‘1636: The China Venture’ Delivers Another Great Adventure

 

Eric Flint’s standalone time-transposition novel “1632” proved so popular it metastasized into a series of some 30 novels and 12 collections of short stories.

The premise is a small town in West Virginia gets transposed in time and space with a similar volume from 17th century Thuringia in Germany. At the height of the Thirty Years War.

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Book Review: Memories of His Mercy

 

The name Peter Gilquist is incredibly well known in the Orthodox churches of America today. Father Gilquist, along with several other pastors, led a mass conversion of Evangelical churches into the Antiochian Orthodox Church in 1987, after nearly 15 years of searching for the historical Christian church as described in the book of Acts, and in the epistles of the New Testament. That quest is told in his more famous work, Becoming Orthodox, and in related works by others from that movement (I reviewed one such memoir, Surprised by Christ, late last year), but towards the end of his life, Reverend Gilquist wrote a different sort of work – personal memoirs of many of the key seminal moments in his life, ministries, and faith. Those memoirs were compiled and published several years after his death in the book Memories of His Mercy: Recollections of the Grace and Providence of God.  

In Memories of His Mercy, Fr. Gilquist tells stories of his upbringing within a devout Christian home, the men and women who mentored him in his family and beyond, and the courtship of the woman he would later marry. He later moves through some of his fondest memories, particularly of people whose lives touched his. His aim is not to write an overarching narrative, but a much humbler one of attempting to convey how faith, charity and empathy for others, and a strong work ethic tempered by consistent honesty can allow one, with the grace of God, to both be a blessing to others, and be blessed in turn.  

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A Gift with a Lesson for Our Time

 

Bruce Holsinger’s new satire would fall flat as a joke told too soon if his latest novel wasn’t so precisely well-timed. In The Gifted School, released in July, wealthy parents use personal connections and apply their professional expertise to help their children apply for a selective school.

George Will’s review also notes that the book’s timing is apt. After the FBI found Felicity Huffman and a host of other high-profile names trying to buy access to exclusive colleges for their children in March, one would think Holsinger’s publisher rushed to print. The Bureau’s “Operation Varsity Blues” may have people wondering if that is where the author found his inspiration (it was not, but as Will says, “American life uncomfortably imitates [Holsinger’s] art”).

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Thirteen Ideas on Breaking Writer’s Block

 

Last week on the Ricochet podcast, it seemed that Peter Robinson (@peterrobinson) was suffering from a bout of writer’s block. It made him irritable and had him implying that those writers who didn’t suffer from it might have ridden to their parents’ weddings on bicycles.

I have more than a bit of experience with writer’s block. Half my vanity-project books are unfinished due to it. (Either that, or because I came to my senses and realized those dogs were never gonna hunt.) As part of one project from my past, I started cataloging and categorizing bits of advice that I had for writers, especially poets. In that catalog are thirteen tips for dealing with writer’s block.

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The Near Side of Space

 

“This is really important. I need this at the top of your list.”

The boss-man looks haggard. He’s definitely not been getting enough sleep. And, judging by the look in his eye, he knows exactly how silly of a request he’s making. He’s still gotta make it. He and I aren’t the only ones on this call, and the boss-man has boss-men of his own to appease. That’s life.

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Member Post

 

Daniel Silva has managed two very difficult things: he keeps producing page-turners you want to pick up as soon as they fly off the presses, and he has managed to avoid [Republican president’s name] Derangement Syndrome. Producing quality spy fiction, setting stories in (part of) the current international context, is a major accomplishment and a […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. More

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Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. More

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The other day at Facebook I received another Literacy Challenge. I know other people at Ricochet have seen these because there has been at least one post about it. The challenge is to post seven favorite books over seven days. Since I had done this challenge a couple of time before, I decided to do […]

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The Legendarium Podcast Has Come to Ricochet

 

At the beginning of this year, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Craig Hanks, who listens to the Remnant with Jonah Goldberg (on which I make furtive appearances) heard that I was reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien. Craig happens to host his own podcast, The Legendarium Podcast, on which he and others discuss the great works of sci-fi and fantasy literature. He invited me onto his show to discuss The Silmarillion. You can listen to the episode here

Something strange happened when I distilled my thoughts about The Silmarillion in a post I published on Ricochet: All of Ricochet’s various nerds came out of the woodwork and had a field day discussing this somewhat more obscure “prequel” to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. A similar thing happened when I produced another post, about God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert, after appearing on one episode of the Legendarium (and later another) to discuss it. 

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Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. More

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I was just doing a kitchen chore, and thinking about the Outlander series of novels written by Diana Gabaldon. For those of you who don’t know what it’s about, it involves a nurse in Scotland in 1946 reuniting with her husband after being mustered out of the army after WWII. She walks up around a […]

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Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. More

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This Week’s Book Review – Final Frontier

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

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‘God Emperor of Dune’ Embodies the Greatness (and Strangeness) of the ‘Dune’ Universe

 

This December, the last Star Wars movie (probably) featuring any of the original series’ cast members will come out. Good riddance. Because in November 2020, the god-emperor of science fiction will reign supreme once more, as a new adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert will come to theaters.

And I’ll be there, even though I’m a relatively new convert to Dune’s greatness. As a sci-fi- inhaling youngster, I was told that the two sci-fi books I had to read were Dune and Neuromancer by William Gibson. I bought them both at a Half-Price Books more than a decade ago…and did nothing with either of them until July 2016, when I finally made my way through Dune.* I liked what I read, and have been gradually working through the series since.

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Member Post

 

What does that title evoke? I’ll bet it’s not what this post is about. Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? Not sure that works here either. Maybe ‘quote of the day’ would fit, but what I am going to present is a quote of a fictional passage in a novel. It struck […]

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Shakespeare’s Ethic

 

Too much attention is paid to Shakespeare’s talent and too little to his outstanding work ethic.

It is not the number of works which testifies most strongly to his careful determination; it is his originality. His innovations are too regular to be accidental. When I Googled “words and phrases coined by”, Shakespeare’s name was, of course, suggested first by the search algorithm. The breadth of his legacy in this regard is widely known, though most of us are content with snippets.

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I read this article and the first thing that came to mind was “Chronicles of Amber”. There are other, older, tales using alternate universes as a plot device but this is the first one that came to mind: Probably because it was the only fantasy story I’ve enjoyed. More

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Dostoevsky paid attention to the dramatic conventions of hagiography: A biblical parable would teach people more than any Cartesian meditation. The sayings of the Desert Fathers are part and parcel of Dostoevsky’s literary device. This is how Father Zosima is introduced in the book: as an elder surrounded by disciples, weak and strong, who are […]

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