Graham

Graham

  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    Re "prepping" with slide rules... I've got a Casio FX-100D calculator. 10 displayed digits, a further 4 (IIRC) digits of precision, and 2 digits exponent. I bought it for my final year at uni (1996) after I broke my previous...
  • Commented on Taxonomy of story, or, why murder?
    Tehanu has several murders, and plenty of conflict. What people objected to about it, when you really checked, is that it's a book about toxic masculinity and what happens to people without power in a feudal society. It's probably not...
  • Commented on Dread of Heinleinism
    Also re the incest thing, this comes down to RAH's "twisty mind", to quote OGH. The point of good SF is to set up a thought experiment of "what happens if...?" Marriage between people of other colours, or non-whites leading...
  • Commented on Sitrep
    "protecting authority against public disorder, rather than protecting the public" Of course the Peelian model is to protect the public - but when the chips are down, Britain has always followed the Continental model. Consider the arrest and torture of...
  • Commented on Canned Monkeys Don't Ship Well, the Remix Version
    Frank, comparing whether the children of astronauts also become astronauts is not statistically significant. 555 humans have reached Earth orbit. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume they're all from the USA (population 327 million) or Russia (144 million). That...
  • Commented on The Pivot
    Dan, whilst Labour were pro-EU, they were almost completely silent during the "debate". The Leave and Remain campaigns were therefore almost entirely run by Tories, and were not strongly driven by facts. More than that, both campaigns were personal opportunities...
  • Commented on Cthulhu Counterfactual
    What's currently as scary as the stuff Lovecraft talked about? The fact that Nanjing happened, and Katyn happened, and Oradour-sur-Glane happened, and the Holocaust happened, and the SS and NKVD and KGB torture chambers happened, and everyone said "this must...
  • Commented on Cthulhu Counterfactual
    I did my qualifications in Egypt. Yeah, a live reef is a total nother world. A highlight for me was finding a 5-foot-diameter turtle asleep on the top of a small seamount. We're not apex predators on land either. Humans...
  • Commented on Cthulhu Counterfactual
    III. Since I've just got my Open Water dive qualifications... Fishlike marine being *AND* living forever? Yes, yes yes yes, hell yes, hell to the yes, definitely positively yes. And for bonus points, human-grade intelligence underwater will let you properly...
  • Commented on Not dead but dreaming
    Greg, this is not a situation of setting the rules but of auditing them. I say this from a background in safety-related engineering. :) "We're the One True Faith" is about imposing your corporate rules on other people. An auditor...
  • Commented on Not dead but dreaming
    Dudism? Do your commandments start, "Thou shalt abide"? And "Thy rug shall really tie the room together"?...
  • Commented on Not dead but dreaming
    Going back slightly... Bible 1.0 says "thou shalt not kill", or "murder", or whatever translation. The trouble for people who call themselves Christians is that Bible 2.0 says "But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is...
  • Commented on On hold
    Ironically I just re-read "Equoid" last night and ran into that sentence, which gave me an interesting compare-and-contrast moment with Bob's "I wish I was still an atheist" monologue in "The Fuller Memorandum". Somehow I'd managed to miss this on...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Much better to periodically massacre a bunch of characters and trash secondary plot threads to keep things from getting too complicated. I thought doing that in "Rhesus Chart" was your "Spooks" moment - the point where the audience realises the...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Police, sorry, but I want someone trained with authority to deal with the violent drunk, or the guys attacking the woman. There are, and have been, many societies without a police force. Police are a thing of our time in...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Alas, I am finding this about a lot of SF I loved in my younger days. From Asimov to Zelazney, the character all seem a bit - well - "mid-20th-century". At least they mostly tried though. Of course their cultural...
  • Commented on Why I barely read SF these days
    Where it leaves PKD is as someone writing about the 1960s, not about a hypothetical future. The quality of the art is indisputable, of course, but the content is pure 1960s. Putting rocket fins on a Cadillac didn't turn it...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    It's Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." To start with, world-walking is simply treated as magic. It happens, some people can do, deal with it. By the end of the original set of books, technology...
  • Commented on I get book covers
    The UK cover of "Nightmare Stacks" also had a tentacular theme which didn't represent plot points. In general the cover backgrounds seem to be generically "occult/creepy". Add a UK skyline silhouette, a couple of generic people-with-gun silhouettes, and Bob's your...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    "jungfrau" if you want to describe a woman who has not had sex, of any age (or someone who is a Virgo) Which caused me some consternation as a teenager when my German-exchange-trip girlfriend told me "Ich bin Jungfrau". She...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Slavery had been profitable for a long time before that. Initially sugar was the major product from slave plantations, and anti-slavery Europeans refused to use sugar as a result. Tobacco, coffee and cacao plantations also used slaves....
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Agreed. There's no technical problem building a road across the Darien Gap - it's yours, cash on delivery, as soon as you can find anyone to stump up the cash. Even in New Britain as originally encountered by Miriam, there...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    Not just technology. I've already touched on money. Also manpower though - in our world, this mostly worked because of all the ex-slaves looking for work. The Navy apparently wasn't such an issue here. The Commonwealth had decisively lost the...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    I may be wrong, but I don't remember OGH putting a canal in Panama. The Panama Canal needed massive investment from the USA, which was only possible because the USA was ridiculously wealthy (partly due to lots of untapped natural...
  • Commented on New Book Week!
    "Empire Games" and "Dark State" have Rita. The original outline in http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/09/books-i-will-not-write-3-big-f.html has Sue as the same character. Enquiring British minds of an appropriate age might now be wondering if we'll get Bob too...?...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    @Martin I did jury service too, a while back. There were no downright idiots in there, but there were some interesting biases based on inexperience. The case involved a scuffle outside a pub. One guy was winning, but slipped and...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    To quote the classic Dan and Dan "Daily Mail" song (check it out on Youtube if you've not seen it): "Bring back capital punishment for paedophiles. Photo feature on schoolgirl skirt styles." Sam Fox says the photographer who made her...
  • Commented on What can possibly go wrong?
    Geoff, you don't need the Rohingya to show what happens with fake news. European views on Jews from medieval times onwards have basically set the standard for it. Blood libel, "they killed Jesus", conspiracies, and of course through to the...
  • Commented on We get reviews (contd.)
    If "middle books are always weak," it sounds like you've just pulled an "Empire Strikes Back" out of the hat then?...
  • Commented on Book day!
    @deflated Bob is now casually using/wrestling the EoS isn't the reading I took from it. OGH has been clear for some time about Bob being "unreliable", and there are some clear slips in his "unreliability" where he gives an insight...
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