Pixel Scroll 9/22 Several species of small, furry animals gathered together in a cave and scrolling with a pict

(1) Sasquan GoH and ISS astronaut Kjell Lindgren knows what day it is —

It’s Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday!

(2) But that’s not today’s only important birthday. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer announced the arrival of their “humble bundle” —

He was born at 8:37 in the morning on September the 16th, which is, I am told, the commonest birthday in the US.  It was a long but rewarding labour. The name on his birth registration is Anthony, but mostly I call him Squeaker. He makes the best noises in the world, mostly squeaks and peeps and snuffles.

Amanda is an amazing mother. I am changing nappies (or diapers, if you are not English) and enjoying it much too much. This is wonderful.

(3) George R.R. Martin has something of his own to celebrate — “A New Record”:

For now, let it suffice to say that the Emmy looks very good in my TV room, and while it IS an honor just to be nominated (as I have been, six times before), it’s even cooler to win.

(4) Today in History:

1986 – The TV show “ALF” debuted on NBC.

2004 – The pilot episode of “Lost” aired.

(5) Run away! Run away! “Burger King’s Halloween Whopper will be its first intentionally frightening burger”:

We’ve seen a lot of scary fast food over the years but now Burger King is reportedly coming out with a new Whopper that’s intentionally frightening. Fast food blog Burger Lad seems to have obtained some leaked pictures of a special Halloween Whopper that will feature pitch-black buns. As you can see in the photo above, this does not look like an appetizing burger — it rather looks as though Burger King has slapped a slab of beef and some vegetables in between two large pieces of charcoal.



(6) I don’t like that grub, but I do like this garb!

(7) I’ve been waiting for this – Steve Davidson’s latest look at “The 1941 Retro Hugo Awards (Part 5 — Dramatic Presentation Short Form)”.

So far as radio plays go, there’s plenty to listen to, though again, many of the originals are simply not archived anywhere accessible.  Superman is an obvious choice;  an episode or two from Lux Radio or Mercury Theater may whet your appetite.  Don’t forget to check out the Blue Beetle too, as well as taking the opportunity to compare the Green Hornet’s radio appearances against the serial show.

(8) The “’Star Trek’ virtual tour will recreate every deck of the Enterprise” comes with a nice 12-minute animation.

You’ve probably seen a few attempts at recreating worlds in game engines, but never at this level of detail. Artist Jason B is working on the Enterprise-D Construction Project, an Unreal Engine-based virtual tour that aims to reproduce all 42 decks in the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it’s not quite photorealistic, the attention to detail in this digital starship is already uncanny — the bridge, shuttle bay and other areas feel like lived-in spaces, just waiting for the crew to return. Jason is drawing on as much official material as he can to get things pixel-perfect, and he’s only taking creative liberties in those areas where there’s no canonical content.


(9) Mothership Zeta officially launches in October, but Editor Mur Lafferty, Fiction Editor Sunil Patel, Non-fiction Editor Karen Bovenmyer have posted sample Issue 0 at the website. The magazine will be a quarterly, “crammed with the best, most fun speculative fiction.” Read Issue 0 now, containing work from:

  • Ursula Vernon
  • Rhonda Eikamp
  • John Chu
  • Andrea G. Stewart
  • Elizabeth Hand
  • Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

(Note: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon originally ran in Apex Magazine in 2014.)

(10) The Star of the Guardians Indiegogo Campaign has raised over $20,000. Thanks to our contributors,we can now fund the conceptual artwork and the illustrated storyboard book. We can also ensure that all of our amazing perks will be delivered to all of our contributors.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $55,000.

Star of the Guardians

(11) Joe Haldeman is interviewed by Brian Merchant in “The Author of Our Best SF Military Novel Explains the Future of War”.

