Pixel Scroll 5/13/17 Pixels Scrolled Separately

(1) IF YOU WANT IT DONE RIGHT. James Davis Nicoll decided, “Just because an organization never got around to the logical step of commissioning an anthology does not mean I won’t review it anyway.”

So in “All I Have To Do Is Dream” he assembles his own edition of Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award winners.

Starmaker (excerpt) by Olaf Stapledon, 2001 winner

Accompanied by like-minded companions, a star-farer explores a diverse array of inhabited worlds. He observes some common themes.


Like the novel from which it is drawn, this excerpt is less concerned with plot and much more concerned with drawing a vast yet detailed picture of the universe.

(2) KNOW YOUR GRANDMASTERS. SFWA President Cat Rambo reports “We (SFWA, not royal we) have added a bunch of playlists devoted to the various SFWA Grandmasters to the SFWA Youtube channel here. They are courtesy of SFWA volunteers K.T. Bryski, who put them together, and Juliette Wade, who got them put up.”

These are curated playlists consisting in large part of videos discussing the authors’ works. Over three dozen have been created so far. Here’s one of the videos included in the Alfred Bester playlist:

(3) THE GETAWAY. James Somers of The Atlantic will have you feeling sorry for Google by the time you finish “Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria”. “And I didn’t know that was possible,” as Ben Bradlee said about H.R. Haldeman. The biggest intellectual property grab in history, or a boon to humanity? You decide!

“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”

…On March 22 of that year, however, the legal agreement that would have unlocked a century’s worth of books and peppered the country with access terminals to a universal library was rejected under Rule 23(e)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When the library at Alexandria burned it was said to be an “international catastrophe.” When the most significant humanities project of our time was dismantled in court, the scholars, archivists, and librarians who’d had a hand in its undoing breathed a sigh of relief, for they believed, at the time, that they had narrowly averted disaster….

… In August 2010, Google put out a blog post announcing that there were 129,864,880 books in the world. The company said they were going to scan them all.

Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way. This particular moonshot fell about a hundred-million books short of the moon. What happened was complicated but how it started was simple: Google did that thing where you ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and forgiveness was not forthcoming. Upon hearing that Google was taking millions of books out of libraries, scanning them, and returning them as if nothing had happened, authors and publishers filed suit against the company, alleging, as the authors put it simply in their initial complaint, “massive copyright infringement.”….

(4) MISTAKES WERE MADE. John Scalzi, in “Diversity, Appropriation, Canada (and Me)”, gives a convincing analysis of what Hal Niedzviecki set out to do, despite starting a Canadian kerfuffle:

As I’ve been reading this, I think I have a reasonably good idea of what was going on in the mind of Niedzviecki. I suspect it was something along the line of, “Hey, in this special edition of this magazine featuring voices my magazine’s reading audience of mostly white writers doesn’t see enough of, I want to encourage the writing of a diversity of characters even among my readership of mostly white writers, and I want to say it in a clever, punchy way that will really drive the message home.”

Which seems laudable enough! And indeed, in and of itself, encouraging white, middle-class writers out of their comfort zones in terms of writing characters different from them and their lived experience is a perfectly fine goal. I encourage it. Other people I know encourage it. There’s more to life than middle-class white people, and writing can and should reflect that.

But it wasn’t “in and of itself,” and here’s where Niedviecki screwed up, as far as I can see…

Then he talks about his own experiences —

Now, related but slightly set apart (which is why I’ve separated this part off with asterisks), let me address this issue of diversity of characters in writing, using myself as an example, and moving on from there….

(5) GET YOUR BETS DOWN. Two more entries in the Doctor Who replacement sweepstakes:

Radio Times is reporting that Luke Treadaway (Fortitude) and Sacha Dhawan (Iron Fist) are now in consideration for the role. Treadaway has been a mainstay of British TV, so fits the Who modus operandi. Dhawan, meanwhile, would become the first actor of color to secure the role, an exciting prospect for many. He’s also quite eager for the gig. When asked about playing the character, he had this to say:

“Oh my God, I’d absolutely love to. I SO would love to.”

(6) STAPLEDON WARS. There’s no agreement in the science fiction community on the best science fiction novel, but Mike Resnick claims there’s no debate on the most influential science fiction novel.

A few days ago, someone on Facebook asked the question: what was the greatest science fiction novel ever written? There wasn’t much agreement (nor should there have been). I think the first hundred respondents named perhaps eighty-five titles.

When it came my turn, I answered that I didn’t know who did the best novel, but there was no question that Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker was the most important, since ninety percent of all science fiction since it appeared stole knowingly—or far more often, unknowingly—from it.

So of course I got over one hundred e-mails in the next few days asking who Olaf Stapleton was, and why would I make such a claim about a book no one seems to have heard about.

It occurs to me that some of our readers may share that curiosity, so let me tell you about this remarkable thinker.

The wild part is that not only don’t most fans know his name, but most pros who have used his notions as a springboard for their own stories and novels haven’t even read him. His ideas have been so thoroughly poached and borrowed and extrapolated from and built upon that writers are now borrowing five and six times removed from the source.


  • May 13, 1955 The aquatic monster is back – in Revenge of the Creature.

(8) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian discovered Dick Tracy has been busy stopping crime at a Comic Con.

(9) AS YOU KNOW BOB. A Robert A. Heinlein letter archive is being offered on eBay for $17,500:

Here is a vintage archive of letters from May 1941 to January 1942, during Heinlein’s early days as a pulp writer before beginning his World War II engineering work for the Navy.  It was during this period that he was Guest of Honor at the Denver Worldcon & hosted informal gatherings of science fiction authors at his home on Lookout Mountain Avenue in the Hollywood Hills under the name of The Manana Literary Society.  Basic listing is: five TLS, one ALS, one TLS from Leslyn, two ALS from Leslyn, many with some crossouts & corrections, plus a later catching-up TLS from 1956.  Shown are a few samples.  Further details available for serious enquiries.

(10) A CONCRETE HOBBIT HOLE. Here’s a material I don’t usually associate with Hobbits, used by a couple to build “A Gorgeous Real World Hobbit House In Scotland”.

Reddit user KahlumG shared photos of this amazing hobbit-style home located outside of Tomach village in Scotland – this incredible residence is the result of tireless effort by a husband and wife team who salvage, craft, sew, and carve to create their own magical mind-bending wonderland from the objects they can find in the wilderness around them. While the verdant exterior of the home is certainly breathtaking on its own, the rustic interior is filled to the rafters with even more one-of-a-kind delights to explore and enjoy. Would you ever adopt a magical retreat like this one to be your full-time residence?

The exterior of the main building is constructed almost entirely of concrete, allowing a variety of gorgeous vines and mosses to take root all over. Concrete’s ability to weather quickly will lend the home even more character and charisma as the years go by.

Wouldn’t Bilbo find this a little too much like a cell on Alcatraz?

(11) DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M SAYING? Cnet traces “How 138 years of sci-fi video phones led to the Echo Show”.

The latest Alexa device from Bezos and friends will finally give us video calling the way decades of movies predicted it would look. What took so long? Here’s a timeline.

… By the time actual moving pictures became easier to record and play back for an audience (real-time transmission was still a long way off, of course), early sci-fi films quickly got to work solidifying the video phone of the future as a recurring trope.

The 1927 classic “Metropolis” features a videophone, as does Chaplin’s “Modern Times” and 1935’s “Transatlantic Tunnel.”

(12) GORDO COOPER AND THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. James Oberg tells about the Discovery series “Cooper’s Treasure in “The magic MacGuffin of Mercury 9” at The Space Review.

As any film buff can tell you, a “MacGuffin” is a plot device that is the focus of the drama and action of the story. It’s often a physical object, such as a codebook, or treasure map, that the protagonists are seeking.

For the Discovery Channel and its latest series, “Cooper’s Treasure,” there is indeed a treasure map, already in possession of a veteran “treasure hunter.” What makes this map unique, according to the program promos, is that it came from outer space.

Supposedly, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper made the map based on observations he made during his MA-9 orbital flight in May 1963. Near the end of his life, he shared the map and the research he’s been doing with a friend, Darrell Miklos, who vowed to complete Cooper’s search for shipwrecks full of gold.

Specifically, reports Miklos, Cooper told him he found the potential treasure spots using a secret military sensor that had been installed on the spacecraft originally to hunt for Soviet nuclear missile bases hidden in the area of Cuba—where a major international crisis involving such missiles had occurred only a few months before the flight….

(13) STATE OF THE ART 1989. Leslie Turek, editor of classic fanzine Mad 3 Party, thanked Tim Szczesuil and Mark Olson for completing their project to put the entire run of the fanzine online at Fanac.org.

Writes Mark Olson:

You really want to take a look at these! The first ten issues were Boston in ’89 bid zines edited by Laurie and then by Pat Vandenberg, and they’re worth reading, but it’s the issues 11-38 edited by Leslie Turek which provide an amazing view into the nuts and bolts of building a Worldcon, especially starting with #14.

If you have never been involved at a senior level in a Worldcon and think you might want to be one day, read these! (And it’s good reading even if you don’t l/u/s/t/ f/o/r/ p/o/w/e/r/ hope to run one. Leslie’s work won a Hugo! And you can easily see why.)

(And I’ll add that reading through them reminded me of many things — mostly good — that I’d forgotten. And reminded me what an energetic, competent group who really works together can accomplish.)

(14) IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU REVIEW. At Galactic Journey, John Boston relives the things that make fans scream — “[May 15, 1962] RUMBLING (the June 1962 Amazing)”.

Oh groan.  The lead story in the June 1962 Amazing is Thunder in Space by Lester del Rey.  He’s been at this for 25 years and well knows that in space, no one can hear—oh, never mind.  I know, it’s a metaphor—but’s it’s dumb in context and cliched regardless of context.  Quickly turning the page, I’m slightly mollified, seeing that the story is about Cold War politics.  My favorite!

(15) PUSHES ALL MY BUTTONS. “‘Unearthed’: Read the first chapter of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s upcoming novel” at Yahoo! News.

Love Indiana Jones but wish it were set in space? Well, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Unearthed has you covered.

Their latest Y.A. novel sees scholar Jules Addison team up with scavenger Amelia Radcliffe, when Earth intercepts a message from the Undying, a long-extinct alien race whose technology might be the key to undoing all the environmental damage the planet has sustained over the years….

Free excerpt at the link. But if you get hooked, you still have to wait til the book comes out next year.

(16) SUMMER OF FANLOVE. The over the air nostalgia channel MeTV is adding ALF, Outer Limits and the classic Battlestar Galactica to its summer schedule.

Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night and Red Eye Sci-Fi have added two science fiction classics to The Summer of Me. The last vestige of humanity fights for survival on Battlestar Galactica, Saturdays at 7PM | 6C. Stay up late for fantastic tales from The Outer Limits, Saturdays at 1AM | 12C.

 [Thanks to JJ, Cat Rambo, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/13/17 Pixels Scrolled Separately

  1. (3) THE GETAWAY. Boo-hoo, cry me a river. ::eyeroll:: This is nothing like the library at Alexandria burning down. I’ll take “The biggest intellectual property grab in history” for $100, Alex.

    (6) STAPLEDON WARS. “no one seems to have heard about” – fortunately, I read item #1 in today’s Pixel Scroll! 😉 More seriously, I’ve heard of it (and him), but I wasn’t aware most SF was supposed to descend from it. Hyperbole or truth? Hmm, Wikipedia says Dyson based the Dyson sphere concept on a section of the book.

    (10) A CONCRETE HOBBIT HOLE. Pretty cool looking; the more greenery that grows on it, the better that roof will look. I wouldn’t want to live there (it looks cramped), but I admire what they’ve done!

    (11) DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M SAYING? My phone’s had the power of video phone (and a growing amount of voice control) for quite some time, so this doesn’t grab me as being very sci-fi. I don’t actually want to do video calls anyway, though. Am I too retro, or is the Echo Show? Clearly I’m too jaded! But I feel like even though SF depicted it like that, it doesn’t mean that’s really what people want or need now. We’ve moved on to mobile video. Trying to recreate the scene from “Back to the Future 2” or “The Jetsons” feels like too little, too late. Plus, some kid’s on my lawn, excuse me. 😛

    (16) SUMMER OF FANLOVE. Battlestar Galactica! 😀

    @Kip W & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title!

  2. “Revenge of the Creature” (sc. from the Black Lagoon) is one of Clint Eastwood’s early movies; he played a lab assistant.

  3. Further to Eastwood in “Revenge of the Creature”: it was his first film role, and he was uncredited. Not to be confused with his fuzzy grey counterpart, Lint Eastwood.

  4. With apologies to Elton John and Bernie Taupim

    Goodbye last night’s scroll
    Though I didn’t read you at all
    and I didn’t comment much
    You built up quite a thread
    And while I wish I’d written more
    Or maybe spun up a filk
    Of some old classic song
    I just didn’t have the time.

    But it seems to me, I’ve blogged my life
    Like a pixel in a scroll
    Never knowing what to link to
    When the hits came in
    And I never meant to troll you
    But I was just a kid
    Pixel scrolled out long before
    My comments ever did
    [piano break]

  5. (9) AS YOU KNOW BOB

    “I am not scared off by the Nubian slave angle. Make the slave female and we can do business. Anyhow, I don’t need a N.S. to remind me that I am mortal—Leslyn takes care of that department.” Robert A. Heinlein

    I’m just speculating here, but if Heinlein were alive today, I am not certain that he would have done so well with a Facebook account.


    What a beautiful home. I would love to live there, as long as I could get the adult sized model.

  6. @Kendall: the wandering space habitats in Star Maker were an Idea at the time, and I think Stapledon himself got the idea from J.D. Bernal. (I don’t recall full-on Dyson spheres in Star Maker, though it’s been a while, and it might crop up as one of those ideas for exploiting the remaining resources of the cosmos after the war with the sentient stars….)

    1) Lots of good stuff there, not just Stapledon… I will excuse The Night Land (it’s a pet hate of mine – not for the concept, the concept and setting are wonderful – it’s just a few flaws in the execution, minor details like the plot, the characters, the writing style…. Other people evidently like it more than I do.)

  7. Gonna name a bunch of characters Biff, Bang, Pow, Kaboom, Thump, Crack, Zap, Grrrrrrn and ThunkThunkaThunka and send them into space in honour of all the times we’ve been told that there’s none of them in space.

  8. 3) That’s the Google modus operandi:

    Take what you want and offer to pay up later. By the time your property grab has changed the market, you’ll be paying pennies (if that) on the dollar.

    As Raymond Chandler had the cop Bernie Ohls say to the detective Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, one of the finest books ever written:

    “There ain’t no clean way to make a hundred million bucks,” Ohls said.

    “Maybe the head man thinks his hands are clean but somewhere along the
    line little guys got pushed to the wall, nice little businesses got ground out from
    under them and had to sell out for nickels, decent people lost their jobs, stocks got
    rigged on the markets, proxies got bought up like a pennyweight of old gold, and
    the five per centers and the big law firms got paid hundred grand fees for beating
    some law the people wanted but the rich guys didn’t, on account of it cut into
    their profits. Big money is big power and big power gets used wrong. It’s the
    system. Maybe it’s the best we can get, but it still ain’t any Ivory soap deal.”

    Google does some great stuff, but it still ain’t any Ivory soap deal.

  9. 2) these videos kinda remind me of the videos of that SF Encyclopedia that was on CD-Rom back in the 90’s. I wish I still had that encyclopedia, as out of date as it is.

    6) re Stapledon as an ur-figure in SF:

    I think a lot of SF that Mile is counting as being influenced by Stapledon got that influence second hand, from the people directly influenced by Last and First Men, and Star Maker.

