bruce

bruce

  • Commented on Follow the money: Apple vs. the FBI
    The FBI's bread and butter is being a bureau of investigators working for the US Justice Department. Like a couple cops working for a district attorney, but huge. What does the Justice Department want here? Beats me. OT. When I...
  • Commented on Fantasy shibboleths
    I liked in SP Somtow's The Shattered Horse when the hero and pals magically improve the fertility of the fields with their personal plows. I think most people rich enough for swords put some kind of classy, tacticool, religious, or...
  • Commented on Fantasy shibboleths
    Wizenbeak got everything right. Sure wish Gilliland was still doing sequels. Wizenbeak, The Shadow Shaia, Lord of the Troll Bats. HG Wells in Anticipations thought dirigibles would be lighter-than-air gliders which could inflate one end, rise in that direction, then...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Say you live in America, and you are part of the bottom %40 of the economic strata. You put up with a lot of petty officiousness. You need a car that runs. If it farts nasty exhaust and runs, well,...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    A farmer who puts rows of clay tiles between his cornrows (prevents weeds, water runs off onto the corn roots) has already built 'something like a road' for your robots, and he's already used to high capital investment for that...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    SFReader '[Underwater civilizations] would have a serious problem developing levers and pulleys since on our Earth's surface those get a huge assist from gravity. . .' I'd like to think that right now some octopus is using kelp nets as...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    @673 Peter Erwin -Thanks for the book recommendation. I've got How to Kill a Dragon on my shelf and sometimes I reread that....
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    'Proto-Indo-European, as deduced from its own daughter languages.' I wonder how sure linguists are about whether PIE existed, or if it's just an artifact of hindsight, superimposed on a bunch of guys who traded and raided with each other. Is...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    @557 David- 'Historically look into why torpedoes were an issue for the US in WWII.' The story I heard in the Navy was that torpedoes were fueled by alcohol, drinkable if you filtered it through a piece of bread (helped...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Piston firestarters (a tube the size of a cigarette lighter, with tinder at the bottom, and you shove a piston down a bunch of times till the tinder ignites) were a thing in Orion Shall Rise and some other 1980s...
  • Commented on From the hemline index to the vampire/zombie ratio: SF/F by the numbers
    >sudden decline in vampires tantalizingly close to 2008- Fred Saberhagen died in 2007. Saberhagen's The Vampire Tapes is the only really good vampire book I've ever read. Saberhagen's Vlad series stayed pretty good to the end. Talent matters. If another...
  • Commented on Let's Talk About Running A Successful Kickstarter Campaign
    Twenty Palaces was great, and I hope the commercial problems will die like Philistines facing a good Sun Myth....
  • Commented on Ask the Author
    Magic swords and magic go great together. Magic and superscience go great together. Getting out of your spaceship to fight with cutlery fails badly. Prediction: If the next Star Wars uses lightsabers as magic swords, the scenes will work. I'd...
  • Commented on Ask the Author
    'Post-privacy is inevitable' ... 'all this security shit is frankly a bad joke'. Not totally contradictory, but. There's a John D. MacDonald riff on this, I think in The Quick Red Fox. Travis McGee expresses his dislike for all this...
  • Commented on On the lack of cultural estrangement in SF
    David Drake's space opera fights the Vorkosian Flaw by lifting odd cultural details stuff from ancient Rome. Civilized, in the sense that we are, but, 'what BRUTES the Romans were!' It helps that Drake is a much better writer....
  • Commented on An age-old question
    'Finally the Entwives disappeared altogether.' I thought someone chopped them down. It gave some suspense on first reading the Lord of the Rings- would the Ents decide Men were guilty and kill us all, or would they decide it was...
  • Commented on An age-old question
    Art de Vany (health nut, weights and supplements) seems to be something of an early adopter for this experience....
  • Commented on Let's put the future behind us
    Poul Anderson's essay is collected in Fantasy by him. Niven and Pournelle's Oath of Fealty made the point that we don't really know what a new city will require, so the best way to build one is a new city...
  • Commented on Unwelcome reality excursion
    What if Stafford Beer had tried 'Cybersyn' in a peaceful Socialist Britain instead of Allende's Argentina? According to Beer (can't beat that) it was working well- bottom-up surveillance of the government, by the socialist people, heroic bureaucrats who made things...
  • Commented on The Singularity Is Further Than It Appears
    We got desktop computers because even a turkey of a failed desktop computer could still be sold as a desktop calculator. You'd still get paid something for a good try, and if you actually advanced the state of the art...
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