Pixel Scroll 7/26/17 Fifth File At Scrollory Towers

(1) CAPTAIN’S LOG. Actor John Barrowman had his appendix out the other day.

(2) MARCH. After a Saturday panel about the March comics, fans followed the history-making co-author in a re-enactment: io9 has the story — “Rep. John Lewis Leads March for Civil Rights Through Comic-Con”.

Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) was at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday discussing his award-winning graphic novel, March, which resulted in a real march for civil rights awareness.

After Lewis’ panel ended, he led a group of over 1,000 people through the San Diego Convention Center, with some shouting “No justice, no peace” as they marched past cosplayers and attendees. According to the Associated Press, Lewis made sure to stop and shake hands with people who recognized him as he passed.

(3) HELSINKI DINING TIPS. Worldcon 75 has posted its Restaurant Guide [PDF file].

Helsinki is currently undergoing a “fun dining” wave. It seems not a day goes by without a new street food restaurant being opened on one corner or another, from Mexican burrito shops to a boom of high-quality burger joints. At the same time, many Helsinki restaurateurs are opening casual fine dining restaurants, where the food is top-notch but the atmosphere is laid-back. Helsinki also has many restaurants with long histories and traditions…

(4) 2017 NASFiC REPORT. Evelyn Leeper’s NorthAmeriCon ’17 / NASFIC 2017 con report is online at Fanac.org.

This is a convention report for NorthAmeriCon ’17 (NASFIC 2017, and henceforth referred to as just NASFIC), held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 6-9, 2017, with a little bit of sightseeing thrown in (because a separate report would not be worthwhile).

It is with some trepidation I start this report. We had never attended a NASFIC before. For a long time we always went to Worldcon, and for the recent years where we skipped the overseas Worldcon, the NASFIC seemed like a misguided attempt to be a substitute. But a NASFIC in Puerto Rico was very appealing for a couple of reasons: I am half Puerto Rican, and we could take a tour of the Arecibo Telescope. And of course, I figured it was a chance to connect with authors and old friends and all that….

(5) THE GOOD, THE WEIRD, AND THE SCROLLY: Over at Featured Futures, Jason comments on the month in webzine fiction with a list of links to remarkable tales — “Summation of Online Fiction: July 2017”.

Aside from a two-part novella from Beneath Ceaseless Skies (which was just a flash away from counting as a novel), July was a relatively light month in the webzine world. The number of noteworthy stories is also light, but Clarkesworld continued its resurgence with a July issue that was probably even better overall than the June (though each had a standout story), Ellen Datlow picked another for Tor.com, and some other zines also contributed particularly good work.

(6) HITTING THE TARGET. Having seen some make the wrong choice, Sarah A. Hoyt advises indie authors to find “The Right Slot” – to be sure they’re marketing their work in its proper genre. In her latest column for Mad Genius Club she takes a cut at defining several genres, beginning with fantasy.

The SUBJECT determines genre.  A non exhaustive list of genres and subgenres and subjects (this is off the top of my head and I’ll miss some.  If you guys want an exhaustive list it will take a long time.)

Fantasy – Anything that is technically impossible in our reality, by our physical rules, including but not limited to supernatural beings, all the creatures of Tolkien, etc.  Often draws on the myths and legends of mankind.

Has subgenres: High Fantasy – Tolkien-like.  Also often known as heroic fantasy.

Alternate history – usually where magic works, but still related to our world.

Urban fantasy, which might of might not be a subgenre of alternate history.  It’s not just “fantasy in a city.”  Although both F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack and Larry Correia’s monster hunters are technically urban fantasy, as is my Shifter series, it would be more honest to call it “contemporary fantasy.”

Urban fantasy has a structure added to the theme and location, and that often involves a young woman with powers, a love interest on the dark side, etc.  Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Paranormal Romance – Like Urban Fantasy but way more in the romance and sex side.  In fact, it’s more a subgenre of romance, really.

(7) SF WORTH WAITING FOR. T.W. O’Brien declares “The Future Library Is a Vote of Confidence Humanity Will Make It to 2114” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

The work of Scottish artist Katie Paterson is nothing as mundane as oil on canvas or carved marble. Her works includes  Timepieces—nine clocks showing the time on the planets of our solar system, plus the Earth’s moon (Pluto still loses out); Fossil Necklace—170 beads carved from fossils, each representing a major event in the 3 billion year history of life on Earth; and Campo del Cielo, Field of Sky—a 4.5 billion year old meteorite, melted then recast into a replica of its original form, and finally returned to space by the European Space Agency.

In May 2014, Paterson planted 1000 Norwegian spruce trees in a forest north of Oslo, Norway. The plan is to harvest them in 2114 for paper to print a limited edition anthology of books. Each year, starting in 2014, an author was to be invited to write a book for Paterson’s project, Future Library; he or she will have one year to complete the work, which then won’t be read  until well after the turn of the next century. 

The completed manuscripts will be kept in a specially designed room on the fifth floor of the New Deichmanske Library in Oslo. The authors’ names and the book titles will be on display, but the manuscripts themselves will be unread until the anthology is published in 2114.


Key: First row vertical: Hugo Weaving, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett from The Hobbit as Elrond, Thranduil, and Galadriel. Second row vertical: Marvel: Red Skull (Captain America: The First Avenger), Ronan the Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy), Hela (Thor: Ragnarok)

(9) JORDIN KARE. Paul Gilster mourns the astrophysicist and filker in two excellent posts at Centauri Dreams, “Remembering Jordin Kare (1956-2017)”, and “SailBeam: A Conversation with Jordin Kare”.

Looking around on the Net for background information about Jordin Kare, who died last week at age 60 (see yesterday’s post), I realized how little is available on his SailBeam concept, described yesterday. SailBeam accelerates myriads of micro-sails and turns them into a plasma when they reach a departing starship, giving it the propulsion to reach one-tenth of lightspeed. Think of it as a cross between the ‘pellet propulsion’ ideas of Cliff Singer and the MagOrion concept explored by Dana Andrews.


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

(11) A LIST TOP DC MOVIES. Io9 gives you “All 28 DC Animated Original Movies, Ranked”. Why isn’t the new Wonder Woman movie #1? Because, like the title says, this is a list of their animated movies. Cancel the heart attacks…

This list contains the 28 DC Animated Original movies released so far, ranked from worst to best on the quality of their story, characters, and adaptation of the source material….

(12) STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST. Wil Wheaton heartily endorses

Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, is essential reading for all artists.

It’s a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. Some of Austin’s suggestions will validate what you’re already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.

Because it’s such a small and accessible book, you’ll want to go back to it from time to time. Just like Stephen King’s On Writing, as you change and grow as an artist, it reveals new ideas and inspirations to you that you may have missed on a previous read.

This is a fantastic addition to your library, and a wonderful gift for any creative person in your life.

(13) WIELD THE POWER. I can’t possibly resist reading an item headlined “Wow, the Iron Throne Makes an Excellent Phone Charger!” – at Tor.com.

YouTube crafters Natural Nerd have a new video up showing viewers how to make their own custom Iron Throne phone charger. It’s marvelously simple, and could make for a good starter project if you’re interested in exploring nerd crafts. Basically, make a throne out of blocks of wood, glue on a ton of cocktail swords, coat in metallic paint, and thread in the charger cord, and you’re there!

(14) SUPERMAN WITH A ‘STACHE. Henry Cavill’s upper lip is a story: “Justice League’s telling reshoots involve Joss Whedon, more banter, absolutely no mustaches”.

Superman can do anything, it seems, but have a mustache. Or to be more accurate, it’s Henry Cavill’s mustache that’s reportedly causing some problems for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Justice League movie, which is due to be released on November 17 but is nonetheless currently undergoing extensive reshoots (which are generally filmed to fix or replace scenes that aren’t working). After initial filming on Justice League was complete, it seems that Cavill reasonably assumed he was done playing the smooth-jawed Man of Steel for a minute and grew out his facial hair for a part in the next Mission: Impossible movie. According to a new Variety report, however, Justice League is being retooled so much — with an assist from The Avengers’ Joss Whedon, no less, now that director Zack Snyder has stepped away from the project to cope with his daughter’s recent death — that Warner Bros. has agreed to just digitally remove Cavill’s mustache from any reshot Justice League scenes rather than lose any more time.

