Pixel Scroll 5/12/16 The Pixels Scrolls Don’t See

(1) THE SICHUAN CHICKEN EMERGENCY. Last year’s Hugo-winning novelist has received a new honor — “Dinosaur relics named after science fiction writer Liu Cixin”.

A new kind of bird-footed dinosaur footprint was discovered in Gulin county, Southwest China’s Sichuan province and named for Chinese science-fiction writer Liu Cixin, to honor his contribution to raising public interest in science.

Liu, who was thrilled to hear the news, said that he has great interest in paleontology.

“It is like a science fiction we’re reading that the dinosaur in Gulin county was preserved so well for billions of years. It helps us travel back in time. I hope the relics could be studied and preserved well.”

(2) SUPERGIRL ADDS W, LEAVES BS BEHIND. Variety makes it official — “’Supergirl’ Lands at the CW for Season 2”.

After nearly two years of rumors, “Supergirl” is heading to the CW for its second season, Variety has learned….

At CBS, “Supergirl” averaged a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.03 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. It was CBS’ top-rated rookie drama this season in the demo, and was also its youngest-skewing drama with a median age of 55.6 — however, it was down from comedies in the Monday night timeslot last year.

The hotly anticipated crossover with “The Flash” on March 28 was a ratings hit for the CW, prompting the rumors to begin swirling once again that “Supergirl” would head over to the younger-skewing network, in order to nab a renewal. That episode, co-starring “Flash’s” Grant Gustin, averaged a 2.5 rating in 18-49 and 9.6 million total viewers in L+7 — the show’s best numbers in the second half of its run.

(3) KRYPTON. Vulture says Supergirl’s home planet is also going to be on the tube: “Syfy Orders Pilot for Krypton, a Show About Superman’s Grandpa Who Lives on a Planet That Definitely Isn’t Going to Explode Any Time Soon”.

And you thought Batman was the only DC Comics superhero who would get a TV show about what everyone around him was doing before he became interesting: THR reports that SyFy has ordered a pilot for Krypton, a Superman prequel from David S. Goyer set on the eponymous doomed planet. The series will follow Superman’s grandpa as he “fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos,” which is one task at which he is guaranteed to fail (because the world will blow up) and another that is a bit of a moot point (because, again, the world will blow up).

(4) GEMMELL VOTING STARTS TOMORROW. Voting on the longlists for 2016’s David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy (the Legend, Morningstar, and Ravenheart Awards) opens midday on Friday, May 13 and closes at midnight on Friday June 24.

The award’s Facebook page revealed there will be 48 nominations for the Legend Award, 6 for the Morningstar and 39 for the Ravenheart.

Voting on the shortlist opens at midday on Friday July 8 and closes at midnight on Friday August 19.

The presentation takes place at 8pm on Saturday September 24 at Fantasycon in Scarborough.

(5) MIND MELD. SFFWorld threw a lifeline to Rob B, whose Mind Meld installment needed a home after SF Signal went offline. The participants are N. E. White, Jonah Sutton-Morse, Yanni Kuznia, and Summer Brooks.

“MIND MELD: Recent SF/F/H You’ve Read & Enjoyed About Which You Knew Little”

Q: What recent SF/F/H books have you read and enjoyed which you knew little to nothing about beforehand? (For example, you go into a bookstore and picked a book off the shelf based on title and/or cover alone.)

(6) NEW YORK NEW YORK NEW YORK. Pornokitsch compares and contrasts in “Will Eisner and Three Visions of New York”.

Both Eisner and Fantasia 2000 also recognise this aspect of the city: it can grind people down, even to the point of death. Using the darkness of the city in this way all three of these representations show the city itself to be an active force working on their various protagonists. Dark Dark Dark focus more on the elemental aspects of the city while Eisner examines the interaction of the people and their home, but both are aware of the inherent magic of the place. Dark Dark Dark present in their enigmatic lyrics and the swirling otherworldliness of their instrumentals what Eisner recognised in his introduction to ‘The Building’, there is something “unexplained and […] magical” about the city which can affect those that live in it.

(7) NEW DESTINATION. Variety’s article “Winchester Mystery House Movie Attracts Spierig Brothers” discusses the next project by the Spierig Brothers, Winchester, about the famous San Jose, CA haunted house.

Keith Kato writes, “Michael and Peter Spierig, the Spierig Brothers, are favorites of (and members of) The Heinlein Society for their most recent film, Predestination (2014 U.S. release), based on the Robert A. Heinlein short story ‘All You Zombies.’ We have been told by the Brothers that they will be out of the country from July-September, presumably for filming commitments for this project and they regret they will not be able to attend the Kansas City Worldcon.”

(8) FURNITURE. I don’t think we’ll be able to order a park bench from them, though it’s nice to know Sancal’s Futura collection is based on 1960s sci-fi space stations.

Dezeen promotion: Spanish brand Sancal has launched a “retro-futuristic” collection of furniture, featuring tables, chairs and ornaments that reference 1960s science fiction films (+ movie).

The Futura collection, which was exhibited by Sancal during this year’s Milan design week, is modelled on the set designs of movies such as the 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey.


(9) NEW AWARDS? Bleeding Cool passed on this rumor about the San Diego Comic-Con.

The word on the street is that we are about to get a brand-new, very well-funded awards show for San Diego Comic Con.

I understand that high level talks are taking place between Jennifer O’Connell, Executive VP of Alternative Programming, Seth Lederman, Executive VP General Manager of the new streaming channel Comic-Con HQ and David Glanzer, Chief Communications and Strategy Officer of Comic-Con International, the people behind San Diego Comic Con.

While the existing Eisner Awards cover the comic book industry, and have been the premier awards at San Diego for some time, this new award show is planned to cover comics, TV, film, games and all manner of fan and genre culture. So expect very big names on hand to host and present awards…..

Lionsgate is said to be interested in producing the show.

(10) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY. Can it be May 11th was National Twilight Zone Day….? And I missed it?

Well…! Then I guess that makes it appropriate to feature a “lost episode”…

(11) STARFLEET TRAINING. “’Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience’ is coming to the USS Intrepid this summer”. MeTV has the story.

The museum exhibit will allow fans to study Starfleet culture as part of “Starfleet Academy’s Career Day.”

Beginning July 9, those lucky enough to get to New York City can visit Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. The museum exhibit is opening aboard the USS Intrepid, which sits on Pier 86 along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan. A naval museum might seem like a strange location for a Star Trek exhibit, but what is Star Trek if not a space navy? Besides, NASA’s Space Shuttle Enterprise is on display at the Intrepid Museum.

The Intrepid Museum will be the first venue in the United States to host this immersive “Trek Tech” experience, a sort of quick fantasy camp. The exhibit allows visitors to join Starfleet Academy’s Career Day, which includes orientation and nine zones of study in language, medicine, engineering, navigation, command and science. Tickets cost $18–$35. The exhibit runs through October 31, 2016. (That final day will be a cosplay dream.)

Visit the Intrepid website for more information.

(12) MEMORIES. Here’s a Lou Stathis artifact I never heard of before.

The cover image comes from here.


  • Born May 12, 1937 — George Carlin (comedian; first to host Saturday Night Live)
  • Born May 12 – Heather Rose Jones
  • Born May 12 – David Doering

(15) WILL FANAC FOR CHARITY. Jim C. Hines is back with another example of “SF/F Being Awesome: Lar DeSouza and Sailor Bacon”.

If my math is right, Lar [DeSouza] and his fans have raised around $40,000 in total to fight MS.

There’s even a new Sailor Bacon plush, with a portion of the proceeds going to MS research.

Fighting MS by con light,
Winning breakfast by daylight,
Rainbow beard that is so bright!
It is the one named Sailor Bacon!

The MS Walk was May 1 this year, but it looks like you can still donate.

(16) END OF DISNEY DOLLARS. Paleofuture at Gizmodo mourns that gift cards have killed Disney Dollars.

When I was a kid I loved Disney Dollars. For those unfamiliar, they’re Disney’s paper notes that look like real money and feature cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Dumbo on the front. They’re only good at Disney Parks and stores, making them essentially like gift certificates. But Disney will stop printing Disney Dollars on May 14, 2016.

It’s truly the end of an era for Disney nerds. As reported by WDW News Today, the move is being blamed on the rise of gift cards and the general death of paper money. Disney staff were told just a couple of hours ago but the company has yet to make an official statement.

Disney Dollars will continue to be accepted at Disney locations, since they have no expiration date. But unless you have hundreds of notes to unload you should probably just hold on to them for a bit. The resale market for even once-common Disney products can be pretty lucrative after a few years.

John King Tarpinian recalls, “A long time ago when friends would have a kid or a grandkid I would buy one share of Disney stock. (Usually with a $25 premium over the stock price.) The certificates were beautifully framed, not to mention that with even one share it would get an invite to corporate events. Then Disney went electronic and that was gone. Now Disney Dollars. Gift cards are just not the same.”

(17) CAP’S PSA. Jim Burns says, “With all this Captain America chat (my all time favorite super hero, by the way!), a truly rare piece of film: a public service announcement, circa 1980 (or thereabouts)!”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Keith Kato, Will R., Tom Galloway, Andrew Porter, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Doctor Science.]

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136 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/12/16 The Pixels Scrolls Don’t See

  1. @Lee:

    One of my definitions for a Mary Sue/Marty Stu is “all the other characters spend inordinate amounts of time talking about how wonderful he/she is instead of doing anything to advance the plot”. And I have seen that happen with original characters — professionally-published ones, yet.

    I have read a professionally-published novel in which the main character, who just happens to share some of the author’s biographical characteristics, has two women tell him that they want to be his co-wives because he’s so awesome that he deserves to be rewarded with two wives.

  2. Rey is not a Mary Sue, she’s the protagonist.
    Wesley Crusher is a Gary Stu.

    I read the first couple chapters of “Too Like The Lightning” and am intrigued. The 18th century writing is a little hard at first but soon becomes clear; I suspect the author has toned down the style a bit for us, because there aren’t paragraphs that go on for three pages with a chunk of untranslated foreign language in the middle.

    “Lovecraft Country” is a deceptively easy read that hides a LOT of stuff underneath. It’s surprisingly very little Lovecrafty at all — the supernatural horror is kind of a McGuffin, much less important than the people.

    I could not possibly love “The Fifth Season” more. I am voting for it whenever I have a chance to vote. Plenty of mysteries there, as Camestros said, right from the first page where we’re told a man’s destroyed the world. And then what’s up with the three alternating main characters, all of which have mysteries of their own.

    @robinareid: Vg gbbx zr n ovg gb ernyvmr vg. Ohg gurer’f gung BOIVBHF cneg rira orsber gur raq jurer gur fpubby tvey gnxrf ure cebsrffvbany anzr, ng juvpu cbvag vg fubhyq orpbzr pyrne gung “lbh” vf gur fnzr crefba. Fb V’z abg fher ubj lbh pbhyq tb guebhtu gur jubyr obbx jvgubhg guvaxvat “Url jnvg n zvahgr”.

    V guvax erivrjref ersreerq gb gurz nf guerr gb nibvq fcbvyref. Yrg’f snpr vg, vg’f njrfbzr jura lbh ernyvmr vg.

    Jura V svavfurq gur obbx, V vzzrqvngryl jrag onpx naq erernq vg va fgevpg puebabybtvpny beqre, juvpu nyfb jbexf. Vg’f n pyrire fgehpgher.

    @HRJ: I took that tour after Worldcon in 2012. Isn’t it great?

  3. @lurkertype I have not finished, yet. I can tell you that the author in the middle of the text interrogates the idea of the text and its style in a meta-commentary way. I can see how not everyone is going to love this, but I am savoring it.

  4. > “… two women tell him that they want to be his co-wives because he’s so awesome that he deserves to be rewarded with two wives.”

    Was it A Specter Is Haunting Texas?

    Because that kind of made me want to throw A Specter Is Haunting Texas across the room.

  5. Paul Weimer: Your comment is a bit cryptic. Which of the books mentioned by lurkertype is it about?

  6. @Kyra and Standback: “The Long Price” has a setting that is vaguely Asian-flavored where “The Dagger and the Coin” is vaguely European. “The Long Price” has more interesting magic and somewhat less conventional plot structures. “The Dagger and the Coin” is, I think, Abraham deliberately trying to tap into the audience of “A Song of Ice and Fire”. I have no idea how successfully: obviously he hasn’t had Martin’s runaway success, but then again he did manage to publish all the books.

    Short summary: As someone who’s read both series, I think both of you should read the one you haven’t.

    Oh, and Kyra: have you read Walter Tevis’s novel The Queen’s Gambit? I recall Abraham writing that he drew inspiration for Cithrin from that book’s protagonist. So you might like that too.

  7. > “Oh, and Kyra: have you read Walter Tevis’s novel The Queen’s Gambit?”

    I have, actually! And quite liked it. Wow, that’s something I thought hardly anyone else had read. I can see the connection between Beth and Cithrin, although they aren’t the same character.

    (I’ve also wondered a little if Seth Dickinson’s Baru Cormorant might owe a little to Cithrin, so now I wonder if that might go back to Tevis instead. I suppose similarities there are more likely coincidence than not, though.)

  8. @Kyra: Was it A Specter Is Haunting Texas?

    Because that kind of made me want to throw A Specter Is Haunting Texas across the room.

    I have no recollection of that incident in A Specter is Haunting Texas (I was probably 12 or 13 when I read it). For which I should have been more grateful.

  9. > “I’ve a different take on the Divergent Series … All the books explore the concept of Identity.”

    I think that’s an interesting take on it and I don’t necessarily disagree with it, but my problems with the third book especially go to things like narrative structure and the lack of differentiation between the characters’ voices.

  10. Was it A Specter Is Haunting Texas?

    It was not; my recollection is that it was set in a dystopian future with universal genetic alteration, a ruling class supposedly engineered to be super-smart, and a revolutionary group based around martial arts (which Marty trains in and becomes the bestest).

    I supposed I should not be surprised that two (or more) such novels have been published.

  11. @andrew @lurkertype.
    Ack, sorry, I was talking about TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING

  12. Kyra, I agree with you on the narrative issue. There’s no way to distinguish the Tris viewpoint chapters from the Four viewpoint chapters. If I put the book down in the middle of the chapter, I would flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remember whose head I was supposed to be in.

  13. > “‘The Dagger and the Coin’ is, I think, Abraham deliberately trying to tap into the audience of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ …”

    Not 100% sure I’d agree with that … while The Dagger And The Coin could probably be reasonably classed as part of the grim ‘n gritty fantasy revival that got kicked off with A Game of Thrones, I also don’t think it lives there to quite the same degree as Martin or, say, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law books or Richard K. Morgan’s A Land Fit For Heroes trilogy. Although if by “tap into the same audience” you mean “is in somewhat the same subgenre”, then sure.

  14. Having read both, I would say that my preference is still for The Long Price Quartet. It managed to be devastating without being stupidly grimdark, and also had one of the most beautiful epilogues I ever read.

    Something else I read recently, written by the New New New Heinlein, Timothy the Talking Cat:

    There Will Be Walrus: First Volume V

    I look forward to the second Volume V.

  15. Another awesome thing I found down the tumblr rabbit hole:

    yotoob: We’ve bought a new house. And our new next door neighbours (two delightful gentlemen) will not stop being nice.

    – bought us a seagull proof refuse bag (yes, they are actual things)

    – loaned us garden tools when we didn’t have any

    – invited us around for Friday night drinks so we could meet the other people on the lane

    – one of them brought me a bunch of sweetpea flowers that he’d picked from his garden

    – and tomorrow he’s coming to cut our hedge for us with his electric hedge trimmer thing idk, and all I have to do is hold the ladder.

