Radio Drama: "First Contact" (1958)

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"First Contact" first aired January 15, 1958, from the series Exploring Tomorrow. It is based on a novelette by Murray Leinster, first published in 1945.

Thoughts Before Listening

Aliens probably? It would cool if this weren't about aliens. It’s probably about aliens though.

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Extract: "The Girl on the Liar's Throne" by Den Patrick

The Girl on the Liar's Throne

A Rescue from Darkness

The girl sat alone, burdened by forgetfulness and incomprehension. That she was a prisoner was not in question, but the reasons were lost to her, just as she in turn was lost to the darkness. The ever-present silence weighed heavily on her slender shoulders, at once oppressive and maddening. How long had she been here? How would she escape? Questions needed answers, answers lost in a mind that failed to recall the subtle and the obvious. What was her name? Why was she here? 

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Taylor Swift: Are We In The Clear Yet?

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Would that all new years started with fantastic beasts and stormy weather. They don’t, but thanks to Taylor Swift, 2016 did for us. The video for "Out of the Woods", complete with its fairy tale narrative, is my first favourite thing of 2016 and it proves that the indomitable Ms Swift is only getting better and better.

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Weirdness Rodeo: Trends! Opinions! An Open Letter!

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I'm not 100% sure what this is, but TUBE-LEVELING sounds like a very dangerous pastime.

Trend-spotting!

The Guardian picks out some 2016 trends for art and creativity. Some might be a little more controversial than others, such as Tony Churnside noting that:

A big theme this year will be the use of data to provide personalised content experiences, going beyond recommendation systems and adapting narrative in response to audiences.... For personal data to provide more engaging experiences, art and storytelling themselves must become more flexible. We need to stop seeing art as sacrosanct, as artists and storytellers develop new tools and processes that allow the generation of adaptable user experiences.

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David Bowie's Top 100 Books [Plus Some Links]

READList compiled by DavidBowie.com. 

I've seen this going around a lot, and it is one of the more interesting - and eclectic - reading lists. So I've stashed it here to mull over properly.

I've also cleaned it up a tiny bit to add publication dates and fix some small typos. Where the books are free online, I've added links to legal download sites.

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The Doors of Stone: Howlers vs The World

Name-of-the-wind-586x900A month or so ago, this exchange happened during a reddit AMA:

Reddit user vlatheimpaler:

Have you been surprised that there's such a strong interest in watching you play Fallout 4 instead of extra writing spent towards Doors of Stone? I figured it would be 50/50, or maybe skewed a little bit towards writing, but I was surprised that Fallout 4 wins every single day.

Patrick Rothfuss:

I think it shows pretty clearly that people who howl for book three aren't as interested in donating money to make the world a better place.

The context, in a nutshell, is that as part of Patrick Rothfuss’ annual (and very generous) fundraising for Worldbuilders, he let people pay to choose whether or not he would play Fallout 4 or spend extra time writing his next book.

There was a mild (and probably justified) kerfuffle about Rothfuss’s tone in this response, but then, the dude’s also raised $1m+ for charity this year. Let’s allow him a brief moment of crankiness. 

In the past, I've looked into the hypothesis that 'readers are better people', and found it (to my surprise), demonstrably (and gratifyingly) true. So in the interest of testing another hypothesis, let's look into this one: "Are the people demanding Doors of Stone less likely to donate money to make the world a better place?"

QUICK, TO THE MATHMOBILE!

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A One Comic Clip Show!

One Comic Clip Show!

A year in, we've succumbed to the lure of nostalgia and done a review show of all the One Comics to date. Which of the series we said we’d stick with did we follow? Where did we (very quickly) change our minds?

What is the secret to the perfect One Comic? (A combination of smut, Bex and Jared sniping at each other and a healthy disregard for received wisdom.)

As if a clip show weren't exciting enough, the technical challenges that plagued us at the end of the year affected the sound quality of the new parts of this. A fuzzy clip show! What else could you ask for?!


The Moonlit Way by Robert W Chambers

The Moonlit WayThere's good Chambers and bad Chambers and The Moonlit Way (1919) is firmly in the latter camp.

This ponderous and preposterous tale - that of an American artist drawn into a Prussian plot in the early days of World War I - is mostly an excuse for rampant jingoism and patriotic drum-beating. Virtually every other page is given over to a lengthy rant about 'Teutonic conspiracies' and the 'porcine Hun', as well as notes about how Britain fights on the 'side of Christ' and 'pacifism is a type of sexual perversion'. The latter is a lengthy diatribe given by a fictional doctor, so you know it is true.

Garry, our square jawed artist/scion of a rich family, is a typically Chambersian character and is painted by route. Although wealthy, he's committed to his art, and The Moonlit Way begins with him in Paris, pretending to be an impoverished student and enjoying himself immensely. It is there he encounters the dancer Thessalie, a beautiful young noblewoman who is the toast of Europe and the object of many a skeezy lordling's fantasy. Thessalie has been bartered to a French politician by the Teutonic Illuminati, and, when Garry meets her, she's hiding from her future husband.

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