Pixel Scroll 6/4/18 A Pixel Came Down To File770, It Was Lookin’ For A Scroll To Steal

(1) FOLLOWING IN GODZILLA’S FOOTSTEPS. The Harvard Map Collection presents “Where Disaster Strikes: Modern Space and the Visualization of Destruction”.

Floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, bombings, droughts, and even alien invasions: disaster can take many forms. And, although disasters are always felt dramatically, a disaster’s form and location impacts who records its effects and what forms those records take. “Where Disaster Strikes” investigates the intertwined categories of modern space and disaster through the Harvard Map Collection’s maps of large destructive events from the London Fire to the present.

The map collection includes a Godzilla feature. Stacy Lambe figured out how many times stomped all the cities. Then Danielle Brown mapped them. (I can’t get the link to function here, but go to the Harvard Map Collection link and click “30” on the left sidebar, that worked for me.)

(2) FUTURE TENSE. Safe Surrender” by Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, is this month’s entry in the Future Tense series that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. The series is offered through a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

The laws are so old that they were written with fully human children in mind. Before first contact, two humans might make a fully Terran baby and still abandon it, because they didn’t have enough money or because one of their ancient tribal honor codes forbid them from breeding. It still happens, but nobody talks about it. Humans like to forget what they used to be. Now, safe surrender sites are known as places where hemis get dumped. Hemis like me.

It was published along with a response essay “Oppression of the Future in ‘Safe Surrender’ by tech policy lawyer Laura Moy.

As technology advances, will we use it to promote equity, or to serve and preserve systems of oppression? This question is central to Meg Elison’s “Safe Surrender,” which explores a future in which humans are in regular contact with extraterrestrials called Pinners, who exchange diplomats, trade goods, and even interbreed with Earthlings. In “Safe Surrender,” a grown-up human-Pinner hybrid (a “hemi”) struggles to find their identity and make sense of their origin—surrendered at birth by a mother who did not want or perhaps felt she could not care for or protect a hybrid infant.

In Elison’s not–totally foreign, not-so-distant future, the racial prejudices, inequities, and oppression that plague humankind today map easily onto extraterrestrials….

(3) POOHOGRAPHY. Who needs $200,000 when you can have this map? Atlas Obscura knows where you can find it: “For Sale: A Winsome Map Showing the Way to Pooh Corner”.

But all the adventures of a boy and his bear started here, alongside illustrations by the English artist E. H. Shepard. In its opening pages, a map shows the way around the Hundred Acre Wood, sometimes stylized as “100 Aker Wood.” There’s “Where the Woozle Wasnt” and the route to the North Pole. Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the original map is on sale at the British auctioneer Sotheby’s, along with four other illustrations. They are expected to fetch as much as $580,000 together when they go on sale at the auction house in July, the BBC reported.

It’s a lot of money for a map—but then, this isn’t any old map.

(4) MEXICANX. John Picacio introduces the next set of MexicanX Initiative guests who’ll be coming to Worldcon 76.

(5) MERRY MONTH OF MAY. Eric Wong sent along Rocket Stack Rank’s May ratings highlights.

  1. New Prolific Reviewer Added

Gary Tognetti @ 1000 Year Plan

  1. Most-Recommended Stories

Here are 15 stories (out of 72) recommended by at least 2 out of 4 prolific reviewers who post at the end of each month (GTognetti, JMcGregor, RSR, SFRevu). That’s 21% of 72 stories, while 56% (40 stories) got no recs from any of the 4 prolific reviewers.

Novellas (click for story & review links)

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells 1h:48m Tor Novella 05/08/18

Bubble and Squeak by David Gerrold & Ctein 1h:50m Asimov’s 05?06|18

Novelettes (click for story & review links)

The Thought That Counts by K.J. Parker 28m BCS 250
Crash Site by Brian Trent 29m F&SF 05?06|18
Inquisitive by Pip Coen2 25m F&SF 05?06|18
Fleeing Oslyge by Sally Gwylan 30m Clarkesworld 140
Angry Kings by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam 25m BCS 250
Argent and Sable by Matthew Hughes 47m F&SF 05?06|18
Hubpoint Of No Return by Christopher L. Bennett 41m Analog 05?06|18

Short Stories (click for story & review links)

A Green Moon Problem by Jane Lindskold 20m Lightspeed 96
Unstoppable by Gardner Dozois 19m F&SF 05?06|18
Blessings by Naomi Novik 07m Uncanny 22
Cold Blue Sky by JE Bates2 13m Apex 108
Godmeat by Martin Cahill 23m Lightspeed 96
While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep by Buzz Dixon 07m Analog 05?06|18

(Sometimes RHorton’s recs are included if Locus Magazine releases his latest column online by the end of the month. The recommendations from the 5 major awards and 4 major SF/F anthologies are typically available within 5 months after the calendar year and are shown in the 2018 YTD.)

  1. Most-Recommended Magazines

Every BCS and Lightspeed story got a recommendation from at least 1 out of 4 prolific reviewers. Every magazine got at least 1 story rec except Strange Horizons.

(All 11 magazines included in RSR Monthly & YTD ratings are covered by at least 3 of the 4 prolific monthly reviewers, except for Tor Novellas.)

  1. Stories by New Writers

Stories by 2019 Campbell Award-eligible writers, grouped by year of eligibility.

Year 1 Eligible: 5 stories, none recommended.

Year 2 Eligible: 6 stories, 3 recommended.

Coen, Pip Inquisitive 25m F&SF 05?06|18
Bates, JE Cold Blue Sky 13m Apex 108
Falowo, Dare Segun Ku’gbo 19m F&SF 05?06|18

The remaining 61 stories were written by authors whose first pro SF/F story was before 2017.

(6) BEING INVENTIVE. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett says “Let’s consider how to add a little local colour to steampunk fiction with some interesting but failed nineteenth century inventions. Necessity might be the mother of invention but that doesn’t mean all her children are born equal.” — “With A Strange Device”.

Putting some steampunk junk in the trunk.

I’ve long been a fan of Jack Vance’s fiction for a number of reasons. One of these is the way he liked to throw quirky details into his stories. There were often no reason for these details as they weren’t designed to advance the plot (well okay, very occasionally yes they did but usually no they didn’t). Mostly Vance just liked to add a little local colour to the fictional landscapes his narrative was passing through. A little local colour, as actually exists in the real world, is something far too rare in science fiction of any era.

(7) SAURON’S DIGS. Olga Polomoshnova pieces together a description of “The tower of adamant” at Middle-Earth Reflections.

Barad-dûr was built in the Second Age when Sauron chose Mordor as his abode. He began the construction of the Dark Tower in c. 1000 SA and finished it in c. 1600 SA — the same year when the One Ring was forged in the fires of Orodruin. The foundations of Barad-dûr were thus strengthened with the power of the One Ring, so the tower was virtually indestructible by any force and could stand as long as the Ring lasted. After the War of the Last Alliance and the seven-year siege of Barad-dûr its foundations remained, though the tower itself was destroyed, and thus the Dark Tower rose again in the Third Age.

The appearance of Barad-dûr is left rather vague by Tolkien. Readers can catch only glimpses of the Dark Tower by means of visions or looks from afar, without many details provided. Those glimpses offer a very uncertain picture, as if just allowing a peek at the mighty tower: we look at it quickly and then withdraw our glance so that the never-sleeping watch of Sauron does not catch us at looking at his citadel longer than it is necessary.

The main impression that can be gathered from those fragmentary glimpses is that of hopelessness and terror: the Dark Tower is huge and impregnable. In this case less is more, and the lack of detailed descriptions does the trick, but one thing is certain: we are dealing with a very serious stronghold here.

(8) THE QUIET MAN. Jon Del Arroz hasn’t been tweeting for the last few days. Part of it is because he was officiating a wedding for a friend, but the main reason is that his Twitter account was frozen. JDA says I have to get the details from the response piece he has written for The Federalist….

(9) VON TIESENHAUSEN OBIT. WAFF-TV has the story: “‘Father of the Lunar Rover’ dies at 104”

Georg von Tiesenhausen, who is dubbed the “Father of the Lunar Rover,” has died at age 104.

Tiesenhausen was the last living rocket scientist who came to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip with Wernher von Braun at jump-start the U.S. space program.

(10) PHIPPS OBIT. Actor William Phipps, who had a huge number of genre TV and movie roles on his resume, died June 1—The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

…He starred as a young poet, one of the five people on Earth to survive a nuclear explosion, in Five (1951), then fought martians in The War of the Worlds (1953) and Invaders From Mars (1953), a giant spider in Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) and the Abominable Snowman in The Snow Creature (1954).

Walt Disney himself heard Phipps’ audition tape and hired him to play Prince Charming opposite Ilene Woods in Cinderella (1950). The actor said he was paid about $100 for two hours’ work on an afternoon in January 1949….

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 4, 1982 Poltergeist premiered.
  • June 4, 1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan debuted in theaters.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born June 4 — Angelina Jolie, actress in the Tombraider films and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • Chip Hitchcock says Rhymes With Orange believes they could never remake Wizard of Oz quite the same way today.

(14) JIM HENSON. “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is on display at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center from June 1-September 2.

Immerse yourself in the imaginative world of Jim Henson (1936–1990) and discover his groundbreaking approach to puppetry and transformative impact on contemporary culture.

Featuring more than 100 objects and twenty-five historic puppets—including Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Ernie and Bert, Grover, and other popular favorites—The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited illuminates Henson’s unique contributions to the moving image. Along with a talented team of designers, performers, and writers, Henson created an unparalleled body of work that continues to delight and inspire people of all ages to create a kinder and gentler world.

Explore Henson’s enduringly popular productions—from The Muppet Show, the Muppet movies, and Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth—through character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, costumes, film and television clips, and behind-the-scenes footage. Then design your own puppet and try your hand at puppeteering in this highly interactive exhibition.

Highlights include:

  • Kermit the Frog puppet from 1978
  • Handwritten scripts from Henson’s first television series, Sam and Friends (1955–1961)
  • A clip from Henson’s Academy Award–nominated experimental short film Time Piece (1965)
  • Puppets from Sesame Street (1969– ), including Grover, Ernie and Bert, and Count von Count
  • Section on The Muppet Show (1976–1981), including puppets of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Scooter, as well as material from the Muppets’ transition to the big screen, such as set models and storyboards
  • Jen and Kira puppets from The Dark Crystal (1982)
  • Red Fraggle from Fraggle Rock (1983–1987), which celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary this year
  • Jareth’s and Sarah’s ballroom costumes from Labyrinth (1986)

(15) BEGONE, I HAVE NO POWER HERE. NPR reports “‘Sherlock’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Saves Cyclist From Muggers” — no mystic powers needed.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays detective Sherlock Holmes in the television series Sherlock, foiled an attempted robbery by fighting off a gang of muggers in London. The attack occurred near his fictional character’s home on Baker Street.

(16) CONCAROLINAS. Yesterday’s Scroll reported the terms under which David Weber agreed to be a ConCarolinas special guest next year, his characterization of those who had issues with Ringo’s selection as a special guest, and the statement delivered by the ConCarolinas chair at closing ceremonies of this year’s con (wording negotiated with Weber).

There has been mixed reaction to the ConCarolinas statement.

So, apparently, ConCarolinas committee gave a closing statement where they doubled-down on being open to having special guests who are bigots, racists, sexists, etc claiming the onus is on the people these hate-mongers target to be willing to sit in a room with them as a sign of tolerance and mutual respect.

Listen, it’s not on me to be willing to tolerate someone who thinks I shouldn’t even be in the room or any group who supports bigotry, racism, misogyny, or hate speech.

Now, for those of you who gave ConCarolinas a pass this year and went anyway they’ve made where they stand abundantly clear. You either support that or you don’t – there’s no middle ground. Don’t think you can continue to support it and be my “friend”. Pick a side. You’re either with the people who support giving a platform to hate or you’re an ally of the marginalized people those bigots/racists/misogynists would like to see excluded from SFF and fandom. Don’t expect me to be ok with it.

My thanks to those allies who made a principled stand and withdrew from ConCarolinas, both guests and attendees. I appreciate your willingness to take a stand for what’s right and not try to parse your participation down to some justification for continuing to support people who CLEARLY want to be in a position to give a platform to people who would like nothing better than to target women and people of color.

  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt

  • Rabid Sparkle Badger

  • Stabby Carpenter

  • Nick Mamatas

  • Stephanie Souders

  • Keffy

So, the director of Con Carolinas has made a choice of who is welcome, and who is not. This is now a convention openly antagonistic to the health, comfort, and safety of anyone who is not straight, cis, male, white, and conservative.

Two important wins vs. the antisocial injustice crusaders in SFF.

  1. ConCarolinas, with prompting from DavidWeber, has declared themselves politically neutral.
  2. DragonCon fired the head of its fantasy lit track, who was apparently trying to impose a political litmus test.
  • Shaun Duke

  • Ari Marmell

  • Declan Finn

ConCarolinas is beginning to see the first groundswell of criticism for the position Jada took at final ceremonies yesterday. I expect it to get pretty ugly, because she and the concom are now officially recidivists. I would request that anyone who supports the con’s efforts — and fandom in general’s effort — to . . . diminish the scope for the ex post facto dis-invitation of guests to speak up in support of the con’s position, but lets not take this any farther into Mutually Assured Destruction territory than we have to. I know the temptation will be to lob H bombs back in response to the fission warheads coming in in condemnation of the con’s position. I understand that, because I’ve got a temper, too. But if we want to minimize the bigots and the fanatics on both sides of the divide, then we can’t be fanatics ourselves. Determined, unyielding, and unwilling to put up with or yield to cyber bullying — all of those things, damned straight. But if we’re going to be the grown-ups in the room, then let’s BE grown-ups. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t approve of banning anyone for anything short of criminal acts or DEMONSTRATED personal harassment of an innocent bystander who didn’t lob the first grenade in any exchange between them. Don’t care whether they are on the right, and they’ve been screaming about John’s withdrawal from ConCarolinas and Larry’s banning from Origins, or if they are on the left, and they are now screaming about ConCarolinas’ response to the arguments voiced by people on the right. Everyone has a right to his or her own opinion and to attend or not to attend any convention because of guest lists or for any other reason(s) that seem(s) good to them. They also have a right to voice and explain those opinions. I’d just really prefer for us to do it as civilly as possible. It is at least remotely possible we could shame the hate merchants (of whatever political persuasion), but I’m not looking for any miracles here. What I would like to accomplish, however, is to APPEAR as the reasonable parties by BEING the reasonable parties so that those who have not already drawn their own lines in the sand can form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions about who is truly in favor of diversity and inclusiveness and who isn’t.

(17) IN THE FRAME. Gary Tognetti reviews “The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts” at The 1000 Year Plan.

Watts falls within the lineage of classic hard SF writers who can make far-future science magic seem tangible, but his true gift lies in how personable he makes it feel. Heavy themes like alienation, the value of existence, and the nature of consciousness are woven into the brisk narrative with humor and pathos. Watts may be too smart to let a big idea pass by without picking it to pieces, but above all, “The Freeze-Frame Revolution” is fun to read.

(18) WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Frederik Pohl’s IF magazine floats The Traveler’s boat at Galactic Journey: “[June 4, 1963] Booked passage (July 1963 IF)”

Down to the Worlds of Men, by Alexei Panshin

14-year old Mia Havero is part of a society of human space-dwellers, resident of one of the eight galaxy-trotting Ships that represent the remains of Earth’s high technology. She and 29 other young teens are dropped on a primitive colony as part of a rite of passage. There is always an element of danger to this month-long ordeal, but this episode has a new wrinkle: the planet’s people are fully aware (and resentful) of the Ships, and they plan to fight back. Can Mia survive her coming of age and stop an insurrection?

Panshin hits it right out of the park with his first story, capturing the voice of a young almost-woman and laying out a rich world and an exciting adventure. Finally, I’ve got something I can recommend to the Young Traveler. Four stars, verging on five.

(19) THEME SONG. Wil Wheaton declares “This Is Brilliant”.

When we worked on Next Generation, Brent Spiner and I would sit at our consoles on the bridge, and make up lyrics to our show’s theme song. I vaguely recall coming up with some pretty funny and clever stuff, but nothing that held together as perfectly as this, from the weirdos over at meh.com:

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, mlex, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Top Elf, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lanodantheon.]

180 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/4/18 A Pixel Came Down To File770, It Was Lookin’ For A Scroll To Steal

  1. @Cassy B
    I’ve seen photos of long rods with a knob on one end, used to rap people on the head when they were noticed as nodding off. (Personally, I’d say a better solution would be breaks to walk around, every half-hour or so, instead of straight-through multi-hour sermons. But I’m modern, where a sermon that’s longer than 20 minutes is Too Effing Long.)

  2. P J Evans on June 6, 2018 at 8:42 am said:
    @Cassy B
    I’ve seen photos of long rods with a knob on one end

    That would be a 5.5 on Iphinome’s grownup sexy times scale.

  3. Ooooooooh, a wizard’s staff has a knob on the end….and what he does with it is magic!

  4. @Lurkertype: I don’t believe the guy who talked about how they packed heat. (shrug) Oh, they may be stupid enough to do so, but it just sounded like grandstanding to me. “We’re so cool, we carried guns TO PROTECT YOU!” Be still my beating heart. No, wait, I’m not impressed.

    Anyway, I’m skeptical. It’s easy to act all macho in a Facebook thread, especially in response to pushback, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe it. That said, I understand ConCarolinas attendees who take them at face value and complain or ditch the con or whatever; if it were my local con, I probably would, too.

    @Iphinome: I like your scales. 🙂

    @Rev. Bob: Hahaha, I think that’s a different scale, for kinkiness, starting with “only the most missionary of positions” and ending with “we use missionaries as props in our sexy times.” (Ahem, keep it clean, folks.) (Sorry.)

  5. @Iphinome <snork!> I think it depends on how just how long the rod was…

    (We beadles used to joke amongst ourselves about how unfair it was we couldn’t bop the parishioners on the head whenever we felt like it. Hey, we were maybe 14 years old…)

  6. @ Lurkertype:

    There are a whole lotta insecure people involved there, from Ringo and the conchair on down.

    That is certainly one of the overwhelming traits that John Ringo’s essays or posts have conveyed oh-so-very loudly. His insistent bragging about how successful he is, his blanket dismissal (apart from his own fans) of anyone who is not successful in his eyes, and his instant rage whenever anyone disagrees with him, let alone criticizes him… It all comes across as obsessively insecure.

  7. @ Kendall:

    I understand ConCarolinas attendees who take them at face value and complain or ditch the con or whatever; if it were my local con, I probably would, too.

    Indeed. No matter what the other attractions of a con might be, people bragging about carrying loaded firearms around the con would definitely convince me to stay away—unless such talk was met with immediate and sane action from the con, such as: generally publicizing a no-firearms-allowed-on-premises policy and thereafter permanently banning attendance by anyone who brings a gun to the con.

    This is America, after all. That means I can be shot anywhere; I don’t have to spend my hard-earned money and hard-won free time at a con for that.

  8. Laura Resnick on June 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    That so many of his books have the basic plot of “redneck saves the world” also indicates insecurity.

  9. I think it gets better. The long rod actually had two ends. One end was the mentioned knob. The other end was a feather. Which end you got depended on how wealthy you were.

  10. @Chip Hitchcock: I grew up (and would have heard the story from) Southern Baptists. I prefer to think that the preacher telling the story didn’t want to give the congregation any ideas.

    @Cassy B: GMTA? Though you’d be surprised how long some customs survive. I used to work with a woman whose family church still tree the devil.

  11. @Jack Lint, <snort> Ok, please consider that Our Gracious Host has censored my remark about that; I’ll spare him the trouble… <snicker>

    @Rail, “tree the devil”? Do, please, explain this custom; I’ve never heard of it, and I’m genuinely curious.

  12. @Cassy B: Treeing the devil starts with someone in the service noticing that the devil is among them, and he begins wrestling with the unseen Adversary. The devil flees outside into the woods, with the congregation in hot pursuit, and eventually he is “treed” with the people milling around the base of the tree, throwing things into the branches to try to dislodge him, some barking or baying like dogs.

  13. @Kendall:

    Once the con chair has announced “con security was going armed, despite con and hotel rules against it,” I am going to assume that either they were, or the concom are the sort of idiots who think it’s funny or a good idea to falsely claim they were. Neither is something I would find reassuring.

