What role does food play in your book?

Question: Why does Xerxes serve his father Fruity Pebbles?

Khakpour:    Well I wanted to at that moment give the most mundane edibles of American existence, right?  For young people particularly, I wanted to create . . .  Even though Xerxes has gotten his first apartment in New York, it might as well have just been a dorm.  He had no real food.  He had, you know, dry cereal, stale milk, and some odds and ends in the house.  And for the father who was just visiting him for the first time in New York, it was a shock.  You know in Iran and in Iranian households out here, food is major.  And food is a celebration, and it’s always a feast.  And you don’t . . .  You know my parents were always horrified when they would hear of how I lived in the States; and how, you know . . . how I always had this scrappy, college-like existence.  They would probably think the same today if they visited my apartment.  But it’s so at odds with the sort of natural grandeur that Persian households try to instill.  So I wanted . . .  I think that that was sort of an easy moment for cultural reflection.  You know I think it’s a lot of those mundane things, a lot of those small details that add up to the bigger conflicts.  Those . . . those little moments where people see their differences that create greater and greater divides.  And for the father and son in the novel, those differences ultimately reach a really devastating boiling point that looks irreparable.

Xerxes serves Fruity Pebbles to his visiting father, who is deeply offended by the offering.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Credit: Jenny – Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less

What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity.

Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.

Videos
  • Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
  • Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
  • In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
Keep reading Show less

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast