Searching for the Other

Human beings are monotypic: we’re the only species within our taxonomic genus. Monotypic genera are relatively rare—it’s unusual for there to be no other species within a genus, especially among higher level complex organisms. (*)

We weren’t always monotypic. We shared Ice Age Europe with Homo neanderthalensis for tens of thousands of years. We shared parts of the planet with H. erectus for much of our early existence. It’s possible we even overlapped somewhat with H. heidelbergensis (I don’t know what the scholarly consensus is on this—recent discoveries have complicated the origins of H. sapiens. There were also many more coexistent relatives during our early evolution.)

For well over half of our existence on this planet as H. sapiens, there were other people out there who were within our taxonomic genus but who weren’t our species.

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Book Review: Warlock Holmes by G. S. Denning

A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning
A Study in Brimstone
by G. S. Denning
Titan Books, 2016

I’m not a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories (although I’ve read all of them at least once, some more than once, and I’ve see all of the major BBC television adaptations). I dislike Victorian literature in general.

I’m also not much of a fan of contemporary paranormal fiction—I don’t dislike it but it’s not something I seek out.

So there’s really no reason why I should like G. S. Denning’s “Warlock Holmes” series as much as I do.

Because I kinda love it.

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Book Review: The Kill Society by Richard Kadrey

Cover of the book The Kill Society by Richard Kadrey
The Kill Society
by Richard Kadrey
Harper/Voyager, 2017

This review was first published by Booklist on June 7, 2017.

Sandman Slim is dead (for real this time) and abandoned in a desolate part of the Tenebrae, the land of the dead. He’s discovered by a motorized roving gang trailing destruction and death in its wake, led by a religious fanatic looking for an ultimate weapon to kill God. Slim runs into some old friends along the way. It culminates in a fight between angels at the gates of Heaven itself. And Wormwood is up to something, as always. All because Sandman Slim tried to break open Heaven. This is Kadrey’s version of a Mad Max movie laid out as a cautionary tale about religious fanaticism. It’s a fast-paced story and an ideal setting to show off more of his richly imagined hereafter. The ending puts Sandman Slim right where he most wants to be, but in the last position he ever wanted. This entry in the series is plenty entertaining, but there are a few too many coincidences to be believable. Kadrey’s social criticism is much more obvious than usual, and it hits closer to home.

On Food and Headaches

I started getting headaches in my mid-20s. I threw out my back at work one day and never did anything to fix it—I relied on my standard “ignore it and it’ll go away” strategy. This caused entrenched muscle imbalances, which led to steadily mounting tension along the length of my spine, which eventually came to rest in my neck and shoulders.

I started getting tension headaches at the back of my head, where my spine connects to my skull. These headaches are a dull throb on one side or the other, sometimes nothing much, sometimes bad enough to make me sweaty and nauseous and shaky. I always knew when one was coming on because it would be preceded by a few hours of mounting tension in my back and shoulders. I always knew when one would be really bad because my neck would start cracking every time I moved my head.

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