Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 7 comments
  2. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  4. Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

Sep 21 2019

Schellingstrasse 48 by Walter Kolbenhoff

Schellingstrasse 48

For all that it is a Millionenstadt, Munich can also be quite a small town. Literary and artistic Munich even more so. Thus it’s not very surprising that in Schellingstrasse 48 (48 Schelling St.), Walter Kolbenhoff’s memoir of the Nazi era, POW internment in America, and early post-war Munich, other authors from the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/21/schellingstrasse-48-by-walter-kolbenhoff/

Sep 20 2019

Lines Composed a Few Yards from Schlachtensee, With Apologies to W.W.

Five years have past; five summers, with the length Of five long winters! and again I read These pages, rolled from their printing-press With a rotary hum.—Once again Do I behold those last and polished drafts That many a wild scene describe, Acts the more connected to themes And th’ arguments of the plays. The …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/20/lines-composed-a-few-yards-from-schlachtensee-with-apologies-to-w-w/

Sep 14 2019

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Ben Franklin's Song

On the second page of his biography of Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson offers a thumbnail sketch of his subject: “He was, during his eighty-four-year-long life, America’s best scientist, inventor, dimplomat, writer, and business strategist, and he was also one of its most practical, though not most profound, political thinkers. He proved by flying a kite …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/14/benjamin-franklin-by-walter-isaacson/

Sep 12 2019

How To by Randall Munroe

How To

Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, asks how to do various things — jump really high, throw things, build a lava moat, and a couple dozen more — and considers approaches that are both sound and absurd. Hilarity ensues. The book begins with an earnest disclaimer, a plea not to take the title as a guide. “Do …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/12/how-to-by-randall-munroe/

Sep 10 2019

Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin

Planet of Exile

Winter is coming. The orbit of the planet Werel gives it winters that last five thousand nights, give or take. Sound familiar? Well, Planet of Exile was published in 1966, four years before George R.R. Martin sold his first professional story. As in Le Guin’s other Hainish stories, humans have been on Werel a very …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/10/planet-of-exile-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

Sep 08 2019

The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs

The Incorruptibles

Romans and cowboys! A demon-powered steamboat! Saloon fights! Distressing damsels! Samuel Clemens! Now this is how you embrace the pulpy side of things and stay the heck out of the uncanny valley. Not least because very unfriendly immortals are likely to sweep down from the uncanny heights and leave you scalped or kilt ded. Fisk …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/08/the-incorruptibles-by-john-hornor-jacobs/

Aug 28 2019

Son of Heaven by David Wingrove

I remember seeing David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo books back in the 1980s and 1990s. They looked like a big, pulpish series set in a future dominated by China. A little while back, I picked up Son of Heaven, which says it’s Chung Kuo #1, thinking I would look in on this series and maybe set …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/08/28/son-of-heaven-by-david-wingrove/

Aug 24 2019

The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston

Boxer Rebellion

Distinguishing a warning that should be heeded from a host of false positives is a famously hard problem. The foreign community in Peking, as it was then generally called in the West, failed that test in the summer of 1900, costing many hundreds of lives. The Boxer Rebellion concentrates on the defense of the Legation …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/08/24/the-boxer-rebellion-by-diana-preston/

Aug 21 2019

Yikes

Son of Heaven

Sometimes speculative fiction is just a little too on the nose: The Republicans, coming to power …, wanted to do away with free trade. In a frenzy of nationalist rhetoric, they sought to replace globalization with protectionist tariffs. They wanted to pull up the economic drawbridge, just as their predecessors had after the Wall Street …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/08/21/yikes/

Aug 17 2019

Barry Hughart, 1934–2019

Bridge of Birds

“I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world “My surname is Lu and my personal name is Yu, but I am not to be confused with the eminent author of The Classic of Tea. My family is quite undistinguished, and since I am the tenth of my father’s sons …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/08/17/barry-hughart-1934-2019/