Pixel Scroll 1/15/18 Scroll Down, You File Too Fast, You Got To Make The Pixels Last

(1) KURT ERICHSEN’S RETIREMENT MAKES THE NEWS. The Toledo Blade has published a superb article about fanartist Kurt Erichsen, who is retiring from his day job as vice president of water quality planning for Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments after a 34-year career. I learned all kinds of things I never knew about his work on getting the Ottawa river cleaned up, and was pleased to see they also covered some of the fannish things I did know about the 2002 Rotsler Award winner —

Mr. Erichsen’s passion for environmental planning wasn’t his first calling in life, though. He was fascinated with drawing since he was young. He might have pursued a career as an illustrator if his parents hadn’t convinced him otherwise, but he never gave up his passion for drawing.

From 1980 to 2008, he produced a comic strip called “Murphy’s Manor.” It focused on the lives of gay men living in the fictional town of Black Swamp, Ohio. That series and others he produced, including “The Sparkle Spinsters” and “GLIB Talk,” appeared in as many as 70 publications marketed to homosexuals, resulting in awards from the Gay/?Lesbian Press Association.

“I was trying to be entertaining while making a point,” Mr. Erichsen said.

Mr. Erichsen also has produced artwork for fans of science fiction fanzines and conventions.

(2) COMES THE MILLENNIUM. Congratulations to James Davis Nicoll, who sent a link to his review of Elizabeth Hand’s Winterlong – captioned “And Rain Keeps Falling Like Helpless Tears” – with the note that it is his 1000th review.

Elizabeth Hand’s 1990 debut novel Winterlong is the first volume in her Winterlong Trilogy.

Nuclear war and germ warfare have left Washington a shadow of its once glorious past. A handful of administrators, descended from self-appointed curators, control the relics of America’s lost past, defending the remnants from the diseased, mutated, and simply unlucky inhabitants of the surrounding sea of ruins….

(3) VERSE AS SWORD AND SHIELD. Middle-Earth Reflections’ new post “On the songs of power” discusses how they work in The Silmarillion.

Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life.

The power of words in Middle-earth cannot be overestimated. If used masterfully, with subtlety and skill they can inspire others to do incredible things. It is especially prominent when words are put into verse: songs can become something a lot more potent than mere poetic recitals. I have already spoken about the songs of challenge in The Silmarillion: sung in the situations of dire need and despair, they bring hope and salvation against all the odds. A special place in the story is occupied by the songs of power. They are very effective verses able to create or destroy, be used as a weapon or for defence.

It is by means of a song that Yavanna brings to life the Two Trees of Valinor and, later, the last fruit and flower from them used for creating the Sun and the Moon after the Trees’ destruction. Finrod duels with Sauron on the songs of power. Lúthien sings an equally powerful song to make Tol-in-Gaurhoth tremble and be heard by Beren trapped in Sauron’s dungeons.

(4) HANDMAID’S TALE. Hulu previews the second season.

Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 returns April 25.

 

(5) ATWOOD’S FEMINISM. Margaret Atwood answers her own question, “Am I a bad feminist?”, in an op-ed at the Toronto Globe and Mail.

So let us suppose that my Good Feminist accusers, and the Bad Feminist that is me, agree on the above points. Where do we diverge? And how did I get into such hot water with the Good Feminists?

In November of 2016, I signed – as a matter of principle, as I have signed many petitions – an Open Letter called UBC Accountable, which calls for holding the University of British Columbia accountable for its failed process in its treatment of one of its former employees, Steven Galloway, the former chair of the department of creative writing, as well as its treatment of those who became ancillary complainants in the case. Specifically, several years ago, the university went public in national media before there was an inquiry, and even before the accused was allowed to know the details of the accusation. Before he could find them out, he had to sign a confidentiality agreement. The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn’t say anything to defend himself. A barrage of invective followed.

But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. Everyone was surprised, including me. His faculty association launched a grievance, which is continuing, and until it is over, the public still cannot have access to the judge’s report or her reasoning from the evidence presented. The not-guilty verdict displeased some people. They continued to attack. It was at this point that details of UBC’s flawed process began to circulate, and the UBC Accountable letter came into being.

A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see. We are grownups: We can make up our own minds, one way or the other. The signatories of the UBC Accountable letter have always taken this position. My critics have not, because they have already made up their minds. Are these Good Feminists fair-minded people? If not, they are just feeding into the very old narrative that holds women to be incapable of fairness or of considered judgment, and they are giving the opponents of women yet another reason to deny them positions of decision-making in the world.

The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.

If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers? It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.

(6) VENUS IF YOU WILL. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler reports on the wealth of information collected by the latest (in 1963) Venus probe — “[January 15, 1963] Venus’ true face (Scientific Results of Mariner 2)”.

Getting there is half the fun

Before I talk about Mariner’s encounter with Venus, it’s important to discuss what the spacecraft discovered on the way there.  After all, it was a 185 million mile trip, most of it in interplanetary space charted but once before by Pioneer 5.  And boy, did Mariner learn a lot!

For instance, it has finally been confirmed that the sun does blow a steady stream of charged particles in a gale known as the “Solar Wind.”  The particles get trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and cause, among other things, our beautiful aurorae.

Mariner also measured the interplanetary magnetic field, which is really the sun’s magnetic field.  It varies with the 27-day solar rotation, and if we had more data, I suspect the overall map of the field would look like a spiral.

Why is all this important?  Well, aside from giving us an idea of the kind of “space weather” future probes and astronauts will have to deal with, these observations of the sun’s effect on space give us a window as to what’s going on inside the sun to generate these effects.

One last bit: along the way, Mariner measured the density of “cosmic dust,” little physical particles in space.  It appears that there’s a lot of it around the Earth, perhaps trapped by our magnetic field, and not a lot in space.  It may be that the solar wind sweeps the realm between the planets clean….

(7) LAST JEDI DOES NOT IMPRESS CHINESE. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “China Box Office: ‘Jumanji’ Clobbers Competition With $40M, ‘Last Jedi’ Crashes and Burns”.

Dwane Johnson’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle roared into China over the weekend, racking up a strong $40 million.

The Sony tentpole finally toppled runaway Chinese hit The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, which earned $25.3 million in its third frame, bringing its local total to $272 million. Globally, Jumanji, also starring Kevin Hart, has earned $667 million.

Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, meanwhile, didn’t even put up a fight. Only in its second weekend on Chinese screens, The Last Jedi pulled in a paltry $2.4 million — a 92 percent decline from its disappointing $28.7 million debut, according to data from EntGroup.

The Star Wars franchise, never popular in China, appears to be on a precipitous decline in the Middle Kingdom, the world’s second-largest film territory.

…The global picture is far better, of course: As of Sunday, Last Jedi had a worldwide haul of $1.264 billion, making it the biggest film of 2017.

Looper attempts to explain the disappointing numbers –

(8) BINTI ARC CONCLUDES. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog points out how Binti: The Night Masquerade Is the Epic Climax to a Deeply Personal Saga”.

Each of the previous two books in Dr. Nnedi Okorafor’s coming-of-age story saw Binti faced with tremendous change and exposed her to new truths that widened her world, and made it smaller. She’s taken on attributes of the (sometimes) murderous and very alien Meduse, and come to understand there’s more to the seemingly uncivilized desert people of her homeland than she’d ever imagined. The Night Masquerade is the conclusion of her journey, and the title refers to a spectre of change that appears to significant people at times of great crisis. It’s wonderfully evocative of the climactic nature of the story, and Binti will face a great deal more turmoil before hers is done.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born January 15, 1935 – Robert Silverberg

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Mike Kennedy says Pearls Before Swine showed him an excellent reason (or three) to keep the closet closed
  • John King Tarpinian discovered the consequences of making a Flintstones reference in B.C.
  • Mike Kennedy learned news happens whether you know it or not in this installment of Nonsequitur.
  • The Flying McCoys explore what would happen to Batman if a certain supervillain lived up to his name.

(11) WHAT GOES UP. The BBC talks to “The astronaut fighting to save our home in space”:

The International Space Station (ISS) is humanity’s most expensive structure – and in just six years’ time, it may vanish, plunging into the Pacific Ocean. BBC Future meets the man trying to save it.

… “I’ve been very, very, very, very lucky,” he says, laughing. “Most astronauts are very jealous of me, which is probably why I won’t get to fly in space again!”

Most famously, Foale was on board Mir in June 1997 when an un-crewed Progress supply ship ploughed into the station, smashing a solar panel and breaching the hull. With the master alarm sounding, air leaking, power failing and the station spinning, Foale worked with his two Russian crewmates to prepare their Soyuz escape capsule and close off the damaged module.

By holding his thumb to a station window and examining the movement of stars, Foale used his physics training to estimate the spin rate of the station, so mission control could fire thrusters to bring it back under control.

(12) MUST COME DOWN. Someone hit the center divider on the road, went airborne and crashed into the SECOND floor of a dental business —

Which inspired this Harry Potter reference from “Typical Girl” —

(13) MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. In “Bruce Lee Lightsabers Scene Recreation,” Patrick Nan asks, “What if Bruce Lee fought with lightsabers?”

(14) COMMITMENT. Laura Resnick continues a series about her volunteer work — “Cat Rescue, Part 3: Return to Sender”.

I’m writing a series of blog posts about my volunteer work in cat rescue with Cat Adoption Team (C.A.T.). Part 1 discusses how I got involved and outlines how it works. Part 2 talks about the happy endings that are so rewarding in this work, as well as the sad ones (and also the appallingly infuriating ones) that make some days very hard.

There is another kind of outcome to pet adoption, too. Despite good people trying hard, sometimes things just don’t work out. A cat turns out to be a bad fit for a family, or the family’s life changes in tragic ways that make keeping the cat impossible… and they return them to C.A.T.. This is sad for everyone, but it is absolutely the right thing to do in such circumstances.

I cannot stress this strongly enough: if family decides not to keep a pet, they should return the animal to us (and any responsible rescue group has this same policy). The most important thing to us is that the cat should always be safe. By rescuing the cat, we made a promise that we will never abandon this animal or allow it to return to the condition from which we rescued it, alone and forsaken in the world. Do not break our promise by abandoning the animal we entrusted to you at the time of adoption. Return it to us.

(15) CLASSIC WEIRD. Jared pays tribute to “Jane Gaskell, First Lady of the Weird” in a compelling review article at Pornokitsch. Here’s an excerpt:

The Atlan Series: The Serpent (1963), Atlan (1965), The City (1966), Some Summer Lands (1977)

Note: To keep things complicated, later printings split The Serpent into two volumes (The Serpent and The Dragon)

This series – Gaskell’s epic fantasy saga – is batshit crazy.

It follows Princess Cija, as she meddles in the politics of Atlantis. She goes from princess to prisoner to conqueror to spy to Chosen One to fugitive to back again… It is bonkers, risque and occasionally befuddling.

In a way, the Atlan saga is an even more extreme version of Strange Evil, exacerbated, perhaps, due to its epic length. Cija, like Judith, lacks agency. She is notable because she is desired, rather than possessing any strong desires of her own. She’s passed from hand to hand (to paw), partner to partner. Her bloodline is important, her presence is ‘destined’, but, again, we find in Cjia a distressing subversion of a Chosen One. She is one that has been Chosen, rather than having any control over her fate. This is the Epic Fantasy with the princess-in-the-tower as the first person protagonist, and it can make for harrowing reading: to be the prize and not the hero is, unsurprisingly, kind of dark.

Atlan also has an utterly ridiculous setting – packed with ‘SPACE AGE’ SF, mad science, dragons, monsters, death rays, lizard people, whatever. It feels almost deliberately pulpy, in a way that makes its sneaky-dark message all the more sinister.

Michael Moorcock included the series in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books (1988), and admires – slightly sarcastically – the over-the-top pulpy elements. He refers to the series’ “bewildering status changes” and “breathless peregrinations”, and his summary gleefully points out how silly the whole thing is. But he eventually concludes “Too much? Never! Stirring stuff, all of it.”

Others also (mostly) approve – John Clute describes it with lukewarm praise: “In genre terms the series – sometimes uneasily, but at points with real panache – marries sf and the popular romance; it is full of vigorous and exuberant invention and occasionally overheated prose.” (It is worth noting that late 1960s ‘popular romance’ was pretty bleak stuff – this isn’t a sappy love story, but a harrowing tale of self-actualisation [or… semi-reluctant acceptance].)

(16) ROBOTS V. FAIRIES. SF Bluestocking’s Bridget McKinney isn’t high on this new collection — “Book Review: Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe”.

Robots vs. Fairies is my first reading disappointment of 2018. I loved Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s first anthology, 2016’s The Starlit Wood, so I was very hyped for this one when it was announced. Unfortunately, Robots vs. Fairies is a bit of a sophomore slump for the editing pair, with a theme that feels more questionable the farther one reads into the collection, stories that largely feel a little too written to spec, and not enough that’s new and interesting to recommend it on those scores. It might work as sort of comfort reading for those who find its table of contents—filled with some of the hottest short fiction writers currently working in SFF—appealing, but if you’re looking for exciting, fresh, innovative work, there’s not much of that here.

(17) JDA TODAY. Jon Del Arroz tries to defend against the Jim C. Hines compilation without mentioning the author by name in “The Ever-Changing Narrative And Double Standards Show They’re Disingenuous” (link to the Internet Archive).

