Pixel Scroll 3/22/19 Dial P For Pixel

(1) LABORS OF LOVE. The Hugo Award Book Club has completed its series of articles on the depiction of labor unions in science fiction. Olav Rokne sent the links with a note, “I welcome any feedback, and appreciate being informed of any omissions.” 

At their peak in 1954, unions represented almost a third of workers in the United States, and it was easy to take their existence — and their action as a counterbalance to the power of capital — for granted. Even employees in non-union workplaces enjoyed gains because employers had to keep up with union shops to retain and recruit labour.

But despite their prevalence in society, labour unions were largely absent from science fictional narratives during the Golden Age, and their few portrayals in the genre are usually either comedic or antagonistic.

As labour activist and science fiction author Eric Flint pointed out atWorldCon76, the major contributors to the development of science fiction — from the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction through this era of union organizing and stability — were largely drawn from academic circles or the upper middle class. Despite working for a living, these authors and editors did not see themselves as part of the proletariat, and thus based their narratives on assumptions that their privileged working relationships allowed them to hold.

Cory Doctorow has been one of the leading lights of the genre’s reappraisal of the role of employment in society and the relationship between workers and employers. Tackling such subjects as employment precarity, labour mobility, and income inequality, Doctorow’s work consistently shows a strong understanding of the labour union world.

Of particular note is his 2010 novel For The Win which depicts a unionization drive amongst workers who are paid to gather resources in a World Of Warcraft-style online game. This depiction shows the necessity of worker organization in the face of capital overreach, and is informed by knowledge of the systemic flaws in traditional labour organizing.

The first unmistakable labour union in science fiction cinema that we were able to find is the Textile and Garment Workers Union depicted in the 1951 Ealing Studios comedy The Man In The White Suit. The film revolves around the invention of an indestructible fabric by a mild-mannered chemist played by Sir Alec Guinness, and the subsequent attempts by business and labour unions to suppress the invention. The depiction of unions in this movie is broad and largely inaccurate, depicting them as collaborating with management and encouraging industrial sabotage.

Despite these inaccuracies about how unions operate, we will be endorsing The Man In The White Suit for 1952 Retro Hugos, . It is in most ways a superb and thoughtful piece of science fiction about the introduction of a new technology, and is elevated by witty dialogue and star-worthy performances (Guinness was nominated for an Academy Award that year for a different comedy from the same studio).

(2) COLD READING. Wil Wheaton has done a free audiocast of a 1931 story from Astounding, “The Cave Of Horrors” by Captain S.P. Meek at Soundcloud.

I needed to get out of my comfort zone, so I went to Project Gutenberg, clicked through a few bookshelves until I got to classic Science Fiction, and decided to do an unrehearsed, essentially live narration of a story that was published in Astounding Stories of Super Science in 1931.

It’s not the greatest story I’ve ever read (if I’d read it before I narrated it, I wouldn’t have chosen it), but it’s a fine representative of that era’s genre fiction writing. I had some fun doing my best impression of someone reading it in 1931, and I recorded it to share with any of you who are interested in this sort of thing.

(3) DAYS OF YORE. Rob Hansen has added reports, photos, and publications from “Brumcon 2 – The 1965 Eastercon” to his British fanhistory site THEN. Charlie Winstone’s conreport sets the stage:

It all started some fifteen months ago, – the Brummies, in a fit of derring-do, talked Ken Cheslin into standing up and calling for the 1965 Convention venue to be Birmingham. This he did, not without some misgivings. After all the British Science-Fiction Association’s Committee was also centred upon Birmingham. Still, there were plenty of Brummies (Easter Brummies, as they were christened by Archie Mercer) around – it was surely not an impossible task to put on a Convention.

(4) THE FINAL COURSE. Scott Edelman welcomes you to dig into dessert with Parvus Press publisher Colin Coyle in Episode 91 of Eating the Fantastic

Colin Coyle

This episode of Eating the Fantastic almost didn’t happen, and not just because it was recorded somewhat spontaneously. No, the reason this episode almost didn’t happen was because instead of digging into dessert, we were afraid we might be spending the night being interrogated by the Secret Service. And if that had occurred, the blame would be entirely on Parvus Press publisher Colin Coyle.

It was all due to his afternoon mission to visit the White House and fulfill Kickstarter rewards relating to his recently released anthology If This Goes On, edited by Cat Rambo. And because that title contains my short story “The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable,” I decided to tag along. We had an off-the-record lunch at Jaleo, but once we we’d completed our mission, we debriefed what we’d just done over dessert at Art and Soul.

We discussed the reason we were glad we got to record the episode rather than spend the night in jail, how the tragic events of Charlottesville inspired him to hire Cat Rambo to assemble the If This Goes On anthology, why he switched over to the Kickstarter model for this book and what surprises he discovered during the process, the reason his company isn’t publishing horror even though he’d like to, the surprising shared plot point slush pile writers used to indicate future American culture was failing, what an episode of West Wing taught him about launching Parvus Press, what he isn’t seeing enough of in the slush pile, the acting role of which he’s proudest from back in his theater days (hint: you’ve probably seen Danny DeVito do it), the advice he wishes he could have given himself when he started out as a publisher, and much more.

(5) RIGHTS GRAB. Peter Grant flags “Another Attack on Author Rights” at Mad Genius Club. He points to an Authors Guild report that the “Los Angeles Times Wants Rights to Books Written by Staff”, which begins –

One of the nation’s leading newspapers is attempting an unprecedented rights grab, according to its writers. In the midst of contract negotiations with its newsroom staff, the Los Angeles Times, purchased last year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shionghas proposed that its journalists, as a condition of employment, cede control of any books or other creative works made outside of their daily journalistic duties.

The Los Angeles Times Guild, a trade union representing some 400 newsroom staffers, has called the proposal “a new low in the newspaper industry,” pointing out that no other major newspaper has such strict copyright restrictions. “If we have a book idea related to our work,” according to the Times Guild, “the company wants unfettered power to claim control over whether it gets written, who owns the copyright and what we might get paid for it.”

 In a comment Dorothy Grant asks whether the AG complaint should be taken at face value:

Several thoughts on that: first, we’re not seeing the actual contract clause, we’re seeing what one party to the negotiations has taken public in an attempt to pressure the other side. Which means that the ratio of truth to hyperbole is… unknown.

(6) GO RIGHT TO THE SOURCE. “Many of the short stories that inspired Love, Death + Robots are free online” says The Verge’s Andrew Liptak in a post that supplies the links.

(7) PUNCHING IN. Charlie Martin touts “The Power of Pulp” at PJ Media.  

But have you read any “quality” fiction recently? Between making sure that all the right demographics are presented in the exact right way, and the tendency of “quality” fiction to still be about nothing, most of it is not much fun. In fact, there’s even a technical term for reading that’s supposed to be fun: it’s called ludic fiction. It’s characterized by a particular experience: you get lost in it. You forget you’re reading and you’re engrossed in the vicarious experience.

Have you noticed that the people who stress the importance of “fun” rarely sound like they’re having any?

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 22, 1920 Ross Martin. Best known for portraying Artemus Gordon on The Wild Wild West. I watched the entire series on DVD one summer some decades back include the films in less than a month from start to finish. Now that was fun! It looks like Conquest of Space, a 1955 SF film, in which he played Andre Fodor was his first genre outing. The Colossus of New York in which he was the brilliant Jeremy ‘Jerry’ Spensser came next, followed by appearances on Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, The Twilight Zone, Zorro, The Immortal, Night Gallery, Invisible ManGemini Man (a far cheaper version of Invisible Man), Quark (truly one of the worst SF series ever), Fantasy Island and Mork & Mindy. (Died 1981.)
  • Born March 22, 1930 Stephen Sondheim, 89. Several of his works were of a fantastical nature including Into The Woods which mines deeply into both Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault for its source material. And there’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which is damn fun even if it isn’t genre. 
  • Born March 22, 1931 William Shatner, 88. Today is indeed his Birthday.  I could write a long, detailed Birthday entry but y’all know everything I could possibly say here. Suffice it to that I did enjoy him on Trek for the most part and actually found his acting on TekWar where he was Walter H. Bascom to be some of his better work. Now the short-lived Barbary Coast series featuring his character of Jeff Cable was the epitome of his genre acting career. 
  • Born March 22, 1946 Rudy Rucker, 73. He’s certainly best known for the Ware Tetralogy, the first two of which, Software and Wetware, both won Philip K. Dick Award. Though not genre, I do recommend As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel.
  • Born March 22, 1950 Mary Tamm. She’s remembered for her role as Romana, the companion to the Fourth Doctor in “The Key to Time” story. It seemed liked she was there longer only because another actress, Lalla Ward, played her in the following season. This actress was soon to be married to Tom Baker. She also appears briefly in the 20th Anniversary special The Five Doctors through the reuse of footage from the uncompleted story Shada. Tamm had only one other genre gig, to wit as  Ginny in  “Luau” on the Tales That Witness Madness series. (Died 2012.)
  • Born March 22, 1969 Alex Irvine, 50. I strongly recommend One King, One Soldier, his offbeat Arthurian novel, and The Narrows, a WW II Detroit golem factory where fantasy tropes get a severe trouncing. He’s also wrote The Vertigo Encyclopedia which was an in-house project so, as he told me back then, DC delivered him one copy of every Vertigo title they had sitting in the warehouse.  For research purposes. And he’s written a fair number of comics, major and minor houses alike.  
  • Born March 22, 1978 Joanna Page, 41. Queen Elizabeth I in the first episode of “The Day of the Doctor” on Doctor Who in which the Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor and the War Doctor all make appearances. Other genre appearances are scant but she did play María on Bedlam, a British supernatural series, she was Gladys in a film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and she also played of Ann Cook in  the film adaptation of Alan Moore’s From Hell.  

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • In Baldo someone has come up with a good trick for increasing their reading time.
  • Cats’ fascination with laser pointers is the basis for the science fictional humor in Grimmy.
  • Arctic Circle has a gag inspired by Chang’e-4.
  • A retro tech joke in Bizarro. (How many Filers remember when these were sold in the backs of comic books?)
  • BBC’s article “How a bookshop wolf handles awkward customers” includes lots of illos.

We’ve all heard of the saying “the customer is always right” but when you work in service industries, what can you do to vent your frustration when the customer is rather annoying?

Whether it’s children running riot, requests for the most obscure information, or just plain rude customers, Australian bookshop worker Anne Barnetson has faced it all. But she’s come up with a rather novel way of dealing with such awkward situations.

Anne is the creator of Customer Service Wolf, a comic found on Instagram and Tumblr. It gives a humorous anthropomorphic take on life dealing with strangers turning up in bookshops with strange requests.

(10) PLAYING IN OVERTIME. Tolkien and Hubbard are not the only prolific deceased authors in our midst. See “Isaac Bashevis Singer from Beyond the Grave” in The Paris Review.

As if in fulfillment of his own prophecy, Isaac Bashevis Singer has been astonishingly prolific in death. An untranslated magnum opus, Shadows on the Hudson, was translated into English in 1998, followed by a sequel collection of reminiscences of pre-1914 Jewish Warsaw, More Stories from My Father’s Court, followed by a steady, enviable beat of short stories, either unpublished or published in Yiddish but never translated, stories steadily adding to and enriching Singer’s great twin themes: the magical Yiddishkeit cosmos wrecked in World War II and the scattered, wandering survivors of that wreckage. In the past two years, Singer’s stories have been published in Harper’s and The New Yorker. Another, “The Murderer,” appears in the current spring issue of The Paris Review. Every few months, it seems, there is a Singer dispatch from beyond the grave, another unlabeled bottle floating in on the tide. Reading his bibliography, one would never guess he has been dead nearly three decades. And there will be more Singer for the foreseeable future, as the editor of his estate told The New Yorker: “There are novels, short stories, memoirs, even plays—some of which appeared in Yiddish and some of which … exist only as handwritten manuscripts.” Heaps of Singer’s words are wheeling blindly about in library archives, at the bottoms of desk drawers, manuscripts translated by hand on magazine tear sheets, unilluminated microfilm vibrantly uncollected and unclassified. He and his oeuvre refuse to be still. They seem to wend their way to the surface with something like the residue of Singer’s consciousness, or rather with the uncanny pseudoconsciousness of an automaton, set in motion by a now-dead hand.

(11) GAME IN THE WORKS. Rad Magpie’s mission is to “Support underrepresented creators and radical interactive media.” Their first in-house studio is working on the first Sri Lankan fantasy game to exist called Sigiriya with Mary Anne Mohanraj

Sigiriya is a mobile game set in the ancient Sri Lankan fortress of the same name. Our interactive experience marries heart-centered, narrative-driven gameplay with both fantastical and historical elements.

Our team is working to bring this game to life, and we are currently in the early production phases.

(12) YOU ASKED FOR IT, WE GOT IT.  “Toyota to Help Develop Moon Rover” says the headline, though Daniel Dern comments, “In my initial glimpse I thought it said “Moon River” and wasn’t sure if it was about the song, or they were going ‘Lunar Duckboats!’”

