Posts Tagged ‘Steven Brust’


Not Now, Martin

August 21, 2016

Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.Sometimes this comes up with my sense of humor and the necessity of explaining a joke derived from the stories of Steven Brust. Randall Munroe presents his own version of the question: Just how many novels must I read in order to receive the joke at its intended value?

To wit, I can’t explain the not/now joke properly insofar as it seems difficult to decide just what, between five hundred and, oh, say, two thousand pages is required in order to receive the full punch, and in truth, by the time it gets to twenty-four novels with no guarantee that the final tally won’t get larger, is it really worth it just to know why “not now” is one of the funniest jokes in literature?

Meanwhile, yeah, good luck with the sword.



Image note: Detail of xkcd #1722, by Randall Munroe, 18 August 2016.


Ranting: Four authors, and why I feel stupid

July 24, 2011

Jack Cady's "Rules of '48"A number of literary elements come together: What could Douglas Adams, Steven Brust, Jack Cady, and Michael Thompkins possibly have in common?

Well, other than the obvious fact of all being authors.

The late Jack Cady once explained that if you need a soapbox, if you have a point to make, then write an editorial for a newspaper; don’t make the story subordinate to politics. I always had a hard time with this. To the other, though, I still cringe whenever I try to start a story with a preposition, or an article, or … never mind, that’s a separate issue.

Michael Thompkins put the resolution in front of me; among the tidbits he picked up along the way was to give those problems to your characters. Problem solved.

No, really, it was that easy. I was just making too much of the question. For years and years and years. Read the rest of this entry ?


I’ll figure out a cute title for this later, when it’s a more regular feature around here

November 1, 2009

Picking up in the middle of nowhere:

And now, just because: Mark Steel on Mary Shelley (part one):

(In four parts at YouTube: One, Two, Three, Four.)



Books and bacon

June 27, 2009

The annual BookExpo America took place a couple of weeks ago in New York. Did you miss it? I did. Went right by without me even noticing, but that’s okay because, well, it usually does.

I think I posted something or another about Paul Constant’s coverage of the event because I was hard up for material. And that’s probably the same this year, since I haven’t shown my face around this blog since February. As to that, I’ll spare you the gory details and simply say that yes, I know feeling sorry for myself isn’t an excuse. My sincere apologies.

But this isn’t about me. How many times have I said that? Oh, right ….

So … um … oh, yeah. Paul Constant brought us his thoughts and observations concerning “The Slow, Moronic Death of Books (as We Know Them)“.

It’s strange that the only sign of growth at this BEA was in the number of journalists present, and that the people running BEA somehow seemed to think that the presence of more journalists was going to save them, considering that journalism just saw its most terrifying year in memory, too. It felt like the two industries were clinging together out in the ocean, drowning together. Since most of the bloggers were new to the party, none of them were asking any of the hard questions. No one was asking editors why they didn’t think twice before tossing out seven-figure deals for books based on zany blogs that anyone with half a brain could read for free on the internet. No one seemed to notice that major presses like HarperCollins weren’t asking booksellers what they wanted to sell or what their readers wanted to read. Instead, there were well-attended panels about making an insignificant amount of money off of Twitter. A sizeable number of booksellers were unwittingly attending their last BEA, because their bookstores are likely about to downsize or close. A bunch of people tried to hustle another bunch of people into buying something they didn’t want. Some of them succeeded, but most of them didn’t.

After the convention, MobyLives, the blog for indie publisher Melville House, published a postmortem titled “BEA Is Over… for Good?” I’m not so sure that it was the last one, but it was certainly a milestone: By the time next May’s BEA rolls around, at least one of the major publishers probably won’t be around to see it. The age of the giant conglomerate publisher is over. Publishing has always been an industry that has seen razor-thin profit margins if it saw profit at all, and the corporate model isn’t satisfied with a business model that optimally remains 1 or 2 percent above zero growth. The only way that 2009 will be considered a good year for the publishing industry is in comparison with the unprecedented disaster of 2008. People will tsk-tsk at the numbers and write endless, boring blog posts about it, which won’t be read by anyone except other people writing endless, boring blog posts about it. Here we were in the epicenter of publishing, at publishing’s big yearly event for insiders, and it was almost completely crushing any belief I had in the future of publishing. I don’t enjoy attending funerals, so unless things drastically change, I’ll probably never go back to BEA.

Cheery, no?

Read the rest of this entry ?


Not quite random notes

December 8, 2008

Two otherwise-unrelated items that I picked up after checking in on one of my favorite writer’s blogs.

First up, via Quite Interesting:

A historian believes that she has found the tomb of d’Artagnan, the inspiration for the book “The Three Musketeers”.

Charles de Batz de Castelmore d’Artagnan was killed during the Siege of Maastricht on June 25, 1673. Historian Odile Bordaz claims that she has found the tomb a few kilometres away at Saint Peter and Paul Church in Wolder, and is asking the Dutch authorities and the Catholic Church to approve an archaeological dig of the site ….

…. Born between 1611-1615 in south-western France, d’Artagnan became a member of the King’s musketeers by the age of 20. Amongst his comrades where Athos, Porthos and Aramis, the actual three musketeers referred to in the title of the book. The musketeers were engaged in cloak-and-dagger operations for Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Louis XIV, the Sun King, appointed d’Artagnan leader of the musketeers in 1658. He was eventually killed in a charge lead by the Duke of Monmouth, who was at the head of an English contingent allied to France.

• • •

I picked that link up from Words Words Words, where author Steven Brust reports:

Got started on the next Vlad novel. I’m pretty sure this one will be Tiassa. 13 pages so far.

I’ve been waiting for this one. (I’d explain, but it would come off like the hyperactive blubberings of a giddy schoolgirl. Or something like that.)