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Links 1 through 10 of 188 by Shaun Green tagged fiction

‘Deep down I’m very shallow,’ Reacher says, and Martin’s jeu d’esprit gives a pretty good snapshot of the skills and temperament required to walk the line between clever and stupid with such aplomb. Child has lots of the right wounds for a big-name novelist – a life-threatening illness in childhood, a sense of class displacement from his time at grammar school – and brings them up in the tones of someone who’s been interviewed many, many times. But in the throes of the writing process he displays a wider range of moods. ‘The character does not exist,’ he snaps at one point. ‘It’s just a way of mediating the wants of the reader.’ Elsewhere it’s more a case of Reacher, c’est moi. ‘I know what people want,’ he says indignantly when his publishers query his choice of title. ‘I am people.’ Of his work living on, he says: ‘Ha! It’s all moonshine. As soon as I stop writing the front list, the back list will curl up and die.’ There are also some sideswipes at David Baldacci, the writer of a knock-off series starring a beefy military cop called John Puller. Reacher has already had his say, ambushing a thug called Baldacci in an aeroplane toilet and breaking both his arms. After the plane has landed Reacher helps him to his feet: ‘It seemed the least he could do.’

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"Solarpunk rejects the idea that because something is dark or pessimistic, it’s more meaningful. Just because a story has a devastating ending doesn’t make it somehow more profound as an art form. Just because something is optimistic doesn’t make it silly or trite. Hope is not something to be scoffed at. It’s the only thing that will keep the world functioning." Optimistic SF cycles round again.

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It is probably not immediately obvious what interest a new theoretical study of science fiction holds for the mainstream adepts of literary theory; and no doubt it is just as perplexing to SF scholars, for whom this particular subgenre of the subgenre, the time-travel narrative, is as exceptional among and uncharacteristic of their major texts as SF itself is with regard to official Literature. To be sure, so-called alternative or counterfactual histories have gained popularity and a certain respectability; my personal favourite is Terry Bisson’s Fire on the Mountain, in which John Brown’s raid succeeds and a black socialist republic emerges in the South, as prosperous and superior in relation to its shrunken rust-belt northern neighbour as West Germany was to the East in the old days.

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The quotes above are from a person Mixon identified as a victim of Requires Hate, expressing her horror at the actions of Mixon and her associates. When the people you claim to defend condemn your actions in the harshest of words, reasonable people listen. It is my hope that my essay will help the people involved understand why that person is just as is disgusted by the actions of many people now attacking RH as she was from RH’s actions in the past.

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I didn’t take it seriously when she told me. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked, over mac and cheese and broccoli. It was the only way I could get her to eat vegetables — slathered in sauce until the green was a distant concern.  “I want to go to space,” she said.  “A pilot,” I said. “Cool. You know, your great-aunt was a pilot. She took tourists up and down.” “No,” she said. “I want to be an Explorer.”

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Cool single-sentence story by Nick Mamatas. Assassins, trauma, connectivity, confluence, conglomeration, change, collapse.

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I have to talk to you about the man we saw, the man in the dusty hat. I know you remember.

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Good short story by Tom Piccirilli.

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What does it take for a person in 2015 to be the same person as she was in 1995 and will be in 2035? This is the question of personal identity, a question about persistence through time, or ‘diachronic’ identity. It seems enough at first to say that the person is the same in 2015 as in 1995 and in 2035 just so long as she is the same living human animal, the same biological organism (same passport, same national insurance number, same DNA). This is enough for the passport office, HMRC and those philosophers of personal identity who are called ‘animalists’ (notably Paul Snowdon and Eric Olson). But the concept of a person contains pressures that push us to say different things. We have for example to consider diseases that radically alter personality.

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I am not a fan of the advice that beginning writers should write short fiction before they tackle a novel. The plain fact is that many aspiring writers don't read short fiction, don't like short fiction, and don't have any ideas for short stories, so it's a waste of their time to try to develop the habit, cultivate the taste, and come up with ideas they're not organically interested in.

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