WWWednesday: October 25, 2017


Julian May passed away earlier this month. She was best known the speculative fiction field for The Saga of the Pliocene Exile series, but May first published in 1951. She wrote nearly 300 novels in various genres under various pseudonyms. Locus has a nice obituary.

A seasonal black cat drawing.

A seasonal black cat drawing.

Books and Writing:

Kirkus Reviews gave YA novel American Heart by Laura Moriarty a starred review. When commenters complained about the story, which tells the story of a Muslim refugee in America from the point of view of a white American teenager, senior editorial staff met with the reviewer, after which the reviewer changed her review and removed the star. Vulture interviewed Clairborne Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Kirkus, about the controversy and the changed review.

Over the past few years Kirkus, which is a trade reviewer, has made policy changes to champion diversity and inclusion in its reviews. With YA books, they always identify the race, religion and sexual orientation of the primary characters and match reviewers to those characters so that they are providing a critique on culturally sensitive issues. In the case of American Heart, those who complained felt that the review did not go far enough in doing that.

Should a reviewer change a review because readers disagree? Kirkus states that the reviewer decided, or at least agreed, to remove the star; would they have let it stand if she had not agreed?

Tor.com wants to you check out these beautiful endpapers in Brandon Sanderson’s new book Oathbringer.

Did you know that Charlie Jane Anders was secretly working on a YA space opera trilogy? Tor Teen will be releasing it.

Uncanny Magazine announced some editorial changes. Julia Rios will be leaving and two new staffers, Mimi Mondal and Shana DuBois will be joining the team.

Locus Magazine shares some new October releases in paperback.

And, if you’ve already begun your Christmas-present hunting for the year, Black Girl Nerds review the Doctor Who Paper Doll book. Surely someone on your list needs this.

With, as they put it, “the benefit of hindsight,” the Edmonton-based Hugo Award Book Club wonders if the Hugo awarded to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was un-deserved.

TV and Movies:

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is back on BBC for Season Two. Here is Den of Geek’s delightfully fanish review of the first episode (warning, spoilers). This article from a few months ago introduces some new characters to the mix. (Spoiler alert again; it was great to see Alan Tudyk!)

Stranger Things, Season 2 starts on Netflix on October 27. Here is the final trailer.

Star Trek; Discovery is still struggling to find a home with the fans. Here is a review of a recent episode with an interesting observation; the show has too much Star Trek.

In the Whoverse, the BBC has provided some tidbits about new cast members who will join the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whitaker.

Salon profiled Lloyd Kaufman, studio head of the famous/infamous Troma Films. The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke’Em High, and Bubbah-Hotep are just three of their masterpieces. And… West End musicals? Really?


Here is the Vogue photo-shoot black cat image. Black cat with pumpkin.

Here is the Vogue photo-shoot black cat image.

The AV Club shares a roundup of not-too-scary Halloween things to do with young children. I don’t have children or grandchildren, but the tone of this article made me smile so I included it. (And it might really be useful to parents.)

It is important to me that you all know that for a limited time you can find Unicorn Froot Loops on your supermarket shelves. (Thanks to File 770 for sharing this vital information.)


The "Awww," cute black cat image. Black kitten with pumpkin and sunflowers.

The “Awww,” cute black cat image.

Ars Technica comments on the new direction Gran Turismo takes with its latest release.


Kotaku had this great article about Japan’s Halloween trains! They’ve now become commercialized, but originally they were a chance for foreigners (read “us”) to “be a nuisance” on Tokyo’s train system. Interesting history!

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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. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. so sad about May–I absolutely devoured her Pliocene books (reading and rereading them) and the follow-ups as they came out and have always wanted to reread them at some point.

    • I’ve thought about rereading them. This is embarrassing to admit, but there was a technique her characters in that series used to impede the mind-readers among the group, counting to four mentally, and I did that more than once at particularly contentious meetings. (Not because anyone in the room could read minds that I KNEW, but it helped ground me.)

  2. Really excellent collection of links today, Marion — thank you!

  3. awwww, kitties!

  4. A few days ago I read a surprisingly sober and critical piece on Slate about the online “culture cop” mentality (we saw it firsthand with The Black Witch as well). One of the most interesting points in the piece was how very hard Moriarty and her publisher tried in advance to make sure sensitive issues were addressed appropriately in American Heart, to no avail. http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/10/16/kirkus_withdraws_starred_review_after_criticism.html

    • Since we write reviews, I am very interested in this discussion. Thanks for sharing the link to the Slate article! I think we will be seeing more of this type of discussion ongoing.

      • I’ve been reading about “toxic YA twitter” (mentioned in the Slate article) and have visited the twitter feeds of some who are involved. I agree, it’s toxic and scary. I’m all for social justice, and for diversity in YA literature, but these junior SJWs see intolerance everywhere to the point that they themselves have become the thing they say they hate.

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