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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mailvox: the sorry state of SF

I thought this email from RC was interesting, as it demonstrates how Gresham's Law applies to science fiction, with Pink SF tending to drive out Blue. Hey, even if Tor Books can't be bothered to read your emails, at least I do:
I am writing to you today regarding the lack of professionalism of certain staff at Tor books.  I know others have contacted you regarding the contempt in which some staffers hold certain authors and a large part of your customer base.  What I wish to address is the editors' contempt for the genre itself, and their incompetence at one of the essential tasks of producing SCIENCE fiction: getting the science right.  I am certain these are related.  The upshot is that Tor is printing a lot of stuff which ticks all the fashionable social and political check-boxes, but stinks on ice as SF.

An egregious example which I encountered recently is in the first of the Ender's Game prequels, Earth Unaware.  There are a host of glaring faults in the orbital mechanics among other things, but they are too involved to detail in a short letter.  I will instead quote a concise example from page 261:

"The ship scoops up hydrogen atoms, which at near-lightspeed would be gamma radiation, then the rockets shoot this gamma plasma out the back for thrust."

There is no such thing as a "gamma plasma".  Gamma rays are photons, not atoms or parts of atoms.  Plasmas are a mixture of ionized matter and free electrons.  A high-energy proton is not a gamma ray; many cosmic rays are high-energy protons, but that does not make this phrase remotely acceptable in a science fiction book.  A well-read middle school science geek could have caught this error; I should know, I was one.

Shortly after this comes another one (p. 269):

"If it's sucking up hydrogen atoms at near-lightspeed and taking in all this radiation...."


This is part of a plotline that plays for weeks, between a mining ship plying the Kuiper belt and Earth.  The Kuiper belt extends from about 30 astronomical units to 55 AU from the Sun (earth orbits at 1 AU).  Light travels 1 AU in roughly 500 seconds, so an object travelling at "near-lightspeed" would cover 55 AU in not much more than 27,500 seconds; on the order of 8 hours.  Even if the initial speed of the object is reduced to 25% of c and it decelerates linearly, the transit time is less than 3 days.  The whole plotline is nonsense because the author (Johnston, I'm sure; Card does better work) couldn't be bothered to read a basic science book.  This is lousy even for fan-fiction.  Why did this ever make it to print?  More to the point, why do the editors have such contempt for the genre and its fans as to allow it, to the point of commissioning a lightweight like Johnston to play in Card's universe in the first place?

I could not but help but notice that Earth Unaware got all the "we are the world", social justice, anti-corporate messages lined up front and center.  The priorities are literally that obvious.  That's why I've not bothered to read the other two prequels.  I don't waste my time on dreck. I spotted this trend quite some time ago, but it was only after the highly-publicized outbursts of certain senior Tor staff that I realized that it wasn't due to the times, but was a matter of policy.
Well, we all make mistakes from time to time, authors and editors alike (cough, tunnel), but it is pretty egregious to combine SJW message fiction with a major plot foul-up of the sort one RC describes. I haven't read the book, so I can't testify to the accuracy of his critique, but it does sound like a rather impressive howler.

As for the total number of emails sent, based on the CC's Peter and I received, around 2,300 emails were sent by 765 different people that we know of. And there were others being sent as well, although we can't possibly know how many. Regardless, I expect that enough were sent to make it clear to Macmillan that the excuses given by the senior Tor employees for the emails that they previously received was a false one.

Those senior employees have publicly attacked Tor-published authors, Tor published-works, and Tor customers. They have needlessly antagonized tens of thousands of book-buyers in pursuit of their ideological agenda. They've now been caught lying to their superiors about the extent of the consequences of their unprofessional behavior and violations of the Macmillan code of conduct. And that is why, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Macmillan cleans house even more thoroughly than people have been demanding. I certainly would if I were in their shoes.

Then again, for all we know the Macmillan executives are fanatic SJWs whose instinct will be to dig in and defend the actions of Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. If that's the case, Peter Grant has made it clear that the boycott, which for no particular reason at all may be christened TORDROP, will begin at noon on Friday, June 19th. And since no one has received any sort of response at all from Macmillan or Tom Doherty as yet, this is a good time to take a picture of your books published by Tor Books and tally up the total of the books and ebooks you have purchased from them. The truth is that we're not asking for much, only that the senior employees at Tor Books be held to the same professional standard expected of a retail sales clerk or a fry cook at McDonalds.

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91 Comments:

Blogger Groot June 16, 2015 2:05 AM  

I am Groot.

Blogger Rantor June 16, 2015 2:15 AM  

Useful information, I had just learned of these Ender prequels and now I don't have to read them. More time for Castalia House books.

I do agree, SF should be predicated on the authors getting their science right. Although much of the genre requires faster than light travel to make it work. We all understand warp theory, tesseracts, and other such inventions. We also understand that an object moving at near light speed in an asteroid belt had better not hit any pebbles. Gamma drive or no gamma drive... (So scooping up fuel particles while at high speed seems difficult too.).

As for tunneling... Are we ever going to see "A Throne of Bones" the expurgated version?

OpenID eidolon1109 June 16, 2015 2:21 AM  

Instapundit linked an article a few days ago, don't think you've mentioned it:

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/208412/

Interesting in how it reveals the tactics of the other side. Throughout it implies but does not state that Gallo is an author like Scalzi, not a senior management person at the company. Thus it is stated that it's unreasonable to get upset at one author for her opinions and not other male authors for theirs. Must be misogyny, the all-purpose accusation!

Me, I'd say that the article itself is a sad example of misogyny. A woman works hard to reach a high level, and the author just ignores all her progress! She's only seen as a lowly employee or contractor and not as the accomplished senior staff member she is. It's probably because she's a woman.

Blogger kh123 June 16, 2015 2:36 AM  

Add one more to the list; sent mine the witching hours of Monday morning. Graveyard cackling echoes a bit better 'round then.

Blogger Jim June 16, 2015 2:56 AM  

And Earth Unaware drops off my Amazon wishlist. It's worse than not being able to read a science book. It's being unwilling to spend five minutes on Google with a calculator.

Anonymous Anonymous June 16, 2015 2:56 AM  

About eight times that. Most of us didn't cc you.
leaperman

Anonymous Anonymous June 16, 2015 2:58 AM  

Rantor. That three part series is "Space Opera" and it's not bad.
leaperman

Would you jump off a bridge if someone told you?

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 3:08 AM  

I'm confused.

Is Tor responsible for Orson Scott Card, or is Johnston responsible for Orson Scott Card?

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 3:18 AM  

Are we going to hold Ender's Game up to relativity?

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 3:35 AM  

Are we going to hold Ender's Game up to relativity?

Meh, they have the ansible. Besides, back in college I figured out what Einstein got wrong about relativity and FTL travel. Unfortunately I was drunk and couldn't remember the details the next day, but I tell you, FTL travel is possible. I know it...

But there's a big difference between an author handwaving something like FTL travel (warp drives, jump drives, etc) for the sake of the plot or the setting, and an author simply getting basic things wrong.

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 3:42 AM  

But there's a big difference between an author handwaving something like FTL travel (warp drives, jump drives, etc) for the sake of the plot or the setting, and an author simply getting basic things wrong.

You didn't answer the question.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 3:45 AM  

What question?

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 3:48 AM  

10. Jack Amok June 16, 2015 3:35 AM

..., back in college I figured out what Einstein got wrong about relativity and FTL travel. Unfortunately I was drunk and couldn't remember the details the next day...
--------------

It's simple: imagine a multiplicity, or even an infinitude, of exacting clocks, all of which are in relative motion with respect to all the other clocks.
Which one runs the slowest?
Which one runs the fastest?
www.twinparadox.net

In order to truly believe in Einstein's Special Relativity you also have to be able to believe that each of the clocks runs slower than all of the other clocks AND each of the clocks simultaneously runs faster than all of the other clocks.

Now imagine a multiplicity, or even an infinitude, of exacting rods of equal length when at rest, all of which are in relative motion with respect to all the other rods.
Which rod is the longest?
Which rod is the shortest?

In order to truly believe in Einstein's Special Relativity you also have to be able to believe that each of the rods is shorter than all of the other rods AND each of the rods is simultaneously longer than all of the other rods. See?

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 3:51 AM  

Yeah Forrest, it definitely has to do with "no special frame" and the issues that creates.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 16, 2015 3:52 AM  

When he's dead it will be a footnote in history who cares about? Only slightly off topic but Zimbabwe are phasing out of their own currency. The hundred trillion dollar note will soon be worthless. I say this because President Mugabe, since 1987, was elected to the ecstatic elated applause of Social Justice Warriors everywhere. He's their man, they made him happen.

I say this because I assume Tor books as a brand will be every bit as valuable as a Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar note [you read that correctly]. Something to laugh about. Give SJW's an economy and you get a 100 trillion dollar note that couldn't pay for the anaesthetic gas at a state subsidized sex change, give SJW's a publishing house and, "Where did it go? Who remembers?, Who cares?

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 3:56 AM  

What question?

Are we going to hold Ender's Game up to relativity?

At some point you determined "Besides, back in college I figured out what Einstein got wrong about relativity and FTL travel."

This I cannot wait to hear.

Blogger pdwalker June 16, 2015 4:14 AM  

Your move Tor, your move.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 4:14 AM  

Still not clear on what the question was rho. I answered the only one you asked - no we're not (for versions of we that includes me anyway) going to complain about relativity in SF/F stories. Authors can handwave that.

As to my theory - well, that's the problem. Can't remember it. I even tried re-creating the event with lots of vodka-soaked grapes and watermelon, but no dice. I think Forrest might be onto it though. Somebody go slap a lock on his liquor cabinet until he publishes his thesis.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 4:28 AM  

18. Jack Amok June 16, 2015 4:14 AM

As to my theory - well, that's the problem. Can't remember it. I even tried re-creating the event with lots of vodka-soaked grapes and watermelon, but no dice. I think Forrest might be onto it though. Somebody go slap a lock on his liquor cabinet until he publishes his thesis.
--------------

Sorry to report: it's beer, Jack. I shall not shame myself any further in public by naming the brand. (starts with a "B".)

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 4:29 AM  

As to my theory - well, that's the problem. Can't remember it. I even tried re-creating the event with lots of vodka-soaked grapes and watermelon, but no dice.

Drunk physics is hilarious physics.

But it's not declarative physics.

Blogger Tommy Hass June 16, 2015 4:31 AM  

Is this Clausewitz or Sun Tzu?

Seems to be the former. A good choice for a pitched battle.

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 4:39 AM  

Is this Clausewitz or Sun Tzu?

This is where Turks are second- or third-tier players.

Blogger VD June 16, 2015 4:42 AM  

Is this Clausewitz or Sun Tzu?

Mao.

Blogger rho June 16, 2015 4:46 AM  

Is this Clausewitz or Sun Tzu?

Mao


Succinct, for the win.

Blogger Red Bane June 16, 2015 4:49 AM  

Moshe Feder now refers to the puppies as 'dirty dogs' in a recent tweet. I guess when folks fight SWJ fire with their own fire, that now constitutes a 'dirty' war? These guys just want an open field with no competition. Any criticism or push-back appears as fascism to them. It is indicative of their megalomania.

https://twitter.com/MosheMF/status/588442955427479553

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 4:52 AM  

15. PhillipGeorge
...Give SJW's an economy and you get a 100 trillion dollar note that couldn't pay for the anaesthetic gas at a state subsidized sex change,
------------

Then simply get rid of the anesthetic gas at a state subsidized sex change. Problem solved^2.


Blogger Red Bane June 16, 2015 5:14 AM  

An excellent review of Tomorrow Land, showing how sjw-ism ruins sci-fi:

http://runningfrombabylon.blogspot.nl/2015/06/the-tomorrowland-lie.html

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 5:35 AM  

An excellent review of Tomorrow Land, showing how sjw-ism ruins sci-fi:

Interesting movie. The ending is pure SJW bullshit, going out and finding all these diverse people... but funny thing, the people building the future - were all a bunch of white guys. And the girl hero's superpower is... that she's an optimist.

I really felt like the SJW bits were half-heartedly tacked on, that the people making the movie added those parts because they felt obligated to, but whenever they dealt with the idea of building or making things, whenever they tried to celebrate the culture that could dream about a great future, they had to show white guys because that's who did it. They couldn't show a bunch of diversocrats staging the 64 Worlds Fair because it would be too obviously baloney. Everybody knows who built rockets and jet packs and refrigerators and all the rest.

Not even SJWs with their vast experience lying think they can get away with lying about that.

PS: Rho, I explained the whole theory to a girl I met at the party that night. Called her up the next day and tried to get her to spill it all back to me, but... she was a Journalism major, she never understood any of it.

Blogger Rantor June 16, 2015 5:59 AM  

Dirty Dogs? Once again I am offended. I showered this morning and our squirrel and chipmunk killing poodle is also clean. How wrong can a man be. Moshe, almost rhymes with some German word?

Blogger Red Bane June 16, 2015 6:04 AM  

'Not even SJWs with their vast experience lying think they can get away with lying about that. '

Give it time. If they can lie about hings as fundamental and obvious as gender and race, anything is fair game.

Anonymous ChicagoRefugee June 16, 2015 6:09 AM  

Moshe Feder now refers to the puppies as 'dirty dogs' in a recent tweet.

Wherein he introduces a badge/shield for the "proud HUGO JUSTICE WARRIOR" to display - in a tweet that thus far has ZERO favorites and ZERO retweets.

BwahahahahahahahaHA!

Blogger Tommy Hass June 16, 2015 6:12 AM  

"This is where Turks are second- or third-tier players."

Then why are SJWs powerless in Turkey? Hmm?

"Mao."

"When the enemy advances, we retreat.
When the enemy retreats, we advance.
When the enemy rests, we harass him.
When the enemy avoids a battle, we attack."

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 16, 2015 6:54 AM  

Even Rush is onto the SJW or so I have read. I myself thought the glorious people of color were going to do liberalism in, or the muslims, but it seems the white nuts in their fits of mental and emotional distress are taking the lead.

The SJW would in the past compromise and in their heads still believe that they were the morally superior, but to challenge that notion is to send them completely bonkers, conservatives have never done that in the past.

Anonymous p-dawg June 16, 2015 6:56 AM  

I will personally not purchase anything from Tor ever again. I will do my best to make sure that not a single cent of my money ever goes to Tor books, and I will also attempt to convince anyone I can to do the same. I'll wait until Friday to talk about it, I guess, but there's nothing Tor is going to be willing to do that will win me back. Not that they couldn't; they just won't.

Anonymous VoK June 16, 2015 7:05 AM  

I prefer the code name TORture, but whatever.

Blogger Mussorgsky112 June 16, 2015 7:11 AM  

It's pretty clear that some sci-fi is more grounded in science than others. How much actual science is in Star Wars? Not very much, unless you go into some of the Expanded Universe or technical books. Star Trek? Well, there's quite a lot, but not all of it works great since it involves things like dilithium crystals that aren't something we can use right now. What about something like Babylon 5? The show had great physics but still had it's own issues - JMS once said that Starfuries travel "at the speed of plot."

Relativity and other science issues can be "handwaved away" just fine so long as the author makes it sound plausible. There's always a certain suspension of disbelief in sci-fi. I mean, having ancient portal technology on Earth, finding out that humans were taken from Earth to be slaves on far away planets, and that all the ancient gods were either "Roswell grey" aliens or dudes with snakes in their heads and glowing eyes... this sounds absolutely stupid. It's also the basis for the film and TV series Stargate. But if you deal with the science issues in the right way, and you have a good story, don't ruin it by nitpicking everything.
(this written by one whose Nitpicker's Guide to ST:TNG is falling apart from use)

Anonymous Anonymous June 16, 2015 7:14 AM  

>>Well, we all make mistakes from time to time

We are not the side that gets nasty about mistakes. But the other side is going to be forced to live by their own rules, whether they like it or not.

Anonymous Samson J. June 16, 2015 7:26 AM  

I sent my emails, but forgot to cc you.

Blogger VD June 16, 2015 7:32 AM  

We are not the side that gets nasty about mistakes

Correction: we are not the side that historically got nasty about mistakes. We are now.

Also, choose a name, please.

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo #0368 June 16, 2015 7:39 AM  

I know someone at Ms. Brown's office read one of the emails I sent, because I got a read receipt. But that's all I can say at this point.

Anonymous Quartermaster June 16, 2015 7:47 AM  

"Sorry to report: it's beer, Jack. I shall not shame myself any further in public by naming the brand. (starts with a "B".)"

I wouldn't want to admit to drinking Blatz either.

Anonymous Crusader Corim June 16, 2015 7:48 AM  

Count me in the "sent a bunch of e-mails, didn't think to CC you" crowd.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2015 7:51 AM  

We are not the side that gets nasty about mistakes

Getting nasty isn't our default mode as it is theirs. We're fast learners, though.

Blogger Dexter June 16, 2015 7:58 AM  

There are a host of glaring faults in the orbital mechanics among other things,

But most importantly, Orson Scott Card is a homophobe.

Blogger HickoryHammer #0211 June 16, 2015 8:03 AM  

Who knows, maybe Tor will go the suicide route like MSNBC. Death by stoic smarminess. John Scalzi is now Rachel Maddow, who herself is the thin stunt double for Lena Dunham.

Anonymous ZhukovG June 16, 2015 8:04 AM  

By polarizing their customer base, these incompetent upper managers have painted TOR into a corner. The will get boycotted no matter what they do.

MacMillan is going to have to shut the whole publishing house down, fire all the idiots who caused this mess, and start a new label.

Blogger Salt June 16, 2015 8:06 AM  

SJWs been operating at FTL for quite some time now, fueled by outrage, and they don't have to travel to do it either. It's observable science; testable and repeatable.

Anonymous Paul (#0348) June 16, 2015 8:24 AM  

Just to mention that all e-mails have been sent to the appropriate people. I doubt I'm in your count as I sent no cc's.

Anonymous Thobby (#58) June 16, 2015 8:27 AM  

Moshe Feder wasn't *introducing* that "Non timebo catulos" shield; I first saw it, with his name attached, several months ago--at least as far back as April--when I checked CafePress and Zazzle for pro-Puppy items and found an anti-Puppy item instead.

His choice of the future tense is interesting. I presume he must have taken the 23rd Psalm (or rather the 22nd, as the Vulgate's psalm-numbering differs) as his model, thus saying, in effect, "I shall fear no puppies."

The "non" goes with "timebo," not "catulos," to make his statement "I shall not fear puppies," which, if it is *not* meant to be an actual reference to the 23rd Psalm, is a little odd. I assumed back in April that he was trying to riff on Ghostbusters, though the tense was wrong for that, i.e., "I ain't scared of no puppies." And I may have been right.

Of course, given what's happened, the 23rd Psalm has turned out to be unexpectedly appropriate.

Anonymous Giuseppe June 16, 2015 8:32 AM  

An excellent review of Tomorrow Land, showing how sjw-ism ruins sci-fi:

http://runningfrombabylon.blogspot.nl/2015/06/the-tomorrowland-lie.html


Well, maybe I am afflicted by the same superpower the girl had in the film, as Jack Amock calls it (optimism), but I enjoyed Tomorrowland and I thought it mocked SJWs quite openly.

Including the opening lines by George.
I thought it was quite clear the whole global warming crap was a self fulfilling lie, so I can't agree with the reviewer or the review. I think it may have gone over his head because he's looking at right vs left, a common American error, instead of looking at honest vs dishonest.

Besides it is clearly saying that the mindnumbing constant SJW droning of "important issues" have stolen an alternative future that is much more interesting, fun and based on truth.

I would say Tomorrowland is an ANTI SJW film.
But if it wasn't, well, then I am happy to report my brain is now fully immune to any SJW propaganda and it immediately converts it to Anti-SJW thoughts.

Anonymous Menelaus June 16, 2015 8:49 AM  

From a BUSINESS point of view, which presumably Hayden was hired to take: The Hugo voting seems to indicate that there is a potentially very large market for golden age sci-fi. Additionally, John C. Wright seems to be very popular with this new market, given the record six noms. A Businessman might be expected to open up marketing to this new market, perhaps publishing new editions, omnibus offers, etc of existing Tor brands, as well as widely promoting JCW and his works - perhaps even offering him a new long-term high-dollar deal to garner more attention for Tor.

Instead, they denigrate and and insult those golden age authors in their stable, including JCW, completely alienating the new market and driving them to competitiors (CH), and instead give a long-term lucrative deal to a tired old nag from the stable.

Follow the money - if I'm a MacMillan exec, I look into Hayden's dealings to see where the quid is for the pro quo.

Anonymous Viidad June 16, 2015 8:59 AM  

"The Hugo voting seems to indicate that there is a potentially very large market for golden age sci-fi."

Yes, there may be light behind the clouds. Look at the rise of local craft brewing... the desire for a return to great tools (www.easydigging.com), the big uptick in homeschooling families, the turn away from pink-slimed factory-produced meats...

There's an understanding that many have reached: we have been screwed. The mass-marketed solutions and products are lousy. There must be something better.

It's past due in the realm of sci-fi.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit June 16, 2015 9:05 AM  

@ 25. Red Bane
Thanks for the link (I think), needless to say the response to his own call to arms is limper than his diabetic gammatude as he shares luxury cat food with his child-kin (ie pet cats). I fart more likes than that!

What an awful mess of nonsense his Twitter time line is - one tweet decrying Wall Street bonus while he pimps Apple products like a cheap whore - so sad to see the undisciplined, irrational mind so clearly laid bare. Sadder still to think it has an influence on normal people's lives.

Your enemy sirs, do not let pity stay your hand this time!

Anonymous Shut up rabbit June 16, 2015 9:08 AM  

PS. I will never understand someone who defines their identity as a caretaker for lesser animals. How low must their self esteem be?

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer June 16, 2015 9:44 AM  

"having ancient portal technology on Earth, finding out that humans were taken from Earth to be slaves on far away planets, and that all the ancient gods were either "Roswell grey" aliens or dudes with snakes in their heads and glowing eyes... this sounds absolutely stupid. It's also the basis for the film and TV series Stargate."

Actually, the stupid part is that all those transplanted slave societies, snakelike aliens, and greys all speak colloquial American English. :>)

Its like transporter tech in Star Trek. It gets the show moving.

Blogger Daniel June 16, 2015 9:50 AM  

SF always has an element of handwavium, and good authors know how and when to use it. Pink SF saw handwavium as an opportunity to subvert good SF, and took it.

Anonymous Alexander, #10 June 16, 2015 9:53 AM  

It's pretty clear that some sci-fi is more grounded in science than others. How much actual science is in Star Wars? Not very much, unless you go into some of the Expanded Universe or technical books.

Sure - but in the movies, we're not forced into discussion on the finer points of gamma plasma.

In fact, the most outrage was when we were told to accept the force as a virus or whatnot. Even in Star Wars, bullshit science is unacceptable. It's not the impossible that annoys us - it's when the creator stops the magic show and not only stops the fun stuff to lecture us on the why... but does so in a way that is obviously wrong.

If a ship goes faster than light, that's all well and good. But if you expect to take time away from giant explosions and rescuing damsels and plundering casks of moonmead as we sail between the winedark stars... to discuss the technical points of your warp drive, you better have something scientifically interesting to say about it.

Anonymous Daniel #0189 June 16, 2015 10:21 AM  

Star Wars is science fantasy. Orson Scott Card's universe is science fictional.

Star Wars has more in common with John Carter books, or even C.S. Lewis' space trilogy than the sort of science fictional problem that occur when the mechanics of space travel are instrumental to the plot. If you are going to spend paragraphs detailing the mechanical process that is causing the 3-week trip, you should know the sort of theoretical propulsion that might cause the trip to be that long.

It isn't about putting in inaccurate fluff. It is about putting inaccurate fluff which fails to entertain.

Anonymous BGS June 16, 2015 10:24 AM  

I shall not shame myself any further in public by naming the brand. (starts with a "B".)" Bitburger Premium Pilsener?

An excellent review of Tomorrow Land, showing how sjw-ism ruins sci-fi: The internet has saved me from spending money on several global worming & whitey bad movies.

Blogger Achillea June 16, 2015 10:37 AM  

I mean, having ancient portal technology on Earth, finding out that humans were taken from Earth to be slaves on far away planets, and that all the ancient gods were either "Roswell grey" aliens or dudes with snakes in their heads and glowing eyes... this sounds absolutely stupid.

Indeed.

(then again, not nearly so stupid as Amanda Tapping beating the crap out of a Mongol warrior chief)

Anonymous The other robot June 16, 2015 10:39 AM  

What about the sorry state of CA (pun intended)?

California has now officially jumped the shark.

Anonymous The other robot June 16, 2015 10:44 AM  

Why do I get the feeling that the vast majority of those commenting at File770 have nothing in common with Cecil Rose

Also, when are they going to organize a counter mail-in to Tor?

Blogger tweell June 16, 2015 10:59 AM  

The last Scalzi book I read was The Human Division (Old Man's War sequel). In my defense, my uncle bought it, and I read it while standing vigil over him in the hospital. Near the end, a 'normal human' manages to survive exposure to vacuum using a space blanket to protect himself against the 'cold of outer space' and taking a deep breath. AAARRRGH! There's no excuse for that crap today (and yes, I was ticked at Guardians of the Galaxy for the same BS).

Anonymous Donn #0114 June 16, 2015 11:27 AM  

My only complaint about Amanda Tapping is that she didn't get nearly naked enough. It started on Showtime. I blame the writer for having her beat the mongol warrior. And the seriously bad budget for showing Belgian Malinois as wolves.

Blogger Corvinus June 16, 2015 11:29 AM  

I thought this email from RC was interesting, as it demonstrates how Gresham's Law applies to science fiction, with Pink SF tending to drive out Blue.

Hopefully we're doing a reverse-Gresham's.

Blogger Doom June 16, 2015 11:32 AM  

Friday, is it? Let me mark my... bwahahaha! Not. I'm an early adopter.

OpenID mattse001 June 16, 2015 11:49 AM  

The response of Macmillan will be valued, because clarity will be obtained. Knowing the truth is always the most important thing.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 16, 2015 12:05 PM  

I would say Tomorrowland is an ANTI SJW film.

I agree Giuseppe. It had SJW stuff in it - I think the people making it felt obligated, especially that last wretched montage - but the story they wanted to tell, about optimism and achievement, was simply antithetical to SJWism.

Rabbits after all don't like the sort of people who accomplish things. Makes the rest of them feel bad about not doing much.

Blogger Salt June 16, 2015 12:30 PM  

a 'normal human' manages to survive exposure to vacuum using a space blanket to protect himself against the 'cold of outer space' and taking a deep breath

2001 Space Odyssey did the same thing, direct exposure to space. Clarke / Kubrick got away with it.

OpenID mickoneverything June 16, 2015 12:47 PM  

Hey guys, L Jagi Lamplighter is compiling pics of your Tor books.

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2015/06/15/i-am-not-a-robot-i-am-a-free-fan/

If you have any left send them to her.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 12:58 PM  

68. Jack Amok
"I would say Tomorrowland is an ANTI SJW film." -Giuseppe

I agree Giuseppe. It had SJW stuff in it - I think the people making it felt obligated, especially that last wretched montage - but the story they wanted to tell, about optimism and achievement, was simply antithetical to SJWism.
-------------

Never heard of it, so checked wiki. The move bombed so far, costing Disney >$100M.

"Casey Newton (Robertson), who sneaks into a decommissioned NASA launch pad ... She sabotages the machines that are dismantling the launch pad "

"...Casey finds a Houston memorabilia store related to the pin, but upon meeting the two owners, Hugo (Keegan-Michael Key) and Ursula (Kathryn Hahn), Casey is inquired about it, and when she reveals to know nothing else about it, they attack her. Athena bursts in and fights Hugo and Ursula, who are both revealed to be robots. The two girls escape as the two robots self-destruct, destroying the store. After stealing a car, Athena reveals that she is an Audio-Animatronic robot, and the one who gave Casey the pin, revealing that she needs her help to save the world."

