Pixel Scroll 6/28/17 Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul, I Really Love That Pixel Scroll

(1) MINIONS GETTING PAID. The Seattle law firm Rekhi & Wolk, P.S. sends word they have settled the class action they were litigating against Emerald City Comicon (See Scroll for 5/18/16, item #13).

Former volunteer Jerry Brooks alleged Emerald City Comicon violated Washington State law by failing to pay people classified as volunteers – which they called “minions” — the minimum wages they were owed under Washington laws for performing services at the 2014 and/or 2015 Emerald City Comicons in Seattle.

The defendant denied the claim, reported Seattlish, emphasizing that “…The volunteers not only willingly enter into an agreement stating that they’ll work for free, but the culture of the convention fosters a competitiveness for the volunteer positions.”

According to the FAQ about the class action settlement, Emerald City Comicon will pay $493,227.84 to resolve all claims, some of which will go to attorneys, the plaintiff, and the settlement administrator, with the remaining approximately $348,397.33 to be distributed to Class Members who submit Claim Forms by July 31. (Click on the FAQ for additional information.)

Remembering this was at bottom a complaint about unpaid wages, it’s only fair that payroll taxes will be levied on the distributions:

One-half (50%) of each award to a Class Member will be treated as wages and subject to normal payroll tax withholdings and payments. The other one-half (50%) of each award to a Class Member will be treated as non-wages on which there will be no tax withholding.

(2) BARNUM. The Verge introduces the new trailer: “Watch the first trailer for Hugh Jackman’s movie musical The Greatest Showman”

The first trailer for 20th Century Fox’s P.T. Barnum biopic and original musical The Greatest Showman is here. Hugh Jackman plays Barnum, a charming, down-on-his-luck guy in a top hat, hanging out in Connecticut in the early 1800s. From what we can see, he’s going to be smooching Michelle Williams, teaming up with Zac Efron, and eventually inventing the circus as we know it. “Every one of us is special, and nobody is like anyone else. That’s the point of my show,” he tells a child. Sure! I’m buying it.

(3) YOUNG KING. Once upon a time Stephen King came to hang out at sf conventions. Someone with a camera was present when he spoke at the 1983 DeepSouthCon. Next best thing to a time machine.

Raw photojournalist footage of a panel discussion from a SF/Horror convention held in Knoxville in 1983. Participants include Stephen King, Peter Straub, Karl Edward Wagner, Charles Grant, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Whitley Streiber, Dennis Etchison, and others.

(4) BROSNAN ZINES SOUGHT. Twenty-two years after his death, John Brosnan has inspired a devoted Australian fan to want to read all his stuff, even his Sixties fanzines. “John Brosnan’s 1960s pre-internet fanzines sought by new fan at National Library”.

The work of an almost forgotten Australian writer has been unearthed and made available to a new audience following the chance discovery of a 1960s fanzine in a comic collection at the National Library of Australia (NLA).

Perth-born John Brosnan (1947-2005) specialised in science-fiction….

His sci-fi fanzine Big Scab was a joint winner of the 1974 UK Nova Award.

NLA cataloguer Alison Carriage became fascinated with Brosnan’s work after stumbling across an issue of his 1960s fanzine Why Bother? in the library’s John Ryan comic collection.

She was struck by the “wonderfully entertaining” way he wrote and the insight the fanzine provided into the pre-internet era.

Brosnan’s accounts of everyday life include getting mugged, looking for a job and being bitten by a tick.

“I kind of compare it to Seinfeld — the episodes were about nothing, but they were nothings you could relate to and therefore you found them really funny,” Ms Carriage said.

“His work’s still relatable and still really important.”

(5) AMAZONIAN LOVE. Hope Nicholson and Karen K. Burrows tell SciFiNow readers “Let’s be Straight: Wonder Woman is into Women”.

Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Mystique, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy are names that even non-comic book fans can identify, thanks to their films.

Aside from being leading ladies of comics (Catwoman, the oldest at 77 years old, our pal Harley Quinn a millennial baby at just 24 years old), each of these characters have another thing in common: they’re bisexual in the pages of (some) of their comics, but not yet identified as such in their movie counterparts.

Despite increased representation in the source comics, more recognizable queer characters rarely cross that barrier to film. Representation matters in every form – but blockbuster films have a greater reach than comics. Confirming in worldwide media that characters who have been part of the popular consciousness for decades can also be queer would be a true step forward!

Let’s take a closer look at the queer history of these characters and think about what might have been – and what still could!

(6) THE FILMING LAMP IS LIT. An update on item #15 from the May 16 Scroll: George R.R. Martin announced progress on the TV adaptation of another of his stories:

The SyFy Channel has just greenlit the pilot for a proposed NIGHTFLYERS series, based on my 1980 Hugo-losing novella, one of my SF/ horror hybrids.

(7) SUPPORT DIVERSE GRANTS. The Speculative Literature Foundation is raising money at Generosity.com to fund their Diverse Worlds & Diverse Writers Grants.

The Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds and Diverse Writers Grants were launched in 2013 after an initial fundraiser covered the grants for three years. Help us keep both grants going for five more years!

The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process.

The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.

So far they have raised $695 towards the $5,000 goal.

(8) BOND OBIT. Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond died June 27 at the age of 91.

Bond published his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, in 1958.

The character, a marmalade-loving bear from “deepest, darkest Peru” who comes to live in London, went on to inspire a series of books, an animated TV series and a successful 2014 film.

Born in Newbury in 1926, Bond began his career at the BBC and later worked on Blue Peter as a cameraman.

He served with the RAF and the army during World War II and began writing in 1945 while stationed in Cairo.

More than 35 million Paddington books have been sold worldwide. The most recent, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April.

(9) THE FUNDAMENTAL THINGS REMAIN AS TIME GOES BY. The Filer who sent the link said they were surprised that Steven Johnson’s article for the New York Times, “Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us)”, doesn’t mention The Three-Body Problem.

In Nov. 16, 1974, a few hundred astronomers, government officials and other dignitaries gathered in the tropical forests of Puerto Rico’s northwest interior, a four-hour drive from San Juan. The occasion was a rechristening of the Arecibo Observatory, at the time the largest radio telescope in the world. The mammoth structure — an immense concrete-and-aluminum saucer as wide as the Eiffel Tower is tall, planted implausibly inside a limestone sinkhole in the middle of a mountainous jungle — had been upgraded to ensure its ability to survive the volatile hurricane season and to increase its precision tenfold.

To celebrate the reopening, the astronomers who maintained the observatory decided to take the most sensitive device yet constructed for listening to the cosmos and transform it, briefly, into a machine for talking back. After a series of speeches, the assembled crowd sat in silence at the edge of the telescope while the public-address system blasted nearly three minutes of two-tone noise through the muggy afternoon heat. To the listeners, the pattern was indecipherable, but somehow the experience of hearing those two notes oscillating in the air moved many in the crowd to tears.

That 168 seconds of noise, now known as the Arecibo message, was the brainchild of the astronomer Frank Drake, then the director of the organization that oversaw the Arecibo facility. The broadcast marked the first time a human being had intentionally transmitted a message targeting another solar system. The engineers had translated the missive into sound, so that the assembled group would have something to experience during the transmission. But its true medium was the silent, invisible pulse of radio waves, traveling at the speed of light.

It seemed to most of the onlookers to be a hopeful act, if a largely symbolic one: a message in a bottle tossed into the sea of deep space. But within days, the Royal Astronomer of England, Martin Ryle, released a thunderous condemnation of Drake’s stunt. By alerting the cosmos of our existence, Ryle wrote, we were risking catastrophe. Arguing that ‘‘any creatures out there [might be] malevolent or hungry,’’ Ryle demanded that the International Astronomical Union denounce Drake’s message and explicitly forbid any further communications. It was irresponsible, Ryle fumed, to tinker with interstellar outreach when such gestures, however noble their intentions, might lead to the destruction of all life on earth….

But in the 40 years since Drake transmitted the message, just over a dozen intentional messages have been sent to the stars, most of them stunts of one fashion or another, including one broadcast of the Beatles’ ‘‘Across the Universe’’ to commemorate the 40th anniversary of that song’s recording. (We can only hope the aliens, if they exist, receive that message before they find the Hitler footage.)…

Now this taciturn phase may be coming to an end, if a growing multidisciplinary group of scientists and amateur space enthusiasts have their way. A newly formed group known as METI (Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), led by the former SETI scientist Douglas Vakoch, is planning an ongoing series of messages to begin in 2018. And Milner’s Breakthrough Listen endeavor has also promised to support a ‘‘Breakthrough Message’’ companion project, including an open competition to design the messages that we will transmit to the stars. But as messaging schemes proliferate, they have been met with resistance. The intellectual descendants of Martin Ryle include luminaries like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, and they caution that an assumption of interstellar friendship is the wrong way to approach the question of extraterrestrial life. They argue that an advanced alien civilization might well respond to our interstellar greetings with the same graciousness that Cortés showed the Aztecs, making silence the more prudent option.

If you believe that these broadcasts have a plausible chance of making contact with an alien intelligence, the choice to send them must rank as one of the most important decisions we will ever make as a species. Are we going to be galactic introverts, huddled behind the door and merely listening for signs of life outside? Or are we going to be extroverts, conversation-starters? And if it’s the latter, what should we say?

(10) CARNEGIE MEDAL. Colson Whitehead accepted the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24. The award was announced in January.

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at an event at the ALA Midwinter Meeting; winning authors receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalists in each category receive $1,500.

Michael Chabon’s non-sf novel Moonglow was one of the fiction runner-ups.

(11) UNACQUIRED TASTES. Joe Sherry tackles the Hugo-nominated novels at Nerds of a Feather. Too Like the Lightning landed below No Award on his ballot, Death’s End just above. Jemisin’s novel ranks first.

Too Like the Lightning: I tried, folks.  I tried. Except for Death’s End, this was the finalist I was more concerned about reading. Something about the futuristic utopia written with stylistic flourishes harkening back to the 1800’s (despite being set in the 2400’s) just didn’t work for me. I know I gave up on the book too soon, but three chapters / 40 pages seemed to be enough to know that I didn’t care enough to even to the central mystery / conceit / story of Too Like the Lightning. Reading other reviews suggest that there is richness to be found, if only I take the time to push through. Perhaps I will try again in the future (after all, my reading of This-Census Taker changed on a second go-round), especially if this happens to win the Hugo Award. Though, given how other awards have shaken out so far this year, this seems somewhat unlikely. I do subscribe to the idea that sometimes we come to a book at the wrong time to appreciate or enjoy the work and coming to it again at a different time results in a different and stronger appreciation. Hopefully that’ll happen here, otherwise this is just a miss for me.

(12) MÍEVILLE. Camestros Felapton is also posting about his award reading: “Review: This Census Taker – Hugo2017 Novella”

China Miéville’s novella This Census Taker is not a roman à clef although it does feature keys but it has the aesthetics of an unsolvable puzzle. The story points at things as if they are clues but those elements (the deep hole into which things are thrown, the father’s affectless violence, the boy/narrator’s inconsistent recollections) don’t ever come together as a finished puzzle. The novella is like a painting of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle – the edges artfully done but with the looming chasm of the centre incomplete.

(13) DOG YEARS. Felapton has worked up a new diagram tracing how the Puppy movements are playing out, “Rise of the Scrappy Doos”.

