Pixel Scroll 8/29/20 I Know I Filed This Pixel Somewhere

(1) DATLOW TAKES QUESTIONS. On the Full Contact Nerd podcastCris Alvarez does a Q&A: “Ellen Datlow Interview- Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fiction – ‘Edited By’ (Subterranean, 2020)”

Ellen Datlow has been editing horror, fantasy, and science fiction short stories and novellas for over forty years. She’s won numerous awards and accolades for her work and has edited numerous best of anthologies along with short stories for magazine and book publishers. Subterranean Press is releasing a book on some of the best stories she’s edited. I spoke to Ellen about her work as an editor, about genre fiction, and about the business in general.

0:32: Ellen talks about how she got into editing and editing anthologies….

(2) COPING WITH ALS. Sara Hendren tells Slate readers about “The Truest Cyborg I Know”.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been visiting Steve Saling in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he lives in a residence he designed for himself and a couple dozen other people, a mix of stunning “smart home” technology and human care that he created to arrive in time for his body’s big changes. Steve got a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in his late 30s. He’s 51 now. More than a dozen years into his condition, he has said repeatedly that his life is worth living—and that technology, in the absence of medicine, is “the cure.” Maybe that sounds like one more instance of overhyped claims for Silicon Valley—I would have thought so upon first hearing—but, over time, I came to understand what he meant.

In the architecture of the life that Steve created, I saw a kind of “anticipatory design”—to repurpose a term of Buckminster Fuller’s. At Saling House, the residence that bears Steve’s name, there are impressive digital devices that act, in one sense, as treatment: a whole array of ingenious software and hardware made to maximize his independence even as his body gradually changes. The sheer novelty of the engineering is impressive. But more impressive by far are the ideas packed into all his designed gear and services for life with little mobility—ideas about help, about needfulness. About assistance itself in every life. On my afternoons with him, my perspective and my vocabulary about giving and receiving help changed. Steve taught me to think differently about the plain fact of human needfulness and its role in a desirable life….

(3) EXCELLENT. We’ve recently seen what a John Scalzi 1990s movie review looks like – here’s your chance to see one from 2020: “Movie Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music”

I enjoyed Bill & Ted Face the Music quite a bit, which is utterly unsurprising as I am both Gen-X, i.e., the generation of Bill and/or Ted, and also I used to live in San Dimas, home of Bill and Ted and the town in which almost all of this film takes place (fictionally; it doesn’t look like they did a whole lot of filming in actual San Dimas this time around). Also I am the fan of the first two films, particularly Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the first film in history to successfully reference both Ingmar Bergman and the glam band Poison. What was surprising to me was that I teared up a bit at the end of this one. I know why, and I’ll tell you in a bit.

(4) D&D IS BETTER THAN IRL. “Plague Comforts: Dungeons & Dragons Is the Real World Now” contends Mother Jones writer Wll Peischel.

…In Dungeons & Dragons,everything pretty much goes as planned. 

In the real world, the pressing themes—pandemic, climate change, state-sanctioned brutality, the government’s emphatic disinterest in functioning properly—lend themselves to a darker, more surreal plot. It is serious. We’re holed up in our homes. The absence of bars, physical workspaces, and cheap baseball tickets from our lives creates a sense of confused inertia. Are we a tenth of the way through the pandemic or halfway? Are we actually getting anywhere, or are we stuck in the last season of Lost? There is endless horizon in every direction—we’re measuring our time in hair growth, if at all.

D&D, on the other hand, is full of clear lines and brighter absurdities. I’m on my 18th session; I live in a tower on the outskirts of a village called Goosetown. Like real life, much of what goes on isn’t scripted. But, unlike reality, it’s safely self-contained. In a session of D&D, the cocktail of youth nostalgia and fantasy otherworldliness could give rise to almost anything—as long as it abides by the game’s few rules. It isn’t the leap into unbounded fantasy that appeals; it’s the lines, the structure, the finitude (with a sort of community working within them).

(5) DON’T FIRE THE RETROS. Cora Buhlert takes up the challenge of explaining “Why the Retro Hugos Have Value” – of which this excerpt is just part of the introduction.

…Now no one is obliged to care about the Retro Hugos. However, if you didn’t nominate and vote, you don’t get complain about the results. I also understand the frustration that Retro Hugo voters keep voting for familiar names like John W. Campbell and weak early stories by future stars of the genre over better works, because I share it. However, unlike many other folks, I didn’t complain, but decided to do something about it, so I started the Retro Hugo Recommendation Spreadsheet and Retro Science Fiction Reviews to help potential Retro Hugo nominators and voters make more informed choices. Because I believe that it’s better to try and fix something than destroy or abolish something that some people enjoy.

And while I understand why Worldcons are reluctant to give out Retro Hugos due to the work and expense involved, I really don’t understand the intense hatred they engender in some fans. There are a lot of things going on at Worldcons that I personally don’t care about, but that doesn’t mean I want to take those things away from the people who do enjoy them. I simply focus on the things that give me joy and ignore the rest.

However, the current campaign against the Retro Hugos is part of a larger trend to dismiss the past of our genre as racist, sexist and irrelevant. Also witness the recent debate about the SFF canon, what it is and whether it is relevant with contributions by John Scalzi (here and here), Nina Allan, Camestros Felapton (here and here), the Hugo Book ClubFont FollySteve Davidson, Doris V. SutherlandAidan Moher and others. The canon discussion is mostly civil (and the only uncivil are the usual idiots I haven’t linked here) and also makes a lot of good points, such as that there is no one fixed SFF canon, but that individual people have different works which are important to them, that canons can be abused as a form of gatekeeping, that it’s not necessary to read classic SFF works, unless you enjoy them or want to write an academic work about SFF. However, pretty much everybody who is interested in older SFF has experienced hostility about this interest, even if we don’t go around and tell people that they’re not “real fans” (TM), unless they have read the entire output of Heinlein, Asimov, Lovecraft, etc… (and in that case, I wouldn’t be a “real fan” (TM) either). Witness Jason Sanford saying that the Retro Hugo voters are “a small group of people stuck in the past giving today’s genre the middle finger”, never mind that most Retro Hugo voters are Hugo voters as well. Or the person who called me a Nazi on Twitter for tweeting about the Retro Hugo winners, until I blocked them.

As I said before, no one has to care about older SFF and no one has to read it, if they don’t want to. But attacking people for being interested in older SFF and enjoying the Retro Hugos is not okay. Nor is everybody who’s interested in older SFF a reactionary fascist, even if received wisdom claims that the SFF of the golden age was all racist and sexist stories about straight white American men in space, lorded over by the twin spectres of Campbell and Lovecraft.

There is just one problem: The received wisdom is wrong. Because the golden age (intended here as a designation for a specific time period, not a value judgment) was more than just Campbell and Astounding.  It was also a lot more diverse than most people thinkas I explained in a three part post last year….

(6) SKIFFY TREATS. “I scream, you scream, what’s up with all the celebrity ice cream?” asks FastCompany. Followed by Cat Eldridge asking, “So I wonder what would be celebrity genre ice creams?” 

… It appears that we are now entering into a new phase of celebrity signature products, one that combines the scarcity of a limited-edition booze or sneaker, with the massive scale of something everybody loves.

Welcome to celebrity ice cream.

This week two very different arbiters of cool dropped their very own frozen treat collaborations. First up was pop star Selena Gomez, who managed a double dip collaboration, first on a song called . . . yep . . . “Ice Cream” made with K-pop stars Blackpink, and spinning that into her very own flavor for specialty ice-cream brand and chain Serendipity. It’s called Cookies & Cream Remix, and it’s pink vanilla ice cream with crunchy cookie bites and fudge bits.

(7) GARCIAGATE GOFUNDME. The “GarciaGatePenguins Fire Relief” GoFundMe has raised $11,115 (the original goal was $10K) and is still taking donations. Chris Garcia, Vanessa Applegate and the boys had to evacuate from their Northern California home because of the fires. So far their house has survived, but there’s no telling when they will be able to return. Til then, they’re in hotels.

(8) BOSEMAN OBIT. Actor Chadwick Boseman died August 28 reports Yahoo! News.

Chadwick Boseman, who played Black American icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown with searing intensity before inspiring audiences worldwide as the regal Black Panther in Marvel’s blockbuster movie franchise, died Friday of cancer. He was 43.

…Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis. He is survived by his wife and a parent and had no children, Fioravante said.

(9) TODAY’S DAY.

John Hertz celebrates it.

The sun’s risen on
Independent Bookstores Day.
May they earn still more.

The celebration had been delayed from April until today.

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 29, 1957 X Minus One’s “Volpla” was first broadcast. Based on a story by Wyman Guin who first gained noticed with his “Beyond Bedlam” novella in Galaxy Science Fiction in August 1951. (In 2013, he would receive the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.) His story in “Volpla” is that an individual creates small creatures and teaches them to say they are aliens. Ernest Kinoy as usual wrote the radio script. Nelson Olmstead, Adele Newton and Sarah Fussell were the cast. You can listen to it here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 29, 1905 – Don Wilcox.  Five novels for us, ninety shorter stories; detective  and Western stories; plays; paintings.  Some Captain Video for television.  For a while with Amazing and Fantastic under Palmer, averaged 40,000 words a month.  Best of DW vol. 1 appeared 2016; vol. 2, 2017.  (Died 2000) [JH]
  • Born August 29, 1926 – Thomas N. Scortia.  Chemist.  Worked in aerospace.  Six novels for us (some with Frank Robinson), fifty shorter stories.  The Glass Inferno (with FR) became The Towering Inferno (I. Allen dir. 1974).  With Dalton Trumbo, The Endangered Species.  Collection Caution! Inflammable! has an introduction by Theodore Sturgeon.  (Died 1986) [JH]
  • Born August 29, 1942 – Dian Crayne.  Three novels, eight shorter stories (one with Larry Niven), a few interiors; The Game of Fandom.  Married to Bruce Pelz 1964-1970 (their divorce party inspired LN’s “What Can You Say About Chocolate-Covered Manhole Covers?”; a chocolate-covered manhole cover has been part of the L.A. Science Fantasy Soc, Gift Exchange every December since), to Chuck Crayne 1972-2009 (he and BP co-chaired L.A.Con the 30th Worldcon, co-founded the North America SF Con held when the Worldcon is overseas).  Here she is at Pacificon II (22nd Worldcon) as Thuvia, Maid of Mars, BP at her left.  (Died 2017) [JH]
  • August 29, 1942 Gottfried John. He’s likely best-known as General Arkady Orumov on GoldenEye but I actually best remember him as Colonel Erich Weiss on the extremely short-lived Space Rangers. He was Josef Heim in the “The Hand of Saint Sebastian” episode of the Millennium series, and played König Gustav in the German version of Rumpelstilzchen as written by the Brothers Grimm. (Died 2014.) (CE) 
  • Born August 29, 1946 – Robert Weinberg.  A dozen novels, fifty shorter stories; five dozen anthologies; Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction & Fantasy ArtistsThe Art of the Pulps (with D. Ellis, H. Hulse), The Collectors’ Book of Virgil Finlay (with D. Ellis, R. Garcia).  Letters, essays, editorials in Collecting FantasyThe DiversifierERB-dom (E.R. Burroughs), Fantasy NewsletterHorrorstruckThe “Weird Tales” CollectorWindy City Pulp Stories.  Co-chaired Chicago Comiccon 1976-1996; 9th and 16th World Fantasy Cons.  Sam Moskowitz Archive Award (excellence in collecting).  Chicon 7 (70th Worldcon) Special Award for service.  (Died 2016).  [JH]
  • August 29, 1951 Janeen Webb, 69. Dreaming Down-Under which she co-edited with Jack Dann is an amazing anthology of Australian genre fiction which won a World Fantasy Award. If you’ve not read it, go do so. The Silken Road to Samarkand by her is a wonderful novel that I also wholeheartedly recommend. Death at the Blue Elephant, the first collection of her ever so excellent short stories, is available at iBooks and Kindle though Dreaming Down-Under is alas not. (CE) 
  • August 29, 1953 Nancy Holder, 67. She’s an impressive four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. I’m not much of a horror fan so I can’t judge her horror novels for you but I’ve read a number of her Buffyverse novels and I must say that she’s captured the feel of the series quite well. If you are to read but one, make it Halloween Rain. (CE)
  • August 29, 1954 Michael P. Kube-McDowell, 66. A filker which gets major points in my book (filker link: “Back in Black” .) And yes, I’m stalling while I try to remember what of his I’ve read. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read both of his Isaac Asimov’s Robot City novels, and now I can recall reading Alternities as well. God, it’s been twenty years since I read him. I’m getting old.  (CE) 
  • August 29, 1959 Rebecca de Mornay, 61. May I note she made a deliciously evil Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers? She’s Clair Dupin in The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Wendy Torrance in The Shining miniseries (no, I never heard of it) and Penelope Decker in several episodes of Lucifer. Oh, and she was Dorothy Walker in Marvel’s Jessica Jones series. (CE) 
  • Born August 29, 1970 – Jenn Reese, 50.  Five novels; Tales of the Chinese Zodiac, twelve shorter stories 2005 adding in 2006 a carp, a mantis, an owl; Alphabet Quartet perhaps inevitably became 26 flash-fiction stories “Arthur” – “Zoom” (with G. van Eekhout, T. Pratt, H. Shaw); two dozen other short stories; nine covers.  Here is Mitigated Futures.  Here is Do Better.  Currently a graphic designer in Portland where she can revel in the rain.  [JH]
  • Born August 29, 1977 – Renée Carter Hall, 43.  One novel, thirty shorter stories.  Limestone Circle (poetry) 1999-2002.  Cóyotl Award.  Co-authored a story in 8th Grade with two friends which reached Steven Spielberg and was used in Tiny Toon Adventures with all three friends as cartoon characters.  Website here.  [JH]
  • August 29, 1989 Charlotte Ritchie, 31. Like so many British performers, she’s had a role on Doctor Who playing Lin in the Thirteenth Doctor story, “Resolution “. Her first genre role was an uncredited one in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I see she was Alison in the first season of Dead Pixels, and another Alison in Ghosts, a truly haunting series. (CE) 

(12) BLACK-OWNED BOOKSTORES. O, the Oprah Magazine, lists “120 Black-Owned Bookstores in America That Amplify the Best in Literature”. Even a few comics stores in there.

… Kalima Desuze, owner of Cafe con Libros in Brooklyn, New York, describes recent business as both “lucrative” and “bittersweet.”

“Many folks are buying books, but may not have a home to dialogue about it,” she says. “This work cannot be done in isolation; we all need community. I’m tired of solidarity with Black folks only coming after death when some of us have spent our lives talking about and organizing against systemic racism… So, while I definitely appreciate the support, it’s been hard to profit off the bodies of fictive kin.”

It should also be remembered that independent book stores owned by African Americans have been around for decades. The first in the country was Oakland, California’s Marcus Books, which opened its doors in 1960 and is still in business today. There are now 119 other Black-owned establishments in the country, and though they make up just 6% of indie bookselling companies in the U.S., they’re home to powerful works that serve to educate and amplify vital voices.

“The stories have always been there, and the experiences have always been there, but not everybody was comfortable talking about them,” says La’Nae Robinson, who co-owns Bliss Books & Wine in Kansas City with her sister, La’Nesha Frazier. “So I think now that it’s more in the spotlight, it’s creating more conversations, and people are open to having conversations—and they’re actually holding them in their hands and educating themselves on topics that they just didn’t think about.”

(13) SFF MARKETING. Essence of Wonder with Gadi Evron will do a show about “SF&F Marketing Masters: Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Self-Publishing” on September 5, 2020.

Joining us on the 5th of September will be those who plan and execute the marketing of legends.
– Dave Farland will join us to discuss his plan with Scholastic for making Harry Potter big.
– Ed Elbert will discuss the advertising of Star Wars.
– Craig Miller will share the stories of fandom and community outreach for Star Wars.
– Brian Meeks will bring us to 2020 with a discussion of self-publishing.

(14) YOU COULD WRITE AN EPIC WITH IT. Fork over $4,275 and this sterling silver “Montegrappa The Lord of the Rings Fountain Pen” will be on its way to you. Comes with a removable gold ring!

