Do you feel lucky? Here are 8 developments of interest to fans:
(1) Frederik Pohl will be getting Arthur Hlavaty’s vote for the Best Fan Writer Hugo in part because of this irresistible series of reminiscences about Robert Heinlein and his wives.
(2) The University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today for May 2010 delivers an incredible feast of science fictional art, literature and commentary. For example — and this is just the tip of the iceberg — there is Paul Di Filippo’s The Best Speculative Fiction of 2009, Paul Kincaid’s essay, Against a Definition of Science Fiction, Daniel Powell’s essay, After the End of the Whole Mess: Isolation and Confinement in American Narratives of the Apocalypse, the full text of Pamela Sargent’s story, The True Darkness and guest editor Christopher McKitterick’s list of the Don’t-Miss Speculative Fiction Events.
(3) Hearing that CBS will air a sitcom in which William Shatner plays a cranky old fogie whose rants are captured by a Twitter-obsessed son with a million followers, Janice Gelb asked, “Wonder if he ever says ‘Get off my lawn!’”
(4) Chris Jones, who writes “Theater Loop” for the Chicago Tribune, thinks the local productions of “War with the Newts” and “Neverwhere” are “very decent.” But that’s not a bad review coming from someone who knows “science fiction and fantasy can be tricky, tricky genres in the theater.”
(5) As a method of storytelling, John W. Campbell advocated taking an idea and extrapolating all its consequences. And let’s admit it, not every story he bought was any more scientifically sound than this report on the “homeopathic bomb”:
Homeopathic bombs are comprised of 99.9% water but contain the merest trace element of explosive. The solution is then repeatedly diluted so as to leave only the memory of the explosive in the water molecules. According to the laws of homeopathy, the more that the water is diluted, the more powerful the bomb becomes.
“‘A homeopathic attack could bring entire cities to a standstill,’ said BBC Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, ‘Large numbers of people could easily become convinced that they have been killed and hospitals would be unable to cope with the massive influx of the “walking suggestible”.’”
(6) Doubtless the “walking suggestible” will also be falling for this gag.
“Not the Onion, believe it or not, but the University of Reading,” says David Klaus of Graham Cluely’s blog post headlined, “Scaremongering scientist claims to have infected himself with computer virus”:
Yes, you could put software code on an RFID chip that you could put in your body…but so what?
The fact is that that code would not be read until an RFID reader came into contact with the affected RFID chip and even then the software connected with the RFID reader would need to have a vulnerability that would allow the code to be run….
Frankly, I’ve got more chance of being flattened by a falling grand piano than I have of getting my dog virus-infected next time I take him to the vets.
(7) On the other hand, recent headline news about genuine domestic terrorism prompted Francis Hamit to write “Some of my old world has, alas, become relevant again” and point to his 1995 “The Enemy Within: Security Threats From Domestic Militia Groups,” a 10,000-word ebook on the rationals, history and countermeasures against such groups available for $4.99.
(8) Now I’m wondering — was Dorothy Gale the inventor of the homeopathic bomb? One thing I know for sure is that getting melted ended the career of the Wicked Witch of the West. Later in life she was reduced to hawking coffee and cheating at checkers (YouTube).
[Thanks for the links in this post go to David Klaus, Isaac Alexander, Steven H Silver, and Janice Gelb.]