To the Gentleman at Slashdot Who Points Out That R2-D2 Totally Has Jets to Climb Stairs, DUH

When you think employing jet thrusters is a perfectly reasonable way to get a droid up some stairs:

a) you may not be grasping the fundamentals of that whole “good design” thing;

b) it’s called the “sun.” Get out into it.

I have a Slashdot account so I can’t be throwing stones, but, damn, y’all.

Re: The Science Fiction Failure Mode

Since I’m saying it other places, I thought I’d note it here as well: regarding the oh-so-defensive shibboleth that “Star Wars isn’t science fiction, it’s fantasy!”:

Well, no. This argument is often provided by people who can’t stand that Star Wars is (correctly) regarded as science fiction despite the fact that its science is so bad.

But you know what? The failure mode of science fiction is NOT “fantasy,” it is “bad science fiction.”

Just accept that Star Wars is Science Fiction with far more emphasis on “fiction” than “science.” And then try breathing into a small paper bag. You’ll feel better.

There. Done. Moving on.

They Are NOT Amused

Some of the denizens of Slashdot do not feel that my AMC column today is in the least bit entertaining. Please enjoy the angry angry comments (and, of course, the less angry, more amused ones as well). I do hope AMC’s servers don’t melt.

Quick Note to Would-Be Interviewers

I’ve recently been getting a number of interview requests where the interviewer wants to do the Q&A with a procedural “hook” — i.e., some gimmick ostensibly to make the interview more fun and and interesting (“Answer as if you’re in the middle of being waterboarded!” “The questions are in the form of palindromes!” etc). Well, folks:

1. Most “gimmick” interview set-ups are not nearly as fun and interesting as one might hope they would be, either for the interviewee or the reader;

2. No gimmick can make a bad interview question good, and good interview questions don’t need a gimmick;

3. The interview is generally supposed to be about the interviewee, not the gimmick or the interviewer.

Correlative to all the above, it’s also been my experience that most gimmick interviews I’ve sat for have not been fun, had bad questions, and were more about the interviewer trying to show off than putting a spotlight on the interview subject. Or in other words: really not worth the time. Gimmicky fake interviews can be fun on occasion. Gimmicky real interviews? Thanks, no.

If you’d like to interview me, just ask good questions, straight, please. I find those a lot easier to engage with.

Still Life With Cat and Book

Because who doesn’t like cats? And books? Illiterate dog-fanciers, I suppose, but there’s not much chance of them coming here.

Aside from giving the increasingly unruly Ghans ogh Ghlaghghee a gheline ghix, this post also serves notice that according to Subterranean Press, who would know, the print version of METAtropolis is now out and shipping. So if you preordered yourself a copy, it’s on its way (also: Thank you). And if you didn’t preorder yourself a copy, you should know that now there are fewer than 100 copies still available and you really need to get yourself motivated to pick one up, because when this edition is gone, it’s gone. So get cracking, folks. Ghlaghghee wants you to have a copy of your own.

It’s a (Bad Design) Trap!

Today at AMC, I post up ten examples of truly bad design in the Star Wars universe, of which R2-D2 and C-3PO are just two examples. Yes, they are very poorly designed indeed. Search your heart. You know it to be true. I explain all there. Head over and feel free to agree with me or alternately attempt to Force Choke me in the comments.