The Guardian has a nice interview with Ursula
K. Le Guin
about utopian science fiction, anthropology, ethnicity in Earthsea and the
differences between her two Earthsea trilogies. She also comments on the upcoming miniseries.
The Lathe of Heaven is a taoist novel, not a utopian or
dystopian one.... There
is an old American saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The novel
extends that a bit - "Even if it's broke, if you don't know how to fix
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Mar 11, 2004 -
Perversion for Profit linking pornography to the Communism
Citizens for Decent Literature: Sex Bad, violence Good!
I just thought this would be cool to revisit in light of the Mel Gibson, Orson Scott Card Debates.
Intersting what They shppw as to show you what YOU
should not be looking at.
Maybe (NSFW, maybe just NSF-Sanity)
posted by Elim
on Feb 26, 2004 -
Comrade, is Piglet revisionism getting you down? Don't be an enemy of the people. Brush up on your Maoist theory with the Mao of Poo
posted by alidarbac
on Feb 8, 2004 -
Remembrance of Books Past
, by Ray Bradbury
"Why not a sequel to 'Fahrenheit 451' in which all the great books are remembered by the Wilderness People and are finally reprinted from memory. What then?"
"Wouldn't it be,"
he continued, "that all would be misremembered, none would come forth in their original garb? Wouldn't they be longer, shorter, taller, fatter, disfigured, or more beautiful? "
[if possible, use the Wall Street Journal link - subsription required]
posted by MzB
on Feb 4, 2004 -
'Robert Burns: poet and balladeer, Scotland's favourite son and champion of the common people. Each year on January 25, the great man's presumed birthday, Scots everywhere take time out to honour a national icon. Whether it's a full-blown Burns Supper or a quiet night of reading poetry, Burns Night is a night for all Scots.'More
on the Robert Burns Tribute site.
posted by plep
on Jan 23, 2004 -
Books I Did Not Read This Year:
For novelty or perhaps for gleeful one-downmanship, Kieran at Crooked Timber shares a list of books he did not
read in 2003. Literary guilt
is hardly new, but some argue
our neuroses about unread books grows as our distractions multiply. Of course, this attitude (besides bordering on criticism of the glib, "pop lite" type) usually comes part and parcel with the common complaint that paper culture is dead. And one could easily make a distinction between neurotic englit-geek Guilt and the casual reader's mere missed opportunity. Without rehashing either of those discussions, what are the (presumably) best books (or any pieces of art) you didn't
consume in 2003?
posted by ifjuly
on Jan 17, 2004 -
the life and work of
Ungeheuer wrote short stories. Very short stories. Some are no more than a couple of sentences. The longest of them barely fills a half dozen pages. Ungeheuer explained his penchant for short short fiction in an interview with Jared Green in 1970:
"There's something enigmatic about the economy of these short pieces. Something about the lack of context that forces the reader to fill in the larger picture. I don't care about plotting a story, characterization or setting. I'm looking for a feeling, an instant in time. An uncomfortable floating instant, with no sense of anything that may have come to pass before it."
posted by tenseone
on Jan 12, 2004 -
Violet Books catalogs Antiquarian Supernatural Literature
, including literary ghost stories, Victorian science fiction, Yellow Nineties Decadence, H. Rider Haggard & haggardesque "Lost Race" novels
, Marie Corelli & other occult romancers, Rafael Sabatini & Jeffery Farnol & all vintage swashbuckling historical romances, Yukon adventures, jungle tales, Sax Rohmer & all weird thrillers
, classic detectives
, vintage children's & young adult fantasies & series books
, vintage westerns
, and all things old, fictional, adventurous, and weird. Make sure to check for the titles that have dustjacket scans.
posted by Pinwheel
on Dec 15, 2003 -
J.M. Coetzee's Nobel Speech. It seemed to him, coming from his island, where until Friday arrived he lived a silent life, that there was too much speech in the world.
Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, delivers his lecture from the perspective of Robinson Crusoe.
posted by _sirmissalot_
on Dec 9, 2003 -
The Philip K. Dick Offical Site has opened:
relevant not just because the movie Paycheck
is coming out this month (based on a short story of his), but because we live in a Dickian world. As he put it, "We live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudorealities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives. I distrust their power. It is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing."
posted by paladin
on Dec 2, 2003 -
is one of the missing links in 20th-century history; in at the beginning of the Soviet Union, he saw before almost anyone what a nightmare it was going to be, wrote some prescient books, may have invented the word "totalitarian," knew everybody who was anybody, and was forgotten. Christopher Hitchens tries to remind us
(quote and acknowledgment inside).
posted by languagehat
on Nov 18, 2003 -
is a fantastic, prize-winning author. His book Newjack
is, to quote Jon Krakauer, "a compelling, compassionate look at a terribly important, poorly understood aspect of American society." In it, he works undercover as a guard at Sing Sing. You can read the truncated New Yorker version
on the site. Additionally, there are many other articles
, reviews and interviews
, and a pretty interesting group of e-mails
from "officers, their families, and others affected by prison." And, just to name-drop once more, Sebastian Junger says: "Ted Conover is a first-rate reporter and more daring and imaginative than the rest of us combined." Check him out!
posted by adrober
on Oct 25, 2003 -
Fragment: a writing meme.
