Tag Archives: novel

Supercontext: Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño

This 1996 novella is about the dark history of Chilé, merged with a detective story about poets. We look at Bolaño’s career, while taking into account criticisms of his authenticity and his representation of Chileans from the vantage of his security in Europe.
 

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

Check out this episode!

Supercontext: Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin

This book attempts to redefine the novel by combining narrative with an imagined anthropological record. We discuss Le Guin’s background and mission, as well as larger questions about cultural misappropriation and utopianism.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

    • Le Guin, Urusula K. “On the Frontier,” in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination, edited by Le Guin. Boston: Shambhala Press, 2004.

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

 

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

 

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

Check out this episode!

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.
 

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

Check out this episode!

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.

Interested in the media we discussed this episode? Please support the show by purchasing it through our affiliate store:

Additional Resources:

 

Check out this episode!