Albert Goldbarth, ‘The Sciences Sing a Lullabye’

Physics says: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

Geology says: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

Astronomy says: the sun will rise tomorrow,
Zoology says: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle,
Psychology says: but first it has to be night, so
Biology says: the body-clocks are stopped all over town
and
History says: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.

1948

5 Things

I liked Suzanne Heintz’s artistic response to the question Why aren’t you married yet? Fourteen years worth of pictures of herself posing with a mannequin family certainly draws attention to the mythology of white, middle-class family “happiness”. Even though Suzanne is posing with mannequins, these images and the meanings they are supposed to convey (and impose) are instantly recognisable. Perhaps she’s also suggesting that people don’t care who the members of her family are, or what her relationship with them might be, as long as “family” is performed in the correct way. There is even the suggestion that this mythology reduces people to the status of mannequins. Roland Barthes would be proud.

Ludovic Florent’s series of photographs Poussiere d’etoiles (stardust) inspired me after a difficult day. These images that capture dancers interacting with a cloud of flour are a gorgeous tribute to the art of dance and the power of the human body.

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5 Things (sand, fossils, junk food, vintage lesbians, dresses)

This image is one of my favourites, so I was delighted to discover this article from FACTS.FM which has more astonishing photographs revealing the Hidden Beauty of Sand. I’m especially taken with the grains of sand that are actually tiny fossils.

Continuing with the fossil theme, I adored David Attenborough’s 1989 documentary Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives.  Attenborough’s passion for the subject is so infectious and I think the documentary is improved by being produced before the advent of CGI. Without the option to create CGI images of the animals (which is almost certainly what would happen if this was made now), the documentary has to focus on the actual fossils.  So if you want to see fossils in abundance, this is the one to watch. I think it’s stunning and can’t wait to show it to my nephew when he’s old enough.

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SF is Love

Recently, I’ve been feeling the science fiction urge, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to read some of the classics and catch up on newer stuff.   With the help of the NPR’s Top 100 science fiction and fantasy books, I’ve compiled a reading list and, thanks to the library and local secondhand bookshop, made a start on working my way through it.  I’m currently reading Iain M. Banks’s Nebula nominated The Algebraist (2004) and Isaac Asimov’s classic, The Foundation Trilogy (1951). I also  got Roger Zelzany’s The Dream Master (1965) which won a Nebula and comes highly recommended by Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kate Wilheld’s Hugo winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sing (1977).  From the more recent books, Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1994) has been on my shelf for a while, and I got Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow (1996), which picked up a clutch of awards, plus Liz Williams’s Banner of Souls (2004) which looks like good dystopian fun.

And, just because it’s awesome, here’s a link to an article about the kind of discovery that inspires science fiction, a strange, black planet. Anyone want to have a go at a story about this?

Little link round-up

Angel Does Stuff on tumblr  – this cracked me up.

So did this, They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard

Speaking of Tolkein, here are the first official photos of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Xkdc makes a point about the Earth’s core

From Bad Reputation, unsung women in astronomy

From Final Girl, some awesome horror movie posters

And The F-Word has a new monthly playlist

Little link round-up

From Tor.com, the top 10 best werewolves in movies and TV and the top 10 worst werewolves in movies and TV.  To be honest, they all look pretty silly to me.  I’m not sure it’s possible to represent werewolves on film without them appearing silly.

George R R Martin’s favourite science fiction films.

Via Racialicious, an article celebrating Octavia Butler and a list of 40 influential black female authors

From Physicist Feminist, a post about nineteenth-century mathematician Ada Lovelace

Peter Bradshaw reviews new science fiction film Source Code

Little link round-up

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but great horror movie posters from Final Girl. I love the Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween ones.

I’m not sure whether or not I think feminism should care much about its image, but this is an interesting post about feminism and imagery from Bad Reputation: What does feminism look like? The answer: kind of weird and violent.

From After Ellen, The Curse of Summer Glau. Poor Summer Glau!

Via Racialicious on twitter, Artist Ward Kelly has produced a hand-drawn flow-chart depicting the history of science fiction

From Tor.com the most common words in SF and fantasy novel titles.

From Physicist Feminist, a post about nineteenth-century Russian Mathmatician Sofia Kovalevskaya. Alice Munro has a good story about her in her collection Too Much Happiness.

A Year of Feminist Classics wrap-up post on John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women.