Now, it’s becoming closer to reality—3D printers may soon allow anyone with the right hardware to manufacture deadly weaponry at home. Obscene weapons are increasingly obscenely easy to find. “Once we have that access to abundant materials, and anyone can print out a hydrogen bomb, we’re about an hour away from total destruction,” he says. “We are just a hair’s thread away from a large disaster.” The future of war is distributed, in other words. But we are just as ill-equipped to deal with our violent impulses now as we were four decades ago, Haldeman says.

“I don’t think we’ve learned any fundamental thing about solving the problem. We’ve learned more about why people do seek violent solutions,” he says. “That doesn’t mean we have the social mechanism to address it.” His words resonate, depressingly, when you consider that the US now averages one mass shooting per day, and that the trend is only accelerating upwards.

“We have people who just go down to the K-mart and just buy ammunition, and they could kill a few dozen people before we can do anything,” he says. “[M]ore brute force is available to individuals, with no obvious improvement in the individual’s ability to responsibly apply that force. Or decide not to use it.” War, it seems, has been distributed.

Hence the forever warring, in smaller theaters.

(12) “Hear Radio Dramas of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy & 7 Classic Asimov Stories” at Open Culture.

If you’re thinking that the epic scale of Asimov’s sprawling trilogy—one he explicitly modeled after Edward Gibbon’s multi-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire—will prove impossible to realize on the screen, you may be right. On the other hand, Asimov’s prose has lent itself particularly well to an older dramatic medium: the radio play. As we noted in an earlier post on a popular 1973 BBC adaptation of the trilogy, Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card once described the books as “all talk, no action.” This may sound like a disparagement, except, Card went on to say, “Asimov’s talk is action.”

(13) The supermoon lunar eclipse happens this weekend:

The supermoon lunar eclipse of 2015 will occur Sunday, Sept. 27, and is a confluence of three events: a full moon; a lunar eclipse, in which the Earth blocks the sun’s light from hitting the moon; and lunar perigee, when the moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth. The last time such a confluence happened was in 1982; there were just five instances of it in the 20th century. This time around, viewers looking from the Americas, Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean will have a chance to see the show.

(14) A new Mars exploration tool — “’Mars Trek’ Is Google Earth for the Red Planet” on Motherboard.

If you are one of the thousands of people who would like to start a new life on Mars, you might want to get an early start on scouting out some premium real estate options. Fortunately, NASA has created a new Google-Earth-style web app for the red planet, providing the Mars-eyed among us with a way to virtually explore their fantasy destinations in stunning detail.

“Working with our expert development team at [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory], we have just released our latest product, Mars Trek,” said NASA project manager Brian Day in a video about Mars Trek released today. According to Day, this “web-based portal allows mission planners, scientists, and the general public to explore the surface of Mars in great detail as seen through the eyes of a variety of instruments on a number of spacecraft.”

… Beyond these experiments, you can also calculate the trip time between two points on Mars, explore the adopted homes of NASA rovers and landers, and, if you are feeling really ambitious, 3D-print full sections of the online map. Day and his team also plan to add more features soon, including speculations about landing sites for future projects like the Mars 2020 rover.


[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Will R., and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day GSLamb.]

310 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/22 Several species of small, furry animals gathered together in a cave and scrolling with a pict

  1. I’ve never been that a big fan of Howard, even if I read a few Conan books when I was younger. I love Solomon Kane though and that was the reason why I bought his biograhphy Blood and Thunder. I liked that book very much, a good buy.

  2. @Brian V.: I even own a copy of Diaspora. I’ve skimmed the social-conflict map system but not looked in detail at the best.

    @TheYoungPretender: The one time I played Eclipse Phase I loved the setting but hated the system. Having a character with the Free Running skill in a percentile-based system, with the inherent failure bias of percentile-based systems, was an exercise in frustration. It mostly made me think about how to port it to Cortex Plus.

  3. Dark Seeker is a contemporary horror novel with a cool, scary SF idea. The best of the Jeter horror novels, in my opinion. The only one I read twice.

