Stories & Literature


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Essay/Sleep & Dreams

Broken sleep

People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?

Karen Emslie

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

I am not a story

Some find it comforting to think of life as a story. Others find that absurd. So are you a Narrative or a non-Narrative?

Galen Strawson

Essay/Film & Television

The reality show

Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense

Mike Jay

Idea/Stories & Literature

Why our imagination for alien life is so impoverished

Philip Ball

Essay/Digital Culture

Future reading

Digital books stagnate in closed, dull systems, while printed books are shareable, lovely and enduring. What comes next?

Craig Mod

Idea/Stories & Literature

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Gordon Pennycook

Essay/Digital Culture

Creepypasta

With a flood of dark memes and viral horror stories, the internet is mapping the contours of modern fear

Will Wiles

Idea/Stories & Literature

Deep time’s uncanny future is full of ghostly human traces

David Farrier

Essay/Cities

Me, myself and I

Loneliness can be a shameful hunger, a shell, a dangerous landscape of shadowy figures. But it is also a gift

Olivia Laing

Idea/Cosmology

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

Michael Strauss

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

The power of story

Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation – in part because they change our brains

Elizabeth Svoboda

Essay/Physics

Parallel worlds

If human history turns on the tilt of the multiverse, can we still trust our ideas of achievement, progress and morality?

Andrew Crumey

Essay/Stories & Literature

Bookish fools

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read

Frank Furedi

Essay/History of Ideas

I still love Kierkegaard

He is the dramatic thunderstorm at the heart of philosophy and his provocation is more valuable than ever

Julian Baggini

Essay/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Out of the deep

From Atlantis to Noah’s Ark, we have long been drawn to stories of submerged lands. What lies beneath the flood myths?

Edward Platt

Essay/Mood & Emotion

Only the lonely

Loneliness is hell: debilitating yet formative. Can we avoid the pains of loneliness yet enjoy the pleasures of solitude?

Cody Delistraty

Essay/Philosophy of Religion

The atheist paradox

Now that Christianity is the dominant religion on the planet, it is unbelievers who have most in common with Christ

Adam Roberts

Essay/Love & Friendship

If a cat could talk

Felines walk the line between familiar and strange. We stroke them and they purr, then in a trice they pounce

David Wood

Essay/Metaphysics

Everything and Moore

The legendary comics author Alan Moore has written a million-word novel, tribute to every eternal speck in his universe

Tim Martin

Essay/Stories & Literature

Inner peace

We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within?

Tim Parks

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Dark books

What’s more wholesome than reading? Yet books wield a dangerous power: the best erode self, infecting readers with ideas

Tara Isabella Burton

Idea/Stories & Literature

The only line comedy shouldn’t cross is the no-laughter line

Casey Michael Henry

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States

The art of attention

The peculiar vividness of the world becomes clear when we slow down and attend, learning to see all things anew

Sven Birkerts

Essay/Stories & Literature

Seeing and believing

UFO sightings are down. Ghosts are in decline. Are we more discerning now, or just afraid to trust anything?

Stuart Walton

Essay/Stories & Literature

The real Casanova

His name is synonymous with serial seduction but Casanova's memoirs reveal a man greater than the sum of his ‘conquests’

Laurence Bergreen

Idea/Stories & Literature

Why Sasquatch and other crypto-beasts haunt our imaginations

Ed Simon

Idea/Stories & Literature

The self-reliant individual is a myth that needs updating

Kimberley Brownlee

Essay/Love & Friendship

The empathy machine

Sherlock was right – new research shows that seeing through another's eyes takes a detached mind not just a warm heart

Maria Konnikova

Essay/Stories & Literature

The truth about tarot

Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis

James McConnachie

Idea/Stories & Literature

This is the Muslim tradition of sci-fi and speculative fiction

Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad