Pixel Scroll 5/3/16 The Seven Pixel Scrollution

(1) JEOPARDY! Funny how fandom has gone from being the contestants to being the answers…. On the May 3 episode of Jeopardy! one of the answers was —

In A Storm of Swords, he acknowledged “Phyllis, who made me put the dragons in it.”

The correct question would be “Who is George R.R. Martin?” But the clue is Phyllis Eisenstein.

Martin discussed this on a panel at Chicon 7 in 2012.

The dragons were one aspect that I did consider not including. Very early in the process, I was debating, should I do this just as like historical fiction about fake history, and have no actually overt magic or magical elements, but — my friend Phyllis Eisenstein, a wonderful fantasy writer who lives here in Chicago, I happened to be talking to her at very early stage in the process. Phyllis has written some great fantasies herself. She said, “Nah, you have to have dragons. It’s a fantasy, you know!” And I dedicated A Storm of Swords to Phyllis, who made me put the dragons in, and I think that was the right thing to do.

(2) TERMS OF UNDEARMENT. Kukuruyo’s image of Ms. Marvel has been pulled from DeviantArt. And on his own site, the Project Wonderful ads have been pulled on the page that displays the image. Did he violate the Terms Of Service?

(3) OFF THE CHARTS. The map found in illustrator Pauline Baynes’ copy of The Lord of the Rings has a new home reports The Guardian — “Tolkien annotated map of Middle-earth acquired by Bodleian library”.

Here be dragons – and wolves, bears, witches, camels, elephants, orcs, elves and hobbits.

A map of Middle-earth, which to generations of fans remains the greatest fantasy world ever created, heavily annotated by JRR Tolkien, has been acquired by the Bodleian library in Oxford to add to the largest collection in the world of material relating to his work, including the manuscripts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The annotations, in green ink and pencil, demonstrate how real his creation was in Tolkien’s mind: “Hobbiton is assumed to be approx at latitude of Oxford,” he wrote.

(4) CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN. BBC News has a story about a a member of the 501st climbing England’s highest mountain. A Star Wars fan who walked to the tops of Snowdon and Ben Nevis while dressed as a stormtrooper plans to tackle England’s tallest mountain.

Ashley Broomhall hopes to make the trek on Wednesday, the date of which – May the fourth- is often linked to the Star Wars phrase “May the force…”

He will wear his stormtrooper armour for the walk up 3,208ft (978m) Scafell Pike in the Lake District.

(5) AMAZONIAN TOSSER. Heather Rose Jones “tosses a little numbers-geekery” at the question of what it means for a book to have only really really good reviews on Amazon. (Spoiler: She says it means your book isn’t getting out enough.)

You know who has spent a very long time in the top 10 books sold in Historical Fantasy? Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Do you know how many one-star reviews Outlander has on Amazon? 749. Seven hundred and forty-fucking-nine one-star reviews (4% of the total). No book is universally beloved.

(6) CHINA BOUND. Martin L. Shoemaker posted his good news on Facebook:

Now that the contract has been signed, I am very honored to announce that “Today I Am Paul” will appear in Science Fiction World, the Chinese science fiction magazine, as part of their new series of Hugo/Nebula nominees.

(7) CROWDFUNDING AEROSPACE HISTORIAN. You can support Dr. Jim Busby by helping fund his travel to Spacefest VII.

Help Us Keep Our Aerospace Heritage Alive

From June 9 – 12 2016 Spacefest VII , a reunion of legendary NASA astronauts, engineers, famous space scientists, authors, astronomers, space artists, and fans produced by Novaspace, will be held in Tucson, AZ.

Dr. Jim Busby Aerospace Historian, educator and board member of Aerospace Legacy Foundation (ALF) in Downey, CA has been invited to be a guest lecturer and to do a memorabilia display. Unfortunately, ALF being a small non-profit organization cannot afford to send Dr. Busby, his wife and other members of the organization to Tucson. That is why we are turning to aerospace enthusiasts to help fund this trip. Dr. Jim Busby’s extensive knowledge of aerospace history has educated many over the years. In 1978 he helped create the world’s first Apollo lunar reenactments and worked at the California Science center for 19 years.

“I enjoy educating children and adults in our long fascination with space exploration,” Busby commented. “Inspiring children when I talk about Apollo lunar exploration is an experience beyond words.”

The GoFundMe has raised $645 of its $2,500 goal at this writing.

(7) JURY DUTY. Mary Anne Mohanraj announced on Facebook that jurors are needed to review grant applications for Speculative Literature Foundation.

JURORS NEEDED: The Speculative Literature Foundation is looking for ten volunteer jurors willing to read applications (a few pages each, including a writing sample) over the space of about a month for our Diverse Writers Grant and our Diverse Worlds Grant. The grant deadline is at the end of July, so you would need to have time available in August to read and discuss. In order to be considered, potential jurors should be writers, editors, teachers, or readers with broad knowledge of the genre, who are capable of judging literary quality in a work.

If interested, please send a brief note to our director, Mary Anne Mohanraj, mohanraj@uic.edu, with the subject line: JUROR. Include a few lines on what your qualifying background would be for serving as a juror. Thank you for your interest, and for your support of science fiction and fantasy!

More information about the Diverse Writers and Diverse Workds grants at the link.

(8) SOUND RETREAT. John C. Wright takes “A Polite Retreat from Combat”.

Mr. George R.R. Martin here (http://grrm.livejournal.com/485124.html) has taken the time out of his busy writing schedule to rebut my comment where I rebuked him for characterizing the Sad Puppies reading list of last year as ‘right-wing’ and ‘weak’, a statement published in the Guardian newspaper.

My reply, humbly enough, was that my work was unweak enough to have sold at least one example to him. He responds by chiding me for being insufficiently humble: as if making a sale to George R.R. Martin were not indeed a matter for pride.

He and I (or so I thought) had an agreement to smooth over our puppy-related sadness.

In the spirit of that agreement, I plead nolo contendere to his allegations, in the hope that if I say nothing but this in reply, he will return to his writing, and tell me and his other fans the final fate of Westeros.

The years fly like autumn leaves, and life too short for such fare. Winter is coming.

(9) RITUALLY UNCLEAN. Sami Sundell calls it “Overemphasizing the Taint”.

…I’ve also seen some more dire messages. For example, Steve Davidson listed nominations sans puppy taint. Matthew M. Foster had an even stricter stance and called the awards Vox Awards. And that’s what really hit my nerve….

So who cares if one of the nominees is Ann Leckie‘s Ancillary Mercy, the final part of the trilogy that started with Hugo winner Ancillary Justice – a book that has been much reviled by the Puppies. Mercy was on Sad Puppies recommendation lists so it’s tainted. Same apparently goes for Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

And Vox Day, apparently all by himself, decided Seveneves by Neal Stephenson is worthy of a Hugo nomination. You know, the multiple award winner Neal Stephenson? And a book that was pre-emptively put into mind blowing science fiction list of io9 in January 2015? Expectations were high, and I’ve seen plenty of reviews saying those expectations were met, and then some.

Same goes for Alastair Reynolds’ Slow Bullets and Lois McMaster Bujold‘s Penric’s Demon. McMaster Bujold has won or been nominated for Hugos more times than I have fingers. Is it really so hard to believe she would write yet another masterpiece?

…No. Saying Day made some OK choices is not surrender. That blog entry is surrender. It gives all the power to Vox Day, it ignores the quality of works, and it claims fans had no say in the nominations. That sounds awfully lot like the arguments we’ve heard from Puppies for several years….

(10) TROLLFIGHTING SPACE KITTEN. Spacefaring Kitten would deal with the ballot this way — “On Fighting Trolls and Going to Have to Ask Kevin Standlee”.

Rule changes are slow, however, so they don’t help in the current situation — where we indeed have a hostile takeover by trolls who have stated explicitly that their intention is to destroy the award. Among the Hugo finalists, there are works that include blatant hate-speech, fat-shaming, misogyny et cetera. Overall, it’s more horrible than last year, when the voters had to mostly just stomach bad writing (this year, the level of writing is probably much higher).

The works I’m referring to here are of course the short story “If You Were an Award, My Love” and the related works SJWs Always Lie, “The Story of Moira Greyland” and “Safe Space as Rape Room” (and maybe the work of the fan artist “Kukuruyo”). These are ugly works manufactured to harass individual members of the SFF community or groups of people that the Rabid Puppies contingency happens to love harassing (women, LGBTI community and so on).

So, what could be done about them? Unfortunately, not much.

After reading the WSFS constitution, I came up with only two things. If I was running the Worldcon (which I’m not, of course), I would:

  1. Not include them in the Hugo voter packet. (There are zero rules about the voter packet, so it would be completely possible for the Worldcon to exclude the works mentioned above.)
  2. Insert onto the online voting form a statement that says “Midamericon II condemns the hate-speech/whatever featured in Finalist X”.

(11) SUTHERLAND CONTINUES. Meanwhile, Doris V. Sutherland is still working on her category-by-category discussion of last year’s results in “2014 Hugos Versus 2015 Sad Puppies: What Could Have Been, Part 1” at Women Write About Comics.

So, let me restate that the works on these longlists are the works that received the highest number of votes during the Hugo nomination process without being on either the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates. I have seen no evidence to justify suspicion of any conspiracy or wrongdoing on the part of George R. R. Martin or anyone else involved.

That said, I also have to question the claim made by certain Sad Puppies opponents that these longlists show us exactly what the Hugo ballot would been had the Sad Puppies campaign never existed. This interpretation ignores the fact that some of the Puppy picks could quite conceivably have made the final ballot even without the aid of the campaign. Nevertheless, a look at the longlist will at least give us a good idea of how the ballot would have looked without Puppy slating—and an idea is all we can have.

Best Short Story

“Jackalope Wives,” by Ursula Vernon

One of the 2014 nominees in this category was Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers,” which riffed on the folkloric motif of the animal bride. Interestingly enough, one of the contenders for the 2015 award plays with the same theme—albeit with very different results.

Ursula Vernon constructs her pseudo-folkloric story from specifically American materials, lending it a folksy tall-tale feel. It takes place in a world where young men periodically go out and hunt for jackalopes—which, in Vernon’s conception, are more than just antlered bunnies. Once they remove their fur, they take on their true forms as beautiful, unearthly women. As per animal bride tradition, any prospective suitor must steal a jackalope’s fur before he can win her as a bride, and burn it to prevent her from changing back and escaping.

So far, so conventional. But while folktales of this type are often told from the point of view of the man, with the bride’s disappearance seen as a sad occurrence, Vernon sheds light on how rotten the scenario must be for the woman. The protagonist of “Jackalope Wives” learns the ugly truth behind the legend when he tries to burn a jackalope’s fur; her resulting screams of pain cause him to have second thoughts, inadvertently leaving the woman trapped halfway between human and animal. The manic pixie dream girl has had her wings cut off.

“Jackalope Wives” is true to its folkloric roots while simultaneously offering a contemporary spin on the age-old material. A deserving contender for Best Short Story.

Sutherland also drew a “salute” to GamerGate Life.

(12) AGAINST HATRED. Jon Tully at GeeksOut tells “How Hatred Is Hurting the Hugos”.

…This year, the Rabid puppies doubled their votes and succeeded in nominating 62 out of 80 stories that they backed. And are these stories that reflect where our culture is headed? Are they stories about inclusivity, empathy, and reflection?

No. They are stories such as “SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police” a story about “social justice warriors” (penned by Beale himself), “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris, (a direct spoof on the gay-affirming “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”),  “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (published by Castalia House) and, my personal (sarcastic) favorite, Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle, which has all the literary merit the title suggests.

If the judges were willing to deny awards in five categories last year, what is it going to look like this year? Will any awards be given? Will authors begin to gravitate away from the Hugos towards the Nebula or the Locus Awards?

Will this be the death of an institution I love?

As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And while these oft-repeated words can seem passé (and a little too gender-specific), there is, of course, a core of truth. The reason that we’re in this situation is because the various Puppies were able to rally enough hate to their side to be heard.

But the fact that sours my stomach is not that small-minded children were able to throw a tantrum and get their way, it’s that, by doing so, they’re hijacking the narrative of our era. Metaphorically speaking, the Rabid Puppies are wedging their intolerance into a time capsule that future generations will open, and societies not yet born will see and be ashamed of.

(13) WORD BALLOONS. At this link you will find what seems to be popularly regarded as “the best superhero story ever.” And at minimum it’s pretty funny: http://imgur.com/a/czaDD

(14) FLIGHT TO THE FINNISH. Zen Cho can’t resist temptation.

(15) FRED POHL IS HERE. The Traveler from Galactic Journey has the latest ancient prozine news: “[May 3, 1961] Passing the Torch (June 1961, Galaxy, 2nd Half)”.

Fred Pohl came on last year.  He was not officially billed as the editor, but it was common knowledge that he’d taken over the reigns.  Pohl is an agent and author, a fan from the way-back.  I understand his plan has been to raise author rates again and bring back quality.  While he waits for the great stories to come back, he leavens the magazines with old stories from the “slush pile” that happen not to be awful.  In this way, Galaxy showcases promising new authors while keeping the quality of the magazine consistent.

The June 1961 Galaxy is the first success story of this new strategy.

Last issue, I talked about how Galaxy was becoming a milquetoast mag, afraid to take risks or deviate far from mediocrity.  This month’s issue, the first that lists Pohl as the “Managing Editor,” is almost the second coming of old Galaxy — daring, innovative, and with one exception, excellent.

Take Cordwainer Smith’s Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons, in which an interplanetary ring of thieves tries to steal from the richest, and best defended planet, in the galaxy.  Smith has always been a master, slightly off-center in his style; his rich, literary writing is of the type more usually seen in Fantasy and Science FictionKittons is ultimately a mystery, the nature of the unique (in name and nature) “kittons” remaining unknown until the last.  A brutal, fascinating story, and an unique take on the future.  Five stars.

(16) DABBLING IN THE DEBACLE. Amanda S. Green asks “What do you want?” at Mad Genius Club.

…the Hugo debacle. Yes, debacle. There is no other way to describe it. Whether you support the idea that the Hugos are a fan award (which I do since you buy a membership to WorldCon in order to vote and anyone with the money can do so) or a “literary” award (which, to mean, would require it to be a juried award in some fashion), I think we all can — or at least should — agree that Hugo should not be exclusionary. If you can afford the money for the membership, you should be able to vote and your vote should have the same weight as the next person’s. Until the rules are changed, that is how it should be.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I was looking through Facebook and came across a post from one of the puppy-kickers — and I am looking straight at you, Mr. Amazing Stories — saying that the committee should go in and look at all the ballots. Any ballot cast by a puppy should be thrown out. (And he even adds to his comment “screw privacy”, which had been one of the concerns last year’s committee had when they were asked to release the voting data.). But that’s not enough for him. He advocates never letting a “puppy” buy a membership to WorldCon again. There’s more but you can go look for yourself — assuming the post is still there. It is dated April 26th and was posted at 7:24 pm.

Needless to say, when I saw this, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Laughter because these sorts of comments show the hypocrisy of those who are “fighting the good fight” against those evil Sad and Rabid Puppies. We are called all sorts of names because, as they claim, we want to exclude message and “marginalized” people from the genre. Yet here one of their most vocal supporters is doing exactly what they claim we are doing. He is saying we should not be allowed into the same room with the Hugos. Note, he is not only saying that we shouldn’t be allowed to vote for their beloved award but tat we should not be allowed to attend WorldCon.

Sounds pretty exclusionary to me. How about you?

(17) HE’S EXCITED. More from Shamus Young about his Hugo nomination in a podcast on his site. The show notes say:

01:08 Shamus is up for a Hugo Award

Here I talk about the fact that I’ve been nominated for a Hugo, and I briefly mention the controversy the Hugos have been having for the past two years. I don’t want to talk about the controversy here. In fact, the no politics post was written specifically in anticipation of this discussion.

If you’re looking for more information: On WIRED there’s this post entitled Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards and the Battle for Pop Culture’s Soul, which seems to be the one everyone links when trying to bring people up to speed on this. However, like a lot of Wired articles this one feels like the author was paid by the word. It’s long on anecdotes, it takes forever to get to the point, it’s broad and hyperbolic, and for all the words it spends it never feels like it gets down to details.

I found this one much more useful: A Detailed Explanation by Matthew David Surridge, explaining why he declined his Hugo nomination last year. It is also long – I’m afraid you can’t really do the topic justice in a couple of paragraphs – but instead of spending its word count on stories, he just takes up one side and argues for it. In the process he kind of maps out a good deal of both sides[1].

I’m excited to be nominated for a Hugo. I’m excited that videogames are being recognized and encouraged in their pursuit of sci-fi stories. I’m dreading dealing with people who don’t respect my no politics rule and are just looking for an opportunity to unleash the anger they’re hauling around. I think accepting the nomination is the most diplomatic thing to do, and win or lose I’m grateful for everyone who thinks my work has merit.

(18) COUNTING TO ZERO. The Locus Awards navigated around the worst rocks and shoals of the puppy lists only to incur criticism about the composition of the YA Novel finalists.

(19) NEW POPULAR FICTION MFA. Emerson College in Boston is starting a new Masters of Fine Arts in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing in Fall 2016. It will be a fully online program designed for students who want to pursue a career as a writer of novels in the genres of fantasy, science-fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, or young adult.

The program will enroll a cohort of 12 students in order to provide individual attention and coaching. The two-year accredited MFA program will be housed in Emerson’s nationally known Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing.

The MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing is one of the first online writing programs to prepare students to write professional-level stories and novels in a variety of fictional genres and provides an opportunity for students to read deeply, think critically, and discuss popular fiction with peers. Students will have the experience of participating in creative workshops and literature courses that focus on the history of various popular genres. Additionally, hands-on publishing courses will teach students how to turn a completed manuscript into a polished, publishable work. Emerson’s publishing faculty will offer insights on the avenues available for students to publish their work, from finding and working with literary agents to self-publishing to reaching a wide readership through trade publishers.

For more information, visit the MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing web page or contact John Rodzvilla, graduate program director, at john_rodzilla@emerson.edu or 617-824-3717.

(20) PUPPY DISAMBIGUATION. Don’t miss the rollover in Trae’s cartoon “The inevitable outcome”.

(21) UNKNOWN TRAILER. The first trailer for Approaching the Unknown has been released, a movie starring Mark Strong and Luke Wilson.

(22) TOLKIEN TALK. Terri Windling will lecture about Tolkien in Oxford on May 26.

Pembroke Tolkien lecture

(23) PAYING BACKWARD. Rachel Swirsky has a plan for getting through these parlous times which she shares in “Making Lemons into Jokes: ‘If You Were a Butt, My Butt”.

In my family, humor has always been a way of putting crap into perspective. When life hands you lemons, make jokes. And then possibly lemonade, too. It is coming up on summer.

In that spirit, I’m trying a self-publishing experiment. And that experiment’s name is “If You Were a Butt, My Butt.”

If my Patreon reaches $100 by the end of the month, I will write and send “If You Were a Butt, My Butt” to everyone who subscribes. If things go well, I’ve got some stretch goals, too, like an audio version.

I will be donating the first month’s Patreon funds to Lyon-Martin health services. Lyon-Martin is one of the only providers that focuses on caring for the Quiltbag community, especially low-income lesbian, bisexual, and trans people. They provide services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.

pablo-1

[And that’s the end! Thanks to John King Tarpinian, James David Nicoll, Mark-kitteh, Dawn Sabados, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Rambo, Hampus Eckerman, Mike O’Donnell, Glenn Hauman, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

315 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/3/16 The Seven Pixel Scrollution

  1. Phantom: Nobody wonders about that. There are always assholes and griefers who can’t see something good without wanting to steal or destroy it, and there are always plenty of suckers around who will buy what they’re selling.

  2. John: Wasn’t that a movie weapon? The thing in the car trunk in Repo Man, right?

    Nah, that’s the thing in Marcellus Wallace’s suitcase.

    Aaron: The sad part for kukuruyo is that he doesn’t even realize why he’s about to get into so much trouble…

    INT: MARVEL EDITORIAL OFFICES

    “Hey, the Hugo nominations are out! I wonder who these new artists are, I’ve never heard of them before. Let’s go look at their websites and see if any of them are worth hirin– oh. Oh, no. No. Oh, HELL no. What’s Legal’s extension…?”

  3. @Glen

    (2) Aw, now he’s whining because he (Kukuruyo) broke the rules and got caught.

    No surprises there -it’s the The GG Lament – “Consequences are for other people”

  4. Oh, and kukuruyo’s web site is being attacked by hackers and bots? That’s called “being connected to the Internet”. Everybody’s website is attacked. Claiming it’s because of his political views is just galloping paranoia…

    …actually, that’s not quite true. Lots of bot makers, etc. try to compromise sites with naked pictures on them, as they make useful vectors for their little tricks. And of course, the higher the site visibility, the more useful the target.

  5. I’m not a troll, really. And I love Heinlein, and am reasonably fond of Starship Troopers. But why does no one ever seem to notice that the “thirty second bomb” is designed to be a war crime? Deliberately targeting civilians, guys. Designed to panic and kill civilians, and damage civilian infrastructure.

    I admit, it was many years before I noticed that, too. It fits so very neatly in the narrative. And I wish that I could believe that this was Heinlein being subtle, and showing how being a cap trooper changes your moral compass, not always for the better. But there’s really no support from that textually or extra-textually. It’s just a very clever war crime.

  6. @DMS: I finished After the Golden Age and am a happy puppy. It’s got weakneeses, but I enjoyed it anyway and plan to read more Carrie Vaughn.

    @Lydy Nickerson: I’m willing to believe that a government established by vigilante violence and ruled by a self-selected oligarchy has a different opinion on what constitutes a war crime. I’m also willing to believe that a perfectly decent human government might disregard the established rules of war in order to defeat a truly alien race. And I’m also willing to believe that sometimes under imperfect current systems and sufficient levels of cruel tyranny one war crime is a lesser evil than another. And I’ve long been hard-pressed to see the difference between destroying a city wantonly and destroying a city as collateral damage.

    But yeah, this stone Heinlein fan–just today, riding the bus to work, I noticed ways in which parts of my city were beginning to look a lot like some of the settings in Friday, and am hoping not to see in my lifetime the Fynhtugre bs gur Qrzbpengf–agrees with you that it is totally a war crime.

  7. Scroll-relevant content: I’m going to see Captain America: Civil War tonight, and I picked some excellent lead-up reading. Matt Forbeck’s “Brave New World” trilogy, set in a martial-law U.S.A. with mandatory registration and military service for all powered individuals sets the perfect tone. I’m most of the way through the third book and hope to finish it before the movie starts.

    @Nicole: (Viggle)

    I am also smartphone-free by choice. I always tell people that I live in a hilltop cave, but they never believe me. It’s true, though – the three-story apartment building is cut into the top of a hill, so I only have cell service at all because we bought a signal booster and ran its antenna up the side of the gutter’s drain pipe. Since I work from home and venture out once or twice a week, a smartphone only makes sense for me maybe half a dozen times a year, when I travel. I have literally gone months without deliberately turning my cellphone on. Wi-fi all the way!

    Anyway, there’s an “iPad w/iOS 9” trick that I don’t want to outline too specifically, since it apparently wouldn’t work with Bluestacks. Basically, if I’m willing to babysit Viggle and count to ten for about one minute out of every five, the app will act as if I’ve checked into the show multiple times. Using that setup, I can multiply the value of any show by as many “ghosts” as I have the patience to maintain. I scored over 4000 points last night… on one device. Kinda makes up for the Android app crashing whenever I try checking into a show.

    I shy away from B&N because they’ve taken what I consider “user-hostile” steps in changing their DRM and making it harder to download ebooks. Plus, Perk discounts Amazon gift cards by 3% at the $25+ level – so a $100 card costs 97K points – which I think is their best gift card deal. Lately, I’ve used that credit to buy e-comics that get added to my comiXology library. Marvel had a half-off/BOGO* sale a couple of weeks ago, and they had a decent May 4th Star Wars sale, so I picked up some stuff I’d been wanting. Otherwise, I use the bucks on physical stuff; I only buy Kindle ebooks if they’re Amazon-only. (I prefer to buy native EPUBs rather than convert.)

    * Yes, I know “half-off” and “BOGO” are very different. On Amazon, it was half-off. On comiXology, it was BOGO. Weirdly, despite being so connected that comiXology can see your Amazon purchases in real-time, the sites have different prices sometimes. It pays to check both!

  8. @JBWeld: “If you want to see leftists flip out, talk about guns.”

    And if you want to see “rightists” flip out, advocate limiting guns. In any way, no matter how mild the restriction. For instance, ask what they think of “smart gun” tech which prevents a gun from firing in the absence of the owner’s authorization.

    @JBWeld, later: “I apologize. Talking about guns doesn’t make left-leaning folks irrational, and I was mistaken to think so.”

    I see what you did there. The discussion doesn’t make them irrational, eh?

    @Cmm: “I also believe in more regulations on gun ownership and use than we currently have.” (followed by a list)

    Yep, I’m with you on pretty much all of that. IMO, the gun debate focuses too much on rights and not enough on responsibilities.

    @John A Arkansawyer: “I finished After the Golden Age and am a happy puppy.”

    The sequel is Dreams of the Golden Age. 😉

    @John M. Cowan: “Weapons: Didn’t John Brunner’s “The Jagged Orbit” feature a weapon that could destroy 26 city blocks?”

    I am now envisioning a device which, when activated, destroys precisely 26 city blocks. At random. Different cities, the same city, the block containing the device… nobody knows until it happens.

  9. I’m posting this in this thread because it has a lot of subscribees.

    Does anyone know if there is a definitive list somewhere of all Hugo-nominated works which have placed below “No Award”?

    * cough Kevin Standlee cough *

  10. @BGHilton: Props for your weapon being my fave D&D magic item, the Wand of Wonder. 😀 One of my old DM’s gave me a unique Wand of Wonder with a list of effects he’d come up with and written down – I did not have the list. It was fun at first, but a few charges in, I got some kind of black hole magic thingie. Fortunately, an item that let me do a “tenacity replay” (rewind time a few seconds) saved us, but then I was kinda leery of using it any more – never got around to getting rid of the impending doom waiting in the next charge.

    In fairness, it’s not necessarily a weapon; sometimes yes, sometimes no. 😉

    In other news, I read on a previous page the JJ is a robot?! 😉

  11. JJ: In other news, I read on a previous page the JJ is a robot?! 😉

    I don’t know what you’re talking aboot, eh. I’m Canadian. Really. Sorry. Nice day, eh?

  12. Of interest only to @Rev. Bob –

    Shortly after I posted my latest to you – I guess that would have been on the 4th? – Viggle stopped being able to check into shows at all for me. It recognizes the show, it gives the the “start earning points!” bar to click, and then… it just goes back to the home screen. Sometimes it’ll give me points for clicking the marquee ads, but sometimes it won’t even do that. The recent Android update didn’t fix things. So now I’m just running the Perk.tv / Viggle.tv duo, when I remember to, and occasionally trying Viggle to see if it’s figured itself out yet. Alas.

    B&N really have made things difficult. But the old version of Nook for PC (no longer supported by B&N, offered by third parties who are easily Googlable) will download the .epub into a “My Barnes and Noble ebooks” directory, or somesuch, directly under My Documents, and from there it is simply to drag/drop it into calibre, where the de-DRM plug-in does the rest. So that’s my routine.

    I understand that there are compelling moral arguments for abstaining from using either online bookseller. I’m personally in the I Refuse To Interact With Amazon camp, but I have all the respect for those who are not, and/or who Refuse To Interact With B&N.

    It will be interesting to see if Perk ever resurrect the Viggle Store in any way shape or form. Their FAQ says they intend to, but their FAQ has not been updated for the most part since before the merger.

    …I don’t really ticky-stalk (TOO MUCH EMAIL NOOOOOO), and I tend to close File770 tabs after there have been no new comments for 2 or 3 days, but I’ll leave this one open for a bit in case we wanna talk Perk things without annoying the rest of the room. 🙂 (Or there’s always the ViggleRumors.com forum. It will be very easy to guess which one is me.)

  13. Nicole:

    The fix I’ve seen for the Viggle-Android “it checks me in but doesn’t give me a timer” issue sounds crazy, but it worked for me. Change your TV provider, then change it back. Also, if you haven’t already, delete the app and reinstall it. If doing both, I’d say “change providers, delete the app, reinstall, log in, and change to the correct provider.”

    Also, I typically have a rough time getting Viggle-Android to work for me when I first turn the device on. Several false starts, because it likes to show one ad and then go into an eternal “loading” cycle. Some combination of going to the home screen and back in, clicking the “go back to earn points” notice, and force-stopping the app usually works, but it takes a while. Part of it may be that I’m on a tablet, or that the tablet won’t update past Ice Cream Sandwich. I can usually be confident everything’s okay when the app stays in portrait mode while displaying the eternal-load spinner; it stays like that for a couple of minutes, but eventually comes out of it. If I get a landscape-mode spinner, it usually stays that way until stopped.

    These days, I tend to get my ebooks from either Kobo, Google Play, or Amazon… in that order of preference. Smashwords, too, but usually those books get distributed to at least one of the other shops. I can’t recall the last time I saw something that was on B&N but neither Play nor Kobo, and Play auto-price-matches Amazon. (Kobo will manually match, but it can be a hassle.) I just picked up the first “Agatha H.” book on sale – those are the prose analogues to the Foglios’ “Girl Genius” graphic novels – to go along with the second book (bought on sale a while back – regular price at Kobo, but on sale at Play).

  14. @Rev. Bob:

    If doing both, I’d say “change providers, delete the app, reinstall, log in, and change to the correct provider.”

    That sounds like utter magic. I will try it and let you know how it goes.

    My first tendency is just to assume it’s a problem with Bluestacks, since not only is app compatibility with emulators never a given, but apparently Perk considers using emulators a banning offense – so my strategy up ’til now has been “try it again on the other computer after a few hours.”

    Also, I typically have a rough time getting Viggle-Android to work for me when I first turn the device on. Several false starts, because it likes to show one ad and then go into an eternal “loading” cycle. Some combination of going to the home screen and back in, clicking the “go back to earn points” notice, and force-stopping the app usually works, but it takes a while.

    Oh, the “loading wheel of death!” For me, most recently, it’s just a commercial break that never ends – it loads one ad after another and never, ever goes back to the check-in screen nor awards points.

    For me the clue is when I see the Big Blue Loading Wheel – the huge one with a “loading ad 1 of 5” at the bottom – or if I see the gray “this is where a video ought to be” image, it means it’s time for me to quit Viggle and use Bluestacks’s “Restart app player” command. Usually after that Viggle comes back up asking me if I want to earn the points I missed, and, if it only shows me as having missed one commercial break, I’ll say no. That’s because saying Yes puts me right back into the same endless loop. I’m convinced that the problem is with that particular commercial break being pushed out, rather than with my Viggle client making a request for it. If it shows I’ve missed more than one, I’ll say Yes and it’ll usually be fine – we’re on to a new commercial break.

    The time I consistently get eternal commercial breaks is if I check into a show that’s actually still running in my time zone. Say, Mike & Mike (4 hours) started at 6 AM, but I used the posted sound clip to check into it at 8:30 AM. Generally, the first ad break will stall out, and after I restart everything, it puts me back into the show at a much later point in the timer–basically showing me as having missed all the commercial breaks I actually would have missed had I checked into the show on my TV at that time. When I restart the check-in later, I don’t usually have that problem.

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