Mormons, Genre Fiction, and (No) Full Frontal Snogging

kissing book

In Mark Oppenheimer’s most recent column in the New York Times, he speaks to a number of Mormon authors to try to figure out why so many of them write genre (F/SF) or young adult fiction. One of the first hypotheses is that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prefer to eschew the darker themes of literary fiction: “When I was an English major, then getting a master’s, most of the literary fiction I read was tragedy,” said Ms. Hale, whose “Princess Academy” was a Newbery Ho … [Read more...]

The Ones Who Walk Away from Dresediel Lex

two serpents

Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise, is his second book in the Craft sequence and falls chronologically before his first book, Three Parts Dead.  His first novel took place in Alt Coulomb, a city where at least one god is alive and when and living on the faith of his worshippers.  The new novel, set in Dresediel Lex, is in a city where the gods have been replaced by something a good deal more industrial.Before the Dresediel Lex's gods had their place usurped, they were of the feathered serp … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 2)

three parts dead

This is the second part of my interview with Max Gladstone, the author of Three Parts Dead. You can read part one of the Q&A here, and stay tuned for the review of his newest novel Two Serpents Rise tomorrow.  In Three Parts Dead, you reframed parts of our complicated financial system through a theological lens.  Is there any theological practice that your think the financial world should steal?  Are there any places where the financial world has appropriated priestly qualities wit … [Read more...]

Q&A with Max Gladstone (Part 1)


On October 29th, Max Gladstone will release his second novel, Two Serpents Rise.  His first novel Three Parts Dead got him nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and also caused me to share a very enjoyable bookclub brunch with friends in DC.  Three Parts Dead, the first book in his Craft series, reframes some of the peculiarities of the modern, entangled economy in a fantastical and theologically rich world.    In his novels, the power of prayer is often regulated by cont … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books

three books

Rod Dreher has asked his readers, and the internet at large, what three books they would recommend to provide a basic familiarity with Christian theological ideas to someone with little background on the topic.  Here's the challenge as he laid it out. So, what’s your Religious Literacy 101 Reading List? To restate the rules:No more than three books on the list. List them in order of preference. Keep them restricted to a single religion (i.e., no volumes comparing the various major re … [Read more...]

What ornate vestments you have, Father! All the better to…


Because my computer has shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, the Atheist round results from the Turing Test will probably run Friday or Saturday, once I've got a replacement.Over at Fare Forward, I've taken a crack at reviewing Gary Wills's book Why Priests? A Failed Tradition and, if you want a very quick glimpse of how I felt about it, here's how the review kicks off: The first priest that Garry Wills takes aim at isn’t a man in a cle … [Read more...]

Recommendations for the Lives of the Saints


I've just finished reading Sigrid Undset's life of Catherine of Siena, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that most of my knowledge of the lives of the Saints comes from Wikipedia.  Admittedly, Catherine was no less terrifying at book length than in a short article, but sitting down with Undset's book helped me take her in a bit more in toto, instead of as a timeline of miraculous acts and grotesque suffering.But I haven't read many other hagiographies.  I've read G.K. Chesterton's lives o … [Read more...]