For Real, Though

There’s a bird I hear in the mornings that I think of as a wind-down bird, because it sounds like a mechanical wind-up toy at the end of its stored-up torque, the sound getting lower as its slows to a stop. Two notes, maybe a musical third apart, sliding from low to high, that pairing […]

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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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Telepathic Ecologies

The eyes of the ranger, when I shook his hand, struck me with a colorless intensity, pale and bright. Out of them, he saw the forest differently: riparian and woodland zones of varying soil composition, giving rise to stands of pin-oak, paw-paw, and sycamore. When we climbed onto his four-wheeler, it seemed impossible that it […]

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