Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘speculative fiction’

Reviews |

Animals, by Don LePan

In his novel Animals, we follow Don LePan’s characters into a not-too-distant future, where human beings with birth defects are slaughtered as edible products. Readers’ sense of injustice will be roused by LePan’s descriptions of suffering in the feedlots–but can a novel inspire us to stop eating factory-farmed meat? Laura Roberts hopes it can.


Shop Talk |

It's all in the details… or is it? Movies vs. Fanfiction

I don’t know about you, but when I see a movie after reading the book on which it’s based, I almost always prefer the book to the movie. Okay, there are exceptions: The Lovely Bones, for instance, where I prefered the film, and The Princess Bride—I love both the movie and William Golding’s novel deeply, and differently. But when it comes to Harry Potter, I land firmly on the book side. For me, much of the fun is in the details of Rowling’s world: the Fizzing Whizbees and Puking Pastilles, the elaborate recipes for Polyjuice Potion and the Draught of […]


Reviews |

Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, by Alissa Nutting

Alissa Nutting has “story” written in ink on every page of Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, her lively, well-imagined, and jaw-droppingly smart prize-winning debut. Imagine Donald Barthelme writing smart feminine narratives, Mary Gaitskill sans the kinky sex, or Margaret Atwood turning to dry, Colbert-style humor, and you may start to get an idea of what to expect.


Interviews |

Vampires are People, too: An Interview with Janice Eidus

NPR’s Marion Winik has called Janice Eidus’s latest novel, The Last Jewish Virgin, “Twilight…with a sense of humor, a brain, and a feminist subtext.” At the Algonquin hotel, Eidus talks with Lauren Hall about paying homage to—and reinventing—the vampire myth; judging a book by its cover; and writing longhand in the mountains of San Miguel de Allende.


Reviews |

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

If you are what you eat, what happens when someone else eats what you are? In Aimee Bender’s latest novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, 9-year old Rose first experiences this conundrum when she tastes her mother’s birthday cake, only to come away with the uncomfortable understanding of her mother’s lonely dissatisfaction with life. The cake betrays the inner feelings of the cook. Over the course of the novel and Rose’s life, the predicament continues, building to an unwanted fixation of what constitutes food and those who grow and prepare it.


Shop Talk |

Real-Life Characters in Fiction

Erika at Practicing Writing pointed us to this great post at The Guardian on real-life characters in fiction. Writes blogger Meg Rosoff: Six hundred words were suggested to tackle the important question of whether it is “right and fair” to fictionalise real-life characters. I could answer it in 15. Do what you like, only do it well – and don’t expect the relatives to approve. The possibilities for intersecting “real life” and fiction are many. Some works, like E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime sprinkle real-life personnages across their pages; others, like Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize–winning Wolf Hall, base the story upon […]


Shop Talk |

I have an MFA in Fiction and a Master's in Vampire Studies

How do you know when vampire lit has reached critical mass? When it gets an academic conference. Vampire literature is now receiving some scholarly attention with a conference at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Despite the smirk factor, the conference—”Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture”— has some serious intellectual heft: The aim of the conference is to relate the undead in literature, art, and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption, and social change. […] The irony of creatures with no reflection becoming such a pervasive reflection of modern culture pleases in […]


Interviews |

Reinventing the Haunted House: An Interview with Helen Oyeyemi

In her latest novel, White is for Witching (Nan A. Talese / Doubleday), Helen Oyeyemi dismantles and rebuilds the Haunted House story brick by brick, creating a book filled to the rafters with innovation. The Cambridge, UK-based author talked with Neelanjana Banerjee about why she’s drawn to supernatural subjects (but not “magical realism”), why vampire stories are really about race, and how to write stories that will freak your readers out.




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