Tag Archives: literature

Walking the Bridge: American Letters From Latin America

When asked whether he saw himself as a Peruvian writer or an American writer in the New York Times last year, following the publication of his newest novel  At Night We Walk in Circles, Daniel Alarcón replied, “Why should I have to choose?” I … Continue reading

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And Then We Came to the End: One Year & Fourteen Books Later

I suck at endings. But that’s something a lot of people say, isn’t it? As if everyone else is really good at quitting a job or relationship or saying goodbye or ending a story. (I’ve never met anyone who claims … Continue reading

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Between Centuries: A Six-Month Perspective

The year is more than half over, which means those of us who attempted New Year’s resolutions have either mastered, given up, or heavily revised them. It also means my year of reading 100-year-old books is halfway finished. It all … Continue reading

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Chainmail Bikinis and Other Sexism in Science Fiction and Literature

If you’ve seen older issues of popular science fiction magazines—think from the 1930s to the 1960s—you’ve seen cover art of half-naked women being abducted by aliens or saved by a ‘handsome’ white dude in a spacesuit. (If you’re lucky, maybe … Continue reading

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Ambiguity: The Boundary Between Psychosis and Reality in Science Fiction

Television culture means that we often lack the depth to deal with ambiguity. The complexity of novels eludes our attention; we often prefer the truncated and clear narratives of sitcoms, where a plot line is fully resolved in forty-three minutes. … Continue reading

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Going On: After the Apocalypse

Do you have a plan in place for what to do after an apocalypse? Survivalists do. Survivalists, mainstream North American culture thinks, are a little weird. They prepare for severe disruptions in the order of everyday life, for carrying on … Continue reading

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Drones & Dystopia: Can Life Overlap with Literature?

Life is sometimes so surreal that you feel as though you’re in a story; as though the anecdote you’ve just related over drinks has an air of falsity about it, simply because it seems too strange to be true. You … Continue reading

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Crowdsourcing the Canon: Literary Merit in Science Fiction

Imagine the carefully catalogued books available in your favorite library. The rows on rows and stacks on stacks, categorized with little regard for how they participate in the literary canon. There is, in libraries, a certain egalitarianism about book order. A follows … Continue reading

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Bend Reality with Thought Experiments

As fiction’s equivalent of messy chemistry experiments, thought experiments play with ideas until they explode. Most commonly found in—you’ve guessed it—speculative and science fiction, thought experiments explore imaginative possibilities in situations unconstrained by reality. Whole civilizations can rise and fall … Continue reading

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Why I’d Rather Read Dystopias than Dysfunctional Family Dramas

Go into your local, independent bookstore (no, really), and you’ll easily be able to tell the difference between literary and science fiction — often it will be delineated for you, with sections of the store dedicated to each. Just as … Continue reading

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