| || |Completing the 2020 Bingo Challenge: Short Story Edition submitted by FarragutCircle to Fantasy [link] [comments]
One of the rules of the Fantasy
Bingo Reading Challenge is that you can read an anthology or collection for any of the squares. I’ve always been a fan of short fiction, so I’ve occasionally used this rule to complete my Bingo Card (I used three collections outside of the Five Short Stories square last year, for example). When planning my card for the 2020 Bingo, I noticed that several of the squares fit quite well for some of the collections and anthologies I had (a Star Trek anthology for Exploration, books with colors or numbers in their names, etc.). “What if…” I wondered, “…I can do it for every
Thus, my project is born: Complete my Bingo card using only books of short stories
, following all the other rules of Bingo. I did not
repeat a single author from one square to another, and I even made sure not to repeat editors, either. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
A brief aside before we start, some terms I use that some may not be familiar to some:
- Anthology: A book of short stories by multiple authors, usually assembled by an editor whose name is attached to the book (i.e. The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan)
- Collection: A book of short stories by a single author (i.e. Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor)
- Short Story Cycle: A book of short stories that has its own narrative (i.e. Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood). Some similarities with “interlinked collection,” “mosaic novel,” and “fix-up novel” (The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury being a famous example of the latter).
- Reprint and Original: Many anthologies/collections reprint stories published previously (reprint) vs. originally written for the book in question (original). Some collections will mix it up (such as a reprint collection with one original story to encourage readers who have read the others to pick up the new book).
What did I hope to accomplish by doing this particular short fiction challenge? Some of my friends will complain about the Five Short Stories square (especially the hard mode requirement to read a book), and I wanted to spite them a little bit and also demonstrate that there’s a lot of different and interesting books out there to read in that format! Planning:
The hardest thing about this was the original planning, as several books I thought would be an easy match for the square didn’t work because another anthology I planned to use already included that author, so I had to dig a bit deeper to find something that didn’t repeat any authors. Also, in past Bingo Challenges, my cards are usually quite fluid as I shift books around throughout the year. Because of all the authors I was juggling, I couldn’t easily do that (though it was vastly easier to do with collections instead of anthologies, for obvious reasons). Numbers:
For this card, I officially read 32 books
for the 25 squares: One of those books was quite short, so I read an additional three to meet the length requirement. For the original Five Short Stories square, I decided to be obnoxious and read five collections. These 32 books included 1 short novel (included in one of the collections), 8 novellas, 106 novelettes, 498 short stories, and 3 poems
for a total of at least 2,739,975 words
(the rough equivalent of reading the first nine novels of The Wheel of Time
). I read 189 different authors
. In addition to the 32 books above, I read 15 “pre-Bingo” books—books I felt I needed to read to be able to read the anthology or collection I actually used for my Bingo Card. Fifteen of the 32 books were ones I already owned. Nine books I checked out from the library. Five books I bought specific for
Bingo, and three books were free (gifts or free online). 1. Novel Translated from Its Original Language: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (reprint collection)
2. Setting Featuring Snow, Ice, or Cold: Frozen Fairy Tales
- Reason: I couldn’t read my first choice so I looked through my TBR list to find another SF/F collection I thought would be a translation. It also won the 2010 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection.
- Favorite Story: “My Love” as I really liked how the characters grew apart and then back together again.
- Recommended: Only if you like short depressing literary fiction that mostly hinge on dreams and ghosts.
- Hard Mode: Yes, Pretrushevskaya is a woman.
- Other Options: I really wanted to read Xia Jia’s A Summer Beyond Your Reach, but she had a story in another anthology I read. I also considered one of Ken Liu’s Chinese SF/F anthologies (Invisible Planets or Broken Stars). I read Jurado & Lara’s Spanish Women of Wonder last year. Etgar Keret’s Fly Already, Kenji Miyazawa’s Once and Forever, or Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge also looked promising.
edited by Kate Wolford (original anthology)
3. Optimistic Spec Fic: Ingathering: The Complete People Stories
- Reason: I literally searched snow and anthology and this was one of the early options.
- Favorite Story: tie between “The Stolen Heart” by Christina Ruth Johnson and “Death in Winter” by Lissa Sloan; the first just felt great, and the second has this haunting feel I loved.
- Recommended: Yes; a good selection of fairy tale-inspired stories. Read during the summer, though, it felt really cold.
- Hard Mode: Yes, every story is in a snowy or cold setting.
- Other Options: I’m kind of mad that I didn’t come across Snowpocalypse: Tales of the End of the World (edited by Clint Collins and Scott Woodward) until after I read my original choice. I like silly titles.
by Zenna Henderson (short story cycle, 1 original to this book)
4. Novel Featuring Necromancy: The Book of the Dead
- Reason: I’ve had a copy of this book for a couple years, and I needed an excuse to read it. It’s actually an omnibus of Henderson’s two People collections plus some previously uncollected stories. I’ve read the first People collection (Pilgrimage) several times people).
- Favorite Story: I’ll say “Ararat” here, but the first six stories (the original Pilgrimage collection) are amazingly wonderful and heartwarming.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Zenna Henderson deserves more attention.
- Hard Mode: Yes. <3
- Other Options: If Henderson’s book hadn’t worked out, I considered Heiroglyph (edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer) and Salena Ulibarri’s two Glass and Gardens anthologies (Solarpunk Summers and Solarpunk Winters), but that would’ve required juggling my card.
edited by Jared Shurin (original anthology)
5. Ace/Aro Spec Fic: Life Within Parole, Volume 1
- Reason: I asked Jared Shurin (pornokitsch) if he knew of any anthologies with a necromantic theme, and he rattled off five or six options before remembering that he himself had edited an anthology about mummies. I don’t know how you forget something like that.
- Favorite Story: tie between “Old Souls” by David Thomas Moore and “Three Memories of Death” by Will Hill (non-SF/F)
- Recommended: Yes, but it’s out of print! Several of the stories were reprinted in Paula Guran’s The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, including “Three Memories of Death.”
- Hard Mode: No, through several do have mummies as protagonists.
- Other Options: I was considering Brian McNaughton’s The Throne of Bones since the description seemed rather death-magicky. At this point, the Paula Guran anthology above would probably be a good choice.
by RoAnna Sylver (collection, mix of reprint and original)
6. Novel Featuring a Ghost: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
- Reason: A friend found this on Claudie Arseneault’s asexual recommendations website, which was good, but I felt I needed to read her novel Chameleon Moon first to understand the collection. I’m glad I did.
- Favorite Story: Reluctantly “Phoenix Down” as it felt the most self-contained.
- Recommended: Only if you loved Chameleon Moon, which I only recommend if you like a sample of the writing. It’s amazingly diverse in representation, but my frustrations with the novel related more towards its pacing and worldbuilding. Plus I don’t like superheroes.
- Hard Mode: Yes, half the stories have an asexual or aromantic protagaonist.
- Other Options: My original choice was Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology edited by Claudie Arseneault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, and RoAnna Sylver, a Kickstarter-funded book. However, due to the pandemic, the publication was pushed back, and I didn't want to wait any longer. I also seriously considered Chuck Tingle’s Not Pounded in the Butt.
by M. R. James (collection, mix of reprint and original)
7. Novel Featuring Exploration: No Limits
- Reason: I just searched ghost anthology, and this was a top result. I have actually never heard of M. R. James before this year, but I gather he’s a huge influence since he’s written so many ghost stories.
- Favorite Story: “The Mezzotint” as it was the one that creeped me out the most.
- Recommended: Yes, but only if you realize that it’s got an older style to them (since this book came out in 1904), and that most of these stories won’t creep you out in the year 2020.
- Hard Mode: No, the ghosts are either antagonists or obstacles.
- Other Options: I actually don’t know, I stopped searching after I found the book. M. R. James does have 3 more collections of ghost stories, though (all of 4 of which have been gathered in Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James).
edited by Peter David (original anthology)
8. Climate Fiction: Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction
- Reason: I read the first few Star Trek: New Frontier novels back in the late 1990s, but never finished it, so I got all the books for a personal readthrough. Star Trek is by definition perfect for the exploration square, so I read the books. However, I was reading them in publication order, so I had to read the first 14 books before I could get to the anthology!
- Favorite Story: “Waiting for G’Doh, or, How I Learned to Stop Moving” is a rather funny story about the security officer Zak Kebron at the beginning of his career.
- Recommended: Yes, but only if you’ve read at least the first six Star Trek: New Frontier novels (all the stories are set before the first book, but most of the characters aren’t really established until you’ve read the first four).
- Hard Mode: Maybe, nearly all the stories feature exploration, but the plots are often about backstories for the main characters of the series.
- Other Options: I considered James Alan Gardner’s Gravity Wells (his novel Expendable is a perfect exploration book, so I was hoping the collection would work). Past anthologies that would probably work is Federations edited by John Joseph Adams, Galactic Empires edited by Neil Clarke, and maybe Alastair Reynolds’s Deep Navigation or Galactic North.
edited by Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez, & Joey Eschrich (original anthology)
9. Novel with a Color in the Title: The King in Yellow
- Reason: A friend recommended to me as this theme was getting difficult for me to find, as all my other options included stories by authors I had to read for other squares. This book was produced from a short story contest run by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University and judged in part by Kim Stanley Robinson.
- Favorite Story: “On Darwin Tides” by Shauna O’Meara, which follows a “sea gypsy” in Malaysia as she struggles in this new dystopian future.
- Recommended: Only if the topic appeals to you—because it was a contest, the stories are mostly from amateur writers and the quality mostly shows. It’s free online, though, and there’s a second book, Everything Change II, which I’ve been told is better.
- Hard Mode: No, most of them are apocalyptic or post-apocalypse.
- Other Options: My original choice was Drowned Worlds edited by Jonathan Strahan, but there’s also Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams, and I imagine a lot of solarpunk-themed books could work for this, too.
by Robert W. Chambers (original collection)
10. Any Fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR Fantasy Readalong Book: Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea
- Reason: I already had it (it’s available on Project Gutenberg)
- Favorite Story: “In the Court of the Dragon” which felt like one of the creepier stories to me.
- Recommended: Honestly, no. Only half the stories are SF/F, the other half are all stories about bohemian artists in Paris. This book is known for the stories involving “The King in Yellow” play, but they didn’t really work for me.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: I considered using Judith Tarr’s Nine White Horses, the anthology Blackguards, Jack Vance’s Wild Thyme, Green Magic, Walter Jon Williams’s The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories, Black Feathers edited by Ellen Datlow, or How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin.
by Sarah Pinsker (reprint collection, 1 original to this book)
11. Self-Published Novel: In the Stars I'll Find You & Other Tales of Futures Fantastic
- Reason: The Goodreads Book of the Month club picked it for June this year. I did own or read all the other options that were available at the time.
- Favorite Story: tie between “And Then There Were (N-One)” and “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind”
- Recommended: Yes! There’s only one story I would rate less than 4 stars in this book.
- Hard Mode: Yes, I actually led the discussion for the book in June.
- Other Options: We don’t read very many collections or anthologies for the Fantasy book clubs, so my only choices were Fritz Leiber’s Sword and Deviltry (Classics club, November 2017), Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin’s anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories (RAB, May 2018), and we currently have Daniel M. Lavery’s The Merry Spinster for FIF (September 2020). There’s also the Dresden Files read-along which did two of Butcher’s collections, and the Uncanny Magazine Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction/Fantasy read-along (those would’ve been rereads for me, though).
by Bradley P. Beaulieu (mostly reprint collection)
12. Novel with Chapter Epigraphs: Not the End of the World
- Reason: I already owned this, it was basically the oldest self-published collection I had.
- Favorite Story: tie between “Flashed Forward” and “No Viviremos Como Presos” – both dealing with a lot of emotions.
- Recommended: Yes, the only other stories by Beaulieu I’ve read were 2 co-written novellas, and I felt this collection was better. I haven’t read his novels so I can’t compare.
- Hard Mode: Yes, at the time of this post, it has 18 ratings on Goodreads.
- Other Options: There are hundreds of options, but I could’ve read Lawrence M. Schoen’s recent collection The Rule of Three and Other Stories (his other collection, Buffalito Bundle, has stories featuring The Amazing Conroy and are lots of fun.)
by Kate Atkinson (short story cycle)
13. Novel Published in 2020: Shadows & Tall Trees 8
- Reason: This was another difficult square, as I knew a short story cycle had the best chance of having epigraphs before every story. I finally found this book by Kate Atkinson. (Ironically, I realized later that my Politics choice also had epigraphs.)
- Favorite Story: “The Cat Lover,” I guess.
- Recommended: No, unless you like literary magical realism where stories just kind of end.
- Hard Mode: No, all of the epigraphs are quotes from Latin or Shakespeare.
- Other Options: Apparently, Retief! by Keith Laumer would’ve worked from my options. It really is a difficult thing because in a collection some authors might have an epigraph for a story, but not all or most of them.
edited by Michael Kelly (original anthology)
14. Novel Set in a School or University: Sideways Stories from Wayside School
- Reason: I picked this off Locus Magazine’s forthcoming books list and bought it.
- Favorite Story: tie between “The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell” by Brian Evenson and “Child of Shower and Gleam” by Rebecca Campbell – the first is creepy as hell, and the second is strange and lovely.
- Recommended: Yes, if you’re comfortable with weird or darker fantasy stories.
- Hard Mode: No, Michael Kelly has edited several anthologies before.
- Other Options: I had planned to use The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu, but I needed Liu for another square. I also considered A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell, and I had three anthologies from Joshua Palmatier I could’ve used (Apocalyptic, Galactic Stew, and My Battery is Low and It is Getting Dark) but I needed another Palmatier anthology for another square. Any of the various “Best Science Fiction or Fantasy of the Year” type anthologies that came out in 2020 would’ve been appropriate as well (Jonathan Strahan, Neil Clarke, Rich Horton, Paula Guran, Ellen Datlow, Bogi Takács, and Jared Shurin all edit “Year’s Best” or “Best of Year”-style anthologies).
; Wayside School is Falling Down
; Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
; and Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom
by Louis Sachar (short story cycles)
15. Book About Books: Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore
- Reason: Strangely, one of the first books I thought of for this square. Plus, the most recent book had come out. I decided to read all four as each book is really short (only about 20,000 words per book). Only the first one or two was a reread.
- Favorite Story: None, they’re all funny and good.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Maybe better for kids, but I smiled a lot while reading these.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: Witch High edited by Denise Little would’ve been good, but included a story by Esther M. Friesner whom I needed for another square. A Kickstarter-funded anthology, Schoolbooks & Sorcery edited by Michael M. Jones, would’ve worked, but it’s not out yet.
edited by Paula Guran (reprint anthology)
16. A Book That Made You Laugh: Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories
- Reason: This was another difficult square because did you know that searching “book anthology” does not narrow things down at all?? I finally hit upon just searching “library anthology” which did the trick, but this one anthology predetermined at least 3 other squares because of its authors (I couldn’t use Ken Liu, Xia Jia, Amal El-Mohtar, and others because they were all in here).
- Favorite Story: tie between “In the House of the Seven Librarians” by Ellen Klages and “Summer Reading” by Ken Liu. Klages’s story about “feral librarians raising a child” is just wonderful, and Liu’s is very, very sweet.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. This also contains Scott Lynch’s excellent “In the Stacks” and I will never not say no to Kage Baker.
