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Tag Archives: sf

Paranoiac Alien Lonesomeness

In their exquisite self-centeredness our ancestors believed that they were alone in the universe. At the same time, they had convinced themselves that Earth was the blue apple of God’s eye and the sole reason for all of creation. This two-headed fallacy caused humanity both delusions of grandeur and a paranoiac sense of loneliness. Although […]

The Effort Required to Disbelieve a World

Players had an entire “Night”—the length of which they agreed on themselves—to reach the heart of the labyrinth and find the exit. Bencivenga had surpassed his own genius by creating a maze generated by the variables determined by the rolls of the die. However, the real game began only when one of the characters finally […]

Responsibility of Possession

Mr Eagle, you are not a realized man. That is your weakness and also your power. Before one realizes oneself one has the optimism of ignorance. It can be the saving of one’s life. Once realized, one faces the terror of knowing what it is you are and have done… the realized man can have […]


Path is like a snake, it curls around the whole of Little Belaire with its head in the middle and the tip of its tail by Buckle cord’s door, but only someone who knows Little Belaire can see where it runs. To someone else, it would seem to run off in all directions. So when […]

Fiction of the Untrammeled Imagination

The first thing to say about J.G. Ballard is not that he is among our finest writers of science fiction but that he is among our finest writers of fiction tout court period. Ballard himself might retort that, granted the first claim, the second is redundant, since the only important fiction being produced today is […]

The Age of the Shrug

Jessica saw the shrug, thought, This is the age of the shrug. […] Our civilization could well die of indifference within it before succumbing to external attack. — Frank Herbert, Children of Dune

If Lions Could Speak and Other Stories

This volume collects an assortment of Paul Park’s early short stories, written between 1983 and 2002. Park is primarily a novelist, and an excellent one, and his short fiction affects me as well as his work in longer forms. The Tourist is the first Park story I read. I found it online before I went […]

In Which We Goad Ourselves Onward

When you undertake to make a work of art—a novel or a clay pot—you’re not competing against anybody, except yourself and God. Can I do it better this time? — Ursula K Le Guin, from her essay The Stone Ax and the Muskoxen, collected in The Language of the Night.


I’ve never read anything by Octavia Butler, but some list or other recommended her, and Kindred was checked out of the library, so I picked up the Lilith’s Brood trilogy omnibus, in which Dawn is the first book. I figured I’d test her out, and if I liked Dawn, I’d be probably enjoy Kindred as […]

Frost and Fire

In my resolve to read more mainstream canon, I had forgotten how great a writer Roger Zelazny is. This must never happen again. He writes a beautiful blend of science and fantasy, and sometimes plays them off each other, which appeals to me very much since I’m fascinated by that balance between measurable knowledge and […]