WWWednesday: August 24, 2022

Black woman model in a gold sculptural bodice and sunburst headdress by Shiaparelli. Image from Elle MagazineThe image is from Elle Magazine’s Spring Summer 22 fashion roundup.

NASA has created a sonification of the sound emanating from a black hole.

The annual Bulwer-Lytton contest, to celebrate intentionally bad prose, announced its winners this week. Speculative fiction is well represented in the contest, as always… and so is everything else.

S.L. Huang’s article in Tor.com, tracing the history and legacy of the conventional SFF writers workshop, is thoughtful. For me it brought up a lot of bad workshop memories.

Three Thousand Years of Longing? Has everyone but me heard of this? It looks good!

Dinosaur Comics discusses Anne of Green Gables. (Thanks to File770.)

Ghost shows, anyone? Apparently, they were a big deal in the early days of the 20th century.

John Crowley reviews the Danish literary SF novel, The Employees, by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitken.

Changes at Barnes and Noble have writers concerned. It sounds like readers should be too. Book Riot discusses this issue.

I’m linking to the Goodreads page of Aurora-Award winner Premee Mohamad’s novella, The Annual Migration of Clouds, because I want to take a minute to remind people this excellent story is out there. It’s original, complex, beautifully written, with layered characters facing real problems. There’s suspense and action—and it’s 168 pages long. It might be perfect for your book group. I’m just saying.

I didn’t follow this one, and probably should have. To correct my shortcoming, I’m giving you all a link that follows the court case about Penguin Random House trying to acquire Simon and Schuster.

And we’ll end with Honest Trailers’s take on Jurassic World: Dominion. At the end, click on the thumbnail to hear that “honest theme song.”

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. Sandy Ferber /

    I was listening to that black hole the other day and WOW, does it ever sound creepy!

    • Creepy and kind of inspiring!

      Sometimes I listen to certain classical music pieces when I’m writing, when I want a certain mood. I’m toying with listening to “Black Hole.” I wonder what kind of a mood it would generat!

  2. Paul Connelly /

    Here is what I am sure is an extreme position. Hardcover books (which Barnes and Noble is stocking fewer of) are bigger, heavier and much clumsier to deal with when you’re moving, which some of us unfortunately do more than we’d like to…and on top of that they are more expensive! The best thing for readers would be if publishers stopped issuing them for mainstream and genre fiction and stuck with paperback originals at their lower price point. What’s especially galling is when publishers issue the first few books in a series in paperback and THEN the last one or two only in hardcover. Nope, you’re not tricking me into a more expensive purchase that way!

    For most genre fiction, even trade paperbacks are overkill. Hardcovers make sense for oversized art and photography books, for certain types of thick academic reference works, and for very young children’s books. Otherwise their combination of inconvenience and expense is a big negative. At this point, if a book that I’m anxious to read comes out in hardcover first, I am definitely borrowing from the library, not buying it. And almost always not buying the paperback if later one does come out. Books that come out in paperback first are more of an even split between buy/borrow. Factors that tilt the buy/borrow decision include whether it’s an author I already like, how compelling the description sounds (meaning in substance, not the “perfect for fans of…” marketing blather), and what intelligent reviewers have to say about it. (And, yes, very occasionally the cover art.) I say all this as a non-writer (with no aspiration to be one) but as a very heavy reader.

    • I’m not sure that’s extreme. I’d like to add another factor on behalf of us old people; hardcovers are heavier and can be difficult to hold for long periods. With the steady advance of e-readers, it seems like a well-crafted paperback, printed on decent paper, would work just fine for about 99% of fiction. I agree that art, science and “coffee table” books benefit from the larger format (especially if they have color plates).

      And there could still be “special editions” with book board covers, dust jackets and so on for the collectors.

      • Paul Connelly /

        I’ve read that UK publishers sometimes release a book in hardcover and paperback simultaneously, which is not a bad compromise. Libraries and others who want a more rugged copy can get the hardcover and readers who would typically only read once or twice can buy the paperback. As the sand of my years runs out I have found that many books I saved to re-read will in all likelihood never get read again, and only a very, very few have been or will be read more than twice.

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