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Weapons with Free Will

With the ongoing development of artificial intelligence, robotics, and image recognition technology, it was only a matter of time—and not much time—before innovations were applied to military weapons.  Already in March of this year a “lethal autonomous weapons system” was used by the government of Libya against rebel militia.  This was a Kargu-2, an intelligentContinue reading “Weapons with Free Will”

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Paranormal Friends with Gadgets

In the last post I reviewed examples of technology used in early 20th century horror fiction to conjure egregore-like entities.  The basic plot of these stories involved a narrator whose doomed friend summons dangerous beings using an invention.  The device augments human visual perception, though other sensory apparatus may come into play. An underlying assumptionContinue reading “Paranormal Friends with Gadgets”

Technologies of Conjuration in Weird Fiction

“What to my mind forms the essence of sound weird literature today is not so much the contradiction of reality as the hypothetical extension of reality.”             —H.P. Lovecraft, in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, 1932 Ancient Examples An interesting episode in Homer’s Odyssey is when Odysseus visits the Kingdom of the Dead.  He conjures the souls ofContinue reading “Technologies of Conjuration in Weird Fiction”

Nonbinary

Our local sci-fi book club recently discussed Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam.  Originally a webcomic, it was published in book form in 2018.  This is an interesting graphic novel, both visually—a very spare palette is artfully used—and in terms of content.  In 2017 it was nominated for an Eisner award for Best Digital Comic.  WellContinue reading “Nonbinary”

Receptivity to Egregoric Influences in Lovecraft

“The Haunter of the Dark” is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most memorable stories. Sadly, it was one of his last.  When it was published in the December 1936 issue of Weird Tales, Lovecraft was having second thoughts about his career as a writer.  S.T. Joshi, in his two volume biography of the famed horror writer1,Continue reading “Receptivity to Egregoric Influences in Lovecraft”

Kenosha

When I began writing this post, I was following the Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, as was much of the nation.  The jury deliberated for several days, a measure of the gravity of their task.  (A sign of the times: the judge had to instruct the jury to ignore what President Biden and President Trump eachContinue reading “Kenosha”

Revisiting Lost Carcosa

A prized possession of mine is a 1902 Harper & Brothers edition of The King in Yellow, by Robert W. Chambers.  Much has been written about this book, a collection of short stories linked by the appearance and impact of a forbidden text, a play called “The King in Yellow”.  The stories remain influential overContinue reading “Revisiting Lost Carcosa”

Vox Populi

I’ve recently discovered nextdoor.com, a social media platform similar to Facebook, though smaller and more focused on local concerns.  Each neighborhood in my town has their own nextdoor group, comprised of nearby households and businesses.  Every third post is an advertisement; interspersed among these are notices of lost dogs and cats, used items for sale,Continue reading “Vox Populi”

Egregoric Imagery in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Genius Loci”

Even without the benefit of hallucinogenic drugs, many of us perceive—in the random arrangements of clouds, trees, rocks, grass—faces and figures both familiar and strange.  If the breeze is a bit more spirited, we may even see, up in the tree tops, animals stalking each other, faces conversing or grimacing, and oddly distorted figures standing over us orContinue reading “Egregoric Imagery in Clark Ashton Smith’s “Genius Loci””

Isms and Egregores

The suffix “—ism” is a useful word ending, transmuting all kinds of words into abstract nouns—names for things we cannot experience through our five or more senses.  Think of all the isms you know or have heard of in academia, in media, in politics, in religion. Webster’s1 offers numerous meanings for this familiar word segment,Continue reading “Isms and Egregores”