Login Register Our Team Submission Guidelines Contact FAQs Terms of Use

Deaf Composers, Silenced Writers, Fragile Violins, and the Late Quartets of our Times

Because he was deaf when he wrote them, Beethoven never heard his “late quartets”. This is a remarkable anecdote; an inhuman feat of human creativity. I was reminded of a resonant anecdote while reading in the Spectator US of a meeting between British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his wife and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—bear with me. The article described that the Laborite couple later sent the laborious couple a book of poems by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th century Mexican nun and poet. The Spectator describes her as “a poet known for her proto-feminism and early criticism of the Spanish empire.” She is also well known for having stopped writing her risqué poetry on the orders of the Church hierarchy. This is an interesting symmetry: Beethoven writing music for us that he would never hear; Sor Juana composing poems in her head that we would never read.

The Hero With a Thousand Options: The Anti-Mythology of the Star Wars Sequels

The original Star Wars trilogy stands as one of the greatest cinematic trilogies ever made. It spawned a franchise that consists of additional movies, novels, comic books, video games, and even radio dramas. The genius of the Star Wars franchise is in how it created something that feels entirely original, but is deeply indebted to millenia of stories that came before it. Star Wars contains influences from not only space adventure serials and Westerns, but also Arthurian tales, Greek Myth, and even religion.

That being said, the Star Wars movies have not always lived up to their original standard. For years, George Lucas’s prequel films detailing the transformation of Jedi Anakin Skywalker into the evil Darth Vader were reviled as some of the worst films ever made. When Disney announced its acquisition of the franchise and subsequent plans to make new movies in 2012, fans went wild. It couldn’t possibly get any worse than the prequels.

Or could it…?

Interview with Douglas McKim

I had the opportunity to interview fantasy and young adult fiction author Douglas McKim. He’s written two fantasy novels: “Just Plain Old Jeremy” and “Are You Man Enough?

An Interview with Aaron Sterling

Aaron Sterling is an electrical engineer, Army intelligence veteran, and lawyer. He’s the author of “The Mountain Throne“, the first of the Sindathi Twilight books. He’s working on a sequel to that novel due out in 2020 tentatively titled “The Dark Brother”.

The View from Kennedy’s Inaugural Podium and from the Bottom of Baltimore Harbor

An Homage to Robert Frost

Last week I wrote of poetry as a unique consolation in troubled times. I did not have the space to address another use: poetry in praise of the state. I had in mind Robert Frost’s “Dedication” written for Kennedy’s inauguration. It began…

Book Review: The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom

One of my earliest memories is of the massive science fiction laden bookcase in my childhood home. I read John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven and other classic sci-fi authors before I was in middle school. That’s understandable given that I’m named for a character in a Robert Heinlein novel. This means I’m unusually familiar with both the art and stories of Golden Age sci-fi. This is why I chose to read and review “The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom: Part 1”. Part 1 is devoted to the 1930s and came out in hardback in February, 2020.

Come Back Poetry, We Need You

For several decades subway riders in New York have been confronted with random slabs of verse entitled “Poetry in Motion”, whose main effect, whatever its purpose, is to confirm the onward sterility of modern poetry. More is the pity. Times of existential uncertainty summon the need for poetry, or at least good poetry. It provides a unique consolation.

An Interview with J.P. Redding

I had the opportunity to interview author J.P. Redding (a pseudonym) shortly after his first book “Off Grid” came out. Initially, I thought it was a survivalist book. The subtitle “Is there anywhere to hide from the surveillance state?” suggested that. It turns out that it is a science fiction book, as well.

 

A West Side Story

Willy, our retired super and part-time Bachata musician, told us that the street used to be a major avenue for drug dealing until Giuliani cleaned it up. He said that one of the local drug dealers once told him, after Willie refused to take money to not report the dealing, “the only reason I haven’t killed you is because you’re a nice guy.”

 

An Interview with Sandra Haven

Sandra Haven is a professional editor who mentors and advises writers, as well. I have been a fan of her newsletter for writers for years. And I had the opportunity to interview her.

Newer Posts Older Posts