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About James Warner

James Warner is the author of All Her Father's Guns, a Bay Area novel, published in 2011 by Numina Press. His short stories have appeared in many publications. His personal website is here

His openDemocracy column is Standing Perpendicular


Articles by James Warner

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Is the world riding a wild horse? Read Mark Helprin to understand American Republicanism

Helprin’s latest novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow, can be read as an elegy for the American Century. Helprin’s emphasis on invidividual responsibility, as well as his backwards-lookingness, over-the-topness, and magical thinking, give us a window into the Republican Party he supports. 

Predators, Victims and Squarepegs: the moral universe of Irvine Welsh

In his fiction, Irvine Welsh asks how we can sustain a sense of community in a culture where pursuit of self-interest is proclaimed as the dominant virtue. Skagboys, the new prequel to Trainspotting, takes issue with the spiritual legacy of Thatcherism

The future of sex. Samuel R. Delany on working all that stuff out for yourself

2012-08-09_1652In the worlds Samuel R. Delany describes and creates, a sense of community is to be found chiefly in marginalized social spaces – here people are supportive of each other, free from sexual judgment or racial prejudice, and polyamorous. Delany's latest novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, continues his lifelong struggle against ready-made assumptions.

David Mamet, Gilad Atzmon and identity politics

There are unexpected similarities between two writers usually thought of as polar opposites. The author ends up wishing that each of them would write their version of an imagined encounter with the other.

Government Violence, Human Nature, and The Hunger Games

Battle Royale and The Hunger Games are young adult novels in which governments force teenagers to kill each other. Comparing these books to classic works by William Golding and Robert Sheckley suggests that, while becoming more skeptical about governments, we've become more trusting about our own nature.

Secret museums: Anita Desai and the desecrating gaze

In The Artist of Disappearance, Anita Desai meditates on the private and fragile nature of the creative act. Her nostalgic visions of India are also parables of the self's search for authenticity.

The long haul of solitary death: Michel Houellebecq and the decline of western sexuality

A prophet-provacateur faithful to French traditions of lucidity, sensuality, and alienation, Houellebecq believes we are all doomed. The Map and the Territory continues his great project of exposing the limits of individualism.

Dilbert's presidential bid: is technocracy dressed up as libertarianism the natural political home of the engineer?

Szczekociny festival poster All rights reserved

The definitive U.S. comic strip of the last two decades features workplace alienation, managerial dysfunction, and socio-economic stratification. Last month its creator announced he's running for President as an independent. His candidacy may not be serious, but how about his policies?

A pond full of tadpoles: memory and memorialization in Alan Hollinghurst's "A Stranger's Child"

In The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst explored the iconoclasm of the Thatcher years. But in A Stranger's Child, he seems to portray England as a country self-defeatingly focused on its past

Milan Kundera and the Invisible Tribunal

A recurring idea in the work of Milan Kundera is that the spirit of totalitarianism lives on in our mass media. In a world without privacy, will we all be perpetually on trial?

Translating Monsters into Songbirds: the Stories of Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret is an Israeli author of urgent, cryptic, popular fiction. His fantasies can be read as coping strategies for a violent world of irresolvable moral ambiguities

Jennifer Egan and the Extraneous Center

Jennifer Egan's fiction asks whether our experience is now technologically mediated to the point that we routinely mistake the map for the territory. In her book A Visit from the Goon Squad, she evokes a world where the pressure constantly to self-reinvent threatens to erode our sense of identity.

All the frogs croak before a storm: Dostoevsky versus Tolstoy on Humanitarian Interventions

Dostoevsky was in favor of military intervention in the Balkans, Tolstoy opposed to it. The arguments they put forward are surprisingly relevant to our own current wars.

The Song of the Survivor: T.C. Boyle and Invasive Species Eradication Programs

Humans are the only species who feel we have a responsibility to other species. T.C. Boyle's fiction explores the dilemmas raised when our obligations to other species and organisms conflict

Literature's game changers: how the console moulds us and our fiction

html canvas video gameThe greatest novel has probably been written, while the greatest computer game is still almost certainly to come. Will the medium change us enough to turn itself into mainstream art, as the novel once did?

All her father's guns – an extract

The hero - or antihero - of James Warner's darkly comic novel All Her Father's Guns is Libertarian venture capitalist Cal Lyte. It is 2002, and Cal's ex-wife Tabytha is seeking the Republican nomination in an Arizonan Congressional district with a Democrat incumbent. In this scene, Cal drives from Nevada to Arizona to install listening devices in Tabytha's house, and to inform her he has tracked down their old Guatemalan nanny who was an illegal immigrant -- politically sensitive information he hopes will persuade her to drop her lawsuit against him for additional alimony. You can buy the book here

Co-existence between travellers. Damon Galgut's South African allegory

"In A Strange Room" is South African writer Damon Galgut's new collection of stories. The difficulty of coexistence between travellers trying to get along seems to speak to the current condition of his homeland.

Perfection on his own terms: Salinger's silence

J.D. Salinger died on the 27th of January, 2010. James Warner paints a portrait of the American writer's work - loved by the public but attacked by some critics - and his solitary life

The death of JG Ballard considered as an atrocity exhibition

Ballard's is a feverish post-imperial world, of arbitrary cruelties committed in landscapes of trauma, splattered with those traps for the psyche we call advertisements, amid technologically-driven social flux, and constant references to the ideal of escaping from time

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