Sunday, 13 March 2011

bite me: the week in bite-sized chunks

Tor: Amanda Rutter (Floor to ceiling books) did a blog post called ‘We are the main stream’ that received some contention on Twitter, particularly from Tor Editorial Director, Julie Crisp. To sum, Amanda’s post stated that as SFF already has a surfeit of awards, the Man Booker Prize don’t need to recognise the genre for it to be considered mainstream, that it already has seen enough success – The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight – for it to be the mainstream now. Julie Crisp’s point against this was that literary fiction awards like the Man Booker are exclusive when it comes to SFF and it would be advantageous to be recognised by them: ‘Because like it or not, prizes sell books, raise brand recognition, get great PR and attract mainstream readers’. This is why I’m writing my dissertation on the topic of SFF, stigma, and the genres gaining mainstream recognition. Why is there a divide between literary fiction and Science Fiction and Fantasy? Do we quit moaning about it and accept that SFF can no more be awarded a Man Booker than literary fiction could win a Hugo? Or do we look at Attwood’s The Blind Assassin and, as part of it is a Science Fiction novel, claim it as our own?

Voyager: Science Fiction author and blogger Cory Doctorow (Little Brother, For the Win), was interviewed by the BBC this week in the business section for his ‘How free translates to business survival’ philosophy when it comes to DRM. In order to survive in this digital age, he advises that content should be given away free, to benefit both the customer and the author. DRM prevents purchasers from sharing and easily moving content between platforms and individuals are going to pirate anyway, so why not get in there first and generate some positive publicity from it? Doctorow practises what he preaches: his eBooks are available free of charge. Because, ‘By making my books available for free pass-along, I make it easy for people who love them to help other people love them.’ But what about the publisher? Doctorow states the hope is that giving his content away free will encourage people to buy the paperback version because at least they now know he exists. This is an interesting concept, however, although the paperback sales might increase, his titles won’t feature in the eBook market, or, tragically, Amazon’s Kindle recommends or on iTunes’ bestseller list.

Orbit: feel the Jim Butcher love. Orbit had a competition a while back (that I missed) for fans to wax lyrical about their love for Jim and they’ve posted a selection of their favourite responses. Not that I have beef with this (what does that saying mean?), but their, albeit randomly selected winner, had this to say: ‘I devoured them over the space of three weeks! I cannot get enough of them.’ Like I said, no beef here. I just thought I’d share that particular winning gem. Still, it’s got to be better than the embarrasingly excitable: ‘One of the few series I’ve stayed loyal to.’ OK, I admit it. There is a smidgeon of beef. More interesting to you, they’re offering chapter one of upcoming Ghost Story free to read. I always refuse to do this as I want every single word to be new when I’ve waited so long for it (it has also not escaped my notice that Ghost Story is now due out in August. Cry.)

Bookshelf porn: seriously, this is hot stuff. Just check out these utterly beautiful (although perhaps not errotically so) book shelves and collections. I want the one with the bike on it. If this is porn, my book collection, currently occupying most of the wardrobe, drawers, under-the-bed space and floor, is the equivalent of the slightly sticky bargain bin that even the perverts avoid.

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