Kickstarting the Mexicanx Initiative Anthology, spotlighting Mexicanx creators who won scholarships to this year's Worldcon

Pablo Defendini (previously) writes, "Fireside Magazine’s editor, Julia Rios, is part of The Mexicanx Initiative, a scholarship fund John Picacio put together for sending Mexicanx and Mexican-American sf/f authors to Worldcon. A few of the Mexicanx Initiative authors decided to create an anthology to commemorate the occasion, and had been planning on subsidizing the cost of printing and shipping themselves. When Fireside got word of this last week, we decided to pitch in, and we put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $1500 they needed.

"Well, we blew past our funding goal, and we decided that any money left over would be split evenly among all the participants (Fireside isn't making a cent off this). So now we're trying to reach a stretch goal of $7500 by the end of the campaign this Friday, so that we can not only cover their production costs, but pay every author, artist, designer, translator, and editor who donated their work a SFWA-qualifying pro rate."

Mexicanx Initiative Anthology [Fireside/Kickstarter] Read the rest

Re/Search press releases its first-ever merch, only available for a few more hours

For cyberpunks of a certain vintage, Re/Search press (previously) was absolutely formative -- books like Incredibly Strange Films, Zines!, and, of course, Modern Primitives (RIP, Fakir) were incredibly influential material for the modern happy mutant. Read the rest

Audible puts the screws to indie authors

Audible -- Amazon's audiobook company -- dominates audiobooks, controlling 90% or more of the market; their ACX platform is tailored to indie, self-published authors, and, until recently, it paid them handsomely for any new customers they brought into Audible's fold. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson's long-lost masterpiece "Melee"

Stefan Jones writes, "While Dungeons & Dragons (1973) had its roots in miniatures wargaming, it really didn't coherently integrate boardgame-style maneuvers into its combat system. Steve Jackson changed that a few years later with Melee, the first segment in what would be a full-fledged fantasy role playing game system, The Fantasy Trip. It was a lot better developed than D&D, and was supported by GMd adventures and solotaire adventures." Read the rest

Kickstarting Flotsam, an RPG about "marginalized people in space"

Josh writes, "Imagine the Belters of the Expanse watching as Earth and Mars shape their lives, the civilians in Battlestar Galactica living with the decisions made by the military and the folk of Downbelow in Babylon 5, abandoned to destitution and squalor by those who built the station. Flotsam is a game is about characters like that. In Flotsam you play outcasts, renegades and misfits trying to make their way in a world where poverty and gang conflict sit alongside alien technology and supernatural weirdness. You play through their lives, their interpersonal relationships and small-scale drama against the epic backdrop of space." Read the rest

In-depth look at the Financial Times' weekly guide to ostentatious status goods for tasteless one-percenters

The Financial Times kicked off its "How To Spend It" section in 1967 as a single page in the Saturday issue (then called "A guide to good living"); the section grew to its own glossy magazine over the years, weathering lean years and good ones, and has found its niche half a century later, in an era of mass inequality as a weekly catalog of things that the super rich should buy to demonstrate their dominance over everyone else. Read the rest

Trademark troll who claims to own "Dragon Slayer" now wants exclusive rights to book covers where someone is holding a weapon

Austin's Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase "Dragon Slayer" for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he's filed a trademark on book covers "one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring." Read the rest

The future will be feminist and pedal-powered: kickstarting a fifth "Bikes Not Rockets" sf anthology

Elly Blue (previously) writes, "Will toilet paper be a valuable commodity after society collapses? Who will help you with your reproductive rights in the coming patriarchal dystopia? Why are humans so obsessed with gender? Are bots human? These questions and many more are answered with bicycles (and feminism!) in the eleven stories found in Bikes Not Rockets, the fifth volume in the Bikes in Space series. More relevant than ever, stories in this genre inspire visions of a future beyond the narrow status quo." Read the rest

Kickstarting a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed hardcover notebooks for RPG campaigns

The Game Master's Tome & Player's Compendium are a pair of A5-sized, Moleskine-like notebook with custom interiors designed for RPG gamemasters and players, with 480 pages' worth of hex maps, worldbuilding note sections, character sheets, quest-notes, etc; the stretch-goals include more pages, paper edging, endpaper art, and larger sizes. Read the rest

