Tag Archives: links

Weekend round-up – some links

First, the Hugo shortlists have been announced. amid some controversy; in particular the presence of Vox Day, Larry Correia and one or two others, not to mention the complete Wheel of Time saga, in their various categories. There’s plenty of commentary about all of this across the web right now, and I’m not adding to it for now.  I’m happy, though, to see the fan categories looking a lot livelier than they’ve done in some years.

Link to the complete list of nominees is here, to save me typing it out again.

The 1939 Retro Hugos shortlist was also announced: the list of nominees is here.

And while I’m about it, more posts about genre, lit fic, the usual.

Chris Beckett, winner of last year’s Clarke Award, in The Atlantic

Juliet McKenna in The Guardian

More Things I Read on the Internet – 11/2/2014

Because yesterday’s link post got a bit out of hand, I saved some for today.


Anna Kavan Symposium, London, September 11th, 2014. Details here.

Current Research in Speculative Fiction has put out a Call for Papers for its fourth conference, to held in Liverpool, June 20th, 2014

In My Other Life

I like it when my areas of interest intersect. Here, and here, Ernesto Hogan talks about Joaquin Murrieta, the inspiration for Zorro, and a person of interest to me because the first known novel by a Native American is The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta, by Yellow Bird, also known as John Rollin Ridge.

Some of you will also know that I rate Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick very highly. Indeed, I have voluntarily read it several times. Via Strange Maps, here is a map of the voyage of the Pequod.

Urban Studies

Ten Failed Utopian Cities

Stained Glass Greenhouse

In Translation

Translation at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Creepy Gothic Ruins

So, it turns out that Ann Radcliffe may (or may not) have written her mother-in-law into her fiction.

And a bonus piece extolling the virtues of Gustav Meyrink’s The Golem

Clips and Stills

Fascinating article on the film of Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Which I have seen but found a little too sweet for my taste. I vastly prefer the book.

Jessie Tarbox, photographer of New York in the early twentieth century.

Last Thoughts

A Pencil That Lets You Use It Until The End of Its Lead, leaving you with a stub of wood that you can do nothing with.

Another gem from Is Monsterful, and this … I have no idea. Just follow the whole thing.

A Life-Preserving Coffin in Doubtful Cases of Death

Things I read on the internet 10/2/2014


Publishers Taylor and Francis have made a bundle of articles entitled Gothic Origins free to view online until the end of March. Also, and almost more interesting, they are downloadable too.

People Writing About Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Weird

Paul Kincaid writes about Boon, a little-read but much-cited novel by H.G. Wells.

Tom Pollock talks about Keeping It Real in a passionately argued piece.

Steve Rasnic Tem on Southern Gothic and the Appalachian Weird

World SF

Islam and Science Fiction is currently running a series on Pakistani SF

Urban Studies

Geographically correct subway maps

Clips and Stills

The Importance of Winston T Zeddemore in Ghostbusters.

First aerial photograph of Lower Manhattan

Salvador Dali’s last Film: Impressions of Mongolia (the search for a giant hallucinogenic mushroom

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, with narration by Orson Welles

Visual Static

R. Crumb illustrates Philip K. Dick’s religious experiences

Saint-Exupery’s original watercolours for The Little Prince

Paper Studies

I’d feel a lot better about my book-buying habit if I could use the packaging in my garden.

Dept of Wait! What?

Scientists strap fake tails to chickens to figure out how T Rex walked. I think the moral of this is, don’t keep chickens, ever.

Fifty Shades of Wrongness

Five Things To Consider About Science Fiction by Steve Davidson. I don’t even know where to start with this piece, which seems to boil down to ‘guys, you just don’t understand’. On the basis of some of this, no, I don’t think I do, and I’m not sure I want to.

Nine Amazing Books That Feature Magic Realism – only part of that heading is accurate.

Archaelogical Digs

Virginia Woolf visits Stonehenge

Last Thoughts

The Periodic Table of Storytelling – not because I necessarily agree with it but because I like periodic tables.

I would dispute whether The Dreadnought Hoax is the greatest hoax in history, but it’s an interesting one.

Ghosts of a Parisian apartment frozen in time

The Secret Lives of Action Figures in Imaginary Everyday Scenarios

Things I read on the internet – week ending 26/1/2014

Theory and Practice

12 Fundamentals of writing “the Other”(and the self). From D J Older, co-editor of the forthcoming Long Hidden anthology

Adam Roberts revisits a previous blog article about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, adds current thoughts.

The first in a new series from Alex Dally MacFarlane on Post-Binary Gender in SF

‘”I love your work, Jonathan,” she told Franzen, “but in a way you are smeared by English American literature … I think certain American literature is overrated, massively overrated, and I really hate to read them,” she said.’ Xiaolu Guo at the Jaipur Literary Festival.

A sort-of-follow-up from Philip Hensher, which strikes me as trying to acknowledge and dodge the point all at the same time.


The Fantastic Foresight of Katherine MacLean by Andrew Liptak (Kirkus Reviews)


The shortlists for the Kitschies 2013 have now been announced, along with some special mentions.

Newly Published

International Speculative Fiction no. 5 is now available

One for the Diary

Comics Unmasked. Forthcoming exhibition at the British Library. And more information via the Forbidden Planet blog.


Oddly mesmerising evil brain from outer space

Things I read on the internet – week ending 18/1/2014

Russell Hoban – The Mouse and His Child: moving metaphysics for kids

George Orwell explains in a revealing 1944 letter why he’d write 1984

In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Andrea Hairston reviews Paradoxa 25, Africa SF, ed. Mark Bould

Paul Kincaid discusses Frankenstein and Sherlock Holmes at Big Other.

And to go with it, Lynd Ward’s illustrations for Frankenstein, courtesy of John Coulthart at [feuilleton].

Also via John Coulthart, a link to a performance of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach.

Republic of the Moon is an arts project currently ensconced at the Barge House, Oxo Tower Wharf in London. One component of this exhibition takes as its inspiration Francis Godwin’s The Man in the Moone, in which, famously, a traveller goes to the moon in a vehicle drawn by geese. There is more information about Agnes Meyer-Brandis’s work here.

I have a rather odd interest in the inappropriate use of dangerous substances. I swear I once saw an advert for radium toothpaste, and I try not to think about what was in the paint on the toys I chewed as a child. So, radioactive toys (which is not entirely as awful as it sounds).

The latest instalment of ‘which European nation really got to Australia first’ features a rather adorable kangaroo. It’s almost too good to be true, it looks so convincing.

Long-time readers of this blog will know I have a thing about paper sculpture. Here, a model of Smaug emerging from The Hobbit.

A new biography of Tove Jansson, author of the Moomin books.

Orson Welles’ film of Kafka’s The Trial

Jeff Wayne and David Essex: how we made War of the Worlds (and I bet, if you’re of a certain age, the chords are all crashing through your brain)

Extraordinary black and white photos of superstorms.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s own Alice illustrations

Via kuriositas, a French sea serpent

2013 Philip K Dick Award nominees announced

And finally, John Coulthard (who seems to be taking up residence here this week) has a nice post on [feuilleton] about illustrations for The Angel of the Revolution by George Griffiths.

Things I read on the internet: almost end of year edition

Paper Knife staggers, blinking, into its fourth year of existence (it celebrated its third birthday on December 28th). Yes, I’m also quite surprised I’ve kept it going this long. At present, I’ve no idea what 2014 will bring in terms of blogging. Unlike many of my blogging colleagues, I tend not to make plans but just roll with it. Consequently, my head is full of long, complicated and not easily articulated thoughts about lists, reviews, fan service, publisher service, and so on, which never quite make it to print. In 2014, I hope they will.

