Pixel Scroll 6/15/16 Great Sky Pixel

(1) DEFENDING SELF-DEFENSE. Larry Correia covers a lot of ground in “Self-Defense Is A Human Right” at Monster Hunter Nation. Here’s a representative excerpt.

Orlando is yet another example that Gun Free Zones are vile, stupid ideas. The intent is to prevent people from getting hurt. The reality is the opposite. Your feelings on the matter don’t change the results. The vast majority of mass shootings have taken place in areas where regular citizens are not allowed to carry guns.

I’ve seen a lot of people over the last few days saying that the “random good guy with a gun” is a myth. That is foolish simply because we have plenty of examples where a mass shooter was derailed or stopped by the intervention of a random person who happened to be near. Just in my home state alone, which is relatively peaceful, with low crime, a low population, and above average police response time in our urban areas, I can think of several instances where a killer was interrupted or stopped entirely by somebody other than the responding officers.

Sometimes these were regular citizens with concealed weapons permits (KSL shooting, mass stabbing at Smiths) and others they were off duty police officers in regular clothing going about their daily lives who responded first (Trolley Square, Salt Lake Library hostage situation) or even a parole officer who just happened to be at a hospital (Cache) for unrelated reasons, and ended up saving lives.

The identity of the responder doesn’t matter, just that there is one as soon as possible. The important thing is how much time elapses between the beginning of the massacre and the violent response, because that is time the killer is allowed to work unimpeded. In some cases the attack was in a gun free zone and the responders had to leave, go to their vehicles, retrieve a weapon, and then return (Pearl Mississippi, and if I recall correctly the Appalachian School of Law).

Traditionally the gay community has trended overwhelmingly statistically liberal in their politics, with a correspondingly low number of gun owners. But being unarmed also makes you easier victims for evil people. This has to change.

I don’t care what your personal beliefs are, or what your lifestyle is, self-defense is a human right. Take advantage of it. Please.

(2) EUROCON HITS MEMBERSHIP LIMIT. Eurocon 2016 Barcelona has sold out four months ahead of the event.

The committee is creating a waiting list where members who no longer want their memberships can arrange an exchange with people who wish to join—email info@eurocon2016.org

Perhaps unexpectedly, the committee is also publicizing on its Facebook page things that people who don’t have memberships can do at and around the con:

Even if you are not lucky, there are several activities you can enjoy without a membership. Our DEALERS ROOM will be awesome! Bring your wallet and cards, we will make sure you keep on using them. You can also enjoy the EXHIBITIONS (three, but allow us our secrets for the moment), and there will be a number of presentations of books in the LIBRARIES of Barcelona.

Also, our friends at GIGAMESH bookstore will have special activities during the days before Eurocon, and CHRONOS bookstore has several surprises in the oven, too.

For a bit of money, if you have some left after the Dealers Room, there will be THREE PANELS open for the general public at CCCB. We are doing this in order to attract people from outside fandom, but that doesn’t mean these events can’t be enjoyed by true fans who, ahem, forgot to buy their memberships in time.

Last but not least, FILMOTECA DE CATALUNYA will project a few movies with panels afterwards featuring some of our celebrities. The tickets will not be expensive, we promise.

(3) CLASS. Showrunner Ness is conflicted — “Doctor Who spin-off will have a gay lead character”: should he take credit, or say that’s how the world should work?

Doctor Who spin-off TV series Class will feature an gay lead character, it has been confirmed.

Celebrated author Patrick Ness is helming upcoming the BBC spin-off series, which features teenagers at a school set in the Whoniverse.

The show has been described as a British take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and Ness revealed this week that like Buffy, one of the main characters will be gay.

After recent events in Orlando, he tweeted: “Been asked if Class will have LGBT representation in it. Will a lead character with a boyfriend who he kisses & sleeps with & loves do?

“We were keeping that secret, but today that secret doesn’t seem very important. #lovewins”

The series stars Mr Selfridge’s Greg Austin, alongside  Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah.

Ness added: “Kind of astounded that having a gay lead on Class has been such big news. One day it won’t be, one day soon.

(4) EYE ON SHORT FICTION. At Locus Online, “Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction, May 2016”.

March is science fantasy month at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which I always like. There’s something about mixing SF and fantasy that to my mind brings forth ideas wilder and more colorful than either genre provides alone. The best, which is to say, weirdest example comes from Jason Sanford (not surprisingly). ‘‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories’’ (3/17) is set in a far future in which the environment is preserved by ‘‘anchors’’, humans en­hanced by ‘‘grains’’ on their land. ‘‘Normal’’ humans (called day-fellows) are forced to a nomadic life: if they stay too long anywhere, or interfere with the environment (use too high technology, or cut down a tree), the grains will compel the anchors to kill them. Frere-Jones Roeder is an anchor with doubts, some related to her now dead life-partner, some to an atrocity she committed at the behest of the grains long before, some expressed in her concern for her son, exiled to life among the day-fellows. When a day-fellow girl becomes infected by the grains on her territory, she is finally pushed to take a drastic step. It’s cool and strange stuff, almost gothic at times, thought-provoking and honest.

(5) DROP IN ANYTIME. Jeremy P. Bushnell selects “Five Books Riddled with Holes” for Tor.com.

I have a good friend who suffers from trypophobia, the fear of holes. (If you think you might have this, I don’t recommend Googling it, as right on top of the search results is a rather horrific array of “images for trypophobia.”) When my new novel, The Insides, came out, I had to apologize to this friend—going so far as to offer to personally hand-annotate her copy of the book with trigger warnings—because holes are at the very center of the narrative. The novel features a set of characters who use magic to cut holes into the fabric of time and space, and these holes don’t always behave as they should: sometimes they open or reopen unexpectedly, sometimes weird things come out of them.

(6) THERE’S THAT PESKY TAVERN AGAIN. Guess what shows up in “Juliette Wade takes a ridiculously close look at the worldbuilding of Ancillary Justice” on Ann Leckie’s blog?

Paragraph 1:

The body lay naked and facedown, a deathly gray, spatters of blood staining the snow around it. It was minus fifteen degrees Celcius and a storm had passed just hours before. The snow stretched smooth in the wan sunrise, only a few tracks leading into a nearby ice-block building. A tavern. Or what passed for a tavern in this town.

I’m going to start here with the word “The.” That little article has an important job, which is to tell you that “body” is something that someone already knows about. It’s as if someone just said “Wow, a body,” and then the story picked up an instant later. As readers, we are seeing it for the first time, but we can sense that observing someone outside the boundaries of the page. Thus, “the” implies the presence of a narrator. The first hint of a world comes with “the snow around it.” Our minds produce a snowy scene.

(7) PLANETARY SOCIETY. In the fifth installment of The Planetary Post, Robert Picardo and Bill Nye take a special tour of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to see the amazing new James Webb Space Telescope.

(8) EXTRA CREDIT. The Planetary Post webpage has additional links of interest.

Juno Orbit Insertion: The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4-5 (orbit insertion is on the night of July 4 in the Americas, early July 5 in the Eastern Hemisphere). This groundbreaking mission will improve our understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Watch our CEO Bill Nye demystify the cutting-edge science behind NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter. Follow Emily Lakdawalla to learn when you will be able to see new Jupiter pictures from its camera, JunoCam.

Tanking It To The Streets: After an epic parade through the streets of Los Angeles, the last unflown space shuttle external tank arrived at the California Science Center to be displayed alongside the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The tank, known as ET-94, had quite an eventful journey—including a rescue at sea.

New Space Policy Podcast: Planetary Radio just launched a monthly podcast that looks underneath the hood of how NASA works. Join Space Policy Director Casey Dreier, Policy Advisor Jason Callahan, and Mat Kaplan in this new series exploring the history, politics, and process of how we get to space. A new episode will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Planetary Radio on your favorite listening platform.

SpaceX’s Fantastic Four: Elon Musk and his team have done it again and landed a fourth first-stage booster. This makes three landings by sea and one by land. Be sure to watch the spectacular Falcon 9 landing from the side of the booster.

LightSail™ 2 Test Success: Our citizen-funded LightSail 2 spacecraft recently breezed through a major systems test. The CubeSat successfully deployed its antenna and solar panels, communicated with the ground, and unfurled its 32-square-meter solar sails in a lab setting. Read more in our full recap.

(9) JUST LIKE CLOCKWORK. Tor.com has posted the first chapter of David D. Levine’s Arabella of Mars as a free read.

Arabella-MarsA plantation in a flourishing 18th century British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby, a young woman who is perfectly content growing up in the untamed frontier. But days spent working on complex automata with her father or stalking her brother Michael with her Martian nanny is not the proper behavior of an English lady. That is something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

However, when events transpire that threaten her home on Mars, Arabella decides that sometimes doing the right thing is far more important than behaving as expected. She disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company, where she meets a mysterious captain who is intrigued by her knack with clockwork creations. Now Arabella just has to weather the naval war currently raging between Britain and France, learn how to sail, and deal with a mutinous crew…if she hopes to save her family remaining on Mars.

Arabella of Mars, the debut novel by Hugo-winning author David D. Levine offers adventure, romance, political intrigue, and Napoleon in space—available July 12th from Tor Books. Read chapter one below, and come back all this week for additional excerpts!

(10) POWERED BY BELIEF. Kameron Hurley is a trusted interpreter of the career writer’s inner life — “Real Publishing Talk: Author Expectation and Entitlement”.

As I’ve had more interest in my work, and more opportunities have come my way, I’ve also learned how to say no to things that aren’t furthering my ultimate goal of building my work into its own powerhouse. This is another reason I still hold onto the day job, because it means I don’t have to take every deal or every opportunity. Still, it’s hard to say no. You’re always concerned about opportunities drying up. What if this is the best it ever gets? What if I don’t get an opportunity again?

And then I look at my career and I go, “We are just getting started.”

And it is this, this hope, this rally from the depths of doubt and despair, that keeps me going. You must believe in the future. You must believe you can create it. You must believe that endurance, and hard work, and persistence, will carry you through.

(11) YOON HA LEE. Aidan Moher was pleased he found a reason to persist, as he explains in “Stealing the Future: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee”.

I have a confession to make. When I finished the first chapter of Ninefox Gambit, the debut novel from noted short fiction author Yoon Ha Lee, I thought that was all I would read. It wasn’t clicking with me. I found the world confusing, the action gruesome, and the pace difficult to keep up with. I could recognize that novel’s quality, and the originality that Lee is known for, but other books beckoned, and there was an easy, lazy whisper at the back of my head. “It’s just not for you,” it said. I listened, and moved onto another book.

Yet, here I am reviewing it.

(12) SEASON 10 SHOOTING BEGINS. CinemaBlend tells fans “Doctor Who Is Giving Fans Way More Of An Unexpected Character”.

It was announced today that Bridesmaids star Matt Lucas will reprise Nardole for the opening episode of Doctor Who Season 10, which begins filming in Cardiff on June 20. Reuniting with the Twelfth Doctor and meeting his new companion, Bill (played by Pearl Mackie), for the first time, Lucas’ Nardole will have a recurring role throughout the season. The episode is being written by showrunner Steven Moffat, and it was also revealed that Sherlock actor Stephanie Hyam will have a guest cast role this season.

(13) CYBERPUNK WOMEN. Before moving on to the positives, Geoff Willmetts starts with the shortcomings of “Cyberpunk Women, Feminism And Science Fiction by Carlen Lavigne (book review)” at SF Crowsnest.

I had slight misgivings with the preface to Carlen Lavigne’s book, ‘Cyberpunk Women, Feminism And Science Fiction’ when she starts describing the history of cyberpunk without mentioning Bruce Bethke’s 1983 short story but in the proper introduction, she clearly is well read on the subject and covers the history in the following chapter. She describes cyberpunk as belonging to the 4 C’s: corporation, crime, computers and corporeality (read that as corporations) and the changes to our world today as computer technology takes over our reality and taken to extremes. She also includes cyborgs as a near fifth C. Oddly, she misses out the meaning of ‘punk’. Not the original meaning which meant ‘prostitution’ but that of rebellion as given with the UK punk movement of the 1980s. The reason why ‘cyberpunk’ didn’t really last that long was because, unlike William Gibson’s assertion that people would rebel against computers, is because they embraced the technology instead. Many of you people reading here lived through that period and look what you’re reading this review on. Something else Lavigne misses out on is Gibson admitting that he doesn’t like computers and I suspect those who read his novels probably raised their own eyebrows as to how druggies could program computers when you really need all your attention when writing code.

(14) OUTSIDE OF A WALRUS. Camestros Felapton created a parody of Tran Nguyen’s Spectrum-winning art “Traveling To a Distant Day,” as it appeared on the cover of semiprozine Hugo nominee Uncanny.

Then he shared his analysis: “Hugo Choices 8: Best Semiprozine – Sci-Phi beats No Award” — and for a moment I panicked because I thought that meant it was the only nominee he placed above the event horizon. But no, he means all the nominees deserve to be ranked above No Award.

What Sad Puppies (particularly SP4) has inadvertently demonstrated, is that the lack of authentic conservative voices in modern science fiction lies less with sinister conspiracies or SJW gate-keepers but rather a genuine lack of conservatives writing SF/F of any great depth. Sci-Phi journal hasn’t fixed that problem but at least it is attempting to do something constructive about it.

(15) GAIMAN ON STAGE. In the Baltimore Sun Tim Smith reviews a production of Neverwhere, the fantasy novel and BBC television series by Neil Gaiman adapted for stage by Robert Kauzlaric and performed by the Cohesion Theatre of Baltimore.  He says “this theatrical version…is well worth visiting.”

Whatever the influences, Gaiman spins a good, fresh yarn. And Kauzlaric’s adaptation does a mostly smooth job of cramming in characters and incidents, while maintaining a coherent thread.

Likewise, director Brad Norris proves adept at keeping the Cohesion production cohesive, drawing nicely delineated portrayals from the actors (accents are respectably achieved), and keeping the pace taut enough to make a long play feel almost speedy.

Some of the dry wit in the script could use brighter delivery; that may emerge as the run continues. But the violent bits — the story gets pretty dark at times — are well in hand, deftly guided by fight choreographer Jon Rubin….

(16) ABOUT FEYNMAN. In a 2011 TEDX talk called “Leonard Susskind: My Friend Richard Feynman”, Stanford physicist Susskind tells Feynman stories.  Sidney Coleman is mentioned starting at about 4:06 and continuing for a minute as Feynman, Susskind, and Coleman, take on some clueless philosophers over the nature of artificial intelligence.

Richard Feynman was a very complex man. He was a man of many, many parts. He was, of course, foremost, a very, very, very great scientist. He was an actor. You saw him act. I also had the good fortune to be in those lectures, up in the balcony. They were fantastic. He was a philosopher; he was a drum player; he was a teacher par excellence. Richard Feynman was also a showman, an enormous showman. He was brash, irreverent — he was full of macho, a kind of macho one-upmanship. He loved intellectual battle. He had a gargantuan ego. But the man had somehow a lot of room at the bottom. And what I mean by that is a lot of room, in my case — I can’t speak for anybody else — but in my case, a lot of room for another big ego. Well, not as big as his, but fairly big. I always felt good with Dick Feynman.


[Thanks to JJ, robinareid, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]

201 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/15/16 Great Sky Pixel

  1. @Cat, Busiek, etc.

    I blush to bring this up, but are nightclubs where booze is served really Correia’s wheelhouse? Purely from a practical point of view, it’s not really his sort of thing for philosophical reasons, along several vectors. He might not realize how crashingly stupid it is.

    However, after attempting to actually read Monster Hunter Nation, I have formed the conclusion more experience might not have helped him.

  2. Also, in re: self-defense as a right, if you as a civilian need a semi-or-fully automatic weapon, or a magazine of more than ten rounds, to defend yourself, either:

    a) You maybe don’t have the skills to defend yourself that way.
    b) Maybe stop pissing off the Russian mob, or
    c) You are fighting the Predator. Good luck.

  3. @rcade

    When reading Larry Correia on the subject of guns, keep in mind that in his books, his idea of romantic flirting between two characters is for them to talk about the guns they own in loving detail.

    Ammosexual indeed.

    Not that I’m disputing his right to live out his personal kinks in his fiction, but why did he have to subject innocent Hugo voters to that?

    Regarding guns for self-defence, I grew up in a rural area, where hunting and sports shooting are common, and am liberal on guns by German standards, i.e. I think guns are okay for hunting and sports shooting (as well as for police officers and military personnel), as long as they are kept safely locked away, when not in use (and the mass shootings we had usually involved disaffected teenagers grabbing hold of unsufficiently secured hunting or sport shooting guns, so they tightened the requirements). Plus, the hunting and sports shooting clubs are pretty good at weeding out the weirdoes via social control and the club uniforms they wear seem to be deliberately designed to look as uncool as possible.

    As for self-defence, IMO someone trying to steal your car or your TV does not justify shooting them. Never mind that burglaries or gas station robberies, i.e. the sort of situations that so often turn lethal in the US, rarely turn lethal in countries with low gun ownership. Germany is currently experiencing record rates of burglaries, which is worrying in itself, but I offhand I can think only of two cases where a burglary turned lethal, both cases where elderly burglary victims suffered heart attacks. In one case, the burglar himself called 911 (well, actually 112).

    As for myself, I have never been in a situation where I would have felt safer with a gun, even though I’m a woman and have walked alone through dodgy neighbourhoods at night. And I could get a gun licence, if I wanted to, via getting a hunting permit or joining a sports shooting club. However, I have never seen the point, because I’m not into hunting and target shooting as a sport mostly seems an excuse to get drunk and hang out for certain rural people. Never mind that those uniforms are seriously ugly.

  4. RE: Highland coo: Yes, I know I heard Gaiman talk (I’m guessing it was either the audio commentary or the interview on the Neverwhere DVD set) about trying to find a pig and having them all be insufficiently menacing; hence, the coo.

  5. @Steve Wright, Arifel: No, the quality of The Aeronaut’s Windlass is pretty consistent throughout the book: cardboard characters, inconsistent worldbuilding, predictable plot. I found it beach-read-level-enjoyable and read the whole thing, but I’ll quote Bruce Baugh’s excellent advice to me last year on Skin Game, when I admitted that I was finding it difficult to force myself to keep picking up the book:

    Sez I, feel free to stop.

  6. Arifel: Lisa they put it all on the website for download a couple of weeks ago but didn’t send out email notifications.

    Oh, yes, they did.

    MidAmeriCon II is pleased to announce that voting for the 2016 Hugo Awards and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards is now open!

    As a member of MidAmeriCon II, you are eligible to vote for both awards. The voting period is now open, and will close on July 31, 2016 at 11:59 pm PDT. You can find all the details for this process on the MidAmeriCon II website at http://midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/

    The Hugo Awards are fan-run, fan-given, and fan-supported.

    There are two ways to vote: either via a paper ballot that you can print out, or through MidAmeriCon II’s online voting system. To use the online system, you will need to enter your MidAmeriCon II membership number, as well as a Personal Identification Number that MidAmeriCon II has assigned to you.

    If you have difficulties accessing the online ballot(s), or you have more general questions on the Hugo process, you can e-mail hugoadmin@midamericon2.org for assistance.

    MidAmeriCon II will be making available a Hugo Voters Packet. This download of materials from Hugo Award finalists is supplied free of charge as a courtesy by the creators and publishers of works that are nominated for the awards. The purpose is to allow those who are voting on the Hugo Awards to be able to make an informed choice among the nominated works. The packet for 2015 works will be available at the previous link by Monday, May 23, with the Retro packet to follow soon after. You will use the same login information to download the packet. [emphasis mine]

    Thank you and we look forward to your participation in the 2016 Hugo and 1941 Retro Hugo processes.

    Dave McCarty
    Will Frank
    Hugo Award Administrators

    If you did not get this e-mail, then I suggest that you e-mail them and let them know that you are not getting their communications.

  7. “Thing is, I want to do it in the form of a trashy tell-all memoir that may have been ghostwritten (or at least needed some help to turn the hero’s anecdotes into something publishable).”

    Try The Dirt. And for real fun, the biography of mythomaniac Errol Flynn. Johnny Rotten has a good trashy biography too. And you have the biography of Lemmy, White Line Fever, which is really fund and partially ghostwritten.

  8. K8 wrote: “Rev. Bob – These memoirs have been pretty popular at our library: Leah Remini’s Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Felicia Day’s Your Always Weird On The Internet, Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son,. , ,’
    I wouldn’t call them trashy but I highly recommend them–Also “I Blame Dennis Hopper:And Other Stories From A Life Lived in and Out of the Movies” by Illeana Douglas and “My Mother Was Nuts” by Penny Marshall. Again, not trashy but filled with off-the-cuff tidbits about celebrities and amazing stories.

  9. Isabel C. on June 16, 2016 at 8:23 pm said:

    Also, in re: self-defense as a right, if you as a civilian need a semi-or-fully automatic weapon, or a magazine of more than ten rounds, to defend yourself, either:

    a) You maybe don’t have the skills to defend yourself that way.
    b) Maybe stop pissing off the Russian mob, or
    c) You are fighting the Predator. Good luck.

    c) no, no, you specifically don’t want any weapons at all when it comes to Predator. If you aren’t armed you are fine.

  10. Rev. Bob:
    “Thus, I’m looking for recommendations – ideally examples that I can pick up cheap as physical objects, and hopefully dealing with people who don’t come across as completely revolting. Short, somewhat cheesy, and easy-to-find are good qualities.”

    You might want to browse the entries in this feature.

