I just realized that I’m more of a gamer than most of you

creature_sheboygan

Maybe I’m old and not so active in gaming any more, but it just sunk in — I was a heavy gamer back in the 1970s, before most of you were born. I outrank most of the gibbering basement-dwelling FPS fanatics! I was playing multi-player combat games, pulling all-nighters to hammer the enemy, back when it was all about big sheets of paper and cardboard counters and throwing dice. What brought it back is that I remember Greg Costikyan — I played Costikyan’s games back in the ’80s.

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Make yourself useful, minions!

What good are minions, lackeys, and lickspittles if you fail to bring me this ring?

This Sevan Biçakçi ring is made in 24-karat gold and sterling silver with more than 3,000 hand-set multicolored diamonds, 164 hand-set seed pearls, and one South Sea baroque pearl.

This Sevan Biçakçi ring is made in 24-karat gold and sterling silver with more than 3,000 hand-set multicolored diamonds, 164 hand-set seed pearls, and one South Sea baroque pearl.

Seriously, Horde, if you cannot deliver this entirely appropriate treasure to my hand within the next 24 hours, you will have to consider yourselves total failures in your role as stooges and sycophants.

The first day of classes!

It’s that time again — I have to put on my big boy pants and a clean shirt and stand up in front of a bunch of eager students and pretend to know everything. I’m teaching our introductory course, Fundamentals of Genetics, Evolution, and Development, and also our core Cell Biology course. So I prepared by going to the movies at the Morris Theater. This week, they were playing Guardians of the Galaxy and Lucy.

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Congratulations to the Hugo winners

The 2014 Hugo Award Winners have been announced, and to my astonishment, I have already read all the winners (but not all the nominees). I must be some kind of SF nerd.

Ancillary Justice, the space opera that won best novel, was one of the big surprises of my reading. I’m a fan of space opera (see Iain Banks), but this one, about an AI imbedded in a dead soldier, also did unexpected things with gender assumptions and made me think confusedly quite a bit. But it makes sense — why should we assign a sex to an artificial intelligence? Wouldn’t a gender-free mind not really care that much about the conventions of our language traditions? And wouldn’t interactions with biological beings that care very much about gender cause all kinds of interesting conflicts?

I also read one of the big losers, Vox Day. His pedestrian short story, clearly tailored to avoid the controversies that usually dog his work (there were zero women in it, so there was no opportunity for him to vent his usual bog-ignorant misogyny), was dead last. Worse, “No Award” beat it in the final runoff. I laugh schadenfreudenly.

Scalzi has a few words for the guy with the flaming sword. I agree with him.