When Vice Presidents Carried Guns


11 July 1804: Vice President Aaron Burr kills former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in New Jersey.  We forget, even these days, what a frontier country early America was. In his sublime novel, Gore Vidal has Burr describe it thus: “It was determined that we would meet across the river in New Jersey, on the heights known as Weehawk….we would meet in two weeks’ time on July 11, 1804…I did not realize with what cunning Hamilton had prepared his departure from this world, and my ruin…When I woke up on the sofa, saw dawn, I knew I would…

Continue Reading →

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler.  It's complicated.  (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler. It's complicated. (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (June 2017) Neal Stephenson, you promised me time travel, magic, and Ancient Greek – all in the first few pages. You quoted Peter Gabriel! I was so there!  Oh goody, I thought, gentle reader, Mr S is back to  pre-Reamde/Anathem/Seveneves form. Nearly 750 pages later  >sigh<  I can tell you that I was wrong. Mr S misled me. Read our review of Seveneves for a more detailed exegesis of what ails Mr Stephenson’s writing now. Sadly, D.O.D.O lacks even the beauty and science that leavened Seveneves.  There’s no magic or Ancient Greek to be seen, either. Dr Melisande Stokes, Harvard lecturer in ancient language, is writing a record…

Continue Reading →

Night’s Lies by Gesualdo Bufalino


(1988) The place of confinement is an island fortress, “It is known as an island but ought to be called a rock.  For it is nothing more than a stack of volcanic tufa heaped up into the form of an enormous snout, wearisomely steep in some places, but for the most part bare, sheer crag.  The strip of sea between it and the mainland is no wider than a keen eye can traverse.  None the less to cross it, be it through the malice of the winds or of the currents, is a hazardous business for vessels, and totally beyond the…

Continue Reading →

What Gets Written at a Writers’ Festival?

June 9, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Photo at Sydney Writers' Festival 2012 by Tom Worthington

Photo at Sydney Writers' Festival 2012 by Tom Worthington

(Posthumous note founds in the effects of legendary extrovert and bon vivant, J.D. Salinger) Let me lovingly dedicate this pretty skimpy piece to my fellow authors who loved to schmooze writing festivals and festschrift symposia: Kafka, Celine, Balzac, Gogol. So after managing to fend off my mother and shave, I headed downtown to campus and the common, a safe space bordered by elms and a large shelter shed under eucalypts, next to a service road. Not two weeks before, during a talk by Professor Tupper on Elitism in the Arts, the organised Shout-Down was interrupted by ten men in black jeans and balaclavas,…

Continue Reading →

New Australians of the Year


The Council of The Wise has announced a new category of Australian of the Year. Those eligible for “New Australian of the Year” are those great men and women from foreign forebears or other shores, folks whose lives were the template for, and reflect, the current splendid diversity that forms the Australian nation. Nominees can be alive or dead and must embody a facet of the country’s contemporary essence. Categories were submitted to the 2020 Summit (April 2008, which was designed by Prime Minister Rudd to “help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future.”) Since then, over the last 8 years,…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.