In which I read old SF mags with interesting covers and writers I recognize:
- Cover, by Kelly Freas: No story is related to the redhead full of gears and circuits, which is a damn shame. ★★★★☆
- Hostile Life Form, by Daniel L. Galouye (aka Daniel F. Galouye): Vicious native animals kill a colony, so why not adopt the cute animals that attack the hostile ones? Oh, because nothing’s that easy. Saw the ending coming a mile away but it’s a good one. ★★★★☆
- Little America on the Moon, by Arthur J. Burks: Awful. Implausibly bad Lunar colony, tedious and sexist 1950s psychology, Manifest Destiny in space, avoid. ★☆☆☆☆
- Slaves of the Tree, by Eric Rodman (aka Robert Silverberg): 1950s genetics aside (with a handwavy explanation), an excellent story until two train-wreck writing failures. The under-explained but creepy Terran “Colonial Force” and their Darwinian expansion plan is wonderful for backstory. I had a consistent explanation for the protagonist Rayner’s behavior, but also suspected there was no way a story written in the 1950s would even hint at a gay man as a character. Well, spoiler time. First, mouseover for spoiler. So what were readers of the ’50s supposed to think about him? Second, psychic forces, ugh. John Campbell was a lunatic and a troll. There’s pheromonal or other mechanisms that could be used, not this nonsense word denoting nothing real. I’m so close to loving this story, but a sane editor needed to beat the stupid out of it. ★★★☆☆
- Look to the Stars, by Scott Nevets: A space news article about a “Cat Eye” light amplifier for telescopes; I can’t find anything useful about it. And a supposed catalyst for an endlessly-flying upper-atmosphere rocket; I find the chemistry dubious and it certainly didn’t become a thing. But keep in mind Sputnik had only launched the year before this, so this was some cutting-edge speculation here. (nil)
- Special Aptitude, by R. H. Hardwick: This is what passed for 1950s pornography. They were sad little critters without PornHub. ★☆☆☆☆
- Science Shorts, by Edgar P. Straus: What seems to be the announcement of the Nançay radio-telescope (NRT), which took some years after this article to actually be productive. 3D TV announced! Yeah, the eternal bullshit product nobody wants. (nil)
- Frontier Planet, by Calvin M. Knox (also aka Robert Silverberg): Killin’ natives is so good, it makes you want to stay and do farm chores and then kill more of ’em. Garbage story, which is a shock from Silverberg. Was he drunk? Did he lose a bet? Did John Campbell hold a gun to his head like Heinlein’s “Sixth Column”? Avoid. ★☆☆☆☆
- No Planet is Safe, by Harlan Ellison: “Each trip got worse. It seemed Mother Nature hated Man, and had set each alien world as a trap for him. No matter how peaceful the worlds had seemed, they had each held many hidden dangers, into which the Earthmen had stumbled.” I don’t buy the ending, it’s a shaggy planet story if there ever was one, but Harlan never fails to amuse. ★★★★☆
- One to a Customer, by Theodore R. Cogswell: Terrible people making stupid choices. Sadly not at enough length to be worth it. ★★☆☆☆
- The Spacistor: More quaint science news. A now-obsolete improvement to the first transistors, explained breathlessly. (nil)
Having a spare day to actually work on what I want, I get back into my Pascal adventure, and I’m blocked by inobvious bugs.
Thanks to Sierra breaking gdb (unless you disable SIP entirely, which I’m not going to do), Lazarus can’t run ggdb, so forget about GUI debugging. I’ve tried all the code-signing, rebooting suggestions, none of that works.
I’m not a giant fan of the debugger, but even caveman Mark needs a backtrace sometimes. Happily, lldb works from the command line:
lldb -o "breakpoint set -n fpc_raiseexception" -o run foo.app
Then at the lldb prompt after a crash, type ‘bt’ for backtrace, ‘cont’ to carry on with the usual exception handling. Most of the lldb tutorial works the same.
Shut down that account forever, Jack. You know it’s for the best. Twitter Shuts Down Abusive Account for 11 Minutes