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Fire Move

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HarlandCorbin
1 day ago
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Not lame at all!
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Forty Fabulous First Lines of Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Over on Quora someone asked for favorite first lines from science fiction novels.  It would make a great diversion for lots of you - (briefly escape from politics!) - to chime in with favorites in comments, below.

If a man walks in dressed as a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he’s a spaceman.  – Robert Heinlein’s Double Star

Earth is dead! They murdered our Earth!  – Poul Anderson’s After Doomsday

It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451


It was a bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. George Orwell's 1984


All of this happened, more or less. - Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five


The manhunt extended across more than one hundred light years and eight centuries. - Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky


I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination. - Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness


Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.  - Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama

He woke, and remembered dying. Ken MacLeod's The Stone Canal


The space lift rose from the Pacific, climbing the cords of anthrax bacteria. - Joan Slonczewski's The Highest Frontier

Go, traveler. Go anywhere. The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest. - Philip Jose Farmer's Venus on the Half-Shell


Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. - Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.


This book is predominantly concerned with making money, and from its pages a reader may learn much about the character and the literary integrity of the authors. Of boggies, however, he will discover next to nothing... -- The Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings.


His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god; he preferred to drop the Maha- and -atman, and called himself Sam. - Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light.


The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door... - Fredric Brown's Knock


Let's start with the end of the world, why don't we? - N.K. Jemison's The Fifth Season


We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck. - M.T. Anderson's Feed


The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason. - Neal Stephenson's Seveneves


He was one hundred and seventy days dying, and not yet dead. - Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination

Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man. - Joe Haldeman's The Forever War.

I first saw the light in the city of Boston in the year 1857. - Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward

"In five years, the penis will be obsolete," said the salesman. - John Varley's Steel Beach

"Afterwards, Thomas Blaine thought about the manner of his dying and wished it had been more interesting. -  Robert Sheckley's Immortality Incorporated.

The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of February at four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o'clock, Eastern Standard Time. - Philip Wylie's The Disappearance.

She was born a thing and as such would be condemned if she failed to pass the encephalograph test required of all newborn babies. - Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang

The student wouldn't stop doing her homework, and it was going to kill her. - Annalee Newitz's Autonomous.

I'm pretty much fucked. That's my considered opinion. Fucked. - Andy Weir's The Martian.

Rarely is it given man to know the day or the hour when fate intervenes in his destiny, but, because he had checked his watch just before he saw the girl with the hips, Haldane IV knew the day, the hour, and the minute. - John Boyd's The Last Starship from Earth. 

Of course there’s William Gibson’s Neuromancer opening: The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.


And Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun. 

Other classic openings come from The Hobbit, The Handmaid's Tale, Clockwork Orange, Dhalgren, The Color of Magic, Beggars in Spain, The Dispossessed, The War of the Worlds, and of course, The Princess Bride. Oh, that one is so wonderful I dare not sully William Goldman's wit by typing it myself. I dare you to read it... and not keep reading, entranced.

== A few of my own! ==

But what the heck, let me offer up some of my own. (I can cut and paste them in, easier than sifting and retyping from my shelves of other books, so it’s laziness, less than self-promotion!)

Twenty-six months before her second birthday, Maia learned the true difference between winter and summer. Glory Season

It’s hard to stay cordial while fighting for your life, even when your life doesn’t amount to much. Even when you’re just a lump of clay– Kiln People

Long ago, Gordon once heard someone contend that there was nothing more dangerous than a desperate man. No defeat was so total that a determined person could not pull something from the ashes by negotiation . . . by risking all he had left. - The Postman

An angry deity glowered at Alex. Slanting sunshine cast shadows across the incised cheeks and outthrust tongue of Great Tu, Maori god of warEarth

Kato died first.  Heart of the Comet

Pain is the stitching holding him together... or else, like a chewed-up doll or a broken toy, he would have unraveled by now, lain his splintered joins amid the mucky reeds, and vanished into time.  Brightness Reef

“As for me... I am finished.” Those words resonated -- they clung, like the relentless blanket that Hari Seldon’s nurse kept straightening across his legs, though it was a warm day in the Imperial Gardens– Foundation's Triumph

The lecture was really boring.  - The Practice Effect

As a little kid, I used to think every family was annoyed by time travelers. After all, why should visitors from the future want to bother us, in particular? – “Gawkers”

I started out this life, if you call it life, as a simple message -- a walking, talking Dear-Jane letter -- dispatched by a cad who lacked enough guts to break up with his girlfriend in person– Kiln Time  (unfinished)

== Brin news ==

TIME Magazine on August 2018 listed Earth as one of “8 books that eerily predicted the future.” And in the same week, Barnes & Noble published a run-down of novels that won both Hugo and Nebula AwardsStartide Rising is rated in the upper half, so…

Speaking of Earth, here’s Predictions Registry fodder. Recall in that novel (1989) I predicted the world would be inundated by prosperous Chinese (Han) tourists by 2030? Well, it’s begun

Another for the registry? Fred R. writes: “In Earth, you had people who fought to preserve quiet areas, untrammeled by human activity.  Another prediction!”

