Pixel Scroll 9/29 What Color is Your Parvo Shot?

(1) Today’s birthdays —

1547 – Miguel de Cervantes, author of that famous tome about the old windmill tilter

1942 – Madeline Kahn, a signature comedic actress of the 1970s, who appeared in Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety and many more films.

(2) The 30th anniversary of Back To The Future means a new chance to sell a Blu-ray release, and to help market it Christopher Lloyd is back in character as Doc Brown in an exclusive short video. Go to the link to watch a new trailer.

Lloyd has donned his lab coat and white wig once again to play the mad scientist in a brand new original short film ‘Doc Brown Saves The World!’ that’s being exclusively released in the ‘Back To The Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy’ box set on 5 October.

Little is known about the plot of the new short story, but we can see that the famous time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 will feature heavily. The new box set will also gather the trilogy of time-travel comedies starring Michael J Fox. the entire ‘Back To The Future: The Animated Series’, plus hours of bonus content all together for the first time.

(3) Jamie Todd Rubin has already done the groundwork for one source of 1941 Retro Hugo nominees.

As he explains in “The Retro Hugo Awards for 1941 at MidAmeriCon II”

Next summer at MidAmeriCon II–the 74th World Science Fiction Convention–among the awards given out will be the Retro Hugo awards for 1941. The award will cover stories published in 1940. I have a particular interest in this award because a few years ago, when I was taking my Vacation in the Golden Age, I read, and wrote about, every story that appeared in Astounding Science Fiction from July 1939 – November 1942. That means that I read and commented on every story that appeared in 1940 issue of Astounding.

Rubin lists his favorite stories from the 1940 issues of ASF:

  1. “Final Blackout” by L. Ron Hubbard1 (April, May, June 1940)
  2. “Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein (January 1940)
  3. “Cold” by Nat Schachner (March 1940)
  4. “The Stars Look Down” by Lester Del Rey (August 1940)
  5. “The Mosaic” by J. B. Ryan (July 1940)
  6. “If This Goes On–” by Robert A. Heinlein (February 1940)
  7. “Butyl and the Breather” by Theodore Sturgeon (October 1940)
  8. “Fog” by Robert Willey2 (December 1940)
  9. “One Was Stubborn” by Rene La Fayette3 (November 1940)

(4) British Eastercon attendees are invited to help decide the con’s future by completing a questionnaire. (For more info about the process, read the FAQ.)

We’re hoping that a wide variety of people will be filling in this questionnaire, so we start by asking what you know about Eastercon, and why people go to Eastercons. Then what you think works or doesn’t work, and whether you have any suggestions for improvement. Then about issues, and some suggestions people have already made to deal with them. Finally, we’ll ask whether you would like us to keep in touch, and because no matter how hard we try we can’t capture everything, you have the opportunity for a final comment.The results will be published on our website, and discussed both at Novacon and at next year’s Eastercon. You do not have to provide any personal details unless you want to, and if you do your participation will be kept strictly confidential.

We hope this will take you no more than about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

To fill it out, visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ndMn5Soj0FHE4Gkj-XjUbVgFM9w8Ma5PvgvND9g8WZE/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

(5) A new Rick Riordan series – my daughter has already announced she is waiting for the minutes to tick past so she can buy the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer. Bibliofiend has an exclusiveread the first five chapter free. [PDF file]

(6) The 2015 MacArthur Genius Awards are out. Better check and see if your name is there.

(7) Europa SF reports the winners of the 16th Swedish Fantastic Short Story Contest. Article (and where needed, translation to English) by Ahrvid Engholm.

The Fantastic Short Story Competion (“Fantastiknovelltävlingen“, in Swedish) has been running yearly since the year 2000, and is dedicated to stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. It is probably Sweden’s oldest at present; at least one short story contest that used to be older has folded.

This year the contest received 117 entries, and the jury decided to distribute the prize money of 2000 Swedish crowns (just under €200) to the following three winners. Titles given in Swedish with English translations and some comments from the jury are added:

First prize: “Bläcklingar” (“Inklings”) by Fredrik Stennek. “A fine tale in the succession of HC Andersen… A portrait of a society collapsing under censorship and oppression…but humour and longing for freedom is bigger. It raises questions of freedom of the press and freedom of opinion“.

Second prize: “Hon” (“She”) by Eva Ullerud. “A wonderfully creepy story… When the threat is close, really close, it easily becomes invisible, but even creepier.”

Third prize: “Götheborg” (“Gothenburg”) by Dennis Jacobsson. “An alternate history explaining why the ship Götheborg went under in the 1700’s. The atmosphere is as thick as the wool in the woolen clothes of the characters, the danger as tangible as the smell of gunpowder on gundeck, and the curiousity of the reader picks up wind.”

Five stories – By Jonas Bengtsson, Emanuel Blume, Lisa Hågensen, Hanna Kristoffersson and Jens Mattsson – also received honourary mentions by the jury, consisting of the sf/f authors Niklas Krog, Pia Lindestrand and Karolina Bjällerstedt Mickos. All stories were judged without author identification.

(8) Lela E. Buis called a story to the attention of select Twitter readers.

Here’s her description of David Levithan’s Every Day.

Every Day was published in 2013 and received the Lambda Award for Best LBGTQ Children’s/Teen Book. It went on to feature on the New York Times Bestseller List. This means my opinion isn’t unusual, either from the literary community or the fan community. However, this book never made a ripple in the SF&F community because SF&F isn’t something Levithan normally writes.

(9) NASA has some thoughts about how difficult it would be to send humans to Mars.

(10) The agency also helped celebrate National Coffee Day.

(11) Kameron Hurley might be overdue for a few convention Guest of Honor invites.

https://twitter.com/KameronHurley/status/648874752631775232

https://twitter.com/KameronHurley/status/648879242730713088

(12) Hurley also tweeted a link which ultimately takes readers to G. Derek Adams’ guest post on This Blog Is A Ploy about how to sell your books in a way that actually sells books, but doesn’t make you feel like a shyster.

(13) Amanda S. Green agrees that she was quote laundering. Too bad she can’t admit that without first strawmanning a false accusation about something I never said.

First of all, I had someone (and I will let you guys guess where they came from) basically accuse me of not having read Scalzi’s post that I referred to in my Saturday blog. The entire basis for this person — as well as the condemnation from the referring blog — seems to be because I didn’t link to the Scalzi post. Instead, I linked to Teleread. Well, let me set the record straight. I did read the original post. I didn’t link to it because I know the readers here on MGC have the ability to google and find the original source if they want to read it. Teleread had excerpted the parts I wanted and I happened to also agree, for the most part, with what Chris Meadows had to say. So, that is what I linked to.

There are basically two reasons why I don’t link to a post. The first is as I stated above. I know our readers here can go find the original if they want to. The second is when I don’t want to send additional traffic their way.

(14) The X-Files is returning as a six-episode event series in 2016. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will also be back as Mulder and Scully.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

312 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/29 What Color is Your Parvo Shot?

  1. How about a retro Hugo of 1550, entrants qualify from the previous 2-300 years ?
    There is a lot of material, some of the highlights of which are available in modern English translations. There probably are a great number of hidden gems too.

    Here is a Goodreads list –
    http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/37687.Books_Mentioned_on_Don_Quixote
    Has Roland, which was of course influential, but I’m not sure it fits in the category.
    There doesn’t seem to be an English translation of Esplandian or even a good plain-text Spanish version online, though that was one of the best-sellers.
    This was recommended to me years ago in Spanish translation, though Google has the English, on the subject of the literary background of the conquistadors, and probably of general Spanish society of the period –
    https://books.google.com/books?id=VYVzjP42jmEC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=irving+leonard+conquistador&source=bl&ots=xC2ckc28fp&sig=t63cJXUNjgCG7-ZgqhPYO_EeIYY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFsQ6AEwC2oVChMI26eg0LqfyAIVSEiICh3JSgEa#v=onepage&q=irving%20leonard%20conquistador&f=false

  2. Mark on September 30, 2015 at 11:13 am said:

    Okay, double gremlin strike. I was asking about a web series called Con Man with Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion that’s just been released, that I won’t link to because the gremlins apparently hate me.

    The gremlins are doing you a favor – it’s pretty poor, with a sophomoric level of “humor”. Free to view on ew.com I believe

    Felicia Day is far and away the best thing in it, followed at some distance by Samwise.

  3. As far as conspiracies and cell phones go, The Expanse novels start, fairly early, with a character playing into The Conspiracy’s hands by getting there hands on Seekkkrit data and then broadcasting it everywhere. Which ended up helping the conspiracy. A nice twist.

  4. @TechGrrl1972

    Private browsing will only stop sites from identifying you by cookies or LocalStorage.

    You can still be tracked by IP unless you use a proxy. If you use the FoxyProxy addon, you can program it to autmatically switch proxies based on which URL you visit. I have a bunch of patterns for VD, Castalia and JCW if you are interested.

  5. Mart on September 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm said:

    @TechGrrl1972

    Private browsing will only stop sites from identifying you by cookies or LocalStorage.

    You can still be tracked by IP unless you use a proxy. If you use the FoxyProxy addon, you can program it to autmatically switch proxies based on which URL you visit. I have a bunch of patterns for VD, Castalia and JCW if you are interested.

    That might be worthwhile to post. I appreciate the information, because as I mentioned, at least teddy has shown a propensity to chase down people he doesn’t like. Of course, I would never post a comment. Going to his site is like watching a train wreck that you can’t tear your eyes away from.

  6. the gremlins apparently hate me

    A common misconception. Gremlins don’t actually hate anybody. They just get bored and want attention.

  7. Marshall Ryan Maresca on September 30, 2015 at 1:14 pm said:

    I always wondered how, with the TNG Communicators, you could tap and say, for example, “Riker to Crusher” and the system would know he meant Beverly and not Wesley.

    Clearly their AI was advanced enough to know that he never wanted to talk to Wesley.

  8. I always wondered how, with the TNG Communicators, you could tap and say, for example, “Riker to Crusher” and the system would know he meant Beverly and not Wesley.

    Clearly their AI was advanced enough to know that he never wanted to talk to Wesley.

    True. But I wouldn’t say the same if the situation involved the O’Briens. Plenty of people would want to talk to either of them.

  9. @redwombat

    (Also you would have to do a lot of research to be able to walk-the-walk convincingly and you would have to prey almost exclusively on cheerful, extremely focused retired people. But still.)

    The admittedly remote possibility of preying on Jonathan Franzen makes the endeavor sound just a very small bit more appealing.

  10. Cally, you suggest anthology-style SF audio shows for me to track down? So far I have listened to:

    1940s
    Escape
    Quiet Please

    1950s
    2000 Plus
    Beyond Tomorrow
    CBS Radio Workshop
    Dimension X
    Exploring Tomorrow
    Tales of Tomorrow
    World Security Workshop
    X Minus 1

    1960s
    SF 68

    1970s
    Mindwebs
    CKMS

    1980s
    Nightfall
    Sci Fi Radio
    Vanishing Point

    1990s
    Seeing Ear Theater

    2000s
    2000x/Beyond 2000

    Pod
    Thrilling adventure Hour
    Welcome to Nightvale
    Clarkesworld

  11. I just finished the anthology Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging, which has been mentioned a few times in these comments. Well, it was mostly pretty thin fare. The ordinariness of Juliette Wade’s story was particularly disappointing because I enjoy her blog. A few stories that rose a bit above were Ekaterina Sedia’s grim future where idealism may not be entirely of the past, in “Say Rice”, Jennifer Brozek’s literalization of “ghost cities” in “The Broken Silence of Fanghan”, John Remy Nakamura’s rather inventive, and of course repulsive, take on mushroom people in “On Love and Decay”, and Maurice Broaddus’s alternate-history-steampunk “(120 Degrees of) Know the Ledge” centered on an analogue of the Five Percent Nation (something I had somehow managed to miss hearing about until now); the alternate history doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s a good story otherwise, and it’s always nice to have writers drawing on less-publicized bits of history.

    The one truly gripping story was the first one in the book, “Good Neighbors” by Amanda C. Davis. It starts with a six-foot blue paperboy delivering rocks instead of papers; nyvraf rawbl cynlvat ebyrf va uhzna fbpvrgl, jvgu znkvzhz qenzn, naq fvapr gurl pna ghea crbcyr gb nfu jvgu n gbhpu, gurve uhzna arvtuobef qba’g jnag gb gvpx gurz bss naq qba’g jnag gb nfx jung orpnzr bs gur crbcyr gurl ercynprq. It’s blackly funny and genuinely scary. I have the feeling I’ve read something like it before, though — maybe by Fredric Brown, it’s his sort of story.

  12. Marshall Ryan Maresca : “I always wondered how, with the TNG Communicators, you could tap and say, for example, “Riker to Crusher” and the system would know he meant Beverly and not Wesley.”

    Matthew Johnson : “Clearly their AI was advanced enough to know that he never wanted to talk to Wesley.”

    It’s pretty obvious the ship was reading their minds, and routing communications as part of the functionality of the game. Star Trek only makes sense if you see it as an immersive MMO being run in the Culture, with the GSV Enterprise getting social status from its peers about the antics its pets get up to. That “Captain Kirk” – so adorable.

  13. A question for the Beukes recommenders. I thought The Shining Girls was well-done, but I’m not usually a horror reader and I found all the scenes of sympathetic characters getting eviscerated after struggling fruitlessly to survive fairly emotionally exhausting. Is Broken Monsters similar on that score?

  14. Poor Wesley. I forever now will think of Roddenberry in the documentary by his son talking about how personally Gene saw Wesley’s character.

  15. The truth is that I didn’t refresh before posting my comment but I’m just going to say that I was ninja’d by jcr on the Connie Willis cellpho

  16. I always wondered how, with the TNG Communicators, you could tap and say, for example, “Riker to Crusher” and the system would know he meant Beverly and not Wesley.

    In the original series episode Charlie X, when Yeoman Rand is being menaced in her quarters by Charlie Evans, she pushes a secret button under her personal quarters that opens a communications channel directly to Kirk’s chair on the bridge – channel that appears to be one-way from her quarters to Kirk. What was that button for? Did Rand have a booty call button that linked her directly to Kirk’s bridge station?

  17. I’ve been wrestling with the “one copy of critical data” Macguffin in a novel that otherwise assumes connectivity is so ubiquitous characters almost never think about the data network, for the same reason we almost never think about the electricity grid. I think (hope!) it’s possible to pull off, if you can establish that it’s a special case—keeping the data and its backups physically isolated to minimize any possibility of it hitting the network.

    It’s always interesting/frustrating to do any technology projection. Contemporary work seems to frequently show us futures in which ubiquitous presence isn’t as much of a thing as it even is now; the tech’s already here for us to ask our devices, “Hey, where was our friend so-and-so last seen?” If our friends use certain apps, we may get pretty fine-grained answers back.

  18. @Watts You probably know Greg Egan deals with the backup question in some of his novels (Diaspora comes to mind). Becomes a major issue when your backup is you.

  19. @Jim Henley

    “We have to kill him, or he’ll reveal we’ve been blatantly manipulating the data in the automated real-estate title database and we’ll all go to prison!”

    “We have to kill him, or people will find out we deliberately misstated the value of our CDOs and we’ll all go to jail!”

