This week’s word for Wednesday is the adjective rattatattatory, which means “consisting of repeated sounds or tapping,” as in, “the fireworks exploded in a rattatattatory burst.” This word should win an award for carrying onomatopoeia to absurd lengths. Thanks once again to Haggard Hawks.


Charles Stross was awarded the Alberto Lisiero award, given to those who contribute to the popularity and quality of science fiction writing.

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons

Tooting Our Own Horn:

Bill’s review of Sebastien de Castell’s novel Tyrant’s Throne made it to File 770! It’s Item 13. 

Books and Writing:

The UK Guardian shared an excerpt from Philip Pullman’s The Belle Sauvage, the prequel to The Golden Compass. The Belle Sauvage is the first book in THE BOOK OF DUST series and the title refers to a canoe.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America (SWFA) have added a “best game writing” category to the Nebulas, beginning in 2018.

I could put this item under “Games” but Far Cry 5, by Ubisoft, doesn’t exist yet as a game. This really seems more like crazy, scary popular culture to me, and it seems to go with the item right above it. Far Cry 5 is set in the wilds of… Montana, and the players mission is to take down the leader of doomsday cult. The article does not say whether candidates for Congress body-slam journalists in the game, but this reads as weird and a little too on-the-nose.

The Atlantic thinks that Marvel’s comic sales dip is not caused by the introduction of diverse characters but of old-fashioned business practices that no longer work.

This link from 2016 leads to numerous essays by many SFF writers (including several of our favorites) writing about how they address mental illness in their work.

Lady Tomoe Gozen, 12th century Japanese warrior

Lady Tomoe Gozen, 12th century Japanese warrior

I saw this and immediately thought of our own Brad Hawley, who not only reviews comics here but teaches them in his college-level English classes. In this article, the writer mounts some arguments for why graphic novels should not be taught in college.  Shannon Watkins advances the usual arguments as a diligent gatekeeper of the canon if not a very imaginative or rigorous one. One complaint against graphic novels in college is that they are, she thinks, easier to read than text only works, and another complaint is that they advance “a political agenda,” one, apparently that isn’t hers. The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, which recently changed its name, is a conservative nonprofit based in North Carolina.


For reasons I don’t need to go into here, I was looking for a Teach Yourself Gallifreyan site, and found this four-year-old article from IO9 that is just fun.

Elle Magazine takes a look at the Facebook moderation guidelines that were leaked by the Guardian, and sees some serious problems with what constitutes a threat/harassment and what does not. Warning; this may be difficult to read for some.

If comedian Sara Benincasa can help raise $500,000 for United Nations Refugee Agency, Neil Gaiman will read the Cheesecake Factory Menu aloud on stage. As of Saturday, May 27, Benincasa had raised nearly $63,000. The deadline in National Refugee Day, June 22. Click here if you want to donate.

Those of you who love jazz may really enjoy this. For the rest of us, it’s interesting. I was going to embed the video but I think you would read the text first, and if you’re not a jazz fan you may choose to skip the video. I’d say “or mute it” but I didn’t think that worked very well.

This article and the video that follows provide a good recap of the gunman situation at the Phoenix ComicCon this weekend. No one was hurt.

Here is Jason David Franks’s statement and a Q&A. It’s a little over eleven minutes long.

Movies and TV:

Hao Jingfang, Hugo winner for Best Novelette, is included in this Chinese car commercial as a person who embodies innovation and achievement.

File770 points out that she is not the first woman to win a Hugo in the novelette category, but she is the first Chinese woman to so, and it’s still a neat acknowledgment.

Since May 26 is National Dracula Day… Yes, I will wait a moment while you digest that. May 26th is National Dracula Day. Not Vampire Day, Dracula Day. (It’s to commemorate the date Bram Stoker’s Dracula was first published.) Syfy Wire celebrated by ranking a series of movies/TV Draculas.

Joan of Arc, courtesy of the Smithsonian

Joan of Arc, courtesy of the Smithsonian

Science and Technology:

Ars Technica has a wonderful story about the 16th century engineer Gabriel Tandini, who helped fend off the Ottoman siege of Rhodes for many months.


I have seen the occasional Virgin Mary statue enshrined in a bathtub near my home, but never so many, and such diverse ones, as the Atlas Obscura article discovered in a small town in Massachusetts. Somerville may have as many as 600 “bathtub Marys.”  There is more information on the photographer Debra Pacini’s website.


Are you ready for space tourism? NASA is getting there. I don’t  want to go to the sun, though.


There will be no column on Wednesday, June 7, but I will be back the week after that.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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