Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Galaxy Babes

A buddy posted this article in the Space Opera group on FB today. Of all the science fiction magazines from the "old days" I think I like Planet Stories best. Obviously I wasn't around when it was being published, but stories from that publication have appeared in countless collections (especially those sort of low-quality "50 Sci-Fi Classics!" e-book collections of public domain stories). I've read a few at Comic Books Plus and thoroughly enjoyed the stories and artwork. A lot of greats cut their teeth in Planet Stories. It seems like it was about the best option for the sword-and-planet genre. My favorite writer of that genre, Leigh Brackett, earned most of her bread and butter here (that's one of her stories in the illustration). Of course, Planet Stories was mostly known for its "good girl" cover art, which was sort of a PG13 forerunner of the Barbarella look. Great compositions, bright colors, strong lines. They may not be politically correct, but they make great magazine covers, posters, calendars, etc. - these are in the public domain now, so you see 'em everywhere. A while back I printed a bunch of these and turned them into wall art for my hobby room. Note the triangles and zig-zags in these compositions, as well as what might seem like a preoccupation with light bondage - very common in the magazine covers of the day. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Libation Bearers

This is the second installment of the Oresteia, the tragic trilogy by the Greek playwright Aeschylus. I've been hammering through the ancient Greek dramatists, and have shared my thoughts about the first in this trilogy here. The Libation Bearers continues the story that begun in The Agamemnon, picking up several years after Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus have murdered her husband, Agamemnon, who, admittedly, was kind of a prick (if you read The Iliad). Nevertheless, their children Orestes and Elektra are not at all happy about it. Orestes has been away for many long years (his mother sent him away to aid in her plan of murder). But once he hears about it, he comes back to Argos at the command of the god Apollo, who says Orestes must avenge his father by killing his mother and her lover. Disguising his identity, he comes home and, after revealing his identity to his sister, colludes with the Chorus to distract his mother, who welcomes him thinking he is a stranger. He enters the palace and kills his murderous stepfather. Orestes is then interrupted by his mother, and he begins to kill her, too, but hesitates - after all, she's his mom. His cousin, Agamemnon's nephew Pylades, reminds Orestes of Apollo's command. Orestes does the deed, and, despite the patronage of Apollo, finds himself victim of the vengeance of the Furies, who have an especial distaste for matricide. They hound Orestes unmercifully, and he is forced to flee Argos, the Furies hot on his heels. The story continues (and concludes) in the third play in the trilogy, The Eumenides. We'll get to that shortly.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Music to Destroy the Universe


A member of the Deliberations of the Punk Duchess group on Facebook posted this. I've been really into more "experimental" classical music lately, so the timing was right for me to really get into this. The composer Scriabin (who I am now ashamed to have never heard of) apparently had a vision of music that would melt the universe. He never finished it, but it was pieced together and recorded in its entirety in 1970. It took awhile - Scriabin himself died in 1915. You can listen to the restored intro to the piece here, and follow the links to snippets of the original. I'd say Scriabin is a great choice for those who like a little Brian Eno in their Stravinsky. I'll have fun exploring his work.