Pixel Scroll 7/3/21 Neunundneunzig Scrollballons

(1) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY: WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. The show was not renewed. Deadline has a glimpse of what was planned: “Lovecraft Country Season 2 Teased By Creator Misha Green After HBO Cancelation”.

A very very different America was going to be unveiled in Season 2 of Lovecraft Country, creator Misha Green revealed today after HBO officially pulled the plug on the acclaimed horror drama.

A couple of hours after Deadline exclusively reported on the surprising demise of the the Jurnee SmollettJonathan Majors and Michael Kenneth Williams starring series, showrunner Green took to social media to paint a picture of what might have been. It was certainly something to see, especially leading into the July 4th weekend:


(2) BARBARIC YAWP. Cora Buhlert’s provocatively-titled “Conan the Socialist” lives up to its billing. (You never suspected that about Conan, did you?) BEWARE SPOILERS about the Thirties Robert E. Howard tale under discussion.

… My teenaged self certainly enjoyed the Conan stories as great and glorious adventures. Plus, there was the thrill of reading “violent American trash” that sensible educated people weren’t supposed to read or enjoy. However, upon rereading these stories as an adult, I find that there is a lot of depth and subtext in the Conan series that my teenaged self missed.

(3) I’LL BE BACK. And he was. The Ringer talked to filmmakers and actors to come up with “The Oral History of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’”

T2 is a departure from the far bleaker original, 1984’s The Terminator, which its creator calls a “science-fiction slasher film.” Linda Hamilton’s franchise protagonist, Sarah Connor, has transformed from a put-upon heroine to a self-trained commando whose attempts to thwart the coming apocalypse land her in a psychiatric hospital. Her son, John, the future leader of the resistance in the war against the genocidally self-aware defense system Skynet, is in foster care. And the T-800, once a remorseless killer with a curious but hypnotic Austrian accent, somehow helps bring them together as a family—then helps them save the world.

Cameron: I talked to Dennis Muren at ILM. I said, “I’ve got an idea. If we took the water character from The Abyss, but it was metallic so you didn’t have the translucency issues, but you had all the surface reflectivity issues and you made it a complete human figure that could run and do stuff, and it could morph back into a human, and then turn into the liquid metal version of itself, and we sprinkled it through the movie, can we do it?” He said, “I’ll call you back tomorrow.”

Cameron: Linda, I called her up and I said, “Look, they want to pay us a lot of money to make a sequel. Are you in or are you out? But just between you and me, I don’t really want to do it if Sarah doesn’t come back and I don’t want to recast Sarah, so you got to say you’re in.” And she and I weren’t involved. [Editor’s note: Cameron and Hamilton were married from 1997 to 1999.] We hadn’t even really hung out at all much since the first film. She was making a movie somewhere down South.

And so she said, “Yeah, in principle, I’m in, but I want to be crazy.” I said, “Well, what do you mean, crazy? How crazy?” She said, “Crazy, like I’ve been driven crazy.” I said, “Like you’re in an insane asylum, like you’re institutionalized?” She said, “Yeah, sure. Let me play crazy. Let me go nuts.” I said, “All right. Well, you’re going to get my version of nuts,” and she said, “All right. I’m down.”

(4) ROBOHOP. New Scientist’s reviewer says “A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is joyful sci-fi reading”.

…The book is set some time after this Transition, and follows a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who goes from settlement to settlement as a travelling salesperson-slash-roaming therapist. Despite bringing joy and comfort to those visited, Dex is unsatisfied and heads out into the wilds, looking for a new purpose – eventually making contact with a robot, Mosscap, the first time humans and robots had met in centuries.

(5) TALKIN’ ABOUT MY REGENERATION. Here’s your latest next-Doctor-Who rumor. From The Guardian: “Olly Alexander tipped to be new lead”.

Olly Alexander, the pop singer and actor who this year shone brightly in the Russell T Davies drama It’s a Sin, is reportedly set to be the next lead in Doctor Who.

On Sunday the Sun said Alexander was thrashing out final details with the BBC to succeed Jodie Whittaker and become the 14th Doctor.

If it happens, Alexander, 30, would be the first out gay actor to play the Time Lord.

Whittaker’s departure from Doctor Who has not been announced, although rumours abound that the next series and two special episodes, to be broadcast next year, will be her final outings…

(6) PAST IN PERSPECTIVE. Lovecraft and Howard scholar Bobby Derie discusses how segregation and Jim Crow laws affected the 1951 and 1953 Worldcons: “Jim Crow, Science Fiction, and WorldCon”.

… There were less than 200 attendees. Nolacon Bulletin #2 (July 1951) lists 196 members; Harry Warner, Jr. in in his memoir of fandom in the 50s A Wealth of Fable says 183 were officially registered “and 300 or more persons were believed to be on hand at one time or another” (352).

…One highlight was a midnight showing of The Day the Earth Stood Still at the local Saenger Theater. Seating was segregated. Black attendees would have had to enter through a side door, to sit up on the balcony. Had any black science fiction fans done so, the film they watched could have stood as a metaphor for the mythic white space they found themselves in: a film of the possibilities of the future starring white people, for white people; the few non-white actors such as Rama Bai and Spencer Chan went uncredited….

… “Sectional discrimination” in 1952 was the “reverse racism” of the 2020s—a fallacy used by those who claim that efforts to combat or reverse racial discrimination are themselves a form of discrimination. Boggs’ claims break down what might be the typical white fan’s mindset of the era: philosophically displeased with Jim Crow, but unwilling to actually do anything about it….


  • July 3, 1985 – Thirty-six years ago, Back to the Future premiered. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Bob Gale and Neil Canton were the producers. It of course starred Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover. It would win the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation at ConFederation besting LadyhawkeCocoonBrazil and Enemy Mine. Critics loved it with Ebert comparing it to Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. It was a box office success being the top grossing film of the year. And audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an absolutely superb ninety-four percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 3, 1926 — William Rotsler. An artist, cartoonist, pornographer and SF author. Well that is his bio. Rotsler was a many time Hugo Award winner for Best Fan Artist and one-time Nebula Award nominee. He also won a Retro Hugo for Best Fan Artist of 1946 and was runner-up for 1951. He is responsible for giving Uhura her first name, and he wrote “Rotsler’s Rules for Costuming.” (Died 1997.)
  • Born July 3, 1927 — Ken Russell. Film director whose Altered States based off of Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay is certainly his best-remembered film. Though let’s not overlook The Lair of the White Worm he did off Bram Stoker’s novel, or The Devils, based at least in part off The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley. (Died 2011.)
  • Born July 3, 1937 — Tom Stoppard, 84. Playwright of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil (with Terry Gilliam) and Shakespeare in Love (with Marc Norman). He’s uncredited but openly acknowledged by Spielberg for his work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Born July 3, 1943 — Kurtwood Smith, 78. Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and voiced Kanjar Ro in the most excellent Green Lantern: First Flight. He’s got series appearances on Blue ThunderThe Terrible Thunderlizards (no, I’ve no idea what it is), The X-FilesStar Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek: VoyagerMen in Black: The Series3rd Rock from the SunTodd McFarlane’s SpawnJustice LeagueBatman BeyondGreen Lantern, Beware the Batman, Agent Carter and Star Trek: Lower Decks. His latest genre role was Old Man Miller on the Netflix series Jupiter’s Legacy.
  • Born July 3, 1946 — Michael Shea. Shea’s first novel, A Quest for Simbilis was  an authorized sequel to the first two Jack Vance’s Dying Earth novels. Vance was offered a share of the advance but declined it. (It was declared non-canon when the next novels in the series were written by Vance.) A decade, he’d win a World Fantasy Award for his Nifft the Lean novel, and a second twenty years later for a novella, “The Growlimb.” (Died 2014.)
  • Born July 3, 1948 — Marc Okrand, 73. A linguist in Native American languages who’s  the creator of the Klingon language. He first applied it by dubbing in Vulcan language dialogue for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and then was involved in the Search for SpockThe Final FrontierThe Undiscovered Country, and the both rebooted Trek films. Later he developed the language for the Kelpien race in the second season of Discovery.
  • Born July 3, 1962 — Tom Cruise, 59. His first genre role was as Jack in Legend. Next up was Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire followed by being Ethan Hunt in the first of many excellent Mission Impossible films. Then he was John Anderton in Minority Report followed by Ray Ferrier in War of The Worlds. I’ve not see him as Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow so I’ve no idea how good he or the film is. Alas he was Nick Morton in, oh god, The Mummy
  • Born July 3, 1964 — Payton Reed, 57. Did you know there was A Back to the Future TV series? Well there was and he directed it back in 1991. It was animated and only Christopher Lloyd was involved as a voice actor. He went on to much later direct Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp and the forthcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He directed two episodes of The Mandalorian

(9) STAND UP GUY. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] From 2017, a full cast audio adaptation of the short story “Waterfront Fists” by Robert E. Howard, performed by a group called the Violet Crown Radio Players. This is not an SFF story, but one of the Sailor Steve Costigan stories about the adventures of a not very smart boxing sailor and his faithful bulldog (Howard wrote more Costigan stories than he ever wrote Conan stories), but very nicely done. Hosted by The Cromcast, a Weird Fiction Podcast: “The VCRP Present Waterfront Fists!”

(10) STONE SOUP. Sarah Gailey’s “Building Beyond” writing prompt “Optimus Prime Time” brings her together with Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers and Julian Stuart to play with this idea —

The AI uprising has come and gone and after a brief period of discomfort, we’re all mostly pretty cool with each other at this point. There’s a television network that is strictly dedicated to entertainment by robots, for robots.

(11) YOUNG RAY HARRYHAUSEN. First Fandom Experience remembers when “Ray Harryhausen Released the Kraken in 1938”. They show the creature’s evolution from Harryhausen’s fanzine art to the movie Clash of Titans.

The Kraken debuts

More from Harryhausen’s conversation with David Kyle:

“In the mid-1930s when I was still in high school, Forry told me about the little brown room in Clifton’s Cafeteria where the Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League would meet every Thursday. Members included Russ Hodgkins, Morojo, and T. Bruce Yerke. Robert Heinlein used to come around, and a guy named Bradbury. We were a group who liked the unusual. There was a fellow named Walt Daugherty, who was an anthropologist by trade, and a photographer. He would make presentations about Egyptology. Another young fellow named Ray Bradbury would arrive wearing roller skates. After selling newspapers on the street corner he would skate to meetings because he had no money. He used to go meet the stars at the Hollywood Theater where they did weekly radio broadcasts. Ray was writing for Forry’s magazine called Imagination. I did one of the covers for an issue, which was mimeographed.”…

(12) VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES. Anna J Walner has two books in The Uluru Legacy Series, the first out in June, the second coming in November.

Anna J. Walner

A girl in search of her family finds more than she ever dreamed possible. Blending myth with reality, this award-winning debut provides a truly unique and realistic spin on the genre you love.
Enter a world hidden to human eyes for over three centuries. A safe haven for both Vampire and Werewolf. She’ll become something she never thought existed, agree to things she never thought she would, and find a life worth dying for.

In Garkain:

Amelia’s journey to find the truth behind her adoption twenty-five years ago, might end up being just a quick tour around the sights and a visit with her biological family.

Or it could reveal a more mysterious and shocking history to her lineage than she thought possible. The realization that vampires and werewolves have existed all along in secret. A place called The Colony.

Amelia realizes she must make a choice. Join The Colony and her family, or literally be made to forget they ever existed in the first place.

The thrilling debut of The Uluru Legacy Series will change the vampire and werewolf rulebook. Blending myth with reality, it provides a truly unique and realistic spin on the genre you love.

In Larougo —

While some questions will be answered, more will be raised. As new truths come to light, and new evils make themselves known, not everyone will survive.

The vision for a new Colony is at stake as Amelia and Roan discover they’re part of something even larger than they thought.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Mind Matters says about Sarah Gross’ short film Boléro:

The theme is very topical indeed: Ending crime on the part of private citizens via total surveillance (in this case via a sort of enhanced telepathy) results in unlimited crime on the part of the government. 

The synopsis continues:

In a future where telepaths are used by the government to monitor the public and root out insurgents, Maya, a non-speaking teen, witnesses her father’s brutal and unjust execution. Set on a path of revenge and destruction, Maya joins the Resistance, hellbent on tracking down Reader 8, the telepath responsible for her father’s death. However, when Maya finally locates her target after years of searching, she is confronted with a choice: either capture Reader 8 and deliver essential intelligence to the Resistance or take him out and fulfill her vengeful quest.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, Alan Baumler, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

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40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/3/21 Neunundneunzig Scrollballons

  1. First among equals. (Quoting Thursday Next)

    (4) ROBOHOP. I’m firmly and happily convinced that Chambers can do no wrong when it comes to writing most excellent fiction. Nothing I’ve read by her is is less than superb.

  2. (8) For Michael Shea fans, his novel Mr. Cannyharme: A Novel of Lovecraftian Terror is scheduled from Hippocampus Press this August. This is probably the last book from this outstanding author, gone too soon.

    (4) I second Cat, a new Becky Chambers book is always good news.

  3. Roger says For Michael Shea fans, his novel Mr. Cannyharme: A Novel of Lovecraftian Terror is scheduled from Hippocampus Press this August. This is probably the last book from this outstanding author, gone too soon.

    So it’s a forty year old trunk novel? Interesting. Any idea why it wasn’t published back then?

  4. Back in the day, Bill Rotsler somehow got a look at my fanzine (on paper! Remember those?) and thought my artwork could use some punching up. So he sent me a letter and enclosed a few quick doodles (only one of which didn’t fit the PG rating).

    I’ve no idea how he laid eyes on the zine; it had very limited distribution even as those things go, and I don’t think I’d met him IRL by then (who remembers all the details of the early 80’s?), but nevertheless I wrote him a thankful reply and used the cartoons.

    Thy shoes shall match thy costume!

  5. 7) Thanks for the reminder. It’s time to pull out the DVD box set and watch the trilogy again.

  6. (8) Cat, per the Hippocampus Press website, Linda Shea wrote a forward to Mr. Cannyharme. Hopefully that will shed light on the book’s delayed publication.

  7. (7) If you like Ryan George’s Pitch Meetings, BTTF is partially responsible – George was inspired to do the pitch meetings by John Mulaney’s BTTF standup bit

  8. Meredith moment: Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel is available from the usual suspects for a rather reasonable three dollars and ninety nine cents. It’s also a rather wonderful audiobook which I’m listening to now.

  9. I survived the last couple of days. I look forward to excellent reading and listening, including A Psalm for the Wild-Built.

    I have an excellent dog in sight, whom I will meet soon. Alas, she is likely pregnant (bred two weeks ago, and they won’t know for sure for another week), resulting in an unfortunate delay. But if things work out when I meet her, I will at least know what dog I am waiting for. And she’s from a breeder whom I’ll be downright honored to have a dog from. She and her partner are dog crazy in all the right ways.

    Also, hopefully these last few days have taught me that sometimes, you just take the damn meds you were given for crisis situations, even though it feels like Being Weak, and Morally Suspect.

  10. Los Carey says Also, hopefully these last few days have taught me that sometimes, you just take the damn meds you were given for crisis situations, even though it feels like Being Weak, and Morally Suspect.

    I never feel “Being Weak, and Morally Suspect” about taking my meds as ordered by my long time NP and friend Jenner. Right now, the anti-seizure meds she has me on are doing wonders at keeping both my headache decent and the seizures manageable. Meds are just one takes after awhile. And you shouldn’t feel bad either.

  11. 1) As a Marylander who just moved into Northern Virginia, I couldn’t help but notice that the Lovecraft County: Supremacy map very carefully put NoVa in the Whitelands. I note this without comment.

  12. Lis: Also, hopefully these last few days have taught me that sometimes, you just take the damn meds you were given for crisis situations, even though it feels like Being Weak, and Morally Suspect.

    Seconding what Cat said: Your brain is part of your body, and just like any other part of your body, it can malfunction sometimes. Taking medication to correct or mitigate something that’s gone wrong in your brain is no different from taking medication to address an issue with your knee joint or your liver.

    And I hope things work out with the potential new dog!

  13. An urge to write an essay on a story not at hand came to an expensive trip to Dickson Street Books last week to pick up Poul Anderson’s Winners. The front page:

    Each of the two novellas (short novels) and three novelettes in this volume is the recipient of the Hugo Award of the World Science Fiction Organization.

    What more is there to be said?

