Articles by J.C. Hallman

October 25, 2016

Amputations and Oversights: On Marc Nieson’s ‘Schoolhouse’ 2

If you never read a book that was written by someone you know, then you never come truly face to face with the sad inadequacy of real life, which is the reason books exist in the first place. 

August 1, 2016

One Monster Replaces Another: On John Domini’s ‘Movieola!’ 1

Today, they say, we’re in a golden age of television, the vast free market of cable opening up new avenues for how moving picture stories come to be…Part of the thrust of Domini’s argument is that big screen filmmaking now finds itself threatened by its own creation, all those little screens like an army of ants taking down an elephant. 

March 9, 2015

AudioVox: On Nicholson Baker, Audiobooks, and Reading 1

I’m not averse to the idea of female ejaculation, and so when I heard female ejaculation mentioned quite loudly in an otherwise quiet room I looked up with the sort of expression that probably said something like, “Why, sure, I have a healthy curiosity about female ejaculation, so please, by all means, if you have something new to share on the subject, proceed!”

October 2, 2013

It Has Always Been Thus 8

Critics who have taken up the dead author standard would have us regard creative work as an elaborate Freudian slip: don’t read for what a writer is trying to say, read for what they’ve said in spite of themselves. That’s wrong. Literature (and all the arts, really) is the product of concentrated, intelligent minds to which we are granted intimate, but temporary and incomplete, access.

August 3, 2010

On Repetition 24

A contradictory set of truths about books and publishing in the abstract: don’t repeat yourself, and don’t write books that are too different from one another. Other writers will pillory you for the first, and publishers will be more than happy to pigeonhole you from the moment you achieve anything like success. Blow out your advance? Great. Now write the same exact book again.

May 25, 2010

Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Utopian Schemes 42

Conservative “utopias” reject the idea that government or planning of any kind can make the world a better place. Here’s why that’s not utopian: that’s how civilization started.

April 26, 2010

Drifted toward Dragons: Utopia Today 13

It’s fair to characterize the last five hundred years of human civilization as a history of not-getting-the-joke of Utopia.