Monthly Archives: September 2012

Snippets of London Life: urban foxes and the Wellcome Collection

In London, in the past two days. Snippets of interest.

Foxes. In two days, I’ve seen four foxes. One yesterday, running beside the train as I was arriving at Liverpool Street station. The second one walking and crossing a busy road near Elephant & Castle tube station: middle of the day, full light, a little thing with a lame right front paw. It was alert and bright, though, just urbanized. Third and fourth foxes were in a nearby area, both seen around 8 pm.

They are clever and beautiful creatures. If one hand it’s sad they had to adapt to urban life (with all its risks), on the other their adaptability is amazing. There’s more wild life in the big cities than people realize, and it would be nice if everyone paid attention.

If you want more information about urban foxes, this site (the Fox Website) has it all.

The Wellcome Collection: it’s in Euston square, and its tag line is: “a free destination for the incurably curious”. Which is so apt! I spent a pleasant couple of hours browsing the strange collection of Henry Wellcome ‘Medicine Man’: curious medicine practices and artefacts from all over the world.

There was also an exhibition called: Medicine Now, how artists see medicine today, and an exploration of the concept of enhancement throughout history. Yes, Victorian women had functional prosthetic limbs, and all sorts of other enhancement. I saw a pair of Chinese glasses for short sighted people dated BC. An Egyptian dated wooden big toe for those whose toe had been amputated. And all sorts of other wonderful enhancements, from the historical to the experimental to the futuristic ones.

Highly recommended. And again: free to visit. There were also two floors of library, the usual coffee shop and book shop. The library seems to have unique documents, but I didn’t have enough time to visit it. Next time!

If you were interested in the Sensualizing Deformity conference, you’ll be interested in visiting the Wellcome Collection museum. What defines humans, how we defines humans and how those definitions are limited.

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Elementary, My Dear Watson: The Mystery of Fanfiction

A very interesting article on fanfiction. I’m all in support of fanfiction (I read it, I wrote it, I analyzed it).  This is one of the first articles I read – excluding academic essays – that treats fanfiction as it deserves: with respect, like any other writing genre.  I’d be interested to know if you have any experience of fanfiction, and what are your thoughts about it.

Elementary, My Dear Watson: The Mystery of Fanfiction.

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What can technology do for stories?

I’m always fascinated by the interaction of story and technology. I remember when the first ‘chose your ending’ books appeared, how much of a novelty they were…and no, I never really particularly liked them. The writing, simply, wasn’t compelling enough. A little later, there were more books of a similar kind, where you had a wider choice, one or more for each chapter. Yes, intriguing, but again, they never grabbed my attention.

Now, with all the tools at our disposal, it looks as if the possibilities are more and better. But are they?

This article by Professor David Trotter (from The Literary Platform) explores the situation, and I agree with its take: perhaps it shouldn’t be what technology can do for stories, but what stories can do for technology. If you have any experience or ideas about interactivity – as an author, the idea is tempting – please, do share in the comments.

What can technology do for stories?.

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In the notes for my speculative fiction/alt history trilogy, I have plenty of details about this. A look at what can be done with Steampunk and Victoriana. Very good costume, as well 😀 By Steampunk Panda (on Facebook)

Beyond Victoriana

I have been aware of Steampunk for some time but it was not until the tail end of the summer of 2011 that I decided to take a closer look and learn more about Steampunk.  As I delved into the culture I noticed how it was very Victorian, based in the 19th century British culture.  That was understandable seeing how it was based off of many early literatures that were set in those areas.  However, the world does not revolve around one geographical location or ethnic background for that matter, and while life progresses in one location it invariably continues on elsewhere.

So for Steampunk to be only Victorian or only British I found that rather stifling and ethnocentric, which from what I had started to learn of the subculture was not what it wanted to do, but rather be an inviting and accepting one.  Perhaps it was the…

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