Publishers like to throw around the term "speculative fiction," but you won't see too many fans of the genres it comprises — fantasy and science-fiction — bandying it about. For one thing, it's redundant; all fiction speculates, or it isn't fiction. More importantly, true fans of science fiction or fantasy don't feel a particular need to justify that love, much less dress it up in more "respectable" language. It's a mug's game, after all: Those readers who reflexively turn up their noses at genre fiction will continue to do so, no matter what name it goes by.
On Aug. 6, 1988, a collection of squatters, anarchists and youth took over Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan's East Village to protest a new 1 a.m. curfew. By the time the fated hour rolled around, the gathering had turned violent, as police attempted to shut down the park. The crowd was there to protect a neighborhood where, as Eleanor Henderson puts it in Ten Thousand Saints, "there were shadows to hide in. Here you didn't advertise being gay or straight or rich or poor; you just tried not to get your ass kicked." Injuries and reports of police brutality abounded.
There was a 0.2 percent drop in retail sales in May from April, the Census Bureau just reported. Driving the decline: A 2.9 percent drop in motor vehicle sales. Car sales were hurt by a disruption in supply among Japanese manufacturers following that country's devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
According to The Associated Press, the overall decrease is "the first decline after 10 straight increases."
Robert Weissman is the president of Public Citizen.
It's not easy envisioning a more democratic and just economy not dominated by large corporations. It may be even harder to imagine ways to get from here to there, with giant corporations restructured or displaced altogether. The central involvement of the government in the private sector — as a direct market participant and as a rule setter — offers opportunities, too little appreciated, to spur new forms of economic organization.
As we've already reported, the morning-after analyses from last night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire are focusing on Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement that she's officially entered the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney emerging "unscathed" and the general focus on criticism of President Obama rather than each other.