Foreigner by CJ Cherryh

Science Fiction Book Review

Written by Paul
Original story first published at Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill

That was superb. Foreigner is a first contact novel wrapped in a thriller, the twist being that, this time, it’s humans that have landed on an alien planet and having to navigate a completely alien culture.
It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest 5G star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on
this planet so many light years from home.
Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin’s bullet.
The book is split into three parts, the first two of which detail the arrival of the starship and the first encounter between atevi and humans. Then we get into the meat of the story, which centres on Bren Cameron, the one human living in atevi society. Bren is a paidhi, essentially humanity’s ambassador to the Atevi.

When Bren finds himself targeted by an assassin, he finds himself shunted from location to location, desperately trying to understand what is happening and who he can trust.

There are two things that really stand out here, the first of which is the Atevi themselves. This is a truly alien race in terms of their attitudes, their instincts and their culture, and this alienness makes them difficult to comprehend and impossible to fully understand. This keeps Bren permanently off balance as his human instincts are consistently wrong.

The other thing to note is CJ Cherryh’s writing style. Once Bren is introduced, the story is told entirely from Bren’s perspective — what Bren doesn’t know neither does the reader and if Bren doesn’t understand the importance of something it won’t be mentioned. This approach demands some work from the reader in that there is much that is not explained, but the depth of the story is such that it is well worth the effort.

With Foreigner CJ Cherryh gives us one of the strongest explorations of how cultures interact — and conflict — with each other that I have read in a long time. The novel is complex, detailed and utterly gripping and will probably bear reading again.

 Originally published, here, by Paul under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Self-Driving Trucks Are Going to Hit Us Like a Human-Driven Truck

The imminent need for basic income in recognition of our machine-driven future
Written by Scott Santens
Original story first published at

Late last year, I took a road trip with my partner from our home in New Orleans, Louisiana to Orlando, Florida and as we drove by town after town, we got to talking about the potential effects self-driving vehicle technology would have not only on truckers themselves, but on all the local economies dependent on trucker salaries. Once one starts wondering about this kind of one-two punch to America’s gut, one sees the prospects aren’t pretty.
We are facing the decimation of entire small town economies, a disruption the likes of which we haven’t seen since the construction of the interstate highway system itself bypassed entire towns. If you think this may be a bit of hyperbole… let me back up a bit and start with this:

Source: NPR

This is a map of the most common job in each US state in 2014.
It should be clear at a glance just how dependent the American economy is on truck drivers. According to the American Trucker Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, and an additional 5.2 million people employed within the truck-driving industry who don’t drive the trucks. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs.
We can’t stop there though, because the incomes received by these 8.2 million people create the jobs of others. Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs. Think restaurants and motels as just two examples. So now we’re talking about millions more whose employment depends on the employment of truck drivers. But we still can’t even stop there.
Those working in these restaurants and motels along truck-driving routes are also consumers within their own local economies. Think about what a server spends her paycheck and tips on in her own community, and what a motel maid spends from her earnings into the same community. That spending creates other paychecks in turn. So now we’re not only talking about millions more who depend on those who depend on truck drivers, but we’re also talking about entire small town communities full of people who depend on all of the above in more rural areas. With any amount of reduced consumer spending, these local economies will shrink.
One further important detail to consider is that truck drivers are well-paid. They provide a middle class income of about $40,000 per year. That’s a higher income than just about half (46%) of all tax filers, including those of married households. They are also greatly comprised by those without college educations. Truck driving is just about the last job in the country to provide a solid middle class salary without requiring a post-secondary degree. Truckers are essentially the last remnant of an increasingly impoverished population once gainfully employed in manufacturing before those middle income jobs were mostly all shipped overseas.
If we now step back and look at the big national picture, we are potentially looking at well over 10 million American workers and their families whose incomes depend entirely or at least partially on the incomes of truck drivers, all of whom markedly comprise what is left of the American middle class.
So as long as the outlook for US trucking is rosy, we’re fine, right?

The Short-Term Job Outlook of the American Trucker

The trucking industry expects to see 21% more truck driving jobs by 2020. They also expect to see an increasing shortfall in drivers, with over 100,000 jobs open and unable to find drivers to fill them. Higher demand than supply of truckers also points to higher pay, so for at least the next five years, the future is looking great for truck drivers. The only thing that could put a damper on this would be if the demand for truck drivers were to say… drive off a sharp cliff.
That cliff is the self-driving truck.
The technology already exists to enable trucks to drive themselves. Google shocked the world when it announced its self-driving car it had already driven over 100,000 miles without accident. These cars have since driven over 1.7 million miles and have only been involved in 11 accidents, all caused by humans and not the computers. And this is mostly within metropolitan areas.
“And as you might expect, we see more accidents per mile driven on city streets than on freeways; we were hit 8 times in many fewer miles of city driving.” — Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program
So according to Google’s experience, the greater danger lies within cities and not freeways, and driving between cities involves even fewer technological barriers than within them. Therefore, it’s probably pretty safe to say driverless freeway travel is even closer to our future horizon of driverless transportation. How much closer? It has already happened.
On May 6, 2015, the first self-driving truck hit the American road in the state of Nevada.

Self-driving trucks are no longer the future. They are the present. They’re here.
“AU 010.” License plates are rarely an object of attention, but this one’s special — the funky number is the giveaway. That’s why Daimler bigwig Wolfgang Bernhard and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval are sharing a stage, mugging for the phalanx of cameras, together holding the metal rectangle that will, in just a minute, be slapped onto the world’s first officially recognized self-driving truck.
According to Daimler, these trucks will be in a decade-long testing phase, racking up over a million miles before being deemed fit for adoption, but the technology isn’t even anything all that new. There’s no laser-radar or LIDAR like in Google’s self-driving car. It’s just ordinary radar and cameras. The hardware itself is already yesterday’s news. They’re just the first ones to throw them into a truck and allow truckers to sit back and enjoy the ride, while the truck itself does all the driving.
If the truck needs help, it’ll alert the driver. If the driver doesn’t respond, it’ll slowly pull over and wait for further instructions. This is nothing fancy. This is not a truck version of KITT from Knight Rider. This is just an example of a company and a state government getting out of the way of technology and letting it do what it was built to do — enable us to do more with less. In the case of self-driving trucks, one big improvement in particular is fewer accidents.
In 2012 in the US, 330,000 large trucks were involved in crashes that killed nearly 4,000 people, most of them in passenger cars. About 90 percent of those were caused by driver error.
That’s like one and a half 9/11s yearly. Human-driven trucks kill people.
Robot trucks will kill far fewer people, if any, because machines don’t get tired. Machines don’t get distracted. Machines don’t look at phones instead of the road. Machines don’t drink alcohol or do any kind of drugs or involve any number of things that somehow contribute to the total number of accidents every year involving trucks. For this same reasoning, pilots too are bound to be removed from airplanes.
Humans are dangerous behind the wheel of anything.
Robot trucks also don’t need salaries — salaries that stand to go up because fewer and fewer people want to be truckers. A company can buy a fleet of self-driving trucks and never pay another human salary for driving. The only costs will be upkeep of the machinery. No more need for health insurance either. Self-driving trucks will also never need to stop to rest, for any reason. Routes will take less time to complete.
All of this means the replacement of truckers is inevitable. It is not a matter of “if”, it’s only a matter of “when.” So the question then becomes, how long until millions of truckers are freshly unemployed and what happens to them and all the rest of us as a result?

The Long-Term Job Outlook of the American Trucker

First, let’s look at the potential time horizons for self-driving cars. Tesla intends to release a software update next month that will turn on “autopilot” mode, immediately allowing all Tesla Model S drivers to be driven between “San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything”, in Elon Musk’s own words. The cars actually already have the technology to even drive from “parking lot to parking lot”, but that ability will remain unactivated by software.
Tesla-driven humans won’t be able to legally let their cars do all the driving, but who are we kidding? There will be Teslas driving themselves, saving lives in the process, and governments will need to catch up to make that driving legal. This process is already here in 2015. So when will the process end? When will self-driving cars conquer our roads?

Source: Morgan Stanley

According to Morgan Stanley, complete autonomous capability will be here by 2022, followed by massive market penetration by 2026 and the cars we know and love today then entirely extinct in another 20 years thereafter.
Granted, this is only one estimate of many and it’s all educated guesswork. So here are some other estimates:
Take all of these estimates together, and we’re looking at a window of massive disruption starting somewhere between 2020 and 2030.
There is no turning the wheel in prevention of driving off this cliff either. Capitalism itself has the wheel now, and what the market wants, the market gets. Competition will make sure of it. Tesla and Google are not the only companies looking to develop autonomous vehicles. There are others.
A company named Veeo Systems is developing vehicles as small as 2-seaters to as large as 70-seat buses, and will be testing them in 30 US cities by the end of 2016.
At 25 to 40 percent cheaper, the cost to ride the driverless public transit vehicles will be significantly less expensive than traditional buses and trains… The vehicles are electric, rechargeable and could cost as low as $1 to $3 to run per day.
The project is code-named Titan and the vehicle design resembles a minivan, the Wall Street Journal reported… Apple already has technology that may lend itself to an electric car and expertise managing a vast supply chain. The company has long researched battery technology for use in its iPhones, iPads and Macs. The mapping system it debuted in 2012 can be used for navigation…
Uber said it will develop “key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere,” including driverless cars, vehicle safety and mapping services.
It’s this last one that fully intends to transform the transportation landscape. Uber is going all-in on self-driving vehicles to the point it wants to entirely eliminate car ownership as a 20th century relic.
Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder of Uber, said at a conference last year that he’d replace human Uber drivers with a fleet of self-driving cars in a second. “You’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car,” he said. “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.” That, he said, will “bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.”
That’s the potential of self-driving cars — the outright extinction of car ownership. And with that, the elimination of entire industries built up around the existence of car ownership like: mechanics, car washes, parking, valets, body shops, rental companies, car insurance, car loans, and on and on. Even hugely expensive and capital intensive mass-transit infrastructure projects like streetcars and light rail can be dropped in favor of vastly cheaper on demand robotic “transportation clouds”, and all those construction and maintenance jobs right along with it.
Big players are already in the game. There are huge savings to be found, huge profits to be created. Higher quality and safety is assured. Driverless vehicles are coming, and they are coming fast.
But again, what about trucks specifically?
Any realistic time horizon for self-driving trucks needs to look at horizons for cars and shift those even further towards the present. Trucks only need to be self-driven on highways. They do not need warehouse-to-store autonomy to be disruptive. City-to-city is sufficient. At the same time, trucks are almost entirely corporate driven. There are market forces above and beyond private cars operating for trucks. If there are savings to be found in eliminating truckers from drivers seats, which there are, these savings will be sought. It’s actually really easy to find these savings right now.
Wirelessly linked truck platoons are as simple as having a human driver drive a truck, with multiple trucks without drivers following closely behind. This not only saves on gas money (7% for only two trucks together), but can immediately eliminate half of all truckers if for example 2-truck convoys became the norm. There’s no real technical obstacles to this option. It’s a very simple use of present technology.
Basically, the only real barrier to the immediate adoption of self-driven trucks is purely legal in nature, not technical or economic. With self-driving vehicles currently only road legal in a few states, many more states need to follow suit unless autonomous vehicles are made legal at the national level. And Sergey Brin of Google has estimated this could happen as soon as 2017. Therefore…
The answer to the big question of “When?” for self-driving trucks is that they can essentially hit our economy at any time.

