Pixel Scroll 5/8/24 Ansible And Grendel

(1) TOMLINSON AND ROBINSON SUE MILWAUKEE. In February, Patrick Tomlinson and his partner, Niki Robinson filed a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee over the multiple instances of swatting: “Robinson v. City of Milwaukee, 2:24-cv-00264”. At the link you can download (free) the original and amended complaints.

The amended complaint filed May 1 details several experiences with swatting, and in addition to the City of Milwaukee names 10 police officers as defendants. Here is an excerpt:

1. Niki Robinson and Patrick Tomlinson are the targets of a vicious campaign of domestic terrorism, carried out at the hands of a group of bullies who hide behind the anonymity of the internet.

2. The bullies’ main weapon of choice is something called “swatting,” which is when someone who wants to endanger the life and safety of another calls 911 and lies to provoke a dangerous police response to the victim’s home….

…11. Niki and Patrick have tried to work with the City of Milwaukee to stop this, but the City of Milwaukee failed to adopt a policy or train its officers on how to prevent Niki and Patrick’s stalkers from using the police department as a tool of terror.

12. And while many of the police officers who have responded to Patrick and Niki’s home have been kind, understanding, and compassionate, others have not.

13. The worst offender is Sergeant Lyndon Evans.

14. On three occasions, Sergeant Evans responded to a swatting call with abuse and violence.

15. Sergeant Evans told Niki and Patrick that he was “well aware” of the situation, but still demanded to be let inside their home, going so far as to threaten to break down the front door if he was not allowed inside.

16. Niki and Patrick live in a constant state of fear, worried that the next encounter they have with the police will be their last.

17. Every knock on the door or police car that drives by leaves them terrified that they are about to be staring down an officer’s gun or that they will be paraded outside in handcuffs to their further humiliation.

18. This lawsuit seeks to end the madness and vindicate the violation of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. It seeks to effect change through punitive damages by punishing the Defendants for their egregious conduct with the hope that the punishment is significant enough to prevent this from happening again in the future…

(2) SPACE COMMAND ARRIVES. “Crowdfunded ‘Space Command: Redemption’ Released, Features Star Trek’s Doug Jones, Robert Picardo & More” at TrekMovie.com.

A dozen years after its first crowdfunding campaign, the first installment of Marc Scott Zicree’s Space Command has been released, with several Star Trek actors in the cast. “Space Command: Redemption” is out now on Tubi, VOD, and physical media, with more installments from the series in the works.

Space Command is a sci-fi series inspired by Star Trek. The ensemble cast for “Space Command: Redemption” features Star Trek: Discovery’s Doug Jones in a leading role. Other franchise stars include Robert Picardo (Voyager), Armin Shimerman (Deep Space Nine), Faran Tahir (J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek), and the late Nichelle Nichols (TOS). The cast also includes several Babylon 5 stars including Bill Mumy,  Bruce Boxleitner, and the late Mira Furlan….

(3) I, THE JURY. Alec Nevala-Lee shared with Facebook readers that he was part of a Pulitzer Prize jury this year.  

Now that the list of winners has been announced, I can reveal a very cool fact: I served on the jury for the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for Biography! I spent much of last year reading through dozens of books with four other jurors, and I’m delighted to finally share the titles we chose: KING by Jonathan Eig, MASTER SLAVE HUSBAND WIFE by Ilyon Woo, and LARRY MCMURTRY by Tracy Daugherty.

(4) SFF POETS TAKE UP AI ISSUE. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) Executive Committee and key volunteers have put together two options for the SFPA to adopt as its policy regarding works derived from generative tools (including AI, large language models, etc).

Members have been sent an introductory statement and have until May 22 to vote for one of three options: 

  1. A limited AI ban
  2. A complete AI ban
  3. Neither statement

(5) ADVANCED RELEASE OF NOAF HUGO VOTER PACKET SUBMISSION.  The Nerds of a Feather 2024 Hugo Packet and Introduction can be downloaded at the link. It’s available in PDF and EPUB formats.

The Voter’s Packet for the Hugo Awards will be released shortly and made available to all members of Glasgow Worldcon. As is traditional, Nerds of a Feather has put together a compilation of what we feel represents the best and the breadth of our collective work published in 2023. While the purpose of the Voter’s Packet is to help eligible voters make an informed decision when casting their ballots, we are also making the packet available to all of our readers who may want to take a look back at what we did last year…. 

(6) BLIND LEADING THE BLIND? A highly skeptical Philip Athans says “Beware Of Friends Bearing Feedback” at Fantasy Author’s Handbook.

…If you have a trusted beta reader, someone who you know knows books, knows story, knows the genre you’re writing in, and you know that person to be smart and creative, capable of giving you solid advice, then wow—congratulations. Hold that person close. Give them gifts of frankincense and myrrh.

But unfortunately, most of the people we know can not reasonably be described in such glowing terms. I wish I could remember who it was, decades ago that, in a documentary about screenwriting, described the focus group as:

The uninformed reporting on the unknowable to the unimaginative.

…but that pretty much nails it. And what are beta readers or our writers group friends but a focus group? In Story Trumps Structure, Steven James wrote on the subject of beta readers:

I can’t think of any other field in which people who aren’t experts critique other people who aren’t experts in the hope of everyone becoming an expert.

Yes, people chosen at random or from a pool of friends and family may have opinions, but do they have informed  opinions? And if they say something akin to “I didn’t get it,” “I liked it, I guess,” “It was really creative!” and so on (you know you’ve seen stuff like this) sans detail or actionable advice, well… does that help?…

(7) FIVE UNEASY PIECES. Maya St. Clair makes a confession and reviews a hard-to-forget New Wave anthology in “FIVE FATES: Sci-Fi’s Nightmare Blunt Rotation”.

I’m in a weird place professionally. To get a job in publishing, it’s pretty much imperative that you stay abreast of recent trends and read voraciously from current frontlist books. And I certainly try. But left to my own devices, I inevitably end up crawling back to New Wave sci-fi like a starving flatworm whose only brain cell yearns for stream-of-consciousness novellas about interdimensional alien sex written fifty years ago by chainsmokers in dagger-collared shirts.

If you share my foibles, or if you’re simply in a reading rut, you’d be hard-pressed to find something more exciting than Five Fates. Not only does it boast a sci-fi supergroup (Frank Herbert, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson, Gordon Dickson, and Keith Laumer), it provides a fascinating snapshot of where speculative fiction was “at” during a pivotal moment of the genre’s history….

Five Fates, published in 1970, positions itself firmly in this mindfuck vein of the New Wave. Per the jacket copy, it’s “one of the most bizarre and original fictional concepts ever created,” a showcase opportunity for five of spec fic’s foremost writers to go absolutely wild. Its biggest names are red-hot at the time of publication: Frank Herbert has just finished Dune Messiah, and Harlan Ellison is in the midst of his decade-long, nearly-unbroken Hugo streak (he’s hard at work, the back cover informs us, on Again, Dangerous Visions.)

The central concept of Five Fates is this: all five contributors were sent the same disturbing prompt — in some dystopic world, a man named William Bailey is admitted to a Euthanasia Center and killed. The surrounding questions — how did he get there? how did society descend to this point? is there an afterlife? — are left up to the writers to flesh out. Each of the five resulting novelettes (which average around 30 pages) offers a vastly different concept, style, and literary goal. It’s a literary blunt rotation/samsara, a hallucinogenic journey that produces several great tales and one masterpiece….

(8) AI LIKES MIKE. Reason set the AI program Grok the task of reviewing a Heinlein book: “Review: ‘The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress’ Highlights Technology’s Role in Freedom”. Grok homed in on the book’s supercomputer character. The full two-paragraph review is at the link. Here’s the introduction:

For Reason’s June 2024 special issue on AI, all of our brief reviews involve AI in some form or another. Of course, we decided to ask an AI to write one of the reviews. Since X’s AI is named Grok, after the term coined by sci-fi author Robert Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land, it was only natural that we’d ask Grok to write a review of another Heinlein novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. See what Grok wrote for us below….

(9) RTD ON THE RADIO. The Planetary Society’s Planetary Radio did a “TARDIS Talk: Space, Time, and ‘Doctor Who’ with Russell T. Davies”. Hear the audio on YouTube.

This week on Planetary Radio, we celebrate the longest-running science fiction show in history, “Doctor Who.” We explore how this iconic series has influenced the scientific community and look forward to the new season of the show with Russell T. Davies, the past and present showrunner of “Doctor Who.” Then, space fans from around the world share how the show has impacted their lives and space careers. We close out with Bruce Betts, our chief scientist, as we discuss what we would do with a time machine in What’s Up.


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born May 8, 1940 Peter Benchley. (Died 2006.) Yes, Peter Benchley, the writer responsible for Jaws. I’ll get to that in a minute. Really I will. Trust me.

Although Jaws is what he’s best remembered for, his work that has been adapted for film and television includes genre: BeastCreatureThe DeepThe Island and White Shark. He has one film work of interest at least to me that’s non-genre, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, about writer Dorothy Parker and the members of the Algonquin Round Table. 

Peter Benchley

So, let’s look at some of his novels other than JawsJaws was his first and his second was a more or less an adventure genre novel, The Deep, of treasure hunters who discover Spanish treasure. Well and drugs. Then it gets complicated. Columbia Pictures purchased the rights to it even before its publication, hiring Benchley to write a screen adaptation. 

The Island, several years later, is effectively genre as it has two elements that are fantastic. One is that is a lost colony of pirates that have remained undetected since the establishment of their pirate enclave by Jean-David Nau, the notorious buccaneer L’Olonnais, in 1671; second is a sort of Logan’s Run premise is that the pirates kill anyone over thirteen that they capture. It too would be filmed.

In Beast — and none of his titles will win awards for originality, will they? — a fishing community in Bermuda is disrupted by a series of mysterious disappearances at sea. Think large sea monster and you wouldn’t be wrong. Yes once again it became a film. 

White Shark does not feature a shark, despite what the title suggests. It has Nazis and biological weapons with nary a shark to bite into anyone, not even a Nazi, the pity. To avoid confusion and to capitalize on the miniseries adaptation, the book was republished as Creature. It was also a film called, errr, White Shark

Which brings us to Jaws. It was published fifty years ago, his first novel. It was an outgrowth of his interest of the experiences of Montauk, New York shark fisherman Frank Mundus. Doubleday gave him a rather nice advance to write the novel while he was he was still a freelance journalist.

Despite critics generally hating it, it did exceptionally well with the reading public as Doubleday undertook an extraordinary publicity campaign including getting it adopted by book clubs everywhere. As a result, it stayed on bestseller lists for nearly a year, and millions of copies of the paperback edition were sold.

Jaws is definitely horror. With Very Big Teeth. Lots Of  Sharp Pointy Ones. Now that we’ve got that Very Important Fact out of the way, let’s talk about it. 

It premiered forty-seven years ago on this date. It was Spielberg’s first major film after directing such things as episodes of Night Gallery, The Name of the GameColumbo, and the rather excellent Sugarland Express

The screenplay is credited to Peter Benchley. He wrote the first draft here, and actor-writer Carl Gottlieb who’s Harry Meadows here and was Ugly John in the MASH series  (and I can still picture him in that role with his rather full mustache), then continuously rewrote the script during principal photography. That must have been an annoying thing to the director! 

It had a kickass cast  of Roy Scheider as Chief Martin, Robert Shaw as Quint, with Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper as the studio didn’t get any Really Big Names that they wanted so badly — which was as Speilberg intended, and he got what he wanted here, for the “the superstar was gonna be the shark of the film” as he stated in interviews. Very Big Teeth. Lots Of  Sharp Pointy Ones was going to be the Superstar. Yes, that did make a very good superstar. Well of multiples these together did as there were lots of mechanical sharks. They broke down a lot. The mechanics of this wasn’t quite there yet. 

It was the first major motion picture to be shot on the ocean and if something could go wrong, it did. Repeatedly. And of the multitude of mechanical sharks added immensely to the budget woes so the film apparently went four to five million over its eight million budget. Or more. The studio has never actually released accurate production costs.  That really didn’t matter as it made nearly a half billion in its first run at the theatre. Repeat — it made a half billion dollars.

I discovered that there are three sequels, Jaws 2Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge. I can happily admit that I’ve seen none of them. Who here has? I think y’all know my admittedly low opinion of sequels and the idea of a sequel to this perfect film leaves me, well, sea sick. 


(12) PROUDLY LESS NOBLE THAN THE SCA. The University of Maryland’s Maryland Today publication asks “Whatever Happened to … the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia?” The truth is out there.

Charging across the hilly terrain, swords raised, shields gripped against their chests, the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons faced off, their bodies protected only by chain mail cobbled together from … wire clothes hangers. Just beyond the grassy battlefield, students strolled by on their way to class.

This was the fall of 1969, when a group of Terps marked the 903rd anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with a re-enactment on South Chapel Lawn. It was the fitting official launch of a new group on the University of Maryland campus called the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia (MMMM), in which members gave themselves archaic names, learned English country dances and meticulously studied the military strategies of the Middle Ages so that they could recreate historical battles for kicks.

“Nowadays, re-enactment is a big thing. Back then, it was Confederates, Union, Revolutionary War and that’s it,” said Bruce Blackistone ’72, one of the founders of the group. “This was way off-center for the average re-enactment group.”…

… Blackistone, who by then was the self-designated first warlord, hoped to have a dozen soldiers on each side of the battle, but in the end, it was a six-on-seven fight. (Blackistone came down with a 104-degree fever the night before and had to stay home.) They carried shields made from lids of peach baskets and wore hand-sewn tunics. Nucker also threw on a sheepskin leather jacket borrowed from her mother.

After the Battle of Hastings’ re-enactment, the group grew, doing swordplay demonstrations on campus and branching out to recreating medieval life more broadly with feasts and dances. They began gathering in a small space under the steps of Francis Scott Key Hall, though they’d often “spill out onto the front or back lawns and womp on each other’s shields a bit,” said Blackistone.

Like any warring faction, the group developed rivals. A few years after MMMM’s founding, a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA), which started in Berkeley, Calif., in 1966, popped up in the area. “They were high medieval upper class, and we were low medieval lower class,” said Blackistone. “Everyone who belonged (to SCA) was some kind of nobility. We had very little nobility, and a lot of Vikings and peasants and riffraff.”…

…As more of the club’s members graduated, an offshoot formed: Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia, which eventually ballooned to some 600 members across the mid-Atlantic. Just as Privé graduated, the university moved the club to a smaller office in a distant corner of campus. These two events, Privé speculated, led to a dwindling of the club’s presence on campus. Sometime in the years following the office move, MMMM died a quiet death at UMD.

For some, though, MMMM was just the beginning of a lifelong madness for the medieval. Nucker and Blackistone still sail Viking ships together through the Longship Company, a nonprofit organization inspired by the vessel they converted out of a Navy Motor Whaleboat in a parking lot behind the North Campus residence halls during their college years. Now, they take the public out on their 39-foot, 12-oarred Sae Hrafn (“sea raven” in Norse) to teach guests about Viking seafaring. (They’ve also commissioned two other boats, the tall ship Fyrdaca, or “fire drake,” and the smaller Gyrfalcon, named after a type of Arctic falcon.)…

(13) LOOKS AWFULLY FAMILIAR. “China Releases CGI Video of Moon Base and It Contains Something Very Strange” says Futurism.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has shown off a CGI video of its vision of a lunar base, a vastly ambitious plan the country is hoping to realize in a matter of decades.

The showy — albeit dated-looking — render shows plans for the International Lunar Research Station, a Chinese and Russian endeavor that was first announced in 2021.

The video is also raising eyebrows for a bizarre cameo: a NASA Space Shuttle taking off from a launch pad in the distance, as spotted by Space.com.

It’s either some next-level humor from the Chinese space program or a hilarious oversight, since the Shuttle has been retired for more than a decade — not to mention that China and NASA aren’t even allowed to talk to each other, nevermind collaborate.

As space reporter Jack Kuhr later spotted, the state-run China Global Television Network came up with an equally hilarious fix to hide the Shuttle taking off in the background.

“Boom problem solved,” Kuhr tweeted. “CGTN went ahead and slapped an ol’ reliable blur bar over the Shuttle.”

The Shuttle (now properly blurred) appears at about the :40 second mark in the video.

(14) PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM FOR FORMER ASTRONAUT. “Ellen Ochoa, Former NASA Astronaut and First Hispanic Woman in Space, Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom”Smithsonian Magazine has the story.

Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space and one of NASA’s most decorated astronauts and leaders, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday, the country’s highest civilian honor. Across her 30-year career, Ochoa flew on four space shuttle missions and led operations as director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Ochoa is the tenth astronaut, and second female astronaut, to receive the Medal of Freedom. She was presented the award at the White House along with 18 other honorees, including Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who played a large role in the James Webb Space Telescope’s mission….

(15) AN INFLATED PROJECT. Scientific American invites readers to “Meet HELIX, the High-Altitude Balloon That May Solve a Deep Cosmic Mystery”.

This spring NASA will launch what could become one of this decade’s most transformative missions in astrophysics. But you’ve almost certainly never heard of it—and it’s not even going to space. Dubbed the High-Energy Light Isotope eXperiment (HELIX), the mission seeks to solve a long-standing mystery about just how much antimatter there is in the universe and where it comes from—all from a lofty perch in Earth’s stratosphere, slung beneath a giant balloon set for long-duration flights above each of our planet’s desolate poles.

Led by Scott Wakely, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, HELIX is designed to study cosmic rays—subatomic particles that pelt our planet from the depths of interstellar and even intergalactic space. These particles include those of ordinary matter’s opposite-charge version, called antimatter. Scientists suspect the sources for the antimatter showering Earth from space could be almost anything, ranging from emissions by conventional astrophysical objects to the esoteric behavior of dark matter, the invisible stuff that seems to govern the large-scale behavior of galaxies. Figuring out which explanation is right may depend on a deceptively simple measurement: gauging how much time each of two specific particles spent hurtling through the galaxy. It’s like carbon-dating cosmic rays. “The models are all over the place. A measurement of this ratio is what everybody wants,” says Nahee Park, an astrophysicist at Queen’s University in Ontario and a member of the HELIX team….

(16) DUBIOUS KICKS. Stephen Graham Jones is a bit skeptical about the footwear in this new Superman publicity photo.

(17) VIDEOS OF THE DAY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]  Boston Dynamics has a new humanoid robot, so they say goodbye to the outgoing HD Atlas…

And then say hello to All New Atlas with a freaky lil’ routine…

Maybe to take an edge off of All New Atlas, Boston Dynamics then dresses up Spot as Sparkles…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Bill, Michael J. Walsh, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern, who says his title “feels like it should be an anthology of ‘future fairy tales’ (perhaps edited by Jane Yolen)”.]

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27 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/8/24 Ansible And Grendel

  1. (1) This is insane….
    (6) Right, so exactly what’s their suggestion for beta readers? Pay them? Right, unpublished writers on low incomes…. The real answer is to decide whose criticisms work, and whose don’t.
    (12) I know one friend who was in it (later), and a late friend who was (thinking of William Graycloak).
    (13) What, and nobody notice someone waving a red flag (literally)? And it looks like it’s in atmosphere? And the Shuttle? Looked at China’s space planes?

  2. 7) I still have the copy of Five Fates that I bought through the Science FIction Book Club.

  3. (7) @John Lorentz : I’m pretty sure I still have my copy of the first paperback edition.

  4. 6) regarding beta readers:
    In my personal dealings with beta readers, I’ve had the following experiences:
    -one with qualifications in script writing, who read one of my fantasy novels, stopped in the middle and said, “How do you come up with this stuff?!!” What he left out but implied in his intonation was, “How can you come up with this stuff and I can’t?!! ” I had to back out of that rather gingerly.

    -I paid for a professional to do a beta read, after she’d had given me a full read and critique first, and after I rewrote much of it. Her result is she stands by her critique, I didn’t dump enough exposition (necessary for the plot, though abridged in the rewrite), and there needed to be more “human” moments between the characters (it’s over 600 pages now!). Also, and what wasn’t mentioned in the initial thorough read and critique, to watch out for ” , and” incidences (found lots and am correcting), and the dreaded double spaces (which is a cardinal rule in print publishing –I’m E-publishing to start). Why she didn’t give me this after the first read/critique, I’ll never know!

    -Same novel, I had a friend with a degree in English read it, who loved it, can’t wait to get it in paperback or hardback and wants me to hurry up and publish it. She missed the “, and” which I’m prone to do. Finding it easier to rewrite these errors, but human interaction with a non-human character???? Okaaaay…..?!!

  5. 1) I don’t know what’s going on with Tomlinson or the people he claims are attacking him, but that lawsuit sounds like the ravings of a madman. It’s hard to believe he got an attorney to write or sign off on this – it’s more like something a pro se filer would generate. The judge’s eyes are going to be rolling, and if Tomlinson acts in person the way this lawsuit reads, it’s no wonder that the police would want to have a look around when they’re called to his house.

  6. 6) I would volunteer as a beta reader for the right people. Not only am I a fan, I am a professional writer of many years with an MA in the field. If you want, try me at t-e-h-a-n-u-3-4-3 @ gmail.

  7. @Hyman There is plenty (just the other day here on File 770) in fact on Tomlinson..Many filers know about my own struggles and conflicts with these same people.

  8. (12) This was my friend group in college, introduced to me by high school friends. My experience creating clothes, armor, or weapons was minimal, so my contribution was mostly administrative. The University of Maryland Science Fiction club enlisted some of us in the Medieval Militia to check for badges at their Unicon conventions. One of the convenient assignments for a college student was when a pair of us was tasked with guarding the dealers room after hours. We took turns sitting outside the locked doors until about midnight when we parked our sleeping bags behind the doors until opening in the morning. So you have the medieval militia to blame for getting me in the active part of fandom.

  9. 10) I saw Jaws as a wee lad in the theater with my dad. Standing room only. He kept putting his hands over my eyes at the scary parts. Eventually, he gave up so I could see Bruce in all his glory.

    Read the book many years later. Then I read Beast and found it a note-for-note repeat of Jaws.

    Benchley became an advocate for sharks in later years and regretted that the book and movie added fuel to humanity’s anti-carcharhiniformic predilections.

    Jaws 2 was an enjoyable movie even if it didn’t measure up to the original.

    TRC eht edisni deppart ma I !pleH

  10. 1.) I’ve been following this whole mess not just with Patrick but with Paul and…words can’t express just how ticked off I am with the swatters. The whole concept of swatting. It is awful and just…sigh.

    6.) I’m always looking for trusted betas, especially for the current trilogy. If science fantasy contemporary western with romantic elements, a multiverse, and more than a healthy dollop of The Matter of France is your thing…I’ve got the story.

    My preference is for betas over a critique group because I suffered from the impact of a couple of toxic critique groups early in my writing years. It’s a whole different experience when you’re working one-on-one with a critiquer as opposed to multiple voices that can be swayed by the comments of others.

  11. 7) I remember liking FIVE FATES a great deal, even if at this late date decades later I can’t remember many specifics about the individual stories. But it was fascinating to see how a group of writers could take the same opening scene and all veer off in wildly different directions. Iirc, the opening scene was written by Keith Laumer before being given to the other contributors.

  12. Members have been sent an introductory statement and have until May 22 to vote

    With my ahem, credentials can I join SFPA before the deadline? I have a desire to cut their introductory statement up into snippets, arrange them as verse glued to the end pages of a mildewed flea market copy of the Paris Review and mail it back to them. (Quick, before a machine steals my idea.)

  13. @Hyman: I disagree. I’ve seen normal-looking complaints and bizarre-looking complaints, and this complaint is written on the normal side. What the truth is about the underlying events, I have no idea.

  14. You freed 16 Trons and what did you get?
    Another movie with Beau Garrett

  15. @Joshua K.
    FWIW, many years ago I was on a jury hearing a lawsuit against a doctor by a man who complained that his big toe was amputated because of how a bad nail was treated. The plaintiff’s attorney was similarly histrionic. I still remember her saying over and over again how the toe was “red, hot, and swollen”, talking about “acid” (a correct treatment), and that the amputation had prevented him from being able to dance with his wife and so had interfered with his conjugal abilities. We found for the defense.

    The plaintiffs should be clearly describing what they believe the officer did wrong, not jabbering about terrorism, because that makes them seem like cranks. And it should anyway be obvious to everyone involved that they’re not going to win this, based on qualified immunity if nothing else.

  16. (6) I think the article assumes that beta readers are editors, or replacements for them. I myself have beta-read several novels by a low-midlist writer. He does not view us as editors, and I do not treat it as an editing job. He wants to know if the story makes sense and can be followed by readers, or if there are things that are unclear and need to be fixed. In a way, it’s important for him that we are a group, because if two or more beta readers agree that X is a problem, then it most likely is.

    Catching minor errors or typos are not our job. He will happily take us noticing them, but it’s the jof of the line editor to find those.

  17. I was a graduation student at the University of Maryland for several years during the ‘80s and have happy memories of the MMMM. I was never a member myself but I had a close friend who was. One time my friend and I joined a party of Militia members to see a sneak-preview of Ladyhawke. While my friend and I enjoyed the movie itself, others in the party had a great time complaining about the film’s unrealistic weapons and armor. There was also the time when one of the group’s leaders ran for the presidency of the student government under the campaign promise of build a moat around the campus and filing it will beer. He won but, alas, the moat was never built.

  18. I would think that a beer-filled moat wouldn’t be a defense but an attractive nuisance.

  19. @Russell Letson: But it would keep people from getting all the way across.

    “When Pixel Filed, and Scroll span, who then melted Jack Dann?”

  20. 2) Space Command might have been inspired by Star Trek, but judging only from the trailer, I think they took the wrong inspiration.

  21. LindaD: I agree. But then, “Gene Roddenberry, James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Mark Lenard, Matt Jefferies, Robert H. Justman, Joseph Pevney and Ralph Senensky” had all been in WWII. Trek was not about war. It was about peace, and exploring.

  22. 1) If Tomlinson spent as much time writing books as he does on paranoid fantasies, goofy online bullshit and nuisance lawsuits, he’d have George R. R. Martin money.

    8) That computer has good taste.

    10) Jaws is that rare example of the movie being better than the book. Beast is is better than the movie it inspired though, and it probably my favorite of his.

    16) Maybe he’s got some sort of futuristic Kryptonian inbuilt sock technology, a sort of sock/boot combo.

  23. @Hyman.

    The criminal cult stalking my family has made over 50 SWATTing calls against our home, and the home of my elderly parents. In those 50 calls, the MPD has responded with violence half a dozen times, pointing pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles at my and my wife’s heads, stacking up behind ballistic shields, twice detaining me in handcuffs, once naked, and repeatedly illegally entered and searched our home without warrant or probable cause.

    This happened not one time, and not all in a short span, but repeatedly over the course of more than a year while we begged the MPD to come up with a solution. If this isn’t a flagrant violation of our civil rights, then I’m truly afraid to know what you think would qualify.

    As for the criminals who have repeatedly used to police to try to murder my family, they have also physically stalked us across multiple states, trespassed on and vandalized our home, unknowingly filmed and photographed us and our home, stolen our identities to commit financial fraud, made half a dozen bomb threats against public venues in three different states either in our names or to threaten us, calls which have resulted in the evacuations of thousands of people, and have last month started making mass shooting threats against schools and colleges in three different cities using our names.

    I don’t know what passes the threshold of terrorism for you. But for us, it clears easily.

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