The Pulp Fiction Santa of Seabury Quinn

The January 1938 issue of Weird Tales, in addition to such fare as a poem by H. P. Lovecraft, a reprinting of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Ethan Brand,” and a typically sensuous Margaret Brundage cover illustration, offered readers a story under the title “Roads.” The author was Seabury Quinn, better known for his Jules de Grandin occult … Continue reading The Pulp Fiction Santa of Seabury Quinn

Robert Nathan Readthrough: Autumn (1921)

New England, for Peter Kindred, the eponymous protagonist of Robert Nathan’s first novel, is a magical place, with its “fragrance of farm houses and apple orchards.” When Peter meets Joan, a Radcliffe student and his wife-to-be, he moons: “I can hear all New England talking in her voice—orchards, rocks, villages and churches.” In general, Peter … Continue reading Robert Nathan Readthrough: Autumn (1921)

Robert Nathan Readthrough: Peter Kindred (1920)

Robert Nathan’s debut novel Peter Kindred is not one of his fantasies, but it makes good reading for its quirky earnestness and lyric touches. A semi-autobiographical story of a Harvard student and his first steps in life after leaving the Ivy quad, the novel deflates its eponymous protagonist’s precious theories about society, nation, and economics. … Continue reading Robert Nathan Readthrough: Peter Kindred (1920)

Robert Nathan Readthrough: Introduction

Connected with my interest in fantasy literature written by Jews, I want to do a chronological readthrough of Robert Nathan (1894-1985). This might seem an odd choice for several reasons. He’s not exactly a household name today, even among fantasy readers. And the fantasies that he produced are in a gently whimsical and satirical mode, … Continue reading Robert Nathan Readthrough: Introduction

The Pole Star of Phyllis Eisenstein

Phyllis Eisenstein, who passed away a few years ago, was the author of half a dozen well-regarded fantasy novels and numerous stories. I have read two of her books: Born to Exile, published in 1978 and comprising linked stories published earlier in the 1970s, and its 1989 sequel, In the Red Lord’s Reach. Both chronicle … Continue reading The Pole Star of Phyllis Eisenstein

Review of Mystical Perelandra

I'm glad to appear in the new issue of the Journal of Inklings Studies, where I review Lewis scholar James Como's Mystical Perelandra: My Lifelong Reading of C. S. Lewis and His Favorite Book. "I too love Perelandra, though as a Jew it cannot inhabit my faith experience anywhere so perfectly as it does Como’s. … Continue reading Review of Mystical Perelandra

More Were-Owls in Fantasy

I've left this site fallow for a while, as I've been focusing on my poetry and divorce movies and--oh, yeah--my day job. I've got a few fantasy items in the hopper, but let me get back to things now with some were-owls. I recently finished Tad Williams’s epic fantasy trilogy Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, first … Continue reading More Were-Owls in Fantasy

Shimon Adaf’s Postmodern Fantasy, pt. 2

Once upon a time—in 2006 to be exact—the Israeli writer Shimon Adaf published a children’s fantasy titled Ha-lev ha-kavur (The Buried Heart). The book tells the story of two tweens, the boy Emir Mor-Tal and the girl Talia Pinto, who live in the sleepy development town of Mavo Yam in southern Israel. Emir’s terribly ordinary … Continue reading Shimon Adaf’s Postmodern Fantasy, pt. 2

Shimon Adaf’s Postmodern Fantasy, pt. 1

The Israeli writer Shimon Adaf turned 50 this summer. If no longer a wunderkind—in his 20s he had already won recognition for his first books, wrote lyrics for major Israeli rock musicians, co-founded a literary journal, and became an editor at a prominent publishing house—he remains an academic favorite (and university lecturer himself), considered by … Continue reading Shimon Adaf’s Postmodern Fantasy, pt. 1