Welcome to solarpunk, a new genre within science fiction that is a reaction against the perceived pessimism of present-day sci-fi and hopes to bring optimistic stories about the future with the aim of encouraging people to change the present. The first book that explicitly identified as solarpunk was Solarpunk: Histórias ecológicas e fantásticas em um mundo sustentável (Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastic Stories in a Sustainable World), a Brazilian book published in 2012. In 2014, author Adam Flynn wrote Solarpunk: Notes Toward a Manifesto.
Tom Cassauwers reports that this new genre began to take off in 2017.
Audiobook sales are booming. This article looks at the inevitable question: “is there really a measurable difference between reading with the eyes and ‘reading’ with the ears?”
Colm Tóibín recently revived the age-old, snobbish distinction between literary fiction and genre fiction by declaring “I can’t do any genre-fiction books, really, none of them. I just get bored with the prose. I don’t find any rhythm in it. It’s blank, it’s nothing.”
Lisa Levy discusses eight books by “crime authors moonlighting in other forms of literature.”
Bonus: for another take on enjoying literature that crosses genres, see A Book You Didn’t Know You Needed.
Enjoying Literary Classics
I came across two pieces about enjoying works of literature that have stood the test of time.
Mikaella Clements writes about her enjoyment of Mary McCarthy’s novel The Group, published in 1963 and set in 1933, which she describes as “alarmingly modern”:
Though its politics are deeply rooted in the 1930s—the novel addresses the idea of the New Woman, the optimism of socialism before WWII and the Eastern Bloc, and the rise of fascism—it is as much about the feminist movement of the 60s and the pitfalls of cultural movements that posit themselves as revolutionary and instead find new ways to minimize, cage, and hurt women.
Novelist Laura Lippman discusses Herman Wouk’s 1955 novel Marjorie Morningstar, “which I have re-read every year for almost 35 years.” She calls it “a unicorn of a book—a so-called women’s novel, written by a man, that takes its heroine very seriously.”
Lippman says that she doesn’t know whether Marjorie Morningstar is a great book. “But it is a serious book that finds a big, sprawling story in what seems like a small, narrow life. More novels, even crime novels, should dare to do the same.”
When we hear the word “noir,” our minds flash to black-and-white movies driven by hard-boiled, big-city detectives. But in the 21st century, a new genre of crime fiction has risen from the swamps, mountains, and suburbs of the South. Norris Eppes interviews seven rural noir masters to make sense of a thrilling literary genre that rings true to our region.
The authors interviewed here are Brian Panowich, Ace Atkins, Karin Slaughter, Attica Locke, Tom Franklin, James Sallis, and John Hart.
© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown