Tag: fiction

Until It’s Written

 

I’m trying hard to get to know a guy. The problem lies in that he doesn’t fully exist yet. I mean, he has a name, I’m pretty sure he has a family, and I know he’s a total stud, but other than that he’s a mystery. I’ll figure him out in time. 

Great storytelling involves us becoming invested in characters we love. Even though we know they’re fictional, they matter. We want them to succeed, to win, but sometimes for the good of the story we have to put them through the grinder.

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.

Book Review

The Moon can make for entertaining science fiction

By MARK LARDAS

This Week’s Book Review – A Most Dangerous Innocence

 

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.

Book Review

‘A Most Dangerous Innocence’ a coming of age novel

By MARK LARDAS

A Fairy Tale for Conservatives

 

Once upon a time, there was this rich guy, we’ll call him Hugo.

Everything was given to Hugo by his parents, including a Rolls Royce so ritzy that the little tree air freshener hanging from the mirror was infused with a perfume created by Coco Chanel just for Hugo’s Rolls.

So What?

 

She stood in front of her apartment door with her coat over her arm, purse over her shoulder, briefcase in her right hand and her keys in her left. It had been a very long day.

Finally, she lifted her keys to the lock, twisted the key slowly and pushed. The door groaned open and she stepped inside.

It seemed even darker than usual. She breathed in the shadows and let her shoulders sag. She wasn’t on stage now. She could relax. But her shoulders didn’t want to cooperate.

Member Post

 

I got an idea for a sci-fi novel the other day. But it relies on wormholes and I am not the astrophysics junky, nor sci-fi aficionado, that some of you are. So perhaps you can answer a couple questions. Bear in mind, because this regards a fictional setting, I am more concerned with believability than […]

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A Thanksgiving Family Icon

 

Charlie sat on his deck under the leaden November sky, smoking his pipe and smoking his bird.  He watched the volume of smoke from the grill chimney as the light breeze carried it away into woods and down the hill, towards the encroaching clusters of new houses beyond the brake.  As the pipe drew less and less smoke and grew cold in his hands, he stood, grabbed his coffee mug (now also cold, and empty too), fumbled with the latch and let himself back into the house.  The draft on the grill would do all the work for the next two hours while he moved on to making the gravy and potatoes.  The kids would be bringing the rest of the dishes, including the pies (though Charlie had a couple on stand-by in the freezer, just in case).  He checked the clock: no one should arrive for at least another four hours.  

Martha tutted as Charlie dropped his hat and coat on a kitchen chair.  “You’ll just forget you put them there when you’re ready to go out again to check the bird.”  Charlie just winked at her in reply.  “Well, fine, don’t listen to me, but your coat doesn’t belong there.  Do you have the potatoes peeled yet?”

“No, but I’m just about to start them.”

Member Post

 

The first story is Robert Heinlein’s The Year of the Jackpot.  A consulting statistician with the unlikely name of Potiphar Breen observes that many strange social trends are on a strong upswing.  One such trend:  young women removing all their clothes in public.  Potiphar sees one such disrobing in process, shoos away the police, covers […]

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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.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review Neither side backs down in ‘Shep in the Victorio War’ By […]

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Group Writing: Orders of Knighthood and How they Affect Us

 

A Knight

Knights have gotten into our heads and into our hearts and they move us on a level so deep that most of us don’t even examine why do we care about knights so much? It is a hard question to answer but I think some responsibility has to go to the Orders of Knighthood that spread all over Europe with their heroics, villainy, and romanticism embedding themselves deep into our imaginations.

Summer Reading: What’s In Your Tote?

 

I just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I picked it up for 50 cents this past spring at our local library sale. The movie, touted a “chick flick,” is no comparison to this fascinating book.

Frances Mayes is an extraordinary writer because she writes what she thinks and sees – no filters. You can see, taste, and smell the Italian countryside, and many times cringe, with what it’s like to rescue a 300-year-old piece of abandoned foreign history, and rescue a life. Her love of cooking and great recipes make you want to run to the nearest farmer’s market for fresh peaches, crisp fragrant herbs like basil scattered across mozzarella and drizzled with oil from just pressed olives, and roasted hazelnuts.

While she reveals parts of herself throughout, it’s not until toward the end that her Southern roots start oozing from her pores, setting you up for her openness of growing up in the South, called Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Just browsing the pages, it appears a brutally honest, funny and soul-searing experience, next on my reading list.

Short Story: The Beast

 

I looked over the case file again before going in. “How’s it look in there?”

“He’s awake. Looks like he has a hangover. Very quiet, though.” I nodded, and the guard released the first door. I opened it and went in, first hearing the click as the door locked behind me, then hearing the click of the lock ahead. I opened the door and went in. The man sitting on the edge of the bed looked up at me, but I saw no signs of aggression.

The Unluckiest Man in the World

 

It was 10:30 AM on a sunny winter morning. Looking for a break, I bundled up and walked up to the convenience store to buy my lottery ticket. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it before. “Lotteries are a tax on people who don’t understand math.” It’s true. And especially for those who don’t understand the branch of math known as probability. If you spend money on tickets while thinking, “I’m gonna win,” you’ve already lost.

But that’s not how I buy lottery tickets. For me, they’re a form of entertainment. My wife loves to go to concerts and plays and movies as her form of entertainment. She easily spends hundreds of dollars per year. She gets charged up in crowds. Me? I get drained by being in crowds. I’ll do it occasionally, mind you. I go to some of the concerts, plays, and movies with her. While I do it, I’m often thinking I could be home working. So, how does a workaholic with an aversion to crowds let off steam and recharge? Daydreams. I can spend a buck or two on a ticket and then take a 10-minute break every few hours to imagine how my life would change if I won. Usually, it comes down to, who would I give the money to? I like what I do. I wouldn’t stop doing it just because I won a lottery. Still, my church could use a bit more and there are a few non-profits I would support, and I might set up something for my nieces and nephews, although that is less likely. The older ones have never done anything to contact me. I send them presents, and what do I get? A thank you note? Nope. Forget about them.

Member Post

 

The 2017 winner of the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award has been announced. From a tightly-packed field burgeoning with upthrusting contenders, Christopher Bollen finally plunged into the lead with a memorable billiard-rack scene from his novel The Destroyers. It’s magnificently ghastly. In other literary news, the good folks at Botnik have used a predictive […]

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Gothic Literature

 

The Goths, as recounted by a Gothic historian named Jordanes (mid 6th Century AD), were a Teutonic-Germanic people whose original homeland was, according to this same Jordanes, in southern Sweden. At that time, this half-barbaric band was ruled by a king called Berig. It was King Berig who led his people south to the shores of the Baltic Sea, where they split up into two groups: the Ostrogoths (or Eastern Goths), and the Visigoths (Western Goths).

Also according to Jordanes, the Goths reached the pinnacle of their power around the 5th Century AD, when they conquered Rome and most of Spain.

The original Goths — and this is important — have no real connection with what that word eventually came to mean.

Group Writing: The Cards

 

I heard Tommy arguing with Dad in the den. Tommy was shouting. Dad’s voice was flat and sad.

“It’s not fair,” blurted Tommy. “Everyone else has Whack-o-Man cards. If I don’t have some all the kids will think I am a nerd.”

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.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review on Ricochet on the following Sunday. Seawriter Preview Open

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Welcome to the Celestial Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for August 22, 2017 it’s the Liberal Eclipse edition of the show with your hosts Todd Feinburg, radio talk show host, and Mike Stopa, nanophysicist. This week, beneath ominous and foretelling skies we bring you ominous and foretelling tales both ancient and modern of the fates of our times. We will talk about the following Orwellian premise: how can you sort out truth from fiction when all messaging is biased? Whatever happened to unbiased journalism? Was it ever more than a myth?

And then we will discuss the defection (I almost wrote another similar-sounding word there that would have been more appropriate) of one Julian Krein from (so he says) the Trump defenders over to the Bill Kristol/Jennifer Rubin/Bret Stephens/etc. etc. wing, the so-called “irrelevant wing” of the conservative movement. Krein writes: