Sunday Links for September 26, 2010

So is “slipstream” the label we’ve all settled on now for the fiction that doesn’t fit nicely into any genre or the mainstream? Are we all comfortable with that term to describe, say, Isabelle Allende’s The House of the Spirits, or Peter Carey’s Illywhacker, alongside John Crowley’s Little, Big? Take a look at the Master List of Slipstream Books compiled by Lawrence Person and Bruce Sterling, and decide if you agree. At the very least, it’s a wonderful list to have available to guide your own reading.

Everyone should read science fiction, says Walter Mead. Smart guy, Mead. His reasons for this conclusion might interest you.

If you agree with Mead, here’s a good place to get your Daily Science Fiction. The site offers original science fiction and fantasy emailed to you every weekday. A great deal, especially for the price: it’s free.

SF Signal has a great podcast on the future of science fiction.

Charles Stross has a much better imagination than I do, which is why he can afford to say he has lots of ideas he won’t write about. Though the way he explains ideas makes them seem a lot easier to come by than I’d thought. It just takes some practice with your imagination, it seems. In any event, it’s an interesting article about how Stross came to write his series, “The Merchant Princes.” (Here’s Part Two of this discussion; the comments to both parts are quite enjoyable, too.)

It’s Banned Books Week. This article discusses whether censoring children’s books can remove its prejudices, using as examples The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Yearling Book) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both beloved by generations of children, but both uncomfortably racist to modern sensibilities. It’s an interesting discussion that questions whether we’re really serving our children well by “protecting” them from past examples of racism.

I’ve recently adopted a mostly vegetarian diet – not out of conviction that we shouldn’t eat our four-legged friends, but because the evidence seems to support the conclusion that it’s much healthier. This article explains how the right diet will help you age gracefully. I don’t endorse anything this physician says, mind you; I question his argument that you have to closely watch how much fruit you eat, for instance (and I’m annoyed that he doesn’t get any more specific about just how much is too much). But it’s – you knew this was coming, right? – food for thought.

I’ve already explained here, I think, that I tend to get rather vehement about politics from time to time; and you’ve probably guessed that I tend toward the liberal end of the spectrum. There are places I go on the Web to do nothing but argue about tax policy, among other political issues of the day. So it won’t surprise you that I find myself in agreement with Bill Boerman-Cornell when he lists ten reasons he loves to pay his taxes. No, he’s not a masochist; he’s a responsible citizen.

And after all that talk about being good to your own body and the body politic, stop and just have a laugh at this website about awful library books. Even book hoarders like me can understand why libraries sometimes have to get rid of books.