WWWednesday; April 5, 2017

This week’s word for Wednesday is the noun blether-head, which means a noisy fool. I think you can make it a modifier too, as in “blether-headed nonsense,” which might be redundant.

Awards:

The 2017 Hugo Awards shortlist is out. I am disappointed by one terrible oversight; City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett is not on the short list for novel. That is a crime. Otherwise, I think it’s a good list.

Here are the finalists for Best Novel:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor) Our review, and our interview.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder and Stoughton/Harper Voyager US)
Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books/Head of Zeus) Our review and our interview.
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) Our reviews.
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit Books) Our review and our interview.
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books) Our review and our interview.

What’s your take?

Books and Writing:

MacMillan Publishing is introducing Read Without Walls, a nationwide reading program that challenges everyone to read a book with a character who doesn’t look like them, or read about a topic they don’t know much about, or read in a new format such as audio books or graphic novels. This sounds wonderful! Here is the link to this exciting program.

Marie Brennan starts a thoughtful discussion of how time might be measured in an alternate world or history. This is part of her Patreon. It’s good information and some of it was new to me; another great resource for writers and readers, when you’re deep in that second-world epic and wondering just how they keep track of time.

The origins of some of our favorites may take you by surprise. LitHub has a list of a few famous starting places.What was it with women writers and ankles?

While this article is basically a guy nearly spraining his shoulder because he’s patting himself on the back so hard, it offers a view into the world of literary or “little” magazines, and systematic exploitation of writers. LitMag does not charge a “submission fee” to read your story, and editor Marc Berley touts that. Well, good for them for doing the right thing, but let’s not rush to throw them a parade. The editorial is interesting, because it shows exactly the attitude certain markets have toward writers. I don’t think we run into this issue as much with the SF genre; I don’t at least, because I won’t submit to a potential market who wants me to pay to let them reject me. The idea that a submission fee somehow replaces postage costs in the online-submission world is a shaky argument at best, especially when literary markets still want paper submissions. Still, interesting.

Ruthanna Emrys gives us a list of five books that tell the monster’s side of the story, and they won’t all be the ones you might expect.

Naomi Alderman thinks about women speculative fiction writers throughout history, and why it might be that one person’s utopia is another’s dystopia.

“The only thing that works is quality.” Kiran Millwood Hargraves’s children’s book The Girl of Ink and Stars took Britain’s Waterstone Prize this year. The Waterstone Prize is offered by the book chain of the same name. The Girl of Ink and Stars, about a girl who volunteers to go find her missing friend in the forbidden forest, using her knowledge of her homeland’s myths and her father’s old maps, sounds suspenseful and rich.

TV and Movies:

Question: This FanLit reviewer will be on the ABC quiz show Jeopardy, the week of July 11, 2017. Answer: Who is our own Kelly Lasiter? Mark your calendars.

Did you go to your 20th high school reunion? Well, the students of Sunnydale High did, even though many of them were dead. Entertainment Weekly offered a massive Buffy the Vampire Slayer twenty year reunion. Enjoy!

When John Scalzi announced on Whatever that The Collapsing Empire had been optioned for television, he generated a lot of excitement—and a lot of questions. In this post he answers some of those questions. And please don’t send him your sample screenplay or headshot,’kay?

Syfy wire reports that Joss Whedon has been tapped to write and direct a Batgirl feature film. How do you feel about that?

For fans of Legion who might not know much about the Shadow King (like me) Marvel has a nice summary of this well-established villain.

Here is the latest Valerian trailer. Did you know the graphic novel is out of print?

Internet:

Our robot overlords are already here! MIT did a study of automation in the US, and suddenly the explanation for vanishing manufacturing jobs is a little clearer.

From out of the latest puppy dust-up, a fun game, courtesy of Camestros Felapton: Make Your Own Title. It’s like our own fantasy title generator, but with more features. Thanks to File 770, and a warning: You can waste a lot of time with this. A lot. Here is the article, which contains the link.

Here is something you really needed; a British supermarket commercial that features Skeletor dancing to the theme from the 1980 movie Fame. You don’t need to thank me.

Science and Tech:

Elon Musk is tiptoeing up to the border of neural interfaces. (Thanks to Kat.)

Gaming:

Workers in Britain’s gaming community are considering moving their operations as Brexit goes forward, according to a report by BBC.

Earth:

This road in Britain sounds like an epic fantasy in itself. Wouldn’t a fantasy villain live on Foulness Island?

There is much speculation over this cinnamon bear, filmed in Montana, who appears to be carrying a laptop. I think it’s just looking for a wifi hotspot.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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12 comments

  1. I was shocked (and disappointed) as well by City of Blades not making it on to the list and even more so that The Underground Railroad didn’t

    • Oh, gosh, Underground Railroad! I can see that one failing to make the short list because it got marketed as “literary.” Outside of the people who read your review, I’m not sure it found its way to enough of the fantasy readers who would have really appreciated it. (I will confess it wasn’t on my ballot because I shelves it mentally in the “lit” category.) I will do better!

  2. April /

    My calendar is now marked for July 11th. I love Jeopardy! I tried out once and didn’t make it. It is HARD. Good on you Kelly!

  3. Perhaps that bear is the genius behind the @a_single_bear twitter account?

  4. “Blether-head” seems like a very useful word. I anticipate using it often over the next 3.75 years.

    I am angry that Dexter Palmer’s novel didn’t get nominated.

    KELLY!!!!! :O

    • Every year I learn something from the Hugo finalists and this year I’ve learned that there were a lot of very good (and different) books that came out in 2016.

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