Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Monday, November 30, 2009

First International Best Seller: A Fantasy

This book sold only about 20,000 copies in its original language, Spanish, and about 10,000 more in translation. Not exactly spectacular sales? Well, it was published just after the printing press was invented, so in that context, it was spectacular. According to Internet Review of Science Fiction's article by Sue Burke, it is Europe's first best seller, Amadís de Gaula (Amadis of Gaul), a Spanish novel of medieval chivalry, written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.


'The book is full of sorcery, enchanted weapons, giants, monsters, magical locales, and other "amazing things found outside the natural order," as Rodríguez de Montalvo described it. The story-telling style is medieval, clearly meant to be read aloud.'

One of the more interesting tidbits about the novel is that Cervantes referred to Amadis in Don Quixote de La Mancha, which some claim to be the first and best modern novel. In Don Quixote, travelers at inns listen to readings of Amadis as an evening entertainment.

Go to the IROSF article on Amadis of Gaul for the nine reasons why Amadis was a best seller, and many more interesting tidbits about the novel. Bonus: Sue Burke, a US writer who lives in Madrid, Spain, is doing a serial translation of Amadis on her blog. The link to the serial translation is for the 23rd chapter, the latest chapter at the time of posting. Chapter 0 is here.

Note: the author of the article cited here, Sue Burke, is also the author of a flash fiction story in Flash Fiction Online, Normalized Death.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jay Lake Recovering from Surgery

We see from Locus Online that Jay Lake is recovering from cancer surgery. According to a blog of a friend of Jay's (link in the Locus article), he'll likely return home this weekend. Flash Fiction Online wishes him a complete and speedy recovery. Jay Lake is a Campbell Award winner and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and Nebula awards. FFO was fortunate to have published one of his flash pieces.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Van Gogh's Complete Letters

This is not particularly a fiction post, but rather something for anyone interested in literature and the arts. The Guardian online (UK) has a review of an exhaustive translation of Van Gogh's letters and letters received by him. He wrote often, particularly to his brother, Theo. His letters apparently are quite revealing about his creative process:

"In its capaciousness, the book also reminds us of a fundamental truth about Van Gogh: his ambition as a painter depended on words to give it focus and direction. We see this most obviously in the correspondence with Theo...."

The books contain the original letters (902) up to day he shot himself, a translation into English (or other languages) and exhaustive annotations about the letters. The set of books is expensive, about $600 USD, but they may be viewed online: Van van Gogh--The Letters, including a guide and an index of the letters.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wheden Wins Vanguard Award

Science Fiction Awards Watch reports that Joss Whedon won the Producers Guild of America's 2010 Vanguard Award. According to PGA's article on the award, 'it which recognizes achievements in new media and technology.'

Whedon is a producer, writer, director, and creator for such hit television programs as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” and “Dollhouse.” He has written several feature film scripts including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Alien Resurrection and Titan A.E. and is author of the cultish Dark Horse comic book series “Fray.” Whedon also created and produced an Internet sensation with the musical superhero spoof “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog,” which stars Neil Patrick Harris.




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Harlequin, RMA, SFWA and MWA Have Love Spat

A few days ago, I ran a tongue-in-cheek post about Harlequin's deal with Author Solutions to produce a self-publishing romance imprint called Harlequin Horizons. Publishers Weekly now reports that Romance Writers of America rebuked Harlequin for this move and threatened a sanction affecting Harlequin's ability to enter their publications in RWA's award competitions. What RWA finds agregious, apparently, is that the similarity of the imprint's name to their pro imprints would likely confuse consumers about professionally written and self-published stories.

In Publishers Weekly's follow-up article, Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America also weighed in, with the MWA threatening to bar Harlequin writers from membership and awards and the SFWA warning that the self-publishing authors should be made aware that:

"...books in the program will not be distributed into brick-and-mortar bookstores ensuring 'that the titles will not be breaking into the real fiction market.'”

The SFWA also threatened to bar Harlequin writers from membership.

Harlequin could not ignore these huge threats to their own prestige and to their stable of authors and renamed the imprint, DellArte Press. SFWA argued that a name change was insufficient and that Harlequin should completely disassociate itself from the self-publishing program.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Has Science Fiction Run Out of Steam?

Technology writer Stuart Andrews writes for PC Pro about the relationship of science, technology and science fiction, posing the rhetorical question, has science fiction run out of steam? In other words, has science and technology now ahead of the headlights of science fiction writers?

While the rhetorical question is quite interesting, the article focuses principally on equally interesting examples of scientists and technologists who were influenced by science fiction, and the SF writers and stories that influenced them.

Bruce Hillsberg, director of storage systems at IBM Research said:

“...I don’t think most researchers try to invent what they read about or see in movies. Rather, they try to move science or technology forward, and sci-fi can consciously or unconsciously help them think outside the box.”

Examples of these technologists include: Apple’s Steve Wozniak, Netscape’s Marc Andreessen, Tim Berners-Lee, Google’s Sergey Brin and the GNU Project creator Richard Stallman, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Some of the authors and works cited by Stuart Andrews:

  • Arthur C Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey): computing (with guidance from MIT).
  • John Brunner’s: The Shockwave Rider: "large-scale networks, phreaking, hacking and genetic engineering...."
  • Vernor Vinge’s True Names: immersive worlds and Internet culture
  • Cyberpunk authors William Gibson (Neuromancer), Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and others; and virtual reality author NealStephenson (Snow Crash): information technology (IT)

See Stuart Andrews' The sci-fi legends who shaped today's tech for more, including some of the innovations influenced by these and other authors. (Note: the article has four pages.)

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

High Concept Stories

Short fiction, novels and movies are often reviewed/described/pitched as high concept. Yet, as you'll see from the short articles below, a definition of high concept is elusive. You'll often hear that a story is high concept if it can be adequately described in one sentence. But that seems inadequate. It is a story of redemption is one sentence but doesn't differentiate one (of many) redemption stories from another. Indiana Jones on Mars might be closer to the spirit of high concept. Book publishers often use the terms commercial fiction and high concept fiction interchangeably.

One could argue that most genre flash fiction is or should be high concept because there's not enough real estate for it to be anything else.

Here are a few opinions from disparate points of view on the meaning of high concept: The Dark Salon (Alexandra Sokoloff) blog, Miss Snark blog, the Writers Store, and the Romantic Times.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Unacceptability Of Being Inappropriate

Here is an opinion piece about the increasing vagueness of the English language in many parts of the world since the 1980s. Prospect is an English publication launched by David Goodhart, a senior correspondent for the Financial Times, but the article seems to apply equally to other Western English-speaking countries. At issue is social engineering for the sake of political correctness of more exact terms like coarse, tactless, vulgar and lewd for institutional words like unacceptable and inappropriate. According to article writer Edward Skidelsky:

This linguistic shift is revealing. Improper and indecent express moral judgements, whereas inappropriate and unacceptable suggest breaches of some purely social or professional convention. Such “non-judgemental” forms of speech are tailored to a society wary of explicit moral language. As liberal pluralists, we seek only adherence to rules of the game, not agreement on fundamentals.

Several novels will come to mind to readers of speculative fiction. Go here for more on this shift to a neutralized English language, an article the author entitled, "Words that think for us."

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Friday, November 20, 2009

AgentInbox Writer-Agent Web Service

WEbook has started its AgentInbox web service to connect writers with agents. The basic process is:

  • A writer submits a query letter, synopsis and book chapters, as required by the agent.
  • AgentInbox editors verify that the submission formally meets the agent's requirements.
  • AgentInbox forwards the submission material to the agent (without comment on its quality), or returns it to the writer for formal correction.
  • If the work is forwarded to the agent, the writer and agent communicate directly, as if they'd connected conventionally.

AgentInbox is a beta service and is currently gratis. They have quite a few noted agents signed up and one landed writer/agent contract as of the time of posting. Some of the agencies represented by the thirty or so participating agents include Jill Grinberg Literary Management, Writers House, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency, and others.