  4. @Greg

    Matt Ruff is an incredible writer, and of his 5 novels, I’ve read 4 and can unreservedly recommend them all

    I can also recommend the one you did not list, Set This House in Order, although it’s subject matter is rather heavy and might contain trigger material for some readers.

  5. Thanks, everybody!

    This was a good weekend. Got a good rejection message from Tor.com, with some encouragement and feedback, and learned I had stories on the short-lists for two contests. Makes me feel as if I’m making progress.

  6. Aaron: Yeah, that’s how I’d put it. No decent person – and no person hoping to pass as decent in general company – wants to be associated with Beale or his cheerleaders at this point, and there are alternatives for the kind of community the Cimmerian used to offer.

    Jon: Rock on! Love to hear that kind of news.

  7. @Paul Re: Diaspora

    True, but it’s pretty easy to end up with a system that has the parameters for a Culture-like society just by random chance, and there’s no reason why the table couldn’t agree to declare one of the systems Tech +4 by fiat and guarantee at least one post-scarcity utopia. I guess it depends on whether one wants “The Culture RPG” (for which, yeah, Diaspora wouldn’t work as written) or just something with a bit of Banksian flavor.

  8. The Young Pretender

    Nick Bostrom likens the situation of humans creating Superintelligence as a child holding a bomb in its hand, in a world where there are no adults. I don’t know what your tolerance level for equations is, but if you can live with them, or don’t mind ignoring them, I think you would find his book interesting.

  9. On the matter of one of the posted items – Joe Haldeman is saying exactly what, for one, Lind is saying. Haldemans politics may be more acceptable I guess, so its easier for the locals here to listen.

    You can imagine whatever near-futureish utopian scheme or system you like, but to be believable (suspension of disbelief) you also have to come up with some way it can be achieved. One of the more important proximate problems is the fact of opposition, which these days can be very effective.

    On a grander theme, Haldeman now seems to be coming around to the conservative idea of the immutability of human nature. He was one of the few, at the time, to speculate about a great change. Most SF assumes immutability.

  10. I agree that Goodkind’s series is a bad Robert Jordan copy.
    I stopped reading after the second book, I think.

    But Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series are my daughter’s fave books of all time, so opinions vary.

  11. @ Hampus
    Thanks for recommending the biography. I have a weakness for Howard. When I was in college, majoring in English, history and education, I read a lot of Conan. After the complexities of Shakespeare and Europe in Renaissance and Reformation, for example, Conan’s approach to decision-making was delightfully straightforward.

  12. I have a certain fondness for Goodkind, as his was the last book I recall throwing away so hard as to actually cause physical damage (chipped through a plaster wall).

    People talk about the lack of satisfaction as you can no longer slam the receiver down on an annoying call. I miss the days that I could fling a terrible paperback away from me.

    Congrats Jon!

  13. I have found Bostrum’s books very, very interesting. I tend to think a super intelligence or whatever else we’re labeling a singularity would likely be quite unknowable, and it’s why I have trouble with a lot, but by no means all, of the fiction that trys to use one. I just don’t think a singularity is quite guaranteed to be nirvana for one’s MMORPG clan made of one’s fellow drupal programmers who also like Ayn Rand. (1) The unknowability factor has me thinking its more likely to be sinners in the hands of a angry – or worse, bored or curious God. Not quite so much Rapture of the Nerds as First Contact.

    (1) Why yes, I have read the Peace War series… what gave it a away?

  14. @Jim Henley

    I’ve run one game of Eclipse Phase, and the percentile system had my usual gamers looking at me like I’d chosen to start at the deep end. The amount of a thumb you need to keep on the scales, gracefully, to prevent those occasional WTF failures from wrecking the fun of the game. And it’s a setting that’s quite terrifying enough; you don’t need need to add Death By Doorsil to it…

    I hear you, is what I’m saying.

  15. Matt Y said: By the end gurer’f fb zhpu encr gung gur rivy nezl unf shyy ba encr gragf fb gurl pna xrrc encvat juvyr ba gur ebnq, gur zntvp hfref ba gur fvqr bs gur onq thl trg frag gurer serdhragyl sbe chavfuzrag, naq gur tbbq thl raqf hc rzcbjrevat rirelbar gb birepbzr gur bqqf naq guebj qbja gur onq thl guebhtu n tnzr bs sbbgonyy.

    Yeah this was awful. I read the first book and thought it was OK but had issues. And then, whoa! Reminded me of my reaction to “Lord Foul’s Bane” which my wonderful mother bought me as a present. (She had it recommended to her by a book store. OTOH, she did give me “Canticle for Leibowitz” [which was her personal choice] and I’ve been forever grateful) First book I ever remember quitting.

    I stuck with the Goodkind for a while in a desperate attempt to find a relationship that wasn’t encr. Eventually there was one reasonably healthy interaction (as I recall) and I then quit immediately.

  16. (MG, when you moderate this, could you fix my name typo)

    Searching for info on Barbara Barrett, I found this interesting thread on a kerfuffle I’ve never heard about. Both Barrett and a certain “Theo” were posting there.


    Also, an article by a blogger I’ve never heard of before today (Alex Preston) about another blogger I’ve never heard of before today (Leo Grin) and his opinion of a writer who’s name sounds very vaguely familiar but I’ve never read (Joe Abercrombie) and related to an author I’ve read small bits of and bounced off hard (Tolkien, please don’t crucify me) and one I’ve heard of but never read at all (Robert E. Howard.)

    (Okay, my weird phrasing will make sense if you read the article.)


  17. @TheYoungPretender

    I’m quite fond of the Peace War myself. I thought the post singularity part was pretty well done, with humanity’s fate essentially unknown and unknowable to those left behind. His libertarian bias was noticeable but not enough to spoil it for me.

    Not sure you could strictly call it a singularity but I quite liked Banks Hydrogen Sonata’s treatment of a species in its final days before transcending.

  18. On the topic of book recs, I just finished Seth Dickinson’s ‘The Traitor Baru Cormorant’ the other day, and found it to be all kinds of fascinating; solid social construction, great characterization, and pretty much everything I want from my serious low-magic fantasy worldbuilding, but didn’t know I was missing.

    I’ve been trying to find more ways to describe why I enjoyed it, but I don’t want to risk spoiling it; it’s great all around, and well worth giving a shot.

    V ybirq gur jnl gur snzvyl fgehpgher jnf cerfragrq, V ybirq ungvat gur jnl gur abg-gur-OVN-fpubby jbexrq, rira zber guna gung, V ybirq gur jnl gur gvgyr cynlrq bhg, jvgu gur frevrf bs fznyy phygheny gernfbaf ntnvafg frys onynaprq ol gur znwbe cbyvgvpny gernfba ng gur fgneg bs gur frpbaq npg naq… lrnu.

    (I actually got caught up enough on a scroll to post. I feel proud/ashamed of myself.)

  19. A digression if I may.

    The movie The Martian will start running in cinemas in the UK in a week’s time (30 September).

    I definitely intend to see the movie. There seem to be several London residents here. This sounds like it might make for an opportunity to … watch a movie in the company of strangers you’ve exchanged a few words with on the internet? Or something.


    Also – based on recommendations here I’ve started reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and enjoying it so far!

  20. @Christian Brunschen

    God, I would love to, but I’m only in London sometimes and it isn’t likely to include the release. (Also, my partner would probably sulk for the next year if I watched it without him.) I will totally cheer from cyberspace (and Lincolnshire) if you manage to get a Filers of London: The Martian cinema meet-up going, though!

  21. @Meredith,

    I didn’t mean necessarily watching the movie on opening night – just that the movie’s run in the cinemas is approaching and this is one that I want to watch on a big screen, possibly in 3D (the extra immersion is quite nice).

    I live in London and can adapt my schedule reasonably, so I can be flexible when it comes to timing.

  22. @Darren Garrison
    Thanks for the links! I’ve been trying to track down Barbara Barrett’s foul and murderous (and presumably anti-christian, sodomy-crusading) tirades against her fellow REH scholars, but alas, they seem to exist only in print.

    That article about Abercrombie – I remember when Grin wrote the essay/review on nihilistic fantasy or sci-fi, or whatever, on Big Hollywood. I was (and am) a big fan of Abercrombie, so at the time I felt I had to read it and get all outraged and annoyed at yet another Breitbart affiliate missing the point yet again. Having now placed Grin within Breitbart alternate-history fantasy universe, I’m not entirely sure I can take his accusations against Barrett at face value without first seeing what she wrote. Especially given that in the Breitbart universe, oppressed white men are fighting for justice and their place in society, which makes them SJWs who, as we all know, always lie.

    And yeah, once again the smell of puppy pee is too compelling for me to ignore. I have to hunt down the wet spot on the carpet and examine it.


    Currently reading: Redshirts, while re-watching the original Star Trek (I’ve probably mentioned that elsewhere. I seem to love repeating myself).

    About to start Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, my first non-SFNAL read in months. It comes highly recommended by a friend who claims it is disturbing in its depiction of post-WWII Europe. It came up in a FB discussion where another friend expressed surprise that very few Nazis faced prosecution after the war.

  23. re this –


    Whatever the subject of the review, and whatever the merits or otherwise of Leo Grin, whoever he is, I haven’t heard of him before this, and whatever the merits of what he is reviewing (“The Heroes”, Abercrombie, which I haven’t read and about which I have no opinion) this guy Preston is clueless. There’s a pile of things of this nature in it –

    “Tolkien’s novel is (as I understand it) partly a metaphor for the First World War. But war has changed and our way of thinking about war has changed.”

    Who is this “our” in “our way of thinking” ? There is a big world out there which hasn’t heard of Coetzee and the other names he drops, and no doubt quite a few that have and would not agree with Preston. Worse, he doesn’t seem to have idea one what people thought about war across time and in other cultures, outside whatever literary nook he lives in.

    For all I know “The Heroes” is a perfectly fine or great book, fit to stand with the Iliad (which is the first and greatest of war novels, and anti-war novels, and which I read to our children). But if I were the writer I wouldn’t want it defended like this.

    This is a literary review of the sort that marks things up and down based on fitting in with the clique, or whatever the clique thinks is fashionable or in accordance with opinions of preferred authorities. And, it seems, a remarkably ignorant clique it is, and not just about Tolkien.

  24. @Kyra: Agree completely on Goldschmidt’s A Need for…. I did think there were a few great lines, and I thought No numbers in particular was good, but none of them touched the heights of Falling Sky.

    Have you read I Am Because You Are (the new one that Goldschmidt co-edited)? It may be GR anniversary year, but I’m not sure I want to take a chance on it yet. (ETA: Scratch that – I see it’s not released for another month).

  25. Jon

    I have been trying to find your story but so far Google has not been my friend; please accept my interim congratulations on making the short list, pending tracking your story down so I can read it!

    The Young Pretender

    Great! Another Bostrom fan; I must confess that I share his dislike of the term ‘singularity’ since it is so frequently used to mean quite different things.

    There are altogether too many people who hand wave the ethical problems away whilst simultaneously being utterly clueless about the nature of risk; this is not a combination likely to assist the longevity of the human population here or anywhere else…

  26. And the bizarre thing is that JCW considers himself a gentleman. He is clearly the worst kind of cad.

  27. Meredith
    Filers of London?

    I saw a Filer with a Kindle in his hand
    Walking through the West End in the rain.
    He was looking for a place called the Odeon Leicester Square.
    Gonna go see The Martian on screen.
    Filers of London!
    Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

    If you see him reading on a train,
    Better not ask its name.
    Little old lady downloaded a jillion ebooks in shame.
    Filers of London again.
    Filers of London!
    Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

    He’s bleary-eyed alright, cause he’s blogging all the night.
    And lately he’s been reading in the shower.
    Better stay away from him
    Or he’ll list some more books, Jim
    But look at that tbr tower!
    Filers of London!
    Aaoooooo! (Repeat)

    Need more coffee.

