"The book is about the importance of film for enabling audiences to connect to the most remote environment on the planet."
John Plotz is Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and cohost of Recall This Book. His books include The Crowd (University of California Press, 2000), Portable Property (Princeton University Press, 2008), Semi-Detached (Princeton University Press, 2017) and My Reading: Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea (Oxford University Press, 2023). He is among the cofounders of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative.
“In Any Version of Reality”: Talking SF with Charles Yu
“It’s why science fiction matters so much to me: I’m trying to dislocate our sense of the normal.”
America’s “Land Grab” Universities: Robert Lee on Colonial Extraction by “Treaty-Like Agreements”
“It’s not about the land underneath campuses. It’s land at a distance, that can be sold or managed to raise funds for endowments.”
Many into One, One into Many: George Lamming (1927–2022)
Lamming never lets readers forget that within that one man—as within all of us—is a boiling multitude.
“Having to Explain Who You Are”: Caryl Phillips on Baldwin, Fiction, & Sports
“The first thing he said is, ‘Don't call me Mr. Baldwin. My name is Jimmy.’ I thought, this is ridiculous, at the very least he's James.”
The Long Road to a New Ideology: Piketty on Trump, Democrats, and Inequality
“We need to have both the reparation and the universal perspective on economic justice.”
Open Letters, Open Secrets: Laurence Ralph on Police Torture in Chicago
“People rise through the ranks and are allowed to hide torture in plain sight because they become complicit.”
Beverly Cleary Forever (1916–2021)
Working as a children’s librarian in a “one-library town,” Cleary, age 23, found bored boys asking, “Where are the books about kids like us?”
Buster Keaton Falls Up
Comedy demands a fall guy—someone upon whom the absurdity crashes and yet who emerges unscathed. And in comedy, Buster Keaton remains unrivaled.
The Realism of Our Times: Kim Stanley Robinson on How Science Fiction Works
“We're in a science fiction novel now that we are all co-writing together.”
Stephen McCauley on What Makes a Comic Novel
Stephen McCauley is the author of a bevy—a raft, even—of beloved comic novels. Recent ones include My Ex-Life, Alternatives to Sex, and ...
“To Reach the Pure Realm of the Imaginary”: A Conversation with Cixin Liu
The renowned Chinese science fiction writer Cixin Liu is best known as the author of the best-selling, Obama-beloved, Hugo-winning, and truly mind-bending trilogy ...
In Memoriam: Agnes Heller
Agnes Heller, the Hungarian-born political philosopher, died recently, at the age of 90. The obituaries in outlets like the New York Times, Le Monde, and Deutsche Welle have been respectful, and even ...
Samuel Delany on Capitalism, Racism, and Science Fiction
Samuel Delany was 20 when his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor, appeared ...
Madeline Miller on “Circe,” Mythological Realism, and Literary Correctives
Madeline Miller is a Boston-born writer who currently lives in Philadelphia. Her degrees include a BA and ...
Newspapers and Northern Lights
In 1818 John Ross pointed the ship Isabella toward the Northwest Passage and opened up the Arctic exploration mania; the Shackleton-Rowett expedition of ...
B-Sides: Randall Jarrell’s “Pictures from an Institution”
While hard at work on his 1954 Pictures from an Institution, Randall Jarrell ...
In Memoriam: Philip Roth
The obituaries are striving to strike the properly respectful note, but with Philip Roth that was always going to be a challenge. The New York Times highlights Roth’s interest in masturbation, and ...
In Memoriam: Ursula K. Le Guin
If Ursula K. Le Guin’s death left only a small hole in the larger world, it poked a large hole in my smaller one. I was glad, of course, that her praises were quickly ...
John Williams’s Perfect Anti-Western
Canyonlands National Park, Utah; 103ºF under a cloudless summer sky. I’d call the canyon floor below “bone-white,” if it looked like anything had ever lived there long enough to leave its bones ...