Pixel Scroll 5/6/18 If Pixels Were Zombies, They’d Want To Eat Your Scrolls

(1) CASTING CALL. James Davis Nicoll wants young people for his next project.

I am looking for volunteers for the follow up to Young People Read Old SFF, Young People Listen to Old SF. Participants will get to listen to and react to one moderate length olden timey radio drama per month.

DM me or email me at jdnicoll at panix dot com

(2) NEEDS A PURPOSE. Abigail Nussbaum returns to China Miéville in her latest column “A Political History of the Future: The City & The City” at Lawyers, Guns & Money.

…Introducing a premise like The City & The City without tying it into current political issues feels like a much less tenable proposition right now. And yet this is what the BBC did in its recent miniseries adaptation of the book. As an adaptation, the miniseries is dutiful but not very exciting. It does a good job of transposing the book’s technique, of slowly revealing its setting until we finally realize that there is nothing going on except a mass delusion, to a more visual medium. In one particularly memorable scene, Borlú and his assistant, Lizbyet Corwi, speak on their cellphones, he from Ul Qoma and she in Bes?el. The camera cuts between them as we’d expect from any TV series trying to convey that two characters are in different physical spaces. Then it pulls back to reveal that Borlú and Corwi are sitting on the same bench, which is half in one city and half in the other. The series also does a good job of beefing up the roles of women, giving Corwi more to do, changing the gender of Borlú’s Ul Qoman counterpart, and even giving her a wife. (A similar impetus might have been at the root of a new subplot involving the disappearance of Borlú’s wife, but it just ends up reading like the common trope of motivating a man by having a woman suffer.)

Still, one has to wonder why you’d even try to adapt this novel, at this moment in time, if you weren’t willing to change it enough so that it actually says something…

(3) WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH. Just came across this today. As we say around here, it’s always news to someone. From Know Your Meme.

(4) 2001 RETURNING TO THEATERS. The director of Dunkirk finds more use for 70 mm projectors installed to show his film: “Christopher Nolan returns Kubrick sci-fi masterpiece ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to its original glory”.

Christopher Nolan wants to show me something interesting. Something beautiful and exceptional, something that changed his life when he was a boy.

It’s also something that Nolan, one of the most accomplished and successful of contemporary filmmakers, has persuaded Warner Bros. to share with the world both at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and then in theaters nationwide, but in a way that boldly deviates from standard practice.

For what is being cued up in a small, hidden-away screening room in an unmarked building in Burbank is a brand new 70-mm reel of film of one of the most significant and influential motion pictures ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science-fiction epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Yes, you read that right. Not a digital anything, an actual reel of film that was for all intents and purposes identical to the one Nolan saw as a child and Kubrick himself would have looked at when the film was new half a century ago.

(5) NEW SFF MAGAZINE. The inaugural issue of Vulture Bones: Spec Fic from Trans & Enby Voices is out. See the table of contents here.

Vulture Bones is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine showcasing the voices of transgender and nonbinary writers.

Vulture Bones is what is left when everything useful is harvested, even the gamey meat of scavengers.

Vulture Bones is the name of a bald and genderless sharpshooter with thirteen enemies and one bullet left.

Vulture Bones is something morbid and foundational.

Vulture Bones is a wild ride.

(6) STAFFCON. Kevin Standlee takes you inside the room where it happened this weekend – “StaffCon”.

“StaffCon” for Worldcon 76 planning had over 100 people registered, using the same RegOnline system that the convention itself is using. Today was a chance to do a bit of a dry run of what on-site registration would be like, and to discover some bugs now while there is a chance to adjust them and make things better for the actual convention. After the initial morning session, there were numerous impromptu meetings (including a short WSFS division meeting with the four members of the division who are actually here), followed by groups touring the San Jose Convention Center. There’s an event moving in today, so we couldn’t get at everything, but everyone got a decently good look around before the lunch break. The break allowed people to spread out and find places to get lunch within a short distance of the convention center. There are many such places (far more than there were sixteen years ago).

