Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203


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INTERVIEWER

Does science fiction satisfy something that mainstream writing does not?

BRADBURY

Yes, it does, because the mainstream hasn’t been paying attention to all the changes in our culture during the last fifty years. The major ideas of our time—developments in medicine, the importance of space exploration to advance our species—have been neglected. The critics are generally wrong, or they’re fifteen, twenty years late. It’s a great shame. They miss out on a lot. Why the fiction of ideas should be so neglected is beyond me. I can’t explain it, except in terms of intellectual snobbery.

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The Paris Review — Sam Weller

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10 LITERARY CLASSICS WE (NOT SO) SECRETLY HATE


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There are some classics that we just don’t like. We try but we fail. And we don’t like to talk about it.

Give me the plongeurs of Down and Out in London and Paris any day. From the jump, I’ve always found Animal Farm to be heavy-handed and ham-fisted. (Can a hand do both simultaneously? Orwell’s sure could.) The symbolism and satire are laid on so thick there’s no room left for a beating heart, or entertainment of any kind, or drama, or subtlety. How this one still floats around as a perennial ‘statement’ book is beyond me. (Do I feel this strongly about Animal Farm? Truth be told, no. I haven’t thought about it in fifteen years, at least, maybe twenty. Come to think of it, I don’t much care for Charlotte’s Web, either. So it’s entirely possible this isn’t an Orwell or an E.B. White problem but a bigger grudge I hold against farm animals.)

Dwyer Murphy

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Emily Temple — Literary Hub

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Jim Kay On Drawing The Boy Who Lived


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For all Harry Potter fans from Google.

What has been the hardest thing to visualize in the project so far?

It’s always Harry, every single time. He’s based on a young boy from the Lake District, who is fantastic looking and has a really unusual face. But when you draw that truthfully, it doesn’t always look right on the page.

The fact everyone wears robes is also really difficult to draw. They’re so loose fitting, everything is a nightmare. You’re begging for someone to wear something a bit clingy. Then of course, when you draw people on brooms, it can look very rude. It’s very hard sitting someone convincingly on a broom – you just dread broomstick moments.

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Google Arts & Culture

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200 Years Later, We’re Still Learning from Frankenstein: The 1818 Text


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There are some books have such a long lasting impact on society. Frankenstein is one such book. The more we progress the more this book becomes relevant.

Reading Frankenstein also causes me to wonder if Shelley’s emphasis on how paternal abandonment destroys children may have been a veiled commentary on her husband’s great friend, Lord Byron. Certainly there was room for critique. Like Percy Shelley, Byron had commenced affairs with women while married, and like Shelley, he had gotten his partners pregnant. In Byron’s case, he had an affair with Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s half-sister, and then abandoned her when she became pregnant. Mary, Percy, their child, Will, and Claire pursued Byron to the shores of Lake Geneva, which set in motion the famous “ghost story” challenge that sparked Frankenstein’s creation. Is it possible that Shelley wanted men to comprehend how much damage they created when they walked away from children?

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Lorraine Berry — Signature

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Author Ursula K. Le Guin has left us, and we’re now all Dispossessed


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An important writer remembered.

The Dispossessed held a mirror up to American capitalism and culture in the form of the planet Urras and contrasted it with the anarchist-syndicalist “utopia” of the Odo on Urras’ moon, Anarres. Of all the books I read in my youth, that one stirred the greatest amount of internal debate. I was politically aware before, in the way teenagers who go to model Congresses and stage mock presidential debates are politically aware. But the “extremes” of The Dispossessedwere a direct assault on what I had been taught about the way the world works, while at the same time foreshadowing language I would hear from all political sides later in life.

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Sean Gallagher — Ars Technica

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Fake This Marriage


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I trace every misfortune of mine back to the divorce. I begin to claim that my failures don’t belong to me, and I consider the fact that no one can see that to be my biggest oppressor. I hate the story people tell each other about adult girls with divorced dads. I hate the shape my life takes in their minds, the condescending attitude that since my greatest pain is a commonplace one, it must also be plain and manageable. I list the ways this divorce is different from all others. I begin to lose track of the reasons why as the list grows. In dreams, I yell at people then slink away from them, mortified. In my waking hours, my blood throws a tantrum inside my own body every minute of every day.

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Kelly Stout — The Awl

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40 OVERLOOKED BOOKS FROM 2017, AS CHOSEN BY BOOKSELLERS


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I don’t like recommending lists on needull, but for books I will make an exception.

I had shamefully little knowledge of Lebanese culture and of military campaigns in North Africa, but that has been somewhat rectified by Moving the Palace. Majdalani writes beautifully of a young Lebanese man serving in the British military who finds himself on adventures in that service and with a quixotic quest to move a dissembled palace across the desert expanses of North Africa and the Middle East. The success of the novel lies not only in his accomplishments but in Majdalani’s telling of them.

–Katie Orphan, The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

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Literary Hub

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