In terms of existing movements they are closest to the Superversive movement and the Pulp Revolutions movement. Those two movements* can be seen as offshoots of the Rabid Puppies but this can be misleading. The Rabids had a core of straight Alt-Right griefers willing to do exactly what Vox Day told them to do for the lulz. Superversive began independently of the Rabids but has attached itself to Castalia for promotion and is focused on literary works (although of a right leaning nature). Pulp Revolution arose from the Castalia House blog and hence is more closely connected to Rabid Puppies but again is not the same as the griefing group.

[eta – paragraph went astray] Whereas the Rabids collectively were not particularly interested in the field of SFF, the Scrappy-Doos have more in common with the Sad Puppies in so far as they tend to be actively involved in writing, publishing and books. In this sense they are more like other groupings in fandom. However, where significant voices in Sad Puppies (Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt, Freer) had had some success in trad-publishing (mainly centred around Baen Books), the Scrappy Doos are involved with small publishing groups or self-published.

(14) SPUD ON WHEELS. Marek Baczynski told his YouTube followers:

I made a self driving potato. And then named him “Pontus” and adopted him as a pet. This went well. By popular demand, I wrote a detailed list of parts, you can find it in this reddit comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/shittyrobots…

One commenter summed up the experience:

I’m not quite sure of what I just saw but it was highly emotional to me and I loved it.

(15) TAPPING OUT. The step after psychometric ID? “This man had the chip from his travel card implanted under his skin”.

This Australian can now tap in and out at train stations with a travel card chip implanted in his left hand.

Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow (yes, that’s his legal name) says he had it put under his skin by a professional piercer….

“If someone stole my wallet I could still get home,” he told ABC News.

It’s not the best super power in the world, but it’s better than nothing.

(16) CELEBRATE THE 42ND ANNIVERSARY OF JAWS. “We’re gonna need a bigger beer can,” says Andrew Porter. So popular they’re now on backorder — “Honor the Man Jaws Poster”.

Jaws fans have seen this poster in liquor stores and begged the clerks to buy them… They’ve sent emails and called our contact line in search of this awesome poster too. Maybe you’ve even bargained with us at promotions to no avail… Well, here at Narragansett Beer, we’re all about making dreams come true which is why we’ve printed large 27″x40″ limited edition wall posters just for you!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, DMS, Lis Carey, elusis, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to  File 770 contributing editor of the day Charon D.]

84 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/28/17 Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul, I Really Love That Pixel Scroll

  1. And now, if you’ll pardon a brief political interjection, for something completely different.

    HHS is soliciting public comments on Trumpcare. Credo has created a page whereby people opposed to Trumpcare can easily submit a comment. There’s canned text in the message box, which you can customize to your liking.

  2. Slightly to my surprise, I’ve actually finished Death’s End. The Big Ideas get even bigger (if somewhat thrown at the page to see what socks) and in the end the main character has added some depth, so I probably liked it more as it went on. Still somewhere towards the bottom of my ballot, mind you.

    @Steve Wright

    I think that’s a good distinction – Mycroft is definitely trying to manipulate someone with his story.

  3. As far as alien thinking goes, I thought the main cataract had interestingly nonhuman ways of thinking. It’s also interesting that as ginseng we tend to think of her as “broken” more than different, as she navigated a society not designed for her.

    As someone who works with the neuroatypical, I really, REALLY appreciated that the solution to the main character’s emotional distress wasn’t to get over it. I was half expecting a scene where she would have some epiohany or heroically overcome her differences that make by in the world difficult for her- after all, that’s the usual plotine. Instead, she does the effect opposite, in a very positive way.

  4. @Aaron (re to @World Weary):

    If you put something on the ballot after “No Award”, it will help determine what order anything voted below “No Award” is ranked. Your vote for any of these finalists won’t be used to determine who does win, but it will sort the order of things that fall after No Award.

    Nope. To visualize the system, imagine
    1. sorting the ballots by the top nominee;
    2. determining whose pile is smallest;
    3. crossing that nominee off ALL the ballots;
    4. redistributing each ballot in that pile to the pile of the highest surviving nominee on that ballot;
    5. repeat steps 1-4 until some pile has over 50% of the ballots.
    No Award is almost always eliminated first, so if the nominees ahead of it on your ballot are all eliminated, the order in which you put nominees after No Award will be involved in determining the winner.
    This does mean that in practice putting one nominee below No Award (and all the others above) is a symbolic protest with no practical effect — but IMO it’s appropriate to do if you think just one candidate is unworthy, as it will show up in the detailed statistics.

    @Steve Wright: I think your definition of unreliable narrator is … uncommon; it sounds like you’d call (e.g.) Humbert Humbert untrustworthy, where AFAICT he’s one of the standard citations for “unreliable”. I’m not sure what to call Priest’s work, but most of what I’ve read doesn’t have a narrator.

  5. @k_choll: you and I have almost exactly the same thoughts on the novels, except I liked Ninefox more than you did. I think you’ll like the sequel better.

    AtBItS is hellishly overrated, and the ending is terrible. I was so excited to read it, and loved it till maybe 2/3 in and then… bleh. I think maybe “Closed & Common” is a better-written book, but I still liked “Long Way” more. I wanted more of those guys. But I like the galaxy as a whole.

    Both “Death’s End” and TLTL; sigh. Eight Deadly Words. I’m going Obelisk, Ninefox, Orbit, NA. Today, anyway. Might rearrange.

    When I ran into Stephen King at 1982 Worldcon, he wasn’t being hassled — because he was in a hall costume with some facial makeup. I thought “That guy looks a lot like SK” but had to check his badge to make sure. He was nice, but I wasn’t fangirling all over him, just spoke to him quietly and went away. (I waited till I got back to the hotel room and told my roomies “OMG *STEPHEN KING* IS HERE I TALKED TO HIM!”)

    I don’t have to sign a paper receipt any place with my credit card. I do hate the “squonk” noise the chip readers make — reminds me of the “wrong answer” noise on game shows. I’ve signed electronically a bunch, be it in grocery stores or with Square for dealers at cons. I pretty much expect Square at cons, craft fairs, farmer’s markets, etc. now. Then the nice email receipt arrives. I’ve also used Google Pay, swishing my device.

    I’ve been wanting to see the Istanbul kitteh movie for months. It better come on DVD soon.

    @Lee: Thanks for the link. As someone who’ll probably have to file for bankruptcy (or at least sell the house and move into an apartment half the size) if this goes through, it’s important. If you guys like me (and Bruce Baugh, and others), please sign. Especially if you live in a red state. Pester your congresscritters too.

    I think we need a yes/no answer to the “putting things below No Award” question.

    “If I really HATE something and want it to get no credit whatsoever, fuck yoooouuu, it should be expunged from the record, is it better for me to express my hatred by putting it below NA or leaving it off entirely?”

    I think if you really hate it, *cough*puppies*cough you shouldn’t mention it at all? Or the other way?

    That needs to be more explicit in the voting rules; people ask every year.

  6. I found AtBitS very obnoxious but not terrible. Obnoxious kind of like The Magicians, in that the main characters were whiny and annoying. I ultimately enjoyed the book, but probably wouldn’t read another by that author without a lot of strong recommendations from people I trust.

  7. @Lee: I personally recommend going directly to the US Government Comment website instead of a third party. Having looked at the default comment, and the tips for comment checklist at the comment site, I think that one is better off explaining how the proposed rule Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Reducing Regulatory Burdens and Improving Health Care Choices To Empower Patients will affect you, if at all, rather than someone’s canned message that the ACA replacement is immoral and unfair, especially since this rule is designed to weaken the private markets so that the ACA will fail, rather than do anything to replace the ACA.

  8. I keep seeing Eight Deadly Words, what does that mean?

    I am not sure where to place The Obelisk Gate and Death’s End, since I did not read The Dark Forest because I didn’t like Three Body Problem enough to finish the series, and DNFd The Fifth Season. I suppose I should start reading them and if it appears that I need to have read the predecessor, I’ll DNF them too. If so, should I leave them off my ballot, or try to decide where in the order to place them?

