A post long overdue!

I realise it’s been a *long* time since I last blogged, so I thought why not park some information here about what I’ve been looking at. I always feel that it’s easier to remember when you write down notes of what you’re reading, in fear that it drops out unprocessed out of your ear. With that rather disturbing imagery set aside, I will begin. The sooner the better, I guess!

Some of the things that I’ve been researching has been split into 3 – one being of the origins of the scientific romance (Stableford’s take on the concept, as well as Parrinder (naturally) and Hayne on HG Wells). Science Fiction, as I may have said many times before, is most notable as a reactive genre to the state of current affairs, a term used by Roger Luckhurst as “Conditions of Emergence”. It’s interesting to see how Wells helped to develop this socialist take on SF – that human beings needed to be aware of their place in the universe, and to harness these new scientific discoveries with a high level of social responsibility. Verne on the other hand, seems to focus on the Voyages Extraordinaires, with a lot of detail on the journey and its implementations, whereas Wells depicts the destination in a much more thorough manner. 

I’m also doing a bit of Utopian reading for another paper that I will be presenting for a conference. I’m seeing the way in which utopian literature has been classified, namely the distinction between models in which they are categorised, i.e. The Paradise model, The Externally Altered World, The Willed Transformation, and the Technological Transformation (the latter of which is most related to SF). I will be applying it to the wonderful catalogue of Adam Roberts’ writing, actually – so watch this space if you want to know more about the conference!

I’m also writing a play about the mismatch between Artificial and Human intelligence, which is becoming a rather tricky one to envisage in its entirety. I guess in some ways it will have a similar aesthetic feel to Fishbowl, but a homier environment. This is about a woman who has programmed her own House AI to suit her needs in a microcosm environment, but when she brings external flora and fauna (human relations et al), tensions become more heated. What I particular find interesting is to play on the idea of the theatre space – and that we don’t know what’s going on outside of the house, and neither does the house itself. We surrender our knowledge primarily on the human characters, who are unreliable in themselves as they troop in and out. There’s a lot I can play with, and that’s what makes it harder in some ways. I’ll get there, I hope!

I’m also researching Possible Worlds theory, and the “logical” rules that makes our world believable to us and how some fictive worlds can be posed as simply alternate universes that share our particular physics, and of course those who work against these. I’m still hung up on the aspects of absurdism vs. SF theatre, but for a good reason – both are simply mind blowing. It’s a good a reason as any, I’d imagine.

I shall also be running some creative writing workshops (fingers crossed), and some on the theming of science fiction which is absolutely awesome! I will keep you posted on this too. I’m also tutoring on creative writing/comprehension and the level of 10 year old creativity is simply astounding. Schools seem to have transformed beyond my ken – they have learning objectives instead of grades and they can be partially, fully or not met!

So I’d better get started. Seriously, I start everyday fresh and I have to remind myself of what I am and what I’m doing sometimes. I should sort that out. Maybe updating my blog more often will remedy that problem.

Listen to your Heart: Body Image and Heartbeat

I’m not just dishing out cheesy advice! Yes, a rather odd (but can be on topic, in a few degrees of separation) tangent here; Royal Holloway posted this article, which I found interesting:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9853694/Heartbeat-could-hold-key-to-body-image.html

Although it may seem odd at first, I think there is an element of truth to this and in my opinionated view I may have to resort to cliche. Apologies in advance. Yes, we all know we are swamped by images, in adverts, TV, magazines et al, but even online with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I’m not only talking about fashion models! It’s crazy how often we’ve tried to recreate closeness in communication (and I realise the irony of blogging where there’s a picture of my face on my About Page – my hair is now blue black rather than red), and we all know the human brain likes to cut corners when processing things that it consumes on a daily basis. It makes sense.

I could go all what I call ironing board “surface” surfing, dip into Baudrillard’s hyperreal – a copy of a copy in that we’re seeing truth in its own right, or Deleuze and talk about simulacra as being image without semblance, in which it creates its own identity and is a force of its own, which would maybe link to this blog in a more meaningful way, but I may leave that till later.

It can boil down to a sort of mindfulness – a self awareness, a kind of meditation as it were. It’s a good thing that breathing is down autonomously or I think a lot of us would forget to breathe (myself included). Because our autonomous system is designed for constant homeostatic activity, it can be hard to remind ourselves that we are organic machines – and that we are constantly working. Of course, we have a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the basic rate at which we burn calories just by staying alive. It scares me to think that people can believe that the only calories they burn is at the gym! Once we realise that our bodies are more than just image, it can be understandable that we would take more care of it and cultivate a better body image in future.

So yes, I do agree with the title. In a world of surface and image, it’s nice to not only look in the mirror (which is of course an inverted world in itself) but just to meditate and feel your body working. Your heartbeart is a lovely example of this. So yes, do listen to your heart. Literally. Not some cheesy 80s ballad. Maybe it’s the answer to that dreaded question: why do I look better in a mirror than a photo? Maybe it’s a way of cultivating a better image of ourselves and of others when you’re trying not to punch someone who’s annoying you in public transport. How many times have you sat on a bus and seen people as images, like NPCs in a computer game? There was a really clever comic that summed this up perfectly, I’ll try and find it… and I just did!

this is from: http://themetapicture.com/a-world-of-sheep/

funny-people-bus-sheep-comic

I love it!