Pixel Scroll 4/24/20 Fillie And The Poor Gods Are Stalkin’, Bring A Pixel, Scroll Your Feet

(1) MURDERBOT SPEAKS. Tor.com readies us for the May 5 release of Martha Wells’ next Murderbot book by hosting a dialog between two important characters: “Feelings REDACTED: What Happens When Murderbot and ART Talk to Instagram”.

The pair talked love, hate, fanfiction, feelings, quarantine tips, lemon cake, human flesh, dogs, robot babies, and, of course, Sanctuary Moon….

What really happened on episode 231 of Sanctuary Moon?
MB: It was clearly a dream.
ART: You’re wrong.
MB: So when the Mech Pilot was attacked by his evil duplicate who tried to hit him with a giant hammer and then disappeared, you think that was supposed to be real?
ART: It was an artistic choice.

(2) TRAVIS MCCREA APOLOGIZES. In the aftermath of John Van Stry’s court victory over book pirate Travis McCrea, McCrea has tweeted an apology. Take it for what it’s worth. Thread starts here.

(3) FANFICTION ETIQUETTE. The Mary Sue built a good story around the author’s recent Twitter thread: “N.K. Jemisin Reminds Us of the First Rule of Fanfiction”.

No, the first rule of fanfiction is not “we don’t talk about fanfiction.” Many writers happily discuss reading and writing fic—as evidenced by N.K. Jemisin, the three-time Hugo Award-winning novelist, describing how she still writes and reads it herself. The first rule of fanfiction is “you do not try and get the original creator to read your fanfiction.” How quickly we forget our Internet history.

… In explaining how these things are, Jemisin is not discouraging fans from making their own fanworks centered around her creations. She just cannot be personally involved, and it’s a serious breach of fandom etiquette to ask.

(4) BRUCE PELZ WOULD HAVE LOVED THIS. Bob Byrne is passing the time with this inventive tribute to Rex Stout’s famous sleuth: “Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: 2020 Stay at Home – Days 5, 6, and 7”. Which means seeing everything from Archie Goodwin’s viewpoint. For example —

DAY SIX – 2020 Stay at Home (SaH)

It was a pleasant spring morning, so I took my delayed walk today. It was good to stretch the legs and breathe the freshest air I’ve inhaled since moving here many years ago. I was out for two hours, enjoying open space – and the absence of Nero Wolfe. I saw other people walking and jogging, mostly keeping the required distance. It’s going to take some time for me to get used to the lack of noise. The buzz of conversation and the traffic ruckus just aren’t there. It’s not bad – just different.

I wasn’t in the office when Wolfe got down from the plant rooms at 11, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was at his desk, reading a thick book about Huey P. Long. He acknowledged my arrival and resumed reading. That was fine with me. I let him know I would be in the basement for a while and departed.

We keep a small file cabinet down there, which contains files related to unsolved cases. I’ve never written one up, but yes, there were occasions when the great Nero Wolfe didn’t get the bad guy. Or at least, couldn’t prove the issue. I’ll admit, his batting average was much better than Ty Cobb’s, but still, it did happen. And it rankled me at least as much as it did him. I’m the one who gathers the clues. I can’t help thinking, on some of them, that if I’d gotten one more piece of something, it might have made all the difference….

(Heading explained: It was from Bruce Pelz I first heard of Nero Wolfe.)

(5) WHO WAS THAT MASKED FAN? The New Yorker chronicles “The Superfans Springing Into Mask-Making Action”.

In the pandemic economy, face masks are like bars of gold. Hoarders are hoarding them. Governors are bartering for them. Hospital workers desperately need them. New Yorkers, ordered by Governor Cuomo last week to cover their faces in public, are repurposing bandannas and boxer shorts. In Rosie the Riveter fashion, Americans with crafting skills—among them quilters, Broadway seamstresses, sportswear manufacturers, origami artists, and grandmothers—have sprung into action. But one group has special mask-making powers: cosplayers, the superfans who specialize in making and wearing costumes. Never has the ability to whip up a Spider-Man mask or a Stormtrooper helmet been so useful.

“Cosplayers have big hearts,” Monica Paprocki, a thirty-five-year-old accountant in Chicago, said. Paprocki, who runs the fandom site Geeks A Gogo, started cosplaying in 2014 and taught herself how to sew by watching YouTube videos. She dressed as Princess Jasmine at Wizard World Chicago in 2019, the year after her Phoenix Monster costume, from the board game Rising Sun, won the Golden Needle Award at a gaming convention in Indianapolis. “It had articulated wings that I controlled with a remote control,” she said. This June, she was going to dress as Buzz Lightyear at the Origins Game Fair, in Ohio, but it had been postponed until October. When she saw a Facebook group requesting homemade medical supplies, she recruited fellow-cosplayers. “Before everything closed down, I had a stash of cotton fabric and materials here in my house,” she said. “I work my regular nine-to-five job in accounting. Right after that, I start sewing.”

(6) BESTSELLERS TALK AMONG THEMSELVES. Via Shelf Awareness comes word that Stephen King and John Grisham will hold a free online conversation discussing their new books on Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 PM Eastern.

“In lieu of admission, the authors hope attendees will consider donating to the Bookseller Industry Charitable Foundation. You can register at grishamking.eventbrite.com or watch on Stephen King’s YouTube channel. Questions for the authors can go use #AskKingandGrisham

(7) VALUE ADDED. “The Stockbrokers Of Magic: The Gathering Play for Keeps”WIRED tells how.

…A whimsical experiment in bartering kickstarted that evolution in 2010: A few years after the viral “one red paperclip” experiment—a Craigslister traded a single red paperclip for a series of increasingly valuable items until he managed to trade up for a house—a Magic player named Jonathan Medina embarked on a similar quest. Medina would trade from one random $4 pack of booster cards and keep trading up until he acquired one of the game’s legendary Power Nine cards— phenomenally rare cards widely considered very, very good. A pavement-pounding card trader, Medina blogged his experience in a widely read series of articles called “Pack to Power.” He would spend no money and, using just his wits, research, and networking skills, maneuver his $4 pack of cards into Magic wealth.

After opening his pack, Medina, in his words, began “hitting the streets to flip my cardboard.” By the time he’d traded with fellow players at gaming conventions and stores a total of 98 times, he had assembled an impressive binder stacked with valuable cards. It was at Gen Con, on a Saturday four months later, when Medina, groggy from playing Magic until five in the morning the previous night, handed over his binder in exchange for the $359.99 Mox Pearl card—a Power Nine.

“At the time, people were still trading based on nonmonetary metrics,” Medina says. “So when people read the small stories of the trades and looked at the math, they realized that they could be getting more out of their cards. This collective rise in awareness led to an interest in the financial side of the game. 

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 24, 1955 — The X Minus One radio program aired on NBC for the first time. Written by Ray Bradbury, “And The Moon Be Still As Bright” is the tale of Mars expedition which finds the Martians extinct due to chickenpox brought to them by previous expeditions. The crew save one decide to destroy all Martian artefacts. Ernest Kinoy wrote the script from the story by Bradbury, and the cast included John Larkin and Nelson Olmstead.  The show would run from now until January 8, 1958 with many of coming from well-known SF authors including Anderson, Pohl, Asimov, Blish, Leiber, Heinlein and Simak to name just a few. You can hear this episode here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 24, 1930 Richard Donner, 90. He’s credited in directing Superman which Is considered by many to be the first modern superhero film. H’h. Well I’m instead going to celebrate him for ScroogedThe Goonies and Ladyhawke. Not to mention the horror he did — Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. Oh, and the first X-Men film which was superb. 
  • Born April 24, 1936 Jill Ireland. For her short life, she chalked up in an amazing number of genre show roles. She was on Star Trek romancing Spock as Leila Kalomi In “This Side of Paradise” episode. She had five appearances on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as being on Night Gallery,  My Favorite MartianVoyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Voodoo Factor and the SF film The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything based on the 1962 novel of the same name by John D. MacDonald. (Died 1990.)
  • Born April 24, 1946 Donald D’Ammassa, 74. Considered to be one of the best and fairest long-form reviewers ever. His Encyclopedia of Science Fiction covered some five hundred writers and as can two newer volumes, Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction and Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction are equally exhaustive. I can’t comment on his fiction as I’ve only ever encountered him as a reviewer.
  • Born April 24, 1947 Michael Butterworth, 73. Author of, with Michael Moorcock naturally, two Time of the Hawklords novels, Time of the Hawklords and Queens of Deliria. He also wrote a number of Space 1999 Year 2 novels, too numerous to list here. He also edited Corridor magazine from 1971 to 1974. He also wrote a number of short fiction pieces including one whose title amuses me for reasons I’m not sure, “Circularisation of Condensed Conventional Straight-Line Word-Image Structures“. 
  • Born April 24, 1950 Michael Patrick Hearn, 70. Academic who has some of the best annotated works I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. I wholeheartedly recommend both The Annotated Wizard of Oz and The Annotated Christmas Carol, not to overlook Victorian Fairy Tales which is simply the best collection of those tales.
  • Born April 24, 1953 Gregory Luce, 67. Editor and publisher of both the Science Fiction Gems and the Horror Gems anthology series, plus such other anthologies as Citadel of the Star Lords / Voyage to Eternity and Old Spacemen Never Die! / Return to Earth. For a delightful look at him and these works, go here. Warning: really cute canine involved! 
  • Born April 24, 1955 Wendy S. Delmater, 65. She was nominated at Sasquan for a Best Semiprozine Hugo for editing the exemplary Abyss & Apex webzine. It’s particularly strong in the areas of speculative poetry and small press genre reviews. She herself has written a lot of genre centered essays, plus a handful of genre stories and poems. 
  • Born April 24, 1983 Madeline Ashby, 37. California-born Canadian resident writer whose Company Town novel created an entire city in an oil rig. Interestingly In 2013, she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer but recused herself on the grounds that her pro  career started with her ‘09 publication of a short story in Nature, so  her eligibility period had expired in ‘11. And her Machine Dynasties series is simply brilliant, and resonates with the later Murderbot series.

(10) HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUBBLE. “Hubble telescope delivers stunning 30th birthday picture”

It’s 30 years ago to the day that the Hubble telescope was launched – and to celebrate its birthday, the veteran observatory has produced another astonishing image of the cosmos.

This one is of a star-forming region close to our Milky Way Galaxy, about 163,000 light-years from Earth.

The larger object is the nebula NGC 2014; its companion is called NGC 2020.

But astronomers have nicknamed the scene the “Cosmic Reef” because it resembles an undersea world.

(11) AND IN MOTION. Hubble’s 30th anniversary image has been turned into a 3D “spaceflight” experience.

Experts created this visualisation showing the Giant Red Nebula and its smaller blue neighbour, which lie in a satellite-galaxy of the Milky Way.

(12) IN ONE SITTING. “The chairs of Blake’s 7” is a vast collage of furniture and show highlights assembled by the author of the Watching Blake’s 7 blog:

…So, here is a compilation all the identifiable seating seen in Blake’s 7.  In addition, I have thrown in a handful of tables, desks, lamps and other things that showcase how bloomin’ stylish Blake’s 7 was, and how the BBC props store contained a wealth of magnificent design artefacts.

First on the list —

Folding chair
Fred Scott, for Hille International
1960’s
Seen in ‘Animals’

Let’s start with one of the most beautiful moments in Blake’s 7, and a reminder of the sheer effort to get the series broadcast on time and on budget.  Sure, Avon slips at the end of this shot, and there’s no time for a retake, but let’s not forget the attitude in which he knocks the chair over.   I’m delighted to report that Fred Scott designed something robust enough to withstand the dirtiest ‘Dirty Harry’ kicking seen on screen up to that point.  Chair vandalism, or quality control?  You decide.

(13) SACRILEGE! The Chewie Millennial System: “Library books rearranged in size order by cleaner”.

A well-meaning cleaner who took the opportunity to give a locked-down library a thorough clean re-shelved all of its books – in size order.

Staff at Newmarket Library, Suffolk, discovered the sloping tomes after the building underwent a deep clean.

James Powell, of Suffolk Libraries, said staff “saw the funny side” but it would take a “bit of time” to correct.

“It looks like libraries will be closed for a while so we’ll have plenty of time to sort the books out”, he said.

“The cleaner is lovely and does a great job in the library. It was an honest mistake and just one of those things so we would never want her to feel bad about it,” he added.

(14) RIGHTFUL PREY. Let Atlas Obscura show you the elusive “Fremont Troll”.

AN 18-FT. tall troll made of cement clutches an old VW car underneath an overpass in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The car is an actual Volkswagen Beetle encased in concrete, which used to be red and bear a California license plate.

The Troll was constructed in 1990 after winning a Fremont Arts Council competition for designs to improve the freeway underpass, which then was a dumping ground….

(15) A MOBY FILE. “Oregon Park Rangers Decided to Bury a Perfectly Dead Whale Instead of Blowing It Up” grumps the Willamette Week. Tagline: “Do we really want to live in a state that won’t explode giant animal carcasses when given the chance?”

… On Saturday, the carcass of a 40-foot grey whale washed up on the shore of the Sand Lake Recreation Area north of Pacific City. For longtime Oregonians, news of a dead whale appearing on a local beach should ring a few alarm bells…

… In case you don’t know the story, in November 1970, a sperm whale of roughly the same size washed up on the beach in Florence, Ore. Local officials considered several methods of disposing the body, like dragging it out to sea. Ultimately, they went with the most exciting option available—blowin’ it up real good.

It was a bit of a disaster. The dynamite blew chunks of whale flesh 800 feet in the air, raining viscera down on bystanders and destroying a car in the adjacent parking lot. 

Which gives everyone on the internet an excuse to repost one of the most viral videos of all time:

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “No Maps For These Territories:  A William Gibson Docufilm” on YouTube is a 2000 documentary, directed by Mark Neale, of conversations held with Gibson during his book tour for All Tomorrow’s Parties.  It includes interviews with Bruce Sterling and Jack Womack and Gibson remembering that when he read “Burning Chrome,” one of the first cyberpunk stories, at Denvention II in 1981, he had an audience of four.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, N., Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/24/20 Fillie And The Poor Gods Are Stalkin’, Bring A Pixel, Scroll Your Feet

  1. Glad you like the Nero Wolfe post. It’s been a lot of fun. Archie Goodwin is the best ‘Watson’ in mystery fiction, for my money.

  2. (2) TRAVIS MCCREA APOLOGIZES.

    “FAUXPOLOGIZES”. I don’t see him offering to send his illegally-gotten wealth to the authors from whom he stole sales monies. 🙁

  3. (9) To this day, I have an extremely difficult time having any respect for people who were willing to accept unearned Hugo nominations.

  4. (7) Back in 1995, I sold 10 mixes, 33 dual lands (10 of which were beta), two lotus (one in very bad shape) three ancestral recall and a time walk, along with about 100 other cards that are now all expensive … and it got me two year’s university tuition.

    Today, a rough estimate puts that small pile of cardboard at a value that is in excess of the value of my house. The lotuses? Sold for $20 a piece. Now worth a lot more than that.

  5. @JJ: I hadn’t realized (or had forgotten) that Apex and Abyss had been part of the slate.

  6. Andrew: I just went and checked my 2015 post — it was on the Sad Puppies list, but not the Rabid Puppies list (which didn’t include any Semiprozines in 2015).

  7. I do think the Machine Dynasties novels of Ashby do work well with Murderbot.

  8. It’s not really possibly to check all of the Birthday listings against the Puppies slates unless I want to spend a lot more time doing these than they really warrant. Crafting them can take several hours a days as it is. Fact checking for Puppy content simply ain’t getting added on.

    That said, her site, regardless of her being on a slate, is interesting and contains a lot of great content from authors that we discuss here. Indeed I spotted a story by Elizabeth Bear that I hadn’t read over there. Bear who just got a monthly pledge from me for her newsletter.

    I just took out full membership in the virtual WorldCon.

  9. Speaking of masks — I wore my mask in public for the first time today. I’ve been even more isolated than most people — I live alone on six acres, I’ve been using curbside pickup for groceries and animal feed and supplies from HD, I’ve hardly been inside any buildings at all aside from my own home and my deceased parents’ empty house. But I wanted to get Thai today, and they don’t have the curbside part on their pickup. Sigh. So masked Contrarius it was!

    The mask was weird. The Thai food was good. Worth it! 🙂

  10. Cat Eldridge: It would be ridiculous to say we’re not going to list the birthdays of people who have done fine work in the sff field because they were on a slate 5 years ago. I mean, just as a general principle. It’s also good to remember that a few things on those slates were “human shields” — things that deserved to be nominated and Vox used to screw with people’s heads. The originators of the Puppy slates shouldn’t expect to be showing up in the list, though…

  11. Contrails says The mask was weird. The Thai food was good. Worth it! ?

    I’m used to wearing a mask to the point that I don’t even notice that I’ve got it on. But then I’m staffing three food pantries a week, call it up to twenty hours in total. And we wear them and latex gloves the whole time. I am reaching the point where I’m really, really annoyed at shoppers in stores who aren’t wearing them.

    And I ordered four hundred of them early on before they were hard to get…

  12. @Cat —

    I am reaching the point where I’m annoyed at folks in stores who aren’t wearing them.

    Unfortunately, I do live in one of the stupid states. I was out and about today — grocery pickup (curbside) and pharmacy pickup (curbside) before the restaurant pickup (not curbside), and there were people all over the place and relatively crowded parking lots, with few masks and little distancing to be seen.

    And I got my masks off etsy! Quite stylish, one with botanical print and the other with birds. 🙂

  13. 13) That would suggest the cleaner had never checked out a library book so didn’t realize how the shelving system worked. It’s really sad that that is plausible.

  14. Contraius says And I got my masks off etsy! Quite stylish, one with botanical print and the other with birds.

    Cloth right? I find that I can’t wear them as I get them wet far too fast from my breathing so I’m using the disposable medical masks. I got them at fifty cents a unit which wasn’t bad. They actually are usable for multiple days if all I use them for is a three hour walk which is is all the out time that I do if I’m doing a food pantry.

  15. 2) THAT looks like yet another classic example of “Sorry, NOT SORRY!”. I mean, REALLY…

  16. Okay, I have Thoughts, and I’m too tired and nearly asleep to formulate them.

    My recommendation is that you don’t have your BiPAP or CPAP not working two nights in a row while you stress over it. Just bad plan all around.

    Hoping to sleep properly tonight.

  17. I bought my mask off Etsy as well, and wore it for the first time today. It was about a 50/50 split in the store I went into, people wearing masks and people not.

    Mine came from the Trimitive shop on Etsy, and the fabric has cats on it.

    Perhaps we could have a post of Filer selfies of us wearing our masks?

  18. I can’t wear a mask, because I get breathing difficulties, excessive sweating and itching, when I try to wear one, especially in warm weather and overheated rooms. And since all German states have made masks mandatory from Monday on for using public transport or going shopping, I have no idea how I’ll get groceries from next week on, especially since supermarkets are almost always overheated and stuffy, since they never turn on the AC. I’ve stocked up as much as I could, but some things like milk don’t keep all that long. I’ll try using a bandana, but I’ve been having anxiety about this for days now.

    Not to mention that niqabs and burqas in general are banned (which I am opposed to, because I think everybody should have the right to wear whatever they like) and wearing masks or bandanas at protests as well as when driving is illegal in Germany, but now they suddenly want to force all of us to wear masks. But you still have to take the mask off, when driving, which means unnecessarily touching your face several times, since I always go to more than one grocery stores.

    Also, I’ve noticed that the people who are wearing masks (fairly few, because it’s against our culture) are usually much worse about keeping their distance, but encroach upon your space.

  19. Mike Glyer on April 24, 2020 at 7:25 pm said:

    Andrew: I just went and checked my 2015 post — it was on the Sad Puppies list, but not the Rabid Puppies list (which didn’t include any Semiprozines in 2015).

    Abyss & Apex also editorially endorsed the Sad Puppies https://www.abyssapexzine.com/2015/03/sad_puppies_3/ Their involvement was more than simply being included in the slate.

    I don’t think that means the work of magazine in the past and afterwards should be forever ignored though.

  20. 12) I would pay honest money for a home video release of Blake’s Seven that would work on Region 1 players.

    15) Julian May filed the serial numbers off that incident and made it a part – a small part – of Aiken Drum’s juvenile record in The Many-Colored Land.

  21. 9) Just the other night I was thinking about a Don D’Ammassa novella that I read in manuscript almost fifty years ago (for a publisher that never got off the ground) that I really enjoyed. I don’t know that it ever did get published anywhere, which is a shame.

    10) The Hubble is one of my favorite things in the universe. I love looking at its pictures. Part of the Webb team is based just up the street from me, and I’ve sometimes seen displays of their progress in the public space outside their offices.

    @Cora — I sometimes overheat wearing my mask in the grocery store, too. Twice I’ve gotten about 75% of the way through the supermarket, and then had to leave my wife to finish up while I went outside to catch some air. We also shop in a smaller grocery store that I don’t have trouble with. I guess if I were shopping on my own, I’d have to leave my cart by the manager’s office and come back to finish up ten minutes later.

  22. I ended up making no-sew masks from a sacrificial T-shirt. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube for that purpose. I used instruction from a video that had already received over 3 million views and was getting close to 4 million. Interesting times.

    Some of the graphic artists I’m following on instagram are selling masks with their designs. A lot of the time the money goes to charities. Back on Jan. 25, I tweeted suggesting that people wanting to make money should design attractive face masks. (At the time, I didn’t realize that that was already kinda a thing in China.) Sad to see that it’s coming to this.

    Who was that masked pixel?
    I don’t know, but I wanted to scroll him.
    (Yes, it just sounds wrong when I read it, but it’s too late to do better.)

  23. @Cat —

    Cloth right? I find that I can’t wear them as I get them wet far too fast from my breathing so I’m using the disposable medical masks.

    I got a few of the disposables as well, but I haven’t used any yet (I used to use them daily, professionally, but that was years ago). I like these cloth ones I got because they are a more fitted design, so fewer gaps around the edges.

    I find the backs of my ears have become prime territory, though. I always wear glasses, and nearly always wear Bluetooth earbuds that hook behind my ears, and now face-mask ear elastics as well! It’s getting crowded back there!

  24. (15) A MOBY FILE.

    @Patrick Morris Miller, The Many-Colored Land was where I encountered that story first, and didn’t know of the true story on which it was based until years later. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered the original!

    My latest encounter with this was on this Twitter thread.
    https://twitter.com/MyDoncaster/status/1247083713428631553

    It ends with some very useful lessons apropos of current events…

  25. 15) Seriously, though, blowing up whales can be dangerous. I heard that one spectator was hit by a fragment of the whale’s limbs! – though that was a bit of a fluke.

  26. Steve Wright on April 24, 2020 at 11:35 pm said:

    15) Seriously, though, blowing up whales can be dangerous. I heard that one spectator was hit by a fragment of the whale’s limbs! – though that was a bit of a fluke.

    Well played

  27. 2) That is a stereotypical Abuser’s Apology: “I’m sorry I hit you [in the wallet, in this particular case]. I’ll never do it again.”

    Narrator: He will do it again.

  28. Catching up on unfinished trilogies during a pandemic!
    Just finished ‘After Atlas’ – Grim but great
    I now plant to return to Chris Beckett’s Eden for the middle installment.
    Next on the agenda – Kate Elliot’s ‘Cold’ series, Alastair Reynolds ‘Poseidon’;s Wake’, and do I dare complete Stevenson’s Baroque trilogy. I sense that the time is ripe.
    Sad to be missing my first actual Worldcon in Wellington. Such is life.
    Oh and ‘A Memory of Empire’ was most satisfying. I’d have nominated it if I’d read it by the close.

  29. @Soon Lee (regarding Aiken and the whale): That’s where I heard the story first too.

  30. @Ken Richards — I’m doing something similar ATM, except in my case it’s Tanith Lee’s Birthgrave trilogy, and this is a reread. (I last read the entire trilogy probably 20 years ago, then reread Birthgrave a few years back when it was rereleased (maybe around the time of Lee’s passing?), and am only now getting back to books 2 & 3. For the record, I much prefer the original title of book 2 (Vazkor, Son of Vazkor) to its rerelease title, Shadowfire.)

  31. Maybe I’m one of the few people who never saw the exploding whale video, but I haven’t, so I thought that was pretty funny.

    I see the highway department used “dangerous high explosives” to blow up the whale. What would have happened if they used the non-dangerous kind?

  32. @Martin Wooster: the Wikipedia entry says they used dynamite, which can easily become unstable. In theory the stories could have been informal in naming the explosive, or the explosive could have been one of the safer variants. However, the ?responsible? party was the state highway department; “construction” is cited as one of the continuing uses for classic dynamite. I wonder whether part of the rationale was that a few engineers could have fun and dispose of some overaged dynamite, instead of having to divert large forces from other state work (or pay overtime for them). The video also seems to show a single large charge. Both of these contrast with what I’ve read of modern building demolition, which involves distributed amounts of modern, less-unstable explosives to do just enough damage. This is guesswork — I was never even a member of Camp Wanamakabigboom (the group that did fireworks shows at the 1987 and 1995 Worldcons), let alone seriously experienced with explosives — but ISTM plausible.

