Pixel Scroll 8/7/18 Not First, Nor Fifth, Nor even Frog, Just Little Old Me, PixelDog

(1) SAN JOSE LOCAL CUISINE. The Worldcon 76 Local Guide is now available as an app:

Announcing the Worldcon 76 “Local Guide” app from the Publications & Communications team. We’ve prepared it to help newcomers and visitors to San Jose with detailed information about the stores and restaurants that are nearby the Convention Center, downtown hotels, and the SJC airport. You can view the app on our website at: https://www.worldcon76.org/travel-lodging/local-guide

(2) WHITLEY ROBBED. Dave Chalker reported Eva Whitley’s bad news:

This is an update for family and friends of Eva Whitley. Last night her house was broken into while she was there. She was held at gunpoint and robbed of money and her phone. Physically, she was not harmed. But as you can imagine she is in rough shape emotionally. She’s going to try and rest now after a very difficult evening (wherein the police were not only not helpful but actively abusive) but when she wakes up later, she’s going to need all the support she can get.

David had already started a GoFundMe for her — “Save Mom’s July” – which has seen a new burst of donations since this news came out today. (It originally hit $3,793 of its $1,000 target).

(3) WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO READ? Nerds of a Feather features “6 Books with Martha Wells”.

  1. What upcoming book you are really excited about?I was excited about The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera, which comes out this fall, and I just got to read an ARC of it. The first book, The Tiger’s Daughter, was probably my favorite epic fantasy of last year. It’s an original, rich, fully realized fantasy world, with an epic story told from an unusual angle. The second book goes more into the threat looming over this world, and what the characters are actually fighting. I can’t wait for the next book.

(4) SPIDEY AND COMPANY. “Spider-Man Will Be Joined by Two MCU Veterans in ‘Homecoming’ Sequel” and Inverse tells you who they are.

Iron Man won’t be joining Spidey on his European tour in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, but Spider-Man will be joined by two MCU veterans even if Tony Stark doesn’t survive the end of Avengers 4. Nick Fury and Maria Hill are reportedly going to appear in the Homecoming sequel, due out next summer.

(5) HONEY BADGER BRIGADE LOSES SUIT. Nerd and Tie’s Trae Dorn tracked down the result: “MRA Group “The Honey Badger Brigade” Lose Their Lawsuit Against Calgary Expo, The Mary Sue”.

So it’s been a while since we provided an update on the lawsuit MRA group “The Honey Badger Brigade” filed against the Canadian convention Calgary Expo and US-based blog The Mary Sue back in Fall of 2015, but we finally have a resolution to the story. Last week, on August 1st, the Provincial Civil Court of Alberta ruled in favor of Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue.

To explain how we got here, the short version is that the Honey Badger Brigade had filed suit because Calgary Expo kicked the MRA group out during their 2015 event. Calgary Expo claimed it was because the Honey Badgers misrepresented the artist booth they were occupying and were disruptive to the event. The Mary Sue also ended up getting named in because they wrote about it? I guess? They also hired a disbarred lawyer and crowdfunded tens of thousands of dollars to pay for the case. Literally none of this case made a lick of sense.

And apparently the judge agreed.

(6) DOING INTERVIEWS. At Black Gate, the Uncanny Magazine crew tells how they prepare for and do interviews. “Uncanny Magazine Year 5 Meta-Interview: A Look at How Interviews Come Together”.

Caroline M. Yoachim does print interviews for the magazine, Lynne M. Thomas does the podcast interviews, and now we are introducing Matt Peters and Michi Trota as the video interviewers (and hosts) of Uncanny TV!

When we got the idea to write about interviews, we realized that we could do the post by interviewing each other, and BOOM, the meta-interview was born! …

Lynne: What kinds of interviews have you looked at to help shape your questions for Uncanny’s print interviews?  Are there any approaches or formats to print interviews that you would be interested in trying out to try to change things up?

Caroline: When I started doing interviews for Uncanny, the first thing I did was go back and read several interviews from past issues, to get a feel for what kind of questions to ask and the scope of the interviews. I also often glance at previous interviews from whichever author I’m interviewing, so I can avoid asking questions they’ve answered repeatedly.

As for interesting approaches, I remember there was an interview I did for Shimmer where I answered interview questions jointly with a character from my story. It was a fun way to mix things up a little bit!

Lynne: What is the most bizarre/memorable question you’ve ever asked in an interview? Have there been any bizarre/memorable questions that you’ve been asked when being interviewed?

Caroline: I’ve done relatively few interviews (either as an interviewer or as an interviewee) and while I have asked and answered good questions with memorable answers, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a question that was memorable/bizarre in and of itself. However, if future interviewers of me would like an unusual question to throw into the mix, I recommend: “Have you ever photographed the secret life of gummy bears?”

(7) GEEK SHOPPING. Daniel Dern calls your attention to these ThinkGeek Anniversary Deals

Like this Old Book BackPack (which I’m using to tote magic tricks to local events)

And the Con-Survival Bag of Holding (great for con-going day side pack, I use mine a lot, see lots of others in use)

RD-D2 Coffee press (not on my list, but maybe yours)

(8) RUH-ROH! Ursula Vernon gives a progress report from the garden. The thread starts here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born August 7, 1933 – Jerry Pournelle
  • Born August 7 — Tobin Bell, 76. Myriad genres roles in such productions as Alien Nation, Mann & MachineStargate SG-1, Strange Worlds, The X- Files and voice work in the current Flash series. Oh and played Jigsaw in the long running Saw horror film series.
  • Born August 7 — Wayne Knight, 63. Extensive voice work including The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, HerculesThe Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and the Green Lantern series. Appeared in Jurassic Park and credited as Nerdy. Also in Torchwood: Miracle Day and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • Born August 7 — David Duchovny, 58. X-Files of course, also Space: Above and Beyond and Twin Peaks, the Area 51  video game and The Lone Gunmen series.
  • Born August 7 — Harold Perrineau, 55. Regular cast on the BladeLost and Constantine series, also Z Nation30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions.
  • Born August 7 — Michael Shannon, 44. General Zod in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Also Fahrenheit 451The Shape of Water and Jonah Hex.
  • Born August 7 — Charlize Theron, 43. Genre roles include Snow White and The Huntsman with a sequel called The Huntsman: Winter’s War, other credits include Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (uncredited but her first role), Æon Flux, Mad Max: Fury Road and Mortica Addams in the latest reboot of The Addams Family.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro needs the public’s help to solve this robotic crime….

(11) WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS. John Scalzi is on to something — thread starts here.

(12) THE EIGHTIES. James Davis Nicoll quantum leaps his series into the next decade: “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1980s, Part I”.

(13) YOUR 1-STAR REVIEW, SIR. Yes, it’s so precious when people need to flag authors about them.

(14) CULTURAL CURRENCY. A criticism about 2140.

Well, I know what X, Y and Z were, but I don’t remember who they were. I take your point.

(15) DRAGON OVERVIEW. Cora Buhlert’s rundown “The 2018 Dragon Award Nominees and the Rise of the Kindle Unlimited Writing Factories” focuses on counting things like the ethnicities and sex of the nominees. She also has Internet Archives links to ballot reactions from Declan Finn and Richard Paolinelli (consisting of a little bit of reaction and a great deal of self-promotion, but what else is an author’s blog for?)

(16) TOP MAGAZINES. The Splintered Mind did its annual ranking – “Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines 2018”. Asimov’s is way out in front of this list of 50 magazines. Here are the criteria:

(1.) Only magazines are included (online or in print), not anthologies or standalones.

(2.) I gave each magazine one point for each story nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Eugie, or World Fantasy Award in the past ten years; one point for each story appearance in any of the Dozois, Horton, Strahan, Clarke, or Adams “Year’s Best” anthologies; and half a point for each story appearing in the short story or novelette category of the annual Locus Recommended list.

(3.) I am not attempting to include the horror / dark fantasy genre, except as it appears incidentally on the list.

(4.) Prose only, not poetry.

(5.) I’m not attempting to correct for frequency of publication or length of table of contents.

(6.) I’m also not correcting for a magazine’s only having published during part of the ten-year period. Reputations of defunct magazines slowly fade, and sometimes they are restarted. Reputations of new magazines take time to build.

(17) SHORT FICTION REVIEWED. Charles Payseur shares “Quick Sips – Uncanny #23 [August stuff]”.

The second half of the special Dinosaur issue of Uncanny Magazine brings even MOAR dinosaurs, with five new stories and three new poems. Two of the poems aren’t really dinosaur-centric, but the issue as a whole offers up a great diversity in styles and ways of incorporating the source material and expanding the shared space of the issue. Here we are treated to more stories of dinosaurs displaced in time, landing on the Oregon Trail, or in a strange fairy tale, or in the middle of a small town. There’s not quite the same focus on communication and understanding as before, though. Instead, these pieces look a bit more at violence, and hunger, and corruption. They don’t flinch away from showing some dinosaurs getting their feed on, as well as getting their freak on. It’s a strange, rather wonderful collection of short SFF, so let’s get to the reviews!

(18) GRAPHIC STORY PICKS. Joe Sherry’s review of his Hugo ballot at Nerds of a Feather goes into overtime: “Reading the Hugos: Graphic Story”

Today we’ll be looking at the six finalists for Graphic Story.  By the time this goes live we’ll be a full week past the close of voting and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed covering as many categories as I have, I’m ready for the reading and voting stage to be done. It’s a lot, even when it’s something I love to do.

Two works on my nominating ballot are here on the final ballot (Bitch Planet and Paper Girls), but the category as a whole is soli and filled with interesting and strong works. Like the novella category, though, Graphic Story is fairly dominated by one publisher: Image Comics. With four of the six slots, Image has a fair lock on the category. As great as Image is and how fantastic the comics, the category will be stronger if a wider variety of publishers are represented in future years (though, three of the works on my nomination ballot were also from Image – so there’s that)

(19) NEW SANDMAN STORIES. ComicsBeat presents a “Sandman Universe Exclusive: How Hopkinson & Stanton plan to break diverse new ground in the Dreaming”. Here’s the introduction to the interview –

From 1989-1996, Neil Gaiman and a group of artistic collaborators including Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and more crafted The Sandman. This 75 issue DC Comics/Vertigo series followed Dream and his primordial siblings, who collectively formed the Endless, through imaginative and transformative stories steeped in classic mythology and boundless imagination. To this day, The Sandman remains one of DC’s most beloved series. And now, eager comics fans will have the opportunity to return to the Dreaming once again with this Wednesday’s release of Sandman Universe #1, a special one-shot that introduces a new line of Sandman stories to the world.

One of these new stories is House of Whispers. Written by notable fantasy and sci-fi author Nalo Hopkinson and drawn by Domo Stanton with colors from John RauchHouse of Whispers follows two sets of characters. The first is the Yoruba goddess Erzulie, whose House of Dahomey is “where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep [in order] to beseech the flirtatious and tragic goddess to grant them their hearts’ desires and counsel them on their futures and fortunes.” The second is a group of four human girls in New Orleans who have stumbled upon a journal “filled with whispers and rumors” that threatens to unleash “Sopona, the loa lord of infectious disease.” Tied together by circumstance, Erzulie, cousin to Sopona, attempts to come to the aid of the humans, but finds herself in a crisis of her own as her House crashes into the Dreaming.

(20) BAT CASTING. From io9 we learn that  “The CW’s Live-Action Batwoman Is Ruby Rose”.

Both Variety and Deadline report that Rose, currently appearing in the giant-shark action movie The Meg, has been tapped to portray Kate Kane in both the upcoming Arrow/Flash/Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow crossover special and the potential Batwoman series being helmed by Caroline Dries that could air in 2019.

Rose, also known for turns in Orange Is the New Black and appearances in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and John Wick: Chapter 2, will first appear in the role later this year. The heroes of the CW’s other DC supershows (sans Black Lightning, off in its own universe) will head to Gotham City for the first time, where they’ll team up with Kate Kane—one of DC Comics’ few lesbian characters—for a new adventure.

(21) CATCH THE WAVE. We’re not talking about water here — “‘Extraordinary’ waves from Jupiter’s moon Ganymede spotted”.

Scientists have observed “extraordinary” waves coming out of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

The electromagnetic waves, also known as “chorus waves,” were spotted using the Galileo Probe spacecraft, which has a mission of surveying Jupiter’s wave environment.

“It’s a really surprising and puzzling observation showing that a moon with a magnetic field can create such a tremendous intensification in the power of waves,” Yuri Shprits, the lead author of the study, told the Independent.

(22) THE LIVING END. Deadpool 2 – How It Should Have Ended. You heard it here fifth.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Hampus Eckerman, Michael J. Walsh, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

82 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/7/18 Not First, Nor Fifth, Nor even Frog, Just Little Old Me, PixelDog

  1. 14
    At least I understand the XYZ reference enough to find the Wikipedia entry. (I still couldn’t tell you who X, Y, and Z were, or anything else about the thing.)

  2. Delighted with the Scroll title.

    (2) How awful for Eva.

    (14) 122 years ago was 1896, so it’s more like Americans being deeply aware now of the meaning of “Free Silver” and “Cross of Gold.”

    In 2247, File770 may remember my name and email address.

  3. (15): Cora writes: ” Charles Stross is very popular and clearly a deserving nominee, though not to my taste at all. Though going by the blurb, I’m not sure if his nominated novel Dark State actually is alternate history, since it seems to be near future SF.”

    “Dark State” is definitely alternate history, with two main alternates – one superficially like our own world, with minor deviations occurring in the 1980s and a major one in the early 2000s, and another quite different world. I enjoyed it a lot, but mileage can be expected to vary.

  4. (9) While Wayne Knight’s character in Jurassic Park was certainly nerdy his name was Dennis Nedry and he was credited as such.

    I have no pixel and I must scroll.

  5. @Andrew
    Good to know that “Dark State” actually is alternate history. Like I said, Stross does nothing for me and so I avoid his work, unless it shows up on the Hugo ballot, which usually reminds me why I don’t much care for his work.

  6. @5: Dorn says their inability to understand how conventions or contracts work seems pretty clear. ISTM he’s being optimistic; HB could perfectly well believe that if they lie enough about the facts they can overwhelm the system, or at least get useful sympathy. It’s not as if they don’t have a model….

    @14: Messrs X, Y, and Z were 220 years ago, and rather overblown. 2140 is ~half that far away; I’d buy ignorance about the mechanics of the GM bailout, but not so much the others. OTOH, I’ve heard so many reasons (and have so many of my own) not to read 2140 that this is no more than a belch in a tornado (of which there was one ~40 miles from me last weekend…).

  7. (10) COMICS SECTION. Luvs it! I love robots and have a bunch on my desk at work – well, tin and other toy types of robots – not real robots.

    (12) THE EIGHTIES. Yay! Off to read that after I post this comment.

  8. (5) Rev. Bob don’t care about Honey Badgers’ loss, except to laugh at them.

    (14) I’m counting my dim memory of the XYZ Affair as being named for three of its key figures’ redacted identities and thinking it was an espionage-ish flap as at least a partial win. I don’t think that’s half bad for a data point from thirty-plus years ago in a subject that did not interest me at all.

  9. 8) I threw my dog a small cherry tomato and she had it in her mouth, dropped it and began to bark at it. This went on for several minutes. The skin was not broken.

    I was a dream scroller and I had pixels for you.

  10. 12) Ah, excellent. James does good work with these posts.

    (and gah, still not used to the name and email fields not being autopopulated)

  11. Jackass leftist game store owner and game designer Matt Loter sucker punched a “conservative” game podcaster at a bar during GenCon. A police report was filed and a complaint to Gencon about Matt Loter was made. The person sucker punched is a pretty well known game blogger who posts Thegathering at youtube.

    https://www.oneangrygamer.net/2018/08/gen-con-promotes-matt-loters-expancity-while-censoring-users-from-discussing-alleged-assault/65599/

    also see: https://www.oneangrygamer.net/2018/08/matt-loter-from-elm-city-games-allegedly-attacked-jeremy-hambly-from-the-quartering-at-gencon-2018/65450/

    This is “genre news” about a violation of con policy. Unlike a lot of violations, this one comes with video evidence and a complaint to police.

    This sort of story seems to get coverage here, and I’m surprised that I read about it at monsterhunternation and saw not a peep here. Perhaps Glyer missed it. Or I could have missed it here since we were traveling the last couple of days.

  12. Only reason I knew about the XYZ affair is because it was a crossword answer and I was sufficiently annoyed about it to check wikipedia (afterwards!).

  13. My name is Hound
    Mi mom rites buks
    I cannot reed
    But onlee luks

    I sneek arown
    I use my teef
    I strip the vyn
    Tomato theef

  14. Oh, well done Cassy B!

    (Anne Leckie has much to answer for regarding that poetry style.)

  15. @Andrew: I think this is partly a matter of how much depth you go into–a lot more people have a vague recollection of “Cross of Gold” and maybe bimetallism than could tell you how close Bryan came to being elected president.

    It’s also hard to tell, so soon, whether economic historians will consider Lehman Brothers important a century from now, or whether a better comparison from around the same time would be expecting people you talk to today to remember anything about Chester Alan Arthur besides the name and that he was once president. (I do remember a couple of things about Arthur, but not about his acts/policies as president.)

  16. whether economic historians will consider Lehman Brothers important a century from now

    Someone is going to have to explain the joke to film buffs when they’re watching Despicable Me, might as well lumber the economists with the duty.

  17. 15: I’m not totally comfortable with some of Buhlert’s terms such as “writing factories” and “These people are very talented self-promoters” and “little subgenre niche”. Just because they’re not “our” kind of fans is no reason to treat them as the Other and to imply that the only reasons for their successes are dishonest ones.

  18. @Jake

    Cora is a self pubbed writer herself, I’m pretty sure that’s not what she was implying.

  19. (13) What a difference between how novel writers and short-fiction writers react to negative reviews! Short-fiction writers (some of them) think a reviewer’s job is to help promote the authors. They see negative reviews as immoral and react accordingly. Novel writers understand that negative reviews come with the territory–they just don’t want their noses rubbed in it.

    Reviews are for readers and fans, not authors and editors; there’s no need to notify writers of a review at all. That said, I do think it’s courteous to notify writers when you recommend their work (we always do), but linking them to negative reviews is just unkind.

  20. @Greg: A positive review means someone read my story and took the time to analyze and discuss it. A negative review also means someone read my story and took the time to analyze and discuss it. That’s what stories are for.

  21. @Greg:

    Not to buck the trend, but while the author I know best doesn’t exactly like negative reviews, they would very much like to know if they got something wrong or if something is Not Working for a sizable chunk of readers. Feedback helps one improve one’s work, even if unpalatable; a well thought-out negative review can be priceless.

    No reason that needs to be rudely phrased, though.

  22. @Joe H.: The first of that tweet’s photos is a little surreal for me since the cat looks just like one of my spouse’s dear, departed cats. #1 black, #2 white burst on the chest, and #3 I don’t see a tail in that photo. (My spouse’s cats were tailless Manxes. Granted, perhaps I’m just not noticing the tail in the photo.) So wow, that’s spooky. 0.o 🙂

  23. Avery Abernethy: People who want to know more about your preferred coverage of that story can follow your links. I generally don’t report much about Gen Con, except some awards given there, or something like Mercedes Lackey’s medical emergency. What happened was a crime and a police report was filed — the incident was handled appropriately, it souds like. Since Larry Correia attends Gen Con the story would mean more to him.

  24. 1) As the guy who foolishly volunteered to spearhead the Restaurant Guide, I can say I am utterly thrilled by what it has become.

    That printed version is a short guide to the restaurants close to the convention center and the main con hotels. We figure that when you and your friends want to grab lunch or dinner, you probably won’t want to play with your phones/tablets.

    The app, which we have thanks to our Evil Overlord, has everything. Restaurants, bars, local stores, and we’re going to be adding things up to the last minute.

    And I never want to look at a restaurant website again.

    5) Yes, hiring a disbarred lawyer who is legally prohibited from even acting as a paralegal is a good way to handle your bizarre lawsuit.

    7) I have the Convention Bag of Holding. One of the best-designed bags I’ve ever seen, although a little on the bulky side.

  25. @Kendall — For the record, there is a tail; it’s just kind of tucked under his backside. (And the tail is almost prehensile — he can curl it into a tight circle when he so chooses; hence, his nickname, “Monkeybutt”.)

  26. @avery abernathy:
    The incident didnt happen AT Gen Con, but after hours, off site during gencon.
    And the Youtuber is an Alt-Rightist who has been banned for life from Magic TG tournaments for harressment, The former is probably the reason why LC blogs about him, the latter (although more recent harresment against a female wargame reviewer and a female Magic cosplayer) the reason for the punching.

  27. @Jake
    As Mark said, I’m a self-published author myself and therefore have some insight into the industry and also at what goes on in the private Facebook groups many readers never see. And I did not mean to imply that the high volume authors and author collectives are all employing problematic tactics. Some did and have recently had their accounts yanked (which was touched upon in Sarah Jeong’s Cockygate article, which was linked here), while others stick to perfectly legitimate methods. All of the current Dragon finalists are still available on Amazon. And yes, these authors and groups are talented self-promoters and have found eager audiences for their work. And there is even some overlap with Filers, e.g. Hampus is a LitRPG reader and fan of Dragon finalist Aleron Kong. Nonetheless, Kindle Unlimited has warped the Amazon charts, which is Amazon’s doing. The authors are just responding.

    @Avery Abernathy
    I see Mike has already responded. But I think that many sites also hold off reporting about the GenCon attack, because so far there is no report about the incident from a source that’s not clearly biassed. If there was an official statement e.g. from GenCon or a report from an Indianapolis newspaper, this might well change.

  28. @Joe H.: “Monkeybutt” – LOL. And thanks for elaborating. With the tail out of view, Monkeybutt looks so similar!

    Let’s see if this works: 😻 😸

    ETA: Yay, it worked!

  29. Surprised this afternoon by the arrival of a Dragon Awards ballot in my email. I am not prepared for them–the awards are supposed to be given out on Sept 2, so I don’t think I’m getting all those novels done in time. The only award that I can in good conscience give is the movie category–somehow I have seen all of them. Right now I’m tending towards Black Panther though I was blown away by the cinematography of Blade Runner 2049.

  30. @Andrew Porter: How about “Cat Bubastis-ing”

    @Vicki Rosenzweig: I agree. It’s conceivable that future people might see Lehman Brothers, etc., as highly salient events and be as familiar with them as people today are with Civil War precursors. On the other hand, I have seen SF that does seem to me to fall into the problem that (14) points out – fictional characters in a distant future with an implausibly high level of familiarity with 20th or 21th century events. It’s a tricky balance to achieve.

  31. Mega-Meredith Moment: DC Comics is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Vertigo by offering up to 83% percent off their ebooks. Judging from the first page of the Amazon sale page, the savings seem substantial.

  32. 14) I had to look up who Bernanke is/was, because second and third tier political figures from other countries are usually quickly forgotten, if they manage to be noticed in the first place. Outside the US, US presidents and some of the more notable secretaries of state will be remembered (foreign secretaries usually), everybody else will be forgotten in a few years. Lehman Brothers will be remembered for some time to come (thought not necessarily into the mid 22nd century), because they triggered a massive banking/financial crisis.

    Though excessive references to 20th/21st events or figures or country-specific historical events is a common problem in science fiction, particularly but not limited to works from the US. I’m talking about things like far future Earth battleships named after obscure figures from the revolutionary war (even The Expanse falls into this trap and they usually have great spaceship names) or long ago battles (a far future battlecruiser named Yorktown is as unlikely as a modern aircraft carrier named Thermopylae), characters from 2000 years in the future having strong opinions about WWII, even though that is as unlikely as a random modern person having strong opinions on the Punic Wars.

  33. Cora Buhlert: I agree that it’s not authentic for there to be all these contemporary-to-us references cropping up in sf cultures of the near future (and even less so, the farther out in time the story is set).

    However, I’m reminded of the saying “Science fiction is never about the future, it’s always about the present.” People can argue that it’s overstated, but it’s often true, so while it’s not “artful” to have these anachronistic references, they probably don’t disturb uncritical readers.

  34. @Cora

    If Greece were fielding aircraft carriers Thermopylae would be a good name for one. So it depends on the namer’s naming conventions and what they are trying to evoke.However usually the names and current day info are just thrown in with no reasonable explanation.

    So if you have a Yorktown because the naming polity has some descent from the USA and they have just been recycling names with no one really knowing what they are about it could make sense. But if you have a soliloquy from the Captain of the ship about the battle and other crew talking about how it inspires them it starts to be a hard sell.

  35. @Cora Buhlert: “I’m talking about things like far future Earth battleships named after obscure figures from the revolutionary war (even The Expanse falls into this trap and they usually have great spaceship names) or long ago battles (a far future battlecruiser named Yorktown is as unlikely as a modern aircraft carrier named Thermopylae)”

    While I agree with your general point, I do feel obliged to pick a nit here. Military forces like to keep the names of important ships in service. Even without the influence of Star Trek, how many Enterprises have there been? It’s a big name; it gets reincarnated.

    Now, if a nation and/or its military go away, of course its traditional names are likely to vanish. As you correctly note, there doesn’t seem to be a Thermopylae in service. On the flip side, one way for an upstart faction to claim legitimacy is to seize or resurrect a legendary mantle. If the US were to collapse and a new order arose in what had been its South, that regime might well decide to name its vessels after Confederate figures.

    In other words, those names ought to imply or support a backstory. I readily agree that this is usually a missed opportunity and that reused names can be a sign of lazy worldbuilding… but that is not automatically so.

    Speaking purely for myself, I hate coming up with names. I’ll give you plot and character for days, but good names are my Whazzizface’s Heel*. I might fall back on modern or historical reference purely because I can’t really have the RKS Insert Name Here open fire on the UBP I’ll Think Of Something. Might be good for a laugh, but not in a serious story.

    ETA: Damn, ninja’d by Magewolf. Hey, maybe that’d be a decent name for a ship…

    * Yes, that’s a joke. Of course I remember the story of Narcissus.**
    ** Uh, yeah. Kidding again. But you knew that, right? 😀
    *** Don’t you just hate it when you can’t find the back-reference for a footnote?

  36. 1. As a local SJ citizen, I want to give a shout out to two of my favorite bars that aren’t on the map, Paper Plane and Haberdasher. Both are downtown and Haberdasher especially serves amazing cocktails in a great atmosphere.

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