Category Archives: Fiction

From Rural Sussex to Other Worlds

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), the political and religious traditionalist, never had electricity or a telephone installed in his Sussex farmhouse. Yet he was an avid reader of fantastic and otherworldly tales.  He enjoyed the early science fiction of H. G. Wells, in … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Hilaire Belloc, Literature

The Disappointed Futurist

A hundred years ago, the British author H. G. Wells was a prominent social prognosticator. Today his theoretical views are largely neglected. This is the lament of a new biography by Sarah Cole, discussed in the Wall Street Journal. Cole’s … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Literature

Villains, Victorians, and Westerns

In a recent essay for The New Criterion, Henrik Bering refers to his youthful initiation into nineteenth century English literature: “I was all set to become the perfect Victorian, ready to take on the duties of [British] empire, were it … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Fiction, Literature

Shades of Right and Wrong

“Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need … Continue reading

Posted in Charles Dickens, Fiction, Literature

A Necessary Luxury

“Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries….”—Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” A colleague recently told me that her job is the most important thing in her life. I think I scandalized her when I said that the … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Mystery for the Holidays

“I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas, with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Weinbaum’s Tour of the Solar System

The holidays are always a great time to pick up some light reading. In this post I want to pay tribute to the short-lived but brilliant career of science fiction writer Stanley Weinbaum (1902-35). I was first introduced to Weinbaum’s … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Detectives and Philosophers

I picked up a new set of the Bantam two volume edition of Sherlock Holmes to replace the tattered copies acquired during my college days. I started with “A Study in Scarlet” a  novella length story, published in the 1887 … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature, Philosophy

Tales From the Golden Age

Recently I’ve taken time out with books from the “Golden Age” of science fiction. The first two entries are from the Winston series of the 1950s-60s, aimed at younger readers. The stories are definitely more facile, but action packed—the sort … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Lord Greystoke of the Jungle

Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan of the Apes (1912) is certainly one of the best page-turners I’ve encountered in awhile. Like many people I knew, or thought I knew, the Tarzan story through the old Johnny Weissmuller films that I grew … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction