Check out a new essay from Zadie Smith in NYRB on the uncanny, Schopenhauer, and Anomalisa. “That we believe ourselves to be separate from each other, and separate from the apparent objects of our desire, was, for Schopenhauer, the root of our suffering.” For more on Smith, read our review of NW.
What is creepypasta, and what does it have to do with the future of literature? According to this blog post on the Twitter Fiction Festival, it’s a type of short horror fiction which, because it’s posted exclusively on the Web, occupies a similar place to Twitter fiction in the ranks of new literary genres. If you want to learn more about Twitter fiction, you could read our own Elizabeth Minkel on the nascent art form.
“Dear Mrs D, Thanks for your homework. Your idea of writing a Christmas ghost story was a good one, but it’s not really the kind of thing I tend to do — it’s a little bit too genre for my tastes. Try Kevin, who sits next to me. He loves that stuff.” Over at McSweeney’s, Nick Hornby advises his son on excuses for failing to hand in his English homework, excuses which Hornby learned are acceptable during a thirty-year career in journalism, books, and film.
I’ve loved old sci-fi B-movies forever, and a staggering number of my childhood memories involve Ray Harryhausen. For this reason, I’m really geeking out over The New Yorker’s entire science fiction issue, but in particular this piece by Colson Whitehead deserves your time.
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn’t write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What’s scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. “What’s remarkable,” Potter writes, “is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it.”
On the infinite recreation and reimagining of Finnegans Wake, a book that was “crying out for the invention of the web, which would enable the holding of multiple domains of knowledge in the mind at one time that a proper reading requires,” from The Guardian.