“The Slynx” is one of those works that kept circulating on the edge of my reading consciousness. People were always bringing it up in conversation as something that, of course, we’d all read. Except that I hadn’t. So I finally decided to rectify this error and fill this lacuna in my reading knowledge. Let’s get […]Read more "#TranslationThursday “The Slynx” by Tatyana Tolstaya"
Fasten your seatbelts, Russianists: it’s about to get weird. Well, maybe no weirder than usual for literature of this period. Russian literature of the early 20th century was gloriously, insanely bizarre. Writers were flying their freak flag high, and reveling in it. “Beyond Tula” is a case in point. Although in fact, it’s no weirder […]Read more "“Beyond Tula: A Soviet Pastoral” by Andrei Egunov-Nikolev"
In “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” we meet a new Russia: one that stands with one foot in the recent Soviet past, one foot in the more distant past of Pushkin and Lermontov, and, well, a third foot in the Millennial post-Soviet present. And maybe a fourth foot in the West. Like Chekhov (and Bulgakov), Maxim Osipov […]Read more "“Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Other Stories” by Maxim Osipov"
The Monastery Zakhar Prilepin “Humanity is dark and terrifying, but the world is human and warm.” So ends Zakhar Prilepin’s massive historical novel “The Monastery” (Обитель), about the Solovki monastery-turned-prison-camp, the seed of the GULAG system. Following the fortunes of Artyom Goryainov, a prisoner in the camp, the novel charts all the aspects of prison […]Read more "“The Monastery” (Обитель) by Zakhar Prilepin"
Last time I talked about how I incorporated the character of Baba Yaga into my novels. But she is hardly the only Russian fairy tale character I have repurposed for my own ends. The one who appears in all three of the mini-series that comprise The Zemnian Series, and who was one of my favorite as […]Read more "Thrown to the Wolves: Writing Russian Fairy Tales into Contemporary Fantasy"
Before I jump into the meat of this post, I have a request! One that should be pretty simple and easy to fulfill. The official release date of The Dreaming Land isn’t until September 22, AKA the equinox, but I’ve already published the paperback of Book 1 so that people can start posting reviews. So if you […]Read more "Was Baba Yaga Really So Bad, Anyway?"
Last week I talked about synesthesia and other sources of inspiration. As part of that I touched on some of the literary, as opposed to personal, sources of inspiration for my novels. This time around I thought I’d delve into that topic a bit more deeply. No doubt there will be more posts on it […]Read more "Whose overcoat have we come out from under, anyway? Some of the sources for my novels"
The Swan Princess C.P. Lesley In “The Swan Princess,” we meet a new Nasan from the once introduced in “The Golden Lynx“: one who’s a little bit older and a lot sadder after the miscarriage of her first pregnancy. She still finds living under her mother-in-law’s rules to be intolerable, she still finds her sister-in-law […]Read more "“The Swan Princess” by C.P. Lesley"
My characters are not only imaginary, they exist in an imaginary fantasy world. But they still have real-world prototypes or examples. Although I thought them up on my own, I’ve found some real-world examples of what they might look or be like. My main country in The Zemnian Trilogy is, of course, Zem’ (“Earth” or “Land”). But […]Read more "Fantasy characters come to life! With music videos, sword dancing, and free books!"
“Hands off Baghdad,” Dino MC 47 raps in his 2009 single “They Tell Us.” “Hands off Gaza.” In a song that was relevant then and even more relevant today, the Russian rapper–his stage name is a combination of his nickname “Dynamite” and AK-47–decries the current state of Russian-US and Russian-Ukrainian relations, exhorts Russia’s youth to […]Read more "“Hands off Baghdad”: Dino MC 47, Russia, Regime Change, and America’s Chickens Coming Home to Roost"