Sunday Links, January 12, 2014

fallingfreeThe finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award have been announced. This unusual award intended to recognize outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that stress the importance of liberty as the foundation for civilization, peace, prosperity, progress, and justice.

There are still a few straggling lists of the best of 2013 out there that are likely to add to your to-be-read pile. LitReactor characterizes its list as “eclectic.” Some good choices here.

hair sideWho should win the John W. Campbell Award as best new science fiction or fantasy writer this year? Editor Jonathan Strahan has some ideas. His list can work as a guide to your own reading if you’re interested in scouting new talent as well.

Strange Horizons has a list of eminently readable science fiction and fantasy from 2013 as well. This list, too, is eclectic, and includes some of the reviewers’ favorite books read in 2013 regardless of when they were published — a valuable reminder that there’s no law saying we can only read what was published in the last few years.

dragonsSF Signal asked writers what books they most enjoyed in 2013, and the results will — yet again — increase the length of your “to be read” list.

Barnes & Noble has a list of science fiction and fantasy to read in January. It looks like an odd list to me, given the sorts of books I tend to read, but I’ve always known my taste wasn’t exactly mainstream, even among nerds.

winterA number of good books are headed for the theater this year. I generally prefer to read a book before I see the movie, if possible, so Mark Helprin’s A Winter’s Tale is high on my list right now. I’ve read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, which is a decent young adult novel, and Gillian Flynn’s marvelous Gone Girl, which has the very model of an unreliable narrator — as well as unreliable other characters.

Of course, sometimes the movies just get it wrong. More than anything, movies seem to need happy endings that books don’t always supply.

yellowPublishers Weekly has a list of the nine best books that don’t exist. Me, I think it’s just as well that the Necronomicon (from The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, but used by a great many horror writers in their own works) isn’t something you can find in your local bookstore, but I think I’d enjoy reading Randolph Henry Ash’s works, as referred to in A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

Despite having a ridiculously large personal library (more books than I’ll be able to read in the rest of my life, even if I live to be 130), I still patronize my local library. Why? Because there are always books I don’t own that I want to read next, or an audio book I’d like to listen to on a long road trip, or some research to get done that requires access to books I don’t want to own. MoneyTalksNews thinks there are plenty of good reasons to use the public library, a lot more than my meager list. If you don’t have a library card already, maybe it’s time to get one.

statisticsWhy do authors get paid a smaller percentage as a royalty on e-books than on paper books? This has always been a mystery to me. Aren’t physical books a lot more expensive to produce? The figures bear out that conclusion. Why do publishers think that’s okay? Why aren’t authors up in arms about this?

woolHugh Howey, author of the self-published sensation Wool, has some good ideas for publishers. In fact, he has so many good ideas that he’s written a second column with more ideas, and there are more to come. I think one of the Big Six ought to give some serious thought to these notions.

bennetIf you need some more persuading, BuzzFeed has 28 quotes about libraries that will encourage you, even if your local library isn’t as beautiful as the pictures accompanying the quotes.

Here’s a cool idea: a poster of your favorite book. No, not a poster illustrating your favorite book, though they do that, too: a poster that actually contains the text of the book. In fact, the text forms the picture. They look lovely.


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