Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Temptations of the Two Cultures

Although I pride myself on being a geek, sometimes I'm not sensible
and logical. Sometimes I'm carried away on a rapture wisp that wants
to follow the Festival and soak up a story or two (thank you,
Mr. Stross).

I used to hear that "the Two Cultures" of science and humanities are
difficult to reconcile in our Western society. C. P. Snow had a point,
but I've found that not only can they co-exist, but one
frequently saves you from the bipolar doldrums of the other. Take, for
example, the profession of software engineering. When you create
something brilliant, you experience extremely high highs. But when you
are wrestling with a pitiless, intractable bug, you hear the shrieking
groan of your soul being pulled out through your nostrils.

Great art to the rescue! Guys like Shakespeare are nothing short of
inspirational, and we remember them for how they showed you can make
it to that other pole--the sublime. But creating art has its downsides
too. So many great geniuses were drunkards, blackguards, or just plain
nutters. Look at Francois Villon, who penned the world's greatest poetry
while waiting to be hanged, or Voltaire, who was an equal opportunity
nuisance on both sides of the Channel, or Mozart, who couldn't catch a
break but he could easily catch pneumonia. And don't get me started on
George R.R. Martin.

Bwahaha. Science to the rescue! None of those judgmental, sicko, over-the-top,
critical excesses. Look at the rad stuff getting done on Mars. Mars! Hey, that
might make a good setting for an anthology. . .

Playing with Fire is Out! (Actually, It's In!)

Speaking of anthologies, we're riding an extremely high
high with the publication of "Playing with Fire," from Third Flatiron. We've rolled it out on Smashwords and Amazon and expect distribution in many online ebook stores soon.