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The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.

Recent posts:

  • Wife vs. Cats
    The Crazy Cat Lady is the cultural stereotype (Archie McPhee even sells a Crazy Cat Lady action figure). But this story demonstrates that there are definitely Crazy Cat Men as well. The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pa) — Jan 8, 1954 Mate Preferred Cats, She Left Him With Them HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 8 — Mrs. Joseph Gazik got a divorce in Superior Court after she said her husband liked cats so much that every time she asked him to get rid of them, he suggested that she leave instead. Gazik didn't appear in court. He stayed home with his cats — all 20 of them.
  • 1960s Portable Record Player
  • The Bone House
    What to do when you run out of room in the local grave yard? In Hallstatt, Austria they built a Bone House with the remains. It no longer gets new additions but many of the skulls in there already have their names on them. RIP
  • Shotgun Fashion
    Back in 1993, Ed Kirko gave up his job as an engineering assistant and became a fashion designer. His fashion idea was that, for a fee, he would blast your clothes with a shotgun. He came up with the idea after seeing an episode of 60 Minutes about ripped jeans selling for $90 and thought he could do that — but better! He offered a "Honeymoon Special," which was a bra, panties, and boxer shorts riddled with bullet holes. Palm Beach Post — Jan 17, 1994 San Bernardino County Sun — Sep 29, 1993
  • Dog Oscars
    Newspaper coverage here.
  • Site Update
    Ever since we started this blog, back in 2008, we've been using the same blogging software to run it. As in, the same version of the software. We never updated it. The software company regularly came out with updates, but we just ignored them. This wasn't just laziness on our part. Over at the Museum of Hoaxes, which runs on the same software, I had a traumatic experience trying to update from version 1.7 to 2.0. The update took the site offline for an entire week while I struggled to fix it. Lots of other people had similar experiences. It was a very buggy update. So over here at WU, I figured if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Everything seemed to be working fine with version 1.7 of the software. So I never changed it. The problem was, eventually the blogging software could no longer run on a modern server. So our webhost moved the site to a Victorian-era server in their back closet. (It's like trying to run Microsoft Word 97 on a modern computer. You can't do it. It can only run on an old computer.) This is the condition we've been living in for quite a while. But finally, I decided it was time to return to the 21st century. So this weekend I updated the software from version 1.7 to 2.11. That doesn't get us to the most recent version of the software (which is 3.something), but it does let us return to a modern server! However, the upgrade comes at a bit of a cost. We've lost some things in the right-hand colum, such as the list of Recent Comments, as well as the list of Recent Posts Ranked by # of Comments. I'm trying to figure out how to restore these. But the site, otherwise, should be the same. Hopefully just a little faster. However, if you notice anything not working as it should, definitely let me know.

The Inferior 4+1 is a Livejournal community maintained by Paul, lizhand, Paul Witcover, lucius-t and ljgoldstein.

Recent posts:

  • Novel: The Aeronaut's Windlass July 25, 2016
    Some things I disliked about The Aeronaut’s Windlass:1. Butcher seems to go his own carefree way with many words, heedless of any actual dictionary definitions.  So, for example, the characters in this world live in huge circular towers far above the ground, which he calls “spires” — but spires are tapered or pointed, not cylindrical.  One of the types of airships that sail between the towers is called a “windlass,” which is actually a “device for raising or hauling objects.”  (Yeah, I had to look that one up.)  There are neighborhoods in the spires called spirals, which — as you’ve probably guessed by now — consist of streets in perfectly straight lines.2. Both female leads are forthright, plucky, and kick-ass, to the point where I started confusing one with the other.  One is rich and small and the other one isn’t and isn’t, and that’s about the only difference I could find between them.3. The villain is a beautiful, sensuous woman, because of course she is.4. The book is too long and takes far too many chapters to get going.  The first chapter, for example, could have been eliminated without any problem.5. Folly is Sandman’s Delirium with the serial numbers filed off, down to her mismatched eyes.6. Butcher does his usual poor job of description.  For one neighborhood we’re told that it’s crowded and built of wood, and that’s pretty much it.  (To be fair, the wood part is important because it means the neighborhood’s rich — the surface of this world is dangerous, making it difficult to harvest trees.)7. Cats.  What is the sf fascination with cats?And yet, weirdly, it was hard to stop reading once I got to the second half.  Butcher has a very neat trick for compelling your attention — he puts his protagonists into situations where they’re completely outnumbered, where they know they almost certainly won’t survive.  And then, just when you think it’s hopeless, that there’s no way of getting out of this one — another opposing force attacks, and this time it’s really hopeless.  (A problem with this approach, unfortunately, is that after each battle the protagonists are usually so beat up they should be on bed-rest for a year, and yet the next chapter has them heading into still another confrontation.)I might even read the next one in the series if I wasn’t sure that it would go on for about twenty-seven more books.  There’s even a suggestion of another, and much worse, Big Bad coming up.  Still, it’s not as bad as I feared — toward the end I didn’t even mind about the cats.
  • Priest in the (Counterfactual) Sixties July 23, 2016
  • Ballard in the (Counterfactual) Sixties: 2 July 23, 2016
  • New Review at LOCUS ONLINE July 23, 2016
    What's new from Jeff Ford?
  • Ballard in the (Counterfactual) Sixties July 22, 2016
  • Di Filippo in the (Counterfactual) Sixties July 21, 2016
    Turnabout is fair play--according to my pal Brad Verter!