James Joyce Celebrates His Birthday

February 2, 2017, is the 135th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce (above).

In his huge biography, Richard Ellmann notes in several places that Joyce found his own birthday to be a topic most fascinating (he made certain that his novel Ulysses was published on his 40th, in 1922) and he tells how this affected his relationship with another writer, James Stephens.
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Zombies to Help Love

Aston Parsons’ 2015 novel 28 Grams Later is a zombie apocalypse horror-comedy in which the only defense against the zombie infection is … cannabis. It is tightly plotted, stays one step ahead of its readers, and has many laugh-out-loud comic moments.

Among its great insights are that even in the middle of an apocalypse, bureaucratic types will emerge to run the remains of the bureaucracy, military types will offer to shoot first, and stoners will quite probably save the world. Parsons keeps the novel’s attitude on the tongue-in-cheek side, which is, of course, an awkward compliment for a zombie novel.

Parsons has also pledged that all proceeds from sales of the novel from December 1 on will be donated to the Courage Foundation’s defense fund for Lauri Love. In November, Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary, signed the order to approve Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States to face charges of data theft.

More than 100 members of Parliament, across party lines, signed a letter in October on behalf of Love that is to be sent to President Obama to request that he withdraw the extradition requests. People around the world are fighting for Love’s freedom. Parsons’ book is one more way.

The title is available through all the E-Book retailers. Hardcover, the book is available for around £3.00. Through Amazon UK, the title is £0.49, and though Amazon in America, the title is 99 cents. Buy a copy, and then spread the word.

28 Grams Later is also available through iTunes.

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Deus X-Files

Deus ex post facto: plot twists and other dilemmas …

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In classical drama, the term deus ex machina refers to a plot device wherein a plot problem is suddenly solved by the arrival of a previously unannounced character who supplies the answer or solution. “But don’t you know? That’s your brother!” would be a line delivered by a deus ex machina character, thus helping our hero avert or defeat a troublesome situation.

When a playwright or a novelist needs to fix an intractable plot puzzle, he or she might resort to the tool, which is Latin for “god from the machine,” or “you couldn’t figure it out for yourself with the characters you’d created, so you punted,” but audiences since ancient times have tended to see through the fix. “Where did HE come from?” More often than not nowadays, it is used ironically, but when you find yourself reading a book and seeing lines delivered by a character that you do not remember being introduced to, your inattentive reading is not to blame. That character really was not there 20 pages earlier.
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