Sunday Links for February 6, 2011

The 2010 Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot is out. The Stokers, for superior achievement in horror fiction, will be awarded at the World Horror Convention, which will be held from April 28 to May 1, 2011, in Austin, Texas.

Winners of the Black Quill Awards were announced this past Monday.

Lots of different “best of 2010” lists have gone up just recently. You might find some good reading by checking them out:
Elitist Book Review’s Best of 2010
Neth Space’s Best of 2010
2010 Locus Recommended Reading List
SF Crow’s Nest’s Best Scifi Novels of 2010
Readers of John Scalzi’s Whatever blog offer their opinions on the best of 2010 in order to guide award nominations
Adam Roberts’s list of the best science fiction books of 2010
The Reader’s Advisor’s best speculative fiction novels of 2010

Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum’s blog, has an interesting article up about Mary Gentle. Nussbaum doesn’t consider Gentle’s wonderful historical fantasy (like the Ilario duology, reviewed here), but her science fiction: Golden Witchbreed and Ancient Light. A solid bit of criticism.

Elizabeth Bear writes about what it’s like to be a fictional construct. I have to admit that writers tend to be fictional superbeings in my mind, too, even though I’ve met, emailed with and even eaten dinner with quite a number of them by now (and, let’s not forget, I’m even married to a man whose name is on the spine of ten books and counting). So I see where Bear’s coming from, even though my memory of her (I met her at Readercon several years ago) is of a normal human being who seemed very personable and very, very happy that she was a published writer. (Her piece is worth reading just so you can watch the linked YouTube video of “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” – and don’t you wonder what Bradbury thought of that bit of kitsch?) John Scalzi has experienced this too and writes about it on his blog, Whatever.

Is science fiction becoming more conservative? If so, I haven’t much noticed, but then, the authors discussed in this piece tend to be people whose books I don’t enjoy reading because they’re too, um, er, conservative. I still read the occasional Orson Scott Card, and have a novelette of his in my review pile right now, but you’d have to pay me to read Pournelle or Niven these days.

This publishers’ round table discussion is fairly interesting. I was particularly pleased to read about new authors to watch for; I hadn’t heard of any of the people mentioned, but I’ll be keeping an eye out now.

Jeff VanderMeer has become an anthologist of note in recent years, particularly in partnership with his wife Ann, who is the editor of Weird Tales Magazine. In this blog post, he talks about editing an anthology.

Covers on books are designed with great care – to catch the eye, to make a potential reader pick it up, to convey information about what’s in the book. But what if books didn’t have covers? What if all you got was a brown paper wrapper and a single line to give you an idea what the book was about? One of the branches of the New York Public Library gave that a try, with interesting results.

I always enjoy reading any article that tells me that ebooks really aren’t going to replace actual, physical books too soon, so this piece by Michael Hyatt made my heart sing. Then I read in the New York Times that kids are reading more because they can read on a screen, and I started to doubt my dislike for my Kindle. I might really feel differently after I pack and move our entire library this summer.

Want more about ebook publishing? This podcast features some true SF/F/H heavyweights talking about the issue: Lou Anders (of Pyr Books), Mike Resnick, Sue Lange, John Picacio, John DeNardo and Patrick Hester.

Guillermo de Toro makes wonderful monsters. If you saw “Pan’s Labyrinth,” you know that already; if not, you need to rent that film immediately! Here’s where the monsters come from -- in a great New Yorker essay, one that will remind you why this periodical is still one of the best in the world, if not the best.

From Bar to Bar regularly publishes some of the weirdest and most wonderful interviews I’ve ever read, but combine that blog with the rather weird Jeff VanderMeer, and you have a really strange interview. Don’t blame me if you feel like you need a stiff drink to reorient yourself after that one!

This is one of the weirdest blogs I’ve ever read. I don’t think I like it, but I think the conceit – a fairy writing about the human with whom he happens to live – is clever.

What’s happening in England as the government adopts austerity measures that even go beyond the to-the-boneness of Thatcherism is a bit frightening. Damien Walter writes in defense of libraries – an argument we may soon be rehearsing in the United States ourselves. Civilization wouldn’t be the same – and might not even be civilization – without them.