By: Joshua Glenn
March 28, 2024

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, 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 1Q2024.

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

Also see: HILOBROW 1Q2024.


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 1Q2024, our projects included (but were not limited to) the following.

  • BRITISH-NESS CODES: Via the UK strategic insight agency Craft, we analyzed codes of British-ness — as surfaced from UK (and non-UK) TV series and movies, many hours of which we enjoyed viewing in January and February. (It was fun to collaborate with our US-based colleague Ramona Lyons on this one.) Content-creation and marketing optimization.
  • Peapublic (chickpea snacks from Turkey); not the client

  • MULTISENSORIAL CODES: On behalf of a multinational beverage company, we analyzed codes of multisensorial experience — covering multiple categories — in six markets including China, India, and Mexico. A combination of semiotic analysis and consumer research (which we conducted via our sister agency, Consumer Eyes). Marketing optimization across all channels, including pack design. (Project continued from 2023.)

For more info, see: SEMIOVOX 1Q2024.


I’m editor of the MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE proto-sf reissue series. During 1Q2024, we published the following new series titles.

  • THE INHUMANS AND OTHER STORIES: A SELECTION OF BENGALI SCIENCE FICTION, edited and translated by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (March 12). “A genuine moment of science fiction’s arrival in interwar Bengal.” — Anindita Banerjee. Cover illustration by Seth. See this title at the MIT Press website.
  • Charlotte Haldane’s MAN’S WORLD (1926), with a new introduction by Philippa Levine (March 12). “A volatile admixture of feminist revelations with racially biased eugenic theorizing.” — Alexandra Minna Stern. Cover illustration by Seth. See this title at the MIT Press website.

During 1Q2024, I worked with the MITP editorial team to proof the series’ two Fall 2024 titles (Francis Stevens’s THE HEADS OF CERBERUS AND OTHER STORIES, ed. Lisa Yasez; and Edward Shanks’s THE PEOPLE OF THE RUINS), finalize their covers, and send them to press.

Our four 2025 titles, including a translation (from Russian) of Marietta Shaginyan’s MESS-MEND: YANKEES IN PETROGRAD, a collection of superhuman-themed story and novel excerpts (edited by yours truly), J.D. Beresford’s THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER, and John Taine’s THE GREATEST ADVENTURE, are well underway. (You can see covers for the latter two titles here.) We’ll pitch a proposed 2026 lineup to the MITP editorial board in 2Q2024.

For recent press about the series, see this post’s GOOD VIBRATIONS section.

RADIUM AGE series updates: 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024. FULL SERIES INFO.


Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis’s “The Thought” (1904)

Here at HILOBROW, I’ve continued to share my Radium Age-related research. For example, via the series RADIUM AGE POETRY and RADIUM AGE ART, I’ve shared proto-sf-adjacent poems and art works from the years 1900–1935.

Here’s the 1Q2024 RADIUM AGE ART lineup:

1900 | 1901 | 1902 | 1903 | 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908.


Also, here’s a sampling of the 1Q2024 RADIUM AGE POETRY lineup:

William Stanley Braithwaite’s DEL CASCAR | F.V. Brandford’s THE MOON | Michael Roberts’ PERSPECTIVE | William Empson’s LETTER I | Amy Lowell’s MIDDAY AND AFTERNOON | Jessica Dismorr’s MONOLOGUE.

To see the full RADIUM AGE POETRY lineup, visit this page.


HILOBROW is published by King Mixer LLC; I’m the editor. To see everything that we’ve published recently, please check out the post HILOBROW 1Q2024. Here, I’ll just mention a couple of things…

MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM is a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of Metal songs from the Eighties (1984–1993). Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

Carlo Rotella on Primus’ JERRY WAS A RACE CAR DRIVER | Erik Davis on St. Vitus’ BORN TOO LATE | Greg Rowland on Motörhead’s ACE OF SPADES (remix) | Kathy Biehl on Twisted Sister’s WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT | Nikhil Singh on G.I.S.M.’s GAS BURNER PANIC | Erin M. Routson on Metallica’s ESCAPE | Holly Interlandi on Helmet’s MILQUETOAST | Marc Weidenbaum on Celtic Frost’s I WON’T DANCE (THE ELDERS’ ORIENT).

Heather Quinlan is the MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM editor. She is very grateful to the series’ contributors, many of whom donated their honoraria to Covenant House, which provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness.


Some years ago, HILOBROW friend Greg Rowland pointed out that the 1990 movie Dances With Wolves ought to be regarded as a sentimental remake of the 1970 revisionist Western Little Big Man. The series FIRST TIME AS COMEDY, launched in March, aims to offer a wide range of examples of this recursive (and often, though not always middlebrow) syndrome. Here’s the 1Q2024 lineup:



To see my solo HILOBROW series and posts from 1Q2024, please check out the WRITING (HILOBROW) section of this post; to see what’s coming up soon, please see the post 2Q2024 SNEAK PEEK.


SEMIOVOX, my branding consultancy’s eponymous website, is published by SEMIOVOX LLC; I’m the editor. For a full update on what we’ve published recently, please see the post SEMIOVOX 1Q2024. Here, I’ll just mention a few highlights.

MAKING SENSE WITH… is a long-running series of Q&As dedicated to revealing what makes semioticians tick. Here’s the 1Q2024 series lineup:

ANDREA BASUNTI (England) | HANNAH HOEL (New Zealand) | MARIANE CARA (Brazil) | CARLOS SCOLARI (Spain) | STEFANIA GOGNA (Italy) | ADELINA VACA (Mexico) | COCO WU (Singapore / China) | JAMIN PELKEY (Canada) | ANTJE WEISSENBORN (Germany).


The series DECODER explores fictional semiotician-esque action as depicted in books, movies, TV shows, etc. Here’s the 1Q2024 series lineup:

Alfredo Troncoso (Mexico) on THE ODYSSEY | Gabriela Pedranti (Spain) on MUSIC BOX | Charles Leech (Canada) on PATTERN RECOGNITION | Lucia Laurent-Neva (England) on LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY | Whitney Dunlap-Fowler (USA) on THE GIVER | Colette Sensier (England / Portugal) on PRIESTDADDY | Jamin Pelkey (Canada) on THE WONDER | Maciej Biedziński (Poland) on KOSMOS | Josh Glenn (USA) on LE GARAGE HERMÉTIQUE.


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.

For a full update on recent Semiofest Sessions, please see the post SEMIOVOX 1Q2024. Here are two examples:

JANUARY: SEMIOTICS & CINEMA. Semioticians have long been fascinated with cinema. From Barthes’ analysis of “Roman-ness” in Hollywood epics to commercial semioticians’ deployment of movie scenes to help clients understand aspects of contemporary culture, we can’t stop decoding what materializes on the silver screen. The participants in this session (Ramona Lyons, Gabriela Pedranti, Adelina Vaca) shared their enthusiasm for movies — and for movie analysis.

FEBRUARY: SEMIOTICS & MUSIC. In practical visual semiotics we generally first identify a denotation and then seek to identify and understand its connotation. Musical semiotics, however, is the opposite: it’s easy, even intuitive, to identify a musical connotation, but then trying to identify the denotative level is very difficult. How then are we to understand how music communicates? How might synesthesia play into it? The participants in this series (Mariane Cara, Charles Leech, William Liu) discussed all.


During 1Q2024, in addition to the RADIUM AGE ART series, I wrote the following solo HILOBROW series and posts.

SEMIOPUNK is an irregular series dedicated to surfacing examples (and predecessors) of the sf subgenre that HILOBROW was the first to name “semiopunk.” Here’s the 1Q2024 lineup:



Back of “Still Loving You” single sleeve

For the MÖSH YOUR ENTHUSIASM series, I wrote an installment on Scorpions’ STILL LOVING YOU. Excerpt:

“Time, it needs time” to repair a damaged siblings’ relationship — and to overcome one’s own judgmental tendencies. I began to miss my brother… but I’d erected “a wall” — one “so strong” that Pat — forever sweeter and quicker to forgive than I am — couldn’t “get through.” Then one day, he knocked down the wall dividing our rooms.


Remedios Varo’s “Phenomenon of Weightlessness” (1963)

Also, I’ve continued to add new installments in the solo series SCHEMATIZING, SCREENSHOTS, and PHOTO DUMP.


Over at HILOBROW’s sister website, SEMIOVOX…

For the DECODER series, via which semioticians from around the world explore fictional semiotician-esque action as depicted in books, movies, TV shows, etc., I contributed an installment on Moebius’s LE GARAGE HERMÉTIQUE. Excerpt: “We might call a high-wire, self-gamified process of the sort Giraud describes ‘narrative kintsugi’ — i.e., breaking, then making visible repairs to a story. As a result of which the reader is pulled in and pushed out, experiencing vicariously something of what the author of such a beautifully broken narrative undergoes in its creation.”


Getting the word out, during 1Q2024…


For a full update on recent Radium Age series publicity, please see the post RADIUM AGE 1Q2024. Here are a few examples.

Press for The Inhumans includes the following…

“Offers a valuable peek into genre history.” — Publishers Weekly

“A welcome expansion of speculative fiction for anglophone readers.” — Words Without Borders

“Makes for a great introduction to this moment in SF history.” — Reactor (formerly Tor.com)

Inhumans editor and translator Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay was interviewed about the project in Clarkesworld. Excerpt: “I think what might surprise readers of the book is how closely connected SF literary cultures were in the early twentieth century. While the works have distinct Bengali characteristics, as well as Indian mythological references, influences from Anglophone SF, and Anglophone adventure literature are omnipresent.”

Press for Man’s World includes the following…

“Haunting, complex, profound, and relevant, Man’s World is a compelling novel that forwards intriguing commentary on questions of gender, race, and social order.” — Foreword

“[Haldane’s] tale of a futuristic society haunted by eugenics remains deeply relevant nearly a century after it was first published.” — Reactor (formerly Tor.com)


Tito, in my office

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


RISD UNBOUND is an event celebrating artists’ books, zines, and experimental printed matter created by RISD students and community, local artists and designers, as well as publishers, artists, designers, and enthusiasts from across the region. I’m on the planning committee for this year’s fair — which is on April 6th, at the RISD Fleet Library (15 Westminster Street,
Providence RI).


In January, my brother and I continued to visit my mother, who is recovering from a stroke, a few times each week. Here she is cheating at Quirkle — and laughing when caught at it.


Max was in Boston for one night, in early February, so we took a couple of his cousins out for Mexican and a game of Dungeon Roll….


In late March, Susan and I visited Sam and Kayla in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Fun to revisit our old haunts with these awesome people.


On to 2Q2024…

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


About Josh, Idleness