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 — 8 comments
  2. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  4. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments
  5. Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King — 5 comments

Author's posts

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway, Pt. 1

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Some time past the middle of the twenty-first century, Britain offers its citizens the safest, most democratic, best-adjusted society in human history. Every person under the System is encouraged — though not compelled — to spend a certain amount of time each week voting, and is semi-randomly assigned to decision-making bodies for the duration of their session. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/22/gnomon-by-nick-harkaway-pt-1/

From Page to Screen: Dune

Dune movie poster

Confession time: Though I have read Dune several times after encountering it at an early and impressionable age, I don’t think that I have read it this century. My recollection is more impressionistic than detailed, and my impression is that the movie got all of the most important parts of the story up on the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/20/from-page-to-screen-dune/

Descending Figure by Louise Glück

Descending Figure byLouise Glück

Glück divides Descending Figure into three sections, “The Garden,” “The Mirror,” and “Lamentations,” though I cannot say that I found the division particularly helpful or enlightening. Certainly there is a lot of lamenting in the final section, but there is a lot of it in the rest of the collection as well. This is a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/19/descending-figure-by-louise-gluck/

Fletcher and Zenobia by Victoria Chess and Edward Gorey

Fletcher and Zenobia

I don’t have all that much to say about Fletcher and Zenobia except that reading it makes me very happy, every time. It hits just the right note of whimsy without being twee. It’s mildly melancholy at the beginning, then enlivened, then worrisome again, and then everything is pleasantly resolved at the end. What more …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/18/fletcher-and-zenobia-by-victoria-chess-and-edward-gorey/

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a total failure.” That’s Murderbot to a T. All Systems Red introduces Murderbot, a part-mechanical part-organic construct more formally known as a Security Unit, one of many produced to keep humans safe in an interstellar civilization. Before the story began, this Security Unit had hacked its governor module …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/12/all-systems-red-by-martha-wells/

Twenty Years On

This is not real. We’ve seen it all before. Slow down, you’re screaming. What exploded? When? I guess this means we’ve got ourselves a war. And look at — Lord have mercy, not again. I heard that they went after Air Force One. Call FAA at once if you can’t land. They say the bastards …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/11/twenty-years-on/

Field Work by Seamus Heaney

Field Work by Seamus Heaney

In contrast to the choice he made for North, Seamus Heaney left the poems in Field Work as a continuous furrow, not divided into parts. Sections still emerge naturally from his arrangement of the poems. The ten “Glenmore Sonnets” give the collection a firm spine running straight up and down the middle of this body …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/31/field-work-by-seamus-heaney/

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Let me stipulate from the beginning that A Promised Land is not a revelatory book like Dreams from my Father, a book Barack Obama wrote when he had no idea he would be President of the United States one day, when he was finishing figuring out who he was and why anyone who didn’t know …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/30/a-promised-land-by-barack-obama/

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Out on the edge of civilized space, Lsel Station, the largest of the Stationer settlements, is home to some thirty thousand humans, a gateway to a few further systems, and the holder of some remarkable neurotechnology. The center to which Lsel is peripheral is the Teixcalaanli Empire, a star-spanning empire in the grand tradition with …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/29/a-memory-called-empire-by-arkady-martine/

Red Notice by Bill Browder

Red Notice by Bill Browder

“How do you rebel against a family of Communists?” asks Bill Browder in the title of the second chapter of Red Notice. Browder’s grandfather, Earl Browder, had started as a labor organizer in Kansas and rose to be the American Communist Party’s presidential candidate in 1936 and 1940. Prior to those campaigns, he spent some …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/22/red-notice-by-bill-browder/