Survivor’s guilt

The pandemic was good to me.

I thrive alone and so, even as the wife was not in her best place like most others in the world, though I was distraught by what the global “We” were going through, I could deal. Even before the pandemic I worked from home and spent many non-work hours in my office doing non-work things. Not necessarily a very guy thing but just a very introvert thing. I actually have fond memories of the isolation because within that isolation there was, without a better phrase to express it, a warm online camaraderie of artists who gave their time to create that warmth.

The 11th of this month was the four year anniversary of the start (as I noted here when it started).

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A few years back I watched the Swedish sci-fi film Aniara [ IMDB | Wikipedia ] and it shook me. The prompting to watch was from some now-lost review that described it as eccentric and bleak (my remembered words, not theirs) and highly recommended it but with warning w/r/t that last characteristic. And it is that last characteristic that continually resurfaces to shake me.

image from IMDB
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My visit to the land of romance

The Twitter account @PulpLibrarian–when not posting covers of the absolutely baffling history of Nazi BDSM fantasy magazines of the 70s or the less baffling 50s/60s/70s sci-fi magazines–periodically posts covers from romance novels. One thread had focused on the covers of a specific, named, artist; another on those covers that shared similar landscapes and poses (e.g. that of a frightened woman, fleeing a Victorian castle, across the forbidding moors). I was surprised when in the first artist-focused thread, many readers commented on how much they appreciated the artist and knew their name, referencing other books whose covers they were responsible for. Seldom in other genres are artists so recognizable. (Although, admittedly, I have done my own research on pulp sci-fi covers, and it’s likely this is a common venture. I can now spot in the wilds the hand of several of the more productive artists.)

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The Barb Wire canon

Updated the next day

Continuing my Great Literature series begun with Red Sonja and Conan, I’ve started reading the Barb Wire saga.

She’s a part of the Dark Horse Universe. We forget (or even don’t know) about it because of the supremacy of the DC and Marvel mythologies; like Greek and Roman, in no particular order, since so many of the super strength, super fast, invisible, other-dimension-origined, et al. are merely different manifestations of the same gods. Dark Horse fits into this framework but on a smaller scale and with some indie differences. For example: there is the odd character Concrete who is a man with his body replaced–for some reason–with a minimal-featured stone body, and who has to learn to live in his new circumstances. It’s more middle-aged Bildungsroman than superhero. Dark Horse’s polished indieness is appealing in a different manner than the experimentation of less established indie publishers. Solid yet daring.

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