The Art of Reviewing: Introductory Remarks

Every blog needs a large-scale project. The Art of Reviewing will explore reviewing as an art form and as a valuable element to understanding society.  During this project, I will profile specific reviewers of merit.  Several specific cases also explore other facets of reviewing. What makes a good reviewer? A review is only good as the individual reviewing the work.  But what is meant by good?  Good – like value, civilization, and culture – is a loaded term.  It should be not be used in a cavalier fashion or overloaded with moral baggage.  Does the reviewer have a technique, a … Continue reading The Art of Reviewing: Introductory Remarks

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Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon

“unreadable, turgid, overwritten and obscene.” — Pulitzer Prize board. Scenario: Imagine you’re a peasant, wallowing about the mud, occasionally getting hassled by men in armor alleging they are kings because some lass threw a scimitar at him, and you’re late for the biweekly meeting of your anarcho-sydiclist commune. Perhaps you’re name is Dennis. Life is a constant struggle involving mud, plague, and rampaging Crusaders lopping the heads off random farmers. Your daily routine of mud farming is disrupted. Out of nowhere, an day-glo painted SR-71 Blackbird, piloted by a figure reminiscent of Donald Sutherland’s character from Kelley’s Heroes and co-piloted … Continue reading Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon

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Vineland and the Pynchon Canon: A Critical Appraisal

Introduction: “The bums lost.” The Big Lebowski: Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski? The Dude walks out and shuts the door. The Big Lebowski: The bums will always lose! Brandt: How was your meeting, Mr. Lebowski? The Dude: Okay. The old man told me to take any rug in the house. The Big Lebowski (1998) – Los Bros. Coen In 1990 saw the publication of Vineland, by Thomas Pynchon.  The novel concerned the … Continue reading Vineland and the Pynchon Canon: A Critical Appraisal

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #3: “Epitaph One” and the mutability of the Dollhouse Canon

Los Angeles, 2019: Another ‘Verse.  Another Vision.  More Human Than Human. L to R: Scut Farkas, Little Miss Sunshine, Codex. Apocalypse Now That’s What I Call Entertainment The TV series Dollhouse faces a unique canonical situation with “Epitaph One.”  The episode was produced but unaired, while the series was renewed for another season.  With Season 2 unseen and speculation rife, with a series finale full of cliffhangers and unanswered, where does one place “Epitaph One”? The title name winks at the possibility of the series ending.  The episode’s narrative and setting allude to finality.  Set in the year 2019 in … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #3: “Epitaph One” and the mutability of the Dollhouse Canon

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Fulgrim (Horus Heresy, Book Five) by Graham McNeill

The epic tale of the Horus Heresy continues in Fulgrim, the fifth volume of a planned twelve-volume cycle in the Warhammer 40K series. In the previous book, Flight of the Eisenstein, Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro flies to Terra to warn the Emperor of Mankind of heresy. Not just any heresy, but heresy led by Warmaster Horus to overthrow the Emperor. Fulgrim tells a story parallel to the events of Eisenstein, eventually meeting up where the previous volume left off. The Fulgrim of the novel is the Primarch of the Emperor’s Children, a Space Marine legion priding itself in its fighting perfection. … Continue reading Fulgrim (Horus Heresy, Book Five) by Graham McNeill

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Critic’s Notebook: Whedon, Pynchon, and the Flexible Canon

In the next few days, I’ll be posting another Dollhouse Riff.  Riff #3 will focus on the unaired episode “epitaph one” and how it relates to the Dollhouse Canon.  I will also write a Critical Appraisal of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Vineland.  For years, Vineland has been relegated to second banana status in the Pynchon Canon.  With the publication of Inherent Vice, the Pynchon Canon requires that we re-examine the works and their critical status. Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: Whedon, Pynchon, and the Flexible Canon

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