Author Archives: Scott Parkin

A Short Stay in Hell with The Scholar of Moab

A reader response meander by a literary luddite. I have become a fan of Dr. Steven L. Peck based on his books The Scholar of Moab and A Short Stay in Hell. Well, mostly a fan. Okay, a conflicted fan. … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit | 18 Comments

The Language of Our Fathers (or You Should See What I Hear)

In an increasingly visual and auditory media environment it’s to our advantage to keep tabs on the written word as a precise and clear set of symbol for the underlying concepts. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Funny Stuff, Thoughts on Language | 3 Comments

Star Kvetch: The Next Generation; A Musing on Community over Time

Healthy communities are in a constant state of evolution, self-definition, and fundamental transition. This interaction of old and new ideas is critical to retaining meaning and relevance, at the same time that such evolution can be painful for those invested in their current incarnations. Continue reading

Posted in Announcements, Community Voices, SF&F corner, Storytelling and Community | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

In Search of the Profound

I live for the moment of epiphany, that rush of synthesis where a sequence of facts connect in a new way to reveal not only how those specific elements are connected, but also a new way to consider other elements and their meanings; frameworks for general understanding. I love the cascade of insights that come from learning to perceive in a way that recasts old knowledge in new detail. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Fairy Tales Fairly Told (again…and again…and again…)

There are some tales that we tell, retell, reimagine, recast, adapt, invert, and update—time and time again. Stories we can’t seem to get enough of; stories that stick in our minds, infest our imaginations, and find expression in both intended and unintended ways. Whether folk legend, religious parable, or cultural fable, these (usually illustrative) stories demand to be retold. What is it about these stories that demand such attention? Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | 6 Comments

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Why are so many stories written by so many Mormons focused entirely on suffering, and social breakdown, and dystopian (near)futures? Why do so many stories written by Mormon authors focus on the destruction of evil rather than the construction of good? Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | 11 Comments

Searching for Good (Oh!); or At Least Good Enough

With the advent of the Internet, digital media, and extraordinary personal technology I now have more access to more titles across more categories and genres and viewpoints than ever before. More people can produce, and more people can consume without the prohibitive barriers to entry that kept small and independent voices from entering the market.

It should be nirvana for someone like me, but that’s not quite how it’s worked out. It turns out there are too many titles, too many authors, and too many voices to get a real handle on the vast diversity available. It’s hard to find a particular thing. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Electronic Age | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Speaking Out vs. Being Heard

This tension between the rhetorical (one-shot testifying) and the dialectic (extended argument intended to discover new conclusions) is at least as old as the ancient Greeks and has been a staple of academic consideration from the beginning.

The problem is that market forces are not conducive to extended conversations. If your last book sells you get a shot at the next one; otherwise, you’re out of luck and looking for a new publisher. The mechanics of markets tend to push more toward the rhetorical extreme—you have to make the biggest splash you can and deliver the entire conceptual payload in a single go. Continue reading

Posted in Electronic Age, Mormon LitCrit, Storytelling and Community | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

The Relief Society and the Muting of Mormon Drama

It’s been commented that one of the challenges of Mormon culture is that we’re just too mellow, that we don’t have so many of the moments of personal drama that define so much of common experience and the popular literature, with the effect that we (generally) lack the social misery that drives so much of our better literature and drama. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community | 14 Comments

Unintended Consequence—Loss of the “Safe” Genre

Since YA is becoming increasingly less “safe,” what replaces it for those readers who consider aesthetic safety as their first filter for book selection? Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, YA corner | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments