Pixel Scroll 8/26/17 M. Glyer’s Classic Tale Of Wretched Hives And High Tsundokus

(1) CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING. Have comic cons reached a saturation point, or is it a problem with this company in particular, which turned over CEOs last year? ICv2 says gateshow runner Wizard World continues to tank — “Wizard World Sales Drop Nearly 50%”.

Wizard World has released its Q2 financials, and the situation has deteriorated even further from the big loss in Q1 (see “Wizard World Revenue Decline Produces Big Operating Loss“).  Sales declined 49% in Q2 compared to the same quarter last year, and the company had an operating loss of $1.9 million, compared to a $475,000 operating profit in Q2 2016.

…The company says it is planning 22 events in 2017, and hoping to increase revenue over 2016.  That seems a bit of a stretch at this point, with first half sales over $6 million less in 2017 than in 2016.

(2) HOLLYN ON CARSON CENTER ADVISORY BOARD. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln announces: “Carson Center taps arts, entertainment leaders”.

Twenty-five international leaders and innovators in new media will offer their advice and expertise to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

Founding Director Megan Elliott on Aug. 23 announced the center’s initial advisory board, which will partner in the center’s strategic planning and offer valuable industry insight. The board includes leaders in art, technology, gaming, television and film, design, interactivity, communications and business, among other fields, with experience and connections with mainstays such as Lucasfilm, YouTube, Google, Disney and Paramount Pictures.

One of them is a longtime fan —

Norman Hollyn, the Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Film Editing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Hollyn is a longtime film, TV and music editor.

(3) UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE. Now that its publisher’s attempt to game the NY Times Bestseller list has caused the internet to turn a glaring spotlight on Handbook for Mortals, more of their tricks are coming to light — like the cover’s similarity to another artist’s work.

(4) IT GETS VERSE. And Fran Wilde has commemorated the book’s delisting with this parody:

(5) KEEP THE MONEY COMING. Sofawolf’s Kickstarter to publish T. Kingfisher’s Summer in Orcus as an illustrated book has reached all its stretch goals, but if in the remaining hours of the drive they hit $28K then backers will be rewarded with an ebook edition of Black Dogs by Kingfisher’s closer personal friend Ursula Vernon. 🙂

So what’s next? We’ve gone over the financial numbers and everything that we have already committed to, and don’t see enough room for another physical thing without having to introduce some new levels and the resulting chaos that would cause. However, just because we can’t offer another physical thing, doesn’t mean we can’t add on a virtual one.

Many years back, we edited and published the first novel Ursula ever wrote, Black Dogs, as a two-part print edition. For a whole host of reasons (mostly lack of time) we have been slow to tackle the conversion of much of our backlist into eBook format, but we know more than a few of you have been requesting Black Dogs for some time.

Now will be that time.

We’ve gotten the okay from Ursula to release the eBook editions for free to the Kickstarter backers as part of the final stretch goal, which we are going to set at $28K (since we are already almost at $23K and we expect the usual last week frenzy). This will be added to all levels from $8 (Baba Yaga) on up.

If you are not familiar with the story, we want to stress that Black Dogs is not like Summer in Orcus in many ways. While it too centers around a young girl, in this case named Lyra, it is an altogether harsher world which she inhabits; and she both comes from and passes through some dark places to get where she is going. The writing is both clearly very early Ursula, and at the same time, very clearly all Ursula (or T. Kingfisher, or whomever you care to reference).

(6) GUFF DELEGATE. Donna Maree Hanson is chronicling her fan fund trip online. The entries about museum visits are lavishly illustrated with photos of the exhibits. This excerpt is taken from one of the posts about the Worldcon – “Guff # 6 -The Hugo Awards”.

Then it was our turn to go on stage. The ceremony is on You Tube I believe and was webcast. We were in the beginning section. There was an International group of people presenting, South Africa, Poland, China, US and Australia. We had to sit on a sofa on stage and then after we presented we had a short interview. Amazing, John [the TAFF delegate] and I got to plug the fan auction to like 5000 people! They had John’s name wrong in the script so Karen Lord called him Jeff. We gave John a hard time. So Jeff what did you do with John etc.

