Currently working on a conference paper on ‘Weird fiction’ that I’ll present in March andran across a lot of interesting stuff related to Soviet Union (unrelated to my topic). First was an interesting AV club sketch about the Zone trope in science fiction, from whence I wound up reading an old (2014) Slate article on the real Stalker subculture that has grown up around Chernobyl since the disaster. There’s a lot of hype around the recent HBO series “Chernobyl,” and of course The New Yorker weighs in. Somehow ended up reading a post about an artist who imagines Barbie and Ken as a Soviet couple living in the past…Good old nostalgia is everywhere.
In other national literatures, excited that in a couple of weeks I’ll get to teach this Toh Enjoe story, “Harlequin’s Butterfly.” Currently reading The Woman in the Dunes (1961) by Kobo Abe and it has a similar vibe. Not very familiar with Abe’s work but I ran across the novel on this very good list of 100 Weird and Strange books and it seemed really interesting.