Tuesday, March 17, 2020
A sign for our times: ‘Coronavirus-free lap dances’ .
As a resident of a county with a shelter in place order in effect, my life isn’t going to change all that much. Work from home was not unusual even before covid-19. I can still buy groceries and pet food. I won’t have to think of reasons to avoid gatherings, and as an introvert I appreciate that.
In fact, the biggest change will probably be the time I have to spend telling out of area friends and family “Yes, I can walk the dog.” “No, I’m not prohibited from leaving the house.” “Yes, grocery stores are still open.”
People are starting to act like economically this is going to be a combination of the Black Death and the Great Depression. It’s going to hurt, but the recession will probably be v-shaped. It’s not the end of the world as we know it.
I have loved ones in the at risk population who I worry about, of course. There will be lives lost, and with a better, more timely response some of those lives may have been saved. But the world will rebound more quickly than most people think. A new normal will establish itself in a short time.
You know, it’s the damndest thing. The bloggers and commenters I know who were Constitutional scholars just a month or two ago are now experts in epidemiology and crisis management.
I voted this morning this morning in Palm Beach County. My voting station is at one of our community’s clubhouses. Curiously*, there is a polling station right across (at a Jewish temple) the street from the condo the wife and I live in. Our community isn’t gated. I suppose the clubhouse voting station is just for people living in my community.
The voting station was almost deserted. 3 voters and 3 or 4 pollworkers. I had to wait too since two voters were being processed when I showed up.
Anyway I made going to vote part of my morning walk. Besides the Democratic primary, there was a city commission race to vote for.
*- Dear wife and I moved to our current address March 30 2019. Today was the first election to take place since then.
Since last weekend I have been coughing more than is normal for me (I have malignant melanoma related lung metastasis, which causes some coughing for me) so the wife wants me to call our primary doctor. Other than the cough, I don’t have corona virus symptoms. My temperature was 97.8 when I took it around 7 this morning.
The wife just wants me to be careful because of my underlying health issues. I haven’t had to overnight in the hospital since May 2016. That was due to respiratory problems. What is going on with me now is possibly a milder case of that. Knowing my primary doctor, I bet he wants me to come in today. Keep you posted.
Maybe best to call now, while things are relatively calm? With new covid-19 cases still increasing, your doctor may soon be very busy.
Dear wife beat me to it. She called the doctor’s office and left a message. He called me five minutes ago. I’m going to see Dr. Nguyen* at 9:30.
*- Dr. Nguyen is the son of the primary care doctor who cared for me from 1993 to 2018. The son, who first saw me around 2014 or 15, was in high school when I was first a patient of his father. His father retired Jan 1 2019.
@Kari Q: Stephen King tweeted the other day:
“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND. It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”
@Guarneri: I actually DO have experience in crisis management. This administration screwed this up so badly it almost defies description. It’s like a textbook example of how you should NOT handle a crisis. If I’d seen this as an example proffered to PR and communications students, I would have set it aside as ridiculous. No one could screw things up that exponentially.
France cancels municipal elections under “stay at home” order.
And so it begins…
(Wisconsin has ordered all polling stations to stay open for the April 7th election & primary, but is actively encouraging absentee voting, and implementing social distancing and continued sanitizing at the polling stations.)
Good luck sir. Hope this isn’t anything serious (COVID-19 or otherwise)!
Stephen King tweeted the other day:
“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND.
Stephen King tweeted the other day:
“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND.
You know, I thought of The Stand the other day even though I never read even a single one of King’s books. I’m not into horror stories or films.
One of my ebooks , actually my 3rd best selling one, was about a virus that can cause physical changes in people. I have been thinking if I could come up with another similar ebook. While walking, an old story idea* I had flashed into my mind. It may be my next ebook.
Time for me to go to the doctor.
*- I have 26 ebooks for sale at Amazon and have at least as many unfinished stories on my hard drive or floating around in my head.
Bill, you are amoung friends. So long as you’re up for sharing, spam a link to your Amazon author page my dude!
Aw Moscow Mitch is complaining that his political opponents are playing hardball.
One of those joints along I70?
@Guarneri: All the doctors ask me, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability.
@Guarneri: One doesn’t need to be an expert in crisis management to recognize the galactic fuck-ups of this administration any more than one needs to be an astrophysicist to understand why the sun rises in the morning.
As I’ve said before: No doctor anywhere ever said any such thing to Trump.
The Stand isn’t really horror in the genre sense. It’s more in the tradition of apocalyptic sci-fi—a genre that intersects with horror (as in zombie stories or King’s “The Mist”), but there are plenty of non-horror examples as well, such as the Mad Max series.
I’ve noticed that King’s non-horror works tend to get shoe-horned into the horror category simply because of his reputation as a horror writer.
@Guarneri: It doesn’t take too much expertise to recognize a total screw-up.
This is called “oops, we didn’t think that nitroglycerine was dangerous” after there’s an explosion and a horrific loss of life.
YOU may call it “expertise” and marvel at our abilities; I call it “common sense”, which we’re now seeing is definitely not common among people of your ilk.
You know, it’s the damndest thing. Commenters who don’t have a clue about a damned thing and quote other idiots who just like them, also don’t know a damn thing, just keep saying idiotic stuff. Not because it adds to the conversation in any way shape or form but because they think it makes them look smarter than everybody else, when in fact it just reminds everybody what idiots they truly are.
I picked another really bad time to catch a cold.
Yes, it’s a cold. I’ve checked. There’s no cough (dry or otherwise), no fever, no fatigue, no aching joints, no headaches, no shortness of breath, just nasal congestion. I did call a doctor and he agreed.
I expect I’ll get sent home anyway.
I can do 95% of the work that’s de for next week from home anyway.
Apologies, venting time:
Had to take elderly mother to hospital for MRI yesterday (she’s claustrophobic and needs the big open one). I’ve been getting over something for the last 2 weeks (yeah being able to breathe!!) and so insisted on masks at the front desk for both of us as well as Purelling at every station we came across. She’s been sick as well so I took every precaution. I’m in the red part of a blue state and its sooooo frustrating to see how Trump’s irresponsible rhetoric is playing out in RL. She didn’t want to wear the mask and kept slipping it off her nose and mouth since it “made it hard to breathe”. I explained the mask was pointless if it didn’t cover the intake part ie nose and mouth but she wouldn’t cooperate because “it’s not that bad, you worry too much”.
The waiting room was a mess – 8 people, 2 my age and the rest 65+ had an abnormally large space to wait in. The only people distancing were myself and the other young woman as she picked the further wall for about 60 ft of space and I took the 2nd furthest for about 30. All the elderly folks? Literally all sat next to each other and started chatting about “the overreaction”. They were all Trump fans and claimed the Dems/ media/ Deep State were trying to impose martial law and violate their god-given right to spread plague amongst themselves with this insistence on not going to the bars for St. Paddy’s. Seems we’re commies for trying to keep them all alive by making them stay home, p*ssies for working from home instead of being vectors and wimps for believing this hoax. One old man sneered at myself and the young lady for being so far away and asked us if we thought they were contagious. My blunt “no, but I might be” didn’t even phase them.
Now we’re find out there’s at least 5 positive cases in my area and the person I caught my illness from may have had 2nd hand exposure to a suspected case. I doubt I have COVID-19 but the point is I *could* have; I was doing my damnedest to be socially responsible and NOT infect anyone else. If anyone else could have been her ride, I would have sent them. I tried to isolate myself and take all appropriate measures but it turns out the folks I’m trying to save think it’s a waste of time and mock me for my efforts. After we got home, Mom made sure to call all her friends to tell them about her drama-queen daughter forcing her to wear a mask and how bossy I was with the handwashing over nothing. They then complained that they can’t go to their weekly Bingo because “the libs” shut it down and were discussing plans to go out to lunch en masse anyways to show them who’s boss.
Remind me why I’m putting so much effort in social distancing when the people who need it most think it’s a joke? WFH isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds…. although I must admit, having a dog for a co-worker is it’s own reward.
@KM: Old people can be grumpy and don’t like change. They can respond defensively when they’re scared. And some people waiting for an MRI wouldn’t mind dying of something that only takes two weeks.
Just had a father-in-law die of COPD and got a first-hand-account from my wife who was there. I can confirm that no one ‘wouldn’t mind’ slowly suffocating to death. Which is what Covid 19 does.
It’s back! And remains an idiot….
Does anyone have an insight in what Dr Fauci said referring to COVID-19 testing:
“The system is not really geared to what we need right now,”
My interpretation is that he was referring to the protocol of some weeks ago, wherein testing was controlled by requiring a physician order AND submission of the specimen to government operated testing labs. (for example CDC or authorized State operated labs).
Now, with a National Emergency declaration and relaxation of CDC regulations, private labs (such as LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics) are permitted to process and analyse specimens.
Finally…. my question: Are the test kits being used by the private labs the EXACT same test kits that would have been used by CDC labs? (the CDC kits – weren’t those the ones that we were told there was a world-wide shortage or reagents)
Also, by relaxation of regulations – stated to be one of the major contributors to expanding and expediting testing for COVID-19 – relieved the normal standards of efficacy and error margins that were required previously?
In other words – how reliable are the “new” COVID-19 test analysis?
Has anyone in the OTB community heard or read anything addressing this question
I have long bemoaned leadership of our country by people in their seventies thinking that they lacked the energy to do the job. Dr. Anthony Fauci was a leader in AIDS contra measures, and I was surprised that he was still on the job. He is 79 years old and working. He is showing true leadership and deserves commendation. I might vote for an old fart this fall!
Bill, sincere wishes for your health!
It must be upsetting for you realizing that just about everyone here knows more about just about everything than you do.
But don’t be sad, for Orange Jesus spake thus unto to the Pharisees, saying, “Verily I love the poorly educated.”
The waiting room was a mess – 8 people, 2 my age and the rest 65+ had an abnormally large space to wait in. The only people distancing were myself and the other young woman as she picked the further wall for about 60 ft of space and I took the 2nd furthest for about 30. All the elderly folks? Literally all sat next to each other and started chatting about “the overreaction”.
My wife’s father was in the hospital and she went to see him yesterday morning. They had implemented protocols that he could only have one visitor at a time. And there was no waiting in the “waiting room” allowed; everyone else had to wait in their car or elsewhere outside the hospital.
@Michael Reynolds: I wouldn’t want to die that way either.
@95 South :
Old people can be grumpy and don’t like change. They can respond defensively when they’re scared.
*sigh* That’s true. I can understand that. What I don’t understand is the fact that my mother was a nurse in a cancer hospital and worked with bone marrow transplants & infection control. She really, really, REALLY should know better. She’s acting like this is a joke because her FOX News addiction is overriding decades of training and experience. She knows proper mask etiquette, hospital and personal hygiene procedures and – as she’s fond of telling me – has lived through things like this before. But because she keeps getting poison dripped in her ears, all that logic and training has gone out the window and now it’s “unnecessary panic over a flu”. She *knows* the difference between flu and a coronavirus intellectually but just keeps repeating the stock GOP phrases on command.
It’s so bizarre and upsetting to hear her berate me for not going to the doctors last week (“it could go to your brain!!”) only to watch her be totally unconcerned about her own and others exposure to something that would likely kill them. It’s like the nurse part of her is still there but gets shut off when COVID-19 comes up; it’s so very clear that she’s getting fed misinformation that’s overriding otherwise decent instincts. Like a light switch gets thrown and BOOM! Bye-bye nurse, hello MAGAt.
Bill! Just about everyone in America was just gifted weeks of extra reading time. Give us your author page, and maybe recommend your favorite book or two.
I wanted to stay in the car but as I said, she’s claustrophobic and liable to panic in the machine if someone’s not there to hold her hand. Sometimes she doesn’t need me but I need to be nearby just in case. We were in the basement and the hospital building is pretty old. I used to work in the medical complex across the street and they’re all interconnected with tunnels and huge basements from over a century ago. This room was cavernous so they must have felt comfortable we could all distance – it must have been a cafeteria or something in a past life since it was easily a hundred feet plus across. Still surprised they didn’t come out and insist the chatting group separate, though.
best wishes Bill
No we dont!
We wouldn’t have these problems if LBJ were still in the White House.
Now get off my lawn!
(Did I miss any?)
@KM: Some people can’t imagine their own death — not in a real way. They know they will eventually die, but they cannot imagine that their actions right then and there are contributing to it.
I’m in Seattle, and I’ve had an intermittent low grade fever, headaches, etc. I’m convinced it’s a sinus thing*, but am taking precautions — sheltering in place rather than quarantine. But, all the same, my main worries for this crisis are my cats (if I do get sick, and hospitalized… no one can care for them) and my favorite restaurant.
These are the worries that I seem to be able to handle.
The FoxNews might just give your mom permission to do what she was going to do anyway.
*: Checked with doctor out of abundance of caution, she says my fever is too low for CDC/WHO guidelines, but covid19 is new and we might not know, so avoid unnecessary contact.
@Mu Yixiao: And your music isn’t music, it’s just noise.
Remind me why I’m putting so much effort in social distancing when the people who need it most think it’s a joke?
Why? To hear them thank you. They’ll do that by voting for Trump and supporting deep cuts to the budget (their benefits excepted, of course), that a $1 trillion hit to the economy will justify.
You know, I thought of The Stand the other day …”
So, in the stand, it was Captain Trips
For COVID-19 should it be Mr. Trumps ?
After all, he is the ONE person in the USA that did his most to ensure the spread of the virus.
@Bill: Best of luck, Bill. You’re good folk, so take care of yourself.
You kids and your damn cellphones!
Back in my day, we went to work sick and were grateful for the opportunity! Nobody stayed home for a sniffle!
Nobody’s keeping *me* from the store /bar/ movies/ etc! This is America – I have freedom!
You kids have it so easy. What’s this “work from home”? You’re just playing on your computer!
My shows are on. Don’t talk during TV time! Don’t you have any manners? (Ignore them shouting at TV -that doesn’t count)
(also, apologies if I seem snippy on the other thread. It’s not you – still slightly sick and too much fam in the house. Gathered all everyone together so I don’t have to do runs to check on them all now that the bans are starting. It’s been…. a good chance to practice my meditation)
Tom Brady leaving Patriots! Not a total surprise, but it will seem strange. I can’t wait to see what Belichick and Kraft do.
If your desired endgame is to get people to stop paying attention to you, even when you might have something worthwhile to say, congratulations. I regularly make an effort to listen carefully to those with whom I don’t agree, including die hard Trump supporters. I believe in building bridges. But I’m not a masochistic idiot. When you can’t turn off the nihilistic, pointless cage-rattling in the middle of an unprecedented national emergency, you’ve lost me. I’m not going to read your comments any longer. You’ve achieved intellectual distancing.
@Gustopher: I second that. We enjoy hearing from you.
@Kingdaddy: You know, with just a little more patient explanation, perhaps Lucy will hold the ball in place for ‘ol Charlie Brown to kick….
Monday was a holiday (birth of Benito Juarez). I’d planned to stay home and cook, after a brief visit to the grocery store.
I made burgers with tomato and mustard sauce (tomato puree, yellow mustard, and paprika), and dry pasta soup with chorizo and onions.
Dry soup is made by cooking the pasta in chicken broth with tomato (or tomato paste), and letting all the liquid evaporate. Pretty much like making rice. Pretty different from making pasta.
Quick update- Dr. Nguyen said I have some form of congestion in my lungs. At 1:00 I’m going to the cancer center where I get treated. They are going to take blood, do a chest xray, and test me for Corona (they just started this today). Dr Nguyen arranged this and I’m tentatively scheduled to see him again Friday. After the appointments today, I been told to rest.
Other than the cough, I feel fine. My vitals were normal when checked at the doctor’s office this morning. I walked over a mile this morning, which is my custom, and wasn’t short of breath. I’ll keep everyone update.
Wishing you good health. As long as he didn’t note “ground glass” -looking nodules, you should be negative for COVID-19 as those seem to be a tell-tale marker.
I’m listening to today’s POTUS news conference right now.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t suck as much as previous attempts. It actually had good ideas, and reassuring policies.
Now, if the could just put a shock collar on Trump and *ZAP* him when he decides to go off-script and add his color commentary… the stock market could actually recover.
Just got a press release from our school district. They’ll be handing out Chromebooks and iPads to students who don’t have them….
Starting an hour and a half after the press release, and for today only.
@Bill: Take care.
This is true of several “classic” F&SF writers. If you look at the output of writers like Ray Bradbury and Theodore Sturgeon, a number of their best works are neither fantasy nor science fiction. For Bradbury, things like Dandelion Wine and “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” and “The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse”; for Sturgeon, things like Some of Your Blood and “Slow Sculpture” and “It’s You!”.
@DrDaveT: Ray Bradbury also wrote a few mysteries set in the Hollywood he used to work in. They’re wonderfully Bradbury, full of his eccentrics, and absolutely a delight to read.
(Hmm…reminds me, I should see if I can track down an e-book version at my library..)
@Mu Yixiao: The local district is doing a similar procedure. One teacher said that he already has three weeks of math, reading, and science assignments and lessons set up ready to go. He said the lessons should take no longer than two – three hours on average. Some people don’t realize that the school day also consists of music, PE, art, guidance class, tech, lunch, and recess.
Now, what will they do about students who don’t have access to the internet?
If you’re having symptoms, there is at least one good reason to get tested even if they’re not yet serious. There is a notion out there that there are no treatment options at all other than palliative care (oxygen, etc.) until a vaccine is available. That isn’t true. Most people aren’t aware of this, but there are several anti-viral drugs that show some signs (in the lab, in mice, in preliminary trials) of mitigating COVID-19. If you test positive, be sure to ask about that.
“This is true of several “classic” F&SF writers.”
This occurs in other genres as well. All of Steven Saylor’s books are put into the mystery section, even ones which are pure historical fiction with no mystery to them at all (Roma/Empire).
Good luck with test results, Bill.
I just realized this is the Tuesday Open Forum. Tuesday the 17th. Sláinte. Especially this year.
I applaud getting the devices out there. And for the really young students, art, music, etc. can be handled online.
The issue I have is. “Oh yeah… this starts in an hour and half, and we’re only doing it today.” They couldn’t send out the announcement today and say “we’re doing it tomorrow”?
