Onward Chitin Soldier

Taking an insult and turning it into a badge of honor is an old bit of cultural jiu-jitsu. "Queer" is an obvious example. "Atheist" was a pejorative for centuries. The word "Christian" may have started out as a smear.Rarely has it been done as well as this. When John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal were called "insects" for their efforts to promote women's equality within the science fiction writers community, Ursula Vernon produced this:Redirecting you opponent's strength is … [Read more...]

The Grand (Dirty) Old Men of Science Fiction

From PZ Myers, I found this painfully accurate review of Piers Anthony’s Spell for Chameleon. The author of the review, Jason Heller, is in the same position I was in a few years back: rereading some of the fiction he remembers fondly from his youth … and wondering just how much crack he had to be smoking to make this pile of misogyny seem appealing.The examples of Bink’s misogyny are so numerous and so innocuously presented throughout Spell, it’s hard not to conflate them with Anthony’s own … [Read more...]

Hail Azathoth

I'd just like to remind all of you that I live nowhere near Oklahoma City. I expect you all to be my alibis when the police ask about all the empty bags of concrete mix in my basement.Monument to ‘god of chaos’ mysteriously appears in front of Oklahoma City restaurantAn Oklahoma City restaurant has a concrete problem in its hands.Staff at Paseo Grill, located in Oklahoma’s historic Paseo Arts District, are still making sense of a mysterious concrete block that materialized on their f … [Read more...]

Death Stars and Taxes

At the White House Petitions page there have been any number of jokey petitions. One particular one requested that the American government "Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016". It's received over 35,000 signatures, which may just be James McGrath under 35k aliases.The administration response just about justifies the whole ridiculous enterprise:This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking ForBy Paul Shawcross [the Chief of the Science … [Read more...]

Weirdest Syncretism Ever: The Jedi/Mayan Apocalypse

From Reuters:Deep inside the Guatemalan rainforest stand the ruins of the Maya temples that George Lucas used to film the planet Yavin 4 in the movie "Star Wars," from where Skywalker and his sidekick Han Solo launched their attack on the Galactic Empire's giant space station.This week, at sunrise on Friday, December 21, an era closes in the Maya Long Count calendar, an event that has been likened by different groups to the end of days, the start of a new, more spiritual age or a good … [Read more...]