Pixel Scroll 7/31/16 O You Who Turn The Wheel And Look To Scrollward, Consider Pixel, Who Was Once Handsome And Tall As You

(1) IT IS THE END MY FRIEND. My daughter went to the midnight Cursed Child book launch at her local store. She’d keep buying Potter novels if Rowling would keep writing them, but that is not in the works — “J.K. Rowling Says ‘Cursed Child’ Is the Last Harry Potter Story: ‘Harry Is Done Now’”.

The author, 51, spoke at the opening night of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play in London’s West End theatre district on Saturday, July 30, where she told fans that she’s finished with the series.

“[Harry] goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done,” Rowling told Reuters on Saturday night. “This is the next generation, you know. So, I’m thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now.”

(2) BEAM ME – OH, NEVER MIND. Steven Murphy of ScienceFiction.com canna stand the strain – of Star Trek’s inconsistent and underimaginative use of the transporter. He makes his case in “Star Trek and the Optimization of the Transporter”.

Does it bother anyone else that the characters of ‘Star Trek’ regularly overlook the obvious solution? They’re not stupid. I’d understand if they were stupid. They are among the smartest collection of people in fiction. They just have a huge blindspot: the power of teleportation.

In ‘Star Trek,’ transporters can dematerialize people or things in one location and rematerialize them elsewhere. I wouldn’t be the first to point out that the functionality of the technology maddening varies based on the requirements of the plot.

Murphy develops three main themes:

  • The Federation Should Weaponize Transporters
  • The Federation Should Use Transporters Defensively
  • Transporters Should Be Used As A Warp-Alternative

(3) POLITICAL SF/F. Ilya Somin recommends “7 Fantasy/Science Fiction Epics That Can Inform You about the Real-World-Political Scene” at Learn Liberty.

Battlestar Galactica

The original 1970s TV series was remade in the 2000s. Both versions focus on the survivors of twelve human colony worlds that have been devastated by an attack by the Cylons, and both feature many of the same characters. Yet the original series and the remake are otherwise fundamentally different.

The former reflects a conservative response to the Cold War: the humans fall victim to a Cylon surprise attack because they were influenced by gullible peaceniks; the survivors’ military leader, Commander Adama, is almost always far wiser than the feckless civilian politicians who question his judgment. Concerns about civil liberties and due process in wartime are raised, but usually dismissed as overblown.

By contrast, the new series reflects the left-wing reaction to the War on Terror: the Cylon attack is at least partly the result of “blowback” caused by the humans’ own wrongdoing. The series stresses the importance of democracy and civilian leadership, and condemns what it regards as dangerous demonization and mistreatment of the enemy—even one that commits genocide and mass murder.

Both the original series and the new one have many interesting political nuances, and both have blind spots characteristic of the ideologies they exemplify. The sharp contrast between the two makes them more interesting considered in combination than either might be alone. They effectively exemplify how widely divergent lessons can be drawn from the same basic story line.

(4) DEL TORO COLLECTION. The Los Angeles County Art Museum exhibit “Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters” opens August 1.

DelToroMain_0

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters Guillermo del Toro (b. 1964) is one of the most inventive filmmakers of his generation. Beginning with Cronos (1993) and continuing through The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015), among many other film, television, and book projects, del Toro has reinvented the genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Working with a team of craftsmen, artists, and actors—and referencing a wide range of cinematic, pop-culture, and art-historical sources—del Toro recreates the lucid dreams he experienced as a child in Guadalajara, Mexico. He now works internationally, with a cherished home base he calls “Bleak House” in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Taking inspiration from del Toro’s extraordinary imagination, the exhibition reveals his creative process through his collection of paintings, drawings, maquettes, artifacts, and concept film art. Rather than a traditional chronology or filmography, the exhibition is organized thematically, beginning with visions of death and the afterlife; continuing through explorations of magic, occultism, horror, and monsters; and concluding with representations of innocence and redemption.

(5) SOMETHING MORE TO VOTE ON. Still on that adrenaline high after voting for the Hugos? You can help James Davis Nicoll – he’s looking for readers’ opinions about the books he should review. He explains, “That specific set of reviews is of books I read as a teen, so between 1974 and 1981.” Register your choices in a “non-binding” poll” at More Words, Deeper Hole.

(6) AN IMPONDERABLES REVIEW. Dave Feldman enjoyed playing Letter Tycoon.

Once you get started, game play is remarkably fast and hassle-free. Letter Tycoon is a combination word game and stock market game. You form words using your own letters combined with three “community cards.” The longer the words you form, the more assets (in the form of cash and stocks) you earn. If you accumulate enough cash, you can buy patents in the letter(s) you have used to form your words. These patents function like houses and hotels in Monopoly; you get paid every time another player forms a word using “your” patented letters. As you’d expect, it costs more to buy a patent on the most frequently-used letters, but some more obscure letters possess special powers that can make them valuable.

(7) TOOLS THAT CHANGE THE TOOL USER. Matthew Kirschenbaum, author of Track Changes, asserts “Technology changes how authors write, but the big impact isn’t on their style”.

“Our writing instruments are also working on our thoughts.” Nietzsche wrote, or more precisely typed, this sentence on a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, a wondrous strange contraption that looks a little like a koosh ball cast in brass and studded with typewriter keys. Depressing a key plunged a lever with the typeface downward onto the paper clutched in the underbelly.

It’s well-known that Nietzsche acquired the Writing Ball to compensate for his failing eyesight. Working by touch, he used it to compose terse, aphoristic phrasings exactly like that oft-quoted pronouncement. Our writing instruments, he suggested, are not just conveniences or contrivances for the expression of ideas; they actively shape the limits and expanse of what we have to say. Not only do we write differently with a fountain pen than with a crayon because they each feel different in our hands, we write (and think) different kinds of things.

But what can writing tools and writing machines really tell us about writing? Having just published my book “Track Changes” on the literary history of word processing, I found such questions were much on my mind. Every interviewer I spoke with wanted to know how computers had changed literary style. Sometimes they meant style for an individual author; sometimes they seemed to want me to pronounce upon the literary establishment (whatever that is) in its entirety.

(8) LOCUS POLL COMMENTS. At Locus Online you can read voters’ Comments from the 2016 Locus Poll and Survey. For example:

I actually read a couple of first novels I liked, which surprised me! I don’t read those very often these days, but these were strongly urged on me and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve been reading e-books for about a year now and they’re starting to form a large chunk of my “book” buying in general, though I still buy more genre in print form than e-book. I’m buying a lot of the old classics in e-book (i.e., Ye Olde Deade Whyte Guys, like Twain, Shakespeare, Mary Shelley (;)) and some of the older sf/f/h titles as well. The “Great Distemper of 2015” left me with a dull ache behind my eyes and reminded me why I ducked out of the fannish aspects of SF 20 years ago or so. I fervently hope it goes away soon. I read more and liked more of what I read last year. There must be something wrong with me! (innocentlookicon) I’m trying very hard to work up my inner “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!” attitude about the state of SF, but I can’t.

(9) FINAL CHAPTER. A Los Angeles Daily News story about several LA-area bookstores facing closure.

Adryan Russ slips behind the counter at Bookfellows/Mystery & Imagination in Glendale to say goodbye to co-owner Christine Bell, who recently announced that her long-standing used bookstore will be closing at the end of August.

With a hug, the longtime customer wishes her well.

“To see this store have to follow the trends of today’s world, where we won’t be holding books much longer, you can see the sadness in her eyes about it,” says Russ, a musical theater lyricist based in Glendale. “It’s like a whole era is fading.”

The shuttering of Bookfellows comes as economic pressures from an increasingly competitive online marketplace, rising rents and dwindling walk-in traffic make it hard for some Southern California independent used booksellers to keep their large storefronts.

(10) ONE NY BOOKSTORE IS STICKING AROUND. The New York Times found a bookstore with an edge on the competition — “Want to Work in 18 Miles of Books? First, the Quiz”.

As Jennifer Lobaugh arrived at the Strand Book Store to apply for a job this spring, she remembered feeling jittery. It wasn’t only because she badly wanted a job at the fabled bookstore in Greenwich Village, her first in New York City, but also because at the end of the application, there was a quiz — a book quiz.

She rode the elevator to the third floor, sat down at a long table and scanned the quiz: a list of titles and a list of authors. She matched “The Second Sex” with Simone de Beauvoir right away. But then she had doubts. “I thought I would have no trouble,” said Ms. Lobaugh, 27, who has an M.F.A. in creative writing and a background in French and Russian literature. “But I got nervous.”

The Strand is the undisputed king of the city’s independent bookstores, a giant in an ever-shrinking field. It moves 2.5 million books a year and has around 200 employees. While its competitors have closed by the dozens, it has survived on castaways — from publishers, reviewers, the public and even other booksellers.

For nearly a century, the huge downtown bookstore has symbolized not only inexpensive books, but something just as valuable: full-time work for those whose arcane knowledge outweighs their practical skills.

Can you pass the Strand’s literary quiz? Match each book with its author. Test Your Book Smarts.

With a score of 33/50, I probably won’t be working at Strand until they start hiring folks whose specialty is asking, “Would you like fries with that?”

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

It was the first time humans had experience driving on another world, and by all accounts, the LRV was awesome.

The LRV was used mainly to extend the astronauts’ travel range up to a few miles from the landing site (for Apollo 15, the LRV traveled more than 17 miles in total). This allowed the science-focused missions of Apollo 15, 16, and 17 far more reach than hoofing it around the moon’s surface.

Jerry Seinfeld also had something to say about driving on the moon:

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born July 31, 1965 – J. K. Rowling

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY WIZARD

  • Born July 31, 1980 — Harry Potter

(14) GIANT ROBOTS. Kevin Melrose of Comic Book Resources thinks “Glorious ‘Transformers’ fan film is better than any of Michael Bay’s”.

Called “Generation 1 Hero,” it’s directed by Lior Molcho and stars members of Arizona Autobots, a group of Transformers cosplayers who create their own costumes. “Y’know, it was a lot of fun having them punch each other,” Molcho said in a behind-the-scenes video. “It’s a boy’s dream come true, y’know: giant robots punching each other! This is pretty awesome!”

 

(15) AN EDITOR’S ADVICE. Amanda S. Green’s post “It is a business”, quoted here the other day, attracted comment from the publisher of Castalia House, Vox Day in “Submissions and so forth”. His counsel begins —

  1. Most of the stuff that is submitted isn’t anywhere near ready. Seriously, we’re talking “WTF were you thinking” territory. Don’t submit just to submit, practice, then file it away if it’s not genuinely on par with what the publisher publishes and move on to the next work.
  2. You have VERY little time to impress the slush reader, who is wading through large quantities of writing that ranges from barely literate to mediocre. Make it count.
  3. Keep the cover letter short and to the point. No one is going to be impressed by how BADLY you want to be published or HOW MUCH you want to work with the publishing house. What you want has nothing to do with how good your book is.

(16) LARPOLOGY. The thirtieth installment of Marie Brennan’s Dice Tales column for Book View Café has the irresistible headline: “Every Title I Can Think of for This Post Sounds Like Spam”.

When you introduce a new character to an ongoing campaign, narrative integration is only one of the problems you face. The longer the game has been underway, the more you need to think about mechanical balance.

(17) LAST DAY OF VOTING. Peter J. Enyeart makes a fascinating assessment of Neal Stephenson while explaining how he ranked the nominees in the Best Novel category, but here’s who he thought should win —

  1. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie In the closing novel of the trilogy, Breq faces ever greater challenges as she finds herself a high-value target in the Radchaai civil war. I feel a little bad about picking this one for the top spot, since it’s a sequel to a book that won two years ago, but it was definitely my favorite. It’s the only nominee I had read before the nominations were announced, and the only nominee that I actually nominated. I read the whole thing in about 24 hours, the week it came out. It even makes me feel more charitable towards the second installment in the series, which I liked less, because it serves as a nice set up for this satisfying conclusion. Breq is one of my favorite characters in fiction. So cold, aloof, detached, and calculating, and yet so empathetic, observant, devoted, and inspiring. It’s a tall order for a writer to pull off that combination, but she did it. Breq provides a model for leadership that seems like something a person like me could aspire to, and I’m very appreciative. (I like the Presger Translators a lot, too.) Well done, Ann Leckie.

(18) ANOTHER COUNTY HEARD FROM. Charon Dunn, on the other hand, put Stephenson’s novel first on her 2016 Hugo Ballot.

Seveneves

Earnestly focusing on books as they linearly progress from beginning to end is for noobs and editors and people like that. Sometimes you just want to dive into a ballpit of words and mosh around. Seveneves is one of those, hard science flavored, where humanity reaches the mostly dead state before seven intrepid spacewomen start cranking out babies, thus founding seven distinct races, each one bioengineered per their founding mother’s will. Setting the scene for future highjinks.

Many of the reviews I have read make a pointed effort at informing readers that the bioengineering in Seveneves is hogwash. A lot of my generation feels the same way about bioengineering that the Victorians did about sex, which makes it a fun taboo to read and write about. Sure it’s hogwash, so are Death Stars, who cares. The science in Seveneves follows this soothing cycle of looming disaster; implement solution; new looming disaster. I’m a fan of this method of plot organization.

(19) A NEW LEAF. And if you assumed that someone writing for a blog called Books & Tea would pick the book by the tea-loving Leckie, then Christina Vasilevski will surprise you with her choice, in “What I’m Voting for in the 2016 Hugo Awards”.

  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin — As I mentioned when I read and reviewed this book last yearThe Fifth Season blew me away. I’m so glad this one ended up on the ballot. Jemisin’s writing is lyrical and her willingness to put her politics front and centre in her stories is great.

(20) FAN ARTISTS. Doctor Science posted an overview of the Fan Artist nominees. Earlier, the Good Doctor covered Pro Artist.

(21) HOW DO YOU GET THIS OUT OF SECOND GEAR? Forbes’ infographic contrasts Star Trek’s warp drive with what scientists are working on today.

If you want to experience the thrill of travelling faster than the speed of light, all you need to do is hitch a ride on the Starship Enterprise and engage the ‘warp drive’. You’ll be able to enjoy a cup of hot Earl Grey while visiting countless worlds through interstellar travel, all thanks to the power of warp drive! Easy peasy.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, and Steven H Silver for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ann Leckie.]


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99 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/31/16 O You Who Turn The Wheel And Look To Scrollward, Consider Pixel, Who Was Once Handsome And Tall As You

  1. Voted!

    Don’t have much else to say but after a busy last few months am back to reading sci-fi/fantasy (most recently Double Star and Lovecraft Country) and hopefully will follow File770 again.

    Also, I watched Babylon 5 this year and it’s now my favorite sci-fi series so I was very happy to see it mentioned in 3.

  2. Ballot completed.
    And brain-stormed* with the girls on their ballots.
    AND IT ISN’T EVEN MIDNIGHT.

    *This could be considered “nagging at them and reminding them to get the things in on time,” but we won’t go there.

  3. 21) Warp bubbles: yeah, they are a theoretical construct, but nobody has made one or even seen one. Theories can be wrong. More important are the in-between steps. “Exotic matter,” for instance. I remember listening to one scientist on TV say that it “should work,” but that we don’t know where to get “exotic matter.” In fact, he continued, “we don’t enough know what sort of exotic matter. What IS exotic matter, exactly?” So basically, the whole business is a magic box, where we see lead go in and gold come out, but don’t know what’s inside the box that does it — Maxwell’s Demon, the Tetragrammaton, a leprechaun with a long white beard and green hat?

  4. Cally: Fixed now — appertain yourself some of that fine Monter Mash whiskey….

  5. Completely OT brain-fried [ticky]:

    I’ve been trying to read “This Census-Taker” but words are being very uncooperative so have instead been watching season 1 of Person of Interest. Jim Caviezel is impressing me greatly; his character has very flat affect but he does astonishing work with his eyes.

  6. wolfa: Harry Potter was born in 1980, not 2000.

    Let’s make it unanimous.

  7. (18) – I’m flattered! Thanks!

    (1) I just finished it. I expected it to be all sentimental, although I underestimated how emotional I’d get from diving into some fresh Harry Potter adventures after all these years. Tippytoeing around spoiler territory … the fact that it’s a stage play with abstract sets and willfully suspended disbelief works beautifully when examining past events from different angles.

  8. She’d keep buying Potter novels them if Rowling would keep writing them…
    Too many “them”s, Mister Glyer! And you need a comma after “, Vox Day” in (15).

    The other seven errors I leave as an exercise in vigilance and not being misled by crazy numbers.

  9. My emailed clarification didn’t. From my site:

    Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

    This began as a spin-off of Rediscovery Tuesdays. The theme here is “books I loved when I was an undiscerning teenager”, which is to say works I encountered between 1974 and 1981. They don’t have to have been published in that period. I just have to have encountered them then. Some of these stand up to a reread. Others… not so much.

    (this is in case people want to take advantage of the “Some other book (see comments)” option)

  10. (10) I got 48/50. I’m surprised I did that well, because there were 2 or 3 in each of the sections where I was guessing. I guess they were better educated guesses than I thought.

    Filled out my Hugo ballot on the 30th before the rush, so I got the confirmation email almost instantly after voting.

    Looking forward to Midamericon. I’m definitely going to the Negro League Museum and Arthur Bryant’s. Otherwise I have not finalized my KC tourism schedule yet. I’m curious as to what other Filers would recommend as must see/must do for Kansas City.

  11. (20) FAN ARTISTS. Doctor Science
    Pro artist actually – Doctor Science post rescued me as this was the only category I had blank and couldn’t remember how I intended to vote. Thankfully their post succinctly covered the topic and helped me recall previous thoughts.

    —-
    Tired so no other thoughts tonight.

  12. Kind of @Shao Ping: Double Star is a great personal favorite, the last novel from the first half of Heinlein’s career. A reasonable case could be made for it being the peak of his career, just like the “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” single was for the Beatles.

    I mention this because I meant to jump into a discussion about it here a while back but never did. There was a point I wanted to answer, and try to refute.

    The point several people made was that Smythe’s impersonation of Bonforte was anti-democratic. I disagree. What’s anti-democratic is kidnapping and assassinating a democratically chosen leader. It’s like the ultimate in term limits (which I also think anti-democratic. I could expand on that, but won’t.)

    So you’re on the staff of said politician when the kidnapping occurs. What exactly do you do in the interest of democracy? Heinlein stacks the deck here with the urgent importance of Bonforte’s appointment on Mars, but still: Do you see to it that democratically decided policies are carried forward?

    Again, Heinlein stacks the deck by not giving Smythe’s and Bonforte’s staff any easy exit points, and putting events at a high rate of speed, but is that so very unrealistic? I’d say what’s less realistic is the amount of time Smythe has to learn his part.

    By substituting Smythe for Bonforte, people are indeed deceived.

    But how terrible is that deception? The intent is to replace Bonforte with a faithful replica in both policy and character. Does the man matter that much?

    Heinlein clearly knew that most people were replaceable (knowledge at odds, to some extent, with his individualism, but he was complicated) to all but their loved ones. That’s right at the core of this story: What makes you you? Is that different for a public figure than for a private individual?

    Well. That was longer than I expected.

  13. Now that the Hugo voting has been finished, what are we going to fill in the time before the results get announced at Worldcon?

    Guess what, the Dragon Awards voting begins on August 2nd (or is supposed to anyways). Did anyone here nominate for them? Maybe there will be a press release tomorrow with t he finalists?

    I’ll have to rely on other for recommendations for Downtown KC since the last time I was there was likely for a concert in the late 1970s at Municipal Auditorium.

  14. Huh, I just received a confirmation e-mail 20 minutes after submitting my final ballot, so the servers seem to be keeping up fairly well — at least, right now.

  15. Lee Whiteside: I asked them to send me a press release. Not that I’m relying solely on that happening.

  16. Woke up at 4 in the morning with the horrible realisation that the final ballot fettling I’d planned had been neglected in favour of collapsing in a heap after an energetic weekend.
    Fortunately time to go in four a last look.

  17. If our prime minister was kidnapped, I would prefer that was made public than that a secret cabal would try to continue to rule by putting an actor in their place.

  18. (8) LOCUS POLL COMMENTS

    There are a few trenchantly puppy-ish comments in that pile, so I guess at least some of them followed the call to arms.

    But more importantly, Black Gate ran an article about the new issue of Locus, which has the ranked longlist results in, and while we already knew F770 didn’t win, it turns out it took the coveted FIFTH spot.

    1 Asimov’s SF
    2 Tor.com
    3 Fantasy & Science Fiction
    4 Clarkesworld
    5 File 770
    6 Lightspeed
    7 Analog
    8 Black Gate
    9 Uncanny
    10 Strange Horizons

    (5) SOMETHING MORE TO VOTE ON

    Looks like I’m not the only person who thought it would be hilarious to make James review Time Enough For Love.

  19. @Dawn Incognito

    I think I may have said this before but Reese always reminds me of a quote from British war correspondent Kate Adie describing the SAS “like Martians: quiet, watchful and wearing a lot of strange weaponry.”

    Hope you enjoy S1 as much as I did.

  20. 10) When I lived in NYC growing up, The Strand was always part of my “book tour” perambulations that started at the Union Square Barnes and Noble, and wandered southwards toward Canal Street.

    I really need to poke my head in there again on my forthcoming visit back to the “Motherland” this fall.

  21. I’m mildly annoyed by The Cursed Child as it seems all the lovely bookstore window displays have been replaced by dozens of copies of this one book.

    @Dawn Incognito: You’re in for a real treat with PoI. I started off thinking it was a bit of silly fun, but there are some absolutely incredible episodes in there too.

  22. Incidentally, since Midamericon II doesn’t seem to have posted stats yet, I did a very quick and rough count of the listed members. It came to ~5600. Even assuming some aren’t listed and some will get their memberships last-minute, I think it’s more likely to look like the 2011-2013 numbers than the 2014-2015 numbers.

  23. Today’s read — Gardenias Where There Are None, by Molleen Zanger

    Fantasy — a grad student becomes romantically attached to a ghost.

    I had a good opinion of Molleen Zanger’s interesting science fiction novel The Year Seven, so tracked down this one, which appears to be her only other book. Gardenias Where There Are None, however, proved not to be as good as The Year Seven. It’s written in the kind of blunt manner where every character knows exactly what their feelings are, and says so directly. The concept is interesting and it might have worked better if it had been developed, made longer, and made more subtle, but judging it as it is, it’s not all that great.

  24. 10) I used to visit the Strand, but the last year I went after a gap of several years. I found the prices a bit higher than previous (even taking in the inflation adjustment) and those older titles were harder to find. I have much to read as is, and that includes about 10 volumes of E. Nesbit I bought 20 years ago from that store. ($3,00 each).

  25. Every time I read a review of Seveneves I think “I must read this book”. I also think “I’d hate this book”. Today is no different.

  26. On SEVENENES: I stopped after about 140 pages. No need to beat yourself up for that. I have not found any inclination to go back.

    I read part of a Jerome Bixby collection and two Pratchett novels and many short stories from “Best of the Year” collections.

  27. @Hampus Eckerman: So you would rather policy be decided by a secret cabal of assassins and conspirators than by a secret cabal consisting of the staff of a democratically chosen leader? Heinlein stacks the deck to force that initial choice, so we’re talking about the long haul here.

  28. Woohoo! Contributing editor! Turns out all that reading I did in school was good for something!

  29. Lee Whiteside said:

    Guess what, the Dragon Awards voting begins on August 2nd (or is supposed to anyways). Did anyone here nominate for them? Maybe there will be a press release tomorrow with the finalists?

    According to The Official Rules, which still can’t be reached from any front-page link, but luckily they haven’t remembered to turn off all the links to the nomination sign-up page:

    The most popular Entries, as determined by number of nomination submissions during the Nomination Period, will be featured on the Website between 9:00 A.M. ET on August 2, 2016 and 11:59 P.M. ET on September 1, 2016 (hereinafter, “Voting Period”).

    So just pop over to awards.dragoncon.org tomorrow morning.

    I’m curious how the final-round voting will work– there still isn’t any firm info anywhere on the site.

  30. So you would rather policy be decided by a secret cabal of assassins and conspirators than by a secret cabal consisting of the staff of a democratically chosen leader?

    How does “making it public” result in policy being decided by any secret cabal?

  31. @Aaron: How does “making it public” result in policy being decided by any secret cabal?

    It gives the assassins the victory. They get to eliminate the leader of the other side and spark a genocidal war in the process. Their secret cabal wins.

  32. @10: @Cally for the win; I only got 39, and some of those were Sheer Luck.

    @arkansawyer:

    The intent is to replace Bonforte with a faithful replica in both policy and character.

    No, the intent is to replace him with a facematched puppet; in the beginning, Smythe is a xenophobe who generally votes for the other side. I wonder whether RAH had any idea how much real-world policy was/would-be made by aides.

    @Hampus: OTOH, are you allowing for the fact that going public will blow up the attempt to make a connection with non-xenophobic Martians? IMO your answer is principled but not specific enough.

  33. 10) 42/50, but I found at least one question where there was no right answer (The Master and Margarita is by Mikhail Bulgakov, but Bulgakov wasn’t on the list, and it flagged “None of the above” as a wrong answer. So pbbbbt! to this quiz, I say with the greatest maturity.)

  34. A list of the achievement trophies in No Man’s Sky has leaked. (No spoilers, other than the names of the trophies themselves.) They’re all named after sf works. There’s a mixture of old and new, classic and obscure, Puppy-approved and degenerate SJW… even one (out of 23) written by a woman.

  35. @Petréa. This is the sort of geekery I love. Thanks for sharing this

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