Pixel Scroll 8/17/21 Podkayne On The Ritz

(1) GOFUNDME FOR MIXON AND GOULD. Stephanie Maez is asking people to signal boost the GoFundMe she has set up on behalf of Aunt Laura and Uncle Steve: “Help Aunt Laura Heal”. Laura J. Mixon, who has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a/k/a ME or ME/CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome, is a well-known sff author who also won the Best Fan Writer Hugo (2015). Steven Gould has created multiple sf series and is past president of SFWA. Maez explains:

Due to Aunt Laura’s worsening chronic illness, they’ve been struggling financially for the past several years. They want to sell their home, use the equity to pay off debts, and find a place where they can live affordably. I’ve created a GoFundMe that seeks $20,000: 

  • $3,400 to help pay off existing medical bills;
  • $2,600 to cover impending medical expenses; and,
  • $14,000 for home repairs and moving costs.

They will donate all additional funds above the needed amount to The Open Medicine Foundation, a non-profit that serves as an open-source clearinghouse and a source of funding for top researchers worldwide, who are working collaboratively toward a cure for ME/CFS.

Here’s more from Aunt Laura: 

Until 2013, my engineering work provided us a steady source of income while Steve built up his writing career and was our two kids’ primary caregiver. Unfortunately, by then a chronic illness that I’d had for decades but had never been properly diagnosed for until recently, ME/CFS, had worsened to the point that I was no longer well enough to work.

As a result of my gradually worsening condition, our family has been solely dependent on Steve’s income. We also have a daughter with multiple disabilities living with us, who still needs our support as she works toward independence. We managed to muddle along until about 2017 or 2018, thanks to Steve’s book sales and a couple of well-paying Hollywood deals. But my illness, the associated medical expenses, and two kids in college for much of that time meant the bills kept piling up. The coup de grâce came in 2020, when my health took a sudden nosedive due to pandemic-induced exertion and stress, and Quibi, the new media company developing Steve’s latest creative project, went out of business.

We have decided to sell our house and use the cash to pay off as much of our debt as possible. Because ours is an older home, it needs a lot of work in order to sell at a better-than-fixer-upper price, and we need to get a good price to make enough of a dent in our debt to live sustainably on our current income.

A final note. The past year and a half has brought hard times for many, and there are many important unmet needs out there. We’d be deeply grateful for any signal boost or help you can give, but we’ll totally understand if your own circumstances—financial, mental, or otherwise—don’t permit. We know all too well what it’s like to be tapped out and spent, no matter how much you care. As ever, we’re thinking of you love, and hopes that all is well in your world.

The appeal has raised $17,081 of its $20,000 goal.

(2) THE HOST WITH THE MOST. The Library of Congress announced today: “LeVar Burton to Host 2021 National Book Festival Broadcast on PBS”.

LeVar Burton, fresh from a hosting gig on “Jeopardy,” turns his attention to hosting a special edition of the Library’s 2021 National Book Festival, a one-hour special on PBS that is studded with some of the world’s brightest literary stars.

The show, “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival,” premieres Sunday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app. The show will feature 20 of the world’s most captivating authors and celebrities, ranging from actors Michael J. Fox and Lupita Nyong’o, to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon Reed….

Burton, a longtime champion of reading, will host from his public library in Los Angeles with Hayden appearing at the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill.

There are many authors featured in the special — these have genre connections:

  • Roxane Gay, essayist and novelist, on her co-authored book “The Sacrifice of Darkness.”
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning novelist, on his book “Klara and the Sun.”
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia, novelist in several genres, including horror and noir, on her books “Mexican Gothic” and “Velvet Was the Night.”
  • Christopher Paolini, fantasy and science fiction writer, on his book “To Sleep in a Sea of Stars.”
  • Martha Wells, Hugo and Nebula award-winning writer, on her book “Fugitive Telemetry.”

(3) JEFF SMITH’S GIVEAWAY REPORT. Jeff Smith reports that a solid 2/3 of Filers who claimed lots from his Free Book Giveaway list followed up by sending their shipping addresses to him. Which means that a less solid 1/3…

He started shipping the boxes out today. Jeff says he foolishly set up this giveaway to happen just before his scheduled cataract surgery, so not all shipments will go out as swiftly as this first batch. But any delays should not be extensive, and he begs your indulgence.

(4) THIS IS NOT MY PRECIOUS. Mitchell Clark can think of lots of reasons why “The JRR Token cryptocurrency is almost certainly headed for Mt. Doom”, and lists them in his article for The Verge.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there’s a cryptocurrency themed after The Lord of the Rings. It’s dubbed the JRR Token, and its creators have called it “The One Token That Rules Them All.” Upon learning about it, my snap judgment was that it’ll be like The Hobbit’s trilogy of films (pointless and doomed to fail), but that may be unfair. Let’s take a look at the video its creators made to explain what makes it special…

Okay, wait. Before we even go into the crypto stuff, I’m wondering what the legal situation is with this video — the video includes images of rolling green countryside overlaid by very Lord of the Rings-esque text, while what sounds like a piano rendition of Howard Shore’s The Shire plays. Even if those don’t turn out to be infringement, they’re definitely banking on confusion with JRR Tolkien’s name. That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing the Tolkien Estate would let slide without a fight….

(5) EXTENDED NOIR. At CrimeReads, Silvia Moreno-Garcia discusses the classic noir novels that inspired her new novel, Velvet Was The Night: “Seven of the Best Noir Novels of the 1960s and 1970s”.

My latest novel, Velvet Was the Night, is a noir set in the Mexico City of the 1970s. This is a changing world, beset by political and social turmoil, and a space where different forces are violently clashing. To me, it seemed like the perfect decade for a noir, but when I told people what I was working on, they tended to be surprised I was writing a book set in 1971. Most of them associated the word ‘noir’ with the 1950s.

Noir has always had a close relationship with film and it is no wonder that when we think of noir, we tend to harken back to iconic images inspired by Golden Age Hollywood rather than more modern proposals. But noir did not vanish once people traded zoot suits for bell bottoms. Therefore, here is a list of cool, decadent noirs from the 60s and 70s….

(6) RODDENBERRY CENTENARY ZOOM. [Based on a press release.] NASA is helping the legacy of inspiration, hope, and diversity fostered by the creator of Star Trek to live long and prosper. The agency will observe the late Gene Roddenberry’s 100th birthday with a special program called, “Celebrating Gene Roddenberry: Star Trek’s Bridge and NASA” – a panel discussion airing on NASA Television, the agency’s website, the NASA App, and NASA social media on August 19 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Rod Roddenberry, top left, George Takei, Tracy Drain, Jonny Kim, bottom left, Swati Mohan, and Hortense Diggs.

The program includes introductory remarks by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry. Special guest George Takei, Star Trek actor and activist, will participate in the question-and-answer session.

The NASA panelists includes:

  • Tracy Drain, Europa Clipper flight systems engineer
  • Hortense Diggs, director of the Office of Communications and Public Engagement at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Swati Mohan, lead for Mars 2020 Guidance, Navigation, and Controls Operations at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California
  • Jonny Kim, NASA astronaut

Coinciding with the program, NASA will broadcast into space a 1976 recording of Gene Roddenberry’s remarks on diversity and inclusion through the agency’s Deep Space Network of radio antennas. NASA also is inviting people on social media to join celebrating Roddenberry’s 100th birthday on Thursday by posting a Vulcan salute selfie with the hashtag #Roddenberry100.

(7) HAMMER, SICKLE, AND RADIO TUBE. Natalija Majsova analyzes “Soviet Sci-fi Film and Different Modalities of Future Ecosystems” at Strelka Mag.

Soviet science fiction cinema has a very particular genealogy. Due to the temporal proximity of the emergence of the Soviet state project and of the cinematic medium—a means of surveillance and observation, of propaganda and education, of experiment and reiteration, in short, of monstration and narration of a new world-to-be—science fiction film cannot be considered as mere fantasy, symptom, or flight of fancy. Rather, film is simultaneously a dimension, a perspective, and a voice. The genre of science fiction, on the other hand, played a palette of different functions in Soviet history, from the normatively prognostic and mnemonic, to the revelatory and introspective….

…In literature, science fiction under Stalin is chiefly associated with the so-called “near-reach” formula, i.e. narratives that celebrate the graspable, realistic feats of contemporary science. An important undercurrent of such science fiction, or rather “scientific fantasy” (nauchnaia fantastika), that was characteristic of Soviet science fiction films until the late 1960s remains its clear political statement: Soviet authority is associated with scientific progress and righteous goals, whereas scientific progress outside of the Soviet state is linked to heartless imperialism and colonialism….

(8) OUT OF MANY, ONE. “Hachette to Buy Workman for $240 Million as Publishing Continues Consolidation” reports the New York Times. Workman published Tomorrow and Beyond: Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art edited by Ian Summers, The Grand Tour: A Traveler’s Guide to the Solar System by Ron Miller and William K. Hartmann, Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials, by Wayne Barlowe and Beth Meacham, DiFate’s Science Fiction Hardware, by Vincent DiFate, and other genre titles over the years, notes Andrew Porter.

Hachette Book Group said on Monday that it had agreed to buy Workman Publishing, an independent company known for titles like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and the “Brain Quest” workbooks, the latest expected acquisition in an industry whose power is increasingly concentrated in a handful of major companies. The cost of the deal was $240 million.

Workman is one of the largest independent publishers in the United States and is appealing to its new parent for, among other reasons, its lucrative backlist. Backlists include books published years ago that continue to sell — as opposed to the front list of new titles — and at Workman, they are a major focus and a steady stream of reliable income. Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of the Hachette Book Group, said that three-quarters of Workman’s revenue comes from those older titles.


  • 1960 – On this day in 1960, The Time Machine premiered. The work of legendary director George Pal, it was based on the H.G. Wells novella of the same name. Pal also handled the production. The screenplay was by David Duncan. It would lose out at Seacon to the Twilight Zone series for Best Dramatic Presentation. Cast was Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot and Whit Bissell. Some critics liked it, some didn’t, and most thought the love interest angle sucked. It did very, very well at the box office making two point six million dollars and costing only a little over eight hundred thousand to make. Despite this, the Studio claimed it barely broke clearing only three hundred thousand. Never trust Studio accountants!  Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an excellent seventy-nine percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 17, 1917 Oliver Crawford. Screenwriter who overcame the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s. He wrote three scripts for Trek, “The Cloud Minders,” “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” and “The Galileo Seven”. He also wrote for The Outer Limits (“The Special One”), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (“The Lost Bomb”) and The Wild Wild West (“The Night of the Cossacks” and “The Night of Sudden Death”). No, that’s not everything hescripted. (Died 2008.)
  • Born August 17, 1923 Julius Harris. He’s Tee Hee Johnson, the metal armed henchman courtesy of a crocodile in Live and Let Die, the eighth Bond film. Other genre appearances are scant — he’s a gravedigger in Darkman, boat crew in King Kong and he shows up in the horror film Shrunken Heads. He had one-offs in The Incredible Hulk and the Friday the 13th series.(Died 2004.)
  • Born August 17, 1930 Harve Bennett. The individual who gave us Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Really he did. He would then serve as Producer on the next three Trek films, The Search for SpockThe Voyage Home and The Final Frontier. Bennett also wrote Star Trek III, co-wrote the story and screenplay for Star Trek IV, and co-wrote the story for Star Trek V. His only on scene appearance is in the latter as the Starfleet Chief of Staff. He’s the voice of the Battle simulator computer in Wrath of Khan, and the Flight Recorder in the Search for Spock. (Died 2015.)
  • Born August 17, 1945 Rachael Pollack, 76. She’s getting a Birthday note for her scripting duties on her run of issues 64–87 (1993-1995) of Doom Patrol. She’s also assisted in the creation of the Vertigo Tarot Deck with McKean and Gaiman, and she wrote a book to go with it. She won a World Fantasy Award for Godmother Night, and an Arthur C. Clarke Award winner for Unquenchable Fire. She also wrote Salvador Dali’s Tarot, a book-length exposition of Salvador Dalí’s Tarot deck, comprising a full-page color plate for each card, with her commentary on the facing page.
  • Born August 17, 1956 John Romita Jr., 65. If you’ve read Spider-Man since the Sixties, it’s very likely that you’ve seen his artwork as he had six stints on it between 1980 and 2009. He was also on a number of other titles at Marvel and DC including Superman, Ghost Rider, Hulk, All-Star Batman, Eternals, Captain America and Daredevil to name but a few he illustrated. He also worked with Mark Miller at Image Comics on Kick-Ass, and did the one shot Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights
  • Born August 17, 1960 Chris Baker, 61. He’s the cover artist for British and German versions of the Redwall books, as well as a storyboard and conceptual artist having worked with  Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton. Among his films are Big Fish, Skyfall, Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryA.I. Artificial Intelligence and Corpse Bride
  • Born August 17, 1962 Laura Resnick, 59. Daughter of Mike Resnick. She is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction for early work including “No Room for the Unicorn.” I’ve not read her Manhattan Magic series so I’m interested to know what y’all think of it. She’s readily available at the usual suspects. 
  • Born August 17, 1966 Neil Clarke, 55. Editor in Chief of Clarkesworld Magazine which has won an impressive three Best Semiprozine Hugos. SFWA also gave him a Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award. He also edits The Best Science Fiction of the Year series for Night Shade Books.  He’s a nominee at Discon III for Best Editor, Short Form. 


  • The Argyle Sweater definitely knows how to keep the arg in comics and shown with this horrible pun.

(12) STAR PLONKER. Laughing Squid makes sure we’re listening when “The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Performs the Original ‘Star Trek’ Theme Including the Full Lyrics”.

The very talented Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (previously) shared the album version of their truly celestial cover of the theme from the original Star Trek series. Not only did they vocally cover the theremin-like intro, but also the full lyrics to the song.

(13) A TOUCH OF LARCENY. Two Vulture writers trail “The Mysterious Figure Stealing Books Before Their Release”.

…This was a setup Stieg Larsson would have admired: a clever thief adopting multiple aliases, targeting victims around the world, and acting with no clear motive. The manuscripts weren’t being pirated, as far as anyone could tell. Fake Francesca wasn’t demanding a ransom. “We assumed it was the Russians,” Mörk said. “But we are the book industry. It’s not like we’re digging gold or researching vaccines.” Perhaps someone in publishing, or a Hollywood producer, was desperate for early access to books they might buy. Was the thief simply an impatient reader? A strung-out writer in need of ideas? “In the hacker culture that Stieg Larsson depicted, they do a lot of things not for financial benefit,” Mörk pointed out this spring, “but just to show that they can do it.”

When I first heard about the scheme in February, four years after the attempted “Millennium” heist, the thief was still on the loose, exhibiting behavior that was even bolder and more bizarre as they chased after everything from Sally Rooney’s latest to novels by obscure writers never published in English before. This sounded like a fun challenge, a digital mystery to obsess over at a time when the real world was shut down… 

(14) PLURAL. “Aliens: 10 Things That Still Hold Up Today”ScreenRant counts them off.

Ridley Scott’s Alien is the kind of untouchable masterpiece that should never be ruined by sequels. But James Cameron proved that there are exceptions to this rule with 1986’s Aliens, which both satisfies as a follow-up to the first movie and stands as a classic of action cinema in its own right….

10/10 Replacing One Xenomorph With A Hive Of Dozens

Like all the best sequels (including Cameron’s own Terminator 2), Aliens significantly raises the stakes from the first movie by expanding the scope of the premise. The first Alien movie was essentially a haunted house movie in space, with the crew of the cargo freighter Nostromo getting picked off one by one by a ravenous xenomorph wandering around their ship.

In Aliens, there are dozens of these xenomorphs on the loose as opposed to the single alien that threatened the heroes of the original movie. The single xenomorph from the first movie was scary enough, but Cameron upped the ante with a festering swarm of otherworldly monsters.

(15) PULL UP TWO CHAIRS. In the episode 59 of the Two Chairs Talking podcast, David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss discuss the nominees in the Novelette category for this year’s Hugo Awards, and go on to talk about their other recent reading, including a novel by Claire North about the travails of the Harbinger of Death, and some well-worn favorites of the crime and SF genres. Episode 59: “Thoroughly informed”.

(16) LAW NORTH OF THE OZONE. The issue of who is and isn’t an astronaut is legally very complicated! The Space Review asks “Is it time to create the designation of non-governmental astronaut?”

… Of the three, it is the test offered by Professor Yasuaki Hashimoto that is the test that best harmonizes with international law through the Outer Space Treaty.[5]

For the legal status of “astronaut” to apply under Professor Hashimoto’s test the person must be:

  1. in an object located in space
  2. conducting their activities for the benefit and in the interests of all countries
  3. regarded as an envoy of mankind in outer space.

Applying this test to non-governmentals like the personnel who were carried on SpaceShipTwo and New Shepard, the first prong is easily met as arguably both launch and reentry vehicles were “in space.” However, both fail the second and third prong of the test as they are both commercial ventures that are not conducting their activities for the benefit and interest and all countries nor are they or would be regarded as envoys of all mankind in outer space. This means absent legislative action, non-governmental personnel would not have any legal status in the eyes of domestic and international law….

(17) PEOPLE RUIN EVERYTHING. Mind Matters introduces another short film distributed by DUST: “Merv Is the Last Man in a Ruined World”.

