I'm going to lead off Issue 003 with a story to file under "science-fiction is real." Gizmodo and Nerdist posted stories about Dani Clode and a group of researchers studying how the brain adapts to "something extra attached to the human body."
Essentially 36 people tested the use of a prosthetic "Third Thumb". Yes, you read that right. Third thumb.
Not only were there noticeable effects in hand and finger usage, but also in how the brain recognized the hand as input. I may have stared at the screen slack-jawed for longer than I care to admit when I read that. Using a prosthetic, third thumb measurably changed the brain in days?!
The human body is a fascinating and alarming place... but, you know, in a cool way.
The year of Dune's resurgence
Some books mark you for life. For me, Dune is one of those books.
I can tell you what city, which book store, and from which shelf I bought my first copy of Frank Herbert's classic. Ironically, I can't remember who pointed me in Dune's direction or how I found out about the book. Because small-town and no internet access. The important thing is I discovered it.
Maybe I was young and not as well read in science fiction. Maybe it has this effect on everyone. But for me, it was one of those books that completely upended my view of a genre. An "I didn't know it could be like this," experience. I can't tell you how many times I've read it, but it shows up on my "currently reading" stack every couple of years. It is such a rich and multi-layered story that it easily holds up to a preponderance of readings.
If you are new to Dune, it's the perfect time to dive in. Thanks to Denis Villeneuve's upcoming two-part adaptation to film, Dune is back in the public eye. Certainly not its first time making the journey to screens thanks to Jodorowsky, Lynch, and the SYFY channel. This one, in my opinion, might have the best chance of getting Dune "right" for the screen. The trailers and Villeneuve's track record with sci-fi has me over here itching for October 1 to arrive as soon as possible.
With all that pent-up excitement, I figured I should dig back into the world of Dune. But after years of re-readings, my ragged, dog-eared copy was not having it. So, before the publishers started slapping movie imagery, or those "Soon to be a major motion picture" stickers on every copy out there (A serious pet peeve of mine), I wanted to get a copy that could stand the test of time. Or at least hold up better than my battered mass-market paperback.
Penguin Random House had me covered. A few years ago they released a small collection of science fiction classics. They met every criterion I could hope for. Hardcover? Check. Striking cover design? Check. New introductions by Neil Gaiman? Bonus check.
Now that it's in my hands I cant wait to dive back into the sand-strewn world of Arrakis. I hope you will too.
Batman: White Knight
Sean (Gordon) Murphy is an artist I have been following for years. For me, there's usually a piece of art that completely sells me on an artist. A point where I look at that specific piece and say, "Yeah, I'll follow this guy anywhere and find anything he puts out into the world."
This is that piece. A gritty, but gorgeous illustration of DC's John Constantine.
I've stayed pretty true to my word. Tracking down his work on Joe the Barbarian, American Vampire, Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake, and Chrononauts just to name a few. But this. This right here will always be one of my favorites.
Murphy has created a new take on Batman that has become so successful, DC essentially gave him his own "Murphy-verse" to play with. Because here's the thing. Not only is he the artist, but also the writer. It's his vision, whole-cloth. And it's just...the best.
As a life-long Batman fan, there is just so much to love in his current two volumes of Batman: The White Knight. The new Batsuit is quite possibly my favorite of all time. The new take on Joker and his character arc is fantastic. You get ALL the Batmobiles. And also a new take on one of my favorite characters from 90's comics, Azrael.
And. He. Is. Brutal.
The books are incredible, and I've been through them so many times for how new they are to my shelves. Sometimes to read, sometimes just to bask in the glow of Murphy's amazing work.
On top of that, McFarlane Toys has released a toy based on the White Knight version of Batman. It's so good! It takes a prominent place on my desk, I love it so much. The detail, proportions and sculpt are all stunning.
As with everything I put here in Transmissions, I think it's worth your time. But this...If you are looking for a fresh take on the Batman mythos, you couldn't find a better place to start than here.
The algorithms at YouTube are fed up with me. My searches on the platform range so wide that they are just throwing anything my way to see if it sticks. This creates some pretty laughable results in terms of targeting. But every once in a while I am astounded by the hidden gems discovered there.
I had never heard of Hania Rani. Never knowingly listened to a note of her music. And I'm not sure why the algorithm gods saw fit to put her performance at Studio S2 in Warsaw Poland in my feed. But I'm certainly overjoyed that they did.
Hania's performance is this unbelievable mix of driving rhythms and ethereal melodies. Layers of music made with multitudinous pianos and keyboards. Themes interweaving throughout her performance are just...well, take a listen. Words don't do her music justice.
That's a wrap on issue 03. Thank you for spending some time with me here at Meteor. As always, if you have something that you think the Meteor community would appreciate, send ideas my way.
Come back in two weeks for issue 04 where I'll be introducing my new favorite time-travel-based comic series, music out of the PNW, and maybe even some LEGOs. See you in 2.