Pixel Scroll 5/11/16 Time Enough For LOVE IS REAL!

(1) REDWOMBAT LOVEFEST. Tor.com is hosting — “’THE POTATO GOD WILL RISE.’ We Are Obsessed With Ursula Vernon’s Tumblr”.

But even if you don’t head over for the sketches and art, there are stories in abundance. For example, a true story about Vernon’s childhood, and “the thing” that she knew hid right behind her in her grandmother’s bathroom. (This tale eventually veers into precognition and predestination, believe it or not):

It seemed to me, looking in the enormous bathroom mirror, that I could see every part of the bathroom except the spot directly behind me, so that was where the unseen creature must be standing.

I didn’t know what it looked like. I had a vague feeling it was grey and shadowy and very flat, with long arms. I thought it would probably have eyes, but no mouth, but that was only a guess.

If I moved suddenly, it moved with me. At first, I thought it was just much faster than me, but that seemed sort of improbable–and when my mother would come into the bathroom, it wouldn’t matter how fast it was, it might risk being caught because there wouldn’t be any place it could stand that one of us couldn’t see it.

If fairy tales are more your beat, Vernon wrote her own version of the story about frogs falling from a girl’s lips when she speaks….

(2) RETRO HUGO FAN CATEGORIES. The FANAC Fan History Project is making available online as many 1940 Retro Hugo Nominees as it can. Joe Siclari writes:

For those of you planning to vote in this year’s Retro Hugo Fan Categories, the FANAC Fan History Project is providing relevant original materials for your reading pleasure.  Too many times, Retro Hugos go to the nominee with the best name recognition.  We have worked to make this material available so that everyone has a chance to read for themselves and cast a more knowledgeable vote.

The fanzines are here. They already have —

  • Ray Bradbury’s Futuria Fantasia
  • Bob Tucker’s Le Zombie and
  • Harry Warner, Jr.’s Spaceways

They are trying to get 1940 copies of Forrest J Ackerman’s and Morojo’s Novacious and Ackerman’s Voice of the Imagi-Nation.

If you have copies that you can scan for us or loan to us to scan, please contact Joe Siclari ([email protected]) or Edie Stern ([email protected]).

FANAC’s Retro Hugo page also includes works by Best Fan Writer nominees from other 1940 fanzines than the fanzines listed above.

They have also made available an array of other fanzines from 1940: Shangri-La, Fantasy News, Futurian Observer and Fantascience Digest. Look for these at Classic Fanzines.

(3) HINES REPOST. Our Words, the new site about disabilities in sf, continues its launch by reposting Jim C. Hines on “Writing with Depression”, which first appeared on SF Signal in 2014.

From what I’ve seen, that anxiety is pretty typical for most novelists. But I’m particularly nervous about my next book, Unbound. This is the third book in my current series, and will probably be out in very early 2015, give or take a few months. I’ve put my protagonist Isaac through an awful lot in the first two books. As a result of those events, when we see Isaac again in Unbound, he’s struggling with clinical depression.

This isn’t the casual “had a rough day” depression people often think about. This is the debilitating one, a mental disability that’s damaging Isaac’s health, his job, and his relationships. This is…well, in a lot of ways, it’s similar to what I was going through two years ago. (Admittedly, Isaac’s depression is a bit more extreme, and I didn’t have to worry about cursed thousand-year-old magical artifacts, or accidentally setting a cathedral on fire with a lightning gun.) …

(4) BESIDES DUNE. John Bardinelli makes sure you don’t miss “5 Overlooked Masterpieces by Frank Herbert” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

This week, Brian Herbert released a collection of his late father Frank’s unpublished short stories. It’s an odd, genre-spanning assemblage from creator of Dune, filled not only with science fiction tales, but mysteries, thrillers, “men’s adventure stories,” and more. It’s an intriguing look at the unheralded work of one of the most influential authors of the 20th century—proof that success in publishing doesn’t mean everything you’ve ever written will be a success, and another reminder the when you write one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time, everything else you’ve done suddenly becomes a footnote.

The phenomenon hardly stops with Herbert’s short fiction. Both before and after his signature series took off, he wrote thoughtful, mind bending sci-fi novels that you probably haven’t read, or even heard of, that deserve (almost) as much praise as Dune. Here are five worth tracking down.

