It has been a bad week for those who love literature, for Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died. Fortunately, he left behind a lovely collection of books for us to read and reread for the rest of our lives.
The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced. Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch took the fiction prize — I’ve yet to run into anyone who has read it who wasn’t blown away. I’m going to grab it as soon as my husband has finished it.
The winner of the Philip K. Dick Award was announced at Norwescon 37 on Friday: Countdown City by Ben H. Winters. It’s in residence on my Kindle; this moves it way up the list, along with the first in the series, The Last Policeman.
The ballot for the 2014 Hugo Awards has been announced.
The 2014 Eisner Award nominations have been announced.
The Aurealis Awards have been announced, celebrating the best in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction. Here’s hoping most of these books ultimately get outside the bounds of that splendid isle, so that we can all enjoy them! Some, like Max Barry’s Lexicon (best science fiction novel) and Joanne Anderton’s The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories (best collection) are already available here, and definitely worth reading.
The 2014 Glyph Award nominations have been announced. The Glyph Award honors the best in African-American comics and characters. The winners will be announced on May 16 at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) in Philadelphia.
The 2014 Scribe Award nominations have been announced. These awards honor excellence in licensed tie-in writing.
Pan Macmillan has announced the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing in honor of the late writer. The inaugural award will be open to horror novels written in English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. A shortlist of nominees will be announced in January 2015.
If post-modern mysteries are more your style, you’ll love this list.
Don’t Read That!
Discussing Speculative Fiction
Quirk Books thinks there could be a bit more realism in YA dystopic fiction, and offers a few “slightly more plausible” scenarios for dystopias. Actually, they’re pretty funny.
Well, what do you know. John Scalzi deliberately made his auxiliary characters in The Human Division half female and half male — and no one noticed for a long time. Well, actually, according to the comments, lots of people noticed, though it was great, and didn’t comment. But careful readers will have noticed that most characters in most novels are male, so the equal division was something of an experiment. Scalzi takes it as a good sign that his stratagem didn’t induce comment, much less outrage.
Science fiction has a universal appeal that is often ignored. Literati may turn up their noses, but those of us who read science fiction, fantasy and horror know that they’ve got plenty of the virtues of high literature right alongside the plot-heavy, pure fun stuff we also enjoy. Kirkus agrees, sort of, naming five science fiction and fantasy novels that readers of the classics are likely to enjoy.
And, of course, there are some who think that speculative fiction is superior to mainstream fiction in its ability to create debate around complex political issues. Many of us fantasy readers think there’s something very real in the made-up worlds we read about.
The Publishing Business
Amazon has purchased Comixology. This is great news for the immediate future if you’re already part of the Amazon family, as I am (as my Kindle and my Prime membership indicate), but only time will tell if it’s really good for the entire body of comics consumers. Amazon does seem to be taking over the world, doesn’t it? I, for one, appreciate our publishing overlords.
Are ebooks in decline already? Tim Waterstone, the founder of a bookstore chain in the United Kingdom, believes so. Much as I love my Kindle, I kind of hope he’s right. There’s still something perfect about the physical book.
And while we’re on the subject of ebooks, how should they be priced?
No matter what you read, libraries are not dying.
Fascinating Book Reviews
Brain Pickings gives us an excellent discussion of How to Worry Less About Money by John Armstrong, placing it in the context of other publications of The School of Life and distinguishing it from the self-help genre altogether. Generally, this series looks like one of good guides on a deep level. Certainly worth at least checking out from the library for a breeze-through.
If you’ve ever been subjected to New Age gobbledegook, you’re likely to get a kick out of this New Age Bullshit Generator. Go ahead, reionize your electrons. Namaste!
One of the coolest things about science fiction is the artwork. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this gallery and count up the number of “ooohs” you utter as you scroll.
If you love fairy tales — and really, who doesn’t? — you’ll love these recommendations of the top 10 fairy tale short stories. I’m delighted that I’ve read only a few of them, and therefore have some good times ahead of me.
Play this game: How to Be a Writer. Silly fun.
Take this quiz: Which Dewey Decimal category are you? I fall in the 000’s — I’m a generalist, they tell me. Makes perfect sense to me.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry is now accepting pupils. Choose your house (no Sorting Hat here; sorry), collect your textbooks and get started with your nine-week-long classes. Read more about this venture here.