Ain’t Gonna Wear Pants No More

Okay guys, we’ve known each other a long time, and I think I can ask you the really important question: are we blighted tribesmen in the literature jungle? Do we go about without pants and wear bones on our nose, like those old cartoons about explorers and cannibals?

And if not, why do we attract the sour puss missionaries demanding we put on pants in the equatorial jungle, and lecturing us about how to cultivate the land we’ve been working for centuries, and how to hunt the prey that has fed us since ever?

What I mean is…

It’s not just the SJWs…

Yesterday I was minding my own business, sitting on my front porch, reading my The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, when suddenly an idiot dude…

I was actually on Facebook closing up before going to bed, and noticed a member of my fan group, Sarah’s Diner, had mentioned me in a thread so I went to see what it was. This was a thread outside the diner, started by Everitt Mickey. I don’t agree with him on the beginning of the thread, etc, but suddenly, lo and behold, we have missionary.

This guy came in and opened the sally by saying that he was VERY well read, but didn’t know any of the titles cited (at that point I recall some Niven) and therefore they must be in science fiction, and how science fiction, of course, ages badly. He, himself, once upon a time had read some Card and enjoyed it, but he’d only liked Enders Game. The rest of Card’s work (!) is boring and blah.

As for Heinlein, he was required reading with Starship Troopers for his speculative fiction class in University, because the book demonstrated the uses of propaganda (I was so tired by then, I didn’t even say anything about that, which of course was not the book, was the movie. The book explores war and peace and duty, but propaganda, not so much.) But they’d made fun of his naivite for having male and female soldiers shower together.

At this point I turned huge and green and started stomping around going “Sarah Smash.”

Look, it’s not that I hated the movie – and yes, I know you guys are going to kill me for it. I rather enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it for two reasons: One, I loved seeing Heinlein’s name on the big screen at last. I’m sick and tired of hearing people say that Phil Dick is better for adapting. Um… no. Hollywood just likes his ideas more. Two, I EXPECT movies to butcher the book. Things like the bullshit above are what I expect of Hollywood taking on any non SJW writer.

So I wasn’t as profoundly offended as any of you, but…

I was still rage-bound by this guy attributing to Heinlein the mistakes of the movie. So I stuck my feet down and repeated, mule-like “That wasn’t in the movie.”

At which point, the poor misguided missionary tells me he remembers making fun of that passage in class. (Kids, I’ve taken literature thirty years ago, but really, what part of studying a work is “making fun?” We studied Victorian literature which our professor clearly disagreed with, but we studied it in the context of what it was and how people lived. We didn’t “make fun” of it. How does one “make fun” as a form of studying? The only time we made fun of anything was the pictures of Phillip I and II of Portugal (different numbers for Spain) in our history books in fourth grade. We were also encouraged to deface the pictures, in what was (I now realize) a bit of indoctrination. So… it seems to me that this was not really a literature class, not one in which one learns to read and appreciate texts, right?) So I told him bullsh*t it wasn’t in the book.

And then he tells me (!) that public nudity was a theme in many of Heinlein’s books. (Nudity sure, and I will grant you I haven’t re-read his later books in more than a year, but PUBLIC nudity? Uh. You can pretty much eliminate all of the juveniles. I mean, maybe in Citizen of the Galaxy he was naked at some point, but mostly he wore a loin cloth. Even in the later books, sure in I Will Fear No Evil people went around naked or next to, but I wouldn’t say public nudity was a theme. In fact, the only one in which it could be said that it was a theme, because integral to the plot was Puppet Masters. And yeah, okay, he talks a lot about the benefits of nudity, but the nudity had a reason to exist in the book.) They had studied Starship Troopers and Mistress something of other.

By this point, I was really stomping around and going “Sarah Smash.” You see, I have this condition.

So I told him his class hadn’t in fact taught him anything about Heinlein (or probably science fiction) took exception with his using “Speculative Fiction” to call our field, made fun of his typo and generally started preparing the pot in which we should d*mn well cook these missionaries.

At which point this creature, who had been btw apropos nothing beating us with the idea that Rodenberry was the best and most prolific writer of sf/f ever to live (I’m going to guess they told him that in this class) apropos nothing every three responses, now accused me of being okatu and acted all superior.

I told him that it was more a matter of his lecturing people about things he knew nothing of and my being tired of people maligning a dead man who can’t defend himself.

(Other things I’m tired of are what is apparently a habit of American literature classes of showing you the movie for the book. Someone told me how stupid Pride and Prejudice was, and it turned out all they knew of it was the stupid movie made in the fifties, in which it all takes place in the Victorian age and which is as faithful to the book as the more recent ridiculous movie which they made older son watch in his Austen class. Fortunately older son had read all of Austen by twelve, so he decided (as happens) this was a class he needed to highjack. So, his classmates know all about how the movie is a stupid romance movie having very little to do with Austen’s work.)

But the truth is, what I’m really tired of is the academics attitudes about our field. Not just mind you that we’re stupid for reading this stuff or that no serious mind would concern itself with science fiction, but the assumption that they’re so much smarter than we are, because they took a class that “made fun” of our genre. (And not even of a book or a well liked movie in our genre.)

The truth is, they’re wrong on all points. Back when worldcon still was THE con to attend in our genre, I remember hearing organizers trying to figure out when the Mensa AG (Annual Gathering) was for the year, because if they overlapped each con had half the attendees.

Now, I’m not going to praise Mensan’s life skills or economic success or even adaptation to life as it is. The depiction of the Mensan in Dilbert was about right.

However, this is not, precisely, because these are puerile minds, except perhaps in the sense that, like minds in adolescence, high IQ people never stop pondering the big questions, which of course is where SF lives. Not because it’s adolescent, (though a lot of the SJW stuff is) but because it concerns itself with big philosophical/scientific questions. If we are adolescent, then so was Plato and so were Socrates and Aristotle.

And when they try to lecture us… well…They can take their “very well read” and stick it up their blow hole.

Look, I don’t know anyone in science fiction who reads only science fiction. I read just about everything that falls in my hands, though the last “literary” (It’s not. Literary is just a genre so they know where to shelve it. As a determination of literary worth, all it says is “My editor thought this could be read in college”) novel I read was four hundred pages signifying nothing, and so it has remained shelved.

I am going to allude to Heinlein (of course I am) in Puppet Masters when he says they don’t have anything behind the curtain that we don’t have bigger and better in Podunk.

The same goes for science fiction and the rest of “literature.” They ain’t got anything we don’t have bigger and better in our midlist.

Our mysteries are more mysterious, our adventure more adventurous, our characters more fully realized, our commies more communist, and by gum, our pretentious literary trip more pretentious and literary-wanna be. I say without rancor that I could stack “If You Were A Dinosaur, my Love” against the most acclaimed piece of bathos produced by a literature professor. And our recent Nebula winners, even Redshirts, stacks up very well against that communist piece of crap called Chronicle of a Death Foretold. At least our people use punctuation.

Unfortunately, of course, our branch of literary punkin heads are also convinced that they’re inferior to “real literature” and keep doing the fawning and abasing dance in front of academic missionaries.

They are in fact, the tribesmen who run around in discarded tourists’ teashirts, speaking a patois of our native language and gliteratty and trying desperately to be accepted by the judgmental foreigners. And then they sacrifice the shrines of their ancestors and refuse to learn our own culture and the worthy things we accomplished, in order to be thin, debased copies of the missionaries.

Me? I have had enough of them, missionaries and imitations alike. I say we should never again shut up in the face of their gross impoliteness, no longer bother to laugh BEHIND OUR HANDS at their stupid ignorance.

It’s time they realized that we’re not impressed. They depict us as wearing bones through our nose and stoking up the cannibal pot? Well, let’s.

Next SJW who goes on about non-binary gender, we light a fire made up of The Left Hand Of Darkness, Venus Plus One, whatever that book was with the three genders, which I cannot now remember, and oh yeah L. Neil Smith’s too, and for that Matter I Will Fear no Evil and Time Enough for love.

