Blog Around: Some random things on the internet

First, some stuff on race, religion, and the Middle East
Click here to watch journalist Mehdi Hasan deliver a rollicking defense of the proposition “Islam Is a Peaceful Religion.”

The CIA acknowledged that they played a role in dismantling the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953. Seriously, every year in my history of globalization class, when I told students we helped to overthrow a democracy in the middle east basically because they were going to kick out US and British oil companies, many students simply refused to believe it could possibly be true.

Finally, Syria:

There is a lot going on in Syria and I’m trying to stay on top of it all. Right now the UN has sent in inspectors to try and determine who, exactly, is using chemical weapons. Most signs point to the Assad regime, though I do think there are still questions. No one doubts that Assad is a terrible despot who is shelling his people to hell and back. But, for me, there are very legitimate questions about the appropriate US response. The US media and political leadership seem to be gearing up for an air strike but I have very strong reservations about such a thing. Here’s a concise argument about why airstrikes probably won’t work.

Now some gender stuff:

Debate about the women’s “opt out revolution” are heating up on the internet again and I think this response is an important one.  “For nearly all women, from upper middle-class to poor, the ‘choice’ of whether to work is not a choice, but an economic bargain struck out of fear and necessity.”

Please note, this is what a feminist looks like!

Finally some general silly/geeky/interesting things:

Benedict Cumberbach is awesome.

Octopuses are interesting!

Last but not least, the deadline to submit to the anthology Long Hidden is upon us.  Only a few more days to complete your short story written from the margins of history.


Stuff Worth Reading: The Riyria Revelations by Michael Sullivan

I’ve been reviewing mostly older fiction here and thought I should include some of my more recent loves.  I’ll start with The Riyria Revelations, an epic fantasy series with the required empires rising and falling, magic and sword play, thieves and sorceresses.

Riyria is a sextet of books that Michael Sullivan wrote all of before publishing.  This allowed him to weave an incredibly complex tale that spans the entire series.  When reading epic fantasy, I often feel like the author has a major story arc in mind, but, in this series, the details that carry through are just mind blowing.  That said, the actually writing is smooth and fast and fun to read.

While the story and writing are great, it is really the main characters that made me love these books.  Royce and Hadrian are, to me, perfect.  They are both so richly drawn that I could imagine them walking through my front door.  They are also both very likable without being perfect.  Their love for each other is touching and real.

If you’ve finished Brandon Sanderson’s latest venture and are looking for some really fun, really well done epic fantasy, I would highly recommend this series!