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Thomas Ligotti

... [Thomas] Ligotti's stories tend to have a profound emotional impact. His vision is exceedingly dark, and it is possible for his stories to infect the reader with a mild-to-severe case of depression. It is even possible for them to effect a change in the reader's self-perception and view of the universe. This warning is not meant to be sensationalistic, nor is it meant to turn new readers away. It is simply a statement of fact based upon the experiences of actual readers. Ligotti writes about the darkest of themes with an amazing power, and he means what he says. Often his stories seem to communicate a message below their surface, a sort of subliminal statement that should not rightly be able to traverse the barrier of verbal language. - Matt Cardin (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 15, 2012 - 21 comments

Out there is a different world

"I Loved it...I Loved it All" An eight minute film essay that Ned Judge co-produced and directed with Edward Abbey in 1985. At the time Judge was working for a network magazine show. The executive producer took him to lunch one day. He told him that he was having trouble with his son who was 18. The son thought his dad was a corporate whore. He had told his father if he had any balls at all he’d put Edward Abbey on his show. That’s why the EP was talking to him. Would Judge see if it was possible? Judge had an acquaintance who knew Ed and he passed the request along. Ed responded that he’d give it a try. He signed the contract and wrote a script. Judge and Abbey met in Moab and went out to Arches National Park to shoot some practice sessions with a home video camera. They would review them at the motel in the evening. After a day or two, Ed was feeling pretty comfortable on camera so they scheduled the shoot. They were all happy with the way it went. But then they ran head-on into network reality. Roger Mudd, the show’s host, was extremely negative about putting an “eco-terrorist” on the show. The executive producer caved (his son was right about him apparently). So this Abbey essay was put on the shelf and never aired. Abbey died 3 years later in March 1989. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Oct 15, 2012 - 17 comments

Always wondered if Tom went on to work in banking.

John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
posted by Miko on Oct 10, 2012 - 40 comments

This will sell us another 25,000 copies for sure.

Tomorrow is the end of Banned Books Week. It's been 30 years. The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 5, 2012 - 48 comments

Creative Director Starts Drinking Heavily

How Does An Idea Become A Book? (flowchart)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 29, 2012 - 25 comments

The Man, the author, his reader & her e-book

The American Library Association fires the latest response in its tussle with publishers over e-books in public libraries, while in England, a government review of e-books in public libraries is announced.
posted by Wordshore on Sep 28, 2012 - 36 comments

"The bookful blockhead ignorantly read" - Alexander Pope

A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 22, 2012 - 11 comments

"!@#$% Happens"

Children's author Judy Blume writes about her struggle with breast cancer: "As I've told my friends who've also been treated for breast cancer, I've joined The Club - not one I wanted to join or even thought I would ever be joining - but here I am."
posted by Fizz on Sep 15, 2012 - 16 comments

"You must live till you die."

The Disappeared. "How a fatwa changed a writer's life." A third-person autobiographical essay, by Salman Rushdie. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 10, 2012 - 18 comments

"Can we just be kind and respectful to one another??"

A blogger records a blow-by-blow account of how an author tries to use social media to 'correct' bad reviews of her book. [more inside]
posted by Megami on Aug 28, 2012 - 126 comments

"No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"

Tim Parks has two interesting articles at the NYRB: Does Money Make Us Write Better? and Does Copyright Matter?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 23, 2012 - 48 comments

"Very good, sir. Should I lay out your crazy adventure garb?"

What If Other Authors Had Written The Lord Of The Rings?...Wilde, Wodehouse, and more.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 19, 2012 - 50 comments

Whatever Happened to Adam Diment?

Adam Diment was once considered the heir to Ian Fleming with his wildly successful series of novels (The Dolly Dolly Spy, The Great Spy Race, The Bang Bang Birds, Think, Inc.) about the spy Philip McAlpine. Diment, writing in the swinging ‘60s and ‘70s, was known for his debonair lifestyle and casual flirtation with drugs. He had it all: success, wealth, sex. Then he disappeared. [more inside]
posted by librarylis on Aug 3, 2012 - 10 comments

James Salter's "A Sport and a Pastime"

James Salter's A Sport and a Pastime is one of those very rare novels that seems not so much to have been written as discovered. At its heart is a love story, an encounter, that transforms its relatively ordinary protagonists into beings around whom the entire cosmos shapes itself. The love story is delicate and ephemeral, put together out of bits and pieces, like a bird's nest. The vulnerable lovers tremble, in the most mundane circumstances, on the edge of catastrophe. Simply the way one of them moves across the room to meet the other seems miraculous and hazardous. Were they to become aware of themselves everything would be lost. But there is no danger of that. Oblivious, they tiptoe on a precipice. They do not and cannot know that their innocence cloaks them in a kind of divinity and infallibility. Actions and attitudes we expect to bring them down don't. They do things that seem so perfect, so poignant, without knowing they are doing anything at all. They arc beautifully across our path, and then vanish. - Michael Doliner (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 31, 2012 - 8 comments

RIP Margaret Mahy

Acclaimed New Zealand children's and young adult's book author Margaret Mahy died in Christchurch yesterday aged 76. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jul 23, 2012 - 24 comments

Just a handshake.

"Confessions of an Ex-Mormon: A personal history of America’s most misunderstood religion." by Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air and Lost in the Meritocracy. (Via)
posted by zarq on Jul 17, 2012 - 45 comments

“Only way to live here is day by day, same as anywhere.” ― Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger

Barry Unsworth, Booker prizewinner, dies at 81. [guardian.co.uk] Writer of historical fiction, who won Britain's highest literary honour in 1992 for Sacred Hunger, has died.
posted by Fizz on Jun 8, 2012 - 11 comments

The Man Who Thought He Was King

"I want to know how I am a small press, if I am outselling Robin Hobb and Terry Goodkind and Tolkien?" Fantasy author M.R. Mathias has a disagreement with Fantasy-Faction.com.
posted by Avenger50 on May 21, 2012 - 68 comments

"The beauty of [science fiction] is—the whole point of it is—that humans are the same."

Each morning at 9am for the next two weeks, (Mefi's Own) scifi and fantasy author John Scalzi will be chatting with musician Jonathan Coulton about one of his science fiction songs -- a different song each morning, -- in a daily podcast over at Tor.com called Journey to Planet JoCo. Series index. On May 29th, they'll be premiering a brand new, previously unheard Coulton song.
posted by zarq on May 17, 2012 - 3 comments

“I suppose the first thing I should do is apologize for the billions of dead.”

A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
posted by The Whelk on May 16, 2012 - 47 comments

The Second Android Coming of Philip K. Dick

To understand the reasoning behind the android and why this particular science fiction author, above others, was chosen... [more inside]
posted by dubold on May 14, 2012 - 11 comments

This Adventurous and Terrifying World, with James W. Buel

James William Buel was a journalist, author, and editor, who was born in 1849 in Golconda, Illinois, and died in 1920 in San Diego, California. In his life, he traveled the world, writing and illustrating adventure tales about the wilds of Africa and the American West, and other exciting parts of the world. Many of his books are on Archive.org, ranging from America's Wonderlands, as delineated by pen and camera and Mysteries and Miseries of America's Great Cities, embracing New York, Washington City, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and New Orleans; to Russian Nihilism and Exile Life in Siberia, with over 200 splendid engravings, and Sea and Land [microform] : an illustrated history of the wonderful and curious things of nature existing before and since the deluge (including a great number of creatures who apparently found joy in terrorizing and devouring people).
posted by filthy light thief on May 3, 2012 - 1 comment

"...for the next tour, I’ll either be calm and collected or nervous with a dangerously out-of-control boner."

The Awl: Nine Writers and Publicists Tell All About Readings and Book Tours
posted by zarq on Apr 12, 2012 - 18 comments

"I’m curious about what will happen next."

"I always knew that Sugar was Cheryl, and that the anonymity was just a temporary experience, and it wasn’t going to be really who Sugar was in the end. I revealed myself to you. I only withheld one piece of pretty meaningless information: my name. But I showed myself to you." Dear Sugar of The Rumpus is revealed to be author Cheryl Strayed. [more inside]
posted by mokin on Feb 15, 2012 - 17 comments

Janet Flanner

Janet Flanner began her career at The New Yorker composing evocative and cogent dispatches from Europe, writing nearly seven hundred Letters from Paris under the nom de plume Genêt, from 1925 to 1975. In between these, she contributed Profiles, Reporter at Large dispatches, and other Letters from around the globe. In a Postscript published after she died, in 1978, editor-in-chief William Shawn wrote of his prolific correspondent: "Her eye never became jaded, her ardor for what was new and alive never diminished, and her language remained restless. She was a stylist who devoted her style, bedazzling and heady in itself, to the subtle task of conveying the spirit of a subtle people." [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 15, 2012 - 7 comments

A visit to Dickens World

Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World. It promised to be an “authentic” re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and strategically placed chemical “smell pots” that would, when heated, emit odors of offal and rotting cabbage. ... Today Dickens World survives largely as a landlord, collecting rent from the Odeon movie theater next door and the restaurants (Pizza Hut, Subway, Chimichanga) that surround it. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Feb 10, 2012 - 41 comments

Caroline Knapp's "Drinking: A Love Story"

Drinking: A Love Story, Chapter Six: Sex - by Caroline Knapp
posted by Trurl on Jan 26, 2012 - 36 comments

Diary of an Author: Woke up. Googled self.

Diary of an Author: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
posted by fings on Jan 22, 2012 - 28 comments

"Maybe I should finally mention WOOL..."

Hugh Howey was a self-published novelist of no real success. Until WOOL, that is - a 15,000 word "little throwaway story" he uploaded to Amazon's Kindle Marketplace one day and promptly forget about. The story he didn't blog, didn't tweet, and didn't even sell on his site hit #2 on the Kindle SciFi Bestseller list and "changed the course of e-books." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Jan 15, 2012 - 140 comments

Sarah Orne Jewett

... [Sarah Orne] Jewett's gifts have always been recognized by a select few, and continue to be. [The Country of the] Pointed Firs, especially, was immediately recognized as a major achievement. Henry James called it, perfectly, “a beautiful little quantum of achievement.” Willa Cather listed it as one of her three great American novels...
posted by Trurl on Jan 13, 2012 - 13 comments

Plotto

William Wallace Cook, seeking to help mechanize the art of novel writing, came up with the 1462 possible plots for all stories. He then devised the Plotto system, whereby an author need only consult the book of plots to construct the next best seller.
posted by reenum on Jan 8, 2012 - 58 comments

"The long sentence opens the very doors that a short sentence simply slams shut."

"Your sentences are so long," [L.A.Times] The point of the long and winding sentence - Pico Iyer’s essay on why he’s made the conscious decision to write longer sentences.
posted by Fizz on Jan 8, 2012 - 83 comments

End of An Era?

A couple of commentators present conflicting arguments about whether the golden age of tech blogging is over.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2011 - 38 comments

I am Joe's FPP

"I am Your Body"
posted by infini on Dec 2, 2011 - 21 comments

Blaise Cendrars

Reading Blaise Cendrars is like stepping into another universe. His fiction is unlike anything else I've ever read. His poetry influenced the mighty Guillaume Apollinaire and helped shape the face of modernism. But it is his mockery of biographical detail and the very notion of literature that fascinates me the most. If, like me, you're not a fan of autobiography, then Blaise Cendrars is the memoirist for you.
posted by Trurl on Nov 30, 2011 - 10 comments

"The blonde hadn't showed. She was smarter than I thought. I went outside to poison myself, with cigarettes and whisky."

Reader, I marinated it. [independent.co.uk] What if Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey Chaucer or Raymond Chandler had turned their talents to food writing? Mark Crick imagines the contents of the celebrity cookbooks of yesteryear.
posted by Fizz on Nov 28, 2011 - 26 comments

påske-krim

How do you write crime fiction in the wake of a massacre? The mass slaughter on Utøya in July shook Norway to its core. Now the country's crime writers must come to terms with what happened…
posted by infini on Nov 20, 2011 - 16 comments

From IDEA to SOCIAL MEDIA.

Life Cycle of a Book: Writer. Editorial. Agent. Production. Design. Marketing. Publicity. Sales. Book Buyer. Distribution. Author Publicity. Full Life Cycle [PDF]
posted by Fizz on Nov 14, 2011 - 9 comments

$2 a Word? Chump Change!

Byliner and The Atavist might be heralding a change in how and how much longform article authors are paid.
posted by reenum on Sep 20, 2011 - 14 comments

Reamde by Neal Stephenson has been released

Reamde - Neal Stephenson's much anticipated book, has just been released. Perhaps you can ask Neal questions at one of his book-signings. I know I've got some questions about Bitcoin and what he thinks of his 1995 predictions now with the latest happenings over at Mt Gox. :)
posted by jackspace on Sep 20, 2011 - 169 comments

Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan

Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan, 3rd Edition (not to be confused with Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major's Lifetime Reading Plan, 4th Edition) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 13, 2011 - 34 comments

Not just your everyday Gideon.

For sale: Philip K Dick's Bible, with handwritten annotations.
posted by scalefree on Aug 6, 2011 - 47 comments

How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance

Deanne Gist helps romance novel authors learn the mechanics of Victorian era women's underwear.
posted by reenum on Jul 19, 2011 - 95 comments

The essays of Kenneth Rexroth

The poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth, one of the central figures in the San Francisco Renaissance, only wrote prose for money. But he did it very well. (way previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 3, 2011 - 8 comments

Lee Tandy Schwartzman's "Crippled Detectives"

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.
posted by Trurl on Jun 27, 2011 - 14 comments

Little Ellen dies of the croup because her mother has neglected to get her shoe repaired.

Many hate her, but she is alive in every fandom. She fences with Methos and Duncan MacLeod; she saves the Enterprise, the Voyager, or the fabric of time and space; she fights with Jim Ellison in defense of Cascade; she battles evil in Sunnydale alongside Buffy Sommers. 150 Years of Mary Sue, by Pat Pflieger, exploring vanity fanfic back to the 19th century. Bonus blackhole of content: TVTropes on Mary Sue.
posted by cortex on Jun 5, 2011 - 155 comments

"And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."

"I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me." VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.
posted by Fizz on Jun 3, 2011 - 289 comments

Hellfire and Damnation!

After over seven years, Stephen R. Donaldson, has stopped taking questions for his monumental and amazing Gradual Interview.
"After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life."
The Gradual Interview is a fully-searchable question and answer session with his readers that currently contains over 2600 exchanges on topics including minutiae about his novels, his writing process, and many other interesting subjects. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on May 29, 2011 - 12 comments

Wolgamot

"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)
posted by zarq on May 23, 2011 - 28 comments

An Ankh and A morepork

We all know beloved fantasy author Terry Pratchett has a sword, but did you know he has his own Coat of Arms?
posted by The Whelk on May 18, 2011 - 96 comments

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