“Much has been made of the seemingly prophetic nature of Verne’s lunar stories: elements such as the distance and time to reach the moon, and even the launch and landing sites for the mission fall very closely to what actually happened during NASA’s Apollo program.” On the prophetic and historical power of Jules Verne‘s science fiction novels, including the works that later inspired the space program.
New Vessel Press is a new publisher specializing in the translation of foreign literature into the English language. Translator Ross Uffberg and journalist Michael Z. Wise started it last year. Next month, they’ll publish their first book, The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal, and they have plans for quite a few more as well.
What is the function of the art critic, anyway? According to Barry Schwabsky at The Nation, it is not “making or breaking” an artist, but rather “opening up perspectives without … belaboring them.” For the critically minded among you, here’s a Millions review of A.O. Scott’s new book Better Living Through Criticism.
While on the publicity tour for his latest book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Michael Lewis stops by NPR‘s “Fresh Air” to talk Greece, the Euro, California’s “third world problems,” and the Occupy Wall Street protests. The author also gets a nice write-up in the latest New York Magazine, and his interview on last night’s “The Daily Show” ran so long, they had to put the full version online. (Start “The Daily Show”‘s clip at ~21:50 for the interview.)
“Armand’s characters all seem both hugely present and in life’s juice and simultaneously dead, as if rent of brain, nerves, chest, stomach, intestines … Without gods and devils these patients feel that only fire can save them, existing eternally unless burned away.” Australian novelist Louis Armand’s newest, Abacus, is reviewed by Richard Marshall at 3:AM Magazine.
Looks like our robot overlord is going to be a 13-year-old boy: the Turing Test has been passed for the first time by a bot simulating a preteen, making history for artificial intelligence research and teenagers alike. “Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything,” researchers explained.