Words and words
On Wednesday, I’ll be in conversation with Kurt Braddock, author of Weaponized Words. It is a free, public event, but advance registration is required.
Braddock researches the power of persuasion at its most bleak, looking into the techniques and narratives of terrorist propaganda. He’s also done some fascinating fieldwork into counter-narratives, to understand that awesome persuasive power be used for good instead.
Weaponized Words is immensely readable, which is actually a bit surprising, given that is a mix of very bleak stories and, essentially, technical advice. Highly recommended for folks - like me - fascinated by the real power of words. Terrorism is an extreme (sorry about the pun) case, but the underpinning principles are also relevant more broadly. Copies here.
This is the second of what looks to be an indefinite/occasional series of discussions with authors and researchers about communications and extremism.
The first conversation was with Matthew Feldman, author of, amongst other things, Politics, Intellectuals, and Faith. The new book collections almost two decades of Feldman’s essays, on everything from Ezra Pound to the Iraq War. The talk was, accordingly, pretty free-wheeling, and a great deal of fun.
The next two guests are in the pipeline, so please watch this space.
A slightly different sort of book conversation:
The Best of British Fantasy 2019 is out at the end of the month.
Early feedback is really positive: it is quite literary this year (fancy!), and showcases a lot of stories (and authors) that come from off the beaten path. It is a diverse collection, in all definitions of the word, and I’m pretty happy with the perspective it presentes on what Britain has to offer fantasy (and vice versa).
Pretty much everything you need to know about the book can be found here. The ebook can be pre-ordered (at a special pre-order-only price!) on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. And the best way to pre-order a physical copy, including the sexy limited hardcover is directly from the publisher.
I’m wanging on about the book at length over at The Fantasy Inn. More extracts, interviews, and general excitement to come. It is always important to support new voices - now more than ever, I suspect - so please do check it.
Apologies for the brief and promotional newsletter. Here are some interesting things to read elsewhere:
How household goods (in this instance: tape) take on different meanings during a pandemic.
The psychology of rumour during a crisis. (I may have shared this before, but it feels, sadly, evergreen.)
Emotions are viruses. (This is fascinating - I’ve been talking about this quite a bit, but I think it has huge repercussions for how we think about creativity, influence, audience selection, evaluation, and measurement.)
But… emotions alone can’t deliver behaviour change. Think about the system as well as the message.