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. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

Nov 26 2014

Premature Evaluation: Finding Poland by Matthew Kelly

The first chapters of this book are giving me a case of the Yabbuts. Finding Poland is mostly a family chronicle, concerning Matthew Kelly’s great-grandmother and her two daughters, and how they went from pre-WWII eastern Poland to later life in the United Kingdom. By way of Kazakhstan, Iran and India. To get to why …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/26/premature-evaluation-finding-poland-by-matthew-kelly/

Nov 17 2014

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Sword puts author Ann Leckie in a strong position to be the first author since 1991-92 to repeat as winner of the Hugo for best novel, and indeed to be only the second person ever to repeat Hugo/Nebula awards in that category. Which is mainly to say that Ancillary Sword is a terrific book, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/17/ancillary-sword-by-ann-leckie/

Nov 11 2014

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

“If you grew up reading Harry Potter, read Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy.” That’s certainly how I would sell people on the books. They’re more adult than Potter, but they have structural similarities: Magic works in our world, but it is a secret known only to a few. There are schools that teach the adept how …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/11/the-magicians-land-by-lev-grossman/

Nov 11 2014

Warsaw 1920 by Adam Zamoyski

The argument of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe is that “in the summer of 1920, outside the gates of Warsaw, there took place a battle that ranks alongside Marathon and Waterloo for its importance in history.” Zamoyski’s brisk, 148-page narrative sets out to make that argument, describe the campaign that reached its climax …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/11/warsaw-1920-by-adam-zamoyski/

Nov 10 2014

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

As Stalin’s purges neared their apogee, show trials in Moscow featured heroes of the Russian Revolution confessing to the most astonishing things: that they had conspired with foreign powers, that they had plotted to kill Stalin; that they had knowingly and willfully wrecked whole sectors of the economy; and more. How could these men — …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/10/darkness-at-noon-by-arthur-koestler/

Nov 07 2014

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal is the third of her Glamourist Histories series, following Shades of Milk & Honey, and Glamour in Glass. The series crosses Regency romances with alternate (but not terribly alternate) history and a dash of domestic magic that may yet admit of industrial applications.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/07/without-a-summer-by-mary-robinette-kowal/

Nov 06 2014

The Last Wish by Andrezej Sapkowski

One of my commonest complaints about fantasy novels is that the setting is warmed-over England. There is so much fantasy that uses vaguely-English feudalism as its model, that it’s possible for someone to grow up reading almost nothing but, and then to embark on a career of writing in the same genre without necessarily realizing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/06/the-last-wish-by-andrezej-sapkowski/

Nov 05 2014

Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt

Ewalt gives his slender volume the subtitle “The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It,” at which point my inner copyeditor immediately reaches for the red pencil to change it to “A Story…” and “Some of the People…” There are a lot of stories of Dungeons & Dragons, and Ewalt surely …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/11/05/of-dice-and-men-by-david-m-ewalt/

Oct 14 2014

Tintentod by Cornelia Funke

This was the immensely satisfying end to a very good trilogy, although I will have to think about it a little longer to say just why. The author thanks her English translator in the acknowledgements to German edition, so she is presumably very happy with its rendering as Inkdeath.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/14/tintentod-by-cornelia-funke/

Oct 07 2014

The Unquiet Ghost by Adam Hochschild

The Unquiet Ghost is both a terrific historical and journalistic investigation and a historical document itself, as the author acknowledges in a preface written in 2002, some eight years after the book’s first publication. More than eight more years have passed, and the conditions that made the book both possible and urgent slip ever further …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/10/07/the-unquiet-ghost-by-adam-hochschild/