Weekend Reading - 6/11/2010

Two great articles from Lev Grossman this outing.

First he talks about the persistant question does he write fantasy or literary fiction or what? in which he explores the meaning of genre and concludes that he doesn't understand the question, but if he had to he would come down on the side of fantasy.

In a related and much more in depth article in The Believer Grossman talks about Leonard Wolfe and the man who he sees as his uncanny doppelgänger, turning the two into metaphores for the rise of "literary fiction" and "fantasy" as distinct genres in the early twentieth century.

io9 has the most comprehensive treatment I've seen yet of the history of alternate history fiction.

Matt Cheney reviews the kind of Science Fiction/Fantasy book that you can give to people who don't read Science Fiction and Fantasy: Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death

Small Beer Press is bringing back into print Ted Chiang's seminal collection Stories of Your Life. Ted Chiang is a strange author, since 1990 he's published only 11 stories but almost every one of them has won awards and raked in plaudits. He is an example of a writer who fine tunes every story until they're diamond sharp.

While I'm pimping Small Beer (owned by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link, who I have said is the greatest short story writer working today) they are also bringing into print for the first time in English A Life on Paper by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, a French master whose work reads like Kafka and Borges. The page also contains links to several of his stories reprinted online, which are wonderful.

Charles Stross on using the iPad as a writing device.

In non-literary stuff: Michael Chabon on how Jews can be boneheaded too!

And finally FICTION TIME!

"The Days of Flaming Motorcycles" by Catherynne M Valente opens with the line "To tell you the truth, my father wasn’t really that much different after he became a zombie."