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Horse girls considered

Thursday 11 April 2019, 13:27

Uma Musume Pretty Derby (ウマ娘プリティーダービー, hereinafter UMPD; the first couple words translate as "horse girl") was a hit anime series in 2018. It quickly became a favourite topic of fan artists on Twitter and the federated network, largely because of the cute character designs. It's basically a sports anime, which is not exactly my favourite style, and it took me some time to get around to watching it, but I finally did in December and I became interested in a number of questions about the world-building.

I'm sure UMPD was never meant to be "hard SF" and the writers, throughout the series, just did what they thought would be cute without regard to whether it made any sense; but let's see how far we can go on the assumption that this show actually does depict a consistent world that makes some sort of sense. What kind of world is it?

Henry and Eliza

Friday 7 June 2002, 14:21

Henry came home from work feeling as horny as Hell. He threw his coat across the back of a chair, kicked off his boots, and picked up the mouse from its spot on top of the pile of books on the kitchen table, next to the breakfast dishes. He didn't shower. Eliza wouldn't care.

Occupational hazards

Friday 9 November 2001, 20:57

I guess every line of work has its risks. Too much time in the lab and those innocent pretty little droplets will whittle your brain down to a nub of harsh organometallic white noise. Climb one too many towers and even if you don't fall the RF will get to you. Keyboards and carpal tunnel, you get the idea. Sure, I'm being obscure and I don't even really know half the shit I talk about, but those are parts of the price for who I am.

The Reverend John Pickett and the damage done

Saturday 9 December 2000, 13:37

The son of Abraham and Mary Pickett was born on an overcast Sunday morning in May of the year of Our Lord 2015. When the Reverend Frederic McAuley performed the baptism, he held the screaming baby up to the light and asked the parents what his name should be, and in a choked-up voice Abraham Pickett said "John, call him John," and John Pickett was his name.

Light and speed

Sunday 2 February 1997, 12:13

It's not so easy to find a primitive, backward culture anymore. Satellite constellations can lay down a gigahertz on every square kilometer of the Earth's surface and where there's a signal there will be receivers. We need not even mention the orbitals. The painters may be naked - they may be using mud pigments and hair brushes. You might mistake them for a tiny group of prehistoric people somehow cut off from the march of progress for thousands of years. That would be a mistake. Machines dug this cave, the hair for the brushes was grown by bacteria in a bottle, and the design taking shape on the wall does not represent an animal to be hunted. Not exactly.

The UFP and the Filthy Humans

Friday 2 April 2010, 19:16

Re-posting of an article first posted in September 2008.

You are an officer, say a commodore, in the military-diplomatic-exploration organization of an interplanetary nation with United Federation of Planets (UFP) membership. You've been tasked with asserting your nation's interests with respect to a certain out-of-the-way planet that happens to be rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, it's already inhabited, by a race of disgusting natives we will call the Filthy Humans.