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Sunday Links, April 28, 2013

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Thunder RoadThe Prix Aurora Award ballot has been announced for work done in 2012 by Canadians. I get unreasonably annoyed that nominated books aren’t available here in the United States. Try to find Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, for instance, and Amazon offers you Bruce Springsteen. Not that I don’t love me some Bruce, but this isn’t even close!

Sea HeartsThe winners of the Ditmar Awards, for works by Australian authors, were announced on April 26. Here are more books I want to get my hands on but can’t, especially including Margo Lanagan’s winning novel, Sea Hearts.

I’d love to get to the World Horror Convention in New Orleans this June, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. And the World Fantasy Convention is in England this year, which puts it out of reach for my budget. I could always console myself with something closer to home, though, because there’s a plenitude of conventions to choose from. Whether your thing is comics or Star Trek, anime or steampunk, there’s something for you coming this summer.

Speaking of comics, it’s going to be quite a summer in that genre.

I gave you a link to the latest of VIDA’s studies of how literary coverage is affected by gender a few weeks ago. Strange Horizons has followed up with its count of what happens in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. Alas, the story is just as bad in these genres as it is in mainstream literary magazines.

Life after LifeThere’s been a healthy mixing of genres going on in fiction lately. Look at Kate Atkinson, who dabbled in mysteries for a time and has just released an alternate history book (the fantastic Life After Life, which I recommend highly). Or check out Michael Chabon, who never seems to write in the same genre twice. But there are still those who stick up their noses at anything that has any hint of genre, and they’re the ones who are killing books. Matt Haig has 30 things to say to the book snob who condemns what you’re reading.

Science classroomIn Virginia, one legislator is leaning in the opposite direction; he has proposed legislation to mandate that students read science fiction. It is this politician’s position that reading science fiction is a good way to encourage students to pursue careers in math, science and engineering.

The afterlife is a fertile subject for writers, but some have posited fictional afterlives that are worse than hell. It’s enough to make you wish for wings and a harp, no matter how boring that sounds.

Authors continue to be concerned about Amazon’s patent for selling used e-books. I feel a bit like I’m watching a slow motion car crash by observing the publishing industry these days. I hope the paradigm gets done with its shifting and turns up a model that works for authors, agents and publishers, and soon.

Publishers Weekly suggests ways that publishers of young adult fiction can help readers. A lot of their suggestions apply fully to adult-oriented fiction, for that matter. It would be great if publishers put the full list of a series inside the front cover, for instance, and put the series number on the spine of the book. There’s nothing worse than buying a book and finding out that it’s the second in a trilogy. Granted, this has the most application in science fiction and fantasy, but it also applies to mysteries (I’d rather read a series in order, wouldn’t you?) and even, occasionally, to mainstream fiction (as, for example, with historical novels). There are other ways to figure this stuff out, of course; I particularly recommend Stop, You’re Killing Me! for mysteries and Fantastic Fiction for SF, fantasy and horror. But publishers could make life a lot easier, and given the trouble they’re in, you’d think they’d try.

Master bedroom closetBookshelf PornNeed some more shelf space for your growing (and growing, and growing) book collection? Use your walk-in closet for shelves instead of clothes (see picture on left). That’s what I do, though my closet isn’t quite as pretty (see picture on right), because, after all, my husband and I have to put our clothes somewhere.

Perhaps we should just give up and move into one of these playful libraries. Aren’t they gorgeous?