    “We have to kill him, or people will find out that our fracking technology has poisoned the water table across five counties and we’ll all go to jail!”

    I dunno, “We have to kill him, or the revelation of [misdeed X] will temporarily interfere with the efficiency or scale at which we can conduct [misdeed X]” doesn’t sound entirely implausible.

  20. I could see having data stored on some now forgotten format. How long before it’s next to impossible to get the info off of a zip drive? I may be the last person on earth with the all but forgotten Orb drive. (Probably not. It has its own wikipedia page.)

    There was that story in Cowboy Bebop where Faye receives a Betamax tape and Spike has to go find something to play it. (He ends up choosing the VHS tape player because it’s bigger. Bigger is better.)

  21. @emgrasso (on Tepper):

    Then I concluded “This writer does not respect her readers or her story, I’m not buying her books any more”.

    I downloaded and read the ebook sample for The Fresco, and it did not grab me enough to get me past the expectation that my trust would be betrayed.

    It is very rare for me to stop reading an author with extreme prejudice unless their work is really bad or distasteful (which Tepper’s is not), and even rarer to do it after reading double digits of their works, Even at the time I could not explain coherently all the factors that led into my reaction to Tepper’s work.

    I share your emotional reaction, or at least I have a reaction that’s very similar. For me, it comes from an impression that there will always be some character who will be, if only at one isolate point in the storyline, an insufferably smug author stand-in who will deliver a lecture full of exclamation points about how society is getting it wrong and how they need to get it right.

    I’m also not fond of being expected to believe that some hyperintelligent alien/future/semi-divine species still needs that one uncorrupted human, discovered by chance among all the rest of us corrupted humans who deserve to die come the deliberately-fomented apocalypse/plague/population cull, to enlighten them about the rightness of some action (usually some form of destruction, genocide, or euthanasia) and give them permission to do it. Or forgive them for having done it and give them permission to stop trying to expiate their guilt over it. Basically, it’s “What These Natives Aliens Need Is A White Guy Earthling.”

    It may or may not help to know, but my wall-banger moment in The Fresco had to do with not just the plot point, but the massive schadenfreude accompanying it, wherein [rot13]gur evtug-jvat Erchoyvpna yrtvfyngherf, nyy zra, trggvat sbepvoyl naq abapbafrafhnyyl vzcertangrq, naq gur nyvraf fnlvat, Ybbx, pna lbh oynzr hf sbe guvaxvat lbh jnagrq vg, jung jvgu nyy gur nagv-nobegvba yrtvfyngvba lbh jrer chfuvat?[/rot13] That was a huge “get off my side, you make my side look evil” moment for me.

    After The Fresco, I would check out the first few pages of any new book of hers I came across, but I’d feel rather less compelled to read it.

    After reading Tepper’s post in Scalzi’s “Big Idea” series, I decided that the smug was really, really strong with this one, and that I could give up hope that any new books of hers would make me happy.

    And yet the books I’d read up to that point retain a lot of reread value for me. Tepper is really good at what she does right. I just grumble a lot at the pages when I get to what (I think) she does wrong.

  22. @Andy H.
    I would have to say so, yes. As I said on here just after I finished it I let out an audible and involuntary “Jesus Wept!” on the train near the end which bought me a very strange look from the person opposite.

    It definitely falls into the horror side of urban fantasy.

    Moxyland appears to be more dystopian cyberpunk though from it’s Amazon blurb (clickity)

  23. @Nicole – I am, I freely admit, a pretty lousy human being in my head, because I found that bit very satisfying.

    Morally justifiable? Not in the slightest, of course. (And it’s actually the humans who convince the aliens that of course this is ethical, which, again, dreadfully immoral, never called on it) Ham-handed? Oh Christ yes. But this was my progressive equivalent of the scene in True Lies where Schwarzenegger shoots the dude with a rocket through a building.

    It’s not GOOD. It’s dumbass wish-fulfillment. But when half of the SF Grandmasters get to write stupid wish-fulfillment where the square-jawed conservative hero punches out all the stupid liberals, I figure I get to enjoy at least one.

    (Obviously in reality I would be forced to be nuanced and appalled and so forth, but if all my favorite fantasies come screaming into reality, I will also probably be too busy lobbying against the cruelty of Pokemon fighting to arrange Limbaugh’s abortion.)

    But it is totally okay for other people not to enjoy it, and also to have disliked True Lies, for that matter.

  24. My reaction to that scene was very much in line with RedWombat’s, though like her I’d never suggest anyone was wrong to, ah, react poorly to that bit.

  25. I could see having data stored on some now forgotten format. How long before it’s next to impossible to get the info off of a zip drive?

    I sure hope we’re not there yet.

    I still have some zip discs that I’d like to get the files off of, and I’m hoping my previous computer will still work with the Zip drive. (I may have to boot up the old 486 that I have upstairs, that I use only to copy files off of old 5 1/4″ floppy discs that I run across.)

  26. @Nicole J LeBoeuf-Little
    re rot13ed stuff. Oh ick. Glad I decided to give The Fresco a pass, then.

    The sad thing is, I really liked the first True Games trilogy when they came out, but the last time I reread them was around the time the 3rd trilogy was finishing, (which was also around the time I was running out of slack to cut) and it ruined the first trilogy for me. I may have been delusional, but on top of other problems I was having with her writing, I was convinced that the claim that the first and third trilogies were different views of the same events was structurally and chronologically impossible, so that one trilogy or the other was “lying” to the reader, and not in an unreliable narrator sort of way.

    I guess I wasn’t invested enough to take the Highlander “there was no sequel” approach, though that might work now that I’ve had a quarter of a century to forget the details of the 3rd trilogy. But there is so much else to read now, that I probably won’t bother.

  27. James Nicoll:

    Cally, you suggest anthology-style SF audio shows for me to track down? So far I have listened to:

    1940s
    Escape
    Quiet Please

    1950s
    2000 Plus
    Beyond Tomorrow
    CBS Radio Workshop
    Dimension X
    Exploring Tomorrow
    Tales of Tomorrow
    World Security Workshop
    X Minus 1

    1960s
    SF 68

    1970s
    Mindwebs
    CKMS

    1980s
    Nightfall
    Sci Fi Radio
    Vanishing Point

    1990s
    Seeing Ear Theater

    2000s
    2000x/Beyond 2000

    Pod
    Thrilling adventure Hour
    Welcome to Nightvale
    Clarkesworld

    I take it you’re not looking for shows like Planet Man (1950), which is all about one set of people?

    Looks to me like you’ve covered most of the SF anthology shows. Shows that have SFF at least sometimes? Mostly horror, as you might expect. Horror often has a fantastic element.

    1930s
    The Witch’s Tale (1931-38) Ghosts, werewolves, and other fantasy elements

    1940s
    Dark Fantasy (1941-42). Just what it says on the tin.

    Mysterious Traveler (1943-52) Frame story of a guy in a train telling eerie stories, sometimes containing ghosts, immortality, or other fantasy elements.

    The NBC University Theater (1948-51) made adaptations of famous novels, including some fantasies such as Gulliver’s Travels and Alice in Wonderland.

    The Strange Dr. Weird. (1944-45) a 15 minutes show that spun off of The Mysterious Traveler.

    1950s

    NBC Radio Theater (1955-60) Occasional SF in an hour-long format

    1970s

    CBS Radio Mystery Theater. (1974-1982) This one is huge. Literally over a thousand “one-hour” (45 min) shows, quite a few of which were SF or fantasy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CBS_Radio_Mystery_Theater

    Sears Radio Theater/Mutual Radio Theater. (1979-1980) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sears_Radio_Theater Not as big as CBS Radio Mystery Theater, but still a big one. Weekday anthology show. Every Wednesday was Horror Night hosted by Vincent Price, and every Friday was Adventure Night (often SF) hosted by Richard Widmark, Howard Duff, and finally Leonard Nimoy.

    Podcasts:

    You already said Thrilling Adventure Hour and Nightvale. I don’t listen to many other podcasts, so can’t help here.

    Except maybe Imagination Theater. Warning: mp3s scroll off in a couple weeks, so download them in a timely fashion. Not primarily SF/Fantasy, but some. http://jimfrenchproductions.com/zc137m/index.php?main_page=page&id=2

    I need to figure out how to listen to and get a copy of the TAH Boat Show, which I saw a version of performed live on the JoCo Cruise. Apparently it was broadcast on the LA PodFest, but I’m worried about my often crappy download speed if it’s streaming vs being a download.

    I’m sure there are other shows out there that I should be thinking of, but there’s a few, anyway. You have found most of the specifically-SF anthology shows.

    Things you probably already know:
    A useful tool for looking up dates of shows is Jerry Haendiges’ Vintage Radio Logs. Does not contain links to actual mp3s of shows, but does have episode details for hundreds and hundreds of programs. http://www.otrsite.com/otrsite/radiolog/index.html Oddly, does not have logs for CBS Radio Mystery Theater, but you can find those with a google.
    The Internet Archive at archive.org has lots and lots of radio shows; if you fail to find a show there, I have other places bookmarked to look.

  28. Yeah, I can see problems with retrieving data from an obsolete (and possibly degrading) storage medium — the secret plans are encoded on these punch cards! Where’s your Babbage engine? — and I’ll accept some kind of gibble-gabble about autonomous encryption that only allows one copy to exist at a time or something, and I’ll make additional allowances for historical context on a case-by-case basis.

  29. Correction: the Imagination Theater shows seem to have gone from a podcast to being a YouTube channel (still audio only) while I wasn’t paying attention. I’m going to have to start running them through a youtube to mp3 converter.

  30. @emgrasso – Oh, with those I just assumed Peter was an idiot. *grin*

    I will always have a soft spot for Jinian Footseer, but I can understand people not.

  31. A couple of days ago, I came across an article about the last remaining floppy disk store. He’s going through the remaining unused disks, and wiping and recycling old floppies when he can, because people who need them really need them. Some of those people–like the U.S. military–probably have their own stocks, but not all. (Yes, not being on the internet means less risk of being hacked, but a big piece of what’s going on is that any replacement technology would have to pass security testing, and the very old stuff is already certified.)

  32. ’ve been wrestling with the “one copy of critical data” Macguffin in a novel that otherwise assumes connectivity is so ubiquitous characters almost never think about the data network, for the same reason we almost never think about the electricity grid. I think (hope!) it’s possible to pull off, if you can establish that it’s a special case—keeping the data and its backups physically isolated to minimize any possibility of it hitting the network.

    I’m always fascinated how in the Mission Impossible movies, there’s some piece of critical data that’s behind so many layers of nigh-impossible-to-penetrate security that there’s no way said data can be useful to whoever is actually supposed to have access to it.

  33. the secret plans are encoded on these punch cards!

    The biggest problem would be finding a card reader (although they can be manually translated).. Paper tape also has possibilities for really long-term storage (especially since it’s coated paper).

  34. Round 3 of the bracket will be posted shortly. In a pairing, you can vote for a work, a tie, abstain, or vote for another work published between 2000 and 2014. In a three-way match-up, please rank them IRV-style.

  35. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART THREE:
    OPEN THE BOOKSTORE DOORS, HAL

    1. HIGH TECH AND LOW TECH
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein
    Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge

    2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Martian, Andy Weir

    3. POLITICS
    Farthing, Jo Walton
    Embassytown, China Miéville

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    5. A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
    The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon

    6. SOCIOLOGICAL FICTION
    Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    7. LIFE CHANGES
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    Accelerando, Charles Stross

    8. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
    Passage, Connie Willis
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold

    9. RANK ‘EM
    Lock In, John Scalzi
    Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
    God’s War, Kameron Hurley

  36. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART THREE:
    OPEN THE BOOKSTORE DOORS, HAL

    I’m sorry, Kyra, I can’t do that.

    1. HIGH TECH AND LOW TECH
    Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge

    2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    3. POLITICS
    Farthing, Jo Walton

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    5. A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    6. SOCIOLOGICAL FICTION
    Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks

    7. LIFE CHANGES
    Accelerando, Charles Stross

    8. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold

    9. RANK ‘EM
    3rd Lock In, John Scalzi
    1st Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
    2nd God’s War, Kameron Hurley

  37. I loved Moxyland right up till the end. The end made me want to fling it hard. Not intentionally avoiding Beukes but haven’t read anything of hers since.

    Someone had a minor background point in a novel where history from our time was considered a dark age due to media decay and rapidly changing media formats. Maybe Stross or Vinge but it’s not coming to me (Glasshouse, possibly?). Weird to think vellum might be a more durable medium but bit rot is definitely a thing. And when was the last time you saw a reel to reel, eight track, or 8″ floppy drive. (OK I did see an eight track pretty recently at a classic car show but a thousand years from now?)

  38. 2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson

    Oh for FFS. Pass the forehead cloths please.

    3. POLITICS
    Farthing, Jo Walton
    Embassytown, China Miéville

    Abstain, read both, didn’t care for either one that much.

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    2nd forehead cloth

    5. A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    6. SOCIOLOGICAL FICTION
    Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks

    3rd…

    7. LIFE CHANGES
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey

    8. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold

    9. RANK ‘EM

    1. Lock In, John Scalzi

    #2 & #4 was just mean….

  39. 2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    Anathem, Neal Stephenson
    The Martian, Andy Weir
    I don’t usually vote where I’ve not read both, but this is revenge for the steaming pile of crap that is Seveneves

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    Argh. Both. If I have to pick….

    7. LIFE CHANGES
    The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey
    Accelerando, Charles Stross

    Arrgh again. Accelerando, for the cat. And the lobsters

  40. 2. The Martian, Andy Weir

    3. Farthing, Jo Walton

    7. The Girl with All the Gifts, M. R. Carey

    9. Lock In, John Scalzi

  41. I surprised myself with a few of these. (Though not as surprised as I’ll be if anything ever compels me to vote against Fledgling.)

    1. HIGH TECH AND LOW TECH
    The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein
    Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge

    3. POLITICS
    Farthing, Jo Walton
    Embassytown, China Miéville

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    6. SOCIOLOGICAL FICTION
    Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks
    Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

    8. IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
    Passage, Connie Willis
    Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold

  42. Forehead Cloths! Getcher nice cold Bracket Forehead Cloths here! Gluten free! No transfats! Guaranteed organic! Carbon atoms in every cloth! [looking at spilled bottle] Lavender-scented cloths NOW WITH MORE SCENT! Get them today!

  43. 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE FICTION PART THREE:
    OPEN THE BOOKSTORE DOORS, HAL

    2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    The Martian, Andy Weir

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey

    5. A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD
    Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    9. RANK ‘EM
    1. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
    2. God’s War, Kameron Hurley

  44. Good grief, that was fast.

    2. BY SPACESHIP TO A HOSTILE PLANET
    Oh that’s not fair! Anathem didn’t go to a hostile planet, it just had hostile people. So The Martian, Andy Weir

    4. THE SERIES BEGINS
    Leviathan Wakes, James S. A. Corey because I can’t even see that other title without seeing a mental image of very healthy and well-fed people doing ridiculous things.

    5. A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD
    Can’t have one of the better hive-mind stories in a long time without this! Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie

    7. LIFE CHANGES
    Especially if you’re a lobster. Accelerando, Charles Stross

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