30 Years of Future: Essential Cyberpunk

iO9cyberPic

Via iO9, Diana Biller writes:

It’s now been over three decades since cyberpunk first exploded, and in that time we’ve seen gorgeous movies, read fascinating books, and seen dozens of offshoots like steampunk (and my new favorite, deco punk) develop. Here are the 21 cyberpunk books you absolutely must read.

Read More

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Murder in the Cathedral

beaver_street_baptist

I’ve always thought this church looked cool, but I had no idea of its scandalous past. Here’s a great article by Tim Gilmore about 1963 skullduggery and scandal. Woodstock Park: Beaver Street Baptist Church / Jacksonville Baptist Temple / Cathedral of Faith.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don Lee is a Rock Solid Fan

Don Lee at the final resting place of Richard Sharpe Shaver, displaying some of the many books dedicated to the Shaver Mystery

Don Lee at the final resting place of Richard and Dorothy Shaver, displaying some of the many books dedicated to the Shaver Mystery

Here is one of the best articles about Richard Shaver that I’ve seen in a long time. All the older Shaver articles are great and sometimes I reread them, but here’s a guy who recently went out and did something. This is up-to-date. The guy’s name is Don Lee. He also publishes a newsletter called “Real Weird.” You can order a copy for $5.00 or offer to trade your own zine by writing to: Don Lee, 185 N. Main St # J, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Richard Toronto introduces the piece like this:

It’s rarer still, that a fan drives to nearby Yellville and the old Layton Cemetery to put flowers at the Old Man’s grave, but that’s what Arkansas fan Don Lee did on April 11, 2015. Which is why Don has been named Shavertron’s “Fan of the Year.”

Click here to read more

Beautiful pictures, by the way…

Don Lee Shaver House

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Parallel Blog Effect

Parallel book cover    Time Heist book cover

There is a blog called Red Eagle’s Legacy, and on that blog, there is an interview with Anthony Vicino, who has a blog called One Lazy Robot. Anthony Vicino is also the author of a novella that I enjoyed reading, called Parallel. I thought, why don’t I route the blog with an interview about a book and another blog through my blog – maybe the end result will be atomic fission. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

 Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:

REL: I really enjoyed the framework of the parallel dimensions. This sci-fi conceit has been used plenty of times by many different authors and screenwriters, but you used it in a very accessible way. Did you have any inspiration for this?

AV: If I’d written Parallel forty years ago it would’ve been a solid twenty pages longer filled with dense info-dumping. Readers back then simply didn’t have the frame of reference for it. I’m lucky that in the past twenty years there have been a lot of great television shows (Sliders and Fringe) playing with this very idea. As a story device it’s been flushed out enough in popular culture that you only have to lay the barest groundwork and people can jump right in and hit the ground running.

REL: Speaking of well used tropes which was written completely naturally, the Aurora/computer integration. Felt like this was one of the strongest parts of the story background. Your concept of the data integration to the mind just seemed obvious, but I’ve never quite seen it presented this way before. To me it felt like the natural step to where the future of technology is headed. Is that how you see it? Are future humans going to have more interconnection with computers? What’s the basic breakdown of your thought percentages? (i.e.. 5% to breathing, 40% to getting food, 50% wondering if the Marvel universe is actually good or just better than most low brow entertainment the public is fed, etc.)

AV: Oh man, my thought percentages would be so peculiar. I have pretty severe ADHD so I don’t multi-task very well. I work best when I focus one hundred percent on a single task until it’s finished and then move onto the next thing.

The thing I find fascinating about computer integration is that progress in this area is all about improving efficiency. We already interact with our computing systems (smart phones and computers), but we lose so much potential productivity simply as a consequence of how we’re interacting. The logical step is to remove the barrier between computer and brain, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two.

I deal with this concept a lot in my book Time Heist, because the possibilities are limitless. Researchers have already shown such amazing progress in the field of neuroprosthetics (cochlear implants, motor neuroprosthetics that restore movement to individuals with motor disabilities, visual implants) that it’s hard imagining a future where this technology is not as common place as current smart-phones.

P.S. Let me know when you figure out whether or not Marvel is actually any good. This question keeps me up at night. We might need Aurora on this one.

Read the Entire Interview

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

For a New Novel: Reading Robbe-Grillet by Fred Skolnik

Robbe-Grillet The Erasers    Robbe-Grillet For a New Novel

Via Sein und Werden, here’s a good article by Fred Skolnik called Reading Robbe-Grillet. It begins:

Alain Robbe-Grillet came to the attention of fiction readers in the 1950s with a series of extraordinary novels whose declared aim was to take the modern break with the traditional narrative a step further and help create a “new realism.” The line of development with which he associated himself included Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Proust, Kafka, Joyce, Faulkner, Beckett. Other representatives of the New French Novel included Marguerite Duras and Nathalie Sarraute (Tropismes, Portrait d’un inconnu).
Robbe-Grillet’s own novels appeared in regular succession during the Fifties: Les Gommes (The Erasers) in 1953,
Le Voyeur in 1955, La Jalousie in 1957 and Dans le labyrinthe in 1959; then the screenplay for L’année dernière à Marienbad in 1961 and the theoretical essays of Pour une nouveau roman in 1963.
The novels made a very strong impression on me – they were unique and certainly intriguing . . . A novel, he wrote, should no longer be a contrivance setting out “to illustrate a truth known in advance” but something that invents itself and in the process finds its own meaning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Galapagos Regained Reviewed

Galapagos Regained by James Morrow

Review by Bill Ectric

Galapagos Regained Book Cover  James Morrow, Author                                                                                            James Morrow

James Morrow writes with a great sense of fun and wonder. In Galapagos Regained, he regales us with a surreal 1850s adventure that is equal parts historical fiction, metaphysical treatise, and Pirates of the Caribbean spree. Fictional characters interact with actual historical figures, including Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Gregor Mendel, Rosalind Franklin, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Samuel Wilberforce. The fact that some of these notable individuals were not contemporaries is resolved by a time/space anomaly, localized in a Turkish hookah den, which apparently acts as a hub for historical figures to weave in and out through swirling clouds of cannabis smoke.

The novels’ conflict revolves around a debate between Biblical Creationists and Scientific Evolutionists. The Percy Bysshe Shelley Society pledges a £10,000 award to anyone who can either prove or disprove the existence of God. Two competing groups embark on expeditions – one to Mount Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark to confirm the Genesis flood; the other to Galapagos, hoping to discredit the Genesis creation story with evidence of evolution. Morrow is a scientific humanist and a critic of the Church, but his satire is not unkind. He seems to understand the mindset of people on either side of the argument. Almost everyone in this novel, atheist or Christian, mystic or scientist, fictional or historical, is vividly human. For the most part, they are capable of civilized debates and peaceful coexistence. I say “for the most part” because anytime money and power are at stake, blood will be shed, and this exploit is no exception.

Morrow chose to write this book in a style reminiscent of 19th century authors, without sacrificing ease of readability, which helps to set the mood and is often quite entertaining. Chapters have titles like “The Pigeon Priest Moves From His Parsonage to a Madhouse, Even as Our Heroine Arranges to Circumnavigate a Continent,” and “Recruited into an Unlikely Army, Our Heroine Ponders the Doctrine of Just War and Savors the Virtues of Hallucinogenic Snuff.” The combination of style and subject matter triggered my memory of an M. R. James short story, “Two Doctors,” written in 1919, in which a doctor asks a minister if he believes in the existence of satyrs, given that those mythical creatures are mentioned in some versions of the Bible. The minister replies, “I am not seldom called abroad pretty late; but I have no mind of meeting a satyr in our Islington lanes in all the years I have been here; and if you have had the better luck, I am sure the Royal Society would be glad to know of it.”

At least one character in Galapagos Regained observes that neither the existence of an ark nor evidence of evolution can ultimately prove or disprove God’s existence. It is the twists and turns of the quest that make the book such a pleasure to read. There are strange encounters, a hot air balloon, high chicanery, romantic interludes, philosophical enigmas, and even a couple of mind-flips that reminded me of Philip K. Dick’s VALIS. Galapagos Regained is the best book I’ve read so far in 2015.

Read More at Amazon.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Lantern Cage (Kelly Grovier)

Bill Ectric:

I enjoy reading about mystics, astrologers, physicians, and astronomers from history past. This sounds good.

Originally posted on Phil Clement:

This review originally appeared on the website of the New Welsh Magazine and I’m extremely grateful to them for posting it. 

Kelly Grovier 'The Lantern Cage'

The Lantern Cage, Kelly Grovier’s third collection with Carcanet Press, is a playful exploration of the mysteries lurking at the margins of our perception; a collection ‘whose object / is larger than it appears’. Frequent references to 16th Century astrologers and astronomers conjure an atmosphere of mysticism in which poems appear on the page as if ‘in the language of the dream’, while visual and syntactic puns tease at the internal logic of the poems, often adding to the unsolvable nature of their subjects.

Grovier’s poetry is precise and well-crafted. Throughout the collection a combination of enjambment dropped lines are employed to great effect and lend the poems an aural quality that demands they be read aloud. In ‘Slip’ this feature evokes within the reader a sense of…

View original 544 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized