Tuesday, January 27, 2015

At War

I'm waiting for white to move. This has been a hard fought battle though my opponent isn't out of the game yet. “Easy, you know, does it, son.”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Pale Fire Mystery

I think I did fairly well on this article where I strive to convince mystery lovers that Nabokov's literary classic is for them.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita, Ada, or Ardor) is not what one would call a traditional mystery story. You won’t find it among the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Father Brown, or Phillip Marlowe in the mystery section of your local bookstore. Instead it’s shelved in the classics section with Ulysses, The Adventures of Augie March, Mrs. Dalloway, and other noted literary titles (Pale Fire came in at #53 on the list of the Modern Library 100 Best Novels). And, yet, I can’t think of a greater mystery.

Read more at Macmillan's Criminal Element.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

False Memories

This article reminded me a bit of BLADE RUNNER's replicants created by the Tyrell Corporation. In particular, Rachel's implanted false memories. It seems, based on this piece, its just as easy a Jedi mind trick on flesh and blood.

The cradle rocks above an abyss...

Adam Frank's "one thought about death has always stayed with me.." reminds me a lot of the opening (and first chapter) to Vladimir Nabokov's SPEAK, MEMORY. Especially:
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
I can appreciate Mr. Frank constructing a whole article around that idea though I have no way of knowing if he has ever read VN.

Monday, January 19, 2015

How the West Was Written: Frontier Fiction, Vol. 2, 1907-1915 by Ron Scheer

During the years 1907–1915, frontier fiction boomed with new writers, and the success of Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1902) began to make itself felt in their work. That novel had made the bestseller lists for two years running. With the continued popularity of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show, and the appearance of one-reeler westerns on movie screens, many featuring the adventures of Bronco Billy Anderson, the cowboy hero was becoming an established mythic figure in the public imagination.

For writers of popular fiction, the frontier was also a subject for exploring ideas drawn from current public discourse—ideas about character and villainy, women’s rights, romance and marriage, democracy and government, capitalism, race and social boundaries, and the West itself. With each new publication, they participated as well in an ongoing forum for how to write about the West and how to tell western stories. Taken together, the chapters of this book describe for modern-day readers and writers the origins of frontier fiction and the rich legacy it has left us as a genre. It is also a portal into the past, for it offers a history of ideas as preserved in popular culture of a century ago that continues to claim an audience today.

How the West Was Written: Frontier Fiction, Vol. 2, 1907-1915 by Ron Scheer is now available in print and Kindle formats.

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Praise for How the West Was Written: Vol. 1

“This is a splendid study of early western fiction, most of it written contemporaneously with the settlement of the American West. A surprising number of women authors are included among the sixty-some novels reviewed by the author. The book offers penetrating, rich, and lucid examinations of these early novels, and gives us a good understanding of where western fiction came from and how it has evolved. Highly recommended.”
—Richard S. Wheeler
Spur Award-winning author

“[Ron Scheer’s] scholarship is meticulous and the book is an enlightening contribution to American literature with this study of the Western, its roots and its themes. I’m proud to have it on my bookshelf. It’s unique in the canon, as far as I know.”
—Carol Buchanan
Spur Award-winning author

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Swashbuckler Way Out West

My latest article at Macmillan's Criminal Element: Errol Flynn: The Swashbuckler Way Out West. This piece has to be dedicated to my mother who was a huge fan of the Australian born actor and first introduced me to films like THE SEA HAWK, CAPTAIN BLOOD, and THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.