  33. Bruce Arthurs: Narrator: He will do it again.

    Followed by the Law and Order “plonk-plonk!”

  34. Cora Buhlert says: especially since supermarkets are almost always overheated and stuffy, since they never turn on the AC
    It’s the exact opposite where I live. If the weather’s warm, they crank the AC way up. Which can feel nice if it’s 90+ degrees outside, but I think they probably do it even when they don’t really need to.

  35. 13) When I was quite young and my library ran to maybe twenty (paperback) titles, I would arrange my little collection in various ways not used by libraries: by publisher, by size, or even by the colors of the page edges.** The earliest signs of my taxonomic obsessions.

    ** In the early-to-mid 1950s, Bantam, Dell, Pocket, Avon, and Ace books were usually short, Signets were tall, and page edges could be yellow or red or blue. Lots of scope for alternate sortings.

  36. I am a friend of Wendy’s, and honestly, she’s not one of the Puppy crew.

    15) FWIW, a school classmate was the son of the man whose car got squashed by a chunk of whale. He had a lot of fun passing around pictures of the destruction. We had fun looking at them and laughing with him about it. Ever since then the Powers That Be in Oregon have decided that Blowing Up Dead Whales Is Not A Good Idea.

  37. D’Ammassa is another of those amazing super-readers like Nicoll, Blue Tyson, Di Filippo…just a prodigious amount of reading. I can’t figure where they find the time to write the reviews. Remember Harriet Klausner?

    I really enjoy Ashby’s writing. Her short stories are excellent, as are her essays.

    @Russell Letson
    I miss dyed page edges. 🙁

    “No Maps for These Territories” is worth checking out if you’re even just a casual Gibson fan.

  38. 15) One thing that should be mentioned is that the car that was destroyed by pieces of exploded whale belonged to a reporter who was there to cover the event.

    In Oregon, the beaches were historically technically part of the highway department (it’s a long involved story), so it somewhat makes sense that highway engineers were involved. But I suspect there weren’t many guidelines on how much dynamite to use when blowing up whales.

    (“Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”)

  39. These days my books get shelved by the somewhat vague intersection of Order of Purchase and Where the Heck Will This Fit?

  40. @John Lorentz – a story not unlike how oil drilling in Texas comes under the Railroad Commission, I take it.

    (A whale carcass washed up on a beach near SF this week. They did not blow it up – for one thing, it’s an urban area, and for another the whale was already half decomposed.)

  41. “You were only supposed to blow the bloody fins off!”
    Michael Caine, The Florence Job

  42. Joyce Reynolds-Ward: I am a friend of Wendy’s, and honestly, she’s not one of the Puppy crew.

    She wrote a post ardently defending the Puppies, and she was happy to benefit from an unearned Hugo nomination which resulted from being on the Puppy slate. I have watched her make public hay over that nomination for the last 5 years, just as the rest of the Puppies have, without the slightest conscience or compunction about the fact that there were people and works which were deprived by the slates of the place on the Hugo ballot that they had earned by popular acclaim.

    When something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I don’t pretend to myself that it’s a swan.

  43. #1) Thanks for the ART/Murderbot link. This was entertaining, though mostly quips. They might consider bringing Wells in for an ART/MB interview, as this alone doesn’t supply much to hook new readers.

    Re: Masks. I’ve been wearing a medical mask for a while, but ordered a biker mask yesterday that has a fashion flair. If the fabric is workable, it may be my accessory of choice for the next year.

  44. @1 It wants an instagram or facebook ID. I don’t have either, so I guess I won’t be seeing this.

  45. @Joyce Reynolds-Ward: I can just imagine being the insurance agents who had to deal with your friend’s father’s report — makes even my partner-the-ex-insurance-person’s (indirect) banjo story seem easy….

  46. Cassy B: The Instagram image is supposed to display in my post. Although I have an FB account, I don’t have to enter an ID to see it. And when I’m logged out of here, I can still see the image in the post.

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