Dystopians In High Castles

by Thomas O’Dwyer It could have been that simple — the Nazis nuke Washington D.C. and it’s all over. Capitulation follows, resistance is futile. There are plenty of right-wingers in high places — political, military, even cultural, who see this not as a conquest but an opportunity. French Marshal Philippe Pétain and Norway’s Vidkun Quisling…

‘Joyce Usurped My Splendid Name Of Bloom’

by Thomas O’Dwyer The outpouring of words after the passing of literary critic Harold Bloom on October 14th was astonishing. Who knew that an 89-year-old American academic who still muttered about things like great literary canons and dead white male Victorian-era poets could cause such a ripple in self-absorbed 21st-century space-time? However, the eulogies, obituaries,…

Not so fast, Johnny Bravo

by Thomas O’Dwyer Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro fired the head of the agency which monitors Amazon deforestation. “Fired” is an unfortunate word here – flames sweep across the country and down into Bolivia. Scientists and environmentalists have been alarmed by how quickly their predictions, that Bolsonaro’s aggressive anti-conservation agenda would boost deforestation, have come to…

We Have To Talk

by Thomas O’Dwyer Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is not so much a book of fantastic adventures as a book of conversations (and pictures). It’s right there, in the first paragraph: “What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” Lewis Carroll and his illustrator John Tenniel delivered just that, a magical…

The Siren Call Of The Castaway

by Thomas O’Dwyer The enigma of the castaway existed long before Robinson Crusoe was published 300 years ago in April 1719, but nothing had ever enthralled the growing reading public of his time like Daniel Defoe’s now classic novel. And, thanks to Defoe, the curse of the desert-island cartoon remains with us – a circular…