Pixel Scroll 6/22/16 Careful With That Scroll, Eugene

(1) PRINCESS AWOL. Yahoo! Movies side-eyes this disturbing pattern – “’Moana’ Teaser: A Brief History of Disney Omitting Princesses From Princess Movie Trailers”. Moana doesn’t show up until :38 of this teaser trailer –

This all began after 2009’s The Princess and the Frog underperformed at the box office. That film had a few notable issues — like a meandering story, in which the princess spent most of her time being a frog — but per the Los Angeles Times, Disney execs came to the conclusion that The Princess and the Frog didn’t attract an audience because boys didn’t want to see a movie about princesses.

With that in mind, Disney Animation’s next princess-centric feature went through an image makeover. Instead of Rapunzel, it would be called Tangled, and the marketing would center on the princess’ love interest Flynn Rider. Here’s the first trailer, released in 2010, which barely includes Rapunzel at all.

(2) ANOTHER COUNTY HEARD FROM. Ashley Pollard dissents from the belief that Mary Shelley is the founder of British science fiction. She names her candidate in a post for Galactic Journey “[June 22, 1961] Home Counties SF (A Report From The UK)”.

Let me explain my title to you.  The British Home Counties surround London, where I live, and consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.  I mention this apropos of probably the most well known of Britain’s science fiction novels: the apocalyptic War of the Worlds by Herbert George Wells.

The story is a veritable march through the Britain’s heartland, describing how the Martian tripods march from Woking in Surrey to Essex, wrecking all that’s nearest and dearest to the heart of the British people.  Though I should point out that this was a very English-centred story (Scotland, Wales and Ireland are left out), and regarding the rest of the world or our former colonies, Wells has little to say.

War, arguably, was where British science fiction was born.  I say “arguably” because Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein can probably lay claim to being the first British SF story; however, its roots seem to me to be more firmly in Gothic Horror.  I believe that Wells set the scene for British SF in a way that Shelley’s story has so far not.  Though perhaps now that we are in the swinging sixties, her influence will be felt more as women’s emancipation moves forward.

(3) KEEP ON BANGING. ScreenRant loves the music from Suicide Squad.

In case it wasn’t obvious from the excellent music choices for all of the trailers so far, Suicide Squad‘s soundtrack is set to be a major feature of the film. The full soundtrack listing for Suicide Squad: The Album has already been released, and features music by Panic! At The Disco, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Eminem, as well as a song called “Purple Lamborghini” which was written specifically for the film by Skrillex and Rick Ross.

With regards to “Purple Lamborghini,” we already know that Skrillex and Rick Ross filmed a music video with Jared Leto in his Joker costume – the song is, after all, named after his vehicle of choice. However, this isn’t the only tie-in music video to be released for the movie; twenty one pilots have just released their own, featuring the soundtrack song “Heathens,” which is set in Belle Reve (the maximum security prison where Task Force X are held before they are recruited by Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller) and features a few fragments of new footage from the movie.

Now Twenty-One Pilots is in the mix.

(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC PODCAST. Scott Edelman invites one and all to “Eavesdrop on my lunch with Linda Addison in Episode 11 of Eating the Fantastic”.


Linda Addison

We talked of how someone who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics transforms into a four-time Bram Stoker Award winning writer, the way a chance encounter with Grand Master Frederik Pohl during a New York is Book Country Festival helped her make her first sale to Asimov’s, why this acclaimed horror poet has now decided to go from micro to macro and write a science fiction trilogy, and much more.

(5) NO CLINGING VINE. “’Gotham’ Casts New Grown-Up Poison Ivy for Season 3 Of Batman Backstory Series” says Deadline.

Transformed to a 19-year old, Ivy “Pamela” Pepper isn’t playing Selina Kyle’s sidekick anymore. With the Ted 2 actress now taking on the role, a newly confident and empower Pepper will be moving towards her poisonous persona and Bruce Wayne.

When we last saw her on Season 2 of Gotham, the foliage focused orphan who would become Batman villainess and eco-terrorist Poison Ivy was played by Clare Foley. Well, that’s about to change for Season 3 of the Fox series as Ivy has grown up and will now be portrayed by Maggie Geha, it was revealed today

(6) SHOUTING YOURSELF HORSE. Engaged by the discussion here of the huge battle in a recent Game of Thrones episode, Vox Day devoted a post to “The military geniuses at File 770”

It’s clear that neither the producers of the episode, nor Aaron, has any idea how cavalry was, and is, used on the battlefield. It is a secondary arm; it is the infantry that is “the queen of the battlefield”. Hollywood likes horses because they are exciting and dramatic, but one should never allow oneself to be misguided into thinking that the tactics one is seeing on the screen are even remotely reasonable, let alone realistic or historically plausible.

(7) UP ABOVE THE WORLD SO HIGH. TimeOut Los Angeles sounds skeptical — “Dinner in the Sky, coming to LA in July, dangles diners 15 stories in the air”.

Dinner in the Sky, an aerial dining experience that takes place 150 feet above ground level, launched in Belgium in 2006 before swiftly bringing its gravity-defying dinners to cities around the world (Rome, Athens, Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town, to name a few). On July 1, Dinner in the Sky is making its LA debut and will continue hoisting ballsy diners via crane from the comfort of LA Center Studios in Downtown LA throughout July. Once in the air, a small staff will serve a four-course meal with a view, cooked up by chef Keven Lee (the Hollywood-based chef currently owns a private events company called My World on a Plate).

The actual elevated contraption looks like some kind of inverted roller coaster ride, with diners strapped into bucket seats and a waitstaff securely fastened with harnesses. Still, after hearing about this arguably insane endeavor, a couple crucial questions were raised in our office:

What if you have to pee?

What if you have to puke?

What if you drop your fork?

What if you get drunk and start a fight with your dining partner? There is literally nowhere to cool off.

If none of the above fazes you, maybe the pricetag will: the whole experience starts off at $399,


  • June 22, 1947 – Octavia Butler
  • June 22, 1949 – Lindsay Wagner


  • June 22, 1958 — Bruce Campbell

(10) THE MIGHTY AMAZON. You can stop wondering who will play the President in Supergirl it’s Lynda Carter.

While the United States argues about whether the next president should be Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, at least we know DC Comics’ fictional world is in good hands.

The CBS TV series “Supergirl” (moving to The CW) announced today that Lynda Carter — best known for her role in the “Wonder Woman” TV series from ’70s — will be running the country (and hopefully having Supergirl’s back) as the president of the United States in the show starting in season 2, according to Variety.

(11) NIGHT OF GIANTS. The video has been posted of Stephen King’s visit with George R.R. Martin earlier this month in Santa Fe.

(12) HEALING ARTS. Nicola Griffith will have everyone wanting to sign up for her same medical plan

JJ asks, “But is the nurse named Dalek?”

(13) CHARM AND POISON. Entertainment Weekly eavesdrops as “Ricky Gervais and Jiminy Glick trade insults on Maya & Marty”.

Ricky Gervais never misses the chance to excoriate his fellow Hollywood celebrities, but he may have met his match in Jiminy Glick. Gervais sat down with Martin Short’s fat-suited celebrity interviewer on this week’s episode of Maya & Marty, and was immediately thrown into the deep end. First, Glick called him “Steve Carell,” and then said he only remembered Gervais’ name because it sounded like “gingivitis.”

“It’s like a talking egg,” Gervais said of Glick. “Humpty Dumpty came to life.”

“Thank you, first of all, because I’m a big fan of that guy,” Glick said.

Glick responded by taking issue with Gervais’ British accent, comparing him to Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and pirates.

“You know it’s not an accent I’m putting on? This is my accent,” Gervais said.

(14) APEX NOVELLA. E. Catherine Tobler’s novella The Kraken Sea has been released by Apex Publications.


Fifteen-year-old Jackson is different from the other children at the foundling hospital. Scales sometimes cover his arms. Tentacles coil just below his skin. Despite this Jackson tries to fit in with the other children. He tries to be normal for Sister Jerome Grace and the priests. But when a woman asks for a boy like him, all that changes. His name is pinned to his jacket and an orphan train whisks him across the country to Macquarie’s. At Macquarie’s, Jackson finds a home unlike any he could have imagined. The bronze lions outside the doors eat whomever they deem unfit to enter, the hallways and rooms shift and change at will, and Cressida – the woman who adopted him – assures him he no longer has to hide what he is. But new freedoms hide dark secrets. There are territories, allegiances, and a kraken in the basement that eats shadows.

