Pixel Scroll 9/19/17 These Are A Few Of My Favorite Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

(1) DARMOK AND JALAD AT THE TIKI BAR. ThinkGeek invites you to get your “Star Trek The Next Generation Geeki Tikis”.

La Forge, Picard, Worf, Cardassian, Borg, Ferengi

Allow us to raise a toast to your taste in housewares with these Star Trek The Next Generation Geeki Tikis. A set of six, these tiki mugs let you drink with Captain Picard, Geordi La Forge, Worf, a Cardassian, a Ferengi, and the Borg. Yes, all of the Borg since they’re a collective consciousness. Best not to play trivia against that one. These tiki mugs hold around 14 oz. each, and they’ll look great next to your Horga’hn fertility statue.


(2) BOOK DONATIONS REQUESTED. John Joseph Adams posts:

Got any books you’d like to donate to a good home? My sister’s looking for donations for her school’s library:

In “Nothing to Read”, teacher Becky Sasala explains the need.

I recently assigned my juniors to independently read a book every nine weeks. We took part of a class period and visited the media center to ensure that every student had access to a variety of books. I was absolutely floored by the emptiness of the building. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised; the county that I work (and live) in is a poor rural county. The average wage in Hoke County is $18,421. Most households’ combined income is less than $50,000. Less than 15% of adult residents hold a degree beyond high school. I also discovered that the library has not had any money to purchase new books since 2009. 2009!

Books appropriate for high school students can be sent to the following address:

  • Hoke County High School
  • c/o Rebecca Sasala
  • 505 Bethel Rd.
  • Raeford, NC 28376

More information at the linked post. There’s also a related Amazon wish list.

(3) HEINLEIN UNBOUND. Farah Mendlesohn, a historian, critic and fan who is a Hugo, BSFA, and BFA winner, and WFA, Mythopoeic, and Locus Award finalist for her scholarly non-fiction works on science fiction and fantasy, is crowdfunding the publication (by Unbound) of her critical study of the writings of a giant of the SF genre.

Dear Friends,

As you all know, I had to withdraw my book on Heinlein from the original publisher due to length. As I explored other options it became clear that no academic publisher could take it without substantial cuts, and no one who read it, could suggest any. So I am utterly delighted to be able to say that Unbound, a crowdsourcing press, have agreed to take the book.

Robert A. Heinlein began publishing in the 1940s at the dawn of the Golden Age of science fiction and carried on writing until his death in 1988. His short stories contributed immensely to the development of science fiction’s structure and rhetoric, while his novels (for both the juvenile and adult markets) demonstrated that you could write hard SF with strong political argument. His vision of the future was sometimes radical, sometimes crosswise, and towards the end in retrenchment. He continues to influence many writers whether in emulation or reaction. Recent controversies in science fiction have involved fighting over Heinlein’s reputation and arguing about what his legacy is and to whom he belongs…

The key thesis of the book is a challenge to the idea of Heinlein as a libertarian and resituating him as a classical Liberal in the terms he understood; a man who prized the individual highly but understood the individual as at their best when enmeshed in the complex structure of a nurturing society.

Support levels start at £12 for the e-book, and higher levels include hardback copies, critiques of supporters’ non-fiction, workshops, and afternoon tea plus a tour of the personal library of Mendlesohn and SF critic Edward James.

(4) THE STORIES YOU WANT. Like everyone, Liz Bourke has her own specific set of interests, however, most readers have privately asked themselves the question in the title of her latest column, Sleeps With Monsters: Why Can’t More Books Pander To Me?” at Tor.com.

I’m a queer woman (bisexual, and to a degree genderqueer, if precision matters). Much of my reading experience, particularly with new-to-me authors, and even more so with male authors, involves bracing for things that are tiresome, wearying, and/or hurtful. Whether it’s active misogyny, background sexist assumptions, gratuitous sexual assault of women (which may or may not be used to motivate the character arc or development of male protagonists), Smurfettes, women without communities that include other women, transphobia, Buried Gays, or just the general sense that the world the author’s created has no room for people like me in it, there’s frequently a level of alienation that I need to overcome in order to be able to enjoy a new book—or film, or television show, or videogame, etc.—and constantly being braced for that alienation is exhausting.

And that’s even before we get to books that are outright badly done, alienating in ways that aren’t aimed at me (but fuck racism), or just aren’t to my tastes (a lot of comedy, most horror, certain themes that need to be really well done to work for me).

But I’m so used to experiencing this alienation, or to expecting it, that it’s a wrenching shock when I find books that just… welcome me in. That don’t place any barriers in my way. I don’t notice the amount of effort overcoming this alienation requires until I don’t have to make that effort—like not really knowing how much pain you were in until it stops.

(5) THE HOME STRETCH. Artist Gary Gianni’s Kickstarter to publish Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea, Gianni’s book with Mike Mignola, has gotten a great reception – in fact, they’ve just added their FOURTH stretch goal reward –

FOURTH STRETCH GOAL ANNOUNCED! Free all-new fully illustrated The Call of Cthulhu book by Gianni with 100 pencil drawings to all Kickstarter supporters who pledge $50 or more if we reach our Stretch Goal #4, 80K goal!

Gianni’s many credits include illustrating George R.R. Martin’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

(6) 21ST CENTURY AIR TRAVEL. The title promises “WorldCon 2017, aka The Best, Most Tedious Disaster Story Ever” and Anaea Lay delivers. And yet I read it all. Highly illogical!

When that broke up and it was time to head home, several of the people I’d been hanging out with very kindly and English-ly refused to go on to their hotel before making sure I could find where I was staying, despite my insistence that this was unnecessary.  The joke was on them, though, because I managed to have a fail-tastic adventure anyway.  You see, I knew the address of where I was staying, and I had the keys for getting in.  What I didn’t have was the apartment number.  In a building with eight floors.

(7) MARKETING TECHNIQUE. RedWombat explains a new piece to her agent:

(8) HE LOOKS BEFORE HE LEAPS. Arnie Fenner interviewed John Fleskes at Muddy Colors earlier this week. How many bungee-jumping publishers do you know?

People don’t normally equate daredevils with art books: how does doing death-defying stunts segue into becoming a publisher?

Well, the risk of doing a stunt and that of running a business is very similar, really. So, people have the tendency to call us “extreme” or “daredevils” but in reality each stunt is very calculated and planned far in advance. It’s not like we would just hook up a random bungee cord to anything and just jump off. I worked for a pair of brilliant engineers who would include us in the planning stages and I really learned to appreciate the analytical process of working for those who set up highly complicated stunts where peoples lives were on the line. By the time the actual stunt would happen, sure, if you went off script you could die, but there really wasn’t anything to seriously worry about. Oh, man, jumping out of a hot air balloon at 500 feet and falling 300 feet, now that is a feeling of absolute freedom to fly like that!

But, my real point is that it is a calculated risk when doing a stunt. Days, or weeks, or months of planning can go into what we did. It’s exactly the same with Flesk. Everything that I do is a risk. Instead of risking my life, I’m risking all of my finances, my company, and my livelihood.

The Call For Entries for Spectrum 25 will go out in a few weeks: can you share some of your perspective after having led the competition, judging, and annual for the past 4-going-on-5 years?

The greatest part of Spectrum, without a doubt, has been its community. It’s the people that make it worthwhile year after year. We’re all in it together, it’s here because of the generosity, the support and the downright goodwill of everyone involved. It’s so much bigger than me, it’s not about me whatsoever, but like I’ve mentioned before, it lets me play a role in doing for others. If I do things right, my name never comes to the front or is in the spotlight. I want it to be about the artists. That’s the part at the end of the day that satisfies me the most. That’s my drive. I prefer to work in the background as much as possible, only coming out when absolutely necessary and only when it is to serve others. This community, these artists, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever been a part of. That you and Cathy would tap me on the shoulder, that they would see something in me, I’m forever grateful. You’ve treated me like family. I’m truly blessed to know you both and be a part of Spectrum. You know, I’m still a bit shocked by where I am today? I never would have expected any of this.


Talk Like A Pirate Day


September 19, 1961 – Betty and Barney Hill were abducted for two hours by a UFO.


  • September 19, 2000 – Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a novel about the glory years of the American comic book, was published. It won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.


  • Born September 19, 1979 — Hermione Jean Granger


  • Born September 19, 1928 – Adam West


  • Born September 19, 1933 – David McCallum

(15) LIVING PROOF. Remember when the Worldcon’s new YA Award couldn’t be called the Tesseract out of courtesy to an existing Canadian anthology series? If you weren’t already acquainted with it, now’s your chance. Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) edited by Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardner will be released in the U.S. on October 9. (It’s already available in Canada.)

Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) is an anthology of hard and soft science fiction stories that best represent a futuristic view of the sciences and how humanity might be affected (for better or worse) by a reliance in all things technological.

The stories contained within the pages of Compostela are a reflection of the world we live in today; where science produces both wonders and horrors; and will leave us with a future that undoubtedly will contain both. Journeys to the stars may be exhilarating and mind-expanding, but they can also be dangerous or even tragic. SF has always reflected that wide range of possibilities.

Featuring works by these Canadian visionaries:

Alan Bao, John Bell, Chantal Boudreau, Leslie Brown, Tanya Bryan, J. R. Campbell, Eric Choi, David Clink, paulo da costa, Miki Dare, Robert Dawson, Linda DeMeulemeester, Steve Fahnestalk, Jacob Fletcher, Catherine Girczyc, R. Gregory, Mary-Jean Harris, Geoffrey Hart, Michaela Hiebert, Matthew Hughes, Guy Immega, Garnet Johnson-Koehn, Michael Johnstone, Cate McBride, Lisa Ann McLean, Rati Mehrotra, Derryl Murphy, Brent Nichols, Susan Pieters, Alexandra Renwick, Rhea Rose, Robert J. Sawyer, Thea van Diepen, Nancy SM Waldman.

(16) THE EIGHTIES WERE STRANGER. Adweek is enthusiastic: “Netflix Is Making Stranger Things Versions of Classic ’80s Movie Posters, and They’re Amazing”.

Netflix is pulling out all the stops on social media in the weeks leading up to Season 2. Last month, the show’s official Twitter account began giving fans more of what they want by launching a weekly recap of each episode of the first season under the hashtag #StrangerThursdays, and tying each episode to a classic ’80s film.

Even more impressive, the art team at the show has paid homage to each film’s original poster art while placing the Stranger Things cast members in its universe. The tweets also include copy referencing the movies that inspired them.

The post has all of them, but here’s one example.

A fan has been inspired to make another —

(17) UHHH. A comic linked from File 770 prompted Steve J. Wright to refer to his Lego-playing days as “Grotesque Sexual Deviancy”.

At least, we thought we were just having fun.  It turns out, though, that we were transgressing the boundaries of gender as laid down by God and marketing departments.  We should never have engaged in the heinous perversion of unsegregated Lego.  Our Lego should have been sorted into strong, potent, manly Lego (mine) and soft, gentle, feminine Lego (my sister’s), and the division should have been rigorously maintained.  All these years I thought we were just playing with Lego, and instead we were promoting an insidious non-binary genderqueer agenda that subverts all the established notions of masculinity and femininity, that causes confusion and actual harm to children who are too young to handle the idea of boys playing with girls’ Lego, that will probably pollute our precious bodily fluids and hasten the downfall of Western civilization.

thought we’d just got a sensible arrangement, so that if, say, my sister wanted to hold a state funeral for one of the Crater Critters, she could grab a bunch of black Legos and build a hearse without any arguments.  Now I know that we were, in fact, undermining the very foundations of all that is good and decent and true.

(18) FRESH OUTBREAK OF TROLLS. Gwynne Watkins of Yahoo! Movies, in “‘Star Wars’ fan petition seeking removal of J.J. Abrams from ‘Episode IX’ picks up steam”, writes that 3,000 people have signed a petition demanding that J.J. Abrams be removed as director of Episode IX because they feel that Disney promised a fresh director for every installment.

The petition at Change.org begins:

Star Wars fans abroad were upset with the result of J.J. Abrams’ directing of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Although not reflected in the box office sales, most fans agree that Abrams’ vision for Episode VII resulted in a rehash of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. There was virtually no creativity, and no risks taken. Such complacency cannot be the trajectory of this sequel trilogy. More specifically, the metric for success in a Star Wars movie cannot be box office sales. Lucasfilm and Disney *need* to listen to fan criticism. Star Wars fans deserve better. They demand better.

