The inner workings

Having recently read some great sci-fi for the first time in a couple years, I have some thoughts. I think my perspective has changed after the past few years of reading pretty much only literary classics. Coming back to science fiction after that, everything feels so transparent. I'm not sure if it's me, or just …

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Is Sci-fi missing something?

A friend linked me this article about the squeamish hesitance of writers to call their books sci-fi, and the reputation sci-fi has for being cheap or base entertainment. Some of this rings true for me, too, even as a (ex?) sci-fi fan and writer myself. Their example of Faber is accurate. I remember when I …

The books I read in 2018: the good, the best, and the rest

This year I continued my exploration of the literary. I read 34 books, the same as last year (missing my goal of 40 by a fair amount) and only two of those could be called genre. Of those 34, most were brilliant, some extremely so, and very few were bland or uninteresting. I don't think …

The Last Samurai, by Helen Dewitt

No, it has nothing to do with the 2003 Tom Cruise movie (which came out 3 years after this novel was released)--and that I need to make that distinction at all is an illustration of the sad state of American culture, because this book was flipping amazing and I can't believe I've never heard of …

The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

Much like the others I've read by this author, this book deals heavily with memory, loss, and--more directly than the others--the holocaust.¬† The narrator recounts his experiences with four characters, in four sections of the book. Each character is an emigrant from Germany, and each, in some way, seems to want to forget some aspect …

Translating poetry: how can meaning be preserved?

I'm so enamored with Sebald that I got a book of his poetry, Across the Land and the Water (from the library, just in case it turns out I'm not a poetry kind of guy.) I've not read much of any poetry, by anyone,  but Sebald's writing is just so damn poetic anyway, I figured …

Dead Souls: more shitty rich people

I read Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol recently, and found it quite agreeable, as the narrator would say. The story features an enigmatic land owner named Chichikov, who, at the beginning of the story is a stranger in town who everyone finds intriguing. He travels around to all the landowners in the area, and attempts …