Reading List

No commentary, here, just a bit on reading, and what might be coming up.

I just started Feeling Very Strange (2006), an anthology of slipstream. As a concept, slipstream is apparently in the range of twenty years old or so. Samples of works that would fit into the concept apparently go back to the Dawn of Fiction, however. Essentially, so far as anyone–including the editors of the anthology–have worked out, slipstream is a style of writing where the author uses the tools of the craft to make the reader feel Very Strange. So, in that way, it’s more about effect than subject matter, and the editors place it more in a category with facets like humor and fear than in a category with facets like hard-SF or swords-and-sorcery.

I feel, having read all of the introduction and one story of fourteen in the anthology, as if one of my all-time favorite writers would probably fit under the slipstream umbrella. Steven Millhauser writes some of the creepiest books and stories I’ve ever read. I always get the feeling that there is something huge, and probably terrible, right around the corner of the reality his characters experience. It’s always there, and it affects things, but it never even peeps around the corner. I find it all quite unsettling and exhilarating in a reading-a-book sort of way.

Also, I just came across this post, where some real scientists talk with Annalee Newitz from the Mad Science blog at io9 about some science fiction they think does the science in their own fields pretty OK. It includes books and movies, many of which I haven’t heard of. So they’re on the reading list by reference rather than by typing.

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