Archives for Dana Rail

Re-reading “Foucault’s Pendulum” in the Age of QAnon – Pt. 1, The Plan

I just finished my third or fourth reading of Umberto Eco‘s classic esoteric suspense thriller and sublimely wacko-satirical thought experiment, Foucault’s Pendulum. The Premise First published in 1988 in Italian, Foucault’s Pendulum tells the story of three editors at the fictional Garamond Press in Milan (and its aptly named vanity press twin, Manutius Press), who are brought an esoteric manuscript purporting to include a secret coded Message regarding the fabled Knights Templar and their alleged centuries-spanning occult Plan. (Here be potential but necessary Spoilers – Caveat Lector!) The Message is highly ambiguous—imagine a purposefully vague Nostradamus quatrain written in a
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The Day I Fell in Love

January 18 is Winnie-the-Pooh Day…Huzzah! I’m one of those folks who remembers little of early childhood. I have, however, one sun-bright memory of sitting rapt at my school desk in Mrs. G’s second grade class, aged seven, as she read aloud, over a period of several weeks, A.A. Milne’s House at Pooh Corner. That was the day I first fell in love. With books.  And now that I think of it, with fantasy literature as well. I loved Pooh so ardently, back in second grade, I begged for him for Christmas. Santa kindly came through with the hardcover edition of
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Worldbuilding with Specialists, Polymaths, and Dilettantes

The pace at which scientists are breaking down their foci of expertise into increasingly narrower fields is breathtaking. Kinda like the way fictional genres become increasingly niche-ified. (Can you say "Cat Mysteries," boys and girls?) It's all quite wonderful, but I hope all these specialists are still talking to specialists in other fields, else the forest will be missed for the trees. Nay, the leaves.
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Epic Storytelling at 10 Cents a pop

My family home was a boxy old turn-of-the-century three-story turned-student rooming house two blocks from a lively state university campus—Pig Heaven for a shy introvert who craved intellectual stimulus and some elusive beauty amid the drab and the ordinary surroundings of a working class upbringing. So it was that I spent most weekends at the movies, or in campus bookstores and record shops, or checking out the latest DC and Marvel comics at the corner drugstore. Comic books were a dime in my earliest youth, then maybe a quarter, back when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby scribbled and sketched their
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Down the Nazi Occult Rabbit Hole

Have you ever noticed how fascinated Speculative, SciFi/Fantasy, and Thriller writers are about Nazis? From Marvel's Hydra to PKD's The Man in the High Castle, from Indiana Jones to Wolfenstein, from The Boys from Brazil to Arrowverse's Earth X to...you get the idea. You could spend years working through that reading list. And to be honest, I have.
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