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.
“It is a darker book, I don’t deny that, but that’s the story that came to me and wanted to be told.” Seventeen years after Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy ended, the writer is releasing La Belle Sauvage, the first volume of his new trilogy, The Book of Dust. Pullman also said the second volume of the trilogy of already complete, according to The Guardian. Check out our own Janet Potter on grief, books, and His Dark Materials.
Out this week: Young Skins by Colin Barrett; Decoy by Allan Gurganus; The Unloved by Deborah Levy; Aquarium by David Vann; The Sellout by Paul Beatty; Crow Fair by Thomas McGuane; and Kazuo Ishiguro’s first new novel in ten years (which our own Lydia Kiesling reviewed yesterday). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great 2015 Book Preview.
Fans of Seinfeld and Arrested Development might be interested in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a comedy about a band of hapless, self-interested pub owners in which slapstick hijinks obscure the fact that nothing much ever happens (for example: a wheelchair race/brawl in a mall between two characters pretending to be handicapped to get girls). The first episode of the fifth season premiers this Friday but you can watch past episodes free at FX.
The success of international authors like Orhan Pamuk, Ma Jian, Haruki Murakami, and Tash Aw – each capable of “transcend[ing] their homelands and emerg[ing] into a planetary system where there work can acquire a universal relevance” – has caught the attention of n+1’s editors. In a lengthy piece from their last issue, they suggest that we should be less concerned with such examples of “World” or “Global Literature,” and instead focused on more diverse, politically-charged and unique international works. “Global Lit tends to accept as given the tastes of an international middlebrow audience; internationalism, by contrast, seeks to create the taste by which it is to be enjoyed,” they argue.
This year, the good folks at Slate and the Whiting Foundation kicked off a new literary prize, intended to reward authors for great second novels. To wrap up the year, they’ve asked several winners of the prize, including Akhil Sharma, Helen DeWitt and Daniel Alarcon, to write short pieces about objects that symbolize the writing process for their books. (Akhil Sharma chooses a stopwatch, while Eileen Myles chooses a can of Cafe Bustelo.)
Aspiring authors, take note. If you want to sell your latest book, grow another set of legs, some fur, and bark adorably. That’s what earned Uggie, the dog from The Artist, his forthcoming memoir, Uggie: My Story. Suddenly, our dog-book pun-a-thon from a while back seems prescient.