Weekly Munchies

Internet Trolls, Rubber Chickens, and the Penny Dreadfuls: A Week of Wonderful World Wide Webs!

 

In 1949, soon after publishing Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell received a strange letter from his former French teacher, who was none other than the famous Aldous Huxley. After congratulating Orwell for his accomplishment, Huxley got to the root of the matter: while Orwell’s story was good, Huxley’s story was going to, with time, prove more accurate in its predictions of the future. Imagine getting this letter from a former high school teacher. Now be happy your high school teacher wasn’t Aldous Huxley.

 

Any history of genre fiction is incomplete without a necessary conversation about pulp novels, which tend to conjure images of mid-20th century space operas, romance novels, and westerns. Yet pulp fiction is has a longer history than we give it credit. Meet the “penny dreadful,” a publishing phenomenon that boomed in Victorian Britain between the mid-1830s and the early 1900s. Often a scandalously illustrated booklet or magazine—usually under 20 pages in length, “penny dreadfuls” were “filled with sensationalist tales of highwaymen, murderers, cannibals, bounders, vagabonds, vampires and thieves.” Sounds good to us!

 

As we all know, the internet has proven itself to be a platform for the best and the worst of humanity. The most well known of these groups, especially if we’re talking about the worst of humanity, would have to be the Internet Troll. But how did this classic fairy-tale creature come to stand for such a modern phenomenon? Check out this exploration into the term and its usage throughout the history of literature.

 

Neil Gaiman pens an interesting piece about the act of reading, our brains, and the human experience. What do you think?

 

Speaking of, why do you read novels? For this writer, it comes down to not exactly escapism, but rather a sort of cerebral adventure — “not to experience life in this world in a different way or through a different medium, but to gain access to another world.”

 

Think it’s hard to dry your hair? We have no idea how easy we have it. Get a load of this history of the hair dryer, courtesy of the NYtimes. And thank Gaia we don’t have to deal with this mess:

 

While we’re talking about the future, let’s talk about the infamous Zika virus and the super sci-fi ways that a community Florida has decided to handle the issue.

 

The Italian government is giving teens €500 on their 18th birthday to spend on books. Does it count if you’re already 18…and not Italian? Please say yes!

 

In other book news (in a sense), Truman Capote’s ashes are up for auction…if you’re into that sort of thing. Let us know how that goes. But really, what are you planning to do with them?? No judgments.

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