Tag: History

The Years of Rice and Salt
[Reading Challenge 2019]

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson Random House, 2004 [Challenge # 6: An alternate history] Kim Stanley Robinson’s alternate history novel The Years of Rice and Salt caused a sensation in the SF world when it came out in 2004. In this timeline, the Black Plague kills off the entire population …

Continue reading

Reading Lolita in Tehran
[Reading Challenge 2019]

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi Random House, 2004 [Challenge # 48: A book mentioned or discussed inside another book.] Reading Lolita in Tehran is a book I remember seeing heavily promoted in past years, but I never thought to read it myself. It’s not often that I read a …

Continue reading

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/27/19: Let’s Talk About
xxxxAphrodite

In Greek mythology Aphrodite was the goddess of love, but she had a surprisingly macabre beginning. Legend says she was born of the sea-spume cast up on shore after the Greek god Cronus cut off his father Uranus’s genitals and tossed them into the waves. Also strangely for a goddess of love, her own lovers …

Continue reading

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/13/19: Steampunk Characters

Steampunk as a genre got its start with The Difference Engine and The Diamond Age, both set in a alternate world Victorian England. So, it bears to follow that Steampunk characters have English language names that were popular during that time. There are no hippy names like Rainbow or Phoenix in Steampunkland, and neither are …

Continue reading

Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/23/19: Torture Devices

Medieval England came up with more than its share of punishment devices. Take the Pear of Anguish pictured above. It’s a speculum, basically, with an extendable pointy thing in the middle which may or may not have been spring-shot. It was inserted in any of the victim’s orifices and splayed them open. The spike then …

Continue reading

They Called Us Enemy [Review]

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott Artwork by Harmony Becker Top Shelf Productions, 2019 George Takei is a man of many talents: activist, actor, meme creator, and now, at age 82, graphic novel writer. Who would have known in 1968 that Mr. Sulu would have had such legs? Mr. …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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 …

Continue reading

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, …

Continue reading

Hey, you.

Victorian-era skeletons in a medical engraving