In our weekend reading: an interview with Dennis Cooper, new writing from Shya Scanlon, and more.
by Shya Scanlon
Paul couldn’t remember whether The Idea had come to him as a result of reading The Suffering of Young Werther, or whether he’d been driven back to that book because of The Idea. In the end, he thought, it wouldn’t really matter. Once The Idea had settled in, everything else seemed to bend toward it, not so much causally as aesthetically, like a flame bends toward a finger. Anyway, Paul wasn’t alone. Death was trending, death of any kind, as was talk of the so-called fourth wave whose symptoms would not be physical. The Twitter account @normalade had made The Idea its whole brand by keeping alive a running question: would the posts suddenly stop? But this sad person’s frank openness made Paul doubt normalade’s family had much to worry about. If you were serious you shut the fuck up.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
Afternoon Bites: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jessica Hopper Interviewed, Two Lines Press, B. Catling, and More
In our afternoon reading: news from the PEN World Voices Festival, interviews with Jessica Hopper and B. Catling, a look inside Two Lines Press, and more.
The fact that this month’s list is larger than usual is but one indication that May looks to be an especially strong month for books. The works we’re most excited about span a variety of styles and genres, from essential writing about books and music to reissues of underrated works of fiction and nonfiction. Whether your tastes run towards the classical or the experimental, there’s a lot to enjoy; that the onset of spring means that you can do so […]
The Guild of Saint Cooper by Shya Scanlon Dzanc Books; 350 p. As an alternative teenager in 1990 I was friends with many people obsessed with the TV show Twin Peaks. I could see that it was cool, but I found it baffling, not in the right way. The Kyle MacLachlan character in his dark suit was handsome, strange, an outsider, and vibrating with something that looked romantically like misery—and the actor had been Paul Atreides in Dune, my God, […]
If your taste in books favors ravaged landscapes, troubling futures, and oft-unsettling commentary on society, it’s a good time to be a reader. And as dystopian fiction goes through more and more permutations, we wanted to get some of our favorite writers together to discuss it. This panel will explore the current wave of dystopian fiction, how it mixes with other genres, where it’s going, and what it says about literature and society in general. Our panel will consist of: […]
Review by Tobias Carroll Shya Scanlon Forecast Flatmancrooked; 273 p. It’s been a good year for encounters with emotional technology in weird fiction. Last fall, Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe gave the reader a time machine powered by sadness; now, Shya Scanlon’s Forecast predicts a future in which houses, cars, and civic centers will be powered by the aftereffects of strong emotions. That technology has a fairly strong thematic role in the novel — […]