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Category Archives: Literature

Ken’s third book is out

Ken’s third book is out. You can buy it in bookstores tomorrow (April 10, 2018) or you can order it from Amazon now. I hardly need to say how proud I am of Ken, with his third book published at the age of 34. Here’s a link to the Kirkus review. And here’s a link […]

The murder of the inverted pyramid

Once upon a time, when newspapers were both noble and strong, editors and publishers regarded readers’ time as very valuable. Editors and publishers understood that newspaper readers were trying to absorb as much information as possible in the least amount of time. They knew that most readers would not finish most stories. Readers would read […]

My first library book, rediscovered

I have a clear memory of the first book that I ever checked out of the public library. It was Space Cat, by Ruthven Todd. It’s a short (72 pages) science fiction children’s novel. Whether I was in the second or third grade, I’m not certain. I think the book would have been within my […]

Ursula Le Guin

After the death of Ursula K. Le Guin this week, it was heartwarming to see so many beautiful eulogies and obituaries. Rarely is a fantasy and science fiction writer accorded so much respect in the mainstream. I can add very little, except to say that in addition to her fiction, she was a fine essayist […]

Are we all Buttercup now?

Buttercup A couple of days ago, I finally got around to watching “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.” It was good psychotherapy for trying to psychologically survive this week’s terrifying Republican train wreck in Washington. I have been doing my best to avoid political posts. Partly this is because the mainstream media and the reality-based […]

The troubles of the 4th Century

Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference of sectarians. Edward Armitage, 1875. Julian, by Gore Vidal. Vintage International, 1962, 502 pages. On the Gods and the Cosmos, by Sallustius, mid 4th Century. Paganism’s last stand occurred in the 4th Century. Early in the 4th Century, the Roman emperor Constantine established Christianity as the state religion. […]

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 […]

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 […]

The enlightened past

Once upon a time, philosophers could find work with newspapers. There are no such people now. But, back then, Sydney J. Harris was such a person. Harris (1917-1986) worked for the Chicago Daily News, and, later, the Chicago Sun-Times. For years, he wrote a column called “Strictly Personal,” which was syndicated in 200 newspapers. One […]