Pixel Scroll 10/30 The Stainless Steel Hedgehog Has A Harsh Mistress, Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

(1) Larry Smith is out of the hospital reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth on Facebook.

Please forgive the lack of recent updates. As they say, no news is good news. Larry is back out of the hospital, and appears to be doing well. He was finally able to attend a convention last weekend, and held up remarkably well. At this point, he is hoping to make all of his November commitments. Clearly, he is not exactly on top of his game, and has had to make some adjustments to his activity level and routine, but he is improving.

Larry and Sally asked me to try to convey the enormous gratitude they feel to everyone who has come to their aid through this very trying time. I say *try* to convey, because there just are not enough words to adequately express how thankful and humbled they feel. And let me just add my thanks as well. These are some very special people, and my heart swells when I see this wonderful family that we call fandom come together to help them like you have.

They are currently still trying to find a replacement van. The one they had was a 15 passenger model, with a long wheelbase and extra suspension to handle the weight of the books. They have found a couple of possibilities (of course, none local), so they hope to find one soon. Give yourselves a much – deserved pat on the back for making this possible for them. Please share this update on any list or social media that you have available to you

(2) David Langford proudly displayed his “Sausage Maker To Fandom” badge ribbon in the new issue of Ansible.  It was given to him at LonCon 3.

(3) Thursday night’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert had Seth MacFarlane and Neil DeGrasse Tyson as guests. Stephen is convinced that star KIC 8462852 is evidence of the alien life predicted in one of his favorite books. In the final interview segment, Colbert goes off on a seriously detailed Ringworld rant, including crediting Larry Niven.

“Just because you don’t understand what you’re lookin’ at doesn’t mean it’s alien,” countered Tyson…

In this YouTube clip, the Ringworld bit starts just after the 1:50 mark.

(4) CNN reports “Orbiting bacteria: Space Station may need some tidying up”.

The next time NASA picks an astronaut to live in the International Space Station, it might want to send Mr. Clean. That’s because scientists using a kind of high-tech white glove test found something in the space dust there.

The astronauts are not alone, it turns out. They share tight quarters with some previously undetected, opportunistic bacterial pathogens.

Nothing unusual here. The Sasquan guest of honor left his hotel room in the same condition as every other fan at this year’s Worldcon. A generous tip ordinarily covers these things. In this case, two or three million dollars should do it…

(5) Grantland, ESPN’s pop culture site founded by Bill Simmons, is shutting down. I’ll miss genre-themed coverage like Brian Phillips’ ”50 Scenes That Do Not Appear in the Fox ‘X-Files’ Revival”.

  1. It does not, at any point, transpire that Assistant FBI Director Walter Skinner joins Kickstarter to seek funding for his “elegantly bound novelization” of Infocom’s Leather Goddesses of Phobos.
  2. The word “copyleft” — that doesn’t get thrown around a lot.
  3. Jonathan, who is not making churros, does not tell Scully that “it’s about the cinnamon” and then gasp, “I’ve said too much,” and then get shot in the head by a sniper from Venus.

(6) Charle Jane Anders acknowledges “The Difference Between a Great Story and a Shitty Story Is Often Really Tiny” at io9.

To some extent this is a “Devil in the details” thing: It’s the little details that will trip you up. Small inconsistencies can make your world feel flimsy. But, too, tiny character moments and little bits of emotional resonance, in between the big incidents, can do a ton to make people buy stock in your world and its people.

The difference between a shitty story and a great story is often just one of clarity, also. A great story sets up its premises early on, then builds on them and deepens them, until finally you reach some kind of crisis. Going back to the topic of movies, I’ve been amazed by how many movies I’ve seen lately where the first 20 or 30 minutes are compelling and fascinating (the “first act”) and then what follows is a dull morass. It’s like the “building and deepening” part of the recipe just got thrown out.

(7) That lunar rover that went to the junkyard?

“Although Mr. Clueless opted to dispose of the moonlander for scrap, not so the junkyard owner!” reports David Doering.

Motherboard has an interview with the anonymous buyer.

Tuesday, we told the sad story of a prototype NASA lunar rover that was sold by an Alabaman to a scrap yard. That is true, but there’s a twist: A heroic scrap dealer has saved the buggy, which appears to be in good condition.

The scrap dealer spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity because he says he wants to speak to his lawyer about his next steps, but he did send me the recent photo of the buggy above to confirm it’s in his possession. The rover matches a historical NASA image we believed to be the rover in question. It also matches the description given by NASA in its investigatory documents.

“The man who originally bought it, from my understanding, he bought it at an auction. He was a road conditioner [in Alabama],” the junkyard owner told me. “I can’t confirm this is true, but he bought it at a NASA auction many years ago. NASA just discarded a lot of that stuff back then. When it was brought to my scrap facility, I set it aside because I knew what it was. The unit does exist today. It is not scrapped. I have that unit in storage.”

“I’ve done quite a lot of research on the unit and it’s an artifact that needs to be saved,” he added.

David Doering says, “Sure looks like an easy cut-and-dried Kickstarter campaign to buy the rover!”

(8) Speaking of space exploring antiques, NASA needs a programmer fluent in 60-year-old computer programming languages to keep the Voyager 1 and 2 crafts going. The new hire has to know FORTRAN and assembly languages.

(9) Although written before the revised WFC 2015 harassment policy came out, Alasdsair Stuart’s post on the issue remains revelant for making points like these:

In the last two years I’ve been part of a team asked to deal with a single incident. I saw my colleagues treat the individual who had been harassed with compassion, patience and respect. I saw them be given the space they needed to collect themselves and make decisions rather than be pressured into a choice they might later regret. I have rarely been prouder of the teams of volunteers I’ve worked with over the last few years than I was on that day.

And that’s why the mealy mouthed legal tapdance WFC’15 was throwing up wasn’t just bullshit, it was and still is actively harmful. This event, that proudly lays claim to being the definitive convention for industry professionals, was not bothering to do something that events with a tenth its status and a hundredth its reach have baked into their procedures. The obvious defense here is of course the tiny size of the community and ‘we’ choosing to deal with it ‘in house’.

That’s not even in the same time zone as ‘good enough’.

No one on Earth WANTS to have a harassment policy. Even in building one you’re forced to imagine the absolute worst of the people around you, and in doing so, work out how to minimize the damage they may cause. These people have to, by definition, include your friends and colleagues. It’s an inherently cautious, inherently cynical piece of work that codifies the worst potential human behaviour and how to deal with it. No one wants that, least of all members of a community that likes to pay lip service to inclusion and diversity. But we all need it precisely because of that inclusion and diversity.

(10) John Holyoke reviews Stephen King’s new short story collection Bazaar of Bad Dreams in the Bangor Daily News.

bazaar of bad dreams cover COMP

For loyal King fans who devour anything the author produces, these collections are tiny desserts: sweet morsels that can be consumed rapidly, without guilt. Like some? Fine. Love ’em all? Better. Hate a few? Oh, well — move on. Take a bite out of another.

For those who are new to King and unsure whether they’ll like what they find, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” provides a tasty sampler that, like his other short story collections, showcases the master’s array of talents.

King said a year ago that he was confident he could still “write stories that are sleep-with-the-lights-on scary.” And he can. (Try his novel “Revival” on for size, if you’re in doubt.)

But “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams” is a collection of a different flavor and seems to reflect the maturing — and aging — of a writer who likely has left far more tales in his rear view mirror then he has remaining in front of his headlights. Recurring themes this time around include aging, dealing with aging and death itself.

And while that isn’t surprising in itself — there’s often a hefty helping of dying going on in a King book or story — the tone is different, almost melancholy at times, as characters face their mortality and battle with questions like the age-old unanswerable: What’s next?

(11) Lisa Morton, Horror Writers Association president, tells the true, highly commercial origins of today’s Halloween holiday.

The next time somebody tries to tell you that Halloween is a ghoulish tradition that goes back to Druid priests practicing pagan rituals, tell them that companies like Hershey, Coors and Dennison had a lot more to do with the modern Halloween we revere than the Celts from 2,000 years ago.

And that’s a good thing, because these companies have largely created the holiday we now love.

While it is likely that Halloween owes much of its macabre character to the Irish Celtic harvest celebration, Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), there’s no proof whatsoever to suggest that the Celts dressed in costumes, begged candy from neighbors or staged elaborate haunted scares (although they probably did hold major feasts complete with alcohol).

(12) The Horror Writers Association website has a fine array of posts about the holiday by its members. Today’s entry is “Halloween Haunts: Souled” by Tonya Hurley.

We almost drove past it until I noticed the line snaking around the side of the nondescript-looking Dutch Colonial house on the canal. It hardly looked like the scene of any crime let alone that crime — The Amityville Horror. “112 Ocean Avenue.  That’s it!” I shouted with half excitement and equal parts guilt. The latest family to own the house was moving out and this was hyped as a yard sale guaranteed to top them all.  Shoppers and rubberneckers from miles around gathered to land a piece of horror history, joking with each other, retelling tall tales, mixing myths with fact about the house and the crime like a demonic game of telephone as they waited. A quick walk through the home yielded little contents owned by the DeFeo family, the original owners, who were famously murdered there…

(13) Amy Wallace has updated her Wired article “Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards and the Battle for Pop Culture’s Soul”.

It is August 2015, and things are looking up for Team Humanity. Or are they? A record 11,700-plus people have bought memberships to the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, where the Hugo winners are soon to be announced. A record number have also forked over dues of at least $40 in time to be allowed to vote, and almost 6,000 cast ballots, 65 percent more than ever before.

But are the new voters Puppies? Or are they, in the words of Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin, “gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos”? Just before 8 pm on August 22, in a vast auditorium packed with “trufans” dressed in wizard garb, corsets, chain mail, and the like, one question is on most attendee’s minds: Will the Puppies prevail?

The evening begins with an appearance by a fan cosplaying as the Grim Reaper, and that turns out to be an omen for the Puppies. By evening’s end, not a single Puppy-endorsed candidate takes home a rocket. In the five categories that had only Puppy-provided nominees on the ballot—Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, and Best Editors for Short and Long Form—voters choose “No Award.”

Earlier, Beale explained to me that his plan was a “Xanatos gambit”—“that’s where you set it up so that no matter what your enemy does, he loses and you win.” No surprise then, that in an email he sends after the awards ceremony, Beale is crowing. “The scorched-earth strategy being pursued by the SJWs in science fiction is evidence that we hold the initiative and we are winning,” he writes. The number of major categories in which no awards are given “demon­strates the extent to which science fiction has been politi­cized and degraded by their far left politics.”

Quotes from pro writers only – Kloos, Bellet, Correia, Torgersen, Vox Day, George R.R. Martin, N.K. Jemisin.

Zero quotes from fans, who merely run and vote for the awards. Yet Brad R. Torgersen is outraged that still another pro, Sarah A. Hoyt, wasn’t interviewed.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh,Tom Galloway, David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, David Doering, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

239 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/30 The Stainless Steel Hedgehog Has A Harsh Mistress, Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That

  1. I just checked the email notification and the formatting does seem to have been wrong there so I assume Rose Embolism did some editing to fix it, just not before Jim saw the comment.

  2. Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    The Outer Limits (6)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)

    Omg. So unfair, but it had to come eventually. Makes my head hurt to choose 1. Ultimately have to go with Who.

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Xena: Warrior Princess (5)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)

  3. @Meredith: So I really wasn’t seeing things! 🙂

    It’s possible the email itself was what was off rather than the comment. But I always count votes from the comments so we should be good.

  4. @Jim Henley

    The person who invents a comment editing feature that can also edit the email notifications, the memories of anyone who saw it pre-edit, and any comments referencing the error, will be worshipped unto a god. 😉

  5. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    This wasn’t even a contest back when both shows were still on the air. DS9 always seemed like Star Trek trying and failing to do Babylon 5.

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)
    The Outer Limits (6)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    Sorry, Picard and crew, but I like No. 6 better.

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Firefly (2)
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)

    Difficult, but I still enjoy rewatching Firefly, but am largely over Doctor Who.

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)
    Twin Peaks (5)

    Absolutely no contest. Twin Peaks really was groundbreaking in spite of its flaws. Buffy had its moments, but is vastly overrated.

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)
    Red Dwarf (3)

    I’m over Doctor Who in any incarnation, but I was never into Red Dwarf to begin with, so the Doctor wins by default.

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)
    Xena: Warrior Princess (5)

    Very difficult, but Spock, Kirk, Bones and the gang win out over Xena and Gabrielle, much as I love them.

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)
    The Avengers (6)

    Finally I can vote against Farscape.

  6. 1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Firefly (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)

  7. Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)
    This conflict was predestined, and bad for Zathras.

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Abstaining, out of hollow and crepuscular ignorance.

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)
    Twin Peaks only sustained one season.

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    The Avengers (6)

  8. I’m just going to answer this sitting in a crate of headcloths. Designated (HC)

    1. Babylon 5 (HC) (HC) (tho I own a Jadzia Dax costume and have worn it in public)(but “Sleeping in Light” made me and my husband ugly-cry three times)
    2. Twilight Zone

    1. Prisoner
    2. oh dear sweet… HC HC HC… Doctor Who (classic) For so many years.

    1. Twin Peaks
    2. HC NuWho

    1. Trek TOS
    2. Farscape
    (at least that round was easy)(but it will suck next time)

  9. Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Twin Peaks (5)

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    The Avengers (6)

  10. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)
    The Outer Limits (6)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Firefly (2)
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)
    Twin Peaks (5)

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)
    Red Dwarf (3)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)
    Xena: Warrior Princess (5)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)
    The Avengers (6)

  11. Since my Quantum Leap has fallen by the wayside, I am much more prosaic about the results. What care I whether Picard can put down No. 6 or Emma Peel can stick a stiletto in John Crichton? Okay, I care. But Quantum Leap…

  12. 1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS – abstain
    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER – Twilight Zone
    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE – The Prisoner
    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT – Firefly
    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN – abstain
    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME – abstain
    1. PERIPATETIC – Xena: Warrior Princess.
    2. ALL MOD CONS – Abstain

  13. snowcrash on November 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm said:
    ::prepares drinks, coz I’m damn sure I’ll need them for these results::

    Good idea.
    What goes well with biting one’s nails?

  14. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS

    Some matches were close for quite awhile, but only one went down to the wire. Meanwhile, the protest-vote roll included Due South, Blake’s 7, The Middleman and Lost. Plus one or two that don’t turn up when you do a CMD-F on “protest vote.”

    Sweet Sixteen – Coreward Region Results

    1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    “Listen!” Captain Sisko told the DS9 huddle just before the start of play. “We just have to play their game, not our game, for 60 minutes!”
    “Sir,” said Chief O’Brien. “I think you mean ‘our game not their game.'”
    “I most certainly do not, O’Brien! Now get out there and do what they do!”
    In the end, since what the B5 team did was score a lot, the DS9 team couldn’t really be said to have followed Sisko’s plan. Final score:

    Babylon 5 – 50
    Star Trek: DS9 – 12

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)
    The Outer Limits (6)

    “Demon with a Glass Hand?” More like Demon with a Glass Jaw amirite? Final score:

    Twilight Zone 52
    Outer Limits 9

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region Results

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    “I have to believe,” Captain Picard told the man known as Number 6, “that what people really want is optimism, fraternity and trust. That’s how one builds a livable future. Also, you know, phasers and stuff.” Sensing a trick, Number 6 slipped off to the holodeck and set about trying to reverse the polarity on the warp containment field. It was in fact a trick, and the trick let Trek track the Prisoner’s score into the second half, but he had no truck with it. And it turned out to be ridiculously easy to reverse the polarity on the warp containment field. Final score:

    The Prisoner 43
    Star Trek: TNG 26

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Firefly (2)
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)

    “I warn you,” Captain Mal Reynolds told the Doctor right before gametime, “I aim to misbehave.” The Doctor smiled politely and said, “You are a bad man indeed. I appreciate the warning.” Then he pivoted and entered his stolen time/space ship and got down to business. The Serenity Squad kept things tied up for a half and close for awhile longer, but in the end succumbed to the TARDIS Team’s greater maneuverability. “Curse your commendable but misguided sop to realism, Joss!” lamented ace pilot Hoban Washburne of his ship’s sublight maximum speed. “It gets me right here!” He thumped his heart theatrically with his fist. The blow hurt more than he’d have expected, but it was probably the pain of losing. Final score:

    Classic Who 40
    Firefly 25

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region Results

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)
    Twin Peaks (5)

    Coach Lynch came into tonight’s match having had a very strong first half of the tournament, garnering nationwide attention. Everybody wanted to see what he’d do next, at the highest level of competition. It was in that atmosphere that he briefed his squad on their Sweet Sixteen game plan. “Let’s just do whatever, guys. Consistency, said Emerson, is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Most of the Sunnydale side’s points were actually scored by Dawn while Buffy just shook her head.

    BuffyDawn 49
    Twin Peaks 14

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)
    Red Dwarf (3)

    “Do you even have a dwarf?” asked Ten.
    “What?”
    “A dwarf? Of any color?”
    “Lots of planets have a dwarf!” said Nine, who had trouble hearing because he was deliberately standing so far from his teammates.
    “Again, what? We don’t need a dwarf! We’ve modified our ship so it can go anywhere in time and space!”
    “You mean like this?” asked Eleven. And the match began. It was close for awhile, and then it wasn’t, but everyone agreed there was no quit in either team, though everyone eventually wished it were otherwise. Final score:

    Nu Who 46
    Red Dwarf 19

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region Results

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)
    Xena: Warrior Princess (5)

    Hyped as an Arena-style contest between “Puny Weapons” and “You Know, Phasers and Stuff,” this 1-5 match was never close. The Aegean team left on their shields rather than with them. Final score:

    Star Trek: TOS 53
    Xena: Warrior Princess 13

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)
    The Avengers (6)

    The crew of the Moya had good reason to fear the upstarts from the 1960s. Steed and Peel and – presumably there were other people on that show too – had already taken out superpowered aliens and another beloved starship crew to get this far. And the ‘Scapers had to wonder if the ease of their first two matches was adequate preparation for the scrappy secret agents looking for another upset. The match started close and stayed close. “Those spies were everywhere and nowhere,” marveled Aeryn Sun. “You never saw them until just too late, and then when you did see them, they looked smashing! We had superior firepower, but we had a hard time bringing it to bear.”

    The spacers managed to build a slim lead in the second half, at one point pushing their margin to five. But the MI6 cell battled back, ruthlessly and precisely, narrowing the margin to three points. At that point, the Mayans decided to go for broke. “Weaponized wormhole technology was always the real final frontier,” John Crichton explained in the post-game press conference. “And coming from Earth, I had an information advantage on our opponents.” Peel and Steed were skulking through the engine room when Steed exclaimed, “Look! A hat! I’ve never seen one like that before!”

    “Steed, I don’t think they wear hats here in the – ” Mrs. Peel began, but Steed was already reaching for it. The singularity sucked him in arm first and dilated his body like a very noodle. Within an instant or an eternity, he was altogether elsewhere, and shortly after that, the whistle blew. Final score:

    Farscape 31
    The Avengers 27

  15. ::sobs quietly for DS9 and TNG::

    @Lauowolf – Vodka. Vodka goes with anything. And on that note….

  16. Well, I had 6 out of the Elite Eight. And my score (assuming my counting function is correct) is 72.

    (A quick manual recount comes up with the same answer, which is good.)

    The round coming up will see me finally break down and buy some of those forehead cloths.

  17. Six of my final eight are also in, but (assuming I entered the Qs correctly) I only have 70 points. (I really thought Firefly was going to go farther. But at least I didn’t sabotage my own bracket with my sentimental vote for The Avengers.)

    Firefly will hurt me; I had it going to the finals.

  18. I missed one on this round. I had the Prisoner losing to STNG. According to my calculations I have 80 pts.

  19. I’ve been surprised by the lack of outright ties this tournament (I had a plan for dealing with them), but I think the reason is the large number of votes cast for each individual matchup. In the book brackets, you had more extensions, and often fairly low vote totals for a given matchup. So there was just more chance of the vote staying relatively even all the way through.

  20. I knew Xena was going to go down, given that line-up, alas.

    *pours glass of ouzo*
    *discovers just how nasty ouzo is*
    *pours ouzo down the drain*
    *settles for weeping quietly*

  21. YEEESSSSSSS! OMG, the relief to see Fascape get the nod. I would flick through people’s lists and great three or four at a time were voting for The Avengers making me very worried.

    Sorry guys. I have nothing against the show but a win against Farscape could have almost made a Puppy out of me.

  22. 1. WENT DOWN TO THE CROSSROADS
    Babylon 5 (1)
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (4)

    2. ONE DAMN’D THING AFTER ANOTHER
    Twilight Zone (2)
    The Outer Limits (6)

    Sweet Sixteen – Spinward Region

    1. MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE
    The Prisoner (1)
    Star Trek: The Next Generation (4)

    2. THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
    Firefly (2)
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3)
    Abstain

    Sweet Sixteen – Rimward Region

    1. BORN DOWN IN A DEAD MAN’S TOWN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1)
    Twin Peaks (5)

    2. I HAVE COME UNSTUCK IN TIME
    Doctor Who [New] (2)
    Red Dwarf (3)

    Sweet Sixteen – Trailing Region

    1. PERIPATETIC
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1)
    Xena: Warrior Princess (5)

    2. ALL MOD CONS
    Farscape (2)
    The Avengers (6)

    So I ended up voting against my favorite Star Trek, and for the other two. Is this where I complain about dice?

  23. @Lyle: “Is this where I complain about dice?”

    No, this is where you complain about clocks. Dice are the next floor down.

  24. I showed my husband who was competing, and remarked that several people were anti-Avengers because not SF. “Have they watched the show?” he asked incredulously.

  25. Some thoughts on the loss of Firefly:

    TAKE MY LOVE
    TAKE MY LAND
    TAKE ME WHERE I CANNOT STAND
    THAT’S ALL RIGHT
    I’M STILL FREE
    YOU CAN’T TAKE THE BRACKET WIN FROM ME.

    I am officially volunteering to write and direct the major motion picture to conclude the epic story of Firefly’s battle of the brackets.

  26. I’m broken-hearted about ST:TNG and the Avengers, but they went out fighting, especially the 60s duo. I still have some favs clutched close, on to the next round!

    Actually, due to time travel from 6605, I already knew the results and already voted in the next round. To keep from causing a time collapse singularity, I was required by regulations to make the above remarks. Time travel is so weird.

  27. Greg: Some thoughts on the loss of Firefly

    I’ll take this opportunity to say that any ardent Firefly fans who have not yet read Steven Brust’s Firefly novel, My Own Kind of Freedom, should go download it for free and read it right now. Brust captures the characters and the universe perfectly.

  28. Honestly surprised about TNG going down!

    I, too, am extremely relieved about Farscape. Disconsolate Dragons remains dormant for another day… (Well, aside from hating Amazon.)

  29. > “In the book brackets, you had more extensions, and often fairly low vote totals for a given matchup. So there was just more chance of the vote staying relatively even all the way through.”

    There were also differences in the way I seeded, and in the way I counted votes for a tie, both of which were designed to give underdogs more of a chance and made ties a bit more likely.

  30. @Kyra: Interesting! How did you count votes for a tie? In this one, if someone says “tie,” I give each candidate one vote. If they abstain, I give zero.

  31. Basically, I counted them as “votes for a tie as the preferred result”, so if the difference in ordinary votes between books was less than or equal to the number of votes of a tie, it became a tie. That is to say:

    Book One – 30 votes
    Book Two – 28 votes
    Tie – 2 votes

    That became a 30/30 tie. Whereas:

    Book One – 33 votes
    Book Two – 29 votes
    Tie – 2 votes

    Book One would of course be the winner.

    Obviously, this only came into effect when the books were extremely close already (it was quite rare to have even as many as three votes for a tie on any given pairing, and zero votes for a tie was the most common number by far). It didn’t happen often, but there were definitely a couple of cases where this vote-counting method nudged things into a tie. There actually weren’t all that many ties in my brackets, they just tended to stand out.

    The match with the most votes ever for a tie in any of my brackets (four, if I’m remembering correctly) did not actually end up being a tie. That was The Privilege of the Sword vs. His Majesty’s Dragon, and The Privilege of the Sword still won, as it was ahead by nine ordinary votes.

    There were also several votes where there were no votes for a tie, that still ended up exactly tied. This happened most often, as you correctly guessed, in some of the early heats when one or both of the books were on the obscure side and voting was low. However, I do remember there being one or two fairly high-vote matchups later on which just happened to end up being perfectly divided among the voters, with no votes for a tie.

    The biggest tie vote I can remember in my brackets was the 29 vote/29 vote showdown for The Prisoner of Azkaban vs. Tigana. I honestly don’t remember if there were any votes for a tie, but if there were I doubt it was more than 2.

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