April, 2016

Apr 16

The Music in the Sentence, BROKEN MIRROR GLASS and – SF SIGNAL

Here’s the opening of my short guest editorial at SFSIGNAL Magazine. Link below.

‘I was scarcely more than a boy when I attended the Clarion Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. One of the instructors was Harlan Ellison, and being a fan of Ellison’s I was on edge with excitement, even more like a cat on hot bricks than usual. In those days I was wildly callow, the very soul of impulsiveness. One night I dropped acid–and I dropped down on Ellison, just missing him, from the boughs of a tree as he walked underneath. After the necessary fulmination, Harlan let it go. He put up with me, he said, because I “heard the music in the sentence”. You either heard the music in prose, he told us, or you didn’t….’

Read all about it and Broken Mirror Glass at:


Apr 16

Message From The Galactic Civilization to Residents of Planet Earth

“Having done exhaustive calculations and a detailed global evaluations we’ve decided that the human residents of the planet Earth are too stupid to be allowed to live. We’ve been observing the planet for some years through drones transferred by wormholes; we have translated your language into our own, and hopefully this message, translated into your various languages, will be clear. We have studied your history, your treatment of your planetary environment, and the culture of your dominant civilization. The simple fact is, there are relatively few known habitable planets in this universe. Those that are habitable are quite precious. They cannot be wasted on pseudo-intelligent species bent on destroying the biosphere of its own living world. Such planets are simply too hard to come by. Normally we are a “live and let live” galactic civilization, but this kind of excruciating wastefulness cannot be tolerated. We might have given you more time, but we have been observing your political rituals recently, and our level of disgust is too overwhelming for forbearance.

“We realize this is a harsh judgment, and we apologize for any inconvenience. However the extermination will be painless, and will only affect your species. Other animal species will be unaffected. The process will sweep the entire planet in the course of ten minutes. Again, we apologize for this interruption in your plans.”

Apr 16

Why Cultural Appropriation is a Stupid Concept

Cultural appropriation is an idea born of ignorance. All culture is in part appropriated. Africans appropriated some culture from India; people from Jamaica “appropriated” from Africa and from North America and from Europe; European countries appropriated from one another. American blues appropriated from Africa and from European folk music and from hymns; Christians  appropriated myths from other religions; other religions  borrowed from Christians and Hindus. Buddhists appropriated from Hindus and Japanese Zen from China; American Indians appropriated from invading Native tribes of various kinds, and later (eg, horseback riding) from Europeans.

Country music appropriated from Celtic music and from yodeling and from African American gospel. Roman myths appropriated from Greek myths; Greek from Babylonian and Egyptian… And on and on and on and on and on. Culture is synthesis.

There is no such thing as cultural appropriation. There can be racist cultural stereotyping–but not appropriation. Instead there is cultural adaptation…If there is such a thing as the “the sacred” then…no one owns it. No one owns the genuinely sacred.