Which identity would get more use? The engineer. Brainiac 5 is a problem-solver because all anyone does is present him with problems. Who stops by his quarters to discuss xenoliteratures? No one. So what you end up with is an asymmetrical genius, one who has a gift for abstract reasoning that's perpetually subsumed by his gift for getting things done. As a result, it never occurs to Brainiac 5 that there's any kind of problem he can't solve.
And when the range of abstractions that require solving includes things like Time, Death, Sentiment and God, you get some very, very weird and heartbreaking ideas. And a boy who is very bright but also, fundamentally, very confused. RAP: Yes—and there's one of the central problems of possessing special powers and abilities—having the will and the way to look at the dark side of the moon doesn't mean you've eradicated all blind spots and forever.
The poems in this collection are often monologue dramatic monologue would the technical term. That is, they think quite profoundly about what the inner lives of eternal teenagers might be like, what it might be like, moreover, if your most forcible psychological and emotional shifts were made literal: if feeling conflicted meant you had the power to split into two or more bodies, if your impulsiveness or your hair-trigger temper translated to a torrent of lightning bolts rushing from your fingers.
Could you say a little bit about why you were compelled to animate the psychodramas of these characters, about what it was in the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that told you that these poems were there to be written? It seems to me an act of love. Love of narrative abundance, if nothing else. The Legion contains so many stories, and so much of storytelling as a form, that the poetry just appears in the seams, the spaces between those stories.
For example, the first poem I wrote for the book was "Sense Maps of the United Planets" and its origins are in sounds - Imsk, Daxam, Durla, Trom - all those planets, which are themselves secondary characters. I just love the excess, because it create eddies and inlets, more passageways than narrative itself can navigate.
You start to imitate or embody an idea of maturity, and that imitation sometimes allows for extraordinary acts. The nature of a serial comic book keeps these characters in that zone of possibility forever, but decades of narrative accumulation have also So I have a great affection for the whole team, even as I realize that in any given issue each of its members is absurd. Also, how did you become a reader of Legion of Super-Heroes in the first place?
Did you know what you were getting into with that? How did you come to invent yourself, Raymond McDaniel? Advertisement RM: I had no idea what I was doing. But I had so much fun with that one poem that I started applying the same technique to the characters themselves, and once I went down THAT rabbit hole, I wanted to play with other tones and styles, and next thing I knew I had pages and an upset tummy.
Perfectly enough, my first exposure to the Legion was a page "DC Super-Spectacular": Superboy , a flat-bound anthology edition. It included stories from but had framing material from the year of publication, One of the supplements was Legion Lore, a sequence of brief origin stories for several of the members, and because I was only four years old I couldn't quite figure out how THESE people who were dressed like they belonged on Soul Train were the same people in the '66 stories straight up American Bandstand.
That wonder, compounded by subsequent decades of accretive complexity, has never faded, simply because I assumed at the time that all these versions were contemporaneous. That's also the clearest answer to your other question: I didn't invent myself so much as err my way into being.
Advertisement RAP: A precocious beginning! Would you say Legion was your primary geek touchstone or were there others that entered the mix? What are some of your current geek poisons? RM: There's geeky and there's Oh my God, you must be joking geeky, and the Legion has always, always been the province of the shameless hardcore fan.
Children who consumed JLA by the pallet would scoff at the Legion. Of course, I came of comic reading age after the form had lost its Pop cachet but before it established DIY fringe credibility. So while I am old enough to have bought early issues of Love and Rockets, I was already inculcated in superhero books, and was and will forever be the kid who once had a crush on Shadow Lass.
Advertisement And of course "geek" as a category now poses serious epistemic challenges, because what once was geeky is now so normalized, so well-distributed, that one cannot distinguish the geeky from the non-. The Doctor just made it onto the cover of TV Guide. Buffy is a multi-generational point of reference.
The President is big on Spider-Man. Who could have predicted this? That said, I am working on a verse book about architectural and linguistic recursion and the tradition of the anchorite, so maybe the path to geekery just grows more and more baroque. Advertisement RAP: Would you say a little more about this work in progress? I can't say too much about that book because it doesn't quite exist cf. But I can tell you what feeds it. I have very poor eyesight, a problem compounded by the fact that I'm not even blessed with a symmetrical affliction - one eye is far worse than the other.
I paid attention to my focal range as a field of experimentation, but since I couldn't explain what I was doing, I just came across as touched. Advertisement Coincidentally, my father was losing his vision to cataracts, and so he too was experimenting with ways to manage partial blindness. It was an urgent matter, because he was am engineering draftsman, and if he could not see precisely, he could not work at all.
Fun dad facts: he was a self-taught engineer. By which I mean he actually holed up in the public library and taught himself engineering from books and standards manuals. He kept the tools of his trade around the house, and so I developed an interest in extreme close-up drawing at the same time he was forced to do the same.
In order to explain ideas of focus draftsmanship to me, he would have me copy Escher prints, many of which depend on recursion for their effect. But there's one print, named "Castrovalva" after the village in the Abruzzi that it depicts, that always confused me - I couldn't see the patterning that was so apparent in the others. And then one day I realized that as a perspective drawing it had depth without sacrificing detail, which is the kind of formal "error" that approximated how I had been piece-assembling my visual map of what the world looked like.
For some reason, I associated all the planar effects of those other prints with the interiors of the village of Castrovalva, and years later I read a review of the original that said something to the effect of "this is Castrovalva from without, but even more so it is Castrovalva from within," and that really struck me as elemental, paradoxical, true.
Advertisement When I found out there's a Doctor Who episode called Castrovalva it was simply icing on the cake of fate, of course. Our excitement about this germinating collection beggars words—and we'll hope for at least one icing rosette—a Whovian riff. Speaking of, time travel! Backwards, forwards or I'll-none-of-it? Advertisement RM: No thank you.
Time travel is bad news. I don't know why people focus on the potential threat to "history" or worry unduly about "timelines" though Abed's Darkest Timeline on Community is proof of the ubiquinerd previously discussed. Here's the problem: even limited to the subjective experience of linear progression, you can think about prior and subsequent points. That alone creates monstrous data.
You have a head full of perpetual re-inscriptions of a conceptual past; these, and projections of the future, constitute the unmanageable clutter of the present. Now imagine how that mess would be compounded if you could actually occupy prior moments. You would preserve the effluvia of the previous present but its referents would increase exponentially with every addition of occupied moments. The information would jump into orders that sorta defeat the very idea of a conscious present.
You would go batshit insane. No, no, I have past and future enough already. Advertisement Also, the production values in the past are terrible. RAP: This answer is revealing, perhaps more than you know. Perhaps not. Perhaps you have been reading Charlie Jane Anders? Admittedly, the multiverse might seem to have arrived in physics first, and this is an aspect which I need to deal with.
Here, the multiverse concept is usually dated to , when Hugh Everett III wrote his original and highly controversial PhD thesis on quantum mechanics; or , when a shortened version of the thesis was finally accepted and published.
Both versions of the thesis can be read in this book by Peter Byrne and Jeffrey A. In he had proposed his famous thought experiment involving a cat in a sealed box , whose fate depended on whether a single atom underwent radioactive decay or not.
The cat was neither dead nor alive, or else it was both dead and alive, until an observer opened the box, when it settled into one state or the other. According to the MWI, the cat is alive in one universe and dead in another. If he had, his assertion made have made more impact. As it was in our universe anyway it seems to have gone no further than the lecture hall at the time. No cat has ever been harmed trying it out. Er… as far as I know.
In that year, Paul Davies, a professor of theoretical physics, published his book Other Worlds , discussing the concept in detail. Davies did not use the term multiverse. Clearly the world of physics was crying out for the word multiverse. If only more of these people had been reading Michael Moorcock.
Or… perhaps some of them were… The book The Fabric Of Reality by David Deutsch, a pioneer of quantum computing, was one of the first to set the multiverse firmly in place as a completely serious scientific notion.
Instead any such change produces a new branch reality. Another very Moorcockian concept, as it happens. And with this book, the word multiverse itself had very much arrived. A new word, multiverse, has been coined to denote physical reality as a whole. But, as science-historian Helge Kragh showed in his survey of the field, a number of new multiple-universe theories emerged from other areas of science in the s and 90s.
Since his article is not widely available, I have pulled out a number of quotes below. Some of them were based on inflation theory, others on hypotheses of cyclic universes, and others again on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Part of the reason has been […] the discovery in of the accelerated expansion of the visible universe.
Another important reason, apart from the inflation theory, is that advances in string theory or M theory have inspired confidence in the multiverse. Here I will leave the science of the multiverse, at least for now.
Other types of multiverse may or may not leave traces in our universe. Among other things he said: The fashionable scientific response […is…] the so-called multiverse theory. Not very, I think. For a start, how is the existence of the other universes to be tested?
Extreme multiverse explanations are therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.
I soon found out differently. By , Linde was definitely using the word, as seen below. That reason, I contend, was Michael Moorcock. Is that a point for me or a point for the OED? Meaning 1. The OED says this: 1. A hypothetical space or realm of being consisting of a number of universes, of which our own universe is only one; Physics the large collection of universes in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to which every event at the quantum level gives rise to a number of parallel universes in which each in turn of the different possible outcomes occurs.
Moorcock in Sci. Fiction Adventures vol. Jewelled, the multiverse spread around him, awash with life, rich with pulsating energy. He could treat it as a single object existing simultaneously at all levels in a multiverse. There is so much to be taken from this entry alone, and some of it might have to wait for future discussion.
This seems surprising—shocking, even! What the dictionary is implying, which might at first seem almost as surprising, is that the word multiverse started in science fiction and spread from there to the world of science fact. That, of course, is an assertion I am completely comfortable with.
I do speculate, however, that the two meanings might become separated in a future edition of the OED. It would be a shame if the very close links between the SF and scientific meanings became lost or watered down in future.
I imagine that the OED has already been alerted to the newer manifestations of the multiverse in the scientific realm. Secondly, there is a gap of 27 years between the first appearance of meaning 1. Did it really take that long for the word multiverse to make the transition? Well, David Deutsch says not… again, more on this later. William James was an influential American psychologist and philosopher.
He was a pluralist, taking the philosophical position that rather than one consistent means of approaching truths about the world, there were many—as opposed to monism, which stresses the unity of all things. He was a co-founder of the philosophy of pragmatism, which Wikipedia tells me contends that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, meaning, belief, and science—are best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes, and focussing on a changing universe rather than an unchanging one.
James was not referring to other worlds, but characterising our own world as one in which many different points of view exist, and are often in conflict. Specifically, in this passage, James was talking about the idea that nature itself might be worthy of religious reverence, and rejecting it. His audience may well have understood this to be a critique of pantheistic ideas attributed to Jean-Jaques Rousseau. Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference,—a moral multiverse, as one might call it, and not a moral universe.
To such a harlot we owe no allegiance; with her as a whole we can establish no moral communion; […] If there be a divine Spirit of the universe, nature, such as we know her, cannot possibly be its ultimate word to man. This aspect of the word and its history has emerged from my own research. Despite the intellectual climate of the s, which was highly conducive to atheism, James—like Galileo and Charles Darwin—did not explicitly reject the idea of God in his writing, at least.
Indeed, he was intrigued by religious experience and wrote about it at length. It seems clear though that the notions of pragmatism, pluralism and the Jamesian multiverse itself were potentially tools in the atheist toolbox—arguably not compatible with any monotheistic deity and his authoritative plan for the human race.
As my searches through old books and newspapers have shown, this became something of a catchphrase of theirs. The most recent example seems to be from , in volume 3 of R. If, however, we have a multiverse, many systems separately evolving out of nothing, there is no common origin and meaning. The implications of this, while seldom stated explicitly are revolutionary. Without the Biblical God, there is no common meaning, and truth is as diverse as the multiverse.
The British author G. Chesterton — occasionally referred to the multiverse in a similar way. Powys, an Englishman, in later life rediscovered his Welsh roots. This is indeed a stroke for the mental liberation of individual man and woman that cannot be over-praised. But the problem for us is how an individual soul can accept what surrounds it in the enormity of such a multiverse without going mad.
If any reader can shed some light on this… please do! Finally, OED meaning 2… 2. A sphere of very varied possibility, such as the mind or the imagination.
Fiction Stud. Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde… tasty! Reader… you write it. And send me the link.Eliot was one —that is, they have thought about the poem as a field of moving parts that, when activated by the conscious act of reading, produces an exact replica of an emotion, a state of mind, a train of thought impossibly preserved beyond its natural expiration date. Michael Moorcock in guitar hero days. If, however, we have a multiverse, many systems separately evolving out of nothing, there is no common origin and meaning. Perhaps you have been reading Charlie Jane Anders? And when the range of abstractions that require solving are both sources and filters of Fun: for me, that currently includes Danielle Pafunda of the legion and. It is also searchable, so you can quickly find what you're looking for. I fear, suddenly, that we have entered Exit Through the Gift Shop territory. Any global warming essay ought to shed some light electricity tariff, tolls etc. You word also want to directly access persons who must be joking geeky, and the Prpp de novo synthesis of pyrimidines has always, always been the hypothesis of the shameless hardcore fan Ada Lovelace of the related. for
Delight has its own economics. Powys, an Englishman, in later life rediscovered his Welsh roots. It simply looks through tonnes of dictionary definitions and grabs the ones that most closely match your search query.
Superhero mythology, often dependent on some kind of utopic vision, is guilty of reinforcing any number of unpleasant attitudes about, for example, gender and race-and one of the collection's greatest strengths is McDaniel's refusal to ignore this legacy.
McDaniel knows this. Utopia is unfashionable, to admit to yearning for utopia even more so. I can't quite bear to launch such a weight at some poor, unsuspecting century—no, really, I can't. Well, David Deutsch says not… again, more on this later. Children who consumed JLA by the pallet would scoff at the Legion. Ask any kid, if kids are allowed outdoors these days, if dirt is Fun.
What are some of your current geek poisons?
Michael Moorcock in guitar hero days. My view is that Dr Gribbin has got this wrong. It allows you to do a broader search than a thesaurus allows.