TNH's Particles
* Ron Mueck: disturbing humanity.
* Haven't you always wanted a Norden Bombsight?
* Why you shouldn't use a malachite stalactite as a dildo.
* Tiny jumping robot.
* A line of Hamlet.
* Me and Other People's Characters: A Love Story.
* The strange tale of Social Autopsy.
* Interlude (Rise Up).
* A History of Rock in 15 Minutes.
* James Joyce, first-person shooter.
PNH's Sidelights
* "A lot of white people are truly shocked by what these videos depict; I know very few African-Americans who are surprised."
* Our neighborhood is doomed
* The Negro Motorists' Green Book--and everything else in America. Read this astonishing article.
* Prescription Drug or Tolkien Elf?
* The College of Arms rules on heraldry for individuals in same-sex marriages
* Britons Demand to Live in Medieval Village Surrounded by a Wall
* How Should America Resist a Fascist?
* Political violence
* Bowiebranchia
* Dave Swarbrick, 1941-2016
Abi's Parhelia
* Can we take a moment to just think about how incredibly scary magical healing is in-context?
* Hamilaria
* New York's Elevators Define the City
* Mapping the Sounds of Greek Byzantine Churches: How Researchers Are Creating "Museums of Lost Sound"
* No Wool, No Vikings
* How to Drop a Gulfstream IV into a Ravine: Habitual Noncompliance
* The Geek's Guide to Disability
* Fly like an eagle, die like a drone
* Upcycling
* Starships!
Jim's Diffraction
* Angelus ad virginem 14th century Irish carol
* Christmas on the Theremin
* Kinect eye patch for Xbox One will protect what's left of your privacy
* Real-Time Wind Map
* IS-907: Active Shooter: What You Can Do
* Smithsonian museum artifacts can now be 3D printed at home
* PunditFact
* A Display You Can Reach Through And Touch
* The Craigslist killers: the full story
* Proposed Museum of Science Fiction
Avram's Phosphenes
West Wing Cabinet Battle
Not throwin’ away my Spock
David Bowie — Lazarus
Dnipropetrovsk renames itself Dnipropetrovsk
You Know Nothing, Charlie Brown
“It’s actually the Puppies who are the Marxists.”
Wes Anderson’s The Shining
Thor gets a cellphone
Definitely-Not-Filthy Sailing Terminology
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“We are prophets of a future not our own.” (Oscar Romero)

“Peace means something different from ‘not fighting’. Those aren’t peace advocates, they’re ‘stop fighting’ advocates. Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.” (Jo Walton)

“You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed?” (Darla, “Inside Out”)

“Forgiveness requires giving up on the possibility of a better past.” (unknown)

“The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature.” (Arthur D. Hlavaty)

“Terror consists mostly of useless cruelties perpetrated by frightened people in order to reassure themselves.” (Friedrich Engels)

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of believing that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“You don't owe the internet your time. The internet does not know this, and will never learn.” (Quinn Norton)

“Great writing is the world's cheapest special effect.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“Everyone gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” (Gertrude Stein)

“Very few people are stupid. It’s just that the world really is that difficult and you can’t continually be careful.” (Quinn Norton)

“Armageddon is not around the corner. This is only what the people of violence want us to believe. The complexity and diversity of the world is the hope for the future.” (Michael Palin)

“Just because you’re on their side doesn’t mean they’re on your side.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“The fact that ‘there are only a handful of bad cops’ cuts no ice with me. If ‘only a handful of McDonald’s are spitting in your food,’ you’re not going to McDonald’s.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

“Young men and women, educated very carefully to be apolitical, to be technicians who thought they disliked politics, making them putty in the hands of their rulers, like always.” (Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars)

“The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.” (G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday)

“When liberty is mentioned, we must observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests.” (Hegel)

“History is the trade secret of science fiction.” (Ken MacLeod)

“But isn’t all of human history simultaneously a disaster novel and a celebrity gossip column?” (Anonymous LJ commenter)

“I see now that keen interest can illuminate anything, and that anything, moreover, has something worth illuminating in it, and that without that interest gates carved by Benvenuto Cellini from two diamonds would merely look chilly.” (Lord Dunsany)

“I grieve for the spirit of Work, killed by her evil child, Workflow.” (Paul Ford)

“The opposite of ‘serious’ isn't ‘funny.’ The opposite of both ‘serious’ and ‘funny’ is ‘squalid.’” (R. A. Lafferty)

“Ki is, of course, mystical bullshit. That’s why it works so well, both as a teaching idiom and a tool of practice in martial arts. It’s as nonexistent as charm, leadership, or acting. Humans are all about bullshit.” (Andrew Plotkin)

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” (Charles Kingsley)

“Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying.” (The Joker)

“Hope has two daughters, anger and courage. They are both lovely.” (attributed to St. Augustine)

“Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“This movie has way too much plot getting in the way of the story.” (Joe Bob Briggs)

“If there is no willingness to use force to defend civil society, it’s civil society that goes away, not force.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“Always side with the truth. It’s much bigger than you are.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“Listen, here’s the thing about politics: It’s not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.” (Tony Kushner)

“I don’t want politicians who are ‘above politics,’ any more then I want a plumber who’s ‘above toilets.’” (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.” (Otto von Bismarck)

“Every organization appears to be headed by secret agents of its opponents.” (Robert Conquest)

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” (Anne Lamott)

“Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.” (Oscar Wilde)

“Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical science-fiction cowboy detective novel.” (Alan Moore)

“See everything, overlook a great deal, improve a little.” (John XXIII)

“You will never love art well, until you love what she mirrors better.” (John Ruskin)

“Having a smallpox vaccine scar is like walking around with the moon landing and the Sistine Chapel on your upper arm.” (Angus Johnston)

“They lied to you. The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came.” (Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose)

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” (Jay Gould)

“I’m a leftist. I don't argue with anyone unless they agree with me.” (Steven Brust)

“Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” (Mark Twain)

“Details are all that matters; God dwells there, and you never get to see Him if you don’t struggle to get them right.” (Stephen Jay Gould)

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” (Gustav Mahler)

“But this kind of deference, this attentive listening to every remark of his, required the words he uttered to be worthy of the attention they excited—a wearing state of affairs for a man accustomed to ordinary human conversation, with its perpetual interruption, contradiction, and plain disregard. Here everything he said was right; and presently his spirits began to sink under the burden.” (Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander)

“Hatred is a banquet until you recognize you are the main course.” (Herbert Benson)

“For a Westerner to trash Western culture is like criticizing our nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere on the grounds that it sometimes gets windy, and besides, Jupiter’s is much prettier. You may not realize its advantages until you’re trying to breathe liquid methane.” (Neal Stephenson)

“‘There are no atheists in foxholes’ isn’t an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes.” (James Morrow)

“And after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)

“The man who tries to make the flag an object of a single party is a greater traitor to that flag than any man who fires at it.” (Lloyd George)

“The United States behaves like a salesman with a fantastic product who tries to force people to buy it at gunpoint.” (Emma of Late Night Thoughts)

“I’m a fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberal, and I think fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberalism is an ideological stance that needs defending—if necessary, with a hob-nailed boot-kick to the bollocks of budding totalitarianism.” (Charles Stross)

“The real test of any claim about freedom, I’ve decided, is how far you’re willing to go in letting people be wrong about it.” (Bruce Baugh)

“As with bad breath, ideology is always what the other person has.” (Terry Eagleton)

“Only he who in the face of all this can say ‘In spite of all!’ has the calling for politics.” (Max Weber)

“No, it’s not fair. You’re in the wrong universe for fair.” (John Scalzi)

“I don’t understand death, but I got hot dish down pretty good.” (Marissa Lingen)

“Skepticism is the worst form of gullibility.” (John “adamsj” Adams)

“We have a backstage view of ourselves and a third-row view of everybody else.” (Garrison Keillor)

“The Reign of Sin is more universal, the influence of unconscious error is less, than historians tell us.” (Lord Acton)

“All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.” (H. L. Mencken)

“Tomorrow never happens. It’s all the same fucking day, man.” (Janis Joplin)

“Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their right senses.” (W. B. Yeats)

“It is a little embarrassing that, after 45 years of research and study, the best advice I can give to people is to be a little kinder to each other.” (Aldous Huxley)

“Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

“Probably no man has ever troubled to imagine how strange his life would appear to himself if it were unrelentingly assessed in terms of his maleness; if everything he wore, said, or did had to be justified by reference to female approval [...] If he gave an interview to a reporter, or performed any unusual exploit, he would find it recorded in such terms as these: ‘Professor Bract, although a distinguished botanist, is not in any way an unmanly man. He has, in fact, a wife and seven children. Tall and burly, the hands with which he handles his delicate specimens are as gnarled and powerful as those of a Canadian lumberjack, and when I swilled beer with him in his laboratory, he bawled his conclusions at me in a strong, gruff voice that implemented the promise of his swaggering moustache.’” (Dorothy L. Sayers)

“Grown ups are what’s left when skool is finished.” (Nigel Molesworth)

“If you don't like the ‘blame game,’ it’s usually because you’re to blame.” (Jon Stewart)

“Slang is for a war of signals.” (Unknown semiotician/palindromist)

“Science fiction is an argument with the world. When it becomes (solely) an argument within science fiction, it breathes recycled air.” (Ken MacLeod)

“All worthy work is open to interpretation the author didn’t intend. Art isn’t your pet—it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back.” (Joss Whedon)

“I really don’t know what you do about the ‘taxes is theft’ crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires.” (John Scalzi)

“So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. It’s like saying that the NFL is ‘at war’ with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth, and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.” (Connor Kilpatrick)

“True religion invites us to become better people. False religion tells us that this has already occurred.” (Abdal-Hakim Murad)

“There is a machine. Its program is ‘profit’. This is not a myth.” (Joss Whedon)

“There's always romance at the top of a system.” (Will Shetterly)

“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.” (John “Second US President” Adams)

“There is a document that records God’s endless, dispiriting struggle with organized religion, known as the Bible.” (Terry Eagleton)

“There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part; and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop, And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all.” (Mario Savio)

“Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

“To live is to war against the trolls.” (Henrik Ibsen)

“There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we are ourselves incredibly and sometimes almost incredulously real.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

“It’s just a ride and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.” (Bill Hicks)

“I don’t think we have a language, will ever have a language, that can describe transcendence in any useful way and I am aware that that transcendence may be nothing more than the illusory aspiration of a decaying piece of meat on a random rock. The thing is to be humble enough to be content with that while acting to other people as generously as if better things were true, and making art as if it might survive and do good in the world. Because what else are we going to do with the few short years of our life?” (Roz Kaveney)

“I hate living in a satirical dystopia.” (Arthur Hlavaty)

“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett)

“Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying.” (Iain Banks)

“If it doesn’t connect with people around you who aren’t like you, it isn’t politics.” (Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

August 17, 2016
It’s a book
Posted by Patrick at 08:20 PM * 14 comments

Available at the NESFA Press table at MidAmeriCon; also at a reading and signing by the author tomorrow, Thursday, 18 August, 2 PM in 2203 in the convention center.


To reiterate, yes, it’ll be available online from NESFA Press (and via other online ordering options) after MidAmeriCon. And yes, an e-book will be available by and by.

August 03, 2016
A spoiler thread for Star Trek Beyond
Posted by Teresa at 08:02 PM * 42 comments

Is Star Trek Beyond a movie with a good feel for the original show, or a super-sized ST:TOS episode? Is Zachary Quinto’s Spock a grown-up Wonder Twin? And are Jaylah’s facial markings evidence that Star Wars fandom persists in the Star Trek universe?

All this and more.

Our Worldcon schedule
Posted by Patrick at 07:06 AM * 28 comments

MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, Kansas City, Missouri, August 17-21. Appearances subject to change, check your pocket programs and newsletter updates, contents may settle in shipping, you know the drill. Thanks to the concom and especially Ian Stockdale for their help and patience in arranging all this.

The explanatory notes appended to some items in this list are my own, not MidAmeriCon’s.

Wednesday 1 PM, KCCC 2209
I Remember Big MAC
Joe Haldeman, Mike Resnick, Janice Bogstad (m), PNH
“Big MAC” was the slang term for the first MidAmericon, 40 years ago in 1976. Based on the Worldcon’s growth from 1972 to 1974, it was expected to be unprecedentedly huge. In fact it wasn’t. But it was a lot of people’s first Worldcon—mine, and Tom Doherty’s, to name just two. And in innumerable ways it set important patterns and precedents for decades of Worldcons to come.

Wednesday 2 PM, KCCC 2207
Does SF Still Affect How We Think About the Future?
Michael Swanwick, Cynthia Ward, Adam-Troy Castro, PNH

Wednesday 5 PM, KCCC “Heinlein Stadium”
Opening Ceremony: Meet the Guests of Honor
Ruth Lichtwardt (chair), Pat Cadigan (toastmaster), Michael Swanwick, Tamora Pierce, Kinuko Y. Craft, PNH & TNH

Wednesday 6 PM, KCCC “Olympus Mons”
Fandom Rocks! Introduction and Docent Tour
Geri Sullivan, TNH
Teresa, Geri, and a lot of extremely interesting rocks, large and small. Geology nerds rule.

Wednesday 7 PM, KCCC 2204
The Interstices of Historical Fiction and Fan Fiction
Lyda Morehouse (m), Heather Urbanski, Sumana Harihareswara, TNH

Thursday 11 AM, KCCC 2209
The Future of Work
Eric James Stone, Renée Sieber (m), TNH

Thursday noon, KCCC 3501H
Is Cyberpunk Still a Thing?
Pat Cadigan, Matt Jacobson, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, James Patrick Kelly, Cory Doctorow (m), PNH

Thursday noon, KCCC 2206
What Is a Fan Writer?
Rich Lynch, Guy Lillian, Foz Meadows, Goldeen Ogawa, Lyda Morehouse (m), TNH

Thursday 1 PM, KCCC 2209
As You Know, Bob…: The Fine Art of Exposition
Stanley Schmidt, Eric James Stone, Tamora Pierce, Kevin J. Anderson, Matthew S. Rotundo (m), TNH
One of Teresa’s signature subjects.

Thursday 1 PM, KCCC 3501B
An Introduction to Conventions for Professionals
Gay Haldeman, Janice Gelb, Bill Sutton, Matt Wallace, PNH
Professionals new to old-line SF fandom? Here’s what you need to know. Starting with, It’s Not About You.

Thursday 2 PM, KCCC 2203
Making Conversation: Reading and Autographing
Teresa reads from the new collection, then signs. Copies will be on hand for sale.

Thursday 3 PM, KCCC 2206
The Past, It Ain’t What it Used to Be
Elizabeth Bear, David Gerrold, Ctein (m), TNH

Thursday 3 PM, KCCC 2503B
All Our Yesterdays: How the Worldcon has Covered Fandom’s History Over the Years
Joe Siclari (m), Clare McDonald-Sims, Rich Lynch, PNH

Thursday 4 PM, KCCC 2503A
What’s New from Tor
Tom Doherty, Beth Meacham, Liz Gorinsky, Miriam Weinberg, Jen Gunnels, Irene Gallo, Patty Garcia, PNH
In which we announce that everyone at the Worldcon and the entire populations of Yorkshire, Barcelona, and Gary, Indiana have now been hired as editors at Tor Books. You will find your intake forms beneath your seats. Prepare to ascend.

Friday 11 AM, KCCC Art Show
Art Docent Tour (advance signup required)
Ctein, TNH
Teresa and Ctein give their opinionated tour of the art show, as they have every year since mumble-mumble.

Friday noon, KCCC 2208
The Future Is a Different Country
Andrea Philips, Edward Lerner, Kathleen M. Goonan (m), PNH

Friday 1 PM, KCCC 2210
Making Print: How Technological Changes Affect What We Read
Beth Meacham, John D. Berry, Jim Murray, TNH
I actually wrote the official precis for this item: “The history of publishing is a history of changing technologies. Web presses made the pulp magazines and cheap paperbacks possible. Cheap offset printing created a forest of tiny magazines. We all know, or think we know, about the first-order effects of DTP and the Web. And then there’s the intersection of technological change and distribution methods. What’s the history we don’t fully understand? And what’s next?”

Friday 1 PM, KCCC 2208
An Idiot’s Guide Revisited
Karl Schroeder, Cory Doctorow, PNH
In the long-ago futuristic year of 2000 AD, Alpha Books’ “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series published Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, complete with cover quote and preface by me. Now, in the post-singularity world of 2016, we scrabble down from our hanging egg sacs to re-examine this period piece.

Friday 2 PM, KCCC 2209
Feminism in Science Fiction: When It Changed
Jeanne Gomoll, Eileen Gunn (m), PNH
Katy drives like a maniac.

Friday 3 PM, KCCC 3501D
Moderation and Community Management
John Scalzi and Teresa Nielsen Hayden
A dialogue.

Friday 5 PM, KCCC 3501H
Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden: Fractal, Interstitial, Fannish
Tom Whitmore (m), PNH & TNH
Tom Whitmore interviews us, without a net.

Friday 6 PM, KCCC 3501H
Hamilton as Alternative History and Fan Fiction
Rachael Acks, John Chu, Sunil Patel, Mark Oshiro (m), PNH
Work, work!

Saturday 1 PM, KCCC 2210
Editors: Not Just a Single Job
Anne Sowards, Jim Minz, Liz Gorinsky (m), PNH & TNH

Saturday 3 PM, KCCC 3501D
The Secret History of Science Fiction
Michael Swanwick, Gordon Van Gelder, Eileen Gunn, TNH
All the gossip, some of it true.

Saturday 4 PM, KCCC 3501F
In Memoriam: David G. Hartwell
Kathryn Cramer, Tom Doherty, Michael Swanwick, PNH

Sunday 1 PM, KCCC 2209
Transcending the Genre
Tom Easton, Rich Horton, Jennie Goloboy (m), TNH

Sunday 2 PM, KCCC 2211
Kaffeeklatsch (advance signup required)

Sunday 4 PM, KCCC “Tucker Stage”
Closing Ceremony
Ruth Lichtwardt (chair), Pat Cadigan (toastmaster), Michael Swanwick, Tamora Pierce, Kinuko Y. Craft, PNH & TNH

August 02, 2016
Whisperado, this Thursday
Posted by Patrick at 11:03 AM * 2 comments

In our first Manhattan gig in a very long time, Whisperado will play Arlene’s Grocery at 95 Stanton Street (one block south of Houston, one block east of Allen) this coming Thursday, August 4, at 8 PM. In the words of fearless leader Jon Sobel, “New songs, new energy, and of course a shot of the same old crankiness.”

July 31, 2016
Open thread 213
Posted by Patrick at 01:13 PM * 593 comments

Because the previous one is at well over a thousand comments. Oops!

Also, Worldcon members, today is your last day to vote in this year’s Hugo Awards.

July 26, 2016
So, this happened
Posted by Patrick at 11:18 AM * 71 comments

Changes at Tor

It’s a big change, and a lot of new responsibility. And I won’t deny that I’ve had moments of self-doubt as it was all coming together. But it’s the right thing. And Devi Pillai is outstanding.

To clarify one thing: I’m still an editor. I still plan to work with the books and authors I’ve got, and to bring new ones to the house. No matter what my business card says, there isn’t any future version of Tor in which I would stop doing that.

July 21, 2016
The awesome Laurie Penny
Posted by Patrick at 07:56 PM * 47 comments

Laurie Penny, journalist and, more recently, SF&F writer, at the RNC.

It doesn’t matter that [Milo Yiannopoulos] doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter that he’s secretly quite a sweet, vulnerable person who is gracious to those he considers friends. It doesn’t matter that somewhere in the rhinestone-rimmed hamster wheel of his mind is a conscience. It doesn’t matter because the harm he does is real.

He is leading a yammering army of trolls to victory on terms they barely understand. This is how we got to a place where headline speakers at the Republican convention—one of the most significant political events in the national narrative of world’s greatest superpower—are now actively calling for the slaughter and deportation of foreigners, declaring that Hillary Clinton is an agent of Satan, and hearing only cheers from the floor.

They ventriloquise the fear of millions into a scream of fire in the crowded theatre of modernity where all the doors are locked, and then they watch the stampede, and they smile for the cameras. […]

What’s happening to this country has happened before, in other nations, in other anxious, violent times when all the old certainties peeled away and maniacs took the wheel. It’s what happens when weaponised insincerity is applied to structured ignorance. Donald Trump is the Gordon Gekko of the attention economy, but even he is no longer in control. This culture war is being run in bad faith by bad actors who are running way off-script, and it’s barely begun, and there are going to be a lot of refugees.

