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The Freewheeling Jonathan Lethem

by Pam Black   A Gambler’s Anatomy, Jonathan Lethem’s tenth and most recent novel (2016), is a romp of a read, laden with lush language, cynical wit, and bizarre twists. It follows Alexander Bruno, a jaded, 50-ish backgammon ace and ladies’ man, to secret, international, high-stakes gambling parlors, where he fleeces the rich with his superior gaming […]

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Isaac Asimov

The great science fiction writer, biochemist, and humanist Isaac Asimov was born on this day in 1920. His family emigrated from the USSR to Brooklyn when he was three, and he grew up literate in both Yiddish and English. Asimov wrote or edited some 500 books — in nine out of ten of the major […]

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Is Luke Skywalker a Non-Jewish Jew?

by Aaron Dorman   I HEREBY DECLARE Luke Skywalker an honorary mentsh! I will be watching the new “Star Wars” film, The Last Jedi — Luke Skywalker’s first “talkie” in over thirty years —with great interest and great trepidation. That’s because, more than ever, he may be our only hope. We live in an age devoid of […]

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Carl Sagan

Astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1934. He was best known as the awe-inspired and awe-inspiring host and co-writer of the television series COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, and as the driving force behind NASA’s Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence program (SETI), which monitors radio signals and other possible indications […]

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Tales in a Jugular Vein

Crime, horror and science fiction writer Robert Bloch, who wrote the novel Psycho, which Alfred Hitchcock adapted into his groundbreaking film, was born in Chicago on this date in 1917. In the course of his prolific career, Bloch won the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Award, the Fritz Lieber Fantasy […]

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