BookTuber Tuesday – Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Netflix’s Altered Carbon

What people are saying:

Morgan traces the genesis of Altered Carbon to an argument he had with a Buddhist at a party. “We got talking about karma and the idea that if you’re suffering in this life it’s because in a previous life you did something shitty. I’ve got a lot of time for Buddhism. Among the predominant faiths, it’s the one that’s the least full of bullshit. But I pressed him: ‘So I’m suffering and I can’t remember what I did to earn this suffering? That’s not right, is it, because I’m not that person?’ And he said: ‘It’s the same soul.’ I said: ‘It doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is whether you, as an experiential being, remember it. Otherwise I’m being punished and I don’t know why. That’s the height of injustice.’”

The everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink approach also extends to the show’s dizzyingly convoluted mystery plot, though critic Beth Elderkin points out that the show is actually easier to follow than its source material, the novel Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. “If you can believe it, some character stories were combined into single characters,” she says. “So it’s even more convoluted when you’re reading it in the book.”

But the show certainly has its defenders. As a science fiction author himself, Daniel H. Wilson found the show’s excesses oddly encouraging.

“It gives me hope,” he says, “because all the science fiction I write has too much stuff going on, too much exposition. So I hope this does well, because it gives me hope that you can create a really complex world and tell a cool story and get away with it.”

As a bleak dystopia, “Altered Carbon” cops flak for being a lesser “Blade Runner”. But on the diversity front, Lachman thinks “Altered Carbon” is superior.

“In ‘Blade Runner’, there’s sanskrit and Japanese and Chinese writing on all the buttons and everything, and not one person who looked like they could read it.”

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Gods Taking Selfies Tumblr

#BLAThoughtOfTheDay: It true.

From HOMER THE THEOLOGIAN:

“In another context, late in the essay, Proclus again has occasion to speak of Hephaestus and his role as demiurge. There are no apparent contradictions with the present passage, and on is inclined to believe that Proclus had firmly in mind a comprehensive doctrine regarding the mythology of Hephaestus. He is described as ‘lame in both lets’…because, as Timaeus had said, the created world is ‘legless’…Plato’s explanation of the term ‘legless’ is transferred to the Homeric myth: ‘that which is moved by the motion generated around the intellect and thought had no need of feet.’

The Union of Ares and Aphrodite creates ‘harmony and order for the opposites,’ that of Hephaestus and Aphrodite creates in this world beauty and radiance ‘to make the world the most beautiful of all visible things.’ The hypercosmic nuptial embrace and the encosmic adultery are, in fact, simultaneous and eternal, but the mythoplasts have distorted the account according to the familiar pattern. If the cuckolded husband observes the encosmic goings-on from his hypercosmic perch and binds the couple together, the truth behind the screen is that this world has need both of the power of separation (Ares) and of that of combination (Aphrodite), and if he subsequently breaks the chains (at the urging of Poseidon, whose preeminent role it is to preside over the cycle of coming to be and passing away), it is because a static union of the two would bring the process to a standstill—Hephaestus’s act simultaneously destroys the physical universe and (since eternal destruction and eternal coming to be are the life of that universe) creates it anew.”

–Robert Lamberton

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Charlotte Gordon’s ‘Mary Shelley: Abandoned by Her Creator and Rejected by Society’

“That fall Mary and Shelley moved to Bath, and Mary immersed herself in her story. She added a new character, Robert Walton, an arctic explorer searching for the north pole, who recounts Frankenstein’s story in a series of letters to his sister, Margaret Walton Saville, providing the reader with another version of the tale.

Like Frankenstein, Walton is obsessed with proving his own genius, acting against the wishes of his beloved sister, who has “evil forebodings” about his endeavor. When at last Walton turns back from his quest, his decision offers a hopeful alternative to the disastrous choices made by Frankenstein and the creature. Walton despairs over his lost glory, but knows that his sister will be relieved that he has survived. The sole voice of reason in the novel, Margaret emerges as an important character, though her words are heard only indirectly, through the letters of her brother, a structural echo of the role most women were forced to play in the lives of men. Her opposition to her brother’s ambition is an important counterpoint to the selfishness of the male characters, reminding the reader of the importance of love and relationships.

Mary’s three-pronged narrative, her Russian doll technique of nesting one story inside another, provides the reader with three different versions of the same set of events. This was a daring departure from the didactic novelists of the preceding generations (such as Samuel Richardson and her own father), and it gave Mary the opportunity to create a complex narrative that asked far more of her readers than a simple parable against the dangers of invention. Careful not to weight the story in favor of either the creator or the creature, Mary conjured a sense of moral suspension in which the conventional questions—who’s the hero? who’s the villain?—no longer apply. The creature and Walton undermine Frankenstein’s version of events, allowing us to see what he never acknowledges: that he was at fault because he did not provide his creation with love or an education. Monsters, says Mary, are of our own making.

Mary spent the summer of 1817 readying the novel for publication, creating a fair copy of the manuscript. She finished right before she gave birth in September. The significance of the novel’s gestation was not lost on Mary. She frequently referred to the book as her “offspring” and linked the story to her own birth. The tale begins “Dec 11, 17—” and ends in “September 17—.” Mary Wollstonecraft conceived in early December 1796 and gave birth to Mary on August 30, 1797, dying on September 10, 1797.

By connecting Frankenstein to her own genesis, Mary hints at the many ties she felt to the novel. Like the creature, she felt abandoned by her creator and rejected by society. Like Frankenstein, she felt compelled to create. Her own birth had caused the death of her mother, but it had also brought life to her characters.

Ultimately, it was the stage versions of the book that made the story famous. In 19th century England playwrights were allowed to borrow freely from novels without crediting the original author. In the hands of adapters, Mary’s multifaceted creation often became one-dimensional. Another odd development was that over time Mary’s hubristic Dr. Frankenstein almost completely disappeared from public awareness; by the 1840s, the word Frankenstein had become synonymous with monster. To the public, Mary’s name became inextricably entwined with that of a murderous fiend. As her fame grew, the many layers and multiple perspectives of the novel were gradually forgotten.”

 

[Via]

BookTuber Tuesday – Animal Liberation by Peter Singer

Recommend another BookTube in the comments below and it could make our BookTuber Tuesday post.

Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin and The Lathe of Heaven

BookTuber Tuesday – SECRET LIBRARY SHELF – a Decent project

Recommend future BookTubes in the comments below.

5 Questions with Author G. B. Gabbler

G.B. Gabbler recently gave an interview hosted by Ammar Habib. Check it out!

Ammar Habib's Blog

Hello Friends!

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Author G. B. Gabbler! Gabbler’s main work is The Automation, which is the first of the Circo del Herrero Series.  If you’d like to connect with G. B. Gabbler, you can do so through the following sites:

Website  Instagram Tumbler Twitter Goodreads

Gabbler’s works can be viewed through: AmazonSmashwords, & Barnes and Noble.

Alright, so let’s get to some question. 

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Ritual – A Podcast About Doing What’s Rite

A podcast that delights our ears. 

Follow on Twitter. 

#BLAThoughtOfTheDay: We need to end the “Dionysus as Frat Boy” trope

EPIC CATALOG: The Book of…

The Book of Strange New Things

The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Dust

 

Continue this list — tell us what we’ve missed in the comments below.

Margaret Atwood on social media, Wattpad, and anonymous authors:

“Well, you don’t have to be in social media. You can turn it off. So for writers I would say don’t go there if you find it uncomfortable, you know. But your publishers will say “Oh, you need to have a Facebook page,” you need to, now they’re saying an Instagram. I had to get an Instagram because there were two people on Instagram pretending to be me. And the same thing happened with Twitter. There were two people on Twitter pretending to be me, and one of them was tweeting this really mushy, romantic stuff that I would never do. So, I mean, it was offensive. Not because it was vulgar, but because it wasn’t vulgar enough. But this world is not for everyone, and I know a lot of writers who just don’t do it at all. Although they may still be having their lives ruined by email, they don’t do the social media stuff.

However, your real question is, What about young people? What about kids whose parents have ill-advisedly let them have smartphones at too early an age? I would have really strongly advised against that because the Internet is not the real world. It’s out of the matrix. Some of the people on it are real people, but other people are not, and other people are pretending to be people that they aren’t. And it can be quite dangerous in that way, especially at the point in which the Internet intersects with the real world and some child predator wants to set up a meeting. So you can, parents, get a thing that allows you to oversee what your kids are viewing and receiving on these platforms.

