Categories
Book review Cognitive Science Science

The Third Chimpanzee: A Critical Retrospective

Amidst a global renaissance of xenophobia and antiscientific fundamentalism, Jared Diamond’s book is a valuable reminder that man is after all an animal shaped by his ecology.

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Book review

David Copperfield: Wise Friends, Unconventional Families, Reimagining Reality, the Dangers of Infantilising, and the Power of Circumstance

In David Copperfield, Dickens paints pictures of sage friends and family; reimagines the family unit; warns us of the dangers of overindulging children and infantilising adults, recreates aspects of his own life that he was dissatisfied with — and explores the power of circumstance in shaping human nature.

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Flash story

Re:Birth

A woman heals from trauma, and begins her journey back towards life — via love for two unexpected entities.

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Short story

Excuses

An immigrant with an apparently perfect life and unlimited empathy is driven by a guilty secret.

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Book review

The Tempest.

Caliban: Heroic Anti-Colonial, Or Savage Rapist? Prospero: Pathetic Bookworm, or Forebearing Sorcerer? Best Be Gonzalo.

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Philosophy Politics Science What I read

Notes on Christopher Caudwell’s *Studies In A Dying Culture*

These analytical essays illuminate aspects of contemporary capitalist culture: including literature, liberty, and psychology. Underpinning these essays is the insight that a commodified approach to art and life erodes fundamental human relations, and impoverishes our souls. Caudwell argues — not for regressing into an imagined “glorious past” — but for us to fight together for a future of universal human dignity.

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Book review

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is An Intriguing, if Unsubstantial, Magic Realist Fable

The Ocean At The End of the Lane (2013) is the first I’ve read of Neil Gaiman. I begin with my usual caveat: this is a speculative novel, and I seldom like books in this genre. I’ve begun trying it regularly, and I liked this book better than some others I’ve tried recently. Still, if […]

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Book review

The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free

Brinda Charry’s The Hottest Day of the Year (2001) opens with the narrator, 11-year-old Nithya, finding Sudha hanging by the neck from the ceiling. Hottest Day then rewinds a few months to tell the story from the beginning. The book unfolds over six months of 1986 in Thiruninravur, near Chennai. Nithya is from Bangalore; her […]

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Environment Flash story

Promises

Fabula Argentea published this flash story in Issue 31. Image source: Air Quality in Delhi before and after lockdown began. SUMAN “Why’re you standing here, Ma?” Suman stepped onto the balcony. “You know this polluted air aggravates your asthma. Come inside.” Suman gasped. A hundred and twenty miles away, through the sky suddenly clear, wide […]

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Book review Environment

Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests

The Overstory (2018) won the 2019 Pulitzer for fiction, and for good reason. This is the most ambitious novel I’ve ever read, possibly also the best-written. Almost every sentence is perfect: such that the very occasional slightly-imperfect sentence stands out. The prose is both sparely poetic, and dense with distilled meaning – inviting slow savouring, […]