Even these muses are inspired…

Naughty or nice, everyone gets a chance:

Holiday Giveaway for a print copy of THE AUTOMATION:

Stuff Dorian’s stocking with gum:

 

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THE AUTOMATION is too big for a stocking stuffer, probably. But you can still cram it in your brain for free here. 

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Che Gossett’s ‘Blackness, Animality, and the Unsovereign’

‘The zoo is a biopolitical apparatus, a carceral space undergirded by an anthropomorphic cultural imaginary. As Brain Massumi writes in What Can Animals Teach Us About Politics?, “The zoo is not simply a space of confinement…The horror of the visible stifling of the animals’ vitality is converted into fun.” Animals are anthropomorphized as having nuclear and domestic(ated) families and thus figured as a heteronormative spectacle. A powerful image of everyday resistance to animal incarceration that was in the news recently was where a panda feigned pregnancy to get access to more food and marginally less harmful carceral conditions – as a result a team of scientists had to reschedule their livestream of it after much laudatory heteronormalizing anthropomorphic zoo fan fare. Since its inception the zoo has also always (already) been a colonial and racial enterprise. The awful history of the anti-black racist and colonial exoticizing exhibitions of people of African descent alongside animals in zoos shows how for blackness the human/animal binary is not only collapsed but is in fact mutually reinforcing through the violence inherent in the racial-colonial grammar of animalization – how black people have been historically seen as beasts.’

[Via]

Follow Che Gossett:

#BLAThoughtOfTheDay – you should stuff your brain with these writer words while also stuffing your face

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 Download as a PDF for free here.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is too busy planning future movies to be much good in the present

“But the truer intent of Fantastic Beasts reveals itself as veteran Harry Potter director David Yates continues to swoop the camera like he’s mapping out a blueprint for Universal’s inevitable Fantastic Beasts roller coaster. Once I accepted that I wasn’t watching a movie so much as a marketing opportunity, I could focus my attention on the rest of what Fantastic Beasts had to offer.

And even though those days are largely behind me, I still thought the prospect of having a new Harry Potter canon in my life might spark something like excitement. Surely seeing a full-blown adaptation of Rowling’s slim book of the same name could be interesting, especially when interwoven with the rise of Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard who was Voldemort before Voldemort was Voldemort. And if nothing else, surely the adventures of a magical-creature enthusiast careening around 1920s New York City would be exciting.

As it turns out, not so much.

See, Fantastic Beasts isn’t just a whimsical tale of Newt chasing mischievous Nifflers and gelatinous rhinos around the city. It’s not even about the rise of Grindelwald. It’s about setting the stage for four(!) more movies. Almost all of these dozen or so plots end with, “To be continued.”

The result is that none of Fantastic Beasts’ stories truly get a chance to breathe beyond their cursory consideration. Given the fact that the movie’s narratives are so thin they’re practically translucent, it’s a good thing Yates and the Fantastic Beasts CGI team do their damnedest to give us something pretty to look at.”

[Via]

Elizabeth King on Automata

‘An automaton is defined as a machine that contains its own principle of motion. Strictly speaking, a clock is an automaton. The notion of an artificial human figure—an “android” as it has come to be called—derives in part from the tradition of the striking jack in the great medieval town clocks, in which the hour would be sounded by a mechanical figure springing into motion with a hammer and gong. That this employment once fell to a living person, the town watchman suggests that here were our first labor-saving robots. But the animated figure, or moving sculpture, can be traced back to ancient Egypt. “At Thebes accordingly, there were statues that spoke and made gestures. The priests made the heads and arms move by devices not as yet clearly explained” we are told by Egyptologist Alexandre Moret, invoking the same combination of mystery, divine intervention, human ingenuity, and mechanics of deception our own monk exhibits. Theater has always been the partner of religion.

