G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y


“While Anglophone publishing is intensely concerned with comparative titles and where a novel fits into the landscape, contemporary Arabic publishing largely is not. As such, there is no fixed terminology used for cli fi (climate fiction) in Arabic—though there is fiction that looks much like cli fi in English.”

Speculative Climate Futures in Arabic Literature

Personally, I think genre is bullshit and one of Western civilization's most detrimental inventions for culture at large.

#journal #reads #research #press

Syrian Cassette Archives.

Wild “cover art”. Not good-wild, more like wtf-wild.

#music #research

As if Israel/Palestine stuff wasn't enough, today's headlines:

On a somewhat lighter note: Entertainment made by North Korea | Five-hour (!) youtube video that is incredibly informative and at times hilarious even.

#journal #news #research

“When I taught creative writing, I would have my students do an exercise where they had to pick one of their close friends and write about the first time they met them. What were the writer’s first impressions of the friend? What was their initial dynamic with the friend? Then I would have them write a couple of scenes set in subsequent years showing how their impressions changed as they got to know the person better. Were their initial impressions correct? What did they learn that deepened their understanding of their friend? Showing that kind of evolution in perception and in the dynamic between two people is one of my favorite things about characterization.”

That's Sarah Stewart Taylor on Crimereads where she and several other writers weigh in on “the writing life”.

#writing #research

Great analysis of folk horror on Mangal Media's substack.

It's got me thinking that a reversal of the typical folk horror narrative might be worthy to explore, as it seems to me that narratives often described as folk horror are inherently pro-colonialist and pro-assimilation.

Perhaps instead of a narrative about an urban outsider arriving at an isolated pagan society to discover how fucked up they live, it may be time for one where the outsider comes away with the realization that his or her own world is in fact the fucked up one.

#research #story

“Just one gram of antimatter could generate an explosion equivalent to a nuclear bomb. It's that kind of energy, some say, that could boldly take us where no one has gone before at record speed.”

It could also—and, if history has taught us anything, probably will—do other things.

“An antimatter engine could theoretically accelerate a spacecraft at 1g (9.8 meters per second squared) getting us to Proxima in just five years... That's 8,000 times faster than it would take Voyager 1 — one of the fastest spacecraft in history — to travel about half the distance, according to NASA.

“Even within our own solar system, an antimatter-powered spacecraft could reach Pluto in 3.5 weeks compared to the 9.5 years it took NASA's New Horizons probe to arrive.

“The engine system would first gather high-energy positrons from krypton-79 and then direct them toward a layer of regular matter, producing annihilation energy.”

Annihilation energy.

But apparently, this is all in fact pretty old science:

“In 1953, Austrian physicist Eugen Sänger proposed a “photon rocket” that would run on positron annihilation energy.”

The hurdle seems to be: (a) Funding, and (b) Testing. Regarding the latter, one has to be very careful where to go about testing “annihilation” energy apparently. One scientist has a remarkably bright idea though:

”'So we need an ability to test high energy density systems somewhere that don't threaten the biosphere, but still allow us to develop them,' said Howe, who thinks the moon would make a good testing base. 'And if something goes wrong, you melted a piece of the moon,' and not Earth, he added.”


More here.

#research #space #weapons

Hippy, capitalist, guru, grocer: the forgotten genius who changed British food — Really interesting long read on the Guardian, which I feel I will be returning to time and time again.

#research #subculture #history #uk

It may not look like it yet, but the illustration I'm working on is for an essay that feels very timely with everything going on right now, penned by none other than Ahmed Naji.

Background listening is The Ottoman History Podcast, in particular a surprisingly rich episode on Mamluk Cairo. Surprising because it gets into some delicious details I knew little to nothing about; like the wandering carnivalesque peoples known as Al Ghurabaa` (“The Strangers”) and the odd jobs they performed, the fluid mix of tongues they spoke, and perhaps most interestingly of all... their printing.

“The Strangers” were the first to introduce printing to Egypt apparently, likely some form of woodblock printing (tin matrices were also employed), in languages ranging from Arabic to Coptic and Hebrew (and quite possibly more). Excited to learn more on the subject matter from Kristina Richardson's upcoming book; GYPSIES IN THE MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC WORLD: A HISTORY OF THE GHURABA, forthcoming with Bloomsbury Publishers.

#Journal #Work #Podcast #Research

Orson Welles: Egyptian art and culture dominated the aesthetics of the First [French] Empire.

Henry Jaglom: I didn't know that.

Orson Welles: Study the interior decoration. It's full of Egyptian elements, just as the Deuxieme Empire of Louis Napoleon drew on Arabic and Algerian sources for exoticism. Just as the English used India for exoticism. Paris is full of imitation Arabic places left over from the Second Empire.

A rather trivial passage from MY LUNCHES WITH ORSON which sent me down a rabbit hole of Egyptian revivalism, finally narrowed down to a few books I'd like to probe, namely:

The question is, of course, how on Earth I'm ever going to find the time to read all those. And... it's clearly time I got myself a local library card.

#Journal #Research #Reads