Space opera. It’s a real thing.

Space opera is a real subset of science fiction. According to sciencefiction.com, “Space opera is a genre of science fiction literature, and the term can also be applied to movies and TV programs. The genre has almost no relationship to the opera music form, except for the similarity of grand scope and dramatic intensity. Typically, space opera occurs on a galactic scale, has multiple types of spacecraft, from speedy corvettes to battleships capable of destroying planets. There is plenty of action and adventure in space opera.”

Well-known Space operas include Doctor Who, The Foundation series, and the Ancillary Justice series (which I just read and would highly recommend).

Uncreative Writing?

In my last post, I commented on the mash-up of what appears to be constituting our current literary tradition. And to make matters more interesting, I just got a new book in the mail…so this morning I jumped into Kenneth Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing — a text on the reinvention of writing in the digital age. It’s FASCINATING. Forgive my Friday brain (for I got so little sleep last night) if I oversimplify things (and fear not, I’ll return to this book again, I’m sure) but the text proposes that patchwriting, “a way of weaving together various shards of other people’s words into a tonally cohesive whole,” is the new creative writing.

He argues that plagiarism is now an acceptable option for writers. He encourages undergrads in his class at Penn to utilize techniques such as collage, plagiarism, sampling, repurposing papers, etc. to create projects that turn out to be original works, wrought with self expression.

Goldsmith says, “The act of choosing and reframing tells us just as much about ourselves as our story about our mother’s cancer operation.”

I’ve only gotten through the introduction so far, but my mind is blown. Stay tuned for more on this, for I think Goldsmith has some valid (although controversial) points and isn’t a voice I can (or want to) ignore…

Paranoia, Part 2

As soon as I was finished writing this post, I came across an article about PRISM and the NSA in The New York Review of Books. The article mentions that the recent media frenzy regarding domestic surveillance programs has lead to a spike in sales of George Orwell’s novel 1984. According to the article’s author, James Bamford, “On Amazon.com, the book made the ‘Movers & Shakers’ list and skyrocketed 6,021 percent in a single day.” Impressive.

After reading this, I couldn’t help but think a correlation exists between the increase in sales of 1984 and Shirley Jackson’s revival. To paraphrase Stephen King in Danse Macabre (very loosely, sorry I don’t have a copy handy to quote from directly), about every twenty years–and certainly after an economic downturn or political strife–the horror genre experiences something of a resurrection.

2013 has all the right ingredients for a horror novel comeback. Economic strife, check. Political surveillance scandal, check. Popularity surge of 1984, check. And this week, The New Yorker published a newly released Shirley Jackson short story appropriately entitled Paranoia.

Coincidence? I think not; more like the magazine has it’s finger on the pulse of the American consciousness–one that is constantly looking over its shoulder.

Introducing Cat e-Cards: a FREE iOS Mobile App

Introducing my first mobile app: Cat e-Cards. Also check out the Facebook and Tumblr page.

This FREE mobile app allows you to send a personalized e-card featuring a pimped out version of your cat in 5 easy steps:

1. Select an occasion for your e-card.

2. Choose an image of your cat (use your camera, your photo library or one of our free stock photos).

3. Add a custom message to the e-card.

4. Pimp your cat e-card with free or paid props.

5. Preview and send the cat e-card to anyone, anywhere.

You can also save the cat e-card to your photo library, email, print, text, or post it on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. What are you waiting for, download the app now!

Crowdfund a Walter Potter Documentary

Recently, I’ve been reading and writing about taxidermy, largely inspired by a taxidermy bird at a friend’s house, largely inspired by reading about Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter. You can imagine my excitement upon reading that Ronni Thomas, creator of the Midnight Archive, plans to document Potter’s life. Holy shit, that’s awesome. If I have any disposal income this summer, I may chip in to his Kickstarter. You should too.