Last week, popular science fiction author John Scalzi wrote a contentious (but necessary) blog post that likened the lives of straight white males to “the easiest difficulty setting” in the “videogame” known as life. While comments on the original post had to be closed due to uproar, the piece was reposted to Kotaku where the discussion rages on.
I’ve written before about the First Sentence series at Granta. The magazine asks a prominent writer to explain how they came to write an opening line. Recently, they asked Bear Down, Bear North author Melinda Moustakis to talk about the beginning of her story “River So Close”: “She’s a good-for-nothing chummer.” You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark on the art of the opening sentence.
At the Guardian, Brian Dillon writes about great creative minds who had fertile imaginations for the maladies that befell them.
The Virginia Quarterly Review‘s Fall 2011 issue, “The Soviet Ghost“, is now available online. Not to be missed is Ed Ou’s heartbreaking essay and slideshow on how the Soviet government performed nuclear weapons tests on innocent Kazakh citizens. Dimiter Kenarov’s essay on Belarusian tractors is simultaneously a personal journey, an impressive work of history, and a good ol’ fashioned KGB crime story.
Year in Reading alum Maud Newton has a new short story up on Medium. Titled “Nobody’s Stranger,” the “Miami noir love story” somewhat wonderfully features a bar, “the most incongruous bar in Little Haiti,” in which the patrons are mostly “aging emo kids and British soccer fans and overweight burlesque enthusiasts.”
As libraries struggle to survive in the UK, community-based lending libraries are sprouting up to fill in the gaps. The Society of Authors is threatening to take legal action against these libraries after discovering that they are not required to pay any royalties to authors.