We have a few seminars here at Crooked Timber over the next eight or nine months. The first, which will be coming out in a few weeks, is on Jack Knight and James Johnson’s recent book The Priority of Democracy ( Amazon, Powells). It proposes a pragmatist understanding of how democracy works because, not despite of, the stark conflicts of interest and ideas within it. It’ll make for some good arguments.
In addition, we have advanced plans for the much delayed Erik Olin Wright Real Utopias event, for Ken MacLeod’s various novels, for Felix Gilman’s The Half Made World and its about-to-be-published sequel, The Rise of Ransom City, and Strongly Formulated Intentions for a couple of other events to be announced at a later date. Those who haven’t read Gilman’s book yet may want to take advantage of a Tor deal for the e-book edition – for this week, and this week only, it can be purchased for $2.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Apple. In Cosma Shalizi’s words:
A splendidly-written high-fantasy western. (It is by no stretch of the imagination “steampunk”.) Gilman takes great themes of what one might call the Matter of America — the encroachment of regimented industrial civilization, the hard-eyed anarchic men (and women) of violence, the dream of not just starting the world afresh but of offering the last best hope of earth — and transforms the first two into warring rival pantheons of demons, the third into a noble lost cause. (I think Gilman knows exactly how explosive the last theme is, which is why he manages to handle it without setting it off.) Beneath and behind it all lies the continuing presence of the dispossessed original inhabitants of the continent. A story of great excitement and moment unfolds in this very convincing world, tying together an appealing, if believably flawed, heroine and two finely-rendered anti-heroes, told in prose that is vivid and hypnotic by turns.