    I surely enjoyed getting reacquainted with these, and with making the acquaintance of a second book by Melissa Scott, Mighty Good Road. Her books move very fast, if my first two are typical! This wasn’t quite as good as Burning Bright, but that book is exceptional. I’m picking up the next one I see by her. Or two. Or three.

    I’ve been thumbing the Erdös bio with disappointment: So much extraneous material, so few equations. As yet unknown quantities include Corrupting Dr. Nice by John Kessel, Mall World by Somtow Sucharitkul (with a nice back-cover blurb from Fritz Leiber!), and The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett.

    Where to go next?

  14. John Winkelman says I try to watch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at least once a year. I love how Stoppard writes dialog.

    And the dialogue in Shakespeare in Love is quite delicious to hear. He’s truly a master at crafting memorable dialog.

  15. Hugo Reading: Was a bit confused by the beginning of Piranesi, but ultimately I enjoyed the novel. The whole thing reminded me a bit of Umberto Eco.

    Network Effect was a thoroughly delightful romp, and though there are certainly serious questions of identity, free will, and exploitation raised, this should have plenty of appeal for fans of traditional, nutty nuggets, SFF.

    I’m at the point of putting aside Harrow the Ninth for the time being, if not outright giving up on it. I was not a huge fan of the Gideon the Ninth universe last year — I had enough death to deal with in actual life without walking over a carpet of crunchy skeletons in fiction — but the story was fairly coherent and compelling. But Harrow so far seems to have thrown that universe into a narrative blender. It’s like a skipping CD player with the greatest hits of The Cure on endless repeat. Probably best if I try something else first.

  16. @John A. Arkansawyer:

    As yet unknown quantities include Corrupting Dr. Nice by John Kessel, Mall World by Somtow Sucharitkul (with a nice back-cover blurb from Fritz Leiber!)

    Corrupting Dr. Nice is a 1930s screwball comedy with dinosaurs and time travel – I liked it. I think I read all the Mallworld stories when they first appeared in Asimovs in the 1980s. I liked them then.

  17. I liked Piranesi a lot — I got vibes of both Gormenghast and George MacDonald’s Phantastes at various times.

  18. Random thought: Given how much people seem to like shortened terms for things (sci-fi, milsf, litsf, etc., etc.) , why isn’t there a common shortened term for Space Opera? I suppose SO is ambiguous, but is spop just too silly? 🙂

  19. @Xtifr: An answer may be in your list! Other than science fiction (four syllables, fourteen letters), the rest are references to science fiction, which compacts nicely to sf. Space Opera (four or three syllables, ten letters) doesn’t compress that way. It is already half as compressed as sci-fi (five letters for ten).

    Who abbreviates May–March, even?

    Come to think of it one compresses the embers and the uarys, which are painfully redundant. Not March and May, June and July, April and August.

  20. Soon Lee says SPACE OPERA is so GRAND, it will not be abbreviated!

    Indeed it is. Isn’t it the oldest sub-genre of SF? I think it is.

    Now listening to Alasdair Reynold’s Absolution Gap which is one fine space opera.

  21. In addition to being grand, “space opera” is also becoming as vague as “science fiction” as a term. Kinda like “cyberpunk” in the 90s.

    There was a time when the enderverse books were labeled as cyberpunk. I suppose Ender’s Game is kiiiiiinda cyberpunk. Ish.

    Recently, I’ve heard people referring to The Martian as space opera. I mean, I guess, if you don’t care whether the term “space opera” is reliable as a term.

    I’ve always preferred the phrase “crazy ass space shit” over “space opera” myself. No vagueness there. That covers Barry Bayley, anyway.

    Anyway. I preferred Peggy Sue Got Married to BTTF when I was a teenager. I haven’t reviewed either in the intervening years, but my recommendation stands. I never saw BTTF 2, but I did enjoy BTTF 3. A long time ago.

    I am saddened that Nifft is OOP again. Subterranean or Easton or somebody ought to put that out in something luxe.

  22. Brown Robin says I am saddened that Nifft is OOP again. Subterranean or Easton or somebody ought to put that out in something luxe.

    I’d settle for an ePub given that the used paperbacks are going for at least eighty bucks right now with a few really overly optimistic sellers thinking they’re going to get nearly a thousand for a copy.

