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Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.

Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, other authors give their own lists of personal dos and don'ts (Part 1, Part 2).
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 20, 2010 - 139 comments

Starships, sofas, Hugo awards, podcasts, gambles and wind-ups

Due to a rewording of the rules Science Fiction podcast StarShipSofa (previously, previously, previously) could be eligible for a Hugo award. Meanwhile the current episode features The Gambler (text version here), a story by Paolo Bacigalupi - best known as the author of The Windup Girl, one of TIME Magazine's ten books of the year ("Not just science fiction, mind, but fiction, generally") and almost certainly a favorite for the Hugo's best novel category.
posted by Artw on Feb 19, 2010 - 32 comments

The future of web publishing, part seventeen million and six.

The future of web publishing, part seventeen million and six. Elizabeth Bear (guest posting for MetaFilter's own Charles Stross) writes about her experiences with the hyperfiction work Shadow Unit.
posted by brundlefly on Feb 15, 2010 - 18 comments

Vladimir Nabokov's Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

The New York Times called it "a great work of art" (NYT login required). Martin Amis called it "a waterlogged corpse at the stage of maximal bloat". You can judge for yourself by reading an annotated, hyperlinked edition. This timeline and this geography might help. (For extra credit, here are texts mentioned in the story.)
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 5, 2010 - 29 comments

Ballardian/Savoy Microfiction competition

Last November, Ballardian.com [previously] announced a Microfiction Competition in order to promote a series of interviews concerning Savoy Books. They have now announced the winners.
posted by brundlefly on Feb 3, 2010 - 5 comments

Erotic fan-fiction found a way!

The International Jurassic Park Erotic Fan-Fiction Writer's Association [more inside]
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) on Jan 24, 2010 - 54 comments

CLASSIFICATION SAPPHIRE VORPAL JULIET POTUS EYES ONLY

Inspired by Charles Stross' A Colder War and Atrocity Archives stories, noder The Custodian has written a series of fictional, Lovecraftian intelligence briefings entitled "The Benthic Wars": SPECWEAPS, DEEP BLACK, PRIOR TENANT, BENTHIC OUTREACH, PORTAL/ALEPH, VIOLET CAIN, SAKNUSSEM THUNDER and INDRA NEPTUNE. Meanwhile, others ponder the question: What if HP Lovecraft had co-invented C?
posted by Zarkonnen on Jan 12, 2010 - 107 comments

Moomin Valley

Moomin Valley - Interior design project, inspired by the works of Tove Jansson (via)
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2010 - 27 comments

Killer bisexuals, pregnant lesbians, predatory gay men.

On Writing Gay Characters : Megan Rose Gedris.at Squidoo talks about common mistakes and preceptions to avoid when writing LGBT characters.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 1, 2010 - 130 comments

Ha Jin

The House Behind A Weeping Cherry by Ha Jin
posted by vronsky on Dec 8, 2009 - 12 comments

the toy cement mixer and its “magic”

All That: "new" fiction from David Foster Wallace.
posted by Lutoslawski on Dec 7, 2009 - 56 comments

Edit, undo me

"Meanwhile, down in Vaginaland, Mr Condom's beginning to feel a bit iffy. He's overheating. For some reason, the shagging seems to be twice as fast this evening, and he grimaces as he gets flung willy-nilly in and out of the pink tunnel. He starts getting friction burns, hanging onto Bobby's stiff penis for dear life, headbutting Georgie's cervix at 180 beats per minute. 'Help me!' he yells in the darkness, feeling himself melting."
This year's worst sex. [NSFW or post-turkey family reading] [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 25, 2009 - 44 comments

Tomes of ancient lore

Although it's commonplace nowadays to assume that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was the primary source of inspiration for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax when they created the world's first tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, a careful examination of the game suggests otherwise... James Maliszewski on The Books That Founded D&D. Some disagreement.
posted by Artw on Nov 24, 2009 - 109 comments

Detachable Penis Media

"Seed" - an anthology of short fiction published on a USB flash drive shaped like a penis. Sample story. More on the concept without pictures of plastic penises. (Safe for workness may vary)
posted by Artw on Nov 21, 2009 - 30 comments

So what?

STEP 1 Buy 100 pieces of crap from thrift stores and garage sales.
STEP 2 Get 100 authors to write a fiction about pieces of crap.
STEP 3 ???
STEP 4 Profit!
Significant Objects hosts the stories for all 100 pieces of crap/art, but the last six are still available for bidding: Blue Vase by Lauren Mechling, Umbrella Trinket by Bruce Holland Rogers, Lighter Shaped Like a Small Pool Ball by Rob Agredo, Bar Mitzvah Bookends by Stacey Levine, Geisha Bobblehead by Edward "ed" Champion, and Missouri Shotglass by Jonathan Lethem.
posted by carsonb on Nov 14, 2009 - 12 comments

To put right what once went wrong

Christopher Bird at Mighty God King has written some corkers in the past - from his ejection from Livejournal owing to his review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to his frequent conversations with Flapjacks and Photoshopping of Final Fantasy Covers (previously). He's really outdone himself this time, with Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer. Read it, and, quite possibly, weep. Bonus points to the first person who constructs a Primer-level explanation of what happened.
posted by danhon on Nov 11, 2009 - 43 comments

This match is scheduled for one fall.

Spencer Baum's self-published first novel One Fall explores the world of professional wrestling through the eyes of an up-and-coming star, a taken-for-granted women's division wrestler, a head booker with no authority, and an internet fanboy, all trying to navigate the line between fiction and nonfiction. Baum is now releasing the novel one chapter at a time as a Creative Commons audiobook. The book closely parallels the Monday Night Wars, with sly references to infamous reality-blurring events like the Montreal Screwjob (the subject of an excellent National Film Board documentary you can now watch online) and Bash at the Beach 2000. (mild spoiler inside) [more inside]
posted by roll truck roll on Nov 5, 2009 - 3 comments

It was a lone tree burning on the desert.

A lecture from Professor Amy Hungerford on Cormac Mccarthy's Blood Meridian. Part one and two. [more inside]
posted by nola on Nov 1, 2009 - 41 comments

The Legend of the 10 Elemental Masters

"Knuckles glides north 1500 feet above Lake Sakakawea at 800 mph following Highway 83. A small thunderstorm is somewhat visible to the south. The sky is 3/8 scattered with cirrus clouds and 1/8 scattered with altostratus clouds. The wind is 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph. A few small patches of snow in ditches, some with water, are visible but hard to see due to the speed. A 40-second pause in speech occurs while credits display on screen." ... one of the internet's favorite non-neurotypical minds, Ulillillia, has published his first book. (previously) [more inside]
posted by memebake on Oct 29, 2009 - 38 comments

How To Write Badly Well

You have a great idea for a novel and it's almost November, so you think now is the time to get cracking. You've decided that hiring a ghostwriter is too easy, but you don't have 100 days to write your novel and the snowflake method seems too frilly. Snowflakes, those delicate little monsters that papered your car when you were stranded on the road in Minnesota. A single snowflake is beautiful, but millions make an avalanche. You were cold, so cold, yet you survived. You're not sure if you have time to read a book on what not to do (UK edition), and the search results are daunting. Forget all that, because you already know how to write, right? Embrace your awesome, magnificent, spellbinding abilities, go forward but never back, ever spinning, shake the rain off your bedspread, and now that you have brewed a delicious pot of steamy, hot, life-giving coffee, you can learn how to write badly well. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 22, 2009 - 35 comments

Matt Helm

Matt Helm is a fictional character created by author Donald Hamilton. He is a U.S. government counter-agent—a man whose primary job is to kill or nullify enemy agents—not a spy or secret agent in the ordinary sense of the term as used in spy thrillers. ... The character appeared in 27 books over a 33-year period beginning in 1960... A movie series was made in the mid-to-late 1960s starring Dean Martin... the series bore no resemblance at all to the character, atmosphere, or themes of Hamilton's original books, nor to the hard-edged action of Bond. One reason was the attitude of the filmmakers that the only way to compete with the Bond films was to parody them. - Wikipedia (links may be mildly NSFW) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 14, 2009 - 17 comments

Without using the words “man” or “good,” can you please define what it means to be a good man?

War Dances: “I wanted to call my father and tell him that a white man thought my brain was beautiful”. Sherman Alexie doing his thing in The New Yorker, excerpted from his upcoming book (early review; interview 1, 2.)
posted by Non Prosequitur on Oct 5, 2009 - 45 comments

Me Go Too Far! Me Am Play Gods!

