Friday, July 21, 2017

More RAWDay news

After yesterday's post more news was released on Sunday's RAWDay in Santa Cruz.

Richard Rasa sent out an update on the speakers and guests at the event. The original artist for Cosmic Trigger, John Thompson, will be giving away signed copies of his drawings.

The updated list of speakers and guests now includes Daisy Campbell, Erik Davis, Christina Pearson, R.U. Sirius, Nick Herbert, Richard Rasa, Adam Gorightly, Bobby Campbell, Ferdinando (a "magic experience designer") and DJ Greg Wilson.

Above, I have Rasa's promotional illustration and the cover of Bobby Campbell's RAW Art. Thursday, Bobby Tweeted, "Very happy to announce I will be attending in Santa Cruz this Sunday! and bringing a stack of my brand new comic book: RAW ART :)))"

This event was only announced a few weeks ago and I wish I could attend.

I recently covered, for my newspaper, a town hall meeting held by the local Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur. It was broadcast on Facebook, and people on Facebook could ask questions. It would be nice if technology could be used to bring Sunday's event to folks who can't attend, or if videos were recorded of some of the talks. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

RAWDay in Santa Cruz Sunday

Erik Davis

Final reminder, or a note for anyone stumbling across this blog for the first time: RAWDay is Sunday in Santa Cruz, Calif. Featuring Daisy Campbell, Christina Pearson, Erik Davis, Richard Rasa and others. Details here. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Prometheus Awards for Sinisalo, Heinlein

The Prometheus Award this year goes to The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo, with the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award going to "Coventry," a Robert Heinlein story. I'm pleased with both selections.

You can read the official press release, which has more details. Sinisalo is a Finnish writer and she'll receive her award at the Worldcon in Helsinki next month. You can read a review of Core of the Sun on the Libertarian Futurist Society blog.  Cheryl Morgan, a science fiction fan and publisher, reacts to the award. And you can read Cheryl Morgan's own review. And you can read my interview with Sinisalo!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Interview with Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer

If you pay attention to science fiction, you can't help but notice that many women have been prominent authors in the field lately. I interviewed one important writer, Ada Palmer, for my day job at the newspaper.

I likely would have linked to it here anyway, under the theory that she is a good writer and this is a blog for people who like to read. But when I was preparing the piece for publication and re-reading her answers, I was struck by a comment from her that sounded like Robert Anton Wilson's techno-utopianism when I asked her which transnational-group, or "hive," in her novels she felt closest to herself:

The Utopians. That's easy. I share their drive to work hard for the future, and to see my labors as they do, as a tiny contribution to the greater project moving humanity away from death and toward the stars. I've been delighted to see how many people have reacted similarly to reading about the Utopians as well. Right now our culture has a lot of cynicism and pessimism in its discourse, to the point that it's in effect rhetorically fashionable to be a pessimist, and cynical comments have become a way to look smart and cool, while a lot of people tend to associate idealism and hope with naivete and foolishness. But underneath that, a lot of people do feel sincerely passionate about their work, and about contributing to something greater, though too often people feel nervous about saying so, for fear of being mocked or called naive. I think it's important that we feel as safe expressing hope and sincerity as we do expressing doubt or cynicism, and the Utopians are a tool to do just that. So it's been delightful meeting readers who see mirrors themselves in the Utopians and say, "Yes! That's the kind of hope I feel!"


