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A Longer Time Ago, Two Galaxies Crossed Paths...

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer explains how Star Wars has dulled the edge that made science fiction such a pertinent film genre. A Galaxy Far, Far Away My Ass... Pt. Two, Pt. Three [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Dec 31, 2011 - 43 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

Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller

Farhad Manjoo of Slate argues that buying books from Amazon is better than buying from local bookstores.
posted by reenum on Dec 15, 2011 - 183 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

Beattitudes

The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
posted by reenum on Nov 28, 2011 - 5 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

"...coppers are easy to write for; they tend to run on rails."

Snuff, Sir Terry Pratchett's 50th book (and 37th Discworld book) will be released in the U.S. tomorrow, and Neil Gaiman has interviewed him for Boing Boing. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 10, 2011 - 47 comments

Bushman Lives

Read the latest Daniel Pinkwater novel before it's published. As he has done with his last three novels , children's author, NPR commentator and pet lover Daniel Pinkwater is serialising his latest novel, Bushman Lives. [more inside]
posted by cottoncandybeard on Sep 19, 2011 - 28 comments

In the land of Fillory

You might know Parry Gripp (previously) as one of the nerf herders behind the Buffy theme song or the writer of dozens of obnoxiously catchy fake jingles. But did you know that he's also magic? Today, in honor of the release of Lev Grossman's The Magician King (review contains spoilers Grossman's The Magicians), Gripp has released "I Wanna Be a Magician," a Magicians fan song. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Aug 9, 2011 - 24 comments

253, an early Internet novel

253 is a novel written for the Internet. Originally published in 1996, it is composed of 253 stories of 253 words about each of the 253 passengers on a London Underground train, headed for a crash.
posted by yellowbinder on Jul 27, 2011 - 29 comments

How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance

Deanne Gist helps romance novel authors learn the mechanics of Victorian era women's underwear.
posted by reenum on Jul 19, 2011 - 95 comments

The End of the Story

Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jun 20, 2011 - 83 comments

Just Write It!

Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
posted by reenum on Apr 14, 2011 - 206 comments

No matter how technologically advanced your future society might be, its sociology and economics are basically those of the seventeenth century

How To Write A Generic SF Novel
posted by Artw on Apr 5, 2011 - 166 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

Holy Crap

An anonymous writer is sticking his or her novel, titled Holy Crap, to a series of street lamps in New York City's East Village, one page at a time. New York Post report. Village Voice report. Yahoo report. Picture of Page 7. Picture of Page 8.
posted by chavenet on Mar 3, 2011 - 45 comments

Old Man's War

(Metafilter's own) science fiction author John Scalzi potentially has a movie coming out. It's to be based on his work Old Man's War. Wolfgang Petersen is apparently set to direct. [more inside]
posted by converge on Feb 23, 2011 - 40 comments

Books On Demand

The library system in Polk County, Florida has installed vending machines so that patrons who aren't close to a library can still check books out.
posted by reenum on Jan 31, 2011 - 49 comments

"Engagement, escape, engagement, escape."

"In the making of character, I feel completely happy. [...] I get two innocent people into a Hitchcockian muddle and make them fight their way out. But from scene to scene, they have to lead me. [...] To me, that is the whole of life. I can’t put it differently." Today's Democracy Now! features an extended interview with John le Carré on topics from Tony Blair, geopolitics, and money laundering to the novelist's life and work.
posted by RogerB on Oct 11, 2010 - 10 comments

Confessions of a Used Bookseller

Have you seen people at library book sales going over all the books with a barcode scanner? One of these folks reveals his methods and discusses his feelings about what he does.
posted by reenum on Oct 7, 2010 - 165 comments

Three-day weekend? Write a three-day novel.

Labor Day Weekend is coming up. You could have a barbecue. Or you could write a novel. Previous winners of the International 3-Day Novel Contest, which has been running since 1977.
posted by escabeche on Aug 27, 2010 - 21 comments

Objectivision

Reason.tv heads to the set of Atlas Shrugged Part One to offer viewers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of this most anticipated film. Previously. Previouslier.
posted by chavenet on Jul 29, 2010 - 83 comments

Chris Kraus will make you Jump, Jump

I Love Dick is composed of the billet doux written by [Chris] Kraus and husband, Columbia philosopher Sylvere Lotringer, to their special friend, Dick. As a kind of art-world roman a clef, the novel fuses gossip and "theory." The profanely and lustfully personal coalesces with intellectual ambition and conceit.
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 15, 2010 - 21 comments

How to Succeed in Evil

How to Succeed in Evil is the story of Edwin Windsor, Evil Efficiency Consultant. He's like Arthur Anderson for Supervillans. A novel by Patrick E. Mclean (the guy behind the Seanachai podcast). The novel (promo mp3) will be available March 16th, but the entire thing is already available free in audiobook form as itunes files (zipped) (err..should be eventually but dropbox was giving a 500 error when I tried it) or mp3/stream. There is also a promo comic (pdf) illustrated by Nicolaus Rummel.
posted by juv3nal on Mar 6, 2010 - 10 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

Over 650 Philip K. Dick book covers

Over 650 Philip K. Dick book covers [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 30, 2010 - 39 comments

For JD - with Love and Squalor

Famously reclusive American author J.D. Salinger has died at 91. The author of The Catcher in the Rye, a novel alternatively banned and labeled the Great American Novel, Salinger was also among the last authors whose short stories were routinely published in magazines. Salinger's other published works include Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories & Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jan 28, 2010 - 263 comments

If you wouldn't like living that way (in the lowest status slot in the pecking order), you're doing it wrong.

Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2009 - 156 comments

your favorite literary writer sucks

This is what the cultural elite wants us to believe: if our writers don't make sense, or bore us to tears, that can only mean that we aren't worthy of them. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Nov 26, 2009 - 143 comments

Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion of your Nightmares

The 21 Scariest Doctor Who Moments Ever, according to SFX magazine. Waters of Mars, which aired in the UK this weekend and airs in the US on December 20th, may add to that list. Meanwhile, in other formats, Michael Moorcock is writing a Doctor Who novel.
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2009 - 84 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

Two Chinese Brothers

"This is a novel born out of the intersection of two eras. The first is a story of the Cultural Revolution, a time of fanaticism, repressed instincts, and tragic fates, similar to the European Middle Ages. The second is a story of today, a time of subverted ethics, fickle sensuality, and every kind of phenomena, even more like the Europe of today. A westerner would have to live four hundred years to experience the vast differences of the two eras, but a Chinese would only need forty years for the experience." Yu Hua's Brothers, a sprawling, foul-mouthed, comic-historical epic, and the best-selling novel in China's history, is available in English. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Oct 18, 2009 - 25 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

The Raw Shark Texts

The Raw Shark Texts (spoilers if you poke around) is a novel about conceptual fish by Steven Hall that is rife with typographic gimmickry and has an ARG-like element to it. [more inside]
posted by juv3nal on Jun 20, 2009 - 12 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

Fetish of ambition

"... many critics and editors, especially male ones, make a fetish of "ambition," by which they mean the contemporary equivalent of novels about men in boats ("Moby-Dick," "Huckleberry Finn") rather than women in houses ("House of Mirth"), and that as a result big novels by male writers get treated as major events while slender but equally accomplished books by women tend to make a smaller splash." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Feb 24, 2009 - 95 comments

Thomas Pynchon is 71 years old.

"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice, is described by Penguin Press as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 6, 2009 - 76 comments

50,000 words of cr - pure awesome

It's that time of the year again! NaNoWriMo, previously seen on MeFi here, has kicked off again. If you're stuck, try these tips to lift yourself out of the rut, or feel free to run over to the MeTa thread to grumble about it to fellow NaNo-ers. For the more OCD among us, popular applets to organize your thoughts include bubble.us, seen here previously, to create mindmaps and plot diagrams, or yWriter to organize your prose into chapters and scenes. Other online communities are joining in the fun. Livejournal is donating $1 to the Young Writer's Program for every completed novel. So ignore the deterrents, whip out your thinking hat, and let the logorrhoea start!
posted by Phire on Nov 3, 2008 - 44 comments

Romance Novel Cover Design

The Best Romance Novel Covers of the year - click on the winner of each category to see the Top Ten and explanations. Also the site doesn't avoid the snark with a worst cover category [The winner is Big Spankable Asses [maybe NSFW]].
posted by meech on Oct 17, 2008 - 44 comments

The Iron Heel

The Iron Heel, published a century ago this year, is a novel by Jack London about socialist revolution in the United States. It is set mostly between 1912 and 1932, with a foreword and numerous footnotes written from the point of view of a historian who has just discovered the manuscript some 700 years later. Here is an excerpt (which is printed on the back cover of some editions) from chapter five:
"This, then, is our answer. We have no words to waste on you. When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purpled ease, we will show you what strength is. In roar of shell and shrapnel and in whine of machine-guns will our answer be couched. We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words--Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power."

posted by finite on Oct 10, 2008 - 30 comments

RIP Gregory Mcdonald

The author of the Fletch novels, Gregory Mcdonald, has died. [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Sep 12, 2008 - 22 comments

Dystopian Evolution: Imagining an Envirogeddon

Dystopian storytelling is pillar of Western narrative tradition, but this decade has seen a significant shift in the way our apocalypse is told. Orthodox tales of government tyranny are giving way to visions of humans running helpless in the wake of environmental meltdown. From the plausible to the fantastic, most of this fiction remains hauntingly real while the non-fiction can get downright scary. In 2008, the 20th anniversary of climatologist James Hansen's landmark speech before Congress, popular art is beginning to reflect an increasingly bleak public sentiment on the future, playing out some of our worst nightmares. It may be that these writers and directors are wishing for the end of the world, but even so, they are certainly giving voice to the creeping feeling that indeed, we might not make it.
posted by dead_ on Jul 7, 2008 - 21 comments

Shake Girl

Shake Girl, a collaborative project by students in the Stanford Graphic Novel Project. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on May 9, 2008 - 12 comments

Now, thanks to the internet, we know this is not true

A Million Penguins, the wiki novel mentioned previously on MeFi, is complete, and a research paper about it has been released. [more inside]
posted by whir on May 5, 2008 - 15 comments

Patient Zero

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey is Chuck Palahniuk's eighth novel. It takes the form of an oral history of one Buster 'Rant' Casey, in which an assortment of friends, enemies, admirers, detractors and relations have their say on this (in Chuck Palahniuk's words) 'evil, gender-conflicted Forrest Gump character'. His work is controversial, but I imagine a few Palahniuk fans who read The Blue might have missed the fact that he has a new book out. [ Previously ]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 9, 2007 - 24 comments

Wikinovel

After an abysmal, embarrasing attempt at collaborative fiction by Penguin Books, a new site takes a stab at the Wikinovel, this time, it appears, with a little better organization and planning. Though, still no users.
posted by nospecialfx on May 30, 2007 - 31 comments

If you'll show me yours.

Nude Marathon! Psychotherapy traveled down a lot of strange paths in the 60s and early 70s, but perhaps none stranger than the naked group therapy sessions, some up to 48 hours long, supervised by Paul Bindrim. Bindrim's sessions were the subject of a documentary film and an unflattering, thinly fictionalized novel by Gwen Davis Mitchell. Bindrim sued Mitchell for libel. Can descriptions of a fictional character be libelous of a real person? Yes.
posted by escabeche on Mar 23, 2007 - 13 comments

It was a dark and horny night...

His lips brushed her cheek as he let more of the weight of his arm and hand press against her torso. He spoke softly, “And this evening’s lead story, "No bombings, no robberies, no car accidents, no wars. Just {YOUR NAME HERE} and {YOUR S.O.'s NAME HERE} making love in a hammock on the Outer Banks."

Yep, for $50-120, you and the love of your life can have your very own customized romance novel. May the bosom-heaving and bodice ripping ensue.
posted by miss lynnster on Mar 10, 2007 - 46 comments

Deus Ex Machina, an experimental online comic

"Deus is an experimental, serialized online comic about myth, consciousness, death, and tomfoolery. Following a set of quasi-mythical gods and a poor fool named Cam, the styles and themes of Deus are constantly evolving." From the utterly talented Gareth Hinds, whose fully painted interpretation of Beowulf is about to be issued in hardcover by Candlewick Press.
posted by jbickers on Feb 6, 2007 - 4 comments

Wanna be a writer?

"A Million Penguins is an experiment in creative writing and community. Anyone can join in. Anyone can write. Anyone can edit. Let’s see if the crowds are not only wise, but creative. Or will too many cooks spoil the broth?"
posted by goo on Feb 1, 2007 - 39 comments

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