A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, August 2, 2013


The New York Times is running a "guess the quote" game:

How Recent Popes Differ on Key Issues

Choose the pope who said each quote on seven critical issues.

where "key issue" means "an issue that gets the NYT editorial board hot and bothered."  (Hint: none are labeled as concerning Manicheanism or Transubstantiation or the Apostolic Succession.)  Unsurprisingly, two of the six "issues" are pelvic.  The sequence of the "issues" is also revealing of NYT priorities. 

However, TOF is unsure whether the quiz proves the ostensible point.  It depends on how clueless the NYT people are.   See what you think.  Perceptive TOFians should get high marks based on form rather than matter. 


  1. I did pretty well - but I cheated a little by some familiarity with their different ways with language.

    Btw, I'm returning to Sci-fi reading after a long absence. I like *Eifelheim*, but am otherwise quite out of touch with the science fiction of the last fifteen years. I've moved, and ended up next to Tacoma Used Books, a veritable crack-den of sci-fi and fantasy, and for a quarter am ploughing through a fat collection of Asimov's Hugo Winners.


  2. If by ostensible point you mean whether the popes differ, I think these quotes show remarkable unity between all three. Perhaps the headline should have been how they agree on key issues.

    1. Either the NYT was serious and was wishfully reading between various line, or the headline was meant to be ironic and to point out how behind the popular wisdom the Church is.

    2. I was thinking the same thing.

      I'm not Catholic, so I only did okay; got a few right, a few wrong. But throughout I was struggling to find any, you know, differences among them, as was promised in the headline of the piece.

      Sure, there were a few differences in tone and style. But the substance of their words was largely consistent. It's almost as if -- gasp! -- Catholic teaching hasn't really changed.

    3. Interesting slide from what the popes say to what the Catholic Church teaches. The NYT and other intellectually/doctrinally challenged entities seem to think that the Church teaches what the Pope says. It never occurs to them that the Pope might say what the Church teaches.

    4. The NYT and other intellectually/doctrinally challenged entities seem to think that the Church teaches what the Pope says. It never occurs to them that the Pope might say what the Church teaches.

      I think that may be because the NYT and other entities are used to looking at everything through the prism of American power politics. A new president, for example, can bring radical shifts in the policies and statements of the government -- and they mistakenly apply that thinking to the Catholic Church as well.

      When an American president wins an election, he claims a "mandate" to make sweeping changes. When a pope is elected, it seems like more of a humble acceptance to merely preach what the Church has already established. And that leaves the media befuddled.

      Anyway, that's just this non-Catholic's opinion.


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