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Category Archives: Culture

Umberto Eco

Sean Connery and Christian Slater in “The Name of the Rose” The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco, 1980. English translation 1983. What? I’m reviewing a book that was first published 37 years ago? Oh well. No one ever accused me of being au courant. I have tried several times in the past to read […]

Why is linguistics so rarefied?

I think a lot about language. I often have questions about language that are very difficult to find answers to. That’s not true of most sciences. If I have a question about physics (insofar as there are answers to questions about physics), I can find an answer in no time. (As a science fiction writer, […]

Preserving culture

Foxfire students interviewing Aunt Arie — photo by Foxfire Fund, Inc. There are some strange ideas kicking around these days about what it means to preserve culture. But preserving culture is hard work and a labor of love. Many, many people are doing this work. It involves books, books, and more books. It is being […]

Total eclipse

I saw the eclipse inside the zone of totality at Franklin, North Carolina. Franklin is in the Great Smoky Mountains and is inside the Nantahala National Forest. I was with two friends, and we turned it into a tailgate party followed by dinner in Asheville. This was my second total eclipse, so I knew what […]

Game of Thrones

In looking through the blog logs yesterday, I noticed that someone searched for “Game of Thrones.” It seems odd in retrospect that I haven’t really blogged about the greatest achievement in fantasy since Tolkien, both in literature and in television. (I’m open to the argument that George R.R. Martin’s achievement has surpassed Tolkien’s.) The reason, […]

How to win: Torture the language and muddle the story

I pay very little attention to the science fiction and fantasy publishing industry anymore. Almost every book I try to read, I end up flinging away in frustration after the first few pages. Almost no one knows how to write, and almost no one knows how to tell a story. Instead, what passes for “good […]

Not quite canary

For the past few months, I’ve been rereading Winston Graham’s Poldark novels. I’m now on book 8. I would rate Winston Graham as one of the best novelists of the 20th Century, but that’s a post for another day. This post is about wine — dessert wine in particular. In the Poldark novels, the poor […]

The Brontës: To Walk Invisible

For literature lovers, “To Walk Invisible” is a must-see. It’s a two-hour, two-part British production about the Brontë sisters, shown this spring in the U.S. on PBS and now available on DVD. It is an extremely strange production, and it will give Brontë fans hours of arguing and brooding material. As far as I know, […]

Coming Dec. 15: The Last Jedi

Today Disney released a teaser for the next Star Wars Film, “The Last Jedi.” The film will be released Dec. 15. It is thrilling to see Gwendolyn Christie cast in the new film. She is the 6’3″ British actress who plays Brienne in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” It’s heartwarming to see new scenes with Carrie […]

Rich young creeps and their creepy visions

What is it about young tech billionaires that makes them so creepy? Partly, I’m sure, it’s the character flaws that they seem to have in common — hubris, arrogance, the assurance of superiority that goes along with their being very smart and having made themselves very rich. They also see themselves as visionaries who have […]