Chinese science fiction is a diverse, undeniably unique type of sci-fi. And it contributes to the worldliness of the genre as a whole, one whose strengths rest in societal critique and philosophy. How can we only have societal critiques from the West? We need global perspectives to further the ongoing conversations happening throughout science fiction and on the planet as whole.
Will Robots Make the Next Big Bestsellers? (Publishers Weekly)
While novel-generation tools have evolved dramatically since 2013, coherence and readability remain formidable challenges for NaNoGenMo participants. No one knows that better than Kazemi, who has created what he calls “a small army” of bots that post computer-generated texts on social media. “It’s easy to generate words that keep someone’s attention for up to 500 or even 1,000 words,” Kazemi said. “But once you get past 1,000 words, it’s very difficult to keep a reader’s attention.”
Yet the idea of a world in crisis is fundamental to horror, a genre historically devalued by the gatekeepers of high culture as, well, outlandish and unserious. Horror has always sought to amplify fear. It works against false comfort, complacency and euphemism, against attempts to repress or sanitize that which disturbs us. Inevitably, the climate crisis has given rise to a burgeoning horror subgenre: eco-horror. Eco-horror reworks horror in order to portray the damage done to the world by people, and the ways the world might damage or even destroy us in turn. In eco-horror, the “natural” world is both under threat and threatening.
Fiction writers are a sensitive bunch, and the porousness of our imaginations is often close cousin to a fragile ego. When people ask how our books are going, those of us who are not Trent Dalton affect a casual insouciance, shrug our shoulders and say, “I’m not sure really,” or “haven’t seen any figures yet”. Anything to avoid the awkward truth, which is: “The book to which I gave three years of my life and a small chunk of my soul has become the literary equivalent of a bespectacled girl sitting longingly on the bench at the school dance.”
The Strange Things You Find on Authors’ Websites (New York Times)
Stephen King, whose new novel, “The Institute,” is at No. 8, has a treasure trove of a website. You can buy a “Property of Shawshank Prison” T-shirt (all proceeds go to his nonprofit, the Haven Foundation), keep track of King’s forthcoming work or peruse an excellent list of frequently asked questions. Sample: Do you really have a haunted house at your home on Halloween? “Absolutely not — don’t come to my house on Halloween. We’ve done trick-or-treat a few times and we had 600 or 800 — one time we had 1,400 people show up for candy and treats and it’s fun, it’s great to see everyone, but it wears everybody out and it plays hell with the law so we’re not doing that anymore.”