Monthly Archives: September 2012

We Now Return You to Your Irregularly Scheduled Program

(Oh that’s an old one.) Due to technical difficulties, I was unable to access my blog for a bit. And currently, there are alligators snapping around my ankles:

So, instead, have some fun with author John Scalzi, who keeps saying foolish things on Twitter, like if he got 40,000 followers on Twitter, he would allow himself to be covered in buttercream icing. So author Neil Gaiman took him up on it and bleeted the call far and wide, and so Scalzi got himself covered in buttercream icing by roller derby skaters in Neil Gaiman’s front yard. Enjoy the video and you can buy the professional horror movie spoof poster, the proceeds for which go to help starving authors with medical bills and fluffy kittens. No really, fluffy kittens. And enjoy Gaiman’s house, which is annoyingly beautiful.

 

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Cats — What the Internet Is For

Today is a very sad anniversary.  And I’m still catching up. So — while we’re still remembering — we can also smile with the bastion of the Internet — cats.

Do not mess with cats because they can do this:

Do not think you can keep cats from their chosen target:

Even if the target is you:

The cat is a master of disguise:

So really, you should just build cats their own castle. (My cat needs one without tape because he likes to eat it.):

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Filed under Humor, Life, Nature

Plague is Upon My House, So Here, Enjoy Some New Spam Poetry

Biology is engaged in natural competition in my household, so spam poetry it is for now.

I have no idea what this first one is selling — possibly modern younger adult females — but it’s fascinating:

In many groups, potential members needed to be nominated by two current members, which method ensured a particular homogeneity in those who joined. For most of its earlier background, the Junior League was overwhelmingly white and Protestant, plus the New york team, which was for a very long time the biggest, experienced a repute for containing only upper-crust, modern younger adult females. The newest York team constructed a $1.2 million household for by itself in 1929 that had a swimming pool plus a squash court.

Potentially a colorful position setting to the kitchen area counter as well as open up coffee beans for aroma, and an open recipe e-book turned to some colorful photograph. Bogs dressed up with gorgeous towels, sweet smelling soaps, and window cures as shower curtains. Lastly, fireplace mantels embellished as if the relatives was now residing there..

“Are we there nonetheless?” is one thing you may hardly ever ought to hear again when getting the family members for any lengthy push. In-car leisure devices effective at participating in DVDs as of late are particularly advanced with capabilities like Dolby Electronic or DTS encompass audio features. On top of that, the existing multi-speaker set-up in most autos is frequently enough for surround sound.
Even now, even with no that, I thought this was one of several finest hentai titles I have witnessed. Good animation and character patterns along with the ‘story’ was all no muss, no fuss, receiving ideal on the intercourse. I realize volume two was just introduced this past July in Japan, so I hope we will see it in R1 soon..

Executive producer Seaton McLean experienced labored with Hennessy about the miniseries Nuremberg. “She’s a fantastic human currently being, proficient actor and excellent for your function. Jill was our number one option in addition to a pleasure to operate with,” he shares. Wool will be the conventional of luxurious and fiber option very long identified from the carpet market. Alternative location rug fibers are outlined by how they review for the conventional of good quality set forth by wool. Wool gives you heat, a good looking matte finish, longevity, and soil resistance.

There will also be a nasty odor from dry-cleaning fluids. Drying is usually problematic as a result of dimension of comforters and featherbeds. If down is not dried effectively, mildew will set in, leaving you that has a bad odor along with a dilemma for allergy sufferers. Choose a Contractor/Builder: You will have a contractor who will ordinarily have got a setting up crew that may be certified in all places related with developing a home. You may also require a surveyor, electrician, plumber, and making inspector for your different stages on the making system. Inquire the builder to review your design and style to generate there will not be any problems through setting up.

This one was about clothing, but then segues into a discussion of literature perhaps:

Behold, I have produced the smith – The sense of this verse is, that can impact your welfare is under my control. The smith who manufactures the instruments of war or of torture is beneath me. His life, his strength, his ability, are all in my hands, and he can do absolutely nothing which I shall not deem it greatest to permit him to do.

 

I tell you, spam is getting interesting. And speaking of interesting, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a note from the CDC on helping people prepare for disasters by giving tips on surviving zombie apocalypses. See, the agency is good for something!

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Justine Larbalestier — Some Views on Perceptions, Harrassment and Reviews

YA author Justine Larbalestier ran into a medical problem some time back that meant she could only type for short time periods. This limitation obviously greatly effected how often she could write and she stopped blogging much to concentrate on her fiction. But she got a voice recognition program — which as she explained doesn’t help much for fiction writing, but does work pretty well for blogging, so she’s been more active, as she’s the kind of author lots of people pepper with questions. So I’ve been catching up with her posts and she’s done several lately that reminded me of stuff that had come up re the Readercon situation and my conversation with author Scott Bakker in response to my post on You Can’t Defend the Balloon. Not surprisingly, Larbalestier and I dovetail on many points, but she talks about some issues that I haven’t thought about much or didn’t address, and I think her points are made with thought and humor. (Which pretty much sums up her fiction writing too.) Anyway, I thought I’d give links for some of them here. She addresses the Readercon issue (and many discussions that occurred on John Scalzi’s blog Whatever and elsewhere,) in “We Can’t Control Anyone But Ourselves.” And she addresses the general fiction brouhaha over book reviews going on lately — which I’ve mostly avoided because except for some issues about how female written books are handled by publications and sites that review, I find most of it silly — in several related posts:  “The Supposed Power of Reviews,” “Changing My Mind on What to Do with Cranky Authors,” and “How to Enjoy Critical Reviews of Your Own Work.”

The big point of all this is, negative reviews have very little to no impact on fiction book sales. A lack of reviews at all can, because then there are less opportunities for people to know that the book exists. That doesn’t mean that reviews as a device for talking about fiction books have no value (although they have a lot less than they used to realistically.) It means that authors spending great efforts to defend their balloon or themselves from negative responses is largely a wasted effort. It’s not going to work and the reviews and negative remarks really don’t have an effect on your sales. Good reviews can help — but don’t at all control — word of mouth and definitely help making people aware that the book is there. Bad reviews simply mean that good word of mouth is not generated, but it does alert people that a book with that title is out there. And they may check it out in spite of or because of — as Larbalestier points out — bad reviews and controversial commentary about the book and even the author.  So some things to think about there, perhaps.

*I want to again say that I really appreciate Scott Bakker coming over here and talking with me about the Balloon piece I did. I’ve met the man before and it was totally in keeping with the intelligent and enthusiastic person he is. (He is also tall, blond and thin — think Viking with glasses.) I find his fiction work complex and fascinating. I also feel great sympathy with authors who feel they are coming under attack. I just remain firm in my belief that authors will not find a shield in protesting the views that others hold about their work or their role as authors. The way that people deal with fiction simply doesn’t make it possible.

**Oddly enough, we had very recently had a conversation about cover design in the Writing Forum of SFFWorld, and in it, I first heard the rumor that publishers avoid green covers like the plague. This is categorically not true, especially in wood-filled fantasy fiction, but green is apparently a difficult color to work with for artists and so that may have created an idea that green was avoided. Apparently, this concept that publishers avoid it is widespread because Larbalestier mentions it as one of the magical thinking theories about why certain books don’t sell. But I can promise, as we covered in the SFFWorld thread, that publishers don’t actually eschew the color green in covers or predominantly green covers. Or even no-artwork green background covers.

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Unreality Junction: Some Books For Fall

Well, that all took longer than I thought it would. 🙂 Sick child, Internet arguments, phone companies that are run by the devil — you know, life stuff.

I’ve been bopping around the Bookverse too, though, and here are some book/series that may be worth your time to check out:

First, the classic writers:

David Brin has been one of the most interesting writers in science fiction for some time, in my book. An astrophysicist, he is also excellent at characterization and creating action-packed suspense. One of his novels, The Postman, was made into a not very effective adaptation film for Kevin Costner. Better to read the book. His Uplift series is pretty much required reading if you want to have a basic understanding of SF canon. However, the man’s been kind of busy the last few years, and so we’ve had to go without new stuff until now. Brin’s new very large novel, Existence, is about a medium future Earth that has covered itself in trash. An orbital garbage collector stumbles upon an alien artifact that speaks of both attempts at communication and invasion. It’s one of the oldest ideas we have in SF, and in Brin’s hands, it’s going to be  incredibly complex, diverse and personal.  Definitely one to check out.

What Brin is to SF, British author Tom Holt is to satiric fantasy, and Holt is offering yet another bizarre and endearing novel, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages. This one is about magical multiple dimensions/realities, in which a real estate solicitor is confused by strange going-ons that involve a magical dimensional travel ring, pigs, and insanity.  Holt is very prolific, but I like the sound of this one especially and may check it out. My favorite of his that I’ve read so far is the famous Expecting Someone Taller, which involves Norse gods and yet more magical objects.  But really, any Holt title is likely to be fun.

Onto the newer authors who have caught my eye:

Kate Locke is debuting with the first book in her Immortal Empire series, an alternate timeline contemporary fantasy called God Save the Queen. In Locke’s version of the world, a gene altering plague virus of magic created a mutated, non-human species that live underground called goblins and the half-mutated vampires and werewolves, who make up the nobility, and then there are humans.  Queen Victoria has consequently ruled for a very long time over a still chugging if struggling British Empire. The main character is a noble’s illegitimate daughter infected by a goblin attack who is an enforcer for the Empire trying to find her sister. I sampled the first chapter and I liked the writing on this very much. The use of legends into a weird re-invention I thought created an interesting, crumbling world, mixing steampunk with modernity, and social commentary Dickens style.  Looks to have a fair amount of action, too.

Also on the contemporary fantasy front, Benedict Jacka has another entry in his Alex Verus suspense series about a mage with foresight powers. In Cursed, Alex is up against a dark magic being used to suck the life force out of humans, mages and magical creatures. I like the idea of having a main character who everybody bothers about seeing into the future. I find main characters who are pestered are often the most interesting.  In this one, Alex also has to deal with a potential betrayer in the halls of power.

N.K. Jemisin has greatly impressed me — and everybody else — with her novel The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and following series.  Her new series, Dreamblood, though, is even more interesting to me from the sound of it. Starting with The Killing Moon, Jemisin introduced us to the city state of Gujaareh, ruled in peace by the priests of a soothing yet ruthless dream goddess who harvest the magic of dreams. In the newest entry, The Shadowed Sun, Gujaareh’s era of peace is past and a plague of nightmares is striking a populace ripe for further change.

And because I enjoy vampires, some more in Jaye Wells‘ contemporary fantasy Blue Blooded Vamp, the last entry in her highly successful Sabina Kane series. In Wells’ world, the biblical Cain is  the first vampire and his brother Abel is a powerful mage. Vampire hunter Kane has a chance to finally stop Cain and get revenge for her family’s deaths, but it depends on finding Abel in Rome, and he may not want to be found.

And more aliens — SFF authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham teamed up under the pen name of James S.A. Corey to write a rip-roaring military SF series, The Expanse, starting with Leviathan Wakes. The sequel is Caliban’s War. Everything is going to pieces on several planets and the crew of the policing ship Rocinante is finding itself at the critical position in a long-time alien invasion. I like that the SF authors are coming up with very sneaky ways to have an alien invasion. This series has gotten a lot of positive buzz and the bit of Abraham’s writing I’ve seen so far I liked a lot, so I’m planning to check this out.

Finally, another new entry in a much buzzed about series — Mira Grant‘s Newsflesh post-apocalypse zombie story. Grant (known as Seanan McGuire in the fantasy field,) has created a world with mammal zombies that still struggles to go on as a society and focuses on a pair of blog reporters. In Blackout, the last volume of the trilogy, they try to find the final truth about the virus that started everything and the secret political organizations who are — well, you know, usually trying to kill snoopy reporters. The fist book in the trilogy, Feed, got a ton of good buzz and it’s a short set for those for whom that’s an issue. I’ve read McGuire’s contemporary fantasy novel of the faerie Rosemary and Rue and she is quite good at suspense. Plus, zombies!

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