Pixel Scroll 6/16/16 Schroedinger’s Kzin

(1) ARM-WRESTLING WITH A PUBLISHER. Kristine Kathryn Rusch sees writers as too prone to follow rules, and too prone to think themselves as powerless in the face of contractual language: “Business Musings: Thus, Lawyers, and Writers (Contracts/Dealbreakers)”.

Lawyers aren’t afraid of thugs and goons and cartoon characters that go bump in the night. They’re not afraid of someone who plays the Big Dog and says, You’ll never work in this town again. Lawyers generally say, Well, let’s see.

Lawyers know there’s usually a solution—and it’s often as simple as standing up and saying to the person on the other side of the contract, I’m not playing your silly game. No. I’m not doing it. Now, what are you going to do?

…. Here’s the bottom line, people. I know a bunch of you are stuck in contracts you don’t like. Publishers are reinterpreting contracts in whole new ways, ways that they never looked at in the past.

The big shift is that publishers no longer see themselves as manufacturers and distributers of books. They’re running a rights management business, which means taking advantage of the full copyright on a property, instead of licensing a tiny part of that copyright. (If you don’t understand that sentence, get a copy of the Copyright Handbook. If you’re too damn lazy or cheap to do that, at least see this blog post of mine.)

(2) ATWOOD. “Margaret Atwood awarded 2016 PEN Pinter Prize”.

Canadian poet, novelist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood has been awarded the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize. She will receive her award at a public event at the British Library on the evening of Thursday 13 October, where she will deliver an address.

Margaret Atwood was chosen by this year’s judges Vicky Featherstone, Zia Haider Rahman, Peter Stothard, Antonia Fraser and President of English PEN and Chair of Judges, Maureen Freely.

The judges praised Atwood as a ‘consistent supporter of political causes’, adding ‘her work championing environmental concerns comes well within the scope of human rights … she is a very important figure in terms of the principles of PEN and of Harold Pinter’.

Atwood said:

I am humbled to be the recipient of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize. I knew Harold Pinter and worked with him – he wrote the scenario for the film version of The Handmaid’s Tale, back in 1989 – and his burning sense of injustice at human rights abuses and the repression of artists was impressive even then. Any winner of such an award is a stand-in for the thousands of people around the world who speak and act against such abuses. I am honoured to be this year’s stand-in.

(3) GUY WITH A GUN. Bruce Arthurs wrote about this army experience in 2012 after the Aurora theater shooting, and it’s relevant again this week: “Shots In The Dark, or, How I Became A Sharpshooter”.

Several ammo clips later, I and the other trainees have finished the Night Firing exercise and gather around to get our scores. I get a high score.  I get a surprisingly high score.  I get an astonishingly high score, far above the type of scores I’d gotten during daytime firing exercises.  I get a score so high that suddenly I’ve moved up into Sharpshooter-level numbers. That Holy Shit guy?  He skunked it.  Didn’t hit a single target. Well, let’s revise that statement, because it doesn’t take much time or brains to figure out what happened.  In the dark, with everyone firing around him, with multiple targets and multiple dim flashes, he’d gotten his orientation just slightly off and had been shooting at the wrong target.  The target of the guy next to him.  At my target.

(4) HOWARD TAYLER’S TAKE ON GUN OWNERSHIP.

(5) FIRST FIFTH. Joe Sherry continues his series at Nerds of a Feather with “Reading the Hugos: Novel”. Number five on his ballot is: The Aeronaut’s Windlass:

Butcher’s novel is the only finalist not on my nomination ballot. Prior to last year, I was completely unfamiliar with Butcher’s work. I knew that it existed, but until Skin Game‘s nomination, I had never read anything Butcher wrote. Happily, Skin Game was a solid read and one that I vastly preferred over the eventual winner, The Three-Body Problem. The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first volume in a steampunk epic fantasy series from Butcher. I like it more than Skin Game, and I’m happy to be getting in on the ground floor of the series rather than jumping in at Book 15 like I did with the Dresden Files. The setting was fantastic (airships and insanely tall towers), but what drew me in was the characters. Gwen, Benedict, Brother Vincent, Bridget Tagwynn, Rowl, Captain Grimm, and pretty much everyone across the board are what sold me on this book. These are characters I would love to spent more time with.

This is one of those spots on my ballot that I could realistically swap positions with the next one up. I think Seveneves is an overall a better book, but I enjoyed The Aeronaut’s Windlass just about as much as I did Seveneves, just in different ways. They are two very different sorts of novels, and I’m down for more of Butcher’s Cinder Spires series, but Seveneves gets the nod today.

Sherry’s first installment was – “Watching the Hugos: Dramatic Presentation Long Form”.

(6) CONCLUSION OF FROZEN SKY. “Jeff Carlson has finished his Frozen Sky trilogy and the third book is by far the biggest and most ambitious of the 3 books,” reports Carl Slaughter. Frozen Sky 3: Blindsided was released June 11.
Carl interviewed Jeff in 2014 for Diabolical Plots. He was nominated for the John Campbell and Philip Dick awards and has been published in Asimov’s.

The aliens in The Frozen Sky are intelligent, but they look a bit like squids, they don’t speak and they don’t have sight. Why not bipedal aliens like Vulcans or Klingons or Romulans with vocal cords and eyes?

Because I’m not constrained by a production budget! Ha. “Let’s glue some ears on him. We’ll glue some forehead thingies on them. Okay, we’re done.”

Star Trek is good fun but limited in presentation. That’s the beauty of being a novelist. The medium requires the reader’s imagination. Yes, I direct the action, but hard sf readers are smart readers. They want to be strangers in a strange land. So I can say, well, I have this claustrophobic three-dimensional low-gravity environment like the mazes of an ant farm inside Europa’s icy crust. What would kind of creatures would evolve here? Six-foot-tall bipedal creatures like people? Heck no.

Jeff’s other series is the Plague series.

(7) GREAT GHOSTBUSTERS POSTER.

(8) EARLY WRITING. Jami Gray gets a great interview — “Hugo award winner, Seanan McGuire visits with latest InCryptid novel!”

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

My first serious attempt at writing was a fourteen-page essay when I was nine, explaining to my mother why she had to let me read Stephen King. It had footnotes and a bibliography. I finished my first book when I was twelve. It was called Dracula’s Castle, and if I knew where it was, I’d probably put it online.

(9) MORE STORIES. Editor Glenn Hauman’s Indiegogo appeal to fund the Altered States of the Union anthology has an update – “We’re annexing new territory!”

The response to the concept behind Altered States has inspired a lot of authors to join in the fun, so we’re proud to announce we’re expanding the book by almost 60%, adding new stories by:

  • Russ Colchamiro
  • Peter David
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Robert Greenberger
  • Meredith Peruzzi
  • Aaron Rosenberg
  • David Silverman & Hildy Silverman
  • Anne Toole

(10) A BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU. Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt will be on a book tour in the US in June and July, courtesy of TOR. The trip includes three appearances in California, including an LA-vicinity stop at Dark Delicacies Bookstore in Burbank on the evening of Tuesday, July 19.

TOH-US-Tour-2016

(11) MEDIA STRATEGY. Vox Day’s tells followers at Vox Popoli that his new philosophy is “Don’t talk to the media!”

In light of my ridiculous experience with Wired and after seeing how multiple media outlets turned to George RR Martin and John Scalzi to ask them to interpret my actions, I now turn down most media requests. I do so literally every week; I just turned down two yesterday alone. The media is not in the business of reporting the news, they are in the business of selling their masters’ Narrative.

(12) A MAD GENIUS ON THE HUGOS. Kate Paulk devotes half of “Hugo Awards – The Nominee Highlights – Best Fanzine” to criticizing Gregory Benford’s intention to vote for Steve Stiles in the Best Fan Artist category. Yet his reasons for supporting Stiles — Steve’s years of accomplishment as a cartoonist — parallel my reasons for voting for Toni Weisskopf as Best Pro Editor in 2015.