Here are two articles that review AgentInbox:


Since I was unfamiliar with WEbook, it took me awhile to realized that WEbook's author community and AgentInbox were completely separate services. WEbook gives authors a place to review each others' manuscripts; completed/polished stories may be voted on and published by WEbook. Most commentators consider WEbook a form of self-publishing.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Virtual Author Assitants and Book Shephards

At the SFWA blog, Victoria Strauss posted an article for Writer Beware about virtual author assistants (VAAs). VAAs have taken a 30-day course to qualify them for a VAA certificate which, according to the course web site, enables them to:

...work behind the scenes to create, organize and coordinate all the different pieces necessary to get a book published.

See Victoria Strauss' analysis of virtual author assistants certification for more information. She also briefly compares VAAs to book shephards and offers this book shephard link to the Selling Books blog for further information.

Writer Beware also happens to have an article on Harlequin's new self-publishing imprint, which was recently reported on the FFO news blog.




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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Author Solutions Romances Harlequin for Self Publishing

This article may stir Flash Fiction Online readers' hearts mainly because it unclothes the efforts traditional publishers are making to romance their readers. Author Solutions, a slender, young meta-self-publishing company representing iUniverse and other self-publishing companies, has successfully flirted with Harlequin, the robust, muscle-bound Romance publisher. Their union will bear fruit in the Harlequin Horizons imprint.

Harlequin Horizons will try a reconciliation with the authors Harlequin has rejected in the past and seal their reunion with a self-publishing contract under the cover of the Horizons imprint. (Don't gossip, but they'll seek new paramours at the same time.)

Author Solutions has sealed a similar covenant with Christian publisher Nelson, for the WestBow imprint.

Peek through Publishers Weekly's window for a less-annoying rendition of this story.

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Hugo Awards SemiProzine Category Saved

Good news for small publishers: according to Internet Review of Science Fiction (IROSF), the SemiProzine category in the Hugo Awards has been saved from extinction. At issue was the odd situation in which Locus Magazine was the shoo-in winner for the award for so long that the award seemed pointless; attendees at the last WorldCon therefore suggested that the category be ended.

Various interested publishers formed SemiProzine.org and suggested reforms to better define and save the category and were successful in their bid for at least few years.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

3D Mandelbrot Sets (and Cyberpunk)

This article is about the mathematical/software algorithmic breakthrough to produce 3D Mandelbrot sets. We've all seen the 2D computer-generated, swirling, never-ending graphical patterns that have visual and scientific appeal. They are fractals that produce rich detail in both dimensions regardless of the level of zooming into the picture.

(What's this got to do with flash fiction, you're wondering? Well, this article has turned into sort of a Mandelbrot set of its own.)

This article on 3D Mandelbrot sets ('Mandelbulbs') gives a very accessible background of 3D Mandelbrot sets and provides many stunning graphics including some videos showing a 'zoom-in' of a 3D image. In the Opening Pandora's Box for the Second Time section, you'll see that Rudy Rucker gave some of the earliest thought about the production of 3D Mandelbrot sets. He is an American mathematician and computer scientist, now on faculty at San Jose State University. Readers of Flash Fiction Online may also recognize him as a founder of the cyberpunk science-fiction movement and an author.

Traveling along this path...Flash Fiction Online readers and writers may also be interested in Rudy Rucker's A Writer's Toolkit (PDF) which is his "working notes for teaching writing workshops, newly revised on September 3, 2009." In the writing section of Rudy Rucker's personal web site, you'll also find his essays and speeches on writing (including 'what is cyberpunk,' a sometimes elusive term), web pages for his books, extensive notes on his "almost book-length" notes on his novels and non-fiction books, his online writings, and much more.

Okay, I'm lost. I can't find my way back to the thread of this article. My algorithm must be defective. Sorry. If you happen to see the rest of my article, please send me a URL.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jim Hines' SF/F Humor Roundup: 2009

SF/Fantasy/Humor author Jim Hines started a list of humorous SF/F fiction published in 2009, including short fiction and novels. How can I explain why he did this? Um, I don't need to; Jim explained just fine:

Humor tends not to be taken seriously, and rarely makes the award ballots. It’s a shame, because humor can be as powerful, popular, and flat-out good as any other story.

Jim Hines' humor list includes a story first published at Flash Fiction Online by Rod M. Santos, "I Foretold You So." You'll recognize many other names on the list, including Mike Resnick, Nancy Fulda, Cory Doctorow, Terry Pratchett, and Jim Hines.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Worst Library Books Blog

The Awful Library Books blog is not about ripping authors' writing; it is about the books that should have been retired long ago, because they're out of date. They tend to be non-fiction books that are a bit long in the tooth. Recent examples on the blog include a career guide to getting a phonograph record company job--you know--pressing the hot wax. There are probably three, maybe four jobs on the planet doing that. The blog gives brief descriptions of the books and some nice retro book cover and sample page images. Another example is a twirling book. I think girls still twirl batons, but the illustrations are pleasingly retro. Of course, there are the computer books showing explicit photos of--you might want sit down--a floppy diskette.

A writer at Detroit Free Press, Korie Wilkins, points out that there's a serious side to this blog, that's received a lot of world-wide attention and submissions. According to the bloggists:

"Libraries are losing funds and staff. This is also a way for us to advocate for libraries and librarians."

In other words, library patrons become disenchanted when they have to slog through twenty now-pointless books before finding a useful one (if any).

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Significant Objects Project: Stories for Found Objects

Flash Fiction Online's columnist, Bruce Holland Rogers, is participating as a writer in the Significant Objects Project. The premise of the project is:

A talented, creative writer invents a story about an object. Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should — according to our hypothesis — acquire not merely subjective but objective value. How to test our theory? Via eBay!

Curators for the project purchase thrift store objects, for a few dollars. Writers in the project write a fictional story about their selected object. The object is then placed for auction on eBay, with the story serving as the object's description on the auction page. The winner receives the object, a printed copy of the story, and the author's thanks.

Bruce's auction object is an umbrella trinket. The object and story can now be viewed in an eBay auction. As with all objects that generate stories for the project, the auctioned object goes to the highest bidder and the proceeds go to the author of the story. Here are links to the object (Umbrella Trinket) and its auction.

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Yet Another 2012 Apocalypse Retrieve

Flash Fiction Online reported on an earlier 2012 apocalypse reprieve. That reprieve merely gave us another eight years to live. Now, NASA is on crusade to debunk 2012 apocalypse myths. That Google link is more newsy-looking. This one (Ask an Astrobiologist) and this one are more NASA-like. And this Daily Mail (UK) one has better images.

Dude, that's like a total reprieve. Ew!

However, will 2012 be a disaster for the movie producers?



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SF Without Human Main Characters?

There are recent examples of stories and movies with non-human main characters, such as WALL-E and Monster. The author of Monster, A. Lee Martinez, pleads for more stories that are from a non-human perspective. This was covered by IO9 in shorter form, but with a nice Martinez book cover.

Martinez gets why visual media has pretty faces, but doesn't see why this is carried over into print media. (Maybe it is because many movies are based on books?). Says Martinez:

I’ve enjoyed sub-standard entertainment far more than I should because of a pretty face.

And:

A big reason I don’t read much fantasy / sci fi is because I want the weirdness, the monsters, the inhuman, and for the most part, that stuff is shuffled to the side. Almost all fantasy / sci fi is from the human perspective because almost all of it is aimed at a human audience.

I suppose Terminator is the philosophical dividing line, because the robot and humans had about equal interest in the story.

Bonus: the top 85 robot movies. WARNING: some movies may contain humans. Ew.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New SF Magazine: Lightspeed

According to Locus Online and others, John Joseph Adams will leave Fantasy Magazine to edit Lightspeed, a sister publication that will publish science fiction. At the time of posting this article, the Lightspeed web site just has some slick graphics. Writers' guidelines will appear in early December. The first publication date is set for June 2010.

Here is what John Joseph Adams' personal website had to say about the content of Lightspeed Magazine:

Lightspeed will focus exclusively on science fiction. It will feature all types of sf, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between....New content will be posted twice a week, including one piece of fiction, and one piece of non-fiction. The fiction selections each month will consist of two original stories and two reprints, except for the debut issue, which will feature four original pieces of fiction. All of the non-fiction will be original.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Does Male and Female Poetry Exist?

Here is a short Guardian (UK) article that explores whether there is such thing as a female poem. The subject was explored when a poetry festival and society combined and held a symposium on 'the female poem,' which had unexpectedly heavy attendance.

Here is what seems to be behind the question: "man is defined as a human being and a woman as female," so women worry more about gender and whether gender affects their writing, and men are nervous about reading the poetry of women.

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Our Post-Biological Future, Maybe

Futurists, including science fiction and fantasy readers and writers may find this article by William Grassie of the Metanexus Institute useful. The article is a report about the Singularity Summit 2009, and its 26 technophile speakers, including Ray Kurzweil.

According to Ray Kurzweil, a tipping point will occur in three or four decades that will send evolution into hyper mode, resulting in a post-biological civilization with its "blending of super-machines, enhanced brains, and immortal bodies," the Singularity.

Or not.

Kurzweil relies on curing death
through "exponential developments in genomics, nanotechnology, and robotics," and the Law of Accelerating Returns which he reckons is woven into the fabric of the universe. Other technophiles are suspicious of exponential growth, citing natural limitatons, such as unsolvable math problems (which I take to mean computationally infinite problems), and an unwarranted expectation that Moore's Law (doubling of computation power every ten years) will continue and apply to technologies other than computing, such as nanotechnology. The most damning-sounding counter to Kurzweil's vision is software development, which technologists say, in so many words, sucks, perhaps even going in the wrong direction. As a software developer, I find that attitude totally, um, believable.

Here is the article on our theorized post-biological future: "Millennialism at the Singularity: Reflections on Metaphors, Meanings, and the Limits of Exponential Logic," with ample references and links.



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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Harlan Ellison Publishing Again

With at least ten Hugos, four Nebulas, five Bram Stokers and an Edgar on his resume, Harlan Ellison will soon publish his first short story in ten years. He was born in 1934. According to SF Scope, Harlen Ellison will publish a story with Realms of Fantasy in February 2010. Wikipedia claims he's published such a large volume of works that it seems impossible (and so won't be repeated here), among them, "short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, and a wide range of criticism covering not only literature, but film, television, and print media." He's a short fiction kind of guy, with only one novel (but inlcluding critical works reaching novel length).

Here is a collection of short biographies of Harlan Ellison, some real and others surreal, and one from an Internet news group (alt.fan.harlan-ellison) by Isaac Asimov. The "real" Brief Bio more than corroborates the publishing count evaded above:

He has written or edited 75 books; more than 1700 stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays, for which he received the Writers Guild of America most outstanding teleplay award for solo work an unprecedented four times; and a dozen movies.

Side note: the February 2009 issue of Realms of Fantasy will also include a story by fast-rising Aliette de Bodard. Here is an interview of Aliette de Bodard by Internet Review of Science Fiction.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Top-10 Book List Controversy for Publishers Weekly

On Nov. 4, this blog posted an article comprising a list of lists of best books of 2009, among them, Publishers Weekly's top 1o list. Soon after PW's posting of their list, a controversy ensued: a women's literary group pointed out that all the books were written by men. The list was based on literary merit rather than book sales. The New York Times carried a story about this top-10 literary book list controversy, which included more than 170 comments by readers at the time of posting of this FFO blog article. To PW's credit, they provided a link to the NYT article.

The comments were interesting and seemed to have been made preponderantly by women. The philosophical question that immediately arose was: should lists like these always include women? Or should the judges wear Justice-like blinders?

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Friday, November 6, 2009

How to Make a Book

You've always wanted to make and bind a book because it looked like fun? Or you've given up on publishing that 20-year-old trunk novel of yours? Or you want please your relatives with a gift of your mother's or grandmother's mind-numbingly awful poetry, or you own brilliant, misunderstood and under-appreciated poetry? Here is a blog post on how to make a book by semi-anonymous "EB" at The Olive Reader blog of Harper Perennial. I'd put that article more in the inspirational than how-to category, but it has pictures of her/his project and a link to a how-to book. I've seen several similar books in bookstore craft sections. (Careful, or you could find yourself in legal turmoil if you pick up a book on the wrong kind of bookmaking.)

