Pixel Scroll 7/2/18 Bring Me The Pixel Of Scroll Charming!

(1) KLAATU BARADA UFO. The Independent celebrates World UFO Day with a roll-call of alien encounter films: “World UFO Day 2018: Top 10 alien encounter B-movies from the golden age of schlock sci-fi”.

World UFO Day is being observed around the galaxy on Monday.

The occasion is held on 2 July in memory of the US Army Air Forces weather balloon crash in Roswell, New Mexico, that many believe was really a flying saucer landing covered up by the Pentagon.

It is marked by sky-watching parties as keen ufologists survey the heavens in search of fresh evidence of alien life.

Others prefer to mark the day on 24 June, the date on which American aviator Kenneth Arnold reported spotting a fleet of nine spaceships over Mount Rainier, Washington, in 1947….

(2) HOT READS. The Verge’s Andrew Liptak says these are “12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels that you should check out this July”.

July 10th

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik earned a Nebula Award for her fairy tale-inspired novel Uprooted. She’s back with an new book that similarly delves into folklore, Spinning Silver. In this book, a girl named Miryem is the daughter of moneylenders, but her family has fallen onto hard times. She takes their predicament into her own hands, turning silver into gold. Her abilities attract the attention of the Fey king of the Staryk, who gives her an impossible challenge, and accidentally spins a web that draws in the daughter of a local lord, angering the Tsar who had pledged to wed her.

Read an excerpt here.

Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman

Set in the future, Jay Schiffman’s debut novel Game of the Gods follows a Federacy military commander named Max Cone, who just wants to be left alone. When war breaks out, he becomes an unwitting pawn in a global game to try to get him into the fight once again. He’s given a device that allows him to predict the future, and when his wife and children are kidnapped, he’s drawn in to rescue them, aided by a band of unlikely allies — a 13-year old girl with special abilities, a mathematician, a religious zealot, and a drug addict who was once a revolutionary

(3) SUPERHERO, SUPER REVIEWER. Luke Cage is back, and so is Abigail Nussbaum: “Five Comments on Luke Cage, Season 2”.

I don’t have that much to say about the second season of Luke Cage.  Which is actually a shame, because despite some problems, I’d say that it’s the strongest and most consistently entertaining season of television the Netflix MCU has produced since the first season of Jessica Jones.  It’s just that the things I’d have to say about it are basically a combination of my review of the first season, and my review of the second season of Jessica Jones.  The stuff that worked in season one is back here, but better–the strong visuals, the amazing music, the thrilling fight scenes, the palpable sense of place.  And like Jessica Jones, coming back for a second season seems to have freed Luke Cage from the burden of having to justify its own existence as a superhero show about X (a woman, a black man), and allowed it to simply tell a story in which most of the characters are people of color (and some of them have superpowers).  At the same time, a lot of the problems that plagued the first season, and suggested that the Luke Cage concept might not be as durable as we could hope, are back in force here, with little indication that the show is interested in addressing them.  Here are a few thoughts I had at the end of the season, though the bottom line is that it is definitely worth watching….

(4) TAFF RINGS THE REGISTER. Jim Mowatt has enriched the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund by completing his trip report Wherever I Lay My Hat!

I have recently sent copies of my 2013 TAFF report to SCIFI and FANAC and both happily paid 500 dollars each into the TAFF coffers, so helping us to keep sending more delegates across the ocean to strengthen the science fictional bonds that enhance our community. Many thanks to both these fine organisations for their encouragement and support for the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund

Find out how to get a copy here.

(5) HE’S NOT BUGGED. NPR’s Glen Weldon says you won’t demand your 2 hours back: “Flyweight: Wee, The People: ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp'”.

It’s fine.

Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2015’s feather-light and perfectly forgettable Ant-Man, is just fine.

It does what it sets out to do, which, by all readily legible indicators, is to be … fine. Agreeable. Inoffensive. A good way to pass a couple of hours in air-conditioned darkness. Jokes. Car chases. Fight scenes. Michelle Pfeiffer, briefly, in a hoodie and a chalk-white wig and, for some reason, fingerless gloves. A gruff Michael Douglas, less briefly, as the resident goateed genius of this particular corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Tony Stark and Doctor Strange having their attentions turned elsewhere).

Also: Evangeline Lilly as badass superhero The Wasp, kickin’ thoraxes and takin’ names and even crackin’ the occasional joke, thank God. The always-winning Michael Peña as voluble sidekick Luis, whose presence in any given scene amps up its charm factor. Phrases like “We have to adjust the refractors on the regulator!” (LOTS of those.)…

(6) ADAMS OBIT.

(7) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

The original time machine from the 1960 movie was sold at the MGM studio auction in 1971, the same auction that originally sold the Ruby Slippers (The Wizard of Oz (1939)). The winner of the auction was the owner of a traveling show. Five years later the prop was found in a thrift store in Orange, CA. Film historian Bob Burns purchased it for $1,000. Using blueprints his friend George Pal had given him years earlier, he and a crew of friends restored it. The restoration crew included D.C. Fontana script consultant and writer on Star Trek (1966) and Michael Minor art director on Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982).

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born July 2 – Margot Robbie, 28. The Legend of Tarzan was her first genre film (maybe) followed by Suicide SquadGoodbye Christopher Robin, an animated Peter Rabbit, more DCU announced films than bear thinking about and intriguingly she’s announced to be Marian in Marian, a telling of her life after the death of Robin.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian was surprised to see who is the pitchman for retirement plans in the Star Trek universe: Brevity.
  • Chip Hitchcock calls this one Arctic Circle meets Connie Willis.

(10) SUPERHERO CHOW. The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore boasts a ”DC Comics Superhero Café”. Here’s the real menu [PDF file.]

Dine in, take-away, save the day – at this immersive café-retail experience, home to the DC Comics universe.

Find apparel, accessories and gifts to unleash the DC super hero within you. Chill out at the Superman-inspired café; sip the Batman’s Late Night Summer Latte or get buzzed from The Flash’s Espresso. Grab a Green Lantern pizza to go.

At our Justice League tribute diner – eat-in for a serious scoffing of Batman’s epic Dark Knight charcoal-brioche-bun burger or battle out with The Flash Mushroom Linguine. Feeling villainous? Get your “just desserts” from the Joker.

(11) SEQUEL SUCCESS. Camestros Felapton finds time to “Review: The Incredibles 2”.

…At the time Pixar eschewed sequels (with the exception of Toy Story) and despite the implications of the end of the film, a second Incredibles movie seemed unlikely. Time moves on and Disney-Pixar is keen to capitalise on the IP it owns. Could a sequel possibly manage that same balance of action and character?

Absolutely….

(12) YOU HAVE TO WONDER. Given the 80’s setting of the upcoming Wonder Woman film, digital artist Bosslogic has populated his Instagram feed with reimaginings of the alter egos fo other superheroes as they might have looked if they were in 1984 continuity. Take a look for the   “WW84” posts scattered among the entries at Bosslogic. Here, for instance, is Henry Cavill as Clark Kent — if he were plopped down in 1984…

Credit to SYFY Wire for tipping us to this art with their story “B-Boy Batman Meets Superman’s Sweet Mullet in Awesome ’80S Fan Art for Wonder Woman 2”.

(13) INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. This job is not that f**king easy!

(14) FUTURE STUNTS. TechCrunch goes behind the scenes:  “Disney Imagineering has created autonomous robot stunt doubles”.

Disney it taking their robotics to new heights… at least for a few seconds. Born out of an experiment called Stickman, the new development “Stuntronics” can fling articulated robot figures into the air. The bots control their orientation and poses to nail the same tricks — such as a superhero pose — time after time after time. According to project personnel Tony Dohi (Principal R&D Imagineer) and Morgan Pope (Associate Research Scientist):

“So what this is about is the realization we came to after seeing where our characters are going on screen,” says Dohi, “whether they be Star Wars characters, or Pixar characters, or Marvel characters or our own animation characters, is that they’re doing all these things that are really, really active. And so that becomes the expectation our park guests have that our characters are doing all these things on screen — but when it comes to our attractions, what are our animatronic figures doing? We realized we have kind of a disconnect here.”

…“So often our robots are in the uncanny valley where you got a lot of function, but it still doesn’t look quite right. And I think here the opposite is true,” says Pope. “When you’re flying through the air, you can have a little bit of function and you can produce a lot of stuff that looks pretty good, because of this really neat physics opportunity — you’ve got these beautiful kinds of parabolas and sine waves that just kind of fall out of rotating and spinning through the air in ways that are hard for people to predict, but that look fantastic.”

…“One of our goals of Stuntronics is to see if we can leap across the uncanny valley.”

 

(15) EVIL DEAD AUCTION. Bloody Disgusting points the way: “The “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Prop and Costume Auction is the Coolest, Most Gruesome Auction We’ve Ever Seen”.

…A final attempt to make some money off the show, the official “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Series Finale Auction just launched this week, and it’s continuing through August 17. Don’t worry about showing up anywhere in person to get in on the bidding, as it’s taking place entirely online.

Modern technology, am I right?!

The auction features over 1,000 screen-used costumes, props, prosthetics and set decorations from all three seasons, all of them direct from the studio and coming with Certificates of Authenticity. If you saw it on the show, it’s probably up for grabs, with the auction including Ash’s chainsaw, the Season 3 demon baby, Ash’s wardrobe and TONS of gory practical effects.

Check out some highlights below and head over to VIP Fan Auctions to see more!

(16) FIRMIN RESUME. When SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie learned that Peter Firmin died, he rounded up some links to help me appreciate the loss: “His co-creations (with Oliver Postgate) of The ClangersNoggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine wowed generations of Brits.  Arguably worth checking out and if fans have young kids then sharing.”

  • The Clangers were an alien race who live on the Moon.

The Clangers are peacefully building a house. We hear a whistling sound and down comes something. The Clangers run for cover. The thing is a terrestrial space-probe vehicle with large initials on it.

  • Noggin the Nog was a fantasy series set in Viking times with dragons etc. (eat your heart out Martin).

  • Ivor the Engine was an almost living steam locomotive.

“Wonderful stuff,” Jonathan concludes.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

108 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/2/18 Bring Me The Pixel Of Scroll Charming!

  1. Are we really going to spend the day feeding the troll? You know JDA is reading this and getting off on it.

  2. WRT Harlan Ellison and talent vs. hard work:
    I think excellence in ANY endeavor is a combination of both. I use an athletic analogy because so many people can relate:
    Let’s stipulate that I was born with a lean, athletic body and amazing lung capacity. So I was encouraged to put in the work to become an Olympic-class runner. So, 10,000 hours later, I’m breaking all world records.
    Had I not put in the 10,000 hours, I probably could have won local competitions, like in high school and maybe some collegiate competitions, but would never have reached peak performance.
    By the same token, if my body type was best suited to long distance running, say I’m 6 foot plus tall, I would NEVER, no matter how much I practiced, been a gymnast, because small and pixieish is the most suitable body type for that.
    And don’t even get me started on musical instruments.

    There are always going to be outliers of course, but I think that there has to be a combination of potential and hard work to hit that peak in any endeavor.

    In my own case, I’ve always been one of the smartest people in the room, but in college I realized I didn’t have that extra IQ that made great scientists or mathematicians. So I moved on to something within my reach, and did pretty darn good at it.

  3. On the other hand, this may be the right time to mention that a few days ago I emailed JDA for an explanation about the fluctuating, and overall wildly increasing numbers of his Twitter followers. No response so far.

  4. @Rev Bob,
    re: Infinity Series on sale
    Thanks! I wish that Amazon had Infinity War on sale, but I can try other sources.

  5. Another Meredith Moment…

    The concluding/third installment of Sarah Kuhn’s “Heroine” trilogy was released today, along with the mass-market edition of the second book. Accordingly, the first book – Heroine Complex – is on sale for $1.99.

    ETA, @BLP3: Other Filers have noted that B&N has book six on sale, and I can confirm that Kobo does as well. In addition, Amazon has book seven (dropping in one week) on preorder for $0.99.

  6. Mike Glyer, if it walks like a troll and talks like a troll and sends demonstrably fake-friendly messages like a troll and buys followers like a troll. <sigh>

  7. Oh excellent; grabbed all the Infinity books, as Infinity Wars is available here in the UK. Cheap back ups for my paper copies!

  8. @ Lurkertype: I can’t say anything about submarines, but in the WWII era you most certainly could smoke on airplanes unless the “no smoking” warning light was on — there wasn’t even the fig-leaf of a so-called “non-smoking section”.

    @ Jonathan C: There’s a fraction-of-a-second flash in there of someone who looks a lot like William Shatner, but I’m not quick enough on the Pause button to freeze him in the frame and Shatner isn’t listed in the cast on IMDB, so it must be someone else.

    @ lphinome: Bravo!

  9. I’m always vaguely surprised that new planes are built with light up no smoking signs. I’m sure that people did smoke when I first file in the 1970s, but haven’t been on a flight allowing smoking in over thirty years.

  10. Meredith Moment(s):

    A bunch of titles of interest as part of the KDD at Amazon US, at $2.99:

    Walkaway-Doctrow
    Fuzzy Nation-Scalzi
    Word For World Is Forest-Le Guin
    Everfair-Shawl
    Julian Comstock-Wilson
    Metaltown-Kristine Simmons
    The Necessary Beggar-Palwick

    Also, The Space Trilogy’s three individual volumes are selling for $1.99 each at Amazon US.

    On top of that, both Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson and Barsk:The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen are part of the Kindle Monthly deal at $2.99 each.

  11. @JJ Im with you on Robinson. I can understand the appeal of his work, but its to dry for me.
    Im reading Revenant gun now and I really love this series. Hope The author can stick the landing, but so far Im enjoying myself.

  12. Thanks, rcade. I have removed that extension. (The annoying thing, for me, is that I had left it lying around but hadn’t been using it, so I didn’t even get the useful stuff along with the spyware.)

  13. @rcade:

    The article you link to suggests (and links to) the Stylus extension, which claims to be snoop-free and able to import your old Stylish settings. I say “claims to” because I’m on my iPad at present and thus can’t verify it yet.

    Great catch!

  14. More Meredith (if it hasn’t been mentioned): You can currently get all three books in Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy for $2.99 each.

  15. @Rcade

    I installed Stylus, made a copy of my styles from Stylish, and imported them. Very easy. My Black Gate skin is still working, so I assume the Plonk script will as well.

  16. Kindle tells me S.M. Stirling has a new alt-world war I history out. The blurb looked interesting.
    The wrap to the Emberverse is out this fall, so I’m glad he’s starting a new series.

  17. @Doctor Science: I read “Donovan’s Brain”. I’d read the ones you mentioned before and am glad to hear the Suck Fairy hasn’t visited.

    @Andrew: Great Ghu. SUBMARINES? I guess they get patches and gum nowadays. I wonder which smell was worse, stale cigarette smoke, or unwashed sailors.

    I understand allowing smoking in rehab or psychiatric wards. Way too much strain to make people quit under those conditions.

    @JJ: You’re right. Book 6 is still listed, but it says you can’t buy. I suspect the Mouse House lawyers. But the pre-order price for #7 is back up to $5.38, alas.

    @John AA: Heinlein wrote a LOT of things different depending on if he was with Leslyn or Virginia.

    @Steve Wright: I want to see your version of Clangers.

    @Paul: FFS, DNFTT. Especially when lawyers are involved. Stay clear.

    @Techgrrl1972: The Emberverse bored me to sleep. I really liked the “other half” of that universe, with Nantucket back in the Bronze Age, but the modern stuff, meh. I’ll look at the new one.

    @Iphinome: standing ovation

    @Eric Franklin: I’m going to a B&N tomorrow anyway; maybe I’ll spend more time there than planned in case it’s my last visit. Although from what they’re saying and not saying, it looks more like they canned the CEO for harassment. They were very careful to say it wasn’t for anything financial, so these days (and with no severance), I bet he was making dirty jokes, come-ons, and groping.

    If that’s the reason, I hope it becomes public soon. #metoo

  18. Eric Franklin: The CEO of Barnes & Noble has been fired.

    This is strange, since I find it extremely hard to believe that he wasn’t doing what the Board of Directors had instructed him to do (aka, be their hatchet man). A piece which was linked in the February 17 Scroll describes the actions taken during the last year, and says “every decision from the upper levels is being made solely to increase cash on hand.”

    Given the lack of severance, Lurkertype’s conjecture of harassment charges sounds very plausible.

  19. @JJ: The article said he’d done several cost-cutting measures, which is what they wanted. So since it isn’t on financial grounds and they specifically said “violations of the Company’s policies”, with no severance — harassment is the only thing I can think of. He broke the CoC and they tossed him out.

    And regarding financial grounds: Filers donated a whopping ~ $ 1800 to the credential surgery fund. The kind words were also very cheering. I was kept from despair over the weekend thanks to you guys. <3

  20. Cassy B: if it walks like a troll and talks like a troll

    It did not escape me that it very much reads like what a domestic abuser would say after an “incident”. 😐

  21. @ Lurkertype: Interesting — my reaction to Stirling is nearly the direct opposite of yours. I bounced off the Nantucket stuff (and a couple of other things of his that I tried), but the entire Emberverse sequence is on my Desert Island Books list. I also like The Peshawar Lancers, which is a stand-alone AU history in which a fall of cometoids took out most of Western Europe and North America during Victoria’s reign; the British Empire relocated to India and assimilated there, and now has a very different culture. Interesting story, passes the Bechdel test with flying colors, and has a lot of good worldbuilding in the AU.

  22. Peer on July 3, 2018 at 11:16 am said:
    @JJ Im with you on Robinson. I can understand the appeal of his work, but its to dry for me.
    Im reading Revenant gun now and I really love this series. Hope The author can stick the landing, but so far Im enjoying myself.

    I have loved each book more than the previous one, and intend to re-read them. I like that despite the sometimes harrowing darkness of the trilogy so many people end up with a happy ending, including the green onion.

  23. Anna Feruglio: I like that despite the sometimes harrowing darkness of the trilogy so many people end up with a happy ending, including the green onion.

    Could you rot13 those onion spoilers please? I haven’t read the third book yet. 😉

  24. 2) I’m looking forward to a number of books others have mentioned. Really looking forward to The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang. Won’t be picking up Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik until I’ve read reviews which assure me the kind of power and sexual abuse I had with her previous book aren’t present in this one as it was a PTSD trigger for me and ruined my personal enjoyment.

  25. @OGH: JDA’s down to 8627 followers, it looks like he lost 5k followers in the last day or so. I guess his followers are a fickle lot.

  26. Cat Rambo, I have put a great deal of thought into whether, and how, to respond.

    One of the things that doing the Hugo Review Roundups the last couple of years has really brought home to me is the fact that the vast majority of fiction “reviews” on the internet are meaningless for the purposes of readers. They do help provide buzz for books and authors and publishers, but for readers looking for insight as to whether it is worth spending time and money on a book, the overwhelming majority of “reviews” are brief and full of pleasant cliches and platitudes posted in exchange for free reading copies, with no real substance whatsoever.

    Right now, I’ve put more than 30 hours of my free reading time into putting together this year’s Hugo Review Roundup, I’m not even close to being done, and I’m not sure whether I’m going to feel up to finishing. And one of the main reasons for that is because of the hundreds (more than 700, at this point) of useless “reviews” I’ve had to wade through, just to get a few dozen links to meaningful book evaluations.

    While I do sometimes try to include humor in them, the book opinions I post on File 770 are not done to be funny. They are done for other readers, not for publishers or authors. They range from gushing to enthused to ambivalent to harsh. But they’re always honest, and I try to point out the qualities that other people might enjoy — even if I hate them — and hopefully most of the Filers have gotten their needle calibrated to the point where they know whether they’re likely to have the same, or the opposite, reactions to a work as I do.

    And the main reason that I spend so much time and effort writing and posting my opinions here is because a whole bunch of other people also post their opinions here, and together we make a meaningful aggregate which is not merely a PR mouthpiece for publishers and authors, but a genuinely useful tool for readers.

    I post my opinions here on a fan site. My opinions are about works, not authors, and I don’t target authors or (unless the subject is something which an author has personally done) comment on their personal attributes. I don’t go to their websites and social media spaces and post my opinions, or post links back to my opinions here.

    I recognize that it’s your job to advocate for authors, and I respect and appreciate how good of a job you do at that. If I were an author, I would be so glad to have you as an ally. But I am extremely uncomfortable at being told that I should constrain my opinions on a fan site for fear of hurting an author’s feelings — just as I would be uncomfortable about being told to constrain my opinions on Amazon or GoodReads.

  27. @JJ

    I could be wrong, but I think Cat Rambo was referring to the titles for your categories rather than the existence of those categories. Which you may still disagree with! But it isn’t quite the same thing as objecting to negative reviews or opinions.

  28. @JJ
    Funny to find us on the same side of an issue. (I think.) 😉 This business of authors pressuring fan reviewers to try to get us “on message” promoting their works is something that really needs to be fought tooth-and-nail. Reviews are for readers and fans, not authors and editors.

    However, Cat Rambo has been very supportive of reviewers in this regard, so I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. If she told me one of my reviews was needlessly hurtful, I’d take that very seriously. That said, I’ll admit I laughed out loud at ‘The Seveneves and Crosstalk “Let Us Forget That This Abomination Ever Existed, And Never Speak Of It Again” Award.’ 🙂

    We’re also in accord on KSR’s latest tome, which I too voted under No Award (and for the same reasons), although I reached the do-not-read-except-if-on-the-Hugo-ballot point with this author after struggling through his novel 2312 six years ago. I understand why people love his world building, but his characters seem to exist solely for the purposes of showing off his worlds and delivering his political message. I’m left remembering vast landscapes peopled only by annoying ghosts.

    Oh and I’m glad you found “The Battle of Candle Arc” helpful in reading Yoon Ha Lee’s work. I don’t know if you got it from me, but I’ve recommended this one at least a dozen times, here, on Reddit, and Rocket Stack Rank. A five-star story if ever I saw one.

  29. @Meredith

    I could be wrong, but I think Cat Rambo was referring to the titles for your categories rather than the existence of those categories. Which you may still disagree with! But it isn’t quite the same thing as objecting to negative reviews or opinions.

    I think you’re right, although I’ll point out that I get flack for having a one-star category labeled “Needs Improvement,” which is meant to be a euphemism for “Deficient” or “How the Heck Did This Escape the Slush Pile?” I originally thought the only stories that would get that rating would be Puppy-nominated ones, but it turns out that some editors will overlook basic writing errors if they really love the setting or idea of a story. (Or if the author was once a big name.) It’s rare, but not that rare–about 5% of published stories in the venues I read.

    In other words, I think authors can tell when you’re saying “I think this story wasn’t any good” vs. “I didn’t like this story,” and it really isn’t going to matter what words you use to express that idea. The former is really a criticism of the editors (not the authors) since they’re supposed to be the gatekeepers, and fans have every right to express that criticism, although I wish there were a way to do it without hurting the poor authors’ feelings.

    In that vein, if anyone has better name than “Needs Improvement” for the one-star stories, I’d love to hear it. “Not Recommended” is already used for two-star stories. We could just use it for both, but there really is a big difference between “I couldn’t suspend disbelief for this one” vs. “I don’t think this story was up to the quality standards of the publication.”

  30. “Last night I had the strangest dream I’ve ever had before
    I dreamed that all the fans agreed
    to put an end to trolls
    I dreamed I saw a mightiest machine
    the controls were set to max
    and on its screen the printout said
    just ignore their fax”

  31. JJ – I understand and don’t expect things to change. I agree that reviews shouldn’t be about coddling the author. I am, though, giving feedback, and I am indeed referring to the category titles. I appreciate your reviews and the amount of time that goes into them and I find them informative. I find the hyperbole in the service of humor much less so, and it works against the informativeness. My apologies for making you uncomfortable.

  32. Oh and I’m glad you found “The Battle of Candle Arc” helpful in reading Yoon Ha Lee’s work. I don’t know if you got it from me, but I’ve recommended this one at least a dozen times, here, on Reddit, and Rocket Stack Rank. A five-star story if ever I saw one.

    Oh indeed. I got through Ninefox Gambit doing uh? uh? wtf? uh?, but then I read both Extracurricular Activities and The Battle of Candle Arc and at that point I got it. Actually I re-read The Battle yesterday after reading up on the real-world battle that inspired it, and it’s even better than I remembered.

    You are Kel and in this you will prevail is now my favourite catchphrase.

  33. Bruce A: @OGH: JDA’s down to 8627 followers, it looks like he lost 5k followers in the last day or so. I guess his followers are a fickle lot.