@Mu Yixiao: (Did I miss any?) Yeah. LBJ was a libturd. Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again. Great president. He’d still be president if it weren’t for that Depression Obama caused with his Hoot Smalley tariff.
I see that the administration is talking about sending out checks to everybody. I remember that Bush sent out $300 to individuals and $600 to joint filers. I spent mine on recreation equipment. I don’t recall the impact on the national economy. There were two tax rate cuts as well, but the economy cratered nevertheless. On Wikipedia they quote the CBO that the cuts were ineffectual and did not pay for themselves.
@Kathy: what type of pasta do you use? Something like orzo? (sounds delicious, btw).
@Kingdaddy: Guarneri performs a service laughing at people when they deserve it. It keeps a site on track. OTB could use more of it but I wish he put in more effort.
Now, what will they do about students who don’t have access to the internet?
They will fall even further behind. The digital divide still exists, and has led to a phenomenon called the “homework gap.” There are kids who do their homework in fast food restaurants to use the free wi-fi.
Most of the kids that are negatively affected by this live in rural communities, where broadband speeds continue to be abysmal and cell phone service is sketchy.
I applaud getting the devices out there…
OK everyone, this is a blatant sales pitch free offer from my employer, Avaya.
As part of the Corona Response, we are doing:
* Three months of Spaces – FREE (spaces is web collab, doc sharing, vid conferencing and voice) to anyone who signs up.
* SIX months of Spaces – FREE – to Not-for-Profits and Education
That means rock-solid teleconferencing and voice for schools and hospitals NOW on any device. I have only DSL here (6mb internet), and Spaces works fantastic. Click on a link, and you are in. Easy-peasy.
We also have COVID-19 deals on work-at-home contact center agent software and hardware.
We now return you to your regular programming….
Our area is pretty well covered. And being a small rural community, we’re pretty good about helping each other out. I’m sure those with access will invite over neighbor kid who don’t have any.
@95 South: Braying constantly at everyone and everything isn’t “performing a service”, it’s being a jackass.
This is true of several “classic” F&SF writers. If you look at the output of writers like Ray Bradbury and Theodore Sturgeon, a number of their best works are neither fantasy nor science fiction. For Bradbury, things like Dandelion Wine and “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” and “The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse”
I would go further than that and suggest that the majority of Bradbury’s works aren’t sci-fi. His reputation as a sci-fi writer is largely based on his two best-known works, Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. I would describe the bulk of his work as primarily a form of horror—not the violent, in-your-face horror that a lot of people today mistakenly believe is the defining feature of the genre, but the more quiet, creepy horror of the Twilight Zone variety (and the Twilight Zone has itself often been erroneously classified as sci-fi rather than horror). The Illustrated Man isn’t sci-fi, it’s horror. Same with Something Wicked This Way Comes, or any of his other works dealing with carnivals (a personal obsession of his). He did frequently visit sci-fi, and certainly one of his recurring themes is the dehumanizing effect of technology (which is present even in some of his non-sf works like Dandelion Wine), but horror was the tradition he drew the most from. And even his unquestionably sci-fi works aren’t hard sci-fi; their focus is always on the consequences of technology, not the science behind it. “The Veldt” is sci-fi, but it’s also most definitely a horror story, just like King’s “The Jaunt”—each one deals with the horrifying outcome to a particular futuristic technology, and the focus is on that outcome, not on how the device works.
@Mike in Arlington:
I use one called fideo, no clue what it may be called in English. It’s a very short, very thin, cylindrical shape. Like vermicelli, but in very short segments.
Bradbury wrote during a time when the lines among genres and sub-genres — science fiction, fantasy, and horror at the top level of categorization — were not really a big deal. The bigger genre, “speculative fiction” or “fantastic fiction,” had its foundation in magazines. Other than Analog, which was a later publication focused on “hard” science fiction, the magazines didn’t care about categorizations, just good writing. Amazing, Weird Tales, The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction — all kinds of stories appeared in them. The authors themselves crossed all kinds of genre lines. For instance, Fritz Leiber, best known for his fantasy stories about Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, wrote SF stories like “A Pail Of Air” and horror stories like Conjure Wife.
Lately, I’ve been listening to The Appendix N Podcast, which covers the literary roots of Dungeons & Dragons. The hosts make this point all the time: the “classic” science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories weren’t really, in the minds of the authors, editors, and readers, all that different. As someone who has been reading this type of fiction for a long, long time, I strongly agree. Strict genre boundaries might make sense to a publishing house’s marketing department, but they never made sense to me. The boundaries were just ways to limit the imagination.
By the way, I just finished a good horror novel, Darker Than You Think, written by an otherwise mainstream SF writer of the mid-twentieth century, Jack Williamson. Without giving anything away, it’s kinda horror, and kinda SF…So there you go.
Humor requires a sense of humor and some degree of honesty. He is capable of neither. For a jab to sting it has to be well-aimed, relevant, and the effect calibrated. There’s a reason why hecklers always lose to comics, the comics know their business, and the hecklers are just loudmouthed boors. @Guarneri’s notion of humor is just like Trump’s: they both think dumb verbal bullying, like Nelson Muntz from the Simpsons, (hah hah!) is humor. Nothing dies a harder death than an attempt at humor from a person with no sense of same.
IMO, science fiction isn’t so much a genre as a general type of story depending on technology, the future, or both (in broad terms and with many exceptions).
Therefore you get all other kinds of genres to fit in it. An SF story can be also a love story, a horror story, a mystery story (see Asimov’s Robot Novels), an adventure story, a political thriller, etc.
A science fiction story can even be fantasy. Again IMO, Star Wars is a science fiction fantasy story.
Genre lines in speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) are fuzzy. They bleed into one another regularly. Even the line between speculative fiction and regular fiction is pretty hazy. Where does magical realism end and fantasy begin?
Weren’t genres primarily a sales technique any way?
“I use one called fideo, no clue what it may be called in English.”
On the Barilla box we buy, they call it “cut spaghetti”.
Star Wars is a science fiction fantasy story.
That’s sometimes referred to as “Science Fantasy” to help separate it out from “hard sci-fi”, but there’s definitely a broad grey transition between lots of different genres.
On a different box they call it “Rice-a-Roni” 😀
@Kathy: Star Wars is also a classic Western.
I’m coming to believe that the strangest aspect of this coronavirus spread are the days spent wondering if one has already contracted it. With a possibility of a 14-day incubation period, it’s slightly unnerving to see the numbers rise and wonder.
A science fiction story can even be fantasy.
I have written long essays on the confusion about what is science fiction and what is fantasy. I will spare you all the long version, but make a couple of short assertions:
1. You can’t draw a line between science fiction and fantasy as literary genres because they are orthogonal ideas (as Kathy notes above). It’s easy to find examples of things that are any combination you like of SF (or not) and fantasy (or not)
2. Many people cannot keep straight the differences among fantasy (the marketing genre), fantasy (the set of pop culture tropes) and fantasy (the literary genre).
3. John W. Campbell is almost single-handedly responsible for the historical accident that ESP and psychic powers are lumped in with SF instead of fantasy.
or any of his other works dealing with carnivals (a personal obsession of his)
It wasn’t just Bradbury. There must have been something in the water. Ted Sturgeon and Robert Heinlein were also obsessed with carnivals, along with other Golden Age authors I’m forgetting.
That’s sometimes referred to as “Science Fantasy” to help separate it out from “hard sci-fi”,
It’s surpisingly hard to find a work of “hard sci-fi” that doesn’t cheat by including fantasy elements like faster-than-light travel, telepathy, time travel, etc. I’m particularly fond of “hard fantasy” — attempts to make fantasy lawlike in a way that feels like SF. I’m thinking here of things like Randall Garrett’s “Lord Darcy” stories, or Steven Brust’s Dragaera novels. (Works that disguise themselves as fantasy but are later revealed to really be SF are also fun, but I won’t name any for fear of spoilers…)
@Michael Reynolds: back in the day conservatives tried to come up with a conservative version of the daily show. It was called The Half Hour News Hour. It is the most cringingly unfunny thing you’ll ever watch. I watched a few clips on YouTube. Good God it was terrible. They canceled it after 13 episodes and didn’t even try to reboot it.
@Teve: What? You didn’t think Dennis Miller shouting “Al Gore is fat” over and over was funny?
It’s surpisingly hard to find a work of “hard sci-fi” that doesn’t cheat by including fantasy elements like faster-than-light travel, telepathy, time travel, etc.
I’ve got a couple shelves full of them. Unfortunately, I’m really bad at remembering names and titles. I’ll toss out a few authors and titles when I can get home.
@DrDaveT: Holy crap, I haven’t heard Randall Garrett’s name in a long time. He used to be a friend of the family. Thanks for remembering him.
My main differentiation is that in SF, the rules are the same for all participants, whereas in fantasy some rules apply to some people and others don’t without a reasonable rationale.
But to be truthful, the main difference is I like science fiction and dislike fantasy. So I haven’t read enough fantasy to say much about it (no, I haven’t read The Lord of the Rings).
@gVOR08: Do you wanna hear something really sad? I saw Dennis Miller, live, in Jacksonville, around 1992, and he was fucking funny.
My understanding of physics is that nothing possessing mass can move, relative to anything else, at the speed of light. But nothing says things cannot move faster than the speed of light.
Also physicist have come up with means whereby FTL travel take place without breaking the known laws of physics. This is not to say the Alcubierre drive can be built, of course.
But, overall, I agree FTL travel is aand will always be a dream, or a fantasy.
It’s just a very convenient means of having interstellar war stories.
Though you can find, here and there, subluminal interstellar war stories. Some in the Man-Kzin War series (before the Outsiders bring in FTL travel). Or stories with lots of aliens, all moving slower than the speed of light. Niven, again, excelled at this in the Draco Tavern short stories, but there’s also Clarke’s Rama series.
@Kathy: There’s also “space opera”, which I’ve never seen a good definition of. Any genre which has both Steve Miller/Sharon Lee AND E.E.”Doc” Smith in it….is pretty eclectic.
And then there’s Pratchett, who was great at jumping from one side to another.
Thanks for all the well wishes.
I’ve home since before 4. The tests were done, I will get the results in a day or two. How I feel* hasn’t changed. I’m sure its not Corona but it could be my cancer acting up. That’s my big worry even though I had a good checkup two weeks ago.
Just to be cautious, I’m staying in the condo till I get my results. I will ride an old exercise bike rather than walk in the meantime.
*- I was tired from all my running around today. When I got home, I laid down.
n SF story can be also a love story, a horror story, a mystery story (see Asimov’s Robot Novels), an adventure story, a political thriller, etc.
Yes I can. I write a combo of LGBT and Sci-Fi and my stories have had plot elements-
Women’s Professional golf
A lone plane crash survivor
Japanese gangsters aka Yakuza
A fugitive from justice in Paraguay
A woman being stalked
A television anchorwoman on trial for murder
and Dung beetles to name just some of my plots
A author has to be nuts should have a good imagination
@Mu Yixiao: Yeah, you left out
It was much better back when Reagan and Tip O’Neill used to solve these problems over cigars and scotch in the Senate dining room.
@Gustopher: Take whatever comfort that there is in knowing that if it is Covid-19, you fever will go up in a few days. 😉
In the meantime, rest and get well soon. @Bill: Best wishes to you also. Get well soon. Live long enough to start ripping off the gubmint for your health care expenses. 😉
@Kathy: The Expanse doesn’t posit FTL travel, but it does utilize the “Epstein drive,” which came about in a happy accident when Mr. Epstein implemented what he thought would be some minor fuel-efficiency tweaks to his ship’s fusion drive…which turned out to be MAJOR fuel-efficiency tweaks. Like, 99% more efficient. This allows the ships to burn at relatively high g for days at a time, a constant acceleration that can propel the ships at speeds sufficient to make travel between Earth, Mars, and the asteroid belt feasible from a time and economics perspective.
Humans being humans, this doesn’t end up anywhere good–Mars becomes essentially its own entity with an outlook very much in line with its namesake, while the residents of the asteroid belt develop a distinct culture and language and are basically exploited for cheap labor (life in the belt is hard and dangerous, kopeng). Earth is a one-world government with designs on both Mars and the belt. It’s a mess even before the protomolecule shows up.
It’s a great show, if you have a taste for very dark “hard” sci-fi.
@Mu Yixiao: Well, yes. C’mon. You didn’t really expect the school district to give their valuable Chromebooks to “those kids,” did you?
@Kathy: My ex wife, the Spanish teacher at the local community college, tells her students that fideo translates to “noodles.” The big box grocery in our town sells fideo on the Mexican food aisle. I’ll have to try making that; it sounds really good.
“I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic”
Donald Trump, 3/17/20
@Teve: Trump’s always been at war with the Eastasian virus.
God, he’s so full of shit it’s a wonder his eyes aren’t brown.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I thought noodles meant any kind of spaghetti-like pasta, anything string- or ribbon-like.
I don’t want to start posting recipes, but if you think you’ve added too much chicken broth, you can correct the problem by adding more pasta.
I have reached the ethical line that I knew was coming.
I know that “severe” measures need to be taken to combat the spread of COVID-19. I believe in social distancing, and I believe that people should take this seriously.
On the other hand…
Gov. Tony Evers just eliminated half of the 1st Amendment, by restricting gatherings of 10 or more people–under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment*. The order specifically mentions churches.
If a dozen people gather in a 10,000 sq. ft. church–each sitting 10 feet apart–he can throw them all in jail (where, ironically, they’ll be in much more crowded conditions). Will it happen? Probably not. But… I have issues with the fact that it can.
I look at the people in government–the small people with over-inflated senses of authority; people who think they are “THE LAW”; idiots in DC–and I start getting worried. I lived in a country where this is commonplace–and always done “to protect the people”–and it scares me.
