Weekend links 459


• “Their graves were covered with cement tiles to block the radiation emanating from their corpses.” Sophie Pinkham reviews three books about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

• At Dangerous Minds: Julius Eastman: The resurrection of the visionary minimalist composer continues; at The Quietus: The Strange World of Julius Eastman.

• Mixes of the week: a Dune-inspired Secret Thirteen Mix 286 by Coeden, and ’94–95 Mirrorverse by The Ephemeral Man.

Nabokov had meanwhile acquired a literary agent in New York. She made no headway placing translations of his Russian novels. His latest, she informed him, was “dazzlingly brilliant” and hence wholly without promise for the American market. She suggested something more topical, an idea that left her client hyperventilating. “Nothing,” he would roar later, “bores me more than political novels and the literature of social unrest.” He was, he enlightened his representative, neither Sinclair Lewis nor Upton Sinclair. (Ultimately he tossed the two over the cliff together, as “Upton Lewis.”) Weeks later, in the bathroom of a Paris studio apartment, he began — “a champion figure skater switching to roller skates,” as he complained, speaking for whole cadres of displaced professionals — to write in English.

Stacy Schiff on Vladimir Nabokov, literary refugee

Iain Sinclair on Ghosts of a Ghost: William Burroughs, time surgery and the death of the image.

ST Joshi remembers Lovecraftian writer Wilum Pugmire (RIP).

The Conspirators: A Borgean Tribute to Jorge Luis Borges.

Jasper Sharp on where to begin with Japanese cyberpunk.

Greg Anderson on the new Sunn O))) album, Life Metal.

Drew Daniel of Matmos picks his Bandcamp favourites.

• The Kraken surfaces for Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

• An interview with Brian Eno by Suite (212).

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut

The Book of Weirdo

Conspiracy Of Silence (1994) by Cypher 7 | The Vodun Conspiracy (1996) by The Sidewinder | Machine Conspiracy (2010) by Conforce

3 thoughts on “Weekend links 459”

  1. A petite rant – Is it me and my failing eyesight or do I sense a graying out of internet fonts – it seems like Everybody and his Brother is using what I may call Xpoint Paleogrey Light these days is there a shortage of electronic ink are publishers afraid that someone doing public computing may be found out is Big B looking over our shoulder at ye olde tea and coffin shoppe? Does one get a discount for unbolding one’s etext? As I lean into the screen once again to double check my t’s and l’s i’s and ifs in fits and stops I start wondering John since you are in the publishing business online and otherwise why or is this happening? A pallid conspiracy? – Sorry for taking up your space…

  2. In my opinion the cyberpunk list somewhat tilted too far toward name-dropping for the sake of it. Of course Tetsuo Iron Man should get mention. As for the others though, there are far crazier (yet just as coherent for those tuned in) examples to be mentioned. For instance, instead of seeming to deliberately fill article space with mention of Tetsuo’s less effective sequels, the writer could have mentioned 964 Pinocchio, or better yet, have just picked up a copy of Eros in Hell, which deals specifically with Japanese cult and extreme cinema, and has a section specializing in cyberpunk.

    While Akira is certainly a historic movie, and to this day, not a bad one by any stretch, his inclusion of it seems almost like academic tribute, as it is one of ‘the’ cyberpunk mythos within anime most familiar to the popular consciousness. Just because something is familiar doesn’t make it the best.

    Various works by Chiaki J. Konaka i.e. Serial Experiments Lain, The Big O, and Texhnolyze are far more potent examples as far as I am concerned. Note; unless you’re an evil self-righteous type and deserve to be tormented so, I would refrain from just up and binge watching Texhnolyze. It is ‘very’ potent.

    Some may say, ‘but they’re just ”sooo” weird’ or perhaps ‘they veer too often into the outright paranormal.’

    To the latter I would reply thusly. Consider the alien and intrusive and sprawling manner with which the possessed machinery assails and assimilates its human prey in Tetsuo, like a cordyceps infection transforming into rabies. This would imply the nature of consciousness to transcend humanity’s rudimentary understanding. Under this interpretation, which is canon to many, consciousness would seem fully ready to occupy a makeshift golem of wire and gears long before humanity would have been able conceivably prepare for such a thing, much less because no known party seems very close to truly understanding the nature of the brain. Then consider how often well established writers such as Philip K Dick, Grant Morrison, or indeed, many of the modern Weird Fiction writers easily blend what only appear to be separate worlds.

    The former proposed complaint would be an easier one to dismiss, as one cannot really say Tetsuo readily holds the layman’s hand. Therefore, why should anything else from its domain be expected to?

    On this note, a potential further recommendation, popular, yet appropriately challenging as well would be Neon Genesis Evangelion, which gradually combines notions of transhumanist technology with themes and prophecies within western esoteric traditions such as the Kabbalah.

    My own personal caveat being, I feel slightly ridiculous mentioning it, as I’ve never been able to get significantly far into it. I simply find the characters insufferable alongside a few other qualms, which are personal and likely inconsequential here.

    Also, in regards to strange shit, a shame to hear of Mr. Wilum departing. I communicated with him but a few times back in the golden years of the Ligotti forums, before they became too social media-like for my taste. He always seemed like a decent fellow though. Very understanding, very original. Hopefully he did not suffer terribly.

  3. John: This isnt something I’ve noticed myself but then I do a lot of my article reading using an RSS feed which presents the words in plain b&w without all the distracting web content. Some browsers like Safari also have a useful reader function which does the same thing, showing you the text context in a box over the page which is much better for reading longer articles. And I’ve never tried this myself but it’s been possible in the past to make browsers use a text styling-sheet of your own choosing that overrides the styling of the page. I imagine that Firefox will have addons that do something like this.

    Wiley: Agreed although it’s supposed to be an introduction for the uninitiated rather than a list of best or strangest. That said, Akira isn’t exactly easy to understand on a first viewing without knowledge of the manga, and there’s no indication in the film that you’re only seeing half the complete story.

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