GABBLER RECOMMENDS: “The ancient Greeks would have loved Alexa” by Peter Stothard

 

“Among the myths of Ancient Greece the Cyclops has become forever famous, the Talos not so much. While both were monsters who hurled giant boulders at Mediterranean shipping, the Cyclops, who attacked Odysseus on his way home from Troy was a monster like us, the son of a god, an eater, a drinker, a sub-human with feelings. The Talos was more alien, by some accounts a mere machine, manufactured in metal by a god and pre-programmed only to sink ships and roast invaders alive, a cross between a Cruise missile launcher and an automatic oven.”

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: How a Woman Becomes a Lake By Jia Tolentino

‘These days of fear and sadness show no sign of abating. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt lake-like—cool and still.

Just as a person does not wish to become a motionless body of water for no reason, girls don’t get to turn into lakes on a whim. I’ve been rereading Ovid lately—the clean and gorgeous Rolfe Humphries translation of the Metamorphoses, published in 1955—and, in Book V, the nymph Arethusa tells Ceres the story of how she was transformed into a spring. Out hunting alone on a hot day, she found a silent, clear river with silver willows on the banks. She took off her clothes and went swimming, only to hear a “curious kind of murmur / From deep down under”—the river god Alpheus. In “that hoarse voice he had,” Arethusa says, Alpheus asked her, “Where are you going in such a hurry, Arethusa?” She began running away from him, “naked, for my clothes / Were on the other bank, and all the more / He kept on coming; naked, so he thought / I was readier for the taking. So I fled.” She kept running, through fields and mountains and “pathless places,” with the sun at her back and Alpheus’ shadow looming over her shoulder, frightened at “the way his labored breathing / Blew on the back of my hair.”’

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UPDATE: Publication of The Pre-Programming: Vol. 2 of the Blacksmith’s Circus Series by BLA and GB Gabbler has been pushed back

We will let you know when we have an official release date. Thanks for waiting! 

Get your Halloween read on:

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Orlando Is the Virginia Woolf Novel We Need Right Now By Joanna Scutts

 

‘For a brief interlude after Orlando’s male-to-female transformation (or transition), Woolf raises the possibility of not being bound by sex at all, and tries speaking of Orlando with “they” pronouns, as a person containing both male and female selves: “The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity. Their faces remained, as their portraits prove, practically the same.” After these two sentences, however, the narrator-biographer bows to convention and begins to call Orlando “she.” But the glimpse of a nonbinary pronoun is tantalizing. It would take decades for the singular, gender-evasive “they” to take hold in the lexicon (Merriam-Webster dates the first use to the 1950s) and for the culture to catch up to Orlando’s casual claim that “in every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place.”

If published today, Orlando might have been misshelved not as biography but as fantasy or science fiction — genres in which women writers in recent years have increasingly found the space to challenge the straight-white-male strictures of both realist fiction and reality itself. Orlando’s blend of social critique and bold fantasy echoes in the postwar fiction of Ursula Le Guin and Angela Carter, and more recently in the fairy-tale retellings of Helen Oyeyemi and Daniel Mallory Ortberg — as well as in novels like Melissa Broder’s The Piscesin which a graduate student writing on Sappho falls in love with a merman.

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