Toyota will be adding some depth to its development prowess when it partners with Japan’s space agency to create a manned lunar rover powered by fuel cell technologies.

According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), though Japan has no plans to send humans into space at this time, the rover could serve as a building block to eventually get them there.

(13) DRAGON LADY. In her New Yorker article “A Battle for My Life”. Emilia Clarke, TV’s Daenerys Targaryen, reveals she had two surgeries for brain aneurysms after season 1 and season 3 of Game of Thrones, and discusses that people should be urgently treated if they have brain or stroke problems.

Just when all my childhood dreams seemed to have come true, I nearly lost my mind and then my life. I’ve never told this story publicly, but now it’s time.

(14) ABOVE THE STORM. BBC admires this photo taken by Juno: “Planet Jupiter: Spectacular picture of Jupiter’s storms”.

This beautiful picture of Jupiter was assembled from three separate images acquired by Nasa’s Juno spacecraft as it made another of its close passes of the gas giant.

The probe has a colour camera onboard and citizen scientists are encouraged to play with the data to make their own views of the planet.

This one, which is colour-enhanced, was produced by Kevin M Gill.

The US space agency has dubbed it “Jupiter Marble” – a reference to the full disc pictures of Earth captured by satellites down the years that have been called “Blue Marble”.

(15) LOOK OUT, IT’S A JUGGERNAUT! From BBC we learn – “Autonomous shuttle to be tested in New York City”.

A self-driving shuttle service is to be deployed in New York City by the middle of the year.

Boston start-up Optimus Ride will run vehicles on private roads at the Brooklyn Navy Yard site located on New York’s East River.

The shuttle will help workers get around the large site.

(16) CALL FOR A VERDICT. The question is: “Can you murder a robot?” The BBC story covers a lot of ground.

Back in 2015, a hitchhiker was murdered on the streets of Philadelphia.

It was no ordinary crime. The hitchhiker in question was a little robot called Hitchbot. The “death” raised an interesting question about human-robot relationship – not so much whether we can trust robots but whether the robots can trust us.

The answer, it seems, was no.….

Hitchbot is not the first robot to meet a violent end.

Dr Kate Darling, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), encouraged people to hit dinosaur robots with a mallet, in an workshop designed to test just how nasty we could be to a machine.

She also conducted an experiment with small bug-like robots.

Most people struggled to hurt the bots, found Dr Darling.

“There was a correlation between how empathetic people were and how long it took them to hit a robot,” she told BBC News, at her lab in Boston.

“What does it say about you as a person if you are willing to be cruel to a robot. Is it morally disturbing to beat up something that reacts in a very lifelike way?” she asked.

The reaction of most people was to protect and care for the robots.

“One woman was so distressed that she removed the robot’s batteries so that it couldn’t feel pain,” Dr Darling said.

(17) MERGER MASHUPS. Chris Hemsworth on Instagram celebrated the Disney-Fox merger by wearing a Deadpool outfit with a Viking helmet.  Ryan Reynolds marked the merger by wearing mouse ears on his Deadpool outfit on his Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

Our love child #thor #deadpool @vancityreynolds

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) on

View this post on Instagram

Feels like the first day of ‘Pool.

A post shared by Ryan Reynolds (@vancityreynolds) on

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Why Do Flat-Earth Believers Still Exist?” on YouTube, John Timmer of Ars Technica shows the increasinly flimsy evidence flat earth followers have for claiming the earth is flat.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Michael Toman, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/22/19 Dial P For Pixel

  1. (8) I liked Quark, and wish it had had longer to develop. The first episode was the best, with Hans Conried voicing “The Source” and coaching someone (Quark? I only saw it the once.) in a version of the training scene in STAR WARS. After Quark (I’m assuming now) gets zapped in the butt, Conried’s voice chides, “You didn’t trust me!”

    I’d place it above a good number of serious shows, but I won’t stick my neck out too far, lest the Suck Fairy show up with tapes.

    “That’s some catch, that Catch-770.”
    “It’s the best there is.”

  2. (13) DRAGON LADY.

    That is a very sobering story. I can’t believe that the paparazzi never got wind of it, and I am very glad for her sake that they did not. She is obviously a very dedicated and disciplined professional, to have pulled off all the demands of her role, on-set and off, without letting on just how bad of a time she was going through.

  3. 8) Mary Tamm was also the guest star in one episode of the short-lived series Crime Traveller, which revolved around using a time machine to solve crimes…. It didn’t last very long because, well, umm, it wasn’t very good, but it was there and she was in it.

  4. (8) I, too, liked “Quark” back in the day. There wasn’t much SF of any kind of TV at the time – so I watched it all…

  5. (1) I don’t have the book in front of me but I feel like it’s a little misleading to say that The Space Merchants depicts labor unions negatively. I always thought it was pretty obvious that the union at Courtenay’s chicken job was a company union, i.e. a labor organization in name only. In a world where corporations have completely replaced government and have their own literal armies, it seems unlikely that a labor movement as we know it could exist.

    I think the entry for Battlestar Galactica is even further off base. Adama may be “heroic” in some ways, but his habit of abusing power is a major theme of the series and I really don’t think that when he not only threatens Tyrol, but says he’ll kill Tyrol’s wife, we’re meant to think “Good job! Show that union leader who’s boss!” IMO the episode presents the union’s grievances as entirely legitimate.

  6. @Eli: My memory of Space Merchants accords with yours. Considering how the Consies were treated by the government/corporations of that world, real unions couldn’t exist – but it was probably convenient for the corporations to have something called a “union” around.

  7. (1) Also do not understand what they mean about Perdido Street Station having a “mixed” view of unions because “Crushing of strike provides background for story.” Did they miss that the government and business interests in the novel are 100% evil? But again I don’t have the book in front of me.

  8. (1) Sorry, I can’t stop nitpicking this thing. Robocop? Robocop depicts unions badly because the police union 1. went on strike due to Detroit selling off the police department to a private concern which decided to replace them with a cyborg made out of the mangled remains of one of their colleagues, and 2. is against “progress”?

    I’m starting to think the editors of this list did not do much checking up on the submissions they got, and someone was having a bit of fun with them.

  9. Steve Wright notesv that Mary Tamm was also the guest star in one episode of the short-lived series Crime Traveller, which revolved around using a time machine to solve crimes…. It didn’t last very long because, well, umm, it wasn’t very good, but it was there and she was in it.

    Good catch. I didn’t spot that on my Birthday research on her. She was IIRC an OK Time Lady, not the worst Companion by any means but hardly the most interesting either. She just didn’t seem to be invested in the role she was playing all that deeply.

  10. 7) Considering how often these folks talk about pulp, they really seem to have no clue what it is/was. The Saturday Evening Post was never a pulp magazine. Ditto for Life and Look. Never mind that I really resent rightwingers trying to appropriate pulp fiction, because a lot of us on the left enjoy some vintage pulp fiction, too.

    And as usual, these folks can’t seem to grasp that many people get as much joy out of Ancillary Justice or The Fifth Season or Redshirts or whatever their hate book of the day is as they get out of Monster Hunter Whatever.

  11. @8: Sweeney Todd is horror — socially-conscious horror (like Night of the Living Dead only more so) but still horror — and ISTM that horror gets taken for genre even if it has nothing of the supernatural in it. (At least when Datlow was picking the best horror of the year for the YBF&H anthologies she did with Windling.). One could argue that Sondheim’s contributions are not the fantastic elements (those being in the book); to this I oppose “Have a Little Priest” and the list in the title song of Into the Woods and wish him a happy 89th and many more. Yes, I’m a fan of his work, ever since seeing Company (original production, but not original cast) as a birthday present; I’m still annoyed that concert scheduling meant he’s not on my life list of composers performed.

    We now return you to your regularly-unscheduled unrants….

  12. Cora Buhlert: And as usual, these folks can’t seem to grasp that many people get as much joy out of Ancillary Justice or The Fifth Season or Redshirts or whatever their hate book of the day is as they get out of Monster Hunter Whatever.

    I feel sorry for the author of that article, who seems to be really struggling to find anything to read which he will enjoy. I can’t keep up with all the new releases of books that I enjoy — and there’s far too much of what I want to read, for me to be able to get all of it read! His tastes must be very niche, if he’s struggling that hard.

  13. (7) Punching In

    Wow, that went from “… and we are fighting back against the gatekeepers!” to “… and now we need gatekeepers!” real quick.

    I don’t understand why they have a hard time finding quality stories. My problem is usually scraping together enough spoons and time to read all the quality stories I find. They’re everywhere.

    ETA: @JJ

    Snap!

  14. 7.) I always figured that the Puppy-adjacent were miffed because the market for pulps faded when it became too expensive to print thousands of throw-aways and they missed the chance to have been as ubiquitous as Gor or Mandingo or Perry Rhodan. For all their crowing about the online market, you know they really really wanted to walk into a drugstore and see their book on a spinning display.
    Also, is there some rulebook that says they have to bring up the word ‘gatekeeper’?
    Or was this article just a chance for him to use an obscure word?

  15. I also don’t get it, because there are so much great books I want to read. And when I did have times in the past, where a certain genre no longer delivered what I wanted out of it, I simply switched to a different genre.

  16. I found the Mary Tamm entry a little confusing because I wasn’t sure which “she” was meant. Just to clarify, it was Lalla Ward who was married for a short time to Tom Baker, and also Lalla who appeared in The Five Doctors, and also in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, both using footage from Shada.

    It was kind of fun looking those up to check, so thanks!

  17. @Eli

    1) Sorry, I can’t stop nitpicking this thing.

    Please continue doing so. I legitimately appreciate your feedback. The list of unions in SF is intended to be a living document that we’re going to continue to refine and add to.

    … Perdito Street Station … Did they miss that the government and business interests in the novel are 100% evil?

    This is one that it’s been a long time since I have personally read it (probably more than a decade). But whether or not the government and business interests are evil isn’t entirely the point here — it’s possible for both govt, business *and* unions to be in the wrong … and that was how I recall interpreting the novel when I read it. That being said, I’m amenable to updating / editing the list if my recollection is incorrect.

    Robocop? Robocop depicts unions badly because the police union 1. went on strike due to Detroit selling off the police department to a private concern which decided to replace them with a cyborg made out of the mangled remains of one of their colleagues, and 2. is against “progress”?

    This is one that I feel able to speak more confidently about, as I watch the movie basically every year. The union in question isn’t going on strike *over* the cyborg, they’re on strike because of grievances such as pensions, wages and resources.

    All the heroic characters cross the picket line … all of them. Sergeant Warren Reed, Officer Anne Lewis. Remember the line “we’re police, and police officers don’t strike“? And the strike ends with a conclusion that addresses *none* of the union’s concerns. It’s shown as a good thing that everyone gets back to work. OCP’s CEO that is shown early in the movie saying “We can use the police strike to our advantage,” is the one who is saved from his ruthless underling.

    But your disagreement with the phrase “antagonistic to progress,” is probably fair. I’ll edit that out of the list.

    (1) I don’t have the book in front of me but I feel like it’s a little misleading to say that The Space Merchants depicts labor unions negatively.

    Is the United Slime-Mold Protein Workers of Panamerica, Unaffiliated, Chlorella Costa Roca Local an employer-dominated union? That’s possibly the case. But it’s also corrupt in ways that wouldn’t be explained by that.

    For instance, the union rep charges money for the brochure that explains his rights to Mitch Courtenay. This speaks to ground-level corruption of the sort that occurs in a *rotten* union, rather than a functional one or even an employer-dominated one.

    Again, thank you for your feedback. This is a subject that I’m very passionate about, and want to have more productive discussion of.

  18. @Lenore Jones: I suspect that Cat also suffered from this confusion, and that’s why we get a birthday entry that has a majority of its words about another person entirely.

  19. 8) Mary Tamm revived the role of Romana I in several Big Finish audio plays, with and without Tom Baker.

  20. Mary Tamm wasn’t a very memorable companion, true, but she did have a bit of fun with the role, most notably in “The Androids of Tara”, where she technically played four different roles (Romana, the princess who happened to look like Romana, the android copy of Romana and the android copy of the princess… hang on a sec… so, do all Romana’s regenerations look exactly like princesses, then?)

  21. Have you noticed that the people who stress the importance of “fun” rarely sound like they’re having any?

    Charlie Martin makes a pretty convincing case that he’s having no fun at all.

    He doesn’t name a single independently published novel he had fun reading.

    He doesn’t name a single mass-published novel he didn’t enjoy.

    He claims, “It’s a little hard to tell what happened to pulp,” while demonstrating he made no effort at all to find out. There’s a PulpFest convention he could’ve discovered and a Pulp Factory movement with its own yearly awards for authors who are reviving public domain characters and creating new ones. There also is a site called ThePulp.Net that has been around for 20 years and had a blogger regularly covering Erle Stanley Gardner books.

    There’s also a movement among Sad Puppies such as the Theodore Beale-supporter Jeffro Johnson dubbed the Pulp Revolution.

    Maybe you’d have fun, Charlie, if you put a little effort into finding some.

    I’m not experiencing a shortage of fun novels to read. I keep buying them faster than I can read them. I’m currently 200 pages into The Thousand Names by Django Wexler and loving it, particularly a distinctive and original main character named Winter Ihernglass.

  22. @rcade Oh Winter’s story throughout the entire series is a delightful growth of character…in the midst of a lot of action, adventure and much more.

  23. @OlavRokne minor correction: James White’s “The Apprentice” was set in a department store, rather than Sector General, so the union wasn’t one for hospital staff.

    One of my friends remembered unions in sf radio shows, so I hope he contacts you with that info.

  24. I may not have much interest in whether or not the Puppies and Puppy-adjacent are choosing to have fun. Their obsession with the strange notion that other people are voting for books those other people do not enjoy is just weird.

  25. Kathryn Sullivan on March 23, 2019 at 8:13 am said:
    @OlavRokne minor correction: James White’s “The Apprentice” was set in a department store, rather than Sector General, so the union wasn’t one for hospital staff.

    One of my friends remembered unions in sf radio shows, so I hope he contacts you with that info.

    Kathryn — Thank you. I’ll make that edit.

    I think your friend did contact me. Does he go by “Rev. Felix The Black Cat”?

  26. Olav, That reading of Perdido Street Station is off. The strike is presented as a heroic, if doomed effort to break out of the stultified and oppressive conditions of the city. Moreover, the strike is a moment where you see multi-racial/species coalition come together in a society that uses racialized difference as an organizing logic of its oppression. It’s a representation that can be connected to a long history of representations of working class insurgency going back to Eisenstein and others. One of the significant conclusions of the narrative is when the art reporter takes over the position of the editor of the radical publication that helped initiate the strike as well. The Iron Council also takes up this narrative of working class insurgency as well, although less successfully. (That is to say the representation is less successful. The strike is more successful.)

  27. Meredith Moment:

    Arrival (a movie tie-in reissue of Stories of Your Life and Others) by Ted Chiang is on sale at Amazon US for $2.99.

    8) As to Ross Martin, I don’t often get the opportunity to do something like this, so I’d like to take the chance to point out some relatively obscure voice work by this extraordinary actor which is genre-the animated adaptation of the Ray Bradbury story Icarus Montgolfier Wright. This was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short and I love it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm5kylavY3Y

    Here in 9971, our feline overlords are the ones driving the flying cars, as they don’t trust our reflexes.

  28. @rcade —

    I’m not experiencing a shortage of fun novels to read. I keep buying them faster than I can read them.

    So much this.

    I gotta stop buying books!

    Btw, I’m currently reading The Kingdom of Copper by SA Chakraborty. One of the rare second books that I had to run out and buy immediately after reading book 1 (City of Brass), because I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened next. A very interesting tale of the various ways in which not-really-evil people end up doing evil things. I’m just worried it’s going to end up being a tragedy all around, sigh.

  29. @Harold Osler

    7.) I always figured that the Puppy-adjacent were miffed because the market for pulps faded when it became too expensive to print thousands of throw-aways and they missed the chance to have been as ubiquitous as Gor or Mandingo or Perry Rhodan. For all their crowing about the online market, you know they really really wanted to walk into a drugstore and see their book on a spinning display.
    Also, is there some rulebook that says they have to bring up the word ‘gatekeeper’?
    Or was this article just a chance for him to use an obscure word?

    Well in its homecountry Perry Rhodan is still alive and not the only “Heftroman”. So you could make say that pulp here is still alive. Of course there is no war between Perry Rhodanreaders and the rest of the fandom in Germany and the puppies didn’t make much fans there if I remember correctly. Gor was written by one person. So those would be a carier for pups either.

  30. I feel like I’ve been absent from the discussions here for the last month (though I’ve been keeping up with reading), but in a good cause. I’m this close to handing in the manuscript for Floodtide (Alpennia #4) to my publisher. All that’s left at this point is a couple of technical passes for formatting checks and one last continuity-check from a fresh beta reader. I’m starting to move from frantic to excited. “Excited” will have to last me a while since the publication date isn’t until November, but at least there’s a listing with a cover and blurb up at my publisher’s website.

    Looking forward to relaxing a little before I move into intensive strategizing for release publicity. And whatever the next writing project is.

  31. 1) In the Babylon 5 episode “By Any Means Necessary” the military commander solves the problem by using the special authority granted him to make the necessary concessions to the dock workers – whose grievances were real. The Earth government had intended that he crush the strike instead.

  32. @Heather Rose Jones
    Great. Looking forward to it.

    @Harold Ossler @StefanB
    As Stefan said, Germany still has an active pulp tradition and Perry Rhodan celebrated its 3000th issue a few weeks ago. And there are several other similarly longlived pulp series like Ghosthunter John Sinclair, G-Man Jerry Cotton, etc…. And while spinner racks with pulp novellas are no long as ubiquitous in grocery and tobacco stores as they once were (glossy magazines have higher margins), it’s no problem finding them.

    Last I checked (which was a few years ago), John Norman was also still putting out new Gor novels, though he’s self-publishing them these days.

    Also, if the puppies/puppy-adjacents want to put out new stories in the spirit of the pulps, no one is stopping them. Lots of people are writing and (self-)publishing pulpy adventure stories, including the Pulp Revolution offshoot of the puppy movement. If Charles Martin is looking for books he can enjoy, he could do worse than look there.

    Also, speaking as someone who actually writes and self-publishes a couple of retro pulp series, they don’t sell all that well. There is an eager and loyal audience for retro-style pulp adventures, but it’s fairly small compared to the audience for e.g. contemporary thrillers. Other authors of retro pulp have similar experiences. It’s a genre you write for fun, but not if you want to make money.

  33. Cora says Last I checked (which was a few years ago), John Norman was also still putting out new Gor novels, though he’s self-publishing them these days.

    Actually Open Road Media is now publishing the entire series which means he has an actual legit publisher. That said, the last one was released in 2016 so I don’t know that the series is still active.

  34. @OlavRokne, Looking back, I realize that my comment probably sounded a bit abrupt. You’re definitely engaging in this conversation on better terms than I did. Sorry about that.

    I was thinking about the project and it might make sense to think about unions as one form of collective work self-organization, one that exists within a very particular economic system, capitalism. It presupposes a particular set of economic conditions. In that sense, the forms of radical economic self-organization represented in novels like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, Joanna Russ’s The Female Man, and The Dispossessed put workers directly in control of their own destinies rather than offering a limited amount of control over their working conditions.

  35. @Robert Wood: This comment makes me think of Brunner’s Shockwave Rider and Suarez’s Demon (and its sequel Freedom) both of which don’t have unions, but do have a more egalitarian system replacing late-stage capitalism (in both cases, information technology is responsible for the change-over). O

  36. Heather Rose Jones, Wonderful!

    I know it’s not in your control, but do you have any idea whether outlets such as Kobo will carry it?

    Regardless, please let us know when it comes out.

  37. @Robert Wood

    Robert Wood on March 23, 2019 at 7:04 pm said:
    @OlavRokne, Looking back, I realize that my comment probably sounded a bit abrupt.

    I didn’t take it that way. Thought your comments were quite constructive.

    I was thinking about the project and it might make sense to think about unions as one form of collective work self-organization, one that exists within a very particular economic system, capitalism. It presupposes a particular set of economic conditions. In that sense, the forms of radical economic self-organization represented in novels like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, Joanna Russ’s The Female Man, and The Dispossessed put workers directly in control of their own destinies rather than offering a limited amount of control over their working conditions.

    You may be right. In some ways, this is more a question of terminology, since “radical economic self-organization,” as represented in the novels you cite is essentially the same as the ‘One Big Union’ philosophy of the International Workers of The World (“AKA the Wobblies.”). This might warrant further exploration, and I’m going to bring it up with my labour union contacts.

    As an aside, I really with that the academic journal Topia were not behind a paywall. Because I think a lot of folks in this conversation would really dig the article “Resistance Is Futile” by Dr. Bob Barnetson and Dr. Mark McCutcheon (https://utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/topia.36.151)

    @Andrew

    @Robert Wood: This comment makes me think of Brunner’s Shockwave Rider and Suarez’s Demon

    I’ve not read either of these, though Daniel Suarez has written explicitly in support of labour unions (“All The Childhood You Can Afford.”)

  38. And as usual, these folks can’t seem to grasp that many people get as much joy out of Ancillary Justice or The Fifth Season or Redshirts or whatever their hate book of the day is as they get out of Monster Hunter Whatever.

    I’m on a C.J. Cherryh kick at the moment, and her spin on soulbonding-with-intelligent-animals a la Pern, A Rider at the Gate, is next on the list. For some reason I was thinking about the Sad Puppies last night, and my thoughts went to “How would C.J. do a spin on Monster Hunters Inc? 95% less gun-porn and 100% more politics, to start…”

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