The winners from last night's Locus Awards Banquet in Seattle have been announced: Read the rest
Every year, Tor.com anthologizes some of the best short fiction from its website in a free ebook, and it's always one of the best sf anthologies of the year -- this is no exception! Read the rest
Two years ago, Tor Books, the largest sf publisher in the world (and publisher of my own books) went DRM-free; yesterday, Tor's founder and publisher Tom Doherty took to the stage to explain why he dropped DRM from his books. Doherty spent some time talking about the business outcomes of life without DRM (in short, there's no new piracy of Tor books as a result of publishing without it), but really focused his talk on the community of readers and writers, and their conversation, and the role Tor plays there. Doherty's philosophy is that books get sold by being part of a wider context in readers' lives -- being something they talk and think about and share, and that DRM just gets in the way of that.
Meanwhile, Hachette -- publishing's most ardent DRM advocate -- and Amazon continue to duke it out in a ghastly and abusive public spat in which Amazon is attempting to extort deeper discounts from Hachette by de-listing, delaying and obfuscating its titles. If Hachette books were DRM free, the company could announce an "Amazon-refugee discount" of 10% of all its ebook titles at Google Play, Ibooks, and Barnes and Noble, and offer a tool to convert your Kindle library to work on one of those other players. But because Hachette allowed -- insisted! -- that Amazon put its own DRM on Hachette books, the only company that can authorize converting Amazon Kindle titles to work with other readers is Amazon.
Good luck with that. Read the rest
Yesterday, I reviewed "What Makes This Book So Great", a collection of Jo Walton's brilliant book-reviews from Tor.com. Today, Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden has posted his essay on the book, entitled "What Makes Jo Walton So Great." It's a tremendous read, and a great frame for the book, which is flat-out great. Read the rest
Jo Walton is one of my favorite novelists; books like Among Others (which justly swept the field's awards in 2011) and the Farthing/Ha'penny/Half a Crown novels show incredible insight into people, a deft hand at explaining the struggle to do good in bad situations, and the ability to spin out moving, heart-rending conundra that make you ache for all concerned. (Not only that, but she's got a book due in May that is radioactively good, a book that kept me up all night weeping and laughing by turns, and that has sunk a barb in my heart ever since).
But she's also a spectacular literary critic. Her regular column on Tor.com, through which she re-reads her favorite books and explains what makes them work, is required reading for anyone seeking to understand how books do their magic trick. And now those columns have been collected into a single volume, called What Makes This Book So Great. Read the rest
Patrick Nielsen Hayden and David Hartwell have edited Twenty-First Century Science Fiction , a 250,000-word anthology of short fiction by writers who came to prominence since the turn of the century. The authors include "Vandana Singh, Charles Stross, Paolo Bacigalupi, Neal Asher, Rachel Swirsky, John Scalzi, M. Rickert, Tony Ballantyne, David Levine, Genevieve Valentine, Ian Creasey, Marissa Lingen, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, David Moles, Mary Robinette Kowal, Madeleine Ashby, Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, Oliver Morton, Karl Schroeder, Brenda Cooper, Liz Williams, Ted Kosmatka, Catherynne M. Valente, Daryl Gregory, Alaya Dawn Johnson, James Cambias, Yoon Ha Lee, Hannu Rajaniemi, Kage Baker, Peter Watts, Jo Walton, and Cory Doctorow." The book comes out on Nov 5 (pre-order now). Patrick has posted some of the preface: Read the rest
One year ago today Gender-neutral toy department: Harrods has bucked the established practice of strongly gender-segregating its toy department, contracting with Shed Design to create a "gender-neutral" toy floor.
Five years ago today Heinlein's dystopian juvenile novels: Jo Walton takes a look at the dystopian backdrops in Robert A Heinlein's juvenile novels like Starman Jones and Citizen of the Galaxy. Heinlein's juveniles were his best work for my money.
One year ago today Humiliating giant head squirrel feeder: If you've decided to surrender to the squirrels that raid your bird-feeder and just set out squirrel chow instead, why not use one of Archie McPhee's humiliating giant-head-squirrel-feeders, which allow you to chuckle at your pests even as you capitulate to them?
Five years ago today Jack Womack's underappreciated masterpiece, "Random Acts of Senseless Violence": Jo Walton (herself one of my favorite writers) reviews Jack Womack's sorely neglected novel Random Acts of Senseless Violence, a book I rank with Uglies, The Parable of the Sower, and even The Diary of Anne Frank for being an unflinching, engrossing, difficult coming-of-age story.
Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.
My co-hosts for this episode:
John Hodgman. Among other things, John’s the resident expert on The Daily Show and the judge on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast. The third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge -- called That Is All -- comes out in paperback and audiobook today. John and Jonathan Coulton are performing together Boston and Northampton on November 2nd and 3rd. Learn more about the events here.
In this episode, we talked about:
That is All. John Hodgman brings us the third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge. The paperback is loaded with new material!
Skype is owned by Microsoft now, and the latest version stinks. Glenn: "Microsoft reengineered its security infrastructure to make it easier to tap Skype calls. I maintain and others maintain, and that process caused worse phone connections."
Postsingular, by Rudy Rucker.
John recommends Reamde, by Neal Stephenson: "A thriller of international espionage but it puts the cliches of international espionage thrillers so far behind it."
Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 Nebula Awards, especially to Jo Walton, who won for her magnificent novel, Among Others (see my review, here). Also congrats to Delia Sherman for her best YA book prize for The Freedom Maze (my review).
* Novel Winner: Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
* Novella Winner: ”The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011)
* Novelette Winner: ”What We Found,” Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)
* Short Story Winner: ”The Paper Menagerie,” Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011)
* Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation Winner: Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
* Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Winner: The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
* 2011 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD: Connie Willis
* SOLSTICE AWARD: Octavia Butler (posthumous) and John Clute
* SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD: Bud Webster