    Basically, I am UNSETTLED and am now having to enter into an arms race of niceness and I am already so behind oh god.

    Long story short – I just baked a lemon drizzle cake, and it looks great but I can’t even eat it because MR AND MR NICE MUST RECEIVE AN OFFERING.

  16. @Cassy B: Nope, they didn’t. I was surprised! And glad to see that others had similar experiences – I now want to go back and mark explicitly the clues NKJ dropped.

    @Dawn Incognito: Thanks—it is a rather challenging beginning to the narrative, but it’s so well done that it works. And on second and third readings, even more. Now I need to go back and see what clues are there that tipped me off.

    And yes THAT image is so important.

    I thought the second person narrator was pretty clearly stated near the end as well, but reading some of the commentary on it online (and not just my students), I wasn’t seeing people addressing it (again, could have been to avoid spoilers).

    @Camestros Felapton: The CLIFFHANGER at the end of the book made me just….AGH!!!!! Want.sequel.NAOW.

    And the way that fits with the one legend told earlier in the book is so fascinating.

    NKJ’s pov and structure is rather radical, but I think one barrier my students faced is that most of them did not read very much sff! So there were probably lots of clues in all the books that they didn’t pick up due to ignorance of genre conventions.

    @Lurkertype: reading it in strict chronological structure—fascinating thought (I may have to buy it in paperback to try it—I have it on kindle).

    And Wesley Crusher is definitely Eugene Wesley Roddenberry’s
    self-insert Gary Stu (too bad the fans were so mean to Will Wheaton).

    Thanks all for the replies! Have done grading now, and must go get some more sleep before more conferencing and grading!

  17. A five hour layover at LAS, where it appears that KSR’s Aurora is the best selling SF novel in the airport bookshops, at number 18 with an interstellar rocket.

  18. Wow! At least two people besides me have read The Queen’s Gambit (an excellent book about a girl’s rags-to-riches journey toward mastering chess, with no Mary Sues at all).

    I don’t mind a Sue or a Stu if the plot gives them a sufficient beating, like Stephen King’s novelist characters. It’s the ones who clearly have nepotistic pull with the author that set off my internal unfairness alarm.

  19. @Kyra: I was figuring it was OJRN. But he wouldn’t limit his Gary Stu to two gals.

    @Paul: I figured that out all by myself. Glad to hear a report on further into it.

    @rareid: I read it that way on Kindle — just popped up the ToC, the title of each chapter contains the character’s name/pronoun. Not a problem. It makes the structure so obvious, and the book much less confusing.

    I do NOT like second person or present tense, so the fact that this book starts with and many chapters of both those and I still lurve it is a testament to NKJ.

    I’ve downloaded Timothy’s new book!

  20. Simon Bisson: Airline passengers making a bestseller of a book about passengers that never get where they’re going? Hmmm.

  21. Hampus Eckerman asked:

    “Speaking of popular worlds and characters with the serial numbers filed off, I’m ready to strongly recommend My Hero Academia to anyone who wants to wash the taste of Batman v. Superman out. “

    The Manga or the Anime?

    Either, I expect. The anime is what I’m being exposed to, but if it had any significant differences from the manga, I’d’ve noticed the ensuing screams of online outrage by now.

  22. @Petrea Mitchell
    All Might from My Hero Academia gets compared to Superman a lot but he reminds me more of Captain Marvel, the big red cheese himself, from his attitude to the way his power works.

  23. I ended up being disappointed with Dagger & Coin. For a few reasons, one of which is safe to discuss and the other I think needs rot13 treatment. So, the villain is, like Kylo Ren, Darth Gator. And, as with Star Wars, I like that. However, his viewpoint chapters make up about one fifth of the series, or five hundred pages. Somewhere in the third book, certainly before the fourth, I’d had 100% my yearly allotment of MRAsshole viewpoint character. And then by the time the series was over I’d had more like 140% my yearly allotment. Which, sure, that’s just me but I also felt that by the fourth book we’d seen everything there was to see in the character, and there wasn’t much new or interesting in his (many) remaining pages.