The Eve of Massive Social and Economic Disruption

Main Street USA has already taken a big hit, and increasingly so, over the past few decades. Manufacturing has been shipped overseas to areas where labor is far cheaper because costs of living are far cheaper. Companies like Walmart have spread everywhere, concentrating a reduced labor force into one-stop shopping facilities requiring fewer total workers than what was needed with smaller, more numerous, and more widely spread Mom & Pop type stores. Companies like Amazon have even further concentrated this even further reduced labor force into automated warehouse centers capable of obviating stores entirely and shipping directly to consumers.
All of the above means fewer ways of securing employment in fewer places, while commerce has become more geographically concentrated and access to money has become increasingly shifted away from the bottom and middle of the income spectrum towards the top.

Source: Mother Jones

This is what happens when good-paying jobs are eliminated, and that money not spent on wages and salaries instead stays in the hands of owners of capital, or is given in smaller amounts to lower-paid employees in lower-wage jobs. Inequality grows more and more extreme and our land of opportunity vanishes. Economic growth slows to a crawl.
This is where we’re at and this is what we face as we look towards a quickly approaching horizon of over 3 million unemployed truckers and millions more unemployed service industry workers in small towns all over the country dependent on truckers as consumers of their services.

Glenrio, Texas. Abandoned gas station.
The removal of truckers from freeways will have an effect on today’s towns similar to the effects the freeways themselves had on towns decades ago that had sprung up around bypassed stretches of early highways. When the construction of the interstate highway system replaced Route 66, things changed as drivers drove right on past these once thriving towns. The result was ghost towns like Glenrio, Texas.
With the patience that carved the Grand Canyon over eons, nature reclaims Glenrio, where the clock stopped with the bypass of Route 66. The replacement of Route 66 with a four-lane superhighway that allowed motorists to zip past rather than wander through ultimately allowed Glenrio to decline.
With self-driving cars and trucks, here again we face the prospect of town after town being zipped past by people (if even present) choosing to instead just sleep in their computer-driven vehicles. Except this time, there is no new highway being made for businesses to relocate closer to and new towns to emerge along. This time, as is true of the effect of technology on jobs, it’s different. This time, there’s no need for entire towns to even exist at all.

The Road Left to Take

As close as 2025 — that is in a mere 10 years — our advancing state of technology will begin disrupting our economy in ways we can’t even yet imagine. Human labor is increasingly unnecessary and even economically unviable compared to machine labor. And yet we still insist on money to pay for what our machines are making for us. As long as this remains true, we must begin providing ourselves the money required to purchase what the machines are producing.
Without a technological dividend, the engine that is our economy will seize, or we will fight against technological progress itself in the same way some once destroyed their machine replacements. Without non-work income, we will actually fight to keep from being replaced by the technology we built to replace us.
Just as our roads a decade from now will be full of machine drivers instead of human drivers, a 21st century economy shall be driven by human consumers, not human workers, and these consumers must be freely given their purchasing power. If we refuse, if we don’t provide ourselves a universal and unconditional basic income soon, the future is going to hit us like a truck — a truck driven solely by ourselves.
To allow this to happen would be truly foolish, for what is the entire purpose of technology but to free us to pursue all we wish to pursue? Fearing the loss of jobs shouldn’t be a fear at all. It should be welcomed. It should be freeing.
No one should be asking what we’re going to do if computers take our jobs.
We should all be asking what we get to do once freed from them.

Scott Santens writes about basic income on his blog. You can also follow him here on Medium, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Reddit where he is a moderator for the /r/BasicIncome community of over 26,000 subscribers.

This article was written on a crowdfunded monthly basic income. If you found value in this article, you can support it along with all my advocacy for basic income with a monthly patron pledge of $1+.

Are you a creative? Become a creator on Patreon. Join me in taking the BIG Patreon Creator Pledge for basic income.

Special thanks to Arjun Banker, Topher Hunt, Keith Davis, Albert Wenger, Larry Cohen, Danielle Texeira, Paul Wicks, Liane Gale, Jan Smole, Joe Esposito, Robert F. Greene, Martin Jordo, Victor Lau, Shane Gordon, Paolo Narciso, Johan Grahn, Tony DeStefano, Andrew Henderson, Erhan Altay, Bryan Herdliska, all my other funders for their support, and my amazing partner, Katie Smith.

This article was originally published, here, by Scott Santens under the terms of a Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

The World’s Most Instagrammed Train Journeys

Written by Lennie Tommy
Original story first published at Canvas Holidays

While commuters may love to complain about them, train journeys aren’t all bad! In fact, there are many routes around the world which have become famous, with tourists viewing these journeys as holidays in themselves. But how do these compare to each other? Which train journeys are truly unmissable?
To find out, we’ve searched through Instagram, analysing over 275,000 photos to see which train journeys are filling up our feeds.
Here are the 20 most Instagrammed train journeys in the world.

1. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

One of the most famous train services in the world, it’s no surprise to see The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express come out on top of our ranking. While there are a number of different routes you can take, the most famous is the London to Venice journey. Take a step back in time into a world of decadence and luxury, enjoying five-star service aboard incredible 1920s art-deco carriages.
Feeling inspired? Book your holiday to Italy today.

2. The Bernina Express

Next on our list is the Bernina Express, arguably one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Travelling between Chur in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy, the 122km journey takes you through the stunning Swiss Alps, along the Bernina line, which along with the Albula line was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.
Feeling inspired? Book your holiday to Switzerland today.

3. The Rocky Mountaineer

Take a thrilling ride through the Canadian Rockies on board The Rocky Mountaineer. Spread across two-days, all your travel takes place during daylight hours, meaning you can sit back and take in the magnificent scenery, viewed with ease through your glass-domed coaches.

4. The Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is not only the longest journey on our list, it’s the longest railway line in the world. Connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East in Vladivostok, the journey covers a whopping 9,289km over the course of 13 days.

5. The California Zephyr

Climb aboard the California Zephyr and enjoy a scenic trip across North America. You’ll start your journey in Chicago, travelling 3,924km west, climbing through the breath-taking Rockies and snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, before you arrive at your final stop in San Francisco.

6. The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is often referred to as the slowest express train in the world. But don’t worry, what it lacks in speed it more than makes up for in amazing scenery. Passengers can enjoy an 8-hour journey through the Swiss Alps, covering 291km of tracks, passing through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges.

7. The Coast Starlight

The Coast Starlight takes passengers on a spectacular journey down the West Coast of America, starting in Seattle, before passing through Portland, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, ending up in Los Angeles. From snow-covered mountain tops and rocky coastlines to huge, bustling metropolises, the West Coast has it all.

8. The Brocken Railway

The Brocken Railway is one of a trio of narrow-gauge tourist railways that transport passengers through the Harz National Park. On this particular route you’ll climb the 1,142m-high Brocken, the highest peak in northern Germany, enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Feeling inspired? Book your holiday to Germany today.

9. The Bergen Line

Linking Norway’s capital with its second largest city, the Bergen Line is the highest mainline railway in northern Europe. During its 7-hour journey, the train travels through the desolate Hardangervidda plateau, at an ear-popping 4,058ft above sea level, spending almost 60 miles above the tree line.

10. The Eastern & Oriental Express

Not to be confused with the Orient Express, the Eastern & Oriental Express takes passengers on a journey through Southeast Asia, from Singapore to Bangkok via Malaysia. Despite the vastly different locations, one thing this train does have in common with its similarly-named counterpart is a focus on glamour and luxury.

11. The Ghan

Starting in Adelaide and ending in Darwin, the Ghan takes passengers on an epic journey through the heart of the Australian outback. 2019 sees the Ghan celebrate its 90th anniversary, with various events planned throughout the year, both on and off the tracks.

12. The West Highland Line

Travelling along the West Highland Line, the Jacobite Steam Train is probably best known for the role it plays in the Harry Potter movies – as the Hogwarts Express. However, this isn’t just for movie fans. On the journey from Glasgow to Mallaig, passengers can enjoy some of the most awe-inspiring scenery Scotland has to offer.

13. The Pride of Africa

Billed as the most luxurious train in the world, the Pride of Africa travels on various routes throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. Guests spend their time aboard stunning reconditioned wood-panelled coaches, enjoying fine dining and world-class service.

14. The Train to the Clouds

The Tren a las Nubes, or Train to the Clouds is a tourist train service in Argentina and certainly lives up to its name. Travelling through the Salta Province, from the Argentine Northwest to the Chilean border in the Andes mountain range, passengers are transported to an incredible 13,850ft above sea level – making this the fifth highest railway in the world.

15. The Caledonian Sleeper

One of only two sleeper trains currently in service in the United Kingdom, the Caledonian Sleeper is an overnight service that runs between London and Scotland. Passengers can fall asleep in the nation’s capital, before waking up in the stunning, remote Highlands.

16. The Hiram Bingham

The Hiram Bingham takes passengers on a luxury voyage into the heart of the Inca Empire, running from Cusco through to Machu Picchu. As you’re taken on your winding journey through Peru, sit back and relax with some gourmet food and drink, or sing along with the onboard musicians.

17. The Welsh Highland Railway

The Ffestiniog and West Highland Railways stretch for 64km through the stunning Snowdonia National Park, taking you on a magnificent journey through the scenic Welsh countryside. As one of the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railways, with almost 200 years of history, passengers can enjoy a trip back to the golden age of rail travel.

18. The Old Patagonian Express

The Old Patagonian Express is a narrow-guage railway in Patagonia, Argentina, with its nickname, La Trochita, translating to ‘little gauge’. Running through the foothills of the Andes, between Esquel and Nahuel Pan, the journey was made famous by the 1978 Paul Theroux book The Old Patagonian Express, which described it as the railway almost at the end of the world.

19.The Nordland Railway

Travelling between Trondheim and Bodø in Norway, the Nordland Line has been voted one of the most beautiful night train journeys in the world. The 729km journey takes you through a variety of different landscapes, but the highlight has to be the Saltfjellet mountain range, where you cross the Arctic Circle.

20. The Little Yellow Train

The Little Yellow Train takes you on a magical trip through the French Pyrenees, starting in Villefranche-de-Conflent and ending in Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg. Along the way, passengers can witness breath-taking scenery, from winding rivers and lush forests to huge bridges and viaducts. 

Feeling inspired? Book your holiday to France today.

OKULT: Idiosyncratic Eccentricity

photography by LINDA ANDERSSON
make up & hair INA PALM

Written by Ksenia Rundin
Original story first published at
Odalisque Magazine

The Phoenicians and Carthaginians, the Romans and later the Greeks and Tojans — all of them once left their cultural traces on the enchanting island of Sardegna, which today has inspired the new Swedish brand OKULT into their mystical aesthetics filled with both modern and postmodern elements. With a slight flavour of political retaliation virtuously mixed with social realism of the Orthodox East diluted by Pop Culture of the progressive West, OKULT speaks its own young and fashionable voice. The brand illustrates an unexpected cascade of hidden messages, as Yves Saint Laurent would suddenly start a collaboration with Andrei Tarkovsky or the surrealism of Louis Aragon would be directed into a disillusioning bourgeois play by Françoise Sagan. The garments constitute something aesthetically whimsical and therefore visually intriguing, making one aware of sustainability of both shapes, materials and processes as such.  It is all about an idiosyncratic eccentricity locked in the irrational immateriality of the material forms.

Please tell us about the brand. What is the idea behind it? 
The original idea was starting a creative studio with the intention to design and work primarily with fashion and then with interior design. Producing clothes and objects such as ceramic vases and carpets, working side by side with artisans in Sardegna and being supported by their knowledge and history of craftwork.

Who are you — people behind the brand? 
Lisa has a background in fashion and arts with seven years of studies in the subject and with a Master from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Fashion, including an exchange semester at Die Angewandte, University of Applied Arts Vienna, coordinated by professor Bernard Wilhelm. In 2016 she was selected as Vogue Talent from Denmark.

Tommaso has a Bachelor and Master in Cinema and Literature from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome. For the last ten years he has been producing cultural events and gone on tour in Europe as music agent, releasing records with his own label. Currently he is working at HAUSS SPACE in Malmö.

What does OKULT stand for? 
The word OKULT is a neologism which comes from the Swedish word ”ockult” and from the Latin ”cultus”, owed to deities, temples and shrines, being embodied in ritual and ceremony. For us it stands for something hidden, isolated, magical and mysterious in regard and opposition to the fashion system and the mass production. But it also refers to the island of Sardegna in Italy and its ancient history.

Could you describe the creative process for the latest collection? 
Lisa: I was very uplifted and embraced by the beautiful light and the landscape of Sardinia when I chose the materials. I worked with the materials as a starting point and was so inspired and fascinated by the characteristic materials, which I had found in Italy through direct contact with textile factories still located in Italy. Then I created one garment out of each one of the fabrics I had chosen.
Often I start the design process intuitively with a lot of inspiration and ideas and later reduce elements step by step until it becomes rather simple. I work with contrasts in geometrical shapes simplifying those until the bones.  The work method I used to create the garments for the latest collection was to draw over and over again by using tracing-paper in order to find the right lines and then making a lot of prototypes.

On your webpage you indirectly say that you challenge “the old fashion system”. Please, describe how. 
We are in a time where the fashion industry is in such a need to reinvent itself. Challenging the “old fashion system” for us means to be resistant to the capitalistic side of fashion which is destroying our world and enslaving people with a miserable salary and just making huge profit out of it. To give back the value of clothes that we make with quality and respect for the process and time it takes to create a piece of cloth.“Sustainability” is just a trendy word for a lot of brands, especially the big ones, involved in “green” events. As a rule, they keep their production in a country where there are almost no rights for the workers and no laws regarding the natural environment.
To conclude, challenging “the old fashion system” means for us, being 100 percent transparent and ethically honest. It means to be in control over the whole production, every step of it and to create human relationship with the people you are working with. Success is not only an economic issue.

What inspires you and how you keep yourselves inspired? 
Could be a dream, a conversation. Everyday life and history. Everything that is included in the sphere of humanistic studies. We keep ourselves inspired by reading and watching films, traveling and meeting people.

On your Instagram I have seen a picture from one of Sergej Parajanov’s movie. It is quite a rare concept for people outside the former Soviet Union. Tell me about it.
Sergej Parajanov made some of the most beautiful films ever seen. The richness of his films is outstanding with the attention to every detail, handmade costumes, colours and poetry. His films are like a long historical (Armenian and Georgian heritage) and surrealistic hallucination, full of symbols, metaphors, morals and religious allegories. And everything seems to be deciphered making his poetics timeless and his films immortal.

What are your future plans?
One-piece productions, collaborations and work with the concept of sustainability.

New on Magatopia: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Book Reviews

There's a new category on Magatopia for you to enjoy. - Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Book Reviews

Following is a list of all the online Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Book Review magazines and blogs linked to on the new page. Magatopia delivers live headline feeds from the following sources:

  • Locus Online

    Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

    The Weatherwax Report

    One-Legged Reviews

    Frank Michaels Errington's Horrible Book Reviews


    The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

    The Haunted Reading Room


    Fantasy Literature

    Metaphors and Moonlight

    Ginger Nuts of Horror

    Arkham Reviews

    Fantasy Book Review blog

    Horror After Dark

    Morbidly Beautiful


    Altered Instinct

    Amid The Imaginary – Reviews

    The Horror Bookshelf

    SFBook Reviews

    Kirkus Reviews
Link: - Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Book Reviews is the internet's directory to thousands of free online magazines. All of the magazines Magatopia links to have news, articles or columns that you can read online for free.