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Sunday Links, August 31, 2014

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 The Hugo Award winners have been announced, as have the winners of the 1939 Retro Hugos.  If you missed reading the nominated stories, you can find many of them linked here.

 The Baen Fantasy Adventure Award winners have been announced.

The Mythopoeic Award winners have been announced.

The Sideways Awards for Alternate History have been announced.

What to Read Next

I’ve always found fall reading much more exciting that summer reading, but I’m weird.  Still, Vulture’s list of 57 books to read this fall makes my heart start beating faster.  I’m especially looking forward to Stone Mattress:  Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel.

Flavorwire lists its own 25 recommendations for fall reading, with surprisingly little overlap with the Vulture list.  Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age sounds especially exciting.

Never to be left out, The Huffington Post has a list of fall books, too, and again, there seems to be little overlap with the other two lists.  From this list, the book that especially tempts me is The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

All those lists, all those books, and they don’t even include the science fiction, fantasy and horror!  Don’t worry, though, I’ve got you covered:  My Bookish Ways has a list of the best SF/F/H novels coming out in September.  As usual, I want them all, but I’m especially eager to read Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters, Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs, and Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant.  Good thing I have nothing to do this fall but read.  (That’s sarcasm, of course; if only!)

io9 has its own list of science fiction and fantasy books that will change your life this fall.  I sure wish I had nothing to do but read for the next four months!

Feel like everyone’s closing up the summer too fast?  John DeNardo has some suggestions for end-of-the-summer fare.

Powell’s suggests 25 books to read before you die, and gives you a 30% discount of them besides.  The list contains an unusual collection — not the usual round-up of classics you usually find in such lists.

The Telegraph lists 100 novels everyone should read — a list that is precisely the sort of classics round-up mentioned above, though there are still plenty of surprises.

Or you could go the other way, and read bestsellers.  Kirkus suggests nine of them that you might have passed by.

How many of the greatest books by women have you read?  My score is a depressing 23 out of 102 books, though I own a surprising number of the books listed.  (Well, maybe not too surprising when you consider the breadth of my library; what’s really is surprising is that at the ripe old age of 58, I still haven’t read George Eliot’s Middlemarch.)

If you’d like to be author specific in your next bout of reading, you might want to try to read through this list of Patricia Highsmith’s best work.  I’ve not read any of her work, so find myself mighty tempted to do exactly that.

More and more literature is becoming available in translation, which strikes me as a very good idea indeed.  (If we’re all to get along together, we need to know each other better, and if you can’t travel in person, you certainly can by book.)  Cheryl Morgan lists some science fiction and fantasy works that are becoming available in translationAndreas Eschbach’s The Carpet Makers is an astonishingly good work, for instance; it’s been translated from the German.

Io9 recommends ten “ultra-weird” science fiction novels that have become required reading.  And it has another list of weird science fiction no one’s ever read (I’ve never read a single book on this list).  The lists are both older, dating from 2012, but I hadn’t seen them before and find them fascinating.


The Hachette-Amazon battle continues to rage, making it impossible to pre-order such don’t-miss books as Mira Grant’s Symbiont, due out in November.  Authors and readers have lined up on both sides of the divide, as previous Sunday Links columns have shown.  Frankly, it’s a mess, and it’s bad for everyone.  Jake Kerr makes sense out of it all.  J.A. Konrath has a somewhat different view, which isn’t surprising given that he mostly self-publishes through Amazon.


Jack Heckel discusses why we keep telling ourselves fairy tales.  I love reading rewritten fairy tales — the Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling series, beginning with Snow White, Blood Red is a special favorite.

Will Self says the novel is dead.  No, really, this time it’s really, really dead.  He might be right.  This morning’s New York Times Book Review contained the following quotation:  “Short attention span is the new avant-garde.  Everyone complains that we can no longer intake huge chunks of text.  I find that a reason to celebrate. . . .  Twitter is the revenge of modernism.”  Kenneth Goldsmith made my heart sink all the way to the floor with that one.

Along the same lines:  seems readers absorb less on Kindles than they do on paper.  It’s a small study, and it included only two experienced Kindle readers, but I think there’s something there to which we need to pay attention.  Similarly, recent research suggests that we should take notes by hand, not on a computer.

Has horror fiction run out of things to write about?  Is there nothing left that frightens us?  My opinion is that there may be more than ever that we find terrifying, not least of which is our very own minds and bodies.  The article’s recommendation of Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box is right on target.

BookRiot suggests we should all lay off the criticism of Stephenie Meyer.  After all, it points out (correctly), she single-handedly improved the market for Young Adult books, and got legions of girls reading.


I’m looking forward to reading Lev Grossman’s latest book, The Magician’s Land — but I want to do it by rereading the first two books in his trilogy first.  I’m even more intrigued since reading this article by Grossman in which he describes how he discovered he’s a fantasy writer.

Delilah Dawson lists ten things you don’t need to be a writer.  It’s inspiring, especially to someone like me, who often thinks she needs some sort of credential in order to be able to write well.  (Really, I don’t need an MFA?  Or at least a six-week workshop?)

Fun Stuff

Okay, this is just silly:  geniuses who messed up desserts the first time they tried to make them.  Who knew Friedrich Nietzsche couldn’t make lemon squares?

Bustle explains how readers react to those who don’t read.  I tend to work really hard at #5.  Surely there’s something for every potential reader, isn’t there?

Fifteen scientists share their favorite science fiction works.

The new season of Doctor Who has started, with the new Doctor played by Peter Capaldi.  So far, so good, with the second episode considerably better than the first.  What, you’re not a Doctor Who fan?  Then give it a try with the 30 episodes listed here.  Some very fine television in that list.  It inspires me to go back to the beginning of the rebooted series in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor and watch all of it over again.

Readers are the best sorts of people to fall in love with.  A scientific truth, according to this article.  But we all knew that already, didn’t we?