Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from November 30th, 2011

Half Past Never

November 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Stealing a day to write before picking up Microkhan Jr. from preschool. Back tomorrow with something on the evolution of bomb-squad armor.

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Groggy

November 29th, 2011 · 2 Comments

It’s no secret that myriad small Pacific nations are having problems with First World diseases, especially those related to obesity. Fiji’s dictatorial government believes that its citizens’ expanding waistlines are due not only to food consumption, but also to overindulgence in yaqona, a mild intoxicant you may know better as kava: Fiji’s all-time favourite pastime, […]

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Reeling in the Days

November 23rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

One of my very first posts, way back in the unenlightened days of April 2009, was about the art objects crafted by World War I’s unfortunate grunts. Since then, I’ve always kept an eye peeled for the artwork of combat soldiers, which is often formed in the most desperate and uncomfortable of circumstances. I love […]

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Alien in Alabama

November 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

The deeper I get into my latest book project—just crossed the 30,000-word mark—the more I keep digging into memories of my formative reading experiences. Doing so goes a long way toward helping me understand why I’m attracted to certain stories, and that self-awareness helps me separate the narrative wheat from the narrative chaff. Loyal followers […]

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The Flipside of Nonsense

November 21st, 2011 · 8 Comments

There is an interracial romance at the heart of my next book, so I’ve spent appreciable time researching the question of how such couples were regarded in the early 1970s. As is typically the case, that line of inquiry has piqued my interest in a tangential matter: the creation of anti-miscegenation laws specifically targeted at […]

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The Pivot

November 18th, 2011 · No Comments

Dedicating the next three days to finishing another chapter of the book. This one’s key, because the meat of the narrative starts in the ensuing chapter. And as much as I enjoy weaving together random tidbits of historical background into a semi-cohesive whole, the real pleasure in this process will come from recounting the tick-tock […]

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Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That

November 17th, 2011 · 2 Comments

It’s been far too long since I posted about suicide, a Microkhan staple since this project’s earliest days. Let me rectify that oversight by quoting from this 1971 study of mortality among Hiroshima survivors. One might expect such unfortunate souls to be so psychologically traumatized by their experiences that they would be unusually prone to […]

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Managing the Bloodshed

November 16th, 2011 · No Comments

While heading to Microkhan Jr.’s preschool the other day, I heard a dreadful squawk emanate from courtyard of an apartment building. It took me a moment to realize that someone was killing a chicken for supper—a bird likely purchased from one of Queens’ many live poultry shops. I had no problem with the violence, as […]

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Progress Report

November 14th, 2011 · No Comments

Lost the morning to a parent-teacher conference at Microkhan Jr.’s school. Now on to shaping my next Wired feature. Back to this space as soon as humanly possible.

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Local Knowledge

November 11th, 2011 · No Comments

A brief Veterans Day special today, as I try and dedicate a strong eight hours to the book. I was planning on directing your attention to this excellent site, which honors the men and women of the 335th Station Hospital in Tagap Ga—the Burmese hamlet where so much Now the Hell Will Start action goes […]

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The Best-Laid Plans

November 10th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The section of the book I’m working on today is basically a brief history of terrible kidnapping plots. They’re not all necessarily dumb crimes from the get-go—many of the cases I cover involved months of careful planning by above-average crooks. But they inevitably make one key error that unspools the entire enterprise. And more often […]

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Despots of a Feather

November 9th, 2011 · No Comments

Strange YouTube journey this morning as I sought some quickie material for a reporting day. Inspired by Dr. Swerve-On’s latest installment of Fresh Produce, I started off looking for George Benson’s version of “California Dreaming.” Yet I somehow ended up fixated on the video above, in which Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu pays a visit to […]

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Mo’ Problems

November 8th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Given that I’m all about narrative arc these days, Barnaby Barford is an artist who’s right up my alley. He uses his ceramic skills to tell stories, and his latest project is a doozy—a modern update on A Rake’s Progress that recounts an English lottery winner’s rise and fall. One moment our protagonist is sitting […]

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Sedition Was the Case That They Gave Me

November 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

In most corners of the world, graffiti artists operate in fear of being nabbed for vandalism. In totalitarian Fiji, they face far more serious charges, at least if their scrawled messages carry the whiff of the political: A New Zealand businessman is in custody in Fiji along with four others who have been arrested over […]

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An Embarrassment of Riches

November 4th, 2011 · No Comments

Spending today sifting through an absolute treasure trove of primary-source documents, which is why you’ll have to make do with some Algerian chanteusery instead of the usual polymathic mish-mash. Though I can’t yet reveal the exact nature of the documents I’m examining, I can tell you one thing they’ve taught me so far: Kim Il-sung […]

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Potemkin Would be Proud

November 3rd, 2011 · 3 Comments

There’s a terrific old episode of Cops—yes, Cops—in which the Miami police round up a bunch of streetwalkers in advance of Super Bowl XXIX. What’s so surprising about the operation is how up front the police are about their objective—namely, to present the game’s attendees with a prostitute-free version of the city. In the episode’s […]

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The Catch

November 2nd, 2011 · No Comments

I love this whole approach of picking apart successful yarns to figure out what makes them work. To get myself in the book-writing mindset, I’ve been doing likewise with a bunch of great stories from my formative years—things that have managed to stick with me all these decades later. It’s probably no great shock for […]

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Where Do We Go Now?

November 1st, 2011 · 4 Comments

With roughly six months to go ’til my first book is due, you can expect plenty more research extras in the coming weeks. A lot of those posts will be designed to help me think through some of the slippery issues I’m encountering as I shape the central narrative—I’m still struggling to understand the mindsets […]

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