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Thursday December 5, 2013 Cold!

Adult Children Anonymous meeting.

***From Twitter:

Hari Kunzru ‏@harikunzru
I remember the 'Hang #Mandela' young Conservative crowd at Oxford in 89. Now in govt. I know some have genuinely changed their minds 1/2
Retweeted by William Gibson

Hari Kunzru ‏@harikunzru
2/2 but I've never heard anyone say they're ashamed of being part of that. Tonight they're all on social media writing #Mandela homilies.
Retweeted by William Gibson

***Comments of comment:
don_fitch (don_fitch) 11/30: "'On the Net, someone asked: Given an Earthlike, mostly-rural colony
planet, what weapon would be used to hunt wild turkeys?

"'My response: Depends muchly on the level of technology.

"'And a warning against use of atomic grenades, which wouldn't leave the meat in condition to be cooked and eaten.'

"Ummm... yes, hunting turkey would probably depend largely on the level of technology... unless there were a Ritual element involved. Using net traps might well be considered best -- I remember all too well the 'watch out for the bird-shot' admonition regarding the turkey, duck, and pheasant at Thanksgiving Dinner up at Aunt Peggy & Uncle George's farm near Adrian, Michigan, in the '30s & '40s. Fortunately, it was a baby-tooth I cracked, but even so.... Mind you, the Domesticated Turkeys we have nowadays are a world away from the wild ones of my childhood, and I miss the duck, goose, pheasant, and venison. Hey, for that, you need A Big Family Gathering -- I settled, this year, for a package of turkey necks for stock, and a pair of thighs for meat."

Lady Sheherazahde Lachesis (sheherazahde) 12/03

"I love reading old futurist Sci-fi, it says so much about the culture it comes from. I have a very old copy of Bellamy's 'Looking Backward 2000-1887' and a matching copy of a story called 'Looking Forward: A Dream of the United States of the Americas in 1999' by Arthur Bird. They are two very different visions. I also have Mack Reynolds retelling of 'Looking Backward'.

"But even 'Erehwon' is an interesting exercise in social [commentary].

"Science fiction may take place in the future but but one is a fool to think it is about the future."

Some of it is intended to be.

The writer might be certain about what the future is going to be like. (I don't recall any story in this category which got the future right.)

Like historical novels intended to be about the pasts in which they're set, fiction in this category which is mostly present-oriented is at least a partial failure.

Or might intend to speculate on what might happen. Murray Leinster's 1946 story "A Logic Named Joe" is the most successful I can think of in this category. Leinster got the Internet a whole lot closer to right than anyone managed in the 1980s. (And closer than most in the 1990s.)

Some sf authors write about the way things have always been, and always will be. Oddly enough, their futures become outdated as quickly as anyone else's.

And some intend to write about the present.

But often, fiction set in the future is about the past rather than either future or present. This might be inadvertent: the author hasn't noticed changes which have already happened. The rock you listened to in the 1970s isn't the dominant popular music of the future -- or even the present! Italians aren't the latest immigrant group in New York City! California politics has changed in the last few decades!

Sometimes it's deliberate. Spaceships will not only be run like sailing ships; they will have sails.