Reviews by Paulo Respighi

U.S. Patent 4,293,314: Gelled Fuel-Air Explosive

by Bertram O. Stull

If a flammable liquid is sprayed as an aerosol across a large area, then ignited, the entire area will explode. This gentleman is patenting a better liquid to explode--it's safer. Not for the poor beggars on the ground, but for us, the good guys.
The man's concern for the troops is touching.

Reviewed on 2014.10.25

Taboo

by James Branch Cabell

An elaborate satire on censorship and pompous critics, complete with ancient, fabricated, footnotes. It is dedicated to an agent of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, whom the author credits with publicizing and popularizing his books.
It is the story of a clerk traveling through a country where a natural body function is considered obscene in literature, so is never mentioned. The clerk's diary runs afoul of the law.
I found it funny without being silly.

Reviewed on 2014.10.24

The Soft-Hearted Sioux

by Zitkala-Sa

An oddly inauthentic Indian story. The author's photo shows her in Indian dress, but a tepee is not a wigwam, and the whole story seems false.
A Sioux kid goes to the mission school and learns about Jesus, then comes home to proselytize. Things do not go well.

Reviewed on 2014.10.23

The Poor Clare

by Elizabeth Gaskell

A beautiful story illustrating that your curse returns to you three times.
In the late 1700s, a lawyer is hired to find the heir to an Irish estate. He meets a variety of pleasant and fearful people, comes up against superstition, religious conflicts, wars and poverty only to keep finding dead ends. He meets an odd girl who is good and kind, but who has a demonic and ghostly twin that haunts her.
The lawyer's backstory, which opens the piece could have been shorter, but the plotting is twisting and absorbing, the characters real and distinct, and the descriptions are sharp.
Recommended to anyone who likes good writing.

Reviewed on 2014.10.20

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