Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ Underwater photography makes me happy, and I liked this series of underwater Alice in Wonderland photos by Elena Kalis. The image below is one of my favorites, but do click through to see more of these fun photographs. Via.

♦ Book Nook.

This past week AlphaBooks, an alphabetical tumblr exploration of fictional characters curated by Ben Towle, has moved to the I’s. Of course I enjoyed Leah Palmer Preiss’s take on Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, but I’ll share with you Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man by Axel:

The Illustrated Man by Axel

When I was young, I was a huge fan of Encyclopedia Brown. Sometimes I even figured out whodunnit, but I always enjoyed going back to spot the clues. Sadly, Donald J. Sobol, creator of Encyclopedia Brown, died last week at the age of 87. Tributes and obituaries for Sobol appeared in The New York Times, LitReactor,, and Publishers Weekly, among others.

The McAllen, Texas, main library, converted from an abandoned Wal-Mart, is too cool. Via.

How can you not love this photograph of Christopher Plummer by Andrew Eccles? (Via the awesome tumblr Awesome People Reading)

Christopher Plummer, photo by Andrew Eccles

John Verdon writes about the “durable popularity” of serial killer novels.

Some Daily Science Fiction stories for your enjoyment:

Seven Sins by Melanie Rees

After the Earthquake by Caroline M. Yoachim

The Suicide Witch by Vylar Kaftan

Bookshelf featured a very cool public bookcase in Berlin:

♦ Joan Acocella’s essay “Once Upon a Time: The Lure of the Fairy Tale” appeared in The New Yorker last week and does a fairly comprehensive job of looking at the Grimm brothers and several schools of fairy-tale criticism. That said, I find some of her piece to be a little too pearl-clutching, and she interprets critics’ motivations in way that seems suspect, but she does reach this point, with which I agree (except I don’t understand why she dismisses hope so readily):

And so you could say that the Grimm tales are no different from other art. They merely concretize and then expand our experience of life. The main reason that Zipes likes fairy tales, it seems, is that they provide hope: they tell us that we can create a more just world. The reason that most people value fairy tales, I would say, is that they do not detain us with hope but simply validate what is. Even people who have never known hunger, let alone a murderous stepmother, still have a sense—from dreams, from books, from news broadcasts—of utter blackness, the erasure of safety and comfort and trust. Fairy tales tell us that such knowledge, or fear, is not fantastic but realistic.

♦ Viewers’ Paradise.

The official trailer for Man of Steel, which hits theaters next summer. We don’t have a lot to go on but visuals and atmosphere here, but I like both the simplicity and the mood. And the trailer has made me curious about what director Zack Snyder’s going to do with Superman.

Apparently, a third Hellboy movie may be in the works after all, and that’s a very good thing. broke down SDCC responses to two forthcoming TV shows, CW’s Beauty and the Beast (an adaptation of the 1980s CBS show of the same name with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman) and CBS’s Elementary (an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes). Now, I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast (it’s one of my favorite fairy tales), but I haven’t been blown away by what I’ve read about this new show. And Elementary sounds like it will be a lot of fun; of course, I think I enjoy all Sherlock Holmes adaptations (forgive me, purists, but I really liked both of the Robert Downey, Jr., movies).

For Cameron, Daniel, and other cinephiles, Dorothy has published a wonderful film map, described as

A street map made up of over 900 film titles including cinema classics such as Lost Highway, On the Waterfront, Jurassic Park, Reservoir Dogs, Carlito’s Way, Nightmare on Elm Street, Valley of the Dolls and Chinatown.

The Map, which is loosely based on the style of a vintage Los Angeles street map has its own Hollywood Boulevard and includes districts dedicated to Hitchcock and Cult British Horror movies. Like most cities it also has its own Red Light area. There’s an A-Z key at the base of the Map listing all the films featured with their release dates and names of the directors.

Here are some images of the map:

♦ Science Stuff.

Lifting weights slows down memory loss. How about lifting books?

10 limits to human perception and how they shape your world.

Orb web spiders become better fighters without their massive genitals. Of course!

McDonald’s staff say they never touched the cyborg professor despite a new photo that clearly shows they did (a fascinating article but that title!)

I really related to this xkcd cartoon (I do have a lot of weird tech problems)

The neuroscience that explains why you fall for con artists. My advice: trust no one.

In 1909, you could fake-murder your friends in a wax bullet duel. ‘Cause everyone’s doing it.

What’s the best contraption for a trip over Niagara Falls? I needed to know because I just finished watching Wonderfalls.

Why did we believe in the tongue map?

♦ The Ninth Art.

I highly recommend False Positive, what creator Mike Walton describes as a webcomic “stew.” The individual short stories range from science fiction to fantasy to horror (well, horror runs through almost all of the stories, and some of the stories are pretty funny in a twisted kind of way). Everything’s deliciously weird. Right now he’s in the middle (or near the end) of the tenth story, with updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check it out! (Via)

Tansy Rayner Roberts has started a series of posts on her blog titled “Where the Wonder Women Are” (you can read the introduction here). Roberts writes about the series:

I wanted to to write something positive about women in comics, about the awesome female characters that have been around over the years, how they have been reinvented or reinterpreted across different media, and their potential to be the iconic Wonder Women of the 21st century. I’m not going to be providing comprehensive histories of the characters (unless I really can’t help it), because that’s what Wikipedia is for, but trying to provide my own take on who she is, which version of her I like best, and why she’s awesome. Some ranting might slip through, but the plan is to be positive. Really. Truly.

I’m down with that. So far, she’s looked at Black Canary (pictured above), Rogue, Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman, Black Widow, Wonder Girl, Captain Marvel, and Vixen (I like how she’s alternating between DC and Marvel characters). I hope you’ll check out these posts and go back for future ones.

♦ Russian sisters Ekaterina and Elana Popovy make beautifully disturbing dolls, like this one and not like this one at all (via):

♦ Writers’ Corner.

Letters of Note posted a 1938 letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to aspiring author Frances Turnbull, and he is honest and direct with her. I imagine this letter stung quite a bit, but his proclamation that “You’ve got to sell your heart” bears learning.

BookRiot had an interesting musing about what makes a beautiful sentence.

Neil Gaiman’s writing advice this week: “Write stories you really care about, as well as you possibly can, that other people might want to read.” You can’t go wrong with that. Also, click here to read what might be Gaiman’s only interview about the new Sandman mini-series (at least until it comes out next year).

LitReactor on 5 ways your brain sabotages your writing and what to do about it.

Amy Rose Davis talks about the problem with fantasy.

♦ New Super Best Friends Forever:

A wolf photographed by Draxorr:

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2 Responses to Magpie Monday

  1. Farad says:

    Nicely done, as always. Love the wolf.

Comments are closed.