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Science Fiction Giants: A Difference in Writing

It’s interesting reading stories written by the legends:

  • Murray Leinster
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Ursula K. Le Guin…

There’s a difference between their stories and the way we write our stories nowadays. One facet that really jumps out at me is that whilst most hardcore science fiction writers nowadays use metric units in their stories, these older authors had often used Imperial measurements. (This makes sense, of course, since the world in those days was much less globalized.)

Another is that oftentimes you can detect certain…antiquated…analogies or beliefs, for instance in statements pertaining to race or ethnicities.

Leinster is hugely guilty(?) of both of these (for better or for worse; I’m just sayin’). As an example of the latter, check out his 1945 short story, “First Contact”. The relevant parts in this excerpt are signified by emphasis:

“It’s all been thrashed out over and over, in theory,” said the skipper. “Nobody’s ever been able to find a sound answer, even on paper. But you know, in all their theorizing, no one considered the crazy, rank impossibility of a deep-space contact, with neither side knowing the other’s home world! But we’ve got to find an answer in fact! What are we going to do about them? Maybe these creatures will be aesthetic marvels, nice and friendly and polite—and, underneath, with the sneaking brutal ferocity of a Japanese. Or maybe they’ll be crude and gruff as a Swedish farmer—and just as decent underneath.”

Please note that I’m not trying to insult any of these authors. I love every one of them. I just found these little observations, especially the ones above about Murray Leinster’s stories, rather intriguing, to say the least.

Happy reading!

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Internet Forum Vocabulary 101

Most of us who have spent much time at all on the Internet have heard of forums, threads, posts and comments, but what exactly do these terms mean? Do they have a specific, consistent definition? Or is it given a largely haphazard meaning, used here and there by whomever decides to appropriate it for any given situation?

Well, no, although there is no single, consistently defined meaning, the natural flow of culture has largely consolidated the applicable contexts down to a general definition. If one were to try to include these terms into a dictionary, though, with their entries being as accurate as possible, how would one word them? I tried, and I would love to hear what you all think of it. Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Definitions

The below terms are listed, as accurately as I could, in order from most general to most specific. Terms in one definition that are defined elsewhere in this list are emboldened.

  • Board – A site containing multiple forums.
  • Forum – A section of a site containing related threads.
  • Room – A subdivision of a forum meant to group related threads into a more specific category, or a smaller subdivision of a larger room.
  • Post – Initial starting question and/or details.
  • Comment – Response to a post / non-answer response to a post/answer.
  • Answer – Q&A-style response to a post.
  • Thread – A single post, or a succession of directly related answers and/or comments in addition to, and related under, a single post.
  • Sub-Thread – A thread within a larger thread.
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Sorry for My Absence—I’ve Had a Crisis

Or, to be more accurate, I’m going through a crisis.

To make a short story shorter, my housemates kicked me out. It’s not a good thing, it’s not a happy thing, but it’s a thing; I don’t like it—I never did—but it’s still something that’s kept me away from the keyboard for a little while, and from my readers, so I wanted to formally apologise for this absence. After all, I could have very easily typed up a short explanation like I am now. But still, anyway, that’s the situation.

As such, until I get my life together, you shouldn’t expect many posts; and even once I’m able to start writing again, I can’t promise anything… I’ve been through a lot, and so the most I can promise is that I’ll try my best to be at least a teensy bit consistent.

In the meantime, may you and/or your children (preferably both, if applicable!) be blessed with prosperity and joy!

 

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Be Proud of Thyself!

I saw this recently on Wikipedia and my mind was blown. As a trans woman myself, I will say that this makes me very proud to be who I am!

Trans and intersex people of all genders and sexes, stand tall for you are divine!

Aphroditus (Greek: Ἀφρόδιτος Aphroditos) was a male Aphrodite originating from Amathus on the island of Cyprus and celebrated in Athens in a transvestite rite.

Aphroditus was portrayed as having a female shape and clothing like Aphrodite’s but also a phallus, and hence, a male name.[2]

.   .   .

One of the earliest surviving images from Athens is a fragment (late 4th century BC), found in the Athenian agora, of a clay mould for a terracotta figurine. The figurine would have stood about 30 cm high, represented in a style known as άνασυρόμενος (anasyromenos), a female lifting her dress to reveal male genitals,[7] a gesture that was believed to have apotropaic qualities, averting evil influences and bestowing good luck.[8]

This combination of the male and female in one divinity and being associated with the moon, both of which were considered to have fertilizing powers, was regarded as having an influence over the entire animal and vegetable creation.[9]

Aphroditus, the Male Equivalent of Aphrodite
“Aphroditus – The beauty of the body. Roman Imperial Bronze, 1st-3rd century AD”, via MARQ Archaeological Museum of Alicante

Image Credit: MARQ Museo Arqueológico de Alicante, Spain
Released under an CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication licence.
Image has been changed from .jpg to .png file type.

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A Life Is in Danger, and It’s Worth Talking About

I haven’t really posted much of anything lately, I know, but if we are to believe what this person writes, and I am not one to dismiss them outright—especially since it was featured on Y-Combinator[Link broken]a human, one who’s punishment does not befit the state of things which alleged doubts produce, will die tomorrow.

It is on our heads as a society and as individuals if that punishment is carried out.

Make of this what you will. But, please. Talk amongst yourselves. Maybe if enough people get talking, the first horrible crime can be addressed without committing us to a second horrible crime in the process.


Image Credit: Phil Roeder
Released under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.
Image has not been changed.