Pixel Scroll 9/12 Vouching Tiger

(1) The Register is running a poll for the worst Doctor Who of all.

Was Colin Baker, dressed in his multi-coloured dreamcoat, simply taking a wrong turn on his way to a rehearsal for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – falling instead into some weird space-time continuum from which no audience member could escape?

Or maybe, just maybe, it was William Hartnell who ruined it for everyone with his curmudgeonly adventures on the TARDIS.

Although Peter Capaldi is not leading, he should be worried about his job security.

(2) I don’t think anyone is genuinely confused, however, Andrew Porter has worked out a scenario to show why people ought to be confused by the reappearance of a well-known pen name.

At Drop Dead Perfect we read,

“Idris Seabright is one demented dame. A 1950’s Florida gargoyle with a penchant for painting still lifes, no matter how her subjects must be stilled, she’s as handy with a hachet as a brush and as rich as she is ruthless. ‘Drop Dead Perfect,’ written by Erasmus Fenn and directed by Joe Brancato, finds Idris torn between her ingenuous ward who has artistic aspirations, a well-endowed Cuban ex-con who may be her nephew, and her pill-pushing lawyer. Idris and ‘Drop Dead Perfect’ are back after last year’s sold-out run for a strictly limited eight week engagement.”

Also, at Vanishing New York,

“Everett Quinton, former lead actor and artistic director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, is famous for his cross-dressing performances, and he’s currently starring in one of the juiciest of his career with Drop Dead Perfect at the Theatre of St. Clements in Hell’s Kitchen. As Idris Seabright, a 1950s Key West housewife with artistic aspirations…”

“Drop Dead Perfect”  is playing now through October 11 at Theater at St. Clements, 423 West 46th Street, NYC.  Porter continues —

Except we know that “Iris Seabright” was a pseudonym used by science fiction author Margaret St. Clair, who died in 1995. Is it coincidence that St. Clair was from Maine, and this character is from the opposite place on the East Coast? I called the theater, and they were totally unaware of the previous use of the name.

For more about Margaret St. Clair see her Wikipedia entry.

(3) George R.R. Martin will make an appearance on Zombie Nation reports Entertainment Weekly.

zombie george COMP

Nothing is going to stop George R.R. Martin from finishing his Game of Thrones novels!

The bestselling author will have a cameo during the second season of Syfy’s post-apocalyptic thriller Z Nation playing himself as a zombie, EW has exclusively learned.

And as you can see from the photo above and the two others below, Martin is quite undead while signing his own books (and even tries to munch on one brainy copy). The title of Zombie Martin’s book is a fun tease — “A Promise of Spring,” which plays off A Dream of Spring — the expected title of his eventual seventh (and presumably conclusive) novel in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Currently Martin is working on Book 6, The Winds of Winter.

Declared Martin: “I just want to prove to my fans that even in the Zombie Apocalypse, the Song of Ice and Fire books will still come out!”

Martin will appear in the eighth epsiode of this year’s Z Nation, which returns to Syfy on Friday at 10 p.m. In the show, Martin has been imprisoned by a character called the Collector, who captures celebrity zombies and keeps George chained to a desk for his own nefarious purposes.

(4) DB in a comment on “One Alfie, Two Hugos” at Not A Blog

I have a theory, or maybe a hypothesis, as to why there was no Best Novel Hugo in 1957. The International Fantasy Award, which was a juried award that was also shaped like a rocketship, was being presented at a banquet elsewhere in London the day after the Worldcon. It was an invitational event, not officially part of the Worldcon, but many Worldcon members attended.

My theory is that the Worldcon committee, knowing this, didn’t feel that a Best Novel Hugo was necessary. That would be an odd decision today, but remember that at that time the Hugos were not firmly established, they had much less prestige than the IFA, and awards were few and the overlap and duplication we’re used to today were unknown.

The book that received the IFA that year? Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

(5) Pip R. Lagenta invites you to come see a snippet of LASFS history on his website while you still can. He says Comcast is getting rid of personal webpages (like his) in October.

De Profundis is the club newsletter of The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.   Around about May of 1988 the De Profundis newsletter contained its first, last and only Photo Supplement.   This four page supplement is now, here, being republished for the first time (in any form) since the May, 1988, newsletter distribution.

I’m in there a couple of times. Which is either an incentive or a warning.

(6) Cedar Sanderson in “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

When you confront your reader with, in the first paragraphs, sentences that don’t make sense, you are doing the worst thing to readers an author can do. Mislectorism. Betrayal. You’re showing your readers you hate them, and they will respond to it. “This particular ship has seen action: plasma scarring across the wings and tail fins; a crumpled dent in the front end as if it was kicked by an Imperial walker.” Look at that sentence. Consider that it is not alone. I don’t think I have ever seen as many colons in one passage in all the thirty-some years I have been reading. Nor have I seen this many sentence fragments in once place. I shudder to think of how many dashes and hyphens met their ends here. If I had to name this style I’d call it post-Modern chop suey, because everything is minced and mixed together until it resembles a dog’s breakfast.

Snowcrash in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

I think the issue may be somewhat overstated – the Amazon reviews broadly break down into 4 areas – people unhappy that an ebook is priced at so high (USD 17?); people sad to have lost the Expanded Universe; people taking umbrage at the existence of a gay protagonist; and people who take issue with the writing. Down-rating the book for the first 3 seems a bit immature to me, but hey, whatever they want in the cut-throat world of Amazon…

Personally, given it’s sales figures, it seems to be doing fine so far. Let’s see if it has legs though.

Amanda S. Green in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.

Very broadly break down into that. I’ve taken the time to read the reviews not only on Amazon but on B&N as well. Let’s look at the B&N reviews to start. There are 17 reviews there for a 3.5 star cumulative review. 6 of those 17 reviews are 5 stars. However, and this is a big however, of those 6 reviews 4 are one line back and forth comments between reviewers that have nothing to do with the book. Another has no comment at all. So let’s toss them out. The final five star review is a true review by someone who liked the book. The rest of the reviews deal with the plot or writing style. One review, one of the more supportive ones, does say that the inclusion of a gay character felt forced. Over all, the complaint, even among those giving good reviews, was that the writing was not at the level it should be and that Wendig did not appear to love the universe he was writing in.

If you look closely at the Amazon reviews, you see much the same thing. Yes, there are those upset with the fact the EU was tossed out. But most of the reviews concern the writing style or the story structure. Sure, there are a few who object to having a gay lead character, there always will be someone who doesn’t approve of something. But the overall message is that the book is poorly written.

The key thing here is to look at the author’s behavior and how he is alienating a fan base. He has basically called all those who don’t like his work homophobes simply because they don’t like his work. That is not a way to win friends or influence people, at least not in a good way.

As for the sales figures, eh. We haven’t seen the returns yet and we probably never will. As for his Amazon rankings, those don’t always equate into huge sales. The best sellers lists such as the NYT one are based on pre-orders and then continued orders. As you said, we will have to see if it has legs and, judging from the reviews, I’m not sure it will.

(7) Teresa Nielsen Hayden now denies the episode happened. Brust says that’s not what he was asking about, but that’s irrelevant for purposes of this history.

(8) He said it, not me…

(9) Oops. Somebody poked a hibernating bear. Part of “Today’s Twitter Rant, 9/12/15” which goes on at length on Whatever.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Pip R. Lagenta, both Marks, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

338 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/12 Vouching Tiger

  1. 1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    2. Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews

    While Magic Breaks is the stronger entry in the series, and I agree with Tasha Turner, Magic Verbs is my favorite urban fantasy too, I have no problem voting Magic Bites in this round.

    11. Tie

    12. Priestess of the White, Trudi Canavan

    The unpopular choice, please don’t hurt me. Canavan, when she’s on her game, is just more fun.

    Abstain for the rest.


    The Sun Sword, Michelle West
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    Would vote for it twice if i COULD. So love this book.

    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews

    The Devil You Know, Mike Carey
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    I actually like Locke. And the caper is delightful.

    How do I add a write-in for Bold as Love? Cause, seriously, better than God Stalk, and I loved God Stalk.

    Abstain on all the rest on the grounds that I am not a well-read fan, merely a highly opinionated one.

  3. > “How do I add a write-in for Bold as Love?”

    I’m going to start allowing write-ins once we get past the heats. (I was worried that if they started before then, there’d be a lot of, “Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie is better than all of these put together!” when Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie was already scheduled to appear and just hadn’t shown up yet and so on.)

    I’m also a huge fan of Bold As Love.


    Oh, dear. Too many categories where I haven’t read both. Lots of abstentions.

    1. The Sun Sword, Michelle West
    2. The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    3. His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    4. The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    6. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
    8. Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot
    12. To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    13. Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin
    15. Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones

  5. Admittedly, I never had much interest in the Star Wars EU but the level of rage directed at Chuck Wendig from certain folks is totally ridiculous. It’s not his fault that executives decided to make the existing EU non-canon, but more importantly, THOSE STORIES STILL EXIST. Maybe because I grew up reading comics where the entirety of the company’s output is rendered non-canon on a biannual basis, or maybe it’s my affection for comics writers who rhyme with “Fallon Store” or “Fant Lorrison” but I really don’t much care about “official” canon pronouncements. My head cannon reigns supreme.

  6. What was the line from Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man from Tomorrow? “This is an imaginary story, but aren’t they all?”

  7. @Stankrom:

    I was into the EU from day one. Haven’t read everything, but I’ve read most of the novels and some of the comics… and while I’m sad to see some things go away, it was inevitable from the moment Episode VII was announced. The post-Jedi timeline is pretty densely packed in the EU. Given the choice of trying to navigate that thick web and setting it aside, I am not in any way surprised that Disney opted for the latter. It’s really the only sane choice.

    Frankly, I’m glad some stuff is getting decanonized. The whole thing about Fett surviving the Sarlacc was garbage, as just one example. (But then, I am not a member of the Cult of Fett. I’ve said for a long time that he’s an incompetent wannabe who talks like a pirate and happens to have some cool armor. He only achieved one notable thing on his own in the movies, and even that wasn’t all that great. Turning him into a badass in the books is just fanservice… but I digress.)

    My point is, I don’t blame Wendig for the demise of the EU, and I can’t really fault Disney for it. I think including some more nonwhite humans and GSRM characters in a galaxy-spanning saga is long overdue. Humanity has rich variation here on Earth, and that’s one little planet. Spread out to a whole galaxy, and who knows what we’ll come up with?

  8. I have an elaborate story in my head for what happened during the clone wars as referenced by Luke and Obi-Wan in Star Wars. That story bears no resemblance to the SW prequels but whatevs. I don’t much care nor does George Lucas care what I think, and that’s all good.

  9. @Rev. Bob:
    Just to be clear, I didn’t intend for my comments to be a criticism of people who critique a fictional story qua story. If you think the treatment of Boba Fett’s ressuriction was bullshit, then great. I would love to hear about it. (And would probably want to subscribe to your newsletter!) if you think the new Star Wars novels are crap, that’s cool too. But if you’re annoyed that existing cannon got overturned then chillax since that’s just the decision of some executive committee at Disney.

    I just think that fans who are overly concerned about what is official cannon should relax. Canon is what you think it should be, but that’s just the opinion of a freethinking anarchist.

  10. On Wendig and present tense: there’s an appaling number of reviewers who don’t even know what it is they’re complaining about: I’ve seen it called “second tense”, first person, or even second person.

    Brackets: Alas, all the ones I have opinions on are ones I don’t like. So I only have one vote and that’s a substitution, the others are just comments in the spirit of the thing:

    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
    I cared more about the tertiary characters than the protagonists, and only finished it to see how they survived the tangle those two idiots got them in. But the miniseries is getting a Hugo nom – episode 2, probably, because that beach scene just encapsulates the whole tangled relationship between Strange & Norrell and lifts them out of the 8 Deadly Words zone.

    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik
    I wanted to like these. I read up to the trip to China, wanting to like these. But the dragons just come across as far too twee, and the sheer numbers of dragons in China broke my suspension of disbelief. McCaffrey put much more thought into the logistics of feeding lots of dragons.

    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    This one’s the vote: “Red Seas Under Red Skies” instead. Locke’s a lot more interesting as an adult, and Jean’s far more interesting than Locke. Second book – yes. This one – still unfinished.

  11. I apologize for terrible spelling. I am on my phone and my 1 year old woke me up 3:00 am EST. excuses excuses.

  12. And to be super clear and at the result of being obnoxious, I don’t think Rev. Bob has expressed any of the opinions that I have associated with SW fandom in prior posts.

  13. @Stankrom: “Just to be clear, I didn’t intend for my comments to be a criticism of people who critique a fictional story qua story.”

    Likewise. Since you provided an opinion as someone who is predominantly an EU outsider, I wanted to show that someone who’s spent considerable time in that setting can agree with your position.

    For what it’s worth, I still say the nine-book fall of Jacen Solo was the story I wanted to get from the prequel trilogy. Yes, it was a bit bloated, but you get to see how a fundamentally decent person decides to fall to the dark side. His road to Hell really is paved with good intentions, and it makes for a fascinating story.

    Of course, I still remember when Lucas said the Star Wars saga was going to be three trilogies, each released 20 years apart, with the same subtitles for the corresponding movie in each trilogy. (That is, Episodes 1, 4, and 7 would all be “A New Hope.”) The only characters common to all nine movies were going to be the two droids; it wasn’t The Darth Vader Story…

  14. I had to abstain from a couple of really good books–most notably Jonathan Norrell & Harry Potter–because I haven’t read their counterparts, and HP’s competitor, SNAKE AGENT, looked good enough that I can’t just vote straight HP.

    #6: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. (not a surprise for those with long File770 memories! 🙂 )

    #11: In the Night Garden, by File770er Cat Vallente. No, YOU’RE tribalist! Shut up! It’s awesome! I’ve totally read Helium by Cal Dunrat! So there! GOD STALK!

    #15: Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones.

  15. I’m only going to vote if I’ve read both, or if I really, really, really like one.


    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    This is my favorite of the series. I love the strong fellowship at the core of the story. Sometimes the goofy, humorous bits make the grimdark seem strange and out of place, but it all ultimately works for me. The embedded origin story is also something I particularly like. It takes me back to the kinds of stories that I loved as a kid – wish fulfillment kinda stuff, like Ender’s Game (the bad-ass genius of Ender, that is).

    Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist

    I have to vote for this one. It’s too good not to. Great tone, great atmosphere. Not a typical vampire novel at all, but still has enough action to rise above (sink below?) the merely literary.

    Rothfus and Rowling were excellent, but I’m not sure they were good enough to beat their opponents (haven’t read them). I enjoy Joyce, Kage Baker, and Hodgell but haven’t read any of the books nominated here. Maybe next round I’ll have more grounds for opinion.

  16. Fin Fahey on September 14, 2015 at 4:15 am said:


    I like it. There’s always room for a new space drive, especially one involving imaginary mass. (Used to get happily lost on the Argand plane from time to time, imaginary numbers are fab.)

    Thank you!

    But here’s a thing. You’re sort of describing tachyons

    Eh… can’t agree here. With tachyons, it’s the mass which is imaginary; the velocity is real. With my Imaginary Drive, it’s the other way around.

    I freely admit that I have no friggin’ idea what “imaginary velocity” would mean, in brute physical terms, nor yet how one would go about achieving imaginary velocity, imaginary acceleration, etc. It would seem logical (to the extent that “logic” can stand to be in the same room as this idea) that any technology which is capable of implementing imaginary velocity would involve tachyons in some way—the tech generates ’em, or it converts bradyonic normal matter into tachyonic matter, or some damn thing.

    Anyone who wants to develop this idea further, feel free! The only price I ask is that if you end up publishing, I want a free copy of the story/novel/whatever.

  17. @Stankrom:

    The specific series I mentioned, Legacy of the Force, is listed here, but be aware that it’s set 40 years ABY (“After the Battle of Yavin” – A New Hope is the foundation of the dating system) and follows the massive 19-novel New Jedi Order saga that starts around 25 ABY and changes damn near everything. (They killed a major character in the first book to underscore that nobody was safe. You should’ve heard the screaming… and now that the character’s back in Episode VII, the outrage is much the same. There’s just no pleasing some people.)

    If you really want to dive full-bore into the EU – which has been rebranded “Legends” to highlight that it’s not canon – there’s a ton of it out there. The first books were really scattershot, but starting with the NJO books, it looks like someone new decided to impose some order on the releases, making them an actual series instead of random books in a loosely-shared setting where each author pretty much developed their own little corner and there wasn’t much crossover except for Movie Characters. Thus, it’s a lot harder to start reading from NJO forward than it is to check out the earlier, more independent books.

    On the other hand, it’s pretty simple to give a crash course in the NJO if you’re willing to accept that you’ll miss a bunch of detail. In very short form: the Yuuzhan Vong, technophobic religious fanatics who are invisible to the Force and seriously into pain, ritual scarring, and biotech, invade the New Republic. The resulting war makes the Clone Wars and the Empire/Rebellion fight look like playground scuffles. Entire planets are laid waste or terraformed to suit the invaders. Coruscant is captured and the terraforming process begun on it, but the end of the war halts the process. During the five-year war, Han and Leia’s youngest son (Anakin) is killed, and their other son (Jacen, twin to Jaina) is captured and tortured before returning – with a new interpretation of the Force as neither inherently light nor dark, but colored by the user’s motives – to save the day.

    The war ends around 30 ABY. Legacy of the Force starts about ten years later, after significant but incomplete rebuilding has taken place. Key supporting characters are Mara Jade (former right-hand assassin for Palpatine, now Luke’s wife), Ben Skywalker (Luke and Mara’s son), Jagged Fel (Jaina’s husband), and Tenel Ka (non-Republic queen, secretly the mother of Jacen’s daughter).

  18. Stankrom on September 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm said:
    @ Rev. Bob

    You are making me want to dig into the Star Wars EU. I would love a reading list.

    With the caveat that I stoped reading the EU regularly a year or two before the switch to Del Rey, here are some recommendations:

    The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command): the original EU novels, set 5 years after Return of the Jedi. Thrawn is an Imperial Grand Admiral who unites disparate Imperial remnant forces and engages in an intricate plot against the New Republic, which Han, Luke, Leia and Lando work to defeat. It introduces a number of the perennial EU characters, notably the smuggler Talon Kaarde, his chief lieutenant Mara Jade, and the Imperial officer Gilad Pelleaon.

    The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyres: Set immediately after ROTJ, a world at the edge of the galaxy comes under attack by a new enemy. They send a distress signal to the Emperor, which arrives after the Death Star II’s destruction. A small Rebel force is sent to investigate and offer aid.

    The X-Wing series by Michael Stackpole (Rogue Squadron, Wedge’s Gamble, The Krytos Trap, The Bacta War): Instead of focusing on Luke, Han and Leia, these books follow Wedge Antilles, the only X-Wing pilot to have survived all three movies, and a regular recurring character in the other novels. Here, Wedge is reconstituting Rogue Squadron, the elite force he and Luke commanded in Empire Strikes Back, and using them as the point team for the conquest of Coruscant. Stackpole’s writing style and characterisation can be flat, but the books have some impressive twists and turns and it’s refreshing to have a cast of second-stringers.

    I’ve heard very good things about Aaron Allston’s Wraith Squadron follow-ups, but I’ve not read them.

    I’m not a big fan of Kevin Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy (Jedi Seach, Dark Apprentice, Champions of the Force), but they establish a big chunk of the EU’s ongoing story, notably Luke founding the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV.

  19. OK, I’m starting to tally things up. I’m not going to close voting quite yet, but it will likely happen within an hour.

  20. Rev. Bob & Lorcan (and any others who provides Star Wars EU reccomendations before I replied):

    Thanks very much. I’m feeling a bit of the Star Wars itch and wouldn’t mind delving into the (now non-canonical) EU.

    I haven’t felt this way since just before Episode One. So there’s no way this can end poorly!!

  21. Just to be clear – I wasn’t trying to argue anyone into liking, or even reading, Orphans of Chaos. If I’d encountered JCW the person (as I have now) before I’d encountered that novel, I doubt I could have brought myself to read it at all. Instead, I encountered it as a free give-away novel by an unknown-to-me author and from a trusted publisher, and I read it, and I enjoyed it.

    Point of my post was, “This novel was actually enjoyable. How did the person who wrote all this crap manage to also write something I enjoyed? How weird is that?”

    Having finished the re-read, my enjoyment was admittedly diminished a bit by knowing what kind of a wretched, miserable, bigotted, misogynist creep the author is. The squicky sexy-schoolgirl stuff is more squicky for knowing, of course; it’s harder to pin problematic things on character points-of-view when you’ve heard the author talk about 14-year-old girls. *shudder* (And yet, in this book, things were more morally complicated than I could have believed that the JCW of today could have pulled off…) On the other hand, my enjoyment is heightened by knowing I never gave him any money to read it. So, yay for Tor.com give-aways?

    I’m curious to see how the rest of the series turned out. I recall someone at File770 said they turned out badly, but I no longer remember how, precisely. I may have to visit the library and find out.

    Anyway, just to reiterate: not saying anyone else has to like anything by him, or even read it. I have every respect for “I’ve read enough of his garbage and won’t read a paragraph more”; it’s a stance I have on several authors, and JCW is in fact one of them; this book gets an exception because I read it and enjoyed it before I knew anything about JCW. I’m just …boggling over the difference between two different authors with the same byline, is all.

  22. @Nicole – Thanks for that passage from Orphans… I thought I remembered liking those, but was having trouble squaring that with JCW’s recent writing.

  23. I released for delivery several On Hold books on my library list when I returned from Sasquan. So last night, I, the Revenge Cat, and the Revenge Kitten revenge-read Zeroes by Chuck Wendig.

    My mini Revenge Review: It’s a fast-paced techno-horror-thriller, written in Wendig’s usual raw style (similar to his Miriam Black series). Caveat: The prose is frequently brutal, there are graphic descriptions of violence, loads of profanity, and some non-explicit references to rape which occurred in the history of the plot. However, I enjoyed it (though it probably won’t go on my Hugo shortlist), and if this is your type of book, then I recommend it as a fast, entertaining revenge read.

  24. Still a day behind and prolly too late to be counted, but I’m votin’ anywho!!

    Haven’t read hardly any in this heat, so consider all absensions except as noted.


    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    This is an agonizing choice as I really loved both of these. I had not previously read/enjoyed Urban Fantasy that much, but Briggs won me over, but then there’s Temeraire! In the end it’s the dragon by a wingtip.

    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    GOD STALK RULES!!!!!! Um…do I tick a box here?

    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

  25. > “Still a day behind and prolly too late to be counted, but I’m votin’ anywho!!”

    Nope, you’re in just under the wire, I’m just about to close things up. And your vote actually changed a result!


    WINNER (seeded): Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke – 35 votes
    The Sun Sword, Michelle West – 10 votes
    This heat opens up with the big winners frontloaded, but most of their opponents did quite well even against some of the Big Names in 21st century fantasy. Clarke’s much-admired book was one of the biggest vote getters of the heat, but even so, The Sun Sword reached double digits against it. We’re going to see a similar pattern a few times …

    WINNER (seeded): The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross – 33 votes
    Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews – 9 votes
    In a very similar match-up, Magic Bites wasn’t likely to beat The Atrocity Archives, but some solid support made this nothing close to a shut-out.

    WINNER (seeded): His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik – 39 votes
    Moon Called, Patricia Briggs – 11 votes
    His Majesty’s Dragon was the single biggest vote-getter this round, and like the Clarke may emerge as a strong contender. Nonetheless, Briggs’ Mercy Thompson is clearly much admired, and can get back to repairing autos and saving the world with her head held high.

    WINNER (seeded): The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner – 30 votes
    The Anvil of the World, Kage Baker – 9 votes
    And here we go again, with an admired book by Kage Baker beaten out by a more-admired work from Ellen Kushner. The Privilege of the Sword will fight on.

    WINNER (seeded): The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – 26 votes
    The Devil You Know, Mike Carey – 11 votes
    The pattern is starting to change a little as the top vote-getter dips down into the 20’s, but I wouldn’t judge too much by that – it could simply mean that fewer people have read The Devil You Know and didn’t vote in the match. But those who did love The Devil You Know seemed to do so quite passionately, and brought it into a solid double digits. There was one vote for Red Seas Under Red Skies over The Lies of Locke Lamora.

    WINNER (seeded): The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss – 28 votes
    The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker – 3 votes
    The pattern breaks down further with the first true trouncing of the heat, as Rothfuss’ breakthrough book handily beats The Darkness That Comes Before. Both are books that have attracted both praise and criticism, but it’s undeniable that Bakker’s book has never achieved the accolades given to The Name of the Wind.

    WINNER: Fudoki, Kij Johnson – 8 votes
    Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar – 6 votes
    Now we reach the second part of the heat, where we’ll see an entirely new pattern develop – less well-read pieces, although often highly praised, with smaller vote totals and a number of extremely close contests. The winners here may have difficulty in later rounds when they go up against better-known works. The first one of these has Fudoki barely edging out Lonely Werewolf Girl for a place in the Big Round.

    WINNER: Spirit Gate, Kate Elliot – 13 votes
    The Year of Our War, Steph Swainston – 5 votes
    Next we have Elliot’s Spirit Gate with a more decisive victory over The Year of Our War, but still a close vote – only an eight vote difference, compared to the twenty-vote blowouts of earlier in the heat. There was one vote for Elliot’s Spiritwalker books (i.e., the “Cold $NOUN” series).

    WINNER: The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint – 14 votes
    Graceling, Kristin Cashore – 12 votes
    In another close match between two recent YA titles, Charles de Lint’s book squeaks past Graceling by a margin of two votes. Newford once again gains a toehold in the Big Round.

    WINNER: Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold – 10 votes
    The Limits of Enchantment, Graham Joyce – 6 votes
    Both of these books were praised highly here by those that had read them. Lindskold wins the round, though, and will go continue on.

    WINNER: In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente – 17 votes
    Vellum, Hal Duncan – 8 votes
    The vote totals are edging back up again now, as Hal Duncan’s Moorcockian epic does reasonably well but Valente’s Scheherazadian cycle does better. There was also a vote for Valente’s Six Gun Snow White. I will note here that your bracketeer would never be point out that Catherynne Valente is POSTING ON THIS VERY SITE, OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD IT’S LIKE SHE’S RIGHT OVER THERE SQUEEEEEEEE because that would be somewhat embarrassing, wouldn’t it?

    WINNER (seeded): To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell – 23 votes
    Priestess of the White, Trudi Canavan – 4 votes
    A new pattern in the third part of the brackets, although a less consistent one. Mostly solid victories with decent scores – but some surprises. The first is no surprise though; the vote scores edge yet a bit higher as site favorite P. C. Hodgell makes her way into the big round over the first book of Trudi Canavan’s trilogy. Middle books of a series like To Ride a Rathorn sometimes have more trouble in the brackets, though – although not always, given Tomb of Atuan’s notable success.

    WINNER: Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin – 19 votes
    Flesh and Spirit, Carol Berg – 4 votes
    Speaking of Le Guin, she makes her way onto the Big Round for the third straight time (I believe the only author to have done so) over Flesh and Spirit. Powers isn’t racking up the vote totals that Le Guin’s earlier work did, but once again, it’s hard to know what that means early on.

    WINNER: Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist – 12 votes
    Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison – 11 votes
    In a down-to-the-wire match, Lindqvist’s novel just passes by Harrison’s urban fantasy. Novels which have a foot in the horror genre, though, like Lindqvist’s, often get beaten out by genre titles – will this be the one to break the trend?

    WINNER: Conrad’s Fate, Diana Wynne Jones – 19 votes
    The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, Eva Ibbotson – 3 votes
    In another convincing victory, Conrad’s Fate wins over The Beasts of Clawstone Castle. But like Le Guin, this work by Jones isn’t racking up quite the vote scores her earlier work did. Does this mean something, or absolutely nothing at all?

    WINNER (seeded): Snake Agent, Liz Williams – 23 votes
    WINNER (seeded): Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling – 23 votes
    This was by far the most exciting match of the Heat, neck and neck throughout, with plucky upstart Snake Agent matched against the titan that is Harry Potter. But just as I was about to write up an upset win for Snake Agent by one vote, a last minute ballot came in tying them up once more. BOTH will go on to compete in the Big Round!

  27. @Lauowolf – I was just coming here to say it’s a pretty white-knuckle set of brackets we’ve got going this time around.

    The Potter book involved in a tie is kind of awesome.

  28. @Stankrom: (Star Wars EU reading)

    If you’re getting physical copies, look at the first few pages of the book. It’s quite likely that you’ll find a chronology there. There may also be an “era” icon on the inside front cover – for instance, my copy of Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil shows a spectrum-style timeline with the “Sith Era” box shaded.

    If you’re getting ebooks, though, I’d suggest checking Wikipedia (or Wookiepedia) for that information. Just be wary of spoilers.

    Finally, not all of the later books were so strictly series-bound. For instance, I believe Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor takes place during the Original Trilogy – the cover even has Luke in his orange flight suit. (Speaking of novels set in that time frame, Shadows of the Empire was billed as an “everything but a movie” event that bridged the gap between Empire and Jedi. I always had the impression that it was movie-level canon instead of merely EU-level. Does anyone know whether it’s now been tossed to the Legends dianoga?)

    Completely off of this subject: my physical TBR stacks are beginning to frighten me. Looking at the ones in/near arm’s reach, I see six stacks totaling about 150 books… and those are just the ones I could pillage without taking a class in architectural design. By contrast, my e-reader has 160 pages of books – six titles per page – although that includes a fair number of “finished but want to have handy” entries. All the same, an estimate of 850 unread books on there would not be an unreasonable guess, and is probably low.

    I need help. Well, help and bookshelves. Okay, help, bookshelves, and a library with relative dimensions in wall space.

    I’ll come in again. 🙂

  29. @Cubist

    Sorry for my misreading. Have to think on the implications of your new technology more deeply. It did make me go look up Imaginary Time . WP has this quote (read the book, but don’t remember this bit) with the entry:

    One might think this means that imaginary numbers are just a mathematical game having nothing to do with the real world. From the viewpoint of positivist philosophy, however, one cannot determine what is real. All one can do is find which mathematical models describe the universe we live in. It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons. So what is real and what is imaginary? Is the distinction just in our minds? —?Stephen Hawking

    Now, if you add Complex Affine Space, which approximates to Imaginary Space, maybe one could reinvent good old hyperspace somehow and make it stick. I miss it.

    Oh, and I assume that bradyonic matter is affected by gravity, if not by the other forces, since it clearly does tend to bunch up.

  30. @Cubist

    Sorry, not enough coffee imbibed. I suppose I was implying that, if you can have both imaginary time and imaginary space, then indeed imaginary velocity (or imaginary acceleration, come to that) becomes a ‘real’ imaginary concept – as opposed to being an ‘imaginary’ imaginary concept, of course.

  31. Coincidentally, Ursula K. Le Guin just had this to say about semicolons, recallling a writers’ workshop she ran in the ’90s:

    And they were really afraid of semicolons! The semicolon struck terror into the hearts of many grown women. Well, there’s something wrong there. The semicolon is a pair of dots that ought to be fully under your control.

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