Pixel Scroll 1/11/22 Look At My Fingers: Four Pixels, Four Scrolls. Zero Pixels, Zero Scrolls!

(1) COSINE. COSine is going ahead this weekend (January 14-16) in Colorado Springs, CO. In their latest publicity email, co-chairs Morland Gonsoulin and Arlen Feldman repeated their Covid policy —

Just a reminder – we have had a lot of people concerned about getting together in the era of Omicron and other Greek-lettered invaders. Everyone who comes to the convention must be able to show proof of COVID vaccination (either electronic—myColorado or a photo on your phone, or a paper copy of your COVID vaccination card) or proof of a negative COVID test within forty-eight hours of attending. Click here for information on testing. Also, masks will be required in all convention areas (remember, masks are primarily there to protect other people, not you). We will be giving prizes to people who have the coolest masks (that are also still effective)!

(2) ONCE YOU CAN REMOVE MONEY FROM THE ATMOSPHERE…. “Neal Stephenson Thinks Greed Might Be the Thing That Saves Us” – so he said to a New York Times interviewer.

What about the story we’re telling as a society — beyond art — about climate change? Is there a way we could be talking about it that’s more likely to motivate the kind of mobilization we had, say, during the Second World War? 

The difficulty is that it’s hard to get lots of people to change their minds. The United States did mobilize in a massive way during World War II, but we didn’t start getting serious about it until 1942. There had been a huge war raging since 1939, and the Brits were tearing their hair out waiting for the United States to get more involved, and it wasn’t until Pearl Harbor that there was a tipping point in public opinion that made it possible for America’s political leadership to declare war and to enter into it in a serious way. So the question asks itself: What might be a climate equivalent of Pearl Harbor? We’re already having little regional Pearl Harbors all over the place. We had our heat dome in Seattle over the summer, we had the mega tornado supercell that passed from Arkansas to Kentucky. These little pinprick Pearl Harbor events happen here and there, but it’s difficult to imagine one that would impact an entire country the size of the United States — if it did, it would be a really bad thing. We don’t want to put ourselves in the position of wishing that something terrible would happen. It’s also natural to assume that the CO2 problem is similar to other air-pollution problems we’ve had before. In the ’50s, there was a disaster in London because of too much coal smoke in the air, and they In the ’70s, a lot of the smog problem in L.A. was cleaned up by putting catalytic converters on cars…We’re accustomed to thinking that all we have to do is stop emitting the pollutant, and then nature will clean up the air. But it’s not true in the case of CO2 in the atmosphere. People confuse CO2 emission reduction or elimination with solving the problem. But even if we could stop emitting all CO2, we’d be stuck for hundreds of thousands of years with extremely elevated CO2 levels that nature has no quick way of removing from the air. That’s the key thing that has to be widely understood before we can actually begin envisioning ways to attack the problem….

Do you see a way out of that? 

When people find that they can obtain lots of money and power by believing certain things and following certain ways of thinking, then you can bet that they’ll enthusiastically start doing that. The reason that Enlightenment thinking became popular was that people figured out that it was in their financial best interest to avail themselves of its powers. …

(3) HEAD MASTER. A tribute to Gene Wolfe on the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Fifth Head Of Cerberus in The Spectator World: “’The Fifth Head of Cerberus’ at 50”.

… Ursula K. Le Guin called Gene Wolfe “our Melville.” His meandering plots, odd characters, and surreal scenes are certainly reminiscent of aspects of Melville, but Wolfe, a conservative and a Catholic, was most like the American author in his realistic view of human nature. According to Wolfe, people are capable of great acts of goodness and evil but have a certain facility for the latter, which are done, more often than not, in the name of the former….

(4) THE OTHER OF INVENTION. Camestros Felapton is inaugurating The Museum of Right-Wing Gadgets & Sundry Devices.

 Failed experiments! Miraculous near-inventions! Some things that actually exploded! Ladles and gentlemen, I present to you the Museum of Right-Wing Gadgets & Sundry Devices!

The first inductee is Theodore Beale’s “OOMouse,” better known as the “War Mouse” – “The M of RWG&SD Exhibit 1: The OOMouse”.

…A computer mouse with multiple buttons branded with the logo of the Open Office organisation. Also known as the ‘WarMouse’ — sold with a different colour scheme….

(5) WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE LOOKED UP.  In the Washington Post, Kate Cohen argues that although Don’t Look Up is trying to be a critique of climate change skepticism but it doesn’t work because “its villains are so villainous, and its science deniers are so dumb” that the film is implausible. “What Netflix’s ‘Don’t Look Up’ gets wrong about climate change”.

… In scene after scene, the movie offers several explanations for our nonresponse:because we’re obsessed with celebrity culture and distrustful of science, because the news media is actually in the entertainment business, because politicians prioritize reelection over problem-solving, and because billionaire geniuses choose profit over everything.

To those, I would add — and this is crucial, I think — because climate change isn’t a comet speeding toward Earth.

Yes, I know, no analogy is perfect. But if writer and director Adam McKay (“The Big Short,” “Vice”) wants to persuade people to “make the climate crisis the No. 1 priority,” as he has said, then the metaphor he chose is perfectly wrong….

(6) SUPER GOOD HABITS. Except for Captain America I never think of superheroes even changing age, much less getting old, but TIME recommends them as role models: “What Marvel Superheroes Can Teach Us About Aging Well”.

It’s not easy being a superhero: They have enemies. They have monumental tasks to accomplish. They’re constantly battered. Beyond those dangers, however, they also practice several healthy behaviors that could carry them well into old age.

That’s what a team of Australian researchers recently discovered, as published in the light-hearted Christmas 2021 issue of the journal The BMJ. During pandemic lockdowns, the researchers immersed themselves in the world of Marvel superheroes. Their goal was to discover what these champions are or are not doing well when it comes to keeping their minds and bodies healthy as they advance toward their senior years—information that we regular mortals can incorporate into our New Year’s resolutions and apply to our own lives, too….

Here’s one example:

Stay away from loud noises

The superheroes’ “exposure to planets colliding and explosions would be a risk for hearing loss,” Hubbard says. “Particularly for older men, having hearing loss and not addressing it through wearing hearing aids is associated with an increased risk of dementia.” Therefore, wear hearing aids if necessary.

(7) SUPER BAD HABITS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The dismissal of two LAPD police officers was upheld by an appellate court when it was found that, “Gotta catch ‘em all” does not refer to Pokémon if you’re on duty. “’Aw, screw it’: LAPD cops hunted Pokémon instead of responding to robbery”.

The ruling explained:

Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that “Snorlax” “just popped up” at “46th and Leimert.” After noting that “Leimert doesn’t go all the way to 46th,” Lozano responded, “Oh, you [know] what I can do? I’ll [go] down 11th and swing up on Crenshaw. I know that way I can get to it.” Mitchell suggested a different route, then told Lozano, “We got four minutes.”

For approximately the next 20 minutes, the DICVS captured petitioners discussing Pokémon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones. On their way to the Snorlax location, Officer Mitchell alerted Officer Lozano that “a Togetic just popped up,” noting it was “[o]n Crenshaw, just south of 50th.” After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax— exclaiming, “Got ’em”—petitioners agreed to “[g]o get the Togetic” and drove off. When their car stopped again, the DICVS recorded Mitchell saying, “Don’t run away. Don’t run away,” while Lozano described how he “buried it and ultra-balled” the Togetic before announcing, “Got him.” Mitchell advised he was “[s]till trying to catch it,” adding, “Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me.” Eventually Mitchell exclaimed, “Holy crap. Finally,” apparently in reference to capturing the Togetic, and he remarked, “The[] guys are going to be so jealous.” Petitioners then agreed to return to the 7-Eleven (where Sergeant Gomez later met them) to end their watch. On the way, Mitchell remarked, “I got you a new Pokémon today, dude.”

