The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction, by Jeff VanderMeer in The Atlantic.
An interactive version of Olaus Magnus’ 1539 Carta Marina, a map of the sea filled with the usual ( and unusual) monsters and creatures. (Slate)
“The beast sets me riddles every evening, and when I fail to guess them, it kicks and bites me. It is like a small leopard and in other circumstances I should say it looked quite charming. So far I haven't solved a single one of these riddles…”—Michal Ajvaz. [more inside]
In the late 1970s Jorge Luis Borges edited a 33-volume series of fantastic tales by many authors, from Jack London to Pu Songling, Leopoldo Lugones to Henry James. The series was called "The Library of Babel," after the Borges story of the same title. In 2009, Grant Monroe found a directory of Spanish-language science fiction, fantasy, terror and mystery stories, listing the contents of the 33 volumes -- JLB's own favorite weird tales both well-known and obscure -- and began tracking down links to each of the stories, one by one: "Searching the Library of Babel". [more inside]
Stuck in an office this morning? Trudging through the downtown? Trapped in traffic? Time to reimagine your city. [more inside]
On Tor.com, Mefi'sown Patrick Garcon (smoke) is writing lively essays on Victorian fantasy illustration, from the Pre-Raphaelites to Orientalism. [via mefi projects]
Fantastic Zoology - A graphical interpretation of J.L. Borges "Book of Imaginary Beings" [more inside]
The Fantastic in Art and Fiction. The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections presents an online image-bank that "provides a visual resource for the study of the Fantastic or of the supernatural in fiction and in art" from the danse macabre to medical oddities to creatures straight out of Hell (and Heaven). The university's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections has put together a captivating little collection of the marvelous, the mysterious and the magical. You can search through all the images at once or search by book title. (Some images may be slightly NSFW.)
"The Human Torch has no need for an 'All-Terrain Vehicle'- because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can f-ck-ng FLY." Why the Fantastic 4 Human Torch ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!) is the Worst Movie Tie-In Toy Ever.
The Gold-Digging Ant-Lions of India is but one tale about insects and culture. Although, The Cultural Entomology Digest seems to have been out of circulation for a decade, you can still read about Japanese Crests based on Butterflies, Chinese Cricket Culture and hints of a Greek Cricket culture, Beetles as Religious Symbols or the Insects of MC Escher.
The Fantastic in Art & Fiction - Cornell University's bank of nearly 300 images of the fantastic, the grotesque, the macabre, the marvelous and more "from works spanning a period from medieval manuscripts and printed incunabulae, to the early twentieth century."