(13) PRINCE OF TIDES, THE GREAT SANTINI. George R.R. Martin urges readers to donate:

Pat [Conroy] passed away in March… but his books will live on, and so will his memory. In his memory, his family has now establishing a Pat Conroy Literary Center in his beloved home town of Beaufort, South Carolina. You can read about it here: http://patconroyliterarycenter.org/ A worthy project, I think. I’ll be donating. I urge all of you who love good writing to do the same.

(14) LOOKING FOR LAUGHS? The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog is enthusiastic about Joe Zieja’s humorous Mechanical Failure.

Comedy is a tricky beast, especially in science fiction. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is unquestionably a towering achievements of the form, but after than, opinions vary wildly (we’d wager John Scalzi has equal numbers of fans who either want him to stop trying to be funny, or to stop writing books that are so serious). It’s rare in genre to find a book that can do satire without being preachy, comedy without being entirely silly (not that a little silliness is a bad thing), and still manage toss a little “science fiction” into the mix. Joe Zieja’s debut novel, Mechanical Failure (the first part of the Epic Fail trilogy, which gives you a hint as to what you’re in for) makes as good a bid as we’ve seen in quite some time, diving headfirst into full-on military SF parody and making it look easy.

(15) UPJOHN OUTPACED BY REALITY? Alexandra Erin’s facing a challenge that reminds me of the one Garry Trudeau faced while producing Doonesbury during the Watergate era — it’s hard to be more absurd than real life.

Mr. Upjohn’s post-con report from WisCon is still forthcoming; it’s evolved and grown a few times since the con actually ended as I took reality onboard , which once again has made parody seem tame. When actual flesh and blood con attendants are decrying the “dystopian” tape lines designating travel lanes on the crowded party floor, I clearly need to step up the game.

Meanwhile, Erin writes, “I’d really love to close out my WorldCon fundraiser” – still needs $375.

(16) CHANGE OF ADDRESS. Juliette Wade has ported her TalkToYoUniverse content to her Dive Into Worldbuilding site.

Introducing the Dive into Worldbuilding Workshop at Patreon!

Dive into Worldbuilding started in 2011 – five years ago – when Google+ introduced their hangouts feature and I decided it would be fun to hang out with fellow writers and talk about worldbuilding. Since then, it has grown and changed, from just a bunch of friends meeting online with no record except my written summaries, to a meeting that got recorded and sent to YouTube, to a show featuring a wide variety of guest authors as well as regular topic discussions. With each change, my goal has been to reach a wider variety of interesting people, listen to more interesting views on worldbuilding, and share insights with as many people as possible.

Today, I’m taking it a step further with the Dive into Worldbuilding Patreon – which is also the Dive into Worldbuilding Workshop.

This Patreon will do more than just support my research into panel topics. It will help me to pay my guest authors for their time and expertise – but it will also let me help more of you.

(17) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 16, 1816 — At the Villa Diodati, Lord Byron reads Fantasmagoriana to his four house guests—Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori—and challenges each guest to write a ghost story, which culminates in Mary Shelley writing the novel Frankenstein, Polidori writing the short story The Vampyre, and Byron writing the poem Darkness.

[Thanks to Petréa Mitchell, Vincent Docherty, Michael J. Walsh, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

191 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/16/16 Schroedinger’s Kzin

  1. There’s probably all sorts of confusion going on about rights to the 1941 stuff… Gray Lensman is probably a case in point; the UK publication rights were bought up sometime in the late nineties or early noughties by a small press outfit (Ripping Books, I think they were called – started off as a self-publishing exercise and then expanded) which went the way of most small presses, and there was a Kindle version available, but it went away (accompanied by a host of reviews claiming appalling format-conversion errors, which might be why). So acquiring the rights to slip that one into the voters’ packet might be… complex.

    (I managed to get all but two of the Retro fiction nominees by scavenging online, by getting e-book collections with the short stories in, or by the time-honoured method of pulling decaying 1970s paperbacks off my bookshelves.)

  2. @JJ: I commented on Kate Paulk’s post pointing her to the voting packet after seeing a reference MGC on Mike’s roundup. I may have also been the first there to mention how bad the communication was.

    I received the first e-mail saying that Hugo voting was open, which was prior to the voting packet being released. I don’t follow MidAmericon on Facebook, though I do on Twitter (which is how I learned about it).

    I tend not to keep checking back on a website to see if something has updated, so if I didn’t follow on twitter and follow a number of folks who are as interested in the Hugos as I am, I could easily see how you might miss. Granted, I also knew from past experience that the voter’s packet isn’t e-mailed, but if you’re new to this thing, you could miss the packet by several weeks. I’d have checked the website by this point, and probably would have tweeted at them, but that’s just me.

  3. 4) I’ve got to say Tayler’s tweets seemed full of good sense on the subject.

    12) Regarding Best Fan Artist, Stiles is the only honest nominee, as far as I know. By which I mean we can be confident he didn’t need slate help to get on the ballot (in his case because he wasn’t on any slates–an enviable position, IMO.) We can argue about whether the lack of meaningful competition for him means we should No Award the whole category, but if we don’t, that gives him a definite leg up as far as I am concerned.

    While I don’t normally think of Best Fan Artist as a lifetime achievement award myself, I have no problem with someone else making that call, and I can see that the inclination to do so becomes stronger the more one looks at Stiles’s history of contribution to the field. The jury is still out on whether he will get first place on my ballot but if he wins, I’ll celebrate.

    7) I’m planning on going to the new Ghostbusters just for the pleasure of watching a movie about four women and one man. I’ve been watching movies with the opposite gender balance for so long (and reading books; I used to joke about all the quest books with this kind of gender balance) that this will be a refreshing change.

  4. @NickPheas: Sadly, yes, RAH (and most everyone else of that era) has most, if not all, of their works produced in pirated “SciFi A-Z Collection” type things.

    There was one (undoubtedly still around as a torrent) that went through regular updates, was on Scribd when they were stepping all over rights, and consisted of about 30,000 individual works. ALL of Future History was in there.

    (I know because some guy in a trench coat offered to sell it to me, or a really nice pocket watch, of which he had many hanging in the folds of his coat.)

  5. RE: 5 – The setting was fantastic (airships and insanely tall towers),

    What “insanely tall towers”? The Spires in The Astronaut’s Windlass are cylinders that are approximately two miles in diameter by 10,000 feet (call it just shy of two miles) tall. And there’s no indication of tapering at the top, either, despite the name. Unless, of course the two mile diameter of the top or near-top level is smaller than the diameter of the bottom layer, which seems unlikely because elevators of sorts (called “windlasses” for no good reason I can see) go up and down the sides.

    The worldbuilding is inconsistent and the main characters are all annoyingly hyper-competent.

    It’s a perfectly decent beach read, but not a Hugo-level novel.

  6. The volume of Hugo/MidAmericonII email traffic led me to believe that there would be a more overt “the packet is here (link)!! Go download it!” sort of message. I think it is a legitimate criticism of the process. Everything else worked great. They just didn’t stick the landing with respect to the packet release.

    (11) What took him so long. Among the non-leftist set, it is common to observe how frequently the media reports the political affiliations of various politicians investigated/charged with some sort of crime. The perceived trend is for affiliations with the Democrat party to be less frequently mentioned and less prominently mentioned (towards the end of the story if at all) and for the reverse for affiliations with the Republican party (towards the top and almost always).

    IME, that perceived trend runs pretty true. If I don’t find a politician’s political orientation in the story, then it is almost always a Democrat. The location of a political affiliation within a story also seems to be skewed based on which political affiliation is mentioned.

    Now before someone jumps to conclusions, I don’t think this is some sort of conspiracy. I do think it is the result of a bit of herd mentality and perhaps a bit of “othering”. From the dominant media perspective, Democrats are “just like us” and therefore their political affiliation isn’t a useful identifier.

