(1) RIDLEY TO WRITE NEXT BLACK PANTHER SERIES. The New York Times announced today in an exclusive interview that Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) will helm Marvel’s next Black Panther comic book series alongside Marvel’s Stormbreaker artist Juann Cabal (Guardians of the Galaxy). Their series will begin this August.
Building from the epic last chapter of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ groundbreaking multi-year Black Panther run in BLACK PANTHER #25 next week, Ridley will kick off an action-packed espionage story that will impact everything in T’Challa’s life and have ramifications for the entire Marvel Universe!
In this new ongoing series, secrets from T’Challa’s past have come back to haunt him. Fresh from returning from his adventures in space, Black Panther receives an unexpected and urgent message from a Wakandan secret agent. T’Challa must race the clock not only to save his agent, but also to keep his true agenda under wraps. Because if the truth comes out, it could cost T’Challa everything…
“It’s a hybrid espionage-superhero thriller, but at its core, it’s a love story,” Ridley told The New York Times. “And I don’t mean just romantic love, although there’s some of that as well. It’s love between friends.
“We’re coming out of a summer where we saw Black people fighting for our rights, standing up, fighting in ways that we haven’t had to do in years,” Ridley added. “And it was really important to me after the year we had where we can have these conversations with Black people and we can use words like love and caring and hope and regret and all these really fundamental emotions that everybody has.”
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is pleased to announce that we have signed an agreement with Amazon Publishing to make all of the approximately 10,000 Amazon Publishing ebooks and audiobooks available to libraries and their patrons through the DPLA Exchange, the only not-for-profit, library-centered content marketplace. This marks the first time that ebooks from Amazon Publishing have been made available to libraries. Like our previous publisher arrangements, this agreement furthers our mission to expand equitable access to ebooks and audiobooks while protecting library patron privacy.
Amazon Publishing titles will begin to be available in the DPLA Exchange via four licensing models this summer; we expect that libraries will be able to access all of the Amazon Publishing titles by the end of the year:
Unlimited, one user at a time access, two-year license
Bundles of 40 lends, available with a maximum of 10 simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends
Bundles of five lends, available simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends
26 lends, one user at a time access, the lesser of two years or 26 lends license
Library patrons will be able to access Amazon Publishing titles through SimplyE, the library-developed and managed e-reader app founded by New York Public Library.
(3) LIVING INSIDE THE STORY. F&SF invites readers to find out just how far Eugen Bacon, author of “When the Water Stops” in F&SF’s May/June issue, will go to research a new work in this author interview.
SRT: What literary (or other art/history) pilgrimages have you gone on?
EB: Bendigo is a mining town in Australia. I took a tour to the Central Debora Gold Mine for what they called Nine Levels of Darkness (228 metres) in a miner’s cage to research a portion of my novel Mage of Fools by Meerkat Press in March 2022. One scene happens in a mine and I needed to experience it to write it. Imagine what would happen if I were researching a cannibalistic serial killer.
Determined to find his lost home world, Dumarest of Earth travels from world to world. Itinerate labourers like Dumarest must travel by the cheapest method available: cold sleep, AKA “Low Passage.” True, the odds of waking from Low Passage are only five in six, assuming the traveller is well-fed and healthy, but it is a risk Dumarest and his companions accept.
Surviving yet another gamble with Low, Dumarest is confronted by yet another Low reality: there is no protection or warning for the traveller should the starship captain alter destination in flight. Rather than waking on prosperous Broome, Dumarest is stuck on tide-locked Gath. Gath is not prosperous and escape may prove quite difficult. If escape is possible at all.
Amazon is looking to bulk up its film and TV operations with MGM’s deep film library and substantial television production work as it looks to keep Prime Video competitive with Netflix and Disney+, which are spending billions to dominate the streaming wars, the sources said.
The Seattle company had long been thought to be a potential acquirer largely because of the appeal of the MGM film and TV library, which includes 4,000 movies such as “Robocop” “The Pink Panther” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” MGM’s scripted TV division is responsible for “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Vikings.”
The Information first reported the talks, which escalated recently and are said to be in the advanced stages. Sources said the purchase price being discussed is within a range of $7 billion to $9 billion….
(7) ELECTION INTERFERENCE. Essence of Wonder with Gadi Evron will continue its discussion of threats to last year’s US elections in “US Election Interference in 2020 and Beyond Part II – Domestic Interference”. Register at the link. Joining the team for this program will be Bryson Bort (founder of Scythe), Matt Masterson (Former Election Security Lead for CISA), Harri Hursti (Nordic Innovation Labs), and SJ Terp (Strategist, ThreeT Consulting).
For all his talk about wanting to make humanity multiplanetary, Elon Musk hasn’t said much about how he would ensure people would stay alive on another world. Musk is happy to talk about how Starship can make it possible for people to go to the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in large numbers, including that vision of a million people living on Mars. But exactly what people would do once on Mars, and how they would survive the extreme environment there, is an exercise left for the reader.
That reader—or maybe Musk himself—could turn to the two volumes recently published by John Strickland, called Developing Space and Settling Space. Strickland, a longtime space advocate and regular contributor to The Space Review, spares no detail in his analysis of how humans can not only get to other worlds—or create their own in the form of space settlements—but also survive and thrive once they got there….
(9) DON SAKERS OBIT. Author and retired librarian Don Sakers (1958-2021) died May 17. From 2009 to the present he was Analog’s book reviewer, with a“Reference Library” column in every issue.
He most enjoyed being remembered for exploring the thoughts of sapient trees in The Leaves of October (part of his Scattered Worlds series), beating the “Cold Equations” scenario (“The Cold Solution,” Analog 7/91, voted the magazine’s best short story of the year), and editing Carmen Miranda’s Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three (1989), an anthology inspired by Leslie Fish’s filksong, to which he contributed two stories.
Sakers lived at Meerkat Meade in suburban Baltimore with his spouse, costumer Thomas Atkinson.
(10) GRODIN OBIT. Actor Charles Grodin has died of cancer at the age of 86. His best genre roles were in the movies Rosemary’s Baby (1968), King Kong (1976), Heaven Can Wait (1978), The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), and The Great Muppet Caper (1981). He also appeared in single episodes of TV’s Captain Nice, and My Mother the Car. The Hollywood Reporter’s career notes mention —
…Grodin’s characters occasionally displayed a sinister side. In King Kong (1976), he played the shady businessman who tries to cash in on the giant ape; two years later, he portrayed an oily lawyer in the screwball comedy remake Heaven Can Wait, starring Warren Beatty.
Early in his career, Grodin was in the running to star as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967), then played an obstetrician in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)….
(11) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
May 18, 1962 — On this date in 1962, The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” scripted by Ray Bradbury. They make a fairly convincing pitch here. It doesn’t seem possible, though, to find a woman who must be ten times better than mother in order to seem half as good, except, of course, in the Twilight Zone. — Intro narration. Although Bradbury contributed several scripts to the series, this was the only one produced. An large ensemble cast was needed, hence Josephine Hutchinson, David White, Vaughn Taylor, Doris Packer, Veronica Cartwright, Susan Crane and Charles Herbert all being performers. This was the year that the entire season of the series won the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at Chicon III.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born May 18, 1852 – I.L. Peretz. A great figure in Yiddish literature; a score of stories for us, among which a classic version of the golem legend. Extra credit: compare Avram Davidson’s. (Died 1915) [JH]
Born May 18, 1919 – Margot Fonteyn. Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; named prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet by Elizabeth II. Danced many fantasies e.g. The Firebird, Giselle, Raymonda, Swan Lake. (Died 1991) [JH]
Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series though not in the order they were intended to be read. Some are outstanding, some less so. I’d recommend Berserker Man, Shiva in Steel and the original Berserker collection. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think that I’veread is The Holmes-Dracula File which is superb. And I know I’ve read most of the Swords tales as they came out in various magazines. (Died 2007.) (CE)
Born May 18, 1931 – Don Martin. Album covers for Miles Davis, Art Farmer, Stan Getz. A cover and thirty interiors for Galaxy. Mad’s Maddest Artist, of floppy feet, onomatopoeia – his car license plate was SHTOINK – and National Gorilla Suit Day. Fourteen collections. Ignatz Award, Nat’l Cartoonists Society’s Special Features Award, Will Eisner Hall of Fame. (Died 2000) [JH]
Born May 18, 1934 — Elizabeth Rogers. Trek geeking time. She had two roles in the series. She provided the uncredited voice for “The Companion” in the “Metamorphosis” episode. She also portrayed Lt. Palmer, a communications officer who took the place of Uhura, in “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Way to Eden”, and the very last episode of the series, “Turnabout Intruder”. She also had appearances on Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants, Bewitched, The Swarm and Something Evil. (Died 2004.) (CE)
Born May 18, 1946 — Andreas Katsulas. I knew him as Ambassador G’Kar on Babylon 5 but had forgottenhe played the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His first genre role on television was playing Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he had a recurring role in Max Headroom as Mr. Bartlett. He also had appearances on Alien Nation, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Millennium, Star Trek: Enterprise anda voice role on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. (Died 2006.) (CE)
Born May 18, 1946 – Larry Smith, F.N. Chaired Marcon III-XII, Fan Guest of Honor at XIII; vice-chair of Chicon IV, Fan Guest of Honor at Windycon 27; co-chaired Ohio Valley Filk Fest 14, World Fantasy Con 2010. Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service). Bought Dick Spelman’s book business when DS retired, became a leading book dealer with wife Sally Kobee, ran Dealers’ Room at many Worldcons. (Died 2017)
Born May 18, 1948 – R-Laurraine Tutihasi, age 73. Active in fanzines, the N3F (Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n; won its Kaymar and Franson awards), and otherwise. Loccer (“loc” also “LoC” = letter of comment, the blood of fanzines) at least as far back as Algol and The Diversifier, also Argentus, Janus, Flag, Broken Toys. Her own fanzine is Purrsonal Mewsings. [JH]
Born May 18, 1952 — Diane Duane, 69. She’s known for the Young Wizards YA series though I’d like to single her out for her lesser-known Feline Wizards series where SJW creds maintain the gates that wizards use for travel throughout the multiverse. A most wonderful thing for felines to do! (CE)
Born May 18, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 63. The only thing I’ve read by him is the first five novels in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. Popcorn reading with Sriracha sauce. I see that he’s done scripts for Dark Horse, IDW and Marvel early on. And that he’s responsible for Captain America: Hail Hydra which I remember as quite excellent. (CE)
Born May 18, 1969 — Ty Franck, 52. Half of the writing team along with Daniel Abraham that’s James Corey, author of The Expanse series. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen behind by a volume or two as there’s just too many good series out there too keep up with all of them, damn it, but now that it’s ended I intend to finish it. (CE)
Born May 18, 1971 – Boros Attila, age 50. (Personal name last, Hungarian style.) Two dozen covers. For Wild Cards, here is Four Aces, here is Only the Dead Know Jokertown, here is Ace in the Hole. [JH]
(13) COMICS SECTION.
AtLio’sbooth he charges ten times what Lucy did – which makes a kind of sense when you consider what the demand was for his makeover material a year ago.
(14) IN TUNE WITH SFF. Jackiem Joyner is a contemporary saxophonist, author, and music producer. He’s released seven albums, has two number one hit songs, and five Top 10 Billboard singles. On the sff side, his second sff novel, Timelab: Episode One, came out in October.
Two Scientists. One from long ago. The other from modern day 2018. Both on the precipice of greatness. Both met with disdain, and in one case, branded a witch.
Sir Bernard, a seasoned and trusted scientist, living in the time of King Caesar, is lauded by many… until his invention sparks rage and fear among the people. When they brand him as a witch, practicing dark magic, he makes a daring escape via his time machine. He finds himself in San Francisco, 2000 years in the future. There, he befriends Kyle, a young, talented physics student, whose brilliance also sparks distrust, and in some cases, maltreatment. Together, the two scientists are a formidable force, but there are barriers that prevent them from making good use of their scientific theories. Sir Bernard’s homeland is on the brink of war. To save his people, he must go back in time, but first he’ll need a new, more powerful time machine. Kyle has struggles of his own. His brain puts him ahead of the class, but he has trepidation about his mother’s legacy. He wants to clear her name and prove that she didn’t intentionally detonate a scientific lab, killing everyone, including herself. Two scientists from vastly different worlds fight to erase the past. Can they prove their theories are real and can they save lives and reputations, including their own?
C. Robert Cargill‘s just-published science-fiction novel Day Zero hinges on the relationship between a boy named Ezra and his tiger-resembling “nannybot,” Pounce.
“It’s the eve of the robot revolution,” the author and Doctor Strange co-writer, 45, tells EW. “When everything hits the fan, it’s up to a nannybot to decide whether he wants to join the revolution or protect the boy he loves.”
… Day Zero is a tip of a hat to the late science fiction writer Harlan Ellison, whose tale A Boy and His Dog found a character named Vic and his telepathic canine partner Blood attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Cargill got to know Ellison when he and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson signed on to turn the Ellison-written Outer Limits episode “Demon With a Glass Hand” into a movie.
“The big deal was announced and nobody had told Harlan,” says Cargill. “Harlan immediately hit all of the [web] boards he was frequently on and goes, ‘Who the hell is C. Robert Cargill?’ Three different friends reached out to me on the same Saturday morning and said, ‘Ah, Harlan Ellison is looking for you. He seems kind of pissed.'”
Although the film was never made, the pair became friendly.
“We’re honored to have the one and only King Pokémon!” an announcer calls out.
On this mid-March day, he strides into Collect-A-Con, a two-day, first-of-its-kind conference dedicated to non-sports trading cards, in Frisco, Texas. By his side are fellow Pokémon royalty — RealBreakingNate and Leonhart, two mega-popular Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) YouTubers. Making his way through the cheering crowd, King Pokémon waves and smiles, his demeanor that of a kid popping bubbles: lit-up, blissful.
The King is Gary Haase, a 67-year-old father of three from Las Vegas. His Pokémon TCG collection’s estimated total value is more than $10 million, making it the most expensive in the world. In this windowless Embassy Suites ballroom, owning top-tier Pokémon cards makes you a star. And Haase, who has obsessively collected Pokémon cards since 1998, is a bona fide celebrity. One meet-and-greet, expected to go for an hour and a half, lasts five hours….
…He mailed a ransom note to the store demanding a million marks—the equivalent of more than a million dollars today. “I gave you a demonstration of my determination to achieve my goal, including with violence,” he warned. “The next time there will be a catastrophe.” Funke instructed the store to place a coded message in the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper if it was willing to comply: “Uncle Dagobert greets his nephews.” Dagobert Duck is the German name for Scrooge McDuck, the money-grabbing duck from Disney’s “Uncle Scrooge” comics and “DuckTales” TV show.
Funke sent directions to a forested area, where police officers found a box attached to a telephone pole, with a linen bag inside bearing the “DuckTales” logo and an image of Scrooge McDuck. They also found a strange contraption designed to connect the money bag to the back of a train using electromagnets. Funke instructed them to attach the money bag to a train from Rostock to Berlin. When the train roared past, he pushed a button on a transmitter to deactivate the magnets, but the package didn’t drop; the police had tied it to the train. He sent another letter, changing the pickup location. On August 14th, he again waited near the train tracks, wearing gloves, black glasses, and a gray wig. This time, the package eventually detached and crashed against the tracks. As Funke ran to pick it up, the train stopped and police officers jumped out. “Stand still or I’ll shoot!” an officer cried, firing his weapon into the air.
Funke grabbed the package and scampered to safety. When he opened it, he saw that only four thousand marks were real; the rest was Mickey Mouse money. He had threatened the store with another bomb if it didn’t pay up. Meanwhile, it didn’t take the police long to connect the two bombings: both involved voice changers, a treasure hunt, ingenious gadgets, and money thrown from a train. They were dealing with a serial bomber who appeared to take inspiration from the capers in comic books featuring Scrooge McDuck. From that moment on, they called him Dagobert….
(19) TRAILER PARK. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania comes to theaters July 23. SYFY Wire frames the scene:
As the film opens, the title hotel — set up by Dracula (Brian Hull, replacing original star Adam Sandler) as a haven for himself and his monster friends where they could be free of human persecution — is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and Dracula’s son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) is doing his best to throw a killer bash for his father-in-law. When things go wrong, Johnny worries that he’ll never really be able to relate to Dracula and his pals because he’s not a monster.
Enter Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), who reveals that he’s developed a “Monsterification Ray” that will transform Johnny into the monster he’s always wanted to be. Of course, the ray can also transform any monster it hits into a human, and when the invention goes haywire, the whole monster squad gets an unexpected and unwelcome taste of mortality.
(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Resident Evil Village” on YouTube, Fandom Games says in this game you “Have the arena of a small country as you blast away at vampires, werewolves, livestock, and the Borg!”
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]
aka “My name is Canis Dolorosa. You ganked my rocket. Prepare to die.”
Today’s heavily self-referential roundup trots out John Scalzi, Chuck Wendig, C. Robert Cargill, Michael Rapoport, Vox Day, Cephus, Nicholas Whyte, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Vann R. Newkirk II, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Alexandra Erin, William Reichard, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little , Happyturtle, ULTRAGOTHA, jayn, Sarah, J.C. Salomon, Steve and Jim Henley. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Paul Weimer and Alexandra Erin.)
Puppies parsing my sales numbers at http://t.co/1rtJ17UJXt. Can't decide between "bless their hearts" and "oh, my dear sweet summer child."
Mr. Scalzi likens the Puppies’ campaigns to the backlash that women and minorities have faced in other geek-culture arenas—notably “Gamergate,” the videogamers’ campaign widely associated with threats against feminist videogame critics.
But Larry Correia, another Sad Puppies organizer, doesn’t see the Puppies’ campaign as a backlash against diversity. “That’s a narrative they came up with to try to discredit us,” he says. He and Mr. Torgersen have distanced themselves from Mr. Beale’s extreme views, but the Rabids are “still fans, they’re still people, their votes still count.”
It is time that people rise up against this kind of absurd liberal oppression, where it’s political correctness that means more than actual merit. The Hugo Awards were not designed to award people for their social consciousness, but for their work in the field of writing science fiction and fantasy. It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what you write. The same is true of television and movies, where it shouldn’t make a difference what a director or an actor or a producer thinks, only the end-product of their labors. Unfortunately, these liberal idiots get butt-hurt because someone doesn’t follow the social justice collective and they must set out to call them names, harm their careers and deny them their due for what they’ve actually done with their lives. Is it any wonder there’s such a backlash against liberal stupidity these days? Here’s hoping it keeps up and picks up in the future.
Matt Foster has made a good argument in favour of not only voting No Award above all slate nominees, but also voting No Award top in all categories where there are only one or two non-slate contenders, on the basis that the slate organisers have denied us a proper choice in those categories too. I find myself sympathetic to this line of thought. I was already planning to put No Award top in Best Novelette (because I was not impressed by the one non-slate finalist) and Best Fan Writer (because the one non-slate finalist has been nominated for a single piece of work rather than for a body of work over the last year), though in both cases I will rank the non-slate finalist second to minimise the chance of a slate win.
I had been going to vote for Julie Dillon as the one non-slate finalist in Best Professional Artist, but I shall consider Matt Foster’s’s arguments carefully; if the choice is Julie Dillon or nobody, is that really a choice? I like her work in general, but I don’t actually like the category anyway (which is a different argument for a different time), and this year’s ballot is deeply flawed due to the intervention of the slatemongers. Again, she will get at least a second preference from me, to reduce the chance of a slate nominee winning.
Anyway, for Best Novel these arguments no longer apply, since the honourable withdrawal of one of the (unwitting) slate nominees has given us three excellent books to choose from, each of which would be an acceptable winner in a normal year. Ranking them is difficult, but it’s got to be done. My vote is as follows.
1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?
Obviously, they, like me, hate humanity and want children to die. I would like to thank Brad for seeing through the haze and realizing I’m a scorching liberal right wing gay-agenda-endorsing homophobe and terrible parent who’s teaching his mixed race children to be white supremacists. And with the assistance of Gamergate, the Illuminati and Elvis, I might actually win to spread our Gospel.
Do you consider decisions like that in your work to be political, whatever that entails?
I do. Well, I consider all books to be political. I think if you ask authors on any side of the spectrum whether they meant to write a political book or not, most would tell you that they just went into it to write a book and a great story and didn’t intentionally include politics, but I would like to call bullshit on that. We are always including our politics. You can actually not do that, and we do ourselves an injustice when we pretend to not be conscious of it. I’m very strategic in how I choose to bring politics into my writing and I can’t think of any other writing advice that tells you to not be conscious or strategic about stuff. There’s this idea that if you don’t think about politics, it’ll just seep through. And for some people that’s true.