    I finished TLTL, but I thought it really needed some editing. I found all that repetition about gender throughout even though society was supposedly past it grating. It’s kind of like my ambivalence about referring to transgender friends when discussing specific shared activities with them when they were their previous gender. If I mess up and get it wrong, I may need to apologize and clarify, but I certainly don’t need to keep repeating my apologies about the confusion for the rest of the conversation. I also thought Mycroft was an unreliable narrator, but not in a good way (unlike the delightfully clueless Adam Hazzard of Robert Charles Wilson’s Julian Comstock, a 2010 Hugo finalist). And, I wasn’t thrilled with it abruptly ending halfway through. At least most Hugo finalists that are first in a series attempt to wrap up some bits so you don’t feel like the publisher decided that the book they bought was too long so they arbitrarily split it in two (and because they wasted so many pages on the gender issue, maybe the whole thing could have been a single book). It’s likely I’ll place this under No Award or off my ballot if I leave Death’s End and Obelisk Gate off.

  9. kathodus: I found AtBitS very obnoxious but not terrible. Obnoxious kind of like The Magicians, in that the main characters were whiny and annoying.

    I thought it read like something a 14-year-old wrote in their 3-ring binder during study hall.

    I actually enjoyed Grossman’s books; yes, the characters started out quite immature and only some of them grew up emotionally, but that was part of the point. The world-building was really well-done, and I never felt like throwing any of the 3 books against the wall.

  10. @ghostbird: I’m with Lee on the “it’s their body, I don’t get a vote” – but a hand or wrist implant just definitely isn’t for me. I’d be too paranoid about it rubbing against a tendon or fucking up my hand while climbing. I put them through enough without adding other stuff that can go wrong 🙂

  11. lurkertype: “If I really HATE something and want it to get no credit whatsoever, fuck yoooouuu, it should be expunged from the record, is it better for me to express my hatred by putting it below NA or leaving it off entirely?”

    It depends on whether you have only one work below No Award, or whether you have more than work below No Award, but no preference in terms of how badly you hate them.

    Frex, my ballot last year was:
    1. Novel 1
    2. Novel 2
    3. Novel 3
    4. No Award
    5. Seveneves
    (not on ballot) The Aeronaut’s Windlass

    If you have more than one work below No Award, and don’t care what order they might end up in the final results, you can leave them all off the ballot.

  12. @bruceA The eight deadly words:
    “I don’t care what happens to these people.”

  13. Bruce A on June 29, 2017 at 7:34 pm said:
    Reading Obelisk Gate is easier if you read The Fifth Season, but you can still follow it without – and some of the threads weren’t really in the first book.

  14. No Award is almost always eliminated first, so if the nominees ahead of it on your ballot are all eliminated, the order in which you put nominees after No Award will be involved in determining the winner.

    Except there is that final step where the potential winner is matched up against No Award. If you ranked No Award ahead of the work in the running to win, then it will be cast as a “No Award” ballot.

  15. I commented directly on Regulations.gov. People with Republican Congresscritters need to contact them directly (phone or snail mail) and tell them your voting for or against them depends on this.

    No Awarding them, as it were.

  16. Death’s End assumes that you know at least the ending of The Dark Forest. You should read a synopsis of the latter beforehand, or a comprehensive spoiler review.

  17. Wow, I’m in the opposite camp to a lot of people here. I loathed aCaCO – it was like constantly being hit over the head with the patronising stick. I really hate books that I feel are telling me how to think, even when I agree with the politics (as I do in this case). I had to force myself to finish it.

    But I loved with crazy passion TLTL. I was dragged through that book like I had a hook in my lip trying to catch anything and everything and have been buying it for friends ever since. I like unreliable narrators and I loved the way everything is a question and the world is so rich. Having read Seven Surrenders I do agree that it is clearly one book cut in half. That didn’t bother me (I was so pleased to get more). I really love all the thought experiments and comparisons – I won’t go into detail because of spoilers (and for some reason rot13 is not my friend today). But for a starter, I’ve had hours of conversation with my other half comparing Mycroft to the other characters.

    My relationship with literary writing is complicated, but I felt the same amazed immersion in TLTL as I did for Name of the Rose, Wolf Hall or Shadow and the Claw.

  18. @Chip Hitchcock: you may well be right, I haven’t read Lolita (I keep hearing things about Nabokov’s style which put me off.)

    I think, though, that we may need these sort of distinctions, at least in spec-fic genres where there are so many more options; there’s a difference between a self-serving dishonest narrator (like, say, Amy in the first part of Gone Girl) and a narrator who’s genuinely clueless about how the world works and/or their own identity. (Then there’s weird cases like Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, where the narrator is perfectly sound but it’s the world that’s gone screwy….)

    Surely all books have a narrator? Even if it’s just “the author” in omniscient third-person POV. (And Priest is quite fond of first person, which by definition has a narrator… who, with Priest, may or may not be the person they think they are.)

  19. I’m about three quarters of the way through A Closed and Common Orbit and at this point I’m pretty sure it will be near the bottom of my ballot. It’s a warm, positive story reasonably well told, but fairly unoriginal and to me not very interesting. I can see how it might serve nicely as “comfort reading” for some.

    I only got about 100+ pages into Death’s End before setting it aside. I have a feeling it’s actually pretty distinguished work in its way but I just thought it was too damn long and it failed to engage me. My own fault, no doubt.

    I have problems with Jemisin’s sequence related to the parent-child murders. I’m not ready to discuss this but I’m not sure this is a decent thing for a writer to do. I’ll finish the trilogy and continue to think about this issue. It occurred to me in a book store the other day that I haven’t read much Toni Morrison. Maybe Jemisin is working in a related tradition.

    I actually found Too Like The Lightning quite exciting and interesting, though not without its flaws. I also found Ninefox Gambit interesting and gripping.

    I’ll read the Anders novel when I finish the Chambers. At this point the number one slot is very much open and I’m hoping it will blow me away and take the lead.

  20. @Oneiros a hand or wrist implant just definitely isn’t for me.

    Me too, really. The idea of being able to feel magnetic fields sounds interesting, but not worth the pain and trouble for me. And I can remember the feeling of wanting to assert control over my body when I was younger, though in my case it stopped at a couple of earrings and a failed attempt at a nose piercing.

  21. I’m not ready to discuss this but I’m not sure this is a decent thing for a writer to do.
    It makes sense if you’ve read the previous book and get how people view the orogenes.

  22. @Aaron: I stand by my statement, as it involves the step before the showdown. (I think you’re referring to 3.12.3 in the current rules; do you have another cite?) I left out the showdown because I was trying to deal with your major error, rather than piling on edge cases that AFAICT have never had an effect. (I also don’t see the showdown tested in the statistics cited below, where I remember it being formally stated in past years.)
    I was not party to the discussion of that rule (I’m almost never at the WSFS meetings), but I suspect that went through on the grounds of “this can’t hurt [much] and it will get so-and-so to shut up”. Note that the detailed statistics for 2015 and 2016 show that in the categories washed away by Puppy widdle, No Award won on the first pass through the ballots, not by the edge case. Side note: in at least one case (Related Work 2016), I’m pretty sure the fraction of first-place ballots going to No Award was higher (73.6%) than it’s ever been for an actual recipient, but the statistics for 2002-2004 (The Lord of the Rings) and 1989 (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) aren’t on that site; I remember Dramatic Presentation [long form] taking ~2/3 of the first-place votes in those years.

    @StephenFromOttawa (extending @P J Evans): there was a recent link, IIRC directly in a Scroll, to the author’s discussion of this having been a merciful choice in the real world (e.g., in flight from slavery). I agree that it can be contentious (e.g., compare the above with Jonestown), but IMO this is valid worldbuilding — not easy to take, but valid.

  23. @Steve Wright: There are already a bunch of different subcategories of unreliable narrator (this one’s a liar, that one’s mentally ill, the other is just naive, etc.), but those existing sub-classifications are by no means exhaustive, so there is always room for more, and I think your PKD reference is a good example. Generally, though, I’d say that if the narrator can’t be trusted to give you an accurate picture–for whatever reason–they would fall under “unreliable narrator,” and it’s mostly a matter of hair-splitting from there. (Though certainly I sometimes enjoy hair splitting.)

    I’d encourage you to give Nabokov a shot, as he’s one of my all-time favourites, but I can certainly see why there are readers who find him frustrating or dull. But he does give you more than one kind of unreliable narrator, and I personally think he is one of the English language’s great stylists despite it not being his first language. He also writes some interesting alternate histories that seem to be linked by a Russia-that-might-have-been (at least, I think that’s the category they’d fall under). My favourite is Ada, though I definitely would not recommend starting there. He’s got a lot of short fiction that’s very good, and pretty representative of what he does in his novels, so if you try that and don’t like it you’ve maybe only wasted a half hour or so of reading time.

  24. Stephenfromottawa:

    Here are some of Jemisin’s own thoughts (spoilery for TFS but not beyond) that might help crystallize your own:On Family

  25. @SamJ

    Wow, I’m in the opposite camp to a lot of people here. I loathed aCaCO – it was like constantly being hit over the head with the patronising stick.

    You aren’t alone with respect to the patrionizing elements of the book. I generally liked the book, but that aspect of it really took me out of the story/characters/etc.


  26. @Lenora Rose: that’s the link I was remembering; thanks for re-posting. @Stephen: follow the Margaret Garner link in the above.

  27. Thanks, Lenora Rose and Chip Hitchcock. I’d seen that page but hadn’t followed the Margaret Garner link. That particular story is new to me, and I haven’t read Beloved.

  28. @Ghostbird: I’m sort of interested in the “implanted senses” thing like the magnet. Gonna let a few million other people get that done though before I even consider it 🙂

  29. I stand by my statement, as it involves the step before the showdown.

    You stand by your incorrect assessment of the rules, because you wanted to leave out some of the rules? That’s idiotic. The assessment I gave, which accounts for all of the rules, was accurate. Your assessment, which ignores one of the rules, was not.

    You were wrong. But when that is pointed out, you’ve decided to double down on being wrong and rationalize with a weak-tea mealy-mouthed explanation.

    I left out the showdown because I was trying to deal with your major error,

    It is only a “major error” if you leave out some of the rules.

    I don’t think I have ever seen anyone say anything more moronic than your post. Now I remember why I had you whited out for months. Back to Stylish to white you out again.

  30. Aaron: the idiot here is you — as usual when you’re caught out. I answered the specific question (which is something I assume you were trained to tell witnesses to do); you added a gloss of no practical relevance to cover up the fact that you had made a basic mistake. I’ll take your apology for your language any time.

    Whiting out someone who disproves you is the coward’s response; I’ll bear that in mind when evaluating anything else you say here.

  31. I answered the specific question

    No, you didn’t. You answered the question incorrectly, since you didn’t actually account for all of the rules concerning the effect of voting items below No Award.

    I’ll take your apology for your language any time.

    How about this: I’ll take your apology concerning the fact that you “corrected” me incorrectly. You got it wrong. You forgot an entire step in the process and claimed that the result would be something that it would not be.

    Whiting out someone who disproves you is the coward’s response

    It is the only viable means of dealing with someone who repeatedly says idiotic things and adds nothing of value to the conversation. You didn’t “disprove” me. You got it wrong, your answer was incomplete, and now you’re trying to weasel out of that. You are not only an idiot, you’re an idiot who has doubled down on his idiocy. Why would anyone spend any time reading your drivel in the future?

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