With the help of Our Final Hour author Martin Rees, Cambridge will soon open a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. The Centre will investigate the threats posed by “artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.” To my ears, this sounds an awful lot like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, which was memorably depicted in John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Violence of the Lambs.”
The New Yorker has published another recently discovered Shirley Jackson short story “The Man in the Woods,” a fairy tale that takes on some classic mythology. According to her son, it’s one of many new stories found in her archives, and we can expect a new collection next year. “What was surprising to us was not that she was so prolific and had left behind so much unseen work but, rather, the quality of that work,” Laurence Jackson Hyman said.
Literary Twitter has been on fire with #ManlyBookClubNames since The New York Times style section reported that apparently men have book clubs, too. “Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity.” If you’re looking for a book club, consider joining Adam Boretz’s Football Book Club.
Buzzfeed interviews Naomi Alderman author of The Power, a 2016 book receiving heightened attention this year for its timely feminist premise. “In the book, women develop the ability to electrocute people at will, and as the dynamic between the genders shifts after centuries of oppression, women (finally) begin to take control back from men.” Why all the newfound attention? Alderman believes that it’s due to the subject matter and it being released in the States. ‘It’s only just been published in America and some American reviewers have responded to it as if it was written in response to Donald Trump, but in fact no, it was written before that. I think some of the things in the world have not changed and that is why you can mistake it for having been written yesterday.’ But she adds: ‘I think actually one thing that has really changed is that women are really fucking angry.'”
New this week: The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota; The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien; Chicago by Brian Doyle; The Destroyer in the Glass by Noah Warren; Dothead by Amit Majmudar; Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead by Millions contributor Buzz Poole; and New and Collected Poems: 1975-2015 by Jay Parini. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.