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Creator / James Nicoll

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A Canadian born science fiction editor and reviewer, James Nicoll is a sharp-witted observer of the foibles of science fiction authors and their works, though somewhat Unluckily Lucky when it comes to personal safety (to the point where reporting one his numerous brushes with near-death earned the label "Nicoll Event.")

Coined the trope "Brain Eater", which is now Filibuster Freefall, and is also the creator of the famous "Purity of the English Language" quote.


His reviews can be found on Website/Dreamwidth and his website.

Tropes Associated with James Nicoll include:

  • Accentuate the Negative: A common theme in his reviews, especially when examining older science fiction stories whose values haven't aged very well.
  • Berserk Button: Don't get him started about using He 3 mining, solar power stations, or O'Neill colonies in a story or real life as a motivation for space exploration. Or bicyclists.
  • Crazy Cat Man: A lot of his earlier LiveJournal entries were stories about his numerous and sometimes neurotic collection of cats.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially when he's dissecting a particularly bad story.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He'll wear sandals even in the dead of winter, a Canadian winter.
  • Made of Iron: Has survived a frightening number of life-threatening injuries.
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  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Mr. Nicoll, on the other hand, does have a sense of scale, and is willing to use it. From a review of a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson:
    Trigger warning for physicists and biologists: this is supposedly hard SF, which is to say SF that provides enough technical detail that the reader can be certain that various mechanisms and events couldn’t work the way the author has them working.