(7) GET FINALISTS TO THE WORLDCON. The GoFundMe to bring Campbell Award finalist Rivers Solomon to Worldcon 76 reached its goal, and now additional money is being raised to help get more Hugo and Campbell finalists to the ceremony. Mary Robinette Kowal wrote in an Update:

Folks, we’ve got two additional Campbell finalists who could use a boost getting to the Hugos. I’ve got a form set up for additional finalists.

Let’s see how many we can get to the ceremony.

Need help? The link to the application is in Update #2.

(8) GOLLANCZ OBIT & KERFUFFLE. A trade publication’s obituary about Livia Gollancz (1920-2018), who once ran UK publisher Gollancz, a major publisher and now imprint of sf, got pushback from the imprint’s current editor.

For anyone under 40, Gollancz is merely a science fiction imprint—“the oldest specialist sci-fi and fantasy (SFF) publisher in the UK.” Gollancz indeed published many award-winning and successful SFF authors, J G Ballard and Terry Pratchett among them, but Gollancz is far more important than that, which makes the story of its last two decades a tragedy.

Victor Gollancz, a classics graduate from Oxford, was just 30 when he set up his eponymous company in 1927. He published George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, and Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, as well as books by Ford Madox Ford, Daphne du Maurier, Franz Kafka and Vera Brittain. On his daughter Livia’s watch, Julia Hales’ The Green Consumer Guide and Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch were trendsetting bestsellers….

I was genuinely shocked to see the comments about Gollancz in Livia Gollancz’s obituary published in The Bookseller. To describe a beloved publishing list as “merely a science fiction imprint” and its last two decades as a “tragedy” is offensive to my colleagues; our authors and fans; our reviewers and bloggers; fellow SFF publishers; and to the wider genre community. While everyone has a right to their personal opinion and literary preferences, to air such a definitive bias against genre fiction in the obituary of our former owner was troubling and frankly insulting.

It is easy to point out how many of the greatest works ever written are SF or Fantasy titles. From the Iliad to Jules Verne, to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, to The Handmaid’s Tale, right up to Naomi Alderman’s The Power, speculative fiction has been an unrivalled way of exploring our world and society. It is just as easy—as your publication has demonstrated—to dismiss that claim by saying those books are ”proper” literary novels not “merely SFF”.

That argument is nonsense. Worse, it is prejudiced and badly informed nonsense….

  • Bookseller editor Philip Jones apologized.

My comments on the diminution of Victor Gollancz should not be interpreted as a slight on the proud history of SF publishing itself, at Gollancz or anywhere else. Rather it is a reminder, to readers and publishers too young to remember the “old” Gollancz, that Victor Gollancz Ltd was a leader in so many ways and an independent powerhouse that set standards and trends in both adult and children’s publishing….


  • Born May 6, 1915 – Orson Welles


(11) AURORA AWARDS HEADS-UP. Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association members have until May 26 to nominate eligible works for the Aurora Awards – see the nominations page.

(12) KEEP YOUR SUIT ON. In this Wired video, Chris Hadfield makes nude space walks sound even less attractive than they already did. And that’s just for starters.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield helps debunk (and confirm!) some common myths about space. Is there any sound in space? Does space smell like burnt steak? Is NASA working on warp speed?


(13) HURTS SO GOOD. I keep reading Galactic Journey despite Gideon Marcus’ tendency to break my teen-aged fannish heart. It’s bad enough the things he says about every issue of Analog. Now he’s lighting into one of young Mike’s all-time favorite sf novels (in the hardcover version, Way Station): “[May 6, 1963] The more things change… (June 1963 Galaxy)”.

The proud progressive flagship [Galaxy] appears to be faltering, following in the footsteps of Campbell’s reactionary Analog.  It’s not all bad, exactly.  It’s just nothing new…and some of it is really bad.  Is it a momentary blip?  Or is Editor Pohl saving the avante-garde stuff for his other two magazines?

…Simak is one of the great veterans of our field, and he has been a staple of Galaxy since its inception.  He is unmatched when it comes to evoking a bucolic charm, and he has a sensitive touch when conveying people (human or otherwise).  This particular tale begins promisingly, but it meanders a bit, and it frequently repeats itself.  Either over-padded or under-edited, it could do with about 15% fewer words.  Three stars so far, but I have a feeling the next half will be better….