But Jon Bogdanove thinks it would make a great addition.

(15) MARVEL VALUE STAMPS. The publisher is bringing them back:

Who saved them? Who clipped them? Who collected them? This fall, the Marvel Universe returns to an untapped corner of its expansive history for MARVEL LEGACY with the return of the Marvel Value Stamps. Just as Marvel Legacy is bridging the past and the future of Marvel’s iconic universe, this nostalgia-based program is designed to excite new readers. Comic fans may remember these fondly, while new fans and the uninitiated will be able to enjoy them without destroying their prized possessions!

Inspired by the classic 1970’s program where different stamps could be clipped from the letters page of Marvel books, fans will be able to collect stamps featuring all their favorite Marvel characters. These stamps will be on inserts within the regular cover editions for all first issue Marvel Legacy titles, beginning with titles debuting in October. And a proper homage to these collectible stamps wouldn’t be complete without a collectible stamp album – to be revealed!

(16) THE OLDS. At Galactic Journey, Victoria Silverwolf leads into her review of the latest (August 1962) issue of Fantastic with a survey of the news — “[July 26, 1962] The Long and Short of It (August 1962 Fantastic)”.

…AT&T launched Telstar, the first commercial communications satellite (which we’ll be covering in the next article!)

The world of literature suffered a major loss with the death of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner.

In Los Angeles, young artist Andy Warhol exhibited a work consisting of thirty-two paintings of cans of Campbell’s Soup….

(17) GAZE INTO THE FUTURE. And don’t forget to sign up for Galactic Journey Tele-Conference #2, happening Saturday, July 29, where they’ll present their predictions for the 1962 Hugo Science Fiction Awards.

(18) THE PLAY’S THE THING. A local community theater in Urbana, IL is staging Jordan Harrison’s 2014 play Marjorie Prime, recently produced as a movie. It runs July 27-August 12. An interview with the director is here. Get tickets here.

Marjorie Prime, written by Jordan Harrison and directed for the Station by Mathew Green, is a near-future play where technology has gone just a little farther than today. In the show, Tess is caring for her elderly mother, and Tess’ husband Jon advocates for the use of an artificial intelligence companion called a “Prime”. Primes are designed to help a particular person, in this case Marjorie, record and retain their memories, often taking the form of someone close to the subject.

(19) LIFE UNPLUGGED. Gareth D. Jones discusses “The Real Town Murders by Adam Roberts (book review)” at SF Crowsnest.

….One of the consequences of Alma’s divorce from the on-line Real Town is that she can no longer check references and definitions and she quickly realises that everyone’s speech is littered with literary and historical references. This makes an interesting game for the reader, too, attempting to parse and divine all of the little jokes and quotes that Adam Roberts has thrown in along the way. To add to the interest, characters who spend much of their time on-line find real-life speech difficult so that several conversations consist of stammering and stuttering and the breaking of words into individual syllables replaced with homophonous single-syllable words. It’s quite fun to follow the convoluted and sometimes rambling speech.

The basic plot of the book follows Alma’s investigations into the miraculously-appearing dead body, with a secondary investigation into a mysteriously skinny man…..

(20) A BOY CALLED PERCY. At Black Gate, Derek Kunsken tells when he learned the true theme of a famous YA series: “Crappy Parents All Around: A Look At Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series”

…Eventually, I recommended it to a friend for his kids, who were complaining about their road-tripping. When my friend got back, he thanked me for the rec and said “It’s all about shitty parents.”

For some reason, I hadn’t clued into this as the theme. Perhaps I’d taken it as straight-on adventure. Maybe I hadn’t considered how lucky I am to have the parents and extended family I did. Then it occurred to me what a giant strategic advantage it was to Riordan to have linked crappy parents to the Greek myths.

Percy is of course pretty miffed at times about having Poseidon essentially be a dead-beat dad whom he doesn’t meet until he’s twelve and who really doesn’t meaningfully interact with him even after that. He has a crappy step-dad to boot, but he’s not the only one with parental issues….

