820 posts tagged with fiction.
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The archetype is probably 'Lucky Jim' by Kingsley Amis...

"From a comic standpoint, anyone who’s every been to a cocktail party with university colleagues knows that even at the best of times it’s an ongoing comedy of manners, a ballet of awkwardness. There exist in university settings the following: Competition, ego, eccentric personalities. Sartorial affectation (berets, tweed blazers, brightly colored silk scarves, Trotsky-style beards, all manner of glasses). Bureaucracy and Machiavellian maneuvering. Snubs and indignities and inappropriate flirtations.

"All, as they say, ripe for satire."
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 12, 2016 - 35 comments

Power of Asian superheroes

To say that Asians cannot be superheroes because of “Asian values” erases traditional and contemporary Asian superheroes, assumes all Asians are the same, and echoes a long history of racist oppression. It tells Asians that we can only be part of someone else’s story, and never make our own stories. Having Asian superheroes is a way of changing all that.
In response to their compatriot Umapagan Ampikaipakan's New York Times piece about the "oxymoron of Asian superheros", fellow Malaysian writers Amanda Ng Yann Chwen and Louise Tan speak of the importance of having relatable role models in fiction.
posted by divabat on Jan 8, 2016 - 60 comments

Accent and Sentiment

Two recent essays explore the way our expectations and our language interact in fiction: First, at The Toast, Brittany K. Allen deals with what "urban" means in "urban romance," and how hewing to the genre affected her writing, in "I Wrote the Accent." Next, Andrew Piper and Richard Jean So use sentiment analysis to determine whether pop fiction is more sentimental than its literary cousin, in "Quantifying the Weepy Bestseller."
posted by mittens on Jan 6, 2016 - 5 comments

The boy had no magic except what other people hung on him.

What would have happened if Harry Potter had been a squib? How might the story of the books gone differently? Well. Perhaps Arabella Figg noticed something first.
posted by sciatrix on Jan 2, 2016 - 79 comments

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015 [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Jan 1, 2016 - 19 comments

Themed Guides to Translated Literature in 2015

Chad W. Post at Three Percent recently linked to World Literature Today's 75 Notable Translations of 2015 and went on a list-making tear to provide more structure and commentary: 7 books by women, 6 water-cooler fiction books, 6 university press books, 3 'funny' books, 4 books from underrepresented countries, and the best poetry I should read. The commentary often leads to further matters of interest, e.g. the Women in Translation Tumblr or Marianne Fritz and the translation challenges (scroll down) in her work.
posted by Wobbuffet on Dec 31, 2015 - 7 comments

In my dreams, I was inventing literature

Gabriel García Márquez began writing Cien Años de Soledad—One Hundred Years of Solitude—a half-century ago, finishing in late 1966. The novel came off the press in Buenos Aires on May 30, 1967, two days before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, and the response among Spanish-language readers was akin to Beatlemania: crowds, cameras, exclamation points, a sense of a new era beginning. In 1970 the book appeared in English, followed by a paperback edition with a burning sun on its cover, which became a totem of the decade. By the time García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize, in 1982, the novel was considered the Don Quixote of the Global South, proof of Latin-American literary prowess. [...] How is it that this novel could be sexy, entertaining, experimental, politically radical, and wildly popular all at once? Its success was no sure thing, and the story of how it came about is a crucial and little-known chapter in the literary history of the last half-century.
The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude
posted by shakespeherian on Dec 13, 2015 - 12 comments

George Saunders reads & discusses short fiction

George Saunders reads short short stories by Grace Paley and Barry Hannah and discusses them with Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of The New Yorker. The podcast is less than 40 minutes long and each of the stories fit on a single page of the magazine.
posted by kingless on Dec 13, 2015 - 7 comments

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

Four-day marathon public reading of War and Peace begins in Russia. [The Guardian]
A marathon four-day Russian public reading of Leo Tolstoy’s vast classic novel War and Peace kicked off on Tuesday morning, with more than 1,300 people in more than 30 cities preparing to make their contributions to the record-breaking project. Coordinated by Tolstoy’s great-great-granddaughter Fekla Tolstaya, and featuring a number of cultural luminaries including the Polish film director Andrzej Wajda, the readings are being streamed by Russian state television channel Kultura. One volume of Tolstoy’s fictionalised history of Russia during the Napoleonic campaign will be read each day.
posted by Fizz on Dec 8, 2015 - 17 comments

You put out fresh sashimi, sometimes, arranged as best as you know how.

The Economics of Neko Atsume -- Nicole Dieker meditates on a cat-gathering future for The Billfold in a story tagged NEKO ATSUME, ONLINE GAMES THAT SUGGEST HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, SERIOUSLY NEKO ATSUME IS THE CUTEST GAME I HAVE FED SO MANY CATS. If you're looking for hard economic analysis of the sardine-to-gold exchange rate, move on: this is a slice of life story in a world where gathering cats is all that matters. (And if adding a layer of "horrible dystopia" would negatively affect your gathering of cats, you might want to skip this one.) [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Dec 6, 2015 - 65 comments

“...things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired,”

Debate erupts as Hanya Yanagihara's editor takes on critic over bad review of A Little Life. [The Guardian] The editor of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life has taken to the pages of the New York Review of Books to defend his author from a review that claimed the novel “duped” its readers “into confusing anguish and ecstasy, pleasure and pain”. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Dec 4, 2015 - 30 comments

“Everyone knows what a New Yorker story will look like.”

Marlon James, winner of this year’s Man Booker prize, believes that writers of color are “pandering to the white woman.” [The Guardian]
The 2015 Man Booker prize winner Marlon James has slammed the publishing world, saying authors of colour too often “pander to white women” to sell books, and that he could have been published more often if he had written “middle-style prose and private ennui”.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Dec 1, 2015 - 68 comments

Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List 2015

The 2015 The Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List, selected collaboratively by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in the run up to the Nebula Award. Categories include novella, novellete and short story, within which most entries have links full stories.
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2015 - 33 comments

Trauma, the Minotaur, the labyrinth

"The underground bad place is always in the present, whether literally or in memory, and it is always about the past." Bernadette Lynn Bosky on underground and secret spaces in Peter Straub’s fiction.
posted by thetortoise on Nov 14, 2015 - 7 comments

Do not mention the husband or death. Do not mention murder or the bird.

The art of the strange writing exercise. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 13, 2015 - 10 comments

“If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.”

In honor of Albert Camus' birthday, Flavorwire has collected 30 quotes from absurdist fiction.
posted by holmesian on Nov 7, 2015 - 13 comments

Discover something new

"It isn’t easy to discover new podcasts. There are just SO many out there. Sometimes the best approach is to simply turn to a friend and say, 'Hey, what are you listening to these days?'" So, NPR has created earbud.fm, a "friendly guide to great podcasts."
posted by zarq on Nov 3, 2015 - 82 comments

"Women and cats will do as they please."

Blue Monday - a sci-fi short story by Laurie Penny for Motherboard all about cats, Internet videos, and emotional contagions.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 31, 2015 - 11 comments


Jezebel ran a Scary Story contest this year, here's the wonderful (though sometimes badly edited) results. Need more? Then check out last year's winners, especially the one titled "Look at Me".
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 31, 2015 - 19 comments


Facebook, funeral homes and the feeding of our lives as we fade away. A horror story by Andrew F. Sullivan for Hazlitt.
posted by dorothyisunderwood on Oct 29, 2015 - 1 comment

The Scariest Story Ever Told

At the end of a quiet road, behind a veil of twisted black oak trees, there was a house. A woman lived there. On bitter nights like this one, she sat by the fire and read until she grew tired enough for sleep. But on this night, as her lids grew heavy, she was startled by a sound. A sound she wasn’t accustomed to hearing these days. Who could be calling, she wondered? And this late? She rose from her chair and picked up the phone.

“Hello?” [more inside]
posted by pwally on Oct 28, 2015 - 47 comments

Alien Nation

The film Alien Nation was a hit in 1988, so the fledgling Fox Network figured building off its success with a human-alien buddy cop show was a can’t-miss concept.... [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 28, 2015 - 86 comments

The Zack Parsons Project

Zack Parsons, Something Awful's resident writer of much weirdness (oldest articles in that listing may be misattributed) has resumed his beloved series with Steve Sumner (the Max to his Sam), WTF D&D. While Zack still writes for Something Awful, he and Steve's reviews of weird pen-and-paper RPG sourcebooks and art, and their rollicking RPG campaigns, have resumed on Zack's new site, The Bad Guys Win, which also features other new articles from Zack (all of the new WTF D&D, currently a two-part adventure in the Ravenloft setting starring Steve as an idiot monk, is collected under Games). [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ on Oct 23, 2015 - 16 comments

I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie

You think City on Fire is big? A reading list of really, really big books.
posted by janey47 on Oct 21, 2015 - 99 comments


