Tag: criticism

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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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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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Troubletown Turns Twenty

Only by chance did I notice that Lloyd Dangle, cartoonist and creator of Troubletown, is currently tramping across America on a 20th Anniversary Book Tour, celebrating two decades of ceaseless trouble! How can it be that most people know Dangle only because of his Airborne packages, and not for his amazing comics?

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Going to Hell in the Human Age

In an interview recently posted on StarShipSofa, Michael Moorcock said that he really didn’t want to write a memoir because he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by remembering things differently t

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Thank the Stars for Writers Block!

Yes, it has now been 22 years since I last finished writing a novel. A short career that began during a delirious summer (amid a gaggle of noisy ducks and cases of Liebfraumilch) and lasted until confronted with rewriting my third novel for the fourth time for yet another agent who just wanted a bitter laugh, no doubt. Six years altogether, during which I earned less than enough to buy a cup of coffee every week, and yet demanded from myself the discipline of a fakir and the liver of Charles Bukowski. So you can imagine it is with no small irony or sense of unbounding freedom and joy that I can look back over the last 22 years and thank all the Bodhisattavas in the Western Lands that I have not got the itch to write another novel during the entire time!

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CUSFuSsing Fanzine Archive

Yes, in the late 1970s there were some *very* weird science fiction fans at Columbia University. Some read stacks of comics and novels every day, then meticulously reviewed them for the Columbia Univ

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Critics at Large

Among the many brilliant comedy sketches by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, their dialog over sandwiches at the art museum is a riot. Questioning the value of huge investments for public art, they pass