Category Archives: essays

How Democracy Killed the Mongol Empire

This week-end, we’ll be celebrating Independence Day, and all that it stands for:  freedom, justice, democracy.  Enjoy your cookout and fireworks.  This year, we also celebrate another milestone in self-determination, the signing of the Magna Carta by King John of … Continue reading

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Developing Fictional Worlds: The Nits are All you Have

As you may know, my most popular blog entry (still) is the one entitled Bilbo Baggins’ Bathrobe: A Example of Poor World-building.  Every month or two, someone new discovers this post and feels they must take me to task for … Continue reading

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The Hand-bound Book of Elisha

Some years ago, I did a research project on medieval bookbinding, complete with making my own (rather clumsy) examples. At a street fair in Providence, I found this amazing book offered by a graduate of the Rhode Island School of … Continue reading

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Tribal Rites: Why I joined SFWA

This month, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with a blog tour–here’s my entry, and you can read more of them (beginning with Robert Silverberg’s comments as a founding member, continuing … Continue reading

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The Truth about Bird-brains, Crows and Fantasy

I was delighted to see this video recently on the Huffington Post about a girl who, after feeding the crows in her yard for years, has started receiving gifts from them in return.  Elisha Magus (now out in paperback) features … Continue reading

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Satirists, Lost and Found

Last week was an interesting one in the realm of satirical literature. It brought us word of the sad passing of a modern master, Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels, and also of the re-discovery of the grave of … Continue reading

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Ancient Aliens vs. Good, Hard Work

While recovering from recent illness and exhaustion (and under duress by another family member) I wound up watching a couple of episodes of a program designed to convince us that many of the great ancient monuments of the world were … Continue reading

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