Pixel Scroll 4/4/20 The Heterodyne Boys And The Pixel Scroll Of Prague

(1) VIRTUALOSITY. Edmund Schluessel tells what it was like attending the first WiFi SciFi, which took place this afternoon UK time. “Con report: WiFi SciFi”.

…Around 75 people including 16 panelists, mostly drawn from the UK, attended two panels, two kaffeeklatsches and a quiz over the course of a late afternoon UK time. The medium of the event was teleconferencing platform Zoom; kaffeeklatsches were allocated using Zoom’s breakout room feature and the quiz using the poll feature.

The technical end of the experiment didn’t go perfectly, of course–connectivity problems made it hard for guest Tade Thompson to participate, making 3 conventions out of 3 where I almost met him but didn’t. Cheryl Morgan has some hot takes in a Twitter thread here.

But we shouldn’t judge the event by the technical imperfections of an overloaded system–we’re all trying to rebuild the world with spit and bits of string right now. The miracle, the monument to human ingenuity, is that any of this is working at all….

(2) FLATTEN THE CURVE. Jaroslav Olsa Jr., editor, fan, and Designated Consul General in Los Angeles for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Czech Republic), asked his Facebook friends to share this PSA:

It seems that the Czech Republic and Slovakia succeeded in slowing the increase of the numbers of infected people in the last days. The Czech Republic and Slovakia were the first European countries which made face masks obligatory in public spaces already two weeks ago – and though the stocks were limited, the Czechs and the Slovaks started their DIY production. See how the Czech and Slovak – all of us – are doing to stop the pandemocis.

(3) SURVIVING A HARD LIFE. Covid-19: A message from John Rhys-Davies.

John Rhys-Davies shares his thoughts from his home in the Isle of Man. He reflects on the experience of his family during the war and what we can learn from a generation that faced the greatest adversity of the 20th century.

(4) HOMEFRONT AND THE FIRST MASQUERADE. Rob Hansen has added updates to a book and to his fanhistory website.

An August 1940 piece by Ted Carnell I was unaware of was recently brought to my attention. This was a good fit for HOMEFRONT: Fandom in the UK (1939-1945) so Dave Langford has now kindly added it to the ebook. For those who are interested, downloading a new copy and having it overwrite your existing one is pretty simple: Homefront.

Also just added to my website is material I found on how the first convention masquerade came about, and thus the birth of cosplay/costuming. Though not my thing, this is of obvious fanhistorical interest: “The First Masquerade & The Birth of Cosplay”.

No photos of the masquerade, alas, yet enough detail that someone could probably re-enact it.

(5) AMY POND REVISITED. “Doctor Who: Steven Moffat releases new Amy Pond scene ahead of fan watchalong”. The rewatch was yesterday. Fortunately, the YouTube video story is forever.  

If his Strax-starring introduction to The Day of the Doctor wasn’t enough, former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat has written ANOTHER new short scene tying into the BBC sci-fi series, this time acting as a sort-of-prequel to 2010 episode The Eleventh Hour.

Produced remotely ahead of a planned fan rewatch of the episode (which welcomed Matt Smith into the central role exactly a decade ago), the short animation sees Caitlin Blackwood reprise her role as the younger Amelia (or Amy) Pond, the series companion played by Karen Gillan as an adult throughout the series.

(6) FREE READ. Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show is now free and open. You can read all back issues with no charge at IntergalacticMedicineShow.com

At this time of stay-at-home orders and quarantines, we hope you will enjoy the wonderful writers and artists who contributed to IGMS during its 14-year run.

(7) TOWARDS A FRESH BREEZE. Inverse’s Eric Francisco claims “Winds of Winter is GRRM’s chance to change Jon Snow’s fate for the better”. But he’s not delusional about it.

Let’s make one thing clear: I’m a pop culture writer on the internet. George R.R. Martin is a successful author worth $80 million. He created Westeros and the Starks and White Walkers, this morning I created a mediocre batch of pancakes. George R.R. Martin can do whatever he wants and he doesn’t have to listen to me.

That said, long before he wrote A Song of Fire and Ice, George R.R. Martin was a huge nerd and just a fan of geeky stuff. He even wrote letters to Marvel’s comic book editors, where he raved and ranted about the Fantastic Four. It’s safe to say that Martin understands fan culture, so he can put up with people like me telling him how to “fix” his story. And I’d never dream of yelling at anyone to “fix” their story lest I’m their editor.

But coming up three years on the ultimate reveal of Game of Thrones, in which we learned Jon Snow’s true parentage and connections to the Targaryens, I’m curious to know if Martin could (or would) pursue a new path in his books. One that’s completely different to how things went down for Jonny Snow in the HBO series.

(8) LAURIE KUNKEL OBIT. [Item by Woody Bernardi.]

I am ashamed to say that I have only just discovered that Laurie Yates-Kunkel (Laurie Kunkel) died on September 11, 2019. I don’t have any more details about Laurie’s death.

Laurie Kunkel was one my oldest friends in Fandom. David Allred introduced us when we were all students at UNLV. We were in the Univ Library, where David worked. Laurie was in the stacks doing research, she was always much more studious than me and actually earned two Bachelors, one in English and one in History. She was wearing a Star Fleet uniform, the day we met.

The three of us began the process which ultimately led to the creation of the Fantastic Fiction Club of UNLV in the Spring Semester 1987. Shockingly, I was campaigning for the FFCU to host a convention. But the other members of the Club preferred to write. So we created a semiprozine instead. We called it Neon Galaxies. Laurie also had some of her Fiction published in a journal produced by the English Dept.

 Then in 1990, Laurie Kunkel, David Allred & I searched out, with difficulty, Ken & Aileen Forman’s home, for the 2nd meeting of what was later named SNAFFU. In those days they lived in a subdivision on the outskirts of Las Vegas, bordered by empty desert. An area of Green Valley which had only just begun to be developed. Within a year, Arnie Katz& Joyce Katz made contact with SNAFFU. Laurie met Bill Kunkel and they were married a few years later.

Laurie and I joined FAPA, at the urging if Arnie & Joyce. However Laurie was always a far better writer than me and was also much more active in Fanzine Fandom than I ever was. Laurie was also active in the Southern Nevada Amateur Press Society (SNAPS), edited by Joyce Katz.

Bill died in 2010 and Laurie had been bedridden since 2007 and was having caregivers in a couple times a day ever since.

[Reprinted from the Fanhistory and the SNAFFU FB Groups.]

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 4, 2012 Iron Sky premiered. A Finnish-German-Australian production that was directed by Timo Vuorensola. The screenplay was by Michael Kalesniko, Ryan Healey and Timo Vuorensola from a treatment by Johanna Sinisalo and Michael Kalesniko. It starred Tero Kaukomaa, Oliver Damian, Mitchell Welsh and Samuli Torssonen plus many, many others. No, Nazis on the moon was not an idea that got a great reception and it currently has a 37% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
  • April 4, 2014  — Bermuda Tentacles premiered on Syfy.  It was directed by Nick Lyon. IMDB says it had nine producers which we won’t bother to list here. It starred Linda Hamilton and also had the cast of Trevor Donovan, Mýa, John Savage and Jamie Kennedy. Critics thought it stink, stank, stunk with one critic saying It was the “one of the worst that has been produced by Syfy.” Audience reviewers at at Rotten Tomatoes give it a thirteen percent rating. There are pirated copies of it on Youtube in Hindi and Tamil. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 4, 1902 Stanley G. Weinbaum. His first story, “A Martian Odyssey”, was published to general accolades in July 1934, but he died from lung cancer less than a year-and-a-half later. ISFDB lists two novels, The New Adam and The Dark Other, plus several handfuls of short stories that were I assume were out for consideration with various editors at the time of his death. Everything he wrote is available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 1935.)
  • Born April 4, 1914 Richard Coogan. He had but one genre role and it was a brief one but one well worth noting. He was for a brief time, the original Captain Video in the Captain Video and His Video Rangers which aired from 1949 to 1955. He lived to be almost a hundred but his acting career was over in the early Sixties. You can see him in the pilot, “The Sparrow”, here. (Died 2014.)
  • Born April 4, 1932 Anthony Perkins. Without doubt, he’s best known for playing Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and its three sequels. Three sequels?!? One sec… H’h, I missed the third one in the Nineties. Genre wise, I don’t see a lot otherwise by him though he was in The Black Hole as Dr. Alex Durant and was in Daughter of Darkness as Prince Constantine. (Died 1992.)
  •  Born April 4, 1948 Dan Simmons, 72. He’s the author of the Hyperion Cantos and the Ilium/Olympos cycles. Hyperion won a Hugo Award. If you like horror, Song of Kali which won a World Fantasy Award is highly recommended. 
  • Born April 4, 1954 Bruce Sterling, 66. Islands in the Net is I think is his finest work as it’s where his characters are best developed and the near future setting is quietly impressive. Admittedly I’m also fond of The Difference Engine which he co-wrote with Gibson which is neither of these things. He edited Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology which is still the finest volume of cyberpunk stories that’s been published to date. 
  • Born April 4, 1959 Phil Morris, 61. His first acting role was on the “Miri” episode of Trek as simply Boy. He was the Sam the Kid on several episodes of Mr. Merlin before returning to Trek fold as Trainee Foster in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Next interesting role is voicing Vandal Savage on a three-part Justice League Unlimited story called “The Savage Time”, a role he reprised for Justice League: Doom. No, I’ve not forgotten that he was on Mission: Impossible as Grant Collier. He also played the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz) on Smallvillie. Currently He’s Silas Stone on Doom Patrol and no, I didn’t spot that was him in that role. 
  • Born April 4, 1960 Hugo Weaving, 60. He is known for playing Agent Smith in The Matrix franchise, Elrond in The Lord of the Rings  and The Hobbit trilogies, V in V for Vendetta  and oh so evil Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also voiced Megatron in the first three films of the Transformers franchise.
  • Born April 4, 1965 Robert Downey Jr., 55. Well the less the said about his latest genre venture Doctor Little the better. No doubt his greatest genre role is that of Tony Stark his creation Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course he played Sherlock Holmes in the Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. And voiced James Barris in A Scanner Darkly
  • Born April 4, 1967 Xenia Seeberg, 53. She is perhaps best known for her role as Xev BeLexx in Lexx, a show’s that’s fantastic provided you can see in its uncensored form. I also see she played Muireann In Annihilation Earth, Noel in So, You’ve Downloaded a Demon, uncredited role in Lord of The Undead, and Sela in the “Assessment” episode of Total Recall 2070.
  • Born April 4, 1968 Gemma Files, 52. She’s a Canadian horror writer, journalist, and film critic. Her Hexslinger series now at three novels and a handful of stories is quite fun. It’s worth noting that she’s a prolific short story writer and four of them have been adapted as scripts for The Hunger horror series. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bliss obviously saw a different ice show than the rest of us did.
  • It was just a dream? — Garfield.
  • Non Sequitur shows how COVID-19 is affecting writers.

(12) SIGNAL BOOST. “Please, we’re begging, make this Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen gardening detective show a reality”AV Club’s Alison Shoemaker gets a post out of someone else’s Twitter conversation, like good bloggers do….

…This time, the source is not a fun caption on a publicity still, but a whole vibe from fantasy novelist M.L. Brennan….

Beyond what the article quotes, there’s a lot of wish-casting and hoped-for dialog etc. bits, enough that it’s worth the read. Thread starts here.

(13) FIRST PERSON. NPR covers “‘The Wuhan I Know’: A Comic About The City Behind The Coronavirus Headlines”, includes numerous examples.

Back in January, Laura Gao, a 23-year-old product developer for Twitter living in San Francisco, was preparing to visit her relatives in Wuhan, China. The trip was to celebrate her grandmother’s 80th birthday.

But in the days leading up to her flight, Gao’s relatives told her to cancel her trip. The coronavirus was spreading throughout the city.

Gao, a native of Wuhan, stayed in San Francisco and on January 23, the day after her flight would have landed, the city went on lockdown. If she’d taken her trip, Gao thinks she’d still be in Wuhan today.

“Instead, I’m here in San Francisco seeing the other side of the story,” Gao says. “There was a lot of anger and panic and pity that was coming from not only the media, but the people around me.”

As the virus spread, Wuhan quickly captured the world’s attention. For many Americans, this was the first time they had ever heard of the city — and in the frightening context of coronavirus.

