Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Notes on the Cosmere

 

Way back when I put up a post reviewing this novella. Get to reuse the image.
Brandon Sanderson has been writing fantasy series that are distantly connected with one another. Each series is set on its own world, with its own system of magic, that works according to its own rules. And yet each world is connected in a totality named the Cosmere. The underlying novels and series stand on their own, but you see the occasional character show up in more than one world. There are hints at a meta plot spanning the different books. In this post, I’m speculating about that meta plot.

I’ll endeavor to avoid spoilers for the individual books in question. Oh, and I’ll be confining my sources to the fiction. I could go scouring the internet for things he’s let slip in his podcast or hints from his creative writing courses. Too much bother.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Luffing to Cuba: Michael Henry’s First “Non-Fiction” Book

 

I am not often at a loss for words, but in reading Michael Henry’s Luffing to Cuba, I find myself somewhat confounded. Part of that may be the Coda with which he finishes the book. Part is also the extreme changes to life we have experienced in the year since his adventure.

Michael Henry is a writer of many parts. Here on Ricochet he has often shared humorous fiction based on politics. They tend to be very light pieces. His fictional novels are mostly legal thrillers. They are serious in content, although there is often light banter between characters and light moments within the novels. I have commented before that his Willie Mitchell Banks character muddles through the stories rather than being the lantern-jawed tough guy who knows all the answers. Luffing to Cuba falls somewhere between the two while also being mostly non-fiction. Or perhaps I should say that it is non-fiction with flights of fancy interjected throughout. While in a way being of a piece and on the spectrum of his other writing, it has a very different feel, since the people and events are real.

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I have sworn off most TV except for HGTV/Food Network and looking at the Dow occasionally (from the other room: “Turn that thing off!”). Waiting for Bosch Season 6 on Amazon next month. Our fitness center is closed, but we are still trying to exercise regularly by walking when the weather permits, we have a […]

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I know it was happening in Discovery, but Discovery was a spiritless effort to cash in on a franchise in a crass and artless fashion. The Starbucks in the narthex. I approached the second season in the spirit of, it can’t stay this bad, and of course it didn’t. After the second episode I didn’t […]

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In the early 1970s there was a meningitis epidemic in Brazil. I learned this in 1988, when there was another meningitis epidemic, in Brazil, where I myself was. The newspapers in Florianópolis said the previous one had been concealed by the military dictatorship. Whether the military dictatorship did that, I thought I myself had caught […]

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SF authors are generally viewed as being mainly concerned with the future, but Connie Willis is more interested in the past…and, particularly, the way in which the past lives in the present. Her novels and short stories explore this connection using various hypothetical forms of time displacement. In Lincoln’s Dreams, a young woman starts having […]

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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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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: On the Love of Books

 

“Aren’t we blessed, we who love books?” ― Frances Maureen Richardson

First of all, you’re probably wondering who is Frances Maureen Richardson? I would be shocked if you had heard of her. She’s a friend of mine, a woman in my book club, and a woman who in her senior years wrote and published her first and only novel. The novel is called Not All of Me is Dust. It’s really a fine novel. Twenty reviews on Amazon and all gave it five stars, and other than a couple of friends she has no idea who those reviewers are. You can read about her book here.

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Years ago, I don’t recall how many, but these were in the prehistory days before Facebook; Amazon; Youtube; Google; Ricochet , there was a paper I read where the author just tore apart, almost line by line, an article written by a fellow named Robert Fisk. It wasn’t too long later that the word “fisk” […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About Writing Styles

 

I am not an overly educated man. Most of my studies were in computers and other sciences. I don’t have a solid academic background in literature or writing specifically, nor philosophy. But I am a smart man, despite what @arahant may have you believe. So I consider things that I am sure people have considered many times before me, and even have official words to describe. Such as certain styles of writing. Forgive my ignorance of terms as I describe three styles I’ve noticed, one of which I absolutely detest.

Third Person: Most novels I read are written in third person. It’s some person who is narrating a story. Like if your grampa was telling you a tall tale. Here’s an example:

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In 2015, I reviewed Hans Fallada’s great novel of the late Weimar era, Little Man, What Now? Today’s review is of another Fallada novel, this one set earlier in Weimar, during the time of the great–insane–inflation. Wolf Among Wolves tells the story of a collapsing society through the intertwined lives of many characters, who include: […]

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Get out the brandy and enjoy: Fire and Ice  BY ROBERT FROST Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I am drawn toward the warmth of a fire, as are most people I suppose. In the dead of winter there is always room for a good story. this wee we have seen several of these and I say: Burn the lot. I present for your reading pleasure a classic: The Cremation of Sam McGee […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review – Frozen Orbit

 

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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I once started a Judith Rossner novel. I also once started a Danielle Steel novel. I recently started a nonfiction work by one Laura Thompson, titled The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters. It too I will fail to complete, though I will again read quite a bit of it before I quit. Chick […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

 

If I were marooned on a desert island and could only have one book, it would be Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I first read this book in a Boeing 747, in 1984, on my way to Britain for a three-week vacation with my then-husband. I remember reading a passage, I don’t remember which, that made me cry it was so beautiful.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Exile: Portraits of the Jewish Diaspora

 

The nation of Israel is constantly in the news, a small nation whose very existence attracts a disproportionate interest from the rest of the world. Israel is also a modern creation, whose groundwork was laid in the late 19th century, and whose birth came as a promised land of safety and return after the horrors of WWII. Return from what? From the Diaspora of Jews after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. From Roman Palestine, over the next 1900 years, the Jews spread throughout much of the world. And with the creation of Israel, many did return. But many communities of the Jewish Diaspora either remain where they planted themselves centuries (or even millennia) ago, or have continued to spread into different, and sometimes unlikely places around the world.

Exile, the first published book by an author already known here on Ricochet, Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, is Annika’s investigation into a number of these Diaspora communities. How did they arrive where they are? When did they arrive? And why do they stay, with the promise of a return to Israel beckoning? Over the past several years, Annika has been visiting some of the most unlikely or far-flung Jewish communities around the world, and she presents their stories here in a single volume.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Conservative Stewardship of Christopher Tolkien

 

“A wizard is never late,” says the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lords of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. “Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he needs to.”

I am not a wizard. Which is why I am only now getting around to memorializing J.R.R.’s son Christopher, who died earlier this month at age 95. Indeed, his passing has already been noted, in a more timely fashion, elsewhere on Ricochet. So I can only hope that readers will excuse my tardiness. For Christopher’s efforts on behalf of his father’s literary legacy are not merely worthy of praise in themselves. They also present an example of what it means to be conservative, in the most literal sense.

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I got to thinking about the great Shakespearean Plays and one of my Favs is MacBeth. Please enjoy the read. Speech: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (from Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth) Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our […]

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