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Dhcmrlchtdj!

The Library of Babel is online! Recently digitized classics include Rtvcdg Lxcxahssds Qgflvab mge Bjbpd Orrq, Dgqqjv Iqfold xpx Ljg vjd Vapdophr, and Vmcyogxmvyrnle Lgjmyqsh Hfmni Lyvvdahec Bajvp Hlibiov, which appears by the gracious permission of Lbtddnbdqh Pjnghbdtvmi. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 29, 2013 - 42 comments

“More,” you moan, “More pizza! More future!”

Cecil Crowninshield, resident mystical defender of Salem Massachusetts, has put down his Lumurian Quartz topped wand and picked up the keyboard to help keep his neighbors informed of goings-on around town via a series of local news columns - Impress your date! - The Top Five Salem Sandwiches and the ghosts who stole them! - Magick On A Budgetk! When not writing his regular column, Cecil enjoys commenting on others. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on May 28, 2013 - 13 comments

"Each animal reminds one terribly of certain men."

Next to a beautiful, elegant woman, between the silky spirals of her train, on the back of a chair, in a dark angle in the background, he accurately painted, although almost invisible, the animal that recalled the face of the protagonist. He thus had a series of ladies and gentlemen from the squirrel, from the lizard, from the sea horse, etc.
From "The Real Face," by Guido Gozzano, "first and finest representative of the Crepuscolari, the poets of the Twilight." [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 23, 2013 - 1 comment

"Learn as much by writing as by reading."

First editions, second thoughts. [The Guardian] "Interactive: From Amsterdam to Wolf Hall, Booker winners and bestsellers – authors annotate their own first editions.
posted by Fizz on May 18, 2013 - 2 comments

AskMetafilter In 1946.

A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
posted by The Whelk on May 13, 2013 - 35 comments

“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post] "Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

The short sci-fi/fantasy/noir/b-movie stories of Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 7, 2013 - 14 comments

"...wearing various smiles on their faces."

The 2013 Lyttle Lytton Contest winners are here. [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer on Apr 25, 2013 - 23 comments

Feminism as a scifi nightmare. No really.

A review of the 1971 novel "The Feminists," which portrayed the nightmarish future of 1992, where women ruled over men.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 20, 2013 - 68 comments

Tomorrow Is Waiting

"She also found herself liking Kermit a lot more than she'd expected to. Anji had never really watched the Muppets before; her parents, like most parents she knew, had treated TV as only slightly less corrupting an influence than refined sugar and gendered toys. But The Muppet Show was really funny—strange, and kind of hokey, but charming all the same. She ended up watching way more of it than she needed just for the project. "Tomorrow Is Waiting", a short science fiction story by Holli Mintzer, published in Strange Horizons.
posted by brainwane on Apr 17, 2013 - 29 comments

He is interested in confusion

‘I am a phantasmagoric maximalist. I like things to be overwhelmingly strange and capacitous. I want what I write to live; it isn’t about something, it is something’— Michael Cisco. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Apr 3, 2013 - 4 comments

Midnight Rider - A short film

Midnight Rider [SLYT] (or if you prefer Vimeo: Midnight Rider) features Ryan Hurst (Opie from Sons of Anarchy) in a filmed monologue from the opening short story in the collection American Death Songs: Stories by Jordan Harper (mefi's own Bookhouse). Directed by Nina Corrado, music by Blake Neely.

[via mefi projects]
posted by cjorgensen on Mar 25, 2013 - 6 comments

The Thames is a Filthy Beast

Down to a Sunless Sea - a new short story by Neil Gaiman published by The Guardian as part of their series of Water stories.
posted by Artw on Mar 23, 2013 - 6 comments

Just In Time For The Equinox

About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 21, 2013 - 28 comments

Ask Nicola

Nicola Griffith recommends good lesbian science fiction novels.
posted by Artw on Mar 19, 2013 - 50 comments

Inventions of the Monsters

"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 - 107 comments

A literary character with the actual power to kill

How To Write Drone Fiction: "One can easily and self-righteously claim the merits of writing non-fiction about drones by asserting a primacy of fact over “false fiction”. The problem is that one does not write non-fiction about drones." [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Feb 20, 2013 - 21 comments

In fact-based films, how much fiction is OK?

