reviews by Brian Barker

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The Mining Co. Fiction Guide
The Mining Company

Although not as comprehensive as The Mining Company's poetry guide, the fiction guide is still a valuable online resource. The site catalogs well over 100 links in categories such as banned books, book reviews, criticism, interviews, and women writers. The Fiction Finds and E-Zine categories appear to be the most extensive here. In the former, fiction fans will find 40 links to both classic and contemporary, well-known and new fiction. The latter contains 38 links to a variety of online magazines. The Niche Fiction section is also useful. It contains 33 links to sites dedicated to regional and ethnic literature, as well as periods, movements, and projects.

Book Browser
Janet Lawson

This "guide for avid readers" is well done and contains an ample reservoir of information. The site houses over 2,000 archived book reviews and adds 10 new reviews each week. The reviews are conveniently indexed by category, such as Historical Fiction, Detective/Mystery Fiction, General Fiction, and Speculative Fiction. The site looks several months ahead, as well, and provides detailed information on forthcoming titles. Also of interest are the 100 links to author's home pages and an ever-expanding pseudonym list.

Online Literary Criticism Collection
David S. Carter, Director

The IPL Online Literary Criticism Collection serves as a gateway to 1584 critical and biographical websites about authors and their works. The site is user-friendly and allows researchers to browse by author, by title, and by literary period. The site's catalog covers British Literature (including Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and the British Colonies) from pre-1500 to the 20th century and American literature from 1600 to the 20th century. Although the links are not annotated, the IPL does state that they "are selected with some thought to their overall usefulness."

Book Radio
Adam Wilner, President

This site distinguishes itself as one of the best venues for audio enhanced fiction on the Internet. Book Radio features full-length Real Audio interviews with major authors and clips of the authors reading from their works. Recently spotlighted fiction writers include Margaret Atwood, David Leavitt, and Edna O'Brien. Although a plethora of fiction writers and their works can be found here, the site is not exclusively dedicated to the genre. In fact, the selections appear to run the book market gamut and cover a variety of tastes and styles, such as non-fiction and history.

Electronic Archives for Teaching the American Literatures
Georgetown University & D.C. Heath Publishing Company

This fledgling archive is not only a valuable resource for teaching materials, but is also an excellent place for teachers to generate new ideas. The Electronic Archives for Teaching the American Literatures houses a wide variety of information, including essays on teaching the American literatures, collaborative bibliographies in American literature and culture studies, and discussions of core issues in teaching the American literatures. The site also includes a section of course syllabi, assignments, and pedagogical strategies covering such topics as African-American literature, the American Renaissance, and literature by women. (At the time of review, approximately 20 syllabi were available). In addition, the site also contains 13 past issues of the Heath Anthology of American Literature Newsletter (1989-1995).

Novel Courses

University of California, Santa Barbara English Department

This site claims distinction in that it provides teaching material while preserving historical literary documents. The growing collection of syllabi used to teach the novel includes both contemporary courses and courses taught in the early 1900s. The site's authors outline its purpose in the following manner: 1.) "A record of cultural capital investments in the novel in British and American academics"; 2.) "A context for the reception and production of novels in English"; and 3.) "A resource from which teachers of the novel can critique their performance." The archive includes 10 syllabi from the 1910s, 3 syllabi from the 1920s, 1 from the 1980s, and 14 from the 1990s. Several of the contemporary syllabi include writing assignments, discussion questions, and quizzes.

Dynamic Syllabi

Georgetown University/American Studies Association

Dynamic syllabi (as this site defines them) surpass the traditional online syllabi by serving "as online platforms upon which to stage, manage, or enhance a course." They vary in their complexity, but may include various electronic resources, instructors' notes, exercises and assignments, course projects, virtual exhibitions, links between course readings and Web resources, and students' projects. This site features 17 literature related dynamic syllabi that cover a variety of courses, such as surveys of American literature, American science fiction, and industrialization's impact on 20th century American narratives. Also of general interest are dynamic syllabi from other fields, including Cultural Studies, the Fine Arts, and History.

American Authors on the Web
Mitsuhara Matsuoka

This home page of a Japanese professor of English literature indexes well over 1000 links to sites providing biographical information on, criticism about, and online texts of English language authors. American authors (1550-1950), 19th century British authors, and contemporary British and Irish authors have the most extensive catalogs, which are indexed by time period. This is a plain, yet very useful, site.

Word Circuits
Robert Kendall

This well-designed site showcases "new media poetry and fictionÛindigenously electronic work that couldn't be realized in print." Hypertext is a staple at Word Circuits, but the journal also challenges the boundaries of cybertext with works that manipulate the technology in more daring ways, such as text-generating algorithms and animated text. The HTLit Column delves into the critical and theoretical aspect of hypertext with essays on topics ranging from thematic transformation to the dangers of software obsolescence. In addition, the journal maintains a directory of links to over 50 original hypertext works and authors' homepages, 13 online magazines, 11 collections/archives, and 3 multi-author collaborations. Also of interest is a section titled "The Tool Drawer," which contains several links to JavaScript applications, code samples, and online hypertext workshops. This is a thoughtful, intelligent, and entertaining site.

The Percepticon Corporation

Beehive is a sleek, graphic-intensive hypertext journal which debuted in May of 1998. In addition to fiction and poetry, the journal publishes contemporary theory and provides a links directory. The directory contains 11 art related links (museums, galleries, artists, organizations, etc.), 50 literary related links (literary journals, hypertext fiction sites, and individual authors), and 17 critical theory related links. A future Beehive project to look out for is Quattrocento, a collaborative art historical hypertext that focuses on 15th century Florentine sculpture.

Concordance of Great Books
Bill Williams

This amazing online database contains the full text of 200 books, such as Wuthering Heights, War of the Worlds, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tess of the d'Ubervilles, Moby Dick, Middlemarch, Great Expectations, and The Bible. The concordance search engine will scour a selected work and pinpoint one or two words of your choice. Each of the search results is then displayed as a single line of truncated text. The user may choose to view either 800, 5000, 10000, or 20000 words of the surrounding text. The search engine is lightning fast and the interface is extremely user-friendly. This site is an indispensable and unique research tool, and just plain fun.

Jason Snell, Editor

InterText is a bi-monthly fiction magazine that publishes stories that range from mainstream to horror to fantasy to science fiction to humor. This site boasts a clean design and intriguing cover art. There are approximately 45 issues of InterText archived on the site, and each issue usually features 4 stories. Contributors appear to be from all walks of life, and many contribute on a regular basis. Lots of short stories to explore here, some better than others, but definitely worth checking out.

Syllabi and Other Course Materials for Literature Classes
Jack Lynch

This site contains over 150 links to syllabi that "make real use of the Web," not just a course description and reading assignments. The links are broken up into 11 categories, the most extensive being the General section (43 links, many of which are for survey courses) and the 20th Century section (15 links). Other categories include Classical and Biblical, Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration & 18th Century, Romantic, Victorian British, 19th Century, American, and Composition. The only drawback here is that the links are not annotated. Otherwise, this site proves to be an extensive and well-organized teaching resource.

The Atlantic Unbound
The Atlantic Monthly Company

The "Books" section of the online version of The Atlantic Monthly is most impressive for its interviews with fiction authors. Each week, a different writer is featured with a short story and an interview. The archive contains 20 past stories and interviews with such writers as Richard Bausch, E. Annie Proulx, and Cynthia Ozick. Also of interest are the insightful book reviews, which include recent macro-reviews from the print magazine and a plethora of archived brief reviews. Moreover, the site also contains classic reviews, such as an 1861 review of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and a 1893 review of George Eliot's Middlemarch. This is a professionally produced site with superb fiction and reviews.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
The New York Public Library

This nicely designed text archive houses 52 published works written by African American Women authors prior to 1920. The works include poetry, fiction, biography, autobiography, and essays. There are six fiction pieces included in the collection: Alice Dunbar-Nelson's Violets and Other Tales and The Goddess of St. Rocque, Frances E. W. Harper's Lola Leroy, Pauline E. Hopkins' Contending Forces‡ A. E. Johnson's The Hazeley Family, and Emma Dunham Kelly's Megda. Users may browse the archive by author or search by key word.

Seeing Ear Theater

Part of the site, Seeing Ear Theater is a virtual feast for science fiction connoisseurs. In addition to the real-time fiction readings that take place every other Monday, the site also contains an abundance of audio archives. There are of 30 past readings available in Real Audio format, as well as 25 commercial recordings, which include Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" and Franz Kafka's "The Country Doctor." In addition, the site offers a taste of Americana by providing 23 vintage radio series programs, such as H. G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds." Most of the audio files here range in playing time from 15 minutes to 1 hour. This site is sleekly designed and easy to navigate, and the quality and quantity of the science fiction is the best on the Internet.

Native Literature Course Syllabi

Michael Wilson

Maintained by a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty member, this site makes available 15 undergraduate and graduate syllabi for topics pertaining to Native American Literature. Course titles include "Traditions and Renewal in Native American Literature," "North American Indian Women Writers," and "Lakota/Dakota Texts." Although the syllabi do not provide writing assignments, exams, or quizzes, they are still a valuable resource for teachers interested in developing their own Native Literature class.

Ron Hogan, Editor/Publisher

Updated monthly, this site is essentially an interview archive with a journal feel. Beatrice contains close to 100 interviews with fiction and non-fiction writers, biographers, and journalists. Of particular interest is the "Young Authors" section which features interviews with emerging voices, such as Frank Baldwin and Diana Atkinson. Beatrice also offers interviews with some of the best women and gay writers publishing today.

Bard College
Bradford Morrow, Editor

This online companion to the literary journal Conjunctions displays the same high standards as its print counterpart. As the editors state, Conjunctions provides "a forum for the. . .writers and artists whose work challenges accepted forms and modes of expression, experiments with language and art, and is fully realized art." The site provides fiction samplings from current and past issues of the print version. There are some big names here, such as Joyce Carol Oates, Jeffrey Eugenides, and David Foster Wallace. The Audio Vault houses 23 Real Audio archives of fiction writers and poets reading their work, as well as musical arrangements and collaborations. This site has a lot to offer, especially to those who are searching for inventive and intelligent work.

Mark Amerika

Alt-X publishes cutting edge fiction, poetry, and criticism, and as the editor puts it, this is "where the digerati meet the literati." This site is chocked full of experimental fiction. The Holo-X section takes hypertext to another level by rendering a 3-D storyworld environment that includes original audio tracks and an interactive navigational system. The Black Ice Fiction section showcases work that "is modeled after the great avant-garde literary writing of the past." The archive contains over 50 stories, none of which are any where close to being tame. Alt-X audio houses 11 radio shows that fuse experimental music, fiction, and poetry. This site is not the easiest to navigate and some of the sections are slow to download, but the trouble proves to be worth it. The work here exhibits a hard-nosed and uncompromising vision.

Pure Fiction
Author Unknown

This user-friendly site contains plenty of information for both readers and writers of fiction. For readers, Pure Fiction offers a well stocked review archive that boasts over 100 reviews and a growing section of interviews with well and lesser known authors. The site also contains previews that highlight soon to be published books; however, it appears the section has not been updated in some time. Writers can find both critical and practical assistance at Pure Fiction. There are several essays on writing, such as "Plotting a Novel" and "Seven Suggestions for Writing a Novel." Moreover, contact information is made available for over 100 US and UK publishers and agents.

Book Wire
Cahners Business Information

This trade industry site serves the everyday reader, as well as those involved in publishing and library science. Readers will find a wealth of informative reviews at Book Wire, as it is a home to both The Boston Book Review and The Hungry Mind Review. The site also features Publishers Weekly bestseller lists three days before they appear in print. Also of interest are the classified ads and over 7000 links to industry-related sites.

The New York Review of Books
Robert Silvers, Barbara Epstein, Editors

Since its beginning in 1963, The New York Review of Books has established itself as a premiere literary and intellectual magazine. Its online sibling keeps this tradition alive in cyberspace by featuring a sampling of reviews each month from the well-respected print version. A massive archive of reviews is under construction, and at the moment, reviews from 1995 to the present are available. Soon, reviews dating all the way back to the first issue in 1963 will be housed here.

Village Voice Literary Supplement
The Village Voice

The sleek online version of the Village Voice Literary Supplement proves to be as hip as its print counterpart. One can find essays about and reviews of some of the best contemporary fiction being written today, as well as interviews with established and emerging writers. A definite site to check out each month; the writing is always witty, lively, and intelligent.

The Libyrinth
Allen Ruch

As the author notes, this site is dedicated to 20th century experimental writers who tend to delve into a "multitudinous cross- referencing of resources" and employ a prose style that exhibits "many winding paths through a shifting veil of reality." The Libyrinth is a deftly designed site and the writing is riddled with wit throughout. The core of the site is in the archives section (which is continually growing). At the moment, there are numerous pages devoted to James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, and Umberto Eco. Here, one can find biographies, bibliographical information, criticism, reviews, quotations, image galleries, links to online papers, and much, much more. In addition, the Scriptorium section contains biographical, bibliographical, and critical information on lesser known Libyrinth writers, such as John Barth, William Gaddis, and Mervyn Peake. Overall, this is an intriguing, beautiful, and smart site.