Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last of their Kinds

Lonesome George. Geochelone nigra abingdoni.

What does it mean to be the last of one's kind?  There are some species on the planet for which time has run out, or which are approaching zero hour.  We assume that animals have no larger consciousness of such things, but for us, the poignancy of their predicament is undeniable.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Zoë Keating - A Cool New Album

Zoë Keating © Lane Hartwell 2008

Neil Gaiman circulated this link on his twitter feed, for the new cello album from Zoë Keating, Into the Trees.  Think Sir Edward Elgar meets Gandalf.  It has a nice 'we are hobbits dealing with the post-apocalypse' feel to it.  Keating is a Canadian based in San Francisco.  Her twitter feed is here.  You can hear the album and download it here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Here's a link to the Parliament Hill webcam in Ottawa, so you can see what people are doing there every 30 seconds.  The Queen will be addressing the crowds on Parliament Hill in a ceremony running from noon to 1:30 EDT.  And a statue of Oscar Peterson is being unveiled at the National Arts Centre.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Swords to Ploughshares

Martin Marietta Corporation artist's concept: rocket-propelled missile accelerating toward collision in outer space w. its target, nuclear-tipped ICBM. Time/Life/Getty 1985.

Ever wondered what happens to decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missiles?  According to this June 28 report at The Space Review, some of them enter a twilight world of congressional red tape, sometimes for decades, where it is decided whether or not rockets and other ICBM parts can be broken down for the purposes of the space program. This is decades-old news, except for long-term legal implications that are now blossoming. Like much of where space exploration is headed, this is a bizarre story of the no man's land between the world of public and private property, public and private research, public and private intelligence.  Who governs the area where the two spheres overlap? 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Continuity for DC's Character Terra Continued ...

Tara and Gar. Convention sketch, by Sean Chen (2009)

Today's blog post continues the history I'm writing for DC's character Terra.  I've backdated it so that all the pieces on that topic are together.  The link to the entry, which begins the character's history in the 1990s, is here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reflections on the Revolving Door of Death 1: Titanic Legacies for Generation X Superheroes

Cheshire mourns her daughter. Titans, vol. 2 #26 (Oct. 2010).

Open a mainstream comic these days, and chances are you'll find one main theme: death, death, death, death, death! After that, you can choose from gore, hyper-violence and the occasional resurrection.  This is what the Modern Age of comics has boiled down to, driven by company-wide crossover events.  Since the 1980s, events at DC and Marvel have pushed fans to buy more comics by tying their titles into events, thus ensuring annual best-selling series.  These events are characterized by their 'Where's Waldo?' group shots of heroes battling cosmic menaces.  But despite the fact that some planet-sized villain is coming to eat the planet, drama has declined.  Perhaps because the end of the world is happening so often, it's hard to take any of it seriously anymore.  This has prompted creative teams to use character deaths to add drama to big events as well as regular series.

But there's something more going on here.  The grim and gritty Modern Age, now winding down, became characterized by what's described in comics circles as the revolving door of death, where characters were and are regularly killed off, then brought back on a cyclical basis.  Marvel is ushering in the seemingly less dark Heroic Age - yet in its Second Coming storyline just killed off Nightcrawler, one of the most beloved members of the classic X-men.  Their old DC rivals, the Titans, have suffered a parade of death and violence over the past twenty years that is notable even by Modern Age standards - but in the past decade the Titans' deaths have been unremitting.  Despite the recent resurrections of Donna Troy and Young Justice favourites, Superboy and Kid Flash, the revolving door of death has not revolved that much for this beleagured team

Death of Duela DentTeen Titans, vol. 3 #47 (Jul. 2007). 

After DC's huge crossover event Blackest Night, where the drama revolved around the return of zombified dead characters (of which there is no shortage), as well as a few more deaths, and a few resurrections, the current event, Brightest Day, follows the resurrected and the reason for their troubling trip back from the dead.  Just like Marvel's Heroic Age, the Brightest Day title belies its purpose.  This series is not about things getting better in the DC Universe, but death is supposed to regain its meaning: the revolving door is closing.  DC's leading lights have declared that "dead means dead," in other words, if your favourite character is dead, forget it - no more resurrections. But that doesn't mean the deaths are stopping, as another hero, the Atom, was just killed off in Titans Villains for Hire.

Deathstroke takes over the Titans title: Death of the Atom. Titans VFH Special #1 (Jul. 2010).

Over at Legion World, a board devoted to discussion of DC's futuristic team, the Legion of Superheroes, fans are compiling a list of characters killed in the DC Universe in the past seven years, hereThese fans calculate that in the past seven years, DC has killed off over 600 characters in the name of 'rough and gritty drama.' Of these, about 50 characters long or recently dead have been resurrected within the same time period. Maybe DC is clearing out a backlog of unused characters, but there's something odd about the sheer volume of numbers in this macabre death march.