A community space here in Philly had a bunch of free books out in the table, including these by James Tiptree Jr. A fascinating history of sci-fi moment: it may be forward thinking as a genre (or purport to be) but that’s made it by no stretch progressive. For instance, so deeply entrenched is the boy’s club of sci-fi that Alice Bradley Sheldon had to take on a pen name to get by unnoticed. From 1967 til she died in 1987 she went under the name James Tiptree Jr., spinning fanciful short stories and novels along the way.

She wouldn’t be the first author to do such a thing. Catherine Lucille Moore went by her initials when writing her own tales of futures near and far.

There’s an amazing “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode dealing with 50s sci-fi writers and the racial and gender prejudices of the time. Nana Visitor plays K. C. Hunter, loosely based on C. L. Moore. The episode is “Far Beyond the Stars” and even if you’re not huge into “Star Trek” I still highly recommend it.

Hi all! My friend Laura and I are launching this blog, Sabbathing the Sabbath, wherein we’re doing a song by song analysis of the Black Sabbath catalog.

The entire Black Sabbath catalog.

Even Tyr. 

We’re trying to post a song roughly every Sunday, and hopefully a bit more (maybe we could shoot for Friday at sundown too, for the Jewish Heshers out there.) But anyway, follow along. Especially when the going gets tough and we get to the real catalog dreck. (See also: Technical Ecstacy, Never Say Die, Seventh Star, Tyr, Forbidden.)

My Awl piece, “Why are we so terrible at contacting aliens?" made the Digg list for top longreads of 2013. I’m just a bit giddy. 

Huge news from Europa!