Pixel Scroll 6/17/17 Fiery The Pixels Fell. Deep Thunder Scrolled Around Their Shoulders

(1) DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE. Decided this weekend, the 2019 Eurocon will be hosted by TitanCon 2019 in Belfast, NI. The con is scheduled to complement the dates of the expected Dublin Worldcon.

Our proposed dates are Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 August 2019. That is the weekend after the proposed WorldCon (currently being bid for and running unopposed) to be held in Dublin, Ireland on Thursday 15 to Monday 19 August 2019.

We will also be running our traditional TitanCon Coach Tour on Sunday 25 August visiting beautiful locations around Northern Ireland that have been used as filming locations in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

(2) PHONE CALL FROM THE PAST. Today Galactic Journey had its inaugural video conference call from 1962. Sartorially splendid in his white dress shirt and narrow black tie, The Traveler, Gideon Marcus, shared the split screen with Janice Marcus (his editor), and Professor Elliott (whose blog promises to “Document the obscure”).

He started with a recap of significant genre news, including the new issue of F&SF with Truman Capote and Zenna Henderson on the cover, and developments in film, music, and gaming, like Avalon Hill’s recently released Waterloo.

The Traveler masterfully rolled clips like the technical director in those control booth scenes from My Favorite Year, showing us a performance by the band The Shadows (some of them smoking onscreen) and the trailer for Journey to the Seventh Planet (which surprisingly did not end John Agar’s movie career on the spot).

The trio also took questions from the audience — there were about 18 of us on the call — and gave us 1962’s perspective on dogs in space and something called the Radar Range.

If you’d like to take your own trip 55 years back in time, the session was recorded — here’s the link.

(3) FAUX DINO. The Nerdist admires Neil deGrasse Tyson despite his earnestness about certain topics. “GODZILLA Gets Debunked by Neil deGrasse Tyson”.

But, let’s face it, sometimes the good Dr. Tyson is kind of a killjoy. Especially when it comes to debunking the scientific possibility of your favorite science-fiction franchises. He loves to be that guy, the one to tell you how Superman couldn’t really exist, or how this or that sci-fi movie got it wrong, etc. He loves to be Captain Buzzkill sometimes.

The latest example of Neil deGrasse Tyson telling us how one of our favorite science fiction icons simply could never be real happened on his Star Talk radio podcast. According to Tyson, beloved kaiju Godzilla simply could not exist in the real world, because the laws of physics could not allow for it to happen. A giant creature the size of Godzilla would be way too heavy for his limbs, and would therefore collapse under his own weight. Tyson kills your dreams of Godzilla ever emerging from the oceans in this clip from his Star Talk Radio podcast, which you can watch down below….

(4) MIND IN A VACUUM. Or maybe we would find a little of Tyson’s earnestness useful here — “Is the Universe Conscious?”

For centuries, modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons to Carl Sagan intoning that “we are made of star stuff” — that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.

Even in that context, Gregory Matloff’s ideas are shocking. The veteran physicist at New York City College of Technology recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.

The notion of a conscious universe sounds more like the stuff of late night TV than academic journals. Called by its formal academic name, though, “panpsychism” turns out to have prominent supporters in a variety of fields

(5) WTF? That was my first thought upon reading in Variety that YouTube personality Lilly Singh has been cast in HBO’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

Based on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of the same name, the show depicts a future where media is an opiate, history is outlawed, and “firemen” burn books — Montag, a young fireman, forsakes his world, battles his mentor, and struggles to regain his humanity.

Singh will play Raven, a tabloid vlogger who works with the fire department to spread the ministry’s propaganda by broadcasting their book-burning raids to fans. She joins an A-list cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, and “The Mummy” star Sofia Boutella.

I’ve watched a lot of her comedy videos — my daughter is a fan — and she’s talented and funny. This sounds like she’s being given a dramatic role, so we’ll have to see how well that works. I don’t automatically assume Ray Bradbury would be unhappy with the choice — after all, he seemed to like Rachel Bloom’s YouTube act well enough.

Ray watching “F*** Me Ray Bradbury” for the first time. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

(6) MORE RAY TO SHARE. BBC’s Radio 3 program The Essay ends a five-part series with “Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”.

