To honor Herman Melville for making the great white whale a metaphor for the inscrutable and unknowable, a prehistoric leviathan now bears his name. (Thanks, Kevin)
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.
Sasha Dugdale believes that Ted Hughes’s greatest contribution to the world of poetry remains Modern Poetry in Translation, the magazine which got its start thanks to an off-hand suggestion by Hughes at a cocktail party in the mid-sixties. Here’s our review of Jonathan Bate’s recent take on the poet, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorized Life.
Sonia Faleiro takes a look at the “book boys of Mumbai” who participate in India’s quasi-illegal pirated book market. (It’s an issue also discussed in Akshay Pathak’s most recent dispatch on Indian publishing.) Faleiro notes that books often appear on the streets as soon as they’re released to stores – and also that by 1999, as much as “20 to 25 percent of all books sold in the country were pirated.” Meanwhile, the former production editor in me wonders, how the heck are they re-printing these books so quickly?