Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aetheric Ephemera: Scattershot Kaleidoscope Edition

1) It's funny, in that stomach-churning way, to hear how authors are being deluged with e-mail from readers complaining about the Great E-Book Kerfuffle. Fortunately, Cherie Priest tells us just how powerful authors are in the system. Hint: less powerful than Jeff Bezos or John Sargent. Authors have creative control, and input in some business aspects, but the publisher is the one making the big decisions. Might that change in the future? I wonder what the next stage for e-books will be after this situation is resolved. I have some thoughts, but I think I will save them for an actual blog post.

2) Despite what seems to me to be an obvious misrecognition of what's going on, people also continue to chide authors for chiding Amazon. Jay Lake wrote an open letter to Kindle users today, and some folks responded in unkind fashion to it. I always wonder what people are really worried about when they decide to upbraid someone who does not have a lot of power in a situation, but a lot at stake. The most annoying thing I have read so far have been those moments where readers dismiss authors entirely as easily substituted.

As an aspiring author I bristle at that, but when I look at the market, it is easy to see why some people would feel this way. Some people just go for genre, while others go for series or thematic books (such as Magic the Gathering novels). The author's artistry is secondary to their demands for a certain type of story or narrativity. I see it all too often as a bookseller. Almost as bad is the author as generic brand, from people buying every James Patterson co-author to someone asking me how "kerouac" a certain book was.

3) This is a great gallery of dinosaur illustrations that demonstrate the evolution of our understanding regarding their appearance. The progression is fascinating, to the point where the last illustration is a bit unsettling to me, having grown up with the gray, armadillo-skinned sorts of dinos. The science behind the identification of their colors is pretty cool as well.

4) Warren Ellis talks about his kit. No, not THAT kind of kit! I am referring of course to the stuff he uses to help him write. I too am a big fan of the notebook and pen. We carry cheap journals at the bookstore and one of those can be easily filled with ideas, although my fervent scribbling sometimes becomes hard to decipher later. I find the MP3 player to be handy when not writing at home also. I'm happy to hear that other writers still get results from lo-tek. . . .

5) The 2009 Locus Recommended Reading List is out, and there's a lot to admire here. But boy is it an expensive list! That awesome Jack Vance book Wild Thyme and Green Magic alone is going for at least $50 and is already OOP. The (sadly) late Kage Baker's The Empress of Mars retails at $60. Ack!

I have read 3.75 books on this list, and only a few of the shorter works. I am soooooo behind. But there are a lot of works on here I really want to read, and, in the case of The City and the City, finish reading. Hopefully by then Boneshaker will be back in the library for me to snag. I have some catching up to do. . . .

No comments: