887 posts tagged with fiction.
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Jon Bois, author of MeFi-celebrated multimedia narrative 17776 and creator of Breaking Madden, Chart Party, and Pretty Good, has written dozens of pieces (fictional and nonfictional) about class, feminism, aging, sports, politics, wonder, education, and art. Following the jump, a collection of links. (previously) [more inside]
posted by brainwane on Dec 10, 2017 - 13 comments

"I'm not a curmudgeon, I'm just a scientist's daughter."

Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin (via)
posted by kliuless on Dec 2, 2017 - 16 comments


' Ray Nelson’s short story 'Eight O’Clock in the You might know the story better from the film version.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 2, 2017 - 7 comments

It may be my 32nd or 33rd book

Judith Kerr, now 94, escaped Nazi Germany with her family on the eve of Hitler's rise to power. Writer of 33 books (so far!) she is the creator of the much loved Tiger who came to tea, as well as the lovable, recently deceased Mog. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo on Nov 28, 2017 - 16 comments

Best Books of The Year Lists. All of them.

Want to spend a lot of money before Christmas? No need to thank me!
posted by smoke on Nov 24, 2017 - 20 comments

Julian May (1931-2017)

Science fiction author Julian May has passed away at age 86: "In Memoriam: Julian May" from the SFWA; "May the Force Be With Her," a profile related to her First Fandom Hall of Fame Award; Chicon II / TASFIC entry at Fancyclopedia 3 ("Julian May was the first female chairman of a Worldcon"); "Julian May," her entry in The Encyclopedia of SF; her ISFDB entry; interviews with May from 1982 and 2015. Perhaps best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (a brief appreciation; B&N retrospective; TVTropes entry), May's first SF story sales are available online ("Dune Roller" Astounding, Dec. 1951, with illustrations by May; "Star of Wonder," Thrilling Wonder Stories, Feb. 1953) along with several letters to Astounding: 1, 2, and 3.
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 21, 2017 - 51 comments

A national seance

“I wanted the whole nation to be terrified,” he continues. “And yet they would be creating the very thing they’re terrified of. What if they wanted to see a ghost to the extent that they actually created it? What if they supernaturally held hands in the dark, millions of people all wanting the same thing to happen at the same time?” - 25 years later the cast and creators tell tell the story of Ghostwatch, the one of the BBC's most spooky and controversial shows. (Previously)
posted by Artw on Oct 20, 2017 - 46 comments

Alternate histories and the "Mournful Dowry"

The Guns of the South and C.S.A. strike radically different tones, but both begin with the same ambitious objective: to venture an answer to the question of whether, given a change in historical course, America’s original sin might be redeemable. The black filmmaker answers a resounding “no,” while the white science-fiction writer a hopeful “maybe,” but they both exemplify the genre of alternate history at its best and most compelling: savvy, thoughtful, entertaining, and provocative. They do more than speculate about history as it might have been: they challenge their audience to think about history as it is, and history as it is told.
Renee de Groot examines some of the more than 150 American Civil War alternate histories which have been written since 1900.
posted by Rumple on Oct 20, 2017 - 53 comments

Two recent short stories by Jess Zimmerman

"Never Quiet Again" (Catapult, May 12, 2017): "It's not that we don't remember what it was like before the sound. If you asked us, we could tell you." "All the Ways He Won't Die" (Catapult, Feb. 17, 2017): "Someday he'll meet a fate I didn't think of, and that will be my fault, too." Jess Zimmerman has several notable previouslies, e.g 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 13, 2017 - 3 comments

Three recent texts from alternate timelines

"The Primordial Gound" by Justin E. H. Smith (The Public Domain Review, October 2017; but reworked from earlier articles): "Klopp records that in May of 1777 Kant's ship suffered heavy damages in a storm in the South China Sea." "From The New Ecyclopedia" by Byron Landry (Conjunctions, April 2017): "Little is known about the pre-Socratic philosopher Polycyathus, and that little unlikeable: ... he believed that, of all the forms of governance, tyranny was best, because 'it breeds monuments.'" "The Doctor is Who?" by Heavy (alternatehistory.com, July 2017): "Several actors were considered to play the Second Doctor ... Peter Jeffrey, Valentine Dyall and Patrick Troughton were all approached but each declined the role."
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 8, 2017 - 11 comments

Five Ghost Stories

"Taiya" by Vanessa Fogg (The Future Fire, 2017): "Surprisingly, Patrick doesn't seem annoyed when he hears about the ghost. He's washing dishes, his sleeves rolled up and a dishtowel draped over one shoulder. 'A taiya you said?' He doesn't look up from the suds. 'Those things don't cause any harm.'" [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 3, 2017 - 4 comments

said, and left unsaid. done, and left undone.

In The Baffler, Siddartha Deb asks us Stranger than Fiction - Why won’t novelists reckon with climate change? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 2, 2017 - 129 comments

Recent SF/F about Machine-Assisted Therapy

Xia Jia's story "The Psychology Game" (Clarkesworld, 10/17) contemplates a familiar sort of Turing test in a new venue: "This is a globally popular reality TV show ... The patient and the therapist are not in the same room." But she mentions Hector Levesque's "On Our Best Behaviour" / "The Winograd Schema Challenge" [PDFs] as a greater hurdle for AI. Recent news from Apple and Google suggests more near-term realities for automation. Meanwhile, David Burr Gerrard's "The Epiphany Machine" (Guernica, 2017; standalone excerpt from the novel) imagines machine-based insight from a magical realist perspective: "1. The epiphany machine will not discover anything about you that you do not, in some way, already know." [Siri, previously.]
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 1, 2017 - 2 comments

Two short fantasies / fairy tales of architecture / urbanism

"The View from the Top of the Stair" by E. Lily Yu (Hazlitt, 2017): "Upon hearing of the death of my father ... my second thought, I am sorry to say, was that at long last I could gratify my passion for stairs." "Blue Funk" by Rikki Ducornet (Fairy Tale Review, 2006; recently posted online): "People love my city for its brasseries like hothouses, ardent and perverse, its breezes that smell of coffee and of the sea. But when I am in my blue funk I see nothing of all this."
posted by Wobbuffet on Sep 30, 2017 - 3 comments

Your homework for Bi Visibility Week

100 Must-Read Bisexual Books
15 Must-Read Bisexual Non-Fiction Books
37 Books By, For, or About Bisexual or Otherwise Non-Monosexual People
The Bi-Bibliography
Bi Book Club, which recommends Deadpool, among others.
posted by Grandysaur on Sep 23, 2017 - 15 comments

1956 Hugo Nominee List Rediscovered

"When the Received Wisdom is Wrong" by Mike Glyer: "This month fanhistorians were turned on their ears when a previously unknown shortlist of 1956 Hugo nominees came to light ... As the official Hugo Award site explained when they updated the entry for 1956 – 'We thank Olav Rokne for bringing to our attention an article on page 15 of the 1956 Worldcon Progress Report 3 ...'" Several previously unacknowledged fiction nominees are available online. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Sep 23, 2017 - 36 comments

Some 19th Century perspectives on (mostly) 19th Century literature

Reviews of Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, Moby-Dick, Huckleberry Finn, and Dracula show the sometimes surprising reactions of 19th C. readers to 19th C. literature in English. In a letter from 1888, Nietzsche points toward the sometimes surprising coverage of another source, suggesting that The Main Developments in Literature during the Nineteenth Century by the Danish critic Georg Brandes "is still today the best Kulturbuch in German on this big subject": v. 1; v. 2; v. 3; v. 4; v. 5; v. 6. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Sep 16, 2017 - 24 comments

Still searching for an escape, she took a hammer to the drywall.

The Moon in Her Doorway. (Saturday flash fiction) "She didn't know why the moon had smashed into her house, trapping her inside. After working a double shift, she had walked home on tired feet under a night sky. The moon had hung large and low on the horizon, like a silver dollar. It balanced on the hill above her neighborhood. She remembered thinking, "It looks like it could roll into my arms."And then it did. Or almost. It was larger than it looked."
posted by storybored on Aug 19, 2017 - 6 comments

I'd like to know what's your intend

The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter [more inside]
posted by Joseph Gurl on Aug 7, 2017 - 158 comments

A Standalone SF/F Short Story by a Well-Known Cartoonist

"Leg" by Shaenon K. Garrity (Kaleidotrope, Spring 2017): "'Why don't you look for a job as ...' the HR director searched for the right euphemism, realized none existed. 'As a leg?' Deep in its central processor, Tony's leg sighed. It had been dreading the question. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, as it were ..." The creator of Narbonic, Skin Horse, and more, Garrity has appeared on the blue for many, many reasons in the past, not least for her short fiction. More previouslies. More short fiction.
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 6, 2017 - 7 comments

Spirits in the Medicinal World

"Remote Presence" by Susan Palwick (Lightspeed, April 2017) is an SF/F novelette that draws heavily on the : "Every three years, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations conducted a weeklong on-site accreditation survey of each hospital in the country. The survey was thorough, merciless, and struck apocalyptic terror into hospital administrators ... Roxanne blew out a sharp breath. 'We can't have revenants in the building. That's one of the requirements.'" Spiritual Care Volunteers: A Training Resource [PDF] is a manual produced by NHS Wales that offers more practical insight into healthcare chaplaincy.
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 5, 2017 - 7 comments

Like "To Tell The Truth" but without Peggy Cass

Factitious is a game that tests your news sense, and your ability to judge Fake News from Real Genuine Mostly Factual stuff. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jul 4, 2017 - 23 comments

SF/F by Emerging Writers via The White Review's 2017 Prize Shortlist

"The Critic of Tombs" by Ethan Davison: "Emilia came to Tombs in the twelfth year of the interregnum. It was the first time in history a critic had been assigned to the city. A chilly place split over the St. Laurent, it is very small as cities go, even in the north, and not much accustomed to visits by anyone important." "The Refugee" by Kristen Gleason (winning story for the US & Canada): "Brian Ed waited outside the ration house. Merlijn took his time coming to the door, and opened it slowly. Brian Ed raised his hand and waved. Merlijn smiled an embarrassed smile and held up four fingers. 'No rations until four o'clock, Brian Ed.'" The full list.
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 4, 2017 - 4 comments

A Semi-Autobiographical SF/F Mystery Novella

"And Then There Were (N - One)" by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017): "... Four months later, I flew to Nova Scotia, took a bus to a seaside town too small for a dot on a map, boarded a ferry to Secord Island, and stepped through the waiting portal into an alternate-reality resort hotel lobby swarming with ..." Q&A with the author. [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 3, 2017 - 22 comments

Ten Recent SF/F Short Stories about Love

"Upgrades" by Barry Charman (Daily Science Fiction, 2/14/2017): "The robots kept their rendezvous, and held hands beneath the bridge. This wasn't supposed to happen, they knew, but only the moon could see them, and it wouldn't tell." [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 2, 2017 - 8 comments

Whether Tokyo residents can choose another destination remains unknown

"The X Prize Is Now Backing Sci-Fi Like It Backs IRL Science" [Wired]: "Starting [6/28/2017], 22 new science fiction stories go live on the Seat14C website, courtesy of genre luminaries like Margaret Atwood and Charlie Jane Anders. Each story details the future from the perspective of a different passenger on a plane that traveled through a wormhole 20 years into the future." [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 1, 2017 - 8 comments

"That should keep the Americans preoccupied for a while."

