54 comments

  1. “No worries,” thought Ian. “That’s one of Old McAndrews’ cows. HE can tell the aliens to go [rude Commonwealth phrase here].”

  2. Any information on the SFWA’s self-described unprecedented step of demanding Disney pay royalties for a book published by somebody else with pretty convoluted dancing around yelling about contracts but not showing any contract?

    I know some of the other writers here have mentioned a cultural issue with actually showing the contract, but when screaming for something to be enforced…..

      1. Right after the twit-storm about “Mandalorian promotes genocide” after their kick-rear lady didn’t genuflect to PC or a mob of bullies, there was a mini-storm about “make Disney pay.”

        Literally heard nothing of it after people started going to the books in question and saying “wait, that’s published by someone different than who does the Disney Star Wars books, are we sure Disney is even getting royalties from this?”

        Not “it was waved off,” but no follow-up at all; may as well argue with a print book type response.

        I rather like what I’ve read of Alan Dean Foster, and I’m saddened to hear his wife has health issues, but there’s been a few too many attempts to do the rent-a-mob thing and I really don’t trust SFWA to suddenly give a crud about authors.

        1. Hmm. I apparently missed that little tempest in a tweet. Too occupied with the question of whether or not Jill Biden should remain the notable exception to “we don’t call a person Dr. unless they could save you when you’re having a heart attack” rule, I guess.

          And I’m definitely with you on Twitter mobs. Whenever I find myself agreeing with one…I reconsider my beliefs.

          1. At this point, I’m wondering if the reputation of the universities can be preserved by reclassifying what education majors get as a vocational certificate, instead of a degree.

            The theory of a doctorate having value is that doing a dissertation means that one has proven the ability to do original research, and added to the over all body of knowledge.

            Education looks like it might be so theoretically bankrupt that it should not count for added knowledge, and should not be considered a research discipline.

            The universities have certified the education majors for free reign in primary and secondary schools. And the education majors have done such good work that there are professors who don’t think they can remain in business without a supply of foreign graduate students.

            Some combination of going all in on COVID and on BLM made a cost for universities.

            With all the more recent political discussion, I’m finding myself wondering if the leftwing university administrations aren’t in the phase of a criminal conspiracy looting the assets of an organization they have taken over.

          2. I remember the Ivory Tower engineering types getting their knickers in a twist over Jimmy Carter calling himself a nuclear engineer. “Because he didn’t have a university degree in Nuclear Engineering.”

            This is just another example of “We are in charge of degrees and titles, and no one else–and you’d better respect them!”

        2. Didn’t Foster get stiffed on a Star Wars tie-in novel long ago? [clickety] “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.” [clickety] looks like a bunch of different stories now, about what went on there.

        3. Remember, Disney bought all the rights, etc. to the franchise. Their argument basically came down to they get all the profits but don’t have to pay ADF a penny now. That’s not how it works. FWIW, the last I heard was that negotiations were ongoing between the parties. As for SFWA not caring about authors, totally agree. But they do care about their own reputation and, with their membership numbers dwindling, they may be willing to do something like this to draw back members who dropped them and to bring in new members.

          1. That’s the argument I’ve seen attributed to them– I don’t like going single source, and I like it single source on the authority of one side which won’t show any documents beyond their say so even less.

            The Marvel universe had a lot of rights sold off of the main unit for media tie-ins (the X men movies, most famously), so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the same happened with Star Wars.

            1. Complicated by the fact that George Lucas declared repeatedly that Splinter wasn’t canon, once he decided to make Luke and Leia brother and sister.

              1. In fact, now that I think about it (pre-internet, pretty much, so hard to check), he basically withdrew the title from publication and literally no one would carry it.

          2. Sounds similar to the argument that Warner Brothers apparently made against Tess Gerritsen after she sued them over Gravity.

            “What we did not expect was their key argument for dismissal: that Warner Bros. was not obligated to fulfill any contracts signed by its subsidiary New Line Cinema, because Warner Bros. was not a party to those original contracts…By acquiring New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. had acquired its assets—but they claimed they assumed none of the obligations that came with those assets.”

            Full story at this link:

            https://crimereads.com/suing-hollywood/

            So I don’t know if Disney is in fact making that argument, but if they are, it’s hardly unprecedented for Hollywood.

            1. One can see an argument for not having to pay past royalties, but not for going forward. Because the royalties were inherent in the rights.

  3. It would appear SM Stirling has gone full fascist, demanding that people take the Covid vaccine. And if refuse, he wants people with guns and batons to come to your house, beat you and inject you with it. I’ve enjoyed some of his stories over the years, but I’ll not give another red cent to such a low-life creature as that. Nor would I shed a tear should someone abort him at this point.

    1. My point being, that his politics has now overshadowed all of his storytelling talent. It’s not just a difference of political opinion he’s espousing, but actual harm to people. It’s one thing to inject politics into storytelling. It’s quite another to call for harm to those who differ politically in real life.

    2. The problem with the vaccine is that the health establishment burned it’s credibility with the whole “masks don’t work, you shouldn’t bother with them / oh, actually, yes they do, we just said they didn’t because we didn’t want the public hoarding them” mess back in the spring. (The “go ahead and have mass gatherings for causes we agree with” bit in the summer was just icing on the cake.) By proving that they’ve embraced the “noble lie,” it means that I can never take anything they say at face value again.

      Right now, everyone is saying, “The vaccines are all perfectly effective and have virtually no side effects.” Does that make me believe that the health officials think it would be best if everyone took the vaccine? Yes, absolutely. Does that make me believe that the vaccine is actually perfectly effective and safe, and I’ve been given all the information I need to decide if I should take it? Oh, [EXPLICATIVE] no!

      1. You left out the part where they told everyone, “DON’T TRUST AND ORANGE MAN BAD VACCINE!” to now saying “You have to get one or YOU HATE GRANDMA!”

      2. “We don’t need credibility. We have the POWER to FORCE you to do it! Bwa-ha-haaaa!”

        Or thoughts to that effect, anyway.

        “We know what’s best for you, just shut up and do what you’re told.”

        They’re not nobility. They’re employees, as are the governments, Federal down to precinct level. The whole “consent of the People” thing seems to have escaped their notice. And as in 1776, the People are getting somewhat disgruntled about it.

    3. I haven’t read all of Stirling’s work, but I’ve probably read ten or a dozen. And his main characters in any of them would likely have said, “sure, inject away after I run out of ammunition.”

      Niven famously chastised a reviewer for conflating character and author opinions, but still, Stirling’s writings tend to lack the totalitarian streak that characterizes so many leftist writers.

  4. My FiL has been asking all of us if we’ll be getting the vaccine when it comes around. I said no, because I have questions about the actual efficacy and side effects. IMO the vaccine was rushed, utilizing new and unproven technologies, with little testing, and what testing was done had a rather biased pool of guinea pigs test subjects. Plus, with Fauci apparently endorsing masks even after vaccination, what’s the point? Especially as I’ve already survived a bout of the wu-flu.

    My BiL said no. But his reasoning was that the vaccine would allow the government to read your mind. Both my wife and I wonder if her brother is back on drugs again.

    1. I’ve been having a fantasy that the “vaccine” is part B of a binary system that Kung Flu is part A of. Whatever the AB combination does has a time delay, so you don’t see the result until most of the population has the shots.

      I know it’s a fantasy because no -way- is the Canadian government clown circus smart enough to manage something like that. No way. And the Chicoms are friggin’ comedy central, they can’t even keep random assholes from selling “recycled” cooking oil that came out of the sewers.

      Lizard Men, I figure. Felonia Von Pantsuit and Sniffer McStripperbang are definitely kept upright and mobile with alien lizard technology. Heels Up is just a general issue political climber, a safety in case the chip in the Big Guy’s brain loses a transistor.

      1. My fantasy is this is how they’ll reduce the evil human population. Not at all helped by a rumor running around a week or two ago, of increased risk of miscarrying possibly for years after vaccination. Fortunately my fantasies never happen. Or unfortunately, some of them are pretty cool.

      2. Honey, if you have read Darkship Revenge? people in the know told me that two-stroke virus was achievable for a grad student, with 10k in capital and a kitchen.
        So….. Yeah, I’ve thought of that.

        1. I’ve heard that too. “Sure, I can mix up T-Virus in the basement!” said the biochemist.

          But I think it might be harder than they’re saying. Otherwise, why is Bat Lady there in China running around getting samples of every sniffle in the whole country, searching for the Holy Grail of hell-bugs?

          I postulate that some smart-ass biochemistry major bragged about whipping up some T-Virus, and a Communist Party poobah believed him and threw a billion dollars at him. They were hoping for SARS but ended up with the weak-sauce Kung Flu. Because they are useless assholes pretending hard things are easy.

          Still don’t have a flying car, do we? Seems easy, but it’s not.

    2. The government seems to have lost its collective mind, so perhaps reading someone else’s wouldn’t be a bad thing…

  5. Favorite civil wars in fiction?

    How to do them well, examples, ones with nice world building for the fictional civil wars, stories set in obscure real life civil wars…

      1. On the other hand, it was quite literally a deus ex machina… Mike did most of the planning and work.

        Babylon 5’s revolution was similar to America in 1776; Earth Alliance had more serious problems closer to home, and B5 had powerful allies.

  6. Topic request: Anyone have advice on how to accomplish an absolutely bulletproof pen name? Something like James Tiptree, Jr. had. Not for “separation of genres” but for “protection of job” or “protection from mob”. Seems like that might become necessary in the near future, but is it even possible any more?

    1. It should be, depending on where you live (your state or country), and what legal procedures you would need for arranging that royalties et cetera get to you. IIRC Sarah Hoyt has done something like that, for other reasons (that’s why I kid her about writing the old Time-Life Home Repair and Improvement series under a closed pen name). You’d need to ask her directly, though. Or perhaps ask an IP lawyer, or one who deals with incorporation. It would be one step past a dba “Doing Business As,” which can be very easy to get.

    2. You can’t ever talk about it. Your various social media accounts can’t link, you can’t admit to anyone that you write werewolf bondage porn under that pen-name, you have no connections whatsoever. No pictures of you or anyone you know, ever, linked to the pen-name.

      That’s for starters.
      I agree, you want a lawyer so you can get paid and maintain your privacy. But in the end, the privacy of your pen-name is dependent on you not telling your chatterbox relatives who might talk.

  7. WRT the Covid-19 vaccine. My best friend has worked for years in the pharmaceutical industry in vaccines. You’d recognize the companies. She’s all in favor of vaccines but this one made her very, deeply uneasy but for various reasons she won’t say much more.

    The problem is rushing it into production without plenty of testing beforehand. Even when you spend several years testing, testing, testing, you can still end up with rota-virus vaccines where the infants you give it to sometimes develop life-threatening bowel obstructions.

    Warp-speed development of a vaccine practically ensures bad side-effects. They’ll not be just beta-testing it on the general population.

    They’ll be alpha-testing it.

    She recommends waiting on the vaccine if you possibly can. Let someone else go first.

    1. Creepy thought came to mind– even though vaccines depend on your immune system, they keep pushing to have nursing home residents as the first round.

      The same folks that were an acceptable cost for pre-emptive prevention of hospitals being overwhelmed, by preventing basic things like “no known positive residents in the centers.”

      1. Well, they’ve been pushing flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine at seniors in general for years. Could be the extension of that…. or not.

        1. The shingles vaccine too, since it’s been available. Since I know two elderly (80+ years old) people who have died from complications of shingles, I can see why the push for that one.

  8. So, the floor is yours.

    Aaaaaaall RIGHT! Bust out that ragtime! Grab yourself a partner ladies and gents, mythologii, mammals, and any fun gals in the room! Put on that swinging music and let’s cut a rug

    Talk about industry news, questions you have or topics you’d like us to cover.

    Oops. Never mind 😁

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