By: Joshua Glenn
June 29, 2023

To idle is to work on meaningful and varied projects — and to take it easy. The title of the series refers to this self-proclaimed idler’s inability to take it easy.

HILOBROW is a noncommercial blog! The info below should not be construed as a vulgar advertisement for SEMIOVOX, MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE series, LOST OBJECTS, SEMIOFEST SESSIONS, GO WEST, or any of my other more-or-less profitable projects. It is merely an update on my doings and undoings — in this case, during 2Q2023.

MORE HYPOCRISY: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 | 3Q2024.

Also see: HILOBROW 2Q2023.


Josh conducting research in the field

I’m cofounder of the semiotics-fueled consultancy SEMIOVOX. Our methodology provides insight and inspiration — to brand and organization strategy, marketing, design, innovation, and consumer insights teams, as well as to their agency partners — regarding the unspoken local/global “codes” that help shape perceptions of and guide behavior within product categories and/or sociocultural territories.

During 2Q2023, our projects included the following.

  • Via our friends at Labbrand Paris, I consulted with the brand and design teams at a French videogame company on a new game and rebooted fantasy franchise.
  • Via our friends at The Semiotic Factory (in Paris), I worked on a project for an iconic French travel and tourism operator — analyzing US culture and brand communications around the question of child-free vacations.

Also see: SEMIOVOX 2Q2023.


HILOBROW is published by King Mixer LLC; I’m the editor. To see everything that we’ve published during 2Q2023, please check out the HILOBROW 2Q2023 post. Here, I’ll just mention a couple of series…

The series TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM, edited by HILOBROW friend Heather Quinlan, features 25 installments on the topic of heartthrobs from our adolescences. Here’s the series lineup:

INTRODUCTION by Heather Quinlan | Adam McGovern on ANDY GIBB | Crockett Doob on DREW BARRYMORE | Kathy Biehl on THE MONKEES | Josh Glenn on SHAUN CASSIDY | Catherine Christman on ELI WALLACH | Carlo Rotella on VALERIE BERTINELLI | Miranda Mellis on EDDIE VAN HALEN | Paul Finnegan on KIM WILDE | Heather Quinlan on MIKE PATTON | Mariane Cara on NKOTB | Mimi Lipson on ARLO GUTHRIE | Gabriela Pedranti on GUSTAVO CERATI | Michele Carlo on MICHAEL JACKSON | Ingrid Schorr on PAUL McCARTNEY | Carolyn Campbell on ROBERT REDFORD | Erin M. Routson on JOHNNY KNOXVILLE | Amy Keyishian on JIM MORRISON | Fran Pado on TONY DEFRANCO | Krista Margies Kunkle on LUKE PERRY | Lucy Sante on FRANÇOISE HARDY | Lynn Peril on DANNY BONADUCE | Jack Silbert on CHERYL TIEGS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on CHRISTIAN SLATER | Cynthia Scott on LEONARD WHITING | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN.


IN THE MYSTERY CAVE is a three-part series, by HILOBROW friend Colin Dickey, on Betty Boop’s Snow-White, Twin Peaks, and the erotic life of things.

Thanks, Boing Boing, for the shout-out!


To see my solo HILOBROW series and posts from 2Q2023, please check out the WRITING (HILOBROW) section of this post. What’s coming up at HILOBROW? Check out: SNEAK PEEK 3Q2023.


SEMIOVOX, my branding consultancy’s eponymous website, is published by SEMIOVOX LLC; I’m the editor. Here’s what we published during 2Q2023.

Last year, SEMIOVOX began publishing MAKING SENSE WITH…, a series of Q&As dedicated to understanding what makes semioticians tick. I’ve asked my commercial-semiotics colleagues and friends from around the world to answer 10 revealing questions. Here’s the 2Q2023 series lineup:



SKIN-DEEP ORANGE image courtesy of Maciej Biedziński

Earlier this year SEMIOVOX kicked off COLOR CODEX, a 25-part series — the contributors to which will be commercial semioticians from around the world — that explores the unexpected associations evoked for us by specific colors found in the material world. Here’s the 2Q2023 COLOR CODEX lineup:

Sónia Marques (Portugal) on RUNAWAY BURRO | Serdar Patkin (England) on AMBIENT AMBER | Lucia Laurent-Neva (England) on TEAL BLUE VOYAGER | Maciej Biedziński (Poland) on SKIN-DEEP ORANGE | Maria Papanthymou (Greece) on AGALMATOLITE WHITE | Max Matus (Mexico) on CALIFORNIAN BLUE | Whitney Dunlap-Fowler (USA) on RESURRECTION CANARY BLUE | Ximena Tobi on VILLA MISERIA BRICK | Martha Arango on FALUKORV RED.


For the series CODE-X and more from 2Q2023, please check out the post SEMIOVOX 2Q2023.


I’m editor of the MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE proto-sf reissue series, which launched in 2022.

During 2Q2023…

I worked with the MIT Press team to send the following titles to press: G.K. Chesterton’s THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL (Aug. 1, introduced by Madeline Ashby), MORE VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE (Aug. 1, a story collection edited and introduced by yours truly), and William Hope Hodgson’s THE NIGHT LAND (Sept. 12, introduced by Erik Davis). The covers were illustrated and designed by Seth.

I also worked with the MIT Press team on copy editing the series’ Spring 2024 titles: THE INHUMANS AND OTHER STORIES: A SELECTION OF BENGALI SCIENCE FICTION (March 12, edited and translated by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay) and Charlotte Haldane’s MAN’S WORLD (March 12, introduced by Philippa Levine). And I worked with Ted Chiang, S.L. Huang, Lisa Yaszek, and Paul March-Russell on their introductory essays to various forthcoming titles. Plus: more!

In June, here at HILOBROW, we published SISTERS OF THE RADIUM AGE — an extraordinary resource compiled by Lisa Yaszek and two of her students.



I’m coordinator for SEMIOFEST SESSIONS, a series of online get-togethers — intended not only to share best practices among, but to nurture collegiality and friendship within the global semio community.

Here’s the 2Q2023 SEMIOFEST SESSIONS lineup:

  • APRIL: BIOSEMIOTICS, featuring Paul Cobley, Natasha Delliston, Malcolm Evans, and Yogi Hendlin. Proceeding from the premise that semiosis is intrinsic to all living nature, biosemiotics practitioners have developed a holistic and integrated understanding that radically challenges — and can also reboot and revitalize — the way that we applied semioticans think about and practice our craft.
  • MAY: UMBERTO ECO, featuring Kristian Bankov, Giulia Ceriani, Carlos A. Scolari, and Alfredo Troncoso. Eco was the prolific author of many seminal semiotic texts such as A Theory of Semiotics, Lector in Fabula, The Limits of Interpretation, The Open Text, and Kant & the Platypus. His ideas about “the model reader” and “the encyclopedia” have become key ideas in the semiotic discipline.
  • JUNE: AI AND SEMIOTICS, featuring Dario Compagno, Kay O’Halloran, and Tim Stock. The unexpected strength of ChatGPT, Midjourney, etc., has got everyone buzzing about the many potential applications of generative AI across a range of industries. Some commercial semioticians have for years deployed AI tools to help make sense of data, while others have resisted doing so. We gathered a panel of experts to discuss questions like: Is AI-generated “meaning”… meaningful? And: What are the upsides and downsides of incorporating AI into our methodologies?

Forthcoming sessions have been scheduled through the end of the year.


During 2Q2023, I wrote the following solo HILOBROW series.

Paul Klee’s The Barbed Noose with the Mice (1923)

I contributed several sub-installments in MOUSE, a belated addition to the ongoing BESTIARY series. Here’s the 2Q2023 MOUSE series lineup:

MOUSE (INTRO) | PRE-MICKEY MICE (1904–1913) | PRE-MICKEY MICE (1914–1923) | PRE-& POST-MICKEY MICE (1924–1933) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1934–1943) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1944–1953) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1954–1963).


Via the series PALIMPSEST, installments in which were originally posted to my Instagram, HILOBROW shared some of my street photography — of “texts” where later writing has effaced original writing.


HILOBROW continued to publish installments in HADRON AGE SF — a weekly series via which I aim to identify my 75 favorite sf adventures published between 2004 and 2023. The list in progress is here. Here’s the 2Q2023 lineup:

Annalee Newitz’s THE FUTURE OF ANOTHER TIMELINE | William Gibson’s AGENCY | Jonathan Lethem’s THE ARREST | Martha Wells’s NETWORK EFFECT.

The HADRON AGE series will go on hiatus until 4Q2023.


Hermenaut #13 cover. Click for larger version.

HERMENAUTICA is an irregular series via which I’m sharing pages scanned from back issues of Hermenaut (the DIY intellectual zine/journal that I edited and published from 1992–2001) along with my commentary. Still thinking about a potential book project….


SCREENSHOTS is a new monthly series of posts via which I review my most recent screenshots — before deleting them from the over-full Dropbox folder to which they’d been uploaded.



PHOTO DUMP is a new monthly series of posts via which I share recent photos.


In addition to these series, during 2Q2023 I published the following here at HILOBROW.

  • SHAUN CASSIDY installment in the TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM series. Excerpt: “The first record included a fold-out poster… which I obediently folded out and taped to my bedroom wall. It was the only music poster I’d ever own. I don’t believe that I had a crush on Shaun… yet there I was, at age 11, contemplating his face as I sang along to the songs. What was happening?
  • From Bruno Taut’s Alpine Architektur (1919). In the last pages, glass architecture seems to implode upon itself, with an illustration of an atom-like structure, with the note: “THE SPHERES! THE CIRCLES! THE WHEELS!”

  • An installment in the series SCHEMATIZING. Excerpt: “Only when we describe a signified in terms of what it is not, rather than in terms of its contents, do we begin to see the implicit assumptions that we’ve absorbed without conscious evaluation.”


I write fiction for one hour every weekday in the (virtual) company of Matthew Battles, Tom Nealon, and James Parker. It makes me so happy to see their faces… sometimes I feel compelled to make a screenshot. This one is from April 13th. Writers at work….


Getting the word out, during 2Q2023…


  • On July 14, I will participate in Readercon — an sf convention (focused on the written word) held every July in the Boston area. Tentatively, my panels include: SF Treasures of the Radium Age (with Annalee Newitz); How We Shape and Reshape Older Works (with Gary Wolfe, John Clute, Nadia Bulkin, and Pat Murphy); and The Pyrite Age of Science Fiction (with Gary Wolfe, Graham Sleight, Jeff Hecht, and Robert Killheffer). I’ll moderate all three panels.
  • Keep an eye peeled for RADIUM AGE-related interviews with me in Foreword Review’s This Week newsletter and also the sf/f magazine Clarkesworld. Coming later this summer…
  • Rememory Library event

  • The MIT Press donated a stack of copies of the RADIUM AGE edition of Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood to the Rememory Library‘s book giveaway party. The library project is led by Shacoya Kidwell, a Ph.D. student at Cornell who studies “the relationship between adverse atmospheric conditions and oppressive ideologies with specific attention to how Black people inhabit, subvert colonial conceptions of time and space.”
  • 5/27/23

  • RADIUM AGE series friend Kelly Webster spotted this homemade Radium Age Science Fiction series display at a bookstore in Brattleboro, VT.


  • The Hat & Beard Press / Dublab / Invisible Republic podcast Big Table interviewed Rob Walker and yours truly about LOST OBJECTS — the book we co-edited, and which was soft-launched late last year, and officially published earlier this year. We’re grateful to Big Table host and Hat & Beard publisher J.C. Gabel.

    Listen to Rob Walker explain [in more or less these exact words]:

    There was sort of a secret magic trick going on here. [Before we first collaborated, Josh and I] both, from our very different directions, had come to the conclusion that the value of objects — whether that value is economic or emotional — often came down to the story of the object. We then played with what can you do with fiction around objects [Significant Objects], and nonfiction — autobiography and personal essays — around objects [Project:Object]. We’d flipped around the dynamic — using objects to — I don’t want to say con, but convince — all these great storytellers to tell stories, whether fictional or nonfictional. [For Lost Objects], the question we asked was: What about objects we don’t own any more? What is the power of an object that you’ve lost but can’t shake? I was excited by this idea of Josh’s because it gave us the opportunity to pull the same trick with a bunch of talented artists and illustrators, too.

    Here’s a Spotify link to the LOST OBJECTS episode; it’s also available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and directly from Big Table.

  • Hat & Beard Press promoted LOST OBJECTS at the Acid-Free art book market and bazaar in Los Angeles on June 16th. They’ll do the same at art book fairs in San Francisco in July, and LA again in August.

LOST OBJECTS updates: 2022 | 2023.


I continue to oversee operations at GO WEST, the coworking space that I cofounded in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood.


In April, Sam and Kayla and Max came to town — mostly to check up on my mother, who is recovering from a stroke. We loved having them all here.

Also in April, Susan and I attended Pop Conference — the premiere music writing and pop music studies conference — to check out Max’s presentation on the topic of “Sub-Bass and Queer Space.” At NYU.

In May, after graduating from NYU’s Gallatin School, Max came home for a brief visit. (Here they are playing Magic with their cousin Robin.) In June, they moved with friends into an apartment in Queens.

Sam, Kayla, Diana, Max (June 17)

Also in June, Sam and Max joined us in Ovanda, Montana — along with Sam’s girlfriend Kayla, and Max’s girlfriend Diana — for Susan’s niece Haley’s wedding. It was a really good time.


On to 3Q2023…

MORE HYPOCRISY: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 | 3Q2024.


About Josh, Idleness