A Passing Thought

I now have in my possession a pocket-sized computer which, when I speak a question to it (“Who is the author of Kraken?” “Who was the fourteenth president of the Unites States?” “What is the name of John Scalzi’s cat?”) provides me an answer in just a few seconds. If I take a picture of something, the same pocket computer will analyze the photo and tell me what I’m looking at. Oh, and it makes phone calls, too. Among other things.

None of that is the cool part. The cool part is, when I speak a question to my pocket computer and it gives me a bad answer, I get annoyed. Because here in the future, when I talk to my pocket computer, I expect it to get the answer right the first time.

I think I’ve said before that one of the neat things about getting older is that you really do become aware just how much things change. To be more specific about it, as you get older, at some point you cross an arbitrary line and are aware that you are now living in the future. I’m not precisely sure when it was I crossed my own arbitrary Future Line, but I’ll tell you what, I’m well past it now.

That is all. Carry on.


The Upcoming Scalzi Hiatus: What You Need to Know

As I have mentioned earlier, starting this Sunday, August 1, I am taking a six-week hiatus from Whatever, concluding on or about September 12 (9/13 will be the 12-year anniversary of the site). However, Whatever will still be up and running during that time, for your continued reading enjoymentary. Because I realize these two apparently opposing facts may cause some unpleasant cognitive dissonance, this entry aims to give you further guidance on the subject.

1. How can the site continue when you’re not here? Because I have assembled a SUPER-MEGA-AWESOME team of guest bloggers to blog whilst I am away, and also hired a site manager to handle things like comment moderation and the site back end in my absence. Together, they will ensure the site functions and has interesting stuff to read over the next several weeks.

2. Who are these super mega awesome people who will keep the site going? I will introduce them to you formally on Friday. For now, suffice to say that I picked people who I have found to be interesting people in their own right, and I’ve encouraged them to share their own interests/passions/gripes/whatever with you. They’re not substitute versions of me; that would be boring. They are people I think you’ll find are worth reading in themselves.

3. I’m worried that while you’re away the comment threads will not benefit from the Mallet of Loving Correction™. Fear not! For while I am away, the MLC and all its powers will be fully invested in the site manager, who I have also told to err on the side of Malleting. So if anyone thinks the hiatus will be a fine time to test the commenting fences, Jurassic Park raptor-style, I would beg them to reconsider their incipient plans for commenting obnoxiousness.

4. Will the Big Idea feature continue during the hiatus? Yes; it’s fully scheduled for August and September.

5. Where will you be during this hiatus of yours? For about a week of it, I will be in Australia for Worldcon, but for the rest of it I’ll be in Ohio, and mostly at home. I’ll be alive; I just won’t be on Whatever.

6. Seriously? Not online at all? Hey now, I didn’t say not online — although to be honest I do intend to minimize the overall amount of time I’m doing online stuff. That said, during my hiatus I’ll continue to publish my column (and will likely have pointers to it from Whatever), and will probably offer up a tweet or two, or an occasional Facebook status update. I’m also scheduled to take part in a discussion on in the middle of the month. And finally, if something really cool happens, like, say, I win something in Australia, I might pop in to tell all y’all about it. But all that added up won’t count for much time online. Basically, don’t expect to see a lot of me. That’s the point of taking a hiatus.

7. What has brought about this hiatus? Is everything okay? ZOMG ARE YOU DYING?!? I’m not dying and everything is perfectly fine. I just decided to take a break. Some but not all the reasons: I have other writing I need to focus on, I have immediate SFWA business and some future planning to do and I have a few home projects to complete. But mostly, hey, you know what? It’s been a while since I had a break from Whatever, and I’d kind of like to have something approaching a summer vacation. This will be it.

8. I don’t know how I will survive without your constant online presence in my life. Dude, do we need to have another talk about that restraining order?

9. No, no. I get it. Okay, good.

10. I’ll just sit here and sob quietly into this soft, plush Scalzi toy I made. Okay, now I’m just plain creeped out.

More seriously, if you have any other questions about the upcoming hiatus, drop them in the comment thread.


Science Fiction Film Meets the Bechdel Test

Just for kicks, over at this week, I applied the Bechdel Test to some of the most popular science fiction films of the last half decade to see if these films a) had two or more female characters b) who spoke to each other c) about something other than a man. And how did science fiction do? Heh. Click through to see the damage, and feel free to leave your comments there.

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