#sciencefiction Feed

Live from the Banks of the Miskatonic: LibraryThing: Miskatonic University Library in Arkham, Massachusetts: "Description: The building was full of a frightful stench...

...which Dr Armitage knew too well, and the three men rushed across the hall to the small genealogical reading-room whence the low whining came. For a second nobody dared to turn on the light, then Armitage summoned up his courage and snapped the switch. One of the three--it is not certain which--shrieked aloud at what sprawled before them among disordered tables and overturned chairs...

Picture LibraryThing


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: The U.S.S. Asimov...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

The U.S.S. Asimov...:


Preliminary Initial Notes on the Economics of Star Trek

Over at Equitable Growth: Preliminary Initial Notes on the Economics of Star Trek:

  • Look, 1776 North America was a very rich country by 18th Century standards because of the enormous land to labour ratio, and yet still 75% of our people were farmers engaged in growing your 2,500 calories per day plus essential nutrients plus other things...
  • Today, here in the United States, we are down to 3% of the labour force who are growing our food...
  • Going from 75% to 3% means as far as basic calories and nutrients are concerned we have gone 95% of the way to the Replicator as far as basic calories plus essential nutrients are concerned... READ MOAR

Continue reading "Preliminary Initial Notes on the Economics of Star Trek" »


Trekonomics Teaser Videos: Brad DeLong, Adam Gomolin, Manu Saadia

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

Continue reading "Trekonomics Teaser Videos: Brad DeLong, Adam Gomolin, Manu Saadia" »


Comment of the Day: Ronald Brak: Machete Order: "Great link, Brad...

...I've sent it to my friend whose spouse hasn't seen any of the Star Wars movies. If it convinces her not to make him watch The Phantom Menace it may save a marriage.


Weekend Reading: Rod Hilton: Star Wars: Machete Order

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Rod Hilton: The Star Wars Saga: Introducing Machete Order: "Watch the films with them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI...

...Episode I is gone. Episodes II and III aren't exactly Shakespeare, but stand ing next to the complete and utter train wreck that is Episode I, they sure look like it. At least, III does.... Episode I is a failure on every possible level..... Luckily, George Lucas has... ma[de] the content of Episode I completely irrelevant to the rest of the series.... Every character established in Episode I is either killed or removed before it ends (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, Chancellor Valorum), unimportant (Nute Gunray, Watto), or es tab lished better in a later episode (Mace Windu, Darth Sidious). Does it ever matter that Palpatine had an apprentice before Count Dooku? Nope.... Does it ever matter that Obi-Wan was being trained by Qui-Gon? Nope.... Search your feelings, you know it to be true! Episode I doesn't matter at all....

Continue reading "Weekend Reading: Rod Hilton: Star Wars: Machete Order" »


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: The Vulcans Are Not Coming...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

The Vulcans are not coming...:


George R.R. Martin Wins Science Fiction's Hugo Awards for All Time...

Live from the Roasterie: Well played, GRRM, well played. I'll excuse this diversion of your time and energy from finishing Game of Thrones. This diversion, and only this once...

Amy Wallace: Who Won Science Fiction's Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters: "Laura J. Mixon, who won for Best Fan Writer, gave by far the most stirring speech...

...Her winning blog post had meticulously described the venomous behavior of a female, left-leaning troll (an Internet troll, not a troll-troll). “There’s room for all of us here,” Mixon said. “But there’s no middle ground between ‘We belong here’ and ‘No you don’t.’ I believe we must find non-toxic ways to discuss our conflicting points of view.” In closing, Mixon, who is white, added, “I stand with people from marginalized groups who seek simply to be seen as fully human. Black lives matter.”...

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Quotes Fans Winnie The Pooh And Piglet Quotes About Love

Comment of the Day: Cosma Shalizi: Comment on Guest Post: Mad Max: "As I may have mentioned here before...

...I remember reading, many years ago on Usenet, a fragment which either began or ended with the line:

'We've got a green light on the launch codes... Turn the key, Piglet, turn the key!' snarled Pooh.

and thinking it had immense possibilities...


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: The Prime Directive...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

The prime directive...:


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: 95% of the Way to Replicator for Basic Foodstuffs

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

We have already gone 95% of the way to the replicator for basic foodstuffs...:


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: From Ayn Rand to Lord Keynes...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford Deong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

On the Ferengi... From Ayn Rand to Lord Keynes...:


Across the Wide Missouri: I score this--John Scalzi vs. John Ringo--for Scalzi, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. How is John Scalzi mischaracterizing Ringo's argument? If I had to summarize John Ringo’s Sad-Puppy Hugo Awards argument, it would be as:

  • Scalzi's Redshirts is a novel that has no redeeming social value other than that its characters are a diverse SJW cross-section.
  • Redshirts won a Hugo.
  • Therefore SJWs are sacrificing story to SJW-ness and ruining science fiction.
  • No, I have not read Redshirts and never will.

It seems to me that Scalzi and company went the extra mile, and more, to turn Ringo’s argument into something semi-coherent that could be examined and refuted…


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: I'm an East-African Plains-Ape Cooperator...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

I'm an East-African plains-ape cooperator, engaged in reinforcing social ties through a web of gift-exchange relationships...:


Trekonomics Teaser Clip: The Economic Problem Is Not Permanent...

Manu Saadia, the author of the forthcoming book, Trekonomics, discusses the economic theories behind the creation of the Star Trek with J. Bradford DeLong, professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Treasury. Inkshares' Adam Gomolin is the moderator:

The economic problem is not the permanent problem of the human race...


Hoisted from the Archives: I See the Stars at Bloody Warrs in the Wounded Welkin Weeping (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)

Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra Technic Civilization Poul Anderson 9781451638226 Amazon com Books

From Ten Years Ago: I See the Stars at Bloody Warrs in the Wounded Welkin Weeping (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...): Teresa Nielsen Hayden writes about Poul Anderson:

Making Light: Loss of suspension: ...that terrible moment when you see too far into the emotional strategies of a work of fiction, and it falls dead for you. There's no retrieving it. That moment of insight recolors all your previous readings, so that what was once fascinating is now just painful.

I've only ever seen one instance where it was salvaged. When I was a kid, I happily read Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry stories. When I got older they turned to ashes in my mouth,[1] around the time I noticed what a shallow manipulative SOB Flandry is, and how often his exploits are paid for by the women in his vicinity. Then, much later, Poul Anderson paid off the series's debts in full with the stark and (in my opinion) underrated A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows.

Continue reading "Hoisted from the Archives: I See the Stars at Bloody Warrs in the Wounded Welkin Weeping (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)" »


Comment of the Day: Ryan: Notes on "Trekonomics"...: "In Star Trek, as in the Culture series, work still occurs...

...But the idea is that work is geared toward improving oneself and making the world better. It's service. I doubt this is the likeliest outcome, as there is a thread in human nature that manifests itself in exploitation of others for reasons that go beyond the economic...


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Must-Read: Why "Arena" is one of my ten favorite Star Trek episodes of all time!

Keith DeCandido: Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Arena”: "The Metrons... find the confrontation that was about to ensue to be violent and icky...

...and so they will resolve it.... They have prepared a planet for Kirk and the Gorn captain (which is the first time the enemy has been identified by name) to battle against each other in individual combat. Elements will be provided for them to fashion weapons, and they’re equipped with translators that will enable them to talk to each other and record the combat. While Kirk is faster than the reptilian Gorn, the Gorn is far stronger....

Continue reading "" »


Weekend Reading: Jo Walton (2010): Dorothy Sayers’s "Gaudy Night"

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Jo Walton (2010): The mind, the heart, sex, class, feminism, true love, intrigue, not your everyday ho hum detective story: Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night:

It’s always the books I like the most that I feel I haven’t done justice to when I write about them.

Gaudy Night was published in 1936. It’s still in print, and more than that, it’s still relevant. It’s not science fiction or fantasy by any stretch, its genre is cosy detective story. It’s about a series of incidents in a women’s college in Oxford in which someone is trying to provoke a scandal. But what it’s really about is the difficult balance between love and work and whether it is possible for a woman to lead a life of the mind wholeheartedly, and whether it’s possible for her to do this and have love and a family. Sayers examines this seriously and with examples. You might think that the issues might be dated. Some of the attitudes are, but on the whole the fulcrum point of ‘having it all’, marrying as an equal and not as a helpmeet, is still an interesting question.

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‘Star Wars’ standalone film will be Han Solo prequel - NY Daily News

Must-Read: Ethan Sacks: ‘Star Wars’ Standalone Film Will Be Han Solo Prequel: "Lucasfilm announced Tuesday that film...

...which is slated for a May 25, 2018 release, will focus on the how the iconic character played by Harrison Ford in four 'Star Wars' movies 'became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley.' Piloting the anthology flick will be 'LEGO Movie' co-directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, two of the most powerful nerds in this galaxy. This is the first film we've worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,' the directors said in a joint statement...


Startup Geometry Podcast: Brad DeLong and Scott Gosnell: The Honest Broker for the Week of June 7, 2015

bottlerocketscience: Startup Geometry Podcast EP 004: Brad DeLong:

http://traffic.libsyn.com/windcastle/Startup_Geometry_EP_004__Brad_DeLong.mp3

Show Notes:

Continue reading "Startup Geometry Podcast: Brad DeLong and Scott Gosnell: The Honest Broker for the Week of June 7, 2015" »


Across the Wide Missouri: Alexi Panshin (1981): Heinlein's Expanded Universe: "Heinlein’s best has been his hunger...

...to break free from all the limitations of his turn-of-the-century, Bible Belt Missouri background, his engineer’s pragmatism and exactitude, his naval officer’s dedication and discipline, his willingness to think and rethink, and his readiness to educate the young in necessary survival skills. Heinlein’s bad side has been his arrogance and egotism, his manipulativeness and concern to always have the upper hand, and -- worst of all -- his misplaced morality.


Live from La Farine: Game of Thrones Blogging:

People: "Game of Thrones" Is Horror!:

In the very first scene of the very first episode of the very first season of "Game of Thrones", three members of the Night's Watch--an older veteran-type Gared, and two callow-youth types, one in command named Waymar Royce and the other named Will--set out on patrol. By 2:45 the point rider Will has encountered horrible evil. By 3:30 the veteran-type Gared has told the two callow-youth types that they need to head back to their base. By 5:50 they learn that the evil is supernatural, and start to die. By 6:15 the survivors' courage has broken and they are running south as fast as they can. By 7:00 there is only one survivor--the un-arrogant callow youth Will.

Continue reading "" »


Science Fiction: Jim Baen

Re: John Scalzi: The Myth of SF/F Publishing House Exceptionalism

I don't doubt that Baen Books under Jim Baen was primarily a print-good-stories-that-Jim-Baen-thinks-will-sell-and-get-people-to-buy-more-Baen-books enterprise. And I don't doubt that Jim Baen was very good to John Ringo.

But.

Consider three things:

First, Walter Jon Williams's take. Walter Jon Williams tells stories of unhappy dealings with Jim Baen. WJW is a very, very good writer indeed who writes cracking good stories that have a beginning, a middle, and a (more than satisfactory end--in fact, who writes stories that are so good that everyone would benefit from some more serious publisher marketing muscle behind him. He casts a rather different light on Baen. See http://www.walterjonwilliams.net/2011/04/1983-the-writers-life/, on life in the days when Jim Baen was both an editor at Tom Doherty's Tor Boks and running his own Baen Software computer-game company: "Those were the days when there were only three people in the Tor offices. Jim Baen the editor, Tom Doherty the publisher, and Mrs. Doherty the bookkeeper....

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Across the Cassini Division: Richard M.: Ken MacLeod Seminar: "A short index of Ken MacLeod books...

...by political ideology promoted:

  • The Star Fraction: Revolutionary Communism
  • The Stone Canal: Anarcho-Capitalism
  • The Cassini Division: State Communism
  • The Sky Road: Barbarism
  • Engines of Light Trilogy: Feudalism
  • Learning the World: Neoliberalism
  • Night Sessions: Secularism
  • Restoration Game: Gnosticism
  • The Execution Channel: Liberalism
  • Intrusion: Libertarianism....

I went with the one that either was shown as working better than you might expect (the semi-utopias), or was the most obvious counter to the the dominant ideology of the dystopias. Of course, YMMV as to which is which…


Must-Read: Nancy Lebovitz: Men Hunting Things: "Drake writes (I'm sure it was in one of the Things/Men anthologies)...

...about the ways in which war has become worse for soldiers--continuous through the night, continuous through the year, louder, the danger is more random... and the punchline was that some have compared war to hunting, but for soldiers in a modern war, it's more like being prey.


For the Weekend: UrsulaV: Puddleglum in Heaven

Preview of For the Weekend UrsulaV Puddleglum in Heaven

UrsulaV: Puddleglum in Heaven: "@ 119 - 'It's all very well for us,' said Puddleglum gloomily...

...'but what about everyone else, eh? Not exactly sunny skies and eel-pie for them, now, is it?' He gestured vaguely, presumably in the direction of Earth, or the now-defunct Narnia. 'Great crashing train wrecks--whatever a 'train' is, though I'm given to understand it involves a lot of metal and steam and boilers and fantastic speeds and you can't tell me THAT was a good idea, whoever came up with it--and some poor sod's got to go picking through the wreckage, don't they?'

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Live from the Beverly Hills Hilton: On my flight to LAX I watched the intro episode of “Star Trek: Enterprise”. First time watching the show.

Does it ever get better? Or do we deal with it in the same way we deal with the Star Wars prequels — i.e., pretend they never happened?


Weekend Reading: John Scalzi (2014): The Orthodox Church of Heinlein

John Scalzi (2014): The Orthodox Church of Heinlein: "If you’re an aficionado of passive-aggressive fannish xenophobia...

...in which the frothing distrust of people who aren’t just like you is couched in language designed to give the appearance of being reasonable until you squint at it closely, then you’re not going to want to miss this piece by Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf. It’s a really fine example of the form. I recommend you check it out for the full effect, but for those of you who won’t, here’s an encapsulation of the piece:

“Once upon a time all the fractious lands of science fiction fandom were joined together, and worshiped at the altar of Heinlein. But in these fallen times, lo do many refuse to worship Heinlein, preferring instead their false idols and evil ways. What shall we, who continue to attend the Orthodox Church of Heinlein, do with these dirty, dirty people? Perhaps we shall wall ourselves away in His sepulcher, for we are the One True Church, and should not have to sully ourselves with the likes of them. P.S.: Also, their awards don’t mean anything because we don’t get nominated for them very much and maybe we don’t want to be nominated anyway.”

So, notes.

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Robert A. Heinlein, Civil Rights, Market Pressure, and Right-Libertarian "Freedom"

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On Robert A. Heinlein (1964):

So the banker is the son of a bitch in the deal--Or is he, now? Bankers never handle their own money to any important extent; they are custodians of other people’s money. If the banker thinks that it is a bad deal in the long run [because of discrimination], is it not his solemn duty to his stockholders and his depositors to refuse it? No matter how it offends the “human rights” of purple people eaters? Is he morally justified in hypothecating other people’s money in a deal which he considers risky--whether the risk be on that one piece of paper, or long-term risk for his whole crazy structure of loans and futures and so forth? I say he is not; he is a steward and must behave as one--not as a social reformer. Are you and I entitled to a backseat veto over his judgment? No, it ain’t our money. So far, I think, no argument--You, the banker, and the subdivider are each morally entitled to turn down the purple people eater...

And me on Twitter via Storify:

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Weekend Reading: Robert A. Heinlein: Letter for F.M. Busby on Freedom and Race Relations

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The Heinlein Foundation appears to have taken down its Virginia Edition Sample.

Here's the letter to F.M. Busby from it:

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter may never have been sent, possibly due (in part) to its racial contents, still incandescently incendiary forty-five years later. Heinlein moved the letter bodily to his “Story Notes” desk file, possibly because of its relevance to the underlying background of Farnham’s Freehold. The first page of the letter is missing, so we pick it up in mid- sentence and undated, though Virginia Heinlein noted on an index card stored with the letter that it must, by internal evidence, have been written sometime in 1964 or 1965 and in any event before October 1965 (when the Heinleins moved from Colorado Springs). The letter is printed otherwise complete and as Heinlein wrote it.

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