Pixel Scroll 8/18/21 Science Fiction Grand Pixel Banned From Scroll

(1) WHEN SHALL I MAKE AN END. Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the authors who answers the question “When should writers return to old, abandoned work?” for The Writer. Can you guess the story she’s discussing? Click through to see if you’re right.

Mood as a factor

Mood can take two forms – the mood of the story or novel you abandoned and the mood you’re in when you try to get back into it – that is, your emotional state of mind. As any writer can tell you, the mood you’re in makes a great difference when you tackle any work of fiction. But let’s say this project’s been gathering dust for several years. Are you charged up enough to take it on? Do you have the right inspiration?

Lois McMaster Bujold, speculative fiction writer and four-time winner of the Hugo Award, can speak to these very questions. She returned to an abortive novella after a seven-year hiatus. In 2011, she had completed 15,000 words on a “high-concept tale” about bioengineering, which she nicknamed Radbugs! Then she ran into a brick wall: “Radbugs, and then what?”

Plot-wise she had drawn up short: “The internal problem was that of making the Radbug bioengineering project central, as semi-realistic science (fiction) – it didn’t have a novella-like time frame or structure.” She considered two options, the first being a story that concentrated more on the research. “But scientific research like that is just a whole lot of tedious back-and-forthing on experiments and data collection for several years until the concept either becomes viable or is proved not to work.” Her second option didn’t seem viable, either. “Letting the story focus instead on some of the human problems encountered in those first 15,000 words seemed too much like another story I’d written. I eventually stopped and went on to other things, thinking I’d finally own a trunk story. But it itched. It was half done.”

In 2018, she was in the right frame of mind to return to it….

(2) FIFTY SENSE. NPR has posted its choices for “The 50 Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade”. I’ve read 17 of these. Which doesn’t sound like a good score, yet is higher than I expected. My favorite book of them all happens to be the first one listed, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

This year’s summer reader poll was also shaped by a series of “what ifs” — most importantly, what if, instead of looking at the entire history of the field the way we did in our 2011 poll, we only focused on what’s happened in the decade since? These past 10 years have brought seismic change to science fiction and fantasy (sometimes literally, in the case of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series), and we wanted to celebrate the world-shaking rush of new voices, new perspectives, new styles and new stories. And though we limited ourselves to 50 books this time around, the result is a list that’s truly stellar — as poll judge Tochi Onyebuchi put it, “alive.”…

How We Built This

Wow, you’re some dedicated readers! Thanks for coming all the way down here to find out more. As I said above, we decided to limit ourselves to 50 books this year instead of our usual 100, which made winnowing down the list a particular challenge. As you may know, this poll isn’t a straight-up popularity contest — though, if it were, the Broken Earth books would have crushed all comers; y’all have good taste! Instead, we take your votes (over 16,000 this year) and pare them down to about 250 semifinalists, and then during a truly epic conference call, our panel of expert judges goes through those titles, cuts some, adds some, and hammers out a final curated list….

(3) SHAUN TAN ART. Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week runs August 21-27 with the theme “Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds.” The campaign includes this poster by Shaun Tan.

(4) DODGY PRACTICES. Smashwords informed Nigerian writer and editor Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki that they cannot pay him outstanding e-book royalties, because he doesn’t have a PayPal account – which is due to PayPal not operating in Nigeria.

(5) WRITING MODULE. Speculative Literature Foundation’s video interview “Paolo Bacigalupi: Values Fiction” comes with a set of discussion questions.

In this clip, author Paolo Bacigalupi discusses how he writes fictional solutions into the personas and experiences of the characters that populate his novels

Discussion Questions

(1) Ecological message fiction provides a space for authors to imagine inspired, inventive technology for the future. Bacigalupi believes that crafting these ideas for a better life within dystopian settings ultimately creates a more powerful message for his readers. Do you agree? Why or why not? Can you think of any examples of message fiction that are not set within a dystopian context?

(2) The focus on a ‘chosen one’ or set of heroes as the solution to the problems presented in values fiction can be limiting for a narrative’s overall message. Why do you think this would be? Are there any broader societal implications for ‘chosen one’ style-plots? Is there a situation in which this narrative structure would be useful?

