Paul Comstock

64 posts
Mike is the Editor of the California Literary Review. FaceBook

Denial of Death by Ernest Becker


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According to Becker, man is torn between his symbolic, self-conscious awareness and his animal nature. The same creature that names himself, imagines, explores and speculates is in the end, food for insects.

An Interview With Thriller Writer Stephen White


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“When I started writing the pages in 1989 that later evolved to became my first book, I had no intent, conception, premonition, or clue that I was creating characters that would endure for over a dozen books.”

Who Killed JFK? – An Interview With Lamar Waldron


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“…we discovered that JFK and his brother had a never-before-revealed plan to stage a coup against Castro on December 1, 1963…The Mafia dons used parts of the secret coup plan to try and assassinate JFK first in Chicago, then in Tampa, and finally in Dallas. By planting evidence implicating Castro, the mob bosses prevented Robert Kennedy and other key officials from conducting a thorough investigation…”

Orchestras, Oboes and Orgies


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“I was honest about my own behavior and that of others, yet stopped short of revealing 95 percent of the worst in our business. The nature of memoir is that of truth; only real people can illustrate real stories. However, a measure of effective journalism is its ability to instigate societal change, and only a picture based on truth can do that.”

An Interview With Biographer Ann Seaman


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“The three were kidnapped at gunpoint at the American Atheist headquarters in Austin, Texas on a Sunday afternoon…They all thought they were going to live once the ransom money was delivered. It didn’t turn out that way.”

An Interview with Michael Ruse


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“I do not think it appropriate to teach non-science in a biology class – especially non-science that is really a form of literalist Christianity in disguise. Even if it were appropriate, I would not want the kind of conservative evangelical religion taught, that I think ID represents. But it is not appropriate and in the US is illegal.”

An Interview With Author Mary Roach


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“Helen Duncan is my favorite. Huge, chain-smoking woman who used to swoon and occasionally pee herself in the frenzy of spirit possession. Helen had the scientists stumped. She’d produce ectoplasm … even though the researchers had frisked her and done a cavity search prior to her entering the séance chamber. Turned out she was a talented regurgitator.”

An Interview With Fred Pearce


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“But water also defines quite well our problems in moving from a world of apparently plentiful resources – a world in which if we screw up we can move on – to a world of finite resources, where we have to manage carefully to get by. We still often see water as an essentially free and unlimited resource. But it isn’t. The public policy response to water shortages is still to build a new dam or sink a new well, with little regard for the thought that there may be no more water in the river to be captured, or underground to be pumped. Apart from the air we breathe, water is the most basic, most urgent, need that we all have. We can survive for a while without food, but not without water. We can survive forever without oil – but not without water. Water has no substitute.”

An Interview With Linguist Nicholas Ostler


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“…This is clearly boosting English learning at the moment, but there are already signs that something similar will soon begin to reinforce Chinese too…If English-speakers cease to lead technically and economically, they will soon be caught up with militarily, and indeed culturally and linguistically.”

Richard Lanham Discusses the “Attention Economy”


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“All around us we see signs of this confusion. Americans are often called a “materialistic” people and we certainly are surrounded by material possessions and revel in them. But at the same time, the “real world” of physical location seems to be evaporating before our eyes.”

An Interview With Freud Biographer Peter D. Kramer


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“In a brief biography, a writer needs to set himself a limited question. I chose this one: given Freud’s shortcomings as a scientist, many of them evident in his day, how did he achieve his enormous cultural impact?”

An Interview With Jonathan Kaplan


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“I was in Baghdad as a volunteer surgeon, but operating was difficult. The city’s hospitals had treated many wounded during the bombing, depleting emergency stores. Following the arrival of the Americans, much of the remainder had been looted, the pillage continuing even as staff tried to deal with arriving casualties. Operating rooms resembled charnel-houses, with discarded surgeons’ gloves, crusted dressings and bloody clothes caked underfoot.”

An Interview With Architect Charles Jencks


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“Narcissism? Culture in decline? It’s the whole world. Venice was narcissistic, full of iconic buildings, and declined for 500 years, but was still the most pleasant city to live in for much of this time.”

An Interview With Scott Zesch


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“It seems to have been universal throughout North America. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, abductions by Indians were common along the eastern seaboard, especially in colonial Massachusetts and Virginia. A large number of those children also came to prefer the natives’ way of life.”