Pixel Scroll 11/4 The Pixellence Engine

(1) Nothing says the holiday season like this Kurt Adler 28” Star Wars Stormtrooper Light-Up Tinsel Lawn Decor

Holding a small, neatly-wrapped present for a festive twist, this soldier of the Galactic Empire is wearing his all-white uniform and armor.

Stormtrooper lawn decor

(2) “Sir David Attenborough and giant hedgehog launch new TV show Natural Curiosities”.

If Sonic is the first name that pops into your head when hearing the word “hedgehog,” British naturalist Sir David Attenborough wants to change your perceptions about the prickly creature.

A life-like hedgehog statue, measuring 7 feet tall and 12 feet long, covered in coconut fiber and over 2,000 wood spikes, was unveiled on Clapham Common in London to launch Attenborough’s new nature series, “Natural Curiosities” on UKTV this week….

A recent survey of 2,000 British adults revealed that because the “average Briton takes only 16 walks in the countryside each year, dramatically limiting their exposure to wildlife, a quarter of Britons say they have never seen a wild hedgehog, rabbit or fox, while 26 per cent claim never to have spotted a grey squirrel or frog, and 36 per cent say wild deer have eluded them,” according to the Daily Mail.

 

(3) Richard Davies discusses “Fragile Treasures: The World’ Most Valuable Paperbacks” at AbeBooks.

In terms of sheer numbers, collectible softcovers are vastly outnumbered by collectible hardcovers. However, many paperbacks – books with soft, not rigid, paper-based covers – sell for high prices. The reasons vary – authors self-publish, publishers lack the necessary budget or the desire to invest in a particular author (think of poets particularly) or simply softcover is the format of choice for the genre….

Published in German, Kafka’s Metamorphosis is the king of the collectible softcovers. Its famous front cover, designed by Ottomar Starke, shows a man recoiling in horror. Probably no more than a thousand copies of this novella were printed. It wasn’t printed in English until 1937. Today, this story of a salesman transformed into an insect is studied around the world.

 

Metamorphosis 1916

(4) Ethan Mills is observing Stoic Week at Examined Worlds. The second post in his series considers the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

Tuesday: What is in Our Control and the Reserve Clause Tuesday’s morning text is one of my favorite parts of the Meditations from Marcus Aurelius, one that has helped me get out of bed on more than one occasion!

Early in the morning, when you are finding it hard to wake up, hold this thought in your mind: ‘I am getting up to do the work of a human being. Do I still resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for and for which I was brought into the world? Or was I framed for this, to lie under the bedclothes and keep myself warm?’ ‘But this is more pleasant’. So were you born for pleasure: in general were you born for feeling or for affection? Don’t you see the plants, the little sparrows, the ants, the spiders, the bees doing their own work, and playing their part in making up an ordered world. And then are you unwilling to do the work of a human being? Won’t you run to do what is in line with your nature?

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1

Thinking about this through a science fiction lens invites questions about the work of a human being.  What are we like as a species?  Marcus compares humans with other terrestrial animals, but science fiction might extend the comparison to extraterrestrials as well.

Is it our nature, as Star Trek tells us, to “seek out new life and new civilizations”?  Is this what gets us out of bed in the morning?  Consider the theme of exploration in the recent book/movie, The Martian.  Is it inevitable that we long to leave our terrestrial bed?  Is our species at the beginning of a dawn of space exploration?  Or should we be wary of over-indulging this exploration drive, as Kim Stanley Robinson’s amazing novel, Aurora, seems to imply?

(5) This video has been reported in a comment on File 770, however, I may not have linked it in a Scroll.

Sasquan Guest of Honor Dr. Kjell Lindgren sends welcome from the International Space Station to members of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention.

 

(6) Today In History

(7) This is billed as a Dalek relaxation tape by Devour.com.

(8) Lawrence Railey is skeptical about “The rise of the Self-Insertion fic” at According To Hoyt.

Diversity isn’t the goal. At best, it’s a side-effect. Good story-telling is the only purpose, and the Puppies believe that nothing should get in the way of that.

And, quite simply, this notion that one must share essential attributes with the main character in order to enjoy a story is patronizing, narcissistic, and stupid. A black man can enjoy a story about a white woman. And, in the case of the story I just finished reading a couple days ago, a conservative white man can enjoy a story about a transsexual robot named Merlin living on distant planet.

Books do not have to be self-insertion fics, and they do not need to push a socio-political agenda.

The fact that the Puppy Kickers don’t know any better is disappointing to say the least.

(9) Steven Harper Piziks advises writers show equine intestinal fortitude in “Writing Nowadays: The Anti-Waiting Game” at Book View Café.

How things have changed.  Now you’re as likely to get a giant email dump with a PDF in it and a frantic note from someone in the editorial food chain: “I know this is short notice, but we need you to go through these changes by Friday morning!”

Every author I know has gone through this. Demands that manuscripts be rewritten within two days, or over Christmas, or when the author is on vacation. There’s an idea out there that because email allows instant delivery, instant writing must follow.

Horse manure.

Just say no. Politely and firmly.

(10) An appreciation of the late French sf author Yan Ayerdhal by Jean-Daniel Breque at Europa SF.

French science fiction writer Yan Ayerdhal died Tuesday, October 27, 2015, after an intense bout with lung cancer.

Born Marc Soulier on January 26, 1959, in Lyons, he thrived on SF from an early age, since his father, Jacky Soulier, was a big-time fan and collector—he co-authored a few children and young adult SF books in the 1980s. Ayerdhal worked in several trades before becoming a full-time writer: he was a ski instructor, a professional soccer player, a teacher, he worked in marketing for L’Oréal, and so on….

Most notable among his novels are Demain, une oasis (“Tomorrow, an Oasis”, 1991), L’Histrion (“The Minstrel”, 1993), Parleur ou les Chroniques d’un rêve enclavé (“Speaker, or Chronicles of an Enclosed Dream”, 1997), Étoiles mourantes (“Dying Stars”, in collaboration with Jean-Claude Dunyach, 1999), and Transparences (“Transparencies”, 2004). Most of them were illustrated by Gilles Francescano. He was the recipient of several SF awards: the Tour Eiffel award, the Rosny aîné award (three times), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (twice) and many more. He had one story published in Interzone, “Flickerings” (May 2001 issue, original title: “Scintillements”, 1998, translated by Sheryl Curtis).

(11) Jesse at Speculiction rejects 100 Year Starship and its new award, in “Awards Like Stars In The Sky: The Canopus”.

What’s interesting to see on the Canopus award slate is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, a cautionary tale that seems to draw focus away from space and back to Earth, and not Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, a masturbatory exercise in space gadgetry if ever there were. One would have almost expected Stephenson’s novel to be a shoo-in given the novel’s theme, but I’m not the award’s organizer.

Looking through the Science Fiction Awards Database, a person finds many a defunct award. The group were able to hold the ship together for a few years, sometimes even a decade or more, before the strings let loose (probably the purse strings) and the award slipped into the night of genre awareness (that vast space comprising the majority of material older than ten years).  I’m not pronouncing the Canopus’ doom, but with so many crises at hand on Earth, I think I’m in Aurora’s boat, not Seveneves. Shouldn’t we be solving Earth’s problems before tackling the riddle of space????

(12) A patent has been granted for a space elevator.

Patent granted to space elevator brings science fiction one step closer to reality

Canada-based Thoth Technology was recently granted U.S. and U.K. patents for a space elevator reaching 12.5 miles into the sky. The ThothX Tower is a proposed freestanding piece of futuristic, pneumatically pressurized architecture, designed to propel astronauts into the stratosphere. Then they can then be launched into space. The tower would also likely be used to generate wind energy, host communications technology and will be open to space tourists.

(13) And in the biological sciences the news is –

(14) Never bet against Einstein when general relativity is on the line!

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been proven right again — and this time, physicists have pinned down just how precise it is: Any deviations from his theory of general relativity are so small that they would change calculations by just one part in 10,000 to one part in 100,000.

(15) Though not a genre film, Christmas Eve has Patrick Stewart in it.

[Thanks to rcade, Daniel Dern, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

235 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/4 The Pixellence Engine

  1. @Mark I started it yesterday after paying full whack for it. Grrr.

    I bought it on your recommendation though so thank you :-).

  2. @Kathodus

    Gung’f gehr. Vg nyyhqrq gb gur snpg gung fur arrqrq gb sbphf ba qbvat abg guvaxvat. Ubjrire, fur urefrys vafvfgrq fur pbhyq arire qb gung, naq fur qvqa’g rira gel. Gung znqr vg srry yvxr fur ernyyl jnfa’g ba gur phfc bs punatr. Naq nsgre svsgrra lrnef bs pneivat, vg’f uneq gb oryvrir fur qvqa’g whfg cyngrnh n ybat gvzr ntb.

  3. idontknow on November 5, 2015 at 8:14 am said:
    If the sum total of their practical advice boils down to a.) record your interactions with strange women in neutral settings to protect yourself and/or b.) don’t put yourself in a position where you are alone with a strange woman in a neutral setting to protect yourself, then it strikes me that the protection extended by this behavior extends both ways. If a potential assaulter refuses to even be alone with a potential victim, then the chances of him assaulting her diminishes dramatically, right? And if your goal is, in fact, to see sexual harassers and rapists punished for their crimes, then one of your ancillary goals would then be to ensure the veracity of the claim being made.

    I have to say – oh the irony!
    This jerk advising the poor menz to avoid situations in which they might find themselves themselves vulnerable to wimenz.
    Oh gee, they’ll have to be extra careful about situations where they find themselves confronting a member of the opposite sex.
    Maybe never get into one-on-one situations, and maybe always make sure they have a reliable witness present able to testify as to who did what, lest something bad happen.
    Oh really.
    So now they have to keep this kind of thing in mind all the time, do they?
    You mean, like every woman every day?
    Sure guys, knock yourselves out with this one.

  4. @Stevie. I don’t believe the literature says that high amounts of stress cause people to be able to carve wooden ducks that fly.

    And I never said she should move in with the guy.

  5. Greg Hullender: Responding to your last sentence, mostly–

    V qba’g guvax fur qvq. Yrnivat uvz gbbyf, vapyhqvat gbbyf gung fur’yy unir gb ercynpr sbe urefrys, jbhyq vaqvpngr gb zr gung fur’f rkcrpgvat/ubcvat gb frr uvz ntnva. Ohg V qb guvax gur arkg zbir vf uvf, naq ntnva, gung’f bhgfvqr gur fpbcr bs gur fgbel.

    Gur chapu vfa’g whfg gur byq zna zbheavat uvf jvsr, sbe zr; vg’f gur cebgntbavfg yrneavat jung neg–neg gung fur yvgrenyyl pna’g xrrc urefrys sebz jbexvat ng–jvyy erdhver sebz ure. Gung’f n ovt guvat.

  6. Well even if that final duck is the best thing she’s ever done, doesn’t mean it’s great. She may have caught the “trick” of making her carving seem lifelike (and I do know what it feels like to have a revelatory breakthrough like that) but it’ll take a lot of practice to develop that basic insight.

  7. Greg, I think one point of The Wooden Feather is that, at the end of the story, fur vfa’g n znfgre LRG. Ohg fur pna abj frr gur cbffvovyvgl bs znfgrel va ure shgher. Juvpu fur pbhyq abg, orsber fur zrg naq jbexrq jvgu Wrc.

    V guvax, hygvzngryl, vg’f n fgbel nobhg ubcr erobea. Naq orggre shgherf. Sbe obgu bs gurz. (Nyy guerr bs gurz.)

  8. Vasha, yes, V qba’g guvax fur tnvaf vafgnag znfgrel. Fur tnvaf gur haqrefgnaqvat gung fur PNA orpbzr n znfgre. Juvpu, va fbzr jnlf, vf zber cebsbhaq, va zl bcvavba.

  9. @idontknow: I’d argue that it’s best to judge ESR’s claim about the Ada Initiative making “honeypots” to trap open source advocates on its own merits. Even if you can successfully cite instances where someone else set up such a honeypot to make a false accusation, at best that gives us “other people have done kind of similar things, so this sounds plausible.” Lots of things are plausible, but I want to see evidence for this specific claim.

    I certainly haven’t seen anyone make a credible claim that the Ada Initiative ever did anything like this before, either — people supporting ESR keep bringing up the notion that they “went after” Violet Blue, but if you dig into that incident it’s considerably more complicated/nuanced, involving AI criticizing one of Blue’s proposed talks at a tech conference and the conference organizers subsequently canceling the talk. While I can see arguments for and against the cancellation, that affair can’t be credibly held up as precedent for ESR’s “they’re trying to silence innocent menfolk.”

  10. Greg

    You will, however, find considerable support in the scientific literature for the avoidance of places and objects which remind the individual of the original traumatic experience. That is true in my personal experience; almost 30 years later I still strongly dislike all gas cylinders, with an extra helping of loathing for oxygen cylinders in particular.

    And, as I took considerable care to point out, the artists workspace is deeply personal; moving into their workspace without being invited is the same as unilaterally deciding to move in to their home. It’s one of those things which you just don’t do…

  11. However you choose to define it, what these people are describing is fear of being the victim of a crime.

    I know some people who are seriously afraid that they will be abducted by UFOs. Doesn’t mean I need to give them any credence.

    But what’s interesting about this is the way it reflects the fear of a loss of privileges, and a reaction to changes in society. In this respect it’s very similar to the retiree in in Portland Maine, who is terrified that “The Mexicans” will come up from New York to stage a home invasion (again, based on people I knew). And of course in all of the above cases there’s people making a profit off of stoking their fears.

  12. Re: House of Shattered Wings – having read the super-rich worldbuilding of her novella The Citadel of Weeping Pearls I was very enthused. It didn’t quite live up to expectations, although I’ll definitely read a sequel because I think it could bloom once it gets into the flow. My main issues were that the big sweeping background of Paris was reduced to the single (if impressive) location, and I really wanted to see more of the alternate Paris. Also, the (initial) main character never quite gelled for me – there were others I’d have rather been following round.
    That said, it was extremely well-written and enjoyable, with bags of potential. I don’t see it making my shortlist, but it was still worth reading.

    Re: Wooden Feathers – a most excellent story. My take would be gung gur cebgntbavfg vf orvat erjneqrq sbe cyhpx naq xvaqarff, nf fbzrgvzrf unccraf va gur zlguvp fbhepr zngrevny. Nyfb, gur vavgvny fprar jvgu gur chccrg-fba fubpxrq gur uryy bhg bs zr – V ernyyl jnfa’g rkcrpgvat vg – naq yngre fpraf tbg zr evtug va gur srryf, fb V sbhaq vg irel cbjreshy.
    There’s an Elizabeth Bear novelette in the same issue that is also worth a read.

    @Greg Hullender

    So Much Cooking was very enjoyable, although I had qualms about the limited SF content. Not quite made up my mind what I think on that score.

    @tonieee

    Sorry! If it’s any consolation I paid full price myself, and it’s good enough that I don’t feel cheated.

    (2) Odd coincidence, I saw a set of deer this morning. It was impressively foggy, and I think they’d come much further out into a farmer’s field than they normally would do because of the cover.
    I don’t know who hasn’t seen a fox in a UK city – I must see them weekly. Not much to tell between an urban fox and a decent-sized cat at a distance at dusk though, so perhaps many people don’t realise what just ran away from them.

  13. @Cassy B

    Sbe Fnenu vg’f qrsvavgryl nobhg ubcr erobea. Sbe gur pneirq obl, fher. Sbe Wro, abg fb zhpu.

    V nterr gung gur fgbel znxrf vg pyrne gung Fnenu fgvyy unf n ybat jnl gb tb, ohg fur unf n tvsg abj. Rira gubhtu vg jvyy gnxr gvzr naq rssbeg gb cresrpg vg, fur qrsvavgryl unf vg abj. Ure yvsr unf orra genafsbezrq.

  14. @Mark (Talking about So Much Cooking)

    V jbeevrq nobhg gur FS pbagrag gbb, ohg V qrpvqrq gung fgbel jvgu n qvfrnfr gung xvyyf 60% bs gur cbchyngvba va n svefg-jbeyq pvgl dhnyvsvrf nf FS. Lrf, vg’f n fcrphyngvba ohvyg ba guvatf jr xabj nobhg, ohg vg’f fgvyy fbzrguvat gur jbeyq unf arire frra.

    Bgurejvfr, V qba’g guvax “Gur Znegvna” jbhyq dhnyvsl nf FS.

  15. @Mark no apology necessary. It’s just annoying that the price went down the day after I bought it. If only I’d been a bit slower reading Karen Memory I could have saved a bit of money! I’m enjoying it so far so glad of the recommendation.

  16. @Cassy B

    Greg, Jeb gets serrqbz sebz n greevoyr oheqra.

    At least, that’s my take on it.

    Off subject, but despite reading many Rot-13’d comments today, this one made me laugh as my brain read “Greg, Jeb gets (something unintelligible that sounds like something the Swedish Chef might say). At least that’s my take on it.”

    I think it’s the English lead-up and end, and the short Rot-13 string, so my brain pretty much processed the entire post before I shut it down and translated the words.

    Anyway, sorry for the aside…

    I agree with the English contents of that statement.

    Also, just wanted to point out that fur tvirf uvz na ragver frg bs gbbyf – abg whfg ure fcnerf – juvpu jvyy nyybj uvz gb fgneg pneivat ntnva. Sebz gur fgbel’f pbagrkg, V tbg gung cbiregl naq n ynpx bs gbbyf, jvgu n uhtr urycvat bs qrfcnve, nppbhagrq sbe uvf ab ybatre pneivat.

  17. Peace Is My Middle Name on November 5, 2015 at 10:00 am said:

    That suggests not only breathtaking ignorance, but staggering self-importance

    So this is your first encounter with ESR, then? 🙂

  18. @Greg re: “So Much Cooking”:

    Vg’f abg xvyyvat naljurer erzbgryl arne 60% bs gur cbchyngvba. Svefg jr’er gbyq “Jurer V yvir (Zvaarncbyvf) gurer unir orra 83 pbasvezrq pnfrf bs U5A1. Gur tbbq arjf (!!!) vf gung vg’f nccneragyl abg nf yrguny va gur uhzna-gb-uhzna inevnag nf vg jnf onpx jura vg jnf whfg oveqf-gb-uhzna, ohg fvapr vg jnf 60% yrguny va gur byq sbez gung’f abg ernyyl jung V guvax bs nf tbbq tbbq arjf. Gur onq arjf vf gung gurer’f n sbhe-qnl vaphongvba crevbq fb gubfr 83 crbcyr nyy vasrpgrq bguref naq guvf vf bayl gur gval, gval gvc bs n tvnag, yrguny vproret.” Gura yngre, “Fur’f whfg tbvat gb fgnl ng ubzr naq qevax syhvqf naq gel gb or bar bs gur 68% jub’ir orra znxvat vg guebhtu.”

    Fb, gubhfnaqf bs pnfrf, bs jubz 68% fheivir… Vg’f qrsvavgryl jbefr guna nal rcvqrzvp n svefg-jbeyq pbhagel unf frra va yvivat zrzbel, ohg abg gung zhpu jbefr. Pvivyvmngvba vfa’g va qnatre bs pbyyncfvat; gurer’f arire rira na vagreehcgvba va vagrearg freivpr. Gur bayl qvssrerapr orgjrra guvf naq fbzr zhaqnar pevfvf yvxr n uheevpnar vf gung vg’f angvbajvqr naq tbrf ba sbe engure n ybat gvzr. V qba’g frr nal fvta gung guvatf jvyy pbagvahr gb trg jbefr. Gur aneengbe fnlf “V xarj: guvf jvyy nyy pbzr gb na raq. Jr’yy fheivir guvf, naq rirelbar jvyy tb ubzr.” Gurer’f ab ernfba gb qbhog fur’f evtug.

    Fb yvxr V fnvq lrfgreqnl, vs guvf jnf choyvfurq nf “ernyvfgvp” svpgvba ab bar jbhyq oyvax, orpnhfr gurer’f ab gehyl haurneq-bs pevfvf gung punyyratrf gur rkvfgvat jbexvatf bs fbpvrgl. Vg’f nyy jvguva cerfrag-qnl fbpvrgl, jvgu crbcyr qrnyvat jvgu vg whfg nf gurl qb bgure pevfrf. Gur fpvrapr-svpgvbanyvgl vf fyvtug.

  19. @Kathodus Yeah. Sometimes it looks like people are swearing. Other times it looks like we’re all speaking Klingon!

    Wro unq gbyq hf ur jnf trggvat ol ba n svkrq vapbzr naq fgvyy unq rabhtu zbarl gb ohl Fnenu’f pneivatf. V qba’g guvax ure cevzr checbfr va tvivat uvz gbbyf jnf fb ur pbhyq znxr zbarl; vg jnf fb ur pbhyq pneir ntnva.

    Gung rabhtu vs lbh guvax jbexvat jnf gur ovttrfg guvat zvffvat sebz uvf yvsr. Ubjrire, gurer’f ng yrnfg nf zhpu rivqrapr gung pbzcnavbafuvc jnf gur ovttrfg guvat zvffvat. Tvivat uvz gubfr gbbyf naq jnyxvat njnl znqr vg frrz yvxr fur jnfa’g nakvbhf gb frr uvz ntnva. Gur snpg ur’f abg zragvbarq va gur ynfg frpgvba ervasbeprf gung vzcerffvba.

    Bs pbhefr gur ynfg fprar vf bayl n srj ubhef nsgre gur ubefr ebqr njnl, fb jr’er serr gb vzntvar jung fur zvtug qb va gur shgher. Ohg vg pregnvayl qbrfa’g frrz yvxr fur arrqf Wrc sbe nalguvat.

  20. @Vasha

    V nterr gung gur FS vf fyvtug. Jung chfurq vg bire sbe zr vf gung vg qrfpevorf fbzrguvat gung unf arire unccrarq. Uheevpnarf unccra. Rnegudhnxrf unccra. Ohg guvf fbeg bs cnaqrzvp unf abg unccrarq va zbqrea gvzrf.

    Ba irel zvabe cbvag: nf n znvafgernz fgbel, vg jbhyq ynpx fbzr grafvba orpnhfr jr jbhyqa’g jbaqre jurgure gur ivehf jnf tbvat gb raq hc xvyyvat rirelbar.

    Gung’f gur orfg V pna qb. Gur gehgu vf gung vg’f obeqreyvar.

  21. Rose:

    The problem with that is that depending on what specific source you choose to believe, from the highly dubious (1%), to the more plausible (4-5%), to the highly dubious in the other direction (8%), to the absolutely ludicrous (41%), there is SOME percentage of sexual assault claims that are false. Considering about 85,000 are reported every year, the actual number of these crimes that are committed is clearly up for debate, but even at the most conservative estimate, (1%), that means that about 850 people are victims of this crime every year, with it likely being 4 to 5x higher than that.

    3-4,000 people a year that are innocent who are accused. That is a number of real people who suffer real life effects from it.

    I will go back to what I said initially. I believe every perpetrator of assault should be arrested, prosecuted and convicted. I also happen to believe that however many criminals there happen to be who attempt to destroy someone’s life by having him imprisoned when he has committed no crime whatsoever should also be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted. And I don’t think that is an unreasonable opinion.

    Attempting to diminish something that is life changing and that REALLY happens to as many people as it does, no matter how few or how many you agree that is, by comparing it to the fantasy of UFO abduction is pretty offensive.

  22. @Vasha, Greg (So Much Cooking)

    Vg’f grpuavpnyyl n arj uhzna-gb-uhzna fgenva gung vf pheeragyl haxabja, naq gur fgbel vf frg va 2018, fb gurer’f gung. Gurer’f abg zhpu rkcybengvba bs gur fcrphyngvir ryrzragf gubhtu, juvpu jura pbzovarq jvgu gurve fyvtugarff tvirf zr cnhfr. V jba’g nethr jvgu nalbar jvfuvat gb nccyl gur “jung V cbvag gb” grfg gubhtu.

  23. Sometimes it looks like people are swearing. Other times it looks like we’re all speaking Klingon!

    Gb gur ynfg, V jvyy tenccyr jvgu gurr… sebz Uryy’f urneg, V fgno ng gurr! Sbe ungr’f fnxr, V fcvg zl ynfg oerngu ng gurr!

  24. @Vasha

    Bar bgure cbvag. Lbh fnl “Vg’f nyy jvguva cerfrag-qnl fbpvrgl, jvgu crbcyr qrnyvat jvgu vg whfg nf gurl qb bgure pevfrf.”

    V pynvz gung jr qba’g unir pevfrf gung erfhyg va fhoheona crbcyr frggvat gencf sbe enoovgf va gurve onpx lneqf. 🙂

  25. Gb gur ynfg, V jvyy tenccyr jvgu gurr… sebz Uryy’f urneg, V fgno ng gurr! Sbe ungr’f fnxr, V fcvg zl ynfg oerngu ng gurr!

    I know that’s not Klingon, I recognize “gur”.

  26. I was trying to figure out if any college or university used the hedgehog for their sports mascot and I came across a website that markets cheerleading supplies and mascot costumes. For $1073 (about £706) you can get a hedgehog mascot costume.

    Just in case anyone wants to do any undercover work.

  27. Re (8)

    I work in a railway station and have collegues that are Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Lebanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaisian, Sri Lankian and Philipino(that I know of). Every day I see people from all those places plus others from Japan, Somalia, France, Serbia, Croatia, Polonisia, New Zealand, Afganistan, Singapore, Indonesia and Korea(that I can recognise).

    I have a friend who came to live here after he converted to Christianity, and another, a 5th generation native who has married into a family of the Islamic faith. I know Jews and Hindus and Buddists. I have a sister who is gay.

    If I were a writer and I had a scene where my characters bought a pizza that had shedded lamb instead of ham because the shop was run by a Lebanese couple, or a scene where two new transit police were looking for a place to pray in a busy station, or how the father of a bride made a rambling speech at the reception telling everyone that the groom’s mother and most of her friends were all doomed to hell, none of that would be pandering to a minority. It is reality.

    I couldn’t possibly convey the diversity and richness of the cultures I see every day. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, and if I gave my readers just a glimpse of how the differences around me make my life richer – would make anyone’s life richer – then I would be happy. And if looking for that same richness in the books I read makes me a Puppy Kicker… well work requires I wear steelcaps so I can kick puppies all day and not feel a thing.

  28. Greg, I think I’m with Cassy B on “Wooden Feathers,” but I’ve enjoyed the conversation. It’s been an intriguing reminder of the ways in which emotional impact is vital to fiction.

    I read and enjoyed “So Much Cooking,” too, and it wasn’t the minimal sfnal quality that bothered me–that one just didn’t get through to me, emotionally, though it obviously hit other readers here hard. It’s an interesting contrast.

  29. “Patent granted to space elevator brings science fiction one step closer to reality”

    Now that is the ultimate patent troll. Makes me consider filing a patent for a Death Star, space carrier, fusion drive, warp drive, and so on.

    Got me wondering. If I do some reading and see some possible future military technology. File a patent on it,then the US government starts developing something similiar, I could sue the government for patent infringement and let them buy me off for a few million dollars which would be much cheaper than fighting me in court? Hmm… I also wonder what would happen if I tried the same thing on the Russians.

  30. @Greg: That’s true; but it’s so accurate that if a suburbanite did need to do such an atypical thing, the first step would be to consult Google and you’re guaranteed to find someone telling you how!

  31. @Mary Frances it points to why it’s hard to have a single review standard that works for everyone. I think it’s easier to agree on minimum standards that any story ought to meet, but up at the higher levels, different things appeal to different people.

    For what it’s worth, although I wouldn’t nominate “Wooden Feathers” for the Hugo, if it were on the ballot I’d certainly vote it above No Award.

  32. Greg, the story stopped before any other interaction could happen. I could totally see Jeb stopping by her booth in a week, NOT to buy a duck.

    I don’t see abandonment. I see the end of the emotional arc of the story. We’re following her, not him.

  33. 3-4,000 people a year that are innocent who are accused. That is a number of real people who suffer real life effects from it.

    And approximately 90,000 men per year (in the US) are victims of rape.

    If you are a man and you feel like you personally are more likely to be falsely accused of rape than to be a victim of rape, then yeah, you shouldn’t let yourself be alone with a woman. I’m not gonna talk you out of that plan. Safety first.

  34. @Peace

    I hate when people utterly ignorant of art or history come up with whackdoodle theories about art objects without knowing the first thing about what they evolved from or how they were made.

    I imagine geologists and biologists feel the same way with some frequency.

    Yes, yes we do. (At least where I work). I still have no idea exactly how to handle “theories” that make my brain go *boing* and the only thing I can clearly express is “that doesn’t even make enough sense to be wrong!” There is so much wrong layered that it virtually impossible to unpack.

  35. Yeah, both the stories under discussion were enjoyable but not five-star for me; but they’re very much worth discussing!

  36. Re (8)

    I will take, any day of the week, any insertion of her own self into Breq that Ann Leckie may have done in Ancillary over the insertion over his own self into Mike Harmon that John Ringo pretty much spelled out as his reason for writing Ghost.

  37. (Bit late, but today was rather spoon-free.)

    The championship round of the live-action television bracket is happening! Vote for the winner, the third place, you favourite wot wuz robbed, and also the bonus GOD STALK question.

    Amazon UK ebook sales:

    The Girl with Glass Feet, by Ali Shaw
    Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass, and returns to the strange enchanted island where she’s sure the transformation begun, hoping to find a cure. Fairy story for adults.

    The Book of Riley: A Zombie Tale, by Mark Tufo
    Riley, an American Bulldog, struggles to keep her pack safe during a zombie apocalypse. Also: Free today!

    The Ultimate Choice, by Lisa C Hinsley
    Cassie O’Neil breaks the law by having an unauthorised child, and is forced to participate in a deadly game show or her son’s life will be forfeit. She escapes after another contestant collapses, but surviving isn’t easy on the run.

    Europe in Autumn, by Dave Hutchinson
    Nominated for the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke, BFSA, and John W. Campbell Memorial awards. In a Europe fractured into tiny nations after economic crises and a pandemic, Rudi works as part-spy part-smuggler, moving people across state lines, and gets caught up in a conspiracy.

    Jam, by Yahtzee Croshaw
    The apocalypse no-one expected. Comedy horror – and for gaming fans, Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation reviews are very good.

    Nexus, by Ramez Naam
    Prometheus Award winner, NPR book of the year, Endeavour Award winner. Already pointed to yesterday but what the hell. 🙂

    In Silent Graves, by Gary A. Braunbeck
    Highly decorated horror author. Robert Londrigan is a devoted husband and expectant father one moment, and the next his wife and daughter are dead, and his daughter’s body has been stolen by a disfigured man. Robert’s search for the disfigured man leads him into a chiaroscuro world. (This one was really hard to try and summarise briefly!)

    Return Policy: The Unfolding, by Karen Cove
    Naddie Mae Baines is rejected by her parents and returned to Industra. Embarking on an escape with a handful of other children fearing termination, Naddie risks everything to escape the supply chain. Hugo-eligible.

    Nyx, by D. M. Livingston
    Nyx, a fairy, is hurled into hell but instead of finding damned souls and devils she finds only a group of young human witches. The group must learn to work together fast if they’re going to close the gates of hell…

    The Z Infection, by Russell Burgess
    Zombie apocalypse set in London. Apparently has a World War Z sort of set-up.

  38. Regarding Wooden Feathers: I loved it. I shall share the link far and wide.

    V qba’g frr nalguvat nf Fnenu univat orra “tvira” n tvsg be n erjneq – abg orlbaq uvz grnpuvat ure ubj gb svaq naq pbaarpg gb na novyvgl gung jnf nyernql uref, ohg jnvgvat gb or “gnccrq”:

    “Ubj qvq lbh qb vg?” fur juvfcrerq.

    Wrc fuehttrq. “Jbbq’f unys nyvir nyernql,” ur fnvq. “Lbh xabj. N tbbq pneivat’f abg n qrnq guvat, vs lbh chg rabhtu bs lbhe urneg vagb vg.”

    Fnenu pyhgpurq gur zht bs grn. Vg jnf ubg rabhtu gung ure unaqf jrer fgnegvat gb ohea, ohg fur unq gb ubyq bagb fbzrguvat.

    Lrf. Fur qvq xabj. Ohg gurer jnf n terng qrny bs qvfgnapr orgjrra oryvrivat gung tbbq neg unq n yvsr bs vgf bja, naq univat n guvat gung fng va n ebbz naq gber ncneg pneirq oveqf jvgu vgf pynpxvat zbhgu.

    “V guvax zber crbcyr pna qb vg guna yrg ba,” fnvq Wrc. “Ohg lbh fubhyqa’g znxr crbcyr. Vg’f abg tbbq, znxvat crbcyr yvxr gung.”

    Guvf, gb zr, fhttrfgf vg’f zhpu zber bs n jvqrfcernq guvat guna Fnenu (naq gur ernqref bs gur fgbel) zvtug thrff, naq abg yvzvgrq bayl gb pneiref jvgu gur nofbyhgr uvturfg znfgrel; lrf, Wrc (abg Wro – vg’f Trccrggb, nsgre nyy) urycf ure ernpu zber bs ure cbgragvny, ohg vg jnf nyjnlf ure bja cbgragvny gb ortva.

  39. Nov shmoz ka pop?

    (I don’t have anything ROT13-worthy, but I was feeling left out. Also, notary sojac.)

  40. Meredith

    Thank you for the recommendations:

    Mark Tufo also has

    Zombie Fallout

    free on Amazon UK. This seems to have been the first of his Zombie books; his dog is called Henry.

  41. @ rob_matic
    “I’m currently reading the much-raved-about THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS by Aliette de Bodard.

    I’m almost finished now, but I’ve found it a bit of a slog. I like the concept and the setting, but I don’t find any of the characters particularly engaging. Am I alone in this?”

    I have only read the sample for the novel so far. I have read 2 of her shorter works and found her world-building fascinating but didn’t sync very well with her characters in either story. It may be her writing style in general, not just the novel.

  42. I also loved Wooden Feathers. I was also going to point out the Jep/Jeb thing, so thanks for doing that, Christian Brunschen. It’s important! I didn’t expect to be thinking about Senaxrafgrva naq Cvabppuvb and the similarities and differences therein, so that was nifty and cool. But the general issues raised in the story — perngvba, erfcbafvovyvgl naq neg — worked for me and I thought they were very nicely done for such a short piece. For me, it didn’t matter gung fur qvqa’g gryy hf jung unccrarq gb rvgure bs gurz nsgre, orpnhfr jurgure gurl jrer sevraqf be pbyyrnthrf be jungrire jnfa’g guvf fgbel. Va snpg, Wrc jnfa’g gur fgbel. Jr fgneg naq svavfu jvgu Fnenu. Vg’f ure fgbel, bs fgehttyvat naq jbaqrevat naq gelvat gb svther bhg jung fur arrqf gb qb gb trg orggre. Fur jnagf gb or na negvfg jvgu rirelguvat fur vf, rira nf fur xabjf fur vfa’g irel tbbq. Ohg fur pna’g fgbc. Fur urycf uvz svavfu gur ubefr ng n crefbany pbfg — frggvat nfvqr ure jbhaqrq cevqr gung ur tnir ure qhpxf gb uvf uvqrbhf fba gb rng, chfuvat cnfg ure srne ng gur angher bs gur perngher, tvivat uvz n jubyr avtug bs ure yvsr, jbexvat uneq, ghpxvat uvz vagb orq nsgre — jvgubhg xabjvat jung jvyy unccra nsgre vg’f qbar. Ohg va grezf bs urycvat ure trg cnfg gur cbvag bs qbhog naq frys-prafbefuvc va ure neg… Fur tbg jurer fur jnagrq gb tb. Vg’f n fpnel raqvat, gbb, nf Wrc’f fgbel fubjrq. Jvgu gur gnyrag pbzrf erfcbafvovyvgl be lbh zvtug raq hc jvgu n Cvabppuvb (be “perngher,” vs lbh jnag gb tb Senaxrafgrva) bs lbhe bja.

  43. @Elisa

    Yes, yes we do. (At least where I work). I still have no idea exactly how to handle “theories” that make my brain go *boing* and the only thing I can clearly express is “that doesn’t even make enough sense to be wrong!” There is so much wrong layered that it virtually impossible to unpack.

    Very well put. I’m a physicist in my day job, and some of the theories I’ve been presented with have gone so far past just “wrong” that I couldn’t walk them back to reality if I had all day and a map.

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