Next SJW who expounds on not having women main characters, we stack up Honor Harrington, and put the pot on top. Yes, there are a lot more, including my own efforts, but screw that, Honor Harrington will suffice.

And next literature major who comes lecturing me about our “infantile” books, gets toasted atop Bradbury and Sturgeon and Willis. Because I can.

Being stupid and poorly read might be a sad way to go through life, but when you then come and lecture people who know more and read more than you, you should by rights be committing suicide.

This tribeswoman has gotten tired of putting pants on and enduring their lectures just so they will leave us alone. They’re not leaving us alone and I’m up to here with them. From now on, I put a bone through my nose and make missionary flambe.


330 thoughts on “Ain’t Gonna Wear Pants No More

  1. Sarah, you forgot the best part. That part where he said that no one in college has time to read the books they throw at you. That’s what CliffNotes are for. So, he didn’t read the Heinlein books but only the CliffNote — maybe. But he remembers and everyone else was mean and awful because they ganged up on him and called him out for his misrepresentations. 😉

      1. Ah, but the point of that class wasn’t to throw books, it was to lead the students in ritual Two Minute Hates against badthought.

          1. Well, you can have multiple Two Minutes of Hate in an hour long class, with time for questions and discussion between.

            1. It’s less a Two Minutes of Hate and more like SJWs stop hating and take some deep cleansing breaths for two minutes every once in awhile.

                1. Like most immature whines, it is unpalatable and tends to sour quickly. Spit it out and take something better matured to cleanse the mouth.

      2. Music Theory? What in the blue blazes is Music Theory? And what do they do to create Music Fact? I’d ask if he has any plans to pay back his student loans but I am afraid I already know the answer. (At least it isn’t a degree in puppetry?)

        1. Music Theory is something I have only seen in people who are too scared to go into Composition. (My Sister in law got her degree in composition so my sample set is her class and those surrounding her.) Most musicians and composers (much overlap but not always) take Music Theory as a useful way of looking at music so you can put things together logically, kind of like writers study grammar. Majoring in Music Theory is marginally less useful than majoring in Grammar (I don’t know if anyone actually offers a major just in grammar but I wouldn’t be surprised). At least you can edit things if you know Grammar. Most of the gigs for music that pay involve playing the stuff or writing it not editing other people.

          1. Hence my question about making Music Fact. I can understand a Music Major taking a class in theory, but a whole major seems a bit much.

            1. I agree (so would my sister in law were she here to speak for herself). She did mention that those who were deepest into theory were most likely to be into ‘experimental’ musical forms that tended to be painful or nonsensical to listen to.

            1. That is one of the less logical things I have seen a university do… and, for clarity, I was speaking of it as a major or emphasis area rather than a class.

              1. I know, I just had to toss that in. And my performance professor agreed with your assessment of the administration’s opinions 100%

                1. No worries. Today has just been a day of words not meaning what I think they mean when I use them. (I blame gremlins.) So I’d rather clarify unnecessarily than miss something.

                  1. I’d say I have days like that, but it’s more like I have occasional days when words DO mean what I intend them to mean.

                    1. I just can’t keep up with the changing meanings. It seem that to the SJW and their fellow travelers words do not have fixed meanings.

                    2. Well, duh.

                      If they had fixed meanings, PC would lose its fangs because once everyone knew the “right” words, they couldn’t catch more people out. They need to generate grievances, too.

                      Among other reasons.

          1. IIRC, in the Harper Hall, Music Theory was taught by Morshall, who only taught at the apprentice level. So apparently it’s kind of like majoring in elementary school education.

            Is it wrong that I’m pushing 50 and still remember Dragonsong and Dragonsinger that well? (they’re a couple of my “comfort food” books which I usually end up rereading every year or so)

            1. Not wrong at all… Or if you’re wrong I know a lot of people who are also including my parents who are older than you… though like a dutiful daughter I will not reveal how much so.

            2. Morshall only taught at the apprentice level. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t more advanced classes taught by others (or more advanced topics covered in the course of classes on other subjects). IIRC a comment was made that Menolly already knew more than Morshall did so obviously there was more than he was teaching. 😉

              But really, a major in music theory? If it has value it’s in helping to produce good music–so a subject within composition or performance. Majoring in it would be like majoring in Legendre Polynomials instead of Physics or Math.

              1. “That doesn’t mean that there weren’t more advanced classes taught by others”

                Right… but Morshall was the Craftmaster in Music Theory. The other Masters (including Petiron) covered the more advanced topics as part of other disciplines.

                That’s why I think majoring in Music Theory would be comparable to majoring in primary education. It might be a valid major, but for a specific purpose. That is, if Pern is comparable to real life. 🙂

            3. Man, used to read those pretty regularly, but it’s been awhile. Which is sad. And wrong. Very wrong. Needs redress.

              Gotta find the right box…

      3. Someone ought to throw Patrick O’Brien at him. As the resident music degree holder here, I’ll say that O’Brien used terms I haven’t seen since music theory except in Shakespeare. Look, it’s a quaver! and a minim!

    1. In the play then movie Lenny (agitprop for a failed comedian) there is a scene in which Lenny Bruce complains that he is being put on trial for obscenity based not on his stand-up act but on a cop’s performance of Bruce’s performance. The cop sent in to arrest Bruce then takes the stand (metaphorically — it has been long since I saw the thing) in Bruce’s obscenity trial and reports on what he heard the defendant say.

      I feel Bruce’s anguish every time I hear SF sneered at not because of what SF writers have written but because of what other, non-SF, writers have written about what SF writers have written. Because they approached the genre with no respect for its traditions, its memes and its antecedents their attempts at SF have been bad, been jejune, been derivative (quite a trick when you have read nothing in the field) and they have blamed SF for their failure.

      We see this all the time in our culture. Women blame men for being male rather than women with innies; men blame women for being female rather than women with outies. Christians get blamed for not living up to outsiders’ ideas about what Christianity demands, politicians are damned for practicing politics. Few people accept a thing as what it is when they can criticize that thing for not being their concept of what it ought be.

      1. Christians get blamed for not living up to outsiders’ ideas about what Christianity demands

        This one is, I think, a deliberate policy. The “liberal intellectuals” intentionally misinterpret the standard Christian teachings to make them sound like a combination of WBC and the Spanish Inquisition. That way they can blame Chrisitians for not living up to their “beliefs” and thus ignore them as being “hypocrites”. There are many advantages to being able to do this in terms of convincing oneself that one is righteous, but it leads to their own beclowning when their errors are pointed out to them.

    2. Yeah, I saw that (way late – after Sarah had commented on it in the Diner) and my jaw dropped. I never had trouble, time-wise, with reading everything, and I’m in the slow lane for reading speed compared to most of the people here.

    3. Oh cephalopod crap. I was reading three monographs and five articles a week (2000 pages or so), teaching an independent course, doing research, taking three classes (see above), and serving on two university committees. At the same bleedin’ time. Was I stressed? Yup. Did I manage it? Yes. Was I the only grad student to get a 4.0 that semester? Yes. Take your Cliffs Notes and [redacted for the sake of the children]!!!

  2. What a gross injustice. How are they going to get their moral egoboo except by priding themselves on being new? And how they can do that without maintaining their ignorance of all that went before them?

    You don’t expect them to indulge in quotidian goodness, like telling the truth, being kind to those they meet, and giving to charity, do you?

    I once saw a woman online whining about the check from the government when they refunded us early because tax rates had been cut that she would rather it went to the poor and unfortunate. Because she’d been really dumb in the past, I fared forth and pointed out that it was entirely in her hands to ensure that.

    Such a cascade of whining excuses followed.

  3. Literary is just a genre — a genre with self-esteem issues, so they have to puff out their chests and declare how they’re above genre.

    (This is separate from Literature, which is the superior work in ANY genre that makes a mark and endures long past its release, because the author found some truth that speaks across generations.)

    1. Book burning is a form of free speech, as much as a flag burning, and those who oppose it are therefore censors.

            1. News flash! Controversial author Sarah A Hoyt endorses modern american form of suttee. Full coverage on MSNBC in partnership with Air America.

      1. You can burn as many books as you want, so long as you own them. And so long as the local air quality ordinances don’t prohibit it.


  4. Don’t hold back Sarah. Tell us what you really think! [Very Big Evil Grin]

  5. I wonder if this person is stupid, or merely ignorant combined with mis-educated. The essay “Rah Rah R.A.H.” (by Spider Robinson) comes to mind as a skilled rebuttal.
    Speaking of movies — I sure would enjoy a movie version of Footfall. Modern CGI can do it (it’s only a little harder than Jurassic Park, I would say). I could dream about a movie of Lucifer’s Hammer, but that isn’t going to happen (not without butchery much worse than what was done to Clancy’s “Sum of all Fears”).

      1. Footfall could really be turned into a blockbuster, I think, with little butchery.

        Lucifer’s Hammer, on the other hand, would have to be seriously updated for modern tech, and in the process would be murdered.

        1. Lucifer’s Hammer, on the other hand, would have to be seriously updated

          Two points – One, I seem to recall reading Dr. Pournelle musing on just such an update/rewrite/whatever of Lucifer’s Hammer.

          And two, I used to think this as well, especially with the spaceflight stuff – Hey, no more capsules, it’s all Shuttle and ISS! But, lo, here it is just a few years later and the Shuttles are all now museum exhibits in selected D-states, and the latest and greatest NASA manned spaceflight project is…wait for it…A Capsule That Looks Just Like the Apollo Command Module (albeit at 125% scale).

          Substitute a hastily fitted out observatory (maybe a Bigelow inflatable) module in place of the repurposed ASTP box that Mr. Niven and Dr. Pournelle used, and Tada! Modernity incarnate!

          They could even have the Soyuz and the Apollo-redux get holed, and the crew has to MacGuyver a way to get undocked and home in the Dragon Cargo capsule that happens to be docked at the time*.

          The other storylines would need to add some angst from the intertubes and cell phones going down, but that’s minor rewrite.

          * The issue is that Dragon Cargo cannot disconnect from the ISS berthing connector it uses all on it’s own – it needs someone to turn a crank (no really, either electrically or manually) inside the ISS to let them loose. That’s one of the differences between Dragon Cargo and Dragon Crew: Different docking adaptors.

          1. Believe it or not, I didn’t even think about the space situation. I was focused on the societal changes and computer tech (The JPL scientist whose name I cannot remember would certainly have stashed USB memory sticks as well as paper books, and the nuclear plant would have to be an already existing one, not on freshly-built, unless there were other changes implicit.

            1. USB sticks? Not necessarily. If things are messed up to the point that you have no power, which is what the story describes, then USB sticks are no use. Paper books always work. You can bootstrap a civilization from flint, ores, wood, and books. But not if those books are on USB or e-readers. This is why the Long Now foundation made the Rosetta Disk be something that can be read with nothing more than a decent microscope, no special decoding needed. (Consider: suppose you handed a DVD to a Martian. How hard would it be to make sense of the data? It’s encrypted, after a fashion. And even if it weren’t, the compression alone is convoluted enough that it almost qualifies to be called encryption too.) Ditto USB: a PDF file is compressed with lots of magical stuff in it. Even an ebook file is compressed, though once you get past that the text is fairly readable at least for an “epub” file.
              I don’t think Lucifer’s Hammer needs much updating. Or you could leave it just as it is, and have it set in the era in which it was written. No, the real problem is the seriously non-PC description of certain members of society.

                1. True. But consider what it takes to figure out a DVD.
                  1. optical patterns represent bits, with error correcting coding and lots of other stuff I don’t know. You have to figure out how to extract the data.
                  2. The bits make up sectors, which make up a file system. What is the file system structure? It’s fairly simple, that probably is not a big problem.
                  3. What is the file format? PDF is compressed. ZIP is compressed. .tar.bz2 is compressed.
                  4. After you decompress a PDF file, what does it all mean? It’s not even close to plain text. Perhaps you can extract the text, but given how poorly pdf to text converters work, it won’t be pretty.
                  USB similarly. Now for step 1 you have a widget with 4 wires. What is the function of those wires? What voltages and signals do you need to make it do something? How long will it take you simply to figure out how to send it a “read” command? (And what if you happen to send a “write” command first, before you figure out what that does?)
                  There was a short story many years ago of two guys who dig up an ancient power transmission beam system on Mars, complete with the maintenance manual, and struggle to make sense of it.

      2. The Victorian novel is full of description – of clothes, of scenery, of food – and thus can be made into a movie because the camera compresses all those words into pictures. The modern novel is full of conversation, introspection, and the narrator explicating the characters’ emotlional state. That takes a lonfg time to do with a camera, which is why modern novels don’t work as films, and attempts to adapt novellas and shirt stories do better.

    1. And Footfall should have the launch of the Orion. (Okay, okay, I’m repeating myself here, but think how glorious that might look like when done properly with modern special effects and the right music…. big, big explosions… and the ship on top of them, rising… *sigh*…)

      1. (and I wouldn’t mind if it happened for real either – the Orion launch, not the alien attack – except there is no hope in hell that is going to happen in my lifetime. So please at least a movie with one?)

        1. I don’t think an Orion launch would be a good thing. The number of devices required would produce a rather unacceptable level of fallout.

          1. Just once… 🙂

            Okay, seriously speaking, I know, but there shouldn’t be any problems using them for landing and launching from somewhere else, like Moon or Mars. Then park on Earth orbit and use a shuttle here.

            Which means they presumably would also have to be build somewhere else. Which means not on my lifetime.

            1. I guess we could piss off the eco-nuts and launch one from that wasteland valley in Antarctica that has been swept free of snow and ice. Kinda hard to ship the equipment there, but what the heck?

          2. The number of devices required would produce a rather unacceptable level of fallout.

            Given the proper choice of launch area (and downwind range) that’s a feature, not a bug.

              1. Now I’m getting 90’s flashbacks of doofus reporters looking for “red mercury” with Geiger counters. (red mercury was supposed to be a chemical explosive with enough detonation velocity to initiate a fusion reaction with no fission.)

          3. “Unacceptable” when it comes to fallout ddepends entirely on where it’s falling. San Francisco, for example, has a much higher acceptable level of fallout than, say, Colorado Springs.

  6. I, for one, am wearing pants. My wife is VERY insistent about me wearing pants to work. To the point where my 17 month old daughter says “pants! pants!” when we take off her pants to change her. 🙂

    I would bet that the average commenter on this forum has read more “Literature” than the average “Literature Nazi” has read SF/F. I’m willing to bet we have a better handle on narative in general and what makes a good story in particular.

    Whenever you see someone sniffing and looking down their nose at you, light them on fire and roast marshmallows. The only warning to others should be Heads On Pikes.

      1. Pthhhhhbbbt. Just for that, I’m going to keep all the cute guys in kilts for myself 😀

      1. I did go through most of the big classics – Kafka, Dickens, Stevens, Defoe, both Brontes, Cervantes and so on – when in my late teens and early twenties, but don’t remember much of any of them (few exceptions, I do, for example, still like Frankenstein and some Jack London, but not many, and there were a few which I never finished, like Joyce’s Ulysses). Mainly the end result of that phase was the decision that most of this is not for me. But damn it, at least I tried, and didn’t settle for Cliff Notes or some movie version. And I have dipped in a toe occasionally even after that (most times with the same results).

        And otherwise, well, I think my current library is about 4000 books or so, and some ebooks added to that (a few thousand, I’m afraid, but that includes lots of freebies I will probably decide not to read after I take a look). And that is the current incarnation of my collection, it keeps shifting, rather rapidly at times, I keep some, get rid of some, so I’d presume I have owned well over 10 000 books during my lifetime, and read most of them (of course there are always occasional misses, especially with somebody like me who has a hard time saying no to free or dirt cheap books). A bit over half are and have been fiction, the rest pretty much everything from geology textbooks to terraforming to biology to history to mythology to economy to… well, most of you know the drill. And levels, everything from easy-reading level popularizations to more advanced university textbooks (including several subjects I never formally studied).