One pen to rule them all. Our tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved trilogy is made with a level of craftsmanship to rival the great Elven-smiths of Eregion. The Lord of the Rings Limited Edition is a magical creation of lostwax casting that celebrates imagination, creativity and heroic journeys at their finest.

…Armaments and regalia belonging to the Fellowship of the Ring make up the elements of the barrel. Gandalf’s staff, Aragorn’s sword and Gimli’s axe are just some of the icons contained within a structure crowned by a cubic zirconia set in the emblem of the White Tree of Gondor.

The cap’s major features are a hand-enamelled Eye of Sauron suspended in the Tower of Barad-dûr, and a clip resembling Frodo’s Elvish blade, Sting. In place of a conventional capband sits a removable replica of the One Ring, inscribed with Tengwar script and plated in gold.

(15) R.H.I.P. Popular Mechanics boosts a signal from Admiral Kirk: “William Shatner to Space Force: Use Navy, Not Air Force Ranks”.

A sci-fi legend is making the case for the new U.S. Space Force to use naval ranks. In an Military Times op-ed, Star Trek‘s William Shatner argues—with prodigious use of emoji—the long history of naval ranks in science fiction makes it appropriate for the burgeoning Space Force to follow suit.

Although Shatner’s argument is tongue in cheek, there’s actually a more practical reason why the Space Force might emulate the U.S. Navy—not the U.S. Air Force.

…Shatner writes:

“Star Trek” has borrowed so much of its iconic rank symbols from the U.S. military and NASA. When you unveiled the Space Force logo, many immediately saw it as an homage to “Star Trek” (even though our Delta was an homage to the previous military space insignias). Why not borrow back from “Star Trek” and adopt our ranks as well? We took them from the Navy for good reason, even though Gene Roddenberry was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps. They made better sense when talking about a (space) ship.

In a practical sense, there is some rationale for using naval ranks. Spaceships are a lot like submarines: enclosed vessels traveling through a void-like medium on long treks. Like subs, spaceships handle hull pressures, though they must deal with pressure on the inside and outside.

Naval forces have deep experience with planning and conducting voyages that could take weeks or months, while most Air Force missions last several hours at the most. When the Space Force finally operates spaceships, it might find itself more culturally aligned with the Navy than the Air Force….

(16) FLY FREE. The Austin Chronicle tells how this weekend’s virtual con will escape Planet COVID: “ArmadilloCon 42 Blasts Off Into Cyberspace”.

…Sure, we know as well as you do that the transition to online events has been 50 shades of awkward for most organizations. But if any group should be prepared for a transition to the digital plane, it’s fans of speculative fiction, who have been immersed in synthetic lifeforms, alien worlds, next-wave tech, and cyber-realms for years. No need to be skeptical about ArmadilloCon 42’s virtual nature; these folks are hardwired for it.

More importantly, the ArmadilloCon team is still inspired by the same spirit of community and love of the genre that was shared by the 300 or so fans who gathered at the Villa Capri Hotel in May of 1979 for the first con. That means not just celebrating the futures of the past – those imagined by Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Dick, and their peers – but also the futures of the future: those being conjured by writers breaking into the field. The con’s 42-year mission, to borrow a phrase, has always been to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new writers and new speculative fiction, to boldly go with them where no fan has gone before. You can count on ArmadilloCon to continue that mission online in the same way it always has IRL.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Bill, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John Hertz, Gadi Evron, Cat Eldridge, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to contributing editor of the day Peer.]

26 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/29/20 I Know I Filed This Pixel Somewhere

  1. [12] Marcus Books is the first known-to-us black-owned bookstore in the U.S. I find it easy to believe that such entities may have existed under the radar at least as far back as the Harlem Renaissance. Indeed, a careful search of the black-oriented newspapers of the early 20th century might well yield evidence of such forgotten pioneers.

  2. 5) I agree with Cora. We shouldn’t approach the genre’s past with a slash-and-burn attitude. More nuance is desperately needed.

