Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Volcano Music

Volcano music! What could be more appropriate for this science/SF/music/weirdness blog? Michael Levy's music will be featured in another BBC production, this time enhancing the glory of volcanoes. And there will be Naked scientists! Sort of. Click on the links to check it out. And Happy Birthday, Michael!

Volcanoes...and Ancient Roman Lyre Music!

The perfect birthday pressie - I am getting airplay on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire at 6 pm on my birthday, Sunday 3rd May!

The show, "Naked Scientists" is about volcanoes and will features clips of my Roman-themed compositions "The Temple of Mars" from my album"Echoes of Ancient Rome""Gloria Belli (Glory of Battle)" and "Tristitia (Sorrow)", from my album "The Ancient Roman Lyre", played during a reading of Pliny the Elder's first-hand account of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE.The show will also be out then on BBC iPlayer.

For anyone who simply can't wait and feels the need to be up at the crack of dawn, the show will also be on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday 2nd May at 5 am!

The show will also be going global on the Naked Scientists podcast - at last, my lyre music will soon be erupting all over the known world!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Crappy Self Promotion, Inc.

I must be a crappy self-promoter, because two of my stories have been published online recently, and I have yet to promote them on this blog. The first is “Dr. Polingyouma's Machine” in UNCANNY magazine, and the second is “Postcards From Monster Island” in CLARKESWORLD. Click on the names of these magazines to visit them, and while you're at it, think about subscribing and/or donating. Keep short fiction forums alive and well!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mr Spock's Harp

Some of you may recall an episode from the original Star Trek series in which Mr. Spock is forced to play the harp and sing for a bunch of mean, telekinetic aliens – and he's actually really good at it. The interesting thing is that Leonard Nimoy, who wove some of his Judaic traditions into his role as Spock, comes from a long line of harp-loving folk, including King David. So it only makes sense that Michael Levy should pay tribute to Mr Spock in his newest album. Click the links below! No harp and/or Star Trek collection is complete without this wonderful new album!

Alien Harp - Music From An Alternate Universe

I am pleased to announce the release of the third in my recently ultra-experimental EP length albums, dedicated to providing the lyre of antiquitywith a new voice for the 21st century, and hopefully way beyond!"Alien Harp: Music From An Alternate Universe" is my own personal tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, inspired by his Star Trek character Spock's 'Vulcan Harp' - featuring original compositions for solo lyre, transformed by a veritable vista of contemporary studio effects, evoking an 'alternate universe' of mysterious, alien soundscapes, going boldly where no lyre has gone before...Here are all the main purchase links:

Buy This Album on iTunes
Buy This Album on Amazon
Buy This Album on Google Play
Buy This Album on CD Baby
Buy This Album on Bandcamp

A free PDF of the detailed album notes can be downloaded here.

As an independent artist, without the benefit of a record company to do all the promotional stuff on my behalf, my music only really manages to 'get out there', thanks to the infinitely appreciated efforts of ALL you lovely lyre lovers out there, in each and every Facebook share, tweet, web blog about my music and album review - thank you all, for your continued support in my musical mission, to reintroduce the lyre of antiquity back into the 21st century musical world! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Power and Pants

LGBT issues have been in the news and all over social media lately, so an aspect of life that used to be considered out of the mainstream is right in the center now. This is helpful to my friends and family who are LGBT, but it also sheds light on a subject that has fascinated me since I was a girl in grade school, petitioning for my school to allow girls to wear pants (especially jeans): gender-specific clothing.

I was in grade school in the 60s – in Phoenix. In Arizona. In a corner of the U.S. that was anything but cutting edge. Our population was 698,000 in 1965, about four times smaller than it is now. We were considered the Wild West, and our styles trended years behind hipper parts of the country. When I was a girl, most of the women that I saw on TV, in magazines, and in real life were very feminized, so we girls emulated them. We thought dresses and skirts were the most wonderful things in the world. But we were in a unique situation too, because as denizens of the Wild West, we also knew about Cow Girls. Cow Girls in AZ wore jeans, just like the Cow Girls in movies and TV.

I became aware of other women on TV who wore pants, like Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and lady scientists in SciFi movies. Plenty of women in Science Fiction movies/shows wore skirts too – most notably the cocktail-waitress outfit the female officers wore on Star Trek. But the garments under those uniforms looked like shorts to me. I already wore shorts under my skirts and dresses because we had P.E. every day at school, and wearing the shorts under my skirts made it easier to change. That's what I told myself. But the truth was, I lived in shorts or pants the rest of the time – it was the clothing I associated with freedom and adventure. And because of that, I have gradually become aware that it is also the clothing of power.

To me, power isn't punching some guy in the face. Power is the ability to handle your own finances, pursue your own interests, and walk (or in some cases hike or climb) with confidence in the world. You don't need your husband to negotiate with a car dealer (though you'll probably discuss the options with him beforehand), and for better or worse, you are the mistress of your life. Plenty of women do that in skirts, often in high heels, and some would argue that stylish dresses and skirt-suits are the essence of power clothing. I think that's true in some cases, but not in most.

I don't want to get in too deep with psychology here, but I feel traditional women's clothing is not as physically comfortable, and that seems to be deliberate. It limits your range of movement, and there is an implied sexual component to it – it's supposed to enhance your figure and make you look attractive. But what if you don't want to attract? What if you just want to go about your business? In some cultures, people try to solve that problem with shapeless garments that cover you from head to toe. But that's the opposite of comfortable. Let me tell you about comfortable.

Comfortable is shoes that you can walk or stand in for long periods of time. It's jeans that fit properly without being too loose or too tight. Comfortable is a shirt (or blouse) that fits the same way. Sometimes that shirt was manufactured for women. But sometimes it was manufactured for men.

Here's a photo of my three favorite shirts (currently). Two of them were manufactured for men – I found them in the men's section at various Goodwill stores. I would guess that ¼ of the shirts in my closet are men's shirts.

Back in the 60s, a gal like me would be called a tomboy – we're comfortable with our heterosexuality, able to appreciate feminine clothing, but we're much more likely to wear the jeans and comfy shirts. We like to hike, garden, paint our own houses, sometimes even repair our cars and/or appliances. We go to college to pursue science degrees (among other specialties). We may or may not wear makeup/dresses/heels occasionally. But we conduct most of our important business in pants.

I can't even guess how much of my tendency to do that is due to my perception of men from the decade I grew up.  Men were doctors, lawyers, school principals, and presidents. I didn't think there was anything wrong with women doing those things, but at that time, most of the decision-making jobs were held by men - and they wore pants.

On the other hand, my mom was divorced, and she was a woman to be reckoned with, whether she was wearing slacks or dresses. And there was another factor that must have shaped my love of jeans – the culturally turbulent 60s. Okay, the 70s, too.

That's when bell-bottoms were in style, for both men and women. I would wear them today, if they were re-introduced. Alas for me, I can't resist the Groovy Look. Most styles are enjoyed with some level of delusion. In my case it may be quite high. But for me, the jeans and the comfy shirts will always be a symbol of the control I assert over my own life.

So as the discussion about sexuality, gender, and gender identity (or even the choice not to have a gender identity) continues to unfold, it will be interesting to see how clothing styles evolve. Whatever happens – I'll keep haunting Goodwill for my favorite stuff, regardless of how the aisles are classified.