Writing a sci-fi novel? Need some quick ideas for your fictional hellscape? Then you need Randomized Dystopia, a tool which suggests basic liberties that your imaginary dictators can suppress.
Don’t Cry author Mary Gaitskill reviews Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful thriller, Gone Girl, for the pages of Bookforum. What she finds is that the book isn’t really frightening because of its plot per se, but rather because its two main characters “do not resemble actual people so much as grotesquely smiling masks driven by forces of extreme artifice, and it’s exactly that extreme artificial quality that’s frightening to the point of sickening.” For what it’s worth, Edan Lepucki, Michael Bourne, Ed Park, Janet Potter, and Jennifer duBois each named Flynn’s book in their most recent Year in Reading pieces.
This week Margaret Atwood tweeted a photo of her and Alice Munro drinking champagne in a “secret lair.” There’s no denying it — technology has changed the way we tell stories. Atwood and 16 other writers, from Victor LaValle to Lee Child, discussed how technology influences their work in The New York Times. “There’s nothing worse for plots than cellphones. Once your characters have one, there’s no reason for them to get lost or stranded,” Rainbow Rowell said.
Amazon created an “Election Heat Map” to tally the number of “red” and “blue” books sold across the nation, and the count is updated hourly. The results are somewhat surprising to those who believe liberals read more than conservatives. (Perhaps liberals frequent more independent bookstores?) At the time of this writing, “red” books are favored by a margin of 7%.