          1. “Kafka in the original Klingon”?

            I’m surprised that Kafka would live to write anything in the Klingon Empire. [Evil Grin]

              1. A True Klingon won’t fill out forms. He’d kill the “individual” trying to get him to fill out forms. [Very Big Evil Grin]

      1. I wonder what HR would do if I showed up to work in a kilt. Granted, it is getting a little cold to get away with that.

        1. Depends. When HR asks, if you say it’s a kilt, then someone will probably write you up. If, however, you state that it’s a skirt, and why are you oppressing me, you cis-gendered jerk, then you’ll be fine.


        2. My HR department has zero problem with my kilts. Of course, she might start to if I stop cooking and making sure the Head of Marketing gets fed and changed regularly ….

          1. I have noticed that the Marketing department is especially prone to being run by the current les Enfants Terribles.

            1. All I know is that’s where all the money seems to go. Also, the ones who spend the most time wailing incoherently. Also also the ones who need to be carried when out in the real world. Also also also them as what can’t manage the basics of an independent life on their own. But I repeat yourself…

        3. My husband wears a kilt to work ten months out of the year. People are shocked when what passes for winter comes and he starts wearing jeans.

    1. Sarah, see what you’ve started? He’s going to scare the live stock! And won’t someone think of the children! (Help! I can’t talk without exclaiming!)

      1. No worries, Byron, let me just turn these two roosters loose in here. They’ll get people re-pantsed in short order, and they haven’t got any ability to be scared, so the livestock will all be safe.

        You had better round up the children first. We don’t allow the roosters to mingle with children.

              1. With all the crap flying around here, I’d not be surprised to find myself knee deep in Khaki

    2. All I can say is, it’s a good thing I was already at work, wearing pants, when I read this. 🙂

      1. I rebel against pants by wearing skirts. Unfortunately, I can’t get away with that at work; fall protection harness and skirts are not a good match…

        Sometimes i even crossdress in a kilt!

  7. I enjoyed the movie version of Starship Troopers. It was a fun two hours at the theater eating popcorn and jawbreakers whilst drinking a Cherry Coke. Was it disappointing that all of the message about responsibility was removed? Yeah. But it was still fun even though I liked the book better (really, there are very few movies as good as let alone better than, the book).

    1. I’m one of the louder detractors of the movie, but I will still pop it on if it happens to be on one of the premium cable channels.

      The truth is, it would be a fun, corny “B” flick that I’d enjoy as goofy SF fun if they’d not tried to imply it came from Heinlein.

      I have to admit though, one of the greatest compliments I ever got was when the movie was being discussed in the Diner, and someone talked about seeing a movie version made by people who truly loved the source material. They wanted to see Adam Baldwin as Zim (which was an awesome suggestion) and a screenplay by me.

      I may or may not have teared up. I’m pretty sure any tears were in response to dust or something. 😉

      1. I can’t take it for several reasons, including the accent that brought us “Bwenos AIR-ace” (I-race, good lord) and the badly broken military (there’s at least one point where someone needed to be court-martialed for hot-dogging, and WOULD have been.) My husband loves it, so I’ve even seen the commentary track where the director states he didn’t read the book because he “didn’t want to pollute his vision.”

        It’s a pity, because there are some genius choices in the movie (“Do you want to know more?”) But the bad acting and script choices make it too grating for me.

        1. Fair enough.

          I don’t think anyone really considers it a great movie (like, on par with Saving Private Ryan or something).

          I’m not surprised the director didn’t bother to read the book. I mean, who wants their vision to be polluted by the NAME ON THE FREAKING MOVIE!

          Yeah, it grates on me too. However, wife considers me an aficionado of bad SF movies. 😀

        1. If he does, I hope we hanging out at the time. Don’t get me wrong. Verhoeven would get a pass if he just made a space shoot-em-up kind of movie. When he titled it “Starship Troopers”, he fate was sealed.

          May God have mercy on his soul, because I wouldn’t! 😉

    2. One caveat, movies that have a book adaptation can break the “books are better” rule. I think it’s the adaptation that’s fundamentally the problem. Most works are at least somewhat influenced by their original medium IMO.

      1. Part of the problem with that reverse adaptation (movie to book) is that the amount of “story” in a movie amounts to a long novelette, short novella. So you have to pad it out to make a book that people will buy. (Or so conventional wisdom would say). That’s usually done with a lot of fluff.

        Orson Scott Card, in his adaptation of The Abyss, solved that problem by developing the aliens in more depth, creating their “backstory” and including stuff from alien POV that wasn’t (couldn’t really be) in the movie. This produced, IMO, the best book adaptation of a movie that I’ve ever read.

        1. On that note, Card later mentioned in a public talk that he specifically accepted the job of writing the adaptation because both he and Cameron wanted to see if it was possible to do a good adaptation.

        2. From the intro to the book, Card was taken to the movie site, and after a look at the script and some other stuff – can’t recall if he met Ed Harriss/etc., he sat down and punched out a set of backstory chapters.

          The actors read that, and ended up using that to fill in their own characters.

          Additionally – Card had direct access to the set, so much of the book mirrored the actual scenes and dialog as they were actually represented, whereas most adaptations work off the screenplay, which can have…. changes. There are a few diversions – Card had to have the book wrapped before filming was done.

          Lastly – Card is very aware of the different nature of the media, and their strengths and weaknesses.

        3. Alan Dean Foster’s adaptation of JC’s “The Thing” was very well done. The additional scenes in the book were actually in the original script but were not filmed due to time and money. A real shame because they would have been awesome!

        4. Most classic opera librettos were adapted from plays, novellas, or really short novels. (OTOH, sometimes operas changing the story is a very good thing. La Boheme, for instance.)

    3. I would love to see a bunch of Baen authors (say Weber, Ringo, Kratman, Williamson and Hoyt) do a commentary for the movie. That way I could watch it and not feel bad.

      1. MST3000 presentations of “classic” SF could be fun con panel fodder. Imagine Correia and Ringo doing any of the Universal horror films. Imagine Hoyt and Speaker doing Donovan’s Brain. As for The Beast With Five Fingers …(Peter Lorre in the Curt Siodmak screenplay, not the pron* about the masturbation obsessed starlet!)

        *I have no idea whether there is such a film but a moment’s contemplation about that genre suggests it must exist

        1. I think there’s a potential market for do-it-yourself commentaries. F. Paul Wilson did one of his own for the movie version of his novel The Keep. But since Michael Mann keeps suppressing the film’s DVD release, he can’t release it yet.

        2. I understand that some of the people who did MST3K are doing “riff trax” Where they just sell the MP3 of their commentary and it is up to you to get the actual movie and sync it up. They no longer have to get permission from the copyright holder, and they don’t need to worry about who’s cow they gore on the way.
          That would be one heck of a fundraiser at a con, get two or three articulate writers to critique and mock a movie and sell the CD

    4. I was so excited to see a Heinlein novel turned into a movie that I enjoyed it even though there was much about it I didn’t like. I did feel that there was deliberate stupidity at work, in everything from the unarmored, mindless milling of the troops, to the orbital mechanics from a universe where physics works differently. It was a little bit like someone who liked Heinlein wanted to do the movie, but didn’t want to be un-cool, so added a bunch of silly stuff.

    5. There was a movie version? I thought that was just a copy error on posters for “Doogie Howard, S.S.”

      1. Any resemblance between this movie and any literary works, living or dead, is entirely coincidental, an artifact of the marketing department and should not be taken as representing the actual works which have been strip-mined for this film.

    6. Let me give a missing piece of the Starship Troopers puzzle (it was for me at least). When I was in Norway on business some Danish documentary on Paul Verhoeven came on and I had it on as background noise until they began interviewing a friend of Verhoeven about Starship Troopers. He said that Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers began as an idea he had for a film about some young, glamorous German kids coming of age in an exciting time of technological progress and social change. They are all optimistic about their personal futures and the future in general. The movie follows them through coming of age events but the catch is that in a dramatic reveal the audience learns that the exciting social change that they are being swept up in… that many are joining or have joined- is the Nazis. The AUDIENCE realizes it is the Nazis… but the characters don’t. Well, of course the characters know but they don’t know what the Nazis are and become, they only know the propaganda they have bought hook line and sinker and their youthful optimism. The audience knows the horror and reckoning that is coming but the happy, young, charismatic German youth don’t. But he couldn’t get that movie made. Then, while he’s trying to figure out this great idea of his Verhoeven is handed the opportunity to direct some American B sci-fi shoot-em up and he realizes that THIS is the vehicle to make his brilliant young coming-of-age/oh-crap-they’re-Nazis! movie. Of course by this time I had forgotten my work and was screaming and throwing things at the hotel television set. But that is apparently why Starship Troopers was made the way it was.

      That said, I can enjoy the movie as a shoot-em-up sci-fi movie as long as I don’t dwell on the fact that it was a p!$$ed away chance to make RAH’s Starship Troopers. I don’t even mind the fascist references; they tend to be visual not political, and my objection with the Nazis was their politics not their fashion sense. I have not been able to find the documentary anywhere on the interwebs.

      1. That is so sad, the movie that Verhoeven wanted to make sounds to me like it could have been really good.

  8. I saw the movie and have to DVD. I understand that the director Paul Verhoeven hated the book and did not even read it. I was a bit put off by the Nazis in space costuming, but found the movie endurable. The two follow ups were trash. May be that is where the nudity comment came from.

    1. What I’ve heard is that Verhoeven had the basic plot of the movie already put together and started shopping it around. Then someone mentioned to him that it had a lot of similarities with Starship Troopers, and he secured the rights as a result.

      1. IIRC, he had someone on his staff read the book and write up a Cliff’s Note summary for him.

    2. Fun thing to do with the DVD, go up to the scene where the knife is thrown into the recruit’s hand. Step up to it, and watch for the really bad looking gout of fake CGI blood spurt BEFORE the knife hits.

  9. Facebook combines the worst features of cocktail parties and faculty teas. Too easily do ingorant boobs waddle in and presume to lecture folks who actually know something. The ingorant boobs then complain about being piled on and disrespected. Sadly, it seems impossible to spell ignorant without the rant.

    1. Or, as is so often the case, the aforementioned ignorant boobs comment on their own pages / walls, and they wind up in MY feed because I started following them before their brains went to mush. Or at least before PC became sufficient as a positional good to adopt a “my brains are mush” position.

      1. Don’t forget facebook’s “wonderful” idea of showing you conversations that people you happen to be friends with are commenting on.

        Oh, yeah, I TOTALLY want to read the ignorant junk from the crazy sister in law of someone that I talk about gaming with politely disagrees with– I’ve got relatives like that, and in most cases I blocked them because they took the crazy and decided that I was evil for not agreeing loudly.

  10. They are in fact, the tribesmen who run around in discarded tourists’ teashirts, speaking a patois of our native language and gliteratty and trying desperately to be accepted by the judgmental foreigners.

    So, basically, they’re Cargo Cult.

    1. Yup.

      See also their worship of “Science” without actually grasping fundamental concepts of it. Which leads them to praise prophets such as Neil De Grasse Tyson and treat any criticism of him in much the same way that our Islamic bothers treat cricism of their prophet.

      1. His cultists have successfully kept any mention of his recent Bush comment controversy from his Wikipedia page.

  11. It is when faced with such Missionaries that I find myself most sympathetic to the Amerindian tribespeople confronted by Eurotrash colonists, busy lecturing on how one should live yet lacking the most basic understanding of how to survive. On top of that they keep calling my rich and abundant biosphere a “howling wasteland.” It weren’t wasteland until they got here and started plowing the swamps.

  12. Gabriel Garcia Marquez must have had as profoundly negative a reaction on you as on me. The guy has a facility with language, but uses it to paint such dreary pictures. I think I got through a few more of his books – I think I’ve mentioned the non-fic “News of a Kidnapping” was pretty good (Killing Pablo was better IMO) – before I decided that my Colombian friends had their tastes, and I didn’t want to read anymore by a pretentious, condescending, dreary, depressing commie snob.

      1. I didn’t know ahead of time, but after the second book I looked him up. The condescension of little uncosmopolitan villagers, the … hell.

        “Can’t be coincidence.”

        it wasn’t.

        I also heard a lot of praise of Pablo Neruda – but having seen (and wasted a couple hours on) “The Postman (Il Postino) and the various not-so-background hints in it, it was pretty obvious why he was such a darling for certain people, and didn’t try him out.

  13. I’m kind of glad I didn’t see that FB thread. There are sadly many idiots and most of them appear to have entirely closed minds so arguing with them is akin to wrestling with pigs.

    I do try to pop the more egregious ones (e.g. some of the totally moronic “glowball worming” ones), but life is too busy to waste time on the rest

  14. “Ain’t Gonna Wear Pants No More”.

    I read that title and thought for a horrifying instant that this was going to be about Lena Dunham.

  15. 0o…. Please to explain slowly in small words how Heinlein is dated, but Hemingway and Steinbeck are more relevant to 2014? The only thing in any novel that is timeless is the human nature. Technology and politics and custom all change. I say Heinlein explored basic human cussedness – OK nature – in more depth than their lit*er*a*ture.

    1. It goes something like this. Steinbeck (never read Hemmingway, don’t know) will give you your proper dose of suffering stumbling through it. Heinlein is actually fun, and there’ll be none of that! BTW, I am working on that story idea we talked about, but it’s slow going. Haven’t written anything in twenty years. I know I left that discipline around here someplace.

  16. I am a proud knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, with the chest hair to prove it.

    “though the last “literary” … novel I read was four hundred pages signifying nothing, and so it has remained shelved.”

    I think I had to read than one in high school English. Faulkner, no? At least the title gave you fair warning, even if The Powers that Be In Charge of AP Syllabi failed to get the clue and substitute Tolkien instead.

    1. I had to read it because it was part of our school district’s “Academic Decathalon”. Ugh.

    2. You should thank them profusely for not substituting Tolkien. To have your enjoyment of Tolkien destroyed as a teenager would have been a crime, and you know that the school would have done it if they had put Tolkien in the list of authors to be studied.

    3. I read that one too. The fifteen years later I went back and read _Absalom_ because “everyone” kept saying that F. was such a great writer and I couldn’t get it. After the second book I still couldn’t get it. Maybe if I’d stuck to his short stories I’d agree with “everyone”.

  17. Oh, thank goodness, I thought this might be a companion to “World Bra Day” or something….. Now I can go back to read. 😀

  18. I remember very little of what I was made to read in school, and less of what my programmers said I was to make of it.

    I later in life rediscovered most of the classics working at a small press that specialized in drama and textbooks for same, and had the wonderful opportunity (about the only good part of the job) of actually thinking about them while keying them in for reformatting.

    I then got the opportunity to update and expand their footnotes and to a lesser extent their introductions.

    *evil grin* I may have transgressed…

  19. [deep breath]
    Okay, I’m going to sorta-kinda take issue with a couple of our host’s comments, but in the most positive way, as you will see.

    I find SF characters to be a little two-dimensional, on the whole, because SF is not about character, per se, but about a person’s ability to deal with otherworldly circumstances — and that’s backed up by SF love scenes, which, in general, are kinda stilted and mechanistic. (Kim’s polite way of saying they seldom cause a woody.) This is not necessarily A Bad Thing, because love scenes, in the immortal words of Alastair Maclean, do nothing except slow the plot, and if SF is about anything, it’s about the plot. Once again, this is not A Bad Thing: a Bad Thing is the opposite extreme, e.g. Marcel Proust taking an entire book to tell us how a character feels about his mother’s sideboard. (I think that’s what Swann’s Way was about, but it’s difficult to follow the plot when one is falling asleep at the rate of once per page.)

