Sci-fi writers are partly judged on how well they can predict where society is headed. There’s a reason that books with uncannily accurate forecasts of the future capture our interest long after their release. At Salon, William Gibson admits one way in which he got things wrong: he didn’t foresee the rise of social media. You could also read our own Bill Morris on Gibson’s Zero History.
Tom Wolfe is back with his new novel Back to Blood (our review) and Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins is out. Lemony Snicket is kicking off a new series for kids, illustrated by artist Seth. Finally, do you want to know everything about everything? The Onion is looking out for you with its new Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information.
Recommended Reading, if you have the time: the full archives of the famed Partisan Review (published from 1934 to 2003) are now available online, searchable, and completely free. Essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews in the vault include work by Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing, George Orwell, Marge Piercy, Jean-Paul Sartre, Roger Shattuck, Susan Sontag, William Styron, Lionel Trilling, and Robert Penn Warren. A worthy epitaph: “The Partisan Review is finished, but its vision has triumphed.”
“My daughter spent some of this summer performing a dance, which she learned at summer camp, to a certain song by Shakira, called “Waka Waka.” It was earnest, funny, beautiful dance; however, I am, it seems, unable to watch my daughter perform her Shakira dance, to a song I don’t very much care for, without sobbing. There is no explanation for this excessive reaction—the dance is homely and human and not at all out of this world—but that the reaction is about beauty, and joy, and potential, and not sorrow. And this, it seems, is one aspect of what crying celebrates: the sublime.” Here is Rick Moody, life coach, from The Literary Hub. Here’s a recent Millions interview with Moody.