Friday, October 18, 2019

Elizabeth Earley

Elizabeth Earley's new novel is Like Wings, Your Hands.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Like Wings, Your Hands, and for your characters Kalina and Marko?

A: I've always been fascinated with the body, both its genius design and its inherent limitations.

The limitations that attend the human condition, as I see it, are crippling, even for the healthiest of bodies. Our senses mislead us. There’s the visible spectrum.

The average seeing human eyes are sensitive to a very narrow band of frequencies within the enormous range of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. But there are also other types of limitations to our vision — photoreceptivity, angular resolution, field of view.

There’s hearing range. The average hearing human ear can detect a limited range of sound frequency. We measure that in units we call Hertz, which is something some guy once came up with. Then there’s hearing threshold limitations, which refers to the pressure of sound and is measured in decibels.

Then there are the closely related senses of taste and smell, arguably the weakest of the human senses. Physicists have been challenged to objectively gauge the intensity of flavor and odor perception, and with that lack of an absolute unit of measurement, thresholds are difficult to determine.

The sense of touch is the most complex and different parts of the human body have different levels of sensitivity to everything from contact to temperature to itchiness to pressure. We know it has something to do with what we call “sensory neurons.” Nevertheless, its mechanisms are poorly understood.

Even the way we organize our environment with names and categories and units of measurement is conducted from within our limitations. The point is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue