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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Avatar: Pico Review

If all you want is a fresh plot and deeply drawn characters, Avatar is not the movie for you. (Ha.) But if it is a three-hour fest of freshly conceived, stunning visuals that you seek, you can hardly do better.

Premise: a paraplegic ex-marine, Jack Sully (Sam Worthington) is mind-controlling a hybrid human/native (Avatar) of the planet Pandora to help influence the natives to relocate from their mineral-rich location...or else.

The natives of Pandora (the Na'vi) live in a world with an embarrassment of riches of flora and fauna. The Na'vi are the predominate species, giant and willowy by human standards, and live among floating mountains and phosphorescent forests, in harmony with all living things, including the planet Herself. This, of course, cannot go on with stock good and evil human characters wanting their minerals.

Looking at this movie as a visual, rather than a storytelling effort, my main criticism would be that the Na'vi are always shown in huge, adult gatherings (including the big battle in the finale) or in flying beast-taming, ritualistic quests. They are interesting folk, but their family life is absent. Na'vi children make a couple of passing appearances only. I think the film would have been far richer to have spent fifteen minutes out of the three hours on Na'vi family life. That aside, the money was worth the price of admission on the visuals alone.

Spoiler: don't worry; you'll have the story figured out within ten minutes of the start of the movie. You've already figured out the basic story from the premise, right? If you've seen films like Medicine Man, you won't experience any shocking turns and twists.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lamest Tech of the Decade

Here is a retrospective of what Technologizer considers the 87 worst tech screw-ups of 2000-2009. Why 87? They probably ran out of time. One hundred would have been more authoritative.

If you're old enough, you might guess that Windows Me would be there, and you won't be disappointed. Sony gets a black eye for their CD copy protection system that could be defeated by marking the CD with a black magic marker. For the rest, go here. (There are five pages.)

Posting here may get thin during the holidays. Have a nice one.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

What Matters Now

Here is a free e-book, What Matters Now, that's making the rounds on the Internet. It's a collection of thoughts under a couple dozen categories. I think it can be best summarized using Apple Computer's ungrammatical slogan: Think Different.

Some of the thoughts are folksy, insightful or thought-provoking. I think there are many triggers here for flash fiction stories.

Here are a few examples:

Timeless:
Simplicity – if you can’t tell your brand story to a 9-year-old it’s no good.

Enough:
If you’re checking for new email every five minutes, that’s 24,000 times a year.

Re-Capitalism:
Marx read his Darwin, but he got it wrong--capitalism doesn't self-destruct, it adapts.

Ripple:
Educate a girl, and you educate her children and generations to follow.

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24 Ways To Annoy Readers

Readers may find it enlightening to see why a story they read is off-putting, and writers must know this: twenty-four ways to (avoid) annoying readers.

If you do a search on writing, it's difficult not to find dozens of similar articles on the sins of writers. The submissions editor at SF Crowsnest, Geoff Willmetts, has an article on common writing problems that is concise and covers many sins.

This is the first sin in the article not associated with formatting a manuscript, and is perhaps (IMHO), one of the greatest differentiators between amateur and pro writers:

4. Pace. If you want to create high tension and things that are moving in a hurry, shorten the length of your sentences. Have a run and then trying saying a long sentence. Doesn’t work, so you break it up even more. Writers who understand how to pace also know how to adjust the mood of the story. Boo! Did you see that coming? Frame the sentence to the events you’re depicting.

To mitigate against the risk of the author of the article finding this post and using it as an object lesson, I'll stop now. Here are the remaining 23 sins of writing.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

New Flash Poetry (Twitterzine)

According to ralan.com, there is a new twitter poetryzine, Microcosms. If you hurry, you can be their first follower. They're in their first submission phase and will print original science fiction/fantasy/horror single-tweet poetry ($1) and reprints (exposure).

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SF YouTube Video Nets $30M Movie Contract

According to a BBC News report, a Uruguayan producer spent about $30 (excluding sweat equity, no doubt) on a conceptual SF video about an alien attack on Montevideo. His work received no little attention from Hollywood and he's been offered a six-orders-of-magnitude increase over his investment ($30M) to produce a feature film. The film will be produced in Uruguay and Argentina.

You have to see Fede Alvarez's short film, "Ataque de Panico!" (YouTube link. The BBC link is a slightly shortened Adobe Flash version.)