Read the rest. Laurie Penny is two and a half feet tall and made entirely of cigarette smoke and hastily-scribbled Post-It notes. She has reported first-hand on people you’d pay your monthly rent to avoid ever having to meet. And she has written what is possibly the greatest single piece of journalism to emerge from this astonishing event.

July 18, 2016
On sale at MidAmericon: Making Conversation by Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Posted by Patrick at 10:05 AM * 89 comments

MAKING CONVERSATION cover.jpg Twenty-two years ago, there was Making Book. It was a finalist for the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Nonfiction Book, but lost out to the dead guy. It’s been through three printings and is still available from NESFA Press.


Making Conversation, selected from TNH’s writing since 1994, will be first available at MidAmericon 2, and afterward from NESFA Press in softcover and e-book form. 222 pages, 59 essays (long and short) about time, space, genre, editing, gardening, saints, libraries, food, democracy, drink, insanity, fear, hamsters, chaos, moderation, palimpsests, fanfic, clichés, books, slush, spelling, scams, sleep, fantasy, policing, infundibula, trolls, writing, knitting, fandom, habaneros, exposition, management, Selectrics, Brooklyn, literary agents, pygmy mammoths, and the true cure for scurvy.

From “Dispatch from Staten Island” (GEnie SFRT, 1 Sep 1994):

“And this is in America, a country in which more than one normal, intelligent adult has had to spend time examining the question of whether, for the last decade and a half, I’ve been faking narcolepsy—including all the high-tech inpatient testing procedures and scary medical bills—in order to be allowed to drive up into the Bronx once a month to purchase my prescription stimulant drugs, instead of buying them from a local street vendor like normal people do.

“I think they should worry instead about how any idiot—me, for example—can walk into Rickel Home Center and buy bags of premixed quick-drying concrete without anyone so much as asking whether I know the difference between cement and Hamburger Helper. Instead, the employees ask whether I know they’re having a special on bricks. This strikes me as gross social irresponsibility. A few hours after you take them, drugs are history, but masonry can be a semi-permanent error.”

Some notices:

“If Teresa writes it, I will read it.”
—Neil Gaiman

“Teresa Nielsen Hayden is a bloody good writer.”
—David Langford

“This is a terrific book. I mean, I had no idea. It is a convulsively funny, shrewd and sharp collection of anecdotes well-told, observations well-observed and jokes hilariously cracked, all the while tracing secret histories of fandom, the ins and outs of being diagnosed narcoleptic at a time when such diagnoses were considered spurious and radical by much of the field, of the gypsy life of a con-running, APA-publishing foremother of the blogging masses whose ‘personal publishing revolution’ has its origins in the dim days of mimeographs and ditto machines.”
—Cory Doctorow, reviewing Making Book in 2003

NESFA Press. ISBN 978-1-61037-320-3. $15.00. August 2016.


July 13, 2016
The NECESSITY of a Spoiler Thread
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 05:10 PM * 17 comments

He says, Ἀνάγκη ἥψατο τοῦ ποδὸς ἐμοῦ.

I say, Necessity only grabbed your foot? You got lucky, then; I’d already lost my head by that point. Twice.


You know the drill. This is a thread for discussing Jo Walton’s recently published book, Necessity. It’s full of spoilers.

July 12, 2016
On sale today: Jo Walton’s Necessity, the concluding novel of Thessaly
Posted by Patrick at 04:45 AM * 17 comments

necessity.jpg On sale today in hardcover and e-book. Excerpt here. Author website (with upcoming appearances) here. Of particular local interest, Jo Walton and Ada Palmer will be reading and signing together tonight (Tuesday, July 12) at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and tomorrow night (Wednesday, July 13) at WORD Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York.

(Making Light posts about the previous two books: The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.)

My flap copy (warning: spoilers for the previous two books):

More than sixty­-five years ago, Pallas Athena founded the Just City on an island in the eastern Mediterranean, placing it centuries before the Trojan War, populating it with teachers and children from throughout human history, and committing it to building a society based on the principles of Plato’s Republic. Among the City’s children was Pytheas, secretly the god Apollo in human form.

Sixty years ago, the Just City schismed into five cities, each devoted to a different version of the original vision.

Forty years ago, the five cities managed to bring their squabbles to a close. But in consequence of their struggle, their existence finally came to the attention of Zeus, who can’t allow them to remain in deep antiquity, changing the course of human history. Convinced by Apollo to spare the Cities, Zeus instead moved everything on the island to the planet Plato, circling its own distant sun.

Now, more than a generation has passed. The Cities are flourishing on Plato, and even trading with multiple alien species. Then, on the same day, two things happen. Pytheas dies as a human, returning immediately as Apollo in his full glory. And there’s suddenly a human ship in orbit around Plato—­­a ship from Earth.

Some notices:

“Riveting…As before, Walton has done a superb job of world building and character development, giving readers a novel that both stimulates and satisfies.”
Booklist (starred review)

“A glorious kitchen sink of genre, combining philosophy, time travel, aliens, and the gods….Engaging food for thought.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

July 06, 2016
“Things have never been okay in this country.”
Posted by Patrick at 08:10 PM * 290 comments

For My Son, In The Event The Police Leave You Fatherless.

But in case the police to take me away from you forever, I want you to know some things. If I encounter police just know that I didn’t reach for their gun. I didn’t try to fight them. I didn’t resist arrest. I wasn’t a clear and present danger. Just know that if I’m approached by police, I’ll be thinking about you and your mother and your sister and how much I want to survive to be home and see you. As soon as the officer approaches me, I’ll wonder if I’ll ever see you again. I’ll want to fight or run but I know that’ll only increase the chances of you sobbing in front of cameras that don’t give a damn about how you’re feeling.

In the immediate days after my death, you will see pictures of me from college in baggy clothes, maybe with a drink in my hand. You will see old tweets where I made an off-color comment. You will see the media portray someone who seems like a complete stranger. Because he is. You know your father. Better than they do. You will know me and the man I am. Remember me as that man and not the one you see in the news reports that are used to make police look justified in their actions.

If the police take me from you, there will be people who will see you cry for me and tell you how to mourn. They will tell you to be angry. They will tell you to forgive. They will judge you for your emotional reactions to your father being murdered. I wish I had an answer for the right way to react. But I have none. I’ve found that as more Black bodies line the streets I’ve been unable to find answers to make you feel better about this world I’ve helped bring you into. The difference is, tonight I can hold you and just tell you everything will be okay—an exercise that sometimes feels like it’s more for my own edification than yours. If the police murder me like they did Alton Sterling, then I won’t be able to tell you things will be better anymore.

July 01, 2016
“The nation must be taught to bear losses.”
Posted by Teresa at 05:29 PM * 55 comments

The Battle of the Somme began 100 years ago today: July 1st, 1916. The British took 57,470 casualties the first day, and lost roughly 420K men by the time the battle ended 141 days later. Total French losses were lower, 200K - 250K, but that’s because so much of the French army was busy manning the meatgrinder at Verdun. German losses were roughly half a million.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fighting in 1916. The major European offensives were conceived of as wars of attrition, meant to force the other side to bring in troops from other battlefields where they were fighting other wars of attrition. All of them went on as long as the weather permitted. Verdun was the longest, at 303 days. The Brusilov Offensive was the largest — the Russian army attacked German and Austro-Hungarian forces along a 150-mile front — and killed the most people.

But it’s the Somme that haunts our memories, at least in the English-speaking world. July 01 was the single worst day the British military ever had. Inexperienced troops scrambled out of their trenches, advanced across no-man’s-land, and got mowed down by machine-gun fire.

Some quotes from their commander, General Sir Douglas Haig:

“Success in battle depends mainly on morale and determination.”

“The way to capture machine guns is by grit and determination.”

“The machine gun is a much over rated weapon.”

“The nation must be taught to bear losses. No amount of skill on the part of the higher commanders, no training, however good, on the part of the officers and men, no superiority of arms and ammunition, however great, will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of men’s lives. The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists.”

I dislike Haig. It strikes me as unkind and unnecessary to tell troops their attack will succeed if only they try hard enough. Grit and determination haven’t reliably beaten superior firing rates since the Napoleonic Wars.


An extraordinary observance of the Battle of the Somme took place today in the UK.

Small groups of reenactors — really excellent reenactors — quietly appeared in public places, looking just like they’d have looked in 1916. They didn’t speak, but if approached they’d give you a small card with the name, rank, unit, and age at death of the man they were recalling to memory, 100 years after his death.

Photographs of them have accumulated at Pinterest, and probably elsewhere as well. Go look.