Gersh Kuntzman's serialized novel "Coup!" is notionally the memoir of a retired CIA operative ("Deep State") who, having discovered he had terminal cancer, decided to help Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment and stage a coup deposing Donald Trump and installing himself as President Handmaid's Tale, with a coterie of morally flexible billionaires who'd been bought off of Trump's cabinet with promises of special favors and steady leadership. Read the rest
Lane Loomis posted a scary story about how manners and expectations lead us into danger, especially when one person has all of one and none of the other.
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I walked down to the front door of my building and there was a man there who looked nothing like “Jamie”. The thing about being a woman is that pleasing people is in your blood. From a young age you’re taught that not being liked by a guy is the worst possible thing. No one tells you why this is so bad, or even what would happen that’s so terrible about a guy not liking you. You just have this instinct to do it. It’s hard to go against.
So I saw this guy down there, and I had studied Jamie’s Tinder photos for the last hour since we started talking. I knew it wasn’t the same guy and I was confused about it. But I also didn’t turn around and go lock myself in my apartment. I did the stupid thing. I did the thing that women do and I went down and opened the door and smiled at him.
Since 1993, the Literary Review has presented the Bad Sex in Fiction Award to "an author who has produced an outstandingly bad scene of sexual description in an otherwise good novel." The winner will be announced November 30; below are a few of the finalists:
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Robert Seethaler’s The Tobacconist “He closed his eyes and heard himself make a gurgling sound. And as his trousers slipped down his legs all the burdens of his life to date seemed to fall away from him; he tipped back his head and faced up into the darkness beneath the ceiling, and for one blessed moment he felt as if he could understand the things of this world in all their immeasurable beauty. How strange they are, he thought, life and all of these things. Then he felt Anezka slide down before him to the floor, felt her hands grab his naked buttocks and draw him to her. “Come, sonny boy!” he heard her whisper, and with a smile he let go.”
Janet Ellis’ The Butcher’s Hook “When his hand goes to my breasts, my feet are envious. I slide my hands down his back, all along his spine, rutted with bone like mud ridges in a dry field, to the audacious swell below. His finger is inside me, his thumb circling, and I spill like grain from a bucket. He is panting, still running his race. I laugh at the incongruous size of him, sticking to his stomach and escaping from the springing hair below.”
Erri De Luca’s The Day Before Happiness “She pushed on my hips, an order that thrust me in.
Sarah Gailey's demon-dog duo from "Bargain" in Mothership Zeta's first issue return for another adventure in Mothership Zeta 5 (October 2016). Malachai, Devourer of Miscreants and Usurper of Souls, has a lot to learn about dog parks, tiny pinstriped pajama tops, and the need to carry plastic bags everywhere. Mothership Zeta is an Escape Artists ezine publishing fun science fiction, fantasy, and horror four times a year. Read the rest
Sinister conspiracy theories about LSD, the government and MKUltra are not uncommon on the internet. But one anonymous Redditor's comments, easily ignored as odd paranoid tangents on the threads they appear on, add up to a "compelling science-fiction horror story" in aggregate — especially all that stuff about flesh interfacing. Reddit is a fascinating platform for such eerie, slow-building metafiction, writes Leigh Alexander.
The seemingly random thread names start to form a pattern: the reader gets the distinct pleasure of wondering why the author chose to post each component in each place. Eerie fragments of fiction hide among commonplace online discussion. Sometimes readers reply and engage, and sometimes are none the wiser. The enthusiastic cult fandom quickly built a Wiki to study and catalogue the mysterious tale, create a timeline of known events, and to note in a sort of literary formalist way what tropes the author is employing. The story also has its own dedicated discussion thread where volunteers have even developed audiobook editions.
The internet has always loved a good mystery, and Wikis, message boards and image boards have a history of playing host to fascinating and often scary folktales that leverage the format and utility of these digital spaces in creative ways.
"We can only hope," she adds, "that it's not a viral marketing stunt." Read the rest
"I think your genie is hard of hearing." "No kidding, you think I asked for a 12" pianist?" So the guy processes this. And he’s, like, “Does that mean..." Read the rest
The classic Vacation movie series began as a 1979 short story about the Griswold family's disastrous trip to Disneyland that John Hughes published in National Lampoon magazine. At the time, Hughes was a copywriter at ad agency Leo Burnett Worldwide in Chicago. Read the rest
Back in 2006, I had an epiphany. Stories are empathy engines, regardless of the medium. And for humans, they always have been. We’ve been primed to imagine other’s lives since we sat in a cave, telling the stories of our tribe and making sense of the world around us. I published an academic paper on this in 2008 and have given talks about storytelling and empathy ever since. I’m thrilled that there are now hundreds of researchers around the world searching for the neurological mechanisms that link “theory of mind networks” to empathy and narratives. PJ Manney's (R)evolution is available from Amazon.
In addition, I’ve been a futureholic throughout my life. Whether through science fact or fiction, I’ve wanted to know what was coming and how it might change everything we know. The future is very heady, complex stuff, and difficult to communicate to those who aren’t on your metaphorical wavelength, since change is inherently hard to understand or accept. With my novel, (R)evolution, I felt it was important to share research on nanotechnology and cognitive technologies like brain-computer interfaces, nanomedicine and more with an audience that might not read SF or know what is coming.
My parents are my sample audience. My father is a huge SF fan and the reason I am, too. Future-shorthand is easy with him. But my mother is so ignorant of SF, when we visited Industrial Light and Magic in 1980, she hadn’t seen Star Wars (and still hasn’t) and didn’t recognize the Yoda puppet! Read the rest