(8) HOME OF FIGRIN D’AN AND THE MODAL NODES? Hollywood’s Scum and Villainy Cantina is still with us despite Covid. Only In Your State paid it a visit: “There’s A Star Wars-Themed Pub In Southern California, And It’s Enchanting”.

Tucked along Hollywood Boulevard, Scum and Villainy Cantina is a bar unlike any other in Hollywood or all of Southern California for that matter! An ode to all-things-nerdy, it’s a place where geeks unite and all fandoms are welcome….

(9) PANSHIN MEDICAL UPDATE. Alexei Panshin told Facebook followers today, “Friends, I’m home again from the pneumonia and heart attack episode I suffered in early December, but by no means fully functional.”

Alexei (with Mike McInerney) at Tricon, the 1966 Worldcon. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

(10) MIDDLE-EARTH PENMANSHIP. “J.R.R. Tolkien Writes in Elvish” – I didn’t know there was video of this!

(11) BUKATO OBIT. Polish fan Wiktor Bukato died July 26, 2021 reports Scientifiction #70. Bukato was a translator and publisher specializing in sff, who received the “Karel” award (for the best translator) from World SF in 1987. He also won the Big Heart Award in 1987. Bukato chaired the European Science Fiction Society from 1991-1993 and was a vice-chair for two more years.  And he was a past member of SFWA.

(12) MEMORY LANE.

2012 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] A decade ago, Jo Walton’s Among Others wins the Best Novel Hugo at Chicon 7 where John Scalzi was Toastmaster. It was her first Hugo nomination. Other nominated works that year were China Miéville‘s Embassytown, James S. A. Corey‘s Leviathan Wakes (the first in the Expanse series), Mira Grant‘s Deadline and George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons. It would also win the BFA Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel and a Nebula along with being nominated for both Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature and the World Fantasy Award. 

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 11, 1906 John Myers Myers. Ahhh, Silverlock. I read the NESFA Edition which has the Silverlock Companion in it which is very useful as you know the novel’s very meta indeed. If you don’t have this, it was reprinted separately later. Thirty years after Silverlock was published, The Moon’s Fire-Eating Daughter novella came out. Myers claims it’s a sequel to Silverlock. (Died 1988.)
  • Born January 11, 1923 Jerome Bixby. His “It’s a Good Life” story became  the basis for an episode of the original Twilight Zone episode under the same name and which was included in Twilight Zone: The Movie. He also wrote four episodes for the original Star Trek series: “Mirror, Mirror”, “Day of the Dove”, “Requiem for Methuselah”, and “By Any Other Name”. With Otto Klement, he co-wrote the story upon which Fantastic Voyage series is based, and the Isaac Asimov novel were based. Bixby’s final produced or published work so far was the screenplay for The Man from Earth film. (Died 1998.)
  • Born January 11, 1924 William Johnston. A prolific tie-in novelist who did nine Get Smart novels plus ones for BewitchedThe MunstersChitty Chitty Bang BangDick Tracy and five for The Flying Nun series. He did only three non-tie-in novels. (Died 2010.)
  • Born January 11, 1930 Rod Taylor. First SFF role would be as Israel Hands in Long John Silver. He would follow that up with World Without End (which you probably heard of), the Hugo-nominated The Time MachineColossus and the Amazon Queen (Taylor claimed to have rewritten the script though there’s no proof of this), The Birds (I really don’t like it), Gulliver’s Travels, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and last, and certainly least, The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy. (Died 2015.)
  • Born January 11, 1937 Felix Silla. He played Cousin Itt (sic) on The Addams Family in a role invented for the show. The voice was not done by him but rather provided by sound engineer Tony Magro in post-production. He was also responsible for the physical performance of Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century though the voice was supplied by Mel Blanc or Bob Elyea. And he played an unnamed Ewok on Return of the Jedi. (Died 2021.)
  • Born January 11, 1952 Diana Gabaldon, 70. I have friends who read her and enjoy immensely her Outlander series. They also avidly look forward to every new episode of the Outlander television series. Any of y’all fans of either? 
  • Born January 11, 1961 Jasper Fforde, 61. I read and thoroughly enjoyed every one of his Thursday Next novels, with their delightfully twisted word play, as I did his Nursery Crimes series. I thought a few years ago when I wrote a Birthday note that I had not read his Shades of Grey books and I was right — I now know that I read the first few chapters of the first one and wasn’t impressed enough to finish it. I do know I’ve not read the Dragonslayer series though I’ve heard Good Things about them. Who’s read them? 
  • Born January 11, 1963 Jason Connery, 59. Son of Sir Sean Connery. He’s best known for appearing in the third series of Robin of Sherwood, a series I loved dearly including the music which was done by Clannad which I’ve got live boots of. He also played Jondar in the Vengeance on Varosstory on Doctor Who during the Sixth Doctor era (my least favorite Doctor). He was Ian Fleming in Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming. And he was a young Merlin in Merlin: The Quest Begins.

