Pixel Scroll 7/24/19 Credentials Asleep On The Shoulder Of John Scalzi

(1) RUTGER HAUER DIES. Variety pays tribute: “Rutger Hauer, ‘Blade Runner’ Co-Star, Dies at 75”.

Rutger Hauer, the versatile Dutch leading man of the ’70s who went on star in the 1982 “Blade Runner” as Roy Batty, died July 19 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness. He was 75.

Hauer’s agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed the news and said that Hauer’s funeral was held Wednesday.

His most cherished performance came in a film that was a resounding flop on its original release. In 1982, he portrayed the murderous yet soulful Roy Batty, leader of a gang of outlaw replicants, opposite Harrison Ford in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir opus “Blade Runner.” The picture became a widely influential cult favorite, and Batty proved to be Hauer’s most indelible role.

More recently, he appeared in a pair of 2005 films: as Cardinal Roark in “Sin City,” and as the corporate villain who Bruce Wayne discovers is running the Wayne Corp. in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins.”

… Hauer increasingly turned to action-oriented parts in the ‘80s: He toplined the big-budget fantasy “Ladyhawke” (1985), reteamed with fellow Hollywood transplant Verhoeven in the sword-and-armor epic “Flesh & Blood” (1985), starred as a psychotic killer in “The Hitcher” (1986), and took Steve McQueen’s shotgun-toting bounty hunter role in a modern reboot of the TV Western “Wanted: Dead or Alive” (1986).

WIRED kicks off its collection of memories with the iconic speech: “Remembering Rutger Hauer, Black-Armored Knight of the Genre”.

Let’s get the monologue on the table, first thing, because he wrote it himself, and it’s brilliant:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

That’s Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, playing the artificial person Roy Batty in his death scene…

(2) ACCESSIBLE GAMING. The Mary Sue has discovered “The Surprising Ways Blind Players Have Made Games Like Dungeons & Dragons Accessible”.

… Then, in 2017, a friend introduced me to Roll20, an online platform that serves as a digital tabletop, and everything changed. On a computer, I have the power to alter my settings—I can zoom in, change colors, and make whatever tweaks I need in order to make things accessible for my specific visual impairment. And things I lacked the power to change, my DM could: giving tokens borders with higher contrast, adjusting the lighting on a map, or—if I got lost looking for something—shifting my view in the direction I needed to be focusing.

I could roll dice directly on the platform and see my result easily, and best of all, I had a digital character sheet I could alter easily and at will, rather than a few pieces of paper I’d require another player to edit for me. And then I discovered other websites, like DnDBeyond, which made it easy to look up stats and spells online—again, in a medium far more accessible for me.

I still required a dungeon master willing to take the time to describe certain things to me and to make whatever color and contrast adjustments I needed, but even playing with strangers via Roll20’s Looking For Game system, my experience has been positive. Thanks to the websites I used, the things I needed didn’t require all that much work on their end, and now I was able to fully immerse myself in a hobby I’d once believed would be impossible for me because of my disability.

(3) ABLEGAMERS. And in the Washington Post Magazine, Christine Sturdivant Sani has a profile of AbleGamers, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities enjoy video games: “How a West Virginia group helped make video games accessible to the disabled”.

In 2018, when Sony Interactive Entertainment unveiled the latest versions of two of its top-grossing video game titles — “God of War” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man” — they included new features that meant a lot to a specific subset of players: those with disabilities. To aid people with motor skill impairments, for instance, “God of War” introduced an option to press and hold a single button instead of tapping it repeatedly; it also let players with hearing disabilities adjust individual audio settings such as volume, dialogue and sound effects. For players with visual impairments, the subtitles in “Spider-Man” are now resizable and include tags that always indicate who is speaking.

