well disappeared at the professional level until long after that.

  31. 2) The solution is simple, easy, and will never be implemented: Let the orchestra pick the conductor.


    A really good job was done on making the songs fit the period in spite of their modern pop or rock origins.

    I don’t know how to make it make sense, but the Black Widow movie has got to have a fight scene taking place at a concert while Janelle Monae is performing “Cold War”. It just has to. It has to. Just like there has to be a Black Widow movie. Which probably means I won’t get either one, because 2)

  32. I will Fifth the people who are saying that October Daye really hits its stride with the 3rd book, and agree that, for those with severe reading time constraints, reading a plot summary of the first two books will suffice before starting the third.

    There are at least partial plot summaries in the October Daye Wikia.

    McGuire has said that the short fiction “In Sea-Salt Tears”, a 2013 Hugo Novelette Finalist which can be had for free here, gives a good feel for the series even though it doesn’t feature Toby Daye.

  33. @Lee on April 25, 2017 at 8:07 pm said:

    IMO McGuire doesn’t really hit her stride on this one until the third book, but after that each one just gets better. I had some issues with the second book which boiled down to “Toby doesn’t seem to have a healthy level of paranoia, which is odd for someone raised with the fae.” That gets better fast, and the twists and turns in the later books are refreshingly different (again IMO).

    I’ve just finished the second, and I agree. In particular, Toby seemed exceedingly slow to pick up on the fact that ure snyyvat va yhfg jvgu Nyrk (jubz Dhragva qvqa’g yvxr ng nyy), juvyr Dhragva jnf tbvat tntn bire Greevr (naq Gbol pbhyqa’g frr jul), whfg zvtug vaqvpngr gung tynzbhe jnf vaibyirq. V jnf cerggl zhpu thrffvat vg sebz gur svefg fprar jvgu Greevr naq Dhragva, naq V xrcg lryyvat ng gur obbx, “Lbh ner jryy rabhtu irefrq va snr yber gb erpbtavmr n tynzbhe rira vs lbh qba’g xabj rknpgyl jung gur onynapr bs gurve oybbq vf–NAQ lbh’er fhccbfrq gb or n cevingr qrgrpgvir! Vg’f gbb onq gur nhgube qrpvqrq lbh fubhyq or fybj ba gur hcgnxr sbe cybg ernfbaf.” I am looking forward to the third since y’all are praising it as where the series really finds its stride.

    I have also just finished the first chapter of Nine Fox Gambit. I’m not generally a MilSF fan, and weapons systems don’t normally interest me, but WOW what the author has done to MilSF and weapons worldbuilding. I’m not feeling lost (it’s early yet), but I was certainly challenged enough that I read a large part of that chapter aloud to myself to force myself to slow down.

    With Temeraire, I have just finished Tongues of Serpents, loved it all the way through, and can see why some people think it should have ended there. But I’m intrigued to see where it goes next. Too bad I my local bookstores and library don’t have a copy of Crucible of Gold. I’ll have to place an order.

  34. No scroll today
    cause Mike has gone away
    For signing of a book
    “No scroll” is what it took
    How could he know just what this absence means?
    The end of all our scrolls, the end of all our dreams

    (Ok, that may be a little dramatic)

  35. No Scroll?!!! It’s enough to make one become a Puppy… okay, no it’s not, nothing is that bad, but it’s certainly enough to make me pour a glass of wine and go back to the book. 😉

  36. I just wasn’t able to get into Too Like the Lightning at all. 100 pages in, I finally gave up. I enjoyed it well enough while I was reading it, but it was a struggle to pick it up again. Have started the Craft sequence. So far, no issues.

  37. @Nicole J. LeBeouf-Little: I’m currently tapping my fingers waiting for June 13 to roll around so Raven Stratagem (sequel to Ninefox) will download to my Kindle and I can bloody read it. There are few books I’m looking forward to as much as this – for genre fiction the only other book I’m waiting on anxiously is The Stone Sky. I’m also waiting on being able to pre-order (or just order at this rate) The Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo, which is due to be published on May 5 in the UK and still isn’t available on Kindle…

    @Kendall, JJ: The rule is scroll tomorrow and scroll yesterday – but never scroll today.

  38. Oh wow my mind has wandered far afield today. Obviously when I typed “Kendall” I intended to type “Peer Sylvester”. Sorry about that!

  39. @Lee, Techgrrl: (“large” 8×8 office)

    Keep in mind as well that the space is being seen from the perspectives of spacers who are accustomed to small rooms. Sure, to us Earthers who are used to plenty of elbow room, 8×8 is small – but where compartment space is at a premium, it ain’t necessarily so.

    One (ahem) small nitpick though, Techgrrl: Remember that the 10×10 office you describe has half again the floor space of an 8×8 room – 100 vs. 64 square feet. True, 8 vs. 10 doesn’t sound like a huge bump, but squared differences add up fast…

  40. @Peer Sylvester: Well done! I always like a take on Herman’s Hermits. 🙂 We need more of those. Also, that “Mad Mad Mad Max Fury…” thing was spooky and weird – thanks.

    @Oneiros: In ur mind, eating ur brain cells. 😛 😉

  41. Mike Glyer: JJ: Today’s Scroll is late, as in overdue, not late as in deceased!

    I dunno. It looks as though it’s probably pining for the fjords. 😉

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