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January 2, 2012

Shorties (Cory Doctorow on Science Fiction and the Future, Best Canadian Music of 2011, and more)

At Locus, Cory Doctorow discusses how science fiction shapes our future.

So what do science fiction writers do when they ‘‘predict?’’ Well, as I’ve already discussed, they inspire. You’d be hard pressed to find an aerospace engineer or roboticist or computer scientist or theoretical physicist or biochemist who isn’t a science fiction fan. The ways that we write about the possible futures (or impossible ones) get civilians all het up about those possibilities. Sometimes, they go out and make them real.

At The Line of Best Fit, Canadian musicians choose their favorite 2011 music.

The List of Online Year-End 2011 Music Lists was updated yesterday with 123 year-end music lists added to the master aggregation including BrooklynVegan's favorite albums and many others.

The List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists was updated Saturday with 81 year-end book lists added to the master aggregation, including io9's science fiction and fantasy books, NPR's best poems, iFanboy's best books about comics, and many others.

The Atlantic examines how sportswriting has changed over the past 100 years.

The Independent profiles author Mohamed Hashem.

The world's most vocal advocates of intellectual liberty have been mourning the deaths, and celebrating the lives, of Vaclav Havel and Christopher Hitchens. Mohamed Hashem absolutely belongs in that company. Should he need outside backing, those same elegists should be ready to stand up for this successor to their heroes.

At Newsweek, author Francine Prose reflects on Iowa City.

I can't think of another city so proud of its literary heritage that a central thoroughfare, Iowa Avenue, has been transformed into a bookish version of Hollywood Boulevard, its pavement imbedded with plaques that feature the names of, and quotations from, writers associated with the workshop: Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, and dozens more.

BBC News reports that CD sales fell in the UK last year but digital downloads rose.

The Daily Beast examines how modern Chinese artists are exploring the Nanjing massacre.

Salon interviews Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen about the new season of Portlandia.

Fred, you mentioned "Portlandia's" love of the '90s earlier – but you meant the 1890s, not the 1990s. Other than pre-prohibition cocktails and pickling, what else are you seeing from that era in hipster culture?

FA: Mustaches — and then the way that meat is treated. Meat, for some reason — I feel like in Brooklyn, people just really love cuts of meat, and it's almost unacceptable to go to a crappy butcher. It’s like — "No, I've got to go to this purveyor." Why? Do we feel like you can trust it more?

The Other People podcast interviews author Dana Spiotta.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aretha Sills remembers singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

BBC News profiles the Swedish duo Niki & The Dove.

The Daily Beast explores "the graphic novel renaissance."

As more people grasp comics’ twin potential for art and activism, there are signs that graphic books are finding a place alongside blogs and Facebook, texts and tweets, in the arsenal of revolution.

Amazon MP3 has 100 digital albums on sale for $5.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
List of Online Year-End 2011 Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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