Month: December 2017

Soviet Propaganda Art in Wartime


Amazingly, this famous wartime poster was almost completely unseen until 2000 because the government feared it seemed patronizing

This is my last post of the year as I put this site into a holiday hiatus as I prepare for my book launch. It’s also one of my favourite posts to write!

Before the popularization of the term “fake news,” we probably most associated the word propaganda with the insidious designs of Nazi Information Minister Josef Goebbels. He was famously, and perhaps wrongly, thought to have said: “If you repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes a truth.”

But propaganda was more than just a weapon in the Nazi arsenal. Propaganda was used by all sides during World War II. And it didn’t just involve censoring or altering the facts. Propaganda also involved visual art. While posters could inform, warning that “loose lips sink ships,” or deceive, by demonizing the enemy, propaganda art’s greatest power lay in evoking emotional responses. We might associate Allied propaganda with minimalist efforts such as the Keep Calm and Carry On poster. However, the Soviet Union treated propaganda as a true art form.

[editor’s note: This is the start of a tweak to my website’s format. I separated most blog items into Bookish and Historical. This allows for more straight up discussion of history, of which this is the first post. This way, I can take advantage of all the research I’m doing for the Aelita’s War books. There are also no more “Stray Thoughts” allowed on this site!]

The Sparrow Squadron Cover is Here!

It’s been a long journey, but my YA historical novel, Sparrow Squadron, is almost ready for the outside world. Today, we’re starting with the Cover Reveal!

The 19th Century Hollow Earth Craze

A fun idea but, like everything else these days, ruined racism and Nazis.

One of the great things about scouring sites like Project Gutenberg for free e-books of old speculative fiction, is that you can get a window onto out-there ideas written by respected authors. Perhaps the best example is Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne. This classic is an example of the  “Hollow Earth” theory in action. Hollow Earth proponents expounded that there was a vast subterranean world beneath the Earth’s outer layer. Verne’s fiction envisioned a realm large enough to contain underground seas.

This wasn’t just a one-off story idea or short-lived crackpot fad. In the 19th century, it was a semi-serious theory and it resulted in some truly fun and imaginative fiction.