Pixel Scroll 8/28/18 Robert’s Pixels Of Order, Newly Scrolled

(1) IN TUNE WITH SPACE OPERA. Strange Horizons presents “’In The Far and Dazzling Future, People Are Still People’: A Round-Table on Domestic Space Opera” with Ann Leckie, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Judith Tarr, Joyce Chng, and Foz Meadows.

Foz Meadows: I honestly think you can’t have good SF without a degree of domesticity. There’s something sterile to the environments so often preferred by hard and military SF, where everyone is in uniform without a hint of how they live outside of it, that forgets that, even in the far and dazzling future, people are still people. One of the clearest visual examples that springs to mind was the ship Serenity, in Firefly—that show had a lot of problems, but the decision to lovingly render the spaceship as a domestic environment wasn’t one of them. There were hand-painted signs on the metal that Kaylee had done, scenes of the crew cooking real food together as a novelty, or making Simon a cake out of flavoured protein for his birthday because they didn’t have anything else; the difference between Inara’s quarters, with its lush decorations, and Jayne’s wall of guns. The Radchaii love of tea in Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series is another example of this.

But again, I find myself at odds with the assumption that domesticity is frowned upon in space opera, given that its presence is, to me, one of the defining qualities that separates it from traditional, “masculine” hard and military SF….

(2) DOCTOR IS IN. Variety says a former Doctor Who will be in Episode IX: “‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Casts Matt Smith in Key Role”.

Sources tell Variety that “The Crown” star Matt Smith is joining “Star Wars: Episode IX,” which is currently in production in the U.K. It’s unknown at this time whether the “Doctor Who” alum will be on the side of the rebels or the evil empire.

(3) A SFF SPLASH. Scott Edelman interviews Rachel Pollack over a bowl of Vietnamese Seafood Noodle Soup in Episode 75 of Eating the Fantastic.

Rachel Pollack

We had lunch on the final day of Readercon at Pho Pasteur. This Quincy restaurant is a 2017 spin-off of the original Boston Vietnamese venue which has been open since 1991, and since that cuisine is one of her favorites, I thought we should give that venue a try.

Rachel Pollack is someone I’ve been connected to for a third of a century, even since I ran her story “Lands of Stone” in a 1984 issue of Last Wave, a small press magazine I edited and published. But she’s gone on to do so much more since then!

Her novel Unquenchable Fire won the 1989 Arthur C. Clarke Award, and her novel Godmother Night won the 1997 World Fantasy Award. Her other novels include Temporary Agency, which was a 1994 Nebula Award nominee. Her comic book writing includes an acclaimed run on Doom Patrol, as well as New Gods and Brother Power the Geek. She is also an expert on the Tarot and has published many books on the subject, including a guide to Salvador Dali’s Tarot deck. Her comics and Tarot loves blended when she created the Vertigo Tarot Deck with writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean.

We discussed why Ursula K. Le Guin was such an inspiration, the reason celebrating young writers over older ones can skew sexist, what Tarot cards and comic books have in common, how 2001: A Space Odyssey isn’t a science fiction movie but an occult movie, why Captain Marvel was her favorite comic as a kid (Shazam!), the serendipitous encounter which led to her writing Doom Patrol, how she used DC’s Tomahawk to comment on old Western racial stereotypes, the problems that killed her Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot deck, how she intends to bring back her shaman-for-hire character Jack Shade, and much more.

(4) MORE ON CARNEGIE LIBRARY THEFTS. The New York Times traces the fate of an individual stolen book to illustrate why the thefts could be carried on so long: “Vast Theft of Antiquarian Books Sends a Shudder Through a Cloistered World of Dealers”.

A rare books dealer thought he had gotten lucky in 2013 when he managed to acquire a 1787 French first edition — inscribed by Thomas Jefferson when he was ambassador to France.

“If someone else had seen it first, it would have been gone,” said the dealer, John Thomson, who owns Bartleby’s Books, an online shop.

He had no idea that his seeming good fortune was a byproduct of one of the most expansive rare book thefts in history.

The dealer at a book fair who sold it to him, John Schulman, is now accused of conspiring with a library archivist, Gregory Priore, to steal and sell rare items from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh….

… In this niche world based on trust, where confidants are currency and handshake deals are commonplace, the arrest of a prominent dealer is a shocking suggestion of deceit.

Mr. Schulman had served on the association’s board of governors and had even led its ethics committee, the organization said. His clients included some of the biggest names in the business. Prominent bookshops from New York to London bought stolen books, an affidavit shows.

…None of the buyers are accused of wrongdoing. But the booksellers’ association is taking steps to try to prevent a similar wide-scale theft from happening again.

We traced the path of one book, the edition signed by Jefferson, to explain how the theft is suspected to have worked — and why it went undetected for so long….

(5) BETHKE TRIBUTE. Bruce Bethke’s frank memoir “Family Matters” leads up to his announcement of the death of his first wife.

…What even fewer people have known until recently is that in December of 2012, my first wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. After a five-and-a-half year battle, she left this world sometime between late Sunday evening, August 19, and early Monday morning, August 20. Her funeral was this past Saturday.

(6) VELEZ OBIT. Artist Walter Velez (1939-2018) died August 24 at the age of 78.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction tells about his popular work, including covers for Robert Asprin’s books, such as the first Thieves World anthology.

His website is here.

(7) WAYNE OBIT. From Syfy Wire: “The Twilight Zone and Bewitched Actor Fredd Wayne Dead at 93” and The Hollywood Reporter: “Fredd Wayne, Who Played Benjamin Franklin on ‘Bewitched,’ Dies at 93”.

Per the SYFY Wire story, genre roles included appearances on: One Step Beyond (1 episode); The Twilight Zone (2 episodes); Voyagers! (1 episode); Bewitched (2-part episode); Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (2-part episode); Wonder Woman (1 episode); Small Wonder (1 episode); The Phantom of Hollywood (TV movie); Chamber of Horrors.(feature film). There may be others they didn’t list. Depends, in part, on what you count as genre (Nanny and the Professor? Matinee Theatre’s “The Alumni Reunion” & “The Century Plant”?)

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • August 28, 1991 — First E-mail Sent from Space

 Using a Mac Portable aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the first e-mail from space is sent to Earth. Two astronauts on the spacecraft, James Adamson and Shannon Lucid, wrote, “Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!” The message was transmitted to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 28, 1915 – Tasha Tudor. American illustrator and writer of children’s books. Her most well-known book is Corgiville Fair, published in 1971, the first of a series to feature anthropomorphic corgis.
  • Born August 28, 1916 – Jack Vance. Where to start? The Dying Earth series? Or perhaps the Lyonesse trilogy? I think I’ll pick the Demon Princes series.
  • Born August 28, 1917 – Jack Kirby. Comic artist is somewhat of an understatement for what he was. Created much of modern Marvel continuity and even some of the DCU as well with New Gods at the latter being my fav work by him.
  • Born August 28, 1948 – Vonda McIntyre, 70. Best known I think for for her Trek and SW work, but Dreamsnake won her both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and The Moon and The Sun won her the Nebula Award.
  • Born August 28 – Barbara Hambly, 67. Author of myriad genre works including the James Asher, Vampire NovelsThe Windrose Chronicles, and the Sun Wolf and Starhawk series. Some Trek work. Was married for some years to George Alec Effinger.
  • Born August 28 – Amanda Tapping, 53. Stargate franchise of course, also lead in Sanctuary, Travelers, Kiljoys, Riese, Earthsea, Flash Forward and X-Files.
  • Born August 28 – Kelly Overton, 40. Genre work includes Van Helsing, Legends, True Blood, Beauty and The Beast and Medium.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) REASON FOR A SEASON. John King Tarpinian says he has already ordered his “Santa in Space” shirt.

(12) ABOUT W76. Alexandra Erin unpacks a host of feelings about attending a Worldcon in “Conventional Wisdom”, like these sentiments about awards:

And so here is my insight for this year: the awards matter because they represent genuine appreciation, and the appreciation is genuine because it comes from people, from real people, a real community of people, a community of communities — some old, some newer, each diverse in different ways, each with their own competing and conflicting and even occasionally complementary tastes. This community is here at the convention and it is distributed somewhat haphazardly across the globe, wherever people are reading and writing and appreciating science fiction and fantasy literature published in the English language.

WorldCon is a concentration of that community, and the Hugo Awards are a concentration of WorldCon. The community is people, the convention is people, the awards are people, Soylent Green is people, and it is beautiful and it is glorious, even when the community stumbles.

(13) OUT IN FRONT. John Picacio mentions that he won the only Alfie Award presented by George R.R. Martin this year, tells about the gatherings of MexicanX Initiative members, and how he felt while emceeing the Hugos, in his conreport “Worldcon 76: The End Is The Beginning”.

I always forget how applause makes me feel like I’m underwater. I knew I was going to ‘X-up’ centerstage in salute to my Mexicanx brothers and sisters, but from there, every word of my opening address was blank page. Unscripted. Pulled from the bright stagelights, the infinite sea of faces, the inky black, that primetime moment you can’t calculate no matter how hard you try. It’s right there in front of your eyes, beyond the dazzle, if you can stop your heart from exploding out of your chest. All of those struggling years, building to arrive at that moment….I remembered that kid who so desperately wanted to be a part of this business….that guy who appeared at his first Worldcon a mere twenty-one years ago. And he led me through the darkness, like he always does — because I’m still that guy. I still want it as bad as I did when I worked on my first book cover, when I resigned from architecture to be the person I am full-time, seventeen years ago. I don’t remember everything I said up there — it just comes out — and no, I don’t want to watch the video and find out. Once is enough.

(14) NEW WETWARE DISCOVERY. NPR reports on “What Makes A Human Brain Unique? A Newly Discovered Neuron May Be A Clue”. Breaks the use of mice as models for neurological problems, e.g. Alzheimer’s.

An international team has identified a kind of brain cell that exists in people but not mice, the team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

“This particular type of cell had properties that had never actually been described in another species,” says Ed Lein, one of the study’s authors and an investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.

The finding could help explain why many experimental treatments for brain disorders have worked in mice, but failed in people. It could also provide new clues to scientists who study human brain disorders ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to schizophrenia.

“It may be that in order to fully understand psychiatric disorders, we need to get access to these special types of neurons that exist only in humans,” says Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which helped fund the research.

(15) PREEMPTIVE STRIKE ON CHOLERA. 21st-century pump handle: “Yemen cholera epidemic ‘controlled’ by computer predictions”. Rainfall predictions ID where sewers will overflow, telling where to concentrate treatment etc.

Last year, there were more than 50,000 new cases in just one week – this year, the numbers plummeted to about 2,500.

The system has enabled aid workers to focus efforts on prevention several weeks in advance of an outbreak – by monitoring rainfall.

It comes as the UN says it is concerned about a possible “third wave” of the epidemic.

(16) MAD, I TELL YOU. At The Onion: “New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Teaser Shows Cackling, Power-Mad George R.R. Martin Burning Completed ‘Winds Of Winter’ Manuscript”.

Shedding light on the much-rumored events of the upcoming eighth and final season, a newly released teaser for the wildly popular HBO series of Game Of Thrones that aired Monday centered around the image of a cackling, power-mad George R.R. Martin burning the completed manuscript of Winds Of Winter.

(17) COMING TO A BOOKSTORE NOWHERE NEAR YOU. Ferret Bueller shares a rarity:

This is a pic?ture I took of the official (I guess) Mongolian translations of the Game of Thrones books in Ulaanbaatar; they’re published by Monsudar, the leading publisher of translated books. These were on display at one of the little branches of Internom, their brick and mortar franchise, this one being near my office. I see by the stamp I took it on 1 April; I took the picture for a friend of mine who’s a GoT fanatic and didn’t even think that you might enjoy seeing it or putting it up on File 770 (it’s interesting enough SF news, I guess) until earlier today.

