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

Nov 09 2019

Speaking of Revolutions

“Another young woman, an employee of the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry, was on her way home from a visit to a sauna when the news of the night inspired her to head for Bornholmer [Strasse]. Her name was Angela Merkel. She had chosen a career in chemistry, not in politics, but [November 9, 1989] …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/09/speaking-of-revolutions/

Nov 03 2019

The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman

The Fall of the Kings

I hate to damn The Fall of the Kings with faint praise because it’s fine, really it is. It’s just that this book follows the perfect Swordspoint and the extremely good The Privilege of the Sword, and while The Fall of the Kings is an interesting combination of a university novel in a fantastic setting …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/11/03/the-fall-of-the-kings-by-ellen-kushner-and-delia-sherman/

Oct 26 2019

The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde

The Woman Who Died a Lot

Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series takes place mostly in an England that’s a republic a Wales that’s a socialist republic; of Scotland there is practically no mention, though I cannot say whether that is a comment or happenstance. The Crimean War was still being fought in 1985, and there are various other bits of history …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/26/the-woman-who-died-a-lot-by-jasper-fforde/

Oct 23 2019

Edge of Empires by Donald Rayfield

Edge of Empires

Edge of Empires is a one-volume history of Georgia from the earliest discernible traces through June 2018, a remarkable feat of synthesis and scholarship. In fact, the main text runs just four hundred pages, so in some sense Rayfield positively gallops through four millennia of events in the Transcaucasus and eastern Anatolia. He’s very up …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/23/edge-of-empires-by-donald-rayfield/

Oct 15 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

One of the unusual things that Naomi Novik does in Spinning Silver — so unusual, in fact, that I can’t think of another fantasy book that does it — is to state that some of her main characters are Jews. The first chapter lays out the hints: the characters are moneylenders in a small town whose …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/15/spinning-silver-by-naomi-novik/

Oct 03 2019

Structuring the State by Daniel Ziblatt

Structuring the State

At the start of the nineteenth century’s second half, Germany and Italy were both patchworks of states; by century’s end, both were united kingdoms taking their place among Europe’s great powers. Similar ideas drove the leaders of unification in both regions, yet the states that emerged from the wars and negotiations were quite different. Though …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/03/structuring-the-state-by-daniel-ziblatt/

Sep 28 2019

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Golden Hill

Entirely too much time has passed since I read Francis Spufford’s wonderful first novel (after five mostly non-fictional books, of which it has so far only been my pleasure to read Red Plenty) Golden Hill for me to be able to do it anything approaching justice. Nevertheless, a few words. The story is set in …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/28/golden-hill-by-francis-spufford/

Sep 26 2019

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, pt. 1

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“Give it what it’s worth, Doug,” said my Cockney editor one afternoon before deadline when I asked how long a newspaper article should be. Richard Rhodes takes one of the most important stories in human history — the story of the discovery of atomic structure and how that structure could be opened up, releasing vast …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/09/26/the-making-of-the-atomic-bomb-by-richard-rhodes-pt-1/

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/