Five years ago, according to Sam Thompson, a managing senior producer at Sony Interactive, it was possible to count on one hand the number of video games that had features catering to people with disabilities. Today, there are hundreds of such games. The shift, says Thompson, is “kind of amazing” — and he gives credit to a small nonprofit in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

The group, called AbleGamers, was the brainchild of Mark Barlet, a 45-year-old disabled Air Force veteran and entrepreneur…

 (4) GAIMAN AUDIOBOOKS. AudioFile editorJenn Dowellsays – lend Neil Gaiman an ear! “Good Omens and Good Audiobooks: The Best of Neil Gaiman”.

… Where to start? Whether you’re a longtime fan of GOOD OMENS, Gaiman’s funny book about the apocalypse co-written with the late Terry Pratchett almost 30 years ago, or a new convert thanks to the sparkling new Amazon/BBC series, now is the perfect time to hear (or revisit) the audiobook.

… For something darker that’s perfect for an extended road trip, Gaiman’s 2001 epic novel AMERICAN GODS, in which old gods clash with new ones, also comes in two unabridged versions: one narrated by Golden Voice George Guidall, and a Tenth Anniversary Edition performed by a full cast. Can’t get enough gods? Follow up with ANANSI BOYS, about trickster god Anansi, read by Lenny Henry, and NORSE MYTHOLOGY, read by Gaiman.

… In the mood for nonfiction? THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS and ART MATTERS collect Gaiman’s essays and speeches and will give listeners insights into Gaiman’s wide-ranging interests and his writing process—and maybe even inspire you to make your own art.

… P.S. If you fell in love with Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s performances in the Good Omens series, don’t miss their own star turns on audio: Sheen gives a wonderfully immersive, Earphones Award-winning narration of Philip Pullman’s THE BOOK OF DUST: La Belle Sauvage, and Tennant brings his acting chops and Scottish charm to The Wizards of Once and How to Train Your Dragon series by just-named UK Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell.

(5) INKLINGS. Bruce Charlton revisits “Humphrey Carpenter’s The Inklings – 1978″ at The Notion Club Papers blog.

…Yet, in the end, Humphrey Carpenter failed in his attempt to throw the Inklings into the dustbin of irrelevance; because overall the book had the opposite effect of its intent – awakening for many, such as myself, a long-term and intense fascination with a ‘group of friends’ who were also, in reality, so much more than merely that.

(6) FROM THE BEEB. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BBC Radio 4 has aired the second in the science and SF series Stranger Than Sci-Fi where astro-physicist Dr Jen Gupta and comedian Alice Fraser travel the parallel worlds of science and sci-fi.

Last week’s was on artificial wombs.  Today’s is on black holes (or frozen stars if you are of Russian persuasion and wish to avoid the rude connotation) — “Black Hole Jacuzzis”.

The program will be downloadable from BBC for a month once it is broadcast

(7) MINORITY REPORT? Atwood’s novel is not in bookstores but it’s already up for the Booker. BBC has the story — “Booker Prize 2019: Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel on longlist”.

Margaret Atwood’s follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale is one of 13 novels on the Booker Prize longlist, despite not being published for several weeks.

The Testaments is out on 10 September and comes 33 years after the original book was nominated for the same award.

(8) KRASSNER OBIT. Pop culture figure Paul Krassner died July 21: the New York Times has a profile — “Paul Krassner, Anarchist, Prankster and a Yippies Founder, Dies at 87”.

Paul Krassner being interviewed in the men’s room during the 1978 ABA convention. (photo: Andrew Porter)

Mr. Krassner was writing freelance pieces for Mad magazine in 1958 when he realized that there was no equivalent satirical publication for adults; Mad, he could see, was largely targeted at teenagers. So he started The Realist out of the Mad offices, and it began regular monthly publication. By 1967 its circulation had peaked at 100,000.

“I had no role models and no competition, just an open field mined with taboos waiting to be exploded,” Mr. Krassner wrote in his autobiography.

The magazine’s most famous cartoon was one, drawn in 1967 by the Mad artist Wally Wood, of an orgy featuring Snow White, Donald Duck and a bevy of Disney characters enjoying a variety of sexual positions. (Mickey Mouse is shown shooting heroin.) Later, digitally colored by a former Disney artist, it became a hot-selling poster that supplied Mr. Krassner with modest royalties into old age.


  • July 24, 1948 — Debut of Marvin the Martian in Bugs Bunny’s “Haredevil Hare.”


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 24, 1802 Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After. Are they genre? Good question. (Died 1870.)
  • Born July 24, 1878 Lord Dunsany whose full name and title was a jaw dropping Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany. So ISFDB lists him as genre for the Jorkens body of work among works. H’h. Gary Turner, who some of you will recognize from Golden Gryphon Press and elsewhere, reviewed The Collected Jorkens: Volumes One, Two, and Three, for Green Man, so I’ve linked to the review here. They also list The King of Elfland’s Daughter which I’m going to link to another review on Green Man as it’s an audio recording with a very special guest appearance by Christopher Lee. (Died 1957.)
  • Born July 24, 1895 Robert Graves. Poet, historical novelist, critic. Author of, among other works, The White Goddess (a very strange book), two volumes called the Greek MythsSeven Days in New Crete which Pringle has on his Best Hundred Fantasy Novels list and more short fiction that bears thinking about. (Died 1985.)
  • Born July 24, 1916 John D. MacDonald. Primarily a mystery writer whose Travis McGee series I enjoyed immensely, he wrote a handful of genre works including the sublime The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything.  ISFDB lists a collection, End of the Tiger and Other Short Stories, which I presume is genre. (Died 1986.)
  • Born July 24, 1936 Mark Goddard, 83. Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith, on Lost in Space. Other genre appearances were scant. He played an unnamed Detective in the early Eighties Strange Invaders and he showed up on an episode of The Next Step Beyond which investigated supposed hauntings as Larry Hollis in “Sins of Omission”. Oh, and he was an unnamed General in the Lost in Space film. 
  • Born July 24, 1945 Gordon Eklund, 74. He won the Nebula for Best Novelette for “If the Stars Are Gods”, co-written with Gregory Benford. They expanded it into a novel which was quite good if I remember correctly. So would anyone care to tell the story of how he came to write the Lord Tedric series which was inspired by an E.E. Doc Smith novelette? 
  • Born July 24, 1951 Lynda Carter, 68. Wonder Woman of course. But also Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes in Sky High; Colonel Jessica Weaver in the vampire film Slayer;  Moira Sullivan, Chloe Sullivan’s Kryptonite-empowered mother in the “Prodigy” episode of Smallville; and President Olivia Marsdin In Supergirl. 
  • Born July 24, 1964 Colleen Doran, 55.  Comics artist and writer. work worth particularly  worth noting she’s done includes Warren Ellis’ Orbiter graphic novel, Wonder Woman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans, “Troll Bridge” by Neil Gaiman and her space opera series, A Distant Soil. She also did portions of The Sandman, in the “Dream Country” and “A Game of You”. She’s tuckerised Into Sandman as the character Thessaly is based on Doran.
  • Born July 24, 1981 Summer Glau, 38.  An impressive run in genre roles as she’s was. River Tam in Firefly and of course Serenity, followed by these performances: Tess Doerner in The 4400, as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (Is this worth seeing seeing?), Skylar Adams in Alphas and lastly Isabel Rochev who is The Ravager in Arrow.
  • Born July 24, 1982  — Anna Paquin, 37. Sookie Stackhouse in the True Blood series. Rogue in the X-Men franchise. She also shows up in Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams as Sarah in the “Real Life” episode. 


  • Poorly Drawn Lines has a funny entry that actually references the phrase “sense of wonder.”
  • A well-known nanny visits the seashore in Rhymes With Orange.
  • Bizarro shows how to bring the full social media experience to live book signings.

(12) STRONG KEEP. John Scalzi tells what he thinks about “A Couple of Bits on Hugo Award Proposals and Attempted Wikipedia Deletions” which we have been covering here. When it comes to the Wikipedia —

… You might think that I, who was the target of much Sad Puppy whining and mewling, would be sitting here happily munching on popcorn while this bit of Wikidrama unfolds. But in fact I think the deletion attempt is a problem. Neither Williamson nor Hoyt are exactly on my Christmas card list at the moment, but you know what? Both of them are solid genre writers who for years have been putting out work through a major genre publisher, and who are both actively publishing today. They are genuinely of note in the field of science fiction and fantasy. One may think their politics, in and out of the genre, are revanchist as all fuck, or that their tenure and association with the Puppy bullshit didn’t do them any favors, or that one just doesn’t care for them on a day-to-day basis for whatever reason. But none of that is here or there regarding whether, on the basis of their genre output, they are notable enough to be the subject of a damn Wikipedia article. They are! Wikipedia notability is kind of a middlin’-height bar, and they get themselves over it pretty well.

Or to flip it around, if neither Williamson nor Hoyt is notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia, there’s gonna be some bloodletting in the site’s category of science fiction and fantasy writers, because there are a fair number of Wikipedia-article-bearing genre authors who are no more notable than Hoyt or Williamson. If they go, there are legitimately many others on the chopping block as well.

According to Camestros Felapton, “John Scalzi is wading into the Wiki-fuss”, Scalzi also made entries to the Wikipedia deletion discussion itself. He probably did, and although the links aren’t working for me Camestros has the full quotes anyway.

(13) FUTURE SHOCK. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Writing in The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum takes a look at the BBC/HBO co-produced near-future science fiction series Years And Years.  The series, which is built around the conceit of moving through years at a rapid pace — often three years in a one-hour episode, provides a mostly-realistic future that won’t fill many viewers with hope. ““Years and Years” Forces Us Into the Future”.  

“Years and Years” keeps leaping forward, forcing us into the future, as the economy crumbles, the ice caps melt, authoritarianism rises, and teen-agers implant phones into their hands. It’s an alarmist series, in a literal sense: it’s meant to serve as an alarm, an alert to what’s going on in front of our eyes, and where that might lead, if we don’t wake up.”

In the wake of Boris Johnson’s elevation to the post of Prime Minister, I’d say that the series might seem overly optimistic about the future of the United Kingdom. But I’d heartily recommend seeking out the series. 

(14) MORE URGENT. “Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months”

Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”?

Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges.

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030.

But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year.

The idea that 2020 is a firm deadline was eloquently addressed by one of the world’s top climate scientists, speaking back in 2017.

“The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and now director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute.

The sense that the end of next year is the last chance saloon for climate change is becoming clearer all the time.

(15) CLOSING THEIR EARS. Meanwhile, the \outpatients\troglodytes were out in force: “Greta Thunberg speech: French MPs boycott teen ‘apocalypse guru’”.

Teen activist Greta Thunberg has lashed out at French lawmakers for mocking her in a speech to parliament that was boycotted by far-right politicians.

The 16-year-old addressed legislators on Tuesday, telling them to “unite behind the science” of climate change.

She and other children were invited to France’s parliament by a cross-party group of politicians.

“You don’t have to listen to us, but you do have to listen to the science,” she said.

Ms Thunberg, whose solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament inspired the school climate strike movement, has been lauded for her emotive speeches to politicians.

But lawmakers from French parties, including the conservative Republicans and far-right National Rally, said they would shun her speech in the National Assembly.

Urging his colleagues to boycott Ms Thunberg’s speech, leadership candidate for The Republicans, Guillaume Larrive, wrote on Twitter: “We do not need gurus of the apocalypse.”

Other French legislators hurled insults at Ms Thunberg ahead of her speech, calling her a “prophetess in shorts” and the “Justin Bieber of ecology”.

Republicans MP Julien Aubert, who is also contending for his party’s leadership, suggested Ms Thunberg should win a “Nobel Prize for Fear”.

Speaking to France 2 television, Jordan Bardella, an MEP for the National Rally, equated Ms Thunberg’s campaigning efforts to a “dictatorship of perpetual emotion”.

(16) TO SIR WITH LOVE. BBC reports “Sir Michael Palin to have heart surgery”.

Comedian and broadcaster Sir Michael Palin is to have surgery to fix a “leaky valve” in his heart.

The Monty Python member discovered a problem with his mitral valve – a small flap that stops blood flowing the wrong way around the heart – five years ago.

It had not affected his general fitness until earlier this year, he said.

“Recently, though, I have felt my heart having to work harder and have been advised it’s time to have the valve repaired,” he wrote on his website.

“I shall be undergoing surgery in September and should be back to normal, or rather better than normal, within three months.”

(17) PICARD & COMPANY. TV Line did a mass interview — “’Star Trek: Picard’ Cast on the Return of Patrick Stewart’s Iconic Captain.”

The cast of ‘Star Trek: Picard’ previews the CBS All Access series with TVLine’s Kim Roots at San Diego Comic-Con 2019.

[Thanks to John A Arkansawyer, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Hampus Eckerman, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

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90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/24/19 Credentials Asleep On The Shoulder Of John Scalzi

  1. Really, shouldn’t this be
    Attack Credentials On Fire Off The Shoulder of John Scalzi

  2. (10): I loved Graves’ “I, Claudius” and “Claudius the God” (though of course they were not genre)

    One of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels is genre-adjacent, I think (at least, I’ve read reviews of “The Green Ripper” that suggest that).

    “Scroll-Fly Pie and Pixel-Pan Dowdy”

  3. @1: Hauer rewrote that speech? Unexpected depth; especially after a rather wooden performance in Ladyhawke, i would not have expected the soul to come up with that.

    @10: the Dumas works genre? It certainly wasn’t intended; unlike some of the bizarre movies, he was trying to tell French history as a series of in-period adventure stories.

    also @10: a toast to MacDonald — possibly the first to write of the US being overwhelmed not by aliens but by an at-the-time 3rd-world country (in Ballroom of the Skies). And I also liked McGee, even if it’s 99.44% non-genre (gets a sliver of credit for mentions in Spider Robinson).

    also also @10: I remember reading A Distant Soil when it first came out. (I was reading almost everything graphic around then because my then-landlord bought almost everything graphic; I haven’t kept up since.) I had no idea the author was so young.

    Also in today’s news: Boris vs. the SJWCS of Planet 10. Well, really just 1 SJWC, but Larry the official mouser of the PM’s residence (an ancient post, says the Beeb) won’t move out with May.

  4. (14) 18 months?

    Well, we’re already screwed, then. The best thing to do is for nobody to have any children, because the world they’ll inherit is going to be terrible.

    (Needless to say, I’m not feeling optimistic tonight.)

  5. Neil Gaiman is a very good reader of his own fiction. I’ve always liked hearing him reading from his work.

  6. (12) although the links aren’t working for me Camestros has the full quotes anyway.

    Yes, I’m not sure how those Wiki URLs work. I had to replace some in my previous post even though they seem to be correct. I’ve found I have to link via the main Articles for Deletion page via a date which gives you all the AfD discussion started on that day.

  7. A credential asleep on the shoulder of John Scalzi could see more than John Scalzi… if only it weren’t asleep, of course.

  8. (10) yay, many of my favorite authors! For Robert Graves, especially, one can go beyond the Claudius books, to King Jesus, The Golden Fleece and (my favorite) Homer’s Daughter (how a woman wrote the Odyssey). All genre books, to my mind.

  9. Daily Mail is now reporting Jeremy Kemp has died… an actor with many genre credits, including playing Picard’s brother Robert in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  10. (1) Wired is incorrect in claiming Hauer wrote the “tears lost in rain” speech — a version existed in the script — but he certainly edited it into a shorter and more powerful farewell.

  11. @Steve Wright: I’ll always remember Kemp as the Nazi general in East Germany from “Top Secret!” (yes, a Commie-Nazi – it’s that kind of movie).

  12. I’m in the hospital dealing with an aFib episode. I am supposed to get a cardiac consult this afternoon, and they’ll do an echocardiogram sometime today.

    I’m really tired because I didn’t get to sleep til 1:30, and they woke me at 4:30 for bloodwork, but otherwise I’m feeling somewhat better. Poked full of holes, but better.

    Pixel little, scroll a little, pixel little, scroll a little
    Write write write, talk a lot, pixel little more

  13. 10) Anna Paquin is 37? Dear Halford, that means I must be getting old, which is simply not allowed!

    1) Hauer hated his final speech in Blade Runner, feeling that it just reinforced Roy Batty as a soulless killer. So he reworked it into the masterpiece that made it into the movie.

  14. (10) Gordon Eklund won the FAAN Award for Best Fan Writer in 2004. His fanfiction is amazing. As good as it gets. Well worth reading. In fact, you can read some of it right now. There are back issues of Trap Door online and Eklund stories are in issues 21, 22, 26, 27 and 28. All for free!

    Happy birthday, Gordon!

  15. Maybe “Scamper Beasts Asleep on the Shoulder of John Scalzi?” But that would eliminate the File 770 element.

    The original was an afterthought that I added after I had hit the Post Comment button and had to go back and edit it in.

    (10) Lord Dunsany gave us the D&D gnoll though he spelt it gnole. Like a lot of his creations, it’s left to the reader to fill in the details. I find his short stories do amazing things with an economy of words.

    July 24th was also E.F. Benson’s birthday. He might be best known for Mapp and Lucia, but his ghost stories are quite popular.

    Also Chief Dan George who would remind us that, “Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

    You’re in a file, scrolling along in the pixels, when all of a sudden you look down…

  16. @ Jack – interesting. I’d assumed gnoll was a mythical creature like goblin, and also the inspiration for Tolkien’s Nolder. I seem to recall that he even originally spelt if with a silent ‘g’.

  17. In current reading, I finally finished A Talent for War by McDevitt yesterday. I thought most of the book was kind of boring — much too much telling — but the last coupla hours were good. Narrated in audio by Gregory Abbey, who did a reasonable job, although I was occasionally annoyed by odd mispronunciations (like pronoucing “fibrous” as “fibbrous” more than once).

    After finishing that I listened to the first three hours of A Memory Called Empire. Although it has some noticeable echoes of books like Ninefox Gambit in its use of the two-people-in-one-head trope, I’m enjoying it so far. And yes, I still think the narrator is worlds better than the narrator in Trail of Lightning, though she is annoying me with character accents that fade in and out.

    @Chip —

    Unexpected depth; especially after a rather wooden performance in Ladyhawke

    Hmph. He wasn’t wooden, he was stoic! So there! :-p

    (4) GAIMAN AUDIOBOOKS. AudioFile editorJenn Dowellsays – lend Neil Gaiman an ear! “Good Omens and Good Audiobooks: The Best of Neil Gaiman”.

    Gaiman is an excellent narrator. If anyone wants to try out authors narrating their own works, IMHO you can’t go wrong with Gaiman.

    Sheen gives a wonderfully immersive, Earphones Award-winning narration of Philip Pullman’s THE BOOK OF DUST La Belle Sauvage

    I agree here too. I had issues with the book itself, but Sheen did a marvelous job. I’d be very happy to listen to any other book he does.

  18. (10) Dumas published at least one werewolf story, albeit not a great one.

    (14) Ridiculous claims like this just give ammunition to the people trying to argue that climate change isn’t to be taken seriously. Worse, they discourage anyone who actually believes them from taking action. The more we do–and the sooner we do it–the better off the world will be, but there’s no 18-month deadline, and there are no points of no return.

  19. DOLLHOUSE is fitfully worth seeing. Some episodes grapple with the horror of what it’s all about more effectively than others.

  20. I think the problem with Dollhouse is that Fox wanted something different from what Whedon intended. So you waste a lot of time with Eliza Dushku essentially being a live Real Doll before they get around to the deeper questions about perception/memories/reality and what it means if you control that in someone.

    A lot of great characters and actors who often had to be different people from week to week. Like Firefly, it could have been amazeballs if it had been on Netflix or HBO for a longer run. At least they didn’t cancel it after the first season.

    I wanna scroll home with the armapixel

  21. @Steve Green: Wired has the correct version later in the story; the opening paragraph is … imprecise. I dropped my sub a long time because their writing seemed too long on goshwow and too short on precision, so I don’t know whether they are more inclined than media in general to prefer opening with punch rather than accuracy. I know a recent j-school grad who I will ask (the next time I see them) whether this is taught, but I suspect it’s the sort of sugar-out-of-the-Old-Fashioned thing that is survival-learned instead.

    @Douglas Berry: yeah, didn’t Paquin just play the kid in The Piano?

  22. Chip asks @10: the Dumas works genre? It certainly wasn’t intended; unlike some of the bizarre movies, he was trying to tell French history as a series of in-period adventure stories.

    Did I ever say the Birthdays were strictly Genre? Well they’re not. They’re whatever tickles my fancy and that I think will of be of interest to Filers.

  23. At some level I thought Dollhouse got most interesting in the back half of S2 when they knew they weren’t going to be renewed, so they started charging towards the end of the larger series arc and spending less time finding excuses for the female characters to prance around in their knickers.

    Had it gone on longer, I think there might be an interesting conversation between Dollhouse and Westworld as regards creating and destroying “people” solely for other people’s amusement.

    Dunsany remains one of my favorite authors. As far as Dumas, I read the Musketeers books many years ago and enjoyed them, but they were thick going. Someday I should also take a stab at Monte Cristo.

  24. @ Joe H.

    Dunsany is also one of my favorite authors. He has such a great prose style, and I think his influence on fantasy and supernatural fiction is underrated. For example, I can see places where Lovecraft’s “cosmic horror” concept could have been inspired by Dunsany, and obviously the Dreamlands have a lot of Dunsany in them.

  25. Greg – you might want to read more climate scientists before you make those claims. They know a lot more about it than you or I.

  26. @Lenore,

    Feel better soon, and I hope you can get a good night’s sleep tonight

  27. If you read the background to the BBC article about climate change, it’s pretty clear that the 2020 date is politically driven, rather than a particular science-driven event.
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its 26th Conference of Parties in Nov 2020, and there are a number of actions to be taken by that time and to be endorsed at that meeting.
    COP16 required developed countries to commit $100 billion annually for climate change remediation in poor countries by 2020. Article 4, para. 19 of the Paris Agreement requires parties to develop long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies by 2020. COP26 will be the meeting where these actions are reported.
    Also, Trump’s decision to pull the US from the Paris Agreement becomes final in 2020, and people are also cognizant of the presidential election in 2020 that may replace Trump.

  28. 14) Its unusual to find science news articles, not just on climate change, that aren’t overly excited. No diet change decreases your chances of a heart attack by 3%, they all Save You! or Destroy You! Its very frustrating.

  29. @Cat Eldridge: Did I ever say the Birthdays were strictly Genre? Well they’re not. They’re whatever tickles my fancy and that I think will of be of interest to Filers. True enough — but your cite of Dumas specifically asked whether he was genre, so I answered.

    @bill: that depends on your definition of “politically driven”, which is a … loaded … term. ISTM that it’s fair to say that action will not be taken in time if it’s not taken in 2020, because simply getting people to agree to discuss the problem is non-trivial.

  30. I don’t care what’s driving it but something absolutely needs to be done at a higher level and with more pressure than we as individuals can manage, whether you think we’re merely approaching the brink or we’ve already sailed right on past it.

  31. @Chip, @KasaObake Claiming that 2020 is a hard deadline by which things must be done directly implies that if things aren’t done by then, it’s too late. If it’s too late in 2021, then what’s the point of limiting carbon emissions after that time? 2020 is not a science-driven tipping-point date, no matter what Prince Charles says. It’s another year in a string, in which things are incrementally worse than the previous year, but not as bad as the year to follow.

  32. @Lenore Jones: Best to you! My Dad had aFib episodes occasionally for years (and he’s still kicking, though I’m not sure he has them any more).

    @Contrarius: Thanks for the update re. the narrator for A Memory Called Empire!

