Is torture a “meet cute” plot device?

I was delving into the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week when my daughter texted. A senior at college, she was following the New York Times’ Twitter feed as reporters raced to the end of the just-declassified executive summary. “Everything that’s coming out with this torture stuff is incredible,” she wrote. “What is going to happen?”
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The Book of Strange New Things

In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” It was as though different vintages of sadness were stored in different parts of his mind, stacked chronologically, and his tear ducts were on the end of electrical wires that didn’t
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Torture: what we know now

I was beginning to delve into the report on torture released by the Senate Intelligence Committee when my daughter texted. A senior at college, she was following the New York Times twitter feed highlighting the executive summary as reporters raced to the end. “Everything that’s coming out with this torture stuff is incredible,” she wrote.
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The Willows

In which I take part in David Abrams’ #Sundaysentence, sharing a well-crafted sentence I’ve read this week, without introduction or explanation. And when I turned my eyes again from his ghastly face to the river, the current had done its work, and the body had been swept away into midstream and was already beyond our
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A boycott that worked

Like many, I was shocked to hear that Barilla CEO Guido Barilla had told an Italian radio host that the family company “would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual couple, not for lack of respect, but because we don’t agree with them.” Barilla, based in Parma, Italy, is the world’s largest manufacturer of pasta. The
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Under the Skin

In which I take part in David Abram’s weekly Sunday Sentence, taking a sentence from a book I’m reading. This one is from the astonishing, disturbing, strange and completely wonderful Under the Skin by Michel Faber: “The vodsel’s eyes were wild with fear, and the barbed-wire fence was only waist-high, but their frozen and lacerated legs, weighed
Category: Robin Kirk

8 terrible titles

As my writing friend Jenn (Barnes) Bishop wrote recently, it’s fairly common for books to have titles drawn from a phrase somewhere in the book. I’ve always considered myself pretty good with titles. They usually come up before I’ve written a word. But, in keeping with this challenge, I’m going to troll my work-in-progress for
Category: Robin Kirk

777 challenge

I’ve been tagged by Jenn (Bishop) Barnes in the 777 Challenge. Writers challenge writers to post the first full seven lines of the seventh page of his or her work in progress, starting seven lines down. My work-in-progress is the second book in a speculative fantasy, tentatively titled Fountain of Dark: Fir and his brothers are slave warriors
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A community speaks

On September 24, over 120 Muslim scholars, academics and religious authorities released a open letter addressed to the “fighters and followers” of the so-called Islamic State. Among the signatories are Sheikh Shawqi Allam, the grand mufti of Egypt, and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and All Palestine. The letter is dense and
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Ancillary Justice

In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” “(As a troop carrier), I sat, as I had sat for most of my two-thousand-year existence in one system or another, feeling the bitter chill of vacuum outside my hull, the
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