On Reading The Barrow

Notes on Reading The Barrow: Economics & Fantasy; or, the American Revolution

  • date
  • July 10, 2014

The first part of The Barrow is subtitled “In the City of Money and Filth,” which hopefully announces two thematic subjects of its close look at Therapoli Magni, the capital city of the Middle Kingdoms: the sexual politics of the city (and in particular its criminal, underworld class), and its feudal, pre-modern economics. And having just passed our Fourth of July weekend, in which we commemorate the Declaration of Independence that set us on a path to whatever eventual destiny awaits us, this seems an ideal moment to ruminate a bit on the economic and political nature of the fantasy genre...

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Notes on Reading The Barrow: The Myth of Pasiphaë

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  • June 19, 2014

I suppose there is a version of the old question—if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?—that goes something like: If an author makes a reference and no one gets it, is it really a reference? A great many obscure references and homages are buried in The Barrow—I mentioned a few of the gaming ones in my first essay on reading the book—and I certainly tried to write the novel in a way that it was still “readable” even if you aren’t picking up on the references and homages (your mileage may vary, of course). But still, there were some references...

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Notes on Reading The Barrow: Sex & Horror

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  • June 5, 2014

In reading reviews from critics, bloggers, and readers (and as an author I do read reviews; any author who claims not to read reviews is either a liar or a moron), I’ve noted a number of comments about the sexual content of The Barrow. This was not entirely unexpected. I suppose there is always some danger in authors responding directly to critics and reviewers; but I suppose if I were entirely averse to danger I would have written a different book. There was, certainly, an “easy” and “safe” version of The Barrow, where Stjepan is a straight (white) male hero, there’s no sex in it (certainly...

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Notes on Reading The Barrow: The Prologue

  • date
  • May 13, 2014

With The Barrow now out and available for a couple of months and reviews coming in, it occurred to me to begin using my blog on Sword & Barrow as, well, a blog. So I’m planning on posting a series of mini-essays on different aspects of the book, to write about inspirations, antecedents, and writing strategies that influenced or appear in the book to help give readers some context, points of discussion, and hints of things to come. Be warned there will be some mild spoilers on occasion, so proceed at your own risk. I figured I would start at the beginning of the book, which I suppose only...

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