Literature

Two Hundred Word Review: Reamde

by on October 25, 2011

Neal Stephenson’s new novel, Reamde, is a techno-thriller about an online mutli-player game and terrorists. The book opens with a plot about the first then meets and moves into the second with a bang some few hundred pages in.

After his first novels Snow Crash and Diamond Age, Stephenson has been writing long novels. Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle are full of intricate, arcane, and needed details invented or …
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A Series Of Incisive Observations

by on October 18, 2011

Lemony Snicket knows a thing or two about unfortunate incidents. He has been observing Occupy Wall Street, carefully. He’s got insights. My favourite is Number 3:

3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children


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Choose Your Own Maurice Sendak Adventure

by on October 7, 2011

Maurice Sendak’s got a new book out, entitled Bumble-Ardy, published 30some years after its original version appeared on Sesame Street. It’s about a birthday party that gets a little out of hand.

If you want to see the original animation (Is that Ken Nordine narrating?), click play.

If you would like to read the Guardian’s interview with Maurice Sendak, which mostly seems to be about his sad and crazy …
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The Tyranny of Evil Men

by on September 28, 2011

The mean streets of hardboiled detective fiction lie in California. Though San Francisco has had its share of driven detectives – police and private – of strong moral but weak legal senses, LA is their home and James Ellroy their kingpin. He developed his recurring themes and style through the Lloyd Hopkins stories in the early-mid 80’s to the LA quartet in the later 80’s and early 90’s, to which …
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Flowchart: Choose Your Next Sci-Fi/Fantasy Read

by on September 27, 2011

The fols at SF Signal built this flowchart to help you navigate NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy book list.

Click to embiggen the image, but it’s pretty large, so there will be some scrolling involved. Have fun, and happy reading.

SF Signal, Via Reddit…
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What the Mayor of Hamsterdam Loves to Read

by on September 23, 2011

As a radio host, I’ve had the outstanding opportunity to ask a lot of people a lot of different questions. But absolutely one of my favourite things to do is to ask a lot of different people the same question. It’s fascinating to compare their answers and find out what emerges.

One question I’ve been asking many guests over the years is, “Regardless of which country of origin on the …
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Puddle Caught by Surprise

by on September 21, 2011

This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in – an interesting hole I find myself in – fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and


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Missing Misanthrope

by on September 14, 2011

French novelist and occasional filmmaker Michel Houellebecq is missing. As Bloomberg reports here, Houellebecq was scheduled to appear in the Netherlands and Belgium to read from ‘The Map and the Territory’, his novel which won France’s Prix Goncourt in 2010.

Those who decry him as a fraud and publicity hound will claim he staged his disappearance and will reappear, probably in a ping pong bar in Pattaya. If he doesn’t reappear, they will …
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Heliotropes

by on September 14, 2011

A film by Michael Langan from a poem by Brian Christian.

Heliotropes (2010) from Michael Langan on Vimeo.

Flights to the American east coast from the west coast often depart at nightfall; travelers lose three hours, resulting in a shortened night. Flights westward tend to be in the morning, with travelers experiencing the three-hour gain as an extended afternoon. Likewise, many “heliotropic” plants—notably sunflowers—”track” the sun through the sky


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At the Wall: Memory and Underworld

by on September 11, 2011

Strange parallels and intersections impel us to interpret them as signs of fate because they seem so strongly connected. ‘How can it be otherwise that these things happened?’ we ask ourselves.

I was reading somewhere on the internet a writer’s reading of many of Don Delillo’s books over the summer. I thought about Delillo’s books I had read, all sparked by a short story I had read in Harpers decades …
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Dept of Your Poor Mom’s Douchebag

by on August 28, 2011

Sharon Olds reads “Douche Bag Ode.”


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Don’t You Want To Celebrate Chris Ware?

by on August 20, 2011

Is it Chris Ware’s birthday today? No, it’s not.

Omigod! Chris Ware didn’t DIE, did he? This isn’t some kind of memorial, is it? Mmm, no, he’s still alive, as far as I know.

Well, did Chris Ware recently publish something new and groundbreaking, for which you’re merely giving credit where it’s due? Not exactly, though he did just publish Acme Novelty Library #20 in the springtime, and there’s
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