With the "true story" films Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty having been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, discussion has risen about storytelling accuracy: "Does the audience deserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? Surely not, but just how much fiction is OK?"
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston on Feb 20, 2013 - 160 comments

Ian McEwan's Uneasy Relationship With Fiction

When I Stop Believing in Fiction, by Ian McEwan
posted by rollick on Feb 16, 2013 - 15 comments

Collections of sci-fi online

Sometimes you might find yourself sitting at a computer, wanting to read something. But you don't want something long. You're thinking, what about a short story, and possibly something in the fantasy or sci-fi realms? You're in luck! Here are four collections, for your reading pleasure: Apex Magazine short fiction | Baen Ebooks Free Library, which includes some short story collections | Eclipse Online, from Nightshade Books | Strange Horizons fiction archive, including podcasts of many stories. If this is overwhelming, io9 has a pick of 5 short stories from January, with synopses. [Previously: Plane of the Ecliptic, on the Eclipse series | This isn't your grandfather's science fiction, where "Exhalation" is from the Eclipse series]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 5, 2013 - 15 comments

Seven Short Stories About Drones

1. Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Pity. A signature strike leveled the florist’s. The Disposition Matrix. Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance. Drone City. Books Not Bombs.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 31, 2013 - 12 comments

The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

"De Villiers has spent most of his life cultivating spies and diplomats, who seem to enjoy seeing themselves and their secrets transfigured into pop fiction (with their own names carefully disguised), and his books regularly contain information about terror plots, espionage and wars that has never appeared elsewhere. Other pop novelists, like John le Carré and Tom Clancy, may flavor their work with a few real-world scenarios and some spy lingo, but de Villiers’s books are ahead of the news and sometimes even ahead of events themselves." (SLNYT)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 31, 2013 - 26 comments

X-Mensch

Magneto the Jew
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2013 - 60 comments

I ♥ DULUTH, The Story of the Maria Bamford Show

About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jan 26, 2013 - 100 comments

The Hunter

The many lives of Donald Westlake creator of noir antihero Parker. (Previously)
posted by Artw on Jan 26, 2013 - 17 comments

Hey, you've got your black people in my American TV show!

'I'm a White Girl': Why 'Girls' Won't Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem-an article from The Atlantic with several interesting links on the larger issue of including (or not) black characters into American television.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 23, 2013 - 189 comments

I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture.

In Golden Waters, Fatlantis and Libertopia are Something Awful goon-written short story collections (and a short story) about the predicted failure of libertarian separatist colonies. They're inspired by the Seasteading Institute, a group that wants to build a floating libertarian island (and yes, they did inspire China Mieville's 'The Scar'). They should serve as a warning to Glenn Beck, who intends to create a self-sustaining community called Independence Park. The Goon fiction has already started, but its more likely to succeed than The Citadel, a proposed survivalist gun fortress in Idaho. Bonus SA short story collection: Aluminum Sky, a series about the Malatorans, a group who wanted to build an island where they could put their brains into robot cyborg dragon bodies.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jan 22, 2013 - 75 comments

Humor is coming

Arya, Sansa and Bran Stark rap and beatbox to the opening credits of Game of Thrones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 20, 2013 - 19 comments

When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth

The surprisingly touching story of a fire and a broken cat named Domino.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Jan 10, 2013 - 31 comments

The Mi-Go are greater beings than we, but then again, who ain’t?

Brattleboro Days, Yuggoth Nights: an inter­view with H. P. Love­craft on a single postcard.
posted by brundlefly on Jan 9, 2013 - 20 comments

Twelve Missives from the Roi des Belges

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 - 7 comments

Short story podcast

Authors choose their favourite short stories. For the next two weeks over the festive period we will be running a short story podcast each day. Our contributing authors introduce the stories they have chosen to read. Ford reads Carver. Gordimer reads Saramago. Selfs reads Borges. Postcasts are being posted here. [previously]
posted by shakespeherian on Dec 24, 2012 - 3 comments

Christmas Present

The Ghosts of Christmas - A spooky SF story for Christmas by Paul Cornell.
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2012 - 4 comments

His stomach jiggled like a bowl full of...is that really jelly?

A chilly little Christmas story
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 20, 2012 - 4 comments

"I have thrown a terrarium of land crabs on the floor at a party in a drunken rage, I have known regret. "

Actor and writer James Urbaniak (Venture Brothers, American Splendor) has a wry, occasionally upsetting "fictional podcast" with every episode written by a new author. Getting On With James Urbaniak.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 19, 2012 - 23 comments

Shirley Temple Three

“What I’m about to show you,” he says, “you can’t tell a soul about it. If you did, it would be major trouble. Trouble with a capital ‘T.’ ” He sips his drink and tugs the quilt away.

Mawmaw takes a step back. She’s looking at some kind of elephant. With hair.

“Don’t worry. She’s not dangerous,” Tommy says. “Bread Island Dwarf Mammoth. The last wild one lived about ten thousand years ago. They’re the smallest mammoths that ever existed. Cute, isn’t she?”

The mammoth is waist high, with a pelt of dirty-blond fur that hangs in tangled draggles to the dirt. Its tusks, white and pristine, curve out and up. The forehead is high and knobby and covered in a darker fur. The trunk probes the ground for God-knows-what and then curls back into itself like a jelly roll.

“What’s a goshdern Bread Island Dwarf Whatever doing in my yard?” Mawmaw asks.
Shirley Temple Three by Thomas Pierce
posted by y2karl on Dec 18, 2012 - 17 comments

Literary Dioramas

Julia Callon makes dioramas inspired by 19th Century women novelists. More dioramas (and other projects) can be seen on her website.
posted by leesh on Dec 10, 2012 - 6 comments

Joseph McElroy's "Women and Men"

[Joseph] McElroy's sense of original and authentic contemporaneity makes him the most important novelist now writing in America, the artist who has most consistently combined the mastering capabilities of systems perspectives and an art of excess. Women and Men is the capstone of his career and, I believe, the most significant American novel published since Gravity's Rainbow. - Tom LeClair [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Dec 4, 2012 - 18 comments

The Ships We Sail - an Anthology of Stories about Love in Transit

The Ships We Sail - an Anthology of Stories about Love in Transit [via mefi projects]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 2, 2012 - 7 comments

My god, it's full of scifi nerds!

What’s your favorite non-aerodynamic spaceship design?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 1, 2012 - 131 comments

The computer /is/ your friend

Friendship is Optimal is not a "My Little Pony" fanfic, but a SF story that starts with a procedurally-generated MLP MMO, and crescendos to what could very well be the Best Possible Outcome if self-optimizing algorithms are given /almost/ the right goals. Some readers are horrified by the implications; some want to move into "Equestria Online" anyway. Whichever camp you fall in, you'll never forget the phrase "satisfy human values through friendship and ponies".
posted by DataPacRat on Nov 28, 2012 - 41 comments

"I often read dozens of books simultaneously."

My 6,128 Favorite Books - "Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 26, 2012 - 150 comments

Melkor just SOUNDS evil

More than most literary phenomena, names in fiction seem very straightforward until you start to think about them. The simple question, ‘why does a name sound right?’ leads to a whole range of questions. Are there rules about how names are given to characters? Do naming practices differ in different periods? Are they specific to particular genres? Do different authors use names in entirely different ways? There are also anxieties to address: is discussion of names in fiction snagged in a feedback loop, in which we think James Bond is such a good name for a spy because that’s what we know it to be?
posted by Chrysostom on Nov 16, 2012 - 118 comments

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

Farmer's Dilemma

"Farmer's Dilemma" is a short, sad and beautiful comic about family and acceptance. From Sam Alden's art blog, GINGERLAND.
posted by teraflop on Nov 14, 2012 - 13 comments

Ancient Fears: The Return of the Flood Saga

"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 - 21 comments

"Who needs to read one more mediocre book?"

"At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said, ‘I did the best I could with what I had.’ It’s exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had.” [The New Yorker] "The writer Philip Roth announced his retirement in a little-noticed interview with a French magazine [Les Inrocks] and said that Nemesis, which was published in 2010, would be his last book."
posted by Fizz on Nov 10, 2012 - 29 comments

New chapter of "Answered Prayers" published

A small piece of Truman Capote’s famously unfinished novel Answered Prayers has come to light. The six-page story, “Yachts and Things,” found among Capote’s papers in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library, is published in the December issue of Vanity Fair, out now in New York and nationally next week. The story will be available online in mid-November. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 1, 2012 - 13 comments

"Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living."

Musæum Clausum is a catalog of invented books, pictures and antiquities written by 17th Century Englishman Sir Thomas Browne. It is a fantastical and witty meditation on the ravages of time on literature and other works of man. The Musæum Clausum is perhaps the finest example of the invented, or invisible, library, a genre which seems to have originated with Rabelais. The genre has been of special interest to Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog (older posts), where he has written about the invisible libraries of writers such as Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft and invisible libraries in video games. The natural medium for invisible libraries might be pictures, and Musæum Clausum inspired a suite of etchings by Erik Desmazieres.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 31, 2012 - 30 comments

A Penguin a Week

Karyn Reeves collects Penguin paperbacks. She reads and reviews a Penguin a week. She also blogs about Penguins (such as the elusive green Penguins) and showcases classic Penguin book covers. Nonfiction fans may want to check out her list of Pelicans - or visit the Pelican Project at Things Magazine (previously).
posted by kristi on Oct 30, 2012 - 18 comments

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