What are some particularly intelligent or well-written novels in the suspense/mystery/detective fiction genre? [more inside]
Do they even exist in any substantial numbers? [more inside]
I like to learn about different places and cultures by reading fiction set in those places and with characters from those cultures. Can you recommend to me a contemporary novel about American Indians? I'm particularly interested in books about Native American communities in the continental US. [more inside]
Please recommend movies, books and video games that feature broken-down factories, derelict space-age laboratories, and modern ruins of all kinds as a primary setting. If there's something supernatural going on in there, so much the better. Examples within. [more inside]
Having finished, and loved, The Good House by Ann Leary, I'm interested in other novels where addictions, problems, obsessions or bad habits affect the (unreliable?) narrator as part of their character rather than the main plot theme. [more inside]
I want to become a reader again, but my latest trip to the bookstore made me sad. Ignoring the fact that it was hard to find fiction books amidst the tablets, the toys, and the teen fiction section, I found an assortment of 'chicklit', Tom Clancy, Steven King, Dean Koontz and an assortment of right-wing survivalist fiction. I want to find something that isn't David Sedaris. I want to find something that isn't non-fiction. I want to find something that isn't ... isn't this... Aren't there any great under-the-radar-haven't-been-overhyped-into-michael-crichton-yet authors? Or is this it... have I reached the end of an appreciation of fiction and I am now condemned to purgatory with nonfiction and biographies? Help! [more inside]
Yet another asking for a friend book recommendation. Looking for teen / older tween books that are based in/around Florida, punny, humor-wordplay, fantasy based, not that usual go-to-guy. [more inside]
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]
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]
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?
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]
I've been watching Archer recently, and they had an episode with the super cliched "which wire to cut" scene. This made me wonder, is there any actual real world precedent for cutting a single wire to defuse a bomb (with every other wire resulting in death), or is this entirely a fictional scenario?
I'm looking for any old gangster movie - not a particular one, just any gangster movie older than about 1960 - where a villain caught by the police is offered some kind of break for ratting out his/her associates. Bonus points if the cops, once they have the information, punish the guy anyway.
I read this book sometime in the late 80s. It was a mystery solving book. I believe the protagonist(s) were kid(s). It involved a town named Staunton (like the chess pieces) and some burned paper in the base of a statue. And an ominous title implying the supernatural? I may have that last bit about the title wrong. [more inside]
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]
Help me identify this bizarre book I attempted to read as a kid. [more inside]
International fiction: Help me find lists/reviews online of popular international authors. Caveat: their work must be available IN TRANSLATION to English, i.e., not originally written in English. [more inside]
I would like some recommendations for contemporary Spanish language fiction. I would like recommendations for authors who might not be well known outside of the Spanish-speaking world and not as likely to be translated, who write literary fiction. I am already familiar with authors well known outside the Spanish-speaking world, such as Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez. So I would like recommendations that expand my Spanish language reading horizon. For reference, English-language authors I enjoyed reading recently include Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, and Margaret Atwood. (Portuguese language recommendations are also welcome, as I can read in both languages.)
I would like to read some stories with good-guy/gal mummies! Are there any mummy protagonists out there? Could be main or supporting characters. Could be published best seller or just pretty decent fanfic.
I'm looking for examples from literary fiction where characters cook something or describe a cooking process or technique within the narrated text. I'm not looking for an entire recipe detailed. Rather, which literary characters have taught you how to hold a chef's knife, how to deglaze, how to spread icing on a cake. Example below of fire-roasting a bell pepper from John Irving's "The World According to Garp." [more inside]
I read this book in the late 80's but it might have been published earlier than that. More scattered details inside. [more inside]
I'm teaching a workshop on in media res (starting a story at the height of the action and then revealing backstory later) this weekend, and I'm looking for a short story (fairly short, short enough that students could read it in under 5-10 minutes) that illustrates in media res well. After the students read the story, I'm going to ask them to write an in media res story of their own. Does anyone know of any good short stories that would resonate with 13-16-year-olds? Thank you!
I've been having my short stories critiqued by various people (some from literary magazines) and I've gotten lots of different advice that is all over the place and at times contradictory. As someone who wants to improve my writing, I must admit I am kind of confused by the suggestions I've been getting. [more inside]
Help me understand how, in suspense fiction, to transition between scenes that are happening at roughly the same time, but extending for different timespans. [more inside]
Please recommend as much artsy, intelligent, literary horror fiction (in any medium: books, stories, films, whatever) as you can! [more inside]
Can you recommend me some fiction, comics, and movies that are parenting positive--especially mom-positive? [more inside]
I am looking for fictional depictions of therapy, preferably ones where it's taken seriously. More along the lines of In Treatment and The Sopranos than What About Bob? and Analyze This! [more inside]
Can you help my friend identify this scifi short story about aliens and a shield around the earth? [more inside]
In an aside for a short story I'm writing, a vanity billionaire notices the news about Voyager leaving the solar system, and decides she wants to make her mark on the Universe by 'shotgunning' some things out into interstellar space. [more inside]
Please suggest books, ideally fiction, about everyday life of common people in wartime Nazi Germany, or other people who ended up on the wrong side of history. [more inside]
Looking for fantasy that's not based on your standard European/Tolkien background. Pretty much any flavor of fantasy is alright (straight, urban, science, what have ye). Just finished reading Barry Hughart's Master Li/Number Ten Ox books and enjoyed them. Would definitely prefer "adult" fiction versus YA, but no preference for novels versus short stories.
Are there any speculative fiction writing workshops in the Midwest? [more inside]
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]
I want to know about that favorite short story writer of yours that no one else has ever heard of. [more inside]
Love and Summer by William Trevor: What was the nun's death about? [more inside]
I want to read about Augmented Reality. Tech developments IRL; techno-utopian / transhuman dreams, and hard-fought aspirations; and any sci-fictional dystopian nightmares you know of. [more inside]
Please recommend fiction and nonfiction novels which depict folklore and mythology created by children who are free of adult supervision and authority. [more inside]
What do I need to know about promoting my small online business using Google AdWords? [more inside]
How do you go about consciously aping the voice/tone/style of a particular genre of fiction or writer? [more inside]
Many monsters in fiction are scary in large part because of their inherent, biological abilities: acid blood, teeth, claws, wings, etc. Inspired by this tumblr thread (via this Omni article), I'm looking for stories in any genre that avoid or (preferably) subvert this trope, making humans out to be inherently frightening, gross or dangerous.
Please name some Paranormal Young Adult fiction tropes and cliches (obvious or obscure) so I can avoid doing them myself in the book I am writing. Thanks! [more inside]
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]
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]
Recommend me fiction (or perhaps nonfiction) where clever people cat-and-mouse each other [more inside]
I recently really enjoyed Max Brooks' World War Z and Daniel H. Wilson's Robocalypse. What other books might I also enjoy? [more inside]
Are there any sci-fi stories that involve the future appearance of the Maitreya Buddha? Looking for stories where the character is primarily identified as the Maitreya, rather than general "Second Coming" stories where the character could conceivably belong to a number of different soteriological interpretations.
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]
Guys, I've got some questions about commas. Apparently everything I thought I knew is wrong? Help. [more inside]
I think I'd like to begin following an author who writes mysteries featuring a regular protagonist and cast of recurring characters, but I have some d'ruthers. Can you help match me up? [more inside]
What are your favourite examples of building tension or suspense in literature? Ideally these are brief moments, single paragraphs or small scenes, compelling the reader to continue on, worried about what will follow. [more inside]