It’s true. Science fiction by its very nature has a political stance, one which, hypothetically, can vary infinitely with the author, but which is, in practice, overwhelmingly rationalist, humanist, and socially progressive (though a bastion of conservative and libertarian voices also exists).
Read my full review of the modern political science fiction anthology at AE.
Haruki Murakami and the Art of Japanese Translations: “The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. . . . Alternatively, English is often lauded for its specificity. Henry James advised novelists to find the figure in the carpet, implying that details and accuracy were tantamount to literary expression. Is it possible that Japanese and English are two languages so far apart that translators can only reinvent their voices by creating entirely new works?”
15 Ways to Improve Winnipeg: From my first newspaper, U of W’s Uniter, a very well-done and thought-provoking special issue.
How your grammar skills affect your salary: “On the face of it, my zero tolerance approach to grammar errors might seem a little unfair. After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, or creativity, or intelligence, right? Wrong. If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.” Food for thought.
Explosions and the Meaning of the Boston Marathon: “A New York Marathon shirt means someone got lucky in a race lottery. A Boston Marathon shirt means they’ve run fast. The finish line today was one of the saddest, most terrible athletic scenes ever. But in an ordinary year it’s extraordinary. Well-trained amateurs from all over the world: sweating, straining, slowing, sprinting.”
It’s a Duck: The difference between science and superstition.