Tag Archives: science

Writing: Horror Library

Today, another wee chat about writing and reviews. Horror Library Vol. IV has had fewer reviews (and maybe I’ve post this already) than Evolve but there are still many who could review or post yet. Since both of these anthologies are on the long list for a Stoker award I figured I’d post some of the reviews here. My story has not been mentioned very much in the Horror Library volume either. Wah! So it goes for the little monkey.

http://www.paperbackhorror.com/2010/12/horror-library-volume-4-ed-by-rj.html

http://hellnotes.com/horror-library-volume-4-book-review did say:


Horror Library Vol. IV

Mental metamorphosis and mutation of the mundane are themes in “I Am Vision, I Am Death” by Erik Williams, and Colleen Anderson’s “Exegesis of The Insecta Apocrypha.” In the Williams story, dreams/visions blur with the seemingly substantive. Perception of identity is fragile and dicey. Persona pales when a mysterious hitchhiker catapults the central character into a twilight zone of recognition and acceptance. The final tale in the book belongs to Anderson: It is a doozy. Insects rule in this yarn. They are the protagonist’s objects of focus and desire. Obsession is taken to horrific heights, as the author weaves and

buzzes; bites and burrows; getting firmly under the skin.

http://www.zone-sf.com/wordworks/horlibv4.html

http://shroudmagazinebookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/horror-library-vol-4.html

For Evolve there are so many reviews that the central site to find most of them is here: http://www.vampires-evolve.com/NEWS_Page.html There are also many interviews with Nancy Kilpatrick on the same site. It may not list every review but has a goodly number and a few I hadn’t see before.Black Static’s magazine says:

Evolve

This is a book however in which the good outnumber the indifferent by a considerable margin, with a satisfying amount of stories that put moral dilemmas at their centre. ‘An Ember Amongst the Fallen’ by Colleen Anderson is one of the highlights of the collection. The story is set in a world of vampires, where humans are cattle and their masters discuss if they are capable of intelligent thought and feeling, and the worst crime is for a vampire to have sex with one of the beasts. It’s a clever reversal of traditional stereotypes, reminiscent in a way of Planet of the Apes, with a subtext about racism and the story brutal enough in places to horrify, both on the visceral level and intellectually.

Montreals Rover Arts http://roverarts.com/2010/05/stretching-the-vampiric-envelope/said:

In “An Ember Amongst The Fallen,” Colleen Anderson gives the reader an all-too-visual/tactile glimpse at a world where humans are used as cattle for food and blood – and the results when the metaphoric apartheid barriers are crossed.

And one more sample from A Novel Approach where he said:

An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson was another troubling, yet clever story. In this version of reality, humans are relegated to the status of cattle and are harvested as such. It is ever so slightly reminiscent of Planet of the Apes in the role reversal it applies to humans as animals. If you are squeamish, you will find this story very disturbing. It was sometimes difficult to read but played interestingly to how we view our food.

So if you want to vote for Evolve or Horror Library IV or even me in the case of the Auroras http://www.prix-aurora-awards.ca/wordpress/, then I suggest reading these very good volumes (and not just because I’m in them. Writers and other artists do want to be known for their art. We monkeys of all sizes do have some vanity. All humans do.

And if you want to give input on the new cover of Evolve II then you can go to this site and vote. http://vampchix.blogspot.com/2011/02/which-appeals-more.html The two covers are called Banshee for the more blue colored one and Embrace for the darker cover. I’m not in the second volume because I didn’t submit anything. Just ran out of time with other projects.

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Writing: How to Ignore Women

Here we go again. You’d think a few people might learn by now. And perhaps these fellows truly believe the greatest writers that ever lived or live are all men. But you would think that if they include the very first and the very latest there might even be one woman? Albeit a list of the Top Ten SF Writers of all time is a pretty small list, but still.

Who are Shaun Nichols and Iain Thomson that they would be experts on SF writers? Well, they are techy geeks guys, which by definition makes them SF fans. And they write for http://www.v3.co.uk , some techy geek site that does Top Ten this and that. And as readers of SF they are as qualified as you and me. Here’s a bit culled form their bios on the site. Shaun Nichols is the US Correspondent for V3.co.uk, and primary writer and editor for the Mac Inspector blog. He holds a BA in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Iain Thomson is the US editor of V3.co.uk and was previously technical editor of PC Magazine, reviews editor of PC Advisor and editor of Aviation Informatics.

Now, within the restrictions of the top ten, they decided to go with SF novel writers, not short stories, nor with TV or movies, though they gave an honorable mention to Gene Roddenberry. They mentioned they’re going to get hammered on their list, and seem to be looking at who has had a”key role in inspiring research and eventual technological development.” Okay, that’s one way to put it but their list won’t hold true to all of their choices though the great three, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, whose fiction did inspire inventions and many of them are named after the artifacts in the books (a waldo is one example).

They in fact wanted to put the writers of Red Dwarf onto the list but maybe it was TV before it was a book? And I’m not sure how Red Dwarf inspired technological development. As well, the authors say, “SF deals with the possible and sets specific constraints on the writer. Fantasy, to my mind, is just an excuse to develop alternative realities with no reference to the real world.” This is a pretty important quote because it means all the SF they mention needs to be Earth-centric. But how? Do the books only need to have humans who once began on Earth? Does it need to refer to Earth in the course of the book? Does Earth have to be central to the plot, because indeed there is much SF that does not take place on Earth or the “real world.” And what exactly constitutes the real world? The real world today, fifty years from now, a thousand years from now, a hundred years in the past or a world that would be if X happened?

The ten names are all recognizable to SF readers: Iain Banks, H.G. Wells, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, Jules Verne and Arthur Clarke as number one. Okay, real world and Douglas Adams? Hmm, it’s humor but is it possible? In fact, some of these authors write plausible futures but probable? Not likely. Still, most of them were influential to the genre. David Brin would count as would others not mentioned, but what is really missing are the women. Saying only hard science counts, or mundane SF, might help if the list didn’t have Douglas Adams, or Ellison in that sense. Maybe there weren’t any women of influence in SF, but that’s just not true.

Ursula Le Guin is one who comes to mind. For mimicking parts of US fundamentalism mixed into politics you could even have Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, or Orwell’s 1984. Writers of long ago? What about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein? That’s spawned many a tale and Soviet experiments of truly frankensteinian nature of attaching a pup to an adult dog or two heads to a dog. But maybe she didn’t write enough. Other female authors include Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffery (oops her world is not Earth based), Sherri Tepper, James Tiptree, Kage Baker, Doris Lessing (How many other SF authors have received a Nobel prize in literature?), Pat Murphy and Pad Cadigan who had a book filled with people watching numerous weather channels or food channels and it was called food porn and weather porn. That book prophesied aspects of today.

It would have helped to name more specifically what the writers contributed. But with each of the definitions the writers of the piece gave, there were at least several authors who did fit that description. I think that a woman stepping into the SF ring alone changed the history of much and there should at least be honorable mentions. But Nichols and Thomson can redeem themselves, should they choose to do the Top Women SF Writers of all time, if they’ve read any.

TopSFWritersofAllTime

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Weird Science: It’s all About the Brains


We have a few years to go until brain or head transplants are carried out, and long before they’re common, if ever. However, serious research was done on transplanting heads in the 50s. Bizarre to think of but then heart transplants were once unheard of. This fascinating article (below) opened my eyes.

The article asks near the end, but would we want to do this? Earlier it raises the possibility of such science being used for someone whose body is dying but the brain is alive. Would it be beneficial to paraplegics who cannot use their bodies because of spinal cord injuries? In theory, with enough scientific research, head transplants could become possible.

Would the the person pick up phantom memories from his/her host body or have phantom pains from the old one? Would there be a disembodied or disassociated feeling? Since phantom pain is a very real phenomenon and there is some indication of people with heart transplants having memories that belonged to the host’s heart, it’s an interesting realm of the unexplored.

Vladimir Demikhov was one of the pioneers, in Russia, where Stalin was trying to beat the West in medical science. A no-holds barred approach ensued where Russian doctors dreamed the unthinkable. Demikhov, in the height of the 50s, believed any organ could be transplanted, like hearts and lungs. We have now seen many of those and in the last few years, people getting heart, lungs and stomachs transplanted all at once. Now that a face transplant has been done, who knows how close we could be, but sometime just maybe, your head could end up on another body.

Transplanting a head is probably easier than transplanting a brain, since there are less very touchy nerves and such to reattach. Still it’s a formidable thing, to put a head on another body. However, Robert White, in the US, then took up the challenge and transplanted a brain into the neck of a dog. The brain lived for several days but no one could ask it if it still thought. The freakish Frankenstein dog with the puppy’s head attached lived for six days, both dogs panting if hot, drinking and retaining individual personalities.

White went further and replaced one rhesus monkey’s head with another. It could drink, bite and watch what was going on. But it couldn’t move its body. Since there are still a phenomenal number of nerve threads that would have to be reconnected, it was beyond the doctors’ abilities. White argued that a paraplegic whose body was dying could at least have another body to keep the head alive, even if they still couldn’t move.

Dr. Frankenstein may have been a bizarre imagining of Mary Shelley, but only time will tell if science can transplant our heads. I joke about having my brain put into a new body and someday it could be true. However, I do have to say the whole two-headed dog head thing is kinda gross and creepy, to say the least. Shades of Mars Attacks.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=426765

or: http://static.scribd.com/docs/kewb70kz1183c.pdf

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