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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

@Poldy: Yes

This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps. (previously!)
posted by Trurl on May 25, 2011 - 17 comments

Literary Blurb Translation Guide

"Trenchant satire" = poop jokes. J. Robert Lennon at Ward Six presents the Literary Blurb Translation Guide.
posted by escabeche on May 22, 2011 - 55 comments

Anno Dracula

Kim Newman discusses the novels that inspired Anno Dracula, his epic pop-culture mashup of all things vampire, set in a Victorian London ruled by Dracula. Newman's long fascination with Dracula led to two more novels in the setting and several short stories, several of which can be found online.
posted by Artw on May 19, 2011 - 36 comments

An Ankh and A morepork

We all know beloved fantasy author Terry Pratchett has a sword, but did you know he has his own Coat of Arms?
posted by The Whelk on May 18, 2011 - 96 comments

I want my edition with the subtraction!

In such a world maximalism and encyclopedism, erudite puzzle solving, simply feel like more of the same, and the last thing we need is more of the same. We need less, much less: we don't need fiction that cultivates the general noise in a slightly more erudite way but still plays by the same rules; we need fiction that strips its way down to our nerves and fibers, simulations that are willing to cut enough of our context away to let us step outside of our own increasingly simulated experience and to see it afresh, from without.
Brian Evenson, "Doing Without," an essay in The Collagist
(could also be titled "How a mistake in the digital conversion of a Cory Doctorow novel [see difference between print and electronic version] made me think about the meaning of innovative literature") [more inside]
posted by jng on May 16, 2011 - 10 comments

Cricket on the halo deck?

"This Imperial dOvewalker COOs his way into a Big Surprise. Parveen says let him have it with the dOveton Launcher 3000! He won't know what hit him after attacking my planet." Just another tale from the The Pakistani Starfleet Explorers. Via boingboing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 12, 2011 - 16 comments

Daphne DuMaurier's The Doll

Rediscovered work by DuMaurier. "Lost for more than 70 years, this dark story of a man's obsessive passion for Rebecca, a mysterious violinist, hasn't been published since it appeared in a small collection in 1937."
posted by bardophile on Apr 30, 2011 - 5 comments

James Salter Month at The Paris Review

James Salter Month at The Paris Review. A series of articles throughout April celebrating the life and work of one of the best at his craft there is. A great writer indeed.
posted by hydatius on Apr 7, 2011 - 9 comments

It turns out the future doesn't really care about space travel.

Cory Doctorow's new science fiction story collection, With A Little Help, is available in text and audio. The stories range from an order of datamining monks to Google gone terrible wrong, and the readers include Neil Gaiman, Mur Lafferty, Mary Robinette Kowal and Wil Wheaton. The introduction is written by Jonathan Coulton.
posted by NoraReed on Apr 3, 2011 - 97 comments

On First Looking into Lovecraft's Homer

A Cyclops' cave the wanderers brave
And find much milk & cheese
But as they eat, foul death they meet
For them doth Cyclops seize.

From The Young Folks' Ulysses [PDF], by H. Lovecraft, poet, aged seven. One of the "freely available editions of obscure, outlandish and otherwise outré works of semi-fine literature" from the electric publishing wing of kobek.com.
posted by Iridic on Mar 28, 2011 - 8 comments

AI War: The Big Boost

AI War: The Big Boost has just been ...released? published? Up today on FS& (or "fsand") is the latest in The Continuing Time series by Daniel Keys Moran. The first book in this series, "Emerald Eyes," was published in 1988, and the last time new material in the series hit the stands it was in November of 1993, in the form of "The Last Dancer." So, it's been a while. [more inside]
posted by thanotopsis on Mar 28, 2011 - 15 comments

Bean plating brass lanterns

The IF Theory Reader is finally out...a collection of some intriguing thought about the theory, craft, and history of interactive fiction (free PDF or buyable paperback). A must-read for both Ludologists and Narratologists.
posted by Sparx on Mar 7, 2011 - 12 comments

The Book That Tried To Kill Me

Why Do Writers Abandon Novels? [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Mar 5, 2011 - 48 comments

Clear your dance card

A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, will arrive on July 12. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Mar 3, 2011 - 163 comments

Paul Bowles

Paul Bowles - "novelist, composer, poet and quintessential outsider of American literature".
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 27, 2011 - 14 comments

The Last Ringbearer

... history is written by the winners. That's the philosophy behind "The Last Ringbearer," a novel set during and after the end of the War of the Ring... and told from the point of view of the losers. ... In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!"
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 15, 2011 - 90 comments