The sixteenth century was a period of tremendous mechanical sophistication: the dawning of the scientific revolution. Clockmaking was to become a profession in its own right, separate from its origin in the blacksmith’s art, and its former association with gun- and locksmithing. Precision timekeeping in centuries to come would become crucial to the world shipping trade for its use in determining navigational longitude. [50] But in its early form, clockmaking was driven less by the problem of measuring time, and more by the astronomer’s efforts to model the locations and motions of “the fixed and moving stars,” that is, to capture the animating principle of the universe.

A significant development—perhaps the significant development—from the medieval town clock, driven by enormous systems of weights, was the emergence of the spiral spring combined with the fusee. A fusee is an ingenious device for making the driving force of a spring constant. Once attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, earlier examples of the fusee have now been found. When wound, a mainspring could now deliver a steady application of tension, rather than a stronger and then progressively weaker force as it ran down.  An early fusee, made of wood, is found in the mechanism of the monk .

The other important development in the mechanical arts was the cam. An ancient device attributed to Archimedes,  the cam reached broad use in the fifteenth century in the striking trains of clocks. A cam is simply a barrel or disk of metal rotated by the gear train. Its outer edge is either studded with short pins, or cut to a calculated profile, and as it turns, one end of a lever, riding against that uneven edge, is set in motion. Called a following arm, the lever translates the cam’s calculated profile into reciprocating movements that can be highly precise and carefully timed. Numbers of such levers can operate for example the spring-tensioned linkages to the monk’s arms, legs, head, eyes. The cam is thus the memory of the machine, and its profile is the analog information base for generating the exact movements of a given part.”

-Elizabeth King,  “A Short History of the Relations Between Machines and Divinity (Deus ex Machina).”

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.

GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange, the best Marvel movie of the year (hell, the best superhero movie of the year), was a pleasant surprise. The worst part about it was the final end credits scene (the second one, not the first), where one of the “good guys” reveals the setup of his Leeland-like rampage to destroy all of his “kind”…without proper motivation or reasoning. Makes me want to see if the comic books gave him better motivation (I’ve never read them).  Otherwise, it seems like it was out of character. He goes from  walking away from it all ambivalently to I’m actively going to stop this overall ambivalence. However, this is forgivable, as such set up can be smoothed over in a full-scale movie. It’s only supposed to be a tease.

But the film itself explores major themes like “Making a deal with the devil” and “Choosing the lesser of two evils” and “There is no such thing as pure good.” Hell yes, please!

As I mentioned before, one of the “good guys” in the final final scene, in his quest for purity, does some evil things. This is in contrast to Dr. Strange refusing to kill to maintain said purity, yet making his “deals with the devil” just like his master (it’s so hard for me not to want to capitalize the M right now, you guys).  Thus, no character is “without sin” despite their fight for good. Paradox upon paradox.

And the best character? The cloak.

Hilarious without being cheesy, it’s the best comic relief. Sorry, Wong.

You’re still funny.

Excellent pacing, imagery, and plot.

Suck it, Doctor Who.

 

 

 

What are some of your favorite books that have a Halloween theme/scene?

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Let us know in the comments below!

 

[“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 yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

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.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Social Medea: Play of the Western Canon

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BookTuber Tuesday – Classical Literature

 

[“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 yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Social Medea: The Male-dominated World

{{Boys and girls of all ages}}

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GIF of the week:

Happy Indie Author Day 2016!

indieauthordayTo celebrate, why not share some indie love by promoting an indie book or author? Or, you could read an indie book!

We suggest (cough, cough) THE AUTOMATION. It’s free to read in its entirety on Goodreads.

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!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE AUTOMATION VOL. 1 OF THE CIRCO DEL HERRERO SERIES!

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To celebrate the anniversary of THE AUTOMATION print edition, we’re hosting a Goodreads Giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Automation by G.B. Gabbler

The Automation

by G.B. Gabbler

Giveaway ends September 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

While you wait, you can read the entire ebook for free on Goodreads too.

Tell your friends (if you have any).

BookTuber Tuesday – Library at Mount Char

 

Check out other book vlogs we’ve featured here.

Have a book vlog video you want us to check out? Submit a link below in the comments and it could make the CIRCO blog.

[“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 yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.