Category Archives: Excessively Diverting

Cupcakes

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A Fly in the Heart of an Apple

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A Fly in the Heart of an Apple
A celibate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in singularity. – Jeremy Taylor

I read in the New York Times where Google’s anthropomorph Sergey Brin inhabited a machine and mingled with the students at Singularity U. – which is a pricey course in the tech and the culture of its namesake, into which I first (belatedly!) got suckered through Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, a heady dose of just a hint of Cory Doctorow’s pure awesome.

The Singularity is a period after which Moore’s Law–where the time it takes for technology to double its power–becomes so incredibly exponential that the world is thrown into a state of perpetual doubling, second-by-second, drip-dripping innovation. A point in time where the definition blurs – the shady distinction between what is Man and Machine.

It’s all very pseudo-fanatical: an almost-religion concocted out of a die-hard belief in the *good* in technology and a back-issue copy of Asimov’s.

I should have been put-off by the dollar signs. A nine-day run at Singularity U. can put an enthusiast back $25K, which sounds like good fare for a scientologist. Unfortunately, I am an unabashed fanboy, so between Google and Doctorow and Vannevar Bush and, honestly, back-issues of Asimov’s, I am increasingly caught-up and cultish …

— and fascinated with the humanity in what would be not all that definably human. Reverse engineer the machine-functional brain and you can digitize consciousness, back it up, distribute copies willy-nilly and not only contain–as Whitman told us–but BE multitudes. Outside of the technological and astronomical singularities, the Singularity of Being is irredeemably blasted.

Here is where the real science fiction comes around: I am incapable of fathoming that I would really have anything to say with myself; rather, unless there is a cohesive network infrastructure with an external sysadmin-on-high, once a “me” is booted-up from some common backup, our paths d i v e r g e.

— speculatively,

Michael.

Thief –, or a dosage of a raw Science [non-]fiction

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At the New York Times: A TINY glass telescope, the size of a pea, has been successfully implanted in the eyes of people with severely damaged retinas, helping them to read, watch television and better see familiar faces.

You mid-nineties gamers remember the antihero Garrett (Thief: the Dark Project / :the Metal Age / : Deadly Shadows / :Gold), having his eye twisted-out by the tree-thing Viktoria, had a steampunk mechanical [telescopic] eye built by the Hammerite, Father Karras.


Sunday is equally lazy. Kristen and I slept late [and she still]. It is just about noon and I am at the glasstable looking out at the little patch of woods just off the porch, and finishing-up “the Hangman” draft – which has taken me only a year to get to this point for measely fifteen-odd pages since I’d written it down. I come back to it every few months, and can’t understand why it is taking me so so so long.

invalidating Dead Witnesses —

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The Explosionist

The Explosionist

— while grooving with Jenny D.’s scientifically-proven paranormality in The Explosionist, I kept wondering just why sleuths in the novel’s world hadn’t simply asked the [presumably good-and-dead] victim directly – or …, vicariously through incense [?] (“–these on the bones of this dead man” etc.). Then p.-268 read

“The basic idea,” Keith said, so earnestly it was almost comical, “is that many serious crimes–murder’s an obvious example–leave no witnesses aside from the perpetrator. So you want to get the dead to testify, but their words are often so vague as to be useless, not to mention that the 1921 decision in Scotland v. Blavatsky affirmed that recordings of the voices of the dead are inadmissible in court. They’re simply too easy to fake.”

and I am subsequently incurably interested in applications of the laws of the living to the dead.

Twi[L]ight Me on Fire, please —

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Hold the Vampiric Phone, already --

Hold the Vampiric Phone, already --

Just now read Laurel Ann’s writeup on Regina Jeffers’ Darcy’s Hunger: a Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I am inclined to feel a little malicious. Only recently my fandom’s been strained when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies awoke in me an already festering disdain for Jane-in-the-Ass [see what I did there?] knockoffs and sequels [many, anyway; some I like].

I’d gotten an early copy of P&P&Z and enjoyed it–digging zombies–for what it was worth, but I am hardpressed to ever designate beyond “fun” and broach “good” – it isn’t; it’s leeching from established Janeite and horror markets and having good fun in the process, and that’s about it. P&P&Z was in the forefront of a monsterification trend, as genre-author fanboys-and-girls “horrify” [tr. verb def. 3] the regency, as if trying to find common ground between the Romantics and Stephanie Meyer.

 Mr. Darcy might be a little dark, but Byronic? I think the circumstance would be different for Regina Jeffers if she retold P&P in the style of–let’s say–Ann Radcliffe [The Mysteries of Darcypho], but–and I don’t mean to judge her prematurely–the preview at Austenprose leads me–Librarian with dwindling respect for sacred cows–to chalk her paperback as Harlequin and file it among volumes of the exact same thing.

— I know I’m being crass, and–if I think about it–I am not scoffing Jeffers’ writing (I am sure she is completely capable) or choice in book, – that isn’t the issue [although it may seem like it]; rather, I am more and more aggravated that Janeites continuously think this sort of thing Novel.

Godforbid, I am almost of the opinion that–if an author isn’t going to model Jane, rethink her in the manner of another contemporary [Radcliffe], exaggerate regency drama as horror [rather than make it horror just-because (P&P&Z would have been loads of fun and smart if the apocalypse were related to ill-feelings vis-a-vis the reverberations of the Fr. Revolution a generation prior)]–why not rename the characters and pawn his or wares as original.

/The Graphic Classroom/ in /Teacher Librarian/

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I read through the grapevine that The Graphic Classroom was plugged in the school-library journal Teacher Librarian, reading: “Web 2.0: The growing popularity of blogs such as The Graphic Classroom, http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com, has provided a way for people to easily share reviews and favorite web sites about age appropriate materials for young people.” — which makes me want to mention (I am sure I have before) that I am really pretty impressed with what Chris Wilson [editor] is achieving through his reviewsite. And although it is [for some ungodly reason] in the shadow of godawful reviewsites like No Flying, No Tights, I am watching for it to take off.

I think [I think] the issue may be that it is geared toward a niche audience, or maybe because it is a blog it is somehow less-worthy than NFNT‘s messy code, which–maybe like Bookslut–earns it status as an eZine. The Graphic Classroom’s multiple talented authors are thorough reviewers (academic in length and structure), and Chris has some well-earned sway among some of the early-reader/ya graphic marketers: it might not be too hard (although it’d certainly be more time consuming) to wrangle authors and illustrators in and interviewed, reports on major industry events (we already do that, but they aren’t gathered in–say–their own corner of the site, but intermingled with the steady stream of reviews).

Using Bookslut as a model and looking through the TGC archives, there are enough reviews, op-eds, features and suchlike, including the obligatory links, Chris’s killer graduate study, archives organized by recommendations, and so on to situate and usurp a NFNT’s position in the YALSA Recommended Websites list. IMHO

[Lizzie] Borden Casket Company

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Over and Under // Todd Tucker

Over and Under // Todd Tucker

Since the great American budget-cut swept through, I just frankly haven’t had the wherewithal to submit my list of volumes of young-adult slag to order. One snuck through–I remember listing it – at some point–which looks to take a solid second-tier following The Explosionist in my spare-time literating*.  I quote:

But in the building summer heat, violence quickly erupts–including an explosion, a murder, and the escape of two fugitives–and the young boys can no longer ignore that the world around them has forever changed. Through their secret observations of labor meetings, both boys feel the effects of the dissolution, and it tests their loyalty and friendship, as well as the town’s spirit.

* — this isn’t a word.