I am excited to formally launch my new Substack newsletter The Usonian on storytelling and design. Read my introductory post “The Before-Times” for a glimpse of the year that has passed and the year to come.
Subscribe at harrisonblackman.substack.com today to receive all essays, interviews, and posts to come directly to your inbox!
I’m starting a new (free) Substack newsletter, “The Usonian” about storytelling and design, arriving in early 2021. The Usonian will be a one-stop shop for updates about my writing as well as feature my insights into urban design and storytelling.
This past week I had the privilege of discussing the new Netflix film, “Mank,” and the career of director David Fincher on the “Film at Fifty” podcast. “Mank” is the story of Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), the screenwriter of “Citizen Kane,” based on a script written by Jack Fincher, David Fincher’s late father.
I’m thrilled that my fiction short story, “The Peacock,” has been published and performed as an audio story on the podcast PenDust Radio, available from Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other outlets.
In “The Peacock,” a producer for the podcast “Detective Radio” travels to his hometown of San Diego to research an episode about the U.S. Navy. Along the way, he confronts grief, reconnects with an old flame, and stumbles into a military conspiracy that threatens his life and all that he loves.
I want to thank Brian Rowe for inviting me as a guest on his new cinema history podcast, “Film at Fifty,” which spotlights films which came out fifty years ago on the day.
This week we discussed “I Never Sang for My Father,” an obscure, Oscar-nominated Gene Hackman movie about death and aging (as well as the career of Gene Hackman). So, if that sounds fun for your virtual commute, we’ve got you covered.
The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and basically anywhere you get your podcasts.
During this COVID summer, I drove across the country from Maryland to Nevada with my parents and one of my brothers. In the process, we drove by our ancestor’s hometown in Kansas, sparking a reflection about what it might mean to make westward “progress” across the American continent during a pandemic.
Special thanks to Nevada Humanities for featuring this piece in their “Heart to Heart” series of essays. “Heart to Heart” explores the many ways diverse Nevadans are reflecting on living through the pandemic.
Since the pandemic began, we’ve all had Zoom calls and Zoom meetings. They have their challenges—but what about a Zoom dissertation defense? That was the scenario faced by four Princeton Geosciences Ph.D. candidates this past spring.
It was an honor to be asked to write the cover story for this year’s issue of The Smilodon, the newsletter of the Princeton University Department of Geosciences which traces its history back to 1927.
“Guyot Hall under Quarantine” spotlights the experience of four Princeton Ph.D. candidates who received their doctorates during the COVID-19 lockdown. Taking center stage is their spectacular research—from tracking earthquakes in the most remote reaches of the South Pacific to studying the potential for life on Mars.
“Archibald MacMartin, the Musical Mineralogist” traces the life of a mysterious alumnus who left Princeton with 2,500 exemplary minerals in its collection—as well as founded the first independent music periodical in New York.
Check out the cool promo page for Flying Ketchup Press’ new speculative fiction anthology, Tales from the Deep, featuring my short story, “Falling.”
From the publisher’s description:
This short story collection will take readers deep into dystopian future water worlds and alien planets that look like home. You’ll visit a doctor in the high mountains of Persia, dive into the microbiology of alien moons, and into the dark recesses of the lives of warriors, deep space travelers, cyborg creatures, and adventurers of all kinds.
–Flying Ketchup Press
The anthology arrives November 2020 in paperback & ebook.
Get ready for Frank Lloyd Wright-themed horror fiction as you’ve never seen it.
Travel writing has a long and storied history, dating back to the time of Herodotus. But what is the place of travel writing in the 21st century?
Should travel writing be written by a traveler, or by people who live in the places being written about in question? Should travel writing use the first-person perspective? And how should travel journalists frame their coverage in the age of Trump?
I try to address these questions in my review of The Best American Travel Writing 2019 anthology: “No ‘I’ in Travel: Travel writing in the Trump era” published in The Start Up, Medium’s largest publication. Check it out at the above hyperlink; I hope it can at least distract you from the terrible public health crisis afflicting the globe.