Greece isn't doing well, Italy isn't doing well, Portugal isn't doing well, Spain isn't doing well, a couple of months ago it was pointed out that Belgium also might not be doing well, but they're not the only ones.
The Atlantic has impressive pictures of socialist monuments in the former Yugoslav states that look like something aliens might have built.
Also in The Atlantic, an interview with George R. R. Martin. The fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (A Dance With Dragons) appeared today. In casting news for the second season of Game of Thrones (which, I suppose, will stick with the name?), Gwendoline Christie (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) will be Brienne.
Maybe I did make it too big two books ago. But I've thrown the balls in the air and I feel obligated to keep on juggling them as best I can. You can't just forget about some of the balls, you have to deal with the plot threads that you've introduced. If I can pull it all off the way I want hopefully it will be great. And if I don't, I'm sure the world will let me know.
The A.V. Club talks to Neil Gaiman about the now almost confirmed HBO-adaptation of American Gods, which came out ten years ago (Good Omens might also soon be made into a show, WHOO excitement). Some rumours/sort of facts: apparently, Tom Hanks' production company is willing to guarantee six seasons. The first season will be the book, the others... new material. io9 did a fake-casting for the show that rendered some pretty awesome results (Idris Elba! Amy Acker!)
Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, wrote a beautiful piece on fanfiction (it's so rare that authors understand the intention and motives behind it rather than just ridiculing the effort) and how it allows Harry Potter and other stories to live on forever.
Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.
Right now fan fiction is still the cultural equivalent of dark matter: it's largely invisible to the mainstream, but at the same time, it's unbelievably massive. [...] In most cases, the quantity of fan fiction generated by a given work is volumetrically larger than the work itself; in some cases, the quality is higher than that of the original too.
A couple of weeks ago, some TV comedy showrunners talked about fanfiction (for the Emmy roundtable) and some (appropriately, those from shows that I don't watch/openly despise) expressed the opinion that engaged viewers are creepy and should just mindlessly consume their stories like the rest of the world. Dan Harmon (of Community, with a history of not always saying smart things) made this statement, which expresses perfectly how I feel about television.
Sort-of TV recommendations for the hiatus: Leverage is back and it's as good as ever, Warehouse 13 just aired the season premiere (the A.V. Club makes some good points about the show not really using its awesome premise as well as it could), and Torchwood began its To America! run last Friday (I wasn't completely in love with the first episode but next week, Dichen Lachman and Lauren Ambrose will appear). And I've missed Captain Jack and Gwen (with her deeply buried desire to hold a rocket launcher in one hand and her adorable baby in the other). The Williamses of the Who-verse should meet up some time and save the world or something (and here's Heather Hogan's great "recap" of the episode).
Mother Jones interviews Patrick Stickles, singer and lyricist of Titus Andronicus (about religion and commercials).
Yeah, but those people have been hoodwinked and bamboozled by the advertisers into thinking that one kind of shoe will make you cool. My dad recently was scolding me because he heard that we refused a good bit of money from a soda company. He was like, "Isn't that kind of a hip, happenin' soda?" Get real Dad! There's no such thing as a hip soda.