Right now, in our society it’s hard to see the fullest truth, because of many different factors. In our everyday news, it’s hard to tell what is objectively true and what is false, and what news is shrouded in opinions. But on a calm summer night surrounded by literature, maybe you’ll find a way towards the truth.
Steve Bellinger and Joe Rulli explored these dynamics in their presentation at The Book Stall in Winnetka on June 15th, promoting their books on history and science fiction. Steve presented his 2014 book, “The Chronocar: An Urban Adventure in Time” (Barking Rain Press, 2014), while Joe presented his new book, “The Chicago Haymarket Affair: A Guide to A Labor Rights Milestone" (History Press, 2016).
In an ongoing presentation at various book stores and libraries across the Chicago area, Joe and Steve discuss how our history, and how to collect it, can be a useful tool in seeing through the fog of today.
Joe Rulli Looks for Objectivity
Going back and forth between their presentations, each author told a story of months of research to create a product that would as objectively accurate as possible. Joe began by discussing how he spent time as both a tour guide on the 1886 Haymarket riot, and in his own individual research. What attracted him to this piece of history was its fading recognition in American history, compared to the impact it created in labor justice, but also because no one had done a completely objective recollection of the events. The riot and subsequent bombing and conspiracy trial were “one of the only historical events where the losers wrote the narrative,” as Joe put it. To create an historically objective piece required months of research, and precise knowledge of this crucial time in American labor history. This showed in his presentation.
Steve Bellinger Finds History in Science Fiction
Steve used history differently. As a way to further his fictional narrative, he needed to know the objective history of a tense time in race relations following World War 1, during the Red Summer Race Riots. His science fiction tale, of a contemporary African American student discovering plans for a time machine, and going back to 1919 to meet the original scientist behind the plans, requires the history of the race riots to further his character’s development and interaction with the world he time travelled to. He, along with Joe, emphasized that historical documents needed to be checked against each other, as different parties worked to establish their own narratives.
The event concluded with questions open to the audience. One of the attendees, a high school teacher, asked both of the authors how to find objective truth in today’s world. They both recommended using verifiable sources, and, above all, to hear both sides of an argument. They both emphasized that history teaches us to find the answers, and it’s our job to make sure their reasonably and objectively true.
This event is highly recommended, and you can catch one of these events throughout the summer.
Where and When
Monday, June 26th, 6:00 at 57th Street Books (1301 E. 57th St.)
Saturday, July 15th, 5:00-7:00 at The Book Cellar (4736 N. Lincoln Ave.)
Saturday, July 29th, 1:00-3:00 at the Edgewater Branch Library (6000 N. Broadway)
Saturday, September 9th, 2:00 at the Oak Park Public Library (834 Lake St., Oak Park)
Saturday, October 7th, 1:00-3:00 at the Museums at Lisle Station Park (921 School St., Lisle, IL)
These events are free.
The price of the books:
"The Chronocar" $12.99
"The Chicago Haymarket Affair" $21.99