Pixel Scroll 6/3/19 This Is My Pixel And This Is My Scroll! One Is For Filing, The Other I LOL!

(1) RED MOON RISING. “Apple Publishes “For All Mankind” Apple TV+ Trailer” at MacStories.

What if the space race had never ended? Watch an official first look at For All Mankind, an Apple Original drama series coming this Fall to Apple TV+. Get notified when Apple TV+ premieres on the Apple TV app: http://apple.co/_AppleTVPlus For All Mankind is created by Emmy® Award winner Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica), Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. Told through the lives of NASA astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind presents an aspirational world where NASA and the space program remained a priority and a focal point of our hopes and dreams.

(2) TRACING THE MCU. In “+” at the Los Angeles Review of Books, University of Southern California cinema professor J.D. Connor has an exhaustive and highly quotable analysis of the MCU.

…Still, Feige has been utterly judicious about when and how to push. Over the years, fans (and others) have pushed for a less white, less male MCU, and Feige (and others) have managed to create an underdiscourse, in which the limits of the MCU’s representational efforts stem not from his convictions but rather from constraints placed on his own fandom by longtime Marvel head Ike Perlmutter and conservative forces on what was called the “Marvel Creative Committee.” Feige was able to get Perlmutter and the committee out of his way in 2015, and the next four films out of the pipeline would be developed, written, shot, and edited without their input. It’s no surprise that those four films happen to be the “boldest Marvel has ever made”: Guardians 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.

Here the crucial installment is Black Panther, which seemed to prove that the whole machine could just as easily work based on African diaspora superheroes, with departments largely headed by women of color. Black Panther offers a vision of merit deferred. In place of lamentations about the empty pipeline, here was a movie that suggested, convincingly, that the representational revolution was at hand and only required Hollywood certification. The industry was clearly ready to endorse that vision of incremental revolution, giving Oscars to both Ruth E. Carter (Costume) and Hannah Beachler (Production Design). Those two, along with an award for Black Panther’s score, were the MCU’s first wins.

This story — from foundation and expansion to confidence and representation — has been emerging within the MCU. At the end of Endgame, Tony Stark is dead, Steve Rogers is old, and Thor has a new home among the more ridiculous and sentimental Guardians of the Galaxy. Replacing the foundational three white dudes are Captain Marvel, a new Captain America, and Black Panther….

(3) IRON MANTLE. The Spider-Man: Far From Home Chinese Trailer inspires a SYFY Wire writer to theorize about the MCU’s future —

…The world is definitely asking “who is going to be the next Iron Man?” Captain America has promoted Falcon. Who’s taking up Iron Man’s robotic mantle? With Spidey debuting multiple new suits in the film (and in the trailer, where fans can see the black stealth suit swing), this could be Peter Parker’s time to shine as the MCU moves into a new Phase.

(4) MONSTROSITY. Leonard Maltin really unloads on “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”.

Two hours wasted: that’s how I feel after watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This bloated production starts out as an enjoyably tacky monster movie but doesn’t know when to quit. Every pseudo-scientific explanation (and there are plenty) has a counter-explanation in order to keep the story going…and every apparent climax leads to another climax. There’s even a post-credits scene, as if we needed one. We don’t….

(5) THAT CAT KNOWS WHAT HE’S ABOUT. So perhaps it’s just as well that Camestros Felapton was duped into seeing the Elton John biopic instead — Rocketcat.

[Timothy the Talking Cat] You see? You see? I totally tricked you.
[Camestros Felapton] Hmmm
[Tim] You thought we were going to go and see Godzilla but we actually went to see Rocketman.
[CF] That’s OK. I enjoyed the film.
[Tim] But admit that I totally tricked you….

(6) RETRO SPECIAL EFFECTS. Lots of sff GIFs here, beginning with a load of flying saucer movie clips, at Raiders of the Lost Tumblr.

(7) MORE AURORA AWARDS NEWS. Voting for the Aurora Awards will begin on August 3, 2019. Click here to visit the public ballot page.

The Aurora Voters Package will be available for CSFFA members to download later this month.

Both the voters package and the ballot close at 11:59 pm EDT on September 14, 2018.

(8) NEW TITLE FOR GRRM. ComicsBeat has learned “George R.R. Martin Has a New World to Explore in Meow Wolf”.

Looks like George R. R. Martin is taking his epic world-building skills to Meow Wolf, the Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment collective behind the House of Eternal Return and other next-gen immersive and interactive exhibitions. The Game of Thrones creator has been named new Chief World Builder and will bring his “unparalleled storytelling skills to the multiverse” of Meow Wolf by working with key members of the collective to “advise on building narrative and mind-bending ideas” that will yield “ambitious immersive installations.”

This isn’t Martin’s first time working with Meow Wolf. The Santa Fe resident helped secure the local bowling alley that is now the House of Eternal Return attraction and entertainment complex. The attraction displays a multidimensional mystery house of secret passages and surreal tableaus featuring Meow Wolf’s artists, architects, and designers, as well as a learning center, cafe, music venue, bar, and outdoor dining scene.

(9) COME HOME. Disney dropped a new trailer for The Lion King that features Beyonce.

(10) DARROW OBIT. BBC reports “Blake’s 7 actor Paul Darrow dies at 78”.

British actor Paul Darrow, best known for his role as Kerr Avon in sci-fi BBC TV series Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness.

Most recently, Darrow voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.

The character of Avon was second-in-command on Blake’s 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.

Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada.

While best-known for his Blake’s 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 3, 1905 Norman A. Daniels. Writer working initially in pulp magazines, later on radio and television. He created the Black Bat pulp hero and wrote for such series as The Avengers, The Phantom Detective and The Shadow. He has three non-series novels, The Lady Is a Witch, Spy Slave and Voodoo Lady. To my surprise, iBooks and Kindle has a Black Bat Omnibus available! In addition, iBooks has the radio show. (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 3, 1931 John Norman. 86. Gor, need I say more? I could say both extremely sexist and badly written but that goes without saying. They are to this day both extremely popular being akin to earlier pulp novels, though argue the earlier pulp novels by and large were more intelligent than these are. Not content to have one such series, he wrote the Telnarian Histories which also has female slaves. No, not one of my favourite authors. 
  • Born June 3, 1946 Penelope Wilton, 73. She played the recurring role of Harriet Jones in Doctor Who, an unusual thing for the show as they developed a story for the character. She was also played Homily in The Borrowers, Barbara in Shaun of the Dead, The Queen in Roald Dahl’s The BFG, Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Beatrix Potter, The White Queen in Through the Looking-Glass and Gertrude in in Hamlet at the Menier Chocolate Factory. 
  • Born June 3, 1950 Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter who worked with Spielberg on  E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTwilight Zone: The Movie and BFG, the latter being the last script she did before dying of cancer. She also did The Indian in the Cupboard which wasdirected by Frank Oz. (Died 2015.)
  • Born June 3, 1958 Suzie Plakson, 61. She played four characters on Trek series: a Vulcan, Doctor Selar, in “The Schizoid Man” (Next Gen); the half-Klingon/half-human Ambassador K’Ehleyr in “The Emissary” and “Reunion” (Next Gen); the Lady Q in “The Q and the Grey” (Voyager); and an Andorian, Tarah, in “Cease Fire” (Enterprise).  She also voiced Amazonia in the “Amazon Women in the Mood” episode of Futurama. Really. Truly.
  • Born June 3, 1964 James Purefoy, 55. His most recent genre performance was as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon. His most impressive was as Solomon Kane in the film of that name. He was also in A Knight’s Tale as Edward, the Black Prince of Wales/Sir Thomas Colville. He dropped out of being V in V for Vendetta some six weeks into shooting but some early scenes of the masked V are of him.
  • Born June 3, 1973 Patrick Rothfuss, 46. He is best known for the Kingkiller Chronicle series, which won him several awards, including the 2007 Quill Award for his first novel, The Name of the Wind. Before The Name of the Wind was released, an excerpt from the novel was released as a short story titled “The Road to Levinshir” and it won the Writers of the Future contest in 2002.

(12) THE FUNGI THEY HAD. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Over the weekend, RadioLab rebroadcast a fascinating September 2016 podcast, From Tree To Shining Tree, discussing the various ways that trees intercommunicate, along with the discovery of an intense fungi-based underground network (hence my item title).

Related recommended reading (I don’t know if they mentioned it in the show, we tuned in after it was underway, but I’d happened upon it in my public library’s New Books, when it came out, and borrowed’n’read it then), The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate?Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

(Perhaps Greg Bear could be inspired by these, and do Sap Music as a sequel to Blood Music?

(13) KEEPING THE SHIP IN STARSHIP. James Davis Nicoll rigs up a post about “Light Sails in Science and Fiction” at Tor.com.

…Possibly the reason that light sails took a while to become popular tropes is that the scientifically-clued-in authors who would have been aware of the light sail possibility would also have known just how minuscule light sail accelerations would be. They might also have realized that it would be computationally challenging to predict light sail trajectories and arrival times. One-g-forever rockets may be implausible, but at least working how long it takes them to get from Planet A to Planet B is straightforward. Doing the same for a vehicle dependent on small variable forces over a long, long time would be challenging.

Still, sailing ships in space are fun, so it’s not surprising that some authors have featured them in their fiction. Here are some of my favourites…

(14) IRONMAN ONE. The Space Review salutes the 50th anniversary of Marooned, the movie adaptation of Martin Caidin’s book, in “Saving Colonel Pruett”.

In this 50th anniversary year of the first Apollo lunar landing missions, we can reflect not only on those missions but also on movies, including the reality-based, technically-oriented space movies of that era, that can educate as well as entertain and inspire. One of those is Marooned, the story of three NASA astronauts stranded in low Earth orbit aboard their Apollo spacecraft, call-sign Ironman One—all letters, no numbers, and painted right on the command module (CM), a practice NASA had abandoned by 1965. They were the first crew of Ironman, the world’s first space station, the renovated upper stage of a Saturn rocket as planned for the Apollo Applications Program, predecessor of Skylab….

(15) GHIBLI PARK. “Studio Ghibli Park Set to Open in Japan in 2022”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Japanese anime hit factory Studio Ghibli is to open a theme park in 2022 in cooperation with the local Aichi Prefecture government and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper company.

Plans for the “Ghibli Park,” which will occupy 494 acres (200 hectares) in Nagakute City, Aichi, were first announced around this time in 2017, when the local government said it was looking for other commercial partners.

…According to the three companies, three areas — Youth Hill, partly based on Howl’s Moving Castle; Dondoko Forest, based on My Neighbor Totoro; and a Great Ghibli Warehouse — are set to open in fall 2022. A Mononoke Village, based on Princess Mononoke, and a Valley of the Witch area, themed on both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, are set to open a year later

(16) ANOTHER YANK OF THE CHAIN. Fast Company finds that once again “The P in IHOP doesn’t stand for what you think it stands for”. (Really, at moments like this I think it’s a darned shame I don’t monetize this site.)

…The IHOB campaign got the brand more than 42 billion media impressions worldwide, and immediately quadrupled the company’s burger sales. Now a year later, with burger sales still humming along at double their pre-IHOB numbers, the brand is trying to once again to catch advertising lightning in a (butter pecan) bottle.

Last week, the diner chain announced that it would have an announcement today, relating to its name, aiming once again for the same social-media chatter that debated its burgers last time around. A lot of those people last year scolded IHOP for venturing beyond pancakes. Now the brand is having a bit of fun with that idea–and the definition of a pancake.

“This year we listened to the internet and are sticking to what we do best, which is pancakes,” says IHOP CMO Brad Haley. “We’re just now calling our steak burgers pancakes. We contacted some of the people who told us to stick to pancakes last year for this year’s campaign, so the trolls have teed up the new campaign quite nicely.”

(17) DO CHEATERS EVER PROSPER? NPR’s Caitlyn Paxson says“Cheating Death Will Cost You In ‘The Wise And The Wicked'”.

In this tale of a family with dark secrets and divinatory gifts, Lambda Literary Award winner Rebecca Podos ponders the inevitable question: If you can read the future that lies ahead, do you also have the power to change it?

When Ruby Chernyavsky hit her teen years, she had a premonition — a vision of the moments leading up to her death. Knowing her “Time” was something she always expected, since all of the women in her family forsee their own, but what none of them know is that Ruby’s days are numbered. Her Time is her 18th birthday, so in a little over a year, she’ll be dead….

(18) PLAYING FOR KEEPS. This is what happens when you trimble your kipple: “Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer”.

A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London.

The Lewis Chessmen are among the biggest draws at the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

They are seen as an “important symbol of European civilisation” and have also seeped into popular culture, inspiring everything from children’s show Noggin The Nog to part of the plot in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.

(19) TOTALLY TONOPAH. Kevin Standlee promotes the Tonopah in 2021 Westercon bid in an interview about the proposed facility:

Tonopah in 2021 chair Kevin Standlee interviews Mizpah Hotel supervisor Rae Graham and her wife (and Mizpah Club staffer) Kayla Brosius about the Mizpah Hotel, what they think about how Tonopah would welcome a Westercon, and how they think the convention would fit with the hotel.

 The bid’s webpage also has a lot of new information about hotels and restaurants in Tonopah. Standlee says, “A new hotel just opened up adding another 60 rooms to the town, including more handicapped-accessible/roll-in-shower rooms, for example.”

Standlee and Lisa Hayes took a lot of photos while they were in Tonopah, now added to their Flickr album — including pictures of the unexpected late-May snow. Kevin admits:

I’d be very surprised by snow in July, but they schedule their big annual town-wide event for Memorial Day because it should neither be snowy or hot, and they instead got four inches of snow on their rodeo. Fortunately, it mostly all melted by the next morning.

Memorial Day Snow in Tonopah
Unhappy Bear
Kuma Bear is grumpy that he’s all covered in snow after Lisa and Kevin went out for a walk in Tonopah when it was snowing.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John Hertz, Kevin Standlee, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

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41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/3/19 This Is My Pixel And This Is My Scroll! One Is For Filing, The Other I LOL!

  1. (19) reminds me of the time my father and some friends went to the Sierra for opening day of trout season – at the time, it was Memorial Day weekend. They got hit by snow and came home earlier than they had intended – it was much more than 4 inches!

  2. When you get caught between the Scroll and Pixel City
    I know it’s crazy, but it’s true
    When you get caught between the Scroll and Pixel City
    The best that you can do is file in love….

  3. (12) See David Walton’s The Genius Plague for extrapolation of fungus communication and coordination.

  4. I’m looking for suggestions. I’m going to be participating in a storytelling session in August, and the theme is “problem solving”. So I’m looking for a short (tellable in 15 minutes or less) story about solving problems. Fairy tales are fine. I vaguely remember stories about a clever kid who has a pocket full of odds and ends and uses them to make his way in the world, from when I was a child, but I cannot for the life of me find such a tale now that I’m looking for one.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    (Also: Fifth!)

  5. @3: this trailer (possibly a longer version) was run at the end of Endgame; I was out during the front trailers, but my partner says Holland came on in the middle to say the Far from Home trailer would be later so as not to spoil the feature.

    @11: I have heard that Norman’s work (a) kept DAW afloat while it was getting known, and (b) is now published by a softcore label. I note that Mary Robinett Kowal’s Kirk Poland pastiche of Norman convinced over 80% of the audience that it was real; I don’t think any one writer has ever broken 50% before. Some people have strange skills.

    @15: WANT! But I’m unlikely ever to travel that far….

    science news: the Chinese researcher who gene-spliced embryos to make them AIDS-proof may have shortened their lifespan

  6. Chip Hitchcock says I have heard that Norman’s work (a) kept DAW afloat while it was getting known, and (b) is now published by a softcore label. I note that Mary Robinett Kowal’s Kirk Poland pastiche of Norman convinced over 80% of the audience that it was real; I don’t think any one writer has ever broken 50% before. Some people have strange skills.

    He’s hardly being published by a softcore publishers as both of his series are on Open Road Media, a very mainstream publisher that is home to Octavia Butler and Joe Haldeman to name but two of its many genre authors.

  7. I saw GODZILLA, KING OF ALL MONSTERS this weekend and Leonard Maltin once again nails it. It’s not the most boring Godzilla movie ever made–that would either be this film’s predecessor or SHIN GODZILLA–but it’s so full of its own mythology that it doesn’t make any sense. And Sally Hawkins goes from Oscars to this? The fight scenes were OK but the film was boring.

    With the IHOP ads–gosh wow!

  8. Jayn, that’s a good story; thank you. And I’d love to hear other suggestions, too; there are several storytellers who will all need stories to tell!

  9. (19) Er, I meant “neither snowy or hot” rather than “not.” Whoops.

    It was a really nice weekend in Tonopah, despite the surprise snow on Sunday night. Even with lots of people in town, it didn’t feel crowded (except when they were awarding the prizes from the rodeo in the Mizpah’s lobby bar), you could still get a seat in a restaurant, and it was nice to experience the Convention Center with an actual event in it rather than just a bunch of tables and chairs. One of the vendors in the craft fair was a licensed massage therapist based in Tonopah, and she expressed an interest in having a spot in our planned small dealers room.

  10. @Cassy B.
    How about the Seven Lazy Brothers by Friedrich Wagenfeld? It’s a local fairytale about seven brothers who were so lazy that they invented all sorts of devices and innovations to make life easier for themselves. It would certainly fit the theme.

    Melissa Mathison was also the second wife of Harrison Ford.

    As for James Purefroy, my favourite thing featuring him is the little known 1990 British TV series Coasting about two brothers, one a never do well and minor criminal (Peter Howitt) and the other a straight laced junior banker (a very young James Purefroy). When Howitt’s character loses money that doesn’t belong to him and has the mob on his tail, he and his brother have to flee London. Luckily, their uncle in Blackpool has just died and left them a stake in the family business, an amusement park. Not genre, but well worth watching (and I’m due for a rewatch), if you can find it, and it has the best funeral (well, ashes scattering) scene ever. That scene is even online, though the quality is very bad.

    12) The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben has been on the German non-fiction bestseller list for months now and got very good reviews. I haven’t read it, but people whose taste I trust recommend it highly.


    I adore Suzie Plakson. She was spectacular as K’Ehleyr, and I wish she’d been given an ongoing role. She was great as the mom on Dinosaurs, too.

  12. 11) There’s grown up Gorean subculture among BDSM-practitioners, based on Nornans books. Some of them use the whole setting for chats or role play, others only use commands and slave positions from the books in their sessions and some borrow the whole philosophy (mostly males and some of them are in jail now). I had a (approximately) girl friend for a while that had been heavily into this when she was younger.

    Norman himself wrote one of the first manuals sold to the public on how to include BDSM into your sex life, even if the term hadn’t been created then. That book is much milder and concentrated on ordinary relationships than his Gor-books though. It might explain why many practitioners modeled their role playing after his books.

    Myself, I only tried the first one, saw it as a bad clone of John Carter and promptly quit the series there.

  13. Kevin Standlee: (19) Er, I meant “neither snowy or hot” rather than “not.” Whoops.

    And now it does!

  14. Btw, I have grown tired of the LitRPG-genre, it became too much of the same when the initial freshness was over. There were only a few authors that managed to do something interesting and “believable” (on a pulp level), and I will stay with three of them.

    Am now trying out Xianxia/wuxia instead. Often the same kind of character arcs (character start at the bottom, have to hone body and mind to learn techniques, will grow into different powers), a bit like the Naruto comics. Or like a wizard school, but with martial arts as a grounding. And often a chinese/asian setting.