Whipping Star One thing Star Trek tends to gloss over is how difficult it is to communicate with alien life. Linguistic and cultural barriers are a challenge, but what if a species doesn’t experience reality the same way we do? The Calebans in 1970’s Whipping Star are the perfect example: they look like stars to our squishy little eyes, and the concepts of linear time and occupying a singular position in space are completely foreign to them. When one of the Caleban needs help from a human, communication is an instant problem. Whipping Star treats us with a firsthand account of this puzzle, feeding us nearly nonsense dialogue until its ideas slowly start to make sense. It’s one of those books that gives you a solid “Ah ha!” moment, independent of the storyline…..

(5) BRITISH BOOK INDUSTRY AWARDS. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley won Book of the Year at the British Book Industry awards. The Guardian has the story.

First published in a limited print run of just 300 copies by independent publisher Tartarus Press, The Loney tells of a pilgrimage to the Lancashire coast, “that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune [where] the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents”. Word-of-mouth success with the small Yorkshire publisher meant it went on to be acquired by John Murray, and to win the Costa first novel award in January.

The British Book Industry awards, for “books that have been both well-written and brilliantly published”, called The Loney a “true British success story”. “A debut novel suspended between literary gothic and supernatural horror, it was written by an unknown author in his 40s, who worked part-time for 10 years to be able to write,” said organisers of the awards, which are run by The Bookseller magazine. “[The Loney] quickly became the hot literary novel, with almost 100 times its original print run.”

The Loney beat titles including Paula Hawkins’s international hit The Girl on the Train, and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman to the top prize at the British Book Industry awards this evening. The award for non-fiction book of the year went to Lars Mytting and Robert Ferguson’s guide to wood-chopping, Norwegian Wood, a title which organisers said “demonstrated great publisher faith and vision”, while best children’s book was won by David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero.

(6) NOMINATION CLUSTERS. Brandon Kempner at Chaos Horizon continues his search for statistical clues to the Hugo-winning novel in  “Checking in with the 2016 Awards Meta-List”. Who’s leading the Meta-List? Here’s a hint: it involves the number five.

For this Meta-List, I track 15 of the biggest SFF awards. Since each award has its own methodologies, biases, and blind spots, this gives us more of a 10,000 foot view of the field, to see if there are any consensus books emerging.

As of early May we have nominees for 10 of the 15 awards. I track the following awards: Clarke, British Fantasy, British SF, Campbell, Compton Crook, Gemmell, Hugo, Kitschies, Locus SF, Locus Fantasy, Nebula, Dick, Prometheus, Tiptree, World Fantasy. I ignore the first novel awards….

(7) RACHEL SWIRSKY IN CHICAGO. She has posted her Nebula Awards schedule.

Thursday, 4pm-5pm: Come visit me to discuss short stories: “Brainstorm a problem area, or ask questions about writing short fiction.”

I’m also on three panels:

Friday, 1pm: The Second Life of Stories: handling backlist and reprints. Panelists: Sarah Pinsker, Rachel Swirsky, Colleen Barr, Marco Palmieri, John Joseph Adams, Don Slater

Friday, 4pm: Medicine after the End of the World: managing chronic conditions and serious illness after the apocalypse. Panelists: Annallee Flower Home, Nick Kanas, Daniel Potter, Rachel Swirsky, Michael Damien Thomas, Fran Wilde

Saturday, 4pm: Redefining the Aliens of the Future. Panelists: Juliette Wade, Charles Ganon, Nick Kanas, Fonda Lee, PJ Schnyder, Rachel Swirsky.

I’m also participating in the mass autographing, Friday, 8-9pm. 

(8) MARS MY DESTINATION. David D. Levine, whose Arabella of Mars will be out from Tor in July, also has a full dance card this weekend.

I’m at the airport again, heading for the Nebula Conference in Chicago, where I will learn whether or not my short story “Damage” won the Nebula Award. I will also appear on programming:

  • Thursday May 12, 2:00-3:00 pm: Interfacing with Conventions in LaSalle 2 with Lynne Thomas, Dave McCarty, Michael Damian Thomas, and Michi Trota
  • Friday May 13, 8:00-9:30 pm: Mass Autographing in Red Lacquer Room. Free and open to the public. I will have ARCs of Arabella of Mars to give away!
  • Saturday May 14, 8:30-10:00 pm: Nebula Award Ceremony in Empire Room.
  • Saturday May 14, 10:00-11:00 pm: Nebula Alternate Universe Speeches in Empire Room.
  • Sunday May 15, 10:00-11:00 am: When Is It Time for a New Agent? in LaSalle 2 with Kameron Hurley.

