Feel like something’s off with a person you follow on Twitter? They could be time travelers from the future. In The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer writes about a new study, conducted by two physicists, that sought to find social media users with an uncanny knowledge of future events. “It’s not crazy, and yet it feels crazy when you think about it,” says The Hidden Reality author and Columbia professor Brian Greene. You could also take a look at our own journey to the early days of literary Twitter.
As titles go, it’s hard to get more straightforward than England and Other Stories, the new collection by Graham Swift. In the Times, Michiko Kakutani provides her verdict, lauding Swift for his ability to paint “vistas as panoramic as those in the stories of Alice Munro.”
Mavis Gallant, who passed away a year ago this February, published a total of a hundred and sixteen short stories in The New Yorker, which puts her on par with short story factories like John Cheever and John Updike. Yet by the time she died, she was penniless and alone, a fact which worried the few people in Paris who knew her well. In The Walrus, David MacFarlane examines what her writing meant to him. Pair with: Laurel Berger on her own fascination with the author.
I’ve written before about Matthew Jockers‘s claim, as reported and presented by the Paris Review, that there are only about 6 plots in fiction. Now Dan Piepenbring returns to the Review to respond to critics who and attempt to answer the questions “is it really possible to assign every word a reliable emotional valence? And even if the answer is yes, can we really claim that all the plots in the history of literature take so few basic forms?”
“Still, what he captured with genius was the ontological unease of a world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together.” An essay in the Boston Review argues the importance of Philip K. Dick‘s literature— where the real and fake intersect and collide — and the world we live in today. From our archive: on the pleasures of Dick’s sometimes awful prose.
In the latest issue of the LRB, Jenny Diski comes to the defense of Liz Jones, a Daily Mail columnist and spiritual sibling to the far-too-beautiful-to-live Samantha Brick. Her takeaway after reading a column that got Jones into hot water? Diski “couldn’t see” what the pilloried writer had done wrong.