Northern California Fans Find 56 Flags, Pro-Trump Slogans on Lawn

Concord police are investigating vandalism done to the Bay Area home of horror writer Jay Hartlove and past editor of the International Costumers Guild newsletter Denisen Hartlove. The Hartloves suspect it is the work of a neighbor.

NBC News reported:

A Northern California family is shocked and unsettled after someone cut electricity to their home and planted 56 American flags, seven of which were defaced with handwritten pro-Donald Trump messages, on their East Bay front lawn early Saturday morning.

Concord police are investigating the incident, reported by Jay and Denisen Hartlove, who live on Montana Drive in Concord.

….Some of the flags had “Build The Damn Wall” and “I Luv The Donald” written on them in black ink. The Hartloves say they are one of the more liberal families on the block, and believe they may have been targeted because of it.

“Why would someone do that?” Jay wondered. “I mean, (the vandal) must have spent 20 minutes out there putting the flags in. This is not some drive-by prank….I mean, where do you get 56 flags in November?”

Upon finding the flags, the couple was irked but not worried.

“We tried to brush it off – Trump flags aren’t going to hurt anyone,” Denisen said. “We sort of made light of the situation, like ha ha ha.” The couple confronted the neighbor who they think is responsible, but neither Jay nor Denisen got a response.

A short time later, at about 1:30 a.m., the situation became more serious. The Hartloves heard a huge bang and were plunged into complete darkness.

At first, they thought the abrupt loss of electricity could be related to the fireworks going off in the street hours earlier, but they soon discovered that the metering box connecting power to their property had been ripped off. It was then that they became worried and frightened for their safety, and the safety of their two daughters, who were asleep in bed.

“At that point, I thought we were under attack,” Denisen said.

The couple called the Concord Police Department and filed a police report with two officers, both of whom the Hartloves describe as being “very unhelpful.”

…Throughout the Bay Area and the nation, politically-motivated instances of harassment are being reported at an alarming rate, according to hate-tracking groups. As of Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center had noted 701 reports of harassment since election day.

Tingle in the Times

“Chuck Tingle’s Internet Magic”, Anna North’s op-ed for the New York Times, explains how the author was roped into last year’s Hugo controversy and what’s happened since then.

Mr. Tingle didn’t attend the Hugo ceremony. The author, who says he lives in Billings, Mont., with his son, Jon, does not make public appearances or give in-person interviews. Last December, Jon said in a Reddit A.M.A. (“Ask Me Anything”) that his father has autism and schizophrenia.

Since his Hugo nomination (he didn’t win), Mr. Tingle has used Twitter to promote acceptance of diversity, and to lob offbeat but impassioned criticisms at Donald Trump. He’s been the subject of profiles in The Guardian, Vox and elsewhere. And he’s continued to write the bizarre e-books he calls “Tinglers,” in which men have sex with trains, dinosaurs, mythical creatures and more (“Seduced by Doctor Bigfoot: Attorney at Large” is one of his tamer titles)….

North also tries to figure out if Tingle really exists, and finds the author as helpful in answering that question as he always is:

In an email interview, Mr. Tingle said he was proud to have fans who are autistic. He made a distinction between the persona of “Chuck Tingle” and his real self: “i have CHARACTER name of chuck and also ME name of chuck,” he explained. He described his persona as an adaptation to difficulties in his youth: “when i was a young buck it was difficult for me to UNDERSTAND FEELINGS so now i have my own way of being myself that is like a mask but it is a mask of my own face.”

[Thanks to Darrah Chavey and Daniel Dern for the story.]

Vox Day Launches Infogalactic, Rival to Wikipedia

Infogalactic, Vox Day’s new online encyclopedia, begins life today as a copy of the Wikipedia that, with the aid of volunteer editors, will be developed into multiple versions of the material which will let users select their preferred perspective and automatically see the version of the subject page that is closest to it based on a series of algorithms utilizing three variables, Relativity, Reliability, and Notability.

Day explains, “This means a supporter of Hillary Clinton will see a different version of the current Donald Trump page than a Donald Trump supporter will, as both users will see the version of the page that was most recently edited by editors with perspective ratings similar to his own.”

Day gave these reasons for doing the project:

Conceived as a next-generation replacement for Wikipedia, the troubled online encyclopedia, Infogalactic is a dynamic fork of Wikipedia that is designed to supplant its predecessor by addressing the problems of bias, vandalism, harassment, abuse, and inaccuracy that have plagued the Wikimedia Foundation’s flagship project for years.

“Every notable public figure who has a page devoted to them knows very well what an inaccurate nightmare Wikipedia is,” said Vox Day, Lead Designer of Infogalactic, a computer game designer and bestselling philosopher. “The page about me there has had everything from my place of birth to the number of times I’ve been married wrong. And that’s not even counting the outright abuse, such as when Wikipedians replaced the entire page with a definition of a sexually-transmitted disease or with a string of obscenities.”…

He asserts, “This isn’t Conservapedia 2.0 and we aren’t replacing Wikipedia’s admins with their conservative equivalent, we are making the function of thought police irrelevant through technology. Our design philosophy is based on the idea that only the user has the right to define what his reality is.”

When the project was announced at Vox Popoli, readers demanded immediate changes to distinguish Infogalactic’s article about the Gamergate controversy from the version in the Wikipedia, which Day provided.

Compare the two approaches. Wikipedia’s article about the Gamergate controversy begins:

The Gamergate controversy concerns issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture, stemming from a harassment campaign conducted primarily through the use of the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate. Gamergate is used as a blanket term for the controversy, the harassment campaign and actions of those participating in it, and the loosely organized movement that emerged from the hashtag.

Beginning in August 2014, Gamergate targeted several women in the video game industry, including game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, as well as feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian. After a former boyfriend of Quinn wrote a lengthy disparaging blog post about her, other people falsely accused her of entering a relationship with a journalist in exchange for positive coverage and threatened her with assault and murder. Those endorsing the blog post and spreading such accusations against Quinn organized themselves under the Twitter hashtag #Gamergate, as well as on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels and websites such as Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. Harassment campaigns against Quinn and others were coordinated through these forums and included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats. Many of those organizing under the Gamergate hashtag argue that they are campaigning against political correctness and poor journalistic ethics in the video game industry. Many commentators dismissed Gamergate’s purported concerns with ethics and condemned its misogynistic behavior.

Infogalactic’s revision now says this about the Gamergate controversy:

GamerGate is the name given to an ongoing consumer movement in the video game industry that began in August 2014 with concerns about the corruption of video game journalism after a series of coordinated attacks on the gaming community by game journalists. In a period of two weeks,4chan purged the majority of its 45 moderators for being sympathetic to gamers, a dozen simultaneous “Gamers are Dead” articles were published on the same day by Ars Technica, Gamasutra, The Guardian, The Financial Post, Jezebel, and other sites. The #gamergate hash tag was popularized by actor Adam Baldwin and was adopted as a title for the loosely affiliated group by adherents as well as opponents.

Beginning in August 2014, Gamergate targeted several women in the video game industry, including game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, and cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian. After a former boyfriend of Quinn wrote a lengthy blog post describing their relationship and her involvement with other men, she was accused of entering a sexual relationship with a journalist in exchange for positive coverage.. Those endorsing the blog post and spreading such accusations against Quinn organized themselves under the Twitter hashtag #Gamergate, as well as on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels and websites such as Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. Many of those organizing under the Gamergate hashtag argue that they are campaigning against political correctness and poor journalistic ethics in the video game industry. Most commentators dismissed Gamergate’s purported concerns with ethics and condemned what they claimed to be its misogynistic behavior.

Also of interest, Infogalactic has replaced the well-known Five Pillars of Wikipedia with its own Seven Canons™:

  1. Infogalactic does not define reality.
  2. Infogalactic is written from an objective point of view.
  3. Infogalactic is free content.
  4. No griefing.
  5. Play nice and play fair.
  6. Rules are guidelines for users, not chew toys for lawyers.
  7. Facts are facts.



A Bradbury Link Omnibus

(1) IN LETTERS OF FIRE. Book Riot’s Nikki Vanry presents “19 of My Favorite Fahrenheit 451 Quotes”.

“‘Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.’”

(2) INCREASED SPACE. The Indianapolis Monthly records “A New Chapter for IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies”.

Following Bradbury’s 2012 death, the collection grew to include his personal library, writing desk, and 40 years of correspondence with presidents, filmmakers, and other writers. Much of the archive temporarily languished in storage: 20,000 pounds of boxes and furniture stacked floor to ceiling.

This month, the Center celebrates its move to a space three times larger in Cavanaugh Hall with a show at IUPUI’s Cultural Arts Gallery, Ray Bradbury’s Magical Mansions, which draws from the Center’s extensive collection. It’s an unusual repository for this or any university campus. Aside from smaller science fiction collections at a few college libraries, and occasional class offerings, academic acceptance of Bradbury’s genre has been scarce. Archives like the one at IUPUI could change that. Bradbury’s chance meeting with Eller all those years ago gave the professor his life’s work. In return, Eller is giving Bradbury what science fiction writers never had: a place of honor in academia.

…[Jonathan] Eller, with now-retired IUPUI Professor William Touponce, co-wrote the first university press book on Bradbury. Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction (Kent State University Press, 2004) laid the groundwork for founding the Center and archive in 2007. Though the 510-square-foot basement location wasn’t set up for tours, Eller would often drop what he was doing to show curious visitors around. This summer, Eller began the laborious task of moving the archive to an impressive new 1,460-square-foot location in Cavanaugh Hall. It includes a room for Bradbury’s recreated office: a blue metal desk and work table, a globe of Mars given to him by NASA, and a Viking 76 paperweight made with material from the lander. Bookshelves and file cabinets line every wall. Eller and his wife, Debi, spent months readying the space: hanging pictures, cleaning shelves, and cataloging the large book collection. “At this point in most academics’ lives, they’re getting ready to retire,” Debi says. “But Jon is trying to preserve the effects of a man he respected so much.”

The Center’s new outpost offers room to shelve the 20,000 pounds of materials previously stacked floor to ceiling, and perhaps more importantly, a much more public face. Eller sees the Center as a resource for teachers, librarians, and scholars who want to pass on Bradbury’s importance to future generations, and it gives Bradbury and science fiction academic credibility. And it might be just be the beginning: In addition to finishing the third volume of his biography, the professor eventually hopes to acquire even more space and funding to expand the Center into a full-fledged museum.

(3) BRADBURY BIO REVIEWED. “Bradbury: between dystopia and hope”, at Spiked.

Ray Bradbury, by David Seed, is published by the University of Illinois Press.

As David Seed observes in this meticulously researched and affection tribute to the author, ‘Bradbury conceived his early science fiction as a cumulative early warning system against unforeseen consequences’. As the author himself said: ‘technological science fiction, as put in motion by human beings, can either shackle us with the greatest totalitarian dictatorship of all time, or free us to the greatest freedom in history. I mean to work for the latter in my science-fiction stories.’

Like the best writers who imagine the worlds of tomorrow, Ray Bradbury talks to contemporary society. The Martian Chronicles features a tale of America’s ‘niggers’ parting en mass by rocket to the Red Planet to escape racism and servitude in the United States, in their own kind of ironic Mayflower. This story speaks to readers now as much as it would have 70 years ago. While the recurrent themes in The Martian Chronicles of environmental catastrophe and the perils of colonisation will resonate with concerned minds today, they spoke foremost to 1950s readers for whom the Dust Bowl was in living memory. It’s no coincidence that Bradbury gives his colonies on Mars mid-Western names such as Ohio or Illinois.

(4) RAY ANTICIPATED LIFE ONLINE. You may have thought that Ray Bradbury had nothing to say about the rise of social media and the way the virtual world often obliterates the real one. Financial Times columnist Nilanjana Roy, in “Back To Virtual Reality”, would disagree:

Perhaps an internet historian could better pinpoint when the digital world became the real world, but the truth is that our “real”, physical-world selves are so intimately, inescapably layered with virtual experiences that it may no longer be possible to split the two. The price you pay for digitally detoxing is to step outside the mainstream, and that has profound consequences. An obvious example might be that I feel less connected to old friends who are not on Facebook, for example, because I don’t see them, or see pictures of their kids. More subtly, if you unplug from the running streams of news, you also disconnect yourself from dinner-party, workplace, or even friendly conversation.

In Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Pedestrian” (1951), a man arouses police suspicion because he is the only person to take walks while his neighbours stay at home, the flickering blue light of televisions playing on their walls. If he’d been writing today, Bradbury might have made more of the disconnect between the walker and his neighbours, the widening gap between the few who turn away from news-streams and social media immersion, and the many who are shaped by these.

(5) A SPIRITUAL MAP OF BRADBURY. J. W. Ocker just completed a week of superb blog posts inspired by and about Ray Bradbury.

1) Ray Bradbury’s Ravine

September 26, 2016 — It was night, and the thunderstorm that followed me from the hotel had calmed into light rain and thunderous sky flashes. My hair was sodden, my shirt and jeans were sticking uncomfortably to me, and I was at the slippery edge of a black ravine, ready to disappear into its depths. All for Ray Bradbury.

2) Ray Bradbury’s Waukegan

September 27, 2016 — This was a big one for me: Waukegan, Illinois—the hometown of Ray Bradbury. But it was more than just his hometown, more than the mere place where he was born. It was the very geography of his imagination. The place where so many of his stories were set. So many of his characters lived. On his pages, he rechristened the city Green Town. And I was going to see it all, both the real Waukegan and the fictional Green Town. We’ve got a lot to pack into this one, so let’s get going.

3) Thoughts on Ray Bradbury’s Statue

…But the one thing I didn’t find was a statue of him. I mean, there was one of comedian Jack Benny, another Waukeganite, but not one of Ray Bradbury. And that’s because I was in town too early. The city’s been working on a statue project for him for about a year and half and, by the time of my visit, had narrowed the 40-odd submissions it had received to three. In fact, mere days after I returned from my trip to Waukegan and other points along the shores of the Great Lakes, the city announced the winning design.

4) Ray, Halloween, the Witch and Salem

September 29, 2016 — I don’t know if Ray Bradbury ever visited Salem, Massachusetts. But I can tell you that a piece of his life did. Because I took one there myself. I brought it with me during my Salem October last year. And good thing too, as that piece, of its own power almost, provided an anecdote that allowed me to write the name “Ray Bradbury” a few times in my account of that Salem October, A Season with the Witch. Below is the relevant excerpt from the book:

5) Strange Stuff fromo my Study: The Halloween Tree Sketch

September 30, 2016 — In this episode of Strange Stuff from My Study, I dig into my Ray Bradbury collection to show you an original 50-year-old sketch by an artist named Joseph Mugnaini, a sketch that he did as a test layout for one of the fantastic interior illustrations for Bradbury’s 1972 book, The Halloween Tree.

(6) MARTIAN PENSEES. Tyler Miller undertakes to prove “How Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles’ Changed Science Fiction (And Literature)”.

Unlike his peers, Bradbury didn’t care much for the future either. Though The Martian Chronicles deals ostensibly with a future inhabitation of Mars, Bradbury’s tales are clearly a lens through which to study the past. He is not interested in the mechanics of space flight or the geographic terrain of the Red Planet. Technology is laced through the book, but it is the technology of a Flash Gordon comic strip, not based in actual mathematics and engineering. These stories are not realistic in the least. They are metaphors.

“Do you know why teachers use me?” Bradbury once said, in an interview for the Paris Review. “Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember.”

However, I have to say Miller is thoroughly wrong when he says, “Sherwood Anderson, Shakespeare, St. John Parse, Ernest Hemingway. These were hardly the writers inspiring usual 1950s science-fiction.” Plenty of them tried to tap into Shakespeare and Hemingway — Papa’s economical prose was regarded by many as the ideal 50 years ago.

(7) TRUFFAUT. Released this month: The New Ray Bradbury Review, No. 5, edited by Phil Nichols and Jonathan Eller.

Fahrenheit 451—American science fiction meets French New Wave cinema

As a highly visual writer, Ray Bradbury’s works have frequently been adapted for film and television. One of the most stylized and haunting dramatizations is François Truffaut’s 1966 film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. For this fifth volume of The New Ray Bradbury Review, guest editor Phil Nichols brings together essays and articles that reflect upon Bradbury’s classic novel and Truffaut’s enduring low-tech science fiction film, fifty years after its release.

French film director and writer François Truffaut was a major force in world cinema. Beginning with his first days as a firebrand film critic and early years as a highly original director, Truffaut sustained a career that brought him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. Yet Fahrenheit 451—his only film in English and his only foray into science fiction—is often overshadowed by the considerable triumphs of his other works, like The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, and Day for Night. Similarly, while science fiction scholars often present the film as a significant work, they sometimes see it as a flawed adaptation, somehow less than its source, Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 novel of book-burning firemen.

The articles in this volume represent the first scholarly investigation of Truffaut’s film and Bradbury’s novel together. They lay out the key critical issues in comparing book and film and novelist and filmmaker, discuss various aspects of Bradbury’s and Truffaut’s nar­rative strategies in creating a world where books are systematically burned, consider the film’s screenplay and Bradbury’s own creative reactions to Truffaut, and examine the reception of the film among various audiences and critics.

(7) CARTOON TIME. Melville House recommends two cartoons a Soviet director made based on Bradbury’s short stories “There Will Come Soft Rains” and “The Veldt.”

Ray Bradbury: science fiction author, namesake of a patch of Mars, and Last Interview series participant. In 1950, a twenty-nine-year-old Bradbury published There Will Come Soft Rains, which would become one of his signature short stories. It depicts a California morning in the year 2026, as a robotic house wakes itself up and begins preparing its residents for a busy day: making them breakfast, laying their clothes out, and so forth.

There is, naturally, a twist, and one fun way of learning what it is (besides reading the story), is to watch this Soviet cartoon adaptation, Budet Laskovyj Dozhd’, made by the Uzbekfilm studio in 1984, and directed by Nazim Tulyakhodzhayev. It’s a beaut — austere, creepy, and oddly warm. Do yourself a favor:

At the post are links to both videos on YouTube.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, J. W. Ocker, and Martin Morse Wooster for these stories.]

Furry Murder

Frank Felix, 25, Sun Valley and Josh Acosta, 21, Fort Irwin, have been arrested in connection with the three murders that occurred September 25 in Fullerton.

Frank Felix, 25, Sun Valley and Josh Acosta, 21, Fort Irwin, have been arrested in connection with the three murders that occurred September 24 in Fullerton.

Four people associated with a triple homicide in Fullerton (CA) on September 24 were involved in the Southern California furry community reports the Orange County Register — one of the victims, two men charged with the murder, and an unnamed teenager who may also be charged.

Christopher Yost, 34; his wife, Jennifer Yost, 39; and their friend Arthur Boucher, 28, were found dead in the Yost home in Fullerton on Saturday morning. Two of the couple’s daughters, ages 6 and 9, were home when police arrived. The younger girl alerted police by calling 911, saying their parents had died.

On Sunday morning, police arrested Frank Felix, 25, of Sun Valley; Joshua Acosta, a 21-year-old U.S. Army mechanic based at Fort Irwin; and a 17-year-old female on suspicion of murder.

The trio were arrested after police had asked for the public’s help in finding Jennifer Yost’s missing daughter, Katlynn, who is 17.

Katlynn Yost was located, but police said state law prevents them from saying whether she was the arrested teenager.

According to reports from KTLA, the teenager is expected to face murder charges as well.

Katlynn, known on the OC Furry Facebook Fan Page as Daydreamer, was reported to the group as missing on Sunday.

The Register interviewed the SoCal Furs videographer Christopher Parque-Johnson.

“A lot of people in our community were devastated,” said Christopher Parque-Johnson, 23, of Garden Grove, an artist, performer and videographer for the SoCal Furs, which has members from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people. It bothered everybody.

“It makes no sense.”

Parque-Johnson led a group of furries, as they call themselves, to the site of the homicides Sunday night. They laid roses, left cards and lit candles to honor victim Jennifer Yost, Parque-Johnson said, because she was a mother figure to the SoCal Furs. The two men accused in the killings are also furries, as is Yost’s daughter Katlynn Goodwin Yost, Parque-Johnson said.

“All of them were always nice to everybody,” said Parque-Johnson, known in the furry community as Bandit, a raccoon inspired by the film “Over the Hedge.”

The Los Angeles Times carried details of the charges against the two men arrested in the murders.

A soldier in the U.S. Army and another man were charged with murder Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a Fullerton couple and their friend over the weekend, according to authorities.

Pfc. Joshua Acosta, 21, of Ft. Irwin in San Bernardino County, and Frank Sato Felix, 25, of Sun Valley, each face three felony counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors also charged Acosta with a sentencing enhancement because he used a firearm, according to the district attorney’s office. Both men have been ordered held without bail. If convicted, the men face a sentence of at least life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Parque-Johnson also told the Orange County Register quite a bit of background about furries which was published in the article.

Parque-Johnson said he knew the two men and Katlynn Yost, who identifies herself as a furry on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, but did not associate them with one another.

“We’ve never seen them huddled together,” Parque-Johnson said. “We didn’t know them as friends of each other.”

Parque-Johnson said he was closest with Jennifer Yost.

“People looked up to her,” he said. “A lot of people cared about her.”

Joshua Acosta and Frank Felix were helpful in setting up and breaking down weekend events, Parque-Johnson said.

“They were trying to be outstanding citizens,” Parque-Johnson said.

Furries have been around since the 1980s. They admire anthropomorphic animals – characters that walk on two feet and speak like humans. Most of them are “non-suiters,” meaning they don’t spend $1,000 to $5,000 or more on full-body animal costumes. Instead, they create characters and wear badges with their characters displayed.

Parque-Johnson said furries have been unfairly characterized in the media as a group of sexual deviants. Sexual activity involving some people in furry costumes has happened in the three-decade history of the furries, according to media accounts.

“If we see it, we don’t allow those people back,” Parque-Johnson said. “We feel that behavior would be very inappropriate in our group. We think that is very weird.”

The furry community comprises mostly adults under 30, although there are some older furries who were fans of Disney movies involving animals with human characteristics such as in “Robin Hood.”

Furries watch movies, play video games, draw pictures and trade cards, Parque-Johnson said.

“People come to us to get away from the negative stuff in life,” he said.

Wil Wheaton Addresses 2016 Mensa Annual Gathering

Wil Wheaton just before his speech to Mensa.

Wil Wheaton just before his speech to Mensa.

By JJ: Wil Wheaton gave the keynote address at the 2016 Mensa Annual Gathering in San Diego on July 1.

There are lots of “money quotes” in this, but here are my favorites:

I was a nerdy, shy, awkward kid who was scared of everything, and the library intimidated me; I never knew where to start, I was afraid I’d pick a book that the Cool Kids would tease me about reading, and I always felt lost in the stacks. This librarian, though, reached out to me. She asked me what sort of things I liked on TV and in the movies, and recommended a few different books based on my answers, including the first real SciFi book I can recall reading… I loved it so much, when I went back the next month, she taught me how to use the card catalog to find other books like it, entirely on my own. On that day, the library was transformed from a confusing and intimidating collection of books into a thousand different portals through time and space to fantastic worlds for me to explore.

I don’t remember her name, but I do remember that she was in her fifties, wore epic 1970s polyester pantsuits, huge glasses that hung from a long gold chain around her neck, and had a hairdo that was ten miles high. She was friendly and helpful, and when she reached out to that nerdy little kid, she changed his life. If you’re a librarian today, you probably don’t hear this very often, but thank you. Thank you for making a difference in people’s lives.


And I can go on and on about how those of us who are elder geeks probably feel like it’s just so damn easy to be a geek right now, the damn kids today don’t know how good they have it!  And if everything is geeky, maybe nothing is geeky, and that means that gatekeeping in geek and nerd culture is a pointless waste of time. So when someone tells you that they love X-Men, or Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, or learning to program in Python, the best way to respond is with a high five (or sci-five), not a pop quiz and a summary judgement. Because every single one of us, when we were protonerds, we met someone who said, Oh, you like this thing that I like? Cool! Let’s like it together, and meet some other people who will like it with us. And, BOOM: the first Star Trek convention happened. And it was awesome, and then there were conventions everywhere for everything nerds loved, and it gave us a place where we could be who we were without being afraid of the cool kids making fun of us.

So, if I may: it isn’t enough to be kind and welcoming to the people who want to join us in celebrating all the amazing things that we love. When we see someone being a gatekeeper, we have to walk right up to them, say “don’t be a dick,” and bring that person they were trying to keep out right into our clubhouse. Because the next Joss Whedon or Elon Musk or Kelly Sue Deconnick is just discovering nerd culture for the first time, and I promise you that we want them to be part of it.


And there’s a really, really wonderful section at the end about self-doubt and anxiety and depression, and the way that really smart people seem to experience this at a much higher level than the general population, and why we all need to beat that insidious self-doubting, condemning voice down, because we the geeks are the superheroes that the world will need in the future — but I don’t want to excerpt it, because it really just needs to be read and taken onboard in its entirety.

I found a video on YouTube, but it unfortunately cuts off WAY before the end. Maybe the full speech will be uploaded in a few days. Meantime, the full text is here.

Bradbury Now and Then

BRADBURY EXAM. HowStuffWorks challenges fans to take “The Ultimate Ray Bradbury Quiz”, 30 questions that look easier than they are.

He wrote outlandish stories that taught concrete lessons in critical thinking and morality. How much do you know about Ray Bradbury?

IN THE BACKGROUND. J. W. Ocker sent a screengrab from the “Jeepers Creepers” episode of the MTV series Scream.

Two of the characters talk in front of a marquee that advertises Something Wicked This Way Comes. It foreshadows a climax at a closed-down carnival after dark.


Ocker is a Bradbury fan whose own nonfiction repertoire includes Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe, and a book about living in Salem, Massachusetts — A Season with the Witchcoming out this fall.

THE BEST. Steven Paul Leiva remembers when Bradbury told him about his favorite bookstore.

When a great American author recommends a bookstore to you, you would be well-advised to listen. When he does it with enthusiasm and passion, which was the only way Ray Bradbury ever did anything, you would be well-advised not just to listen, but to take note — in indelible ink on acid free paper, on any recording device you have handy, and by any method of mnemonics you practice.

“Steve, you and Amanda must come to my book signing next Wednesday. But not just for me, it’s at one of the best bookstores ever, Mystery & Imagination in Glendale, great name, huh? It’s from Poe!”

WINDING DOWN. Unfortunately, that store is soon closing. (Mystery & Imagination is also “Bookfellows”). The LA Times paid tribute in “Bookfellows prepares to turn its last pages”.

In a glass case at the front of Bookfellows used bookstore in Glendale, a plush kitten once owned by Ray Bradbury is displayed beside a bottle of dandelion wine, and an autographed photo of Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen and Forrest J. Ackerman all together on the same stage. Next to that is a brick — one recovered from the ruins of the late author’s house after it was demolished.

One has to wonder if anyone will save a brick from Bookfellows when it no longer exists. The staircase in the back is a treasure trove of autographs from famous authors who’ve dropped by, from Mickey Spillane to Alan Young. Bradbury, disappointed that Harryhausen hadn’t drawn a dinosaur when he signed, drew a rough doodle of one next to the legendary animator’s name to put things right.

MORE 451. Richard Brody thinks its director badmouthed his “Movie of the Week: ‘Fahrenheit 451’”.

These days, directors are expected to talk up their films, and for good reason: it’s likely that François Truffaut’s remarks about his 1966 film “Fahrenheit 451” (which I discuss in this clip) are in large part responsible for the film’s wrongly low reputation. The film was something of Truffaut’s white whale: it took him four years to put the production together; along the way, he turned down some other significant projects, including “Bonnie and Clyde,” which the screenwriters Robert Benton and David Newman had written with him in mind. The shoot of “Fahrenheit 451,” which took place mainly in Great Britain, proved difficult for Truffaut, in part because he didn’t speak English, but above all because he had trouble working with the lead actor, Oskar Werner (who had played Jules in Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim”). Instead of keeping their conflicts out of the tabloids, Truffaut aired them himself: he kept a diary of the shoot and published excerpts from it in Cahiers du Cinéma.

HAWKING COFFEE. Believe it or not, Kirk Douglas and Ray Bradbury appeared together in a Japanese coffee commercial, filmed in Ray’s Beverly Hills office (probably 1981).

ON THE FRONT. Right after Bradbury passed away in 2012, Irene Gallo put together “Picturing Ray Bradbury”, a collection of cover art from his work, for

Ray Bradbury’s passing was a loss for everyone who enjoys storytelling in all of its forms. Not the least of which are artists and illustrators. Bradbury’s tone, the poetry and atmosphere of his worlds, have inspired artists for decades. Looking at his book covers, extending back over many printings, you see generations of artists reinterpreting the same works for their own era.

TONIGHT SHOW. John King Tarpinian recently saw a rerun of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show first aired on March 1, 1978; Ray Bradbury was one of Johnny’s guests.

Bradbury and Carson

So was insult-comedian Don Rickles.


Tarpinian tells the story:

What is really impressive about Ray on Carson is…it may be the first time Rickles asked a serious question of a person on a panel.

On that show was Don Rickles, Ray was disappointed that Rickles did not give him a zinger.  Afterwards Ray asked why he did not insult him, as anybody would have wanted.  Rickles said he respected Ray too much and his final words were, “You hockey puck!”  Ray walked away floating on air.

Ryan Kopf Refiles Suit Against Nerd & Tie

Ryan Kopf

Ryan Kopf

It was only a matter of time. Conrunner Ryan Kopf, whose suit against blogger Trae Dorn was dismissed in Iowa for lack of jurisdiction, has refilled it in Illinois. Dorn announced the development at Nerd & Tie on July 5 and has posted a copy of the new lawsuit here.

Kopf is suing in response to a pair of Nerd & Tie articles published last summer. As File 770 explained in January:

In both suits, Kopf has denied the allegations made about him.

Kopf explained on his blog why he is pursuing the litigation in Illinois.

Aside from Iowa, there are three places that may be considered proper. Wisconsin and Indiana are places the defendants live. However I don’t do business in either state. That leaves Illinois, a place where they have done business. We’re now suing them in Illinois, a jurisdiction that should be proper and equally fair for everyone, as all the parties have done business in Illinois.

Why am I suing them?

Because you can’t just make stuff up online without repercussion. The things they’ve written, which, again, were usually untrue, turned away business from the conventions. If you go around telling people “Blank is a bad person,” often enough, they’re going to start taking your word. But that’s not fair to Blank.

It’s really really easy to make stuff up on the internet.

I own the moon.

Christopher Sturz, a Nerd & Tie co-creator and contributor (aka Pher Sturz) has also been named as a defendant in the suit. Dorn writes, “It should be noted that Pher was added to that suit solely because of posts made on his personal Facebook page in support of me.”

The lawsuit describes those remarks as follows:

On or about January 6, 2016, the Defendant Sturz posted on his Face book that the Plaintiff is “a rapist.” He also suggested that the Plaintiff should pay him in “ball lickings.”

Kopf is asking for $50,000 in actual damages to his business, and $50,000 in actual damages for the defamatory statements, plus punitive damages, costs, and a court order for the defendants to remove their statements from the internet.

Dorn was able to crowdfund his defense against the Iowa suit. He’s launched another GoFundMe campaign to defray the costs of the Illinois suit.

The appeal has raised $460 of its $6,000 goal as of this writing.

The Bradbury Family’s Fourth of July, 1925

fire balloonRay Bradbury, foreword, Dandelion Wine:

[…]one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a Fourth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself.

I see my grandfather there looking up at that strange drifting light, thinking his own still thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this.

Messages From Here In…

rod-taylor-time-machine COMP

In theory, the current date displays as Filers draft their comments. In theory.

Every so often, however, for reasons that have never been explained, WordPress comes unmoored from the space-time continuum and displays random years instead. Filers have turned that bug into a popular running gag.

Whenever I’ve had a spare moment I’ve been collecting examples for the post that is now before you. It is far from complete – I admit I haven’t even made a complete sweep of September 29, which was an extraordinarily productive day for this game.

Thanks to everyone who added to the fun, in whatever year you played…

P.J. Evans

It’s 8608: shouldn’t we all have built-in locators by now?

Robert Reynolds

This post was brought to you by the year 1062, Marrakesh and the Order of St. Benedict.

Robert Reynolds

In 8756, we no longer give awards collectively.


Here in 372 we’re too busy fighting barbarians to give literary awards.

Robert Reynolds

Here in 372, I’m not thinking about anything other than a safe place to sleep and my next meal.

Lis Carey

That’s how low we’ve sunk, here in 8608.


BTW I’d probably donate a little towards crowd funding. In Soviet year 4560, funds crowd you!

James Moar

It’s better known as half of his novel Norstrilia. Not read the Brunner, but The Planet Buyer would be my pick of the others.

(Posted from 6979, sometime in the middle of the Instrumentality of Mankind timeline.)


Here in 7253 we are shocked anyone would avoid such books, merely because being reminded of historical guilt hurt their man-feels.


Lovecraft Country is sitting at the top of my post-Hugo reading TBR pile. (Which somehow I still haven’t gotten to here in the year 7853.)

Soon Lee

Whereas comments on File770 posts quickly [de/e]volve into book recommendations? [Been doing that since the year 984]

Lis Carey

It’s 1098. Bad year for sleeping.

Robert Reynolds

Here in 9476, we know how this turns out, but I’m not allowed to tell you anything.

Jim Henley

Mind you, here in 9476 (has that ever happened before, the same year in a quick succession of comments?) we sometimes fly vehicles designed like that for the lulz.


May I suggest that you try reading the post before you decide to opine on it, or is that too much trouble for you? Here in the year 9476 we have at least managed to grasp that reading something before you pontificate about it is helpful, even if it’s not mandatory…

Simon Bisson

Also, hello from Seattle! It’s 7867 and we have a huge statue of a pixel in every city.

Paul Weimer

Here in 3766, of course, we’re arguing over the latest adaptation of Lord of the Rings as a low-gravity opera recorded on the Moon.

El Pistolero

Excuse me for changing the subject, but I just wanted to point out that we have an historic opportunity tomorrow/today to observe a total breakdown of causality, as a solar eclipse will begin on Wednesday, but end on the prior Tuesday.

Here in 8032, we now realize that this isn’t at all unusual, as predicted by Clarke in Childhood’s End.

PJ Evans

That sounds like it might make an interesting novel. From here in 1864, it’s alternate future history!

Lis Carey

@Laura– I haven’t found a print edition, either, and Goodreads isn’t aware of anything but the audiobook, either.

I guess here in 3417, print has finally died.

Vicki Rosenzweig

(Here in 5216, there are still people arguing about calendar reform, but even the most fervent advocates admit that the changes won’t stop people from overscheduling themselves.)

Paul Weimer

Now I am thinking of Latin speaking Daleks Here in 5768, Latin is back in vogue again, and we write it grammatically, and the locative case is a thing again.

Vicki Rosenzweig

(The time machine has me in 0322, which is before the invention of the dollar; I don’t suppose Wiscon would like a bit of silver jewelry, or half a pound of salt.)

Doctor Science

It’s 5360, and pheromone art is the latest thing.

Robert Reynolds

But I’m in 9584, where we can surf to Mars, so what do I know?


Here in 3118, we solve that by the simple measure of repeating every year twice.


Meanwhile, here in the year 5868 AD, we get our Hugo PINs uploaded right into our brains.


Here in the year 7273 we abide by Pyanfur Chanur’s dictum: never shoot at anyone you can’t talk to.


Also, yay for the Dracula Dossier! Unfortunately my list of games I want to run is even worse than my tbr pile, so here in 4849 I still haven’t got round to it.


If only Neelix had left Voyager instead of Kes. We still wish that here in 3650.

Jack Lint

Here in 610, paper is just arriving in Japan from China. Waiting for the first manga to appear. Probably center around the wacky adventures of a samurai who turns into a cat at night.


In the year 7473 (yay? I’m back in a time warp, after not seeing that in a long time), these two shows are considered mythical.


So now here in 0x53FFBCD5.112A4553 we no longer have those concerns, and are free to delurk and mock those who still use antiquated non-base-2 time systems.


Admittedly, now that I am here in 5010 it looks as if my master plan didn’t work too well when it comes to handbags, but Jove seems to be doing pretty well as gas giants go…


Well, I’m fine with being mocked, in 3856 mockery is the sincerest form of flattery.

Lis Carey

  1. ALIENS WITH AGENDAS Alien (1979) The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) Tie. Quietly whimpering in agony, buried under an entire case of lavender-scented, organic, fire-resistant forehead cloths. Just be warned that, here in 5344, this sort of thing is considered a war crime.


Here in 3670 we have still not come to terms with those fear mongering about the return of Boudicca; you’d think we could let bygones be bygones, but there’s something about chariots with very sharp scythes attached to the wheels which seems to deprive people of their common sense…


Thank you for the link; it’s rather uncanny reading that after the 2015 Hugos. As you say, there seems an element of prophecy; it’s either that or prescience, but since I’m writing from 1429 I’m hesitant to be too specific for fear of falling foul of this era’s views on sorcery…


Here in 9800 science has progressed to the point where we can reconstitute the stalest foods, but hasn’t yet been able to solve the problem of beer going flat.

Paul Weimer

All of these alternate dates and what’s happening reminds me of the song “In the year 2525…”. Of course here in 8476, that song is mostly nostalgia for the past.


Meanwhile, here in the year 8023 AD, we have not just survived enough collapses to appreciate Ms. Hoyt’s post, we also have given up on sentimentalising children and their creativity.

Vicki Rosenzweig

(Checking in from the year 3298 ab urbe condita, when the streets and plazas of Rome are thronged with people, including a lot of buskers, most of them human.)

Cadbury Moose

Hmmmm, from out here in 8326 it’s difficult to remember how moose started reading SF&F. The Archive (what remains of them) have references to Public Libraries and lists (sadly almost unreadable due to their age) of books and authors of same. “Out of this world” and “New Writings in SF” appear regularly among the fragments, along with Dobson, Gollancz and Robert Hale. There is scope for further research here, but it requires unorthodox engineering (and probably verges on causality violation, which is liable to upset the Eschaton, and nobody wants to risk the consequences of that).

I must think on this some more.

Lis Carey

My first science fiction might have been Encounter Near Venus by Leonard Wibberly. Or the Mushroom Planet books. Or the Danny Dunn books. Or…

I really don’t remember. My dad read science fiction, my dad’s family had this thing about Words In A Row, and then don’t really remember starting to read science fiction any more than I remember starting to read.

Here in 3390, of course, no one has any idea who Leonard Wibberly was.

Heather Rose Jones

Here in 842, the grandsons of Charlemagne are quarreling over which language to write the Oaths of Strasbourg in and end up settling for “all of them” to the endless delight of historical linguists everywhen


Here in 9560, I am being blinded by the early morning sun glinting off the 30ft bronze statue of P. C. Hodgell in the town square.


Here in 5263, our desire for the occasional sense of danger in our utopian lives means that all Psi-links have an artificially built-in chance of crashing at dramatically appropriate times.

Beth in MA

Here in 4170, we have managed to get apples to grow in biodomes on Mars, and I have made an apple pie.


(Here in 7241, I still haven’t finished Anathem.)

Cora Buhlert

Here in the year 5147, the original Muppets Show is considered one of the greatest treasures of 20th century television and Miss Piggy is an intergalactic icon.

Doctor Science

Here in 8690, we’re hip-deep in sauce tomatoes — I picked extra because we’re expecting Joaquin later this week.

Al the Great and Powerful

here in 2119 the Hugo has become the symbol of resistance to the one-language, nutty nuggets party that advocates forced linguistic per^^^conversion for everybody so that none might miss the sacred words of the great prophets Jack C Rite and Edward Beel. Party orthodoxy is maintained (as it has since the prophets ascended to Castalia (Land of Happiness) by the dread cyborg Tank Marmot and the space princess wannabes.

Raise the Rocket high against tyranny!

Jonathan Edelstein

Not to mention that if you’re a jerk to your publisher, you might find it harder to reach the readers. Except here in 2837, of course, when you can transmit your writing directly to their neural implants.

Cheryl S.

I really wonder what it is that I’ve been reading for the past 15 years. I thought it was a lot of SFF, but apparently not. I’ve read both books in just three brackets and voted for three more about which my enthusiasm is boundless, even here in 4861, where I’ve finally caught up on my reading.


Well, kids, I’ve been watching “Star Trek” since the beginning (which makes me REALLY damn old here in 4683), and understood that NONE of the novels were canon. NONE of them. Never ever ever.


Reporting from 6763, where satirical sensatoons still haven’t got past butt jokes. I mentioned a new magazine called Capricious a few days ago. I’ve got round to reading the stories, and with two I liked and two I didn’t I think it’s promising enough that I’ll check out the next issue.


Unfortunately if those stories will only appear in the magazine in 6763 they aren’t eligible for a Hugo just yet.

TooMany Jens

On the upside, they will be eligible in 6764, and by then the Hugo prize will be an actual rocket.

(Unlike here in 437, where it’s just a sharpened stick.)

Bruce Arthurs

Can I just say I’m feeling a little jealous of all the time-travelers in these threads, posting in from past and future, whereas I seem to be perpetually stuck in boring old 2015?


Don’t be, here in 7004 most of the solar system has been colonized by the Chinese. Those of us still clinging to the notion of democracy are trying to eke out a living on Venus under the `one galaxy, two systems´ rule.


Here in the year 6440, we have forced all of our architects to focus on good storytelling, rather than these social justice themes!

Simon Bisson on

And this comment comes from 4807, where an aging generation ship discovers that the red giant it has been planning to slingshot around is in fact the IR waste from a feral Matrioshka brain. Singularities having proven to be existential threats to civilizations, it drops a warning beacon and fires up its fusion drive to accelerate away from danger.


I’m really feeling my age here in 9988!