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Literature in the Time of Volcanoes

By Toby Shuster on Thursday, April 22, 2010 - Comments Off

Eruption_pg14_2 It’s time for a history lesson. In 1815, Mount Tambora, a composite volcano on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, reached a cataclysmic eruption that killed scores of people with its eruptive fallout and tsunamis. It also threw the Earth’s seasons out of whack, creating a long-term negative effect on the global climate.

North Americans and Europeans were acutely affected, and livestock deaths resulted in the worst famine of the 19th century. 1815 became known as The Year Without a Summer, the Poverty Year, and, the ever popular, and Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.

1815 was also the year that Mary Shelley had planned to spend the summer of 1815 in a cabin on Lake Geneva with her husband, Percy, and close friend, Lord Byron –  every English major’s fantasy sleepover.  But because of the fluke in weather, the party was forced to spend the entire summer in doors, ultimately leading to the creation of Frankenstein, one of the most heralded science fiction stories ever written. Read more »

More: Books

When a Character Becomes So Popular Even His Author Is Jealous

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - Comments Off

Introducing...Steampunk Fight Club--er I mean Sherlock Holmes the movie.It’s a rare–and highly interesting–phenomenon when the success of a character overwhelms even its creator.

A. A. Milne found Winnie the Pooh’s popularity a source of profound annoyance. Despite his credentials as an established author and playwright, few took his “adult” work seriously after the success of Pooh.

J. M. Barrie had the same troubles with Peter Pan, who entirely overshadowed Barrie’s other works, past and future.

Better-known are the woes of Arthur Conan Doyle. The writer absolutely hated Sherlock Holmes, whom Conan Doyle believed was distracting him from his more important literary pursuits. So plagued by the stature of his own creation, Conan Doyle resorted to throwing Holmes off a cliff in 1893. Public demand and financial need prompted Conan Doyle to revive the famous detective a decade later. The detective has not died since. Read more »

This Week: Eminem’s Writing Tips, Twitter for Novelists, and the 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived

By JK Evanczuk on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - Comments Off

p>FrankensteinA 1910 privately printed edition book of William Carlos Williams poetry, valued at $25,000…and other accidentally burnt books. Oops.

Noveller is an online macroblogging service that lets users post their impromptu novels during the course of their day. Oh, wait, it’s not real. Damn.

Eminem (of “Smack That” and “Crack a Bottle” fame) has some tips for you on becoming a writing and marketing machine.

Sherlock Holmes, the Marlboro Man, and Dr. Frankenstein’s monster are just a few of the 101 most influential people who never lived.

Five modern masters of mystery and crime fiction.

Depressing Funny glossary of book publishing terms.

New York Magazine presents seven short stories featuring contemporary political figures.

Aaaand to help get you through the rest of the week (which I guess is today, with Thanksgiving and all), your pick-me-up. This has been making the rounds for a few days now, but I don’t care. Because it’s awesome. If you’ve seen it already, watch it again: Read more »

Lit Drift Daily Prompt #58
10 minutes