Links: 2020-09-23

Science Fiction

Science

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Some say the current occupant of the White House is a Russian asset. If that’s true, I wonder if his codename is…

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Links: 2020-08-26

It’s been awhile since the last “Links” post, so there are more items than usual.

Science Fiction

Science

Other

History

Sports

Humor

Music

Sanity warning: do not watch the following videos.

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Links: 2020-07-08

Site News

Featured Futures Mk. II is over nine months old but the regular posting has only been going on for the first six months of this year. That quickly came to mean posting every Monday with book reviews and every Friday with birthday story reviews, while only posting one or two Wednesdays a month with “Links” posts.

I’m 90% certain this will crash and burn but I’m going to try to keep doing all that and post something every Wednesday with, say, extra book reviews and a monthly discussion of whatever TV shows and movies I’ve seen. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, here’s a supersized “Links” post.

Science Fiction

  • Approaching Perimelasma – novelette by Geoffrey A Landis. I wasn’t really thinking about it when I discussed this story in “Birthday Reviews: Blish, Ellison, Jones, Landis” but this is online so everyone can check out how great it is for themselves.
  • Campbell and Wilhelm | Adventures Fantastic / Keith Laumer Sends a Message | Futures Past and Present . Despite often covering the same birthday authors, I think this is the first time Featured Futures and Adventures Fantastic/Futures Past and Present have covered the same story as happens here with Campbell’s “Forgetfulness.” Without drawing the connection between them that I drew by covering “The Mile-Long Spaceship,” this post also discusses Wilhelm and some of her other stories. The other post discusses Laumer but I don’t know that Laumer has “fallen into neglect.” These days, with ebooks and most any used book you want to find available at various internet sellers, it’s hard to gauge interest and, either way, everyone goes through spells. After having a lot of work available up to 2012/13 or so, he did have a lull but with Worlds of the Imperium (Dover, 2017), Three by Laumer (Gollancz, 2017), Bolo (Phoenix Pick, 2019), Rogue Bolo (Phoenix Pick, 2020), and even Keith Laumer’s Retief (Library & Archives Canada, 2020), he has five physical books in four years, which beats most living authors. But it is important to emphasize that Laumer was more than just Retief and Bolo, however wonderful those are, and this post does that. (My reviews of stories by these authors were in “Birthday Reviews: Campbell, Haldeman, Laumer, Wilhelm“.)
  • Destination Moon: A 70th Anniversary Appreciation. My blog has been kindly described as having “intensely detailed analysis” but is terse compared to this guest post on Centauri Dreams. (Warning for the spoiler-averse: the section “The Film” goes through the whole plot but, even if you skip that, there are four other sections to explore.)
  • Retro Hugos: “The Big and the Little” | Adventures Fantastic. Here’s another view on this story which I reviewed recently. And here’s the tag for all the reviews in the series so far: Retro-Hugos | Adventures Fantastic.

Science

Other

History

1967-alfa-romeo-tipo-33-stradale

The History Blog has been on fire lately.

Foreign Policy

  • The Retrenchment Syndrome | Foreign Affairs. This is a very important article which argues against a naive, pacifist foreign policy. It argues that “[r]etrenchers do not acknowledge that U.S. withdrawal often leaves a vacuum that enemies and adversaries are eager to fill” and, more specifically, that “[d]isengagement from competitions overseas would cede influence to others, such as the Chinese Communist Party, which is already redoubling efforts to promote its authoritarian model.” The article isn’t perfect (the line that the 2019 Syrian withdrawal “complicated” things is comical understatement, though it at least calls it out for the mistake it was) but it’s very good and timely.

Humor

Music

Speaking of… rock and cover!

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Links: 2020-06-10

Science Fiction

soa

Science

Other

History

Humor

Music

Remembering one star and two satellites of stars…

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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.

Science

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

Other

Sports

I don’t ordinarily do this sort of stuff but I just… I don’t know. On dallascowboys.com 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.

History

Humor

Music

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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Links: 2020-04-15

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Science

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Two almost completely different things here…

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Sporadic Book Haul #2

This is a micro-haul which I ordered online early in the current event and which I received awhile ago. Along with a used triple-CD, I got two new books, both SF novels, and four used books: a non-fiction SF book (which finally completes the recovery of both volumes), one poetry book (which finally completes the “New Oxford Books of Verse” series for me), and two history books (which are parts of series). If the thumbnail isn’t big enough and/or the spirit moves you, you can click to embiggen. 🙂

sporadic2-tn

Links: 2020-03-23

I normally post a book review or the like every Monday and post this sort of thing on some Wednesdays and was planning to do this one this Wednesday but I ironically haven’t been able to do much reading lately and this is ready to go, so here it is.

Science Fiction

Science

Other

History

  • The History Blog » Tiny new bird dinosaur found in amber. I guess the skull strength indicates that it’s not immature? Because that’s the first explanation for the size that occurs to me, but that isn’t addressed. Still several weird attributes aside from that, though.
  • The History Blog » #UffiziDecameron. I have done and will do my best to avoid the current event aspect of this, since I think there’s enough out there if you want it and some might welcome a reprieve but, since I’d also thought about the wonderful Decameron and there are nice, upbeat things about this article, I thought I’d share this one.

Humor

Music

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Links: 2020-03-04

General

octavias-olivetti

Science Fiction

Neal Asher

Asher’s been extra-busy and interesting with his blog lately.

Story Reviews

Here are some more reviews of stories by some people I’ve discussed in recent Birthday Reviews:

Other

  • Ansible® 392, March 2020. In addition to the wonder that is Thog, this issue includes the sad news that Thog’s dad, contributor to the Encyclopedias of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and more, Paul Barnett/John Grant has died. The two “As Others See Us” installments are particularly interesting: “According to the statistics on display in Helen Taylor’s lavishly publicised new study [Why Women Read Fiction], women bought 76 percent of the general fiction sold in the UK in 2017 and blokes a paltry 24 percent. Even when it came to the classics, women were still ahead (52 to 48) and it was only when you reached questionable sub-genres such as horror (46/54) and sci-fi (25/75) that the guys really came into their own.” / “Anne Fadiman on Clifton Fadiman: ‘Our father’s library spanned the globe and three millennia, although it was particularly strong in English poetry and fiction of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The only junk, relatively speaking, was science fiction…” And, of course, there’s much more.
  • Retro Science Fiction Reviews. Just found about this site which is currently reviewing 1944 science fiction and contains links to other 1944 reviews.

Science

Other

History

Humor

Music

More of Corrosion of Conformity’s Reed Mullin…

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