Upcoming Seminars

by Henry Farrell on November 26, 2012

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”:http://www.amazon.com/The-Half-Made-World-ebook/dp/B003P8QSAA/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?redirect=true&tag=henryfarrell-20, “Barnes and Noble”:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/half-made-world-felix-gilman/1100357766?ean=9781429949248&itm=1&usri=half+made+world and “Apple”:https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-half-made-world/id376226529?mt=11. 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.

Sickness unto death

by Chris Bertram on November 26, 2012

Since today is movie day at Crooked Timber, I thought I’d share. If you haven’t yet seen Michael Haneke’s Amour then you probably should make the effort. Emmanuelle Riva’s performance as Anne is one of the most brilliant pieces of screen acting I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, this is an almost uncompromising portrayal of aging and dying and of incomprehension across the generations with the end in plain view. When we left the cinema, several people outside were in tears and when I started to talk about the film I found I couldn’t without starting to dissolve myself. Some audience members sat in their seats staring at the screen for a while afterwards, and some of those were quite elderly. So if you go, and, as I say, it is a great work, do so knowing that you’ll probably be somewhat upset by the end. As you should be.