a day ago

How would you behave if your IQ suddenly doubles?

Just as history books often tell us more about historians than they do about history, genre fiction can reveal a great deal about its authors and the times during which they write. History books fall into disfavor as new information comes to light, making way for new interpretations of the facts. And science fiction and […]

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5 days ago

A biography of Joseph Stalin as told by the man himself

Across the Moscow River from the Kremlin lies the House on the Embankment. Built from 1928 to 1931, as Joseph Stalin was cementing his power at the helm of the Soviet Union, the building housed the nation’s elite. Top Party aparatchiks. Leading scientists. Artists. Writers. Journalists. Sports stars. Generals. Spies. Thus, during the purges of […]

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3 weeks ago

A gripping tale about the early American labor movement

For several decades in the mid-twentieth century, America’s middle class prospered and grew. A vigorous labor movement gained livable wages and steadily expanding benefits for millions. To some extent, labor owed its central role in the economy to the reforms of the New Deal and the social change wrought by World War II. From an […]

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4 weeks ago

On a starship, an art heist, a murder, a coverup

The premise is familiar. The remnants of the human race crowd aboard a spaceship en route for centuries to a new home amid the stars. Somehow, far behind them in space and time, the Earth’s billions have perished. Yet never before have I come across a rendering of this story that I can believe without […]

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last month

The alien invasion is coming, and we even know when

Ever since the origins of the genre in the 1920s and 30s, American science fiction writers have imagined military conflict between humans and aliens. Amazon lists more than 60,000 books of military SF. To my mind, the best of the lot (at least among those I’ve read) is Joe Haldeman’s 1974 classic inspired by the […]

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last month

Racist stereotyping dominates this award-winning Hollywood satire

There’s a world of hurt in the best satire. At times, it’s inescapable. And that’s certainly the case with Charles Yu’s widely acclaimed second novel, Interior Chinatown. Couched as a filmscript, the book is the tale of a young Chinese-American man struggling to gain a foothold as an actor in Hollywood. The story is entertaining […]

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