Pixel Scroll 3/30/19 ///Pixel.Scroll.Comment Is In The Middle Of Nowhere In Australia

(1) CATS SLEEP ON $FF. Cat Rambo issues a warning about “Writing Contests and Fees”, and rebuts several arguments she’s heard trying to justify them.

Here’s one of her answers:

Charging a fee means better submissions. Great reason for editors and magazines; meaningless to writers and in fact, means people that self-reject will be even more likely to do so. It also ensures economically disadvantaged people don’t get to participate. The price of a latte for one person may be the next person’s daily food budget.

(2) PROBLEMS FOR JUDGE WHO ENGAGED KRAMER’S COMPUTER SERVICES. More revelations about the judge, from the Gwinett Daily Post. Recent news proves that not only did the judge know about Kramer, but that she was in phone contact with him. She currently is being asked to recuse herself following making false statements and recording the DA during a meeting without his permission or knowledge. “Gwinnett DA files motion for Superior Court judge to recuse herself from all criminal cases”.

Just days after a court filing alleged that Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader expressly gave a convicted sex offender access to the county’s computer network, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter is calling for her to recuse herself from all criminal cases.

…In Friday’s filing, which included an affidavit, Porter said he confronted the judge about her computer being monitored, but “at no time during this meeting did Judge Schrader disclose that she had any direct knowledge of this monitoring, or that she had hired Ward, Karic and Kramer to do so.”

The judge also recorded the meeting “through a video on her phone without (Porter’s) knowledge or consent,” Porter wrote in the affidavit.

On March 15, when the GBI interviewed Schrader, she accused Porter of hacking her computer, Porter’s affidavit said.

“Because Judge Schrader has alleged that I committed a criminal offense against her, I have grounds to reasonably question her impartiality in any criminal case that my office handles before her,” Porter’s affidavit said. “This is further supported by the fact that Judge Schrader has surreptitiously recorded our private conversations without my knowledge or consent, while feigning ignorance of the very individuals she had employed and allowed to access the entire Gwinnett County Computer network.”

(3) AGED, BUT NOT GOLDEN. Is reviewer Christopher Priest so eager to lash out at a writer who died 30 years ago, or was this an irresistible opportunity to downcheck a favorite of some of his living American colleagues? He reviews Farah Mendlesohn’s The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein for The Spectator: “Robert A. Heinlein: the ‘giant of SF’ was sexist, racist — and certainly no stylist”.  

…Mendlesohn describes how Heinlein, who when younger had made a well-earned name for himself as an author of serious and innovative speculative fiction, became a rotten writer in the second half of his career. He always told stories well, but his style was execrable. From Starship Troopers (1959) onwards, his books had an endlessly hectoring, lecturing tone, almost always phrased in long and unconvincing conversations full of paternalistic advice, sexual remarks, libertarian dogma and folksy slang. Reading one of his later novels produced the weird effect of meaningless receptivity: you could get through 20 pages at a gallop, but at the end you couldn’t remember anything that had been said, by whom or for what reason. The next 20 pages would be the same (but seemed longer).

… At the end of the war he began a series of juvenile novels, aimed unerringly at young readers but told in the same didactic voice. These novels, not published in the UK until years later when Heinlein was famous, had a profound effect on their American readers. There is still today a generation of middle- aged and elderly American science fiction writers for whom Heinlein is in a position of seminal influence, similar to Hemingway in other literary circles. Heinlein’s influence on modern American science fiction is not universal, but still detectable….

(4) SWATTER GETS 20 YEARS. On December 28, 2017 Andrew “Andy” Finch was killed when police officers in Wichita, Kansas responded to a 911 call about a hostage/murder situation. Tyler Barriss, who made the call, has now been convicted and sentenced: “20 years for man behind hoax call that led to fatal shooting”.

A California man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for making bogus emergency calls to authorities across the U.S., including one that led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between two online players over a $1.50 bet in the Call of Duty: WWII video game.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Tyler R. Barriss, 26, under a deal in which he pleaded guilty in November to a total of 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats. The plea agreement called for a sentence of at least 20 years — well over the 10 years recommended under sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors believe it is the longest prison sentence ever imposed for the practice of “swatting,” a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to descend on an address.

(5) LIKE A JAWA MARRIOTT. Take one look at the picture and you can have no doubts: “The upside down hotel said to have inspired Star Wars faces demolition”.

Much of the shooting for the original Star Wars movies took place in Tunisia, and legend has it that one local landmark made a powerful impression on its creator, George Lucas.

The influence of Hotel du Lac in Tunis, shaped like an upside-down pyramid with serrated edges, would later be seen in the fictional Sandcrawler vehicle used by the Jawas of the Tatooine desert planet in the film.

(6) WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT. The Bustle lists “12 Female-Driven Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels That You Definitely Don’t Want To Miss”. One of them is —

‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon

A millennium ago, a powerful, evil dragon, known only as the Nameless One, was locked away in the Abyss. The people of three nations want to keep the dragon sealed away, but fear that his return is imminent. In Samantha Shannon’s sweeping new fantasy novel, three women, one from each nation, must join forces if they want to keep their world safe.

(7) ADVANCED DEGREES. As Women’s History Month winds up, Yahoo! Entertainment explores the “Six Degrees of Peggy Carter: Why the S.H.I.E.L.D. Founder Is the Lynchpin of the Entire MCU”.

While there may not be direct links from Peggy to every single Avenger, her status as a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D. links her intrinsically to the heroic group and their efforts to save the world from evil time and time again. So here is a very unofficial, fan-centric look at the impact Peggy Carter has had on the MCU, and the ways in which she helped bring Earth’s mightiest heroes together as a team. “All we can do is our best,” after all….

2. Iron Man

A “self-made man” in the same way that Kylie Jenner is a self-made billionaire, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) likely spent his childhood years on the receiving end of some very disapproving glances from his father’s friend and close confidante. Howard’s working relationship with Peggy — sans fondue, of course — is established in The First Avenger, but their friendship is explored even further in Agent Carter’sstellar two-season run on ABC. The pair teamed up to save the world more than a few times, forging a bond so strong, it’s impossible to believe that Peggy wasn’t a part of young Tony’s life — and that she didn’t have an impact on the hero he grew up to be.

And besides that, if Howard had died in Agent Carter’s season one finale, as he came very close to doing, Tony would have gotten scrubbed from the timeline, Marty McFly-style. Thanks, Aunt Peggy.

(8) CLASSIC TREK CONTRIBUTOR At Den of Geek, “Star Trek’s D.C. Fontana Talks the Origin of Spock’s Family”.

… For fans of Star Trek: Discovery, specifically, Fontana’s script for the animated episode “Yesteryear,” has been the visual and thematic backbone of nearly all of Discovery Vulcan-centric flashbacks in the second season, which has informed this version of Spock’s character. And, for those who love Spock parent’s— Amanda Grayson and Sarek—Fontana is the person who straight-up invented them.

…In The Original Series, Amanda and Sarek only appeared in “Journey to Babel,” written by Fontana. But, because that episode also featured a huge diplomatic summit on the Enterprise, this also means she created several of the big classic Trek aliens, too, including the Andorians and the Tellarites, who have both made huge appearances in Discovery first two seasons.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 30, 1904 Herbert van Thal. Editor of the Pan Book of Horror Stories series ran twenty four  volumes from 1959 to 1983. Back From the Dead: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories is a look at the series and it contains Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares, the first biography of him written by Pan Book of Horror Stories expert Johnny Mains. (Died 1983.)
  • Born March 30, 1928 Chad Oliver. Writer of both Westerns and SF, a not uncommon occupation at that time. He considered himself an anthropological science fiction writer whose training as an academic informed his fiction, an early Le Guin if you will. Not a terribly prolific writer with just nine novels and two collections to his name over a forty year span. Mists of Dawn, his first novel, is a YA novel which I’d recommend as it reads similarly to Heinlein. (Died 1993.)
  • Born March 30, 1930 John Astin, 89. He is best known for playing as Gomez Addams in Addams Family, reprising it on the Halloween with the New Addams Family film and the Addams Family animated series. A memorable later role would be as Professor Wickwire in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and I’d like single out his delightfully weird appearance on The Wild Wild West as Count Nikolai Sazanov in “The Night of the Tartar” episode. 
  • Born March 30, 1948 Jeanne Robinson. She co-wrote the Stardance Saga with her husband Spider Robinson. To my knowledge, her only other piece of writing was ‘Serendipity: Do, Some Thoughts About Collaborative Writing ‘ which was published in the MagiCon Program. (Died 2010.)
  • Born March 30, 1950 Robbie Coltrane, 69. I first saw him playing Dr. Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald on Cracker way back in the Ninties. Not genre, but an amazing role none-the-less. He was Valentin Dmitrovich Zhukovsky in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough, with a much less prominent role as a man at the airfield in Flash Gordon being his first genre role. Being Rubeus Hagrid in the Potter franchise was his longest running genre gig. He’s also voiced both Mr. Hyde in the Van Helsing film and Gregory, a mouse, in The Tale of Despereaux film.
  • Born March 30, 1958 Maurice LaMarche, 61. Voice actor primarily known for such roles as Pinky and The Brain (both of which Stross makes use of) with Pinky modelled off Orson Welles, the entire cast as near as I can tell of Futurama, the villain Sylar on Heroes, the voice of Orson Welles in Ed Wood, a less serious Pepé Le Pew in Space Jam, and, though maybe not genre, he’s voiced Kellogg’s Froot Loops spokesbird Toucan Sam and  the animated Willy Wonka character in Nestlé’s Willy Wonka Candy Company commercials. 
  • Born March 30, 1990 Cassie Scerbo, 20. She’s only here because in researching Birthdays for this date, one site listed her as being a member of the cast of Star Trek: Progeny, yet another of those video Trek fanfics. Though IMDB has a cast listed for it, that’s about all I could find on it. If I was betting a cask of Romulan ale, I’d wager this was one of the productions that Paramount got shut down three years back. 

(10) IN THE ZONE Some TV history leading up to the Jordan Peele reboot, in the New York Times: “‘The Twilight Zone’: Here’s Why We Still Care”.

Today we live in a world where the words “Twilight Zone” are used as an adjective whenever anyone wants to describe stories (or real-life events) that are fearless, insightful, ironic and just a little bit spooky. And that theme song was killer too.

(11) FLIGHTS OF FANTASY. NPR’s Etelka Lehoczky analyzes a new graphic novel: “In ‘She Could Fly,’ A Teen Wrestles With A Host Of Psychological Mysteries”.

“Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?” It’s the archetypal party question. It was already popular way back in 2001, when This American Life addressed it, and the years haven’t lessened its appeal. As recently as 2015, Forbes posed the question to 7,065 “business and professional leaders … across the globe” and Vulture brought it up with the stars of Ant-Man.

Fly, or turn invisible? The question’s popularity is probably due to its uncanny psychological subtext. The two powers don’t seem to conflict at first, but a closer look reveals that they represent opposing tendencies. To fly is to be triumphant, dominant, powerful. To be invisible is to recede, to hide.

Christopher Cantwell nods to this duality in She Could Fly, a graphic novel whose protagonist wishes she could fly and feels like she’s invisible…
Luna seems to be suffering from a particularly intense form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but she hasn’t been diagnosed or received any treatment. Taking it for granted that there’s no help for her, she shuts out such well-meaning people as the aforementioned guidance counselor. Luna has only one source of hope, and it’s a doozy: A mysterious woman spotted flying, superhero-style, around the skies of Chicago.

(12) MODERN MILSF. Andrew Liptak intends this as a compliment, I wonder if Hurley takes it as one? In The Verge: “The Light Brigade is a worthy successor to Starship Troopers”.

The world Hurley presents in The Light Brigade is a feudalistic nightmare, and makes a sharp commentary on the growing influence and dangers of a world ruled by corporations. Corporations control all aspects of the lives of the citizens, from the information they have access to, to how they’re educated and where they live, their lives given up to supporting whatever unknowable corporate goals their overlords have planned. It’s a perverse twist on Heinlein’s arguments about serving to earn citizenship, which implied that one has to earn their freedom through service. In Hurley’s world, freedom is an illusion. It doesn’t matter what you do, you end up serving your host corporation.

(13) THEY’LL SCARE THE CHOCOLATE OUT OF YOU. If you thought this happened only in Monty Python, not so, says Open Culture: “Killer Rabbits in Medieval Manuscripts: Why So Many Drawings in the Margins Depict Bunnies Going Bad”.

In all the kingdom of nature, does any creature threaten us less than the gentle rabbit? Though the question may sound entirely rhetorical today, our medieval ancestors took it more seriously — especially if they could read illuminated manuscripts, and even more so if they drew in the margins of those manuscripts themselves. “Often, in medieval manuscripts’ marginalia we find odd images with all sorts of monsters, half man-beasts, monkeys, and more,” writes Sexy Codicology’s Marjolein de Vos. “Even in religious books the margins sometimes have drawings that simply are making fun of monks, nuns and bishops.” And then there are the killer bunnies.

Hunting scenes, de Vos adds, also commonly appear in medieval marginalia, and “this usually means that the bunny is the hunted; however, as we discovered, often the illuminators decided to change the roles around.”…

Numerous illustrations at the link.

(14) SURVIVAL AT STAKE. “Tasmanian devils ‘adapting to coexist with cancer'” – BBC has the story.

There’s fresh hope for the survival of endangered Tasmanian devils after large numbers were killed off by facial tumours.

The world’s largest carnivorous marsupials have been battling Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) for over 20 years.

But researchers have found the animals’ immune system to be modifying to combat the assault.

And according to an international team of scientists from Australia, UK, US and France, the future for the devils is now looking brighter.

“In the past, we were managing devil populations to avoid extinction. Now, we are progressively moving to an adaptive management strategy, enhancing those selective adaptations for the evolution of devil/DFTD coexistence,” explains Dr Rodrigo Hamede, from the University of Tasmania.

First discovered in north-eastern Tasmania in 1996, the disease has since spread across 95% of the species’ range, with local population losses of over 90%.

(15) CAMELIDS VISIT COMIC CON. Two events in the same facility find they are unexpectedly compatible.

(16) PLATE SPECIAL. AMC’s series based on the novel by Joe Hill premieres June 2. Here’s the NOS4A2 “A Fight For Their Souls” official trailer.

[Thanks to Nancy A. Collins, JJ, Mlex, Steven H Silver, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/30/19 ///Pixel.Scroll.Comment Is In The Middle Of Nowhere In Australia

  1. First!

    Aren’t the British and American titles for NOS4A2 slightly different because of pronunciation?

  2. Martin Wooster: Aren’t the British and American titles for NOS4A2 slightly different because of pronunciation?

    Yes, it was published as NOS4R2 in the UK, where one of those magical appearing and disappearing Commonwealth Rs snuck in.

    Sneaky Superfluous Commonwealth Rs. I did warn you.

  3. 4) Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

    11) Although I have grown up to be an introvert, I used to have lots of flying dreams. I want both powers!

    13) Run away, run away!

  4. [9] Robbie Coltrane also played the Spirit (the Christmas Spirit, no less) in “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol,” in which “the nicest man in London” is visited by a spirit intent on reforming him, but who soon discovers that he needed no reformation at all. They get to talking, and Ebenezer Blackadder asks the Spirit (one spirit fits all) how he reforms people. “Oh, I show them visions.” “Visions?” “Oh, aye. We used to use black and white line art, but the visions have been much more effective!”

    Contrarius: It’s a lot easier for me to fly in dreams than turn invisible, and I can rarely walk through walls. Something about suspension of disbelief—or maybe just plain suspension? There was a time in my life that seemed quite long, in which my flying abilities were lackluster: couldn’t get much altitude or speed. I worked on it. I actually considered the structure of a bird’s wing and used my fingers in similar ways. Have to say, it really paid off, and I can almost take flying for granted in about half my dreams. I also got over the annoyance of being naked in dreams by learning not to care. A scene or so later, the clothes are back, having failed to embarrass me by their absence. Take that, unconscious mind!

  5. (9) John Astin also had a role in the original version of Eerie Indiana, a 1990 era series I enjoyed. Astin played the real “Radford” – the show covered the casting change by explaining the earlier actor as an imposter.

  6. (13) One of these days I’ll finish the needlepoint project I have based on one of those rabbit hunting scenes. (I started working on in it college, so it’s spend a lot of time as a UFO.) I was going to post a picture, but I’m not quite sure where it is. Probably one of the storage boxes in the garage.

  7. @Kip —

    “I actually considered the structure of a bird’s wing and used my fingers in similar ways. ”

    I used to fly by pedalling like a bicycle, or just running into the sky (I’d keep running while I was flying). I never did any flying like either birds or Superman.

    And I never did have “embarrassed by nakedness” dreams. But I’ve had lots of dreams in which I’m naked and doing normal everyday activities, and I’m expecting everyone else to just deal with it. 😉

    Did I mention that in real life I’m very happy to own property that is visually isolated from my neighbors? LOL.

  8. @Heather Rose Jones
    I think I have you beat. I have a UFO from the mid-1970s in one of my boxes. (I get bored with a project, and then it gets packed up.) I inherited a few of my mother’s UFOs, too.

  9. (12) I don’t know if The Light Brigade is a “worthy successor” to Starship Troopers (although it’s a damn good book) but it is a worthy rebuke.

    Scroll around the rosy, Pixels full of poseys,
    Godstalk! Godstalk! Fifths all fall down!

  10. I can’t believe this hasn’t been used before, but I can’t find it on a cursory search:

    The more things pixel, the more they stay the scroll.

  11. Contrarius, my brother-in-law was a contractor, and one of the fancy homes he built up in the hills has a bathroom with a glass outside wall. The owner has all the land that’s in eyeshot, so it didn’t seem to be an issue for him. (The house was featured on HGTV once: It’s called “The Comet House” because when viewed from overhead, it’s in the shape of a comet and its tail.)

  12. Kip Williams: It’s called “The Comet House” because when viewed from overhead, it’s in the shape of a comet and its tail.

    Ooo! Do you have a link for an aerial photo?

  13. I almost never flew in my dreams until I became disabled, which seems significant, I suppose.

    The thing that strikes me about flying in my dreams is that it is an intensely physical act, requiring all my muscles, even though I’m not actually doing anything, like flapping my arms, that might reasonably be seen as flying to an outside observer. That, and it usually starts as simple levitation, before horizontal motion begins.

  14. JJ, I thought there would be, but despite having designed it with that in mind, the design firm just wants to show other angles of the thing.

    https://www.blueskyarchitecture.com/comet-house

    I took a picture of it from some nearby rocks, and got semi-overhead, but my pix aren’t online and I’m tired and need to go to bed.

    It was incredible, though. The line on the floor in that one shot (of the round end, which has the observatory) is where they put a pinhole in one wall, and the sun shines on spots along the line, which was to be marked with calendric data as time passed. I’m describing it a bit obscurely, I’m afraid. Possibly from fatigue. I’ve been watching a process on the balky computer, but I’m cashing it in now for the possibility of flying dreams.

    (Did I mention the recent non-flying dream where I was somewhere with a small group that included my 93-year-old dad and another 93-year-old Dad? I decided instantly that one of them was an impersonator, and then Real Dad spoke up and pointed at Not-Dad and said, “I like him. He don’t say nothing.”)

  15. …and as everyone knows Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. so I can clearly not Scroll the File in front of you.

    (Thank you for Title Credit!)

    (3) AGED, BUT NOT GOLDEN.
    I thought this was supposed to be a book review. But only the very last paragraph of this “review” of Farah Mendlesohn’s “The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein” is actually on topic.

    (14) SURVIVAL AT STAKE.
    That is excellent news. On our recent visit to Tasmania, we visited a sanctuary working to breed disease-free Tasmanian Devils & it seemed like a Herculean task.

  16. (3) AGED, BUT NOT GOLDEN.

    Christopher Priest uses a faux review to rant at great length about a science fiction writer. Quelle suprise. 🙄

    What an incredibly rude and unprofessional thing, for him to do that to Mendlesohn, instead of, you know, actually writing a thoughtful review of the book he’s supposedly reviewing. If he wants to rant about Heinlein, and the Spectator is willing to pay him to do so, fine. But this is just a massive slap in the face to Mendlesohn and her book.

  17. 3) This style of review is quite common in, eg The London Review Of Books, where the reviewer shares knowledge of the subject at hand with the author of the book under discussion, and much of the review will be spent with the reviewer talking about the subject itself. Remember, readers of The Spectator may not be as familiar with Heilein as we are.

    Priest gives his thoughts about the book at the end of the review: “Mendlesohn’s book bespeaks long and detailed work, but the result is difficult to read and follow” and “These vague subjects are thoroughly and intelligently discussed but they wander from one story to another, presupposing that the reader will instantly recall in detail every one that is mentioned”.

    As for his opinions on Heinlein, he certainly pulls no punches, but he gives praise where he believes it is due: “The stories and novels from the pre-war part of his career were notable for the firm sense of competence and reliability. They were, like his later work, told well. His style was terse, rather like that of a literate drill sergeant. Unlike the other science fiction current at the time, Heinlein’s speculative stories were not only set in plausible futures, but the people who moved in those worlds were strong, believable and effective.” This paragraph appears before the last one quoted in Mike’s excerpt, and it’s to these stories that the ‘didactic’ term is intended to apply.

    I was a huge fan of Heinlein in my teens, gobbling up particularly his later works. But Priests description of these seems to me spot on: “From Starship Troopers (1959) onwards, his books had an endlessly hectoring, lecturing tone, almost always phrased in long and unconvincing conversations full of paternalistic advice, sexual remarks, libertarian dogma and folksy slang.”

  18. Cliff says quite correctly I was a huge fan of Heinlein in my teens, gobbling up particularly his later works. But Priests description of these seems to me spot on: “From Starship Troopers (1959) onwards, his books had an endlessly hectoring, lecturing tone, almost always phrased in long and unconvincing conversations full of paternalistic advice, sexual remarks, libertarian dogma and folksy slang.”

    The only work in his later period thst I think that doesnt hold true for is The Cat Who Walks Through Walls which though preachy in parts still is a damn fine story.

    There’s a good story in every one of those novels buried deep in just what Priest is talking about. It’s just lost in the noise.

    The Number of The Beast is a mess both as a story and structurally. None of the four characters is developed enough to stand clearly as anything but a sock puppet for the author. And Priest is right — the ‘sex’ scenes are embarrassingly bad.

  19. Meredith Moment:

    There’s a large number of C.S. Lewis as the KDD at Amazon US, including The Screwtape Letters at $2.99 and all seven of the Narnia books at $1.99 each.

    3) Priest has written a number of novels I’ve enjoyed to varying degrees and I love his short fiction. He’s not entirely wrong in his comments on Heinlein’s later work. But Mendlesohn’s book probably deserved a better review than he gave it. As for his “20 pages at a gallop but not remember anything” theory, there are sections of Beast I wish I could erase from my memory!

    Still, I agree with Cat Eldridge-there are good stories in most of the later novels buried in white noise.

  20. @2: I see many stories of DAs making unwarranted attacks on judges who rule against them — but if the circumstances are anything like what was shown here, this isn’t one of them.

    @13: well, that’s weird.

  21. 3) I didn’t realize WHO wrote the Spectator post or even read it until now–I saw that Farah was most rightly put out by the piece because most of the review IS about Priest’s feelings about Heinlein, not about the book itself.

    Common or not, it’s not a style of review I particularly think is fair or I care for. My own review of the book is in the works.

    12) Is The Light Brigade in conversation with Starship Troopers? I am still trying to decide that myself

  22. I assume you mean this kind of “embarrassing bad” sex scene, Cat:
    Our teeth grated and my nipples went spung!

    My personal favourite of Heinlein’s works is the somewhat atypical The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. I can easily imagine Dan Curtis making a highly entertaining tv movie from it in the early 1970s.

  23. JJ, thanks! I need to save that for future reference.

    See the straight line that goes through the circle? That’s where the line on the floor is drawn, and it describes the location of the sun’s pinhole image each day at noon. The pinhole is in a wall that my spider-sense tells me faced South and possibly a little East.

    Cliff, agreed on Coltrane. I bought the series, piece by piece, on used DVDs at the late, lamented FYE in Victor, which was a superstore of entertainment software (CDs, DVDs, games) and stuff to use them on, occupying one of the biggest locations in Eastview Mall. Their used room was the size of an average store. Oh, yeah: Coltrane. When they brought the series here, I ignored it because it wasn’t the original, but I’ve finally started watching it on Netflix or Prime or whatever it’s on, and it’s a decent enough adaptation. R. Lee Ermey has a regular part in it as a member of the police department. Still in uniform, I see! And then I’ll go back and watch the originals again. Coltrane is remarkable. (FIrst saw him in NUNS ON THE RUN, which I still like.)

  24. If someone knows roughly where the Comet House is located, could an overhead view be found on Google Maps or some such?

  25. @ P J Evans I think I have you beat. I have a UFO from the mid-1970s

    You may possibly have me beat, but you may also be under a misapprehension about how long ago my “college days” were. (Since I started the item more toward the end of college, it was probably 78-79-ish rather than 76-77-ish.)

    Like you, I have custody of one of my mother’s UFOs: a set of four linen placemats with a simple drawnwork boarder and Italian hemstitching. I’m getting close to finishing the first one that she started. The other three are still just cut yardage.

  26. Steve Green asks meI assume you mean this kind of “embarrassing bad” sex scene, Cat: Our teeth grated and my nipples went spung!

    Yeah that one.though there’s a much earlier scene which has a male character looking down the top of the dress of the woman he’s dancing with and commenting on her breasts not needing any support that’s even more juvenile. Heinlein certainly has a fascination with breasts in that novel.

  27. Joe H., I have tried to do just that, retracing what I thought was the route we drove to get there. Needless to say, I failed, so I don’t think I could usefully describe the location for anyone else’s attempt.

  28. @Heather Rose Jones
    That particular UFO of mine was started in 1973, when I was already past the usual college age. I have others, much more recent – as I said, I get bored and start new stuff. (Depression is the pits.)

  29. I am fond of bunny-themed art. I had a house rabbit named Varmint (may he rest in peace) for nearly ten years. He was a voraciously needy creature. If I left home for longer than a couple days he would pine and stop eating, and require tube feeding and IV hydration. He also required antibiotic injections every other day, as well as vast amounts of attention. I even got him his very own pet Ragdoll cat after researching breeds to find him an animal companion that wouldn’t eat him, since he didn’t really get along with rabbits. Because rabbits are every bit as aggressive and territorial as those medieval ones, and if they could attack you with weapons they’d do it in a heartbeat. Cute though.

    I loved him very much, and figured that since I was dedicating many of my waking hours to putting up with rabbit demands, I might as well celebrate it, and decorate my house and clothes and workplace with bunny iconography, and name all my video game characters after rabbits. And after he passed away I got his portrait tattooed on my shoulder.

  30. @Steve Green: I’m also really fond of “Unpleasant Profession”. These days I’d want to see someone like Mike Flanagan or Jordan Peele adapt it.

    (4) I am very happy to see the SWAT instigator get taken seriously in the eyes of the law. I hope that sentence encourages other courts to rule similarly.

  31. Birthdays: Maurice LaMarche also voiced King Agdar, Anna and Elsa’s father in ‘Frozen’. Since ‘Frozen’ was on the Hugo Ballot, I think that’s genre.

    I’ve read the new Heinlein biography – I’m not sure there is anything new in there, but I found it interesting.

    And after 30 years of being dead, Heinlein is certainly being re-examined critically. I still like his stuff, all of it. Well, ‘Farnharms’ Freehold’ isn’t great. ‘Job’ was weird.

  32. @Cliff & Paul Weimer,

    I did not know that this was a type of review format (so I have learnt something new today). It does not make me think any better of the reviewer or the review format. IMO it does not do what it says on the label: a review should be about the work in question. In this instance, the review component is an afterthought.

  33. Soon Lee says I did not know that this was a type of review format (so I have learnt something new today). It does not make me think any better of the reviewer or the review format. IMO it does not do what it says on the label: a review should be about the work in question. In this instance, the review component is an afterthought.

    While that approach of addressing the book itself is the appropriate one, it is not the typical approach taken among British magazines, be political or social commentary in nature. The readership for such outlets expects just what Priest did, nothing more and nothing less.

    If you really want to get depressed, read the letters in repose to his review. They make even the worst of Rabid Puppies seem sane. And that’s who’s reading The Spectator for the most part. Priest knew his audience and his article reflects that audience.

  34. The guy who wrote Sixth Column (where “Asians” invade America and commit atrocities, and then concludes war to extermination is inevitable], called racist? Shocked. Shocked am I.

    As for the sexism, there was this conversation today:
    “His picking up our cat, flipping her over and rubbing her belly was like…saying “Hello, nice to meet you, I’m putting my hand down your bra.”
    “Oh. So like a Heinlein novel then.”

    He’s got kind of a reputation.

  35. Rose Embolism says

    The guy who wrote Sixth Column (where “Asians” invade America and commit atrocities, and then concludes war to extermination is inevitable], called racist? Shocked. Shocked am I.

    Based on a story idea by John W. Campbell no less. Published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1941 using his pen name of Anson MacDonald.

    As for the sexism, there was this conversation today:
    “His picking up our cat, flipping her over and rubbing her belly was like…saying “Hello, nice to meet you, I’m putting my hand down your bra.”
    “Oh. So like a Heinlein novel then.”

    He’s got kind of a reputation.

    Yeah he does. If I remember correctly, To Sail Beyond The Sunset ventures into the incest territory as well though rationalises it somewhat. And I think Time Enough for Love did likewise.

  36. Cat Eldridge on March 31, 2019 at 4:54 pm said:
    Rose Embolism says

    The guy who wrote Sixth Column (where “Asians” invade America and commit atrocities, and then concludes war to extermination is inevitable], called racist? Shocked. Shocked am I.

    Based on a story idea by John W. Campbell no less. Published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1941 using his pen name of Anson MacDonald.

    ISTR reading in a couple of places that RAH had serious problems with Campbell’s take on the story, and did his best to tone down the extreme overt racism.

    Also, considering the situation in the Far East at the time, the Rape of Nanking and other atrocities, with Pearl Harbor on the horizon, I’m not sure that the final product was so explicitly racist as all that. Let’s face it, every branch of humanity has it’s own horrors, atrocities, and genocides to be ashamed of. The Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, etc. have nothing on the English, French, or Spanish. They are all terrible.

  37. Techgrrl1972 says Also, considering the situation in the Far East at the time, the Rape of Nanking and other atrocities, with Pearl Harbor on the horizon, I’m not sure that the final product was so explicitly racist as all that. Let’s face it, every branch of humanity has it’s own horrors, atrocities, and genocides to be ashamed of. The Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, etc. have nothing on the English, French, or Spanish. They are all terrible.

    I’m sorry, it’s still a racist story and saying that everyone was being evil is hardly a defence of that condition. You’re not allowed to excuse yourself of crimes against humanity by saying everyone else is doing the same, and writing an explicit racist piece of fiction can’t be excused on those grounds either.

    Look he wasn’t a perfect writer and certainly writing for folks like Campbell who were xenophobic wasn’t easy, but let’s not excuse him in this case.

  38. @Cat Eldridge —
    I’m not suggesting the RAH of 1941 was ‘woke’ by the standards of 2019. Frankly, very little of 1941 science fiction is ‘woke’ by today’s standards.

    Having said that, please help me understand the racism in the story? Is it racist to have the PanAsians as villains? If so, then is ‘Man in the High Castle’ racist? Or Harry Turtledove’s alternate history of WW2?
    I AM suggesting it is problematic to apply 2019 standards of tolerance and understanding to stories written in the early 40’s.

    It was not long after this story appeared that the progressive FDR put Japanese Americans behind barbed wire. Something we are doing today on our southern border, only with a different ethnic group. And apparently about 35% of the American public is just peachy keen with that.

    So, please, point out why the story is racist. I’ve not seen any specifics other than “Heinlein wrote a racist story because Asians were the bad guys.”

  39. @Techgrrl1972 I’ve not seen any specifics other than “Heinlein wrote a racist story because Asians were the bad guys.”

    One obvious specific that gets cited a lot is the super-science weapons that (literally) only work against people of “asian blood”. Otherwise, we’re into discussion of orientalism, racial stereotypes, and the particular ways in which the bad guys were portrayed as bad.

  40. @Sophie Jane: “One obvious specific that gets cited a lot is the super-science weapons that (literally) only work against people of ‘asian blood’.”

    How would you compare that to the engineered disease in Grahame Greene’s The Human Factor which only kills black people?

  41. @John A Arkansawyer

    I’ve not read The Human Factor. How would you compare it, having read both?

    The problem with Heinlein/Campbell’s “Asian blood”(*), of course, is not just the spurious biological distinction between races but more importantly that it’s a literal treatment of the rhetoric of purity and pollution that’s used to justify white supremacy.

  42. @Sophie Jane: I’m going to pause and see if anyone else has something to say about it. I’ll answer after I let someone else have a chance for a change.

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