2018-11-15 17:05 books blog

You Can't Rely on Inspiration: Essential Writing Advice from J.G. Ballard | Literary Hub

[O]ne’s become used to these overlong novels in which everything is explained and tidied up. At the heart of every good short story lies a certain ambiguity, a sort of “Yes, but.” That’s very seldom found in novels. And yet this ambiguity is the very stuff of life.

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2018-11-11 20:02 books blog

The Great Work: Alchemy and the Power of Words – Emergence Magazine

But the novel I started writing soon transformed itself into something else. A book which I began to write in conventional English became a book written in my own version of Old English, the language which my Anglo-Saxon narrator would have spoken. But this, while it might be the most obviously unusual feature of the novel, was not the most significant surprise the book sprang on me.

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2018-11-11 19:15 books blog

Penguin – Science Fiction Covers: Part 1 - Visual Melt

Penguin Books have always had a strong ethos when it comes to their creative direction, whether utilising the classic minimalist coloured stripe or allegorical illustration, they always hit the mark.

Penguin Science Fiction covers deserve a closer look, in particular the talented creative directors, artists and illustrators that helped shape the way the future looked.

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2018-11-07 23:45 brood books benbrood

“At the stroke of midnight the objects in the house came alive. They murdered their owners, set up a Constituent Assembly and subsequently a Great Purge of the cupboard.”

2018-11-07 11:11 books blog

Talk with me | Aeon

In 1913 the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein fled the interruptions and distractions of Cambridge to live as a hermit in Norway. No one knew him there, and he could focus on his work on logic in isolation. It worked. He lodged for a while with the postmaster in Skjolden, a remote village 200 miles north of the city of Bergen, and later had a hut built overlooking the fjord. Alone, he wrestled with the ideas that would metamorphose into his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921). Anyone who tried to pass the time of day with him got short shrift. ‘Go away! It’ll take me two weeks to get back to the point where I was before you interrupted me,’ he is supposed to have shouted at one local who made the mistake of greeting him as he stood pondering what could not be said.

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2018-09-06 22:50 brood books benbrood

It was about as big as the book underneath. The scales and claws were haphazard. There was a powerful emission, probably a common defense mechanism.

2018-08-24 22:43 brood books benbrood

There were stairs at the opposite end of The Library, leading to another, smaller library that was full of books made from large, moist green leaves.

2018-07-03 23:00 brood books benbrood

Bookcases covered every inch. Each volume was a detailed record of the subjects’ eating habits at the institute.

2018-06-28 17:53 books blog

Harlan Ellison dies at 84; acclaimed science fiction writer was known for combative style

“He’s one of the most dynamic speakers I’ve ever seen, and he tends to speak out of a sense of outrage,” said Latham. “He was always fighting for a cause. That was something that was clear from his writing and from his persona. He was a battler.”

Ellison even stood up to a belligerent Frank Sinatra in a verbal exchange over the boots Ellison was wearing in the pool room of the Daisy discotheque in Beverly Hills—an incident captured in Gay Talese’s famous 1966 Esquire magazine story “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.”

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2018-06-25 07:32 books blog

The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar - The New York Times

Already, the work is nearly twice as plump as Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Kidd was particularly excited to show me his key apparatus — the homemade thesaurus where he keeps a running crosscheck on the entirety of the English language. So far, it runs to some 3,000 pages.

“As much as humanly possible, the 19th-century dictionary of English is in here,” he told me. His translation is titled “Isaura Unbound,” and he wanted me to understand its ambition: When the book is finished, it will be a complete reordering of one entire English dictionary into a single work of art. Take that, void.

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2018-05-16 19:32 books blog

Bret Easton Ellis and the future of fiction – TheTLS

And it’s a terrible way to live as an artist. You see it affecting the arts on a vague, vague but vast scale – where is the taboo? Where is the Other? So what if it’s offensive? Good! Where is this bizarre idea of art created by committee, by a democracy, coming from? Art isn’t created by a democracy! And there seems to be this thing, especially on social media, of group-approved art, that’s chilling.

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2018-03-20 17:45 books blog

The Time I Drank with Borges in a Scottish Pub | Literary Hub

One of several scenes that hang in my dreams occurred in a pub along the coast, near the fishing village of Anstruther. Borges wanted to experience a Scottish pub “in its full glory,” he said. Drinking in Scotland is, indeed, something of a religion, but it’s strictly low church. We stopped at a sawdust-floored, concrete-walled pub in the middle of the village, and I recall leading Borges into a basement room, the walls sweating, the place so dark that even a blind man needed help to get around the large wooden tables.

Borges asked for beer, and I brought him a pint of Export, the flat, warm beer that everyone drank in those days. I can see him bending over the glass, both hands around it. He sniffed the foamy head of the brew, and approved, stirring it with one finger, which he then licked clean. He took a long slow drink and smiled. He wiped the foam from his lips on the sleeve of his jacket. The big blank eyes rolled in his head.

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2018-01-19 22:44 books blog

Jorge Luis Borges: Borges and I – Work in Progress

In any case, I’m destined to be lost, definitively, and just some instant of me will survive in the other. Little by little I cede everything, even though I’m aware of his perverse tendency to falsify and pontificate. Spinoza understood that all things want to be preserved in their being: the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others and in the laborious strumming of a guitar.

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2018-01-16 21:38 books blog

Am I a bad feminist? - The Globe and Mail

I'm so scary! And now, it seems, I am conducting a War on Women, like the misogynistic, rape-enabling Bad Feminist that I am.

What would a Good Feminist look like, in the eyes of my accusers?

My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails, including criminal ones. They're not angels, incapable of wrongdoing. If they were, we wouldn't need a legal system.

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2017-12-18 15:45 brood books benbrood

Along the edges were little nibble marks, and the name of the author appeared to have been scorched away.