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Face the thing that should not be

In the coldest spot on the earth’s coldest continent, Russian scientists have reached a freshwater lake the size of Lake Ontario after spending a decade drilling through more than two miles of solid ice. Maybe the mountains of madness are underground. Lovecraft would loved to have seen this.
posted by Hickeystudio on Feb 8, 2012 - 76 comments

Martian Chronicles

In Martian Chronicles, a young-adult novella by Cory Doctorow, colonists leave a bloated earth and head towards the economic promise land of Mars. There's a fascinating spin on this tale that isn't summarize-able so go listen to it. Part 1, 2, 3.
posted by Taft on Jan 30, 2012 - 132 comments

"This was a game he never won, even when he was sober."

PodCastle is a free weekly fantasy podcast with 192 full-length episodes and 67 mini-episodes. Featured authors have included Elizabeth Bear, Hal Duncan, and MeFi's own Willow Fagan. [projects]
posted by 256 on Jan 23, 2012 - 7 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

In Soviet Russia, Mars travels to you

The utopian Mars fiction of Soviet Russia
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2012 - 8 comments

The. Shortest. Fiction.

For those of us with really short attention spans.
posted by nospecialfx on Jan 10, 2012 - 19 comments

"The Dead"

Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet...
Today is the feast of Epiphany, the last day of the traditional Christmas season; the day also when the Misses Morkan held that grand affair, their annual dance, in James Joyce's "The Dead." [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 6, 2012 - 71 comments

Deus Est Machina

In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these. The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth -- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect," a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger. More: Table of Contents - Publishing history - Technical discussion - Buy a paperback copy - Podcast interview - Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace" - possible sequel discussion
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 27, 2011 - 39 comments

"Bob Shuter, suburban vigilante. Driven by rage to wage a one-man war on the underworld of Kent, Bob Shuter is... The Reprisalizer."

"You're going nowhere, son. Just you, me ad the walls. So wipe that bloody grin off before it's shot off, and don't slouch. You toe rag. You bin. Pay attention when I break you. And break you I will, boy. You're in my manor, now." Buck up! It's Terry Finch's THE REPRISALIZER! Follow Bob Shuter, whose mission of reprisal against his brother's killers, their families, associates, progeny and property takes him across the desolate wasteland of 70s Britain, primarily Kent AKA FINCHLAND. Finch, writer of The Reprisalizer and DRAW!, the cowboy whose name means death, is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture from Matthew Holness, creator of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2011 - 15 comments

AN ANACONDA UNHINGES ITS MAGNIFICENT JAW. INSIDE, THE BRIGHT SCREEN OF A FREE IPAD RESTS JUST WITHIN ARM'S REACH

Daniel Manitou is ActualPerson084 on Twitter. He writes slices of life about marketing and unspeakable horror. He is a real person and not a metal ghost in a rainbow box.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 12, 2011 - 44 comments

The Bourne Ultimatum with Unicorns

Carl Erik Rinsch‘s futuristic action thriller short The Gift. Other movies by Big Lazy Robot Studio. The Commercials of Carl Erik Rinsch. Also: The Hunt of the Unicorn.
posted by growabrain on Dec 10, 2011 - 7 comments

Kitty Lit 101

Comediva is having a Cat Week, and one of the features is "Kitty Lit 101".
posted by reenum on Dec 4, 2011 - 9 comments

We got some right, some not so right.

"They may well do it." [The Guardian] Sir Arthur C Clarke predicted in a lost BBC interview that the Russians would win the space race by landing the first man on the moon in 1968, probably on the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. Arthur C Clarke on The Sky at Night – video.
posted by Fizz on Dec 2, 2011 - 38 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

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

Dawn Powell

For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion. But despite the work of such dedicated cultists as Edmund Wilson and Matthew Josephson, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell never became the popular writer that she ought to have been. In those days, with a bit of luck, a good writer eventually attracted voluntary readers and became popular. Today, of course, "popular" means bad writing that is widely read while good writing is that which is taught to involuntary readers. Powell failed on both counts. She needs no interpretation and in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara or even the late, far too late, Katherine Anne Porter. But Powell was that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or The Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality, and every host at life's feast was a potential Trimalchio to be sent up. - Gore Vidal
posted by Trurl on Nov 12, 2011 - 38 comments

Winner of the 2011 Giller Prize

Esi Edugyan wins the Giller Prize, the richest prize for English fiction in Canada ($50,000 to the winner). Those on the shortlist get $5,000 each.
posted by anothermug on Nov 8, 2011 - 15 comments

The Girl Who Couldn't Come

The Girl Who Couldn't Come - This is a book of dirty stories. It is a book where sex is fun and good and people are kind to each other. Also there are ghosts and there is math and there are obsessive compulsive disorders. (Direct link to eponymous story - NSFW text) [more inside]
posted by slimepuppy on Nov 2, 2011 - 29 comments

Neither as complete as an encyclopedia nor as baggy as a treasury.

After the, aheh, weirdness surrounding Ann Vandermeer's departure from Weird Tales (Previously), Jeff and Ann Vandermeer have now released the succinctly titled compendium of weird fiction, "The Weird," covering 100 years and 750,000 words of weird fiction. The hitherto-silent "companion site," Weird Fiction Review, launches today, revealing itself to be a bit of an all-purpose blog about fiction as well as general strangeness and affiliated oddities. [more inside]
posted by Scattercat on Oct 31, 2011 - 27 comments

Orgy of the Dead

Ed Wood's Sleaze Paperbacks. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Oct 26, 2011 - 5 comments

How Zombies and Superheroes Conquered Highbrow Fiction

Realistic stories once dominated American literature, but now writers are embracing the fantastical. What happened?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 18, 2011 - 138 comments

Ballard Geocoded

A map of the locations in JG Ballard's fiction. Click a marker on the map to read the relevant text.
posted by jack_mo on Oct 14, 2011 - 18 comments

What happened to hypertext fiction?

What happened to hypertext fiction?
posted by Trurl on Oct 5, 2011 - 51 comments

Walther PPK

The Guns of James Bond SLYT. There's also a list.
posted by VikingSword on Sep 16, 2011 - 29 comments

Thinking Machine

Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S., M.D., M.D.S.* is a fictional character in a series of detective short stories and two novels by Jacques Futrelle. Van Dusen was also known as "The Thinking Machine" for his application of logic to any and all situations. Most of Futrelle's stories are online. Futrelle himself went down with the Titanic.
posted by twoleftfeet on Sep 15, 2011 - 20 comments

Weird things happening at Weird Tales.

The influential American fiction magazine, Weird Tales has a new editor, and a new direction. It's hard to overstate the importance the magazine has played as a platform for genre fiction. Founded in 1923, it has featured authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, C. M. Eddy, Jr., Clark Ashton Smith, and Seabury Quinn. [more inside]
posted by Stagger Lee on Aug 25, 2011 - 40 comments

Jerry's Map

Jerry's Map: a short film about the fictional world of Jerry Gretzinger, which he has been building for decades through a process of procedural cartography. His website.
posted by avocet on Aug 24, 2011 - 20 comments

Harold Brodkey

[Harold] Brodkey produced fiction that was epic too, but chiefly in its elaboration of human intimacy. To read his prose is to be incarcerated in the situations of his characters; indeed, it is to be very nearly overwhelmed by them. ... Brodkey moved forward with new forms for rendering human consciousness. His protagonist was, almost always, "a mind shaped like a person." The action consisted of that mind discovering its thoughts. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Aug 23, 2011 - 11 comments

Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick

Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans. (Science Fiction Studies # 5 = Volume 2, Part 1 = March 1975; Translated from the Polish by Robert Abernathy)
posted by gen on Aug 21, 2011 - 20 comments

Helen DeWitt

AM: Do you have a favorite kanji character? HD: I like this one: 峠 because it reminds me of a poem by Christina Rossetti:

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men


(what I mean is, it’s terribly nice to have the radicals for mountain, up and down form the character). I’m very fond of 競 because it makes me think of two men skating with their arms behind their backs in a Dutch painting, wearing black frock coats and breeches. 明 is not very exotic, of course, but it’s nice to have the word for ‘bright’ represented by the sun and moon – this is a bit like certain German words, where the elements of a phenomenon are put together for the word: there’s Morgengrauen (morning grey) for the sky lightening to grey just before dawn, and Morgenröte (morning red) for the sky when it first turns red, similar sort of thing. An interview with Helen DeWitt, author of The Last Samurai, Your Name Here, a novel written with Ilya Gridneff, and the forthcoming Lightning Rods. DeWitt will be in New York September 8 - 11.
posted by xod on Aug 19, 2011 - 48 comments

The L*** H*** of D***ness

Would You Please Fucking Stop?: an article by Ursula K. Le Guin
posted by rollick on Aug 18, 2011 - 184 comments

List of emerging technologies

Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with: The list of emerging technologies.
posted by Cogentesque on Aug 16, 2011 - 49 comments

There can be only ten.

NPR Books is asking people to vote for their ten favorite science fiction / fantasy books of all time. The list is exhaustive; the picking only ten is hard.
posted by mygothlaundry on Aug 3, 2011 - 521 comments

One-Minute Weird Tales

S.S. Prazak's "Hat Tricks", Stuart Jaffe's "The Curse and the Revenge" and Bob Wilson's "Fences" are all One-Minute Weird Tales, strange and often disturbing little stories published online by the Weird Tales Magazine as short videos. [more inside]
posted by Jelly on Jul 31, 2011 - 7 comments

The Atlantic: Fiction 2011

The Atlantic has posted its Fiction 2011 issue online. [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on Jul 26, 2011 - 36 comments

Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

Gamers, have you ever looked in the sci-fi aisle of your bookstore and wondered how there could possibly be novels set in the worlds of "Gears of War" or "Doom," but nothing in the richly imagined distopia of Bioshock? Have you fed your Art Deco obsession with Ryan-inspired fan fiction, wishing for something more? Wish no longer: Bram Stoker Award winner, sci-fi novelist, punk rocker, Blue Oyster Cult lyricist, etc. John Shirley has written the first official BioShock novel, "BioShock: Rapture," which hit store shelves yesterday. An excerpt of the book, which is a prequel to the first game, is offered here from publisher Tor. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 20, 2011 - 63 comments

"Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma."

A Canticle for Leibowitz (1981, NPR); an audio adaptation of Walter Miller's 1960 history of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz in the centuries after the Flame Deluge. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 19, 2011 - 69 comments

Austin Tappan Wright's "Islandia"

Cult books come and cult books go - that's part of what it means to be a cult book. A few keep reappearing, however. They get discovered over and over by successive waves of admirers. After the third or fourth reappearance, the suspicion begins to arise that this isn't a cult book, after all. It's a masterpiece with problems. Islandia is such a book. - Noel Perrin, "The Best of All Imaginary Islands" [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 18, 2011 - 15 comments

Reading as Therapy

Why do people read fiction anyway? -to deal with personal problems Jon Baskin wrote a review of a book by Timothy Aubry titled: Reading as Therapy Oprah, Amazon, and The Rise of Therapeutic Fiction.
posted by naight on Jul 14, 2011 - 39 comments

The Boy Who Lived Forever - Fanfiction According to Time

Time Magazine's Arts section features a nuanced look at fanfiction this week: Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. [more inside]
posted by grey_sw on Jul 7, 2011 - 75 comments

Josephine Tey

Someone used to great responsibility, and responsible in his authority. Someone too-conscientious...He had that incommunicable, that indescribable look that childhood suffering leaves behind it; less positive than the look on a cripple’s face, but as inescapable. This the artist had both understood and translated into terms of paint...He turned the portrait over to look for a caption. On the back was printed: Richard the Third.
From Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, "a book of singular originality, ingenuity and humanity" often cited as one of the best of all mystery novels. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 1, 2011 - 31 comments

Camden Joy: Fiction as Criticism

"The more David Lowery read of Joy's novel, the more upset he became. Lowery could no longer ignore the fact that the book's main character bore his name, played in his bands and lived his damned life. It was him. And it was most definitely not him." Boy Island is a fictionalized account of Cracker's first tour, written by a fictitious character. [more inside]
posted by roll truck roll on Jun 21, 2011 - 34 comments

New 'Solaris' translation locked in Limbo

Solaris, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English. The current print version, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker, was always scathing of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston 'The Definitive Solaris' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves.
posted by 0bvious on Jun 19, 2011 - 64 comments

We're All Stories In The End

In other words, months before The War Games, The Mind Robber has quietly given us an origin story for the Doctor that is almost, but not quite, what we eventually get from the later "official" version. - Philip Sandifer discusses an alternate origin for Doctor Who.
posted by Artw on Jun 15, 2011 - 43 comments

putting 99 other artists out of work

Shea Hembrey created an "inaugural biennial" showing the works of 100 artists - all fictitious. (SLTED) Over a two-year period, he created over 100 pieces in a wide variety of forms, media and styles as well as profiles and bios for the 100 artists (plus two fictional curators). Is this Meta-Art, Art Deconstruction, open fraud, parody, large-scale pranking, the worst case of Dissociative Identity Disorder ever or All Of The Above? (exhibition website and catalogue)
posted by oneswellfoop on Jun 14, 2011 - 12 comments

Colored Futures

"For a genre known for depicting obscure creatures, new concepts of civilization, and future predictions for humanity, sci-fi sure has a hard time being about more than white people." Multi-disciplinary artist Adriel Luis' list of "10 fantasmic films, books, and records to transport you to the unreal—while still letting you keep it real."
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 14, 2011 - 112 comments

Doom and Gloom on Young Adults' Bookshelves?

Is contemporary young adult fiction too dark for its intended audience? Meghan Cox Gurdon, writing in the Wall Street Journal thinks so. Publishers Weekly blogger Josie Leavitt disagrees, as does YA author Sherman Alexie. Other reactions here and here. Via The Reader's Advisor Online Blog.
posted by Daily Alice on Jun 13, 2011 - 150 comments

Drama explained, via Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut explains drama.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 6, 2011 - 28 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

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