    Maybe we’re supposed to think that because it dropped to 8627 that’s a true number, rather than a less aggressive fake number?

  34. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    Actually I re-read The Battle yesterday after reading up on the real-world battle that inspired it, and it’s even better than I remembered.

    Oooh. Which battle was that?

    You are Kel and in this you will prevail is now my favourite catchphrase.

    My favorite Kel quote was something to the effect of “An award for bravery bordering on stupidity even for us.”

  35. You can always follow JDA on Socialblade.

    2018-06-25: +5,363
    2018-06-26: -36
    2018-06-27: -609
    2018-06-28: -907
    2018-06-29: -32
    2018-06-30: +13
    2018-07-01: +5,213
    2018-07-02: +1,954
    2018-07-03: +29
    2018-07-04: -6,064

  36. When I post comments about books I’ve read on File 770, I don’t proclaim to be an expert on anything other than my own personal opinion.

    If, after spending several hours of my precious personal reading time on a book, I feel that it is falsely masquerading as science fiction, or that it has committed egregious offenses against genre or gender, then I think that I should be able to rant about it in my category titles, and I will push back against being tone-policed about them.

  37. @Greg Hullender

    I don’t think there’s a perfect way of saying that a story is bad that will never upset anyone; sometimes honesty isn’t nice (and that’s okay). If nothing else I think I would swap Not Recommended and Needs Improvement, though, since they read a bit weirdly to me in that order. Needs Improvement sounds like with a few tweaks it could be there, whereas Not Recommended sounds more like a flat negative.

    I’m trying to work on being kind (it doesn’t come naturally) and that’s not quite the same thing as nice, but I’m not sure it’s entirely possible in a negative review situation, either, especially since you’re not addressing the author. Perhaps the most you can do is to just avoid being overly cruel and accept that authors aren’t going to be very happy about bad reviews.

  38. Meredith: I would swap Not Recommended and Needs Improvement, though, since they read a bit weirdly to me in that order. Needs Improvement sounds like with a few tweaks it could be there, whereas Not Recommended sounds more like a flat negative.

    That was exactly my thought when I first read your comment, Greg. I don’t know whether it’s workable to switch them around now — whether that would cause confusion with past reviews, or issues with the other types of cross-referencing on your site’s setup — but it’s something you might consider.

  39. I did think the same about “Not Recommended” and “Needs Improvement”.

  40. Well as of right now our favourite prominent local author is back down to a probably-mostly-real follower count of 4,350. Hey, I wonder if any pups reading will make a colossal deal of JDA quite knowingly purchasing followers to bolster his twitter count? Probably not.

    Also, I’ll fifth what others have said above me re “Not Recommended” and “Needs Improvement”

  41. Grin. Lois Tilton also said “Needs Improvement” and “Not Recommended” were in the wrong order. It’s an attempt to sugarcoat something that ends up being confusing instead. But swapping them won’t work because of the way the ratings actually work.

    4 or 5 stars both mean recommended. 5 just means “Specially Recommended,” as in “it’s on my short list for awards.” 1 story in 6 gets recommended. The default “pitch” for these is “Recommended” and “Award-Worthy” but these days I usually write a custom pitch for any recommended story, e.g. “Strong Characters in a Cool Setting.”

    3 stars get pitched as either “Average,” “Mixed,” (i.e. great-but-flawed) or “Honorable Mention,” where the last one means there’s nothing wrong with it, but it just wasn’t special enough for me to recommend it.

    1 or 2 stars both mean not recommended. 2 is for suspension of disbelief problems and 1 is for writing problems. 1 story in 6 gets recommended against. The truth is, 1 star should be “Deficient,” but that sounds so harsh I’m uncomfortable with it. Synonyms like “Unsatisfactory,” “Defective,” or “Bad” are no improvement. Maybe I should go with “Strongly Not Recommended.”

    But I definitely hear the consensus that “Needs Improvement” uh, needs improvement. 🙂

  42. A different issue with “Needs Improvement” is that it sounds like it’s aimed at the writer, while the variations on “Recommended” are aimed at the reader. (“Good”, “Great” etc. could go either way, but the reader would tend to be the default assumption.)

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