Pixel Scroll 7/8/18 My Friend, Can Your Heart Stand The Shocking Facts Of Pixel Scrollers From Outer Space?

(1) CASH THEFT AT MONTREAL COMIC CON. Peter Chiykowski, creator of Rock, Paper, Cynic, told fans that thieves took over $1,000 from his booth at Montreal Comic Con on July 7. He has written a long post on Facebook about the theft, its toxic emotional impact on him, plus a full description of the three perpetrators, who have hit other vendors, too.

Peter Chiykowski and Husein Panju at Montreal Comic Con booth.

Yesterday an organized group of thieves stole about $1,000 cash from my booth at comic con. (Fellow vendors: details at the bottom about how to recognize them and fight back.)

I’m feeling a lot of things right now. Angry. Hurt. Defeated. Spiteful. Grateful to all the people who helped me in the aftermath, including friends and fellow vendors and comic con staff.

…They stole $1,000 in 30 seconds.

I was one of about 4 booths they hit in an hour. I seem to have been hit the hardest. Apparently this is the 3rd con they’ve done this at.

This year has been personally terrible for me. There’s been a lot going in my personal and professional life that I haven’t discussed and that has made this by far the low point and most difficult and financially strained year of my career. On the way to this show I was very seriously questioning if I want to keep doing this.

I can’t help feel like yesterday was a sign. A big fuck you, because no matter how hard I work, there will always be shitty people who can take it away.

I am going to move on from this, because I have to move on from this, and in the grand scheme of my life, $1,000 is far from the biggest thing I’ve lost….

Rodney Valerio has set up a fundraiser with the goal of replacing the thousand dollars that was taken: “Peter’s Rock, Paper, Cyncic Dream”.

(2) SMOFCON SCHOLARSHIPS OFFERED. CanSMOF Inc. is taking applications for three scholarships for convention runners to be used towards the cost of attending SMOFcon 36, to be held in Santa Rosa, CA, November 30-December 2, 2018. SMOFCon is the annual convention about organizing Science Fiction conventions.

  • The first Scholarship of up to 500 CAD is open to a Canadian citizen or resident involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.
  • The second scholarship of up to 1000 CAD is open to anyone not residing in North America, involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.
  • The third scholarship of up to 500 CAD is open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

Preference will be given to fans who have not previously attended a SMOFCon, but this is not necessary to be an applicant. The submission deadline is September 9.

To apply for a scholarship, follow this link: https://goo.gl/forms/4rNPJbZ7f2Vx1NMJ2

(3) KEPLER NEARS RETIREMENT. On July 6, NASA announced that they have put the Kepler space observatory in a “no-fuel-use safe mode” in preparation for downloading data from what may have been the final Kepler observational campaign. Kepler has been very successful at finding exoplanets (both confirmed and candidates) since commissioning in 2009. After 2 of the 4 reaction wheels failed (the second in 2013), the mission was replanned to use thrusters as well as the remaining reaction wheels to point the telescope. Now, however, thruster fuel is critically low. NASA currently “expects it to run out of fuel in the next few months.”

NASA plans to take Kepler out of safe mode on August 2. It will then be commanded to reorient and point its high-gain antenna at Earth so data currently stored onboard can be downloaded. This reorientation maneuver uses significantly more fuel than observation mode and NASA notes that, “Returning the data back to Earth is the highest priority for the remaining fuel.” If the download is successful, NASA will command one more observation campaign (the 19th), to begin 6 August.

(4) WONDER WOMAN DROPS BY. Syfy Wire, in “’Wonder’-ful surprise: Gal Gadot visited a children’s hospital in her full Wonder Woman costume”, reports Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot made a surprise appearance at Inova Children’s Hospital in Annandale VA on Friday 6 July… in her full battle armor costume.

Surgeon Dr. Lucas Collazo posted a photo to his Twitter account of Gadot posing with nearly a score of staff members and thanking her for brightening the day of many of the children (and staff).

Other pics were posted on Twitter (@WonderWomanHQ) and on Reddit (/u/oligarchyoligarchy). Gadot was apparently in the area while shooting Wonder Woman 1984, the upcoming sequel.

(5) PREMIERE. The Verge posted an excerpt of Rich Larson’s debut novel from Orbit: “A transgender girl rises up against alien invaders in Rich Larson’s novel Annex”. Previous work from Larson includes short genre fiction in Apex Magazine, in Clarkesworld Magazine, at Daily Science Fiction, on Tor.com, and in the anthology War Stories: New Military Science Fiction.

Later this month, Rich Larson will publish his debut novel, Annex, the start to his Violet Wars trilogy. The book is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion, and follows Violet, a transgender girl who has escaped capture and discovered that an alien parasite has given her strange powers. The aliens have tagged the adults of the world with a device that leaves them in a zombie-like state. She and a group of children called “Lost Boys” struggle to survive in order to take the fight back to the otherworldly invaders.

(6) SF V. LITERATURE. Gautham Shenoy interviews Adam Roberts in his 100th sff column for Factor Daily: “‘We’re Winning the War’: A Q&A with SF writer, critic and historian, Adam Roberts”.

Shenoy: I remember a few years ago, Kim Stanley Robinson angrily (I’d presume) calling the judges of the Man Booker Prize ignorant for ignoring science fiction, singling you out as the author who should’ve won that year, for your book, Yellow Blue Tibia. How did that make you feel? Which leads me to the second part of this question, where do you stand on this ‘literary apartheid’ if I can call it as such, where the ‘literary establishment’ tends to ignore if not sneer at ‘low brow’ science fiction, which in turn one could say has become ghettoised.

Roberts: Stan was being kind (really, incredibly kind and flattering) rather than wholly accurate when he said that. I’m never going to win the Man Booker, and I’m content with that. By the same token, I wonder if the ghetto doesn’t figure the opposite way to how it’s often invoked. It’s not that SFF is a ghetto inside the glorious city of ‘Literary Fiction’, but the reverse. “Literary” novels sell abominably badly, by and large; popular culture in the main belongs to SF and Fantasy, eighteen of the top twenty highest grossing movies of all time are SFF, everybody recognises SFF icons and memes, and not only popular bestsellers like Andy Weir’s The Martian but the best in contemporary experimental fiction is now SF. Nicola Barker’s Goldsmith’s Prize-winning H(a)ppy is SF; Kim Stanley Robinson’s own New York 2140 is as stylistically and formally innovative as Dos Passos, and so on. We’re winning the war.

(7) NEWS TO ME. Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research is “a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary academic journal published by the The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research.”

Fafnir aims at serving as an international forum for scholarly exchange on science fiction and fantasy and for discussion on current issues on the field. Fafnir welcomes contributions from a wide range of perspectives.

(8) TRIBUTE TO DITKO. Sam Thielman, in “Steve Ditko’s Genius Made Him Something He Disdained–A Beloved Celebrity” in The Daily Beast, offers an appreciation of Ditko, and explains that many comics fans made the trip to 1650 Broadway, Suite 715 (an address that was in the phone book) only to find that Ditko refused to give interviews to anyone, including Neil Gaiman, who left Ditko’s office with a bag of comics and no interview.

For this beloved artist, the focus was entirely on his work, and he wanted other people’s focus there, too. “I never talk about myself,” he said when his own editors asked for a promotional interview after he’d created a new character, The Creeper, for DC Comics in 1974. “My work is me. I do my best, and if I like it, I hope somebody else likes it too.”

Pretty much everybody else did like it. There is a peculiar grammar to comics, a way that one panel suggests the next panel, that is ephemeral and hard to learn; some people intuitively understand it and reading their comics is like watching actual movement. Ditko is their patron saint.

(9) VANZINA OBIT. Carlo Vanzina (1951 – 2018): Italian screenwriter and director, died July 8, aged 67. Often collaborated with his brother Enrico. Genre work included Nothing Underneath (1985), A spasso nel tempo (1996), A spasso nel tempo – L’avventura continua (1997), 2061: Un anno eccezionale (2007).


  • Why are UFO sightings down? Mike Kennedy learned the answer in Brewster Rockit.

(11) SHE LIGHTS UP THEIR LIVES. Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post reports on a forthcoming concert by Hatsume Miku, who is a hologram (her name means “first sound of the future” whose manga-loving fans have composed 100,000 songs in at least five languages for her, some of which have gotten 25 million hits on YouTube. “This singer is part hologram, part avatar, and might be the pop star of the future”.

When Japanese pop idol Hatsune Miku makes her Washington debut at the Anthem on Thursday, fans will be asked to use the official glow sticks for sale at the show instead of the regular brighter ones. The thing is, if too much light shines from the audience, Miku might simply disappear.

That’s because Miku is a hologram — at least when she performs in concert, backed by a quartet of flesh-and-blood musicians. She’s also an anime character, a video-game avatar, a bundle of sophisticated “vocaloid” code and a fascinating experiment in crowd-sourced pop art.

(12) AN INCREDIBLE NUMBER. ComicBook.com has pointed out that Incredibles 2 is about to set a record—the highest domestic gross for an animated film. According to BoxOfficeMojo’s Domestic Gross table, as of 5 July 2018, I2 was sitting at $475,361,414 (and #13 overall for all films), just behind Finding Dory at $486,295,561.

On the other hand, I2 would have a long way to go to gain the same distinction internationally. On BoxOfficeMojo’s Worldwide Gross chart, Frozen is the highest ranked animated film (#12 overall; $1,276.5 million) while I2 is way down the rank (#109 overall; $693.4 million). Animated films between them include Up (#96), Monsters University (#94), Madagascar 3 (#91), Shrek Forever After (#89), Maleficent (#85), Shrek the Third (#74), Coco (#73), Inside Out (#63), The Secret Life of Pets (#57), Ice Age: Continental Drift (#56),  Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (#52),  Shrek 2 (#49), Finding Nemo (#45), The Lion King (#38), Despicable Me 2 (#37), Zootopia (#32), Finding Dory (#29), Despicable Me 3 (#27), Toy Story 3 (#23), and Minions (#16).

Of course, when adjusting Domestic Gross for inflation, no animated film can beat out Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (#10 overall) or even 101 Dalmatians (#12 overall). And those two films together don’t add up to the inflation adjusted Domestic Gross for #1 Gone with the Wind. [Item penned by  Mike Kennedy.]

(13) SDCC PROGRAM. Comic-Con has released its program. They’ve finally found something for all the Hollywood lawyers to do.

(14) ELLISON TRIBUTE AT SDCC. San Diego’s Comic-Con International also will host a panel discussion about the late Harlan Ellison on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Room 6DE.

Josh Olson, Bill Sienkiewicz, William Stout, Erik Nelson, Steve Barnes, Nat Segaloff, Jude Meyers, Scott Tipton, J. K. Woodward, Christine Valada, Jason Davis will honor the memory of Harlan Ellison and the lasting effects of his work.

(15) PIERS ANTHONY ON ELLISON. Piers Anthony devotes a long section of his latest Newsletter to reminiscing about Ellison.

Yet there are limits. When Harlan made comments that could be dangerous to my career, I wrote to him privately saying in essence that I did not want trouble with him, as we were on the same side in so many cases, but if he repeated some of the things in print I would have to take legal action to protect my reputation. He was dismayed, listing three things that I should have said and had not. I replied by quoting all three things from the first page of my letter. Again he had accused me without cause. It was apparent that he was incorrigible, simply not capable of getting such things straight; he was a loose cannon, possibly more dangerous to friends than to enemies. Strike Three. I decided to disengage. “Fare well, Harlan,” I wrote, and cut him off.

[Thanks to Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Lipitak, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

103 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/8/18 My Friend, Can Your Heart Stand The Shocking Facts Of Pixel Scrollers From Outer Space?

  1. I am about 140 pages into The Way of Kings and have to say that Shallan’s segments are the only reason I am still reading. The war chapters are just tedious. And the fact that the first 50 pages involve a parade of characters who we barely get to know before they die, with seemingly no relation to later chapters, does not help.

    I can see why video gamers might really enjoy this. But it’s almost all elaborate worldbuilding, and action which is seemingly unrelated to an actual plot, with very little depth of character development. If I didn’t happen to know that this was the same author who wrote The Emperor’s Soul, Mistborn, and the last 3 books of The Wheel of Time, I would never have been able to guess it.

  2. 1) I’ve shared Peter’s post into a Facebook group for fan/comic convention vendors. I doubt that a group as professional as the one described is going to limit themselves to one convention.

    6) That’s an interesting way of framing it. Of course, there’s more to literary value than sales and popularity, as we have said here before in other contexts. *cough*Twilight*cough*

  3. @JJ

    It does take a loooong time to get going, but I did quite enjoy it by the end (while simultaneously wondering why it couldn’t have been half the length). Shallan is the best character but sadly Sanderson doesn’t seem to realise that so we don’t get enough of her.

  4. (13) I can’t wait to see how the “remake TLJ” clique will react to this. On the one hand, it’s criticism of TLJ… but on the other, it’s literally putting this trilogy’s next-gen manly pale dude* on trial for insubordination against Da Wimminz.

    * Yes, I know Oscar Isaac’s Latino. Poe’s still the closest thing this trilogy’s new generation of heroes has to White Male representation, and there’s a lot of “Poe was right!” chatter out there amongst the hater/remaker crowd.

  5. Rev. Bob: On the one hand, it’s criticism of TLJ

    I don’t think it’s a criticism of TLJ, it’s an endorsement of it.

    So yes, it will definitely rev up the fanboyz.

  6. Leia and Holdo should simply have shot Poe in the opening reel. That’s what the Rebellion we saw in Rogue One would have done.

    Instead the girls were all “Isn’t he a loveable scoundrel?”, so he did it again and got them all killed.

    My dream plot for the next episode: Darth Emo kills Poe, Rey kills him, then she marries Chewie and they Rule The Galaxy Together.

  7. @Niall:

    Or, for a plot that would really make the haters’ heads explode…

    Poe gets kicked out of the Rebellion, seduces Kylo over to his side, and they quit the war to see what Lando’s been up to. Rose and Finn get their freak on in between battles with the First Order. Chewie activates the Rebellion’s deepest-cover agent, known only as Binks, who sneaks him onto the FO flagship. Chewie rips Hux’s arms out of their sockets, sets the FO flagship’s autopilot for a collision course with whatever their new superweapon is, and Binks stays behind to man the controls in case of any last-minute problems as Chewie departs in a shuttlecraft. Binks dies heroically in the collision. As for Rey, she memorizes the Jedi texts, becomes a master under Yoda’s tutelage, and founds a new order of Force users. Her worth comes from within, not from hooking up with some dude.

  8. @JJ yeah, only another 800 pages until things sort of pick up on the war plot, and the majority of those without any Shallan at all…

    (If I recall correctly, Kaladin is about to fcraq frireny uhaqerq cntrf hapbirevat n Ovt! Frperg! bs gur jne fgengrtl gung gur ernqre nyernql unq rkcynvarq gb gurz guebhtu nabgure CBI. What even is that book.)

    I just finished my BDP Long viewing yesterday with Get Out, and I thought it was *fantastic*. I went in with very little idea about the plot beyond “creepy white neighbourhood meets mixed race couple”, and I think that added a lot to my viewing experience, so I won’t say any more except that it was SUCH a smart, self-aware film packed with moments of dark humour and narrative satisfaction. I guess Star Wars is no longer at the top of my ballot now?

    On the reading front, I’m down to two remaining Related Work samples and trying to give InCryptid a fair hearing. I’ve not been very impressed by the novels, especially the ones with the older brother’s POV (I’m a quarter of the way into Pocket Apocalypse and… sigh.) They seem to dial McGuire’s “rule of fun”* plotting up to eleven, and the result too often crosses the line from “entertaining” to “eye-rolling” for me. HOWEVER I’ve also started sampling a couple of short fiction pieces and have found those to be much better and more consistent with my expectations thus far.

