Tag: Doug

Dec 08 2017

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

What has stayed with me in the months since I read The Ballad of Black Tom? The sense of teeming New York in the 1920s, the deft characterizations of the divides among black and white, the delicious irony of seeing an H.P. Lovecraft tale told from a black point of view. The story is eventually …

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Dec 07 2017

Conversations with Stalin by Milovan Djilas

Listening in on Conversations with Stalin involves stepping back into numerous vanished worlds: one in which Communists were imprisoned by kings’ secret police forces; where Communism is new and for large numbers of people a source of hope; where the inner workings of the Soviet Union are largely unknown; where Yugoslavia exists as both a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/07/conversations-with-stalin-by-milovan-djilas/

Dec 07 2017

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

In A Taste of Honey Kai Ashante Wilson tells a love story spanning decades in a fantastic world that looks much like the ancient Mediterranean. One of the lovers is a soldier from an empire that resembles Rome, the other is a young member of a noble house in a North African polity. (I don’t …

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Dec 06 2017

Premature Evaluation: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

I first came to Vasily Grossman via excerpts in Ivan’s War, Catherine Merridale‘s amazing book about how ordinary Soviet soldiers experienced the Second World War. That prompted me to pick up A Writer at War, dispatches and stories that he wrote while working as a journalist near the front. I thought it was one of …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/06/premature-evaluation-life-and-fate-by-vasily-grossman/

Nov 29 2017

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

In a long-running series there is often a problem with escalation. Characters that started in a low station move up in the world. They face new challenges as they rise; the stakes are implicitly higher for the fictional world, as their actions can now affect more people. At some point, though, the character rises as …

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Nov 26 2017

Ganymede by Cherie Priest

Ganymede, the third of Cherie Priest’s five Clockwork Century novels, follows the efforts of some free people of color to tip the scales of the American Civil War, ongoing for more than 20 years at the time of the book’s events, in favor of the Union by bringing it an experimental Confederate submarine that sank …

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Nov 20 2017

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

At the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, magic leaks into all sorts of things, including the scraps from the wizards’ sumptuous dinners. Some of the rats who were helping themselves to leftovers got an unexpected dose of intelligence as part of the magic in the cooking. And a cat, Maurice, got it too when he ate …

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Nov 16 2017

Wilhelm Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Wilhelm Tell, a five-act drama in verse, was Friedrich Schiller’s last major work. It tells the story of the start of the Swiss Confederation as the people of four inner cantons — Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Luzern — joined forces, swearing an oath to drive out a Habsburg ruler who is intent on limiting traditional …

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Nov 15 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

In just over 200 pages, Neil deGrasse Tyson takes his readers, who are presumably in a bit of a rush, on a grand tour of the cosmos, with a refreshing emphasis on what scientists don’t know. He’s bumptious, conversational, unafraid of including personal opinions about people in the field and commendably clear even when describing …

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Oct 22 2017

Sonnets from the Crimea by Adam Mickiewicz

When Tsar the Polish poet southward sent For stirring trouble and renewed dissent He took his pen — described the lands he crossed The steppes so vast, the palaces long lost Exiles who before Adam M. had gone And Muslims who so well had served their Khan Crimean shores, the mounts above them ranged The …

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