As Jackson learns more about the new world he’s living in and about who he is, he has to decide who he will stand with: Cressida, the woman who gave him a home and a purpose, or Mae, the black-eyed lion tamer with a past as enigmatic as his own. The Kraken Sea is a fast paced adventure full of mystery, Fates, and writhing tentacles just below the surface, and in the middle of it all is a boy searching for himself.

(15) CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RAY BRADBURY READ. Steven Paul Leiva is urgently looking for proposals for this Bradbury-themed event August 22 in Downtown Los Angeles.

To be considered as a reader you must submit a proposal for a reading of a five-minute-or-under excerpt from one of Bradbury’s many works. The excerpt can come from any of Ray’s published prose and verse writings and should have a central theme, coherence, and completeness about it. More than one excerpt or poem can be read, as long as their reading time does not exceed five minutes. Excerpts from plays and screenplays will not be accepted.

You must submit your excerpt in a typed, double-spaced Word or PDF document. The date you are submitting the document should be at the top of page one, along with your name and contact information. Before the text of the excerpt, list the work it is from and, in the case of a story, essay, or poem, the collection you found it in. After the excerpt, you are more than welcome to add a few words of why you chose the excerpt and what it means to you.

Readers will be chosen based on what excerpts will make for the best possible program of readings for the afternoon, with a balance between the types and tones of Bradbury’s writings. In the case of duplicate excerpts proposed, if an excerpt is included in the program, the first submission of that excerpt will be chosen.

Submissions will be accepted between June 1 and July 15. Submissions should be sent as attachments to an email sent to Steven Paul Leiva at [email protected]. Readers will be chosen and informed by August 8.

The readers will be chosen by Steven Paul Leiva, the director of the Ray Bradbury Read.

Ray Bradbury Read 8 22

(16) WORLD’S LARGEST NERF GUN. Speaking of weapons civilians don’t need, Mark Rober’s gun, which is powered by a 3000 psi paintball tank, shoots darts made from pool noodles and toilet plungers.

BONUS SILLINESS. This comes via Jim Rittenhouse —

Krypto via jim rittenhouse

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Scott Edelman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

139 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/22/16 Careful With That Scroll, Eugene

  1. @Stoic Cynic: you beat me to it. It seems absolutely clear, to me, that Gernsback was naming something that already existed. I’d be prepared to credit him with a bit more than that – his magazines formed the focus for early SF fandom, at least in the US, and they’ve certainly had an influence (for good or ill) on the subsequent evolution of the genre – but to say that he invented science fiction is over-stating the case – or, at least, defining SF in excessively narrow terms (which would exclude not only foundational earlier works in the genre – I mean, seriously, how is The War of the Worlds not SF? – but also other writing, mostly European, by people who weren’t in a position to be influenced by Gernsback or his definitions. When J.D. Bernal was writing about space habitats in 1929, for example, do you think he was influenced by Gernsback’s definition?)

    I find a fair bit to perplex me, too, in that quote from Gary Westfahl. Is SF supposed to live in some high, walled fortress, and hold no dialogue with the rest of literature? Good grief, look at the Retro Hugos – we have three works (Kallocain, The Ill-Made Knight, and “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”) which are way outside the Gernsback pulp-magazine tradition, not to mention two (the Harold Shea stories) which are happily riffing off Norse mythology and the Faerie Queene. SF is part of the broad canon of literature, no matter how much SF critics or the literati might wish it otherwise.

  2. When I worked in the physics department at U of H, one of the professors was named Dr. Hu.

    I once knew an astronomy professor named Fries (pronounced Freeze) who at one time worked in Antarctica. And since there was (maybe still is?) the habit of naming geographical features of Antarctica after visiting researchers, there is now a Mount Fries (pronounced, of course, Mount Freeze) in Antarctica. (I don’t know if I should be surprised or not that it gets a Wikipedia entry.)

  3. @Aaron: I saw Druon’s series in French in school, for history class. The original title, IIRC, is Les Rois Maudits, which comes off a bit differently in Quebecois French (“maudit” is a pretty strong swear word in Quebec.)

  4. cavalry…is a secondary arm

    Points to avatar: “Black Tom” Fairfax begs to disagree, and suggests that his colleague, Mr. Cromwell, might also have strong opinions on this subject.

    The key to the success of cavalry is discipline: at Naseby in 1645, Prince Rupert’s cavalry in the right successfully turned Ireton’s horse and left the Parliamentarian centre exposed and crumbling – but then chose to loot the enemy baggage train rather than press the advantage. In contrast, Cromwell’s horse, superbly disciplined, were able to rout Langdale’s horse, demoralise the King’s Welsh Infantry and pursue the fleeing remnants all the way to Leicester in slightly less than two hours.

    In this case, cavalry lost the battle for one side but decisively won for the other.

  5. To me H. G. Wells wrote quite a bit of real core sf. I need to read some of these definitional discussions (“Billion Year Spree”, Westfahl, etc. which I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I don’t know.)

  6. I have a doctor (he’s a very good doctor!) with the unfortunately confidence-draining name of Rong Tu.

    (I repeat, an excellent doctor. Instantly diagnosed and rapidly solved a problem that my GP had been struggling with for six months. I’m sure the name means something perfectly ordinary and commonplace when it’s not rendered phonetically into English…)

  7. We lived in Newport News for 20 years, and one notable feature of the place was Lotz’s real estate sign. The guy who built the development where we bought our first house felt that the word of Christ just wasn’t getting around enough, so he changed the massive sign on the wall of his building from saying “BUY SELL RENT” (in neon sequence) to “JESUS IS COMING.” He had a two-sided signboard in front as well, and one side of it generally said, “JESUS IS COMING / RAPTURE NEXT MAJOR EVENT.” Once in a while, there’d be a personal message (happy anniversary) or even something that pertained to real estate.

    I wondered about the place. There was what looked like a six-unit motel attached to it. What was up with that? Over the years, Paul Lotz had run-ins with objectors to the huge religious message, and the commies on the Supreme Court always let him keep it up there.

    (Sidenote: At work, we threw a massive outdoor event with scores of vendors and lots of signage and publications and other stuff we generated. My co-worker Rik, as we were wrapping it all up, asked me what the next major event was. Two points if you can guess my one-word reply. He looked at me askance for it.)

    Anyway, Lotz finally succumbed to the encroachment of CNU, which seems to be metastasizing all over the part of town we lived in. Newport News used to have a downtown, but the shipyard nuked it, so downtowns were wherever a few commercial buildings coalesced, much as a fly’s brain is distributed among several knots of neural tissue. The stretch of Warwick near our old house is lined on both sides with similar multi-story campus buildings that seem to crowd right up to the pavement.

    The Lotz sign, which I thought should have gone to the Smithsonian, was torn down and carted away by its new owners, no doubt sold for scrap. Nothing remains to commemorate Paul Lotz and his decades-long public declaration of faith. The building (or two buildings, maybe) they tore down. I was looking at a map of the campus and its changes—I used to work there—and it wasn’t even a real location any more, just a place between some other buildings.

    So it goes. A plaque would have been nice. I looked at the various buildings and potential buildings and new roads and parking lots. They lettered the lots, A, B, C, and so on, and it looked to me like there was just enough undeclared room on the plan for something like a six-car parking area. All they would have had to do was name it “Lot Z.”

  8. We interrupt to inform you that the first three of Andre Norton’s Witch World books (Witch World, Web of the Witch World, and Year of the Unicorn) are now available on Kindle.

    We now return you to your regularly-scheduled scrolling.

    Reading: Still Seveneves — I’m about 200 pages in and enjoying it, although it’s rather silly. In some ways, I regret the timing — I’ll be taking Amtrak to Glacier National Park at the end of July, and this seems like the sort of book that would work well inhaled in one or two huge gulps as the Dakotas roll past the windows.

    Edited to add: Also, C.J. Cherryh’s The Paladin just turned up on the Kindle store. It had previously been available from the Baen electronic library, but had been unavailable on the Baen site for, well, at least the past couple of years. It’s also back up on the Baen site for direct purchase, if you’re so inclined.

  9. A little taxonomy, a little semantics, a little seltzer down the pants.

    A genre is a category. An identifiable marketing niche can be a genre. But so can a body of practice, or a collection of structural and rhetorical elements. Just about all the elements that we now include in the fuzzy category “science fiction” were present in identifiable configurations as far back as Verne and other late-19th-century writers who addressed technological change, future wars, and similar topics and tropes that we finally got around to pasting a long-lasting label on. Gernsback could not have devised his marketing effort without an already-identifiable body of work–and such work had been appearing for more than two generations by the time he got around to starting Amazing. Hell, The Skylark of Space was composed seven years before Gernsback published it in 1928. And of course Burroughs’ Barsoom dates to 1912. And the term “scientific romance” was being applied to Verne’s work in the 1870s–see the citations at jessesword.com, one of which is from a 1927 ad in Amazing, which suggests that Gernsback is re-packaging a product he recognizes as already existing. Pace Westfahl (whose work I generally respect), the thing-named precedes the naming, and a literary genre can exist before there is a “a critical theory concerning its nature, purposes and origins.”

    OK, here’s an absurd proposition: I am credited with coining the term “planetary romance” in a 1978 piece. Apparently nobody had used that particular form of words to describe the category of story that includes work by Burroughs, Brackett, Vance, and (the item at hand) Phil Farmer. So before 1978, there were no planetary romances? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

  10. Just to chime in, if you have not read The Paladin you should give it a try. It is one of my favorites of Cherryh’s books. It feels like historical fiction of a past that never existed and is a lot of fun.

  11. Paul Weimer: Took me awhile to recognize that George of the Jungle reference…

  12. Oh, and related to #1, my boyfriend and I have been watching a bunch of the Disney movies we’d missed. (Brother Bear was terrible, Home on the Range was incredibly uneven and you could tell it had been retooled a lot but was still entertaining.) He’d never seen Princess and the Frog. He looked at me about 10 or 15 minutes into the movie and said “…what about segregation?” I told him not to ask inconvenient questions and he said he wasn’t sure it was a question he could un-ask.

  13. With all of the back and forth discussion about the inaccuracies or lack of such at the battle in the north, I’m surprised that VD has not made a thing of the fact that the Masters invasion fleet apparently inexplicably had siege engines that could fire projectiles approximately the entire length of the city of Mereen. Or at least lob them anywhere inside the walls they wanted at will – the Masters had modern artillery in the shape of catapults and trebuchets.

  14. @JR Lawrence

    Agreed. Call it the war-gamers dilemma. If we’re talking about Teddy’s military experience, of nice discrete formations selected from a list with a points value (perhaps painted on a table, perhaps not) you’re usually are better served by making a nice solid line of which-ever variety of heavy infantry the era or setting offers.

    Historically though, it’s of course a lot more complicated. If everyone who’s anyone tries to become a cavalry men, the military infrastructure for those nice tight tercios or Swedish-style companies just might not be there. Pikes will hold if they men holding them hold – it’s so much less neat and tidy in actual history, and the Thirty Years war has some notorious examples of the Swedish horse killing an awful lot of people. Again, a little more complicated than just picking entries out of the army book. If a society doesn’t give a crap about putting it’s best on foot, the foot will suffer.

    I may have shouted at my TV “of all the people in Westeros, why was it you a-holes who had to discover a shield wall!” but be that as it may. Having one’s own archers shoot into a melee is a known tactic, if the commander is willing to lose some of his own men to win a battle. Which in a feudal system, could and was used by commanders who felt they could afford to lose the particular men in the melee. Shouldn’t a properly ruthless lil’ sigma like Teddy know this though?

  15. @JR Lawrence and @TYP: I’m still struck by Beale saying that the way cavalry was used in Battle of the Bastards was not “realistic or historically plausible” when it is exactly in line with how cavalry was actually used in battles of the Hundred Years War.

    The fact that he didn’t comment on the implausible catapult technology (and their implausibly effective flaming projectiles) surprises me not at all. After all, every sentence Beale writes demonstrates that when it comes to the actual history of the 300-1500 era, he is utterly ignorant. Theoretically, they could have used cannon, which would have been thematically appropriate since handguns and cannons were in use by the end of the War of the Roses, but I think many in the audience would balk at the idea of cannon in a fantasy world.

  16. @aaron
    Mixing gunpowder into print fantasy is slowly becoming a thing (see Stina Leicht, Brian McClellan, Django Wexler and other worthies) but yeah, I think it still would seem odd to many tv/movie audiences. I think the bomb in The Two Towers that Saruman creates confused a lot of people.

    That is, a “Gunpowder fantasy” on the screen? I’d watch the hell out of that. Muskets AND Magic!

  17. @TYP

    Pikes offer a good example of the predictably unpredictable; Pikemen have to spend most of their waking lives carrying the damn things, all 15-18 foot of it, and the temptation to lop, say 3 feet, off the butt end to make it more manageable must be overwhelming.

    Which is great – until they come to push of pike with another bunch of poor sods who have restrained themselves to a mere 2 foot truncation. Ouch.

  18. @Paul: I’m with you there. I liked Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame stories, and L.E. Modesitt’s Recluce series, so I’d happily watch a muskets and magic television series. The problem is, many television viewing Thrones fans aren’t us, and haven’t sampled quite as broad a cross-section of what written fantasy fiction has to offer, so cannons and guns in their fantasy would probably be off-putting.

  19. After all, every sentence Beale writes demonstrates that when it comes to the actual history of the 300-1500 era, he is utterly ignorant

    That should be “1300-1500 era”.

  20. I think the Chinese were using military cannons prior to 1200, but my memory may be spotty on that. The first European cannons came probably about a century later maybe? I suppose it would really depend on the era the writer was trying to capture, but I don’t think I’d be averse to seeing a flintlock or something like that in a fantasy setting. The equivalent of an assault rifle, however, and I’d probably balk – unless it was Shadowrun.

  21. IMHO, a well done gun powder/magic screen adaptation would be well received. But the emphasis has to be on doing it well.

    (14) Jumped onto my TBR pile almost instantly.

    Also, a quick shout out for The Grim Tidings Podcast recent episode where they talk to reddit’s r/fantasy mods. While “there” isn’t “here”, the discussion covered some common ground and there were some interesting questions. (Just happens to be playing ATM, why do you ask?)


  22. Well, ‘genre’ is a flexible term. In one sense of the term, the answer to the question ‘What genre does Frankenstein belong to?’ is ‘prose’. Or if you want to be a bit more specific, ‘novels’. But if you want to home in on something more definite than that, there is still a purely literary sense of ‘genre’, in which there is a genre whenever there are distinctive similarities between a group of works, and a social sense, in which a genre requires a community of readers. But the social is reflected in the literary; once a community of readers exists, people begin writing for that community, building on its traditions, answering its expectations, so a distinctive kind of writing develops, that did not exist before. This kind of genre is a Thing, in the way that the other is not.

    Before Gernsback, there was of course a literary tradition of writing about certain themes, exemplified in Kepler, Cavendish, Voltaire, Shelley, Verne, Wells etc. What there wasn’t was science fiction as a Thing. Most of the big genres (SFF, crime, romance) are Things, and their origin as Things is an interesting topic of investigation. So are some smaller genres, like epic fantasy or steampunk, both of which exist as they do now because people became aware of them.

    Planetary romance, so far as I know, isn’t a Thing. (Perhaps it is and I have missed it.) If Russell Letson’s coining the term had led to a development of the genre as a Thing, with a community of of readers and a community of self-conscious writers, perhaps it would turn out after all that he invented it, with the works he was actually describing being redefined as proto-planetary-romance.

  23. @idontknow

    I think Crecy (1346) is usually cited as the first use of cannon in a European battle.

  24. Regardless of how one classifies something, it’s possible to express one’s feelings about a work. For Ashley, Wells *feels* like science fiction. Shelley does not.

    Ummmm. Could these feelings possibly be sexist?

    Generally writers will have different approaches to fiction. For example, women in particular have a tendency to be character oriented, rather than tech oriented and to investigate the social effects of science and technology. Wells approach to SF was considerably “softer”, more literary and less tech than Verne, for example, who actually included engineering details in his novels.

  25. Lela E. Buis: In that vein, I’d say Jane Austen *feels* more like science fiction than Shelley because her narrative style is closer to contemporary fiction styles.

  26. Stories of wonder and imagination have been ongoing with man since he could speak. Some of those fables about the ancient gods were attempts to explain thunder and earthquakes and the skies at night.

  27. Paul (@princejvstin) on June 23, 2016 at 9:43 am said:

    That is, a “Gunpowder fantasy” on the screen? I’d watch the hell out of that. Muskets AND Magic!

    I would be fully on board the excitement train for an adaptation of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Guns of the Dawn.

  28. Mike: In that vein, I’d say Jane Austen *feels* more like science fiction than Shelley because her narrative style is closer to contemporary fiction styles.

    Early 19th century prose is not for the faint of heart. Shelley is closer to the 1700s, while Wells has the benefit of writing near the turn of the 20th century. BTW, for anyone interested in period reading, Mary Shelley also published an apocalyptic novel called The Last Man in 1826.

  29. @JR

    And on top of all of that, the pikemen in question have to actually want to hurt each other. I think there were several instances early in the Civil War were the footman more waved their pikes in a menacing fashion at each other – but it’s their officers who have the dog in this fight, not them, so why should they get all blood-thirsty over whether they were tenant to a man who really cared about the liberties of Parliament or the rights of the King before that landlord hauled them off to war?


    Yes, all through the 100 Year War, “charge like a band freaking idiots” was one of the premier cavalry tactics. It’s when you considered how often the French had a lot of perfectly good crossbowmen that they deigned not use, or how various English commanders would dismount their knights precisely because it was the only way to control them, that you realize that this is all much more varied than spending your 2000 points picking units out of the army book.

  30. @TYP: The funny thing is that there are a lot of legitimate reasons to criticize the Game of Thrones show on “historical accuracy”, but despite that Beale managed to pick one that shows he hasn’t really looked at the history of the time period closest in spirit to what is depicted on the show.

    Too many people on the show go into battle with little or no armor, and far too few people carry shields. The people who do wear armor often don’t wear helmets for some reason. The armor that is worn seems improbably ineffective. There are far too many soldiers armed with swords and not enough with maces, picks, and polearms of various types (probably because the show depicts swords as being far too effective against plate armor). Archers are probably too effective (mostly because no one wears armor).

  31. “There are far too many soldiers armed with swords and not enough with maces, picks, and polearms of various types (probably because the show depicts swords as being far too effective against plate armor).”

    Yeah, and far too few of the rank and file soldier types are using the equivalent of modified farm equipment, though I suppose it’s entirely possible that the Westerosi armies are more professional, both in terms of pay and equipment, than typical medieval armies were.

  32. @Aaron

    And no one wears hats! Trust me, when the weather is as cold as is being portrayed, you don’t leave any exposed skin. Especially when the wind is howling around as much as it did. Shields. Spears. Helmets. Often the only gear your peasant soldier would have.

  33. TYP: Yes, they should be hoods up and scarves wrapped and all of that all the time — but then you’d never see the actors, or the acting and body language. I consider that less of a failure to deal with the realities of the situation and more a concession to the needs to the screen.

  34. @idontknow: Even if they were a professional army, by the late-medieval period that Game of Thrones most resembles, soldiers were using a lot of pole-arms like the bec de corbin and the fauchard hook, since they were more effective against the heavy armor of the period. Those that didn’t use pole-arms would have been using a lot of picks and maces and shields. If they were archers, their back up weapons would likely be axes and mattocks.

    @TYP: In the next episode of Game of Thrones, everyone in Winterfell dies of exposure from not wearing hats or other proper winter gear.

  35. I believe Theodore Geisel has documented how a handful of hat fetishists monopolized the medieval supply of head coverings. Oh yes, Bartholomew Cubbins has much to answer for…

  36. It’s the suspension of disbelief – enough winters in Minnesota, and you know *exactly* what winds that cause that kind of atmospheric howling on bare skin feels like when it’s below freezing.

    Though with Game Of Thrones’ feudalism being stable for three or four thousand years – maybe the peasants would have more weapons? The family ax or sword and shield that’s passed down, generations after generation, century after century, millennia after millennia, so that each generation can fight in their lord’s wars?

    Ugh. Teddy or JCW might find that an okay world, but I feel like I just stepped into one of the more depressing aspects of the world G. R. R. Martin created.

  37. @TYP: Given the casualty rates in the battles we’ve seen in Westeros, I’m not sure if there would be many progeny for most soldiers to pass their weaponry on down to.

  38. If you like generous amounts of well-researched detail on the techniques, technology, economics and strategy of mediaevel warfare in your fantasy, I can recommend the Miles Cameron “Traitor Son” books. Not too info-dumpy, either. The economics part emphasises the horrendous cost of having decent weapons and indeed the hefty cost for anyone of having a couple of changes of clothes.

  39. TYP: The family ax or sword and shield that’s passed down, generations after generation, century after century, millennia after millennia, so that each generation can fight in their lord’s wars?

    The first thought that brought to mind is the scene in Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers where the Captain, seeing D’Artagnan carrying his father’s now-broken sword, offers to loan him another “til yours grows back…”

  40. @Dawn Incognito: You know my neighbour from Tabor!

    Corb wrote another song relevant to this discussion, called “I Wanna Be in the Cavalry”

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