    The larger problem is for the hotel: if they get a report about this, and the people in question say “of course we weren’t really packing heat, it’s against our contract,” do they accept that denial? What the hotel would know for certain at that point would be that the con chair and head of security had lied about whether they went armed at the con. That would make all their statements on the subject of limited value, but there is no other evidence (so far as I’m aware).

    *Re bears and guns: I have read that on Svalbard, the law requires anyone who wants to walk around outside the main settlement to carry a loaded rifle, for protection against polar bears. Polar bears are a lot more dangerous than the common American black bear, however.

  14. @Stoic Cynic: I am surprised that a handgun is useful against a bear; ISTM that low muzzle velocity, thick fur, and size would result in irritation rather than flight. But I’m equally uninclined to test. OTOH, a handgun against an urbanized “wild” turkey would probably be effective (and useful — turkeys near/in Boston take no s**t from anyone), but risky.

    They have some BIG handguns in Alaska.

  15. I once saw a video of an ordinary SJW credential attacking a black bear’s ass that had invaded HIS yard, putting it to flight. If the relatively small claws, teeth and yowl could scare it, I’d guess the bang and wound of a handgun could do the same.

  16. Since many of my best childhood memories involve being out with my dad and sometimes other guys listening to the hounds run, then tree a racoon, I immediately Googled the phrase “treeing the devil”. On the first page of results was one of the interesting new church models in our denomination*. I’ll take that as a sign.

    *For lack of a better word. This one isn’t quite right.

  17. @Chip Hitchcock

    The actual article requires a subscription or purchase of one time access. That said, the free abstract is here:

    Abstract

    The supplementary to the article is free as well. This is here ( in .docx format):

    Supplementary

  18. @Stoic Cynic: thanks for digging that out. I note that the abstract amounts to “firearms are the least-bad choice”; looking at the numbers of dead bears suggests jayn is correct that there are some heavy handguns in AK.

  19. @Kendall: I’ve known people like that. I absolutely believe them. They really were carrying concealed weapons around to compensate for something(s) make them feel cool.

    @Stoic Cynic: So, if you’re actually really good with guns, go ahead and shoot the bear with whatever you got on ya. Otherwise, good luck.

    @James Moar: Hai!

    Since I doubt ConCarolinas is infested with bears, count me out. Random guns, unpunished sexual harassment… it sounds like the straw man version of those terrible “inner cities” the RW always go on about. More projection?

    I wonder if the hotel is going to react to finding out that the people in charge of the con have been blithely swanning around breaking their contract for years? The local one may not care as much as the corporation/HQ does, though, and turn a blind eye even now that it’s been brought to their attention.

    I used to work gun shows at a friend’s table. But that was before the RW and NRA got so completely ammosexual and fetishist. Back when those types got laughed at even by other gun guys. “Pathetic” was the word I heard most, along with “creepy”, and rolled eyes combined with the jerking off hand motion. Heck, they’d band together to ask the organizers to keep out the sellers of Nazi merchandise, or at least make them not display any swastikas at their booth. The Nazi guys were always called creepy. But that was back in the Reagan days.

  20. @LurkerType

    As I understand it, Alaskan rangers actually recommend Bear Spray ( basically nuclear strength pepper spray) as the first line of defense before firearms in deterring bears. No idea how well it works. Don’t know if any one has analyzed it. Heck, I only came across the linked article by chance. Not something I’ve really spent a lot of time researching…

  21. @ Stoic Cynic

    Well, the joke I’ve heard (and it is offered purely as a joke with no implication of accuracy) is: When hiking in bear country, it is advisable to wear warning bells and carry pepper spray. Be alert to the possible presence of bears in your area by looking for their droppings. You can distinguish the smaller black bears from the larger grizzly bears by the differences in their droppings. Black bears droppings are smaller and tend to contain the remains of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings are larger and tend to contain bells and smell of pepper.

  22. @Laura Resnick: “That is certainly one of the overwhelming traits that John Ringo’s essays or posts have conveyed oh-so-very loudly. His insistent bragging about how successful he is, his blanket dismissal (apart from his own fans) of anyone who is not successful in his eyes, and his instant rage whenever anyone disagrees with him, let alone criticizes him… It all comes across as obsessively insecure.”

    I am reminded of his How I Became A Successful Author story. As I recall his telling of it, he was on Baen’s Bar one day, grousing about the poor quality of a book, and claimed that why, HE could write better than that! Jim Baen reportedly challenged him to do so, and the result was A Hymn Before Battle, which Jim promptly bought and published as the first of a series.

    Now that I think about it, that story bears a striking resemblance to another How This John Ringo Book Came To Be story. In this case, it seems Ringo was hanging out at Baen’s Bar one day, grousing about how he was having trouble writing Book X because Story Y wouldn’t leave him alone. He was planning to take a couple of weeks, write Story Y to get it out of his head, toss it in the trunk because it was unpublishable, and then get right back to work on Book X – so, sorry about the delay, but it’s gotta be done. Jim Baen reportedly taps him on the metaphorical shoulder, reminds him that their contract gives him right of first refusal, and so he would like to see Story Y when it was done. Story Y subsequently gets published as Ghost.

    Reading between the lines, I would not be surprised to discover that Ringo had a case of Imposter Syndrome. I’m not saying he does, just that I’d understand if he did. That would definitely explain his aggressively defensive response to some of these things, though…

    @PJ Evans:

    As for “redneck saves the world” – John Ringo lives across town from me. Last I heard, he was fond of writing in the Hooters that’s close to where I used to work. Rednecks are not in short supply around here. We’ve also both attended LibertyCon with “Doc Travis” Taylor, whom I’ve described as “a real-life Buckaroo Bonzai without the medical degree.” (Crazy smart and versatile guy, and an unabashed redneck. Look up reruns of Rocket City Rednecks to see him in action.)

    If I needed someone to save the world from an alien menace, Doc Travis would be on my shortlist. I don’t see “redneck saves the world” as indicative of insecurity on Ringo’s part. (After reading Ringo’s screed on RavenCon, I do note that one physical ailment is rather reminiscent of a complaint the protagonist of Ghost suffers, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.)

  23. Regarding bears; I seem to recall that one way to tell a Black Bear from a Grizzly is to climb up a tree. If it climbs up the tree after you and eats you it’s a Black bear; if it knocks the tree down and eats you, it’s a Grizzly.

  24. @Rev. Bob
    I don’t object to it, but when it seems to be the entire point of every book in a series, and the aliens who are the bad guys are learning faster than the humans who are supposed to be the heroes, I question whether he’s as good as he thinks he is. (I thought “Hymn Before Battle” was okay, but it could have been better, and “Gust Front” likewise. He wasn’t keeping track of his plot points, and if he had a background information file, it wasn’t being used well, if at all.)

  25. @PJE:

    Considering those were his first and second books, I’m not surprised that he hadn’t developed advanced techniques for managing background info and plot points yet. Everyone needs time to learn that and find a method that works for them.

  26. @Rev. Bob: Color me unsurprised that Ringo frequents Hooters. Given his apparent congenital medical inability to avert his eyes from female torso glands, I doubt he writes much. Also, how greasy must his computer/notepad/clay tablet get from the “food” served there?

    I would LOVE to hear stories of him from the waitresses there. They have to put up with a LOT of shit in that job; wonder how he compares?

    And shouldn’t he be nicer about disabilities, considering his aforementioned tragic medical condition? I mean, that’s a real problem with his eyes, optic nerves, or forebrain. Sad!

  27. @Rev. Bob:
    I expect better from major publishers, too. (At the least, editors who can (and will) tell him when he’s got stuff that needs to be fixed. I don’t think upstate NY is colder than Canada or Russia, and if they can put spaceships anywhere on a continent, oceans shouldn’t keep them from hitting islands.)

  28. I expect better from major publishers, too. (At the least, editors who can (and will) tell him when he’s got stuff that needs to be fixed. I don’t think upstate NY is colder than Canada or Russia, and if they can put spaceships anywhere on a continent, oceans shouldn’t keep them from hitting islands.)

    Depends on the part of Canada or Russia I’d expect. Upstate NY is part of the Northeast Kingdom (not technically, since the NEK is a marketing thing now, but it’s the other side of the Connecticut River all the way up. The coldest recorded temperature there was -50.8F. That’s pretty damn cold.

  29. Pingback: Top 10 Posts for June 2018 | File 770

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.