Pixel Scroll 11/7/21 Sufficiently Advanced Robot Sheep Might Not Obey You

(1) THE UNANTICIPATED METAVERSE. “Neal Stephenson talks about his climate thriller — and why the metaverse didn’t match his vision”GeekWire has a Q&A.

Who’ll lead the effort to address climate change? “In my book, it’s a billionaire, because it makes for a good story. I don’t know how realistic that is. It’s more likely to be governments that are less democratic, frankly. If you look at the way the United States and the U.K. both responded to coronavirus, we weren’t even able to get a large part of the population to agree that it was a real thing, even though people were dying by the hundreds of thousands. … I’m pessimistic about our ability to get people to agree that human-caused climate change is a real thing, much less to agree on taking expensive and difficult steps to deal with that problem.”

On the future of democracy: “To be clear, I’m not a big fan of non-democratic countries. I’m a democracy guy all the way. But if the question we’re talking about is, ‘Can the big democracies like the U.S. and the U.K. get behind expensive and difficult action to address climate change?’ … Right now I have to be realistic and say that doesn’t look that likely.”…

(2) STRANGER THINGS TEASER. Variety breaks it down: “’Stranger Things’ Season 4 Teaser Shows Life Beyond Hawkins”.

…In it, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Will are living new lives in California, where Eleven seems to be having a hard time adjusting, although she doesn’t admit that when writing to Mike (Finn Wolfhard). Her letter serves as narration for the teaser, which you can watch below.

“I even like school now. I have made lots of friends,” she says, as she’s ignored by peers in the school hallway. “Even so, I am ready for spring break, mostly because I get to see you. We will have the best spring break ever.”

The teaser ends in a montage of classic “Stranger Things” chaos: explosions, car chases, a creepy doll, a military arrest and more. The song “A Place In California” by Jeremiah Burnham plays in the background as the teaser comes to a close….

(3) CORFLU 38. At Corflu Concorde in Bristol, England this weekend, Sandra Bond was named Past President of the Fan Writers of America for 2020. Bond also was Corflu’s GoH – always determined by drawing an attendee’s name from a hat.

(4) RETURN OF MASSIVE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Tom Faber discusses “massively multiplayer online role-playing games” or MMORPGs.

In recent years there has been a marked absence of exciting new projects.  While other games have evolved, MMORPGs have stagnated.  They got bigger, but not better.  One of the more popular recent releases is World of Warcraft Classic, which restores the game back to its unadorned first iteration:  many players would rather go backwards than forwards. Sometimes I wonder: did the games change?  Or did we?

Just because there hasn’t been another blockbuster doesn’t mean the genre is dead.  If one game can claim to have assumed World of Warcraft‘s mantle, it is 2013’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, a game that was rebuilt after a failed 2010 relaunch and has since cultivated a dedicated community of 24m players. Meanwhile New World, with its 17th century setting and focus on crafting, drummed up healthy viewing numbers on Twitch — though it has recently been shedding players.  We are also beginning to address the first MMORPGs born through crowdfunding, including the new release Crowfall and the upcoming Pantheon and Ashes of Creation.

(5) DOWNLOAD ELLIS’ ART SALE CATALOG. Doug Ellis has issued his new art sale catalog, devoted entirely to the art of Virgil Finlay, with over 300 originals, as well as ephemera such as cover proofs.  

Please note that only one of the pieces is a published illustration; the others are a mixture of science fiction/fantasy and astrology preliminaries, sketches, personal pieces, abstract art and paintings.  If you saw the Finlay material I had at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention two months ago, you’ll still want to take a look, as over half the art in this catalog wasn’t at the show.  This material all comes from Finlay’s estate, and I’m selling it on behalf of his granddaughter.

You can download the catalog (325 pages, about 90 MB) from Wetransfer or Dropbox.

(6) REVIVAL HOUR. If you thought it had been awhile since you last saw an issue of Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, you were right.  

After 15 years, a new dawn for Penumbric

For a few years in the early 2000s, there was an edgy little speculative fiction magazine called Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine. It published fiction, art, poetry, graphic narratives … and online, yet! But then it got a little too hubristic, and it tried to be a print magazine, too (I mean, you couldn’t just be online, could you?) … and the magazine sank.

It’s time to rise again. Reincarnate.

When submissions open, this is what they’ll be looking for:

I would love to see submissions representing not only multiple cultures but subcultures, exploring issues of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and many things I haven’t thought of. Does this mean you have to represent everybody and everything in 1000 words? Of course not. But be aware that we are creating a magazine that overall reaches and represents the true diversity of the world we live in.

In terms of genre, I am looking for work that constitutes the ever-moving edge of its kind, as a place between light and dark, consciousness and un, today and tomorrow; work exhibiting the strange, the bizarre, that which is not of the world we know, but more of a twilight realm or even altogether alien place. Not necessarily science fiction, not necessarily fantasy, not necessarily horror, and not necessarily not these things. In short, ideally edgy. Maybe even idealistically edgy. I am NOT looking for porn.

(7) IT’S NICE AND EASY ON THE OTHER SIDE. Auralee Wallace makes the case for cozy paranormal romances: “The Charm of the Paranormal Cozy: An Appreciation” at CrimeReads.

Oh, we live in troubled times, don’t we? I could list all the things wrong with the world, but why bother? All you have to do is turn on the TV, or scroll through social media, or simply walk down the street and you’ll likely be inundated with the many terrible crises we’re all facing. Who needs more of that? No, instead of reminding you of what’s wrong with the world, I’d like to offer you an escape. An escape to a world that seems much like our own but with a few key differences. It’s a world where you can expect to be handled gently. Where you can snap your fingers or wiggle your nose and life becomes miraculously easier. Here you can rest safely in the knowledge that there are forces of good working behind the scenes, and, if you’re lucky, you might just catch a peek through the veil to other side. It’s not only a world where comfort is savored and valued; it’s one where justice always prevails, killers are always caught, and the murders are at least a little bit cozy….

(8) TEXAS-SIZED SFF COLLECTION. A video introduction to the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University, housing one of the largest science fiction and fantasy collections in the country. Featuring a sneak peek at Kristen Britain’s archive.

(9) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1997 — Twenty-four years ago, Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers premiered. It’s based rather loosely off Robert Heinlein’s Hugo Award winning novel.  It had a cast of Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards Jake Busey,  Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Muldoon and Michael Ironside, and it received a mixed reception by critics ranging from utterly loathing it to really, really loving it and a generally negative one by most SF fans; it currently garners a rather excellent seventy percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes among the quarter million audience reviewers who’ve given an opinion, and never earned backed its hundred million budget taking in just a hundred and twenty million. It would spawn a number of sequels, universally bad, and one superb animated series that was unfortunately not completed. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 7, 1910 Pearl Argyle. Catherine CabalI in the 1936 Things to Come as written by H.G. Wells based off his “The Shape of Things to Come” story. Being a dancer, she also appeared in 1926 The Fairy Queen opera by Henry Purcell, with dances by Marie Rambert and Frederick Ashton. Her roles were Dance of the Followers of Night, an attendant on Summer, and Chaconne. (Died 1947.)
  • Born November 7, 1914 R. A. Lafferty. Writer known for somewhat eccentric usage of language.  His first novel Past Master would set a lifelong pattern of seeing his works nominated for Hugo and Nebula Awards but not winning either though he won a Hugo short story at Torcon II for “Eurema’s Dam”.  He did receive a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and he also received the Cordwainer Smith Foundation’s Rediscovery award. (Died 2002.)
  • Born November 7, 1934 Wendy Williams. You know I’ll work in a Doctor Who reference if I can.  She was in a Fourth Doctor story, “The Ark in Space” as Vira. Other genre appearances include Danger Man,  Leap in the DarkJack the Ripper and The Further Adventures of the Musketeers. (Died 2019.)
  • Born November 7, 1950 Lindsay Duncan, 71. Adelaide Brooke in the Tenth Doctor‘s “The Waters of Mars” story and the recurring role Lady Smallwood on Sherlock in “His Last Vow,” “The Six Thatchers,” and “The Lying Detective”. She’s also been in Black MirrorA Discovery of WitchesFrankensteinThe Storyteller: Greek MythsMission: 2110 and one of my favorite series, The New Avengers.
  • Born November 7, 1960 Linda Nagata, 61. Her novella “Goddesses” was the first online publication to win the Nebula Award. She writes largely in the Nanopunk genre which is not be confused with the Biopunk genre. To date, she has three series out, to wit The Nanotech SuccessionStories of the Puzzle Lands (as Trey Shiels) and The Red. She has won a Locus Award for Best First Novel for The Bohr Maker which the first novel in The Nanotech Succession. Her 2013 story “Nahiku West” was runner-up for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and The Red: First Light was nominated for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her site is here.
  • Born November 7, 1954 Guy Gavriel Kay, 67. The story goes that when Christopher Tolkien needed an assistant to edit his father J. R. R. Tolkien’s unpublished work, he chose Kay who was being a student of philosophy at the University of Manitoba. And Kay moved to Oxford in 1974 to assist Tolkien in editing The Silmarillion. Cool, eh? The Finovar trilogy which I love is the retelling of the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere which is why much of his fiction is considered historical fantasy. Tigana likewise which is wonderful somewhat resembles renaissance Italy. My favorite work by him is Ysabel which strangely enough is called an urban fantasy when it isn’t. It won a World Fantasy Award. Let’s not forget that he was the Toastmaster at ConFrancisco.
  • Born November 7, 1974 Carl Steven. He appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as a young Spock, thereby becoming the first actor other than Leonard Nimoy to play the role in a live action setting. Genre one-offs included Weird ScienceTeen Wolf and Superman.  He provided the voice of a young Fred Jones for four seasons worth of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo which can be construed as genre. His life didn’t end well. (Died 2011.)

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) ICONIC MODEL. Robert K. Jones chronicles “Jeffrey Catherine Jones’ Unknown Muse” in The Comics Journal.

You’ve seen her, but few people know her name.

She appears in some of Jeffrey Catherine Jones’ most famous paintings, notably The Wall (1977), Seated (1983), and the covers for fantasy books such as The Undying Wizard (1975). She was also the most prominent model for the idiosyncratic strip Idyl published by National Lampoon during the years 1972-1976. 

Yet, outside the artists’ circle of friends, almost no one knows anything about Jones’ most referenced, most enigmatic model: Sandi Zinaman (1952-2015), a librarian, artist and caterer who lived most of her life in New York state’s Hudson Valley…. 

(13) BUG OR FEATURE? “Why Doctor Who’s TARDIS Make its Iconic Sound?” CBR.com summons clicks with the question, “But is it actually supposed to, or is it user error?”

Any Doctor Who fan will instantly recognize the distinctive wheezing sound the TARDIS makes whenever it materializes or dematerializes. Variously dubbed the “vworp-vworp,” “vwoorp” or “vwoorpy” by fans of the franchise as well as several characters in-universe, the noise is as iconic as the time machine’s blue police box exterior.

For most of the show’s long run, fans and creators alike assumed the noise was simply part of the TARDIS, as intrinsic as its bigger-than-the-outside interior and temperamental, semi-sentient nature. It wasn’t until New Who and the Eleventh Doctor’s run that showrunner Steven Moffat invented an explanation for the sound effect — though some feel it is a rather dicey one. As with many factoids in the long-running, ever-changing universe of Doctor Who, there are plenty of canon occurrences that directly contradict this explanation, as well. So what is the truth behind the vwoorpy?…

(14) THEY PUT THINGS IN OUR EARS TO CONTROL OUR MINDS. WYNC’s On the Media did a segment on “The Science Fiction Origins of the Metaverse”.

When Facebook changed its name to Meta, after the Metaverse, many were quick to identify the term’s origin: Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk classic Snow CrashBut the novel hardly paints an optimistic future—runway inflation, collapsed governments, and a maniacal media magnate who uses the Metaverse to, get this, destroy people’s minds. It begs the question: did Zuckerberg misread it?

This week, Brooke speaks with Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, Annalee Newitz, former Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo and science fiction author, and Gene Seymour, longtime cultural critic, to unpack the literary world behind the social media giant’s new name. They discuss why the tech moguls love science fiction so much, the perils of reading these “world-building” novels too literally, and how new forms of the genre today are already making the Metaverse look obsolete.

(15) PLOT HATCHED. My Retro Computer is in the business of selling PC’s in shells that look like early days home computers.

Do you remember your first home computer?

Was it a Commodore 64, Vic 20 or an Amiga? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a modern day PC in a retro computer shell?

Here at My Retro Computer we aim to do just that. We believe the PC market is boring and stagnated, it needs a new fresh approach – retro is the new modern.

Starting with the famous C-64 we aim to expand the range to include the Vic20, A-500 and possibly the spectrum ranges.

(16) VACUUM WRAPPED. The Late Show With Stephen Colbert didn’t waste any time in mocking SpaceX’s little problem: “Launch Pads Are The New NASA-Approved Diapers”.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, John A Arkansawyer, Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, 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 Daniel Dern.]

