Pixel Scroll 2/9/24 The FTL And The Furriest

(1) TOR ACCUSED OF USING AI ART COVER, AGAIN. [Item by Anne Marble.] People strongly suspect that Tor used yet another AI cover for a release by its Bramble imprint. In this case, the book is their hardcover reprint of Gothikana, a dark academia romance by an anonymous author known as RuNyx– an indie book that is both loved and hated. (Both the writing and the “hero” have been criticized.) Tor published this new edition in hardback with sprayed edges and what looked like a gorgeous new cover. Even people who already had the book bought it for the cool presentation. This is an adult hardcover priced around $30. But now, many people are saying that this new cover is probably AI.

Gabino Iglesias has one of the best posts on this:

This is not a first for Tor. In December 2022, File 770 published the news when Tor was caught using AI elements on the cover of an SF novel by Christopher Paolini – “Pixel Scroll 12/20/22 The Filezentian Gate” item #3.

You can see the Tor cover, the Solaris cover, and the indie covers of Gothikana on Goodreads.

Emma Skies devoted a TikTok video to analyzing the artwork: “I’m So Sick Of This”.


I’M SO SICK OF THIS I really don’t understand why we keep having to have this conversation in *creative* spaces. Stop ???????? using ???????? AI ???????? art ???????? It doesn’t even look good! Frankly this is beyond embarrassing and I’m incredibly disappointed in Tor. This is lazy and it’s insulting to authors, consumers, and artists who should and historically would be getting hired for these jobs, and this is only going to keep getting worse as the publishing industry is obsessed with pumping out more and more work for less money utilizing fewer employees. We are not heading in a good direction. ???? #torbooks #torpublishinggroup #brambleromance #gothikana #runyx #bookcover #aiart #noaiart #romancebooks #darkromance #fantasyromance #booktok #emmaskiesreads #greenscreen

? original sound – emmaskies

BTW I can’t tell whether a cover is AI or not. But when you look at the mysterious gate closely… Ugh. And I persuaded myself to buy this book because of the cool cover and sprayed edges…

More recent posts on Gothikana include Ed Crocker’s thread on X, started to celebrate covers by humans — which is a great response!

By the way, you can see the Solaris cover, which is complete different, in this post:

(2) MEDICAL UPDATE. Kaja Foglio had emergency gall bladder surgery last weekend, and had to be readmitted to the hospital on Monday. Phil Foglio posted the news at Bluesky.

(3) UGANDA WORLDCON BID REPLIES TO SENSITIVE QUESTION. Steve Davidson reported on Facebook that Amazing Stories recently asked the Ugandan Worldcon Bid —

“Given the laws of Uganda regarding LGBTQ+ how are you planning on handling this for attendees?”

The “the official committee stand” responded and I wanted to share their response, the first line of which states:

“This law is in courts of law and we can’t comment about it for fear of prejudice.”

The balance of their statement says:

“However, as a country so far, we have hosted and planning to host major global conventions like the Commonwealth Speakers of Parliament and Presiding Officers, NAM summit, the G77 + China in 2024 all have been completed without incidents consequential from this law and later AFCON in 2027 will be hosted here. We also have seen a successful football World cup in Qatar, the Worldcon has been successfully hosted in China in 2023 some of these parts of the world have more harsh laws against homosexuality. These precedents will help inform Kampcon in planning mitigation measures. The experiences of previous hosts with similar legal challenges will be instructive on how Kampcon approaches this issue in terms of its code of conduct to guide all the operations. In the meantime, we are also involving every stakeholder in the planning of this event right from bidding and we are receiving support of a number of forms from the national convention bureau (MICE Bureau) so we are doing all within means not to have any conflict legal or otherwise with the authorities of the land and the host community. The number one commitment for any host is safety first! This is not different for Kampcon. “

Davidson’s post includes quotes from media coverage about the enforcement of laws against homosexuality.

(4) FIVE BOOKS TO ENJOY. Lisa Tuttle’s new Guardian column reviews The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown; Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi; Red Side Story by Jasper Fforde; Past Crimes by Jason Pinter; and The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers. “The best recent science fiction and fantasy – reviews roundup”.

(5) BRISTOW Q&A. A lot of sff mentioned in the Shelf Awareness interview with Su Bristow:

Favorite book when you were a child:

There were so many! But I guess the one I returned to over and over again would have to be The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It’s the origin story of Narnia, and how evil was unintentionally brought in right at the start. It felt important to me, in a way that I couldn’t have articulated at the time.

Your top five authors:

Ursula K. Le Guin. Her Earthsea trilogy had a profound effect on me in my teens. The Taoist philosophy that underpins it, and the idea of equilibrium in nature–and of course in magic–struck me with the force of truth. It still does.

Barbara Kingsolver. Her versatility is extraordinary, and I’ve loved all her books, particularly The Lacuna and Demon Copperhead. I hope there are many more to come.

J.R.R. Tolkien. An obvious choice, maybe, but it’s not the writing so much as the depth and breadth of the world he created. He was aiming to set up a mythology for Britain, and he succeeded; his influence is everywhere.

Alan Garner. A master weaver of language, landscape, and legend. He creates songlines for his corner of the British Isles.

Terry Pratchett. The humanity, humour, and passion in his books is breathtaking, not to mention the immense wealth of detail and unforgettable characters….

(6) LIFE ON THE DEATH STAR? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Mimas is the moon of Saturn that famously looks like the Star Wars Death Star. But his week in Nature research reveals that it yet may be another place in our Solar System that might, just might, harbor life… (though personally I think we will just find some interesting pre-biotic chemistry…). “Mimas’s surprise ocean prompts an update of the rule book for moons”.

The shifting orbit of one of Saturn’s moons indicates that the satellite has a subsurface ocean, contradicting theories that its interior is entirely solid. The finding calls for a fresh take on what constitutes an ocean moon.

The detection of liquid water oceans under the icy surfaces of outer Solar System moons suggests that these moons could provide abodes for life under conditions that differ markedly from those on Earth. However, it can be a challenge to detect subsurface oceans directly, so inferences about candidate ocean moons are typically drawn from comparison to moons known to harbour oceans, such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus. These moons have many similarities in terms of both the conditions that sustain their oceans and the way that their surfaces indicate the existence of an internal ocean. If the criteria were set by these moons, the small Saturnian moon Mimas would easily be ruled out as an ocean moon. It therefore comes as a surprise to learn that Mimas must have an internal ocean, according to results reported in this week’s Nature. Primary research paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06975-9.pdf 

(7) BODYING THE COMPETITION. “’Three Body Problem’ Coming to Peacock Before Rival Netflix Version” says The Hollywood Reporter.

Now Netflix has a two Body problem.

An adaptation of Liu Cixin’s epic sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem is going to land on a major U.S. streaming service just weeks ahead of Netflix launching its own version.

Peacock announced Friday it has acquired Tencent’s Three-Body, the Chinese adaptation that was released internationally last year. The streamer will launch all 30 episodes Feb. 10.

While Tencent pegged the release date choice to the Lunar New Year, the launch is also clearly timed to get ahead of Netflix’s big-budget version, titled 3 Body Problem, coming March 21…

…The two adaptations are very different, however. The Tencent version is considered an ultra-faithful adaptation (to the point that some have criticized it as being a bit tedious) that, like the novels, remains squarely focused on characters from China who grapple with an alien invasion. Netflix’s version expands the story to an international cast and takes liberties to adapt the dense and physics-heavy novel for a mainstream audience. Also, while the Tencent version avoids the book’s brutal portrayal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution — a key sequence in the story — the Netflix version was able to be more faithful in that regard….


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 9, 1931 Algis Budrys. (Died 2008.) I usually can’t remember the cover art for a novel I read nearly fifty years ago but I remember that for Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys. It was the Equinox / Avon edition of 1974 with the cover illustration by William Maughan. I picked up on some newsstand in those days when newsstands still existed and they had SF novels to purchase along with comics and zines as Amazing and If.  I’ll get nostalgic later…

It was the first work I read by him and I remember that it was quite good. I see it was nominated for a Hugo at Seacon, the year A Canticle for Leibowitz won.  It was by no means his first publication as that goes to “The High Purpose” which been printed in Astounding in 1952, the year he started as an editor and manager for such publishers as Gnome Press and Galaxy Science Fiction. 

Algis Budrys. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

Between 1965 and 1961, he had two short stories, a novelette and two novels nominated for Hugos. None would win.

I’ve read three of his novels in total, the others being Some Will Not Die and Who?, none of the other novels are ones I recognize at all.  Both of these were well worth my reading time as well. I caution that I’ve not re-read any of these in thirty years so I don’t how well the Suck Fairy would react to them now. 

He was extremely prolific with his writing of short stories, penning well over a hundred. I’ve read enough of them to say he had a deft hand at this story length. So after the early sixties, he wrote far less fiction and worked in publishing, editing, and advertising to make a much better living. 

One was the Tomorrow Speculative Fiction magazine from 1993 to 2000. It was nominated for a Hugo at ConAdian and the next year at Intersection. Alas he did not win.

He’s best known I think for his F&SF book columns that ran for almost forty years starting in 1975. I know that I looked forward to them immensely. They’re collected in Benchmarks Continued, Benchmarks Revisited and Benchmarks Concluded. There’s also Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf which collects his columns there. 

And let’s not overlook A Budrys Miscellany: Occasional Writing 1954-2000 which collects some of his fanzine writings. It’s available at the usual suspects.


(10) REVIEW OF ‘MACHINE VENDETTA’ BY ALASTAIR REYNOLDS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Machine Vendetta by Alastair Reynolds, his latest novel came out a couple of weeks ago and SF² Concatenation has an advance post review ahead of its summer season edition. It sees a return to ‘Revelation Space’ and a Prefect Tom Drefus Emergency. The full review is here.

A terrorist incident, resulting in a conflagration in a large orbiting habitat, was caused by racism species-ism between uplifted pigs (to human sentience levels) and humans. The habitat was one of thousands that formed the Glitter Band orbiting the planet Yellowstone. Humans had arrived at Yellowstone centuries earlier but the planet has an unbreathable atmosphere, so that while some humans established a colony on its surface, others remained in orbit, hence the hundreds of habitats. Each of the habitats was largely self-policed (usually by local constables) but overall, inter-habitat, peace-keeping and the maintenance of democracy (via strictly controlled computer voting) was undertaken by just a thousand prefects operating from Panapoly – an asteroid hollowed out to provide habitation, space docks etc.

Then a prefect – Ingvar Tench – visits Stadler-Kremeniev orbital habitat. Ingvar Tench thinks she has been ordered there for a routine inspection of its voting mechanisms, but back at the Panapoly, the senior prefects are puzzled as no orders had been given Ingvar: what could she be doing visiting a habitat on the prefects’ watch list? Further, they are perturbed that communications with her have been cut… 

Enter senior prefect Tom Drefus who is sent to Stadler-Kremeniev to find out what Ingvar Tench is doing. Alas, he arrives too late and, long story short, she is dead…. 

(11) READY, WILLING, AND ABLE. RadioTimes quotes“Louise Jameson on Doctor Who return: ‘I’d be back in a nanosecond’”.

Doctor Who legend Louise Jameson has insisted she’s game for a return appearance as classic character Leela.

Jameson recently reprised the role in live-action for Leela vs the Time War, a short film made to promote the Doctor Who – The Collection: Season 15 Blu-ray set.

Speaking at a BFI Southbank screening of 1977 story Horror of Fang Rock held to mark the release, Jameson suggested she wouldn’t hesitate if asked to return to the BBC sci-fi series.

“Let’s see… I’d absolutely love to do one,” she said. “I’d be back in a nanosecond.

“Can you just tell Russell [T Davies, Doctor Who showrunner]? Can somebody ask him to watch it [Leela vs the Time War]?”…

(12) THE DOORS OF HIS MOUTH, THE LAMPS OF HIS WHYS. [Item by Steven French.] Not really genre related but so bizarre I couldn’t resist! An Atlas Obscura post from 2017: “Encryption Lava Lamps – San Francisco, California”.

