I say all this because I’m about to recommend a book which most people shouldn’t read—Samuel R. Delany’s About Writing. This is the best writing book I’ve ever read. I can’t recommend it enough.
Except that most people probably shouldn’t read it. If you’re not a fiction writer, don’t read it….
Erik Vance on why real working archaeologists don’t care for Indiana Jones.
"Oh God," he groans, "Don’t even go there. Indiana Jones is not an archeologist."
It’s not surprising that academics — hell bent on taking the fun out of everything — would hate our beloved and iconic movie version of…
So basically this is franwilde's fault, because I was on a tear about it the other night and she told me I needed to write a blog post. So here's a blog post. (Does anybody even read blogs anymore? Tap, tap, is this thing on? “140 characters is all anyone will ever need.”)
My Least Favorite…
Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems— climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation— like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley— accepting short- term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance— will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short- term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns any-thing else as failure. In short, a world where big stuﬀ can never get done.
Neal Stephenson’s foreword to the new collection Hieroglyph is excellent.
We aren’t doing big things badly, we’re just not doing them.
Looking forward to this collection.
The Stephenson piece from Wired that may or may not have been edited much for this collection’s introduction is here.(via brevetcaptain)
Tachyon Publications is proud to announce a new printing of the acclaimed anthology The Secret History of Science Fiction.
“All I really want to do, at the moment, is embrace the unsuspecting editors in a massive, spine-crunching bear hug”
—Los Angeles Times
The Secret Is Out
Exploring an alternate history of science fiction, this ingenious anthology showcases eighteen brilliant authors leading the way to a new literature of the future. These award-winning stories defy trends, cross genres, and prove that great fiction cannot be categorized.
Two strangely detached astronauts orbit Earth while a third world war rages on. A primatologist’s lover suspects her of obsession with one of her simian charges. The horrors of trench warfare dovetail with the theoretical workings of black holes. A dissolving marriage and bitter custody dispute are overshadowed by the arrival of time travelers. An astonishing invention that records the sense of touch is far too dangerous for Thomas Edison to reveal.
The future is here. Read it.
Good news about a great anthology.
In Warriors and women: the sex ratio of Norse migrants to eastern England up to 900 AD, published in 2011 in Early Medieval Europe 19/3, Medievalists from the University of Western Australia survey the remains of fallen Vikings found in eastern England that had been assumed to be male, partly because some were buried with sword and shield.