Archives for August 2011
Geek Wisdom is on the air!
Well, it will be from 1:30-3:30am Eastern time tonight(ish), anyway! Stephen Segal and I, with some call-in assistance from the left coast in the form of Zaki Hasan and Eric San Juan, will be storming WBAI in New York. The topic – Geek Wisdom – is one I know well due to having been one my entire life. (My mom’s favorite Halloween story is the one where I was Gandalf and went around all night increasingly irritated that no one knew who I was and called me a “wizard” like… Read more »
One of the weirdest things you can do to a kid with an overactive imagination who does not at all resemble me in any way is show that child a movie trailer. That anonymous child will extrapolate the entire movie in their minds using that trailer as a touchstone, and then when they go see the actual film, they will either be vaguely baffled at a good movie that isn’t THEIR movie, or they will see Bram Stoker’s Dracula years later and have a bad taste in their mouth forever,… Read more »
While I think my movie-musical loyalties are well known (spoiler: Astaire and Rogers, every time), my favorite movie-musical character ever might be the incomparable Lina Lamont. With a face like a Botticelli and a voice like a cheese grater, Lina Lamont is the most amazing thing about Singing in the Rain. She is so amazing that even if you don’t like movie musicals (and I get it, they are weird) or Gene Kelly (ditto), it’s worth watching the movie just for her. The best scene, bar none, is the agonizing… Read more »
I have an article in the latest issue of Weird Tales! “A Sweet Disorder in the Dress” talks about Alexander McQueen and the surreal, subversive narratives he made with fashion throughout his career. Fashion is a remarkable, flawed, Byzantine industry that sometimes seems like a group of really well-dressed wizards locked in a tower trying to decide what bizarre trend they can start next. There are innumerable political underpinnings, and the ethics and economics of it have vast and pervasive consequences. As someone whose main criteria for clothes is, “How… Read more »
This is the thing: The relationship between awesomeness and quality isn’t always linear. Last week I looked at some of the promo stills for the dueling Snow White projects, and mentioned that my favorite Snow White adaptation so far might be Snow White: A Tale of Terror, a completely cheeseball made-for-TV affair that has some awesome concepts, and probably would have made an awesome HBO or BBC endeavor. But because it is a TV movie made in 1996, it has stars from the WB and five dollars discretionary budget, all… Read more »

Recent Work

My award-eligible work in 2014

2014 Recommended Reading List includes:
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (novel)
Dream Houses (novella)
"The Insects of Love" (novelette)
"Aberration" in short story.

Sleepy Hollow Season 2 recaps: "Spellcaster"

TV recaps: Babylon, "Hackney Wick"

Genevieve on Tumblr

  • photo from Tumblr


    History’s first forensic murder investigation, China, 1235 AD

    In 1247 AD during the Song Dynasty of China, a book called Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified also known as The Washing Away of Wrongs was first published by Song Ci, a Chinese coroner and detective.  Essentially the book was a guide for early coroners, detailing how to determine cause of death based on forensic science.  Divided into 53 chapters and five volumes, the work details the case studies and personal observations of Song Ci. Incredibly advanced for its time, the book covers topics such as anatomy, the decay of corpses, details the wounds made by different weapons, appearance of corpses from various causes of death, and postmortem examination methods.

    Among the case studies of The Washing Away of Wrongs is an anecdote now considered to be the first case of forensic entomology in history.  In 1235 AD a man was found stabbed, slashed, and hacked to death in a small village. The local magistrate inspected the victims wounds, then tested various types of blades on animal corpses, which allowed him to determine that the weapon used was a common farming sickle.   According to Song Ci, a brilliant plan was created by the magistrate to determine who was the murderer,

    The local magistrate began the investigation by calling all the local peasants who could be suspects into the village square. Each was to carry their hand sickles to the town square with them. Once assembled, the magistrate ordered the ten-or-so suspects to place their hand sickles on the ground in front of them and then step back a few yards. The afternoon sun was warm and as the villagers, suspects, and magistrates waited, bright shiny metallic green flies began to buzz around them in the village square. The shiny metallic colored flies then began to focus in on one of the hand sickles lying on the ground. Within just a few minutes many had landed on the hand sickle and were crawling over it with interest. None of the other hand sickles had attracted any of these pretty flies. The owner of the tool became very nervous, and it was only a few more moments before all those in the village knew who the murderer was. With head hung in shame and pleading for mercy, the magistrate led the murderer away. The witnesses of the murder were the brightly metallic colored flies known as the blow flies which had been attracted to the remaining bits of soft tissue, blood, bone and hair which had stuck to the hand sickle after the murder was committed. The knowledge of the village magistrate as to a specific insect group’s behavior regarding their attraction to dead human tissue was the key to solving this violent act and justice was served in China.

    Today The Washing Away of Wrongs has been translated into several different languages, with modern forensic scientists adding their own anecdotes and studies.  It has been esteemed by generations of public service officials and is often required reading in criminology today.


2015 Appearances

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March: ICFA (Orlando, FL)