Pixel Scroll 3/10/16 Just Hook The TBR Pile Directly To The Vein

(1) DUALING READERS. Rob Dircks delivered an unexpected bonus to those attending his reading at Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author Night – it’s titled “Today I Invented Time Travel”.

I was invited to read from my novel Where the Hell is Tesla? at the Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author Night, and decided to write a short story for the evening — when an unexpected visitor showed up…

Here’s a clip from the story:

And my phone found me the top five reasons to go back in time:

  1. Stop George Lucas from making the prequels to Star Wars.
  2. Bet on the 1969 Mets.
  3. Talk to that girl you had a secret crush on in elementary school.
  4. Kill Hitler.
  5. Meet Jesus.

 

(2) TEMPORAL THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS. For writers determined to stick with real science there are a lot of details to work out, even when it’s only your imagination traveling to the future. R. A. MacAvoy, co-author of Albatross with Nancy Palmer, tells about those challenges.

This ingenious 25-year leap into the future turned from wiggle-room into a straight-jacket. It helped with the science, but not so much, as each of us kept coming up with new discoveries on the news that needed massive re-write. The Higg’s Boson companion (if it is what it seems to be). Gravitational waves.

And that was just the science!

Sweating, sweating, we began to consider all the other important changes in life which would go along with the advances in the sciences and which would touch the lives of the characters in the story even more than The Theory of Everything. In twenty-five years, we assumed, would people still be driving around in automobiles? Seemed likely – as this was not a Zombie Apocalypse novel. Petrol cars? Self-driving cars? Re-write. Rewrite.

Mobile phones. On the wrist, as part of one’s glasses? People still doggedly carrying things the size of card-decks in their pockets? Hey – at least a person in a self-driving car won’t be guilty of much as they babble or text into whatever form of phone they have as their cars zoom them to their destination. Or get lost in a daily traffic jam caused by the inevitable software problems.

And in a moment of O.C.D. we decided to eliminate all references to the daily habit of tea-time in the British Isles. It suddenly seemed too difficult to decide whether or not the increasingly technical lives we lead would have time for such an old custom. Eliminating all references to tea time was perhaps the silliest rewrite. But it explains, better than anything else, the straight-jacket effect of writing in the near-future.

This is only one aspect of the difficulty we found in writing twenty-five years into the future.

(3) TROPE CONSERVATION. Peter McLean on “Why We Shouldn’t Hunt The Trope To Extinction” at Black Gate.

The poor old trope had had a lot of bad press in recent years. A lot of people seem to want to deconstruct the little critter, or subvert it or discredit it. Basically people seem to want to hunt the trope to extinction, and I think that’s unfortunate.

Now I agree some members of the trope herd have got a bit long in the tooth and are probably due for culling. No one really needs to read another fantasy novel where a simple farmboy turns out to be the Chosen One / Long Lost Heir who is foretold by prophecy and destined to save the world, do they? No, so the “Farmboy” trope is probably due to meet the huntsman, and I think the “Damsel in Distress” has probably had her day too.

You very rarely if ever see these tropes in modern fantasy now, and that’s because everyone got sick of them. An overused trope can eventually outstay its welcome and evolve into a cliché, a completely different critter, and that’s when the huntsmen need to come after it. And that’s fine. The world moves on, as Stephen King would say.

But I don’t think we should tar the whole herd of tropes with the same brush just because some of them get old and go bad. Healthy tropes can be useful little critters. Tropes are what help to stop every novel being 1000 pages long.

(4) A SCALZI FIRST. “On The Wall,” John Scalzi’s first zombie story, co-written with Dave Klecha, appears in Black Tide Rising, the zombie apocalypse anthology edited by John Ringo and Gary Poole. The book is due in stores June 7, however, Baen Books has the eARC on sale right now For $15.

(5) ATTEND ZOMBIE TECH. Amazon is hosting a Zombie Apocalypse Workshop, where you can learn to apply Amazon Web Services technology to recover from the end of civilization. Bring your own laptop and shotgun.

Apocalypse Workshop: Building Serverless Microservices – Washington D.C.

Note: The AWS Lambda Signal Corps has recruited sufficient volunteers for our mission, and all registrants from now until March 10th will be placed on a recruit waitlist. Waitlisted recruits will be admitted if space permits on a first-come, first-serve basis so please arrive early.

Scenario: Zombies have taken over major metropolitan areas. The AWS Lambda Signal Corps has built a communications system to connect the remaining survivors.

Learn how AWS Lambda provides a platform for building event-driven microservices, all without the need to provision, manage, and scale servers. In this workshop, we will introduce the basics of building serverless microservices using AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon S3.

(6) CAN ALTERNATE HISTORY BECOME DATED? Fantasy Literature reviewer Marion Deeds, in 1632: The tale is dated but I love its exuberance”,  makes it hard to figure out why there are (by her count) 23 books in this popular series. (And she may not know about the 1632 conventions…)

Flint lets us know in the prologue of 1632 that there’s going to be no discussion of quantum physics, magical portals, of clicking our heels together and going home. The story is an exciting live-action role-playing game with a small force of Americans who completely outgun the competition. The competition are evil mercenaries, so we don’t have to feel sorry for them as they are chopped down like a summer lawn under the blades of a riding mower.

There are also a few other things that are not going to be problems for twentieth-century people dumped into the seventeenth century. Here’s a short list: no one’s going to struggle with a sense of psychic displacement or post-traumatic stress; no one’s going to pine for family or loved ones left behind; no one’s going to question the basic premise that they are stuck in the 1630s. No one is going to turn, irrationally, on another group; no one is going to scapegoat anyone; no one’s going to have a spiritual crisis.

A few more things no one in the new America is going to have to worry about: sufficient food, clean water, sanitation, electrical power, medicine, radios or even TV, except they do have to create their own programming. That’s because all that stuff came with them. They have their own coal vein, and Grantsville landed next to a river in Europe, so they have water and fuel for steam power. The area had its own power plant and three machine shops, several doctors and a jewelry store, so that as the various couples hook up, they can all get wedding-ring sets. It’s nice. Knowing they can’t maintain their current level of technology for too long, the Americans decide to “gear down,” and convert to steam power, settling at late-eighteenth/early nineteenth century tech. This is smart. All of this clears away survival-level problems so that Flint can get on with what’s important; those battles.

(7) RICHARD DAVALOS OBIT. Best known for roles in East of Eden and Cool Hand Luke, actor Richard Davalos died March 8 at the age of 85. He also was in genre films The Cabinet of Caligari (1962) and Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). And he was the grandfather of actress Alexa Davalos, who stars in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.

(8) MICHAEL WHITE OBIT. Rocky Horror and Monty Python producer Michael White died March 9.

His theatre production credits included the West End premieres of The Rocky Horror Show, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Chorus Line.

Born in Glasgow, White began his theatrical career in London’s West End producing plays such as Annie and The Rocky Horror Show.

He later went on to produce films, including The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1978, and those which have achieved cult status such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is still regularly screened in cinemas.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 10, 1876 — Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first telephone message to his assistant in the next room: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” (It is not true that the second telephone message was, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can…?”)
  • March 10, 1997 — The CW premiered Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is an oral tradition that Buffy inspired the creation of the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short) Hugo category, and it did receive a couple of nominations before it went off the air.

(10) RABID PUPPIES. After a brief hiatus, Vox Day resumed announcing his slate with “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Novelette”.

The preliminary recommendations for the Best Novelette category.

  • “Flashpoint: Titan”, Kai Wai Cheah
  • “Folding Beijing”, Hao Jingfang
  • “What Price Humanity?”, David VanDyke
  • “Space Raptor Butt Invasion”, Chuck Tingle
  • “Obits”, Stephen King

We have been repeatedly informed that homophobia and the lack of diversity is a serious problem in science fiction, and speaking as the leader of Rabid Puppies, I could not agree more. The decades of discrimination against gay dinosaur love in space by the science fiction community stops now, and it stops here!

Let’s face it, there are just three words to describe the only event that might happen in 2016 that I can imagine would be more spectacularly awesome than “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” winning a Hugo Award this year, and those three words are “President-elect Donald Trump”.

(11) HUGO LOVE. Joe Sherry at Nerds of a Feather: “My Favorite Stories Don’t Get Nominated: A Hugo Love Story”.

I love the Hugo Awards because in becoming part of the WSFS I get to add one small voice to the multitude and help pick the nominees for the five best novels / stories / whatevers. In 2014, artist Joey Hi-Fi was one nominating vote from making the final ballot for Best Professional Artist and becoming an official Hugo Award Nominee….

Collectively, a bunch of people who love science fiction and fantasy come together and say that these, these novels and stories and artists and fans – this is the best of what I read and watched last year. These are some of the best of what the genre has produced.

Then, when the nominations come out and also after the awards are given, we can all sit back and think…what the hell is everyone else thinking? Why are they so wrong? That book is terrible and this book that I loved is so much better.

Of course my opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Of course this is true. Unfortunately, a whole bunch of people who are just like me except that their taste in great fiction isn’t quite the same disagreed. Or, maybe what I loved was their sixth favorite story and they can only nominate five. Or maybe they just never read it because holy crap there is a lot of stuff published every year. I read a LOT and I don’t even scratch the surface of what’s out there. What the Hugo Awards allows me to do is be part of a group where everyone looks at what they read and tries to figure out what the best of that is – and then collectively, the numbers come together and a ballot is produced.

I love the Hugo Awards even when everyone else obviously gets it wrong because at its heart, the Hugo Award nominees are selected by a group of fans who are passionate about science fiction and fantasy. It’s a group of fans who, ideally with no agenda beyond love of genre, point to something they love and say “this, this is awesome.”

(12) LOOSELY WRAPPED. Kate Paulk has a small update on what Puppies can expect at MidAmeriCon II at Mad Genius Club.

Planning for the Puppy Presence at Worldcon continues under wraps until we have things sufficiently stable to make an announcement. The goal there is to be at the convention, have fun (lots of fun), and meet friends face to face. If I can arrange it there will be a PuppyGate in honor of the Jeopardy question and visitors will have to cross the PuppyGate to enter the fun zone.

(13) TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THAT OTHER THING. Attorney-at-Work blogger Jared Correia finds an excuse to write about a favorite show – “The Truth Is in Here: Lawyer Lessons Buried in ‘The X-Files’”:

The point is that Duchovny did not again discover wide popularity until he made it back to TV, for his turn as debauched author Hank Moody, on Showtime’s “Californication.” Now “Californication” has wrapped, and he’s back on “The X-Files.” Accepting that Mulder was the best role that he’s had, and coming back around to it, feeling at home in it, is the best end for his story.

Sometimes, you can take the circuitous route back to where you belong — but, there’s something to be said for recognizing that you should never have left in the first place.

I don’t think Jared Correia is any relation to Larry, although the click-through ad over Jared’s column “The way attorneys get paid” is very Larry-esque.

(14) GREEN PLANET. CBBC answers the question “Could vegetables grow on Mars?”

The team wanted to find out what could we grown if humans try to live on Mars in the future.

Although they didn’t have real Martian soil, they used dirt supplied by Nasa, which was taken from a Hawaiian volcano that’s thought to be very similar….

But there’s still a long way to go – no one ate the experimental vegetables, because substances in the soil including arsenic and mercury might have made them poisonous.

Now the team are trying to find a way to grow vegetables that are safe to eat.

Wait a minute. So there would have been arsenic in Watney’s potatoes…?

(15) MAD SNACKS. An aeropress is a thing for making coffee. The 2016 Australian AeroPress Championship will be held March 17 —

Australian Aeropress poster COMP

On the night, Australia’s best brewers will be stirring, steeping and pressing coffee generously supplied by Condesa and roasted by the punks at PMC.

Inspired by the Thunderdome of Mad Max, there’ll be beers, industrial disco balls, heaps of food (unlike the Thunderdome), a DJ in full Mad Max dress (not conformed) and, no doubt, some crazy revellers (confirmed), but weirdly the original Mad Max, Mel Gibson, declined the offer to MC.

(16) PUPPY IN ORBIT. Galactic Journey’s time traveler has the latest (really late) space program news in “[Mar. 10, 1961] Dog and Puppy Show (Sputnik 9)”.

We are definitely not far away from a person in space.  The Soviets launched another of their five-ton spaceships into orbit.  We’re calling it Sputnik 9; who knows what they call it?  On board was just one dog this time, name of Chernushka, who was recovered successfully after an unknown number of orbits.  It is pretty clear that the vessel that carried Chernushka is the equivalent of our Mercury capsule, and once the Russians have gotten the bugs out of the ship, you can bet there will be a human at the controls.

This is not to say that the American program is standing still—one of our astronauts may go up on a suborbital jaunt as early as next month.  But the Atlas booster, the big one that can put a man in orbit, won’t be ready until the end of the year, at the earliest.

(17) A WRITER WHO WELDS. No, it’s not the Emergency Backup Hugo – it’s Nancy Jane Moore’s “Post-Apocalyptic Spaceship”, at Book View Café .

(18) THE ROCKET’S BLUE GLARE. The New York Times has a story on Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ private space program — “Jeff Bezos Lifts Veil on His Rocket Company, Blue Origin”.

Blue Origin is part of a shift of the space business from NASA and aerospace behemoths like Lockheed Martin toward private industry, especially smaller entrepreneurial companies. Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, founded by another Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk, has been the most visible and most successful of the new generation of rocket companies. Last Friday, it launched another satellite to orbit, but an attempt to land the booster on a floating platform again ended in an explosion.

Much more quietly, Blue Origin has also had big space dreams, but until now did not give outsiders a look at what it was doing.

For almost four hours, Mr. Bezos, who only occasionally talks to the press, led 11 reporters on a tour of the factory and answered a litany of questions over lunch. He talked garrulously, his speech punctured by loud laughs. “It’s my total pleasure. I hope you can sense that I like this,” he said.

He described an image on a wall in the company’s central area, which showed two tortoises holding an hourglass and gazing upward at a stylized image of the planets and cosmos. Below is Blue Origin’s motto: “Gradatim ferociter,” Latin for “step by step, ferociously” — no cutting of corners, but no dillydallying, either. “You can do the steps quickly, but you can’t skip any steps,” Mr. Bezos said.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, Seth Gordon, Will R., and Tom Galloway for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

294 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/10/16 Just Hook The TBR Pile Directly To The Vein

  1. I see nothing in the below description which indicates an inability to see others as fully human. Problems in social situations yes. But not because they see others as less than human. Nor does it indicate more likely to behave like troll or jerk online.

    yep, high-functioning autistic people have enough trouble without assholes on the internet claiming to have the same syndrome and therefore making them look bad.

    I can speak from personal experience on this one. On both counts.

    The first time I was in college I knew a guy, a gaming buddy of mine, with self-diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. Later, the last time I was in college a few years ago, I knew a guy with clinically diagnosed 100% verified by medical professionals since childhood Asperger’s Syndrome or “Aspie” as my classmate always referred to it. I also interacted with other friends who were on the higher functioning end of the spectrum. The two cases were like night and day.

    In the first case, my gaming buddy had oddly specific interests(he and his mom were medieval re-creationists) but he was also a History Major so go figure. Slightly above average intelligence, but nothing to shake a stick at. He was just as adept with talking about WWII as he was talking about Medieval Europe. Gaming buddy by all accounts just had the social skills of a brick, especially around women….but he was also 19. He just seemed to not get it but could tell when he did something wrong when he did. We stopped playing with him because he was an ass, BTW. In addition, no identifiable tics. He could read like made though. He devoured the first 9 books of the Dresden Files in 3 hours with full comprehension. I saw him do it.

    My gaming buddy wasn’t even close to the real thing.

    Note: the following is true to the best of my recollection and understanding and I do not judge these friends for their behavior. They are still my friends, they are human beings and I still have respect for them and treat them as such.

    The second case, my actual Asperger’s classmate, was as highly intelligent as anyone I have met. He could read, write, reason, had a high vocabulary and was really articulate when he put his mind to it. I saw him put together one of the most creative Portal 2 levels I have seen…but he cannot understand sarcasm.

    In one specific instance, I was talking to him and used a classic piece of hyperbole, “If you open a dictionary to [whatever we were talking about], you’ll find [something]”. Classmate looked me right in the eye with a look of excitement and said, “Really?”. Beat. Beat. Beat. Then I realized he wasn’t putting on a bit. He was actually about to open up a dictionary and look for a picture. This was not an isolated incident and that was one that was consequence free. Said Classmate also had a lot of tics and unusual mannerisms such as using internet slang he had just learned (such as Yolo) in regular conversation.

    The biggest faux pas I ever witnessed from him was when the same friend insulted a person’s religion to his face AFTER he was specifically told multiple times it was not okay. Afterword, I talked him about it and discovered he’s not a bigot in any sense of the word. He just didn’t realize that kind of behavior was not okay and couldn’t pick up on the cues of the person we were talking to as being negative and harmful. He never did anything like that after that point and never will I think, but you get the point.

    I had a similar friend at that college who was also on the spectrum who was also into Film like myself. Said Film Friend had an oddly specific interest in Akira Kurosawa…despite not having seen many of his movies and being unable to talk about why they are important. I’m talking passion. Film friend would bring up Akira Kurosawa at every opportunity he got. Every Q&A about anything Film related would come back for Kurosawa or more specifically, “What can we earn from studying his movies?”. Film Friend was also never able to understand when someone else was obviously not interested in what he was talking about in the same manner as previously described. We were even working on a Sci-Fi project together and he would frequently talk about the Sci-Fi world he created as though we should know it just as well as he did and should have the same emotional reaction to it as he(or at least that was my read of him). He was unable to put himself in someone else’s shoes if that makes sense.

    As far as the Phantom goes…I don’t know. I haven’t met him. Based on what he has written on File 770 previously it might be a good rationale, but…he might just be an troll to us. The Phantom does seem to disregard a lot of what people are communicating to him and I happen to also disagree with his points of view.

  2. Lano: The Phantom does seem to disregard a lot of what people are communicating to him and I happen to also disagree with his points of view.

    He has also repeatedly “quoted” what Filers have said — except that his “quotes” are invariably twisted, wildly-distorted and barely-recognizable, much more sinister versions of what was actually said.

    Now, whether that’s something he does deliberately because he’s a troll, or whether it is an artifact of his mental processes and he is actually perceiving things in this way through psychological projection, is another question.

  3. He has also repeatedly “quoted” what Filers have said — except that his “quotes” are invariably twisted, wildly-distorted and barely-recognizable, much more sinister versions of what was actually said.

    Now, whether that’s something he does deliberately because he’s a troll, or whether it is an artifact of his mental processes and he is actually perceiving things in this way through psychological projection, is another question.

    That is also true and it was my conclusion as well.

    But, I do not have the time, energy or brainpower to track, interpret and comprehend everything that The Phantom says….so I usually don’t.

  4. For anybody interested in reading about what autism is and isn’t, Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes is the best book about autism by a non-autistic writer I’ve read so far.

    SFF bonus: has a chapter about Hugo Gernsback.

  5. TBR pile +1. Thanks for the rec. One of my nephews is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and last I heard his younger brother was suspected but too young to diagnose.

  6. lurkertype: (Maybe we need FilerCon! With parties decorated with copies of GodStalk, and many kinds of sausage.)

    And lots of different kinds of mustard!

  7. Well, of course! We need the mustards to put on the sausages!

    Aspies are pretty literal and exacting. They might not understand what you meant, but they can quote it word for word exactly as you said it. They don’t paraphrase as much as the neurotypical. Sarcasm, hyperbole, and metaphor are not usually their strong suits.

    Now, assholes aren’t big on exact quotes. Twisting quotes around so they mean the opposite of what they said is common in assholes and to a much lesser extent people who have various disorders of thinking (paranoia, schizophrenia, psychological projection, narcissism, low self-esteem, etc.).

  8. What is it with you people? Straighten your propeller beanies and quit being so vicious. It’s embarrassing.

  9. Brian — and yet, here you stay to share your wisdom with us. Why is that?

  10. lurkertype: Now, assholes aren’t big on exact quotes. Twisting quotes around so they mean the opposite of what they said is common in assholes and to a much lesser extent people who have various disorders of thinking (paranoia, schizophrenia, psychological projection, narcissism, low self-esteem, etc.).

    As long as you’re awake, do you have an opinion why it’s not okay to call somebody a “retard” but it’s okay to attribute to internet strangers the entire spectrum of psychological maladies?

  11. Not to speak for lurkertype, but what I read from that is that assholes twist things to be assholes while people with mental disorders end up with twisted quotes because that is how they see them. Nothing about assholes’s having any psychological maladies.

  12. I posted the information on Aspergers/high functioning autism as I took offense to it being misused to excuse someone’s behavior.

    Humans will be humans. Some percentage of high functioning autistics are probably jerks just like the the rest of the population. They are human after all. It wouldn’t surprise me the ones which are jerks use their diagnosis to excuse their behavior.

    Jerks will be jerks. Jerks use religion, atheism, illness, disability, age, etc. to excuse their behavior.
    1. Humans gonna human
    2. Some percent of humans decide being jerks payoff
    3. Blaming/excusing it on various things gives them a believed high ground
    4. Our behavior is always reasonable. Someone else’s is unreasonable.

  13. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that most of you already know of The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell) but it’s a very interesting read for those interested in autism.

  14. Tasha, thank you. I should have caught what was wrong with the implication that people on the Autism Spectrum don’t see others as fully human, but I didn’t. I think I worded my musings on empathy poorly and it set the wrong tone. I apologize.

    I’m also not comfortable with potentially conflating “assholes on the internet” with people with schizophrenia or Narcissistic Personality Disorder etc. Assholes on the internet are not a monolith, to borrow a phrase. Humans gonna human indeed. I’m going to try to remember that wording.

    Parts of the thread, in my mind, also meandered towards speculating that Phantom is not actually on the Autism Spectrum but was using it to excuse his behaviour. That made me feel really squicky.

    Soooooooo…

    @The Phantom:

    I don’t like what I read as a sneering contempt for everyone unlike you in your posts. I feel like you come here to deliberately wind people up, and I do not have to tolerate your intolerance. But I also believe that as a fellow human person, you deserve a basic level of respect. This includes not speculating if your ASD is valid or not.

    I’m sorry for my snarky comment yesterday; it was unnecessary and I should have just walked away from the computer. I will try to refrain from snark at others’ expense in the future.

    I will not interact with you in the future, as I do not believe we will be able to have a productive conversation. May you read many enjoyable books this year.

    (If anyone else sees me engage Phantom going forward, kindly smack me with a clockwork octopus.)

  15. @Dawn Incognito
    I need to do better at explaining why I’m providing definitions including my full thoughts to keep others from going down rat holes which do no one any good.

    I’ll try to throw Katsu at you when you get drawn in by The Phantom. I’ve given up on not speaking to Brian Z and instead do social media and research 101 tips but I’m way too snarky in those. Bad Tasha.

    Saying we should treat everyone with respect as fellow human beings is much easier than doing so when faced with trolling behavior.

    Nice use of The Proper Apology (TM). 😀

  16. Delighted to see a link to Fantasy Literature here. We’re proud whenever we are included in the wretched hive!

    I just found out about “1632” conventions this weekend at FOGCon, but I appreciate the information.They sound like they’d be pretty fun.

  17. @Dawn Incognito: Woah there, I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve read enough comments to know that if anyone has a clockwork octopus, they should give it to me, and slap you some other way. Don’t risk damaging a hopefully good clockwork octopus! 😉

  18. Re: alternate history, Edelsten

    I think a surprising number of alternate history are of the “Old Venus” variety. They so often show something about the writer’s “ideal” world, and that isn’t entirely pretty. The CSA Victorious! takes something that is impossible – a South that didn’t really care about slavery and a Lee and Army of Northern Virginia capable of winning battles without ammunition or food after moving hundreds of miles in a day – to reach an end result that is pleasing to some (or more than some, if you look at the US Presidential race). The list goes on – so many Rome Eternal stories have the moral of what a wonderful world it would be if the right people could simply run things without check or accountability. I suppose “Rome Forever” sounds much better than “Hail Hydra!”

    (My own handle is more my commentary that it does not hurt to be reminded that someone can be born well-connected, charismatic, daring, and possessed of a keen native intelligence and still fuck it up every time, while never being able to learn from those fuck ups than it is any like of counterfactual where the Stuarts won.)

  19. Why don’t you buzz off instead?

    Interesting, Techgrrl didn’t suggest that you buzz off, so she can’t buzz off “instead”. What she did was wonder why you keep hanging around even though everyone who regularly posts here has figured out that you’re a clueless fool. So why do you keep hanging around here even after you’ve been exposed for the empty shell that you truly are?

  20. @Brian Z on March 13, 2016 at 12:31 am said:

    What is it with you people? Straighten your propeller beanies and quit being so vicious. It’s embarrassing.

    @Brian Z on March 14, 2016 at 6:23 am said:

    @Techgrrl1972, I’m fine where I am, thanks. Why don’t you buzz off instead?

    Ironic

  21. What’s ironic is that when JJ hurled the insult that I have a learning disability because I dared use the phrase “we learned that” in describing a blog announcement, there was nary a peep from Aaron’s “everyone.”

    Now look at the reactions to asking you to knock it off.

    Have you no mirrors to look in?

  22. Hi Brian Z,

    I’m not everyone. I’m just me. I don’t recall seeing that exchange, but I haven’t been here that long and to be frank, I skim past conversations that you’re involved in.

    I will unequivocally state that I disagree in using learning disabilities as an insult or slur. That should not happen to anyone.

    I try very hard not to speculate on anyone’s health over the internet. Sometimes I fuck it up, and as much as it sucks to hear it I would prefer people let me know when it happens. Otherwise I won’t know that I’m hurting people.

  23. @Brian Z
    Please provide link to comment as I didn’t see such a comment. As I’ve mentioned before citing a source helps you in proving your assertions. I’m not going to slog through the thread to find it but you should have no problem doing a Google search of this thread to find his comment, right click over the date to grab the URL, then share both the link and the comment to back up your claim.

    Doing this the first time around instead of saying “x said” would save everyone lots of wasted time and effort. Unless you can’t provide the comment. This just looks like crying wolf when you don’t include the source links & exact quotes.

    ETA: another pro-bono post brought to you by social media company Tasha Turner Coaching

  24. Brian Z: What’s ironic is that when JJ hurled the insult that I have a learning disability because I dared use the phrase “we learned that” in describing a blog announcement, there was nary a peep from Aaron’s “everyone.”

    My comment was here:
    You do not speak for me. You do not speak for anyone else here. I thought that this was a lesson you learned almost a year ago. Apparently you have a learning disability, because it looks as though that lesson didn’t actually sink in.

    That’s not an insult. It’s an observation, based on your patterns of behavior.

    But the fact that you perceive having a learning disability as being something to be “insulted” about certainly says a great deal about you.

  25. JJ: But the fact that you perceive having a learning disability as being something to be “insulted” about certainly says a great deal about you.

    You’re going to have to decide whether telling people they have mental shortcomings is fair game, or whether it’s offensive. You won’t get far trying to have it both ways.

  26. Mike Glyer: You’re going to have to decide whether telling people they have mental shortcomings is fair game, or whether it’s offensive. You won’t get far trying to have it both ways.

    I didn’t “tell him he had a mental shortcoming”. I observed that he apparently has difficulty learning from past experience. He chose to be insulted by that.

  27. JJ: the fact that you perceive having a learning disability as being something to be “insulted” about

    JJ: I observed that he apparently has difficulty learning from past experience.

    Of course you did.

    However, up until now you hadn’t raised the question of whether diagnosed mental problems should be excluded from the usual mudslinging. Now, by implication, you have.

  28. there was nary a peep from Aaron’s “everyone.”

    Perhaps there’s nary a peep because no one happens the disagree. You might want to consider why that might be.

  29. Hi Aaron, you don’t speak for me.

    I have more to write so I don’t feel like a complete hypocrite, but have neither the time nor focus to do so at the moment.

    (I’m sure everyone’s waiting with bated breath! :P)

  30. Hi Aaron, you don’t speak for me.

    I didn’t say I did. I said it was possible no one disagreed with what I said earlier.

  31. I didn’t say I did. I said it was possible no one disagreed with what I said earlier.

    They might be like me, not wanting to dig down to your comment and preferring newer threads.

    You don’t speak for me, either.

  32. May I remind people that if you want Brian Z or another commentator gone for whatever reason, there is the Stylish plugin to make him invisible? I haven’t installed it myself, but I understand it is easily done.

    (obviously people can do whatever they want, but if I find I constantly disagree with someone it’s better for me to ignore them and I don’t really see what the point of figuring out who thinks Brian is clueless fool with a learning disability or not)

  33. Also if you (generic you) can’t use Stylish or don’t want to add a plug-in for some reason, but want to obscure certain commenters’ comments, there’s another way. Most or all non-mobile browsers let you specify your own style sheet to adjust things. (I presume Stylish effectively does something like this.) That’s what I use: a custom style sheet, tweaked so I can mouse over usernames to selectively reveal a normally-filtered comment.

  34. @Shao Ping and Kendall: I tend to read the Pixel Scrolls on my phone, so what I try to do instead is just skim past comments who I think are acting trollishly. Sometimes I fail. I’ll keep trying.

    @Aaron:

    Perhaps there’s nary a peep because no one happens the disagree.

    I said it was possible no one disagreed with what I said earlier.

    So you haven’t figured out that Brian Z is a clueless fool?

    1) you said that maybe nobody spoke up because they agreed that Brian Z. has a learning disability.

    2) I was subscribed to that thread, and that is not the reason I didn’t speak up.

    3) you don’t speak for me.

    Sure, you said “perhaps”, but I gotta call weaksauce. You were being pithy but still implying that general consensus is that Brian Z. has a learning disability or is a clueless fool.

    I don’t believe that Brian Z. is a clueless fool. If he’s so clueless, how come he keeps getting a rise out of so many people here?

    @JJ:

    You do not speak for me. You do not speak for anyone else here. I thought that this was a lesson you learned almost a year ago. Apparently you have a learning disability, because it looks as though that lesson didn’t actually sink in.

    That’s not an insult. It’s an observation, based on your patterns of behavior.

    But the fact that you perceive having a learning disability as being something to be “insulted” about certainly says a great deal about you.

    I feel like you’re being disingenuous here. The “learning disability” remark read as a slam to me. Now you’re saying that it wasn’t an insult. Even if it wasn’t intended as an insult, I believe it’s a valid reading.

    @Brian Z:

    I have observed that you have a tendency to paraphrase peoples’ posts in ways that twist their intended meaning. I wondered if that was what was happening here, as you didn’t post a link. I apologize for that assumption. I would recommend you take Tasha’s advice and provide direct quotes and links if you want people to take you seriously.

    I think it was out of line to say you have a learning disability because you continue patterns of behaviour that you have been told annoy people. I think there are plenty of possible reasons why you act the way you do that do not include speculating on your mental or cognitive health.

    Wow, being this earnest is exhausting. Now that I’ve said my piece I will step away from this discussion. (Though not deticking, because I still think it’s a valuable conversation to have and read.)

    Off to watch Swans Crossing and sass the TV.

  35. I have a problem, which I’ve stated in the past, of psychiatric diagnoses being made over the internet. I’ve repeatedly requested people not do this as I find it offensive.

    Some of us have learning disabilities. I dislike troll behavior being blamed on learning disabilities. It’s insulting to those with learning disabilities and makes it harder for them. It’s ableist language and inappropriate.

    @JJ
    I know it’s tough in this PC world we live in having to be careful of every word which come out of our mouths. But I’d greatly appreciate if you could try harder as those of us with mental, emotional, and learning disabilities are really tired of being compared to trolls through language. Thank you for giving this some consideration.

  36. Yeah, I want to explicitly say what Tasha and Dawn have both said (I feel my previous statement was too coy and conflict-adverse): attributing trollish behavior to a learning disability isn’t helpful. Even if offered sincerely, it too easily risks insulting both the person diagnosed and people with learning disabilities. It also imo is rarely attributed with a clear understanding of what learning disabilities consist of. Similarly with any psychiatric diagnosing.