42 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/7/21 Sufficiently Advanced Robot Sheep Might Not Obey You

  1. First!

    May I say that Starship Troopers is one of those films that’s awesomely pulpy? I saw it twice and I’m not convinced that it’s that bad as long as one completely ignores its origins.

  2. click

    I hear that Starship Troopers the movie has become a cult classic as a satire of fascism.

  3. Rob Thornton says I hear that Starship Troopers the movie has become a cult classic as a satire of fascism.

    I can certainly see that. Verhooven’s imagery invokes fascism clear enough.

  4. 4) I was a Runescape girl for a while, but I got bored with it and then I had trouble trying to run it on Linux, and since I wasn’t willing to subscribe eventually I’d done all the quests and there wasn’t really anything else to do. The problem with an MMO over a regular video game is that it’s much harder to have a compelling story in something that by definition can’t really railroad you, and absent a compelling story it’s basically all level-grinding fetch quests. (Though I guess some people are into that?)

  5. My takeway from Starship Troopers were the soldiers (without the armor that was such a central part of the actual story of course) surrounding a bug in a circle maybe 20 feet across and all firing their automatic weapons inward furiously. I’m pretty sure that isn’t the way they would be trained. For my money, anything that stupid loses any claim it had on being satire.

  6. I spent several years being addicted to Star Wars Galaxies (an early and extremely buggy MMO) before embracing WoW for over a decade. I just recently cancelled out of WoW; I was going to wait and see if their lawsuit survived the summary judgment stage but when they got caught destroying evidence I quit in disgust.

    I was one of those awful WoW players who never read quest text and always hit esc to bypass the cut scenes. I am absolutely not interested in MMOs for their storytelling, and in fact I sort of resent passive entertainment, which is a large part of the appeal MMOs have for me (I see maybe ten movies a year, if that, and rarely watch TV). For me, the story was about how my character accumulated collectables and achievements and interactions, and about socializing with other people playing the same way. I’ve thought about trying to find a new MMO because I’ve spent the holidays opening presents in Orgrimmar for the past decade and I really do enjoy living in an imaginary virtual world full of other cartoon characters while real life is stuck in holiday mode.

  7. 15) This bit of retro marketing is nice, but it wouldn’t work with me. I was one of the S-100 bus drivers. My first computer was a clunking big S-100 machine. CPU box weighed in at 70 pounds, and the terminal another 45. It ran CP/M and Word Star. I traded it in on a Kaypro II (another CP/M machine), which I still have, and which remains in working condition.

  8. Rochrist: I know after the movie came out fans spent a good year or two ridiculing the absurd military tactics and strange omissions in the infantry weapons of the future – with good reason. And being outraged that better use hadn’t been made of Heinlein’s book (Heinlein still being in great favor then). I totally subscribed to the criticisms. So it’s unsettling how the narrative turned around to be “This is a big satire, fooled you literal-minded dimwits.”

    Yet now and then I re-watch it without any expectations or thought of Heinlein, and get as much entertainment as from Gary Cooper’s Beau Geste or Patrick Swayze’s Road House. Time has made it another over-the-top period piece for me.

  9. Chris Garcia: I suppose they could stick the guts of a smartphone in a Timex Sinclair body, too.

  10. @ Christopher John Garcia:

    Well, there’s always https://github.com/brainsqueezer/salto_simulator but I don’t know how buildable it is, these days.

    My first computer is one of those “it gets fuzzy”. The first one I owned was a ZX-81, with a third-party 16 KB RAM pack, a joystick interface, a sound card, and a hi-res graphics adapter (but, using all at the same time caused excessive RAM pack wobble).

    I think the first I actually wrote programs on was the ABC-80, though. And there were certainly playing around with Specturms, VIC-20s and the occasional VIC-64.

  11. Charon Dunn: If you like collecting in MMORPGs you should give FFXIV a try. It has TONS of collectables.

  12. 10) I’ve bounced off most of Linda Nagata’s books that I’ve tried, but I enjoyed Vast a lot and still re-read it from time to time. If you’re looking for recommendations then that’s my suggested place to start.

  13. 6
    An idea before it’s time. And a reminder of the wacky naughties and the pace of change.

    “Parental Unit, did you really spend most of your free time passively experiencing non-interactive data feeds of such low resolution and low fidelity?”

    “It was a different time, Offspring, not anything like these advanced, modern 2030s. I hope you are enjoying the Moon’s negligible G.”

    “Thank you, Parental Unit, I hope you are experiencing the full Sensorial Gestalt of Innerspace (TM). I’ll see you in the Inf/Ocean. Take care!”

    14
    I’d vote for selective memory on zucks part. A common ailment. Proves he’s just like us after all. Faulty logic chips and problematic reason processes and all that human jazz.

    15
    I didn’t have a computer until much later, maybe some mid-90s Mac. However I do remember seeing when I was a kid what I think was an Atari ST 500 being demoed at some local discount Mart, S or K or Magic, or maybe TG&Y, and I dug the feel and look of the keyboard.

    If computers had started out as smartphones, i’d’ve been a lot more interested. Those huge boxes were both tedious and intimidating. Well, to me.

    9
    Or immemorial lane, for me. Saw it–twice; don’t remember anything about it. Read the book once, and don’t remember anything about it either.

    To quote the master, “There’s some men you just can’t reach.”

  14. OGH remembered:

    And my father bought an Osborne. How could I forget that?

    Indeed, I had one too. It was the size and weight of a sewing machine. Why anyone would want to resto-mod a computer back to that level of ‘portability’ is beyond me, to say nothing about screen size and older eyes.

    13) Nerd-gearheads of my aquaintance routinely argue about the best sound to emanate from an EV to warn pedestrians of it’s approach. We have settled upon, in no particular order: TARDIS, TIE Fighter, and Godzilla roar/stomp.

    DecibelStalk!

  15. I enjoy Nagata’s short fiction, including Goddesses, which was unique when it was published but would seem familiar today, which suggests it was an influential story. I have not read any of her novels, though her latest about extreme weather tempted me.

    I thought Lafferty was da bomb when I was a kid. Fave story, Smoe and the Implicit Clay.

    Also,.I bought a copy of God Stalk yesterday. Let’s chalk it up to ambient influence.

  16. @Brown Robin

    I wasn’t really aware of her short fiction for some reason – I’ll have to look for some of it. And if you’re looking at novels, I know a lot of people liked The Red trilogy, though I think I found it too plausibly dystopian to get very far myself

    And I’m fond of R A Laffery too – for me he’s the only bearable self-declared heir of Chesterton. (Not that Chesterton was always bearable either, I suppose.) Lots of good short stories, of course, but The Reefs of Earth and Fourth Mansions are the books that really stick with me

  17. The fact that Starship Troopers was satire seemed pretty incontrovertible to me the moment Doogie Howser walked onscreen in an SS uniform. (As for whether it’s good satire, that’s more a matter of opinion.)

    I always assumed that the bad tactics – like the inward circular firing squad – were part and parcel with that, since a certain part of anti-fascism is puncturing the myth that Hitler was a military genius.

  18. @Matthew Johnson

    And also a poke at the hype about the US military during – portrayed as clean, high-tech, and omnicompetent- after the first Gulf War, which was a major reference point for the the film in general.

  19. Ack, I hate missing someone’s birthday, especially someone I consider a friend. I knew it was Kay’s birthday today, but didn’t realize Linda Nagata is his birthday twin.

  20. Paul Weimer says Ack, I hate missing someone’s birthday, especially someone I consider a friend. I knew it was Kay’s birthday today, but didn’t realize Linda Nagata is his birthday twin.

    Yeah, that’s a truly great pair of authors. I just looked on Audible and there’s a fair amount of her work there, so I should listen one of her novels soon. Kay’s an old favorite of mine with, as I said, Ysabel being my best loved novel of his.

    I’m just wrapping up that Midnight Louie novel so I’ll need to decide what to listen to next. Most likely it’ll be to the next to last Expanse novel as I really want to see how that series wraps up.

  21. 15) Vic-20 for me-which I still have-and then a C=64, which I do not, though I still have a box full of 5 1/4″ floppies, including a large number of Electronic Arts games (Archon is the best game EVAR!)

  22. I adamantly maintain that my Smith-Corona correcting typewriter was my first computer.

    The actual first computer was a custom-built 286 that I bought with a back paycheck from a labor complaint that went all the way to the Supreme Court (denied cert). That was somewhat of an achievement, considering that the employer in question was a defense contractor with–ahem–shady backgrounds and this was during the Reagan administration.

  23. @Christopher John Garcia and @Ingvar,

    There’s also ContrAltoJS which emulates a Xerox Alto in Javascript, in your web browser – based on ContrAlto from The Living Computer Museum.

  24. @Maytree Lots of people seem to be migrating to Final Fantasy but I can’t quite get on board with the theme. Collecting is fun and at one point I had most of the WoW battle pets and mounts but my real passion is realtime strategy. Which is more difficult now, due to creeping arthritis, so I’m making do with low impact strategy, nearly finished playing out Civ VI and about to move to Crusader Kings III. I miss the part about sitting around making bad jokes with a couple dozen players from various countries though.

  25. I still have the second computer I bought; it runs DOS. No CD/DVD drive, no USB ports, 3 and 5-inch floppies.

  26. @John Winkelman : Archon was a lot of fun. I played it a lot on a friend’s Commodore.

  27. I remember a version of Artillery, on an HP graphics machine, where the mountain was two nice sinusoidal curves connected at the center, and the trajectory curved realistically. (I was shooting over a very high mountain into a very strong wind, and the shell came back and landed right on top of me. But it was fun watching it.) The explosions were line-drawn, with a bigger one when it hit the emplacement.

    That was at a party, where there were also a couple of borrowed Plato terminals. People were enjoying that version of a flight simulator, though one person got extremely dead when he realized his F16 (or thereabouts) was going to need a tunnel to complete the loop, pulled up sharply, and the wings game off. (“Your body resembles a pepperoni pizza spread across the landscape.”

  28. 8). Jeremy Brett has been doing a great job as the latest curator of the Cushing Library SF Collection. The original curator I believe was Hal Hall, who I worked for one semester as a student worker along with author Steve Gould. George Martin’s huge collection of boxes covers one wall, and is appropriately called “The Wall.” It has books, manuscripts, awards (such as Andre Norton’s SFWA Grand Master award) and all kinds of swag authors have donated.

    15) mmmm, my first computer was technically an Amdahl 470 v/6, but it wasn’t a home computer 😉 So I guess my first one was the venerable Commodore 64. I spent quite a few evenings using a 300 baud modem to connect to a physics department Vax to play the pre-commercial version of Zork and the old Star Trek game. Oh, and I ran up some huge hourly connection fees on Compuserve, so that I had skip depositing paychecks but cashed them instead so I had money for food.

  29. Troyce: I remember hearing that the late Meade Frierson III, an Alabama lawyer, was having a great time playing a game in his first month on Compuserve. Then a bill for over $2000 arrived…

  30. @PJ:

    I remember a version of Artillery, on an HP graphics machine, where the mountain was two nice sinusoidal curves connected at the center

    I played an artillery game called “Scorched Earth” which I greatly enjoyed

  31. I must admit that I still haven’t seen Starship Troopers. An adaptation of one of my least favorite Heinlein novels was not something I was going to rush out and see. And, while I said at the time that the only way I’d be interested in it is if it was a bad adaptation, the fact that I quickly heard it was a bad adaptation didn’t actually make me want to see it. For some reason. 🙂

    My first home computer was a Kim-1, which was a bare circuit board with a hex keypad and no shell. I’m betting they don’t have one like that! Also, I’d probably be more interested in something like a Raspberry Pi in a retro shell than a PC in one.

    Regarding Linda Nagata, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried so far, but my favorite is probably her recent Inverted Frontier series.

  32. Xtifr says I must admit that I still haven’t seen Starship Troopers. An adaptation of one of my least favorite Heinlein novels was not something I was going to rush out and see. And, while I said at the time that the only way I’d be interested in it is if it was a bad adaptation, the fact that I quickly heard it was a bad adaptation didn’t actually make me want to see it. For some reason.

    Well I certainly wouldn’t recommend that you hurry out and see it. I’ve seen it twice, once at the cinema, and once on the small screen while doing other things. It’s not bad but it’ll never be considered that great a SF film.

    I think the the Roughnecks animated series that Verhooven made was far, far superior to this film even if it’s even less faithful to the novel. Certainly the characters were much more believable. And it’s worth noting that the whole fascism angle disappears here.

    I’ve read the novel I think three times. I sort of find it fascinating in the way that one finds a venomous snake fascinating. That whole world is replusive.

  33. Perhaps ‘Starship Troopers’ – is a good film in the same way that ‘The Cold Equations’ is a good story. Always provides much comment and strong opinions. And also food for thought. So both are useful in their own way, in spite of the source material or of the adaptation thereof.

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