Pixel Scroll 9/12/18 Pleonasmatic

(1) MAGIC ON DISPLAY. Sean McLachlan reviews the exhibit of “Magical Items at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum” for Black Gate.

A new exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum showcases 180 real-life magical items.

Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft explores the history of magic from the early modern era to the present day through objects ranging from Renaissance crystal balls to folk charms against witchcraft. It looks at basic human needs such as fear of death and desire for love, and how people have used magic to try to get what they need.

The exhibition also turns the question of magic and superstition back on the viewer. In the entrance hallway, you are invited to step under a ladder or go around it. The museum is counting how many people dare to tempt fate. I did, and I hope they post the statistics when the exhibition is over!

(2) WHEEL OF TIME TV. Adam Whitehead shares his notes at The Wertzone: “WHEEL OF TIME TV showrunner hosts Q&A”.

Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins has hosted a Q&A on Twitter, where he invited fans to pitch him questions about the show. Given that the project is still in an early stage of pre-production, a lot of questions couldn’t be answered, but some interesting tidbits were dropped about how he sees the project moving forwards.

The current status of the project:

Judkins confirmed that the show is in development at with Amazon (via, as we know already, Sony TV Studios) but it has not yet been formally greenlit, either for a full first season or a pilot. As such, things like production timelines, timetables for casting and when we might get to see the show all remain up in the air.

Judkins notes that he is now able to talk about the show in a way he couldn’t a couple of months ago, and that indeed something has changed to facilitate this….

(3) QUITE A BUNCH. At NYR Daily, “David Bunch’s Prophetic Dystopia”, an overview adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s introduction to the new Bunch collection.

…That these tales come off as a seamless meld of the eccentric poetics of E.E. Cummings, the genius-level invention of Philip K. Dick, and the body horror of Clive Barker perhaps explains both why they remain vital today and why they were characterized as “fringe” during Bunch’s career. They are wild, visceral, and sui generis, without the signifiers of a particular era that might provide anchors for mystified readers. Popular contemporaries like Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even James Tiptree Jr. ameliorated the strangeness of their work with the scaffolding or appearance of more familiar plotlines, even as they wrote stories generally from the point of view of marginalized groups. Bunch, by contrast, foregrounded lyricism over plot and chose to write from the potentially unsympathetic viewpoint of a hyper-aggressive warmonger—a viewpoint clearly quite far from his own. Even his authorial stand-in, the nameless writer of the fictional introduction to this volume, has monstrous qualities.

Nothing quite like the Moderan stories had been written before and nothing like them has been written since….

(4) NARNIA LETTER. Brenton Dickieson spotted a bit of literary history on sale: “For £5,000 You Can Own A Piece of Narnia: New C.S. Lewis Letter Surfaces”.

That’s right, Dominic Winter Auctioneers is putting a newly surfaced letter from C.S. Lewis on the auction block. It is a great artifact, as The Daily Mail reports, a generous and light bit of Narnian delight as Lewis answers some questions from schoolchildren at Grittleton House School in Wiltshire. The auctioneers have made photographs of this short, two-page 22 May 1952 letter. The children of Grittleton House–who Lewis calls Grittletonians–were no doubt curious after the release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) and Prince Caspian: Return to Narnia (1951). Not only did Lewis assure them that The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (1952) would be out in a few months, but that there would be seven stories in all.

Although the letter is very much like one sent to Michael Irwin just a couple of months previously (25 Mar 1952), there are a couple of things really worth noting here….

His post includes stats of the letters.

(5) SUPERMAN OUT, SUPERGIRL IN. Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit, in The Hollywood Reporter’s story “Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.’ DC Universe Shake-Up”, say that Warner Bros. has removed Henry Cavill from any future movies as Superman because a cameo by him in Shazam! didn’t work out and DC wants to do a Supergirl origin movie next and put off doing anything with Superman for several years.

Warners had been trying to enlist Cavill, who most recently co-starred in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, for a Superman cameo in Shazam!, which stars Zachary Levi and will bow April 5. But contract talks between Cavill’s WME reps and Warners broke down, and the door is now closing on other potential Superman appearances.

That’s because the studio has shifted its focus to a Supergirl movie, which will be an origin story featuring a teen superheroine. This effectively removes an actor of Cavill’s age from the storyline’s equation given that Superman, aka Kal-El, would be an infant, according to DC lore.

Furthermore, Warners isn’t likely to make a solo Superman film for at least several years, according to another source. “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors,” says a studio source.

(6) VEGGIE OVERLOAD. Laura Anne Gilman makes a simple request at Book View Café: “A Meerkat Rants: No More Kale, Please.”

Let me admit this shameful fact up front.  I like kale. No, really, I do.  It’s not an easy-to-love vegetable, I’ll agree, but if you know how to buy and handle it, you can get tender, sharp-yet-tasty roughage that serves a variety of salads (including my fave: baby kale and pear with white wine vinaigrette).

But I don’t want it every week. Hell, I don’t want anything food-wise, every single week without fail.

But then I went and joined a CSA.

CSA, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, stands for community supported agriculture.  Basically, you pay a set fee, and get a box of whatever the local farms have on-offer, on a seasonal basis….

(7) VERSE THE CURSE. Charles Payseur interviews Aidan Doyle — “Quick Questions – Aidan Doyle of Sword and Sonnet”. Doyle co-edited the Sword and Sonnet anthology with Rachael K. Jones and E. Catherine Tobler.

So why battle poets?

AD: I liked the idea of poetry being used as a magic system. Sei Sh?nagon was one of the original inspirations for my idea of what a battle poet could be. She wrote The Pillow Book, one of the classics of Japanese literature and was renowned for intimidating the men of Heian-era Japan with her knowledge of poetry. I hadn’t seen any other anthologies that covered a similar theme. After we announced the Kickstarter, there were many writers who told us they were particularly excited by the theme.

(8) DIY STEAMPUNK DÉCOR. Clickbait time at Homedit“21 Cool Tips To Steampunk Your Home”.

The steampunk style is not one of the most well known in terms of interior design. Maybe that’s because many of us don’t even know which are the basic details that define this concept. When I say steampunk, I remember about the Victorian era, with all the inventions back then, but the meaning of this word would be incomplete without the industrial details.

In essence, this trend is a mixture between elegant Victorian interior accessories and the strength of industrial elements. Maybe you remember about Joben Bistro, that beautiful pub from Romania. It’s an inspiration for us….

The fifth tip is –

  1. Buy a terrestrial globe (in case you don’t have one already)

Make sure it’s old and very used. It would be one of the most popular items in the house, and kids would love to spin it over and over again.


The town of Santa Claus, Indiana, changed its name in 1856 from Santa Fe, which was already taken, to get its own post office. As a result many of the town’s street names are Christmas-themed, including Sled Run, Blitzen Lane and Melchior Drive. Source: Wikipedia


  • September 12, 1958 The Blob got loose in theaters.
  • September 12, 1993Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” premiered on TV.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 12, 1921 – Stanislaw Lem. Polish writer whose The Man from Mars was a first contact novel, other genre works include Solaris, and two short story collections, Fables for Robots and The Cyberaid. His later years are marked by his anti-technological views including outright opposition to the internet. In 1973, he was made an honorary member of SFWA (later rescinded).
  • Born September 12 —John Clute, 78. Critic, reviewer and writer. Some of his reviews are in his early collection, Strokes. I’ll  single out The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction which he co-edited with Peter Niicholls and The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (John Grant, co-editor) which I think are still really awesome. Oh and The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror is fucking amazing! I’ve not read his fiction so I welcome your opinions on it.
  • Born September 12 – William Goldman, 87. Writer of The Princess Bride which he adapted as a screenplay. He also wrote the screenplays for Misery and The Stepford Wives. His late brother is James Goldman who wrote The Lion in Winter and Robin and Marian.


(13) BOOKSTORE ON WHEELS. The thread starts here.

(14) PHILOSOPHICAL DILEMMAS. Eric Schwitzgebel’s guest post for Cat Rambo’s blog deals with an episode of The Good Place: “Eric Schwitzgebel Gives One-Point-Five Cheers for a Hugo Award for a TV Show about Ethicists’ Moral Expertise”.

When The Good Place episode “The Trolley Problem” won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards, the Hugo, in the category of best dramatic presentation, short form, I celebrated. I celebrated not because I loved the episode (in fact, I had so far only seen a couple of The Good Place’s earlier episodes) but because, as a philosophy professor aiming to build bridges between academic philosophy and popular science fiction, the awarding of a Hugo to a show starring a professor of philosophy discussing a famous philosophical problem seemed to confirm that science fiction fans see some of the same synergies I see between science fiction and philosophy.

I do think the synergies are there and that the fans see and value them – as also revealed by the enduring popularity of The Matrix, and by West World, and Her, and Black Mirror, among others – but “The Trolley Problem”, considered as a free-standing episode, fumbles the job. (Below, I will suggest a twist by which The Good Place could redeem itself in later episodes.)

(15) A MEXICANX INTIATIVE LOOK AT W76. Alberto Chimal, part of the MexicanX Initiative at Worldcon 76, has written up his experience for Literal Magazine: “Fui a otro mundo y me traje esta camiseta” . (Here’s a link to a Google Translate English language versioncaveat emptor.)

….La delegación en la que estuve, compuesta por casi cincuenta artistas, escritores y lectores mexicanos y mexicoamericanos, pudo inscribirse y figurar en el programa de la convención gracias a un proyecto de fondeo y apoyo entre el propio fandom que se llamó The Mexicanx Initiative. Éste fue idea del artista John Picacio, ilustrador y portadista de larga carrera a quien se nombró invitado de honor de la Worldcon: es la primera vez que una persona de origen mexicano recibe esa distinción. Picacio, como muchas otras personas, ha observado la postura abiertamente racista y antimexicana del gobierno actual de los Estados Unidos, y cómo los exabruptos y tuits de su presidente, Donald Trump, están “normalizando” formas de odio y extremismo que hace menos de una década hubieran sido condenadas sin vacilación….

(16) OVER THE TRANSOM. JDA submits to Uncanny. Surprised it’s lasted this long — the title phrase is really too well-known to be called a dogwhistle.

(17) SPECIAL ISSUE. Charles Payseur finds an extra big serving of short fiction on his plate: “Quick Sips – Uncanny #24 Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! [September Fiction]”.

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! is here!!! And with it comes a whole heck of a lot of fiction and poetry. To be specific, ten stories and ten poems. But, because this is also a regular issue of Uncanny, the work will be released publicly over two months. And so, to keep things manageable for me, I’m going to be tackling this extra-big issue in four parts—September fiction, September poetry, October fiction, and October poetry. So let’s dig in! The first half of the issue’s fiction is up and features five short stories touching on aliens, assistive devices, families, and a whole lot of disabled characters getting shit done. The work in these focuses primarily (for me, at least) on occupations and growing up. About facing down intolerance and violence and finding ways to find community, hope, and beauty in a universe that can often be ugly and cruel. So let’s get to the reviews!

(18) D&D MANGA. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog enumerates “14 Graphic Novels & Manga for Dungeons & Dragons Fans”.

Comics and fantasy role-playing games have shared a similar trajectory as of late: once considered distinctly nerdy pursuits and viewed as mildly disreputable by the broader culture (when they weren’t the subject of full-blown moral panics, anyway), they both have recently been thrust into the mainstream, whether via big budget movies or name-dropping teens on Netflix. Yet somehow, both forms of entertainment have maintained their legit geek cred.

The recent release of the graphic novel The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins illustrates (heh) the intersection perfectly: a number one New York Times’ bestseller based on a popular podcast that’s all about a family sitting around playing Dungeons & Dragons. With that in mind, we rolled a d20 to perform a skill check on the 13 great graphic novels below, and discovered they are all highly proficient in satisfying tabletop gamers looking for a fantasy fix between play sessions.

(19) NOVELLAS. At Nerds of a Feather, Adri Joy reviews two novellas published by The Book Smugglers: “Microreview [Books]: A Glimmer of Silver by Juliet Kemp and Accelerants by Lena Wilson”.

The Book Smugglers’ Novella Initiative line was a highlight of my novella reading in 2017, bringing a set of diverse, different stories with some interesting romance and a more YA sensibility to some of the entries than I’ve seen in other fiction of this length. I’ve been hoping throughout this year that we’d see more from the line, and in August my waiting was rewarded with this pair – with some bonus theming around the classical elements to really seal the deal!

Both Accelerants and A Glimmer of Silver deal with people on the cusp of adulthood in their own societies, whose choices are immediately constrained by the societies they live in.

(20) THREE ON A MATCH. Nerds of a Feather’s Joe Sherry gives quick verdicts on three books including Adrian Tchaikovsky’s latest: “Nanoreviews: The Skaar Invasion, Phoresis, The Expert System’s Brother”.

(21) BUY YOUR OWN HAMMER. Bonobos won’t share tools. Now I want to know what their policy is on books: “What’s Mine Is Yours, Sort Of: Bonobos And The Tricky Evolutionary Roots Of Sharing”.

An intriguing study published this week suggests that bonobos, among the closest relatives to humans, are surprisingly willing to hand over food to a pal. But they didn’t share tools.

The discovery adds a new wrinkle to scientists’ efforts to understand the evolutionary origins of people’s unusual propensity to help others.

“One of the things that is really striking about humans is how cooperative or helpful we are,” says Christopher Krupenye, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “It’s just a really pervasive element of our behavior.”

Common chimpanzees (a related species that diverged from bonobos about 2 million years ago) do engage in some altruistic behavior. For example, it’s been shown that chimps will hand a tool that’s out of reach to a person who clearly is trying to get it — as will human children. So Krupenye and some colleagues recently repeated that experiment with bonobos in a sanctuary.

“Bonobos didn’t help at all,” says Krupenye. Instead, sometimes they would retrieve the tool but still keep it out of reach, showing it off in a teasing way. “They didn’t help, in this particular context.”

(22) PUTTING HUMANITY TO THE TEST. In fact, Margaret Atwood called on the internet for some help with a tool just yesterday. Is social media more or less evolved than bonobos? The thread starts here.

(23) SPARE CHANGE. Meanwhile, I will gladly pay you Tuesday for an Apple today: “6-Figure Price Tag Expected For Rare Apple-1 Computer At Auction”.

Before Apple was a trillion-dollar company, before its phones and laptops came to dominate the tech industry, it was just a California startup working out of a garage. Now, one of the first products the company ever made — the Apple-1 computer — is about to be the star of a live auction on Sept. 25 in Boston.

“The Apple-1 is so iconic of that era, of the garage era of Silicon Valley, that I think there is almost no other object that really encapsulates what it does culturally and technologically,” says Dag Spicer, senior curator for the Computer History Museum, which has an Apple-1 in its collection. Spicer says it’s one of their most popular pieces.

(24) LARPING. A photo essay about costumes, including some genre, at the Washington Post: “Inside the fantastical world of live-action role playing”:

What is LARP? It is an acronym for live-action role playing, a phenomenon inspired by fantasy board games, films, literature and computer games. People who are into LARP outfit themselves as their favorite characters such as orcs, dwarfs, zombies and vampires, among others. Photographer Boris Leist takes us into this world with his latest book, “LARP,” which will publish this year by Kehrer Verlag.

A few years ago, Leist met a man in the LARP community. The man was dressed as a dwarf, and Leist was impressed by the quality of the man’s costume and the passion he had for role playing. Although the man was an IT professional in real life, he was so committed to LARPing that he was taking a welding class so that he could build armor for himself. This passion and commitment inspired Leist to go deeper into the LARP community and meet more of its members. Leist ended up spending three years delving into that world and compiling portraits.

(25) SCARY GOOD. The Guardian has a great gallery of international posters from Harryhausen films: “A monster talent: Ray Harryhausen movie posters – in pictures”.

From roaring dinosaurs to clashing titans and flying saucers, the stop-motion genius made audiences gasp, shriek and doubt their eyes. Here are the best posters his groundbreaking movies inspired

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Lise A., Norman Cook, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Bill, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, StephenfromOttawa, David W., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Hertz.]

59 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/12/18 Pleonasmatic

  1. (1)
    Not walking under ladders makes perfect sense to me – you’re much less likely to have something fall on you if you don’t walk under one.

  2. @6: well, that’s what happens in a CSA…. (Well, in most of them; somebody around here was advertising what they called a “chocolate CSA”, which I would have joined if I’d been in their delivery range.)

  3. (6) It’s perfectly possible for one person to eat a head of cabbage in a week; I do so on a regular basis. I can also eat an entire head of roasted cauliflower with no side effect worse than guilt. (I always tell myself I’ll save some for lunch the next day and I never do.) If you regularly have a diet high in fruits and vegetables your digestive system adjusts to handle it.

  4. Joe H. on September 12, 2018 at 9:13 pm said:

    25) It doesn’t say so explicitly in the article (unless I missed it), but I assume the gallery was tied to the publication of the book Harryhausen: The Movie Posters.

    oh…that looks very nice

  5. Kal-El, would be an infant, according to DC lore.

    Has DC lore changed yet again? Supergirl’s spaceship traditionally didn’t arrive on Earth until he was an adult.

  6. 6) And that would be why we’ve never even considered a CSA subscription. There are just too many very popular vegetables that one or both of us won’t eat.

    8) Notice also the “rooms full of bric-a-brac” aesthetic. This is a style of decor that doesn’t mix well with cats, or with people who have respiratory issues (because it’s hard to keep the dust and mold spores down).

  7. Supergirl’s spaceship traditionally didn’t arrive on Earth until he was an adult.

    I wonder if that statement combines some versions of her origin (the ones where she’s born before Superman, but remains in suspended animation to end up younger in the present) with stuff specific to the intended film. Or the journalist just got confused.

  8. 3) It may be faulty memory but don’t think I’d call Bunch’s style or subject-matter unusual – at least, not in the context of the American-style New Wave. I have a copy of Moderan and would recommend it to others but it’s a bit unrelenting if you try to read it without breaks.

    8) Steampunk-as-style makes me faintly uncomfortable because it’s so heavily depoliticised. Victorian leather furniture is less troubling than pith helmets (look up Orwell on the significance of pith helmets) but it’s still worth taking a moment to think about what maps and anatomical diagrams would have signified in their original context.

    11) I think Lem deserves a bit better than that, even if we only count his translated works. (There are a number of film adaptions of his books too, though they suffer from Soviet-era scripting

  9. 3) Hmm. Anyone know if this includes anything that wasn’t in the 1971 Moderan collection from Avon Books? (It wasn’t within arm’s reach of me, I had to stand up and get it off a shelf. Remiss of me.)

    I have to admit, I find Bunch’s work, umm, an acquired taste at best.

  10. Anyone know if this includes anything that wasn’t in the 1971 Moderan collection from Avon Books?

    It does — if you do a “look inside the book” on this page, parts 1-3 match the 1971 version, but part 4 consists of later-written stories.

  11. 10) Looks like a certain someone is gearing up to make an awfully big deal about a “Dear Sir, I’m afraid your story does not suit our needs at this time.”

  12. 21) Maybe tools are harder to come by than food?

    From what I’ve learned, Bonobos (and chimpanzes) use tools almost exclusively to retrieve/prepare food. If you retain the tool but share the food, you’re really upping/maintaining your social cred.

    6) Maybe ship the excess kale to the Bonobos without tools? Disrupt the social order, see what happens….

  13. 14)It never occurred to me to call out the connection between philosophy and science fiction. “Futurists” is just another term for philosophizing about the future of the human condition, no? Much of the better SF of the past century has been the posing of basic philosophical questions and their analysis, not? (Like Wells addressing colonialism in The War of the Worlds…)

  14. Sophie Jane says I think Lem deserves a bit better than that, even if we only count his translated works. (There are a number of film adaptions of his books too, though they suffer from Soviet-era scripting

    Better in what sense? I’m certainly not pretending that these notes are intended to be complete looks at the the genre undertakings of the author but rather my take on them. Y’all are more than welcome to add to my admittedly biased, errr, subjective notes.

  15. (13) Go bookmobiles go!

    (14) At a conference in 2001 or so, I saw a presentation that talked about using “The Matrix” as part of an ethics course for engineers.

  16. @Sophie Jane, @Cat Eldridge
    For those interested in filmic adaptations of Stanislaw Lem novels, I have an article about an East German 1960 adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s Astronauts coming up at Galactic Journey.

    6) Kale is a winter vegetable. And it does not come in heads, but in stalks. It’s also perfectly possible for a single person to eat a head of cabbage in a week without any ill effects, but then I am used to it.

  17. @Cat Eldridge Y’all are more than welcome to add to my admittedly biased, errr, subjective notes.

    That’s entirely fair. Then I’d add that (as far as I know) almost all his output was genre though he often wrote in philosophical and/or satirical modes, that he was widely read and celebrated in his native(*) Poland and in the Soviet Union, and that a number of Polish and Soviet films were made of his books, though Solaris is the only good one. The Cyberiad is probably his most successful work in the west, thanks in part to excellent translators, but the funny/absurdist/philosophical Ijon Tichy stories are also worth reading as are the Tales of Pirx the Pilot, which can be read either as Hard SF or subtle digs at Hard SF according to preference. Wikipedia shows more than a dozen other works published in the west but various combinations of leaden translation, heavy philosophical content, and Lem’s desire to distance himself from American genre SF means they’ve generally escaped notice.

    (*) Interwar Poland, soon occupied first by the Soviet Union, the Nazis, and then the Soviet Union again. Hence Lem’s pessimism about human nature and sense of the absurd.

  18. For a kinda-sf dramatisation/discussion of classical philosophical problems/scenarios including the Trolley Problem, there’s Tom Stoppard’s 2013 radio play set to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Sun, though my recollection is that tonally it was more like a Firesign Theatre LP:

    https: //

  19. (5) Further reporting states that despite rumors that Michael B. Jordan is under consideration to replace him, WB’s relationship with Cavill has not changed.

    As for the Supergirl movie: if it is to tie in with the DC EU, part of that story has already been told. A tie-in comic released alongside Man of Steel depicted Supergirl’s arrival on Earth; the open pod that Kal-El discovers in the movie was hers, so presumably she is conscious and wandering the planet by that time. This most likely indicates that she has been living “undercover” for some time and that an origin movie would either be a flashback to her days on Krypton or a modern-day story of her stepping up to become a superhero in the aftermath of Justice League. The latter bears a striking resemblance to the premise of the Arrowverse TV show, though, which brings its own problems…

    (16) I agree with Ann and Standback in that I do not expect PLA’s strategy of acceptance-via-threat to be a successful one. If he keeps trying these tactics, he may well manage to blacklist himself… if he has not already done so. (If I were reading slush or working on a concom and his name came up, I would immediately veto his inclusion based on his famously litigious nature. I doubt actual markets pay less attention to such hazards.)

    Seriously, one of the big rules of publishing is that, as an author, you want to be easy to work with. If the publisher has to choose between two works of roughly equivalent sales potential, they’re going to choose the one that will cause the fewest (and/or smallest) headaches. That can mean picking the author with the better record of hitting deadlines, but it can also mean picking the one who is better at handling criticism. PLA appears to be doing his level best to garner a reputation as a petulant diva, which is not desirable in this situation. He would be better off baking cookies than tossing threats and lawsuits around.

    Hell, I’m a freelance editor who badly needs more clients, but I’d probably turn him down at this point. That says a lot.

  20. Ann Somerville: a nitpick. They haven’t accepted the story. It’s in submission limbo. All they did was not pre-reject it based on his name. Ie, they didn’t blacklist him.

    He’s mostly just set it up so that if they do reject the story he can claim victimhood over it, never mind that 95-99% of stories are rejected.

  21. Nancy Sauer on September 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm said:

    I can also eat an entire head of roasted cauliflower with no side effect worse than guilt. (I always tell myself I’ll save some for lunch the next day and I never do.)

    …I thought I was the only one who did this.

  22. Sophie Jane on September 13, 2018 at 2:08 am said:

    8) Steampunk-as-style makes me faintly uncomfortable because it’s so heavily depoliticised. Victorian leather furniture is less troubling than pith helmets (look up Orwell on the significance of pith helmets) but it’s still worth taking a moment to think about what maps and anatomical diagrams would have signified in their original context.

    Wait–we are supposed to be offended by old maps now? And studies of human anatomy? I’m preeeeety sure that the original context was “this is the geographical and political layout of the world” and “this is what we know about human anatomy.” (Although I can’t find any anotomical drawings in the photos, uless you mean the plant ones, which originally signified “this is what plants look like.”)

  23. @Sophie Jane: I would add that Lem’s novel His Master’s Voice is a superb ‘first contact’ novel. (There’s a reason for those quotes.)

  24. @Darren Garrison Wait–we are supposed to be offended by old maps now? And studies of human anatomy?

    I’m not asking anyone to be offended by anything. I’m suggesting it’s worth thinking critically about steampunk as an evocation of the age of empires. Some authors did, and now we have a new wave of postcolonial steampunk fiction that I think does a lot for the genre. Perhaps it would be a good thing to think about in the context of design and fashion too?

  25. @Ann Somerville: Hahaha, great video, thanks! And it makes me hungry. 🙂

    @Lee: I am very tempted by CSA, but there are many vegetables (including unpopular ones) that I don’t like, plus our eating habits are a little irregular, so I’d be afraid of the kitchen overflowing with produce very quickly.

  26. CSA-related: I’ve been using Imperfect Produce, which is sort of like a CSA in that it’s a weekly box of produce, but which sells you produce deemed too ugly to sell to grocery store, and is a mix of organic and non-organic offerings.

    You get a chance to tailor the weekly box via a web-form a few days ahead of time and I take full advantage of that and also can plan a couple meals around it usually. It’s also very easy to skip weeks when you need to. Right now it’s only available in larger cities (like here in Seattle, where we have an abundance of CSAs as well) but I really like it a lot, and the prices are great. Would recommend.

  27. @Sophie Jane:

    FYI, I blame you for the story seed I now have rattling around in my head. It concerns an inventor’s quest for ethically-sourced, renewable steam in the wake of a bloody revolt in one of the Empire’s key steam mines.

    On the bright side, maybe this’ll keep me from doing anything with that idea where an airborne Lovecraftian beastie appears at a music festival and devours a renowned folk duo right there on stage. (The rest of the performers escape, as its one massive eye is preoccupied with impaling one victim on its twisted horn while devouring the other. I’m not sure how the audience will respond to its unearthly wailing, but maybe a hero can subdue it with a few bottles of tequila.)

    In wholly unrelated news, I really ought to get more sleep…

  28. Rev. Bob,
    In today’s context, an “airborne Lovecraftian beastie” with “one massive eye” immediately suggests to me that a hurricane is the projection onto our universe of just such a critter with innumerable vaporous, spinning tendrils.

    Tim Powers’ Djinn maybe involved somehow, too.

  29. @Rev Bob
    Obviously, dragons are the best source of renewable steam. The only trouble is, they want _all_ the gold in the country piled up somewhere they can sleep on it. This means abandoning the Gold Standard – unthinkable to the newly-rich Industrial Lords! War seems inevitable! Unless a plucky young dragon and her misfit human friends can find Adam Smith’s last unpublished manuscript…

  30. 3)I checked the book MODERAN, and in the back, there is a listing of stories that did not make it into the first edition collection. It’s a bunch.

    The style is dense, yes, unrelenting in presentation. I shouldn’t be trying to read it before sleeping.

  31. @Russell:

    Of course not, and ten points from whichever house you belong to.

    Perhaps you should try identifying the fallen performers instead,,,

  32. I’ll warn y’all–I’ve seen some of the ‘Wheel of Time’ footage, and it’s massively disappointing. They really had to reduce the scope to get it into the budget, and a lot of the characters have changed to the point where they’re downright unrecognizable (the show actually put name tags on them so you could tell who the characters are, but they changed a lot of the names, too, so that doesn’t help).

    Their decision to represent magic as a form of unveiling of mystically significant phrases was really strange and off-putting, and although I did like Vanna White’s portrayal of the Aes Sedai, she really doesn’t do a whole lot to assist the heroes in a practical fashion. And the less said about Pat Sajak’s turn as the Dark One, the better. He’s got no menace at all. Honestly, the whole thing comes off as just a glorified game show more than an epic fantasy saga. Avoid avoid avoid.

  33. Well, you know–one eye, one horn, flying, eating people. . . what’s a fella to think? (Especially one who grew up in the Fifties,)

  34. @John Seavey: Heh.

    Makes me suggest “Please Pixel your Scroll in the form of a question” (though we might have done that one already).

  35. re: the JDA thing: I sort of thought that the standard practice these days was to slush read the stories without the author’s details being attached. Is that the case? So perhaps he’ll get into a reputable maagzine if the story is good enough.

  36. If I were a magazine editor who got a story (that had made it thru the slush filter) from a known diva author, one of the questions I’d be asking would be “Would we buy this story if it wasn’t from Diva Author?” An emphatic “yes” means it’s worth thinking about despite the probable side effects. A qualified “yes” might mean “put it on the waiting list” — unless one of the things Diva Author is known for is having tantrums about editorial requests for changes, in which case probably not. Anything lower than that means “reject”.

    Also, I agree that attempted blackmail is not a good way to improve your chances of acceptance. I don’t know how many editors would have my reaction of “we don’t give in to threats”, but I’m betting it’s more than a few.

    I would be very interested in finding out how common blind submission readings are these days. Historically, that’s one of the best ways of reducing racial and sexual discrimination — look at the difference in the composition of symphony orchestras before and after blind auditions became the norm. But it also requires having someone in the pipeline ahead of the first-reader to anonymize the submissions, and for a magazine with a tight budget that may be difficult.

  37. They’ve since rejected his story, BTW.
    You know, it’s my own fault for following the link to see what his reaction was.
    It’s so funny that his ilk all carry on about politicizing SF and then you read the descriptions of the three stories he’s listed.
    Why do they have such trouble owning the fact that they are bringing back the pulps in digital form?

  38. @Eric: I can’t tell whether his short story collection title is meant to be ironic. Based on the one line descriptions of the contents, none of those stories sound like they’d be fun to read.

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