Pixel Scroll 11/14/16 The Fen From S.C.R.O.L.L. And P.I.X.E.L.

(1) TRUTH IS STRANGER. Norman Spinrad has posted on Facebook the original English version of the afterward commissioned by the French publisher for the special 40th anniversary edition of the first French edition of Bug Jack Barron. That anniversary is now far enough in the past that Spinrad finally lost patience with the book appearing and gave the piece its freedom. Heinlein features in this afterward.


by Norman Spinrad

It must have been 1969 because I had returned from London to Los Angeles and was writing for The Los Angeles Free Press, and the Charlie Manson trial was going on. We were covering it locally, it was a big national story and it came out that Robert Heinlein’s novel STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND was one of Charlie’s fave raves.

In this novel, the sympathetic lead character “discorporates” people who piss him off, always for a righteous reason of course, and Charlie Manson believed that Heinlein’s fictional justification for this likewise justified his own self-given license to do likewise.

I chanced to run into Bob Heinlein at some science fiction convention, and I just had to ask him how he felt about the widely accepted notion of his novel having inspired the Sharon Tate Murders or at least served as Charlie’s moral template for giving the marching order to his murderous posse.

He looked at me deadpan straight in the eye and hit me with a punchline that has stood me in good stead from then until. now.

“The manufacturer,” said Robert Heinlein, “takes no responsibility for the misuse of the product.”

Thus as the author of BUG JACK BARRON I thereby absolve myself of responsibility for the successful political campaign for Congress of Robert K. Dornan, the unsuccessful campaign of Pat Buchanan for the Republic Nomination for President, the march to the far reaches of the far right by the Republican Party, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation….

(2) ANCIENT BRITFANDOM. Martin Morse Wooster is enjoying Rob Hansen’s history of British fandom, THEN (recently published in book form by the redoubtable Ansible Press). Here’s his latest favorite anecdote:

This is from the memoirs of British fan Jim Linwood.  LXI con was the 1961 British national sf convention, where Kingsley Amis was GoH.

“The other famous author who made his debut at LXICon–Martin Amis.  He was 10 years old and spent most of his time running screaming throughout the corridors to the annoyance of the attendees.  A few years later, Kingdon Road fans cheered when we saw him fall to his death from the rigging of Anthony Quinn’s pirate ship in A High Wind in Jamaica — his only film performance.”

(3) DON’T TRIP ON TROPES. At Tor.com, “Charlie Jane Anders, Alyssa Cole, and Rumaan Alam on Avoiding Blind Spots When Writing Outside Your Experience”.

All agreed that tropes are an important tool for playing with genre expectations, as you can set up a particular familiar trope and then change them in a way that’s fresh and exciting for readers. Tropes “can help, can hurt,” Anders said, as they can be “a way of focusing your intentions in the story” but might also lead a writer astray by binding them to the often outdated, cliché, or downright offensive depictions of certain characters that genre. These blind spots occur when writers fall back on their knowledge of a movie for a certain character’s background rather than doing independent research into the personal histories and experiences of people other than the writer. “You should stop and educate yourself,” she said; if instead you think, in this kind of story, this always happens, “that’s death—that’s death of storytelling.”

When asked how to recognize when you’re in a blind spot, the panelists all shared their experiences and key pieces of advice:

  • Get beta readers and sensitivity readers who are familiar with the backgrounds of the characters you’re trying to write. “If you know you have a blind spot, you can even think that you’ve overcome a lot of the blind spot, but you haven’t,” Cole said. “The bottom line is, always have beta readers, but especially make sure you have beta readers from the particular group you’re writing about—if it’s not aliens or something.”
  • Have more than one sensitivity reader if possible. Cole found that in writing a suffragette novella set in 1917, with a main character from India, that two of her readers were from different regions of India and had different experiences; not necessarily contradictory, but enough that it provided more nuance to her work. And compensate them for their time!
  • “You also have to do a gut check 100 times,” Anders said—put the piece aside for a month, then return to it with a fresh perspective.
  • “It’s OK to get it wrong,” Alam said. Sometimes you can work the lack of understanding into the book by putting that perspective into the mouths of your characters; that can be just as valuable.

(4) THE POWER OF SFF. Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj will partner in the creation of Invisible 3, a third volume of collected stories shared by authors and fans “about the importance of representation in science fiction/fantasy.”

These stories help to create understanding and connection. They expose the power of our genre both to help and to harm….

We’re looking for personal, first-hand stories between 400 and 1000 words talking about the impact of SF/F stories and what it’s like to see yourself misrepresented or erased, or relegated to the backgrounds. We’re also interested in the ways underrepresented and marginalized writers have worked to reclaim space in the genre.

Accepted works will first be published online, and then collected and published in an anthology. Contributors will receive a $10 payment.

Once author and artist payments have been covered, all additional proceeds will go to the Con or Bust program, helping people of color to attend SFF conventions.

(5) CALL FOR PAPERS. The annual Literary London conference, will be held July 13-14, 2017. Their theme is “Fantastic London: Dream, Speculation and Nightmare.” They are taking proposals for papers until February 1.

Proposals are invited for papers, comprised panels, and roundtable sessions, which consider any period or genre of literature about, set in, inspired by, or alluding to central and suburban London and its environs, from the city’s roots in pre-Roman times to its imagined futures. While the main focus of the conference will be on literary texts, we actively encourage interdisciplinary contributions relating to film, architecture, visual arts, topography and theories of urban space. Papers from postgraduate students are particularly welcome for consideration. Indicative topics and writers who might be addressed:

  • Gaslight romance, the urban gothic, London noir, steampunk & speculative poetry
  • Future catastrophes, technological dystopias, nightmares of policing & surveillance
  • Forms of fictional flight into alternate ontologies of nationhood and urban belonging
  • Architectural caprice, replication and ruin in the development of the built environment
  • Stories of financial catastrophe, uncertain inheritance and precarious fortune
  • The search for ontological wholeness in a divided, doubled or allotropic city
  • The uncanny, arabesque and magical excrescences of the urban everyday
  • Dramatizing the life of hidden underworlds, anti-worlds & allegorical environments
  • The Weird: H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Lord Dusany, M. John Harrison
  • ‘Elsewheres’: Doris Lessing, William Morris, J. G. Ballard, Jean Rhys, Anthony Burgess
  • Urban Gothic: Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Thomas De Quincey, Charles Dickens
  • Underworlds: Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Michael Moorcock, Michèle Roberts
  • Make-believe: J. M. Barrie, Cassandra Clare, Philip Reeve, Christina Rossetti, John Clute

Please submit all proposals using the links under ‘Conference’ above. If you have any queries, please contact the conference organiser Dr Peter Jones at conference at literarylondon dot org

(6) STAGE PRAISE. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won a London theater award.


  • November 14, 1851 Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, was first published in the U.S. And one hundred years later, Ray Bradbury wrote the script for the movie.

(8) THE DOCTOR IS OUT. Both Peter Capaldi and new companion Pearl Mackie will leave with Moffat — “Expect ‘Doctor Who’ In 2018 To Be A “Clean Slate… A Brand New Show” says ScienceFiction.com.

Expect a lot of loose ends to be tied up in the upcoming 2017 season of ‘Doctor Who’.  After this, showrunner Steven Moffat and star Peter Capaldi will depart the hit series, which unfortunately has seen waning ratings in the past few years.  They’ve never come right out and said it, but this is possibly because of the switch-over coming at the end of the new season, but it sounds like the changes will be sweeping!

Insiders are saying that when new showrunner Chris Chibnall takes over for the 2018 season, he will be left with a “clean slate” in order to build his own “brand new show.”  Reportedly this “brand new show” won’t be 100% fresh, however.  Instead, it is reported that the BBC, which has not only been unhappy with the weaker ratings of the Capaldi era, but the sharp dip in sales of “dolls, books, DVDs and toys” are looking to return to a winning formula….

Perhaps the most startling change is that Pearl Mackie, who has yet to even debut as new Companion Bill, is also expected to depart the series along with Moffat and Capaldi.  Often, Companions are used to help transition between Doctors and in a sense serve as guides until the new Doctor gains his bearings, as was the case with Clara Oswald, who bridged the gap between Matt Smith’s version and Capaldi’s.

But reportedly Mackie only signed on for a one-year contract.  She, Capaldi and Moffat are expected to make the 2017 Christmas Special their swan song.

(9) IT’S ABOUT NOT MUCH TIME. Did you know Time Tunnel only ran one season? That’s one of MeTV’s “8  time-defying tidbits about The Time Tunnel. ABC network programmers then screwed the pooch picking the successor —

The replacement didn’t fare much better.

The Legend of Custer went on to replace The Time Tunnel on Friday nights, but the new series only lasted 17 episodes. Ironically, an episode of the sci-fi series took place during the Battle of Little Bighorn, a.k.a. Custer’s Last Stand.


“Let’s make a series about a young guy with long blonde hair who doesn’t surf or play in a rock’n roll band,” said the executive, who hadn’t noticed it was the middle of the Sixties.

(10) MORE VINTAGE SF TELEVISION. Echo Ishii continues her SF Obscure series.

So for this week’s post I decided to cover the half hour, SF/action show CLEOPATRA 2525.

The year is, uh, 2525. Humanity has been driven underground because the surface is controlled by giant floating robot armchairs (That’s what it looks like anyway) called Baileys.  Two fighters Hel(Gina Torres) and Sarge (Victoria Pratt) are resistance fighters who battle the robot overlords. helped by a mysterious voice called ‘Voice’ that taps into Hel’s brain. Anyway, Sarge gets hurt and needs a kidney so they go and get one at the local buy-a-body-part depot. Thus, the meet Cleo (Jennifer Sky), a women cryo-frozen in 2001 when her breast augmentation surgery went awry and she was stored until humanity had the tools to save her life. I am not making this up.

(11) BELLS AREN’T RINGING. A Wyoming bookstore banned the use of electronic devices on the premises.

A Wyoming bookstore is aiming to remind customers that its “a place for books” by refusing to offer WiFi and banning use of electronic devices.

A sign posted at the entrance to Wind City Books in Casper informs customers that there is no public WiFi available and calls on them to keep their laptops and cellphones out of sight inside the shop.



(13) GRIND ZERO. I don’t know if it’s a good column about writing, but Dave Freer sure has a lot of insights about “Making Sausage”.

There are myriad sausage recipes. Sausage made of everything from bear to squirrel, pork to beef, turkey to fish. Even vegan. Sausages with everything from cranberries to chardonnay in them. But oddly they have two essential ingredients, in essential proportions. Stray too far from either and your sausage doesn’t work. And those are fat and salt. Not the obvious – people say it’s a bear or boar or chicken sausage. They don’t say ‘it’s a fat sausage’. “Yuck!” would be the response. And indeed yuck is appropriate if you don’t get that proportion (around 20%) right. Too much and it becomes a greasy horrible thing. By the time it cooks out the sausage meat and other ingredients taste greasy and overcooked. And too little and it is dry and tasteless. Vegan is particularly difficult because of the whole ‘fat’ thing. I gather it’s considered bad to suggest using plump ones. But I gather one can buy vegan suet.

For me, in writing, that’s the story, the action, the adventure. In some shape or form it has to be in every worthwhile read. Yes, actually you can have too much. Or too little, and vast focus on the other ingredients – be they the setting or the social justice outrage of the week – they tend to dry and un-appealing. And the salt… well those are the characters. And yes, once again there is such a thing as too much – or too bland when it is merely count the pre-expected tokens. I wait with amusement for the first orange haired villain s to appear…

(14) THE BULLET BOX. Larry Correia provides “A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership” at Monster Hunter Nation.

That title isn’t joking. This post is aimed at my liberal readers. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican and gun expert, who thinks you are wrong about a lot of stuff, but I’m not writing this to gloat about your loss. For the record, I disliked all the presidential candidates.

Judging by your social media over the last few days many liberals have been utterly terrified that your government might turn tyrannical or that evil people will now be emboldened to hurt you. I’m going to let you in on a little thing the other half of the country is familiar with to keep those unlikely, yet catastrophic, events from happening.

And that my lefty friends, is 2nd Amendment.

Having just gone through a war against a tyrannical government, the Founders understood that governments can go bad, so they made sure to note our God given right (or we’ll say naturally occurring right, since a bunch of you are atheists) to keep and bear arms in order to defend ourselves. The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or “sporting purposes”, it’s about having weapons that you can fight with. As an added bonus, being able to protect yourself from a tyrannical government means that you’re a lot better equipped to deal with any common criminal who decides to hurt you. Before I get into the details about how to enjoy your newly discovered 2nd Amendment rights, let me just say that I get you’re sad, angry, bitter, and fearful. But just like my people over the last few elections, you’ll get over it. The really hyperbolic freak outs about Literally Hitler make you sound just like the Alex Jones crowd worried that Obama was going to herd Christians into FEMA camps last time. So take a deep breath and relax. Your friends and neighbors are the same as they were last week. The vast majority weren’t voting because racism, they voted against the status quo and a really unlikable Democrat. And no, they aren’t going to round you up into cattle cars….

(15) CROTTLED PEEPS.  Daniel Dern advises, “Be sure to watch to the very end. Even better than when a character on The Good Wife said ‘A Lannister always pays his debts.’” Shared at io9 by James Whitbrook: “A Breakdown Of My Scattered, Confused Thoughts While Watching This Game of Thrones Sodastream Ad”.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Jim C. Hines, Martin Morse Wooster, and Daniel Dern for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cadbury Moose.]

124 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/14/16 The Fen From S.C.R.O.L.L. And P.I.X.E.L.

  1. Tenth Fifth? (Edited: Dang! Off by one error.)

    Oh well, I did get an editor credit so I am still a happy moose.

    There is no problem that cannot be made worse by adding firearms to the mix.

    Posted from Pixel 51, ignore the black autogyros.

  2. @Guess – Guns are the great equalizer and minorities have the same constitutional right to use them as white people. Even if it means you are treated differently for having one by police. You have a right to it.

    I wanted to see if repeating that particular segment looked as silly the second time as it did the first and, yep, it did. Let’s parse this, hmmmm.

    Guns are the great equalizer – Not sure what that means, since little guns aren’t the same as big guns and people who can shoot straight aren’t the same as those that can’t hit the proverbial barn, but even true things sometimes start with rhetorical flourishes, so let’s move on.

    (M)inorities have the same constitutional right to use them as white people – The right to bear arms has been constitutionally protected for all groups for a little while now, so sure. Do try to keep in mind that those constitutional protections white people seem to take for granted are still pretty shiny and new for other groups.

    Even if it means you are treated differently for having one by police. – And there’s the bless your heart part, because in this instance “differently” means that having a firearm, even if you have a permit for it, could conceivably be a death sentence if your skin isn’t white.

    I am not okay with saying silly things as if they were somehow worth serious consideration. It shows a deplorable lack of imagination and empathy.

  3. You guys are really reactionary and throw tantrums about Larry irregardless of what he says.

    1. Reactionary doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means.
    2. Correia’s claims about the Second Amendment show a complete lack of historical understanding of the amendment.
    3. Correia’s (and your) lack of understanding of the threat posed to visible minorities when they carry firearms is quite apparent.

    You have a right to defend yourself. If you feel in danger, you dont have to live in fear. Guns are the great equalizer and minorities have the same constitutional right to use them as white people.

    Theoretically, yes. But as has been shown time and again, the different in legal results that ensue when a white person uses a firearm and self-defense and when a minority uses a firearm and self-defense is so vast that in practical terms, the Constitutional right may as well not exist for minorities.

    Also, most of the minorities expressing fear right now are not doing so over the threat that some racist jerk will “come at them”, but rather than a racist police officer will act against them under the color of authority. Or that the government will enact racist policies such as Trump’s proposed “register all Muslims” idea. Guns won’t help in those situations.

  4. @Guess: The figures don’t seem to show guns being used very much for self defense:


    I know there are factors that are much more difficult to take into account (such as not all self defensive usage ending in the death of your aggressor) but those figures to me look pretty damning for guns-as-self-defense, and the rest of the article throws up some interesting stats on other areas of gun use too.

    Others have more than adequately covered the inequality in how different groups with guns are treated so I won’t retread that.

  5. Why single out the BBC? Just about every broadcasting company in the fifties and sixties disposed of some recordings – they had limited storage space, and they didn’t think the recordings had commercial value.

    In plenty of cases, shows that were broadcast live weren’t recorded at all – or not in any salvageable format, at least. There’s a persistent rumour that the missing four episodes of The Quatermass Experiment actually were recorded, but the quality of the recordings was too poor to be useable. (Even the two surviving episodes look pretty darn ropy.)

  6. Regarding shotguns, airboy made just that argument. I’m assuming this is the same airboy that comments here, but you never know. Larry pointed to a prior article he wrote on the subject.

    Less snark in that one. The short version is that long guns are better than handguns for home defense. From there, you ought to pick the one (shotgun vs. rifle) that works best for what you do (i.e. hunting pheasant or hunting deer) and stick with that. The gun you regularly shoot is the gun that you will shoot more accurately under stress. Handguns are useful only from the perspective of carrying concealed.

    As far as his snark goes, I do have a smidge of sympathy. You end up on the short end of that stick too frequently and it starts to look like an attractive option.

    For the last 15-20 years, the trend has been towards the following sort of conversation:

    Individual: I’d really like to see policy A put in place.

    Me: Your policy A has a couple of problems with it. Such as 1…2…3….

    Individual: You are a cluelessracistsexisthomophobenaziloving (insert closing epithet here).

    Sometimes there are a couple of intervening steps, but it goes that way far too quickly and far too frequently**.

    Larry is indeed condescending at times. But he’s learning from the best, so there’s hope for the future!

    In either case, Larry’s article is tremendously helpful…for those with an appropriate snark filter. The comfort comes in about 6-9 months when all that training starts to make you feel confident in your ability to use that tool in a legally responsible manner.


    A successful use of a gun for self-defense does not always require pulling the trigger or that someone dies. I’ve read things that put the upper limit at over a million instances per year. More measured….and more reasonable, IMHO,….estimates suggest a couple hundred thousand instances per year.


    **a modest disclaimer, File770 regulars have far fewer of those kinds of folks in their number, IMHO, compared to other places. My sincere thanks to those of you that do not go down that road.

  7. I’ve read things that put the upper limit at over a million instances per year.

    That was probably based on the “research” done by John Lott. I put “research” in quotes, because the study he allegedly did has been discredited many times over.

  8. Dann, what about Larry ignoring the fact that licensed, responsible carrying of a gun can get visible minorities killed by police with zero legal consequences?

    Or the fact that a lot of what is scaring people now is not as simple and straightforward as “racist asshole with a gun comes at us”? Individual gun ownership is not going to help with the elimination of my health insurance, laws eliminating women’s access to any reasonable reproductive health care, the assault on the First Amendment that Trump has already signaled…

    I could go on, at great length, but let’s talk about books instead. I really loved Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham. Late twenties/early thirties aviation, a daring aviatrix, magic, intrigue, adventure, what’s not to love?

    *Edited to add: And responsible use of a handgun in self-defense! Something for everyone!

  9. Dann and Guess, there is a really glaring assumption in the posts you’ve both made, and it’s astounding to me (scratch that, actually, it’s not) that you are both so oblivious to it.

    The problem is not that minorities and LGBTQ who are in fear for their safety and their lives don’t have guns to protect themselves.

    The problem is that minorities and LGBTQ are in fear for their safety and their lives.

    All this advocacy for these people to get guns is like advocating for using an infection-infested dirty rag as a bandage on an arterial wound: not only is it not going to fix the problem, it is likely to cause additional harm. Simply being in possession of a firearm increases these peoples’ chances of being wrongly killed by 10,000 percent.

    So when I see privileged white men continually telling the people who are being subjected to hate crimes that the solution to their problem is getting firearms, instead of telling all the other privileged white men that the solution is that you all need to get together to do what you can to stop this behaviour and reduce or eliminate the hate crimes…

    I just roll my eyes and despair. You don’t get it. You just don’t get it. And I can’t take you or anyone else seriously who thinks that everyone in America gearing themselves up with firearms is going to solve the huge, huge problems in America. Because it wouldn’t; it would just make everything exponential levels of worse.

  10. I didn’t find that article helpful, even minus the snark. It was the same sort of platitudes one would expect about buying anything. It could very easily have been summed up (less snark) like this: “You know how you research buying something? Do that before you buy a gun.” There wasn’t anything more useful than that.

    Whether carrying while minority is to ones advantage or not depends on the situation. When the Klan roamed the land at will, black families were very pleased to have rifles in the house. If we are indeed returning to those days–I think it’s dire but not yet that dire–then the risk of carrying may no longer outweigh the benefit.

  11. @Lis,

    Can I recommend Emma Newman’s A Little Knowledge to you? She does a fabulous job of world building. Her characters have a great deal of depth/nuance. The story revolves around a parallel world where a 19th-century aristocracy with a connection to fae/magical powers enforces a very limited existence of the rest of society in a world that exists parallel to our 21st century world. Characters in the fae ‘verse can come to our ‘verse. As her main protagonist is female, events unfold in a way that is focused on issues from a female perspective which is quite illuminating.

    While I don’t necessarily buy everything that is wrapped up in the package, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and foresee having this year’s installment on my Hugo short list. Mrs. Newman possesses a wealth of talent beyond her podcastery.


    I beg you…please put away the “clueless” cudgel. In absence of proof to the contrary, please assume that I have some nuance to offer. The discussion revolved around Larry’s article. That was the basis for my comments.

    I don’t think buying a gun ought to be first on the list of things to do if a person feels threatened. I do think that is a reasonable option to keep on the list. I also think that Larry’s general advice…..learn the law before buying a gun, then learn to shoot, then practice as often as you can….is quite sound for those that elect to go down that road.

    This election has me bristling in just about every direction. I’m bothered* by the idiots spray painting swastikas. I’m bothered by the kids telling brown people to “go home” in schools. I’m bothered by the brownshirts and their daily riots.

    I’m still looking for the world where the married gay couple legally defends their profitable marijuana farm with fully automatic weapons. And it ain’t anywhere to be found.**

    Just because we don’t share every concern is precisely the identical fashion, it doesn’t follow that we don’t share any concerns.


    *yeah…bothered…not really the right word, but it is appropriate for polite company.

    **yeah…that’s not really my utopian vision, but it generally points in a positive direction.

  12. I remember Cleopatra 2525 fondly. It was a half hour of B-grade post-apocolypse that was paired well with a half hour of pseudo-history in Bruce Campbell’s Jack of All Trades. We stopped watching when JoAT was canceled and Cleo2525 became an hour, though.

  13. I beg you…please put away the “clueless” cudgel. In absence of proof to the contrary, please assume that I have some nuance to offer. The discussion revolved around Larry’s article. That was the basis for my comments.

    But you didn’t, in your previous post, offer any nuance on the points, other than snark, on which Larry’s bloviating was being criticized. Just another does of Missing. The. Point.

    Can I recommend Emma Newman’s A Little Knowledge to you? She does a fabulous job of world building.

    That sounds very promising! Thanks.

    I’m still looking for the world where the married gay couple legally defends their profitable marijuana farm with fully automatic weapons. And it ain’t anywhere to be found.**


    **yeah…that’s not really my utopian vision, but it generally points in a positive direction.

    The world where they need fully automatic weapons to defend their property strikes me as horrifying. Except in quite unusual circumstances–maybe very remote areas, which do exist in the US, for instance–decently funded and maintained law enforcement should obviate the need for heavily armed self-defense.

    Especially if we get serious about not making it ridiculously easy for criminals to get firearms.


    The whole point of human society, going right back to the pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer bands, is that it isn’t every man for himself, but mutual cooperation for mutual benefit, safety, and care.

  14. In the Netherlands, there are legal marihuana farms and equally legal gay marriage, yet somehow gay couples and/or marihuana farm owners manage to survive without fully automatic weapons in a country with reasonable gun control.

    Regarding the fact that minorities carrying guns are more likely to be shot by the police, there was such a case earlier this year, where the police stopped an innocent black couple in their car, because they happened to resemble suspects in a robbery. The man legally owned a gun and had it in his car and informed the police officer about that, whereupon he was shot and killed. There was a video taken by the woman.

    I can’t find a link right now, because “black man shot in car by police US 2016” returns way too many hits (which is bloody depressing in itself), but someone else may remember that case.

  15. “Regarding shotguns, airboy made just that argument. I’m assuming this is the same airboy that comments here, but you never know. Larry pointed to a prior article he wrote on the subject.”

    It was me. If you live in an apartment and want a self-defense weapon a shotgun is IMHO better than a rifle or a pistol. But I also understand Larry’s point of view. If God forbid I have to shoot someone I don’t want a miss to hit another individual down range. Larry’s answer on handgun, large ammo capacity rifle and shotgun for home defense is situational.

    I have gotten a good laugh out of many of the comments today.

    A lot of justified shootings that do not bring a criminal charge are not reported to the Federal Government. There have been more than a dozen shootings in my county with about half being fatalities that were never charged with anything because it was rational self-defense. This is over the last 30 years and my county is not a major urban area. Accidental shootings and suicides are also not always entered into the FBI data base.

    But in all sincerity – if you actually are in fear for your life or in fear of a severe beating you need a gun if you cannot leave and avoid the situation. A bad run is better than a good fight. But sometimes you cannot run. But if you get a gun you should get training on how to use it properly.

    And if you get stopped by the police and have a gun in your car you will be treated very differently by the police compared to not having a gun. My car was hit by an idiot while I was driving in a major city. The car had to be towed. An assembled shotgun was in the trunk. I told the police officer and there was a lot of back and forth on it before we resolved how it would be handled.

  16. Airboy–

    White people get to discuss with police how,their legal gun will be handled.

    Visible minorities get shot dead.

    Refusal to acknowledge this point is crippling the effort to make the Guns Will Solve All Your Problems case effectively.

  17. @Doctor Science. Yes, I think it is, to really appreciate matters. In a way, its a start of a new cycle for the three protagonists, but understanding where they came from in the first three books is, I think, key to appreciating the book.

    That said, I am a big fan of the series, so I do hope you’ll give Between Two Thorns (the first book) a try.

  18. @Mark:

    Yay for the Book Smugglers novellas including another Tansy Rayner Roberts story in her Cookie Cutter Superhero universe! I think I might’ve encountered the first story via a mention by Aaron. I just read the I-believe-second, Kid Dark Against The Machine, and might’ve liked it even better.

  19. @airboy: if, god forbid, you have to fire at a person rather than an inanimate target, do you know that you could pull the trigger? I’m really not certain if I could or not, and I never plan to be in a situation to find out.

    Training is another key issue. If you factor in day job, hobbies and interests, social occasions, etc, how much time do you think the average person is really going to be spending at the range getting used to how their gun(s) handle?

  20. Liz – thanks for the laugh!

    Very few blacks are killed by law enforcement annually. If you look at death rates as a proportion of violent felony police killings by race – it is even lower.

    “Refusal to acknowledge this point is crippling the effort to make the Guns Will Solve All Your Problems case effectively.”
    Wow! Don’t know where that came from.

    But keep on living in your bubble if it makes you happy!

  21. Airboy, sorry, but hard as it may be for you to accept, blacks are shot by cops in otherwise routine interactions at a much higher rate than whites–and it’s something that every black person, and especially every black parent, is painfully aware of.

  22. @airboy

    If you look at death rates as a proportion of violent felony police killings by race

    That’s an unusual phrasing (to me), in terms of qualifiers used. What does it refer to?

    ETA: @Jeff Jones – Maybe condescension?

  23. From Snopes: Do Police Kill More White People than Black People?

    “WHAT’S TRUE: In absolute numbers, more white people than black people are killed in police shootings (because white people outnumber black people in America).

    “WHAT’S FALSE: Overall, black Americans are several times more likely to be killed in police shootings than white Americans are.”

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Nearly three times as likely, in fact. And before anyone responds, “oh that’s just because more of them are criminals”–no, in fact, the evidence does not even slightly support that claim!

  24. Owning a gun won’t get me health insurance, or an abortion if I need one.

    Owning a gun won’t slow climate change or protect the water supply.

    Owning a gun won’t protect someone from being fired for being LGBT, or denied an apartment for being Black.

    Owning a gun won’t prevent a nuclear war.

    Owning a gun won’t feed a starving family.

    [I could make a longer list, but this subset is stressful enough.]

  25. 10) In the year 2525, if man is still alive…

    14) A day late and a dollar short, as usual. Mr. Correia doesn’t realize that we’ve been preparing for him and his buddies for a long time. We just don’t brag about it, is all.

    @ JJ: Faux News is pushing a narrative that all the reports of hate crimes are either hoaxes or the work of paid Clinton operatives. Me, I find it much more plausible that when someone has been encouraging bigotry-based violence for months on end, his fans are going to take him at his word.

    @ Cora: He also hasn’t grasped that no matter how many guns an individual has, the government always has more.

    THIS. They don’t get it. None of them get it. They also don’t realize that what they’re talking about here is a general revolution, which is never going to happen because no matter what makes half the population upset enough to revolt, the other half is always going to be on the side of the government!

    Seriously, Mr. Correia, if/when the government starts rounding up the blacks and the Muslims and the Jews and the gays and the uppity women, are you going to be there helping us defend ourselves? Hell, no. You’ll be with the jackbooted thugs.

  26. @Oneiros: snap!

    @JJ: additional point: I suspect that a gun is much more useful against a lone mugger/invader, where a lot of the people we’re worried for are likely to be mobbed. A sufficiently stupid mob will assume that its victim doesn’t have the nerve to use a weapon — and if the victim does they’re likely to be torn apart by the survivors rather than “just” beaten.

  27. What everyone else said. Doesn’t matter how many guns we have, I won’t get health insurance, my black neighbors won’t get shot first and asked questions later, my gay friends won’t get fired just for being gay, the ice caps are still gonna melt. When all you have is a hammer, all the problems look like nails; all Larry has is guns, so all the problems look to him like things that can be solved by being shot at. He’s the poster boy for SWM privilege and blindness that he has it.

    Also, there’s nothing more juvenile and yet pathetic than a sore winner.

    @Lis: That’s a swell book, as are the sequels. I’ve read the first 3. It’s a background milieu for secret magical societies I’d never come across before, with different characters than you usually see.

  28. I know about some missing TV material. A report that much of the Dumont network’s tapes were dumped into the Atlantic, and half of the shows from MY LIVING DOLL cannot be found. ROOM 222 survives, but the lack of care allowed the program to bleed into red.

  29. (When I was managing a comic shop, I sometimes needed to pound a nail in. I kept a Coke bottle on hand for the purpose.)

  30. @Oneiros – Good questions! I’ll answer in the spirit of your questions.

    1 – I probably could fire at a person. I hunt. Many members of my family have been in wars. If it comes down to me, my family or them – I think I could fire at another human being. But several hundred years of military records show this is harder than most believe.

    2 – Training. I fire 200+ rounds from shotguns every month. Mostly target shooting but also hunting. But your point for the general public is important. If you get a firearm you need to fire it enough to be familiar with the weapon even under stressful conditions.

  31. Earlier this year, the WaPo published an article indicating that blacks were not shot by police more often than whites. They normalized their data based on a relative percentage of the population and a couple other factors. I didn’t spend much time with it, or I would provide something more. I think this would be a good starting point for those wanting more info.

    But quite frankly, how can anyone participate in this kind of discussion without being at the very least aware that this article and the supporting study exists? The WaPo isn’t exactly known for publishing NRA diatribes as fact.

    I’ve read a ton of stuff over the years from HCI. Most of it is fairly easily debunked, but I think I owe it to those folks to be aware of where they are coming from.

    That’s the shot. Here’s the chaser.

    A while back I ran across an online widget looking at deaths involving police encounters. You could filter based on race, gender, whether or not the person was armed, etc. It was truly illuminating.

    The few minutes I spent looking for it just now were not fruitful. I did find a number of other tools that were less useful than the one I remember, such as this one from the WaPo.

    Looking at the raw numbers, it is incontrovertible that some minorities are killed by police at a substantially higher rate than whites and asians. What is equally incontrovertible is that the number of shootings in some states is so few as to make statistical comparison kind of pointless. (Officers shooting someone that is armed in the middle of responding to a crime ought to be evaluated from one perspective. Officers shooting unarmed individuals as part of a random interaction ought to be evaluated from a completely different perspective.)

    In some small to mid-sized states, they have precisely one shooting of an unarmed individual that really results in a skewed perspective on the state if you are just doing a per-capita evaluation.

    By comparison, California law enforcement has a huge problem with shooting blacks and hispanics when compared with the rest of the country. In raw numbers, that is just about the worst situation in the country.