Monday, July 17, 2017

Email to the Universe Discussion Group, Week 10

By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger

Ambrose Bierce

Damnation by Definition

Robert Anton Wilson ever the arch-agnostic, was surprisingly consistent in his themes.  Although he notes that parts of Authority and Submission, an unpublished work written in his early-mid thirties, would be incorporated in Prometheus Rising and Illuminatus! the themes he covers can be found in nearly every other essay in this collection and throughout his oeuvre. The particular term “The Damned Thing” is derived by an Ambrose Bierce short-story that itself seems to have been partially inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s 1880s story “The Horla.” Both stories were an influence on Lovecraft who borrowed an array of themes and terms from Bierce’s stories or from other writers, such as Robert Chambers, who borrowed those terms from Bierce in their turn. The possibly trans-dimensional locations “Carcosa” and “Hali” were both derived from Bierce’s work as well as the name “Hastur” who would be morphed from a gentle shepherd deity to one of the more fearsome of the Great Old Ones. Alan Moore’s recent masterwork of Lovecraftian fiction/scholarship Providence highlights the contributions Bierce made to Lovecraft's fevered universe. Bierce and Chambers are both mentioned in the rising action of The Eye in the Pyramid with the former’s disappearance and the latter’s move to trite romance novels being used as evidence of the Illuminati’s nefarious activities over the years.

But this is mostly a political/social essay concerning the interactions between two possible models: the authoritarian and libertarian. Benjamin Tucker, the nineteenth century American anarchist quoted in the essay as saying “[a]gression is simply another name for government,” is mentioned earlier in the same class of thinkers as Lysander Spooner. I think it is typical of RAW, who is a very American author, to draw his philosophical basis for individualism from American writers instead of the more fashionable, or at least better known, Russian anarchists of the age such as Kropotkin or Bakunin. Although he does mention Tolstoy quite often.

                                                               Benjamin Tucker

I think the paragraph on pg. 184 where the young Wilson waxes into the grandiose language of liberty is beautiful:

“To say that liberty exists is to say that classlessness exists, to say that brotherhood and equality exist. Authority, by dividing people into classes, creates dichotomy, disruption, hostility, fear, disunion. Liberty, by placing us all on an equal footing, creates association, amalgamation, union, security. When the relationships between people are based on liberty and non-aggression, they are drawn together. The facts are self-evident and axiomatic. If authoritarianism did not possess the in-built, preprogrammed double-blind structure of a Game Without End we would long ago have rejected it and embraced libertarianism.”

The following two paragraphs explain much of the political thinking in the nation today as well as they did when the piece was originally written. Perhaps the reasons RAW toyed with the same ideas so often is that it takes humanity as a whole, regardless of information doubling or technology, a long time to move on from certain paradigms. No matter how idiotic or suicidal those ideas may be.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the essay for me was RAW’s correct prediction about the fate of television censorship made in the last line of the essay: “When a more efficient medium [Internet?] arrives, the taboos on television will decrease.” Many critics agree we are living in a Golden Age of scripted television and I am tempted to agree. It seems by moving television primarily onto the Internet, and with all the noise it seems most efforts to censor the Interwebs seemed doomed to failure in the West, the ideas of propriety have been cast away and shows have been allowed to experiment more often. I’d honestly rather watch one of the new seasons of Veep or It’s Always Sunny for their cleverness and character development rather than whatever schlock war film by Eastwood or Gibson or whatever technicolor CGI seizure lowest common denominator trash that dominate the movie box office today. What a run on.

The short essays between “Views of Monterey Bay #18 and #19” are devoted to RAW’s delight in the emerging techno-culture and vitriol against the escalating drug wars of the nineties.  Regrettably, RAW’s prediction that the acidheads would take over the business world seems to have been inaccurate.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A bit of art

I get a lot of ugly, mean political stuff on Twitter and Facebook, but (particularly on Twitter) sometimes I get a message that I'm happy to see. This is "Everything changes, nothing is lost" (2014) by land artist Katie Griesar. Source.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Anyone want to be a volunteer correspondent?

Daisy Campbell 

I won't be able to attend the July 23 RAW Day event in Santa Cruz, featuring Daisy Campbell, Richard Rasa, Erik Davis, Christina Pearson and other luminaries. (Bobby Campbell has just announced he'll be there, and I'll bet other names you recognize from this blog will attend, too.)
Since I can't go, would anyone be interested in snapping some pictures and doing a writeup, to be posted here on the blog?