Salt and Fire

I don’t normally do movie reviews on my blog because there are so many movies and so many reviews already. But Salt and Fire, the latest Werner Herzog movie, is deserving of my attention because it is almost universally despised. … Continue reading

Emma Bovary: Airhead?

I read Madame Bovary in high school, in French, which is to say, I didn’t read it. What I did was spend many hours with a French-to-English dictionary. I was eager to read it as an adult, this time in … Continue reading

Announcing Launch of Psi-fi.net

I have launched my new web site and blog www.psi-fi.net.  That’s where I promote my psi-fi books (should I ever have any), and meanwhile comment on their development. Awkwardly, at this time, I have zero commercially-published books of psi-fi. For … Continue reading

Deep Structure of Capitalism

When I learned that world-famous linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky would teach a class at the University of Arizona, I signed up.  A lot of people from the northeast come to Tucson for the winter, but most of them … Continue reading

Psi-fi: New Literary Genre

I have been wriggling against the sci-fi label since I accidentally wrote my first sci-fi novel a decade ago. I didn’t mean to write sci-fi, but the story had an AI android in it. I don’t even like sci-fi. I’m … Continue reading

Natural vs Artificial Intelligence

This briefing by Nick Bostrom on the dangers of artificial intelligence takes up a serious and legitimate question: Should we be more cautious as we go about trying to improve artificial intelligence? What if an AI became so smart it decided to take … Continue reading

Gratuitous Poetry

Margaret Atwood cut her writing teeth on poetry and it shows in her novel, The Blind Assassin, perhaps too much. Her phrases are carefully constructed, a virtue in any writer, but Atwood’s choices often stand out as slightly too clever, … Continue reading

What is Consciousness?

What is Consciousness? If I had unlimited time and money, I would waste it on the University of Arizona’s annual conference on consciousness, called, optimistically, “The Science of Consciousness.” Of course there is no such science. One can (I can) … Continue reading

Jack Reacher Outsmarted

Andy Martin’s deconstruction of Lee Child’s twentieth, and hopefully last, Jack Reacher novel, Make Me, is at first glance an exercise in flamboyant grandstanding pretending to be hagiography.   At least 80% of the book is filled with tangents not … Continue reading

Jack Reacher, Serial Killer

“Make me,” a schoolyard taunt, is the title of Lee Child’s 20th and possibly final Jack Reacher novel. The first one, “Killing Floor” came out a decade ago (1997) and the series has been on the top of the sales … Continue reading