Author Archives: mkevane

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear is billed as a “space opera” and indeed it seems written with adaptation to Netflix in mind. Hard to explain otherwise the gratuitous “sexy space pirate” character (yes, that is what she is called in … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Semiosis by Sue Burke

Semiosis by Sue Burke is a decent sci-fi novel of ideas: Earth colonists land on an Earth-like planet where there is little animal life but some plants have evolved sentience and have domesticated some animals….Writing is clear, story moves along … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Tom Sweterlitsch, “The Gone World”

The blurb on this novel by Tom Sweterlitsch, The Gone World, “Inception meets True Detective” says it all. You can almost feel the writing hurrying to meet some Netflix deadline for an original series. It’s a mess. Lots of great … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Robert Reed, “Down the Bright Way”

This book Down the Bright Way appeared in 1990. Reed’s Greatship series is one of my favorites, but I was disappointed in this book (which is not a Greatship story). The writing almost seems juvenile, rather than his more mature … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

I get it and I don’t get it…. mocking earnestness and mocking people are not the same thing

  “How many genders are there?” Mr. Witt asked before turning and staring deadpan at the camera. Some people laughed and walked away. Most, knowing the camera was rolling, engaged.“As many as you want?” a recent Ph.D. student responded, a … Continue reading

Posted in United States

Excession, by Iain Banks

First of my Christmas sci-fi books to be finished was Excession, by Iain Banks. Enjoyable but unlike others I found the exchanges between ship-minds to not be very interesting. They seem modeled entirely on message board banter of computer programmers. … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

I listened. The Republicans are not saying much. Rep. Sensenbrenner (R,WI) offers an oped in the New York Times

I posted this on Twitter and though I would have as coherent paragraph. A quick response to  Rep. Sensenbrenner (R,WI) oped. Sensenbrenner purports to explain why he voted against the articles of impeachment. I wanted to carefully review his argument. … Continue reading

Posted in Burkina Faso, United States

Greatest song ever recorded, for its voice, and lilting but complex melody: Myan Myan by Coupé Cloué

One of the comments: “J’en ai les larmes qui coulent, je pense à mes parents, notamment à mon tendre et cher papa, toute mon enfance se résume dans ses chansons.” “Jean Gesner Henry (May 10, 1925 – January 29, 1998), … Continue reading

Posted in Burkina Faso, Music

“Sevastopol” by Emilio Fraia in The New Yorker

A very intellectual meta short story about the nature of stories. Some Borges, some Tolstoy, some Rayuela. I read it with intellectual interest, but at the end there was (for me) no emotional resonance. So what does one do with … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Recent reading

Elnathan John, Born on a Tuesday. I wrote this on Twitter, which seems enough: Finished Elnathan John’s novel Born on a Tuesday yesterday. Very powerful, great straightforward prose, keen insights. A tiny bit derivative of Allah n’est pas obligé but … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Very long. For the first 300 pages I was really enjoying it. My kind of novel: some science fiction (AI surveilled society), some time travel (to ancient times), some style (I had just finished Chandler, and as first Harkaway channeled … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Remembering the hope of 2011 in Sudan and South Sudan

Posted in Sudan

“God’s Caravan” by Tiphanie Yanique in The New Yorker

“God’s Caravan” by Tiphanie Yanique  November 4, 2019 The New Yorker. I really enjoyed the story (I listened to Yanique reading it on the podcast). It starts slow, and slowly builds, adding layers of complexity as you move along. With … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Blistering critique of MPP and President Roch Kaboré by opposition in #Burkina

Non content de réchauffer les projets de Blaise COMPAORE pour se les réattribuer, le Président KABORE se lance maintenant dans les inaugurations de morceaux de routes. Là où un Haut-commissaire ou un Gouverneur étaient suffisamment compétents pour inaugurer ces mini-infrastructures, … Continue reading

Posted in Burkina Faso

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio … context so important for appreciating the song

Posted in Music

Recent short stories in The New Yorker

“The Bunty Club” by Tessa Hadley from the October 28, 2019 issue of The New Yorker.  Hadley has several stories with fugue states embedded in them, where the narrator and reader are no longer sure that the continuation of the … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, by C.A. Fletcher

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, by C.A. Fletcher. Enthralling dystopia set in a future England with very few humans left. More for the young adult audience. The ending a little too pat for my … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely, by Raymond Chandler. Definitely second-rate Chandler. The Big Sleep was much better. Amusing for the historical snippets, not amusing for the casual bigotry, and the writing is sloppier than The Big Sleep. Plot also more convoluted: let’s … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid. Billed as a “literary thriller” I thought this might be a good read after some more mundane books. But I was wrong. The novel was interesting for awhile, but then it started … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews

Affordable housing at about $200,000 a unit in San Jose?

I wish reporters would give  better sense of the financing and ownership details of these affordable housing projects. For example, from SJ Spotlight, an excellent new online newspaper serving the South Bay: The two proposals on the agenda are located … Continue reading

Posted in Burkina Faso, United States