As you will have noticed, we’ve had something of a hiatus at The Melbourne Review of Books. In part this was to give everyone a break, in part, it was to take some time to think about things and reassess what it is that we are trying to do here.
My grandmother had a monkey-skin rug. Made from the skin of a black-and-white colobus, then purchased in Kenya in the early 1960s, it was as morally questionable as it was beautiful. As someone who prefers monkey skins on living monkeys, I’m somewhat glad I never actually saw it.
One day, while grandma was cleaning out her cupboards, she came across the rug in its bag. Morbidly curious, we asked her to bring it out and show us. So grandma brought the bag over and opened it up. All that remained of the monkey-skin rug was a pile of dust.
Due to the demands of life outside of books, I am unable to provide you with a review this week. Instead, have some dramatic back story*.
It may shock you to hear this, but I went to Catholic school. Religious Education was a compulsory subject, which I was cool with, because in the later years especially the focus was more on spirituality and comparative religion than anything to do with Jesus. I had some shocking teachers, but one in particular is another story for another day. Today, we are to learn about Papa Smurf. Continue reading
Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook was published back in 2013 but it’s a title I missed seeing until recently. This is another interesting idea, similar to White Cloud Worlds, where the work is a collection of material from different creators, and there is a push towards creating a community around the book. In this case, there are online exercises and other extras available via an associated website. What an idea what sort of visual storytelling advice Wonderbook provides you can view the book trailer (below the cut). It will not be everyone’s cup of steam-powered fish-flavoured tea, but it will certainly appeal to some.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy website and publisher Tor.com has announced that they are planning to start a new line of e-published novella length genre fiction with serious verve. This is an interesting move for a site that already has an excellent reputation as a place for online short fiction.
Shortlist.com has recently produced an infographic showing the age at which various famous authors produced their most famous work. It’s worth having a look at, especially if you are approaching a landmark birthday, 30, 40, or 50 and are worried that you are perhaps too old now to make it as a writer. Continue reading
When my grandma was a little girl, the family had a pet monkey. My great grandfather was a merchant seaman and obtained it on one of his travels. When great-grandma was cooking the monkey watched her and soon learned how to turn the oven on.
One day, while the family was out, the monkey decided to cook itself some food and turned on the oven. When the family returned, they found the monkey dead from the oven gas.
My great uncle cradled the wee dead monkey in his arms and placed it on the sofa. To ensure nobody disturbed it, he put a sign over it, saying, “GAST MONKEY, DO NOT TOUCH”.
A Strunk & White’s Elements of Style rap.
Ursula K. Le Guin recently accepted the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19. Her rather marvellous acceptance speech is below the cut.