GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human by Thomas Thwaites Princeton Architectural Press 2016, 208 pages, 5.9 x 8.6 x 0.9 inches $16 Buy a copy on Amazon
Thomas Thwaites has a curious idea of what it means to take a vacation, at least if the just released GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human is any indication. What started off as a casual observation about how Queen Elizabeth’s dog, Noggin, probably worries a good deal less than his royal master evolved into a quixotic book full of ruminations on ruminants. Animals, Thwaites imagined, live in the moment, free from worry, at one with the land. How wonderful to be so unburdened, he thought. So, after briefly considering becoming an elephant, he decided to try his hand at being a goat.
Along the way, Thwaites learned a good deal about goats. Humans, Thwaites tells us, have been interacting with them since 9000 BCE – from the domestication of bezoar goats somewhere in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains to the mythical, sexual subjugation of goats by the goat-horned, Greek god Pan, as depicted in a rather graphic sculpture discovered under layers of ash deposited on the city of Herculaneum by Mount Vesuvius in the year 79. Much to our relief, Thwaites just wants to be a goat, not to “do” one.
Which is not to say the book is not occasionally disgusting. The section describing the R&D behind his goat suit includes the dissection of a goat named Venus, who died of natural causes and whose skinned limbs, palm-sized brain, and oozing guts are explored in gory detail. Read the rest
The Nebula Awards -- voted on by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America to recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy -- were given out in Chicago yesterday, and every prose award went to a woman (the film award went to the writers of feminist action film Mad Max: Fury Road). Read the rest
U Maryland English professor Matthew G. Kirschenbaum has a new book called Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing that tells the story of word processing from writers' perspectives; an accompanying gallery collects photos of famous authors with their first word processors (mine was an Apple //e). Pictured above: Stephen King with his Wang System 5 Model 3 word processor in 1982. Read the rest
The term "tendril perversion" was coined in 1998 by mathematicians Goriely and Tabor to describe the long-observed phenomenon of coiled cables, vines and other helixes that have one kinked loop that goes the other way. Read the rest
Gen Con, the giant, venerable RPG convention in Indianapolis, has announced its Industry Insider slate of featured panelists, revealing that the con's organizers attained (and surpassed) gender parity, with a group composed 52% of women. Read the rest
It's time once again to nominate your digital heroes for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual Pioneer Awards; previous winners include Edward Snowden, Carl Malamud, Limor Fried, Laura Poitras, Heddy Lamarr, Aaron Swartz, Gigi Sohn, Bruce Schneier, Zoe Lofgren, Glenn Greenwald, Jon Postel and many others (I am immensely proud to have won one myself!). Read the rest
Len Peralta writes about a Kickstarter for Renfest: "a new episodic comedy series starring Mary Jo Pehl and Trace Beaulieu of MST3K fame and Dave 'Gruber' Allen from Freaks & Geeks. They are trying to make enough to finish the pilot and hopefully create a full season." Read the rest
Matthew Callahan's Galactic Warfighters series poses Star Wars action figures in scenes that recreate war journalism from US operations, captioned with AP-style slugs that conjure up the human cost of the battles hidden by the inscrutable armor of the Empire. Read the rest