¡Buenos suerte, Sr. Alvarez! (I'm available as co-producer.)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ignore this post, it's for Technorati

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RIP Roy Disney

The LA Times has an interesting piece, by on Roy Disney's death. He was Walt Disney's nephew and felt his uncle's vision was being overlooked. Roy Disney is credited with reviving Disney animation, beginning with "The Little Mermaid," after launching an internal struggle which resulted in the sacking of two Disney chief executives.

People always underestimated Roy," Peter Schneider, the former president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, said recently. "You underestimate Roy at your peril, as many people have learned."

Roy Disney began his career as a nature filmmaker, snagging an Academy Award and an Oscar nomination. After many successful financial investments and some corporate raiding, Disney was in a position to wrest control of the company. One of his decisions, which seemed minor at the time, was to invest in Pixar animation technology, which netted great rewards later.

Read the two-page article for more on Roy Disney's death and his struggles with Disney management, including his two-edged relationship with Michael Eisner.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gruesome, The Horrible, The Fairy Tales

Flash Fiction Online receives retellings of fairy tales regularly in its submissions digital slush pile. The LA Times has an interesting review of The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault. One of the key ideas from the review is that adults often forget how gruesome the stories are and wonder why children love them. The article author, Jamie James, says that children are intrigued by the what-happens-next aspect of the stories, and are looking for reassurance that it will turn out okay. Modern children have a similar experience through cartoons, but in the past, children saw the gruesome stories as a possibility.

With illustrations by Gustave Dore, this edition shows how the gruesome worlds of fairy tales actually give us a glimpse into the harsh realities of another era.

See the review of The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault for more about this edition and a history of fairy tales.

Bruce Holland Rogers wrote an article about fairy tales in his Short-Short Sighted column at Flash Fiction Online, which used this story as an example.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Joe Haldeman an SFWA Grandmaster.

No, no, not the Joe Haldeman/CBS producer associated with David Letterman's alleged blackmail incident. Venerable speculative fiction writer, Joe Haldeman, whose writing awards include five Hugos, five Nebulas, and one each Campbell, Tiptree and World Fantasy award, will receive SFWA's Grandmaster award next year, according to SF Scope.

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Nielson Folds Kirkus Reviews and Editor & Publisher

By way of the SFWA: Nielsen Business Media is downsizing to concentrate on its core brands. It has sold eight brands, including Adweek and Billboard, to a new partnership, e5 Global Media Holdings. However, it is shutting down two other important, longstanding brands, Kirkus Reviews and Editor & Publisher. (Both links were active at the time of posting.)

Editor & Publisher is the authoritative journal covering all aspects of the North American newspaper industry, including business, newsroom, advertising, circulation, marketing, technology, online and syndicates.

Based in New York City, the magazine dates back to 1884, when The Journalist, a weekly, was founded. E&P was launched in 1901 and merged with The Journalist in 1907....(more).

Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933, is published biweekly and reviews, 2 to 3 months before the publication date, approximately 5,000 titles per year: fiction, mysteries, sci-fi, translations, nonfiction, and children's and young-adult books. The reviews are reliable and authoritative, written by specialists selected for their knowledge and expertise in a particular field.

It takes the Kirkus staff, plus more than 100 freelance writers....(more).

One hopes someone will pick up these publications.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

K.C. Ball Approved as an SFWA Member

I usually think good thoughts toward anyone who receives professional recognition from the SFWA, but K.C. Ball's was special because her third qualifying sale is At Both Ends, which we published here in June. Congratulations, K.C.!

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E-Book Backlist Publishing Rights and Challenges

Who owns e-book publishing rights to older backlist books, the author (or author's estate) or the first publisher? Here are two articles about this topic and a third article on challenges to e-book publishing.

In this NYT article, author William Styrom's family is asserting their e-book publishing rights to his books (Sophie's Choice and others). Similar battles are ongoing for Joseph Heller's Catch 22 and for many other authors. Styrom's family believes they retain the rights since the books were published prior to the onset of e-book publishing. In this PW article, Styrom's publisher, Random House, disagrees. Random House chairman Markus Dohle's letter to agents states that Random House

...believes the “vast majority” of its backlist contracts “grant us the right to publish books in electronic formats,” while older agreements “often give us the exclusive right to publish ‘in book form’ or ‘in any and all editions.’

In a related article, Stephen's Lighthouse blog gives ten challenges for e-books, including price, perceived poor quality, a lack of richness and others.

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Space Travel Weasel-Physics in Movies & TV

Satellite Internet has a nice, concise piece with good movie pics about 'Ten Ways Space Travel Isn’t Like Television or the Movies.' Some movie weasel-physics and sociological mistakes are obvious (but still abused in the movies). One was particularly interesting, the affect on the human body of unprotected exposure to space. Do not try this at home:

...Thanks to Henry’s Law the drastic change in pressure would cause all the liquid in your body to evaporate at once, from your saliva to your blood to your urine. Because of this, your body expands to about twice its size, while you slip into unconsciousness (don’t worry, the whole process takes about fifteen seconds). Within a few minutes all the liquids and vapors remaining in your body will be sucked out into the void, leaving a dried husk of a corpse behind....

And we all know this, but it bears repeating since it is so ignored in movies, as it's quite an inconvenience for movie making: aliens don't speak any Earth language or any language that would be easily understood.

Go to the article for the rest of the movie trespasses and the nice pictures.

Here are a few that were not included in that article:

11. Space aliens probably don't go ga-ga over Earthling blonde women. They might even be repulsed by them...except Marilyn Monroe, of course.

12. If you have a replicator, why can't you make anything vital, including dilithium crystals for your warp engines when you're stranded?

13. And speaking of replicators: if you can make Saurian brandy and practically anything out of a Betty Crocker's Cookbook, wouldn't operation of the machine be a little more complicated than a microwave oven? They're way smarter than the ship's battle and navigation computers.

14. Space aliens probably wouldn't side with children over their parents.

15. They probably wouldn't come all the way to Earth just to snag a whale. They'd want some booty.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Flash: Enigma

I'm not participating in #fridayflash, but when I found this old story I thought I should post it -- but not for the usual reasons.

Friday Flash is supposed to be an encouraging activity, and I think that's a great thing for the community; but maybe there's something to be learned from stuff that's unpublishable, too. I wrote Enigma almost ten years ago, before I was writing anything seriously, and it shows. Don't get me wrong, it's not terrible, but it's not something I would publish now if it were submitted to me, and I'm not going to submit it anywhere else, either.

So let's use it as a good example of bad flash: Eviscerate it. Tell me all the things that are wrong with it. I have my own thoughts, too, but I'll hold off on them until the Friday Flash community has had a shot at it first. Then, in the January issue of Flash Fiction Online, I'll collect all the comments up and publish the results in a “worst practices” article.

Thanks,
Jake
Enigma
by Jake Freivald

Please. “You can’t expect me to believe that.”

“I’m not kidding.” Colm didn't look up from his specimen. “Once we discovered that the objects contained complex but highly regular patterns, we had to entertain the possibility that they were artifacts, and that the patterns encoded some sort of language. And they do. Constructing the reader took longer than deciphering the code.”

Ariel wasn’t impressed. “Everybody knows that when computers are told to take a data set and match every possible pattern, they sometimes alias patterns that weren’t the intent of the set creator. People analyzed Shinglee’s so-called 'discoveries' for a decade before she let on that she derived the data from housing rubble.”

Colm scowled. “Shinglee deliberately selected a data set with a high incidence of regular patterns, and then she only published its most regular subset. She was intentionally and artificially trying to fool computers into finding things that weren’t there in order to prove the superiority of mind over machine. In short, she was a smart-ass. What she did wasn’t science. What I have done is science, and I’m telling you that these little artifacts incorporate such sophisticated information encoding techniques that they must have been built by an intelligent life form. There’s no way around it.”

“Okay, let’s say you’re right. What does your wonderfully scientific analysis say they encode?”

“It’s very, very clever. It uses a self-referential language that describes its own distributed computing system, the sensors that cover its chassis, its pervasive materials distribution system, everything – including, mind you, the description system.” He paused. “It’s a brilliant way of ensuring that an unknown but sufficiently advanced culture could recognize the artifacts as the craft of an advanced civilization. Much better than our attempts. They distributed a physical object that manifests an encoded language that describes both the object and its description. No-one can fail to interpret correctly.”

Colm at his worst. Overconfident, pedantic, boring. “Has the funding dried up yet?”
He took a collection container off of a shelf, inspected it, put it down. “There are quite a few very important people who are interested in our research,” he said. He took another container down, inspected it, put it next to the first. “But you’re right, it has been at enormous cost. The biggest fear is that we’ll use up all of the artifacts before learning enough about them. We’ve destroyed half of them during the decoding process, and some people are trying to get us to preserve a few until we invent a less consumptive analysis mechanism.”

“And you?”

“I think that no one will ever again study them as closely as we’re studying them now. Storing them away is tantamount to giving up on the investigation altogether. We have the public interest and we have the funding. We need results, or both of those will dry up. Can we possibly say that we have time to waste?”

He raised the front part of his body so that only half of his sixty short, metallic legs remained on the floor. He stretched for the gloves on his highest shelf, brought them down, and put one on each of his two gleaming metallic claws. "To avoid contaminating them, not to protect me," he said, and moved to the specimen jar.
The artifacts activated at his approach, making little warbles as he unscrewed the top and thrust his right claw deep inside. One of them moved rapidly between his claw and the other artifacts. Ariel, fascinated despite herself, stood up on her hind legs to get a better view, balancing against the wall with a few legs and her right claw.

“This one appears to be a decoy,” Colm said. “It always interferes with collection. Its noise patterns are loud and fairly regular, so I’m saving it in the hopes that a breakthrough on the physical code will help me get resources for a detailed sonic analysis.” He pushed the decoy aside and took one of the other specimens.

As he walked away, the rest of the artifacts collapsed back into a neutral state. The only exception was the decoy, which was shouting: “The people of Earth will come for us, and they will not stand for this!”
That's it. Tear it apart in the comments section.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and paste it, post it, change it, make a two-hour long movie out of it, or anything else you'd like to do with it as long as you attribute the original story to me. Thanks.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazing Interstellar Travel Method

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has revealed an amazing method of interstellar travel first proposed in 1998 by Dr. Robert Metzger, physicist and SF writer. Dr. Metzger dubbed his scheme the take it with you plan. You must read the article to get all the gory details, but to summarize: you use the sun as an engine using advanced third-law-of-motion techniques to scoot the star along. Naturally, the sun will drag along the rest of the solar system with him. So instead of deciding whether to take your lucky ball cap or your teddy bear on your life's journey, you take everything.

Some details of this solar scooter technology are still in the making. Warning: there is some arithmetic in the article.

As if that were not enough for one post, Dr. Metzger also gives some news you can use about fusion, strange sightings, fuel-less orbital boost, turb0-evolution and table-top black holes.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hugo Award Changes

The SFWA's article on the Hugo Award's new eligibility rules summarizes the changes for semiprozine and fanzine categories:

The answer to the general question about whether genre websites, including blogs, are eligible in principle is clearly yes, since the rules now explicitly permit works published in other media in several categories.

For more on what web sites and blogs may be eligible, SFWA defers to Vincent Docherty, Administrator for the Hugo Awards, via File 770's article on Hugo's Award's online publication eligibility. There, Mr. Docherty gives his approach to handling the knotty process of interpreting the new rules while giving due consideration to past rules and past administrators' practices. He says:

Under the revised rules, a web-only publication of an individual work, or series of issues of a work, would certainly be eligible as a Fanzine, Semiprozine or Related Work, depending on whether it satisfies the specific category rules. There are hard boundaries between Fanzine and Semiprozine: a work either meets two of the five tests, and is therefore a Semiprozine, or it doesn’t, and so is a Fanzine.

Go to the File 770 article for a glimpse of this rather interesting process.

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Publishing's Darkest Moments in 2009

Media Bistro's GalleyCat blog gives their choices for publishing's darkest moments in 2009. They will follow up with a similar brightest moments article soon, and now are inviting suggestions.

Because of the brevity of GalleyCat's post, I'll mention only one of their five picks and suggest that you go to their site for links to articles about each event. Perhaps the most interesting (but least important) is the six-figure book deal that Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich received after his corruption scandal.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

List of SF Movie Lists

The End of the Universe is famous for collecting lists of SF movies and movie scenes. Presently, they have seven lists, some with video links:

  • 17 of the most seminal moments in science fiction movie history?
  • Best overlooked movies
  • Best 1990s science fiction movies
  • 22 bleak science fiction futures
  • related: real-world locations used for science fiction films
  • 10 bleak futures where slavery is commonplace
  • 10 cool science fiction worlds

Go to the site for their compilation of movie lists and to read their background and comments about the list items.

