Roger Dean creates wonderful science fiction scenery.
Recently read Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C Clarke, which is bursting with interesting ideas. Some more for thought:
Outer Space – I bet you can figure out with decent certainty your location across the entire universe just from sampling the nearest bit of space.
Heliosphere – Similar to the above; every drop of space from many AUs away to the nearest lake has a unique composition.
Deep Space Network – at the very least a catchy name
Voyager 1’s Family Portrait
New Horizons – Almost to Pluto!
Thermoelectric Effect – not directly related, but super cool
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is poorly written (to be fair it has been translated), but the novel is chock-full of timeless themes and ideas.
Why Finish Books? by Tim Parks.
I stopped reading the article a little more than half way through.
The article is slightly pretentious and highly interesting and raises a lot of questions. How quickly can you say a book is not worth reading? Is it possible for that to be objective? A bunch more questions veering off into the value, significance, and existence of art. Is it bad to not finish books? How do we differentiate between impatience and satiety? What is one’s goal in reading books; quantity, quality, satisfaction, breadth, knowledge? What do we do with a good book? Is it bad to reread books? Do we need books to end? How can a book not end? Have I properly experienced a book if I have not read every word, or read it as the author intended? Would I have ‘read’ it? Could I pass judgement on it? Is the book more for the reader or the author? What if we could not physically tell where a book would end, how would that influence our reading experience? Do authors like ending books? How arbitrary do they view their endings; as creators of worlds, how do they decide when to end them? Do readers like endings; they seem more polarizing than not? Is the structure of the book, with a physical linearity, inherently unsatisfactory and misleading? How does linear art compare to nonlinear in terms of popularity, satisfaction, and meaning? Do we want to know in advance how books end, to have some idea of what is coming? Are abrupt endings better than complete ones? Are unhappy endings more realistic than happy ones? How would the reader like having an influence on the ending, knowing it isn’t set in stone? Would it still be an ending? Are there endings? How do we choose when to stop? Do we even choose to stop?
[via The Browser]
“It seems like the big distinction between good art and so-so art lies . . . in being willing to sort of die in order to move the reader, somehow. Even now I’m scared about how sappy this’ll look in print, saying this. And the effort to actually to do it, not just talk about it, requires a kind of courage I don’t seem to have yet.” He also said, “All the attention and engagement and work you need to get from the reader can’t be for your benefit; it’s got to be for hers.”
An essay about David Foster Wallace’s life and work by D.T. Max for The New Yorker.
The Great American Novel: Will there ever be another? by Roger Kimball.
Literature is steeped in culture. As David Foster Wallace said, “Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.”
Culture is changing.