Five writers recall clothes and accessories that resonate vividly in works of art: The series started with a white dress and ends with a pristine white suit …

Author and journalist John Walsh describes the transformative powers of a ‘two-piece’, worn in turn by a motley bunch of blokes in Los Angeles and celebrated in Ray Bradbury’s story ‘The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit’.

(7) TOUPONCE OBIT. Ray Bradbury scholar William F. Touponce (1948-2017) died of a heart attack on June 15, His colleague at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Jonathan Eller, has posted a thorough and heartfelt appreciation.

Our good colleague, steadfast friend, and long-time Ray Bradbury scholar William F. Touponce passed away from a sudden heart attack on 15 June 2017. Bill joined the faculty of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 1985, and attained the academic rank of Professor of English and adjunct Professor of American Studies during his twenty-seven years with the school. In 2007 Bill co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and became the Center’s first director. During his four-year tenure as director, he established The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury and a scholarly annual, The New Ray Bradbury Review. He retired from the faculty in 2012, but continued to pursue his scholarly interests as Professor Emeritus right up until his passing.

…During the first decade of the new century Bill wrote introductions and volume essays for seven special limited press editions of Bradbury’s works; these included an edition of the pre-production text of Ray Bradbury’s screenplay for the 1956 Warner Brothers production of Moby Dick (2008). In 2007, we co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies within the Institute for American Thought, and Bill agreed to take on the direction of this new and exciting enterprise. During his four-year tenure as director, he established The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury multi-volume series, and a scholarly journal, The New Ray Bradbury Review.

(8) FURST OBIT. Stephen Furst, best known to fans as Vir Cotto on Babylon 5 has passed away. The LA Times obituary sums up his career.

Furst’s breakout role was as Dorfman in the 1978 film “Animal House,” which also marked the film debut of “Saturday Night Live” star John Belushi.

…He was later a regular on “Babylon 5” and “St. Elsewhere.”

In addition to his acting career, Furst directed several low-budget films, and was a producer on the 2009 drama “My Sister’s Keeper,” starring Cameron Diaz.



  • Born June 17, 1931 — Dean Ing
  • Born June 17, 1953 — Phyllis Weinberg

(11) CARRIE FISHER REPORT. An Associated Press story by Anthony McCartney, “Coroner Releases Results of Carrie Fisher Death Inquiry”, says the coroner determined that Fisher died from a variety of causes, one of which was sleep apnea, “but investigators haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause.”

Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors, but investigators were not able to pinpoint an exact cause, coroner’s officials said Friday.

Among the factors that contributed to Fisher’s death was buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said in a news release late Friday. The release states that the “Star Wars” actress showed signs of having taken multiple drugs, but investigators could not determine whether they contributed to her death in December.

Her manner of death would be listed as undetermined, the agency said.

(12) FOLLOW THE MONEY. Kara Dennison returns with “CONVENTIONS: Where Does Your Money Go?”

The Alley

Artists and vendors, this is for you. This is a whole other concept of paying for cons.

I’ve worked both as a seller in Artist Alley and an AA head, so I’ve seen a lot of sides of this. Tables at events can go for anywhere from $40 to (apparently now) $300, all for a six-foot table with a hotel tablecloth and two chairs. And seriously what the heck.

Here’s what the heck.

For starters, renting those tables actually costs the cons money. Yeah. To take them out of storage and use them for three days, the con has to pay the hotel. That’s a part of the contract. Each hotel chain will have their own version of pricing for that, but that fits into your fee.

Beyond that, the price is reflective of the fee to rent the space the Alley is in, as well as the sort of business the con believes you can expect to do. Not a guarantee, but an estimate. If you shell out $100 for a table, that’s in essence the con saying “A good vendor doing their part can expect to take home at least $100 this weekend.”

To be fair, some cons out there really overestimate themselves. The best way to make sure a price is fair is to talk to regular vendors at the event (in your medium, if possible) and see if it evens out. I’m describing to you how a scrupulous Artist Alley works — if something seems off, do your homework.

That said, there are some cons that know they are too small to bring the goods and will actually cut their prices or waive the table rental fee. If a table is extremely low-priced at an event, it’s not because all tables should be that cheap — it’s because the staff is aware of their attendance size and trying to be fair to artists. Artist Alley fees should be judged against their con, not against each other.

(13) THE X-PERSON FRANCHISE. The word from Vanity Fair ” Sophie Turner Is Now Officially the Future of the X-Men Franchise”.

Fox today confirmed a number of suspicions that had been swirling around the next installment of the central X-Men franchise. For the foreseeable future, just like Cyclops, the mutants will be seeing red as Jessica Chastain joins Sophie Turner at the center of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Doubling down on the investment the studio made in Turner as head of the new class of mutants in X-Men: Apocalypse, the sequel is now, Deadline reports, officially subtitled Dark Phoenix–a reference to a famous comic storyline involving her powerful character, Jean Grey, breaking bad. It’s the same storyline X-Men explored with Famke Janssen as Jean Grey in the weakest installment of the franchise: The Last Stand. To lean in on a storyline from the least-loved X-Men film and draft Turner, whose debut in the franchise certainly didn’t make Apocalypse any better, is a risky choice. But Fox is full of gambles that pay off these days (see: Deadpool, Logan) and will shore up this foray into bold, new (yet familiar) territory with a trio of returning stars.

(14) SECURITY. China launches a quantum comsat.

The term “spy satellite” has taken on a new meaning with the successful test of a novel Chinese spacecraft.

The mission can provide unbreakable secret communications channels, in principle, using the laws of quantum science.

Called Micius, the satellite is the first of its kind and was launched from the Gobi desert last August.

It is all part of a push towards a new kind of internet that would be far more secure than the one we use now.

The experimental Micius, with its delicate optical equipment, continues to circle the Earth, transmitting to two mountain-top Earth bases separated by 1,200km.

(15) GLOWBOT. Swimming robot to investigate Fukushima: “‘Little sunfish’ robot to swim in to Fukushima reactor”.

It’ll be a tough journey – previous robots sent in to the ruined nuclear reactor didn’t make it back.

(16) A PIXAR FRANCHISE KEEPS ROLLING. NPR likes Cars 3: “‘Cars 3’ Comes Roaring Back With A Swapped-Out (Story) Engine”

The multi-billion-dollar success of Pixar’s Cars series can be chalked up to a great many things, but don’t discount the little vroom-vroom frowns the cars make with their dashboard eyes when they want to go fast. When Lightning McQueen, the Owen Wilson-voiced stock car with the bright flames decal, guns for pole position, he squints so much that any human who might be driving him wouldn’t be able to see the road. But of course there are no humans in this world, unless you count the invisible giant kids who must be steering the racers with their hands and making the motor sounds themselves.

That enduring childhood (typically but by no means exclusively boyhood) fascination with moving vehicles has propped up this franchise for the backseat set, seeing it through three feature-length films, a spin-off Planes series, and countless toy tie-ins.

(17) IAMBIC TWO-AND-A-HALF-METER. The Science Fiction Poetry Association is having a half-price sale on their t-shirts.

(18) FEWER NAUGHTY BITS. Row over cleaned-up movies: “Sony sanitising films row – the story so far”.

If you’ve been on a long-haul flight recently, you might have noticed the films being shown were a bit different from their cinematic release.

They’re usually a bit shorter as they’ve been made family-friendly for any young eyes who can see your screen.

Earlier this month Sony decided to make these sanitised versions available to download at home, choosing 24 titles including Ghostbusters and Easy A.

But now they’ve had to backtrack after filmmakers complained about the move.

(19) SUBCONTINENTAL SUBCREATOR. “India’s Tolkien”: “Amish Tripathi: ‘India’s Tolkien’ of Hindu mythology”. I wonder, has he been introduced to “America’s Tolkien”?

Meet best-selling Indian author Amish Tripathi who has just released his much anticipated fifth book, Sita: Warrior of Mithila, that re-imagines the life of the Hindu goddess from the epic Ramayan.

With four million copies in print, the former banker, who has successfully turned centuries-old mythological tales into bestselling works of fiction, is one of the highest selling Indian authors writing in English.

Chip Hitchcock says “India has snobs just like the west: ‘Although critics say his books lack any literary merit, they admire him for his ability to “create completely new stories from old ones”.’“

(20) PIONEERING. Oregon breaks new legal ground in personal identification — “Male, female or X? Oregon adds third option to driver’s licenses”.

Oregon on Thursday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver’s licenses, a decision that transgender advocates called a victory for civil rights.

Under a policy unanimously adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission, residents can choose to have an “X,” for non-specified, displayed on their driver’s license or identification cards rather than an “M” for male or “F” for female.

The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female. This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate.

(21) BRONZE AGE. Is this the style of armor Patroclus wore? “Dendra panoply, the oldest body Armour from the Mycenaean era”.

The earliest sample of a full body armor in Greece was found at the Dendra archeological site, located in the Argolis area. Discovered in May 1960 by Swedish archaeologists, the discovered breastplate, and backplate made of bronze, date to the 15th century BC. These pieces are part of the Dendra full-body armor, composed of fifteen pieces, including leg protectors, arm-guards, helmet and the parts mentioned above. The pieces were held together with leather lacing, covering the entire body of the soldier.

The breastplate and backplate are linked on the left side by a hinge, and together with the large shoulder protectors, these pieces consisted the upper body armor. Two triangular-shaped plates are attached to the shoulder protectors, providing protection for the armpits. The armor also includes a neck protection plate. Three pairs of curved shields hang from the waist, giving protection to the groin and the thighs. This artifact is unique for its armguard, and as for the leg protectors, it is assumed that they were made of linen and are a standard piece of armor seen in illustrations from the Mycenaean age.

(22) EMISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Speaking of Homeric — what about Our Wombat!

[Thanks to Joe H., Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Rich Lynch, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and rcade for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

83 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/17/17 Fiery The Pixels Fell. Deep Thunder Scrolled Around Their Shoulders

  1. @Steve Wright

    19) Sounds like this guy is trying to do for the Ramayana what, for example, Evangeline Walton did for the Mabinogion… and, well, why not?

    Oh! Just bought the Walton omnibus ($13.99 on Amazon). It’s super short compared to nowadays novels – the average number of pages is under 200! I used to love long novels, but with the heights Mount Tsundoku has reached, I crave short but excellent books to read.

    I also think the subject of (19) sounds very interesting.

  2. @lurkertype Haw, fair enough. I was thinking more in terms of having successive cons rather than transportation, but I wasn’t specific, and you got me. No, you can’t take the train to Dublin from London, and I acknowledge the correction.


  3. DB on June 18, 2017 at 9:02 am said:

    “the three options are truer than the two have been.” A good point. Asimov once wrote an essay pointing out that, while “5” is the wrong answer to “2+2=?”, it’s less wrong than, say, “blue” or “spatula”, and this ought to be taken into account.

    Of course, as many mathematicians will point out, 2+2 does equal 5 for sufficiently large values of 2. 🙂

    Dublin-to-Belfast: Yikes! I just realize that could soon involve a very, um, fraught border crossing if negotiations between a certain country and a certain other group of countries don’t go as well as hoped….

    Crossing all my fingers and toes (or re-crossing them–I’ve been crossing them a lot with regard to that whole mess).

  4. Pixar’s CARS film. Not interested in watching.

    That the universe has a consciousness is not a new idea. Olaf Stapledon’s STAR MAKER tapped that idea, and it wasn’t original with him. Some Vedic scriptures also suggest this.

  5. @Lee: the page on dealer care is interesting, but definitely needs updating & correction; e.g. more spaces are being precisely measured (e.g., by Meeting Matrix), and a con offering to have its own people minding a table while the dealer is out is an invitation to problems. Professional setup also varies widely; Freeman did a crap job for me in San Antonio even where I’d marked dimensions, and I always have to move many pieces at my local con, but the local decorator in Spokane put everything in their own CAD file and came into the building with a plan with precise measurements that the workers laid down before moving in any furniture — a lifesaver considering that the space was shaped like a boat.

    @various: I was certainly not paying attention when I spoke of two cons in the same city, but I’d still have expected a Dublin Worldcon to draw more of Belfast’s talent than Loncon did given recent descriptions of how easy I hear it is to cross the border. I expect Brexit will have interesting effects on both conventions.

  6. @Lee/(13) — The third X-Men movie was the weakest not because of Dark Phoenix, but because they tried to shoehorn in two movies’ worth of new heroes & villains & storyline (SEE ALSO: Spider-Man 3) and, more importantly, because they turned the director’s chair over to Brett Ratner. Myself, I’ll be interested to see the new iteration, even though I thought X-Men: Apocalypse was the weakest of the Bryan Singer-directed installments.

  7. Robert Whitaker Sirignano on June 19, 2017 at 5:07 am said:

    That the universe has a consciousness is not a new idea.

    No, but fitting that idea into modern physics is potentially interesting. There have been half-assed attempts at doing so before (usually based on vague misconceptions of QM and especially the Copenhagen Interpretation–most often, based on misunderstandings of the way physicists use the term “observer”). If this is more than that, then it could be interesting. But I’ve seen so much flim-flam around the notion that I have not yet taken a look.

  8. Dublin to Belfast is only 100 miles (167 km) ! It’s 1.5 -2 hours drive. I’d expect a lot more overlap in fen/conrunners too. Particularly at the Worldcon level, when it’s All Hands On Deck. San Jose and Reno (2011 Worldcon) are 250 miles apart and people also came from LA (500 miles), along with the Permanent Floating Worldcon Committee from all over North America and Europe.

    A lot of people on the San Jose Worldcon concom are coming in that far or farther regularly for concom meetings. The Bay Area and Sacramento are only that far apart, and there’s a big overlap for Worldcon or even regional conventions.

    Admittedly, they’re in the same state, but with the border crossing being what it is (until Brexit, ugh) and easy train travel, I’m baffled that there isn’t more overlap. I’ve gone that far for a birthday party, only gone from home 30 hours.

    @Tom: A Trans-Irish Sea Tunnel, Hurrah?

  9. What’s the saying? Something like, “Americans think 200 years is old. Europeans think 200 miles is far.”

  10. @Jack Lint: I’ve heard that with 100; I guess inflation hits everything. OTOH, distance perception varies widely within the U.S.; I’ve heard of Texans who were baffled that people in Baltimore thought NYC (>200 miles) was a long way to drive to pick up something that hadn’t been shipped to ConStellation. OTGH, I can see Belfast people doing Dublin planning remotely (as I did for Spokane and San Antonio) without needing to travel — but that leaves the question of how likely they are to get roped in. (I was recruited by email, by westerners who had known me for decades….)

  11. @ Chip Hitchcock

    I’ve heard of Texans who were baffled that people in Baltimore thought NYC (>200 miles) was a long way to drive to pick up something that hadn’t been shipped to ConStellation.

    I suspect part of the bafflement there may be not the absolute miles but different default assumptions about driving intensity. In most of Texas, a 200 miles drive typically involves a whole lot of nothing. For Baltimore to NYC it’s only a little better than driving through continuous urbanity.

    One of my favorite US vs. European distance confusion examples involved the European having an image of things being much closer together than they are…and that someone touristing in San Francisco might reasonably drive to Disneyland and back as a day trip.

  12. Heather Rose Jones: One of my favorite US vs. European distance confusion examples involved the European having an image of things being much closer together than they are…and that someone touristing in San Francisco might reasonably drive to Disneyland and back as a day trip.

    When I first moved from a large metropolitan area in a good-sized Midwestern state to a city 1/30th the size in a small eastern state, I bought a map book to get around (this was before Google Maps and GPS smartphones). I had to run an errand to a specialty store for a certain item, so I looked up the address, found it in the map book, and set off in my car. I finally pulled over to re-check the map book, because I was sure that I had to have missed the store’s sign and gone past it by that time. It turned out that I had not only overshot it, I’d overshot it by a factor of 3x the distance.

    When you’re used to living in the part of the country where it takes many hours to get through 1 state — from any direction — to a state less than 1/5th the size, recalibrating your mental mapreading scale is quite an adjustment.

  13. San Francisco to Anaheim is almost exactly the same distance as London to Edinburgh, 408 vs 402 miles. Despite the longer distance, driving on I-5 is an hour faster than the M1, 6:22 vs 7:15.

    I have driven from the Bay Area to Yosemite for the day. It’s a four hour drive each way. But it’s an interesting drive and it’s completely worth it considering the destination.

  14. Tom Becker: driving [from San Francisco to Anaheim] on I-5 is… 6:22

    Ah, it’s always so delightful to meet an optimist. 😉

  15. The longest drive I’ve ever been on was about 17 hours. North of England to Paris. It didn’t need to be that long but we broke down on the way and got completely lost in a random part of Paris. Basically next time I need to be in Paris for anything, I’m going to make my own way via plane or train instead.

  16. If I were in San Francisco and I left right now, which is about 11:15 PM, Anaheim in six and a half hours seems very doable. It would require an average speed of 65 MPH but the limit is 70 for much of the distance on I-5, and the flow is faster. On the other hand, it would be a shame to not stop for a Basque dinner in Bakersfield.

  17. Tom Becker: If I were in San Francisco and I left right now, which is about 11:15 PM, Anaheim in six and a half hours seems very doable.

    Well, yes — but that’s if you leave in the middle of the night. That’s not an average drive-time for that stretch of Interstate at any time of day.

  18. I blame Google Maps. It knows how long it takes to get somewhere but not when a normal person would want to go. What’s the point of living in a digital panopticon if the AI’s can’t provide decent service?

  19. Our answer to examples given above was an Italian I knew who was going to hold a speech in Sollefteå, but traveled to Skellefteå instead. It is about a 200 mile difference and he had to take it by taxi.

    I remember when some young guys runt away from the military service in Norway and escaped to Sweden. The Norwegian military wanted the Swedish police to go after them, but the answer they got was something like:

    “We are four persons and we are covering an area large as Ireland.”

    Most likely the area was larger.

    Anyhow, I’ve found it easier to think of every US state as a separate country. It gives a much better perspective when thinking about distances.

  20. @Heather Rose Jones:

    In most of Texas, a 200 miles drive typically involves a whole lot of nothing. For Baltimore to NYC it’s only a little better than driving through continuous urbanity.

    That’s a bit of an overstatement; I-95 from Baltimore to New Jersey is bare (except very near Wilmington), and the southern half of the NJ Turnpike is even barer. (The doubled NJTpk now goes all the way south to the PATpk exit, but 10 lanes through nothing is still 10 lanes through nothing.) I used to know that road very well, as I was ~based in both DC and upstate-NY while the 2nd Delaware Bay Bridge was being built; 2 minutes of spectacle didn’t really make up for 6 hours in the back seat.
    But you’re right that it isn’t as empty as most of Texas, says the fool who thought driving from DFW to San Antonio would be cheaper from Boston than flying all the way. (I did save money on a cheap suburban hotel.)

    But failures of perception are common; someone in the Greenwich (Naval?) museum was gobsmacked to hear that London-to-Athens was less than halfway across the US. Even professionals get this wrong; a British editor going to the 1995 WFC (Baltimore) was told that ground transport from Dulles Airport was easy. (Googlemaps says it’s 61 miles, which is a hell of a taxi ride; public would have been intolerable for someone with mobility problems.)

    @Hampus Eckerman: my impression (from travel up the east coast and loop through Kiruna 53 years ago) is that inland Sweden (except for the south) is rather like much of Texas: marginally habitable land, marginally inhabited. (Green doesn’t necessarily mean habitable; northeast Ontario is very green, but too wet/acid for much beyond evergreens and moss.) OTOH, at least the Swedish police can cover ground at reasonable speed; our return covered most of the Norwegian coast, where I remember a day with 5 ferries before lunch.

    @Tom Becker: is the Basque restaurant in Bakersfield worth driving from LA for? I used to go to Guernica when I was near SF, but the last time I looked it wasn’t there.

  21. @Chip Hitchcock: Bakersfield has several Basque restaurants. I like Noriega’s which is very old-style with seating at common tables. It is not a fancy restaurant: There are no labels on the wine bottles, no tablecloths, no menus, just lots of hearty food served in several courses. It is very convivial. If that’s what you’re looking for, sure, drive on over. Maybe you could also drop by Buck Owens’ music hall while you are there.

  22. @me: clarification of previous: the bad advice on Dulles/Baltimore came from a professional travel agent (who AFAICT has also provided other inaccurate info).

  23. Despite the longer distance, driving on I-5 is an hour faster than the M1, 6:22 vs 7:15.

    I take 99. It’s a little shorter than I5, about as fast, and has more places to stop. (Better scenery, also.) If I leave home at about 6am, I can be at my sister’s place in San Pablo by 2pm, and that includes lunch and three or four rest breaks.

  24. I can get to LA in 6 under certain conditions, but never made Anaheim in less than 7. And that was 20 years ago when I did it regularly. This does not include a stop for either Harris Ranch steak or Pea Soup Andersen’s. But in good weather you can do 80mph through much of the distance, which helps. During blizzards, not so much. I’ll have to look into the Basque food next time.

    I sent up the Standlee signal, which gained me the info that the Reno Worldcon was incorporated in Oregon! Not even a neighboring state! Lots of Californians worked it, of course.

    Baltimore Worldcon, I had a ride to and from BWI by friends who had slogged down from NYC through the toll roads. Because I knew Dulles was RIGHT OUT.

    @PJ: Where do you cut over from 99? Manteca or Modesto? Maybe I’ll give that a shot sometime. Used to have friends from Fresno who came to the Bay Area regularly, but don’t recall their route.

    @Hampus: the Northeast does have tiny little states. Rhode Island’s only 3K km; Western states have counties bigger than that, bigger than some countries.

  25. lurkertype on June 20, 2017 at 7:20 pm said:
    Manteca – it’s not that out of the way when I take off on 580. It’s also not a long distance between the two highways there. (When I’d visit my mother, in Davis, I’d go to Sacramento on 99 and then across to 80. It’s slower through Stockton, or was then, because it was still the old highway.) Part of this is that it’s the route I’m used to, all the way back to about 6 years old. [I remember when those 15-foot oleanders in the center divider were three or four feet high.]
    I’ve taken some alternate routes a few times – through Brentwood to Tracy, for example, instead of dealing with southbound 680 in the morning.

  26. @lurkertype: that the Reno Worldcon was incorporated in Oregon! Not even a neighboring state! Huh? Nevada abuts both CA and Oregon — and it happened (with a Portland-based chair) because Portland didn’t have the facilities (or maybe wanted too much for them, like Seattle?) I was planning to go to Reno (by plane) to play the part of a man turned into a bicycle (from a Zelazny play), but there was this small matter of my partner’s radiation therapy starting on setup day….

  27. Welp, only kind of in the corner. Which isn’t really, y’know, connected. I’m not sure what I meant. Adjacent but not adjoining? Doesn’t share a long chunk of border.

    Point being, the spread of places the concom came from and the location were waaaay farther apart than Belfast and Dublin. You couldn’t have held another big con in the area a week later.

    Portland may only have regional-sized facilities, I dunno. I enjoyed everything about Reno except 14% less oxygen than I’m used to.

    @PJ: Yeah, they don’t really want you to take the Modesto exit.
    The places in SoCal I went to the most often were considerably closer to 5 than 99, so that’s the way I went. I stay off 680 as much as possible.

  28. Speaking of Nevada, Gardnerville has a good Basque restaurant that I’ve eaten at, JT Basque. It is a nice place with menus and white tablecloths. They will take care of you, especially if you like lamb with plenty of garlic. A block away is the Overland Restaurant which also has a Basque menu but I haven’t eat there yet. Gardnerville is closer to South Lake Tahoe than to Reno. It’s a nice area. There is a lot of green grass and trees along the Carson River, even farms.

  29. @lurkertype and @P J Evans: If you cut over on Highway 12, the Phillips Family Farm Cafe is a great place for breakfast, plus they make their own pies, plus they make wine.

  30. Incidentally, the 2011 Worldcon’s parent non-profit corporation was RENO CONVENTION FANDOM INC., an Oregon non-profit corporation, formed, as I recall, as a specific vehicle for this one convention and planned to be wound up after all of the convention’s affairs were settled.

    Some groups like MCFI and SFSFC were formed to run a Worldcon and continued to run other conventions including Worldcons. (SFSFC has run Westercons, World Fantasy Conventions, and other smaller events.) Other groups set up single-purpose corporate entities and then dissolve them after they’ve finished their convention and paid out all of the surplus. There is no One True Path, and lots of reasons for doing it either way. In the UK, for example, the cost of keeping such an entity alive during periods of inactivity is prohibitive, as I understand it, whereas SFSFC, between outbreaks of conventions, can be left on corporate life support for a relative pittance by paying the small periodic maintenance fees (less than about $100/year) to the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Franchise Tax Board.

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