worldbuilding without fear // The Time Machine

The Time Machine presents a case study in modern encounters with other worlds and how those encounters are interpreted by Western ways of knowing. In telling a story of time travel that relies on the craft of worldbuilding, this story also presents an archetype of a certain science-fictional gesture: worldbuilding as conquest through knowledge. In … Continue reading worldbuilding without fear // The Time Machine

There’s a Golem in My Garden // Cynthia Ozick

On creating the heavens and the earth. Golem-making is dangerous; like all major creation it endangers the life of the creator… The danger is not that the golem, become autonomous, will develop overwhelming powers; it lies in the tension which the creative process arouses in the creator himself.              Gershom Scholem, “The Idea of the … Continue reading There’s a Golem in My Garden // Cynthia Ozick

Welcome to the Freak Show // Flannery O’Connor

On the war for normality.   She could hear the freak saying, “God made me thisaway and I don’t dispute hit,” and the people saying, “Amen. Amen.”             Flannery O’Connor, “A Temple of the Holy Ghost” (1955) They stood gazing at the artificial Negro as if they were faced with some great mystery, some monument … Continue reading Welcome to the Freak Show // Flannery O’Connor

The Bastard Innocents // “The Power and the Glory”

On saving the children.   He stood with his hand on his holster and watched the brown intent patient eyes: it was for these he was fighting. …He was quite prepared to make a massacre for their sakes – first the Church and then the foreigner and then the politician – even his own chief … Continue reading The Bastard Innocents // “The Power and the Glory”

Tales Full of Sound and Fury // “White Noise”

On the overwhelming noise of death.   “How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive … Continue reading Tales Full of Sound and Fury // “White Noise”

What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk Enough // Raymond Carver

On sincerity, and expressing the deep at the surface.   I stood at the window and waited. I knew I had to keep still a while longer, keep my eyes out there, outside the house, as long as there was something left to see.                     (Raymond Carver, “Beginners”) I could hear my heart beating. I … Continue reading What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk Enough // Raymond Carver