    (9) TODAY IN HISTORY. Oh, my Dad and Marvin the Martian were “born” on the same day! 😀 And Simón Bolivar, in case you didn’t know, though he’s not SFF.


    And one of my favorite artists, Colleen Doran of “A Distant Soil” (etc.) fame!

    Wow, and many others; July 24th was quite the day!

    (17) PICARD & COMPANY. Great group interview! Sigh.

  33. @Bill: Honestly in a lot of ways it’s already too late and all we can do is try to mitigate the changes going forward. That’s why I don’t care if the “deadline” is scientific or political – as long as it gets governments and corporations talking about it and, more importantly, doing something about it then the nature of the date doesn’t bother me.

  34. Saying that the situation is “too late”, without being specific about what it is too late for, makes it an ideological (is that better than political?) statement, rather than a scientific one.

    And so long as the debate is conducted in ideological terms, it is easy to take a contrary position because if the people advocating climate action have a broader ideology that includes positions with which you do not agree, then it is straightforward to disagree with their position on climate change.
    (“AOC wants to get rid of fossil fuels. She is also a socialist, so clearly she doesn’t know what she is talking about.” for example.)

  35. There might exist a “too late” and it might have been passed. When permafrost starts to thaw and the process for releasing greenhouse gases gets organic, regardless of what humans do. There is this strange idea that everything can always be fixed later. Like if you set your house on fire and the fire starts to grow, there will always be time to stop the fire with your only extinguisher regardless how long you wait. It is an ideological statement to not accept that “too late” might exist. However, this “too late” of 18 months does seem to come from Prince Charles and not any scientist.

    And no, it is not “easy to take a contrary position” because that would be going against not only political statements, but actually going against the best of scientific knowledge. I.e that we have to cut down on CO2 emissions and do it quick and without delays.

  36. The climate scientists have been conservative in their predictions, and every time they’ve looked at reality, it’s been worse than they predicted. That leads me to think that eighteen months is about as far as they can predict.

  37. @bill: Well okay sure let’s be specific. Glaciers are melting at a greater rate than we realised. Permafrost is melting around the world. Take a look at any large-scale climate data and you’ll see a trend towards warmer temperatures year-on-year, including the climate-sceptic data Cam uses on his blog.

    If none of that is enough to convince you that climate change is real and we’re responsible, at least in part, take a look at NASA’s climate science pages?

    Maybe it won’t convince you that we’ve reached any point of no return but we’re on our way down a slippery slope and it’s better to maybe try to stop rather than just sprinting down it.

  38. There are likely many “too lates”; one for the extinction of polar bears; one for glaciers in Glacier National Park; one for runaway permafrost thawing; etc. Some of those are existential threats, and some are just really unfortunate. Science is the only tool to distinguish them, and failure to use it says you aren’t to be taken seriously.

    no, it is not “easy to take a contrary position” because that would be going against not only political statements, but actually going against the best of scientific knowledge.

    There are so many who have taken a contrary position, that they form an existence proof to refute this.

  39. “There are so many who have taken a contrary position, that they form an existence proof to refute this.”

    Yes, there are of course people who have taken contrary positions. And they have been wrong every time because they have chosen to ignore scientific facts.

  40. I ran across this essay regarding left vs. right perceptions of global warming. Thought it was interesting enough to share. He gets quite a few things correct.

    Sorry. I’ve been a little busy of late to offer more.


  41. “I ran across this essay regarding left vs. right perceptions of global warming.”

    Yes, yes, the Alt-Right will always try to find excuses for why it really is as illogical and governed by feelings to adhere to scientific fact as to go directly against all what science says. Not surprising from a magazine that does it best to make race biology more acceptable.

  42. @Dann I thought this conclusion was curious:

    If skeptical conservatives are to be convinced, the Left must learn to reframe the issue in a way that is more palatable to their worldview.

    If the rest of the article’s premise was correct (and to some extent even if it isn’t) the left are the last people who could reframe and issue to make it more palatable to the worldview of conservatives. Surely the people with the best chance of convincing conservatives is other conservatives.

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