    *like rule of cool, but with zany asides like having your ancient, terrifying sea witch character sing Little Mermaid karaoke; or allowing your family of ultra- secretive monster hunters to take their griffins into their public workplace on a daily basis, or commute via parkour in New York without being noticed, or casually bring a family of mice into Australia after lecturing the audience on the strictness of Aussie border control rules…

  9. There was an image of the first Jedi at the temple in The Last Jedi, a Snokish being with both dark and light sides, yin and yang.

    Coming out or RotJ lo, these many years ago, I imagined that Luke had learned that the Jedi Order was wrong about everything. Release the Dark Side and no, forever will it not dominate your destiny you silly little troll.

  10. Arifel: InCryptid… [seems] to dial McGuire’s “rule of fun”* plotting up to eleven, and the result too often crosses the line from “entertaining” to “eye-rolling” for me.

    Yes, I found the pop-culture references and the witticisms too on-the-nose for my taste, which is strange considering how much I love the October Daye series.

  11. Mark-kitteh, Arifel:

    I’m at around 220 pages now. I’ve been tempted to just skip to all of the Shallan bits, but I’m concerned that would eliminate around 800 of the remaining pages. I haven’t quite got to the point of just giving up yet, but the book really needs to start getting better fast.

  12. @JJ

    I honestly can’t promise that it gets better fast.
    (Or that it gets better enough, frankly)

    Re: Incryptid – I read book one last week. My first discovery was that I’d read it before but pretty much forgotten everything, which doesn’t reflect well. It was fun and easy reading, and I’d happily read a couple more if in the mood, but I’m not sure I’m going to find it very substantial.

    It occurs to me that McGuire and Sanderson have a very similar desire to fill in All The Backstory, they just go about it in very different ways.

  13. Mark says It occurs to me that McGuire and Sanderson have a very similar desire to fill in All The Backstory, they just go about it in very different ways.

    Parts of the InCryptid series work better for me than other parts do. Her Ghost Roads series which has one book and out and the second one out soon I think as I’ve got a galley in my TBR pile tend not to be so background obsessed.

    And IIRC quite a bit of the InCryptid series started life as short stories later stitched together into novels which might explain the tendency to give more background repeatedly than needed.

    Her two (so far) Indexing novels which may or not be part of the InCryptid multiverse are a great deal of fun with their take on how and why all fairytale archetypes actually become real.

  14. @Arifel — I also really liked Get Out when I saw it (and I just picked up the 4K disc, so I’m looking forward to seeing it again). My one, minor technical complaint:

    Vs lbh jrer cerccvat gjb crbcyr sbe oenva fjnccvat fhetrel, jul jbhyq lbh unir gurz va frcnengr ebbzf? Naq jul jbhyq lbh unir gur oenva-qbabe’f fxhyy bcrarq, jura gur erpvcvrag vfa’g rira cerccrq & cebcreyl frqngrq?

    But it was still a great movie.

  15. 1) Ugh, that’s terrible. I hope they are able to identify who did this and put a stop to it. Did the con itself do anything to help out?

    6) I’d didn’t realize Roberts had written so many books: I’ve only ever seen five in stores, or even talked about online until now. He’s one of those writers where I’ve bought several of his books but haven’t gotten around to any of them yet. I’d be interested in where those sales figures come from. Box office and TV figures for sure: SFF has been dominant for years. But when I talk to my friends who work for publishers (I work closely w/ an agent & an indie publisher every day, and many of friends work for both indie and Big 5 publishers, including one SFF-specialist publisher) and here in Canada at least, Fantasy comes in behind literary, mystery, horror, and romance for sales, and science fiction comes dead last. Literary fiction is lower and SFF higher if you’re talking about ebooks only, but for print it’s not even close; literary, mystery, and romance are insanely dominant.

    Has anyone else read Zachary Mason’s Void Star? I just started it on the subway this morning and I am really, really enjoying it, but I don’t recall really hearing anything about it. I confess that I was mostly attracted to its stunning cover, but I’m very glad I picked it up. The bit that feels most “real” to me: San Francisco is now a city overrun by favelas…

  16. Re: McGuire series

    I’m pretty confident that the Indexing books are not in the InCryptid ‘verse, but one of the short stories makes it quite plain that the Ghost Roads books are… as it has the main characters interacting with each other.

