Sunday Links for April 17, 2011

The long-awaited “Game of Thrones” mini-series, based on George R.R. Martin’s wonderful book of the same name, starts tonight on HBO. Unfortunately, major media outlets have had the series reviewed by individuals who appear to know absolutely nothing about fantasy, have not read the book, and offer nothing but snark. The New York Times review suggests that women don’t read fantasy, and would only watch this series because there’s sex in it. You should have heard me ranting about that review on Friday! Yet that seems a paragon of smart reviewing in comparison to the sarcastic review on Slate. Why do they give this type of review assignment to someone who is clearly ignorant of the appeal of this type of story? It would be like asking me to review the Superbowl (my year-in, year-out review would read: “Who wants to watch a bunch of overgrown, overweight men give each other concussions? That’s not entertainment!”). Daniel Abraham agrees with me, as does Johanna Robinson.

The New York Times managed to redeem itself to some extent with a somewhat more informed review in the Sunday Times Magazine. But I’m disappointed that HBO apparently didn’t see fit to provide a preview to anyone in the fantasy field. That would have given me the information I needed to learn whether I wanted to invest the time in watching – and the money in adding HBO to my cable package. Fortunately, I’ve managed to wangle HBO for free for the next three months, so I’ll watch, whether it’s good or bad. But really, why do editors always seem to match the wrong reviewer to a book, television show or movie?

The Shirley Jackson Award nominations have been announced, and it’s quite a list. Most notably, Laird Barron, horror writer extraordinaire, has been nominated three times in the novelette category. Has that ever happened before? I’ve read them all, and yes, I agree, they’re all award-worthy. So is Barron’s collection, Occultation, which is also nominated (I reviewed it here). And so is a Barron novella, also a wonderfully scary tale. An amazing accomplishment to have five separate nominations on the same ballot.

I’ve read and reviewed a couple of the books nominated in the “best novel” category: Robert Jackson Bennett’s Mr. Shivers, reviewed here; and The Reapers Are the Angels by Alton Bell, reviewed here. I’m currently reading Mira Grant’s Feed, another nominated novel, and I own most of the others, as well as a number of the single-author collections (Stephen Graham Jones’s The Ones That Got Away arrived yesterday, because Barron recommended it as one of the best of the single author collections, and I therefore immediately ordered it from Amazon) and all but one of the anthologies. I’ll see what I can do about getting them reviewed before Readercon in July, where the prizes will be awarded.

Are you running out of things to read? No, I didn’t think so. But just in case you think you might be missing something noteworthy, here’s an A-Z list of the “don’t miss” books of the year. No, they’re not books being published this year, or that were published last year; it’s a completely eclectic list of SF/F/H designed to keep you happy and busy. Some interesting stuff there, and some recommendations that have me scratching my head perplexedly.

Kirkus Books likes lists, too. This one is a list of young adult books that grown-ups are likely to gobble up, too. A lot of really excellent YA books have been published lately, and the ones I’ve read from this list suggest to me that the others ought to be added to my library, too. Good thing Amazon just recently increased my credit limit!

A lot of those YA books are about dystopias, which seems sort of appropriate for books for teens. The teenage years seem to be all about how awful everything is – or at least they did for me. (That could have something to do with the fact that I was on the debate team and read books all the time, making me possibly the nerdiest kids in my entire class.) Scott Westerfeld writes on Tor.com about how dystopian fiction has become “the new paranormal.”

Speaking of dystopias, the Guardian reports that ebook sales have surpassed print book sales for the first time in February 2011. I just don’t get why anyone would prefer an ebook to the real thing. Does this mean that I’m old? Or does it mean that I have a true appreciation for the finer things in life? I think it’s the latter!

And finally, in my continuing quest to have all and sundry adorn their bodies and their homes with books, book-related art, book-related jewelry, and really anything at all to do with books, I give you accessories for bookworms. If anyone feels moved to buy me that typewriter necklace as a gift for being such a great blogger, you should feel free.

Wait -- just when you thought the links were done for the week -- I just discovered that Brent Spiner is doing a Web series called "Fresh Hell." Click on the link and watch these two hilarious episodes -- you won't be sorry.