Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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Puppies, Politics, and Gay Dinosaur Sex in Space

August 25, 2016

So … this is still going on:

The Hugo Award℠ logo.Watching Hugo voters choose “no award” instead of their nominees did not teach the Puppies Catholic virtues like humility or grace, however. Instead, many became consumed with rage. If they couldn’t take over the Hugos, the next step was to destroy them.

(Marcotte)

Read the rest of this entry ?

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More Hugo Award News

April 19, 2015

The Hugo Award℠ logo.In truth, I really had hoped that I might have been overreacting to suggestions of unpleasantness hanging over the Hugo Awards, but apparently this really is some manner of serious crisis. Locus Online explains that Markos Kloos has withdrawn Lines of Departure, published by 47North, from consideration for Best Novel. Annie Bellet has likewise withdrawn “Goodnight Stars”, nominated for Best Short Story. L/O further notes:

Multiple Hugo Award winner Connie Willis has posted at length about her decision not to present trophies at this year’s Hugo Award ceremony. Her post reads, in part,

You may or may not have heard of the Hugo crisis currently facing the science-fiction community. (If you haven’t, I recommend Susan Grigsby’s excellent article on Daily Kos entitled, “Freeping the Hugo Awards.”) Basically, what’s happened is that a small group of people led by Vox Day/Theodore Beale and Brad Torgerson took advantage of the fact that only a small percentage of Hugo voters nominate works to hijack the ballot. They got members of their group to buy supporting memberships and all vote for a slate of people they decided should be on it. Since everybody else just nominates what they like, and those choices vary quite a bit, nobody else stood a chance, and the ballot consists almost entirely of their slate.

Needless to say, this is a disaster.

Stay tuned. Certes, there is more to come.

―bd

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“Hugo Awards Withdrawals”. Locus Online. 15 April 2015.

Willis, Connie. “Why I Won’t Be a Presenter at the Hugo Awards This Year”. 14 April 2015.

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And Then There Is This ….

February 3, 2015

This isn’t about me, so … right. I mean, I know I’m not good at keeping commitments and all―

Oh. Right.

Now, at age 88, Ms. Lee has revealed that she wrote another novel after all — a sequel of sorts to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring an aging Atticus Finch and his grown daughter, Scout.

On Tuesday, Ms. Lee’s publisher announced its plans to release that novel, recently rediscovered, which Ms. Lee completed in the mid-1950s, before she wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The 304-page book, “Go Set a Watchman,” takes place 20 years later in the same fictional town, Maycomb, Ala., and unfolds as Jean Louise Finch, or Scout, the feisty child heroine of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” returns to visit her father. The novel, which is scheduled for release this July, tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter.

Although written first, “Go Set a Watchman” is a continuation of the same story, with overlapping themes and characters. But Ms. Lee abandoned the manuscript after her editor, who was captivated by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, told her to write a new book from the young heroine’s perspective and to set it during her childhood.

And that’s what it takes to wake me up.

Imagine that.

Be well, friends. Read well.

-bd

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The one and only, lovely beyond compare, inimitable Andrea Portes, at The Rumpus

July 1, 2012

Chloe Grace Moretz in HickDon’t miss Jennifer Sky’s interview with the one and only Andrea Portes regarding the film adaptation of Hick, which opened last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

-bd

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Chick Lit: A question unto itself?

November 2, 2011

You know you’re emerging from an unproductive period when you find yourself arguing internally about whether or not to blog a link that has been sitting on your desktop for a month. Er, right. Never mind. This isn’t about me.

Rather, let us start with Roxanne Gay, who tries to scrabble together an overview of a question that recently rippled through the publishing world:

Polly Courtney's "It's a Man's World"When you write a book with the title It’s A Man’s World, with the tagline “but it takes a woman to run it,” you have to have some sense that your book is going to be marketed in a certain way. I haven’t read the book in question, but the title certainly gives an impression. Maybe it’s just me but when I see that title, I think “chick lit.” I also enjoy “chick lit,” so that label is not a bad thing. That book’s author, Polly Courtney, recently had a very public reaction to how her book was being marketed as “chick-lit,” announcing she was leaving her publisher, Harper Collins, so her writing wouldn’t be pigeonholed. As writers, we often have to worry about whether or not our work will be pigeonholed based on some aspect of our identity. No one wants their creativity limited or misrepresented; pushing back against rigid, often unfair categories is a natural response for a creative person.

In her explanation for why she was leaving her publisher, Courtney distinguishes between women’s fiction, which she writes, and “chick lit,” which she very much does not. I gather that women’s fiction is serious while “chick lit” is not. She writes, “Don’t get me wrong; chick-lit is a worthy sub-genre and there is absolutely a place for it on the shelves. Some publishers, mine included, are very successful at marketing this genre to women. The problem comes when non-chick lit content is shoe-horned into a frilly “chick-lit” package. Everyone is then disappointed: the author, for seeing his or her work portrayed as such; the readers, for finding there is too much substance in the plot; and the passers-by, who might actually have enjoyed the contents but dismissed the book on the grounds of its frivolous cover.”

Depending on the content of the book in question, Courtney is correct in noting that disappointment is possible for everyone involved in the consumption of a book. At the same time, isn’t a cover is just a cover? Eventually, the writing speaks for itself and either readers will like the work or they won’t. Readers are fairly sophisticated these days, aren’t they? I would like to believe readers will, more often than not, have a good sense of what a book is or isn’t about no matter what is emblazoned across the cover. Unfortunately, such does not seem to be the case and certain books are burdened by covers that alienate certain audiences.

For her own part, Polly Courtney explained the decision to leave HarperCollins in The Guardian:

The term “women’s fiction” has been adopted by publishers and retailers alike as a shorthand for fiction that involves shopping sprees, bodily insecurities and the hunt for Mr Right. No – hang on. That’s “chick lit”, isn’t it?

This is the problem. The line that used to define “chick lit” as a sub-genre of women’s fiction has blurred, giving publishers the authority to brand huge swathes of fiction in pink and green swirly covers, on the assumption that this is what women want. As Margaret Carroll, a fellow ex-HarperCollins author, put it: “Very ironic to find this is an industry run by women.”

I do not labour under any illusion; my novels are not literary masterpieces – but nor are they chick-lit. So, you may ask, why did I sign with an imprint that specialises in high-volume commercial fiction? The answer to this lies in the way that we are trained, as authors, to believe that even so much as a glance from a traditional publishing house is an honour and a privilege. They are the experts. They know more about books than the authors do themselves. We should be grateful that a prestigious publishing house will give us the time of day. It is like a gift from God when a book deal lands in our lap.

I don’t know, so I’ll leave it to everyone else to figure out. Read the rest of this entry ?

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NASA, Tor/Forge aiming for inspiration

August 28, 2011

Joe Bergeron - Saturn Ring ParticlesWhat, with wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like afoot, one can certainly be forgiven if this NASA press release slipped by unnoticed:

In an effort to introduce, inform and inspire readers about NASA, the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. has partnered with Tor-Forge Books to develop and publish a series of science-fiction-themed books.

Referred to as “NASA Inspired Works of Fiction,” these books will be based on concepts pertinent to current and future agency missions and operations.

“Ultimately this agreement will benefit the public, as we look for innovative ways to communicate our past and current achievements, while focusing on the needs of the future,” said Nona Cheeks, who directs Goddard’s Innovative Partnerships initiatives.

Many people who work in science and technology often credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choices. The enormous popularity of science fiction is a key element in this collaboration to make the books a gateway to the general public and generate awareness of the significant role NASA plays in our everyday live.

NASA will pair scientists and engineers with Tor-Forge writers to help raise awareness and enhance public interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASA’s goal is to attract and retain students focused on STEM studies, strengthening the agency and the nation’s future workforce.

Hmm … I think it’s Asimov’s The Martian Way I’m thinking of, but I can’t find the particular volume among the pathetically disorganized shelves and piles of books that presently constitute my library.

You know the one I mean. Or not.

Never mind.

Dust off your imaginations, and look to the sky.

-bd

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A note for the San Diego Police Department

August 7, 2011

A note for friends, on an occasion most dreadful:

Jeremy HenwoodSan Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said Sunday that the officer who was shot Saturday in an unprovoked attack has died.

He was identified as Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36. He was a Marine reservist and had been deployed overseas three times, and had been with the Police Department for four years. He was from Texas and is survived by his parents and a brother and a sister.

Please know you have the condolences of entire cities—a whole region—up where I am in western Washington state. And my personal best wishes to the San Diego Police Department, and all who serve it, in this most difficult of times.

Sorry, guys. It sucks. We know.

Stand tall.

-bd

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Missouri!

August 4, 2011

First, the bad news:

Home of the TigersKurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five is considered a modern classic. That doesn’t mean it’s a particularly easy read. Indeed, it deals with some fairly heady topics. When I first encountered it in high school, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But it sure made me think, which, in my view, is what a good novel should do.

Funny thing about that thinking – some people see it as dangerous. And a few of those people sit on the school board in Republic, Mo.

Slaughterhouse FiveThe board voted 4-0 recently to ban Slaughterhouse-Five and another book, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, after a local resident complained that the books teach ideas contrary to the Bible.

Wesley Scroggins had originally targeted three books, but the board voted to keep one, Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning Speak, on the shelves. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Scroggins “challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible.”

And then there is the good news:

The KVML will be giving away free copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students from Republic, Missouri’s high school (yes, the school that banned Slaughterhouse Five last week from their curriculum and school library) …. We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. We think it’s important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We’re not telling you to like the book … we just want you to read it and decide for yourself.

Writers, remember: Your freedom of speech stops at the Missouri border.

Keep working on that. They can’t keep their eyes shut forever.

-bd

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A wild thing returns

July 28, 2011

Maurice Sendak, with HermanJust so you know, Maurice Sendak has returned. Dave Eggers brings us the tale of the Wild Thing’s latest book, for Vanity Fair:

Bumble-Ardy is the first book Maurice Sendak has both written and illustrated in 30 years. I called him the other day to talk about it, and we were both surprised it had been that long. “Jesus,” he said. “What have I been doing?” We went through a list. He designed operas here and abroad, illustrated dozens of books—by Tony Kushner and Herman Melville and Shakespeare, among many others—and had a best-seller just a few years ago, in Mommy?, a pop-up book about a boy looking for his mother in a haunted mansion.

But in terms of a book completely his own, Bumble-Ardy is the first since 1981’s Outside Over There. Not that he wants to make a big deal out of it. “People from New York have been calling, to see if I’m still alive. When I answer the phone, you can hear the disappointment in their voice.”

Meanwhile, you can also hear the story about the effort to save a 1961 bedroom mural painted by Maurice Sendak for the Chertoff family of New York, via NPR.

-bd

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The end of an era? Or just a retail chain?

July 22, 2011

An email from Borders CEO to rewards programs customersI don’t know. I feel like I should say something about the end of Borders, but I really don’t know what.

Anyone? Anyone?

-bd