SON OF COCKY: a writer is trying to trademark "DRAGON SLAYER" for fantasy novels

Back in May, the romance writing community was rocked by a scandal after author Faleena Hopkins started enforcing a trademark over the common word "COCKY" in the titles of romance novels; I predicted then that there would be some sociopaths who would observe the controversy and decide that it was an inspiration, rather than a warning, and start trying to use trademark to steal other words from writers and their titles. Read the rest

Kickstarting a science fiction anthology that puts Trump policies on blast

Colin writes, "Parvus Press is funding IF THIS GOES ON, an anthology of political science fiction on Kickstarter. The anthology is edited by Cat Rambo, author and president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. It features thirty original stories dealing with the long-term impact of the policies and politics of our current elected leaders. Contributors range from long-time authors of SF like Nisi Shawl and Andy Duncan to award-season favorites Sarah Pinsker and E. Lily Yu and relative newcomers like former NFL Kicker Chris Kluwe." Read the rest

Germany's scientific texts were made free during and after WWII; analyzing them today shows the negative effect of paywalls on science

In 1942, the US Book Republication Program permitted American publishers to reprint "exact reproductions" of Germany's scientific texts without payment; seventy-five years later, the fate of this scientific knowledge forms the basis of a "natural experiment" analysed by Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser for The Center for Economic and Policy Research, who compare the fate of these texts to their contemporaries who didn't have this semi-public-domain existence. Read the rest

RIP Gardner Dozois, pioneering, genre-defining science fiction editor who helped launch my career

Gardner Dozois started his career in science fiction as a (very good) writer, but quickly transitioned to the role that defined his life in the field, as an editor, taking over Asimov's from 1984 to 2004, winning 40 Hugos, 40 Nebulas, 30 Locus Awards, and the best Professional Editor Hugo Award 15 times. Read the rest

Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe." Read the rest

Kickstarting "Drawn to Sex": Oh Joy Sex Toy's sex-ed book

A couple months back, I was delighted to learn that the good, good people at Oh Joy Sex Toy were launching a sex-ed book aimed at explaining the basics, ins, outs, whats and wherefores of sex "for those looking to learn about sex and wince at our bad dad jokes." Read the rest

Study: Publishers sell books written by women for less than those written by men

Women have had to deal with the shitty end of the employment stick since, well, forever. Sexual harassment, rampant misogyny and pay disparity are but a few of the crap things they frequently have to put up with. Apparently, you can add being screwed out of equal pay for authoring a frigging book to the list: researchers at Queens College have discovered that books written by female authors are, on average, sold for just over 50% less than those written by a dude.

The study looked at sales data for titles released by large publishing houses in North America between 2002 and 2012. Looking to the gender of the authors of the books reviewed, cross factoring this with data on the price, genre and how the books were published brought the study's authors to a lousy conclusion: Books written by women that are released by mainstream publishing houses sell, on average, for 45% less than those written by men.

The study's authors, Dana Beth Weinberg and Adam Kapelner, a sociologist and mathematician, respectively, found that even when you looked at book genres that are dominated by female authors, the percentages only go up by an average of 9% – so, even if hardly any men are writing, say, romance novels, the women who are writing them are still getting screwed out of equal pay.

From The Guardian:

It was little surprise to see evidence of segregation by genre and the differing values placed on each genre, Weinberg added, but the researchers were very surprised at how clear this discrimination was.

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Newspaper runs gun show ad on front page below Parkland massacre story

Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Sun Sentinel daily newspaper published an ad for a gun show on the front page just below stories about a benefit for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and another article about the guilty plea of the man who killed 5 people last year at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport. After Stoneman Douglas families and others responded with WTF, the paper apologized and then later announced a moratorium on gun ads. From the Miami New Times:

"It's a mess. It's horrible," says Julie Anderson, the Sun Sentinel's editor in chief. "We're taking every step possible to make sure our editorial staff always see ads before publication so something like this doesn't slip through."

In her statement, publisher Nancy Meyer said, "We deeply regret placement of a gun advertisement on our front page Wednesday morning. It has been against our policy to run gun and other types of controversial advertising on our front page."

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

Read the rest

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