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Category Archives: Literature

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World ★★★★

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World. C.A.Fletcher. Orbit, 2019. 384 pages. This incredible book has renewed my faith that people can still write superb and beautiful novels. It’s what we call a hot read. I had to keep telling myself to slow down, because the constant suspense made me want […]

A portrait I wish I had shot

Christopher Tolkien. New York Times photo by Josh Dolgin. Click for high-resolution version. I hope I am not inviting copyright trouble here. The extraordinary photo above is linked to a New York Times URL; I have not downloaded a copy of it. The photo accompanies the New York Times’ obituary for Christopher Tolkien, son of […]

His Dark Materials ★★★☆

Until the next truly smashing science fiction or fantasy series comes along, His Dark Materials will help a bit to tide us over. Some reviewers seem to think that it’s a Game of Thrones knockoff. It looks more like Harry Potter to me. Still, there are strong elements of originality. A big part of what […]

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 […]