Monday, October 19, 2009

Links you'll get to before me

The press of writing, writing-related tasks, and other stuff continues so these links will have to suffice for now. They have one thing in common. Each link is to something I haven't completely read (or in one case, listened to), so, with the exception of the first, I'm not vouching for them, literarily, politically or otherwise.

The one I can vouch for even before I sit down to hear it is this first blog-radio-cast by members of FIST--the youth group Fight Imperialism Stand Together. That's because it's hosted by my comrade Larry Hales, whose political depth and artistic acumen (besides being a leading activist and Marxist journalist, he's a fiction writer, a poet, and an expert and commentator on hip hop culture) I trust unconditionally. Here's a portion of the description of the blogcast:
We will discuss the March for Jobs on September 20, the tent city in soldiarity with the poor and unemployed, the various protests against the G20 and the police build-up and reaction to protesters [all in Pittsburgh last month]. Paradise Gray, legendary Hip hop activist, original member of the Hip hop group X-Clan and manager of entertainment for the legendary Hip hop club Latin Quarters, will be our special guest for the first segment. The second half hour will focus on the struggle in Honduras against the right-wing coup.
As I've admitted before, I'm hopelessly, pitifully, out of date and out of step regarding popular music, especially hip hop. So I'm looking forward to listening to this, hoping to learn something.

This one--The Honduran Coup: A Graphic History--was forwarded by a friend so let's hope it's good.

Back to the ever aggravating subject of electronic vs. bound-paper books. On which, having blogged my vacillating views several times, I have little new to say just now. Except that I must report that I had a hilarious phone conversation with my best friend last week in which she, with a faux quiver in her voice, called me a traitor and accused me of going over to the e-reading side. When I tried to defend myself, saying that I've made no such definitive leap but merely been persuaded that I ought to at least be open to arguments for the new technology's potential, and in any case since the day's long off when e-reading devices will be affordable and meet my other requirements the whole thing's a moot question, she snorted and harumphed and insisted I've betrayed her nevertheless, not to mention my dead mother. ... Anyway, on the e-reading front, there were two interesting pieces in the Times last week. This mini-symposium had ostensible experts addressing the question "Does the Brain Like E-Books?" Remember, sticking to today's theme, I haven't actually read this piece. But I did skim the opening sections and found David Gelernter's initial points intriguing. Especially this one: "I assume that technology will soon start moving in the natural direction: integrating chips into books, not vice versa." The next day came this report on just the development I've been wanting to see: libraries making books available for checkout onto e-readers. It's still on a small scale but it is in my view a move in the right direction.

Last, but on a topic that's been first on my mind these last few days, comes this news: Terry Bisson's 1988 SF/alternate history novel Fire on the Mountain is being reissued this month by PM Press. The story tells of how U.S. history went after the raid on Harper's Ferry led by John Brown succeeded, sparking slave rebellions as planned, leading to revolution and the establishment of socialism. I don't know why I'd never heard of this book before but it's now on my to-read list. The new edition has an introduction by death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.