I understand the dangers. I understand the difficulties. I understand the needs. I understand that some people will be idiots. But I am very uncomfortable with measures like this which include the words [paraphrased] “until I change my mind”**.
* The order specifically cites the penalties:
Any person who willfully violates […] under this chapter and relating to the public health, for which no other penalty is prescribed, shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days or fined not more than $500 or both.
** Actual words:
This order will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared in […] Executive Order #72, or until a superseding order is issued.
@Bill: Yeah, the exercise bike is probably wiser than walking. I have asthma (asymptomatic for the moment) and COPD (very active and progressing too much to suit me 🙁 ) and there’s a real and tangible danger with walking that one can walk beyond their safe “getting home” range. That can become really scary really fast.
@Mu Yixiao: given that we have crack-brained Trumpers deliberately forming crowds while a pandemic goes exponential, And based on how closely we are matching Italy, we could have tens of thousands of deaths in the next few months, and I’m fine with limited, temporary emergency powers to make idiots knock it the fuck off.
(And just to preempt this from others, “but it won’t be temporary!” Is a slippery slope argument, and everyone’s deeply tired of the “those who would give up…” line.)
He’s making himself look worse.
Not to his base, no. We’ve gone through that. But those not deranged will ask “If you saw it was a pandemic before anyone else, why didn’t you do something about it sooner?”
Bailouts suck! Particularly bailouts of corporations who took their big fat tax cuts and profits and plowed them into buybacks…it’s funny how in times of crisis corporations have their hands out and are often taken care of, much more so than average folks who have to deal with the same mess, often in much bigger proportion as individuals…
@An Interested Party: Privatize the gains, socialize the losses. It’s the American way!
The bigger genre, “speculative fiction” or “fantastic fiction,” had its foundation in magazines.
The thing is, the term “speculative fiction” is very much insider’s jargon; it isn’t a widely used term except among genre enthusiasts. To the broader public, the term “science fiction” often fulfills that role of umbrella term for sci-fi and fantasy–go to any standard book store or library and the “science fiction” section will include everything from Asimov to Tolkien.
On the other hand, while book stores typically include a separate “horror” section, in most libraries (at least the ones I’ve attended), horror is mixed in with regular, “mainstream” fiction. I think it’s influenced heavily by when a story is set–as a general rule, fantasy traditionally takes place in a setting that, at the very least, looks like Earth in the distant past (but isn’t necessarily supposed to be so); science fiction traditionally is set in the future (relative to when the story in question is written); and horror is set in the present day. Of course there are a gazillion exceptions to all this, but I think it affects how a book is categorized by both publishers and book places.
You can’t draw a line between science fiction and fantasy as literary genres because they are orthogonal ideas (as Kathy notes above). It’s easy to find examples of things that are any combination you like of SF (or not) and fantasy (or not)
Orson Scott Card’s book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy contains a good discussion of this topic. He first suggests that “science fiction is about what could be but isn’t; fantasy is about what couldn’t be.” He then immediately questions this definition, pointing out that plenty of genre sci-fi includes things that are scientifically impossible, and he goes on to suggest that the boundary between the twin genres is more a matter of common convention than anything else: “If you have people do some impossible, magical thing by stroking a talisman or praying to a tree, it’s fantasy; if they do the same thing by pressing a button or climbing inside a machine, it’s science fiction.”
Horror is even more orthogonal, partly because it includes stories that have no supernatural or sci-fi components at all. There have been speculative fiction awards given to books like Silence of the Lambs, even though it’s hard to see how it fits in the same general category as, say, Lord of the Rings or Foundation. It’s just often categorized as “horror,” which is itself put into the broader umbrella of “speculative fiction” due to its being traditionally anchored in sci-fi and fantasy even though neither is quite part of the definition of the genre.
Here in Florida, with 90% reporting, it’s
Real humor punches up; right-wing humor punches down, which is just bullying.
Bernie could have avoided these superfluous primaries, today. It’s on him that people had to line up and cough on each other.
It’s the obvious question, isn’t it?
The problem with this very rational definition is that it immediately puts a bunch of famous works of “science fiction” in the fantasy category, and vice versa. If your definition conflicts with how people have always used the terms, you have a problem.
(There is no more canonical work of science fiction than Dune, for example. Or Star Wars, for films…)
I suspect that what you like is extrapolative fiction, which is often conflated with sf. It’s not the scienceness you like; it’s the extrapolation of the premise to the surprising conclusion. There is equally extrapolative fantasy (e.g. the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny), and there is science fiction that is not at all extrapolative (e.g. pretty much anything by Clifford Simak or Ursula K. Le Guin).
@Michael Reynolds: If he stays in after tonight he will literally be responsible for deaths.
@MarkedMan: If he wants any kind of influence going forward he’ll get out tomorrow.
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