Pixel Scroll 9/24/18 I’ve Reversed The Scrollarity Of The Neutron Flow

(1) CHABON AT WORK ON NEW PICARD SERIES. Newsweek fills in the background behind Sir Patrick Stewart’s tweet: “Michael Chabon, Patrick Stewart Look Captivated in New Star Trek Photo”.

Assembled is the creative team for the new Picard series, and many are also involved with Star Trek: Discovery. Kirsten Beyer is the Star Trek novelist and Discovery staff writer; the Picard series is described as her “brain child.” Michael Chabon is a Pulitzer, Hugo and Nebula-award winning author (he also wrote John Carter). Akiva Goldsman is executive producer of most things in this world, including Stephen King projects like The Dark Tower and Doctor Sleep, DC’s Titans and Star Trek: Discovery . Diandra Pendleton-Thompson is a veteran writers assistant, on Stranger Things Season 3 and now on projects with Goldsman (according to her alumni magazine, she’s also written a pilot “about supernatural mafias in 1970s Las Vegas”). James Duff created The Closer and joined the Star Trek: Discovery team after the exit of former showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts.

(2) PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS. Voting is open in the final round of the 2018 Peoples Choice Awards, now through October 19. The voting rules specify a “Turbo Voting” periods for this final round (October 4-9) wherein votes count double. You can vote in several ways and  multiple times, up to limits noted in the rules. Winners will be announced in a televised ceremony the evening of November 11.

The full list of nominees is online at E! News, many of them genre. For example, up for the year’s best movie are –

Movie of 2018

Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Incredibles 2
Fifty Shades Freed
A Quiet Place

(3) SMOFCON SCHOLARSHIPS. CanSMOF Inc. has announced the three winners of its scholarships to SMOFcon 36, a con for convention runners.

  • The first scholarship, open to a Canadian citizen or resident, was awarded to Rebecca Downey of Montréal, QC.
  • The second, open to a non-North American resident, was awarded to Marguerite Smith of Dublin, Ireland.
  • The third, open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence or citizenship, was awarded to Kate Hatcher of Layton, UT.

SMOFcon 36 runs November 30-December 2 in Santa Rosa, CA.

(4) FISH IN A RAPIDLY GROWING POND. Adam-Troy Castro wrote a confessional post that deals honestly with the tug-of-war between a writer’s aspirations for the field, and for his own career:

You think it doesn’t bother me, on some level, when younger writers make a splash on some epic level I haven’t, when they win multiple awards I haven’t, when they make movie deals I haven’t, you don’t know how the human animal works.

One can be happy for any individual one of them, even several of them, and still seethe with that reptile-animal cry, “You’re forgetting about me!”

Any claim that I had never experienced that thought process would be a lie….

(5) ELEVATOR YOUR GAME. Joshua Palmatier is updating his “Elevator Pitch Project”. Click to see his list of links to the authors’ posts.

A few year ago, I ran a couple of projects designed to help writers with some of the basic essentials of trying to get a novel published, things like query letters and plot synopses. Since then, my blog had changed and those links to those bits of writerly advice from various published authors have been lost. So I thought I’d run another set of projects to refresh those links AND to bring in new thoughts from today’s authors. So for the next three days, I’ll be running three projects, one on elevator pitches, one on query letters, and one on plot synopses. This is the central hub for all of the posts on:

Elevator Pitches:

Here are some thoughts on how to write elevator pitches from various authors. Not everyone does this the same way, so I’d suggest reading through the posts, think about the advice, and then decide which approach works best for you. Maybe try a few of them to find out. This is the first time I’ve done a elevator pitch project, so all of these posts are new. Also, I’ll add to this list if more authors want to participate in the future, so check back every now and then and see if there’s a new post on the list. I hope some of you find these projects helpful!

(6) TOLKIEN. The Hobbit did not appear in German translation while the Nazis were in power. Newsweek revisits the 1936 correspondence that may explain why: “The Hobbit: How Tolkien Sunk a German Anti-Semitic Inquiry Into His Race”.

…New owner Albert Hachfeld fired all Jewish staff and dropped all Jewish writers. In the letter to Tolkien, his firm explained that before it could start work on a German version of The Hobbit, they had to ensure Tolkien’s “Aryan descent,” i.e., make sure he had no Jewish ancestry.

In a letter to his friend and publisher Stanley Unwin, Tolkien said the letter from Berlin was “a bit stiff.” He questioned whether “I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of arisch [Aryan] origin from all persons of all countries?”

“I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestätigung [confirmation] (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang,” Tolkien added. “In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print.”

Tolkien submitted two draft replies to the German. The first simply ignored the request. But the second demonstrates the author’s opinion on the Nazi state—and its misunderstanding of the word “Aryan”—in no uncertain terms. It reads as follows….

(7) SHEFFIELD HOSTS A WHO. “Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker lands in Sheffield for red carpet premiere” covers a sneak preview at the site of the opening episode. A companion (get it?) post has a collection of as-it-happened coverage, with pictures: “Doctor Who premiere: How Sheffield red carpet happened”.

(8) BUMBLEBEE TRAILER. The new Transformers movie will be in theaters at Christmas.

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.


(9) KURTZ OBIT. Here are some more acknowledgements of Gary Kurtz’ passing —


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born September 24, 1825 – Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Teacher, Writer, Poet, Journalist, and Activist. The only child of free African-American parents, she was a strong supporter of abolitionism, prohibition and woman’s suffrage, and was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to Canada. Her 1860 speculative fiction story “The Triumph of Freedom – A Dream” was anthologized in The Vintage Book of American Women Writers in 2011.
  • Born September 24, 1918 – Bernard J. ‘Jack’ Daley, Writer. I’m quoting his well written obit: “But a large part of his life revolved around writing and an enduring passion for science fiction, fantasy, horror stories and comics. His stories appeared in Infinity and Fantastic Universe, as well as a 1957 anthology of science fiction and fantasy tales. Fun-loving, witty and compassionate, Mr. Daley was among the earliest customers at Greg Eide’s comic store when it opened in Etna in 1972. In the pre-Internet era, “We were all finding each other. Jack would come in with his son, Chris,” said Mr. Eide, who hosted after-hours, monthly gatherings at his store on Saturday night where collectors traded and sold comics while appreciating the imagination of author Stan Lee and the artistry of illustrators like Frank Frazetta.”
  • Born September 24, 1930 – John “Jack” Gaughan, Artist and Illustrator, winner of several Hugo Awards for both Professional and Fan Artist. Working mostly with Donald A. Wollheim at Ace Books, and DAW Books from 1971 onwards, his style could be seen on Andre Norton’s Witch World novels and E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensmen and Skylark novels. He was the house illustrator for Galaxy Magazine from ‘69 to ‘74 as well. In addition, you can find his work on the unauthorized first paperback edition of Lord of the Rings which Ace released in 1965.
  • Born September 24, 1934 – John Brunner, Writer, whose best novels I think were The Shockwave Rider, Stand on Zanzibar, and The Sheep Look Up. Stand on Zanzibar won the Hugo and BSFA Awards and was a Nebula finalist. The Jagged Orbit won a BSFA too. He wrote the screenplay for The Terrornauts. And it should be noted he was a Guest of Honor at the first European Science Fiction Convention, Eurocon-1, in 1972.
  • Born September 24, 1936 – Jim Henson, Actor and Puppeteer. After some early puppeteering work on variety shows, Henson became famous for developing puppet characters for Sesame Street. Frustrated at being typecast as a children’s entertainer, he created The Muppet Show, which was wildly popular and led to several spin-off movies. He created a foundation to promote the art of puppetry, and a company which went on to produce movies featuring his creatures, including the cult hits The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Sadly, he died suddenly at the far-too-early age of 53, but his company continues to mentor puppeteers and produce creatures for movies and TV shows.
  • Born September 24, 1939 – Janet Berliner, Writer and Editor. A South African author who emigrated to the U.S., she co-edited, with Martin H. Greenberg and Peter S. Beagle, the Locus Award-shortlisted Immortal Unicorn Anthology in 1995, an homage to Beagle’s Last Unicorn which includes stories by many well-known SFF authors. She was a past President of the Horror Writers Association, and her novel Children of the Dusk, co-written with GRRM-protégé George Guthridge, won the 1997 Stoker Award for Best Novel.


  • At Candorville find out “Why Lemont Says We Must Build Oneill Cylinders Now.”

(12) SCIENCE WARRIORS. Amanda Marcotte on Salon interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose new book, Accessory to War, discusses the relationship between science and the military throughout history — “Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘Accessory to War’: Where “space scientists and space warriors” collide”.

…In his new book, “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military,” Tyson and his co-author Avis Lang look the darker side of astrophysics and astronomy — advances in the field have always gone hand in hand with the development of military technology meant to more efficiently kill people.

“The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds,” Tyson and Lang write. “Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it’s a laboratory for one and a battleground for the other.”

(13) A PATREON CALL. The “Worlds Without End Patreon Campaign” will help cover the site’s expenses.

What is Worlds Without End?
Worlds Without End is a website and online community built to help fans find, read, and share the best speculative fiction. WWEnd offers a forever free membership and is built around the biggest genre fiction awards and best books lists. It features an array of members-only tools that you can use to narrow your search for your next great read. As part of our community of like-minded fans, you’ll find plenty of reviews, commentary, and recommendations to keep you busy reading great books for years to come. We don’t want you to ever read a bad book again.

From the Patreon appeal:

Worlds Without End is now, and should always be, a free resource to the genre fiction community but real life circumstances have changed, and we are looking for a little help from our members and fans.  We recently lost our free web hosting arrangement with our former employer so we are now having to pay out of pocket for hosting, domain names, and all those other bits of software etc. that go along with running a website.  In addition, we have spent many hundreds of hours developing the site, and with the new WWEnd 3.0 in the pipeline, we are spending more and more of our free time on upgrades and new features.  All that time comes at a personal cost that is getting harder and harder to justify to ourselves and our families….

(14) MAKING LEMONADE. In a manner of speaking. BBC tells “How to use seawater to grow food — in the desert” – with solar energy for power, there are swamp coolers so the crops don’t fry.

“My basil’s a bit straggly,” head grower Blaise Jowett says, apologetically. “But I’m keeping them for pesto.”

He shouldn’t be too apologetic. Outside of the greenhouse, a camel grazes. Pale pink sand extends to the rocky mountains in the distance. Only the hardiest tufts of green thrust up through the ground. There is no water. There are no trees.

(15) UNWINDING THE ENIGMA. From the BBC: “Code-cracking WW2 Bombe operation recreated at Bletchley”.

Computer historians have staged a re-enactment of World War Two code-cracking at Bletchley Park.

A replica code-breaking computer called a Bombe was used to decipher a message scrambled by an Enigma machine.

Held at the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), the event honoured Polish help with wartime code-cracking.

Ruth Bourne, a former wartime code-cracker who worked at Bletchley and used the original Bombes, oversaw the modern effort….

Chip Hitchcock adds the comment, “Unfortunately this was only one-time; I wonder if they could turn it into an attraction and sell tickets? cf the spy museum in DC, which was jammed when I visited a few years ago.”

(16) THE METRE IS RUNNING. Tech history, with landmarks: “How France created the metric system”. Most Filers probably know the fundamentals, but the present-day traces are interesting.

On the facade of the Ministry of Justice in Paris, just below a ground-floor window, is a marble shelf engraved with a horizontal line and the word ‘MÈTRE’. It is hardly noticeable in the grand Place Vendôme: in fact, out of all the tourists in the square, I was the only person to stop and consider it. But this shelf is one of the last remaining ‘mètre étalons’ (standard metre bars) that were placed all over the city more than 200 years ago in an attempt to introduce a new, universal system of measurement. And it is just one of many sites in Paris that point to the long and fascinating history of the metric system.

(17) POTENTIAL TWOFER. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The American Astronautical Society’s 11th annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium will be 23–25 October 2018  at the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Charger Union Theater in Huntsville AL. The event is cosponsored by UAH and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The landing page for the event describes it as:

“Galvanizing U.S. Leadership In Space”

The Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium is an annual event that features panel discussions and guest speakers reflecting government, industry, academia, business and international perspectives on space exploration.

Session and speaker topics at this year’s event will include:

  • Commercial Space Initiatives
  • Exploration Technologies
  • Exploration Partners Update
  • Future SLS Missions
  • Gateway Planning
  • ISS Commercialization
  • Lunar Surface Operations
  • National Security in Space
  • Space Policy Direction
  • State of the Workforce

By happenstance, you could come to Huntsville a few days early and meet local fans at Not-A-Con 2018, which is being held 19–20 October. Huntsville was the site for over 3 decades of Con*Stellation, the last one of which (XXXV) was held in 2017. But, the local club (NASFA) is still going strong and wants an excuse to socialize for more than just a few hours… thus Not-A-Con.

(18) ABOUT DOWNSIZING. NitPix says Alexander Payne’s first venture into sci-fi, Downsizing, can’t make up its mind what kind of movie it wants to be. The author of this review, however, has targeted his audience well –

….Everyone has a bit of curiosity about this film – not enough to actually go watch, it obviously….


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Dann, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jeffrey Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

74 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/24/18 I’ve Reversed The Scrollarity Of The Neutron Flow

  1. @10: this day is brought to you by the letter J — and the brass band appropriate to that set of luminaries. (Side notes: Gaughan is also the eponym of NESFA’s juried award for new artists to watch; Brunner was Worldcon GoH in 1983, although that may not be as remarkable is being the very first Eurocon guest.) I also note that the day can open the betting, as it has a pair of Jacks….

    More notes on Brunner: I’d pair The Stone that Never Came Down with Shockwave Rider, as they seem to clearly represent US vs UK traditions of problem solving (superhero vs handing ordinaries a miracle to make the most of), but I suspect everyone has particular favorites — he had a hell of a run in the 1960’s and 70’s stepping up from almost pulpish beginnings (The Atlantic Abomination?) in the 1950’s. And somebody may have found an earlier example, but a bibliographer of female protagonists in science-fiction-as-such (not fantasy, not mundane writers’ utopias) told me in the 1980’s that his A Planet of Your Own was the first work in which a woman was the sole protagonist.

    @14: ISTM there’s a typo — the header “making lemonade” repeats in the middle of the text, where it doesn’t parse.

  2. *thud*

    Dearest filiers. I must report the failure of my mission. For four hours I’ve been stalking, enticing with bits of food and at one point got one hand on a stray SJW credential kitten. The creature is crying and hiding under parked cars. She’ll, I think she but can’t be sure, eat plated cat food. A got the beat halfway into my backpack with a plate of food, that’s where I got one hand on her. But she got away.

    Lest you think me a barbarian, I attempted reason. I offered to take her home, give her food and litter and name her Breq. She replied with high pitched meowing but did not approach and accept the offer.

    I fea,r lacking a credential, I may have to relinquish my SJWhood.

  3. @iphinome We declare you UNMUTUAL!

    (Okay, so I binge re-watched The Prisoner; its on Amazon Prime).

  4. Went back out for another hour, got rained on. Got one hand on her again. She got away. Now I’m wet and sore and still no SJW credential.

  5. They’re pixelling scrolls at Buckingham palace
    Christopher Robin went down with Alice
    Alice and Caterp’ler smoking a bong,
    “An eruciform’s body is wonderful long”

    Says Alice.

  6. James James Pixleton Pixleton Weatherby Scrolls DuPree
    Took great care of his Filer, though was only three.
    James James said to his Filer, “Filer,” he said, said he
    “You must not appertain at the end of the town without first tickboxing me.”

  7. @NIall McAuley, @Cassy B: cheers — and thanks for not doing that last week, so I didn’t have irreverent earworms while looking at the MFA’s new Milne/Shepard exhibit. (Lots of stuff that’s more public-draw than art, but several Shepard originals on which the development of the drawing was visible.)