    Second problem, well. So while I was reading the series Abraham tweeted that he avoids sexual assault in his novels because he wants survivors to be able to enjoy them. And that’s wonderful, really. But. V unir gb jbaqre vs ur ernq uvf bja abiryf. Gur frkhny rapbhagre orgjrra Pvgueva naq Trqre, jrer vg cbfgrq gb NB3, jbhyq 100% unir gur qhovbhf pbafrag gnt. Fur guvaxf gb urefrys gung ershfvat uvz zvtug or qnatrebhf orpnhfr ur pbhyq, lbh xabj, unir ure xvyyrq. Naq gura juvyr uvf inevbhf “eriratr” snagnfvrf qba’g vaibyir frkhny nffnhyg, pbzr ba. ZEN qhqr qrirybcf na haurnygul svkngvba ba n jbzna naq qernzf nobhg ure grneshyyl erpnagvat ure cevbe npgvbaf naq rgp. naq V’z abg fhccbfrq gb oryvrir gurer’f n frkhny pbzcbarag gb gur guerng ur cbfrf gb ure? Ernyyl?

    Ohg orlbaq gung, univat gur npgvba bs gur abiryf uvatr ba gur ZENffubyr’f svkngvba ba n jbzna…ab, V’z abg ba obneq jvgu gung. Abg ng nyy. Svaq yvgrenyyl nalguvat ryfr gb qevir gur cybg bs lbhe svir obbx rcvp snagnfl frevrf, gunaxf. Gur pbqn bs Ynaq Svg sbe Urebrf vf na rknzcyr bs fbzrguvat gb nibvq, abg gb rzhyngr.

    I was (and I suppose still am) a big fan of Abraham’s, and I loved some of the things the books were doing. Cithrin is the best, for one. The focus on the economics of warfare, for another. But Abraham lost me with a key event mid-series and never won me back.

  24. robinareid on May 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm said:
    @Camestros Felapton: The CLIFFHANGER at the end of the book made me just….AGH!!!!! Want.sequel.NAOW.

    And now for The Amazing Jemisin’s next trick, watch as she pulls the rugs from underneath her readers in one swift flick of her pen. Ta-da!
    Va n qvssrerag havirefr Gur Svsgu Frnfba vf gur frpbaq unys bs Frirarirf.

  25. @Kyra

    In addition, they have provided the genre with one of its most original and memorable heroes in Cithrin bel Sarcour, as well as a villain terrifying in how readily recognizable he is

    I agree. I also agree somewhat with MaxL above, but… his (not MaxL’s) evil is so horrifyingly real. It took me a very long time to lose all sympathy with him. I haven’t read the last one, yet. Hoping to get to it soon.

    I also recommend the Long Price quartet. I haven’t read it in a while, but from what I remember, it also deals with one of the most boring imaginable subjects – economics* – and makes it interesting.

    * Hyperbole. I’m being hyperbolic. But seriously, if you’d ever suggested that the operations of early banks would be interesting to me… well, actually Stephenson managed that with proto stock markets, but still – I was surprised how engaged I was.

  26. (10) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY. Hahaha, very cute; I’d never seen that.

    @Mike Glyer: Pixel Scroll Title Suggestion – Sticks Nix Hick Pixel.

    @standback: Thanks so much for the link to the interesting post about High Concept. This makes a lot more sense to me now; I never read knew what High Concept meant. It sounds like some folks (not here, I mean in the world) mistake “concept” for “High Concept.” I probably did.

    @Various: So little time, and so behind, but I just wanted to say how much I’m loving reading all the book discussions in this thread. Even though for books I haven’t read (yet!).

    I leave you all with an amusing trailer for a vampire movie that’s sort of a send-up of vampire movies and . . . relationship problems? What? Yes! It looks hilarious, IMHO, though (unsurprisingly) a little over-the-top. Also: Subtitles, FYI.