(14) COMICS SECTION.

  • In PVP, Brent and Jade experience the difficulties associated with modern parenting. Tolkien figures into today’s problem!
  • The Argyle Sweater shows the unsuspected cause of a weather phenomenon.
  • Bizarro has a “walks into a bar” story you won’t have thought of before.

(15) I SAY HELLO AND YOU SAY GOODBYE. Den of Geek’s Andrew Blair shares his opinion about the Doctor Who series’ climactic transitions: “Doctor Who: Ranking the Doctor’s Regenerations”. He like this one the absolute least:

12. Time and the Rani (1987)

Colin Baker to Sylvester McCoy

Time and the Rani’ is all over the place. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst story ever, because while it’s a lacklustre romp remembered mainly for its camp, it isn’t mean-spirited. Its CBBC tone was imposed by the BBC after the excesses of Season 22, but it manages a genuinely good cliffhanger to its first episode, and Sylvester McCoy’s performance – while also all over the place – does contain a few moments that showed where he would later take the character.

However, as a regeneration story it has to be bottom of the list because it’s a complete failure. Even allowing for the version written where Colin Baker appeared in all four episodes and regenerated at the end, he would have sacrificed himself in a similar way to Beyus: waiting behind (unnecessarily as it happens) to make sure some bombs went off and thwart the Rani’s plans.

(16) THE COMING CONCATENATION. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] SF² Concatenation has just tweeted its final advance post for its spring season edition. This edition sees two conreports: yes, real life, physical cons are slowly coming back. This one is on the 31st Festival of Fantastic Films.

Though this year saw a return of the Fest after last year’s cancellation due to CoVID-19, despite a vaccination programme, CoVID was still with us. As with other conventions, the Fest had to take CoVID into account, but being smaller could get away with a looser arrangement. The Fest’s organisers invited attendees to wear masks/face protection at their own personal choice, and many decided to opt to do so; in addition, a system of coloured wristbands was employed, allowing everyone to select and prominently display their preference (no contact, a measure of personal interaction, or full-on hugs and handshakes). This seemed to operate highly effectively.”

“Another casualty of the circumstances was that Gil’s proposed guest line-up had to be scrapped at the eleventh hour. Half a dozen intended personal appearances/Q&A sessions were abandoned, and Kate was left with the seemingly insurmountable problem of filling the gap. Luckily, the already-booked Frazer Hines confirmed his continued availability; in something of a master stroke, Kate carefully scanned ‘what’s on in Manchester’ and was able to provide a truly stellar surprise second guest in the form of Britt Ekland, who just happened to be in the area at the right time! Britt had been touring the UK as part of an ensemble cast in Bill Kenwright’s stage revival of The Cat and the Canary, the best-known version of which is Bob Hope’s version of John Willard’s venerable warhorse of a thunderstorm mystery, now almost a century old.”

(17) SCIENCE-LIKE FICTION. Joachim Boaz muses about the many examples of “Charts, Diagrams, Forms, and Tables in Science Fiction (John Brunner, Larry Niven, Christopher Priest, John Sladek, et al.)” in Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations (From 2017, but it’s news to me!) Includes lots of examples scanned from book pages.

…As of late I’ve been fascinated by pseudo-knowledge in science fiction and speculative fiction–the scholarly afterward in The Iron Dream (1972), the real medical citations in The Hospital Ship (1976), the invented medical citations in Doctor Rat (1976), and “diagrammatic” SF covers filled with maps or anthropological diagrams.

Whatever form it takes, pseudo-knowledge—perhaps derived from our world or even “real” knowledge in our world modified and inserted into another imaginary one—adds, at the most basic level, a veneer of veracity…. 

(18) GENRE ONSCREEN POPULARITY. JustWatch ranked the Top 10 genre movies and TV shows from December 2021. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org.

Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in December (01.12.-31.12.21)

Rank*MoviesTV shows
1Spider-Man: HomecomingStation Eleven
2Spider-Man: Far From HomeThe Wheel of Time
3The Amazing Spider-ManHawkeye
4Don’t Look UpDoctor Who
5Spider-ManThe Expanse
6Venom: Let There Be CarnageRick and Morty
7DuneLost in Space
8The Amazing Spider-Man 2Resident Alien
9Spider-Man: No Way HomeArcane
10Free GuyOutlander

(19) PARKING SPACE. “Stunning STAR WARS Diorama Features a Floating Millennium Falcon”Nerdist sets the frame.

…So, what exactly went into making this cool Star Wars display piece? For starters, Glen Makes used a Revell Snaptite Build and Play Star Wars: The Last Jedi Millennium Falcon 1:164 scale model. Next, they got themselves a Stirlingkit 1000g DIY Magnetic Levitation Module Floating Display Kit. Some Tap acrylic circles and clear plastic rods. Collectively, it cost around $200 to create. But the final product looks well worth it. Who wouldn’t want a Millenium Falcon as their display centerpiece?

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Halo Infinite,” Fandom Games notes that in the seventh Halo game the bad guys are still trying to destroy the universe by completing the halo, even though they failed at this in the six previous games.  Also, you can play this for free in multiplayer mode and enjoy “causing a mid-life crisis in a frat guy” when you kill off his character.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Dann, Kate Yeazel, Chris Barkley, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]

24 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/11/22 Look At My Fingers: Four Pixels, Four Scrolls. Zero Pixels, Zero Scrolls!

  1. (13) I recently watched Rod Tayler in the vaguely genre-ish “Glass Bottom Boat” from 1966 in which he plays a rocket scientist with a high tech house

  2. (5) We might be in a post-Satire age and that is part of the problem. The number of occasions in the last few years I read a headline and think, “Surely that’s from The Onion” only to find out it was real have been so many. The current environment makes it virtually impossible for satire to exist.

  3. 1) Chattaacon 47 is this coming weekend as well. I will be, as I have been for over a decade now, the only person left who’s been to every Chattacon (I was membership #003 of the 83 or so at the first one).

    13) Diana Gabaldon has no problem with her Outlander books being put in the SF/fantasy section; but in a bookstore conversation she told me she hated being relegated to the “romance ghetto” with the Harlequins, etc.

  4. (7) This is not how we want sff to permeate our culture. Really.

    (12) I loved Among Others.

    The heat in the residential part of my building is out. They can’t get someone in to fix it till tomorrow. I am directly over the bar, so I have heat coming up from there. Also a space heater the building maintenance guy brought. After it took three tries to get me a working one (one didn’t work at all; the next flipped the circuit breaker), he left, muttering doubts about whether there would be enough to go around.

    The space heater will be turned off before I go to sleep. I have extra blankets, and an increasingly fluffy dog, as she grows out from her last close clip.

  5. 13) I decided to start the year by wallowing in epic fantasy with Robert Silverberg’s Legends and Legends II anthologies from the 1990s; and Diana Gabaldon has an Outlander story (a Lord John Grey story, to be precise). It was my first encounter with her writing and while I don’t think I’ll be diving into Outlander proper any time soon, I did enjoy the story.

  6. (13) Apologies for nitpickery, but the first publication of the Bixby story (in one of the Star Science Fiction paperback anthologies of the 1950s, edited by F. Pohl) gives the title as — appropriately — “It’s a Good Life.” The italics were omitted for the Twilight Zone adaptation.

    William Johnston also, perhaps unsurprisingly, wrote a Captain Nice novel; I owned it (and the second and third Get Smart books).

  7. Back around 1991, about the time when Diana Gabaldon’s first book, OUTLANDER, had come out, one of the local conventions had a “Breaking Into Publishing” panel of local writers, including Rick Cook, myself, and Gabaldon.

    Rick spoke first, with the usual warning that breaking in involved a lot of rejections and feeling discouraged and one just had to keep trying and improve their skills and eventually you’d start getting work accepted. And then I spoke, pretty much the same: expect rejections at first, keep writing, be patient, etc.

    Then Diana spoke about her experience. Roughly as I remember it: “Well, I wrote OUTLANDER pretty much as a fun project and as practice to see if I could write an entire novel. I showed some of it to friends, and one suggested I send the completed manuscript to an agent they knew. So I did, not expecting to hear back for months, but a week later the agent got back to me with a six-figure offer from a publisher.”

    At which point, Rick leaned over to me and whispered: “Let’s kill her.”

  8. (13) happy birthday to Jasper Fforde. Except for Shades of Grey, I’ve enjoyed all his books. My teens are too far back to remember, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the Dragonslayer stories, though I don’t keep them on the shelves to reread, as I do with the Thursday Next books.

  9. (4) Oh hell, I remember the “war mouse.” I remember also thinking it looked absolutely bonkers bad and people would never adopt it given how hard it would be to memorize what all the damn buttons do, not to mention the idea that it served an ergonomic purpose when it quite obviously would give you carpal tunnel.

    (5) I’m sorry, but that reviewer is entirely wrong. It’s wonderful satire, and it’s absolutely reasonable projection. Given what we’ve seen in reactions to both climate change AND a much faster moving disaster like a global pandemic, people will simply ignore the danger until it hits them smack on the head. And it works as satire BECAUSE the villains are so obviously villainous and science deniers so dumb, which I’ve seen plenty off the last few decades (more so the last four years). The movie is great, check it out. Dark comedy, excellent satire. I have no idea what the reviewer thinks satire is, but they clearly don’t understand the form (see: Dr. Strangelove, it’s in that vein of satire). @Soon Lee may be right, we’re in a post-satire world where reality is every bit as warped and strange as satire.

  10. @Jeff

    Going further back, some people probably didn’t think A Modest Proposal worked as satire.
    Some people just don’t get satire.

  11. Re 2: I’m not sure if it’s on your end or theirs but the section of the Stephenson interview cited here has several sentences which are missing their ending. This is what I see:

    In the ’50s, there was a disaster in London because of too much coal smoke in the air, and they In the ’70s, a lot of the smog problem in L.A. was cleaned up by putting catalytic converters on cars and There’s a similar story around We’re accustomed to thinking that all we have to do is stop emitting the pollutant, and then nature will clean up the air.

  12. Fforde’s Shades of Grey is perhaps my favorite SF book. I think it’s a wonderfully clever book. I regret that the planned sequels aren’t going to happen due to poor sales. Oh well…

  13. 2) Setting issues about “the science” vs actual science aside…

    The Enlightenment broke existing cultural structures that prevented more people from getting wealthier; the crony economic forms of the day allowed the monarch to pick winners and losers. The current trend in environmentalism is to advocate for policies that make more people poorer.

    The history of human progress is the story of energy/power getting cheaper and cleaner. Gasoline-powered cars made travel cheaper and are less polluting than the prior option; horses. The result was increasing mobility that created more wealth for everyone. Modern farming equipment/techniques allow us to grow more food on less land for less money. The result is far fewer people (as a percentage) living at or near starvation than at any other time in human history.

    Yay capitalism!

    Neal has a bit of a point in that the solution to carbon emissions will involve steps that will increase individual wealth by making energy cheaper. i.e. funding research in fusion reactors, advocating policies that make it easier to build fission-based power plants (my personal preference is for molten salt for larger power plants and pressurized helium modular systems for smaller-scale plants), eliminating taxes on biofuels (recycling current carbon is a sound strategy). We also need to stop allowing regulatory capture to lock in profitability for existing companies; when people can make real money off of solar/wind/geothermal in their backyard, then we will see more of those systems being installed.

    One aspect that I think he misses is that the people in political power don’t behave as if climate change is a problem. They buy houses along the ocean shore, own multiple homes at thousands of square feet each, drive/travel in big SUVs, own/fly private jets, etc. Yet they advocate for policies that drive up energy costs for a single-family that has a much smaller carbon footprint.

    When Al Gore (just to name one hypocrite) sells all of his homes and moves into a single 2000 square foot ranch house in a normal subdivision, drives only a Prius, only does events/meetings remotely, then I’ll believe that he believes climate change is a serious problem. When John Kerry (to name another) will only fly coach on a commercial flight, then I’ll believe that he believes.

    Pigs will fly first.

    Re: satire – I once knew a guy that didn’t understand that the poem “The Heathen Chinee” was not a documentary. Sadly, I wasn’t in a position to correct that deficiency.

    Regards,
    Dann
    When I am Weaker Than You, I ask you for Freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am Stronger than you, I take away your Freedom Because that is according to my principles. – Frank Herbert, Children of Dune.

  14. Lenora Rose: The sentence fragments in the Stephenson quote were an editing mistake. Now fixed. Thanks for catching it!

  15. I’ve watched the Outlander series; it’s very good, although Claire’s habit of charging straight at every problem she sees starts to feel exhausting after a while. Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle makes a nice complement to that, filling in the events leading up to the Jacobite movement from a different point of view. Probably Gabaldon includes much more historical detail in the books; I should read them to find out. Real history is much stranger than anything people can make up.

  16. Oh yeah, Shades of Grey was pretty weird, even for Fforde. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it while I was reading it, but I was interested enough to make it to the end, and I’m glad I did. A bizarre journey, but I thought it stuck the landing.

    Fforde’s Dragonslayer series is a lot more mundane, relatively speaking, but still creative and interesting for kid’s lit.

  17. @Chuck Litka: I, too, adored Shades of Grey, and I pine for a sequel. Fortunately, it looks like one is coming after all: Red Side Story is listed on multiple booksellers’ websites as having an August 11 2022 release date, and Audible says the audiobook is also coming on that date.

  18. John, I think that Shades of Grey is a book that you just have to go with the flow with. There’s no infodumps, you just slowly pick up how the world works — though you never learn, at least in this book, what exactly happened. and who these people are. I love Fforder’s clever and witty writing, which is what carries the story for me, but if that doesn’t click with your tastes, it would be a harder read.

  19. (5) When Dr. Strangelove came out, the notion that our supposedly responsible leaders might act like children was shocking and horrifying, the perfect material for black humor. Now it’s just more old news. If anything, I think Don’t Look Up underplayed its hand.

    But Ron Perlman is every bit a match for Slim Pickens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.