Great news! Mike Brown, the man responsible for Pluto’s demotion, was kind enough to respond to this letter, published at The Nervous Breakdown. He quoted certain places and responded. I’ve outlined the questions I asked here:
From my letter: First, since you killed Pluto, have you considered making Pluto your trophy, like the Predator does with the skeletons of his quarry?.
Mike Brown’s response: I have a picture of Pluto with a black eye on my door. That’s about as close as I get, I think.
From my letter: About Eris: As I understand it, before Eris and its moon Dysnomia received their official designations, you referred to them as Xena and Gabrielle, obvious references to the TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess. Did you discuss this beforehand with Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor, the stars of that show?
Mike Brown’s response: I didn’t ask ahead of time, but Lucy Lawless did call to say thanks, so I think she, at least, was OK with the idea.
From my letter: Finally, one last question. As you killed Pluto, I have to ask: have you ever played Mortal Kombat? Given your skill at dispatching actual planetary objects, you’d probably be pretty good at killing virtual enemies. Then again, Mortal Kombat was probably a generation or so after your time, but you played Asteroids, right?
Mike Brown’s response: I was a Space Invaders guy. I thus think of Pluto not as some asteroid bystander to get out of the way, but as an evil alien menace attacking. It makes me feel better about myself.
From my letter: P.S. What is your view on the brontosaurus?
Mike Brown’s response: I think it is wrong for scientists to change terms I learned when I was a kid.