Sunday Links, February 23, 2014

rupettaRupetta, a novel by N.A. Sulway, has won this year’s Tiptree Award. According to the Award Council, the Tiptree Award is given annually to “a work of science fiction or fantasy that explores and expands gender roles . . . seek[ing] out work that is thought-provoking, imaginative and perhaps even infuriating.” Rupetta is currently available on Amazon for the Kindle for a mere $4.99 (and yes, I did buy it). The Tiptree jury also assembled an honor list, of which I have read only Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler, but if that book is indicative of the quality of the selections, I need to read the others very soon (Sea Change was on my list of last year’s best books).

SawyerThe New England Science Fiction Association has awarded the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, also known as the Skylark Award, to Robert J. Sawyer. The award is given to a person who exemplifies the personal qualities of E.E. “Doc” Smith, a beloved figure from the early days of science fiction.

The preliminary ballot for the 2013 Stoker Awards has been announced. Many of the books on the ballot are available for the Kindle at very reasonable prices, so this would be a good time to try some horror fiction.

28 booksList-making seems to be a recurrent pastime for those who keep blogs. I’ve seen a great many lists setting out those books I have to read in this lifetime, or that I must read to be educated, or otherwise demanding that I read certain books. The Millions takes a different approach, offering a list of 28 books you should read if you want to. And the list will surprise you in its nonspecificity. Go ahead, click! You know you want to.

What are the rules for reading? What makes one a “real” reader? Book Riot says that the only rule is that there are no rules. Sounds good to me.

amazonGeorge Packer has a long piece in the New Yorker about Amazon, asking whether Amazon is good for books. I can’t imagine anyone coming away from that article answering that question in the affirmative. In fact, it’s downright frightening for anyone who cares about a life of the mind. The New Republic goes a bit further, noting that no one in the book industry will talk about Amazon on the record for fear that Amazon’s huge marketing power will be turned against them.

used bookstoresI shop at Amazon far more than I ought to, especially now that I’ve read Packer’s article, but I still find myself patronizing used bookstores as well. Why? This ode to used bookstores answers the question. There’s a marvelous thrill of discovery in such places; just wandering their aisles is a distinct pleasure in and of itself.

Amazon isn’t the only instrument of the anguish in which the publishing industry now finds itself, though it is certainly aiding and abetting another of the attackers: self-publishers. Hugh Howey has been stoking these particular fires with a new website regarding authors’ earnings. Howey explains that he isn’t looking to get rid of traditional publishing, or even to take sales away from that avenue of distribution, but to make the pie bigger for everyone — to sell more books to more people. Some are attempting to be more critical about Howey’s numbers, separating what is clearly true from what is in doubt.

rowlingAnd then there are those who think that the best thing for publishing would be for J.K. Rowling to stop writing books. This sort of thing makes me cringe with something like disgust. Why should any successful writer stop writing? I find the suggestion that it would “give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe” to be just plain silly. Rowling’s success in the marketplace is not the cause of anyone else’s failure to thrive there. Write more! Write better! But don’t demand that others stop writing books that people want to read.

atwoodMargaret Atwood has some advice for writers. It’s funny how often a writer’s rules come down to “Write! Don’t stop writing!” I wonder how many “writers” out there produce fewer than a thousand words a month. I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged when it comes to fiction.

Here’s a charity we could all get behind: providing books for soldiers. It appears to be specific to authors providing signed copies for soldiers, but that shouldn’t stop you from filling your next CARE package with paperbacks nonetheless.

Movies and books: an uncomfortable marriage, at best, and the book is always better. But the best is the weird stuff the movies do to books in the hopes of garnering a wider audience.

This is just some silly fun with which to start your work week: classic video games reimagined as romance novels. Enjoy!

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