Pixel Scroll 5/1/17 Heigh-Ho, The Derry-O, A Pixel We Will Scroll

(1) CLARA COMING BACK? In a spoiler-filled post, “This ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Could Be About to Return for the Christmas Special “, Lewis Jeffries speculates about the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

On Twitter, it has been stated that Eddie’s Diner has been booked by BBC Doctor Who for two days of filming. Hardcore fans know that Eddie’s Diner is in fact Clara and Ashildr’s (Maisie Williams) TARDIS in disguise. So this can only mean one thing, the return of Clara Oswald and Ashildr.

(2) HELP WANTED. James Ciment, PhD, Acquisitions Editor for Popular Culture at ABC-CLIO, has an opening:

ABC-Clio, a reference and academic publisher based in Santa Barbara, California, is looking for an editor (or co-editors) for a reference book on aliens in popular American culture—popular literature, film, television, graphic fiction, and other genres and media. Book length and specific content will be determined by the editor in consultation with the publisher. The deadline for submission of the manuscript is flexible, within a range of 18 to 30 months. The book is intended for the college, public and academic high school library markets. Requirements for the editor are flexible as well but editor must have significant publishing history in the field of literary/film criticism, popular culture studies and/or related fields. Academic affiliation is recommended but not required. Reference editing experience helpful. Editor duties include developing a TOC, soliciting contributing writers, and editor manuscript for content. Publisher will provide administrative support and will be responsible for copy-editing and indexing.

Interested persons should send their CV to acquisitions editor James Ciment at: [email protected]

(3) LET THE APPERTAINMENT BEGIN. Steve Davidson knows that as often as I need to invite people to appertain themselves their favorite beverage (after spotting one of my typos), I probably need to order in bulk. And if I’m doing that, the bottles should have a house label – which he has supplied.

(4) DERRINGER AWARDS. The 2017 Derringer Awards winners, for short mystery fiction, have been announced. Unfortunately, Bruce D. Arthurs’ Derringer-nominated short story, “Beks and the Second Note,” did not get the nod. Here are the stories and authors that did:

2017 Derringer Award Results

BEST FLASH STORY (1 – 1,000 words)

  • Herschel Cozine for “The Phone Call” (Flash Bang Mysteries, Summer 2016)

Best Short Story (1,001 – 4,000 words)

  • Linda Barnes for “The Way They Do It in Boston” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)

Best Long Story (4,001- 8,000 words)

  • Victoria Weisfeld for “Breadcrumbs” (Betty Fedora: Kickass Women In Crime Fiction, Issue 3, September 2016)

Best Novelette (8,000 to 20,000 words)

  • Terrie Farley Moran for “Inquiry and Assistance” (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, January/February 2016)

Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer

  • Robert Randisi

(5) POD DRAMA. Tor Labs is a newly launched dramatic podcast imprint. Here’s an excerpt from Patty Garcia’s press release.

Tor Books, a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy, announced today that it is launching TOR LABS, a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.

Helmed by Senior Editor Marco Palmieri and Editor Jennifer Gunnels, Tor Labs will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama which will be produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of the global hit podcast thrillers, The Message and LifeAfter.

(6) TRAVEL FUNDING SOUGHT. Three Brazilian fans; Andressa Dreka, Mayara Teixeira Dos Santos, and Luis Alessio are crowdfunding to come to the UK for Lazlar Lyricon 3, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funcon being run in Stoke on Trent in June.

The trio help run Obrigado Pelos Peixes (“Thanks for All the Fish”) an organization in Brazil that ran its own convention, Don’t PaniCon, last year, and plan another for 2017.

James Bacon notes:

A few special items were auctioned at the recent UK Eastercon to help raise money for the project. These included an official Hitchhiker’s quote towel from the 1980s and a pair of beer glasses with Hitchhiker inspired designs from the 42nd Cambridge Beer Festival. This raised GBP212 for the fund.

The crowdfunding is being carried out on a Catarse site, via https://www.catarse.me/OPPnoLazlarLyricon3.

As File 770 reported over the winter, Lazlar Lyricon 3 will take place June 9-11. Committee members include Stefan Lancaster, Emma J. King, David Haddock and Alan Sullivan.

The first two Lazlar Lyricons were part of a series of conventions in the 1980s, 90s and early 00s colloquially called ‘Fun Cons’, which also included the Incons, Dangercons, and several one-off conventions such as Year of the Wombat and Aliens Stole my Handbag.

(7) READING ALOUD. Cat Rambo says, “A lot of us have listened to SFWA’s Executive Director Kate Baker narrating podcasts over the years, but here’s someone narrating one of Kate’s pieces” — “Old Teacups and Kitchen Witches by Kate Baker” on Cast of Wonders.

This time the narrator is –

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her short stories and poems appear in more than 40 publications and her first novel, Swift for the Sun, will be available Spring 2017. Follow her online and on Twitter.

(8) EPISODE ONE. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, Meghan Ball and Kelly Anderson recap “American Gods Episode One: ‘The Bone Orchard'”.

Our reactions

Kelly: Welp. This show knows how to make an entrance! Pilots are all about being memorable, and I think I can say from the get-go this one certainly succeeded on that level. They went for a combo of stark, Tarantino-esque visuals, husky-voiced, gritty storytelling, and a grimy ‘70s vibe, and it all blends together to create the perfect mood for this story. It’s surrealist noir, if such a genre exists—everything is slightly off-kilter, and even the scenery makes you look twice (that alligator bar! I gotta get me one of those!). It’s as if somebody went back in time and gave Magritte computer graphics and possibly some acid, and I love it.

Meghan: That was an astonishing trippy-as-hell hour of television. I never thought I’d see the day someone actually followed through with bringing this book to life, and certainly not in a way so savagely, monstrously beautiful. I especially loved the use of music. Whoever chose it deserves a raise. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” playing while Shadow stares mournfully at Laura’s grave? Absolute perfection. They also used “Iko Iko” by the Dixie Cups in the bar scene, which is also mentioned in the novel. That was especially cool. Everything about the premiere felt lush and organic, and utterly real as it was surreal. I’m a fan of Tarantino movies, and even I was gasping in shock during the opening Viking scenes, which completely set the tone.

(9) THE LONG HAUL. At Vox, there’s an overview by someone who’s seen the first four episodes.

If you’re like me and haven’t read Gaiman’s iconic source material, the TV series doesn’t spend a whole lot of time trying to catch you up. There will inevitably come a point when — as blood rains from the sky and some god or another intones an ominous missive about death — you’ll squint and realize you have no idea what’s happening.

But that’s okay by American Gods. Having seen four episodes, I think it’s safe to say that the mysteries being explored by the show’s first season are intricate, and that Fuller and Green are in no rush to give away their secrets. This will be frustrating for people watching from week to week, but American Gods is making the bet that you’ll be intrigued enough by what it teases to stick with it — and on that front, it’s probably right.

(10) INDEPENDENTS’ DAY. The Seattle Review of Books covers #independentbookstoreday celebration: “Our Independent Bookstore Day, in photos”.

(11) GLOWING GOO YOU CAN CHEW. Where to find it? Cat Rambo has a clue.

My most recent newsletter is up and includes class news and a link to a recipe for edible glow in the dark gel: “News and More Stuff from Chez Rambo”

(12) SAX AND VIOLENCE. Echo Ishii watches old TV: “SF Obscure: Night Man “.

What do you get when you cross light jazz, Taylor Dayne, and questionable costume choices? And then you throw in special guest appearances by Jerry Springer and Donald Trump? Why you get Night Man, a show that surprisingly stayed on air for two seasons.

Night Man(1997-1999) is the story of Johnny Domino, a professional saxophonist, who is struck by lightning and earns a telepathic ability to see evil. It’s loosely based on an original comic. He also teams up with some scientists on the run who provide him with a special suit that allows him to deflect bullets and fly. It actually took a few episodes to figure out exactly what the suit does vs. Johnny Domino’s own ability- and I have the sneaking suspicion it was not entirely developed well by the writers.

(13) BAD MIKE.

So the rest of you better hurry and get that reading done or I’ll take a bite out of you, too.

(Or – and this was the point — you could wait to fling poo at the Hugo shortlist ‘til you’ve read it, something that never occurred to C. and Matt.)

(14) PURITY OF ESSENCE. Can penguins be forced to bark? Jay Maynard wants to “Make Penguincon Great Again” —  by kicking out everything he doesn’t like.

Still, I’d promised this year’s con chair that she’d get a fair chance to address my concerns, so I came back one more time. Guess what? More hard-left GoHs — the odious Coraline Ada Ehmke, she of the Contributor Covenant that prohibits project members from being politically incorrect any time, anywhere, in any venue, on pain of expulsion (who had to cancel due to an emergency); Sumana Harihareswara, who I found out the hard way was a hard-core feminist as well; and Cory Doctorow, well-known left-wing author — more politically correct panels, 15 of them on such topics as “Queering Your Fiction” and “Let’s Get the Taste of 2016 Out of Our Mouths” and “Exploring Themes in Zen Cho’s Work” (with “Intersectionality, diaspora and immigration, the culture of British education, and queer relationships also appear in Cho’s stories over and over” in the description). When I was asked to submit lists of panel topics, I was instructed not to be controversial, but it seems the Left has no such admonition.

This was further borne out by the very first thing that happened at Opening Ceremonies: right after the con chair took the mic, she introduced one member of the convention committee, who proceeded to name 8 or 9 American Indian tribes that had lived in Southeast Michigan in the past and said that “we are their guests here”. That bit of virtue signaling came straight out of the political correctness playbook.

The con’s expanded harassment policy is also of the same stripe; it basically allows anyone to complain that they are being harassed on the flimsiest of excuses, and the con can then eject the subject of the complaint summarily with no recourse and no refund. This is the kind of policy that has routinely been used against those who are merely politically incorrect at other cons, most notably the Worldcon in Kansas City.

There were exactly two panels on topics that the Left would not approve of, both relating to firearms. In fairness, I will also point out that the con did, for the first time, officially sponsor and pay for the Geeks with Guns event. Still, the overall feel is that of overpowering political correctness.

All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion, for me: those who oppose the politically correct orthodoxy are not Penguicon’s kind of people. Oh, sure, they’ll happily take our money, but we’re not “one of them”.

I go to cons to escape the culture wars, not to get hit over the head with how much of a nasty, eeeeevil person I am for being a white male. We are all, first and foremost, SF fans and computer geeks. People should leave their politics at the door and celebrate SF and open source computing for their own sakes. For the first decade, at least, Penguicon did. It doesn’t any more.

Jer Lance disagrees with the diagnosis: “On the Need to Make Great Things Great Again”

Among my plans for the day, today, was to put together a quick writeup congratulating the staff of Penguincon for throwing an undeniably successful convention—the 15th in a series! Instead, I’d like to take a moment to respond to a long-time attendee’s paen to modern divisive politics; a blog post with the snappy title “Make Penguincon Great Again.” In his post, Jay “Tron Guy” Maynard makes the assertion that Penguincon has fallen to the “leftists” and resulting event is no longer one that is comfortable for people like him.

…Instead, I would like to focus on Jay’s proposed solution. Tron Guy—an attendee since the very first event—would “return the con explicitly to being nonpolitical.” Maynard yearns for the days when we focused on apolitical topics like Geeks with Guns – Societal & Political (year 1), Hidden Totalitarian Assumptions in ‘I, Robot’ (year 3), Don’t Be Evil: The Google Books Settlement (year 9), Technology as Legislation (year 5), and of course the keynote address from the very first Penguincon by Eric S. Raymond (on whose blog this Make Penguincon Great Again concept was born) which discussed “open source, the hacker culture, and the second amendment.” As Archie Bunker sang, those were the days!

In case my point was too subtle, Penguicon has never been any more apolitical than science fiction itself, despite claims to the contrary.

….I came to my first Penguincon in 2006 during its 4th year. I came for the tech conference side of the house and actively disdained the “comicon, nerd shit.” Over the ensuing 11 years, I have attributed a tremendous amount of my personal growth to my having been repeatedly and relentlessly exposed to things outside of my comfort zone through the convention. My hardline libertarian stance has softened to that of a moderate conservative through immersion in concepts that were foreign to me until such time as it was easier to understand them than repel them.

In that understanding, I’ve earned empathy….

(15) IT’S A THEORY. K.B. Wagers argues the change is happening: “The Rise of the Unlikable Woman”

There have always been unlikable characters in fiction, though the idea of the anti-hero?—?brooding, self-centered, wholly unredeemable?—?has long been considered a man’s territory. From crotchety but lovable Han Solo to the downright dangerous Riddick, no one complains that these characters aren’t people you’d trust to watch your house, let alone have a cup of tea with.

Women in fiction, by contrast, can only be unlikable if they are redeemable in some fashion or another?—?or if they’re ultimately punished. Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is struggling for redemption (and turned into a nursemaid for the Big Guy as a result). Were she still unrepentant about the death she’s dealt?—?as Loki is?—?she would find less compassion from the audience. Emma Bovary, in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, receives her punishment (in the form of her death) at the end of the novel as a result of her sexual desires.

But now, women characters are rising up from the ashes of these expectations….

(16) SIGNS OF THE TIMES. On Planetary Post, March for Science participants joined host Robert Picardo in support of space science and exploration in Washington, D.C.

(17) CLARKE CENTER. Episode 7 of Into the Impossible, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination’s podcast, takes you to ”New Spaces”.

We’re looking at new spaces in space, speaking with Drs. Yvonne Cagle (astronaut and physician) and Adam Burgasser (astrophysicist). We talk about why we send humans into space, the discovery of potentially habitable worlds at TRAPPIST-1 and how we imagine them, the role of interstellar art, the evolution of human physiology in zero-g, why the scariest thing about being an astronaut might be finding yourself on stage at the Oscars with Dr. Katherine Johnson, subject of the film Hidden Figures, and how important it is that we remain vigilant in our embrace of diversity across disciplines.

(18) BAT EXCLUSIVITY. ScreenRant claims there are “15 Things Batman Can Do (That No One Else Can)”.

Given his intensive combat training and genius-level sleuthing skills, the Dark Knight Detective is one of the most formidable heroes in the DCU (or the world of comics in general), giving him a skill-set that dwarfs many of his superpowered peers.

  1. He Has Contingency Plans to Take Down Enemies…and His Friends

As we stated earlier, Batman prepares for everything. And we mean everything. In addition to strategizing on how to take down all of his arch-enemies and other deadly threats, he does what some might see as a betrayal–he creates contingency plans against every one of his fellow Justice League team members (in Grant Morrison’s 2000 Justice League: Tower of Babel storyline).

Using his genius intellect, he develops brutally efficient ways to neutralize his teammates’ powers: he binds Green Lantern with his own power ring, makes Aquaman terrified of water, uses fire against Martian Manhunter, liquid nitrogen to subdue Plastic Man, virtual reality against Wonder Woman, and he even creates a weapon to give The Flash seizures.

His strategizing backfires, however, when Ra’s al Ghul steals his plans and takes down his allies. Needless to say, his fellow Justice League members were none too pleased with this, and they  subsequently had his membership revoked. It’s not easy for Batman to have friends.

(19) BATMAN & BILL. Hulu is releasing Batman & Bill on May 6, which is a documentary about Bill Finger’s contributions to the Batman mythos. FirstShowing.net explains the “Official Trailer for Hulu Doc ‘Batman & Bill’ About a Batman Creator”

“The most mysterious man in Gotham City wasn’t in a mask and cape.” Hulu has released an official trailer for a documentary titled Batman & Bill, which will premiere exclusively on Hulu starting early May. The documentary “unmasks” one of the greatest secrets in the comic industry – that Batman wasn’t created by Bob Kane alone, it was primarily Bill Finger who created the iconic superhero. This seems like a fascinating doc with plenty to offer for comic book fans, including inside stories and excellent art from the early days of Batman. It’s cool to see a doc like this that actually looks worth watching on Hulu.


(20) BATMAN & BOB. Offered on eBay and now marked down from $1,500 to $1,050, a signed first edition of Bob Kane’s autobiography Batman & Me with original signed ink Batman drawing by Kane.

Batman & Me. Forestville: Eclipse Books, 1989. First Edition. Copy number 144 of 1000 numbered copies signed by Bob Kane with an original ink drawing of Batman by Kane. The autobiography of the artist who created the immortal comic book character Batman in 1939. Extensively illustrated. Fine in slipcase.

(21) THE FIRST HALF OF HISTORY. Fanac.org has posted a recording of a 1968 Worldcon comics panel with Marv Wolfman and Harry Harrison. I guess a few things  have happened since then:

Baycon, the 26th WorldCon, was held in Oakland, California in 1968. This very entertaining panel features a discussion about contemporary comics by the then relative newcomer, Marvin Wolfman, and a plethora of engaging stories by Harry Harrision. Harry talks about Bill Gaines (EC Comics) and working with Wally Wood. The stories are funny, the context and history of the field are priceless. Moderated by Paul Moslander, this excellent recording is courtesy of the Pacifica Radio Archives.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Rambo, James Bacon, and Bruce D. Arthurs for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

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195 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/1/17 Heigh-Ho, The Derry-O, A Pixel We Will Scroll

  1. @andyl

    I have never been satisfactorily able to describe what the Hap & Leonard books are about, or why I like them. But I do.

    I haven’t caught the show yet.

  2. Myself, I’ve enjoyed the Hap & Leonard TV series as well as the books (I read the first half dozen or so back in the 1990s), although I can see WorldWeary’s point.

    Fargo isn’t a bad comparison, albeit without the accents; and it’s not quite as … ridiculous? The other comparison I’d make (which also applies to Fargo) is a session of the role-playing game Fiasco — nobody is as smart as they think they are, and everything that can go wrong does go wrong, often spectacularly so.

    Edited to add: FWIW, the TV seasons so far have only been six episodes each.

  3. World Weary

    @andyl I enjoy the Hap & Leonard books, but not so much the show . I only watched the first season. Things that were funny on the page seemed a lot less funny on the screen, and a lot more mean spirited. YMMV

    Lansdale describes Hap & Leonard “when noir happens to good people.”

    I really enjoyed the show and eventually even got over the actor playing Leonard being shorter than in my headspace. But it lacks some of the awesome little descriptions of things found in the book. Savage Season was also more caustic than many of the Hap and Leonard books that follow. Really looking forward to the next season and Two Bear Mambo got approved for a following season and that’s when it starts really getting fun to me.

  4. The issue is that they were making sweeping statements about the Hugos and the shortlist even though they’ve read less than half of it.

    Then I have no idea why you objected to my joke. But please don’t explain yourself again. Let there be some mystery.

  5. Nth-ing the recommendation for BOSCH. I’ve lost a lot of sleep bingeing on that. Really, really good. It has SF-adjacent cred, with Titus Welliver (Lost) and Lance Reddick (Fringe). Beautifully acted and filmed — it even looks great on a Kindle. Watch all 3 seasons and join me in awaiting the 4th.

    It, like “The Expanse”, proves it’s a Good Idea to have the original book writer involved, when the writer realizes things have to change between media.

    Virtue-signaling is fine if you’re a Puppy, obvs. It’s their whole raison d’etre.

    I’m pretty sure that DragonCon didn’t want to release the vote totals of the award, being as how they treated it like the red-headed stepchild* all along, what with never promoting it, changing the eligibility period mid-nomination, and allowing any email address to vote. If they cared, they’d have put some effort into it. Then we all saw the half-assed ceremony. The vote totals were probably a tiny amount, esp. compared to the attending totals.

    @k_choll: That’s what I got about 10% (don’t remember exactly) into TLTL. It may be a great book, but man, is it a slog.

    @Hampus: Not-Vader has already been on GSS.

    JJ on C. and Matt: The issue is that they were making sweeping statements about the Hugos and the shortlist even though they’ve read less than half of it.

    Exactly! It’s like the fable about the blind men and the elephant.
    (Also, their sweeping statements contradicted themselves at least twice)

    Appertain: To be fair, one of the flying figures should be a hot blue man, all pecs, abs, butt. Like the chaps on bad UF covers in tight leather pants. Something for everyone’s taste, which fits the beverage! I realize this would involve a new drawing instead of cut and paste, but it’d be more appropriate and funnier.

    *(no offense to actual people of this category intended)

  6. Amazon shows… I liked Sneaky Pete, which is about a con man.

    ETA: And also Bosch.

  7. rcade: Then I have no idea why you objected to my joke.

    Oh, it that what that was supposed to be? 🙄

  8. @lurkertype:

    To be fair, one of the flying figures should be a hot blue man, all pecs, abs, butt.

    Perhaps Chuck Tingle can be persuaded to create an alternative version, and people can choose which appertainment they prefer. 😀

  9. @Xtifr: I’d be afraid Chuck would throw in a sentient inanimate object, or a cryptozooid. Let’s just have a blue wingéd hunk. Plus, if we have one label with both babe and hunk, the bisexuals won’t have to choose!

    Huh. The File 770 time machine is sort of back, but it’s only an hour and 5 minutes in the past. Not much of a different country.

  10. Re: Ada Palmer. Yep, she is very smart; her day job is being a history professor at UChicago with her Ph.D. from Harvard (where she was an active member of the Harvard-Radcliffe SF Association). Not mentioned is that she also sings and composes, with her major work being a Norse mythology based song cycle, and usually performing, including at cons, with the group Sassafras.

  11. One more Hap & Leonard note: The first season is also streaming on Netflix.

    And at the risk of repeating myself, if you want genre streaming on Amazon, you could do much, much, much worse than Charlie Jade.

  12. (14) … Sumana Harihareswara, who I found out the hard way was a hard-core feminist

    So… what is the “hard way” of finding out someone is a feminist? Inquiring minds want to know!

  13. Laura Resnick: So… what is the “hard way” of finding out someone is a feminist? Inquiring minds want to know!

    She tried to put words in his brain.

  14. Laura Resnick: So… what is the “hard way” of finding out someone is a feminist?

    He was trapped in a conference room, forced to listen to heinous ideas about equality and respectful treatment, and couldn’t get away. 😀

  15. I want to know what a “hard-core” feminist is. What differentiates them from a run-of-the-mill feminist?

  16. She doesn’t have a creamy center? She prefers her sex scenes explicit? She likes metal-ish punk music?

    Also, she does things “the hard way”, I guess. Hard-core-ly?

    I guess for Tron Guy, “the hard way” of finding out someone is a feminist is that she wasn’t wearing a big sign that said I AM A FEMINIST. He had to hear her talk!

  17. @Mark (Kitteh) & @Matt Y: City of Miracles should reach my house Wednesday, though I just started Becky Chambers’s first novel, so I’ll have to wait to read it. Gah, I need to get A Conjuring of Light, thanks for reminding me!

    ::quietly shuffling Gilded Cage down the “read-the-sample” list::

    @Mike Glyer: “Maybe Jim C. Hines will be inspired to do one of his sendups of the pose? Then people could have their choice of labels, as well as beverages.”

    LOL, I’d like to appertain a pint of the Jim C. Hines version, if it ever shows up. 😉

  18. @tyg: You misspelled the name of the singing group, which is “Sassafrass”. Yes, I know.

    I will say that anyone who enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and is not violently repulsed by a capella singing should check out sassafrassmusic.com. I got to see them perform Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok at the 2013 Worldcon, and I was absolutely blown away.

  19. She refused to make him a sandwich?

    (I’ve been told this is an infallible test, but I’ve never been able to figure out how it applies to male feminists. I sometimes get the feeling that some of these idiots don’t believe male feminists exist.)

  20. Aaron on May 2, 2017 at 8:38 pm said:
    I want to know what a “hard-core” feminist is.

    A feminist with sick abs.

  21. @JJ – I loved City of Stairs but never moved on from there. I’m glad to hear the series wraps up nicely. This will be high up on my TBR once I’ve finished my Hugo reading and gotten a bit of Pratchett and Hodgell relief.

    Hugo reading progress: I’m basically speed-reading TLTL. I never learned to do it properly, but I’m quickly passing through each paragraph then giving it another pass-through to clean up. It’s not the most fun method, but I’m only half-way stoked on it right now, and a lot of that has to do with the high regard that some Filers hold for it. Not that I don’t think it’s well-written, it just isn’t what I would consider a nuggety-nugget kinda book for the Kathodus definition of nuggety-nuggets. So far. If I’d allowed myself to give up Ninefox Gambit at this point in the book… well, I’d have missed out on one of my favorite novels of last year. I feel like I could become completely immersed in the world if it were a world in which I wanted to be immersed, but so far it’s got a “Tales of Bourgeois High” kinda feel to it that reminds me too much of hanging out with grad students in my early-20s (no offense to grad students, or people in their early-20s). I am absolutely going for a fun and easy book next. The second Rivers of London is likely next up, and I will take it like a warm bath.

  22. kathodus: The second Rivers of London is likely next up, and I will take it like a warm bath.

    I’ve just started and am about 1/4 into the first book in the series. It’s a bit blokey — but so far very readable and enjoyable. I’ve got the entire set sitting here from my library, and I’m expecting to tear through them, as long what I’ve read so far is representative of the works. 🙂

  23. @JJ

    I’m on a re-read at #5 right now. I’ve been thinking about what I’m taking away from reading the series as a whole, and Peter being “blokey” is definitely one of those things.

  24. Mark: I’ve been thinking about what I’m taking away from reading the series as a whole, and Peter being “blokey” is definitely one of those things.

    Please tell me that he never uses any noun-, verb-, or adjective-form of the phrase “Friend Zone”. 😐

  25. @JJ

    I’m pretty sure you’re safe on that account 🙂

    I think that early Peter is a young man – I’m not sure his age is specified but he’s just coming off a two-year probationary period that he could have started at 18/19ish – and is portrayed as such, but then does a bit of growing up as the series progresses.

  26. @lurkertype: “Like the chaps on bad UF covers in tight leather pants.”

    My UF covers must be defective; they’re dominated* by rear views of women in tight leather pants. It’s the paranormal romance books that get the hunky covers…

    * Pun semi-intended, and somewhat inspired by tonight’s episode of iZombie.

  27. Halfway through Moon Over Soho, and wondering why I’d never read the “Rivers of London” books before. This is going to make my Best Series vote so HARD…. (I know, I know, it’s a GOOD problem to have after the last few years…)

  28. 2) HELP WANTED – I emphatically second Of Mist, Grass and Sand by McIntyre and Gonna Roll the Bones by Leiber. I’d also like to suggest Jeffty is Five, by Ellison.

    A hardcore feminist is, based on personal experience, a woman (because, yeah, no man would ever be a hardcore feminist) who listens to your sexist joke and not only doesn’t laugh indulgently but asks you what ever possessed you to say that. But I like the abs answer best.

  29. And, oh, by the way, yes, I did realize part of this was in the wrong scroll, but not only is the wayback machine sending me back an hour or so, but I haven’t had an edit window in more than a week.

    Move on, nothing to see here. Just somebody who needs more coffee.

  30. Little-known fact: in ancillary merchandise contemporary with the early days of Mr. Peabody, the name of the machine was spelled as WABAC, making a better joke. (Waves in direction of UNIVAC, ENIAC, Brainiac, et al. hi al!)

  31. Mark said:


    Interesting re tor.com. I wonder if that means they did the work creating the Hugo packet entry and then decided not to waste it?

    Wait, waste it? Is there not going to be a Hugo packet this year? I haven’t been following as closely as I might; have I missed something?

  32. Cat: Wait, waste it? Is there not going to be a Hugo packet this year? I haven’t been following as closely as I might; have I missed something?

    Never fear, there’s going to be one. I think he’s saying Tor might think it a waste to share their bit ONLY with the Hugo voters.

  33. @lurkertype If you’d like a change from Neko Atsume, check out Welcome to Moominvalley.
    I find the interface charming, because Moomins. You go on trips and throw parties to earn cute decorations for your valley and house. The English translation is entertainingly wonky in spots: I am sure their “barrels” are kegs of cider, and Snorkmaiden’s “mixer” is actually a still. Some of the parents’ pastimes are included: if you look carefully at one tableau, you can spot Moominpapa holding a martini glass.

  34. @ Mike Glyer

    Oh. Whew. Thanks.

    I realize the packet is never guaranteed, but I was counting up how much it would cost to buy everything and thinking I might not be able to manage it. (Thank goodness for my library, and I do have four of the novels on hold, but given my place on the waiting list it might be iffy whether I get to check everything out in time.)

  35. @Cath: Thanks for the recommendations, but two Neko are still eluding me, and I expect there’ll be an expansion before I get the lil bastards. Also, I find Moomins vaguely disquieting but love all things kitty.

    Peter went into the cops rather than college, so he’s probably no more than 21 at the start. He’s going to be blokey. He learns better, though — and you can see from things he says that a bit of the blokeyness is exaggerated.

    That lady probably does have excellent abs — “hard” was used twice in one sentence about her. I would like to meet her someday; anyone who scares Tron Guy so much is all right in my book.

  36. re: various definitions of “hard-core” feminist.

    Love ’em. Am thinking of Joanna Russ in this context, as well as some of her fictional characters, and how I aspire to be her/them when I grow up.

    Did not realize City of Miracles was out–must get–I was intrigued/invested in the earlier two though also confused, and can only read in some moods.

    ETA: Went to check out this hard-core feminist that so terrified poor hapless dude, and wow, I want to subscribe to her newsletter!


    ….brb must set up some feeds on my dreamwidth….

  37. I’m about halfway through Whispers Underground (third book) and my impression of Peter Grant is “appropriately blokey.” He is a fully realized character with certain dudebro tendencies which are believable in a character like him, but the novels do not appear to reward the dudebroness unduly. I more often want to high-five Grant than to smack him, and the times I do want to smack him, the other characters generally wind up doing it for me in short order.

    I winced a little at the beginning of the first book when his friend and co-worker Leslie was introduced as someone whose pants he’d wanted into for, like, forever, but it became clear quite quickly that he saw her in a more three-dimensional way than that, as did the author, who gave her a huge multifaceted role to play. (Everything about Leslie gives me ALL THE FEELS FOREVER.)

  38. @Bruce Baugh I just re-read Maynard’s piece at Blackgate and some of the accompanying commentary.

    I’m glad it didn’t really happen as he starts off with “…In one sense, to create a new award sounds like an admission of defeat”

    continuing to perpetuate the puppy-created myth that there’s insiders and outsiders and a war on…when everyone opposing the puppies was saying “PLEASE! Go and do your own award!”

    It continues with the awful “trust” counters (not to mention a controlling board that no detail is provided on); it’s a mirror world version of fandom and its awards…do the gatekeeping ahead of time instead of after.

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