Pixel Scroll 8/17/20 Unlikely To Not Have Been Used Before

(1) BUSIEK LIVE. Filer Kurt Busiek will be interviewed by Mark Evanier. The livestream starts August 18 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific.

Just two comic book writers sitting around, hundreds of miles apart, talking about comics. Mark Evanier chats with his pal Kurt Busiek about the comic book field and what some people don’t understand about it.

(2) STAMPING IT OUT. In the Washington Post, retired admiral William H. McRaven, who served as the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011-14, says that the 1997 movie The Postman is a fairly accurate description of the problems America faces in 2020. “Trump is actively working to undermine the Postal Service — and every major U.S. institution”.

In the 1997 film “The Postman,” set in post-apocalyptic America, Kevin Costner plays a drifter trying to restore order to the United States by providing one essential service, mail delivery. In the story, hate crimes, racially motivated attacks and a plague have caused the breakdown of society as we know it. In his quest to restore order and dignity to the nation, the Postman tries to recruit other postal workers to help rebuild the U.S.?government. But Costner’s character is opposed by the evil General Bethlehem, who is fighting to suppress the postal carriers so he can establish a totalitarian government. Fortunately, our hero, gaining inspiration from the motto, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night,” fights on against Bethlehem and saves the country.Not surprisingly, the movie was panned by critics and was a financial disaster. I mean really, racial strife and a plague so bad that it threatened our society? And even if that happened, who would try to destroy the Postal Service? Where do they come up with these crazy plots?

In retrospect, maybe we should give the movie another look. Today, as we struggle with social upheaval, soaring debt, record unemployment, a runaway pandemic, and rising threats from China and Russia, President Trump is actively working to undermine every major institution in this country….

(3) EXTRAS. After Hastings author Steven H Silver, who shared “The Novels I Didn’t Write” with File 770 readers today, has collected this essay, the related ones published at John Scalzi’s and Mary Robinette Kowal’s blogs and Black Gate, as well as the information from his After Hastings website into a chapbook that is available for $3 plus postage (also available as a pdf). Silver says, “People interested can e-mail me.  It runs to about 10,000 words.” Contact him at: shsilver@sfsite.com

(4) TERRY PRATCHETT ON THE EXPENSIVENESS OF POVERTY. [Item by rcade.] A passage from the legendary Terry Pratchett is making the rounds on Twitter as a lesson on why being poor costs a lot of money:

It’s from his 2003 Discworld novel Men at Arms and also turns up in Sarah Skwire’s article for The Library of Economics and Liberty “Buying Boots”

It’s not clear whether Ankh-Morpork has a functioning credit system. (Paper money doesn’t appear in the city until Making Money, the 40th novel in the series, for example). It’s also not clear–given the general rough and tumble aspects of Ankh-Morpork’s “business” community–whether borrowing money is a particularly safe notion.

And here on Moneywise as an illustration of why poor people can’t save money: “Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness”.

Captain Vimes from Discworld knew that he should buy the good boots, but he simply couldn’t afford it. This problem can be delayed by access to credit, but it’s not the solution, nor should it be. Those with less immediate access to money can make their lives easier with proper use of credit, budgeting, personal savings, and frugal purchasing.

(5) STARING AT THE HORIZON. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Miles Surrey at The Ringer pays tribute to one of the classics of dark 1990s science fiction cinema, and tries to explain the enduring appeal of a movie that barely rates a 30 per cent on Metacritic. “One of the key reasons something as wicked as Event Horizon holds rewatch value: As long as you can stomach the gore, Dr. Weir’s (Sam Neil) pivot from sympathetic scientist to full-blown emissary of hell is a campy tour de force.” “’Hell Is Only a Word’: The Enduring Terror of ‘Event Horizon’”.

For films that feature a character descending into madness, it’s all about the look. Jack Torrance, staring out into the endless blizzard outside the Overlook Hotel; Travis Bickle, shaving his head into a Mohawk; Colonel Kurtz, moving out of the shadows of his decaying temple. Sometimes, a striking image tells you everything you need to know. For Sam Neill’s character in a criminally overlooked horror film from 1997, it’s the sight of him sitting in the captain’s chair of a doomed spaceship, having torn out his own eyes.

“Where we’re going,” he says, “we won’t need eyes to see.”

(6) FUTURE AURORA AWARDS. At the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association annual general meeting over the weekend it was decided that the current Short Fiction category would be split into two awards for 2021.  The new categories will be: Short Story for works that have less than 7,500 words and Novelette/Novella for works that have a word counts between 40,000 and 7,500. 

The 2021 award ceremony will be held in Ottawa at Can-Con. It was also decided that the 2022 Auroras would be again be held in Calgary at When Words Collide.

(7) YOU’RE FIRED. “The Week Old Hollywood Finally, Actually Died” – the New York Times ran the obituary.

For decades, the best thing about being a Hollywood executive, really, was how you got fired. Studio executives would be gradually, gently, even lovingly, nudged aside, given months to shape their own narratives and find new work, or even promoted. When Amy Pascal was pushed out of Sony Pictures in 2015, she got an exit package and production deal worth a reported $40 million.

That, of course, was before streaming services arrived, upending everything with a ruthless logic and coldhearted efficiency.

That was never more clear than on Aug. 7, when WarnerMedia abruptly eliminated the jobs of hundreds of employees, emptying the executive suite at the once-great studio that built Hollywood, and is now the subsidiary of AT&T. In a series of brisk video calls, executives who imagined they were studio eminences were reminded that they work — or used to work — at the video division of a phone company. The chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt, learned that he’d been fired the morning of the day the news broke, two people he spoke to told me. Jeffrey Schlesinger, a 37-year company veteran who ran the lucrative international licensing business, complained to friends that he had less than an hour’s notice, two other people told me.

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 17, 1960  — The Time Machine premiered. The work of legendary director George Pal, it was  based on the H.G. Wells novella of the same name. Pal also handled the production. The screenplay was by David Duncan, noted genre writer. It would lose out at Seacon to the Twilight Zone series for Best Dramatic Presentation. Cast was Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot and Whit Bissell. Some critics liked it, some didn’t, and most thought the love interest angle sucked. It did very, very well at the box office. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an excellent 80% rating.  (CE)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 17, 1920 – Lida Moser.  Six decades as a photographer; pioneer in photojournalism.  This (“Two Workers, Exxon”) I respectfully suggest is more interesting than some she’s famous for.  So is this of Judy Collins.  LM did all four Cities in Flight novels; here is The Triumph of Time.  (Died 2014) [JH]
  • Born August 17, 1923 Julius Harris. He’s Tee Hee Johnson, the metal armed henchman courtesy of a crocodile in Live and Let Die, the eighth Bond film. Other genre appearances are scant — he’s a gravedigger in Darkman, boat crew in King Kong and he shows up in the horror film Shrunken Heads. He had one-offs in The Incredible Hulk and the Friday the 13th series. (Died 2004.) (CE) 
  • Born August 17, 1930 Harve Bennett. The individual who gave us Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Really he did. He would then serve as Producer on the next three Trek films, The Search for SpockThe Voyage Home and The Final Frontier. His only on-scene appearance is in the latter as the Starfleet Chief of Staff. (Died 2015.) (CE) 
  • Born August 17, 1933 Glenn Corbett. He shows up on the original Trek in “Metamorphosis” as the first incarnation of Zefram Cochrane. Other genre one-offs were The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Land of The GiantsThe ImmortalFantasy Island and Night Gallery. He appeared as General Kevin Matthews in City Beneath the Sea, the pilot for the series that was meant to replace Trek after it was cancelled but never got the green light. (Died 1994.) (CE)
  • Born August 17, 1945 Rachael Pollack, 75. She’s getting a Birthday note for her scripting duties on her run of issues 64–87 (1993-1995) on Doom Patrol. (Jim Lee confirmed this week that DC Universe is going to be a straight comics service like a Marvel Unlimited.) She’s also assisted in the creation of the Vertigo Tarot Deck with McKean and Gaiman, and she wrote a book to go with it. (CE)
  • Born August 17, 1950 – Sutton Breiding, 70.  Five dozen poems; some in Star*Line, even.  Four short stories.  Many of our more poetic writers, like Niven, or William Hope Hodgson, paint it through their prose; SB’s renown rests on it.  [JH]
  • Born August 17, 1952 – Susan Carroll, 68.  Ten novels for us; many others, some under different names.  Three Rita Awards.  Ranks Gargantua and Pantagruel about even with Tristram Shandy.  It seems right that the first and second in one series should be entitled The Bride Finder and The Night Drifter.  [JH]
  • Born August 17, 1959 – SMS, 61.  (Pronounced and sometimes written “smuzz”.)  Two dozen covers, two hundred interiors.  Interview (“Art and Metaphysics at Party-Time”) in Interzone.  Captain Airstrip One comic strip with Chris Brasted and Alan Moore in Mad Dog, reprinted in Journey Planet.  Here is Vector 152.  Here is InterZone 100 featuring SMS.  Here is The Ant-Men of Tibet.  Here is The Derring-Do Club and the Invasion of the Grey.  [JH]
  • Born August 17, 1960 – Fangorn, 60.  Five dozen covers, a dozen interiors; graphic novels, films, games. Two BSFA (British SF Ass’n) Awards for artwork.  Here is Myth Conceptions.  Here is Outcast of Redwall.  Here is Wourism.  Guest of Honour at Eastercon 54 (U.K. nat’l con), NewCon 3, Bristol-Con 2016; scheduled for Novacon 50 (postponed).  [JH]
  • Born August 17, 1962 Laura Resnick, 58. Daughter of Mike Resnick. She is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction for “No Room for the Unicorn”. I’ve not read her Manhattan Magic series so I’m interested to know what y’all think of it. She’s readily available ion iBooks and Kindle. (CE) 
  • Born August 17, 1966 Neil Clarke, 54. Editor in Chief of Clarkesworld Magazine which has won an impressive three Best Semiprozine Hugos. SFWA also gave him a Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award. He also edits The Best Science Fiction of the Year series for Night Shade Books.  (CE)
  • Born August 17, 1973 – Rae Carson, 47.  Ten novels, eight shorter stories; some for Star WarsThe Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz (with husband C.C. Finlay).  The Girl of Fire and Thorns NY Times Best Seller.  I found this: “Rae, tomorrow is my last day as mayor of [omitted – jh]…. an almost former executive woman leader…. it was edifying … to read a book that got the perils of leadership and faith *so right*.”  [JH]

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) FOCUS. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America listed Focus on the Family Clubhouse in its August 2020 Market Report. (The Google cache file to the listing is here while it lasts.) The listing has been withdrawn.

(12) THE END IS HERE.

(13) BUT IS IT EXCELLENT? Parade Magazine interviewed the talent: “Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter Open Up About Their Excellent Adventures in Bill & Ted Face the Music .

Why do you think the first Bill & Ted became an almost instant cult classic?

Reeves: I think there’s an originality to it—the script, the words and the voices of these characters that had a friendship, a sincerity and an indomitable will. They’re clever, there’s a lot of heart to them, they’re funny and unique.

Winter: Even when we first got the script when we were young, it was that dichotomy of the language being very ornate while the characters are kind of childlike. The writers and producers found it funny that we were taking the language so seriously. But then it’s packed with a lot of stuff, a lot of characters. The movie moves like a freight train.

(14) SOME VOLUME AIR CONDITIONING. A departing research group leader leaves a note “To the future occupants of my office at the MIT Media Lab”.

…I’m leaving the note because the previous occupant left me a note of sorts. I was working here late one night. I looked up above my desk and saw a visegrip pliers attached to part of the HVAC system. I climbed up to investigate and found a brief note telling the MIT facilities department that the air conditioning had been disabled (using the vice grips, I presume) as part of a research project and that one should contact him with any questions.

That helped explain one of the peculiarities of the office. When I moved in, attached to the window was a contraption that swallowed the window handle and could be operated with red or green buttons attached to a small circuitboard. Press the green button and the window would open very, very slowly. Red would close it equally slowly. I wondered whether the mysterious researcher might be able to remove it and reattach the window handle. So I emailed him….

(15) CALIFORNIA IS SMOKIN’ AGAIN. They could use more A/C here: “‘Highest temperature on Earth’ as Death Valley, US hits 54.4C”. Also a picture of the “firenado” in Northern California.

What could be the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth – 130F (54.4C) – may have been reached in Death Valley National Park, California.

The recording is being verified by the US National Weather Service.

It comes amid a heatwave on the US’s west coast, where temperatures are forecast to rise further this week.

The scorching conditions have led to two days of blackouts in California, after a power plant malfunctioned on Saturday.

“It’s an oppressive heat and it’s in your face,” Brandi Stewart, who works at Death Valley National Park, told the BBC.

Ms Stewart has lived and worked at the national park on and off for five years. She spends a lot of her time indoors in August because it’s simply too uncomfortable to be outside.

“When you walk outside it’s like being hit in the face with a bunch of hairdryers,” she said. “You feel the heat and it’s like walking into an oven and the heat is just all around you.”

More in the New York Times about these: “Fire Tornadoes Reported in Northern California Wildfire” (same picture as in the BBC story.)

The National Weather Service said it was planning to investigate reports of a rare occurrence of fire tornadoes arising on Saturday from a 20,000-acre wildfire in Northern California.

Dawn Johnson, a meteorologist with the service in Reno, Nev., said on Sunday that the agency had received reports of fire tornadoes in an area of Lassen County, Calif., about 25 miles northwest of Reno.

“It’s not like a typical tornado where it happens, everything clears out and you safely go and investigate,” Ms. Johnson said. “In this case, there’s a massive wildfire burning in the same location, so the logistics are a lot more complicated.”

Doppler radar showed at least five rotation signatures, but Ms. Johnson said she could not confirm that they would all be classified as fire tornadoes.

(16) PANDEMIC PROTECTION + SECOND AMENDMENT = ? “The Hero We Need Built a Gun That Shoots Masks Onto People’s Faces”Gizmodo introduces him to the world. The GIF at the top of the article is…I admit it, I laughed.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” on ScreenRant, Ryan George says this film has characters rolling around in hamster balls, and if you lean the wrong way you’ll die!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Olav Rokne, rcade, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Clifford Samuels, Chip Hitchcock, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]

40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/17/20 Unlikely To Not Have Been Used Before

  1. Hmmm….Surprised Rachael Pollack’s novel’s didn’t get a mention in the Birthday note. Not all are good, but Unquenchable Fire is wonderful. And won the Clarke award

  2. Erik Stone says Hmmm….Surprised Rachael Pollack’s novel’s didn’t get a mention in the Birthday note. Not all are good, but Unquenchable Fire is wonderful. And won the Clarke award.

    I was counting on some Filer filling me in her fiction as I’ve not read it. And you did that very nicely. Thanks kindly! The community here never ceases to amaze with its collective knowledge.

  3. Fred Herman: Thanks for catching that — appertain yourself your favorite beverage!

  4. Birthdays: Rachel Pollack

    I have a first edition copy of the Vertigo Tarot, and in the accompanying book, the last line of one card’s interpretation is cut off. This had vexed me off and on for years. One day, I decided, what the hell, and I emailed Rachel Pollack (there was contact info on her author webpage). And whaddaya know, she emailed me back with the missing text. It was a lovely and memorable interaction.

  5. @4: Moneywise‘s version seems to be missing Pterry’s point: given limited income, sometimes being “frugal” isn’t possible (or at least is not as trivial as they make it sound). It’s possible (sometimes without even money) to avoid expanding a family, but it’s not possible to avoid eating. And the problem isn’t that the poor don’t have access to credit, but that the credit costs them more than it costs the not-poor.

    @7: so executives are getting treated like the rest of us, and we’re supposed to be sympathetic?

    @9 (Moser): I remember those covers.

    @9: Niven poetic?!?

    @9 (Fangorn): that’s certainly an individual conception of the Myth characters.

    @14: I don’t miss much about my last job. (I especially don’t miss working out in the semi-boondocks.) But I miss working in the aura of MIT, as I did at previous jobs. That area has gotten massively built up with fancy places that mostly shut down on weekends (like the area around the Chicon Hyatt in 1982) so I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same as it was when my job moved outward 30 years ago, but every now and then I go by and see a reminder that at least some of the mindset is still there.

  6. (8) Any idea on that slogan on the lobby card? “You will ORBIT into the fantastic future!” The special font on “orbit” suggests there’s some special meaning to it, but no one leaves earth in The Time Machine. Just playing on the idea of lots and lots of orbits around the sun to get to the future?

    (9) It’s Martha Coolidge’s birthday. She directed Real Genius which I maintain is still the best nerds/geeks in college movie. (Probably because it took real details from Cal Tech and MIT.)

    Also Roberto De Niro. I was trying to think if he had done any genre movies. The two that came to mind were Captain Shakespeare in Stardust and Harry Tuttle in Brazil. He was also Fearless Leader in The Adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle and the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. More?

    Are we not Morlocks?
    Morlocks get stuff done!

  7. Jack Lint: This movie came out in 1960. Yuri Gagarin became he first person to orbit the earth in 1961. Could there have been some space race publicity before that achievement they were tapping into by using that buzzword?

  8. Jack Lint asks hopefully Any idea on that slogan on the lobby card? “You will ORBIT into the fantastic future!” The special font on “orbit” suggests there’s some special meaning to it, but no one leaves earth in The Time Machine. Just playing on the idea of lots and lots of orbits around the sun to get to the future?

    No idea but it ran across almost all the publicity media For the film, lobby cards and posters alike. I think someone was trying to attract the SF film going crowd and must’ve figured they add this on in hopes of doing so.

  9. 4) To think that Barbara Ehrenreich had to write a whole book about what Pratchett could sum up in three paragraphs. Still recommend her Nickle and Dimed where the boots have been replaced with used cars and refrigerators.

  10. 5) Say what you will about Event Horizon‘s gorestravaganza, it at least omits the cryptofascism and meathead militarism of the other well-known SF property in which hyperspace is also Hell.

  11. Further to Chip Hitchcock on 4) – although Pterry didn’t specifically address the point (as far as I recall), the most likely sources of a loan (to buy good boots, for example) for poor people in Ankh-Morpork and similar milieux are likely be pawnshops or loan sharks.

    Someone like Sam Vimes, a batchelor and alcoholic who grew up in poverty, is unlikely to have any non-essential possession worth pawning, and his being in a particularly high-risk profession – in a city where, as Pterry remarked elsewhere, death is cheap, it’s staying alive that can be expensive – would not make him a very attractive proposition as a loanee to the likes of Chrysoprase.

    Meanwhile, a Watchman has to have functional boots in order to work at all – they’re not something he/she* can go without while saving up for them. Thus cheap boots are the only option available.
    (* I omit “/it” because Golems don’t wear boots although, as Black Sabbath once observed, Fairies do.)

    By contrast (as Pterry more or less spells out) someone from a wealthy background (such as William de Worde), whatever their current circumstances probably started from a position of owning their own and/or inherited high-quality, long-lasting boots, even if a pukka bank isn’t prepared to lend them money at a more reasonable rate than Chrysoprase.

  12. There are also the $30 dollar boots that claim to be as good as the $50 ones but are actually only as good as the $10 ones. I bought the equivalent of a few of those back in the day.

  13. @bookworm1398
    I bought a pair of good shoes once (kiddie brand – small feet) that turned out to be a fine investment: reheeled twice and resoled once before they got too worn for use. It was like getting four pairs for the price of two.

  14. (4) Good to see this recognized and repeated widely. When I first read it, it beautifully expressed something I’d felt but not been able to express clearly. I now unhesitatingly say that “I can’t afford to “save” that much money” and use the Vimes Theory of Boots to explain why.

  15. (15) I guarantee that someone at SyFy is working on the new Fire Tornado franchise right this very minute. Eh, I’ll watch it.

  16. Re: The Time Machine tagline. IMDB says an alternative tagline is “The Time Machine whirls you to a world of amazing adventure in the year 800,000!” and I did find a photo of one lobby card with that on it, but more with the Orbit tagline. Really doesn’t help much. You could argue the disc at the back of the machine whirls when he travels, but that’s stretching it.

    Interesting trivia, George Pal wanted the disc on the time machine to rotate clockwise when Rod Taylor was going into the future and counterclockwise when he was traveling back in time. Unfortunately, the mechanism on the prop would only turn in one direction and it was too expensive to fix it to spin both ways.

    The strangest thing I found was this poster for a 70s children’s matinee with a time machine that looks nothing like the one in the movie and it seats two. I wonder if kids were disappointed. Plus Rod Taylor doesn’t look so good on the poster.

    It’s the Morlocks’ world. We just live here.

  17. John Hertz replies by carrier pigeon:

    @CHip

    You bet your sweet bippy.

    Niven has long been one of our most poetic writers.

    Take another look.

  18. George Pal wanted the disc on the time machine to rotate clockwise when Rod Taylor was going into the future and counterclockwise when he was traveling back in time. Unfortunately, the mechanism on the prop would only turn in one direction and it was too expensive to fix it to spin both ways.

    They could have flipped the film left to right…

  19. Patrick Morris Miller: They could have flipped the film left to right…

    .flesym od netfo I gnihtemoS

  20. (2) “I mean really, racial strife and a plague so bad that it threatened our society? And even if that happened, who would try to destroy the Postal Service? Where do they come up with these crazy plots?” <– From what I remember of The Postman and its reception, this sarcastic line bears no resemblance to viewers’ and critics’ reasons for thinking the movie wasn’t very good. The best thing it had going for it was that it excised some of Brin’s worst ideas (which this accurately describes, to the best of my recollection).

  21. (7) It’s always best to be the first one laid off. The company feels the most guilty the first time around, and usually has more money so they can afford to pay a good severance. When you get to the fifth or sixth round, they’re herding you out the door with cattle prods.

  22. Eli says “I mean really, racial strife and a plague so bad that it threatened our society? And even if that happened, who would try to destroy the Postal Service? Where do they come up with these crazy plots?” <– From what I remember of The Postman and its reception, this sarcastic line bears no resemblance to viewers’ and critics’ reasons for thinking the movie wasn’t very good. The best thing it had going for it was that it excised some of Brin’s worst ideas (which this accurately describes, to the best of my recollection).

    Ok it’s been a long time since I read anything by Brin as there’s a lot of writers to be read out there and he hasn’t done anything that causes me to really excited. Is the not so casual hardcore sexism shown here only something that shows up in this novel, or is a feature slash bug of his fiction in general?

  23. @ Cat Eldridge
    “not so casual hardcore sexism”
    Can you expand on this? I don’t see anything particularly sexist about the original scroll item or Eli’s comment (but maybe I’m missing something?)

  24. Bill asks Can you expand on this? I don’t see anything particularly sexist about the original scroll item or Eli’s comment (but maybe I’m missing something?)

    I’m talking about The Postman which is full of that. I’m just trying to remember if it’s only here that he expresses these opinions. Eli’s link is worth reading.

  25. Thanks. Since you said “shown here”, I took the comment to be referring to something here at File770. I read The Postman years ago, probably when it came out, and don’t remember enough about it to say. (although, as an analogue of a pre-industrial society, it would be surprising if it weren’t sexist).

  26. @Cat Eldridge: Brin’s “Startide Rising” had a whole sexual harassment subplot played for laughs if that counts.

  27. @Cat, the only other Brin I’ve read is Startide Rising, which I don’t remember very well. However, whenever I’ve read Brin’s nonfiction commentary, I’ve always gotten a strong vibe of a certain type of “I am the Rational Man who understands everything better than foggy-headed ordinary liberals” online commenter— e.g. his insistence that it’ll be absolutely great if the concept of privacy is completely abolished, or his rants about how Star Wars and Tolkien aren’t just using old-fashioned story tropes but are literally arguing that we should all be ruled by hereditary monarchies— and that is also a personality type I associate with, shall we say, idiosyncratic and frustrating takes on what they imagine feminism etc. to be, often tinged with evo-psych ideas about how the reason we need to make efforts toward social justice is that the natural order of things is unjust.

    There’s a big post about The Postman on his blog where he barely touches on this stuff but then in the comment thread, he pops up to say this: “Basic, simple infidelity is a risk and allure that pulls at all men or [sic] power. We are descended from the herems [sic] of men who reaped sexual-repro rewards for achieving power. Now we demand they instantly put on the brakes! Many folks – including millions of women(!) understand this deep down. And hence, when a male politician sobs a confession, they look at the wife. If it was an affair and JUST an affair that ended with regret and with the wife clearly forgiving… then the public generally forgives, as well.” I mean… that’s basically in the context of criticizing sleazy men and saying we should respect women’s judgment more than our own moralizing, but still, the “we’re descended from ____ so that’s why men are like this” stuff (not to mention the phrasing “repro rewards”, which is almost always associated with evo-psych bro arguments— no one else talks like that) is the kind of thing I’m talking about and I think it fits with the kind of “men are the worst, but naturally in a primitive world they’ll rule everything, unless women use their innate power… of sex!” thinking that shows up in The Postman. So I’d be surprised if it doesn’t show up elsewhere too.

  28. Rachel Pollack has had a series of short fiction pieces in F&SF featuring a character called Jack Shade. These have now been collected in The Fissure King: A Novel in Five Stories. You can see the influence of tarot in her fiction writing. Recommended.

  29. Laura says Rachel Pollack has had a series of short fiction pieces in F&SF featuring a character called Jack Shade. These have now been collected in The Fissure King: A Novel in Five Stories. You can see the influence of tarot in her fiction writing. Recommended.

    Thanks kindly. I just read a few chapters at iBooks and it’s worth adding to my To Be Read list. Sounds like a good Autumn undertaking.

  30. Brin was sexistly patronizing to Jo Walton (after trying to explain the Matter of Britain to her) at a Boskone in the oughts. TNH presented the “long version” of the reaction as “Jo Walton dumped a can of Coke on David Brin at the Tor party. All rejoice.” A charitable view is that he has a huge blind spot; I’ve heard from multiple sources that he thought Glory Season (a 1950’s version of an all-female planet) should have gotten the then-Tiptree.

    A less-woke me enjoyed some of his work 30-40 years ago, but The Postman was ridiculous in so many ways I couldn’t swallow it.

  31. Chip says A less-woke me enjoyed some of his work 30-40 years ago, but The Postman was ridiculous in so many ways I couldn’t swallow it.

    It’s prolly been that long since I last read him as well. I know that the Uplift War is now on Audible, but my sampling of it a few years ago didn’t convince that a listen was in order. There’s too much good genre fiction out there to waste my time on authors that I no longer am keen on.

  32. @Chip

    Oh wow, I had completely forgotten until reading this that I was at a Tiptree panel where he asked Pat Murphy a question about this from the audience. So awkward.

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