(21) IN VINO. Martin Morse Wooster has sent File 770 lots of beer label stories. Now he tries to even the score by reporting that Australian wine lovers can enjoy Some Young Punks‘ vintage “Monsters Monsters Attack!”

A full 750ml of Monster Mayhem bottled up for far too long breaks and takes over the unsuspecting city. Trixie and Tessa’s middle names are danger and adventure but is the maelstrom released by the raging beast too fierce to be calmed by their charms? Will they arrive in time or will a deadly rage be realised.

Variety / Vintage     2015 Clare Valley Riesling

Vineyards     We sourced fruit from two sites in the Clare Valley; Mocundunda and Milburn. All the fruit was whole bunch pressed before fermentation in a mixture of stainless and neutral oak by a mixture of cultured and indigenous yeast. Post ferment the wine is merely stabbed and filtered prior to bottling.

(22) ONCE TOO OFTEN. Adam-Troy Castro files a grievance: “’What if I Told You’ There Was Another Way to Impart Exposition?”

Thing that I am getting awfully sick of, in dramatic presentations of sf/fantasy works.

Honestly, if I ever see this again, it will be too soon.

The exposition-sentence that begins with, “What if I told you–”

Usually followed by something that sounds batshit insane to the person who’s been living a normal life until that moment.

I first became aware of this with Laurence Fishburne in THE MATRIX, but it has become the go-to form, and I just saw it with the trailer for the new TV series, THE INHUMANS. I think but cannot be sure that it was in DOCTOR STRANGE too. But it’s certainly all over the place….

(23) YOU COULD ALWAYS TRY THE AUTOGRAPH LINE. Here are the places George R.R. Martin will not be signing at Worldcon 75:

For those of you who want books signed, please, bring them to one of my two listed autograph sessions. I will NOT be signing before or after panels, at parties, during lunch or breakfast or dinner, at the urinal, in the elevator, on the street, in the hall. ONLY at the autograph table. If the lines are as long as they usually are, I’ll only be signing one book per person.

You can also find his programming schedule at the link.

(24) LAUGH WARS. Martin Morse Wooster says Star Wars Supercuts:  Parodies of The Trench Run is “a really funny four-minute mashup from IMDB of lots of parodies of the Death Star Trench Run. I particularly liked the Family Guy bit where Red Leader is followed by Redd Foxx, Red Buttons, and Big Red chewing gum…”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Jason, Evelyn Leeper, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Jim Meadows, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

115 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/26/17 Fifth File At Scrollory Towers

    I wonder what Kate Paulk thinks of a definition of fantasy that doesn’t include taverns & snow…

  2. 6) On Hoyt’s genre definitions, the devil’s in the details and I don’t know how I feel about those (it’ll take a re-read) but I definitely appreciate the gist.

    7) Very cool (no Norwegian pun – or pine – intended). These days, I can share the optimism only on my best days, but I like the ideas. (Kinda wonder about carving up fossils, though.)

    9) Very interesting ideas and very sad loss regarding Kare. It is cool to see Centauri Dreams linked here as it’s possibly my favorite site on the web or on a very short list, anyway. My only problem is that there are so many posts of such length, interest, and complexity that it’s very difficult (understatement) to keep up with.

    16) Also nice to see Victoria Silverwolf’s work linked to. The Galactic Journey stuff is reminiscent of Greenberg and Asimov’s “The Great SF Stories” series – they were in past tense but also retro-focused on both “the world outside reality” (history) and “the real world” (SF) as Greenberg (I believe) put it.

  3. (6) categorization theory

    I’ve seen any number of bloggers try to set up lists and definitions for how to categorize speculative fiction. And I’ve never see a single one that came close to reflecting reality.

  4. For those going to Helsinki, I have a review of a Finnish SF book (The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomaki) here. If it sounds like your cup of tea, I recommend looking for it while you’re over there.

    4) One erratum in the “Forgotten Books” panel description — someone mentioned the Pern books, but it wasn’t me because I don’t think they qualify as “forgotten”. I never did get the chance to bring up my third example, The Princess of Flames by Ru Emerson.

  5. 2) Rep. Lewis has led several marches at Comic-Con post panel in previous years as well. I highly recommend the three volume March series (which has also been winning Eisner Awards as the volumes came out).

    Had the pleasure of chatting with him for a few minutes after last year’s Eisner ceremony. Interesting and very sharp person, and unless I happened to lead with a particularly good opening line for him, happy to have something resembling an actual and non-fluffy conversation with those who approach him (as in, he asked me some reasonably significant questions as well as answering mine and discussing some matters).

  6. High Fantasy – Tolkien-like. Also often known as heroic fantasy.

    That’ll come as news to Conan the Barbarian, which is heroic fantasy but not high fantasy.

    Of course, Conan’s way back in the Hyborian Age, so sliced bread and Slinky are news to him, too.

  7. 3) Excellent! I will look through it for best place for a file meetup. At a quick glance, the steampunk bar and the books and antiques look promising, but I’ll have to check how easy they are to get to.

    Do we have any person in a wheelchair coming?

    23) I solved this by buying a signed copy of Fevre Dream from a dealer at MAC2. No queue at all.

    EDIT: And there is a restaurant called Kosmos.

  8. (21) I can attest from personal experience that it’s pretty good wine! Very reasonably priced at Dan Murphy’s, too.

  9. So, today at our house April Daniel’s Sovereign: Nemesis showed up, a full week before I expected it. I lost the wrestling match to read it first, so I’m contenting myself with reading Adam Rakunas’ Windswept. The book where the heroine cannot catch a break- or at this point, a breather. Very fast paced, and the stakes keep getting higher.

    And my partner just said that Sovereign is so fun and enjoyable that she had to take a break to play Sentinels of the Multiverse. *sigh* at least she reads fast.

  10. Rose Embolism: I’m contenting myself with reading Adam Rakunas’ Windswept

    I really enjoyed Windswept and Like A Boss. I’m not sure how he’d be able to take the story somewhere successfully from the end of the second book to make a third, but if he does, I’ll be reading it.

  11. (1) Why is it always so cold in hospitals? People are sick, they need to be kept warm and comfy!

    (6) Since when does alt-hist “usually” have magic? I don’t recall magic in any of the alt-hist I’ve read, which is kind of a lot.

    (17) I hope my videophone works this time!

    (23) I got his autograph at 2012 Worldcon without waiting. Of course, it was his maybe 3rd session of the con, and everyone was in line for Gene Wolfe, so I went “Huh. George looks bored and lonely,” and walked over.

  12. 15) I think it was Ambush Bug who had a list of rules for comic collectors, and rule 8 went something like “Never clip any coupons or stamps out of your comic book. Not even if they have a line saying ‘It’s OK to cut this coupon out of your comic book.’ Not even if they have a line saying ‘Ignore rule 8’.”

    I suppose the ideal comic book fan would buy three copies of each book – one to store forever in a sealed acid-free bag, one to clip stuff out of, and one to actually read.

    6) It’s my opinion that people get overly hung up on genre and (especially) subgenre. There are probably as many definitions for the various subgenres as there are people writing them… and, in any case, a real breakout book will reach out to appeal to readers beyond its immediate subgenre. Classifying subgenres, to me, looks like an exercise in meticulously identifying the exact bookstore shelf where your book will gather dust….

  13. 6) Classifications of genre will always fail on edge cases. Its a noble stab at an effort, though.

    3) Oh good. This will be helpful for the Quest for Food in Helsinki…

  14. This Viking place should be close to the railway station and easy to get to from the convention center. Could be kind of fun:


    Kosmos looked a bit more like a restaurant mostly for dining, so even though the name is perfect, I think we’ll skip on that one. Otherwise there seem to be several pubs with burgers as speciality around the railway station. My vote is we pick one of those.

    If I understand correctly, we have free travel pass in Helsinki during the time of the convention. So a good idea would be to meet at the convention center at a set time and then go together to railway station and take train to center of Helsinki, then walking to our pub meet.

    I will check train times and get back to you all with a new post later on.

  15. On a semi-unrelated note, it’s been a while since I last had “Mongolian BBQ” and seeing how there are multiple places in Stockholm doing this and I have spectacularly failed to book myself busy during my stop-over, I shall idly claim that Monday August 7th, at Djingis Khan, for 19:30, is an excellent time for consuming such. If we’re more than a very small numerb, I’ll probably need to know, so I can do the scary “book a table” thing.

  16. (20)“It’s all about shitty parents.” is the defining phrase of Greek/Roman mythology.

  17. @Anthony: Already got it in dead-tree but I can’t pass up the opportunity to re-acquire for that price! Cheers

  18. Damn, read (3) as Helsinki Diving Trips. Which would probably be a bit niche for most of you but hey.

  19. @ Lee
    I still have my copy of The Princess of Flames. There was a lot to like in that book.

  20. (6) And what, pray tell, does one do with a collection of stories from different genres? (Me, I usually put all of an author’s work together under their primary genre, but tastes vary.)

    More related to the point, some indies are particularly odious about their chosen genres on Amazon, shoving their titles into places where they most certainly do not fit. I’ve seen marketing guides suggest doing this to “invade” a relatively small category, so your book has a better chance of standing out and a marketing blitz can score you a #1 sales ranking that you can then put in your bio. My response is that if I’m looking for MilSF, I don’t care why you put your girl-on-alien-traffic-cone-wizard erotica* in there – it doesn’t belong, it’s not what I’m looking for, and you’re not making fans that way.

    (8) It’s worth saying explicitly, for the face-blind and in case anyone missed the memo: the same actor plays both roles in each row. This is why one does not trust elves…

    In other news, I have discovered a(nother) distinct advantage to ebooks: they are much less susceptible to water damage than the old-fashioned kind. (Well, as long as you keep backups.)

    Last night, my washing machine decided there was no longer such a thing as “full,” and a relatively minor – but still seventeen kinds of annoying – indoor flood ensued. Luckily, we do have both a dehumidifier and a wet/dry vacuum, but there’s still a significant amount of squishiness in the parts of the carpeting near the incident. The vac is on a break for a few hours, as sleep is good for me and resting the motor is good for it, so I’m hoping the dehumidifier works a minor miracle between now and when I get back up. It’ll probably still be back to towels and vacuums and loud noises, though.

    I haven’t assessed the damage yet, but as some of my bookshelves are quite low, I fear there may be some losses. I don’t think there’s anything of special value in the danger zone, and I have a substantial amount of credit saved up at the local used-media shop that could take care of replacement copies. (More likely, I’ll make a wishlist and keep an eye out for ebook bargains. I may even triage the losses by either trying to salvage some volumes or deciding they really don’t look that interesting in retrospect.)

    It’s really more of a wet, noisy, painful, and tiring hassle than anything else at this stage. Very noisy, between the vac, the dehumidifier, the dryer, and the A/C all running at once. I’ll have to be more religious about the painkillers, though.

    * You think I’m making that up, don’t you? Well, I did make up the part about it being listed in MilSF. Unfortunately, the rest of the description is completely accurate – the lust interest is indeed a sentient, magic-using plastic traffic cone from another planet – and it’s as awful as it sounds.** No, I’m not linking to it!

    ** Hey, it was a freebie; don’t judge. I picked it up because it was so bizarre a concept, flipped through it, and immediately regretted my “purchasing” decision. This story is now a member of a rather exclusive club: books I’ve deliberately gotten rid of without owning in some other format. Other members include Hubbard’s Mission Earth, John Norman’s Gor series, and the girl-on-toaster freebie by the same author.

  21. Ebook readers on the other hand are much more susceptible to water damage. My mother would quite regularly drop one of my paperbacks in the bath, fortunately she’s never really got the taste for a kindle.

  22. Kinda wonder about carving up fossils, though.

    For every fossil that is rare and scientifically significant, there are thousands that are relatively common as small fragments (that are still big enough to carve into beads) or common enough to pave the landscape (such as turritella agate.) I’m sure that No Science Was Harmed in the Making of This Necklace.

    (My only real problem with it is that it isn’t in a drawer in my house.)

  23. Rev. Bob, thank you for your explanation of (8). I was trying to figure out where it said in the movie that Ronan was an elf. I don’t read the comic so for all I knew it was explicit there. <facepalm> I don’t really remember Red Skull and I haven’t seen the Thor movies, so for all I knew they were elves, too. 1a, 2a, and 3a I recognized, at least.

    Face-blindness is annoying sometimes.

  24. NickPheas, Kobo makes a water-resistant reader. I don’t own one (I own a previous-generation Kobo, which I’m reasonably happy with), so I’ve not had the opportunity to test it, but reviewers have said it survives full-on bathtub or swimming-pool immersion.

  25. @ Rev Bob. Good luck with the cleanup, hope all the books are recoverable.

  26. 7) The authors’ names and the book titles will be on display, but the manuscripts themselves will be unread until the anthology is published in 2114.

    Speaking as an author, that sounds….really unappealing. I’d be curious to hear more of the details about that. Is she paying? Does she understand HOW MUCH GODDAMN WORK goes in a book? I cannot imagine spending months on something like that and then saying “okay, let’s seal that puppy away for close to a century.”

    Sorry, I’ll be over here hyperventilating.

  27. @Cassy B – I have mixed feelings about Kobos. I really liked the size of the Kobo Mini, but the displays were so fragile. I went through 4 of them in five years.
    And while that looks snazzy, it’s three times what I paid for my Paperwhite.

  28. @NickPheas, Cassy B.:

    In fact, my primary e-reader is a Kobo H2O, the fourth Kobo I’ve owned. It’s got a nifty little watertight panel on the bottom edge that covers the reset hole, charging port, and microSD slot, and the only other moving part is the nearly-flush power button. For me, the main downside is that I couldn’t replace the built-in storage (an internal microSD card) – at least, not without ruining the waterproofing, which I was unwilling to do. Sadly, I understand that the second edition – which I still think they should’ve called the Peroxide – did away with the card slot in favor of bulking up the internal memory.

    My e-library exists simultaneously in two places: a portable hard drive and a USB stick. (I’m not counting copies I can redownload from stores, as I don’t rely on that. I’ve seen e-tailers die and take their clouds with them.) The books I haven’t formally processed and added to that library are mainly on the hard drive, but there’s a backup of that slush folder on the stick. (A bit out of date at the moment, but I’ll take care of that before long.) I also make occasional backups of both the library and the slush on a different stick – which, and I swear I’m not making this up, has a rubberized case and cap to protect it from impact and water damage. 🙂

    The hardest part is keeping the two “live” copies in synch.

  29. Re Hoyt: Um.

    I don’t think it’s universally true that the subject determines genre. It often makes a difference how it’s presented.

    If anything that is technically impossible in our reality is fantasy, then faster-than-light travel is fantasy, and while I know some people do insist on that, it is not how the term is regularly used. (And when people do use it that way, the genre of science fiction threatens to disappear.)

    There is a kind of alt-historical fantasy, which is worth distinguishing both from straightforwardly other-worldly and straightforwardly this-worldly works, but does she really mean to say that alternate history as such is a subgenre of fantasy? If so, what’s Turtledove? (Not sure about Temeraire, because the mental bind between dragon and human might be seen as a kind of magic, depending on how you think it is explained.)

    Re Percy Jackson: You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Consider it said.

  30. (6) If it has rocket ships, it’s SF. If it has swords, it’s fantasy.

    [watches Flash Gordon]

    [head explodes]

  31. Joe H:

    Sabres, hangers and/or cutlasses make perfect sense for “military action inside thin-walled space ships”, on the premise that pretty much the last thing you want to do is letting the vacuum in, which energetic weapons (kinetic or “just” light) would be prone to doing.

  32. Rev. Bob, I have my ebook library backed up on my home computer, my work computer, and a USB stick. (I’ve had USB sticks fail more than once, so I don’t rely on it for my primary backup. Honestly, it’s a just a useful side-backup generated in the course of transporting books from home-backup to work-backup.)

    Like you, I don’t trust cloud backups. I won’t buy a book I can’t download and store myself.

    NickPheas, I have a Kobo Aura; so far the screen is fine. That’s just one data-point, of course. I do like the backlight; I can read in bed without bothering my husband. I have, a few times, had book-formating-display issues with individual books (dropcaps not dropping; smallcaps in all-smalls instead). And it’s not good at reading pdfs; no good way to zoom-and-scroll around the page that I’ve found, so you have to read it in micro-print which is annoying.

  33. Sorry Ingvar, I have already left by then, so wel’ll have to wait until worldcon.

  34. Hampus:

    I could (probably) be convinced to move Monday to Sunday, if that helps?

  35. The late, great John M Ford’s The Dragon Waiting is an alt-history with magic. And very good, too.

  36. @lurkertype: Hoyt listed alternate history as a subgenre under both Fantasy and Science Fiction; the “usually have magic” line is for the Fantasy version of AH. She describes the SF version later.

    @Meredith: It looks like I shelved the Temeraire series on Goodreads under Alternate History/Fantasy, but that was a hard decision–the only fantasy part is “dragons.”

    I feel like Alternate History can stands on its own sometime, so it’s not just a subgenre to me; if it doesn’t have a fantastical or science fictional point(s) of divergence, it basically just reads like an historical novel with some different history.

    (There’s also Secret History as a (sub)genre, but I usually categorize those stories as Historical + whatever else it includes–a lot of SH tends to be conspiracy stuff, or “urban fantasy”-ish–I think that’s why Hoyt makes the weird comment about Urban Fantasy connected with Alternate History.)

    I don’t think this is much of a subgenre of its own, but I really like the Alternate Science novel we got with Richard Garfinkle’s Celestial Matters–where the Greek model of the universe is correct, including celestial spheres as real things.

  37. @ Heather Rose Jones: I’ve seen any number of bloggers try to set up lists and definitions for how to categorize speculative fiction. And I’ve never see a single one that came close to reflecting reality.

    Ditto academics (and ditto for fantasy and every other genre/sub-genre category). I think the problem is that the definitions always end up being read as check-lists and more “concrete” than is possible especially, as I point out to my students who want to rely heavily on “genre” categories being stable whether in literature or creative writing classes, since writers love to transgress and slip ove and mess around with “boundaries” leaving the critics trailing along behind, their rags and tags of categories trailing in the wind.

    Such lists can be great if taken as speculative types of arguments with readers understanding that the centers are always a bit more stable than the margins, and arguing about where a work might fall (with different readers coming up with different locations), i.e. as an opportunity/start for critical thinking which involves gaps and ambiguities instead of as a (dare I say it!) CHECKLIST OF BOXES TO BE CHECKED ahahahahahahah!

  38. @ Msb: I re-read it in preparation for the panel, and was very pleased to find that there was no evidence of a Suck Fairy visit. Content warning for mentions of rape (it’s one of the bad guy’s defining traits) and one scene where he tries to extort information by means of torture (interrupted before any major damage is done). Most of the female characters are competent, and accepted as such by the men they work with. And most of the conversations between the two major female characters are about the protagonist’s mission, which may include being “about a man” (since the mission is to dethrone a king) but not as a romance object.

  39. I don’t really remember Red Skull and I haven’t seen the Thor movies, so for all I knew they were elves, too.

    Thor 2 does in fact have elves as villains, though Cate Blanchett isn’t one of them (she’s only in Thor 3).

  40. Cont Ed yay! I was worried you’d consider those titles a Blyton your blog, Mike.

  41. Hmm. I can quibble about Hoyt’s genre definitions, but then I can quibble about most people’s genre definitions. And she does say that it’s off the top of her head. The underlying advice–know something about your genre(s)–seems good.

    I’m no fan of Hoyt–she can be extremely annoying when she tries–but genres are primarily marketing categories, and if you want to market your own fiction, it’s probably something you should pay attention to.

    If you go around and hunt down other definitions of spec-fic genres, you’ll probably find that they commonly contradict each other as well as Hoyt’s versions. But knowing the broad outlines, even if people can and do disagree about details, is likely to be useful. And if you market your High Fantasy work as Heroic Fantasy, or vice versa, well, the two are closely enough related that few will complain too much. But if you market your High Fantasy as Urban Fantasy, simply because it’s set in a fantasy city, well, people may be more upset.
    Nine Pixels in Amber
    The Scrolls of Avalon
    Tick of the Unicorn
    The Fifth! of Oberon
    The Filers of Chaos

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