September 1st, 2007


The news this morning was, all things considered, pretty good. MSNBC did pieces on Larry Craig, lottery winnners, a giant sand castle that had been vandalized, Facebook, and a Texas pizzaria that accepted Mexican pesos. CNN did a longer piece on Craig, another long piece on how americans are working less. Fox ran mostly financial news. You'd never know we were engaged in a War On Terror. I guess it ended and we just didn't hear about it.

If there ever is a revolution in this country, and the chances don't look real good, the first to die should be the media, the people who enabled the lobotomizing of the American public...and I include in that all the cheerful anchorpersons who pull a long face on cue, and then indulge in shallow, glib banter about their cars or new haircuts.

Watching TV news in another country is a revelation. Global warming? Who knew? Iraq? Wow. One of the main reasons that people don't know where fucking South Carolina is or who's the prime minister of England, is they're not given any information. The news is pitched at the level of a chatroom...or lower. There was actually a piece on CNN that offered advice on how long you should keep hamburger in the fridge. People don't learn that at home? Amazing. I imagine that when time comes near for a giant meteorite to destroy the earth, TBS will run a Friends marathon and millions will watch.

I'm just sayin', you know.
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Vwllss Btmn

[BATMAN ANNUAL #26, written by Peter Milligan]

Perhaps you recall last week, when Batman appeared intermittently bereft of vowels. Well, he's still suffering this week, as you can see above.

Two different writers using this gimmick is coincidence. Three looks like editorial directive.

Congratulations to this year's Hugo winners!

  Hey, is that a cool trophy or what?  Ultraman looks like he's gonna whup that rocket ship, but good, using his fabled specium ray!  Note the sweep by Asimov's in the short fiction category:  well done, Sheila!

  •   Best Novel: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge [Tor, 2006]
  •   Best Novella: “A Billion Eves” by Robert Reed [Asimov’s Oct/Nov 2006]
  •   Best Novelette: “The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald [Asimov’s July 2006]
  •   Best Short Story: “Impossible Dreams” by Tim Pratt [Asimov’s July 2006]
  •   Best Related Non-Fiction Book: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips [St. Martin’s Press, 2006]
  •   Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro. Directed by Guillermo del Toro [Picturehouse]
  •   Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who - “Girl in the Fireplace” (2006) Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Euros Lyn [BBC Wales/BBC1]
  •   Best Editor, Long Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  •   Best Editor, Short Form: Gordon Van Gelder
  • Best Professional Artist: Donato Giancola
  • Best Semiprozine: Locus ed. by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong and Liza Groen Trombi
  • Best Fanzine: Science-Fiction Five-Yearly ed. by Lee Hoffman, Geri Sullivan, and Randy Byers
  • Best Fan Writer: Dave Langford
  • Best Fan Artist: Frank Wu

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Naomi Novik 

Lifted from


Six degrees of Superation

New Scientist
reports the heroic efforts of physicist Pablo Gleiser of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who "studied the social web within the fictional universe of Marvel comics, comprising 6486 characters in 12,942 issues."   There's a link there to a downloadable .pdf of the paper.  (Okay, okay, I know those are DC characters above, but it was too perfect!)

I wish I could reproduce the figure to which the following is appended:  

"FIG. 3: a) Network after the addition of 220 links. The initials correspond to characters that play an important role connecting communities: Spider-Man (SM), Thing (T), Beast (B), Captain America (CA), Namor (N), Hulk (H). b) Network after the addition of 300 links, when a giant component has emerged. The black (white) circles indicate characters labeled as heroes (villains). The gray circles indicate other type of characters, such as people, gods or nodes with no classification."

Do you reckon Galactus is a "node with no classification"?  Gleiser's conclusion:

"However, as was already noted, the strongest link in the MU [Marvel Universe] is the relation between Spider Man and Mary Jane Watson Parker, a fact that shows that although the MU deals mainly with superheroes and villains, the most popular plot is a love story."

posted by PaulW