Next he’ll be telling Mozart “too many notes”!

(14) SPOCK IN OREGON. As long as we’re revisiting the Sixties, here’s Leonard Nimoy to tell you all about his Star Trek character….

Interview from 1967 conducted by KGW-TV, a news station in Portland, Oregon. This was rediscovered in 2010 in their film archives. Nimoy talks at length about playing Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”, then in its second season.


(15) TAKEI IN BOSTON. George Takei is still with us – and in the public eye: “‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei to speak at Boston library” on May 8.

Star Trek” actor George Takei (tuh-KAY’) is scheduled to speak at the Boston Public Library.

Takei on Tuesday is set to discuss his experience during World War II spent in U.S. internment camps for Japanese-Americans.

Takei used his family’s story as the inspiration for the Broadway musical “Allegiance.”

The show tells the narrative of the fictional Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The cast of the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of Takei’s musical also will perform during the event at the library’s main branch at Copley (KAHP’-lee) Square.

(16) IT’S DEAD, JIM. Self-conscious about your Latin pronunciation? Let @Botanygeek James Wong put you at ease. Jump on the thread here:

(17) WELL THAT SUCKS. Once more, a story goes viral only to yield a dud: “Egypt says no hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb after all”.

New radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are no hidden rooms inside King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said Sunday, bringing a disappointing end to years of excitement over the prospect.

Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said an Italian team conducted extensive studies with ground-penetrating radar that showed the tomb did not contain any hidden, man-made blocking walls as was earlier suspected. Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin presented the findings at an international conference in Cairo.

“Our work shows in a conclusive manner that there are no hidden chambers, no corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb,” Porcelli said, “As you know there was a theory that argued the possible existence of these chambers but unfortunately our work is not supporting this theory.”

(18) BRAIN DEATH. Vice headline: “This Neurologist Found Out What Happens to Our Brains When We Die”.  German neurologists Jens Dreier and Jed Hartings have published a study about what happens to the human brain while dying. It turns out some of the details are remarkably like that discussed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Skin of Evil” during the death of character Tasha Yar.

…if German neurologist Jens Dreier had just binged enough Star Trek: The Next Generation, he could have already known the outcome of his groundbreaking research, which the sci-fi series predicted 30 years ago.

Dreier works at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, one of Germany’s leading university hospitals. In February, the 52-year-old and his colleague, Jed Hartings, published a study that details what happens to our brain at the point of death. It describes how the brain’s neurons transmit electrical signals with full force one last time before they completely die off. Though this phenomenon, popularly known in the medical community as a “brain tsunami”, had previously only been seen in animals, Dreier and Hartings were able to show it in humans as they died. Their work goes on to suggest that in certain circumstances, the process could be stopped entirely, theorising that it could be done if enough oxygen is supplied to the brain before the cells are destroyed.

Soon after their discovery, the two researchers also found out that a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation shows chief physician Beverly Crusher trying to revive Lieutenant Tasha Yar, while clearly describing the exact processes the neurologists have been trying to understand for years. I spoke to Dreier about their discovery and how it feels to be beaten by a TV show by three decades.

And didn’t Connie Willis’ Passage make use of this premise as well?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Karl-Johan Norén, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Carl Slaughter, ULTRAGOTHA, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Jay Byrd, Avilyn, Alan Baumler, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/6/18 If Pixels Were Zombies, They’d Want To Eat Your Scrolls

  1. I was all set to point out that Connie Willis’s novel on near-death and thereabouts was called Passage, and then it turns out she wrote a short story called “Passengers” after all. Well done, Mike! Appertain yourself something nice.

    Scroll pixedly among the noise and haste, and remember what comfort there may be in filing a piece thereof.

    Edited to add: SPOON!

  2. (17): Well, there goes my pitch for Harry Potter and the Secret of Chambers.

  3. Off-topic reading report:

    Just finished reading Space Opera. Cried for five minutes straight without really knowing why. That was a gorgeous piece of emotionally resonant fluff and I love it with an uncomplicated and whole-hearted love.

    That’s all. Off to catch up on the Pixel Scrolls.

  4. That Chris Hadfield video was very entertaining. Thanks for the link.

  5. Kip W: Your correction is apt all the same — Passage is what I had in mind. Appertain yourself a beverage from the Titanic wine cellar!

  6. @Mike Glyer: I second @Martin Wooster; the Hadfield video was groovy.

  7. (18) BRAIN DEATH. And didn’t Connie Willis’ Passage make use of this premise as well?

    There have been a number of book and film variations on “the whole story is going on in the brain of someone as they’re dying”, including the films Jacob’s Ladder and Stay.

  8. Just finished Head On by John Scalzi. If you liked Lock In you’ll like this too. If you didn’t like Lock In, you won’t, it’s more of the same.

    For what it’s worth, I liked both.

    Also finished Kris Longknife Commanding. This felt like a complete book, unlike Emissary and Admiral but I can’t escape the impression that the series has taken a downturn since the author switched to self-publishing. The pace Mike Shepard (Moscoe) has set for himself with several novels a year, even if they are short, is showing. His prose quality is suffering, minor errors abound from someone being called the lieutenant, three chapters after being promoted to lieutenant commander to stray lines being left in after rewriting a paragraph. It’s a little wordy in places. Some new information introduced doesn’t quite mesh with previous stories concerning Iteeche attitudes about civilian deaths during war.

    I just overall feel like He needs to slow down or get more eyeballs on his work before he releases it for sale. I can’t keep giving him $7 a pop for what I’m getting now and that makes me sad since a binge of the early books helped me through a hard time and I still feel grateful for that.

  9. Morning.

    I haven’t looked, but my Space Opera review should be live now. Spoiler: I loved it.

    I’m also alive, which at certain points yesterday I wouldn’t have bet on. Or cared! Darned 24 hour bugs!

    And there is sun, rather than yesterday’s drenching rain. Doesn’t guarantee my car isn’t parked in a puddle but, hey.

  10. JJ on May 6, 2018 at 10:07 pm said:
    (18) BRAIN DEATH. And didn’t Connie Willis’ Passage make use of this premise as well?
    There have been a number of book and film variations on “the whole story is going on in the brain of someone as they’re dying”, including the films Jacob’s Ladder and Stay.

    Was Ambrose Bierce’s “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge” the first story to use this?


    Using the obituary of a publishing great to criticize the current publisher, their authors, and their works… what a dick  totally lacking in class move. 🙄

  12. Joe H.: Was Ambrose Bierce’s “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge” the first story to use this?

    I know that I’ve read a number of stories which use that trope, but wow, it’s been so many years, I completely forgot about that one.

    According to Wikipedia, it’s apparently the earliest known combination of a long period of subjective time passing in an instant with that instant being the moment of death. Other examples of both types are provided.

  13. 3) Oooh. Ouch.

    @Lis @Nicole Clearly I need to push my copy of SPACE OPERA up Mount TBR

    @JJ That’s some Meredith MOment! .

  14. @8: I can’t tell whether that’s a dick move or just clumsiness (describing the tragedy of Gollancz being passed around like a football at a distance and without a pointer while mentioning SFF up close), given the errors corrected in a 2nd response — but such clumsiness with words doesn’t belong in a publication about books. (It’s also ~amusing that they cite the “discovery” of an author in another sometimes-sneered-at genre as one of G’s great achievements.) Gah.

    @13: I wonder whether the book was in fact edited from the magazine version? My guess is not, since a 2-parter would normally make a smallish book even by 1960’s standards, but it would be interesting to know. The review may also show one of the reasons why I hate reading multi-part stories in pieces — without the complete work, it’s hard to tell when the author is laying the necessary foundation for the rest of the story rather than just babbling to fill space. (Yes, I also love Way Station.)

    @2: Nussbaum’s analysis is interesting as much for what it tells us about what she thinks fiction is for as for the analysis of the work itself.

  15. @ Lis Carey

    I haven’t looked, but my Space Opera review should be live now. Spoiler: I loved it.

    I am in the middle of Space Opera and Valente’s nimble prose really sets the Silverberg-Hitchhiker-Pynchon setting on fire. At this very moment, it is an early favorite for Dublin.

  16. Meredith moment. All of the following are on sale for $2.99 at Amazon US.
    A Fire Upon the Deep
    The Collapsing Empire
    The Quantum Thief (I love this one and can’t recommend it enough)

    Space Opera – I’m up to 45% and enjoying it immensely.
    I can’t recommend the audio book though (I got further along and gave up – the narrator just doesn’t have the skills to pull this off – and it’s crying for a radio play adaptation, just like it’s spiritual ancestor).

  17. 10) Some old footnotes from the French Revolution says that the decapitated heads could move their mouth as if to speak, and in one case a head bit the hand of someone trying to show the victim to the crowd.

  18. And another two – Dust by Elizabeth Bear for $1.99 and Expiration Date by Tim Powers for $1.99.

  19. (18) According to Memory Alpha, the episode where Tasha Yar dies is “Skin of Evil”, and was written by Joseph Stefano and Hannah Louise Shearer. Stefano died in 2006, but Shearer is still alive, so it might be possible to simply ask her who came up with the text for the brain death part of the script.

    However, there’s an interesting and possibly relevant addendum on the page:

    At the time this episode was written, several rumors had been surfacing that Roddenberry’s lawyer, Leonard Maizlish, was rewriting a majority of the season’s scripts, an illegal act in terms of Writer’s Guild policies. [4](X) According to one source, Maizlish was responsible for the dismal manner of Yar’s demise, and wanted to be sure that Roddenberry’s story idea was enforced, and that Yar’s death happened as a matter of course during a dangerous mission, despite the differing views held by the various writers involved with the story.

    (Maizlish died in 1994, and I see in reading the page about him and another that mentions him, appears to have been responsible for much misery and drama during the production of the show).

  20. Chip Hitchcock: Nussbaum clearly states in the comments that in the general case she doesn’t think fiction has to contain the elements of political commentary she’s complaining about here, but that there are things specific to Mieville and to this work and this exact time in Britain where it seems like a waste at minimum.

  21. (8) Another thing I reacted to with the obituary was that nearly was as much about her father than it was about herself. Now, I can understand mentioning Livia Gollancz’s father, since he started the publisher, but was she not an independent and capable human being and publisher herself?

  22. Owlmirror: Maizlish died in 1994, and I see in reading the page about him and another that mentions him, appears to have been responsible for much misery and drama during the production of the show.

    Maizlish was a hugely toxic, detrimental influence, and I think that TNG would have been a far better show if he hadn’t interfered so horribly — but of course, we’ll never know what we missed out on because of him.

    David Gerrold talks frankly about that here.

    Gerrold also got even by writing a book where Maizlish was the villain and got killed quite brutally, I remember reading, but I can’t find a reference to it right now.

    There’s a pretty frank article about Maizlish on Memory Alpha, too.

  23. @JJ: Yes, the page I read about Maizlish was the one on Memory Alpha.

    The other page, the one that mentioned him (linked from the paragraph in “Skin of Evil”), was actually about Gerrold’s Star Wolf books.

    That has this:

    Starships in Gerrold’s universe have HARLIE-model artificial intelligences. A few have the more dangerous and unstable LENNIE models.

    ‘The LENNIE units are particularly nasty; they have a higher incidence of psychotic behavior than any other intelligence engine…. The LENNIE units are the only Intelligence Engines specifically designed to lie…. They’re process-oriented to a degree that you or I would call obsessive; they’re greedy, selfish, uncaring, and if such a thing were truly possible in an intelligence engine, also thoughtless. The feelings and concerns of other beings — even their own crews — are irrelevant to LENNIEs…. LENNIEs are intended for institutional use, not starships. They’re designed to be soul-sucking lawyers.” (p.71-72)

    Can there be any doubt that LENNIEs were inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s lawyer, the late Leonard Maizlish?

    Which might be what you were remembering about him being made a character in a book by Gerrold.

  24. Concerning Nussbaum, I would second Lenora Rose’s point, and add that Nussbaum has always seemed to me a critic of great range, both in the types of works she will engage with and in the types of insight she will offer. She will do close reading, psychological delving, analysis of formal features–in short, many things other than just political analysis.

  25. Another Mega Meredith Moment:

    Open Road Media is having a huge sale across the board. In SF/F, The Portalist has a huge list, most of the titles on sale at $1.99 at The Usual Suspects. Pretty much all the authors they have in their catalog seem to have at least one title in their sale. Too many to list.


  26. Until recently, Botanical Latin was used for more than just botanical names. Until a few years ago, for a name to be validly published it had to be accompanied by or provide a citation to a description (the diagnosis) in Botanical Latin.

    People gave up writing whole books in Botanical Latin somewhat earlier.

  27. So I have finished reading The Way of Kings. I do not intend to read more of this series at this moment in time. This is not because I did not like it, but because there is a finite amount of time available, and several other series, etc., to read, and if one cannot judge the merits of a series on the basis of one (very large) volume. and plot summaries, it isn’t really in a position to compete effectively.

    Since the series is incomplete, we really have to judge it on the world it presents: and in any case, it seems that if the plot is going anywhere, it is going towards our finding out more about the world. And it is quite an interesting world, with all sorts of improbable things happening, what with the little spirits that are everywhere, and the magical globes used as currency; and I was especially struck by the scene where the merchant girl arrives in Shinovar and is surprised to find that the grass does not move. (I originally read this as meaning that it does not wave in the wind, or the like. No. It does not move from place to place. Everywhere else, it seems, that’s what grass does.)

    I doubt I will rank this very high, but we will see.

  28. @Andrew M

    I also finished it recently. I liked it enough that I’ll be reading the next, but I may not be rushing to do so.
    I agree that the worldbuilding was the most interesting part, although at times it felt like some very standard characters and stories were being placed on top of a much more interesting world.
    I was quite frustrated that the author’s opinion of which characters were the most interesting (based on time spent with them) seemed to be the other way round from mine – in particular Kaladin was pretty bland IMO.

  29. Elseweb a discussion got into What’s Going On, and the suspicion is that an alien invasion wouldn’t get much attention. Or that when you time-travel, you rewind everything in between start and destination dates. Or that the langoliers were supposed to eat us already.

    We are the California Borg.
    Resistance would really harsh our mellow.
    – “Hawker40”

    I wish we all could be California Borg – “hummingwolf”

  30. New Murderbot story drops tomorrow! (or today in certain areas) Woo!

  31. Lurkertype on May 7, 2018 at 6:46 pm said:

    Ah, the one I pre-ordered, I hope. (It’s been a while.)

  32. @Lurkertype – Some of us have a ridiculous backlog of Hugos reading to do!

  33. So Oliver North has been chosen for President of the NRA. Whenever I think of North, I think of a certain SNL skit. But I had completely forgotten that it was The Shat in the skit.

  34. @ Darren: Hee! I didn’t watch SNL, because IMO the occasional brilliant bit like this wasn’t worth sitting thru the rest of it. So thanks for the link.

  35. @Lurkertype: “New Murderbot story drops tomorrow! (or today in certain areas) Woo!”

    YAY! I was reminded also by the pre-order status showing in Audible, as I was browsing new SFF audiobooks. ::checks again:: Darn! I guess 1 AM EDT isn’t quite early enough; maybe Audible is on Pacific Time??? It isn’t showing in my library yet.

    @kathodus: Oh, uh, I may have some Hugo reading to do. Still, it’s Murderbot and only a novella and it’s only going to be 3.5 hours and, and, and. 😉

    ObHugoReading: I just started Tenfox Gambit, I mean Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee, despite feeling like I should re-read book one. I hope I’m not too confused. Is there a site out there that does in-depth synopses of books for people who need a refresher when they get around to book 2???

    ObNotHugoReading: I didn’t really feel like I had something Hugoish to listen to, so my current audiobook is A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold. Eek, she’s thrown like 4-5 balls up into the air; will they all collide on their way down? 😀 This has more POVs than previously. I’m not really into Ivan’s POV, even though I feel like this* is setup for his book, which is one or two down the road. I’m fine with just continuing thinking he’s an idiot (and so far in this book, I’m not convinced he isn’t still an idiot). 😉

    * ETA: By “this” I mean “Ivan having a POV.”

  36. @Kendall

    ObHugoReading: I just started Tenfox Gambit, I mean Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee, despite feeling like I should re-read book one. I hope I’m not too confused. Is there a site out there that does in-depth synopses of books for people who need a refresher when they get around to book 2???

    I’m just about halfway through it. After the first few pages, I considered attempting to find a detailed synopsis or at least character list, as I was confused as all get out. Then I recalled a similar, though greater amount of confusion through at least the 1st quarter of Ninefox. What I understood of that universe having read the first book shuffled its way to the front of my brain as I continued in “Tenfox.” It seems to me the world isn’t being described so that I, the reader, can make sense of it – it’s described as the characters within it understand it. I love that when it’s done well. I think the plot needs to be interesting and well-paced to support it.

  37. I’ve honestly never understood reader perception of Ivan as an idiot. From very early on, Ivan struck me as someone who decided young that he was never going to risk being thought of as a plausible future emperor, and therefore a plausible future threat. As part of that, he simply never learned some “useful” skills and knowledge sets. Looking useless is a feature not a but. Miles’ path of demonstrating his complete loyalty has been far riskier, and nearly got him killed more than once.

    Ivan is not an idiot. Not at all.

  38. In terms of moving grass in The Way of Kings, I don’t think it actually moves from place to place: rather it moves up and down – retracting into the ground as a defense against highstorms, and then coming out again when things are quieter.

  39. I’ve read enough Hugo stuff that I’m gonna go ahead and read Murderbot, b/c it is HERE.

    @Lis: Exactly. Ivan wanted to live a long time, and not looking like emperor material is the safest way to do it. Plus it’s often useful to be underestimated.

    @Darren: The same episode that gave us “Get a life!”

  40. @ Kendall: Ivan has never been an idiot. What Ivan has been is determined not to be a political pawn, so he very carefully cultivates a personal style which minimizes that possibility. It helps that everyone else in his family is very political, so he doesn’t have to be much below that level to be “the family disappointment” — think of the son who doesn’t want to take over the family store, or doesn’t want to follow his father, grandfather, and several greats into the military. Ivan is actually very smart when he needs to be, and you’ll see that later in the book. He’s a wonderful illustration of “if you want something done efficiently, assign it to a lazy person”.

    BTW, after you get done with Ivan’s book, let us know and I’ll give you a link to a follow-up fanfic which will have you ROTFL.

  41. @Lee: The current SNL cast is outrageously talented and mostly hitting on all cylinders right now.* I think right now SNL is as good as it’s ever been.

    This week’s host being Donald Glover, so of course they had a Star Wars skit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hez4laAkGw

    And I suppose a Kanye skit was inevitable, but to use A Quiet Place as the conceit is pretty smart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2sI-T69sjs

    But I did not expect three genre-related skits in one night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F8mJZkP-Hg

    *The big exception is stunt casting, like Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro reprising Meet the Family as Michael Cohen and Robert Muller. Funny but not sharp enough for the moment is a long-running SNL issue, going back to Chevy Chase’s hilarious and politically void Gerald Ford slapstick. Lorne Michaels is a showman, not a politico.

  42. Re: Ivan

    Over at Skiffy and Fanty, we’ve been reading (or in my case re-reading) the entire oeuvre of the Miles Vorkosigan story. Ivan in the early books does not come across well at all, his treatment of women is rather reprehensible. He starts to get better by Cetaganda but I had forgotten how unpleasant Ivan was in the early novels. (Miles also acts rather unpleasantly toward women in those early novels and stories as well–his fixation on Elena is…yeah.

Comments are closed.