Based on a True Story

The King's Speech is an extremely well-made film with a seductive human interest plot, very prettily calculated to appeal to the smarter filmgoer and the latent Anglophile. But it perpetrates a gross falsification of history. - Christopher Hitchens on the historical revisionism of The King's Speech. The LA times suggests that this, along with the History Channel digging up footage of King George VI not really stuttering all that badly at all, might be the beginning of a backlash against the film, which has been gaining Oscar momentum since it's SAG Award wins. With The Social Network, 127 Hours and The Fighter also having a basis in reality, is today's film making too hung up on the "true" story?
posted by Artw on Feb 1, 2011 - 127 comments

Cold Reading

Cold Reading - A rationalist ghost story by Alan Moore.
posted by Artw on Jan 21, 2011 - 50 comments

"Now we will tesser, we will wrinkle again. Do you understand?" "(sigh) Ok. I get it!"

"A Wrinkle in Time" in 90 Seconds.
posted by loquacious on Jan 15, 2011 - 81 comments

The Value of Optical Delusions

William Taylor Adams, a progressive Massachusetts educator and one term legislator, was once a household name in populist fiction under his nom de plume Oliver Optic. [more inside]
posted by JaredSeth on Jan 14, 2011 - 8 comments

The End is Just the Beginning

After the bombs have fallen, the plague has wiped out most of humanity, or the dead have risen and claimed the world as their own, we must go on. The tales of those survivors are told in fiction and film, in many ways with enough to overwhelm you. Enter the apocalypse fans. Post-Apocalypse.co.uk has just under 50 reviews, with a quick note on the rating of each film. Post Apocalyptic Movie Mania has reviews categorized by the way the world ends, along with other p-a related material. But the end of the world isn't always like an Italian Post Apocalyptic Movie (Google cache), sometimes it's quirky and off-beat, in a proto-Monty Python sort of way (rough approximation of Ebert's review of The Bed-Sitting Room) (videos inside) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 11, 2011 - 20 comments

There is a large film industry in Rocaterrania.

Rocaterrania is a country located in part of what's often known as the North Country of New York State, bordering on Canada. At least, it's there in the mind of Renaldo Kuhler, its creator, who has been imagining -- and sometimes physically creating -- the nation's politics, fashion, and artifacts since he was a teenager on his family's ranch in Colorado just after World War II. The son of Otto Kuhler, who designed the Hiawatha passenger trains of the Milwaukee Road railway, Renaldo needed an escape from ranch life. He invented a nation of forward-looking Eastern European immigrants with a vibrant, distinctly un-American culture. He warns, though, "it is not a Utopia." He has drawn, painted, and been the nation's history. He created its language, Rocaterranski, and alphabet from Yiddish and Spanish and German. Rocaterrania is a large-scale work of fiction but sometimes the way Kuhler speaks, it sounds like he believes it's really there. Kuhler now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is known about town for his Rocaterranian garb. [more inside]
posted by knile on Jan 7, 2011 - 12 comments

This isn't your grandfather's science fiction

Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 27, 2010 - 116 comments

Clearmountain pauses in Jennifer Egan's "Great Rock and Roll Pauses"

Great Rock and Roll Pauses (permalink) is a short story from Jennifer Egan's collection of linked stories A Visit from the Goon Squad. A 76-page series of PowerPoint slides, it's told by a 12-year-old girl who documents her autistic brother's collecting of Clearmountain pauses, the moments in rock and roll songs when the music dramatically stops and then restarts, which are named after famed music producer Bob Clearmountain. The songs mentioned in the story include: Foxy Lady - Jimi Hendrix; Please Play This Song on the Radio - NOFX; Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin; Bernadette - The Four Tops; Young Americans - David Bowie; Mighty Sword - The Frames; Supervixen - Garbage; Long Train Runnin’ - The Doobie Brothers; The Time of the Season - The Zombies; Faith - George Michael, Closing Time - Semisonic; Roxanne - The Police; Rearrange Beds - An Horse. More examples can be found in this previous MeFi post and a number of other excellent sites. [more inside]
posted by jng on Dec 25, 2010 - 41 comments

Whereof one cannot speak, one must write a novel.

Philosophical Sweep: to understand the fiction of David Foster Wallace, it helps to have a little Wittgenstein.
posted by Lutoslawski on Dec 23, 2010 - 29 comments

"Take a step or two forward, lads. It will be easier that way."

Robert Erskine Childers was the creator of the modern spy novel, a loyal son of Empire, a fierce exponent of Irish Home Rule, an excellent sailor, a gunrunner, an Anti-Treaty partisan. He died by firing squad in 1922.
posted by Iridic on Dec 15, 2010 - 11 comments

The Futurological Congress

What Should Design Researchers Research? Report from 2020
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2010 - 11 comments

Weasels Ate My Flesh!

Men's Adventure Magazines is a blog inspired by the 1956 "Weasels Ate My Flesh" cover of Man's Life, featuring hundreds of covers from "Men's Adventure" magazines from the 50s and 60s. (some blog entries have a little bit of illustrated partial nudity here and there) [more inside]
posted by empath on Dec 12, 2010 - 26 comments

"An organization of the disorganized..."

The University of Washington's Vienna: 1900 collects a number of pieces from the height of Austrian café society. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Dec 8, 2010 - 8 comments

In praise of reading and fiction

Fiction is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist, renewing and preserving in us the best of what is human. [PDF] [more inside]
posted by Omon Ra on Dec 7, 2010 - 9 comments

Just a list of non hetero comic book characters

The 25 Awesomest LGBTQ Comic Book Characters
posted by nomadicink on Nov 29, 2010 - 88 comments

I loved Kurt so I tried to love his books, too.

Mr. Vonnegut talked about my dad a lot and put him into a lot of his books. Sometimes he was Dad, and sometimes he was just a character Mr. Vonnegut made up. So what I would say to any of you who are wondering is this: My dad was what people called a real character, which always made us laugh because it was so literally true owing to his association with a famous fiction writer. He could also get pretty obnoxious. But he was a good man. And he definitely wasn’t crazy. At least not until the brain tumor.

Kurt Vonnegut Didn't Know Doodly-Squat About Writing: Finally, Literary Analysis Worth Reading by Bernard V. O'Hare, with an introduction by Meghan O'Hare.
posted by shakespeherian on Nov 3, 2010 - 49 comments

“I found the action exciting writing skillful.”

Novelist Bill Morris on the lost art of the rejection letter (via) [more inside]
posted by otio on Oct 29, 2010 - 23 comments

Chris Stangl's Exploding Kinetoscope

This may only occur to the obsessive student of The Parent Trap, but once the subtleties are noticed, hints start stacking up, and a creeping sense of the mythic pervades the film...
Join Chris Stangl, King of the Beanplaters, as he obsessively studies The Parent Trap, Little Shop of Horrors, Beetlejuice, Teen Wolf, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more.
posted by Iridic on Oct 28, 2010 - 33 comments

Laura Podolnick

Laura Podolnick writes stories about heartbreak, origami swans, the birds in the Staten Island Ferry and a child who wears a Hitler mustache. Many of them have very long titles.
posted by NoraReed on Oct 25, 2010 - 8 comments

OMNI Magazine

OMNI was launched (PDF) by Kathy Keeton, long-time companion and later wife of Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione, who described the magazine in its first issue as "an original if not controversial mixture of science fact, fiction, fantasy and the paranormal". [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 20, 2010 - 64 comments

And in them were the fathers of sons—and in them were the fathers of sons.

The Electric Grandmother (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) was a made-for-TV movie from 1982, based on the short story "I Sing the Body Electric!" by Ray Bradbury. It deals in mortality, grief, abandonment, artificial (emotional) intelligence, and other themes suitable for children. [more inside]
posted by eric1halfb on Oct 17, 2010 - 20 comments

...and they rode on in the friscalating dusk light.

The Ballad of Reading Milton: A short story by then-undergrad Wes Anderson.
posted by shakespeherian on Oct 15, 2010 - 7 comments

Girl Hitler, Yoko Ono and an Honorary Jewish Mother walk into a bar...

Writing a work of fiction? Want to know if the female character in it is a strong one? There's a flowchart for that. (more info) Though you'll want to go through the flowchart at least twice if you want any hope of passing The Bechdel Test (bonus link)
posted by 256 on Oct 12, 2010 - 109 comments

The Library of Dream

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 - 87 comments

"He hated the Hardy Boys."

Gene Weingarten on the the most widely-read author you've probably never heard of: Leslie McFarlane, a.k.a. "Franklin W. Dixon," was the man behind the Hardy Boys. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Sep 20, 2010 - 58 comments

Arthur's Classic Novels, his Love of Mankind and the Internet

Arthur's Classic Novels has 4000 free ebooks, no registration, nicely organized by author and topics: great old Science Fiction magazines l plentiful online education with 650 books for doctors l a vast collection of famous novels l short stories l by women l Buddhist Scriptures, including The Buddhist Bible, a fave of Jack Kerouac l magazines online l stories by Robert Sheckley l The Autobiography of Charles Darwin l huge collection of fairy tales l philosophy l P. G. Wodehouse l vintage technology l Oscar Wilde l Mark Twain l Rudyard Kipling l George MacDonald l the Koran l a collection of eText resource links. About Arthur Wendover. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Sep 16, 2010 - 33 comments

The Island

The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
posted by Artw on Sep 5, 2010 - 31 comments

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