Stanford Professor Nalini Ambady needs your help

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Worlds Without End

Fabulous Picture!

Fabulous Realms

This is going to be a sort of companion piece to my recent post One Hundred Realms. In that article I discussed the various genres and sub-genres within the fantasy field. I think that most people would agree that, whatever type of fantasy novel you’re writing or reading, an intricately detailed world is likely to be at its heart. Indeed the very act of world-building – i.e. creating an entire world out of one’s head and putting it on a page – is a defining characteristic of fantasy fiction. Sadly, at least half of those worlds are rubbish – and I say that with the dubious benefit of having read as much of the good half as the bad half over the years! I’m far from the only one who finds this frustrating – no less a fantasy luminary than Ursula Le Guin once vented her annoyance at poorly written fantasy in…

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The Universe [First Official Blog Post]

Good luck, Brendon!

The Thoughts of Brendon

I find it strangely beautiful and terrifying of how ignorant we can be of the universe. We know that life exists and goes on all around us, but can we really comprehend it all? Can I understand what it means to be an ant? Do I understand the inner thoughts/desires of a salmon as it swims up stream to breed and die?

I seem to have this programmed thought process in my mind that life has to be fair and that everything has to be all right; but does the cow have any idea of freedom as it is let to the slaughterhouse? We (humans) seem to justify our lives having more significance by our mental processes and feelings; but does our life mean more than a caterpillar’s? I don’t mean to give off a sense of melancholy with all this talk of our lives meaning nothing because I don’t…

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The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth by Roger Zelazny

I believe it’s time to finally check out Roger Zelazny!

book reviews forevermore

The Doors of His Face
Recommended for: Zelazny fans, short story fans
Read from July 15 to September 15, 2012
★ ★ ★ ★

 

Zelazny was a master at the short, novelette and novella (rather a pity, since his world-building often leaves me wanting much more) and this collection almost consistently kicked my mental butt for his exploration of humanity and his creativity. His use of language is impressive; he can write directly, clear-cutting to a quiet moment in the middle of a hurricane, or he can weave together words to perfectly describe an alien sunrise. There is tone of melancholy running through these stories, themes of time and loneliness, but how he translates it into exotic settings is amazing. Who knew he was such a romantic? A few weaker works are included, as well as one or two that seemed like they were fun writing exercises, but even his least efforts are worth…

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Science is FICTION – Jean Painleve

These creatures are more intelligent than most humans know. I advise against eating them.

ryangarwood photographer

A very interesting film shown to me in University by Stephen Gill. The cover photo already shows how much it can be related to the work I am doing with Hannah. Below is a small part of one of the films, the soundtrack is quite surreal. Stephen suggested it could make a very interesting backdrop for the images I am creating and I agree. I would like to create a fashion film to go along side the images I make and I think using this video would work more so with moving image, rather than the stills.

“Advocating the credo “science is fiction,” Painlevé managed to scandalize both the scientific and the cinematographic world with a cinema designed to entertain as well as edify. He portrayed sea horses, vampire bats, skeleton shrimps, and fanworms as endowed with human traits — the erotic, the comical, and the savage. Painlevé single-handedly established…

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Philip K. Dick, “The Divine Invasion” (1981)

Interesting turn by the man responsible for the origin of “Blade Runner”.

Neither Kings nor Americans

Philip K. Dick’s The Divine Invasion is the second in the loosely joined “VALIS trilogy.”  There three novels reflect Dick’s late life obsession with religious themes., often identified with a gnostic turn in Dick’s writing.  Perhaps this is a consequence of his earlier concerns about the fragmentary nature of reality and time.  If the physical reality is uncertain and dubious, why not turn to the religious or spiritual realm for security.  I do not want to speak of this as a loss, since we do not lose Dick’s earlier works that had much more mature responses to the crisis of late capitalism.  Nevertheless, what Dick is doing in The Divine Invasion and the VALIS trilogy is an essentially different answer to late capitalism to the ones that satisfied him for most of his career.  To make it clear, for most of his career, Dick believed that human solidarity, self-sacrifice, and…

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