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The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales

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Book Review of The Tattoo Project: Commemorative Tattoos, Visual Culture, and the Digital Archive

Deborah Davidson (ed.). The Tattoo Project: Commemorative Tattoos, Visual Culture, and the Digital Archive. (Toronto, ON: 2017, Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc. Pp. 222, ISBN 978-1551309453.)

The Tattoo Project: Commemorative Tattoos, Visual Culture, and the Digital Archive is a multidisciplinary, methods-based text edited by Deborah Davidson and published by Canadian Scholars’ Press. Davidson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at York University who specializes in qualitative research of bereavement and commemoration. Her work on both this text and its digital counterpart at reflects a commitment to three key principles. First, both she and several other contributors situate themselves in the scholarship they present, thereby acknowledging the co-creative agency of self and subject. Second, the text and archive are collaborative endeavors involving academics of many backgrounds, tattoo artists, tattooed persons, and others whose diverse perspectives result in a multifaceted and egalitarian exploration of the topic. Third, the concurrent production of both a text and digital archive encourages what contributor Krista Jensen identifies as knowledge mobilization, which “gets research out of academic journals, out of the ivory tower, and into the hands of people” (191).

Read the entire review in issue 37-2 of Ethnologies or on

"D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies"

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Her name is Alejandra Maria Yaotl, and she is desperate to squat here, in this ribbon of grass between armies, to defecate. But her knees do not permit squatting, and she knows the desperation is only a great, killing mass in her bowels making demands of the failing body it consumes from the inside out, a little more every day. So she walks; strands of white hair blowing about her eyes, bent spine unable to straighten, papery hand gripping the rough wooden knob of a cane. The punishing sun shines down on a spill of engine oil, a pool of chlorophyll, a gob of intestine crushed into the soil. Behind, there is a shuttle with a weeping grandson at the helm who begged her to stay home and die in peace. Ahead, there are the towering gates of a city-state that teaches its people how to perform it, a grand theatre of violence caked in the blood of its sacrificial victims, the place where she will die one way or another.

An elderly woman dying of colon cancer challenges a cruel, transhuman demigod to a battle of wits for the sake of her people in "D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies." Available now in the D is for Dinosaur anthology.


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I briefly wondered where they would place me and decided I’d rather not know. Most criminals rehabilitated this way were re-integrated as terraformers or asteroid miners. An artificial mind and body could go a long way in those environments. I’m sure the authorities thought it was a kinder fate than execution, but their logic escaped me. I’d probably wind up on a city-by-city tour of the quadrant speaking out against my own people. They’d leave my purchase tattoos intact so everyone could see the record of my indenture, and my face was already well known. I was the bond slave the news channels loved to hate. I was a big news day. The public wasn’t allowed to watch the surgery as the families of my victims were, but swarms of journalists would be outside the facility right now, chattering like locusts over a field of ripe corn.

A former indentured servant and freedom fighter sentenced to the death of the mind spends her last hours in the company of a virtual shaman.

Originally published in The Stolen Island Review in 2003.

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Random Quote

Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God…there is something so dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.

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