Sunday Links for March 13, 2011

The book vs. e-book arguments have been raging this week on the Internet – it’s as if everyone suddenly decided this is the right time to talk about this. Funny how topics come and go like that, isn’t it? There’s probably an essay about crowd behavior in that somewhere.

I don’t like e-books myself. I use my Kindle, probably more every day, but I don’t like it. I’m annoyed at the clicking noise every time I turn a page; I hate that my “page” isn’t a full page; I don’t like not having page numbers. I don’t like the tactile feel of the machinery compared to the warm, wood-oriented feel of a book. If I have a choice, I reach for a real book every time, not a disembodied text. I fear e-books, because I’m afraid they will eventually take over.

But there are minds I respect who say otherwise, and Charles Tan is one of them. He believes both formats will continue to flourish well into the future. I can only hope he’s right.

One thing that e-books have done is open the world of self-publishing to those who can’t get published through traditional means. Amanda Hocking is one of the authors who has done very well by this method, but she thinks her case is unusual. She hates the amount of time she spends on promotion, and in addition she attributes much of her success to luck. But there’s no arguing with her result: a USA Today bestseller. I’m glad she emphasizes, though, that it takes a whole lot of work for a whole lot of years to attain success. As she says: “I don't think people really grasp how much work I do. I think there is this very big misconception that I was like, ‘Hey, paranormal is pretty hot right now,’ and then I spent a weekend smashing out some words, threw it up online, and woke up the next day with a million dollars in my bank account.”

Jim Hines chimes in with his own analysis of the Amanda Hocking phenomenon. He calls her an “outlier,” which I think is exactly right.

James Maxey would also like you to know that success from self-publishing is hard to come by. He strongly urges writers not to self-publish their first novels as e-books, but to keep in mind how much you get from lots of work and a good editor. Wise words.

Ever wondered how they price e-books? Nathan Bransford has the answer. It’s more complicated than you thought.

In case you were lacking for things to read, SF Signal’s most recent mindmeld asks SF/F/H writers what forthcoming books they’re excited about. Prepare your Amazon cart for an inundation, because there is much goodness coming very soon.

Perhaps you’d like a dose of older fiction. If so, this list of the top 25 steampunk novels should keep you plenty busy.

One the most anticipated new books, now available, is Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man's Fear. I’ve got a signed copy awaiting my purchase at a local bookstore, but I think I need to reread The Name of the Wind before I dig into the new book – it’s been too many years, and I’ve read too many books since then. In case you don’t want to go to all that trouble, though, Rothfuss has posted a very funny summary of his first book on his blog. I enjoyed reading it, but I still want to reread The Name of the Wind!

Daniel Rabuzzi has a fascinating post up on his blog about the relationship between growing income inequality and the resurgence of fantasy in film. If you wondered why there are suddenly movies everywhere about Red Riding Hood, comic book characters, and Cinderella, wonder no more.

Last week I posted a number of links about the Young Adult Mafia, a mythical group of authors who work hard to prevent new authors from publishing, especially if those authors have ever reviewed one of the Mafia’s books in less than glowing terms. It’s a great conspiracy theory, and will probably live forever. That is, it will live forever unless people educate themselves, as by reading Justine Larbalestier’s blog about how she “loves” bad reviews. Of course, she doesn’t really enjoy a bad review of her own books, but she does have the good nature to occasionally find them amusing, and the sense to let them roll off her back. As she says, “The only way to avoid such critiques is not to publish your work.”

I love Hal Duncan. His piece about genre writing vs. “literary fiction” is well worth the read. The idea of science fiction as a “secret cuisine” is just gorgeous.

Fantasy Magazine has relaunched. I’m eager to read the new issue, with stories by (among others) Holly Black, Tanith Lee and George R.R. Martin. Molly Tanzer, the managing editor of the magazine, introduces the crew behind it.

Have you noticed that Syfy doesn’t seem to be showing much in the way of real science fiction programming anymore? Had too much of the stupid monster flicks they’ve substituted for real stories with real plots? Wonder why wrestling is suddenly science fictional? Matt Staggs says it’s your fault.

This wonderful map of the science fiction genre could keep you busy for hours, tracing this or that influence. Many SF/F/H scholars on the IAFA and SFRA listservs this week have expressed a wish to see this in a large poster they could buy, and I’m one of their company. I have just the place to hang it, too. See, all the SF/F/H in our house (barring the magazines and comics) resides in 10 bookcases and one closet in the master bedroom. The only wall space not covered with books is the area taken up by the dresser; and above the dresser, there’s a span of wall with no art. It would be perfect, I tell you, perfect!

Please, no comments about the SF/F/H residing in the bedroom. Let’s just say that it seemed appropriate for two people who met at the World Fantasy Convention in Monterey in 1998.

Steampunk--pleasantly surprised

I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the list of 25 steampunk books I had read. Terry, I love Links Sunday! It takes up too much of my time, but it's worth every moment.


Glad you got through

I was having a lot of trouble with that link when I posted it, so I'm glad it's operating again. (I've read only five of those books myself, but I own most of them -- the story of my life!)

I'm glad you enjoy the Sunday Links. Takes a lot of my time, too, so it's nice that it works for someone!

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