  3. I remember reading Kube-McDowell’s //Slac// in one of the first issues of Asimovs I got ahold of.

  4. (14) Epic Pen:

    Upon looking at the first photo I thought, “That looks like a Goulet Pen photo.”. So I clicked on the link and lo! It is a Goulet Pen photo. (I, um, am possibly over-familiar with the pretty, pretty pens on their site.) I have zero interest in Montegrappa pens, but if I was going to drop 5k on one I would definitely do it there—they have a long-standing reputation for great service and slightly obsessive care in packaging.

  5. (11) Michael P. Kube-McDowell published only one Isaac Asimov’s Robot City novel, according to his website. I found all his (original) titles at our local public library store where they resell donated books; Alternities I’ve reread more than once. I hope he’s able to write novels again – it’s been 18 years since the last one…

  6. Current reading: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first three novels. I just finished A Princess of Mars for at least the dozenth time, still with great pleasure, and now will start his second, The Outlaw of Torn, for maybe the fourth. This is a historical, because his publisher asked for an Ivanhoe-like story. Then the first Tarzan book, again already read many, many times.

    Tonight’s viewing: Kull: Skull Island, which we liked much more than we expected. Not great, but very enjoyable. Then Deep Space Nine season 7 episode 24. Just the finale left, and we will have finally finished this series, 21 years late. I enjoyed the shout-out to The Sand Pebbles in this one. Starfleet delivers a new warship to Sisko called the São Paolo. I’m guessing the lawyers said not to call it the San Pablo. But to make the connection obvious, Sisko says, “Hello, ship” — which is how the novel (and the movie) opens.

    Current listening: 6 cds on shuffle. One gets changed every day. Today’s six are Jacaranda Street by Venice, All Your Life by Al Di Meola, Smiley Smile/Wild Honey by the Beach Boys, a 2005 sampler from Paste magazine (today’s addition, currently playing “Murr Murr” by Mugison), Higher Ground by the Blind Boys of Alabama, and a custom collection of Yes music from the 2010s. (Now, still on Paste, “Girl in the War” by Josh Ritter.)

  7. 11) de Mornay had a (small, if I recall) part in an episode of the revival The Outer Limits, which she also directed. (Also she produced the Leonard Cohen album The Future, which isn’t very sfnal.)

  8. 3) San Dimas was the original location of Charvel Guitars, whose hot-rodded guitars were the tools of the trade for the hair metal crowd. Yes, I bought one with my very first pay check and my credit card.

    14) I’m very surprised that the Tolkien estate was okay with this.

  9. gottacook says Michael P. Kube-McDowell published only one Isaac Asimov’s Robot City novel, according to his website. I found all his (original) titles at our local public library store where they resell donated books; Alternities I’ve reread more than once. I hope he’s able to write novels again – it’s been 18 years since the last one…

    I used ISFDB which says he did two, Odyssey and Isaac Asimov’s Robot City, the latter with Mike McQuay. There’s a listing on Amazon has both novels in a singe trade paper.

  10. @Jeff Smith — I just got the second set of new Tarzan hardcovers from the ERB estate (books 5-8), so I’ll probably have to be revisiting Tarzan myself sometime in the not-excessively-distant future. I don’t think I’ve ever read Outlaw of Torn, but Princess of Mars (and most of the rest of the Barsoom books) remains an all-time favorite.

  11. @15, a counterargument for Space Force (which I still think is a stupid and superfluous idea, given that the Air Force was already doing all of their mission) to keep Air Force rank structure:

    The Navy, as Shatner rightly points out, is very good at putting a lot of people in a confined space for a long period of time with little or no outside support. HOWEVER, that is NOT where we’re at with the space program. There are no Starship Enterprises in our immediate future. Instead, what we need now is akin to what the Air Force routinely does: a massive support structure, all geared to supporting a much smaller number of specialists (Air Force pilots). This is what we have, currently, with the space program. Many, many people making it possible for a few astronauts to do their job. And I don’t see this pattern changing in my lifetime, or even in the next hundred years.

    My niece is in the Air Force. If I recall correctly, she worked briefly in the “space force” division of the Air Force until she was transferred to something too classified for her to tell me about.

    At this time, I see NO reason why “Space Force” needed to be split off from the Air Force other than Trump’s ego, but since they’ve gone ahead and done it, I see no reason why it needs to stop using Air Force ranks.

  12. @Michael J. Lowrey

    [12] Marcus Books is the first known-to-us black-owned bookstore in the U.S. I find it easy to believe that such entities may have existed under the radar at least as far back as the Harlem Renaissance. Indeed, a careful search of the black-oriented newspapers of the early 20th century might well yield evidence of such forgotten pioneers.

    Yes. It took only a few minutes to find evidence of Hopkins Book Store on Auburn Ave. in Atlanta, active from the 1920s to perhaps the 1950s, owned by Rev. J. A. Hopkins; a 1940 advertisement for Central Book Store, “Akron’s Only Colored Book Store”, in Akron, OH; Maxwell’s Book Shop, owned by Joseph H. Maxwell, of Washington DC in the late 1920s/early 1930s; and The National Memorial Book Store in Harlem in 1944, “Harlem’s Most Complete Colored Book Store”; (here are books about the book store). Augustus Granville Dill owned a book shop in Harlem at 236 W 133d St in 1934. All of these preceded Marcus Books which was founded about 1960.

  13. @Cassy B

    a massive support structure, all geared to supporting a much smaller number of specialists (Air Force pilots).

    The Air Force isn’t the best place to manage a Space Force because they historically have prioritized the glamour of fighter jets over all of its other missions. Senior management at the 3-star and higher level is over-represented by ex-fighter pilots compared to other ratings. Witness their many attempts to kill the only Close Air Support aircraft in the inventory, the A-10 and the fact that cargo, air-to-air fueling, and other support planes have been historically under funded relative to fighters. If the missions of Space Force are important (and I believe they are, and will only become more so in the future), there is good reason to believe that they won’t get the emphasis they deserve within the AF.

  14. yay title credits!
    If a title is credited in a forrest, where no one can hesr your scream, does it count?

  15. @Cat Elridge “I used ISFDB which says he did two, Odyssey and Isaac Asimov’s Robot City, the latter with Mike McQuay. There’s a listing on Amazon has both novels in a singe trade paper.”

    Well, that’s wrong AFAIK.
    “Isaac Asimov’s Robot City” is the name of the series. Odyssey is by Kube-McDowell, and Suspicion is by McQuay. And a bunch of others by different authors.
    See here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov's_Robot_City

    I imagine the first two novels were available in an omnibus edition, and the omnibus was named “”Isaac Asimov’s Robot City”, thus creating the confusion.

    This isfdb page confirms itL
    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?212477

  16. I first read Tarzan (and Return of…, Jungle tales of…, Tarzan & the Lost Empire and the Gods of Mars) over sixty years ago (thanks to my grandfather who got them as a boy when they first came out). I used to re-read them regularly (and all the other dozens of ERBs that I’ve collected over the years), but there are just too darned many books coming out nowadays for me to have time to go back and reread them.

  17. My grandfather also read Burroughs back in the day, but alas did not keep any of the books or magazines he read them in, so I had to start from scratch in the mid-60s with the Ace and Ballantine paperbacks. Actually, I was very poor at the time, so I was reading the 40 cent Ace books, not the 50 cent Ballantines.

  18. I started (in the 70s) with whatever random Tarzan books I could find at the library or garage sales, plus a Grossett & Dunlap hardcover of Tarzan & the Lost Empire from … someone in the family; then Dad bought me a copy of Princess of Mars and I started buying the other Barsoom books with my paper route money and they were perhaps not as life-changing as Tolkien & Star Wars, but still pretty life-changing.

  19. @Jeff Smith

    Actually, I was very poor at the time, so I was reading the 40 cent Ace books, not the 50 cent Ballantines.

    You got those great Krenkel and Frazetta covers, then.

  20. I’m beginning to feel like everyone has connections to San Dimas. My family lived there for about a year and a half in the mid-60’s; I finished the 4th grade and went for all of 5th grade to Holy Name of Mary school, right about on the San Dimas-LaVerne city line.

  21. @bill, that’s a fair point about the fighter pilots, but keeping the Air Force rank structure still makes sense to me if one is going to split off the Space Force, for the reasons I cited.

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