For creative writers who might need a small nudge in the ribs, three sentence fragments posted once a week "for you to fit into a bit of fiction/stream of consciousness/what-have-you... a quick bit of dirtiness to get your creative energy flowing". Write your bit and post your link. (via the ever-enlightening Anne, of Fishbucket.)
posted by taz
on Oct 7, 2003 -
The Nobel Prize for Literature
will be announced on Thursday. Two candidates with buzz this year are Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said
, better known as Adonis, and New Zealand novelist-memoirist Janet Frame
. Other candidates frequently mentioned include JM Coetzee, Philip Roth, Inger Christensen, Tomas Transtroemer, Margaret Atwood and Carlos Fuentes.
posted by Daze
on Sep 30, 2003 -
Wordsworth once said of the sonnet that he hoped that those "[w]ho have felt the weight of too much liberty,/Should find such brief solace there, as I have found." Sonnet Central offers a copious library of sonnets, mainly in the Anglo-American tradition but with examples from around the world. Those who wish to explore further in the sonnet's paradoxically expansive "scanty plot of ground" (Wordsworth again) may also wish to try Petrarch's Canzoniere
(complete set, Italian with English translations); Shakespeare's Sonnets
(self-described as "amazing"; the full cycle with glosses and paraphrases, plus illustrations and links to other poems); Golden Age Spanish Sonnets
(translations); Christina Rossetti's Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets
(a reflection on the traditional sonnet sequence); George Meredith's Modern Love
(a bleaker revision of the sonnet sequence tradition, featuring sixteen-line "sonnets"); and an excerpt from John Hollander's Powers of Thirteen
(do the math and you'll see the experiment--it's an interesting modern sequence).
posted by thomas j wise
on Sep 24, 2003 -
announced by LitKicks
marries sudden fiction (and poetry, and nonfiction) workshop dynamics to a survivor-like competitive format, starting October 1, with six winners to be published in a book featuring the best work from the Quest. It's open to all, costs $20
to enter, and requires a free membership in the LitKicks site, which is a thriving online literary community as it is. More info in the FAQ
. I think this may work better for me than NaNoWriMo would.
posted by xian
on Sep 16, 2003 -
An anotated list
of the best-selling classics, (as compiled
by Book Magazine
), showing the years in which they will become public domain under current copyright law. Fans of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
will be in luck in 2021; Memoirs of a Geisha
will go public sometime in the early 2100s.
[Via Vidiot's brand new blog.]
posted by me3dia
on Aug 27, 2003 -
The Public Library of Science
has been getting some good press lately. An Editorial
at the Sacramento Bee, The New Scientist
, Washington Post
and The Boston Globe
, have all written up The PLoS, the organization founded by a Nobel Prize-winning biologist and two colleagues, is plotting the overthrow of the system by which scientific results are made known to the world -- a $9 billion publishing juggernaut with subscription charges that range into thousands of dollars per year.
They are committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. Check it out at publiclibraryofscience.org
posted by Blake
on Aug 19, 2003 -
On Sundays West Coast Live
I heard an interview with Adam Johnson, the author of Parasites Like Us
, a post-apocalyptic novel with a decidedly (if somewhat spurious) anthropological bent. Literary criticism aside, as an anthropologist myself (and die-hard sci-fi reader), it got me thinking of what our vaunted Western culture may have to offer the survivors of whatever catastrophe may befall our civilization in the future.
From classic novels like Earth Abides
, or even The Stand
, writers and storytellers have tried to discern what may be the surviving aspects of culture once all else fails; what it is that has made and defines us as modern humans, and perhaps what it is that will sustain us.
So, what is it that would sustain you? What would separate you from the crazed and the mad that seem to populate the annals of post-apocalyptic literature? Or perhaps more specifically, what is it that you value of your culture and your technology that makes it worthwhile to maintain and perhaps fight your way back to?
posted by elendil71
on Aug 18, 2003 -
Little Stalker Boy is tired,
but mostly he's just restless. Little Stalker Boy is outside her house again tonight - hanging in a tree and taking photos as she passes the front window.
posted by dg
on Jul 27, 2003 -
The Gutenberg Bible
: the first book printed with movable type, is the one of the greatest treasures in the University of Texas's Ransom Center's collections. It was printed at Johann Gutenberg's shop in Mainz, Germany and completed in 1454 or 1455. The Center's Bible was acquired in 1978 and is one of only five complete examples in the United States. All 1,282 pages
now available for viewing on the Ransom Center's Web site. Also check out the anatomy of a page.
posted by ColdChef
on Jul 23, 2003 -
The Dance of Death.
Die Totentanz: A German-language site
spotlighting, for example, the dance of death in literature
, graphic art
. For those, like me, whose German is not so good, this
page offers an English-language history of the phenomenon, and the Catholic Encyclopedia has an article
too. See also Holbein
's Dance-of-Death; Lübeck
's Dance-of-Death; and umm, this
posted by misteraitch
on Jul 3, 2003 -
Greed May Not Be Good, But It Sure Comes Easy And Feels Lovely, Thank You Very Much:
Just how greedy
are you? Lately I've been rereading Rabelais's
outrageous, politically incorrect, magnificently written Everyman's edition
of Gargantua and Pantagruel, in Thomas Urquhart's and Peter Anthony Motteux's no less magnificent translation
]. Everything in this 16th Century book seems to address us and challenge us to be - how shall I put it? - up to it
. It's rolicking; bawdy; irresistible. Too much is not
enough, indeed. Just how valuable is excess of all sorts? Very, I'd say. And this century presents unique opportunities for overdoing it in the most delightful way, wot, wot?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jun 27, 2003 -
After 'The Bell Jar,' Life Went On.
Sylvia Plath immortalized the guest editor program at Mademoiselle Magazine in her famed book, "The Bell Jar." A photo of the 20 young guest editors was taken back in 1953, and they were all lined up in a star -- with Plath, unsurprisingly, at the top. Plath killed herself in 1971, but the other women in her program reunited recently, to discuss their experiences, how they've changed, and their famous classmate. A fascinating read for anyone who's read "The Bell Jar." (NY Times reg required)
posted by GaelFC
on Jun 23, 2003 -