    Most SF novels are marvels of writing by comparison. The most turgid Asimov novel is light speed over anything written by Thomas Pynchon (a darling of the litterati, and a worthy descendant of the Proustian turgida letteratura genre).

    I have read very little SF, especially by comparison with Hoyt’s Huns, but I have read a great deal of “highbrow” literature, and most of the latter smells like ass. Unfortunately, my own reading preference is character study rather than plot (I don’t read mystery novels for the same reason, except for my Guilty Pleasure author John Sandford*), so I have to read a lot of pretentious crap in order to find the occasional gem. C’est ma vie.

    *Rabid mystery genre readers sniff at Sandford because his plots move too slowly; I fart in their general direction, because his characters are wonderful.

    Anyway, my advice to SF authors is: ignore the litterati as you would any group of professional navel-gazers. I would rather read a terrible SF novel than anything written by Annie Proulx, and Orson Scott Card’s shopping list is probably more interesting reading than Cormac McCarthy’s latest work.

    And now I have to go; I’m having a serious problem reading a new book which purports to explain the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but is nothing more than cheap character assassination, and my irritation with the book is exacerbated by the fact that I know the author thereof. Ugh.

    P.S. Please don’t tell me to read [fill in the blank] and I’ll change my mind about SF. Not gonna happen because I have well over a hundred books in my “Must Read” pile already..

    1. Kim, have you encountered Wawro’s account of the start of WWI? If so, I’d like to know your thoughts. I found it useful but grating (too much of his hobby-horse cantering through).

      1. TXRed, the word “superficial” seems to be the mot juste for Wawro’s book..

        Note to anyone thinking of attending U of N. Texas. and taking European History courses: the following professors are so good, you should take every single course they teach.

        – Michael Leggiere (Early France, French Revolution, Napoleonic Warfare and Napoleonic Europe)
        – Alfred Mierzejewski (Early Germany, Modern Germany, Europe 1914-45 and Europe 1945-2000)
        – Walter Roberts (Roman Warfare, Roman Civilization, Greek Civ, and Byzantine Rome)

        I only took one of Roberts’s courses (RomWar), but had I known about him earlier, I would have taken all his other courses even though I have Classical Civilizations pretty well covered.

        Leggiere and Mierzejewski are both so good, I’ve often considered taking their courses that I missed post-grad, purely for learning’s sake. Unfortunately, UNT is too expensive and too far away for that kind of dilettante activity, so it’s not gonna happen.

        1. Thank you. I read as much of Wawro as necessary to get the information I needed, then returned it to the library and gave thanks that it only cost me an ILL fee.

    2. You mean I should not suggest “Dick And Jane Go To Mars”? [Very Big Kidding Grin While Getting Off Kim’s Lawn]

      1. I would suggest “Space Cat Meets Mars”, it should be a very quick read. I read it in the 60’s so it might be out of print. It certainly would establish a floor for ‘teen fiction’ since I think the target audience was about 10.

        1. I read the Space Cat series in grade school. I went back to find them on Alibris, recently and the prices they are charging are exorbitant.

    3. But you just need to read – Wait! Put down that stick! I was joking!

      Seriously, though, I get the whole part about not fitting your reading preferences, especially when it’s as basic as a difference in where the majority of the development lies. I’m personally a much bigger fan of plot than character, since I don’t have a good understanding of character complexity, even in real people. Book people are far easier for me to relate to.

        1. “What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character? What is a picture or a novel that is not of character? What else do we seek in it and find in it? It is an incident for a woman to stand up with her hand resting on a table and look out at you in a certain way; or if it be not an incident, I think it will be hard to say what it is. At the same time it is an expression of character. If you say you don’t see it (character in that-allons donc!) this is exactly what the artist who has reasons of his own for thinking he does see it undertakes to show you. ” Henry James.

          OTOH, this essay by one of the original masters does touch on the problem:

    4. Noted and logged: Kim doesn’t read sf romance or non-gen fanfic. Boy, you will not be complaining about lack of sexiness if you ever do. Lack of sf becomes more the problem.

      1. Catherine Asaro and other writers of SF romance observe that you want a SF editor, not a romance one. First because romance readers read outside their genre — about one third of their books according to one analysis of those book store cards — and SF won’t, but second because romance editors make you take the science out.

    5. Wow. I thought I was the only person who ever read Alistair MacLean. I have to admit to a bit of a guilty secret myself. I love SF, but if I were to emulate any author at all, it would be Alistair MacLean. The best SF analog is probably Keith Laumer in some of his more action-oriented writing, like “A Plague of Demons,” but the truth is MacLean had the ability to hook you to a ride and then run you through a wringer the way no one else could. I have never seen a writer that could pile on the action the way he did.

      And yeah, he pretty much ignored romance.

      1. I read everything Alistair MacLean wrote myself, including a couple I wish I hadn’t (San Andreas but anything after The Way Death) but always returned to his “HMS Ulysses” as his first and best.

        1. That has to be the coldest book I’ve ever read. That and Forester’s _The Good Shepherd_. The North Atlantic and Baltic are not nice places, even without people trying to sink you.

    6. Does “Flatland” count as science fiction? Because I agree, most of the characters there were very two-dimensional.

        1. Ya gotta be careful with us suspicious punny types about….. we can be set in our ways…..

          We’re not exactly printing money, but can be funny when pressed…

              1. I am not sure it constitutes bragging to claim a mathematician as spouse. In fact, I am quite sure many a lass would deem it a cause for complaint. Still and all, some people just can’t add 2 + 2 to get 10.

                1. One of the things I added to ClarisWorks way back when was a pair of functions for converting to and from different number bases, all the way up to base 36. Base 26 was special though, and did “Theater Seat Numbering” which was tricky because there’s no 0 symbol.

                  it was a long time ago, so I don’t remember how I did it.

      1. It has been quite a number of decades since I last read it, but IIRC none of the characters was pointless. I also had the impression that many of Flatland’s ladies could be quite deflating.

        1. BTW – any similarities between the ladies of Flatland and the treatment of women in certain religio-ethnic cultures is not a suitable topic of discussion.

    7. There certainly are SF novels in which character takes a back seat. There are some recurring male characters in Asmimov’s I. Robot, and if I recall, they were completely interchangeable. I generally consider this to be a flaw, rather than something to excuse because it’s SF.

      Dorothy J. Heyd used to refer to the “eight deadly words” in her Usenet posts.

      “I don’t care what happens to these people”

      I will omit the TV Tropes link, but there is one.

      Plot doesn’t take you far if you don’t care if the characters live or die.

  20. Even worse is when one of the ‘Litterati’ decides to try their hand at what they believe to be SF. Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaiden’s Tale” comes to mind (that was 4 hours of my life I’ll never get back). If I can sum it up, it would be an anti-christian, feminist screed thinly disguised as speculative fiction about a future dystopia. Since it depicts a future society, it has to be ‘Science Fiction’, right?

    Such a designation, though, is not for La-Atwood, however. This is Speculative Fiction, a much higher and more noble oeuvre in her own, august opinion since “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.” She certainly didn’t turn down the Arthur C. Clarke award, or ask to have her nominations for both the Hugo and Prometheus awards withdrawn however.

    1. It’s really annoying that Atwood has decided to start writing speculative fiction. It’s cultural appropriation, that’s what it is. 😉

    2. Gahh, Ms Atwoods lame polemic about a Theocratic U.S. is clearly just a way to ridicule the then popular Moral Majority types (mind you not that they didn’t need someone to deal with their hubris). She just wanted to set that religious straw man up so she could knock him down. The back story is ludicrous, the society wouldn’t stay stuck together for 6 months let alone a century or more, and the only thing stupider than the ecological catastrophe that gets the mess started is the “theology” behind the various societal classes. Its a fever dream of an atheistic/agnostic far left feminist. Heck the Handmaidens even turn to each other for various “needs” in an approved rabid feminist fashion

      If you want to see a master handle the subject (and make it chilling and believable) look to RAH’s “If This Goes On…” As usual Mr. Heinlein did it first and best.

      1. I will not give my opinion of RAH’s “If This Goes On…” [Wink]

        Seriously, I’ll agree that it was better than Atwood’s junk but that’s “faint praise”.

        Of course, my opinion of RAH’s story may be tainted by people who keep throwing the “name” of “Nehemiah Scudder” at people who don’t deserve it. [Sad Smile]

        ::Kicks soapbox away from himself::

        1. Fair enough. A chacun son gout as the french say. As noted later in these on not every thing by even a good author is great. I still hold “I Will Fear No Evil” Against Mr. Heinlein for wasting $2.75 of my hard earned paper route money. I’d still rather read that than anything by Ms. Atwood (or most of the alleged modern literati).

            1. The bit about Depression-era cooking is what dates it for me.

              Although the whole body-painting art thing also strikes me as a fad that has come and gone, even though it must have been totally avant-garde for the time it was written.

              (“Avant-garde is French for Bullshit.” – John Lennon.)

              1. yeah, but who knows? It could come back. I mean the LANGUAGE feels dated, which it does in some of the newer ones, like the continuous interjections of “man”

                1. I still see links to body-painting pictorials from time to time. It seems mostly an excuse to show nekkid wimmen and lure traffic without getting too naughty. Body painting (non-tatoo) using males as canvas doesn’t seem to have ever caught on.

                  I decline to put the phrase into a search engine as I am confident it would lead into some psychological niches I wouldst as soon eschew.

                  Language trends, OTOH, come and go and it is not hard to imagine almost any slang “enjoying” a revival if only as a brief fad.

                  1. Bill Engval…or something like that… has a shtick about how if you look at men’s magazines and women’s magazines, they’re both full of women’s bodies. This is because the female body is a thing of beauty, while the male body is hairy and ugly and nobody wants to look at that…. I THINK he had it in the same collection as “There’s A Snake In the Toilet,” but I can’t remember!

                  2. Incidentally, you’re right to avoid search for “male body painting.” One or two that are versions of the female sort– where it’s inherently pretty and you can’t really tell they’re naked and the art works with the curves of the body– and a LOT of excuses to instructional arrows on a predictable body part, or just use paint instead of cloth.

                    As my husband would say: “Dude. You’re trying too hard.”

                2. B-b-but… *I* say “Man!”

                  It’s kind of interesting to think about common interjections and where they come from, because taken literally, they don’t make much sense, y’know dude?

                    1. Oh, good. An excuse to test the fish paste area engagement system.

                      Do you mind zagging a bit? I’m looking for good coverage…

                    2. Ooo…dastardly.

                      I’ll just grab a quick one. One stack. Just one — I’ll just stack these in this one box. I’m just gonna take the one pallet…

                    3. Oh you kid!

                      I wonder what size government grant ought be requested to fund a study of the time lag between a phrase passing out of common usage and its disappearance from conversation hearts?

                      I wonder what would be required for a preliminary study to determine the over/under for that lag? I’m saying it must be at least 25 years.


  21. Oh, and I have to castigate Sarah for her reference to going sans pantalons (even if it’s only metaphorical). I struggle enough with my crush on her without such disturbing images to exacerbate the problem.

  22. Rather than ‘Honor’ I would prefer to toss in just about anything of Elizabeth Moon’s for female. Speaking of which, I hear she has about four or five that Hastings never bothered to stock in our local bookstore. Gotta go.

  23. I didn’t want to add this to Everitt’s thread, as it’s not significant enough to be a supporting argument in his missionary crusade, but as for public nudity in Heinlein, I think it depends on whether you mean full nudity, or if topless females count.

    In the latter case, I seem to remember that by the end of Tunnel In the Sky, most of the ladies were only wearing grass skirts. Again, here was a case of necessity, since their clothes had mostly worn out by then. And then there was the Fiesta de Santa Carolita in To Sail Beyond the Sunset, which was a general bacchanalia.

    As for others, there was a lot of cases of, “Nobody cares what you wear or don’t wear,” but not much in the way of public nudity.

    1. They were also eating with their fingers at the end of Tunnel In The Sky. I believe there was some commentary by one of their rescuers that ‘fingers were invented before forks’.

    2. Personally I think he mistook Heinlein for Niven, there’s a lot of public nudity in the Known Space stories. But getting him to admit his mistake might be difficult.

      1. In any scene where the participants’ clothing is not explicitly described or referenced it is reasonable for the reader to assume they are naked. This is a long-standing literary tradition, first started by Jane Austen — which explains why so much of her writing consists of description of clothing.

    3. I think there was a fair amount of nudity in For Us the Living, though I suppose since Heinlein thought that he had buried it, that it may not count.

  24. One of Asimov’s novels “The Gods Themselves” had three sexes. They were kind of nebulous and ‘merged’ into a solid creature when having sex.
    Having read Starship Troopers in the 5th grade, I still enjoyed the movie as well. Heinlein’s ideas are over the top of most Hollywood producers, so I never expected it to be close to the novel. Heinlein also had Destination Moon back around 1950, and I understand it was very technically literate, and is the source of ‘count-downs’ when launching rockets.

  25. now accused me of being okatu and acted all superior.


    that grinding sound you heard was my brain trying to make you fit in the category where the Japanese think you’re taking fandom too far; Trekkie to the Nth.

  26. I read Starship Troopers when it came out. Saw the movie when it came out, and kept muttering “this is stupid” and “what the screenwriters are having them do and the cinematographers showing them doing it–boy, is this stupid”. Read the book again later, thought it rather like a tract. Read it and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress again a few months ago; decided “tract” isn’t correct, ST was much better than that, and Moon was much as I’d remembered, and as good (missed it when it came out, I being otherwise rather occupied at the time, caught it some years later).

    Yes, I do recall instances of Nudity(!!!!1111!!!) in The Door Into Summer, Beyond This Horizon, some others. Tended to be sort-of “in-passing”, not for pruriency.

    1. “Beyond this Horizon” — one that was harder to find for me. Interesting the way it talks about personal defense. And the way it has the names in Japanese (or Hungarian) fashion.

    2. Like older son who thinks Darkship Thieves is an indecent book because Athena goes naked a lot?
      Since female nudity does nothing for me, I had it when needed and had no idea how much there was.

      1. Hmm, I bought that a while ago but haven’t read it yet. If I’d known it had nekkid wimmins in it I would have moved it higher on my To Read list… I should finish the book I’m on now either tonight or Monday, guess I know what’s next… 😉

          1. Umm, okay. I see what you mean.

            I bought it from my Kindle “Keyboard” model, which doesn’t show covers except on the purchase page, and on there it’s just a greyscale smudge.

              1. As a frequent poster here I can staunchly assert ain’t nobody gonna autograph no parts of me, no matter where I am sent.

                1. um… posters of the cover of Darkship Thieves. I also have them for DSR and AFGM should anyone been interested.
                  Turns around as if to walk off, then turns back and smacks the wallaby up the back of the head with a carp!

  27. His facebook page indicates he lives in Houston. That’s only 5 hours away. I can get some buddies and take him ‘gator hunting in the bayou, if you’d like. Always need more bait.

  28. On the subject of public nudity in Heinlein, there was plenty at the beginning of Glory Road. Of course, that was a nude beach. Plus I understand California liberals want to remove public nudity and flashing as crimes, so it ought to be all enlightened and stuff.

    On the subject of lit classes making fun of stuff . . . I’ve gone through some pretty serious lit classes, though none of them dealt with Heinlein. The only time anything got made fun of were a) bad movie adaptations and b) people dissing Tolkien and Lewis.

    In fact, I had two lit classes where The Lord of the Rings was a required text. Good college, that.

      1. The first course was Tolkien’s Medieval Sources. Awesome course. An exploration of medieval lit by finding the stuff Tolkien drew from. Take THAT, Mr. Academic Elitist Who Thinks There’s Nothing to be Learned. No longer taught at the college, though, because the professor retired. I should ask him for his lecture notes. Then I could save them for posterity. That course should be one that is always taught. When one professor falls, another shall rise to take his place!

        The other class was The Inklings (mainly an examination of Tolkien and Lewis, but with a look at their whole writing group). It remains THE hardest class to even get into at that college. It’s cross-listed as both history and literature (it’s taught by the current chair of the history department, actually), and that’s how I managed to get in as a history major. You can’t even get on the list to AUDIT the course unless you’re either history or lit.

        One of the best things about that course was that I got the chance to do original research. That means (for anyone reading this who doesn’t know) I didn’t have to sort anything other than the text of the book I was looking at. The professor was the one who suggested it, because I had been bringing up similarities in the class discussions (the book was the Lord Darcy short story series by Randall Garrett; $4 ebook from Baen, by the way, you’ll thank me later). I told him I couldn’t do that one because I’d never find academic sources, and he promptly waived the citation requirement. I didn’t have so much fun with any other paper there, including my thesis (which was on Harry Potter . . . yes, for a history degree).

        I guarantee you I couldn’t get a twenty-page term paper from Redshirts. Maybe ten pages, if I do an examination of Scalzi’s personal philosophies on literature, and I’m allowed to use less-than-academic words. 🙂

          1. It was Lord Darcy but the last I heard it is no longer available from the Baen eBook Store. [Frown]

            Note, I saw three Lord Darcy ebooks (which I think contained all of the Lord Darcy stories) in the Kindle store. Mind you, the last I looked each were priced at $9.99.

              1. Well, Baen’s ebook store often still shows a ebook that we purchased but it’s not available for sale. I once pointed somebody to Lord Darcy but they couldn’t find it.

                Mind you, I heard that Baen was trying to get it available again.

          2. Lord Darcy, by Randall Garrett. Genre: Alternate history magical mystery. It’s an alternate 20th century (60s and 70s) where two things changed: Richard the Lionhearted outlived John (no succession war, and the Plantagenets rule to the present day), and the laws of magic were discovered while those of physics remain unsuspected. In fact, there’s one story where a materialist trying to figure out physics is seen by everyone else as a crackpot. One tagline says it’s a world where “magic is a science, and science is an art.”

            The titular Lord Darcy is the Chief Investigator for the Duke of Normandy, brother of John IV, king and Emperor of England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, New England, and New France. He is assisted by his Watson-figure, Master Sean O Lochlainn, a forensic sorcerer.

            Years ago, my father (not a geek by any means, though he grew up reading the occasional comic book and raised me on Star Trek) told me about a series of short stories where they used magic to solve crimes in an alternate Europe. He couldn’t remember the name and I figured I’d never find it. Lo and behold, I did.

            1. Okay, found a (used) paperback edition of the Baen release on Amazon. That gives me the jumping off point.

              There’s three separate ebook editions that come up, as Paul noted. Little steep.

              1. You also can usually find copies of the old SciFi Book Club all in one addition for a song. My elder daughter bought a copy for a friend for about $5, the lions share of which was the shipping. Tells me I really want to hold onto my Baen ebook copy. I can see letting the paper go out of print, but why let an ebook go out of print? Whats it cost to maintain 300K or so of storage on the amazon cloud when they’ll give you 5Gb free? I wonder if Baens rights ended somehow.? Sadly with modern Copyright its life of the author+75. Randall Garrett died in 1987
                so his stuff won’t come out of copyright until 2062. That is until the House of Mouse convinces Congress to tweak it again.

                1. Yeah, I was assuming they were authorized a limited run or something.

                  But I’m watching for the used, so…

      1. Its not as bad as the film (s), more elements from the book (Skinnies!), and the overt Nazi BS removed. I say this because I enjoy watching it, and not because my name is in the credits. Ok, I say this because i enjoy watching it, *and* because my name is in the credits.

          1. The lack of marauder armor was the first major turn off for me. It went downhill from there.
            They should have put the hanging in the movie, it was important.

            1. the 3d animated series had marauders and powered armor… marauders were heavy suits and everyone wore lighter armor.

              1. Exactly. The original text has the marauder as standard issue for the MI. Only specialists like K-9 and lucky men weren’t armored. Recon had their own hardsuits.

        1. Pshaw — your name being in the credits is an endorsement of its own. I have no doubt there have been projects after which you feverishly tried to come up with a way to get your name removed from the credits without having to return the pay.

          1. Agreed. It’s not perfect, but it’s infinitely better than that abomination of a movie. I know, low bar and all that, but the show is actually pretty good.

  29. Upon reflection, your troll was correct on one count: Ender’s Game was the sum total of Card’s best work. Speaker for the Dead was a sequel for a sequel’s sake. I suffered through various sequels of Alvin Maker and the generation-ship stuff unimpressed.

    Heinlein and Bradbury are better, but from Fahrenheit 451 to Job: A Divine Comedy (the beginning of my atheism) there’s plenty poor storytelling to accompany the good stuff.

    1. I like Card, but his earlier stuff seems much better than his later stuff. Though I’ll make an exception for Magic Street.

  30. I read sf/f because I can get any other genre contained within sf/f. If I want mysteries they’re there. If I want military fiction, or romances, or animal stories or thrillers or just good stories with interesting, likable characters sf/f has them.I generally read sf/f because of the diversity I can find.

    1. Many many moons ago I wrote a blog entry on “Why Science Fiction”, primarily why I write it rather than something else, but some of it applies to the reading side too.

      (I was a big proponent of the Space Program, largely because I wanted to go, but I soon learned that that was not going to happen.)
      And so Science Fiction filled the hole of the dream that could never come true. I could never go, but I could at least read about it. From that point on SF totally dominated my reading. Some years later I started branching out a bit and developing more “rounded” tastes but it remains SF that I come back to when I read for fun.

      So when I started writing, I started writing SF since that’s just the way my mind worked by that point.

  31. …and now for a countering view:

    (More like this article’s title summoned a memory that sent me searching though YouTube than any real objection, though.)


  32. Getting back to the cause of your rant, I would tend to suspect that the missionary who wrote it probably hasn’t read much of any of the books he mentioned beyond the author’s name and the book title. Consider that he is a product of the school system that has been “teaching” reading by the point-and-say method for at least two generations. No phonics = no reading. He even says that They just don’t have time to read in college. What a line of crap. They don’t have time to read because it takes them too long to figure out how to get past “a”, “and”, and “the”.

    Semi-short true story – Back around 1960 or so, my mother(Masters in English) was asked to develop the first ESL class at the local Jr. College. This was years before there was such a thing as ESL classes. This class was developed to bring foreign students(mostly ME students) coming to the school up to a level of English that would get them through college level courses. The mandate was 350wpm reading and 60% retention/ comprehension.
    When she retired about ten years later, most of the classes were filled with in-coming high-school graduates who had tested below that level.

  33. Sing it Sister.

    You did leave out the other form of revenge/justice: using the aforementioned “missionaries” as the basis for the idiots in our fiction.

    I’m not talking about making them the Big Bad… more like the pathetic wretch who *thinks* he/she is the Big Bad but is really just a pathetic poseur being manipulated by some tiny office of bored accomplices of one branch of the real Big Bad.

    Believe me, it’s very cathartic. If you check out The Bandanna Gang & the Dad Conspiracy, you’ll see how much fun it is.

    1. Brilliant. It reminds me of the old warning “never pick a fight with someone who buys printing ink by the barrel”. (As in: fighting newspapers will hurt.) Works for authors, too.

    2. Never piss off a bard or a Herald. The later controls how you are introduced to people, the former controls how you will be remembered.

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