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The Nacreous Oughts
26 April 2013
"And in fact there is some value in keeping distinct different views of history without collapsing them into one another, and I think this tension can be healthy rather than unhealthy." Edward W Said
(via barewalls dot com)
"The double dawn had risen; the orange sun overpowered the wan light of the blue sun..." Kameron Hurley, God's War (2011)
From the descriptions in the book, the planet Umayma orbits either zeta Aurigae itself, or else another "Zeta Aurigae System"; obviously i am choosing to go with the former, since images of this star have been repeatedly attempted since the days of Chesley Bonestell. Curiously it has two other names which are never used in sci-fi OR astronomy as far as i can tell: Haedus I. & Azaleh. "Haedus I." affects my imagination differently from "Azaleh", & "Zeta Aurigae" differently still. Additionally, it is designated as HD 32068 & HIP 23453.
Hipparcos gives the parallax as ".00414, which works out to 787 light years (somewhat greater distances are also mentioned). I am going to use a visual magnitude of 3.751 & the interstellar absorption 0.25 mag as adopted by Bennett (1996), although not all of my calculations square with his in the end. His visual magnitude difference between the two stars, 2.22, gives a visual luminosity of 2021.153591 combined, with the orange star 1789.550684 & the blue star 231.6029066.
Many of the models i've looked at end up with a bolometric correction rather in excess of the scales i am used to seeing for cool supergiants. So i wiill take the observed diameter, ".0055 which works out to 142.8 times our Sun. Then the best fit seems to be around T= 3825 K, BC -0.83 & bolometric luminosity of 3857.182597 (nearer to gK2 than the K3 or K4 usually given). Then, i'm taking the secondary as 13000K & Bc -0.64 (B7), so that its bolometric luminosity equals 417.5841494 & its radius would be 4.067628534.
An earthlike planet might orbit the twin suns at a distance of 154 AU. If their combined mass is 10.6 solar, its orbital period becomes 590 years. From this distance the large star would seem to be nearly as large as our own sun seen from Earth; they would spread apart as widely as three times its diameter during the 2.7 year binary period. There are about 220 of these stellar revolutions in one planetary "year".
12 April 2013
Gary Shteyngart- Super Sad True Love Story
China Mieville- Perdido Street Station
Adam Johnson- The Orphan Master's Son
Lissa Wolsak- Squeezed Light
Reza Negarostani- Cyclonopedia
Jon Armstrong- Grey
Robot X.- [The Best of] Issue 1
Patti Smith- Just Kids
Elizabeth Hand- Generation Loss
Lyda Morehouse- Archangel Protocol
Rebecca Solnit- A Field Guide to Getting Lost
James Kunstler- The Long Emergency
Sarah Waters- Fingersmith
Michael Muhammad Knight- The Taqwacores
Daniel Abraham- A Shadow in Summer
Mark Z Danielewski- House of Leaves
Christian Bok- Eunoia
Rohan Kriwaczek- An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin
This is far from definitive. I really don't try all that hard to keep up with the innumerable new books as they come out, though i'd like to know which writers are the best among my contemporaries. (In the process, I've been noticing that post-"Nine Eleven" writing that fails to acknowledge this, in some way, makes me a little impatient.) What strikes me now, though, is how porous the previously-ironclad boundaries of genre have become, across the board. I would've thought the distinguishing feature of 21c writing to be its derivativeness, but instead i have to acknowledge there actually is quite a bit of originality nowadays, only not in the ways writers used to be original before.
Books by Women
Djuna Barnes- Nightwood
George Eliot- Middlemarch
Gwyneth Jones- White Queen
Sylvia Plath- Collected Poems (rather than The Bell Jar--c'mon!)
Gertrude Stein- Tender Buttons
Simone Weil- The Need for Roots
Diane di Prima- Revolutionary Letters
Mina Loy- The Lost Lunar Baedeker
Lady Murasaki- The Tale of Genji
Angela Carter- The Bloody Chamber
Doris Lessing- The Golden Notebook
Leonie Adams- Poems: A Selection
Gwendolyn MacEwen- The TE Lawrence Poems
Susan Sontag- Against Interpretation
Annie Dillard- A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Joan Didion- The White Album
Virginia Woolf- The Waves
Dorothy Allison- Cavedweller
Shirley Jackson- We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Edna St Vincent Millay- Collected Sonnets
Anne Rice- Interview with the Vampire
Frances Yates- The Rosicrucian Enlightenment
Emily Bronte- Wuthering Heights
Suzanne Langer- Philosophy in a New Key
Hannah Arendt- The Human Condition
Starhawk- The Spiral Dance
Christina Rossetti- Complete Poems
Gertrud Kolmar- Dark Soliloquy
Kathe Koja- Bad Brains
Delmira Agustini- The White Book (& others)
Maya Deren- The Divine Horsemen
Maria Gimbutas- The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe
Keri Hulme- The Bone People
Kate Braverman- Lithium for Medea
I could easily make a different list just as long, but these are just the first names that came to mind. This would not seem to be a topic that requires defending, except for the prevalence of obtuse critics who think the Canon came down to us on stone tablets instead of being the product of chance, prejudice, & many separate acts of revision & recovery.
07 February 2013
1. Petula Clark
Boot Hill Express- a famous custom show car of the sixties; it was basically a glass-walled hearse
War Chest Tour- protesters at the 1984 Republican Convention (& others) went from downtown tower to downtown tower, announcing the crimes of their corporate occupants
2. unlace chat limit = anagram of Miclantecihuatl
"speak to the wind" (as [talk]): a song by King Crimson
5. Lojban 'not believe, but know'
6. the wood of the suicides: Dante's Inferno, canto 13
10. Rolling Stones
12. from the movie Music Box
Lojban 'infinite peace'
13. Neil Young
14. Esperanto: Korano 2.264 'His likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is dust of earth; a rainstorm smiteth it, leaving it smooth and bare.' (Pickthall)
16. at Sedlec
Collinwood: in the TV show "Dark Shadows"--but also: the name of the nursing home where my mother-in-law has been staying
19. "domes of ice/ a maiden singing": refers to the Coleridge poem "Kubla Khan"
"...the sun/ only a brighter/ star": refers to Three Dog Night song "Out in the Country": "Before the sun/ is just a bright spot/ in the nighttime..."
20. white arch: the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas
23. not that Dave Ramsey
25. "in the desert of the real": "welcome to the desert of the real"--the famous line from The Matrix that was used by Slavoj Žižek for his response to 9-11
24. character in "Li'l Abner"
26. "negotium [ambulans in tebebris]: Psalm 91:6
malamati: see note 32.
29. Rickie Lee Jones
30. the nearby red dwarf star Lalande 21185 (which once was thought to have planets), is here translated into another number base (21)
from the movie Liquid Sky
32. Esperanto Korano 5.54 'the blame of any blamer'
34. the name of the book: Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him
35. "penult" of course, is a reference to Mallarmé's prose-poem
Lojban 'blame me'
tanniyn- considered by some to be the Old Testament word for 'dinosaur'
Plath: "The Detective"
38. Lojban 'to die'
42. Horace, Art of Poetry "eyes without a face": Billy Idol
44. from the film Aelita
45. geis- (Gaelic) a dare that must be taken
46. Robin Trower
47. droke = drunk + broke
bhangra- a genre of Punjabi music
52. i later used this paragraph as the beginning of something else
53.unvigesimal =base 21
ontogolies: intentional spoonerism of "ontologies"
Gylfi: from the Elder Edda
54. Auto Beatnik (Horizon magazine, May '62)
55. firn: hand-packed granular snow
56. "should count as law school": William Gillespie's mnemonic for his 14 vowel sound poetry-- "Twenty consonant writimng--a joy [which i amended to: 'oy veh']--should count as law school."
58. Lojban 'white face' (the clowns' autonym)
59. Nithon- the Lovecraft moon of Yuggoth i identify with Pluto's Charon
"Amercia": the nation that leads the world in per capita incarcerations (from "amerce"= punish); aka "God's Country"
Taneraic 'of jasmine' (in Glaugnea, this means: the B-side of a 45-single)
house of Yes- the 1997 movie with Parker Posey as a girl who believes she is Jackie O.
60. white smoke rising- sign that a new pope has been chosen
flysch- a type of fossiliferous soul
rishima- in Qabbalah: the residue of the Holy, after Tsimtsum
"selenotroope" should be: "selenotrope" (cf heliotrope)
61. Club of Rome [Report]: subtitled "The Limits to Growth". i was 14 when i read this. they were pretty much right about everything.
62. Esperanto Korano 4.100 'refuge and abundance'
witch house: a genre of music (e.g. Salem), named after a Lovecraft story
63. sqaip, ts !a'q- Coast Salish words, meaning respectively: a powerful nomadic war spirit; a spirit that helps you in your work
terra nullius- the legal concept which enabled Europeans to justify their dispossessions in the "New World"
jairce- the smell of rain on the wind
xoanon- a crude wooden idol
65. Klingon neologism for 'The Prophet'
deluge on the installment plan: cf Celine- Death on the Installment Plan
66. Lojban 'white face of me'
al-ithara wa al-faza: Salam Pax's Arabic for "shock and awe"
ighlysre (spamtest word) defined by me as- a two dimensional image on a three dimensional surface
anacyclosis- the cycle of kinds of political order (democracy, dictatorship, aristocracy)
nazodapesad- (Enochian) 'sword or swords'
&n then: a typo for & then
67. "drowning slowly": "Brick" by the Ben Folds Five
71. apophyge- part of an Ionic or Corinthian column
Esperanto: 7.46 'on the heights' (the title of Surah vii, which inspired Poe's "Al Aaraaf")
The Latin Anthology: Anthologia Latina, a late Empire collection edited in North Africa
72. Jethro Tull
Simon & Garfunkel
74. Esperanto 4.157 'we only suppose'
"star/ if you are": William Burford
Almach: the beautiful "double star" gamma Andromedae, calculated by myself long ago to be uninhabitable, & according to the Internet, having as "inhabitants androgynous dragonflies superior to us"
75. Lojban 'you (imperative) remember!"
olibanum = frankincense
77. the fortune...: at one time i was majoring in Physics
78. Lojban 'melting-clock era'
79. Lojban 'the horse-riding song' which was the title used by Dr Llambias's translation of Lorca's celebrated 'Song of the Horseman' poem
80. "derevaun seraun": supposed Gaelic for 'the end of pleasure is pain' (Joyce)
shapka (Turkish)- a western style hat
82. Fleetwood Mac
"through orchid bogs": from Wintering
83. Jack Spicer
zraqa dshimsa- Assyrian for 'the moment the sun touches the horizon' which is like Lojban SRAKU JIMCA 'cutting branch'
Sxwaixwe- a Coast Salish deity i adopted during my stay in Seattle
85. Lojban 'the name of Allah'
screever- a sidewalk chalk artist
86. talaria- winged sandals
Grand Ourse (French) = the Big Dipper
85'. droshky- a fast, horse-drawn carriage
"sad thing known to man": "Tears of a Clown" (Smoky Robinson)
86'. Lojban 'leader of the bears' & 'connector-consciousness' (perhaps the one indisputable Whorfian effect acquired by Lojban-users
Pluto is now "asteroid 134340" to the astronomers
87. 1st line parodies Olson's "in cold hell, in thicket"
"[remember] you are ash"
swans freezing to the ice: a reference to Mallarme
91. cfate =fate (typo)
92. "a living carver of the monster's liver": Royston's Lycophron
thesaurus poring over: Plath's preferred method of composition, early on
yardang- wind shaped sandhills found in Mongolia & according to one source from my childhood, also Venus
runaway verge envy: anagram of Gray Wyvern Avenue
93. wuxia- name of the Martial Arts film genre in which the protagonist is a solitary travelling 'knight'
Rattenkrieg- 'war of the rats' (to quote Amazon: "Rattenkrieg was the term used by German soldiers during the battle for Stalingrad to describe the type of vicious, close quarters battle they experienced there while fighting a determined force of Russian soldiers and partisans street by bloody street."
ferenghi- 'Frank' (medieval exonym of Muslim
mongo- something found on the street
khrafstras (Old Avestan)- 'vermin'; term taken up by Negarestani; cf also Robot X: "that is the vermin's march"
docile canopy: anagram of Cyclonopedia
cicalatide: cicada season (in Dallas)
94. Phil Collins
Candaon- used as my name for the newly discovered earthlike exoplanet Gliese 163c
pondsaltor- to know the parts but not the sequence of something
clefskiosk- to do things out of order &n find it okay
this section incorporates notes for an unfinished science fiction story i briefly contemplated, about a future in which natural death is unknown
96. parodies part of "Eleanor Rigby"
civetendow- (spambot test word)to be sort of familiar with a sequence, yet not know what is coming directly next; could also mean- to spray with musk, like a civet cat
omdowlor (Cornish word)- yused to mean: an imaginary history
also- Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"
96. Endor: home moon of the Ewoks; also, in 1 Samuel 28:4-25, a curious anecdote involving the consultation of a witch
that blackness descends: "That blackness that descends on me when I think of my dead." (Ford Madox Ford)
97. from Rowe's Lucan
reference is made to a cassette i own which was one of Throbbing Gristle's infamous boxed set of cassettes "24 Hours of Throbbing Gristle"
97. Lojban 'terminal limit' used as title of Lina Persson's mysterious YouTube film in Lojban
99. kintsugi- (J.) the art of beautiful repair
NOTA BENE "part 3 of a 3-part work" should be "part 2..." (typo)
23 October 2012
Lately Melanie has been talking about her "film bucket list" & so i thought i'd do mine. There really haven't been a lot of movies i wanted to see that i didn't get to (ones i did, include: The Last Days of Man on Earth (a "Jerry Cornelius" adaptation!), Incubus (the infamous William Shatner-Esperanto project), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (even more dreadful than i expected), & 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (a truly giallo treatment of the lurid Jacobean play), Satan in High Heels (Grayson Hall), Chimes at Midnight, & (most of all) Play It As It Lays); more like it's those i always meant to get around to, but still haven't.
E.g. i adore Dreyer's Vampyr & The Passion of Joan of Arc, so why haven't i seen his other two (Day of Wrath; Ordet/The Word)? Or, there's probably just the one last Elizabeth Taylor movie i want to see--the unobtainable Raintree County. (Do i care about Reflections in a Golden Eye? Not that much.) One last Dominique Sanda: Beyond Good and Evil (she plays Lou Andreas-Salome!). One last Audrey Hepburn: Two for the Road. Another Paula Prentiss? I dunno...Is anything as good as Where the Boys Are or Man's Favorite Sport?. I think not.
Movies i missed while they were in the theater: Across the Universe, Howl, maybe (oh, surely not?) The Libertine or Burton's Alice in Wonderland; certainly the recent Corolianus. Chow Yun Fat as Confucius. And i wanted to see that (part-?) animated movie about the Chicago Seven trial (Chicago 10: Speak Your Peace)...
Classics: The Scarlet Empress; Wages of Fear; Black Narcissus. For my childhood's sake: Speed Racer. Lovecraft adaptations: The Whisperer in Darkness (silent!); Cthulhu: the Movie. Because i loved the clip on YouTube: "Turkish Star Wars". Impossible-to-find adaptation of a pulp novel i liked: A Dandy in Aspic. Julie Taymor's British-television Poe: Fool's Fire. Both versions of The Bell Jar (oh, the newer one isn't out yet?). Last "head movie": Skidoo (with Jackie Gleason & Groucho Marx). The Korean horror flick Gwoemul/The Host. Solomon Kane. Unfilmable novel: Under the Volcano. The Patti Smith documentary Dream of Life. Another doc, An Encounter with Simone Weil. Movies about artists: Stevie, Angel at My Table, Isadora...
And a movie i've read a lot about (since All That Heaven Allows): Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind. When i see that i'll know whether i want it or Magnificent Obsession to own...
Number one would have to be: Berlin Alexanderplatz--supposedly Fassbinder's masterpiece. And number two, Freud, with Montgomery Clift as Sigmund himself. I only found it online once--& i was broke at the time.
Wait--what about Atomic Submarine? The Bachelor Party (Carolyn Jones)...?
17 October 2012
Alpha Centauri Bb, a terrestrial-type planet of at least 1.13 Earth-masses in a 3.2357 day orbit around the K1 star of 0.934 solar masses, has just been discovered. I think i will call it Ravanastron. At 0.04 AU (my calculations give 0.041850045), the surface temperature is estimated to be 870 degrees Celsius--or, elsewhere, 1200-1500K. A veritable "lava world." (Curiously, there's already a petition to rename it "something more inspiring.") BTW, the orange star from Bb would appear 22 times larger than the Sun does from Earth.
Science fiction has not neglected this star. From time to time i look at it & dream, most recently as the planet Boaz... Perhaps the movie Avatar has defined it for the present generation, although for my money Alpha Centauri or Die! has got to be the most evocative title. Tangerine Dream did an album by that name, too. Meanwhile the old videogame is still remembered.
the road is in my blood
though it lead but through
the lees of some harsh flood
the road is in my blood
with versts made wud
wheels jarred out of true
the road is in my blood
though it lead but through
23 September 2012
The latest "habitable-zone" exoplanet is Gliese 163c, otherwise known as Luyten 229-91 & HIP 19394. Its spectral type is M3.5, & its parallax is 0".06669, which makes it 48.88 light years from Earth. I calculate its visual luminosity at 0.003693844126, or 1/271th of the Sun; with a bolometric correction of -1.97 & a stellar temperature of 3200 K, this makes its total luminosity 0.022671411 (1/44). (Its mass is estimated at 0.40, though from its resemblance to Lalande 21185 i would think it a little less. Its derived radius is 0.494646924 solar.) Using this value, however, along with planet C's revolution period of 26 days, gives a semimajor axis of 0.126552403 AU.
At that distance the planet, which i will call Candaon, has a blackbody temperature of 305.0629588 K. It would definitely have a synchronous rotation*. The mass is given as at least 6.9 Earth's. Using densities from 0.85 to 1.15, the resulting radius ranges from 2.0 to 1.8, gravity from 1.7 to 2.1, and escape velocity from 1.85 to 1.95. If i postulate an albedo of 0.45 and a greenhouse effect of 50 K, this makes the average planetary temperature 40 degrees Centigrade--not a lot warmer than Earth. The star would appear four times as big as the Sun does from Earth; clement temperatures being closer to the terminator than usual for these planets, it would always be near sunset just above the horizon.
Much of the discussions about Gliese 581g & its "ribbon world" ecology apply here. Sophonts might very well be centauroid. I am going to go ahead & name the huge, perpetual, hot tornado that seems typical at the subsolar point of such worlds, "the Omphalos". (More discussion & images here and here. A new angle.) Fictional treatments include Zelazny's wonderful Jack of Shadows, and "Parasite Planet".
This star is supposed to be close to the notorious saucerian home star Zeta Reticuli. (This distance turns out to be some 23 light years; though closer to each other than to our sun, they are hardly nearest neighbors [see the Sol Station list]. Gliese 163 is actually in the adjacent constellation Dorado.)
*A search for "planet with trapped rotation" brought me this tidbit from Duncan Lunan, otherwise notorious for his evocative space-myth concerning the star epsilon Boötis.
26 June 2012
I have written about the nearby exoplanets & how they might be named; an astronomer recently tried his hand at much the same thing, so a comparison might be in order. (Only some of the more significant ones will be considered here.)
Epsilon Eridani b. Sofonisba. Styx.
Gliese 674 b. Carnifex. Stymphalus.
Gliese 876 b, c, d. Yemaya, Lir, Khnum. Dardanus, Tros, Ilus.
Gliese 832 b. Thoth. Gerania.
Gliese 581 e, b, c, d. Cynosure, Avatar, Metaluna, Usk. Eunomia, Themis, Eirene, Dike.
Gliese 667C b. Vinegaroon. Merope.
Fomalhaut b. Cthugha. Ilion.
Gliese 849 b. Nodens. Capys.
Gliese 317 b. Medea. Hymenaios.
Pollux b. Polydeuces. Remus.
55 Cancri e, b, c, f, d. Balkis, Omoultalis, Zulkais, Danzig, Arbogast. Euippe, Anthelea, Teleia, Stygne, Argive.
HD69830 b, c, d. Nahum, Phryne, Palinurus. Lachesis, Atropos, Clotho.
Upsilon Andromedae b, c, d. Aminth, Colalp, Laran (St Barnabas). Heleus, Mestor, Cynurus.
Gamma Cephei b. Marduk. Dannaus.
47 Ursae Majoris b, c. Goldflake, Innocence. Clio, Euterpe. (Note that Alan Steele (Coyote) calls these Bear and Wolf.)
Mu Arae c, d, b, e. Uruk, Kish, Charchemish, Dilbat. Peucetis, Caucon, Nyctimus, Cynaethus.
51 Pegasi b. Bellerophon. Lyra concurs.
70 Virginis b. Thecla. Cora.
It seems that Mr Lyra neglects, inexplicably, the triple-planet system 61 Virginis, Gliese 370, the third planet of 47 Ursae Majoris, the second planet of Melbourne 4 C, as well as the fascinatingly anomalous nu Octantis system.
And 2M1207b (Canaan) he calls Lerna.
PS Another proposal.