Pixel Scroll 10/11 Slaughterhouse Hive

(1) C. E. Murphy is “home from Octocon” with several good stories.

I brought about eight pounds of fudge to the con, and passed it out to the attendees of the Golden Blasters film festival on Friday night. Probably the best two bits of that were saying to people, “If you’re allergic to anything except gluten you can’t eat this, but it’s gluten-free,” and having one woman LIGHT UP when she was told it was gluten-free and safe for her to eat. (Eggs, dairy, corn, nuts: basically all those things go into my fudge unless I’m making Special Batches.) The other best bit was handing a box of vanilla-and-cranberry fudge over to my friend (and guest of honour!) Maura McHugh, who doesn’t like chocolate and who put on an expression of Noble Acceptance of Not Getting Fudge when I came through waving the batch of chocolate fudge. But I was prepared for her, and she shrieked and leapt up and hugged me. 🙂

(2) A six-part Frankenstein horror series starring Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean has been acquired by A&E for broadcast in the U.S., according to Variety.

The Frankenstein Chronicles was created by British production house ITV, and features six hour-long episodes set in 1827 London. Bean plays inspector John Marlott, on a search for a murderer who leaves behind a trail of mutilated body parts which have been assembled into complete human forms.

Set in 19th century London, the show will include plenty of gas lamps, horses, and opium — a bust of an opium den is reportedly how Bean’s character stumbles upon the trail of Dr. Frankenstein, and or his monster, in the first place.

But does Sean Bean survive the first season?

(3) The other day I ran a news item about Dean Wesley Smith, and in his latest post, “Writing workshops: caveat emptor”, Brad R. Torgersen says how much he learned at the Rusch/Smith workshop he attended.

One of the best things my wife and I ever did, was pony up some cash for my first writing workshop. Having endured years and years of rejection letters, by 2008 I was hoping to bust out of a serious slump. My wife asked the question, “What else can we do?” I’d never done workshops before. They were too expensive, and they required too much time away from work and home — especially the king of all science fiction and fantasy workshops, Clarion. But it was precisely because I’d never done a workshop before, that my wife and I determined to get me to one. She asked me which workshop looked best, for a “get your feet wet” event, and I chose the weekend-long Kris and Dean Show being put on in Lincoln City, Oregon, at the eclectic Anchor Inn — by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. This was June of 2009. It turned out to be something of a watershed event, for me as an aspiring professional. In two delightfully exhausting days, Kris and Dean ran the table: from matters of craft, to matters of publishing, as well as self-promotion, book-keeping, personal writerly habits, known pitfalls, and of course myths and conventional (false) wisdoms.

I walked away feeling like I’d learned more in one weekend than in all the many hundreds of hours I’d spent reading “How to write books” books.

Torgersen, noting that most people need to be cost-conscious, offers practical advice about how a beginning writer can decide what workshops will meet his or her needs.

(4) Where better to make revelations about Gotham than at this weekend’s New York Comic Con?

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for his iconic role as Pee-Wee Herman, will play The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot’s father in “Gotham” season two, star Robin Lord Taylor revealed during the show’s panel at New York Comic Con.

“He will be showing up very soon,” Taylor teased, before letting his fan enthusiasm out. “Pee-Wee Herman is playing my dad! What the hell? Oh my god!”

Fittingly, Reubens has already played the role of the Batman villain’s father before — he appeared as Tucker Cobblepot in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

(5) Another George R.R. Martin work has been optioned for television – “Cinemax Orders SKIN TRADE Script”.

I am very excited to announce the Cinemax (HBO’s sister company) has optioned the television rights to “The Skin Trade,” the offbeat “werewolf noir” novella I penned back in the late 80s. The deal is closed, and Cinemax has ordered the pilot script. This being Hollywood, of course, you never know where things will end… but if they like the script, we’ll shoot a pilot, and if they like that, hey, who knows, maybe we’ll get a series on the air. Which would be very cool. I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade….

“The Skin Trade” has had a storied, and complex, publishing history. It was originally written for NIGHT VISION 5, the fifth volume of the prestigious annual horror anthology from the late lamented small press Dark Harvest, where it appeared together with original contributions from Dan Simmons and Stephen King, some stellar company. The novella was very well received, and went on to win that year’s World Fantasy Award.

More recently, the novella was purchased by Mike the Pike Productions, who played a big part in taking the project to Cinemax. To handle the adaptation, script the pilot, and produce the show (should we get a greenlight), we’ve tapped a terrific talented young scriptwriter named KALINDA VAZQUEZ, whose previous credits include work on PRISON BREAK and ONCE UPON A TIME….

(6) Europa SF profiles Science Fiction Studies Special issue On Italian Science Fiction.

Here is the direct link — Science Fiction Studies #126 – Volume 42, Part 2 – July 2015, SPECIAL ISSUE ON ITALIAN SCIENCE FICTION, Edited by Umberto Rossi, Arielle Saiber, and Salvatore Proietti.

(7) Science fiction writer Patrick S. Tomlinson is quoted in the recent Washington Post article “Most gun owners support restrictions. Why aren’t their voices heard?”

Once again, their voices are missing from the debate.

Gun owners who favor tighter restrictions on firearms say they are in the same position after the mass shooting in Oregon as they have been following other rampages — shut out of the argument.

The pattern, they say, is frustrating and familiar: The what-should-be-done discussion pits anti-gun groups against the National Rifle Association and its allies, who are adamantly opposed to any new restrictions on weapons…..

“There’s this perception that people are neatly divided into folks who want an M1A1 Abrams battle tank to drive to work and those who want to melt every last gun and bullet into doorstops,” said Patrick Tomlinson, a science-fiction writer and gun owner in Milwaukee who favors universal background checks and longer waiting periods for gun purchases. “There seems to be no middle there, but I know there is. I’m in it.”

Tomlinson has two novels out with a third on the way, and his short fiction has appeared in anthologies.

(8) Slate blogger Marissa Visci answers the question, “What Does It Mean When a Book is Stamped With the Words ‘Author’s Preferred Text’?”

Sifting through Slate’s mailroom recently, we found a new edition of Neil Gaiman’s first novel, Neverwhere, with three words printed beneath the title on its glossy cover: “author’s preferred text.” It’s not the first time those words have graced a Gaiman cover—you’ll also find them on the 10th-anniversary edition of American Gods. So we wondered: What does this mean? What is an “author’s preferred text?” And what makes one text more preferred than other texts?

It turns out that the “author’s preferred text” is the director’s cut of the literary world, only far less ubiquitous. The definition is, in part, pretty self-explanatory: It’s the version of a particular work that the writer prefers, editorial interference be damned. The phenomenon is not limited to Gaiman, though he may be its most frequent practioner. Stephen King released a mammoth new edition of The Stand, subtitled Complete and Uncut, in 1990, in which he not only restored gargantuan passages that had been cut in the editing process, but moved the story’s time period ahead by a decade….

For Gaiman, the “author’s preferred text” is, in part, a way of restoring some of the text that was lost in translation during its Americanization. One thing that the new edition reinstates is some of the humor that Gaiman claims was eliminated from the initial U.S. version, as he wrote in his intro:

My editor at Avon Books, Jennifer Hershey, was a terrific and perceptive editor; our major disagreement was the jokes. She didn’t like them and was convinced that American readers would not be able to cope with jokes in a book that wasn’t meant solely to be funny.

(9) And Neil Gaiman will be appearing on stage, unencumbered by editors, at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center in Long Beach on November 14. Details here.

The bestselling and award-winning author—whose notable works include the comic book series The Sandman as well as novels Coraline, Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and extends to screenplays, song lyrics, poetry, journalism and multimedia—appears for one inspiring evening!

(10) Efforts to restore an old B-29 to flightworthiness continue to pay off.

Doc is a B-29 Superfortress and one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc on sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, plans have been in the works to restore the historic warbird to flying status to serve as a flying museum.

They now have all four engines running.

(11) Honest Trailers – Aladdin has been created to commemorate the movie’s 25th anniversary.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus, Roger Tener, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

142 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/11 Slaughterhouse Hive

  1. @junego: I’ve read Saturn Run, both in draft and in final. It’s pretty good.

    It is incorrect to say that Ctein is not a writer, by the way. In the first place, he’s written a lot of non-fiction. He is a professional writer. This is his first fiction work.

    He did a lot more than provide technical assistance. He actually wrote the first draft. In my rather biased opinion, it’s better than the final draft. On the other hand, the final is a lot more marketable, so there’s that. I like his characters better, and Ctein has more internal landscape than Sanford. Sanford’s writing has very little inner life. There were some changes to the final draft that made me very sad, so I am not all that objective about the book.

    All those caveats aside, it’s a very good techno-thriller, and tolerably good science fiction. Where sff comes in conflict with thriller, in terms of story-telling requirements, thriller always wins. It has the emotional beats and structure of a techno-thriller. The science is very solid, though, and there are some marvelously stfnal moments, like the description of the radiator for the starship that leave me gasping in wonder.

  2. JJ:

    Mike Glyer: I didn’t see Torgersen raise any of these Sad Puppy talking points. What I read looked like useful professional advice.

    The problem is that what Torgersen says and what Torgersen actually does are usually two very different things.

    Was there really any need for you to attempt to straighten me out about Brad Torgersen?

    There’s actually more than one reason I read Mad Genius Club all the time. Puppiedom, of course. However, they’re selling writers, and sometimes they have useful experience to share. In fact, much as everyone would like to be a bestselling author on the verge of being optioned for cable and movies like Scalzi and Martin, the effort of MGC columnists to move a few books a week probably speaks to a lot more sf authors.

  3. @Mike Glyer

    I’m assuming that in your Copious Free Time you juggle squirrels and herd cats.

  4. Matt Y, the problems with .7) are twofold. The only way to conduct a background check when conducting a private sale of a gun is to give everyone access to the info systems that contain the personal and private files of every person in America. Not sure how that would work out in execution. Kind of like the hack of the Office of Personnel Management database that tapped the very private information of everyone that ever had a government security clearance.
    The other problem that has become manifest is that the cops don’t hesitate two seconds to blow anyone away. Armed or unarmed it makes no difference. If they ‘think’ they see a threat they open fire and they tend to kill a lot of innocent bystanders downrange; those that they don’t simply wound.

  5. Lauowolf:

    I’m assuming that in your Copious Free Time you juggle squirrels and herd cats.

    And it’s not easy keeping them away from the flying chainsaws, I’ll tell you!

  6. CW on October 12, 2015 at 11:19 am said:

    Matt Y, the problems with .7) are twofold. The only way to conduct a background check when conducting a private sale of a gun is to give everyone access to the info systems that contain the personal and private files of every person in America.

    No, the answer is registration. Track the sales. We manage to do it for cars and the numbers are pretty close.

    As the pro-gun folks are fond of telling us, _most_ owners are 100% responsible. We need a way to track and punish the ones who aren’t.

  7. “As the pro-gun folks are fond of telling us, _most_ owners are 100% responsible. We need a way to track and punish the ones who aren’t.”

    I can’t see how we could do that without installing cameras in peoples homes to see that the guns are always kept inside locked cabinets.

  8. CW – I disagree. If anything we could make it like car ownership, require testing to own and use specific models and have a ton of various safety regulations including require insurance to own.

    Or make it tougher to buy bullets. Because of meth I have to have my drivers license scanned whenever I buy cold medication and there’s a limit on what and how much I can buy. Cold medication sales are monitored more closely than bullet sales, how goofy is that?

    There are a lot of various things that could be done in order to enforce larger restrictions on the sale, purchasing or licensing of guns that wouldn’t require a Big Brother database that everyone has access too.

  9. Regarding item 3 — it’s a refreshing change to see so many paragraphs from Brad T that contain nothing wrong or offensive, and I would like to see this trend continue.

    Regarding item 7 — I think one of the problems we have (here in the US) is that it’s become impossible to discuss guns, the actual mechanical devices that shoot bullets, without discussing GUNS, SACRED TOTEMS OF POWER. You can enact sensible legislation, or have an honest conversation, about a mechanical device. You can’t do squat about a sacred totem of power.

    I think we’re caught in a feedback loop, where the reason we can’t seem to do anything about our gun problem is the very reason we have that gun problem. It’s pretty clear that mass shooters, and even just wildly irresponsible gun owners, are engaged primarily with the sacred totem of power and not the mechanical device.

  10. Hampus Eckerman on October 12, 2015 at 12:46 pm said:

    I can’t see how we could do that without installing cameras in peoples homes to see that the guns are always kept inside locked cabinets.

    And yet, we manage to enforce seatbelt safety laws without a camera in every car reporting back to the authorities…

  11. McJulie on October 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm said:

    I think one of the problems we have (here in the US) is that it’s become impossible to discuss guns, the actual mechanical devices that shoot bullets, without discussing GUNS, SACRED TOTEMS OF POWER.

    Add BIG SCARY GOVERNMENT to it and I think you’ve nailed it.

  12. Any attempt Torgersen makes to help his fellow writers that doesn’t involve screwing over anyone else should be encouraged, in my view. He can have a virtual cookie for it. It might slowly nudge him over to doing that all the time instead of making spectacularly huge mistakes like running slate campaigns.

  13. Mike Glyer: Was there really any need for you to attempt to straighten me out about Brad Torgersen?

    That wasn’t me “attempting to straighten you out”, that was me observing that lurkertype had a valid point. I apologize if I worded it badly and it seemed as though I was “attempting to straighten you out”.

  14. Due to Chuck Wendig doing such a terrible job with Star Wars: Aftermath, alienating the core audience with his excessive semi-colon use and unleashing a righteous torrent of 1-star reviews, his next two SW books have been cancelled formally announced, and Wendig has been forced to personally apologise to George Lucas given a byline saying “New York Times Bestselling Author.”

  15. Quick note for those interested, since the book’s gotten some love here:

    The ebook of Gaiman’s Coraline is currently $1.99 at Amazon US, Kobo, and probably some other places.

    Since I’ve got nothing else to contribute at the moment, I’d like to share a selected bit of an exchange I had yesterday as part of a customer service chat. I’m deleting the issue-specific stuff to leave the side chatter, since that’s the SFnal part:

    Tia M: Bob give me a moment to insert this title for you. This is a error on our end.
    Bob: I am incredibly tempted to ask if you have a brother named Tony. 😉
    Tia M: Haha! Of all the brothers and sisters I have there are no Tony’s!
    Bob: Never been to Witch Mountain, then? 🙂
    Tia M: Haha! No but I am definitely in the Rocky Mountain state!
    Bob: You should go. I hear it’s really out of this world.
    Tia M: It sounds like it would be! I will keep that in mind, I could use some excitement!
    Bob: Watch for flying Winnebagos!
    Tia M: Haha! I will!

    Hee.

    ETA, @McJulie: (guns vs. SACRED TOTEMS)

    Yeah, that pretty well says it all.

  16. Mark on October 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm said:

    Due to Chuck Wendig doing such a terrible job with Star Wars: Aftermath, alienating the core audience with his excessive semi-colon use and unleashing a righteous torrent of 1-star reviews, his next two SW books have been cancelled formally announced, and Wendig has been forced to personally apologise to George Lucas given a byline saying “New York Times Bestselling Author.”

    Sweet:

    Book Two is called Life Debt, which means that finally we will explore the life debt that bonds two of the galaxy’s most iconic characters — classic hero and sidekick, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar-Jar Binks.

    Finally. The story I’ve been dying to know the details of.

  17. Other thoughts about Saturn Run.

    It’s pretty good for female representation. The president of the United States is an Hispanic woman, the chief engineer is not only female but fat, her second in command is also a woman, and the mission commander is a divorced lesbian with kids. I was at a signing a couple of days ago, and Sanford said that Ctein had pretty much done that in the first draft, and that it had made him very nervous, but that simple extrapolation suggests that representation in powerful positions would be about 50% by 2065, when the novel is set.

    There are a lot of things to love about SR. I’m interested to see what other people think of it, since I have such an odd perspective on it.

  18. The first strange thing I’ve encountered is Sandford’s pet phrase “pulling his weenie.” Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport use that. Why anybody at CalTech would seems doubtful!

  19. @MIke: I remember thinking that phrase seemed a little off. I haven’t read Sanford, so I didn’t know it was a pet phrase of his. Interesting.

  20. att Y, the problems with .7) are twofold. The only way to conduct a background check when conducting a private sale of a gun is to give everyone access to the info systems that contain the personal and private files of every person in America.

    Not necessarily. If a license was universally required, sellers would need only to ensure that the buyer has a valid license. Buyer presents license, seller calls calls 800 number to get verification, presto!

    Edited to remove other gun regulation discussion, this isn;t really really the place to get into it

  21. MurrytheClown: Edited to remove other gun regulation discussion, this isn;t really really the place to get into it

    I’m sorry that you removed those statements; I thought that they were well-reasoned, and germane to a discussion on how background checks could be required for all gun purchases without making the background check database available to just anyone.

  22. JJ: I appreciate the thought. Have a cookie. Or a fudge, to keep on topic #1.

    Mark-kitteh: Excellent news. (add more CAPS LOCK for Chuck style)

    Lydy: now you’ve made me want the first draft instead of the published one. I don’t read Sanford anyhoo — I expect Ctein is a bigger name amongst File 770 denizens.

    Matt Y: very sensible, which is why that won’t happen.

    SNL had a fake ad this past weekend that covered the gun issue.

  23. @Lydy Nickerson

    Thanks for the “Saturn Run” info. Sorry if I mischaracterized Ctein’s role, I was paraphrasing the brief blurbs I read at Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll keep the book in my queue.

  24. Seconding all the love for Castle Hangnail. I finished Harriet the Invincible last night and loved it, too. When some of my reading becomes a slog, I read another book by Red Wombat. They are all great! I haven’t seen anyone mention Seventh Bride yet. It totally creeped me out but I couldn’t put it down.

  25. Stevie—

    The reviews may have misled you: the city in The Just City is on an island, but it isn’t a thalassocracy, unless you use the term broadly enough to mean that they use boats to fish. Being on an island doesn’t make them a sea power—rather, Athena put them on Thera to keep her experiment and its inhabitants from becoming entangled with other people, then or later.

    Kevin—

    I think Johan meant that there is a tradition of the business meeting actually passing resolutions to extend the eligibility of specific works, rather than it being a technical possibility that is never used.

  26. I’ve never attended myself, since I live on the other side of the world, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith’s writing workshops. So don’t let the fact that the 2015 spokespuppy praises the workshop scare you off.

    I’m also pleased to see a post by Brad Torgersen that actually makes sense, offers useful information and manages to be almost entirely inoffensive except for a needless jab against literary writers and MFAs.

  27. I now find myself wondering, whether there are specific MFA-bearing authors he’s pointing at?
    Because I don’t have that level of background information for many of the authors I like.
    And the ones I do know about come out a miscellaneous array of weird backgrounds, but by and large not MFA programs.
    Or are they also complaining about stuff like Clarion?
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  28. Lauowolf: I now find myself wondering, whether there are specific MFA-bearing authors he’s pointing at?

    Torgersen does not have a higher education, and criticizing other people who do is one of his standard repetitive rants. He has frequently accused people who have degrees of thinking that they’re better than other people, and he frequently ridicules people who have degrees for not actually having life skills or practical abilities. I suspect that there’s a large inferiority complex fueling that.

     
    Cora: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith’s writing workshops

    I’ve never read any of Dean Wesley Smith’s novels, but I’ve read many of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s novels and lots of her shorter fiction as well. A considerable amount of it I’ve absolutely raved about, most of it I’ve enjoyed, and a small amount of it I have regarded as “meh”. She is an absolutely disciplined craftsperson; she produces a frighteningly prodigious amount of fiction in the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance genres, and she is highly skilled at plotting. I’ve also read a considerable number of her non-fiction blog posts on the writing business. I am sure that any workshop she puts on is well worth the price of admission.

  29. @junego: Saturn Run is definitely being marketed as a John Sanford novel. While Sanford isn’t quite the marketing category that, say, GRRM is, he’s pretty big. It’s a good, solid decision. I am not certain, but I believe that most of the plot and structure turns out to be John’s, as well. And I believe that the original plan was more of an advisor role, but it got away from both of them. Ctein is rather surprised that it turns out he can write fiction. He’s rather adorable in his surprise.

  30. Lydy, since you’re friends with Ctein, is it okay to ask about the origin of his name? I tried doing a little Googling but was unable to find any info.

  31. It’s definitely being published and marketed as a Sandford novel; per the print run Ctein mentioned to me last week and that I’d be surprised if the advance was significantly less than what Sandford normally gets (some less due to the different genre possibly, but not a lot [this, unlike the print run, is a guess on my part]), the question isn’t if it’ll make the bestseller list, but what number it’ll be at (i.e. if a publisher prints that many copies and pays out that much money, it’s going to do every bit of promotion it can to make it a bestseller).

    While I’m not as good friends as Lydy, I’d suggest just accepting that Ctein is his chosen name and not asking about it.

  32. Tom Galloway: I’d suggest just accepting that Ctein is his chosen name and not asking about it.

    Cool, noted.

  33. @JJ: actually, I was at a signing where somebody asked that question, so now I know the answer. At least, the answer he gives in public. 🙂

    When he was editor for the newspaper in college, a reporter got her name misspelled in the byline. Ctein swears that it was right when it went to the printer…. Any gate, the next issue, when it came back from the printer, all the by-lines were scrambled. Ctein’s was the only one that was pronounceable, and they used it as a nickname, and eventually he just legally changed his name to Ctein rather than go through the hassle of having two identities.

    I think I have that roughly right. Any gate, he’s been Ctein a really long time, now. I personally find it amusing that when he is required by a computer to put in a first name, he uses “Mr.”

  34. And for anyone curious about pronunciation, it rhymes with “line”; the C at the front is pronounced, and is a K sound. “K’tine”.

  35. David Goldfarb: And for anyone curious about pronunciation, it rhymes with “line”; the C at the front is pronounced, and is a K sound. “K’tine”.

    I was wondering. I found a website which said it’s pronounced “kuh-TINE”, and I thought, “well, fine, but is that ‘kuh-teen’ or ‘kuh-tyne’?”

  36. He’s been Ctein longer than I’ve known him; what a prosaic explanation as to why. Hee. Although I once had a nickname bestowed upon me due to how my real name was stitched upon my gymsuit, which is much less glamorous and much more uncomfortable and embarrassing.

    JJ: when you say “no higher education”, do you mean not even a bachelor’s? Cuz if so… wow. Inferiority complex, much? And also a lack of comprehension in general, since most college programs are specifically set up to teach only skills and abilities nowadays… which I guess he doesn’t know since he’s never set foot in one?

    @lauowolf: I don’t know what education any authors have unless they mention it, which most of them don’t below the PhD level and not even then unless it applies to their field of writing.

    (I managed to scrabble my way to an A.S. eventually.)

  37. lurkertype: when you say “no higher education”, do you mean not even a bachelor’s? Cuz if so… wow. Inferiority complex, much?

    Yes, and yes. That’s why he brags on his website about being a writer of “Blue Collar Speculative Fiction”.

    I mean, I know a number of incredibly intelligent, capable people who don’t have a degree beyond high school, and not one of them wastes their time being nasty to, or about, people who have bachelor’s or master’s or doctorate degrees — because they’re self-confident and self-assured enough to know that they are quite competent without, and that putting other people down does not raise themselves up higher.

    I can also say that my bachelor’s degree from a liberal arts university was instrumental in continuing a well-rounded education for me (granted, I had always been interested in a lot of things, anyway, so none of this was brand-new): I majored in computer science and engineering, minored in French language, history and culture, took courses in Sociology, and Statistics, and art, and Greek and Roman Mythology (I tested out of having to take English lit and comp courses).

    But then, I went to university already knowing how to create a budget, balance a checkbook, write business-related letters, research any topic, touch type, sew my own clothes, plan and cook meals, do my own laundry because I learned these in high school (or at home) — which is where people should be learning practical skills. University isn’t supposed to be the place where you get those skills (though most of them have support services to help people who end up there without those skills).

    Most of the people I know who’ve gotten Masters or PhDs had to manage real life while they were doing it — a lot of them with spouses, and / or jobs, and / or children — and they have plenty of real-life, down-to-earth practical skills and knowledge, despite BT’s assertions to the contrary.

  38. If a university education is all that makes someone a particular class, I’m working class and my sisters aren’t. Which, no, not really, and anyway that wouldn’t make a lick of sense. My father’s family might be working class, but my grandparents put all of their children through elocution lessons to cultivate middle class accents and worked pretty hard on the whole aspiring thing. Culturally none of my generation ended up with much in the way of working class influences.

    (Middle class accents also come in very handy for home education. Officials tend to assume you’re nice and clever and good people who will do it well, which is an awfully silly set of assumptions just from an accent, but there you go.)

  39. I’m self-aware that I have something of a tendency towards intellectual snobbery. To counter it, I remind myself that four of the smartest and most well-read people I’ve met include someone who flunked out of a state university (Harlan Ellison), didn’t attend college (Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett), and someone who only got a high school diploma 70 or so years after dropping out (Fred Pohl). Torgersen, based on what I saw of his writing during SP3, is definitely *not* on that list.

  40. @JJ: Pathetic. And rather odd, since Mormons place a high value on education and the military will let you take all kinds of classes for free. Guys have gotten degrees while on submarines, FFS; it’s trivial if you have an internet account. They really make it easy and encourage it; if you want to get promoted, you take the classes. Makes you wonder about the level of ambition.

    I’d say I have more friends who only managed high school myself (many of them have a little bit of college). They neither look down on or are looked down upon by people with higher degrees. I know a marriage where he has a mediocre HS diploma and she has a master’s from a world-class university… and he makes more money. I have a number of friends with doctorates, but I’d have to ask some of them b/c I can’t remember. I’m only sure of one of them b/c it’s part of his nickname.

    Most of them with the higher degrees worked and had families during that time, and run businesses and are dab hands at home repair, plumbing, cooking, mechanics, etc.

    Bonus: they manage not to get involved with a homophobic white supremacist!

  41. lurkertype: Pathetic. And rather odd, since Mormons place a high value on education and the military will let you take all kinds of classes for free. Guys have gotten degrees while on submarines, FFS; it’s trivial if you have an internet account. They really make it easy and encourage it; if you want to get promoted, you take the classes. Makes you wonder about the level of ambition.

    Oh, he does praise the training that he’s gotten in the military. But he’s definitely a reverse intellectual snob; he’s constantly denigrating people who have degrees and claiming that they’re not as smart nor as valuable to society as blue collar workers who don’t have degrees. Which is a bit odd, since he’s not a blue-collar worker, he’s a programmer for a healthcare company.

  42. Round 4 of the Rory Root Memorial Comics Bracket.

    Forehead cloths available over on the left; a mere 6 1/2 million Altairan dollars each. Cheap at twice the price.

    1. CAMEO APPEARANCES BY ENORMOUS LIBRARIES
    The Sandman, Neil Gaiman and various
    Digger, Ursula Vernon

    2. HOMICIDAL PSYCHOS
    Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
    Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

    3. BLOCKHEADS
    Peanuts, Charles Schulz
    Zot!, Scott McCloud

    4. THE KIDS GO FOR BROKE
    Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau
    Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

    5. THE REAL WORLD, A BIT TWISTED
    XKCD, Randall Munroe
    Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh

  43. Bracket time…

    1. Sandman. (Oof again. Sorry, Ursula.)
    2. Ouch. Gotta go with Watchmen, for its seminal influence over a whole age of comics.
    3. Peanuts, as the headache subsides…
    4. Doonesbury.
    5. xkcd.

  44. Round 4 of the Rory Root Memorial Comics Bracket.

    Forehead cloths available over on the left; a mere 6 1/2 million Altairan dollars each. Cheap at twice the price.

    1. CAMEO APPEARANCES BY ENORMOUS LIBRARIES
    The Sandman, Neil Gaiman and various

    2. HOMICIDAL PSYCHOS
    Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

    3. BLOCKHEADS
    Peanuts, Charles Schulz

    4. THE KIDS GO FOR BROKE
    Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau

    5. THE REAL WORLD, A BIT TWISTED
    XKCD, Randall Munroe
    Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh

    Tie I’m not ready to choose yet. Those evil dice.

  45. 1. CAMEO APPEARANCES BY ENORMOUS LIBRARIES
    The Sandman, Neil Gaiman and various
    Digger, Ursula Vernon

    augh tie

    2. HOMICIDAL PSYCHOS
    Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson

    3. BLOCKHEADS
    Peanuts, Charles Schulz

    4. THE KIDS GO FOR BROKE
    Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau

    5. THE REAL WORLD, A BIT TWISTED
    XKCD, Randall Munroe

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