(18) YOU COULDN’T LOOK IT UP. Cameron Laux describes “Fourteen words and phrases that define the present” for BBC readers:

The new weird

An emerging genre of speculative, ‘post-human’ writing that blurs genre boundaries and conventions, pushes humanity and human-centred reason from the centre to the margins, and generally poses questions that may not be answerable in any terms we can understand (hence the ‘weird’). It is associated with people like Jeff Vandermeer and M John Harrison in fiction, but the approach is bleeding into television narratives (see Westworld or Noah Hawley’s innovative series Fargo and Legion). Vandermeer’s Annihilation is heavily influenced by recent ecological thinking which takes the view that humanity is a blip in geologic history: even considering the potential catastrophe of global warming, the Earth existed long before us, and it will exist long after (see the ‘hyperobject’ entry elsewhere here). In his 2002 book Light, Harrison imagines a universe where human physics is encroached upon by alien physics that coexist and are equally or more potent. Westworld posits machine intelligences that overthrow their masters, unleashing a radically non-human order.

(19) DEL TORO PROJECT. From Variety: “Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Movie Sets Cast”.

Guillermo del Toro’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” adaptation has cast Michael Garza, Austin Abrams, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur and Natalie Ganzhorn with production to start this week.

Del Toro is producing the teen thriller with his “Shape of Water” producer J. Miles Dale. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of Hivemind and Elizabeth Grave are also producing. CBS Films and Entertainment One are co-financing.

(20) NOT ENOUGH CONAN. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett tells how Hollywood suffers for lack of his advice to guide them, in “Conan the Rebooter”.

What is best in life? To revive a franchise, to turn it into a success, and to hear the lamentation of your rivals!

I really do wish Hollywood would consult with me before embarking upon certain film projects. I’ve no doubt my sage advice could save them endless money and embarrassment in regards to the making of the more expensive science fiction and fantasy sort of films. “What’s that Mr Executive? You’re thinking about green-lighting a film based on the game Battleship? No. Just no.”

Ah, but I sense you would like some proof of my ability to deliver such sage advice. Fair enough, let’s then consider that famous barbarian, Conan, by Crom! As a teenager I read at least eleventy-seven paperbacks featuring Conan stories (published by Sphere Books in the UK and by first Lancer and then Ace Books in the US) so I’m reasonably familiar with the source material. Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve read any of Robert E. Howard’s stories but I think I can unequivocally state that neither attempt to put Conan on the big screen was unflawed….

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Ferret Bueller, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Kim Huett, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Goobergunch.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/28/18 Robert’s Pixels Of Order, Newly Scrolled

  1. Clickity.

    It’s 1265. My foot hurts.

    No way to get aspirin without walk across the room on said foot, unlike what is rumored for some future millennia.

  2. @9: I’d pick Dying Earth for Vance because I think it’s older; it certainly appears in the first Vance I read (Eight Fantasms and Magics, around 1966). I’d also point to the Alastor Cluster series — I still have a soft spot for almost everything about hussade — and The Blue World. (I was amused to suggest to Vance when he was GoH in Orlando that the showing-several-images sign outside the convention center sounded just like I thought a wink machine should — appropriately, since it operated on the same principle.)

    @18: I am … impressed? … that they could mention the New Weird but not list Miéville, who IMO does Weird much better than Harrison.

  3. “It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a scroll on the door saying ‘Beware of the SJW Credential.”

  4. (5) I am sorry to hear the news about Bruce Bethke’s first wife Nancy succumbing to renal cell carcinoma, and his current wife Karen’s ongoing struggle with breast cancer. Both are very hard things, and he and Karen have my profound sympathies. (I got much joy from his 1995 cyberpunk novel Headcrash, not least because of reading his scene where the protagonist got a ‘the network is down’ e-mail immediately upon IT-resuscitating a corporate network immediately after that exactly sequence of events happened to me — so, yes, people really are that stupid.)

    (12) As is often the case, Alexandra Erin speaks for me, because Alexandra truly gets it, and voiced IMO the genuine spirit of WSFS. Go, you, TruFan{tm] ;->!

  5. Finished Graydon Saunders’ latest, Under One Banner yesterday while trying to cough up what felt like tennis ball (got antibiotics and steroids today – they’re a hell of a combo). It’s going to need a re read and get me to re-read the series again.

    On a related note, anyone here interested in exploring a post-Singularity fantasy RPG setting? If you are, please check out Sorcerously Advanced, brought to you by the same person that wrote Sufficiently Advanced (both editions available for free at Rpgnow or DriveThruRpg). Why bring it up? Imagine a world not unlike the Commonweal’s and suddenly everyone gets the ability to work magic like a mighty sorcerer. And the Commomweal books make me think of it. Think of that world and what it might be like to play in it.

    Also starting The Million by Karl Schroeder. I’d kill to see an adult novel set in the Lockstep setting. And Foundryside is waiting for me from the library

  6. 20) As for Conan, I agree that Jason Momoa’s casting was easily the best part of the 2011 film; and the best parts of the original film were the soundtrack and (for my money, at least) Mako.

    I’m inclined to say you don’t actually need an origin story — just start it with Conan all grown up, and maybe have him mention his origins in passing at some point.

    My current dream Conan film would probably have Alejandro G. Iñárritu (director of The Revenant) doing an adaptation of the story “Beyond the Black River”. A second choice would be to recruit Neil Marshall (director of the Roman legion film Centurion, amongst other things) and let him adapt one of the other major stories.

  7. @Lis: I regret to tell you that even here in the future of 1975, we still have to walk across the room, unless we can convince another person to do it for us. We, too, look forward to painkillers that will travel to us.

    Alexandra Erin truly Gets It and expresses it perfectly. I danced with her for about 30 seconds at Scalzi’s Dance Party.

    This was a particularly good Pixel Scroll, Mike!

  8. @BravoLimaPoppa3

    You’ve got a treat awaiting you with Foundryside. I finished it yesterday and would very much like the sequel to arrive right now.

  9. 9) Where to start with Jack Vance. That’s a whole blog post…or a series of posts, I think. Especially here in the year 9915

    2) Now they HAVE to have a blue box appear in the background somewhere in the movie, right?

  10. Paul Weimer:

    9) Where to start with Jack Vance. That’s a whole blog post…or a series of posts, I think.

    I started with The Languages of Pao, which for me wasn’t the best place to start. Then I read “The Moon Moth” and The Dragon Princes, which for me were the place to start.

  11. The New Weird: the phrase that enters my thoughts about the current times is one Philip K. Dick coined: “information sickness”. I forget which book it appeared in.
    .

  12. For me with Vance my introduction was probably “Liane the Wayfarer” in Lin Carter’s anthology Realms of Wizardry, followed a few years later by The Dying Earth, followed a few years later (when I had access to a good SF bookstore with a good used paperback section) by pretty much every Vance book I could lay my grubby hands on.

    “The Moon Moth” remains one of my favorite stories, and I’d say it’s the one that most perfectly encapsulates everything that made him so appealing to me.

  13. @Joe H

    Much as I enjoyed Conan’s origin story in the 2011 reboot I don’t think starting a TV series like that wold be a good idea. If nothing else it would make for an overly slow start. What I’d really like would be to steal from the 1972 David Carradine series, Kung Fu, and have flashback sequences pop up occasionally. These would then turn out to be Conan answering a question. Since I’m the sort who loves to mess with people’s heads occasionally these flashbacks would turn out to be the inventions of Conan’s companion, Alvazar, as he attempts to spice up Conan’s past. Conan would of course be unappreciative of Alvazar’s inventiveness.