Here is a terse but perhaps adequate explanation on the web on how to make a book. Here is a more elaborate presentation on the process of bookmaking. This article was the basis of an article in Make magazine, an eclectic and excellent source for (often geeky) make-it-yourself projects, and so is likely of high-quality.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Impac Dublin Literary Prize

By way of SF Awards Watch, this Guardian (UK) article on the Impac Dublin literary prize, which polls libraries to determine its long list of books for this prestigious and well-funded prize (€100,000, £90,000, $130,000 USD). The purpose of the prize is to make known to the Irish significant books they might otherwise overlook. The polling method results in an eclectic book list, which includes literary and speculative fiction authors. Many Flash Fiction Online readers will recognize Ursula K. LeGuin (Lavinia) and Neal Stephenson (Anathem), who are on the list, as well as Nobel laureates José Saramago and Toni Morrison.

According to the Guardian article author, Alison Flood, Aravind Adiga's Booker prize-winning novel The White Tiger is the early front runner. See the rest of the article for the Impac Dublin literary prize long list of the 150 nominated books and additional insight.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lists of Best Books 2009

It's getting close to the end of the year, so various best-0f-2009 book lists are appearing. Of course, 2009 will be revisited soon after it closes.

Publishers Weekly fashioned their list of 100 best books of 2009 by picking books in various categories, such as PW's top 10, fiction, poetry, mystery, science fiction/fantasy/horror, mass market, comics, and non-fiction. This list has the welcomed feature of a short synopsis for each book. PW has a separate list of children's best books for 2009. This and the following lists are editorial picks, rather than best-seller list.

Here are some other lists:

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SFRevu Review of Flash Fiction Online

SFRevu has a review of the October 2009 Flash Fiction Online edition. The FFO October edition will be here until the November issue is published; then it will be here.

Here is what review Sam Tamaino had to say about "Death Babies," one of the flash fiction stories in that addition:

"Death Babies" by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr is a chilling tale about a town besieged by what they call death babies. Death babies appear after someone has been dead and buried. They look much like regular babies except they have leathery skin. If you show one any affection, it will latch on to you and never let go, as one woman finds out. A well-done little nasty for Halloween!

Sam also reviewed these publications:

  • Abyss & Apex Issue 32: 4th Quarter 2009
  • Interzone - Issue #224
  • Jim Baen's Universe October 2009
  • Kaleidotrope – Issue 7 - October 2009
  • New Genre - Summer 2009 - Volume i Number VI
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction December 2009

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Asimov's I, Robot Sequels?

Here is a Keeping the Door article in two parts:

News: long after the death of Isaac Asimov, his estate has authorized I, Robot sequels, to be written by Mickey Zucker Reicher. The first will follow Dr. Susan Calvin, robopsychologist, in Robots and Chaos. The Guardian (UK) provides a bit more about the new series of I, Robot stories.

Commentary: the author of the Keeping the Door article, Australian technology journalist/editor Renai LeMay, provides an impassioned trilogy of rebuke of this move by Asimov's estate: he wonders if the relatively unknown author, Reicher, has the gravitas to stand in Asimov's substantial shoes; he believes the series of I, Robot books already stands on its own and needs no completion; and, he believes the estate is clueless about the genre, but not money-grubbing. (And then he got really mad.)

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iPhone: Book Apps Surpass Game Apps

For the last year or so, game application releases were the top category of iPhone apps, according to Venture Beat. Now, iPhone book app releases are exceeding game apps. Keep in mind that this refers to the release of applications for sale rather than sales of applications, where, in this case, the release of a book in iPhone format is an application. This opens more questions than it answers. What sort of books are being released? Out-of-print? New releases? Best sellers or mid-list? It is a relatively simple matter to release a book for an iPhone compared to developing and releasing a new or existing game for the iPhone platform. There is a huge pent-up supply of books (which is a separate matter from pent-up desire for purchase), so one would expect this trend to continue for some time.

Related: Barnes & Noble releases the Nook eBook reader, their response to the Amazon Kindle. Their play is a second color screen for control and more eBook format support.

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