Cobblers’ Street Plaka, 1890 by MB-E on Flickr.

Cobblers Street, Plaka, Athens in 1890

Source: Flickr / athens_greece

The future of Greece, it was becoming clear to all forward-looking men, lay with Western Europe, and the ruling class conformed within a single generation. We can see the process at work in a wonderfully evocative family group by Margaritis, which shows the grizzled paterfamilias in full evzone regalia, including decorations, and ranged behind him his three sons. They are not merely wearing western dress, but three distinct variants of it: on the left, a clean-shaven bohemian lounger in checked pants, three fingers thrust provocatively in his trouser pocket; in the middle, the full-bearded son in sober, buttoned-up black who is clearly destined for the role of hardworking family provider; and on the right, the highly unreliable-looking boulevardier, complete with waxed moustache and cane. Add to the mixture a formidable battle-axe of a wife and a clearly discontented daughter, and you have the cast of a peculiarly cynical play by Moliére.”

-Dry Light blog: notes on photography, landscape & Greece


"In this light, Kazemi and his bot-making friends can be seen as exploring a medium through which we now do much of our everyday business—and then rerouting the wiring that underlies that medium, in a way that moves us to question how we normally use it. By making works that don’t just take advantage of Internet technology, but use it to reveal the invisible rules of the Web, Kazemi may have found nothing less than a new kind of public art for the 21st century—changing, self-referential, and in its insistent randomness, oddly alive."


You Can Panic Now, now with lasers. Alternatively, we moved from wordpress to tumblr! Expect more updates, and do change your bookmarks from to - though the old URL will redirect here for the forseeable.

But seriously, watch out for those lasers.


Terribly, ridiculously pleased to be one of the authors contributing to Long Hidden.



One of my longtime favourite livejournal people, Rose Fox (who is a queer Editor at Publisher’s Weekly in NYC and Program Chair for Readercon) is about to release her Kickstarted POC Sci-Fi Anthology “LONG HIDDEN: SPECULATIVE FICTION FROM THE MARGINS OF HISTORY” this May at Readercon and at launch parties in NYC!

Most written chronicles of history, and most speculative stories, put rulers, conquerors, and invaders front and center. People with less power, money, or status—enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins. Today, mainstream history continues to perpetuate one-sided versions of the past while mistelling or erasing the stories of the rest of the world.

There is a long and honorable legacy of literary resistance to erasure. This anthology partakes of that legacy. It will feature stories from the margins of speculative history, each taking place between 1400 and the early 1900s and putting a speculative twist—an element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the unclassifiably strange—on real past events.

Here’s the final Table of Contents and the wonderful list of Authors who contributed:

Sofia Samatar - “Ogres of East Africa” 
Thoraiya Dyer - “The Oud”
Tananarive Due - “Free Jim’s Mine”
S. Lynn - “Ffydd (Faith)”
Sunny Moraine - “Across the Seam”
Rion Amilcar Scott - “Numbers”
Meg Jayanth - “Each Part Without Mercy”
Claire Humphrey - “The Witch of Tarup”
L.S. Johnson - “Marigolds”
Robert William Iveniuk - “Diyu”
Jamey Hatley - “Collected Likenesses”
Michael Janairo - “Angela and the Scar”
Benjamin Parzybok - “The Colts”
Kima Jones - “Nine”
Christina Lynch - “The Heart and the Feather”
Troy L. Wiggins - “A Score of Roses”
Nghi Vo - “Neither Witch Nor Fairy” 
David Fuller - “A Deeper Echo”
Ken Liu - “結草銜環 (Knotting Grass, Holding Ring)” 
Kemba Banton - “Jooni”
Sarah Pinsker - “There Will Be One Vacant Chair” 
Nnedi Okorafor - “It’s War”
Shanaé Brown - “Find Me Unafraid”
Nicolette Barischoff - “A Wedding in Hungry Days”
Lisa Bolekaja - “Medu”
Victor LaValle - “Lone Women”
Sabrina Vourvoulias - “The Dance of the White Demons”

I know a LOT of people who are always wishing for recommendations of more diverse, POC, queer-representative works of Science Fiction, so PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST so that as many of your followers as possible get a chance to see that this is coming out! And follow @LongHidden on twitter for the official Mid-May release date (I will be posting it as well when announced!)

(via stuffjonlikes)

Source: msdisneyqueen


In an attempt to avoid being held liable for any mistreatment of detainees the Guantánamo Bay medical staff have adopted Shakespearean names. Until recently, some of the doctors there used their real names, which made it easy to report them for misconduct. Now the military wants the medical staff to ignore the Tokyo Declaration of 1975, which forbids the force-feeding of mentally competent hunger strikers, and refuse to inform prisoners of the results of their own medical tests.


Here is the Guantánamo medical team’s dramatis personae:

Senior Medical Officer … . . Leonato (Much Ado about Nothing)
Force-Feeding Doctor … . . Varro (Julius Caesar)
Behavioural Health Doctor … . . Cordelia (King Lear)
Behavioural Health Doctor … . . Cressida (Troilus and Cressida)
Psychiatrist … . . Helena (All’s Well That Ends Well / A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Medical Corpsman … . . Silius (Antony and Cleopatra)
Nurse … . . Valeria (Coriolanus)
Nurse … . . Lucentio (The Taming of the Shrew)
Nurse … . . Lucio (Measure for Measure)


- Dominic Dromgoole & Clive Stafford Smith in the London Review of Books. There is something utterly absurd about this, beyond the absurd grotesqueness of Guantanamo itself.

"Infinite creates a clear moral equivalence between Columbia’s oppressors and oppressed. Both Booker and Elizabeth voice versions of this ‘one no better than the other’ logic, in case you miss the point. Such false equivalencies are beloved by the lazy, the aloof, the cowardly. It’s as if the game almost realizes the absurdity of the scenario it has set up, since it doesn’t even happen in the universe you occupy the first half of the game. You have to cross over to a parallel reality to experience it. It’s like admitting: at least both sides are equivalent in some universe!"


From Tevis Thompson’s provocative review of Bioshock Infinite - so this, this repeats itself in videogameland over and over again. This lazy, frankly cowardly backing away perspective and context into an imagined and fundamentally absurd “objectivity” that you are never allowed to maintain, because you must pick up the gun. 

This is the problem with Dragon Age II, crystallised in the third act where suddenly all the people you talked to and possibly tried to save or oppress suddenly become targets. There’s no talking down, there’s no negotiating, there’s no standing-back-and-observing. Your hands are as bloody as anyone’s, and you stand there at the end with the game telling you that the oppressed and the oppressors “were as bad as each other” after spending two acts showing you the nuance and particularity and weight of history. (And instead of Bioshock Infinite’s alternate universe, Bioware uses the Tevinter Imperium - the topsy-turvey empire where mages control the Circle, and enslave common men.)


"It’s good to have a few rocks in your heart—they echo sounds
When every walking trail is treacherous, I can arrange the rocks one after another
And go all the way to the distant door of autumn’s pale stars for a look
At the naked use of poetry, of waves, of Kumortuli’s idols in gaudy, sequined, embroidered costumes."



“The Preacher” centers on Yusef, an ambitious sheikh whose television preaching has brought him wealth, fame, and a tastefully decorated villa that he shares with his extended family. But mutinies are brewing amid the muted lighting and sectional sofas. In the series première, his brother-in-law Hassan, who is also a preacher, begins to question Yusef’s strict interpretation of the Koran; at a family dinner, Yusef lashes out at his younger sister Marwa for bringing home a birthday cake (Muslims should celebrate only religious holidays, he tells her). In episode three, Yusef rejects the young man Marwa wants to marry because he’s an actor (haram); in episode five, he discovers that another younger sister is secretly playing the violin (haram, again), and smashes the instrument to pieces.

Television preachers started appearing in Egypt a decade ago, helped by a rising conservatism and the proliferation of private satellite channels. Clerics have traditionally gained followers through their knowledge of the Koran, but the new televangelists attracted people with their accessibility, charisma, or religious fervor. One Salafi sheikh has called for the destruction of Egyptian antiquities; several have accused famous actresses of promoting immorality. The clash between art and extremism culminated in the spring with a sit-in against the appointment of an Islamist culture minister. People accused the Muslim Brotherhood of hijacking the country—and destroying their vision of a cosmopolitan, tolerant Egypt.

“I started feeling that this was a very important time for our country: we will either advance, or we will go backward five hundred years,” Medhat el-Adl, who wrote the script for “The Preacher,” told me. “We felt this was the right time to speak.”




In India, ambitious intellectuals have likewise wished to learn a foreign tongue to advance their scholarship and their career. This has almost always been English—once the language of the colonial rulers, now the language of the global marketplace. The spread of English among the intelligentsia has been extremely rapid, so much so that many Indian writers and professors are now more comfortable in that language than in their own mother tongue. Even so, bilingualism and multilingualism are ubiquitous in India—particularly in towns and cities. Telugu and Tamil speakers are a large presence in Bangalore, in theory the capital of a Kannada-speaking state. Gujarati and Hindi speakers each number in their millions in Mumbai. Most Indians are entirely adjusted to, and comfortable with, their fellow citizens speaking, reading, or writing Indian languages other than their own.

For all the homogenising impulses generated by globalisation, this still seems to be a genuine point of difference between China and India. In theory and more so in practice, we remain a linguistically plural society and state.



A Nehruvian in China by Ramachandra Guha

Completely fascinating article about diversity and pluralism - diversity is a social condition, pluralism is a political programme. China and India are both diverse, but China is not a plural society. A sociological perspective on confluences and contrasts between these two vast Asian states - and a good reminder that pluralism is not something that just happens, but the result of constant efforts by individuals and organisations that must be maintained and tended.