In December, 1893, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes at the hands of Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. From interviews at that time, Conan Doyle intended it to be a permanent death. Was this truly unprecedented? [more inside]
Fictional scenario: Jim has a life threatening illness. There is a possible (perhaps experimental) treatment - or a diagnostic tool or whatever - which would involve his adult children (donating tissue or an organ?). Jim refuses it, because he is worried that his children would as a result find out that he is not their biological father. What could the medical McGuffin in this story be? [more inside]
I need examples of famous works of fiction in books, short stories, plays, maybe movies, though that seems to easy, in which a character goes through a physical transformation. [more inside]
Woman disappears: packs up her things, including all ID, and leaves without any indication of where she has gone. Adult daughter wants to file Missing Person's report, her father says it is pointless because woman clearly left of her own free will. What, in reality, would happen if the daughter tries to get the police involved? How can I find out more about police procedure in such cases? [more inside]
Book Recommendation Filter: Looking for urban fantasy or "modern world" sci-fi (not horror) told in third person and doesn't try to sell me on vampire protagonists. This is turning out to be a surprisingly difficult itch to scratch. Help? [more inside]
For my NanoWrimo story, my FMC has been transported 20 years into the past and 4000 miles ("4234.7 miles, to be exact.") across the Atlantic to the USA. She works as a web designer and I have one or two questions about this. [more inside]
In my NanoWrimo story, the FMC is a website designer, and she somehow, accidentally finds out that the MMC's girlfriend is visiting dating and sex websites. Is this possible, and how could this happen? Also any hints/tips/gotchas I should be aware of? [more inside]
When I was in grade six (around 1995) we had a teacher that read us a couple of YA books that I think were by the same author. One was about firefighters trying to battle a forest fire. The other one was about being lost in a desert or a sandstorm or something? [more inside]
A friend's birthday is coming up. He likes to play darts (plays in a league) and he likes to read. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for gifts that might combine both. [more inside]
My niece mentioned/complained to me recently that there is very little YA lit for and about lesbians. I took a look on goodreads and found a couple of lists with what appear to be a nice selection of books. However, on reading further, I'd like to narrow the list down to actually well-written or otherwise reasonably good books. Any thoughts? [more inside]
What life forms from Earth are specifically affected by the moon and tides, and do we know anything about how these plants, animals or other living creatures would be affected by putting them in outer space? [more inside]
Spoilers for Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora" ahead. So, the story is like this: A multigenerational arkship is on it's way to Tau Ceti, they find their primary target for colonization hostile and discuss whether to move to another planet in the same system, live there in domes while terraforming it. One reason for not doing this is stated thusly: [more inside]
I'm looking for a good anthology of time travel stories to give to someone. [more inside]
Please suggest good summer reading for tween girls (11/12) who also happen to be going through their parents' divorce. [more inside]
I want to re-read a story or a book (or maybe even a graphic novel) I've read before, but all I can remember about it is a single line, spoken during a crisis by a character that (I think) is supposed to be more intelligent than those around them: "I'm dry of ideas." I thought the line was from one of the Douglas Adams books, but if it is, Google is proving unhelpful. Thanks!
I would like to read some good (ok, decent) fiction about special forces operatives and operations (SEALS, Delta Force, made up badasses). I know nothing about this genre, although I assume it exists. My preference would be that it not be obvious that it's written by someone to the political right of the John Birch Society, but I don't know if that's possible.
I'm desperately searching for a new series. I'm in the mood for an academic leaning fantasy romance, which is almost too specific. Help me not go crazy in my search? [more inside]
How can I read more about life in countries other than the USA? [more inside]
I told a friend about a SF story I'd read, but I can't find the title and author. the plot: a person working for a satellite company is mapping Greece, and comes up with the idea of following the most difficult route at any given point. [more inside]
Are there any "civilization is ruined, zombies/marauders/robots are killing the survivors, we must rebuild/get to the final refuge" stories in any medium where the main characters are not mainly caucasian people?
The text on at 19th century English shilling includes the text "GEORGIUS III • DEI GRATIA" What would the translation be if, instead of "the grace of God" I wanted it to say, "the grace of The Swan?" [more inside]
I'm having trouble finding any point of reference for a short story I was recently reminded of regarding a husband who suddenly gets the impulse to drink blood/eat raw meat. If I recall correctly, he just masticates the meat for the juices. It's a long drawn out thing of trying to hide this weird compulsion from his wife, making himself out to be a monster, but in the end it resolves well. [more inside]
Asking for fiction: this question involves no real people at all. What would happen to a person who gets their leg pinned between a revving car and a building? How long would it take for such an injury to heal? [more inside]
I vaguely recall a Louise Erdrich story which has a character obsessed with finding the recipe for the most perfect Sacher Torte that he tasted when he was young. Which book is it? [more inside]
Superheroes and vampires and dark overlords (oh my!) don't operate in a vacuum. They have meetings to schedule and budgets to balance and dry-cleaning to be picked up but obviously they can't be bothered with such mundane details. I want to read stories about the staff that gets those things done. I've wandered across a couple that I have enjoyed and would love suggestions in the same vein, especially if they are funny or lighthearted and play on the contrast between the extraordinary and the banal. [more inside]
You write fictional works of some sort. The medium doesn't matter. You need to track details for the background and reference them periodically in order to have good continuity. Have you found a good system that works for you? What might that be? Or do you know of any articles, resources, etc on the subject? [more inside]
I'm sure I remember reading some entries from a blog that pithily reviewed games of chess from fiction (novels, TV shows, movies) for plausibility and quality, but I'm coming up with nothing when I google for it. [more inside]
Every year I load up my Mom's Kindle library for Christmas. This year I'm finding a lot of stuff on the non-fiction end but very little fiction that is up her alley. Her fave books: Neal Stephenson's "The Baroque Cycle" and Gillian Bradshaw's "The Sand-Reckoner." Got a rec? Expanded explanation of her taste inside! [more inside]
Our recent cold, drizzly weather has me wanting to to curl up with a good book, but not just ANY good book, really specific specifics inside. [more inside]
Thanks to MeFi, I recently read Benjamin Rosenbaum's short story "Feature Development for Social Networking" - please recommend me some other high quality horror / supernatural fiction in which the Web plays a central role.
What do horror, Louis Theroux "Weird Weekend", thrillers, the show catfish, and crime fiction have in common? That's right, stocking stuffers for Mr Moonlight. [more inside]
I'm interested in how telepathy has been portrayed in fiction (written form) and was wondering if anyone could point me to some examples where the protagonist struggles with the trait and has to learn how to master/control it in order to stay sane. Note: I've read The Shining and its recent sequel. Thanks in advance!
When I think of Wilde's or Dickens' prose, I think of classical rhetorical techniques such as paraprosdokian and chiasmus--and of course countless others. I'm looking for sources that analyze prose fiction--modern or canonical--according to models of classical rhetoric. Internet sources would be excellent, but I might spring for a hard-copy text if it's not too expensive. Thanks.
I'd like to add to my husband's very small library of books that have to do with fishing. Not limited specifically to just fishing, but more or less general maritime activities, such as crabbing, or boat-building, or mysteries of the deep....that sort of thing. [more inside]
Looking for stories/novelllas/novels about civilizations which have survived the "Big Bounce" and persisted into the next universe. Is there any such thing?
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]
I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]
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]
What are your recommendations for fiction that considers the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, either as a main focus or as a backdrop? [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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!
Looking for fantasy books hiding out in the non-genre section of the bookstore. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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.