Pixel Scroll 7/26/16 I Am The Very Pixel Of A Modern Scrolling General

(1) WONDER WOMAN FOREVER. At the San Diego Comic-Con the Postal Service announced “Wonder Woman’s 75th Anniversary to be Celebrated on Forever Stamps”. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony will take place October 7 at New York Comic-Con.

wonder woman stamps

This new issuance showcases four different stamp designs on a sheet of 20 stamps depicting Wonder Woman during four eras of comic book history:  Golden Age (1941–55), Silver Age (1956–72), Bronze Age (1973–86) and Modern Age (1987–present).

On the first row of stamps Wonder Woman of the Modern Age wields a hammer with a power and determination befitting her roots in the heroic world of Greek mythology.


The Bronze Age Wonder Woman’s bold stance empowers the second row of stamps. With her fist held high and bulletproof bracelets gleaming, the Amazon princess leads the charge against injustice.


The third row of stamps depicts Wonder Woman during the Silver Age. Although she possesses great strength and speed, the world’s favorite superheroine prefers compassion to the use of brute force. With her golden lasso of truth close at hand, she compels honesty from her foes.


In the last row of stamps, Wonder Woman from the Golden Age bursts onto the scene as originally envisioned by creator William Moulton Marston.


Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamp pane.

(2) SIGNATURE TRAITS. Max Florschutz continues his “Being A Better Writer” series of posts with “Giving Characters a Leitmotif”.

….Now, to some of you long-time readers, this may sound somewhat familiar. After all, we’ve spoken before of ways to show a reader character through dialogue choice or body language. Here and now, however, I’m sort of pulling all of this together into a single, overarching idea: What leitmotif have you given your character? What element of their personality, attribute of their view of the world, are you going to weave into their parts (or perhaps point of view) in order to let the reader know exactly who they’re following even before you give them a name?

No joke. With strong enough characterization to a character’s perspective, it’s entirely possible to write a piece that, without ever mentioning a character’s name, is identifiable wholly as that character’s own. Through use of specific dialogue ticks, phrasing, complexity of language, or even things like catch phrases, general attitudes, or body language, you can inform a reader exactly who your character is.

Better yet, such an action will, if varied (we’ll talk about that in a moment) bring the character to life. Because let’s be honest here: We all have a “leitmotif.” Each of us has very recognizable traits that allow others to see who we are quite quickly(an old friend of mine once—no joke—identified me in the dark, only from my silhouette, on the explained logic of “no one else walks with that much casual swagger” … and come to think of it, that’s happened more than once).

Likewise, as you sit down to create—and then write—a character, what “leitmotifs” are you going to give them? What verbal cues, what methods of thought, or what reactions will they have. Will they be fight or flight? Will they be brusque to those they don’t know? Courteous? Do they think of themselves in first or second person when thinking?

Now, I know this all sounds like character design and development stuff—and it is! But what I’m bringing to the front here is not just the act of deciding all this stuff, but of picking the ones that you’ll weave into everything about the character….

(3) BOIL ‘TIL DONE. The New York Times invites you to “Meet Luca, the Ancestor of All Living Things”. At least, that’s the theory.

….Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old….

….Genes that do the same thing in a human and a mouse are generally related by common descent from an ancestral gene in the first mammal. So by comparing their sequence of DNA letters, genes can be arranged in evolutionary family trees, a property that enabled Dr. Martin and his colleagues to assign the six million genes to a much smaller number of gene families. Of these, only 355 met their criteria for having probably originated in Luca, the joint ancestor of bacteria and archaea.

Genes are adapted to an organism’s environment. So Dr. Martin hoped that by pinpointing the genes likely to have been present in Luca, he would also get a glimpse of where and how Luca lived. “I was flabbergasted at the result, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

The 355 genes pointed quite precisely to an organism that lived in the conditions found in deep sea vents, the gassy, metal-laden, intensely hot plumes caused by seawater interacting with magma erupting through the ocean floor.

…Dr. Sutherland, working from basic principles of chemistry, has found that ultraviolet light from the sun is an essential energy source to get the right reactions underway, and therefore that land-based pools, not the ocean, are the most likely environment in which life began.

“We didn’t set out with a preferred scenario; we deduced the scenario from the chemistry,” he said, chiding Dr. Martin for not having done any chemical simulations to support the deep sea vent scenario.

Dr. Martin’s portrait of Luca “is all very interesting, but it has nothing to do with the actual origin of life,” Dr. Sutherland said.

(4) PRINCESS CHARMING. Roby and Kreider have turned to Kickstarter to get their next project out of the starting gate – Princess Charming: for a Few Princesses More.

Josh Roby has been writing professionally for more than a decade (and writing unprofessionally for a long time before that), and has worked as an editor for curriculum development and a number of early reader titles. Nowadays, most of Josh’s time is spent as a home maker and raising two darling children.

Anna Kreider is a writer, game designer, and illustrator who spends a lot of time blogging about depictions of women in pop culture. She is also attempting to raise a toddler, despite the toddler’s best efforts to the contrary.

Here’s what they’re doing —

Princess Charming

We started the Princess Charming book series to make children’s books that feature active, competent princess characters who do more than wait around to get rescued. We’ve already published six books across three different reading levels, but we’re far from done.

Publishing the first six books was a great experience, and we’re ready to bring out the second batch, starting with Princess Rowan Charming.

Only one thing slows down our Rowan — her friend, Prince Sundara, who insists on coming along. Something about Rowan having only one hand and that he has to protect her. But he only gets in the way! Somehow Rowan has to make the boy understand that he’s not cut out for adventuring… before he gets hurt.

And In the Wings…

If we fund all of Princess Rowan’s titles, we’ve got two more princesses lined up and ready to go: Princess Chandra and Princess Nayeli are both penciled in for three books, which we will unlock as stretch goals.

With a week to go, the appeal has raised $1,875 of its $3,000 goal.

(5) SEVEN DEAD GODS. Westercon 67 alumnus Valynne Maetani has hit it big. Publishers Weekly has the story – “Two YA Authors Tweet Mutual Interests into Six-Figure Deal”.

What began as a casual Twitter conversation between two long-time friends who for years talked about writing a book together – Valynne Maetani and Courtney Alameda – has become a hot property that recently was sold to HarperCollins in a two-book, six-figure deal after an auction earlier this year in which four major publishers participated. The final contract was signed in June.

Seven Dead Gods, the YA novel co-written by Maetani and Alameda, who have both been represented by John Cusick (now with Folio Literary Management/Folio Jr.) since 2012, is scheduled to publish in winter 2018. While Cusick described Seven Dead Gods as a combination of “An Ember in the Ashes and Daughter of Smoke and Bone meets Akira Kurosawa,” Alexandra Cooper, the HarperCollins editor who acquired it, used more cinematic terms: “Mean Girls meets Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

According to the two co-authors, it’s simply the inevitable culmination of their mutual passion for horror, anime, comic book culture, and Kurosawa’s classic Japanese epic movies. In Seven Dead Gods, which is set in modern-day Japan, 17-year-old Kira, who is the victim of bullying at her school, finds solace working in her grandfather’s Shinto shrine. After realizing that she can see and commune with demons, Kira – with her younger sister in tow – partners with seven “death gods,” or “Shinigami” in Japanese, to save Kyoto from destruction.


  • July 26, 1969 — First Moon rock samples analyzed.


  • Born July 26, 1894 –Aldous Huxley
  • Born July 26, 1928 — Stanley Kubrick

(8) MONUMENT TO A HUGO BALLOT. Lurkertype finished voting for the Hugos and Retro-Hugos and celebrated by using the Pulp-O-Mizer mentioned in yesterday’s Scroll to make this faux pulp cover.

(9) WILL JRRT FOLLOW GRRM ON HBO? That’s what iDigital Times would like to see: “’The Silmarillion’ TV Series: HBO Should Adapt ‘The Silmarillion’ After ‘Game of Thrones’”.

The Silmarillion would be an incredible successor to Game of Thrones on HBO, not least because the two would be so different. The Silmarillion is firmly set in the epic vein, in the realm of the mythic; Game of Thrones is a story of kings and princes, but has always been down to earth, even in its new epic fantasy phase. The battles in The Silmarillion are more elemental; these are wars between Elves and dragons, Balrogs, giant spiders and endless hordes of orcs, and sometimes the gods themselves intervene. But the story itself is incredibly interesting—it has the depth and complexity to carry a series, even one that’s more directly fantastical than Game of Thrones.

Could it happen? It’s not impossible. The Tolkien family still holds the film rights to The Silmarillion, and Christopher Tolkien has made it very clear that Peter Jackson isn’t getting those rights, not after the debacle of The Hobbit movies. But that doesn’t mean no one is getting them. HBO has shown itself a relatively careful steward of such properties, and it’s willing to invest in the money and talent to do such shows right.

(10) WHAT WILL DARTH SAY? After Tor Books announced its latest round of promotions, Elizabeth Bear voiced the joke that immediately came to some people’s minds —

(11) NEEDS A CLUE. Spacefaring Kitten is “No-Awarding Editors and Avengers”.

I don’t think that any of the novel editors does a bad job (ok, maybe one of them). This is strictly a protest vote against the insane category. How can anybody who is not an industry insider come to any conclusion about who is better than someone else in turning mediocre books into great ones? I have no clue.

So when you have no clue, why cast a vote that in principal can obstruct others who don’t feel that way from giving an award?

(12) ONE TRICK. Was there any question about this being the end times?

“Zombie Dog – The Barking Dead Messenger Pet”

zombie dog

(13) MASHUP. Brian Kesinger came up with a good one —

(14) PIONEER OF UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. Sir Julius Vogel, for whom New Zealand’s national sf award is named, was remembered at a special memorial service in London at the beginning of the month, though not for reasons to do with his fantasy writing, which was never mentioned.

Vogel had a visionary imagination. He wrote about air cruisers, driven by engines much like jet engines, the inventor of which was a young Jewish woman, niece of the spymaster. He envisages large irrigation schemes in the South Island, electricity as the prime source of domestic light and heat, hydro-electricity as a major source of power.

In political developments, he foresaw a global federation of financial interests that maintained world peace, taxation as the great divisive issue threatening to break up the empire, and the resolution of the issue of Irish Home Rule.

There is no limit to Vogel’s seemingly far-fetched ideas.

The Southland Times, reviewing Vogel’s book, said: “In Anno Domini 2000, it is easy to detect the hand of a beginner. The plot, if plot it can be called, is not very ingenious, the dialogue is not very brilliant and the characterisation is decidedly poor. The whole story is moreover ridiculously improbable.”

What is interesting is that Vogel, who was reminded of his Jewish identity throughout his life, whom his political opponents described as the “wandering Jew”, whose newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, was referred to as “that despicable literary dish clout”, “the Jew’s Harp”, created a positive image of Jewishness in one of the leading characters of his work of fantasy.

(15) A HUMMER. I must have missed this one the first time it came around in 2006.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Dave Doering, JJ, and James Davis Nicoll for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

105 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/26/16 I Am The Very Pixel Of A Modern Scrolling General

  1. And in another piece of irony, Futura Fantasia, one of the Retro fanzine nominees, contains a curious little story about the evils of planetary colonialism, one of the themes that Torgersen (or possibly Correia) identified as what is wrong with modern SF.

  2. GHOSTBUSTERS reviews are up on Amazon for the forthcoming DVD release. 24% totally against it. One or two incoherent reviews, some one linesr and one word reviews and some people with a corpse to verbally rake over.

  3. Sad news: Richard Thompson, the writer/artist of comic strip Cul De Sac died this morning. While not strictly genre, the strip had a long running gag about a Little Nemo-like comic book, Little Neuro. Thompson had to give up drawing due to an aggressive variant of Parkinson’s Disease, complications from which led to his death.

    Reruns of the strip are here: http://www.gocomics.com/culdesac

  4. Richard Thompson also drew for Washington DC area fanzines. Last week I had picked up and read and enjoyed THE ART OF RICHARD THOMPSON. Bill Watterson did a number of interviews, which are in the book, headlining several sections of art. His mind was genre.


  5. One thing I hadn’t realized is that when Pete Docter was starting to work on Inside Out he talked with Richard Thompson about it and Thompson did character sketches.

  6. This comes at a time when the strip has rolled around (for the third occurrence, I think) to strips I remember having seen before. These are brilliant, and timeless.

  7. Ah, man, very sorry to hear about Richard Thompson — I loved Cul de Sac and bought the complete collection when it came out, and had been sad to hear of his illness.

  8. @StephenfromOttowa.
    The eight deadly words are: “I don’t care what happens to these people”. See TVTropes for details

  9. Robert Whitaker Sirignano: FUFA deserves some sort of an award for Bradbury’s effort in getting Heinlein to write a story for him.

    We could stretch a point and predict Heinlein might be responsible for 5 Retro-Hugos — three for his fiction, one for Campbell as editor, and Bradbury’s fanzine.

    Although I expect people really will be voting for Bradbury in the last case.

  10. Well, I finally read ‘Seven Kill Tiger’. It is an odd story, isn’t it? It’s strangely flat; it’s hard to see what reaction is called for. I think it’s reasonably clear that trabpvqr vf frra nf n onq guvat – gur jnl gur Puvarfr rzoenpr vg vf zrnag gb or n pbzzrag ba gur ehguyrffarff bs gur Puvarfr tbireazrag, onpxrq hc ol ersreraprf gb gur Terng Yrnc Sbejneq naq Phygheny Eribyhgvba (gubhtu vg’f vzcyvrq Nzrevpnaf naq Ehffvnaf ner pncnoyr bs gur fnzr). Gur snpg gung vg’f abg ceriragrq qbrfa’g pbhag ntnvafg guvf; vg’f n fvta bs gur varfpncnoyr angher bs rivy, fhpu nf jr bsgra trg va qlfgbcvna jbexf. On the other hand, Munat’f vavgvny zhfvatf frrz gb or cerfragrq dhvgr flzcngurgvpnyyl, fb gung gur birenyy zbeny pbzrf bire nf ‘Lrf, Nsevpnaf ner greevoyr, ohg rkgrezvangvat gurz vf tbvat n ovg sne’. I suppose this could be seen as a brilliant piece of ambiguity, but it really doesn’t work as one.

  11. @ Andrew M:

    Well, I finally read ‘Seven Kill Tiger’. It is an odd story, isn’t it? It’s strangely flat; it’s hard to see what reaction is called for.

    Lbhe ivrj bs gur fgbel vf zber punevgnoyr guna zvar; V pnzr bss jvgu gur qvfgvapg srryvat gung trabpvqr, ng yrnfg bs fho-Fnunena Nsevpnaf, jnf cbegenlrq nf n cbfvgvir tbbq. Abg bayl vf gur trabpvqr abg ceriragrq, ohg gurer’f ab erny chfuonpx ntnvafg vg sebz nalbar (rkprcg n gbxra cebgrfg sebz gur Nzrevpna, jub vf dhvpxyl dhvrgrq), naq abg bayl ner Munat’f vavgvny zhfvatf “cerfragrq dhvgr flzcngurgvpnyyl,” gurl’er _nssvezngviryl inyvqngrq_. Ur guvaxf bs Mnzovnaf nf ebooref naq encvfgf, naq gur bayl guvat gur fgbel fubjf gurz qbvat vf… eboovat naq encvat crbcyr. Ab punenpgre rire fnlf “gurl’er abg nyy yvxr gung” va rira n creshapgbel jnl, naq bs pbhefr gur Mnzovnaf ner arire tvira n punapr gb fcrnx sbe gurzfryirf. Naq, yngre va gur fgbel, jura Munat zhfrf gung gur trabpvqr jbhyq or na nccebcevngr eriratr sbe gur “erfgyrff tubfgf” bs Una Puvarfr crbcyr zheqrerq ol Mnzovnaf, gurer’f ab fhttrfgvba gung ur zvtug or jebat.

    Nf n ehyr, V’z irel urfvgnag gb nggevohgr n punenpgre’f enpvfz gb gur nhgube, ohg “Frira Xvyy Gvtre” yrnqf gb ab bgure pbapyhfvba. Gurer’f ab grkghny rivqrapr gung Munat vf na haeryvnoyr aneengbe, n ivyynva, be nalguvat bgure guna n abve ureb jub qvq jung ur unq gb qb. “Frira Xvyy Gvtre” vf n ceb-trabpvqr fgbel. Vg’f rnfvyl gur zbfg qvfgheovat guvat V’ir ernq guvf lrne.

  12. Jonathan Edelstein, what you said. A good dystopian story can make one think. “Seven Kill Tiger” didn’t make me think; it just made me ill.

  13. And the disappointing thing about the story is that with some simple changes, the story could have been really good. Znxr gur punenpgre n pbzcyrgr ivyynva naq nccyl npghny trargvp fpvrapr gb gur fcernq bs gur ivehf – nf va gurer ner ab fhpu fcrpvsvp trargvp znexref sbe n tvira trbtencuvpnyyl qrsvarq cbchyngvba.

    Raq gur fgbel jvgu uvz erprvivat arjf gung vg’f fcernqvat gb nyy bs uhznavgl whfg nf ur qrirybcf flzcgbzf…

    In the right hands, it could have had a Screwfly Solution-level of chilling.

  14. Gilbert & Sullivan provide an enormous amount of potential material:

    Hail, men-o’-war’s men — safeguards of your nation
    Here is an end, at last, of all privation;
    You’ve got your pay — spare all you can afford
    To welcome Little Pixelscroll on board.

    I’m called Little Pixelscroll — dear Little Pixelscroll,
    Though I could never tell why,
    But still I’m called Pixelscroll — poor little Pixelscroll,
    Sweet Little Pixelscroll I!


    Three little scrolls from school are we
    Pert as a scroll-girl well can be
    Filled to the brim with pixelish glee
    Three little scrolls from school!

  15. Jonathan Edelstein:

    Gur fgbel frrzf gb zr pyrneyl gb qenj ba artngvir fgrerbglcrf nobhg Puvan. V pnaabg oryvrir gung gur ersrerapr gb gur Phygheny Eribyhgvba vf zrnag cbfvgviryl.

    Nf sbe gur ‘ab chfuonpx’ nethzrag, V svaq vg zlfgvslvat. Gur fgbel qrcvpgf ab chfuonpx gnxvat cynpr (rkprcg ol bar crefba, rnfvyl arhgenyvfrq) orpnhfr rirelbar vf pbzcyvpvg. Guvf vf dhvgr abezny sbe qlfgbcvna svpgvba.

  16. Question for all of you who have read Seveneves! If you loved it, if you hated it, or if you lie somewhere in-between, please follow me into Rot-13 Land:

    V unir whfg uvg gur ortvaavat bs jung nccrnef gb or n “Whyvn Oyvff-Synuregl (jub fubhyq gbgnyyl or fcnprq sbe ure cneg va qrfgeblvat gur Uhzna Trargvp Nepuvir naljnl) raqnatref Vmml naq gur Nexyrgf (Terng Onaq Anzr!) jvgu cbyvgvpny znarhirevat naq cebonoyl na nggrzcgrq pbhc” cybgyvar. V unir ab cngvrapr jvgu nal bs gurfr punenpgref naq ubarfgyl xvaq bs jnag gurz nyy gb qvr naljnl. Zl ernpgvba gb gur Uneq Enva naq qrfgehpgvba bs gur Nepuvir jnf “FHPX VG, UHZNAVGL!” juvpu…vf xvaq bs n onq fvta.

    Fb…qb V pbagvahr? Vf vg jbegujuvyr? Ner gurer tbvat gb or nal fhecevfrf be npghny eryngnoyr flzcngurgvp punenpgref? Fubhyq V whfg fxvc gb gur gvzr whzc sbejneq naq tvir vg n fubg sebz gurer? Be qb V tb jvgu zl vafgvapg bs “shpx guvf obbx” naq ernq fbzrguvat ryfr gung ubcrshyyl jba’g cvff zr bss?

    Thanks in advance for your input! I hate bailing on books; it feels like a personal failing. And considering I plan to read (or at least attempt) all Hugo finalists at some point, I want to feel like I gave it a fair and honest shot.

  17. Dawn Incognito,

    Full disclosure: I left Seveneves entirely off my ballot, under No Award. My comments in rot13 are vague, so as not to utterly spoil you if you do decide to go on. (I thought about rot-14ing serious spoilers, but then decided it was easier to just leave them out. If you don’t mind serious spoilers, please say so and I’ll go into considerably more detail about the things that irritated me.)

    Va zl bcvavba, fxvc gb gur gvzrwhzc. (Be whfg urnir gur obbx ntnvafg gur jnyy.)

    *Rirelbar* va beovg orunirf onqyl. *Abobql* vf flzcngurgvp, ohg fbzr crbcyr (vapyhqvat Whyvn) ner qenja nf, va gur vzzbegny jbeqf bs Jbes ba FgneGerxArkgTra, “n jnfgr bs fxva.” Gur snpg gung Whyvn vf, nccneragyl, n onq cnfgvpur bs Uvynel Pyvagba whfg znxrf vg gung zhpu zber veevgngvat, va zl bcvavba. Gur bayl unys-jnl flzcngurgvp punenpgref qvr, urebvpnyyl be fghcvqyl.

    V svavfurq vg, bhg bs n zvfcynprq frafr gung vg unq gb trg orggre. (V ernyyl rawblrq Nangurz.)

    Gur gvzrwhzccrq ynfg frpgvba vf ng yrnfg fbzrjung vagrerfgvat, ohg zbfg bs jung zvtug unir orra gur zbfg vagrerfgvat cnegf bs vg vf va gur jbeyqohvyqvat, juvpu vf tvira va lrg zber vaqvtrfgvoyr vasbqhzcf.

    Lbhe zvyrntr znl inel, bs pbhefr.

  18. Nf sbe gur ‘ab chfuonpx’ nethzrag, V svaq vg zlfgvslvat. Gur fgbel qrcvpgf ab chfuonpx gnxvat cynpr (rkprcg ol bar crefba, rnfvyl arhgenyvfrq) orpnhfr rirelbar vf pbzcyvpvg. Guvf vf dhvgr abezny sbe qlfgbcvna svpgvba.

    Vg vf npghnyyl dhvgr noabezny sbe qlfgbcvna svpgvba. Va zbfg qlfgbcvna fgbevrf gung vaibyir cynaf gb pbzzvg trabpvqr, gurer vf ng yrnfg bar crefba gb jubz gur cyna vf cerfragrq jub erpbvyf va ubeebe sebz vg. Va Frira Xvyy Gvtre, rirel crefba jub vf yrg va ba gur cyna cerggl zhpu vzzrqvngryl pyvzof ba obneq jvgu vg nf n terng vqrn. Rira gur Nzrevpna qbpgbe fvzcyl npprcgf gur vqrn jvgu gur zvyqrfg bs erfreingvbaf.

  19. @ Andrew M: Gur nhgube bs gur fgbel unf n Puvarfr anzr, juvpu qbrfa’g ehyr bhg gur cbffvovyvgl gung ur’f qenjvat ba artngvir fgrerbglcrf bs gur Puvarfr ohg (VZB ng yrnfg) znxrf gung cbffvovyvgl zhpu yrff yvxryl.

  20. @Dawn Incognito: I don’t think Seveneves actually gets any better after the point you’ve mentioned, so if you’re not having fun, you may as well stop now. (Personally… I read to the end of it; it’s… umm… it’s an actual book – possibly two actual books rather clumsily stuck together – so it’s going on my ballot above “No Award”, but it’s coming in well below Uprooted, The Fifth Season and Ancillary Mercy, I’m darned sure of that.)

  21. Dawn Incognito
    Overall, I really enjoyed Seveneves but the section you are starting was the worst. Tb nurnq naq fxvc ohg abg nyy gur jnl gb gur gvzr whzc, lbh arrq gb ernq gur ynfg 15vfu cntrf bs gur pheerag frpgvba gb haqrefgnaq gur riragf nsgre gur gvzr whzc. Gur ynfg cneg bs gur obbx vf irel qvssrerag, abg zhpu uneq fpvrapr, abg zhpu bs n cybg, vafgrnq n ybg bs frafr bs jbaqre shgher grpuabybtl fcrphyngvba.

  22. Shpx guvf obbx. Ybbx, lbh xabj gur ovt fhecevfr qba’g lbh? Gurer’f ubarfgyl abguvat yrsg ohg gur ovt fhecevfr.

  23. Can I just say that I found the last part of Seveneves the most interesting? From what I’ve read, though, I seem to be unique on that, so don’t take my experience as a guide to anything.

  24. @Dawn Incognito, I’m somewhere in the middle, which is where Seveneves sits on my ballot. The infodumps, which Filers rightly suggested I could skip without missing anything story related, are annoyingly clunky, the characters aren’t believable and a lot of really poor decision making is glossed over as if it’s perfectly normal. The section after the time jump is more readable, and I too liked it better, even though it has exactly the same problems as the first, probably because the infodumps are shorter and none of the characters are completely unlikeable.

    I thought it was a big, sprawling mess of a book, but I liked the ambition of the ideas and kept on through the end on the strength of that. It doesn’t get any better from the place you are now, though.

    If you have to think of it as a failure when you don’t want to finish a book, maybe transfer the blame to the author?

  25. Had less time to do reading and writing this week due to houseguests and obsessive watching of current politics, but I did get one book read —

    Mighty Good Road, by Melissa Scott

    SF about the co-owner of an independent salvage company hired to investigate a mysterious crash. The cover of this looked familiar, and there’s a chance I may have read this when it first came out more than 25 years ago. If I did, I didn’t remember it at all which … may have been a warning sign. I was pretty disappointed by this. On the surface, it sounds like exactly the kind of things I’d be into, but I found it a mostly dull story, and one that was full of irritating “SF Exposition” (e.g., the stuff that in a contemporarily-set story would read something like, “They rented a car, a light vehicle with four wheels most commonly used for personal transport, rather than a single-person motorcycle or one of the larger trucks more often used to ship goods for trade” — that kind of thing drives me nuts.) Interestingly, the social aspects were well-handled and not expositiony at all, making them a high point of the book and the one thing I really enjoyed reading in it. Nonetheless, they didn’t save the story for me.

  26. Another great cartoonist passed away: Jack Davis.

    His genre connections would include his work on EC horror and SF comics, and his “Funny Monsters” trading cards for Topps.

  27. Dawn Incognito asked:

    Fubhyq V whfg fxvc gb gur gvzr whzc sbejneq naq tvir vg n fubg sebz gurer? Be qb V tb jvgu zl vafgvapg bs “shpx guvf obbx” naq ernq fbzrguvat ryfr gung ubcrshyyl jba’g cvff zr bss?

    Go with your instinct. Rira nsgre Whyvn vf qrnq naq tbar, ure qrfpraqnagf ner n ohapu bs wrexf orpnhfr gur nhgube whfg arrqf fbzr crbcyr gb or n ohapu bs wrexf.

  28. I’m at the age where people I’ve been aware of all my life start becoming scarce on the ground. Davis! I used to think of him as a throwaway scribble artist, but somewhere along the way I realized not only that he was capable of fantastic intricacy, but that he generally put down exactly the right number and location of lines, and it was my fairly enjoyable job to learn to love that.

    And I love that he did “Mark Trade” for MAD after having been an assistant on the actual “Mark Trail” newspaper strip for a while. (Nature Punchman Go!)

  29. Andrew M said:

    Can I just say that I found the last part of Seveneves the most interesting? From what I’ve read, though, I seem to be unique on that, so don’t take my experience as a guide to anything.

    I found it the least painful– I thought there was about two-thirds of a decent novella buried in there– but that’s not enough for me to recommend pressing onward.

  30. Dawn Incognito, I enjoyed Seveneves more than most commenters here. I thought it was one of the 3 or 4 most interesting and moving 2015 sf novels I read, and it’s the only one of that group to make the Hugo ballot. (The others were Aurora and The Just City/The Philosopher Kings. I would really like to be able to vote for Aurora.)

    However if you aren’t liking the book to this point, I suspect it won’t get any better for you. Personally I thought the last section of the book was inventive enough but unengaging, but who knows, you might prefer it.

  31. @Dawn Incognito

    V’q fnl lbh’ir tvira gur abiry n snve fubg, naq vs lbh qba’g yvxr nal bs gur punenpgref, vg’f hayvxryl gung lbh’er tbvat gb yvxr gurz nal orggre (ol qrsvavgvba, nsgre gur Uneq Enva, rkvfgvat punenpgref trg xvyyrq bss engure guna arj barf vagebqhprq sbe gur erfg bs cneg VV).

    Gur ernfba V yvxrq Frirarirf vf abg gung V sbhaq gur punenpgref cnegvphyneyl yvxnoyr (gubhtu V guvax Qvanu jnf zrnag gb or frra gung jnl), ohg gung V sbhaq vg n erserfuvat punatr sebz gur FS gebcr bs “Bu ab, n tybony pngnfgebcur vf vzzvarag! Boivbhfyl, jr’yy nyy vzzrqvngryl qebc bhe cbyvgvpxvat naq jbex gbtrgure ba jung’f evtug”. V svaq vg dhvgr ernyvfgvp gung, rira snpvat vzcraqvat qbbz, fbzr crbcyr jbhyq pbagvahr chefhvat frysvfu naq fubeg fvtugrq fgengrtvrf, naq va snpg gur qbbz jbhyq rira NFFVFG fgengrtvrf erylvat ba oevaxznafuvc. V nyfb svaq vg ernyvfgvp gung rira crbcyr bs tbbq jvyy pna irurzragyl qvfnterr jvgu rnpu bgure ba juvpu fgengrtl gb nqbcg.

    Bar nfcrpg bs Frirarirf gung V qvq unir qvssvphygvrf jvgu jrer gur fhvpvqrf. Gurfr jrer crbcyr cvpxrq bhg gb or fnirq sebz gur qrfgehpgvba bs gur rnegu, sbe gur fcrpvsvp checbfr bs urycvat gur fcrpvrf fheivir. Haqre gur pvephzfgnaprf, vg frrzf rkgerzryl frysvfu gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr—gurl unq rirel bccbeghavgl gb fgnl oruvaq naq tvivat fbzrobql ryfr n fubg ng fheiviny. Bs pbhefr, fhvpvqny vzchyfrf uneqyl sbyybj engvbany ernfbavat, ohg V svaq vg bqq gung vg jbhyq or n znff curabzraba.

    Fcrnxvat bs yvxnoyr punenpgref, vg frrzf gb zr gung V’ir frra dhvgr n srj crbcyr jub zragvbarq gur hayvxrnoyr punenpgref va Frirarirf, ohg qvq yvxr Gur Svsgu Frnfba. Va zl bcvavba, pbzcnerq gb Svsgu Frnfba, gur Frirarirf punenpgref jrer qbjaevtug jnez naq phqqyl.

  32. @StephenfromOttawa yes, I really miss The Just City and Aurora (though my impression here is that many filers did not like Aurora any better than Seveneves). I also liked The Traitor Baru Cormorant better than some of the finalists.

  33. I voted for Alyssa Wong precisely BECAUSE she writes in a sub-genre I don’t usually care for. And yet I’ve read everything of hers that comes my way. That shows real socks-orbiting talent.

    I suspect Heinlein is gonna win a whole buncha Retro-Hugos this year. Despite certain juvenile canines swearing up and down that RAH could never! win nowadays. I went back and re-read the works and… hmm, they maybe don’t hold up so well in some aspects. Still gave “If This Goes On –” my numero uno. Pretty sure Ted Cruz would looove to become Scudder.

    @Cheryl S: Maybe just read the ones by the ladies? And “ITGO”. And the deCamp?

    @microtherion: But non-Coventry gave you the choice of re-education or exile, which isn’t libertopia. Or not libertopia as we hear it screamed about today, anyway; the society in “Coventry” still valued politeness and the social contract, as opposed to the Freedumb of Coventry and today’s libertariloons online.

    @Andrew M: Yes, “Magic, Inc.” is a swell tale. But I too voted deCamp/Pratt higher for sheer exuberance. I guess pups will have to disown Bradbury (editor of Futuria Fantasia) for daring to criticize colonialism. Another demonstration that they don’t actually know squat about the Golden Age they rhapsodize about.

    Gotta say, the Retros were a pleasure, being honestly nominated by a variety of people who actually love the genre. Also I was a friendly acquaintance of Bob Tucker (RIP) so I was glad to see him nominated.

    I’m with Edelstein and Aaron on their thoughts about 7KT.

    @Dawn: Bail now. I’m another who loved Anathem, yet Seveneves ended up nowhere upon my ballot, for lo, it both sucked and blew and should not have been there in the first place. It’s certainly not your failure, as you can see from all the rot13 comments.

    If we needed an info-dumpy “people stuck in a ship” choice on the ballot, it should have been “Aurora”, which had some nice people as characters and some genuinely moving moments, like how I nyzbfg pevrq jura Fuvc qvrq. No bad pastiches of real people, either.

    Of course I preferred Oor Wombat’s “Bryony and Roses” to “Uprooted”. Absolutely NO novels I nominated made the ballot.

  34. And since this is probably my only time to be a Pixel Scroll item, I will reveal unto you the categories that I completely NO AWARDed: Related Work, Pro Artist, Fancast.

    Being as I loved “Cat Pictures, Please”, talked it up a lot, and nominated it, you can probably guess what my Short Story vote looks like.

    And take a wild guess at Fanzine and Fan Writer. 🙂

    I do vote in Editor/Long, but wouldn’t miss it if it goes away. It’s not like we don’t already got plenty of other categories. None of the proposals I’ve heard for new categories have really wowed me. I think we should get through EPH and the other mechanical ones first, then maybe get rid of Editor/Long, and only then consider new ones.

  35. @microtherion:

    Fcrnxvat bs yvxnoyr punenpgref, vg frrzf gb zr gung V’ir frra dhvgr n srj crbcyr jub zragvbarq gur hayvxrnoyr punenpgref va Frirarirf, ohg qvq yvxr Gur Svsgu Frnfba. Va zl bcvavba, pbzcnerq gb Svsgu Frnfba, gur Frirarirf punenpgref jrer qbjaevtug jnez naq phqqyl.

    Ooh ooh I’m one of those very people, so thank you for making me think thinky thoughts about the difference!

    Gur guvat jvgu Flravgr, Rffha, naq Nynonfgre vf gung V pbhyq frr ubj gurl jrer funcrq vagb gur cebsbhaqyl hacyrnfnag crbcyr gung gurl jrer. Bebtrarf jrer qruhznavmrq, nohfrq, naq guerngrarq jvgu ubeevoyr qrngu hagvy gurl orpnzr gbbyf. Abg rira fbyqvref, ohg jrncbaf. Naq gurl xarj gung vs gurl rire fgrccrq bhg bs yvar, rira tnir gur uvag bs dhrfgvbavat gurve cynpr, gurl jbhyq or uhagrq qbja naq raqrq. V qb abg pbaqbar znal bs gur qrpvfvbaf gurl znqr, ohg V pna haqrefgnaq jung qebir gurz gb znxr gurz.

    N ybg bs gur punenpgref va Frirarirf, gubhtu, whfg nccrne gb or nffubyrf. Gung ovg jvgu Qbbo qhoovat gur eryvtvbhf cbq gur “Jbb-Jbb Cbq”? Vg jnf qryvirerq va n jnl gung znqr vg frrz yvxr V jnf fhccbfrq gb puhpxyr naq guvax vg Bu Fb Pyrire. Vafgrnq, zl erfcbafr jnf “shpx lbh, Qbbo”. V’z na ntabfgvp, ohg V qvfyvxr gung xvaq bs fzht qvferfcrpg bs eryvtvbhf crbcyr, rfcrpvnyyl gubfr jub znl or svaqvat pbzsbeg va gurve eryvtvba qhevat gur vzcraqvat qbbz bs uhznavgl.

    @Cassy B:

    You said something about hucking the book at the wall that seems to be edited out. Please note that I would never do that to my poor wall! 😉

    Thanks to all for their responses, please keep ‘em coming as I’m still on the fence about skipping forward and trying the last section. If I do choose to give up, though, I would like to note for posterity the straw that broke my metaphorical back:

    Whyvn fvyraprq uvz jvgu n qvfzvffvir syhggrevat bs gur svatref. Gurfr jrer fgvyy znavpherq. Pnzvyn unq orra qbvat ure anvyf sbe ure.

    (Aw, hell naw!)

    Taking a break to read China Miéville’s “This Census-Taker”. I find that fact that Miéville is kind of a comfort read for me vaguely disturbing…

  36. Oh, and @Cassy B:

    Go ahead and spoil away in Rot-14. Am I right about WOS nggrzcgvat n cbjre cynl naq vg yrnqvat gb qvfnfgre? Qbrf gur sbbyvfu ynql sbezre Cerfvqrag arneyl qbbbbbbz gurz nyy? (Zber guna fur’f nyernql qbar?)

  37. Bar guvat gb pbafvqre nobhg Frirarirf (naq vg vf n fhogyr cbvag): nyy bs gur svefg 2/3eqf bs gur obbx vf erpbafgehpgvbaf sebz erpbeqvatf naq fbpvny zrqvn sbe gur vaunovgnagf bs gur unovgng evat bs gur svany 1/3eq…

    …n ernyvfngvba gung tvirf n zber haqrefgnaqnoyr senzr sbe gur fgehpgher bs evat fbpvrgl.

  38. Currently reading Ninefox Gambit which is earning a spot on my 2017 nominations list. It’s an incredibly dark (in the sense of depressingly grim) fantasy novel that’s neatly disguised as space opera. I’m imagining it as a future of a world like those described in City of Stairs or The Traitor Baru Cormorant; where magic is the basis of advanced technology.

    Blake’s 7 with mathematical calendrical magic.

  39. @microtherion

    Fcrnxvat bs yvxnoyr punenpgref, vg frrzf gb zr gung V’ir frra dhvgr n srj crbcyr jub zragvbarq gur hayvxrnoyr punenpgref va Frirarirf, ohg qvq yvxr Gur Svsgu Frnfba. Va zl bcvavba, pbzcnerq gb Svsgu Frnfba, gur Frirarirf punenpgref jrer qbjaevtug jnez naq phqqyl.

    Zlfrys, V sbhaq gurz gbb pneqobneq gb fahttyr jvgu. Also, what Dawn said:
    zbfg bs gur punenpgref jrer onfryvar hayvxrnoyr gb zr…n qvfyvxr juvpu qrrcrarq gb nowrpg ungerq gbjneq gur raq bs Cneg Bar. Qvanu, uvf fhccbfrqyl flzcngurgvp cebgntbavfg, qrpvqrf gb znxr Pnzvyn n cnevnu sbe gur erfg bs ure yvsr orpnhfr fur GUVAXF Pnzvyn fnvq fbzrguvat gung zvtug or pbafvqrerq qvfcnentvat bs ure qrnq oblsevraq? Naq ure sevraqf tb nybat jvgu gung, serrmvat Pnzvyn bhg yvxr n pyvdhr bs avtugzner uvtu fpubby zrna tveyf, yrnivat ure gb nffbpvngr jvgu bayl gur fbpvbcngu naq gur cbyvgvpvna fur ybngurf? Gurl bfgenpvmr ure fb rssrpgviryl gung gurl znantr gb xrrc gur tehqtr tbvat uhaqerqf bs trarengvbaf? JGS? Vs V raq hc jvfuvat qribhgyl gung gur nhgube’f fhccbfrqyl flzcngurgvp cebgntbavfgf unq nyy qvrq va n inphhz, ur’f tbar jebat fbzrjurer.

    Lrf, Gur Svsgu Frnfba’f cebgntbavfgf bsgra npg va ubeevslvat, ybngufbzr jnlf. Ohg gur jnl gur nhgube pnershyyl qenjf gung jbeyq naq gubfr punenpgref, jr pna haqrefgnaq gurve ernfbaf, jurgure jr nterr jvgu gurz be erwrpg gurz irurzragyl. Gurve zbgvirf naq gurve npgvbaf znxr frafr ba gurve bja grezf. Frirarirf’ punenpgref qba’g, VZB. Sbe rknzcyr, nf bofreirq cerivbhfyl, Whyvn naq ure qrfpraqnagf npg yvxr ivyynvaf orpnhfr gur nhgube arrqrq gb chg cybg bofgnpyrf va sebag bs gurve urebrf…jr pregnvayl arire yrnea rabhtu nobhg gurz gb haqrefgnaq jul gurve npgvbaf znxr frafr gb gurz.


    I enjoyed it when I read it. I think I reread once. I can’t remember anything about it. I agree with others – I don’t see the current estate licensing it for film/TV/anything really.

  41. Michael Liebmann, a well-known filk-fan and filk dealer, died yesterday from complications following surgery. If you’re on Facebook, some details can be had from the GAFilk page there. His name has already been submitted for the Hugo memorials list.

  42. @Dawn Icognito

    Gur guvat jvgu Flravgr, Rffha, naq Nynonfgre vf gung V pbhyq frr ubj gurl jrer funcrq vagb gur cebsbhaqyl hacyrnfnag crbcyr gung gurl jrer. Bebtrarf jrer qruhznavmrq, nohfrq, naq guerngrarq jvgu ubeevoyr qrngu hagvy gurl orpnzr gbbyf.

    Gehr, ohg gur cebgntbavfgf bs Frirarirf jngpurq frireny ovyyvba crbcyr qvr dhvpxyl, naq gura bar nsgre nabgure bs gurve sevraqf fybjyl.

    Naq jungrire hacyrnfnag guvatf gurl qvq, gurl qvq abg crecrgengr gur xvaq bs trabpvqr gur cebgntbavfgf va Gur Svsgu Frnfba raqrq hc gevttrevat.

    Qbrf gur sbbyvfu ynql sbezre Cerfvqrag arneyl qbbbbbbz gurz nyy? (Zber guna fur’f nyernql qbar?)

    Gb or snve, gur gnxr-punetr, ehyrf-or-qnzarq rppragevp grpu ovyyvbanver raqf hc qbvat uvf snve funer bs qbbbbbzvat nf jryy.

  43. @microtherion

    Npghnyyl, V gubhtug gur punenpgref jrer wrexsnprf rira orsber Juvgr Fxl/Uneq Enva. Lbh zrna gurl orpbzr rira zber hacyrnfnag?

    bu zl tbq vg’f gur oft erobbg nyy bire ntnva

    ETA: I’m gonna sing the Doom Song now!

  44. (1) WONDER WOMAN FOREVER. Cool! I was a Wonder Woman fan on and off over the years, so I approve of this. 😀 I like the artwork on the Bronze better than the Modern one.

    @David Goldfarb: Agreed re. George Perez. (Googling.) I didn’t realize one of his iconic covers had been a stamp! Thanks for letting me know. I may be a WW fan, but there’s lots I don’t know.

    (5) SEVEN DEAD GODS. Despite myself (and my lack of interest in YA), the premise intrigues me a little, though “dead gods” and “death gods” sound like slightly different things.

    (15) A HUMMER. LOL, what a weird little ad.

    @Kyra: ROFL at your example of “SF Exposition” in a contemporarily-set story. For some reason I’m thinking of Seveneves as I type this.


    @Dawn Incognito: Hey, I’m somewhere in the same part of Seveneves! I like the book better than you, so far, it seems, but this is a very, very tedious turn of events. It’s not unbelievable, but (sigh) for me, it’s dragging the book down with very inane melodrama. BTW I’m listening to the audiobook; I’m amused at how Mary Robinette Kowal voices that character.

    Anyway, I plan to continue. The book’s holding my interest and I don’t hate the characters as much as I guess most folks do?! Weird, I don’t see them as that horrible. Sometimes things they say or how they say it seems kinda random or nonsensical. Not all unlikable, even Doob (oh how I hate that nickname), just weird and kinda unrealistic. Is Stephenson not known for his dialog, or is he just not doing as well as usual in this particular book? I’ve (gasp) never read him.

    @Various: I’m mostly loving the ROT-13 stuff, but I probably should stop reading it, as I plan to listen to the whole thing. I may not vote for the book, but I’m liking it well enough.

    I love/hate that I can zone out a bit during info dumps and tedious descriptions, and it doesn’t! make! a! difference! Sigh, where was the editor in all this. I shouldn’t be able to ignore so much of the book and still be able to follow along. I mean, I’m not ignoring the info dumps, but I’m not bothering to rewind if I miss a few beats or don’t follow some tedious description of the shape of the blah blah blah. That tells me some of it really isn’t needed. Also, he kinda puts it in weird places; sometimes it feels like an irrelevant tangent, or like he’s explaining something after it no longer matters, or sometimes way too soon. (I’m not being very coherent on this, sorry.)

  46. I feel sorry for the wall that gets hit with Seveneves 😉

    It’s also nowhere on my ballot, which seems to be a trend.

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