Sunday Links for April 3, 2011

April Fool’s Day has become quite an event on the web, and I look forward every year to reading lots of craziness. This was a banner year for it. Locus Online always has a nice crop of articles, like this one about a new sheaf of copyright suits allegedly filed by SFWA against – well, everyone, including God. Charles Stross announced that his blog has been purchased by the Cheezburger Network of websites. And my favorite: John Scalzi announced that he has written a fantasy trilogy for Tor Books. The prologue of The Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City has been published on the Tor website. If this doesn’t make you chortle, your chortle is out of order.

Amazon’s Omnivoracious site has apparently been listing the best books for the upcoming month for some time now, and I never knew. Here’s the entry for books published in March 2011, and here’s the entry for April 2011. Interesting suggestions for reading in all genres by thoughtful readers.

Tom wrote the first post for Omnivoracious when it started up in October 2007, and now he’s leaving because – well, because he made a lot of money on Jeopardy! How’s that for a good reason to quit your day job and see if you can’t do some writing of your own? As a goodbye, Tom has left us with a list of 13 of the best books he’s read over the years – but they are not books you’re likely to have heard of. Instead, he’s deliberately chosen books that may well be new to you. See if some of these don’t sound like they’re right up your alley.

I’ve linked to various interviews by the website From Bar to Bar in the Sunday Links columns, and this latest interview with Liza Groen Trombi and Mark R. Kelly of Locus and Locus Online is no exception. These continue to be about the weirdest and most interesting interviews I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favor and settle down with this website for some serious information in a format that is seriously fun.

Laura Mixon writes about why she has adopted a pseudonym for her latest novel. It’s an interesting study of the question.

The government of Britain appears inclined to instruct researchers about what they should research in return for the grants awarded to them. Specifically, they want academics to study the idea of “big society,” supporting government objectives. The government denies it, claiming to be bound by the so-called Haldane Principal, a convention that for the past 90 years has allowed investigators to make their own determinations as to how research dollars should be spent. But academics aren’t happy.

How do you tell hard SF from the soft stuff? Nicola Griffith has a sneaking suspicion that it has to do with the gender of the author. Or, even worse, with the physical act of sex appearing in the book; that automatically makes a book “soft,” because, of course, we should all be getting off on gadgetry in the Brave New World. Odd, isn’t it?

Authors regularly implode under the pressure of bad reviews. They wind up tweeting or emailing or blogging about something someone said about their work, rather than either ignoring it (probably best for their mental health) or simply saying, “Thanks for reading my book. I hope my next appeals to you more.” This week, one author flamed out spectacularly in the comments thread to a review of her work. Not only did her comments demonstrate that she did not, in fact, have a firm grip on grammar and spelling (as the review of her self-published book had suggested), but they were also so obnoxious and eventually profane that they gave this author all the publicity she could ever have wanted – all of it, unfortunately, bad. If I ever publish a book, I’m going to remember this, believe me. (I remain very surprised that the author has not deleted her comments. I was hoping that perhaps she’d merely had a very bad day, and would think better of what she’d done, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.)

The world is filled with fail this past week, it seems. Here is a query letter that’s a very good lesson in how never, ever, ever to write a query letter. It is pretty darned funny, though – so much so that it seems to me it has to be a deliberate spoof. Isn’t it? Please?

Do scary stories scare you? Then be very, very careful about reading about this storyteller’s attempt to scare his 3-year-old sister into catatonia. It brought back lots of happy memories from my own childhood.

There are more ways to use books – other than as objects to be read – than I could ever have imagined. I don’t know if this makes me sad or angry or indifferent, but I do know I’m not in the least interested in wearing the spine of a book as a bracelet. I’ll continue to hold out for one of those amazing sculptures I linked to a week or two ago – you know, the one I’m going to buy when I get rich from the sale of my memoirs. Hey, it could happen!

Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Indeed!

Oh, I loved this! I also really liked the query letter, which is obviously a spoof, but such a great one.


Tom's List...

is amazing. He certainly put somethings on my radar.

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