1156 posts tagged with fiction.
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Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry about people's lives

I'm looking for essays, books, poetry, nonfiction, or whatever else about normal people's everyday lives and pasts, humorous if possible. I'm looking for stuff in the vein of the New York Press's old columns (like the ones Ned Vizzini wrote) or like Books of Adam. Writing that is casual, but well written.
posted by holmesian on Jun 9, 2014 - 9 answers

Historical British Detective Novel(s)

I'm looking for suggestions for a book that could appeal to a diverse set of people (i.e. my family). Some historical fiction set in England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland, with a detective-style plot, seems like it would work. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Jun 8, 2014 - 29 answers

I assure you, Mr. Bond, that your ride on my Hyperloop will be brief.

Has anyone written any fiction portraying Elon Musk as a villain? The story can either be interpreting his real actions as villainous, or creating fictional villainy for him to do.
posted by michaelh on May 30, 2014 - 5 answers

Could you recommend some audiobooks?

I'm seeking audiobook recommendations for books that are escapist, engrossing, generally feel-good, and fast-paced (without being frightening). [more inside]
posted by slidell on May 29, 2014 - 16 answers

Great short stories or novellas legally downloadable for free for Kindle

What great short stories, short novellas, or even short nonfiction pieces can I legally download for free for my Kindle? Some details inside. [more inside]
posted by Flunkie on May 26, 2014 - 13 answers

It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

I am looking for recommendations of great dystopian novels, novellas, and short stories. Any length will do! [more inside]
posted by SkylitDrawl on May 22, 2014 - 39 answers

Feel free to go medieval on this question

I am seeking recommendations of fiiction set in medieval times - but, I'm not interested in mysteries, stories focusing on kings/queens/knights/battles etc, or fantasy. Rather, I'm looking for accurate depictions of people living in that era-- their lives, struggles, adventures. I've read the Ken Follett trilogy and enjoyed the first 1.5 books. Really liked Noah Gordon's The Physician. What are you favorites?
posted by ecorrocio on May 18, 2014 - 33 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

What book goes well with my box of tissues?

I want to cry my eyes out over a book. It's been a long time since I have and I need the catharsis. [more inside]
posted by quincunx on May 5, 2014 - 88 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

Female wanderers wanted!

Seeking literary fiction with a transient, often solitary, female hero, please! [more inside]
posted by Isingthebodyelectric on Apr 30, 2014 - 40 answers

Internet community where I can get feedback on my prose and storytelling

I am about 15,000 words into my first novel, and I'm finding it difficult to get feedback from my old English major friends. I'd like to know how the pace, grammar, syntax, etc. of my story strike various experienced readers, but I certainly don't want to put my manuscript online in an unsecured environment. Any thoughts? BTW, I live in the Maine woods; no, there are no local meet-ups. I really wish there were.
posted by jwhite1979 on Apr 28, 2014 - 15 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

I have an encyclopedia, not a story: what to do?

Authors Of AskMe, has this happened to you? During my self-imposed creative hiatus over the last year or so I conducted a lot of research into what would be my dream project. A project I could be passionate about, the kind of book I'd really want to exist. So I made a list of every thing, character, concept, idea, sudden kind of twist I'd like. I have three notebooks of this stuff. I cross-indexed it and included all my references. I have an astounding about of detail on what I want to put in and touch on but no actual story. I keep staring at it, like it's a list of SCP entries, and I can't think of a damn thing for anyone to do with these collected items, places, motifs, themes, and people. It's frustrating cause I can come up with quick pulp narratives on the fly for stuff I'm not working as hard on but every attempt to break and outline a rising action for these people results in rapid breathing and complete brain fume-lock. I keep asking "What does the main character want?" and coming up with nothing. Is this common? Is there a resource for this? Can I pay someone to go through these ideas and find something that other people might want to read? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 39 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

Story within a story within a story within....

Is there a term for when readers/watchers are pushed into trying to figure out which is the "true" version of something fictional? For example, in Life of Pi when it's up to the reader to figure out which version of the story is "true" when we know that none of it is true at all because... it's fiction. Bonus: What are some other examples of this?
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper on Apr 1, 2014 - 43 answers

books with realistic female characters?

I am tired of novels that have an enigmatic woman at the center of the novel. Can you recommend some books to me where all of the female characters actually act like real people? [more inside]
posted by colfax on Mar 30, 2014 - 57 answers

This ball of twine is your life.

I remember reading a short story or folk tale about a man who had a ball of string. Whenever something boring was happening, he could just pull out some of the string and fast forward to the more interesting parts of his life. I read it around 1991, and it may have been Isaac Singer. Does anyone have a source for this tale?
posted by mecran01 on Mar 30, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me remember the name of this short story.

I read a short story a few years ago that involved a white couple living in post-colonial Africa. I think it might have been Rhodesia, but I'm not positive about that. The couple lived in a once-grand, now decaying estate and had to deal with an act of violence. I remember reading it on my commute to work, so it was likely in a magazine. I've searched the New Yorker archives and can't seem to find it there, but the Atlantic is another possibility. Does this ring any bells?
posted by trixiebelden on Mar 29, 2014 - 12 answers

Examples of dead/dying characters listing all the things they'll miss

I'm trying to think of more examples of this particular moment: a character who is dying, or thinking of death, or speaking from beyond the grave, gives a list or inventory of the everyday things they remember and appreciate about being alive. A few examples inside. [more inside]
posted by Beardman on Mar 28, 2014 - 23 answers

What was this young adult book with a protagonist called Veronica?

I once read a book where someone tells the main character, "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, Veronica." I'm 99% sure the character in question was called Veronica and the line definitely included her name. (It may not have included the "than vinegar" bit.) What was this book? [more inside]
posted by badmoonrising on Mar 20, 2014 - 11 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

Help me design a (possibly steampunk) spaceship

I am writing a short story in which an unmanned spaceship crashes in a field, and I've gotten stuck when it comes to visualizing/describing the spaceship. I like the idea of a steampunk craft, though it will have lights. In case you are wondering, the overall tone I am going for is magic with a hint of sadness. Got any ideas for what it looks like on the outside or inside? What might my characters find when they explore?
posted by mermaidcafe on Mar 12, 2014 - 10 answers

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

Business, Murakami, DFW, and Music

Book suggestions for a gift exchange recipient that combine business, Haruki Murakami, David Foster Wallace, and/or music? (here's hoping my recipient isn't also a Mefite!) [more inside]
posted by divabat on Mar 4, 2014 - 10 answers

What if we don't need to read anymore? Futurist recommendations...

What fiction, non-fiction, or academic works on a "post-literate" world can you recommend? Has anyone written about a world where the most successful and powerful don't necessarily posses the ability to read or write as we know it? [more inside]
posted by GPF on Mar 3, 2014 - 9 answers

Fiction: A pdf/txt file about how to recruit for terrorist organizations

About five years ago, I remember skimming through what purported to be an internal document for how to recruit for an unnamed/generic terrorist organization. It was very fanciful/dime-novel-like in nature. Does this sound familiar? [more inside]
posted by 99percentfake on Mar 1, 2014 - 2 answers

Find me more characters like Dimity Carmody

In the Man Kzin wars books there's a recurring protagonist called Dimity Carmody. Whilst technically human it's emphasised that she's somewhat inhuman psychologically to the point she's almost regarded as an alien. I liked the character and would like to read more fiction with similar characters - what's out there?
posted by curious_yellow on Feb 28, 2014 - 7 answers

What are some examples of completely unique writing systems?

I'm fascinated by writing systems. I've seen this wiki page about different types of systems in real and fictional languages. As I understand it, there are generally three kinds of systems: logographic, where symbols represent entire concepts or words; syllabaries, where symbols represent syllabic sounds; and segmental, where symbols represent phonemes or small units of sound. Is there any other way to write? I'm having a hard time coming up with how it would even work, but I'm sure some clever author somewhere has tried. Is there another way to write a language other than the above?
posted by RobotNinja on Feb 27, 2014 - 14 answers

Is missing out on Alternate History the darkest timeline?

Looking for examples of well-written or well-respected Alternate History fiction, in the vein of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Feb 14, 2014 - 61 answers

ISO good fiction about catching babies

Recommend me fiction or very readable memoirs about midwifery, obstetrics, and the politics of birth--any genre is fine, but SF/F and historical suggestions are especially welcome. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Feb 10, 2014 - 24 answers

ID a dystopian future short story with massive unemplyment and a utopia.

I'm trying to ID a short story where the protagonist becomes unemployed in a world where once you lose your job you have no hope of getting another job and are therefor forced to accept marginal government assistance. Additional spoilerific details inside. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Feb 7, 2014 - 2 answers

Name this recent literary science fiction book!

Name this Science Fiction book! Recently translated to english from a european language (german?) out in hardcover. Protagonist is an italian woman living in a post catastrophe europe. Primary plot mover is time-travel/many worlds machine. She travels back to the middle ages and engages with a philosopher/academic/monastic (after getting burned at the stake on at least one attempt) [more inside]
posted by leotrotsky on Feb 7, 2014 - 5 answers

Iconic, Street-Legal Cars In The US?

An actual help-me-with-my-story question: I've got a group of characters who need to ride around in an eye catching, iconic vintage automobile. It was orginally going to be a VW bus for the Mystery Machine echos but it turns out that's not actually street legal in the US. So, what's an old-fashioned auto that seats four or more, can be driven on US roads, and is antique/unusual enough to attract attention from car people but not enough that it sticks out like a surreal visitation ( like say, a Model T would.)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 2, 2014 - 54 answers

Help me, FOR PURPOSES OF WRITING FICTION, figure out how to kill a guy

So, our hero lives next door to an evil guy who is at present blind/infirm. She has an opportunity to kill him and make it look like an accident. What are some handy means of death for purposes of FICTION [more inside]
posted by angrycat on Jan 31, 2014 - 48 answers

Intro to Superhuman Studies, the Novel

I'm looking for examples of novels (or stories in other media) that fit a particular mold exemplified by Harry Potter. The basic premise is that the protagonist is living a (usually particularly unpleasant) mundane life when they are unexpectedly contacted by a representative from a secret supernatural (or otherwise fantastic) society and then.... invited to enroll in a school. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jan 30, 2014 - 20 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

Book recomnedation: worldbuilding and self-aware, active characters

I again have time to consume books like a cookie-monster. I've avoided lists of classics-by-genera because I tend to like only 5% of what's on them. It's not that I specifically like reading dystopias or sci-fi - I liked the Poisonwood Bible for instance, as much if not more than Lord of the Rings. In addition to book recommendations, it would also be useful if, given the books listed below, you have any ideas for other trends that could help me search out books myself. Your advice is much appreciated! :) [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Jan 25, 2014 - 24 answers

Help me remember this smutty novel I read as a teen

[NSFW Book Filter] I only remember vague details about the book, which involved witches, a coven, the devil/demon/Satan and explicit sex scenes. [more inside]
posted by stealthy_hippo on Jan 22, 2014 - 8 answers

What short story did I read in SF&F?

A girl (tween? early teen?) visits an alien planet (possibly blue and rocky?) and loses a ring. She has to explain what a ring is-- like a tiny bracelet for your fingers, which are the little arms that come out of the end of my arms-- to the sympathetic aliens, who have cup-shaped hands. I read this in Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine some time in the early or mid-nineties. What's the title, author, or volume? Sure regretting tossing those back issues when I moved!
posted by blnkfrnk on Jan 8, 2014 - 1 answer

Literary crime fiction

What are some decent, non-idiotic, contemporary crime/mystery novels? [more inside]
posted by denika on Jan 8, 2014 - 46 answers

Seeking Obscure Subculture Fiction

Please recommend fiction about obscure subcultures. Basically, I'm looking for the fiction version of this question. More contemporary books (written recently and about contemporary subjects) are preferred but not required.
posted by Xalf on Jan 6, 2014 - 15 answers

meta stories are meta

I really love works of fiction that use the style, setup, or form of another media product as a means of storytelling and sometimes subversion. For example: TEDxSummerisle (complete with tweets and botched livestream) and The Theory of Narrative Causality, written primarily in the form of Livejournal posts by the Sherlock Homes fandom (inc comments and bits of fanfic) as well as GChats, TVTropes, and related media. What other similar works are out there? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 4, 2014 - 22 answers

Recommend a particular type of science fiction story

Looking for recommendations on a specific type of scifi fiction, be it movies or books. [more inside]
posted by sock, the puppet on Jan 2, 2014 - 38 answers

BookFilter: English fiction with lots of Spanish language elements

I'm looking for recommendations of English-language fiction that heavily features Spanish-language elements. I'm working on learning Spanish again (I had 3 years in high school, about 10 years ago) and thought it would be fun and useful to read novels that incorporate Spanish heavily, kind of an immersion strategy. [more inside]
posted by sprocket87 on Dec 30, 2013 - 11 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

How has the MFA/Creative Writing affected fiction?

Is it possible for a layperson to differentiate an MFA trained author from one who isn't?
posted by larry_darrell on Dec 28, 2013 - 13 answers

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