James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel gave a great interview to Sci Fi Weekly about their new anthology, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology. The book has a top-notch table-of-contents, stories that defy genre conventions and make your head spin in a good way.
We make the point in our introduction that slipstream isn't really a genre at the moment and may never be one. What it is, in our opinion, is a literary effect--in the same way that horror or comedy are literary effects achieved by many different kinds of dissimilar stories. What is that effect? We borrowed the term cognitive dissonance from the psychologists. When we are presented with two contradictory cognitions--impressions, feelings, beliefs--we experience cognitive dissonance, a kind of psychic discomfort that we normally try to ease by discounting one of the cognitions as false or illusory and promoting the other to reality. But in some cases we aren't well served by this convenient sorting out.
We think that what slipstream stories do is to embrace cognitive dissonance. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." We believe that such an ability is necessary to cope with life in the 21st century and that stories that ask us to exercise that ability are an expression of the zeitgeist. Do you really need a definitive answer as to whether an electron is a wave or a particle? Why? Maybe it's time to make room for uncertainty in contemporary fiction, even if the stories do make you feel very strange. Slipstream may use metafictional techniques to estrange us from consensus reality, they may rewrite history, they may mash up different styles or genres. But that's the point, as we see it. Slipstream has no rules, it has only results.
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]
You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner. I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on […]