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Three pieces of news about the Laundry Files (UPDATED!)

So, I have some news to announce this week. Three pieces of it, in fact. All of them have been embargoed for sometime, but I'm finally clear to talk about it—just not all at once. So I'm going to update this announcement a couple of times between now and next Wednesday.

Firstly—I've been sitting on this for ages—but I'm now allowed to admit in public that THE LAUNDRY FILES has been optioned for TV by 42 (producers of Watership Down and Traitors (among other things). This has been grinding through the works for over a year. It's an option deal, meaning the production company are looking at writing a pitch and maybe a pilot script and seeing if they can get a network interested, so it's early days. It doesn't mean that a series has been commissioned or that anything is going to happen. (We've been here before, circa 2006-08, with an American outfit, and in the end nothing came of it.) However: it's a British production company, so anything that emerges this time round is likely to have a British feel to it, and they have a great track record.

Additionally: I'm pleased to announce the sale of the next Laundry Files novel, titled "Lost Boys", to be published by the usual suspects some time in 2020.

You might notice something odd about the title; it lacks a reference to any kind of document or archival storage medium. That's because "Lost Boys" isn't about the Laundry at all: it's a side-quest set in London under the reign of the New Management, and the only familiar character from previous stories is the Prime Minister (who appears briefly).

"Lost Boys" does for "Peter Pan" what "Equoid" did for unicorns. And that's all I'm going to say about it for now!

Finally: It has just been announced that The Laundry Files as a whole is shortlisted for the 2019 Hugo award for best series! And that's the third and final piece of news about the Laundry Files that I've been sitting on for a couple of weeks.)

396 Comments

1:

Fingers crossed.

2:

Awesome, fingers crossed! There seems to be a lot of SciFi and fantasy shows at the moment with very good production budgets. Would you know at this stage if it would be streamed or is it more likely to be on TV?

If the latter I might consider getting a TV...

3:

Fingers crossed, and yes, there's a long way to go, and yes, the majority of projects that get to this stage don't get any further. But the ones that do get to the screen all have to get this far.

The addition to your bank account will buy a few pints too.

5:

Great news and fingers crossed!

6:

No spoilers, but I'm actually more excited about the other two pieces of news I'm sitting on for the time being. (Although maybe that's just because (a) the Laundry Files have been optioned before and nothing came of it, and (b) this has been going on in the background for about 18-24 months.)

7:

Hopefully something comes to fruition. Looking forward to more reveals!

8:

I am pretty sure what the second one is, but the third? You have me guessing - excellent!

9:

Great news about the Laundry series!

I'm actually more excited about the other two pieces of news I'm sitting on for the time being

Charlie has invented a time machine and is going to change the Brexit referendum results and those of the 2016 election!

Huzzah!

10:

Change them to match the laundry files timeline. Mass human sacrifices here we come!

11:

Well, crud: you're getting to be an expensive habit. Now I might have to buy a TV.

On the other hand, maybe they'll stream it. :)

12:

YAY!
[Kermit arm flail]

Are we talking animated or live action?

Quite looking forward to the additional news!

13:

42, eh? Now try not to imagine a Watership Down / Laundry Files mash-up. Try hard....

14:

I am more trying Real Hard to not think of a Laundry Files / Yes, Minister mashup.

15:

So THAT's the next story he is working on :-)

In the context of some of OGH's previous comments, I was trying to think of suitable themes that would be both new and compatible with the Laundryverse, and having a bit of difficulty. The Once and Future King has potential, but I doubt it would find favour.

16:

Not a TV person (pictures are better on the radio, IMO) but anything which looks profitable for OGH (in whatever currency) is a win :)

17:

Please say if such comments amuse or annoy you, but I have just thought of Mowgli, Tarzan, and John Carter and several Haggard stories :-)

18:

Close to Philip Jose Farmer territory there...

19:

I don't see the problem. If the "Once and Future King" is an Eldar, (or some kind of hideous Lovecraftian thing) that would work very nicely.

20:

Announcement Two: The UN has decided to switch our reality to The Laundry's time-track on the basis that as an entity subject to Poe's law, the Laundryverse is less horrible than the time-track it satirizes.

21:

I always imagined Martin freeman to play Bob.

22:

Congrats! And here's hoping the process doesn't interfere with the writing part of your life.

Would like to hear other Laundry readers' opinions on casting since actors can change the feel of a story completely. And so that there's no potential fallout for Charlie over this, I suggest casting with deceased UK actors only.

Angleton - Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett

23:

Announcement 3 - Following on from Announcement 2 (qv), Great Cthulhu has requested the marked up voters' rolls for the 2016 Brexit Referendumb because he prefers his meals insane, and voting "leave" in that referendumb when you don't actually know what you're voting for is the most insane thing He's ever seen! ;-)

24:

Ditto - He's so good ... plus, his background in key roles with similar spy-suspense/SF&F themes.

25:

I was just thinking... soundtrack by Thomas Dolby?

26:

A big Mazal Tov! for this news.
I saw the tweet yesterday, and remember the last time, and us all going over our casting ideas. A few years ago I came across the American treatment (don’t know if it was the actual treatment or just someone online’s) which was very American in story and casting, though I did agree with John Hurt as Angleton (my other Angletons have sadly died since then). I know that’s not Charlie’s dream casting for him, but didn’t his recently win an Oscar, or was at least nomiated?

I’m trying not to guess about the other news, but have seen the tweets about fighting the urge for the Laundryverse spinoff to become a trilogy.

27:

We all need some good news this week. Don't take too long sitting on the other two ... PLEEEEASE.

28:

Have you read it? It's not yer everage Arthurian cycle story :-) It's a long while since I have, but the first book is entirely different from the standard cycle, and the second similar - even in the last two, it is unusual.

29:

Angleton was always modeled on Richard E. Grant. You might be able to substitute a famous thespian with an RSC background, but nobody does the particular flavour of demonic malice I wanted to convey quite like Richard E. Grant.

Thomas Dolby on the sound track would be perfect.

As for other actors? I have no idea; I don't think I've been in a cinema for a decade and I don't watch TV drama.

30:

I don't believe I have, and if so it was multiple decades ago. I was simply thinking of the King Arthur story with some kind of Equoid-like twist.

31:

Yeah, like, Excalibur was actually an avatar of an Elder God, and the whole Arthurian saga was a dark-ages attempt at understanding how that worked out.

32:

Or an Eldar weapon with hideous powers? Arthur isn't back but Excalibur is?

33:

Just been looking at Grant’s filmography, apparently I haven’t seen him in much; Coppola’s Dracula, which I generally try to forget; and a few episodes of Dr. Who, which I do remember. He definitely has the look for Angelton. Since reading “The Atrocity Archives” I had always pictured him as older.

As for other actors? I have no idea; I don't think I've been in a cinema for a decade and I don't watch TV drama.

I’ve only been in a theater 3 times in the last decade. A couple times for episodes of Big Name Space Series (not counting 2 spinoffs that I didn’t go to for some reason), and my nephew’s last film. I’m only paying slightly more attention to Hollywood product now because of the kid.

34:

Er, no. Forget that I mentioned it :-(

35:

Charlie Stross @29 said: Angleton was always modeled on Richard E. Grant.

Yes! The minute I saw his picture, I knew that you were right. I will now always have that image in mind when I read the books.

If the series is ever made, don't worry about the details. TV is its own animal. The only recommendation I have is avoid the mistake they made with the Dresden Files. They compressed whole books into a single episode. Everything was right about the series except for the compression. They should have spent a book per season, at the very least.

Wiki - The Dresden Files (TV series)

These are examples of books that translated well into TV, because they took their time telling Story.

- True Blood

- Hannibal (TV series)

- The Expanse (TV series)

- Under the Dome (TV series)

- The Magicians (U.S. TV series)

- American Gods (TV series)

An example:

When they look at translating your stuff, have them look at Equoid, it feels like a 90 - 120 minute movie. The same with The Concrete Jungle. At the very least, they should take two, one-hour, episodes to resolve.

- Jekyll (TV series)

They took their time telling the story over six, one-hour, episodes. They did not cram a story arc into one episode.

Make sure they take the time to tell the story, and it will be fine.

36:

Me too! And Tilda Swinton as Mo. Possibly out of the budget though

37:

Exactly this. "The Atrocity Archives" seems to me like 8-12 one hour episodes:

1.) We introduce "Bob" and the Laundry, the burglary takes place.

2.) Bob meets Mo in Santa Cruz.

3.) Bob runs into Black Chamber zombie and rescues Mo.

4.) Bob and Mo go out, then fight the tentacled thing.

5.) Bob and Mo go to Amsterdam.

6.) Mo gets kidnapped.

7.) Bob and Alan go to Fuhrer-world.

8.) Bob and Alan find Mo in the castle

9.) Bob figures out there's a problem.

10.) Bob and Alan turn off the porta-nuke, Brigid attacks, plus wrap-up.

And instead of the little device with the heads on strings, Angleton has a collection of "executive Barbies and Kens" (I think this works better for TV) each tied neatly down into a era-appropriate box, and they're all still in the packaging, never unopened, like all good collectibles.

38:

Damn. "...never opened, like all good collectibles."

(This is really embarrassing. I blew the italicized Lovecraftian reveal. Shame. Fake News.)

39:

Or the first release of Microsoft Windows ....

40:

The REG stare in the tearoom in Withnail & I is the look I see when you said he was the template for Angleton's glare, pity the rest of his features don't match.

Come to that The Register's founder Mike Magee has a ferocious glare, especially after a few pints.


Speculative Casting :

Angleton : David Horovitch, good hard stare there.

Bob: hmm Robert Webb would fit (the now Bob), earlier Bob : Joe Thomas off the Inbetweeners ? not sure, both have the sort of awkward geeky vibe.

Mo - Ann Apsion/Cheryl Campbell/Kelly Reilly.

41:

I have no say in how it's being planned, or even contact with the production company.

Having said that, I gather the initial plan was to do roughly one season per book, with The Atrocity Archives as the opening season.

42:

So you envisioned Grant when writing Angleton? Yeah, I can see that. As for anything else, it's too soon to do anything except conjecture about conjectures. Not that that will stop anyone here...

43:

It is Good News . Bear in mind ..all of you in the Host Audience? ..things can get to be quite amazingly complicated in the World of Media. Were you following the TV series " DEADWOOD " ? If not then you should for it is Triffic!? Here is the latest complicated News? I'd read it to say that TV Series ENDS with the third series ..powers that be realize that this might have been a mistake ... and that MONEY is to be had? And SO ..a Movie ..and thus ..Maybe a new TV Series or a Second Movie ..Or Possibly a Video Game - Oh ,all right then ..I made up that one. It is now quite hard to separate the Streaming Movie services from the old Time TV/Movie on Screen offering. Oh ..and " DEADWOOD? It doesn't use all that confusing Video Stuff that might wind up your vision Charlie ..Good Old Fashioned plot development with really good character development. "HBO’s Deadwood movie gets a trailer and a May 31st release date ..Thirteen years later, Deadwood is back "

https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/22/18277055/hbo-deadwood-the-movie-trailer-may-31-release-date

44:

"I have no say in how it's being planned, or even contact with the production company."

I talked to an author who did see her work on the TV and she said that it had involved a large number of "They did WHAT?!" surprises for her, because she always regarded her books as "final & definitive, cast in stone for ever".

Do you think your FOSS experience has prepared you for "your baby being run through somebody elses meat-grinder" ?

Or is the money good enough to make that a non-issue ? :-)

45:

The nice thing is that a TV series like this can focus on the content in a single novel, but also use all the other stories for deep foreshadowing, and subtle references, since they have a great roadmap for where to go with it.

@Charlie have you given them any bible that clues them in on the path the story will take towards the end? That information would be great to subtly add during early episodes so as to give old fans and new something unexpected to chew on.

46:

Angleton was always modeled on Richard E. Grant.

That’s amazing. I hadn’t seen it myself, but now I can’t unsee it and I probably need to reread everything with Angleton in. My mental picture was someone from an earlier generation, Trevor Howard maybe. Grant, however, would be perfect (I wonder whether he’s available), especially now and not 20-30 years ago.

47:

I would suggest John Cleese as Angleton. The Laundry Files are satire, originally of Spy Novels. American TV has just started showing "Hold the Sunset", he is quite restrained as Phil.
Pandering to Americans, cast Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Bob and Mo. Not old enough ?
What about Pinky and The Brain ? Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman ?

48:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Whereas OGH has consecrated the door ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇.

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On this day, we confer upon OGH the highest honor, to take a seat among the ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ and to experience, albeit for a moment only, the ▇▇▇▇▇▇ presence ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ ▇▇▇▇▇.

49:

I think Radcliffe is old enough, though I believe Mo is a decade older than Bob.
And hasn’t Brains been described as resembling Hyneman?

50:

That's interesting news. Hope it comes through for you.

Which means the other news is that Scotland will soon have a new king, and I assume you'll be taking the royal name Dave since that's traditional for Jewish kings (King David was the second king of the United Kingdom... of Israel and Judah).

Or perhaps we're even closer to getting a video version of Merchant Princes.

51:

Might be appropriate if "The Laundry Files" became one of the 1st series from Apple TV+. Just a thought.

52:

Whereas OGH has worked tirelessly to further the goals of ▇▇▇▇ ▇▇▇▇▇▇▇ ▇▇▇▇.
Wherein it is revealed that the Laundry Files actually are, as was long jokingly rumoured, a documentary written in metaphors, marketed as fiction.

53:

Very good news, i was happy with just the books, but the Laundry Series is eminently filamble
It might morph a little, but hopefully it will retain the sense of the original books
Even the books, once you stopped channeling other authors, morphed series wise
Glad to hear, as hopefully there was some moolah involved, only an occasionally a commentator here and the sudden cardiac arrest in January didn’t help

54:

When I was reading The Files, in my mind's eye Angleton was always Charles Dance. But I must be wrong because Bob was Chris Pratt so what do I know. :)

55:

RIchard E Grant
I had to look him up, since I hadn't a clue as to who he is.
Still not interested ...

56:

I believe Mo is a decade older than Bob.

No, only about three to four years.

(Canonically, in the last few novels—the 2015 sequence—Bob is 38, Mo is 41-42.)

57:

have you given them any bible that clues them in on the path the story will take towards the end?

You (and others) have a rather odd idea of how involved authors are in TV adaptations of their work.

I have had zero contact whatsoever with anyone at 42: all negotiations have been handled through two intermediate layers of media agents.

I've let it be known that I'm available if they want to talk to me, but whether the message even got passed on is anybody's guess.

(Also: if I wanted to be in TV I'd be writing scripts, not novels.)

58:

You probably need to find a DVD of his early movie, "How To Get Ahead In Advertising". Incandescent, rage-filled, anti-Thatcherism: I've been a fan ever since.

59:

Well, ref Equoid and FWIW "Cold Comfort Farm" has been filmed twice with a running time about 1:45.

60:

I know it was a typo, but what a wonderful word filamble is. Really great mouth-feel.

61:

Cleese as Angleton would be rather amusing.

I can't speak for the rest of OGH's American readership, but I'd say pick British actors for all the roles you could. I think we would enjoy the show anyway.

I have always gotten the impression that Pinky and the Brain were modeled after two wonderful things: Animaniacs ("What do you want to do tonight Brain?" "Try to take over the world") and Mythbusters (physical descriptions)!

62:

No, only about three to four years.

Perhaps I was mis-remembering her commenting on Bob’s maturity level? Or something.

63:

WRT show bibles, I think you and/or other writery types have discussed on twitter having crowd sourced wikis for long series, they’d obviously make good source material for show runners—if they’d be bothered.

(Also: if I wanted to be in TV I'd be writing scripts, not novels.)

My brother occasionally tells me I should try writing screenplays rather than novels. Problem is I’m not a big movie fan, and know next to nothing about scriptwriting.

64:

Angleton - Vincent Price, who has the advantage of already being dead.

65:

Hah! I work in entertainment and TV so my odd ideas are based on odd realities. It will mostly depend on the production team, where they are in the process, and how the early process goes from an ‘exec excitement’ level. If the production team and writers get something tight together and the execs love it, you will likely be called to clue them in on where the big story goes. They’ll be comfortable throwing that away and going a different direction, but the story obviously has an end, and they will likely want clues to that. You may not even have that conversation until after a successful first season.

66:

Good point—but a successful first season is a hell of a long way away right now!

67:

Here's something I remember. I did not see Supernatural myself and never considered watching the show, but one of the scenes that came up on my YT feed very much interested me. The same sort of atmosphere of the character, that is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdcGanQgt9c
Name's Julian Richings. Never heard of him before, but he seem to be so fitting for the role of supernatural character of that caliber. Maybe you need to add just a pinch of that sense of patronage to make him complete.

Another trailer of Control here. Too bad there's almost nothing to contribute beyond what I've already seen - no plot hooks and no new mechanics. Still, it looks more refined now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JmnUcbeR_M
Epic store exclusive.
Oh, it is this thing again...

68:

*Sigh*. If he wasn't James Alexander, but was still Heather Alexander, she'd be *perfect* for Mo, esp. the way they play the fiddle.... Sorry, this is in fandom.

69:

Charlie, on the one hand, congrats, and I hope it makes you a ton of money, *and* that the stories at least vaguely resemble the novels.

On the other hand, I remember (never watched it) the Hollywood abomination which we in fandom referred to as "I, Robot, a movie with a few characters with the same names as characters in the short stories, and no other relationship to the stories."

I truly *loathe* self-proclaimed "auteurs", who take a really good story, and mangle it, because they're So Much Better than the original authors.

Why, yes, after I saw the first part of Jackson's LotR, I *did* (and still do) want to invite Jackson into a dark alley, and let someone else find the body when I'm done).

70:

I once read another author describe the process of optioning a novel for film as:

Drive up to the California state line, throw the manuscript across, someone throws a sack of money the other way, and that's it.

While the exact nature of the border and the precise size of the sack might vary, I suspect this is an accurate analogy for all optioning scenarios, and the total involvement the author has with the project.

71:

While there were some wonderful moments and superb visuals in the first LOTR movie, the butchering of character (that only increased in the subsequent movies) was unforgivable.

72:

JamesPadraicR @63 said: Problem is I’m not a big movie fan, and know next to nothing about scriptwriting.

Get Storm of the Century by Stephen King. Instead of writing a novel, he wrote a mini-series. The book is the script for the show, and it reads like a novel. If you get the DVD as well, you will see that they match cleanly. He took his time telling the story.

Wiki - Storm of the Century

Scripts are usually one page = one minute. It is 256 minutes long, and if you were to take the script and go page by page turning it into prose -- at one classic manuscript page(250 words) for each minute -- it would be a 64k novelization. 100k if you added more color.

Shadow Unit is designed as novelization of an imaginary TV series.

Shadow Unit
http://www.shadowunit.org

Then there is Serial Box. They have a number of stories that are essentially one hour episodes of imaginary TV series. I got Book Burners season one just to see what they did.

Serial Box
https://www.serialbox.com

Not all of the episodes follow the actual format of a TV episode, but they are close enough to give you an idea of what can be done.

Basically, take any TV series episode, start with the premise that one manuscript page = one minute of screen time, and run with it. The act of focusing the story in a set number of pages and a set amount of screen time is illuminating.

73:

If Faramir and Elrond were real people, they could sue, and win, for slander/libel. And what he did to the Story of Aragorn and Arwen!!!

And battle scenes that went on and on and on... while Tom Bombadil is snipped....

No, I refuse to watch the other two.

74:

I think there is there is some growing awareness in the TV and Movie industries that faithful adaptations of books tend to succeed more than the 'reimaginings' that used to be the norm and were justified by 'different media have different storytelling requirements'. Harry Potter, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale, The Expanse, The Magicians (season 1 anyway), Altered Carbon. Adaptations are more likely to succeed if the bits that people liked the original for are left in rather than altered by someone with delusions of genius. The success of the more faithful adaptations is convincing to producers.

75:

There was a Jekyll & Hyde TV series a few years back that had Richard E. Grant as the head of a British secret service division called MI:O (for "other") with the remit of keeping the supernatural from bothering people. I can't actually recommend the show, as it was fairly incoherent on both a plot and tone level. But Grant has done at least that one vaguely Angleton-like role :-)

76:

Traditionally the film industry often had a film-maker who wanted to make a film, and also had the rights to a book or graphic novel that they possibly did not know, care about, or even like.

Industry execs wanted a film of that work because they thought it would get bums on theatre seats, especially in the first week when you need to get hype happening.

They wanted name recognition to get people in the theatre door. Respect for the original work was purely optional.

Things seem to changing.

I do wonder if the internet - and the ability to very, very quickly tell other fans that the movie of your beloved book is really just ripping off the book’s name and some character names - has changed that. Fans have more power now.

77:

Well, the awkward thing is that The Atrocity Archive is 235 pages or so, whilst Concrete Jungle is 84 pages. Not well-shaped for either a movie or precisely a series, but whatever.

The truly surreal thing is that Scalzi got When The Yogurt Took Over made into a cartoon that's already on Netflix (Sex, Death, Robots, episode 6, IIRC). There's no accounting for the whims of Hollywood.

78:

It's a good question, but I think the data are skewed. For LOTR, there was the 1978 Ralph Bakshi cartoon, which kinda sucked, so people were leery of a LOTR movie. One of the ways they sold it was showing how much care they took with the props. They started showing off helmets and stuff a year or two before the first movie came out.

With Harry Potter, it was similar. So we've got two examples of blockbuster series where taking care of the details made the moviemakers wealthy too.

Then we've got the Marvel Universe, where the movies aren't faithful recreations of the comic books, but since Marvel is part of Disney, there's little grumbling about artistic license. That and the movies are often less sexist than the comics were (no braless women with gravity defying bosoms, for example).

That's kind of the peak: then we get the downslope with the Hobbit trilogy, along with all the famous series that didn't do so well, down into the swamps where Ender's Game ended up. I didn't see most of them, but I got the impression that they were no more unfaithful adaptions than was, say, LOTR. Yet they biffed hard.

So I'm not sure, I guess is the ultimate answer. I think making a smash hit takes good script, good craft, and a lot of luck. Miss the luck, and the thing will collapse at the box office.

And what does the craft cost? Ten years ago we'd be talking about a Koomey's Law type curve with digital graphics, but there's been such a race to the bottom that digital companies are going out of business, overworked, underpaid, and no longer interested in producing good graphic effects.

That's kind of important, because effects-heavy movies still cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Not that many financiers are interested in losing that kind of money, so scripts that get made tend to be conservative, things that can translate well to the Chinese market, and so forth. Doing all that doesn't guarantee that a film will succeed, but that seems to be the formula du jour.

In any case, if the UK can still make a tellie version of The Atrocity Archive, the problem will be finding snow, a working kettenkrad, and keeping the actors from dying of either hypothermia (for real snow) or hyperthermia (for fake snow under lights) whilst they trudge through the airless woods in their vacuum suits. The rest of the special effects are pretty bog standard.

79:

Sorry, must disagree, Tom Bombadil needed to be snipped. It read more like a twee hangover from The Hobbit.

I think Jackson did a good job, would have liked to have seen the Scouring of the Shire, but - in the normal cinema release version - cannot greatly fault it. High production quality, superb scenary, pretty good acting, strong story, acceptable soundtrack - whats not to like?

Okay, Arwen got to be something other than a pretty woman sitting in the corner, but I rather thought that more realistic and less paternalistic. A 500(?) year old elf sitting around doing her nails when the Dark Lord is on the march never sounded entirely realistic.

They are all worth seeing.

Looking forward to a future laundry TV series. I imagined Angleton as like Leonard Cheshire VC in his later years, but suspect the acting and script will be what sells the actor in that role.

80:

JamesPadraicR @ 33: Just been looking at Grant’s filmography, apparently I haven’t seen him in much; Coppola’s Dracula, which I generally try to forget; and a few episodes of Dr. Who, which I do remember. He definitely has the look for Angelton. Since reading “The Atrocity Archives” I had always pictured him as older.

Angleton in the 1930s when the teapot is first bound to his corporeal form could have looked like Richard E. Grant did in 2004. And I remember there are several mentions where Bob notes that he's seen photographs of Angleton during WWII where he looks just like he does at the time Bob was recording his work diary in "The Atrocity Archives" ...

I always pictured Andy as a Richard E. Grant looking gentleman (Circa - Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death) and Angleton more as Richard Wattis, Trevor Howard or even William Hartnell (before he became Doctor Who).

81:

Others might get there first...

82:

Troutwaxer @ 37: Exactly this. "The Atrocity Archives" seems to me like 8-12 one hour episodes:

I hope they'd do it as well as Netflix did in bringing Richard E. Morgan's Altered Carbon to the TV screen.

83:

I recall Phil Rickman - author of the Merrilly Watkins series - saying that a produced TV series allowed you to buy a nice car and a film allowed you to upgrade your house. Not sure how accurate that is. I imagine a good TV series tends to lead to more book sales too.

I suppose if the first season is a success then the author gets to up the fee for series two.

There seem to be a lot of books that get made into TV that don't deserve it and a number of really good books that just get ignored. It is bizarre.

84:

I should like to note that most of the authors people are comparing me to sell maybe an order of magnitude (in some cases 2-3 OOM) more books than I do.

I'm doing okay, but I'm just barely showing up on the bestseller charts.

Phil Rickman's advice is correct. What he misses out is the key insight I was given by Chris Priest: if they come to make a film or TV show of your book, insist at the time of contract negotiation that you should have the right to use stills, reviews, and publicity quotes for the movie/show via your publishers to push your books.

Just reprinting and rebranding a novel as "the book the film was based on" is good for $BIGNUM extra sales, where $BIGNUM is nearly as much money as you'll see from the media rights in the first place. Also, it costs the studio nothing to give you these rights at that stage -- indeed, it's free co-marketing/publicity. But if you forget and ask for the rights after the contract is signed, you'll have to kick butt all the way up the studio chain and they'll have to get the lawyers out of bed again to make sure they're not giving away the farm by mistake.

85:

Don't think Tilda Swinton would fit as Mo. Mo needs to be much more the buttoned up type

Beverley Cressman aka Kate Stewart (Dr Who) is one option - I think Karen Gillian is out even if she is a red head and Scottish.

If the series gets that far Sarah Shahi as Persephone - 1/2 Iranian Actor who played Shaw in POI (Person of interest) and boy can she rock the super dangerous witch /operator in a LBD look.

86:

Oh Yes Supernaturals Death is great of course Dean Accidently Kills him :-)

87:

Ah the soon to be a Major TV show / film sticker ploy -my first copy dune 1970's had one of those.

88:

The next piece of news: The Mandate aka Nyarlathotep _will_ be the next Prime Minister.

Seriously, a TV show of the Laundry books will be ... interesting ... now that our own reality is worse than theirs.

89:

God no go for the standard 22 episode length (if budget allows) - get over this half assed British approach to episodic TV and hire a proper writing room of people who actually understand the cannon as opposed to DR Whos hire amateurs with no experience or fans whos knowledge runs to knowing how many times Peri leaned forwards.

90:

The team that did Peaky Blinders music and audio cues would be a good pick and the Jenifer Files has to be David Arnold.

91:

Angleton always looked like an elderly Christopher Lee in my mind.

Bob Howard always looked like Tim Canterbury, probably because The Office was more or less a Lovecraftian tale in its absurd futility.

No idea for Mo.

92:

Altered Carbon was excellent, though my wife (who had not read the books) was lost almost immediately and slept through most of the episodes as a result.

93:

"Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes."
--John le Carré

94:

well, yes.

They won’t make a Laundry Files movie or TV series just because they thought name recognition would get half a million bums in theatre seats. Not a big enough star for that.

But given this decade’s fashion in computer games, the Laundry Files fits the aesthetic. SF/horror with problem solving & magic, laden with ironic references.

95:

Heteromeles @ 77: Well, the awkward thing is that The Atrocity Archive is 235 pages or so, whilst Concrete Jungle is 84 pages. Not well-shaped for either a movie or precisely a series, but whatever.

If they did it as a mini-series they could interleave Concrete Jungle with The Atrocity Archive.

There are elements of Concrete Jungle that would fit in well during the gap between when Bob is expelled from the US and Mo is finally released to return to the UK.

Put the trip up to Milton Keynes to count the concrete cows here and all the stuff with Harriet and Bridget harassing Bob about "time keeping", software audits and other petty bureaucratic bullshit in at this point.

Follow that with Bob & Mo meet again (and along with the Artists Rifles) visit Amsterdam. Doesn't Bob use the basilisk gun in the alternate universe?

When they return, Bob gets read into Maginot Blue Stars and Scorpion Stare. It's another point to insert Harriet and Bridget's unreasonable bureaucratic empire building, but the main point is Bob can now connect the cows with basilisk guns.

Finish up with Bob figuring out Scorpion Stare has been hacked, going back to Milton Keynes to meet detective inspector Sullivan to follow up on the cows, the attack at the impound, the raid on the Q-branch R&D facility (with the dawning realization that Bridget and Harriet are responsible) and ending with Bridget and Harriet getting their comeuppance at Angleton's hands.

96:

Then we've got the Marvel Universe, where the movies aren't faithful recreations of the comic books, but since Marvel is part of Disney, there's little grumbling about artistic license. That and the movies are often less sexist than the comics were (no braless women with gravity defying bosoms, for example).

Well, for most of the people, the one who haven't read the comics, the difference between the comics and the movies doesn't really matter. They don't have any emotional baggage from the comics.

On the other hand, if you read the Marvel super hero comics for any length of time, you kind of have to accept that the canon changes basically all the time. There's some veneer of continuity, but things change every once in a while. There can be changes that the readers don't like (for example, in a Spider-Man story, his marriage to Mary Jane was canceled because of a deal with Mephisto), but mostly for example the current cast of heroes in the comics have a different history and world than the ones in the Sixties or even in the Eighties.

I grew up with the "classic" Claremont-Byrne X-men, but it would be kind of stupid to assume that the characters, who were mostly in about their twenties-thirties in the Eighties, would continue to age and so would be in their fifties or sixties now. Wolverine is kind of an exception, but others kind of just roll on with it.

So, I don't think the canon matters that much to most people in regard to the Maarvel superhero movies. I personally am still annoyed by the Galactus representation in the one Fantastic Four movie, and I didn't go to see it, but as I understand it, it wasn't that good anyway (and I've skipped most of the sueprhero movies during the last five years for various reasons, but messing up with canon mostly wasn't it.)

Of course you get the fans who insist that even the superhero movies should be like the comics, but I think that's just even more out of place than complaining the same about a novel series movies.

97:

*Sigh*. If he wasn't James Alexander, but was still Heather Alexander, she'd be *perfect* for Mo, esp. the way they play the fiddle.... Sorry, this is in fandom.

Good point! There just aren't that many tall red-haired violinists around. I've got no idea if they can act on camera or do a plausible British accent for as long as required, but otherwise? Perfect for Mo.

Inconveniently for casting, Heather is no longer available.

98:

#68 - She's about 10 years too young (unless we actually start at The Atrocity Archive) or I'd suggest Nicola Benedetti.

#69 (and #71) - Like how I have refused to watch "Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit' " (based on an idea by JRR Tolkien).

99:

On the subject of Tolkien movies I could add this quip:

I rather liked the LOTR-Movie. It's a shame they never made the second part.

100:

I have no idea who Tim Canterbury is, because I've never seen The Office (either the original or the allegedly-inferior American re-make).

101:

That was the character played by a pre-fame Martin Freeman. And yes, I can see how someone could see Bob as him.

102:

#100 and #101 - Likewise because 5 minutes of Ricky Gervais in "The Office" was enough! I did like him in "Extras" though, enough to buy the DVDs.

103:

Bingo. I watched the first one, hated everyone in it, and that was it. Never seen the others.

104:

Being almost unwatchable was what he was aiming for, so mission accomplished. Personally I enjoyed it on balance but it did test my cringe endurance at times.

105:

Ooh, visually the elder Leonard Cheshire VC is an excellent fit to my mind's eye.

106:

But given this decade’s fashion in computer games, the Laundry Files fits the aesthetic.

This made me wonder that the boom in Alternative Lovecraftiana of the last decade hasn’t made it to the screen. Guess it’s still too much of a niche sub-genre?

107:

If the only changes had been snipping some of the slower moving or extraneous story elements (Bombadil, and yes, even the Scouring of the Shire) then that would have been grand, and I could provide a long list of things I liked about the LOTR movies.

But my objections are that almost every major character was substantially changed, clearly to try and make them more "complex" and interesting, but basically all that was done was to make them whiny, dumb & "comedic", or remove their agency:

  • Frodo's agency is removed almost immediately, so instead of a careful, if naïve, plan to leave Hobbiton and head for Rivendell the whole thing becomes a frantic flight.
  • Merry and Pippin suffer a similar fate, being reduced for most of the first film to comedic side-kicks. They fare little better until their respective "big hero" moments in the third film.
  • Aragorn's character is repeatedly butchered. Rather than a King in waiting, he becomes a feckless vagabond, disinterested in his heritage and content to swan around the wilderness and maybe get it on with Arwen at some point. His motivations for joining the Fellowship are reduced to: "Because Gandalf thinks it's cool!" Even by the end of the second film, he's still mooching around without any real sense that he cares about much beyond kicking Orc butt, and maybe chucking Arwen over for Eowyn.
  • Elrond becomes an aloof elitist unsympathetic twerp. He has no real interest in saving the people of Middle Earth, and again his entire motivation for supporting the enterprise to destroy the Ring seems to be: "Because Gandalf thinks it's cool!"
  • Arwen is introduced perfectly. But then her sole purpose becomes to redeem the flaws that have been unnecessarily introduced into the characters of Aragorn and Elrond. She could have been so much more!
  • Faramir is butchered worst of all. Gone is every shred of nobility. He is tempted and succumbs to the Ring even faster than Boromir. Even accepting this change as somehow serving the story, it is logically inconsistent, as no real rationalization is given for his sudden change of heart when having dragged Frodo and Sam to within sight of Minas Tirith he decide to let them go. And he gets terrible short shrift in the final movie, with his character arc all but abandoned amidst the excessive bombast of repeated battle scenes. But hey, Legolas shoots a Mumak!
  • Théoden gets off kind of lightly, with his "exeorcism" done brilliantly, and his character mostly intact. But gone is the sense of friendship and alliance between Rohan and Gondor, replaced with a kind of sullen bitter whataboutery, as he refuses to even contemplate riding to Gondor's aid.
  • Denethor, while never sympathetic, is changed from being tragic to close to outright villainous. What exactly is his motivation for not lighting the beacons? Oh yes, so that Pippin gets a hero moment. Good death scene though.
  • Gimli. Well, dwarfs are funny drunks, right? Everyone knows that. (Hey, LOTR writers! PTerry is paging you on line 2).
  • Even the villains don't escape:

  • The Witch King is reduced to a flying bogeyman. Gone is the master strategist and Sauron's right-hand. WTF? Why?
  • Saruman becomes something of a pantomime villain. In fact he becomes less of a villain and more of henchman, almost immediately on his introduction being reveleaed as a catspaw of Mordor, and no sense is given of following his own agenda.
  • Sorry, that became a longer rant than intended. I had to get it off my chest though. Not intended to start a flame war about LOTR, so I'll let the subject drop here.

    108:

    It'll be an interesting adaptation challenge if they opt for using the entire sequence of books, since they span nearly two decades time - do they compress the timeline using the tv convention of one season = one year or do they try to stick to the schedule laid out in the books?

    The former is easier production-wise but it would make Bob's transition from slacker-hacker dodging stupid HR policies to the public face of Mahogany Row jarringly fast; the latter is truer to the source material but then you start running into issues like "Do we cast an 'older' Bob and dress him young for the earlier episodes (or vice versa)?", "Do we have the budget to the earlier episodes as period pieces?" and "Will the audience get a geeky in-joke that's nearly 20 years old and relies on them knowing what usenet is?".

    That last point is going to be a tough sell I think - check out some episodes of 'The IT Crowd' to get a feel for how fast tech-related references go stale.

    Regards
    Luke

    109:

    The last film we saw was Captain Marvel, which was a bit odd because we encountered younger versions of Nick Fury and Agent Coulson. The film being set in 1995, they had to seriously 'de-age' the actors who played them, but it worked, much better than trying to use different actors.

    110:

    On reflection the book series can, like Gaul, be divided into three parts:

    The first part is 'office comedy' and ends with Bob levelling up and becoming the apprentice Eater of Souls or whatever it is that he is these days.

    The second part is 'escalating stakes' and introduces in moderately quick succession Schiller, Vampires, Superheroes and Elves. This reveals that the office comedy kayfabe of the first part is protective colouration for the Laundry's true mission - Mahogany Row, The Auditors, External Assets etc.

    The third part is CNG kicking off where everything is extremely loud and incredibly close.

    So my first radical thought was to adapt it on that basis and do each third as a season.

    My second radical thought was better however - which was to lean in to the tonal shift at the end of the first part and start the narrative arc of the show with either The Fuller Memorandum or The Apocalypse Codex; only referring to earlier events from the 'office comedy' phase in flashbacks or as backstory that's only mentioned when an audience viewpoint character (Alex say, or Mhari when she comes back in to the fold) is being read in to their latest codeword clearance.

    Doing it this way allows you to adopt the more conventional 'one book per series' cadence and you start with Bob as an established member of the active ops arm of the Laundry; which lets you cast an older actor for Bob from the off (making his elevation to Mahogany Row over the course of 6-8 seasons more credible) but more importantly it situates Bob in the centre of an ensemble alongside Mo, Persephone, Pete, Pinky, The Brain etc.

    This also lets you shoot the backstory bits as ostentatious period pieces (younger or de-aged actors, different film stock) without being on the hook for doing an entire run of episodes in period dress. But if the show really takes off, then you would have the option to do some full flashback episodes for an 'as you know Bob' retelling of the Jennifer Morgue or whatever.

    Regards
    Luke

    PS
    If we're playing fantasy casting director then my pick is to get Phoebe Waller-Bridge into the writing room stat; plus option her to play Mhari once The Rhesus Chart rolls around. Good luck getting her out of her commitments on Fleabag and Killing Eve tho'.

    111:

    I thought the Bakshi version was mixed... but he *cared* about the story.

    Jackson doesn't give a shit. He's an Auteur....

    Would have liked to see Bakshi finish the story. Instead, we got the Rank and Base (I know, Bass-Rankin, but I call 'em what they are) end, and the same Rank&Base hobbit, both of which apparently had half a dozen folks, reading Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories", taking copious notes... and then doing the *exact* *opposite* of what Tolkien said.

    112:

    See post 107, where he covers EVERY REASON Jackson sucked dead syphilitic Republican (or, if you're in the UK, Tory) roaches.

    113:

    Not sure he got every one of them, but it was a good start.

    Anyway, I'll admit I watched the directors' edition DVD many times. Actually, I'll take that back. I didn't watch the movie itself, but the--what was it, 18?--hours of behind-the-scenes stuff where they went into detail on how they made the movies. That was golden.

    And, while I didn't see acts 2 and 3 of The Hobbit:Maximization of Cash Flow because I've gotten sick of the Jacksonian bloat, it comes off lightly compared with what Ralph Bakshi did to LOTR or the whatever people have done to Earthsea. There's butchery and there's butchery. Or if you want a really obscure example of extreme Hollywood butchery, look up what happened to Andre Norton's Beast Master.

    114:

    silburnl @ 108: It'll be an interesting adaptation challenge if they opt for using the entire sequence of books, since they span nearly two decades time - do they compress the timeline using the tv convention of one season = one year or do they try to stick to the schedule laid out in the books?

    They could always do it the way Sherlock did and only produce a season every two or three years so the actors would have a chance to age naturally in between.

    115:

    Who is the consensus candidate actress to cast as Mhari?

    117:

    I certainly won't start anything. If only because some of what you say, I agree with. Certainly somethings I too would change. I just thought that as entertainment for people who have not read the book multiple times it was pretty good stuff and lovely to watch.

    But if that upset you, don't go near The Hobbit. Del Toro messed that up so badly it never quite recovered - though some scenes in film 3 were astonishing bits of cinema. Problem is though, that I really never liked The Hobbit book. It seemed juvenile, even when I was.

    118:

    I'm not sure I understand why Mo has to be a redhead.

    Yes, its in the book, but how often is that key to the narrative? I imagine that most people watching it would not have read the books - if its to be a big hit.

    Being a good actor who can handle a death-dealing violin parasite and rather immature nerdy Bob convincingly is more important. Almost any skilled actor of the right age would be worth looking at.

    119:

    If a wig is good enough for Daenerys Targaryen it is good enough for any character.

    120:

    Kaya Scodelarioas Mhairi?

    121:

    “IT Crowd”
    Chris O’Dowd would make a good Bob.

    122:

    I didn't watch the movie itself, but the--what was it, 18?--hours of behind-the-scenes stuff where they went into detail on how they made the movies. That was golden.

    I liked the bits about the props.

    Wasn't so keen on the interview with one of the writers, who was very proud of improving Tolkien's work and certain that he would like her version better than what he wrote.

    123:

    I really never liked The Hobbit book. It seemed juvenile, even when I was.

    It was a bedtime story, intended for a young boy. Episodic and a bit rambling, perfect for quieting a 7-year-old down for the night.

    124:

    I was about to say that O’Dowd* is too old, but just looked up and saw that he’s 39, so maybe not right for early Bob. Martin Freeman is 47 [my age, arg], so I’d say too old. I can’t picture Bob as either.

    *Sorry** to bring it up again, O’Dowd co-starred in my nephew’s last film

    **not sorry.

    125:

    Can Kirsten do a consistent British accent? She's been a USian in anything I've seen her in.

    126:

    Agreed. I have unfortunately already subjected myself to The Hobbit (although only made the mistake of paying for a cinema ticket for the first).

    What I found most bizarre was the things that were done right in the LOTR films, specifically tightening the story and trimming unnecessary characters, for The Hobbit they did almost entirely the opposite.

    I shall not dwell on the execrable Radagast or criminally underwhelming Dol Guldur ...

    127:

    I may have been influenced by Doctor Who, but I keep seeing Arthur Davrill and Karen Gillan as Bob and Mo.

    128:

    Wonderful second bit of news! Will this be a novella, or a full sized novel?

    129:

    It's a full-sized novel, and it's already written.

    As I think I mentioned elsewhere: the Laundry Files (as in, the series arc about Bob and colleagues) has to come to an end soon—probably in 2 more books. But I like the universe, so "Lost Boys" is an attempt to write other non-Laundry material set in it: it's more of a crime novel than a spy thriller, and if you squint at it hard you can probably file it with urban fantasy.

    (Tentative plans going forward include the Laundry sequence final arc (two or more books), and a sequel to "Lost Boys" that does for Sweeney Todd what LB does for Peter Pan ...

    130:

    Excellent! I was expecting a novella, given your previous posts. I am on tenterhooks for the third - I cannot imagine what it is ....

    131:

    I will confess to some anxiety about this book.

    As many authors have discovered the hard way, their readers are fans of their best-known series, not fans of their work in general: spin-offs have a very hit-or-miss reputation. I'm hoping that "Lost Boys" hits the spot for Laundry readers; it shares the same setting, after all. But it's a clean sheet reboot with respect to the characters and their immediate concerns and occupations, with an all-new cast.

    If it takes off, there may be some crossover with the original Laundry Files later on. But no plan survives contact with reality ...

    132:

    So... no pre-order yet? ;)

    After you mentioned Peter Pan somewhere and that you were writing this, I think on Twitter, I went and re-read the story, and I agree, Peter is horrible. I, for one, am waiting anxiously for this book and want to read it.

    After seeing the Finnish National Opera version of 'The Little Mermaid' (which would have been more appropriately called 'The Big H.C. Andersen, but I digrees) I have been floating the idea of writing a more modern story about that, in part thanks to you doing things to old stories.

    133:

    Pre-orders only show up when the book hits the marketing databases. Which it won't for quite a while yet. (Ebook pre-orders seldom show up more than 3-6 months ahead of publication, so unlikely to be available this year.)

    134:

    Early, middle, or late 2020?

    135:

    As many authors have discovered the hard way, their readers are fans of their best-known series, not fans of their work in general:

    Well, FWIW as a single data point, other than any stories in multi-author anthologies that I've missed, the only thing you've written that I would say I've not enjoyed is Palimpcest. Other people's mileage (my IRL friends included here) does vary.

    136:

    Re: authorial control over screen or TV adaption.
    The Italian TV is airing a miniseries based on Eco's The Name of the Rose. (beware when it will aired overseas. Forewarned is forearmed)

    It explains perfectly what can go wrong when the author has no saying on the adaption. They added a subplot, utterly non-existant in the novel, featuring a daughter of the heretical leader Fra' Dolcino. She's hellbent on revenge against the evil Inquisitor that killed his parents and goes around with bow and arrows.
    Basically Arya "valar morghulis" Stark meets Katniss Everdeen. And there is also a red-haired girl who has sex with the novice Adso, and the whole stuff screams "Ygritte" all over. It lack just a "You know nothin' Adso of Melk" line.
    So, given how they raped that novel, I'm expecting a fate worse tha death for the Laundryverse at the hands of screenwriters: something like a subplot about hot lesbian sex between Mo and Mhari (or between Ramona and Cassie...), or Schiller becoming an imam...
    OTOH, if anoter recession strikes, a movie from Rhesus Chart would be perfect: quant capitalist henchmen traders becoming vampires... it would give us a better stereotype for greed than Gordon Gekko

    137:

    Unlikely to be early 2020; "Invisible Sun" is due out in March 2020, and Tor are the US publisher for "Lost Boys", so they won't want to launch two Stross titles within 3 months.

    Middle/third-quarter is my best guess, but nothing is scheduled yet.

    138:

    Yes. However, from my point of view, you aren't a single series writer, as some people are, though I have a strong ranking of preference from the Laundry down to the Eschaton and Merchant Princes. I regret that the Saturn's Children series wasn't more of a commercial success, because it's my second favourite.

    139:

    Let me ask you this: have you read much old - pre-WW 1 fiction? It starts slow, and does ramble, as you get to see the world, and builds up. I rather like the Hobbit.

    Why, yes, I'm working to write the way editors currently want, but I dislike "got to start with a boom", not merely a catchy first sentence/paragraph, but a BOOM!

    I think I've mentioned that I have a story that I will go back and tighten up, based on the last three years of writing, but there is no way I can start it with a boom: it starts slow, with scientific questions, and builds up to an OH, SHIT?!?!?! and any boom early destroys the pacing and the climax (which literally hits you in the last paragraph). Short story, too....

    140:

    Charlie, a few words of reassurance.

    There are actors who take whatever crap is thrown at them, and they're not really good. There are actors who are a bit better, and pick and choose those roles that they can play themselves: William Shattner being a prime example. Then there are the actor's actors, who can change themselves to fit the role. For a long time, my example of that is Tom Hanks.

    As a writer, you're the latter. The concepts, the stories you tell are good ones, and I want to read them. I read Sword of Shannara (once), and let me tell you, you're no Terry Brooks (dunno if I ever did buy anything of his again).

    141:

    I'd suggest sacrificing the black chickens to nameless deities (or whatever) that you get an August 2020 release, and not a late October 2020 in the US release. Or possibly Thanksgiving 202. Remember, November 2020 is going to be effin' insane, due to the Trump reelection madness, the election hacking and disenhacking madness, the massive charity drives to deal with British refugees coming across the Atlantic in small wooden boats...

    142:

    Re: ' ... but I dislike "got to start with a boom",'

    Gotta get their attention right out of the gate! Or similar words/advice?

    Just how old are the current batch of SF/F editors anyways? Did all of them go through school/uni being lectured via PowerPoint slides ... for which the advice is start with the most important conclusion and show only the strongest supporting data because they won't notice anything else, bury anything that doesn't fit your/your CEO's conclusion, etc.

    143:

    #139 Para 1 - "The Hobbit", first published September 1937. Hardly "pre-WW1" methinks.

    #140 Para 3 - Similar feelings about Terry "knock the arse out it" Brooks; I did read more of them than you, but I borrowed my sis's copies.

    144:

    It's a full-sized novel, and it's already written.

    Excellent news! Would this count as an Attack Novel?

    145:

    Yes, I tend to prefer stories with a relatively slow burn, rather than hit you over the head in the first few pages. Though there are exceptions.

    I also like “The Hobbit”, I’d almost say that I prefer it to LOTR, but they are very different entities. It’s a funny book; one reason I refuse to watch the Jackson trilogy is that, from what I’ve seen of it, he removed the humor with a dull spoon, and added a ton of unnecessary backstory.
    I only watched the first two LOTR films and didn’t care enough for them to bother with the last. I disliked them for various reasons and won’t get into that now. More recently, Jackson’s admission that he let his casting decisions be swayed by Harvey Weinstein makes me give him a bit of side-eye.

    146:

    Charlie, if you always thought of Richard E Grant as Angleton, that's some serious forward planning. He's barely old enough now.

    For Bob, I'm always aware of the "unreliable narrator" issue. He describes himself as a pleasantly-incompetent geek, which may be how he presents to everyone else, but from the start he's entirely willing to beat out a colleague's (possessed) brains with the blunt end of a fire extinguisher as the nearest available weapon. There aren't many actors who can make that believable when they turn it on. I'd vote for Ian de Caestecker, who's by far the best thing about *Agents of SHIELD* (and was also amazing in *The Fades*, which the Beeb cancelled in their less-than-infinite wisdom immediately after it won a Bafta).

    For Mo, Karen Gillan is the obvious Scottish redhead, but (a) after Marvel she's probably overpriced and overbooked, and (b) she's way too fresh-faced. (*Jumanji* even explicitly called out her cheesecake-ness.)

    147:

    Not sure I'm ready for a Stross treatment of Peter Pan - his backstory in the original was already pretty bleak.

    148:

    If you start slow, in the current market climate, you will be unable to sell your book.

    Used to be you had a chapter to get things moving. Then a scene. Then a page. Nowadays if it isn't punching from the first paragraph, you're dead in the water.

    (Hint: 60-70% of genre sales are ebooks these days, and a lot of readers will grab the "free sample" from the Kindle store—the first chapter—and bail if it doesn't grab them within 60 seconds.)

    Your emergency option is to start in media res. Hint: works great.

    149:

    I tried reading “Sword of Shannara” when I was young, was bored stiff by it and never did finish it. Same with “Lord Foul’s Bane”, which had plenty of other reasons to dislike it.

    150:

    I'm hoping to re-establish my historic July launch slot (which got nuked by knock-on delays after dad's death).

    As "Lost Boys" has no real political content whatsoever (unless you count "billionaire oligarchs are shitty people") it might come as a blessed escapist relief to American readers if it comes out in November '20 ...

    151:

    Editors ages: my editors have ranged in age from early thirties to mid seventies. I probably get the older ones, though, because authors tend to stay with their editors as they age and I'm now middle-aged.

    152:

    Would this count as an Attack Novel?

    Not exactly …

    More accurately: I burned out hard early last year after writing "The Labyrinth Index" then turning round and re-writing "Invisible Sun" (again).

    So I took a long-overdue six month sabbatical, planning to not write anything at all. Ideally I was going to burn a decade's worth of saved air miles doing tourist stuff ...

    The sabbatical got eaten, though, when my mother had two strokes and spent four months in hospitals before being discharged to a long-term nursing facility. Instead of de-stressing me, it had the opposite effect.

    So I gave myself permission to noodle around with an unscheduled story with no contract and no deadline, just for the hell of it, as an undirected creative outlet. The result being an extra novel surfacing after about 7-8 months.

    So in terms of writing process duration it's not an attack novel … but in every other respect it fits perfectly.

    153:

    Richard E. Grant killed it in "How to Get Ahead in Advertising", playing a demonic, driven executive having a breakdown. Even then he was able to fit a role a decade older than his actual age.

    154:

    Okay, about the 2020 election.

    First is that July and August are the perfect times for a book launch in the US quadrennial, because everybody is looking for something to take the edge off. There's a reason we call it silly season.

    November...

    Remember that the political races are going to be ladling out somewhere north of a billion dollars from each party in advertising, so that's what's going to be on the TV, the internet, the news, the magazines, the toilet paper wrappers. It's already ridiculous and it's going to get worse. In 2016, there was so much ad money sloshing into the system that everything else was drowned out.

    There's also going to be everyone gaming social media to whatever end, so that's going to be an iffy ad market too.

    So how are you going to get news of your book out in November? If you have any say in the matter, try to make it a bit earlier.

    155:

    Angelina Jolie as Mo.

    156:

    Kipling, Verne, Wells, a few others. Not much compared to modern stuff.

    When I was a teenager I preferred Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit because it had more details, but I haven't read LotR in decades while I'm looking forward to reading The Hobbit to my grandniece.

    Too bad they never made a movie version. Imagine what a director like Peter Jackson could do with The Hobbit!

    (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

    157:

    Charlie @ 148
    Starting with a bang ... like the opening para of "The Stainless Steel Rat" you mean?
    Once told at a long-ago con by HH that it was quite deliberate, to get the editor's attention ....
    In medias res Worked perfectly well for "The Iliad" didn't it?

    RP @ 156
    Actually, Stanley Kubrick for both Hobbit & LotR?

    158:

    Bruce K @ 127: I may have been influenced by Doctor Who, but I keep seeing Arthur Davrill and Karen Gillan as Bob and Mo.

    I think he's good for Bob, but she might be a bit young for Mo (the way I see her in my mind's eye).

    Something else I was thinking about ... the producers are going to have to find actors (male & female) who can be around for the roles through all of the subsequent series, even if they're missing from certain series. I'm thinking again of Mhari who doesn't appear in "The Jennifer Morgue" and "The Fuller Memorandum, although I believe she's briefly mentioned. How many years do you think it would take to get through the whole series (including the one or two novels OGH has suggested are still to be written)?

    And speaking of later books in the series ... Who do you like for Alex & Cassie and for the Pete the Vicar?

    I do hope they do a really good job bringing it to the screen. I hope I'll be around long enough to see all of it.

    159:

    The trouble is that starting in media res and constructing a good story is HARD. Unfortunately, in the hands of many (most?) authors, it falls into one of three categories:

    The climax is moved from where it should be in the plot arc, and placed at the start. That sort of thing makes me want to scream "Take this sodding mash-up apart and put it together in some kind of coherent order!"

    The book is more-or-less in sequence, but makes little or no sense until near the end. I often skip to the end half-way through, and decide that author isn't worth bothering with.

    There is a peripherally connected action sequence at the start, which never really does cohere with the rest of the book. That pisses me off as much as the other two do.

    Yes, I know that I am not typical of the mass market :-)

    160:

    Charlie Stross @ 131: I will confess to some anxiety about this book.

    As many authors have discovered the hard way, their readers are fans of their best-known series, not fans of their work in general: spin-offs have a very hit-or-miss reputation. I'm hoping that "Lost Boys" hits the spot for Laundry readers; it shares the same setting, after all. But it's a clean sheet reboot with respect to the characters and their immediate concerns and occupations, with an all-new cast.

    I guess I approach things a bit differently. I find a book I enjoy and as soon as I finish it, I'm thinking "That was good. I wonder what else the author has written?" Very seldom has that let me down.

    Certainly nothing of yours I've read has. As much as I love "The Laundry Files" and "The Merchant Princes", my favorite Charles Stross book is still "Halting State".

    161:

    Starting with a bang ... like the opening para of "The Stainless Steel Rat" you mean?

    Yep, the opening of "The Stainless Steel Rat" is a classic hook para.

    See also the first para of "Singularity Sky" and most things I've ever written since then. I mean, I take great pride in my openings.

    Like, oh, here's "Lost Boys":

    Imp froze as he rounded the corner onto Regents Street, and saw four elven warriors shackling a Santa to a stainless-steel cross outside Hamleys Toy Shop.
    162:

    Dammit. 2020 for publication?
    *goes build time machine*

    163:

    I have zero novels/short stories scheduled for 2019.

    Blame the hellish combination of one parent dying, another parent becoming profoundly disabled, and Brexit going on in the background.

    (I find it very hard to do creative shit with this sort of emotional background noise.)

    164:

    Charlie Stross @ 152: So I gave myself permission to noodle around with an unscheduled story with no contract and no deadline, just for the hell of it, as an undirected creative outlet. The result being an extra novel surfacing after about 7-8 months.

    So in terms of writing process duration it's not an attack novel … but in every other respect it fits perfectly.

    I notice that the Laundry Files Wiki has a listing for A Conventional Boy (novella, not yet finished). Would this be the project that turned into The Lost Boys or is this the still untold story of Derek the DM you've occasionally mentioned?

    165:

    I totally get that - both my parents went in the last 2 years and I'm still sorting out the mess left behind.

    It was a sincere expression of excitement.

    166:

    You know, I was just looking at a picture, and I think Jake Resmog could have a lovely second career in The Laundry Files series, in a recurring role as a member of Residual Human Resources, perhaps.

    167:

    Speaking of the TV Laundry Files, is it too soon to beg to switch the bad guys from Atrocity Archive from the generic Middle Eastern Terrorists that we've all gotten overexposed to*, and make them actual Neo-Nazis? It would be perfectly appropriate and it would make the controversies around the casting a *lot* easier to deal with.

    *Seriously, there's been at least one bad SyFy weekend movie featuring Babylonian manticores that were unleashed by terrorists. It's Been Done.

    168:

    "As many authors have discovered the hard way, their readers are fans of their best-known series, not fans of their work in general: spin-offs have a very hit-or-miss reputation."

    Out of curiosity, what is the approximate ratio of sales (or number of fans, if that is possible to know) of laundry series vs. your sci-fi books?

    I guess I'm part of the minority that enjoys your work in general, but strongly leaning towards clever Sci-Fi in general. I also tend to get tired of series after a few books, and maybe prefer stand-alone novels (even if they're 1000 pages long). I normally pick my books based on recommendations, but if "author=[Stross | Stephenson]", it's a pretty definite buy (although, it seems Neal's new book is a sequel to Reamde, which is maybe his equivalent of the laundry books in terms of style - fun to read, but less mind-bending than his other work).

    I actually came to your work via Accelerando (was looking for e-books for my then-new e-reader app on my first smart phone, and found it on your website. So in my case, the "free sample" strategy worked out). At the time was unlike anything I had read to that point, and since then have read pretty much everything you wrote except the laundry books (only the first two, but will work my way through the rest eventually I think). It also got me back into reading sci-fi after a longer hiatus. I really enjoy the mind-bending and genre-defying concepts of your sci-fi work (also including Merchant Princes), and there are not that many other authors who put in the work and really think things through in their world building, and can give the brain a good twisting.

    Anyway, keep up the great work, and I should probably get started on working my way through the laundry-verse before the TV series hits...

    169:

    Count me another "that was nice, I wonder what else this author has written?" punter. I read one Juliet McKenna book more or less at random (possibly via a mention here) and it was enjoyable so now I have a stack of her books in my Google Play account. Just as an easy example since that's one of about 3 things in that account.

    But by definition people posting here are not normal fans... for some reason I'm reminded of the intro to Friendly's album with a bass voice "WHO IS FRIENDLY?" then a chirpy "I'm not friendly". "I'm not normal" :)

    170:

    Friendly is your basic 2000's DJ with a bit of a sense of humour. "I love you, but" ... if you treat me like sh!t you can just f*ck off. Sadly there seem to be only three of his tracks on Youtube.

    Speaking of "I liked that, where's more" ... I have a bunch of that sort of stuff where someone who seems promising decides to get a real job and stop spending all their time trying to make art. I'm not sure that the modern technique of removing real jobs is a good way to get more art. I mean, we're definitely getting more art but a lot of it is a good hook followed by waffle. More accurately, the stuff that gets notice starts with a good hook...

    171:

    Yep, me too. Generally if I like the way an author writes, it doesn't matter too much exactly what they're writing about. So if one book grabs me, certainly two, that indicates a useful shortcut through the enormous maze of choice, and I tend to hoover up everything else they've done. It may well not all be as great as the ones that grabbed me to begin with, but it is pretty likely that I won't regret any of it. While Merchant Princes is my favourite, I've enjoyed everything of Charlie's I've read, and the main reason I haven't followed the Laundry series is I think I'd enjoy it too much and it would confuse my own thinking.

    I do similarly with music, although that's less reliable, since bands tend to go through a much more emphatic fumble-burgeon-wither progression than authors do, and there is also the problem that it is subject to fashion (ack, spit) which tends to result in entire swathes of previously-good bands all becoming infected with teh suck at the same time.

    172:

    So in the Laundryverse, if you don't clap for Tinkerbell everyone dies horribly?

    173:

    I think my favourite role for him was as the evil, almost-demonic (super)villain in Hudson Hawk. He was masterful in his deliberate chewing of the scenery, and thoroughly delightful to watch.

    I think John Simm could do a pretty credible Bob, though he's already too old to play "Young Bob" probably.

    How about Ruth Wilson for Mo?

    C.

    174:

    Aaron B @ 172 -

    I think it might be more along the lines of "how many times do we have to say 'I don't believe in fairies' to make sure we got all of them?"

    175:

    heteromeles @ 167H
    Actually, there's a huge overlap between "generic middle eastern terrorists" & neo-nazis.
    Go back (again ) to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the muslim croat nazi squads & Sayyid Qutb ...
    It's a very unpleasant mix.
    Finding some of our current home-grown fascists ( like "Tommy Robinson" ) protesting against muslims is ... curious, almost, but not quite a black comedy - perhaps a mirror-image of the "People's Front of Judea" trope?

    AaronB @ 172
    More like if you don't get the clap with Tinkerbell ...
    But Megpie71 @ 174
    Not going to work: there - will - always - be one who refuses to weep for Baldur

    176:

    Cassie Id go for Felica Day yes yes

    Also I wonder if they need a technical advisor :-) *cough*

    177:

    No, there isn't, no more than between any two groups of extremists. There is a concerted (and legal, in the UK and USA, yuck) hate campaign against Muslims - don't fuel it.

    The Neo-nazis have much stronger links to the so-called fundamentalist Christians, and equally strong ones to extremist Jewish groups. The only reason that they don't to extremist atheist ones is that those are essentially non-existent at present.

    178:

    "A Conventional Boy" was the (unwritten) novella about Derek the DM, which I should have written about 3 years ago, only got side-tracked. It may still surface some day, but it's kinda stale. (However, the time between me hatching a story idea and executing it can be measured in years; IIRC "Equoid" gestated for 2-3 years, for example; "A Colder War" was started in 1992 and finished in 1998.)

    179:

    As I already noted, I'm not involved at this stage in anything to do with the TV option-holder's activities.

    If they ask me, though, that'd be a really good idea. It's also an angle that would fit better with the plot of "The Atrocity Archive" later on!

    (Let me just note that when I wrote TAA in 1999-2000, I picked a then-obscure bunch of middle eastern radicals best known for blowing up a US warship and trying to bomb a skyscraper in New York. On October 2001, part way through the edits for the first publication—in an obscure Scottish SF magazine—my editor got in touch: "Charlie, do you think you can do a quick re-write? Maybe pick somebody more obscure than Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida?")

    180:

    Tinkerbell is a jealous little hornet, and malignant too. (At least in "Peter and Wendy", where she tries to dispose of her rival for Peter's affections, Wendy, by contriving an "accident". The Laundryverse version of Tinkerbell is much, much, worse.)

    181:

    EC @ 177
    SOME muslims, especially the self-selected, self-elected "representative" groups do themselves no favours, either
    The NSS has been banging on about this for some time & almost everyone else has gone all mealy-mouthed, for fear of being branded "waycist".
    Do we want one law for all the people, or do we WANT to allow "special priveliges" for special religious groups, thus setting people against each other? I would have thought the N Irish example should tell us the answer to that, but people won't bloody learn, will they?

    182:

    Why am I not surprised?

    183:

    #160 - "Halting State", or possibly "Rule 34" for me. That said I do understand Charlie's reasons for not wanting to do "Liz Cavanagh 3" until UK politics settles a bit.

    #161 - Well, that opening sentence works for me: I'm having a major impatient right now!

    #167 - bad SyFy weekend movie Isn't that a tautology? ;-)

    #176 - I've never known Felicia Day be unwatchable in anything. To the extent that I'll give an episode of a show I'd not normally watch a look if she guest stars.

    184:

    bad SyFy weekend movie Isn't that a tautology? ;-)

    They paid good money for that 3D shark model. You wouldn't want it to be wasted would you?

    185:

    MeToo...

    In my case, it was picking up "Iron Sunrise"/"Singularity Sky", and going "hmmmm"; then buying "Halting State", and going "Right, I'm buying everything else that this author has written".

    Given that I was already a Le Carre / Deighton / Seymour fan from a young age, the Laundry Files were an instant hit :)

    186:

    Re: Angelina as Mo

    Jolie's just been signed into another universe:

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/mar/28/angelina-jolie-joins-marvel-superhero-universe-the-eternals

    She'd be stunning as Mo - in every way.

    Re: 'The climax is moved from where it should be in the plot arc, and placed at the start.'

    The work-around is to do it a la James-Bond-film intro: You know that the opening action sequence is a stand-alone tidbit and unrelated to the coming story. But that action sequence is also a reminder of why you really like Bond. It gets the adrenaline/endorphins pumping, re-establishes a personal/emotional link to the primary character and because the audience needs a rest after that adrenaline surge, it then allows for what would otherwise be a too-slow start to the plot to be perceived as occurring at just the right pace. Plus the opening action sequence usually has a really good attention-grabbing song (emotional reward/re-inforcement) played at full volume --- which also means that the audience doesn't mind spending time on the intro. The time is enjoyed, not wasted. Brilliant!

    187:

    "Thursday, and I'd just finished loading the new Windoze updates to the servers, in time to spoil the weekend for anyone who was trying to slip out 10 minutes early tomorrow..."

    Not sure that really works when your main character is a sysadmin.

    188:

    Oy Vay! - Now please explain as I'm not a techie.

    189:

    Felicia Day as Mo? That totally works, and she has immense Geek Credibility.

    For me, the important thing about Bob is that I want to watch him level up. He needs to start out as physically and magically weak, but smart and willing, then become a veteran (of the psychic wars.) A young Peter Weller would have been awesome as Bob, but that ship sailed thirty years ago. Tobey McGuire might be good if he can manage a British accent, but he might also be too old.

    190:

    In general I am right with you in "author=[Stross | Stephenson]" stakes, except ... I couldn't finish SevenEves. To my great unhappiness, as I generally inhale Stephenson books in their entirety.

    I have yet to read a Stross book that I could not finish, in fact finishing them usually brings on a bout of crushing disappointment that the ride has ended. Similarly with Brookmyre. I think the inner scot in me (thanks, grandma) is surfacing.

    191:

    Oh, yes, just think if they can get BOC to provide/license the music for the series...

    192:

    OK, non-technical explanation. When Windoze updates are downloaded from a file server to a personal machine they slow the shut-down process whilst they "configure". This could be enough to stop people who were trying to leave early getting to do so.

    193:

    Para 1 - Thanks vor the vote of agreement.

    Para 2 - I'm not so sure; Tobey's 43 but looks younger in the photos I've found.

    194:

    AaronB @ 172: So in the Laundryverse, if you don't clap for Tinkerbell everyone dies horribly?

    ... of the Clap?

    195:

    carlosvp @ 173: I think John Simm could do a pretty credible Bob, though he's already too old to play "Young Bob" probably.

    Too old for Bob, but maybe the Mandate/Nylantharp.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1DtIfUB6-8

    196:

    Maurice @ 176: Cassie Id go for Felica Day yes yes

    YES! Might require a bit of CGI age regression, but Hell YES!

    197:

    paws4thot @ 183: I've never known Felicia Day be unwatchable in anything. To the extent that I'll give an episode of a show I'd not normally watch a look if she guest stars.

    I had never heard of her until I ran across her Web Series The Guild, but I agree she'd be perfect for Cassie.

    198:

    Just to mention my nomination for Bob: Richard Ayoade (of The IT Crowd fame). I also fancy Gillian Anderson...

    ...sorry, I got distracted for a moment there...Gillian Anderson as Mo. She's noticeably older than Ayoade or anyone else of the right age range, but that's what you want in TV: something that the viewers can notice and appreciate without taking up screen-time and dialog explaining it.

    I had Martin Freeman down as Andy, personally. (And Ian Richardson as Angleton, but that Viking longship was burned a while ago.)

    199:

    #160 - "Halting State", or possibly "Rule 34" for me. That said I do understand Charlie's reasons for not wanting to do "Liz Cavanagh 3" until UK politics settles a bit.

    I quite liked Halting State, didn't like Rule 34. I think it's because I didn't really like any of the viewpoint characters in R34, while I quite liked most of those in HS. (Especially Sgt Smith, who reminds me of one of my awesome nieces.)

    I didn't like the Laundry series (not into horror) until I heard the audio version of "Overtime", which somehow brought it alive. When I read them I still hear the words in the voice of the narrator (whoever it was).

    200:

    I doubt that we will see "Liz Cavanagh 3" for that reason, which is a great pity, for more than one reason!

    201:

    The cmt about Bob needing an actor who could chew up the scenery... I'm thinking about some of the female characters, and which one would a) chew up the scenery, and b) be middle-aged, because have I got casting for *that* role: Claudia Christian.

    May I quote: "I am Commander Susan Ivonova, daugher of Mikhail and Sophia Ivanova, Commander of the White Star Fleet, and I am the Right Hand of God come to kick your sorry ass back to Earth!"

    202:

    Sorry, you misunderstood: what was Tolkien reading when he grew up... considering he was a soldier in WWI? And back then, fashions in writing style did not change that fast....

    203:

    Thanks a lot, Charlie. I started thinking about it, and it's possible that might work.

    When I get a chance to go back to it, since I've almost finished the second set of revisions - need to add one more part of a scene - before I do a final polish, and send the short off to Eric Flint.

    And then I need to get back to Greg's information about the Wharf in London, and that set of revisions, so I can submit that to Interzone....

    Esp. given the current news, to amuse you: the lead villian calling Cthulhu "his hood slipped back, revealing a rounded face with a shaggy shock of white-blond hair", and next up is his cohort, with brown hair and a long, horsey face....

    204:

    I am fully aware of that, but that is not the point. There is a concerted campaign of hate speech against Muslims and some oppressed Muslim people (like the Palestinians and Yemeni Shias) in the UK and, I think, USA. Please stop fuelling its memes, which you do rather a lot.

    That is exactly the reason that I and others like me are cautious about condemning Israel and SOME Jews in positions of power in the UK - however justified such condemnation is, it is too easy to let it fuel anti-semitism (in the anti-Jew sense).

    205:

    That's actually one of the reasons that if the Laundry gets green-lighted, putting Neo-Nazis into the Atrocity Archive in place of Muslim terrorists makes a great deal of sense.

    The other thing is that most people don't see a direct connection between Middle Eastern terrorists and WWII Nazis (I believe the link is the widespread reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Muslim Middle East? It's certainly not the terrorist tactics as those came from all over, including the CIA and KGB).

    However, the link between Nazis and neo-Nazis is kind of...obvious?

    The only to problems I see are the hate mail the director would get from real Neo-Nazis, and the possibility of some idiot skinheads sacrificing actually someone on a pentagrammish summoning grid they got from watching the series, in the hope of summoning an occult horror.

    206:

    Does it need to be a full-on action scene or simply something which quickly and fully engages the reader with the narrative, such as a funny moment or a verbal argument.

    207:

    That's actually one of the reasons that if the Laundry gets green-lighted, putting Neo-Nazis into the Atrocity Archive in place of Muslim terrorists makes a great deal of sense.

    If they ask me for input, I'll pitch it as an idea.

    If I'd had any idea in 1999-2001 that the book would still be in print nearly 20 years later and that a global Nazi revival was a thing, I would totally have gone that way. I hate Nazis. Quite seriously, they're the one political creed where I go beyond "this is disgusting crap and I want to denounce" all the way to "somebody hand me a gun, these people need to die".

    (Some creative revision to the story line would be necessary to make it fit, but it would actually foreshadow and reinforce the climax of the novel quite nicely. If I'd known then what I know now about story structure …)

    208:

    Either will do. See also the opening of "Neptune's Brood":

    "I can get you a cheaper ticket if you let me amputate your legs: I can even take your thighs as a deposit," said the travel agent. He was clearly trying hard to be helpful: "It’s not as if you’ll need them where you’re going, is it?"

    It's not an action scene: it's a customer talking to a travel agent! But it's also a hook.

    209:

    And the reason I hate "people" like Da'esh is that they are functionally identical to the nazis ( EC notwithstanding on the other thread )
    "our pure new way is cleaner by destroying the corrupt western democracies by fore & "lebensraum" ( Caliphate ), & kill all the jews, & women are inferior & .... " Euw.

    Which is why I think Javid is wrong, incidentally, whatever-her-name is should be brought home to face criminal charges, in the same same way as Brit nazi traitors were in 1945.

    210:

    Bobs Opening Monologue

    My name is Bob Howard and I an assistant scientific officer.

    When I was a teenager I went to university to study computer science Then an accident almost destroyed Wolverhampton and her majesty’s government made me an offer I could not refuse.

    To the outside world, I'm an ordinary nerd, but secretly I use advanced mathematics to protect humanity against the scum of the universe.

    My name is Howard Bob Howard

    211:

    For heaven's sake! Yes, OF COURSE, I agree with you there - AS DO ALMOST ALL MUSLIMS. Their standard statement is "Da'esh are not Muslims" - and, having the read the Koran in translation, I fully agree. Please do NOT tar Muslims in general by associating them with Da'esh.

    212:

    And doing that so that it doesn't read like a gratuitous insertion requires real skill - I don't know whether you find it easy or hard, but you have that skill and many writers don't.

    213:

    Agreed. I'd further add that I'm all for taking Da'esh recruits back to their countries of origin, having them face criminal charges for whatever they did (up to and including treason), and making sure their kids at least have foster families, ideally Muslim foster families. If they happen to serve their time, let them reintegrate into society.

    The point is that when forgiveness through criminal justice is possible, the extremist groups have one less recruiting trick to use. Joining them is not an irrevocable step, and if you have second thoughts, our side will take you back, with justice and care for the innocent members of your family, if you leave.

    214:

    Oooo, there's a stupid thought!

    Since the Laundryverse show, if it comes to pass, will take place post-Brexit, do the showrunners really want it to happen in an alt-world where the apocalypse happens in 2015 and their series is set around the turn of the millenium?

    Or do they want to shift it forward two decades, with the apocalypse happening in 2034, or whenever we cross the 2oC line?

    If so, I can see a *really interesting* alt-Laundry story about how Brexit was the result of a fight between cultists and/or Powers: CASE NIGHTMARE PUKE, perhaps. Maybe the MPs who keep doing insanely stupid things are getting sock-puppeted by Azathoth(?)

    Hmmm. If the Atrocity Archive was set in 2019...? It would certainly save on prop costs, at least. And it would give the showrunners freedom to screw with things to make them fit the present day. Heck, they could even genderswap Bob Howard. Call him CL Moore, perhaps.

    215:

    EC @ 211
    "No true Scotsman"
    Da'esh are not_muslims in the way the inquisition & the Dominicans, especially at Beziers were not_christians, of course.
    Slight problem, as you no doubt recognise?

    I, too have read the "recital" in English ... it reminds me of nothing more similar than the Ravrand Dr Ian Paisley ranting on ( Omit / Insert Dave Allen jokes at this point? )
    JUST like the "bible" it contains vast amounts of how the BigSkyFairy is merciful if you get down & grovel & how vicious & punishing said BSF & the followers, of course, can be if you don't grovel.
    The usual religious blackmail, in fact.

    Reminder .. islam is 622 years behind xtianity & it shows.

    216:

    needing an actor who could chew up the scenery... I'm thinking about some of the female characters, and which one would a) chew up the scenery

    I'm sure a slight renaming or the role to Kate 'Bob' Howard would work for most UK TV viewers these days...

    217:

    Watching the Hobbit trilogy (well the first two, I gave up after that) I thought there were some nice bits amongst the drek. With some rigorous editing you'd be able to make a pretty decent 1 hour film from it.

    218:

    Da'esh are not_muslims in the way the inquisition

    No, Da'esh are muslim the way The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord were Christian.

    Which is to say, it's a religious creed the members adhere to, but their particular sect is distinctly non-mainstream (to the point of being considered heretical by many) and they add a giant dollop of identity politics, violence, and an aggressively expansionist political program.

    The operational difference is that CSA tried it on in the United States and the FBI dropped the hammer on them, whereas Da'esh took root in balkanized post-invasion Iraq and then metastasized into civil-war torn Syria. So it took a lot longer to put down Da'esh.

    But you won't find the Archbishop of Canterbury wringing his hands for CSA, and you won't find mainstream imams saying anything forgiving about Da'esh.

    219:

    You know, I never realized Covenant/Sword/Arm has the CSA acronym, just like the ol' Confederate States of America.

    I really am dense sometimes.

    Now I just wish Community Supported Agriculture would change its name.

    220:

    Greg, we’ve been here before. This isn’t what “no true Scotsman” means. Even if we go along with the viewpoint you are bringing here, the thing you feel is fallacious is not an example of “no true Scotsman”. You’ve basically got it the wrong way around.

    221:

    When I see those letter I think “Canadian Standards Association.”

    222:

    Angleton always looked like Sir John Gielgud in my mind's eye. Probably not ideal for the role, being dead and all. Bob always looked (in my head) a bit Arthur Dent, but I think Daniel Radcliff would be a good choice. He has a much wider range than we saw in Potter, but also does a good geek and is about the right age and I think accent. (though not being British, I could have that wrong). He's also apparently up for doing off beat series (Dirk Gentley)

    223:

    Somewhere on line there is a fan-edited version of the hobbit films, sub-titled The Tolkien Edit. They removed everything from the three released films that was not in the original book, as far as possible, and it becomes a much easier to handle 3-3.5 hour film.

    I seem to remember there is also another fan-edited version sub-titled There and Back Again, of similar length.

    224:

    My mistake...
    The Tolkien Edit is about 4.5 hours.
    There and Back Again is just over 3 hours.

    225:

    Other than a Trevor Howard schoolmaster type figure, I could sort of see Angleton as an older Gregory Peck, thinking of his portrayal of the Mengele figure in The Boys from Brazil. I suspect my “minds eye” image of Angleton was very similar to my “minds eye” view of Colonel Ardenti from Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, which isn’t exactly Peck, but has a similar darkness.

    226:

    More fantasy casting commentary on The Atrocicity Archives.

    I like Matthew Horne as Bob, though that’s probably 10 years too late. Similarly Joanna Page as Mhari. James Corden would only be up for cameos anyway, and he could do Boris or even just the armoury guy. Ruth Jones would be the auditor who gets her arm ripped off in TRC, but would be badass is several episodes across multiple seasons, being merged with characters introduced earlier. Similarly Martin Freeman could be the bloke who takes on the vampire with a service pistol in TRC and dies at that point, but appears cameo in earlier seasons leading up to that point.

    That’s leaving aside the possibility of Ruth Jones as Mo, but I suspect people wouldn’t go for that. Skinny redhead or something. Right. Felicia Day is probably about the right age too, just really, really American in a way that wouldn’t work that well for non-USians.

    Since Iris is important later, she should appear in the first series and be played by Catherine Tate. If REG is Angleton, then Paul McGann is the raider vamp in TRC.

    Sorry, it’s weird but this all seems to have TRC as a series focus point. Is that really the high point? The actors who would be Alex and Cassie are around 15 now, if we worked through from TAA.

    227:

    Charlie @ 218
    Slight correction accepted - but, at the time, those medieval christian murderous organisations were mainstream.
    Juat like Martin Luther's rants against the jews & against reason were mainstream.
    And, like christians during the wars of religion, Sunni & Shia are still killing each other ...

    228:

    "Angleton always looked like Sir John Gielgud in my mind's eye. Probably not ideal for the role, being dead and all."

    Angleton is a reanimated corpse, so I'd say being dead makes him perfect.

    229:

    Much like Kipling’s or others’ of the of the era rants about not being colonised by the English. If the English raped you, it was your fault and all that.

    230:

    Damian
    Uh?

    231:

    BBC link here on similarities & links between US ( & here too ) far-right & Da'esh How nice.

    232:

    You heard me and you’re the one pushing this.

    It’s much better for the English to hold you down, rape you and beat you half to death. If it had been the Dutch or (dog forbid) the Belgians it’d be much worse. Right?

    233:

    Damian
    Almostly-certainly not & I'm not "pushing" anything ... though I agree that, in the recent, well-recorded history of such things, the Congo was far & away the worst.
    Let's not talk about the Emir Timur, right now, shall we?

    234:

    EC @ 159: The trouble is that starting in media res and constructing a good story is HARD.

    Concur; and good breakout of the common failure modes.

    Charlie @ 161: I mean, I take great pride in my openings.

    Quite rightly. One happy example:

    "Ten and a half hours before a mounted knight with a machine gun tried to kill her, tech journalist Miriam Beckstein lost her job."

    Anyone who puts the book down after that is unlikely to be a prospect anyway; and it begins a monstrously effective framing paragraph: a snare, a lure, a challenge. Something that leaves the wide-eyed reader thinking, "This I have got to see."

    When it comes to in medias res openings generally, though, my gold standard will probably always be William Gibson's Count Zero:

    "They set a slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair. It caught up with him on a street called Chandni Chauk and came scrambling for his rented BMW through a forest of bare brown legs and pedicab tires. Its core was a kilogram of recrystallized hexagene and flaked TNT.

    He didn't see it coming. The last he saw of India was the pink stucco facade of a place called the Khush-Oil Hotel."

    I finally returned my friend's copy of the book after about the third time she asked.

    235:

    Hartnell as Angleton fits into the general line-up I imagined: Peter Cushing, Ian Richardson.

    236:

    Damn. You beat me to it. I was going to say that nothing could be more appropriate for the Laundry-verse than a digitally reanimated corpse, but I was thinking of Alan Rickman, who is otherwise sadly unavailable.

    237:

    There are counterexamples. The makers of Dexter (TV) were wise to steal what they could from the books then write their own show. The books devolved into handwaving supernatural mush.

    Going in the other direction, I remember being hugely impressed when I read Neverwhere, not knowing much about Gaiman, and then gobsmacked to learn he had adapted it from his own TV script. I have no idea how he managed that so seamlessly.

    238:

    If I'd had any idea in 1999-2001 that the book would still be in print nearly 20 years later and that a global Nazi revival was a thing, I would totally have gone that way. I hate Nazis. Quite seriously, they're the one political creed where I go beyond "this is disgusting crap and I want to denounce" all the way to "somebody hand me a gun, these people need to die".
    Perhaps it is timely of you to remember what's been happening 20 years ago because it all really started back then. Before that March 1999 many people felt like future is still all rainbows and singing unicorns, but few of the people took the hint (of on European nation dropping bombs on another). Too bad most of the people still think that age can come back and what is needed is to shame/sanction/beat the living shit out of "bad people". They did not get the hint - they are powerless before the problem they are facing.

    That said, I do antagonize racism very passionately, but not just because of what they are (called by somebody that way) - rather because of what they do. Thus, I am also aware that way too many people have been wrongly accused of being "nazis", most recent of such events happened just this week.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47745071
    They call it "Nazi clip" even though apparently they did not even try to get the message. I don't even see if it is just genuine idiocy or concentrated subversion intent.

    All in the same time real Nazis from "cordon sanitaire" are allowed to walk and do whatever the f**k they want as long as it does no inconvenience the EU/US politics. This sort of hypocrisy and double-dealing annoys me very much, even more so that politicians in the EU do not understand how this attitude is going to bite them in the arse soon enough.
    https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-condemns-annual-latvian-parade-that-honours-nazi-ss-unit
    Yes, this is the 16th March, a day after the NZ shooting. Too bad they still "do not tolerate antisemitism", and not a word about the more numerous victims of genocides.

    239:

    Radcliffe is definitely a geek. Check out this clip of him doing Tom Lehrer's Elements Song.

    240:

    The Dexter TV series found its own path to awfulness. Season one was close to the source material and the best; the subsequent diverging seasons trended worse and worse with occasional bright spots, culminating in He's a lumberjack and he's OK. This demonstrates another failure mode of TV series - start with a banging initial premise, either borrowed (like Dexter) or original (like Lost or Prison Break) and then have absolutely no idea where to go with it after season one.

    In intermediately faithful adaptations like The Walking Dead it's clear even to someone like me who hasn't read the source material that the show is better when it uses material from the graphic novels (Negan, The Whisperers) than stuff the show-runners concoct (the Scavengers (very different from the source)).

    241:

    DEXTER SPOILERS

    To me, that last scene was more He's a lumberjack and he's trapped in a hell of his own creation, but yes, there were probably a couple of unnecessary seasons and glitches in the middle there. Even at its worst it was still better than the later books.

    You're right about Lost, which I gave up on after the first off the island season, but the lack of a map doesn't always end in disaster. The writers of Breaking Bad sat down after the second(?) season with only a few vague ideas and wound up plotting out one of the best series of all time.

    242:

    “a sequel to "Lost Boys" that does for Sweeney Todd what LB does for Peter Pan ...”

    While there are plenty of takes on Peter Pan that elide the original’s darkness, I’ve never run into a version of Sweeney Todd that didn’t center on murder, madness, cannibalism, and mislabeling of food. And you’re gonna make it *more* horrible?

    Not that I doubt your ability to do so.

    243:

    You're right about Lost, which I gave up on after the first off the island season, but the lack of a map doesn't always end in disaster. The writers of Breaking Bad sat down after the second(?) season with only a few vague ideas and wound up plotting out one of the best series of all time.

    I think that was Lost's problem: they never really sat down and thought what they should be doing. Breaking Bad did have that map after the second season, but it seems to me Lost never really had it.

    I watched Lost in its entirety, to see if they had a plan, and was really disappointed when it turned out they didn't.

    244:

    Then there's "The Cylons have a plan, unfortunately they didn't share it with the production team"

    245:

    As for shooting Nazis, don't undervalue the power of political jujitsu. After all, you may actively like and support a wide range of politically, ethnically, and sexually diverse people, but if you say, "I'll shoot Nazis," that's the clip that gets used to demonstrate that you're the intolerant Nazi, while they're all for free speech.

    If we're not talking about Nazis in power, then killing them is bad (except as a last resort in wartime), and locking them up is bad, because that's where they're learning their current crop of nasty techniques from the drug dealers and gangbangers they're locked up with. In the US at least, prison culture is racist and gang-oriented. Pickling them in that solution doesn't solve the problem.

    Embarrassing the hell out of them seems to work. Getting the Antifa to wear pink instead of black, put vulvas on their shields at the rallies where they plan to get out of hand, and beat the crap out of nazis using pink and baby blue gloves and clubs? Possibly while spraying them with cheap, girly perfume, so that the bruised Nazis smell like they screwed up at a little girl's tea party? That's the kind of thing you need to go after the Nazis with. Especially if the people they lose to happen to be female and black, but that last part doesn't particularly matter. Making it not just painful but an embarrassing failure to be a Nazi is really, really important right now, as is getting it caught on video.

    246:

    After you have captured your nazi, it should be shaved bald and dressed in a pink tutu and ballet slippers, after which you can parade it through town and chain it to a urinal at the nearest Walmart with a sign saying "Will suck dick for food."

    247:

    I will not thank you for responding to racism with homophobia and misogyny.

    248:

    Terry Pratchett did a very interesting take on Sweeney Todd in Dodger. Waterloo veteran barber surgeon who saw some baaaad shit.

    249:

    Marie Brennan has some good dark stories 'following' conventional fairy stories.

    250:

    She'd be stunning as Mo - in every way.
    Lot's of Mo suggestions upthread. I don't much care about looks; I care that she (the actress) plays a convincing very smart combat epistemologist. This goes for some of the others as well, especially Angelton. Bob too, to some extent, as he levels up. These are characters with deeply Weird minds. It needs to show, somehow. Bland movie blank-faced psychopath looks won't cut it. E.g. an occasional convincing abstracted soul gaze, concurrent with (at least when unguarded/dropped mask) some obvious complexities of thought and (rapid) micro-expressions (cgi could do this, ewww). Or something. So rarely done well in movies, and usually quite over-the-top. cstross twitter has an owl that makes a combat face; the feathers help:

    An owl's face when the hunting instinct kicks in pic.twitter.com/ZWcOOic05m

    — Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) March 11, 2019
    ---
    For Charlie, found while doing some background reading related to uhm applied theology, this includes a survey of paedogenesis. Some interesting biology, new to me, maybe not you or Het. Sorta like matriphagy except with larvae not adults.
    PAEDOGENESIS in ERISTALIS ARBUSTORUM (Bart Achterkamp, 1999, bold mine) Cherry picked this one:
    The species that has been best studied is Heteropezapygmaea Winnertz. Figure 2 depicts the lifecycle. After mating the adult H pygmaea female lays a very small (1-4) number of large eggs. From the eggs, female larvae hatch that feed on fungal mycelia. Very soon, eggs start to develop in their ovaries from germ line cells, and mesodermal cells form a nurse chamber. Subsequently other mesodermal cells form a follicular epithelium surrounding the oocyte-nurse chamber complex and the resultant follicles are released in the haemocoel. Growth of this mother larva, oocyte growth and embryogenesis occur at the same time, and within a week the mother larva moults into a "hemipupa" which remains hidden under the larval cuticle and her body is completely histolysed to the benefit of her progeny. The embryos have then matured into larvae and now hatch from the dead mother to starta paedogenetic life of their own. Under suitable nutritional conditions, paedogenetic reproduction can go on for at least 250 generations (Ulrich, 1936). Under certain conditions new-born larvae follow a different development, leading to pupae and adults of both sexes.
    The daughter larvae can, instead of producing female young, pupate and become an adult female. Because the larvae are all female, male production needs an extra generation. Male-producing larvae develop a small number of male larvae, somewhat larger than daughter larvae. These pupate to become adult males. In fact, male producing larvae can also produce daughter larvae and male larvae together and in all ratios. Development towards one of the larval types is determined by nutritional conditions, crowding, and probably also climate and season.

    251:

    Apart from the obvious reason (that it’s wrong), there is also the point to make that it doesn’t really work. Hyper-masculine tough-guy culture always seems to develop a trope where exaggeratedly effeminate behaviour is a signifier of the tough guy who is so tough he doesn’t have to be masculine, in other words it’s a status marker. This includes behaviours like blowing kisses to each other, use of feminine nicknames, affected lisps and wearing pink. Heck it could easily include rough anal sex, but the guys are so tough this still doesn’t mean they see themselves as gay.

    Real-world attempts to play up to the “shame them by making them seem gay” have been tried - pink prison uniforms for instance. This seems to backfire for exactly the reason I outline - amplified by the effect of making the pink uniform a status signifier.

    Far better to present a situation where the people the Nazis despise most display the higher status markers, even if this is just by “winning” street battles. In terms of interventions, the best approach seems to be to ignore the Nazi while making friendly with the victim.

    252:

    Sorry. Not my best moment.

    253:

    Hyper-masculine tough-guy culture always seems to develop a trope where exaggeratedly effeminate behaviour is a signifier of the tough guy who is so tough he doesn’t have to be masculine, in other words it’s a status marker.

    That's only true if the tough guy does it to himself. He only gains status if he deliberately wears a pink shirt and is tough enough to get away with saying, "So what? You wanna do somethin' about it?"

    If someone else makes him wear a pink shirt he definitely loses status. (If you want to see how this works in practice, slap an American professional football player on the ass.)

    254:

    Causing Neo-NAZIs to jump in a river doesn't seem too over the top, though dropping them from a great height in a Ford Pinto (Like a Cortina, but tinnier.) might be (Blues Brothers reference.).

    255:

    It's an economic system.

    Y'all should recall that you have to look at what the thing does; what the thing does, for its adherents, in the end, is make economic outcomes distinct from competence. You don't have to know how to do anything; you have to have the correct social position. (It is, in this respect, an awful lot like owning a classic American car dealership was. You were going to make money; it had almost nothing to do if you were skilled at anything.)

    So the effective form of opposition is creating social conditions in which known nazi activity makes you unemployable; you will die of starvation in a ditch outside a Walmart somewhere. This is being done, on a very limited ad-hoc sort of scale, and it does seem to work.

    The established social backbones -- the folks who are coming into nazism not out of present anger but out of fear of losing long-established certainties -- are harder to get rid of, but it's the same sort of thing. "keep this up and die of being poor".

    Of course, to make that really effective, you need to present an economic alternative; that hasn't happened. One of the good things about the Green New Deal is the recognition that the economic alternative must happen if any kind of social stability is to be retained.

    256:

    So the effective form of opposition is creating social conditions in which known Nazi activity makes you unemployable
    Are you referring to this case? (And in general obviously.)
    Nazi sympathiser profiled by The New York Times loses job and may soon lose his house - Tony Hovater, 29, forced to move out of New Carlisle, Ohio, over safety concerns
    The true test for the society is if such ostracization of Nazis is consistently done locally without mass media coverage. In my location (NE US) full-up Nazi shit usually gets stomped quickly and hard, same (maybe weaker) response with white supremacist activity, though general fascist stuff can slide.

    257:

    Damian @ 226: More fantasy casting commentary on The Atrocicity Archives.

    That’s leaving aside the possibility of Ruth Jones as Mo, but I suspect people wouldn’t go for that. Skinny redhead or something. Right. Felicia Day is probably about the right age too, just really, really American in a way that wouldn’t work that well for non-USians.

    I've never pictured Mo as a "skinny" redhead, more athletic & slightly taller than Bob.

    258:

    In other oppression news:

    Charlottesville Jury Fines Man $1 for Punching White Nationalist

    Jeffrey Winder was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in February for punching white-nationalist organizer Jason Kessler in August 2017. On Tuesday, a jury ruled that his punishment will be a whopping $1 fine.

    259:

    Ack! That was from 06 Sep 2018, sorry.

    260:

    This may be the wrong thread, but I have a question about Scotland. Below is a list of UK regions by HDI

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_of_the_United_Kingdom_by_Human_Development_Index

    While Scotland's HDI is good internationally and within the EU (it's values are on par with France's), it looks like it's lower than all but one English region. Here are my questions

    1. Why do the regions with devolved parliaments have a lower HDI than English regions, even those regions characterized as a Rust Belt or England's West Virginia?

    2. Scotland's had devolved powers since 1995. Why haven't they been able to keep up with the living standards of, say, southern England?

    3. Are there any plans to fix this disparity?

    261:

    If forgotten that! I saw that when it came out. Perhaps that's how I formed the impression of his Bobness.

    262:

    Just watched Love Death and Robots due to the mention here. The computer generated humans are so good now that I think Sir John might be a pretty good pick in the role, with a slightly spooky uncanny valley look.

    263:

    1. Why do the regions with devolved parliaments have a lower HDI than English regions, even those regions characterized as a Rust Belt or England's West Virginia?

    There are a lot more people in England, and a lot more large urban centres. Scotland and Wales are more rural and have proportionally smaller urban populations. So fewer people spread over larger areas with smaller relative pockets of higher quality of living.

    However, I'd argue that it's a lot nicer living in much of Scotland than it is living in, say, big chunks of the Midlands. We have our grim estates too, and proportionally more of us live in them. But they are getting better (in Edinburgh we have large housebuilding programmes in former estate areas), whereas most of the grimmer areas in England seem to be largely deteriorating thanks to austerity and ongoing Tory rule. Going by what I can see from the train on the way to London and infrequent trips to Manchester and surrounding areas.

    2. Scotland's had devolved powers since 1995. Why haven't they been able to keep up with the living standards of, say, southern England?
    Not all powers are devolved. Some of the key levers of social change (welfare policy for example) are reserved to Westminster. Also, as above, there are more people just inside the M25 than in the whole of Scotland. Money, talent and human capital of all sorts is pulled into London and the South East from all over the UK, proportionally weakening other areas. Also, as above, living standards are relative.

    3. Are there any plans to fix this disparity?
    At the national level? Not really, unless you count the questionable benefits of a single high speed rail link that looks to me like it will chiefly serve to suck people out of the Midlands a bit faster.

    In Scotland we've had a separate rate of income tax since last year I believe. I have lived in both Scotland and London and my quality of life here is far higher, due to better NHS coverage, lower prices, better housing stock, better air quality etc. I could undoubtedly have maintained a higher salary had I stayed in London, but that's not the sole measure of quality of human life.

    264:

    HDI aggregates multiple indicators into one unidimensional number: life expectancy, education, and per capita income.

    If you look at education, Scotland was traditionally ahead of England (nothing like having a presbyterian theocracy who insisted on basic literacy from the 16th through 18th centuries, so that everyone could (be forced to) read the Bible in the vernacular). Even today, Scotland has a strong university sector and higher education tuition fees are paid by the government (reducing the barrier to entry for low income groups).

    If you look at per capita income, the real picture is that London is way higher than the rest of the UK (distorting the picture) due to the huge international financial sector based there. The south-east is a commuter zone for London—these days London commuter effects on property prices propagate as far as Birmingham (East Midlands).

    After London, Scotland has higher per-capita income than any other UK region—again, there's a combination of oil/energy money and a big financial sector.

    What really stands out is that Wales, NI, and Northern England are extremely deprived. They were the heartlands of the old (coal/steel/manufacturing) industries that successive Tory governments gutted since 1979. Scotland also suffered from this but has been able to recover more effectively. Regeneration efforts under Labour (1997-2010) tended to focus on government employment, which was savagely axed when the Conservatives came back to power in 2010 and instituted an austerity regime that is still running 9 years later.

    What drags Scotland's HDI down massively is life expectancy. The Scottish diet is proverbially poor and alcohol consumption and smoking higher than in England; also, historically, Scottish males tended not to seek healthcarein time for prevention of progressive (often fatal) conditions like cancer. Scottish alcohol consumption tends to mimic Scandinavian/Northern European consumption rather than southern European.

    Finally: you're dead wrong about Scotland having devolution since 1995—it was 2000. Prior to that point, successive UK conservative governments failed to apply for EU regional development grants that might have helped mitigate poverty in rural Scotland and the more deprived bits of Glasgow. Also, the devolved Scottish government only actually got the power to vary income tax levels from centrally-set UK levels in 2016.

    Basically: we drink and smoke too much (impacts life expectancy) and we don't have a multi-trillion-dollar offshore money laundering farm spraying surplus cash around (like London). Being able to claim HDI equivalence with France (one of the 5 wealthiest nations on the planet) despite these handicaps is … well, it's not terrible.

    As for plans to fix the disparity: wait for the Brexit mess to resolve, then hold another referendum on independence, rejoin the EU, and apply for those regional development grants (what worked for Ireland—the Republic, not the North—ought to work quite well for Scotland).

    265:

    PS: HDI on its own doesn't really give you a good picture of a nation's welbeing: for that, you also need to look at Gini coefficient, i.e. how wealth is distributed. Income inequality in the UK has gotten catastrophically worse between the 1970s and 2000s, and has taken a nose-dive since then (but that's not shown on these charts because most of the damage has happened in the past ten years).

    266:

    If that spilled over into Americans with "NAZI-ish" beliefs, it could be more folks than the capacity of the ditch. Would likely have to include those who wish Jefferson Davis had won, hope to (Expletive) that can be avoided, too many bodies.

    267:

    Happy Dave @ 263
    I see - I can understand people wanting to escape from Brum, but HS2, even at phase 1 will shorten Manchester - London times a lot, as well.
    This "sucking people out" is a persistent myth & it simply ain't true.
    Scotland benefits from the Barnett formula ( look it up) which London basically pays for ....

    Charlie & if Brexit fails, or we get the Ken Clarke version - what then?

    268:

    If Brexit fails, it might save the union another few years. But it all depends what happens next.

    My gut feeling is that Brexit is a symptom of a much deeper malaise underlying UK politics; a huge wave of immigration followed by ten years of stagnating incomes and austerity politics combined with a widening gap between the rich and poor and a global efflorescence of right-wing nationalism to generate a protest vote to "burn it all down".

    (Parenthetically: Scottish civic nationalism is at odds with English ethno-nationalism, otherwise the so-called "Scottish Defense League" wouldn't turn up to demonstrations on buses from England, waving the St George's Cross flag—they're the EDL away team, not Scottish at all.)

    Anyway: even if Brexit goes away, the underlying rot and rage that fueled the protest vote is still there.

    Labour under Corbyn seem to get it now: it's possible that a Corbyn government would fuck any number of things up (my guess: international relations, immigration policy), but at least they can be expected to take emergency measures against the rampant poverty and destruction of local infrastructure that nearly ten years of Tory misrule have given up.

    Labour policy on Scotland is unlikely to be as toxic as Tory policy, too: they still see Scotland as winnable, therefore worth dealing with equitably, rather than as an imperial satrapy.

    In contrast, I don't see the ERG and the Tory brexit faction going away any time soon. If they do, it'll be because they defect to UKIP, a party now colonizing the electoral territory of the former BNP but with vastly more electability and a radicalized base of voters who mean they're no longer a bunch of fringe fascists but a dangerously credible political party.

    I also suspect that a cancelled Brexit will result in a wave of neo-Nazi stochastic terrorist attacks (think Jo Cox assassination, but much more of it—or the US fashion for school shootings, where 95% of the perps are white males and 70% of them have hard-right political affiliations, while their targets are mainly female, non-white, and/or poor kids). (This is your scheduled reminder that vastly more terrorist attacks in the US are carried out by white males than by muslims.)

    269:

    It seems to me that the attitude of many U.K. politicians towards the EU is similar to the attitude of the U.S. Republicans towards government in general; that is, they are bound and determined to prove that EU membership is a horrible failure. Thus their unwillingness to apply for EU grants that would help Scotland, or to align U.K. legislation with EU legislation in productive ways.

    I read on another website that it is not, in fact, impossible to deport an immigrant under EU law. One merely has to align the national law with the EU law which states that a newly arrived immigrant has 90 days to gain productive work, after which they can be bounced if they don't have a job.

    Is this kind of deliberate dis-alignment something something you observe regularly in U.K. politics?

    270:

    Re: ' ... creative revision to the story line would be necessary to make it fit, but it would actually foreshadow and reinforce the climax of the novel quite nicely.'

    Would like to see a whole kaleidoscope of countries/ethnicities where authoritarianism rose when you broach this topic in your stories. Yes, the Nazis were the worst of the worst in Europe. And while Naxis did not have a central religion, they had a rigid belief system that they crammed down everyone's throats, identified and vilified a population segment, etc. And if you need to mention any 'terror group' by name do it but also name the many others of their ilk. Or, if you need to show how terrible a terror group is, use a local POV and NOT a UK/US POV because that (some smug self-absorbed middle class white dude educated at Oxford/Harvard pontificating/lecturing) is what feeds the racial hate. Despite what people say, most trust self-described 'experts', so pick your experts (story character that briefs everyone else) carefully.

    271:

    I've seen accounting that says Scotland has been subsidising the rest of the UK more years than the other way around since Barnett was introduced. That is the revenues raised in Scotland and sent to Westminster exceed the monies sent back from central government in most years.

    272:

    He wrote that he and his editors had hoped to understand why someone like Hovater, who's “intelligent, socially adroit and raised middle class amid the relatively well-integrated environments of United States military bases,” drifted toward an extreme political ideology.
    United States military bases
    Gee, I wonder what could have gone wrong.

    But even if I had called Mr Hovater yet again - even if we had discussed Blavatsky at length, the way we did his ideas about the Federal Reserve Bank - I'm not sure it would have answered the question.
    You wouldn't possibly know what volumes it speaks about modern right-wing movement.

    This is actually pretty horrible. Individual terror is not an answer to ideology (or pictures and posts on the Internet), is a terribly ineffective and more fitting destroy the society values. OTOH it is a good way to make it more popular and controllable. Which is, quite possibly, exactly what modern-stage disaster capitalism needs the most, if you judge by it's preferences. Good luck with figuring out the end result.

    273:

    Is this kind of deliberate dis-alignment something something you observe regularly in U.K. politics?

    Yes.

    274:

    The figure I saw—released under a FOIA request in the run-up to the 1997 general election—was that between 1980 and 1990, Scotland paid £35.Bn more into central government funds than it received. Note that the population of Scotland during that decade was low enough that the figure amounts to £1000 per taxpayer per year.

    The Barnett formula, in one light, was a scam—designed to convince the Scots they were being dealt with fairly, while actually sucking revenue out of the then-booming oil industry. (If that money had been allocated locally, Scotland would look a lot more like Norway than it does today.)

    275:

    Is there a criminal charge which covers the act of lessening your civilization for profit?

    276:

    Not referring to a specific case; that was speaking in general.

    It's important in general to not allow the substitution of position for competence in economic outcomes. Any kind of fascism is a movement to make up a position and then substitute that for competence in terms of economic outcomes.

    Any incumbent system unable to prevent that position-for-competence swap has a huge systemic problem to overcome.

    277:

    It's what's happening in general; study after study points out that white supremacy is disastrous for your city's economic development, and that cities are where the economy lives. If you want a functional economy, you need welcoming, cosmopolitan cities indifferent to enforcing social (as distinct from commercial!) norms. And it's more or less a contest to do that better than the other cities and it's more or less a contest to direct capital to oppressed minorities. (The survivors work harder and are functionally more capable; they've had to be.)

    This is in large part why you see the current political rise; "where's my guaranteed win? PUT THAT BACK!"

    Planet's out of stuff to loot. Time to reduce the Gini coefficient, gain knowledge, and work hard. Exceedingly tough sell; may need larger ditches.

    278:

    White supremacy seems to me more of a symptom, an ugly, gangrenous wonderments from "Creative" destruction's collateral damage, though they've got the destruction part down cold. The .01% has been waging a propaganda war on just about anyone who might be in a position to tell them what to do, especially anyone proposing using even a vaguely socialist solution, believes the laborer is NOT worthy of their hire, anyone from a (Low wage, compliant government) nation is a better worker. Judging by what I've heard from conservative coworkers, they also believe the economy is a gift from the wealthy to everyone else. The distress creates an opportunity for purveyors of discredited ideas, some of which are VERY unfortunate. Short of bringing an MIB "Flashy thingy" to gatherings of the investor class, I think we're stuck with waiting for the wheels to come completely off before any repair can be attempted.

    279:

    Tim H
    Yes
    Here, it's a US-import, where even the mildest pieces of Social Democracy are screamed-at as "Socialism"--- "and that leads to commonism!"
    However, today the minimum wage goes up - & do y'all remember how that was going to destroy the economy & nothing happened - 20 years ago I think.

    280:

    But even if I had called Mr Hovater yet again - even if we had discussed Blavatsky at length, the way we did his ideas about the Federal Reserve Bank - I'm not sure it would have answered the question.

    You wouldn't possibly know what volumes it speaks about modern right-wing movement.

    The American (far loony) right-wing has opinions - or maybe I should write fantasies - about the Federal Reserve Bank that have a lot more to do with what's going on inside their local echo chamber than with finance.

    Synopsis for sane Europeans: America's central bank is organizationally kind of strange, and to a certain mindset something complicated and counterintuitive can look like a conspiracy against you.

    281:

    #199 - Halting State was easier for me to get into because IRL work reasons. I then found myself engaged with the sense of place Charlie gave in Rule 34 (and I'd say that compares well with Edinburgh in the Inspector Rebus novels, and I hope Charlie takes that as a compliment because that's how it's meant).
    Oh yes, and the Laundry isn't pure horror anyway (I don't like most horror other than Cthulhuverse stuff either).

    #200 - Agreed in full.

    #201 - I can see that casting too.

    #211 - Very strongly seconded.

    #215 - Well, I'd be most surprised if EC and I know the same Muslims IRL, and yet we both know they say the same things about Da'esh.

    #226 Para the last - "Iris the Stroppy Teenager"!! HELL NO!

    HDI, Gini and similar "living standards measures" - Well, I personally value being able to look out my ground floor front window and see open country, and walk into same in 5 minutes far more than a 25% higher wage, which would mostly vanish in extra income taxes and higher housing costs.

    283:

    White supremacy got made up about four hundred years ago to excuse organized looting. It gets repurposed a little in every generation, but it's been there as an excuse for longer than we've had recognizable capitalism.

    I find myself trying to pastiche translations of Sun Tzu -- "On ground of intersecting calamities, the less must not prevent address of the greater."

    We're already looking at a high probability of human extinction. The wheels coming all the way off would not improve those odds. And, at seventh and last, the investor class are a net cost to society and the economy. The cost to rounding up all the billionaires and distributing their assets is negative.

    284:

    I didn't like the Laundry series (not into horror) until I heard the audio version of "Overtime", which somehow brought it alive. When I read them I still hear the words in the voice of the narrator (whoever it was).

    If that was the original Tor.com recording it was read by some guy named Stross.
    If not, or that was meant with a wink (which I’m suspecting), then never mind.
    Anyhow, for a short while Tor included audio versons of some stories often read by the authors.

    285:

    Graydon @ 283
    Cobblers ... organised looting went on far back before that & every excuse available was used

    286:

    I think he means "looting from brown people."

    287:

    Totally serious. I'd first heard the series described as "modern horror", which I think influenced how I viewed it when I skimmed a bit of the first novel in a bookshop (and put it back on the shelf).

    The recording (chap with a British accent) had enough intonation to change how I perceived the story.

    Kinda like how realizing that James Bond movies were not intended to be serious* made them fun rather than painful.


    *In high school a classmate was totally into James Bond, apparently as super-realistic spy thrillers, so I watched one and was turned off by how unrealistic it was. (Not knowing that it was supposed to be silly.)

    288:

    Re: ' ... described as "modern horror", which I think influenced how I viewed it'

    Agree!

    For SF/F seems the key to success is finding the right mix of comedy and genre esp. for film (Men In Black, all of the Marvel movies, Cabin in the Woods) and on TV (Buffy, X-Files, Supernatural --- good grief!, this show's in its 13th season already).

    289:

    Thanks! I'll look for both. Redoing LotR would involve a lot more than just cutting - there'd have to be new dialog, at the very least.

    For SW, I'm not sure Episode I can be saved... it's a shame. Around 2000, right around when or before it came out, a buddy found, online, a 17 page treatment for Episode I that *was* what everyone had been waiting for, Anakin and his mother running over roofs... the guy couldn't even get it into the slushpile.

    290:

    If Lost was that one were people show up somewhere... I had zero interest.

    But then, Hollywood, who will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a 25 word elevator pitch.... "Great idea, now what do you intend to *do* with it?" I'd be much happier if they got into miniseres or one-season shows.

    291:

    Sorry, but Nazis, neoNazies, white supremicists in general, and militant Christians are all terrorists, and should be banned as the terrorist organizations they are.

    I think I'd do more than punch a neoNazi who bothered me... and my defense in court would be self-defense, since we *know* what Nazis want, and all four of my grandparents were Jewish.

    292:

    I dunno, I dunno. To some degree, I think it indicates self-assurance, if you do it yourself.

    Consider Bugs Bunny, like the time Elmer had him in the house, and was going to cook him, and suddenly he has a tu-tu on, and lipstick, and gives Elmer a huge sloppy kiss, and dances out. (And then comes back to totally deal with Elmer.)

    293:

    Supernatural is presently in its 14th season, of 20 episodes, in the USA and has been renewed for a 15th and final season of 20 more episodes that should begin filming around July. That will bring the total number of episodes to 327 making it one of the longer-running genre shows and one of the few with the possibility of a well-planned ending.

    294:

    But if Elmer made Bugs dress in lipstick and a tutu, Bugs would lose status. (And lest someone think that Bugs isn't a badass, would you mess with him if you met him on the street?)

    296:

    Re: 'Supernatural is presently in its 14th season, ...'

    You're right - 15 seasons by the time it wraps. Great mix of elements - no wonder its stars enjoyed their roles on and off camera. One of my favorites is Dean lip-syncing to 'Eye of the Tiger':

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTsxF47wx5M

    297:

    Scotland's Gini income numbers look fairly static since 2000 centered around 32, whereas the UK numbers are higher but declining slowly from a high of 36 to around 33-34.

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/poverty-income-inequality-scotland-2014-17/pages/3/

    298:

    Scott Sanford @ 280: Synopsis for sane Europeans: America's central bank is organizationally kind of strange, and to a certain mindset something complicated and counterintuitive can look like a conspiracy against you.

    The problem with the Federal Reserve is that it's "neither fish nor fowl". It's a privately held company performing government functions. It's not accountable to the government (by design to prevent political interference). It's really not accountable to anyone other than itself.

    It is supposed to regulate banking in the U.S. in such a way as to prevent bank panics. All of its other functions derive from that mandate. All nationally chartered banks are required to own stock in their regional Federal Reserve Bank. Theoretically the Federal Reserve Banks provide stability for their member banks which is how the Federal Reserve prevents bank panics

    The reality is the Federal Reserve keeps getting captured by the banks it's supposed to be regulating and fails to do its primary job; hence the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the S&L Crisis in the late 80s & early 90s, and the 2008 Financial Crisis. It's also a lot more sensitive to financial sector profitability than it is to providing for a stable economy.

    Most of the conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve revolve around "fiat currency" and the refusal of the U.S. Government to go back onto the "gold standard" (aka the "golden rule" - them what has the gold gets to make the rules.)

    299:

    whitroth @ 291: Sorry, but Nazis, neoNazies, white supremicists in general, and militant Christians are all terrorists, and should be banned as the terrorist organizations they are.

    I think I'd do more than punch a neoNazi who bothered me... and my defense in court would be self-defense, since we *know* what Nazis want, and all four of my grandparents were Jewish.

    I don't agree with banning someone because I find their politics repugnant. If they break the law, they should be prosecuted to the full extent, but if we allow extra-judicial violence against neonazis & others, what's going to keep some future government from allowing them to attack me?

    300:

    Getting back to the original post, I have a sudden question:

    ...You might notice something odd about the title; it lacks a reference to any kind of document or archival storage medium.

    This is the format for the titles of the mainline Laundryverse books. Does this mean that Palimpsest is set in the Laundryverse?

    301:

    Gotta agree on that one. Disempowering Nazis is far more important in civil society than doing physical violence to them.

    The nice thing about the antifa, whom I don't hang out with, is that they help to foil attempts by fascists to bring violence into civil society. That failure seems to be the best signal that, per the Mos Eisley Cantina, we don't like them here.

    302:

    It depends on context, but it also depends on whatever method of distinction having some intrinsic meaning, whereas criminals are just as capable of assigning abstract meaning as the rest of us.

    That is, if “sitting on the group W bench” is what signifies the father rapers now, making them wear pink overalls will just served as another signifier. It means you don’t mess with one of the guys in pink overalls.

    Taking it a lot further than that is risky in two quite different regards. The first is that we would be dehumanising the traits and tropes you perceive would be so offensive to the perpetrator. We would be implicitly saying male effeminacy is bad and associating it with these bad people. In other words we’re strengthening the discourse of homophobia, we’re using the stigma which means we’re also making it real. Would we confront them with stereotypical Jewish iconography or practices, or other things they perceive as non-white, playing up to their own underlying primitive fears that drive their hatred and ideology? Wouldn’t that just be a sort of reification of their own world view?

    The second is that if the purpose is to humiliate, then we are at risk of (further) institutionalising cruel and unusual punishment. Because we know that people really do this stuff to humiliate (cf Abu Graib). We have the stunning example of the current Australian policy regarding refugee arrivals by boat, where the logical conclusion is that to deter the boats effectively means to make the situation in immigration detention worse than whatever they are fleeeing. In this case I’m not even sure what we are deterring - being a Nazi? Will making them wear pink really do that? If we start trying to think of what will, we’re in a similar pattern of escalation.

    What does seem to work is more inclusiveness and exposing people to contexts outside their world view. There are ways to arrage it so that acting on hatred leads to social exclusion, while acting out of compassion or humility is immediately and visibly rewarded. And something we know really well, but somehow always forget, is that the carrot works better than the stick, particularly in as much as people seem to be able to downplay how much the carrot is an intervention but can’t for the stick.

    That has some implications in terms of the behaviours our culture encourages. I still half-think that the difference between an entrepreneur and a criminal is one of degree, not of kind. But that’s a whole other digression.

    303:

    the carrot works better than the stick

    You know I'm going to be forced to quote Mal Webb when you do that, don't you.

    https://malwebb.bandcamp.com/track/carrot

    A farmer buys a donkey, he haggles down the price
    The seller fella shrugs OK, but he offers this advice...
    "Respect can't be demanded, it has to be inspired
    A stick won't make that donkey work, it's a carrot that's required
    Go the carrot, not the stick x2
    Go the kiss, not the kick
    Go the bicky, not the brick, go…"


    (the song is well worth listening to)

    304:

    the stunning example of the current Australian policy regarding refugee arrivals by boat

    What's really astonishing about that is that since the great majority are found to be genuine refugees and do get resettled somewhere (in the past they have come to Australia), is that the policy amounts to "guarantee that the refugees will have serious ongoing mental and physical health problems. All of them. Serious ones"... and then we let them in and the cost of dealing with those problems lands on us. Or on, say, Cambodia, who then charge us $10M per refugee as a result. It's like shooting yourself in the foot knowing that your health insurance won't cover the damage, but it's like that in a much more literal way than the usual metaphor allows.

    In a way it's pure racism "we don't believe that whatever shitty country you came from is capable of torturing you properly, so we're going to get white people to torture you here before we welcome you to our country".