  27. Re: “The Long Price,” the unique magic and the fantastic focus on economics were the big reasons why I loved the books so much. “Long Price” has become one of my go-to recommendations for friends who feel like fantasy or epic fantasy are becoming a little monotonous — it paves its own path, and that’s part of why it’s got incredible sense-of-wonder.

    Absent something comparable with “Dagger and Coin,” well, I’d still love to take a crack at them, but they don’t get Code Red priority in my TBR pile 😛

  28. re: Fifth Season,

    Thanks for all the comments, all 🙂

    It’s not that I didn’t like the book. I liked it quite a bit. At the same time, I’d put it like this: Once we were past the first, say, third of the book, I lost the feeling of being curious as to “what’s going to happen next.”

    That’s not saying interesting stuff isn’t going to happen. It means that I was reading with zero sense of anticipation. I felt (and still feel) like I could have set the book aside at any point there, said “That was great,” and felt entirely comfortable not returning to it.


    However, it is very much also about that and why a character (who is introduced with some subtlety) makes the choice he does but importantly WHY it is a personal choice rather than (or as well as) a political choice or a revolutionary urge.

    ROT13, spoilers for the first few chapters:

    The book opens with ((gjb CBI punenpgref pubxvat qbja gur ubeevsvp, vauhzna orunivbe bs cneragf gbjneqf gurve bja puvyqera. Cneragf xvyyvat gurve bja puvyqera, be rkcbfvat gurz.))
    How much more personal than that do you really need to get?

    ((V pbhyq frr na nethzrag gung gur obbx ortvaf ng cbegenlvat n oyrnx, ubeevoyr fvghngvba, naq cebprrqf gb qrzbafgengr gur qrcguf bs gur flfgrz naq gb cynl bhg Nynonfgre qrfcnvevat bs gur jbeyq rire vzcebivat.))

    Which is definitely an arc. But it’s an arc which, you’ll note, does not exactly provide much room for anticipation.

  29. @Charon D., @Kyra, @David Goldfarb:
    Count me in on The Queen’s Gambit love. Hey, Hal Winslow himself liked the book. Most books that include chess scenes manage to make egregious errors or else grossly misrepresent the way chessplayers actually think during a game, but aside from a few minor slips, Tevis manages to keep my disbelief suspended. I rank it in my top five of chess fiction.

  30. I have seen an expert level chess player complain that the way Beth thought during her games was more like a C player than like a master. Since Tevis himself was a C player, that makes a certain amount of sense – and as an A player myself, I have to admit that the expert had a point.

    There was also one really egregious error: at one point during the game, Beth and another guy play a quick blindfold game. They follow a line given in Walter Korn’s Modern Chess Openingsbut the line that Tevis chose happened to be one with a typographical error. At White’s sixth move, instead of just “P-B4!” it says “P-B4 P-B4!”. Tevis interpreted that as meaning that White plays P-B4 and then Black answers with P-B4. Problem is, it’s not a legal move. And also, they then play out the rest of the game with White making Black’s moves and Black making White’s, which if you’re actually trying to follow along is complete nonsense.

    Bruce Pandolfini is credited with consulting on the technical chess details, and I’m honestly surprised that one got past him.

  31. Loved Fifth Season. Started telling a friend ‘It’s the best Fantasy novel I’ve read since…” and found that I couldn’t finish the sentence. It’s the best Fantasy novel I’ve read, period.

  32. @David Goldfarb
    Yes, that’s one of the two major ones I recall; the other involves the final tournament in Moscow, where late in a round-robin the players cannot have the scores indicated at that point because the two Russians had to have played already, meaning either they both have a draw (in which case Beth is a half-point ahead) or Luchenko (the older GM) lost (which would contradict the scores given at that point).
    Full disclosure (already revealed here in the past): I’m a 2400-rated master in multiple national federations (plus FIDE and ICCF, the international bodies), and my academic work in the phenomenology of human skills uses chess as one of my paradigms. Therefore, I partially agree with you about the thought level, but Tevis actually comes closer than most do and hits the target a few times. GRRM does better in “Unsound Variations,” and parts of Nabokov’s The Defense are good (but not all–he was more a problemist than an OTB player).

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