    I’m sure it is something that I will do–I believe it is easy, ready-at-hand way to insult and dismiss someone–and I hope people will call me out when I do. Similarly if I assume everyone else here shares my opinions–particularly if it is opinion that insults someone.*

    *except in rare cases, like arguing against someone trying to justify Anders Breivik or someone coming here to insult others; you can certainly call me out in those instances, but for better or worse I will probably be less willing to listen

  37. Dawn, Tasha, Shao Ping, I appreciate your comments, and apologize for any offense I have given you or anyone else by using the words “learning disability” in response to a troll. I won’t do it again.

  38. You were being pithy but still implying that general consensus is that Brian Z. has a learning disability or is a clueless fool.

    I never said he has a learning disability. If you’re going to take offense, take offense for things I actually said. Also, your exception does not actually change what appears to be the general consensus.

    I don’t believe that Brian Z. is a clueless fool.

    So you haven’t recognized his true nature yet.

  39. In my experience, one’s less likely to wind up needing to apologize if one sticks to describing behavior, not diagnosing. Telling another commenter “Apparently you have a learning disability” is inappropriate and hurtful. Saying “You’re apparently unable to learn from experience, because it looks as though that lesson didn’t actually sink in” would have been a description of behavior, and IMO okay.

  40. @JJ

    Woot! Time to break out my favorite quote: Analects 15:30–“To err and not change is truly to err.” 🙂

    (and thanks)

  41. @JJ: thank you, I appreciate it.

    @Aaron: actually, I find it far more probable that Brian Z. acts the clueless fool because he knows it winds you up and he thinks it’s funny. Because he’s a troll.

    @Tasha: mood and personality disorder diagnoses here. I try not to let things get under my skin, because trying to point out the hurtful aspects of internet mental-health diagnoses is frankly exhausting.

    (If I return, cephalopod to the face, okay?)

    Back to Swans Crossing. I will never see Buffy in the same way again.

  42. @Aaron: I actually don’t think Brian Z is a clueless fool and I think that’s one reason I sometimes find him infuriating. He seems to me to be quite well-read and when he is filking or making puns is clever and funny. Which is why it can infuriating when he makes ridiculous (to me) claims about sci-fi, slates, or other people and their claims. Were he just a clueless fool, I wouldn’t care what he said. I feel he could do better and offer a lot; that he often (imo) doesn’t is annoying and a loss.

    (and apologies to Brian Z for this rather backhanded defense; if I knew how to put it differently, I would though I’m not sure it would change much more than the tone :/ )

  43. @Dawn Incognito
    Too many disorders to list without looking like I want pity or a star.

    I’m off for an early night. Some evil bug has been going around and I caught it. Just took a bunch of good meds which are gonna knock me out soon.

    I’ll catch you tomorrow. Just keep in mind Katsu can see you all the time. 😉

  44. Nobody speaks for me except me. Ever. Even if you’re sure I agree with you.

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

    Brian Z., I don’t think you’re a clueless tool, although I am often puzzled by your many discontinuities. I sometimes roll my eyes and move on when you post something I think is ridiculous. I occasionally wonder if more than one person shares your id (which could be “id” or short for identity, because both could be true). Once in awhile you introduce an interesting idea that I want to pursue. I always think you’re a troll, but it has yet to bother me particularly, although the sealioning is pretty tiresome.

  45. Thanks D.I.

    Well. “We had learned that Sasquan passed its nomination data to MAC II” was just a reference to the earlier, linked announcement. Possibly better-constructed sentences have existed within the corpus of English literature, but JJ’s claim that I was demanding everyone here agree with my views was shrill, disingenuous bullshit.

    The top agitators of Occupy 770 certainly have no qualms about twisting the words of others in the service of ridding fandom of its triple scourge of Puppies, Teddy and Republicans. Oops! I paraphrased again. Self-righteous nitpicking can be fun, but perhaps only up to a point.

    Still. Neither my resolve to not cede hallowed Fannish ground before the relentless terror that is JJ and the Pussycats, nor my general contrarian impulse, mean I wish to attribute things to folks that they didn’t intend to say. Not even in the heat of battle! For “anyone else,” please don’t hesitate to make me aware of it if you think I’ve misspoken, whether you found my contribution to be wise and clueful or otherwise.

    As for the two non-apologizing Knights of the Round Table: all I can say at this point is I don’t think Arthur is ever coming back.

  46. Brian Z.: JJ’s claim that I was demanding everyone here agree with my views was shrill, disingenuous bullshit.

    As I did not claim that (as you are well aware; you are just paraphrasing  lying again), it was nothing of the sort.

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