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Category Archives: Literature

John Scalzi

I meant to buy the hardback but accidentally ordered the large print edition. The machine in the background is an IBM Model D typewriter in pretty rough shape. It’s out of its case while I try to determine if it’s restorable. The Collapsing Empire. John Scalzi. Tor, 2017. This is part one of a three-part […]

The Bulletin of the Tolkien Society

A few weeks ago I mentioned having joined the Tolkien Society. Today I received in the mail a welcome letter and a copy of the April 2023 Amon Hen, the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society. The packet was hand addressed, with nice U.K. postage stamps. International mail always looks so exotic! Amon Hen is very […]

A strange book about fairies

Source: eBay The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. W.Y. Evans Wentz, Oxford University Press, 1911. edition The English historian Ronald Hutton has persuasively argued that there is no continuous history of paganism in the British Isles. Rather, during the 19th Century there was a revival of, and a romanticization of, interest in Celtic paganism. This […]

The Tolkien Society

Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to an American fan. The letter was posted recently to the Reddit group /r/typewriters. After I saw this letter in the Reddit /r/typewriters group, I Googled for Tolkien’s address to have a look at the house. In that search there was a link to the Tolkien Society. A Tolkien Society! Now […]

Great Expectations, but not what we were expecting

It’s certainly not my intention to be so contrary in my taste in books and films. It seems I just can’t help myself. While everyone is raving about The Last of Us, with its 96 percent RottenTomatoes rating, I thought (at least after three and a half episodes, which was all I could endure) that […]

When design was soft and kind

My IBM Selectric I, made in 1974, restored by a former IBM field engineer. The Selectric I typewriters were introduced in 1961. Click here for high resolution version. I have written in the past about how today’s taste in automobile design is for aggressive-looking, mean-looking, vehicles. Even Volkswagen, whose designs used to charm people, now […]

Euell Gibbons, 1974

Euell Gibbons, near High Point, North Carolina, February 1974 I came across this photo today while going through an old box of photos. I have sometimes mentioned to people that I once went foraging with Euell Gibbons and took a nice picture of him, but I had never scanned the picture, and I had forgotten […]

WorldCon will be in Glasgow in 2024

I have never been to a World Science Fiction Convention, but I hope do that in August 2024, when it will be in Glasgow. The annual Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy are given at WorldCon. Hugos are voted on by the fans who attend the convention (unlike the Nebula Awards, which are given […]

A seriously good novel, now 85 years old

The Hopkins Manuscript. R.C. Sherriff, Macmillan, 1939. This book got to me. I finished it just before sunset, and all evening, as a nearly full moon rose, I was spooked by a sense of unreality as I worked my way out of the world of the novel and back to the real world. I considered […]

Yesterday’s fiction

Robert Cedric Sherriff, circa 1928. Source: Hear the Boat Sing. Unless a novel becomes a classic, it will become obscure. It may or may not show up on book lists. There probably won’t ever be a Gutenberg edition. The review industry, of course, is concerned with what’s new. How might we discover now-obscure books that […]