Tag Archives | Fiction

Groundbreaking Experimental Author Christine Brooke-Rose Dies At 88

thruPioneering, yet little known by the general public, in her mind-bending works, she “exploded the fixed architecture of the master narrative.” The Guardian writes:

One of Britain’s most radical exponents of experimental fiction, the marvelously playful and difficult novelist was fond of the device of omission.

In her 1968 novel Between, she left out the verb “to be” throughout, to stress the narrator’s disoriented sense of personal identity – the year before George Perec’s novel La Disparition omitted the letter “e”. She left out the word “I” from her autobiographical novels, instead describing the narrator as “the old lady”.

Her first truly experimental novel, Out (1964), was narrated by a white character facing racial discrimination in the aftermath of a nuclear war, with pale skin now indicating radiation poisoning and dark skin health.

As a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer during the second world war, she worked at Bletchley Park, assessing intercepted German communications.

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Dreaming of Electric Sheep

End Of The WorldIn this column for Toronto Standard, Emily Keeler asks, “Are Dystopic literary visions becoming the way of the world?” Call me Henry Case, but i think she might be on to something.

Okay, it’s true: I tend to prefer fiction to fact. Though some journalists (and essayists) who work with what you might call “reality” get my gears going, I typically think stories are better, if only because they offer a window to a different, much less banal world. I learned early that novels are a place to run to, islands of respite from the endless rowing across the boring and tedious ocean between birth and death. It’s a place, to abuse a phrase associated with one of fiction’s loudest champions, where I can go to get away from being already pretty much away from it all. Stories relieve me of myself, from the blandness of my mostly apolitical and largely unremarkable life, and none more so than fictions of the mystifying future.

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Six Fictional Drugs With Unintended Side Effects

Datos Pegados ff93Substance D, Soma, Melange – they’ve all been part of our culture for decades. Gabe Habash looks at the side effects for Publishers Weekly:

In fiction and in reality, medicine is designed and set up to operate with the best of intentions, to eliminate pain and disease and the things that push us toward mortality. In theory. In practice, we know that there are holes in this theory. But for all the problems in the reality of medicine, at least we don’t have to worry about these 6 fictional drugs, which were designed to make the world a better place, but failed in all types of spectacular ways.

1. Altruizine from “Altruizine” by Stanislaw Lem

Unintended Side Effect: It makes people too altruistic.

Lem, one of the most widely-read sci-fi writers in the world, wrote a short story within his collection The Cyberiad about Altruizine, a metapsychotropic drug that causes the user to feel the pains and emotions of others within a radius of fifty yards.

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The Peter Pan Project

philip-weaver[disinfo ed.'s note: the following is a short piece of satirical fiction by Philip Weaver regarding the economy and job loss.]

Most people believe that COINTELPRO, the FBI program to infiltrate and neutralize domestic dissident groups, is a thing of the past; however, newly leaked documents by the hacker collective Anonymous have revealed a nearly ten year program in which the FBI colluded with school superintendents throughout the US to obtain recruits for it’s Peter Pan Project.

The Peter Pan Project was a series of mind manipulation experiments performed on unwitting children of the 1980s in the hopes of engineering sleeper agents who could be activated to quell future civil disorder in America. Documents reveal that the Peter Pan Project was the brainchild of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had outlined plans for the covert program shortly before his death in May 1972. The project was instituted in 1981 under then director, William H.… Read the rest

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Is Less Reading Fiction Making Us Less Empathetic?

Stephenie-Meyer-fans-007The Guardian discusses research on the powerful link between empathy and reading fiction — a novel is a singular experience in terms of being immersed in the interior life of another person, forcing us to undergo events through the protagonist’s eyes and placing us amongst their thoughts. Studies have pointed to a stunting of empathy in young adults over the past few decades — could one reason be the decline of reading of novels for pleasure?

Burying your head in a novel isn’t just a way to escape the world: psychologists are increasingly finding that reading can affect our personalities.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo gave 140 undergraduates passages from either Meyer’s Twilight or JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to read. The study’s authors, Dr. Shira Gabriel and Ariana Young, then applied what they dubbed the Twilight/Harry Potter Narrative Collective Assimilation Scale, which saw the students asked questions designed to measure their identification with the worlds they had been reading about.

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The Hope Of Humanity

managainstthefuture cover[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is an excerpt from Bryan Young's book of short stories, "Man Against the Future."]
The year was 2081 and so many of the social problems humans had faced over the last hundred years were still a pretty big problem. Most people were still poor, corporations still ran the government, and politicians were constantly caught with prostitutes of both sexes, living and dead. When politicians weren't blowing each other's personal lives completely out of proportion for political gain, they were starting wars with other countries. Sometimes, they would even start wars with people inside their own country, but those were usually ideological. Perhaps the biggest and worst change was that the polar ice caps had melted and much of the Mojave Desert was now prime beachfront property. That, and the air across the globe tasted like you were sucking on a tailpipe. As pressing and horrible as those issues were, they really didn't enter into the minds of John and Mildred Bates. They were working class and average in most ways. John worked a standard sixty hour work week and, to help make ends meet, Mildred picked up thirty-nine hours a week, part time, working at the deli counter at the local, national chain grocery emporium.
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