Monday, November 23, 2009

Cardboard & Cinnamon

A poem Mac posted on Posthuman Blues, 2003...

"Caffeine laughter 

Julia sets 
(anomalous magnetism) 
Captured on film 
(we study reports) 
Acres of glass, 
Imitation marble 
Raw squid 
and infomercials 
Hyperoxygenated blood: 
more durable memory 
Rorschach calligraphy / 
Thinking machines 
No, truly thinking 
(aware of quantum manifestions) 
Why don't we all meditate 
on the singularity 
Small Gray men 
(suits of reptile flesh, 
cardboard and cinnamon)"

-Mac Tonnies, 2003

Sandy Denny

Because everyone deserves a good Celtic send-off... 
Fare thee well, Brother, till we meet again.

A Floating Memorial Plaque

Because Mac loved my "gnarly" platonic solids...


"When I was little I had a whole mythology about our
backyard.  I still remember strange dreams about
otherworldly beings taking up residence in the field
behind the screen of trees and showing me things . . .
which is probably why I found Strieber's "The Secret
School" so compelling.  I also have "memories" of
strange lights in my room.  Go figure.

With the lights, I honestly don't know.  I'd see
cartoons on the wall (from my crib) and would watch. 
I called this "dreaming on the wall," and childishly
assumed it was something everyone did, or could do. 
Of course, I realize this could have been confabulated
from dreams."

- Mac Tonnies, June 26, 2006

Mac's alien image can be found here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Portraits of Mac

Stones In Space

Stones in Space - Digital - 2014, DS

"Over time, individuals would go back to the gravesite and continue to place stones, ensuring the security of the site and as a way to build up the “memory” of the loved one. As time passed on, and carved monuments became the preferred memorial, the custom of leaving a small visitation stone became a symbolic gesture–a way for the visitor to say of the loved one, “I remember you…..”.

- from "Origins of Leaving A Visitation Stone" found here

"Regardless of how the custom came about, it is still an incredible way to remember and respect those who have passed on. Leaving a stone or pebble is a gesture of appreciation for the strong and lasting impression they have made on your life." 


This blog - apart from being a celebration of Mac Tonnies - is also his virtual monument. I know of no other. Whatever goes on in this "room" is between you and Mac. I say no more.

Four Drawings

(PHB link)
(from this page)

(PHB link)
(PHB link)

According to Dana Tonnies, Macs legacy includes hundreds of sketches like the ones above, a few which appeared on Posthuman Blues, but a number of others which can be found on a 3 page gallery beginning here. I don't think Mac ever took his artwork seriously, perhaps feeling that it was a distraction from his more "serious" role as a writer. But it's the individual's ability for numerous varieties of self-expression that separates humans from wasps, and it's through this ability our species evolves. There is no law, as of yet, that dictates that we as creative beings must limit our roles to that of "one trick ponies". Mac appreciated art because he was an artist with a fairly accurate sense of design. I think his little "doodles" speak volumes, and sincerely hope that one day they, at the very least, can be compiled into another book, so that his artist's visions are not lost.

Plus: Two more drawings from the vault.

(2014 note: Some of Mac's drawings have recently been published here

(November 15, 2014 update: For various reasons, the links that appeared on this post have been removed. I will try to replace the PHB blogspot links with Posthuman links in the future.)

The Reading Room (Fragments of a Posthuman Library)

Porta Temopris, 1999, Rinographics - from this page
(Actually, I'm not sure if this is the right Rhinographic link.. but, the robots are kind of cool...)

"The following are books devoted to unusual/uncommon topics. I offer them as recommendations for anyone curious about extraterrestrial life, space colonization, quantum theory, life extension, UFOs, human origins, artificial intelligence, etc.

Note that some of these titles are quite "mainstream," while others are decidedly "oddball." I've found that healthy doses of both camps help in breaking out of existing "reality tunnels." In other words: challenge yourself. Hold everything you "know" in question. We only think we know it all."

- Mac Tonnies from his on-site introduction to some "Recommended Reading".

Originally, the post that appeared here was a George Carlin video, which disappeared one fine day, as Youtube clips have developed a habit of doing. So, as opposed to replacing the video with another, I've moved George Carlin over to the sidebar of the blog. And, as of February, 2014, this post has become the PMB designated "reading room". It is one of the three posts on PMB that still maintain a comment section. Use it as you will, but don't feel obligated to involve me. I will only put my 2 cents in if specifically addressed. Talk amongst yourselves. ;-)

Photo of Mac's Books from his Flickr pages...
(Click to read the titles)

Photo of Mac's Books from his Flickr pages...
(click to see the the curios)

Transcript of Mac's Cyberpunk reading list also found here.
(click to read)


Mac's non-fiction reading list can be found here... and for some of his great book reviews, try here. Lastly, for a review of his favorite authors, go here.

Note on the 2nd of Mac's book photos: Dig that little Mothman statue. Here's a few more. Mac  was a huge fan of John Keel, and mentioned Mothman often on PHB. For instance, here's a post, featuring a very strange anecdote.

From Dana Tonnies

A special thanks goes out to Dana Tonnies for kindly sending me the flyer above (top) featuring Mac, the cool young dude, advertising a 1995 book signing for "Illumined Black", and this priceless clipping from The Kansas City Star, dated April 7, 1994, with the headline "Science essayist is a winner - again". I no longer have the application which immediately transcribes scanned text so this will have to do. You can click on the images to more easily read the article. Ah, that disarming smile!

Sci-Fi Eye Candy

In the "time waits for no one" category, a magazine cover photo I meant to scan and send to Mac, but never got around to...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Tears in Rain

On May 27, 2008, Mac posted my graphic "Tears in Rain" (above) on Posthuman Blues with a link to an Araqinta page which showed my inspiration for the image. As the link no longer works, here then is the photo of Mac's - of a carved face on a park bench - which I liked so much that it eventually became my reference.

Tears in Rain

For anyone familiar with Mac, nothing more needs to be said about these final moments from "Blade Runner".

Mac and Mannequins (7/18/2017 - Video Restored)

(left) "Fixated" - (right) "Warhol

(left) "Embrace" - (right) "Doll-face"
All photos - Mac Tonnies, 2008
(Click to enlarge)

The photos above are from a collection of Mac's mannequin photos found on his Flickr pages. I once asked Mac, as he had such a fascination for robots and mannequins, why he couldn't understand a similar fascination for dolls (specifically mine) as, in the end, they seemed to be all part of a similar equation. Shortly thereafter he sent me a link to Marina Bychova's amazing doll galleries.

But I think the best reference for Mac and his delight in the mechanical comes from the "toy-friends" of J.F. Sebastion in Mac's favorite movie, "Blade Runner". Below is the haunting scene when Pris, the replicant, is "retired".

Friday, November 20, 2009


Because no tribute to Mac would be complete without Morrissey... For news of Morrissey's recent onstage collapse go here.

Doll Face

While looking for the Brothers Quay, I found this video, thinking "Wow, Mac would've loved this!" Lo and behold, I decided to first double-check his blog, and, sure enough... Hell, I'll post it anyway.

The Art of PHB

Posthuman Blues wasn't merely a showcase of Mac's talents or views or a chronicle of contemporary technology (and insanity}, he was also a patron of the arts and his blog served as an informal venue for a number of artists. Some of those that illuminated the Posthuman Blues archives are featured above: (from top to bottom) (left) Bob Dodson, (right) Mary Mattingly, (center) Robert Connat,  and someone Mac didn't yet feature only because he didn't find him in time, Paul Konig. Others, not featured here, would include Kenn Brown and Chris Wren of Mondolithic Studios... and the Brothers Quay, whom you might remember from a photographic still Mac originally featured on his blog's sidebar.

A clip from the Quay brother's short film "Wonderwood" is posted below.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Prose Fragment

"He pauses under the awning and breathes in aerosolized rain, fresh despite the taint of fossil fuel. The storm turns the skyline into a strobing silhouette; cars pass like oversized insects nearing the end of meandering lives and dimly recognizing their futility.

Flesh bursting along unlikely seams. A glimpse of muscle and tendon before laces are nonchalantly tightened, buttons fastened in a series of quiet metallic clicks. Octopi sulking in tepid bathwater, feasting on doughy wads of bloodless human skin. Teeth sprout from fingertips. Crockery levitates, shatters, falls to floors littered with anonymous feces and delicately severed limbs.

Vinyl apocalypse. Prophetic fluorescent night. A landscape of entwined skin and rubber faces, enormous worms writhing in a parody of genetically cultivated sentience. 

Holograms, mirrors, ranks of spotlights and the ruby-needle stab of elusive lasers. Skulls made of rudely compacted sand. A liquid crystal dragon courts its own flaming fractal breath before vanishing."

- Mac Tonnies, from a Posthuman Blues post, June 14, 2003

Butterflies in Space

"In addition to the hefty pumps, tanks and gyroscopes heading to the International Space Station, space shuttle Atlantis is also transporting something to delight the eyes and stoke the curiosity of children: butterflies.
NASA is flying the critters as part of a science outreach project. The butterflies, which are currently caterpillars, will be transferred to the station to live out their lives in orbit."

The image above is entitled "Worm's Last Memory". It was an image I created for Mac last year, but, although he compared it to Giger, an artist he admired, he never posted it. I was somewhat hurt by this, but I think now that the image probably shook his Transhumanist tree... which was probably my underlying intention. It is also more "steam-punk" than "cyber-punk", and I think he preferred the latter. I'd love to hear his take on "butterflies in space", though... I think you can guess mine.


I had a tough time choosing just one Radiohead video... the two other contenders were "Climbing Up The Walls" and "A Wolf at the Door"...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doing Time

"I've been "conceptualizing" -- to the point where only the basic premise of the short-story (subjective time distortion) remains intact.  But more of that later.  Here are the characters:

LEDA CALDER: (Kris' character).  Leda's a defiant
young woman accused of eco-terrorism, serving a
many-thousand-year sentence in VR solitary
confinement.  As might be expected, she's slowly going
insane.  She has no clear memory of her crime (if
indeed there was one) and experiences pronounced
amnesia in general -- possibly induced by the VR
environment, which she ostensibly thinks is "real,"
having no frame of reference.

ANONYMOUS WOMAN: App. Leda's age, this anonymous
character appears mysteriously in order to converse
with Leda about life "outside."  Enigmatic and
seemingly all-knowing, she could be a conduit to
freedom, a figment of Leda's imagination or an
alter-ego spawned by the VR software.

Leda and Anonymous eventually make contact with an
androgynous entity likened to a system administrator
(SYSOP), who, like Leda and Anonymous, could be many
things . . . perhaps even Leda herself.

Throughout the play, the action is assessed by a
strangely mannered OBSERVER (visible to the audience
but unseen by Leda and Anonymous)."

(from an email from Mac to Paul Kimball forwarded to me 5/29/2007)

"Doing Time" was originally a short story by Mac published in his collection, "Illumined Black". It then became a collaborative effort with Paul Kimball for a theatre production which was eventually staged by the Semaphore Theatre Company in Halifax, premiering in November of 2007 to rave reviews. Redstar Limited Films plans to eventually make it a feature film.
(Top Image: "Leda and the Swan" by James LeGros; bottom image: Official poster from "Doing Time".

A Tweet Poem

Enduring the pale
accusatory banter of semi
estranged lovers.
"It's such a lovely day
to always have to feel this way."
Chattering med students enamored
of textbook infections.
The flow of inevitable tourists
as the evening dies.

(composed October 20, 2007, using a succession of tweets from Mac's Twitter page.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"The Cryptoterrestrials"

"Or so I thought.  Finally, I wondered the unthinkable: What if the antics of the "absurd humanoids" documented by Vallee weren't the work of some overarching intelligence?  What if they happened just as reported, without the need to invoke externally imposed psychosocial thermostats?
This notion struck me as deliciously ironic.  It suggested that the encounters with nonhumans that haunt our folklore were real, not necessarily projections preying on our gullibility. Could "fairies" and "elves" -- and all their mythical successors -- be distorted representations of an actual species?"
Mac Tonnies, April 7, 2006, Introduction to an as yet untitled "New Book"

"I agree with you - re: the marginalization and bigotry. I'm not sure I like the word "paranormal," either. It's basically a placeholder for concepts we have yet to understand scientifically.  (Of course, some "paranormal" phenomena may be bogus, in which case there won't be a scientific explanation.)
I personally think telepathy and so-called "psychic" events play a big role within a ufological context -- but a lot of ufologists, eager to play the role of empirical investigators, don't especially relish the implications of that one." 
Mac Tonnies, October 5, 2006, from an email reply to Dia Sobin

" I have a few more points i want to make (in the form of essays) and then I need to tie everything together, which will mean using some narrative glue. Then I'll feel confident enough to ship it to Patrick."
Mac Tonnies, May 4, 2007, from an email reply to Dia Sobin

For anyone familiar with Mac's Posthuman Blues blog, the above illustration should look familiar. It appeared there in June of 2006 as the "new mascot", which Mac described in an email to me as "Mona-Lisa-freaky". Which meant, he liked it. I think his readers had a love/hate relationship with my "crypto". Some detractors referred to it as just plain "creepy" but one apparently liked it well enough to grab it for his twitter page (i.e., "Spaceweaver", who, after a tweet from Mac, obligingly took it down...). I think we knew from day one, that this face would eventually grace the cover of Mac's book, though, at the time, he hadn't yet decided on a title.

I sent the finished illustration to Mac's publisher, Anomalist Books last week. According to Patrick Huyghe, efforts to publish the book by spring of next year are moving along as planned. Greg Bishop, whom I feel has the best grasp of Mac's overall hypothesis, will write the introduction. I believe there will also be interior illustrations by Mike Clelland. My blog will be in archival mode by that time but for updates about the book's status, you can check here in the future. You might also check out The Anomalist, for related coverage.

It took several years and his immense effort, but it looks like Mac's "The Cryptoterrestrials" will finally find its deserved place in the order of 21 Century "paranormal" speculative non-fiction. And from what excerpts Mac has posted in the past, it promises to be at least as intriguing, illuminating and as concise as anything he has written, and far more insightful than many other related publications currently in the genre. Can't wait!

Monday, November 16, 2009

... And A Little Jellyfish Music

This from Harold Budd with the lovely voice of Elizabeth Fraser... a performer known to occasionally sing "in tongues". For another marine-inspired offering, try Frazer's beautiful cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to a Siren".

Jellyfish Fix of the Day

"In the latest move in Japan’s war on giant jellyfish, high school students in the town of Obama have developed a new type of caramel candy made from the enormous sea creatures — and they are offering it up as a snack for astronauts in space."

Above is the Red Paper Lantern Medusa... this lovely creature plus many fun jellyfish facts can be found at The Pink Tentacle, one of Mac's favorite sites.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Belated Halloween

The Editors cover the Cure tune "Lullaby"  featuring several examples of Ray Caesar's digital surrealism... Because every day is Halloween for some of us.