The Fall and Fellowship

The Fall and Fellowship

The final chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship," is broken into two parts: The first ends with Boromir falling to the temptation of the Ring while the second ends with Frodo and Sam heading out to Mordor as chaos rages behind them. These two passages lay out [...]

A Single Song from The Lord of the Rings Is Destroying Me

A Single Song from The Lord of the Rings Is Destroying Me

J.R.R. Tolkien was an academic with a vibrant interest in storytelling traditions and, because it was a lot easier for 13th century bards to remember rhyming stanzas than one long string of prose text, most of those traditions involve stories written in verse or performed as songs outright. Not content to merely translate and rewrite those existing verse [...]

On the Death of the Album Review

On the Death of the Album Review

For reasons that can best be described as “inexplicable,” my parents subscribed to both Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly while I was in high school. Neither periodical was a particularly good fit for my already-well-developed anti-establishmentarian artistic tastes and yet this was a time (for me, at least) before easy internet access and so, with few exceptions, I read [...]

Something That Was Mine

Something That Was Mine

Reading is an inherently independent activity so if there's anything unusual about my reading The Lord of the Rings every year, it's limited to the fact that I read The Lord of the Rings every year and not that I do so alone. Most years, after I finish that reading, I watch Peter Jackson's trilogy [...]

As They Appear to Be: Veronica Mars, The Postal Service and Kenna (Alternate Version)

As They Appear to Be: Veronica Mars, The Postal Service and Kenna (Alternate Version)

Yesterday I posted an article that compared Veronica Mars, The Postal Service's Give Up and Kenna's New Sacred Cow in a discussion of how our perceptions don't always match reality. The article was fun to write and was based on an idea that I had had a few years ago but never finished, that original [...]

As They Appear to Be: Veronica Mars, The Postal Service and Kenna

As They Appear to Be: Veronica Mars, The Postal Service and Kenna

Veronica Mars is an outsider, someone who doesn't fit in, someone who doesn't belong. We know this because the narration to Veronica Mars—narration spoken by Veronica herself—tells us so. We know this because, when the series begins, Veronica is repeatedly shown to be clique-less. We know this because, driving down the Pacific coast in a [...]

One True Sentence: The Surprising Connection Between PVRIS and Ernest Hemingway

One True Sentence: The Surprising Connection Between PVRIS and Ernest Hemingway

Having learned the art of brevity from his time as a journalist, Ernest Hemingway created what became known as iceberg theory: By omitting everything but the barest necessities of narrative, a capable writer lets the reader intuit deeper, thematic truths, thereby improving the reading experience and strengthening the story. One of the side effects of [...]

How You Get There: A Review of Subsurface Circular

How You Get There: A Review of Subsurface Circular

Warning: This post includes spoilers for Subsurface Circular. Subsurface Circular is a text-based adventure game, which is a fancy way of saying that it's an interactive short story. The player's perspective is that of a robot detective who lives on one of the subway loops that service the underground community of robots (called Teks in [...]