Read “The Snyder Cut’s homage to Jack Kirby’s ‘Fourth World’ mythos” on Medium

After a long hiatus, I’m bringing back my Medium movie blog. Join me each week as I try to keep up with HBO Max / Warner Bros. releases!

This week I spoke with literary scholar David Ting about the inspiration for “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” which draws heavily from Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” stories. You can find the article here.

Thanks for reading!

Read “A Conversation with Literary Translator Jennifer Shyue” in The Usonian

I’m pleased to unveil the first entry in my monthly interview series in The Usonian, my new newsletter about storytelling and design. This week I spotlight the literary translation work of Jennifer Shyue, who travels across literary borders in Cuba and Peru.

Subscribe today and keep on the lookout for my next issue, coming March 30, about the strange case of aquatic dinosaurs in Nevada!

Listen to “The Peacock” short story on the PenDust Radio podcast

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.

You can find “The Peacock” episode here, as well as links to various podcast streaming providers.

Read “The End of Moria?” in The Nassau Weekly

Many thanks to The Nassau Weekly for publishing a follow-up essay to a piece I wrote on the refugee crisis in Greece four years ago, a crisis which has recently entered an even more precarious phase given the Coronavirus. Thanks also to the Nass for inviting me to speak at their virtual open mic earlier this month. Read the new piece, “The End of Moria? Looking back on migration-crisis reporting in Greece as a college student,” here.

Please consider donating to The Nassau Weekly at http://nassauweekly.com/donate/ to keep this important Princeton campus publication afloat in these uncertain times.

Read “Westward Denim” in Nevada Humanities

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.

Read “Westward Denim: Retracing a complicated journey westward during the COVID-19 pandemic” here.

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.

Read “Guyot Hall under Quarantine” and “The Musical Mineralogist” in The Smilodon

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.

In this issue of The Smilodon, it was also a pleasure to write my third article profiling a quirky Princeton mineralogist (the first two, about a Mayor-Mineralogist and Hamilton’s duel doctor, were published in Princeton Alumni Weekly).

“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.

You can access a PDF of the issue, featuring both articles, at this link. Thanks for reading, and stay safe and well!

“Tales from the Deep” Anthology due out Nov. 2020

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.

Fallingwater, Summer 2018. Photo by Harrison Blackman.

Read “No ‘I’ in Travel?: Travel writing in the Trump era” in The Startup

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.

Stay inside and wash your hands!