To bring it around to the Hugos, you’ll see this conversation pop up in the sense of the Sad Puppies folks lamenting that suddenly science-fiction and fantasy have become political, as if Tolkien wasn’t thoroughly writing a political book about the supremacy of western culture. There’s nothing more political than that; it’s just so normalized that people read it as, ‘Oh it’s just another fantasy story.’ You have a message; it’s just a message that’s normalized. People act like only folks coming from the left have a message to give, and that’s bullshit. These are very political books, and they always have been. Fantasy and sci-fi have always been a political project. Look at Lovecraft….
So, more about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies stuff. Do you think the back and forth represents something of the larger cultural conflicts going on?
Yes. Definitely. First of all, it represents people who are again so normalized to the idea of their comfort being provided for that they freak out entirely the second that it’s slightly off-kilter. Because sci-fi and fantasy have always been a very white, very straight, very heteronormative, male political project. A very colonial project. In the past couple years, their big complaint is that suddenly people that aren’t them are winning awards, winning Hugos and that is cause for them to, you know, create this great big stir and takeover.
When we’re in a time when we have to proclaim in the streets that Black Lives Matter, literature is one of the first places where we learn what matters and whose life matters and whose doesn’t. And literature has been saying for centuries that black lives don’t matter. By not publishing black authors, by not publishing books about black people, that’s become the message by default. Whiteness being the default has been the message. So, the fact that we now have to fight to just get a fair Hugo ballot because a few people have hurt feelings and want to grasp at relevancy after decades of this really destructive form of erasure from fantasy and sci-fi absolutely speaks to the movement in the streets today, to what’s going on with the police, to what’s going on in politics. Literature is always a reflection of society and society is always a reflection of literature, and when publishing is as white as it is, we have to look at those numbers and understand that they are connected. They are 100 percent connected. There’s no way to disconnect them. But people always want to act surprised.
This is a competently, professionally done story, and a good read. I recommend it on that basis. However, it’s no more than competent and professional, and a Hugo winner needs to be more than just competent and professional.
Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens
The plotting would have needed some more work, even if the story is decently written. There’s just too much talking heads to keep me intrested. Now the whole story was about the dying guy’s friend finding out what it was all about, but the really interesting part would have been what happens next and what further complications there will be. It’s frustrating when a story fails to focus on the most interesting aspects of its proposition.
I picked up this book expecting SF/F, and I was disappointed. Imagine someone going to the store and buying a box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” because they love “NUTTY NUGGETS”, only to find that they were so awful they might not even be “NUTTY NUGGETS”, and were quite inedible. Then imagine them going back to the store and buying another box of “Best NUTTY NUGGETS Ever” only to find out that they were similarly not even edible “NUTTY NUGGETS”. I’m sure they would be Sad, and maybe even Mad; some people might do things that were Bad. “SAD, MAD, BAD” sounds like a children’s book, and so does this story. It has talking animals that start to walk upright because … God.
The surreality was seeing Torgersen re-write someone’s motives to their face, while people were watching. It’s always difficult to get a real sense of social atmosphere over the internet, but it seemed to me that I was watching Torgersen’s reputation sink before my eyes, in real time. It certainly happened for me….
In case it’s not clear to you why I was appalled: Torgersen talked at length and repeatedly about how Wade was motivated by fear, and never seems to have noticed that (a) she never said nor implied that was true, and (b) she was really pissed that he attributed made-up motivations to her.
And the rest of us just stood there (digitally), watching while Torgersen kept trying to re-write a history we could read by scrolling up.
Alfred Bester‘s The Demolished Man won the first Hugo Award for best Novel, in 1953. The Demolished Man is about a murder, but it’s not a mystery: we know from the start (because he’s a POV character) that Ben Reich killed his business rival Craye D’Courtney, after Reich proposed a merger and D’Courtney turned him down. But [SPOILERS] the detective on the case is baffled, because Reich seems to have no motive: D’Courtney sent Reich a message accepting his offer.
In the end, we find out that Reich mis-heard the message, because he was already determined to kill D’Courtney — who, it turned out, was his biological father.
Bester makes the whole reveal pretty Freudian, which didn’t impress me when I read the book in the 1970s and is rather quaint now. But watching Torgersen editing his perceptions in real time, the plot of The Demolished Man starts to seem much less contrived, much more psychologically realistic.
If you want evidence of the deep rot that has infested the once-great Caldecott Medal, look no further than this book, which is a putrid example of ham-handed message fiction given an award by Feminazi SJWs basically as a participation prize for having a “strong female protagonist who doesn’t need a man”….
Why doesn’t she just open a Patreon account while she’s at it? She could tell the sob story about how she was almost hit by a bicycle and the victim bucks would come pouring in, let me tell you. They all have Patreons for some reason even though they produce nothingofvalue to anyone. It’s nothing but welfare for hipsters. It should be illegal…..
Did you know that only fifteen people in all the world choose the winner of the Caldecott every year? How are the opinions of fifteen people supposed to determine “most distinguished American picture book for children”, I ask you?
I’m a Puppy! Who are you?
Are you all — Puppies — too?
Then there’s a bloc of us!
Don’t tell! they’d banish us — you know!
How sad — to be — an Ess Jay Dub!
How PC — like a CHORF —
They bully us — the live-long Spring —
WOOF WOOF — ARF-ARF-ARF!
Now my pups are all o’erthrown,
And what sads I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
I must receive awards from you,
Or sent to Spokane. Let me not,
Since I have my Hugo got,
And pardon’d the SJWs, dwell
In this bare website by your spell;
But release me from Amazons,
With the help of your book bombs.
Gentle praise in your emails,
Must fill, or else my project fails.
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
I’ve indignations slight, imagined, and quite risible.
I know the Nielsen Haydens, and I quote their slates historical
from novellete to best short form on ballots categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters dialectical,
and syllogisms, both implied and also quite elliptical,
About rhetorical speaking I’m teeming with a lot of news
with many outraged squeals about the lies of SJWs.
I’m very good at inference and attributing animus,
I know the things I know are true without any analysis.
In short, in outrage slight, imagined, and quite risible,
I am the very model of a modern Canine-Miserable.
[Speculating about who will accept Vox Day’s Hugo at Sasquan.]
Because I like the idea that, as soon as your name is mentioned by a grimacing David Gerrold, a fell cry rends the air and freezes the blood of every CHORF present…
The ceiling groans as if in hideous pain, then there is a hellish crash as concrete and tile yield to an enormous creature. The minion lands in the middle of the convention, its iron boots striking the floor with a terrifying thud, then flexes its vast, midnight-black leathery wings to shake off the dust.
It points an armoured finger at Gerrold, a thin wisp of sulphurous smoke curling from its clawed tip.
“The Lord of Fear sends his regards. I am his emissary. Give me the trinket.”
Gerrold cringes and hides behind Due as the minion ascends to the podium.
“My Dark Lord authorises me to bid you thanks for this trifling bauble, and to assure most of you that he wishes you no specific harm. As a token of his noblesse oblige he advises those of you who are afraid of giant sentient scorpions to avoid the Losers Party this evening. You may find it… distressing. That is all.”
Clutching his trophy, the minion runs at the windows and leaps through the glass, its wings pounding the air as it departs in malevolent triumph.
David Gerrold attempts to compose himself.
“And… umm… the n-next award goes to…. OH… FFFUUUUUUUU….”
“What’s wrong?”, cries Due.
“I-it’s T-tom K-kratman…” sobs Gerrold, just as the gun turret of a Tiger tank erupts through the back wall…
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a time-traveling dinosaur, who retroactively justified Sad Puppies 1 and 2, launched before your nomination was known. Your scales would shimmer with tachyons.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be all puppies could talk about, because dinosaurs are freaking cool, and big and scary, and puppies are small and easily frightened.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be free on the internet, and short enough to read quickly, with an easily digested precis, so that all your critics could get through you or at least take the word of someone who had without being obviously wrong on the facts. So you would be an easy example of What Has Gone Wrong With All Reptiles even though you were but a single dinosaur. You would be the dinosaur that stops all conversations before they start.
If you were a dinosaur, my love, you would be a magic dinosaur that irradiates a field that makes some people reeeeeeaaaaaaalllllyyyyyy lazy. “What about all the other dinosaurs?” others would say. But the people in the field would respond, “Hey, man. Why do you keep nagging me?”
I hope at least some of you have been triggered into fatal convulsions