Pixel Scroll 9/19 Mouse wheel keep on turnin’ (turnin’) / Trolls gonna keep on burnin’ (burnin’)

(1) You might not have suspected that L. Frank Baum’s first book was about raising chickens.

At 20, Baum took on the then national craze—the breeding of fancy poultry. He specialized in raising of the Hamburg. In March 1880, he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record.

And when he was 30, Baum published The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

(2) Peter Capaldi’s interview by a local LA Times writer signals the arrival of a new season of Doctor Who.

At the base of Los Angeles’ Bradbury Building, a slender man in an impossibly clever suit considers the wrought-iron coils of the past that adorned the future of Ridley’s Scott’s neo-noir film. Tucked behind his Ray-Bans, the eyebrows that launched a thousand GIFs furrow.

Just so we’re clear, the 12th Doctor is standing in the “Blade Runner” building….

“It’s a marathon,” Capaldi says. “[Matt] knows what it is like, when you’re on Episode 10 and you’re really sort of dying on your feet. You’re thinking, ‘I’m not going to be able to learn any more lines, I’m not going to be able to pull anymore faces.’ [Matt Smith is] great because I can text him and say, ‘This is where I’m at. Can you help or do you remember this?’ He has totally been such a huge support. As David [Tennant, the 10th Doctor] has as well.”

The last regeneration from baby-faced Smith to the gray-locked Capaldi wasn’t just a change in character age, but in tone as well.

“I think The Doctor has become more and more accessible as the show has become more successful, and this sounds bad, but weirdly I want to make him more distant,” he says. “I don’t want to be so user friendly. I didn’t want to go out and say to the audience, ‘Love me.’ I wanted to be a more spikey character. Hopefully I’m a character that might be uncomfortable to be around. But interesting.”

(3) And the Times ran a companion article full of hints about future episodes.

Spoilers are deadly here — to the fun, certainly, but conceivably to the person who reveals them as well — but a few cats have officially been let out of the bag. There will be Daleks — yes, again and already — including what feels like a nod back to Coleman’s first appearance in the series, before she became a companion, back in “Asylum of the Daleks.”

There will be Missy (Michelle Gomez), the transgender reincarnation of the Master — news whose goodness the two-part opener, “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar,” penned by show runner Steven Moffat, only confirms. (One of Moffat’s great gifts to the series is a string of memorable women — indeed, all his best inventions have been female characters.)

Also, as trailers have shown, the Doctor will play an electric guitar with all the authority of a man — Capaldi, that is — who once led a Scottish punk band (Dreamboys, with Craig Ferguson — that Craig Ferguson — on drums). It’s a pointed, and explicitly pointed-out, reminder that David Tennant’s and Smith’s young and madcap Doctors still live within him: “It’s my party, and all of me are invited.” Said another way: He’s not as old as he looks. (Some 2,000 years of living notwithstanding.)

(4) On Monkeys Fighting Robots the “Top 10 Doctor Who Episodes” begin with —

  1. The Doctor’s Wife

The Season 6 episode “The Doctor’s Wife” was guest written by Neil Gaiman, a man best known for writing Stardust, Coraline and The Sandman and his episode was awarded the 2011 Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Best Dramatic Presentation at the 2012 Hugo Awards.

This episode sees The Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams receiving a distress call from a Time Lord and enter into a rift between Universes to try and save him or her. Where they end up is a void made up from trash and space debris where a group of people have salvaged a living from the junk. Also with them is an eccentric woman called Idris who pretty much jumps on The Doctor when she first sees him.

What made this episode such a delight was Suranne Jones’ performance as Idris, a unhinged woman who is completely batty and has a mysterious connection to The Doctor. Jones was fantastic, letting out her inner Helena Bonham Carter and injected a lot of humor in the episode. Gaiman’s written ensure that was a balance of drama and comedy and references the history of the show.

(5) Missed a big 50th anniversary the other day – the first aired episode of Get Smart on September 18, 1965.

Max-and-99-get-smart-original-series-1716131-324-506The episode, Mr. Big, introduced Agent 86, Maxwell Smart played by Don Adams and his partner, the inimitable Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) as agents of CONTROL.

Headed by their boss, The Chief (Edward Platt), 86 and 99 worked together to fight the forces of KAOS.  In the pilot, Mr. Big, we see the only actual appearance of the head of KAOS, played by little person Michael Dunn, before he is killed by episode’s end by his own Doomsday death ray.

Inspired by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which in itself was inspired by the James Bond craze of the early 60’s), Get Smart spoofed every aspect of spy culture including colorful villains, outrageous gadgets and ridiculous plots.

(6) Brian K. Lowe in “It’s the Little Things that We Count”.

Sure, this is all for fun, and everybody’s entitled, but there are issues out there that we should be paying attention to: climate change, record refugee migrations, wealth distribution, a presidential election season being run by reality stars. (Somebody has probably actually predicted this somewhere along the line.) Why should we care if No Award got the Hugo for Best Short Story when right outside the auditorium record forest fires, fueled by unprecedented drought, made the air seem less like Spokane than Beijing?

And why isn’t anyone blogging about that?

I have a simple theory: It’s too big. We can’t handle this stuff. This is the sort of thing we elected those guys in Washington to solve for us. See how well that’s worked out.

But you know what? We’re Science Fiction. We think about the big issues, the future. Up until now, instead of the guys in Washington, we’ve let the guys in SFWA do the heavy lifting, so we can concentrate on nominating patterns and voting blocs. Except now the guys in SFWA are right down there with us. We’re letting a thousand ant-like problems distract us from the elephants in the room. Because it’s easier.

I’m not going to sit here at my computer and claim I have the way out. I’m not to claim that I’m any better than anyone else, that I’ve been fighting the good fight while everyone else sat at their bivouac. I don’t, and I haven’t. I’ve fed the monster of small concerns like a lot of others.

But it’s time to stop. It’s time for us in science fiction to stop squabbling about petty matters and get back to bigger things. The kind of looming apocalypses that we can imagine, because we’re not afraid to. The kind of doomsday scenarios that used to be science fiction.

(7) Daniel in “The Forgotten Core of Science Fiction is Not Science” on Castalia House Blog takes on David Brin’s critique of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora.

Good science fiction may include politics of some sort, but despite what Brin asserts, that shouldn’t be its measure. Nor should “competence porn.” It is simply a myth that science fiction’s job is to correct any perceived tropes of the past.

Ken Burnside demonstrated an understanding of this very well in his Hugo award-nominated The Hot Equations. His counsel on the better implementation of physics into space combat is less focused on correcting tropes and is instead written entirely from the perspective of serving an underserved genre:

Thermodynamically limited space opera is a greatly underserved niche, in the overlapping circles of a Venn diagram between Hard SF and military science fiction. – Ken Burnside, The Hot Equations

Where Burnside is on target, Brin is off base. Brin’s argument is based on a premise: that in the future, Science Fiction depends on better political messaging and a commitment to progress.

Brin is half right: Science Fiction can be about an optimistic future that comes about through hard work and sound engineering. But does not, at its core only include that. Despite what Brin asserts, 1984 is not a positive self-denying prophecy. Orwell did not prevent a society that falls repeatedly under totalitarian thought policing – he merely provided a fictional setting that helped some readers identify it when it came for them.

(8) Amanda Palmer is a songwriter, musician and performance artist. She’s about to have her first child. She spoke with NPR’s Rachel Martin about the dueling demands of motherhood and art in “An Artist Worries: Will Motherhood Compromise Creativity?”

MARTIN: So you get this letter from your faithful fan. And you write in the response that this person essentially confirmed your deepest fears about being a mother and an artist. What a nice thing for this person to have done.

PALMER: Yeah, I mean, the part of the letter that confirmed my deepest fears wasn’t so much the are you tricking us into crowdfunding a baby. It was more of this fan’s terror that now that I was having a baby, I wasn’t going to be a good artist anymore.

MARTIN: And is the concern that having a baby – for obvious reasons, it changes your daily routines and your life in terms of how you use your time. But is your concern more about what will be the impact on your creativity?

PALMER: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it’s seems like there’s a paradox out there because on the one hand, so many artists who are parents will tell you that having children unlocks this unforeseen wellspring of creativity. On the other hand, some of the proof of concept (laughter) can fly in the face of that. And, you know, there’s definitely artists out there who kind of get boring after they have kids but seem to not be aware of it. So nobody’s anecdotal evidence can really prepare you for what’s going to happen. You just know that you’re going to change and you don’t know how.

(9) Best Related Work, Edible? Tattooed Bakers made this Groot Cake, a frosted Jupiter, and a cake referencing The Hobbit.

Groot-cakeJupiter-Square_viewHobbit-square_view

[Thanks to Will R. and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.]

226 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/19 Mouse wheel keep on turnin’ (turnin’) / Trolls gonna keep on burnin’ (burnin’)

  1. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    (Ow! Ow!)

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    (Ow!)

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    16. IRV FTW
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett

  2. Meredith:

    I know we get a lot of latitude to discuss things here, but maybe circumventing a no-comment thread isn’t the most considerate thing to do?

    No, by all means, comment away on the open thread if you want.

  3. Apologies: I hadn’t realised I was commenting on a closed matter, and as soon as I saw Meredith’s post I killed my comment.

  4. You’ve got to be *****ing me – this is the only bracket I’ve read both books.

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    ARRGGGH. Patrick by a hair. And only for wish fulfillment.

  5. @Meredith: It depends on whether you think Our Gracious Host’s intent was to absolutely forbid all discussion on Pournelle-at-Castalia-House. That… seems doubtful, to me. It seems more likely that Our Gracious Host is more likely to have intended to reduce the intensity of any possible flamewars by forcing any such discussion to be one thread among many in a comment-stream, as opposed to being the primary focus of a whole comment-stream unto itself.

  6. Pairing 12 should have been MI-Pi and pairing 13 should have been MI-Omega; I don’t think the symbols are showing up for everyone.

  7. Drifting comfortably after a stressful few days.

    I think every single person at Sasquan talked about the fires, and posted pictures of the scary yellow sky.

    I just hit the Audible sale, and genre-relevant purchases include Mutineer and The Fifth Season. The latter may prove to be a mistake, given my lack of need to be further depressed, but there’s so much enthusiasm for Jemisin, I really want to give her a try.

  8. Cases where I feel qualified to vote:

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    I thought I could, but I can’t. Tie.

  9. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan
    [a close one]

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

  10. More Kyra Brackets. More tough decisions

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY

    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    16. IRV FTW
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  11. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    (ARGGH! Some of these.)

    1. Rosemary and Rue

    4. A Natural History of Dragons

    9. His Majesty’s Dragon

    10. The Goblin Emperor

    14. Sunshine

  12. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Abstaining on #15.

    16. IRV FTW
    1 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    2 Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    3 City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett

  13. This is going to be hard. I’ve done some rapid reading in the last few days…

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    An almost impossibly hard choice. I need one of those forehead cloths, Cally…

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    Abstain; still haven’t read the Williams.

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    Abstain; I have the Jones on order from my library..

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    Oh, HARD choice. Again. Um. Walton. I think I have a touch of the vapours, now…

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    Abstain; I’ve not yet read Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    Oh, dear. Um. Um… Kowal.

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    Gah. Mieville was … awful. (That’s not meant as an insult in this case; I felt like I should be wearing rubber gloves while reading it… but I read it. I *enjoyed* Wells. So although Mieville might be more original, I’m going with the story I liked.

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    Haven’t got past the first Martin, when I realized it was a Continuing Saga. I was burned already by Robert Jordan at that point, so I declared I’d not read the rest until it was DONE. Abstain

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    Hodgell. (God Stalk!)

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    Still haven’t read Rothfuss. Don’t care. Maia!

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    Still dislike Clarke. This one was easy.

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    Liked the Stross; haven’t read Aaronovitch. Abstain.

    13. MI-?
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    Declare, Tim Powers

    Fforde. Because whimsy.

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Ack! Ack ack ack ack! Kushner. Ack!

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    Like Gladstone; haven’t read Grossman. Abstain.

    16. IRV FTW
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

    Gah. I’m halfway through City of Stairs. You couldn’t have waited a day? Abstain….

  14. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    Pass

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    Pass

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    16. IRV FTW
    1.City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    2. Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    3.The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

  15. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    (This was the closest of these five for me.)

    12. MI-Pi
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    (I usually really like McKinley but didn’t care for Sunshine.)

  16. 2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    Curse you! These are both excellent, somewhat light-hearted Urban Fantasy romps.

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

  17. Ah I missed a bracket but more pairings here I can vote for this time around.

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
    I like the curse better but Bujold for the win !

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip
    Abstain

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
    Kowal is stronger later in the series so choosing Valente as the better of the two

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
    I enjoy Wells more

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    Abstain

    13. MI-?
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    A tough one.

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    16. IRV FTW
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    Abstain. I have not read them. I plan on reading them in Bennet, Bear, Jemisin order.

  18. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

  19. The only bracket where I read both books:

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

  20. 1. Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    I will grind your dice to make my bread. Grrr. But I’ve re-read this one and not Coraline.

    4. Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    5. The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    6. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

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

    9.His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10.The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    Grind them to Powder! Gah!

    11. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    13. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

    14. The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    16. IRV FTW
    1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    3. City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    2. Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  21. @Kyra We welcome your return Dame Krya. You might have missed your knighting–done unilaterally using combined first post and contributing editor of the day powers. No one dared stop me, mwahahahahahaha.

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    3. Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    6. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    Arrrgh. Head cloth! Head cloth!

    8. A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    10. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    12. The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    15. Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    16. IRV FTW The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

  22. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    No Award

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    16. IRV FTW
    1 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    2 Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    3 City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett

  23. Thirding Cassy B and Ultragotha on the lack of awareness of Bujold’s planets that David Brin shows…maybe he’s just read _The Sharing Knife_ series????

    I also recall oatmeal and bluecheese after one disasterous attempt to eat some of the native wildlife attracted a nassssty bunch of scavengers!

  24. Forehead Cloths! Getcher nice cold forehead cloths here! Cooling, soothing, now with aloe for a small extra fee! Guaranteed organic: carbon atoms in every cloth! Gluten free! Paleo friendly! And now, if you buy 2, you get a third for ONLY Half-Again More!

  25. I love McGuire’s Toby Daye series–am currently rereading it all (on Ashes of Honor) to work up to a re-reading of latest one (which I read once when I received it, but now want to read after re-reading it all)–but _Paladin of Souls_ is as far as I’m concerned one of the TOP MOST BRILLIANT BESTEST EVER TOTALLY AMAZING SHOULD BE GIVEN EVERY AWARD POSSIBLE BRILLIANTLY SUBVERSIVE fantasies EVER.

    So the first one wasn’t actually tough.

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    16. IRV FTW
    1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

  26. Belated otter info for Rick K: I finally dug out my copies of Sandra Miesel’s 1982 _Dreamrider_ and the 1989 rewrite, _Shaman_. The SF books are shelved alphabetically, but there was a pile of boxes in front of the Ms.

    Turns out I misremembered when I said I had not read _Shaman_. I have both editions, and the second is inscribed to me by the author, and dated 1989! I must have bought it at a con even though I already had the first edition, either for the beautiful new cover or because I had liked the book and the author was there to sign it.

    Anyway, a quick scan did not turn up any clear answer to the question “sea or river otter?” But I lean toward the latter, because the otter people are the size of humans, which suggests that their closest equivalent in our world is the giant otter (up to 5’6″, according to Wikipedia) of the Amazon basin.

  27. And now is apparently the time when I read novels eligible for 2016 nominations — I’m most of the way through Amanda Downum’s Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, to be followed (exact order yet to be determined) by Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory, Aliette de Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings and Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.

  28. @Ultragotha: True for the malices, but they’re not an omninpresent eco-system primed to kill anyone without major technological protection and/or terraforming.

    Edward James has an interesting argument that TSK is more like (some kinds) of sf…lemme see if I can find it rather than try to summarize it from my memory of a talk a couple of years back (he just published the first monograph on Bujold’s work).

  29. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    Ack! [pulls a forehead cloth out of the pile] Bujold.

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    AAACK! [adds another cloth] I love the teapot badger, but I have to, oh so reluctantly, give it to Pratchett.

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    Abstain; the Jones is next on my to-read pile. I had hoped to get to it before you posted the bracket, but a long afternoon nap intervened.

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    Aaaaaaack. [another cloth] Brennan. But Aaaarrrgh.

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    This one is comparatively easy, for not-so-easy values of easy. Lynch.

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    Abstain. Not read the Valente.

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    Wells. No question.

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    Abstain. Not read the Martin.

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    Ow. [another cloth]. Hodgell Stalk!

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    Oooh. Addison.

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    Ash. No question.

    12. MI-pi
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    Oh dear. Stross.

    13. MI-omega
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    Declare, Tim Powers

    Fforde. That’s easy.

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Abstain. Still not read the McKinley.

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    Abstain. Not read the Grossman.

    16. IRV FTW
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

    Aaaaaarrrrrghhhhhh [gasp] [deep breath] aaaarrrrrghhhhhh!

    [grabs several more forehead cloths]
    I love the Jemison, I really like the Bear, and I’m halfway through the Bennett. Um.
    1 Jemison
    2 Bennett [hoping that it doesn’t let me down]
    3 Bear

  30. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams
    tie

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    tie

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley
    aargh

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    16. IRV FTW
    3 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    2 City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    1 Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  31. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    Difficult decision, but Bujold wins out narrowly.

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    Sorry, P.C: Hodgell, but Naomi Novik wins this round.

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    13. MI-?
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

    No contest, since I still can’t stand Declare (though I suspect I’m the only person who doesn’t like it) and loved The Eyre Affair.

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    Another really difficult decision, but McKinley wins out narrowly.

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman

    16. IRV FTW
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

    Another really difficult choice, but Bear wins narrowly over the other two.

  32. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    I just don’t get Name of the Wind – literally in some cases. When I followed th re-read of it on Tor.com I just spent the whole time going “wait, that was supposed to be a thing?”

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    Liked Magicians, but *loved* 3PD.

    16. IRV FTW

    (1) Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    (2) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin

  33. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone

    16. IRV FTW
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  34. @Derek B — Thank you!

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan
    Tie. Kyra is CRUEL!

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
    Abstain

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
    Abstain

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

    13. MI-?
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    Declare, Tim Powers
    Have I mentioned, Kyra is CRUEL?

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley
    And her cruelty continues. Bring on the forehead cloths!

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman
    Abstain

    16. IRV FTW
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear
    Abstain

  35. 1. Paladin of souls
    2. Night watch
    4. Tooth and claw
    5. Tower at Stony Wood
    8. Harry Potter
    10. Goblin emperor
    14. Sunshine
    16. Range of ghosts, then City of stairs

  36. 2. Snake Agent

    3. Coraline

    4. Tooth and Claw

    5. The Tower at Stony Wood

    6. In the Night Garden (blah blah, Snow White)

    7. Perdido Street Station

    10. The Goblin Emperor

    13. Declare

    14. Sunshine

    15. Three Parts Dead

    16. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

  37. I was hoping my most recent reading would help, but no.

    21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle

    12. MI-?
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch

  38. Re: Bujold’s TSK and genre.

    HIs discussion about the genre issues (which was part of his keynote at the Biology and Manners Conference”) is part of his book.

    Here’s the relevant quote in the ten page or so discussion of the series in Chapter 3 titled “Fantasy Worlds,” he starts with “To regard the sequence as fantasy is to take the views of farmers at face value. The novels very clearly show that Lakewalkers themselves do not believe they work magic. It is rather that they have inherited a much deeper awareness of the world around them than farmers can muster; they call this power groundsense, and using that power is groundwork…..The rigidly endogamous marriage customs of the Lakewalkers have enabled them to concentrate this power without any genetic dilusion.” (66).

    A bit later: “The Sharing Knife sequence is thus set in some kind of version of North America in a postholocaust or postapocalyptic period. It is undeniable that the Sharing Knife books also share charactristics with certain well-known tropes of science fiction, which were above all popular in the 1950s, in the science fiction that Bujold first encountered. The appearance within the human population of people with extrasensory powers–telepath, telekinesis, and the like: these were sometimes referred to as psionic or psi-powers–a commonplace of American science fiction in the decade or so after World War II” (67). He lists A. E. Van Vogt’s Slan (serialized 1940, book 1946), , Wilmar H, Shirasis’ Children of the Atom serialized from 1948-50, as early examples, then discusses how, after Hiroshima, more stories featuring “psionic powers [developed] after a holcaust of some kind, usually a nuclear war,” appeared in the magazines, “and these new humans, or posthumans, help develop a new and more utopian society” (67-68). James discusses the Rhine experimments on ESP, and the use of those concepts stories published in Astounding (I’m thinking now of Andre Norton’s Witch World series which started in 1963 which Wikipidia calls ‘speculative fiction.’ (I’m personally quite happy to define science fiction in a fairly specific way, i.e. extrapolation from some type of scientific premise, while noting to my students that it’s broadly used to mean a whole lot stuff without any real scientific content, and I quite like “speculative fiction” as a broad umbrella term for that reason as well.)

    Bujold was given a subscription to Astounding in 1962 but read her father’s copies before then. James acknowledges that Bujold does not see the malices as SF, and thinks the problem may come from “the always-contentious problem of defininig the terms ‘science fiction’ and fantasy.’ But if we view the Sharing Knife sequence as science fiction rather than fantasy, at least we are more easily led to realize that scientific inquiry is one of the main plot drivers of the four books” (68). He cites Dag’s experiments (details not repeated because of spoilers), and compares thm to Gil Hamilton in Larry Niven’s sf as well as discussing how Dag’s narrative arc is “the reverse of the trajectory that Terrence-C goes through in Ethan of Athos” (69) (EoA being the only other Bujold novel with telepathy).

    James cites some emails that he and Bujold exchanged about this issue, especially concerning the absence of gods: “This, Bujold admitted to me ‘can be read as another covert SF-nal marker.'”(69). [See, nobody would argue that the Chalion series is solidly in fantasy–TSK has more mixed genre elements–it’s very “American” (“western” in the sense of Ohio’s frontier history), and as James says, no gods, and the Lakewalkers repeatedly deny doing ‘magic’ as the Lakewalkers define it.

    He goes on for a few more pages and then includes something I’ve thought: that in many ways TSK is in dialogue with Tolkien’s Middle-earth–an inversion of it.

    But this is all aside from the issue of Brin’s claim about Bujold’s work–just my ongoing fascinating with genre conventions and how writers play with them and how readers and critics often struggle to define them…..

    I did a quick search for Bujold’s name on Brin’s blog site, and it comes up a few times but only in combination with other authors (i.e. as one of a set of nominees, etc.). He never discusses any of her books at any length as far as I could see by checking the results.

  39. 21ST CENTURY FANTASY, ROUND TWO

    1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    Arrgh.

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones
    Coraline, Neil Gaiman
    abstain

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan
    So, so, SO close

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch
    The Tower at Stony Wood, Patricia McKillip
    abstain

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    To Ride a Rathorn, P. C. Hodgell
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
    The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Ash: A Secret History, Mary Gentle
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
    abstain

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
    Rivers of London (AKA Midnight Riot), Ben Aaronovitch
    abstain

    13. MI-?
    The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
    Sunshine, Robin McKinley

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone
    The Magicians, Lev Grossman
    abstain

    16. IRV FTW
    2.The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    1.City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    3.Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  40. I found Brin’s piece about Aurora to be just as smug and poorly argued as his attempted takedowns of Star Wars and Tolkien. I don’t think he is good at critical reading, period. And I say this not even having read Aurora yet (although I was lucky enough to hear KSR read a long beautifully written and extremely funny excerpt from it), because I’m pretty sure there is virtually no chance that Robinson wrote the kind of book Brin thinks he did: that is, a book that’s supposed to prove that such-and-such can never, ever be accomplished.

    I’ve never seen Robinson write anything from the point of view of “this is the only way such-and-such could possibly go.” He’s always been fond of alternate histories, and whenever he revisits what you might think of as a shared universe he can’t resist changing some of its backstory and preconditions(*). He does his best to incorporate what he thinks of as currently plausible scientific guesses, but that doesn’t mean the point of the writing is to convince us that those guesses are correct for all time; it means he thinks they’re worth thinking about and using as the basis for a story. So in this case it seems he decided to write a story about a generation-ship project that doesn’t go well, and to imagine problems for it that aren’t exactly the same problems other SF writers have covered. Brin seems to think that is somehow not just a bad idea, but somehow irresponsible. To me that’s a very strange attitude for a fiction writer.

    (* Particularly apropos in this case: the short story in The Martians that seems to be a prequel to Red Mars until it turns out to cancel the existence of the whole trilogy— they’ve determined, for plausible reasons, that the project just isn’t feasible at all.)

  41. Sometimes when I see people argue that something isn’t fantasy but science fiction, I get this creeping feeling that they don’t respect fantasy as a genre and are trying to find an excuse to like a fantasy book without saying they like a fantasy book.

  42. 1. THE KNIGHT ERRANT AND THE PALADIN
    Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

    2. POLICE SQUAD!
    Snake Agent, Liz Williams

    3. ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
    Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones

    4. RESPECTABLE DRACONOLOGY
    A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

    5. YET MORE FALSE THINGS
    The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch

    6. GARDEN PARTY
    Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

    7. ALL MANNER OF STRANGE BEINGS
    Perdido Street Station, China Mieville

    8. BATTLE OF THE BEST-SELLERS
    A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

    9. CARNIVOROUS UNICORNS, MILITARY DRAGONS
    His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik

    10. THE HUMBLE AND THE ARROGANT
    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

    11. NOT THE EUROPE YOU REMEMBER
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

    12. MI-?
    The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

    13. MI-?
    Declare, Tim Powers

    14. DETERMINED YOUNG WOMEN
    The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner

    15. MAGIC LESSONS
    pass

    16. IRV FTW
    1 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin
    2 City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
    3 Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear

  43. @Meredith

    Sometimes when I see people argue that something isn’t fantasy but science fiction, I get this creeping feeling that they don’t respect fantasy as a genre and are trying to find an excuse to like a fantasy book without saying they like a fantasy book.

    Oddly enough, when people argue that something isn’t science fiction but fantasy, the implication is ALSO that they don’t respect fantasy as a genre.

  44. I’m not sure why showing that a setting can be interpreted as our world in the future makes it automatically SF (assimilating TSK to Hiero’s Journey). After all, even LoTR and Howard’s Conan are set in our past, and The Book of Ptath in the far future – there’s nothing preventing our world rather than a secondary one from being a fantasy backdrop, quite aside from urban fantasy as a special case.

    However, the hints in the books suggest not so much an SF background with psionics as a set of descendants of high mages. The conflict ending civilization was not atomic warfare (as with Hiero) but some form of magical war.

    The approach of assuming that an analytical approach makes something SF rather than F runs head-on into the Unknown tradition as well as books like Brin’s The Practice Effect ans Williams’ Metropolitan.

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