After the awards ceremony we were invited to the Hugo Losers’ Party. There was a shuttle bus (a small one) so a lot of people took cabs. We waited with C E Murphy and ? (I’m sorry I forgot your name again) and Nalo Hopkinson, George RR Martin, Pat Catigan and others. A Finish fan guy leaped on the bus and Nalo can I come with you and did.

The venue was Helsinki’s steam punk nightclub. It was crowded by the time we got there. Winners turn up and are boohed and made to wear ridiculous head gear. There was an amazing steampunk cake. Lots of booze. Lots of food and desserts in mini containers. The music was good at first but then we tried to dance and the music went to shit. Go figure. I had a blast but wanted to go home. Beans, my daughter, wanted to party and dance and I didn’t get out of there until around 2 am. But I met people, talked to people. John and Valerie turned up late dressed in their steam punk gear. So cute.

Here is a collection of shots, including the steampunk cake. The steampunk couple are John and Valerie Purcell….

(7) MARS CON IN SEPTEMBER. The 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention will take place September 7-10 at UC Irvine.

The four-day International Mars Society Convention brings together leading scientists, engineers, aerospace industry representatives, government policymakers and journalists to talk about the latest scientific discoveries, technological advances and political-economic developments that could help pave the way for a human mission to the planet Mars.

On opening night the convention will feature a panel of science fiction greats discussing “The Human Future in Space.”

Members of this special panel will include Greg Benford (Timescape, The Martian Race, Chiller), David Brin (Startide Rising, The Uplift War, The Postman), Larry Niven (Ringworld, Lucifer’s Hammer, The Integral Trees) and Jerry Pournelle (Footfall, A Mote in God’s Eye, Starswarm).

The science fiction panel discussion will begin at 7:00 pm at the University of California Irvine (A-311 Student Center) and will be open to the public.

Commenting on the panel, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “This will be an extraordinary event. It’s like having a conference panel a generation ago featuring Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. I can hardly wait.”

(8) ARRRH. Gail Selinger’s new pirate history, Pirates of New England: Ruthless Raiders and Rotten Renegades will be released September 1.

One would be mistaken to think of pirates as roaming only the Caribbean. Pirates as famous as William Kidd and Henry Every have at various times plundered, pillaged, and murdered their way up and down the New England seaboard, striking fear among local merchants and incurring the wrath of colonial authorities. Piracy historian Gail Selinger brings these tales of mayhem and villainy to life while also exploring why New England became such a breeding ground for high seas crime and how the view of piracy changed over time, from winking toleration to brutal crackdown….

Gail Selinger is a maritime historian and pirate expert who served as a consultant on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels: Pirate Tech. Her commentary appears on the DVDs of The Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pirates and lectures on pirates and pirate history.

(9) NOT THE TERRITORY. Alex Acks explains why “I Don’t  Like Fantasy Maps”. And it’s not because you can never get them folded up again. Here’s the first of 10 points:

Most of them are terrible. Like geographically, geologically terrible. You’ve already probably seen me complain about the map of Middle Earth. From my experience as a reader, and I’ll readily admit that I have neither had the patience nor time to read every fantasy book ever written, the majority of fantasy maps make me want to tear my hair out as a geologist. Many of them are worse than the Tolkien map, and without his fig leaf of mythology to justify it. (And sorry, it’s not a fig leaf that works for me.)

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born August 26 – David K.M. Klaus

(11) ALIENS AHEAD. The New York Times previews an upcoming exhibit at UC Riverside: “For Latino Artists in Sci-Fi Show, Everyone’s an Alien”.

Starting Sept. 16, Ms. Cortez’s “Memory Insertion Capsule” will greet visitors to “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas,” an exhibition at the University of California, Riverside that shows Latin American and Latin-heritage artists mining the tropes of science fiction.

Some, like Ms. Cortez, have created startling objects that offer portals into alternative worlds or mimic time machines. Others use the imagery of extraterrestrials to express something of the immigrant’s alienating experience. Most engage in the speculative thinking long associated with science-fiction literature and film to explore social issues.

(12) COURSE CORRECTION. Apparently there was a problem with fulfilling the incentives earned by backers of the 2015 Kickstarter for Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place, because the publisher’s new CEO is trying to make it right.

I know that there are some of you who either weren’t sent the correct rewards or any rewards at all. I sincerely apologize for this. There is absolutely NO reason that you shouldn’t have your rewards by now. That is unacceptable and just a little ridiculous. You have our apologies. We’ll absolutely be correcting this sort of problem.

I also wanted it known that Jaym (Gates) is absolutely NOT to blame for the delays. That falls squarely on our shoulders. Throughout, Jaym has been absolutely professional and has worked hard as your advocate. I also wanted to issue a public apology to Jaym for all the delays as well. Thank you for all your hard work and patience, Jaym. We really appreciate it.

Now, onto fulfillment and reward questions. Right now, I’m going through and trying to figure out who has gotten what and who hasn’t. We’re taking steps to get this sorted out immediately and to get everything to you all that you backed in short order.

To that end, it would help us greatly if you would take a few moments and fill this form out –

Genius Loci Backer Form

(13) WHEN TROI WAS ALMOST CANNED. Paramount wanted to let Marina Sirtis know who was wielding the hammer in these contract negotiations.

The final film for the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew was nearly short one cast member. According to Marina Sirtis, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Deanna Troi, negotiations for her return in Star Trek: Nemesis were not going smoothly and at one point Paramount Pictures threatened to replace her in the film with Jeri Ryan, the actress who played the Borg Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager. …While this is the first time that Sirtis has openly discussed the threat, Ryan has mentioned in it the past, saying that she was utterly confused by how Seven of Nine could possibly make sense showing up in a Star Trek: The Next Generation movie. With Star Trek: Voyager off the air as of 2001, Seven of Nine technically wasn’t doing anything else, but with much of Star Trek: Nemesis revolving around Troi’s wedding the film’s script would have needed a serious rewrite to account for Troi’s absence and Seven of Nine’s introduction.

 

(14) MORE ABOUT W75. Sarah Groenewegen’s Worldcon 75 report is rich in info about the panels: “WorldCon75 – All bound for Helsinki”.

Anyway, I didn’t end up seeing too many panels. I heard about some excellent ones, which will no doubt be highlighted in other reviews and reminiscences. The one that I did see that stood out was the one supposed to be on pre-Harry Potter magical schools. While I quite enjoyed it and found some of the panellists interesting – and I would have like to hear more about Italian versions, rather than just the Anglophone ones – it was a victim of too many panellists for 45 minutes, and the moderator was less than optimally effective, especially when a latecomer arrived on the panel and took over.

The Resistance panel was also good, but very heavily US-centric, saved by Kameron Hurley talking about her experiences in South Africa and drawing on her academic work in the field.

I enjoyed the one on Cyberpunk with Pat Cadigan (but, honestly, I could listen to her all day), and I found Quifan Chen’s contributions to be fascinating about real-life now cyberpunk cities in his native China. I’m reading Pat’s Synners, at long last, and greatly enjoying it.

(15) MAPS OF THE STARS HOMES. For those who have been worried about aliens tracking us down and mugging us based on information we’ve sent into the universe, this might represent good news…. Ethan Siegel tells Medium readers, “Voyager’s ‘Cosmic Map’ of Earth’s location is hopelessly wrong”.

Located throughout the galaxy, the Voyager golden records are emblazoned with the relative orientations, distances, and pulse timing frequencies of 14 different pulsars. (The Pioneer 10 and 11 missions also have the pulsar information on them.)…

Pulsars were only first discovered 50 years ago (by Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, above) in 1967; they were incredibly novel still when the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft were launched. Now that we have a better understanding of how they work, how ubiquitous they are, and how their apparent properties change over time, we can see that these are terrible long-term beacons! In hindsight, it would have been better to put together the astronomical properties of the Sun, along with the masses, radii, atmospheric contents, and orbital parameters of the planets. After all, those are the pieces of information we use to identify exoplanet systems today, and would be the best way to, on a long-term basis, identify our Solar System.

(16) BANGING ON. Someone wants to know: “Is Canada’s official residence in Ireland haunted?”

Canada’s ambassador to Ireland is concerned about ghosts.

Specifically, Ambassador Kevin Vickers is worried about a spirit that might be haunting Canada’s official residence in Dublin.

In a recent Facebook post, the ambassador describes hearing unusual bangs, laboured breathing and heavy footsteps in the residence’s halls.

Mr Vickers, a history buff, suggests it may be the spirit of one of the leaders of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising.

When he first moved into the residence, the ambassador heard rumours that Irish nationalist Patrick Pearse had once lived at the home in Dublin’s Ranelagh district.

Pearse was one of the architects of the April 1916 rebellion to overthrow British rule and set up an Irish republic.

(17) MINNEAPOLIS FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has posted a photo-illustrated audio recording on YouTube of the “Minneapolis Fandom, 4th Street Fantasy & Music” panel at Balticon 51.

Geri Sullivan (Balticon 51 Fan Guest of Honor) and Steven Brust (Balticon 51 Special Guest) tell the true story of Minneapolis fandom from rent parties to 4th Street Fantasy to the music. Steve talks about how he programmed conventions, and where he got the idea for his first book, and Geri talks about her first years in fandom. There are great anecdotes about Steve, convention running and more, but overwhelmingly this audio program (with supplemental images) is about the music and culture of Minneapolis fandom. The fan history program was developed for Balticon 51 by the Fanac Fanhistory project.

 

[Thanks to Greg Hullender, Carl Slaughter, JJ, Paul Weimer, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor Hampus Eckerman.]

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/26/17 M. Glyer’s Classic Tale Of Wretched Hives And High Tsundokus

  1. @1: some people think Trump-style boast and bluster work. Sometimes those stunts do — after all, Barnum had a point — but mostly they don’t. At least this time I’m not working for the bozo predicting that the next roll will recoup all the losses. (Me, bitter, 30 years after such bluster cost my job? Of course not!)

    @7: it’s a pity the panel has only oldpharts; it would be worth hearing what some of the people more connected to current work have to say.

    edit: first!

    edit^2: @9: I wonder whether Alex has seen Ford’s essay on maps (from the 1999 WFC); I suspect he might learn something. I’d love to hear what he thinks of Abercrombie’s maps for the Half a Xxx triptych, or of Briggs’s ex post facto maps of Discworld (vetted by Pratchett), et probably cetera.

  2. Even if I don’t reference it much, I like to see a map of places discussed in a book. My biggest complaint about “The Goblin Emperor” was that it didn’t have a map, so I was at a loss as to how far apart places referenced in the text really were.

    Geological accuracy is asking a lot of the maker of the map of a fantasy world, although I agree that a few things should be obvious (e.g. no mountain chains that make right-angled turns).

  3. Hey an item credit (and I know which one. We Fan Fund folk gotta stick together…)

    As far as fantasy maps, I may have to write a counterpoint to the stuff going around. I’m being prodded in that direction anyhow…

  4. (9) NOT THE TERRITORY.
    Meta: it’s an issue for any subject you’re familiar with. For example, I find myself wincing when writers of fiction get biology (especially genetics) wrong.

  5. I liked Sarah Gailey’s post about making the map for River of Teeth, and not just because of the tiny adorable hippo:

    For all the fun I had drawing my map, it taught me a lot about my story. I altered a couple of major plot details when I realized that, geographically speaking, the things I’d written were impossible. I came to better understand the scale of the story I was telling, and the scope of the impact my characters would have on the world around them. Drawing the map taught me things about my own book—things I would never have understood without facing down the challenge of the fiddly bits of coastline.

  6. In non-SF Authors Behaving Badly, a fiction writer’s web of lies started crashing because, amongst other things, he had blurbs from dead people. The SF connection: one of them is Ray Bradbury.

    http://jezebel.com/fiction-writer-is-being-accused-of-weaving-a-breathtaki-1798464276

    and the Bradbury quote- the Jezebel article missed the line above it, so they report it as being for the new book; it’s actually for a 2013 book:

    Praise for Lone Wolves:

    “A beautiful and moving story of courage and love.”—Ray Bradbury

    https://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Indians-John-Smelcer-ebook/dp/B01III4UTM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503812825&sr=8-1&keywords=stealing+indians

  7. Paul Weimer on August 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm said:

    As far as fantasy maps, I may have to write a counterpoint to the stuff going around. I’m being prodded in that direction anyhow…

    [prods Paul some more with my psychic powers]

  8. Jamoche: Maybe he’s got a friend named Ray Bradbury? After all the blurb is simply signed “Ray Bradbury”, not “Ray Bradbury, author of …” (Hmm, that gives me an idea for a business opportunity: Change my name to something famous, then sell blurbs under that name.)

  9. Greg:

    Geological accuracy is asking a lot of the maker of the map of a fantasy world, although I agree that a few things should be obvious (e.g. no mountain chains that make right-angled turns).

    I generally assume that maps aren’t accurate, but represent the geographical knowledge of the people of the world they’re depicting. It’s not like any map found in The Red Book of Westmarch was based on aerial photography or trigonometric surveying.

    Unrealistic topograhy can still bug me, though. For example, I’m unable to make sense of the rivers of Westeros and I’m fairly sure Martin gave little thought to watersheds and catchment areas when he drew his map.

    And speaking of maps: Have anyone found a map in the Kindle edition of The Stone Sky? The copyright page says “Map (c) Tim Paul” but I can’t find it.

  10. Unrealistic topograhy can still bug me, though. For example, I’m unable to make sense of the rivers of Westeros and I’m fairly sure Martin gave little thought to watersheds and catchment areas when he drew his map.

    @Johan P Take a map of Ireland. Rotate it 180 degrees.

    See the fingers and the vale of Arryn in the top right? Find Limerick. See Saltpans? Go down, see the blackwater?

    Set Britain on top, the Isle of Mann is in the same place as Bear island.

  11. Greg Hullender on August 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm said:

    Geological accuracy is asking a lot of the maker of the map of a fantasy world, although I agree that a few things should be obvious (e.g. no mountain chains that make right-angled turns).

    A comment that counterpointed Alex Acks statement offered up this real-world example:

    Mountains don’t do right angles? Then please explain the Carpathian mountains and the Hungarian plain:

    A Real World Example

    Clicking through some of the comments led me to this site:

    Mythcreants

  12. @Iphinome

    Take a map of Ireland. Rotate it 180 degrees.

    See the fingers and the vale of Arryn in the top right? Find Limerick. See Saltpans? Go down, see the blackwater?

    Nah, not quite. That gives us Shannon for the Red Fork, but there’s no match for the Blue Fork and Green Fork. The Green Fork starts in The Neck, manages the feat of running lengthwise on an isthmus, and drains enough water to be impassable when it reaches The Twins. (While there are no tributaries worth mentioning running from the western part of the Mountains of the Moon.) Both Milkwater and the Greenblood also runs lengthwise on fairly narrow pieces of land. Sure, it’s not impossible, but it’s a little odd.

    @GiantPanda: That’s strange. Going to that location now gave me a map. But I am 100% sure I’ve paged back and forth across it several times without any map showing up.

  13. @Johan P Don’t forget the children did a number on the geography of the neck when they tried to smash it just like when they broke the landbridge between Dorn and Essos. Add in all that swampy land west of Moat Calin and you can send a fair amount of water down.

    ETA: The time machines says I’m in 2017. I don’t know how I got sent back this far but if I remember history correctly, you people are so screwed.

  14. 15. The wrong address means they’ll not find us? Hah! All it means is they’re gonna be mighty pissed when they do find us. Ever get bad directions from a friend? Yeah, like that.

    @Johan P. get in line. Blurbs coming from E. Asimov…A. O. Clarke, Ray Bradberry, Roger Heinlein….

    ETA: and maybe some ebooks too. How about The Fountains of Mars by A. O. Clarke…The Illustrated Chronicles by Bradberry, Foundations and Sub Basements by E. Asimov…..

  15. All this talk about accurate geology in novels reminds me of Stephenson’s Reamde in which a geology obsessed computer programmer made sure that the game-engine for the MMORPG he co-designed was strictly accurate.

  16. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 8/27/2017 - Amazing Stories

  17. I iz contributing editor!!!1!

    Also, has the shoggoth destroyed the time machine?

  18. @Iphinome Good point about the children. A magic upheaval helps explain how The Neck developed a topography that makes all of it drain southwards and not east or west.

    The land west of Moat Cailin is drained westwards by the river Fever. But the land south of Moat Cailin, between it and Greywater Watch, is presumably part of the catchment area for the Blue Fork even though maps show the river proper rising at Greywater Watch.

    If there’s a large river running out of a swamp, there must also be water coming in or the swamp will eventually drain. That means The Neck must be rainy, which there’s no real reason for, to feed a largish river like the Blue Fork. (Unless we’re to assume that the magic of the Children once did causes water to spontaneously burst from the ground up until “current” day.)

  19. I usually dont look at the maps, unless I really have to, to understand the story.
    But as Soon Lee said: Its an issue with everything youre familiar with. I did study chemistry and I hav to skip the scene from Iron Man 2 where he creates a new element, just because he knows how it should look like. AND Jarvis can immediately anticipate the properties just by the structure of the atom. Ugh, I wince already just writing this….

    This little pixel went to the market…

  20. 9) The most annoying map I’ve seen recently, was the one for Winged Histories. Confusingly detailed, and the locations for most of action of the novel aren’t called out. The map actively detracts from the story.

  21. (16) “Is Canada’s official residence in Ireland haunted?”

    Wow, a more clear-cut example of Betteridge’s Law I don’t think I’ve seen! 😀

    (That’s “any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no“, for those who are unfamiliar.)

  22. re Alex Acks and the answers to him: is there a name yet for the law that any time an expert says something in genre is wrong, a counter-example can be found? This seems like an emergent property of the net; authors from Leinster forward have imagined AI finding answers, but I’m not remembering authors presenting the many-hands-make-light-work aspect of the net before it happened. I can think of one non-net example — massed fans finding the one error in a reference book of chess games, in Lieber’s “The 64-Square Madhouse” — which means somebody probably realized this was possible before it started happening.

  23. @Chip: Marc Stiegler’s “Earthweb” is that kind of thing, but is fairly late (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EarthWeb) – 1999. Theodore Sturgeon’s “To Marry Medusa” ends with humanity being united mentally (telepathically, vice through a computer network), so that all sorts of problems become easy because everyone’s expertise is instantly available – and that’s from 1958.

  24. @Chip Hitchcock: chess fans finding holes in published analysis of the opening has been a thing since there was published analysis of the opening. Leiber didn’t need any great foresight on that one.

  25. (14) I had the exact same reaction to the Building the Resistance panel, including Kameron Hurley’s brilliance. More in general, there were lots of military SF panels and I went to a few before realising that they would make me cranky and lead me to ask waaaaaaay too long and two grumpy questions of the I Wanted To Be On This Panel Dammit variety.

    There was this strange phenomenon that I have not witnessed in other non-US Wolrdcons, that in several panels the American panelists talked as if they were addressing an American audience, when it was very obvious from the accents when people were asking questions that the majority of the audience wasn’t, in fact, American or even anglophone. I was irritated by it, and more so because some of the people I saw exhibiting these behavior are people I know and who I know know better than that. In the past, I always saw American panelists behaving and talking as if they were in front of a foreign audience.

    Eventually I concluded that Americans, especially liberal Americans abroad, feel so under threat and so psychologically besieged that they have gone into a sort of batten-down-the-hatches think-inward mode. That panel ended with a plea to call your senators, which in this context, makes perfect sense.

    (In general, and I bored everybody already with this, the military SF panels assumed that war was something that primarily affected soldiers, that primarily was fought somewhere else, and that the soldiers who fought were primarily doing so out of choice. All very natural assumptions if you are an Americans, and all not true for most of the conflicts that I know about.)

  26. James Davis Nicoll on August 27, 2017 at 3:58 pm said:
    Yes, and IIRC it was shown as a lot of small actions that fit together to result in one big action.

  27. P J Evans: I’ll have to reread “Shockwave Rider” – I don’t remember that aspect at all.

    The much more recent “Demon” by Suarez had many hands participating in coordinated actions (directed by a distributed computer program) making life difficult for law-enforcement.

  28. Best Map ever is from Vernor Vinge’s “A Fire Upon the Deep”, at first glance it’s horribly confusion, but then after getting into the story, it’s very helpful.

  29. @Techgrrl1972

    A comment that counterpointed Alex Acks statement offered up this real-world example:

    Mountains don’t do right angles? Then please explain the Carpathian mountains and the Hungarian plain:

    I blame vampires.

  30. @Xtifr

    (That’s “any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no“, for those who are unfamiliar.)

    Headline: “What Is It Like to Be Buried Alive?”

    No.

  31. I’ll have to reread “Shockwave Rider” – I don’t remember that aspect at all.

    IIRC, there’s a party phone trick that “aborts”, someone typing numbers into a terminal, a few others like that, near the end of the book.

  32. The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA,* is currently showing “It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection”:

    https://www.pem.org/exhibitions/its-alive-classic-horror-and-sci-fi-art-from-the-kirk-hammett-collection

    I was a little nervous about going to this show since I am not a big horror fan, but in fact I enjoyed it a lot, especially the Hollywood nostalgia aspect. That may have something to do with the fact that I just finished reading James Morrow’s Shambling towards Hiroshima, a very odd book in the form of a memoir by an aging horror-movie actor who during WWII was involved in a top-secret U.S. military project that attempted to end the war by threatening the Japanese with giant fire-breathing lizards (yes, real ones). I recommend the book, and also the exhibition, which runs until Nov. 26.

    Also of interest, though unfortunately only up until Sept. 4, is “Lunar Attraction,” which takes advantage of the fact that the PEM is an eclectic combination of art museum, history museum, and science museum (in that order of importance, roughly) to show all kinds of things related to the moon.

    Not genre-related at all, but I enjoyed it anyway, was “Ocean Liners,” which is exactly what it sounds like, with models, real (and gorgeous) interior furnishings, posters, paintings, and some historical documents, such as actual “Marconigrams” (looking much like the telegrams of my childhood) exchanged between several other ships on a certain night in the North Atlantic in 1912, wondering what was happening to one of the liners. Come to think of it, considering how often that event shows up in SF books, maybe we can makes a case for the exhibit as kinda sorta related.

    *Yes, that Salem, although apparently the witch trials took place not in Salem proper but in outlying Salem Village, which is now known as Danvers.

  33. Spotted on IMDB while playing “who’s that guy” on Mission:Impossible – bit actor Peter Lorre Jr. No, his father wasn’t Peter Lorre; he wasn’t related at all, but was trying to cash in on a resemblance. The original did take him to court and a judge ordered him to stop, but then the real Lorre died and “Jr” went back to using the name. Didn’t help with his acting career – IMDB only has 4 credits for him.

  34. @P J Evans: That was just the triggering of a worm by cues from several locations; as you note, all that the people had to do was type in a few characters on a personal terminal. I was asking (perhaps not precisely enough) about problem solving, i.e. people providing data that other people didn’t have (e.g. the correction to Ack’s claim that there are no L-shaped mountain ranges).

    @David Goldfarb: this wasn’t analysis (which I am not surprised is argued), but a typo in a list of moves in one of a huge number of games in a reference work the computer was relying on in order to save clock time for deeper real-time analysis later in the game. I don’t know whether Leiber was speculating about such a book or knew of some such.

    @Andrew: I’d call Earthweb post-Net; I should have remembered To Marry Medusa, which (aside from being an imposed miracle rather than a Net people participate in voluntarily) is definitely the kind of process I was asking about.

    @estee: correct on the trial location (I’ve read a claim that the economic stress between the areas was part of the cause), but today-Salem is the place that makes a huge to-do about it (cue the Gahan Wilson cartoon about people spoiling something sacred).

  35. CHip, my copy is an a box in storage; I’d have to find it and re-read the book to see what else there is. (Not that I object, but I can’t remember everything.)

  36. (9) The original article on mountains in Middle Earth is complaining about magic in fantasy, which is a bit silly.

    However, people saying Middle Earth is fictional and magical so real-world physics is entirely irrelevant are missing a different point: yes, middle-earth was created and shaped and marred by magic, but it is not some fictional separate world. Tolkien was writing a secret history, a mythology for England, and Middle Earth IS our Earth, long ago, just as the Hyborian Age with Conan is a prehistory, not a separate fictional world.

    So with the departure of the Elves and magic, the Earth was left to physics, and somehow the map from the LotR became modern Europe, and the Shire became England, and Hobbiton became Oxford.

    And sitting here in Galway, I am out on the West coast of Forlindon, some way West of the Grey Havens in Cardiff.

  37. Meredith Moment: Viriconium by M. John Harrison (a wonderfully dense and lyrical novel) is currently $1.99 at Amazon and other fine sources.

  38. @Anna Feruglio

    There was this strange phenomenon that I have not witnessed in other non-US Wolrdcons, that in several panels the American panelists talked as if they were addressing an American audience, when it was very obvious from the accents when people were asking questions that the majority of the audience wasn’t, in fact, American or even anglophone. I was irritated by it, and more so because some of the people I saw exhibiting these behavior are people I know and who I know know better than that. In the past, I always saw American panelists behaving and talking as if they were in front of a foreign audience.

    I noticed the US-centrism of some American panelists, too. There was one example that bothered me, where a moderator interrupted a young woman who was asking a question and told her quite rudely to get to the point. Which would be okay with a rambling panel audience member at a US con (though the moderator could have been nicer about it). But the young woman was obviously someone whose first language wasn’t English and she was having problems finding the correct words, so the moderator’s behaviour was uncalled for. The incident really bothered me and I wish I would have spoken up at the time. And the moderator is someone who knows better.

    Eventually I concluded that Americans, especially liberal Americans abroad, feel so under threat and so psychologically besieged that they have gone into a sort of batten-down-the-hatches think-inward mode. That panel ended with a plea to call your senators, which in this context, makes perfect sense.

    I’ve noticed in general that many Americans have become more inward looking over the past year, particularly those on the left side of the US political spectrum. The political situation in the US is clearly getting to a lot of people, causing them to turn inwards.

    Regarding the plea to call your senators, which is of course a prime example of US-centrism, that could mean very different things to people from different countries. E.g. where I’m from, senators are city councillors. Of course, most of the audience members probably knew exactly what was meant, but calling/writing to your elected political representative is a very US/UK thing to do in general. For example, Germans are far more likely to contact higher level politicians with grievances than their respective representative. I suspect that majority voting system in the US and UK means that people are far more connected to their representative than people from countries with proportional voting systems.

    For example, I know who my representative in the national parliament is and come election time (in four weeks) I will evaluate the various candidates according to which one of these people do I want to represent me, regardless of which party otherwise gets my vote. But I have never interacted with my current political representative. And the last one I did interact with (purely for personal reasons – I knew his kids) retired in 1990.

  39. @Chip Hitchcock: I’m afraid you’re misremembering the story. It was not a typo as you say, it was a hole in the analysis – a line published as playable that actually allowed a forced mate. In fact, it’s evidence against Leiber’s foresight, because the hole was exactly the kind that modern computers are excellent at finding and avoiding.

  40. @David Goldfarb: the exact words from the story are “editorial error”; that leaves a lot of room for exactly what went wrong. (As you noted previously, analysis is subject to argument.) I think your celebration is … premature.
    And your slamming of Leiber strikes me as unreasonable. The story is rather blatantly day-after-tomorrow, not just in the equipment but in the exceedingly youthful “Willie Angler” (who I’d remembered by character but not by name); were chess-playing computers 55 years ago deep-searching and pruning lines such that they’d find this error, or were they still brute-forcing as described? Bear in mind the plot point that Machine in later games is relying on libraries of openings rather than examining each of the early moves in depth; ideally, Machine would have tested all of those openings before the tournament and found the hole — we’re specifically told it saw the problem once its calculation horizon reached that far under the tournament’s time limitations — but not doing this is some combination of Simon Great’s misjudgment and the limited power of computers at that time.

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