American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Episode 492: Neal Stephenson: The System of the World (1)

It has all come to this, the final volume of the BAROQUE CYCLE, appropriately called THE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD. This is not only comes from the last volume of PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA, but also from Daniel Waterhouses' thesis about the ultimate fate of the medieval and the birth of the modern.

Episode 491: Neal Stephenson: Currency (3)

We finish the penultimate volume of Neal Stephenson's BAROQUE CYCLE with some mighty fine action scenes. An attempt on the life of Peter the Great and an impaling by a cello are some of the highlights. And Jack Shaftoe comes out in force here. 

Episode 490: Neal Stephenson: Currency (2)

In this section of the final volume of Neal Stephenson's epic BAROQUE CYCLE, we see the investigative club seemingly achieve its goals through a stake out at Bedlam, leading to an important revelation.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 5: Howard-Lovecraft Letters October - December 1932

I think this will be the end of my H. P. Lovecraft Book Club. While there is much more I could do, I think this is a fine place to stop. For those interested, the second volume of THE MEANS TO FREEDOM completes the conversation between Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

Episode 489: Neal Stephenson: Currency (1)

As we come to the close of the Baroque Cycle in the book CURRENCY, we get lessons in modern economics through a fascination discussion between Daniel Waterhouse and Eliza. Picking up with Eliza is welcome after the previous book in the BAROQUE CYCLE.

H.P. Lovecract Book Club: Series 10: Episode 4: Howard-Lovecraft Letters June-September 1932

The next episode in my series looking at the letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. This episode focuses on the summer of 1932 and a handful of massive letters dealing with issues such as war with Japan and American regionalism and folklore.

Episode 488: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (3)

The climax to SOLOMON'S GOLD by Neal Stephenson is a heist on the Tower of London by Jack Shaftoe. For most of this section, Newton and Daniel Waterhouse are completely outclassed by their antagonist. SOLOMON' S GOLD is my least favorite book in the BAROQUE CYCLE, but it has a riveting climax.

Episode 487: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (2)

This is part 2 of my review of SOLOMON'S GOLD, part of the BAROQUE CYCLE, by Neal Stephenson. As always it is a fun exploration of the 17th and 18th centuries. In this section, Daniel Waterhouse starts an investigative club.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 3: Lovecraft-Howard Letters, September 1931-June 1932

More of my look at the Robert E. Howard-H. P. Lovecraft letters, focusing on the period from September 1931 to June 1932. We really get into explorations of American regionalism in these letters.

Episode 486: Neal Stephenson: Solomon‘s Gold (1)

The final volume of Neal Stephenson's BAROQUE CYCLE begins with Daniel Waterhouse's return to England. He learns about the beginning of the Industrial Age and runs errands, while a mystery begins.

Episode 485: Neal Stephenson:Bonanza/The Junto (6)

Our final look at THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson. These sections involve a dramatic journey across the Pacific, religious drama in the Americas and Jack Shaftoe's traumatic return to Europe. Great stuff.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 2: Robert E. Howard/HPL Letters, December 1930-August 1931

I guess some more of my commentary on the Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft letters. A bit of a slog but they are certainly worth reading for a glimpse at the ideas of each author about history and folklore.

Episode 484: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (5)

In this episode, I look continue my read-through of the BAROQUE CYCLE and come toward the end of THE CONFUSION. In this section of the tale, we pick up with the adventures of Jack Shaftoe in the Indian Ocean, where he becomes a temporary king.

Episode 483: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (4)

In part four of my review of Neal Stephenson's THE CONFUSION, we see the high point of Eliza's character, as she uses the Nine Years War to destroy an alchemist banker (sort of) villain. It all comes down to the emergence of new banking systems in Western Europe.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 10: Episode 1: Howard-Lovecraft Letters (1)

Here starts a 9-part series exploring the Lovecraft-Robert E. Howard letters. It will be a nice way to finish up this series. The conversation begins with a discourse on the peopling of the British isles.

Episode 482: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (3)

This is part three of my review of THE CONFUSION (Book 2 of the BAROQUE CYCLE). In this section, Eliza in France, escapes a trap by marrying a villain, while changes are in the works for the English banking system.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 19: The Challenge from Beyond

We end out look at Lovecraft's stories with THE CHALLENGE FROM BEYOND, a round-robin tale. Started promising but then Lovecraft hijacks it. Next up, a 9-episode conclusion to this book club focusing on the Howard-Lovecraft letters.

Episode 481: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Juncto (2)

This part of THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson focuses on the voyage from Spain to Cairo and Jack Shaftoe and the Cabal stealing the Solomonic gold from creepy French slave traders and the Pasha's men. Plus, Jack gets revenge for Eliza. Lots of fun.

Episode 480: Neal Stephenson: Bonanza/The Junto (1)

In books four and five of THE BAROQUE CYCLE, the story becomes "confused". We will explore these two intertwined stories in six episodes. We start with a reintroduction to Jack Shaftoe in Algiers, still a galley slave.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 19: In the Walls of Eryx

As we wrap up this look at the Lovecraft revisions we come to the Kenneth Streling story "In the Walls of Eryx", a science fiction tale with a Lovecraftian theme.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 17: The Diary of Loronzo Typer

THE DIARY OF LORENZO TYPER is a Lovecraft collaboration with William Lumely. It is a pretty solid story that relates to the Lovecraft mythos.

Episode 479: Neal Stephenon: Odalisque (3)

In this part of the BAROQUE CYCLE, we see Eliza go on an adventure in the Rhineland and Daniel rake part in the Glorious Revolution, making a deal to destroy alchemy.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 16: Through the Gates of the Silver Key

H. P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price's epic sequel to "The Silver Key" ("Through the Gates of the Silver Key") establishes a multiverse and does more to expand Lovecraft's universe than any of revision.

Episode 478: Neal Stephenson: Odalisque (2)

Eliza make a deception, shorting VOC stock by spreading rumors of the "Fall of Batavia" and the foundations of a new banking system are laid in England. Meanwhile Daniel Waterhouse finds himself in political trouble.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 15: Tarbis of of the Lake

A story E. Hoffman Price that discussed with H. P. Lovecraft, TARBIS OF THE LAKE is a supernatural love story about a stalker mummy.

Episode 477: Neal Stephenson: Odalisque (1)

Set immediately after KING OF THE VAGABONDS, ODALISQUE follows Eliza in the Versailles court caught between the French and William of Orange. This novel is partly epistolary.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 14: The R. H. Barlow Revisions

In this episode of the H. P. Lovecraft Book Club I look at a bunch of works by R. H. Barlow, which Lovecraft helped revise. They area an interesting mix that show the development of a young talent. My favorite is TILL A' THE SEAS.

Episode 476: Neal Stephenson: The King of the Vagabonds (3)

The final part of my review of THE KING OF THE VAGABONDS by Neal Stephenson. Watch as Jack descends into madness, helps Huguenot galley slaves, crashes a party and becomes infamous. We also see Eliza get trapped.

Episode 475: Neal Stephenson: The King of the Vagabonds (2)

In this episode of my coverage of THE BAROQUE CYCLE by Neal Stephenson, I dig deeper into KING OF THE VAGABONDS. Jack and Eliza learn about commerce and witches before going their separate ways. They will meet again in 20 years or so.

H. P. Lovecraft Book Club: Series 9: Episode 13: The Disinternment

This is a pretty wild story by Duane Rimel, and revised by H. P. Lovecraft, about a leprosy infection leading to the machinations of a mad scientist. Recommended.

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