Sunday Links, February 9, 2014

Through the Evil DaysThe nominees for the Agatha Awards have been announced. These awards are for “traditional mysteries,” that is, mysteries with no explicit sex or excessive or gratuitous violence — mysteries like Agatha Christie wrote, where the puzzle is what matters.

Left Coast Crime has announced the nominees for its mystery awards in various categories.

The Secret of MagicKirkus gives us a list of the winter’s best bets for reading in all genres.

Just as I get chosen to speak on a panel at FOGCon on underrated fantasy, science fiction and horror writers, Omnivoracious does a column about underrated science fiction and fantasy. Thanks for the jumping-off spot, Amazon! I agree Paul Antony Jones that Tim Powers’s The Drawing of the Dark is worth your attention, which makes me that much more curious about other novels on the list.

MiddlesexWhy do we seem to enjoy lists so much? There are websites that seem to be composed of nothing but lists, and they drag me in with daunting frequency. Now Amazon has a hew list of the best 100 books to read in a lifetime. The list is quirky, to say the least, but at least it takes substantial note of the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, instead of sticking to the so-called Great Books. I’ve read about a third of the books on the list, and am curious about a good many of the rest of them.

Infinite jestRachel Dorsey writes in Book Riot about how reading big books — the ones that clock in at more than 1000 pages per — helped her adapt to living abroad.

Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham while looking like a homeless person. Definitely worth a watch.

The chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary speaks about the future of this institution. Work began on the third edition in 1994; it should be finished in 2037. At that rate, they’ll need to start on the fourth edition as soon as they finish the third!

bnI linked a couple of articles by Hugh Howey last week discussing ways and means by which traditional publishing can regain some of the territory lost to self-publishing. Publishers Weekly has a response that suggests that Howey’s ideas would work well in a world that still had bookstores, but that the loss of bricks-and-mortar might make things a lot more difficult all the way around.

Chuck WendigIn the meantime, it looks self-publishing isn’t going to slow down any time soon, and it’s not going to yield more high-quality reading material, either. Chuck Wendig, the author of several well-received novels, writes about why this is a problem. He sets out the reasons I generally avoid self-published stuff unless I know the author’s work and/or reputation in the field; there’s too much garbage out there, and I don’t have time to wade through all the garbage to find something worth my scarce reading hours. Chocolate and Vodka has some further thoughts on the topic.

Jodi MeadowsJodi Meadows writes a love letter to her rejections, which in a way is a comment on the articles about self-publishing. If you go straight to publication without the intervention of an editorial eye — even an editorial eye that rejects your work — your work won’t be as good as it will be if you keep working to get that acceptance.

I’ve been longing to take a serious writing course for a while now, one that will force me to write and make me write better. My particular grail is Clarion West, which is specifically for writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to take this intensive six-week course, but I’ll never stop yearning for it either, most likely. Why? Because you can learn a lot in a writing course. And the people who take them are likely your kind of people, the ones who read and love books. Hmm, maybe instead of just longing for Clarion I should think about a local college course and see what that does for me.

book blogsPolicyMic lists ten literary blogs every 20-something should read, but I see no reason why the list isn’t also useful for those older and younger. The Los Angeles Review of Books is especially wonderful, leading me to explore the others named.

It’s still a man’s world, writing dark fantasy and horror. There’s no reason why that should be so, but it is. And that’s what leads Teresa Frohock to offer some tried and true advice in the linked article, like using a gender-neutral first name or initials if publishing in those fields. Her bottom line? A career in writing is hard work, even harder than it used to be.

logoSimon and Schuster has finally named its new science fiction and fantasy imprint and given it a logo besides. I’ve no idea what that logo is supposed to represent; it looks like a goblet to me, and there’s no particular relationship between SF/F and goblets that I know of (though certainly they show up in plenty of fantasy novels). Look for the first novels to be published in this line in Spring 2015. I wish I didn’t have to wait that long for Ken Liu’s first novel, A Tempest of Gold — his short stories are so wonderful that I can’t wait to get my hands on his work at greater length.

crime and punishmentThere’s a website called “Upworthy” that frequently manages to catch my attention from the general din on Facebook with a headline that makes the accompanying story worth a click. The Millions has taken this concept to the next logical step and retitled books in a similar fashion so as to reap more readers. “Here’s One Weird Trick To Get Out of Paying Your Rent Forever” does rather have a ring to it that Crime and Punishment doesn’t.

Want to make your brain work better? Here’s how.

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1 Comment to Sunday Links, February 9, 2014

  1. lynn's Gravatar lynn
    February 10, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I love these Sunday posts of your Terry.

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