Sunday, 19 December 2010

bite me: the week in bite-sized chunks

Orbit: who doesn’t love a good chart? Editor Dongwon Song and the team have been playing with a new Google tool this week, the Ngram Viewer. You can ask Google to graph certain terms in their Google Books archive (all of it or just, say, French books) between set dates to see which is the most recurring. Orbit have gone for (naturally) orcs, elves and dwarves (with elves as the clear winner) and, with no need for a Harry Hill-esque fight, for all those crying ‘but what’s more popular, zombies, werewolves or vampires?’ you can now rest easy: it’s vampires. How exciting is this? Finally Google has used its power for the good of humankind and I finally get to find out what’s more popular in the wealth of (Googled) British fiction between 1800 and 2010: a camel, a shoe or the elbow? It turns out the humble shoe is the clear winner (although in 1860 it was a close one when the elbow gained popularity).

HarperVoyager: this week the Voyager have put out a call for reviewers/bloggers to volunteer to review one of their latest titles, Prince of Thorns by Martin Lawrence. They’re currently compiling a list of bloggers who want to review any of their authors’ debut titles in 2011 and if you want to be on their list just email It’s a great way of generating free publicity for new authors on their list and getting their titles into circulation – and getting a free book if you’re a blogger. Blurb here:

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

Solaris: free ebook from Solaris this week. You can download the epub or PDF format of The Blue Portal by Eric Brown here, which is nice. It’s less an entire ebook and more a short extract from his upcoming title The King of Eternity but it’s free for the reader and it’s a lovely bit of free publicity for Solaris and Brown.

Best SFF 2010: due to it being the end of the year, a number of ‘Best-of’ lists are appearing which note the top SFF titles of 2010. As I don’t often get SFF titles recommended to me, for me these lists are a great way of seeing what books would have otherwise slipped past me and I can quite happily let them dictate my reading for the next few months. A selection of these lists include: Barnes and Noble, Kirkus Reviews,, and the Good Reads Choice Awards. I’ll do a full blog on these because I think they’re worth comparing (and currently the list is compiled by Orbit, which makes my job easier but also it’s slightly biased towards lists that mention Orbit).

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