Tag Archives: novel

Supercontext: Shadowland by Peter Straub

This fantasy/horror novel about prep school boys and magical authority came in the middle of the genre paperback boom. We talk about Straub’s concerns when writing it and how he walked the line between horror and “literature,” while responding to the market pressures on his publisher.

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Supercontext: The Killing Floor by Lee Child (Jack Reacher Book 1)

This crime novel follows a wandering problem-solver who always wins. We discuss why these books are so immensely popular and the vicarious consolation we get out of the hero, his nobility and his alienation.

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Supercontext: The Final Programme by Michael Moorcock

This first part in the Jerry Cornelius saga is literary science-fiction that challenges the politics of its time through transgression. But we find eerie parallels to our current zeitgeist and wonder if Cornelius is the perfect device to question our thoughts about subversion and morality.

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Supercontext: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy focuses on humanity’s weird relationship with nature and how we react to the unknown. We look at how VanderMeer wrote the book, the unique publishing strategy behind it and his choice to strip the characters of their identities, while still representing an all female cast.

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Supercontext: Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming (with guest Van Jensen)

Together with guest Van Jensen, we dissect the original James Bond source material. We look at Ian Fleming’s life and possible wish fulfillment, as well as how he wrote and published this post-World War II spy story. And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also discuss Bond’s misogyny and nationalistic fantasizing.
 

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Supercontext: Miami Blues

Based on a hard-boiled novel by Charles Willeford, this sweaty, sultry film has us questioning hedonism and the struggle between order and chaos. Between writer/director George Armitage, a very shirtless Alec Baldwin and killer performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward… we’ve got plenty to talk about.

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Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

We try to unpack what little is known about this author, while providing a “succinct” description of the book. Along the way we discuss the publishing industry, book awards, obscenity, themes and the mythical reputation this tome has garnered over the years.

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Supercontext: Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire

Some call Pale Fire the best novel of the 20th century. So we interrogate what that means by diving into literary criticism about postmodernism, hypertextuality, authorial intent, unreliable narrators and more.

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Supercontext: Warren Ellis’ Normal

In his new serialized novella Normal, Warren Ellis shows us how too much futurism can lead to “abyss gaze.” Christian went to one of Ellis’ few U.S. readings from the book and reports to Charlie on how social media is the new cosmic horror. And what’s the difference between a foresight strategist and a strategic forecaster?

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