Thread of Wonder, the next 5000 posts: science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction 2021 and beyond

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Time to launch another lifeboat to the stars. Previously: ThReads Must Roll: the new, improved rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 08:32 (four weeks ago) link

All aboard the Strato-Cruiser!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 09:14 (four weeks ago) link

DO U SEE, I’m a stranger here myself.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 10:43 (four weeks ago) link

Singing thread title to the tune of the Theme from Underdog

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:30 (four weeks ago) link

Thread of Wonder
5000 posts

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:31 (four weeks ago) link

Wonder Thread
Wonder Thread!

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:32 (four weeks ago) link

Thread of royal beauty bright!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 14:40 (four weeks ago) link

Cool, except PLEASE change "Sci-Fi" to "Science Fiction"; true headz will respect it more.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (four weeks ago) link

Seriously, change that shit.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (four weeks ago) link

If a mod wants to a mod can, now to read some skiffy some I can make a real contribution to the thread.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (four weeks ago) link


Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (four weeks ago) link

In thee beginning (not really, butt a big ol goodun, where I came in)
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:52 (four weeks ago) link

That rolled from 2011 to 2014, I believe.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:53 (four weeks ago) link

Kindle daily deal today. seems odd that it doesn't mention Gagarin by name.

also listed, a Tchaikovsky book, Doors of Eden. anyone? i liked the one about the spiders, i didn't like ironclads.

koogs, Monday, 12 April 2021 18:47 (four weeks ago) link

just finished The Ministry For the Future. almost comically unsubtle and didactic in its politcs. the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad. first half is excellent.

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 19:51 (four weeks ago) link

started that -- the first scene is harrowing, but i instantly lost all interest when things shifted to the ministry itself. i suppose no one dramatizes vast bureaucratic processes better than KSR but it's a low bar, and i'm not really up for doom right now

read 'hench', which has a jokey premise -- underemployed young woman seeks placement as a villain's henchman through a temp service -- but turned out to be fierce as well as funny

started jo walton's 'the just city'; it's a little precious but i'm liking it a lot so far

mookieproof, Monday, 12 April 2021 22:25 (four weeks ago) link

as everyone says about recent KSR, it's actually very optimistic. the first scene though good grief.

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 22:50 (four weeks ago) link

Yeah, if the future is remotely like that KSR projects I'd be a hell of a lot more hopeful than I am now.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:44 (four weeks ago) link

the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad.

I am struggling with this sentence.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 07:36 (four weeks ago) link


dow, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:05 (four weeks ago) link

ha! do you mean you're struggling with it syntactically or morally?

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:10 (four weeks ago) link

Uh, aesthetically? The scouring of the shire is a highlight!

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:12 (four weeks ago) link

I'm more bothered by the lack of a comma in 5,000 than I am abt sci-fi tbh

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:31 (four weeks ago) link

Commas are only for numbers of five figures and up as far as I'm concerned

a murmuration of pigeons at manor house (Matt #2), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 18:53 (four weeks ago) link

Almost posted that embed 10x ina old-school JW Noizeborad style.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 19:34 (four weeks ago) link

I'm sure I talked about some of this in the previous thread about hanging out with horror people mostly then SFF people and then when you go back to horrorland, most people in SFF land start seeming really uptight and conversations have so many restricted areas and I have to respect what people aren't willing to discuss but I find it occasionally frustrating. And then there's this area of horror which is like the children of Dennis Cooper and it's lovely how relaxed they are and talking about what drugs they're taking all the time.

I generally like SFF fans but I do feel like a lot of them (even a lot of the progressive ones) still want stories that are easy to swallow and are probably afraid to look at their dog's anus.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 21:25 (three weeks ago) link

Only thing is, the blurbs for some of these authors can be completely ridiculous and leave you hanging, not knowing what it's like or about. "Britney Spears singing love songs to you while Baudelaire gives you an enema" or some nonsense like that.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:18 (three weeks ago) link

Ha, exactly.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (three weeks ago) link

Think I started a thread about that once.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (three weeks ago) link

nothing more riveting than people talking about their drug regimens, very transgressive

mookieproof, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:32 (three weeks ago) link

I'm a complete teetolaler and I'm not even into drug talk but my point is it's nice to hear writers talking in a more carefree way. It's probably significant that the horror genre largely escaped the culture war and there's less people out to get each other.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:58 (three weeks ago) link

Like this crap is still going on in SFF land

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 23:02 (three weeks ago) link

i haven't the patience to delve into what you consider 'culture war' 'crap' that's 'easy to swallow'

tbh i've seen way too much of my cat's anus, but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

honestly you are fucking creepy as hell; maybe you should stick to to 'open-minded' horror boards where you can discuss what you want to do to your waifus with no judgment

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 April 2021 04:46 (three weeks ago) link

but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

Does anyone do this?

Old Lunch was asking maybe two years ago about problems with reactionary horror people but as far as the fiction/poetry side goes it's really minimal compared to SFF, it's been said they're more easy going and get on better together.
The drawback is maybe the low brow attitude, too much easy amusement with juxtaposing high and low culture and the shit eating grins (see lots of horror author photos) and it does annoy me when people feel they have to present dark or gross subject matter in a jokey way, I'm regularly guilty of it too and it's often my first instinct to joke about some of these things. I think people do this because if they keep a straight face about it, they're worried people will think they're crazy.
But I think sometimes humor and punky attitude doesn't let people process things as well, I'd rather the subject matters weren't considered so transgressive or frightening, it makes peoples lives more difficult. So it's nice when people are just more at ease with it all, but the transgression is undeniably part of the appeal of some of these writers.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:30 (three weeks ago) link

There's been a lot of good buzz about this one

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:33 (three weeks ago) link

Going to be weird hearing β€œGeorge R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)” read out at a ceremony.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 18:48 (three weeks ago) link

A little bit heartbreaking how many SFF authors despise each other and the awards nominations intensifying it all.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 21:43 (three weeks ago) link

How many people nominated for a Hugo alongside Isabel Fall this year celebrated the removal of her story or contributed to the harassment campaign against her?

I think I count 3 so far. I really hope she wins.

— Experiencing A Significant Poggers Shortfall (@mechanicalkurt) April 13, 2021

The entire SF/F community came out and said "if you don't write about being trans in the way we think you should, we will attempt to harm you."

This is especially angering because it was an open secret that literally all of Chuck Wendig's writer friends were sex pests.

— Qualia Redux (@QualiaRedux) April 15, 2021

and some nice animals. What's weirder than the giant bunny in the first picture, is the way that guy is holding the pilot's head

One great sub-genre of retro sci-fi art: Confusingly Placed Animals

— 70s Sci-Fi Art (@70sscifi) April 15, 2021

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 23:24 (three weeks ago) link

Jess Nevins - Horror Needs No Passport

This starts with Nevins explaining his frustration that there has been very little survey or study of international horror fiction and that he did this book because nobody else had. It sticks to the 20th century (with occasional background and influential writers from further back), skips USA, UK and a few other english speaking countries but there is still a bunch of english fiction included from other countries. Nevins doesn't say which writers he has actually read himself, he quotes other scholars evaluations quite a lot but I did get the impression he was voicing his own opinions about most of the japanese writers (who are surprisingly well represented in english translation) and these were some of the most enjoyable parts.

It might have been inevitable that many of the writers end up sounding very similar and my eyes often glazed over the descriptions of their approaches (what subgenres, where the horror effects are coming from). But every once in a while there's really tantalizing or unusual sounding stories about Africa, Indonesian martial arts horror, a story about a shepherd, Tarzan starring in Israeli horror adventures, italian extreme horror and amazing sounding gothics from all around the world.

It notes a handful of comic artists, Suehiro Maruo is oddly absent but I was pleased to discover Daijiro Morohoshi who I might have seen a little of but most of what I found on search was new to me.

The political/cultural background for every country is detailed, if horror was frowned upon or even outlawed (often in soviet countries, Germany and Japan censored under post-war occupation, some people writing horror only in exile), whether what each writer was doing was considered high art or trash from the gutter. It seemed like quite a lot of the South American writers were politicians.
A few times Nevins writes about authors not pursuing just "mere fear" and it seemed as if it was his own opinion (?), I don't understand why someone so devoted to horror would feel that being scary for it's own sake wasn't enough, given how that approach can be as intense and memorable as anything else when it's done well.

It is mentioned that Ewers was a Nazi but not Strobl, somehow.

No cover credit for Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

I do wish there was some sort of guide about the availability in english of these books. Perhaps Nevins was concerned it would date the book too much and that people might not bother searching for newer books if they weren't already in an english list? I spent a while checking isfdb and amazon for many of the writers but I didn't have the patience to research every writer that sounded promising. A few were indeed published after this book.
Sad that I probably won't hear about most of these authors again. If a particular writer has sufficiently high status, there's a good chance Penguin or some other classics publisher has them in english, a good deal of this stuff goes unnoticed by most horror fans and I can't blame them too much for not catching them all.

This could and should be an important building block for the future of horror. It's pretty great and I bought Nevins' Horror Fiction In The 20th Century, which can be considered a companion to this.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 00:20 (three weeks ago) link

I can't remember who the writer was but one of the unique ideas I came across in the above book was from a writer in exile from a dictatorship who wrote a novel in which even gods are powerless against the goverment, which just seems like a horribly depressing idea. Quite a few south american stories were mentioned in which all the characters are completely fucked and have nothing but terrifyingly bad choices available.

I didn't know that books aimed at railway travelers was such a big thing in India. Which makes me wonder about "airport novels", do publishers and even writers really spend a lot of time thinking about what people want to read at an airport?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 21:06 (three weeks ago) link

I like the idea of Brunner but haven’t really been able to read.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:14 (three weeks ago) link

Brunner’s supporting cast, including the Jesuit time-travel expert, Father Ramon

Another one for my 'Catholics in spaaaaaace!' list.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:11 (three weeks ago) link

Never read any Brunner meself, sounds intriguing but this (re: Stand on Zanzibar) puts me off: Some examples of slang include "codder" (man), "shiggy" (woman), "whereinole" (where in hell?), "prowlie" (an armoured police car), "offyourass" (possessing an attitude), "bivving" (bisexuality, from "ambivalent") and "mucker" (a person running amok).

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:16 (three weeks ago) link

Elizabeth Moon's Remnant population: emo sf in the Le Guin mould. Good aliens and bad humans, though the humans aren't all that bad, and the dice are stacked rather heavily in favour of the aliens - not that Le Guin didn't indulge in a bit of dice stacking herself. Enjoyable but somewhat cosy and convenient.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 09:28 (three weeks ago) link

Also for fans of (at least) 5000 posts, this Rollin Speculative looks like the first, b. 2011, and is where I came in: (hey thomp, get back here):
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:42 (three weeks ago) link

Didn't mean to drop the g, sorry.

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:43 (three weeks ago) link

Or jump the gun on :

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:44 (three weeks ago) link

will jump gun for dinosaur

Bewlay Brothers & Sister Rrose (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 02:32 (three weeks ago) link

Good Ray Bradbury rundown and intro to new exhibit at Chicago's American Writer's Museum.

There's a free talk by his autobiographer tonight:

BlackIronPrison, Tuesday, 27 April 2021 21:53 (two weeks ago) link

re: the recent KSR opening scene

The risk of a heat wave and blackout striking a major U.S. city simultaneously is growing -- and it "may be the deadliest climate-related event we can imagine."

— Christopher Flavelle (@cflav) May 3, 2021

π” π”žπ”’π”¨ (caek), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:19 (one week ago) link

To say something slightly more substantial about many SFF readers wanting simplistic and easy to swallow stories, see some of the commentary on hopepunk. Noblebright (another dumb genre name) is the conservative version but I don't know if there is any actual writers who call themselves that. But many people have found hopepunk stories to be deeply conservative. Katherine Addison's Goblin Emperor in particular.

Some people accused Becky Chambers of racial stereotyping in her hopepunk space operas.

Peter Watts has been very supportive of Kelly Robson but he still ridiculed the hopepunk genre because he found the idea of hope being subversive to be laughable. Hope is the default he says.

As much as I enjoy this kind of mockery, I do actually want to enjoy Goblin Emperor and Chambers if and when I read them because a lot of people genuinely loved them, so I'm kind of hyped.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:31 (one week ago) link

Don't know about racial stereotyping but the one becky chambers thing I tried to read was so pollyanna-ish I couldn't finish it.

Peppy protagonist: hey evil space pirates, don't rape and murder us and steal all our supplies, it makes more sense for you to just take what you need and leave us in peace!
Evil space pirates: Ok sure!

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:39 (one week ago) link

I hate hate hate the -punk construction, yes even cyberpunk and steampunk. Basically if you haven't been in the pit at Agnostic Front or, er, The Exploited don't call yourself punk, whippersnappers. Hopepunk is the worst yet, although noblepunk would beat it if anyone had been mad enough to moniker the 'genre' thus.

electrical wizard (Matt #2), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 19:25 (one week ago) link

Yes Hopepunk is particularly gross.

If you want racial stereotyping I can(not) recommend Hellspark by Janet Kagan. Not that she stereotypes any existing races or cultures, but in her humanoid diaspora every planet confirms to extremely rigid and laboured stereotypes (one lot carry knives which they obsessively polish while thinking; one lot shake bangles to make a point; one lot approach from the right to appear submissive, obviously another lot approach from the right to appear dominant!) and it's only one interplanetary traveller who helps them see that hey man underneath we're all the same!

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 19:29 (one week ago) link

I'll accept cyberpunk and splatterpunk but I feel that if there is no punk aesthetic at all, then I'd rather call it something else. So steampunk is steamtech to me. Dieselpunk is dieseltech, solarpunk is solar SF, mannerpunk is fantasy-of-manners, hopepunk is uuuhhhh, I dunno.

Somebody mocking it called it Copepunk.

Adding punk to everything makes the genre naming so boring too. I also find it dumb in music when someone highly individual and/or untutored like Captain Beefheart gets called punk, I don't think it makes a lot of sense.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 19:47 (one week ago) link

Jess Nevins - Horror Fiction In The 20th Century

This book is a huge undertaking and it was impossible this was going to please everyone. It covers more areas of horror fiction than most surveys care to or even would consider looking at, but it's under 300 pages and Nevins is just here by himself. In addition to the expected anglosphere writers and the parts cut and paste from Horror Needs No Passport (I did wonder if there were some new entries in these parts, because there were profiles I didn't remember), there's sections on horror for children and young adults, horror written by (and largely for?) African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Australian Aboriginals, Gays and Lesbians that mostly never had much of an audience outside their own communities.

I had some of the same problems with this as I did with Horror Needs No Passport (profiles on writers often blur together through similarities, authors who write primarily to scare seem to be considered less worthy) but this is often a more fun read.
The parts I enjoyed the most are when Nevins makes arguments and gets opinionated. I have never heard so much about the various trends going on in the ghost story and pulp eras and the claim that women ghost story authors made advancements that unfortunately weren't built on for a long time. There's some authors profiled who seem to have been a big deal in their time who I don't recall hearing about (Harriet Prescott Spofford and John Burke). I hadn't ever heard that James Herbert, Bentley Little and Benchley's Jaws novel all had a leftist outlook. Very few authors get a bad review but I was pleased the entries on Tanith Lee and SP Somtow were so positive; oddly the opinion in Horror Needs No Passport that Koji Suzuki is a bad writer saved by great ideas is not included here. Was Rosemary Timperley really more popular than Daphne Du Maurier? Timperley is fairly obscure these days and much of her short stories are impossible to find, even hard enough to find her novels.

I wish Nevins had made it clearer which authors he had himself read extensively and which he was going more on other scholars' research. We are often told a writer uses certain subjects and approaches "to terrify the reader" and I'm generally guessing this is more the intent of the authors rather than the actual effect on most of its readers? But it's not clear. How often is anything expected to terrify an experienced horror reader?

At the end he lists a lot of authors he would like to have covered but didn't have the time to. Some were big enough to surprise me (Graham Masterton). I'm surprised he didn't mention Jessica Amanda Salmonson here because he admires her as a scholar and cites her often. Nevins given Fantastic Victoriana an enormous update so maybe this will receive some expansion years down the line too?

This book could have used another proofreading, the typos are generally minor but there's a few bigger mistakes like Julian Gracq being called "Jean Gracq", Basil Copper is called "Basil Cooper" a few times.

Some further complaints and more minor quibbles.
- Brian Eno is wrongly listed as the producer of Velvet Underground's debut album (a comparison is made about the relatively low sales of Weird Tales despite its enormous influence to what Eno said about Velvet Undergound's debut).
- Hugh B Cave's comeback is not mentioned, only his pulp era.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley is mentioned in the context of 40s ghost stories. Bradley did start publishing in the late 40s but I doubt this is who Nevins meant.
- Datlow's part of Year's Best Fantasy & Horror is mentioned but I thought it was worth mentioning how many editors came before in this type of anthology.
- I was pleased to see the section on 60s/70s paperback era gothic romances but it seems to only scratch the surface, given the enormous number of book covers I've seen from this particular era.
- The RPG section doesn't mention Worlds Of Darkness.
- Some novels are included for sheer misery and I kept expecting to see Samuel Delany's Hogg but it wasn't there.
- I wanted some elaboration on why the 80s were a golden age and why the 90s were a slump. Is this purely about sales? Nevins says (noting a rare agreement with Joshi) that the slump allowed more artistic writers to cater to a more sophisticated readership. But couldn't this still have happened within the genre if sales had been better?
- I would have liked much more opinions rather than the encyclopedia approach it takes most of the time.

Despite all this, it's a very good book, not as vital as Horror Needs No Passport but still an achievement.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 8 May 2021 22:03 (three days ago) link

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