Recent posts tagged history


Future Schlock, Pt. 2

More on how SF's main purpose isn't to predict the coming of specific things, but to understand how we might respond to them, whatever they are.


The Discomfort Zone

Ta-Nehisi Coates is not here to make you smile, so stop asking him.

A World Awaited And A World Attained Dept.

To ring out the old (and busted) and ring in the new, I share with you a note penned just after WWII. I think you will find it as fitting as I did....


Gonehattan Dept.

Further documentation of vanishing New York. Get out your handkerchiefs.


Something Else!!! Dept.

There better be something new under the sun, or else!

The Men Behind Us Dept.

On writing about a kind of man that no longer exists.

That Shakespearean Rag Dept.

On being the embodiment of your moment in time.


United Red Army

Painfully long-winded (three hours and change), this docudrama about one of Japan's most notorious and violent political factions wouldn't be worth the attention if it wasn't for the fact that longtime director / agent provocateur Kōji Wakamatsu was at the helm. The...


Disappearing Act Dept.

I have been reading The Shores of Light, a collection of literary criticism from the 1920s and 1930s courtesy of Edmund Wilson, a very capable and perceptive critic who as far as I can tell isn’t sung much of these...

Death March on Mount Hakkōda (Jirō Nitta)

Billed as a “documentary novel”, this book uses as its inspiration a true incident from Japan’s military history. In 1902, two platoons of Japanese soldiers competed to see who could cross the snowy wastelands of Japan’s far-north Mount Hakkōda. The...


The Roof Tile of Tempyō (Yasushi Inoue)

The label historical novelist usually brings to mind someone like Robert Graves, whose I, Claudius has become something of a staple reference point for such work. It’s no coincidence Graves is namechecked in the introduction to The Roof Tile of...

Just Watch What You Say Dept.

Orac has a problem with the concept of freedom of speech getting historical exceptions, as do I: Elie Wiesel: Carve out an exception to free speech for Holocaust denial : Respectful InsolenceI find myself far more in agreement with Salman...

Afterschool Charisma Vol. 1

I’m going to start this review with a position I fully expect others to find irritating at best and indefensible at worst. I hated Axis Powers Hetalia so much that for a long time I didn’t dare tell anyone how...

The Blue Wolf: A Novel of the Life of Chinggis Khan (Yasushi Inoue)

Here is a novel about the life and times of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan, which is as interested in the weather of his spirit as it is in the geography of the lands he conquered. It is a fascinating hybrid of...

Dig Deeper Dept.

Not every day you open the paper and see news about how key concepts in human history may be upended. Turkey: Archeological Dig Reshaping Human History - ... it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in...

MLK Dept.

I wasn't sure I had a lot to say about Haiti that has not already been said -- many times, elsewhere, better, less vociferously even -- but I think I might have a few things to say about MLK. In...


Dying Arts Dept.

The geisha have been a dying breed for a while, but apparently so are the pearl fishers: Ancient art of pearl diving breathes its last | World news | The Guardian ... The dearth of potential successors could spell the...

Death Sentence Dept.

Like genius and creativity before it, the word genocide has become so horribly misused and over-used that bringing it into a discussion now runs the risk of driving out more people than it might draw in. This is not to...

A Bone To Pick With History Dept.

A little disinformation goes a long way. Remember the brouhaha about Hitler's bones not really being his? Turns out it's pretty much guff: Op-Ed Contributor - Hitler’s Jaws of Death - I spent a few years reading alt.revisionism and...

Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea

One of the last shots of Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea is a very bad CGI shot of an arrow flying up through the clouds. It’s emblematic of all that’s wrong with this movie: obvious,...

Seul Contre Tous Dept.

After the killings of George Tiller and Stephen Tyrone Johns, there's discussion over at the Times about the tangled morality and ethics of permitting hateful speech. Hate Crimes and Extremist Politics - Room for Debate Blog - Back in...

Total Bull Dept.

Every now and then you come up against something that makes you not only stop cold but have the worst time starting up again and saying anything that isn't just "WHAT? WHAT?" Yes, again I was doing Tokyo Inferno research,...

Tamayura Douji Vol. #1 (たまゆら童子) (Eriko Sano)

We never know his name. He is referred to as “that mysterious boy” (不思議な童子 / fushigi na douji) by one character, but the title of the comic (たまゆら童子 / Tamayura Douji, “The Phantom Boy”) hints broadly at the fact that...

Jaw Dropper Dept.

Most of my reading time as of late has been taken up with research for Tokyo Inferno, and as such things go I tend to bounce from one link to another. I found myself reading about the fierce reactions to...


Tun-Huang (Yasushi Inoue)

How is it that a gigantic hoard of Buddhist literature came to be concealed in the Thousand Buddha Caves near Tun-Huang, in the northwest of China, and remained undiscovered for almost a thousand years? The explanation provided by Tun-Huang is...

See other history posts for 2007

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