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. 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

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Since the last time I looked in on Murderbot, it has become more secure in its freedom and found something like a home among the people of the Preservation Alliance. Preservation, as it is known throughout Network Effect, is something of a post-scarcity utopia, an interstellar polity posed as a counterpoint to Murderbot’s area of …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/06/06/network-effect-by-martha-wells/

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Relentless Moon, the third book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronauts series, changes locales and first-person narrator from the first two books, The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. Nicole Wargin is also one of the original astronauts, and in early 1963 as The Relentless Moon opens, she is both an old Moon hand …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/31/the-relentless-moon-by-mary-robinette-kowal/

Die Jugendstreiche des Knaben Karl by Karl Valentin

Jugendstreiche des Knaben Karl

The editors of the Süddeutsche Zeitung began their series of 20 books in or involving Munich with a local icon, Siegfried Sommer. They finished the set with Karl Valentin, who was born in Munich and grew up in the city but went on to become a national icon as a comedic star on stage, in …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/29/die-jugendstreiche-des-knaben-karl-by-karl-valentin/

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

In 1808 the United States made the importation of slaves illegal, but illegitimate trade in humans continued until the eve of the Civil War. Supply and demand persisted on both sides of the Atlantic. “Habituated to the lucrative enterprise of trafficking and encouraged by the relative ease with which they could find buyers for their …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/24/barracoon-by-zora-neale-hurston/

Münchnerinnen by Ludwig Thoma

Münchnerinnen by Ludwig Thoma

It will not surprise a contemporary reader that a young housewife, neglected by her husband, will find affection elsewhere. Nor did it likely surprise Ludwig Thoma’s audience in 1919 when Münchnerinnen (Munich Ladies) was published. The book is set in the late 1800s, when people would have felt it necessary to affect surprise, though given …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/28/munchnerinnen-by-ludwig-thoma/

Firstborn by Louise Glück

Firstborn by Louise Glück

I have to confess that I didn’t get a lot of, or get a lot out of, Firstborn, the debut collection of poems from Louise Glück. It was published in 1968, when she was 25. Fifty-two years and a dozen or so collections later, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Like my reading of …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/25/firstborn-by-louise-gluck/

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Wasn’t this fun! Susan Arkshaw has grown up in a rural corner of southwestern England, with an absent father and a very absent-minded artist mother. Two minutes before The Left-Handed Booksellers of London opens — on May 1, 1983 — Susan turns 18. She’s also just had one of her recurring dreams, full of giant …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/24/the-left-handed-booksellers-of-london-by-garth-nix/

Genghis Khan by Leo de Hartog

I’m glad that Leo de Hartog did not title this biography A Life of Genghis Khan because there is astonishingly little life between its covers. I would have thought the biography of someone who rose from a tribal noble to rule the largest land empire this world has ever known would be positively gripping, but …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/14/genghis-khan-by-leo-de-hartog/

The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

In 1999, Gail Simone made a list “when it occurred to [her] that it’s not healthy to be a female character in comics. … These are superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator. Some have been revived, even improved — although the question remains as to why …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/06/the-refrigerator-monologues-by-catherynne-m-valente/

Chargés d’Affaires by Cordwainer Smith

When Cordwainer Smith first began publishing stories in the early 1950s, the genre was much further from the mainstream than it is today. Writing for magazines such as Galaxy or Worlds of If would have been considered extremely odd for one of America’s leading experts on psychological warfare and a Johns Hopkins professor of Asiatic …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/01/charges-daffaires-by-cordwainer-smith/