Pixel Scroll 6/30/18 Pixels Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Scroll

(1) KICK ASTEROID! Bill Nye and the Planetary Society want funds to educate people about the threat of asteroid impacts. Their Kickstarter, “Kick Asteroid!”, has raised $27,884 of its $50,000 target, with 25 days left to go.

The Planetary Society is excited to partner with space artist and designer, Thomas Romer, and backers around the world to create Kick Asteroid—a colorful graphic poster that will illustrate the effect of past catastrophic impacts, and methods to deflect future asteroid threats. Compelling and scientifically accurate art will be created for posters and other “merch” that backers can use in their everyday lives to spread the word about planetary defense.

… Thomas is collaborating directly with the Society’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Bruce Betts, to depict the asteroid threat in a compelling and scientifically accurate way. Bruce has briefed Thomas on the current state of the science related to Near Earth Objects (NEOs), as well as on the most promising asteroid deflection techniques.

(2) WRITER’S BLOCK. “How do you handle writer’s block?” Rachel Swirsky shares her advice about blocks from two sources. The first kind is medical:

…I think one of the best solutions is to be gentle with yourself about it. Hammering yourself and making yourself feel guilty because of your health is in the way is only likely to make you miserable and increase your stress–which can make the health problem worse. It can be hard to be generous with yourself, especially when the illness is lasting a long time and you have deadlines. …

(3) TWELVE RULES. The Chicago Tribune’s Stephen L. Carter lists his “12 science fiction rules for life”.

Like so many other scribes, I have been inspired by psychologist Jordan Peterson’s fascinating book to sketch my 12 rules of life. But mine are different, because each is drawn from canonical science fiction. Why? Maybe because this is the literature on which I grew up, or maybe because I have never lost the taste for it. Or maybe because the sci-fi canon really does have a lot to teach about the well-lived life. Here, then, are my 12 rules. I cannot pretend that I always follow them, but I certainly always try.

  1. “An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.” — Isaac Asimov, “Foundation.”

This is one of the clearest expressions of the basis of the liberalism of process. It matters not only whether one accomplishes an end but also how. Any tool available to the “good guys” today might be wielded by the “bad guys” tomorrow. One should always take this proposition into account when choosing a toolkit.

  1. “Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” — Robert Heinlein, “Starship Troopers.”

OK, happiness does consist of more than this — but getting enough sleep is indeed one of its key components. The larger point is that taking physical, emotional and spiritual care of the self is crucial to being truly happy….

(4) LANDING IN THE LAP OF LUXURY. Sarah Gailey ended up cruising through the skies with the 1%. See all the details in a Twitter thread that starts here.

(5) WRITERS OF THE FUTURE. If you’re curious what the experience is like for finalists brought to LA for the workshops and ceremony, Eneasz Brodski covers it all: “Writers of the Future vol 34 – The Award Ceremony & The People”.

Let’s start with the ceremony!

This was a delight. It was fun to be treated special and given an award and just the belle of the ball for a day! Of course, it was apparently pretty quickly that this award ceremony wasn’t really for us. It was for the Scientologists. This was their party, for them to say to each other “Look at us! We’re helping these people at the start of their career, and supporting the arts! We are doing good in the world.” And good on them for it! They are helping new artists, and contributing to the SFF world in a meaningful way. They can have as big a party they want to celebrate that, it’s their money. I didn’t mind at all being the excuse for that. It kinda felt what I imagine being a unicorn for a couple would feel like? The experience is primarily about them, but they couldn’t have it without me facilitating, and I’m happy to serve that role to bring them that. Of course that’s probably my super-idealized fantasy of unicorning. But /shrug. I got the literary-award equivalent of that fantasy, so I’m happy. 🙂

(6) I HAVE NO CATEGORY AND I MUST SCREAM. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett would like to tell you a Harlan Ellison story about the 1964 Hugos and the plan to omit the Dramatic Presentation category: “London Calling”. It includes this passage by Ron Ellik from the fanzine Vair-Iner.

…When I had lost perhaps half a dollar, Harlan phoned again. He read me a letter. He had talked to two dozen people since his trans-Atlantic call – other Study Committeemen, convention committeemen from past years, etc – and this letter, signed by Harlan, cited these several people as being, each, in at least passive agreement that London should not do this thing. In conclusion, Mr. Ben Jason and the group producing the physical Hugo trophies had agreed with him to withhold the trophies from the London convention.

