This is the blog and homepage of Mark R. Kelly, the founder of Locus Online in 1997 (for which I won a Hugo Award in 2002 — see the icon at right) and of an index to science fiction awards in 2000 that became sfadb.com in 2012. I’m retired from my day job of 30 years, from 1982 to 2012, as an aerospace software engineer, supporting the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
Posts here are mostly about my reading, of science fiction and of books about science, history, philosophy, and religion; and comments to articles in newspapers that I link to. Movie reviews and pics from travels are posted on Facebook.
More on my About page, including a photo of the Hugo Winners the year I was among them, and links to an index of my columns and other writings, and to my earliest homepage with links to some of my work.
My favorite news magazine, The Week, is celebrating 20 years of publication with its current April 16th issue, which has retrospectives of cover images, editorial essays, and so on. Here’s one of the latter, by editor-in-chief William Falk.
When I posted my notes about Michael Shermer’s book How We Believe, I noted that one of his principle observations was how, writing in 2000 or 1999, levels of religious belief hadn’t changed much since the 1960s, the era in which Time Magazine controversially asked “Is God Dead?” And I mentioned how levels of belief *have* declined since Shermer’s book, with the rise of the “nones.”
This past week came a major survey confirming that rise of the “nones,” or more specifically, the decline over the past two decades in church membership.
Ted Chiang is a science fiction writer who since 1990 has published a couple dozen works of short fiction (and no novel), gathered in just two books: Stories of Your Life and Others (2002), and Exhalation (2019). I’m certain he holds the record for highest ratio of awards won to stories published (see Ted Chiang Titles at sfadb.com.) The novella “Story of Your Life,” included in the first book, was the basis for the film Arrival.
I’m narrowing in on a Provisional Conclusion that most people live their daily lives without any perspective or context about what happens in the outer world. (And, for many issues, that’s just fine. But not for all issues.)
Thus, Americans take the repeated events of mass killings more or less for granted, not to be addressed through any kind of political action, without realizing that the US is by far the outlier among nations about gun violence and mass killings. Continue reading →
It’s a passage of just over a minute, beginning at 17:50 of this Claudio Abbado performance of Mahler’s 5th symphony, and about four minutes into the second movement. It’s as if the world stops, ponders, and reflects. Then re-emerges, confidant.
The volume of this video is subdued; the passage is also at
beginning at about 4:08.
This came to mind by my listening to Leonard Rosenman’s score to the film Fantastic Voyage, which I reviewed this week at Black Gate. The four note motif of that score, about 1:10 into this YouTube suite, evoked the opening notes of this Mahler passage.
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