Pixel Scroll 5/22/17 Little Pixels Made Of Ticky Tacky All In A Row

(1) HOW POWERFUL IS SF? When their joint book tour brought them to San Francisco, Goodreads members had a chance to quiz this dynamic duo: “The Authors@Goodreads Interview with John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow”.

GR: Goodreads member Lissa says, “When I read the description of Walkaway, I was wondering ‘Will he have written the book we need to wake us up and get us to pay attention, or the book we need to prepare us for what he thinks might be coming?'”

DOCTOROW: I think…we overestimate the likelihood of things we can vividly imagine and spend a lot of time worrying about our kids getting snatched by strangers and not nearly enough time worried about them getting killed by food poisoning or car accidents. We have this giant war on terror but no war on listeria despite the fact that inadequate refrigeration kills a lot more Americans than terrorism does. It has to do with how vividly we can imagine those things…..

GR: Are the worlds you create the kind of worlds you want to live in?

SCALZI: No! I write terrible universes where horrible things are happening, I like where ‘m living now. Some years are better than others, but altogether ‘m OK with who I am and where I am in the world.

(2) NEED IT RIGHT AWAY. What’s the next thing collectors absolutely must have? Could it be — “Pint Size Heroes”! (They remind me a lot of the Pet Shop pets my daughter used to love, except completely different, of course.)

This series features characters from some of your favorite science fiction movies and television! Including Martian from Mars Attacks, Neo from The Matrix, Leeloo from The Fifth Element, Predator and many more! Collect them all this Summer!

(3) TIME ENOUGH FOR CHEESECAKE LOVE. Here’s what Neil Gaiman will do for half a million dollars — that isn’t even for him. Let Yahoo! News set the scene:

The Cheesecake Factory‘s menu is the In Search of Lost Time of the restaurant industry, in that it is far too long and probably includes a madeleine or two.

Neil Gaiman is a very famous author (American Gods, Stardust, Coraline) with a notably soothing British accent, who has nothing to do with the Cheesecake Factory but has been dared to read its convoluted bill of fare anyway.

How’d this happen?

It all began with writer/comedian Sara Benincasa, a self-professed cheesecake addict…

She has secured Gaiman’s agreement and has launched a fundraiser at Crowdwise. — “Neil Gaiman Will Do A Reading Of The Cheesecake Factory Menu If We Raise $500K For Refugees”.

Will the appeal be strong enough for the fund to meet its goal? Only $2,321 has been pledged as of this afternoon.

(4) IT NEEDED SAVING? In the opinion of the Chicago Tribune “Novelist Timothy Zahn is the man who saved ‘Star Wars,’ according to fans”. There’s no doubt they’ve been good for each other.

Timothy Zahn, who is 65 and bald and carries an ever-so-slight air of social anxiety, is nobody’s image of a superstar. And yet as he sat behind table No. 26 and waited for fans, he did not wait long. The doors to the convention hall at McCormick Place opened at 10 a.m., and by 10:10 a.m. the line of people to meet Zahn was the second-longest at C2E2, the massive Chicago comic book convention held each spring. Only Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and the Hulk, could boast longer lines. This was a few weeks ago, just as “Thrawn,” Zahn’s latest “Star Wars” novel, was debuting at No. 2 on The New York Times’ best-seller list.

(5) GO RIGHT TO THE SOURCE. Tyrannosaurus rex is still nature’s most-feared predator: “Woman In T-Rex Costume Charged With Scaring Horses”.

Growling at carriage horses while wearing a full-body Tyrannosaurus Rex suit is illegal, a South Carolina woman has learned.

As two horses pulled a carriage of tourists through Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday evening, the horses came face to face with an unfamiliar animal: a six-foot, orange dinosaur. The extinct beast, however, was actually a person in an inflatable T-Rex suit. And when the person allegedly growled at the carriage, the horses became startled, backing the carriage into a parked car, unseating the carriage driver, and running over his leg.

Though multiple onlookers captured photos and video of the incident, the agitator’s face was concealed inside the dinosaur suit, leaving police without a suspect until 26-year-old Nicole Wells turned herself into police Friday night. She was charged with disorderly conduct and wearing a mask or disguise.

Wearing a mask is illegal in South Carolina, and Charleston has particularly strict anti-mask ordinances. City residents over the age of 16 are prohibited from wearing masks in public places, even on Halloween. And after Wells allegedly spooked the carriage horses, locals placed a bounty on her T-Rex head.

(6) THIS WON’T BE DIRT CHEAP. A sack of gold dust wouldn’t bring as much as this NASA artifact is predicted to fetch at auction.

A small white pouch marked “Lunar Sample Return,” which Nancy Lee Carlson bought two years ago for $995, is expected to fetch as much as $4 million at an upcoming Sotheby’s auction. That’s because it’s sprinkled with moon dust.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong filled the bag with rocks from the lunar Sea of Tranquility during his historic trip to the moon on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. He turned the bag over to a Houston lab, which emptied it of the rocks and then lost track of it. It eventually turned up on a U.S. Marshals auction website.

Enter Carlson, a Chicago-area attorney. She bought the pouch — along with some other items, in a kind of space-memento grab bag — for $995 and sent it off to NASA for testing. NASA claimed the bag belonged to the agency, and wouldn’t return it until after a long court battle. You’d think Carlson was asking for the moon.

The bag is expected to go for such a sky-high price because NASA doesn’t allow anyone to own any bit of the moon –except for the bag.

Sotheby’s senior specialist Cassandra Hatton called the auction of the “modest bag” her “Mona Lisa moment.”

(7) TAKE THE TEST. The Guardian will let you audition: “Ignore or delete: could you be a Facebook moderator?” Looks like I won’t be working for FB anytime soon — I only matched their decision 9 out of 16 times.

(8) TODAY’S DAY

History of Goth Day

The history of Goth Day stretches back in odd and meandering paths to history. Musically it can be traced back to 1967 when someone referred to the music of the Doors as “Gothic Rock.” This term was soon being bandied about, used to describe music like Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, and Siouxsie and the Banshee’s described as one of “Goth Rocks Architects”.

But why “Gothic”? It’s an odd term considering that it originally referred to the Visigoths whose claim to fame was sacking Rome. So how did Goths become Goths? Well, we can trace the term back a bit further to 1764, where Horace Walpole wrote a story called “The Castle of Otranto”, granted the subtitled “A Gothic Story” during its second printing. So what is Gothic in this context? It describes a “pleasing sort of horror”, and was seen to be a natural extension of Romantic literature. This, of course, implies a sort of romance with the darker side of life, something that can be said to describe the little blossoms of gloom described at the beginning.

Goth Day celebrates all these souls, and the part of them that celebrates the darkness within us all through music, art, and media.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 22, 1859 — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

(10) HIGH FRONTIER CULTURE. The Washington Post’s Sarah L. Kaufman describes the Washington Ballet’s forthcoming, space-themed production — “For a Washington Ballet premiere: Dancers, spacesuits and Velcro. Lots of Velcro. “.

“Frontier” will have its world premiere May 25, with performances continuing through May 27 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. It tells the story of a group of ASCANS –the NASA acronym for astronaut candidates –and flight technicians preparing for a mission, and the stage effects include a rocket launch and travel to a distant planet.

Just 25 minutes long, the ballet is a big event for everyone involved, but especially for Stiefel, the retired American Ballet Theatre star who is unveiling his first major commission as a choreographer, and for Washington Ballet Artistic Director Julie Kent, who asked Stiefel, her friend and former dance partner, to tie his ballet to the Kennedy Center’s John F. Kennedy centennial celebration. That’s where the space theme came from, reflecting the former president’s expansion of the space program.

(11) SHADOW CLARKE. Another pair of reviews from the Shadow Clarke Jury.

The other day, when I was reviewing Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton, I noted that it was one of two books I still had to write about from my initial list that hadn’t made either the Sharke Six or the official Clarke Award shortlist. I then proceeded to detail why I thought the Brooks-Dalton hadn’t made the lists (it’s not really very good science fiction).

This is the second, and the reasons The Gradual didn’t make either list are, well, I don’t know.

One of the most common accusations levelled at genre fiction is that it is… generic: a typical police procedural will see a detective with a troubled home life win out over bureaucratic incompetence to catch a killer, a standard romance will see two seemingly ill-matched individuals coming together across geographical and social divides to reach a perfect understanding, and we’ve all watched horror movies where we spend the first half of the film yelling at the characters not to go into the house. The reason we still enjoy such stories is often related to their very predictability — we find a formula that works for us, where each new iteration is a pleasure that is doubled in its anticipation, like slipping back into a comfortable pair of slippers.

I would suggest there is something folkloric in such archetypes, something of the mythical, and what genre’s detractors often fail to notice about archetypes is how flexible they are, how ripe for re-imagining and subversion…

(12) BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT. Last year’s Clarke Award winner begins a multi-part rundown of this year’s shortlisted works.

Because I didn’t get the chance to do a Clarkeslist post last year, for what I hope are excusable reasons, I was denied the opportunity to laud Chambers’ first outing, A Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet. This book was one of the ones I would have been happiest to lose to. It was also the subject of a mixed bag of reviews, which may be because it’s SF about, not the space beyond our atmosphere but the space between people (which €˜people’ very emphatically includes nonhuman sentience).

(13) DIVERSE AWARDS COMMENTARY. Cora Buhlert has “A few words on the 2016 Nebula Awards, the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Awards and the Shadow Clarkes”.

…In other awards news, the shortlist for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award has been announced as well. It’s a pretty good shortlist, consisting of a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee (Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee), a Hugo nominee, sequel to one of last year’s Clarke Award nominees (A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers), this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction and the literary speculative fiction novel of the year (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead), a new novel by a former Clarke Award winner (Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan), a new work by an author nominated for multiple BSFA, British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards (Central Station by Lavie Tidhar) and a Locus Award nominated novel by an established and talented, but somewhat overlooked writer (After Atlas by Emma Newman). It’s also a nicely diverse shortlist, ranging from space opera and military SF via dystopian fiction to alternate history. The writer demographics are diverse as well — after the debacle of the all male, all white shortlist in 2013, in spite of a jury consisting of several women — and include three men and three women, two writers of colour, at least two LGBT writers and one international writer. At the Guardian, David Barnett also reports on the 2017 Clarke Award shortlist and praises its diversity

(14) NONREADERS DIGEST. At Lady Business, Ira and Anna try to help readers evaluate one of the nominees for the Best Series Hugo by presenting “The Vorkosigan Saga in 5 Books”.

Ira

Friends! One of my favourite things made of words ever is up for the Best Series Hugo this year! That is correct, The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold is a Hugo Finalist. And I am here with the lovely frequent Lady Business guest poster forestofglory (Anna), a fellow Vorkosigan fan, to present you with two ways to skim the highlights of this series in 5 books each.

Anna

Five books is kind of an arbitrary cutoff, but it’s a lot fewer than 17!

Ira

Isn’t that right!

Now, you may have seen that your Hugo packet includes Borders of Infinity as the sole representative of the Vorkosigan Saga. This is a collection of novellas/short stories with some interstitial material that constitutes its own (very) short story. If Baen, the publisher, had to pick ONE book, this is not a bad choice, as it gives several interesting adventures and tones from this series. However, Anna and I think it doesn’t really cover the breadth of the series, and we’re here to fix that.

This post is intended for two audiences: (1) People who have never encountered a Vorkosigan book in their life, or maybe have read one or two but don’t really know the full series, so we can suggest a subset of the series that is readable by the Hugo voting deadline; and (2) Fans of the series so they can come argue with us about our picks. BOTH ARE SO WELCOME….

(15) PALATE CLEANSER. Need a change of pace before diving back into the Hugo Voter Packet? Maybe Short Story Squee & Snark can help. “The Thule Stowaway,” by Maria Dahvana Headley is their latest discussion pick.

“The Thule Stowaway,” by Maria Dahvana Headley. Novelette. Published in Uncanny Jan/Feb 2017.

Suggested by Mark Hepworth:

I love “secret history” style stories, which this combines with a carefully crafted nest of narratives.

This one has reactions all over the map, which should make for some interesting discussion!

Charles Payseur echoes our recommendation: “This story is something of a Master’s course in nested narratives, unfolding like a puzzlebox that defies reality and is much larger on the inside than it appears.”

Tangent Online reviewer Herbert M. Shaw calls it “overlong and burdensome,” and “a rejected plot from the Doctor Who storyboards, featuring Edgar Allan Poe.”…

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Lovestreams by Sean Buckalew on Vimeo explains what happens when two people who have only “met” through IM messages step through a portal to “meet” in cyberspace.

[Thanks to Sam Long, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

127 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/22/17 Little Pixels Made Of Ticky Tacky All In A Row

  1. @Matt Y On this page (not counting retailer exclusives) I count 4 for the non-retailer exclusive Disney box (Ursula, Ariel, Belle and Minnie); that’s the same as the Guardians of the Galaxy except the Guardians of the Galaxy movie literally only had 4 female characters (OK, and Quill’s Mum in a flashback… and some sex robots…) whereas Disney has a few more to choose from…! But hey, if you don’t put bit part Toy Story characters in your blind box then you don’t get that potential second sale to kids who didn’t want the bit part Toy Story character.

    (I’d totally buy the Steven Universe ones, though knowing my luck my Crystal Gems would probably end up being 4 Onions.)

  2. @Dann

    that issue was less pronounced

    Oh well, if it’s less pronounced then that’s alright then.

    Head->desk

  3. Contrarius on May 23, 2017 at 7:45 am said:

    And the “facehugger” figure is of undetermined gender

    Yeah but not sure if the only victim in the set potentially being another female would make that any better.

    Arifel on May 23, 2017 at 7:53 am said:

    @Matt Y On this page (not counting retailer exclusives) I count 4 for the non-retailer exclusive Disney box (Ursula, Ariel, Belle and Minnie); that’s the same as the Guardians of the Galaxy except the Guardians of the Galaxy movie literally only had 4 female characters (OK, and Quill’s Mum in a flashback… and some sex robots…) whereas Disney has a few more to choose from…!

    That’s a good point. The bit character thing is sort of mind boggling when they have so many main female characters to choose from. Same goes for the scifi set, of Futurama they went with Bender and Zoidberg, when Lila would’ve made more sense than Zoidberg as she’s far more of a featured character (though he’s cute and I want him).

    As for getting 4 Onions I know with some of their other bag sets they started putting sheets in there so you couldn’t just feel for the one you want, which is like half of the fun. My wife can accurately guess a lego minifig blind bag every time. So I’d have likely just as much success at pulling any character I wanted 🙁

  4. @Matt —

    Yeah but not sure if the only victim in the set potentially being another female would make that any better.

    But what about the facehugger itself? That’s not a victim. Perhaps the facehugger figure actually represents TWO females. 😉

    Personally, I want to know why the Predator figure is so overrepresented. THREE predators! What is this, a Predator-archy??

  5. @Arifel: I thought Falling Free was horribly retro: way too many women depending on big strong men to do things even if other women were taking initiatives. I may have missed an underlayer — it took me two readings to get past the (deliberately) reactionary sub-society in “Mountains of Mourning” — but I’d still hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Also, note that Bujold’s own timeline (as published in AFAICT every book since Memory) puts FF two centuries before Miles’s birth; if not for that (and the occasional quaddie cameo in Vorkosigan books) I’d have said it was a different universe from Barrayar et al.

  6. Mister Dalliard on May 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm said:
    Cheesecake with a pastry crust is a real thing – I have a recipe for “raised cheesecake”, from the LA Times. It’s delicious.

  7. @ Mark: Certainly the origin story for one character comes from a much darker place, albeit they’ve resolved a lot of it by the ‘present day’ of the book.

    I disagree. What’s happened is that they’ve negotiated a sort of detente whereby the GC simply takes no notice of what they do in their little walled compound.

    @ NickPheas: He’s not going to drive me to read anything.

    @ Arifel: I read Borders of Infinity first too. I was chatting with Lois in the consuite at Chicon V, and I confessed that I hadn’t read any of her work and asked what she’d recommend to start with. She said Borders of Infinity and The Vor Game, so I bought those and read them. I should probably go back and re-read the latter now that I actually know who Gregor is — at the time, he was just an Emperor-shaped plot point.