(3) Bacigalupi says that writing fully “lived-in”, interesting characters with varied perspectives on the topic at hand is more effective in getting your message across than creating characters who specifically espouse your values. Do you agree with Bacigalupi? As a reader, what do you find you relate most to in the characters you read?

(4) Bacigalupi cites Gene Wolfe’s claim that those who want to write values fiction need to be able to argue all sides of the argument they’re engaging with in order to make their own point as strong as possible. Can you think of any topic in which arguing all sides would completely contradict your own values as a writer? Would you do it anyway? 

(6) ARC MARKET. The return of the sale of of ARCs. From the Wall Street Journal: “Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Others Whose ‘Not-for-Sale’ Books Are Fetching Thousands”. Andrew Porter recalls, “I sold a bound galley of a Stephen King Doubleday book for $500 in 1984.” (The WSJ is usually paywalled, but this was open to read today.)

“Not for sale,” reads the fine print on the back of an advance reader copy (ARC) of Sally Rooney’s forthcoming novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, which days ago sold on eBay for $79.99 (with tote bag). Another advance copy sold earlier this summer for around $200—roughly 10 times what it costs to preorder the hardcover. An ARC of Jonathan Franzen’s forthcoming Crossroads was recently listed on eBay for $165. 

Free copies of forthcoming books—in the form of ARCs, galleys and uncorrected proofs—are typically sent by publishing houses to authors, reviewers, bookstores and, increasingly, celebrities and influencers months before publication. The copies can draw a bidding frenzy, especially inside the literary world. One publicist described Rooney’s galleys, along with Ottessa Moshfegh’s, as “almost like trading cards” among junior publishing employees. 

Early, unfinished versions of classic novels have long been collectible, with some fetching astronomical prices. This is especially true for early-20th-century books, when advance copies were rare and tended to be made with higher-quality materials. They can also provide a window into a canonical author’s process—highlighting revisions made between drafts, say—and may include handwritten corrections.

An uncorrected advance copy of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row is currently available for $35,000; an early version of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is on sale for $28,000. More recent releases from bestselling authors—such as an uncorrected proof of Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, on sale for $3,000—typically sell for less. And then there’s Harry Potter. This May, an uncorrected version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for over $29,000….

(7) NEW B5 COMMENTARY. J. Michael Straczynski has released another Babylon 5 commentary, on the episode “Signs and Portents”. These commentaries originally were only available through his Patreon page.

(8) YOUNGSON OBIT. Jeanne Youngson, founder of the Vampire Empire (originally the Count Dracula Fan Club), has died reports Nancy Kilpratrick. The Free Dictionary’s article about her accomplishments notes:

…In 1960 she married Robert G. Youngson, a renowned movie producer and historian, and that same year she launched a career as an independent filmmaker, winning numerous prizes as an animator. She also produced medical documentaries, including “My Name Is Debbie,” about the life of a post-operative male to female transsexual. The film is still being shown at Gender Identity conferences in tandem with a Canadian documentary featuring the actual operation.

The idea for a Dracula Club came to Youngson in 1965 while on a trip to Romania. Society Headquarters were set up in London, England, and New York City upon her return; and by the beginning of the 1970s the club had become a growing concern. In the meantime she found it necessary to give up filmmaking to devote her energies to the Dracula and Bram Stoker genres….


  • 1950 – Seventy-one years ago on this date, Destination Moon, produced by George Pal, premiered in the United Kingdom. It would be voted a Retro Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation at the Millennium Philcon. It was directed by Irving Pichel from the screenplay by Alford Van Ronkel and Robert A. Heinlein and James O’Hanlon. It’s based off Robert A. Heinlein‘s Rocketship Galileo novel. It starred John Archer, Warner Anderson,  Erin O’Brien-Moore, Tom Powers and Dick Wesson. Mainstream critics usually didn’t like it but Asimov said In Memory Yet Green that it was “the first intelligent science-fiction movie made.”  Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a mediocre 48% rating though the critics overall give a sixty four percent rating there. It is not in the public domain but the trailers are and here  is one for you.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 18, 1925 Brian Aldiss. Fiction wise, I’ll single out his Helliconia series, Hothouse and The Malacia Tapestry as my favorites. He won a Hugo at Chicon III for “The Long Afternoon of The Earth”, another at Conspiracy ’87 for Trillion Year Spree which he co-authored with David Wingrove. He’s edited far too many collections to know which one to single out. (Died 2017.)
  • Born August 18, 1929 Joan Taylor. Her first genre role was Earth vs. the Flying Saucers as Carol Marvin, and she followed that with 20 Million Miles to Earth as Marisa Leonardo. Her last genre role was as Carol Gordon in Men into Space, a late Fifties series about a USAF attempt to explore and develop outer space. She retired from acting in the early Sixties. (Died 2012.)
  • Born August 18, 1931 Grant Williams. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in The Incredible Shrinking Man though he did have the role of the psychopathic killer in Robert Bloch’s The Couch. Of course he shows up in Outer Limits where he plays Major Douglas McKinnon in “The Brain of Colonel Barham”.  And he’s Major Kurt Mason in The Doomsday Machine. (Died 1985.)
  • Born August 18, 1934 Michael de Larrabeiti. He is best known for writing The Borrible Trilogy which is noted by several sources online as being an influence on writers in the New Weird movement. Ok folks, I’ve not read it so please explain how The Borrible Trilogy influences that literary movement as it doesn’t seem like there’s any connection. (Died 2008.)
  • Born August 18, 1954 Russell Blackford, 67. Writer resident in Australia for awhile but now in Wales. Author of Terminator 2: The New John Connor Chronicles, and editor of the Australian Science Fiction Review in the Eighties. With Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, he wrote Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction, and Science Fiction and the Moral Imagination: Visions, Minds, Ethics which is just out.
  • Born August 18, 1958 Madeleine Stowe, 63. She’s in the Twelve Monkeys film as Kathryn Railly, and she’s in the Twelve Monkeys series as Lillian in the “Memory of Tomorrow” episode. Her only other genre work was a one-off in The Amazing Spider-Man which ran for thirteen episodes nearly forty years ago. She was Maria Calderon in “Escort to Danger” in that series, and she also played Mia Olham in Impostor which scripted off Philip K. Dick’s “Impostor” story. 
  • Born August 18, 1966 Alison Goodman, 55. Australian writer who’s won three Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Speculative Fiction for Singing the Dogstar BluesThe Two Pearls of Wisdom and Lady Helen and the Dark Days PactThe Two Pearls of Wisdom was nominated for an Otherwise Award. 
  • Born August 18, 1967 Brian Michael Bendis, 54. He’s both writer and artist, a still uncommon occurrence. Did you know he’s garnered five Eisner Awards for both his creator-owned work and Marvel Comics? Very impressive! He’s the primary force behind the creation of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, launching Ultimate Spider-Man which is an amazing series which I read on the Marvel Unlimited app. 


  • The Argyle Sweater shows a robot leaving an autograph in an unexpected place.
  • Half Full is about a kind of house that I didn’t think needed an energy saving plan.

(12) VOTING WITH DOLLARS. “Tabletop Game Makers Crowdfund New Projects” Publishers Weekly charts the successes.

…Anya Combs, director of games outreach at Kickstarter, says one of the key reasons that 2020 was such an explosive year of growth for tabletop gaming was the Covid pandemic, which forced everyone indoors for months on end.

Last year, the global board games market grew by 20% over 2019, according to DW, an international news and media site. The market research firm Arizton Advisory and Intelligence predicted that board games would see a compound annual growth rate spurt of approximately 13% from 2020 to 2026—a surge driven in part by Covid-related lockdowns.

But to chalk up all of tabletop’s recent success to the pandemic would be shortsighted. Tabletop gaming has been enjoying expansion for years. In 2019, Grand View Research estimated that the playing cards and board games market would reach $21.56 billion by 2025.

“Tabletop has been having a moment for a long time,” Combs says. “A lot of it stems from this retro nostalgic aspect, and many point to Stranger Things and the resurgence of role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Tabletop provides a level of play that people needed during Covid. There’s something very genuine about sitting with your friends and sharing in a communal way.”…

(13) PICARD TO ENTERPRISE. You don’t have to wait for Starfleet to issue yours if you’re willing to order it from Amazon: Star Trek Next Generation 2021 Bluetooth Communicator  Combadge with Chirp Sound Effects, Microphone & Speaker. And there are several styles.

  • Presenting the Star Trek the Next Generation Bluetooth Communicator Badge! Since its debut in 1987 the TNG Communicator Badge has been a sought-after future tech we all wish we had. Now available, a few centuries early, connect to your phone, tablet or computer to enjoy hands and ear. The Star Trek TNG ComBadge features an accurate on-screen matte gold with black outline & silver delta plate. High quality ABS & Zinc materials.
  • The Star Trek Communicator connects to all phones or tablets that have Bluetooth (any modern phone) with Bluetooth version 5 for longer range and extended payback time. It features a built-in Microphone and Speaker for phone calls and music playback. Strong magnet backplate so no holes in your clothes! | 2 hours constant music or phone usage / 48 hours Cos-play “Chirp” mode.
  • HIGH QUALITY SOUND | Plays the classic Star Trek TNG ComBadge chirp sound effect when you press it for Cosplay, when you receive phone calls or enable Siri, Google, Cortana or Alexa! With 30 to 300 foot Bluetooth “Badge to phone” range you can keep your phone in your pocket while you make phone calls, listen to music or use voice your voice assistant.

(14) FLIPPER. A pair of Boston Dynamics robots run a complicated course.

Parkour is the perfect sandbox for the Atlas team at Boston Dynamics to experiment with new behaviors. In this video our humanoid robots demonstrate their whole-body athletics, maintaining its balance through a variety of rapidly changing, high-energy activities. Through jumps, balance beams, and vaults, we demonstrate how we push Atlas to its limits to discover the next generation of mobility, perception, and athletic intelligence.

(15) KEEPS ON TICKING. Ars Technica says Ingenuity is still buzzing Martian skies: “After a dozen flights, NASA’s chopper has yet to come a cropper”.

NASA’s tiny Mars helicopter, which has a fuselage about the size of a small toaster, has successfully flown above the planet for the 12th time.

Nearly half a year after the Perseverance rover landed on Mars, the Ingenuity helicopter is still going strong on the surface of the planet. The small flyer has done so well that it has been separated from Perseverance for some time as it scouts ahead on the red planet….

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] In the spoiler-filled “Old Pitch Meeting” on YouTube, the producer, when he learns that the aging powers of the mysterious beach enables two six-year olds to mature so fast that they have a baby that dies 20 minutes after it is born, says “I could have been a doctor!”  The shocking third act plot twist is SO ridiculous that George makes you very glad you didn’t spend any money on this stinker.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Olav Rokne, Cliff, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/18/21 Science Fiction Grand Pixel Banned From Scroll

  1. 2) I have read 26, if you count several “series” in which I read only one of the books. About 10 of them were definitely among my favourites of recent years.

  2. Cat Eldridge: Hell, I was about to post the first comment myself! At least I’ve read today’s Scroll….

  3. (4) You would think they could find a way to handle that.
    But it may be like 2-factor authentication, where they usually assume everyone has a mobile phone.

  4. Mike Glyer says Cat Eldridge: Hell, I was about to post the first comment myself! At least I’ve read today’s Scroll….

    I read the Scroll. Three times. (And you know why.) Some of it I’ve already read for obvious reasons, and I’m reading what I’d not already read.

    The Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki article is interesting as I’ve friends who use PayPal everywhere so I wonder why Nigeria doesn’t have it. It’s widespread throughout the Pan-African world, so this doesn’t make a lot of sense…

  5. I was in my Yoga class…

    1) I just re-read FLOWERS OF VASHNOI via audio. Will review it since I didn’t review it the first time.

    6) :Sigh:

  6. 4) This is the sort of thing that should be covered by contract. That is, if the contract doesn’t specify paying by Paypal, it is on the publisher to figure out another payment method. Not all methods of money transfer to Nigeria can be blocked yet, can they? The reputation of Nigeria for scams shouldn’t totally stifle commerce.

    13) Trying to convert the old holdout Trekkies from their flip-phones?

  7. Cat Eldridge: I read the Scroll. Three times. (And you know why.)

    Why yes! And thank you for catching today’s adventure in HTML, which is now fixed. (I even got a message from Chris Barkley about it.)

  8. Sorry I’m late – I was watching “What If”!

    2) 19 for me, if I counted right, with more on the to read stack.

  9. @Cat Eldridge–Hey! I was out foraging for food, and you and Mike got sneaky!

    (4) That’s very shady indeed. They can find another way to pay him.

    (13) That could be kind of fun.

  10. Lis Carey exclaims Cat Eldridge–Hey! I was out foraging for food, and you and Mike got sneaky!

    Sneaky? Me? I’d be offended if it wasn’t true. I’m as sneaky as any feline can be. And I actually waited a half hour or so before posting that comment.

    Getting ready soon to start thinking about my move on October first to my new apartment. I gratefully handed off the moving part to Doug, a friend, who’s going to figure that out as the commercial movers were way too expensive.

  11. Re Nigeria and Paypal. I looked up what countries PayPal doesn’t provide service to. It’s a long list. And somewhat odd: Afghanistan, Burma, Cuba, Bouvet Island, British Indian Ocean Territory, Central African Republic, Christmas Island, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Heard Island And McDonald Islands, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Lao, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Niger, Pakistan, Serbia, Turkey and Montenegro, Sudan, and Syria.

  12. Mike Glyer says I don’t know. The Paypal countries list says they’re available in Nigeria.

    Ok, it appears PayPal only supports personal accounts in that country, but not business accounts. So it’s possible that SmashWords needs a business account to send money to an author there if they treat him as a business, not as an individual for tax purposes.

  13. 21 for me, plus several more on Mt. TBR. And yeah, definitely a good list. Very few points of disagreement.

    (9) Geotge Pal should be George.

  14. (2) FIFTY SENSE.

    I’ve read 30, but there are several which I would firmly say do not belong on that list.

  15. (10) From his editorial credits, I would recommend the three volumes of sf Brian Aldiss selected for Penguin (1961-64) and the nine Year’s Best SF he co-edited with Harry Harrison (1968-76). There is also the wonderful Hell’s Cartographers (1975), again in collaboration with Harry, in which many of the field’s leading writers discuss their inspirations and working methods.

  16. 2
    I’ve read one,.and two volumes of trilogies, or two one-thirds. None of my votes made the list, which is okay. Plenty of wonderful books to read. Hell, on this very list there’s over a hundred pretty good ones I haven’t read yet.

    This stuff has always disappointed me. I mean, can we give at least a little money to the people who write the books? Do we need to place so much value on a physical object? Surely it’s the contents and the creators who count.

    I watched Destination Moon a long.time ago. It thought it was okay. Certainly not as regrettable as most of the other moon and space stuff that came out around the same time. The Martian of its day, perhaps.

    My favorite Aldiss novel is probably Cryptozoic! (You can’t go wrong with an exclamation point in the title!). Titled An Age in the UK, which is meh as a title. I also enjoyed Nonstop (starship) more than I expected.

    My favorite short story is much more difficult to determine. The Small Stones of Tu Fu? Full Sun? A Chinese Perspective?

    Nope, you know what? Let’s Be Frank.

  17. “Let’s Be Frank”: Agreed – a great story. It’s one of the very few stories I’ve ever read out loud to someone else to make sure they knew it.

  18. 2) NPR list: I’m not sure how to count here. So many of the entries are series of which I’ve read only part — I read the first three volumes of The Expanse and then lost interest; do I count it? How about having read A Stranger in Olondria but having The Winged Histores still on Mt. Tsundoku?

