Let’s say you’re a writer, working a novel set in Minneapolis. Your protagonist arrives home after a long day of doing whatever it is your protagonist does all day. To this point, you’ve been very specific with local landmarks and a general feeling of the city — your protagonist rides the 21A, eats breakfast at the Grand Cafe, and meets his or her attorney in an office on the 12th floor of the Rand Tower. All good so far. You’ve set the scene very effectively. People are going to say, “This is a great Minneapolis novel" after they read it. However, the time has now come for you to insert a specific street address into the text. You like specifics, and you need a real-sounding mailing address for, say, a situation where the protagonist receives a mysterious letter. How will you accomplish this? Here you have a problem. You only have two options, neither one very good
. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew
on Jul 31, 2013 -
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son
loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf
, which would later be called The Harvard Classics
." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 11, 2013 -
Netflix House of Cards
series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins
by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 11, 2013 -
"It was John Polidori's misfortune
to be comic without having a sense of humor, to wish to be a great writer but to be a terrible one, to be unusually bright but surrounded for one summer by people who were titanically brighter, and to have just enough of an awareness of all of this to make him perpetually uneasy. Also, he couldn't jump."
posted by Iridic
on Mar 18, 2013 -
Perched high up above the Thames in downtown London
every month this past year a different writer has spent four days living in a replica of the Roi des Belges, the boat Marlow travels up the Congo in Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness
. Each author would write a short text during their stay "which explores London, rivers, the work of Joseph Conrad, or even all three." They would be visited on the last day by a journalist from The Guardian who recorded them reading their essay, poem or short story. Among the poets, historians and novelists were Adonis, Jeanette Winterson, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje and Kamila Shamsie. These recordings, each prefaced by a short interview, are all available on the Guardian website, to stream or download. Below the cut there is a link to each recording, with a short description. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 31, 2012 -
"The word reclaim came up more than once to describe the rising tide. It is a revealing word, more narrative than simply descriptive: it hints at some larger backstory, some plot twist in a longer saga about our claims and the water’s counterclaims to the earth.… This story was already ancient when it was adapted for the biblical text—which is to say, it records a very old fear. Like all old fears, it has the uncanny feel of a vivid memory. It may be a memory of an actual flood in an actual Sumerian city, Shurrupal, ca 2800 B.C.E. In fact, it may be even older than that."
posted by the mad poster!
on Nov 13, 2012 -
In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West
can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 20, 2012 -
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi
set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi
aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 9, 2012 -
This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on.
- In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work
of Alternate History
instead of the Merchant Princes
books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle
to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika
in The Iron Dream
. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here
by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw
on Sep 23, 2010 -
' "Predictive programming
works by means of the propagation of the illusion of an infallibly accurate vision of how the world is going to look in the future". Through the circulation of science "fiction" literature, the ignorant masses are provided with semiotic intimations of coming events. Within such literary works are narrative paradigms that are politically and socially expedient to the power elite. Thus, when the future unfolds as planned, it assumes the paradigmatic character of the "fiction" that foretold it...........' The Illuminati
: an all encompassing conspiracy stranger than any fiction
posted by 0bvious
on Dec 11, 2005 -
is a polished, eclectic Goth magazine with a killer design and content to die for. With hundreds of articles and images in the categories of Art, Music, Fashion, Lifestyle, Fiction and Nonfiction, this is one of the very best online zines I've seen yet. Go to any feature, and you will find a list of related-interest articles accompanying the story, and, usually, a listing of online resources or suggestions for reading as well.
posted by taz
on Jun 12, 2003 -
If you're a fan of Interactive Fiction then you'll certainly be familiar with Andrew Plotkin
the author of some of the best works in the genre, including Spider in Web
and So Far
. Only Macintosh users, however, will remember his phenomenol early-90s puzzle game, System's Twilight, "An Abstract Fairytale."
I recently played it again, and am astounded that such an early piece of work contains such a fully realized fantasy world (literally, it's abstract) and such goddamn
hard puzzles. Download it and experience some gaming history, and a damn good time.
posted by tweebiscuit
on Aug 2, 2001 -