Wednesday, August 31, 2016

KAOHSIUNG REPORTER WHO IS DEAF: A TV anchor woman who is deaf and works for PTS - TV news program in Taiwan, Mrs. Sue Wang Shiao-su, has created a global buzz and a Facebook fan base for her unique, outgoing presentation style


On Feb 23, 2017 "田峻羽"  wrote:
''This woman's name is Wang Xiao Shu, is a very pretty girl

She said so flatted and happy and hope to have chance to share any deaf people around the whole world.  

From her facebook:

This pretty girl is "the glory of Taiwan"😎

I like this kind of news''

NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL REPORTERS OR BLOGGERS IN THE UK, THE USA, NZ and Australia and South Africa who write in English:

NEW LINK with over 20,000 page views in just two days!!!!

PTS TV REPORTER SUE WANG - ***20,0000 page views from deaf website in USA today THIS IS BIG NEWS!

THIS NEWS TODAY FROM THE DAILY MOTH in the USA, a website for people are deaf worldwide. The editor Alex reported this news about Taiwan's SUE WANG here today. Her segment appears at 14:25 into the program:


In Taiwan — there is a Deaf woman who works as a TV news anchor. Her name is Sue Wang (45). She works for a public, government-funded TV program that airs 8-8:30 am daily. She signs out the news by reading a teleprompter — using the same content as what hearing anchors use. 
[Video clips of Sue working]

She has been doing this since 2002 and has won awards for her work. Sue is also a runway model and an actress. Very nice — thank you to Dan Bloom for this news tip. She has a public Facebook page:
NOTE:  "The deaf culture in Taiwan was rarely respected by common people. After Taipei City was elected to be the organizer of the 2009 Deaflympics, and a success of '2007 World Deaf Swimming Championship', this (deaf) culture is now progressively respected around the world. I hope this game can be a great platform to make this known by more and more people with deaf athletes' participation." Sue Wang (Spokeswoman of 2007 Taipei Run Up and Sign Language Anchor of Public Television Service) remarked.

The Chinese-language media in Taiwan has covered this story about Sue Wang, but not one English language newspaper has covered it. I am now thinking to try to find a reporter outside Taiwan to tell her story to the BBC or US media or anywhere in English speaking land, with video of one of her If you know someone who might want to do a story, even a short article but with a link to a TV news video showing Sue in action. It should be worldwide news because as far as I know, Sue is the only news anchor who is deaf in the world with such an animated unique style of signing. Even though I cannot understand sign language, it is a pleasurre to watch her every morning on the local public TV station here at 8 am. I found her by accident one day while channel surfing a few months ago and I was hooked. I want the whole world to know about her now, outside Taiwan. Her message is a very important one.

KAOHSIUNG BORN AND RAISED: An TV news anchor in Taipei who is deaf and works for a daily TV news program in Taiwan, Mrs. Wang Shiao-su (王曉書), 45, has created a global buzz and a Facebook fan base for her unique, outgoing presentation style. Her English name is Sue.

"Beautiful language, that is silent..."

by our staff reporter, Dan Bloom (丹布隆)

FACEBOOK PAGE in CHINESE words only王曉書-130211133663596/

王曉書's photo.

王曉書's photo.

Wang Shiao-Su [王曉書]

A few years ago, Mrs Wang won an award with two other PTS TV anchors at Sign Language News of  PTS-TV in Taiwan  for their work as anchors in Taiwan at the annual Golden Bell TV Awards show. And here she is receiving a TV award on TV at the 2 minute mark --

Mrs Wang, born in Kaohsiung and working now in Taipei as a news anchor, program host and runway model,  is able to attract so many fans because of her winning personality, her animated and sometimes humorous facial gestures as she is doing her work for the show and her over all happy Taiwanese personality. You have never seen an anchor at a Sign Language News TV show before anywhere in the world who is this good and Sue deserves global recognition.

Taiwan is a small island nation overshadowed by her larger neighbors of Japan and China, but the people of Taiwan are, hands down, the winningest people in Asia. And Mrs Wang is a very good example of what makes Taiwan so great!

Sue comes to work Monday to Wednesday at 6  a.m. to get ready for her live broadcast which airs from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
She drives to the office by herself. She has a driver's license since people who are deaf can apply for a driver's licenses in Taiwan.

Sue has been working for PTS-TV since 2001. Her "Listening Eye" show began in 2001 and is still running. And she has been an anchor for the Sign Language News show at PTS since 2002 -- over 14 years!

THE PROCESS: To perform her duties as on-air anchor for the show, Sue relies on a very interesting technology that news anchors use all over the world, and in Taiwan too. She reads the news items before the show begins, and she reads them at her desk on her computer in Chinese text, since they will be read by the voice-over in Chinese. Then, familiar with all the news, and after taking notes, and making preparations for the live show, Sue will stand in front of a TelePrompter screen and as the voice-over READS the news item for PTS hearing viewers, Sue will, as anchor, sign the very same news item as an introduction to each particular item. Then she waits for the next news item, and so on, for about 10 to 12 news items each day.


Who was Mrs Wang's teachers when she was a young girl? Where did she go to high school?


Sue has been an anchor at Sign Language News of  PTS since September 2, 2002. In the beginning, there was a woman who was deaf and knew TSL(Taiwanese sign language) very well and she taught Sue for about 6 months. Also, PTS had a  hearing sign language interpreter help Sue.
The hearing sign language interpreter works with her even now.


For elementary school to high school, Sue went to the
Tainan School for The Hearing Impaired. (Now the name is The Affiliated School for Students with Hearing Impairments of National University of Tainan.For college, Sue attended Shih Chien University.


In New York City, there is a hearing Amerian Sign Language interpreter [who is not a deaf person] named Lydia Callis and she became famous in New York a few years ago as the sign language interpreter for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the Hurrican Sandy press conferences he gave.

Now in Taiwan, there is an anchor  at Sign Language News in Taipei who works for the PTS-TV [public televison station] named WANG SHIAO-SU, aka Sue Wang, and her work for the TV station (and her work as a model for a top modelling agency in Taiwan) has earned her a large following among Taiwanese fans and admirers who follow her daily newscasts at 8 a.m. three times a week Monday Tuesday and Wednesday and her Facebook page (in Chinese text only at this time).

NEW YORK: American sign language interpreter Lydia Callis became an overnight sensation when she worked with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during Superstorm Sandy. Though interpreting vital information for the deaf community, her vibrant nature, strong facial expressions and seemingly dramatic gestures won a large following via social media.
TAIPEI: There is an anchor for Sign Language News for the PTS-TV [a Taiwanese public televison station] named WANG SHIAO-SU, and her work for the TV station (and her work as a model for a top modelling agency in Taiwan) has earned her a large following among Taiwanese fans and admirers who follow her daily newscasts at 8 a.m. and her Facebook page (in Chinese text only at this time). Her English name is Sue. She is married and has one child. She is 45 years old.
NEW YORK: Lydia Callis, who earned a bachelor's degree in ASL English Interpretation from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, in Rochester, N.Y., stresses that people who are deaf can do everything hearing people can, they just do not do it through a spoken language.]
"I noticed that people have a hard time disconnecting from that," she said. "They really think that they are disabled but they’re not. Especially with today's technologies -- the cell phone has definitely helped big time because you can just write messages in there and communicate through that way.
"All in all I think that it shows that hearing people need to try to include people who are deaf more in their daily events and daily life things that they do and even going out and learning the language, because so many people look at it as a disability, that they can’t do something, but they can, and it would just be great to be able to learn the language," she said. "It's a beautiful language that is silent."
TAIPEI: Wang Shiao-su was born hearing but when she was three years old, due to a medical emergency and a lack of the proper medicines available in Taiwan at that time, she lost some of her hearing. Sue Wang is now 45 years old, married, with one son, and works as a model, a spokeswoman for various endorsement companies and is a popular PTS anchor Monday to Wednesday on Taiwan's public TV station PTS-TV. She is so popular, everyone in Taiwan knows her name and she has a large following now on her Chinese-language Facebook page. Dozens of videos of her also circulate now via Youtube.

101年第47屆電視金鐘獎【綜合節目主持人獎-聽聽看】GOLDEN BELL TV AWARDS
You can see her accept the award at the 2 minute mark:

Her Facebook page in Chinese only:
here is her FB page and scroll down to see all the photos. --王曉書-130211133663596/

And here she is receiving a TV award on TV at the 2 minute mark --



"The deaf culture in Taiwan was rarely respected by common people. After Taipei City was elected to be the organizer of the 2009 Deaflympics, and a success of '2007 World Deaf Swimming Championship', this (deaf) culture is now progressively respected around the world. I hope this game can be a great platform to make this known by more and more people with deaf athletes' participation." Sue Wang (Spokeswoman of 2007 Taipei Run Up and Sign Language Anchor of Public Television Service) remarked.

Meg Little Reilly's debut cli-fi novel "We Are Unprepared" gives a shout out to cli-fi meme in radio interview at 17 minutes in to 60 minute show as book is called “an emotional journey, a terrifying glimpse into the human costs"

UPDATE! at 17:33 minutes into the 60 minute interview, Meg and host Tom Williams give a shout out to the cli-fi meme!

TOM: "There is a term, I guess it's called Cli-Fi...."

MEG: "Yes, I learned about it after I finished writing the novel."


USA RADIO SEGMENT online here: Utah Public Radio (an NPR station) with critic Tom Williams saying re Meg Little Reilly's debut cli-fi novel "We Are Unprepared" “an emotional journey, a terrifying glimpse into the human costs"

The main characters Ash and Pia move from hipster Brooklyn to rustic Vermont in search of a more authentic life. [The story is told from Ash's narrative voice, a male voice written by a female author. Bravo!] But just months after settling in, the forecast of a superstorm disrupts their dream. Fear of an impending disaster splits their tight-knit community and exposes the cracks in their marriage. Where Isole was once a place of old farm families, rednecks and transplants, it now divides into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools, each at odds about what course to take.
The publisher (MIRA Books) describes the new novel “We Are Unprepared” as “an emotional journey, a terrifying glimpse into the human costs of our changing earth and, ultimately, a cautionary tale of survival and the human spirit” T
he author, Meg Little Reilly, says her novel is “in equal parts, a small gesture of activism, and a love letter to the woods [she] grew up in.”
Meg Little Reilly is a former treasury spokesperson under President Obama,  deputy communications director for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), communicator for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and producer for Vermont Public Radio. A native of Vermont, she is a UVM graduate with deep ties around the state. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

NEW DESIGN: optional/alternative styling - Cli*Fi



 is a new way for newspapers/websites to write cli-fi, new styling w/ an asterisk.

Cli*Fi (alt style) if editors wish to use the alt styling. Up to editors desk.

So several variations now:. Cli Fi [space], cli-fi, [hyphen] cli*fi [asterisk] and hasthtag one word #CliFi for tweets

NEW DESIGN: optional/alternative styling - Cli*Fi

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In his new cli-fi novel, MR ETERNITY, Aaron Thier takes the long view on climate change, writes the headline writer in the Boston Globe

