Social Medea: Extrovert Dido

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GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Elizabeth King’s “Clockwork Prayer”

“In the history of European clock technology, the monk is an early and very rare example of a self-acting automaton, one whose mechanism is wholly contained and hidden within its body. Its uncanny presence separates it immediately from later automata: it is not charming, it is not a toy, it is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and it engages even the twentieth-century viewer in a complicated and urgent way. It has duende, the dark spirit Federico García Lorca described. Myself a sculptor, negotiating competing ways of representing human substance and spirit, I wanted to know more about this hypnotic object, and the legend connected to it…

How was the monk used once it was made, who operated it and who would have seen it? Above all, how was it seen, and what beliefs might have been crucial to its effect on spectators? This essay narrates the chronology of my search for answers to these questions. I am not a historian, and I have preferred to let the search itself be visible as a part of my subject. Driven as much by the physical presence of the monk as by the legend of the bedside promise, this work is ultimately an artist’s homage to the human attempt to model an act of the spirit…

The monk is, like all automata, a recording, a kind of artificial memory. What can he tell us?

…In 1980, the Smithsonian changed the name of its National Museum of History and Technology. It would now be called the National Museum of American History. And some changes started to take place, subtle ones at first, but in recent years there have been shifts in institutional priority that have alarmed many historians and scholars. For one thing, the monk, as of December 1997, is now removed from view. The old instrument and timekeeping displays have been redesigned with a new theme in mind: the meaning of time to Americans and its influence on American life. But it isn’t just politics as usual: not only is the monk unAmerican, he slips through all kinds of identification parameters. He isn’t a clock, he isn’t a calculator, he isn’t a sculpture, he isn’t an icon, he isn’t a plaything: he doesn’t fit anywhere! We still don’t know how to look at him. And he troubles us.”

Read the rest.

BookTuber Tuesday – Starting the Classics

 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

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June, July, August, September Roundup: Dear Hades, keep your wife.

So, the monthly roundup isn’t so monthly anymore…

In June, we posted about how authors shouldn’t guilt trip readers and about Theodora Goss on why she writes.  One of June’s BookTuber Tuesday posts covered an interesting discussion on Book Packagers, and a GABBLER RECOMMENDS included Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite. 

In July, we started the EPIC CATALOG category on the blog. Check out all the lists we have categorized so far. That month, we posted about a film written by AI and what not to do with a nom de plume.  Also, why we need to consider how ghostwriting/ghostwriters harm our culture.

August led to BLA’s rants on The Cursed Child and this post about how multiple versions of a book might sway opinion of it. Gabbler RECOMMENDED this RadioLab podcast about why Homer never mentions the color blue (not just because he’s never sad; seriously, listen to it!).

In September we celebrated the anniversary of THE AUTOMATION by hosting a giveaway. If you didn’t win, that’s OK, you can read it for free or download it as an ebook on Goodreads.  A #BLAThoughtOfTheDay included this post on why we need to talk about Lionel Shriver. And, to end with, we really recommend reading this opinion piece by Amy Hungerford on why you might not want to read ALL THE BOOKS.

Here’s to the next season when we’ll eventually get to our monthly roundup!

Social Medea: Jason

{Step right up}

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Social Medea: Niece of Circe

{{{All the headlines from the CIRCO this week}}}SocialMedeaFinal (2)

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Tweets of the Week(s): Garuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama…

https://twitter.com/MarlanaEsquire/status/712250207916990464

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Nightcrawler

 

Though it’s a 2015 film, it’s the best one I’ve seen this year. Never been more freaked out by news media…or how hard it is to get a job.

What someone else said about the film:

None of us expected to enjoy this one, and we ended up talking about it for days. A neo-noir thriller starring Jake Gyllenhall as a sociopathic freelance cameraman who starts manipulating crime scenes for better ratings, “Nightcrawler” is a mesmerizing critique of the news industry as well as a subversive tale of How To Succeed at Business by Really, Really Trying. This film will please conservatives, who will find the lamestream media indicted here, as well as liberals who condemn predatory capitalism for having no boundaries, and no morals. The teenager liked it because it was honest about the difficulties of getting a decent job in a crap economy, while de-glamorizing the media.

And:

“Nightcrawler” begins with Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom scraping by as a literal scavenger, selling stolen scrap metal for cash, before chancing into his new metier as a scavenger of human suffering, armed with a camcorder and police radio scanner. After a handful of amusingly botched first efforts (in which he turns his camera upon such mundane sights as a DUI breathalyzer test), quick-study Louis soon figures out that “if it bleeds, it leads” — words Gilroy can’t help from inserting into the mouth of an older, more seasoned cameraman (Bill Paxton, who also has the misfortune of having to declaim the movie’s title).

Somebody’s jealous of the love.

 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

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We are a lot of fun on Tumblr. Come see us there!

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[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellow B&N | Amazon | Etc.

Tweets of the Week: A Bird’s Eye View

So, these tweets happened:

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

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Mumford and Sons lyrics rewrite for “Believe” / HOW IT SHOULD SING:

Gabbler, as The Editor, has rewritten the lyrics to “Believe” so that they sound better (SO much better).

I don’t even know if I believe
I don’t even know if I believe
I don’t even know if I believe
Everything you’re trying to say to me

So open up my eyes
Tell me I’m alive
This is never gonna go our way
If I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind  what you don’t say. 

Better, right? Right.

Listen here:

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

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You can now read and download the entire mythpunk novel THE AUTOMATION on Goodreads:

automationongoodreads

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellow B&N | Amazon | Etc.

Oscar Wilde, on what books NOT to read:

“To tell people what to read is a rule either useless or harmful, for the true appreciation of literature is a question of temperament not of teaching…But to tell people what not to read is a very different matter, and I venture to recommend it as a

Oscar, looking like a proper dandy.

mission to the University Extension Scheme. Indeed, it is one that is eminently needed in this age of ours, an age which reads so much that it has no time to admire, and writes so much that it has no time to think. Whoever will select out of the chaos of our modern curricula “The Worst Hundred Books,” and publish a list of them, will confer on the rising generation a real and lasting benefit.” –Oscar Wilde, “To Read or Not to Read,” Pall Mall Gazette XLII (Feb 1886).

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellow B&N | Amazon | Etc.

Gabbler’s Goodreads Review of THE JUST CITY by Jo Walton

The Just CityThe Just City by Jo Walton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lack of books like these is what got me so interested in B.L.A.’s works to begin with. Superb work.

View all my reviews

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellow B&N | Amazon | Etc.

The Silver Swan Automaton [video]:

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and goodreads.]

Automaton: The Waiting Hand [video]

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and goodreads.]

Five Fascinating Facts about C. S. Lewis

Happy Birthday, C.S. Lewis:

Interesting Literature

C. S. Lewis was born on this day in 1898, so we’ve gathered together our five favourite interesting facts about Lewis and his work. Some of the interesting facts about C. S. Lewis that follow touch upon his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien; these may be known to diehard fans of the ‘Inklings’ (of whom more below), but we hope that some facts will be news to even devoted fans of C. S. Lewis’s work.

1. C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien once went to a party dressed as polar bears. It wasn’t a fancy-dress party. According to Humphrey Carpenter in his biography of Tolkien, Tolkien went to a New Year’s party in the 1930s as a polar bear, wearing a sheepskin with his face painted white. Neil Heims, in a recent book on Tolkien, lists Lewis as his fellow party guest, similarly attired in ursine costume…

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From NPR: On Amanda Palmer – “There’s More To Asking Than Just Art”

There’s more to asking than just art? There’s more to art than just asking.

‘But in thinking about the art of asking, Palmer misses its most basic tenet: In our society, certain kinds of people are allowed to ask for things, and certain kinds of people are not. She writes as though the biggest obstacle to getting the help you need is a reluctance to ask — not, say, ingrained social structures having to do with race and class.

Who is allowed to ask for help? Who is heard when they ask for help? Whom do people want to help? These are basic questions that get little or no attention in The Art of Asking. Instead, we are coached in letting other people help us: “Your acceptance of the gift IS the gift,” she says.

Palmer accidentally hits on truth when she writes, “Effective crowdfunding is not about relying on the kindness of strangers, it’s about relying on the kindness of your crowd.” “Your crowd” is the crucial phrase. Here, she’s of course talking about her fans — as opposed to random strangers. But the uncomfortable, unexamined reality behind her thesis is that you must have a fairly wealthy, leisured and skilled fan base in the first place. Not everyone can ask their crowd for help, because not everyone has a crowd that can help.’

-Annalisa Quinn, for NPR.

Read the rest.
[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, and goodreads.]

Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration

‘There is much heated debate about Amazon’s disruption of bookselling and publishing. What is spoken about a lot less is how Amazon (through KDP and CreateSpace) has disrupted the scammy vanity press industry…’

David Gaughran

PRHGrupoASIPenguin Random House is speeding up the international expansion of its vanity press operations, while also seeking to integrate them more closely with the traditional side of the business – hoping to counteract flat growth for Author Solutions at a time when self-publishing is booming.

Author Solutions launches a new self-publishing service company for the Spanish market next Tuesday – MeGustaEscribir – which contains the usual mix of crappy publishing packages and ineffective, overpriced marketing services, as well as some extremely questionable practices such as reading fees (more on that below).

The way the Author Solutions scam typically operates is detailed exhaustively in this post, but here’s a brief summary.

How Author Solutions Squeezes Newbie Writers

Customers are captured through a variety of deceptive means – such as fake “independent” websites which purport to review all the self-publishing options available to writers (but only compare the various Author Solutions…

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