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Entanglements!

Entanglements Cover.jpg

Many thanks to Charlie for giving me the chance to write about editing and my latest project. I'm very excited about the publication of Entanglements. The book has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and terrific reviews in Lightspeed, Science, and the Financial Times. MIT Press has created a very nice "Pubpub" page about Entanglements, with information about the book and its various contributors. The "On the Stories" section has an essay about by Nick Wolven about his amazing story, "Sparkly Bits," and a fun Zoom conversation with James Patrick Kelly, Nancy Kress, and Sam J. Miller. I think the site is well worth checking out, and here's the Pubpub description of the book:

Science fiction authors offer original tales of relationships in a future world of evolving technology.

In a future world dominated by the technological, people will still be entangled in relationships--in romances, friendships, and families. This volume in the Twelve Tomorrows series considers the effects that scientific and technological discoveries will have on the emotional bonds that hold us together.

The strange new worlds in these stories feature AI family therapy, floating fungitecture, and a futuristic love potion. A co-op of mothers attempts to raise a child together, lovers try to resolve their differences by employing a therapeutic sexbot, and a robot helps a woman dealing with Parkinson's disease. Contributions include Xia Jia's novelette set in a Buddhist monastery, translated by the Hugo Award-winning writer Ken Liu; a story by Nancy Kress, winner of six Hugos and two Nebulas; and a profile of Kress by Lisa Yaszek, Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech. Stunning artwork by Tatiana Plakhova--"infographic abstracts" of mixed media software--accompanies the texts.

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1:

I've added it to my list. (Which is what it is, until I have an income again...)

2:

I don't think there's a problem with putting up purchase links...

3:

Silly question — is it possible to buy an ePub version? Because the buying options links seemed to all go to dead-tree versions (unless I missed one)…

4:

Not-quite-an-ad-honest blog entry posted by invitation. It's not going to happen regularly, but I'm going to encourage/permit it in future by other guest bloggers with books or related media specifically relevant to the audience. (This could mean you, H.)

6:

New science fiction inspired by today's emerging technologies. That reminds me of a Popular Science Magazine tagline. Or was it Popular Mechanics?

7:

Niala @ 6: New science fiction inspired by today's emerging technologies. That reminds me of a Popular Science Magazine tagline. Or was it Popular Mechanics?

I don't think either of them promoted Science Fiction ... unless you count the "Wordless Workshop". 😎

8:

Oh, I appreciated the last opportunity you gave me, and I'm trying to return the favor by getting a conversation started here...

Maybe when the current unpleasantness has subsided somehow (I don't mean somewhat) I'll be able to get back to writing for fun. Right now it's silly season and the developers are trying to lock in their gains and bolt down their contracts before the economy does whatever it's going to do in November. So I'm learning all sorts of chicanery, but don't have time to make art with it.

9:

Thanks!

Incidentally, if you want to look really prescient, you may want to start asking around for near future stories of the internet falling apart and/or changing drastically due to climate change. This isn't silliness.

This story (https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-planet-needs-a-new-internet-1837101745) talks about how many internet hubs are likely to be underwater due to sea level rise during the next 15 years.

This story (https://futurehuman.medium.com/wildfires-are-burning-up-cell-towers-and-leaving-responders-in-the-dark-e1238c2e8ad0) talks about the problems with using cell phones for emergency communications when the cell towers are being burned by wildfires.

This one (https://earther.gizmodo.com/climate-change-is-the-internets-worst-enemy-1845367561) talks about how the internet last year emitted more greenhouse gases than the airline industry and links to a podcast on the subject.

10:

The wordless workshop (thanks to Roy Doty 1922-2015) promoted american ingenuity with wood, in Popular Science. The two "Populars" promoted science fiction without knowing it when they featured richly illustrated artiles on upcoming technologies that eventually never made it, like the first designs for the US space shuttle. I got a whiff of that with "New science fiction inspired by today's emerging technologies".

11:

The wordless workshop (thanks to Roy Doty 1922-2015) promoted american ingenuity with wood, in Popular Science.

I don't know if awareness of Wordless Workshop got out beyond North America but it was reliably a fun page giving readers a monthly fix of aspirational design and a reminder that problems could be solved through ingenuity and skill.

It also involved readers; the pages carried a stock paragraph crediting the reader who'd invented that month's gadget and inviting others to send in their ideas.

Thanks for reminding me of that.

12:

I do see, and buy, stories that address that issue from time to time. I imagine there will be an increase in stories about the internet falling apart as people become more aware of these issues. We already saw a complete cell phone failure during 9/11, and my own internet access in NYC has lately become dicier because so many more people are working from home in residential areas that weren't ready for the increase.

13:

We don't have that problem here.

Of course, as a recently retired sr. Linux sysadmin, I made it so that both of our workstations are *wired*, not wireless.

14:

Headline in one of the major North Carolina newspapers.
"North Myrtle Beach sees spike in COVID-19 cases following unofficial shag dancing festival"

Now this makes perfect sense around here as to what was going on and what happened at this event.

But someone in the UK might wonder just what we do around here for public group entertainment.

How often do you run the stories you work on by people in other English speaking countries to maybe catch things like this.

15:

If/when we change words, we change to American English usage. This is bound to confuse some people, but can't really be helped. We don't run stories by anyone outside our staff. While visiting cousins in Ireland, I discovered that an innocuous word in American English was rather offensive there. There isn't much we can do about that. Even my own given name takes on a very different meaning in Australia. I asked an Australian friend once if any woman gets named "Sheila" there now, and she said she didn't know of anyone. Again, there's nothing I can do about that.

16:

*sigh*

True everywhere. My late ex told me about a trip, long ago, to Puerto Rico. One of the folks she was with spoke Spanish... *Southern California* Spanish, and nearly got into a fight, because a common word there was an insult in PR.

And, of course, "black hole" has a *whole* 'nother meaning in Russian, I am given to understand.

Meanwhile, I sent an email to an ex a few weeks ago, offering condolences on the name "Karen" becoming Web thing for the idiots....

17:

whitroth @ 16: Meanwhile, I sent an email to an ex a few weeks ago, offering condolences on the name "Karen" becoming Web thing for the idiots....

Not just idiots, but bigoted idiots with bad haircuts!

Growing up in central North Carolina in the 50s & 60s, Myrtle Beach was the beach for teens. North Carolina's Outer Banks were more family oriented (for values of "family oriented" vs Hollywood's Bikini Beach Party version of teenagers, etc), especially after the first National Seashore was established on Bodie (pronounced "body"), Hatteras & Ocracoke Islands.

Anyway, The Shag is the regional dance form that went along with Beach Music and has nothing whatsoever to do with the way y'all use the word over on that side of the Atlantic Ocean ... so get your minds out of the gutter.

18:

Modern British English isn't a superset of common American English, but it's not far off. When I worked in a (technical) European user group, I needed to restrict myself to mainstream American English, not so much because it was more widely known as because British English had several times the vocabulary and idiom. People who spoke English as a foreign language, often very well, often had trouble unless I restricted myself.

19:

I needed to restrict myself to mainstream American English, not so much because it was more widely known as because British English had several times the vocabulary and idiom.

I find the "several times" comment a bit hard to understand. Different I can go with.

In the US we have a tough time with idioms that don't exist outside of geographic regions. Visit Pittsburgh or Philadelphia sometime and hang out with the locals. (and they are NOT the same) Took me a while when I moved to Pittsburgh to get used to the local variations. Not at some high tech office park filled with imports.

Plus people from outside the US who know British English (like what the speak in India or Pakistan) are really baffled by the number of idioms.

I suspect what you're doing is switching to US English without idioms which to you seems a simpler Language than UK English with idioms.

20:

Twenty-five or more years ago, I read that the *average* American's *normal* vocabulary was about 500 words.

I also read that Koko the gorilla had 550 in ASL.

21:

To David L: I said common American English, and was referring to the language that is understood by the large majority of the country that uses English as a native language, and similarly for British English. Most of the idioms in that are familiar to most fluent British English speakers. I have no difficulty in understanding almost all American literature; my educated American friends have difficulty with a fair amount of British.

I read (in a reputable source) that the working vocabulary (type unspecified) of an average educated American was about 10,000 words, and that of an educated British one about 40,000 (*); that was some decades back now, and both sides have been dumbed down since. In the UK, even uneducated speakers understand quite a wide range of dialects, slangs and idioms, too. We use a good many that originated in the USA, Australia, India, Europe and other places.

(*) 30 years ago, I estimated my reading vocabulary at 250,000, which is unusual but not immensely so (among the British literati).

22:

Most "American" literature does not use idioms. I suspect that what you think of as typical "American" English is what many of us think of as TV English. It started with radio but TV really brought it out. The national TV networks decided their shows would work best with a language that was as neutral as possible in terms of idioms, accents, and vocabulary. And it worked. And it is what most people outside of the country think of as American English due to our movies and TV shows. But it is not really spoken anywhere. Local "windage" has a lot of influence. A lot of my local western KY accent was shamed out of my by the Jesuit educated house mate that I had for nearly 2 years. Then business travel all over the country for 5 years stomped out most of the rest. Which while I was living in Pittsburgh made that local dialect even more noticeable.

Most of the spoken UK English I've heard in my life comes from movies and TVs so I'm sure there a similar effect there. English speakers from India and Pakistan are all over our country. And it leads to some tempers flaring when someone from there says something like "I require ...". What they mean is they need help. But in the US someone saying such at the beginning of a sentence is making a demand. Oy veh.

As to the vocabularies of people "over here", someone who studied it for a bit said the typical USA'n who got out of high school with reasonable grade KNOWS 25K to 50K words. And that goes up with more education to the point that most people with PHDs know at least 125K words. I'm somewhere in the middle as far as I can tell. And I'm good at context.

As to what people use in daily conversation, that varies all over the map. Even in my daily life.

I do get exposed to a weird mix of Empire English at a somewhat irregular meeting of mostly Empire related folks who get together for a few drinks. Although that has been somewhat on hold since March except for a couple of front yard bring your own drink and chair events.

23:

Sigh. Never mind. I virtually never watch television, haven't watched an American film or similar in more decades than I can care to count, and have watched fewer than a dozen in my life. The same is not true of books, from the early 19th century onwards, though I don't claim to have read large numbers of early ones. Oh, and by "words" in this context, I mean stem words, not declensions, conjugations and derivative meanings and usages.

24:

Oh, and by "words" in this context, I mean stem words, not declensions, conjugations and derivative meanings and usages.

That's pretty much the plan that Randall Munroe used for Thing Explainer and it's entertaining fun to see the change when using only the thousand ten hundred most used words.

You can try this yourself by touching these blue words and writing there.

25:

Just FYI:

Beach music (aka Carolina Beach Music) :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7r2TysVKqg

Newer song & they're not from the Carolinas, but maybe the best representation I've found of what the dance looks like when it's teenagers dancing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZYOJQ79DOw

26:

Most "American" literature does not use idioms.

Not even latin ones? You speak the pure ancestral Angle language, from whence we get the bastard Anglo-Saxon crossbreed and through successive generations of outbreeding and assimilation eventually modern American English, complete with a degenerate, half-hearted attempt at "modern spelling"?

In other words, there is no such thing as English, American or otherwise. It's a polyglot language that rarely meets an idiom it doesn't want to steal. From igloo and tepee to curry, boomerang and haka*, I suspect that not even 20% of "English" vocabulary is actually recognisably Anglo-Saxon in origin.

* do let me know if any of those foreign idioms are unknown to you.

27:

(this thought brought to you by the song "99 Luftballons" which contains the unmistakably English phrase "Und auch keine Düsenflieger" "and all kind a Düsenflieger"... that's not a translation, that's what it actually sounds like. It actually translates as "and no jet planes either")

28:

It's not a single, well-defined language, true, but it is possible to talk about specific instances (as I did). From when I last looked, rather more than 20% of the vocabulary came from Old English (which is what most people mean by Anglo-Saxon), but it probably still accounted for the majority when weighted by use.

And it is not true that American literature doesn't use idioms - most writers use quite a lot, as people do in normal speech.

29:

f/when we change words, we change to American English usage.

To add to the confusion? Trademarks are a pain.

In the UK, the most popular brand of self-adhesive tape (for paper, etc) is "Sellotape". But it's sold in Australia as "Durex". Which might seem inoccuous except that in the UK, "Durex" is the market-leading brand of condom. (Cue visions of visiting Australian kids asking shop assistants for a big roll of Durex.)

And remember, when visiting the UK it's not a fanny pack, it's a bum bag. A fanny pack is something completely different ...

30:

"Twenty-five or more years ago, I read that the *average* American's *normal* vocabulary was about 500 words."

"Me like beer. Me love Trump! Liberals bad!"

Duuude! Are you sure it's that many?

31:

In other words, there is no such thing as English, American or otherwise. It's a polyglot language that rarely meets an idiom it doesn't want to steal.

Readers of James Nicoll have heard that:

We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary.

32:

There's also pronunciation. Australians say sex when they mean six, Kiwis say pin when they mean pen. That kind of minor thing can be really frustrating at times. Not technically idioms, but close enough.

And don't forget the US love of calling people Fanny and there's a male name that eludes me right now but means cock-head. But then they also call kids Chastity and Faith. A bit like the English Prudence.

And just trivia like "yeah, yeah", "yeah nah" and "nah, nah" all having different meanings both from each other and from themselves in different contexts. Obviously "nah, yeah" is completely non-idiomatic in all situations.

33:

And other replies to:

'Most "American" literature does not use idioms.'

I suspect that what is actually happening is that a lot of "American" literature uses the same idioms that David L uses, so that they whiz past without his noticing.

But they're there.

JHomes.

34:

"there's a male name that eludes me right now but means cock-head."

The US male name which is guaranteed to break the flow for me is Randy, all the more so since it seems to be unfeasibly often paired with another name like Swinger or Baumgartner which multiplies the snigger factor no end.

35:

I can't help but note that "America" to mean "The United States of America" is itself an idiom. I'm sure the many fine people (ie, violent racists... another idiom) in the rest of America are just thrilled to be tarred with that brush. And even Canadians are generally touchy about being called "American" (hence, obviously, calling them Canukstanis).

36:

Faith is about the 80th most common girl's name in Britain (according to the ONS), and I have known Charitys. Chastity is rarer :-)

The word I know that causes most trouble is 'rubber' - I have known people ask for one in the USA - but we understand 'eraser' as a synonym.

37:

At my first engineering job, my British manager apparently got into a spot of hot water by telling one of his colleagues that he'd knock her up after dinner.

38:

I have a longer version: it's the results of Roman Legionnaires making dates with British barmaids, Anglo-Saxon men-at-arms making dates with Romano-British barmaids, Norman men-at-arms making dates with Anglo-Saxon/Romano-British barmaids, and *then* grabbing words from any other language as convenient and not nailed down.

And "American English" not using idioms? So, no one's ever referred to someone else as their guru, and we don't put things in the car (even if it's, say, a minivan or a pickup), and... shall I go on?

Was it Wilde who declared America and England separated by a common language?

39:

"Beach music"? That's, like, the Beach Boys, and Jan and Dean, and....?

40:

When I worked at the Scummy Mortgage Co, for a week I sat next to a guy who told me his name was Kin.

I *finally* worked out that he meant "Ken".

41:

Or, as we say in the US, Scotch tape (yeah, I know, 3M, (tm)), which has become like "kleenex" for tissues....

42:

I still like "hoover" meaning vacuum cleaner rather than the dam president. Probably because of the Mock The Week story from the woman who talked to her Henry Hoover (which is a brand) and her neighbours thought she lived with a guy called Henry.

43:

I'm sure you mean boot, unless you have a station wagon or rice rocket. Or one of those rear engine things with a frunk. And there's all those merkins who get uppity when you call their truck a ute, or confused when you talk about hooking a load of dogs to your truck.

Also, why do merkins call the dunny a washroom? What do they wash in there?

(also, WTF US toilets having the bowl filled with water)

44:

Let's see, no, the trunk, it's this locked compartment in the back of the vehicle (unless you've got an engine in the rear.

Ute - that's a tribe of native Americans, that Utah is named after. Those things are SUVs, almost exclusively NOT used for sport or utility, but purchased by people who can't bloody well drive them, so they'll "be safe the next time they have an accident" (actual quote).

I still want a law requiring them all to have an ugle (the law must specify "UGLY") bumper adjustment, to lower it to the height of an ordinary car.

Water in the bowl - cuts smells, and adds humidity to the air. And don't you wash your hands, or maybe it's that its *so* Indiscrete to refer to it as a freakin' toilet. (America - move Victorian than the Queen was).

Merkin - that's an artificial bush for a woman. 'Mercans, or maybe 'Merkans, is what we is....

45:

whitroth @ 39: "Beach music"? That's, like, the Beach Boys, and Jan and Dean, and....?

Yeah. You're not from around here are ya'?

FWIW, NO, surfer music is not the same thing as beach music.

46:

Those things are SUVs

Down here an SUV is a lifted, often 4WD, station wagon. I prefer to call them UAV, urban assault vehicles, although they're generally more popular with people who can't drive and think the assault vehicle will somehow keep them safe despite that. What they really need for safety is an old fashioned armoured car (modern ones are too tall and skinny so have the same problem as UAVs... they fall over if you try to turn a corner in one).

A ute or utility vehicle, on the other hand, is a small truck. Sometimes flatbed, more often with car-style sides around the tray. One of the few good episodes of that UK car show was them getting an old Hiace diesel and torturing it well past the point of insanity until it finally stopped working. Which was the "drop it 5m onto a pile of rubble" step.

I'd like a law that if a vehicle has "truk nutz" the owners actual testicles have to be inside them.

Hmm, more idioms... Australia is rich with them but like all such, they sink in after a while and you no longer notice. To continue on the car front, some of our cars run on gas too... but it's actual fuel that is a gas at room temperature and pressure - LPG or CNG depending on composition.

And of course football, which for obvious reasons means "American Rules Football" down where you live, and soccer in most of the world but one of the variants of rugby in the smart country. Likewise hockey, where shockingly there are actual "ice hockey" clubs in Australia as well as the much more numerous "field hockey" clubs.

47:

estimated my reading vocabulary at 250,000, which is unusual but not immensely so

My mother used to remark that my visits home enlarged her vocabulary, or at least her working vocabulary. And not through my usage of the coarser vernacular {Sheesh, you people}. Admittedly I associate with over-educated literary types (loike youse) and she taught new entrants. I'm not going to suggest that five year old kiwi kids have bigger vocabularies than the average mercan but I sometimes wonder how big the difference really is. I fear a lot of people stop learning new words at about that age.

My grandparents were lifelong subscribers to "Reader's Digest" which meant visiting them was a chance to read a year's worth of those little books, complete with the 20 new vocabulary words in each issue. I'm sure that by the time I was 15 or so I would be excited if there was one new word in the issue.

48:

Reggae?

(moi? deliberately being difficult?)

49:

I like your suggestion re "truck nutz". And for the last few years, I've gone to referring to it as "American football".

UAV? In their teens, my twins reffered to them as Stupid Useless Vehicles. One of them now has a very small one, but she needed a station wagon, really, and it's almost unfindable any more (the dealers get cooties when they hear those words, it's not "sexy").

When I lived in Chicago, I heard, on the radio, from a tow truck driver that when it snowed, they were the ones who were stuck in a field *further* off the road than regular cars. I also quoted for years an unnamed Ford exec, who said that the only time 90% of them go off-road was when they're drunk, and miss their driveway at three in the morning.

Now Hummers, esp. gen 1.... my instant reaction is "where's the roadside bomb?" You don't want to hear how I *really* feel about them, though....

50:

whitroth @ 49: I like your suggestion re "truck nutz". And for the last few years, I've gone to referring to it as "American football".

UAV? In their teens, my twins reffered to them as Stupid Useless Vehicles. One of them now has a very small one, but she needed a station wagon, really, and it's almost unfindable any more (the dealers get cooties when they hear those words, it's not "sexy").

But a good dealer will find one for you if you really want one. The American station wagon appears to have gone the way of the dodo, but you can still find small mini-vans that will suffice. Some of those are available with AWD (which is NOT the same thing as 4WD).

I think Volvo still makes & sells an actual station wagon here in the U.S.

When I lived in Chicago, I heard, on the radio, from a tow truck driver that when it snowed, they were the ones who were stuck in a field *further* off the road than regular cars. I also quoted for years an unnamed Ford exec, who said that the only time 90% of them go off-road was when they're drunk, and miss their driveway at three in the morning.

Before Covid locked me inside, I did manage to actually use my Jeep to go off-road. There's a beach here in North Carolina where 4WD is mandatory (they'll give you a ticket if you're out there and don't have it). There are wild horses (feral horses) out on the beach; descended from Spanish horses dumped off of ships along the various shoals of the Graveyard of the Atlantic. I like to go down there & photograph them. I've had one or two other mild off-road excursions as well chasing photo sites.

Now Hummers, esp. gen 1.... my instant reaction is "where's the roadside bomb?" You don't want to hear how I *really* feel about them, though....

If it makes you any happier, the military HMMWV is a piece of shit too. The only advantage it has over the old Army Jeep (which were actually manufactured by Ford) is it won't roll over if you have to swerve to avoid hitting a deer at 25 Mph (40 Kmph). The old Jeeps would roll over if you turned the steering wheel too sharply at only 5 Mph. Instead of rolling over, the military HMMWV just breaks axles if you look at 'em sideways.

As for the civilian version ... You do know that Hummer is American slang for oral sex? So you're basically driving down the street in a "blow job".

51:

Volvo still makes & sells an actual station wagon here in the U.S.

Up here they cost twice what a basic version from another brand does, so they're more accurately an estate wagon.

They are very popular with the wealthier end of the market here, one friend has a his'n'hers pair. They're at least available in AWD if not all that way, and they actually work for things like rough gravel driveways.

One of the funnier experiences I've had is towing a Jeep Wrangler 4WD Exxtreme Edition with Extra Wanker Bits! .... *down* a gravel driveway with a unimog. Turns out that big floaty tires and heaps of grunt don't work well on loose wet gravel. After the second or third time it slid uncontrollably off the track/into a tree the wanker decided that using the mog to get it down the driveway beat the obvious alternative of rolling it down the hill. Obviously we had to tow it back up. But the vulva diver just drove up as though everything was normal.

52:

Wow, I completely failed to be sarcastic...

While a wagon – also known as a station wagon or estate – prioritises space for luggage, lifestyle accessories or other types of cargo, it can still carry the same number of occupants as its relative.

"to the estate, dahling, one has business there"

https://www.volvocars.com/au/cars/wagon

53:

Station wagons you can currently purchase in Oz: Mazda, Skoda, MB, BMW, Audi, VW, Peugeot, Subaru, Hyundai, Renault, Mini (well, it's small!!).

Not ahuge list, but it's not like it's only one or two.

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This page contains a single entry by Sheila Williams published on October 13, 2020 11:42 PM.

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