“The clash of genre values is fundamental to the novelistic experience. That’s how we ought to be thinking about our books. Instead of asking whether a comic book could be “as valuable” as King Lear, we ought to ask how the values of tragedy and romance might collide.” Joshua Rothman writes about the coming “collapse of the genre system” and our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s National Book Award short-listed Station Eleven for The New Yorker.
Electric Literature has published a look at two new Sherlock Holmes fan fictions, “the game,” and various copyright complications, which just happens to dovetail with our own Elizabeth Minkel‘s Year in Reading account of admitting to loving Sherlock fan fic. In fact, loving the great detective has a lot to do with writing well: as Ryan Britt puts it, successful fan fiction authors “all love Holmes and his adventures way more than the man who created the great detective thought possible. Which, today, remains the biggest cultural mystery we’ll hopefully never get tired of investigating.”
Charles Petersen traces the fascinating history of the New York Public Library to show the real cost of the planned renovations and the pitfalls of the inevitable digital libraries of the future. Mark Athitakis observes how archives flatten fictions with keywording.
Recommended Reading: Jesse Eisenberg’s stream of conscious New Yorker short story, “A Short Story Written With Thought-to-Text Technology.” “When he was younger he used to stay late after school on Fridays and come in early on Mondays, a pattern his mother referred to with equal parts admiration and disdain as ‘studying overtime.’ Jesus, I’ve written another loser.”
It’s rare that a writer decides his new novel will be his last, but that’s exactly what Michael Faber has done with regards to his latest, which comes out this week. In the Times, he talks with Alexandra Alter about his decision, saying: “I felt that I had one more book in me that could be special and sincere and extraordinary, and that that would be enough.” It’s probably a good time to read our own Bill Morris on the history of literary retirements.
In mid-January, ten days after moving to California, Geoff Dyer suffered a stroke while throwing away trash in his new home. At the hospital, he recovered quickly, but the incident left him “conscious that the ground could open Adairishly beneath my feet at any moment.” In the LRB, he writes about the experience. (Related: Dyer wrote two Year in Reading entries for The Millions.)
A few weeks ago, our own Nick Moran wrote about the closing of Maxwell’s, a Hoboken landmark that doubles as a restaurant and concert space. Now, at The Paris Review Daily, Josh Lieberman goes to the venue’s last Feelies concert, pointing out that “in no way is Maxwell’s an ideal place to see a show, except that it is.”