UbuWeb has posted an excellent collection of avant jazz and poetry from Sun Ra and his famed Arkestra. Much of the suite dates from a 1977 on-air performance in Philadelphia. (Bonus: An excerpt from “At Sun Ra’s Grave” by Jake Adam York.)
In his inaugural column for The New York Times Magazine, former New York Magazine critic Sam Anderson expands upon the idea he shared with us in his “Year in Marginalia,” his riff on our big Year in Reading series. And, as a sidebar to Anderson’s column, the Magazine has published a brief excerpt of John Brandon’s compelling essay from The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (perhaps you’ve heard that title mentioned around here lately?)
“I’ve turned paranoid lately. When I’m in an airport, I look at the people around me at the gate, trying to suss out who might make a good ally if things went bad. I carry two plastic tubs full of warm clothes, hiking boots, and first-aid supplies in the back of my Subaru at all times. I have as large a volume of canned and dry goods in my pantry and laundry room as the shelves will hold.” Rebecca Onion for Slate on the appeal and contagion of “prepper fiction.” Pair with our review of Claire Vaye Watkins‘s Gold Fame Citrus, one of the recent bumper crop of apocalyptic narratives.
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.
Out this week: Ember Days by our own Nick Ripatrazone, Early Warning by Jane Smiley; Madam President by The View co-host Nicolle Wallace; Black Run by Antonio Manzini; Devotion by Maile Meloy; Collected Poems by Michael Gizzi; Volume 5 of The Letters of T.S. Eliot; and Book 4 of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
To address the state’s ongoing financial shortfalls, California’s government announced last May that they intended to close a quarter of the state’s 278 parks by next July. Upset by the decision to save money at the expense of the state’s natural beauty, three filmmakers embarked on a 3,000 mile trip around the Golden State’s wildlife reserves, recreation areas, and parks to shoot The First 70, a gorgeous documentary about the parks being closed and the individuals fighting to preserve them. You can check out the trailer over here.