Sunday Links, February 24, 2013

nebula photoThe nominees for the Nebula Awards have been announced. The winners will be announced at Nebula Weekend, which will take place this year in San Jose, California, May 16-19. I’ll be there! Note that the link provided gives you further links to a good deal of the nominated short fiction, so you can read and judge for yourself.

The final list of nominees for the Bram Stoker Awards has been announced. The winners will be announced at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 13-16. New Orleans seems like a perfect venue for this convention, doesn’t it?

The Diagram Prize short list has been announced. This prize is for the book with the oddest title. God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis almost has to win, though How to Sharpen Pencils sounds marvelously Zen, somehow.

Blackfriars-logoLittle, Brown has announced digital-only imprint, though “imprint” seems like the wrong word entirely for something that isn’t technically printed anywhere, doesn’t it?

Do you have a bête noir among books, something that you just can’t read? I’ve started Moby-Dick an uncountable number of times, and made more than 300 pages worth of headway three times, but I’ve never gotten to read about Ahab’s final battle with the whale. I’m not sure I ever will. But the whole notion of the unreadable gets a fine write-up in the Guardian. Some books aren’t even meant to be read in the first place, it seems. And what did Joyce mean to do in Finnegans Wake?

In the 1950s, Fredric Wertham almost single-handedly destroyed the comics industry with The Seduction of the Innocent, his book about their supposed dangers. io9 has a great article by Annalee Newitz relating this chapter in literary history.

Have you always wanted to write a bestseller? Apparently it’s easier than you might think, assuming first that you are wealthy enough to finance the stunt. No, not the stunt of writing; the stunt of getting it onto the bestseller list without thousands of people actually buying your book. There’s a way to game the lists. So if you’ve got an extra $100,000 that isn’t doing anything, and a manuscript, you’re in business!

spots the space marineAnd speaking of business, Games Workshop’s attempt to prohibit the sale of books (and other goods) containing the term “space marines” appears to have been defeated. Games Workshop had claimed to have trademarked the term, which has been in use as long as I’ve been reading science fiction — and that’s a pretty long time. As a result, Amazon had taken down M.C.A. Hogarth’s e-book, Spots the Space Marine, but it’s now restored. It’s not clear how that happened, though it’s known that the Electronic Frontier Foundation was involved. Nor is it clear what Games Workshop will do in the future to ensure that there is no possibility of confusion between products using the words “space marine” and its own products.

Last week I pointed you to a piece by British writer Terry Deary, who wrote that libraries have had their day, and should be dismantled. I heard you all gasp in horror, as indeed did I. So, as it happens, did John Scalzi, who wrote this piece about his own history using libraries. It’s hard to read that piece and not conclude that Scalzi would be someone different today had he not had access to libraries. I know I’d be a different person without libraries — to this very day, in fact (says the woman with 28 books out of the public library despite the fact that she owns thousands of books she hasn’t read yet). That weekly trip to the library is crucial to my well-being, and I am in no way exaggerating.

There are plenty of websites for readers these days, but Literary Disco is new and different. This website is publishing podcasts of discussions and arguments about books and bookish things. I can’t wait to dig in.

downtonabbeyReaders seem to be the tribe that watches “Downton Abbey.” This reader, at least, found this article about the popular television series more than a bit interesting. I haven’t been watching, and after reading this article I’m not so sure I’m inclined to. I’m fascinated, though, that the author of the piece draws an explicit link between the series and several books.

Emails, texts, tweets, blogs; sometimes it’s hard to convey tone as well as information. So why not create new punctuation marks that get the point across? I think sarcastises are particularly necessary, along with its (their?) counterpart, the sinceroid.

I will leave you with something that has nothing at all to do with books and reading, but which is extraordinarily beautiful. Enjoy!

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