  17. @August: I read Void Star and enjoyed it a lot, but not quite as much as I expected to when I was ~ halfway through: it eventually turns more or less into a thriller, and it isn’t tightly plotted enough to pull that off. (I had a few other quibbles that would be spoilery.) It is terrifically well-written all the way through; I don’t think you’ll regret the time you spend reading it.

    ETA: as calibration, halfway through I thought the comparisons to Neuromancer were apt.

  18. @Joe H Yes, I noticed that as well! V whfg ernq vg nf uhoevf ba gur cneg bs gur snzvyl, jub jrer fb pbaivaprq gurl jrer va pbageby bs gur fvghngvba gung gurl unq yvgrenyyl ab fnsrthneqf va cynpr…

  19. @Niall: “… and together, we will rule France!”

    @various: I agree that the InCryptids are rather lightweight and pop-oriented compared to October Daye; perhaps that was the intent? OTOH, the latest two, featuring the youngest sister, are a lot darker, and suggest that the older siblings are not 100% reliable narrators. I also recommended the whole series to an acquaintance dealing with too many pet mice — “They’re a pain but at least they’re not Aeslyn.”

    @August: I’m lightly stunned that “literary” fiction is ahead of all the genres, given remarks (elsewhere and Scrolled here) about how badly it sells. Are Canadians more “literate”? I’m not surprised that mystery is ahead of SFF given that there seem to be far more titles in the former, at least in the US.

  20. @Arifel — Yes, that’s a good explanation. (And I am so happy that I finally got to discuss it with someone!)

  21. I have really enjoyed most of the October Daye books, but I just couldn’t get into McGuire’s other series. And I had to give up on October Daye after the (ROT13) znva punenpgre jnf hapbafpvbhf guebhtu zbfg bs gur pyvznk bs Bapr Oebxra Snvgu, naq fb rira gur ernqref jrera’g noyr gb frr jung unccrarq.

    Vg obvyrq qbja gb, “Jura V jbxr hc, gur ceboyrzf unq svkrq gurzfryirf orpnhfr bs jung V’q qbar.” V nyzbfg guerj zl Xvaqyr npebff gur ebbz ng gung raqvat, V jnf fb znq. V ernyvmr ZpThver unf pbagenpgf gung fnl fur arrqf gb znvagnva n pregnva yriry bs bhgchg, ohg gung raqvat whfg sryg ynml naq jnf n uhtr yrgqbja sbe zr.

    My wife, on the other hand, has read all of McGuire’s novels and novellas and all of the short stories she could find (and subscribes to her Patreon and read her LiveJournal). And that includes the Mira Grant novels, too.

    Another strike for me against October Daye is that I’ve found over the years that I grow very weary of single-protagonist series. I gave up on the Dresden Files after the one with the dinosaur. I gave up on Honor Harrington after …. too many books, if I’m being completely honest. But I wasn’t reading that series alone.

    I like being able to fear for the protagonist, and when a series is “The [CHARACTER] Series” or I know an author is contracted for (X) books in the series, I just can’t take threats to the main character seriously, which greatly hurts my enjoyment of long-running series (with a rare handful of exceptions).

    My friends call this the “Invulnerable Protagonist” problem.

    McGuire held my interest with for as long as she did by menacing not Toby, but her surrounding cast. Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where I don’t fear for them, either. The side characters at this point are either plot-armored or bare sketches of characters that I don’t care enough about.

    Weber tried this with his Honor Harrington books, and just didn’t do as well as McGuire did. A few of my friends and I read a bunch of these together and it became a running gag, “Which side character from Book 4 will die in Book 5?” Because the side characters there lacked depth and/or personality.

    Yes, Butcher xvyyrq Uneel Qerfqra, ohg qvq NALBAR guvax gung vg jnf tbvat gb fgvpx?

  22. Arifel on July 9, 2018 at 3:10 am said:

    […] or casually bring a family of mice into Australia after lecturing the audience on the strictness of Aussie border control rules…

    Intelligent mice which don’t have to be transported in cages; mice which can conceal themselves in the carryon luggage–and hop out at appropriate moments. That’s not something most border control systems will be set up to handle very well. The idea of tiny contraband which can intelligently move itself is not something the system is designed to deal with. (Although drones may end up changing that in the not-too-distant future. But that future isn’t here yet.)

    There’s a later short story in which a pair of mice have to smuggle themselves into an airport and onto a plane in order to carry an important message.

    Of course, just as people have unreasonable prejudices against genre fiction, so too do people have unreasonable prejudices against humorous fiction. Comedy is hard, but the best comedy looks effortless, which makes people tend to dismiss it. I suspect that InCryptid doesn’t really have a chance because of this prejudice. Although, to be honest, I don’t plan to rank it #1 myself. But I’m certainly listing it well above Noah.

  23. @Chip Hitchcock: CanLit (as we call it) serves as both Canada’s “highbrow” literary culture and most of its pop literary culture. There is almost no mainstream pop literature here (by which I mean stuff that looks sort of like literary fiction but is actually intended to be an unchallenging airplane or beach read–there is some, but not a lot); almost that entire space is taken up by litfic. Our bestseller lists are made up of people like Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje who write slow-moving, character-heavy and plot-light poetic mediations on grief and things like that. It will sell especially well if it’s set during one of the world wars. That’s not a joke–that is our mainstream, popular literary culture here. The SFF that does best here seems to be the stuff that has one foot in that world as well. Margaret Atwood and Emily St. John Mandel are both ours, after all, and Station Eleven was an enormous mainstream hit here, to the point where I’d say it was considered only tangentially SF until it won the Clarke.

  24. @Eric: (suspense and single-protag series)

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but since you mention the series: Honor Harrington is a victim of Reichenbach Falls syndrome. I have the following info direct from Weber himself.

    Honor herself was supposed to have been killed off a few books back, with the Mesa Alignment storyline being focused on the next generation. However, there was significant resistance (I’m not clear whether it was from fans, from the publisher, or both) to the idea of killing her off, and thus she survives. This threw a good deal of his plans out of whack, requiring that the timeline be seriously compressed and many (if not all) of the major characters’ roles adjusted.

    Let me repeat that: Honor Harrington was supposed to be dead by now. Not the series, just her character. Her plot invulnerability was imposed from without, not chosen for her by the author.

  25. 1] Sorry to hear about the thefts.

    2] Monster Hunter Memoirs: Saints is the 2nd best monster hunter book across the entire series. On Monster Hunter International was better.

    3] The 5th Season was a very inexpensive audiobook so I picked it up. Low expectations but hopefully it will not be as bad as many Hugo Winners in the last 2 decades.

  26. @Rev. Bob

    I was not aware of that! Thank you!

    I got through book … ten, I think (that’s the one that came with the Honorverse CD-ROM including the previous books and a ton of other Baen Free Library books). And, honestly, it was about six books too many for my usual tastes. The pattern of “Kill the side character from an earlier book and cost Honor an easily-replaced limb” was established to the point of parody by that time.

  27. @Eric:

    The “easily-replaced limb” gambit came back to bite her hard in a later book, as did the trial in absentia from the end of the first book. The series is more intricately plotted than you may think it is…

  28. Rev. Bob I’m pretty confident that the Indexing books are not in the InCryptid ‘verse, but one of the short stories makes it quite plain that the Ghost Roads books are… as it has the main characters interacting with each other.

    The Ghost Roads get referred to in the InCryptid stories quite including family members of the narrators being routewitches and such. The Indexing stories don’t feel like they belong but we’ll see what the author does done the line.

  29. Cat Edridge, I’m 99% sure (nothing is ever 100% sure) that the Indexing books are NOT in the same universe as the InCryptid books. The whole setup is different, and there’s a vastly different feel to the way the worlds work. Both have magic-happening-under-the-mundane’s-noses-in-the-present, but that’s the only point of congruity.

    (Has the shoggoth made off with the time machine again? I seem to be stuck in 2018….)

  30. @Eric Franklin: the latest October Daye sets up with a major side character under threat of death from Toby’s spiteful mother; the plot armor (I’m going to steal that phrase) has gaping holes in it.

    @August: that certainly seems like a different reading climate from the US (although I don’t pay enough attention to mundane sales in the US to know for certain) — almost as if you had more Norwegians (whose literature is notoriously gloomy) in your makeup, or maybe just fewer people who don’t demand that their self-believed superiority be stroked at every opportunity…. My notes(*) on Void Star call it a mix of cyberpunk and PKDick (as in, I’m not sure even the author had decided what was real) — well done, I thought, but I wasn’t sure what the point was.
    (*) have to rely on my notes because that’s 109 completed books back according to my log — being retired is good for something, even if I don’t always remember what….

  31. I’d pay to watch Rev Bob’s Star Wars episode 9. Awesome.

    Toby Daye has leveled up to the point where the fey should be “shoot to kill” whenever she pops up, as she appears to now have abilities that are far out of the run of the mill for them, has bumped off many major nobility, and is just too damn powerful to be allowed to live.Especially as a half-breed, or whatever she got adjusted to for the sake of the plot this week. She’s like having a walking nuke wandering around.

    InCryotid is mostly harmless fluff. I like the mice though. Plot lines are a bit Scooby Doo so far.

  32. (12) Some of the major international markets haven’t gotten Incredibles 2 yet, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK (the World Cup may be a factor in the release pattern). So I suspect that the film has a significant amount of potential left at the worldwide box office.

  33. Joshua K. on July 9, 2018 at 1:21 pm said:
    (12) Some of the major international markets haven’t gotten Incredibles 2 yet, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK (the World Cup may be a factor in the release pattern). So I suspect that the film has a significant amount of potential left at the worldwide box office.

    Not that we’re bitter or anything, especially considering that I spent all of Saturday* at a mall to escape from the little microwave oven that is my flat, and I couldn’t even find a movie to spend a couple of cool hours watching.

    *Except a few key hours around 3 pm.

  34. There are actually two kinds of “mainstream” fiction* — highbrow literary fiction on the one hand, and fast-moving popular books set in the real world, like The Da Vinci Code, on the other. The best-sellers of both groups sell really really well, but most books in these groups sell poorly. OTOH, science fiction and fantasy will almost always sell a set amount, because there’s a solid fandom for them, and some of them (though not as many as with mainstream fiction) also sell really really well, like Game of Thrones. So if you have a book that can be either, it’s a frustrating gamble — package it as mainstream, for the possible big win, or as sf or fantasy, for the safe bet?

    Now that I think of it, this might not be true any more. It was true for most of my career, some mumblety mumble years back, but now there might be enough sf and fantasy books out there that people have enough to choose from, and so not every book is bought automatically.

    * I hate the term “mainstream.” It hasn’t been “main” for a long time — it’s just one genre among a bunch of genres. I call the first group “lit fic,” but I might be the only one.

  35. @ Lisa: No, you’re not. I’ve been using “lit-fic” for years, trying to popularize it, because we as a society need to recognize that it’s just another genre, not the ur-category from which any genre element becomes an eliminator.

  36. (the World Cup may be a factor in the release pattern)

    Probably. Ant-Man and the Wasp is also delayed in the UK, to August the 3rd, when most big films nowadays come out about the same week as the US.

    Japanese release dates are often months behind, so it’s harder to read anything into that.

  37. @Lisa Goldstein

    Yep, and when Roberts talks about literary fiction he means the high-brow stuff. Yes the cream sells well, although not as well as it did, but there is a lot which does not sell very much at all. Even well-known authors like Anne Enright (who has won the Booker) reportedly struggles to sell 9k copies in the UK. A study by the Arts Council England said selling 3k copies is not unrespectable

  38. Is Mike ok? I’m a little concerned that no pixel scroll for July 9 went up last night….

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