Shibumi/Uyuni

In late February I was on the back of a motorbike in the Dominican Republic, at three or so in the morning. A different part of the road, days before, had been washed out by a mudslide. It was an island of motorcycles, the gas for which would be sold at the side of the […]

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Ollantay, Balancia

Here is my rule, when balancing rocks: once you pick up a stone, try to use it. Otherwise you will waste your time looking for the perfect piedra, rather than understanding the weight and shape of those you hold. A decade ago, mas o menos, my brother and I crested the back of some (I’m […]

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The Peripheral Also Rises

In William Gibson’s newest novel, The Peripheral (2014), wealthy elites from a distant future are able to contact their past via a quantum server. By doing so, they transform the contacted reality into a “stub”: a dimension whose future is no longer convergent with their own. The inhabitants of this now diverted time-line can then […]

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Religion Explained Explained

“There is only one God! He is omnipotent. But he only exists on Wednesdays.” That is one of the examples Pascal Boyer gives in Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought (2001) for a presumably unmemorable or unsuccessful religious idea (72). Another is “the gods are watching us and they notice everything we do! […]

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Far Futures, Distant Suns

“I had heard people say that when they looked at the stars too long they grew terrified by the sensation of being drawn away” -Gene Wolf, Sword and Citadel 1: Distant Stars The narrative device at the beginning of Olaf Stapledon’s The Starmaker is refreshingly unadorned. The first-person protagonist looks up at the stars from […]

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Dogs, Rivers, Tunnels

A dog reminds you that your existence is not discrete, but extrudes, panting, into the world. Life becomes less the places you stay, and more the walks you take. Rounds, routines, and sequences of scents. Since we got our cocker spaniel, I have been leaving the apartment more. Having a dog means you go for […]

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