Sunday Links for August 14, 2011

I didn’t know that the Airship Awards existed, but they do, and they’ve announced their finalists for this year’s awards. If you enjoy steampunk, these are the books and awards for you!

Lev Grossman’s new book, The Magician King, has just come out. Of course, I had to have it on publication day, so it’s on my teetering stack of books I’ll be reading “next” (“next” being a word I use very loosely; I’m pretty sure there are enough books in that pile to last me well into next year and maybe even 2013). In honor of the occasion, Grossman has published a guide to the allusions in the first volume in his series, The Magicians. It’s a great list to read. No fair using it to gin up a paper for English class, though.

If that’s not enough Grossman for you, here’s an interview conducted by Jeff VanderMeer for Amazon’s Omnivoracious.

It’s not enough for Karen Burnham that she’s an engineer who’s worked for NASA. She’s also an autodidact supreme when it comes to learning about science fiction. She’s explored classic SF on her blog, been a participant in the SF Masterclass (the same summer I was, in fact; I want to take that class again so badly I can taste it), and attends conventions and hobnobs with the elite of the field. Now she’s exploring SF criticism as well. You could do a lot worse than to use her list as a guide for your own reading. I’m going to be looking at it pretty closely myself, though my focus is much more on fantasy than on science fiction.

It seems odd to be mourning the fact that the recent rioting and looting in England left bookstores, untouched, but really, isn’t it sad that everyone wanted to steal televisions and athletic shoes, but no one could be bothered to grab a book or two? The Guardian’s Book Blog explores why this was so, coming to no really good conclusions.

Last week I urged you to vote in NPR’s survey of the 100 best science fiction and fantasy books. Now the results are in, and it’s a pretty good list. I have plenty of quibbles (I wouldn’t have put Robert Jordan in the top ten, and probably not on this list at all, given the other available choices, for instance), but generally speaking it seems fairly representative of the best the fields have to offer.

And speaking of mammoth series (Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, remember? See last paragraph), Tor.com has a nice tool to make sure you’re not missing anything important on its site. It’s useful to ensure that you can follow along with past discussions as you read through a series yourself. When I finally find the time to read the Malazan series, I know I’ll be making use of this feature.

On the few occasions when the New York Times takes note of fantasy, it usually messes up pretty badly. Not this time. Today’s discussion of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series in the book review is quite good. Take a look.

Do you have a few extra bucks lying around for a good cause? Peerbackers: Crowdfunding Big Ideas is attempting to fund the World SF Travel Fund to get Charles Tan, a well-respected SF/F/H blogger and activist, from his home in the Phillipines to San Diego for the World Fantasy Con in October 2011. Cool idea, isn’t it? I’m in.

Have you ever watched a science fiction or fantasy movie and thought, “If only they’d done this right, it could have been awesome”? If so, you’re a perfect candidate to read ”6 Famously Terrible Movies That Were Almost Awesome.” A very sad number of the six fall into the SF/F/H category.

Chuck Wendig blogs about what it’s like to be a writer. As one of those who tends to behold writers with a certain reverence, even though I absolutely know that writers are pretty much just like everyone else (being as how I’m married to one), this column caused fits of giggles in me.

Can't think of a good Subject line

I had The Magician Kings on publication day as well. I hope to be done with it today or tomorrow. Grossman is so much fun to read. He's not perfect and I don't mean to say he's the best writer ever or anything to that effect, but it's rare that I'll laugh, smile and have such a good time reading as I do when reading his books.

I saw that cracked list last week. It was informative and hilarious which seems to be their MO.

Oh, I forgot...

"When I finally find the time to read the Malazan series"

I've been saying that for a while myself. I generally like books to stand alone and be complete within their covers but for whatever reason Malazan has been on my radar for a while. I even own a few. I think the whole "10 book" thing is part of what enables me to continually put it off.

Very neat feature though from Tor.com

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