Kullervo: Tolkien's fascination with Finland

On Thursday JRR Tolkien's early story The Story of Kullervo will be published for the first time. The dark tale reveals that Tolkien's Middle Earth was inspired not only by England and Wales… but also by Finland.

From Kullervo: Tolkien's fascination with Finland - BBC News


Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI

When you think of the most astute minds of our time, you might well think of Ray Bradbury’s — but you probably don’t think of him as one of the most astute terrorist minds of our time. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, saw things differently. Collaborative news site MuckRock found that out through files “released to former MuckRocker Inkoo Kang [which] document the decade the Bureau spent trying to determine if Bradbury was, if not a card-carrying Communist, at least a sympathetic ‘fellow traveler.'” See snippets of documents here from 1959.

From Who Was Afraid of Ray Bradbury & Science Fiction? The FBI, It Turns Out (1959) | Open Culture


Author Joe Hill experiments with free ebook bundling via Shelfie app

(Updated to add: but don’t go to the library and use the library book to claim your Shelfie, because that’s weird, and would also require you to write your name in a library book, but mostly it’s weird.)

From Joe Hill's Thrills


Trailer - The End of the Tour

The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's groundbreaking epic novel, 'Infinite Jest.'

Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction

But Delany believes that, as women and people of color start to have “economic heft,” there is a fear that what is “normal” will cease to enjoy the same position of power. “There are a lot of black women writers, and some of them are gay, and they are writing about their own historical moment, and the result is that white male writers find themselves wondering if this is a reverse kind of racism. But when it gets to fifty per cent,” he said, then “we can talk about that.” It has nothing to do with science fiction, he reiterated. “It has to do with the rest of society where science fiction exists.”

From Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction - The New Yorker


What Does Harper Lee Want?

The author’s second novel, written before To Kill a Mockingbird, is the most preordered book in her publisher’s history. It’s also a book she vowed never to publish

From What Does Harper Lee Want? | Bloomberg Business


A new collection of Henry James's letters reveals the early development of the writer.

Next year will mark the centenary of James’s death. Given that armies of academics, during these hundred years, have eagerly picked over his literary remains, it’s rather surprising how many very arresting items here have never been published or even cited before. One reason for this, we’re told at the outset, is that “the James family . . . held an interest in preserving a certain public image of their ancestor.”

From A sufferable snob by Bruce Bawer - The New Criterion


A Year Later, #WeNeedDiverseBooks Has Left Its Mark On BookCon

Publishing's big week is almost over. The industry's annual convention, BookExpo America, ends Friday in New York, and on Saturday the publishing world opens its doors to the public with BookCon, where avid readers will get the chance to mix and mingle with their favorite authors.

Last year, the lack of diversity on author panels at BookCon spawned the We Need Diverse Books campaign, which in turn sparked renewed conversation about the lack of diversity in publishing. Ellen Oh, one of We Need Diverse Books' co-founders, says anger about the lack of diversity in publishing had been brewing for a long time, but when BookCon announced its guest list last year, it struck a nerve.

Interview with author Paolo Bacigalupi

What if the devastating drought in the western U.S. doesn't end? A few years ago, the science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi started exploring what could happen.

"Lake Powell and Lake Mead were hitting historic lows, and they weren't re-filling the way they were supposed to. Las Vegas was, in fact, digging deeper and deeper intakes into Lake Mead," he remembers. "This question of scarcity. This question of too many people needing too little water."

Those questions inspired Bacigalupi to write The Water Knife, a noir-ish, cinematic thriller set in the midst of a water war between Las Vegas and Phoenix. The novel follows three people: a climate refugee, a journalist, and a "water knife" — a secret agent for Las Vegas's ruthless water czar. Think Chinatown meets Mad Max.

Full piece:


On Edgar Allan Poe by Marilynne Robinson

In his prose poem Eureka, Poe concludes that God and the human soul are pervasively present in the universe itself. Truth is intrinsic to reality, as it is to consciousness. The pedantic voice of the postscript knows and does not know the meaning of the ciphers found at Tsalal, “I have graven it within the hills, and my vengeance upon the dust within the rock.” Poe has brought the tale to a region that, in his place and time, was far beyond the common understanding, and perhaps beyond his own as well, except in its deepest reaches, where he knew that God is just.

From On Edgar Allan Poe by Marilynne Robinson | The New York Review of Books



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