  23. I thought Linda Shea (Michael Shea’s wife) said at one point that she was working on getting his stuff back into print in eBook form, but that hasn’t happened yet. Centipede Press did a very nice hardcover edition of Nifft the Lean a few years back (and is, I hope, working on the other Nifft books as well), but it’s long since sold out, of course.

    A used copy of Nifft the Lean (the original DAW paperback) was the first thing I ever purchased at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Book Shop back in, oh, it must’ve been the fall of 1990.

  24. I’ve not see him as Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow so I’ve no idea how good he or the film is

    I like Edge of Tomorrow a lot, and although Cruise isn’t the best actor in it (that would be Emily Blunt or, very briefly, Brendan Gleeson), he was perfectly cast. The role isn’t supposed to be an actual steely action hero or resourceful go-getter, but a weaselly guy who pretends to be one, so they make good use of Cruise’s ’80s Hollywood persona while also deflating it. I also have a theory that he’s best when his character is maimed in some way (either physically as in Born on the Fourth of July or Minority Report, or morally as in Magnolia)… and here they basically melt off his pretty face in close-up the first time Cage dies.

  25. Cat Eldridge wrote: “I’d settle for an ePub given that the used paperbacks are going for at least eighty bucks right now with a few really overly optimistic sellers thinking they’re going to get nearly a thousand for a copy.”

    About 15 years ago, I purchased a pristine DAW copy from a seller on abe in Canada for 12 bucks. I wish I’d held on to it. Who knew?

    Also, I’ll belatedly second the recommendation on Kessel’s Dr Nice. Solid time travel/alternate reality screwball comedy. Lots to ponder, plenty of fun. It’s about time I reread it, tbh, but I should read Kessel’s recent Lunar novel first. His Stories for Men is one of the underappreciated works of this century. IMO, natch.

    I agree on Edge of Tomorrow. Blunt is terrif, and it is a weird thrill to see Cruise slaughtered over and over with such brio and panache. I think Cruise is underrated as a performer. And he knows what we think of him, I’m sure of it. He may be the best exemplar of his faith, believe it or not.

  26. About Tom Cruise. I like some of his later movies. Edge of Tomorrow, of course. And even though he doesn’t match what Jack Reacher is supposed to look like, I think he is well suited to playing that kind of laconic character, one where the clouds occasionally part to show his emotional interior — without having to follow it up with acting that’s beyond his scope.

  27. @microtherion Hugo Reading: Was a bit confused by the beginning of Piranesi, but ultimately I enjoyed the novel. The whole thing reminded me a bit of Umberto Eco. Oh, dear. I thought JS&MN was plodding and pedestrian, and I got so bored with Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum that I eventually put it down and literally forgot to finish it.

    This does not bode well for Piranesi

  28. @Cassy B.
    FWIW, I found Piranesi very different from JS&MN, a lot less ornate. It read quick and clean and stark. I really liked it.

  29. Cassy B.: thought JS&MN was plodding and pedestrian, and I got so bored with Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum that I eventually put it down and literally forgot to finish it. This does not bode well for Piranesi…

    I DNFed JS&MN hard… twice. But I thought Piranesi was okay (not okay enough that it should be on the Hugo ballot, but that’s another matter). It’s a weird one. But it’s only 60,000 words, so it’s a quick read.

  30. @Cassy B

    I got so bored with Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum that I eventually put it down and literally forgot to finish it.

    I was thinking more of earlier Eco, when he was writing a bit more… economically.
    As others have noted, one of the undoubtable merits of Piranesi is that it’s fairly short for a novel, so whether the style ultimately suits you or not, it’s not an endless slog.

  31. The first chapter of Piranesi is strange and i didn’t immediately warm to it. It’s the start of something that becomes wonderful, though.

    And yes, it is short.

  32. I do have a question about Corrupting Dr. Nice, one that’s enough of a spoiler to ROT-13 it: Ubj qvq gur qbt trg vagb gur jebat pengr naq guhf trg iragvyngrq qhevat gur envq? Tra pyrneyl guvaxf gb urefrys gung gur qvabfnhe vf va gur pengr. I re-read the relevant sections several times and still don’t get it.

  33. I forced myself through Foucault’s Pendulum. I guess a couple of my relatives thought I must be an Eco fan and so the following Christmas a received not one but two copies of The Island Of The Day Before. I gave up during the first chapter.

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