Hmm. I would have made it Hugo and Nebula, but Ursula is close enough.

Blogger Danby June 16, 2015 1:09 PM  

"Sorry to report: it's beer, Jack. I shall not shame myself any further in public by naming the brand. (starts with a "B".)"

Waitaminnit
People buy beer? How... odd.
People actually pay 4x as much to get an inferior product when they could make the real stuff at home with a pot and a plastic bucket?

Wow, just wow. I can't even....

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 1:14 PM  

72. Danby
Waitaminnit
People buy beer? How... odd.
People actually pay 4x as much to get an inferior product when they could make the real stuff at home with a pot and a plastic bucket?

Wow, just wow. I can't even...
--------------

Crap. I can't even avoid the shame by avoiding the shame. And no, "B" isn't any of the esoteric brands (which I'd never heard of) the high-falutin' connoisseurs called out above.

OpenID mickoneverything June 16, 2015 1:47 PM  

Busch Lite?

Anonymous VFM.0157 aka Forrest Bishop June 16, 2015 2:06 PM  

74. mickoneverything Busch Lite?

What up with all this esoterica?

Blogger CM June 16, 2015 2:26 PM  

FB -

In Tomorrowland's defense, it did debut with Jurassic World... that one took all the money this weekend. Tomorrowland should do well, but it may get a slow start.

Blogger Groot June 16, 2015 3:29 PM  

Faster than light travel is fine with current physics, so long as space itself is moving, as is postulated to occur during the inflationary period just before the Big Bang. I recommend Max Tegmark's Our Mathematical Universe or Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. (Spoiler: I'm from the future.)

As for your aspersions on GOTG, the explanation is simple: I am Groot.

Blogger maniacprovost June 16, 2015 3:40 PM  

a 'normal human' manages to survive exposure to vacuum using a space blanket to protect himself against the 'cold of outer space' and taking a deep breath

2001 Space Odyssey did the same thing, direct exposure to space. Clarke / Kubrick got away with it.


Pretty sure you can survive space for several seconds to a minute with futuristic emergency care... as long as you don't take a deep breath first. Because, you know, the pressure differential would cause your lungs to rip themselves into shreds like a roll of toilet paper at GRRM's house on Taco Tuesday.

Anonymous Quartermaster June 16, 2015 4:29 PM  

"Bitburger Premium Pilsener?"

Too high grade. Blatz is what you buy on Thursday evening when you just gotta have some suds but not much to buy them with. I note that nothing was said to challenge my assertion of the consumption of such low grade hops.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 16, 2015 5:11 PM  

In order to truly believe in Einstein's Special Relativity you also have to be able to believe that each of the rods is shorter than all of the other rods AND each of the rods is simultaneously longer than all of the other rods. See?

What do you mean by "simultaneous" while dealing with relativity?

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 6:32 PM  

80. SirHamster (#201)

" In order to truly believe in Einstein's Special Relativity you also have to be able to believe that each of the rods is shorter than all of the other rods AND each of the rods is simultaneously longer than all of the other rods. See?" -FB

What do you mean by "simultaneous" while dealing with relativity?

A. It means whatever you want it to mean. After all "it's all relative".

B. After all, it's based on junk math, junk science, and junk logic.

C. The rods and clocks are in uniform motion at all times "T". Therefore "simultaneous" can apply to any interval of your choice. So can "T"- see A. and B.

If I had the time and inclination, I could put together a list of the hundreds of relativity and anti-relativity papers I've studied over the decades, along with the dozens of physics textbooks. It's easy enough to find online- I recommend Harry Ricker and Ronald Hatch as among the best.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 16, 2015 8:14 PM  

A. It means whatever you want it to mean. After all "it's all relative".

B. After all, it's based on junk math, junk science, and junk logic.

C. The rods and clocks are in uniform motion at all times "T". Therefore "simultaneous" can apply to any interval of your choice. So can "T"- see A. and B.


Wasn't sure if you were criticizing SR from the POV that its math is not internally consistent, or if you were adopting a different premise and claiming that SR contradicts that.

From B, you're claiming All of the Above, though I don't know what's internally contradictory about things being longer/shorter when viewed from different inertial reference frames. ("simultaneous" longer/shorter rods are not actually simultaneous in that model)

Anonymous clk June 16, 2015 9:18 PM  

"The ship scoops up hydrogen atoms, which at near-lightspeed would be gamma radiation, then the rockets shoot this gamma plasma out the back for thrust."

That actually seems like he is stealing the idea for the Bussard Ramjet but didn't understand the physics --- the gamma radiation was via losses (bremmstrahlung interaction) as the protons where compressed and driven to fusion...

in the scifi world ---- there are a Bussard ramscoops on the front of all standard star fleet warp nacelles as a way to gather deuterium during warp flight...

Blogger Thucydides June 16, 2015 9:33 PM  

When you go to the line at McDonald's, your life is on the line based on the professional conduct of the people handling the food out back. At least attempting to read "Pink" SF only hurts you in the wallet and critical thinking faculties....

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 16, 2015 10:44 PM  

82. SirHamster (#201) June 16, 2015 8:14 PM

A. It means whatever you want it to mean. After all "it's all relative".

B. After all, it's based on junk math, junk science, and junk logic.

C. The rods and clocks are in uniform motion at all times "T". Therefore "simultaneous" can apply to any interval of your choice. So can "T"- see A. and B.

Wasn't sure if you were criticizing SR from the POV that its math is not internally consistent, or if you were adopting a different premise and claiming that SR contradicts that.

From B, you're claiming All of the Above, though I don't know what's internally contradictory about things being longer/shorter when viewed from different inertial reference frames. ("simultaneous" longer/shorter rods are not actually simultaneous in that model)
===================

I hope this doesn't describe you: Relativity supporters, including Einstein, are a slippery, moving target- whenever pressed on 'A' they move to 'B', or 'C', or just go straight to SJW-style tactics. It's the same algorithm with different character strings. One of their slipperier moves is to claim that the shortening or slowing is merely observational, not real, except when it is needed to be real in some other part of the debate. But if the clocks run slower then the rods have to be shorter- and the GPS clocks do indeed run slower.

Harry Ricker calls my "all of the above" irksomeness.

The math is not internally consistent. Harry's light sphere papers show this in a very accessible manner. Sample fare:

"...mainstream physics must produce the proof that actually
does show that the frames S and S' are in relative motion, when the Lorentz transformations are being
deduced. Unfortunately for mainstream physics, it is improbable that such a proof is possible, for the
following reason.
The proof requires that the Lorentz transformations be affine transformations. Stated less formally they
are translations of the waveforms in frame S into a description of the same waveforms in frame S'.
Since frames S and S' are in relative motion, this requirement implies translatory motion of the
waveforms relative to the frames. Translations have no fixed points. Hence the proof would have to
show that there are no fixed points in the Lorentz transformations. The reader will be shocked to learn
that we already know that the Lorentz transformations do have at least one fixed point, and so they are
not translations or more precisely affine transformations. The proof is provided in any decent physics
textbook where it is shown that Lorentz transformations are rotations in space-time. Since it is easily
found in a math book that a rotation must have at least one fixed point, then the proof follows that
Lorentz transformations are not translations..."

Anonymous Vox calls me RC June 16, 2015 11:16 PM  

FWIW, I've heard nothing back from Tor or Macmillan. And yes, I signed my real name.

As a physics geek, I need to remind all of you "special relativity skeptics" of a few things:

1. Observers in different frames of motion will not agree on time or space measurements, but ALL will agree on the "time-space invariant" between two events (x^2 + y^2 + z^2 - t^2).

2. Observers in different frames of motion can't compare their different measurements unless at least one of them accelerates to go back to the other. Acceleration breaks the symmetry.

And now it is time to re-lurk.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 12:06 AM  

@ Forrest
Thanks. The irksome paper was an interesting read and follow-able with mostly forgotten undergraduate level physics.

Don't have enough of an interest/background to take a position one way or another. Ever discuss this with Stickwick?

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 1:01 AM  

87. SirHamster (#201)
@ Forrest
Thanks. The irksome paper was an interesting read and follow-able with mostly forgotten undergraduate level physics.

Don't have enough of an interest/background to take a position one way or another. Ever discuss this with Stickwick?
-----------------

You're very welcome. I'm a relatively (cough) noob 'round these parts and not too interested in debating a dead subject- been there done that for years with the best, like Geoff Landis, Brian Josephson, Jonathan vos Post and many others. It is a waste of time. Either you are a true believer or not, as with any religion.

Part of the "irksomeness" is due to Einstein's Relativity being correct 50% of the time. That allows cherry picking. It's as if you posted a sign in the office that reads "it is now daytime". But the people in the field, like at JPL, SLAC, and the GPS programmers, don't quite actually use it- even when they think they do.

Blogger Richard Brandt June 17, 2015 3:00 AM  

Because showing how a mass e-mail-writing campaign was orchestrated by a few bloggers will DEFINITELY make them view it differently from something a few fans orchestrated with bots.

Blogger Franz Lionheart June 17, 2015 3:55 AM  

High noon. So Friday 12:00 it is. Just, in these days of the international Internet, may I just ask : which time zone? GMT?

Anonymous Heaviside June 18, 2015 1:41 AM  

>That actually seems like he is stealing the idea for the Bussard Ramjet but didn't understand the physics

I don't think the "seems like" qualifier is necessary here. What else could he have been talking about?

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