(1) A BOOK OWNER’S LIFE. Locus Online’s Mark R. Kelly writes a personal blog, and his newest post is a memoir, “15 Ways of Buying a Book, Part 1”.
The first books of my own, that I bought with my own money and at my own selection, were purchased through a classroom Scholastic Books catalog, in the 6th grade, that is, in 1966-1967. My family lived in Reseda, California, and I attended Vanalden Elementary School, a few blocks from our home. The school was a set of bungalows, separate structures holding two classrooms each, raised off the ground with a crawl-space below and a short set of steps up to the classroom door. A few times a year, pamphlet catalogs were passed out to all the students, listing a selection of titles and prices. We would take the catalogs home, consult with our parents, then return order forms to class with appropriate payment. The books cost 35 or 50 cents each. They were typically special Scholastic editions, short little paperbacks the size of old Ace Doubles, or larger thinner paperbacks for nonfiction. Everyone’s orders would be consolidated into a single order for the classroom, mailed in, and three or four weeks later, a big box would arrive in class and the selections eagerly distributed. (You can imagine: the box would have three copies of this book; five of these; one of this…)
Always being rather obsessive about keeping lists, I have maintained detailed purchase (and reading) records since I was 15 years old (on sheets of paper, later copied to logbooks, later copied to databases), and at some point reconstructed such lists from before that age. So I know exactly which books I bought when.
The three I remember from this 6th grade classroom source, and still have, are Martin Gardner’s Science Puzzlers, Isaac Asimov’s Environments Out There, and Howard Pease’ Mystery at Thunderbolt House. The Gardner likely reflected my interest in puzzles from that Things to Make and Things to Do volume I’ve described in that earlier post; the Asimov, a thin book about the solar system, from my recently discovered interest in astronomy. (My first interest in astronomy was seeing a stack of textbooks, called A Dipper Full of Stars, in a cabinet in my 6th grade classroom, and asking to borrow one. I’ve alluded to this in previous posts.)
(2) FINDING WAYS TO DONATE. Here’s a signal boost for JJ’s answer in comments to Tasha Turner’s wish for “a nationwide and worldwide Internet place to go and see places in need.”
One of the commenters on Greta’s blog linked to this:
DonorsChoose.org. Support a classroom. Build a future. Teachers all over the U.S. need your help to bring their classroom dreams to life. Choose a project that inspires you and give any amount.
You can also search for projects in the highest poverty areas, nearest to being completed, closest to the deadline date, a specific age/grade range, or projects in or near your current location or your hometown.
(3) UNKNOWN CHRISTMAS COMPANION. ScreenRant says who is a mystery: “Doctor Who 2016 Christmas Special Features ‘Different Guest Companion’”.
Though his newest companion, Bill (played by newcomer Pearl Mackie) has already been introduced, speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Moffatt has confirmed that her debut will be at the start of Season 10 in 2017, and the Doctor will have a different guest companion for the Christmas Special:
“We’ll introduce [Bill] in the first episode of 2017, and she’ll run through that series. She’ll not be in Christmas , because that would blow the series launch … So there’ll be somebody else – a different, guest companion – this Christmas, like how River Song played the companion role in last year’s Special.”
Of course, this now leads everyone to wonder who might join Capaldi in the TARDIS.
(4) EXEC COMMENTS ON TREK FAN FILM GUIDELINES. Axamonitor has a thorough article covering what a CBS representative has said about interpreting the new guidelines.
John Van Citters, CBS vice president of product development for CBS Consumer Products appeared on the hour-long program, Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, which was released June 28, to explain the studios’ intent behind the guidelines, why they’re guidelines instead of rules and to clarify some of the guidelines’ specific restrictions regarding run-times, audio dramas, props and costumes…..
An Arms Race
AXANAR MEETING Van Citters was one of two CBS officials who met with Axanar producer Alec Peters in August 2015, followed by a warning of possible legal action.
Van Citters observed that fan productions had spiraled into something “larger and larger,” that had become “something of an arms race about how many Hollywood names could be attached. … That’s not really in the spirit of fan fiction.”
The guidelines, by prohibiting that kind of competition for involving industry professionals, level the playing field for newer and smaller fan productions, he added.
Not the End of Fan Films
Van Citters disputed some characterizations of the guidelines as a means to end fan films. Instead, he said they mark the first time a major copyright holder has ever given any guidelines for unfettered use of a major piece of its intellectual property with just guidelines.
He noted that while the guidelines’ restrictions may seem counterintuitive, they are meant to protect fan films for the long term, and to “cure some abuses that have been out there, and to refocus this around the fan experience … and around creating more stories rather than this kind of arms race about talent and fundraising.”
(5) PACKING IRON. Richard Foss is quoted in KCET’s story about “The Culinary Historians of Southern California”.
With the Cook Bear as their mascot–the only other place he has appeared is in the Pan-Pacific Cookbook published in 1915–CHSC keeps to their mission statement, “Dedicated to pursuing food history and supporting culinary collections at the Los Angeles Public Library”, by taking the money raised from membership dues ($30 a year), fundraising dinners and regular cookbook sales (typically after the events) and giving it to the library. To date the group has donated over $100,000…..
Special Events Chair Richard Foss, who also lectures regularly on a variety of food history topics, sees interest in the subject growing. “The Culinary Historians of Southern California is a club for anyone with any level of interest in food and food history,” said Foss, a journalist, food historian, and author of two books, “Rum: A Global History” and “Food in The Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies”. “It’s as much about anthropology as it is about history and it’s really about food as a transmittor of cultural values.”
(6) HOWARD AWARDS. Black Gate has the winners of the 2016 Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards, announced in June at the REH Days celebration in Cross Plains, Texas.
(7) COSTUMERS AHOY! Costume-Con 36 (2018) in San Diego has picked its hotel and set a date. The con will take place May 11-14, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Mission Valley. The hotel is adjacent to the Hazard Center Mall (which offers several restaurant options) and it is across the street from the San Diego Trolley.
(8) TOLKIEN AT WAR. On the anniversary of the first day of the Somme, Joseph Loconte muses about “How J.R.R. Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front”. Loconte’s book A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918 was released a year ago.
IN the summer of 1916, a young Oxford academic embarked for France as a second lieutenant in the British Expeditionary Force. The Great War, as World War I was known, was only half-done, but already its industrial carnage had no parallel in European history.
“Junior officers were being killed off, a dozen a minute,” recalled J. R. R. Tolkien. “Parting from my wife,” he wrote, doubting that he would survive the trenches, “was like a death.”
The 24-year-old Tolkien arrived in time to take part in the Battle of the Somme, a campaign intended to break the stalemate between the Allies and Central Powers. It did not.
The first day of the battle, July 1, produced a frenzy of bloodletting. Unaware that its artillery had failed to obliterate the German dugouts, the British Army rushed to slaughter.
Before nightfall, 19,240 British soldiers — Prime Minister David Lloyd George called them “the choicest and best of our young manhood” — lay dead. That day, 100 years ago, remains the most lethal in Britain’s military history.
Though the debt is largely overlooked, Tolkien’s supreme literary achievement, “The Lord of the Rings,” owes a great deal to his experience at the Somme. Reaching the front shortly after the offensive began, Tolkien served for four months as a battalion signals officer with the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers in the Picardy region of France.
(9) TRACKING MALZBERG’S COLUMN. Mike Resnick wanted to be sure I understood what really happened:
I’m told that File 770 ran a piece saying that Galaxy’s Edge, the magazine I edit, had pulled Malzberg’s column on Judy Merril due to protests. Nope. We pulled the entire May-June issue in which it appeared at the end of June 30, so we could post the July-August issue on our web page on July 1 (today). This has been our practice since the first issue, 4 years ago. Anyone who wants to read the May-June 2016 issue (#20) is welcome to buy it in epub, .mobi, or paper. Honest.
Thanks to a commenter here, I had already posted the correction by the time Mike reached out to me on Facebook. However, I’m happy to repeat the explanation and clear up the impression created by yesterday’s report.
(10) MALZBERG READERS. Today there were more reactions what Barry Malzberg said about Judith Merril in Galaxy’s Edge.
@sl_huang notable bec his previous columns also denigrate (dead) authors, but more so the women than the men @jasonsanford
— cat ??? (@charlesatan) July 1, 2016
@jasonsanford going back thru past columns, it's a venue where Malzberg roasts the dead, although he seems to be extra harsh on women…
— cat ??? (@charlesatan) July 1, 2016
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- July 1, 1899 – Charles Laughton. When Ray Bradbury went to Disneyland for the first time it was with Captain Bligh and the Hunchback and Doctor Moreau. Bradbury also originally wrote the play “Merry Christmas 2116” as a vehicle for Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.
(12) SEARCHING FOR FANNISH MUSICAL LYRICS. Rob Chilson left a comment in the About area asking for help.
I wonder if you or your readers can help me.
40 years less 2 months ago, at MidAmeriCon, I sat in on a reading of a musical version of “The Enchanted Duplicator” — my intro to the classic. It was MCed by Filthy Pierre (Erwin Strauss) who if I recall correctly adapted it to the stage. The others sang the songs and I mumbled along low enough not to disturb them. I’ve now spent a couple of hours on the net looking for one song that started: “Roscoe gave fan an arm of iron to help him pub his zine” and had the chorus, “But for a quarter or a loc, somebody else cranks the damn machine. For a quarter or a loc, a quarter or a loc. A quarter or a three-line ell-oh-cee.” Or words to that effect.
Can anyone point me at the lyrics?
One thought — is there anything like this in “The Mimeo Man”, which dates to that era?
(13) AT LIS CAREY’S LIBRARY. Posted the other day, Lis Carey’s review of an audio version of the Hugo-nominated novella: “Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor (author), Robin Miles (narrator)”.
….Except that Binti has won a scholarship to Oomza University, a very distinguished school–and on another planet. Her family is shocked at the very idea that Binti would actually accept it and go–but their dreams are not her dreams, and she does. And on her way there, the ship she’s on is attacked and boarded by the Meduze, an alien species that has a very real and serious grievance against Oomza University…..
(14) ANTICIPATION? A writer for the Huffington Post contends “A Dystopian Novelist Predicted Trump’s Campaign Slogan in the ‘90s”.
….Whatever the case, it seems sci-fi writer and unofficial Queen of the Galaxy Octavia Butler predicted the slogan a couple of decades ago. Nearly 20 years before Trump trademarked the term, she wrote about a character named Senator Andrew Steele Jarret, a harbinger for violence in her 1998 book Parable of the Talents.
You can see an excerpt outlining Jarret’s use of the phrase “make American great again” below:
TMW you see a presidential slogan in a dystopian sci-fi novel set in 2032 being used today. #OctaviaButler #trump pic.twitter.com/jhAZKSLUEM
— oligopistos (@oligopistos) June 30, 2016
(15) ILVERMORNY INK. It wasn’t only Elizabeth Warren having fun, says Entertainment Weekly — “J. K. Rowling’s Ilvermorny inspires excellent jokes from Massachusetts’ government officials”
Later, Governor Charlie Baker’s office even gave a good-natured statement to The Boston Globe about Ilvermorny, which has supposedly resided on Mount Greylock for hundreds of years without detection.
“The governor believes that small businesses are the backbone of the economy whether they are owned by witches or mortals, and because the institution has operated for nearly 400 years without incident, the administration plans to revisit the matter sometime in the next century or two,” Baker’s office told the paper in a statement. “The Department of Revenue’s spell-detecting technology procurement will be in its final stages at that time.”
The Boston Globe also talked to John Dudek, manager of Mount Greylock State Reservation’s Bascom Lodge, who said that the mountain’s weather does sometimes create a supernatural effect.
“It’s a little bit like The Shining here when you’re alone at night,” Dudek said. “There are days when we’re just locked in clouds and you can’t see anything.”
(16) WHAT IT MEANS TO GROW. Bishop O’Connell writes about “Growing as a Writer, and as a Person” at A Quiet Pint.
Yes, I’ve improved as a writer, but for me, being a better writer is inextricably tied to being a better person. Unfortunately, growth and improvement is never a singular, instantaneous event. It happens over a long period of time, sometimes so slow that, like the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly warming water, it goes entirely unnoticed until you have some context. When it happens, it can be embarrassing (see above, and we’re still not talking about it) but mostly it’s wonderful to see, clearly and starkly, just how much progress has been made. In this post I talked about how much I learned about the tropes and stereotypes I’d blindly fallen into and how I work to rise above them. I say work not achieved, because I still have a long way to go. This fact was brought into harsh relief as I was editing The Returned.
(17) 48 HOURS. Here’s a bulletin of interest from The Onion that should keep parents everywhere concerned: “Investigators: First 48 Hours Most Critical In Locating Missing Children Who Entered Portal To Fantastical World”.
“As soon as we learn a child has disappeared down a pool of light underneath their staircase or through a strangely shaped attic door they had never before noticed, we must act fast to assemble search parties and cover as much enchanted territory as possible,” said investigator Joe Phillippe, who urged parents to contact authorities immediately if they believed their child had passed into a gleaming world of crystal palaces or been transported back in time to the age of King Arthur. “If they’re not found within that critical 48-hour window, children typically become disoriented in the thick fog and dense forest of a land where it’s always night, or they’re led astray by a well-dressed fox who promises to take them to a place where kids can play all varieties of games. At that point, they become almost impossible to locate.”
[Thanks to Rose Embolism, Cat Rambo, Steve Davidson, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
@Kip W – Steel Magic! I’ve been trying to remember that title for a long while now. Thank you so very much!
I thought about asking here if anyone knew the title, but I can barely remember anything about the plot, and could only remember the cover featured a girl in what people nowadays call “mom jeans” (particularly high waisted jeans) riding a winged horse or something. I can’t recall if it was any good, but I know I read it repeatedly back then.
I was struck by the illustrations in that, too. Robin Jacques? Hang on a moment here… (ah!) Dang, it sure was. Caught my eye in Black Hearts In Battersea, starting with the POV balloon on the cover.
And I think my book club edition was retitled as Grey Magic, for some reason. I also really liked a book by Gordon Shireffs, who I believe may have written some genre as well. This was a YA western that was, come to think, also retitled. Mine says Mystery of the Haunted Mine on it, and I think the ‘formerly’ title was something like Lost Gold of the Espectros.
I got the Ballantine “Lord of the Rings” books through Scholastic Book Services in Grade 7. Apparently “The Fellowship of the Ring” was out of stock or something because it didn’t come with the initial shipment. So I started reading with “The Two Towers” my first time through. Obviously I was missing a lot of story. My first encounter with Tolkien. But of course the first book eventually came and I read the whole thing many times through my teens.
There was also TAB (or Tab?) and Arrow Books, that I can recall (“The Arrow Book of Funny Poems”) in the books-through-school category. I got Children’s Digest that way for a year as well, though somehow it was in a year with no Tintin serialization going on. (I discovered Tintin in back issues of the digests at the children’s library, and searched thrift shops to try and get complete adventures, which I never managed. They were abridged anyway.)
Scholastic also gets big points from me in retrospect for their magazine, Scholastic SCOPE, which brought me drama, from stage and movies, as well as other kinds of fiction. I first read “The Bad Seed” (not sure how abridged or condensed it may have been—all the incidents seem to be there when I think on it) in that magazine, and my skull version still beats the classic filmed version with Patty McCormack (sadly, it’s full of the treacly 50s archness that stands between me and a lot of the decade’s output). [Footnote: The TV version in which David Carradine played the mean, slightly challenged handyman is another missed opportunity, but there’s one lovely scene where Carradine torments the guilty child by telling her the murder was probably committed with a stick, and the police had special “stick bloodhounds” that specialized in finding such murder weapons. It has a certain element of kids explaining things to kids, which I almost always love to witness.]
Hey, other people who remember “Steel Magic”! That was just great when I read it about age 8. The monster-fighting quests the children had to go on were suspenseful, especially the one involving climbing a rocky island to the nest if aa giant bird.
I really liked Norton’s other children’s fantasies, such as “Lavender-Green Magic” and “Dragon Magic”, but “Steel Magic” was my favorite. Note that they’re definitely for a younger audience than her YA science fiction.
I am definitely re-reading Steel Magic once I’ve finished my Hugos reading.
For the scroll is hollow and Ive touched a pixel.
An instant winner — start the blue light flashing in aisle 5!
This is somewhat old news, being almost a month according to Amazon, since publication, but I just found Andre Norton’s Witch World books have been published in ebook format. I bought the first two just now for $2.99 each.
Looks like the good folk at Open Road Media are publishing them: http://www.openroadmedia.com/contributor/andre-norton/
I was just biting the bullet and looking for used editions of the books when I found this out.
Bruce Baugh on July 2, 2016 at 6:48 am said:
I love Zenna Henderson’s work. NESFA has all her People stories, including one not published elsewhere, in the book Ingathering. I am really hoping they, or someone, can get permission for an e-edition.
The sound of one pixel scrolling.
Show me on the Scroll where the bad Pixel touched you.
My first encounter with Tolkien was an excerpt in a ‘children’s treasury ‘ collection. The excerpt was from “The Hobbit” which was cruel & unusual punishment for it provided a taste but only a taste. It felt like years before I got to read the whole thing and finish the story.
It’s only pixels I recall; I really don’t know scrolls at all.
This is the scroll that never ends
This is the scroll that never ends
Some people started filing it, not knowing what it was
Now everybody’s filing it forever, because
This is the scroll that never ends
ed: Applauding Hampus’s just above, while typing with the other hand. (Who was it, a while back, who did ‘Colorless Green Pixels Scroll Furiously’? Love that one.)
Ontogeny recapixelates scrollogeny!
To everyone reading or about to read Ninefox Gambit: it’s excellent from start to finish. You’re in for a real treat. I need the 2nd one now!
@Soon Lee Show me on the Scroll where the bad Pixel touched you.
I haven’t read the Tiptree biography, and my hazy memory of the news from 1987 has always been that Tiptree shot her husband and herself as part of a formal suicide pact – possibly because I loved her work and wanted the best possible explanation to hold. I take it from the discussion upthread that it is not established the two of them had an agreement to go out that way?
Jim, the discussion is ongoing in the 6/30 scroll. My understanding is that she at least thought there was a pact but Huntington did not want to go through with it. I have held the biography at the library to double-check my recollection.
@Dawn Incognito: Ah, thanks. I got the threads confused. This one had the reference to the Malzberg essay that talks about Sheldon.
I’ve been trying to read Too Like the Lightning. I was really looking forward to it based on all the raves I’ve seen about it.
But I’m finding it very disjointed. I’m more than 100 pages in (over 25%), and I’m really struggling with it. It skips around in time, but it’s really not clear when in the chronology each of the chapters is taking place.
And I enjoy books that let you figure out key aspects of the worldbuilding as they unfold, but there’s just so much about it that doesn’t make sense. In a recent bit, the narrator mentions to the reader that he’s crawling around on the floor while talking to another person, but he doesn’t say why he’s crawling around on the floor.
And this society is clearly hugely influenced by a List which is released periodically — but there’s been no explanation of the criteria used in creating the list, or why it’s so important.
What’s more, the narrator keeps going into digressions about gender that talk about how it would have been referred to in the past, how it is referred to “currently” at the time of the events being related, and how it will be in the future — but it is utterly unclear when the narrator says someone would definitely have been referred to as a she at a given time whether that means that the person is female, or the person is not female, but is being referred to as female anyway.
It strikes me as a book that is striving so hard to be literary that it just ends up being muddled.
Normally when I pick up a novel, I quickly get absorbed in it and finish it in an evening — but I keep falling asleep in this one. This is unheard-of for me.
So, is there any hope for getting to a place in this book where it’s understandable and coherent enough to be gripping? 😐
The Scroll is dark and full of Pixels
Scholastic boom service only beaten out by the Bookmobile (which let you but AND read the same day).
My first SBS book was The Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey.
Untypically, I eventually traded it.
Many years later I was interviewing Lester at the SF bookshop in Philadelphia. After the interview I was going to gethim to sign several of his books, but I’d forgotten to bring them, so I headed for the stacks. There was a copy of TRR in there, so I cracked the cover out of curiosity and found my own scrawled signature.
Of course I bought my book back.
Several of the questions you ask are answered further in the book. (The explanations come later because they involve information that is not yet available to certain people in the early part of the story.) I had no trouble following the chronology, so I can’t help you there. This is definitely not one of those books where the worldbuilding is fully front-ended—I too was confused for a while, but I read on hoping things would come together, and I felt they absolutely did—and it is a book where things are not “muddled” by the end, if that makes any difference to you. If the prose style in the first quarter bugs you, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea.
A co-worker was making a box of books available once, and I picked up a copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle in there, and leafed through it. Co-worker had, at age 12, written in the book that this was the greatest book ever. I was obliged to show this to him, and he decided to keep the book a bit longer. I hope he still has it.
@Ray — I was just going to say that “Otis G. Firefly’s etc.” was my favorite Scholastic Book too! I still have mine. I’ve never forgotten “Don’t Dump Phosphorus in the Bosporus Day”.
@Kip: “Mouse and the Motorcycle” was pretty good. Cute illos too.
Beverly Cleary was always around, in collections, at the library, and I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention. I read a friend’s copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle and thought things happened a little too easily for the boy (so I was probably a little old for it at the time). The thing that started me on the path to being a Cleary partisan was her paperback novelization of some Leave it to Beaver episodes. She stepped into Beaver’s head so easily, I had to take another look.
Specifically, in the one where Beaver orders an accordion from a comic book ad (because it’s free for ten days), and when it comes he laboriously drags it upstairs because he has this mental image that he’ll come walking down the stairs playing it and everyone will be so impressed. I think my interest in the TV series was even increased by the book.
So now I’ve read more Cleary, including re-reading the mouse and noticing that it had sequels and all. Mostly read her as an adult. I have her autobiography on a shelf here, waiting for the right day.
BARRY MALZBERG–A FOOTNOTE IN SF HISTORY. Calista House 2017.
I’m trying to wrap my head around that. There were once novelizations. Of episodes. Of Leave it to Beaver.
I’m trying to think of something even less expected. A novelization of the commercial where the owl eats the kid’s Tootsie Roll Pop? Retconned to take place in the world of New Zoo Revue?
They were short stories. The publishing industry has done hundreds of such things: novelizations of movies and TV shows from the days before home video. Dealer’s tables at cons often have some of them.
At least LEAVE IT TO BEAVER told stories, and wasn’t promoting Sugar Bombs.
The summer heat burned furiously upon Freddie’s amphibian skin. Katydids buzzed in the distance. The air itself sizzled with secrets like a lit firecracker fuse. Freddie just knew all would be revealed with a bang once he got to old Charlie’s house.
Oh, Emmy Jo and Doug had brushed his quest off with a song about sweets and tummy-aches and Mr. Dentist… Humans! So little understanding of a frog’s mind and needs.
Henrietta at least, wise beyond the ken of common hippo, accepted his furious need to know: “Oh, honey chile, if y’all MUST know the answer, y’all need to ask the owl”.
Now approaching the tree, the sententious avian perched before him, the question came tumbling out, a river at the rocks, white-watered and rushed in its need to reach the ocean –
“Mr. Owl, how many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?”
You are very disturbed! This probably accounts for my liking your posts enormously. Except that I now have the theme song as an earworm.
“As they learn with their friend Doug and his helper, Emmy Jo…”
My father has a couple of Man From U.N.C.L.E. novels. Media tie-ins have been around for a long while.
(4) – OK I listened to that whole hour long plus show about the new Trek fan video guidelines and the other IP questions they answered and they went so far beyond to try to reassure and encourage fans, I do not see how anyone could possibly take issue with their efforts and the guidelines. Paramount/CBS has gone above and beyond to try to smooth things over and I think they have been extremely generous with their time and efforts when they were perfectly within their legal rights not only to not bother but to just say “forget it, no fan anything” and take the Disney approach. I really appreciate what John Van Citters said in the show, to the point I’m thinking of writing a supportive email or two! I hope these guys know that not all Trek fans are grumbling gatekeeping know-it-betters.