Discover new voices in the best short story magazines.
Patricia Highsmith is best known for her crime novels The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers On A Train – both made into classic films. But she also wrote a lot of other novels and short stories that feature such disparate subjects as animals taking revenge on cruel people, giant snails, and icy and claustrophobic tales of daily life.
In fact, it was the giant snails that got me as a kid. A professor goes in search of legendary giants snails on a Pacific Island and, well, he does find them.
There’s also the dinner party at which the host’s cat brings in a finger, a mysterious furry thing that lives in the birdhouse that may or may not have gotten into the narrator’s house and lots more stories guaranteed to put a chill in your heart.
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Pynchon is widely regarded as one of the most eminent literary stylists in contemporary American fiction. His novels, often described as labyrinthine or encyclopedic in scope, are characterized by an aura of great mystery and reveal a knowledge of many disciplines in the natural and social sciences. Pynchon’s use of sophisticated ideas is balanced by his verbal playfulness with such elements as black humor, outlandish puns, slapstick, running gags, parody, and ridiculous names. Through this blend of serious themes and comic invention and combination of documented fact and imaginative fantasy, Pynchon paradoxically affirms and denies the notion that mundane reality may possess hidden meaning. Living amidst the chaos of modern existence that is mirrored in the fragmented structures of his novels, Pynchon’s protagonists typically undertake vague yet elaborate quests to discover their identities and to find meaning and order in their lives. While Pynchon’s novels have often been faulted as labored or incomprehensible, all have provoked ongoing scholarly debate and earned widespread popularity among young readers.
Several hundred years ago a magical substance known as aether was discovered in England, and it changed the world in this beautifully written, complex fantasy novel, British author MacLeod’s second (after the underrated The Great Wheel). Kings were overthrown. Aether-based industries flourished. Now, near the end of the Third Age of Industry (roughly the equivalent of our Victorian Age), great Guilds run the nation. Powerful captains of industry live like nobility, while the impoverished masses risk their lives mining, refining and working with the dangerous substance that supports the economy. Cracks are beginning to show in society, however. The poor are getting poorer. Quality workmanship is hard to find. Those who come into too much contact with aether often mutate into sometimes monstrous creatures called changelings. Worse still, there are dark rumors that the aether may be running out. The narrator, Robert Borrows, who rises from near-poverty as the son of a humble guildsman, falls in love with a changeling, participates in the revolution that brings the Third Age to its end and winds up among the masters of the new world that rises out of its ruins. With its strong character development and gritty, alternate London, this book won’t attract fans of Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind, but should hold great appeal to readers who love the more sophisticated fantasy of Michael Swanwick, John Crowley or even China Miéville.
A foodie’s foodie Diana Kennedy documented authentic Mexican cooking for decades. Kennedy is known for recording recipes from regional cultures. You might have some trouble getting some of the ingredients!
Spider-Man, the Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Iron-Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Silver Surfer, and countless more Marvel creations helped bring a new dimension into comics.
Be sure to check out the graphic novels collection on the third floor. it features many collections of classic comics as well as collectors’ editions of artist editions of many Marvel comics.
The quintessential Lee hero, introduced in 1962 and created with the artist Steve Ditko (1927-2018), was Spider-Man.
A timid high school intellectual who gained his powers when bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider-Man was prone to soul-searching, leavened with wisecracks — a key to the character’s lasting popularity across multiple entertainment platforms, including movies and a Broadway musical.
Mr. Lee’s dialogue encompassed Catskills shtick, like Spider-Man’s patter in battle; Elizabethan idioms, like Thor’s; and working-class Lower East Side swagger, like the Thing’s. It could also include dime-store poetry, as in this eco-oratory about humans, uttered by the Silver Surfer, a space alien:
“And yet — in their uncontrollable insanity — in their unforgivable blindness — they seek to destroy this shining jewel — this softly spinning gem — this tiny blessed sphere — which men call Earth!”
Mr. Lee practiced what he called the Marvel method: Instead of handing artists scripts to illustrate, he summarized stories and let the artists draw them and fill in plot details as they chose. He then added sound effects and dialogue.
Robert Aickman was a master of the “strange story.” His style is related to MR James and the ghost stories of Henry James, but Aickman has his own voice. Enigma, vibe and alienation are some of his hallmarks.
In “The Inner Room,” collected in Sub Rosa (1968), a woman narrates the story of an incident from her early childhood in a struggling family that later splits apart. She receives as a birthday gift an enormous dollhouse that contains a mysteriously inaccessible inner room. Later in life, she visits what is apparently the actual house on which the dollhouse was modeled and comes close to discovering a nameless horror in the inner room, which signifies the hidden life of dream–or rather dream as reality, which creates emotional peril when repressed.
Due to my myriad of roles as a doctoral student, Senior Lecturer, Common Reading Coordinator, and Assistant Director of the Common Experience, I have used many of the services provided by the library, including reservation of spaces for events, personal exploration and development, professional development, research and teaching support from research and instructional librarians, use of innovative spaces like the 3D printing lab and YouStar Studio, and inspirational events, such as Technology Day. I appreciate each of these services and the fact that those who work at Alkek provide these services genuinely and with a smile on their faces; they seem to enjoy what they’re doing.