Skip to content

Category Archives: Literature

But is it good writing?

The New Republic’s excellent obituary for Gene Wolfe points out that, as Notre Dame cathedral was burning back in April, word was flying around the Internet that Gene Wolfe had died. Lots of readers saw the strangeness of the coincidence, because, near the end of The Shadow of the Torturer, the narrator Severian sees what […]

Nigel Tranter

I wish I could say that the prolific historical novelist Nigel Tranter left us with a rich and readable lode of historical novels set in Scotland. Unfortunately, I cannot say that, having just finished Sword of State. Sword of State opens in the year 1214, when the young Patrick, the 5th Earl of Dunbar, is […]

New title from Acorn Abbey Books

Denial will be released September 16 Acorn Abbey is proud to have Jonathan Rauch as the newest Acorn Abbey author. The book is Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul. The book will be released September 16 in a paperback edition and digital editions. This actually is a new, revised edition of this book. It […]

Please, somebody … just get us out of here

Jason Momoa in Apple’s “See” The diagnosis, I feel sure, is chiefly Game of Thrones withdrawal. Whether you loved it or were disappointed, Game of Thrones ended, leaving us exposed and defenseless in the here and now. Europe has been in an oven. The American heartland keeps flooding. Many farmers have been ruined. The water […]

An arrogant writer gets punished by readers

Neal Stephenson. Wikipedia photo. Four years ago here, I reviewed Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. Though I gave the book four of five stars, I was turned off by Stephenson’s increasingly insufferable narcissism. I wrote: The bottom line, for me at least, is that Stephenson writes must-read science fiction. However, I’m getting stronger and stronger whiffs of […]

Books that get better with age

The 1960 French edition of the Larousse Gastronomique. Click here for high resolution version. When you are browsing in an old bookstore, what catches your eye? For everyone it’s different, I’m sure. But one factor, probably, is the same: Whatever our tastes, we’re all looking for books that get better with age. You’ll be dealing […]

Game of Thrones: Season 8, episode 1

Ken Ilgunas and David Dalton are reviewing each episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. Check the “Game of Thrones” category to list all of these posts. David: Mornin’, Ken… I greatly enjoyed this episode, and what struck me is how the moral middle ground of former seasons is gone. Now the forces […]

Game of Thrones countdown

Since its beginning in 2011, Ken Ilgunas and I have made a tradition and a sport of watching and subsequently deconstructing each new episode of Game of Thrones. If Ken was here, we watched it in the evening and started our “Thrones talk” at breakfast. If he wasn’t here, we did it in email. As […]

The ontological wilderness

Philosophy of Physics: Quantum Theory, by Tim Maudlin. Princeton University Press, 2019. 234 pages. Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics (third edition), by Tim Maudlin. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 298 pages. John Twelve Hawks was clearly troubled, and I don’t blame him. (John Twelve Hawks is one of my favorite science fiction writers. I’ve […]

A Place to Call Home

Last night I finished watching the first season of “A Place to Call Home.” I can’t believe that I didn’t discover it sooner. It is superb melodrama and a superb soap opera. It’s perfectly cast and beautifully filmed. The dialogue is magnificent, some of the most intelligent dialogue I’ve ever seen in a TV series. […]