We eagerly await news of London’s answer.

And there you have it folks, if you want to be a successful squeaky wheel then you need to really apply some of that old-fashioned elbow grease. Ah, I hear you ask, and was Harlan, that tiger of the telephone, a truly successful squeaky wheel? Well, yes….

(7) A PRIVATE MOMENT. And Bill provided a clipping from Ellison’s army days.

(8) WOULD YOU BELIEVE? What record has sold the most copies in 2018? “The Year’s Top-Selling Singer Isn’t Kanye — It’s Hugh Jackman”.

Halfway through a year filled with new work from some of the most popular artists alive, the best-selling album is the soundtrack to a movie musical with Hugh Jackman that never led the box office.

“The Greatest Showman’’ has sold almost 4 million copies for Atlantic Records, outpacing works from Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake. Music from the film based on the life of circus promoter P.T. Barnum has outsold the next most popular album of the year, Post Malone’s “Beerbongs & Bentleys,’’ by about 2-to-1.

(9) HUMP MONTH: At Featured Futures, the middle of the year doesn’t mean middling stories, as Jason has compiled another list of standout fiction gleaned from the SF magazines, plus links to reviews and other postings in Summation: June 2018.

This month produced nine noted stories (four recommended) from a total of forty-five (215 Kwds). Compelling made a strong and welcome return on its new semi-annual schedule. “Nightspeed” also contributed a couple of powerful tales.

(10) HUNTER OF THE SKY CAVE. Need a good laugh? Read Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag’s wonderful post “Inkwell and the Sky Raisin”.

…As anyone who has bothered to read this blog for any length of time knows, my husband and I are owned by a black cat named Inkwell. These are some of his recent adventures, mostly from Facebook and a few of his “Inkwell Sings the Blues” from his Twitter Feed.

This morning I woke up late, and my husband was already off running errands. I looked around the house for Inkwell, fearing he might have somehow gotten outside (he’s very much an indoor cat). I went from room to room looking for him, and when I opened the door to the garage, a fly (aka Sky Raisin) flew into the house. Eventually I found Inkwell by shaking his treats. He casually wandered out from wherever he was hiding to get his reward for being a cat from his mommy.

A half an hour later, he noticed the fly….

(11) TUNE IN. BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read this week included Gibson’s Neuromancer, plus had some other SF discussion. (Thanks for the share to Jonathan Cowie of Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation.)

Writers Juno Dawson and Pandora Sykes discuss favourite books Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan, Neuromancer by William Gibson, and The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, with Harriett Gilbert. How will Juno and Pandora enjoy Harriett’s foray into science fiction? And how did Sagan’s novel, written at the tender age of 17, influence Juno’s writing for young adults?

(12) COLLINS OBIT. Four-time F&SF contributor Reid Collins died on April 19. See his Washington Post death notice at Legacy.com.

…In 1982 he succeeded Dallas Townsend to become anchor of “The CBS World News Roundup”- the longest running news broadcast in history. His passion, however, was space. He anchored live coverage of all the nation’s manned space flights for CBS News from Gemini up to the Space Shuttle, including all the Apollo flights to the moon. In 1985, Mr. Collins took “one giant leap” from radio to television and became an anchor for CNN, where he remained until his retirement in 1996. During retirement, he enjoyed golf, cigars on his front porch in Kensington, his 1977 Saab convertible and spending time fishing and relaxing on the East Rosebud River at his vacation home outside Roscoe MT. Arrangements will be private. If so moved, donations in his name may be made to the Montana Historical Society, P.O. Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201.

Collins had four short stories in F&SF between 1978 and 1984.


  • June 30, 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory opened.


  • Born June 30 — Vincent D’Onofrio, 59. Men in Black and the animated Men in Black series as well, genre series work including Emerald City, Daredevil and Ghost Wars.
  • Born June 30 – Molly Parker, 46. Currently on The Lost in Space series as Maureen, but genre roles on The Nightmare Cafe, The Outer Limits, HighlanderThe Sentinel, and Deadwood. Cat Eldridge says, “Ok the last may not be genre but it is a great love of Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. Emma’s novel Territory reflects her passion for the Old West.”


  • John King Tarpinian relays a warning from a well-known comic book hero delivered in Bliss.
  • Mike Kennedy shares how in Monty, robot sidekick EB3’s left arm had achieved a sentience of its own, was rebelling, and had to be replaced.  Doc and Monty found a use for the old arm…

(16) A FLUCTUATION IN THE FORCE. JDA’s Twitter followers had a market crash:

(17) HERETICAL PRONOUNCEMENT. Camestros Felapton dares to ask, “Is HAL 9000 a robot?”. Worse than that, he dares to answer!

So what about HAL? HAL presents as an AI. He’s talked about as a brain. He is shown as a computer. But what is he the brain of? Simple, HAL is the brain of the Discovery One and has control over the ship. Discovery One is HAL’s body. HAL is a robot.

Your Good Host has a meltdown in his comments section.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Synthetic Biology on Vimeo, Vasil Hnatiuk posits a future where giant bees race and living organisms became starships.

(19) RETRO FANDOM. Simpler times! A clipping courtesy of David Doering:


April 1, 1941 — Eyewitness account:

A low-flying, longstanding feud between the two would-be fun-rulers of Shangri-LA, Ray Bradbury and Forrest J Ackerman, broke into the open here late on the night of March 27 with serious injuries sustained by Bradbury — tangle occurred after a Club meeting — when Bradbury and FJA were leaving Cliftons and walked around the corner toward the newsstand. Each was playing the perennial game of trying to out-pun the other, when the now Stirring Science Stories was simultaneously spotted, Both fans leaped forward to secure the issue, Ackerman getting there first. So it was that Ackerman beat Bradbury to a pulp.

(20) BRADBURY AGAIN. Susan Sackett’s Inside Trek book promo site includes a small gallery of photos from a 1976 recording session.

In 1976, I suggested to my friend Ed Naha, A&R person for Columbia Records, that he should sign Gene to do a “spoken word” record. Gene loved the idea and wrote some great copy, inviting many science fiction luminaries to join him. “Inside Star Trek” was recorded at United Western Studios in LA, with Gene, Bill Shatner, and Ray Bradbury all present at this first session. (Isaac Asimov recorded his contribution in New York; DeForest Kelley and Mark Lenard’s sessions came later.) I was there too, of course, snapping pictures for posterity. As you can see from this shot, Gene, Bill and Ray were discussing something important. I call this Gene’s “shaggy dog” period.

(21) HOT OFF THE DIGITAL PRESS. The 20th issue of Rich Lynch’s personal fanthology My Back Pages is now online at the eFanzines website. [PDF file]

Issue #20 is a “getting closer to retirement” issue and has essays involving close-up magic and far-off business destinations, oppressive desert heat and refreshing evaporative cooling, fast cars and slow bicycles, large buildings and small details, Madisonian libertarianism and Rooseveltian progressivism, 1950s space ships and current-day space stations, famous cowboys and famous Missourians, posh hotels and run-down motels, first fans and First Fans, State Capitols and County Courthouses, steamy blues and cool jazz, hot barbecue and the Cold War, bronze statues and scrap metal constructs, large conventions and larger conventions, fan libraries and fanfiction, no reservations and “No Award”.  And colophons… Why did it have to be colophons?

(22) IN A CAST. “Jared Leto ‘joins Spider-Man movie universe’ as vampire Morbius” reports the BBC.

The 30 Seconds To Mars frontman would hop from DC to Marvel, having previously played The Joker in Suicide Squad.

Morbius is the third movie currently in production based on characters in the Spider-Man comic books.

After reports of the casting spread online, Jared shared some artwork of the character on Instagram.

(23) OVERRUNS. China Film Insider says it’s “This Year’s Most Expensive Summer Film”

When it comes to this year’s summer films in China, although Chinese audiences have been abuzz with Jiang Wen’s Hidden Man, Guo Jingming’s L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties, and Xu Ke’s action movie Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings, the most expensive summer film is another one: Yang Zhenjian’s Asura. This film reportedly costs 750 million yuan ($115.5 million). Based on the current revenue-sharing model in China, it has to make at least 2.3 billion yuan ($350 million) in order to breakeven. In a recent interview with WeChat media outlet D-entertainment, the film’s director Yang Zhenjian explained that a big portion of the budget was allocated to hiring international technicians and visual effect teams. In addition, the film was made by a huge crew within a long period of time.

(24) DOCTOR WHO COMIC. Titan Comics and BBC Studios have announced Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Vol. 0 – The Many Lives Of Doctor Who – a special primer edition, which celebrates the Doctor’s many lives, and leads directly into Titan’s brand-new Thirteenth Doctor comic series – launching this fall in the U.S. and UK.

It’s said that your life flashes before your eyes when you die, and the Doctor’s had many of them! As the Doctor regenerates from his twelfth incarnation to her thirteenth (as played by Jodie Whittaker), she relives unseen adventures from all her past selves from Classic through to New Who.

(25) THE JOHNNY RICO DIET. It’s not Heinlein’s Mobile Infantry powered armor, though it may be a step toward it. It’s not even in deployed use. But the US military does seem to be getting serious about testing powered exoskeleton for both upper and lower body uses. In Popular Science: “Power-multiplying exoskeletons are slimming down for use on the battlefield”.

…newly developed exoskeletons is starting to meet […] slimmed-down, stealth requirements  […] Among the most promising, and weird-looking, is the “third arm” that the U.S. Army Research Laboratory developed to help soldiers carry and support their weapons on the battlefield. The lightweight device, which weighs less than four pounds and hangs at a soldier’s side, stabilizes rifles and machine guns, which can weigh up to 27 pounds. This improves shooting accuracy and also minimizes fatigue. It can even be used while scrambling into position on the ground.

…In May, Lockheed Martin unveiled its lightest weight powered exo for lower body support. Dubbed ONYX, the form-fitting suit, which resembles an unobtrusive web of athletic braces, reduce the effort soldier’s need for walking, running, and climbing over varied terrain while carrying a heavy loads of up to 100 pounds.

The suit uses tracking sensors, mechanical knee actuators, and artificial intelligence-based software that predicts joint movement, all of which reduce stress on the lower back and the legs.…

(26) ALWAYS TO CALL IT RESEARCH. Sixth Tone is hot pursuit of the story: “Chinese Fantasy Show Accused of Stealing Harry Potter’s Magic”.

Harry Potter fans threaten to Avada Kedavra drama accused of plot-copying.

After “Legend of Fu Yao” premiered in China on Monday, some viewers pointed out that the television series appeared to have plagiarized “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire,” the fourth installment in British novelist J.K. Rowling’s seven-part series. Twelve episodes have aired so far — and online clips from or related to the show had gained over 350 million views within a day of the season premier.

In the series, the heroine Fu Yao is a disciple at Xuanyuan, a Taoist school that teaches swordsmanship and sorcery. The story focuses on the Tiandou Competition, an event held every eight years. To join in the contest, hopefuls must throw a piece of paper dipped in their own blood into a bronze cauldron. Once they’re signed up, there’s no getting out of the three-round competition, which sees challengers fight against a buffalo-shaped mythical creature, among other tasks.

Loyal Potterheads were quick to notice the similarities with the fourth installment’s Triwizard Tournament, a competition held every five years between three wizarding schools….

(27) HUMANITY NEEDS SAVING AGAIN. The Predator opens in theaters September 14:

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.


[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Jason, Bill, Rich Lynch, David Doering, Jonathan Cowie, Todd Mason, Brian Z., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/30/18 Pixels Like Us, Baby We Were Born To Scroll

  1. Credential news: Apparently overmedicated. He’s on 2 painkillers, one of which he’s had several times, and one he’s never had. I’m going to skip the next dose of the new one and see if he sobers up enough to resume being catly.

  2. I am highly skeptical of anyone deciding to write down their rules of life based on the work of a man who fetishizes lobsters as a human societal analog.

  3. Of course the question is how much sleep is enough. Post severe head trauma, six hours is a great luxury and four is entirely good most nights. Two however is not enough I’ve fiscovered. The latter had me thinking several nights ago of visiting the nearby ER to see if they could just knock me out…

    And yes I envy my two SJW creds for their ability to sleep long, deep periods of time.

  4. My mother has a story about the time she turned up at work one morning and declared “I had a whole four hours sleep! I feel GREAT!” while in the midst of dealing with baby-related sleep-deprivation. Apparently her coworkers mainly looked concerned rather than sharing in her joy.

  5. I made my usual trip past the book-and-magazine section of the supermarket, and saw that they had several copies of Asimov’s (first time in a long, long time that they’ve had any SF magazines).

