I then had to elucidate further: I lived with a psychologist for ten years. I got tested a LOT. I know the signs and symptoms of a LOT of psychological problems. I know I have some interesting quirks. I also know I'm not a psychopath, although I bet I would score higher on an online test than the person I was talking to.
I took the test today. I got 85% on it. I was unsurprised, and not a little amused.
The problems with web-based agree/disagree tests are manifold and well known, but with this particular one, I think that my aspie traits combined with non-tradtional attitudes to a number of things, addiction to thrill-seeking, and my tendency to tick agree/disagree strongly rather than moderately would ring the alarm bells. But of course the defining trait of a psychopath is their inability to feel/express emotion. Anyone who has ever met me for more than ten seconds, or indeed read a few posts on this blog, knows that is NOT a trait of mine.
Psychopaths don't have panic attacks, don't self harm, don't wake up screaming in the night from post traumatic nightmares. I do. Plus, pychopaths are not necessarily bad people anyway. So I guess this blog post is meant as reassurance: if you take that test and score highly, don't fret.
(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
1. Geary comes up with brilliant plan.
2. Stupidheaded captains quarrel with brilliant plan.
3. Battle happens. Stupidheaded captains cause things to go wrong.
4. Stupidheaded captains (with encouragement of the few, reliable, smartheaded captains?) realize how wrong they were, use Geary's plan.
5. VICTORY HULK SMASH!!!
Uh, I'm paraphrasing lots.
So yeah, if you get tired of the formula, then you get tired of the formula.
What I found interesting was the reason behind the tired formula--I mean, not that it helps if you can't stand seeing the same basic thing every battle--is culture change. Geary was in some kind of hibernation due to...luck? (if you can call it that) and is from 100 years in the past, back when they knew how to do tactics and maneuvers and stuff. The war has been going on all this time with the enemy (the Syndics??) and the attrition has been so bad that doctrine has devolved to what looks awfully like a terrifyingly unthinking version of offensive à outrance.
Weirdly, I found this plausible because of math.
Specifically, I found this plausible because of math pedagogy, even more specifically because of high teacher turnover in USAn schools. When I taught high school math, I had three preps and one of them I had to design the curriculum from scratch (Discrete Math)--I mean, I was given a Discrete Math textbook but that course had been used for years as a dumping ground for the "bad math" students to do basic arithmetic worksheets for the hour as a holding pen. I wish I were making this up. The head of the math department was new that year and determined to turn that course into one that really actually taught Discrete Math. I was all for it, but, you know, first-year teacher so learning curve. I was forever doing things like thinking that something would take a full period and finding that the kids picked it up quickly, or finding that they would get hung up hard on something I took for granted. This is pretty natural; it happened to me when I was doing my practicum during teacher ed. Eventually with experience you get a knowledge base and a better feel for these things.
But the thing is, it's a little stupid to do this from scratch when you could, you know, have a knowledge base of this stuff. During teacher ed we read about Japanese school math departments where the teachers would get together and share this knowledge, and also keep files on lessons and what stumbling blocks students had and ways to address them. I'm not saying that all USAn schools don't do things like this, but I know I have taught at schools where they definitely don't do this--every time a teacher leaves (or quits teaching entirely, like I did), everything they knew goes with them, and the next person who comes in, especially if they're a first-year? Starts from scratch.
So yeah. I could depressingly see how you could end up with an entire space navy that is worn so ragged that it gets in this position--because even if someone figures out how to fight all over again, what's the odds that they live long enough to teach enough people who themselves live long enough...
- I TURNED IN REVISIONS.
Also, I had to redo my hexarchate timeline because I accidentally set one figure wrong. It was a very easy fix, however. My arithmetic was otherwise fine.
(Embarrassing as hell, though, I admit, when you're dealing with a novel that presumably has characters for whom the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic is of dire importance.)
Also, I have written enough Yuletide that I feel justified in writing up a fandom_stocking stocking...
- Me: "Joe! You should write me a computer game for Christmas! In two weeks!"
Joe: "ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES: THE GAME."
- Someone had the sequel to Storm Constantine's Sea Dragon Heir checked out so I'll try back another time. There was an omnibus of the Wraethhu (sp?) books but I wasn't sure it sounded like my thing. (Anyone?)
I made my saving throw against two sf books in the library discards pile--one I didn't feel deeply moved to reread (I'm blanking on the title but I'm pretty sure it's that Asimov story about the boy who gets called in to the shrink for going on walks in a future where everyone has a teleporter, something like that) and another by an author I admire but whose prose is dense hence too exhausting for me to deal with right now, and also I am very sure the book is easy to find, and I've read it before anyway.
- It seems I now own two copies of The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; the second is a library discard in terrible shape and I might take it as airplane reading to NY. I started rereading it at the library and still love it.
I actually do understand why people would find Lerris's "because it's boring" super-unsympathetic, or anyway rather trivial, as a heroic nonmotivation. It is, however, one of the things that I like about the book because I so completely sympathize with it. I get bored so easily. You think that I chase after Turkish, cross stitch, custom modded My Little Ponies, cryptology, military history, Latin, digital painting, etc. etc. because of a desire for self-improvement? Please. I do it because I get so bored.
Also, I know one person who actively likes the rather plain-sounding foods that Modesitt tends to feature and prefers them to the endless sumptuous banquet whatever school of fictional food. I'm, hmm, not precisely agnostic, but mostly I find long description of food really tedious (whether the food is sumptuous or plain or whatever), which goes along with me being adamantly not a foodie. Modesitt works for me because yeah food is mentioned a lot, but in a logistical sort of way, and he doesn't go on about it for paragraphs and if it tires me out it's easy to spot and skip.
- Escape: "Ancient Sorceries" by Algernon Blackwood (podcast/audio story thing?, mp3 download from Archive.org). I was made aware of this by james_davis_nicoll and his description
An English traveller makes the mistake of disembarking at an innocent seeming small town, a town whose inhabitants seem to know him. He learns far more about himself than he'd have wanted to.
made this sound intriguing. It's the kind of (probably) horror/supernatural story I have a weakness for.
I can't say that I followed all of the story. Even sitting in the darkness trying to concentrate on nothing but the performance (which seemed to be well-done, with effects and bits of music and a couple voices along with the main narrator/protag), I kept having my usual problem with podcasts/audio lectures/audiobooks, which is that I either have difficulty parsing out the phonemes (this is also why I watch even English-language TV with subtitles whenever possible) or I space out and lose chunks of the audio stream. It's kind of frustrating, because it would be nice to be able to access stuff in audio format. From what I did understand of it, though, it seemed to fall into a particular form that I have seen in (written) supernatural stories, pretty much what you'd guess from James's description.
recent someone else's gaming
- I also probably shouldn't tell you about the comment I made when Joe was hunting elves (yesssss! sorry, I can't stand elves, it's an AD&D thing) and one of his targets ran away after he shot it and I asked him if he had to track it while it bled out like a deer and he said he didn't think the game mechanics worked that way. Although it would be funny if they did.
- Me, staring at gray-skinned elf on computer screen: "Joe, if I had ears like that, would you still love me?"
Lizard: "What's wrong with his ears? Those ears are totally awesome. I want pointy ears like that."
Joe: "Oh bleep." (He really says "bleep.")
(HATE ELVES HATE HATE HATE.)
Knowing death is coming for him, a sailor recounts the terrible story of how all the men on his ship, and a woman as well, fell victim to the specter haunting the soon to be derelict Evening Star.
Even given that part of his character is that he is unusually stoic, the cook is remarkably calm, almost chipper, about his coming death (1), judging by the 'eat your soup because we'll probably all be dead later' scene.
1: Standard 'Cook is a Chinese character named Kato in a story published in 1918' warning.
Read by Kate Baker
In an increasingly foreign future, two parents make great sacrifices for their child.
Yes, this might need a 'not for adoptees or parents of adoptees' tag. Not sure, though.
Is it just me or have there been a fair number of slow collapse into doom stories in this series?
Large saucepan with lid
Silicone or wooden spoon
1 cup measure
Five to seven inch chopping knife
Fine-tooth grater or sharp knife (for zesting)
Citrus juicer (there are many complex devices. You won't need those).
1 US bag fresh cranberries (12 oz/340g)
2 under-ripe pears
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
3 Tbs cornstarch (or arrowroot or kuzu or other fine grain white thickener)
1. Turn cranberries into large bowl, add water to float. Pick over and remove any moldy or crushed berries. Let soak while you're doing the other things.
