Scientist and Science Fiction author Joan Slonczewski
, author of A Door Into The Ocean
, guest blogs
about science fictional and microbiology on Charles Stross's site: Salt Beings
, Microbes grow the starship
, Synthetic Babies
A playful mystery
has been unfolding in Atlanta for a few months now, and has spread to other cities. Packages have been anonymously mailed
to various writers
, bookstores, publications
and organizations around the city. [more inside]
is "a new space for writers to share, read and sell". [more inside]
Anyone who was anyone in the literary world of 1920s New York signed the door of Frank Shay's Christopher Street bookshop
. The door is now in the collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, and they'd like your help
identifying the remaining unknown signatures.
Enclyclopedia Brown is a children's fiction series written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963 and still very popular today. These are the 10 most ridiculously difficult mysteries
in the series and baffling as to how a child is supposed to be able to solve them.
It was a beautiful day in Ponyville. The sun was shining; the birds were singing. Ponies big and small cantered throughout the town, whickering and neighing merrily as they went about their business.
Suddenly, there was a huge explosion!
“Oh my god, that was a huge explosion!” yelled Twilight Sparkle, staring in shock and horror at the massive fireball rising from the center of town. Hundreds of ponies ran screaming from the burning wreckage of the Town Hall. Some were covered in soot, and limped as they streamed past her, desperate to escape the burning hell behind them.
“Yo Twi’, you see dat shiz?” said Spike, her jive-talking baby dragon sidekick. He stood on her back, one claw wrapped in her mane while the other casually removed a set of shutter-style plastic sunglasses. You know, like the ones Kanye West is always wearing.
Michael Bay presents My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
. (It's fanfiction, but readable without knowledge of the show or fondness for pastel-colored horses.) [more inside]
[Harold] Brodkey produced fiction that was epic too, but chiefly in its elaboration of human intimacy. To read his prose is to be incarcerated in the situations of his characters; indeed, it is to be very nearly overwhelmed by them. ... Brodkey moved forward with new forms for rendering human consciousness. His protagonist was, almost always, "a mind shaped like a person." The action consisted of that mind discovering its thoughts. [more inside]
Post A Letter Social Activity Club:
"Imagine a day when every personal e-mail you receive is in the form of a piece of mail, in envelopes of different sizes, papers of different colours and textures, handwriting of varying degrees of legibility. Wouldn’t that be pretty nice for a change?" [more inside]
Do you have a favorite kanji character?
I like this one: 峠
because it reminds me of a poem by Christina Rossetti:
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men
(what I mean is, it’s terribly nice to have the radicals for mountain, up and down form the character).
I’m very fond of 競 because it makes me think of two men skating with their arms behind their backs in a Dutch painting, wearing black frock coats and breeches.
明 is not very exotic, of course, but it’s nice to have the word for ‘bright’ represented by the sun and moon – this is a bit like certain German words, where the elements of a phenomenon are put together for the word: there’s Morgengrauen (morning grey) for the sky lightening to grey just before dawn, and Morgenröte (morning red) for the sky when it first turns red, similar sort of thing.
with Helen DeWitt,
author of The Last Samurai
, Your Name Here
, a novel written with Ilya Gridneff,
and the forthcoming Lightning Rods.
DeWitt will be in New York September 8 - 11.
A writer in Slate
examines the scientific literature for clues that will help him to write faster
"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality
Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics
in the NY Times. [more inside]
Dr. Rob Dobrienski is a Manhattan therapist who blogs with honesty and humor on shrinktalk.net
about his practice and topics interesting to both laypersons with an interest in psychology and therapy as well as therapists in current practice. [more inside]
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review
There is no paradigm for this kind of place. Accidental Norbiton is contingent, marginal, superfluous, an ugly necessity; it is like the wires coiled under your desk, behind your bookcases; it is like the suitcases gathering dust under your bed, on top of your wardrobe; an adjunct to living, part of the logistics, the bureaucracy, never what you might call life itself, the movement and centre and focus of which seem to prevail elsewhere.
Perfect, then, for a life of accidental failure. Welcome to Norbiton
. [more inside]
OK, so you've partly written a novel, but you're having trouble finishing the damn thing. What to do? Summon stamina, press on, and be proud of your literary success? Or, post your abandonment for all the world to see! Ladies and gentlemen, a place for your unfini--
Joseph Mitchell was a reporter. It's tempting to say his beat was the waterfront, but though he's certainly the poet laureate of the Fulton Fish Market, this would be too literal-minded and geographically limiting. His beat was the margins, including the metaphysical margin of life itself. Mitchell invented a temporal dimension for his stories, a strange and twilit place—Mitchell Time—where a density of historical fact and the feeling of whole eras fading from view are sharply juxtaposed with scenes of cinematic immediacy related in the present tense. A cozy aura of death pervades his work, which often features oldsters experiencing the chilling fear of its approach while gleefully playing hide-and-seek with the reaper.
- The Village Voice [more inside]
Roger Ebert has discovered the Macmillan Reader's Edition of The Great Gatsby
and he hates it: "This is an obscenity."
