Links: 2020-05-13

Science Fiction

  • THE SKINNER: Where do I Start? IMO, you can never go wrong with written order (Gridlinked, etc.) because that’s how it had to make sense in the first place. (Although I’d read a couple of Asher stories, Gridlinked is where I started in terms of books, although – in retrospect – it’s good but not the best. Certainly good enough, obviously.) However, it’s not usually wrong to start in internal order either (Prador Moon) because that’s how it’s been retrofitted to work. Also, Prador Moon is short and relatively self-contained, so it’s not a huge investment, and I think it’s a total freaking blast. (I’ve fallen way behind but, so far, it and The Line of Polity are my favorites, but the latter is the second of the main Cormac five, so not a good starting place.) Also, aside from the brevity – and Asher’s not as long-winded as many New Space Opera people, anyway – it’s sort of quintessential Asher. If you like it, you like Asher. If you don’t, you may well not like Asher (though maybe you still would like Cowl or Ownerspace or maybe even the longer, more connected narrative of the main Cormac/Dragon books could grab you). Whether you go internal, external, random, or other, the link takes you to the current state of things.
  • Retro Hugos: “Far Centaurus” by A. E. van Vogt | Adventures Fantastic / H. L. Gold’s “Trouble With Water” | Adventures Fantastic / Jack Williamson’s “Dead Star Station” | Futures Past and Present / Happy Birthday, Larry Niven | Futures Past and Present. I reviewed “Concealment” for van Vogt’s birthday and “Nonstop to Mars” for Williamson’s and “The Hole Man” for Niven’s; here are three alternate stories celebrating these authors, along with a fantasy which is Gold’s (first- or second-)most famous story.
  • Flogging Babel: “She Saved Us From World War Three”. I’m not going to pay any $20 for a pamphlet which seems to go out of its way to be minimal, but the Dozois/Tiptree connection is interesting and this post from Michael Swanwick touches on it.


Graphic from “Each of these ‘tiny’ threads of blazing-hot plasma on the sun is 125 miles wide | Space”



I don’t ordinarily do this sort of stuff but I just… I don’t know. On some of the staff writers answer some of the readers’ questions in a “Mailbag” and we have this absolutely stunning gem:

Q: What major differences will there be between Mike McCarthy’s offensive style and what we have seen from Jason Garrett’s offense?

A: …Hopefully, with three Pro Bowl-caliber receivers in the lineup, McCarthy helps the Cowboys get away from that 1995, ground-and-pound mentality.

Hopefully, the writer knows we have Pro Bowlers in the backfield, too. And knows what happened for the LAST time off the 1995 season. We had a Pro Bowler (to say the least) in the backfield then, too. I think I’d like a whole hell of a lot of “that 1995, ground-and-pound mentality,” myself (which Garrett was not exactly committed to, himself). It may not be nice to say, but it’s honest to say, that Mailbag answer is the stupidest damned thing I’ve heard in a long time and, what with current events, I’ve heard a lot of stupid stuff lately.

Super Bowl XXX: Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17

Sorry. Extremely frustrated Cowboys fan. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.




Falling behind, and I can no longer say “hello in there,” so I have to say goodbye to both John and to David in this post. (I don’t know that anyone ever plays these songs I embed in these posts but, if not, you’re missing a hell of a song this time.)

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