2. Peel pears, make four slices vertically to isolate the core and yield 4 pieces. Turn each to its flat side and slice to 1/4inch, then slice crossways to yield 1/4 inch pear cubes
3. Wash one orange well; some oranges have a light wax you need to remove with a stiff brush. Zesting citrus fruit takes much longer to describe than to do. The plan is to scrape off the colored layer of skin to yield approximately 1 Tbs orange zest. (Don't go into the white pith, which is bitter.) Hold a sharp knife blade perpendicular to the peel and scrape, or hold the peel against the rice-size holes on a grater and scrub. Once done zesting, cut both oranges in half and squeeze out the juice. One way is to cradle the half-orange in your palm, gently push a fork into the center of your palm (but stop before you hit the peel!) place the middle of the fork over a glass, and squeeze.
4. Pour 1/3 cup white sugar into your measuring cup.
5. Add in apple juice to reach 2/3 cup.
6. Put the pears, orange zest, oranges, orange juice, sugar, and apple juice in the saucepan on medium heat. Drain the cranberries and add them to the saucepan. Cover and let it slow boil for 10 minutes. Check it every 2 minutes and stir gently. Around ten minutes, you'll hear plop plop pip as the cranberries pop in half.
7. Before that point measure 3 Tbs white thickener into the measuring cup. Add 3 Tbs cold water. Stir thoroughly. If it turns lumpy, add a little bit more cold water until it stays in solution.
8. Adjust the heat so the berries are again at a slow boil. Pour in the thickener. The mixture will change from deep fuchsia to opaque light pink. Stir slowly for around 90 seconds. When the berries are again translucent, let it cook 15 more seconds and you're done.
9. Turn into a storage container, and if your weather is like mine, put it on the porch to cool, then stick it in the refrigerator. This will keep covered for at least a week. I've served it at Thanksgiving meals; it's a great side dish with pork chops; it's a welcome addition to hot cereal; and we just eat it for dessert at my house.
Day 8: What went right
What went right in 2013?
Maybe you didn't quit smoking or lose those pounds or go to Paris, but something did work, did happen, and/or was realized. What was it?
Fine. Almost everything. Seriously, so many things have gone right that I am not counting the ones that didn't. I spent months of this year waiting for things to happen and then they did:
- There was the long chain of events, which started with Tony finishing his PhD - then passing his viva, then getting a job, then submitting, then my realising that I actually do like my career, then applying for the Only Job I Would Ever Want, not getting it, and then discovering and almost accidentally getting another one - and which will finish in about April when we move back in together.
- Whatever it is that has happened in my brain, where I am good at stuff and I like myself. This has been gathering speed over the last few months, and kicked in seriously over the past couple of weeks, and I am flabbergasted and so very happy.
- Learning to ride a bike. An actual, honest-to-goodness, two-wheeled bike, on the actual, honest-to-goodness, road.
- Breaking free of the 'you must eat all this food or it will be WASTED' mindworm.
- My novel! It has a plot, and characters with characters, and things happen because of other things and it's sitting at 90,000 words and is nearly done.
Thank you, 2013. You have been a wonderful year.
Day 7: Reveal your self(ie)
Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2013, self-portrait or otherwise!
(Can you see that? It is linked from someone else's Facebook picture, and I can never quite work out the permissions...)
Dancing with my father-in-law at his wedding. If I recall correctly, it was the Grease megamix. I love it.
It doesn't really match up with my mental picture of myself (largely, I suspect, because I never smile as broadly as that when I'm looking in the mirror, and also I almost always wear glasses now) but then they very rarely do, and it's very definitely a picture of me.
I am clearly having a fantastic time. I am rocking my chequerboard dress (made for me by my mum years ago) and my two starched petticoats (made by me, this year). I am also wearing very obvious lipstick and not giving a damn. And I am looking out of the picture and am pleased to see people. This is very much a picture of me this year. It was taken almost six months ago, but it might almost be a picture of me from last week. I have come out of my shell over the past month, but now I can see in that photo that it was already happening in June.
Day 6: Memories are made of this
“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.”— E.S. Bouton
There are so many “precious things” that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever.
What precious things have you gathered in 2013?
Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?
3267 features quite heavily:
A very early morning, chilly and excited, chugging up an all-but-deserted A3 at 25 miles per hour, with the silver birch trees casting long, long shadows in rose-gold light, serving coffee from a thermos in a rag-tag collection of plastic mugs. And the delighted grin of the lorry driver overtaking us, not quite believing his eyes.
The long drive to Cheltenham for the Bugatti La Vie En Bleu weekend, on a hot, sleepy, June day that stretched into a drowsy, perfect evening. The back of the bus to myself, wondering which particular rattling noise was the one that had everyone so - rattled. Standing on the back platform and smiling at the cars passing us. Eating salami and French bread in a layby. Listening for all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Fish and chips in a pub, and watching the last rays of the sunset striking Bredon Hill.
And the next day: sitting in the bus, with scores of beautiful old cars screaming up the track behind us, and the smell of grass and oil and warm leatherette. Just for a moment, nobody on the bus to tell about how it was built in 1935, and ran in Paris until 1970 when my father bought it straight out of service, and how all the smokers had to stand on the back platform, so that was always packed and the saloon was always empty, how the spare seat in the cab is probably for an army officer in the event of the bus being requisitioned, and how the lever on the back platform is an emergency handbrake in case the driver collapses - but, at the moment, none of that. Happy people and hot coffee and this is what we are for.
Earlier in the year, trundling nervously around and around Woking park, determined to get the hang of cycling on two wheels, and, every time, passing a brilliant yellow crocus growing between the roots of a tree, and being startled by it every time.
Singing I Was Glad at Sarah and Rob's wedding. Dancing to Call Me Maybe at Jim and Val's. Laughing at Sarah's inspired choice of postcard for me (we all had book covers; mine was The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism.)
Of late, pelting home from Evensong on my scooter, the pavements deserted and the air pleasantly chilly and the thrill of speed.
At the staff away day, playing moral dilemma team-building games, outlining my grumpy, opinionated and somewhat off-the-wall approach to the 'who do we save from the shipwreck?' problem, to find my partner for the exercise proffering a hand to be shaken, having come up with the exact same solution. (The rest of the group thought we were lazy and callous; we were convinced that ours was the only ethical way to do it.)
The interview for the job I didn't get, which I think was the most enjoyable one I've ever had.
And this one: on the M25, Tony driving the in-laws' car back to them after the move. A CD of hymns (from Ely, I think) on the stereo, a showery day. A rainbow over Heathrow, and planes flying over it, under it, through it, and then: Tell out, my soul, and the two of us putting in the pom pom pom pom, and smiling.
Based on observations of habits and preferences in my own writing recently. I SUPPOSE that what I consider the pinnacle of great writing isn’t necessary EVERYONE’S perfect writing style. So if you want to take a pragmatic view, then you might want to think of this as “how to write like Debi.” But really, it’s more “how to write, by Debi.”
Aaaand as some of these things are currently ‘unpublished’ (i.e. designed for anonymous exchanges) I can’t share examples. Oh well! Ask anyone who’s ever read my stuff, really.
1. If your protagonist’s name lends itself to puns, it is your responsibility to make those puns as often as possible.
(1b. If your protagonist’s name does not lend itself to puns, then you’ve named your protagonist poorly. Change it.)
2. All romances must involve at least some element of one party finding the other ridiculous. The truest form of love, according to Debi, is founded in mockery and mutual condescension.
3. You can always add more lesbians. The trick is knowing when to stop adding lesbians.
4. If writing a story set in a point of Earth’s history, or on an analogy of a point in Earth’s history, it is sometimes acceptable to make anachronistic choices regarding technology of the time. It is NEVER acceptable to be anything other than 100% historically accurate when using slang terms for genitalia.
5. Shipper on deck. Always with the shippers on deck. Every character ships everyone!
6. Try and insult Batman. Sometimes (for example, writing historical fiction set during the French Revolution) it might seem difficult to work in a dig at Batman. I believe in you, you can do it.
This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.
The other day I read a brief review of Allegiance that summed up the character cast as "...nobly born protagonists (the males' names tend to start with the letter K and sound vaguely Slavic) plus a few others..."
And I thought ?
After a day ? turned into ??? because I started to wonder how someone can miss that there is a main character, and that she is a young woman from the merchant class. Or that there are women from all levels of society, from mercenary soldier, to the village healer, to a courtesan/spy, to politicians. Or if they did notice, that they felt it more important to mention the men and their last names and skip over the women entirely.
Apparently, they were also planning on protesting at Paul Walker's funeral, but realized that there was a 100% chance of Vin Diesel and/or the Rock kicking their ass.
I have to admit that I feel too embarrassed to go to panels because I am not remotely current on the state of sf/f anymore and everyone's always talking about authors I've barely even heard about, or whom I've never read, etc. But!
The con panel topic I would kill to go to? How to write space opera battles. I would go! I would tape record! (Or use smartphone, whatever, although I rarely benefit from audio recordings for the same reason audiobooks and podcasts are hard for me and I have to use subtitles even on English-language telly.) I would take notes! Mainly, I want people who actually know what the heck they're doing to please tell me how to do this because I have no idea what I'm doing when I write space opera battles and that probably means I R DOIN IT RONG.
(I'm sorry, I used to have better English than this, but I woke up at 6 a.m. today because lizard.)
I mean, I do write space opera battles so I clearly have some idea of how I might go about doing this. I just feel like a total fraud when I do. My usual trick is to find a floaty metaphor and hang the space combat system off it, and to avoid getting pinned down with too many details. It's a degrees of freedom thing. I remember reading about how there was some ST:TNG ep where they had the night sky above Earth on some actual future date (you know what I mean) and some astronomy-minded Trekkies showed that it was the wrong night sky--I am undoubtedly hashing up the details, but something like that. I live in dread of being caught out. And of course, it's not like we HAVE spaceships. When I thought I was going to be a medievaloid fantasy writer, I could read up on Genoese crossbowmen and trebuchets and the Siege of Alesia and stuff. Star Wars-scale Big Space Battles? Not so much. To say nothing of the inconvenient problem of FTL. Since I usually take Actual Science out back and shoot it between the eyes, I do the traditional thing and have FTL without worrying about Actual Science.
More seriously (?), space battles way the hell out in space tend to look weirdly boring because, look, VAST STRETCHES OF EMPTY SPACE. I would probably have better tools for thinking about this if I knew anything about naval warfare (that's not the Imjin War), although I assume reefs and weather and stuff. (And sharks. The US Army's Survival Manual has the most hysterical survival chapter on sharks. Well. Hysterical if you plan on never, ever swimming. Me, I'm worried about the GATORS.) I would assume it's awfully hard to accidentally run into another space fleet because space is big and lack of terrain is just odd. (More anon.) OTOH if you set things near systems or stars or whatever, you start having to worry about Actual Astronomy and celestial mechanics. (Oh noes!) I don't know about you, but having to work out positions of things and slingshots and whatever in, I don't know, a five-body system or whateverthehell makes me break out in a cold sweat because, look, math major, I hate the thought of numerical methods or whatever you use to solve those equations, the only numbers I want in my life are 0, 1, π, and ∞.
I worry about this a lot because even when you come up with a neat/fun/whatever magitech space combat system, it is often not clear what optimal tactics are. (Or anyway, non-sheerly-wasteful-of-lives tactics.) Or, hell, who am I kidding, look at the ACW and the Great War. :-/ I'll take somewhat plausible tactics. It's hard! It's this whole thought exercise in, Given the particular military/social/cultural/technological/e
In a sense, "The Battle of Candle Arc" was comparatively easy because I had two goals. (Well. Three. #3 was "I need cash." Sorry, guys, I'm really boring.) #1 was to figure out how a particular Ninefox Gambit character had won a battle mentioned in his backstory. #2 was to CHEAT COMPLETELY by cribbing it off Admiral Yi Sun-Shin's Battle of Myeongnyang. Here's the diagram. To be brief, the tactics are not quite isomorphic, but they're as close as I could get while preserving the magitech system in the novel (the whole calendrical warfare thing features heavily). Admiral Yi used fishing boats in the distance to lure the Japanese, who presumably could only see a blur on the horizon and assumed that they had not managed to annihilate the Korean fleet at Chilcheonnyang after all, and decided that they had better make another go of destroying the Korean navy (given the drubbing that Yi had given them in the past they can be forgiven for being paranoid). I could not for the life of me figure out how to do fishing boats in space (I mean, it would have been hilarious, isn't there that one original Trek episode with the giant SPACE AMOEBA?) so I made up randomness (that would be the Rahal lenses). Things like that.
But basically, Myeongnyang relied heavily on a terrain feature. I picked it partly because the terrain feature that Yi exploited was something that I could induce by setting certain parameters, and also because the psychology of dealing with the opponent translated pretty straightforwardly. Plus, while it's possible there is other English-language sf that has TOTALLY CRIBBED off Myeongnyang, I am pretty sure it will not be as crashingly common as something in English-language sf/f like, I dunno, Cannae or Gettysburg or whatever.
For me there's also the whole I AM A FRAUD thing that makes writing battle sequences nerve-wracking. I do try to do my homework. I read a reasonable amount of military history and related stuff. I've only read a few army field manuals but the ones I have are super. But NO WAY NO HOW does that mean I understand anything substantive.
This means that I end up going elsewhere for any kind of insight into how systems translate into practices and paradigms, which is, uh...yeah. You guessed it. Computer games. Also I guess all the stupid arguments I got into on the FIDONET AD&D conference &c. and tabletop stuff. But look, given a weapons system embedded in a social matrix or whateverthehell, it does not strike me as a trivial problem to figure out how best to employ this stuff, not even getting into people having random weird self-serving agendas. So poking around on forums where people are arguing themselves blue in the face about whether character X is god tier or the tier just below, or whether mechanic X is broken, or the best tactics against whatever, or which attack does the most damage (I remember that tactics page for VO Raiden recommending side dash bazooka, my God, if I can tell that's wrongheaded and deeply suboptimal...see? I can do it too). Joe is extra-useful for this because he really gets into this stuff and if I prod him a little he will go into rhapsodies of analysis. Also, let's be real. I write handwavy space opera. A game is probably sufficient as a starting point, as long as the limitations of the model are taken into account. It's not like anyone reads my stories expecting them to sound real. But I want to hear about other approaches to this. Preferably including the ones that don't require you to have a Ph.D. in astrophysics. :-(
(Yes, I know I have an astrophysicist, but he runs away when I try to make him do work. I tell him that the fact that I don't write hard sf is his fault.)
(I think I make this too complicated for myself and next time I should just write about happy tentacle monster pirates. Joe wishes I would shut up about tentacles.)
Anyway, it's been too long since I read Vorkosigan to remember how Big Space Battles are handled, although I'm kind of remembering that most action is on a smaller tactical scale? Aral Vorkosigan is talked up for five-space something-or-other tactics and I am almost certain that this is handwaved and never described in any detail because I am also pretty sure that I watched the text like a hawk looking for details. (This is, BTW, not a complaint--I have no clue what five-space whatever looks like, it's better for everyone this way.) Honestly, I can't remember most of what Miles does other than terrify the hell out of me.
Is David Weber the one (one of the ones?) who got physicists to design his stardrive system and the basic tactics? Or something? I heard something about this, like, 15 years ago and don't remember details. Also it's been about that long since I read any Honor Harrington.
I have only read one of Iain Banks's Culture novels and that was The Player of Games, which I adored, but is not so much with the Big Space Battles.
There's Star Wars, but although I am not really familiar with the Extended Universe, I had a hard time taking the movies seriously because honestly, having a bunch of stormtroopers shoot at you en masse is a GREAT way to guarantee that you will not be hit. (In all fairness, I think I was more impressed with the original movies when I was six, although I apparently was terrified when Luke's hand got cut off.)
I don't think the Last Legionary books (YA) by Douglas Hill really do big space battles, although they're very pulpy space opera in a more individualist mode? There's a lot of hand-to-hand and infrangibility (oh man, I can't look at that word without wincing anymore).
I never finished watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes, whose politics I liked, but I frankly hated the space battle tactics as depicted so badly that I wrote an article for the anime club newsletter taking a flamethrower to them. (No, really. You do not have to get glowy-eyed at the words "oblique order" to look at the battles and go, WTF?)
No idea what Battlestar Galactica reboot qualifies as subgenre-wise but I wasn't tracking real hard. Also, carrier/fighter paradigms are hard for me to think about; I don't know anything about air warfare.
Uh. So who, given the topic, would you put on the panel?
(Oh God, this turned into a ramble...must stop procrastinating, back to work.)