    I most recently re-read Star Maker a couple of years ago. There is, we and the other readers decided, room for entire novels that get a page or two or even a few paragraphs in the book. Its insanely dense with ideas and concepts to use. This, and the age in which it was written in terms of style, does make it difficult to actually sit down and read.

  10. (8) Dick Tracy. Oh, yeah. I’ve been reading this steadily for ages, and it never occurred to me that I should report on it. Seriously, the strip’s worth reading any time now, ever since Joe Staton took over on the art, bringing Mike Curtis along as a writer. Till then, it was a ludicrous blot on the rep of the late Chester Gould, with no clear winner as to whether the writing or the art was worse. The artist just before Staton tried, bless him, but when he drew (for instance) a tiger, you could see that he had labored over the first drawing to make it look like whatever he was working from. The second time through, he carefully copied his first drawing, and after that, he figured he had it down. He was wrong.

    Anyway, Curtis and Staton (and a colorist with a good eye) have turned the strip into a fanboy’s dream. In a good way! Their team-up with Annie and Oliver Warbucks was better drawn and written than any of her strips of the last forty years (with the notable exception of Leonard Starr, whose work I would put second only to Gray’s own). Most recently, they brought The Spirit to [Chicago] to team up with Tracy, including a roster of solid guests (including Oliver Warbucks again). I keep wanting to leak details, but it was a good read. Why spoil it?

    So here’s something else: The same day I enthusiastically signed onto a tweet complaining about interesting-looking links that lead to long bleeding videos, I actually watched one of those videos. It was an hour long, and quite dull in places, and yet, my interest in the classic computer/arcade game Marble Madness was such that I watched it all, sometimes rewinding to catch something I’d missed.


    Glad to see my scroll title there! I stopped and chuckled at the Elton John parody and thought, “I should give that one some love.” Then I saw it was by Camestros, and I said, “But for him, it’s just average. We expect this kind of stuff from Camestros.” Having had this profound thought, I’m not sure now if I should praise him or urge him to do better. Carrot? Stick? Stick? Carrot?

    Ah, the hell with it. I’ll just hit him with the carrot.

  11. I had a hard time tracking down a Clingerman, then yesterday, after posting discovered that one 2000x episode adapts two of her stories. And I have that episode on my phone.

  12. …I should mention that Joe Staton’s art is currently only on Sundays. The weekday artist (who I presume is handling the current arc and then Joe comes back) is pleasant, and far better than Rick Fletcher or Jim Brozman (the tiger guy) or any of the other post-Gould artists.

    (Seems a little unusual that this sequence is being handled by two artists—one on Sunday, the other during the week—in continuity.)

  13. Woof! Part of my last edit disappeared during this one. I recall noting that Shelley (weekday artist) is the strip’s inker and letterer, and noting that it’s a comment on the present quality of the strip that the letterer is a better artist than anybody else the syndicate has thrown at us in the last three decades… with one exception, of course.

  14. That hobbit hole looks amazing, but also like a place where I would be perpetually stooping to avoid knocking my head on the ceiling. I covet the hell out of that greenhouse, though.

  15. The comments under Scalzi’s article are unusually thoughtful and well-written.
    Although “cultural appropriation” sounds like it objects to anyone making money by writing about people from a different culture, most of the objections seem to be to writers who write about a different culture and get it all wrong. The worst cases being ones where the writer reinforces toxic stereotypes.

    Unfortunately, I think only in the last case (true defamation) are there any solid grounds for complaint. You don’t see LGBT people complaining that most of the stories about us (in SFF at least) are rather unrealistic–we focus on the ones that defame us (e.g. the ones that imply we’re pedophiles and/or psychopathic killers). Nor do you see scientists lining up to demand bookstores stop selling SF on the grounds that most stories get the science wrong. Heck, scientists don’t even complain when stories defame them.

    It’s certainly fair to pan a book or a movie because it gets the facts wrong, but it isn’t reasonable to try to argue that sloppiness is a moral failing. Even if it seems really wrong that someone can make a lot of money from sloppy work.

  16. @Sean Kirk: I think RAH would have understood the difference between Twitter and a letter between two individuals; some of his public politics read as off-base to many of us, but they aren’t nearly as revealing as many of today’s tweets.

    @JDN: The most-available Clingerman may be “Letters from Laura”, because it was reprinted in Boucher’s 2-volume Treasury of Great Science Fiction, which was a steady seller for SFBC for decades. (I wore out my SFBC copy and now have a set that a library foolishly discarded.) I grant that something in an anthology is not convenient by today’s standards.

    Filers may recall the recent BBC Pixel about destroying one of the new plastic 5-pound (UK) notes. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me yesterday revealed another issue: coke snorters are cutting themselves on the sharp edges of the bills.

    wrt the Sylvain Neuvel books a few stories back: would anyone who’s read them care to comment on the possible coincidence between their Rose Franklin and researcher Rosalind Franklin, who might have co-won the Nobel for DNA structure if she hadn’t died way too young?

  17. @Chip Hitchcock The most-available Clingerman may be “Letters from Laura”, because it was reprinted in Boucher’s 2-volume Treasury of Great Science Fiction, which was a steady seller for SFBC for decades.

    Asimov anthologized that one in “Space Mail” which was then combined with his anthology “The Future In Question” into Asimov’s Science Fiction Treasury (which I got as a Christmas present in the early 80s, and have on the shelf a few feet from me now).

    Another Clingerman that I’ve seen in anthologies is “Stair Trick” which is “Fifty Short SF Tales.”

    “Ramans Pixel Everything in Threes”

  18. P.S. Checked the box.

    “Whatever my Pixel and whatever my name
    A Scroll on the set makes me file the same.”

  19. Greg Hullender:

    You don’t see LGBT people complaining that most of the stories about us (in SFF at least) are rather unrealistic

    Again, you are presuming to speak for an entire group of which you are a single member with access only to the opinions of a handful of other members of the groups. I have seen people complain about unrealistic depictions at all levels, and overused tropes. (Though there’s also a YMMV aspect, in that you seem to think a life as an LGBT person without strife, in any time or place and regardless of human progress, is “Unrealistic”, where others have clearly said they disagree.)

  20. @Lenora Rose

    I have seen people complain about unrealistic depictions at all levels, and overused tropes.

    Indeed they do, but they usually accuse the writers of producing bad stories–they don’t accuse them of moral failings.

  21. Appropriation isn’t necessarily a moral failing (though it can be, see recent cases like this one which are so egregious there’s no possible way that was purely ignorance.) it can mean a person too lazy at research in general or simply unaware how little they genuinely knew.

    I do know appropriation is a bit more complicated than just getting it wrong; it’s getting it wrong in ways that hurt the original people. One of those ways can be making it harder for them to publish, because the things they write about themselves don’t fit the narrative the Western World expects from a person of that background (eg. Japanese-Americans are expected to always talk about one of these the things: a historical depiction of geisha, the immigrant experience, or, if not new immigrants, about generational tension caused by the elders being more traditional and the younger being more Western — and if they don’t fit those narratives, they don’t count.) This is worse when a lot of those narratives are originally invented by white people writing ABOUT non-white people, romanticzed and seen through a filter.

  22. Gordo Cooper:
    You folks know what makes this site go up? FILING makes this site go up.

    Gus Grissom:
    He’s right:
    No scrolls, no Scroll Pixels.

  23. 3) @Galactic Journey: I’m really enjoying what you’re doing! I wish I had more time to keep up with it as well as I’d like. As for Google and open culture, I’m with you that they’re on the right side of copyright extension and I’m glad for their help on it. I just realize that, like the Mothers of Invention, They’re Only In It For The Money.

    I used to believe open culture was about freedom. Now I’ve come to believe that an argument about the internet and freedom is presumptively bullshit till proven otherwise.

  24. @John Thank you, John! Glad to have you on-board. 🙂 I’m always torn between posting too often (and overwhelming my readers) and posting as much as I darned well please because it’s too much fun not to.

    And then my day job says, “Hold on there, Tex…”

    Re: Open Culture, you may be right. It’s a balancing act between letting people make money, and providing the most opportunities for everybody.

    But I am grateful for Open Culture. I am always amazed at what people give away for free. Viz. this site. And mine. 🙂

  25. Indeed they do, but they usually accuse the writers of producing bad stories–they don’t accuse them of moral failings.

    The line between the two , especially when discussing the default same sex relationship – the hot lesbians, who’d totally invite you for a threesome if you were there – can be fine.
    (Disclaimer: Straight, White, Male. But when even I can notice lazy tropes that stereotype other communities, it’s probably bad.)

  26. Now I’ve come to believe that an argument about the internet and freedom is presumptively bullshit till proven otherwise.

    Most arguments from organized groups citing freedom deserve the side-eye. It’s frequently used as a powerful archetype to shut down critical faculties in the audience.

    Someone here mentioned Bernays and Torches of Freedom recently. As the fathers of modern propaganda and public relations both Bernays and Walter Lippman are still worth a read (I had to speed read both, years ago, helping a friend in the middle of a breakdown finish off a paper).

  27. Fifth Comments and Pixel Scrolling
    We’re usually on our own
    Last summer we heard the trolling
    Cat pics from O-Hi-O

  28. @Camestros Felapton: Well done with “Pixel in a Scroll”! I’m sure Elton John & Bernie Taupin won’t mind. 😉

    @Lenora Rose: I read the post you linked to about Platt’s book and, wow, I don’t know what to say. What a horrific-sounding book!

  29. Lisa Goldstein: It’s a reference to his nickname in The Right Stuff.

    Well, damn. No appertainment for me. And I even read The Right Stuff, a very long time ago.

  30. There’s a nice Max Gladstone short up on Tor:

    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom

    Someone in the comments there compares it to a cross of The Culture and Stargate SG-1. Personally my thoughts went to Morgaine. Either way, a story that casually tosses off a Hendrix riff has to have something going for it 🙂

  31. Stapledon is fascinating. One of the only successful SF writers of his era who had absolutely no connections to the pulp markets. He was a philosopher–literally. Oxbridge. Decided to explore the philosophy of science by speculating about the future. It really helps to read his books in that light. Personally, I just re-read both Last and First Men and Starmaker recently, and was surprised at how well they held up. None of the usual complaints about pulp fiction of the era apply because they weren’t! And yeah, just dripping with ideas that people are still mining three-quarters of a century later.

    For philosophy textbooks, they are quite readable! 😀 And as SF, they’re still pretty darn good, if you’re prepared to engage in some serious mind-boggling.
    Regarding The Right Stuff: I actually worked on the movie. For one day. As a consultant expert in the system they used for their motion control cameras. But the one day I worked there happened to be Chuck Yeager’s birthday, and he came into the studio and I got to meet him (and have a piece of cake). One of the serious highlights of my career!

  32. Xtifr: you lucky dog, you — almost as lucky as the MD I know who interned with NASA (approximation) in the 1960’s and knew several of the early astronauts. (They were noteworthy, but Yeager’s in a class by himself.

  33. With respect to the Dick Tracy storyline, as far as I recall they’ve been careful to call it a costume con or a cosplay con, not a comic-con (as there’s been no evidence of either comics for sale or comics creators present ala a classic comic-con, nor any celebrities real or fictional other than having Svengoolie as a judge for their main costume contest ala current ones). Though it was amusing to see Tracy’s granddaughter explain furries to him (very, very, basically). Also, the villains/some supporting characters are from the more obscure Harold Teen strip (long discontinued).

    As for Google Books, having been at Google at the time and even written a piece of internal documentation for the project, it was my strong impression that the primary reason for it was to preserve and make available information. That said, at the time I said that I could argue either side of the debate over it with genuine sincerity on my part.

  34. @David H.

    Thank you for posting the link. Very cool to read the historical context behind the fiction!

  35. Heather Rose Jones, I hope that you had a very nice birthday, too, while you were at it. 🎂

Comments are closed.