Blogifesto

Rampant Media Consumption - August, 2015

September 01, 2015 — by Microcosm

Elly: I have never had the first clue about anything music-related, and reading Daniel Levitin's This is Your Brain on Music is blowing my mind. It's like eating something really delicious while watching fireworks. Or that moment when you're learning to do something new, like speaking a language, and you suddenly get it on a whole new level. Oliver Sacks wrote a cover blurb for the book, which reminded me of the similarly revelatory impact of his writing. And then I learned that he died last week. Someone posted his long essay, "The Bull on the Mountain," on This.cm and I stayed up late reading it and thinking about brains, and death, and music, and the sort of things that only happen when you're walking alone.

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Slip of the Tongue

August 12, 2015 — by Hayley Salmon

Underlying the entire work is Haegele’s love of language. It radiates from each page, seeping into every story told—whether articulating the peculiar history of graffiti in Philadelphia or expressing the sharp pang she feels at the glimpse of her father’s coffee mug that reads “Pizzazz,” the single surviving relic of him following his death. I really enjoyed her various observations on language because, despite her reverence for it, she is never precious about it. Haegele isn’t as concerned with preserving language as she is with observing the ways it has transformed. Old ways of communicating aren’t necessarily superior to current forms. She doesn’t mind the formation of so-called ungraceful words like “chocoholic” or the decline of cursive. Language isn’t stagnate, it effortlessly morphs and changes with time. But for Haegele, this malleability makes language all the more important. Words are arbitrary—they’re random sounds we’ve assigned specific meaning to—yet, significantly, they’re formed out of an essential human need to communicate. I love this idea, that language could be haphazardly formed while at the same time shaped for a distinctly human purpose.

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Rampant Media Consumption - July 2015

August 09, 2015 — by Microcosmists

Our Rampant Media Consumption for July, 2015. Here's what Microcosm workers watched, listened to, read, and otherwise took in over the last month.

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Feminist Sci Fi Analysis: Software Objects and Objectified People

July 29, 2015 — by Elly Blue

We're getting down to the wire with the Pedal Zombies Kickstarter project! One hundred and twenty six worthy souls have backed the project, bringing us to just over half our funding goal. We've got less than six days left to make this happen. So we've added a bunch of new reward levels, featuring custom fun stuff ranging from a letter about the future for your kid to read when they grow up to a custom voicemail greeting from the voice of Zordon of Eltar. Or you can just get the book, which is a pretty sweet deal in its own right! Onward to the most popular custom reward last time around: the feminist analysis of sci fi classics recommended by backers. "The Lifecycle of Software Objects" by Ted Chiang This analysis is at the request of Mason in California (who, based on his avatar, is an actual zombie!). It's a longish story, and you can read the entire thing on the publisher's website. This one was good thinking. The first word of the story is "Her"—referring to a woman named Ana, who plays online warcraft-esque games, is applying for jobs as a software developer, and who goes on throughout the story to navigate a world full of white collar professionals that seems to have gently broken free from any kind of marked expectations or reactions stemming from gender or race.

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Sale: Culinary Cyclist original edition!

July 28, 2015 — by Elly

We're making a beautiful new edition of The Culinary Cyclist: A Cookbook and Companion for the Good Life that officially comes out September 15. It'll have a new cover, some light edits, and—most exciting—recipe conversions for Europe. In the meantime, we still have a few dozen copies of the original edition left in stock and are offering them at $6 (that's 40% off!) until we run out or the new one arrives from the printer. Even better wholesale discounts apply. Get 'em before they're gone!

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Call for submissions: Bikes in Space 4: Utopia / Dystopia

July 27, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Announcing.... a call for submissions for the fourth annual Bikes in Space anthology. Our 2016 theme is: Utopia / Dystopia Bicycle transportation is often seen as a means towards a utopian project. The joy of cycling, the environmental and health benefits, and so on, are spoken of almost evangelically, and many riders and advocates have lain awake imagining a world where the bicycle reigns supreme, or at least roams free. Some of the political backlash against cycling is a reaction to this dream of a bicycling future; a dystopian fantasy of a society where cars are outlawed and the freedoms they represent to many are curtailed. Yet others love bicycling but question dominant visions that often seems exclusionary and class-divided.

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More Feminist Science Fiction Analysis: Genderless Worlds

July 24, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Slowly, but surely, the Pedal Zombies Kickstarter campaign is wending its way to its goal. We got a nice boost yesterday when Cory Doctorow blogged about us on Boing Boing (praising our production values, no less—we swooned). We also found out that some less-enthused Redditors discovered us, but were disappointed that they only assigned the project 4 Oppression Points. Can't win 'em all. As promised, here's another batch of feminist science fiction analyses; both were requested by Bikes in Space 2 backer (and two-time contributor) Emily June Street (keep an eye out for her reproductive apocalypse story "Breeders" in Pedal Zombies):

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Podcast Episode 1: An interview with John "Jughead" Pierson

July 17, 2015 — by Joe Biel

Check out this brand new episode of our first ever podcast:

The premiere episode of Microcosm Publishing’s brand new podcast, featuring Johnny “Jughead” Pierson of Screeching Weasel and the Neofuturists about growing up as a musician, an author, and an actor in a chaotic household and how it directed his adult life when these hobbies turned professional.

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Feminist bicycle science fiction lives! (Or does it?)

July 15, 2015 — by Elly Blue

We are excited to let you know about our newest Kickstarter project: This one is for Pedal Zombies: 13 Feminist Science Fiction Stories, published under our Elly Blue Publishing imprint. The project is being managed for us by the Zombie-Living Alliance, which aims to promote peace, understanding, and an end to violence between the undead and the few remaining living. We hope that Pedal Zombies will prove to be a small part of that reconciliation. (John Kerry has yet to comment on his availability as a mediator.)

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Strategies Against Amateurs: Four questions for Joshua Ploeg

July 12, 2015 — by Elly Blue

Well, I go from town to town, usually on public transportation or rideshare... I don't really bring any gear, not even my knives lately. I cook often in apartments or homes for dinner parties, sometimes in random facilities for multimedia or art events and presentations, sometimes popups in restaurants, and occasionally a wedding thrown in there. It's pretty ramshackle... the good things are I get to hang out and party with the hosts, I don't have a boss and the trips usually cover themselves as I go along. I'll spend a few days to a few weeks in each town then move on to the next. In a way it's sort of a medieval model crossed with a punk rock touring concept.

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