history and literature

Women Sci-Fi Authors Are on the Rise, But Not for the First Time

This year’s major science-fiction awards had strong female representation, but don’t call it a feminist victory for the genre just yet.

LeGuin is one of my favorite authors and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my all time favorite works of sci-fi/horror.  Any of you sci-fi fans out there have some favorites you would like to share?

Chetan Jeevan (Conscious Life)
  • Chetan Jeevan (Conscious Life)
  • Nitin Sawhney
  • Human

The unconscious is the ocean of the unsayable, of what has been expelled from the land of language, removed as a result of ancient prohibitions. The unconscious speaks – in dreams, in verbal slips, in sudden associations – with borrowed words, stolen symbols, linguistic contraband, until literature redeems these territories and annexes them to the language of the waking world.

Italo Calvino in The Uses of Literature

Song: “Chetan Jeevan (Conscious Life)” by Nitin Sawhney

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anonymous asked:

With regards to writing historical fiction, how accurate does a novel have to be? My story is set in Anglo-Saxon England, but my characters are supposedly important, influential figures within the period and I'm not sure if they can be entirely "made-up" considering it would contradict historical records and fact? Can I, in theory, simply create regions and Kings, or noblemen, and still have them interact with people who really existed and events which actually happened? Thanks.

1) It’s your story; you can do what you want.

2) Bearing that in mind, when doing historical fiction, you have to decide how accurate you want to stay to real people and events your characters interact with. Making that decision will involve a lot of research. Depending on how much you have a story outlined now, it can change a great deal the more you learn about the historical time, places, and people. There are plenty of novels out there which create fictional characters to interact with ‘real people,’ and what makes it fiction is being able to tweak historical events and people with the characters and the world you want to build.

The one thing to keep in mind is research, always research. Once you know as much as you can dig up about the history (people, places, politics, religion, sociology of the time, etc.), you can give yourself liberty to play with it in a knowledgeable way.

Hope this helps!

- O

I have books!

Went to the library and picked up some stuff for fic research today:

Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 by George Chaucey (I actually couldn’t believe they had it for a moment I am ridiculously pleased by this).

Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940 by David E. Kyvig

My Paper Chase -the biography of British journalist Harold Evans (not exactly what I was looking for, but it does cover the 30s and 40s from a more personal perspective)

Same-Sex Union in Premodern Europe by John Boswell

If you don’t know this about me yet, I could quite happily spend large chunks of my life on story research. It’s kind of a problem sometimes. But I haven’t done it like this in months and I am positively giddy right now.

I cannot claim any such ideas as my own - no, I am barren as far as they’re concerned. But I am acting as your midwife, and that is why I am chanting and serving up morsels of wisdom for you to taste. This will go on until I have played my part in bringing your very own notion out into the world.
—  Plato, Theaetetus
  • CALASSO:One day I was in London in a secondhand bookshop, and I noticed a copy of Schreber’s memoirs, in an English translation. I was curious because I’d read the essay by Freud on Schreber, which Freud had based on these memoirs. So I started reading, and it was one of the great shocks, a phenomenally powerful book. Schreber, a former judge, was sent to the lunatic asylum and published, at his own expense, his nightmarish memoir of his visions and his treatment there at the hands of renowned psychiatrists. The book was obviously a shame for the relatives, so they destroyed all the copies they could lay their hands on.
  • INTERVIEWER:But you have a copy right here, in your library.
  • CALASSO:It’s one of the very few surviving copies. If we continue down this part of my library, it could last for hours, because every book here has a story. There are some works you really don’t expect. Take a look at this for instance— this is the first book that Kafka ever published, Betrachtung. There were eight hundred copies. In one of his letters, he mentions having gone to a bookshop to see if anyone had bought the book and realizing that, of the eleven copies sold, only one had been bought by someone other than him.
Defenders of intelligent thought and other nice things

Newsnight, Question Time
The New Statesman, n+1
The New Yorker, LRB, Areté, The New York Review, The Believer, The Paris Review
In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, Today
The Guardian
TED Talks

Traveling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern Fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sites and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
—  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
The story of Cassandra, the woman who told the truth but was not believed, is not nearly as embedded in our culture as that of the Boy Who Cried Wolf—that is, the boy who was believed the first few times he told the same lie. Perhaps it should be.
—  In her cover essay on silencing women in the October 2014 issue of Harper’s, Rebecca Solnit once again proves that she is one of our era’s greatest essayist – further evidence here and here.