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Science fiction has a long, colourful tradition of books about people with very special powers, abilities focused in specific privileged lineages through extended eugenics programs. See, for example, Doc Smith's Lensmen series, Heinlein's Howard Family stories and Larry Niven's Known Space. Generally being a participant in these programs isn't a bad thing, even though it constrains one's choice of mates somewhat, and I cannot help but feel the fact most of the authors who come to mind are white and middle or even upper class – not the groups usually subjected to such programs, upper class inbreeding aside – plays a role in how the whole affair is portrayed.

I think it is safe to say Octavia Butler, one of the very very few African American science fiction writers active in the 1970s, had an entirely different model in the back of her mind as to how the whole directed breeding program would work out in real life. Until about 1865 [1] the US had a distinct population whose activities were overtly closely monitored and closely controlled; a pattern that just leaps out at anyone who isn't a mouth-breathing libertarian or worse is that despite whatever the propaganda of the day said, the program was not being run for the benefit of its subjects. Read more... )
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For people baffled that, for example, someone could grope a Hugo-winning author on stage without suffering any consequences for attending subsequent cons, the secret fannish rating system prevents action until one's SFR number drops below zero. It is as follows

Ogling: -1 pt
Touching (non-sexual): - 5 points
Touching (sexual): -10
Harassment: -10
Rape: -15
Murder or Cannibalism: -20
Murder and Cannibalism: -30
Embarrassing the con: -115
Being a SMOF: +120 pts
Being a BNE: 90 pys
Being a BNF: 60 pts
Being a BNA: 30 pts
Being Harlan Ellison™: 10000 pts
Being a regular fan: 1
Being a "mundane": 0

Positive numbers are divided by two, rounded down, for people not unambiguously male. During disputes between fans, their numbers are compared and whoever has the higher number wins. Note that the minus modifiers apply against both the subject of the complaint and the person complaining.


Jul. 21st, 2014 12:34 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Can anyone tell me anything about the Ocean Living Institute, which I believe was active in the 1970s and whether or not there were two companies or more by that name at that time?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

The four-year mark is based on the fact that, because of an agreement with Tor, Frenkel is not able to make a public apology for five years (so, for four more years).

1: Has Tor in fact abjured Frenkel from making a public apology for five years or has perhaps some misapprehension occurred here?

2: What interest of Tor's does this serve?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

As a member of the Frenkel Subcommittee and Chair of the Harassment Policy Committee, I'm writing this in an effort to address member concerns and provide some transparency about how we came to recent decisions. I am speaking only for myself, and not in any official Wiscon capacity.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)

When Royce offered to send this to me, I accepted enthusiastically, both because I once owned it and because I had confused it with this issue of Galileo:


While it wasn't what I expected, there was still some interesting material in there.
Read more... )
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I'd rather live in a world where Wiscon had not screwed up but since it did, I am not going to ignore the fact that it screwed up.
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Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western Maverick led to a stellar career in TV and films such as The Rockford Files and his Oscar-nominated Murphy's Romance, has died, police said. He was 86.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
This demonstrates a pitfall the preferred length of modern SF generally skirts. I began intended just to reread Edgar Pangborn's post-holocaust Bildungsroman Davy but because I was also planning to reread Canticle for Leibowitz, which covers centuries to Davy's decades I then began to ponder if it would be better to reread all the stories Pangborn wrote in that setting so I would be comparing similar spans of time or at least half a millennium to 1800 years. After all, both The Company of Glory and The Judgment of Eve are short and the collection Still I Persist in Wondering is under 300 pages. Of course, it all added up to something as long as The Past Through Tomorrow or Adventures in Time and Space. I am sure there is a lesson here somewhere and equally sure that I didn't learn it.
Read more... )
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A stamp from Sylvia and Randy Hannigan's used bookstore The Book Barn. Or possibly the previous owner's Book Barn, but definitely the used bookstore that was near King and Erb in Waterloo.


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