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The Groove is Analog

I was talking with my friend Don about this cool book I am reading about the rocket scientist John Whiteside Parsons — _Strange Angel_ — when the conversation somehow changed tracks to Le

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Odd Times in the Year of the Ox

Happy New Year Everyone! Let us hope for peace and, more importantly, work together to achieve it! Don’t let the gloom turn to gray, show your colors!

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Bust Out of Energy Addiction

Isn’t it about time we moved beyond the idiotic “central heating” concept and kicked our energy habit? But how, you might ask, do we get this 100 quadrillion BTU monkey off our back? The answer, as

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Visual Trope: the Alien Encounter

On this snowbound Solstice weekend in New England, I happened to be reading reviews of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, and pondering the ways in which humans have envisioned our first contact with alien life forms. Without going too heavily into the subject, I pondered the range of human-alien frission typically presented in SF, from the over-hyped assumption of instant warfare, or the however improbable love at first site, to the more nuanced anthropological approaches of Chad Oliver and the intensely portrayed psychological gestalts of Theodore Sturgeon. At that point Sturgeon’s amazing story To Marry Medusa (aka _The Cosmic Rape_) popped into my mind, and in particular the lush red cover image for the 1968 paperback by Paul Lehr. This image, so typical of Lehr (with a mountainous half-organic construction looming in the center, while miniscule beings flit around it like so many fleas,) represents the contact between human and alien minds in the realm of abstraction and metaphor. In that sense it fascinates more than the familiar image of some athletic dork with a ray gun zapping the tentacles off of a bug-eyed wierdo.

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How to envision Lem?

An interesting problem: illustrate a cover for the fiction of Stanislaw Lem. How would you do it? Here is a nice little gallery of rarely seen Lem covers, collected by one of the very best tribu

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Burnt By the Sun, Screaming Into the Ether

Went to the opening of an exhibit called Arts of Subversion, Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, which is a very nicely curated show that explores the lives of artists under the opressive fist o

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Whats in the Air Over Saturn?

Interesting images captured by Cassini show us the sky over Saturn’s north pole, spanned by a hexagon of clouds in fixed rotation with the gas giant. The scientists at NASA aren’t quite sure what is

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Fires of Fomalhaut

Yes, Virginia, we have visuals of extra-solar planets! Of course, this is nothing new to astronomers… Since Gallileo first spotted the moons of Jupiter we knew they were out there, spinning in the

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Rogue Waves Stir the Waters

Along with the landslide victory for Obama, mystery waves were thrashing the shore of southeastern Maine on Tuesday afternoon. The Boston Globe reports that the water level suddenly rose 12 feet i