Critical Linking: March 30, 2012


Serious literature, realist literature, mainstream literature. . . all have historically required criticism of greater defamiliarization to render then [sic] into objects for significant, sometimes arcane analysis, while SF texts have required criticism that familiarizes it and demonstrates its value.

Critical apologies for genres tend to be dull, but eventually they become unnecessary. I hope we are reaching that point with SF, fantasy, and romance, among others. On to more interesting work.


When an article appears in a newspaper or newsmagazine, we have a reasonable expectation that it is factually accurate. In a literary magazine like The Believer or another artistic venue, the standards are far less clear. Books are the most dangerous territory of all, since publishers notoriously do not fact-check, and categorization is often left to the whims of editors.

Is it just me or is this “publishers notoriously do not fact check” one of the dirty little secrets of publishing?


I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults. 

What. A. Jackass.


Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and loved for eleven years.

Ernest Hemingway was, apparently, a cat person.


Dogs have been appearing in the paper 45 percent more frequently since Jill Abramson took over as executive editor last November.

The Gray Lady, it would seem, is now a dog lover.


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