Friday, April 29, 2016

Andrew Darlington on Barrington J. Bayley

Andrew Darlington debuted with the poem “Anthem For A Lost Cause” in the arts magazine Sad Traffic in 1971. Over 3,000 published items have followed, from Music Journalism to Erotica, from closely-researched SF-features to interviews with culture icons—with selections collected into I Was Elvis Presley’s Bastard Lovechild (2001). His short story "My Little Black Egg" appears in the recently published Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5.

Mr. Darlington offers an intriguing review of two novels by Barrington J. Bayley: The Grand Wheel and The Fall of Chronopolis. Considering Bayley's use of complexity as both structural and thematic phenomena, Darlington describes
...potential complexity, piling concept on concept into a staggering theoretical pyramid which views time, like recording tape, regularly overdubbed, looped, spliced, phased, edited, or wiped clean . . . Real-time events occur in random sequence, snaring and discarding individuals without rational motive or reason. And there’s no escape from its illogic, for consciousness is constantly recycled through the same life-time..."
To read the full review, please click HERE.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In the Wake of Mod: a succinct history, clarifiying a distinction, diagnosis, and the looming question

England--swinging London circa 1967--has always been for me "Mod Ground Zero".  But otherwise the closely-related Mods vs. Rockers phenomenon escaped my notice until I listened to Quadrophrenia, but it was still rather vague to me even then (the film at last brought clarification).

I have always viewed Mod as something along the lines of James Bond, The Beatles, the jet set, but focused through even more specific data points: Roger Vadim, Italian neo-Realism (Antonioni - Blow Up), James Coburn playing a gong. With such models under our belts, did we dare to believe in a Mod Internationale?

The Grateful Dead ethos of know-nothing auto-destruction, Charles Manson, Laurel Canyon, Peter Fonda, and so on, brought it all tumbling down, until 1971, when, thank goodness, Stanley Kubrick stepped in to pick up the pieces and get us back on our feet. But in the meantime we had lost our innocence. These days, nostalgia for the technology of the Cold War seems to fill in what's missing, but this is clearly not the path to reviving the spirit of
Mod Internationale, assuming of course we should want to do so.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cthujira (after J. M. W. Turner?)

Here I present Cthujira (Cthulhu + Godzilla) on holiday in Paris, the latest (quasi) Nuova Tecnica image from Dario Rivarossa.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fractal Scaling: observing a possible distinction between a mathematical phenomenon and a perceptual illusion

Observing the distinction is one thing, but finding language to describe the distinction is another.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


We are speechless
In a state of linguistic penury
Dangling from the continent
Of syntactical specific gravity
Into a wash of inarticulateness
Hanging on by the narrow bridge
Of the speech act itself, if at all.

We are was-land, were-land
Is-land, will-land, would-land
Wood-land, main-land, plain-land,
Plane land: disembark through the bridge.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Hermaneutic Fantasy: Prolegomena to Any Past Zenoic Proverbialness

And now dear friend, I shall ask you to consider it possible to travel back through time upon the sedan chair of the imagination, so passing through an infinite number of moments to at last settle into a clear picture of what it is Zeno is saying, moreover with true proverbialness. We move back from one moment to the next, but only to encounter another moment, so on forever, as the number of moments is infinite, and thus the proverbialness we seek remains perpetually an unobtainable carrot at the end of an infinitely long stick.

(Kind thanks to Professor Hodges for allowing me to derive from his theoretical work on one-line poems the neologism "Zenoic Proverbialness.")

Preparing to Meet Zeno

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Emphasis on the following...

The editors are interested in literary writing. The special emphasis in Emanations VI is fiction and poetry with a strong sense of other place and unworldly ways of seeing, feeling, and describing.

If a story or poem makes someone say, "Yes, it is good. But what is it?" then it is right for Emanations.

Essays should be exuberant, daring, and free of pedantry. Accounts of unusual travels will fit well into Emanations VI.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Emanations VI: Call for Submissions

International Authors and the editors of Emanations are happy to announce a Call for Submissions:

Emanations: VI

Emanations is an anthology series featuring fiction, poetry, essays, manifestos and reviews. The emphasis is on alternative narrative structures, new epistemologies, peculiar settings, esoteric themes, sharp breaks from reality, ecstatic revelations, and vivid and abundant hallucinations.

The editors are interested in recognizable genres—science fiction, fantasy, horror, political dystopia, satire, mystery, local color, romance, realism, surrealism, postmodernism--but the chief idea is to make something new, and along these lines the illusion of something new can be just as important. If a story or poem makes someone say, "Yes, but what is it?" then it's right for Emanations. Essays should be exuberant, daring, and free of pedantry. Stories of unusual travels might fit well in VI.  Length is a consideration in making publication decisions, but in keeping with the spirit of the project contributors should consider length to be “open.”

Our editorial vision is evolving. Contributors should see themselves as actively shaping the "vision" of Emanations.

Send files with brief cover note to Carter Kaplan:

Deadline: September 1, 2016

Contributors should place their name in the subject heading, and they should include their name and contact information in the submitted file.

Emanations is a not-for-profit literary project and contributors cannot be compensated at
this time. All proceeds from the sale of Emanations will support the efforts of International Authors to publish new voices from around the world. Contributors receive a copy upon publication.

Please post questions, suggestions and ideas. The project is a collaborative effort, and as we share ideas the "vision" transforms, evolves, and grows. When we write stories and poems we hope to bring to bear the entire battery of modern and postmodern literary devices. More simply: we like good, strong writing. Our essays are incisive, precise, keen, challenging, and driven by the writer's desire to advance an intelligent audience's understanding of important subjects.

