Today In Books

A Bot Named Shelley Is Writing Horror: Today in Books

A New Bot Named Shelley Might Write Your Next Horror Read

MIT researchers have been hard at work, creating a machine to fuel our nightmares. Named after Mary Shelley, the writing bot read 140,000 stories published by amateur writers who participate in Reddit’s “r/nosleep” forum. Shelley is now capable of generating its own stories. It sounds like the bot’s work might fit into the New Weird genre, based on some of the excerpts published with the piece. It also sounds like writers don’t have much to worry about as far as competition goes…

A National Rail Provider Comes Under Fire For Use Of Anne Frank’s Name

National rail provider Deutsche Bahn is under fire for plans to name a train after Anne Frank. In a statement, the Anne Frank Foundation said, “A combination of Anne Frank and a train conjures up the image of persecution of Jews and deportations during World War II.” A jury selected Frank’s name from a shortlist. The Berlin-based company responded to criticism about the insensitivity of their plans, saying they hadn’t intended to cause hurt, and that they’ll hold internal discussions about the public’s concerns. Another piece on the story mentioned that DB is a state-owned successor of the rail provider that deported millions of Jews.

A Halloween Special Featuring Neil Gaiman

As the day is creeping up on us, I’ll leave you with a special Halloween show featuring Neil Gaiman. If you’re struggling to get in the spirit, you can listen to Gaiman guest host Funny/Scary from Selected Shorts. Gaiman presents four ghoulish tales, two by the author and two Chuck Palahniuk favorites. He also narrates one of his stories, “Click-Clack, The Rattlebag.” But other familiar names, including John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Becky Ann Baker (Freaks and Geeks), join in to narrate. Grab a bag of candy corn (:shudder:), and have a listen.

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Sponsored by the University of Iowa Press, publisher of Outside Is the Ocean, 2017 Iowa Short Fiction Award-winning collection by Matthew Lansburgh.

Three days after her twentieth birthday, a woman who grew up in WWII Germany travels to America for a new beginning. Outside Is the Ocean traces Heike’s struggle to find love and happiness. After two marriages and a troubled relationship with her son, Heike adopts Galina, a disabled child from Russia, hoping for the affection and companionship she craves. As Galina grows, Heike’s grasp on reality frays. She writes a series of letters to the son she thinks has abandoned her. It isn’t until Heike’s death that her son finds these letters and realizes how skewed her perceptions actually were.