Murderous Shakespearean Teens: a review of If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Let us turn to an under-theorized but much-loved genre, which I have just decided to name “Murderous Shakespearean Teens”.

We’re thinking of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited; we’re thinking Donna Tartt’s A Secret History; at a pinch, we might think of Peter Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes’ How To Get Away With Murder. There are not many more examples, although I suspect there are quite a few Murderous Shakespearean Teens sitting in a YA publisher’s slushpile somewhere.

These stories all share three central traits: violence (physical or otherwise), glamour, and youth.

Continue reading “Murderous Shakespearean Teens: a review of If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio”

Lesson Plan for Murder – Lori Robbins (Review)

lpfmOn the first day of term, Liz Hopewell clears clutter, plans lessons, and discovers a corpse. Marcia – polished, professional, and ever-so-superior – is sprawled on her classroom floor. Understandably enough, busy teachers and police leap to the comfortable explanation of “natural causes”.

Mysterious lesson plans and a tainted coffee cup raise Liz’s suspicions, but it’s hard to investigate with a full timetable (including some of Marcia’s classes) and a busy home life. Add to that a devastatingly handsome policeman, pushy parents, and possible further murders: Liz is definitely in danger of something, and only solving the mystery will reveal what.

Continue reading “Lesson Plan for Murder – Lori Robbins (Review)”

Give Us Strength, Oh Lord, to Let our Children Starve

I came across this article today. Following on from that, I came across this extremely similar article, but on a much more readable website. Both articles date from early last year, and both concern the same event: a machine has written poetry.

I don’t approve – it is important to me, I find, that there are some arenas in which mankind is not surpassed by machines. I’m happy to concede efficiency, I’m happy to admit that a computer can simulate and calculate far more rapidly and accurately than I could ever hope to achieve. All the privilege I claim for my own species (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of creating: of making something new and original, of infusing ink and dead trees with beauty and meaning, of finding the figure trapped inside a block of stone. Continue reading “Give Us Strength, Oh Lord, to Let our Children Starve”