Pixel Scroll 4/5/16 If You Pixel Us, Do We Not Recommend? If You Scroll Us, Do We Not Read?

(1) NO MCKELLEN AUTOBIO AFTER ALL. In The Hollywood Reporter, “Ian McKellen Explains Why he Returned $1.4M Memoir Advance”.

“It was a bit painful — I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far.”

The world isn’t going to get to read Sir Ian McKellen’s autobiography.

Last year it emerged that the celebrated and Oscar-nominated thespian would be penning his own memoir in a deal with publishers Hodder & Stoughton reported to be worth £1 million ($1.4 million). But earlier this month the 76-year-old stage and screen icon revealed that he’d pulled the plug on the contract.

(2) OVERFLOWING WITH VERSE. Poems that Make Grown Women Cry edited by Anthony and Ben Holden gets a plug at Book View Café . One of the contributors, Ursula K. Le Guin, explains her choice of a poem in the collection:

I chose Robinson Jeffers’ “Hurt Hawks” because it always makes me cry. I’ve never yet got through the last lines without choking up. Jeffers is an uneven poet, and this is an uneven pair of poems, intemperate and unreasonable. Jeffers casts off humanity too easily. But he was himself a kind of maimed, hurt hawk, and his identification with the birds is true compassion. He builds pain unendurably so that we can know release.

(3) KUZNIA MOVES UP. ”Job Moves” at Publishers Weekly reports “Yanni Kuznia, previously director of production, is being promoted to managing editor and COO at Subterranean Press.” SF Signal did an interview with Kuznia last year when she was still Director of Production.

AJ:  Subterranean Press has a pretty small staff, so everyone wears multiple hats. Can you tell us a little about what you do at Subterranean? What is a typical work week like for you?

YK: As Director of Production, it’s my job to keep titles moving through the production machine. I need to make sure every book is proofed, art is commissioned, signature sheets are designed and signed, ARCs are ordered and sent out, authors receive and return page proofs, and that everything is reviewed one last time before we go to press. Of course, I have help doing all of this. I have two wonderful people, Geralyn Lance and Kyle Brandon, who work under me in Production, overseeing the day-to-day of several titles each. We talk continuously throughout the process to make sure every milestone is hit on time.

(4) FAITH. Deborah J. Ross at Book View Café finds three ways out for writers forced to deal with their “Original Vision vs. Compromising With the Market”. Number two is – go indie.

If you believe in your work, how can you be sure but this is not infatuation with your own words but that your work truly is of high quality? Every writer I know goes through spasms of self-doubt. Writing requires a bizarre combination of megalomania and crushing self-doubt. We need the confidence to follow our flights of fancy, and at the same time, we need to regard our creations with a critical eye. Trusted readers, including workshops like Clarion and Clarion West, critique groups, fearless peers, and freelance editors can give us invaluable feedback on whether our work really is as good as we think it might be. Of course, they can be wrong. It may be that what we are trying to do falls so far outside conventional parameters that only we can judge its value. It may also be that we see on the page not what is actually there but what we imagined and hoped.

Assuming that we are writing from our hearts and that the product of our creative labors is indeed extraordinary, what are we to do when faced with closed doors and regretful rejection letters? As discouraging as this situation seems, we do have choices. We writers are no longer solely dependent upon traditional publishers. We live in an era where writers can become publishers, and can produce excellent quality books, both in digital form and Print On Demand.

However, not all of us are cut out to format, publish, and market our work. All of these activities require time in which to acquire skills and time to actually perform them. That’s time we have lost for writing. While becoming your own publisher is a valid choice, it is not right for everyone. Some of us would much rather write in the next book.

(5) YURI’S NIGHT WORLD SPACE PARTY IN SAN DIEGO. Down in San Diego on April 9, Yuri’s Night celebrations will include a movie will include an sf movie showing. They’ll show Contact free at 7:00 p.m. in Studio 106 (San Diego Reader Building, 2323 Broadway, 92102).

Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway has long been interested in contact to faraway lands, a love fostered in her childhood by her father, Ted Arroway, who passed away when she was nine years old leaving her then orphaned. Her current work in monitoring for extraterrestrial life is based on that love and is in part an homage to her father. Ever since funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her NSF superior David Drumlin, as more science fiction than science, Ellie, with a few of her rogue scientist colleagues, have looked for funding from where ever they could get it to continue their work. When Ellie and her colleagues hear chatter originating from the vicinity of the star Vega, Ellie feels vindicated. But that vindication is short lived when others, including politicians, the military, religious leaders and other scientists such as Drumlin, try to take over her work.

Although it is free, please RSVP as seating is limited.

(6) GUESS WHO? The website for Innominate (“The Con with no name!”) is up.

Innominate is the 2017 Eastercon, the British National Science Fiction Convention. Eastercon’s have been held over the Easter weekend every year since 1955 and is a regular gathering place for science fiction fans from around the UK and elsewhere to celebrate the genre in all of its formats.

Eastercons stand in a long tradition which we intend to celebrate, while aiming to bring in new elements too. The convention will cover books, film, television, art and costume and the programme will include talks, discussions, exhibits, workshops and other entertainment.

(7) FIREFLY LESSONS. Tom Knighton points out what businesses can learn from his favorite TV series in “Loyalty, Firefly, and Captain Mal”.

From a management perspective, Mal may be an ideal leader to emulate.  Oh sure, there are others out there.  Real life examples exist.  I’ve been blessed to work with someone like that myself, but not everyone is exposed to that.  However, anyone can pop in a DVD and watch Mal and learn.

So why is Mal so ideal?

First, he is a hands-on leader.  In the pilot episode, Mal and Jayne are moving crates of their ill-gotten gains, stashing them where prying eyes won’t see.  He doesn’t relegate the task to anyone else, but instead works just as hard as his crew does.  When they don’t eat, he doesn’t eat.  When they work, he works.

This firmly establishes his belief that he’s not better than anyone, despite being captain.  Yes, he issues orders, but because he’s shown that he’ll do anything he asks others to do, his orders are followed.

Second, his top-down loyalty.  Mal doesn’t have to like a member of his crew to be loyal.  He doesn’t care for Simon, not in the least.  It’s obvious to everyone, especially Simon. However, he refused to leave a member of his crew behind, regardless of his personal feelings about the man.

(8) OTTO BINDER BIO. Bill Schelly’s Otto Binder, The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is coming back into print June 7 from North Atlantic Books (paperback, 320 pages, $19.95.) It has 28 new images, of which 14 are new photographs.

Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary chronicles the career of Otto Binder, from pulp magazine author to writer of Supergirl, Captain Marvel, and Superman comics. As the originator of the first sentient robot in literature (“I, Robot,” published in Amazing Stories in 1939 and predating Isaac Asimov’s collection of the same name), Binder’s effect on science fiction was profound. Within the world of comic books, he created or co-created much of the Superman universe, including Smallville; Krypto, Superboy’s dog; Supergirl; and the villain Braniac. Binder is also credited with writing many of the first “Bizarro” storylines for DC Comics, as well as for being the main writer for the Captain Marvel comics. In later years, Binder expanded from comic books into pure science writing, publishing dozens of books and articles on the subject of satellites and space travel as well as UFOs and extraterrestrial life. Comic book historian Bill Schelly tells the tale of Otto Binder through comic panels, personal letters, and interviews with Binder’s own family and friends. Schelly weaves together Binder’s professional successes and personal tragedies, including the death of Binder’s only daughter and his wife’s struggle with mental illness. A touching and human story, Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary is a biography that is both meticulously researched and beautifully told, keeping alive Binder’s spirit of scientific curiosity and whimsy.

(9) PENNED BY C. S. LEWIS. There are a couple dozen entries on Brenton Dickieson’s list of “Photographic Plates of C.S. Lewis’ Manuscripts and Letters”, and several illustrate the post.

A reader suggested I add to my collection of previously unpublished C.S. Lewis manuscripts (“The Lost-But-Found Works of C.S. Lewis“) by providing a list of manuscripts that show up in photographic plates in books and journals. I know that most of these are published by now, but this list is valuable for people who want to get to know C.S. Lewis’ handwriting.

(10) RACHEL SWIRSKY INTERVIEWS FRAN WILDE. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly Interview with Fran Wilde, expert on man-made wings”.

3. Have you ever done skydiving or hang gliding or anything similar?

I haven’t! I’m a sailor. I have relatives who hang-glide, and I spent a lot of my childhood watching storms roll in on the cliffs of the Chesapeake Bay (it gets really windy), but in order to do the research for UPDRAFT, I wanted to feel the physics of being in a wind tunnel, and I wanted to make sure I was writing a flying book, not a sailing book turned sideways. So I went indoor skydiving, which was a hoot. And very spinny.

The wings in the book aren’t hang-gliding wings, they’re more like a cross between furlable wings and wing-suit wings, so I also watched a lot of wingsuit fliers on long-flights and also doing particularly dangerous things like flying through canyons. I researched about 2,000 years of man-made wings in history, and talked a lot with engineers who understand the physics of foils – aka: wings.

(11) YA REVIEWS YA. My favorite YA reader, Sierra Glyer, added a review of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas to her blog.

…It is about a 18 year old assassin named Celaena Sardothien. She is the most feared assassin on the continent but one day she gets caught. After she gets caught she is sent to a slave camp and this is where the book starts….

(12) WEIST ESTATE AUCTION. The catalog for this year’s Jerry Weist estate auction (to be held at the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention April 22-24, 2016) is now available. Over 4,000 pulps, dime novels, men’s adventure magazines and other magazines. Here’s a link to the catalog  (19 pages).


  • Born April 5, 1908 – Bette Davis

Bette David fountain


  • Born April 5, 1916 — Gregory Peck. Among his many roles: Ahab in John Huston’s Moby Dick, scripted by Ray Bradbury.

Gregory Peck Moby Dick

  • Born April 5, 1933 — Frank Gorshin, who played The Riddler on Batman and the bigoted half-whiteface, half-blackface alien Bele on an episode of Star Trek.

(15) THREE-BODY. Ethan Mills tackles the “Wobbly Relations of Past, Present, and Future: The Three-Body problem by Liu Cixin (Translated by Ken Liu) at Examined Worlds.

The Philosophy Report: Is Nature Uniform?  What to Expect from ETs?

Philosophy is mentioned several times, including the Chinese philosopher, Mozi, and the German philosopher, Leibniz, who are both characters in the game.  Aside from such small connections, two major issues are the uniformity of nature and the reaction to extraterrestrial intelligence.

In philosophy of science (and regular life for that matter) we all rely on what some philosophers have called the principle of the uniformity of nature.  This is usually discussed in (constant) conjunction with David Hume’s problem of induction.  Could we live as successfully in the world as we do, could we do science, if the laws of nature were not in some sense uniform across time and space?  If the laws of nature varied over time or between countries or planets, could we really get around?  Could we do science?  Or — closer to Hume’s point — whether this principle is really true or not, should we believe it?  Could we stop believing it even if it turned out to be unjustified?

But what if we had lived on a planet where as far as we could tell the laws of nature do sometimes change, where things are never the same over time, could we have evolved as we did and could we have developed science?  Those are some of the intriguing questions raised in The Three-Body Problem.

(16) HEARING MCCARTHY. TC McCarthy is not alone in his opinion:

(17) GETTING THE CAMEL’S NOSE UNDER THE TENT. A list of “11 sci-fi and fantasy books for people who don’t like sci-fi and fantasy” at Minnesota Public Radio News.

Sci-fi picks for people who don’t like sci-fi

So, you think you don’t like sci-fi. What turned you off?

Long descriptions of space ships and their alternative fuels? Too many alien names to keep straight? Just not into “nerd” stuff? Send your stereotypes packing to Planet Zurlong for a minute, and try one of these books that may offer you a new perspective on the genre.

For the record, most of these fall into the category of “soft” science fiction. “Hard” science fiction revels in technical details, whereas soft is not as focused on the specificity of its futuristic elements. Consider this a “soft landing” on your genre dive.

(But yes, sometimes descriptions of space ships can be fascinating.)

1) “The Wool Omnibus” by Hugh Howey

When Howey’s work first caught critics’ eyes in 2012, it was dubbed the “sci-fi version of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.'” That comparison is purely about how the book was published, not about the quantity of whips or handcuffs in it. Like “Shades,” it took off as a self-published Internet phenomenon.

Howey posted the first 60 pages of “The Wool Omnibus” online as a standalone short story in 2011, but within a year, that turned into a 500-plus page project that topped bestseller lists. The books take place in the Silo, a post-apocalyptic city built more than a hundred stories underground.

(18) DANIEL RADCLIFFE RETURNS. Swiss Army Man will be in theaters June 17.

There are 7 billion people on the planet. You might be lucky enough to bump into the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano and Mary Elizabeth Winstead



From Director Steven Spielberg, “The BFG” is the exciting tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) was published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Will R., and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor ULTRAGOTHA.]

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154 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/5/16 If You Pixel Us, Do We Not Recommend? If You Scroll Us, Do We Not Read?

  1. Andrew M: At the moment I don’t think there is anything to prevent a best series award. Historically this was not true for a long while because there were just not enough series to put on the ballot. Indeed I expect some rivalry between anime fans and live action series fans, either of which could put up a respectable set of nominees on their own.

    The Hugos have a bit more of a problem with this as they are conservative with a small c and take longer to adapt to changing circumstances (This is a feature not a bug ). There is also a problem that Hugo voters tend to feel that people should, if possible, have read/viewed everything on the ballot. For a complete series, or a computer game, this is a big investment in time and money. Awards where it is unreasonably difficult to read/view everything make slates more likely.

    I personally think that a lot of these categories fit better as awards given by DragonCon rather than as Hugos. I would still like the Hugos to be more relevant without losing their identity. My suggestion would be an award for best screen writing. Such an award would show that we are not ignoring some of the great things going on in visual media but that our focus is still with the originating writers.

  2. it doesn’t seem like someone could have a career long enough by 18 to allow for that.

    If they start killing at age nine or 12, as I believe one of my favorite fun reads, has they’ve had 6-9 years to build up a reputation. And child killers are scary. Those trained as kids to be killers. Yeah very scary people. Although a number of the things that worked for them as a cute kid won’t work once they become beautiful women.

    Whatever made you a killer at a young age probably made you hyper aware of your environment at all times. Having lost my hyper awareness when I was hit by the truck in March 2012 it’s like walking around partly blind. I had no idea how much information I was taking in and processing all the time. I no longer have to suspend belief when reading about characters who know where everyone in a store or party is because turns out I used to have a pretty good idea myself. Since I didn’t train as an assassin I wasn’t as conscious although I did wonder why so many people were unaware. I miss it most when driving.

  3. How does someone become the most feared assassin on an entire continent by the age of 18?

    The simple answer is to be a Mary Sue. A tor.com review of a later book in the series noted that several of the “good” characters are so remarkably good at their functions that they edge into Sue territory, and having glanced at the series as my daughter read them, I tend to concur. (Gur nffnffva vf nyfb gur ybfg urve gb gur guebar hfhecrq ol gur pheerag xvat (nffhzrq qrnq), jvgu zntvp ryira oybbq gb obbg.)

  4. If they start killing at age nine or 12, as I believe one of my favorite fun reads, has they’ve had 6-9 years to build up a reputation.

    That’s not actually that long of a period of time to build up a continent-wide reputation. It seems like an insufficient time-frame even if they started their career as a 6 year old.

  5. Child assassins: Start with “The Small Assassin” by Bradbury, move on to “The Bad Seed”‘s Rhoda Penmark, then add-in Hit-Girl and do a mashup of all three. Maybe mix in Dan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver too.

  6. @Jim Henley

    That child needs a good talking-to.

    From a safe distance presumably.

  7. (17) How did MPR’s “digital books producer” manage to miss the SF/F writer who lives a few blocks from their studio in St. Paul? Who writes in both genres? Who has won a Minnesota Book Award? And a Tiptree Award, over next-door in Wisconsin? Who has two recent short-fiction collections?* If I wanted to sell SF/F to a bunch of Minnesotans, Eleanor Arnason is one of the first writers I’d suggest.

    * Well, Hwarhath Stories is officially a May book, but there are advance copies around.

  8. Start with “The Small Assassin” by Bradbury, move on to “The Bad Seed”‘s Rhoda Penmark, then add-in Hit-Girl and do a mashup of all three. Maybe mix in Dan Wells’ John Wayne Cleaver too.

    Don’t forget genetic modification a la Hanna.

  9. it doesn’t seem like someone could have a career long enough by 18 to allow for that.

    It’s the parents, I bet. Just going on and on about how their precious little darling is killing this person and slaughtering that person and murdering the other person, showing photos of mangled but artfully arranged corpses, they’ve got her first axe mounted on the wall, they’re boasting how she was stabbing things from a very early age and the teachers said she was the most AMAZINGLY adept little homicidal sociopath they EVER had in their class and OF COURSE she won a scholarship to Hackitty Headoff University and became the YOUNGEST person to survive graduation and went STRAIGHT INTO a lucrative job with the TOP ASSASSIN”S GUILD in the country and they’re pretty sure she’ll make partner soon because one of the partners just got pulled out of the river so there’s an opening right there. Seriously, everyone’s sick of hearing about her DON”T TELL THEM I SAID THAT.

  10. The problem is, our society is too permissive. Look at how many schools have an anti-rape policy, and yet have NO anti-murder policy. No wonder Johnny can’t resist offing his little playmates.

  11. 2) Poetry is one of those things I feel I should and ought to be reading more of. I’m glad to have more recommendations.

    As a touch of irony, one of my favorite lines of verse is one written by Le Guin herself:
    “And cast the net and catch a fish
    Who will ungrant my every wish
    And leave me nothing but a stone
    On the riverbed alone
    Leave me nothing but a rock
    Where the feet of herons walk.”
    (Going mostly from memory on this)

  12. You could apprentice with your father who just happens to be an assassin who will take any job so long as someone coughs up 500 ryu.

  13. (2) I guess we all get something different out of things. It didn’t make want to cry, but I did find it inspiring towards a very individualist perspective as well as reflective on the changes that time makes on a body.

    (7) @ Aaron

    TL Knighton’s piece seems to get the relationship right IMO. Friendship implies something stronger than finding another person useful. There is a sense of camaraderie. There is an affinity for the other person’s presence, opinions, and participation.

    Mal never really gets that close to Simon. Mal respects Simon’s skill set as it benefits the ship. Over time, he respects Simon’s motivations to protect River. And he gets to a point where Simon is something more than tolerated. But I would hesitate to call that friendship.

    TL Knighton specifically refers to events early in the series where even that amount of respect is still developing. At that point in the series, Mal’s behavior is appropriately illustrative of Tom’s larger point about how managers/leaders should be loyal to the people they manage/lead. Even the ones they might not like too much.

    Of course, if anyone wanted a real world source for that sort of leadership style (as opposed to Mal’s fictional example), there are several good books written on the subject by U.S. Marines.

    (11) Sounds interesting. If I wasn’t in the middle of something very good with something better in the mail and Hugo season upcoming, I’d put it on the stack.

    I’m with Tasha on this one. I can suspend my disbelief enough to consider the possibility a famed 18 year old assassin. I’d need to read the book to be able to comment on the actual execution of the concept.

    (16) The lack of credulity extended to TC McCarthy is a bit disappointing.

    In the academic world, it is quite common for those not fully in lockstep with leftist ideology to hide any strong, contrarian opinions that they might have. Given that publishing is heavily influenced by NYC which has an overtly left of center perspective, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that there are authors that also hide their opinions so as to foster a serviceable working relationship.

    The example that comes most quickly to mind is an astronomer that lost out on a prime university gig because he is also a Christian of some flavor. While that was considered a feature at his then-current university teaching gig, the staff at the new university saw it as something less than commendable.

    [of course, none of that has any bearing on the comparisons/commentary relevant to the Hugos, Worldcon, the GOP, and Trump, etc.]

    Dang….TLDR again.


  14. I met a woman who refused to sign the “code of conduct” for her daughter’s public school, because the code forbade students to bring in “anything that could be used as a weapon”. You can put somebody’s eye out with a pencil, after all.

  15. @Jack
    yeah, but how do you build a reputation as a great assassin when your dad has killed everyone, all the way down to the clock winders? You think Kylo Ren had issues?

  16. @Ray – You make sure you’re the one who actually kills the head of the Yagyu clan. Even if he lets you, it looks good on your CV/resumé.

  17. Dann:

    “The lack of credulity extended to TC McCarthy is a bit disappointing.

    In the academic world, it is quite common for those not fully in lockstep with leftist ideology to hide any strong, contrarian opinions that they might have. Given that publishing is heavily influenced by NYC which has an overtly left of center perspective, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that there are authors that also hide their opinions so as to foster a serviceable working relationship.”

    I’m fully aware that there are a lot of authors with conspiracy theories and that TC McCarthy might know some of them. Conspiracy theories will still remain conspiracy theories though.

    Also, you might have to think this sentence through:

    …not fully in lockstep with leftist ideology to hide any strong, contrarian opinions that they might have.

    In the first part you seem to hint that there just aren’t fully in lockstep with leftist ideology. Meaning there’s just the slightest difference. In the second part there is strong, contrarian opinions which would mean a very large difference.

    Which of them is it?

    “The example that comes most quickly to mind is an astronomer that lost out on a prime university gig because he is also a Christian of some flavor.”

    Link from a reputable source?

  18. @ Hampus

    Which of them is it?

    Both. Deviation from orthodoxy tends to inspire a negative response. For a more humorous example, think of the Monte Python scene (Life of Brian??) where the group is discussing the “splitters”. The smallest deviation is justification for the strongest response.

    Also….a reputable source, with further links to the source material. The blog father is invaluable for this sort of thing. He’s on my daily reading list. He is how I found John Scalzi.


  19. Ah, I think I have found the “astronomer that lost out on a prime university gig because he is also a Christian of some flavor”. And of course he didn’t loose out on the gig because he was a christian.

    He lost out on the gig because he wanted religious explanations to be a part of science. I would also think twice before hiring someone who is skeptic towards evolution.

    This was a matter of his stand on science. Not if he was a christian or not.

  20. @dann665 It can’t be quite true that all of those are previously unpublished, because I have a High-Opp ebook that I still haven’t read from a previous Humble bundle. I didn’t recognize the others, though.

  21. @Hampus

    Thank you for those links. As usual, I am shocked, shocked! that dann would be last then straight with us.

  22. Dann:

    Pjmedia is more or less the opposite of a reputable source. It is a political lobbying page. In the case you are linking to a plain letter column. Not a news source.

  23. The lack of credulity extended to TC McCarthy is a bit disappointing.

    Perhaps the lack of credulity is because people make ridiculous claims like this:

    The example that comes most quickly to mind is an astronomer that lost out on a prime university gig because he is also a Christian of some flavor.

    And expect to be taken seriously. When every example of academics being “persecuted” by leftists turns out to be ridiculously puffed up bullshit like the non-example you cited, it makes the whole “people are being silenced by a vast left wing conspiracy” thing seem slightly less than credible.

  24. @Hampus

    That is a significant misreading of what the Higher Ed article says. He was not seeking to have his religious views incorporated into his scientific work in any way.

    Had you taken the time to look at the rest of the highly reputable Instapundit search results, you would see that the source material that concerned UK’s biology department was actually a part of his presentations to Christian groups that there are rational biblical interpretations that do not require a “young earth” or 6 literal days or any similar ideas.

    Essentially, he is in the habit of talking them out of the worst strains of creationism.

    And as the Instapundit links included links to the Higher Ed article….and other hard news sources, I find linking there to be appropriate.

    Perhaps y’all should be a little more widely read?


  25. Well a quick google found this:

    I’m totally sympathetic to Univ of Ky’s concerns but they may have left themselves open to accusations of religious discrimination by the way they articulated their concerns.

    BTW the google also tells me that Martin Gaskell has been so shut out of lefty circles that he is forced to earn a crust from the University of Santa Cruz, that citadel of hidebound conservatism in academia.

  26. dann665:

    “…the highly reputable Instapundit…”

    Since when are pundits reputable!? They are lobbyists.

    Again, it was not a matter of his christian faith. There was doubt about him following the scientific method. No, he was absolutely not on the level of creationists, but he still expressed doubt towards evolution.

    If you want to use examples, do not try to hide what the conflict was about. Not about his religion. But what he has said or didn’t say about science.

  27. @SamOgan

    No, they wanted someone who could do the fucking job. Hiring someone who’s said they won’t do part of the job isn’t religious discrimination, it’s what damn near every employer on this planet calls good business practices.

  28. @Hampus

    Instapundit is the digital child of University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds. He isn’t a lobbyist. I call him reputable as he links to real sources (I.e. Inside Higher Ed in this case, NYTimes, WaPo, etc when appropriate). He admits when he is wrong and posts prominent retractions. Something I never see the MSM ever do. (Page 42 of Section Q doesn’t cut it, IMHO.)

    Seriously, even if you aren’t inclined towards his moderately libertarian perspective, his blog is a wealth of information on a wide variety of largely uncontroversial topics (assuming cures for cancer and advances in scientific research are not seen as negatives). I highly recommend it.

    Having read all of the articles, it seems to me that UK’s concern was misguided and misplaced. Obviously we won’t solve that here, but the courts seem to agree that there was a concern about UK’s vetting process, FWIW.

    Even the article from The Guardian confirms that there was an issue.


  29. @TYP

    Perhaps you should read about the issue more fully? The search committee found Mr. Gaskell to be the most qualified candidate in their search group. The duties of the job were completely unaffected by his religion as evolutionary theory is the domain of the biology department and not the astronomy department.

    While I am skeptical of all religions, I recognize the significant difference between a scientist that says “a better interpretation of my religious text is as allegory rather than as documentary” and a non-scientist that puts dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.

    That’s enough thread drift from me for the moment.


  30. I think it was a misrepresentation to say that this academic had his problems “because he is also a Christian of some flavor”. It wasn’t his beliefs but his public statements that became an issue.

  31. Obviously we won’t solve that here, but the courts seem to agree that there was a concern about UK’s vetting process, FWIW.

    No. The courts didn’t agree. For someone who claims others need to read more about the issue, you didn’t read how the issue was resolved. The parties settled out of court. That means the courts weren’t involved in the resolution at all.

    UK paid a moderate sum of money to Gaskell, both parties were responsible for their own attorney’s fees, and the agreement said UK didn’t do anything wrong, specifically (on page 3 of the settlement): “The parties agree that by entering into this Release and Settlement Agreement, the Defendant, University of Kentucky, is not admitting wrongdoing”. Reading through the documentation it seems pretty clear that for UK this was basically a business decision that defending the suit would have cost more than simply settling the matter.

  32. dann665:

    I know very well who Glenn Reynolds is. He is a conservative opinion blogger who blogs on things from a conservative viewpoint. It is not about news, it is about promoting his conservative viewpoints. I mostly find him steeped in ignorance regarding the rest of the world and his texts bigoted and filled with pure lies, so he will not be a news source for me.

    Now, I do agree with you that it most likely was wrong to not hire Gaskell. But I still think he has expressed some very problematic views. While not endorsing creationist views himself, he still has no problem to directing others to read creationist tracts and endorses books like the anti-evolutionary Slaughter of the Dissidents.

    If the question had been of hiring him to something to do with biology, I would have been against it. So again, it was not about him being a christian. It was about his opinions regarding science.

  33. The search committee found Mr. Gaskell to be the most qualified candidate in their search group.

    The only people who seem to be saying that are Gaskell and the political pundits who were desperately trying to make this into a huge issue. Every other source, including UK, says that he was “a leading candidate”, not the “most qualified candidate”. What Martin is complaining about is that facts emerged during a fact-finding process. One can possibly argue whether those facts are relevant to the job search, but finding out a potential employee’s qualifications and background is what hiring processes are for.

  34. I think Mal is a bad leader. I submit as evidence The Message, where Mal mishandled nearly everything personnel management related. His insistence on obedience/trust without providing explanation is a character trait that shows up in a number of episodes, but most drastically here. I would also argue he made Serenity a hostile workplace for Inara in a number of ways, using demeaning language towards her and about her to others, creating unnecessary obstacles to prevent her from working, and essentially punishing her for his attraction.

  35. Conservative banana slugs?

    Well that was meant ironically but we slugs seem to be always defending our time-honored traditions like Elfland, Tree 9, etc. It’s all been downhill since they started awarding letter grades instead of narrative evaluations.

  36. I can get a fair amount of pseudoephedrine at my HMO’s pharmacy. My carefully-hoarded stash had long since run out, so when I got this affordable HMO (thanks, Obama!), I saw it behind the counter and asked for it, signed for it, and bought it. I’m not sure what the limits are, but you can get a box of 60mg, 100 count just for asking! The cashiers are evidently quite used to people asking, “REAL Sudafed?!” in tones of wonder, wide-eyed.

    Darren: A Hwarhath collection? Sign me up!

  37. Instapundit is the digital child of University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds. He isn’t a lobbyist. I call him reputable

    I don’t.

  38. Also he isn’t the blogfather. That accolade justly goes to Dave Wiener. After all, he invented blogging with the original Scripting News.

  39. @Lis Carey, @lurkertype,

    Regarding pseudoephedrine; if you’re having trouble getting hold of it, there’s an answer:

    A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine by O. Hai and I. B. Hakkenshit

    There’s really not much better to say about it than to quote from the opening paragraphs:

    A novel and straightforward synthesis of pseudoephedrine from readily available N-methylamphetamine is presented. This practical synthesis is expected to be a disruptive technology replacing the need to find an open pharmacy.

    Pseudoephedrine, active ingredient of Sudafed®, has long
    been the most popular nasal decongestant in the United States
    due to its effectiveness and relatively mild side effects [1]. In
    recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain
    psuedoephedine in many states because of its use as a
    precursor for the illegal drug N-methylamphetamine (also
    known under various names including crystal meth, meth, ice,
    etc.)[1,2]. While in the past many stores were able to sell
    pseudoephedrine, new laws in the United States have
    restricted sales to pharmacies, with the medicine kept behind
    the counter. The pharmacies require signatures and
    examination of government issued ID in order to purchase
    pseudoephedrine. Because the hours of availability of such
    pharmacies are often limited, it would be of great interest to
    have a simple synthesis of pseudoephedrine from reagents
    which can be more readily procured.

  40. I found my stash of pseudoephedrine! Took some, started breathing properly, fell asleep on the couch.

    Glenn Reynolds is a conservative, partisan blogger and pundit, and pjmedia is a right-wing outlet. “Not as bad as Breitbart” can fairly be said, but thats,a low bar.

    The Puppies’ evidence that there’s a liberal clique controlling the Hugos and constraining the natural tastes of Fandom is that somewhat more women, non-whites, and LGBT writers and or works featuring such persons have won Hugos in recent years. And thats,”somewhat more than in ghetto past;” it’s still very much a minority.

  41. Dann, it’s amusing that you ended your long post with a TLDR, as you started it off reviewing TL Knighton, and I was thinking that a real snide reviewer could dispose of one of the author’s works (important note: I know nothing of the author) with a four-letter review.

  42. Indeed, being fired for being anti-science is not a case of being fired for being a Christian, unless you can show that a similarly anti-science Muslim or Hindu or whatever would not have been fired under the same circumstances.

    Otherwise, it’s just a case of being fired for being anti-science. Which seems like a reasonable thing to happen to someone whose job is teaching science!

  43. My fellow pseudoephedrine fans might enjoy a song I wrote a few years ago in honor of Advil Cold & Sinuses (Performed to the tune of Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes”):

    My Little Red Pills

    Whenever life is acting cold and mean
    I’ve got a friend in pseudoephedrine
    I am not taking any just for thrills
    But I still like to have my little red pills

    For any headache and for any chill
    I will just get my self a li’l red pill
    and when I’m curled up in a quivering ball
    It makes me better in no time at all

    But now the government has said
    they want to come
    and take my little pills away
    I went to Longs to buy a stash
    wouldn’t take my cash
    said, “Son, I think you’re done for today”

    I still don’t know what’s up with all the buzz
    Why are my headaches grounds to call the fuzz
    As far as I’m concerned, I’ll let ’em pry
    My little pills out of my hands when I die

    But now the government has said…

    I wish the government would get a clue
    Don’t they have any better things to do?
    I guess I’ll have to vote with my own feet
    and get my little red pills on the street.

  44. @dann665

    I think this letter from the chair of the search committee speaks volumes. “In the end, however, the real reason why we will not offer him the job is because of his religious beliefs in matters that are unrelated to astronomy.”

    No wonder the university felt they had to settle! So as far as that goes, I think you’re in the right here. The man was unquestionably denied a job because of his beliefs.

    Looking through more of the material, I’d say the key problem was that he is someone who strongly needs to believe that the Bible doesn’t contain any errors. (I don’t think that applies to all Christians, but it probably applies to most of them.) As a result, he makes elaborate arguments to try to square the Bible with scientific results. When the results are in his own field, he changes his interpretation of the Bible. When they’re in a different field, such as evolution, he’s more willing to throw science under the bus.

    One could make a good argument that anyone who believes that the Bible doesn’t contain any errors is unfit to be a scientist. I’m not sure that that would be a good legal argument, though.

  45. @dann665: “He admits when he is wrong and posts prominent retractions. Something I never see the MSM ever do. (Page 42 of Section Q doesn’t cut it, IMHO.)”

    I suppose that means MSNBC – or, at least, Rachel Maddow’s show on that network – isn’t part of the MSM. I’ve seen her prominently retract things when she turned out to be wrong about them. That’s one of the reasons I watch her show. It doesn’t happen often, but that seems to be because she’s good about checking her facts.

    Another is that when introducing a guest to speak on an issue, her first question is always whether she got anything wrong in her lead-in – which goes to the conscientious fact-checking I just mentioned – and allow proper time to respond. Compare that to Chris Matthews, whose Hardball show airs two hours earlier. His preferred style is apparently to interrupt and talk over anyone trying to give a nuanced answer. Sometimes that’s useful, as when the person is dodging the question, but it’s still rude enough for me not to tune into his show.

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