In the past couple days, with that Narrative being such bad publicity for the convention because of the double standard they applied over political affiliation, it’s shifted to “he’s mean on the internet!”  NYT Bestsellers have been swearing about me on their twitter, lower-selling midlist authors are cheering and congratulating each other over spreading rumors and gossip like this is a high school clique rather than professionals. This strategy is going to backfire as well, because first, being mean on the internet is not a crime. No one has been banned from conventions over being mean on the internet before. And it applies to these folk in a massive double standard way. I don’t go around being nearly as mean or cruel as they are.

(18) MEDIC, I’M HIT! I was bitterly disappointed that Jim C. Hines showed in comments today that he reviewed the evidence with JDA about his doctored “Goodbye Jon” email conversation with me (which actually happened in this order) only to conclude —

The summary: We have several possibilities here.

  1. Jon is faking his screenshots.
  2. Mike is lying.
  3. Jon’s Sent Mail shows a different Sent Time than the email(s) Mike received from him.

(19) CHOPPAGE. At Pedestrian, Ben McLeay reports the latest antics of men’s rights activists – erasing women from The Last Jedi — “MRAs Make 46-Minute Cut Of ‘The Last Jedi’ That Edits Out All The Women”.

It is utterly tragic that MRAs aren’t given the respect they deserve. It’s truly galling that just because their entire worldview was formed around a profound sense of entitlement induced by watching thousands of hours of harem anime, no one takes them seriously. It’s heartbreaking to think that people dismiss them out of hand just because – instead of addressing actual issues like the rates of suicide and depression among men – they focus on dumb shit like editing out all the parts of The Last Jedi that aren’t centred around men.

If that last thing sounded too ridiculous to be true, you have clearly forgotten which time it is that we live in and the corresponding fact that pretty much nothing now is too ridiculous to be true. We live in the most aggressively ridiculous timeline. Accordingly, the self-described “chauvinist cut” of TLJ is very, very real, and exactly as dumb as it sounds.

Uploaded to The Pirate Bay yesterday by an anonymous user, the “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit” is, according to their own description “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff“.

(20) HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM. WIRED delivers a less-than-stunning revelation: “Cantina Talk: The Last Jedi’s Shirtless Kylo Is Proving a Problem for Cosplayers”.

So, About Kylo’s High-Waisted Tights…

Source: The Wall Street Journal, of all places

Probability of Accuracy: They did get a high quality still of shirtless Kylo, so there’s no denying that they know what they’re doing.

The Real Deal: Perhaps the most surprising Last Jedi story to appear in recent weeks is this Wall Street Journal piece about the high-waisted tights Kylo wore in that one super-uncomfortable scene of him Force-communicating with Rey. (Don’t pretend like you know know exactly which one we’re talking about.) For one, it was surprising because it was in the Journal, but also because it focused on how hard Shirtless Buff Kylo Ren was to pull off for cosplayers. The piece even quotes Last Jedi costume designer Michael Kaplan, who said, “The world of Star Wars is not our world… Kylo Ren is not some hipster in hip-hugging jeans. Think Errol Flynn swashbuckling coolness as a point of departure. Hide that navel!” So, now you know. (Also, let’s be honest: Kylo Ren most definitely is some hipster in hip-hugging jeans, even if his wardrobe doesn’t reflect it.)

(21) BLACK PANTHER. Ruth Carter “‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Talks Tribal-Tech Inspirations” in The Hollywood Reporter.

Ruth Carter has created costumes for some epic films, Amistad, Malcolm X and Selma among them, but nothing prepared her for the size and scope of Black Panther. For the super-stylish superhero film opening Feb. 12, she imagined a new African diaspora with 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress and high fashion, using research that spanned from the Rose Bowl Flea Market to textile dealers in Accra, Ghana.

The Ryan Coogler-directed film brings to the big screen Marvel Comics’ first black superhero, reinventing the circa 1966 character for today. Black Panther is depicted as T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who rules over the fantastical African country of Wakanda, rich with vibranium, a mythic metal that is woven into the superhero’s sleek black, repeating triangle-pattern suit (designed by Marvel’s Ryan Meinerding), and has allowed the population to make technological advances nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world. The fight for vibranium is at the heart of the story, with T’Challa defending the kingdom against Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger.

Carter worked with five illustrators, 14 designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more. “It was an army,” the costume designer says. On her mood boards were images of African dress from the Maasai, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka peoples (including a men’s glass bead, animal skin and cowry shell corset from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), as well as piercings and body art, and more abstract examples of drapery and beading. She also examined fashion by avant-garde pleating master Issey Miyake, African-style vintage pieces by Yves Saint Laurent and Donna Karan.