I’ll say a positive thing. Ready for this? Brace yourself. There is a platform called Wattpad, and that’s a user-generated, story-sharing site they try to keep pretty positive, like, free of trolls and abuse. And it’s used quite a lot by young writers, and the beauty of it is, when you were in high school, it used to be the only thing you were asked to write was [“My Summer Vacation,’] and students did not exert the best of their talents on such subjects. But had they written the steamy vampire story they really wanted to write, their peer group, their parents, and their teachers would have known it was them. That’s why they didn’t do it. But they’re doing it now, and they’re doing it on Wattpad under a pseudonym, and we know, because you get comments back from your readers, we know that once such a person knows they have an audience, they up their writing game. So that’s pretty positive, don’t you think?”

-Margaret Atwood

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: The Case Against Reading Everything



Some real talk: most writing isn’t worth consuming. That includes cereal boxes and New York Times wedding announcements. More real talk: most people urging you to read widely probably have a hard time ranging outside their comfort zones. There’s no doubt that, in the political realm, we need more connection with those we disagree with. But for the most part, “read widely” belongs to a class of expression that’s good to be heard saying (as in: we need “more dialogue” or we need “to have a national conversation about sheet cake”). In my experience, only a minority of writers like to chase their Leslie Jamison with some Conrad Black, or their Yvor Winters with some Roxane Gay. Many can barely metabolize a Stephen Marche tweet without declaring a stomach ache, and Marche is a reasonable guy who can write a good sentence.

The real problem with telling young writers to fan out across genres and forms is that it doesn’t help them find a voice. If anything, it’s antivoice. Learning the craft of writing isn’t about hopping texts like hyperlinks. It’s about devotion and obsession. It’s about lingering too long in some beloved book’s language, about steeping yourself in someone else’s style until your consciousness changes colour. It’s Tolkien phases and Plath crushes. It’s going embarrassingly, unfashionably all in. (And, eventually, all out.)

The call to “read widely” is a failure to make judgments. It disperses our attention across an ever-increasing black hole of mostly undeserving books. Whatever else you do, you should not be reading the many, many new releases of middling poetry and fiction that will be vying for your attention over the next year or so out of some obligation to submit your ear to a variety of voices. Leave that to the editors of Canada’s few newspaper book sections, which often resemble arm’s-length marketing departments for publishers. Leave that to the dubious figure of the “arts journalist.”

 

[Via]

‘How post-horror movies are taking over cinema’

“I wanted to engage with the archetypes and iconography of ghost films and haunted house movies, without ever crossing over into actually being a horror film,” says writer-director David Lowery, who made A Ghost Story with the proceeds of his previous movie, a remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. “Look at any horror film and you can trace it back to a particular social or personal anxiety, and this film is no different in that regard: I was having a big-picture existential crisis about my place in the universe, and at the same time I was having a very personal conflict with my wife about where we were going to move to. And wrapped up in all of that was my longstanding desire to make a movie with a guy in a sheet.”

[Via]

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: A Ghost Story film

A house is haunted. A ghost is haunted by his past. A man haunts himself.

So much was done with such a small budget. It’s poignant and laughable simultaneously. It also interweaves sheet lore and loop theory very well. Highly recommended for creativity and message. This is the kind of movie David Lowery should be making.

A Ghost Story is difficult to categorise: eerily beautiful, dreamily melancholic, earnestly sincere and patience-testingly slow (I watched it sitting next to a man who could barely contain his exasperated harrumphs). The film ranks low for scares – it’s more likely to keep you up at night fretting about the meaning of life than to make you terrified of a spirit under the bed. A recent article in this paper included it in cinema’s latest big thing: post-horror.

 

BookTuber Tuesday – Jenna Marbles is producing a web series of “James Patterson’s” Maximum Ride

For someone who doesn’t want to be controlled by the corporate world and protect her freedom, she’s participating in corporate publishing and stifling honest writers — promoting a book that James Patterson didn’t even write.  We feel like she can do better.

For more of our opinion on this, see this essay. 

‘The closer your category is to the shady, vague “animal,” the less you “matter.”’

‘Caribbean scholar and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter notes that our current conception of the human/humanity is a Eurocentric invention. Although there have been countless ways of expressing human activity throughout history, the model we take for humankind is the one devised by colonial Western Europe. On this model, there is the human (white, Western male with the ideal human counterpart: the white, Western female) and “its human Others—that is, Indians, Negroes, Natives [and, I would add, Jews and Muslims].”

What separates the “human Others” from the Ideal Human and what distinguishes the human Others from each other is their ranking on the human–animal scale. In chapter 4, I pointed out that I don’t think it’s apparent to most of us that the notions of “human” and “animal” are racially constituted. The racial hierarchy tracks not just a color descent but also a species descent. At the top of the hierarchy sits the white male human and at the bottom sits the shady and necessarily opposite figure of “the animal.” These two poles signify two contrary moral statuses—the closer your category is to the white male human, the more you “matter.” The closer your category is to the shady, vague “animal,” the less you “matter.”

Whether or not we explicitly use this language or instead use code words that coincide with it, such as “subpersons,” “nonhumans,” “inhuman,” and so on, doesn’t matter. What is relevant here is that the organizing principle for racial logic lies in the human–animal divide, wherein the human and the animal are understood to be moral opposites.

That means that what gives rise to these racial categories and racial thinking is a particular understanding of what a human being is. A human being is fundamentally opposite to animals (with “animals” here being a gross reduction of a vast plurality of species, of course). With these poles set in place—the former as extreme superiority and the latter as extreme inferiority—those who authored this system placed themselves in the former position and from there divided humanity along a spectrum that went all the way “down” to “the animal.”

This model of the human is still in use today.

So, in black reappropriation movements, activists effectively begin to disrupt the modern, imperialistic understanding of humanity. But because they leave the foundation untouched, the dismantling can never be complete. We need to go beyond the racial categories and subvert their anchor: the human–animal divide.

In short, then, what condemns us to our inferior status, even before we can speak or act is not merely our racial category but that our racial category is marked the most by animality. Its proximity to animality signals inferiority. We certainly don’t want to affirm the current conception of humanity by trying to distance ourselves from animality. And we certainly don’t want to pretend these terms don’t exist. The best strategy is to reclaim in order to disrupt, and then to de-link from the narrative altogether.’

Aphro-Ism : Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. Lantern Books, 2017.

“Why do women have to be thought of as beautiful?”

‘I won’t go into the details of the indigenous people’s views, but one general, interesting fact the student presented was that there was no concept of “nature” in their language. That is, there was no sense in which we—human beings—were over here as perceiving subjects or knowers, whereas “nature” was over there, a passive object to be experienced and known. Rather, the people he encountered saw themselves in a deep relationship with the surrounding plants, animals, bodies of water, and so on, such that there was no distance that enabled any being to be only and permanently an object. This got me thinking about my culturally insensitive acquaintance’s comments. He interpreted the people’s reaction to “nature” as them not appreciating its beauty. Our mutual friend assumed instead that perhaps they were just used to it since they lived there and saw it every day. Who knows, maybe he’s right?

I have a third interpretation, in light of this new information about some peoples’ very different, non-Eurocentric conceptual resources. Since they did not put any distance between themselves and the other citizens of “nature,” since nonhuman entities were not strange, alien, passive objects to be witnessed or understood from “over here,” but instead deeply connected, continuous beings who themselves could be co-subjects with the people, this particular people considered the stuff that we call “nature” simply not the right kinds of beings/things to be thought of as essentially objects of beauty.

In a way, some feminists have similar thoughts about the mainstream’s obsession with women and beauty. For several years, films and TV shows, magazines, fashion shows, or commercials have been congratulating themselves for featuring “real” women. Instead of endorsing the ridiculously narrow standard of beauty (tall, thin, doll-faced, usually white, hyper-feminine, and sexualized), these “progressive” campaigns champion “real” women, hoping to widen the range of the beauty standard to include all women. Basically, the notion can be summed up as “all women are beautiful!”

Although some feminists are fighting to ensure all women (and not just white, thin ones), are beautiful, others—like myself—are critical of the connection between beauty and women altogether. We ask the question: Why do women have to be thought of as beautiful? That women are automatically connected with beauty is problematic in a number of ways, but I’ll only discuss the way it is relevant to the discussion I raised above regarding nature.’

–Aphro-Ism : Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. Lantern Books, 2017.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Real Future: I Got a Magnet Implanted in My Finger, For Science (Episode 14)