Pixel Scroll 7/2/16 The Ancillary Swords of Lankhmar

(1) THIS IS THE END MY FRIEND. Melinda Snodgrass advises writers about “Sticking the Landing” at SFFWorld.

All of these various skills work in concert, but I think if a writer fails to deliver a satisfying ending — the ending that has been promised by the story then the entire project is likely to fail.  It doesn’t matter how good the ride or delightful the journey.  If the final scene is disappointing and leaves the reader/viewer/player feeling cheated they probably aren’t going to be recommending that book or film or game to their friends and family.

There are various ways to state this — “keeping your promise”, “sticking the landing”, “providing a sense of closure”.  Often people who dismiss this requirement do so by sniffing “that the readers/viewers/players just want a happy ending.”  That may be true, and it’s probably a topic for a different essay, but let me say that I think there is case to be made for the happy ending.  Too often critics seem to equate darkness with importance.

So how do you make an ending satisfying?  First, you have to lay in the ultimate solution and the tools to bring about that solution in the beginning of the book or film or game.  You can’t suddenly ring in a new player, or a new fact, a new magic power or super power for the protagonist to use at the end and expect to keep your fans.  They will rightly feel cheated, that you hid the football from them and didn’t play fair.  Worse is the conclusion that you didn’t really know what you were doing and just grabbed for some kind of resolution.  Often those kind of ending don’t seem organic and true to the world that was created, the rules of that world, and the problem as presented…

(2) BUY-IN. Sherwood Smith responds to the question “Reading: What makes YOU believe?” at Book View Café.

A lot of these readers are lured by what I call the seduction of competence: characters who have agency, especially with panache. Anyone who has dreamed of stepping forward and having the right idea, which everyone responds to, and leading the way to righting an egregious wrong instead of cowering back waiting for someone else to act (or, worse, stepping forward just to be shouted down scornfully, or totally ignored) probably looks for characters who either start out as heroes, or attain heroism through hard work.

So those are the easy ones: readers willingly invest in characters they can fall in love with, or identify with, or admire. And then there are the characters who fascinate for whatever reason, like the many who couldn’t get enough of Hannibal Lector. Some are drawn to characters who are monstrous, or ridiculous.

(3) VERSATILITY. Coach Paul Cornell visited Convergence today.

(4) THE INK NO LONGER STINKS. Technology has turned the corner, in the latest installment of M.D. Jackson’s series: “Why Was Early Comic Book Art so Crude (Part 4)”.

But there were two other factors that changed the nature of comic books. One was technological and the other was economical.

The technology of printing was changing with the adoption of flexography. Flexography is a high speed print process that uses fast-drying inks and can print on many types of absorbent and non-absorbent materials. The flexopress is cheaper because the inks are water based, which meant they dried quicker and were easier to clean up. The flexographic presses also are lighter and take up less room.

For years comics were printed on low-grade, absorbent papers that were not meant to last. Early comics were rare because the paper degraded so quickly. The distribution system also was designed to put comic books in as many places as they could find kids to buy them. Remember the spinner racks of comics in your local drug store? Comic books, then retailing for about 25 – 30 cents per title, were available everywhere, but they were not made to last.

In the 1980’s the comic book companies began printing certain titles on a better quality of paper, Baxter paper. It was smoother and whiter and the inks and colors looked much better than your regular comic book fare….

(5) CONVERGENT EVOLUTION. Jennifer Frazer, in “The Artful Amoeba” blog on Scientific American, rounds up the photographic evidence for “Butterflies in the Time of Dinosaurs, With Nary a Flower in Sight”.

Jurassic butterflies disappeared a full 45 million years before the first caterpillar decided to grow up and become a beautiful butterfly. Again

…Apparently, way back when Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, a group of insects called lacewings produced butterflies. Not the butterflies we see flitting around today from the Order Lepidoptera, but floating, flapping, nectar-sucking flibbertigibbits nonetheless, with wings adorned with eyespots, veins, and scales….

(6) THOSE DAYS OF YESTERYEAR. At Getty Images you can view footage of the Sinclair oil dinosaur exhibit from the 1933 World’s Fair.

PAN along Brontosaurus dinosaur over to a Triceratops confronting a Tyrannosaurus Rex and down to a duck-billed Hadrosaurid; all dinosaurs were part of the Sinclair Oil exhibit.

(7) FOR SOME VALUES OF HISTORY. Vox Day interrupted his Castalia House status report to endorse the assault on Judith Merril’s memory

Meanwhile, Barry Malzburg makes it clear that some women have always been bent on destroying science fiction.

— because, after all, the measure of a man’s intelligence is how closely he agrees with you, regardless of whether you’ve ever heard of Barry Malzberg before.



(9) GAME DEMO. Based on the work of Jeff VanderMeer.


Osvaldo Oyala’s “Marvels and the Limited Imagination of Nostalgia”.

I had not read Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’s Marvels in quite some time, probably 15 years or more, and despite having a memory of quite liking it when I first read it in the 90s sometime, my suspicion was that it would not hold up to that memory. And, while I was right, it also was not so hagiographic that I could just dismiss it. On the surface it certainly seems that way—unapologetically nostalgic about Marvel’s Golden and Silver Age—but it is actually constructed with competing visions that grant it a bit—a little bit—more complexity, even if ultimately it fails as anything except a sharp reaction to the moment in mainstream comics from which it emerged.

After Phil Sheldon lets a young mutant girl his daughters were sheltering run off into the anti-mutant riotous streets (a reference to a story in 1953’s Weird Science #20) it is difficult to take any of his moral claims seriously (from Marvels #2).

Marvels is a look back at the emergence of Marvel Comics’ heroes through the eyes of “Everyman” photojournalist, Phil Sheldon, from the first appearance of characters like the Original Human Torch and Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner in 1940, through the death of Gwen Stacey in the early 70s. Sheldon, as a kind of stand-in for the Marvel reader, displays complex and shifting attitudes towards the superheroes he calls “Marvels.” In each of the four issues we see his different perspectives on Marvel’s super-characters. From a deep fear of their raw power and capricious behavior that shifts to an appreciative awe of their demi-god stature as forces of nature in the first issue to a threatening cynicism that leads him to retire from his livelihood snapping pictures of their conflicts, adventures and social appearances in the last issue, when Gwen Stacey’s death becomes just another minor detail buried in a seeming endless cycle of superhero fisticuffs and collateral damage. In between, he participates in paranoid anti-mutant riots before abandoning his bigotry upon realizing mutants can be “our own children” (which made me roll my eyes so hard they still hurt), and later grows angry at the flaring bouts of negative public sentiment against heroes like the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Spider-Man, fuming at the lack of gratitude displayed for their having saved the city or the world over and over again. And in case we might forget Sheldon’s special insight into the world of superheroes, in the first issue he loses an eye, calling to the One-Eyed Man or Blind Seer trope. At every stage when everyone else seems to return to hating or being suspicious of the superhero figure, Sheldon sees through public fear and pettiness (despite sometimes feeling it himself) to an understanding of the world he occupies that evokes something akin to the awe of Moses before the burning bush. As he says in the first issue after the rubble from the epic confrontation between the original Human Torch and the Sub-mariner takes his eye (a re-telling of the events of Marvel Mystery Comics #8 and 9), “It isn’t going to be them that adapts to us. The world is different now.” In other words, he can see with his Odin-eye what the general public cannot or will not, everyday people exist in the superhuman world, not the other way around. As Geoff Klock posits in his seminal book of comic book literary criticism, How to Read Superhero Comic Books and Why, unlike the transformative comic book texts like Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns that ask, “What would it be like if superheroes lived in our world? Marvels…ask[s], what would it feel like if we could live in theirs?” (77). And the answer is, kinda fucking scary.

This narrative vision constructed by Busiek, however, manifests in the near-photorealistic painting of Alex Ross which provides a Rockwellian patina of troubling idealism that passes for “realism.” ….

(11) LEWIS DRAMATIZED. The Most Reluctant Convert, a stage show about C.S. Lewis, will be in town July 10-23 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, CA.

Max McLean brings to life one of the most engaging personalities of our age and takes audiences on Lewis’ fascinating theatrical journey from atheism to Christianity. Adapted exclusively from Lewis’ writings, McLean inhabits Lewis from the death of his mother, his estranged relationship with his father and the experiences that led him from vigorous debunker to the most vibrant and influential Christian intellectual of the 20th Century. Experience a joyous evening of Lewis’ entertaining wit and fascinating insight. Cherish every minute of the extraordinary journey of C.S. Lewis as The Most Reluctant Convert.

Lewis’ experience is synopsized in a Director’s Note.

In 1950, C.S. Lewis received a letter from a young American writer expressing his struggle to believe Christianity because he thought it “too good to be true.” Lewis responded, “My own position at the threshold of Christianity was exactly the opposite of yours. You wish it were true; I strongly hoped it was not…Do you think people like Stalin, Hitler, Haldane, Stapledon (a corking good writer, by the way) would be pleased on waking up one morning to find that they were not their own masters…that there was nothing even in the deepest recesses of their thoughts about which they could say to Him, ‘Keep out! Private. This is my business’? Do you? Rats!… Their first reaction would be (as mine was) rage and terror.”


(13) GENTLEFEN, BE SORTED. Want to be enrolled in the North American wizards’ school? Potterverse will run you through the process.

“Ilvermony House: Thunderbird”

Named by Chadwick Boot after his favourite magical beast, the Thunderbird, a beast that can create storms as it flies. Thunderbird house is sometimes considered to represent the soul of a witch or wizard. It is also said that Thunderbird favours adventurers.

(14) LINEAGE UNLOCKED. A recent episode of Game of Thrones inspired Adam Whitehead to draw conclusions about Jon Snow — “When Theories Are Confirmed: Twenty Years of Speculation”.


However, its status as the biggest mystery in fantasy had already long been supplanted. In 1996 George R.R. Martin published the first novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones. A minor subplot revolves around the status of Eddard Stark’s bastard son, Jon Snow, born out of wedlock to Eddard and…well, someone. His wife, Catelyn, believes it was a Dornish noblewoman, Ashara Dayne of Starfall. Eddard himself has told King Robert Baratheon – incredibly reluctantly – that it was a serving girl named Wylla. In A Storm of Swords the young lord of Starfall, Edric Dayne, also confirms (to Arya Stark) that it was Wylla, who was his wetnurse.

(15) NONE DARE CALL IT SLASH. NPR found there is plenty of fan fiction online about the 2016 candidates, Bernie, Donald, and others now out of the running.

In another story, written in the style of a Western, Jeb Bush fights to protect a Florida school from a Sharknado.

“You think ‘it can happen anywhere,’ never realizing that it can happen anywhere.


The shard of glass in Jeb’s hand shatters by the scrape of a bullet. Jeb drops the ground, rolls through the booze-soaked ground. He jumps up to a squat and whips out the old pistol and holds it to the bullet hole in the doorway. The engraved barrel shimmers: Gov. Jeb Bush.

Florida hasn’t been safe since the Sharknados started coming. When I was in my 40s, the kids used to tease about the swamp sharks. Gave me the heebie-jeebies over a plague of mutant sea creatures that roamed the Everglades.”

In the 2016 presidential cycle, where everything seems unpredictable, fiction allows voters to determine exactly what happens next – whether it’s set in the present day or some kind of alternate universe where sharks rain down in a natural disaster.

(16) WHEN TWO FANTASISTS MET. Walt Disney and Roald Dahl hung out together in 1942 – who knew?

More than a decade before Walt Disney welcomed guests into his land of fantasy and two decades before author Roald Dahl penned his excursion into The BFG’s cave and Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, these two creative legends crossed paths in 1942 when The Walt Disney Studios optioned Dahl’s first book, The Gremlins, for an animated feature. With Disney’s The BFG coming to theaters on July 1, D23 takes a look at the connection between these two creative visionaries.

The Gremlins was fashioned from stories told by English airmen who attributed equipment failures and other mishaps to mischievous little saboteurs. From these tales, Dahl—then a Flight Lieutenant for the Royal Air Force—created a story and specific characters for his book.

(17) LACKING CHARACTERS. In an “Uninvent This” feature for The New Yorker, Ted Chiang contemplated “If Chinese Were Phonetic”.

So let’s imagine a world in which Chinese characters were never invented in the first place. Given such a void, the alphabet might have spread east from India in a way that it couldn’t in our history, but, to keep this from being an Indo-Eurocentric thought experiment, let’s suppose that the ancient Chinese invented their own phonetic system of writing, something like the modern Bopomofo, some thirty-two hundred years ago. What might the consequences be? Increased literacy is the most obvious one, and easier adoption of modern technologies is another. But allow me to speculate about one other possible effect.

One of the virtues claimed for Chinese characters is that they make it easy to read works written thousands of years ago. The ease of reading classical Chinese has been significantly overstated, but, to the extent that ancient texts remain understandable, I suspect it’s due to the fact that Chinese characters aren’t phonetic. Pronunciation changes over the centuries, and when you write with an alphabet spellings eventually adapt to follow suit. (Consider the differences between “Beowulf,” “The Canterbury Tales,” and “Hamlet.”) Classical Chinese remains readable precisely because the characters are immune to the vagaries of sound. So if ancient Chinese manuscripts had been written with phonetic symbols, they’d become harder to decipher over time.

Chinese culture is notorious for the value it places on tradition. It would be reductive to claim that this is entirely a result of the readability of classical Chinese, but I think it’s reasonable to propose that there is some influence. Imagine a world in which written English had changed so little that works of “Beowulf” ’s era remained continuously readable for the past twelve hundred years. I could easily believe that, in such a world, contemporary English culture would retain more Anglo-Saxon values than it does now. So it seems plausible that in this counterfactual history I’m positing, a world in which the intelligibility of Chinese texts erodes under the currents of phonological change, Chinese culture might not be so rooted in the past. Perhaps China would have evolved more throughout the millennia and exhibited less resistance to new ideas. Perhaps it would have been better equipped to deal with modernity in ways completely unrelated to an improved ability to use telegraphy or computers.

(18) STRONG LURE. At BookRiot, Derek Attig feels there’s no need to bait the hook when what you’re offering is as irresistible as “100 Must-Read Books about Libraries & Bookstores”.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing an introduction to this list. It’s a hundred books about libraries and bookstores! That should sell itself.

But sure. Fine. I’ll make the pitch.

Books are a crucial part of our lives (especially yours, since here you are being a great big nerd on Book Riot), but I think we don’t always pay enough attention to the institutions that get those books into our grubby, greedy little hands. Sure, we’ll bicker about Amazon sometimes or squee over a bookmobile, but how much time do we take to really explore and think about what libraries and bookstores really mean?

Not enough!

(19) SORRY ABOUT THAT. Godzilla and fellow monsters apologized at a Japanese press conference for acts of destruction. Why, yes, it’s another scheme to sell toys – how did you guess?

The world of gachapon vending machine capsule toys just got even weirder with a new lineup of figurines from top Japanese toy producer Bandai. Called the “Godzilla Toho Monsters Press Conference”, the series depicts Godzilla, along with three other kaiju monsters from the acclaimed movie production and distribution company Toho, all appearing at fictional press conferences, complete with microphone stand and name plaque. These types of formal apologies are commonly seen on television news reports around Japan, in cases where high-profile politicians and celebrities formally atone for scandals and wrongdoings, expressing remorse to the public with deep, heartfelt bows. Only this time, it’s a group of well-known movie monsters making amends for their actions.

Godzilla apologizes

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Paul Weimer, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peter J.]

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55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/2/16 The Ancillary Swords of Lankhmar

  1. Books!

    Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee: I loved this. Set in a future galactic empire governed by the dictates of a “high calendar” which allows access to certain “exotic” technologies, a math-genius soldier is paired with the ghost of a mass-murdering genius general and sent to re-take a strategic fortress that has fallen to calendrical heresy. This is an absolute page-turner, and I read it in a single sitting. Vivid writing, beautiful worldbuilding, intricate characterization—this is a must-read. I’ve seen a lot of praise for this book, and I echo it all.

    A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin: In a world that’s almost but not quite ours, during a war that’s almost but not quite WWII, a young boy is sent to stay with his grandmother in a sleepy village whose nearby woods harbor some interesting secrets. This is a . . . quiet? book. It’s a story about a sleepy village, with ordinary people, who experience something fantastical. It’s beautifully written, and I definitely enjoyed it, though if you’re looking for something fast-paced or more “epic” in scope, this might not be for you. One quirk of the writing has (most) people’s names redacted (“Mrs. N—“), which some might find off-putting, though I did not. I will definitely be checking out Frederic Durbin’s other work.

    Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja: A former sergeant (and current criminal) re-enlists in the galactic army, and discovers to his horror that the peacetime military he knew (with its trampoline room, incredible corruption, and semi-nonstop orgy of alcoholic splendor) has become rather more militaristic with the threat of an invasion looming. I almost stopped reading this partway in—for a comedy I’d seen praised, it was showing precious little actual wit. Things changed for the better in the second half, and I ended up enjoying myself quite a bit, so I’d recommend that if you’re going to try this, it’s probably best not to give up until you’ve at least hit the second half.

    Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor: A secret organization with time travel technology sends historians on a series of missions into the past. This read like it was originally self-published, though it looks like it was actually published through a small press. Parts are rough. The tone is often wildly uneven—slapstick comedy veers into painful drama, and vice versa, in a way that feels really inorganic. When it comes to the worldbuilding and characterization. . . let’s just say it’s best not to think too hard about the underlying implications of certain things that go on here. Also, trigger warning for attempted rape. Overall, this is one of those books with an interesting hook that started out well but ultimately really disappointed me.

    Infomocracy by Malka Older: It’s an election year in a future where (most of) the world is governed as “microdemocracies”—geographic groupings of 100,000 people who can choose to be governed any one of hundreds of available government systems—through the assistance of an all-encompassing free worldwide information system (called, of course, Information). There were things I enjoyed here, and things I disliked. (Nothing I’d say I hated, though.) The writing was well-done but not quite spectacular. (There were some uses of present tense that (counterintuitively?) seemed to suck the tension out of the scene.) I thought the plot took a bit too long to really get rolling, but once it did, I was sucked in. This is another of those books where I found the second half to be more interesting than the first half. Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent political thriller, with some interesting ideas and a unique focus.

  2. MAJOR PREMISE: Women have always been attempting to destroy SF.
    MINOR PREMISE: Teddy Beale is currently attempting to destroy SF.

  3. Mike, your link to the Wayback Machine for (7) isn’t working.

    To echo Emma’s thoughts about Ninefox Gambit:

    This is the second 2016 book I’ve read so far that I’m giving 5 stars to. It goes straight to my next year’s longlist, if not the shortlist.

    You could call Yoon Ha Lee the anti-Neal Stephenson: he explains nothing. You’re thrown into this complex, unique world in one of the deepest in media res‘s I have ever seen in a book. If you can’t get through the first chapter without wailing, “What the hell is happening here?” this book is not for you. If you can…well, you’re in for a treat. Pacing, story, characterization, incredible worldbuilding…it’s fantastic. Highly recommended.

  4. Bonnie McDaniel: Thanks for catching that — the link is fixed now. Appertain yourself the antidote!

  5. (6) Those were my favorite gas stations as a kid. We’d beg our parents for the toxic toy dinosaurs and then stage great battles in the back seat of the station wagon.

  6. There was a Sinclair station in the town where my grandmother lived. It had two dinosaurs fighting in the front, one with its jaws around the throat of the other. We loved climbing on them. I don’t think I paid attention in those days to the fact that they were both herbivore species. By the time I was in college, the aggressor had won and the head was off of the poor victim. I was very saddened to see that the were torn down several years ago.

  7. “Are the cult movie brackets set up? Where?”

    I will do a compilation first. Then give you an additional chance to vote up nominees. Then I will finalize the list. Brackets will then be run in their own posts.

  8. Mike, please credit the story about butterflies to Jennifer Frazer’s blog The Artful Amoeba, which is hosted by Scientific American but not otherwise associated.

  9. Hey! I’ve been busy at Convergence and didn’t even realize until now I managed to make a contributor today.

    Sorry for the imperfection of the photo, it was taken on the cell phone, not my usual medium as those who follow me and my photography know.

    Mr. Cornell has done the cricket thing at Convergence for some years now, and its quite popular. And for the moment, anyway, I think I really understand how cricket works and what the scoring means.

  10. Wandering footnote: a trusted friend once saw a piece of ancillary merchandise (still waiting for that entry in the series) contemporary with the early days of Mr. Peabody in which the machine’s name was spelled WABAC. It makes more sense to me that the name was originally a punny-looking UNIVAC/ENIAC/BRAINIAC monicker, so I roam the world looking for opportunities to mention this.

    Sinclair dinos! We had a station in my town, but it wasn’t our brand, so I could only dream of riding around on inflatable plastic Sinclair dinos. Little did I appreciate at the time that my dream was better than anything those reality-based kids were getting.


  11. Bartimaeus on July 3, 2016 at 2:20 am said:

    If I hadn’t already pre-ordered it, that chapter would be enough to get me to do it.

  12. I read Infomocracy by Malka Older last week. I think it took me 1/4 of the book to get my bearings but then it was a page turner. I got sucked in by the characters once I figured out what was going on. I’m looking forward to seeing more by Malka Older as she grows as a writer.

  13. 1) I agree that the ending has to fit the story for it to work. Slapped-on happy endings are insipid; slapped-on grimdark endings are boring and pretentious. Sometimes the best possible ending for a story is bittersweet, and I don’t know how other people would characterize that — the kind of ending where okay, some things are fixed or mostly fixed, but it’s fully recognized that others aren’t and will never be. But one of the reasons I tend not to like horror is that it’s devoted to the grimdark-despair ending, and that’s no more realistic IMO than the fluffy-bunny kind.

    9) Haven’t read the books, but the game layout looks impressive!

    13) Insists that I must have an account, alas.

    18) Also, check the comments for examples he missed.

    Reading: I’ve been head-over-heels into Martha Wells’ Raksura series recently. The characters! The worldbuilding! The latter, particularly, in the same vein as that of The Goblin Emperor, but on a much larger scale. When Moon has become a line-grandfather, he will have SO MUCH EXPLORING to do! And in the meantime, we get to see fascinating glimpses of all these other cultures.

  14. 7 – Not a lot of intelligence needed when his worldview is if he doesn’t like or agree with it, than it must be because of the nebulous SJW cabal. No room for nuance, he can retain a lot of information but can’t do anything with it.

    19 – I want that toy. I just love the idea of Kaiju doing press conferences at all really.

  15. Love today’s title. <3 <3 <3
    Thinking of three hearts, Three Scrolls and Three Pixels?

  16. A few Kickstarters I’m currently backing. I’m shocked they aren’t funded yet. A number of these are run by recognized names: Bart Lieb/Crossed Genres; Hope Nicholson/Bedside Press; Beyond Press; Dirty Diamonds – in the past all of them have overfunded campaigns.

    Ends July 6th Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children, the sequel to Locus and World Fantasy Award-nominated Long Hidden! – they just added a way to get extra copies – Bart Leib/Crossed Genres #WeNeedDiverseBooks #WeNeedDiverseCreators

    Ends July 13th Sequential Crush Presents How to Go Steady by Jacque Nodell A beautifully illustrated book exploring love, heartbreak, and wisdom from vintage romance comic book stories – Hope Nicholson/Bedside Press

    Ends July 15th Dirty Diamonds #7: Imagination (an all-girl comic anthology) by Dirty Diamonds. A book that captures our weirdest fantasies, our darkest dreams, our brightest creations, and all the figments of our imagination. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

    Ends July 17th Enough Space For Everyone Else: An Anthology An anthology of sci-fi comics/illustration/text showcasing diverse creators, characters, and tones—with no war/imperialism narratives! – Hope Nicholson/Bedside Press #WeNeedDiverseBooks #WeNeedDiverseCreators

    Ends July 17th “Rivendell” – fantasy string quartet album release by New England String Quartet String quartet and orchestral music from Arcanum, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings. – this group is near my home town and I’ve enjoyed their music in the past. One of their members, Julia Okrusko, has run a number of successful Kickstarters which I’ve backed.

    Ends July 28th Desdemona Graphic Novel series by DieGo Comics Publishing. Diego Comics Publishing is ready to launch the fourth book of Desdemona, the Florentine radio DJ with a weakness for mystery crimes. Your help is needed to help us to bring TWO MORE BOOKS OF this awesome Italian heroine to you! This Kickstarter will raise funds for us to pay for the translation, lettering and cover art of the fourth book as well as cover printing and shipping costs. – DieGo translates comics and works on bringing European comics to larger audiences. Comics of theirs I’ve supported in the past have had LGBTI themes. #WeNeedDiverseCreators

    Ends August 1st ELEMENTS: Fire A comics anthology by creators of color
    ELEMENTS is an all-ages anthology focused on creators of color sharing comics with a FIRE theme. The book will be 250+ pages, printed black & white with a spot color, and contains speculative fiction ranging from sci-fi & fantasy to alternative cyberpunk, humor, and suspense.
    Elements looks to add to the current conversation happening in the book industry: yes #WeNeedDiverseBooks, but #WeNeedDiverseCreators too. We are no longer just the sidekicks or token characters, we’re creators with our own stories to tell. In Elements we’re the main characters, dismantling tropes with our own stories that see people like us saving the day. Be it quelling a volcano, learning to fight with our brand of love, or breaking cyberspace, we want to let these stories and characters take center stage. – Beyond Press

    For Meredith & fun, no heavy themes
    Ends August 1st. purple Dragon print A beautiful elementally themed dragon illustration printed on metallic photo paper for beautiful art that comes to life.

  17. 7 – Not a lot of intelligence needed when his worldview is if he doesn’t like or agree with it, than it must be because of the nebulous SJW cabal. No room for nuance, he can retain a lot of information but can’t do anything with it.

    I’ve decided Beale is best summed up by this line from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

    “He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

  18. Finished Penric’s Demon.
    Perfectly harmless, felt it lacked bite.
    The sharing knife books were similar. It’s a thing to have characters above put all their points into politeness, but it doesn’t make for the most interesting stories.

  19. I’m into Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway and loving it very much. It’s set at a home for children who’ve been through magic portals and come back and aren’t adjusting well to the world they left behind. It’s vivid and rich even with not a lot happening so far, and I’m pretty sure already that this will go on to my re-read-every-so-often list.

  20. THE MOST RELUCTANT CONVERT was in Washington in May, but I didn’t see it. I did see his adaptation of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which was very well done and well worth seeing. However, McLean’s adaptation of THE GREAT DIVORCE, like the novel, didn’t really work.

  21. @Shambles
    Your welcome

    An update on Enough Space For Everyone Else: An Anthology They’ve added a Book Club reward: 5 print books & 5 ebooks for $50 which is a great deal as a single book is $25. Get copies for you and your friends or for libraries or young writers groups.

  22. Just finished “Ninefox Gambit” by Yoon Ha Lee. One thing I learned: I can no longer read paperbacks, at least ones not by major publishers, because the fonts are consistently too small to be comfortable for my aging eyes. Aggravating, because sharing e-books with family is difficult.

    The cover makes “Ninefox Gambit” look like a bog-standard interstellar MilSF, but it’s anything but. The world-building is very dense and complex, and it’s never really explained: you’re just dropped in, and have to be prepared to go with it, piecing together a picture of the world without any As-you-know-Bob explanations. A lot of what goes on is more or less magic — but it’s Clarke’s Law Magic: controlled by mathematics, studied with simulations. Or is it all supposed to be Quantum, But Not As We Know It?

    The plot, too, is complex and multi-layered — and of course it’s the first part of a trilogy, “The Machineries of Empire”. This is the third book — after “Lovecraft Country” and “Too Like the Lightning” to have nailed a place on my longlist for next year’s nominations.

  23. (1) and @Lee: Couldn’t agree more. The ending HAS to work or the whole rest of the book is moot. And tacked on grimdark endings are worse than tacked on happy endings. “Person of Interest” stuck the landing, and that was a very, very bittersweet ending that could easily have gone grimdark in lesser hands.

    @Bartimaeus: Thanks for the link! Only a month to go… and then another year for the next, sigh. Trade paperback cheaper than Kindle, eh?

    (19) “Apologetic Kaiju” is the name of my next band.

  24. After taking a many book break from SFF (to rinse Seveneves out of my brain), I’ve moved on to the Hugo novella finalists. I quite liked Penric’s Demon, although it didn’t make my ballot, but neither Binti nor Perfect State worked for me. Halfway through Slow Bullets, I’ve decided to reconsider my decision to read the finalists in their entirety. And this is the good stuff. Dear God.

    @Tasha Turner, thanks for the heads up on Kickstarter projects.

  25. @ malcolm

    Clicked on the Vox Day link and the first thing I saw was the title “Seriously Fascist Women’s Association.” On the other hand, maybe not.


  26. The Kaiju thing reminds me of a very weird Japanese comedy I saw called The Apology King, about a man whose business is helping people apologise correctly. It’s a bunch of interlocking stories starting with a young woman who needs to apologise to the Yakuza, and somehow managing to escalate from there.


  27. A question for those who’ve read Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – trigger warnings – a number of the editorial reviews used the word brutal to describe the book. There aren’t many reviews up yet. Specific things I’d like to be warned about: sexual abuse, suicide, torture, child abuse, violence towards women, you know the big stuff. Your comments and reviews have me curious and the kindle version is slightly discounted today.

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