    The first book was a nice suprise, again the freshness of it, but I have yet to see if it will last.

  15. @Cassy B
    One of Colin Kapp’s Unorthodox Engineers stories might work.

  16. Hampus – If one was RPG-Lit-curious, where to start?

    (17) A podcast I listened to about Game of Thrones (Ringer’s Binge Watch) referred to Bran’s greenseeing as “tapping into the treeternet” and now it appears that there really is a treeternet, who knew?

    The book appears to be part of a trilogy, the other two dealing with secret lives of animals and nature. Added all 3 to my Amazon wishlist to watch for sales.

  17. @Cora Buhler, I love the idea of the Seven Lazy Brothers; I’ll look for a copy.

    @Stuart Hall, The Unorthodox Engineers sounds right up my alley (and entirely suitable to the theme), but I’m a little afraid the stories might be too SFNal for a general audience. Still, I’ll look into it, if only for my own pleasure!

  18. @ccm There’s a treeternet too on the second season of The OA. (Which was awesome, btw!)

  19. Inspired by Elton John…

    Saturday night’s all right for Scrolling, get a little Pixel in

    And it seems to me you lived your life like a Pixel in the Scroll

    I’m still Scrolling after all this time, picking up the Pixels of my life without you in my File

  20. Am now trying out Xianxia/wuxia instead.

    What would you recommend?

  21. Gor was being published by a softcore line for a while–and now Open Road has brought it back to its roots, of supporting the publication of better books. Why not?It has a reliable market, for sure.

  22. Has anyone mentioned yet that yesterday (June 3th) is the 50th anniversary of the broadcast of the last episode of Star Trek (“Turnabout Intruder”)?

  23. Lis Carey says Lis Carey on June 4, 2019 at 7:17 am said:
    Gor was being published by a softcore line for a while–and now Open Road has brought it back to its roots, of supporting the publication of better books. Why not?It has a reliable market, for sure.

    Liz, who was this publisher? I can’t find any such publisher on ISFDB. Most of his titles in the USA go straight from DAW to Open Road Media. Overseas rights are far more complicated.

  24. 11) Betsy Wollheim talked about DAW and Gor during her interview at World Fantasy last November, noting that her father “published the Gor books to fund the rest of the company, authors he believed in but who didn’t sell well, like C.J. Cherryh and Suzanne Elgin.” At the same interview Michael Whelan noted that Norman was the only author he had ever flat-out refused to do covers for.

  25. 11) 1 Chuck, Tuchux! I mostly know Gor from the LARPers. They’re… entertaining.

  26. 16) “Mike, you want to discuss nature of humor. Are two types of jokes. One sort goes on being funny forever. Other sort is funny once. Second time it’s dull. This joke is second sort. Use it once, you’re a wit. Use twice, you’re a halfwit.”

  27. “Oh the Pixels You’ll Scroll!”

    “Oh the Ticks you can Tick!”

    “And To Think That I Scrolled It On Mulberry Street”

    “How the Grinch Scrolled Christmas”

  28. cmm:

    “Hampus – If one was RPG-Lit-curious, where to start?”

    As I said, most of the stuff isn’t that good by itself, it is the nerdy feeling that makes you enjoy it, together with that it is a bit like a real RPG where you feel happy at increases in Level or skill.

    But these are the ones I personally like best:

    Dan Sugralinov – Level Up. A Russian suddenly wakes up with an RPG interface in his ordinary life. He gets quests of the type “visit your family’ or “Find the owner of the lost dog”. It is kind of sweet to see him level up just by trying to be nicer and more productive.

    Tao Wong – Life In The North. More or less an apocalypse story where aliens (based on our fantasy figures, they have implanted suggestions in our minds to prepare us for them) designates Earth as a dungeon world and monsters start to spawn everywhere, killing millions and millions. Everyone has gotten an RPG interface to fit into the Galactic System. Main Character is incredibly off-putting in the first book, but gets better. Gets better and better, the one with best worldbuilding. But as I said, the MC is irritating in the first one, but at least he learns from book to book. Hero is bisexual, but he mostly drools at men in the first book.

    Galen Wolf – Darkworlds London. A man starts to play a Cthulhu VR game, but it turns out that sanity loss and elder gods might be more than only game elements. Nice nightmarish feeling to it.

    Travis Bagwell – Awaken Online. The first book was a really nice thought out story, good writing and managed to get some good stakes, even if it was only about playing a VR game. The books after haven’t been my stuff in the same way.

    Aleron Kong – The Land. The last book was nominated for a Dragon Award. It is like a portal fantasy into a RPG-world. Author is really good at mixing pop culture references into the fantasy and has some great comedy elements. Irritating is some sexism and macho talk on the border of homophobia (which is toned down in later books where it seems the MC has bisexual tendencies). If that is a trigger, skip it.

    I think I like Dan Sugralinovs Level Up best, because the hero just wants to be nice and help people.

  29. James Davis Nicoll:

    “What would you recommend?”

    Nothing yet. I’m still trying out stuff. I did like A Thousand Li: The First Step by Tao Wong. The plot is nothing new, it is very much “poor person gets lucky and entered into magic school”, but with martial arts instead. But it was nice with a change of scenery to China and with distinct cultural elements of learning to purify body to handle chi, it gave everything a different flavour. It is like comfort food with a new spice.

    I’ll get back when I have tried more.

  30. @Cassy B
    The original Friedrich Wagenfeld story is here, but it’s only in German. I’m not sure if the book in question, which is called Bremen Folk Tales, has even been translated into English.

    Meanwhile, here is a somewhat abbreviated version of the story in English, which gives you the gist. Scroll down past the legend of the Bremen hen and the story of Countess Emma and the isabled person.

    The Seven Lazy Brothers is a good story for oral telling. I always told it in my city tour guide days (ditto for the Bremen hen and Countess Emma and the disabled person) and it works well.

  31. @Cat Eldridge: I am reasonably sure that I noticed softcore-cheap editions of Gor 15-20 years ago, as mentioned. I’m not surprised ISFDB doesn’t show them; I know one person in the Northeast US who might know of them (having spent decades digging up all sorts of genre ~sleaze), but I think that person gafiated a while ago (I know the MITSFS mentioned them not being in their neighborhood any longer); I wouldn’t assume they ever contributed to ISFDB, and I got the impression they didn’t know of other people interested in this peculiar overlap. I suppose somebody could ask Norman, but that would involve talking to him, which is an unappetizing prospect.

    @Lis Carey: I wouldn’t assume John Norman is helping keep ORM afloat — books several decades old may not sell that well now — but I wouldn’t assume they aren’t. From what I heard in the mid-1970’s, Gor was an established series that jumped to DAW because the Ballantines wanted to fix some of the prose (there’s a reason one of Norman’s works appeared in Kirk Poland) and Norman refused to allow his work to be touched; it’s not surprising that Gor kept DAW up while the Wollheims were publishing worthwhile-but-new authors who didn’t yet have a following.

  32. microtherion:


    “A few years ago, an open source project kicked out a major contributor over his Gorean lifestyle:”

    Yes, I remember that one. Thank you for your link, that was the first one I saw where there was direct communication with his partner regarding their relationship.

  33. @Patrick Morris Miller: Some are sad, and some are glad, and some are very, very bad .

  34. @JJ: I don’t know what kind of Google-fu it took to find them, but I’m glad to be confirmed that I wasn’t hallucinating; googling “masquerade norman books” gets a listing for a 2000 edition of Tarnsman of Gor on Abebooks. OTOH, I also get info by actually looking up John Norman on ISFDB; they show 29 1990’s titles published by Masquerade, including at least 2 Gor (as well as an early Cecilia Tan anthology). ISFDB also has an assortment of lewd-looking titles from Offutt; I wouldn’t assume they filter for quality of fiction rather than quality of data.

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