As long as I am in Chicago, I will also be appearing at Book Expo America, signing ARCs of Arabella of Mars 1:00-2:00 pm at autograph table 7.

(9) CHECK ANYONE’S NEBULA SCHEDULE. Here’s the tool that will let you find any SFWAn’s panel at this weekend’s event – Nebula Conference 2016 Schedule.

(10) CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CHU FAMILY. No need to look up Wesley Chu’s Nebula schedule –


  • May 11, 1936 Dracula’s Daughter was released. Trivia: Bela Lugosi was paid for his participation in publicity photos for this film even though he did not appear in it.


  • May 11, 1984 Firestarter premiered, a movie based on a Stephen King novel.

(12) ELLIOTT REVIEWED. We mustn’t overlook a book with the magic number in the title — Microreview [book]: Court of Fives by Kate Elliott at Nerds of a Feather.

It might be easy to, at first glance, compare this book with other YA franchises because of its use of death sports and young people. Fives is a game where participants are part athletes, part combatants, and routinely die or are seriously injured on the court. It’s a game that involves complex traps and requires a keen mind and strong body. And it sits at the heart of a plot that revolves around political intrigue, oppression, and privilege. So at first blush it might seem slightly familiar. And yet the character work and the setting set it apart, give it a more historically grounded feel where Fives is more reminiscent of chariot racing than anything more contemporary.

(13) ADVANCED READING CODEX. At Black Gate, Elizabeth Cady argues “The Birth of the Novel” happened a thousand years earlier than some academics believe.

In my last post, I described one product of the Hellenistic period of ancient art as the invention of the novel. This surprised many people, who thought that the novel was an invention of a much later time. So of course, being an academic of leisure (she says as she ducks a flying juice box), I had to say more about it.

Some scholars do date the invention of the novel to the Modern period in Western Europe. I will display my ignorance and say I do not know why this is. Many books exist outside of English, outside of the Modern period, and in fact outside of the Western hemisphere that easily qualify as novels, so it is difficult for me to see this claim as much more than chauvinism. But if someone wants to correct me on this point, I am willing and eager to be enlightened. Or to fight you on it.

The first novel that we have comes from somewhere between the 2nd Century BCE and the 1st Century CE. It is a positively charming little book called Callirhoe, and it describes the travails of a beautiful young woman who marries her true love, an equally handsome young man named Chaereas. Shortly after their wedding, he kicks her in a fit of jealous rage and she dies.

At least that’s what everyone thinks. She has in fact been put into a coma, only to awaken when pirates invade her tomb. These pirates kidnap her and take her to Miletus to sell her at the slave market; she is then sold to a man named Dionysius. Callirhoe is so beautiful and virtuous that Dionysius falls in love with her as well, and asks her to marry him. She would refuse but she has discovered she is pregnant with her first husband’s child, and agrees to the marriage out of maternal devotion….

(14) THE PEEPS LOOK UP. John DeChancie reposted his homage to the LASFS clubhouse on Facebook.

…I only remember the good times. I remember the late nights, the Mah Jongg, the Hell games, the cook outs, the late night bull sessions. . .but what I cherish most is the sheer pleasure of meeting and talking with other people who share my view of the universe.

No, let me rephrase that. I look forward to people who have a view of the universe to share. Not everyone does. What most distinguishes the mentality of SF and its fandom from that of the mundane is the capacity to be aware of the vastness of everything out there, all the wild possibilities, the fantastic vistas, the realms of infinite regress, the black reaches and streams of bright plasma. Most humans have their myopic eyes fixed on the dirt. They don’t look up much. When they do, it is with fear and apprehension….

(15) AEI STAR WARS PANEL. The American Enterprise Institute presents “The world according to Star Wars”, part of the Bradley Lecture Series, on Tuesday, July 14. RSVP to attend this event, or watch live online here on June 14 at 5:30 PM ET. (Registration is not required for the livestream.)

Cass Sustein joins AEI scholars Norman Ornstein, James Pethokoukis, and Michael Strain to discuss his new book, “The World According to Star Wars,” a political and economic comparison of the “Star Wars” series and today’s America.

Cass Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, has turned his attention to one of the most beloved and successful film series of our time, “Star Wars.” In his new book, “The World According to Star Wars” (Dey Street Books, 2016), Mr. Sunstein, who has written widely about constitutional and environmental law and behavioral economics, argues the legendary series can teach us a lot about economics, law, politics, and the power of individual agency.

Mr. Sunstein will be joined by AEI’s Norman Ornstein, James Pethokoukis, and Michael Strain for a discussion of the timeless lessons from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Books will be available for purchase, and a book signing with follow the event.

(16) NEW SAMPLES AT GRRM SITE. George R. R. Martin told Not A Blog readers where to find new samples from two forthcoming books.

For all the Wild Cards fans out there, we’ve got a taste of HIGH STAKES, due out this August. HIGH STAKES is the twenty-third volume in the overall series, and the third and concluding part of the ‘Fort Freak’ triad. The sample is from the pen of the talented Ian Tregillis, and features Mollie Steunenberg, aka Tesseract. You’ll find it at: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/wild-cards-excerpt/

((Readers with weak stomachs be warned, HIGH STAKES is our Lovecraftian horror book, and things do get graphic and bloody and… well… horrible. Althought not so much in the sample)).

And… because I know how much bitching I’d get if I offered a new sample from Wild Cards without also doing one from A SONG OF ICE & FIRE… we’ve also changed the WINDS OF WINTER sample on my wesbite, replacing the Alayne chapter that’s been there for the past year with one featuring Arianne Martell. (Some of you may have heard me read this one at cons).

Have a read at: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/

You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.

And no, just to spike any bullshit rumors, changing the sample chapter does NOT mean I am done. See the icon up above? Monkey is still on my back… but he’s growing, he is, and one day…

(17) ZOOM BY TUBE. From Financial Times: “Musk’s Hyperloop in step towards reality”. (Via Chaos Manor.)

Elon Musk’s dream of ultra-high speed travel through a tube came a small step closer to reality on Tuesday, when one of the companies set up to pursue the idea announced it had raised another $80m and said it was ready to show off a key part of the technology.

Mr Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, stirred a wave of interest in 2013 in a technology known as hyperloop — a tube from which air is pumped out to maintain a near-vacuum, theoretically making it possible for pods carrying people or freight to move at close to the speed of sound.

The idea was floated as a potential alternative to California’s plans for a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Coming from an entrepreneur who has come to be seen in some tech circles as a visionary, it attracted enough attention to trigger a race among start-ups trying to prove the technology is in fact practical.

(18) AGENT CARTER. E!News asks“Did ABC Just Secretly Cancel Agent Carter?”. BEWARE SPOILERS.

Warning: The following contains mild spoilers for both last night’s new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: Civil War. If you’re particularly averse to those sorts of things, you may want to turn away. Consider yourselves warned.

Dearly beloved, we gather here today to pay tribute to to the life of Agent Peggy Carter. But is it also time that we begin mourning Agent Carter, too?

If you didn’t make it out to the megaplex over the weekend to catch Captain America: Civil War, last night’s new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. probably dropped quite a bomb on you with their brief mention about the passing of the beloved founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the age of 95. That’s right, friends—Peggy Carter is dead….

(19) RED S GOING FROM CBS TO CW? ScreenRant explains why “Supergirl Season 2 Move to The CW Now a Stronger Possibility”.

CBS joined fellow TV networks FOX and The CW in airing its own DC Comics-based TV show in 2015 with Supergirl. However, the future of the series, starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers a.k.a. Kara Zor-El (Superman’s cousin), is currently up in the air following the airing of its season 1 finale. Although CBS CEO Les Moonves previously appeared to suggest that Supergirl season 2 is all but a done deal, the show has yet to be formally renewed, even now that the deadline for such a renewal is staring CBS right in the face.

There have been rumors that Supergirl could make the move to The CW – the place that Supergirl co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg’s other DC superhero TV shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) call home – for its sophomore season. While those claims were relatively shaky in nature, it’s now being reported that Supergirl moving to The CW is more of a real possibility and that steps are being taken to prepare for such a change, behind the scenes on the series.

(20) QUICK SAVE. “Here’s hoping The Flash wrote Kevin Smith a big fat check” says Polygon.

Whatever they paid for last night’s episode, it wasn’t enough

Whatever amount of money CW paid Kevin Smith to direct last night’s episode of The Flash, it wasn’t enough. The man responsible for Clerks (and everything that’s followed in its wake) single-handedly pulled the show out of a narrative tailspin the likes of which haven’t been seen on television since the second season of Heroes.

Now it’s up to the show’s core team to follow through and finish on a high note. Here’s how it went down.…

(21) MOVIES TO WATCH FOR. Hampus Eckerman recommends keeping an eye open for a chance to see these three movies.

A group of online gamers are invited to try a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game but things take a turn for the sinister when these masters of the shoot ’em up discover they will literally be fighting for their lives.


 NEUROO-X, a German-Swiss-Chinese entertainment company group, stands for games that dissolve the boundary between reality and gaming). A new gadget, the myth-enshrouded RED BOOK, offers the ultimate gaming experience. The most secret longings of gamers are scanned by the engine and transformed into fantastic adventures. The conspiracy psychoses of users are the raw material for the storytelling of NEUROO-X. Marcus, Chief Development Manager of NEUROO-X dies shortly before completion of the RED BOOK. His lover Ryuko finds out that something terrible happened during testing of the game in China, and the deeper she submerges into the secret of NEUROO-X, the more she loses touch with reality. She neglects her son Walter, who logs into the game and disappears into the digital parallel world. The more Ryuko fights the corporation in order to rescue her son, the more she updates the narrative desired by NEUROO-X. Ryuko finds herself in a world full of demons, witches, knights and terrorists.


Three ordinary guys are thrust into a parallel world of an old Sci-Fi movie. Trapped in a low budget universe they must somehow fight their way home before it is too late.


(22) TEACH YOUR HATCHLINGS WELL. “Godzilla Celebrates Take Your Child to Work Day!” at Tor.com features wonderful kaiju humor.

Take Your Child To Work Day is a chaotic time – hordes of tiny creatures swarming office spaces, demanding attention and snacks and opportunities to spin around in swivel chairs. But imagine, if you will, Godzilla participating in this tradition! Tumblr-er CaqtusComics proposed such a scenario to fellow Tumblr-er Iquanamouth, and the resulting comic is perfection.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Michael J. Walsh, Rachel Swirsky, David D. Levine, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

125 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/11/16 Time Enough For LOVE IS REAL!

  1. Bonnie McDaniel on May 11, 2016 at 9:25 pm said:
    I don’t know if anyone’s read Yoon Ha Lee’s stories before, but you really ought to give him a try,

    Her, I believe.

    Your foundry of fontishness makes me very happy.

  2. @PhilRM Highly recommended. She makes a scholarly case that the origins of the novel as a form stretch back to at least classical times and that subversiveness is built into the novel’s DNA.

  3. @Will R: at some point during my formal education in English Lit, it was disclosed that the “modern novel” has its roots in classical works and “evolved” from epic poetry and plays.

    I don’t remember sources or citations, but that was the gist of it, and I’ve never heard another theory since (though I’m not clear/don’t remember the part that shows how classic Greek epic poems influenced Icelandic Sagas which are generally considered to be precursors to Beowulf, which is often held out as the “western” root novel.)

  4. If the modern novel did evolve from the epic poem, than I think it safe to say it was from laziness: “Hey, if I stop trying to rhyme everything, this story would be a lot easier to write!”

  5. (4) +1 for Herbert’s “The White Plague”. A tremendous and thought provoking read. Probably scarier today than it was when it was written when you consider how far bio-tech has advanced in the last 30 years.


  6. @Steve She basically argues (as does 12) that many older works such as Chariton and Apulius were in fact novels. (Google books has a small preview here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BBYU6jyA3MUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false and Kirkus has an overview here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/margaret-anne-doody/the-true-story-of-the-novel/ ). It’s always going to be an arbitrary line, but I definitely came away thinking these older works, if not novels, were only not so by degree rather than by kind, and that they showed a very clear lineage with the “novel” as we traditionally think of it. It’s fascinating stuff–you definitely look at those classical works and realize how self-aware they could be.

    The whole epic poem/saga connection is also very interesting. I’ve heard a lot of “romance” came to Europe by way of Moorish Spain.

  7. I impulsively purchased a copy of the NESFA edition of “The Mathematics of Magic” by de Camp and Pratt, based on the Retro Hugo novella nominations. It arrived yesterday. I have never read these stories, will see how they hold up.

