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June 28, 2021
[moore] The Craft: An Interview with Alan Moore by Daniel Whiston … Long interview on writing, comics, magic and much more from 2008. ‘There does come this point when characters start talking to you. They’ll start telling you what they want to do, you’ll know what they would say and what they wouldn’t say. I mean when I started writing Watchmen , I’d got no idea that Rorschach was gonna be dead by the end of it, it was just by about issue three I started to know the character and I thought: “he’s got a death wish”… he’s so self-destructive, he’s clearly… he wants out. There’s no way that he’s gonna live through this, he wouldn’t be able to live with any sort of moral compromises, so he’ll have to die. But it was the character himself who told me that, after two or three issues. I’d got no idea when I started it.’
June 22, 2021
[books] Douglas Coupland on Generation X at 30: ‘Generational trashing is eternal’‘This discussion of brains and generations is important because around 2010 my own brain started feeling truly different. I realised that I was never going to go back to my old, pre-internet brain: I’d been completely rewired. Ten years later I don’t even remember what my pre-internet brain felt like. I find comfort in the fact that brains all over the planet have been rewired similarly to mine. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that our species has never been as neurally homogenised as it is now.’
June 21, 2021
[people] Be Glad You’re Neurotic Contents … Amusing book contents spotted via Twitter. ‘Your Compulsions Are Calls For Help’

June 17, 2021
[politics] Vladimir Putin’s most unforgettable quotes. … Vladimir Putin used a Tolstoy quote after meeting Joe Biden yesterday: ‘At the press conference after the meeting, a journalist asked Putin whether the summit had helped build trust between the two men. In response, he turned mysterious. Putin quoted Russian writer Leo Tolstoy: “There’s no happiness in life, only a mirage of it on the horizon.” Putin clarified that there is no “family trust” between Biden and him, but he has seen the “mirage” of it.’
June 15, 2021
[gonzo] The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Board Game, Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s Rollicking Novel … An amusing art project / board game that should come with a health warning. ‘Baldwin’s game is not to be taken seriously…or taken orally. It’s actually a one-of-its-kind piece of art that can be purchased for $3,500. Drugs, like batteries, are not included. You must supply your own, possibly through your attorney.’

Hunter's Case

June 14, 2021
[books] Review: Malcolm Gladwell’s New Book Is a Fantasy of War From the Air … A scathing review of Gladwell’s book The Bomber Mafia. ‘The Bomber Mafia is adapted from an audiobook, which means that what sounds conversational and engaging on tape can sound garrulous on the page, but it also allows Gladwell to telegraph his breathless fascination with these men. “I worry that I haven’t fully explained just how radical—how revolutionary—the Bomber Mafia thinking was,” he says at one point, before launching on a long digression about chapel architecture.’
May 14, 2021
[books] Today I Learned: The 422 Words That Shakespeare Invented‘Compiling a definitive list of every word that Shakespeare ever invented is impossible. But creating a list of the words that Shakespeare almost certainly invented can be done. We generated list of words below by starting with the words that Shakespeare was the first to use in written language, and then applying research that has identified which words were probably in everyday use during Shakespeare’s time. The result are 422 bona fide words minted, coined, and invented by Shakespeare, from “academe” to “zany”…’
May 4, 2021
[books] ‘I’m bursting with fiction’: Alan Moore announces five-volume fantasy epic … Alan Moore comments on his new series of books. ‘Speaking about his book deal, Moore said that he was at a moment in his career when he was “bursting with fiction, bursting with prose”.’
April 29, 2021
[books] Illuminations, Long London 1: books are coming… More details revealed about Alan Moore’s new books to be published by Bloomsbury. ‘Illuminations is an astonishing, rich and broad collection of short stories, each featuring some kind of illumination or realization. From ghosts and otherworldly creatures to the four horsemen of the apocalypse to the Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang, Alan Moore’s Illuminations is a series of beguiling and elegantly crafted tales that reveal the full power of imagination and magic.’
April 28, 2021
[books] Literary Critics Praise Unpublished Salinger Novels As Good, But Not ‘Go Out And Shoot A Celebrity’ Good‘Unfortunately, would-be assassins will likely find that the novel’s tendency towards the maudlin and a muddled narrative fail to evoke the passion required to take down a singer or presidential candidate.’
March 9, 2021
[moore] The Bookseller teases Illuminations and Long London – new books from Alan Moore‘Wills recently signed the bearded comics legend Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell, among other landmark works. Moore has never had an agent, and given his famous public disagreements with filmmakers on how they have adapted his stories, perhaps he should have. At any rate, Moore has written some prose works—a collection of short stories and Long London, a series of speculative novels—which at this writing Wills is auctioning in the UK.’
March 1, 2021
[books] The Culture War: Iain M. Banks’s Billionaire Fans … Why do Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk love Bank’s Culture novels so much? ‘And this is ultimately the challenge of attempting to base your own real world plans and aspirations on fiction: reality is rarely so straightforward. The Culture has a great deal of qualities that we lack, or regrettably possess—they’re less vicious, more thoughtful, and just overall more pleasant. Banks created an ideological playground by waving a wand and removing the trickiest barrier to any utopia: basic human shittiness.’
February 2, 2021
[comics] The Old Gods Died… Michael Chabon discusses Jack Kirby with Abraham Riesman. ‘Darkseid is pure evil. He has no virtues. The world seemed like a dark place to Jack Kirby because of how he grew up, in poverty and fighting a lot and having to be a scrapper, and then serving in World War II. By all accounts, the little I’ve read, it seems like he was … I mean, I can’t make a diagnosis. It would not surprise me if he had some post-traumatic stress consequences, given the little I know about what he saw and did, serving under Patton in World War II. He had this really dark, almost nihilistic vision, and it gets increasingly so as he worked through the ’70s. I think I absorbed some of that.’
December 3, 2020
[movies] Misery at 30: a terrifying look at the toxicity of fandom … A look back at one of the best adaptions of a Stephen King novel. ‘Misery was different. In placing a bizarrely childish, mad spinster in the spotlight, it had more in common with the campy Grande Dame Guignol movies of the 60s and 70s than it did with the sleek, sleazy chillers popular at the time. Grandmothers aren’t supposed to be killers, yet the knife-wielding biddies of hagsploitation cinema proved otherwise. Likewise Annie, a virginal nerd who refuses to swear, shoots a bullet through a sheriff’s belly and smashes Paul’s ankles with two strokes of a hammer without ever blinking an eye. Thirty years on, Misery’s gleefully demented union of innocence and brutality still captivates…’
October 22, 2020
[books] Alan Moore’s Book Recommendations … A wide-ranging book list compiled from a number of interviews over the years.
July 9, 2020
[covid] The Coronavirus and Our Future … Kim Stanley Robinson on the Coronavirus. ‘I’ve spent my life writing science-fiction novels that try to convey some of the strangeness of the future. But I was still shocked by how much had changed, and how quickly. Schools and borders had closed; the governor of California, like governors elsewhere, had asked residents to begin staying at home. But the change that struck me seemed more abstract and internal. It was a change in the way we were looking at things, and it is still ongoing. The virus is rewriting our imaginations. What felt impossible has become thinkable. We’re getting a different sense of our place in history. We know we’re entering a new world, a new era. We seem to be learning our way into a new structure of feeling.’
July 1, 2020
[books] We Can’t Ignore H.P. Lovecraft’s White Supremacy … Powerful look at Lovecraft’s racial bigotry, comparing with racism today. ‘But the need to “save” a man dubbed the “horror story’s dark and baroque prince” by Stephen King is itself questionable. His legacy is firmly planted. His cosmology sprawls from popular culture to niche corners of scholasticism. Complaints of a potentially tarnished reputation are more concerned with bolstering the illusion of Lovecraft as a sacrosanct figure. Even further, to divorce his racism from his literary creations would be a pyrrhic victory; what results is a whitewashed portrait of a profound writer. And from a criticism standpoint, what’s lost is any meaningful grappling with the connection between Lovecraft’s racism and the cosmic anti-humanism that defined his horror.’
June 5, 2020
[books] H.P Lovecraft on 1918’s pandemic – Spanish Flu … Some interesting snippets on Lovecraft’s view on the big pandemic of his time. ‘H. P. Lovecraft to Lillian D. Clark, 2 December 1925 – Influenza has not yet struck the east this winter, though it probably will before long. With freely accessible railways, one can’t segregate maladies of this sort nowadays. It’s odd, but despite all the repeated epidemics of the past decade, I’ve never had influenza. No doubt the gods are saving a deal of picturesque suffering for my very last days!’
May 18, 2020
[books] BusinessTown … Richard Scarry’s BusyTown updated for the 2020s.

BusinessTown - Frontline Medical Worker

May 13, 2020
[books] Best 250 Adventures of the 20th Century … Great list of Adventure books and comics. ‘Neil Gaiman’s occult fantasy comic The Sandman (1989–1996) …As he searches for his lost objects of power, Morpheus genre-hops — from myth to pulp fiction, and everywhere in-between. Also, Gaiman inserts pop culture and literary references and jokes into nearly every panel. It’s a dazzling display of high-lowbrow literary fandom… one leaving even the most well-read fan wishing for extensive, Chester Brown-esque footnotes… which, thankfully, are now available via annotated editions. Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, and others contributed appropriately eerie and amusing art, with lettering by Todd Klein and covers by Dave McKean.’
April 9, 2020
[books] Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You’re Stuck In A Stephen King Novel … Stephen King on the COVID-19. ‘He gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories. “I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ “A pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen,” King says. “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”‘
March 9, 2020
[disease] Fever dreams: did author Dean Koontz really predict coronavirus? … The Guardian has a look at fictional pandemics. ‘[Dean Koontz’s] novel The Eyes of Darkness made reference to a killer virus called “Wuhan-400” – eerily predicting the Chinese city where Covid-19 would emerge. But the similarities end there: Wuhan-400 is described as having a “kill‑rate” of 100%, developed in labs outside the city as the “perfect” biological weapon. An account with more similarities, also credited by some as predicting coronavirus, is found in the 2011 film Contagion, about a global pandemic that jumps from animals to humans and spreads arbitrarily around the globe. But when it comes to our suffering, we want something more than arbitrariness. We want it to mean something. This is evident in our stories about illness and disease…’
February 17, 2020
[books] Literary Alternatives to “Ghosting” at Parties‘EDGAR ALLAN POE-ING – Die in a gutter before the party starts, probably from consumption (with a hint of alcohol poisoning).’
January 16, 2020
[books] William Gibson: ‘I was losing a sense of how weird the real world was’ … Another interview with William Gibson. ‘One character suffers something we’ll all recognise – a “momentary pang of phonelessness”. And, hilariously, Agency prominently features a kickass combat drone – like a sort of R2D2-size Swiss Army deathknife, but the heroes have to spend the whole time lugging its battery pack and charger around after it. “That’s a part of my kit as well,” says Gibson, patting the smartphone resting on a spare battery pack by his coffee. “I don’t want people to forget about the charger. You’re lugging it around. You’d be lost without it.”’
December 12, 2019
[books] How William Gibson Keeps His Science Fiction Real … William Gibson profile. ‘Futurists he knew had begun talking about “the Singularity”—the moment when humanity is transformed completely by technology. Gibson didn’t buy it; he aimed to represent a “half-assed Singularity”—a world transforming dramatically but haphazardly. “It doesn’t feel to me that it’s in our nature to do anything perfectly,” he said’
November 27, 2019
[books] The 50 best nonfiction books of the past 25 years … Slate’s list of the best nonfiction. David Carr’s Night of the Gun: ‘For The Night of the Gun, Carr applied his reporter’s eye to his own story, digging into those lost years and uncovering painful and frightening truths about the man he was while in the throes of addiction. Released into a post–James Frey, post–JT LeRoy era when skeptics found memoir increasingly unreliable, Carr’s live-wire combination of autobiography and journalism explores not only the secrets of his own life but also the ways in which the stories we all tell ourselves evolve into the versions we can live with. The Night of the Gun makes plain how hard, and how necessary, it is to face the past with diligence and humility.’
October 21, 2019
[Funny] The first page of H.G. Wells’s novelisation of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds

War of the Worlds First Page

October 1, 2019
[books] The cult books that lost their cool … A list of books that have not aged well. ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, 1970 – So, yes, Jonathan Livingston Seagull really is a seagull, but he’s a seagull with aspirations, a non-conformist who yearns to soar above the flock and up into the heavens, just as the book itself conquered the bestseller charts back in the day. Its saccharine idealism isn’t made any more palatable by learning that Richard Nixon’s FBI director, L Patrick Gray, ordered all his staff to read it, and a 1973 movie adaptation, complete with Neil Diamond soundtrack, did it no favours either.’
August 27, 2019
[books] My Favorite Anti-Semite: H.P. Lovecraft … A well-written attempt to square the circle of being a Jewish HPL fan whilst dealing with his prejudices and bigotry. ‘Why did he at once obsess over spreading Jewish influence in the media and then encourage and enable young Jewish authors? Why did a man who believed in the evils of Aryan “mongrelization” marry a Jewish woman? If he believed that the only good Jew was an assimilated Jew, why did he admire the traditional Jewish imagination? I have no answers. Like so much of the forbidden knowledge and alien monsters that fill Lovecraft’s stories, bigotry is by its nature irrational, contradictory, and more than a little insane. His anti-Semitism seems illogical because it was illogical, the product of personal factors and frustrations about which we can but speculate.’
August 23, 2019
[king] The best Stephen King movies … ranked!‘Carrie (1976) -It didn’t take long for Hollywood to realise the prolific King was the equivalent of discovering a new oil field when it came to horror movies: his debut novel was in cinemas within two years of publication. Brian De Palma turned King’s tale of horrendous high-school bullying and psychokinetic wrath into something like a high-school heist movie, with mean girl Nancy Allen patiently plotting disproportionate revenge against Sissy Spacek’s browbeaten, willowy wallflower. Despite the 2013 remake, De Palma’s bloody blowout remains the definitive version.’
August 19, 2019
[books] Go Look: Stephen King signing Christine the at Forbidden Planet bookstore in 1983.
July 18, 2019
[apollo] Apollo 11 Landing: Norman Mailer’s Loony Account … Norman Mailer on Apollo 11. ‘This is the glory of Of a Fire on the Moon—the fidelity of Aquarius to his apprehensions; his space-operatic heebie-jeebies; his perverse, obsessive sense that under the achievement, something is dying. Plenty of people regarded the moonshot as a monstrous misallocation of resources. Aquarius alone—or alone in mass-market magazines—was ready to declare it a metaphysical catastrophe. In his stagy rhetoric, his mangled-by-moonbeams prose, he laments the lunar trespass by “strange, plasticized, half-communicating Americans,” and what it portends down here on Earth. Apollo’s success, he declares, “set electronic engineers and computer programs to dreaming of ways to attack the problems of society as well as they had attacked the problems of putting men on the moon.” Horrific prospect.’
July 2, 2019
[books] Occult Connections: The Strange Case of Ian Fleming, World War II, and Aleister Crowley … A fascinating conspiracy theory that reads like a chapter of Moore and O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. ‘[Rudolf] Hess took off in an airplane at 17:45 on May 10, 1941. His intended target was the Duke of Hamilton, whom Hess incorrectly believed was opposed to British involvement in the war. Captured by a Home Guard unit near Eaglesham, Hess was soon made a prisoner of war and was interrogated for further information about his failed mission. At this point, Lieutenant Commander Fleming and the spymaster Maxwell Knight, who is reportedly the inspiration for M in Fleming’s later novels, supposedly concocted a plan that would involve Crowley as an interrogator. Fleming and Knight believed that Crowley could easily exploit Hess’s interest in the occult for Great Britain’s advantage. The plan is believed to have been scrapped by higher ups, but that doesn’t mean that Crowley and Hess did not cross paths. Rumor has it that Crowley, who was known for cooking his guests spicy curries laced with drugs, was the cook responsible for Hess’s many food complaints while under captivity in Scotland.’
June 5, 2019
[books] Since so many of you asked, I’m the guy who’s spent the last 6 years reading NOTHING but science fiction. Here’s my top 15 list‘The Forever War (Joe Haldeman) – I believe this was the first military sci-fi book I read. I didn’t know much about military sci-fi and was doubtful that I would like it, especially since it sounded like a parallel of the Vietnam War. Again, dead wrong. This book has a lot to say, and it says it extremely eloquently. Humanity is in an interstellar war against the Taurens, and the soldiers who visit home (because of time dilation) visit after huge periods of time, so it’s a good take on where humanity will be in 500, 1000, and 10000 years from now. Again, this one was hard to put down.’
June 3, 2019
[books] James Ellroy says film adaptation of LA Confidential was ‘as deep as a tortilla’“Whether you like it or not, I live in the past,” he said. As far as he was concerned, history ended – as did his 2009 book Blood’s a Rover – in May 1972. He was only interested in what came before. “That is the period of my emotional and intellectual curiosity. Nothing after May of 72 vibrates my vindaloo.” He said he had always been the same. “In 1956, when I was eight years old, I alerted my mother to the fact that I believed that world war two was still going on.” It ended before he was born, she replied. “I didn’t believe her then, I don’t believe her now.”
May 16, 2019
[truecrime] The real story behind Harper Lee’s lost true crime book … An interesting look at one of Harper Lee’s unfinished books. ‘“He might not have believed in what he preached, he might not have believed in voodoo,” she once wrote, “but he had a profound and abiding belief in insurance.” In the course of her reporting, she turned up dozens upon dozens of insurance policies, all taken out by Maxwell, seemingly without the knowledge of the insured, with his home address as the correspondence address and naming himself as the beneficiary. The more she learned about the earlier deaths, the more convinced she became that at least five of them were murders, even though he had never been convicted of any of them.’
May 15, 2019
[books] A supposedly great article I’ll never read the same way again … A look at inaccuracies in the journalism of David Foster Wallace. ‘One accusation was made in 2011 by Wallace’s good friend Jonathan Franzen, who offhandedly accused Wallace of making up dialogue in his famous “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” piece. “Those things didn’t actually happen,” he told New Yorker editor David Remnick. “You notice he never published any nonfiction in your magazine.” Franzen seemed salty about it at the time, leading plenty of people to accuse him of levying a cheap shot, but probably not as salty as he should’ve been, knowing how famous his (admittedly dead) friend had gotten as a dogged truthteller by sort of making some of it up.’
May 9, 2019
[life] Mariko Aoki phenomenon … Do you have a urge to defecate after entering a bookshop? You are not alone! ‘Persons with a history of experiencing the Mariko Aoki phenomenon were described as having a “book bowel” tendency (Japanese: 書便派 sho’ben-ha) in Vol. 41 of Book Magazine.’
March 28, 2019
[books] A Definitive Ranking of Iain M. Banks’s Culture Novels‘Use of Weapons – It’s a dark, complex, unnerving, and deconstructive portrait of a character who, in any other writer’s hands, might have been sketched out as a straight-forward “galactic hero” archetype, winning the day with wits and a gun. While it’s often considered to be the high point of the series (and works hard to earn that title), the finicky nature of the narrative structure and some of the extreme sociopathy shown by heroes and villains alike make it much more than escapist reading. An amazing book, but an uncomfortable one.’
March 21, 2019
[morris] Was Thomas Kuhn Evil? … Nice overview of Errol Morris’ big problems with Thomas Kuhn. ‘Morris, who calls his philosophy “investigative realism,” writes, “I feel very strongly that, even though the world is unutterably insane, there is this idea—perhaps a hope—that we can reach outside of the insanity and find truth, find the world, find ourselves.” Kuhn, for all his faults, goaded Morris into writing a brilliant work of investigative realism.’
March 12, 2019
[movies] Why is pop culture obsessed with battles between good and evil? … An interesting look at why modern stories tend to be narratives about Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. ‘It’s no coincidence that good guy/bad guy movies, comic books and games have large, impassioned and volatile fandoms – even the word ‘fandom’ suggests the idea of a nation, or kingdom. What’s more, the moral physics of these stories about superheroes fighting the good fight, or battling to save the world, does not commend genuine empowerment. The one thing the good guys teach us is that people on the other team aren’t like us. In fact, they’re so bad, and the stakes are so high, that we have to forgive every transgression by our own team in order to win.’
January 10, 2019
[books] Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories … Written in 1928 by S.S. Van Dine. ‘A professional criminal must never be shouldered with the guilt of a crime in a detective story. Crimes by house-breakers and bandits are the province of the police department–not of authors and brilliant amateur detectives. Such crimes belong to the routine work of the Homicide Bureaus. A really fascinating crime is one committed by a pillar of a church, or a spinster noted for her charities.’
January 4, 2019
[books] Who Are the Forgotten Greats of Science Fiction? … interesting list of overlooked science fiction authors and their books of note. ‘Leigh Brackett (December 7, 1915–March 18, 1978) was lauded for her planetary adventures (she moved her Eric John Stark adventures to the extra-solar world Skaith when space probes rendered her pulp-era Solar System implausible) but that was only one aspect of her work. In addition to writing SF and mysteries, she was a successful script writer. Her credits include The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye, and an obscure little film called The Empire Strikes Back. Her planetary adventures tended to be long on action and short on clear moral boundaries. I am particularly fond of her post-apocalyptic The Long Tomorrow.’
December 3, 2018
[books] The Terrible Occult Detectives of the Victorian Era … Amusing look at fictional Occult Detectives. ‘Plagued by a haunted bladder, a phantom taste, or family suicide? Flaxman Low is there to instantly pin the blame on a bunch of Dianists, dead relatives who meddled with Eastern mysticism, or an African man hiding inside a cabinet and using glowing poisonous mushrooms to kill off the family. Then he explodes your house.’
November 28, 2018
[books] Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life Digested … a digested read from John Grace. ‘9. Assume the person you are listening to knows something you don’t – Just shut up, quit moaning and listen to me. I know things you don’t. So don’t expect me to listen to you. That’s not the way things work. I’m here to make you feel Better about Yourself by telling you things you already know in a way that makes you feel clever.’
October 12, 2018
[books] 100 Best Thrillers of All Time … long, varied book list with something for everyone. ‘Jaws by Peter Benchley – No one on this book’s editorial team, not even Benchley himself, thought a novel about a killer shark would resonate with readers. Benchley was criticized for the lack of characterization when it came to the human characters, but readers praised the intense scenes featuring Jaws himself. The novel’s inclusion in the Book of the Month Club captured the attention of Steven Spielberg, who turned it into the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time. Years later, Benchley expressed guilt over giving sharks a bad name, insisted Jaws was fiction, and became a passionate marine life conservationist.’
October 2, 2018
[moore] The Cardinal and the Corpse … Go watch this little-seen 1992 docudrama by Iain Sinclair & Chris Petit. Alan Moore appears as himself along with Derek Raymond, Michael Moorcock, Tony Lambrianou amongst others.

September 20, 2018
[books] The ‘Must Read’ Pile of Books You Haven’t Actually Read … collected from Book Shambles listeners. ‘Dune by Frank Herbert (I’ll be honest, couldn’t get into it myself).’
September 14, 2018
[magic] The Limits of Reason … Philip Pullman on magic. ‘My attitude to magical things is very much like that attributed to the great physicist Niels Bohr. Asked about the horseshoe that used to hang over the door to his laboratory, he’s claimed to have said that he didn’t believe it worked but he’d been told that it worked whether he believed in it or not.’
September 5, 2018
[lovecraft] H.P. Lovecraft stories: an intro to Cthulhu, Necronomicon, Dagon & more … good overview of Lovecraft’s world … ‘My personal favorite Lovecraft story, “The Whisperer in Darkness” (read here) features evil crab-aliens, mind control, and disembodied brains in a tale so gross and weird I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a hundred movies already.’