The Fine Print:

1) Submit files as follows: double space, Microsoft Word, Times New Roman size #11.  Set Tabs for .2" and set spacing at 15. Use smart quotes. This will help reduce the workload as the editors format book for publication.

2) No simultaneous submissions (contributors should get fairly quick feedback anyway, especially if their submission meets our needs). Material that is obviously pulled from a file and has nothing to do with the goals of the anthology won't get any feedback beyond the initial acknowledgement.

3) Word count/line count? See details above. We're flexible, but contributors should be sensible when considering what they send in. A novella? Well, maybe, and so on.... Rules of thumb: a) Stories: very short to 20-30 pages. b) Poems: send in 5-10 pages. c) Essays: 5-10-30 pages.

4) Published as hard copy only—Emanations will be available on Amazon. Participants who make a substantial contribution of material, editorial work, or art will get a copy. It can take some time to get copies to contributors outside of North America. In the case of our first anthology, for example, it took forty-five days to get a copy to a contributor in to Nepal.

5) In the past, International Authors has made it possible for contributors to purchases copies “at cost” using coupon codes, and so on. International Authors is a consortium, and as such every contributor is a “member” or our community, and contributors are encouraged to help promote the anthology by sending review copies to newspapers, journals and relevant Web sites.

6) Copyright "reverts" to contributors upon publication. That is, after a piece appears in Emanations, the contributor can seek to publish their piece elsewhere. Contributors should understand that Emanations will remain for sale on Amazon indefinitely. All materials appearing in Emanations are under the exclusive copyright of the contributing writers and artists.

7) Note to poets: Please do not send poems as individual files. All poetry submissions should be sent as a SINGLE MircosoftWord file formatted in Times New Roman, size 11.  Please submit three to ten pages.

Published By International Authors
Board of Editorial Advisors

Ruud Antonius, Netherlands/UK/Spain
Steve Aylett, UK
Joolz Barry, UK
Holly Baumgartner, US
Cedric Cester, Spain
Sushma Joshi, Nepal
Carter Kaplan, US
C . E. Matthews, N. Ireland
Philip Murray-Lawson, France
Devashish Makhija, India
Aziz Mustafa, Kosovo
Michael Moorcock, US/UK
Elkie Riches, UK
Dario Rivarossa, Italy
Stephen Sylvester, US
Don Tinsley, US
Hayden Westfield-Bell, UK

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

From Victor Hugo's Bestiary

The above image is Dario Rivarossa's interpretation of the octopus which confronts the protagonist in Victor Hugo's novel The Toilers of the Sea (see Highbrow April 1 for related discussion). The anatomically incorrect mouth (not a parrot beak) is true to Hugo's description, which, as Dario explains, is replete with scientific errors and fanciful assumptions.  To read more on the matter, please click HERE.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Vitasta Raina on "Smart Urban Futures: The Liveable City of New India"

International Authors editor and author of the novella Writer's Block, Vitasta Raina has recently written on the psychological fragmentation of the contemporary Indian urban landscape. According to Ms. Raina, this fragmentation represents a key challenge to creating a new (and needed) urban plan--a plan that, she believes, must be central to Modern India's search for identity. I should add that her analyses of India's contemporary urban scene foreshadows larger issues that, in future, we should expect to see globally:
The instability of identities demonstrated in the dichotomies of rural vs. urban, public vs. private, eastern vs. western, formal vs. informal, realty vs. architecture, politico-economics vs. grass root societies, etc. have created divisions and segregations within the urban realm making cities unsafe experiences for the mass of inhabitants.
Our cities have thus emerged as non-places in the grey areas between accident and design, between ethnicity and genderlessness, being led by forward thinkers motivated by tradition. The dynamics of contemporary Indian urbanism, the physical needs and social characteristics of urban Indian societies and the interactions of the inhabitants with the built-environment has essentially never been defined.
Complicating the situation, increases in population "could lead to a collapse of Urban India, even before it has fully risen."

To read more of Ms. Raina's analyses and solutions for India's architectural and urban planning challenges, please click HERE.

Vitasta Raina

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tasso on the Aesthetics of Horror

 From Creation of the World, Day 5: 1222-35
As a painter, who portrays the pallor
and bleakness of a dead body, adorning
a bloodless face with the hues of death,
also adds there horrid beasts and frightening
monsters, and verisimilar ones at that:
though, as true-to-life, he may frighten you,
the mere illusion of those painted features
and his craftsmanship can delight you;
so, by means of these colors and lights
of poetical style, together with these
shadows of poetry, I create dreadful
shapes, and I thus try my best to please
the most sublime minds, and from deep horror
draw such delight that satisfies the more wise.
A footnote engages these ideas:
Among the “manifestos” we have already come across, this one is the most radically Tassean. Cf. Gerusalemme Liberata 1, stanza 3, but capsizing it: there, beautiful descriptions aimed at attracting readers and making them “drink” (that’s the verb Tasso uses) the more serious contents; here, a frightening surface calls the readers to a paradoxical discovery of Light and Beauty at a deeper level—in poetry as well as in life. Melville assumes a like posture in Moby-Dick, ch, 1: “Not  ignoring what is good, I am quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it—would they let me—since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of the place one lodges in.”

Friday, April 1, 2016

"I lavoratori del mare"

In the wake of my Easter blog which spawned a discussion between Dario Rivarossa and your humble Highbrow host touching on dark literary significations of the sea, Dario sends me this nuova tecnica image inspired by Victor Hugo's Toilers of the Sea 

"I lavoratori del mare"