She decided to make a comic telling her own story and highlighting her favorite parts of the city.

(14) MASKS. People are sharing DIY resources for making masks. Here are two some fans sent around:

(15) TROLL TEASERS. “Anna Kendrick and Rachel Bloom Just Spilled Some Tea About Trolls World Tour” at Bravo TV.

It’s almost time for Trolls World Tour! The jam-packed sequel hits theaters and is available to watch at home on demand on April 10. To celebrate this epic musical event, Anna Kendrick (who voices Queen Poppy) and Rachel Bloom (Queen Barb), sat down with Bravo in the video above to share a few spoilers about what to expect. 

“Poppy is the queen now, and feeling the pressure to prove herself,” explained Kendrick. “Poppy is determined. She thinks Barb and she are going to be best friends now.” 

But according to Bloom, Queen Barb has some plans of her own that don’t really include Poppy at all.

(16) LAST CHANCE TO SEE? “10 years to save ‘world’s most threatened sea turtle'”

The largest turtle in the ocean, the leatherback gets its name from its tough, rubbery skin.

Migrating long distances a year, the turtle can cross the Pacific Ocean.

But with threats like getting tangled in fishing gear, the future for one distinct population looks “dire,” say conservation groups.

At the current rate of decline, the critically endangered Eastern Pacific leatherback turtle will vanish within 60 years.

We have just 10 years left to put measures in place to save it, says a group of conservation scientists and organisations including Fauna & Flora International (FFI).

“We have it within our power to protect these animals and enable them to thrive, but all those who have a hand in shaping their future need to work together to do so,” said Alison Gunn, programme manager for the Americas and the Caribbean at FFI.

(17) A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHALLENGE. Neil Gaiman and family have a problem familiar to many New Zealanders – too many feijoas!

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. A parody of 70s/80s Japanese TV imitations of famous sff franchises: “Japanese Doctor Who – The lost tape.”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Lise Andreasen, Darrah Chavey, Andrew Porter, Moshe Feder, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Errolwi, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/4/20 The Heterodyne Boys And The Pixel Scroll Of Prague

  1. 10) Bruce Sterling is one of my top authors and my favorite novels by him are Schismatrix and Distraction. Unfortunately, he seems to have vanished lately.

  2. 17
    I’ve seen feijoa – strawberry guava – a few times in California. Wikipedia says the petals are edible (fruit control!), and it’s used in chutneys, wine and vodka. Best the day it falls off the tree, they also say.

  3. (10) Phil Morris (son of Mission Impossible’s Greg Morris [whose character was named Barney Collier, thus Phil playing Grant Collier]) is probably best known for playing Seinfeld lawyer Jackie Chiles, who said “They’re real, and they’re spectacular!”

  4. Rob Thornton says Bruce Sterling is one of my top authors and my favorite novels by him are Schismatrix and Distraction. Unfortunately, he seems to have vanished lately.

    Goes off to check his bibliography… well that’s deeply unimpressive. I started Holy Fire and found it flat, Heavy Weather was Ok but just not that interesting. And I’ve not even heard of the last works he’s done which is probably why they didn’t figure in the his Birthday note.

  5. @ Cat Eldridge

    I started Holy Fire and found it flat, Heavy Weather was Ok but just not that interesting. And I’ve not even heard of the last works he’s done which is probably why they didn’t figure in the his Birthday note.

    Yeah, Sterling’s bibliography starts out unpromising and trails out into nowhere. But the strength of the novels mentioned above keeps me hoping that something great is just over the horizon. Probably not, but who knows?

  6. I think our feijoa tree didn’t enjoy the dry summer in Auckland, the fruit is rather small this year. Apple and feijoa or, yum!

  7. @10 (Weaving): seeing him move from The Matrix to LotR was just a bit jarring — I kept expecting to hear him say “Missster Aragorn” in that way of phrasing that he did nothing to change as Elrond. But that was mostly me; ISTM he didn’t break what character he had.

    I am appalled to realize how much younger Weaving and Downey are than I am.

