Friday, July 14, 2006

Travels in Absurdistan

Now that the summer issue of The King's English is out, I've been trying to catch up with all the submissions that have come in -- not a job, by the way, that I do alone. (Thanks Bill, Mark -- and of course to the Czarina.) One thing I never see enough of is submissions from outside the United States. We get a decent number from India, and we've certainly received one or two from many other countries, but nothing like the volume we need in order to have a reasonable chance of getting top-notch work.

Fortunately, you don't have to look far to satisfy my desire for writing from elsewhere. Check out Christopher Hitchens' review of an anthology of recent writing from Iran. If you're not quite ready to embrace other cultures, maybe you'd prefer this cranky (as in, crank alert) review examining a legitimate question: why do we romanticize "primitive" people as peaceful, living in harmony with the land, etc., when in fact they were and are just as contentious, warlike, and rapacious as contemporary western culture?

Meanwhile, in completely unrelated news, the world's biggest fusion reactor -- that's right, fusion, not fission -- is being built right now in France. Check out what one of the physicists says about it: "We think it's going to work. We have to, or the politicians wouldn't give us the money."

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