190101. Apocalypse and Catcher in the Rye.
G.L. McDorman @glmcdorman asked:
28 Dec 2018
Catcher in the Rye meets Canticle for Leibowitz. Is there a name for that genre?
Post-Apocalypse Religious Coming of Age. Not common. Best: Riddley Walker. Try: Still I Persist in Wondering (Davy's world) and Angelfall.
Omit Religious & there's plenty. By the Waters of Babylon. Dear Devil. A Boy and His Dog. Kamandi. Mirai Shonen Konan.
For the unredacted opening to Mirai Shonen Konan, click here.
G.L. McDorman @glmcdorman responded:
This is an awesome list. I've never read any of these and they all look interesting, but I'm going to prioritize Riddley Walker.
To scale a video/mp4 animation with reasonably high quality, try this:
ffmpeg -y -i input.mp4 -preset slow -crf 20 -acodec copy -vcodec libx264 -tune animation -vf scale=800:-1 output.mp4 >& ffmpeg.log < /dev/null &
In the preceding example, and in the following ones, replace 800 with the desired output width. You may need to try several nearby values before you find one that ffmpeg accepts.
The process may take several minutes for each of the examples. Progress will be reported in the specified log file.
To convert and scale an MP4 animation to video/ogg format with reasonably high quality, try this:
ffmpeg -y -i input.mp4 -preset slow -acodec libvorbis -vcodec libtheora -q:v 6 -q:a 6 -tune animation -vf scale=800:-1 output.ogv >& ffmpeg.log < /dev/null &
For webm output, try this instead:
ffmpeg -y -i input.mp4 -c:v libvpx-vp9 -crf 30 -b:v 0 -vf scale=800:-1 output.webm >& ffmpeg.log < /dev/null &
181231. Damon Knight's Why Do Birds.
Charles Louis Richter @richterscale said:
31 Dec 2018
BOOK: WHY DO BIRDS, by Damon Knight
I was just about to recommend this, when I saw that @doctorow beat me to it. It's good enough to double down on, though. An absurdist tale of packing all of humanity into a giant cube for safe-keeping.
31 Dec 2018
Packing humanity into a cube is simply the plot. Damon Knight's “Why Do Birds” sticks in my head due to the surreal tone combined with the uncertainty about WTH is actually going on. Compare to Gene Wolfe's “Peace” in the context of these two elements and see what you think.
@Doctorow agreed and retweeted. A retweet by @Doctorow is a good thing:
180621. Meet the Jetsons.
This post is for those who remember the original Jetsons 1960s TV series. 1962 to 1963.
I wasn't fond of The Jetsons. The animation was crude and the plots were silly. But they did become part of the collective subconscious of the U.S. as far as the future went.
We were supposed to have robots and flying cars. We did get tech, some of it superior to Star Trek TOS level. But no robots or airborne roadsters.
More importantly, we're less advanced now, socially, than we were 40 years ago. 1978. That was the high-water mark.
How did things go backwards?
There's increased tolerance for differences. More so each year. But only among sentients.
In the U.S., the last two years have seen something else come out from under the rocks. Something hasn't been as out in the open as it is now since the 1930s.
People similar to my parents believe that it's their world again. The world of the Klan and of the swastika.
There's more than one time of Klansman.
You've got the type, of course, that's outspoken. Then there's the upper-class type that wouldn't dream of saying certain things out loud... but it's offended primarily by bluntness. Not by fundamental assumptions.
The second type nods quietly at assumptions. It works backwards from the conclusion that they're correct.
So, there are households where no one would dream of saying the word “N*gger”. But there are books and magazines on the coffee tables which explain that slavery was a blessing to the Blacks.
Who, the assumptions say, are lazy and don't wish to work.
The working-backwards part is the key. The key to what you see around you.
This is the mistake that sentients make: It isn't about differences of opinion or tolerating diverse views.
It's about the way that the brain itself works. A defect in the amydalae. The non-sentients are unable to reason in contexts where they perceive “The Other”. Unable to reason to the extent that brain-waves go flat.
This is true, to an extent, of human beings in general. But it's a defining characteristic in the cases of the Klan, the Nazis, and the Trump-ites.
In short, it's a biological condition. One that can be tested for. Tests to identify the issue exist.
It's pointless to attempt to reason with such types. To seek a middle ground that doesn't exist.
In the end, if humanity is to move forward, something more fundamental will need to be done.
The tests should be formalized and put to use.
The principle of “The Other” can be summarized as follows:
Only sentients work forward from facts. Non-sentients work backwards from conclusions in all matters where the idea of a pack-level “side” can be applied.
If you're on the wrong “side”, facts don't matter to the non-sentients. There is no point to pointing out the facts. This is how it works.
It isn't time for the Jetsons or Star Trek yet. Or any world of the future.
The world that is supposed to be isn't going to exist until the things that were hiding under the rocks, and are now out in the open, are addressed.
DC Comics apparently started an “adult” Jetsons print series in 2017. I don't know if it's still running or not.
The page below is from a Jetsons prelude story that appeared in “Booster Gold / Flintstones #1”.
In this scene, Judy Jetson chats with her grandmother, George Jetson's mother Rosemary Jetson. Rosemary is a dying woman who was apparently born in our era.Rosemary's fate is odd enough that the series might be of interest to geeks who remember when the future was different.
To close on what is definitely a lighter note, the artwork below is a Deviant Art take on the Jetsons by nerdybunni. nerdybunni has been at Deviant Art for 7 years.
180619. Science Fiction remarks.
Simon, the Strongest Catgirl, said:
I think my only experience with science fiction outside of video games is like, ringworld. I really need to read more books within the genre
Try best #sciencefiction from all decades. Smith: Ballad of Lost C'Mell. Clarke: The Star. Sturgeon: Man Who Lost the Sea. Ellison: Deathbird. Kessel: Another Orphan. Zelazny: For a Breath I Tarry. Carr: Dance of the Changer and the Three.
Avoid series novels. Read Hugo winners.
180619. Is That Ham?
Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull, said:
is that... is that ham
180515. Superman's nightmares.
May 14, 1997 — This Day During Superman's Triangle Era
The Electric #Superman shown in the OP is now canonically one of the “real” Superman's nightmares. Not that it's a simple matter to define the “real” Superman after 33 years of endless reboots and retcons.
See the panel below. From Dark Nights METAL #4 courtesy of Screen Rant.