(22) STARTS TOMORROW. CW released a clip from Black Lightning — The Resurrection Scene 2 – a show that premieres January 16.

About BLACK LIGHTNING: Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. Nine years ago, Pierce was gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, which he used to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life and his family on the line, he left his Super Hero days behind. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.

 

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, James Davis Nicoll, Dann, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John From GR.]

90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/15/18 Scroll Down, You File Too Fast, You Got To Make The Pixels Last

  1. Interesting that the edit window will say I have five or ten seconds left, but if I click ‘save change’ with those seconds still showing, it’ll deny that they were ever there.

    (Pixels for the pixel god! Scrolls for the love of scrolling!)

  2. 14- I love this, though I don’t think my heart is strong enough to do the same. An in-laws kitten got FIP and it was devastating, but it is needed work and it’s fantastic that people are doing it.

  3. Aaron: (17) JdA’s desperation is becoming palpable.

    Yes, I noticed how he declined to link to Hines’ post which describes JDA’s harassment activity in great detail, or to make any sort of substantive defense of his actions.

    The non-knowledgeable people who are genuinely neutral, and who are persuaded by evidence rather than rhetoric, now have the ability to make their own judgment call. Those who find JDA’s emotive theatrics persuasive were never going to do anything but support him, anyway.

  4. 18) Mike! The maskirovka! How can we continue the conspiracy if you admit that people sometimes disagree!

  5. (17) Well, JJ, you predicted it.

    JDA’s already jumped to “I know you are, but what am I.”

    (22) Looking forward to this.

  6. Wishing a belated Happy Anniversary to File 770!

    @ Matt Y
    (14) To date, 5 of my fosters (out of about 65) have died. It makes me even sadder that 3 of them died after adoption, cared for by families who had looked forward to years with them, but lost them after just weeks or months. At least two of those deaths were FIP, like your relatives’ kitten. A terrible disease. We’re not sure about the 3rd adopted kitten (possibly FelV)–or about the 2 others who died while fostering here. In one case, even after about $900 of tests and treatments in her final hours, the clinic doesn’t know what killed one of my foster kittens.There was a lot of worry after her death, because she’d had contact with so many kittens here and also at the neonatal rescue center, and without knowing why she died, we feared a wave of deaths. But, thank goodness, no one else got sick or developed any symptoms.

    @ Aaron
    (17) Desperation? Maybe…. but I’m more inclined to think he’s just enjoying a really long bout of hysterics. Even though he seems to have a LOT of time on his hands, presumably he wouldn’t waste so much of it bleating, wailing, whining, and chest-beating if he didn’t get satisfaction out of indulging in these public tantrums.

  7. That Bruce Lee clip is very cool. I also like this Crouching Tiger edit, which supports my theory that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the first in the real Star Wars prequel trilogy:

  8. So…WINTERLONG is set in Washington?

    If that means Washington State rather than Washington DC, then I like that there have been two recent novels, SUMMERLONG and WINTERLONG, both set in Washington.

    I could imagine a book called AUTUMNLONG, but I won’t hold my breath for SPRINGLONG.

  9. It seems the ~2300 words of the sequel to Trigger Snowflake – Lawman are done, as of about 20-25 minutes ago. Just, you know, to make everyone aware.

  10. 15) Cija actually made it onto my list of “10 literary characters I would like to push over a cliff”… to be fair to Gaskell, the last book in the series makes some acknowledgement of her character flaws. Her many, many character flaws…. It’s not so much that she has very little agency, it’s that what little agency she does have is expended in screwing up. As with whiny emo-boy Elric (who, come to think of it, also made that list), I have very little sympathy with characters whose tragic fates are largely their own bloody fault. Maybe it’s just me.

  11. @Steve Wright:

    In Elric’s case, there’s at least some reason for his tragic mopiness. I once particpated in a discussion on how to model Elric in the Amber DRPG setting and our conclusion was that you would play Stormbringer, with Elric as a meatpuppet, as Elric was fundamentally unsuited as a character.

    Stormbringer would, of course, be of Chaos, rather than Amber, but as such eminently suitable as a PC.

  12. 5)

    “But then, after an inquiry by a judge that went on for months, with multiple witnesses and interviews, the judge said there had been no sexual assault, according to a statement released by Mr. Galloway through his lawyer. The employee got fired anyway. “

    I thought he was fired because he had an affair with a student, something that was seen as an abuse of trust in a position of power. Galloway has himself acknowledged the affair and apologized for it, so I find Atwoods version somewhat disingenuous.

  13. 14) I got my last cat because her previous owner of a decade got another cat, a rescue cat, and the two didn’t get along.

    So what did the previous owner do? Take back the new rescue cat? Heck, no. She put her old cat out on the street, in winter.

    I’m not the best pet owner–there’s a reason this is my last cat–but I’m sure better than that. I can’t imagine doing such a thing.

  14. One of my cats is a rescue cat. He was found outside in winter with all the hair on the back of his body shaved. Still, he has always liked both people and other cats, so he must have had at least some good time before that.

    My cat that passed away a year ago was also a rescue cat. He was ”raised” at a crazy cat ladies, was found half starved and afraid of humans. But over the years, he lost lot if his shyness, became cuddly, curious among new people. Still miss him.

  15. 8) Exciting, especially since Binti: Home ended on a cliffhanger, something that Okorafor would not apologize for when asked about it at an event here in Roseville last year.

  16. @ Kurt Busiek

    Winterlong is set in DC. I have a hunch that Hand is from there, because Waking The Moon is in a fantasy version of the city as well and she uses some local details that are not easily researchable.

  17. 18) Shockingly, while JDA was quick to claim this vindicated him, he doesn’t seem to have acknowledged anywhere that maybe this was a misunderstanding as opposed to part of an evil, lying conspiracy of malicious conspiratorial lies on the part of Mr. Glyer. I’m shocked by his unwillingness to clear the air on this matter. It’s almost like he’d rather cling to baseless accusations against Glyer. Weird…

  18. One recue cat, out of four. Tinks was nominally the cat living next door but one to a colleague, but actually living in their shed and bearing a quick succession of unwanted litters.
    Jen stole the cat, got her spayed and started looking for a home. ‘she’ll wander,’ I was warned. She has not. She’s also very relaxed about suddenly sharing a house with children.

  19. (15) No less an authority than Lin Carter was unimpressed by the Atlan books — IIRC, he wasn’t happy with anachronisms such as giving the soldiers of a prehistoric world military uniforms that were basically Napoleonic, or something like that. (Which, of all possible complaints to make, seems like pretty small potatoes.)

    I remember finding the books initially on the shelf at the public library back in … high school? junior high? and being slightly baffled but mostly enjoying them. I keep meaning to revisit them one of these years.

  20. When one of our two cats recently died of cancer, we adopted another cat from a local shelter. The shelter named her Catnip Everdeen, which was hilarious, but we redubbed her Cordelia. She was a sweetheart, and she got along great with the older resident cat, Dante… until, after two or three weeks, Something Happened. We’re not sure what. Cordelia didn’t act aggressively toward Dante in our presence, but Dante was suddenly terrified of her. After Dante spent two weeks basically hiding under the bed (despite the fact that Cordelia was confined in another room and couldn’t get anywhere near him) we decided we had to take her back to the shelter. It was heartbreaking. I decided to treat this experience as an extended foster, and wrote out a page of things that the next adopters should know. (She loved laps, was food-insecure (she’d gobble up any food of any sort that was anywhere near her; she was practically spherical when we adopted her) and so forth.) It took Dante another week to come out from under the bed and a month before he’d go into the room where she’d been confined, so it was the best decision we could make for Dante’s sake. But still heartbreaking. Dante is now an only cat; we can’t do that to him again.

    Cordelia (I mentioned the name in the notes I gave; I hope the new adopters kept it) was re-adopted two weeks later.

  21. I’m not sure “Lin Carter” and “authority” belong in the same sentence; he did mine a very rich vein for a few good works, but his own writing is bad enough to ask why an “authority” would let it see the light of day. Fannish history: over 40 years ago, 2 SCAdians with extensive SF connections (former TAFF delegate Elliot Shorter and playwright/commenter Mark Keller) fought a challenge over the proposition that even Lin Carter was a better writer than John Norman.

    @13: I don’t do martial arts, so I wonder whether extended nunchaku like that wouldn’t take off bits of the wielder; all it would take is a moment’s error with something moving very fast. Can anyone comment?

  22. Yeah, tongue was rather firmly planted in cheek for that sentence; although I think Carter did better work as an editor than as an author, and I’ve always enjoyed his unabashedly enthusiastic and often factually dubious scholarship.

  23. Huge respect for those who foster and adopt animals, even when they leave us too early – it’s such a good thing to do.

    The city I currently live in has an enormous stray dog problem – there are literally packs on every street in the neighbourhood where I live, and while they are fed by residents and often have “people” in a loose sense of the word, there’s a chronic lack of veterinary care and almost no effective spay/neuter programmes, and they are constantly at risk from cars. So, lots of unwell and injured dogs walking around, breeding at an unsustainable rate, while the few shelters and homes out there are constantly swamped with requests.

    Though I’ve so far been unable to adopt (very strict no-pet policy in my building, and I live alone with a job that requires a lot of travel), I’ve got friends who have taken in puppies which have been abandoned or clearly need medical care, and while it usually works out there have been a couple of tragedies, always from causes that the owners and vets would never have been able to predict. It’s desperately sad, but those pups had all the warmth and cuddles and food they needed for a while and sometimes that’s all that can be done. When it does work out, it can be a big commitment to adopt an In-dog, especially if they’ve been prematurely abandoned by their mother and are missing some of their early socialisation, as they are prone to being anxious and picky about their humans. But they can also be the biggest sweethearts when you’re on their “best friend” list 🙂

    Unfortunately, plenty of people also choose to import the exotic puppy mill breed of their dreams from Bangkok or elsewhere – flat nosed and/or big fluffy breeds seem particularly popular, despite being exactly the sorts of dogs which suffer most in constant tropical heat and unreliable air conditioning. Because apparently, some people would rather select an animal based solely on their consumer preferences without considering the well-being of that creature…

    What I think I’m saying here is that despite their recent bad press in the SFF community, I’m not sure if humans deserve dogs.

    (P.S. My gravatar pupper is also a rescue! He lives a life full of endless toys and bones in the UK.)

  24. @Chip Hitchcock: 2 SCAdians with extensive SF connections (former TAFF delegate Elliot Shorter and playwright/commenter Mark Keller) fought a challenge over the proposition that even Lin Carter was a better writer than John Norman.
    Which side won?

  25. On JDA, the ten minutes I spent looking into this was ten minutes too long, but I was struck by the fact that most of his posts on this self-inflicted kerfuffle are going entirely without comment from his hangers-on – looking a couple of pages back, it seems like he’s getting notably less engagement than he does when he posts on unrelated things like his music tastes.

    It’s so utterly pitiful to watch this marketing strategy fail in real time.

  26. @ Laura Resnick – I’m glad no other cats got sick at least, it can sweep through those kennels pretty quickly. I just know if I tried to do the same I’d end up with like 40 cats because I wouldn’t want to part with any of them. A friend asked me if I could feed his cat while he was out and I told him ‘Cool I get to come hang out with your cat.’ which he thought was weird. But she’s got extra toes and can catch things out of the air with one paw and is fun to play with.

    @Aaron – Why would he be desperate? I ignore news about him because it’s just the same thing/different day, but as someone personally fascinated with indie book marketing I’ve been following along and it seems like he’s getting exactly what he wants. He wants people to talk about him and baits people into keeping the discussion about him going. In that manner he’s successful, he routinely gets a sub-headline here, he gets noticed by prominent industry figures, authors, professionals and reviewers, and while nearly all of it is negative because of how he goes about it, it’s still attention being brought to him and help broaden his audience among those he’s really attempting to appeal to anyway. An audience that’s not going to care about his actions because he’s ‘triggering SJWs’. I mean the personal cost and time invested seems absurd, however he’s has a lot more attention paid to him versus most other indie authors, has kept his Amazon sub-ranking for his book steady and increased his status among those he wanted to curry favor with.

    I find it repugnant and think it’s great Hines shed light on the extent of the behavior involved and keeping people informed of bad actors is beneficial to everyone. Still as long as people keep taking the bait he puts out I don’t think he’s worried at all.

  27. Re JDA: yeah it’s a marketing strategy that works (?) with a particular audience. His big marketing goal, though – why he needs to stoke the publicity *now* and keep it going – is a slate-backed, stick-it-to-the-SJWs Hugo nomination. It must be killing him that he missed out on the height of the puppy kerfuffle.

  28. @ Laura Resnick
    I can’t say how much I admire your work. There are some feral cats in my neighborhood, but the animal welfare association has a trap, neuter and release programme that seems to keep numbers down. Though most companion cats here are indoor animals, the ones that do go outside give you withering looks of superiority if you call to them.

  29. Why would he be desperate?

    Because it seems that he is realizing that he has painted himself into a corner, and no one outside his small bubble of ardent supporters is buying his line any more. And probably, the sales of his work aren’t going as well as he thought they would.

    There appears to be a common belief among the “alt-right” that if they could only break through the evil conspiracies that keep them from getting their message out, the vast majority of people would agree with them and their goals. We saw a little bit of that when Jo was saying things like “millions of people hate SJWs”, a claim that has no observable evidence to support it.

    The reality is that the alt-right is a repugnant bunch who behave abominably online and elsewhere. Most people recoil when they come face-to-face with the denizens and “kekistan” and their ideas. JdA is probably slowly coming to the realization that by repeatedly shooting himself in the foot with his serial harassment of other authors and fans and his general sleaziness online, he has played well to a tiny sliver of the book-buying audience, and essentially killed his career so as the far larger share is concerned.

    That’s why he is so very desperately spinning his actions as “not harassing” people now. Why he is engaged in rhetorical contortions to show how he was only being “political”, as though that excuses repeatedly harassing people. He is trying to dig himself out of the hole he finds himself in, and it isn’t working. No one outside his tiny circle-jerk of supporters is buying it.

  30. The conclusion to Binti dropped into my library this morning. Let’s just say it doesn’t go where you expect.

  31. I fostered dogs for years, though my problems of the last couple of years have put an end to that. It feels so good to teach a dog how to be a successful indoor pet, and tthen find them their forever home. Ive never had a problem sending them on. Even though it’s sad to see them go, even though I miss them, it also feels wonderful to see them with their forever families, where they were meant to be.

  32. We have three second-hand cats. Two of them we acquired together and the third got stuck on our roof and wouldn’t leave. She has the quietest purr I’ve ever not heard.

  33. @PJ Evans: “Let’s just say it doesn’t go where you expect.”

    What happened, did it download to your toaster instead of your Kindle? 😀

  34. Rev. Bob on January 16, 2018 at 9:52 am said:
    *snerk*
    (Downloads to computer – I don’t do wireless. And I’ll make you read it to find out, because spoilers.)

  35. What happened, did it download to your toaster instead of your Kindle? ?

    The Internet of Things strikes again.

  36. 5) “Oh look at this lovely digging machine I have. Let’s see how deep I can go?”

    Honestly, she had the perceptiveness to note that the #metoo movement is in response to a wholesale failure of the legal and institutional systems to deal with sexual harassment and assault…but that is following a long rant that boils down to “Why couldn’t they just wait and trust the system to do what is designed to do? ”

    There really seems to be an attitude among a number of 2nd wave feminists of “Well, we got what we wanted from marching, slow incremental change is fine from now on.”

  37. The reason there are no Jane Gaskell ebooks is that she has vanished from sight. Even her agent has lost contact with her. So there is no one with whom to negotiate a contract. I’m posting this in the hope that if I drop a pebble here a ripple may somehow reach someone who knows where she is.

  38. Our first dog had what we thought was kennel cough but turned out to be distemper — distemper had swept through the shelter where she’d ended up and many of their dogs ended up dying. I was heart-broken, but I finally realized that we’d been able to provide her with a good home and good food and medical care for a couple of weeks, and that had to be enough.

    I liked Lin Carter’s forewords to the Adult Fantasy series and learned a lot from them. I didn’t notice anything too “factually dubious,” though I’m nowhere near an expert. What kind of things was he dubious on?

  39. Leslie C: One of our current cats is like that. I used to think she didn’t purr, period. But you can feel it if you touch her throat.

    A prior cat we had was among those with the LOUDEST purr I have ever heard. And he’d go for half an hour on 2 quick pets. And meow simultaneously, which is quite the sound.

  40. (5) I have become somewhat allergic to the use of “Bad Feminist” as a sort of passive-aggressive self-congratulatory declaration of martyrdom. There always seems to be an undercurrent of “how dare you criticize my position–I thought we were all feminists together why are you intolerant of my views” and generally there is a very good reason to criticize the views that the self-described Bad Feminist is espousing.

    The strategy is to preemptively, publicly, and loudly apply a negative label to oneself so as to either shame people out of criticizing them and proving them right (“I knew you would think I was a Bad Feminist!”) or pressure listeners into comforting them (“You’re supposed to reassure me I’m not a Bad Feminist!”), regardless of how valid the criticisms or how disingenuous the bid for comfort.

    See also the “wrongthink/wrongfan” thing, or any time a contentious post begins “I know you’re all going to rip me to shreds for this, but…”

    (14) I’m especially grateful for the emphasis on how bringing the fostered pet back to the adoption center is the right thing to do. I have good friends how planned and trained and got everything ready to adopt a Newfoundland, only to discover that, despite all their preparations, there were ways they had not foreseen in which they were not and could not be a good fit for the dog. They brought him back to the center, he got adopted out again, everything ended up OK, but I know they struggled with a sense of having “failed.”

    Goodness knows they had never for a second considered abandoning the puppy–but they might have tied themselves in knots trying to be the family he needed, to their detriment and his. Returning him to the adoption center meant relief for them and a chance for him to find a family that was a better fit.

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