Sunday Links for November 14, 2010

If you’re an aspiring writer, it’s good to know that getting published isn’t a crapshoot, as Victoria Strauss of Writers Beware maintains in this article. It seems to me that a better lesson to take from a rejection is that you haven’t hit the right market for your work, or – if it’s the tenth or twelfth rejection of the same piece – that maybe your writing needs some work. Of course, you might want to ask me whether I still feel the same way when my own rejections start rolling in, but I hope I’ll have the same attitude.

And speaking of those of us who write as well as read, is reviewing books about writing. The first review, of John Scalzi’s You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing, is here, and it pretty much convinced me I need to get this book. Given that Scalzi’s the guy who convinced me to set a goal to write a minimum of 250 words each day, I figure he’s the persuasive sort who might have some other good tips for me. The website will review other books on writing by science fiction, fantasy and horror writers as time goes on.

It’s mid-November, which means that the “year’s best” lists are starting to appear. As long-time readers of this blog know, you don’t get my own year’s best until after the first of the year, just in case I read something really remarkable just before midnight on December 31; and mine is quirky, since it might well contain a reference to a book published decades ago that I only got around to reading this year. But if you want to know about books published in 2010, you could do worse than to look at the Publishers Weekly list. Rose Fox, who picked the genre books for PW, expands on her choices here.

I believe last week’s links included the sad news that Realms of Fantasy was going under. This week, though, I’m happy to bring news of yet another resurrection for the magazine that just won’t die. A group called Damnation Books has purchased the magazine, and intends to go on publishing it. I hope this works out!

And while we’re talking about genre magazines, did you know about Bull Spec? I’ve not heard of it, but now that I know it exists, I’m going to try to lay my hands on hard copies – my preferred way to read. I firmly believe that short fiction is where science fiction and fantasy grow and change the most, and we’d be in sorry shape without the many great online and print publications the field is fortunate to have.

And (in another smooth transition) speaking of print, the trend away from print and into electronic books seems to be killing off more and more bookstores, as does the trend toward online bookstores. Jeff VanderMeer mourns the loss of a few more bricks and mortar stores, and I donned black after reading this piece.

In an interesting experiment, three different book bloggers and reviewers are all reviewing the same books to give us an idea of how different critical minds view the same work. The book chosen this time around is Matt Bell’s collection, How They Were Found. Here is Larry Nolen’s review; here is a review by Paul Charles Smith; and, finally, here is Jeff VanderMeer’s. The only thing that is entirely clear to me after reading these reviews is that I want to read this collection.

For those of us living in the San Francisco Bay Area, it may already be time to start getting excited about SF conventions coming up in March 2011. First is Potlatch; and that’s followed about a week later by FOGcon. I’m hoping to attend both.

Roger Ebert has been keeping a blog in addition to writing film reviews of late, and if you haven’t discovered it yet, you’ve missed some fine musing. This particular entry is on the nature of loneliness, and how it seems to be relieved by the very existence of the internet. I found it very moving, and I don’t think that’s just because I first met my husband online.

Finally, something not really bookish at all. I was unaware that Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman keeps a blog, but now that I know, I find myself checking in at least once a day. Only Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish pulls me in more for political talk on an average day. Definitely worth adding to your favorite websites.