WBH Monthly Digest 2024-04-05: Letters to Garcia

WBH Monthly Digest 2024-04-05: Letters to Garcia

Life currently prevents the weekly digest from being weekly, but I've got so much good stuff saved up for these that something has to give.

I've noted before the Letter to Garcia is a Sorelian myth, in that it enables action even if the historical facts don't exactly match.

Doomsday Recon by Ryan Williamson and Jason Anspach
Doomsday Recon is a story of Cavalry Scouts lost in a nightmare land of Mesoamerican myth and folktale come true. Beset on all sides by demons and monsters, a desperate struggle for survival is thrust upon them. Cut off from retreat or resupply, the Scouts will have to learn whether

With Both Hands: Doomsday Recon

Book 2 of Doomsday Recon, Death or Glory, is out this week, so why not check out my review of book 1 and then go read book 2?

It is really fun to see visualizations like this plot of where AirBnBs are booked solid on April 7th.

Mongol Moon by Mark Sibley
Mongol Moon by Mark Sibley is a throwback to my youth, when Tom Clancy was one of the most popular authors in the world and you could see people toting massive tomes with Clancy’s name emblazoned on the cover everywhere. Clancy got his start in technologically detailed spy novels, but

The second Mongol Moon book, A Dance of Devils, has been out for a while. I need to get to it.

Andres Freund discovered a truly monumental backdoor in the process of spreading itself.

Northrop Frye’s Second Essay: The Theory of Symbols
In the first essay, which Frye subtitled “Historical Criticism”, Frye created his categories by looking at the historical development of heroes and themes. In the second essay, Frye will turn to the different contexts in which we interpret symbols. Since Frye spends a lot of time coming up with his

The beginning of my deep dive on Northrop Frye's Second Essay in the Anatomy of Criticism.

High achievement is associated with difficult and unreasonable personalities, but I don't think it is obvious to most people how much of what is seen as "normal and expected" functions of our world depend upon those difficult personalities.

Northrop Frye on Literal and Descriptive Phases
After our brief introduction to the Second Essay in the Anatomy of Criticism, we will turn to the phases of literary symbolism. This will get very abstract, very quickly, because we are going to try to describe things are that are nearly indescribable. Bear with me, the only way out

The literal sense of a story is important to understand, as it is the only true record of an author's intent, but it is also important to distinguish it from any relationship to anything in the real world, which is the descriptive sense.

From the Atlantic in 1971.

Dune: Part Two Movie Review
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two movie adaption of the second half of Frank Herbert’s Dune is very good. Verging on greatness. Villeneuve successfully captured key thematic elements of Dune in a way that is likely to resonate with audiences now. I say this for two simple reasons: 1. It is

I really liked Dune: Part Two. It isn't Herbert's book, but we shouldn't go into it thinking that. Here I explain why not.

Also from the Atlantic, a story of how a new drug changed the life of people with Cystic Fibrosis. Drug development is definitely slower than it used to be, but amazing things still happen.

SGT. Thor the Damned Review
Why is this so good? I finished reading this on a plane and I immediately wanted to go back and buy the two earlier volumes, but I couldn’t without ponying up for airline internet access. But it was so much fun to read this that I seriously considered it. I

With Both Hands: SGT. Thor the Damned

Why is this so good? Because of the greatness of the source material, but also because Cole and Anspach are really good at what they do.

Northrop Frye on Symbol as Image
The third phase of Frye’s phases of literal symbolism is the formal phase. This will be Frye’s briefest section in the second essay, but don’t let it fool you. Frye is making a synthesis out of the prior two phases, the literal and descriptive phases. This section will also be

The middle phase of symbolic interpretation is a synthesis of the literal and descriptive phases. Frye tells us that the analysis of literary symbols is commentary. But, he is going to go somewhere surprising. Frye is going to insist that there is no such thing as the author's intention in stories.