Almost 3,500 people have signed it so far.

(19) BONES. New books by the late Michael Crichton continue to appear. Fantasy Literature’s Ryan Skardal renders a verdict on one that came out this past May in Dragon Teeth: Palaeontologist wars”

Johnson is stranded in Deadwood with his bones, which everyone assumes is a cover for gold. Some readers may be pleased to learn that the Bone Wars between Cope and Marsh are drawn from history. Robert Louis Stevenson and Wyatt Earp also appear.

I did not find very much information on how finished Dragon Teeth was before publication, but, unlike Micro, there is no mention of another author who finished this work. It’s tempting to point out that this novel about fossils seems more skeletal than most of Crichton’s novels. The characters are flat, their interactions seem rushed, and every chapter is very short. There are moments of historical detail that are a bit more developed, such as when devout Christians express doubt about fossils and whether a perfect god could create something flawed — let alone something so flawed that it might go extinct. Even these details, however, feel like sketches.

(20) CON CEASES FOR SAFETY REASONS. The staff has put an end to an Ohio convention in the wake of the chair’s criminal conviction. Nerd & Tie has the story: “Anime Punch Disbands After Con Chair Michael Beuerlein Pleads Guilty to Sexual Battery”.

Columbus, OH based convention Anime Punch has been disbanded and will no longer hold any more events. The convention staff announced that they would be ceasing all future operations on in a statement on their official Facebook page on September 14…

The crime was prosecuted in Virginia, so probably was not committed at the convention.

(21) A SPECIALIZED NEED. Erika Satifka, in “Difference of Mind” at the SFWA Blog, points to a problem with most fictional treatments of mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization, one out of every four people will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. Considering this, it’s important that when characters with mental illness are featured in one’s writing, the subject is treated with sensitivity and accuracy. Novels that portray such disorders well can make a huge difference.

Em Kalberg, the protagonist of my debut novel Stay Crazy, has paranoid schizophrenia. As I researched the novel, I found that there were very few positive representations of people with schizophrenia, and not just in speculative fiction, but everywhere. The vast majority of the time, characters with psychotic disorders are monsters or killers….

Besides her own Stay Crazy, Satifka recommends fourteen other novels, novellas, and short story collections that prominently feature characters with mental illnesses or trauma.

(22) TIS THE SEASON. Time to be reminded about “The REAL Legend Behind the Halloween Tree at Disneyland”:

Learning about Disneyland’s storied history is as fun as spending a day getting your thrills on at all of the attractions. From true tragic stories inspiring haunting legends to secrets and facts only the biggest park fans know, there’s always something else to discover about the Happiest Place on Earth – the legend of the Halloween Tree included.

Now, fans are probably familiar with the tree. The oak is located in front of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland. Every Halloween since 2007, the tree is decorated in a special way with jack-o’-lanterns hanging from its branches – but have you ever wondered why? The story goes that author Ray Bradbury, famous for Fahrenheit 451 and countless other fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and horror works, loved Halloween – and had a long history with Disney. Bradbury was a huge proponent of the Walt Disney Company and made his support for it clear throughout the years.

(23) SETTING THEM STRAIGHT. Camestros Felapton has been dismantling “Vlad James’” attack on the science in an Ursula Le Guin novel The Lathe of Heaven.

James wrote:

Unfortunately, she was less self-aware than [Harry Harrison], and injected phenomenally idiotic, pseudo-scientific explanations in her stories constantly.


She also claims that it would take the atmosphere “several hundred years to get rid of the CO2”. While I understand Le Guin found math difficult, if humans completely stopped producing CO2, it would take 9-12 days for the atmosphere to rid itself of the amount presently there. Or, if you believe global warm…err “climate change” hysterics, it will take…several years. A few hundred years is baseless ignorance.

But young Felapton, in “Science and Le Guin Part 2”, shows —

The quote from Le Guin is genuine and from The Lathe of Heaven published in 1970. It is also scientifically correct (more or less) whereas the criticism is scientific nonsense – indeed it is error piled on error….

A thorough takedown follows.

(24) THE SMELL IS OUT THERE. This is pretty damn funny – Anime Conventions: An Honest Guide.

(25) A MAGICAL TIME. IMDB says Andy the Talking Hedgehog is up 778% in popularity this week. Articles like The Guardian’s are the reason.

When Reid tweeted the Andy the Talking Hedgehog poster on Friday, the internet went nuts. That was partly because the poster featured a hedgehog, two cats, Dean Cain, Tara Reid’s Twitter profile pic manipulated to look slightly more wholesome and an unattributed quote calling it “a magical good time”. But it was also because the IMDb plot summary for the film read “Tara Reid brings her Oscar award-winning prowess to this documentary about a hedgehog that Dean Cain farted on giving it the ability to talk. It’s a fun-loving family movie that will for sure make you say “WOWZA. That’s a stinky fart!”’ That summary, incidentally, was attributed to Scott Baio.

Obviously, like the rest of the world, I desperately wanted to know the story behind Andy the Talking Hedgehog. Although we can rule out the summary as nothing more than internet high jinks, it would appear that the film is real. Back in November actress Maria Wasikowski tweeted a photo from the Andy the Talking Hedgehog set, alongside Dean Cain and, one month later, Tara Reid Instagrammed a shot of her character, Fairy BFF.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, Arnie Fenner, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Karl-Johan Norén, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

81 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/19/17 These Are A Few Of My Favorite Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

  1. 1) The picture is labelled incorrectly, with a Cardassian identified as a Klingon and a Ferengi as a Cardassian.

  2. (19) New books by the late Michael Crichton continue to appear: “I did not find very much information on how finished Dragon Teeth was before publication… there is no mention of another author who finished this work.”

    I reckon that the unfinished manuscripts are being completed by L. Ron Hubbard.

  3. The closest I’ve ever come to going to an anime convention was watching people go to Otakon in Baltimore when I was headed somewhere else BUT I agree that this is funny funny stuff and I would like to see this guy’s videos again.

  4. @Trae Dorn: which leads to the question of why AP disbanded; if they have the power to disband, how do they not have the power to expel that sick induhvidual as DragonCon did Ed Kramer? (Was the prolonged process of getting rid of him likely to be repeated?) I don’t do anime cons, but ISTM that if the battery took place elsewhere and the con were popular they should have been able to continue — or maybe this was just the last straw (cf other concoms that have burned out due to not getting in new people)?

  5. (23) A “through” takedown?

    By the pixeling of my scrolls, something wicked this way strolls

  6. Lenora Rose on September 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm said:
    I was wondering why “Klingon” looked so different from Worf.

  7. Lenora Rose: 1) The picture is labelled incorrectly, with a Cardassian identified as a Klingon and a Ferengi as a Cardassian.

    Fill your chosen tiki cup with your favorite beverage!

  8. Chip Hitchcock: ISTM that if the battery took place elsewhere and the con were popular they should have been able to continue — or maybe this was just the last straw?

    I’ve done a bit of reading on that Facebook thread, and it’s clear that the abuse from this guy went back at least a decade, and there were at least a couple of people also high up in the organizational hierarchy who either aided and abetted the chair in his misdeeds or provided cover and support for him every time a victim tried to speak up. I’m guessing the rest of the staff felt as though the rot went too deep, and that there was no possibility of recovery from the reputational damage. That doesn’t mean that they won’t try to start up a new organization with a fresh name and the problem people not involved.

    Based on the comments in that thread, there was obviously a lot of sexualized behaviour, including hazing, which went on in association with AP-sponsored events — some of it among consenting adults, and some of it very definitely inappropriately targeting minors.

  9. 11) has “edited by” twice in a row.

    and I signed up to support the Heinlein project. It sounds interesting. Apparently she will skip the axe-grinding and attempt honest analysis.
    although TBH after reading all of Heinlein’s own words plus the great Patterson biography, how anyone could conclude anything other than “Robert Heinlein was a complex individual who changed from when he was a boy until he died.”
    Isn’t that what any sane adult does? Change, based on life experiences? And RAH certainly had a lot of life experiences to influence him.

  10. 23) Who or what is Vlad James and how dare he.
    While Le Guin’s emphasis was always on the soft sciences, she always seemed quite scrupulous about getting the hard stuff she DID include right. Any moron who thinks scurvy, hepatitis or typhus is irreversibly ‘eradicated’ now has got no business sneering at the science knowledge of others.

  11. So just to confirm something I already know (that hepatitis is a worldwide issue) I just quickly googled it and the first thing that pops up is a story in the LA Times about a hep A outbreak. From 6 hours ago. So much for “pretty much eradicated” I guess?

  12. techgrrl1972: 11) has “edited by” twice in a row.

    Thanks — You may appertain your favorite beverage — make it a double!

  13. @jayn

    Who or what is Vlad James and how dare he.

    Vlad James is a Castalia House blogger, which should answer your second question as well.


    Those are pretty great, I liked the Alien one the best.

    I’m excited for Stranger Things s2, and I’m also happy that we’re getting it in the UK at the same time as the US, unlike Expanse s2 which only made it to the UK this month. (Avoiding spoilers for months is annoying, although I suppose as I’ve read the books they wouldn’t have been too terrible)

    Has the new Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams made it to the US yet? We got the first episode at the weekend, and it was quite promising, although I then went and read the short story and it turned out the adaption was quite loose, to say the least.

    (9) TODAY’S DAY

    ARRR. I.

  15. 9) “They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference, they rob the poor under the cover of law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under protection of our own courage; had you not better make one of us, than sneak after the asses of those villains for employment?”

    2) In a related spirit, I’ve donated a couple of books from the wishlist.

  16. 1) My eyes! MY eyes! They to my gaze look horrible and adorable all at once. Were I to have a Hawaiian Star Trek Party (as if that were such a thing, they would be an obvious go-to)

    23) Well done, Camestros.

  17. Paul Weimer: Were I to have a Hawaiian Star Trek Party (as if that were such a thing)

    Rule 36: If it exists, something Star Trek has been made out of it. 😉

  18. (18) I am reminded of how when the Marvel movies were getting going there were some negative reactions to character changes to make the films work better, and we were forced to point out that if everyone who actually bought the Iron Man comic stayed home and that made an appreciable difference to the box office then the film was going to be the biggest damn flop since Heaven’s Gate.
    So fine. 3500 people get to stay in their basements. Disney won’t notice.

  19. 17) Well, it’s the best I can do in the way of sexual deviancy. I’ve not led a very adventurous life, really.

    23) I note that “scurvy” is on Vlad’s list of implausible almost-extinct diseases…. Scurvy, of course, is a deficiency disease, and can’t be wiped out by things like vaccination or clean water supplies; it can crop up anywhere there’s a shortage of the right sort of food, or just a disinclination to eat the right sort of food. My sister (when she grew up and put Lego behind her) once came across a student with scurvy – she was a dentist, he had bleeding gums, everyone wondered why. Other dentists had asked the guy how much he was spending on food and drink per week, and had heard a reasonable figure, and concluded that malnourishment couldn’t be an issue. My sister, a more recent graduate (at the time) and a cynic (always), asked him what proportion went on drink….

    But, really, it looks very much to me as if Vlad James isn’t really interested in the facts, or in Ursula Le Guin; he just wants to make it clear to his peers that he holds the right sort of opinions on the right subjects – what? No, it’s not “virtue signalling”. “Virtue signalling” is something only despicable leftists do.

  20. @Stevie
    Of course it’s not virtue signalling. At Castillia House only vice signalling is acceptable.

  21. @JJ

    Rule 36: If it exists, something Star Trek has been made out of it.

    I’d prefer to call that Rule 47.

    “Is that a Pixel I see before me?”

  22. Talk Like A Pirrrrate: ‘Arrrrr! I see scurrrrvy’s been errrrradicated! That’s harrrrd science!’ *Dies slowly and horribly*

  23. The Anime Punch allegations in that Facebook thread describe a con with a lot of minors in attendance, frequent alcohol use, some drug use and events like a swimsuit competition and the “Hentai Olympics.”

    And an alleged 2009 incident where Michael Beuerlein was arrested after setting someone on fire.

    I’m not familiar with anime cons. Is it normal to have a con that attracts so many under-age attendees and has such overtly sexualized programming?

  24. My sister, a more recent graduate (at the time) and a cynic (always), asked him what proportion went on drink….

    Always squeeze the lime wedge into your drink.

  25. (20) and @rcade: I have very little experience with the anime cons, having only been to one such, KultCon in Sweden (which was more of a general cosplay con, but heavily geared towards anime). From what I could tell, the age was very low, and I think under-18s were a significant minority present.

    (I found one Swedish study which said the average age at the largest Swedish anime and cosplay con – NärCon – likely is under 20, but it cited no underlying data.)

    From the programming at KultCon, I wouldn’t be able to draw any conclusions, since there was a general lack of it. But given the body-centric and body-performative aspect of cosplay, you can easily run into sexualised aspects. Those with the more risque costumes generally looked older, but this is only anecdotal.

    The Swedish anime and cosplay cons are however very strict about no-alcohol and no-drug rules; coming there under the influence was grounds for being denied entrance, and bringing alcohol would bring instant banning. They were also well aware of harassment and bullying issues, arguably more so than Swedish general sf fandom is.

    The situation looks similar in Finland, from what I’ve heard and seen of Finnish con culture (where the anime cons were an outgrowth from the Finncons).

  26. @JJ: I can get only a few comments out of that thread, but they’re doozies. It will be interesting to see (as you suggest) whether the sane people can put together a less-problematic convention.

    @August: according to Langford, you’re supposed to save the lime wedges in the freezer until you have enough to make marmalade with.

    And on a running topic, another question for which “No!” is not the answer: Are US police too quick to shoot knife-wielding suspects? (Hard evidence, just in case anyone was wondering.)

  27. (17) Just speaking of short SFF, stories with lesbian protagonists are fairly common at the moment. I’m not surprised that that’s turning up in novels too. What’s still relatively rare is stories with gay male protagonists, although quite a few stories include a secondary character who is incidentally gay.

    I’ll do a better analysis when I have more data, but since I started labeling, I’ve found 51 stories with a gay protagonist. Of these, only 13 (25%) were gay men. That’s statistically significant even at the 1% level, assuming 50% was the expectation.

  28. @Steve Wright
    On one of the science blogs I follow, Ive read an article from a doctor who had three scuvy cases within a year. He suggests they may be rare, but a little more common than you think, because low-level-scurvy is actually quite tricky to diagnose (and of course nobody really suspects scurvy these days).
    IIRC One case was an elderly man,who only ate cheese for a year. The other two were women on a diet, drinking only protein (?) fitness shakes (without any vitamin C in them).

    FWIW: Kavalier & Clay is one of my absolute favorite books. Great, great storytelling and actually four (five?) books in one – and it works!

  29. I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this. I’m hoping I’m wrong: Did Disney trademark the Rebellion insignia? I just saw it used in a way that made me sick, and no, I’m not going to specify it, so as to do my part not to amplify that sordid signal. I’d like to financially hurt anyone promoting it, if possible.

  30. Asking for a friend: Will intake of “significant” quantities of Diet Mountain Dew be enough to stave off scurvy?

  31. TBH after reading all of Heinlein’s own words plus the great Patterson biography, how anyone could conclude anything other than “Robert Heinlein was a complex individual who changed from when he was a boy until he died.”

    You’d think, but I’ve seen too many Internet flame wars on the subject. The book looks interesting, but also like it would only be read by those of us who just nope out of those flamewars.

  32. @Joe H.

    Asking for a friend: Will intake of “significant” quantities of Diet Mountain Dew be enough to stave off scurvy?

    Somehow, despite being partly made from orange juice, Mountain Dew appears to contain no measurable amounts of vitamin C at all.

  33. Apropos of nothing, the Ig Nobel Prizes for 2017 were just announced.

    Winners included: a study of the fluid nature of social justice credentials cats, published in the Rheology Bulletin (and well worth reading, though you have to scroll down a bit–note, pdf link); a study of the effect of crocodiles on gamblers; and a slightly disturbing study of how well fetuses can hear when a speaker is placed inside the mother’s vagina….

  34. @Karl-Johan Norén: Thank you! I haven’t been so happy to be wrong in years. I’m going to do my best to make some scumbags pay. It’s not often I want vengeance, and even less often when I get a shot at it. Being nice has been an increasing strain on me the last year or so. Perhaps this will relieve it.

    Anyone with advice on how to bring the million-pound shithammer down is welcome–nay, begged!–to lay it on me.

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