Links and Notes for the Week of June 10, 2018

* The Calvert Journal is publishing Beyond the Game, a series of video vignettes exploring each of the cities in Russia which will be hosting the football during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
* TOR.com has posted nice big long lists of the major genre releases for June 2018:
** All the new Fantasy Books Coming Out in June 2018.
** All the new Science Fiction Books Coming Out in June 2018.
** All the new Genre-Bending Books Coming Out in June 2018.
* Metafilter has posted the latest catch-all thread for links and commentary concerning the presidency and administration of Donald Trump, whose daddy issues exceed even those of George W. Bush, which is an astounding accomplishment. Baby Hands and Daddy Issues would be the title of the most accurate possible biography of our current and perpetually emasculated president.

Books in Translation and the Publishers Thereof, Revisited

Several years ago I began collecting books from publishers who specialize in translations from other languages into English. This was prompted by two circumstances. First, a co-worker from bygone years, Chad Post, began working at Open Letter Books in Rochester, NY. Second, on a visit to the Grand Rapids Public Library I discovered Esperanza Street by Niyati Keni, published by And Other Stories.

My eyes having been opened, and knowing a thing or two about the publishing world, I began researching small presses and books in translation. This led to the discovery that some of the most successful publishers, with the most exciting titles and authors, offered subscriptions to their catalogs. What a wonderful way to discover new authors, support small businesses, and add quality and variety to a personal library!

As of the publishing date of this post, I have subscriptions to Open Letter Books, Restless Books, Deep Vellum, & Other Stories, and Two Lines Press.

I found a couple of pages which have comprehensive lists of publishers of works in translation – The American Literary Translators Association and PEN America. What follows is a subset (probably incomplete) of publishers from these two lists which offer subscriptions to their catalogs. Links go to subscription information.

Links and Notes for the Week of June 3, 2018

* A worthy list from BookRiot: 50 Must-Read Books with Gorgeous Writing. From this list I have read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Kite Runner, and White Oleander. Looks like my Mount Tsundoku will be growing soon.
* The Midwest Socialist has published an excellent 5-part (so far) primer on the basics of radical thought and history.
** Part 1 – Dialectical Materialism
** Part 2 – Alienation
** Part 3 – Class
** Part 4 – Value
** Part 5 – Praxis
* Goddammit so much. Anthony Bourdain has left the kitchen. Here is a good round-up of the best writing about Bourdain to be found on the web.

Links and Notes for the Week of May 20, 2018

* Happy 21st Century, from Charles Stross.
* The files of the SCP Foundation should be good for writing prompts and nightmares.
* The one Trump scandal which encompasses all the rest.
* Emasculated president Donald Trump, who is terrified of everyone who is not white and rich, believes all Mexicans are part of MS-13. When this was pointed out, he called it “fake news,” which is actually verification of the charge, since literally every time Trump squeals “fake news,” is it because something true was printed and he didn’t like it.
* Metafilter has posted a new catch-all politics thread. Many good links and comments therein.
* If you have a few minutes and you like simple adventure-type games, give Dicey Dungeons a try.

Links and Notes for the Week of May 13, 2018

* The Rage of the Incels – https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-rage-of-the-incels?mbid=social_facebook

* The Persistence of Anti-Muslim Hate on Facebook – https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/05/05/persistence-anti-muslim-hate-facebook

* Longreads is publishing a series called Bundyville, which tells the story of the neo-Nazi Bundy clan and their treasonous attempts to steal federal land for their own profit. As of this post, four of the seven parts have been posted.

* The WFMT Archive of Studs Terkel Interviews

Links and Notes for the Week of May 6, 2018

* Some words: incubate, incubus, cubiculum, cubicle, purgatory

* A small selection of Afrofuturism books to get started in the genre.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: Science Fiction is the Realism of Our Time

* Donald Trump as attention-seeking virus

* Metafilter has posted a new catch-all thread following the current hell-state of American politics. Much information to be had from links and comments therein.

* How So-Called “Right to Work” Laws Aim to Silence Working People

Links and Notes for the Week of April 29, 2018

* Some words: phenotype, phenomenon, noumenon, nootropic, phenotropic

* This week’s Politician Cut from the Same Cloth as Emasculated President Donald Trump: Viktor Orbán of Hungary. What is happening in Hungary now is the same thing that Trump and his water carriers and lickspittles are trying to make happen here in the United States. Viktor Orbán Versus the Enlightenment. Look to Hungary if you want to know what you’re fighting against. The man who thinks Europe has been invaded.

* In honor of the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, here are some interesting links:
** Capital (PDF)
** Marxist Internet Archive Library
** Happy Birthday, Karl Marx! You Were Right!
** Crises of Capitalism
** The Seventeen Contradictions of Capitalism

Links and Notes for the Week of April 22, 2018

* How Shareholder Primacy Hurts Jobs and Wages – Shareholders who are not also stakeholders are parasites, by and large.

* Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained – Now that they have Emasculated President Trump as a role model, the incels (of which Men’s Rights Activists, GamerGaters and Three Percenters are notable subsets) are able to overcome some of their cowardice and unleash their daddy issues upon the rest of the world. Just like Trump.

* I Joined the Tea Party to Drain the Swamp. Trump Isn’t Helping. – To the surprise of literally nobody with more than two working brain cells, Trump is like King Midas, except everything he touches turns to shit. See also: the entirety of the Alt-right, of which the Tea Party (and by extension, the KKK) is a subset.

Links and Notes for the Week of April 15, 2018

* The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners – Congratulations to everyone on the list.

* Apropos of something or other, What is a Kakistocracy?

* 100 Years of Tax Brackets – Note that there is a direct correlation between rich people dodging taxes and the rise of fascism in any given country. See, for instance, United States of America, particularly during the Trump presidency.

* The Fall of the “Alt-right” Came From Anti-fascism – The alt-right is synonymous with the mainstream right in the United States. Thus Antifa is de facto the most patriotic way to be an American.

* Investigating Pathways to the Alt-Right – or, how racist trash becomes racist trash.

Flash Fiction: Luck, or Something Like It

“Luck, or Something Like It” is a flash fiction inspired by the prompt “Luck” from Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds. This scene immediately follows my previous story “Looking At Ourselves“.

Professor Smith dusted off his jacket and looked around. The room in which he suddenly found himself was huge, with no walls, and a suggestion of a ceiling far overhead, but that could also have been low cloud cover. The space was quite crowded. The floor was uneven and seemed to be made of stone, and he changed his assessment from “room” to “cave”.

“Smith!” he heard a voice yelling nearby. “Smith! Where are you?”

Smith smiled and waved. Professor Lin shouldered her way through a crowd of young people, who Smith vaguely recognized as his neighbors.

“Lin! Over here!” yelled Smith.

Lin made her way carefully to Smith, glancing down at the floor.

“Did we…” said Lin.

“I think so,” said Smith.

“Then we’re in…” said Lin

“Good question,” said Smith. “Not heaven certainly. I recognize some of my students.”

“And not hell,” said Lin. “I see my doorman, Jerry.”

“Good man, was he?” said Smith.

“One of the very best.” said Lin. “He died a little over a month ago.”

“Ahead of the crowd, as it were. So. Purgatory?”

“Perhaps,” said Lin, and raised a hand “Jerry! Halloo! Over here!”

And elderly man, with a bald head and bushy moustache, wandered over to join the two academics. Lin took one of his hands.

“Jerry! It is so good to see you again!”

“Doctor Lin! Likewise.” The corners of Jerry’s moustache drew up into a smile. “Kind of crowded here, all of a sudden.”

“The meteor hit,” said Smith, and offered a hand. “Smith. A pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise,” said Jerry. “Doctor Lin mentioned you from time to time.”

“Positively, I hope!” said Smith. “Lin tells me you’ve been here for a little while. Where is ‘here’, exactly?”

Jerry snorted. “The Bardo, they tell me. We’re all biding our time before we head back to the world. People popping in and out all over the place.”

Lin frowned. “The Bardo, eh? So we’re between lives?”

“Sounds about right,” said Jerry. “I’m Baptist myself, or I was. This whole reincarnation thing is taking a while to wrap my head around.”

“The Bardo! We’re in luck!” said Smith. “Another go at getting things right.”

Lin frowned. “Maybe not. If we are waiting here for our turn at reincarnation…”

Smith’s face fell. “And the world was just destroyed…”

“See, this is why I was happy being a Baptist,” said Jerry. “We only had to worry about our souls once.”

“And we’re sure this is the Bardo?” said Lin.

“Sure as I’m standing here.” said Jerry. “There’s some folks in yellow robes seem to have it all figured out. I never even heard of the place before my heart attack.”

“Er, what happens if we’re supposed to reincarnate and there are no, er, vessels?”

“Beats me,” said Jerry. “I don’t know who’s really in ch-” He abruptly vanished with a small “pop”.

Lin and Smith stared at the empty space, then at each other.

“Maybe he came back as a microbe?” said Smith.

“I’m not sure it works that way,” said Lin. “Maybe reincarnation isn’t bound to one planet.”

“You’re saying he just went back as an alien something?”

“Perhaps,” said Lin. “Buddhism is bound to one planet. That doesn’t mean that the thing Buddhism points toward is also bound to one planet.”

“Nonsense,” said Smith. “If that is the case, where are all the aliens? All I see are a lot of people.”

“Do you see any animals?” said Lin. “Any birds or insects or anything like that?”

Smith looked around. “No, now that you mention it.”

“Maybe they have their own room. Er, cave. Space?”

“Afterlife.”

“But it’s not really ‘after’,” said Lin.

“Intermission?”

“That works. Let’s walk around.”

Smith smiled and offered his arm. Lin hooked hers through his, and they set off through the crowd. After a while Smith said, “I don’t feel like we’re making progress.”

“And I’m not exactly sure how long we’ve been here. The Book of the Dead says forty days, but who is to say if time works here the way it works—worked—back home.”

“It makes sense that it doesn’t,” said Smith. “Space certainly doesn’t.”

“So we don’t know exactly when we’ll head off to the next place.”

“Interesting phrasing,” said Smith. “If space has come unbound, then perhaps time has too. Maybe we stay on the same planet, but we go back to, well, whenever. The 1800s. Or the time of the dinosaurs.”

“Or two billion years from now, when the planet reforms and life begins anew.”

“And wouldn’t that be strange,” said Smith. “No different from being on an alien planet.”

“So in the end we know where we came from, but not where we are—”

“The Bardo,” said Smith.

“But that doesn’t really explain anything,” said Lin. “As I was saying, we’re not sure where we are, and we certainly don’t know where we’re going.”

“So we just have to trust in a higher power?” said Smith.

“Or a lower one.” said Lin.

“That doesn’t sound encouraging,” said Smith. “Maybe Dante—”

“Not lower as in infernal,” snapped Lin. “Lower as in intrinsic. A more basic function of the universe. Not consciously directed by some external agent.”

“A deeper octave of a fractal?” said Smith.

“Yes!” said Lin, squeezing Smith’s arm. “The little details are reflected in the larger picture.”

“So at some level it is all determinism,” said Smith. He sighed and shook his head.

“At some level, perhaps.” said Lin. “But at this level, it could all be luck. Maybe it’s all down to timing. I died at a slightly different microsecond than you did. I come back as a furry critter new Alpha Centauri, or something, and you come back as a polyp in an ocean near Betelgeuse.”

“And there’s a line vessels in the universe waiting for a line of souls. Interesting idea!”

“Time and good behavior,” said Smith.

“Right place, right time, and the Eightfold Path.”

“Ten is a nice round number,” said Smith. “Am I imagining things, or is the crowd thinning out a bit?”

“Seems to be,” said Lin, “Though it could be Brownian motion distributing everyone more evenly in this space.”

Smith squinted into the distance. “No, people are definitely leaving. Seems to be picking up pace, too.”

“I guess this is goodbye again,” said Lin.

“And no terrible vodka this time,” said Smith.

Lin smiled. Smith vanished with a small pop. Lin closed her eyes as a wave of vertigo washed through her, and reopened them to something completely unexpected.