The Books that Wrote Me Collection 1: Writings 1988-2016

1988

Escalation and Eschatology in Stanislaw Lem’s Fiasco Word Cloud

Approximately 6,700 words • my essay from 1988, which I wrote as my junior independent study thesis at the College of Wooster, now with a new introduction

1991

In Defense of American Psycho (A Fragment) Word Cloud

Approximately 400 words • A fragmentary review circa 1991 (I think)

2002

Stephen Wolfram: in Print and in Person Word Cloud

Approximately 1,600 words • notes on Stephen Wolfram’s book A New Kind of Science, and his lecture at the University of Michigan


Greg Egan’s Permutation City: Modeling the Universe with Cellular Automata Word Cloud

Approximately 1,300 words • an e-mail exchange with a friend on Wolfram’s lecture and Egan’s book


Thoughts on Ulysses Word Cloud

Approximately 1,500 words • a reply to a friend’s e-mail message about James Joyce’s Ulysses

2003

Channeling Tolkien: a Table Reading of “The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son”_ Word Cloud

Approximately 900 words • in which I recall an impromptu performance of Tolkien’s short drama in verse


The Doomsday Book, Rocheworld, and Starquake Word Cloud

Approximately 1,200 words • brief notes of The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Rocheworld by Robert L. Forward, and Starquake also by Robert L. Forward


Three Books About Ruby Word Cloud

Approximately 4,500 words • a lengthy discussion of three books about the Ruby programming language

2005

Christopher Tolkien and The History of Middle Earth Word Cloud

Approximately 1,800 words


Reynolds, Heinlein, Wolfe, and Others Word Cloud

Approximately 1,900 words • short reviews of Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days also by Alastair Reynolds, The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein, The Book of the Long Sun Tetralogy by Gene Wolfe, Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand by Samuel Delaney, Neverness, The Broken God, and The Wild by David Zindell, The Good, the Bad, and the Difference by Randy Cohen, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Slow River by Nicola Griffith, and Only Begotten Daughter by James Morrow

2006

Bruce Sterling’s Best Books Word Cloud

Approximately 500 words


Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and War in Heaven by David Zindell Word Cloud

Approximately 4,700 words


The Boats of the “Glen Carrig” Word Cloud

Approximately 9,700 words • some material that began life on Wikipedia, as well as an introduction to my audiobook podcast project


William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki Stories Word Cloud

Approximately 700 words


Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Word Cloud

Approximately 800 words


“The Home-Coming of Captain Dan” by William Hope Hodgson Word Cloud

Approximately 800 words


William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land Word Cloud

Approximately 3,300 words


Thoughts on The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand Word Cloud

Approximately 900 words


A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick Word Cloud

Approximately 2,000 words • my review of the book, in audio form, ran alongside Jonathon Sullivan’s review of the film in Escape Pod, the science fiction story podcast


Escape Pod: the Best Recent Episodes Word Cloud

Approximately 400 words


Donaldson Old and New: The Runes of the Earth Word Cloud

Approximately 2,000 words • comments on my connections to Donaldson, whose work I have read since childhood, and his new Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant


Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson Word Cloud

Approximately 1,700 words


On Clench Racing: Stephen R. Donaldson’s Words of Choice Word Cloud

Approximately 3,000 words • in which I discuss Rick Lowe’s essay “The Well-Tempered Plot Device”


Counting Clenches Word Cloud

Approximately 900 words • In which I amuse myself by counting words in various books, and the number of times words occur, apropos making a sort of reductio ad absurdum argument against Lowe’s claim that if a writer has some favorite words, their writing must be bad


The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson Word Cloud

Approximately 1,300 words • notes on re-reading the original trilogy, many years later

2007

Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni Word Cloud

Approximately 1,600 words


On On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt Word Cloud

Approximately 500 words


Some Words I Love: Animal Adjectives Word Cloud

Approximately 600 words


Simon Green’s Nightside Novels Word Cloud

Approximately 100 words


Hairy Bottom and the Deadly Aloe Word Cloud

Approximately 800 words • Your honor, I have not further comment at this time

2008

Dark Integers and Other Stories by Greg Egan Word Cloud

Approximately 1,000 words


Galactic North and Other Recent Science Fiction Word Cloud

Approximately 1,500 words • discussed: the story collection Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds, Matter by Iain M. Banks, Glasshouse by Charles Stross, and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976 film)


Greg Egan’s Incandescence: Egan Channels Robert L. Forward and Hal Clement in a Hard Science Fiction Tale Word Cloud

Approximately 400 words


The Books of Summer, 2008 Word Cloud

Approximately 700 words • discussed: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds (later editions have the title Aurora Rising), and several works by the late Iain M. Banks

2011

Paul’s Nearly Complete Guide to Discworld, Part One: Introducing the Series Word Cloud

Approximately 3,000 words


Paul’s Nearly Complete Guide to Discworld, Part Two: the Reviews Word Cloud

Approximately 7,800 words


Paul’s Nearly Complete Guide to Discworld, Part Three: The Lists Word Cloud

Approximately 600 words


The Calculus of Greg Egan Story Collections Word Cloud

Approximately 400 words • how the content of Egan’s story collections overlap, and how to get most of his best work without buying all six collections discussed; twenty years later, there are a couple more collections available, but my recommendations on how to collect his older stories still apply

2012

Some Thoughts about Some Books about The Book of the New Sun, Some Thoughts about The Book of the New Sun, and a Few More Thoughts Word Cloud

Approximately 9,600 words • in which I discuss in depth Gene Wolfe’s masterpiece The Book of the New Sun, the coda The Urth of the New Sun, and some critical studies of Wolfe’s work

2013

Mean Streets by Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kat Richardson, and Thomas E. Sniegoski Word Cloud

Approximately 700 words • I review a collection of four long stories in the “urban fantasy” sub-genre


In Green’s Jungles by Gene Wolfe Word Cloud

Approximately 400 words • In which I give a brief update on my attempt to read Wolfe’s difficult Book of the Short Sun trilogy


The Rule Book and Calendar of Kittery Embers by Sherwin Sleeves: Inspiring Dark Magic from the Collective Preconscious Word Cloud

Approximately 600 words • In which I discuss the strange, surreal young adult novel by storyteller Sherwin Sleeves of New Hampshire


Doctor Who: Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds Word Cloud

Approximately 300 words • My brief review of a surprisingly enjoyable Doctor Who novel which gets the all-important tone just right

2016

A Refracted, Fractal World: Patterns of Repetition and Dimunition in Tolkien’s Legendarium Word Cloud

Approximately 1,900 words • A listicle reflecting on the way that, in Tolkien’s legendarium, mythic and historic events repeat themselves in ever-diminishing recapitulation

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