    Also, witness the editorial splicing associated with a Katie Couric piece on guns recently. They did everything possible to make the pro-gun folks appear to be less informed, less confident, and just lesser people.

    If the media won’t deal with all political perspectives honestly, why talk to them?

    @Steve Davidson

    It’s MY fucking vote and no one – NO ONE – is in a position to question how I choose to exercise it.

    Indeed. It is the one standard upon which everyone should agree.

    Regards,
    Dann

  7. I think I was the first one to post informations on the packets in the comments section. I got rhe information from Twitter. I think the difference between us and MGC that made it more obvious here that the packet was opened for download:

    * Many of us are interested in WorldCon and not only of the Hugos. This meant we followed MAC2 on different channels.
    * As soon as out gracious host Mike knew about the packets he made special posts about it so we shouldn’t miss it.
    * People discuss books here, so we have seen discussion about the packet all over the place.

    And none of this is really true about MGC.

  8. Dann:

    From a swedish perspective, I find most of american media ridiculously conservative and rightwing. I was really, really chocked first time I went to the US and saw the newschannels on TV. And no, it wasn’t FOX that chocked me. It was CNN.

  9. @Hampus

    Well a close friend finds Michigan hopelessly cold after spending decades living in Las Vegas. **chuckle**

    More seriously, I’m OK with you having that perception. I regret that I lack the necessary familiarity with Swedish media to offer a complimentary observation.

    However, how would you respond to your local media if they regularly made prominent mention of your preferred political party in news stories associated with criminal activity but did not mention other political party affiliations as prominently with respect to other/similar reports? Irrespective of how we respectively define “right” or “left”, shouldn’t the media behave in a reasonably uniform manner when publishing these kinds of reports?

    Regards,
    Dann

  10. Dann:

    We have one party (we have seven that are in the parliament) in Swedish politics that are more reporter on regarding racism and criminal activity. That is because they *are* more involved with racism and criminal activity.

    Still, people in that pary says everyone is biased against then.

  11. Schrodinger (pointing to kzin-shaped box): Open this, please.

    Lab Assistant: Excuse me for a second. (turns around and runs)

    I’d point out that it could be a slaver stasis box, but I’m afraid this would descend into a thread on soft weapon control…

  12. Vox Day’s tells followers at Vox Popoli that his new philosophy is “Don’t talk to the media!”

    If only we could upgrade that to ‘Don’t talk’

  13. Behold, the magnificent nudibranch! Taking back the Hugos for things that make absolutely no sense but are aesthetically pleasing nonetheless.

    All suggestions welcome!

    I’ll toss my hat in the ring for Glaucus atlanticus.

  14. From a swedish perspective, I find most of american media ridiculously conservative and rightwing. I was really, really chocked first time I went to the US and saw the newschannels on TV. And no, it wasn’t FOX that chocked me. It was CNN.

    Many of of here in the US feel the same way.

    I really miss the days when they just reported the news (i.e. giving the facts of what happened) without putting a spin on everything. (I really hate the local news operations who insist “We’re on your side.” )

  15. Ah, Dann, you’ll spend several paragraphs implying a conspiracy, and then chicken out at actually pulling the trigger on what you’re implying. And, shockingly enough, it’s a “you got to understand” with reaction to Teddy Beale.

    As long as we’re talking labs and doctors, why don’t you get a prescription for a spine, that would allow you to state your opinions openly?

  16. I don’t see any emails saying “The packet is now available, follow this link.”

    I didn’t see one, either, and I do check that email account a couple of times a day. I wouldn’t have known about the packet if it hadn’t been noted here.

  17. @Dann

    Among the non-leftist set, it is common to observe how frequently the media reports the political affiliations of various politicians investigated/charged with some sort of crime. The perceived trend is for affiliations with the Democrat party to be less frequently mentioned and less prominently mentioned (towards the end of the story if at all) and for the reverse for affiliations with the Republican party (towards the top and almost always).

