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.
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 […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
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From self-driving cars to stock market predicting software to the recommendations you get on Amazon and Netflix, machine learning is at the core of modern technology. You could find yourself building technology that is literally changing the world with the skills you’ll learn in The Complete Machine Learning Bundle. This bundle of 10 courses includes 406 lessons that will teach […]