Macmillan Reader's Editions are geared to ESL students
. Ebert thinks that's a really bad idea: "Why not have ESL learners begin with Young Adult novels? Why not write books with a simplified vocabulary? Why eviscerate Fitzgerald?" [more inside]
Time Magazine's Arts section features a nuanced look at fanfiction this week: Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. [more inside]
As much as any book I know, Crippled Detectives transcribes the dream state, not just in its flights of fancy and logic-jumping juxtapositions, but in the mutating narrative tactics, the topsy-turvy focus (the climax is over in a flash, whereas digressions distend to marvelous effect), and especially the inconsistent point of view... I forgot to mention that Lee Tandy Schwartzman was all of seven years old when she wrote it.
Anatomy of a Writer. "Like the protagonist of 1984, who risked his life to purchase a notebook and signed it away by filling it with words, writers sometimes find themselves huddled in a corner, crouching onto their guilty pleasure protectively, hoping that their spouse, or friends won’t catch them at it."
Launching today is Byliner
, both a portal to the best narrative nonfiction from around the web, and a publishing platform for original works
. Some additional background here
Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series
. [more inside]
One night, I awoke out of a dead sleep, and jumped to my computer, and instantly began typing up an article about David Letterman. I kept going for ten minutes, until I realized I had dreamed it all. There was no article to write; I was simply typing up the same meaningless phrases that we all always used: “LADY GAGA PANTLESS ON LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN,” or some such.
AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out.
"What I'm asking is this: Are screenwriters now affected by "spoiler culture" before they even begin the writing process? If you know a twist will be unavoidably revealed before the majority of people see the work itself, and if you concede that selling and marketing a film with a major secret will be more complicated for everyone involved … would you even try? Would you essentially stop yourself from trying to write a movie that's structured like The Sixth Sense?" Are Spoilers Flipping the Script?
Scriptsource: Pretty much every form of human writing, all documented on one site. Simon Ager
, which went online circa 1998, documents the many writing systems in use through history and in the present day. Now SIL
International’s ScriptSource packs an even more boggling array of information on scripts and writing into one site, drilling all the way down to pages for individual letters.
Listen to a conversation between
legendary American crime novelist Raymond Chandler and James Bond inventor Ian Fleming recorded by the BBC in 1958. The talk ranges from Mafia hits to the nature of villainy to the difference between English and American thriller.
David Mamet discusses
free-market economists, studying Kaballah, Aristotle's conception of drama, Tennessee William's expensive habit, and his love for Sarah Palin. Oh, and his HBO movie
about Phil Spector (whom he believes is innocent
author, resistance fighter, Holocaust survivor, has died
— Cartoons about... just stuff.
John Cleese interviews William Goldman - part 1
, part 2
, part 3
. (audio only youtube)
The public pillorying of Janet Malcolm is one of the scandals of American letters. ... why is it Malcolm, a virtuoso stylist and a subtle, exciting thinker, who drives critics into a rage? What journalist of her caliber is as widely disliked or as often accused of bad faith? And why did so few of her colleagues stand up for her during the circus of a libel trial that scarred her career? In the animus toward her there is something almost personal. [more inside]
Running seems to allow me, ideally, an expanded consciousness in which I can envision what I'm writing as a film or a dream. I rarely invent at the typewriter but recall what I've experienced. --Celebrated author Joyce Carol Oates on the connection between writing and running
This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of
Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps. (previously!)
"It's harder than you think to write a sentence that doesn't say anything."
The quest to find and understand the author of In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Men and Women
. "Includes full-length album
(by Robert Ashley) and PDF
of Wolgamot's magnum opus." (Via
The Guardian has a new series
of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton
. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
Writing advice from George Saunders
Working best at coffee shops
. Destination: Laptopistan
. Why work doesn't happen
Writer Cath Elliot
, recently nominated for the Orwell Prize
for political writing, posts about what are, sadly, often the occupational hazards
of being a political woman online. (NSFW language; author has tagged post with a trigger warning fwiw)
Bad (and some so bad they're good) excerpts from bad romance novels. Includes things like: "And as he ground sinuously against her tender flesh, she began to quake and contract, whimpering with tortured delight. Her senses exploded; her very body seemed to dissolve into a fierce, white-hot blast of elemental heat. And in that boundless, exploding star of pleasure she felt his essence mingle with hers as he buried his face in her hair and erupted, pouring his passion into her soft, responsive frame."
Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time
Free Darko calls it quits
. Contributors to the irreverent basketball writing site that Brian Philips describes as "a vintage record shop that radiation turned into a grad student" talk about what Free Darko meant to them. Also, an interview
with Free Darko writer and illustrator Bethlehem Shoals and Jacob Weinstein.
Last Monday, young adult author Jessica Verday announced that she'd pulled out Wicked Pretty Things
, an anthology forthcoming with Running Press, after the anthology's editor asked her to change a romance between two teenage boys to a heterosexual pairing
. The editor responded, "These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong!" [more inside]