Eric Again on the comiXology Podcast

I've made my third appearance on the comiXology podcast, talking about some wonderfully hallucinogenic comics like Orc Stain and Hats, as well as Wonder Woman, Hotwire, X-Statix and more. Have a listen if you're interested in comic books at all.

Slow for a while...

Forgive me if the site is slow for a little while (barring whatever JF Quackenbush or EL Borgnine might have cooking up in their demented brains). I'm finishing a novel.

But there will be another installment of the History of Popular Fiction on the pulp era in the near future! Oh, yes.

Interview with Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Recently ran into Dr. Tyson at a holiday party and recorded this interview with him with my cell phone. All apologies about the quality.

Dr. Tyson graciously answers some questions about scientific topics.

Some context:
The Willamette meteor at the museum is considered holy by the Clackamas tribe of native Americans, who were upset when the museum cut off a part of the meteor for research.

Potentially Earth-like planets were recently discovered by the Kepler team:

Scientists at the CERN supercollider discovered a new particle in their search for the Higgs-Boson:


Occupy and What It Means, and Why It Matters

I have liberal friends who don't get it. Mostly young liberals, people committed to the Democratic party and progressive causes; they don't understand it.


Reading the History of Popular Literature part 3: The Progressive Era and WWI (1900-1919)

This article is part of my series Reading the History of Popular Literature.

Books marked with a red asterix (*) are recommended reading. Books that were read previous to starting this project are marked "(previously read)". The country indicated in parentheses is the country of the author's origin (or citizenship), not necessarily the country in which the book was written. If the country of first publication is different then the author's country of origin, it is noted.

Books marked "(Not finished)" I did not finish reading.

What we call the Progressive Era in the United States coincides roughly with the Edwardian Era in the United Kingdom, the period after the turn of the century up until the first world war. It was a time of optimism and ideals mixed with chaos and social and political disruption; big ideas like woman's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, eugenics, occultism, Communism and Anarchism were all gaining traction, and major technological advances—the automobile, electricity, the telephone, the movie camera, the machine gun, etc.—were changing everyday life at an unprecedented rate. The rise of industry led to corporate power on a level no one had seen before, and American industrialists like Rockefeller, Morgan and Hearst ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. All this went hand-in-hand with plenty of violence, in the form of state-sanctioned genocide, revolutionary agitation, the assassination of major political figures and finally the bloodiest war Western history had seen to that point.

In popular literature, reaction to all this change generally manifested as yearning for a simpler time or a simpler world. This simpler world might be in the past, in the future, on another planet, over the rainbow or even just in the cops-and-robbers dramas of the newspaper, but one thing you could count on was that the characters would be larger-than-life, good and evil would be clearly demarcated and good would most certainly triumph in the end.

In America, and to a lesser extent Britain and Europe, there was also a massive influx of immigrants during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as new technologies (like the steam and then the gasoline engine), and economic and political changes allowed population movement on an unprecedented scale. The racial and class anxiety this caused in the West manifested in popular literature as bald racism and stories where heroic whites battle against corrupt and evil foreigners or dark-skinned monsters.

VanderMeers Launch Weird Fiction Review

In the wake of Ann VanderMeer being taken off as editor-in-chief of Weird Tales following its acquisition by another company, and the publication of the VanderMeer's massive ombnibus The Weird, which collects weird fiction throughout the 20th century, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have launched a new publication, the Weird Fiction Review, publishing articles, fiction and comics related to weird fiction. Included in the inaugural installment is an interview with Neil Gaiman. Worth checking out.

Dispatches From Occupied Tucson: Week 1

So I'd been meaning to write something about Occupy Tucson for a little while now, and the hope was that I could blog some about it on a day by day basis. Turns out that hasn't really been possible. Between school and some clinical stuff I'm doing and the Occupation, I haven't had a lot of time to reflect on what it all means. Now that it's Friday and I have some free time before the working group meeting I need to attend this evening, I feel the need to let the theorist in my brain run wild for a little bit and there are a few things that have struck me that I'd like to make a note of. Here they are in no particular order.

Sometimes I Publish Things Elsewhere

My thoughts on Occupy Wall Street and the spread of the movement can be found here:

Please link, retweet, etc...