Pixel Scroll 6/4/18 A Pixel Came Down To File770, It Was Lookin’ For A Scroll To Steal

(1) FOLLOWING IN GODZILLA’S FOOTSTEPS. The Harvard Map Collection presents “Where Disaster Strikes: Modern Space and the Visualization of Destruction”.

Floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, bombings, droughts, and even alien invasions: disaster can take many forms. And, although disasters are always felt dramatically, a disaster’s form and location impacts who records its effects and what forms those records take. “Where Disaster Strikes” investigates the intertwined categories of modern space and disaster through the Harvard Map Collection’s maps of large destructive events from the London Fire to the present.

The map collection includes a Godzilla feature. Stacy Lambe figured out how many times stomped all the cities. Then Danielle Brown mapped them. (I can’t get the link to function here, but go to the Harvard Map Collection link and click “30” on the left sidebar, that worked for me.)

(2) FUTURE TENSE. Safe Surrender” by Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, is this month’s entry in the Future Tense series that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. The series is offered through a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

The laws are so old that they were written with fully human children in mind. Before first contact, two humans might make a fully Terran baby and still abandon it, because they didn’t have enough money or because one of their ancient tribal honor codes forbid them from breeding. It still happens, but nobody talks about it. Humans like to forget what they used to be. Now, safe surrender sites are known as places where hemis get dumped. Hemis like me.

It was published along with a response essay “Oppression of the Future in ‘Safe Surrender’ by tech policy lawyer Laura Moy.

As technology advances, will we use it to promote equity, or to serve and preserve systems of oppression? This question is central to Meg Elison’s “Safe Surrender,” which explores a future in which humans are in regular contact with extraterrestrials called Pinners, who exchange diplomats, trade goods, and even interbreed with Earthlings. In “Safe Surrender,” a grown-up human-Pinner hybrid (a “hemi”) struggles to find their identity and make sense of their origin—surrendered at birth by a mother who did not want or perhaps felt she could not care for or protect a hybrid infant.

In Elison’s not–totally foreign, not-so-distant future, the racial prejudices, inequities, and oppression that plague humankind today map easily onto extraterrestrials….

(3) POOHOGRAPHY. Who needs $200,000 when you can have this map? Atlas Obscura knows where you can find it: “For Sale: A Winsome Map Showing the Way to Pooh Corner”.

But all the adventures of a boy and his bear started here, alongside illustrations by the English artist E. H. Shepard. In its opening pages, a map shows the way around the Hundred Acre Wood, sometimes stylized as “100 Aker Wood.” There’s “Where the Woozle Wasnt” and the route to the North Pole. Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the original map is on sale at the British auctioneer Sotheby’s, along with four other illustrations. They are expected to fetch as much as $580,000 together when they go on sale at the auction house in July, the BBC reported.

It’s a lot of money for a map—but then, this isn’t any old map.

(4) MEXICANX. John Picacio introduces the next set of MexicanX Initiative guests who’ll be coming to Worldcon 76.

(5) MERRY MONTH OF MAY. Eric Wong sent along Rocket Stack Rank’s May ratings highlights.

  1. New Prolific Reviewer Added

Gary Tognetti @ 1000 Year Plan

  1. Most-Recommended Stories

Here are 15 stories (out of 72) recommended by at least 2 out of 4 prolific reviewers who post at the end of each month (GTognetti, JMcGregor, RSR, SFRevu). That’s 21% of 72 stories, while 56% (40 stories) got no recs from any of the 4 prolific reviewers.

Novellas (click for story & review links)

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells 1h:48m Tor Novella 05/08/18

Bubble and Squeak by David Gerrold & Ctein 1h:50m Asimov’s 05?06|18

Novelettes (click for story & review links)

The Thought That Counts by K.J. Parker 28m BCS 250
Crash Site by Brian Trent 29m F&SF 05?06|18
Inquisitive by Pip Coen2 25m F&SF 05?06|18
Fleeing Oslyge by Sally Gwylan 30m Clarkesworld 140
Angry Kings by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam 25m BCS 250
Argent and Sable by Matthew Hughes 47m F&SF 05?06|18
Hubpoint Of No Return by Christopher L. Bennett 41m Analog 05?06|18

Short Stories (click for story & review links)

A Green Moon Problem by Jane Lindskold 20m Lightspeed 96
Unstoppable by Gardner Dozois 19m F&SF 05?06|18
Blessings by Naomi Novik 07m Uncanny 22
Cold Blue Sky by JE Bates2 13m Apex 108
Godmeat by Martin Cahill 23m Lightspeed 96
While You Sleep, Computer Mice™ Earn Their Keep by Buzz Dixon 07m Analog 05?06|18

(Sometimes RHorton’s recs are included if Locus Magazine releases his latest column online by the end of the month. The recommendations from the 5 major awards and 4 major SF/F anthologies are typically available within 5 months after the calendar year and are shown in the 2018 YTD.)

  1. Most-Recommended Magazines

Every BCS and Lightspeed story got a recommendation from at least 1 out of 4 prolific reviewers. Every magazine got at least 1 story rec except Strange Horizons.

(All 11 magazines included in RSR Monthly & YTD ratings are covered by at least 3 of the 4 prolific monthly reviewers, except for Tor Novellas.)

  1. Stories by New Writers

Stories by 2019 Campbell Award-eligible writers, grouped by year of eligibility.

Year 1 Eligible: 5 stories, none recommended.

Year 2 Eligible: 6 stories, 3 recommended.

Coen, Pip Inquisitive 25m F&SF 05?06|18
Bates, JE Cold Blue Sky 13m Apex 108
Falowo, Dare Segun Ku’gbo 19m F&SF 05?06|18

The remaining 61 stories were written by authors whose first pro SF/F story was before 2017.

(6) BEING INVENTIVE. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett says “Let’s consider how to add a little local colour to steampunk fiction with some interesting but failed nineteenth century inventions. Necessity might be the mother of invention but that doesn’t mean all her children are born equal.” — “With A Strange Device”.

Putting some steampunk junk in the trunk.

I’ve long been a fan of Jack Vance’s fiction for a number of reasons. One of these is the way he liked to throw quirky details into his stories. There were often no reason for these details as they weren’t designed to advance the plot (well okay, very occasionally yes they did but usually no they didn’t). Mostly Vance just liked to add a little local colour to the fictional landscapes his narrative was passing through. A little local colour, as actually exists in the real world, is something far too rare in science fiction of any era.

(7) SAURON’S DIGS. Olga Polomoshnova pieces together a description of “The tower of adamant” at Middle-Earth Reflections.

Barad-dûr was built in the Second Age when Sauron chose Mordor as his abode. He began the construction of the Dark Tower in c. 1000 SA and finished it in c. 1600 SA — the same year when the One Ring was forged in the fires of Orodruin. The foundations of Barad-dûr were thus strengthened with the power of the One Ring, so the tower was virtually indestructible by any force and could stand as long as the Ring lasted. After the War of the Last Alliance and the seven-year siege of Barad-dûr its foundations remained, though the tower itself was destroyed, and thus the Dark Tower rose again in the Third Age.

The appearance of Barad-dûr is left rather vague by Tolkien. Readers can catch only glimpses of the Dark Tower by means of visions or looks from afar, without many details provided. Those glimpses offer a very uncertain picture, as if just allowing a peek at the mighty tower: we look at it quickly and then withdraw our glance so that the never-sleeping watch of Sauron does not catch us at looking at his citadel longer than it is necessary.

The main impression that can be gathered from those fragmentary glimpses is that of hopelessness and terror: the Dark Tower is huge and impregnable. In this case less is more, and the lack of detailed descriptions does the trick, but one thing is certain: we are dealing with a very serious stronghold here.

(8) THE QUIET MAN. Jon Del Arroz hasn’t been tweeting for the last few days. Part of it is because he was officiating a wedding for a friend, but the main reason is that his Twitter account was frozen. JDA says I have to get the details from the response piece he has written for The Federalist….

(9) VON TIESENHAUSEN OBIT. WAFF-TV has the story: “‘Father of the Lunar Rover’ dies at 104”

Georg von Tiesenhausen, who is dubbed the “Father of the Lunar Rover,” has died at age 104.

Tiesenhausen was the last living rocket scientist who came to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip with Wernher von Braun at jump-start the U.S. space program.

(10) PHIPPS OBIT. Actor William Phipps, who had a huge number of genre TV and movie roles on his resume, died June 1—The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

…He starred as a young poet, one of the five people on Earth to survive a nuclear explosion, in Five (1951), then fought martians in The War of the Worlds (1953) and Invaders From Mars (1953), a giant spider in Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) and the Abominable Snowman in The Snow Creature (1954).

Walt Disney himself heard Phipps’ audition tape and hired him to play Prince Charming opposite Ilene Woods in Cinderella (1950). The actor said he was paid about $100 for two hours’ work on an afternoon in January 1949….


  • June 4, 1982 Poltergeist premiered.
  • June 4, 1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan debuted in theaters.


  • Born June 4 — Angelina Jolie, actress in the Tombraider films and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.


  • Chip Hitchcock says Rhymes With Orange believes they could never remake Wizard of Oz quite the same way today.

(14) JIM HENSON. “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is on display at LA’s Skirball Cultural Center from June 1-September 2.

Immerse yourself in the imaginative world of Jim Henson (1936–1990) and discover his groundbreaking approach to puppetry and transformative impact on contemporary culture.

Featuring more than 100 objects and twenty-five historic puppets—including Kermit the Frog, Rowlf, Ernie and Bert, Grover, and other popular favorites—The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited illuminates Henson’s unique contributions to the moving image. Along with a talented team of designers, performers, and writers, Henson created an unparalleled body of work that continues to delight and inspire people of all ages to create a kinder and gentler world.

Explore Henson’s enduringly popular productions—from The Muppet Show, the Muppet movies, and Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth—through character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, costumes, film and television clips, and behind-the-scenes footage. Then design your own puppet and try your hand at puppeteering in this highly interactive exhibition.

Highlights include:

  • Kermit the Frog puppet from 1978
  • Handwritten scripts from Henson’s first television series, Sam and Friends (1955–1961)
  • A clip from Henson’s Academy Award–nominated experimental short film Time Piece (1965)
  • Puppets from Sesame Street (1969– ), including Grover, Ernie and Bert, and Count von Count
  • Section on The Muppet Show (1976–1981), including puppets of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Scooter, as well as material from the Muppets’ transition to the big screen, such as set models and storyboards
  • Jen and Kira puppets from The Dark Crystal (1982)
  • Red Fraggle from Fraggle Rock (1983–1987), which celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary this year
  • Jareth’s and Sarah’s ballroom costumes from Labyrinth (1986)

(15) BEGONE, I HAVE NO POWER HERE. NPR reports “‘Sherlock’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Saves Cyclist From Muggers” — no mystic powers needed.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays detective Sherlock Holmes in the television series Sherlock, foiled an attempted robbery by fighting off a gang of muggers in London. The attack occurred near his fictional character’s home on Baker Street.

(16) CONCAROLINAS. Yesterday’s Scroll reported the terms under which David Weber agreed to be a ConCarolinas special guest next year, his characterization of those who had issues with Ringo’s selection as a special guest, and the statement delivered by the ConCarolinas chair at closing ceremonies of this year’s con (wording negotiated with Weber).

There has been mixed reaction to the ConCarolinas statement.

So, apparently, ConCarolinas committee gave a closing statement where they doubled-down on being open to having special guests who are bigots, racists, sexists, etc claiming the onus is on the people these hate-mongers target to be willing to sit in a room with them as a sign of tolerance and mutual respect.

Listen, it’s not on me to be willing to tolerate someone who thinks I shouldn’t even be in the room or any group who supports bigotry, racism, misogyny, or hate speech.

Now, for those of you who gave ConCarolinas a pass this year and went anyway they’ve made where they stand abundantly clear. You either support that or you don’t – there’s no middle ground. Don’t think you can continue to support it and be my “friend”. Pick a side. You’re either with the people who support giving a platform to hate or you’re an ally of the marginalized people those bigots/racists/misogynists would like to see excluded from SFF and fandom. Don’t expect me to be ok with it.

My thanks to those allies who made a principled stand and withdrew from ConCarolinas, both guests and attendees. I appreciate your willingness to take a stand for what’s right and not try to parse your participation down to some justification for continuing to support people who CLEARLY want to be in a position to give a platform to people who would like nothing better than to target women and people of color.

  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt

  • Rabid Sparkle Badger


  • Stabby Carpenter

  • Nick Mamatas

  • Stephanie Souders

  • Keffy

So, the director of Con Carolinas has made a choice of who is welcome, and who is not. This is now a convention openly antagonistic to the health, comfort, and safety of anyone who is not straight, cis, male, white, and conservative.

Two important wins vs. the antisocial injustice crusaders in SFF.

  1. ConCarolinas, with prompting from DavidWeber, has declared themselves politically neutral.
  2. DragonCon fired the head of its fantasy lit track, who was apparently trying to impose a political litmus test.
  • Shaun Duke


  • Ari Marmell


  • Declan Finn

ConCarolinas is beginning to see the first groundswell of criticism for the position Jada took at final ceremonies yesterday. I expect it to get pretty ugly, because she and the concom are now officially recidivists. I would request that anyone who supports the con’s efforts — and fandom in general’s effort — to . . . diminish the scope for the ex post facto dis-invitation of guests to speak up in support of the con’s position, but lets not take this any farther into Mutually Assured Destruction territory than we have to. I know the temptation will be to lob H bombs back in response to the fission warheads coming in in condemnation of the con’s position. I understand that, because I’ve got a temper, too. But if we want to minimize the bigots and the fanatics on both sides of the divide, then we can’t be fanatics ourselves. Determined, unyielding, and unwilling to put up with or yield to cyber bullying — all of those things, damned straight. But if we’re going to be the grown-ups in the room, then let’s BE grown-ups. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t approve of banning anyone for anything short of criminal acts or DEMONSTRATED personal harassment of an innocent bystander who didn’t lob the first grenade in any exchange between them. Don’t care whether they are on the right, and they’ve been screaming about John’s withdrawal from ConCarolinas and Larry’s banning from Origins, or if they are on the left, and they are now screaming about ConCarolinas’ response to the arguments voiced by people on the right. Everyone has a right to his or her own opinion and to attend or not to attend any convention because of guest lists or for any other reason(s) that seem(s) good to them. They also have a right to voice and explain those opinions. I’d just really prefer for us to do it as civilly as possible. It is at least remotely possible we could shame the hate merchants (of whatever political persuasion), but I’m not looking for any miracles here. What I would like to accomplish, however, is to APPEAR as the reasonable parties by BEING the reasonable parties so that those who have not already drawn their own lines in the sand can form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions about who is truly in favor of diversity and inclusiveness and who isn’t.

(17) IN THE FRAME. Gary Tognetti reviews “The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts” at The 1000 Year Plan.

Watts falls within the lineage of classic hard SF writers who can make far-future science magic seem tangible, but his true gift lies in how personable he makes it feel. Heavy themes like alienation, the value of existence, and the nature of consciousness are woven into the brisk narrative with humor and pathos. Watts may be too smart to let a big idea pass by without picking it to pieces, but above all, “The Freeze-Frame Revolution” is fun to read.

(18) WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG. Frederik Pohl’s IF magazine floats The Traveler’s boat at Galactic Journey: “[June 4, 1963] Booked passage (July 1963 IF)”

Down to the Worlds of Men, by Alexei Panshin

14-year old Mia Havero is part of a society of human space-dwellers, resident of one of the eight galaxy-trotting Ships that represent the remains of Earth’s high technology. She and 29 other young teens are dropped on a primitive colony as part of a rite of passage. There is always an element of danger to this month-long ordeal, but this episode has a new wrinkle: the planet’s people are fully aware (and resentful) of the Ships, and they plan to fight back. Can Mia survive her coming of age and stop an insurrection?

Panshin hits it right out of the park with his first story, capturing the voice of a young almost-woman and laying out a rich world and an exciting adventure. Finally, I’ve got something I can recommend to the Young Traveler. Four stars, verging on five.

(19) THEME SONG. Wil Wheaton declares “This Is Brilliant”.

When we worked on Next Generation, Brent Spiner and I would sit at our consoles on the bridge, and make up lyrics to our show’s theme song. I vaguely recall coming up with some pretty funny and clever stuff, but nothing that held together as perfectly as this, from the weirdos over at meh.com:


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, mlex, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Top Elf, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lanodantheon.]

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180 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/4/18 A Pixel Came Down To File770, It Was Lookin’ For A Scroll To Steal

  1. @A.G. Carpenter: I have seen a screen cap where someone contacted the hotel, who is reaching out to them for specifics. I trust the source for the screen cap, but I failed to find the original post.

  2. @Christopher One of the folks I talked to was a con staffer who said they had contacted the hotel back when Ringo had first been invited. They had been told even though NC is an open-carry state the hotel has a strict no-guns policy and they have sent an email with a complaint today. I’ve also seen two other guests report the same thing. (One who had also contacted the hotel after “RingoGate” hit the fan, and one who contacted the hotel today.)

    [This doesn’t disallow the possibility that Diaz talked to someone on the hotel staff who told him it was okay, but if that were true it seems to be counter to both the con and the hotel policies and I would expect that person would not have a job much longer.]

  3. @ robinareid: I was in an apa with this one guy who grumped mightily about guys with long hair and women with short hair. Apparently it was terribly important for him to be able to tell, at a glance and from the rear, whether someone was a Real Person or not. (He didn’t say it in those words, of course.) My comment was that unless he was actively looking for a sexual partner, it was irrelevant.

    @ Harold: I would absolutely buy K/S as queerplatonic bromance. Sex, not so much.

  4. That comment was, of course, made after he stomped around in Jaym’s thread

    I just read that thread. Mr Ringo’s personality appears not to have approved even a little bit since he wrote that extraordinarily whiny RavenCon report years ago. He still comes across, in every exchange I’ve seen lately, like an overtired toddler on a sugar crash—but without any reasonable hope at this point that he’ll mature past that stage.

  5. You gotta be pretty bad when even your personality turns against you.

  6. @Laura I read Ringo’s comments with my mouth literally hanging open. It was … surreal.

  7. Yeah, that whole concealed gun thing and the belligerence around it made my jaw hit the kitchen table. You don’t DO that. If the hotel AND venue say no guns, Security is there to enforce rules, not play some kind of personal vigilante LARP.

  8. Have they deleted the comment? All I see is that there is/was/shall be an off-duty cop and nothing about guns.

    And I swear, I didn’t realize there was drama about this or JdA, I was coming back to read the news about sf. But damn, these threads have been taken over.

  9. It’s still there. It’s just hard to find anything in a long Facebook thread. Diaz says that him, and at least one other security volunteer are armed in addition to an off-duty police officer. They site the incident at Phoenix Comicon as justification. Statistically, the good guy with a gun is a myth and anybody who uses it to justify concealed carry is both a damned fool and an irresponsible gun owner.

  10. @Maximillian: “Have they deleted the comment? All I see is that there is/was/shall be an off-duty cop and nothing about guns.”

    Nope, it’s still there:

    Luis Diaz Chris Shrewsbury don’t worry, I was carrying all weekend just to keep you safe. 😉

    And are you trying to imply that John Ringo is a homosexual? [thoughtful emoji]

    “I was carrying all weekend”.

  11. Regarding LGBT SFF, Shira Glassman writes some lovely lesbian fantasy and also recently a superhero novel. And just yesterday, we featured a lesbian science fiction romance by Emily L. Byrne a.k.a. Catherine Lundoff at the Speculative Fiction Showcase. If you click on the LGBT tag, you’ll find other LGBT indie and small press books that we covered.

    Regarding ConCarolinas, they certainly seem to be determined to give anybody not an ammosexual Ringo fan even more reasons to avoid their con like the plague.

    By German standards, I’m actually very liberal on guns. I don’t own one, but I don’t have a problem with guns used for hunting, target shooting or to protect yourself against potentially dangerous wildlife (not really a problem here, but definitely one in parts of the US). However, unless you are a police officer or soldier on duty, there is no bloody justification to carry a gun in a public space full of people. I would never attend any con that allowed attendants to carry real life guns (as opposed to cosplay weapons) on the premises, because I would feel massively unsafe there.

    Carrying your gun everywhere you go also seems to be a new escalation of the American obsession with guns. It used to be that you saw gun racks in the backs of cars and trucks in rural areas, which were presumably used for hunting. But until fairly recently, people didn’t parade their guns around in public places or insisted on taking them into shops and restaurants.

  12. @Doctor Science: “Pros AU”? Not knowing that term, I can’t argue your claim that Points started as fanfic.

    The Nortons I remember most fondly are Galactic Derelict, Star Rangers, and Ice Crown; I haven’t reread them in a very long time as I now have difficulties with her style, but all of them have unusual leads and/or ~politics (for the time they were written).

    @Cora: ISTM that there are very few places where a gun is useful against a wild animal; if they’re big enough not to be frightened away by human noise, they’re big enough not to be taken down with defensive (i.e., hasty) shooting. A couple of people on this list may know enough to offer counterexamples.

  13. Back in the day, we used to sing the Love Boat Theme lyrics to the TNG music.
    It worked particularly well, especially if sung in a smarmy lounge lizard style.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock

    Pros AU probably means it was an alternate universe fanfic using characters from The Professionals, a late 70s/early 80s British tv show about a fictional anti-terrorism/anti-crime unit. There aren’t any other fandoms that use that nickname, so far as I’m aware.

  15. Chip: it’s usually farmers with livestock and a fairly hefty parcel of land who are talking about shooting wild animals. Hikers getting attacked by wildlife generally don’t have warning enough, but I ‘m sure as soon as I say that someone will probide a counterexample.

  16. @Chip Hitchock

    I’ve recently seen some statistics on firearms and bear attacks. Use of handguns, at close range, appears to be more effective than you’d think. Granted that such encounters are rarer than being stuck by lightning and I don’t feel a particular need to carry a lightning rod everywhere.

  17. @Chip Hitchock: Meredith is right, I meant The Professionals, which has the distinction of being the only TV show with a large, active US fandom that has never been broadcast in the US.

    @Stoic Cynic: encounters with bears while camping are NOT terribly rare, especially if the bears can smell your food.

  18. @Doctor Science

    No bear encounters aren’t rare but bear attacks are ( at least in the lower 48).

    The most memorable bear encounter I’ve had was as a child. We were staying in a cabin. I think it was Yosemite but might have been Sequoia. There was a freezer on the porch with a latch for a lock because of bears. Middle of the night: BANG, BANG,BANG! There’s a bear beating on the freezer. To its credit the latch, and master lock, held. The hinges on the other hand – not so much…

  19. Still no time pod.

    I’m leaving with the blonde woman who claims her blue box is a time machine.

  20. Laura Resnick: Well, that’s good news. JDA’s absence from Twitter can only be a good thing. Long may it last.

    I saw the tweet (or at least one of them) which I suspect got him banned. It was pretty vile. 😐

  21. It’s pretty hard to be banned by Twitter… well if you’re a white cis male it is… congrats to JDA on his latest accomplishment. May he enjoy a long time free from Twitter and more time to write books to pay the legal fees.

  22. When my then-four-year-old older brother and my parents were in Yosemite Park, my parents didn’t particularly think about it much when my brother disappeared for a while. After a while a park ranger returned my brother to my parents with a request that they not let him play with bear cubs.

  23. Hey, I actually have some queer urban fantasy to recommend that I think a fair number of you will like: Nameless, and its sequels, by Matthew Rossi.


    These are set in working-class Rhode Island of the recent past to present. There’s a lot of neat stuff about how people who aren’t coming at things with academic or middle-class backgrounds handle magic, and a whole lot of queer content, with various of the protagonists being gay/lesbian, bi, and/or trans. In particular the bi presence is solid and real, for those who’ve noticed how often it gets left out of the mix. It does a great job of balancing the ways love and friendship genuinely do improve us and our ability to face awful challenges and the ways not everything in life is solvable that way. Profoundly satisfying stuff.

    Disclaimer: on the strength of these and some of his other work, I made an effort to get to know him as a person, and eventually to hire him as one of the writers for a Wraith: The Oblivion supplement. But my admiration for his stories came first. 🙂

  24. Lis Riba: Back in the day, we used to sing the Love Boat Theme lyrics to the TNG music

    I vaguely remember that, though I couldn’t find a video of it. But I did find this:

  25. Yay for queer SFF recs! Like several others, I’m excited about having a new Points book from Melissa Scott. If you like steampunk and short mystery/adventure stories, try Alex Acks’ Murder on the Titania. And although it won’t be out during Pride Month, I’m looking forward to Claire O’Dell’s (aka Beth Bernobich) A Study in Honor — a near-future Holmes & Watson re-take where both protagonists are queer black women.

    Re: those suggesting that The Privilege of the Sword might be a lighter onramp to Tremontaine than Swordspoint: I personally feel that TPotS would make relatively little sense without knowing the characters and backstory from Swordspoint, and while it’s been much longer since I read the latter, TPotS has several sex scenes plus a rape, so be aware if those affect your reading enjoyment. (I say this with a deep and abiding love for TPotS, but fluffy it’s not.)

  26. I might have missed it, but just in case it wasn’t already reported, Robin McKinley has a new blog up and says she’s going to be writing again.

    Robin McKinley

    If you don’t remember, she wrote The Blue Sword, Beauty, and (my favorite) Sunshine.

  27. I’ve checked on those stats regarding bear attacks and guns. While I can find cases of diogs attacking people with guns (accidentally) I couldn’t find any cases of bears using firearms – despite what the constitution says.

  28. @Doctor Science

    I had a quick look at the cover art and the character descriptions and you really weren’t kidding, huh. Not a very subtle reskin. Pros always did have a good line in AU fic.

  29. Camestros Felapton: Hey, I read that bears discovered fire. Soon as they discover arms, they can put the two together!

  30. @Maximillian

    OMG. I checked Robin McKinley’s old blog awhile back and figured that the time since updates (and the contents of the last few) meant that ill-health and grief had pretty much knocked her out of the game. Super excited to hear she’s back. She’s one of my favourite authors.

  31. @Doctor Science

    encounters with bears while camping are NOT terribly rare, especially if the bears can smell your food.

    Having encountered bears more than once while camping in the Sierras, I am very happy to report there was never a Good Guy With A Gun around to USA!!! the hell out of it and get blood all over the beautiful mountains. When it comes to wildlife, Asimov’s rule regarding violence and competence is apropos.

  32. In “Tremonaine” (the serial), everyone’s bi. Except the few who are strictly gay or lesbian. The kissy face is almost all in the service of politics. Melissa Scott’s “Point of…” books of Astreiant don’t have kissy face; I don’t recall any love scenes and they’re basically Renaissance-esque fantasy mysteries. I’m in the middle of the latest one. Also second Diane Duane’s “Door Into…” (Tale of the Five) books. And all of those have swords.

    @Rev. Bob: A good PSA indeed.

    Huh. So ConCarolinas is fine with sexual harassment and has people packing heat who (for all any of us know) are untrained in weapons use? Sure, that sounds like a LOT of fun. I could walk down a big city street and get all that for free, plus maybe some nice restaurants and high culture. I wonder if the hotel will scrutinize them more clearly for not living up to their rules?

    There are a whole lotta insecure people involved there, from Ringo and the conchair on down. Such butt-hurt snowflakes who aren’t comfortable with the slightest requests to think about others. I feel sorry for the decent local fen who weren’t looking for DudeBroCon. Maybe we need a fan fund like TAFF or DUFF to get people out of that area?

    @Lis Riba: The video JJ posted was the first thing to come to my mind. So I guess everyone had the same idea.

    @Meredith: Even the illustrations of the front of the books look exactly like the actors. No guns or cars, in the books though.

  33. Cool! New news, then. There’s a few posts, but the one that stood out was that she’s got an amount of some kind to add the the end of her blog-novel Kes and will be getting it published as Part One.

  34. Lurkertype: So ConCarolinas… has people packing heat who (for all any of us know) are untrained in weapons use?

    My understanding is that:
    1) the person known to be packing heat was the con chair’s husband, and
    2) she apparently knew that he was concealed-carrying
    3) while being the head of the con’s Security division
    4) who is trained in using weapons (but how well is uncertain), and
    5) who also says that he has “carried for the last 3 years“, which might mean that’s how long he’s had a concealed-carry permit, but to me looks like it means that he’s carried concealed weaponry at ConCarolinas for 3 years now, and
    5) there were one or two other Security team members also carrying weapons
    6) despite the fact that both the con and the hotel have “no weapons” policies.

    I expect that there will be a lot of attendees who are unhappy when they become aware of this.

    ETA: (The two #5s were totally unintentional, but they are so funny that I am leaving them.)

  35. Robinareid:

    the ugliness of women on public streets wearing sneakers to get to work instead of their high heels (carried with them)…it started (heh) with me pointing out women were not there as decorative wallpaper and perhaps he should try walking a few city blocks in high heels before judging them and WTF made it his business anyway.

    I look at it this way: If my wife wears high heels, I have to massage her feet afterwards, and I hate massaging feet. They’re stinky and covered with sweat and germs and yuck. It’s bad enough I have to deal with my own feet. So I always insist she wear sneakers if possible and penny loafers otherwise, but then again, I think everyone should wear penny loafers.

  36. Having given it some thought, here’s a kissy-face scale.

    0 – No kissy face
    1 – rare and chase kissy face
    2 – What you would expect from two people who date
    3 – Delectable, some people do like to make kissy face and it is wonderful but that’s not the main plot
    4 – There’s a lot of kissy face here. Might be uncomfortable.
    5 – They’re kissing again. Is this a kissing book?

    And a second scale for grownup sexy times

    0 – Eww no keep your cooties out of my reading time
    1 – This book contains grown ups and you should assume they like sexy times from time to time but it isn’t really talked about.
    2 – Implied grownup sexy times. I hate a great time last night. Come to my room later. Cut away to another scene after the kissy face.
    3 – On page low detail grownup sexy times.
    4 – Grown up sexy times with detail, low frequency. One or two such events in a novel length work.
    4.5 – Outlander
    5 – You’re reading this story because you really like reading detailed depictions of grown up sexy times.

    Swordspoint gets three kissy face emoji.

  37. @Iphinome: “And a second scale for grownup sexy times”

    6 – “Hey, what’s with the kazoo-playing leprechaun on the trapeze?”

  38. Iphinome: 4.5 – Outlander


    This is a well-thought-out ranking scale, Iphinome! I think I’m a 2/2. 😀

  39. I guess for me it’s really if the kissyfaces and/or sexytimes are plot relevant or not (and to what extent blurbs/covers/recs make the kissyface/sexytimes plot relevance obvious up front).

  40. @Lanodantheon: Some old-time churches had a guy in the rafters with a long pole with a doorknob suspended from one end. If someone fell asleep or started talking during the service, he’d tap them with the doorknob.

    No word on what would happen when he disagreed with something the preacher said.

  41. the only TV show with a large, active US fandom that has never been broadcast in the US.

    *cue several anime muttering “watashi-tachi wa chopped liver desu ka?”*

  42. Ah, things become clearer. The Profesisonals were (as far as I can tell) never on Swedish telly, and Ruperts that Work (very loose idiomatic translation of “Snobbar som jobbar”) is actually The Persuaders in the original.

  43. @Rail, when I was a teenager, I was a beadle in my local Presbyterian church. (In fact, I believe that I was one of the first female beadles ever, right after the church hierarchy decided to allow it.) As a beadle, my job was to light candles, carry in the Bible, and assist with communion (by holding the elements; the communion table was too small). But we were told that historically (we’re talking 17th and 18th century, here) the beadles took the offering using baskets on long poles. And if someone fell asleep in the pews, they’d rap the offender on the head with the basket….

  44. @Lenora Rose: a good point — although the stories I’ve read suggest that ranchers use firearms more than appropriate.

    @Stoic Cynic: I am surprised that a handgun is useful against a bear; ISTM that low muzzle velocity, thick fur, and size would result in irritation rather than flight. But I’m equally uninclined to test. OTOH, a handgun against an urbanized “wild” turkey would probably be effective (and useful — turkeys near/in Boston take no s**t from anyone), but risky.

    @Rail: he was probably out of reach of the preacher. Sorry for being practical….

    I had forgotten those MacAvoy stories. I like the sheriff’s response to the first one.

  45. @Chip Hitchcock

    If you’re interested I’ll see if I can dig up the paper. It was something I stumbled on about 6 months back looking for something else. My recollection is handguns were more likely to wound a bear than kill but the bears generally broke off upon being wounded. Then again bear attacks in the United States are in the single digits a year realm so you’re dealing with a small sample. Lightning strikes and moose attacks are both more common.

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