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Another novel identiying question

Once again, I can't remember the name of a book I read a while back. I read it in 2006. I remember the plot pretty well but I'm unsuccessful with Google. The protagonist is a woman, age 30, and her employer has just died. She's extremely tall, which is a pretty important part of the story, I think. [more inside]
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper on Sep 7, 2014 - 5 answers

Please help me ID this old sci-fi story

Here are a few facts about this old SF story whose author I can no longer recall. 1. It was written by a giant of mid-century SF whose name I can no longer recall. Not Sheckley, not Asimov. I thought it might be Damon Knight, but I can't find it in his work. 2. It's a story about a man who travels to the future as part of a gigantic relief effort to assist future men who are burying themselves in the earth. [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice on Aug 23, 2014 - 4 answers

1970s science fiction short story about a young mother going crazy?

There's this science fiction story I can recall reading in at least one anthology, if not multiples. It is told from the perspective of a young mother who is going crazy dealing with her kid(s). The writing is very stark and bleak, but it's a fun story nonetheless. I am fairly certain the author was a woman. I believe it's from the late 60s or early to mid 1970s. [more inside]
posted by Slinga on Aug 21, 2014 - 9 answers

Can you identify this peculiar genealogical thriller?

Some time in the mid-to-late '80s, I borrowed a book from my local public library (in the UK). I recall neither its title nor the author's name, but I think it may nevertheless be uniquely identifiable from those details of its plot I can remember. Its protagonist is a genealogist, who is hired to discreetly research the family background of a US presidential candidate. There is an element of cat-&-mouse as unknown individuals try to put a stop to his researches, but he perseveres... [more inside]
posted by zmacw49 on Aug 11, 2014 - 3 answers

Give me your Underdog stories!

I decided today that I absolutely love underdog stories. I love rooting for the little guy to come out on top. I love following along with their journey. Think Silicon Valley the TV Show or Halt and Catch Fire or the Bad News Bears, Mighty Ducks etc. What are your favorite underdog stories in books or film? Fiction is preferred for books, but either is fine for visual media.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith on Aug 1, 2014 - 22 answers

Short story identification

What is this short story I read sometime in the late 1990s? Plot involved two teenage girls in the 1960s, Beatlemania, and the terrifying truths of growing up. [more inside]
posted by Ideal Impulse on Jul 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Books to take a train by

Next week, I am taking the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland, Oregon. In a previous question about train travel, someone suggested reading books that take place along your train route. This is an idea I love ... and I have at least 47 hours to pass! So: what are your favorite (kindle) books which occur in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, or Oregon? Bonus for rural themes. I am not a big mystery fan, but if it is particularly excellent, I'll read it. Romance is out. Otherwise, I'm open to anything!
posted by ChuraChura on Jun 20, 2014 - 41 answers

Fantasy Disguised as General Fiction

Looking for fantasy books hiding out in the non-genre section of the bookstore. [more inside]
posted by xenization on Jun 18, 2014 - 27 answers

Fans are Slans?

Who was it that spoke out against works of fiction with characters and plots similar to 'Slan,' in which the sympathetic protagonist is innately, biologically, invisibly superior or special for some reason, and is persecuted or otherwise struggles because of it? [more inside]
posted by Verg on Jun 14, 2014 - 3 answers

A good personal wiki with tags? OR, fiction writing software?

I'd like to find some software to organize and tie together less-important details in my story. Probably I want a personal wiki--but which one? I'm open to wiki alternatives also. [more inside]
posted by mattu on Jun 12, 2014 - 9 answers

Historical novels, subtype 'just-so' stories?

I'm craving a particular subtype of historical novel: the kind that posits a dimly-remembered reality behind a famous myth/legend/story, sort of filling it out and extrapolating the details into realism. My favorite of this kind is Mary Renault's "The King Must Die" about Theseus (also the sequel). I also enjoyed "Eaters of the Dead", about the events of 'Beowulf'. But what are some other good ones you can recommend? More examples and specifics inside! [more inside]
posted by theatro on May 15, 2014 - 32 answers

Masculine bisexual men in fiction and popular culture?

This season of Game of Thrones introduced what I think may be the first prominent out bisexual male character in popular culture who presents as traditionally masculine. There's also some closeted heteroflexibility in one episode of House of Cards (Spoiler), but aside from these two instances, I am having a difficult time coming up with examples of masculine bisexual men in contemporary fiction and pop culture. It seems like typically bisexuality in men is portrayed as automatically feminizing. Can anyone help me list or name other examples (including famous men and fictional characters) who are both openly bi and also have a presence that would be seen as masculine by traditional standards?
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch on May 3, 2014 - 28 answers

Another "name that gruesome childhood short story" question.

What is the name and who is the author of a story wherein a woman has a second skin? [more inside]
posted by adipocere on Apr 28, 2014 - 2 answers

SF/Fantasy books with a 'big reveal'?

RecoFilter: I'm looking for recommendations of books, preferably in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, that have a 'big reveal' somewhere in there that changes the whole perspective of the book or protagonist. Examples would be The Inverted World, The Prestige, or Ender's Game, for example, or the first Star Trek film, or some Lovecraft stories — the whole thing, and all events narrated, appear in a different light after, you know? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 18, 2014 - 43 answers

Please rescue my thieves

I’ve gone and written myself into a corner in a story I’m writing. I need to figure out how two thieves can escape from the grounds of a castle. [more inside]
posted by talitha_kumi on Apr 15, 2014 - 45 answers

Books that allude to books that do not exist.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the title character is negatively influenced by a "poison" book that is mentioned repeatedly in the text but never named. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, mentions several nonexistent books including a mysteriously altered encyclopedia and a History of the Land Called Uqbar. I am looking for more fictional references in novels or stories to other books that do not exist. Help, please? [more inside]
posted by BlueJae on Apr 11, 2014 - 59 answers

Does The Scarlet Letter belong to a literary genre?

Does The Scarlet Letter belong to a literary genre? How would publishers market the book today, and on what book shelf would you find it in the book store? Same question for The Brothers Karamazov. Could these stories, if they were told in a prose style indicative of the 21st c, find a publisher?
posted by jwhite1979 on Apr 9, 2014 - 12 answers

Gadget review in the form of short dystopian scifi

Help me find an online review that someone wrote several years ago, reviewing a data-erasing gadget by writing a piece of dystopian fiction in which the user needs to use the device in a hurry. [more inside]
posted by brainwane on Mar 13, 2014 - 1 answer

Can you recommend any foreboding, surreal texts?

I'm looking for fiction and non-fiction texts (video, audio, and books) that take what is ostensibly a very real situation and find a surreal perspective. I'm not looking for the fantastic though, but more of a foreboding tone/atmosphere. You know, when a narrative seemingly grounded in reality has an unreal, genuinely unsettling undercurrent. Examples below. [more inside]
posted by Quilford on Mar 5, 2014 - 49 answers

Looking for sweeping FICTION epics of the old west

Help me find more sweeping fiction epics of the old west like Lonesome Dove and Hard Country, please. Horses, cattle, cowboys, empty country, ranching, pioneers, prospectors, trappers, etc. Bonus points for very long books or multiple books in the series. I've read everything by Larry McMurtry, and know about Michael Garrity's series, having just finished Hard Country. What else should I read? (I have lots of nonfiction books lined up already, so let's concentrate on fiction, or near-fiction.) Thanks!
posted by bluesky78987 on Jan 27, 2014 - 21 answers

What does a "John Dos Passos-like list" look like?

I was reading a review of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 and a reviewer said the following: The author inserts John Dos Passos-like lists here and there in the text. Not quite sure that works, however (These lists are distorted and truncated in the Kindle edition). What do these lists look like? [more inside]
posted by hjo3 on Dec 29, 2013 - 3 answers

Stories where the hard-charging protagonist is submissive or masochistic

[NSFW?] I am looking for fiction (books/movies/short stories/TV/etc) of a non-erotic nature where a hard-charging and strong-willed protagonist is revealed to possess a submissive or masochistic side. [more inside]
posted by 99percentfake on Dec 21, 2013 - 18 answers

Looking for dystopian short fiction and literary theory

Please help me find as much short (8,000 words or less) dystopian fiction and literary theory (any length) as possible! Anthologies are fine. It can be on the internet or in book/magazine/any purchasable form. It can be famous; it can be obscure. Anything goes, really! [more inside]
posted by Quilford on Dec 21, 2013 - 15 answers

IF only I knew where to start...

Please recommend some interactive fiction with published source code (Inform 7) that is good for showing a beginner IF author best practice. [more inside]
posted by man down under on Dec 19, 2013 - 3 answers

Chapter One: The End.

Tell me the story of how you managed to keep your novel organized! [more inside]
posted by mittens on Dec 16, 2013 - 15 answers

Where are the books (paperback fiction) with pirates as the characters?

Do they even exist in any substantial numbers? [more inside]
posted by John Borrowman on Dec 10, 2013 - 21 answers

Fiction featuring Thanksgiving gatherings?

What are some examples of works of fiction (e.g. novels, movies) that feature a Thanksgiving family gathering as a major plot element? [more inside]
posted by Asparagus on Nov 30, 2013 - 21 answers

Seeking a series of fantasy/war books from the 1980s

You know how you can just remember a few details about some subject from your youth, and it's going to bother you until you can reveal the full scope of that memory? Yeah, I'm right there. I'm looking for a series of books. They were in the SF/F section in the 1980s. They were probably popular because their covers resembled Frazetta prints, and they tended to be really violent (i.e. jumping on the popularity of Conan). [more inside]
posted by thanotopsis on Nov 19, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me identify this short story based on my hazy memory, please.

I heard a story (fiction) on the radio a few years ago and I'd like to find out what it was called and who wrote it. It was most likely presented on the show "Selected Shorts" but I'm not certain about that. The story took place in a town where everything seemed normal except that a black shape appeared one day in the sky overhead. Slowly over time the black shape fills the sky until the horizon is covered. A married couple are at the center of the story - there's more about their relationship than this thing in the sky. I think the sky-thing is a metaphor for something unspoken that dominates our fears. The characters barely react to it's presence (I think.) Anyone out there know this story?
posted by cellura p on Nov 18, 2013 - 7 answers

Novels about entering middle age?

Can you recommend fiction books that feature a main character who is entering middle age and is evaluating his or her life so far, and what direction their life should take? [more inside]
posted by mark7570 on Nov 17, 2013 - 27 answers

What Book Did I Read?

Sometime around 1997/1998 I read a strange book and since then I've forgotten almost all the details. About the only thing I can remember is that there were some creatures who 'spoke' multiple concepts at once. [more inside]
posted by Green With You on Nov 5, 2013 - 10 answers

ID this novel: Group of people wake up at remote snowbound house?

I read this book in the late 80's but it might have been published earlier than that. More scattered details inside. [more inside]
posted by 99percentfake on Oct 29, 2013 - 3 answers

Help ID a scifi story about aliens and a quarantined Earth

Can you help my friend identify this scifi short story about aliens and a shield around the earth? [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Oct 2, 2013 - 3 answers

It's My Thumb in a Box

I recently half-remembered a story I read way back in elementary school (late 80s-early 90s). I am not sure if it was a standalone short story or part of a novel, but what happens is the narrator has a big plastic bloody novelty thumb that he slips on and uses to prank the person he's with at the movies. [more inside]
posted by Fuego on Sep 16, 2013 - 5 answers

Should I just google this?

What do I need to know about promoting my small online business using Google AdWords? [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on Aug 26, 2013 - 9 answers

What short story collection was the story story "Pagent Wagon" in?

Wikipedia claims that "Pageant Wagon" by Orson Scott Card has only ever been in the short story collection The Folk of the Fringe (1989). This is wrong, as I've read it, and I've never read an OSR short story collection. I can even remember exactly when and where I read it, but not the name of the short story collection. So, what other short story collection has it been in? Possibly under another name? [more inside]
posted by Canageek on Aug 15, 2013 - 5 answers

Help me name a genome!

I'm working on a new book and I need to name a genome. I can't handwave it-- while the book is SF, I don't want people in the know to be able to look at it like people look at Law & Order address (ie, nobody from New York would ever think that's a real address. Nobody in science would ever think that's a real genome.) [more inside]
posted by headspace on Aug 14, 2013 - 11 answers

Examples of characters unwittingly aiding their foes?

What are examples in fiction of characters who think they are subverting the bad guys only to learn that they were unwittingly doing what the bad guys wanted all along? SPOILERS follow. [more inside]
posted by mediated self on Jul 24, 2013 - 20 answers

Possibly the Most Boring AskMeta Ever

Guys, I've got some questions about commas. Apparently everything I thought I knew is wrong? Help. [more inside]
posted by BlahLaLa on Jul 23, 2013 - 29 answers

I can't remember this sci-fi short story: Mass graves hidden by society

This is one I likely encountered in the 80's so my memory is foggy here. Most likely in some anthology or maybe even a magazine like Omni. I think it was by a major writer. Salient memories inside: [more inside]
posted by sourwookie on Jul 10, 2013 - 5 answers

Summer reading recommendation please!

I need a new book to read for my upcoming trip (including long flights). It must be available on kindle. Details inside, of the kind of book I am looking for. [more inside]
posted by Joh on Jul 10, 2013 - 31 answers

Sci-Fi novel predicting Google Glass

I'm trying to remember the name and author fo a sci-fi novel that predicted the idea of Google glasses and their impact on society. I can clearly remember one of the characters, a youung person, complaining that all these old people had these glasses that recorded everything that happened around them and could send that data directly to the police. It was kind of an Orwellian Big Brother feel to society. You were always being watched, recorded, reported, etc. I was reminded again about this after reading an article on NPR about the first police arrest recorded on Google Glass. Does anyone else remember this book or the author? Thanks in advance for the help.
posted by corwalch on Jul 9, 2013 - 13 answers

Movies/television shows: Ordering food or drinks in an outrageous manner

I am looking for suggestions where characters order food or drinks in an outrageous manner. The scene can take place at a restaurant or bar (not a private party). Their behavior can be funny, rude, or just strange. It is not about what they order, but how they do it. [more inside]
posted by 99percentfake on Jun 27, 2013 - 75 answers

Can you identify this sci-fi short story?

I'm looking for a short story. I'm not sure of much, but I know it involved ABBA and rare orchids. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by Gin and Comics on Jun 18, 2013 - 1 answer

Story or Dream?

Asking for a friend, who wants to know if the tale she remembers is from a story she read, or a dream she had. Details follow. [more inside]
posted by ronofthedead on Jun 1, 2013 - 7 answers

Help me write fiction, Obi-Wan Kenobi

Looking for videos or books that explain the craft of writing fiction stories/scifi stories, although the genre is not as important. [more inside]
posted by Wolfster on May 29, 2013 - 13 answers

Young adult novel with nuclear pool?

I'm trying to remember the name of a young adult novel I read (in the 80's or 90's) where a character is forced to do some work with radioactive materials at the bottom of a pool.
posted by Jahaza on May 23, 2013 - 7 answers

Writers of Metafilter, please help me stay on track and keep going.

Writers, and novelists or fiction writers in particular, can you share your goals, processes and timelines for each of your drafts? [more inside]
posted by thinkpiece on May 19, 2013 - 8 answers

Help with project? Please list fictional cities !

For a project I'm currently working on as part of my graduation in Graphic Design, I wanted to compile something like an atlas of fictional cities. These may be from books, legends, stories, video games, advertisements, comics, really whatever... Even "real" cities but alternate versions, imagined or in some way deviate from their real counterpart are valid. [more inside]
posted by ahtlast93 on May 18, 2013 - 47 answers

Essay on fantasy fiction, economics and trade

Many years ago I read an essay that was pretty critical of the way so much fantasy fiction could not build believable societies with plausible economic underpinnings. The author was fairly concise and snarky, arguing that (I'm paraphrasing here) she could suspend disbelief about dragons and magic, but that she couldn't slog her way through a book where not the least bit of thought had been given to how all these characters and their associates could make a living, grow or acquire food, and otherwise acquire money and engage in trade. I think it was an essay by Joanna Russ in Fantasy & Science Fiction in the 70s, when she had a regular book review column there, but I could be conflating like mad.
posted by maudlin on May 7, 2013 - 6 answers

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