Paper Trail

Former Motherboard staff launch 404 Media; filmmaker Anna Biller on slasher films and her debut novel

Anna Biller in Viva

For the New York Review of Books, Namwali Serpell reflects on her visit this spring to Princeton’s exhibit on Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who died in 2019. “An exhibit of archival materials is about as close to putting an author in a museum as you can get,” Serpell writes. “It sits somewhere between, say, a tour of the writer’s home—which feels akin to celebrity worship—and an exploration of the writer’s words, which feels like the scholar’s remit. . . . The question that hovers over all literary tourism of this kind is: Who is this for?

Filmmaker Anna Biller (Viva, The Love Witch) discusses her debut novel, Bluebeard’s Castle, with Alexandra Coburn at Screen Slate. The book began as a screenplay adaptation of a seventeenth-century French folktale “and proto-slasher story about a serial wife-murderer” which Biller rewrote as a novel during the pandemic. “I wanted to make a horror movie for women about what women are afraid of. It’s not about the male fantasy of destruction.”

At The Atlantic, Alex Reisner reports that Meta’s generative AI program LLaMA, among other similar programs, has been trained using pirated books by authors including George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Solnit, and countless others. The AI companies’ use of these works brings up questions about fair use and copyright violations. “This is, to an extent, a story about clashing cultures: The tech and publishing worlds have long had different attitudes about intellectual property.”

In BOMB’s summer issue, read “The Eighteen Girls,” a story from The Immortal King Rao author Vauhini Vara’s new collection This Is Salvaged, which Norton will publish in September. 

Following Vice Media’s bankruptcy this spring, three editors and one writer from the company’s tech site Motherboard have launched their own venture, 404 Media. Emanuel Maiberg, one of the editors, tells Katie Reobertson of the New York Times that the site will initially focus on subjects the group has reported on extensively before, including sex work, hacking, the “right to repair” movement, and niche internet communities.