- Hard Mode: No, libraries are an integral part of most of the stories.
- Other Options: *gestures wildly* I don’t know!
by Alex Shvartsman (mostly reprint collection)
17. Five Short Stories:
- Reason: Alex Shvartsman edits an annual humorous SF/F anthology series called Unidentified Funny Objects (the 8th volume is out this fall), but even though I have them all, they all shared authors with other squares until I remember that I had two collections from Shvartsman, and this was one of them.
- Favorite Story: “Things We Leave Behind” is a semiautobiographical story about books. Absolutely lovely.
- Recommended: Yes, but I understand most won’t share his sense of humor. He also tends to write very short stories, so don’t read these for immersion.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: Books making you laugh is so subjective, so any author you like probably has something that could work (you only need one story to make you laugh after all). John Scalzi has a couple collections that could work, Connie Willis has a great sense of humor.
Not for Use in Navigation: Thirteen Stories
- Reason: To be obnoxious I decided to read five collections for this square (instead of just five short stories). I decided to read 5 that I already owned by women/non-binary people. I picked semi-randomly (Hand and McHugh), by older ones I owned (Wurts), and by a couple new ones I was excited about (Datt Sharma and Slatter).
by Iona Datt Sharma (reprint collection)
Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
- Favorite Story: “Quarter Days” is a full third of this book, and it’s an interesting post-WWI setting with magic.
- Recommended: Yes, they have an interesting outlook, and one of the stories has an Indian wedding in space.
by Elizabeth Hand (reprint collection, 1 original)
After the Apocalypse
- Favorite Story: “The Least Trumps” should appeal to the booklover in every single one of us.
- Recommended: These are definitely interesting stories, but I’d only recommend for “The Least Trumps” and “Cleopatra Brimstone.” She’s got a poetic style here that didn't always work for me.
by Maureen F. McHugh (reprint collection, 2 original)
Sourdough and Other Stories
- Favorite Story: “Special Economics” which follows a Chinese girl trapped into working at a factory.
- Recommended: Yes, though it’s also one of the few themed collections (versus themed anthologies) that I’ve seen, with every story dealing with apocalypse in some way.
by Angela Slatter (mostly original collection/short story cycle)
That Ways Lies Camelot
- Favorite Story: “Gallowberries” which features Patience from the Tor.com novella Of Sorrow and Such as a young woman.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Every story is in the same setting, and they all interconnect with each other. I can’t wait to read more from Slatter (I already have The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings).
by Janny Wurts (mostly reprint collection)
- Favorite Story: tie between “Wayfinder” and “That Way Lies Camelot” – both are great stories, the first a coming of age, and the other is bittersweet.
- Recommended: Yes, definitely. In addition to the above, “Dreambridge” is also awesome. I wasn’t as fond of the three ElfQuest stories, but it was interesting to read Wurts’s 4 Fleet stories as I never realized she ever wrote anything close to straight science fiction.
18. Big Dumb Object: Alien Artifacts
- Hard Mode: … Yes?
- Other Options: This is the most open-ended square for this particular Bingo Card, especially since at the time of this post, I own 121 unread anthologies and collections.
edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray (original anthology)
19. Feminist Novel: Skin Folk
- Reason: This was one of the books that made me realize I could do an all-short-story card. I thought the anthology’s theme would perfectly encapsulate the square.
- Favorite Story: “Me and Alice” by Angela Penrose – a kid finds a strange artifact while digging at a site.
- Recommended: Yes, though a few stories weren’t to my taste.
- Hard Mode: No, while the classical BDO is present in several stories, most would fall in the wider definition being used for Bingo.
- Other Options: I’m at a loss here, as I never looked for more after I found this.
by Nalo Hopkinson (collection, mix of reprint and original)
20. Novel by a Canadian Author: The Very Best of Charles de Lint
- Reason: I owned this already from a Humble Bundle.
- Favorite Story: “And the Lillies-Them A-Blow” – a woman is inspired to reconsider her life.
- Recommended: Yes.
- Hard Mode: Yes, Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian.
- Other Options: I had a few other books from the same Humble Bundle called Women of SFF. Most of them would’ve worked.
by Charles de Lint (reprint collection)
21. Novel with a Number in the Title: Nine White Horses: Nine Tales of Horses and Magic
- Reason: It appears I picked this up in 2014 for some reason (I’ve never read de Lint before this year). But he’s Canadian!
- Favorite Story: There are honestly too many to say, but I’ll say “In the Pines” for now.
- Recommended: Yes, yes, yes. I basically added everything he’s written to my TBR.
- Hard Mode: Maybe, it was originally published in 2010 with Tachyon Publications, but in 2014 it was reprinted by de Lint’s Triskell Press (which is the copy I have), which would count.
- Other Options: A friend sent me an anthology edited by Dominik Parisien called Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction, though I would’ve had to juggle square to get it to work. Nalo Hopkinson is Canadian, so Skin Folk would’ve worked, too. Jo Walton has a collection called Starlings.
by Judith Tarr (reprint collection)
22. Romantic Fantasy/Paranormal Romance: Once Upon a Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales
- Reason: At the time, the only collection I had with a number that I could use.
- Favorite Story: “Classical Horses” – an absolutely lovely story that mixes real life and fantasy, and appeals to my Classics nerd background.
- Recommended: Yes! Tarr is a wonderful writer.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: I could’ve used The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories by Alex Shvartsman, Nine Hundred Grandmothers by R. A. Lafferty, and The Rule of Three and Other Stories by Lawrence M. Schoen.
published by Anthea Sharp (original anthology)
23. Novel with a Magical Pet: No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar
- Reason: My original first choice was a bust when I realized quickly that the stories involved love, but were not romance stories. This was an emergency backup as I was nearing the end of reading for this Bingo Challenge.
- Favorite Story: “The Bakers Grimm” by Hailey Edwards, which is a sweet little story about baking under pressure.
- Recommended: No. 99% of the stories are direct appeals to try to get you to buy their books. Many of the stories don’t even really feel like short stories. I had a friend who only read urban fantasy who was adamant that she hated reading short stories and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I do. Many of these read more like vignettes than proper short stories.
- Hard Mode: No, the HEA Club hasn’t done any anthologies or collections for me to participate in.
- Other Options: My backup would’ve been to find some paranormal romance series and look for a collection or anthology in that world, but it would’ve involved more prep reading.
edited by Mercedes Lackey (original anthology)
24. Graphic Novel (at least 1 volume) OR Audiobook/Audiodrama: Eerie Archives, Volume 1
- Reason: Valdemar is an easy setting to choose for this square, and even though I had stopped reading the yearly anthologies (they’re up to 13 or 14 now), I decided to grab the 8th anthology from the library.
- Favorite Story: “A Dream Reborn” by Dylan Birtolo, a beggar girl with a gift grows a conscience.
- Recommended: Only if you’re a Valdemar fan and you literally can’t get enough of the world (I’d recommend sticking with the novels up until the Collegium Chronicles).
- Hard Mode: Yes, Companions can usually speak telepathically with their Heralds and a select few others.
- Other Options: I’m sure there’s a themed anthology perfect for this, but I honestly don’t know offhand if there is one, since this was an easy choice for me.
edited by Archie Goodwin (original comic book anthology)
25. Novel Featuring Politics: Retief!
- Reason: I searched “comics anthology” into my library’s digital catalog. This showed up.
- Favorite Story: No real favorite, but I guess “Flame Fiend” by Eando Binder, about a man desperate to avoid fire.
- Recommended: Yes, if you’re interested in 1960s horror comics anthology magazines. Each story is about 6-10 pages long, but many felt like cheesy horror to my modern eyes.
- Hard Mode: Maybe, each story is standalone, but this book contained the first 5 issues of Eerie comics. I’m going with No because Eerie is a running series.
- Other Options: I considered The Escapist (inspired from Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), a Mouse Guard comics anthology, and Thrilling Adventure Hour before finding Eerie. I also though the Eisner Awards were a good source of finding potential comics anthologies, since that's a category.
by Keith Laumer (reprint collection)
- Reason: I knew the main character was a problem-solving diplomat, so this was an easy pick.
- Favorite Story: “Diplomat-at-Arms” which is a great story of following an experienced old man on a mission, and “Cultural Exchange,” a really funny bureaucratic tale (and this one is free on Project Gutenberg).
- Recommended: Yes, with reservations. They’re all stories from the 1960s, they’re bureaucratic galactic pulp fiction where Retief always knows better than his bumbling superiors and women only show up in secretarial or minor support roles. The stories also feel a bit repetitive as a whole, so if you read these, space it out.
- Hard Mode: No, several of the stories feature royalty.
- Other Options: I felt like this was a nebulous category, but offhand, I’d suggest Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance edited by Jason Sizemore & Lesley Conner and Resist: Tales from a Future Worth Fighting Against edited by Gary Whitta, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey for two explicitly political anthologies, and maybe something like Harry Turtledove’s interlinked collection Agent of Byzantium for an alternate history take on a Byzantine special agent.
- Favorite collections: The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint, Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker, Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter, and Nine White Horses by Judith Tarr
- Favorite anthologies: Ex Libris edited by Paula Guran and The Book of the Dead edited by Jared Shurin
- Favorite overall short stories: In addition to my favorite stories in the books above, I’d also give a special place to The Very Best of Charles de Lint (“In the Pines,” “In the House of My Enemy,” “A Wish Named Arnold,” “Mr. Truepenny's Book Emporium and Gallery,” “Pixel Pixies,” “The Badger in the Bag,” “Timeskip,” “Into the Green,” “Birds,” and “Pal o' Mine”) and to Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea (“And Then There Were (N-One),” “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” “Our Lady of the Open Road,” “Wind Will Rove,” and “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide”).
- An Aside: My father died suddenly in the middle of my reading for this challenge. The books I read from Zenna Henderson and Charles de Lint really helped me during this time, with de Lint’s book making me cry multiple times (in a good way).
Sometime last year after touting one short story or another to my friends, I said, “Oh, I don’t think I read *that* much short fiction,” and they all looked at me funny for some reason.
Oh. Never mind. I get it now.
All joking aside, I’ve read SF/F magazines off and on growing up, and I always enjoyed the occasional Year’s Best Science Fiction
anthology from Gardner Dozois, and Robert Silverberg’s Legends
anthologies were rather formative to my growth as a fantasy reader (that’s where I read George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb for the first time). Some of my favorite writers have done amazing short stories (in fact, I think I like Alastair Reynolds better at the short length than the novel; witness my love for his story “Zima Blue”!). Even if you don’t read more than the usual five short stories for the Bingo Challenge, please consider branching out! I hope I’ve shown with my own card how much variety is out there.
If you’re not sure where to start, your favorite author may have some short stories of their own, either in an anthology or one of their own collections. Mary Robinette Kowal is one of my favorites, and I loved her collection Word Puppets
. If they’re prolific enough, they may have a “Best of” book, like The Best of Connie Willis
or The Very Best of Kate Elliott
. Trying one of the Year’s Best anthologies I mention under #13, Published in 2020
, is also a fun way to explore short fiction.
And even though I didn’t read any for my Bingo Challenge, there are tons of SF/F magazines out there to read from on a daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly schedule. My personal recommendation is for Asimov’s SF
, and Fantasy & Science Fiction
for subscription-only options, and places like Clarkesworld
, and Tor.com
for free online stories. There are also some great magazines/sites like Beneath Ceaseless Skies
and Daily Science Fiction
Looking at award lists is a fun way to get started, as most of the major awards also have short fiction categories. Find out where they were published and try out a magazine issue or an anthology.
I’ll end this with the following:
- an interview by our own tctippens with Jonathan Strahan over at the Fantasy Inn Podcast where they discuss not only his new anthology The Book of Dragons, but reading short fiction in general.
- Editor Jared Shurin ( pornokitsch ) just came out with The Best of British Fantasy 2019 this past June: check it out!
- One of my favorite short story writers is John Wiswell, and I’d like to link two of his wonderful stories: "Tank!" follows a sentient tank attending its first SF convention, and "Open House on Haunted Hill" is a very sweet story about a haunted house trying to get sold to a new family. Both stories are quite short and you can read each in just a few minutes.
- And finally… this is what the internet should be: Naomi Kritzer's "Cat Pictures Please"
As you may have seen, I sent the following Tweet: “The Apple ARM MacBook future is coming, maybe sooner than people expect” https://twitter.com/choco_bit/status/1266200305009676289?s=20
Today, I would like to further elaborate on that. tl;dr Apple will be moving to Arm based macs in what I believe are 4 stages, starting around 2015 and ending around 2023-2025: Release of T1 chip Macbooks, release of T2 chip Macbooks, Release of at least one lower end model Arm Macbook, and transitioning full lineup to Arm. Reasons for each are below.
Apple is very likely going to switch to switch their CPU platform to their in-house silicon designs with an ARM architecture. This understanding is a fairly common amongst various Apple insiders. Here is my personal take on how this switch will happen and be presented to the consumer.
The first question would likely be “Why would Apple do this again?”. Throughout their history, Apple has already made two other storied CPU architecture switches - first from the Motorola 68k to PowerPC in the early 90s, then from PowerPC to Intel in the mid 2000s. Why make yet another? Here are the leading reasons:
- Intel has, in recent years, been making significant losses both in reputation and in actual product value, as well as velocity of product development, breaking their bi-yearly “Tick Tock” cycle for the first time in decades. Most recently, they have fallen well behind AMD’s processor lines in cost to performance ratio, CPU core count, core design (monolithic design vs “chiplet”), power consumption to performance, silicon supply (Intel with significant manufacturing process and yield issues), and on-silicon security features. While Intel still wins out in certain enterprise and datacenter applications, as well as having a much better reputation for reliability and QA (AMD having shipped numerous chips with a broken random- number generator that prevented even booting some mainstream operating system), the number of such applications slowly dwindles with each new release from AMD, and as confidence among decisionmakers in enterprise increases. In the public consciousness, Intel is quickly becoming a point of ridicule against Apple’s Mac lineup, rather than a badge of honor.
- By moving to their own designs, Apple will be free from Intel’s release schedule, which have recently been unpredictable and faced with routine delays due to poor manufacturing yields. Apple will be able to update their Mac lineup on their own timeline, rather than being forced to delay products based on Intel’s ability to meet the release window. This also allows them to leverage relationships with other silicon fabricators to source chips, rather than relying on Intel ’s continued “iteration” that’s leading to a “14nm++++++++++” process, or the continued lack of product diversity with the 10nm process. Apple will also be free to innovate in the design of the silicon platform, rather than being limited by Intel’s design choices. By having full control of the manufacturing and development cycle, Apple can bring even more in-house optimization to the macOS, as they have been for iOS and iPadOS over the years.
- Using an ARM architecture on the Macs allows for a more unified Apple ecosystem, rather than having separate Mac and iOS-based products. The only distinction will be the device form factor and performance characteristics.
- The x86_64 architecture is very old and inefficient, using older methodologies for processor design (CISC vs ARM’s RISC), and the instruction set continues to require support in silicon for emulating 1980s-vintage 16-bit modes, as well as ineffectual and archaic memory addressing modes (segmentation, etc.) The x86_64 architecture is like a city, built atop a much older city, built atop a yet older city, but every layer is built with NYC infrastructure levels of complexity that suited its time and no further.
- Over the last 10 years, Apple has shown that they can consistently produce impressive silicon designs, often leading the market in performance and capability, and Apple has been aggressively acquiring silicon design talent.
A common refrain heard on the Internet is the suggestion that Apple should switch to using CPUs made by AMD, and while this has been considered internally, it will most likely not be chosen as the path forward, even for their megalithic giants like the Mac Pro. Even though AMD would mitigate Intel’s current set of problems, it does nothing to help the issue of the x86_64 architecture’s problems and inefficiencies, on top of jumping to a platform that doesn’t have a decade of proven support behind it. Why spend a lot of effort re-designing and re- optimizing for AMD’s platform when you can just put that effort into your own, and continue the vertical integration Apple is well-known for?
I believe that the internal development for the ARM transition started around 2015/2016 and is considered to be happening in 4 distinct stages. These are not all information from Apple insiders; some of these these are my own interpretation based off of information gathered from supply-chain sources, examination of MacBook schematics, and other indicators from Apple.
Stage1 (from 2014/2015 to 2017):
The rollout of computers with Apple’s T1 chip as a coprocessor. This chip is very similar to Apple’s T8002 chip design, which was used for the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2. The T1 is primarily present on the first TouchID enabled Macs, 2016 and 2017 model year MacBook Pros.
Considering the amount of time required to design and validate a processor, this stage most likely started around 2014 or 2015, with early experimentation to see whether an entirely new chip design would be required, or if would be sufficient to repurpose something in the existing lineup. As we can see, the general purpose ARM processors aren’t a one- trick pony.
To get a sense of the decision making at the time, let’s look back a bit. The year is 2016, and we're witnessing the beginning of stagnation of Intel processor lineup. There is not a lot to look forward to other than another “+” being added to the 14nm fabrication process. The MacBook Pro has used the same design for many years now, and its age is starting to show. Moving to AMD is still very questionable, as they’ve historically not been able to match Intel’s performance or functionality, especially at the high end, and since the “Ryzen” lineup is still unreleased, there is absolutely no benchmarks or other data to show they are worth consideration, and AMD’s most recent line of “Bulldozer” processors were very poorly received. Now is probably as good a time as any to begin experimenting with the in-house ARM designs, but it’s not time to dive into the deep end yet, our chips are not nearly mature enough to compete, and it’s not yet certain how long Intel will be stuck in the mud. As well, it is widely understood that Apple and Intel have an exclusivity contract in exchange for advantageous pricing. Any transition would take considerable time and effort, and since there are no current viable alternative to Intel, the in-house chips will need to advance further, and breaching a contract with Intel is too great a risk. So it makes sense to start with small deployments, to extend the timeline, stretch out to the end of the contract, and eventually release a real banger of a Mac.
Thus, the 2016 Touch Bar MacBooks were born, alongside the T1 chip mentioned earlier. There are good reasons for abandoning the piece of hardware previously used for a similar purpose, the SMC or System Management Controller. I suspect that the biggest reason was to allow early analysis of the challenges that would be faced migrating Mac built- in peripherals and IO to an ARM-based controller, as well as exploring the manufacturing, power, and performance results of using the chips across a broad deployment, and analyzing any early failure data, then using this to patch any issues, enhance processes, and inform future designs looking towards the 2nd stage.
The former SMC duties now moved to T1 includes things like
- Fan speed, voltage, amperage and thermal sensor feedback data
- FaceTime camera and microphone IO
- PMIC (Power Management Controller)
- Direct communication to NAND (solid state storage)
- Direct communication with the Touch Bar
- Secure Enclave for TouchID
The T1 chip also communicates with a number of other controllers to manage a MacBook’s behavior. Even though it’s not a very powerful CPU by modern standards, it’s already responsible for a large chunk of the machine’s operation. Moving control of these peripherals to the T1 chip also brought about the creation of the fabled BridgeOS software, a shrunken-down watchOS-based system that operates fully independently of macOS and the primary Intel processor.
BridgeOS is the first step for Apple’s engineering teams to begin migrating underlying systems and services to integrate with the ARM processor via BridgeOS, and it allowed internal teams to more easily and safely develop and issue firmware updates. Since BridgeOS is based on a standard and now well-known system, it means that they can leverage existing engineering expertise to flesh out the T1’s development, rather than relying on the more arcane and specialized SMC system, which operates completely differently and requires highly specific knowledge to work with. It also allows reuse of the same fabrication pipeline used for Apple Watch processors, and eliminated the need to have yet another IC design for the SMC, coming from a separate source, to save a bit on cost.
Also during this time, on the software side, “Project Marzipan”, today Catalyst, came into existence. We'll get to this shortly.
For the most part, this Stage 1 went without any major issues. There were a few firmware problems at first during the product launch, but they were quickly solved with software updates. Now that engineering teams have had experience building for, manufacturing, and shipping the T1 systems, Stage 2 would begin.
Stage 2 encompasses the rollout of Macs with the T2 coprocessor, replacing the T1. This includes a much wider lineup, including MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, starting with 2018 models, MacBook Air starting with 2018 models, the iMac Pro, the 2019 Mac Pro, as well as Mac Mini starting in 2018.
With this iteration, the more powerful T8012 processor design was used, which is a further revision of the T8010 design that powers the A10 series processors used in the iPhone 7. This change provided a significant increase in computational ability and brought about the integration of even more devices into T2. In addition to the T1’s existing responsibilities, T2 now controls:
- Full audio subsystem
- Secure Enclave for internal NAND storage and encryption/decryption offload
- Management of the whole system’s power and startup sequence, allowing for trusted boot (ensure boot chain-of-trust with no malicious code/rootkit/bootkit)
Those last 2 points are crucial for Stage 2. Under this new paradigm, the vast majority of the Mac is now under the control of an in-house ARM processor. Stage 2 also brings iPhone-grade hardware security to the Mac. These T2 models also incorporated a supported DFU (Device Firmware Update, more commonly “recovery mode”), which acts similarly to the iPhone DFU mode and allows restoration of the BridgeOS firmware in the event of corruption (most commonly due to user-triggered power interruption during flashing).
Putting more responsibility onto the T2 again allows for Apple’s engineering teams to do more early failure analysis on hardware and software, monitor stability of these machines, experiment further with large-scale production and deployment of this ARM platform, as well as continue to enhance the silicon for Stage 3.
A few new user-visible features were added as well in this stage, such as support for the passive “Hey Siri” trigger, and offloading image and video transcoding to the T2 chip, which frees up the main Intel processor for other applications. BridgeOS was bumped to 2.0 to support all of these changes and the new chip.
On the macOS software side, what was internally known as Project Marzipan was first demonstrated to the public. Though it was originally discovered around 2017, and most likely began development and testing within later parts of Stage 1, its effects could be seen in 2018 with the release of iPhone apps, now running on the Mac using the iOS SDKs: Voice Recorder, Apple News, Home, Stocks, and more, with an official announcement and public release at WWDC in 2019. Catalyst would come to be the name of Marzipan used publicly. This SDK release allows app developers to easily port iOS apps to run on macOS, with minimal or no code changes, and without needing to develop separate versions for each. The end goal is to allow developers to submit a single version of an app, and allow it to work seamlessly on all Apple platforms, from Watch to Mac. At present, iOS and iPadOS apps are compiled for the full gamut of ARM instruction sets used on those devices, while macOS apps are compiled for x86_64. The logical next step is to cross this bridge, and unify the instruction sets.
With this T2 release, the new products using it have not been quite as well received as with the T1. Many users have noticed how this change contributes further towards machines with limited to no repair options outside of Apple’s repair organization, as well as some general issues with bugs in the T2.
Products with the T2 also no longer have the “Lifeboat” connector, which was previously present on 2016 and 2017 model Touch Bar MacBook Pro. This connector allowed a certified technician to plug in a device called a CDM Tool (Customer Data Migration Tool) to recover data off of a machine that was not functional. The removal of this connector limits the options for data recovery in the event of a problem, and Apple has never offered any data recovery service, meaning that a irreparable failure of the T2 chip or the primary board would result in complete data loss, in part due to the strong encryption provided by the T2 chip (even if the data got off, the encryption keys were lost with the T2 chip). The T2 also brought about the linkage of component serial numbers of certain internal components, such as the solid state storage, display, and trackpad, among other components. In fact, many other controllers on the logic board are now also paired to the T2, such as the WiFi and Bluetooth controller, the PMIC (Power Management Controller), and several other components. This is the exact same system used on newer iPhone models and is quite familiar to technicians who repair iPhone logic boards. While these changes are fantastic for device security and corporate and enterprise users, allowing for a very high degree of assurance that devices will refuse to boot if tampered with in any way - even from storied supply chain attacks, or other malfeasance that can be done with physical access to a machine - it has created difficulty with consumers who more often lack the expertise or awareness to keep critical data backed up, as well as the funds to perform the necessary repairs from authorized repair providers. Other issues reported that are suspected to be related to T2 are audio “cracking” or distortion on the internal speakers, and the BridgeOS becoming corrupt following a firmware update resulting in a machine that can’t boot.
I believe these hiccups will be properly addressed once macOS is fully integrated with the ARM platform. This stage of the Mac is more like a chimera of an iPhone and an Intel based computer. Technically, it does have all of the parts of an iPhone present within it, cellular radio aside, and I suspect this fusion is why these issues exist.
Recently, security researchers discovered an underlying security problem present within the Boot ROM code of the T1 and T2 chip. Due to being the same fundamental platform as earlier Apple Watch and iPhone processors, they are vulnerable to the “checkm8” exploit (CVE-2019-8900). Because of how these chips operate in a Mac, firmware modifications caused by use of the exploit will persist through OS reinstallation and machine restarts. Both the T1 and T2 chips are always on and running, though potentially in a heavily reduced power usage state, meaning the only way to clean an exploited machine is to reflash the chip, triggering a restart, or to fully exhaust or physically disconnect the battery to flush its memory. Fortunately, this exploit cannot be done remotely and requires physical access to the Mac for an extended duration, as well as a second Mac to perform the change, so the majority of users are relatively safe. As well, with a very limited execution environment and access to the primary system only through a “mailbox” protocol, the utility of exploiting these chips is extremely limited. At present, there is no known malware that has used this exploit. The proper fix will come with the next hardware revision, and is considered a low priority due to the lack of practical usage of running malicious code on the coprocessor.
At the time of writing, all current Apple computers have a T2 chip present, with the exception of the 2019 iMac lineup. This will change very soon with the expected release of the 2020 iMac lineup at WWDC, which will incorporate a T2 coprocessor as well.
Note: from here on, this turns entirely into speculation based on info gathered from a variety of disparate sources.
Right now, we are in the final steps of Stage 2. There are strong signs that an a MacBook (12”) with an ARM main processor will be announced this year at WWDC (“One more thing...”), at a Fall 2020 event, Q1 2021 event, or WWDC 2021. Based on the lack of a more concrete answer, WWDC2020 will likely not see it, but I am open to being wrong here.
Stage3 (Present/2021 - 2022/2023):
Stage 3 involves the first version of at least one fully ARM-powered Mac into Apple’s computer lineup.
I expect this will come in the form of the previously-retired 12” MacBook. There are rumors that Apple is still working internally to perfect the infamous Butterfly keyboard, and there are also signs that Apple is developing an A14x based processors with 8-12 cores designed specifically for use as the primary processor in a Mac. It makes sense that this model could see the return of the Butterfly keyboard, considering how thin and light it is intended to be, and using an A14x processor would make it will be a very capable, very portable machine, and should give customers a good taste of what is to come.
Personally, I am excited to test the new 12" “ARMbook”. I do miss my own original 12", even with all the CPU failure issues those older models had. It was a lovely form factor for me.
It's still not entirely known whether the physical design of these will change from the retired version, exactly how many cores it will have, the port configuration, etc. I have also heard rumors about the 12” model possibly supporting 5G cellular connectivity natively thanks to the A14 series processor. All of this will most likely be confirmed soon enough.
This 12” model will be the perfect stepping stone for stage 3, since Apple’s ARM processors are not yet a full-on replacement for Intel’s full processor lineup, especially at the high end, in products such as the upcoming 2020 iMac, iMac Pro, 16” MacBook Pro, and the 2019 Mac Pro.
Performance of Apple’s ARM platform compared to Intel has been a big point of contention over the last couple years, primarily due to the lack of data representative of real-world desktop usage scenarios. The iPad Pro and other models with Apple’s highest-end silicon still lack the ability to execute a lot of high end professional applications, so data about anything more than video editing and photo editing tasks benchmarks quickly becomes meaningless. While there are completely synthetic benchmarks like Geekbench, Antutu, and others, to try and bridge the gap, they are very far from being accurate or representative of the real real world performance in many instances. Even though the Apple ARM processors are incredibly powerful, and I do give constant praise to their silicon design teams, there still just isn’t enough data to show how they will perform for real-world desktop usage scenarios, and synthetic benchmarks are like standardized testing: they only show how good a platform is at running the synthetic benchmark. This type of benchmark stresses only very specific parts of each chip at a time, rather than how well it does a general task, and then boil down the complexity and nuances of each chip into a single numeric score, which is not a remotely accurate way of representing processors with vastly different capabilities and designs. It would be like gauging how well a person performs a manual labor task based on averaging only the speed of every individual muscle in the body, regardless of if, or how much, each is used. A specific group of muscles being stronger or weaker than others could wildly skew the final result, and grossly misrepresent performance of the person as a whole. Real world program performance will be the key in determining the success and future of this transition, and it will have to be great on this 12" model, but not just in a limited set of tasks, it will have to be great at *everything*. It is intended to be the first Horseman of the Apocalypse for the Intel Mac, and it better behave like one. Consumers have been expecting this, especially after 15 years of Intel processors, the continued advancement of Apple’s processors, and the decline of Intel’s market lead.
The point of this “demonstration” model is to ease both users and developers into the desktop ARM ecosystem slowly. Much like how the iPhone X paved the way for FaceID-enabled iPhones, this 12" model will pave the way towards ARM Mac systems. Some power-user type consumers may complain at first, depending on the software compatibility story, then realize it works just fine since the majority of the computer users today do not do many tasks that can’t be accomplished on an iPad or lower end computer. Apple needs to gain the public’s trust for basic tasks first, before they will be able to break into the market of users performing more hardcore or “Pro” tasks. This early model will probably not be targeted at these high-end professionals, which will allow Apple to begin to gather early information about the stability and performance of this model, day to day usability, developmental issues that need to be addressed, hardware failure analysis, etc. All of this information is crucial to Stage 4, or possibly later parts of Stage 3.
The 2 biggest concerns most people have with the architecture change is app support and Bootcamp.
Any apps released through the Mac App Store will not be a problem. Because App Store apps are submitted as LLVM IR (“Bitcode”), the system can automatically download versions compiled and optimized for ARM platforms, similar to how App Thinning on iOS works. For apps distributed outside the App Store, thing might be more tricky. There are a few ways this could go:
- Developer will need to build both x86_64 and ARM version of their app - App Bundles have supported multiple-architecture binaries since the dawn of OS X and the PowerPC transition
- Move to apps being distributed in an architecture-independent manner, as they are on the App Store. There is some software changes that are suggestive of this, such as the new architecture in dyld3.
- An x86_64 instruction decoder in silicon - very unlikely due to the significant overhead this would create in the silicon design, and potential licensing issues. (ARM, being a RISC, “reduced instruction set”, has very few instructions; x86_64 has thousands)
- Server-side ahead-of-time transpilation (converting x86 code to equivalent ARM code) using Notarization submissions - Apple certainly has the compiler chops in the LLVM team to do something like this
- Outright emulation, similar to the approach that was taken in ARM releases of Windows, but received extremely poorly (limited to 32-bit apps, and very very slow)There could be other solutions in the works to fix this but I am not aware of any. This is just me speculating about some of the possibilities.
As for Bootcamp, while ARM-compatible versions of Windows do exist and are in development, they come with their own similar set of app support problems. Microsoft has experimented with emulating x86_64 on their ARM-based Surface products, and some other OEMs have created their own Windows-powered ARM laptops, but with very little success. Performance is a problem across the board, with other ARM silicon not being anywhere near as advanced, and with the majority of apps in the Windows ecosystem that were not developed in-house at Microsoft running terribly due to the x86_64 emulation software. If Bootcamp does come to the early ARM MacBook, it more than likely will run like very poorly for anything other than Windows UWP apps. There is a high chance it will be abandoned entirely until Windows becomes much more friendly to the architecture.
I believe this will also be a very crucial turning point for the MacBook lineup as a whole. At present, the iPad Pro paired with the Magic Keyboard is, in many ways, nearly identical to a laptop, with the biggest difference being the system software itself. While Apple executives have outright denied plans of merging the iPad and MacBook line, that could very well just be a marketing stance, shutting the down rumors in anticipation of a well-executed surprise. I think that Apple might at least re-examine the possibility of merging Macs and iPads in some capacity, but whether they proceed or not could be driven by consumer reaction to both products. Do they prefer the feel and usability of macOS on ARM, and like the separation of both products? Is there success across the industry of the ARM platform, both at the lower and higher end of the market? Do users see that iPadOS and macOS are just 2 halves of the same coin? Should there be a middle ground, and a new type of product similar to the Surface Book, but running macOS? Should Macs and iPads run a completely uniform OS? Will iPadOS ever see exposed the same sort of UNIX-based tools for IT administrators and software developers that macOS has present? These are all very real questions that will pop up in the near future.
The line between Stage 3 and Stage 4 will be blurry, and will depend on how Apple wishes to address different problems going forward, and what the reactions look like. It is very possible that only 12” will be released at first, or a handful more lower end model laptop and desktop products could be released, with high performance Macs following in Stage 4, or perhaps everything but enterprise products like Mac Pro will be switched fully. Only time will tell.
Stage 4 (the end goal):
Congratulations, you’re made it to the end of my TED talk. We are now well into the 2020s and COVID-19 Part 4 is casually catching up to the 5G = Virus crowd. All Macs have transitioned fully to ARM. iMac, MacBooks Pro and otherwise, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, everything. The future is fully Apple from top to bottom, and vertical integration leading to market dominance continues. Many other OEM have begun to follow in this path to some extent, creating more demand for a similar class of silicon from other firms.
The remainder here is pure speculation with a dash of wishful thinking. There are still a lot of things that are entirely unclear. The only concrete thing is that Stage 4 will happen when everything is running Apple’s in- house processors.
By this point, consumers will be quite familiar with the ARM Macs existing, and developers have had have enough time to transition apps fully over to the newly unified system. Any performance, battery life, or app support concerns will not be an issue at this point.
There are no more details here, it’s the end of the road, but we are left with a number of questions.
It is unclear if Apple will stick to AMD's GPUs or whether they will instead opt to use their in-house graphics solutions that have been used since the A11 series of processors.
How Thunderbolt support on these models of Mac will be achieved is unknown. While Intel has made it openly available for use, and there are plans to have USB and Thunderbolt combined in a single standard, it’s still unclear how it will play along with Apple processors. Presently, iPhones do support connecting devices via PCI Express to the processor, but it has only been used for iPhone and iPad storage. The current Apple processors simply lack the number of lanes required for even the lowest end MacBook Pro. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in order to ship a full desktop-grade platform.
There is also the question of upgradability for desktop models, and if and how there will be a replaceable, socketed version of these processors. Will standard desktop and laptop memory modules play nicely with these ARM processors? Will they drop standard memory across the board, in favor of soldered options, or continue to support user-configurable memory on some models? Will my 2023 Mac Pro play nicely with a standard PCI Express device that I buy off the shelf? Will we see a return of “Mac Edition” PCI devices?
There are still a lot of unknowns, and guessing any further in advance is too difficult. The only thing that is certain, however, is that Apple processors coming to Mac is very much within arm’s reach.
I have been pursuing chest surgery in the recent months and has been a difficult process. The lack of understanding from doctors has left me feeling pretty isolated. I am really struggling to find stories of anyone else who is masculine-leaning but still wants breasts. submitted by
I'm 21 and nonbinary. I was assigned female at birth. I had identified as a transmale since I was 15. It felt right in so many ways, but I never felt completely like a man. I had considered the label of nonbinary when I was young and questioning, but I was terrified of stepping out of the binary completely. I did not like the idea of and others seeing my identity as a statement, I was afraid of not being taken seriously. These fears heavily contributed to me identifying as a binary transman for 4 years.
In college, I felt so out of place in my classes. I am an education major surrounded by very cis and straight women. It was very difficult to be the only visibly trans person in the room. At the beginning of classes when we all went around introducing our names and pronouns, I felt ashamed stating that I used he/him. I didn't look like a man and that was difficult for people to understand. It was so uncomfortable watching people fumble over my pronouns and struggle to decipher what I was. Over time, it felt easier to just let people refer to me how they wanted to, and just act the part.
I became so uncomfortable with the way I was perceived that I somewhat reverted after 4 entire years of being out and proud... I began presenting more feminine, even using she/her pronouns because I felt that was the only way to be taken seriously in my field- especially considering the stigma of being gender-nonconforming and working with children. I decided I would identify as nonbinary privately, and that was that.
Last year I realized how unhappy this was making me and how in-genuine it felt. I reconnected with myself, my transness that I had missed so much. I am openly nonbinary now and I am proud of that. I have the strongest understanding of my gender identity that I've ever had. I have returned to using he/him pronouns. I started a low dose of testosterone about two months ago. I've been binding daily since November 2014, except for that 8-ish month period, and I have finally decided its time to pursue chest surgery.
I've always had a significantly large chest thats caused me a lot of dysphoria. Although for a long time I envisioned myself having top surgery, but I have since decided otherwise. I am looking to get a breast reduction that will leave me with a very small chest. I don't want them to be overtly feminine or 'perky'. I want them to lie somewhat flat, but still round. Kind of pectoral, in a way.
Last week I had a consultation with a plastic surgeon who specializes transgender affirming surgery, as well as breast reductions. I explained my situation and showed him a picture of an idea of what I wanted. My surgeon essentially told me that what I wanted "does not look good" (his words) and that I needed to find someone else. His idea seems to be that the two options are a completely flat chest (ie top surgery) or very "feminine, perky and attractive breasts" (again, his words). I am incredibly disappointed that the head surgeon for gender affirming surgeries has this view. This surgery will be completely life changing for me, but I can't stand how misunderstood by medical professionals I am.
It took me so long to understand and embrace my own identity. But I feel so lonely being here sometimes. I know the world might not be ready for someone like me. Someone who is ambiguous. Someone who is on testosterone, has curves and breasts, uses he/him pronouns, wants to be a teacher and a mother, and a friend. Sometimes I feel so alone in this experience. But I know there are so many gender variant people with beautiful, wonderful, diverse experiences like mine.
Is there anyone else out there with similar experiences? Anyone on testosterone who still wants some form of breasts? Any nonbinary people that are struggling to navigate the binary medical world? Anyone who identified as binary trans for a long time prior to embracing nonbinary identity? Anyone who has embraced being trans for years, only to go back on it due to shame, and then return to it? Please share your thoughts and stories with me. I find great comfort in knowing that there are other people out there like myself.
I used to be a "LoFi Gamer". submitted by
It wasn't ideal BUT I managed to play thru tonnes of modern games thanks to a bit of research and elbow grease. The obvious choice was to eventually upgrade, which I did and I am relieved to have my new set up. HOWEVER these things take time, and you don' t need to miss out whilst you're saving your pennies up!!
The games listed below are my complete list of titles that I managed to run successfully, between 30 - 60 frames per second and I think it's pretty amazing I was running games released in 2020 from a beat up old Dell laptop that cost me under £300 4 years ago.
Hopefully this guide will help some people out there who, like me, were chomping at the bit to get a powerful setup but didn't want to miss out on some great gaming experiences in the meantime.
My laptop specs were: Intel HD4400 // Intel Core i5 // Win 10 // 8G Ram
Additionally I installed:
- Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (overclocking tool, Google / Youtube for user guides, very easy)
- SpeedFan (fan control application, because your laptop will be as hot as a toaster otherwise)
- NVIDIA 3D Vision Driver 353.62
- NVIDIA Graphics Driver 353.62
- NVIDIA HD Audio Driver 220.127.116.11
- NVIDIA nView 146.33
- NVIDIA PhysX System Software 9.18.0907
- NVIDIA Control Panel
I also recommend:
- Updating DirectX and Intel graphics card drivers
- Setting Windows 10 to "Game Mode"
- Optimising the "Visual Effects Settings" by selecting the "Adjust for Best Performance" option
- Using a "High Performance Power Plan"
- Playing the games with the laptop battery removed, taking power only from the mains
- Tweaking each games, in-game graphic settings individually to find the right balance between looks and performance
If you need help or advice about anything listed above, a quick Google search using the search terms I have provided you with, will give you all the insight you need. It is all available freeware and easy peasy to get hold of, especially as you now know exactly what to search for and download.
For the best results, it's essential you get/do everything on the list and it's probably worth mentioning that the overclocking and fan control software needs to be running before you launch a game (duh).
It also goes without saying that you WILL NOT BE RUNNING ANY GAMES AT MAX SETTINGS. We're prioritising frames per second over everything else here.
And so, without further ado...
THE LIST (A-Z + year of release)
- Alien Isolation (2014)
- American Fugitive (2019)
- Aragami (2016)
- Arrest of a stone Buddah (2020)
- Assassins Creed Black Flag (2014)
- Assassins Creed Chronicles (China, India and Russia) (2015)
- Assasins Creed Rogue (2014)
- Axiom Verge (2015)
- Bayonetta (2009)
- BELOW (2018)
- Bendy and the Ink Machine (2017)
- Betrayer (2014)
- Binary Domain (2012)
- Blasphemous (2019)
- Blazblue: Calamity Trigger (2008)
- Bully: Scholarship Edition (2006)
- Carrion (2020)
- Catherine Classic (2011)
- Cloudpunk (2020)
- Condemned: Criminal Origins (2006)
- Cuphead (2017)
- D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die (2014)
- Darkwood (2017)
- DEADBOLT (2016)
- Dead Cells (2017)
- Deadly Premonition: The Directors Cut (2013)
- Death to Spies (2007)
- Desperados III (2020)
- Deus EX: Human Revolution Directors Cut (2011)
- Deus Ex: Breach (2017)
- Disco Elysium (2019)
- DOOM 3 (2004)
- DOOM (2016)
- Don't Starve (2013)
- Don't Starve Together (2016)
- The Dream Machine (2012)
- Dust: An Elysian Tail (2013)
- Enter the Gungeon (2016)
- The Flame In The Flood (2016)
- The friends of Ringo Ishikawa (2018)
- Furi (2016)
- The Guild 2: renaissance (2010)
- Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
- GRIP: Combat Racing (2016)
- Gunfire Reborn (2020, still in Early Access)
- Hades (2020, still in Early Access)
- High Hell (2017)
- Hob (2017)
- Hollow Knight (2017)
- The Hong Kong Massacre (2019)
- Hotline Miami ( I+II) (2012 // 2015)
- How To Survive 2 (2016)
- Hyper Light Drifter (2016)
- INSIDE (2016)
- Ion Fury (2019)
- Just Cause 2 (+ JC2MP) (2013)
- Just Cause 3 (2015)
- Just Shapes & Beats (2018)
- KATANA KAMI: A Way of the Samurai Story (2020)
- Katana Kata (2020, still in Early Access)
- Katana ZERO (2019)
- Kenshi (2018)
- Killer Is Dead: Nightmare Edition (2014)
- killer7 (2018)
- L.A. Noire (2011)
- Lucius (I+II) (2012 // 2015)
- Lucius Demake (2016)
- Mad Max (2015)
- Mafia II (Classic) (2012)
- Mark of the Ninja (2016)
- MAXIMUM Action (2020, still in Early Access)
- Max Payne 3 (2012)
- The Messenger (2018)
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (2014)
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (2014)
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
- Mother Russia Bleeds (2016)
- Omensight: Definitive Edition (2018)
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (2016)
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020)
- Pathologic 2 (2019)
- Pathologic Classic HD (2015)
- Persona 4 Golden (2020)
- POSTAL 2 (2003)
- Project Warlock (2018)
- Rain World (2017)
- Redeemer: Enhanced Edition (2017)
- Rim World (2018)
- Risk of Rain (2013)
- Risk of Rain 2 (2020)
- Ryse: Son of Rome (2014)
- Saints Row 2 (2009)
- Saints Row The Third (2011)
- Saints Row IV (2014)
- Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (2015)
- Salt and Sanctuary (2016)
- Samurai Shodown V Special (2019)
- Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (2016)
- Shadow Warrior (2013)
- Shadow Warrior 2 (?2016)
- Shenmue I & II (2018)
- Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition (2014)
- State Of Mind (2018)
- Street Fighter 4 (2008)
- Street Fighter X Tekken (2012)
- Streets of Rage 4 (2020)
- Streets of Rogue (2019)
- Strider (2014)
- Subterrain (2016)
- Sunless Sea (2015)
- Sunless Skies (2019)
- SUPERHOT (2016)
- SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE (2020)
- SYNTHETIK (2018)
- The Takeover (2019)
- TEKKEN 7 (201
- Thief (2014)
- Thief Deadly Shadows (2004)
- This War of Mine (2014)
- Thumper (2016)
- Transistor (2014)
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (2019)
- Ultrakill (2020)
- Unforgiving - A Northern Hymn (2017)
- Valfaris (2019)
- Way Of The Samurai 4 (2015)
- West of Dead (2020)
- The Witcher 2 (2011)
- Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (2017)
- XCOM 2 (2016)
- Yakuza 0 (2017)
- Yakuza Kiwami (2019)
My advice is to buy these games during a Steam sale, alongside a Logitech F310 controller and enjoy the hours of entertainment ahead of you. With even more trial and error, you could add loads of games to this list too. Don't forget the Steam refund policy works in your favour to see if you can get a game running on your setup :)
*One last (boring) thing\*
This is abusing your laptop and in reality asking it to do something it wasn't built to. Be aware that you could shorten its lifespan through the constant demands of gaming and the potential risk from over-heating caused by regular gaming sessions for hours at a time is a real one.
Your plan should be to upgrade in the future... But until then I'd say treat your laptop like an emulator!!
- Aggressive Chicken
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