Pixel Scroll 7/24/17 Look Upon My Scrolls, Ye Mighty, And Despair

(1) BANNED IN SAN DIEGO. United Airlines told people leaving San Diego after Comic-Con that TSA had banned comic books from checked luggage, but was permitting them in carry-ons.

Le Chic Geek’s Jeanne Marie Hoffman spread the story: “TSA Bans Comic Books in Checked Luggage for Comic-Con”.

The TSA banned comic books from checked luggage for flights leaving San Diego after Comic-Con.

This is problematic in a few ways.  First, attendees tend to purchase rare comic books that they are trying to keep in pristine shape.  Yes, you can do with when you have a few comic books in your carry on–but remember, this is a convention.

People aren’t flying out to San Diego to purchase *one* comic book.

Second, while large vendors enter into freight shipping contracts, small vendors rely on their checked bags to get their wares to and from the convention.

TSA tweeted a denial saying no, they’re not banning comic books (so why did United?)

TSA also addressed it in a blog post, “Let’s Close the Book on Book Screening Rumors”, which confusing gives an “answer” talks about carry-ons, not checked bags. So the whole thing remains as clear as mud.

Do you have to remove books from your carry-on bags prior to sending your bag through the X-ray?

Short answer: No

Longer answer (but still pretty short): You know us… We’re always testing procedures to help stay ahead of our adversaries. We were testing the removal of books at two airport locations and the testing ran its course. We’re no longer testing and have no intentions of instituting those procedures.

So, with that out of the way, you might be wondering why we were interested in books. Well, our adversaries seem to know every trick in the book when it comes to concealing dangerous items, and books have been used in the past to conceal prohibited items. We weren’t judging your books by their covers, just making sure nothing dangerous was inside.

Occasionally, our officers may recommend passengers remove items such as heavy, glossy programs during a special event with a lot of travelers such as Super Bowl programs.

(2) ROOM FOR MORE. GoFundMe for Dwain Kaiser’s widow, Joanne, is now up to $17,979, far above $10,000 goal. You can still contribute.

(3) BEGINNING WHO. Nicholas Whyte suggests there are as many doors into the series as there are Doctors: “Doctor Who: advice for someone who hasn’t seen it yet”.

Dear Chris, You asked me:

Friend in US wants to start watching Dr Who now there is a female doctor. Which are the seminal episodes she should watch in advance? Is there one episode per season she should watch?

Unless your friend is already a big fan of sf shows from the last century, she should probably start with New Who, meaning the 2005 reboot with Christopher Eccleston. One sometimes needs to be forgiving of the production values of Old Who, and it may not be right to demand that tolerance of a newbie. For what it’s worth, I answered a similar question about the first eight Doctors here many years ago; and a couple of years later I polled my blog readers on their favourite stories from the first ten Doctors here (and also on their least favourite stories here). But for now, we’re looking at New Who.

(4) DESTROYING SF AGAIN. Thirty-one days remain in the Kickstarter “Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine” — seeking funding for an Uncanny Magazine special double issue: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction and Uncanny Magazine Year Four. At this writing it’s achieved $8,402 of its $20,000 goal.

(5) BY COINCIDENCE. New York’s Museum of Modern Art is running an exhibit “Future Imperfect: The Uncanny in Science Fiction” from July 17–August 31.

Imagine a science-fiction film series with no space travel, no alien invasions or monsters, and no visions of the distant future. Imagine instead a dazzling array of science-fiction films that focus on alternate visions of Earth in the present or very near future. Science fiction, at least in the movies, essentially boils down to two questions: Are “they” coming to kill us or to save us? And, what does it mean to be human? Presented in association with the Berlinale and the Deutsche Kinemathek-Museum für Film und Fernsehen, this exhibition of more than 40 science-fiction films from all over the world — the United States, the Soviet Union, China, India, Cameroon, Mexico and beyond — explores the second question: our humanity in all its miraculous, uncanny, and perhaps ultimately unknowable aspects. Since the dawn of cinema, filmmakers as diverse as Kathryn Bigelow, Kinji Fukasaku, Rikwit Ghatak, Jean-Luc Godard, Georges Méliès, Michael Snow, Alexander Sokurov, and Steven Spielberg have explored ideas of memory and consciousness; thought, sensation, and desire; self and other; nature and nurture; time and space; and love and death. Their films, lying at the nexus of art, philosophy, and science, occupy a twilight zone bounded only by the imagination, where “humanness” remains an enchanting enigma. Guest presenters include John Sayles, Michael Almereyda, Larry Fessenden, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and more.

Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

(6) TWEET BRAWL. Looks like Wilson Cruz is getting some pushback on his Star Trek: Discovery character, but he’s giving as good as he gets. Use this tweet to beam up to where the discussion is happening:

(7) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

Could you have named them? The founding members of Marvel Comics’ super-hero team the Avengers were: Iron Man, the Hulk, Ant-Man, The Wasp and Thor.

(8) STEINBERG OBIT. Marvel legend Florence Steinberg (1939-2017) died July 23. Heidi MacDonald paid tribute at ComicsBeat.

Florence “Fabulous Flo” Steinberg, an iconic member of the original Marvel Bullpen, has passed away, age unknown but truly ageless.

Flo was the sole Marvel staffer besides Stan Lee himself in the early Marvel Comics of the 60s. She can be heard on this immortal Merry Marvel Marching Society record starring Stan, Jack Kirby and Flo in her inimitable Boston/Queens accent.

 

At Marvel, Flo was the true Gal Friday, helping with every aspect of getting books out the door. She left in 1968 but didn’t leave publishing: in 1975 she published Big Apple Comix, an early indie comic that included “mainstream” comics creators doing more personal stories.  As great as Stan and Jack were, they never launched out entirely on their own as publishers, as Flo did.

(9) BENNETT OBIT. Tolkien fan Joanne Bennett died July 14. She started the Crickhollow branch of the Mythopoeic Society some 40 years ago, covering the Reno-Sparks- Carson City area. Here is an excerpt from the family obituary.

Many of the students who most enjoyed her classes and teaching also were members of Wooster’s Tolkien Society, which she founded in the late 1960s upon discovering and becoming captivated by the Middle Earth fantasy world that J.R.R. Tolkien created in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Many of those students became her lifelong dear friends as she and they continued their relationships and discussions even up until the last days of her life in a group called Crickhollow and through ongoing individual relationships with other former students.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 24, 1948 — Debut of Marvin the Martian in Bugs Bunny’s Haredevil Hare

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY SUPERHERO

  • July 24, 1951 — Lynda Carter

(12) COMIC SECTION. Not recommended for the theologically sensitive, the webcomic Meanwhile In Heaven purports to show the Big Guy in all of his infinite wisdom.  There’s a recent arc where God has decided to redecorate using a Star Trek theme. We find out there are some things that Leonard Nimoy won’t do. And the story continues in “Captain’s Log”.

(13) PREDICTING MAGIC. Lois McMaster Bujold tells folks on Goodreads another Penric novella is on the way.

I am pleased to report that I have finished the first draft of a new Penric & Desdemona novella. (For that peculiar value of “finished” that means, “still dinking till it’s pulled from the writer’s twitchy hands.”) Title will be “Penric’s Fox” Length, at this moment, is around 37,400 words. It is more-or-less a sequel to “Penric and the Shaman”, taking place about eight or nine months after that story. Final editing and formatting, arranging for cover art to send it out into the world nicely dressed, etc., will take some unknown amount of time and eyeball-endurance, but e-pub will likely happen in August.

(14) RECOMMENDED BADNESS. Marshall Ryan Maresca tells about his love for “KRULL: A Bad Movie I’ve Watched Many, Many, MANY Times”

As I’ve said before, there’s something to admire about a movie that points to the fences and swings with everything that it has.  Because Krull is just that movie.  It really wants to be the epic fantasy movie– it wanted to be the movie that did for epic fantasy what Star Wars was for space opera.   And by god, it throws everything it can think of up on the screen to become that, and more.  I mean, it’s not just an epic fantasy movie.  It’s an epic fantasy movie that’s hiding inside a full-on sci-fi space-opera, like a Russian nesting doll.  On top of that, it’s got prologue and epilogue voice-over to let you know that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the total amount of story here.  Yes, it was laying the groundwork for sequels and prequels and all sorts of things that were never meant to be.

(15) NINE WORLDS. London’s Nine Worlds con (August 4-6) has posted its program schedule. There are a lot of good, thoughtful items, and at least three I can say I haven’t seen at any con I’ve attended:

(16) ART LESSON. Nikola at Thoughts on Fantasy teaches us “How to Make a Clichéd High Fantasy Cover”.

I’ve encountered a few covers that take it a bit far, but I thought it’d be amusing to go even further, and have a bit of fun with the tropes of my favourite genre… so here is my recipe for a no-holds-barred, all-boxes-ticked, epic high fantasy book cover (accompanied by examples from the most clichéd design I can muster). I’m no graphic designer, but I imagine that will add a nice level of unprofessional shine to my examples.

  1. Fantasy Landscape

It’s a good idea to start your cover with a moody fantasy setting. This can be any of the following:

  • medieval cityscape
  • castle or tower
  • craggy mountains
  • dark forest + looming trees
  • rough sea + sailing ship

If you want to go full-fantasy cliché, try to include as many of the above as possible, just to be sure you cover all your bases.

Her recipe has 12 ingredients altogether.

(17) SFF TREND ON JEOPARDY! Tom Galloway keeps a close eye on these things:

OK, some current Jeopardy! writer is definitely an sf fan and is having fun with categories. A few weeks ago we had the adjacent “Shaka” and “When the Walls Fell” categories in Double J!.

Last Tuesday, July 18th, the last two Double J! categories were “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear”, the titles of Patrick Rothfuss’ first two books in his trilogy. As with the Trek named categories, no clues related to Rothfuss, although the $2000 in Fear was about Dune.

(18) NO RELATION. We know some fans’ names are not so uncommon that there couldn’t be others running around with the same name. That doesn’t seem to make it any less surprising.

Steven H Silver writes:

On my recent trip to Europe, Elaine and I stopped in Bath.  While there, I spotted this ice cream shop, which, despite its name, is not owned by a Hugo Award winning fan artist.

And Paul DiFilippo recently posted a picture of a product called Malcolm Edwards Beer Shampoo.

(19) WHEN THE ‘W’ IN WTF STANDS FOR WHO. Here is a bit of a whoot about last week’s announcement of the new Doctor Who, which came at the end of the Wimbledon men’s singles finals.

Legions of Doctor Who fans caught several minutes of televised sport, many for the first time, this evening.

In their haste to learn who the new Doctor will be, tens of thousands of fans were confused by the spectacle of a man running when he wasn’t being chased by an Ice Warrior.

The BBC was inundated with complaints from viewers who saw David Tennant in the Wimbledon crowd and believed it to be some sort of spoiler, or who thought that shots of someone chasing a ball were footage of some kind of ground level Quidditch match and started cheering before they realised their error.

“The people dressed in white chasing about weren’t even the robots from Krikket, which was an unused Douglas Adams script,” avid Whovian Simon Williams told us.

(20) EYE OF THE STORM. Marcus Errico of Yahoo! Movies, in “First CAPTAIN MARVEL Concept Art Shows Brie Larson in Her Supersuit”, says at Comic-Con Brie Larson was busily promoting the Captain Marvel movie coming from Marvel Studios next year.  It’s set in the 1990s, has the Skrulls in it, and has Nick Fury with two eyes with a possible explanation as to how he ended up losing one eye.

(21) FROM THE ARCHIVES. Paul DiFilippo thinks he has found a never-reprinted Arthur C. Clarke short story, and Bonestell illustration in a 1962 issue of The Elks Magazine. He has scanned the pages and posted them at The Inferior 4 blog.

(22) COMMEMORATIVE DRINKS. Andrew Porter learned that the building where Gollancz published is now a trendy hotel.

Gollancz was located in London’s Covent Garden, at 14 Henrietta Street, from 1928 until the early 1990s. The new hotel, with only 18 bedrooms, is at 14 and 15. The drinks menu references Gollancz’s past, as publisher of Arthur C. Clarke, Kingsley Amis, George Orwell and others, with drinks named “Down and Out,” “Lucky Jim,” “Fall of Moondust,” “Sirens of Titan,” and “Cat’s Cradle.”

For a history of the company, see the Science Fiction Encyclopedia’s ”Gollancz” entry.

(23) DRINK UP. The Verge tells you where to find it — “The Moon has more water than we thought”.

The Moon has more water than previously thought, and it’s deep below the lunar surface. A new study suggests that water is widespread beyond the poles, where it was already known to exist, although scientists don’t know exactly how much water is there. The discovery has consequences for future missions to the Moon.

Scientists analyzed lunar rock samples that contain tiny, water-trapping beads of glass; these beads formed when magma erupted from the Moon’s interior billions of years ago, trapping water inside them. The scientists then looked at satellite data collected by an Indian lunar orbiter to check where these water-trapping glass beads are. The results, published today in Nature Geoscience, show that there are widespread “hot spots” of water-rich volcanic material beyond the Moon’s poles.

(24) WESTEROS IS COMING. George R.R. Martin updated fans through his Livejournal on the status of the unfinished Winds of Winter:

I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say.

Another project, the first of a two-volume collection of fake histories of the Targaryen kings called Fire and Blood, is “likely” for publication in late 2018 or 2019.

Whether WINDS or the first volume of Fire and Blood will be the first to hit the bookstores is hard to say at this juncture, but I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018… and who knows, maybe two.

Meantime Gardner Dozois’ new anthology, The Book of Swords, has been scheduled for release on October 10, and is now available for pre-order from Amazon. As Martin notes —

And of course it also includes “Sons of the Dragon,” a chronicle of the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer’s two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, for those who cannot get enough of my entirely fake histories of Westeros. That one has never been published before in any form, though I did read it at a couple of cons.

(25) FIFTH FIFTH. Not to be missed — these comments in File 770 today:

[Thanks to JJ, ULTRAGOTHA, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Dann Todd, Harold Osler, Alan Baumler, Tom Galloway, Moshe Feder, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/24/17 Look Upon My Scrolls, Ye Mighty, And Despair

  1. (1) BANNED IN SAN DIEGO

    United Airlines making another bid to become most hated airline 2017.

    (4) DESTROYING SF AGAIN

    Eeeeee heck yeah I AM EXCITE

    (6) TWEET BRAWL

    Sigh. I see the political history of Star Trek has once again sailed gracefully over the heads of some fans.

    (18) NO RELATION

    Last I looked I was the only person on facebook with my full name, but to be fair a lot of people don’t put their middle names on there. I only do because I have a few friends who use it exclusively, although being quite so easy to locate is not an ideal consequence. (I dislike people constantly misspelling Meredith and concluded at one point that my much more common and much shorter middle name would be easier for some purposes. Some people still managed to get it wrong.)

    (19) WHEN THE ‘W’ IN WTF STANDS FOR WHO

    I think of Wimbledon as a gold-plated excuse to eat bowls of strawberries and cream.

    (23) DRINK UP

    Neat!

    (24) WESTEROS IS COMING

    At this point, as a non-fan, I’m rooting for GRRM to finish it so people will leave him alone.

    (25) FIFTH FIFTH

    Oh, I like this.

  2. 18
    I have a friend who is NOT the only albino Star Wars cosplayer in Florida named Anne.

    Oh, FIFTH! *And* two items in the scroll. I feel so special.

  3. Fifth fifth?

    I just read a lovely story on Tor.com, Waiting on a Bright Moon, an intriguing mixture of SF and magic and Chinese culture. This is another one of those second-person POV stories that seem to be popping up nowadays, and is very well done.

  4. For years, when I checked a bag, I’d find a nice polite note from TSA on the top when I arrived and unpacked (they always refolded everything neatly). It happened so often–and I asked friends who’d never had it happen. I figured it was the thick layer of books lining the entire bottom of the suitcase (well, geez, before I got my Kindle, I had to pack LOTS of books to read–these were in addition to the ones in my checked bag).

    So I read the story of TSA testing out having people remove books from their carry-ons with great interest–and was glad to see they decided against the idea.

  5. Yes, I also on one occasion had to empty out an entire backpack full of paperbacks (for that particular trip, I think it was the Dune series), which had been neatly stored in Ziploc bags (the bags weren’t sealed; I just didn’t want the books banging into each other in transit) and arranged in the most efficient possible use of space.

    Fortunately, the most dangerous or objectionable things I was carrying were the prequels and the posthumous completions.

  6. (12) COMIC SECTION.

    It’s worth it to keep hitting “Next” on that. After several panels of Star Trek, it seques into Batman.

    And I kept giggling every time the page loaded, because the main character bears such a striking resemblance to a guy who writes a popular genre news blog.

  7. I seem to end up with a TSA card inside my checked suitcase on every single trip. I have no idea why; I’ve had a Kindle for 7 years now, and don’t generally haul books around on vacation any more. And before the new scanning procedures, I used to get pulled out of the line a lot for special searching of me and my carry-on.

    On one occasion, I sat there and laughed and laughed in revenge, as the two young men who had insisted on rifling my extremely-tightly-packed carryon bag couldn’t get it repacked sufficiently compactly to close the zipper again (fortunately, there was plenty of time yet for departure, so I could enjoy my moment of schadenfreude).

    Mostly, I just roll my eyes, because my status as a Caucasian no doubt protects me from a lot of the harassment that minorities get.

    But if I ever get 3 wishes from a djinni, one of them will be used to find out why I and my suitcases are always getting picked out of the airport lineup for a search.

  8. (4) I have to say that Uncanny Magazine (and Lightspeed Magazine) is good at handling the special project approach to underrepresented groups.

    (16) While it created a muddled mess, I note a distinct lack of gold foil lettering or garish colours. Or scantily-clad women (either desperately clutching the hero or standing boldly with a weapon).

    (19) That’s a spoof news site – it even says so right up front. While I don’t say one shouldn’t link to it, I think one should be careful when refering to it.

  9. (14) RECOMMENDED BADNESS.

    This entire piece about the gloriously craptastic movie Krull (which I adore) is a work of art, and I will be subscribing to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s newsletter.

  10. Karl-Johan Norén: (19) That’s a spoof news site – it even says so right up front. While I don’t say one shouldn’t link to it, I think one should be careful when refering to it.

    I don’t watch Doctor Who, and I didn’t follow the link, but I could tell just from the excerpt Mike printed that it was a beautifully-tongue-in-cheek spoof.

    But with all the recent angst about a female Doctor, I can see where Poe’s Law may be coming into play.

  11. @JJ: Yeah, I had strong suspicions in that regard as well. But any time one removes context from an item (and quoting is removing context), I think one should be careful on how to present it.

    I’m not saying one should never link to satirical, spoof, clickbaity, or poorly sourced articles, but right now they have become an endemic problem.

  12. I’ve flown with lots of books and comics in my checked baggage for years and never had a problem. Also never had the suitcase opened either. So it’s hopefully a TSA only thing.

    Coincidentally, I have also flown out of North America with a suitcase full of books and comics and didn’t have a problem then either, though that was years ago.

  13. @JJ You’re far too kind, after gaining at-will invisibility and telekinetic powers, I’d probably turn all the TSA agents into toads.

  14. On one occasion, I sat there and laughed and laughed in revenge, as the two young men who had insisted on rifling my extremely-tightly-packed carryon bag couldn’t get it repacked sufficiently compactly to close the zipper again (fortunately, there was plenty of time yet for departure, so I could enjoy my moment of schadenfreude).

    They don’t let you repack your bag yourself?

    Anyway, I once had a big, burly scot riffling through my spare underwear and sanitary pads. Airport security personnel also seem to have issues with my tendency to put my book for the flight and my notebook in separate plastic bags. British security personnel is regularly confused by fold-out nylon shopping bags, which apparently aren’t available there. But the thing that confuses them most are my plastic lucky pigs, individually wrapped in tissues, so they won’t get damaged.

    Come to think of it, I’ve only ever had my carry-on baggage opened and fleeced at British airports. I’ve been repeatedly groped and patted down elsewhere and I’ve had my bag swiped for explosives or drugs or something, but only the Brits riffle through my belongings. And just mine, too. Both times, there were other people flying with me, who weren’t searched.

  15. I omitted the link to my introduction to the first eight Doctors from ten years ago. It is here.

  16. @Cora

    British security personnel is regularly confused by fold-out nylon shopping bags, which apparently aren’t available there.

    We do have those in Britain! They’re fairly easy to get, if rarely suitable for anyone below 5’6″.

  17. Lois McMaster Bujold read from her Penric in-progress novella at Convergence earlier this month.

  18. Vaguely re (1)
    On my last plane trip I was selected for extra screening – which required me to stand in a round glass cage with my hands up above my head while a machine whirred.

    It felt very much like the future we’ve been promised had finally arrived – but unfortunately, even though I entered the glass cage from the right and exited to the left, I was still at the same airport. No teleportation booths yet. 🙁

  19. @ robinareid
    Thanks for the fine comment on Confederate.

    I was leaving the UK with the usual carry-on bag when security in Heathrow asked me what I was going to do with all those books (about 15, in pre-Kindle days). She seemed astonished when I said, “I’m going to read them.”

  20. Yep, was stopped in Germany once with 25 books in my carry-on on way to my vacation (I still do that, I do not like Kindle). Btw, I’m usually backpacking with those 25 books. Because I’m an idiot.

  21. I was once overweight coming back from holiday at Singapore.

    OK, hang on, read that, read that, read that, so Mrs Bag Checky lady, do you want a pile of second hand SF books? I enjoyed them, but probably nothing there so good that I want to re-read it every year.

    She was very confused and just said to pack them back, the weight wasn’t really an issue.

    The guy in Cuba a couple of years later leapt at them.

  22. 1)I’ve had my share of TSA inspections. It makes me a little nervous about this upcoming trip to Finland, now, bringing stuff for DUFF…

    10)An earth-shattering KABOOM!

    19)of course, if you follow on twitter, Cheryl Morgan will often talk about Cricket Matches, Paul Cornell has his nearly yearly “panel” at Convergence on it, I once played in a fantasy football league with a bunch of SFnal people…
    Sportsball and Science Fiction don’t have to be isolated things 🙂

  23. (20) I am hoping that the decision to set Captain Marvel in the 1990s is a move to pave the way for Kamela Khan to show up in the present-day MCU as Ms. Marvel. Hey, we’ve got Inhumans, she’s a popular character, and they threw a Miles Morales-related Easter egg into Spider-Man: Homecoming, so it’s not completely implausible…

    In other news, I finally sorted out a problem I’d been having since April with the reward-point program I’ve been using as my entertainment budget. My Amazon balance isn’t back up to comfortable levels yet, so I’m still postponing the purchase of full-price Big Five books. That said, I may break that rule before very long, for the new Tom Holt novel. Yes, it’s ten bucks, but it’s new Tom Holt!

  24. (1) BANNED IN SAN DIEGO

    Mike, you missed “BAN DIEGO” for the subtitle 🙂

    (4) DESTROYING SF AGAIN

    Backed. As I sub to Uncanny I’m not sure if I would just get the issue anyway, but I’m happy to throw some extra support their way.

    (13) PREDICTING MAGIC

    Woot!

    (14) RECOMMENDED BADNESS

    *raises hand*

    Me too. Yes, it’s terrible. But also good. But terrible.

    In my defence, the very small video hire shop I had available were appalling at getting new stock in (or more than one copy of new movies), and so after ten minutes of browsing the allegedly “new” section to find it had nothing new I would tend to pick out an old favourite so the journey wouldn’t be a waste, and that favourite had a horrible tendency to be Krull.
    (Maybe the fact that it was never out on hire to anyone else should have been a clue….)

  25. (4) Destroying SF Again

    I’ve been thinking about the Sharkes’s reaction to Becky Chambers’s books, and it occurs to me that the next Uncanny special project should be Nice People Destroy Science Fiction. It would be awesome.

  26. Cora: They don’t let you repack your bag yourself?

    It’s a security thing. They want you standing there watching, so that you can’t claim anything was stolen while it was out of your sight, and so you can answer any questions they might have about the contents. But they want you standing a little ways off, and they don’t want you “helping” them or touching your bag — presumably to prevent you from grabbing the gun or knife or detonator you’ve got hidden in your bag and using it. 😐

    In the case I described, they finally gave up and told me I could repack it myself (I’m pretty sure that this was pre-9/11). Which I did under their gaze, giving them frequent nasty looks and muttering under my breath about their stupidity.

  27. OY. TSA. I have no doubt that suspicion of a passenger RISES for many of these agents when they see BOOKS!.

    And it ain’t because there might be something hidden in there. It’s because posession of such automatically identifies the passenger as a potential READER, and, as we all know, readers are to be regarded with suspicion. They might be thinking about stuff too.

  28. 1) When I recently flew from Chicago to Pittsburgh for the Nebula Conference, I was stopped at security. They removed the hardcover book from my bag, flipped through it, and then swabbed it and ran a chemical test on the swab.

    Interestingly, when I was returning from Pittsburgh to Chicago, I mentioned this to a TSA agent and he commented that the Chicago TSA agent probably needed to be re-trained.

  29. (22) COMMEMORATIVE DRINKS…
    See Malcolm Edwards’s report on his triumphant return to his former empire in the latest Ansible!

  30. @JJ

    It’s a security thing. They want you standing there watching, so that you can’t claim anything was stolen while it was out of your sight, and so you can answer any questions they might have about the contents. But they want you standing a little ways off, and they don’t want you “helping” them or touching your bag — presumably to prevent you from grabbing the gun or knife or detonator you’ve got hidden in your bag and using it. ?

    In the case I described, they finally gave up and told me I could repack it myself (I’m pretty sure that this was pre-9/11). Which I did under their gaze, giving them frequent nasty looks and muttering under my breath about their stupidity.

    After they’ve emptied your bag, you’d figure they’d have found anything dangerous in there, so they can just as well let you repack it yourself.

    I’m also quite horrified that the TSA is allowed to open and search random suitcases without the owner being present. If you feel the need to search my belongings, go ahead, but do it while I’m there to see what you’re doing and let me repack my own stuff. And in fact, the few times I’ve seen people having their checked baggage searched, they were pulled out of line and the agents did it while they were present.

    Frankly, I think it’s problematic not to let people repack their own belongings, after they’ve searched them. Most people have a system how they pack and arrange their stuff. Plus, some things are fragile or fragile and require special protection. I know that I’d be furious if I opened my suitcase and found my clothes in disarray, my books dog-eared, my alarm clock broken and everything full of mirror shards from a broken make-up mirror.

    Never mind that the TSA would have trouble opening my suitcase without my permission, because I always lock it and use a mini-padlock for extra protection.

  31. Never mind that the TSA would have trouble opening my suitcase without my permission, because I always lock it and use a mini-padlock for extra protection.

    A friend of mine used to do that, until they started breaking the locks regularly. That’s right – the TSA was breaking the locks to get into his luggage to make sure he hadn’t locked it to stop them from finding his “bomb” or whatever. And they made no apologies or restitution. They said they had the right to break locks because safety was their job.

    I don’t know if that policy has changed, but my friend stopped checking luggage and started traveling really light, while sending anything he might need that wouldn’t fit in his carry-on in overnight packages to his destination.

  32. Cora: I know that I’d be furious if I opened my suitcase and found my clothes in disarray, my books dog-eared, my alarm clock broken and everything full of mirror shards from a broken make-up mirror.

    I usually just roll everything as much as possible and pack it like tubes, with odd-shaped items and hard objects distributed so as to not hit against each other, and anything liquid or breakable inside Ziploc bags. Sometimes I find that it’s been repacked more neatly than I did it. Sometimes it’s messier.

    Cora: Never mind that the TSA would have trouble opening my suitcase without my permission, because I always lock it and use a mini-padlock for extra protection.

    If you travel in the U.S., don’t do this, because they will cut the padlock with a bolt-cutter and it will be gone, and the suitcase lock may or may not be broken. What most people who want to make it difficult for randoms to rifle their luggage do (and what I do) is use the ratcheting zip ties in place of padlocks. TSA will cut these off, but it won’t damage your luggage or lock (and IIRC, in one instance, they actually put a new one on when they were done).

  33. In Fandom’s scifi silence, all alone,
    Stands a gigantic File, which far off throws
    The only pixel that the Website scrolls:—

    Just because no one ever does the Horace Smith version of Ozymandias

  34. 3) “One sometimes needs to be forgiving of the production values of Old Who, and it may not be right to demand that tolerance of a newbie.”

    Are these the same kind of newbies as the ones who won’t watch black and white movies or listen to pre-high-fidelity recordings? I didn’t see Doctor Who until years after I’d seen 2001 (in Cinerama) and Star Wars on release*, and while I recognized the low-budget nature of the early Whovian productions and the frequent ad-hoc cheesiness of the SF ideas, there was sufficient charm to keep me watching. It was certainly interesting to see the series adjust to each new actor doing the Doctor.

    * In the late 1970s/early 80s, our PBS outlet ran entire story sequences in a late-night Saturday slot. It offered a concentrated overview of years of UK Who experience(s).

  35. (14) Krull was one of my favorite movies growing up. I watched it in the theater with my Father. I have forced my children to watch it (I own it on VHS, laserdisc, and DVD thanks to the March of Technology). I am completely biased, but it has not been visited by the suck fairy (well, no more than on opening night).

  36. He doesn’t have a big online footprint, but there is another Bruce Baugh out there. He’s like a decade older than I am, and also lives in the Pacific Northwest – he teaches philosophy at a private college in British Columbia that sounds a fair amount like the University of Puget Sound, where I went to school. His faculty page includes some stuff that really intrigues me…

    Interests

    Continental philosophy: phenomenology, existentialism, post-structuralism, surrealism; Sartre, Deleuze, Derrida, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Benjamin Fondane, André Breton.

    Aesthetics/philosophy of art/philosophy of music/philosophy of rock music.
    Research Interests

    Interwar (1920-1944) French existentialism, Marxism and Surrealism, especially Benjamin Fondane.

    Walking: phenomenology of walking; walking and the mind-body relation; walking and space and place; walking in relation to perception, memory and history.

    …but I’ve looked at some of his articles available online, and, well, they are not written with me in mind, it’s safe to say. They presume background info I don’t have and am not likely to get.

    In the ’90s, I once or twice got e-mail intended for him and forwarded it on. Never heard anything back, alas.

    (If anyone ever wants to search for him and not get distracted with hits on pieces mentioning me, “Bruce Baugh Deleuze” does it nicely.)

  37. (14) I know I saw Krull in the theater, but after that, until I got the DVD, my chief acquaintance with it was via the Atari 2600 game.

    It’s far (far, far, far, far) from a perfect movie, but the world it implies is staggeringly ambitious and I want to know all about it. I think it’s Ari Marmell who’s constantly saying that if anyone ever needs an author to pen some kind of Krull sequel or reboot …

  38. 14) I also second the Krull love. I mean as a movie it’s terrible but it’s terrible in a good way instead of being boring. I loved it as a kid and rewatching it as an adult I forgot all about the laser gun fight opening. The whole movie is a hot mess but there are some scenes in there that hold up well, like the cave of the crystal spider I still think looks cool. The special weapon mostly ended up being useless, but even years later I enjoyed Dark Sector the video game mostly because you got to play as a character who used a similar weapon.

    Last year I ran around a book store excited and when my wife asked me why I showed her a novelization of the movie I found in the clearance racks and she rolled her eyes so hard she might’ve injured herself.

  39. When I lived in the Netherlands in the late 1980s, I would return from my occasional trips to the USA with my suitcase containing more books than clothes. This resulted a few times in a request from the customs agents at Schiphol airport that I open it; they would politely and carefully lift a few things up, go “Oh, it’s all books then?” and send me on my way.

  40. @Matt Y. — At some point in the last year or so, on one of my visits to Uncle Hugo’s I came home with Alan Dean Foster’s novelizations of both Krull and Clash of the Titans.

    And also, Ergo the Magnificent is played by the math teacher from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and isn’t Liam Neeson also in it?

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