    Well: 22 fully read. 5 partially read. 10 with at least one volume waiting for me to get to it. (Note that there’s some overlap between these latter two categories.)

    10) Birthdays: Brian Michael Bendis does art? I think of him pretty much solely as a writer, I’ve seen lots of comics he’s written and none that he’s drawn. He did a lot of stuff for Marvel, but in the last couple of years has been very active at DC. I’m a little bit bitter at him for doing a Legion of Super-Heroes revival with all sorts of new ideas and teases…that wound up being super over-stuffed and never really gelling. And which seems to have quietly died: there hasn’t been a new issue since February even though there hasn’t been an official cancellation announcement.

  19. (10) Aldiss also won a Nebula for his H.G. Wells pastiche, “The Saliva Tree.”

    The file scrolled in on little credential feet.

  20. Jim Janney, that scroll title suggestion is da bomb.

    gottacook, it’s its own genre, kinda. Scientific surrealism. Ironic Forteana.

  21. 10) Brian Aldiss. Hothouse (UK title) and The Long Afternoon of Earth (US title) are the same book. His Hugo here is the only time the award went to a series of short fiction.

  22. 10) OK, I’ll single out some Aldiss anthologies: Space Opera, and the two volumes of Galactic Empires, which had some great authors in them including Edmond Hamilton, Leigh Brackett, Jack Vance, R.A. Lafferty, Poul Anderson and James White. Keep meaning to reread them one of these years …

  23. 2) counting series where I’ve only read part, I get to 32.

    I likely won’t read the rest of some series, for others I’m just waiting for the kindle edition price to drop.

  24. 2) I’ve read at least pieces of 23 of these, but only 9 in their entirety. I bounced pretty hard off the second book in the Green Bone series, after deciding I disliked all of the main characters.

  25. 2) I own 19 of the books (or at least one book in a series) in printed or ebook form. I’ve read 17, but not necessarily from those 19; 6 of those reads were via library borrows. (The ticking clock of a library borrow is a great motivator to make time for a particular book.)

    So I’ve read 11 out of the 19 I’ve purchased, which is actually a much better ratio than I expected.

  26. Oh, hm, Smashwords only support payPal? Well, off the list of possible ways of self-publishing they are.

    It is a long-standing policy of mine to NOT have a PayPal account and, as far is humanly possible, not use them as a payment option. The reasons are long, complicated, and rooted in historic practises of theirs. It is, thus, a personal choice, and I don’t really care if someone else makes a different choice.

  27. 2) Only at 15 myself, but long form fiction is something that took a back seat for me for years while I focused on writing and short fiction. I’ve only recently got back into it and I’ve got a LOT of catching up to do (clearly!).

    On the other hand, all the ones I’ve read I’ve bought copies of (twice in the case of Jade Wars, because hell yes). Support your favorite authors!

  28. My father saw Destination Moon when he was about nine. Liked it so much that he stayed in the cinema until the next showing started. Had to be dragged out of the one after that by his mother.

  29. (2) I’ve read elements from 22 of the entries with more on the TBR pile. It’s fairly rare though that I’ve read the entirety of a given series.

  30. Cat Eldridge said: Ok, it appears PayPal only supports personal accounts in that country, but not business accounts. So it’s possible that SmashWords needs a business account to send money to an author there if they treat him as a business, not as an individual for tax purposes.

    In some countries, like in Ukraine (where I’m from) or Nigeria, limitations on personal accounts include inability to receive money from other people.

  31. Having purchased selections from writers in Nigeria, I can second (or third, or forty-second) that Nigerian authors struggle to receive payment through PayPal. I’ve worked with a number of organizations and communities that have had to use an assortment of other methods to deliver payment. There are many who take a significant portion of the funds.

    2.) The Buried Giant is one book that, years after reading, I choke up when I describe or talk about the end. Maybe not everyone would have that sort of resonance with it, but it gets me in the throat.

  32. (6) My fortune is made! (OK, not really.) My policy on ARCs is that I never sell them, but I do donate them to charity auctions on occasion. (Seems better than destroying them!) I keep the ones I really like, of course.

