A comics giant fights for literacy in his community, Stephen Hawking breaks the internet, and a journey into the “New Weird” genre — all this and more in your Daily Blunt.
The battle to bring the UK’s national public library back from brink of forfeit has a new hero: if Northampton authorities persist in their plan to “redesign” library services, The Watchmen author Alan Moore has pledged to relocate a lucrative TV production which plans to shoot in the area next spring. In other words, the council’s bid to save £290,000 in the short term could end up costing them at least that much in terms of all the business and tourism opportunities lost. Moore hurled this guantlet via the local paper: “That television series will either not be going ahead or not going ahead in Northampton…because I’ve had enough of this.”
When word got out yesterday that Stephen Hawking’s 1966 PhD thesis was now available online, the demand became so overwhelming that it crashed Cambridge University’s archive site. If you try now, you may be able to access it here — but as of this posting it was still unable to load. According to The Guardian (since we can’t see for ourselves) Hawking’s thesis “considers implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe, and its conclusions include that galaxies cannot be formed through the growth of perturbations that were initially small.” We’ll take their word for it until the traffic slows, or until Cambridge improves their site’s capacity.
If you survived reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, t’s possible that you’re a fan of the “New Weird” genre without even realizing it. Book Riot has assembled a beginners’ guide to the canon, with short story collections as well as novels that exemplify a wing of literature described by Robin Anne Reid as “fictions that ‘subvert cliches of the fantastic in order to put them to discomfiting, rather than consoling ends.'” Examples include Octavia Butler, Guillermo Del Toro, and “really anything by David Mitchell.”
Sometimes the most sincere tribute we can pay a beloved author is to tread the same literary path, reading books they enjoyed or found inspiring throughout their career. Such is the case with Gabriel Garcia Marquez: thanks to his autobiography Living to Tell the Tale, we have a record of his most beloved books, harvested by Brain Pickings alongside excerpts that explain what he loved most about them. Among these is James Joyce’s Ulysses, which a fellow student presented to young Marquez as “the other Bible.” For the most part, these are books that remain widely circulated to this very day — just like Marquez himself, whether or not he ever dreamed it possible.