Sunday Links for September 25, 2011

The eternal battle of genre vs. mainstream gets another workout when several authors at Tor.com discuss whether the fantastical can be more real than real. I particularly enjoyed reading Steven Millhauser’s take on the question – and boy, do I ever need to get hold of his latest collection, We Others: New and Selected Stories.

My copy of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus arrived from Powell’s this week. It’s a gorgeous edition – as part of Powell’s Indiespensable program, it came signed and boxed in a lovely velvety box. My fellow reviewer at FanLit, Robert, wrote a great review that made me eager to start reading this book as soon as possible. It also made me curious about Morgenstern. Here’s an interesting interview of this new writer who is seemingly bowled over by her success.

I’ve long thought that young adult literature is differentiated from plain old literature simply by the age of the protagonist. There is lots of great writing going on in that field. Here’s a list of hot YA fiction for the fall that promises some excellent reading, particularly in the fantasy genre.

If you’re in need of a bookstopper of a book, try any of the books on this list. I’m presently awaiting my signed first edition of Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, but there are quite a few more on this list that I’d love to add to my library.

I confess: I buy a great many books from Amazon. I love Amazon. I get two-day free shipping for everything I order, and I order a lot. And they have just about every title I could want, at least as a used book. That “wish list” feature is pretty darned handy, and I’ve discovered books I might have missed through Amazon’s recommendations. But perhaps Amazon is not my friend, despite our long camaraderie. This article surprised me in many ways, not least of them is learning that ABEBooks.com, another favorite for finding out-of-print books or signed first editions, is owned by Amazon.

If you’d like to give your business to an independent publisher instead, Bibliophile Stalker is happy to tell you what books are new and interesting from what independent publisher. I thought I was pretty well informed on independent publishers of SF/F/H, but Charles Tan, the intrepid Stalker behind the blog, came up with a few I’d never heard of – and plan to check out.

Next month is the annual World Fantasy Convention in San Diego, and I’m going. I can hardly wait! It’s a joy to hang out with authors, even if I’m still too tongue-tied to have much of a conversation with them; sort of a strange thing to say after I’ve reviewed their work, not always with approbation, but there you have it. Never been to a con? You should consider it. I’m a fan of the more scholarly cons like WFC, the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (which we’ll definitely attend in 2012; I may even do a paper, as I have a few times in the past) and Readercon, but there’s a con to suit just about every preference.

It would be downright tragic if George Lucas had never undertaken to make Star Wars. How impoverished would we be? John Scalzi has the answer, and it might make you a bit more forgiving about that whole Jar Jar Binks thing.

Abigail Nussbaum remains one of my favorite critics despite the fact that she and I almost never agree on anything. Her take on “Fringe” makes me want to run out and immediately buy all three seasons and watch them quickly enough to be able to see this season as it runs. (I saw big chunks of the first three seasons, but not all of them, especially once my DVR dumped a whole bunch of Season Three episodes I’d been saving for a rainy day. And now you know why AT&T’s Uverse is no longer my cable provider.)

I resisted “Doctor Who” for a long time, but succumbed to his charms last year. Now I’m as big a fan of this show as I ever was of any of the different versions of “Star Trek.” One thing I find fascinating about “Doctor Who’s” fandom is that real attention is paid to the writers. This article names five writers who should take a crack at “Who” episodes, and I can’t disagree with a one of them. I’d love to see Joss Whedon’s take on this character!