Sunday Links, June 16, 2013

the drowning girlThe Bram Stoker Awards were awarded yesterday evening at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Caitlín R. Kiernan took the top prize for best novel with The Drowning Girl. It’s the second major prize for that novel, which also won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

Jack GlassThe Campbell Conference awarded its three awards on June 14, 2013. Adam Roberts won the John W. Campbell Award for his novel with Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer.

Sea ChangeEven readers who like their fiction to come along with a bit of science or fantasy would do well to look outside the usual sections of the bookstore this year. There are some wonderful books being published with the flavor of genre but the writing of those better known for literary fiction that will make for excellent summer reading. I’ve just finished S.M. Wheeler’s Sea Change, for instance, and can recommend it highly. It’s Wheeler’s first novel, but she’s already demonstrated that she’s a talent to watch.

The QuarryWriter Iain Banks has died, far too young. The Guardian has a final interview with the man, who died before the publication of his latest (and last) book, The Quarry. Banks left behind not just a marvelous library of 30 novels, but also 11 rules of good writing that can move just about any author a bit further down the road into good characterization and plotting.

The Feminine MystiqueThe science fiction community is once again discussing diversity. Really, is it that hard to remember that there are people besides white males? Apparently it is, for some. Continuing the conversation, Chuck Wendig offers an insightful list of 25 things to know about sexism and misogyny in writing and publishing. I don’t get it. It’s nearly 50 years since Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique; why do we still have to debate the startling proposition that women are human beings?

Have you been complaining lately that a lot of what you read isn’t really all that good? There’s a reason for that — in fact, there are five. It seems to me that the most accurate of these rules is the one that says readers should look outside the bestseller lists.

WatchmenAnd on that note, perhaps you’ll decide that this is the summer that you should try an altogether different form of art: the comic. Buzzfeed can get you started with this list of the “canon” of comics. I can vouch for Alan Moore’s Watchmen, just for starters; there are many titles on this list that I’ve devoured with great pleasure. Comics aren’t just kid stuff, and haven’t been for a long time now. This list lengthened my list of books to look for rather considerably, though; the riches are there for the taking, and I plan to become increasingly wealthy.

What are the most exceptional epic fantasies of all time? Five different bloggers have weighed in on the question, and there is surprisingly little overlap on the lists after, oh, the first ten books or so. Several of the lists straddle different media, so don’t be too surprised when a movie or television show turns up. And don’t hesitate to join the discussion, either. It’s a great question!

Writers find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. I didn’t buy into this notion for a long time, believing that it took some sort of magic to fall across a plot and a few good characters, but that was before I met my husband, who has taught me how to find story ideas in something as mundane as a broken air conditioner. Lots of writers are inspired by their dreams. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t care to have H.P. Lovecraft’s dreams. Can you imagine thinking up Cthulhu by dreaming of tentacle monsters? Brrrr!

Hay on WyeIf you haven’t figured out where you’re vacationing this summer yet, you might want to consider the booklovers’ paradise known as Hay-on-Wye. This tiny town in Wales has a population of 1500 people and 30 used bookstores. Just remember to leave your Kindle at home.

If you’re going to be traveling more widely than that, this list of literary restaurants might come in handy. The BookBar in Denver looks like a small slice of heaven to me.

shoescloseI’ve got a pretty cool collection of book-related t-shirts, as I’ve mentioned before, but I’d never thought of book-related shoes. Don’t they look like fun? I’d go for a pair of flats instead of the heels, though: when you walk around with your nose stuffed in a book, it’s better to have fewer hazards to navigation.

The Seattle Public Library put together the world’s longest domino chain made of books. You’ve got to watch this; it’s awesome!


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