Pixel Scroll 10/24 The Pixels that Fall on You from Nowhere

(1) Quirk Books has compiled an array of “Bookish Tights and Leggings” now on the market. For example:

ColineDesign Printed Tights

Jane Austen quotes. Emily Dickinson poems. ColineDesign on Etsy also allows you to personalize your tights with any text you want.

Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly gave me these leggings.

We have our eye of Sauron on this map of Middle Earth by BlackMilk Clothing.

If you’re looking to go into fight some Orcs, these sword leggings by Souvrin will keep you battle ready.

 

lotrleggings

(2) John King Tarpinian remembers the neighbors built a fall-out shelter — today it is a wine cellar. Atlas Obscura looks back to the Cold War days in it gallery “Surviving a Nuclear Attack with Spam, and Other Images from Cold War Fallout Shelters”.

During the Cold War, as the arms race between Soviet Russia and the United States escalated, the perceived threat of nuclear attack became increasingly heightened. In response, the U.S. developed procedures to protect its citizens should the worst happen. In 1956, the National Emergency Alarm Repeater—NEAR—warning siren device was implemented to alert citizens to a nuclear attack. Students were drilled in “duck and cover” practices at schools. Books with titles such as Nuclear War Survival Skills were issued. And the only means of protection against radiation in the event of such a catastrophe was a fallout shelter.

Designs for fallout shelters appeared in pamphlets, subway advertisements and displays at civil defense fairs.  President Kennedy even got involved. In September 1961, the same month that the Soviets resumed testing nuclear weapons, Life magazine published a letter from the President advocating the use of fallout shelters. Rather terrifyingly, it was printed over an image of a mushroom cloud.

But that was just one of the many interesting graphical representations of the threat of annihilation. Below, check out our collection of fallout shelter designs and photographs that show just how people in the 1950s and 1960s tried to prepare for the unthinkable.

(3) Last Halloween Curbed posted a fascinating collection of photos of party costumes created by members of the Bauhaus school.

Most people attribute Germany’s Bauhaus school with the following: being on the vanguard of minimalist design, the paring down of architecture to its most essential and non-ornamental elements, and the radical idea that useful objects could also be beautiful. What may be overlooked is the fact that the rigorous design school, founded by modernism’s grandsire Walter Gropius, also put on marvelous costume parties back in the 1920s. If you thought Bauhaus folk were good at designing coffee tables, just have a look at their costumes—as bewitching and sculptural as any other student project, but with an amazing flamboyance not oft ascribed to the movement.

 

escola_bauhaus

(4) M. Harold Page tells how to conquer the NaNoWriMo challenge at Black Gate, with a collection of links to posts filled with his advice. Two examples…

Some Writing Advice That’s Mostly Useless (And Why): The following writing advice is mostly useless — “Work on your motivation,” “Revise, revise, revise,” “Have a chaotic life,” “Just write,” “Know grammar and critical terms,” “Practice skills in isolation.”

World Building Historical Fiction using Military Thinking: Don’t fall down the rabbit hole of research or worldbuilding. Instead use a layered approach, focussing your world building  as you descend from Strategic (villas exist and can be raided for supplies), through Operational (this villa sits on this ground amidst these fields), to Tactical (here is the ground plan of the villa and here are the people guarding it) level.

(5) Timothy Harvey’s “Doctor Who: How To Train Your Time Lord” at SciFi4Me concludes its introduction with a true piece of wisdom:

We don’t watch Doctor Who for history lessons.

It’s an episode recap with the premise —

OK, so if you’ve ever wanted to see what happens when you cross Doctor Who with How to Train Your Dragon, well, here you go.

(6) “10 Alabama actors who had roles in ‘The Twilight Zone’ series”

Day 5 of Kelly Kazek’s “13 Days of Alabama Halloween,” posted each day from Oct. 19-31 featuring an old news item, spooky legend, historical tale or fun list about All Hallow’s Eve.

“The Twilight Zone” TV series was groundbreaking for its time, not only for its spooky and supernatural content but for its social commentary. Twice, the show’s tales featured Alabama. A 1964 episode mentions Birmingham in a morality tale about hatred and the 1983 movie based on the series also references Alabama in a segment that features the Ku Klux Klan.

But the series has other Alabama connections: At least 10 Alabama actors had roles in the original and reboot of “The Twilight Zone” series, including some of the best-known episodes, such as “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”

(7) Maureen O’Hara passed away October 24. Her resume was light on genre work, but included memorable fantasies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miracle on 34th Street, and Sinbad the Sailor, the latter with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. She never was nominated for a competitive Oscar but received an honorary Academy Award last year.

(8) Many fans are linking to video of a Lenin monument that has been made over as a statue of Darth Vader,  part of the “de-Communization” of Ukraine, and David K.M. Klaus says, “I’m not sure that this is an improvement…!”

People dressed as Chewbacca and Stormtroopers from Star Wars attend the unveiling of the Darth Vader monument in Odessa on Friday. The monument, built around a bronze Lenin statue, is part of Ukraine’s de-communisation legislation which was introduced earlier this year. The Darth Vader character attending the event says that he is happy to be made into a monument while ‘still alive’

(9) Today’s Birthday Boy

  • October 24, 1915 — Bob Kane (cartoonist; co-creator of Batman) was born

(10) I only thought I had never heard of PewDiePie, the most-viewed YouTuber of all-time. Then I read that he does the Let’s Play! videos. My daughter has watched a bunch of those and shown me a couple.

(11) “The most complete picture of the Milky Way ever” explains Gizmodo —

The picture comes from astronomers at Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Of course, this wasn’t a simple matter of an instantaneous point-and-click shot. Instead, to get the full spread, researchers spent a full five years taking photos, which they put into a single 46 billion pixel image.

The entire resulting image was so large, that the photo could only be released in sections…

To see the whole thing, Ruhr-Universität Bochum built a special tool where you can scroll through the full image right here.

(12) Actor Richard Benjamin will do a Q&A following a showing of the movie Westworld at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on November 15 at 1 p.m. Presented by Creature Features. Hosted by Geoff Boucher. Tickets $15.

(13) “Shambleau” read aloud by the author C.L. Moore – the audio from a 1980 spoken word record, posted on YouTube.

(14) Via Andrew Liptak at io9 –

Yesterday, word broke that Bryan Fuller was bringing the sci-fi anthology show Amazing Stories back to life. Now, you can watch the entire first season of the original 80s series over on NBC.

(15) Haven’t had enough Star Wars trailer creativity yet? Science Vs. Cinema co-creator James Darling has mashed together the ultimate supercut for Star Wars: The Force Awakens using all three trailers and the Comic-Con BTS reel.

[Thanks to Michael J Walsh, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

390 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/24 The Pixels that Fall on You from Nowhere

  1. @Rev Bob —

    I’m not saying anything about anyone’s fun. I’m talking about why I think the construction of the story — the writing part, not the reading part — demonstrates sub-optimal ept, in the “it’s important that the hand-waving not knock dishes off the table or smack into the cat” sense.

  2. Regarding the whole keffuffle above, I quite often do a gear change when I see SF, changing the S from Science to Speculative. Especially with SF magazines, this enables me to read stuff which is Sciencey, Fantastical, a bit of both and not quite either.

    The topics of viruses and pregancy made me think of David Brin’s The Giving Plague and Piecework, niether of which is scientifically probale. Please don’t tell him they aren’t SF though, OK?

  3. @Susana:

    I know the term from its role-playing origins, which predate the incontinent pups.

    @Graydon:

    Then I would suggest that you be a bit less strident about it, because that’s not how it looks from here. Your messages read much more like “this is bad and your taste is bad if you like this drivel” than “I didn’t care for it, but you do you” from here.

  4. 1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    Yes, I still bawl like a two year old over Sleeping In Light. Don’t even pretend you don’t need the tissue box, too.

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Abstain

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    Robin of Sherwood (12)

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Abstain.

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  5. oreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Space: Above and Beyond (16)

    Babylon 5 at least tried to be epic, humanistic space opera. It failed all too often, but the attempt was worth it. The one episode of SAAB I watched had nothing interesting to it- and they got the spaceflight physics wrong.

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    Dinosaurs over teens with superpowers.

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    UFO (5)
    Robin of Sherwood (12)

    Mainly nostalgia factor. Also, Robin Hood never had a cool car.

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)
    Out of the Unknown (13)

    DS9 did pretty well for a rip-off. At least they tried to get away from the TNG smarm.

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    BSG at least had a couple good seasons before it went all Lost on us.

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    Not really a contest. This is one of those “defined my childhood” things.

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Slings and Arrows (7)
    Torchwood (10)

    Stupid sexy Torchwood gets it. Barely.

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)
    Lexx (15)

    If Twilight Zone doesn’t take the entire contest, I’ll be surprised. I mean, it IS science fiction on television.

  6. FWIW I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology. My training is a decade or two out of date and human fertility wasn’t my specialty. But . . .

    I didn’t find the story jarringly unscientific. There’s nothing in parthenogensis that would be a disadvantage to the bacterium continuing to exist and to propagate itself. If it was an STD that destroyed interest in sex and couldn’t spread without it, that would be strange, but that’s not what’s going on here.

    Parthenogenesis might be achieveable simply by altering *gene expression* as to affect the cell cycle as the oocyte produces the egg cell rather than requiring entirely new genes-and altering gene expression is a thing bacteria can do.

    In some ways I actually find that more believable than a virus. Viruses can pick up genes from their hosts and insert them into the DNA of subsequent hosts but that is a very random process–no telling what gene they will pick up or whether they will get all of it or where they will insert it and thus how it will be regulated. I would handwave a virus doing this to *one* woman–but every woman it infects is a bit harder for me to credit. (Not to mention that I expect you’re going to have to affect more than one gene in a coordinated way to pull this off, but that depends. Maybe the impermeability of the egg with regard to the polar bodies can be affected by a single gene. Though then I would expect rare natural mutants… Anyway.)

    (I admit I have a hard time imagining diploid sperm; I thought those little suckers were packed pretty tight already–tight enough that X bearing sperm swim (on average) more slowly than Y bearing sperm because Y is much shorter than X so the sperms are lighter.) But it’s the diploid eggs that really matter to the story.

    Aaand that’s enough digression. I’ll just say I have a reasonable biological background and the scientific part of the story worked for me so obviously mileage varies on this. And I liked the story a lot in other regards also. I felt like some of the fears were overblown–men’s right to exist my foot; point to the man who’s going to cease to exist; this is about men’s “right” to have sons, and even now they’re expected to find a suitable and willing partner for themselves for that. OTOH I see similar overblown fears every day in the op-eds so just because the story had me talking back to the screen didn’t mean it was unrealistic. 🙂

  7. J on October 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm said:
    Stevie: Trust me on this one; bacteria are incapable of generating that kind of a change in an organism, no matter how many lucky breaks it gets against its hosts, and bacteria do tend to keep a clear view on what’s in it for the bacteria, which generally tends to be steady as she goes.

    Given that you clearly feel that stories are invalid unless they contain real science, I can’t imagine why you would read any science fiction at all. And given your insistence on verisimilitude with real life, fantasy — like Pratchett — would be Right Out.

    I think – and I don’t mean to be putting words in other people’s mouths, but here I go anyway –
    I think it goes back to the whole suspension of disbelief thing about fiction, and drags in a second helping of plausible on the way.
    At the very heart of fiction is a demand that the reader accept some amount of the thing that is not.
    It’s fundamental; it’s why it is fiction and not history, but there is a balancing act involved.
    If invented elements are too much or too implausible, the whole enterprise fails.

    In any given science fiction text we’re pretty much only being asked to believe in some few New Things That are Totally Plausible, while otherwise, the usual rules hold and, say, a thing won’t stop falling just cos I yell some Latin at it.
    There’s always a little fancy whistling as we stroll past FTL and ansibles and other staples, with a bright smile and some “Iz science!” handwaving, because many of our stories demand that bit of flexibility.
    But even these staples will involve muttering in the background about wormholes or quantum thingys, just to make sure we all know this is could-be-real territory.

    In a fundamental way science fiction relies on our willingness to believe that somehow this could all work.
    We are happy readers as long as a given story doesn’t violate the plausibility thing more than we can bear.
    Thus truly gross violations of “this could be science” tend to annoy everyone, but in the end what lesser flaws trigger a rejection is a personal matter.
    To begin with, some people’s plausibility cut-off point is just set generally a bit lower than other people’s.
    And some people’s specific areas of expertise are such that there are places they can’t go simply because the invented science is too implausible because they know too much.
    So there’s a lot of physics handwaving in stories that annoy the knowledgeable, but that doesn’t bother me at all because it doesn’t trigger a those-numbers-can’t-work reaction.
    Similarly, it seems sentient bacteria are a no-go for Stevie, but, you know, advanced gene splicing or cryonics may work just fine for her, if they are intelligently done.
    No one likes reading what they perceive as stupid or lazy work.

    When you are reading fiction, if the author has failed in their handwaving and invention, then the reader’s disbelief won’t suspend itself, the whole thing becomes a no-go.
    It doesn’t matter if it is science fiction or not.
    When any author gets their plot work done is a lazy way that leaves the mechanics of the thing showing, that’s a flaw.
    The whole characters doing out-of-character dumb stuff just because the plot requires some drama is a universal annoying shortcut.
    In science fiction the problem can also be a failed science flaw.

    Once a reader starts thinking something like “Hell no, if the apocalypse has totally shut down all modes of travel, how the hell does a new super-flu get around to kill off the remnant population,” and moves from there to “Whoa now. We’ve already had Suddenly There’s a Plot Asteroid, and the Ebil Government Conspiracy with Shiny New Technology, and now a random Brand New Scary Disease,” then the story has stopped working and we’re down to a pile o’words.

    You can’t make yourself unsee something like that, and it is difficult not to be annoyed when a story goes off the rails like that.
    But what it takes to throw someone out of a story is a variable thing.
    One person’s” Bacteria won’t do that” is someone else’s “Sure, why not,” just as for me physics would have to be totally, screamingly wrong for it to register.
    (“Sure, go ahead and set off that bomb to change the orbit of the planet. Then what happens?”)
    Which is all to say that plausible is a moveable goal post.
    I think we are all in agreement that bad science tends to make bad science fiction, but as usual the devil is in the details.

  8. I appear not to be at all knowledgeable about television, since I’ve seen exactly four of these entrants (and none of the pairs). Nonetheless, because I can still watch and enjoy even mediocre episodes of TZ:

    FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  9. I don’t have a lot of match-ups to vote on here, but in one of these brackets there is a thing I must vote for, and the thing it is competing with is a thing I must vote against!

    FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    Coreward Region – Round One

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    Battlestar Galactica went from one of my all-time faves to full-on loathed in… less than a season? The Mighty Boosh went from being pretty fun to awesome to okay with the occasional great, and it also introduced me to Snuff Box, the all-time greatest television show ever aired.

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    Abstain. Neither are fresh enough in my head to recall accurately. I do remember Friday the 13th being much better than I thought it’d be, though.

  10. For myself, I care less about the plausibility of science in SF than I do about whether it creates a good scaffold for interesting ideas and/or authentic emotions. If the writer explores somewhere interesting with her impossible toy, I usually won’t care just how impossible it is. But YMMV and that is okay.

    For anyone interested in a slightly different take on the psychology and sociology of suddenly having a group of women who reproduce by parthenogenesis, I recommend Daryl Gregory’s The Devil’s Alphabet. That’s not a primary theme, but it is thoughtfully touched upon.

    The story there is of a man having to go back to his childhood town due to his father’s ailing health. The twist is that the town was mysteriously struck by a trio of plagues that genetically altered the victims, leaving three new strains of humanity, as the changes seem to breed true. There’s the scientific mystery, the political and social reactions, and the story of a man grappling with a difficult father and past, and Gregory manages them all gracefully. There’s some marvelous secondary characters, including one who I went 180 degrees on, then back another 90. Vertically. That magnificent bitch… *shakes head*

    Seriously worth checking out, if your suspension of disbelief arches that way.

  11. Lis Carey: But now I’m thinking that I misread, not the foreshadowing about the hip movement earlier, which still isn’t there, but the emotional tone of the last few lines. Which, yes, changes the story and gives it a real ending.

    Not for me. I don’t think the ending works, because if that’s what the author is going for, they didn’t succeed in the way they wrote it (at least in my view). It’s an interesting story, but it just doesn’t come close to the wow! factor I expect in a Hugo story.

  12. Intent matters a lot.

    To borrow movie examples, I am much more tolerant with a movie like “Jupiter Ascending” which signposts early on the kind of movie it is (and goes on its merry fun way ignoring science for dramatic reasons) than I am of “Interstellar” which pitched itself as hewing to science (we consulted eminent physicists!) but then proceeded to ignore science for dramatic reasons.

    I found “Jupiter Ascending” to be silly, but bags of fun. Whereas, if “Interstellar” had been a book, it would have met a wall with much force.

  13. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS
    Coreward Region – Round One
    1. WAR AND PEACE – Abstain
    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN – Abstain
    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN – Robin of Sherwood (12)
    4. LONG STORY / SHORT – Out of the Unknown (13)
    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY – Abstain
    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE – The Outer Limits (6)
    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL – Slings and Arrows (7)
    Hadn’t expected to be voting against Torchwood this early, but that’s the luck of the draw. Slings and Arrows was a bit special.
    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW – Lexx (15)
    Lexx could hardly be described as a bit special, but it was more than a bit fun, and sometimes that’s all you want.

  14. @ Susana
    re: The New Mother

    Agree.

    Gung’f gur znva cynpr V fnj gur sberfunqbjvat nyfb. V qvq n dhvpx erernq naq pbhyqa’g svaq nalguvat ryfr rkprcg gung jurgure fur jnf fnsr, univat hfrq na nabalzbhf qbabe, pnzr hc 2 be 3 bgure cynprf nyfb. Vg’f fhogyr, ohg V guvax vg ernyyl vf purer.

