research * the future * culture

Back home, y'all.

I have returned home from Texas. And I brought back pictures!

From Texas

It’s a very small collection, but most of the photos taken this trip were of my family (or me) and I don’t like sharing those. But there are action food shots, and a Houston billboard promising 150-foot crosses in the city’s future.

Texas is special. There is something self-indulgent about the scent of climbing rose and heliotrope this late in November. It was unnerving, at first, that transition from the dry bite of Toronto wind to the damp choke of Houston’s breeze. But there are other things, more human things, that emphasize the dislocation: the fact that even chain restaurants serve whimperingly good steak, or the way men apologize when a woman opens a door for them, or panicky hotel browsers. That dynamic keeps my little corner of Texas interesting: geophysicists who can chart the growth of our planet living alongside midnight preachers who insist it never happened. It’s this very dynamic that keeps America interesting in general. 

Canada, however, has its own dynamics, and I’m happy to be home. I have projects to finish, and tomorrow I very much need to begin working off my more gustatory indulgences: the afore-mentioned (juicy, tender, bleeding, perfect) steak, smooth and spicy pumpkin cheesecake, fried catfish… Whatever you may think about Texas, try the food (and meet the people) before making up your mind.

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  1. I like your essay on fanfiction and posthuman anxiety. Very smart.

    I see what you’ve done – converted your hobbies into a topic for academic discussion. You subtle rebel you.

    Has anyone worked it out yet?

  2. Thank you! It’s nice to know people are out there reading. As for people “working it out,” I think converting one’s hobbies into a topic for academic discussion is what most academics do on some level. There are plenty of Inklings Studies people who write academically about The Lord of the Rings because they enjoyed it upon first reading and it inspired them to think critically about high fantasy literature and linguistics and the impact of war. The same could be said of film studies or media studies, I think. The recent trend toward “aca-fandom” is merely a variant on this theme. Without new hobbies, there might not be any new papers published!

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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