Day, I mean page, 1. I keep this journal as a record of my reading Annihilation so that those who consider plunging into this novel, meaning word-smear, will be forewarned and perhaps learn from my error. I bear no responsibility for those who trudge into this swampy, pulpy, rut of writing, meaning something of a world filled with hacks and carcasses.

Day, I mean page, 9. What did they ever do with the brain of Stephen Keeler?

Day, I mean page, 9. “That night we talked about the tower, although the other three insisted on calling it a tunnel.” Pay…


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In an early review of Rabbit, Run David Boroff of The New York Times wrote, “The author’s style is particularly impressive; artful and supple, its brilliance is belied by its relaxed rhythms. Mr. Updike has a knack of tilting his observations just a little, so that even a commonplace phrase catches the light. The prose is that rarest of achievements — perfectly pitched voice for the subject.” Boroff, 1960). But Updike’s noticing and skewing of details is by far less than the whole of his novel, although this is the aspect upon which many critics dwell. …


On some website Jonathan Franzen says two of his favorite books are Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Desperate Characters by Paula Fox (1970). Franzen’s novel Freedom has a couple references to Gatsby and Franzen’s last chapter begins with the rumored death of a cat, recall that Fox’s book starts with a stray cat and a scratch and turns into a story about the unravelling of a marriage. So, in picking up Freedom, the nods are obvious and we have that going for us. …


Hey Fellers, Come On In! 1920. Public Domain.

Norman Rockwell’s illustration Beyond the Easel (BTE) is a strange image. First it is a portrait of the artist as an old man, and as a scout dignitary or leader. From what I read, Rockwell was never a member of the Boy Scouts, (I can’t make sense of the writing over his shirt pocket and it certainly isn’t meant to say his name or Boy Scouts of America) but according to Ray Hills at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Rockwell held an admiration for the group. …


Wikimedia Commons. Ymnes. Edited version of DonkeyHotey. (2017).

Let’s be realists for a moment.People voted against Donald Trump did so because of and only because of personality.

They’ll claim they voted against what Trump did (not really a viable defense in 2016 because he hadn’t been in office yet). They know this. They know their vote was only about their hatred of Trump’s personality, and not really even his but more an applied generalized hatred of any rich person who is perceived as arrogant.

Isn’t it ironic that Americans who love to tell kids “Anyone can become president” sure hate it when anyone becomes president.

Nor is it…


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The 16th Century writer John Lyly wrote in his book Euphues — An Anatomy of Wit, “Fish and guests in three days are stale, which Benjamin Franklin turned into “Fish, like guests, begin to smell after three days.” I’ll tackle this point later when I talk novelistic characters and fish in the book The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, and its stench after three hours of reading.

A book reviewer judges a tug of rope contest where on one end is the pull of an author’s intention and on the other end is the pull of the functioning of…


Graham Greene. Wikimedia Commons.

Film footage exists of Graham Greene when he visited what was then known as The Belgian Congo. He sits on a cheap deck chair, legs crossed, the lower ankle bent so the side of his foot rests on the ground. He reads. Greene visited in 1959, arriving at what is now Kinshasa, and heading to Iyonda, spending in total about three months in the country. This accounts for the exquisite details that Greene adds to A Burnt-Out Case (ABC). Iyonda, for the record was nearest to Bolenge, on the Congo River just south of Mbandaka. In the film, Greene waltzes…


Wikimedia commons.

I was interested in the media frenzy about this document (I’m loathe to call it a dissertation) and so I looked it up. There are two litmuses that I use when first considering a thesis, exegesis, or dissertation: I look for a clear research question and I check methodology. …


I’ve obtained a copy of a strange book independently published by John Ebert, Brian Culkin (and with a preface by Michael Kamins) that stylistically aligns with many books I’ve run across lately, in that I find them more confusing and exasperating than edifying.

I suspect these projects are written by smart people who want to get through all of their information and to simultaneously allow into their discussion all of their associations, which are numerous. However, as a result they topic jump. Soon after the start of a coherent argument they ramble onto associations and new topics, and they often…


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The all powerful AI conceptualized for a transhuman future in book one that I reviewed here now promotes posthuman desires in book two, The Fall of Colossus, and we wonder about the shift since Colossus offers neither human emotions nor altruism. Why we ask does Colossus even retain an Earth full of useless eaters, Landian time wasters, since so much of of its computing energy and time is spent acting as a regulatory and punishment mechanism because humans misuse their AI-given freedom just as St. Augustine said humans misused their God-given freedom. One answer is that Colossus’ apparently wants to…

Christopher Willard

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”

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