The Player Kings

Sophia had written 3 complete novels and several short stories within her sci fi universe (in which she had begun writing when she was 16-17). There is a particular poignancy to including here the first chapter of the fourth in the series. Called The Player Kings (reflecting Sophia’s love of Shakespeare), the novel remains unfinished. Sophia wrote a little of it (longhand) each day, even if she was only well enough to do so for 10

July 14th, 2016|Comments Off on The Player Kings

The Truth about the Lieutenant

The Truth about the Lieutenant is a story Sophia consciously set outside the universe of her other sci fi stories. Sophia wanted to look at the psychological implications of totalitarianism, its subtle but pernicious impact. In The Truth about the Lieutenant, she depicts the totalitarian state not in its bloody extremity, but as a chilly dystopia marked by the suffocating constriction of human feeling. As much poem as narrative, The Truth about the Lieutenant is designed to evoke the

July 14th, 2016|Comments Off on The Truth about the Lieutenant

An Age Without Record

An Age Without Record by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © Friday, 12 October 2012 An Age Without Record (Blogspot) "For I suppose if Lacadaemon were to become desolate, and the temples and the foundations of the public buildings were left, that as time went on there would be a strong disposition with posterity to refuse to accept her fame as a true exponent of her power...Whereas if Athens were to suffer the same misfortune, I suppose that

July 13th, 2016|Comments Off on An Age Without Record

On The Merchant of Venice

On The Merchant of Venice by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © Shakespeare got it right: “If you prick me, do I not bleed?” And the thing is, Shakespeare saw this, even though he makes Shylock an unlikeable character. The reality is, of course, that everybody in The Merchant of Venice is unlikeable. There are no ‘good guys’. No, I don’t like Portia. Did she really love that gilt-edged jerk, Bassanio? Hmm, I wonder. Keep in mind that

July 13th, 2016|Comments Off on On The Merchant of Venice

Democracy: Beyond Idealism

Democracy: Beyond Idealism by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © In the ancient world, the election of officials was thought of as more an aristocratic than a democratic mechanism—most functionaries in Athens were selected via sortition, and the election of generals (and later certain finance officers) was looked upon as something of a necessary evil from a democratic point of view. All this we know—it represents the difference between participatory (or true) democracy and what we are pleased

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Society and Politics (from Margaret Thatcher to Game of Thrones)

Society and Politics (from Margaret Thatcher to Game of Thrones) by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © Margaret Thatcher’s declaration that there was no such thing as society was intended to mean that only individuals really exist and the concept of society is no more than an abstraction. At one level this is obviously blandly true. At least for the technological moment (lacking constructs such as ‘the People’), there is a biological factuality to each human individual. At

July 13th, 2016|Comments Off on Society and Politics (from Margaret Thatcher to Game of Thrones)

Taking the muddle out of the Middle Ages

Taking the muddle out of the Middle Ages by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © As the pervasiveness of fantasy and speculative fiction in popular culture attests, the Middle Ages, represented either historically or “re-imagined” (as in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones), is all the rage nowadays. Yet for a period so embraced by pop-culture, what do we really know about it? Less than we think, it seems to me (as a student of history and long

July 13th, 2016|Comments Off on Taking the muddle out of the Middle Ages

Christian Mission Today: A Young Person’s View

Christian Mission Today: A Young Person’s View. by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © A lot of soul searching is going on in contemporary Christianity—or at least it would be soul searching, were not the word “soul” so very unfashionable. Many questions have been asked about what the mission of Christians is in the twenty-first century. It is my contention, as a teenage member of the generation which so much mission attempts to reach, that the second half

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The Melian Dialogue

Bosworth’s take on the Melian Dialogue: A provocation too far? by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © The Melian Dialogue is a Thucydidean passage which inspires passion and provocation, if not actual moral horror. Bosworth’s reading of it as sympathetic to the Athenians’ stark international amoralism has been influential, but it has inspired equally violent disagreement. It is perhaps interpretation of the Melian Dialogue which should indicate whether Thucydides was a precursor of Tacitus (whose moral bleakness results

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The Truth in Literature

The Truth in Literature by Sophia Nugent-Siegal © (speech to Rotary, when she was aged 13) “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”- that is all Ye know on earth and all ye need to know. This is Keats’ ending thought in Ode on a Grecian Urn, but what does he mean? What is the truth that Keats is referring to? It isn’t the “I know you’re lying, you ate the last Tim Tam?” type of truth

July 13th, 2016|Comments Off on The Truth in Literature
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