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The Hollow Heart of Merlin’s God

Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy is a well-written, but ultimately troubling take on the Arthurian mythos . Stewart took great pains to give her historical fantasy a realistic, early Medieval backdrop, but her meticulous reinterpretation of the legendary source material has an agenda contrary to that material’s chivalric heart. Through the eyes and mouth of her ethically and spiritually ambiguous protagonist, the author exchanges the charming anachronism of Arthurian proto-chivalry for a far less believable Arthurian realpolitik. The result is an historically fascinating, but morally hollow series. Before delving in, let…

A Lonely Trip Through the Southern Reach

My very first impression, from the first page of Annihilation, book one of The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, was not far from my last thoughts on the series. What insanity have I just stumbled into? Every reveal seems to bring along numerous other mind-bending doubts or questions about the world Vandermeer has created. The story opens with a group of nameless female explorers beginning their expedition into “Area X”, a mysterious portion of the ordinary world that has somehow, inexplicably become subject to laws all its own. Its…

The Bad and the Ugly of YA Lit

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” has a little bit of the good of contemporary young adult fiction, but way more of the bad and the flat out ugly.

Close Encounters of the Medieval Kind

“Eifelheim” is a very fine science fiction novel, and should be on the reading list of everyone interested in the interaction of medieval and modern philosophy, science, and even politics.

A Love That Might Have Been Real

The greatest feature of “The Girl from Venice” may be that it casts light on the chasm between marvelous technique and real literature. Without the objectively transcendent, there is no literature.

Ready Player One

The pros, in my opinion, far outweigh the cons. The book affirms the value of online social interaction as a step in the right direction if you’re living in a dystopia, but that reality is still best.


The book manages to be fairly reflective and literary, while still remaining a page-turning mystery.

Not Worth a Look

I would seriously caution any parents to read through the book first before allowing their son or daughter to do so. Within are scenes involving graphic descriptions of sex.