Haruki Murakami and the Art of Japanese Translations: “The Japanese language acquires much of its beauty and strength from indirectness—or what English-speakers call vagueness, obscurity, or implied meaning. . . . Alternatively, English is often lauded for its specificity. Henry James advised novelists to find the figure in the carpet, implying that details and accuracy were tantamount to literary expression. Is it possible that Japanese and English are two languages so far apart that translators can only reinvent their voices by creating entirely new works?”
Who Will Be the Next Douglas Adams? Hopefully, Nobody: “Nor am I particularly concerned about taking science fiction’s humor crown from Adams; that’s like trying to take the melodic pop crown from Lennon/McCartney. You can try, but they’re just going to call you ‘Beatlesque.’”
More, More, More — How Do You Like It?: “The industry’s arms race with itself simply is not sustainable. Yet here’s Sony, blithely promising to build a bigger gun. They’d better watch out—the recoil’s a bitch.”
The dystopian future of casual games: personalized, targeted pricing and mechanics: “This sort of thing is already happening in retail. Where you are could determine how much an item you view online costs. ‘A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations. . . If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price.’”
The Offer on Old Man’s War: A Ten-Year Retrospective: “Patrick making an offer on Old Man’s War quite literally changed my life, and almost entirely for the better. The eight novels I have written since are because of that offer and everything that’s resulted from it. . . . Professionally, I have become who I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s amazing.”
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell to be BBC Miniseries: At nearly 1000 pages, Susanna Clarke’s faux-Victorian alternate-history fantasy novel required a certain degree of stamina. Not everyone is willing to read the equivalent of a full-length novel while waiting for the story to get properly started, so a series might be quite nice for those who gave up before page 250.
Top five regrets of the dying:A palliative nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?
Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves: “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village … Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and [thie children] figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”
Commodity Fantasy: “It’s important that such a work leave the reader a little unhappy, a little dissatisfied, a little edgy — and anxious to snatch up the next volume in the hope that it will provide the experience that the last book failed to. The more like a pack of cigarettes (if you’ve never smoked, trust me — cigarettes temporarily ease the craving but they never quite satisfy it) a commodity fantasy is, the more successful it will be.”