Currently reading: The Annihaliton Score

The latest in Charles Stross’s Laundry Novels picks up where the previous one (The Rhesus Chart) left over but with a shift in perspective.

Rather than Bob Howard (the protagonist of all the previous Laundry tales) the narrator is Dominique O’Brien P.h.d – mathematician, secret agent of the occult Laundry agency and wielder of a demonic violin aka Mo, Bob’s wife from the previous novels.

Apparently people in the US have to wait until the Fourth of July holidays are over.

A review when I have finished.

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Just a bit more on the Antonelli thing

This is just a bit of an addendum fro this post.

In a post here http://louantonelli.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/puppies-in-heartland.html Lou Antonelli said this:

In 2012, when Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for president, most of the leading lights in the s-f literary world combined their hatred for people of faith with their hatred for Republicans by attacking Romney in the most vile language. Quite frankly, I personally believe there are some things you should never say to or about people, regardless of the subject. In light of the attacks on Romney, is it any wonder all the Mormon s-f writers went off the reservation? It’s almost a human rights issue – “you can’t say that about one of my coreligionists.

The exact people and the exact words that were said are unclear and he gives no examples. So I went looking. Of course that isa fools game because a huge pile of Romney hate may be exactly where I didn’t look. However as Antonelli said “most of the leading lights” and not “some” there should be come trace of this Romney hate somewhere obvious.

Helpfully John Scalzi (a leading light in this context surely?) had this extensive post on his thoughts about Romney from the correct time (2012): http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/09/30/my-thoughts-on-mitt-romney-person/

I have rather less of a bead on Romney as a human being away from the political arena. What does come across to me is this: A man who was born to privilege, and who understands intellectually and agrees with the idea that with privilege comes a responsibility to others, but who does not necessarily understand the problems of those with less privilege on a visceral or personal level, and who is not comfortable with the idea of either having or feigning such an interest. This does not in the least make him a bad person; it makes him an insulated one, who appears to have a very sharp event horizon when it comes to personal relationships. I do not doubt one bit that he is a kind and good person to family and friends; I also believe that out beyond the personal frontier, the problems and concerns of others grow abstract very quickly. This last bit doesn’t make him substantially different from most people.

ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! The reasonableness is unbearable!!!!!! Seriously as character assassins go, Scalzi should quit and take up a profession he is better suited to like ‘author’ or something. No terrible attack on his Mormonism and evil-leftist Scalzi says he might have voted for him few years ago. This is taking reasonableness to the point of a vice.

The only other writer Antonelli names in his piece is George R. R. Martin. Martin is a more fiery fellow than Scalzi so lets have a look back to 2012.

We have some strong comments on the election:

http://grrm.livejournal.com/287215.html?thread=16457199 <- but doesn’t direct his ire at Romney

http://grrm.livejournal.com/298412.html <- which calls Romney’s Jeep ads a “big lie campaign” but makes no mention of his religion or makes any kind of personal attack.

I don’t think there is anything to find.

Mash-ups on io9

Thanks, I suspect, to the brilliant Doctor Seuss/Lord of the Rings mashup by file 770 contributor Kyra, the recent classic SF redone as classic literature thing that happened has been picked up by io9. http://io9.com/moby-dick-meets-ringworld-and-other-great-literary-mas-1715290789

The File 770 post: http://file770.com/?p=23490

My version of 1984

1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. “Wait – isn’t this a science fiction novel already?” he thought as he entered the hallway that smelt of boiled cabbage and old mats. “I thought the idea was to transpose SF/F novels onto classic literature” he pondered as he passed the huge coloured poster, too large for indoor display, that had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features.

Then he recalled the work he had done that day – excising the lies S.J.W. Goldstein had somehow snuck into the library catalogues of Oceania. He tried hard to focus on the today’s truth. 1984 was literary fiction not science fiction and always had been…

Logic and Antonelli

So the kerfuffle de jour is a rhetorical counter strike from Puppy nominee Lou Antonelli that can be read here http://louantonelli.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/puppies-in-heartland.html .

There are many issues with what he wrote the most substantial of which are sweeping claims without supporting evidence. Most notable among them being:

In 2012, when Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for president, most of the leading lights in the s-f  literary world combined their hatred for people of faith with their hatred for Republicans by attacking Romney in the most vile language. Quite frankly, I personally believe there are some things you should never say to or about people, regardless of the subject. In light of the attacks on Romney, is it any wonder all the Mormon s-f writers went off the reservation?

Which is a powerful statement that you would expect to be followed by equally powerful examples of key leading lights saying terrible things. I can well imagine that somebody somewhere in American SF must have said something unpleasant about Mitt Romney but oddly Antonelli quotes nobody.

There are other examples but this blog is not for puppy kicking per-se but rather talking cats, graphs, stats and logic. Luckily Mr. Antonelli has kindly provided some rich examples to discuss – with the exception of talking cats. Even better, most of the rich ore is contained in one paragraph:

In the places I have been this summer, the fans – if not people of faith and Republicans themselves – know people who are and have friends who are, and they don’t have that visceral hatred towards the average American that the Puppy Kickers have. If the U.S. had a parliament instead of a Congress, we’d have a Republican Prime Minister. As someone who’s followed politics both personally and professionally for as long as I have. I know the only reason the Democratic Party gets as many votes as it does is the relentless ballot box stuffing in the big cities. Most Americans vote Republican.

There are three delightful things for the hobbyist logician there:

  • A counterfactual
  • A case of ‘begging the question’ or circular reasoning
  • A lack of explanatory parsimony

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Metaphor map

The University of Glasgow have produced an extraordinary thing – a giant map of metaphors.

A team who have been working on a historical thesaurus that tracks the interrelation of word meanings in English overtime, have used that work to plot network connections of word meaning.

The image below is one I generated from their map by looking at connections from the category of ‘Supernatural’ to the category of ‘Animals’.

mm

A more complex graph below the fold of time and space!

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