Super short stories, massive bacteria, Cixin Liu coming to Netflix

Meditative short stories by Yoon Ha Lee; Netflix & ChineseThree-Body Problem Adaptations; Thiomargarita Magnifica - the magnificent bacterium

Super short stories, massive bacteria, Cixin Liu coming to Netflix
Photo by Heramb kamble / Unsplash

Morning fellow Frivolous!  To start today, I came across this report from Reuters Institute on digital news consumption.  My interest in media consumption is growing even as I write this newsletter, part to understand how to grow FC, but also in part due to a curiosity about how we as communities, societies, and as a species as whole are changing with so much news and info at our disposal.

In this bustle of news, opinions, and utilitarian content, I wonder about the place of stories, which demand a different type of attention, one I venture, forces us to take a time out, both for readers and writers.  And with that in mind, take a look at the first item on the list today - you won't be disappointed for taking that time out.


The Fox's Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee

This is just over 100 pages with 25 stories, each one a brief meander through a fresh world intricately built.  The book came out late last year and is a real gem that is beautifully written; meditations on some strange world with strange motivations and still able to capture the reader's attention.  The second story, "The Dragon Festival," is surprising and wholesome and there's a particular passage in it that might as well define the collection:

...And when they had any doubts, they erred in the direction of beauty.

Pick it up and read it like you would a daily devotion.


Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu - Netflix Adaptation...and a Chinese one.

Thanks to one of our readers, this project at Netflix is something I'm excited about. I've recommended Cixin Liu's trilogy before and if you haven't picked it up, I recommend you do so before the show comes out (which is expected sometime in 2023).

That said, there's a Chinese adaptation also which may be released later this year.  This is going to make for a lot of debates, I'm sure.  In any case, get the books before you watch the shows.


Massive Bacteria

The world of prokaryotes is being upended.  First of all, this bacterium was discovered 10 years ago but only 5 years ago did scientists realize it was a single-celled bacterium.  And the most recent discovery questions whether it's even a prokaryote: it's DNA is all bunched up and contained within a sac - something that's reserved for eukaryotes that have complex internal structures.

Thiomargarita magnifica, as this one is called, is visible to the naked eye, which might explain why no one thought of it as bacteria for five whole years.  Imagine looking through a cup of swamp water and finding small filaments floating around;  we're not trained to think that bacteria could be visible.


That's it for this week!  Make time for speculation.