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.
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]
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.
I'm seeking audiobook recommendations for books that are escapist, engrossing, generally feel-good, and fast-paced (without being frightening). [more inside]
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]
I am looking for recommendations of great dystopian novels, novellas, and short stories. Any length will do! [more inside]
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?
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]
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]
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?
Seeking literary fiction with a transient, often solitary, female hero, please! [more inside]
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.
What is the name and who is the author of a story wherein a woman has a second skin? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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?
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]
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?
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?
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]
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]
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]
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?
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]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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?
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.)
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]
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]
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!
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]
[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]
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!
What are some decent, non-idiotic, contemporary crime/mystery novels? [more inside]
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.
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]
Looking for recommendations on a specific type of scifi fiction, be it movies or books. [more inside]
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]
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]
Is it possible for a layperson to differentiate an MFA trained author from one who isn't?