I have to admit too to a sense of disappointment with the blog at times. I started it in order to engage with a community I thought existed. Unsurprisingly, insofar as it does exist, if it does exist, it is a community that reads rather than comments (and here I’m as guilty as the next person) so the hoped-for discussion didn’t happen. Instead, I’ve sometimes felt more as though I’m performing to an empty auditorium, refusing to take the hint that it’s time to get offstage and do something else.

Yet still I keep going, even if I am apparently doing it all wrong. I don’t actively court publishers as some bloggers seem to; I don’t particularly care about spoilers, unless I am discussing something very recent. I couldn’t give a toss about cover reveals, nor do I squee or take in blog tourists (I might, but I’ve not yet seen a book I wanted to promote in that way). I write too much, about the wrong books, and I’m always late to the newest controversy. It has been intimated that I am putting people off by being «cough» a little too academic in my approach. Oh yeah, and it’s a rare month that goes by without someone loudly proclaiming the death of blogs … usually on their blog, and without a trace of irony as they do so. (Moments like this, I love the internet.)

Whether any of that is true or not, so be it. Coming into my fourth year of blogging I see myself now as scratching away on my patch of dirt, producing a crop of some sort, keeping myself mentally sustained, and if people want to read too, that’s fine. If I have any kind of resolution for 2014 it’s to be more regular in my reading and writing habits, but we shan’t know if I managed that until 2015, shall we?

The one big change I’ve made lately is to move to WordPress. The entire archive is now here, though I’ll also leave it on Blogspot. It’s taken an age to clean up the html: there are still odd glitches that need sorting out and I have to do some work on the website end of things, but basically, this is where Paper Knife now lives.

In the meantime, have some links … because what is the internet for if not the clicky stuff?


The New Yorker’s Tim Kreider wondered if Kim Stanley Robinson might be ‘Our Greatest Political Novelist‘.

Meanwhile, The Economist promoted the work of Ted Chiang but also produced a deeply wrongheaded piece on how 2014 would see more science-fictional ‘cheering tales‘ (though I personally predict increased sales of sick bags if they publish much more of this nonsense).

It being Christmas, and Christmas being a time for ghost stories (as though the other 364 days of the year weren’t), here’s an article from the tor.com website, in which Grady Hendrix surveys the work of some women ghost-story writers.

Andrew Liptak discusses the work of Francis Stevens, possibly the first professional female pulp writer.

And here is a letter to a fan from Tove Jansson

Will Wiles on creepypasta


London’s lost pneumatic dispatch railway

Things I Read on the Internet

30th November 2013

“Science fiction is not escapist literature” – Europa SF

Another view of the V&A installation, Memory Palace

Hari Kunzru interview about Memory Palace

And the Victoria and Albert Museum’s own web page about the installation

A fascinating piece by Scott Lazerus at the Worlds Without End blog, discussing Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife and the Beginnings of Urban Fantasy

Storified twitter chat about language and the postcolonial in sf and fantasy, courtesy of Fabio Fernandes.

Bridging the Gaps III – 20th May 2013

Stuff that caught my attention on the internet.

Yet more contributions to the ongoing discussion about the ‘exhaustion of sf’, this time from Karen Burnham, at Locus and a response from Jonathan McCalmont

Submissions for the 2013 Kitschies are now open and the judges have been announced.

Still not quite sure why John Gray was talking about Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels on Radio 4 last week, but he was, and this is a transcript of the broadcast.

“To celebrate the release of [The Aylesford Skull, James] Blaylock has put together a list of forgotten or ignored works of literature that have inspired his own writing, and should be must-reads for anyone interested in science fiction or the fantastic.” Ignore the overly prescriptive title: the selection of titles, however, is well worth checking out.

New story from Steven Millhauser in the New Yorker: Thirteen Wives

From David M Barnett, in the Guardian, When Horror Stopped Being Supernatural

From LARB, Science Fiction in China: An Interview with Fei Dao

Trade Tokens #4 – Week Ending 22/1/11

Running late this week, but nonetheless, here’s a round-up of things I found on the internet that I wanted to share.

The Politics of (Science) Fiction
Last week, I noted that Dreams and Speculations would be running a book club in 2011, encouraging people to read more sf by women. Hot on the heels of this comes a series of similar initiatives. At Torque Control, Shana Worthen has instituted Reading Future Classics by Women, beginning with Gwyneth Jones’s Bold As Love in February. Martin Lewis, Vector reviews editor, will be reading and reviewing an sf novel written by a woman every month in 2011. Ian Sales is carrying out a similar reading challenge. I shall be aiming to join in wherever possible.

Elif Shafak talks about the politics of fiction. I’m slightly late to the party on this one but it is worth seeing. It’s too easy to think of fiction, writing in general, as something disposable. There are repercussions. There are always repercussions.

And I can’t resist setting it against this link to Jorge Luis Borges’ 1967 Harvard lecture, ‘The Riddle of Poetry’. I realised, when I started listening to this, that I hadn’t, so far as I could recall, ever heard a recording of Borges before. His voice was not quite what I had expected.

The Library of Babel
An interesting piece from The Paris Review, with a lot of links to writers writing about their libraries. I have also tracked down an online copy of the Walter Benjamin essay, Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting. As it happens, I’m currently listening to a rather good Radio 3 play about Montaigne, Living With Princes, and it has obligingly just referred to his description of his library. Roger Allam plays Michel de Montaigne. Well worth listening to (and you have another seven days to do so).

Department of Dereliction
Not so much dereliction this time as using/reusing space in imaginative ways, this time for the raising of food. Via the ever-interesting Building Blog, I give you Spaces of Food, in particular The Mushroom Tunnel of Mittagong (which, oddly, reminds me of the rhubarb sheds of northern England where, allegedly, you can hear the sound of rhubarb leaves breaking free of the soil – imagine). Check out the other links, in particular the Betel Nut Beauties, pictures of betel-nut shacks.

Also, an explanation of why the ‘tiny house’ movement is not quite what it seems to be. Given I hadn’t even realise there was a tiny house movement until I read this piece, I found this fascinating. Also, I like elbow room. Ultimate elbow room would be the city under the ice, in Greenland, detailed in Project Iceworm, via the ever-wonderful Building Blog.

And I suspect this doesn’t really fit under ‘dereliction’ either: it’s the Palais Ideal built by Ferdinand Cheval, a French postman who was inspired by a particular rock he found to devote his spare time to building this extraordinary structure. Naive art? Outsider art? More and more, I find these terms unsatisfactory, other than to indicate that someone worked outside the formal structures that say what a building should and shouldn’t be. Unfettered creativity, perhaps, would be a better term.

Light Box
More photos from the New York Times’ photoblog, Lens. These are by Dima Gavrysh and document the coffeehouses around the area where he lives in NYC. I like them in part because of the warmth of the colours, not to mention the unusual angles on coffeehouse activities, and in part because I am pining for the coffeehouses of NYC and the West Coast.

This is a bit of an oddity. A man in New York found a roll of film in Prospect Park during the recent blizzards. He’s now trying to find the person who took the photos.

Book Art
This time, it’s book origami. Half of me resists the notion of doing things to books; the other half of me knows perfectly well that the book is far from being a sacred object.

And finally, in the Department of Refraining From Comment I give you Yvette Marie Dostatni, who photographs the attendees at US conventions of all sorts.

Trade Tokens #3 – Week ending 15/1/11

This week’s round-up of nifty things I found on the internet.

A Call for Papers for a forthcoming conference, Current Research in Speculative Fictions, or, “A Vampire, a Troll, and a Martian Walk Into a Bar….” University of Liverpool.
Keynote Lectures from: Professor Adam Roberts and Andy Sawyer (Science Fiction Foundation Collection Librarian; Director of MA in Science Fiction Studies, University of Liverpool).

CRSF is a postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror. For full details, go to Glyn Morgan’s blog, The Gutterbound Stargazer, here.

Also, from Jason Ellis at Dynamic Subspace, news of a forthcoming publication, The Postnational Fantasy: Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics, and Science Fiction, which he has co-edited with Masood Ashraf Raja and Swaralipi Nandi.

Science Fiction in its infinite variety:
Sam Jordison continues blogging Hugo Winners of the past on the Guardian website, in his Back To The Hugos series. This time it’s Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves. I suspect I may have read this either as an adolescent or in my early twenties, as I know I worked my way through a fair amount of Asimov at one point, but it made no impression on me, and to be honest, Jordison hasn’t convinced me I want to revisit it any time soon.

Back at the beginning of December, 2010, on Torque Control, Niall Harrison launched a week of posts focusing on women in sf, the result of comments made by Tricia Sullivan about the proportion of Clarke Awards going to women in recent years. There is a round-up of various posts here. I didn’t participate much as I was busy emerging from the chrysalis of an MA dissertation to become a Ph.D student at the time but I aim to redress the balance somewhat this year, not least by flagging up interesting posts, such as this one by Abigail Nussbaum, on Joanna Russ, and by drawing attention to the Dreams and Speculations 2011 book club, which will be focusing on work by women writers. Also, Gwyneth Jones’ new collection of short fiction, The Universe of Things is now available from Aqueduct Press.

Given that Ursula Le Guin is one of the first female sf writers I consciously remember reading, I should also note that Paul Kincaid has a review at Strange Horizons of 80! Memories and Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and Debbie Notkin.

And just to complete the circle, Niall has recently become editor-in-chief at Strange Horizons, and has started to breathe new life into their blog.

Still thinking about awards and genre and suchlike, Adam Roberts has been Crunching the Booker Numbers, demonstrating that it is, rather as I think we all knew but the judges and organisers never quite bring themselves to admit, a genre award, the genre being ‘twentieth-century/contemporary literary fiction’.

The first conversation Paul Kincaid and I ever had was about Russell Hoban, in particular about Turtle Diary, which I had just read, after seeing the film, and The Mouse and His Child, an old favourite.( I’d seen Hoban interviewed by Paul at the first Mexicon, in 1984, where, during the course of the interview, Hoban had suddenly produced the clockwork toy, to the delight of the audience). Still a fan of his work, Paul writes about Russell Hoban’s recent novels over at the group blog, Big Other.

Meanwhile, Lavie Tidhar has been having way too much fun with The Science Fiction Dictionary of New Criticism. We agree that one or two of the terms, like ‘time-anchoring’, or ‘fantasoap’, might actually be useful.

As you may have gathered by now, I like old photographs, and I particularly like old photos of US cities and landscapes. I usually get my old-photo fix at Shorpy Photo Archive but I was interested to come across this illustrated article on the New York Times photo blog, about a hitherto unknown street photographer called Vivian Maier who photographed mainly New York and Chicago from the 1950s onwards. Oddly, she never saw a lot of her own photographs as she left many reels of film undeveloped. I am especially charmed by slide 4.

I also like modern photos of industrial landscapes, and was interested in these photos by Nathan Harger, on the Paris Review website. I like the way the photos seem to be reducing objects to bleached-out skeletons.  I also like his piece, Holding Patterns

Book Art:
I hadn’t anticipated this being a regular section but Jonathan Safran Foer, in collaboration with experts in die cutting, has been messing around with Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles to produce a new ‘found’ story, Tree of Codes (though I must admit I got as much pleasure from the way in which, having clicked through to the initial piece, I found myself tunnelling into the Guardian website to read Michel Faber’s review of the book, and then Safran Foer’s origina article on the book).

Things that don’t fit anywhere else:
A nifty film about Jorge Luis Borges
The First Mystery Novelist? His identity revealed here.

And the ever-present Paul Kincaid happens to have been blogging on crime novels and John Banville today.
Boredom is not a thing I suffer from, but then, I’m not sure this conference was really about boredom either.