My essay "Coetzee in the Promised Land" has just been posted in the new issue of The Quarterly Conversation. The whole issue is worth checking out -- it's a particularly rich one, I think.
Also notable: In a nice bit of Best American Fantasy syncronicity, Matt Bell writes about Brian Evenson's new novel Last Days. Brian had a story in the first volume of BAF, Matt has a story in the second volume, and the third volume will be published by Underland Press, which published Last Days. This adds evidence to my hypothesis that The Quarterly Conversation is at the center of the universe. Well, my universe at least...
My own essay is a hybrid/collage of literary analysis, literary historiography, cultural meditation, occasional speculation, semi-educated guesses, and various random ideas that are thrown around with the hope that a few might stick to something. My original intention was to write an essay with a larger scope -- an investigation of South African speculative fiction in the 1970s and 1980s, novels that looked toward a post-apartheid future. But when I discovered Karel Schoeman's Promised Land, I couldn't stop thinking about Coetzee's Disgrace. Over a period of months, the essay began to come together.
I owe special thanks to Scott Esposito at TQC for pestering me to finish the essay -- without his friendly inquiries about how it was coming, I don't know if I would have had the stamina to finish it, and he was an excellent editor when I sent him various drafts.
And while I'm here thanking people, I should also note that I couldn't have written the essay without the help of the excellent staff at Plymouth State University's Lamson Library.