Camus' Web. by Jacob Eugene Horn [McSweeney's Internet Tendency]
Wilbur the pig was unhappy. In the two short months that he had been alive, Wilbur was certain he experienced the peaks and valleys of happiness and despair. When he was but a runt, he was free to prance about, but now that he was under the care of Farmer Zuckerman he was confined to a simple pig pen.
posted by Fizz on Oct 16, 2015 - 4 comments

“I do not consider literary forms to exist in a hierarchy,”

History v Historical Fiction by Jane Smiley [The Guardian] Historical fiction is not a secondary form – I was condescended to by a conservative historian who cannot see that he too constructs stories.
“The condescender was Niall Ferguson, a conservative historian about 15 years younger than me, who wanted to be sure that I understood that the historical novel is all made up, but that historical non-fiction, written by historians is truth. He referred to his research. I referred to my research. He wasn’t convinced. I suggested that the demands of history and fiction are slightly different – that since a novel is a story, it must be complete, and since a history must be accepted by the reader as accurate, it must be incomplete.”
posted by Fizz on Oct 15, 2015 - 43 comments

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass....”

The Wheel of Time Reread by Leigh Butler [TOR.COM]
Hello! Welcome to the introductory post of a new blog series on Tor.com, The Wheel of Time Re-read. This is in preparation for the publication of the next and last book in the series, A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be published this fall. My name is Leigh Butler, and I’ll be your hostess for the festivities. I’m very excited to be a part of this project, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Oct 11, 2015 - 31 comments

Dear Friends

A contemporary fictional account of promoting contemporary fiction.
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 8, 2015 - 4 comments

“People always leave traces. No person is without a shadow.”

Henning Mankell, Dean of Scandinavian Noir Writers, Dies at 67 [The New York Times]
Henning Mankell, the Swedish novelist and playwright best known for police procedurals that were translated into a score of languages and sold by the millions throughout the world, died Monday morning in Goteborg, Sweden. He was 67. Mr. Mankell was considered the dean of the so-called Scandinavian noir writers who gained global prominence for novels that blended edge-of-your-seat suspense with flawed, compelling protagonists and strong social themes. The genre includes Arnaldur Indridason of Iceland, Jo Nesbo of Norway and Stieg Larsson of Sweden, among others.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Oct 5, 2015 - 34 comments

Evil! -- one seemed to see it everywhere

This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a bronchial spasm. That is, at least, according to William Delisle Hay’s 1880 novella The Doom of the Great City. It imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog. The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later as he recalls “the greatest calamity that perhaps this earth has ever witnessed” at what was, for Hay’s first readers, the distant future date of 1942. -- Brett Beasley in the Public Domain review on one of the first modern urban apocalypse stories.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 2, 2015 - 8 comments

“The football was never the problem. The problem is everything else.”

Why Five Friends Stopped Watching the NFL and Started a Book Club
Instead of watching the NFL, we’re launching Football Book Club. And you know what: No one ever got concussed reading The Goldfinch. No one ever suffered a career-ending cervical spine injury curling up with his Kindle. No one’s mind was every slowly destroyed by books — the effect is really quite the opposite — despite what some social conservatives would have you believe. And, best of all: There is no way Roger Goodell can ruin this — he’s not even invited. Every week, we’re exchanging one love for another: Instead of turning on the TV, we’ll read a new book — great works of fiction and nonfiction, poetry and graphic novels — and then we’ll share our thoughts about the current title and what our lives are like without the NFL.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Sep 30, 2015 - 80 comments

"Reading is cool and so are you!"

For nine seasons, (1995-2004) comedienne and actress Kathy Kinney played Mimi Bobeck, the "outrageously made-up, flamboyantly vulgar, and vindictive nemesis" of Drew Carey on the sitcom The Drew Carey Show. Lately, she's been busy with a new role: professional children's storyteller. Welcome to Mrs. P's Magic Library. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2015 - 10 comments

Yoann Hervo's Weird Simpsons VHS

The Simpsons title credits sequence is one of the most delightfully surreal animations in recent history. But when Yoann Hervo recorded it to VHS back in the 90's he must have turned the surreality setting up to 11.
posted by carsonb on Sep 25, 2015 - 22 comments

The Apocalypse Will Not Be Digitized

Life After A Total Hack. "A short story about the biggest fear you don’t even know you have," by Jon Methven. LinkedIn, eHarmony and Last.fm were all "hacked wide open this week [June 6, 2012] .. But what would happen to us if everything got compromised?" [more inside]
posted by Devika on Sep 24, 2015 - 34 comments

Beware the novelist . . . intimate and indiscreet

Morrissey’s debut novel List of the Lost is published today. The author has explained that “The theme is demonology … the left-handed path of black magic. It is about a sports relay team in 1970s America who accidentally kill a wretch who, in esoteric language, might be known as a Fetch … a discarnate entity in physical form.” The initial reviews have not been kind: “an unpolished turd of a book” reckons Michael Hann at The Guardian; “a bizarre misogynistic ramble” opines Nico Hines of The Daily Beast. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Sep 24, 2015 - 101 comments

Wait, wait, have you written this down? Aren't you a writer?

SOUNDS LIKE YOUR NEXT STORY!: a short play with infinite scenes by Rebecca Makkai.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 21, 2015 - 5 comments

Winners will be announced in New York City on November 18.

2015 National Book Award Longlists Released [The Millions] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 17, 2015 - 16 comments

Usually the author happens to have a map on hand

How exactly does one go about making a map of a make-believe place? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 14, 2015 - 13 comments

Good ol’ Gregor Brown

Franz Kafka meets Charlie Brown. Revisiting R. Sikoryak’s "Good ol’ Gregor Brown." The 100th Anniversary of The Metamorphosis, previously.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide on Sep 14, 2015 - 7 comments

Other, Stranger Timelines

Germany’s famous unit of immortal soldiers pose with their heads in their hands, 1921. The Immortals, ordinary men resurrected from death by a process as yet unknown, served with honour in the First World War until they were liquidated (by being burned to death, the only way they could be killed) by the Weimar Republic in 1924. [more inside]
posted by yasaman on Sep 9, 2015 - 17 comments

The Closest Thing To Animals

The Closest Thing To Animals, A short story by Sofia Samatar. [more inside]
posted by moonlight on vermont on Sep 7, 2015 - 5 comments

Literature and addiction

"Here are some books that will not only make you want to quit doing the thing that is killing you, but also offer an interesting narrative structure for writers because they flout the conventional hero journey template. Instead of a reluctant hero emerging from an ordinary world to delve into the tricky landscape of magic and tests, these heroes begin in chaos and emerge from the grungy ashes of last call and plunge into sober, or at least peaceful, life earned by one’s ability to overcome hurdles associated with addiction." (Antonia Crane at Electric Literature) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 31, 2015 - 15 comments

“The wheel weaves as the wheel wills.”

The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written [Buzzfeed]
Whether you’re a Swords and Sorcery type of fantasy reader, a fan of battles and betrayal, or you just want a few more goddamn elves in your life, there’s something for you here. These are the truly great fantasy series written in the last 50 years.
posted by Fizz on Aug 27, 2015 - 157 comments

Frankenstein’s Mother

"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 24, 2015 - 7 comments

"For those people the only black stories are those familiar to them."

What the mainstream would seem to want from black writers are only stories of blackness written from a marginal position, on one hand to serve as witness and on the other to affirm for mainstream readers that they remain white, and so privileged. They want affirmation that the inner life of black folks is more or less the way black folks exist in the white imagination.
"Color Blind: A Pocket Guide to Race in America," by Calvin Baker, author of Grace [.pdf excerpt] and Dominion
posted by nebulawindphone on Aug 19, 2015 - 13 comments

The Sci-Fi Corridor Archive

Screenshots of corridors from SF movies. [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Aug 11, 2015 - 35 comments

The Tongueless Fish

"I’ve been infected by a parasite. I won’t tell you what because I don’t want you to search for it. By the time this reaches you it won’t matter much, anyway. In fact, I’m forbidding you right now from looking for anything or asking anyone. Apparently I have about twelve hours as myself. They won’t say what happens next, because it’s kind of unpredictable. There are lots of animals who’ve had it, but only two people. They won’t tell me." -- The Glad Hosts, a SF short story by Rebecca Campbell
posted by The Whelk on Aug 2, 2015 - 51 comments

The Best Books of 2015 (so far)

The Best Books of 2015 (So Far) By Christian Lorentzen at Vulture. "These ten stand out as having made an especially remarkable impression on the past half-year." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 23, 2015 - 13 comments

From uneasy dreams

100 thoughts on Kafka's "Metamorphosis" to mark the 100th anniversary of its publication. (via) [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 20, 2015 - 4 comments

You are Stephen Colbert. Congratulations!

Gamasutra: “TV host Stephen Colbert has jumped onto [Twine] with a new, free game: Escape from the Man-Sized Cabinet.
posted by Going To Maine on Jul 20, 2015 - 10 comments

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