Tag: History

Two Books about Skeletons [Review]

Unnatural Selection by Katrina van Grouw Princeton University Press, 2018 How does evolution happen? This is the behind Unnatural Selection, written by natural history curator and illustrator Katrina van Grouw. She approaches it from a direction unfashionable these days, though one that Charles Darwin received inspiration from: the selective breeding of domesticated animals. Unnatural Selection …

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A Murder in Thebes [Reading Challenge 2019]

A Murder in Thebes by Anna Apostolou St. Martin’s Press, 1998 [Challenge # 17: A historical of any genre. ] I’m not a big mystery reader, but I like historicals. The two put together like this book does provided a twist on what I already enjoy and gave me a history lesson to boot, though …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/4/19: Features of New Jersey

As far as strange names goes, the state of New Jersey takes the cake. There are towns named Loveladies and Nutley and features like the Jenny Jump Mountains and Double Trouble State Park. In fact, drive a mile in any direction and you’ll be sure to find one or more oddly named creeks, reservoirs, hills, …

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Hey, you.

Victorian-era skeletons in a medical engraving

Worldbuilding Wednesday
States of Confusion 8/28/19:
xxxx (West Coast)

I’ve looked at alternate U.S. states before on this site here and here, but frankly, where things really start to get whacky is on the West Coast. But you knew that, didn’t you? Being the most populous state in the union California tends to get divided up a lot. It seems fresh proposals come down …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/7/19: Let’s Talk About
xxxxCleopatra

The name Cleopatra conjures up images of an exotic Egyptian beauty, an ancient dynasty, a scheming queen, a seductress. In movies she’s been played by Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, Joan Collins,  and Theda Bara; and to this day she remains a popular Halloween and performing persona for celebrities like Katy Perry, Heidi Klum, …

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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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