  11. @Emma:

    Oooooh. Those look like awesome recommendations. Thank you. And, thank you for sharing my sense of squee 😉

    (Ada Palmer also looks to be Campbell eligible, and she’s definitely on my shortlist.)

    I didn’t think of Palmer for a Campbell! Oooh, I hope I hope I hope.

    I’m really excited for Book 2. (Which I could have sworn was out later this year, but is now showing as Feb. 2017, which vexes me.)

    Likewise. There is so much promised in Book 1, I want Book 2 right now.
    (I am also wondering how a duology’s chances at a Hugo nom are, and if being split between two years affects that. Although maybe I shouldn’t be, because my favorite stories don’t get nominated.)

    There are also so many things that I demand to be reassured will actually bear out their potential. (ROT13:)

    Jul qbrf Zlpebsg arrq gur Oynpx Ubyr fb onqyl, jura jr unira’g frra vg nf zber guna n uho sbe gur cbjreshy?
    Jul vf Favcre fb vzcbegnag?
    Vs gur onfu gehfgf Zlpebsg, jul pbhyqa’g gurl bssre na vzzrqvngr rkcynangvba gb Pneyvfyr?

    And of course, there’s the huge gaping question of why Mycroft jrag ba uvf zheqre fcerr. There’s so much built up on that already. If that isn’t resolved brilliantly, I expect I will have Difficulties.

    Point being: ME WANTS.

  12. @Harold Osler

    Just ban the fucking machine guns.

    This? This right here is where a lot people get frustrated.

    Legally owned machine guns have been used in exactly 2 homicides since the National Firearms Act was pass in 1934. One of them committed by a police officer.

    And while it is still ‘legal’ to own a machine gun, the registry was closed in 1986. Nothing manufactured after that date can be owned by civilians. The ones already in the registry? Their price is through the roof. For anything in decent shape you are looking at 5 digits as a starting point.

    You’re apparently relying on the media for your information, and as pretty much anybody who has been interviewed by a reporter knows, they almost always get something wrong.

    But for some reason, most of us (myself included) seem to forget this when reading news on topics outside our fields of expertise.

    None of the major stories involving shootings in the news for the last couple of decades involved machine guns. Why do you think they are a problem then?

    Now this is not to say that no crime has been committed with full auto weapons since 1934, but they are illegally owned, and it is a crime to posses or sell or carry them. Federal felonies with charges that aren’t plea bargained away.

  13. Torin3

    You are taking that remark out of context. While I hesitate to speak for Harold, I’m pretty sure what most of the commenters here want more tightly controlled are the guns that shoot as fast as you pull the trigger and have large magazines. Calling these “the damn machine guns” is a piece of hyperbole on the part of an exasperated speaker, and within the context, that is perfectly clear.

    People who aren’t gun enthusiasts are understandably rather tired of having jargon thrown at our heads as an excuse for why we can’t have a reasonable conversation about whether the need to stop a few mass murders outweighs the “need” of many target shooters to put thirty holes in a target without reloading.

    I do not consider the prospect of needing such a gun for self defense realistic. I think that if you are being attacked by more than six people, all of whom are so brave that shooting the first six isn’t enough to put them off the idea, the director will call “cut!” when you need to reload.

  14. @Cat:

    People who aren’t gun enthusiasts are understandably rather tired of having jargon thrown at our heads as an excuse for why we can’t have a reasonable conversation about whether the need to stop a few mass murders outweighs the “need” of many target shooters to put thirty holes in a target without reloading.

    Yes. The classic example is pedantry about “clip” vs. “magazine”. Look, gun nerds, I’m a pedant too a lot of the time. And if you’re shopping, you don’t want to buy a magazine when you need a clip or vice versa. But in ordinary conversation and public discussion the distinction doesn’t matter. Everyone, including you, knows what people mean. Get over yourself.

  15. @Torin3:

    Legally owned machine guns have been used in exactly 2 homicides since the National Firearms Act was pass in 1934.

    (and then, a few paragraphs later…)

    None of the major stories involving shootings in the news for the last couple of decades involved machine guns. Why do you think they are a problem then?

    Now this is not to say that no crime has been committed with full auto weapons since 1934, but they are illegally owned, and it is a crime to posses or sell or carry them.

    As you put it, “This? This right here is where a lot people get frustrated.”

    In the same way that gun enthusiasts tend to bristle at the honestly mistaken usage of terms like “bullet vs. cartridge vs. shell” and “clip vs. magazine,” people like myself – people who don’t care what the technical term is, so long as people understand our meaning – tend to get frustrated when those enthusiasts carefully select such terms as “full auto weapon vs. machine gun” and “illegally obtained vs. bought legally and then illegally converted to full-auto” to dodge clear meanings and obscure the actual issues.

    People who want to stroll around with firearms capable of a high rate of fire while also carrying enough ammunition to slaughter a busload of people do not make me feel safe or grateful for their presence as Protectors Of Their Fellow Citizens. They make me feel unsafe and inspire in me an urge to call the police at my earliest opportunity. After all, I have no other sane option.

    I do not care in the least whether their guns are long or short, semi-auto or full-auto, nor whether they have a couple of 30-round mags or a pocketful of 10-round mags. The fact that they feel the need to carry an arsenal in public terrifies me, because either they genuinely know something I don’t about the local threat level, or they have seriously overestimated that threat level, or they themselves are the threat. In two of those cases I’m almost surely fucked, and I can never afford to assume that the other (the middle case) is the truth. I must proceed as though the heavily-armed person will start shooting at any moment, and I may be in the line of fire. All because some asshole decided to take his AR-15 for a walk.

    Then these people tell me that I should do as they do. That the world is a dangerous place, so I need to carry a gun and a couple of spare magazines. You know, in case shit goes down at the Walmart while I’m buying some frozen burritos. Shit caused by, say, somebody who’s packing heat because the world’s a dangerous place and shit might go down at the Walmart while they’re buying some frozen chimichangas. Such a person might misread a situation and start shooting, and where will I be if I can’t shoot back?

    I’ll tell you where I’ll be: wishing that there were fewer armed people around me, not more of them. I’ll be wishing I lived in a sane, civilized country, where people didn’t fear for their lives every time they stepped outside.

    I’ll be wishing I was safe, instead of caught in a hail of bullets, any number of which might have my name on it. And knowing that if it does, an old, blurry photo of me will circulate in the media for a couple of days. Well-meaning strangers will send my mother flowers she’s allergic to or bring food she has trouble digesting. The local politicians I voted against (because they oppose even the mildest gun control) will say insincere, pretty words before going back to doing less than nothing… and then it’ll happen again, and the spotlight will move to the next unlucky person.

    And then I’ll finally be safe, because nothing stops a bullet quite like six feet of earth over a concrete vault containing a cheap coffin.

    So, please – spare me your pious words about how the good gun owners are such saints and we should all embrace their cause in the name of FREEDOM.

    I’m not buying what you’re selling. I can’t afford it.

  16. @Johan

    No worries. Didn’t even need the asbestos underoos for that one. **chuckle**


  17. What Jim, Cat, and Bob said.

    Nobody likes a pedant. If “this right here is why a lot of people get frustrated”, this right here is *also* why we nerds have a bad reputation. If you know what we’re talking about (and if machine guns have been illegal for a while and not used in crimes, then you know what we’re talking about) quibbling because we didn’t use the correct terminology is just petty and tiresome.

    By all means make a polite correction as part of another post, but devoting a whole multiparagraph post to how someone’s an example of everything wrong about the other side because they got a term incorrect…no. That sort of shit is annoying when the subject is comic book chronology; when we’re talking about literal life and death, it’s far more than that.

    On the other hand, Camestros makes a good point about the Predator. Been a while since I saw those, clearly. 🙂

  18. Totally what Rev Bob said.

    Nothing about having to be in the same physical space as someone who usually has only minimal gun training (and as much or as little common sense or mental suitability for making those sorts of life and death decisions as the “average” person) makes me feel safe at all, including hand guns. I don’t want your “safety” and I sure as hell don’t trust most civillian-types to not eff up royally when they try to “save the day” etc. Not that being military or police prevents mistakes either, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I’ve seen people create surprisingly serious wounds on themselves by accident with a freakin’ butter knife, you think I want to see what someone might accidentally do with a gun??

  19. It’s a kind of magical thinking that I see in some places.
    If you never use your ZIP code, you don’t owe income taxes.
    If you ask someone directly and he doesn’t admit he’s a nark, he can’t bust you.
    Hitler was a liberal because “National SOCIALISM,” duh!
    I must make up insulting names which will define my foes.
    You missed a hyphen in the descriptions, so your argument is null and void.

    Sort of like we’re in a Harry Potter world, where words change everything then and there. A cargo cult version of logical rigor.

  20. Harold Osler – That’s why I said they were popular and let him decide which are trashy. Perhaps I misread the original request, but I thought he was looking for either variety. Also, some folks think any celebrity memoir is trashy by definition. I don’t, but I see it often enough. Lab Girl is anything but, however it’s fun so I recommend it a lot.

  21. @Rev Bob

    Not to mention that if it *is* the middle, safe, assumption, the gun carrier has badly overestimated the general threat level. At which point it is reasonable to wonder what other harmless event–a truck backfiring, for instance–they will consider a threat.

    I think Bujold had a passing sentence on that in The Warrior’s Apprentice–that an obviously frightened person with a weapon has a menace all its own.

  22. Re trashy memoirs, I enjoyed Shelley Winters memoir back in high school. Used paperbacks might be available.

    Re arguments for increased proliferation of guns. I would take the pro-gun arguments more seriously if they would acknowledge that, while having more people armed might end some of these massacres with less death, there would also be an increase in drunken arguments ending in fatalities.

    One of the myths of the old west was that everyone wore handguns. Louis L’Amour acknowledges this in his books – that this is a myth.

  23. You know, with Oscar Pistorius in the news again, I’m reminded that if we believe his statement he thought he was being a Good Guy With A Gun.

    “Reeva, I’ve shot an intruder! …Reeva?”

    Hell, you guys, after “The Ziggurat” and “The Screwfly Solution” (oh, oh, oh, Alice Sheldon) and all the gun control discussion and news I need a balm for my soul. Any feel-good stories to recommend that feature no death whatsoever?

  24. @Dawn Incognito
    I suggest Georgette Heyer – not SFF, might have a little death in a few of the books, most of the deaths are illness caused not violence caused, but the level of humor outweighs it IMHO. Offhand I can’t think of specific recommendations.

    Unfortunately, as I think of my favorites, just like romance is in all books, so is death even if just from illness or accident.

    I laughed a lot while reading Little Women and Vampires but obviously it has death as part of it although most of the book is around avoiding death. The original Little Women also had death in it – one of my all time top favorite books since I was a kid. It hadn’t been hit by the suck fairy when I last read it a few years ago after reading Little Women and Werewolves another good alternative take. Better than most of the other alternative takes IMHO.

    Even childhood favorites like The Secret Garden aren’t safe. I hope others are more helpful than I am. Sorry.

  25. @Dawn Incognito

    Any particular type you’re looking for? New-ish or any period? There’s a few that come immediately to mind: The Crown Jewels (light caper and comedy of manners story with a cowardly thief. Some cartoonish violence) by Walter Jon Williams, Stardust (relatively non-violent fairy tale) by Neil Gaiman, almost anything by Pratchett (though some of those have Death as character, of course, but not in a threatening way), almost anything I’ve seen by Red Wombat (mostly short stories since I don’t do e-books so can’t read the novels)…

  26. I would also recommend Beauty, by Robin McKinley (it has backstory death, but in a fairy-tale kind of way) and Rose Daughter, which, same.

    If you feel like YA, some of the early Little House books are also good like that. Farmer Boy is a personal favorite of mine: nobody dies, everyone eats pie.

  27. @Tasha Turner:

    Sex and death: pretty much constants in the mammalian condition. Makes sense that they feature in most stories.

    @Stoic Cynic:

    I hadn’t thought about it too closely, but I seem to be thinking recentish and shortish. I’ve got tons of stuff in the queue as always and so was maybe hoping for some lovely vignettes where People Are Nice To Each Other. Though that doesn’t sound particularly dramatic, so I understand why they’d be hard to sell 😛

    @Isabel Cooper:

    Nobody dies, everyone eats pie.

    Excellent blurb! I read the first few Little House books several years ago and recall some icky stuff about “Injuns” and everyone nearly dying of malaria. I might check out Farmer Boy again based on that.

    Thanks all for the suggestions. I admit to being a pretty morbid person who is aware of how astonishingly resilient and how astonishingly fragile the human body can be. Even cartoonish/humorous violence can trigger my brain to consider what the realistic consequences of said violence could be. Too much reading about crime investigation and crime scene cleanup and medical examiners etc.

    (I have a few shiny animes that may be helpful. Polar Bear’s Café is a funny anthropomorphic animal slice-of-life show, and Flying Witch has a nice little pastoral fantasy thing going on.

    I will be taking a short break from Death Parade even though it’s really good, and OMFG will not be starting Psycho-Pass 2 yet.)

  28. @Dawn: Yeah, those are No Good. I’d avoid Prairie for that, and also really anything past Silver Lake. (Plum Creek/Long Winter aren’t bad in that particular area, but do have various Nature Is A Bastard moments.) Big Woods and Farmer Boy are light on “adult”-style conflict, IIRC.

  29. For shiny anime replacements I can recommend Celestial Method. It’s a slow-paced story of childhood friendships being rediscovered and mended with the help of, essentially, a genie. After 11 episodes it comes to the bittersweet conclusion it had been telegraphing for a while…

    …and then there are two more episodes to cover the main character going, “Screw this, I’m arranging the HAPPY ending.”

    Happy books: How about Chanur’s Legacy, my favorite C. J. Cherryh book, which is a comedy of manners in space. IIRC there is the threat of death from time to time, but no one dies. The central plot involves the crew of the title ship being hired to see that an alien marriage contract is fulfilled, discovering that one of the intended parties is no longer marriageable, and then having to sort through the contingency clauses to figure out who needs to be married to whom and with what gender while various other complications pile up.

  30. @Dawn Incognito

    Hmmm. Everything recent-ish I can think of that wasn’t dark you’ve probably read (assorted Wombat’s plus Cat Pictures Please). For light vignette’s though have you tried Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino? It’s been years since I’ve read it but my recollection says its a good fit. A series of short, light stories with minimal conflict that I can recall. Calvino can be hit or miss for me but I remember really enjoying it. Of course, unless you read Italian, translations can vary and I don’t know if the Kindle edition is the same translation I read.

    @Isabel Cooper

    Loved Little House in the Big Woods but at least the one scene with the pig’s bladder turned into a ball might be macabre if you really think about it.

  31. @Dawn Incognito: If you like webcomics, try Band vs Band. This is currently my favorite webcomic. I only wish it came out more often than weekly. (That link is to the first installment.) There is mild conflict, but it’s the sort that arises among basically nice weird people: In this case, Honey Hart and the Candy Hearts versus the Sourballs and their leader Turpentine. It’s sweet and it’s cute and I love the art. I think you might like it, too. There are about five years’ worth of weekly one-pagers.

    @Soon Lee: Or Bellwether!

    @Stoic Cynic:

    at least the one scene with the pig’s bladder turned into a ball might be macabre if you really think about it.

    Football freaks me out, too!

  32. “Football freaks me out, too!”

    Been watching too much Shaolin Soccer?

  33. Really good call on Chanur’s Legacy; I’m definitely in need of Cherryh, and it’s the perfect book for watching diversity play out in fascinating and encouraging ways. Also, I’m rather fond of Vikktakkht.

    I spent my day acquiring a shiny new passport here in London; entirely predictable seriously heavy duty security, entirely predictable Why were you born in Egypt?, and entirely predictable problems with photos, because there are always problems with passport photos, though mine was a bit unusual in that the photos actually looked like me.

    I’m an immigrant, which is a hugely loaded word in the UK at the moment, hence the seriously heavy duty security at the Passport Office. I’m glad that it worked…

  34. @Stevie: We’ve been having passport problems of a different sort: my mother-in-law forget hers and missed her flight to Toronto to see us (from the American Midwest). So we had to get her on another flight (and when send her off we’re seriously thinking of duct taping it to her arm).

    My passport photos always looked like me. The worst possible version of me, but still me.

  35. @Dawn Incognito

    Thinking about it even most of my favorite comedies have some violence, mostly non-serious of course.

    Speaking of currently running anime have you looked at Shounen Maid? It is not a laugh fest but it is very heartwarming. No violence that I can think of but the main character’s mother does die right before the first episode.

    Apart from Shounen Maid and Flying Witch I am only watching two other comedies An Happy and Bakuon!!. An Happy is funny but it is based on a group of girls with very bad luck and two of the girls usually end up have very painful looking things happen to them, that they just shake off of course. Bakuon!! is motorcycle based and has a number of crashes that would have left the riders in the Hospital or dead if it was not a comedy.

  36. @Dawn Incognito: (comedy recs with no death)

    This is counterintuitive, but I actually don’t recall any death or even serious misadventure in the Robert Asprin Phule’s Company comedic milSF series. I don’t think they’ve been released electronically (dammit), and the quality does drop a bit as the series progresses, but they’re still good fun – particularly the first one.

    Concept: Take the Foreign Legion “we’ll take anybody” idea and put it in space. Now take all the misfits and concentrate ’em in one unit, which guards a swamp on a backwater planet. Add a slick hot-shot who makes the tiny mistake of strafing peace talks because he hadn’t heard about the cease-fire. You can’t kick him out because his dad’s company is your primary arms manufacturer, so you decide to encourage him to resign… by promoting him and putting him in command of the misfits.

    Now react in horror as he takes the job seriously and shows an appalling talent for unorthodox leadership. At least his butler will offer you a nice cup of tea if you start twitching…

  37. @Dawn: Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Jane Austen Book Club” is my personal soul-balm. It’s a book of joy, of celebration, of how different everybody is and how great that is, and – pure, unadulterated love of books.

  38. Not SF, but when I need something chill and mellow and relaxing to read, I frequently turn to PG Wodehouse. It’s light and fluffy and fun. Eminently predictable, but that’s fine because the joy is in the journey, not the destination. The worst crimes that occur are things like stealing a policeman’s hat, or pushing someone into a lake. The (rare) instances of violence never lead to much more than a black eye. And it’s all leavened with just enough snark to keep it from being saccharine.

  39. Seems like NRA does not agree with Correa:

    “No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “That defies common sense. It also defies the law.”

  40. On Wodehouse: stick with Jeeves and Wooster, for the most part. Of the Psmith novels, the only one I think worth reading is Leave It to Psmith. Also, be warned: there’s some casual racism – about the level you might expect in 1930s Britain – in Thank You, Jeeves. Otherwise, I also second the recommendation.

  41. I very much enjoyed Something Fresh, and I got an anthology with a whole bunch of fantastic stuff. Oh, and one of his plays, The Play’s The Thing, is delightful (if very dated). So, of my general sampling of Wodehouse, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed quite a bit 🙂

  42. I look over now and then and see the book spine that tells me I now have Wodehouse’s take on A.A. Milne, which includes a treacly bit of parody:

    Timothy Bobbin goes hoppity

    (On examination, this is almost a straight quotation from Now We Are Six, which makes it even more damning.)

    Wodehouse’s fake verse is right up there, in my mind, with some of Walt Kelly’s Mother Goosery Rinds, like “Hop hop hop hop hop hop hop / I am go-ing to the Shop!” and “When I go in-to the wood / I see the lit-tle bun-nies, eating por-ridge as they should. / Those clev-er lit-tle rab-bits!”

  43. “Rodney has a Relapse” can be found in The Golf Omnibus, meaning a collection of Wodehouse’s stories that touch on golf. I first got it from a library, and later on found a used copy for sale at another library.

    His Mulliner stories are a joy as well. Stories that get out of control by geometric degrees of worseness until suddenly Bob’s your uncle. There’s a collection of them that I got years ago when Wodehouse Playhouse was still being filmed (as far as I know, the show consisted of Mulliner stories).

    added: The Pogo can be found in the “Mother Goosery Rinds” section of Ten Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo,” and I’m guessing it’s in The Pogo Stepmother Goose. Before Pogo’s character (a tinker or something) starts writing improved verses, Albert (Mother Goose) entertains the kiddies with verses like, “Oh, Fearless Fred, the footpad dread / Set fire to his momma’s bed…”

  44. I’d forgotten about the Mulliner stories; I don’t have any of them in my collection, and it’s decades since I read them, but what little I remember is favorable, yes.

  45. I really like the Castle Blandings stories too. And a whole lot of his standalone books are great. I agree that skipping the Psmith stories is no great loss, but there’s plenty of good stuff other than Jeeves!

    The stuff that’s old enough to fall into the public domain is really a mixed bag; it took him a few years to find his footing as a writer and develop his style. Still, there’s some early stuff I absolutely love, like The Adventures of Sally. (Project Gutenberg link.) That one is my sister-in-law’s all-time favorite book. Or Piccadilly Jim, which was recently made into a movie starring Sam Rockwell (giving this a tangentially SFnal connection).

    In general, though, I tend to recommend slightly later stuff.

  46. @Soon Lee: Aye! Terrifying beastie!

    @Red Wombat: I can see that. But still. Coo. I don’t think we were supposed to point and laugh when those scenes came up. Some sort of puppet/Pantomime Beast might have done better.

    @Rev. Bob: Exactly and amen.

    @Dawn: Did you ever see the anime “Aria”? Gondola girls on terraformed Mars. No death that I recall. Beautiful scenery. Languid. Female bonding. Cats!
    Connie Willis’ “Blued Moon” is a very funny short story. Also her “Bellwether”, and the classic “Even the Queen”.

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