From Paradise Lost to Harry Potter, Fanfiction Writers Reimagine the Classics

Though Derided by Critics as Copycat Art, It's a Democratic Form of Crowdsourced Creativity

As Game of Thrones looks to its eighth season, the show—strictly speaking—is no longer filming the books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Of course, it is still using the characters, world, and settings that Martin established (though its sometimes-drastic departures from the source material have been the cause of controversy before). But as the show has passed the timeline covered in the published novels, it is writing its own narrative without the need to reference a pre-existing canon. The biggest franchise on television has become, …

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Were Mr. Darcy and Boo Radley Anti-Social Misfits—or Autistic?

How Fiction Can Reframe a Misunderstood Mental Condition

Is autism cool?

It is in literature, as novels featuring characters on the autism spectrum have become so frequent that they’ve spawned a new genre: “autism lit,” or “aut lit.”

Many of …

How Mermaids Became a Real Problem for Scientists

Discovery Channel “Documentaries” About Mythical Creatures Erode Public Trust in Science and Government

“If NOAA is lying to us about the existence of mermaids then they’re definitely lying to us about climate change.”

It was August 2014 and I was flying home from the …

My California

In Novelist Edan Lepucki’s Home State, the History Is Fictional, the Terrain Is Otherworldly, and the Population Is United by Difference

In the story about myself, I was born in Santa Monica, in a rental on Sunset Ave. (yes, Avenue, not Boulevard). Early February, which is a bleak month elsewhere, but …

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Isn’t Just Fiction Anymore

Today's Sweden Has Come to Resemble the Dark World Stieg Larsson Created for His Hacker Heroine

We are standing in front of a magnificent building at Fiskargatan 9 in Södermalm, Stockholm’s bohemian southern island. The penthouse once belonged to a controversial businessman, Percy Barnevik, the former …

The Serious Business of Pulp Fiction

How Paperbacks Helped Forge Our Modern Ideas about Sex, Race, and War

Cheap paperback books are like sex: They claim attention, elicit memories good and bad, and get talked about endlessly. The mid-20th century was the era of pulp, which landed in …