  8. First day of ICon today!

    Today’s itinerary included:
    – Buying a large stack of F&SF issues from the ’80s
    – Putting up several feet of my library for sale second-hand (possibly primarily to see if anybody in Israel reads the same weird stuff I do)
    – Running roleplaying games for five-year olds
    – Letting one of the five-year olds play Batman
    – A short shift on our Incident Response Team
    – Meeting lots and lots and lots of friends
    – Actually having time to say hi to some of them

    Tomorrow I’m only going to be in for a very short visit, but I’m really looking forward to it — Ann Leckie is our Guests of Honor (!!!), and I managed to snag a ticket to her writing workshop. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to plan around any of her other events 🙁 I’m hearing great things about her panel today about the translation of the “Imperial Radch” books into Hebrew, where everything is gendered… And we’ve got Ellen Kushner, who it looks like I’m going to miss entirely :-/)

    ICon’s our Big Thing here in Israel, and every year I’m amazed by how much work goes into it, and what an amazing convention comes out.

  9. Iphinome: Don’t know how much experience you have with rescuing stray/semi-feral cats, but tempting them can be a very gradual process, and kittens are no more trusting than full-grown cats, only a bit easier to handle physically. I’ve found that it can take quite a while for an unsocialized kitten to stay close enough for long enough to be snagged–and too many failures make even a young kitten more wary. It has to be even harder when the kitten is on the street–ours have taken shelter in our garage, so they’ve been and felt a bit safer. (It took me six months of feeding and sitting nearby while they ate to get an abandoned litter to let me handle them. They spent the rest of their lives as rather shy housecats.)

  10. @Chip Hitchcock, I was raised on Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young, even more than Winnie The Pooh. I have a ridiculous number of poems from both volumes committed to memory. Granted, most of the poems are rather short…

  11. Scrolls lift us up where we belong
    Where the hardbacks sigh
    on a Mountain high
    Scrolls lift us up where we belong
    Far from the files we know
    Where the pixels flow….

  12. @Iphinome – There are looped videos of mama cats purring (some as much as several hours long) which I played when I was trying to lure my SJW kitten. I also took a cat toy and played with it near him while he was eating. After he ate, I continued to play while ignoring him until he joined in. Then I was able to snag him. It took several days and I was in high anxiety that something would get him in the meantime, but it sounds like your kitten is much friendlier and trusting than he was. Good luck!!

  13. Iphinome
    Can you hang out a while where she is?
    If so, I’d go with food in a hav-a-heart trap – you might be able to borrow one from a local cat rescue group.
    They’d have some sound trapping advice too, and might even help.
    I’d bait with stinky tuna, or warm chicken, something irresistible.
    Set it up near her, and back away.
    Just carry her home in the trap, cover with a towel if you can, to make is a safer space to her.
    Or, failing that, if you can grab her, try enveloping her in a large towel and carry her thoroughly bundled up in it, rather than trying to get her into a backpack.
    Even at the best of times kittens are escape artists.

  14. “Tsundoku” by, uh, Kobo?

    I see the Scrolls Pixelling tonight
    But they see only comments of silly argumentation
    They’re coming in on internet slapfights
    With righteous anger, insights that guide me towards revelation

    I stopped a Filer along the way
    Hoping to find a longed for Sensawunder or gripping Fantasies
    They turned to me as if to say, “The Recommend Page, it’s waiting there for you”

    It’s gonna take a lot books to get me through
    There’s nothing that a great story can’t cure for you
    I bless the rains on Mt Tsundoku
    Gonna take some time to read the things we never had

  15. @Lauowolf a backpack was what I had.

    I put the plate of food inside it and popped it open. she put her head and front paws inside. The plan was to push her in and bring her home. She was hanging around the other side of the block so I only need to bring her a couple of hundred yards at most.

    Then I thought to put her int he shower with the doors closed. Easy t clean up poop, pee would run down the drain. Give a cardboard box and an old towel to the creature whole I figured out the next step.

    I’m afraid to try and spend too long on this. It’s one thing to not catch a stray cat or kitten, it happens, they do alright. This one was crying near-nonstop. That’s why I want to call her Breq, always singing. But since it didn’t sound like in-heat howling I’m worried the animal is sick and I can’t take a lot of time.

    Last night I left some wet food near where I last saw her. Will probably go out looking again soon. When there are fewer moving cars around to run both of us over in the dark. I’ll take a cat carrier this time with a ball of yarn tied to the door I can pull it shut if she goes in. It’s like a trap.

