Sunday Links, April 7, 2013

Jack GlassThe British Science Fiction Award winners have been announced. The winning novel, Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer by Adam Roberts, only became available in the United States on April 1, 2013, so grab it and its winning cover art now.

The Philip K. Dick Award winners have been announced. As it happens, Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery was the only one of the nominees I’d managed to complete reading before the winners were announced, though I dutifully purchased all of them and they have a prominent place on my “read next” bookcase. I found Lost Everything to be one of those books you can admire but not like.

The Clarke Award shortlist has been announced. It surprisingly contains no works by women. Liz Williams, one of the jurors for the prize, explains why the ballot is an all-male enclave this year — and why that may well happen again. Cheryl Morgan, one of the best bloggers in the field, responds. To my dismay, it seems to come down to decisions being made by publishers that disfavor women. I thought we’d left this sort of thing behind us a long time ago, but apparently not.

The 2013 Ditmar Awards ballot, for the best Australian science fiction, has been announced. I would very much love to read Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts; her fiction is awesome. Alas, it isn’t yet available in the United States.

TerryPratchettPrizeThe Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize shortlist has been announced. This award, which is new, is for an unpublished first novel “set on Earth, although it may be an Earth that might have been, or might yet be, one that has gone down a different leg of the famous trousers of time.” That description makes me want to read all of those books next, especially as I have an affinity for first novels. Alas yet again; the books aren’t available in the United States. One can but hope that an American publisher will pick them up.

The Barry Award nominees have been announced. How is it that I’ve not heard of this award before? Those nominees look mighty tasty.

The Thriller Award nominees have been announced.

Hugo Award I mentioned the Hugo Award nominees last week. This week there was a flood of writing about the nominees, much of it reflecting my own thoughts that the nominated novels in particular were perfectly fine and enjoyable books, but perhaps weren’t really the best the field had to offer last year. Some bloggers complained about the entire ballot, from beginning to end. This blogger has no problem with the ballot, but offers a fairly comprehensive round-up of links to other bloggers who do.

SF Signal is one of my favorite blogs about my favorite genres. It recently put up a post about inexpensive Kindle ebooks that could help a reader start to build a pretty decent collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror in electronic form. But watch when you click; Kindle deals seem to come and go with the speed of light, and the price in the post might not be the price at Amazon any longer.

I mentioned last week that Amazon has purchased Goodreads. This week: Amazon has purchased the English language. And Amazon has also apparently purchased its customers’ ability to read. Yikes! (Please note the dates of the articles before you panic.) On a more serious note, The Digital Reader explains why no publisher beat Amazon to the punch on Goodreads. We could sure use a few real visionaries in publishing, couldn’t we?

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us AllSpeaking of publishing visionaries, one of my favorite small presses in science fiction, fantasy and horror is Night Shade Books. As good as Night Shade has been for readers, though, it has apparently long been a nightmare for writers. This week Night Shade announced that its assets were up for purchase by Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing. Neither of the would-be purchasers has any experience with science fiction, fantasy and horror; and both are insisting on draconian changes to the writers’ contracts, adding certain rights not previously granted to Night Shade (such as to spoken-word or electronic versions of the works) and drastically cutting the royalty percentage. Authors are debating whether this sale, which would ensure that they were paid back royalties and advances owed, would be in their best interests in the long term, but there is most definitely a great deal of anger out there. The blogger known as Miss Cranky Pants has a roundup of links regarding the issues. I feel terrible for writers like Laird Barron, whose new collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, was due to be released on April 2 but is now in publishing limbo.

Book Was ThereI’ve been aware that reading on an e-reader isn’t the same as reading a physical book, and I think any dedicated reader would tell you the same thing. Your brain just takes it in differently. I’ve found, for instance, that I retain far less about a book I read on my Kindle than a book I read in hard copy. Andrew Piper writes about the physicality of reading in Slate, confirming my awareness. It is a long and excellent article, an excerpt from his book, Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Stephen Marche has given up his Kindle for good, he tells us in an article in Esquire, because it’s a technology that just doesn’t work very well. If cell phones make such a huge jump ahead in technological proficiency every year or two, why haven’t e-readers similarly improved? It’s a good question.

How do you write good sex? Or should you be writing it at all? Julia Fierro thinks sex has its place in the contemporary novel. Sounds like the book she has coming out in 2014 will be something to look for.

Here’s a fascinating idea: Arizona libraries are offering not just books on health, but access to a public health nurse. This resource answers a crying need. I wish libraries across the country had the funds to do this themselves.

Want to enjoy a good glass of wine or an excellent beer while you read? One of these 15 book-filled bars might be just the ticket. Perhaps a book-filled bar would be the best place to read what 10 famous writers have to say about how to drink.


1 Comment to Sunday Links, April 7, 2013

  1. Leah's Gravatar Leah
    April 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Sea Hearts is also shortlisted for the brand new Stella Prize awarded for best works by Australian women. Woot!

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