The stories we tell ourselves can help us understand, and maybe even adapt, to this new world. But the dour dystopias and escapist fantasies of our current science fiction diet just won’t do. We need something new: a form of science fiction that tackles the radical changes of our pressing and strange reality.
I’m interested in the stories we tell ourselves, and how they may conflict with other people’s stories about the world, and how, if we’re operating under a delusion, we might make really weird decisions. I like to explore that in fiction—why we do weird things.
Memphis-area Burke’s Book Store celebrated its 140th year of selling books. The current owners plan to use the milestone reintroduce the store, and that includes investing in a custom bicycle to make book deliveries.
Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi started because owners Richard and Lisa Howorth believed William Faulkner’s town should have a bookstore....more
At JSTOR Daily, linguist Chi Luu makes a case for emphasizing grammar rules that follow popular usage, rather than the pedantic standards set by centuries-dead classicists.
Here are the plain facts: many of these pop grammar rules… were magically pulled out of thin air by a handful of 18th and 19th century prescriptive grammarians….
First, Brandon Hicks’s illustrated meta-story of advertising woe, “Your Face Here: A Biography.”
Then, Jonathan Harper recounts the challenges he faced growing up as a queer gamer in the Saturday Essay. From Dungeons & Dragons to video games like Dragon Age and Baldur’s Gate, Harper traces the slow but encouraging decline of homophobia in gaming plots....more
Rose Eveleth writes for Aeon on the complicated relationship between religion and archaeology and how both have shaped how we tell the story of the world.
It’s impossible to do archaeology objectively. Even determining what constitutes a sacred object is difficult….
Passing down trauma genetically (the world is dark and scary).
Speaking of dark and scary, for some reason there are tons of dead whales washing ashore in Alaska....more
Sunday 8/22: Tiphanie Yanique, Morgan Parker, and Mahogany Browne celebrate the Fort Green Summer Literary Festival. BRIC Media House, 2 p.m., free.
Ricardo Hernandez, Joshua Kleinberg, and Tommy Pico join Newfangled 7 with host Robert Siek. Bureau of General Services-Queer Division, 7 p.m., free....more
Looking for a respite from the modern world? Take a whirl in “Virtual Harlem,” a virtual reality world designed by Bryan Carter, where you can live as avatars like Du Bois, frequenting the Apollo, the Savoy, and maybe even catching Ethel Waters’s debut of “Stormy Weather” at the Cotton Club....more
Blogger Cara Nicoletti has written a cookbook inspired by various works of literature. It’s called Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, and Nicoletti gives recipes for food from books like Nancy Drew, Gone Girl, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Catcher in the Rye, alongside her own essays....more
The Hugo Award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon science fiction, a genre which is (finally) broadening to include a diversity of authors and views. That’s not a good thing, according to many white male writers and fans, who have banded together as the “Sad Puppies” to fight against what they see as affirmative action for women and writers of color who are dominating the nominations for the Hugos....more
At Electric Literature, Monica Byrne discusses the ongoing art revolution in Belize, and how artists create works that represent a diverse and beautiful country dealing with the trauma of postcolonialism:
If an artist isn’t interested in protest per se, how does one articulate a visual language of pleasure that is truly their own, and not that of the colonizers?
We’re probably too late to this, but we’re still just pretty caught up in Banksy’s Dismaland.
A moment of slow motion praise for the mysterious hummingbird tongue.
We’ll leave you for the week with an in-depth discussion of the creation of the Space Jam website for some reason (please don’t hate us)....more
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been alone with herself. Maybe never. It was always her–with others, and in these others she was reflected and the others were reflected in her. Nothing was–was pure, she thought without understanding what she meant.
You are not like the other children. You can’t get into the same juvenile mischief your white friends get into. You represent something more than yourself and your family when you are outside this house. You will have to be twice as good as other people to be as successful as them.
Is it bad that I joined a book club to weasel my way into the fancy homes on the other side of my cul-de-sac? With no intention of reading the books?
At the Huffington Post, Jennifer Boyd-Einstein and Paula Mangin tell the story of joining a book club in a neighborhood that (technically) wasn’t their own and their “oddly addicting” curiosities about the houses’ décor....more
Deep pain and deep beauty oscillate throughout Sagawa’s work, often triggered in the same image. “Insects pierce green through the orchard,” she writes in “Like a Cloud.” “The sky has countless scars. The skin of the earth emerges there, burning like a cloud.”
For the New Yorker, Adrienne Raphel details the renewed interest in Sagawa Chika, one of the most unique yet seldom-read poets in early-20th-century Japan, and her influence on modernist aesthetics of Japanese poetry....more