Tag: History

Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/10/19: Arabian Nights Tales II

It’s not only the translations of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights that have changed over the years; illustrations of the classic have changed as well. The oil painting Alnaschar’s Fortune, by William Ewart Lockhart, embodies a realistic, dramatic Victorian style, but starting in the 20th century, children’s book illustrators¬† showed a move towards abstraction …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/3/19: Arabian Nights Tales I

One Thousand and One Arabian Nights is a treasure trove of literature of the fantastic. I’ve randomized its pseudo-Arabic names and places here, and the titles of the stories themselves also make for an interesting randomization stew. They stick to a simple formula of “Tale of the Something” or “Something of Something” repeating elements such …

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The Last Samurai [Reading Challenge 2019]

The Last Samurai by Mark Ravina Wiley, 2005 [Challenge # 5: A book taking place in Asia (Turkey to Japan, Siberia to Vietnam.)] I really wanted to like this book. It’s a biography of Saigo Takamori, a Japanese historical hero who might be compared to Abraham Lincoln in American history, a down-home politician who embodied …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 5/29/19: 1960s Exploitation Films

Uhhh… Casey Kasem was in this? Well, he was the voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo… B-movies have long been with us, but after the deregulation of the Hollywood production code in the 1960s, the gateway was open for all sorts of lurid, sensational content. Happily it also coincided with the counterculture, and the two produced …

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We Were Scared

We were scared. You put us into space anyway, where we died. Shame on you. (Book Art by Ekaterina Panikanova)

Sinister Doings

The Hell…? Someone please tell me what this is.

Notre Dame

I was lucky enough to visit Notre Dame cathedral as a child. It was August, the time when Parisians traditionally took their own vacations, and the city was quieter than it normally was. I went with my mom and dad. I remember it being shadowy and cool inside, the noises muffled. It seemed impossibly high. …

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Zombies on Broadway

“Break a leg! Break off an arm, too!”

Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/3/19: Steampunk Novels

Steampunk, a term coined in the mid-1980s, is a catch-all term for artistic design and subject matter that harks back to the Victorian Age, when steam-powered machinery and clockwork mechanisms began to drive the Industrial Revolution. The term was invented by SF writer K.W. Jeter in a tongue-in-cheek reference to Cyberpunk. But the term and …

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Jet Age [Reading Challenge 2019]

Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World by Sam Howe Verhovek Avery, 2010 [Challenge # 25: A book in which airplanes figure prominently.] Hubris and aviation have a long, intertwined history together. Overconfidence in a flight control system most likely caused the recent crashes of a Boeing 737 Max …

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