December 29th, 2013


Sensation, by Nick Mamatas

I guess others had sorta warned me that Sensation might be a little out there. Fortunately, I have no problem with 'out there'. Unfortunately, Sensation just doesn't speak to me. It's written with verve, but doesn't seem to have much to say. I enjoyed the first half, which uses a lot of different text styles (emails, blogposts, forms, epistles, etc.) to experiment with telling a distributed story, with some mysterious hints of something larger. But when the greater mystery is more fully revealed, it doesn't really transform what's gone before, the text becomes more vanilla, and the plot itself doesn't seem to know what to do. And then it ends.

It may also suffer in comparison with the House of Rumours, which I am coincidentally reading at the same time, and which shares a few vague similarities to Sensation (above and beyond the fact that jason_brez lent me both). And I am really digging it.

150 years ago in SciAm

Satirical Rant on Corsets

“Messrs. Editors:—The air we ladies have to breathe up here in Vermont circulates all round the world and is breathed by all the filthy creatures on the face of the earth, by rhinoceroses, cows, elephants, tigers, woodchucks, hens, skunks, minks, grasshoppers, mice, raccoons, and all kinds of bugs, spiders, fleas and lice, lions, tobacco-smokers, catamounts, eagles, crows, rum-drinkers, turkey buzzards, tobacco-chewers, hogs, snakes, toads, lizzards, and millions of other nasty animals, birds, insects and serpents; and we ladies are obliged to breathe it over after them, ough! bah!

Now we want, and must have, some contrivance that will effectually keep this foul, disgusting stuff out of our lungs. We have tried the three kinds of corsets which you noticed in your paper the last year; but when we do the best with them that we can, about a teacupful of this nasty air will rush into our lungs in spite of these miserable contrivances. If these corsets are worth anything to keep this disgusting air out of a body, and we have not put them on right, please come immediately yourself or send the inventors to show us how. If they are a humbug I hope their inventors will be tarred and feathered and rode on a rail. —Susie Pinkins”