“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.
Readers of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature most likely have a good idea of just how much the late Norman Mailer was a wellspring of jokes about writers. The pugilistic novelist, journalist and failed mayoral candidate did choose to title a collection of his work Advertisements for Myself, after all. Yet as Andrew O’Hagan notes in the LRB, it’s hard not to admire the cojones on a guy who once told a prominent editor he was “still too young and too arrogant to care to write the kind of high-grade horseshit you print in Harper’s Bazaar.”
Earlier this week, I told you about a few lists of some really great poetry from 2015. In keeping with the poetic spirit, here’s another fantastic piece from The New York Times in which everyone from Ta-Nehisi Coates to Elena Ferrante talk about their favorite poems of all time.
Part Into the Wild, part Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing is the story of his two years spent in profound solitude in the Vermont wilderness. Called “torture” by prison rights activists and “a threat to mental stability” by psychologists, Axelrod’s decision to sequester himself from society was nothing if not extreme. Alexander Supertramp would be proud.
A somewhat startling headline: “Amelia Lester, 26 Year Old Former Fact Checker, is the New Managing Editor of The New Yorker.” Another interesting tidbit: The New Yorker has been exempt from meeting with the consultants who are currently scrutinizing the rest of Conde Nast’s titles.