You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Aug 25, 2014 -
Things That Don't Suck
, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.
I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Aug 19, 2014 -
A Stephen King interview: by Neil Gaiman
"I interviewed Stephen King for the UK Sunday Times Magazine. The interview appeared a few weeks ago. The Times keeps its site paywalled, so I thought I'd post the original version of the interview here. (This is the raw copy, and it's somewhat longer than the interview as published.) I don't do much journalism any more, and this was mostly an excuse to drive across Florida back in February and spend a day with some very nice people I do not get to see enough. I hope you enjoy it."
posted by Fizz
on Apr 28, 2012 -
Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz
published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the 1990s
. But most of the backlash
was against not the stories themselves (which were fairly tame), but rather the illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell
. His bizarre, grotesque, nightmarish black-and-white inkscapes suffused every page with an eerie, unsettling menace. Sadly, the series has since been re-issued
with new illustrations by Brett Helquist
, of A Series of Unfortunate Events
fame. Luckily for fans of Gammell's dark vision, copies of the old artwork abound online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
. Interested in revisiting the stories themselves? Then don't miss the virtual re-enactments of YouTube user MoonRaven09
, or the dramatic readings of fellow YouTuber daMeatHook
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 29, 2010 -
‘We feel that the stories in this book are such that if your nerves are not of the strongest, then it is wise to read them in daylight.'
For a certain time, in every second-hand bookshop in the UK you would always be able to find a musty and dog-eared copy of one or more of the Pan Books Of Horror Stories
edited by the splendidly named Herbert Van Thal. Now the first is being re-printed
. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Sep 8, 2010 -
latest work, The Graveyard Book
, is a kind of undead Jungle Book, with a man-child being raised by various ghosts and ghouls rather than animals. He's been the whole thing a chapter at a time on each stop of his American promotional tour
, and posting the videos online
about it of course), which means that with tonights reading the entire thing will be available online.
posted by Artw
on Oct 8, 2008 -
offers up a splendid smorgasboard of literary ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and, of course, gothic. As a Victorianist, I have a particular predilection for their ghost stories
. Many more Victorian tales of the terrifying--and just plain weird--can be found at this site
, which also features an ongoing reading group. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise
on Oct 31, 2002 -
So, has Stephen King lost it?
This guy seems to think so. Some would say he never had it. I think that while this guy makes a few valid points, he goes overboard, and brings up many things that just seem petty and silly, like he's trying to over-prove his theory, and increase the word count of the article. What do you think? (Side note: I wouldn't be surprised if "Richard Blow" becomes the name of a victim in a future King novel...).
posted by sassone
on Feb 19, 2002 -