  8. @steve Davidson: of course, most epic poetry (Greek, Latin and the Old English of Beowulf, for instance) didn’t rhyme; it was more concerned with rhythm and assonance. (I think Beowulf probably predates most of the Icelandic sagas – certainly, it’s earlier than the best-known major ones, though of course both the poem and the sagas are related developments in an early Northern European literary tradition.)

  9. I’m a bit puzzled by the idea that the ancient existence of novels is a new discovery; people in Classics have been holding conferences and seminars on the Ancient Novel for a long time. I read Daphnis and Chloe as part of my undergraduate degree about 1980, and no one called it anything but a novel.

    There’s no doubt that in a Hugo sense – prose narratives of more than a certain length – novels go back a long way. I think literary critics are thinking of The Novel as something rather more specific, according to which Tristram Shandy is not a novel, and Robinson Crusoe only marginally one. In this sense there may be more room for dispute about whether novels are ancient. The Modern Novel is also sometimes contrasted with the Picaresque Novel, which is recognised as preceding it.

    The question whether these ancient writers were writing Novels may in a way be parallel to the question whether Kepler, Cavendish, Voltaire, Shelley etc. were writing Science Fiction. Indeed, come to think of it, some of the same works may raise both questions. Is Gulliver’s Travels a novel? Or a series of novels? Answers on a postcard…

    Wow, small world! I met Norm Ornstein back when John Glenn was running for president (that would have been 1984), and he and I were neighbors at the time. We ended up in the same caucus, shoveling against the tide. Norm was interviewed by an NBC reporter during the 2nd level caucus (whats-her-face, she’s married to the former head of the Fed), and we had some laughs supporting a guy who had a chance in the election against a local boy (Mondale) who could win the nomination and had no freakin’ chance in the election.

  11. Re Herbert

    I didn’t much care for Whipping Star but enjoyed Santaroga Barrier. I haven’t read the other three novels on their list. I really loved Dosadi Experiment. My roommate told me it was a sequel to Whipping Star but I read it first so was disappointed at how little I cared for the first one. That said, Dosadi is a stand-alone novel and you do not have to read Whipping Star at all.

    Kudos to Red Wombat!

    Thanks Fanac!

  12. (1) Add me to the list of people wanting a tiny moose. And a few prints, especially those related to tea.

  13. @Lee re @9: I’ve read that for trains that fast, steeps are less of a problem; e.g., the TGV’s grade profile is much rougher than that of conventional trains.

    various re @12: Is it possible that the novel was ]invented[ multiple times, as has been claimed for gunpowder? I was also taught (~1969) that it was born in the 18th century; this is obviously wrong now, but I wonder whether the older examples established a tradition that was known a couple of millennia later, or were forgotten during the low Middle Ages?

  14. JJ on May 12, 2016 at 4:51 am said:

    Beg pardon. Things have changed since I last met him.

  15. RedWombat in #1 reminds me of the story my oldest sister told me. It seems that when my sister was a very young child, our mother in a misguided attempt to help my sister sleep told my sister that there was an angel behind the headboard of her bed that watched over her while she slept. Now, from somewhere my sister had picked up the notion that if you saw an angel, you’d die. So she’d lie awake for hours in an agony of indecision; she REALLY REALLY wanted to look behind the headboard and see the angel, but she didn’t want to die…. (She never gave in to temptation, although apparently it was a close-run thing.) So the trick my mother used to try to help my sister sleep backfired spectacularly….

    (edit to sort out pronouns)

  16. I was also taught (~1969) that it was born in the 18th century

    That seems based on the idea that The Novel is identified with a realist strain of fiction that begins about then (and continues unbroken to this day as the more-or-less default fictional mode). Remove a constraint or two, though, and its history becomes much larger.

  17. The word “novel” possesses multiple definitions, but at least there tends to be close agreement on its meaning in context. We, however, are mixing contexts…

  18. This is definitely not all Doody does in her book:

    Any book offering a complete guide history of the novel has mentioned the novels of antiquity, but it has been customary to mention them dismissively, often merely in footnotes.

    It’s really about the continuity of the form and decentralizing the role of modern (especially modern English) novels.

  19. I read Whipping Star a few months ago, after picking it up in a charity shop. A weird cross between pulp-era adventure and late 60s/early 70s mysticism. The characters were a bit two-dimensional, but the plot and alien characters were certainly original. Nothing outstanding.

  20. I was taught that the first novel was the 11th century ‘Tale of Genji’ I think what qualified it as a novel (according to my teacher) was that it was written just for entertainment, not to teach history or morals or anything.

    Simak’s City has been praised on this forum before – its on sale for $1.99 today.

  21. snowcrash on May 12, 2016 at 12:43 am said:

    @Rose Embolism

    Soooo….could the Crimson Marsupial defeat Dr Doom though?

    Granted I’m more Aunt May than Black Widow, but everybody in the Marvel-verse has defeated Dr. Doom at some point or other. Honestly, you start to worry he’s got a humiliation fetish.

  22. So I’m reading an article at rawstory.com today, and one of the sponsored ads was for the “insane military flashlight” (or however it is worded) that is pretty common. But I happened to pay attention to the photo for a second, and instead of showing a flashlight as usual, it is a photograph of a pair of lightsaber hilts. I save the page, intending to screencap and crop an image of the ad later, but it turned out the saved web page didn’t save the photo. So I went back to rawstory and clicked around for a while hoping it would come up again with no luck, then googled to see if anyone else had seen the same thing. Found a reddit page with an even worse example–this time, something implying smoke has been drawn on a lightsaber, showing that the first image I saw wasn’t just a funny mistake. Unless the US military has some new tech that they haven’t been sharing with us…

  23. Speaking of Kate Elliott (I don’t think this was mentioned upthread?), Very Best of Kate Elliott is $1.99 on Kindle today only.

  24. “The novel” as taught and taught-about in Anglophone classrooms generally means “the tradition of English-language prose narratives that begins in the 18th century,” with various codicils and content- and class-based qualifications–not counting quips such as Randall Jarrell’s “a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it.” Modern common usage is generally content with the first part of Jarrell’s jokey definition, with refinements coming in the form of adjectives–popular, pulp, trash, serious, genre, various genre labels, and so on.

    When I started grad school fifty years ago, it was acknowledged that the “prose narrative of some length” has been invented and reinvented repeatedly in nearly every culture with writing–and probably in those without it as well, though we obviously lack documentary evidence of those. The reigning approach to “the novel” back then was F. R. Leavis’s The Great Tradition, which fairs a line through Austen, Eliot, James, and such. But any decent Shakespeare course would (and still should) get around to his sources, from Italian novelle to the romances behind Pericles, so even Renaissance scholars with minimal interest in the roots of Henry James or the distinction between Pamela and Tristram Shandy wound up with a sense of the deep and extensive history of prose narrative. (Another interesting crossover notion: Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde as a novel in verse, thanks to its focus on individual psychology. This reveals one of the content biases of Great Tradition-based thinking about the novel.)

  25. I admit that so far Court of Fives is the only thing I’ve read by Kate Elliott. But it certainly won’t be the last.

  26. In a vote for reading based on award lists, I discovered Kate Elliott the year that her KING’S DRAGON (up the same year as GAME OF THRONES) was up for a Nebula. I got hooked, and started mining her oeuvre and started reading forward.

    As she has chided me, thanks to trying and find copies at the time, about the only Kate Elliott I have NOT finished is her JARAN series. Book availability at the time! I’ve promised her I will re-read and finish it since its now in ebook but I’ve read everything else she wrote.

    Oh, and while KING’S DRAGON is similar to A GAME OF THRONES in being firmly “Western European world based fantasy with other stuff, I remember at the time preferring it to Martin’s. (and its a compleat series for you, gentle reader, to get)

  27. Aaargh. Just finished the book I was reading (Children Of Time, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s work from ACC short list:a rather old school space opera but with a modern twist that’s remiscent of Brin, Brunner, and Robinson, and clearly not for arachnophobes!), and I have a transatlantic flight tomorrow. Time to scale Mount TBR and bring back something for the plane…

  28. I’ve actually been reading Kate Elliott since I was a teenager, though I didn’t realize that until recently.

    She wrote THE GOLDEN KEY with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson, which is one HELL of a power trio.

  29. @alexvdl

    Hey, I read The Golden Key back then too – I wonder if it’s still in my library somewhere. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Very powerful story, if I remember correctly. Also profoundly creepy.

  30. **mumble, mumble**

    /me adds The Golden Key to Goodreads list

    **mumble….never gonna finish everything on the list at this rate….mumble**

    I tried Kate’s “Spirit Gate” series and was sorely disappointed. But I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Melanie Rawn! So I guess I’m in.


  31. Speaking of ancient novels, Tale of Genji is about 1000 years old, although maybe not in the Western Tradition.

  32. I admit that Court of Fives is the only Kate Elliott I’ve read thus far, but that’ll change sooner or later. I remember seeing the Jaran books when they first appeared on the shelf, but for whatever reason they didn’t quite grab me at the time (maybe I was in more of an “all fantasy all the time” phase?); then, a few years later, I walked past the E section in Uncle Hugo’s and saw a half dozen 2″ thick paperbacks and got kind of intimidated … (That was back when DAW was publishing almost nothing but 2″ thick paperbacks in ongoing series.) Now that I know what I’ve been missing, I’m much more willing to just dive in.

    And, as long as I’m talking about books, other reading: I finished Count Zero (which was even better than Neuromancer in pretty much every way) and just started Mona Lisa Overdrive. After that, I’m torn — I was planning to jump into Katherine Kurtz’ Camber of Culdi trilogy (newly released in eBook format), but then Guy Gavriel Kay had to go publish a new book, which reminded me I haven’t read his previous book, so …

  33. I find the Camber stories a perfect example of stuff I really liked at the time, and profoundly disliked when I reread them a few years later; I don’t know why, but I do know that I’m not going to try them again..

  34. I’ve heard it said that The Tale of Genji is the world’s first psychological novel. I don’t know if that helps any. I suspect not, really.

    Dunno what you’d call some early writings if they’re not novels. Romances, maybe? (Though then you just end up trying to define two terms instead of just one, which doesn’t help either.)

  35. I’m thinking Camber because I’ve been following Judith Tarry’s Deryni reread on tor.com with much interest, but for various reason I don’t want to revisit the original Deryni trilogy quite yet. So we’ll see what happens.

  36. @Simon Bisson

    I’m working my way through Children Of Time as well. Definitely not for arachnophobes, but I’m enjoying it anyway, particularly the way he’s keeps on jump-cutting through to the plot points rather than faffing around.

  37. I gave away my set of Kate Elliot series, both Jaran and Crown of Stars. The copy I bought of King’s Dragon when it first came out promised that it would be the first in a trilogy. How many books before she was actually done? I think it was 8? I’ve sworn to never read another book of hers until each series is complete because she is completely untrustworthy over how long the story is going to be. As I recall, she several times stated “just one more book” only to not finish the story there either. The Jaran series held my interest, but I really loved Crown of Stars. I also knew that I would never re-read it as too many terrible things happen to the main female character in the first book. Too much triggering for me. I recommend them highly to lovers of epic fantasy. You don’t realize in the first book how big this story is going to get.

    But don’t let her suck you in with her empty promises of “trilogy.” Never going to happen.

  38. 3) @Mike Glyer:

    It’s been a busy few days, but I wanted to thank you for bringing Our Words to my attention via the scrolls. I suspect it will become a regular read for me. It is much appreciated.


    So would a young Kaiju be called… a Caillou ?

  40. Kate Elliot’s first novels as Alis Rasmussen are worth tracking down. The Labyrinth Gate is an intriguing fantasy, while the Highroad trilogy is SF that sets the scene for her later Jaran novels (being the start of the rebellion that frees Earth from its relatively benevolent alien masters).

  41. So would a young Kaiju be called… a Caillou ?

    No, because the grown-up Caillou is One-Punch Man, and he punches out Kaiju.

    (Seriously, do an image search on Caillou and One-Punch Man. People have been joking about this for a while.)

  42. One of my father’s colleagues, now dead, was an authority on the Greek Novel, and I have a copy of his edition of the complete Greek Novels. They tend heavily towards pastoral, children lost or exchanged at birth, pirates, excursions, alarums, and so forth. They are a product of the same culture which produced Theocritus in the lyric.

    In terms of a close genre division, whether along Leavis’ line or Frye’s, the Greek Novel is more a “romance”, more closely related to the Arcadia (and hence to SFF) than to the Fielding-descended novel proper.

    In today’s marketing niches where “novel” means that it’s fiction where the text goes to the end of the lines, though, they’re novels, or novellas (many are rather short).

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