Pixel Scroll 11/25/19 It’s A Beautiful Scroll In The Pixelhood

(1) MUNROE DOCTRINE. “Moon dust may not burn you, but it’s no picnic.” In his debut “Good Question” column for The New York Times, “If I Touched the Moon, What Would It Feel Like?”, science author Randall Munroe explores what would happen if a person directly touched the moon.

(2) SKYWALKER PROMO. Complex supplies an introduction as “Disney Shares First Clip From ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'”.

Set on a Tatooine-like planet complete with speeder bike-style vehicles, the clip shows the trio alongside Chewbacca, C3PO, and BB-8 as they escape enroaching stormtroopers. Director and co-writer J.J Abrams recently teased that the ambition for the first entry of the sequel trilogy is at an all-time high. “What we set out to do was far more challenging,” he told Entertainment Weekly of the movie, which he admitted they had more “story adjustments” on than the previous entry he worked on, The Force Awakens.

(3) ICONIC SIXTIES COSTUMES ON THE BLOCK. Profiles in History will auction the Azarian Collection  on December 17. Genre stuff galore!

John Azarian is the founder and curator of the Azarian Collection, which you can see at theazariancollection.com. As a child of the 60s and a fan of nostalgia, John began collecting iconic items from the shows and movies he loved in his youth. Some of his favorite childhood memories include the superb television shows of the 1960s, like his favorite TV show, Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

…The highlight of the collection just so happens to be the first items he ever purchased, coincidentally, from Profiles in History.

  • The only known pair of complete costumes from The Dynamic Duo, Adam West’s “Batman” and Burt Ward’s “Robin” from the original 1960s TV series, Batman.
  • Adam West’s “Bruce Wayne” Shakespeare bust with hidden switch that opens the entrance to the Batcave from Batman.
  • Adam West’s “Batman” hero working Batmobile Batphone from Batman.
  • William Shatner’s “Captain James T. Kirk” wraparound tunic from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • William Shatner’s “Alternate Universe Cpt. James T. Kirk” tunic from Star Trek: The Original Series, episode “Mirror, Mirror”.
  • Leonard Nimoy’s “Evil Spock” tunic from Star Trek: The Original Series, episode: “Mirror, Mirror”.
  • The I Dream of Jeannie signature Genie bottle.
  • “Jupiter 2” spaceship filming miniature from Lost in Space.
  • “Space Pod” filming miniature Lost in Space.
  • Henry Winkler’s “Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli” signature leather jacket from Happy Days.
  • Jeff Conaway’s “Kenicki” signature “T-Birds” jacket from the “Greased Lightnin’” musical number in Grease
  • Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman” signature superhero ensemble from Wonder Woman.
  • Barbara Eden’s “Jeannie” signature pink harem costume from I Dream of Jeannie.

(4) LOADING THE CANON. Library of America interviews editor Gary K. Wolfe about his selections for American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s The High Crusade, Poul Anderson; Way Station, Clifford D. Simak; Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes;  . . . And Call Me Conrad [This Immortal], Roger Zelazny; Past Master, R. A. Lafferty; Picnic on Paradise, Joanna Russ; Nova, Samuel R. Delany; and Emphyrio, Jack Vance. “Gary K. Wolfe: Reinvention and revolution in 1960s science fiction”.

LOA: Appreciations of Delany’s Nova regularly note that it has roots in old-fashioned space opera, and in the next sentence mention how it anticipates cyberpunk. How does Nova simultaneously evoke science fiction’s past and anticipate its future?

 Wolfe: As his own critical and autobiographical works make clear, Delany was a sophisticated and critical reader of science fiction from an early age, so it’s not surprising he would make use of his knowledge of the genre’s classic space opera tropes, just as he had made use of the post-nuclear apocalypse theme in The Jewels of Aptor or the generation starship theme in The Ballad of Beta-2. So while the huge planet-hopping canvas and the economic and corporate rivalries suggest classic space opera, the characters are quite different. While there are human-machine interfaces and implants in Nova, I think the more important way in which it anticipates cyberpunk has to do with these characters: racially diverse, often alienated outsiders like The Mouse or drifters like Dan.

Nova is set in a much more distant future—the thirty-second century—than novels like William Gibson’s Neuromancer, set in the reasonably near future, probably sometime in the twenty-first century. And while Nova does touch upon themes like body modifications and virtual reality, it’s less concerned with information technology, urbanization, and other earmarks of cyberpunk. But I’ve always felt that, despite the remarkable futuristic insights of Gibson, Sterling, Rucker, and others, the “punk” aspect of cyberpunk is what really gave rise to all the later variations like steampunk, dieselpunk, etc.—and that streetwise “punk” sensibility was certainly prefigured by Nova, along with a few other important works of the ’50s through the ’70s.

(5) LIVE FOREVER. The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella critiques a new book’s strategies for “How to Read ‘Gilgamesh’”.

… The poet and scholar Michael Schmidt has just published a wonderful book, “Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem” (Princeton), which is a kind of journey through the work, an account of its origins and discovery, of the fragmentary state of the text, and of the many scholars and translators who have grappled with its meaning. Schmidt encourages us to see “Gilgamesh” not as a finished, polished composition—a literary epic, like the Aeneid, which is what many people would like it to be—but, rather, something more like life, untidy, ambiguous. Only by reading it that way, he thinks, will we get close to its hard, nubbly heart.

(6) REFERENCE OF THE DAY. Now that you mention it….

(7) JURY DUTY. The Australian Science Fiction Foundation has put out a call for jurors for the 2020 Norma K Hemming Award – “eminent individuals in the Australian speculative fiction field.”

The award is designed to recognise excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability in a published speculative fiction work. Jury members are generally appointed for a two year period, and no juror may judge the same category for more than four years. Expressions of interest are to be submitted via the online form by COB Friday December 6, 2019.

(8) DOUBLE TAKE. A DCU streamer will get a second airing on a network: “DC Universe’s ‘Stargirl’ to Air on The CW” – details in The Hollywood Reporter.

In a rare streaming-to-linear deal, the Greg Berlanti-produced superhero drama will air on The CW the day after episodes debut on WarnerMedia-backed subscription service DC Universe. Additionally, the Brec Bassinger-led drama will also be available to stream on The CW’s free digital platforms the day after their linear debut. The series will launch on DC Universe in the second quarter of 2020 with new episodes released weekly.

This is the latest effort to give a signal boost to a scripted original from the nice streaming service. In July, DC Universe renewed drama Doom Patrol for a second season with the sophomore order set to run on both DCU and WarnerMedia’s forthcoming subscription streaming service, HBO Max.

Stargirl follows high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore (Bassinger), who inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past. The project reimagines Stargirl and the very first superhero team, the Justice Society of America, in a fun, exciting and unpredictable series. Geoff Johns and Lee Moder created the character, who was named after the former’s sister, Courtney, who died in the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800. The character made her first appearance in July 1999’s Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #1.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • November 25, 1915 — Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity.
  • November 25, 1964 Voyage To The End Of The Universe premiered. The feature starred Zdenek Stepánek and Frantisek Smolík. It’s actually a 1963 Czechoslovak called Ikarie XB-1 is and  directed by Jind?ich Polák. The Americanized version has a very different end that the Czech version does.
  • November 25, 1983 I predatori di Atlantide (The Atlantis Interceptors) premiered in Italy. Starring Tony King,  Christopher Connelly, Gioia Scola, Michele Soavi and George Hilton. Directed by Ruggero Deodato who also directed the widely banned Cannibal Holocaust and Phantom of Death. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 25, 1920 Ricardo Montalbán. Khan Noonien Singh and Mr. Rourke. Armando and Grandpa Valentin Avellan. I’m picking those as four most memorable roles he’s played and they just happen to all be genre in nature. Oh, and is Khan Noonien Singh the only occurrence of a non-crew character carrying over from the original series into the films? I suspect not but I can’t think of anyone other. (Died 2009.)
  • Born November 25, 1926 Poul Anderson. My favorite ones by him? Orion Shall Rise for the mix of personal scale story with his usual grand political stories, and all of the Flandry and van Rijn stories. I also enjoy his Time Patrol stories as well, and the two Operation Luna are quite fun. He was quite honored with seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. (Died 2001.)
  • Born November 25, 1926 Jeffrey Hunter. Best known for his role as Capt. Christopher Pike in the original pilot episode of Star Trek and the later use of that material in “The Menagerie” episode.  Other genre work included Dimension 5, A Witch Without A Broom, Strange Portrait (never released, no print is known to exists), Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Journey into Fear and The Green Hornet. (Died 1969.)
  • Born November 25, 1941 Sandra Miesel, 78. She has described herself as “the world’s greatest expert” on Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson. She’s written such works as Against Time’s Arrow: The High Crusade of Poul Anderson on Borgo Books and she’s written the front and back matter for many of their books. Oh, and she started out as a serious fan being nominated thrice for Hugos for her writing in zines such as Yandro and Granfalloon. She co-authored The Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy with Catholic journalist and canon lawyer Pete Vere. 
  • Born November 25, 1947 John Larroquette, 72. I think his best genre role is Jenkins in The Librarians. He’s also had one-offs in Almost Human, The Twilight Zone, Chuck, Batman: The Animated Series and Fantasy Island.  He’s uncredited but present in Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight, Doing voice acting in Green Lantern: First Flight, the Klingon Maltz in The Search for Spock and the oddly named K.K.K. in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Did you know he was the narrator of two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films? 
  • Born November 25, 1951 Charlaine Harris, 68. She is best known for the Southern Vampire series starring Sookie Stackhouse which was adapted as True Blood. I know I’ve read several of this series and enjoyed them. She has two other series, nether genre or genre adjacent, the Aurora Teagarden and Lily Bard series. 
  • Born November 25, 1953 Mark Frost, 66. He’s best known as a writer for Hill Street Blues (I know it’s not genre but superb nonetheless) and as the co-creator with David Lynch of Twin Peaks in which he’s been involved with in other roles as well. He had a hand in writing both of the Fantastic Four films. He was also one of the Executive Producers of the very short lived All Souls series.
  • Born November 25, 1968 Jill Hennessy, 51. Best known for being Dr. Marie Lazarus in RoboCop 3 which did not star Peter Weller despite my not noticing this for several viewings. She pops up elsewhere such as twice in the War of The Worlds series playing two different characters which she also foes in The Hitchhiker series, and amazingly being on Friday the 13th: The Series in four different roles!
  • Born November 25, 1974 Sarah Monette, 45. Under the pen name of Katherine Addison, she published The Goblin Emperor which garnered  the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. She won the Spectrum Award in 2003 for her short story “Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland”. Her first two novels Mélusine and The Virtu are quite wonderful and I highly recommend her Iskryne series that she co-wrote with Elizabeth Bear. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Tom Gauld has tapped into a theme that brings to mind Lafferty’s “Slow Tuesday Night.”

(12) TURN ON THE BAT FRIGHT. “Bruce Wayne warns wealth tax on billionaires could result in fewer crimes foiled via jet-powered cars” – a facetious headline in The Beaverton.

Gotham’s leading philanthropist has joined other billionaires, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg and hedge-fund billionaire Leon Cooperman, in opposing [Elizabeth] Warren. Wayne has even gone one step further, insisting a wealth tax could curb private spending on items such as hang glider capes, personally-branded boomerangs, and rodent-themed flood lights that illuminate the night sky.

(13) AU REVOIR? French sff news site ActuSF tweeted about the recent conference in China —

“On November 24, Asian science fiction writers announced at the 5th International Science Fiction Conference in China that more international cooperation is expected in the Asian FS sector.”

— Prompting a despairing comment from Olivier Pacquet to another French SF writer, Sylvie Denis:

“We can say goodbye to a Worldcon in France in 2023.”

(14) THEY SLEIGH ME. Trader Joe is selling Grinch-inspired Grump trees for your Yuletide pleasure —

(15) HAPPI CAMPER. Mothership is there when “Pope dons traditional coat with anime image of his face to greet the Japanese”.