    @ Beth: ACC is my personal favorite too, because I love the way she worked a Regency romance into the framework of the series! But I think the best book is Memory because it’s such a pivot point. That scene where Miles figures out what’s actually going on still gives me the shivers.

  8. @ Chip: Just to be contrary, I have to note that Diplomatic Immunity has rather more than a “Quaddie cameo”. 🙂

  9. Contrarius on May 23, 2017 at 8:40 am said:

    @Matt —

    Yeah but not sure if the only victim in the set potentially being another female would make that any better.

    But what about the facehugger itself? That’s not a victim. Perhaps the facehugger figure actually represents TWO females. ?

    I don’t think the facehuggers have a recognizable gender, they insert some kind of tumor which creates the chestburster out of the host.

    Personally, I want to know why the Predator figure is so overrepresented. THREE predators! What is this, a Predator-archy??

    It’s even worse there’s four you just can’t see the last one.

  10. 10 out of 16 for me, and I would certainly disagree with their reasoning on some of them (a few of which were not consistent–“this one was allowed because it’s fictional”; “this one was removed because it’s fictional”).

    But then, I’ve never been interesting in being on Facebook at all, let alone as a moderator.

  11. I never liked cheesecake, because what Mom called ‘cheesecake’ was a confection with Jello, cottage cheese, a graham-cracker crust, and whatnot. When I finally tried the real thing, it was too dense for me.

    With all the cheesecake I didn’t eat, you’d think I’d be more, you know, petite.

  12. 11/16 – without any context provided, I decided I’d assume these were posted by someone to their own timeline, so mostly choose Ignore with an exception for the one where I know the people in it didn’t consent to be photographed and one I judged inherently racist due to the photo text. I would favor Delete if the context were harassment. If they were being passed around with positive commentary within a group… I’d have to think about that harder.

    I hope Facebook provides their actual moderators with context for reported posts.

    Reading: just finished Martha Well’s All Systems Red and can’t wait for more Murderbot stories. Thought it did a great job with the narrator’s perspective.

  13. Am back from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (which I refuse to call by the name “Mia”), where I saw the Guillermo del Toro exhibit, which I strongly recommend to anyone who can make their way to it, either here or at another stop on its tour. Lots of great art and movie memorabilia, and now I think I should rewatch Pan’s Labyrinth and the Hellboy movies and Crimson Peak.

  14. Re: Long Way…. I stopped when the thing that was supposed to be so taboo as to be punishable by death turned out to be OK to the aliens of that race to whom it was supposed to be taboo. That was when the tweeness meter hit the limiter, broke the needle, and I stopped. I’m not inclined to give Closed and Common Orbit much chance, TBH.

  15. @ Kip: I like cheesecake, but I prefer the lighter types. “New York Style” cheesecake is drier and more dense, and while I won’t turn it down, I don’t like it as much.

  16. @Chris S.

    I’m not inclined to give Closed and Common Orbit much chance, TBH.

    I didn’t particular like Long Way either — but I liked Closed and Common Orbit a good deal more. You should at least give it a try, IMHO. It won’t be at the top of my ballot, but it won’t be at the bottom, either.

  17. @Matt Y —

    It’s even worse there’s four you just can’t see the last one.

    Gads. You mean they get even more transparent than the transparent one?

  18. @Chris S.

    Count me as another in favor of giving Closed and Common Orbit a chance. It will come in above Noah on my ballot. I’m most of the way through it and enjoying it a great deal.

    Regards,
    Dann

  19. Seconding Contrarius and Dann. Closed and Common Orbit is a better book in every way than the first one, which I enjoyed but didn’t think was great. The second book has better characterization and a better story. It is helped by its tighter focus on just two characters.

  20. Thanks to Dann, World Weary, Contrarius and others – I’ll give it a go based on your recommendations. ISTR Long Way was a first novel, or am I wrong in that? Maybe some of the rough edges got a bit more polished.

  21. @Chris S

    Both first, and self-published. The second book is generally sharper.

  22. We do have Mars Bars in the USA. I buy a bag or two of Mars Minis for Halloween every year.

    Yeah, but they’re not the same as Mars Bars from furrin parts.

    The international Mars Bar is, as Arifel says, a lot like a US Milky Way.

  23. Contrarius on May 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm said:

    @Matt Y —

    It’s even worse there’s four you just can’t see the last one.

    Gads. You mean they get even more transparent than the transparent one?

    Nope but you can never see the one flanking you until it’s too late.

  24. Wasn’t the US Mars bar replaced by the Snickers Almond bar?

    Sidenote: I’ve been to Mars, Pennsylvania, but sadly it’s not like Hershey, Pennsylvania.

  25. @Matt —

    Nope but you can never see the one flanking you until it’s too late.

    Sneaky devils!

    You know, I’ve always thought that dolls were creepy. Now I’ve just got an additional reason to worry about them! ;-D

  26. Wasn’t the US Mars bar replaced by the Snickers Almond bar?

    Yes, and then relaunched again, possibly only temporarily.

  27. Cat Rambo:

    “If any of you have an Instant Pot and have not made cheesecake in it yet, you should; best NY style cheesecake I’ve ever had (and I am very very fond of cheesecake).”

    Instant pot!? o.O

    This reminds me of the poor brittish businessmen who went to Holland for a meeting. They had a few hours left afterwords, so they went to a coffe house to a have an nice cup of coffee and cake. One of them selected a Space Cake.

    Surprise!

  28. Wiki link showing the shocking amount of Apollo material that has gone missing. It is like the recipients intentionally choose their most incopitent boobs to curate it.

  29. My dad worked for a Dutch company during my teen years, so we spent a lot of time there. And I was always confused when I saw those icky, dirty coffee shops, because why would anybody want to have coffee in such an awful place, when there were so much nicer cafés only a few hundred meters away. Once or twice, I even told German tourists lingering outside one of those icky coffee shops that there was a much nicer café a bit away.

    I honestly had no idea what those shops were really for. In retrospect, I guess it’s probably better that I didn’t, because if I had, I’d probably have crossed the street every time we passed one.

    Regarding the Swedish cheesecake, the name sounds really funny, when you’re German. Adding gelantine to cheesecake is one of my pet peeves BTW, because I’m allergic to that and will get sick, if I accidentally have some. And since it’s an uncommon allergy, it’s rarely labelled and people get huffy, when you ask.

  30. Instant pot!? o.O
    It’s a programmable electric cooker: rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker.
    I’ve heard that people who have them really enjoy them.

  31. Instant pot seems to be one of the hot new culinary things, sort of a cross between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker.

  32. I’ll just note that, Trump administration notwithstanding, the San Jose Worldcon will happen after legal mary jane goes into effect in California, so there will be plenty of instant pot and space cakes.

    But hopefully no unlabeled gelatine, Cora! We pronounce it “gelatin” and this brings back fond memories of trying to figure out what Freddie Mercury was singing about in the chorus of Killer Queen.

    She’s a pixel queen,
    Gunpowder gelatine! Dynamite with a laser beam!
    Guaranteed to scroll your mind.

  33. @Contrarius: (facehugger gender)

    The facehugger is female; it’s got an ovipositor (not visible in figure’s throat) and everything.

    Personally, I refuse to speculate on either the Borg or Martian genders, but both robots in the set are canonically male.

  34. @Rev Bob —

    The facehugger is female; it’s got an ovipositor (not visible in figure’s throat) and everything.

    See? See? I knew it! ;-D

    Personally, I refuse to speculate on either the Borg or Martian genders, but both robots in the set are canonically male.

    And heck — has anyone ever even specified whether the Predator is male or female? Or does everyone just assume?

  35. I can’t tell who a lot of the characters are, but based on what y’all are saying, the DC set (8 men; 7 women) may be the best-gender-balanced of the lot (though I may be mis-identifying someone in there, so maybe I’m off base). I wonder why they didn’t just call it “DC Batman” instead of “DC,” since they all appear to be Batman-related characters.

    I must be missing something – someone mentioned Bender, but I didn’t notice him. A 4-hour planning meeting earlier today may have eaten my brain, though. (May have???)

  36. @Charon D.

    I’ll just note that, Trump administration notwithstanding, the San Jose Worldcon will happen after legal mary jane goes into effect in California, so there will be plenty of instant pot and space cakes.

    But hopefully no unlabeled gelatine, Cora! We pronounce it “gelatin” and this brings back fond memories of trying to figure out what Freddie Mercury was singing about in the chorus of Killer Queen.

    I very likely won’t make it to San Jose next year and legal marihuana isn’t much of a draw for me anyway (I could drive one and a half hours westwards and get that in the Netherlands, if I wanted).

    Though Americans are better about labelling foods or at leats answering truthfully, when you ask, because in Germany, I still get a lot of, “Well, I never heard of anybody being allergic to that” or “She’s just being hysterical. If we lie, she won’t notice”, which has made me very wary of desserts and any but safe cakes.

  37. Probably no problem flying into the US if you aren’t Muslim. No problem being in California, unless you want to smoke indoors. Many awesome kinds of food and drink, with all ingredients disclosed. Please note that there are a few sensible restrictions on the legal doob. And who knows who’ll be president by then…

    Blind bags don’t appeal to me b/c the chances are so low of me getting what I want. Wasted money.

  38. lurkertype: Probably no problem flying into the US if you aren’t Muslim.

    I disagree. People who are not Muslim, but who have non-white skin, or ethnic-sounding names, have been harassed at numerous U.S. airports in the last few months. Some of them were even very obviously white.

    It may be better for foreign nationals coming to visit the U.S. a year from now. Or maybe it won’t. 😐

  39. lurkertype:

    “Probably no problem flying into the US if you aren’t Muslim.”

    To be honest, I’m not really comfortable with going to a country that will give me a pass, but discriminate against my friends. But we will see how it looks in a year.

  40. @Hampus: “I’m not really comfortable with going to a country that will give me a pass, but discriminate against my friends.”

    I feel the same way about living here…

  41. And, in fact, that’s the sort of thing that makes me uneasy about signing up for permanent TSA pre-check status. Because maybe I should be reminded regularly about what it’s like for people who don’t have access to nice middle-aged white lady privilege.

  42. @Heather: Even pre-check passengers get some hassle, I hear.

    But we really do need the money, and we do need people from other countries coming here and being harmless and charming and all. Once you get through customs and into California, it’ll be fine.

    Also, the people who have made things unpleasant hate California as much as they hate “furriners”, and don’t consider us to be “real Murica”. We’re stuck with them, putting up with their reactionary crap and living off our tax dollars, fruits/veggies/nuts, and bitching about us on the computers and phones that we created. Coming here and nowhere else is effectively giving those ungrateful bastards the finger.

    Also, California has a First Dog. Mostly Corgi. https://twitter.com/ColusaBrown

    Oregon and Washington are also fine; I want the 3 of us to secede and join British Columbia! Possibly just to be new provinces of Canada, possibly us and BC becoming our own country so as to ignore the reactionary bits in the middle and the politicians back east in both countries. Socialized health care, great wine, plenty of pot, delicious produce, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Disneyland, deserts, rain forests, salmon, mole, hydro and solar, LGBT and PoC everywhere… sigh… a girl can dream.

    If you want to do the whole Left Coast, our neighbo(u)rs to the north are as swell as Canadian stereotypes would make you think. I really like Vancouver.

  43. @Contriarus

    And heck — has anyone ever even specified whether the Predator is male or female? Or does everyone just assume?

    Reminds me of a Farscape gag:

    Chiana: Tell me do, Scarrans have mivonks? (attempts groin attack and keels over clutching knee)
    Janek: Yes. But they’re not external.

  44. @lurkertype: you’d have a problem with a lot of the people between Napa/Sonoma and Eugene; Ernest Callenbach didn’t think about this (as he didn’t think about several other issues), although he at least left southern California out of his breakaway republic.

  45. lurkertype: First, outside the major cities, Oregon would not likely feel happy as part of your utopia. And even Portland is not a great egalitarian place for PoC as I understand it.

    Second, thanks for dissing everyone in “the reactionary bits in the middle” of Canada. I feel real loved.

  46. Oregon and Washington are also fine; I want the 3 of us to secede and join British Columbia! Possibly just to be new provinces of Canada, possibly us and BC becoming our own country so as to ignore the reactionary bits in the middle and the politicians back east in both countries.

    We could collectively be the province of East Hawaii.

    Yeah, they can come too.

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