In his novel, Aaron Thier takes the long view on climate change

“I was able to imagine that in the future there was room for joy. I think it’s very easy to lose sight of that when you’re reading all this apocalyptic stuff,” says Thier about “cli-fi” novels.
Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe
“I was able to imagine that in the future there was room for joy. I think it’s very easy to lose sight of that when you’re reading all this apocalyptic stuff,” says Thier about “cli-fi” novels.
GREAT BARRINGTON — Sometime after completing his first novel in 2013, Aaron Thier looked out his window in Williamstown at frozen trees in 2 feet of snow beneath a low gray sky and imagined the landscape transformed by climate change.
“I was thinking a lot about how much the rhythms of life are determined by the place where we live,” the 32-year-old author said, in a conversation from his current home in central Great Barrington. “I was sitting there in the New England winter, looking outside and imagining what it would be like to see live oaks and Spanish moss,” instead of white pine and Norway spruce. “That didn’t seem so far-fetched, really.”
That vision was part of the inspiration for his second novel, “Mr. Eternity,” published earlier this month. Set in five time periods on the brink of environmental, political or cultural crisis — 1560, 1750, 2016, 2200, and 2500 — the story follows an old, perhaps immortal, sailor who calls himself “Daniel Defoe,” maybe because, like Robinson Crusoe, he has been shipwrecked multiple times. Defoe’s extraordinarily long life intersects with a quintet of young narrators trying to make sense of their lives in a damaged world.
Defoe travels from South America in the years following the destruction of the Aztec and Incan civilizations to a future St. Louis where the full 75 meters of sea level rise has turned the Midwest into a tropical tidal zone. Along the way are stops in a Caribbean sugar cane plantation, present-day tourist-infested Key West, and Boston and Baltimore after the global warming deluge.
The novel addresses issues of slavery, colonialism, genocide, and catastrophic climate change. It is also oddly hopeful and very funny, even as its characters misconstrue the past, present, and future. As the narrator from 2500 says, “Daniel Defoe explained [that] a DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] was a place to hang out and tell stories. It was a place for poor, sick people to congregate.”
Thier is trim and boyish, both intense and effortlessly funny in conversation. Raised in Williamstown, he graduated from Yale, earned his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Florida, and made his debut as a novelist with “The Ghost Apple,” an academic satire published in 2014.
“Mr. Eternity” reflects Thier’s appreciation of history, language, and literature. Each timeline in the story is narrated in its own distinctive style, reflecting the voices of the narrator, including a South American girl sold into slavery, a stressed-out filmmaker, or the daughter of the hereditary king and president of the Democratic Federation of Mississippi States.
Teachers and critics appreciate Thier’s talent for literary mimicry. Novelist Padgett Powell, reached by e-mail, wrote of his former MFA student: “Mr. Thier likes messin’ with historicity, as did Faulkner, and he uses crisp precise wit, as did (Donald) Barthelme, to mess with it.”
“He took to Florida like a manatee to a swamp,” said another of Thier’s teachers, David Leavitt, author of “The Indian Clerk.” “In him the best of the subtropical and New England literary traditions are mingled.”
One tradition to which Thier claims not to pay much attention is the growing sub-genre of climate fiction. “Cli-fi,” as it is sometimes called, uses tools of storytelling to address possible outcomes of climate change. Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan stand at one end of the spectrum; at the other, a host of writers of young-adult dystopian potboilers imitating “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent.”
As terrible as aspects of his future America might seem, Thier allows for the possibility of happiness in each plot strand in “Mr. Eternity.”
“I was able to imagine that in the future there was room for joy,” he said. “I think it’s very easy to lose sight of that when you’re reading all this apocalyptic stuff.”
He agrees, however, with the Cassandras who forecast drastic change. “The increasing frequency of what used to be anomalous weather events is very scary,” he said.
This acknowledgment of the biosphere’s fragility has, at times, caused Thier to go to extremes in an attempt to live sustainably.
‘No one would remember how to make asphalt or super glue or sunblock or cortisone cream. We would no longer be able to fly. The world would be like it used to be, years and years ago, except that it would be entirely different.’
Quote Icon
“When I was in Williamstown writing [“Mr. Eternity”],” he said, “we were only eating local foods, even in winter. I was milling flour every morning from grain that was grown 30 miles away. It was exhausting. And I had to get a hand mill to avoid using electricity.”
He admitted, “It was unsustainable to live the way I was living, because it was driving me insane.”
Last December, Thier and his wife, poet Sarah Trudgeon, whom he met in the MFA program, returned to New England after years of bouncing between Massachusetts and Florida. Thier said that they now enjoy being less dependent on their car and being able to walk to the farmers’ market, the co-op grocery, and the hardware store a few blocks away. It’s a big contrast to their time in car-obsessed Miami, where, Thier said, “There’s already enough warming to destroy the city.”
Four and a half months ago, Thier and Trudgeon welcomed their first child, Sidney. Their book-filled home is now littered with a stroller, bouncy chair, and other infant equipment. Thier has set up his workspace in the sparsely furnished third floor, a writing area he calls “the treehouse.”
As a new father, Thier said he has hope for the future. And, indeed, “Mr. Eternity” is ultimately “supposed to be a heart-warming book — even though it’s about climate change and apocalypse.”
A child of parents concerned about the environment, Thier comes by his preoccupation with climate change naturally. “It was always part of my understanding of the world,” he said.
His mother, Audrey, served as an environmental lobbyist in Albany, N.Y., working mostly on agricultural pesticides. His father, Williams College English professor Peter Murphy, “passed through a state of paralyzing anxiety about climate change in the late ’80s. Then he settled into grim resignation,” said Thier.
Thier seems to understands how quickly circumstances can change. After struggling with drugs and alcohol, he was able to quit both while in Gainesville, he said.
“Within three months of stopping drinking, my name was on the cover of The Nation, I had met the woman I was going to marry, and I had started writing the book that I knew would be my first novel.”
As with “Mr. Eternity” and its mysterious Mr. Defoe, Thier seems ready for happy endings.

Aaron Thier reads from his novel “Mr. Eternity” Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. at Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton Centre.

Mike Berry can be reached at

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Yuval Noah Harari - It's the End of the World as We Know It!'' - Mr. Srinath Perur explains

Yuval Noah Harari. Photo credit Richard Stanton
Yuval Noah Harari. Photo credit Richard Stanton
“Humankind will not exist. This is obvious,” says Yuval Noah Harari, attached to the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, when Srinath Perur asked by email what the human species will be like in a thousand years. “The more interesting and difficult question is whether humankind will exist 100 or 200 years from now.”
Harari is the author of Sapiens, a 400-page feat of synthesis that attempts to answer, in essence, how we came to be the way we are. Why, given that there were a half-dozen species of humans 1,00,000 years ago, does only one exist today? Why have men dominated women in most societies throughout history? Why do we live in nation-states? How did capitalism become universal? And, inevitably, where do we go from here?
Answers to 'how' and 'why' can be prodded endlessly with the same questions. These questions do not have right answers as much as they do satisfying ones. And Harari's answers are well-argued, compelling and provocative, drawing from diverse areas of human knowledge – among them biology, archaeology, anthropology, literature, economics, philosophy and, of course, history.
Harari attributes most human achievement – the pyramids, space missions, cities, civilizations – to our ability to cooperate on a large scale and in flexible ways. “If you put me and a chimpanzee together on a lone island and we had to struggle for survival, I would place my bets on the chimp,” he says. “However, if you place 1,000 humans and 1,000 chimps on a lone island, the humans will easily win, because 1,000 chimps can never cooperate effectively.” Other animals – bees and ants for instance – have been known to cooperate in large numbers, but only over a range of narrow tasks.
What is so special about us that allows for such cooperation? Unflatteringly, it is our talent for deluding ourselves. “If you examine any large-scale human cooperation, you will always find some imaginary story at its base,” says Harari. “As long as many people believe in the same stories about gods, nations, money or human rights – they follow the same laws and rules.”
To Harari, Hamurabi's Code (1776 BCE) is as imaginary as the American Declaration of Independence (1776 CE). Liberal individualism is no more 'right' in any absolute sense than is Nazism. They are both similar in that they are variants of humanism, one upholding the well-being of every individual and the other that of a well-defined collective. According to Harari, humans owe their power in large measure to the stories we create. And then we take the stories too seriously and end up serving these imagined orders.
All this is in service of Harari's preoccupation: the relation between power and happiness through history. Harari has no doubt that the power humans wield over the world has increased many fold through history: for tens of thousands of years humans have dominated every corner of the planet they have reached, bending nature to their will, hunting large animals until they are extinct; the splendors of civilization, such as they are, are all around us. But: “Humans are not very good at utilizing power to overcome suffering and to increase happiness.”
Harari's argument is that the factors that allow our species to dominate may not be in the best interest of individual human beings. For instance, a key event in the history of humankind is the Agricultural Revolution around 12,000 years ago. Small bands of foragers began to cultivate crops. They settled down to peasant life, and formed villages, towns, cities, kingdoms. Civilization in the form we know it today followed from this and is usually seen as a great leap forward. But Harari calls the advent of agriculture “history's biggest fraud”.
He brings up evidence to show that hunter-gatherers worked less than peasants, had better nutrition from a larger variety of food sources, lived in better hygiene and were less vulnerable to epidemics. Further, anthropological evidence shows that forager bands were likely more egalitarian. “Agriculture opened the way for social stratification, exploitation and, possibly, patriarchy,” says Harari. “The bottom line is that even though the Indus Valley Civilization or the Mughal Empire were far more powerful than the ancient hunter-gatherer bands, the average peasant woman in Mughal India probably had a harder and less satisfying life than her ancient ancestor who lived in the Ganges Valley 20,000 years previously.”
This sort of startling, sometimes showy, inversion of commonly held ideas about human history is a recurring feature of Sapiens. “Wheat domesticated humans,” not the other way round. In evolutionary terms domesticated animals such and cattle and chickens were enormously successful by virtue of their populations, but they were among “the most miserable animals that ever lived”. There is talk of the working life of a ploughing ox suiting “neither its body nor its social and emotional needs,” and a similar comment on the farmer driving it. There is much detached, defamiliarized viewing of our world: a comment on the power of stories compares the survival of the chimpanzee alpha male with that of the Catholic alpha male who resides in the Vatican; at different points in the book Christianity, democracy, capitalism, money, human rights and any number of cherished ideas and institutions are called out as being fictions; discussing gender, Harari points out that it is only in most cases that men are males and women females.
The Hebrew version of Sapiens has been a bestseller in Israel since its release in 2011. There's little doubt that the book is set to be hugely popular in English and other languages, and, at least for that reason, influential. Given this, it would be in the spirit of books such as Sapiens to ask where Harari is coming from – what is the story behind this story of humankind.
Harari says he was always interested in the big questions of history but was disappointed to find that university didn't seem the right place to answer them. Then he encountered Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs and Steel. “It showed me,” he says, “that it is possible to tackle the biggest questions of history and of human existence in a scientific way.”
The facts of Harari's arguments come from scholarly work and are available to anyone. But it is the sensibility behind their synthesis that gives Sapiens its power and uniqueness: an empathetic consideration of humans and other animals; a view of history that considers not just kings, presidents and empires, but also well-being and suffering among people (and even animals); the ability to examine deeply entrenched ideas in a fresh light; a delightfully non-anthropocentric worldview; an interest in telling what is real from what is imaginary.
Anyone who's taken even a passing interest in Eastern spiritual traditions can see parallels here. Harari agrees. “One of the central ideas of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism is 'the world is an illusion'. This strikes many people as an absurd proposition but is in fact a very accurate description of the world most humans inhabit. We live in a world of nations, gods, business corporations, human rights and money, without noticing that all these things are in fact just imaginary stories that exist only in our own minds.” Harari practices Vipassana meditation daily and visits India once a year for a retreat. The practice helps him tell “what is really real” from the mind's fictions. He says, “Without the clarity I gained from practising this meditation I would not have been able to write this book.”
Here then is a thought experiment for Harari: what if his book ended up being so successful that a significant number of people in the world questioned their belief in all these imaginary stories. Nationalism would be diluted; religion would cease to be a matter of life and death; no one would be terrified of god or hell; laws and money would be acknowledged as mere conventions. Would such a world be a utopia of the John Lennon sort or would we see chaos and societal collapse?
Harari feels at least some conventional beliefs can be abandoned without descending into chaos. “For centuries,” he says, “many thinkers warned that if people stop believing in god and hell, the result will be unbridled chaos, crime and violence.” But then, he says, look at contemporary Europe, which has largely abandoned belief in god and hell. “It is the most peaceful and orderly place in human history. Far more peaceful and orderly than the god-fearing and hell-fearing Middle East.”
Harari points out that some conventions, like money, are useful for societies to function. “We should retain our more useful fictions,” he says, “but at the same time be able to separate fiction from reality, and see reality very clearly. For most of history, people have been so obsessed with fictions such as nations, gods and money, that they lost touch with reality.” Harari offers a thumb-rule for distinguishing a real entity from an imaginary one: can it suffer? “A nation cannot suffer,” he says, “even if it loses a war. A bank cannot suffer, even if it crashes. Humans, however, can suffer. Animals can suffer. Their suffering is real. I hope that we can retain the most useful fictions of humanity, but at the same time be in touch with reality, and thereby know how to make use of our power not to inflate some fictional entity like a nation, but in order to reduce real suffering in the world.”
That may not be forthcoming any time soon. And there may be no point in worrying about human suffering a few generations from now because it may not even be a thing – it's a chilling thought that our descendants are likely to be so different from us that we lack any basis for even beginning to talk about their internal lives.
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
For almost two million years humans lived more-or-less like other animals. Then, around 70,000 years ago, they had what Harari calls a cognitive revolution, an explosion of ingenuity and linguistic ability that allowed them to cooperate in unprecedented ways and populate most of the planet. The agricultural revolution around 12,000 years ago led to the creation of settlements and social structures as we now know them. The scientific revolution, around 500 years ago, brought about the heady collusion of capital, science and empire, and before we could realize it, brought us to the precipice at which we now stand. We will likely fly away from there.
According to Harari, humankind as we know it has at most a few hundred years left. Not because it will go extinct, but because in all likelihood we will upgrade ourselves using technology to a point where we are no longer recognizable as human. Perhaps we would be “an eternally young cyborg who does not breed and has no sexuality, who can share thoughts directly with other beings, whose abilities to focus and remember are a thousand times greater than our own, and who is never angry or sad, but has emotions and desires that we cannot begin to imagine.” We would have converted ourselves into a class of beings that is impossible to relate to from our present vantage. Effectively, we would have turned into gods.
This is not as far-fetched as it might sound. We already have ear implants, pacemakers, artificial hips and knees, and likely in a matter of decades, artificial organs. Sapiens has a photograph of two people with brain-controlled prosthetic arms shaking hands. Even as the book appeared on shelves there came news reports of a demonstration that claimed thoughts were recorded from the electrical activity in a subject's brain and transmitted through the internet to another person, all the way from Thiruvananthapuram to Strasbourg. The words communicated were 'hola' and, perhaps appropriately, 'ciao'.
Srinath Perur writes on a variety of subjects, often to do with science and travel. He is the author of If It's Monday It Must Be Madurai, a book about travelling with groups.

''Srinath Perur'' is first Indian literary critic and journalist to stand up to Amitav Ghosh and say ''you are wrong about cli-fi and SF genres

''Srinath Perur'' is first Indian lit critic to stand up to Ghosh and say ''you are wrong about #clifi'' #SF #genres

h/t JW. thanks! 

Amitav Ghosh's ''The Great Derangement'': A wide-ranging enquiry into climate change

......Ghosh’s analysis is intricate and erudite, and for the most part defies easy summary. He builds arguments by bringing together personal stories, folklore, the work of writers, anthropologists, philosophers, scientists, economists, ecologists, historians, and even the pope. ....Climate change might be more effectively communicated through images rather than "our accustomed logocentrism". (And though Ghosh doesn’t say so, there’s a pretty basic failure of logos in those tepid terms we use —‘global warming’ sounds distinctly cosy, and ‘climate change’ calls for a cardigan rather than an effort to avert catastrophe.)

Which is why I found it curious that Ghosh more than once brings up the matter of ‘serious fiction’ and its upturned nose. WTF?

To bring up climate change in a novel, Ghosh writes, “is in fact to court eviction from the mansion in which serious fiction has long been in residence; it is to risk banishment to the humbler dwellings that surround the manor house…” WTF?

But why take serious fiction so seriously? After all, its conventions don’t have a monopoly on human imagination. The lines between categories of fiction are blurry at best, and if something called science fiction or climate fiction can better accommodate what is urgent, then maybe we should let it. YES YES YES!

As Caroline Kormann wrote in a 2013 survey of climate-change novels, “Today, novels that would once have been called science fiction can be read as social realism.” That might be even truer of tomorrow.

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
Amitav Ghosh

Meet Berit Ellingsen, a superb Korean-Norwegian novelist ("NOT DARK YET" - a cli-fi novel) from Norway who writes in English [AMAZON REVIEW: Not Dark Yet is a new novella in the ''cli-fi'' (climate fiction) genre.]

Photo by Alexander Chesham, 2015.
Berit Ellingsen
Photo by Alexander Chesham, 2015
Berit Ellingsen was born in South Korea, grew up in Norway and has lived in Portugal, Sweden and the USA. She trained as a biologist and worked as a science reporter. She says of her novel NOT DARK YET that in terms of genre or category ....."it is fiction with a bit of science in it."

''Berit Ellingsen - a surreal, unpredictable work bringing together environmental devastation, a nuanced portrayal of a relationship, and questions of space exploration.''

NOTE: Finnish novelist Emmi Itaranta also writes her novel MEMORY OF WATER directly in English and it was later sold to 14 foreign countries for translation.

Not Dark Yet, the debut novel in English from Korean-Norwegian writer Berit Ellingsen, follows Brandon Minamoto, a young man who moves to the mountains from the city and deals with change and catastrophe in both his personal life and the life of our planet. As Brandon deals with the fallout from his affair with a professor and the violent incident that ended their relationship, he trains for an astronaut program and gets involved in his neighbors’ agricultural project. Fascinating, surreal, gorgeously written, and like nothing you’ve ever read before, Not Dark Yet is the book we all need to read right now. It is art about science, climate change, and activism, and it vitally explores how we as people deal with a world that is transforming in terrifying ways. —Isaac Fitzgerald

'If I hadn’t written in English, I would first and foremost have missed working in a language which has terms and expressions that are more
accurate than my own language, a much wider vocabulary, and which just feels more suited for writing. That’s why I prefer to write fiction in English.''

''English is also such a widespread language, that by writing in English, my stories and books have been read by people who live in
countries and on continents I have never been to, and in cultures I have never experienced in person, and that is just amazing to know. That would probably not have happened if I had only stuck to my first language.''

[The small press Two Dollar Radio puts out great books, so check out this 2015 release by debut novelist Berit Ellingsen (a Korean-Norwegian writer and former bookseller). Not Dark Yet (also the title of a great later-period Bob Dylan song), follows a man as he leaves his boyfriend in the city for life in the mountains. Jeff VanderMeer highly praised Ellingsen’s book.]


By Julianne (Outlandish Lit)on January 28, 2016
Not Dark Yet is a new novella in the ''cli-fi'' (climate fiction) genre. The world's going to shit due to global warming. People are running out of food. The weather's all out of whack. And the main character, Brandon, just needs to get away from it all. So he moves to a remote cabin in the mountains somewhere, leaving his boyfriend behind. This novella jumps around in time a little bit covering a bunch of interesting plot points. An affair with a professor that goes bad, an agricultural project he joins in the mountains, applying to be an astronaut who will live on Mars, some random military stuff, AND MORE.
All of these things are SO interesting and the book had a lot of potential to do all sorts of stuff. Unfortunately, however, Brandon is just not that interesting of a guy. His character is so flat that it's hard to care about any of his (often briefly touched upon) plights. As much as I love concise books, I feel like Ellingsen could've done a lot with more pages. Anyway, I can't mention the other thing I didn't like because it would spoil the whole book. So in short, I really loved most of the stuff that went down in this story, I really super loved what the book was saying (it's so good), but I wasn't blown away with how it was done. If any of this sounds interesting

VALERIE STOREY has the interview here:

Book Review: ''Not Dark Yet'', by Berit Ellingsen

NOTE: Born in South Korea of a South Korean mother and a Norwegian father, and with Norwegian her first language and English her second language, Ms. Ellingsen writes her novels directly in English. Berit Ellingsen was born in South Korea, grew up in Norway and has lived in Portugal, Sweden and the USA.

American novelist Jeff Vandermeer blurbed her novel on back cover this way: "This is the best work yet from a truly unique writer who clearly will be a name to conjure for decades to come.”

Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen
Two Dollar Radio
ISBN: 978-1937412354
Fiction, 202 pages
Published in 2015

VALERIE STOREY: I don't review a lot of books, but when I do it's because I really want to--I want to share something important and real that I think other writers and readers will enjoy and benefit from. That's why I'm  taking a look today at Not Dark Yet by author Berit Ellingsen, a writer who has enriched my world and inspired me to keep writing, keep striving, keep going, and always take the time to read a good book.

I first heard about Berit via Twitter, the best source I know for discovering books and authors I wouldn't usually have the chance to learn about. Thanks to so many bookstores disappearing from my neighborhood (three more have just gone bankrupt this past month), social media has become my primary source for literary browsing, and when I read a post about Berit and her collection of short stories: Beneath the Liquid Skin, I had to order the book, prontoNothing in my extensive reading life had prepared me for the power and originality of those stories, so naturally I couldn't wait to read her novel, Not Dark Yet. I don't think anything else I've read before or after can compare with either of these books.

Berit lives in Norway, and her work reflects a beautiful sense of place, an isolated starkness that is in direct contrast with much of my own experience. Even desert-y Albuquerque doesn't have the sharp, cold lunar feeling I get from her descriptions. Coupled with this strong geographic presence is a staggering sense of precision to every word she writes, an exactness that has me re-reading many of her sentences for the sheer pleasure of it. In many ways I consider her a "writer's writer" and after I finished reading Not Dark Yet I sat down with my journal to examine what it was that made me love this book so much. Here goes:
VALERIE ADDS: ''So with all that said, I think I have to read the book again. Not Dark Yet is quirky, original, and packed with secrets -- the kind you can't wait to unravel and sit with for a long while after. I found the book extremely compelling and one that has stirred my curiosity and desire to learn more, write more, and even try my hand at some fan-art. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy an authentic book of ideas and a serious voyage of self-discovery. Five stars from me--six if I could!''

Do check out Berit Ellingsen and her books at her webiste here.


Multiculturalism and Writing

December 7, 2013 | By | 9 Replies More 
Berit Ellingsen is a Korean-Norwegian writer who writes in English.  We asked her how multiculturalism affects her writing.

Berit's Novel The Empty City
Berit’s Novel The Empty City

Multiculturalism affects me first and foremost in that I write in a language that is not the first language of the country I live in. It’s the language most people here learn as a second language, yet which we hear every day on tv and other media, and which is taught early in grade school, and in some cases on pre-school level.
In a country with a small population and not much cultural dominance in the past, the population has to learn the language that is most used  for business and communication, which is English, to be able to communicate with the rest of the world.
Since it’s expensive to translate books and documents, and most people understand English well, a lot of academic literature, business reports, and even fiction is usually not translated, but imported and read in English. Similarly, large amounts of entertainment and media is imported from English-speaking countries. Maybe as much as a third of the programs on the tv channels in Norway is in English.

''If I hadn’t written in English, I would first and foremost have missed working in a language which has terms and expressions that are more
accurate than my own language, a much wider vocabulary, and which just feels more suited for writing. That’s why I prefer to write fiction in English.''

''English is also such a widespread language, that by writing in English, my stories and books have been read by people who live in
countries and on continents I have never been to, and in cultures I have never experienced in person, and that is just amazing to know. That would probably not have happened if I had only stuck to my first language.''

Berit's Novel Empty City (French)

Moreover, a French writer who also does translations to English, found my novel, The Empty City, online and wanted to translate it to French, a language I don’t know very well and can’t write in. If I hadn’t written in English, my words would not have reached that audience, whose language I don’t speak.
Naturally, there are more people who write in English than in Norwegian, and perhaps it’s more difficult to gain the attention of editors and publishers, but there are also many more literary journals, presses, and even fellowships and retreats, a writer can apply to in English.
Then there’s the great pleasure of connecting with other writers from all over the world, both writers who are writing in their first language, and other writers who are also writing in their second (or third) language.
Writing in a second language of course presents some challenges. There almost seems to be an asymptotic phenomenon: no matter how well you know this language, no matter how much you read or write in it, there will always be errors and mistakes. So you need to like the language you write in a lot, and wanting to keep learning new words, new meanings and new expressions.
Another issue is that of dialect or slang. Since English is not my first language, I hesitate to write any kind of local dialect or slang, because that would feel like a cultural appropriation and perhaps be inauthentic. Hence, I mostly use a neutral standard English in dialogue. But maybe that places me as a western middle-class writer from the start?
I nevertheless love to hear local expressions, slang and dialect in all the languages I’m familiar with. I also enjoy learning words that have no direct equivalent or translation in other languages, words that are highly specific to a situation, place, or culture, are fun to learn. They capture emotions or situations other words can’t.
beritellingsenThere is also something invaluable in being able to read another writer’s words directly, without having to rely on translation, which is always approximate and subject to interpretation. Not to mention the fascinating event when two people are able to communicate in a common language, even if they don’t speak each other’s first language.
That brings a personal understanding and the chance to bridge large gaps in culture, background, or geographical distance, which people who insist that others must speak their language in order to communicate with them will never experience.
Through common languages we can directly experience for ourselves that humans have more in common than what separates us. As a biologist and writer, I believe this was the reason why abstract language evolved in humans in the first place.

Berit Ellingsen is a Korean-Norwegian writer whose stories have appeared in Unstuck, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, Birkensnake, and other literary journals. Her short story collection, Beneath the Liquid Skin, was published by firthFORTH Books in November 2012. She was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the British Science Fiction Award in 2012. Berit’s novel, The Empty City, was translated and published in French as Une Ville Vide (Publie Monde) in the summer of 2013. Find out more at and follow her on twitter @BeritEllingsen



Fiction That Strikes Like Lightning

June 16, 2016 Why Flash Fiction Series
In SmokeLong‘s “Why Flash Fiction?” series, flash fiction writers and editors explore what draws them to the form. In this column, Berit Ellingsen provides an overview of flash and shares selections from Lightspeed Magazine’s People of Colo(u)r Destroy Flash Fiction! special issue, which she guest edited. Submit your own “Why Flash Fiction?” article or other flash-related essays on our Submittable page


Berit Ellingsen is the author of two novels, Not Dark Yet (Two Dollar Radio), and Une ville vide (PublieMonde), as well as a collection of short stories, Beneath the Liquid Skin (Queen’s Ferry Press). Her work has been published in W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction InternationalSmokeLong Quarterly, Unstuck, Litro, and other places, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the British Science Fiction Association Award. Berit travels between Norway and Svalbard in the Arctic, and is a member of the Norwegian Authors’ Union. Learn more at


Interview about the novel here.

Bruno George  reviews the novel this way:
“Are you going to shoot them all?” a fellow soldier asks Brandon Minamoto, protagonist of Berit Ellingsen’s new novel Not Dark Yet. These words come in a flashback sequence, where Brandon is a sniper deployed on a “southern continent” in what might be a humanitarian intervention or police action. The spotter, Kepler, is asking Brandon whether he will shoot the child-guerillas they can see laying an IED in the road. Brandon’s tour of duty takes up only a few scant pages of Ellingsen’s novel, but his answer to the spotter is telling. Will he shoot all the children? Ellingsen writes: “‘No,’ he said, exhaled, and entered the space between one breath and the next.” The space Brandon enters is that of taking aim; and so his elliptic answer becomes all the more grave: “no” means “not all” means yes, he will shoot one or some.
Perhaps it is misleading to begin a review here. In the rest of the novel, Brandon is neither an ice-cold killer nor a resolute man of action. But this passage illustrates the difficulty of demonstrating the beauty contained in Not Dark Yet, a beauty of construction. It isn’t until later in the novel that Brandon’s stillness (“the space between one breath and the next”) is revealed as more than just a temporary military habit, taken on in basic training and shucked with demobilization. Brandon’s abiding passivity, in fact, makes the novel less a plotted progress than a rising series of arresting tableaux. The narration, too, often works by ellipsis and even a kind of focal misdirection. In the combat scene, whatever shots Brandon takes go unnarrated; also unnarrated are the cries of the wounded child-soldiers and the night in which they suffer and probably die. But war is the least of the horsemen in Not Dark Yet’s soft, subtle apocalypse; what wreaks havoc in this novel is climate change.
One might describe the novel as set in the “near future,” but it would be better to say its world is just a half-degree warmer, or its sea levels only a fraction of an inch higher. What obtains from this change? In the unnamed northern country of Not Dark Yet, experimental agronomists till the soil in winter, a land once snowed under now laid bare by a warming climate. But the novel’s world is otherwise indistinguishable from our own. Of the emergent disasters cataloged by the novel—“droughts, forest fires, crop failures . . . flooding, storms, loss of drinking water and arable land”—every one of them has already begun in our own world. Before Not Dark Yet even begins, futurity has undergone a swift and silent collapse: every environmental calamity we were once warned of, every baleful but distant eventuality, is already underway. Somehow, without anyone’s having noticed, “the troubling, uncertain future ha[s] become the volatile, menacing present.”
But Ellingsen has not written an On the Beach or On the Road; she presents no hellscape and no descent into atavism. Brandon and his friends and family live in a world of functioning cell phones and laptops and automobiles; they eat steak dinners with green salad and they prudently stint on the carbs; they inhabit a world of modern university campuses and convenient trams and nicely appointed condominiums. Cosseted or at least comfortable, they nonetheless subject themselves to the television news: “floods to the north, crop failures on the eastern continent, hurricanes on the western continent, drought on the entire southern continent, demonstrations, riots, war.” But as with recent wars and storms in our own world, these harbingers of catastrophe function almost as public secrets: known but unnoticed, publicly announced but not yet fully apprehended.
Had Ellingsen further heightened the catastrophe, she could have drawn on the eerie talents she has exhibited in previous writings. In a short story called “Vessel and Solsvart,” a man who is scarcely more than an animate corpse staggers through a post-apocalyptic world of burnt-out cities and boiling oceans; her prose is restrained but her vision excoriating. The stories in the collection Beneath the Liquid Skin, too, are far from realism. That Ellingsen has not further upped the ante much beyond our present-day reality in Not Dark Yet means that readers are deprived of a certain hypocritical pleasure, that of self-satisfiedly tutting over the ruin its characters have made of their fictional Earth. The German critic Walter Benjamin once wrote of the modern novel genre—disparagingly—that “what draws the reader to the novel is the hope of warming his shivering life with a death he reads about.” How much more warmly might fiction’s fire blaze when we read about deaths on a planetary scale. But that isn’t the novel Ellingsen has written; it’s not a spectacle of the world’s end, served up for our complacent delectation. Midway through the novel, Brandon has a dream about just this kind of hypocritical enjoyment: In an ocean-liners’ graveyard, ships arrive under their own power, still carrying passengers, and then slowly begin to sink in the gelid water. The dream’s sublime moment is a blinding white light; flashbulbs go off on one of the ships, where passengers crowd the rails, “eager to watch the sinking of the others while taking [o]n water themselves.”
Not Dark Yet is ultimately a Robinsonade, its Crusoe, Brandon, willingly isolated in a cabin in the woods. Even the novel’s first line harkens back to Crusoe the world-traveler: “Sometimes, in Brandon Minamoto’s dreams, he found a globe or a map of the world with a continent he hadn’t seen before.” But unlike Crusoe, Brandon doesn’t save himself and his isolate world through deep-sea salvaging and strict accounting. Standing before his cabin for the very first time, Brandon has a yielding, melting, anonymous experience that sharply separates him from Defoe’s energetic and autonomous Crusoe: “He closed his eyes and there was no body, and no world either, only the simple, singular nothingness he recognized as himself.”
If Crusoe endeavors and perseveres on his island, the lesser characters of Not Dark Yet also make efforts to take command of their warming planet’s fate, but Brandon is witness to their serial failures: the farmers’ experimental winter crops are destroyed in a flood; the space exploration program is cancelled; the militant environmentalists undertake a propaganda of the deed, but on the eve of their attack Brandon withdraws from their group, less for ideological reasons than by dint of his passive temperament. The novel is structured a bit like Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, with its experiments in different ways of being, except that Brandon tries on ways of not being: in the army, he practices a soldier’s self-extinguishment in duty; in a visit to a monastery, he identifies with the story of a Buddhist monk’s auto-mortification;* in epileptic seizures, he feels a magnetic union with the earth’s telluric pull ; and, in a late sequence, he yields himself up to the ocean: “The motion surged him forward, and there was no resisting or refusing being engulfed.”
In the French novelist Michel Tournier’s Robinsonade—entitled Friday—Crusoe is a philosophical man. Cast up on shore all alone, he considers, as Heidegger might, that to exist is to be thrown into the outside: “sistere ex,” says Tournier’s Crusoe, “That which is outside exists. That which is within does not.” His island, named Speranza, is a natural world fundamentally separate from and outside of himself. He finds Speranza’s externality maddeningly seductive, and he negates it: “Lying with his arms outstretched, his loins in turmoil, he embraced that great body scorched all day by the sun . . . His sex burrowed like a plowshare into the earth.”Tournier’s Crusoe is the obverse of Ellingsen’s: a conqueror. For Brandon, the natural world is not alien, but continuous with the self, albeit in spooky and unsettling and dangerous ways.
The interior that Tournier’s Crusoe finds so nonexistent is exactly where Brandon keeps situating himself: he and the militants are “inside the night”; with his lover Kaye he is “inside their now mutual, monumental secret”; alone in his cabin, “he welcomed the stillness and sat inside it”. Likewise, in a strikingly parallel scene to Crusoe’s penetration of the island, Brandon lies down on the earth; the motifs here are not tropic sun and conquering sex, but merger and deliquescence and mortification: “He lay down . . . and breathed in the fragrance of decomposition and soil, letting the earth’s moisture seep into his clothes, while earthworms, slugs, and beetles crawled over his face and hands.” This death-like stillness is Brandon’s answer to the militants; immediately upon parting from them, he merges with dirt and worms and slugs, and it is hard not to read the scene allegorically: against militant deeds, Brandon, and maybe the novel, prefer to yield to what is, even if that is death.
Having a “singular nothingness” as a protagonist, the novel is not without its longueurs. Brandon loves and betrays a boyfriend, he joins and leaves a militant group, he chases his ambition to be an astronaut and then sees that ambition come to naught, all with a certain weightless languor. Whenever he parts from someone—a candidate in the astronaut tryouts, a fellow militant, or his partner or his lover—he displays not the least anxiety about when he will see them again, and so in parting he makes no reassuring gestures of sentiment or sociability. In turn, reading about Brandon’s interactions is sometimes a struggle with that weightlessness; something keeps slipping away. At the level of propositions, the novel is rich with complex social life; a scientist character provides up-to-date theories of altruism, affect, and evolution: “empathy, the ability to care for another being, preceded humans, was older than humanity itself. It was a trait shared by many mammals.” But at his most sociable, isolate Brandon consorts mainly with ghosts, with the diminishing traces of the other people: “the residue of the other candidates’ presences and voices, the sights and smells of the past week, played themselves out in his mind and slowly faded.”
Like Robinson Crusoe, Ellingsen’s Not Dark Yet plunges its hero into the ocean. Typically passive, Brandon reflects that a death by drowning is not a frenzy of action—frantic waving—but extinction, suffocation. The shore Ellingsen then casts him up on is our own; the coming storm is here, and it won’t be outflanked or outthought. Nonetheless, the novel’s diminuendo in the final chapter offers some hope, in the upsurge of a clear spring and in the fall of dusk: “Outside, the fields lay black and empty, with no one to till them. The gray light of day dimmed to a blue dusk and settled into distant, pale stars.” Not dark yet. - Bruno George