Thursday, April 26, 2018

Writer who writes about out of print books by black writers. Just noting this here...

Here's the link:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Short Review of the Shockingly Good Novel by Sikivu Hutchinson "White Nights, Black Paradise"

(Yes I'm late on the reviews but will complete at least 15. This I vow!)

White Nights, Black Paradise by Sikivu Hutchinson

I sort of had mixed feelings coming into this novel because Jim Jones is not the most likeable figure in American history. He's a cult leader who not only killed his flock but much of that flock was black and poor. So imagine my surprise when I came away from the novel kind of liking the dude minus the slaughtering drug fueled paranoia that ended in Jonestown, of course. It's also a frankly brilliant debut fiction effort by Sikivu Hutchinson, who, for my money, is probably the most talented African American atheist/Humanist writer on the scene and has done something that the white Four Horsemen have never done: write a really good novel. She's also seriously good looking which probably isn't fair. But I digress.

The novel is a constant explosion of ideas and you could write a critical book just discussing all of them. My copy of her novel is just riddled with notes and yellow highlighter. Here are the notes just from the first 13 pages or Chapter One: There's a woman who's thankful that she got an abortion and found it a relief. The Jim Jones church was an extremely progressive church that actually helped black people, or at least, if the novel reflects reality, wanted to help black people. (Jim Jones adopted a black male, which is going the distance. I also found myself checking Wikipedia just to see which parts are true. Yes that black adopted son exists even though he has disavowed the church, again of course...) There's a black character who openly espouses her atheist viewpoint where she says, in part: "...I don't believe in God. You know I don't have any tolerance for magical shit." And as a black atheist person who reads and watches tv and movies I don't think I've ever heard a black person openly espousing their atheism. And the whole book is like that. You're just reading things and perspectives that you've never seen before uttered by black characters. It's almost the Anti Oprah in terms of its intellectual approach to the world. (Side note: There's an attempt to turn this into a tv series and boy if a black director wanted to make his or her mark doing some completely shocking television this would be the book you could turn into your HBO/AMC produced  10 to 12 episode version of "The Wire". )

That's just scratching the surface of all the great ideas. At my own blog I might go into some of the other issues about how the novel sort of describes a dying black press (I say that as an ex Pittsburgh Courier reporter who was fired for attempting to unionize...) or this perplexing question: if you're a progressive atheist and really want to help black people are you better off just lying about religion like Jim Jones, who in the novel used the Bible as simply a tool to teach about class struggle, or do you tell people the truth about that "magical shit"? The novel strongly suggests that if you want to reach black people lying your ass off might be the way to go. For a higher good of course...

Bottom line, really a fount work put forth by Hutchinson. It's really a must read if you consider yourself a black intellectual. Its kind of like if Lorraine Hansberry was resurrected and she started to write novels. (Hoping that Sikivu doesn't smoke.) We'll still be talking about the ideas here for decades to come. Highly recommended. Really beyond Five Stars. Should immediately be placed in the must read "canon" along with "Invisible Man" and "Native Son". It's that good and she even rewrote some of it to make it "better" than the first draft I have. You know, on Facebook and Twitter, I've asked Sam Harris to write the fictional atheist version of "Handmaid's Tale" or "1984", preferably as an "Animal Farm" like allegory or even science fiction. (No one can hear you scream about fundamentalism in space...) So that atheists would have our own metaphor for what we find troubling. Perhaps I've been asking the wrong writer to do that...

Philip Shropshire

PS: Here is the excellent promo piece that was done for the novel on Youtube.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sorry for the long delay...

I promised 15 reviews. And there's going to be 15 reviews. I also dream of fully funding this. But first things first...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#AHS #AmericanHorrorStory Okay I kind of want to see those Angela Bassett Blaxploitation flicks..

I suppose someone could write them as well. It's not like they would have to be well written I guess.

And like Winter: Reviews are coming.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reviews are Coming. Had to take a break to take care of other concerns...

I had to take care of some personal legal things for about the last several weeks and I couldn't get any writing done. That ends today. I should have all 15 reviews up by the end of October.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Shadowshaper is a new title from described rising star Daniel Jose Older

Daniel Jose Older is a new writer who looks promising. He seems to dwell in the world of urban fantasy. You can read an excerpt of this novel at this website. It's aimed at young adults so its easy to read. I like the fact that its written by a person of color and that his books feature persons of color in lead roles. His personal website seems to be here but being that this is the future he has a few spots throughout the Internet. His twitter feed is here. Not sure if I'll have time to read anything of his as my current funding is running out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Late Julian Bond wrote fantastic 1967 comic about and Against the Vietnam War

I think Julian Bond wrote this in a comics form in order to explain opposition to the war as simply as possible. It really is a shorthand version of why you would oppose the war. It touches all the bases and gives you a nice history lesson at the same time. I had no idea, for example, that Lyndon Johnson has ever said that.  It's only 19 pages and you can read the whole thing for free on the Internet.

I have no idea what happened to that wonderful artist. I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of work for a talented cartoonist who was a critic of the Vietnam War. Just guessing.

That same math still exists by the way. We could live like Norwegians by cutting 5 percent of military waste and redirecting another five percent toward domestic programs. But it's just impossible to do that.

Here's the last page below. but go read the whole thing. A lot of people can't get through Chomsky but this is a nice concise history as to why it didn't make any sense to kill other poor people abroad, especially if you were a poor person.

Just love that art....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#MrRobot The cross gendered asian people from Hackers? The Movie? My mind is blown..

#MrRobot @whoismrrobot Wait Angela knows Darlene? And Angela is wearing white? Is she White Rose? Makes sense...Or more likely FSociety...

#MrRobot @whoismrrobot I now know that Tyrell is White Rose. Two points of proof.

At first, I thought it was tied to William Gibson. But I couldn't find anything in google other than New Rose Hotel. So that didn't quite fit.

There is another meaning for "White Rose" and that's the "White Rose Society". It was a group in Germany that fought against the Nazis. They used nonviolence. They were all murdered. It makes sense that Tyrell might think that you use violence against violence.

1. That has to be the connection to all the German Tyrell and his wife speaks.

2. We saw a picture of white flowers in 20 minutes into episode 6. See below.

Of course, they could be white flowers of another kind....

But that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.