Really, Guys?
No Seth, we're really not needing anymore dystopian settings...
Watching the Watchmen
I thought the opening credits sequence was brilliantly done, both artistically as well as explaining the mythos of Watchmen. I would love to have seen an entire film done played out in a similar fashion to the opening credits. Just please, please don't take your kudos to the couple who brought their 8-10 yr old daughter to the matinee showing I saw. Zero kudos. Negative kudos.
Really, Guys?
[email protected]
It is Tor, pronounced like "Taur"[...]
Meebee up yer neck of the woods pardner... ;)
Really, Guys?
A sign of failing in a flailing economy. Though, I wonder what the costs of changing brand identity network-wide --- and the effectiveness of re-branding vice stimulating the existing brand...especially with a brand name and tagline that are already being taken through the wringer.
Fed Up? So Are They
You know, this world of digital transparency is going to result in a lot of bitter writers and other industry professionals. I say 'we' enforce a handwritten novel submissions only policy and dust off the Gutenburg press (I'll even allow for the metal movable type mod). Pablo, I hope you like doing wood carvings. O.o
Spectrum 16 winners announced
"Have the rabbits stopped crying Clarice..."
March is Women’s History Month
Just a slight correction on Elizabeth said former Marine...don't say that. You will invoke the wrath of Devil Dogs everywhere. Once a Marine, Always a Marine. Elizabeth Moon served in the Marine Corps. For the other branches of the armed services I think you can get away with saying 'former.' -Jeff ...just don't call me sir, I work for living.
Neil Gaiman: I Don’t Get It
BMcGovern @9
[...], but I'll never get tired of Faulkner, or Nathanael West, or Flannery O'Connor,[...]
OMG Who let the lit nerds in? ;P For me, what attracted me to Neil Gaiman was Dave McKean's evocative cover art on Sandman. I was a late-comer to Neil Gaiman and what Sandman was for me was about pushing the boundaries of storytelling using the graphic novel as a medium. Sandman is definitely something I want to return to later ... with a more critical eye. Holiday Meetup: We. Totally. Rock.
I'll need advance notice---it will take 56-60 days via horseback assuming no delays en route.
Free Magic With Every Gathering
I was living overseas (Iceland) when MTG sparked in the US. I came back to the mainland in '93 and found card gamers (I called them pod-people) by the herd in all the local comic/gaming shops. I never got into the frenzy of the game itself, I did collect the cards for a bit because I dug the artwork.
Where’s the Latin American Science Fiction?
15K and six months to translate? What?! Cienca Ficcion can't be ignored. Can publishing afford to ignore a market that is screaming for attention. Chile for example has a great SF tradition that is I'm googling for the article I read several months ago but the language vector geeks have calculated the number of Spanish speaking Americans to exceed the number of English speaking Americans somewhere around 2020. I was absolutely PO'd Wednesday when I went to my local Brick 'n Mortar and found less than a shelf-worth of translated works (I was looking specifically for SFF and literature works in Spanish). In a city with a visible Hispanic community less than one shelf --- half of which was the Santa Biblia. Come on...
Wrath of the Lich King is Here!
Torie, I quit CoH for the same reasons you state above: bland and repetitive. I gave up after I4 when the fire/fire tanks were rebalanced. I was essentially, useless IMO. However, I will say given the complicated nature of some MMOs...sometimes just kicking the crap out of enemies is a welcome respite. My WotLK is being delivered today --- I will probably not be 'rolling' a DK --- I will most likely be leveling my main from 70-80.
…and for the eBook Trifecta
Describing ArachneJericho as an "avid fan" is like saying I'm only slightly caffeinated.
YA: What Exactly Does That Mean?
rick, This is really where parents need to step in and become involved with reading decisions. I came from a very open-minded, artistically liberal household. I had no idea that the illustrated edition of Khalil Gibran's collected works was considered pornographic until I was suspended from elementary school for reading it in class. An individual's household mileage may very on what is/is not suitable. I remember as a bookseller receiving those similar questions,"Can you recommend a suitable, age-appropriate book for my child...". It's a loaded question. I usually returned the answer with another question, "What kind of books would you like for your child to read?" One of my most memorable experiences with a customer was an African-American Army sargeant, he'd bring his son, a child of mixed heritage (Hawaiian and African-American) into the brick 'n mortar about once a week. The first book he requested we didn't have a copy of at the time. He was looking for Othello by ol' Shakey Bill. Having an idea of what he was trying to accomplish and asking a few questions --- honest, frank questions, I was able to point him out to several works literary, non-fiction, and genre that followed along some of Othello's central themes. I think his son was maybe 9, or 10 --- IMO Othello's a pretty heady read for a child that age but not all kids are created equal, nor parented as passionately. When we ask a question of suitability about fiction we're ultimately raising the question of censorship. Placing the onus of regulating moral and ethical content onto the publisher is unfair ... and ultimately lends itself to enabling inactive parenting regarding reading. If parents really understood the world of teenagers today they'd really understand the complexity and sophistication of YA fic/lit --- it's really not the Nancy Drew** of yesterday. **With that said, there are plenty of "wholesome" books out there ... again, it boils down to how active and engaged parents are going to be about the media their children are consuming.
YA: What Exactly Does That Mean?
rickg, Let me see if I can validate you on what you're saying regarding SFF and audience: SFF authors write to SFF readership (with the sekrit hopes of converting literary and other genre readership over to 'the dark side.'). Some SFF that is written has cross-over potential to the YA market, it is not specifically written for that market segment. Depending on the novel in question, it may/may not undergo a revision to meet language and vocabulary standards (publishing house and editor independent --- there is no strict YA style guide). Most cross-over books do get repackaged to meet the artistic sensibilities of a YA crowd. When an author writes SFF with a YA audience in mind, if it follows SFF-YA conventions --- it is YA fiction. Some YA-SFF (works written by an author with the intent of a YA readership) appeals to the greater SFF readership.
YA: What Exactly Does That Mean?
I'm 50. I remember the 60s directly, thanks.
If you remember the 60s, then you were doin' it wrong. ;) What part are you saying that I'm being circumlocutious about? I'll try to clarify.
YA: What Exactly Does That Mean?
rickg, Where within YA would you like to go... within YA there is YA horror, YA fantasy (which sub-ghettos into YA urban fantasy, YA high fantasy etc...etc just like adult fiction), YA lit, YA romance... The big thing is that YA caters to its audience. It follows YA trends, YA language, YA pop-culture, and YA needs. It's not a simple matter of 'some publisher classified it as such.' YA isn't new by any means, just because we have a section in the bookstore labeled off for YA (and MG, and IR --- as well as your kid and toddler books) doesn't mean this is some brand-spanking new convention. Nancy Drew? Hardy Boys? Encyclopedia Brown? Alice in Wonderland? Little Women? The Jungle Book? All YA titles --- publishers just didn't market to teens directly until the 1950s -1960s ... you see, pop-culture, youth culture, rock 'n roll was making its American Debut and the tastes of teens were diverging heavily from their parents... ...grab a copy of The Outsiders you'll see. The market boundaries are really loose. IR books are aimed at parents who believe their children can read without much assistance with the big words. MG books are roughly in the 10-12 bracket. YA then spans the 12-18 bracket --- but of course,like Eric said, a lot of YA books have a broad spectrum appeal. Markets are born out of a need to identify a market segment. The African-American or Libros en Espanol section of your local brick 'n mortar was established because of a recognition in segment. GBLT literature has the same universal themes that mainstream lit/fic does --- the nuances of GBLT literature or fiction help the audience connect with the material. Clear as mud or still talking in circles?
YA: What Exactly Does That Mean?
What separates YA from Middle-Grade or IR (Independent Reader)? They are not strict marketing conventions --- they are tools given by the publishers and book sellers to be implemented by parents in hopes of helping them find suitable books for their children and teens. While they are certainly useful as marketing tools --- they are meant more as tools for classification and distinction. Within IR, MG, or YA you'll find very different levels of language used. I agree with Eric in that the themes of these books tend to be of a more broader sense, traditionally so. Where we see marketing conventions come into play is where we find cross-over readership from YA to 'adult' SFF. For example, the number of urban fantasy and teen vampire books has increased proportionally so with adult readership --- I would wager a quarterly lag with adult SFF readership --- not having actual statistics from sales I'm basing my experience as a former bookseller. The marketing conventions are probably more in the realm of cover art and format than actual content. YA continues to increase in its complexity of themes and issues. An example that comes to mind is author Carrie Jones who wrote Tips on Having a Gay (ex)Boyfriend and Love (and Other Uses of Duct Tape (Llewellyn/Flux). Carrie tackles issues that early teens face today such as sex, acceptance, homosexuality, tolerance, and hate-crimes. As a 12-13 year old these weren't issues I personally dealt with --- later as a Navy Recruiter I saw how insanely sophisticated young teens have become. Scary-sophisticated. Carrie's books address issues that a lot of teens face, however, not all parents would find her books appropriate for their children. I remember being introduced to Lord of the Flies in the 6th or 7th grade. I remember from the perspective of my 11-12 year-old brain that LotF was a great adventure romp and coming of age story. I can tell you now as a 30 year-old literature major my perspective of LotF is certainly different, it still holds a lot of the same magick that it did for me at 12 but the allegorical references and socio-political commentary are a lot more relevant. Harry Potter is no different...
Down with Stripper Heels: A Candy-Corn-and-Bile-Flavored Halloween Pep Talk
Kinda like....Sexxxy Cowgirls? But with nursing outfits? Consider it cross-genre mash-up.
Down with Stripper Heels: A Candy-Corn-and-Bile-Flavored Halloween Pep Talk
Stripper heels? I was thinking Harley Davidson boots and a set of spurs. Save a horse ride a ... umm subway?
Down with Stripper Heels: A Candy-Corn-and-Bile-Flavored Halloween Pep Talk
If this is an absolute 'no' to the Sexxxxxy Nurse outfit...then I'm taking mine back to the store for a refund... ;)
RPGs: The Virtual Tabletop
What I would love to see is an expanded Campaign Cartographer system that could be used by groups/teams for worldbuilding. I'm sure it could be done by some slick cat smarter than I, with DB configuration and a VPN --- but to be able to collaborate in realtime with other worldbuilders and eek out every detail from the macro to the mini... that would be awesome.
The Scary Thing is Almost Here
I hear Pablo is looking forward to extending his duties and responsibilities at Tor: taking on a portion of December's slush --- he said he wants all the WoW and AD&D NaNoWriMo submissions. I swears it!
Saturday morning cartoons: Over Time and The Raftman’s Razor
Over Time is definitely in its own class: southern gothic whimsy. At its finest.
bums or buddhists or something?
The Raftman must have been responsible for at least two members of the Beat Generation. ;D
A new wave in fashion and fiction is emerging: DOMESTIPUNK!
Coming Soon
See... the problem with watching this space requires observation and that...
SF Scene: KGB Fantastic Fiction 9/19/08
Hmmm a toss-up between Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy.
Lost the Game—concept art from Herve Groussin
Love the last one. The elements let the eyes wander down to the wreckage shelter. Sharp, angular and still very organic.
Joshua Middleton Interview
Holy hell that's the most brilliant understanding of light and shadow I've ever seen... I'll be lost in his galleries for an hour...leave a message. *beep*
Is That a Large Hadron Collector in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
By far my favorite quote has been, "Look, it's a 10^-19 chance, and you've got a 10^-11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving."
Cory Doctorow on Worldchanging
Yes, harmonized limitations and exceptions --- do you have any idea how insane it is to research public domain material in other countries...
Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Well, having just started school and taking on a very heavy literature concentration I'm currently reading a lot of early English and middle English lit. However, it's the southern gothic writing style that has me hooked (in a different lit class). Flannery O'Connor is off the hook, yo. I'm looking at expanding the current TBR (to be read) pile to include more contemporary literature. It's not that I'm crawling up my own bum and leaving SFF behind --- every one of these stories/novels/novellas that I read I sit back and wonder how this could be done in an SFnal way.
John Titor
I actually wasted a few brain cells and about an hour reading through some of his old posts. What meds do you think he was on/off? Digital Nostradamus?
Gordon Van Gelder Asks Some Questions
This is the part where I see a post by John and immediately start spieling about marketing! Or not... or kinda... maybe. I wonder if the delivery method of SFF can be improved. Meaning: a short story was designed to be able to be digested by the reader in a single uninterrupted setting. That was at least the vision of the short story---what made it superior to supposedly longer forms of fiction. Let me not go into single effect---they are brainwashing me at school... The intent of giving away free stuff has been to sell ENTIRE subscriptions or (at least) ONE magazine. Why not just sell one copy of one short story. You can buy individual tracks of CDs and albums (is that word even used anymore?) ... isn't that what people have come to expect? Customization of their reading time? "I want that author, and that one, and the free copy I got of that one makes me want to read that one..." The other thing Mr. Van Gelder points out is the use of metrics. Metrics is good --- but what does the metrics really tell you? Can you reliably account for all variables involved? Magazine subscriptions have gone down in the last quarter therefore people no longer like short fiction? Or, magazine subscriptions have gone down in the last quarter because people's pockets are squeezed by rising gas prices? John Scalzi was quoted regarding his story "After the Coup" --- it had received 49,566 hits. From who? Coming in from where? What IPs? Multiple IPs or 50k hits from the same IP? Is there a particular region that's reading Scalzi more than any other? Was it via another link from someone else's blog? Can this be tied into an increase in sales of Scalzi-Fiction...can we prove it? Metrics is important. Metrics however isn't everything. Psychological reciprocity IS everything. "John Klima, you're lookin' good today." Paying a compliment is free, costs you nothing, makes them feel better and makes them more likely to give you something back in return. That free compliment could be in the form of complementary fiction...and could be returned by them hand-selling your 'zine---digitally of course.
Skynet, the Early Years: A Short Vaudeville Career
I think the "screaming in terror and running away" reaction is the one that bothers me most. Fight or flight? Technophobia? They haven't heard apparently... Then again if 8ft of robot was stalking my direction...
New SF Ideas from Rudy Rucker
See, now that's someone who sees beauty in sci-fi.
Eric Freitas
Organic Steampunk --- that's the only term I can come up with to describe it...and, "Oh..."
Spooky/Doctorow Preview
Had I known about the event previously I would have paid an arm and a leg to get to NYC just to see parts of that speech in person.
In New York City tonight: Mashing up to defend your rights
Doctorow/DJ Spooky mash-up. How insanely cool. And I missed it due to geographical circumstances. How uncool. But the mash-up idea is brilliant on so many levels.
SF Theatre: There Will Come Soft Rains
Agent MRK keeps puppy skulls and rifles. I wouldn't cross her again if I were you. Now...if we could just bring SFF theater to Oklahoma. Oklahoma! In Space!
Bring on the SFF abstract, impressionistic, the abstract impressionistic, and Neo-Dada! I want art that makes me stop and wonder about the details, not detail-centric art that makes me wonder about the emotion. SFF art should piss you off, make you smile, motivate you, inspire you, and give you back that sense of wonderment you had as a child... not make you become a nit-picking critic of the details---that's the AD's job. ;P
Playing With Your Emotions: The Literary Version
JeremyG You're analyzing entirely too much. You should have read this entire post as: Sclazi-Fiction! Now with vomit on your shoe! In outer space!
SF Scene: KGB Fantastic Fiction 8/21/08
Pablod, BOHICA: military in origin; Bend Over Here It Comes Again
Erwin Madrid
The perspective work is just INSANE! Love it. I'd like to see the personal/Totoro project stuff in full length animation.
Steampunk in the Hamptons
What am I more impressed with: Irene's mom enjoying steampunk art pieces or the fact that a steampunk art exhibit was put on in the Hamptons --- perhaps Irene's mom enjoying a steampunk art exhibit in the Hamptons is the answer. I have perhaps underestimated the coolness of both theatermom AND steampunk.
I think we define “practical” differently….
I'll have you know I'm very good at steering across magnetic fields.:P
On Immortality
@ Mitch Wagner (above)
Take gay rights as one example: I expect, given current lifespans and trends, that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will all but disappear in 25 years or so. Gay marriage will be perfectly normal, and we may even see our first openly gay president by then.
25 years? I would like to agree with you. There is simply too much hate and narrow-mindedness left in this country. While older generations may die, they still indoctrinate their children with their own sense and set of morale values, ethics and prejudices ---whatever those may be.
Reading Location
I like SF & F! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am! And I would read them in a boat. And I would read them with a goat... And I will read them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree. They are so good, so good, you see! So I will read them in a box. And I will read them with a fox. And I will read them in a house. And I will read them with a mouse. And I will read them here and there. Say! I will read them ANYWHERE! Exclusive Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal, Campbell Winner
Entirely too short! The public demands More MRK and Leelee Sobieski audio interviews!
On Immortality
An additional ethical question I think would be that of suicide: Our bodies (genetically engineered to do so) could handle "immortality" but on a biological spectrum we are still a "live fast, breed fast, die young" species. Would we honor an eight hundred year old's request to end their life? Regarding overpopulation: I think initially a concern only. Psychosocial models of behavior would change after several generations of (and I use the term in a relativistic sense) immortals have passed on. I think our breeding behaviors would inevitably change as well. ...or, the Earth being the closed ecosystem that it is, would find another nifty disease to spit at us to wipe out a significant portion of the planet. All's fair in love and war and bacterium and rhino-viruses. We calibrate our molecular will they.
On Immortality
Shortly after DeGrey did this seminar I ran across an article about how a group in CA were trying to stop aging in liver cells in mice. I went googling away for it and came across something even far better: It appears they announced it just a few days ago... Also,here. If you have disposable income to buy stock---nano and biotech is the way to go.
The Dying Earth
@39 The numbers don't lie. People polarize themselves into communities. Markets follow community trends. Markets don't make communities. It's the tribe mind, human nature to identify with others that are "same" not SFF polarizing intentionally. There will never be One World SFF Order/Award to rule them all. Diversity = niche = revenue. Not homogeneous markets... diverse markets. And you can't cater to all markets. Not anymore. I was the one who mentioned furries as being 'scary.' I have friends that are furs too (granted, on the milder side of the furry-fandom spectrum). Even furs have fur sub-tribes and creepy furs. I'm not sure what 'game' you're referring to as being scary and calling for anxiety and frustration? Very vague. You mentioned BSG and Dr. Horrible--- you'd find a large percentage of the people here fans of at least one (if not both). If you're looking for all shades of fandom to find acceptance at every venue you're probably only going to find mild toleration at best. I don't picture the Hugo Awards turning into a fursuit convention anytime soon.
Subverting Cliche at Shared Worlds: The Scaly Ones Are Always Evil
Brilliant program Jeff. With the number of arts programs being pulled form schools this is exemplary (IMO) of what kids --- all of them, should be challenged to do. The range of creativity as well as critical thinking involved is astounding. We SHOULD expect this and encourage this from kids.
The Dying Earth
@Torie, If we weren't arguing SFF specifics I'd say that younger fandom is just as "weird" and creepy as ever. (Some of the Furry fandom links NSFW). I might have to sit back and think about how the internet and the proliferation of SFF has changed fandom. Inarguably it has. More so, the day-to-day contact that fans can have with their favorite authors (or other media producers). I have Scalzi-Con, Mary Robinette Kowal-Con and eBear-Con provided daily via blogs. If only Charles Scribner's Sons had Twitter at the turn of the century... If you look at the above links (with brain bleach handy) I think you'll see that where youth fandom has gone is by way of more visual and hybrid media. Thanks to technology and the (now) lack of physical barriers the proliferation of visual and digital media is huge and ever expanding. (@orchard --- I would consider to be hybrid media: print, visual, digital and highly interactive). I would take an educated wager (a Google actually) that J.K.Rowling's movies outsold her books in actual revenue earned. It's not that print is dead --- it's that our cave paintings have come to life finally.
The Dying Earth
orchard, I'm only guessing that most of Tor's demographics come from the Making Light community, the LJ community and the reader-writers that follow those --- viral outflow. For now. This will change. Rapidly. My Google-Fu shows however the because of Tor's presence continues to climb for rankings. A Google of the Hugo Awards shows on the second page --- which is pretty mighty considering the longevity and popularity (and Google ranking) of the sites it is competing with. A Google of is also revealing as it shows who/what is talking about the site (no surprise to see Scalzi's v.v.v. popular blog Whatever @ 5th). So yes, this site will have an impact in SFF trends--- if played right. ;) Web 2.0.
The Dying Earth
Orchard, just to further emphasize my point the LJ Fangs, Fur, and Fey community and the FFF main site were so excited about the Hugos they um....well, you find a post mentioning the Awards. I think our marketing conventions have created this perceived gap and as your (orchard) are saying we have diversified and ghettoized (and sub-ghettoized) so much that the Hugo Awards are taking on a more market-specific range than say in earlier history.
The Dying Earth
Are "our" perceptions perhaps limited more by current marketing conventions that we realize? YA SFF (mostly the F of SFF) seems to be following a trend of younger mid-20 to 30 something writers, predominately female that are dominating the field. What few YA targeted novels that have made the Hugo list (and I've only had the opportunity to go back a few years so far) seem to be the ones that have managed mainstream cross-over. Paranormal Romance is dominated by younger female writers. I've met them, they are an incredibly fun bunch. The RITA GH awards represents the trend strongly. The Hugos (again, from the lists I've had my hands on so far), not representative of the PR community. Is not PR fantasy at its core ---dominated by the Urban Fantasy sub-genre? Are all parties involved and invited? The Hugo FAQ says yes. The Hugo nomination list says,"No." Part of the problem (perhaps) is within the marketing of World Fantasy Con and the Hugos themselves. Who are they targeting? Who are they inviting to become voting members of? The second part is probably just economically driven factors --- how many young 18-late-20-somethings have the spare change to become a full participating member, pay for travel and lodging and drinks at the bar? The economics of the Hugo Awards makes it limiting to the audience it's intended for to some extent. The third part is bringing across the message and importance of why the Hugos are significant. Why should any reader, fan, or contemporary care if so-and-so is a Hugo Award winning author? "It's the most prestigious award in SFF since 1955." Right, but what's in it for me (the reader/fan)? ---It's simply not explained or marketed well enough to be important.
Hugo Award Winners
You know...getting multiple updates via twitter live was pretty farkin' schnazzy---ALMOST like being there (minus the parties, and the bar, and the people...). Congrats to all (esp. eBear, MRK, J.Scalzi and to all the noms for John Klima --- who is obviously doing something right!).
A visual dictionary of book terms
*does not need to expand an already expensive hobby* *does not need to expand an already expensive hobby* *does not need to expand an already expensive hobby* Dammit Abi! :D Excellent post. I look forward to more.
My grandma went to Lothlórien, and all she brought back was this lousy pair of elf ears.
I bet Tiger Man is a hit at all the Furry Cons... ...I dig body modification as a spectator sport --- but at some time you have to realize that you've limited your potential income and job-range. While today's society is certainly more acceptable of tattoos piercings etc...having a glow-in-the-dark tarantula tattooed across your head and face is still not the answer unless you want to play bass in your garage for eternity.

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