    TBH with most of the all-wrong types you could probably cure them by getting them decent jobs and placement in a community somewhere, one that has mediocre, shared internet connections. Sure they can spend their internet time on Stormfront or 8chan, but they'll be doing that on one of six computers along the back of the communal TV lounge.

    305:

    There is an inequality-adjusted HDI, but it's not broken down by region

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_inequality-adjusted_HDI

    HDI gives a much more accurate picture of a country than GDP/GRP PPP per capita. Income inequality influences the latter far more than the former. I also think that HDI on its own is far more valuable than GINI coefficient. Thank you for answering my questions. While you answered most of my questions, you've avoided answering one important question:

    "Why is Scotland's HDI around that of Northern England"?

    Does Scotland's smoking/drinking/macho culture so bad compared to Northern England that it essentially cancels out the deprivation in Northern England? If Scotland's GINI coefficient is lower than Northern England, then that speaks well for Northern England, that it's able to have a higher standard of living despite higher inequality and deteriorating cities.

    307:

    The problem with the Federal Reserve is that it's "neither fish nor fowl". It's a privately held company performing government functions.

    That's one of several things making it confusing, yes; Americans aren't as used to quangos and the strange hybrid nature of the thing makes conspiracy theorists certain something nefarious and secret is going on. It does not help that the Federal Reserve has occasionally failed spectacularly to prevent financial crises, but at least most monetary theory dingbats forget it's not even America's first try at a central bank. I thought getting deeply into the subject would distract from my central point about it being a magnet for US cranks.

    308:

    Does Scotland's smoking/drinking/macho culture so bad compared to Northern England that it essentially cancels out the deprivation in Northern England?

    Yes.

    There are some severe pockets of deprivation in Scotland, specific housing estates on the outskirts of Edinburgh and, even more so, Glasgow, that manage to depress the average national life expectancy as a whole (areas where male life expectancy is 15-20 years less than average for the rest of the country, small areas that account for about half the homicide rate of the whole of Scotland).

    Northern England has been hit disproportionately hard by Conservative austerity policies, as government was a major employer and cuts of 30-50% to government spending fall hardest on areas without manufacturing/service industries to prop them up.

    309:

    Thinking of the Laundry series, to sell such a series you need advertising. The best form of advertising for the Laundry would, I think, be something very like the 1970s "Lonely Water" public information films: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonely_Water

    This was the scariest of the public information film series, and was a variant on what a certain Glen Vaudrey now terms the Health & Safety Beast (Don't go near the river, it is haunted by an ever-hungry monster that will drag you in and kill you, child).

    A similar series of initially mysterious films similar to, but more sinister than government anti-terrorism films and initially only shown on fairly obscure late night channels would work quite well, I think. Especially if "Capital Laundry Services" occasionally gets mentioned, to tip off the cognoscenti.

    310:

    And this deprivation was under Labour Councils and MPs who were happy to do nothing to ameliorate it, blame the Tories, and enjoy their safe seats. Then the SNP got into power and led a successful program against knife crime, introduced a minimum alcohol unit price and other initiatives. Labour attempt to prevent the Scottish Gov achieving anything under the Bain Principle[1] even if it is something Labour's manifesto supports. These tactics have not made Labour more electable in Scotland.


    [1]In 2012, Bain stated that the Scottish Labour MPs have a convention of not supporting motions put down by the Scottish National Party, which became known as the "Bain Principle".

    Bain, like most Labour MPs in Scotland, lost his seat in 2015 to the SNP, with Anne McLaughlin winning the seat.

    311:

    Like most (for certain values of "most") (Glasgow) Herald readers, if you just say "Bain" to me in the context of politics, I think of the Herald cartoonist who signs his work "Bain", and not of "Willie Bain", who I note was only an MSP for about 3 years.

    I will also note that Liebour have been complaining about "Scotland having become a 1 party state" since 2015, although they were entirely happy with this situation when they were the 1 party!

    312:

    Congrats on the Hugo Nom (Om-nom?) - well deserved for some of the finest bleak-funny writing this century.

    313:

    Congratulations on the Hugo nomination! Unfortunately I can't vote for you as my last Worldcon was Intersection in Glasgow in 1995.

    314:

    Congratulations seconded. I've not been any sort of Worldcon member in years either though.

    315:

    And congratulations thirded. I've very glad you didn't release the news yesterday!

    316:

    Congratulations on the Hugo nomination.

    317:

    And congratulations on the Hugo Nomination from me too. As I am a WorldCon member (and spouse of one of the organisers — herself is a deputy head of department*), I guess I'll have to remember to do the paperwork this time.

    *We'll be in Dublin early as a result. It's going to be an expensive fortnight, what with continuing on to Belfast afterwards.

    318:

    Wow! Congrats on the nomination. It's well deserved.

    319:

    Excellent news all around!!
    Congratulations!!
    The Laundry Files started me on your books, which in turn presented me to the Merchant Princes series, that rock no end!!
    That been said, I miss pre-EoS Bob a little...

    320:

    ...areas where male life expectancy is 15-20 years less than average for the rest of the country

    Be careful with this, though. As a "for-instance", Midlothian used to have an appalling life expectancy, recently much improved - because the coal mines shut. Bilston Glen is now an industrial estate, the Lady Victoria is a very good mining museum, and the local NHS has a much-reduced level of black lung to cope with (the sufferers have died, and new sufferers aren't being created).

    Granted, closing the mines increased deprivation (they were often the primary employer). Against this, the growth of Edinburgh, and resulting pressure on housing, meant that a lot of people moved out to Midlothian (ourselves included). Average life expectancy has climbed because of local migration, without any real changes to the underlying deprivation. Things have improved, but I suspect not by as much as the figures would suggest.

    West Lothian in the 1990s could be truly grim - towns like Blackburn, for example. The only smart-looking building on the main street was the Orange Lodge...

    321:

    Meanwhile, congratulations on all the good news :)

    322:

    I don't think you really understand my point of view. Let's try this: are members of the KKK a deadly threat to anyone of color, and would you agree or disagree that they should be labeled a terrorist organization, and membership is a crime, falling under terrorism?

    I feel that way about the KKK, too, since they were happy to torture and murder Jews, too, being a "good Christian" organization.

    323:

    Charlie, congrats on the nomination!

    While I can't come to Dublin to contratulate you in person*, as a supporting member of the Worldcon, I can certainly vote... and for once, I've actually read a series that I want to vote for.

    * Literally, the week the con starts is the week I retire, and my income drops by half or more....

    324:

    Shockingly, I too intend to do Belfast the weekend after Worldcon. Because why the hell not?

    325:

    Its way more complicated than that. Try downloading ... https://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/fr7tg2/ross-kemp-extreme-world--s6-e1-texas/ I viewed that yesterday on my FreeSat TV System here in the UK. This program has WHITE KKK terrorists - 'You think that they are Human? They are Monkeys' said the Grand Wizard of the KKK - at one side of the Street, and Black Armed Vigilantes at the other side of the street ..this in Texas. And this not average weaponry as in the UK - we are worried about knife crime assaults - but rather fully legal, military specification, self loading rifles that are legal to carry openly in Texas..and which are backed up with military grade pistols of course. And then consider a situation in which both armed camps of extremists want to Terrorize the other side ..and both are anticipating a " RACE WAR " ? This is Here and Now? Oh, and also? You might think that Texas is an Isolated and unique situation? Think again ... "As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda " https://www.amazon.com/As-Texas-Goes-Hijacked-American/dp/0871404079

    326:

    Political jujitsu is a basic nonviolent political tactic. If someone assails you while you're peacefully doing your controversial political thing, the person attacking you is a goon. This works great when it's grandmothers protesting for world peace getting beaten by Neo-Nazi goons. Unfortunately, it works equally well for Neo-nazis or KKKreeps peacefully marching, getting hammered by antifa or whoever left-wing goons.

    While I don't speak for JBS, what I'd strongly suggest is that you don't fall into a political jujitsu trap by assailing Nazis or KKK for being what they are. If you do this, you will help them, not yourself.

    This isn't to say that life wouldn't be better if all the terrorists in the world had spontaneous enlightenment experiences and laid down their weapons. This especially goes for white terrorists, and it also goes for their wealthy backers who don't want to get their hands bloody. Unfortunately, the strategy and tactics for inducing such spontaneous enlightenment are fairly complicated and take more energy and time than most of us have.

    327:

    Not just that. The industries of the North East of England have been hit very hard by Globalization.The EU is just the local aspect of Globalisation here in the UK. The Shipbuilding/ Glass Making /Heavy Engineering Cranes and such things industries that provided work and Pride in their excellence have ceased to exist in Sunderland and up to the Scottish borders and down to the midlands ..but they have not ceased to exist in the rest of the world. Most of the industries of the EU hating Ares of the North of England still exist ...they just don't exist here in the North of England. Over There? They even have Pits that mine coal ..here in the UK not so much?

    Here from the Internet .. " "Cadbury moved factory to Poland 2011
    Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013
    Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia .owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds.
    Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia.
    British Army's new Ajax fighting vehicles to be built in SPAIN using SWEDISH steel at the request to support jobs in Spain rather than Wales.
    Dyson gone to Malaysia,
    Crown Closures, Bournemouth (Was METAL BOX), gone to Poland , once employed 1,200.
    M&S manufacturing gone to far east
    Hornby models gone. In fact all toys and models now gone from UK along with the patents .
    Gillette gone to eastern Europe
    Texas Instruments Greenock gone to Germany ." and so on ..there's a lot of it about.

    There are an awful lot of embittered people here in the UK ..and the - ever so proud of their Education EU supporting - Middle class folks that are surprised that the abandoned regions of the UK should vote to exit the EU in the desperate hope that their leadership might turn their attention from the EUs governing class - of which they Long to be part - and maybe do something about the horrific mess that we have in the North of England? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-47161173

    328:

    I saw an interview on Amanpour the other day about the book Dying of Whiteness. I found a YouTube interview of the book.

    America "Dying Of Whiteness"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEgAn45hXKg

    Basically, people are voting against their own interests because they do not want "Others" to get those benefits. In other words, people would rather die than have their tax dollars going to "Non-White" people. The people themselves may not be racist, but the policies are.

    Here's the book.

    Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland
    by Jonathan M. Metzl

    Read the sample of the book to see the overview. It explains so many things.

    329:

    Related to that:

    One Nation Under Stress (2019) | Official Trailer | HBO
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2hDEz1bW9k

    This was the example of inequality they talked about.

    Two Monkeys Were Paid Unequally: Excerpt from Frans de Waal's TED Talk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meiU6TxysCg

    This is an interview about the documentary:

    Stress is killing us: Dr. Sanjay Gupta diagnoses the cause—and cures—in HBO doc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7-hgH5JzaU

    When you combine the documentary and the book, Dying of Whiteness, you begin to see the classic American White Guy, standing alone against the world. And that's the point, he's alone. The people with the same stressors, living in communities, are not hitting toxic levels of stress. It is that lone White Guy that votes against his own self interest, because he is not connected to a community. There is him, and "Others".

    See that White Guy doing "open carry", he's alone. He's not afraid of you taking his gun away, thus violating his Second Amendment Rights, he's worried that his gun won't be there when he needs it to end his own life.

    330:

    Congratulations Charlie! That’s great news, and is richly deserved.

    331:

    I recall we’ve had Kessler Syndrome threads here before, but anyway this morning’s big space news seems to be NASA’s complaint that India’s recently test/demonstration of its capability to shoot down a satellite is pushing us closerer, in particular endangering the ISS.

    332:

    Congratulations to OGH :)

    333:

    The Indian stunt was deliberately staged in a low orbit where most of the debris would de-orbit and burn up within days to weeks, but apparently ~20-odd pieces of junk got kicked into higher orbits. Bear in mind the ISS has to maneuver to dodge space junk periodically.

    Obviously testing any kind of ASAT weapon (other than on a sub-orbital target so that the wreckage falls back to Earth immediately) is the height of irresponsibility, but at least the Indian govt took more care than the Chinese a few years ago — and the US and Soviet governments, when they demo'd their ASAT capability in decades past.

    And I can't help but think there's an element of pot/kettle going on in the USA condemning India for doing something they themselves have done. Really, it's political posturing: in India there's an election campaign in progress, and also there's an element of nationalism, wanting to demonstrate that they're not part of the third world these days. (With a crewed orbital mission due by 2024, they're trailing China, but not by as much as we're used to.)

    334:

    the USA condemning India for doing something they themselves have done. Really, it's political posturing: in India there's an election campaign

    ... and the US also has a record of doing dramatic stuff on the world stage for local electoral reasons. Mind you, so does China. And New Zealand is currently going through a bit of angst about whether becoming a military space launch site for the US is a good idea.

    At least the Indians aren't detonating nuclear bombs in the (upper) atmosphere "to see if our predictions are correct".

    335:

    I think you misunderstand the situation. The KKK was created to terrorize Blacks, not long after the Civil War, to force them from power, and keep them down. They have a *hell* of a lot of torture and murder on their hands. I gather the US Justice Dept shut them down in, I think, the 20's, then they came up again, in force, during the Civil Rights Movement.

    The armed blacks are pointing out to the KKKers that hey, you wanna play, we can play too, suckers... and that will probably intimidate at least some of the whites, who are talk, but won't actually go for serious violence; just like a good number of the neoNazis, who are middle-income twits (think libertarian idiots)... where people who have dealt with violence in their own life are too likely to be more sanguine.

    336:

    Part of it is that India wants to be taken seriously and have a seat at the table when any treaties about the banning of ASAT weapons is being discussed. India in the form of ISRO has a decent, if rather old-fashioned launch capability with its own indigenous satellite and space probe construction business and they figure, probably correctly that the Big Boys (US, Russia, China, EU) wouldn't give them any consideration unless they pulled off something like this "stunt".

    337:

    Ah, yes, "globalization", which actually means "we'll move the work to third world countries where they don't have labor unions, and the cost of living is lower, so we can pay them a pittance, which of course massively increases ROI for our bonuses."

    338:

    And the right-wing media - from Faux News to Limbaugh and the shock-jocks on talk radio - make sure that they miss the fact that most folks on public assistance are *white*, since blacks make up around 12% of the population.

    339:

    It seems that the Otherness around the demonisation discourse is so strong that people genuinely don’t see themselves in it, and assume themselves to be part of an entirely different welfare system. For example, a social media commenter made statements that abolishing “Obamacare” wouldn’t affect him, because he relied on the ACA and that was a different thing. Likewise people who get more than average welfare won’t see themselves in the racially typed “welfare queen” iconography.

    Part of this is the narrative that minorities get more generous entitlements out of a system dominated by reverse discrimination. When conservative politicians implement policies that mostly affect the welfare entitlements of their base, the base will continue to blame the impact on minorities. There are a lot of counter factual beliefs out there. I don’t think this is actually all that unusual around the world - it’s common here in Oz, Indonesia definitely has it (you could say it’s inverted for a majority Muslim population), arguably Brexit is a manifestation of a similar dynamic. In-groups define themselves by contrast with out-groups, whether the distinction is racial or not.

    340:

    Not necessarily completely. It is my take that the GOP are, in fact, gaming the system. I have a friend in nowheresville, OH, who complained that when she was out of work she was either unable to, or had a lot of trouble, trying to get welfare, or food stamps... because she's white.

    She also got screwed over Workman's Comp, and that is explicitly the governor's fault, who "bragged" about returning workman's comp "excess" to employers.

    341:

    when she was out of work she was either unable to, or had a lot of trouble, trying to get welfare, or food stamps... because she's white

    I do quite like it when right wing voters run up against the consequences of their voting. Years of making benefits smaller and harder to get so when they need the benefits they're appalled. Sadly in Australia the pension, which is mainly a white people thing, increases faster than inflation and is much less means tested (IIRC the marginal tax rate on the dole is over 50% which is higher than the highest income tax rate and kicks in at about $2500/year, but on the pension it's zero until you're getting almost the median wage). Meanwhile poor people, especially first nations poor people, generally die before they're eligible for the pension.

    342:

    whitroth @ 322: I don't think you really understand my point of view. Let's try this: are members of the KKK a deadly threat to anyone of color, and would you agree or disagree that they should be labeled a terrorist organization, and membership is a crime, falling under terrorism?

    I feel that way about the KKK, too, since they were happy to torture and murder Jews, too, being a "good Christian" organization.

    I don't think you understand my point of view any better.

    I think the KKK and like white supremacist organizations should be carefully monitored for criminal, even terrorist ACTIVITY, and as I noted, prosecuted to the full extent of the law when they engage in criminal behavior, including the imposition of additional legal sanctions against hate crimes. But I don't believe the law can (or should) make "membership" a crime. I believe that violates our Constitution.

    And, I most certainly do not approve of preemptive violence as was suggested in this thread. People holding white supremacist views, no matter how repugnant those views are, are still entitled to believe whatever stupid ideas they want to believe. Anyone who does violence against them because of their beliefs is no better than those they claim to oppose.

    I believe everyone has the right to defend themselves. In many cases I believe people have an obligation to defend themselves and to defend others; to stand up and oppose violence from those who would suppress the rights of others.

    But that doesn't mean you can go around beating people up for being Nazis!

    343:

    allynh @ 328: I saw an interview on Amanpour the other day about the book Dying of Whiteness. I found a YouTube interview of the book.

    America "Dying Of Whiteness"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEgAn45hXKg

    Duh! Guess what, HALF of the people in America have BELOW AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out, "You CAN fool some of the people all of the time! especially if you can control where they get their "information" from. Racism has always been the tool the upper classes use to divide working class whites.

    Before it was Mexicans, it was the Irish ... and the Poles ... and the Jews ... and African Slaves.

    Why do you think the elites are so opposed to public education? Why do you think they're making college education unaffordable?

    It's not just to keep the "others" down, it's to suppress lower class whites as well.

    344:

    Excellent news about the Hugo nomination Mr. Stross :-)

    345:

    @Charlie - I really hope you win the series Hugo. Congratulations for the nomination, you deserve it.

    346:

    And so will the other members of their club, which they'll brag about over drinks, when they're not complaining about declining sales, wishing the "Remuneration Fairy" would bless their customers, and seldom connect the dots.

    347:

    Congratulations on the nomination. There's only one in the 'Series' I'm not familiar with at all. There's some interesting competition.

    As for the rest of the list, my first thoughts are: Oh boy, 'Novel' is going to be interesting(!), and there's some stories in 'Novella' and 'Novelette' I'm going to have to check out when the Hugo Packet comes online. But I am so pleased to see 'Murderbot' on the list. The shorter work also reminds me that I really, REALLY ought to sub to 'Uncanny'. 'Related Works' is also going to be a hard choice, but I'm going for the Vess/LeGuin in artwork, no question at all.

    Must read more... less time on the PC...

    Cheers to all, the selection is going to be hard, which means it is good!

    348:

    In my case, I visited Belfast for the first time for the EXO5 event, back in November 2017. By the end of the weekend, I'd walked about 50km round the city and rather fell in love with the place, in between vainly trying to prevent the Resistance swamping us Enlightened.

    Herself has never been, so I want to show it to her. Titancon is a bonus.

    349:

    JBS @ 299: The point isn't banning them "because you find their politics repugnant". It's banning them because their politics advocate treating some people as less than human, up to and including genocide.

    This is the classic BBC fallacy where they allow nutjobs onto panels in the interest of "equal representation", however batshit crazy their positions are. It's important to distinguish between things you disagree with but which are reasonable opinions, and things which are actively harmful to the world in general. To fail to oppose the harmful stuff is to actively support it.

    Yes, we do have laws. Sadly they aren't enforced properly though.

    350:

    JBS @ 299: The point isn't banning them "because you find their politics repugnant". It's banning them because their politics advocate treating some people as less than human, up to and including genocide.

    Nope. I won't do that.

    Prosecute them for conspiracy, especially to commit mass murder, treason, and/or genocide? Or under RICO? Sounds wonderful, if the evidence is sufficient to convict.

    Or heck, deny them insurance. That scared the crap out of the NRA last year.

    For the US at least, JBS has a good point: politics is rarely final, so if you make it legal to ban groups on the basis of belief, your seemingly just law can easily be turned against you by someone else.

    Or if you want some historical analogies, Mme. Guillotine didn't stop cutting when she ran out of aristocrats, and communist reciprocal purges were notorious for decimating ranks of squabbling comrades from the USSR to Japan-ruled Korea.

    351:

    You're American (rather, USAn).

    In the rest of the world, especially Europe, people take a somewhat less relaxed view of "freedom of speech", because we're still within living memory of Herr Goebbels and his use of public speech to normalize race hatred leading to actual genocide.

    In Germany especially advocating Nazism or Nazi-like policies can get you arrested. Given that there is still a minority who think Mean Mister Moustache wasn't all bad, would you want it otherwise? (See also AfD.)

    Both the examples of excesses you point to in purges took place in situations/regimes where the rule of law was was bypassed by mob rule or authoritarian hierarchies. Not good reference points for how to tackle an excess of "free" speech in modern democracies.

    352:

    Congratulations on Hugo nomination, Charlie!

    353:

    No. The organizations, and their members *ARE* *TERRORISTS*. They *do* advocate Doing Things to others, and when they get the chance, if they think they won't be caught, *do* commit crimes, and, odds are, that they've already been doing them when they joined.

    Freedom of speech does *not* include shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and they are not merely shouting fire, they'd marching to intentionally intimidate, and outright threaten - that is what terrorism is about, as opposed to protest marches such as the Womens' March, which was to influence the public to push our legislators to do their bloody jobs.

    Note that the legal definition - which I got empaneled in a jury - of assault is threatening someone with harm. The white supremecists, the KKK, the neoNazis, *ARE*, right *NOW*, threatening us.

    That violates "promote peace and domestic tranquility".

    Would you object if a bunch of folks stood across the street from your house, and yelled threats and insults at you, personally? There is *NO* difference.

    354:

    What Charlie said. With added Lansky and Perlman.

    355:

    I'm not going to impose my American rules on Germany, but I'd simply point out that, despite it all, there are still Nazis in Germany. It isn't a perfect cure.

    Personally, I hope that laws outlawing Nazis in Germany are never used as the precedent for writing new laws to lock up Jews, Gypsies, Pagans, or LGBTQ people, if right-wing demagogues take power again and the politics of inclusion and diversity become unpopular. Sadly, if you read the history of Europe (or of the Middle East, or of the Jewish diaspora), these kinds of regime changes and legal makeovers do happen. Victories in politics are rarely permanent, and neither are defeats.

    356:

    I joined WSFA (Dublin 2019) just now for the first time specifically so I could vote for you in the Hugo awards, Charlie. Congratulations for getting nominated!

    357:

    Some juicy long Rupert Murdoch reading for anyone who has missed it. (NYTimes gets some redemption points for this.) It's worth a read for anyone in the Anglosphere.
    How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World (JONATHAN MAHLER and JIM RUTENBERG, APRIL 3, 2019)
    Part 1: Imperial Reach Murdoch and his children have toppled governments on two continents and destabilized the most important democracy on Earth. What do they want?
    Part 2: Internal Divisions President Trump’s election made the Murdoch family more powerful than ever. But the bitter struggle between James and Lachlan threatened to tear the company apart.
    Part 3: The New Fox Weapon The Disney deal left the Murdochs with a media empire stripped to its essence: a hard-core right-wing news machine — with Lachlan in charge.

    358:

    Much though I hate to disagree with our noble host, I believe the heights of the satellites hit were China=865km, India=300km and US=247km - if Wikipedia is to believed.

    Wiki didnt say what the russians did.

    I recall reading that most the debris from the US event had deorbited within 2.5 years so - given its solar minimum - its likely to be longer for the Indian debris.

    Theres also the worry that if ~20 objects have been tracked into high orbits you can bet theres a lot more smaller stuff - below the detection threshold - doing the same thing.

    359:

    Stross @ 351: In an interview Lyndsey Stonebridge talks about hate speech that philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote about in her book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”

    “She was writing in response to what she saw as totalitarian thoughtlessness. What she noticed about [Nazi leader Adolf] Eichmann when she went to see him [on trial] in Jerusalem was that he spoke purely in clichés, in banalities. She said he could only do that because he hasn't got the inner voice, he hasn't got that second voice in his head. He’s a human machine, a thoughtless tool. His thoughts were the thoughts drilled him into via the propaganda and the slogans.”

    Here's the Vox interview with Lyndsey Stonebridge: What Hannah Arendt’s philosophy can teach us about Trump, Brexit, and social isolation.

    https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/6/28/15829712/hannah-arendt-donald-trump-brexit-totalitarianism


    360:

    Heteromeles @ 350:

    JBS @ 299: The point isn't banning them "because you find their politics repugnant". It's banning them because ...

    I'd like to just point out. I didn't write that. It was was a reply from Graham to my assertion that banning Nazi's political speech violates the U.S. Constitution. It IS banning them because their speech is repugnant and it does violate the U.S. Constitution. U.S. law enforcement is required to walk a fine line. YMMV.

    OTOH, no one can be required to listen to their hate speech.

    361:

    OTOH, no one can be required to listen to their hate speech.

    Could you point to the part of the constitution or law of the USA that you're referring to please? Some guidance as to how the rest of the world is protected would also be appreciated.

    362:

    OTOH, no one can be required to listen to their hate speech. Could you point to the part of the constitution or law of the USA that you're referring to please? Some guidance as to how the rest of the world is protected would also be appreciated.

    First Amendment to the Constitution:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"

    So the critical issues around the First Amendment are:
    --The government can't pass a law to stop you from talking, though it won't protect dangerous speech ("shouting fire in a public theater" is the classic example, and hate speech is a modern example).
    --That said, it doesn't apply to private institutions refusing to host your speech (for example, when a moderator deletes a post and bans someone)
    --Nor does it require you listen to anyone's rant. It just means you can't pass a law to stop them from ranting. However, they will get in trouble if, during that rant, they break some other law (libel, slander, dangerous speech).

    I'll separate out from JBS: Given how nasty politics is in the US and how many subtle workarounds already exist to silence people's political speech, I don't think weakening the 1st Amendment, even to outlaw Nazis, is a great idea.

    HOWEVER, hate speech is considered dangerous, and non-peaceable assemblies can be policed very effectively. If you want to deal with the proverbial Illinois Nazi, that's where you get them. But you don't ask Congress to outlaw Nazism.

    I'm waiting to see the convergence of the "money=speech" and the hate speech laws, myself. That will get *interesting.*

    363:

    It's ok to say "I don't know".

    Nothing you wrote addresses the claim " no one can be required to listen to their hate speech".

    Look, specific examples of places where even US citizens inside the US are required to listen to speech

    - the obvious "you have the right to remain silent..." speech and anything else said by a law enforcement officer (you have the right to walk away... and the officer has the right to shoot you dead).
    - as a condition of employment, and even more so when that employment is involuntary (eg, prison labour, condition of parole etc)
    - in prisons more generally, and specifically the use of aural torture (I have a right not to listen to "Enter Sandman"... really?).
    - as a condition of having a social life, like the ads on facebook and youtube (both of which have repeatedly failed to prevent hate speech in ads)

    All of those have the obvious "they can't make you listen, you can kill yourself" objection, but hopefully we can agree that offering suicide as an alternative to having a right denied is unreasonable. If it's a real right people should be able to sue and win if it's denied, and there should be procedures in place to enforce it rather than relying entirely on individual legal actions. And obviously if it really does apply to all people it will be as enforceable in Gaza as it is in Washington.

    So again: where does this "right not to hear" come from?

    364:

    Yes, when I was in the USA people told me their opposition to Obamacare was that they didn't want their tax dollars going to poor fat people.

    365:

    HOWEVER, hate speech is considered dangerous, and non-peaceable assemblies can be policed very effectively.

    "very fine people on both sides".

    366:

    "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

    367:

    _Moz_ @ 363: It's ok to say "I don't know".

    That's good advice. I think you should take it.

    368:

    > And Ian Richardson as Angleton

    Snap! The show would then be "House of Tarot Cards"

    369:

    I already did, that's the whole point of my question. Sadly the answer seems to be "the US government can't restrict some kinds of speech in some places", which is not a useful answer to "how do people have the right not to hear certain speech".

    370:

    That is nonsense; if you are being formally cautioned your right to free disassembly has been suspended.

    If you have been incarcerated, various others of your constitutional rights have been temporarily suspended, or possibly permanently revoked.

    371:

    As Thurber said, you may as well fall flat on your face as lean too far over backwards. Going to extremes is almost always harmful.

    And congratulations!

    372:

    Can you suggest *where* the right that is being limited is documented? My entire question, one that I apparently can't state obviously enough, is where JBS gets this idea:

    JBS said: "no one can be required to listen to their hate speech"

    Why? How? Where does that claim rest? What law provides it, what system enforces it? What is it that means I don't have to listen to their hate speech?

    373:

    I’m with Moz on this one.

    Isn’t hate speech itself a constraint on your freedom? I think you need to be pretty privileged and never, ever the subject of it to do what he Nazis do and cast it as a difference of opinion. So when we talk about freedom, do you only accept freedom to do things, or do you accept that freedom from things are important too? I know traditionally in the west and in the USA in particular, the former have been emphasised at the expense to the latter, but that doesn’t mean we must accept that as inevitable.

    In parts of Australia and I’m sure this applies just as much in the UK, perhaps more in the USA, people belonging to certain visible minorities are sometimes afraid to take public transport. The fear isn’t one of being assaulted necessarily, but many do mention a tear of being subjected to hate speech. This unfortunately seems pretty reasonable to me.

    I’m not sure I can take seriously an argument that this is not a constraint on that person’s freedom, but knock yourself out if you think you’ve got one, I’m totally prepared to listen and consider it carefully.

    Moz’s question might seem strange if you are used to thinking of rights as positive rights to do something, and are not used to considering negative rights such as the right to be able to participate in society free from constraints based on who you are or what you look like. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a reasonable question. Not even rhetorical (really).

    374:

    There is a documented "right to free assembly": The opposite of which is the right to leave an assembly that is saying something you don't wish to hear (hence "free disassembly" as an opposite). If you are being formally cautioned by a police officer, your right to leave that specific assembly has been suspended.

    375:

    The problem is not lack of applicable laws, it’s lack of will to enforce them.

    376:

    "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

    That's an interesting point, and a potential answer to Heteromeles's objections. New law possibly required.

    Under free speech, you can advocate any position you like, including hate speech. But if anyone carries out any criminal activity inspired by that speech, you are considered equally culpable under "joint enterprise" in the same way as if you were a gang planning to knock off a bank.

    So yes, people can hold neo-Nazi views. People can even advocate those views on any platform they like. But the moment one person anywhere in the country takes some criminal action based on those views, every person who ever publicly voiced those views in the entire country is arrested, and the sentence for the person who carried out that action is applied equally to every one of those people.

    If you want truly free speech, there needs to be consequences when that speech is incitement to criminal activity. Leaders can't incite their followers to rid the world of turbulent priests/Muslims/Catholics/Protestants/Tutsis/gays and then reasonably claim they aren't responsible for the outcome, and groups supporting these views can't say "he just went a bit too far". You want the right to free speech, you take responsibility for it.

    377:

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-incitement-violence/

    Although I'll note that anyone who trusts Trump to keep an agreement (such as paying legal fees) is just asking to be disappointed.

    378:

    Well, that would make things much easier for the Nazis.

    379:

    One might argue that the Nazis are a "special case"
    We fought a desperate war of National Survival against them & their ideas & ideology & methods.
    Anyone supporting them, openly, is, effectively trying to re-start WWII & deserves treatment according to that record & precedent.
    Anyone else directly mimicing those ideas & ideals gets put in the same bracket ( Specifically, Da'esh, here )
    If captured or arrested you WILL be treated as an armed enemy / Prisoner of War / War Criminal / Traitor, with the penalties attached to those crimes.

    380:

    I'll try once more to make it clear: hate speech *is* crying 'fire' in a crowded room. What the neoNazis and KKK and the other white supremecists say is, explicitly, a direct threat to myself and my family's rights, freedom, livelyhood, health, and life. Threats are not free speech.

    381:

    Exactly. The things a guy like Steve Bannon says in public become the rationale people like the racist teacher or police-officer use to justify their behavior, or to excuse someone else's behavior, or whatever. Yes, these guys are recruiting, but they're also talking to the faithful.

    Greg notes correctly that in the U.K. Nazis are trying to restart World War II. In the U.S. they're trying to restart the Treasonous Slaveholder's Rebellion, and it goes without saying they'd like to bring back Jim Crow/Slavery. So fuck 'em.

    382:

    Woe is ME ..I've lost the post that gave Me ...suggestions for players of the TV series ..or maybe film?. Actor to Play Mo? A Tall Redhead ? Fierce and capable but Fragile? https://howtobearedhead.com/nicole-kidmans-evolving-look-from-natural-redhead-to-blonde/

    383:

    paws4thot @ 370: If you have been incarcerated, various others of your constitutional rights have been temporarily suspended, or possibly permanently revoked.

    If you are incarcerated, you lose various privileges (most particularly freedom of movement). You still retain your Constitutional rights.

    384:

    Damian @ 373: Isn’t hate speech itself a constraint on your freedom?

    Could be. Words can be used to hurt others. But is it a government action?

    I just think y'all don't understand how the US Government is constrained by the Constitution; what lawful actions the government is allowed to take. In the U.S., the government is not supposed to suppress "free speech", even when the speaker is vile and hateful or even if the speaker advocates vile and hateful racist actions.

    Quite simply, this is NOT someone shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. If it was, the government could do something about it, although I don't know how they could go about preventing it without trampling the rights of innocent persons (those who would NOT and DO NOT shout "fire" in a crowded theater).

    They can prosecute you for doing it, but I don't see how they could stop you in advance if you were so determined. They can't even prevent people from saying "FUCK" on television.

    Another thing the government is not allowed to do is turn a blind eye to vigilantism.

    If you go around beating up people for being "nazis, the government is going to have to arrest you. Just like the government are supposed to (and do) arrest white supremacists attacking people for being the wrong color or having the wrong political opinions.

    If you are the kind of person who wants to go around beating people up because they believe something you find unacceptable, you're no different than the "nazis". If you are the kind of person who actually DOES go around beating up people who believe things you find unacceptable, you SHOULD be arrested and held accountable for your actions.

    385:

    Graham @ 376: So yes, people can hold neo-Nazi views. People can even advocate those views on any platform they like. But the moment one person anywhere in the country takes some criminal action based on those views, every person who ever publicly voiced those views in the entire country is arrested, and the sentence for the person who carried out that action is applied equally to every one of those people.

    How would you go about proving it in court? How do you prove a perpetrator's action was inspired by any one particular advocate's speech?

    If you can't, you're back to just suppressing speech (and speakers) you disagree with.

    386:

    I'll try once more to make it clear: hate speech *is* crying 'fire' in a crowded room. What the neoNazis and KKK and the other white supremecists say is, explicitly, a direct threat to myself and my family's rights, freedom, livelyhood, health, and life. Threats are not free speech.

    Here's the solution: From Wikipedia on "Hate Crime Laws in the US": "The Civil Rights Act of 1968 enacted 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2), which permits federal prosecution of anyone who "willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person's race, color, religion or national origin"[1] or because of the victim's attempt to engage in one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a state court or voting."

    A couple of things to notice. One is that I was wrong, in that hate speech is defended by the 1st Amendment generally. However, hate crimes are not, as you can see above.

    The problem is that this particular law can also be used by, say, extremist Christians to claim that people who are attacking them because of their beliefs should be locked up too. That's why we don't advocate beating up US Nazis, except in self-defense.

    Remember, this is a game of jujitsu, not boxing. The point isn't to punch out the Nazis, it's to use their vile acts against them in a way that disempowers them without getting hurt yourself.

    387:

    What does one do about the ultra-christian Right in the US enacting or trying to enact Nazi-based anti-female laws, I wonder ... See HERE
    This is pure Kinder, Kirche, Küche isn't it?

    388:

    Greg Tingey @ 387: What does one do about the ultra-christian Right in the US enacting or trying to enact Nazi-based anti-female laws, I wonder ...
    See HERE
    This is pure Kinder, Kirche, Küche isn't it?

    These laws are mainly proposed by right-wingnut legislatures so they can appease their christian-right-wingnut constituents. Even the legislators who introduce the bills and those who vote for them don't expect them to stand up in court.

    It's more laws in the vein of "Don't do like I do, do like I tell you to do." Next they'll make "adultery" a crime, but they'll never prosecute preachers who indulge in it. The preachers can take the money out of the collection plate when they want to send their mistresses out of state to get an abortion. Won't cost them any more out of their own pockets if they have to send them out of the country

    It's just like they preach "homosexuality is evil because all them gay guy's a child molesters", but the churches shield the preachers when they get accused.

    If you think that only happens in the Roman Catholic Church, I've got a Bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy.

    389:

    permits federal prosecution of anyone who

    And usefully, contra JBS, it doesn't require that an actual act of violence was directly caused by the speech in question. All you need now is a legal system capable of and inclined to enforce those laws (and a judiciary not inclined to limit them to a ridiculous degree).

    Aotearoa has just seen a dodgy bill defeated that, as part of the preparations, gained a completely batshit Attorney-General opinion that "only if there is a difference in treatment on the basis of one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination between those in 'comparable circumstances'... but no-one is comparable". So apparently you're only protected against discrimination if there is someone exactly like you in all respects except for the protected grounds and they're being treated differently.

    So while the letter of the law says one thing, the de facto law is that well never you mind.

    390:

    JBS
    But they WILL prosecute & jail & torture & kill "litle people" who break these insane "laws" won't they?
    Next Q - how did the legislatures get into this insane state (pun)? I presume because of the US non-system of "voluntary" ( i.e. screened ) voter registration, rather than enrolling everyone.
    From what I can make out, only about 10% of the population actually want this shit, yet it still gets enacted.
    Something wrong there.
    Hw to fix it?

    391:

    (US Law) I thought that, if you were incarcerated for certain offences, your right to vote (and possibly to arm bears ;-) ) were permanently revoked, even after your release?

    392:

    Think this is per-jurisdiction, which in USian terms is aligned to states. But it’s a sort of carcinoma, where it’s spread adds up to the places that don’t do democracy as such anymore.

    393:

    Mibbae aye, mibbae nay. I had the impression that my statement in #391 applied to some Federal offences, such as "kidnap and inter-state transport". I don't know about state level offences, but at that level I think your #392 does apply.

    394:

    I always saw Angleton as Nigel Green, unsurprisingly enough.* Or possibly an evil version of Judi Dench's ex-brother-in-law from "As Time Goes By."

    395:

    paws4thot @ 391: (US Law) I thought that, if you were incarcerated for certain offences, your right to vote (and possibly to arm bears ;-) ) were permanently revoked, even after your release?

    With respect to the right to vote, it depends on which state you live in now, which state you lived in then and whether it was a conviction in a state court or a federal court. With regards to the "right to arm bears", it's even more complicated, but again "it depends" on who you are, what you were convicted of - state or federal - what state you live in now & lived in then ... and which way the wind is blowing next Tuesday.

    Best bit of legal advice I ever got was,

    "Don't go into court expecting TRUTH, JUSTICE & THE AMERICAN WAY, because what you're going to get is THE LAW ... and the law is whatever the Judge says the law is"

    Which I later figured out is whatever some lawyer can convince the judge to say the law is.

    396:

    Congrats.

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