Author Eugie K. Foster died yesterday after only 42 years on this earth. I will miss terribly all the wonderful stories and novels she would have written had she lived, and treasure those she did write all the more. Hey, cancer? You can go do something physically impossible to yourself. Right away.
What to Read Next
Real Simple points to 17 books you won’t be able to put down. They’re not just new books coming out this fall, either, so if you’re a library user, you’ll be able to track them down pretty easily.
Don’t have much time to read? The try one of Kirkus’s 11 fast reads.
The Guardian looks at the top ten walks in books.
The Guardian also lists the top 25 books set in or about Chicago — the first place I called home as an adult, and the city I still love the most. (I don’t miss the winters, though. Windchills of -80 don’t happen in the Central Valley of California, and I’m just fine with that.)
Things to Think About
Cass R. Sunstein reviews Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History by Richard J. Evans as a springboard for a discussion of alternate histories. It’s a great article that opens with a hypothetical that will knock your socks off. Read the article and then read a few alternate histories, like the great SS-GB by Len Deighton — but you might want to skip Evans’s book, if it’s as joyless as Sunstein makes it sound.
Want to know how many hours you’ll have to invest to read that book, or that series? Io9 will tell you. Warning: if you haven’t already read George R.R. Martin’s series, A Song of Ice and Fire (on which the television show “A Game of Thrones” is based) prepare to spend many, many, many hours holding very thick books in your hands.
Any good reader knows that books can take her worlds away. But what about taking you deeper into the world you already inhabit? Bibliotropic writes about why diversity in reading is necessary to broaden one’s world. Having grown up in a white-bread exurb of Chicago, where I never saw anything but white faces and all girls were expected to grow up to be wives and mothers and nothing else, I can see this writer’s point.
I’ve mentioned before that the idea of speed reading is anathema to me, despite the fact that I own a library too large for me to read in the years remaining in my life, even if I read a book a day and live a very long life. Rob Boffard gives a very good example of why speed reading just plain doesn’t work for some books — the ones that make you think, or the ones you wish to relish, especially.
Damien Walter writes about the renaissance of the science fiction and fantasy short story since the dawn of the digital age.
Joss Whedon gives a talk on screenwriting to Impossible News. My favorite quote: “Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.”
Lit Reactor lists five things literary writers can learn from science fiction writers. “Strangeness” is my favorite. Are you sensing a theme here?
Aliette de Bodard has some thoughts on writing diverse characters and cultures in science fiction. She emphasizes the need for research, and for using research well, but there’s much more to the article than that.
J.A. Konrath gives us his two cents on the Amazon/Hachette controversy, with particular emphasis on the role being played by Authors United. His point is essentially that people will happily stop reading the authors in Authors United if their books are not available on Amazon, and read the second-rate stuff that is self-published there instead because they can get it for 99 cents. I don’t agree, but you might, and you can always tell me off in the comments.
There are a good many television series that are science fictional or fantastical these days; really, there nearly always have been, despite an interregnum here or there where we were caught up in police stations and hospitals. Here’s a guide to all the new SF TV shows premiering this fall. I’m looking forward to “Constantine,” which is based on one of my all-time favorite cartoon characters. (We shall not speak of the movie starring Keanu Reeves; it’s just too painful.)
Those cute little free libraries seem to be springing up all over the place. Here are 14 that have especially clever designs.
After some devastatingly clever and handsome man threatens women that he and others just like him won’t date them if they believe in equal rights, John Scalzi mocks him on Twitter. Comments on the thread likewise dump on the poor, adorable fellow. Hilarity ensues.
A five-year-old who is worried that Voyager is going to get lonely out there in the spaces between the stars gets a reassuring answer from Astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Art made from books always makes me just a touch queasy, because — well, books. You know, intrinsically artistic and wonderful in themselves. But then I see something like this awesome grown book art, and I start to think that the best use for outdated books might well be art.