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Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

Site Overhaul

As should be abundantly obvious, the management here at Beeboy(!) Productions have done an overhaul of the site.  What this should mean is less tinkering with things to get them to work right, and more actual content.

For the geeks at heart: yeah, I finally pitched MovableType in favor of WordPress.  MT was a step up from the old system of editing HTML files by hand, but after a few years of upgrades breaking things that worked in previous releases, I finally abandoned it when the last upgrade broke comment posting.  The fix seemed to be to re-write a bunch of templates that had been working fine for the last eight years, and it took less time to migrate the whole site to WP than it would have to re-write the templates.

So cheers to the new design, and thanks for reading.  If anyone notices anything else broken, drop me a line via the comments or the contact page.

Cosmicomics

Italo Calvino
Cosmicomics

Cosmicomics
Cosmicomics is like reading the dream of a graduate student of physics, fallen asleep at her desk among a stack of cosmological texts. Elementary particles fall in love, get jealous, argue. Superstrings complain of overcrowding on the eve of the big bang. The cosmos has a pulse, a mind, itches that need scratching. The thread that connects the stories is the attribution of human traits to non-human substances and to explore how those attributes might play out as the universe unfolds over the eons.

While this is my first time reading a book of Calvino’s, I did encounter one of these stories (“A Sign in Space”) once before, in an anthology of science fiction. Among the standard tales of rockets and aliens and unexplored worlds, here was this odd story about a mind that leaves a mark on the galactic disc as it coalesces, and then spends the millennia watching for the mark on the next pass around. While there’s virtually no story in it — very little plot of which to speak, just an extended monologue exploring an idea — it stuck with me for over a decade such that I recognized it the title instantly in Cosmicomics and remembered the story almost exactly. It was so different from the other stories in the volume: science fiction in the sense of fiction about science, but so far from my stereotype of the genre. Just a simple thought experiment. What would it be like to be the first being in the universe to make a mark?

As for my own mark consumption, summertime has slowed it considerably. With so many other things to see and do in so many hours of daylight, I make less time to sit down to read. That’s not a good or a bad thing, but just the reality of the gardening-and-music-festival-and-wandering time of the year. I’ve got a small stack of things on deck; we’ll see how many I actually get through before the snow starts falling again…