  15. @ Lis Carey

    Tess’s large reaction is what flashed all the previous clues together, for me, including what Susana mentioned.

  16. @ Mark
    “The New Mother was (for me) good but not great. I’m pretty sure I have 5 better novellas on my list now.”

    I *did* say this is my working long list and subject to change. I think this novella is Hugo level but if I read several more that I think are better, it may get culled from my list.

    ETA: And…please share!?!

  17. I’m now without internet access except via my phone at least till the 1st, unless someone drops lots of money on me. In practical terms, one of the consequences is that anything in ROT13 won’t get read. 🙁

  18. Whew! Family crisis resolved–happily as it turns out, for now. Or at least, not too badly.

    Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Space: Above and Beyond (16)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    Robin of Sherwood (12)

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Abstain…I haven’t seen either one.

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  19. @ Graydon

    As I said, I can do head canon of bad science so that the scenario could potentially work. Just like you have to do bad science head canon for FTL. Claiming that it’s “unknown” just so you can accept your head canon doesn’t make it more valid scientifically.

    Claiming that there is NO POSSIBLE way for a series of genetic mutations &/or viral DNA inclusions &/or Neanderthal genetic contributions &/or epigenetic conditions &/or environmental poison &/or genetic experiments gone wrong &/or etc, etc, etc setting up a population for vulnerability in a new and surprising way to a newly mutated parasite carried in male sperm to be used as head canon to make this SFnal is ludicrous. You have to do the exact same mental contortions to make FTL SFnal, except physics doesn’t allow near as much wiggle room. In the end, neither scenario is probable.

    When reading this particular story I *didn’t* do any head canon, though, I just went with the “what if?” just like I usually do for stories about FTL.

  20. Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    Recommended to me directly by Annette Curtis Klause one day.

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

    I wanted to like Lexx, and I tried. I tried several times. But I just .. .didn’t.

  21. @junego —

    I think we’re talking about completely different things.

    Any piece of fiction is lying to me. That’s what fiction does. It can even be lying to me about what people are like if it does it well enough. [1]

    So — I don’t give the proverbial rodent hindquarters about the scientific accuracy of an SF work. NONE OF THEM have any to speak of. None of them can. (Take a look at a physical scientific library sometime, estimate reading time…)

    What does matter rather a lot, at least to me, is the effort of verisimilitude and some sense that the author is aware of what kinds of lies they’re telling. (This gets into self-coherence in long works.) Having the text convey that the author has no idea what they’re lying about tends to bounce me away from the work on grounds of poor craft.

    I would say “head canon” is what you construct about the inevitable gaps; it’s an extension of the work because the work’s finite and you’re now invested in it. It shouldn’t imply that the reader will do extra work to bridge chasms in the story.

    And yes, everybody has a different notion of where the chasms are. This necessarily has nothing to do with how factual the thing actually is. (Almost nothing in, for example, Lord of Light actually makes the least bit of sense if you slow down and think about it.)

    [1] people are very strange. I mostly mean “outside my experience” here.

  22. @ Graydon

    Then we’re in basic agreement.

    The premises of this particular story were acceptable fiction for me. End of discussion.

  23. Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)
    It may have fumbled the start and the fifth season, but the middle was some of the most compelling television I have seen.

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)
    Partly nostalgia, partly genuine respect for Sid and Marty Croft’s works, which managed to evoke a sense if wonder in kid me with pretty much no budget.

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    Abstain due to ignorance.

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)
    Ianto deserved better.

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  24. Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    Lexx (15)

  25. Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    (abstain because I can’t choose)

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  26. Jumping in, because brackets! I’m on a new job, which will hopefully go permanent. Fingers crossed!

    Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Space: Above and Beyond (16)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    UFO (5)
    Robin of Sherwood (12)
    abstain

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)
    Out of the Unknown (13)

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Slings and Arrows (7)
    Torchwood (10)
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIE Because Shakespeare! But Jack! ARGH!

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)
    Lexx (15)

  27. Indeed; it’s amazing the number of different things people can be talking about in what seems to be a defined field. Thus, I have absolutely no problem with the concept of sentient bacteria, primarily because once they move from planktonic form they become an entity which does many of the things which other entities do, including ourselves. Since the mucoid Pseudomonas Aeruginosa colonising my lungs are hyper mutating and multiresistant – ie the colony is impossible to kill – we are reduced to trying to mess up their quorum sensing, the equivalent of breaking human communication networks, to persuade them that they really don’t want to launch Armageddon, and picking off some of the more vulnerable ones with the strongest antibiotics in existence. I’m all in favour of deferring Armageddon for as long as possible.

    We have learned a great deal about bacteria in the last two decades; the neo Darwinists fought a rearguard action but once the last theoretical outposts against lateral gene transfer went down people got stuck in. Of course, our understanding now does lead us to questions like What’s in it for the bacteria, as it should once you realise that the organism selects genes, not the other way around. It’s difficult to imagine a rational answer to that question which would involve human parthogenesis, and impossible to conceive of it on a planet where life has arisen by evolution.

    The only place it could work is on a Creationist world, and our planet is not a Creationist world.

  28. Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    abstain

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)
    ONLY THE BEST, SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEEDED 1ST OR 2ND.

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

  29. re the ending of “The new mother”:
    Initially I had the same reaction as Lis: I didn’t get it and thought it stopped at a rather random point.

    But I agree with Lurkertype’s reading as what the author intended. And I think that interpretation of the hip movement is foreshadowed: In the car to the clinic she thinks about the similarities she’d seen between Candace and her daughters – “She thought about the uncanny moments when the children would laugh in unison. About how Florence sneezed the same truncated squeak as her mother, just higher pitched.” That’s just a few paragraph before the end.

    On the other hand, I can’t square the description of the disease with Tess being infected through the IVF treatment. The description of the disease in the beginning makes it clear that the disease causes women to have diploid egg cells, and men to have diploid sperm. Daughters being their mother’s clones suggest that the bacteria interferes with meiosis. I don’t know how that’s supposed to work – but it implies that the interesting things happens in the ovaries, and that a woman must be infected before the egg is released if that egg is going to turn into a virgin pregnancy.

    So IVF with sperm from an infected donor would fail – there would be no fertilisation, and no embryos to transplant back into Tess. If Tess did old-fashioned insemination, (or IVF but without checking the viability of the embryos) then the insemination would also fail – but then, if Tess got infected through the insemination, she would later develop “Gamete Diploidy Syndrome” and spontaneously become pregnant. Then Tess would know that Decaf is not the result of the IVF treatment.

    And if the disease works in a way where bacteria in the donor sperm attacks Tess’ eggs in the petri dish, and changes the egg from haploid to diploid, then Decaf is not Tess’ clone but carries a double set of the original ovums chromosones. (Which I doubt would be viable.)

    I am willing to buy into the idea of a disease that causes parthenogenesis in humans. But all in all, I think the plot line about Tess’ possible infection makes little sense, and that the story requires considerable changes if the author intended us to believe in that part of it.

    I also think the story is weak for dismissing the effect on developing nations. This disease would basically invalidate all forms for birth control except hormonal ones and hysterectomy. That would completely turn around current successes in controlling population growth. The researcher Tess interviews mentions that this is bad news for developing nations, but then the rest of the story just ignores it. That makes the story oddly myopic and insular IMO.

  30. @Dr. Science:

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)
    ONLY THE BEST, SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEEDED 1ST OR 2ND.

    I suppose the solution is to dissolve the people and elect another. 😉

    Voting will close in about an hour, people!

  31. Bracketses!

    Coreward Region – Round One

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    Not a B5 fan, but Space A & B did not compel me.

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    UFO (5)

    I don’t think it deserves to advance very far, but I’ll take it in this round.

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)

    Some of the finest television ever. Plus many additional episodes. Really, the first sign of trouble was when their nerve failed regarding Laura Roslin’s terminal illness at the end of S1. But there were brilliant episodes well after that. The two from the series that most stick with me are “Flesh and Bone” and “Downloaded.”

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    Oh yeah.

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    I hope Children of Earth will be eligible for the eventual limited-run tourney.

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

    Sorry, Canada. But not Canadian Sorry.

  32. Stevie on October 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm said:

    The only place it could work is on a Creationist world, and our planet is not a Creationist world.

    Hold on a mo’ – the Hainish settled our world hundreds of thousands of years ago and did all sorts of fiddly things*, also there was some aliens who artificially introduced DNA into the Alpha & Beta quadrants specifically to result in humanoid life**, and some bald Engineer dude definitely dissolved himself into the water-supply at some ancient point of time*** – are you sure that our world for SF purposes isn’t a creationist one? :)****

    *[According to LeGuin]
    **[According to Star Trek:TNG]
    ***[According to Ridley Scott]
    ****[I’m joking but that was the cheekiest grin smiley I’ve got]

  33. I haven’t read the story in question (I can’t even recall the title from my earlier read of this thread), so I don’t know if or how much this may apply, but one of the guidelines I have to make a happy reading life is if a character in a story provides a ropey explanation (even if it’s the viewpoint character’s or narrator’s internal monologue), then it will get a provisional pass for suspension of disbelief purposes. It may be that the character is just wrong, is crap at explaining things, or lying for plot reasons.

    So, if a character in the story is saying it’s a bacteria, no it’s a virus, no it’s a bacteria and a virus (and a floor-wax), and it’s early enough in the story, then I’ll take that explanation as not actually important to the story, and mirroring how confused even experts can be until they’ve reached a consensus, not to mention how fuzzy any layman can be about stuff outside their sphere of understanding. Look at something like the explanations given for the obesity epidemic in the developed world over the past couple of decades for an example of how messy competing explanations can get until a solid chain of evidence is established.

  34. 1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)

    Obviously.Its virtues far outweigh its flaws, and season 4 is sublime. Mainly hated by tedious people.

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    Ends up getting a bit over-extended, but the first two series are excellent, and the third is not far behind. Utterly unique and utterly British in its combination of vulgar humour and shocking tragedy.

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    Robin of Sherwood (12)

    A perfect superposition of the mystical and the political.Writing, acting and directing never less than excellent, and even contributed a new element -Robin’s Saracen ally – to the ongoing myth.

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    AKA The Good Star Trek Series. OK, half of it’s still bobbins, but when it’s on form it reaches heights that no other Trek series ever even strived for.

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    Yes, Battlestar Galactica is a fine show in so many ways, but does it have comically banal interjections from a man in an unconvincing Moon mask? Does it fuck.

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)

    I mean, I wouldn’t save it from a burning building or anything, but I’ll take it over the alternative.

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Torchwood (10)

    At its best, some of the finest TV SF ever produced. At its worst… let’s not go there. But seriously, what the fuck is Slings and Arrows?

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)

    Shatner seeing a goblin on a plane. I rest my case.

  35. @ Johan P
    re: donor insemination.

    “In DI, sperm from the donor is placed into the neck of the womb (cervix) at the time when the woman ovulates”

    I don’t remember if the story says what method was used, but the above is the method my mind assumed while reading. IIRC, this is easier, cheaper and either just as effective as IVF or better.

    In this case it would have the same infection route as regular intercourse in the story.

    The big hole in the science (which I recognized ((at least if I’m remembering my ancient biology major classes correctly)) and decided to just role with anyway because…interesting concept, well told…head canon 😉 is how the eggs can produce clones. Unless there was some way to get the DNA from one of her somatic cells to replace what is already in the egg*, the baby won’t be a clone. Very, very, very, very closely related, but not a clone.

    * Again, iirc, the chromosomes are ‘remixed’ during meiosis (one step of production of gametes) so that they’re not genetically identical to the mother (or father, but this is about the eggs, not the sperm).

  36. @Iain: Sorry you missed the cutoff! Had any matches gone to overtime I would’ve used your votes for those, but, well, this round was way short on ties. Hoo boy! Results momently, everyone!

  37. Results momently, everyone!

    That was half an hour ago. *taps fingers impatiently* (no, not really — more like “refreshes drink and continues browsing other items, while checking back periodically with interest”)

  38. Lexica: That was half an hour ago.

    Patience, Lexica. It takes time to spoil 1,000 ballots and throw them out.

  39. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    Spinward Region – Round One

    This round featured a lot of upsets in the middle seedings. What it did not feature was nailbiters. Even most of the upsets were blowouts, with the losing squad eeking out either scattered scores or a few garbage-time goals.

    1. WAR AND PEACE
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Space: Above and Beyond (16)

    Nothing diplomatic about this offensive! The team from Epsilon Eridani scored so fast and so often spectators almost forgot all the shitty comic books J. Michael_Straczynski wrote. Not that we are bitter. 23 episodes of shooting space-bugs did nothing to prepare the 58th Squadron for championship-level bracket war, and the final tally was one of the most lopsided in File 770 bracket history:

    B5 50
    Space 3

    2. THAT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN
    Land of the Lost (8)
    Misfits [UK] (9)

    The closest match of the round. The US team came in slightly favored and took the lead midway through the first quarter. But the Bad Boys (and Girls) from Blighty went ahead just before halftime and, while they didn’t manage to pull away, never relinquished the lead again. The Americans came within one point in the closing minutes, but fans of the super-anti-heroes answered.

    Their reward will be to face Babylon 5 in the second round. Final score:

    Misfits 19
    Land of the Lost 15

    3. THE BATTLES OF BRITAIN
    UFO (5)
    Robin of Sherwood (12)

    As the wise man said, “In every tournament a 12 beats a 5.” And well, as the kids say, that happened. According to the official statement of Commander Edward Straker, “We were defeated by one thing only – by the inferior science of our enemies. I repeat – by the inferior science of our enemies.” Final score:

    Robin of Sherwood 25
    UFO 13

    4. LONG STORY / SHORT
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)
    Out of the Unknown (13)

    Apparently, Rudy can fail. This transcontinental pun hides the tragedy of a lost classic’s attempt to take on a beloved franchise. On the bright side, the final score will make a nice beat in the next Orders of Magnitude documentary:

    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – 44
    Out of the Unknown 4

    We’ll see if Robin of Sherwood fares any better against Commander Sisko and crew.

    5. TOGETHER THEY MAKE TRAGICOMEDY
    Battlestar Galactica [Reboot] (3)
    The Mighty Boosh (14)

    This one was a 3-3 tie early on, then UK voters went to bed, or perhaps remembered that Jamie Bamber is secretly British. But there may be trouble ahead for the Galactica, as their lopsided victory was nevertheless the narrowest win of any of the chalk victors, and they face a tough underdog in the second round. Final score:

    BSG 33
    The Mighty Boosh 12

    6. NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE
    The Outer Limits (6)
    Friday the 13th: The Series (11)

    Outer Limits was the only 5-8 seed to hold serve in the Coreward Region, pretty much obliterating an opponent trying to make the transition from the big screen to the small. The classic anthology series never led by less than 4 – that is, by a factor of 4. Perhaps Jason and his hockey mask will return from the dead some day, but it won’t be in this tournament. Final score:

    Outer Limits 43
    Friday the 13th 8

    Outer Limits takes on the higher-seeded BSG next, but coming off a more impressive victory than its opponent.

    7. THE IMMORTAL BARD VS. THE IMMORTAL
    Slings and Arrows (7)
    Torchwood (10)

    Both of these contenders were spinoffs of powerhouse franchises, Doctor Who for the underdog and the Bard himself for the favorite. Torchwood did not come into the tournament with a lot of momentum, but once the voting started it was all Anagrams all the way. Coach Wilfred Mott explained his team’s victory afterward, saying, “There there, Canadians. I’d have loved to be in your show!” Wait – Wilfred Mott tried to cheer up his beaten opponents, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Final score:

    Torchwood 35
    Slings and Arrows 9

    8. GLOAMING VS. GIGASHADOW
    The Twilight Zone [Original] (2)
    Lexx (15)

    Making tournament history, the low-seeded Canadian expert dominated the classic favorite from start to – HA HA NO. That didn’t happen. The Zone was in the…well, you know. The only thing to discuss is whether TZ’s victory was slightly more or slightly less impressive than rival B5’s. Lexx heads back to – some place with beavers, I guess. Final score:

    Twilight Zone 52
    Lexx 5

    Twilight Zone awaits Torchwood in the next round. Jim has several days to think of a title for that match, thank heavens.

  40. Camestros

    I’m impressed. On the other hand, our planet not being a Creationist planet is rather important, not least because I have no desire to be broiled alive by people who are convinced that it should be; after all, once you’ve been enmeshed in Creationism there is no wickedness that you cannot inflict on someone who does not agree with your kind of Creationism…

  41. @JJ:

    Patience, Lexica. It takes time to spoil 1,000 ballots and throw them out.

    I was waiting for the Tor check to clear.

    Alas, the explanation is more prosaic. The glamorous traveling consultant lifestyle means long days, and tonight’s dinner took forever. On the bright side, I’ve now got a vote-counting template in Excel that I can reuse for future rounds. And even in Philadelphia there are faster restaurants than tonight’s venue. On the also bright side, with the regional structure we were able to start voting on the next region before the write-up was done on this one.

    Probably the write-ups take more time than counting the votes. I don’t know if that was also true for Kyra and David, but it was certainly true for me.

  42. Is it okay if I throw up on my own blog? I don’t know how much more of this I can read.

    “once you’ve been enmeshed in Creationism there is no wickedness that you cannot inflict on someone who does not agree with your kind of Creationism…”

  43. Mike, you can certainly throw up on your own blog. Just remember who has to clear it up afterwards.

  44. 6 out of 8 winners correct, not bad. And the two I got wrong were the two that were close.

  45. Stevie: Most creationists may be fractally wrong about the nature of the universe, but when it comes to how they deal with daily matters and daily interactions with others, they aren’t exactly inhuman, and they aren’t necessarily people who would inflict wickedness on *anyone*.

Comments are closed.