November 14, 2018

Well, the reason is my whole time-travel rosary thing, which I’m still doing (and will post about when I catch up with the present day, which should be early 2019). So I have been reading fanfiction and old LiveJournal posts, and while I did not reread the books because life is much too short, I did rewatch all the Harry Potter movies. Extremely scattered and pointless notes follow. BTW I still really like a lot of pogrebin’s fanfic–I like her… Read more

November 12, 2018

You will know if you want to read Catherynne Valente’s new novel, Space Opera, as soon as I tell you what it’s about: Aliens force the remaining members of a washed-up glam band to perform in an intergalactic Eurovision Song Contest, with the fate of the entire Earth on the line. There are two kinds of people in this world; I’m the kind who heard “intergalactic Eurovision Song Contest” and thought YES PUT IT IN MY FACE. Space Opera gave… Read more

November 11, 2018

A little while ago a Marist seminarian emailed me about his “sacred prog band,” the Radiant Obscurity Collective. I do not know what most of the words in that sentence mean, but I figured I would give the disc a spin; and I really enjoyed it. There’s a strong, ethereal woman’s voice, flutelike and lifting up toward the stars–it’s a voice like a shaft of moonlight, and the arrangements give it a lot of nice dark space to shine in…. Read more

November 1, 2018

demons are made of mouths: Lords of Chaos, a new biopic of the late founder of Norwegian death-metal, tells the story of a man who played the role of Satanist so well that he created an actual murderous death-cult, dying at the hands of a jealous disciple. He is the man who memed himself to death. more Read more

October 31, 2018

I never did figure out what I wanted to say at the end, I’m afraid. Anyway the essay begins here, then continues here and here. ***** Like The Leopard, Sword of Honour has its one iconic line, which sums up the book to people who misremember it: Hitler allies with the Soviet Union, and our hero Guy Crouchback rejoices, “But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast… Read more

October 31, 2018

I have thought deeply about this question. Also, feel free to be amused by how precisely this list allows you to guess my age. Gerard McMahon, “Cry Little Sister” Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (note the title card!) PJ Harvey, “Man-Sized Sextet” Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Premature Burial” Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put a Spell on You” Coil, “Love’s Secret Domain” The Cramps, “Eyeball in My Martini” WHAT’S THIS BURDEN THAT I BEAR??? Severed Heads,… Read more

October 30, 2018

Today, The Glass Bead Game. For the introduction & The Leopard click here; for part two, White Guard vs. The Radetzky March, here. ***** The Glass Bead Game is rarely named with these other decline-and-fall novels—and yet its form and themes make it almost too obvious a member of their class. Hesse’s 1943 tale takes place in a future where Westerners, fleeing the triviality and corruption of our own “Age of the Feuilleton” (which a demotic translator might render as… Read more

October 29, 2018

Part one of this self-indulgent essay on reactionary novels of the twentieth century, with intro and some spicy takes on The Leopard, is here. **** White Guard and The Radetzky March make a natural pair: two novels of imperial military defeat, one bitter and the other resigned, both staring a worse world in the face. White Guard takes place in 1918 – 9 Kiev, where national costumes and military uniforms are donned or shed in mortal terror as a succession… Read more

October 26, 2018

Hey all. Earlier in the year I tried to write a thing about what you might call novels of the vanished premodern world, or novels of the short twentieth century, or whatever–you can tell from this taxonomic confusion that I never quite found my footing in the piece. But I still liked it and I’m going to inflict it on all of you, in pieces, here. Various controversial claims ensue of which my favorite is the argument that The Glass… Read more

October 21, 2018

Prince of Egypt: A haunting cartoon retelling of the Exodus which pulls few punches. The childhood friendship between Moses and Rameses makes the sight of Rameses’ (firstborn) son truly chilling. The women get a lot to do. The animation includes harrowing passages like Moses’ nightmare where he falls into the cuneiform story of the killing of the Hebrew children, or the final plague; and also images luminous with wonder, like the giant fish swimming through the Red Sea as it… Read more

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