    IMHO, a nuanced take on the issue is that it is really bad in some parts of the country. Largely a non-issue in other parts of the country. And an issue that is generally worthy of our attention to get the trend moving in the right direction and keep it moving in that direction.


    But I thought you wanted to talk books? OK…

    A world where people can get a tool that they don’t need is better than a world in which people can’t get a tool that they desperately need. I’m not advocating for some sort of anarchist state. I’m arguing for a world where my theoretic married gay marijuana farmers are seen as fully possessing all of the same rights that I possess and enjoy. When that objective is realized, then they will never need a gun for self-defense due to their married gay marijuana farming lifestyle. They might still need one for the general run-of-the-mill thieves and murderers, but that applies to everyone.


    It is not ridiculously easy for criminals to get guns. We have a ton of laws designed to specifically thwart that activity. We also have a ton of laws against murder, theft, rape, drug use, embezzling, and other unsavory activities.

    What is being proposed is that we adopt a range of laws aimed at disarming non-criminals that have a legitimate use for their weapons.

    Let me try another tack. It used to be a much larger problem for minorities to vote in the US. We didn’t respond to that issue by denying whites the right to vote. We responded to the problem by fostering the view that everyone has the right to vote. That work isn’t complete, but we have moved quite a way down the road, IMHO.


    I don’t think the other books are necessary to enjoy A Little Knowledge. She does a credible job of providing the necessary details from the previous installments.

    But I do think it is worth the effort to read the entire series.

    The one world building flaw that can point out is that the magic of the Fae realm is never really explained. There are spells, potions, and artifacts all around. But how those things get created is still a mystery. I’m hoping the final installment will tie up that loose end.

    @John A Arkansawyer

    You may disdain hammers on principle, but good luck driving that one nail with a screwdriver. Not that anything was ever lost for want of a nail.

    You win the Internet for the day and justify my general preference to wait a while to see how things unfold. Thanks!!


  32. @ Dann: One of the huge problems in any discussion of gun violence is that we have so little reliable data. And the reason for that is that collecting such data has been expressly forbidden by law for a couple of decades. That was one of the earliest things the NRA lobby demanded and got.

    Also, “wait a while to see how things unfold” is a perfectly valid and reasonable argument… if you’re a white straight Christian dude. Not so much if you aren’t, especially with the way things are already unfolding. The people who are pulling this shit aren’t going to be pulling it on YOU, after all.

  33. I would recommend reading Emma Newman’s “Split Worlds” books in order. Reading a later one first will definitely spoil major plot twists from earlier. Not that I haven’t found them re-readable, but I can remember the surprise the first time I hit a given twist.

  34. Dann: the “study” mentioned in the WaPo sounds like the one Snopes debunked here.

    It was not a study, but an unreviewed “working paper”. Among other problems:

    “Critics noted that Fryer’s sample size was exceedingly small (possibly skewing the results) and relied on the narratives of policemen and women party to officer-involved shootings.”

    The WaPo article you link to even admits the biggest problem: Fryer’s paper relies entirely on police-provided estimates of how dangerous each situation was. The problem with this is: “[t]here are many well-documented cases of perjury by law enforcement, and studies in the laboratory show that police officers view black people as being more criminal and more dangerous than white people.”

  35. On a similar note, while browsing the WaPo earlier today, I saw this story on the confluence of a police officer, a pulled-over black motorist, and a Good Guy With A Gun.

  36. Dann: It used to be a much larger problem for minorities to vote in the US. We didn’t respond to that issue by denying whites the right to vote. We responded to the problem by fostering the view that everyone has the right to vote. That work isn’t complete, but we have moved quite a way down the road, IMHO.

    Given all the voter suppression laws that have been instituted in recent years — laws which the GOP openly admits were passed with the intention of disenfranchising the poor and minorities, and which have demonstrably done so — I find it utterly fascinating that you can post this here with an ostensibly “straight face”.

    The people here aren’t stupid. When you post things like this, it makes you look deliberately dishonest, in addition to looking like you think everyone here is stupid.

  37. Regarding the fact that minorities carrying guns are more likely to be shot by the police, there was such a case earlier this year, where the police stopped an innocent black couple in their car, because they happened to resemble suspects in a robbery. The man legally owned a gun and had it in his car and informed the police officer about that, whereupon he was shot and killed.

    The officer who shot Castile has just been charged with manslaughter.

  38. One of the huge problems in any discussion of gun violence is that we have so little reliable data. And the reason for that is that collecting such data has been expressly forbidden by law for a couple of decades.

    This is an exaggeration. The appropriation for the Center for Disease Control says “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

    The restriction keeps what should be a non-political agency from advocating a political position.

    In addition, other agencies of the government can and do collect gun data. The government funds private research into guns and gun violence.

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