The Spring 2017 issue of Big Echo features five literary responses to the short fiction of Arthur C. Clarke. Among them is Vajra Chandrasekera's short story "The Negation of the Negation of the Negation," which builds on the events of Clarke's well-known story "The Nine Billion Names of God" (HTML; PDF).
posted by Wobbuffet on Jun 30, 2017 - 12 comments

The Ur-Ikea, from whence all other Ikeas sprang

The fourth series of the fabulously otherworldly collaborative fiction project SCP Foundation was opened to submissions in April of this year. From here comes this tale of A Perfectly Normal, Regular Old IKEA. Readers unfamiliar with SCP format may want to just skip to the journal transcript near the bottom
posted by es_de_bah on Jun 28, 2017 - 41 comments

Encyclopedia Dad

The first time I consult Dad I’m eight. My mom’s dating this guy. He worked with Dad, and I guess he’s a nice enough. But I don’t like it. I go to the library. On the second to bottom shelf, they’re lined up. All twenty-eight volumes of him. He’s there so that at any age I can find him.
[more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Jun 22, 2017 - 26 comments

“it’s like you’re a sedimentary rock that’s gathering all these layers”

‘Fiction takes its time’: Arundhati Roy on why it took 20 years to write her second novel [The Guardian] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 19, 2017 - 4 comments

'It was a sewing machine, an old malicious one, black and gold...'

and Waxy are short stories by the Canadian writer Camilla Grudova (tumblr), whose debut collection The Doll's Alphabet has been likened to David Lynch, Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter.
posted by misteraitch on Jun 15, 2017 - 5 comments

Liberating ideas

Unbound is a crowdfunding site specifically for writers/readers. They've successfully funded (ie published) numerous books and always have live projects seeking funding. Brought to you by the wonderful people behind the always-awesome Backlisted Podcast.
posted by dobbs on Jun 12, 2017 - 10 comments


The adventures of Antler Guy and Neighbor Steve
I have the feeling that the families get along great except for Steve. Like, the wives are baking (questionable) brownies together, the kids are playing together, Antler Guy occasionally takes Son and Timmy to school (no car, just carries them in huge swinging strides through a nexus of ungoldly sights in a swirling netherworld shortcut. Sometimes they stop for McDonalds). Hell-wife gave them a potted Audrey Jr., Steve’s wife (who I now christen Sharon) gave them a begonia. One time Steve tries throwing holy water but all Antler Guy does is thank him, saying that no, Antler Guy isn’t Catholic but it’s the thought that counts, he is so kind to water his creeping deathshade vines regardless.
posted by Lexica on Jun 7, 2017 - 13 comments

We chase the dead, shouting, “Come back!

Hilary Mantel: why I became a historical novelist. ‘Is this story true?’ readers inevitably ask.
In the first of her BBC Reith Lectures, the double Man Booker prize-winning author explores the complicated relationship between history, fact and fiction.
Hilary Mantel, writing in the Guardian and Previously.
posted by adamvasco on Jun 3, 2017 - 9 comments

And their little dog, too

A very special story about Todd and his Grandmother. This is a response to a writing prompt written by Peccolia on her tumblr eatbreathewrite, and then added to by others, as they started to break the plot for six seasons and a movie.
posted by jacquilynne on May 30, 2017 - 14 comments

“Haven’t you ever noticed how much more interesting the unknown is...?"

Two articles from the Paris Review about the work of Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and Polish writer Stanislaw Lem, best known for the Andrei Tarkovsky adaptations of their work. Strugatsky Brothers: Yet the ambiguous ending of the novel, and its insistence on disrupting the conventional mystery narrative with fantastic elements, also speaks to the hopefulness of science fiction. The idea that there is something else out there implies that the situation here can potentially improve. Even the most grim dystopias are rarely without their redemptive escape hatch—a way out of the bind in which humanity has trapped itself. [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on May 13, 2017 - 8 comments

The last chapter of Unsong will be posted this Sunday

A novel about kabbalah, the structure of the universe, etc. It has weirdness and puns. Who watches the watchmaker? I don't think I can do it justice, but if you like fiction that's very much the mind at play, full of good things which is also emotionally intense, I suggest taking a look at it. [more inside]
posted by Nancy Lebovitz on May 10, 2017 - 11 comments

Why is your writing so violent?

In West Berlin the question was asked with great courtesy and tact, not many miles from where Adolf Hitler proclaimed the Second World War and Dr. Goebbels advanced the notion of ''total war.''
posted by Cozybee on May 9, 2017 - 7 comments

"wisecracking Anglo-Saxon engineers addicted to alcohol and tobacco"

Top Misconceptions People Have about Pulp-Era Science Fiction
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 30, 2017 - 42 comments

Yessiree, just your average ordinary week of healthy eating.

posted by aldurtregi on Apr 23, 2017 - 71 comments

Happy Birthday, Madame Bovary

10 Debut Novels That Are Also Their Authors’ Masterpieces
posted by infini on Apr 17, 2017 - 26 comments

The art of constructing an entire fictional universe

To create a fictional universe, you might start with building 1000 stars. Okay, maybe a planetary system or even terrestrial planet is more manageable. Just don't forget your basic seasonbuilding. Obviously your higher life forms will require a language and eventually a writing system. Finally, celebrate your magnificent creation with this a cappella operatic rendition of Justin Bieber's Baby in the very language you've created. Need more help? Artifexian has got you covered.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Apr 17, 2017 - 10 comments

Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year

I asked her what her secret was, and she said something that would change my professional life as a writer: “Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.”
posted by showbiz_liz on Apr 13, 2017 - 33 comments

Read The Fracking Manual!

The Colonial Warriors Technical Manual. (SLBSG)
posted by Rob Rockets on Apr 11, 2017 - 10 comments

We live in the blue ruin

A short story by Felicia C. Sullivan The Preliminaries You are permitted twenty things from the old life before the move. Fingers count. Single eyelashes count. A breath does not. Breathing is a given. Antiseptic is forbidden. Bones, you can have those. Don’t bother with your voice?—?it’ll be removed in stages. Besides, no one speaks inside The Blue.
posted by daybeforetheday on Apr 6, 2017 - 7 comments

Something about dark lords, with rhyming couplets

When Tolkein helped create the modern fantasy genre, he also re-introduced a key fantasy trope, the prophetic poem that is key to the plot of the novel. Whether elegantly written (as in Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising poem or Clarke's Prophecy of John Uskglass) or rather awkwardly accumulated (as in the Wheel of Time's Karaethon Cycle), the prophetic verse is often a tired trope, but one which a variety of fantasy novels have used to good effect.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 5, 2017 - 83 comments

"Amorphous and inaccurate"

"Nothing Beside Remains: A History of the New Weird" by Jonathan McCalmont: "When popular cultural history tells us that the New Weird was born of lengthy discussions held on the now defunct TTA Press forums in May of 2003, it is tempting to imagine a well-ordered discussion in which a bunch of people hammered out a shared set of sensibilities, identified literary pre-cursors and set a creative agenda that would allow them to promote themselves as a new movement. This is not what happened ..."
posted by Wobbuffet on Apr 1, 2017 - 11 comments

Life is its own answer.

The Martian Chronicles, the 1980 NBC miniseries. (YouTube) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2017 - 43 comments

Of and about translated speculative fiction

The inaugural issue of Samovar, a quarterly magazine of and about speculative fiction in translation, has been published, "in which: two sisters create an imagined world where things that are lost can be found. A despot is forced to see the truth he's tried to hide from. An academic finds poetry, science fiction and reality beginning to merge. And the Curiosity Rover turns its gaze on Mars."
posted by mixedmetaphors on Mar 29, 2017 - 4 comments

You may be let go...

Friday fiction: A short story by Daniel Orozco. As you leave work for the weekend, think about your first day there, and everybody's first day -- think about Orientation. "You must pace your work. What do I mean? I’m glad you asked that. We pace our work according to the eight-hour workday. If you have twelve hours of work in your in-box, for example, you must compress that work into the eight-hour day. If you have one hour of work in your in-box, you must expand that work to fill the eight- hour day. That was a good question. Feel free to ask questions. Ask too many questions, however, and you may be let go...." [more inside]
posted by storybored on Mar 24, 2017 - 19 comments

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