Every April for the past several years, Fantasy Cafe has published a series of guest posts for Women in Science Fiction & Fantasy Month. This year, the article that generated the most discussion was "'I am ... ?': Representation of Mature Women in Fantasy" by Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian, who asked, "So where are the older women in fantasy? Mature women who are the hero of their own story?" The many other guest posts this year offered an interesting range of questions, observations, and reflections--often by well-known names in the field. [more inside]
"Every month, Netflix quietly clears its virtual shelves to prepare for the arrival of new offerings. There are roughly 80 movies expiring from Netflix Instant at the end of November. We've picked seven that we think you should make sure to watch before they’re no longer streaming – one for each night until Dec. 1." (Paste Magazine)
17 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read in a Sitting by Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature:
This week author Ian McEwan expressed his love of short novels, saying “very few [long] novels earn their length.” Certainly it seems like a novel has to be a minimum of 500 pages to win a major literary award these days, and many genre novels have ballooned to absurd sizes.[more inside]
I love a good tome, but like McEwan many of my favorite novels are sharpened little gems. It’s immensely satisfying to finish a book in a single day, so in the spirit of celebrating quick reads here are some of my favorite short novels. I’ve tried to avoid the most obvious titles that are regularly assigned in school (The Stranger, Heart of Darkness, Mrs Dalloway, Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein, The Crying of Lot 49, etc.). Hopefully you’ll find some titles here you haven’t read before.
Why read an average book when you could read a great book? With so little time to read, why waste time on a so-so book? But how do you find the best books to read? Most people read whatever they stumble across at the moment. Other folks read book reviews and get recommendations from friends. Even fewer join book clubs.For those despairing of finding enough decent science fiction to read, James W. Harris sets out how to find the best science fiction books to read, including his own classics of science fiction list. [more inside]
For years, my self-education was stupid and wasteful. I learned by consuming blog posts, Wikipedia articles, classic texts, podcast episodes, popular books, video lectures, peer-reviewed papers, Teaching Company courses, and Cliff's Notes. How inefficient! [...] What if we could compile a list of the best textbooks on every subject? That would be extremely useful.Less Wrong, a community dedicated to rationality, is compiling a list of The Best Textbooks on Every Subject.
150 things to read, watch and listen to, so you don’t die of boredom this summer... according to Sassy Magazine, July 1990.
The Millions 2011: A Year in Reading. With 72 participants naming 214 books, it’s safe to say this has been our biggest and most high profile Year in Reading yet. Our participants included the current Poet Laureate, a longtime candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, the reigning winners of the IMPAC and Pulitzer Prizes, two authors of books named The New York Times’ 10 Best of 2011, a recent inductee to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and more Pushcart winners than I care to count. [more inside]
The AV Club feature Gateways to Geekery is all about the best places to start on some of pop culture's most complex and nuanced artists and genres, including Randy Newman, The Who, Monty Python, steampunk, Sherlock Holmes and 90 others. [more inside]
Jinni is a movie and TV recommendation service that has apparently developed an algorithm similar to Pandora's Music Genome Project. Their algorithm is cleverly titled The Movie Genome Project.
Clerkdogs works surprisingly well versus other web-based recommendations, partly because paid enthusiasts are involved, and partly for its intuitive interface. [more inside]
You strike up a conversation with someone you don't know, and you're getting on OK, and then suddenly, without warning, you hear the five words that mean the relationship has no future beyond the time it takes to say them: “I think you'll like it.” via 3quarksdaily [more inside]
MusicLens enables users to find pieces of music using very vaguely described criteria, such as loudness (perceived volume), mood or purpose. The search or recommendations query can be enhanced or limited by adjusting the ten control sliders. Example : All slow titles by Madonna from the 90s that also sound sexy. (Note: FLASH)
What to read. A list of lists for book recommendations, includes a compiled "Great Books" Lists with a World Literature list and lots more.
Pandora. Bound to draw comparisons to Last.fm, LAUNCHcast, and Musicplasma, Pandora (formerly Savage Beast) is a music discovery web application that recommends music based not on popularity, usage habits of other users, or genres/categories but on the deconstructed elements of how the music itself sounds. Fruit of the Music Genome Project, music analysts have for more than five years spent 20 minutes analyzing each song in its ever-growing database for nearly 400 distinct attributes, so when you ask it, "Why is this song playing?" It answers, "Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features electronica influences, mild rhythmic syncopation, surreal lyrics, use of call-and-response vocals, and string section beds." (YES! Thank you!) Currently live on public beta. [Flash, 128kbps streams]
Hey, let's ask the Head Butler! A newish site devoted to giving you book, music, and film recommendations, and more. (more inside)
As illustrated by this recent Wired Magazine article, consumer-to-consumer recommendations on the Internet are certainly influencing consumer demand. Goodblock attempts to gather casual friend-to-friend recommendations--from a good baby-friendly Thai restaurant in town to a doggy day care you trust--and collect them in a directory much as del.icio.us collects bookmark recommendations for your friends to peruse. For now, goodblock is in beta and is accessible only by friend invitation and, similar to the friendster model, you can only see your own directory and those of your listed friends.
What to Rent Computers now recommending movie rentals to people.
Mother's Day is coming up! What's the coolest gift you ever got your mom? Any ideas for the rest of us?
Book-A-Minute SF/F--- Their "minute" is so spot-on a review for those books I've read that I'm off to find some books I haven't, just on this site's odd say-so.
I realized all this when I worked in a bookstore for a year, but it still makes me sad. Who do you think is writing the classics of tomorrow today?
Any console gamers out there thinking about getting an X-box instead of a PS2? Which system has a brighter future?