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jay rothermel
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Overlooking, Hag-riding, and the Hang-fair: A few notes on Hardy’s story The Withered Arm
I am a
repeat reader of Hardy's poetry, and his odd and fascinating creation The Dynasts .  But until this week, I never got anywhere with his
fiction. Last
night I read his long 1888 story "The Withered Arm."  This is a story set in pre-enclosure
Wessex.  ...

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The Boy Wizard of Wholesale Groceries
"Contents of a Dead Man's Pockets by Jack Finney (1911-1995) was published in the October 26, 1956 issue of Collier's Magazine . Finney was almost a decade in to his career at the time, and a master of the "slick magazine" short story.    He had already wri...

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Men, Monsters, and Murderers: Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell
Over the
weekend, when I needed a break from Somerset Maugham, I re-read John W.
Campbell's short story, "Who
Goes There?' Campbell
was an exciting writer, skilled and professional.  Last April I read his 1951 novel The Moon is Hell , which is a splendid ha...

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The awful comedy of espionage: Notes on Maugham's Ashenden
1929 book Ashenden
or, The British Agent has a reputation for cynicism.   I don't think it's cynical and flippant in
the way Fleming and Deighton are a generation later; certainly there isn't the
intoxicated self-pity and defeatism that besets mos...

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Contradictions of Jewish Assimilation: Some Notes On Somerset Maugham's The Alien Corn:
Maugham’s short story “The Alien Corn” [1931] is still a shocker.  It tells the
story of an extended Jewish family in the UK, and their attempts to
assimilate.  It focuses on the toll this
effort takes on the family’s twenty-once year old eldest so...

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Age of dark intent: A few notes on Leiber's The Terror from the Depths
“What has haunted my
dreams for nearly forty years is a strange sense of adventurous expectancy
connected with landscape and architecture and sky-effects” H.P. Lovecraft (SL
3.100). It's
shocking to think that "The Terror From The Depths" is four decades

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Max Kelada: Having your cake and eating it, too
I had a sudden suspicion that something unfortunate was about to occur, but I could think of nothing to say * According
to the all-knowing Wikipedia, “Mr. Know-All” first appeared in the September
1924  Good Housekeeping . “Mr.
Know-All” can be found in the...

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Wubba, Wubba, Wubba! The Long wave goodbye: The Year of the Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein
"Year of the Jackpot" is a 1952 short story by Robert A.
Heinlein. It first appeared in Galaxy magazine that year. It can be found in the collection The
Menace from Earth . It's an end-of-the-world science fiction story, for which I have a
weakness. It's al...
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