Happy Birthday!

Edgar Allan Poe is 200 years old today (but still doesn’t look a day over 40!). So break out the Amontillado and raise a glass at midnight to one of the Great Dark Geniuses of our age.


October 15, 2008: ABC News Online:

Australia will join five other countries in what scientists describe as one of the most ambitious explorations of the Antarctic.

Buried deep beneath the Antarctic continent is a mountain range of such a huge scale that scientists are almost in awe of what they are about to do.


Anne Arkham draws my attention to the sad news of the death of Laura Huxley, who you may recall I wrote about in the post Brief Candles.

Rest in peace Laura. One of my very few regrets is that I never called the number you gave me.

The LA Times obituary says:

One of her last projects was to bring “Brave New World” to the movie screen. It is now in development with a major motion picture studio, (estate attorney) Jonathan Kirsch said.

Personally, I hope that this never happens. Some things should just be left well and truly alone.

Thank you Cowerati for your wonderful submissions for ideas for Classic works of literature suitably reduced in scale for publication as Nano Editions, a la Teeny Ted from Turnip Town.

I can tell you that judging a winner was a tough call from so many chuckle-worthy entries. In the end I just had to go with my initial instincts and give the prize to the suggestion that most surprised and delighted me on first reading.

First, some Honourable Mentions:

Phoebe Fay got a chuckle with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Neighbourhood, as did Casey with Slaughterhouse .5. Chickie definitely got a laugh with The Okay Earth, and Joey also raised a guffaw with … (his abbreviated version of Waiting for Godot)

Pil continued to completely confuse me with a book that Adolf Hitler almost certainly never even thought of writing, Mein Achselhöhle (about his armpit…?), and HughT almost pipped the winner at the post with his wonderful The Life of Pi to Four Decimal Places.

In the end, I had to go with the suggestion that I thought most succinctly summed up the spirit of the Nano Publication (ie, a Classic with essence suitably distilled for sub-miniature reproduction), combined with the most outrageous pun. It was, of course, Radiocative Jam‘s Less Miserables.

Jam, the trophy is yours. Salut, and well done. An appropriate prize is winging its way across the Pacific.

Ascendancies Cover

A new anthology of short stories from onetime ‘cyberpunk'[tippy title=”¹”]I’m sure he really hates that term these days…[/tippy] science fiction writer and green design visionary Bruce Sterling is due to be released by Subterranean Press this September.

Anything from Bruce is well worth reading, but the very special thing about this particular book (well, as far as I’m concerned anyway) is that the cover features one of my mathematically articulated images.

This image, called Red Portal is from my Complex Systems #1 inventions.

You can read a little more about my images, how they are made, and the creative philosophies behind them in this post, and see my galleries here.

Congratulations Bruce!


¹I’m sure he really hates that term these days…


The Reverend and the Homunculus

To Make an Homunculus (similar to that praised by Paracelsus)*:

Find the root of the plant called bryony. Take it out of the ground on a Monday (the day of the moon), a little time after the vernal equinox. Cut off the ends of the root and bury it at night in some country churchyard in a dead man’s grave. For thirty days water it with cow’s milk in which three bats have been drowned. When the thirty-first day arrives, take out the root in the middle of the night and dry it in an oven heated with the branches of verbena; the result will be a tiny monster resembling a human being. Wrap it up in a piece of a dead man’s winding sheet and carry it with you when you go about your business.

OK, some points to consider:

•Have a really good excuse prepared for when someone catches you digging around in somebody’s grave in the middle of the night. I’m thinking that “It’s OK officer, I’m just making an homunculus” is not going to get you off with just a warning.

•Lotsa luck with the drowning of the bats in a bucket of milk. That could be a real laff riot.

•I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to find a dead man’s winding sheet nowadays. Try substituting a deaf man’s whining sheep.

•An homunculus isn’t just for Christmas! When you get your homunculus, you’ll have to look after it. My book suggests: “Keep it hidden in some secret place and feed it with lavender seeds and earthworms. You will have success with everything as long as it lives.” (My feeling is that if you go into business with a well-mulched lavender farm, you’ll be set forever).

*This may possibly be the first ever hyperlinked homunculus conjuration to appear on the web.

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