At Lit Hub, Gabrielle Bellot examines “The Machine Stops,” the sole science-fiction story written by E.M. Forster, which contains eerie echos of today’s socially distanced world. “‘The Machine Stops’ would become famous a century after its publication for supposedly having envisioned technologies like social media—and the dangers thereof—long before they appeared,” Bellot writes. “People live in isolation in chambers, where they can call up music and real-time video-chatting at a click; the Earth’s surface is, authorities declare, uninhabitable, so people are advised to stay in their cozy rooms, which everyone has adapted to as their standard for normality.”
Some say 2012 was “the year of the e-single,” and Laura Hazard Owen is here to explain why. While on the topic, you might want to check out Epic Fail, which was our debut into the world of e-singles. Author Mark O’Connell recently sat down with Hazlitt to discuss the book – as well as Guy Fieri.
Noam Chomsky, in conversation at the University of Arizona, derides the rising cost of university tuition. He goes on to say student fees are “a general form of indoctrination and control, which goes down to kindergarten. I mean, that’s what No Child Left Behind is about. It’s training for the Marine Corps.”
In the past ten years, we’ve seen many attempts to construct a taxonomy of the hipster, which is why it’s refreshing to come across a novel account of the term’s origins. At The Atlantic, Karen Swallow Prior makes a convincing case that T.S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, invented the “cuffed-trouser urbanite on the hunt for authenticity.”
Boston Review’s Aura Estrada Short Story Contest is underway. This year’s submissions will be judged by What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank author (as well as Year in Reading contributor) Nathan Englander, and the victor will earn a $1,500 prize as well as publication.