Caveman Science Fiction. Me Go Too Far! Me Am Play Gods! [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Oct 5, 2009 - 25 comments

We Bite Back

Zombie World News
posted by netbros on Sep 24, 2009 - 26 comments

Saving Face

Dahlia Lithwick (previously) is trying to write a chick-lit novel in nineteen days.
posted by Iridic on Sep 11, 2009 - 63 comments

Design On Demand

Douglas Coupland wants you to design your own cover for his new book, Generation A.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 3, 2009 - 41 comments

69 Must-See SciFi Sights in the U.S.

SciFi Wire lists 68 science fiction sights that can be found in the U.S. The sights include the "Ghostbusters headquarters," Captain Kirk's future birthplace, and Mothman museum.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl on Sep 2, 2009 - 49 comments

Knut Hamsun.

Street Time for Hamsun. This month marks 150 years since the birth of the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, Nobel laureate in 1920. As well as the opening of a new centre dedicated to the man and his work, a whole range of events have been held in relation to this anniversary. It has also been the occasion for academic conferences, commemorative coins, tourism campaigns, and stamps. A writer of brilliance; a deeply problematic legacy. Previously on mefi.
posted by hydatius on Aug 27, 2009 - 24 comments

Cat food.

Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
posted by crossoverman on Aug 23, 2009 - 135 comments

Science Fiction VS Scifi

Harlan Ellison tears up the debate and J. Michael Straczynski speaks up on the topic. Oh, yeah there is also Herb Solow as well and his wife Yvonne (WTF) speaking on the subject "Science Fiction" over "SciFi". None of them saw SyFy coming back in 1997, that's for sure! (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by GavinR on Aug 21, 2009 - 136 comments

One long step for mankind

Chrono-synclastic infundibulum - SLYT featuring Bob & Ray, somehow based on a concept from Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan which refers to a region of the universe in which all conflicting opinions are simultaneously correct.
posted by longsleeves on Aug 7, 2009 - 17 comments

In writing this book my intention was to present, in the form of an interesting story, a faithful picture of working-class life...

In August 1910, an Irish sign-painter and decorator named Robert Noonan left the town of Hastings on the south coast of England, and made his way north and west towards Liverpool, with the hope of emigrating to Canada. Already sick with tuberculosis, his condition worsened once he reached the city, and he was to die there in a workhouse hospital ward, in February 1911. He had, however, left in the care of his daughter Kathleen a package that was to change the political landscape of twentieth-century Britain. [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Aug 6, 2009 - 12 comments

"Humans won't pay to watch dinosaurs ride motocross bikes forever" said Tark.

Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs
posted by minifigs on Jul 14, 2009 - 43 comments

Fauxbituaries

i dream of a world without you: death notices for the nonexistent. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 13, 2009 - 12 comments

Fifty-Two Stories

Fifty-Two Stories - one short story per week, for free. (via)
posted by backseatpilot on Jul 8, 2009 - 4 comments

The Year of Parker

He is a man with one name. He is a thief and a killer, and the protagonist of 24 hard boiled novels written by prolific author Donald Westlake (previously) under the pseudonym Richard Stark. He is Parker, and he is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. [more inside]
posted by dortmunder on Jun 30, 2009 - 39 comments

New Worlds and Old

The Readers of Boing Boing interview Michael Moorcock
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2009 - 42 comments

“So happens this dog achieved the rank of colonel in the United States Army.”

They were in the stairwell that led down to the commode, a dangerous place in its time, the Grand Central Station Men’s, but for different reasons. I saw the dirt tracks leading there, and I left the monkeys in the chandelier and followed them. I kept to the tracks careful as I could. There were pits and corrugations everywhere in the old tile, any one of which could hide a man killing gob of explosive. At my back I heard Spot complain: “Leave ‘em be, Blacks. We’ve warned ‘em, ain’t we? If they blow themselves up, it ain’t on us.”
UXO, BOMB DOG by Eliot Fintushel (single-link short fiction)
posted by grobstein on Jun 15, 2009 - 15 comments

Background to Danger

For Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". John le Carré once called him "the source on which we all draw". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould. - The writing of Eric Ambler
posted by Artw on Jun 6, 2009 - 14 comments

Tell me a secret.

Published speculation first appeared in 1911, although others point to 1945 for its first modern phrasing. It originally looked like a flashlight on Star Trek. In Star Wars, it walked, talked, and was fluent "in over six million forms of communication." Many narratives have just abandoned the idea entirely.
Previous iterations have been quite limited in scope, but now it appears that the first learning, dynamic universal translator has finally arrived. And its futuristic aesthetic has been relegated to fiction in favor of a much more familiar object. [more inside]
posted by hpliferaft on May 23, 2009 - 30 comments

Marguerite Young

Marguerite Young - whom Kurt Vonnegut called "unquestionably a genius" - first achieved success with a study of the utopian commune at New Harmony, Indiana called Angel in the Forest. She then spent 18 years writing Miss Macintosh, My Darling - a 1,198 page novel that William Goyen praised in The New York Times Book Review as "a masterwork". She spent the last 30 years of her life writing an unfinished biography of Eugene V. Debs that was posthumously published, in heavily edited form, as Harp Song for a Radical. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on May 22, 2009 - 4 comments

We don't need another Neo

There's been more and more rumblings lately about the inclusiveness (or lack thereof) of diversity in the circles of sci-fi and fantasy. Pam Nole's classic Shame essay hits a lot of points and while the Carl Brandon Society has been fighting the good fight for some time, more and more people are gathering their own projects, such as Transcriptase or Verb Noire to create spaces and publishing arenas less biased. Are these even necessary? It seems the fans think so.
posted by yeloson on May 13, 2009 - 91 comments

Dagger of the Mind

The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
posted by Artw on May 6, 2009 - 17 comments

Like cult films, but without all that filming

Bizarro fiction isn't really a new genre. Just a new term. The current crop of bizarro authors are generally young and new to being published, with Carlton Mellick III as "both the Johnny Appleseed and the Johnny Rotten" of the newly dubbed genre, who started printing his stories under the header of Eraserhead Press. But what is Bizarro Fiction? A battle between the real William Shatner vs all the film versions of himself, resulting from a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians; bizarro-noir novellas, set in a world of murderers, drugs made from squid parts, deformed war veterans, and a mischievous apocalyptic donkey; or just a nice children's book about two Vampires who compete in a mustache competition to prove who is the faggiest of all. (via a local paper, though I didn't see the article isn't online) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 4, 2009 - 22 comments

Nebula Best Short Story Nominees 2008

StarshipSofa has podcasted all of the Nebula Best Short Story Nominees for 2008, following on from podcasting all but one of the 2008 BSFA short story nominees. Previous StarshipSofa.
posted by Artw on Apr 2, 2009 - 12 comments

We Know You Are Out There

We made a mistake. That is the simple, undeniable truth of the matter, however painful it might be. The flaw was not in our Observatories, for those machines were as perfect as we could make, and they showed us only the unfiltered light of truth. The flaw was not in the Predictor, for it is a device of pure, infallible logic, turning raw data into meaningful information without the taint of emotion or bias. No, the flaw was within us, the Orchestrators of this disaster, the sentients who thought themselves beyond such failings. We are responsible.
posted by aheckler on Mar 29, 2009 - 51 comments

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree (1973), animated short based on Shel Silverstein's 1964 children's story and narrated by the author. [more inside]
posted by the_bone on Mar 18, 2009 - 38 comments

Fiction vs Science

Ken MacLeod, Paul Cornell, Iain [M] Banks and Ian Watson comment on the relationship between science fiction and science fact.
posted by shoesfullofdust on Mar 18, 2009 - 49 comments

Contracting SyFyllis

Sci Fi has a new name. Now it's SyFy. The Sci Fi Channel is distancing itself from its geek demographic by rebranding its network. The former SyFy Portal website (a nerd news outlet) has been rebranded "Airlock Alpha" after selling the name to an "undisclosed recipient".
posted by crossoverman on Mar 16, 2009 - 257 comments

Special-snowflake Bots: A List

60+ One-Of-A-Kind Robots From Science Fiction. "You'd think a major advantage of robots is you can mass-produce them. They're just metal-and-circuit bodies. But science fiction is full of one-of-a-kind bots. Here are all the bots for whom they broke the mold."
posted by taz on Feb 21, 2009 - 40 comments

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