  28. Stevie: Jon, I have been trying to find your story but so far Google has not been my friend; please accept my interim congratulations on making the short list, pending tracking your story down so I can read it!

    It’s listed in the category “Original Fiction”, which means that it has not been previously published and was submitted especially to 100YSS for this competition.

    Cat Valente’s story “Planet Lion” is here (it was published this year, so is eligible for Hugo Short Story nomination next year).

  29. @Stevie

    That’s the original-fiction category – anything competing there won’t already have been published anywhere else.

    Of course, I’m betting the stories that don’t win will be off to the pro markets soon afterward. “Landfall” will most likely get a polishing pass and be sent over to the Analog slush-pile if it doesn’t get the nod here.

  30. I miss the days that I could fling a terrible paperback away from me.

    A good e-reader ought to have a feature where, say, if you mash the delete button with two fingers, it accompanies the deletion with a shredding sound.

  31. Bravo, Lauowolf!

    I’ve got a mental image of a Filer gang taking over London now, brandishing their To Be Read piles as weapons.

  32. Vasha: A good e-reader ought to have a feature where, say, if you mash the delete button with two fingers, it accompanies the deletion with a shredding sound.

    I’d fund that Kickstarter. I could really have used it this year reading the Hugo packet.

  33. nickpheas on September 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm said:
    And the bizarre thing is that JCW considers himself a gentleman. He is clearly the worst kind of cad.

    Clear and succinct.
    Stupidly enough I still have troubles understanding how someone can be such a shrinking violet in the face of what he claims to be SJW criticism, which in no way effects his ability to spin words, but yet support active censorship like removing BB’s blogs from a website.
    Makes me queasy.

  34. “The Singularity” = “The Rapture”? Discuss.

    Instead of “Have It Your Way,” I thought Burger King’s motto on their marquee always should have been “Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.”

    p.s. You know what they say, it’s gotta be fifth o’clock somewhere.

  35. Re JCW’s recent posts – a review

    9/18 – Re post on stories in Superversive – uncontroversial
    9/18 – Re Wiki – correct and he has a point about a lot of Wiki also.
    9/18 – Very pretty and uncontroversial
    9/22 – Uncontroversial and for a good cause
    9/22 – Re Pope Francis – I agree completely. I have seen and noted the same.
    John XXIII was much more radical, etc.
    9/22 – Re Leo Grin – The action of this fellow Grin seems intemperate and so is JCW’s approval of it.

  36. @richard brandt. The idea of the Singularity being the “Geek Rapture” is an established one. William Gibson, I believe, codified the idea.

  37. “He is clearly the worst kind of cad.”

    That too is intemperate.
    I have known cads. A cad loves them and leaves them, abandons his family, deliberately shirks his obligations, etc.
    JCW is just a man who gets much too angry about slights that are much too small.
    A common fault, I am finding, among the literati of SF.

  38. Darren: Oh, that bit of tripe from Grin. That’s what introduced me to Abercrombie’s writing, and therefore ended up earning Abercrombie some money. 🙂

    Kathodus: I really, really appreciated Savage Continent and am glad I read it.

  39. Bruce – good to read that. I rarely venture into non-fiction nowadays because my reading time is limited and I am addicted to ESCAPE, but the premise sounds fascinating.

  40. Not really wanting to read more puppy rantings, I did a quick search for “Barbara Barrett Howard” and found she has published an Index to Howard’s poetry.

    As recently as 2014, she was a “featured attendee” at Robert E. Howard days/

    <a href="https://www.blackgate.com/2012/07/27/robert-e-howard-the-sword-collector%E2%80%99s-sword-collection/a piece at Black Gate about REH as a sword collector, featuring a recently discovered picture of Howard and his two neighbors dressed like….wait for it….pirates!

  41. On the topic of book recs, I just finished Seth Dickinson’s ‘The Traitor Baru Cormorant’ the other day, and found it to be all kinds of fascinating; solid social construction, great characterization, and pretty much everything I want from my serious low-magic fantasy worldbuilding, but didn’t know I was missing.

    I just finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant last night, and it was spectacular. Reading this . . . xvaq bs sryg yvxr orvat fgnoorq, ohg va n tbbq jnl? Vs gung znxrf frafr? V xrcg guvaxvat gb zlfrys “Ab, gung pna’g unir whfg unccrarq. Vg pna’g. VG PNA’G. Bxnl, fb gung jnf greevoyr, ohg V guvax V pna fgvyy cerqvpg ubj guvf jvyy raq . . . naq V JNF JEBAT BU QRNE TBQ AB UBJ PBHYQ GUNG UNCCRA AB AB AB”. V qba’g guvax V’ir ernpgrq yvxr guvf gb n obbx fvapr V svefg ernq N Fbat bs Vpr naq Sver—gung fbeg bs “snagnfl gebcrf qvpgngr K, ohg gur nhgube vf n ivpvbhf naq pnaal yvggyr onfgneq, fb teno lbhe xvggra cvpf, pnhfr lbh’yy arrq gurz nsgre frrvat jung guvf thl unf va fgber sbe lbh” glcr bs guvat.

  42. Ah! first of a five part series on REH and racism. I just skimmed this first one but it was pretty good from my perspective as someone who does work in this area–distinguishes between dictionary definition, personal feelings, and institutionalized/systemic racism. Cites a number of historical sources (on, among other topics, lynchings); covers the historical changes over time in European attitudes toward Africans; touches on 19th century scientific racism.

    Yep, a true SJW, willing to talk about problematic things!

  43. Kathodus, this is how I reviewed Savage Continent at Goodreads back in February:


    This is a gripping, grueling, often painful and demoralizing, but tremendously rewarding book. Lowe covers the stretch that began while World War II was still raging and didn’t end until (depending on the area and topic) until the late 1940s to early 1950s, when much of Europe was effectively ungoverned in many ways. He takes up issues of famine, routine law enforcement, the handling of military prisoners, and the overarching question of revenge in the wake of so many peoples’ terrible suffering. Lowe takes revenge seriously: he writes with respect of those who successfully chose to give it up, but he acknowledges the hunger to make perpetrators pay as a fundamental human need, and not innately legitimate. The problem, as he shows again and again, is that it’s just a matter of “both sides did bad things”, but that _many_ sides did bad things, and that the sides themselves collapsed and reformed, sometimes more than once in the years he studies.

    There’s not much encouragement to be had in this book. He makes an excellent argument that “restoring order” was often not a possibility, that the damage to institutions, infrastructure, and people’s own lives and goods was so severe in many cases that new orders had to be constituted from the ground up. And he shows that doing that wasn’t always easy, either, and gives attention to the troubles faced by outsiders trying to come in and do good alongside suffering locals. He gives very close attention to how different countries purged their official hierarchies of Axis influence – or didn’t – looking at investigations, arrests, punishments decreed and meted out, with extensive discussion of who claims what figures and how far to trust them, and why. It’s a model of how to do history about subjects still very much in active contention.

    Like many historians of the last couple decades, his work is greatly helped by post-Soviet access to Soviet-era archives. The situations in eastern Europe in his period of study are often just plain weirder than the ones in the west, far more tangled and obfuscated, and he does a good job chronicling how improved sources of information change good judgments. But he doesn’t gloss over the complications in the west, and has especially good readings of how the western victors interfered with local elections and administrations to get their right-wing favorites into power along with his look at how the Soviets did the same with theirs.

    A remarkable book, this, in which Lowe never abandons compassion and the wish for justice and peace, while not turning away from the challenge of showing how far both were from so many people’s lives well after war was officially over.

Comments are closed.