    @11: I always thought Jon was a wimp…

    My partner has just informed me that New Jersey is looking for COBOL coders; apparently their unemployment system never got upgraded and is overstrained. I don’t think I know anybody of my generation who coded in COBOL — or maybe they just didn’t admit it.

  8. Today’s scroll is secretly subtitled “Some things to send to my spouse, and other stuff.”

    (5) AMY POND REVISITED. Yup, one to send along. Oh and I liked both the Strax sillyness 😉 and the Pond diary video.

    (12) SIGNAL BOOST. LOL, yeah, another one to send along to my mystery-reading and -watching better half. 😀 That was a great thread.

    (14) MASKS. Nope, I’m not falling for it. I’ve sent one too many links to my spouse about mask-making already (stupid of me when he surprised me by making a mask ealier today; he really is my infinitely-better half).

    (18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. But yes, another one to send along to the Doctor Who fan in the house.

    (13) FIRST PERSON. What a lovely comic 🙂 and I’m sorry for the racism she and others get thrown at them, dammitall! ;-(

  9. Rob Thornton wrote: “Bruce Sterling is one of my top authors and my favorite novels by him are Schismatrix and Distraction. Unfortunately, he seems to have vanished lately.

    I doubt Sterling will ever have another “sf novel” published. I think he’s working on something big, but he’s been about it so long, I’d bet he’ll let it lapse. His work is topical and has a shelf-life as a rule. Although, current events might get the juices flowing again.

    I loved all his novels when I read them, except The Crysalids, which I could not finish. He has become another writer like Connie Willis who I once enjoyed, but whose fiction just turns me off right off the bat. I don’t get it either; it is so nonetheless. I do enjoy Sterling’s occasional pieces and his design scribblings. His short fiction is also awfully good, or used to be. What’s up with me? Jeez!

    I recently reread Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos. The first volume is so, so good, the second so, so not. I realize I have not read anything else by him, ever. Weird.

  10. 14
    Ask someone to knit you a couple of loops. If they knit socks, they undoubtedly have small amounts of yarn that will work. (Ribbing works really well for this king of stretchy stuff.)

  11. Rob Thornton: I deeply admired Bruce Sterling’s short fiction “Swarm” and “Spider Rose” as well.

  12. @bill — Yes, Phil Morris said “They’re real, and they’re spectacular” on Seinfeld, but it was Teri Hatcher who made the line iconic.

  13. I loved all his novels when I read them, except The Crysalids

    The Crysalids is one of my all time favourite books, but I’m unaware of any Bruce Sterling connection.

  14. Rob Thornton on April 4, 2020 at 6:27 pm said:
    10) Bruce Sterling is one of my top authors and my favorite novels by him are Schismatrix and Distraction. Unfortunately, he seems to have vanished lately.

    Distraction is great. I even lent that book to non-genre reading flatmates, back in the day.

  15. Nickpheas notes questioningly: The Crysalids is one of my all time favourite books, but I’m unaware of any Bruce Sterling connection.

    That’s because that’s the John Wyndham novel, the Bruce Sterling novel is The Caryatids.

  16. Like a lot of people, I’m not as fond of Sterling’s later work as I am of the early pyrotechnics of the shaper/mechanist stories and Schismatrix. Still, you can’t just keep writing the same novel over and over(*) and it’s interesting to see how he’s developed.

    Of his other stuff, I’d recommend the stories in A Good Old Fashioned Future, particularly Maneki Neko and Bucycle Repairman, and I have a soft spot for his pre-Cyberpunk novels Involution Ocean and The Artificial Kid, though it’s been a very long time since I re-read either.

    I quite like heavy Heavy Weather, which I read as a slightly acerbic comment on the Cyberpunk movement and SF in general. It’s deliberately not shaped like a classic SF novel, which means you have to watch your expectations going in.

    And it turns out Maneki Neko is available to read online:
    http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/maneki-neko/

    (*) Though many fans and writers would disagree.

  17. Count me as another fan of Schismatrix. Sterling’s short story “Our Neural Chernobyl” is also fun. I’ve read his nonfiction Tomorrow Now and Hacker Crackdown too.

  18. 10) No, Chip, it was me too. The phrasing he used in The Matrix was perfectly sinister. The same phrasing in LOTR made him an Elrond I just couldn’t take seriously.

  19. My college roommate knows COBOL, though I think he tries not to let people know at work.

  20. I was never very good at COBOL, being much better at FORTRAN and especially various assemblers.

  21. I recall first reading Sterling when he was a Hot Young Writer (and he was) and then getting to follow what one might now call his middle-period work when I started reviewing for Locus. I was never disappointed–his hipster-futurology take on things had me keeping him in the same mental drawer with Paul McAuley’s vision of a fractured Europe in Fairyland or Ken MacLeod’s alternate-near-futures. I was particularly impressed with Holy Fire and Heavy Weather.

    And he sure can write. In a snippet from Distraction, the nation’s military is described as “[an] aging imperial repertoire of delta forces, swats, high-orbital, anti-terrorist, rapid- deployment, pep-pill-gobbling, macho super-goons . . . Not that these strange people would ever be used, in modern political reality. . . . They would jog around the subterranean secret bases doing their leg-lifts and pushups, reading bad historical technothriller novels, watching their lives and careers rusting away . . .” He does a great snark.

    His career seems to have turned away from fiction and toward the journalistic/futurologist side that was always there.

  22. Jeff Jones on April 5, 2020 at 9:28 am said:

    (10) So, Elrond was the elf that invented a new religion, right?

    Technically it was the furniture in which the elves kept their collection of Elronds aka the Elrond Cupboard.

  23. While I also prefer his earlier stuff, I did enjoy Sterling’s Pirate Utopia (2016). And Zeitgeist was a lot of fun too, albeit extremely weird.

    As far as Simmons goes, I have a bit of a hard time reading him any more, but I have to say that if you want horror, Carrion Comfort won the Stoker and the Locus Best Horror. And, while it has some issues, I don’t think it has as many as Song of Kali.

    I think “Elrond Hubbard” appeared in Bored of the Rings, but my favorite is L. Ron Hoover of the Church of Appliantology from Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage trilogy.

    Iphinome on April 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm said:

    9) Iron Sky falls into the so-bad-it’s-good category with me.

    Ditto, although I think it tried a little too hard, which made it hard to take it not-seriously enough. 🙂

  24. I definitely am not admitting to taking one semester of COBOL in order to learn how to embed SQL in it, or to thinking RPG is a pretty neat language.

  25. @Jamoche
    I met COBOL and RPG back in the early 70s. Never did get any COBOL programs to run.

  26. 9) I never even heard of Iron Sky, but looking at its credits I see Johanna Sinisalo among its writers. She’s excellent — I don’t imagine there’s much from her in the final product.

  27. I learned COBOL as a CS student around 1980. Would have been interested to know it would still be of some importance 40 years later.

    I enjoyed Dan Simmons’s “The Terror” quite a bit, which led me to read the subsequent “Drood”, which I found quite disappointing, and “The Abominable”, which also failed to measure up. I mean to try “Hyperion” at some point.

  28. Jeff Smith says I never even heard of Iron Sky, but looking at its credits I see Johanna Sinisalo among its writers. She’s excellent — I don’t imagine there’s much from her in the final product.

    Why so? It takes real talent to write a story that deliberately bad. Have you read her original Finnish Iron Sky novel?

  29. @Cliff: nice to know it wasn’t just me…

    @Jeff Smith: (10) So, Elrond was the elf that invented a new religion, right? Yep, Scienduhlogy.

    @Camestros Felaptron: AAUUGGHH!

    @StephenfromOttawa: fascinating! I had no idea COBOL was even being taught that late. OTOH, I may be prejudiced by association; my mother’s oldest sister was a COBOL programmer, so even someone like me (started coding, in FORTRAN, in 1969) could think of it as the previous generation’s language.

  30. @Nickpheas, re: The Chrysalids/Caryatids. Oops. Perhaps my error would have been more obvious if I’d finished those novels. I did finish Day of the Triffids. But Sterling didn’t write that one.

    @Russell Letson, perhaps it’s Sterling’s tone which puts me off now. Maybe I’ve aged past a tolerance for the wink, wink snark, snark. I did enjoy it when I was young.

    That goes for Willis too. Not the snark, but the tone. Too much torque on the humor.

    My favorite Sterling story was The Beautiful and the Sublime.

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