Pixel Scroll 6/1/18 One Post, At Least, Thy Tick Shall Stalk

(1) COCKYGATE. A transcript of today’s “Cockygate” court hearing  [PDF file] courtesy of Courtney Milan. She paid for it.

Milan asks:

If you want to do something that would be meaningful to me, drop a tip in RWA’s perseverance fund. It’s for romance authors who need help paying membership dues—whether they’re current members or not.

(2) SF AT THE SMITHSONIAN. Arthur C. Clarke papers in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: “Letters from a Science Fiction Giant”.

“One of the strengths of the collection is Clarke’s manuscripts,” says curator Martin Collins. “Clarke had working notes as he prepared things for publication. It really highlights his deep belief and attention to making his fictional stuff as close to scientific fact as he could.”

The majority of the correspondence dates from the 1960s on. Tucked inside one folder, a letter from Wernher von Braun cordially invites Clarke to the October 11, 1968 launch of Apollo 7. “The rocket will carry [Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham] on a ten day earth orbital flight,” writes von Braun. “This mission will demonstrate the performance of the Saturn IB launch vehicle, the spacecraft’s command and service modules, and the crew and support facilities.” (Von Braun helpfully attached a list of motels in the Cape Kennedy area, which ranged in price from $5 to $18 a night.) A year later, Clarke, at Walter Cronkite’s side, covered the Apollo 11 mission for CBS.

(3) YE ROUND PEG IN YE ROUND HOLE. The BBC covers a study that shows “Every story in the world has one of these six basic plots”, applying Vonnegut’s graphing theory to some of the recent “100 stories that shaped the world”, including a few genre.

“Thanks to new text-mining techniques, this has now been done. Professor Matthew Jockers at the University of Nebraska, and later researchers at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab, analysed data from thousands of novels to reveal six basic story types – you could call them archetypes – that form the building blocks for more complex stories. The Vermont researchers describe the six story shapes behind more than 1700 English novels as:

  1. Rags to riches – a steady rise from bad to good fortune
  2. Riches to rags – a fall from good to bad, a tragedy
  3. Icarus – a rise then a fall in fortune
  4. Oedipus – a fall, a rise then a fall again
  5. Cinderella – rise, fall, rise
  6. Man in a hole – fall, rise

(4) AUTHOR’S PICKS. Catherynne M. Valente names “10 Essential Offbeat Science Fiction Novels” at Publishers Weekly. First on the list –

1. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

This is one of my all-time favorite books and I can never not recommend it. It takes time travel and all the tropes inherent to it to a whole new level of emotional resonance, humor, and philosophy. It’s light on plot (and linearity) and heavy on meaning, but the whole thing is so deeply human, and at the same time, takes its science fiction so seriously that it’s no surprise author Charles Yu went on to write for Westworld.

(5) FAMOUS LAMB. Scott Edelman says “Nebula Award-winning writer Kelly Robson had a little lamb (and you can eavesdrop)” in Episode 68 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Have you digested last episode’s Nebula Awards Donut Jamboree yet? I hope so, because following up on that lightning-round event, it’s time for the first of five one-on-one interviews over meals with writers recorded during this year’s Nebula Awards weekend in Pittsburgh—starting with nominee Kelly Robson, who 48 hours after we dined at Union Standard, became a winner!

Before winning this year’s Best Novelette Nebula for “A Human Stain,” she was also a finalist for the 2017 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her novella “Waters of Versailles” won the 2016 Aurora Award and was also a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Her short story “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” was a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and her short story “Two-Year Man” was a finalist for the Sunburst Award. Her most recent publication is the time travel adventure Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach.

I’d hoped to visit Union Standard shortly after they opened for one of last year’s batch of Nebula Awards weekend episodes, but sadly, it wasn’t to be, so I’m thrilled I was able to host Kelly there. As for the reason why I was so anxious to eat at that restaurant—Chef Derek Stevens has been called one of the foundational figures of Pittsburgh’s culinary boom. In fact, Pittsburgh magazine has written of him—”If you like dining out in Pittsburgh, you should thank Derek Stevens.” If nothing else, I’ve got to thank him for the Jamison Farm Lamb Sirloin with Anson Mills polenta and grilled asparagus—of which Kelly kindly allowed me a nibble.

We discussed how the first Connie Willis story she read changed her brain, the way a provocative photo got her a gig as a wine reviewer at a top national magazine, what she learned from the initial Taos Toolbox writers workshop, why completing Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach was like giving birth to a watermelon, how reading a Battlestar Galactica tie-in novel helped teach her how to write, where she would head if time travel were real, why she’s contemplating writing a “frivolous” trilogy (and what that really means), the reason the story of hers she most likes to reread is professionally published James Bond fanfic, and much, much more.

(6) MISSION RESUMED. Joe Stech announced Compelling Science Fiction Issue 11 is out.

It’s been a while, but we’re back with an incredible 7-story issue! I really appreciate your continued support after the switch to the new semiannual schedule. This issue starts with James Rowland’s “Top of Show”, a metastory about the art of creating stories (5948 words). Our second story is “Targeted Behavior” by J.D. Moyer. In it, someone wants the homeless to leave San Francisco. A young girl has other ideas. (4600 words). The third story this issue, Adam R. Shannon’s “Redaction,” is a story about medics who use technology to deal (or not deal) with their own traumatic experiences (4953 words). Next we have “Cold Draft” by John Derderian. This is a short one about how a radical politically motivated law surprises a teenage boy (2900 words). Our fifth story is “Dreams of the Rocket Man” by C. Stuart Hardwick. This is a beautiful reprinted story about a child learning rocketry from an enthusiastic mentor (7600 words). Story number six, “Driving Force” by Tom Jolly, is the shortest of the lot. In the future, AIs may not only be tasked with driving (1300 words). Our final story is “Don’t Play the Blues”, by Bruce Golden. A musician wrestles with experiences from his military days (6040 words).


  • Born June 1 – Actor Jonathan Pryce, 71, The Bureaucrat in The Adventures Of Baron Münchhausen and currently in The Game Of Thrones.


  • Zombie jambalaya? Chip Hitchcock lets Bizarro explain.

(9) LISTENING IN. Remember that Star Trek scene where Kirk says something odd, to which Spock replies, “I can’t believe my ears, Captain”? Mad Genius Club’s Jonathan LaForce has some things to say in “Verified!” [Internet Archive link] that I haven’t heard from that blog before.

This conflict over culture has consequences. It demands that we not give in to the base instinct of lying, dehumanizing, and othering those with whom we quarrel. Such is dishonorable. Such will not be tolerated. I don’t want you to my left or right, I don’t want you laying down suppressive fire from behind me as I charge forward, if I can’t trust you to do the right thing.

This means not lying about people like Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder, Scalzi, Glyer, or anybody else in this conflict. Such actions destroy our credibility and integrity.
This means that when a panelist says something rude about Tolkien, and SFWA is merely live-streaming the event, don’t claim SFWA said those things about Tolkien.
When Tor writer Elise Ringo says “This is what I crave from female villains: women who are extended the same complexity and depth- and, potentially, sympathy- as their male counterparts, and also women who are really truly bad… Dark Lords are all very well, but the world needs more Dark Ladies…” your reply should not include the words “Tor.com calls on writers not to write female villains.”

When a fellow author says they don’t want to be included in your drama on Twitter, then blocks you on rather preemptively, don’t go “declare war” on them. That’s not just rude, that’s unprofessional.

When Brandon Sanderson announces that he’s going to be making some very carefully thought-out decisions about his involvement with a con just because he’s trying to be careful about his professional relationships, and you scream “MUHVIRTUESIGNALING!” you’re not impressing anybody but your own echo chamber and stroking your ego.

Today’s LaForce column appeared the same day as Jon Del Arroz’ posted “Fear And Loathing In SLC: How A Social Justice Mob Got To Brandon Sanderson” [Internet Archive link]. That may not be a coincidence.

(10) BOND. ROBOT BOND. The BBC explains “How humans bond with robot colleagues”.

Fast-forward a few years and this story isn’t as unusual as you might think. In January 2017, workers at CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, threw a retirement party for five mail robots. Rasputin, Basher, Move It or Lose It, Maze Mobile and Mom had been pacing the company’s hallways for 25 years – delivering employee mail, making cute noises and regularly bumping into people.

There was cake. There were balloons. There was a nostalgic farewell video. There was even a leaving card with comments like “Thanks for making every day memorable” and “Beep! Beep! Beep!” The robots will likely spend their final years relaxing at one of the many museums that have requested them.

Though they’re often portrayed as calculating job-stealers, it seems that there’s another side to the rise of the robots. From adorably clumsy office androids to precocious factory robots, we can’t help bonding with the machinery we work with.

(11) DUNE. That’s cold: “Methane ice dunes found on Pluto by Nasa spacecraft”.

After an epic trek through the Solar System that took nearly a decade, New Horizons sped by at a speed of 58,536 km/h (36,373 mph), gathering data as it passed.

In their study, the researchers explain how they studied pictures of a plain known as Sputnik Planitia, parts of which are covered with what look like fields of dunes.

They are lying close to a range of mountains of water ice 5km high.

The scientists conclude that the dunes are 0.4-1km apart and that they are made up of particles of methane ice between 200-300 micrometers in diameter – roughly the size of grains of sand.

(12) AT THE BODLEIAN. “JRR Tolkien artwork on display for first time”. This probably won’t travel, but the article has a few samples, including one from 1915.

Personal effects – such as Tolkien’s briefcase, the colour pencils he used to create the artwork for Lord of the Rings and boxes of poster paints that he used for water colours in The Hobbit – have been lent to the Bodleian by his family.

Tolkien’s tobacco pipes are also included.

… There are previously unseen letters sent to Tolkien from famous fans such as poet WH Auden, novelists Iris Murdoch and Terry Pratchett and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

“This is a very exciting part of the exhibition,” Ms McIlwaine said.

“These are letters that people haven’t seen before and haven’t been published and I think it’s going to be very surprising to visitors to see the range of people who loved Tolkien’s work, and loved it so much that they wrote to him.”

It’s mildly ironic that a Bodleian archivist would speak admiringly about someone’s smoking materials. Readers have to sign this well-known pledge before being allowed to use the Library:

“I hereby undertake not to remove from the Library, or to mark, deface, or injure in any way, any volume, document, or other object belonging to it or in its custody; not to bring into the Library or kindle therein any fire or flame, and not to smoke in the Library; and I promise to obey all rules of the Library.”

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Tergo” is a good short film, directed by Charles Willcocks, about a street cleaning robot who dreams of better things that he can’t have.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Scott Edelman, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, ULTRAGOTHA, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stoic Cynic.]

85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/1/18 One Post, At Least, Thy Tick Shall Stalk

  1. One comment on the Plutonian dunes that I saw elseweb was that apparently dunes only require particles and atmospheric movement. (We’ve found dunes on at least two planets, so why not dunes on Pluto?)

  2. (9) No disrespect intended to our host, but Spock never said, “I can’t believe my ears, Captain” in reaction to a line of Kirk’s. The actual exchange (in “The Trouble with Tribbles”) was as follows:

    KIRK: Cyrano Jones, a Klingon agent?
    BARIS: You heard me.
    KIRK: I heard you.
    SPOCK: He simply could not believe his ears.
    (Camera lingers a moment on Spock’s face and ears)

  3. (9) Jonathan LaForce was doing quite well until he brought up the boogie man of Saul Alinsky. However, I will admit that pretty much everything was spot on no matter what political bent one has.

  4. 9) Bravo Mr. LaForce. Many of the commenters, not so much. Who knew, but apparently Tor is all but dead and they’re anticipating the final death spiral Any Day Now.

  5. (12) There was a story in a recent Analog in fact, called “Kindle No Flame” (part of which took place in the Bodleian.

  6. @4: what cred she gets for recommending The Restaurant at the End of the Universe fades for recommending The Cyberiad; I got about 2/3 of the way through a reread recently before giving up. The first handful of chapters (each an independent story) are virtuously short, and amusing; the later ones are long, overdone, and very dated — secret police everywhere the adventurers go, just as in Poland when the book was written.

    @robinareid: TFTI. I may actually be able to get down to NYC next year.

  7. 7) I think Jonathan Pryce’s starring role in Brazil is more noteworthy than his minor role in Baron Munchausen. Other genre roles include Something Wicked This Way Comes and the Doctor Who comedy special “The Curse of Fatal Death”.

  8. (1) This is a judge like what you’d see on “Law and Order”. Kinda sorry the fact that the trademark font can’t actually be legally trademarked is outside this court’s remit.

    (2) Is it wrong that my first thought upon clicking through was “Arthur had a lot of hair once?!”

    (9) Geez, he’s making so much sense and doing it so calmly they’re liable to throw him out of MGC. I kid, but I do hope some of his more… excitable compatriots take this to heart. I actually snerked at “MUHVIRTUESIGNALING!” Well done, Mr. LaForce. (Also, he has a cool last name)

    (10) When the robots are in the museum, will they discover anime fandom, as postulated by one of this year’s Hugo finalists?

  9. @Lurkertype: I can totally see one of the Law and Order judges dealing with this case (Fran Lebowitz, say). Or Shelley Berman or Anthony Heald (who were judges on “Boston Legal”), maybe.

  10. (9) The line did, however, occur in “Star Blecch” in MAD Magazine:

    Capt. Kook: Take over, Mr. Spook! If you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom
    Spook: In the bathroom? I don’t believe my ears!
    Kook: I don’t believe your ears either, Mr. Spook!

    Canon, right? I think the MAD version is more widely accepted than two of the series and at least three of the movies.

  11. Kip W.: Ah, that explains it. To me the most memorable thing about “Star Blecch” (besides Mort Drucker’s renderings of Shatner et al.) is the inspired choice to use a Don Martin-type character as the alien. I didn’t start subscribing to MAD until age 11 (1968) and therefore never happened upon “SB” until a later anthology.

  12. 1 – My favorite line was ‘Court: How can you trademark the word Cocky?’

    I hope those hurt by the ongoing proceedings get restitution and an amendable end, and I’m really looking forward to the Netflix Documentary

  13. Matt Y: I’m really looking forward to the Netflix Documentary

    Coming to Netflix this July:

    Half-Cocked: The Story Of How Independent Authors Fought For Their Right To Continue Using The English Language In Their Book Titles


  14. JJ –

    I already trademarked that title, my bad.

    OMG people really gotta read that PDF. It’s amazing. I may never read any of these Cocky books by any involved but I want this to be a documentary so much just for the reenactment of the judge reading all of the various Cocky titles and moments like:

    THE COURT: Two male figures. One seems to be wearing
    a stethoscope, indicating he is a doctor, but he is stripped to
    the waist.
    MS. LACKMAN: Doesn’t look like my doctor, your Honor.

    I’m torn between hoping for the motion to dismiss is successful and also wanting future episodes of whatever the heck that was.

  15. @Andrew: I definitely heard Fran Leibowitz in some of those lines.

    @Kip: I’ll allow it.

  16. 12) I think I read in the Guardian that the exhibit will also go to Paris.

    Isn’t it cool when people you admire like people you admire? I already knew about Auden, but it’s great to learn that Iris Murdoch and Joni Mitchell were/are Tolkien fans.

