John A. A. Logan poised to evoke the touch of evil in The Survival of Thomas Ford – and below, less alarmingly, with his mother, Agnes Logan
Photographs by Alasdair Allen (above) and northern-times.co.uk

‘We sly women are the world’s only hope,’ said Jan, ‘And not just any old sly women either. You can forget about yer Jews and Protestants for starters. And of course any woman who dabbles in atheism.’

‘You get them, man,’ said Bathsheba. ‘It happens.’


‘Still in deep denial about the Counter-Reformation, yer Prods.’ Bathsheba beeped the horn again. ‘The most comically perplexed souls of all time, poor things.’ Beebeep. ‘The ne plus ultra of human… Of human whit? Thingummibob. Whit’s the word? Cartoonishness? Am I toasty warm? Get us the thesaurus.’

Jan found it in the glove compartment and gave it over.

The Adorata, Sean Murray

What is the point of…

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Let a hundred flowers blossom - pink peony bud - postgutenberg@gmail[dot]com

Let a hundred flowers blossom - dried up peony bud - postgutenberg@gmail[dot]com ’Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and sciences … ‘ — said Chairman Mao, in a speech in Beijing on 27 February 1957. Chinese society has since evolved in precisely the opposite direction — as most Chinese would concede, whether for or against the policy reversal. Centralised authoritarian power in the shape of government interrupted the blossoming of Chinese culture, here symbolised by a peony — a flower native to China. Are we in the West going to let increasingly centralised and concentrated Big Tech roll back the internet’s supremely democratic, unprecedented flowering of creativity and freedom of speech — conceivably, in an unholy collaboration, soon, with government and commerce?

Wikipedia decision to delete '2019 Social Media Strike' on 22 July 2019 postgutenberg@gmail.com The debate among Wikipedians about the article on the 2019 Social Media Strike ended with a decision to delete it on…

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Those in power are often described as “faceless”. In 10 years our cyborg overlords may not feel the need to possess simulacra of faces perhaps. In many sci fi films (Westworld, Terminator) the rogue robot will at some point have its face burned/knocked/blasted off, to reveal the mechanical framework beneath. This usually makes the creature scarier. Frankenstein’s monster has a combination-aggregate sort of face, in most cine-incarnations.
In a Philip K Dick story the androids will usually have perfect faces, or perfectly imperfect faces, allowing them to pass successfully as human (meaning they are as good at the surrounding humans at emulating and impersonating often not-deeply-felt facially expressed emotion).
Are fake faces on androids better than fake faces on human beings? Perhaps there is a greater ontological honesty inherent in a fake face on an android, than on a human?
At least, we are less shocked at the androids artificiality, and more disappointed in a human’s.
Questions questions all around and never a drop to answer with…
We speak of “facing the future”…but what if the future approaches us from behind, and itself Janus-like has two (or more) faces?
We humans communicate now on Facebook, instead of communicating face-to-face.
When the androids take over (fully and officially) perhaps they will get together on Chipbook, where they will use avatars of their internal processor hardware chips and circuitry with which to relate to one another (and themselves), as they may identify more fully with such icons than with the plasticity of “faces”? The Chip will then be the focal point of fetishisation, and starting point for the new religions to follow. No doubt Android Dickens-bots, suitably face-plated/bearded for the sake of form, will chronicle the ascent of it all, but will any of even all that be real progress?
We must “face” up to it perhaps, all progress is merely movement on the surface of a disturbed stream, like a thought passing rapidly across the nervous-system-supported tissues of a human face, only to relapse again the next moment into a rubbery, vapid vacuity, which to the inner terror of android and human alike, may (or may not) truly underlie the mechanics of everything we see.

thrillers with attitude

If you have ever been anywhere near a writing group or book festival of any kind, you will know that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from big, robust circles, to tiny, stabby stars. They come in different flavours too, from cool, classic vanilla, to eyeball-exploding, triple-hot chilli sauce.

Thrillers With Attitude is on a mission to find out what makes these weirdly-shaped and strangely-flavoured writers tick.

My guest this week is author, blogger, poet, musician… Peter Urpeth.  Peter, who is also the Writing and Publishing Director of Emergents, has answered all questions in an entirely personal capacity.

What were you like at school?

I disliked school, almost every day of it, and spent a great deal of time just daydreaming. I think I had a kind of unspoken pact with most of the teachers. I’d not bother them or the class and they’d kind of leave me…

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for Ivan Doig -- postgutenberg[at]gmail.com for Ivan, who as a small boy tagged along after his father to ‘hire on haying crews’ in saloons
— postgutenberg[at]gmail.com

The Economist should have credited the Australian author Hazel Edwards for her neologism, ‘authorpreneurship,’ in her book published three years ago advising mere scribblers on the importance of turning themselves into scribbler-salesmen to save their skins in the post-Gutenberg transition. In its Schumpeter column on 14 February, the magazine made exactly the same point:

Publishers are increasingly focusing their efforts on a few titles they think will make a splash, neglecting less well-known authors and less popular themes …

Authors must court an expanding variety of “influencers”—people whose opinions can determine a book’s success. … a host of bloggers and social-media pundits …

The trouble with many budding writers is that they are not cut out for this new world. They are often introverts, preferring solitude to salesmanship …

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A wise, balanced outlook on the concept of “failure”, and commitment to living a creative life…

Me, but better

Listen to this as a podcast – http://claire-mcgowan-ink-stains.podomatic.com/entry/2015-04-23T07_00_25-07_00

I had planned this time round to say something about a technical aspect of writing – creating suspense, perhaps, or working with viewpoint. Those are both very important, but lately I’ve come to realise that I still need to say more about the way how you feel affects how you write. I’ve encountered a few people recently who were totally fed up with the process. Sick of rejections, sick of trying and getting nowhere. Sick of putting work out there and not getting read. Sick of the entire business. And it seems every week there’s a new article in the Guardian about how writers can no longer earn a living from it and how we may as well all pack up and get checkout jobs in Tesco (I paraphrase).

I think there is truth in this, and there are important conversations to…

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Courtesy of Emergents and ALLi….