  33. @John Arksansawyer — I’ve read 21 of the books on the list. (I’m perpetually behind on novels.) The best book is probably PIRANESI. The most accessible? (If that would make sense for some who hadn’t read anything on the list?) THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, maybe? The one that is perhaps most “significant” (and also very good): THE FIFTH SEASON.

  34. Rich Horton says My fortune is made! (OK, not really.) My policy on ARCs is that I never sell them, but I do donate them to charity auctions on occasion. (Seems better than destroying them!) I keep the ones I really like, of course.

    When I get physical ARCs which is increasingly rare these days, I give them away. Allmost all ARCs we get at Green Man these days are digital, so it’s not something that comes up very often. And I personally don’t keep ARCs, the only one I have is the one that has the skeleton artwork here.

    Now listening to Charles Stross’ Dark State

  35. Oleg X says In some countries, like in Ukraine (where I’m from) or Nigeria, limitations on personal accounts include inability to receive money from other people.

    Yeah and I’m slamming PayPal for doing this when there’s absolutely no reason for doing this. Ukraine shouldn’t even be on the list.

  36. The one novel on this list that I’d recommend without any reservations at all? A Memory Called Empire which I’ve revisited twice now. The sequel is almost as good as it is which makes it a very, very impressive book.

  37. As far as the NPR list goes, I would point to the Imperial Radch trilogy and Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. Leopard is not easy (check for triggers) but it’s rewarding and a real trip.

  38. (2) 8/50, + maybe a half (never finished one, haven’t felt up to revisiting it)

    2) Suppose you knew someone who’d read literally nothing on that list. What one book on it would you point them to?

    Even though I’ve only read a few, well, out of those few…

    It would depend on the person, I think. People are not monoliths, and have different tastes. Out of the books I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed most of them, but for different reasons. What does the hypothetical recommendee like or dislike?

    If I knew they were bothered by soul-crushing grimdark meathook worldbuilding, I would not recommend The Fifth Season; I am not sure I am up for the rest of the series after having finished that book. Yes, it was well written, but it had so much cruelty and murder!

    If the person preferred SF to fantasy, the Murderbot stories. Despite the name, I think they’re rather uplifting; about a robot/cyborg coping with being created to be an enslaved tool, and yet also finding freedom and friendships. Which makes it sound more twee than it really is. Murderbot doesn’t murder people for fun or profit, but does kill to protect the innocent.

    If the person prefers fantasy to SF, Piranesi. It’s oddly unlike her previous work, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but it has certain themes in common.

    If they really like horror, then Mexican Gothic. Horror is not my genre, for the most part, but I read it now and then. This was well-written, and if someone likes that sort of thing, I think they would like this example of it.

    My recommendations might change if I read more of the books on the list. I know I have the e-books of quite a few of them because Tor had them as ebookclub giveaways. Seeing them on the list, I am reminded to bump up the priority of some of them.

  39. (2) 42/50. Thirty-one that I very much liked, six that are Complicated (e.g. I liked the first book of the series but not the rest, or I like that author but not that particular book), five that I’m not so fond of (but I know other people are.) All in all, a list very tailored to my tastes!

    I like too many books on that list to recommend just one. I think the ones I had the biggest “this book blew my MIND” reaction to were Ancillary Justice and The Fifth Season. But there’s like … fifteen others I will rave about at the drop of a hat, too.

    A few I might have added to the list:
    The Power by Naomi Alderman
    The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    The Breath of the Sun by Isaac Fellman
    Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
    The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
    Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
    The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
    Strange Creatures by Phoebe North

  40. 2) I have read 5… loved 3, liked 1 and finished 1. The book I have recommended the most is Ancillary Justice. I would have recommended A Memory Called Empire and Murderbot but with lockdown, unemployment and retirement I don’t see many people anymore. Well online but you all read way more than me and review much more eloquently. Thanks to all of you for your recommendations.

  41. Meredith moment: Elizabeth A. Lynn‘s The Woman Who Loved the Moon collection is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. The title story won a World Fantasy Award.

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