  17. (9) Good for Jonathan La Force. I hope he starts a trend.
    Gosh, I hate the Divine Passive, however: “Such will not be tolerated” doesn’t mean that God will strike you dead; it likely means that La Force will disapprove of further lies and exaggerations – and good for him.

  18. I got about 2/3 of the way through a reread recently before giving up.

    Whereas I like The Cyberiad so much I’ve got parts of it memorized.

    Such are the vagaries of taste.

  19. II’m in the pro-Cyberiad camp, myself. I’m due a re-read of that, and probably more Lem, too. Does Return from the Stars, for example, hold up?

  20. all: I still like (as I thought I’d said) the first handful of chapters; do you really like it all the way through?

  21. A smaller version of the Bodleian Tolkien exhibit will be in New York in 2019 (though the regular museum fee will be

    The first two weeks of the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library in NYC overlap the last two weeks of the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit being at the New York Historical Society, making late January 2019 an excellent time for fen to visit NYC. Cheap hotels then, too.

  22. @Chip Hitchcock do you really like it all the way through?

    I like the Cyberiad a lot but on the whole I like the later stories better. They’re all fables, but the first few are too close to simple jokes to be my favourites. I like the sallies best, but the Tale of the Three Story-Telling Machines is also good. Altruzine and Prince Ferrix and the Princess Crystal are weaker in my opinion, though still worth reading.

  23. Another quote from (9), with emphasis added:

    Now, somebody in the audience will likely say “Jon, why are you so prejudiced against progressivism?” Folks, let me recite the words of Gunny Hartman “There is no racial bigotry here… Here you are all equally worthless!” Just because I speak out against progressives doesn’t mean I don’t have disdain for people on my “side” of the political spectrum, or the arguments going on at the cultural level. If anything, I dislike them just as much. Why? Because they know better, and they still choose to act the fool.

    “Conservatives know better.” Nope, no anti-progressive prejudice there! 🙄

    Don’t get me wrong; he’s still doing better than his fellow travelers, at least in the linked post… but that’s a pretty low bar.

  24. Stick that in your File and scroll it!

    Lurkertype: Aha! This validates ALL my theories!
    (Runs off cackling before anyone can expostulate.)

  25. Bodleian exhibit:

    A public FB post with a lot of details about how best to get to the right place and info about the exhibit:

    For the benefit of those going to the exhibition at the Bodleian. Make sure you go to the right bit of the Bodleian Library! It’s in what is called the Weston Library (used to be the New Bodleian) and is on Broad St just along from Blackwells. The entrance I used was in the colonnade up the steps opening onto Broad St next to the Bodleian Shop (there is a ramp built into the steps). There’s a large open space of Blackwell Hall and the exhibition is at the far side where there’s a corridor with a door marked Treasury to its right.

  26. @Chip Hitchcock; yes, I like The Cyberiad all the way through. Some of the stories are stronger than others, that’s only to be expected. None of them even came close to making me want to give up on the book, though.

    I can think of Lem books I’m not massively fond of. Memoirs Found in a Bathtub struck me as too self-consciously Kafkaesque. The Investigation doesn’t have a proper conclusion (and contains annoying failures of research in the background – a story supposedly set in England, featuring armed police riding around in Oldsmobiles!) And Fiasco was an overblown re-hash of previously examined themes. But every author has an off day now and then. (And I suppose there must be someone somewhere who loves those three. It’d be a funny old world if we were all the same.)

  27. Something of a Meredith Moment, but not SF – Dunnett’s Game of Kings is $1.99 at Kobo (and probably the Other Usual Suspects).

  28. Dave Duncan’s omnbus edition of the Seventh Sword series (5 novels) is on sale for $2.99 also.

    Rev. Bob: Whenever someone brings up Saul Alinsky, as though the left of center is somehow following a set of rules written by him, I know they’ve drunk the right wing conspiracy theory Kool-Aid. LaForce saves him for one of the final paragraphs, but you know that he’s just as mired in his side of the culture wars as the rest of them.

  29. 9) Good for LaForce, in this, at least. I admit now I’ve never heard of him, which is entirely on me and not a slam on his fame at all, so I have no idea if this is typical behavior or if there is some context that I am ignorant of. But in isolation—good for him.

    (Endlessly amused at all the talk in the comments of how Tor is gonna fail Real Soon Now as an article of faith. I seem to recall that VD was gonna own Tor in eighteen months a few years back…)

  30. Oooh! Dunnett!

    I’m guessing that everybody already has it, but in the unlikely event that anyone still needs a copy of Ancillary Justices, it’s currently $3.99.

  31. I love the cyberiad, bit need it in the swedish translation. English didn’t work as well for me.

  32. RedWombat on June 2, 2018 at 10:03 am said:
    Endlessly amused at all the talk in the comments of how Tor is gonna fail Real Soon Now as an article of faith. I seem to recall that VD was gonna own Tor in eighteen months a few years back…

    Personally I have no huge emotional investment in Tor (I guess I buy some books from them in the UK but would probably be hard pushed to identify them) but holy moly that crowd’s belief in the power of magical thinking when it comes to that publisher is amazing.

  33. (1) COCKYGATE. Hilarious. I’ve never been confused about who writes a book. The name’s usually on the cover! And always below the title when you’re buying an ebook or audiobook; it’s almost impossible to avoid the author’s name! Every time I see a link from one ebook to another on Amazon, Kobo, etc. – the author’s name is Right! There!

    @JJ: LOL at your title & description for the fauxcumentary.

    @Matt Y: Yeah this was highly amusing; maybe a mini-series would work? I was kinda baffled at why “The Court” (the judge, right?) had to describe these covers (for the record? but the exhibits go in anyway), or maybe he was just aghast at what he was seeing. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for a few of those exchanges (including the one you quoted; Ms. Lackman had a nice sense of snark there).

    @Heather Rose Jones: “The transcript almost calls for a dramatic reading at a convention…”

    OMG YES PLEASE I WILL GO TO WHICHEVER CON DOES THIS!!! 😀 Everyone in slightly-off cosplay of lawyers/judges/etc., please. With the Law & Order “chung! chung!” sound (how do you write that sound?) after any momentous statement.

  34. (8) COMICS SECTION. Cute. 🙂

    (9) LISTENING IN. Amusing as it is to see him speak against JDA’s idiocy, Amanada goes off the rails in comments about Tor management. Bleah, in a post about truth. And these jokers don’t seem to understand Tor is a very big publisher in the U.S. 😛 It’s not destroying itself and won’t disappear just because they have magical thinking.

    @Rev. Bob: “. . . but that’s a pretty low bar.” – Good point.

  35. rob_matic says Personally I have no huge emotional investment in Tor (I guess I buy some books from them in the UK but would probably be hard pushed to identify them) but holy moly that crowd’s belief in the power of magical thinking when it comes to that publisher is amazing.

    What is it about Tor that sets them off so deeply? I know it’s the biggest of the American genre publishers but it’s hardly the only one that almost completely doesn’t publish right of center writers. Mind you it seems that most of us who read genre fiction are left of center so that makes sense…

  36. @Cat – My understanding is it’s the liberal bent of the Making Light blog, and in particular Patrick and Teresa Nielson Hayden, both of whom, IIRC, have hurt conservatives’ feelings in the past.

  37. @Cat Eldridge: Teresa Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi. TNH has been a target ever since someone — Boing Boing? — hired her to moderate their comments section. And Scalzi is published by Tor, and his career will be collapsing any day now, and he’ll take Tor down with him.

  38. Cat Eldridge on June 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm said:

    What is it about Tor that sets them off so deeply? I know it’s the biggest of the American genre publishers but it’s hardly the only one that almost completely doesn’t publish right of center writers. Mind you it seems that most of us who read genre fiction are left of center so that makes sense…

    I wish someone could explain it to me. I’m not even sure it’s correct to say that they are anti-conservative or whatever. They publish David Weber, John C Wright and Orson Scott Card, don’t they? And it’s Orbit etc. who have been publishing the books in recent years that the Puppy types hate. I suppose tor.com is noticeably progressive, but does that part of the business affect much in the way of book sales?

    I dunno, there’s a lot of weird posturing and group signalling that goes on.

  39. It can be hard to remember now, but years ago, John C. Wright was producing books that were a lot of fun, perhaps more ornate in language than everyone likes, but very enjoyable.

    I found his LiveJournal, and was… confused.

    This as shortly before a con, maybe Boskone, maybe Readercon, but I saw David Hartwell, and mentioned that I had found Wright’s LiveJournal.

    He looked very alarmed and distressed, and said, “Don’t do that! Don’t read his LiveJournal!”

    I’ve never forgotten that.

  40. @rob_matic: I seem to recall that Ann Leckie was often referred to as a “Tor” author (though of course, she’s an Orbit author, primarily) – Leckie mentions this notion here https://twitter.com/ann_leckie/status/656881220060585985 . Tor.com frequently talked about the Radch books, which may have caused some of this confusion (and some people apparently just adopted the notion that any book they didn’t approve of must be from Tor). Ironically, just a few years earlier the libertarian web site Reason.com hailed Tor as the libertarian SF publisher (https://reason.com/archives/2008/11/13/tors-worlds-without-death-or-t) because (that year) all the Prometheus Award nominees had been published by Tor.

  41. 1) Free cocky!

    11) Methane in my pocket like grains of Plutonian sand. Reality has crossed the sfnal rubicon. Loving it!

    @Paul Weimer Return from the Stars is okay, a little slow and sad. Memoirs Found in the Bathtub gets off to a fine Kafka-esque start, but just unwinds into a somewhat meaningless spiral. Have you read The Futurological Congress, Tales of Pirx the Pilot, and Star Diaries? Those would be my favorites. Lem’s non-fiction collection, MicroWorlds was interesting too. Disclosure: Pro-Cyberiad camp.

  42. @Andrew: “(and some people apparently just adopted the notion that any book they didn’t approve of must be from Tor)”

    You got it in one, methinks.

    Re. “the libertarian SF publisher,” wow, Tor had all five finalists in 2002, all but one in 2007, and all but one in 2008. Sadly, that seems to have been their libertarian peak. 😉

  43. @rob_matic: I’d guess that the hatred of Tor is from the prominence of the Nielsen Haydens, that they and other Tor editors were vocal opponents of the puppy campaigns, that Tor dominating the Hugo long form editor category for several years after its introduction, and the well publicized long term contract with noted SJW, John Scalzi. A common complaint from the puppy crowd is that the long form editor Hugo was created so that Patrick Nielsen Hayden could get an editor Hugo.

    In particular, I think that when the Tor editors tarred the leaders of the puppy cabals with a wide brush of racism, fascism, and probably a couple other -isms, a lot of conservative fans of Correia, Ringo, and other mil-SF authors (many whom are published by Baen) reacted as though every one of the fans had been tarred with the same brush. More or less the same reaction when Clinton referred to the the more egregious (e.g., openly racist white supremacist) supporters of Trump as a basket of deplorables, Trump’s followers chose to believe that she was labeling all of them as such. I’m guessing that Correia and others encouraged this interpretation at their websites and Mad Genius Club and the Baen Bar, just as Trump encouraged that misinterpretation of basket of deplorables. Hence the outrage at being mislabeled, and hatred of Tor. I doubt if many people outside their echo chamber are even aware of the delusional belief that Tor (and Macmillan) are rapidly self-destructing.

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