    That is if I can find her again. I’d be less worried right now if she hadn’t been crying so much.

    @Russell Letson I’d be less worried about a cat in a garage than one hiding under cars

    @Lorien Gray play a cat purr on my phone? Yes I think I’ll try, thank you

  16. It worked. The purring recording. I put my phone on top of the cat carrier and set it next to the car she was hiding under.

    She came out and looked at me twice, I backed up a few feet further each time.

    Then she went for the food and when her licking pushed the plate to the back she followed.

    I pulled my yarn and held tight, she threw herself at the door but it held.

    I put her in the tub with a small cardboard box, a towel, some paper packing from an amazon shipment, a bowl of water and a plate of food. The shower doors are closed.

  17. 15) There’s at least one operating Bombe at Bletchley Park, but during the demo, they only do the “run it” bit, iwth the whole cribbing, building the menu and wiring it up having been done once (they do roughly explain how the crib(s) go into building a menu, though).

  18. 8) When I saw this trailer start in the theater, my first thought was that someone had made another Herbie the Love Bug movie.

  19. Iphinome, wonderful! Now you just have to get her to the vet, and get her used to you. What does she look like? About how old do you guess she might be?

  20. c4c….mostly…..

    thanks for the contribution credit, but I don’t recall sending any of today’s items in for consideration

    A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by. – John Wayne

  21. Young, too young. Her coloring hasn’t completely come in, she won’t take water, did take milk which I don’t normally give to cats but needs must. She’s not feral, there’s no way that a creature ready to crawl all over me, nuzzle and share all the parasites she’s crawling with is feral.

    She was out there for at least two days though so if Mama cat was nearby she’d have come. So she’s either lost or thrown away. I checked lost pet websites, no dice. I’ll start looking for missing pet posters in the usual locations.

    She hasn’t done a poops yet.

    Quickly taken with my phone, will have to wait to pose her with Ancillary Justice.

  22. You can get kitten milk replacement, and she needs to see a vet, anyway.

    I’m going to strongly recommend adding another kitten, or an older cat. It’s not good for kittens to grow up without another cat in their social group.

  23. Of course she needs to see a vet, she’s crawling with parasites which she’s kindly passed to me by now, yay. I hope they’re lice not fleas, I don’t think cat lice drink perfectly normal human blood from average humans who do human things just like you.

    If nothing else I’d get her dipped and her poops tested once she finally makes a poops for me to collect.

  24. Dann: You dropped the FIYAH info in comments, which I spent some time working into a Scroll item, then decided to make a post of its own. So the Scroll credit was a relic that process.

  25. Re: #3:
    Congratulations to Rebecca. I’ve known her for years, and she’s been involved in con organization work for a while. (There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of overlap between the Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal fan communities.)

  26. @Mike

    Glad to help with the FIYAH news. I kind of thought the credit might be a legacy issue.

    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway – John Wayne*

    *I have no idea why my random tagline generator loves John Wayne so much lately.

  27. If memory serves from research done years ago when someone in my office found infant kittens… very young kittens sometimes need help to poop. Wipe its butt with a soft warm damp cloth (simulating mama-cat’s tongue) to stimulate bowel action.

  28. @Lis: It’s not good for kittens to grow up without another cat in their social group. ISTM that’s not a hard-and-fast rule; we’ve had two solos in succession who got along quite well. Could this depend on whether you want to be able to introduce more cats later? We didn’t try that with our first; the second, who seemed bored enough that a companion would help, did not tolerate another adult. The second may have considered us his fellow cats; he’d be up the stairs to the 2nd floor at the first sound of a doorbell (although he later learned to trust certain voices), but his attitude when I was anywhere near the reading light was “Make me a lap now!”

    @Dave Clark: a transformer Herbie? The mind splinters…. I wonder whether they’ll explain how Bumblebee ended up changing from a Beetle to a Camaro in the intervening decades; the fact that they usually keep their shells when revealed suggests that the outer panels aren’t mutable. (Yes, I remember the one that hid as a USAF fighter jet.) Does canon even bother handwaving this?

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