  6. Mike: It’s STEPHEN Carter, and he doesn’t work for the CHICAGO TRIBUNE; he’s an eminent African-American law professor at Yale who has written several novels.

  7. (3) These are very good rules. Let’s get this guy a book deal instead.

    (4) That happened to me decades ago and I have never forgotten it. Sigh. All the room, all the steak, all the wine. The college dude in the seat next to me had also been somehow upgraded and we spent much of the flight looking at each other in disbelief and amazement and going “yes!” fist pump every time something new and wondrous happened.

    (5) Still creeps me out.

    (6) Good end result, I say.

    (8) Heh. This pleases me.

    (10) Awwww. Perfect credential. I’ve heard that song too.

    (22) This is my lack of interest.

    (23) China’s most expensive, maybe — isn’t $115m US basically what you gotta spend to get a big movie going at all nowadays? With MCU and SW movies north of that.

    (24) I like that her outfit is easily cosplayed. And that the stripes across the shirt are obviously a reference to The Scarf.

  8. (17) The point about the Eddie Murphy movie is much clarified by knowledge of its title during production: Starship Dave.

  9. Bill: That clip from the LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL about Harlan was really interesting. Thanks for posting it.

  10. 3) Carter misses the point on his #5, “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” He properly quotes the following line, “But let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.”, but then concludes it’s about keeping promises, rather than about having compassion on those who are not able to complete what they had intended, once the extent and difficulty of the task becomes clear. Tolkien re-emphasizes this point in the third volume, when Aragorn has compassion on those soldiers who are unable to face the horrors of the Black Gate. Aragorn finds another task within their capabilities, and they depart with gladness.

    Why, yes, I was a member of the Tolkien Fellowship at my university. (I’m not as serious as a lot of Tolkien fans, actually. Kind of like me and bird-watching — I know more than an average person, but less than a dedicated bird watcher.)

  11. Does anyone know if the Worldcon 76 site is having problems? I can’t seem to log in to the voting ballot.

  12. Lorien Gray and anyone else trying to access the Hugo ballots or voter packets: Make sure that you have JavaScript enabled, and if you’re seeing the http addresses for the pages, try the https pages. If it still doesn’t work, then write to [email protected].

  13. Four hours sleep? Luxury. I got just under an hour last night, and paramedics had to be called in to pick me up off the floor at seven this morning. (It’s a condition known as “living with a demented octogenarian who cat-naps through the day and wanders around needing attention at night”.)

  14. 3) I rather like one of the Romulan proverbs from Diane Duane’s Rihannsu books: “Beginnings must be clean to be of profit.” IOW, no matter how noble your goal, if you build it on a corrupt foundation it will bite you on the ass sooner or later.

    (This is similar to the Temptation on the Mount in Christian theology, wherein Satan took Jesus up to a mountaintop from which he could see the whole world (well, all of it that was known to exist at the time) and said “All this will be yours if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus wisely refused the deal. A lesson sadly lost on many modern Christians.)

    8) Small wonder. Jackman’s voice is much better than Kanye’s.

    10) That’s why cats bask in sunny spots. They’re absorbing energy which they can later convert into variable gravity.

    @ Lenore: That’s how I often end up feeling in discussions about superhero comics. By comics-fan standards I’m just a dabbler, but by “conversation with random person” standards I’m an expert. Which always surprises me, since I judge myself by comics-fan standards.

  15. 4: Shortly after 9/11 and just as I was taking my seat, I was informed by a stewardess that I’d been upgraded to 1st class. I asked what would happen if I refused the upgrade and was informed that I could either fly 1st class or I could be escorted off of the flight.

    I presume therefore that the reason for the upgrade was not largesse on the part of the airline but rather their desire to sit me as close to the sky marshall on the flight as possible.

    I’m guessing that my ‘thug’ look, long hair, beard and mustache, the army field jacket I was wearing (and maybe even the ‘baaaing’ noises I’d been making) were on the watch list that day.

  16. 4) I haven’t flied first class, but I do fly business class now and then, it is company policy for lobgee trips. The best for longer flights is that you get a god damned BED! You can actually sleep for real and will arrive well-rested. It is like magic.

  17. 16)

    22) Ah, the living vampire. I’ve a genre-adjacent friend who always asks me for the skinny on various DC and Marvel characters when they come up for movies and movie appearances. He could just google them, but he prefers my personal take on such characters. I compared Morbius to Dr. Connors (since he’s seen Spiderman) to give him a frame of reference…

  18. @Lorien Grey: I had the same issue yesterday, where entering my details and then clicking the login button had literally no effect. Switching to the secure version (https://www.worldcon76.org/hugo/vote.php) resolved the problem immediately.

    I had a lucky break while booking flights for my intercontinental move a couple of months ago, where I got a first class deal that was cheaper than paying for excess baggage on the route I wanted, and well within the bounds of what I would have normally paid for an economy ticket (though a slightly longer route). Flatbeds, extended meal options, super attentive service, no wrestling with other passengers over legroom and armrests, and three Hugo long form finalists on the TV… I’m spoiled for life.

  19. @Kevin Standlee and Arifel – Thanks for the help! I’d been accessing the ballot on and off for some time now at the secure address. I have no idea why it switched and no idea why various efforts to correct it failed. But the link worked in the end, so all is good.

  20. 3) Any infantryman knows that happiness is getting enough sleep. Us grunts are also cats when it comes to sleeping anywhere, in any position.

    4) Kirsten and I flew Turkish Airlines’ Business class from San Francisco to Istanbul and back. About halfway through our three-course dinner, I began softly chanting “never again in coach.”

    16) But do the lurkers support him in email?

    25) I have a huge problem with this concepts, and it’s not just that they didn’t have these things when I was lugging an M-60 and 800 rounds of belted ammo around. No, it is the fact that soldiers operate in harsh environments and then to be involved in fights where a lot of high-speed metal is flying around. what happens when your knee actuator loses power when you are in the middle of moving from one covered position to another? What do you do when a random piece of shrapnel penetrates to the computer?

    I’m not saying it’s unrealistic, just that there are a lot of questions to be answered before I’d trust this equipment with my life.

  21. Isn’t $115m US basically what you gotta spend to get a big movie going at all nowadays?

    Recent Chinese big budget genre hopefuls have had a few quality issues – note that we are still waiting for the release of 3 Body. Among the international talent they paid top dollar for Asura is Ngila Dickson (of Lord of the Rings fame).

  22. Unrelated to scroll—was Galaktika the dodgy Hungarian magazine that was using stories without permission? They want translation rights for a couple stories and I can’t remember if they cleaned up their act or not.

  23. @RedWombat

    Yes, they were the ones using stories without permission.
    I think they ended up promising to pay up, but whether they did so and whether they’ve cleaned up their act permanently is another matter. I suppose the fact that they’re asking you is a good sign though!

  24. RedWombat on June 30, 2018 at 7:10 pm said:

    I am highly skeptical of anyone deciding to write down their rules of life based on the work of a man who fetishizes lobsters as a human societal analog.

    What about if they had been land crayfish?

  25. “What about if they had been land crayfish?”

    With dill, served on flatbread? Then we’d sing and drink until the dark.

  26. Hampus Eckerman on July 1, 2018 at 9:09 am said:

    With dill, served on flatbread? Then we’d sing and drink until the dark.

    In the rain?

  27. “In the rain?”

    Nah, that’s only for midsummer. For crayfish parties, we wear funny hats instead.

  28. Does anyone know if the Worldcon 76 site is having problems? I can’t seem to log in to the voting ballot.

    I’ve had the same problem on both my Windows machines (yes, javascripts were enabled) but not on a Mac. I haven’t tried the Linux box, nor have I tried different browsers on the Windows ones narrow down the problem.

  29. 25) I always wondered about how powered armor impacts the logistics train. If power armor is universal, then you’re facing the problem of every infantryman wearing the equivalent of a fighter jet with all that entails. If it’s not nearly universal, then what are your powered armor units doing? Doesn’t make a lot of sense to put it on your snake eaters because they’re now tied to your main force by fuel and spares. Doesn’t seem like you’d want the units just for urban combat and clean clearance operations.
    Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?
    I say this as someone who loves power armor as a concept.

  30. @BravoLimaPoppa3: ISTM that the stories about serious power armor commonly make many of the same assumptions as in Iron Man; there’s a miraculous energy source/field/whatsis that is powerful enough to move the suit while being compact/contained/simple enough not to require maintenance. (This is hardly unique to power-armor stories; ISTM that most SF even now assumes that that we’ll find something with a much better power:mass ratio, or some other tenfold improvement in tech, to get us off this rock. cf Heinlein’s assumption that an engineer’s annual salary ($6-8K) would be enough to buy a three-stage ticket to the moon ($30/pound)(*) ) Starship Troopers may be more realistic about armor than some other stories, in that it assumes that the armor is mostly for brief assaults and requires a lot of maintenance (enough that the narrator in his officer-apprenticeship is running way low on sleep in order to do it), although it assumes that everyone in the mobile infantry is suited up and it doesn’t seem like many of soldiers are doing maintenance OR that there is a non-Navy, non-MI maintenance team on board — I suspect that RAH as a pre-jet Navy radioman had no idea just how complicated serious motive power was — he may not even have realized how much work the planes on his ship needed.

    (*) Yes, I’m conflating stories from different decades (Glory Road and “Space Jockey”); however, the span in between had relatively low inflation.

  31. A couple of years ago I was flown business class on Emirates on one of those big double decker planes. It was like introvert heaven. I was essentially in my own little pod with a seat/bed thing a TV and drinks.

    I’ve tried to forget the experience as it makes the other plane trips just feel that extra bit worse.

  32. @Douglas Berry

    3) Any infantryman knows that happiness is getting enough sleep. Us grunts are also cats when it comes to sleeping anywhere, in any position.

    One of the first things I learned in basic training was “a good soldier sleeps whenever he can”. I took that lesson to heart. I later spent five months at a camp where the shooting range was ~40 minutes away by bus, we went approximately once a week but never in that time did I stay awake for the whole trip. It’s not until current online maps that I’ve gleaned more than a vague idea of where that shooting range was, back then the bus-nap was basically a teleportation portal to Somewhere Else.

    Business class beds have nothing on coach class and an sleep-deprived soldier’s ability to sleep everywhere.

    @BravoLimaPoppa3 :
    Infantry is tied rather closely to the logistic train already. If power armor makes soldiers capable of carrying heavier loads, then even if some of that extra load will be fuel for the armor they’ll still be less dependent on frequent resupply than without the power armor.

    (Hmm, this became very martial. Let me try to soften that by saying that I’m very happy that this year’s Hugo shortlist put me in touch with Lady Trent.)

  33. #3) Yeah, that’s fandom for you; NO MATTER HOW WELL INTENTIONED YOU ARE, there ae people out there will not only take issue with that you are trying to do, they will also INSIST on deconstructing, undermine, contradict or demolish what you are trying to convey…

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right? 8-/

  34. A couple of years ago I was flown business class on Emirates on one of those big double decker planes. It was like introvert heaven. I was essentially in my own little pod with a seat/bed thing a TV and drinks.

    That would be an Airbus A380.

  35. Credential update!

    Still not eating properly, though things is looking up, and we’ve re-coned him in a size we think will work better, so he’s busy exploring the house instead of the closet. Cutting out the second med has restored him to consciousness. (It is a people med and I recalled my brother saying it zombified him after a surgery. Kitteh takes after his hooman uncle, I guess.)

    Difficulties now are: 1) other credential staring at him 2) smearing of wet food on bottom of cone 3) he’s fond of head-bonks and that’s not working too well whilst be-coned. Delicate fwumps and thuds around the house.

    Site of surgery looks good.


    @Lorien and other Hugo voters: I had problems and went back and forth with help when the vote first opened and it turned out the problem actually was me. I have all sorts of extensions bolted on here and so I started up an incognito window without anything added and it worked perfectly. So if https: version doesn’t work, try that.

    The only time I was on a long-haul flight (across a continent and a sea), I was in the cheapest seat possible. The middle seat in a middle economy row in a 747. 5 people across in my section. Thankfully I had gotten sleeping pills so I managed sort of an uneasy doze much of the time. This was before individual TVs and the movie showing on the small screen up front also sucked. I packed many paperbacks.

    Oh, and one cattle-class toilet stopped working so the lines were terrible, and the smell the poor bastards in the back had to put up with made me grateful for my distance. Because god forbid us proles be allowed to defile one first class or business class pisser. They would have defended it with their SKYKNIVES, I guess.


    Dammit, even wearing the cone, he’s managed to get INSIDE the couch. When he eventually comes out, it’s back to the bedroom.

  36. Johan P on July 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm said:

    Infantry is tied rather closely to the logistic train already. If power armor makes soldiers capable of carrying heavier loads, then even if some of that extra load will be fuel for the armor they’ll still be less dependent on frequent resupply than without the power armor.

    Agreed. But now imagine every crunchie having the logistics requirements of a IFV or a fighter jet. Shudder! The blown out/work out parts alone because of all the moving pieces. Then we have the destructive talents of your average 19 year old….

  37. (16) I’m not a JDA fan, nor do I use twitter, so I have no idea what makes an impressive number of followers, but now he’s at 11,891 followers, an increase about 4,050 from the image by @1stjohn1six from two days ago. I’m sure he must have picked them all up at LibertyCon.

  38. @BravoLimaPoppa3

    But now imagine every crunchie having the logistics requirements of a IFV or a fighter jet. Shudder! The blown out/work out parts alone because of all the moving pieces. Then we have the destructive talents of your average 19 year old….

    I am insulted! At 19 my destructive talents were finely-honed and trained to excess. We were exceptionally talented at the art of destruction.

    But I take your point. These things would be tested to destruction at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning (I am not kidding about that name. gag.) before being tested to destruction everywhere from Florida swamps, West Texas in high summer, and Alaska in the middle of winter. They will not be as complex as a fighter or IFV, as they won’t undergo the same level of stresses that you get driving a M2 at 45mph across uneven ground.

    Since I served in a mechanized unit (3/7th Inf, Cottonbalers, By God!) I know that most maintenance is going to be at the user level. We were able to fix almost everything short of an engine pull or a complete hydraulic failure on our M-113 APCs. There were no classes on this, you just did what you were told and learned on the job. I think that the armored infantry would be trained in basic PMCS (Preventive Maintenence, Checks, and Services) and a good part of the routine would be making sure their suits are fit and reporting any issues up the chain of command.

    Power, of course, is the great limiter. It does no good to increase the carrying capacity of an infantryman if you’re only going to pile the weight on in the form of batteries.

    Finally, and this is a vital concern to anyone who has spent six-plus hours in MOPP-IV, how does one pee in this rig. How does one get rid of solid wastes?

  39. Bruce A: JDA… at 11,891 followers, an increase about 4,050… from two days ago. I’m sure he must have picked them all up at LibertyCon

    … a convention which caps its membership at 700 people. 🙄

    I think it’s hilarious that he’s buying Twitter followers.

  40. @Martin Wooster
    Bill: That clip from the LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL about Harlan was really interesting. Thanks for posting it.
    Glad you liked it.

  41. Am now about a third of the way into New York 2140 and while I still have no idea as to what it is as a whole, I’m liking all of the individual elements, and waiting to see how (or if) they start to come together.

    All other things being equal, this is probably one of those books that would work better (for me, at least) if I was able to get through it in a small number of lengthy, focused reading sessions, instead of most days just getting in a bit before I go to bed.

  42. @Douglas Berry: ISTM that the waste-in-the-suit issue has been dealt with in ISS suits; from what I recall it’s no longer just diapers, but something more tolerable.

  43. Oh, and one cattle-class toilet stopped working so the lines were terrible, and the smell the poor bastards in the back had to put up with made me grateful for my distance. Because god forbid us proles be allowed to defile one first class or business class pisser. They would have defended it with their SKYKNIVES, I guess.

    During my very first flight ever, when I was five years old, I had to go to the toilet. And because I was a kid, I really had to go. However, the flight attendants were just moving through the cabin with their carts, so the economy class toilets behind us were inaccessible. So my Mom took me and another kid in the same predicament and went front to the business or first class to politely ask the flight attendant to let us use the toilet there. The flight attendant got pissy and defended her preciuous business or first class toilets (not sure if it was business or first class. This was the late 1970s, so I’m sure if Lufthansa even had business class back then).

    So my Mom said to her, “Okay, you’ve got a choice. You can either let the kids use the toilet or the kids will pee right here onto the carpet of the business class.”

    Guess who got to use the business class toilet.

  44. Bruce A: Whoa, dude, now JDA has 13K Twitter followers.

    That’s some fast growth. Is Twitter giving accounts to yeast spores or Tribbles now?

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