An anonymous commenter's missive
in response to yesterday's post
on Hugh Spencer's Master's thesis on the Church of Scientology and science fiction is some of the dumbest disinformation I've seen yet.
The commenter (using an IP address in Melbourne, Australia) tells ridiculous, easily falsified lies -- for example, claiming that the Associated Press called Spencer "the 20th century's answer to Glenn Beck," which would be a neat trick, given that Spencer's thesis was published two years before Beck's first on-air job at a small radio station in Texas. The commenter also claims that McMaster University threw out Spencer's thesis -- another patent falsehood that is revealed by the fact that the document is currently in McMaster's online archive of successful Master's theses.
I don't know whether anonymous-of-Melbourne is working for the Church of Scientology, but this kind of disinformation campaign does the Church and its supporters no good. If you want to make the faith look like a sinister cult that viciously attacks its critics rather than addressing the criticism, consider yourself successful. Read the rest
Last week, I had lunch with my friend, Hugh Spencer, a writer and designer of museum and public educational exhibitions. He told me an amazing story about his son and games, and I asked him to write it up for Boing Boing:
This is a picture of my amazing youngest son Evan. He's 13, he's
holding a game controller and looking at a glowing screen and he's
doing what he does a lot of -- diving into digital realms of
Read the rest
His latest favourite game is Call of Duty - which he plays on-line
with his friends. Evan's wanting to play C of D was something of a
challenge for us. It's rated T and he's only just a teenager and
point and shoot first person games worry me some. Evan is
relentlessly reasonable sometimes -- he outlined why he wanted to play
the game and he was pretty upfront why he knew my "parent-sense" would
start tingling. So I had to be reasonable too. I looked at the game.
I've done a lot of research for military museums so I could tell that
the content was accurate -- but there was lots of shooting and blowing
things up. But there was a fair bit of that during World War II. So
it was undeniable that Evan was experiencing history and there was
this teamwork factor...
So we compromised. Well, sort of.
I asked Evan to google the Geneva Convention. Then he had to read it
and then we had to discuss it.
I've just uploaded a fantastic reading of my friend Hugh Spencer's short story, "Sticky Wonder Tales," which originally appeared in On Spec, the excellent Canadian science fiction magazine. Hugh's work never fails to crack me up and make me think, and this is no exception. It's an epistolary fiction, taking the form of an exchange of letters between siblings whose lives and biology are being transformed by radical alien technology that has been beamed to Earth by psychic radio. One is learning to be a fighter pilot for wars in a distant galaxy, the other his having his body remade by alien parasites who are turning him into a super-being.
The story is touching and weird, speculative and human -- a perfect metaphor for the anxiety that we feel whenever technology remakes our beloved selves and institutions. The reading is performed by Hugh and award-winning horror writer David P Nickle, and they're having so much damned fun in the course of the recording that you can't help but be captivated by it.
You have to love a story that opens with: “Hey, Squiffy: Sorry to hear about the bowel infection. Even sorrier to hear that it’s one of the intelligent ones.” Through a series of back and forth letters, Hugh A.D. Spencer’s Sticky Wonder Tales (Fall, 2006) follows the evolution of two brothers who, via government sponsorship, undergo physiological and mental changes in order to understand alien telepathy or technology. Stephen is busy turning into an alien turtle with an IQ of 350. Read the rest