Readercon 25 Appearances

article posted 44 days ago

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be attending Readercon, The Conference on Imaginative Literature, over the coming weekend. I’m scheduled for a number of events, including a reading and two panels. Here is my schedule:

Friday July 11
2:00 PM ENV Reading. I will read from either Subtle Bodies or The City’s Gates.

Saturday July 12
10:00 AM F When the Other Is You. Chesya Burke, Samuel Delany, Peter Dubé, Mikki Kendall, Vandana Singh, Sabrina Vourvoulias (leader).

Sunday July 13
10:00 AM F Variations on the Theme of Unreliable Narrators. Peter Dubé, Theodora Goss (leader), Eileen Gunn, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso.

All the details on the Conference can be found here

Hope to see you!

Oh, the Other Side of the Coin...

article posted 45 days ago

Here’s a quick-reading piece that actually questions the received wisdom regarding e-books.

Though not entirely convincing, it is nice to see a little balance ruffle the unquestioning “wow cool!” euphoria that inevitably accompanies any new tech.

Life and Literature

article posted 46 days ago

One of the things that I’ve tended to see as problematic in much contemporary discussion of books is the emphasis on the author and his or her biography – as if the key to a work’s meaning lay in the detritus of daily life rather than the writing itself. This feels terribly reductive to me; it seems to close down the text rather than opening it up. It seems vaguely related to the worst elements of celebrity culture too… with its obsessive stalking of movie stars’ love lives and outfit choices.

All that said, it’s an old debate and one that is unlikely to ever vanish.

Recently these pieces appeared in the Times. Although far from the final word, of course, they’re fairly good considerations of some of the issues at hand.

The Writing Brain

article posted 53 days ago

I’m often a little suspicious of research that seeks to “explain” the creative process, as if something so complex could be reduced to a single cause or source, but it is sometimes interesting nonetheless.

This article offers some food for reflection. So, I’ve decided to share it in case it should it be of interest to you!

International Surrealist Exhibition

article posted 88 days ago

Some of you may want to know about the big International Surrealist Exhibition opening in Montreal next month. It represents an very rare opportunity to have a look at what’s happening in contemporary surrealism around the world.

Here are the details:

4844, Boul. Saint-Laurent,
Montréal, Québec.
From June 5th to 17th, 2014
Hours : 1-8 PM

Vernissage: Saturday, June 7th at 5 PM, with films and music by Six Heads, Sonarchy, Johannes Bergmark, Songs of the New Erotics, Hal Rammel, Inaki Munoz, Mal Occhio and Thom Burns.
Readings and roundtable on June 8th at 5 PM.

Creativity and Commerce... One More Time

article posted 102 days ago

The Times has an interesting piece on the economics of making creative work in the age of a growing chorus of digital “me too’s!”

Though there are days it feels like a whole host of deeply questionable ideas – like “culture should be free,” “gatekeepers are bad” and “there are no objective criteria” for judging creative work – have come together in a nearly-perfect storm for dumbing the world down, I’m still trying to hold on to hope. Still, It is always worth taking a moment to reflect on some of the implications of the current cultural landscape… whether things are that bad or not.

So, you can find the article here if you’d like a look.

The "Secret(s)" of Happiness

article posted 106 days ago

Although it looks as if there isn’t much that comes as a complete surprise (at least to me) it is a remarkable thing to have a look at a 75-year study of what men need to live a happy life. And that is what Harvard has recently completed.

That’s a long longitudinal study!

This review offers some of the basic findings. A 2012 book authored by the director of the study is likely to provide more depth, and I find myself thinking about reading it.

Anyhow, have a look and see what you find of interest. I’m sure most of us can agree, however, that a warm, loving relationship is a very good thing indeed.

For Your Consideration

article posted 137 days ago

Recent research confirms what we probably all suspected regarding screen reading. Still, it is disconcerting to see the extent of it… and reassuring to see how it can be corrected.

Beyond the obvious issues – and I certainly enjoy reading a lengthy, complex novel and intend to continue doing so, social media or no social media – the erosion of long-form reading (and comprehension) has implications that move way beyond literary matters. So… ordinarily one might say “enjoy,” but that seems wrong at this juncture.

So, here it is. See what you think!

Once More, the Landscape as it Changes

article posted 171 days ago

Now, there’s been a lot said, written, and broadcast about the “seismic” shifts the publishing business has undergone (and continues to undego) but this article provides an interesting look at how all this can actually play out. It’s not without flaws of course (what is?)

All that aside, the piece does raise some interesting points about the actual lives of a trio of (interestingly enough, relatively successful or “tending-to-privileged”) writers and the way they’ve been affected by those proverbial changes. And, at the very least, that’s a nice change of pace from all the abstract debate, or tales of corporate suffering…

Here’s the article

Reviewing, Commenting and the "Consumption" of Literature...

article posted 200 days ago

There’s a lot to say about the situation of reviewing and literary criticism these days, but it is especially nice to see the points Catton raises here made so clearly. Her discussion of what elitism actually means is a healthy correction to the too-often sloppy way so many terms get thrown around in contemporary discourse, and her point about consumer culture in this context is interesting as well.

I’m surprised I didn’t come across this when it was first published, but I am still happy to share it with you now. It is certainly worth a look .