Pope Francis was in Japan for a four-day visit on Saturday, Nov. 23 — his second papal visit to the country.

While greeting Catholics and the media on Monday, Nov. 25, the Pope, known for his unconventional background and unorthodox methods and comments, wore a Japanese coat called a “happi”.

…Words in different languages, such as Japanese and Spanish, can be seen on the “happi” as well.

Some of the Japanese phrases read “gratitude”, “let’s pray together”, “may there be peace”, “what can be done to give disaster victims hope”, and “we are glad that you’re the pope”.

Wikipedia amplifies:

happi is a traditional Japanese straight-sleeved coat. They are usually worn only during festivals. Originally these represented the crest of a family, as happi were worn by house servantsFirefighters in the past also used to wear happi; the symbol on their backs referred to the group with which they were associated.

 (16) LET NOTHING STAND IN YOUR WAY. This is wonderfully over the top. A Foot Locker commercial asks people how desperately do they want this shoe? “Would you do whatever it takes to get to the Week of Greatness and get the drop? Even if aliens attacked Earth during a zombie epidemic and a global meteor storm?”

[Thanks to John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Lise Andreasen, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, our neighbor Jon Meltzer.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/25/19 It’s A Beautiful Scroll In The Pixelhood

  1. 10
    There’s Mark Lenard, as Sarek. Not crew, in three films and a couple of episodes of ST:TNG.

  2. @4: well, I can’t say Wolfe didn’t cover a wide range with those choices….

    @10: Weren’t there some Borg carried over from TNG to the later films? Or was that just the character rather than the actor, or am I misremembering descriptions? (I gave up on Trek films a while ago.) Khan may be the only character to have been movie’d after a single appearance on TV.

    @P J Evans: IMDB says Sarek was in only one OST (although Lenard played a Romulan in another episode), but also two TNG. So Khan may still take a prize.

    @10bis: I don’t remember why I picked up the first of Harris’s Midnight, Texas trilogy after being turned off by the first Sookie book, but it was good enough that I read the other two — and they’re certainly genre. (I’ve forgotten how soon we learn that tur ivyyntr rkvfgf ng yrnfg cnegyl gb xrrc Fbzrguvat haqre gur fbyr vagrefrpgvba.) ISFDB says it takes place “in the Sookie-verse”, but it’s pretty well detached (only connection they cite is Quinn appearing in books 2 and 3); they say it also pulls in characters from the two mundane series you mention and from a series “Harper Connelly“, which they classify as “paranormal mystery”

  3. 10) Was the Borg Queen (an idea I still kind of dislike) an example of a character who carried over from the films to a TV series?

  4. Sandra Miesel also authored the fantasy novel “Dreamrider” (Ace 1982), which was revised, expanded and retitled “Shaman” (Bean 1989). With David Drake, she co-edited two anthologies for Baen, “A Separate Star” and “Heads To The Storm,” both containing stories written in tribute to Rudyard Kipling.

  5. 11) Sadly (or not, depending), rats don’t live anywhere near 10 years. Wild rats maybe a year, white/hooded rats two or three. I think I had one for four. We built him a little wooden casket, and I put his funeral picture on the back cover of an issue of my fanzine Khatru. I think I only got one complaint about inflicting my readers with a photo of a dead rat.

  6. @10: Also, Jane Wyatt returned as Amanda Grayson in Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales.

  7. 3) that collection is stunning. Lots of cool Star Trek, Voyage, X-Men, etc., stuff, really excellent.

    I note he’s offering a Lost in Space lunchbox – the same one I have. I will also note he’s not selling a Fireball XL5 lunchbox like the one I also have.

  8. Interesting birthdays today (yesterday)!

    Born November 25, 1974 — Sarah Monette, 45.

    I keep waiting impatiently for her to publish another book. I thought the Companion to Wolves (Iskryne) books were kind of a mess, but I loved the Melusine books (warning to prospective readers: much much angst!) and Goblin Emperor.

    I keep meaning to read her short work, but I never seem to get around to it!

  9. Contrarius, Monette/Addison should be publishing a sequel to The Goblin Emperor (or at least another book in the same setting) at some point–I remember Tor announcing it last year.

  10. @Contrarius: I keep hoping Monette and Elizabeth Bear will write another of their cosmic horror in the outer solar system stories. Another collection of Kyle Murchison Booth stories would also be neat.

  11. @Patrick —

    Another collection of Kyle Murchison Booth stories would also be neat.

    I don’t know why I keep not reading her short stuff. Bad me!

  12. 10) I’ve read a lot of Poul Anderson, but my favorite works are a little more obscure: Hrolf Kraki’s Saga and The Broken Sword. Kraki in particular is written with an intensity and grace that a lot of other Anderson works don’t have.

  13. I read the Iskryne books in part because they’ve been adopted as a (lesser known) fanfic trope/fusion fandom (largely because of Dira Sudis’ excellent – and very NSFW – Generation Kill/Iskryne Every Marine a Wolfbrother fusion fic series) and it was fascinating to see that the original version was a deconstruction/criticism of the sf/f romance trope that fanfic converted it right back into.

    Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison has a book called The Angel of the Crows coming out in June next year, but it isn’t set in The Goblin Emperor’s universe (that’ll be Witness for the Dead, about the Witness who Maia hired to investigate the assassination, but it’s not finished yet). Fantasy novel set in 1880s Victorian London, apparently. And of course historical (not fantasy) novel The Cobbler’s Boy, co-written with Elizabeth Bear about a young Christopher Marlowe, came out last year.

  14. @Meredith —

    Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison has a book called The Angel of the Crows coming out in June next year, but it isn’t set in The Goblin Emperor’s universe (that’ll be Witness for the Dead, about the Witness who Maia hired to investigate the assassination, but it’s not finished yet). Fantasy novel set in 1880s Victorian London, apparently. And of course historical (not fantasy) novel The Cobbler’s Boy, co-written with Elizabeth Bear about a young Christopher Marlowe, came out last year.

    Thanks! And yes, I forgot to mention The Cobbler’s Boy. Only a vella, though, IIRC?

  15. @Contrarius

    Possibly! I didn’t check the word count. It’s certainly quite short. I thought it was a charming light read, but not especially deep, especially compared to (the perfect, in my not so humble opinion) The Goblin Emperor or the ambitious-if-flawed Iskryne. (I also spent a little while waiting for the magic to turn up before I twigged that it was not that sort of book, but that isn’t its fault.) I’ve not got to her other older work yet so I can’t compare to those.

  16. @Meredith —

    I’ve not got to her other older work yet so I can’t compare to those.

    I loved the Melusine books to death. They are incredibly vivid and gripping — but full appreciation does require a dedicated angst lover!

  17. And this is good old Fileston
    The home of the Filers (some odd)
    Where the Pixels are posted by OGH
    And the Scrollers Stalk only God

  18. As mentioned previously in these pages, China forbids publication of all stories that involve or mention time travel, likely because China under the current regime is perfect in every way, and anything which transports people back to before 1949 and possibly changes history—think Ward Moore’s Bring the Jubilee—is not tolerated.

    So a Chinese worldcon? Highly unlikely. Especially in the wake of events in 1989 in Tiananmen Square, and currently in Hong Kong.

    And China is a totalitarian state, for Ghu sake!

  19. @Contrarius

    I have a… difficult relationship with angst. Sometime’s it’s fine! Sometimes I get angst fatigue and stop caring. Not easy to predict which it’ll be. I noped out of A Game of Thrones and The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I got along fine with The Poppy War, which is arguably angstier than either of those so… ¯_(?)_/¯

    ETA: Curses. That was meant to be the shrug emoji.

  20. 10) And there’s the inventor of warp drive Zefram Cochrane, who was portrayed by two different actors in the episode “Metamorphosis” and Star Trek: First Contact.

  21. @JGS: And James Cromwell, who plays the character in First Contact, reprises the role in the first episode of Enterprise.

  22. What about Nomad from the OS episode “Changeling”, who reappeared as V’ger in TMP? 😀

    Poul Anderson has a lot of good stuff. One that deserves to not be overlooked is his standalone Fire Time.

    Excited to hear about a sequel to The Goblin Emperor. That was a surprisingly good book. Not my usual cup of tea, but so well done that I couldn’t put it down.

  23. @Patrick Morris Miller: And Cromwell turns up as an alternate version of Cochrane in another episode of Enterprise.

  24. Andrew Porter: So a Chinese worldcon? Highly unlikely. Especially in the wake of events in 1989 in Tiananmen Square, and currently in Hong Kong. And China is a totalitarian state, for Ghu sake!

    All that’s required is enough Site Selection ballots by paid members of DisCon III. The last time Site Selection was contested, it took 675 ballots to win [($50+$50) x 675 = $67,500].

    Given how much money the Chinese government just spent on vacation trips, fancy meals, and vanity marquee posters for a bunch of non-Chinese conrunners and science fiction authors in order to suck up to them (WAG: 25 people x $3,000 each = $75,000), the Chinese government seems to be pretty determined to win support for a Chengdu Worldcon, and I don’t know why them buying a bunch of DisCon memberships and Site Selection voting tokens for Chinese fans would seem that unlikely.

  25. @Meredith —

    I noped out of A Game of Thrones and The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I got along fine with The Poppy War, which is arguably angstier than either of those so… ¯_(?)_/¯

    Haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Game of Thrones strikes me as entirely different. The Poppy War is grimmer, though the Melusine books themselves are pretty grim.

    Have you ever read Carol Berg? I would put the Melusine books somewhere in that same general vicinity of angstiness and characters-being-put-through-hell as what Berg writes.

    In current reading, I just a minute ago finished Middlegame by our friend Seanan McGuire. Whoooooooo Boy!

    I have said many times that I usually am not quite simpatico with McGuire’s writing. But boy, you can forget all that with this one. I saw a remark somewhere that this book was “the sound of McGuire leveling up” (I’m paraphrasing a bit) — and that’s absolutely right. This book isn’t like anything I’ve read from her before. Standing around-the-world-clap ovation from me.

    IOW — yes, I liked it. 🙂

    As I mentioned in a previous scroll, just about every book I’m reading these days seems to vaibyir gvzr geniry — naq guvf bar qbrf gbb! That’s not much of a spoiler, but it’s kinda fun to notice the clues as you read along, so I’ll keep it in rot13. I don’t want to say too much about this one, but it’s about a brother and sister who are separated at birth (we know this all along, but they don’t), and what happens after they find each other. And also about a beloved series of children’s books and how they relate to these siblings. And also about whether the world does or does not end. 😉

    The plot starts a bit slowly, but it’s pretty fun even when not too much is happening. I loved the narrative voice — again, not at all what I normally expect from McGuire. In audio it’s read by Amber Benson, and I mostly thought she did a great job. She does have a somewhat annoying accent — it turns words like “them” and “hem” and “set” into “thim” and “him” and “sit”, which grated a bit — and she uses a New Yorkish accent for a character who is supposed to have a Massachusetts accent — but I enjoyed her delivery.

    Thumbs up.

  26. @ Andrew Porter. I don’t think having a worldcon in China implies approval of the government. I am inclined to feel it’s best to have worldcon in many different areas including unfree ones to support local fans and give them a chance to meet and discuss ‘unapproved’ ideas.

    @JJ The Chinese government is all excited about Worldcon now but who knows what they will think by next year? This time last year they were all about historic dramas promoting Chinese culture, then they decided these dramas were promoting decadence and harming society. That’s my main concern about Chengdu bid, what happens if there is a last minute political dispute like with the NBA? Can we be assured the event will still happen?

  27. bookworm1398: I don’t think having a worldcon in China implies approval of the government. I am inclined to feel it’s best to have worldcon in many different areas including unfree ones to support local fans and give them a chance to meet and discuss ‘unapproved’ ideas.
    The Chinese government is all excited about Worldcon now but who knows what they will think by next year? … That’s my main concern about Chengdu bid, what happens if there is a last minute political dispute like with the NBA? Can we be assured the event will still happen?

    No, we can’t be assured that the event would happen if the Chinese government wanted it cancelled — or that if it did happen, that any discussion of “unapproved” ideas would be allowed. When asked at the Dublin Worldcon Bid Q&A if sessions on LBGTQ issues would be permitted, the spokespersons for the Chengdu bid dodged the question.

    The fact that the Chinese government just gave free vacations to a bunch of SMOFs to go to an SF conference run by the Chinese government indicates to me a strong possibility that they would likely be in control of a Chengdu Worldcon behind the scenes — and that troubles me greatly. And if that were the case, there would be no way for Worldcon members to know about it, and Worldcon members would have no way to ensure that the convention took place, and without government interference.

  28. @Xtifr: Nomad and V’ger were two different probes.

    @Andrew Porter: what do a site’s boundaries on acceptable SF have to do with whether it can host a Worldcon? Real voters (as opposed to @JJ’s ~droids) may or may not consider this (or even the fact that China is a totalitarian state, given that it is also enthusiastic about most foreign tourists) to be relevant.

    @JJ: I don’t know whether your raw estimate is plausible, since I don’t know what tourism in China costs. There is room for a sliver of optimism in that most of that could be phony money — the CCP probably told the airline to give the fans tickets and the hotel to lodge and board them — where buying memberships in the US would cost real money. On the other hand, considering that it was recently revealed that China dropped six figures in real money on one not-very-successful spy, buying a Worldcon — whether or not they use money orders from a Brooklyn post office — would be trivial. One wonders whether the 45-year-old scenario from the MAc 1 PRs could come to pass.

  29. Chip Hitchcock on November 26, 2019 at 7:53 pm said:

    Nomad and V’ger were two different probes.

    Sure, that’s what they want you to believe! But I’m tellin’ you, man, the truth is out there!

    Oh, wait, wrong show. 😀

  30. For a list of “Essential Poul Anderson”, I’d definitely include THE BROKEN SWORD. The audiobook, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, is very good.

    I remarked on Twitter that the default response to Seanan McGuire’s work is Damn, She’s Good,” but that MIDDLEGAME is in Holy Fucking Shit territory.

  31. Bruce Arthurs says I remarked on Twitter that the default response to Seanan McGuire’s work is Damn, She’s Good,” but that MIDDLEGAME is in Holy Fucking Shit territory.

    Almost everything she write is damn, good but the charms of the October Daye series have so far escaped me. I’ve tried. I just haven’t found the premise interesting. Now when she’s good, she’s really good. Be it the Indexing or Sparrow Hill Road series to single out but two of her works, damn, she’s really good.

  32. 12) Though bats aren’t rodents, so I don’t know why Bruce is complaining about curbed spending on rodent-themed flood lights.

  33. Yes, as the famous paper by that preeminent researcher, Dr. Calvin, clearly demonstrated: Bats are bugs! 😀

  34. @Contrarius

    [Amber Benson] does have a somewhat annoying accent — it turns words like “them” and “hem” and “set” into “thim” and “him” and “sit”, which grated a bit

    She’s from Birmingham, Alabama — that’s a Southern accent you’re dissing.

  35. @bill–

    She’s from Birmingham, Alabama — that’s a Southern accent you’re dissing.

    So, even less appropriate for a character whose accent should be Massachusetts.

  36. bill on November 27, 2019 at 3:25 pm said:
    My memory of a southern accent is that it tends to turn “sit” into “set”, and “them” is more like “thee-em”. But it’s definitely nothing like a Massachusetts accent.

  37. @Bill —

    She’s from Birmingham, Alabama — that’s a Southern accent you’re dissing.

    I’ve lived south of the Mason-Dixon line for more than 50 years. Go teach your grandma to suck eggs — that ain’t no Southern accent.

    I know she was born in Alabama — I looked that up as soon as I started getting annoyed — but I suspect she picked that up after she moved to LA.

    Fun Fact: a Southerner would be much more likely to say “theyem” for “them” rather than saying “thim”.

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