And folks have been writing in about the “augment” super soldiers from the last portion of The Postman.  Mind you I was glad Costner left them out of the film – (though with a sly dig at me in the Sound of Music scene). And yet… The Defense Dept is developing techniques, including genetic engineering, brain implants, and shrinking robotics, for augmented soldiers. For example"a soldier wears a skullcap that stimulates his brain to make him learn skills faster, or reads his thoughts as a way to control a drone. Another is plugged into a Tron-like "active cyber defense system," in which she mentally teams up with computer systems "to successfully multitask during complex military missions." Augmented muscles and reactions?  Yes, those too.

Some folks have asked about the audio book for Heart of the Comet. It’s not in the regular Audible catalogue, but instead produced by Skyboat. It’s pretty good!

   
Now onward. Remember how rare science-fictional (impudent!) thinking has been, across 6000 years of feudalism and darkness. Our impudence will be repressed, if feudalism returns. So resist. And vote.

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HarlandCorbin
1 day ago
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The United States Needs a Democracy Movement

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While most headlines have focused on the divergent successes of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, respectively, the 2018 midterm elections featured mixed results on another important dimension: electoral reform.  Ballot measures on various aspects of election law appeared on the ballots in 14 states, and most of them passed.  Voters in Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri (and possibly Utah) approved measures to establish more independent redistricting processes.  Michigan and Maryland voters passed laws to make registering to vote easier, and Florida voted to re-enfranchise approximately 1.4 million people who have completed sentences for prior felony convictions.  At the same time, though, voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved requirements that voters to show a photo ID at the polls, making it more difficult for many people (disproportionately members of minority groups) to vote.

For nearly all activists involved in electoral reform, these outcomes will seem a mixed success.  But to most citizens, these results all look like a win for democracy.

Despite the clear divide in partisan activism on these issues, and the resulting geographic disparity in the direction of electoral reform measures, there is striking consensus among Americans in support of the most salient electoral reform proposals, regardless of which party tends to favor them.

That attitudes toward electoral reforms have proven relatively resistant to polarization, despite the tense political climate, and despite activists’ efforts to unmask opponents’ electoral reform agendas as naked partisan power grabs, is rather remarkable. It suggests that most Americans (if not our political leaders) do actually have a deep commitment to the value of fair elections, coupled with an ecumenical perspective on the threats to that value.

In short, the US is fertile ground for a democracy movement.

The 2018 midterm results have left me cautiously optimistic for the prospects of an electoral reform agenda aimed at increasing voter turnout and increasing the representativeness of the electorate.  But stoking citizens’ support for electoral reform into the kind of democracy movement that can spread popular practices like automatic voter registration – or even more dramatic reforms like an Election Day holiday – beyond progressive stronghold states will probably require finding a way to bundle the issues of fair electoral competition, voting rights, and electoral integrity together in a way that appeals more completely to citizens’ concerns about the electoral process.

This will undoubtedly seem absurd to many of those fighting on the front lines of the battle for voting rights, since the cause of voting rights in recent years has become nearly synonymous with the fight against increasingly strict voter ID laws.  But however suspect the motives of the activists and politicians behind such laws, the vast majority of activists continue to see voter ID laws as simply common sense and perfectly compatible with a general impulse to make voting easier and more accessible.  Difficult as it may be to stomach, incorporating moderate voter ID laws into a progressive reform agenda might make a democracy movement more intuitively appealing to voters and better able to gain an enthusiastic following (the kind of enthusiastic following that can pressure reluctant politicians into enacting pro-democracy reforms).  Such an agenda might also give progressives more leverage in pressing for reasonable accommodations within these laws and for ensuring effective access to the required form of ID.

And, of course, there are good substantive reasons for progressives to want to wrest control of the election security issue from the forces of voter suppression.  No amount of evidence, it seems, will be able to convince the public that in-person voter fraud is rare, and the persistent perception that voter fraud is a major problem does present a real threat to democracy in a society already characterized by deep distrust of the government and of the political opposition.  Meanwhile there are other potentially significant threats to the integrity of elections (like faulty or hackable voting machines, and a lack of effective and impartial oversight) that might be most politically palatable as part of a comprehensive package of election security measures.

I don’t mean to claim that this represents the only way forward for progressive electoral reform.  Instead I want to emphasize that democracy-enthusiasts have a good opportunity to redirect Americans’ enthusiasm for systemic political change from the constant appeals of “outsider” campaigns toward a popular movement for election reform.  We will need to think creatively, though, about how to make such a democracy movement exciting to ordinary citizens, and resistant to polarization.

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HarlandCorbin
6 days ago
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I like voter ID requirements. I feel, however, that if a state enacts ID requirements, that state should have a provision that provides a free voterID to each registered voter that needs one. That way, nobody is disenfranchised by the ID requirement.
SteveRB511
6 days ago
I think that's a very good idea.
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I give my client my availability for August. Client: So Aug. 24 and 25 are out? We had really been...

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I give my client my availability for August.

Client: So Aug. 24 and 25 are out? We had really been hoping for those dates… those are the dates we had discussed on the call. Are you sure you can’t fit us in?

Me: Oh, did we! I’m sorry the misunderstanding. If you want those dates than I can reschedule some things.

Client: No problem. Let’s go with Monday, August 28!

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HarlandCorbin
7 days ago
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CFH? They sound a little confused, but not nasty or anything.
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Hairy Relationship

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Follow @lamebook on instagram for more content!

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HarlandCorbin
9 days ago
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The perils of dating bigfoot.
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Comic for November 06, 2018

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Dilbert readers - Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.
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HarlandCorbin
9 days ago
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Don't forget, the open office plan adds in here too.
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