Why use lava lamps for encryption instead of computer-generated code? Since computer codes are created by machines with relatively predictable patterns, it is entirely possible for hackers to guess their algorithms, posing a security risk. Lava lamps, on the other hand, add to the equation the sheer randomness of the physical world, making it nearly impossible for hackers to break through.

While you might think that such an important place would be kept in secret and locked off from the public, it’s actually possible for visitors to witness these lava lamps in person. Simply enter the lobby of Cloudflare’s San Francisco headquarters and ask to see the lava lamp display. 

It may seem bizarre that Cloudflare would allow average people to affect the video footage, but that’s actually intentional. External disturbances like human movement, static, and changes in lighting from the adjacent windows all work together to make the random code even harder to predict. So, by standing in front of the lava lamp display, you add an additional variable to the code, making it even harder to hack. In a way, by visiting Cloudflare’s wall of lava lamps, you can play a role in making the internet more secure…

(13) IRON MAN COSTS PLENTY OF GOLD. Speculative Fiction Collectors will happily sell you the “Iron Man Mark 2 Life-Size Statue” for a mere $12,399 – stand by to torch your credit card!

Paying homage to Tony Stark’s iconic armor from Iron Man (2008), Queen Studios crafted this piece with the utmost precision. Capturing Iron Man’s signature silver suit, he embodies a powerful stance. At a remarkable height of 214cm tall, the statue boasts a detachable breastplate for a customizable display. Dotted with internal lighting located in various components, it includes: the eyes, arc reactor, and palm repulsors. With fitting illumination around the base, this statue is a stunning addition to any collection.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Anne Marble, Kathy Sullivan, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, David Goldfarb, Steve Davidson, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/9/24 The FTL And The Furriest

  1. 7) I don’t get this, since it’s been on Amazon Prime video for at least two months already.

  2. (1) I’m going to have take a course in “how to detect AI on covers” before I go to the bookstore…

    (2) Ouch. Gall bladder surgery is one thing. But emergency gall bladder surgery and a return trip are truly sucky.

    (3) “Successfully.” To quote Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    (8) Algis Budrys gave me one of my best personalized rejection slips. 🙂 I miss “Tomorrow Speculative Fiction” and was just trying to remember the title and author of a story I read there. (It was the one where humans who slept with the conquering aliens were called “Frog F**kers.” Does that ring a bell?)

    (9) Wow, that’s very meta.

  3. (2) Wishing her all the best. Emergency gall bladder surgery is no fun (he says knowingly (

  4. (2) I remember my mother getting hers removed. And the next week, being in the hospital overnight for something gastrointestinal. It took her another three weeks to recover. She was amused by the surgeon coming by while doing rounds, in his white coat, jeans, and cowboy boots, especially since he’s Turkish.

    If you have any respect at all for human created art and literature, and the people who produce it, you will boycott these a–holes….

  6. RE: TOR Cover. Does that flower on the cover strongly resemble a cabbage, not a rose, or is it just me? (Yes, I know there were old-fashioned varieties that were called ‘cabbage roses’) But the petals look like real, thick, veined cabbage leaves. Plug ugly flower, anyway.
    Boringly formulaic Gothic cover, somewhat reminiscent of The Adams Family but Morticia and Wednesday had class!

  7. (3) ‘the Worldcon has been successfully hosted in China in 2023’

    You keep using that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means.

  8. @Mary A Bauer
    It looks like a rose to me. But hybrid teas don’t usually come in hide-everything black.

  9. (1) Of course one of the big problems with AI art is that it can sneak in multiple places in the process. The editor might not know the artist used AI elements.The artist might not know some of the stock photos they used or referenced had AI elements.

    It’s like the occasional tracing scandals that show up in comics. One person makes an unethical choice, which then passes through multiple layers of people who sign off on it with no realistic chance of catching it before it goes to the public.

  10. Best wishes to Kaja Foglio for a quick (and uneventful) recovery.

    When Hilde had her own gall bladder out, it wasn’t on an emergency basis, and there were no complications, so the most memorable thing about it was the surgeon coming to the waiting room to show off the Polaroid photos he’d taken of her removed gall bladder. Gee, Doc, thanks a — blecchhhh — lot.

  11. 3) Translation: hey, you are white tourists. You’ll probably be fine. We know the value of international conferences! Wink wink.
    Of course, if you’re caught doing gay stuff, you risk the death penalty and there’s nothing we can do, but hey, what are the chances, eh?

  12. (3) “We also have seen a successful football World cup in Qatar”
    Yep, successfully deleting any sign, sight or sound of LGBTQ+ people.

  13. (3) The Ugandan laws against homosexuality are among the strictest and harshest in the World. That alone should disqualify Uganda as a host. Would like to see Worldcon in an African country, but there are enough other options on the continent.

  14. (3) Agree with ‘peer’ on this.
    From Responsible Travel’s website: “ Travellers of any sexual orientation are advised to avoid displaying affection in public, but Uganda has become an increasingly dangerous place for LGBTQ+ travellers. As of 2023, people are legally obliged to report any observations of “homosexual acts” – and those that don’t report it could face imprisonment. ”
    So maybe the con folk can ensure there will be no police inside but a public display of affection could still have dire consequences, never mind what could happen to folk who go off resort for a meal or sight seeing.

    And although concerns about the Hugo’s pale into insignificance, one could easily envisage circumstances in which nominated LGBTQ+ writers suddenly found themselves ‘ineligible’.

  15. It should be noted that Budrys hated the publishers’ title The Rogue Moon (though I must admit it is catchy) and reverted to his original The Death Machine when he could.

    Also, ISTR reading that he was very angry about losing to Canticle (was he even second? or did they not publish the runner-ups’ order back then?), especially as it was a fixup of 1955–7 novellas and the book came out in 1959 and not 1960 like the other nominees. But, well, you can’t beat Canticle.

    I re-read Some Will Not Die comparatively recently, and it has some great writing – gotta love that opening:

    This happened many years after the plague, at about the same time there was already talk of reviving the American Kennel Club in the east and south. But this happened farther to the northwest:
    Night was coming down on the immense plain that stretched from the Appalachians to the foothills of the Rockies. The long grass whispered in the evening wind.

    Later parts are somewhat subservient to the conventions and (space) limitations of its time, but worth one’s time overall.

  16. (3)

    “This law is in courts of law and we can’t comment about it for fear of prejudice.”

    I have no idea what that means. Does Ugandan law also forbid commenting on the nation’s laws? Or forbid such comment only when it might create prejudice? What sort of prejudice? Is there a perceived risk that a judge applying a law might have been influenced by a random citizen’s opinion of it into making a prejudgement?

    But seriously, I would guess that the person who wrote that is indeed afraid, for the reasons why people living under oppressive regimes usually are afraid of voicing an opinion on touchy subjects. Supporting the law of the land would be the typical safe choice, but in this case, that would be counterproductive to attracting WorldCon voters. So better to say as little as possible.

    “These precedents will help inform Kampcon in planning mitigation measures.”

    A sentence that sounds eerier than might have been intended.

    Kampcon is a hard pass for me.

  17. @John A Arkansawyer

    1) Norman Rockwell was looked down on by other illustrators for painting from photographs. Now it’s a common and accepted practice.

    I don’t think that’s the same thing as using AI to create “art.” There’s a huge difference between an actual artist (trained or untrained) using a photograph before painting something — and someone using prompts to create a picture. Both Rockwell and Boris painted from photographs, and no one would confuse their work (or confuse them from AI).

    There is some debate over whether it’s OK to use some AI tools in creative work. Not everyone is going to be on the same page.

    I don’t know much about art tools, so I’ll bring this to writing. Most people agree that it’s OK to use Grammarly when writing, even though that uses AI. (After all, most writers ignore — and even laugh at — many of the suggestions because they know their language well enough to ignore them.)

    The debate gets trickier when people talk about using AI for writing prompts. Let alone using AI to generate actual text. Besides, I’ve seen some of the text created by AI — surely it’s easier to write the text yourself than to waste time editing that stuff.

  18. Trade between the two nations totaled over $1 billion in 2017, and I believe has not decreased by much.

    And Chinese companies have contributed to the building of infrastructure in Uganda. China also owns about 20% of Uganda’s debt (Roughly $1.6 billion.)

    Of course Chengdu was successful!

    “Soft Power” anybody?

    And you wanna bet the corporation that co-opted the 2023 Worldcon won’t help any Ugandan Worldcon?

    For some minor considerations, of course.

  19. Ed Green said;

    Trade between the two nations totaled…

    Perhaps had I not had a senior moment and led with “Uganda is dependent on staying in China’s good graces.” My post might have made a tad more sense.

  20. #2 and gallbladder surgery. I was sick for weeks and was finally diagnosed when I visited the doctor, got sent to the ER for a CAT Scan and had the signal pleasure of the doctor telling me “we need to call your husband.”

    When I had the surgery a week later, they discovered my gallbladder was in pieces so I ended up with a much larger incision than planned.

    And, I did NOT experience “some discomfort.” It was excruciating.
    My heart goes out to Kaja and the Foglio family.

  21. I also had emergency gall bladder surgery, but/and my recovery was basically uneventful. The branch hospital nearest my apartment was where Columbia-Presbyterian did all their gall bladder surgeries, so experienced surgeons and very easy for Andy to visit me in the hospital before they sent me home.

    Best wishes for Kaja’s recovery.

  22. When my husband had gall bladder surgery, the surgeon stopped by the recovery room after the procedure to show me a photo of the removed gall bladder. “As you can see, it’s a nice, healthy pink color. Which was, of course, the problem, because gall bladders are SUPPOSED to be green….” Quite the card, that doctor.

    Fortunately, my husband recovered quickly and with no complications. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the hospital and the surgeon were on our medical plan, there was a “surgical assistant” whom we never heard of, never met, and never authorized, who was not, and he sent us a four-figure bill which our insurance declined. That was an ugly, ugly fight. Those of you in England or Canada with a sane medical system, I envy you….

    My best wishes to Kaja.

  23. 3: so those worried that the Ugandan law regarding “promotion of homosexuality” might cause problems with Hugo nominations, can rest easy; the post Chengdu interpretation of WorldCon rules means the conrunners can simply drop any novels with potentially unacceptable elements.

    Seriously, we kinda needed to fix this

  24. Theresa P:
    To all those who have had abdominal surgery, I feel for you. A friend had his gallbladder out, and forever after, he could eat no greasy food. Forever after, he’d have to run to the restroom almost immediately if he did.

    I had a burst appendix, myself. The doctor didn’t admit me to the hospital, despite me telling him, “DON’T go by what pain you THINK I’m in, as I had previous surgery and have no feeling in my abdomen!” He ignored it.

    Long story short, I had surgery after loads of antibiotics,and they found my appendix had not only ruptured, but disintegrated! I was about six hours away from being dead. He came in to my room in intensive care after, and said, “You didn’t FEEL that?!” I’d have strangled him if I could have gotten out of bed!

    Twelve years later, I got an umbilical hernia from that surgery, and was sent to the same doctor! He said he didn’t remember. I told him, “You sure would have remembered if I’d sued you for malpractice, or my relatives had sued you for wrongful death!”

  25. I had a staphylococcus infection that had settled in my left forearm a decade back. I was working a food pantry when I noticed it was bleeding, so it got to my primary care provider where the medical assistant said I should get to ER.

    When I got there, an RN looked at it, turned a whiter shade of pale and put an IV shunt in me , an hour later, a physician admitted they could see bone. An hour after that I’d had a MRI followed by surgery to clean out the infection and then rebuild the elbow.

    That was followed by fifty days in-hospital getting antibiotics.

  26. @Cat: …When I got there, an RN looked at it, turned a whiter shade of pale and put an IV shunt in me…

    Major props for working a Procol Harum reference into such a horrifying story.

  27. (1) It “felt” a little off to me, and the closeup confirmed it. AI might be improving, but so is people’s ability to detect it. I’m still seeing extra fingers being rendered in illustrations. This “art” is also boring — the Solaris cover is pretty.

    (2) Ow ow, ugh, ugh. The people I know who had them out didn’t have problems, but it wasn’t an emergency, they scheduled it weeks in advance. Best wishes to Kaja.

    (3) Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. And while you’re at it, how about putting in some elevators and allowing guide dogs?

    And referencing Qatar and Chengdu is the opposite of reassuring.

    (7) I’m agreeing with @rochrist. And a lot more people have Amazon than Peacock. Any damage that was going to be done, has already been done. Got a feeling that no one but super-duper-nerds are going to watch 30 ‘tedious’ episodes with only subtitles. I certainly haven’t bothered.

    (9) I’ve wondered that too, but presumably it was a separate crime.

    (11) Make it happen, Beeb.

    (12) I read that article at the time. Functional AND decorative.

  28. PhilRH says Major props for working a Procol Harum reference into such a horrifying story.


    I got a second staphylococcus infection from my first forty or in-hospital after I fractured the right knee after blacking out and collapsing on a City street. (I have brittle bones.) So I got another fifty days in-hospital for the treatment of that infection.

    That was precisely the beginning of the Pandemic, so I spent the first four months of it save ten days hospitalised.

  29. Could be worse; a friend of mine spent I don’t know how long in the hospital (definitely over Christmas and New Year) with, as he so subtly put it “Flesh-eating nard disease”. You can imagine the pain, even with all the drugs available. He still woke up years later with nightmares about debridement Down There. Only bright side was it got him to AA.

    I knew a guy in college who’d gotten staph in one of his knees — as an athletic teen! He ended up with much-reduced athleticism, and a long gnarly scar.

  30. “We also have seen a successful football World cup in Qatar, the Worldcon has been successfully hosted in China in 2023”

    Pretty sure this statement torpedoes any remaining support western WSFS members might have for Uganda’s bid. Barring another vote rigging, this bid is DOA.

  31. @lLurkerype I actually quite enjoyed it, and I expect it’s a lot more …I don’t know, ‘honest’? than the Netflix version will be? Also, some pretty edgy stuff re: China and the CCP considering it’s a Chinese product.

  32. Lurkertype says Could be worse; a friend of mine spent I don’t know how long in the hospital (definitely over Christmas and New Year) with, as he so subtly put it “Flesh-eating nard disease”. You can imagine the pain, even with all the drugs available. He still woke up years later with nightmares about debridement Down There. Only bright side was it got him to AA.

    I knew a guy in college who’d gotten staph in one of his knees — as an athletic teen! He ended up with much-reduced athleticism, and a long gnarly scar.

    I didn’t get the flesh eating nard disease but I did that long gnarly scar as both of the first two surgeries required extensive hardware to hold the knee together while it healed up. Really extensive hardware.

    Bonus points for the surgeons office for forgetting they took it out so every time I get a MRI, and please don’t ask how often that is and why so, I get asked by the MRI pre-screening staff if I’ve hit a chrome knee cap as their records show that I indeed have one.

  33. (1) Stepping aside from the issue of AI being used to ‘create’ this design
    (great forensic examination by Emma Skies, btw), I found it quite dull and generic, reminiscent of a straight-to-bargain-bin DVD cover. Shockingly unimpressive for a “special edition”.

  34. (8) Budrys: Big fan of ROGUE MOON and WHO?, in my stash/short-stack of his books; my personal favorite (and in my ten-ish short-list of “sf books to reread roughly once a year”) is MICHAELMAS. I got to meet him at a ReaderCon; he bought me a hamburger, and subsequently (he was then editor of TOMORROW) bought a story from me. Good burger, too.

  35. I remember liking Who very much, but it’s very much a Cold War piece. Not sure how it would read to anyone born after the Berlin wall came down.

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