  14. The Moon Moth may be my single favorite Vance story. It might be “Vance most being Vance” but then I think of the Demon Princes novels, or Planet of Adventure (which may be my second favorite Vance), and the Dying Earth, and on and on.

    I owe myself a deep redive into his oeuvre…

  15. @Paul re #2. What with R2D2 appearing in the Star Trek reboot, there is a sort of precedent.

  16. @ Cliff

    What with R2D2 appearing in the Star Trek reboot, there is a sort of precedent.

    They should have a group of Vulcans in Star Wars Episode IX.

  17. Tasha Tudor! I loved her illustrations in A Little Princess, and I had an art book and a cookbook by her. But I hadn’t heard of Corgiville Fair! Must check it out.

  18. @Kim Huett — I agree; while the origin story was probably the best part of Conan 2011 (at least from a narrative perspective), it felt pretty unnecessary. If someone insists on an” origin”, my preference would probably be something like Tower of the Elephant, where he’s young but fully grown, and is obviously encountering “civilization” for one of his first times.

  19. Got an email from Ebooks Direct; about Diane Duane’s “The Levin Gad”:

    We have released a new version of The Levin-Gad (Generic Epub)! This version has some textual and formatting corrections. (A hearty thank-you to those of you who noted these and mailed us about them!)

    So, kudos to them for correcting the errors and re-releasing.

  20. 9) My favourite Vance is Servants of the Wankh.

    Ok, ok, The Dying Earth stories then.

  21. 9) Vance was one of the most consistent writers I’ve ever read. The Whelm novels are my personal favorite and I’d recommend the Dying Earth stories as a starter. I would avoid The Last Castle but that’s just a matter of taste.

  22. Business Insider ranks the 69 worst sci fi movies based on critical reactions. They’re mainly modern and they have a weird definition of what constitutes a science fiction movie.

    Maybe more of interest for what they leave out. How do you include The Postman but leave out Waterworld? All three of the Atlas Shrugged movies make an appearance. They also have what appears to be an erroneous photo for the #2 movie. (It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie in question.)

    Tom Gauld again. Is there Jazz on Mars?

  23. 9) Vance again — the one area of his oeuvre that I really haven’t explored is the mysteries. I have everything on my Kindle, though, so someday …

    (The one I did read was The Dark Ocean, which took place on a boat sailing between various Polynesian islands, so parts of it were actually closer to a Vance SF novel (a slightly bemused look at the quaint customs of various foreign cultures) than you might otherwise expect in a mystery.)

  24. Vance is on my continuous “I should really try and read some of these classics” list. I think the Dying Earth is even explicitly in the physical Mount TBR somewhere.

    My brother wasn’t so keen, but the responses here seem encouraging.

  25. I much prefer the Lyonesse trilogy over The Dying Earth series. The Dying Earth has lots of wonderful weirdness, but Cugel is just too unpleasant as a viewpoint character.

    eta: Wikipedia tells me the first Dying Earth book doesn’t have Cugel as a character, but I confess that I can’t remember much about the stories in the first book.

  26. The amazing thing about Vance to me is that all his life he claimed he wrote just for the money. But if that was true, then why did he fashion such jewel-like prose? Either he worked hard on his writing, unlike any hack I ever heard of, or it just came naturally to him.

  27. Crouching Hugo, Hidden Dragon award

    (20) Just a tangent, but Battleship got made, because Hasbro stuck a deal with the studio to turn some boardgame-IP into movies. That probably sounded like a better idea after the success of transformers, but after Battleship and Ouijaboard movie (cant remember the title) the studio bit the bullet and paid the cost to get released from the contract, instead of making two more movies. That the monopoly movie burned through several scrpts might have been a factor as well.

    Scroll of the flying pixels

  28. That the monopoly movie burned through several scrpts might have been a factor as well.

    “Look, I understand the extensive location scouting you’ve been doing in Atlantic City, but land purchases and getting crew members sprung from jail?”

  29. The original set of Dying Earth stories lack Cugel, but they do feature the even less appealing Liane the Wayfarer, along with other people you wouldn’t want to meet in a lonely wood at night. Or daytime, for that matter. The stories are, however, compelling, and I have found them to hold up well over decades of re-readings. As has most of Vance’s mature work. (Nevertheless, I know there are those who find his prose or his vision not to their taste. So it goes.)

  30. I’d be interested in hearing some details on what people like about Dying Earth. Because my reaction was ‘how did such drivel ever get published” So I’m wondering what I’m missing.

  31. Well, speaking entirely for myself, I find it impossible to resist a paragraph like this:

    It was night in white-walled Kaiin, and festival time. Orange lanterns floated in the air, moving as the breeze took them. From the balconies dangled flower chains and cages of blue fireflies. The streets surged with the wine-flushed populace, costumed in a multitude of bizarre modes. Here was a Melantine bargeman, here a warrior of Valdaran’s Green Legion, here another of ancient times wearing one of the old helmets. In a little cleared space a garlanded courtesan of the Kauchique littoral danced the Dance of the Fourteen Silken Movements to the music of flutes. In the shadow of a balcony a girl barbarian of East Almery embraced a man blackened and in leather harness as a Deodand of the forest. They were gay, these people of waning Earth, feverishly merry, for infinite night was close at hand, when the red sun should finally flicker and go black.

    (from the Dying Earth story “Turjan of Miir”)

  32. @james Moar:
    I think the first scripts where about a down-to-his-luck real estate agent (?) that got sucked into “Monopoly land” (not Atlanta BTW), where Uncle Pennybags libed etc. Didnt go anywhere.
    Then Ive read rumours that the script would be about four friends (two women, two men) that always meet at their monopoly board, something like “Monpoly and the city”, but that too, went nowhere.
    Wonder why 😉

    The next movie after Monopoly would have been Candyland BTW…

  33. @bookworm139: The original Dying Earth stories are among the earliest that Vance wrote (several years before his first SF appeared in the magazines), and the prose is a bit more baroque-romantic than what he would later settle into. I got to know Jack and Norma in the 1980s, and Jack actually would sometimes talk a bit like his prose–it wasn’t an affectation so much as a projection and a performance. He looked and often acted like the blue-collar working stiff he was on his day jobs, but there was a different guy inside the dock-walloper.

  34. @James Moar

    “Look, I understand the extensive location scouting you’ve been doing in Atlantic City, but land purchases and getting crew members sprung from jail?”

    Never mind land purchases, railroad purchases might be where it gets problematic.

  35. @Jack: 18: That’s an unfortunate number of words to have chosen. How so? I can think of interpretations but don’t know what you’re pointing at.

  36. So, for all the board gamers out there, Humble Bundle put together a board game bundle that looks rather interesting.

    And here’s where I make a confession. It says it uses Steam. I know *nothing* about Steam. What is it; where would I get it for a Windows 10 machine, is it free or paid or subscription; is it hard to use? (I’m assuming this is a program; please let me know if I’m mistaken!) I’d appreciate it if someone could give me a quick FAQ on it. If they don’t want to post it here, my email is (rot13) pnffl@obbxjlezr.pbz — but if you email me, maybe post that you’ve answered in email so my inbox doesn’t overflow. <grin>

    I’m interested, but don’t want to buy it without further info on the platform the games run on. For that matter, if anyone buys or has bought this, please let me know.. do any or all of the games have a solitaire mode? If not, can you play it across the interwebs?

    Thanks much!

  37. Microtherion, Thanks! The problem with googling “steam” is, well, you get a lot of hot air… <wry grin>

    I should find my answers there, then.

    But if anyone buys this bundle, please let me know if there’s a solitaire mode on any of the games in the bundle you buy. My husband isn’t a board gamer, and I am….

  38. @Cassy B

    I know from a friend who already has the Pathfinder game that it can be single player, because he recommended it to me on that basis.

  39. I know that Talisman, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne all support solo play (well, or play against computer-controlled opponents), at least.

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