    This is the sort of claim that could easily be tested simply by monitoring the news for a few months and counting. I’m sure that if someone actually did that, he/she would discover that no such bias actually exists; newspapers have style guidelines that require the party affiliation be declared except for very well-known public figures, and they do not violate those guidelines just to annoy people.

    If you were looking at a lot of stories about Bill or Hillary Clinton’s problems (in which there’s no need to state affiliation because they are so well known) and then comparing them to a host of stories about Congress(wo)men and state officials, then I suppose you might get the mistaken idea that there is some bias. Or if you’re looking at unprofessional, online-only publications, perhaps there really is a bias. But if you’re talking about the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. then, I’d say you’re imagining things.

    Unless you can find a link to an actual study that describes the rules it used, the data it collected, and the results it found.

  18. “As long as we’re talking labs and doctors, why don’t you get a prescription for a spine, that would allow you to state your opinions openly?”

    Was that necessary?

  19. John Lorentz: Seems like we just grew up during a window of time when the corporations developing the new medium of network TV felt news service was a way to armor themselves against accusations of propagating a “vast wasteland” (Newton Minnow). They were an expensive loss leader.

    Now that every part of the operation is expected to be a profit center, news has to anticipate what people want and try to give that to them. And of course what people want is news that looks like Facebook graphics that agree with their opinions.

  20. I finally got my extended battery back for my GoPro. So here is all of last night, from dusk to dawn:

  21. @Mike Glyer

    A lot of the changes to news comes down to shifts in FCC policies and regulations. News was a big component of meeting the requirement of licensees to serve the public interest. It was a loss leader but you needed to check the box. The Fairness Doctrine (and predecessor Mayflower Doctrine) required a balanced presentation, etc. Once those rules started shifting plus the rise of non-broadcast cable tv, the internet, etc. you see us landing where we’re at…

  22. Now that every part of the operation is expected to be a profit center, news has to anticipate what people want and try to give that to them.

    Yes, it was disappointing watching that transition over the years. (Of course, I’m old enough to remember when “the news” consisted of 15 minutes of the Huntley-Brinkley report and 15 minutes of local news. “Good night, Chet.” “Good night, David.”)

  23. Vox Day: I now turn down most media requests. I do so literally every week; I just turned down two yesterday alone.

    “It isn’t as though I haven’t met a lot of people. Goodness knows it isn’t that.”

  24. Just read: Double Star by Robert Heinlein
    The introduction describes this as a non-controversial work by Heinlein. To which I can only say, really? Other people don’t see an ethical problem with the events of this book esp. the ending? I thought I was cynical about politicians but apparently not cynical enough.
    It was a fun read otherwise. One scene that made me laugh was when a campaign worker was trying to forecast the election results himself, using a pencil and slide rule, instead of waiting for the networks to call the winner.

  25. the Democrat party

    Does not exist. It’s the Democratic Party, unless you get all your political news from a source which shall not be named.

  26. bookworm1398: Great question. I first read Double Star in the Sixties and was very taken with it. I reread it a couple of years ago and had some similar thoughts. All this fraud done in the name of “good government”? Remind me why I am supposed to be cheering?

  27. The perceived trend is for affiliations with the Democrat party to be less frequently mentioned and less prominently mentioned

    Like many perceptions, this one is probably the result of confirmation bias. If there is a study that has been done that would confirm this, that would be one thing, but as far as I can tell, none has ever been done. As a result, I’m inclined to take these claims with a grain of salt.

    I’m especially inclined to take such claims with a grain of salt when the subject under discussion is someone like Beale who thinks Breitbart is a legitimate news source and has been a contributor to WorldNetDaily.

  28. Hi Greg,

    Well as I suggested, this is a perceived thing. As a self proclaimed sample of one, I’d have a tough time making the case that it is happening or to what extent that it is happening. Some data would be great!

    At the very least, the occasions where I have encountered the phenomenon suggest to me that it is not imaginary. Whether it occurs with sufficient frequency to be of concern still needs to be examined.

    Thanks to your inquiry, I went looking to see what was out there. Sadly, my Google-fu was unsuccessful. I did find a couple new items via the ever-questionable Wikipedia. But I already had seen enough other studies that confirmed a modest leftward bias in the American media.

    This is the sort of thing that I used to enjoy doing a decade or so ago. But we all live in our own little personal narrative these days. The benefits of doing the research are insufficient to justify my spending the time on such things.

    Regards,
    Dann

  29. @bookworm @mike
    Well, given one of the ur-texts to Double Star (Prisoner of Zenda) quite explicitly makes the replacement for the original a better noble, Heinlein was just following along the lines of the inspiration.

    Of course, switching from feudalism to democracy does kind of skew the whole transfer, doesn’t it?

    At least Rhonda Mason’s THE EMPRESS GAME goes back to an Empire like polity in its Prisoner of Zenda plotline.

  30. But I already had seen enough other studies that confirmed a modest leftward bias in the American media.

    If only that were true.

    Then, after a decade or so, they might be back to neutral.

  31. “But I already had seen enough other studies that confirmed a modest leftward bias in the American media.”

    That damned leftwing Rupert Murdoch.

  32. Dann says: Among the non-leftist set, it is common to observe how frequently the media reports the political affiliations of various politicians investigated/charged with some sort of crime. The perceived trend is for affiliations with the Democrat party to be less frequently mentioned and less prominently mentioned (towards the end of the story if at all) and for the reverse for affiliations with the Republican party (towards the top and almost always).

    some would argue that the bias runs the other way

  33. One weird thing with US media (mostly TV) is that it think of facts as a political opinion that can be debated. And that everything should be debated as if the opinions were equal regardless of facts or basic human rights.

    Should we torture people? Lets discuss. Does global warming exist? Lets hear the opinion from some political PR-people. Did Ray Bradbury write books? Lets hear the opinion from our audience where we have invited both those that think so and those who do not.

    I still have a photo from around 2003 of a poster I saw on Manhattan, something like “Oil – The Cleanest of Energy Sources”. That it was even possible to have this poster without huge articles about the scandal was crazy to me. But it was just another political opinion, facts were never relevant.

  34. But I have a deep love for C-SPAN. It was pure joy to hear whole political statements and speeches instead of soundbites. The US when at its best.

  35. @bookworm1398: the tech in many 60-year-old SF novels is laughable, but IME Heinlein in particular tended to put in details showing a lack of imagination. (Compare for instance to Asimov’s “The Feeling of Power”, published two years later, in which people have used pocket calculators for so long they’ve forgotten how to do arithmetic.) Worse, he sometimes built stories around this lack of imagination, e.g. in Starman Jones books of navigational tables have to be retrieved from someone who made off with them — they aren’t stored electronically.

  36. Another thing with Prisoner At Zenda is that the dopplegangerstint is only temporary and ends with the regent back in his original position. Not even in the sequel does the hero take the position as King permanently.

  37. And just a few weeks ago I promised myself to talk less politics here. Not succeeding. 🙁

  38. @Hampus Eckerman

    It’s hard not to post about things you’re passionate about and if you weren’t passionate about them would you still be Hampus? 🙂

  39. Those of us on the social-democratic end of the US political spectrum will tell you there’s no necessary conflict between the claims that “the US media is slanted toward the Democratic Party” and “the US media is too right-wing.”

    😉

  40. Stoic Cynic:

    “It’s hard not to post about things you’re passionate about and if you weren’t passionate about them would you still be Hampus?”

    Sometimes I wish I could be quietly passionate. 🙂

  41. @Jim Henley:
    A few years ago I came across an account of a Brit attempting to explain UK politics to an American which made much the same point from the reverse angle, as it were. The essential part ran something like:
    “The Prime Minister is the leader of the party which won most seats at the last General Election. At the moment, that’s the Labour Party, which you would call socialist.
    “The main opposition is the Conservatives, or Tories …
    (pause for reflection)
    “… which you would call socialist.”

  42. @Peter J:

    That would be much the same conversation on Canadian politics as well.

    Or just about all other western democracies…

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