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There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas

It was Christmas Eve. I begin this way because it is the proper, orthodox, respectable way to begin, and I have been brought up in a proper, orthodox, respectable way, and taught to always do the proper, orthodox, respectable thing; and the habit clings to me. Of course, as a mere matter of information it is quite unnecessary to mention the date at all. The experienced reader knows it was Christmas Eve ... It always is Christmas Eve, in a ghost story.
In Told After Supper (1891), Jerome K. Jerome parodied the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories, but it's plain to see that he had fun writing them. And horror writer Ramsey Campbell, himself the author of a number of Christmas stories, recently dropped by /r/WeirdLit to list off a few places to find more. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 16, 2014 - 11 comments

Walter Benjamin for Children

Walter Benjamin presented "True Dog Stories" on September 27, 1930, as part of Radio Berlin's youth programming. Thoughtful but sometimes oblique commentaries on human society, Benjamin's radio shows have been called "Enlightenment for Children" and "NPR for weirdos," but an interview with the editor of their recent translations into English gives much greater context. Some essays have been re-recorded in German (including the dog episode, track 16), and Börne's original poodle letter is also online.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 4, 2014 - 4 comments

Written with nightbird quills and ink-of-dedication

I try to do two things with my style. The first is to pay attention to how the words sound together ... The other thing is to juxtapose odd images.
Sometimes ornate, sometimes economical, and always striking, Yoon Ha Lee's short fiction combines motifs from fantasy and science fiction with remarkable fruitfulness: "There are soldiers and scientists, space travel and dragons, leather-bound books, locked doors, and genocidal rampages. Each tale strains at the edges of possibility. No two of Lee's stories are alike, except for a similar pulse powering each word, each juxtaposition, each startling turn of events." Much of Lee's output is available online, including dozens of flash fiction fairy tales and two works of interactive fiction. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 9, 2014 - 13 comments

The Elements of Harmony

How My Little Pony Became a Cult for Grown Men and Preteen Girls Alike
posted by Artw on Nov 7, 2014 - 120 comments

behind-the-scenes of nonfiction longform pieces

annotating Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah's profile of Dave Chappelle, "If He Hollers Let Him Go" [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 10, 2014 - 8 comments

The Old Woman With No Teeth

PodCastle 328: The Old Woman With No Teeth
When The Old Woman With No Teeth decided to have children, she didn’t go about it in the usual way. Well, really, what else could you expect from The Old Woman With No Teeth? If she ever did anything the usual way, even boiling a pot of water, the world might start spinning widdershins on its axis.

"Now you just stop that. I can read perfectly well, you impudent ragger. Set down what I told you, and don’t believe all the stories you’ve heard about me."

There are many stories about The Old Woman With No Teeth, but people should not believe all of them. The most popular one is that she wore away her teeth by chewing a tunnel to the six-sided world. Nobody knows if this story is true. Many people have looked for the passageway she is supposed to have gnawed through reality, but none of the venturers have managed to pinpoint it.

"None of the ones who’ve come back, you mean. Silly bastards."
[more inside]
posted by Lexica on Sep 15, 2014 - 7 comments

there's nothing that is scientifically proven

(A theoretical physicist explains why) Science Is Not About Certainty [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 5, 2014 - 33 comments

story of your life

My Cousin is Not a Hero: "But it’s not fiction, it’s real life. It’s the night of his dad’s funeral and we’re standing there together, and neither of us is a hero. Neither of us is on an epic journey... Our plot points are weird ones, and our stories don’t add up to some amazing narrative of personal growth and enlightenment — but they do matter, because they’re ours." [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 1, 2014 - 16 comments

Cardboard Stories

Rethink Homelessness asked a bunch of homeless people from Orlando to write down something about themselves that people who walk by them wouldn't otherwise know.
posted by gman on Jul 23, 2014 - 44 comments

Ex Africa semper aliquid novi

Kenya's Okwiri Oduor has won the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, "My Father's Head." Many stories by other winners and nominees are available online. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 18, 2014 - 6 comments

two slugs hanging in a cave

Last night, popular Twitter user @rachelmillman asked her followers for their best and funniest stories about their first kiss. She got a big response. This morning, Twitter user @connorcook collected most of the tweets she received in a Storify.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 10, 2014 - 40 comments

Audio to make the Kessel Run seem a little shorter

SF Signal today finished a top 50 countdown of short SF/fantasy podcast fiction: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1. The Parsec Awards for SF podcasts honor many other stories annually, as well as related non-fiction, comedy, and music: 2014 nominees; 2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; and 2006. And since 2012, the Hugo Award nominees for Best Fancast have been two-time winner SF Squeecast!, plus The Coode Street Podcast, Galactic Suburbia, SF Signal, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, StarShipSofa, Tea and Jeopardy, Verity!, and The Writer and The Critic with the popular Writing Excuses podcast often appearing in another category. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 8, 2014 - 11 comments

Alone, in an aqueous atmosphere where distant bells linger

Diseased Gardens offers a selection of 20th C. weird fiction from Belgium and France as well as a checklist of strange fiction in translation. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 1, 2014 - 4 comments

The theatre appeared in the crime section more than the arts section ...

Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Pretty Sure I've Read Most Of These....

The terrible (awesome?) fan-fic crossover story idea generator.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 6, 2014 - 77 comments

Velveteen vs. The Front Page Post

Velma "Velveteen" Martinez is a toy-animating super hero created by Seanan McGuire, a.k.a. Mira Grant. Over the past six years, McGuire's "Velveteen vs." story cycle has been released gradually on LiveJournal, achieving a dedicated following thanks to the story's overall emotional complexity. As fantasy author Tanya Huff has written, "Velveteen is about a young woman who fights crime in a pair of rabbit ears in much the same way Buffy was about a girl who killed vampires. That being, not so much." [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on May 8, 2014 - 10 comments

Ami Birangona Bolchi

I am not as self-righteous as the way I am talking to you all. Actually I never got the opportunity to express myself. I grew up with my head bent, occupied the lowest place in my family and was surviving under the radar as a member of my family. But later I met a woman who was like a mother to me, and she told me that I was an amazing woman, a hero. I may not have the body of Joan of Arc, but I have sacrificed what is most precious to me – my womanhood, for my country. But you will never see our names engraved in a tower. The reason for this omission is likely their own shame. They could not protect me from the hands of disaster. In what face would they applaud the fact that I am a war heroine? I have been ridiculed and shamed in cruel and heartless ways, but somehow a power greater than me has helped me keep my head high.
Rape survivors of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War were given the title "Birangona": an attempt by the first president of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to respect the sacrifices of these women that sadly backfired. Ami Birangona Bolchi by Bangladeshi academic and social worker Nilima Ibrahim, published in 1994, chronicles first-hand stories of these women, grappling with the tension between their status and their lived experience. Recently there have been multiple translations of Nilima's work, as well as more interviews and poetry as well as an upcoming British stage production.
posted by divabat on Mar 17, 2014 - 8 comments

This guy

On Tim Wagner's instagram account, everything, from everyday items to persons of interest, comes with an elaborate backstory.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 24, 2014 - 5 comments

Still trying to make fetch happen

10 years later, the director of 'Mean Girls' shares a few stories from the shoot
posted by The Whelk on Feb 7, 2014 - 70 comments

"Tell me a story about yourself that isn't true"

Supposed Histories: meet a genetic terrorist, someone with equitrichosis, and a professional suicide-note writer. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 29, 2014 - 2 comments

Do you have an experience to share? Email

I'm the world's oldest wing walker. I was 82 when I performed my first wing walk – standing on top of a plane while it's in flight. Looking back, that seems relatively young.
More than 384 other shared stories, many of them interesting, in this Guardian series. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Jan 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Rain, An Occupational Hazard

I wallow on my knees in thick mud, hoedag in hand slogging up a near vertical hillside, napalmed bare... rain whistling sideways so hard it bores through my hermetic, vulcanized head-to-toe rainsuit. I look like an astronaut traversing across an eerie, silent moon crater rhythmically bending over to scrape the ground every 6-9 steps... That was 1978 when I was a migrant treeplanter; a job the Oregon State Employment Service lists as the hardest physical work known to this office.., one person in fifty succeeds the three week training period. Like thousands of other college grads that year, I was the product of a liberal education promising an exciting, good job as reward for four years of costly training. So what the hell was I doing planting trees and eating mud for a living? Well I'll tell ya, being a rowdy forest worker in a self-managed collective of modern gypsies traveling the beautiful hinterlands of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and northern California made career pursuits or regular employment look awfully dull. Hoedad's Stories and Poems - the rise and fall of an American reforestation cooperative. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Jan 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Programming stories

For your Sunday reading, a couple of stories of ye olden computing days: Why MacPaint's Original Canvas was 416 Pixels Wide and A Great Old Timey Game Programming Hack.
posted by curious nu on Jan 5, 2014 - 29 comments

Making Excuses for Science Fiction

When I published my first novel 20 years later, I found myself faced with the same challenge: how do I talk about this book to people whose entire conception of science fiction and fantasy are built around Star Wars and The Hobbit? How do I convince folks that stories about the dissolution of a marriage in Montreal in 2155 are just as serious an endeavor as writing about the dis­solution of a marriage in Montreal 1955?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 27, 2013 - 43 comments

Tis The Season To Secure Contain Protect

The collaborative wiki-as-fiction site, Secure Contain Protect (previously), held a contest to determine which entry will get the coveted SCP - 2000 spot. The theme? Science Fiction. Read the winning entry here, and the rest of the alien-spaceship-crashing-memetic-virus-watching-living-TV-show-spreading contestants here.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 23, 2013 - 31 comments

Witchling

A lovely webcomic by Renee Nault.
posted by Kitteh on Dec 19, 2013 - 9 comments

Blorpy: Interesting stories found in comments

Blorpy: Interesting stories found in comments "Internet comments are NOT all stupid. If you read through enough comments, you come across some amazing stories. I find them and post them here." [via mefi projects]
posted by rebent on Dec 11, 2013 - 22 comments

Project 562

Matika Wilbur is journeying across the United States to record and share the essence of contemporary Native Culture with the world. There are at least 562 Tribal Nations recognized by the US Federal Government.
posted by Deoridhe on Nov 28, 2013 - 5 comments

Places Are Made Of A Thousand Stories

"I want to see the world. Follow a map to its edges, and keep going. Forgo the plans. Trust my instincts. Let curiosity be my guide.
I want to change hemispheres and sleep with unfamiliar stars and let the journey unfold before me."

Maptia is on a mission to gather first-person stories from travelers, "to create the most inspirational map in the world." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 12, 2013 - 3 comments

Cutscenes:video games::intertitles:silent movies

Hitbox Team (creators of DustForce) (previously) explore designing game narrative.
posted by Jpfed on Nov 6, 2013 - 25 comments

The door flew open, in he ran, the tall long-legged Scissors-Man!

Shockheaded Peter (Struwwelpeter, Wikipedia), the classic 19th century German children's book of cautionary tales and grim fates, has been brought to deranged life through simple yet strange animation. [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ on Nov 3, 2013 - 26 comments

The Dollar Babies

The Dollar Baby (also sometimes referred to as the Dollar Deal) is a term coined by best-selling author Stephen King (Previously) in reference to a select group of students and aspiring filmmakers or theatre producers whom he has granted permission to adapt one of his short stories for only $1. [more inside]
posted by SkylitDrawl on Sep 29, 2013 - 36 comments

Sometimes it's lovely to be read a bedtime story, even as an adult.

A wonderful, generous and free selection of authors, collections and books online at Lit2Go for awake times or drowsy ones. The Count of Monte Cristo from the Adventure collection | or perhaps a Just So Story from the Fantasy collection | Beowolf from the Here Be Dragons! collection | Aladdin from Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors or The Heart of Happy Hollow from the African American collection. Also practical for children. Previously. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 5, 2013 - 9 comments

"So a sardine is not a sardine is not a sardine!"

The Sardine Museum with host Tony Nunziata (part two, part three, part four, part five). Bonus: Tony tells a short story. [more inside]
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Jul 23, 2013 - 8 comments

The Underpants Revolution and other stories from the past...

"Whereas yesterday's Cora Pearl was eccentric, charming and a little cold-hearted, today's Victorian courtesan, La Païva, is straight-up eerie. Like, so eerie that a lot of people thought she was a vampire. My hand to Baby Jesus, people actually believed she was a supernatural being. " Bizarre Victoria shares (what else) bizarre, scandalous, and noteworthy stories form the Victorian era (and more). What do you serve at a country club for fat men? Devil's footprints! Lola Montez: servant whipper, de facto ruler of Bavaria. Empress Sissi and her No Good Very Bad Life. Aristocratic marriage at gunpoint. Public pubic hair trimming. Specialties of the Victorian Brothel. Curing hiccups by setting your shirt on fire. Gilded Age Arranged Marriages.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2013 - 8 comments

"family, nationhood, verbal imperative, and accountability"

"Trading Faith for Wonder: On Judaism's Literary Legacy". The LARB reviews Jews And Words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 29, 2013 - 6 comments

"You know, you have a very musical voice."

You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on May 26, 2013 - 1 comment

"I'm interested in the way we tell stories about our lives"

Sarah Polley, previously, is a Canadian actress and director whose new documentary Stories We Tell is about her own family's story. Or stories. And how storytelling shapes us. Sarah Polley's Meta Masterpiece [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 14, 2013 - 18 comments

How I Met My Dead Parents

Going through my parents' stuff didn't make me suddenly miss them, but I became more intrigued by them every day. I wanted to know more and more about them, to solve their mysteries. At the same time, I felt a corresponding, if conflicting, urge to speak, or write, about what many people seemed to think was unspeakable: my ever-present lack of grief. So I decided to combine these seemingly divergent impulses into an Tumblr blog called My Dead Parents, which I kept anonymous both out of respect for my family and because, after years of writing fiction, I wasn't sure if I could handle revealing so much about myself in writing.
Anya Yurchyshyn writes about rediscovering her parents through their letters, after their deaths.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 20, 2013 - 12 comments

"I'm yours again. I always enjoy seeing what happens to me."

After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff is publishing to the web again (temporarily). Five days ago he released a number of short collages; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6], discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6], and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8].) There's also this somewhat ominous web site. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 18, 2013 - 25 comments

No one will ever believe you

Bill Murray Stories
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Apr 12, 2013 - 35 comments

The Ultimate List of Gawker Media Longreads

The Ultimate List of Gawker Media Longreads for 2012
posted by reenum on Dec 31, 2012 - 15 comments

I think I mentioned we also saw an actual knife fight in this same alley! With big giant meat cleavers!

Davesecretary of TIME FOR SOME STORIES fame (previously) decided to spend a year in a smallish Chinese city to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He slowly realizes that he's not having a very good time.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 21, 2012 - 87 comments

"Jack kept climbing beanstalks but none ever got him as high as that first one."

fairy tales for twenty-somethings
posted by flex on Oct 22, 2012 - 48 comments

Professor Serling

Rod Serling discusses writing. A conversation.
posted by timsteil on Oct 21, 2012 - 13 comments

Always wondered if Tom went on to work in banking.

John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
posted by Miko on Oct 10, 2012 - 40 comments

No Evidence

Maciej (previously: 1, 2) tells the story of his girlfriend's struggle with disease and her friend Stephanie, before the entire story goes sideways.
posted by mathowie on Sep 17, 2012 - 77 comments

All stories are mine. The whole world’s mine.

I’m a writer: Don’t trust me with other people’s secrets [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Sep 6, 2012 - 53 comments

Illustrated Aesop's Fables through history

Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 30, 2012 - 11 comments

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again

The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again "Is there a greater cultural sin than a good story spoiled? The accepted modern posture is that knowing too much beforehand about the plot of a novel, a play, a movie, even a TV series, ruins the magic of experiencing it for the first time — renders it damaged goods, not worth one’s time or money.[..]

It’s a given: Everyone hates spoilers. Except when they don’t. Two researchers in the psychology department of the University of California at San Diego recently decided to test whether we really hate spoilers, or just like to say we do. What they found surprised them: The majority of people apparently like having a story spoiled for them. In fact, we may enjoy spoiled stories even more than the unspoiled versions. Is it true? Do we secretly crave predigested plots the way some foodies sneak Big Macs when no one’s looking?" Pdf link to study. [more inside]
posted by nooneyouknow on Aug 29, 2012 - 171 comments

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