a zoo in hell


Link Update 7.12.11

J.G. Ballard was a pioneer in particularly current kind science fiction. He passed on a few years ago, but here's a review of his last novel.  Both science fiction and horror formed as literature genres as the 18th Century passed. This is a very early story about a cyborg arm that goes on a killing spree. Andrew Barger has compiled The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849, stories he feels are the best horror stories from this period, too.

In publishing news, Lore magazine is once again being published. John Skipp is taking the helm at a new imprint called Raveneous Shadows. John Skipp is a legend, but I have to wonder if the breezy stories they are seeking will offer much beyond cheap thrills. Warren Ellis has lent his talents to SKV, a comic which is enhanced by reading the secret ink on the pages. This is genius! Not quite publishing, but Aurora Theater Company, a Berkely theater company is presenting an exciting version of Kafka's Metamorphosis.

Fans love lists, and the interwebs are just brimming with them these last few weeks. Most of them offer writing tips. Over at SFWA, Terry Bisson, overs no less than sixty tips for writing short fiction. Most of these are pretty solid, a few get close to dogma, but he offers a final tip that makes it all work. Sarah Einstein has compiled Heinlein, Gaiman and her own rules for revising short ficiton. She's also the judge of this year's "Identity Crisis" anthology, so, pay attention. , at io9, offers "Ten Ways to Keep a Long-Term Character Interesting". I disagree about the evil twin schtick, but most of the suggestions apply to character work in general, I think. Robert Gray, at Hellnotes, offers some grammatical tips for better writing. At Slate, Jason Zinoman is listing his ideas for "How to Fix Horror". Again, I don't agree with all of them, but his heart is in the right place. Personally, I don't think we need to "fix" anything, that implies a return to a working state and what we really need to develop and evolve.

Part of writing is rejection, and figuring out ways to deal with that is almost as important as developing your craft. i09 has also listed "10 Classic SF and Fantasy Books That Were Considered Failures".  Sandra Wickham, at Inkpunks, offers some reminders of "Famously Rejected"novels. 

Those Transformers movies. Wow. Great eye candy but pretty much abyssmal films in every other regard. Maybe it's always been that way, though. I think it is a pretty interesting study in how mythologies are/n't constructed. There's a wiki that collects the whole mess. Read closely, in a few hundred years people might be fighting (real) wars over this stuff.

Jackson Pollack has an intuitive understanding of physics and math. Cool that scientists are looking into this, but it's also a good example of, oh, a certain arrogance, that sometimes leads researchers to rediscover the obvious. 

Another kind of virtual reality -- towns recreated thousands of miles from where they "really" are. Reminds me of a China Mieville story. 

The National Library has an intense gallery of, well, Dream Anatomy

Finally, it's been awhile since I've seen any reptoid news. Here we go!

Shot/Countershot is still coming. The first article will be about Enter the Void and I Saw the Devil, so it's no small project. I also really want to add an addendum to Quantaum Narratives about all the failures of Sucker Punch.