The unwritten rules of steampunk declare that in every steampunk story, the Hindenburg never caught fire, the world never lost its desire for blimp travel and the skies are dotted with hot air balloons and zeppelins. As it happens, this element of the genre stems from old utopian narratives, many of which depicted a future of widespread balloon travel. At Salon, Kyle Minor reviews the audiobook of a new history of the hot air balloon, written by Richard Holmes, that shows how the rise of air travel changed the world’s imaginative territory.
How do women write about the apocalypse? Sloane Crosley considers, referencing work from Mary Shelley, P.D. James, Laura van den Berg and our own Emily St. John Mandel. Pair with these Millions interviews with van den Berg and Mandel. Unfortunately, Mary Shelley was unavailable for comment.
Roald Dahl’s estate has released a 1961 draft chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The draft reveals a number of little-known characters the author later excised from the book. It also reveals that, at one point, the story featured as many as 10 golden tickets. The Guardian has the draft chapter in full.
Make of this what you will, but when Lorde first read Year in Reading alum Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, it struck her as “the best collection [she’d] ever read.” Her interview with Tavi Gevinson in Rookie reveals that she also loves Raymond Carver and Claire Vaye Watkins.