This New Zealand-based film company provides a haunting evocation of a totally ruined urban landscape — just an enormous pile of rubble peopled by a surviving hermit. When he catches sight of another human, he pelts like mad for his underground den. Then, arming himself, sets out to confront the stranger….

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Pokemon Unite” on YouTube, Fandom Games says that this game is a “sub-par experience” that will disappoint even the most enthusiastic Pokemon fans.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Jeffrey Smith, Cat Rambo, Michael J. Walsh, Rob Thornton, Chris Barkley, Steven H Silver, David Grigg, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

32 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/17/21 Podkayne On The Ritz

  1. (10) Neil Clarke tells very funny stories at convention Tales of the Slush Pile panels as well.

  2. (10). Laura Resnick.
    I really enjoyed her Manhattan Magic series but how you help it with titles like “Polterheist” and “Unsympathetic Magic”? Fun reads.

  3. The birthday list could also include Robert De Niro (August 17, 1943) if only for BRAZIL

  4. The official DragonCon Facebook page just posted this five hours ago.
    “With the Delta variant causing more COVID-19 cases worldwide, including “breakthrough” infections of vaccinated individuals, we must make changes to our COVID protocols including requiring all attendees who attend the live convention to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before entering the convention. For more details, go to DragonCon.org/updates”

  5. Lis Carey wrote: “Think cuddly-dog thoughts.”

    Done. Also, marshmallows melting in cocoa thoughts.

    That’s a tight squeeze. I hope they hit their goal, and that goal gets them loose.

    This title has become the theme of our time. Yes,.alas, we seem to, and further,.some of us relish our ruination capacity, which…smh

  6. 10) My brain saw “Oliver Cr” and filled the rest in with “omwell”. I was very confused.

  7. (1) Laura is a friend and a person I consider a mentor of mine, one of my instructors from Viable Paradise, and just one of the best people around. She’s always giving back and supportive of other writers. I hope folks will give if they can, they could really use the help to get themselves on more stable financial ground.

    (18) DUST has really been finding some great stuff to release under their badge. I caught this one a few days ago and loved it, check it out if you haven’t.

  8. 16) Their logic only works if one considers only government actions to be for the betterment of humanity.

    Commercial ventures that expand the ability of humanity to expand to our solar system are for the betterment of humanity. Future generations will colonize space precisely because commercial ventures will show us the best/most economical methods for that expansion.

    Government actions in controlling technology/science more frequently slow the expansion of knowledge and human opportunity. Not always, but it has a batting average that isn’t all that great.

    Or the shorter version, the decision to withhold astronaut status from the recent private ventures is petty and short-sighted.

    TAGLINE ERROR! Report to tech support

  9. 16) It sound like this is all due to the wording of the Outer Space Treaty. I wonder how this applied to the status of the Space Shuttle crew back when they would deploy spy satellites?

  10. 16) I think what they’re reaching for is a distinction between astronaut and space tourist, which seems perfectly reasonable. Though I guess if “for the benefit of all countries” eventually ends up excluding people who put up orbital billboards or cryptocurrency satellites(*) then that might be a small net positive.

    (*) Free solar power and the chill of space for cooling make orbital bitcoin the obvious way to raise funds for lunar helium-3 prospecting, of course

  11. @ Sophie Jane

    (*) Free solar power and the chill of space for cooling make orbital bitcoin the obvious way to raise funds for lunar helium-3 prospecting, of course

    If bitcoin miners will move from China to Texas, why not near-earth orbit? Great idea.

  12. @Dann65–

    16) Their logic only works if one considers only government actions to be for the betterment of humanity.

    Not remotely what they’re saying.

    Commercial ventures that expand the ability of humanity to expand to our solar system are for the betterment of humanity. Future generations will colonize space precisely because commercial ventures will show us the best/most economical methods for that expansion.

    And they’ll do it only because governments did the essential work in proving humans can function in zero G, and survive high G to get there, and worked out all the basic engineering and tech issues, as well as unexpected human-experience issues–and all for science and military projects…oops, and all those commercial telecommunications satellites.

    Private industry will do things government space agencies would never have done, but they didn’t do, and wouldn’t have done, the basic R&D. Practicality had to be proven before private industry started seeing dollar and other currency symbols dancing in their eyes, in any way except from government contracts.

    Same is true of the internet, by the way.

    Government actions in controlling technology/science more frequently slow the expansion of knowledge and human opportunity. Not always, but it has a batting average that isn’t all that great.

    The batting average is really quite good. Or was, before people who mystifyingly call themselves “conservatives” started alternately ridiculing and having hissy fits over government expenditures on basic research, and “basic” research started being funded more and more by corporations who want profits from it, yesterday.

    Or the shorter version, the decision to withhold astronaut status from the recent private ventures is petty and short-sighted.

    Except for Wally Funk, the passengers–and they were just passengers, on New Shepard, at least–were space tourists getting a thrill ride, not doing anything to advance anything. A quick check shows SpaceShipTwo had two pilots, so there’s a reasonable case for calling them astronauts.

    HOWEVER, this apparently requires changes to the Outer Space Treaty, and US law written in keeping with the language in the treaty. Both should be revised, but no one is being “petty” in following the law.

  13. Re: 9) Memory Lane: Thanks for that! I didn’t realize, but it makes for an interesting bit of synchronicity, since yesterday Michael Ventrella and I launched our latest Kickstarter campaign, for the anthology “Three Time Travelers Walk Into…”.

  14. 26) When I actually look at the Outer Space Treaty, the bit about “regarded as an envoy of mankind in outer space” is a requirements on the state parties to the treaty, not a limitation on who is an astronaut. It’s an awful weasel to say that states can avoid regarding someone as an envoy of mankind, with no other reasons, and claim that that very avoidance removes astronaut status, and so absolves the obligation.

    Activities by non-governmental entities are provided for, as long as they are under supervision by an appropriate state.

  15. @ Kyra

    Not sure if it’s been posted here somewhere yet, but NPR has put up quite a credible list of the 50 best SFF titles of the past decade.

    I agree. It’s a very good list.

  16. @Lis Carey

    ….were space tourists getting a thrill ride, not doing anything to advance anything.

    I disagree. As with any early adopters of technology, these “tourists” were expanding our future access to the same technology. Space tourism will eventually bring the cost of launches down far enough to make it more accessible – although probably not accessible for everyone.

    That applies to big screen TVs as well as to medical innovations like a 3D printed replacement pancreas. The first versions are expensive. Later on they become more financially viable for more people and eventually become utilitarian. The high prices paid by early adopters paves the way for everyone else.

    The batting average is really quite good. Or was, before people who mystifyingly call themselves “conservatives” started alternately ridiculing and having hissy fits over government expenditures on basic research, and “basic” research started being funded more and more by corporations who want profits from it, yesterday.

    The dominance of government funding of research was a creation of the 20th century. Previously, research was more commonly funded by private individuals, companies, and universities. For example, the Nimrod Expedition was funded by private loans and contributions.

    Also, funding is not the same thing is actually doing research. As an example from last year, government funded the efforts of private companies to develop our current suite of vaccines. Government funding of scientific research usually isn’t a problem, IMHO.

    Contrarily, the US went without an effective Covid detection protocol for about 6 weeks. South Korea had an effective protocol that we could have used. Europe had an effective protocol that we could have used. Thousands of American scientists in hundreds of laboratories had the intellectional and physical resources to quickly develop an effective test.

    But because the CDC was determined that the US could only use a Covid test that was developed by CDC minds using CDC equipment, we had to wait for 6 weeks while the virus spread. Heck, we have roughly 200,000,000 Americans that are vaccinated and the FDA still can’t get off its arse to formally approve the vaccines.

    Government funding of science? Pretty good batting average.

    Government conducting/regulating science? Not so much.


    That is a pretty good list. Lots of things I’ve read. Lots on the TBR pile. A couple of nits to pick here and there, but overall pretty good stuff.

    ” … ” said Pooh as he was rendered speechless

  17. Christian Brunschen says Robert De Niro was also, of course, in Stardust.

    I’ll do him next year. He did get a Birthday write-up by OGH three years ago.

  18. I saw “The Time Machine” when it first came out and several times since, and I thought (and think) it was pretty good. It’s certainly a classic. And good ol’ Yvette was quite a looker. And of course the Machine itself was a classic in itself.

  19. 9) “The screenplay was by David Duncan, noted genre writer who won two Aurora Awards.”

    No. The Canadian writer used the name Dave Duncan; his first sale was in 1986 at the age of 53.

  20. (10) Chris Baker’s early work — which included illustrations for the famous Andromeda Bookshop in Birmingham and the UK convention Novacon — was signed as ‘Fangorn’.

  21. FWIW, there’s a perfectly good term for passengers : supercargo. They’re no more entitled to calling themselves astronauts than I am to call myself a sailof for buying a ticket for an ocean cruise.

  22. @Rose Embolism: In this particular case, I think “Spam in a can” is traditional.

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