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You're How Smart? & Femina Sapiens

Here are two articles that I've bundled together because they both speak to gender, which has not gone unnoticed by writers in any genre.

The first is a short Newsweek article on research about the perceived difference in intelligence of women and men. Although the article makes a passing comment that men and women have some respective strengths, the article is not substantially about which gender is more intelligent, but how women and men perceive their differences. Here's the short answer: although the genders basically possess the same intelligence, men perceive themselves, their sons and their fathers as more intelligent than their wives, daughters and mothers. And so do women.

The second article is a thought-provoking piece in the urban-policy magazine City Journal about the struggle between feminists and evolutionary psychologists. It was written by Kay S. Hymowitz who is a contributing editor of City Journal and the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Ms. Hymowitz begins the article this way:

In the struggle for equality between the sexes, it keeps coming down to motherhood, doesn’t it?

And later:

Especially galling to feminists has been the field of evolutionary psychology, which proposes that evolution has fundamentally shaped human sexual and reproductive behavior—behavior that often seems to conform to the worst stereotypes.

Although much of the article is shrouded in Darwinism, I don't think the question of Darwin was right or wrong is the point of the article. The research shows how men and women actually behave and the measurable physiological reasons behind their behavior. The linchpin of the author's thoughts seems to be that, in her opinion, women are more invested in raising their children than men, no matter what forces are applied to change that (such as the Swedish failed attempt to equalize investment by men by offering equal paternal and maternal leave from work). She supports this with an anecdote by a dedicated journalist who feels literally addicted to her newborn child. The author also posits that this behavior continuously improves the lives of the subsequent generations of women.

In fact, as neuroscientists and geneticists piece together the human brain’s evolution, it’s becoming clear that, if it’s natural for a woman to go crazy over her babies, it’s also natural for a woman to run the State Department. The same human female brain that’s primed with oxytocin is, like the male brain, a fantastically complex machine, capable of reasoning, innovative problem solving, and maneuvering through hugely varied social environments—whether the PTA, a corporate headquarters, or Congress.

Hey, you writers out there. This is the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. Get busy.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Harlequin Delisted from RWA and MWA

Background: these two FFO posts [1 2] gave the story of romance publisher Harlequin's dance with a self-publishing imprint, and the near-immediate threats from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and Horror Writers of America to delist Harlequin from their approved publishers list. The consequence of those actions would be that writers could not then use Harlequin publishing credits for membership into the those writers' professional organizations or participate in their awards programs. (There are speculative fiction subcategories in romance.)

Recently, Mystery Writers of America has delisted romance publisher Harlequin from its qualified publishers list, even though Harlequin removed its direct connection to the self-publishing arm by renaming it from Harlequin Horizons to DellArte Press. That link includes MWA's statement about their decision and Harlequin's reply. Earlier, Romance Writers of America delisted Harlequin, too, according to various sources. (The RWA requires a membership to read its breaking news section, so a link is not provided here.)

In a side note, here is an SFWA article (by way of Writers Beware) about the blurring of the distinction between self-publishing and vanity publishing.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Reading of Jay Lake's "Golden Pepper"

Jay Lake was scheduled to be at Orycon this year, during which time he was going to have a reading of his own material. Instead, he was recovering from surgery for treatment of cancer. We, and all his fans, friends, and family, wish him the best.

Jeff Soesbe, David Levine, and Mary Robinette Kowal took his slot and did readings for him. They're available at Mary Robinette's blog. One of the stories is "Golden Pepper", which was originally published here in February of this year. (Coincidentally, Jeff's "Apologies All Around" was published here exactly one year earlier.)

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Hodgepodge Post: Meyer not a Crook & Awards

Here is a hodgepodge of news:

This is not a shocker. According to the NYT Arts Beat blog and many other sources, Stephanie Meyer is not a crook. A judge ruled that Stephanie Meyer did not plagiarize another novel in her "Twilight" series "Breaking Dawn" book. The judge admonished the plaintiff for “deceptive presentation of the alleged similarities.”

Award nominees and winners:

Locus Online: Harlan Ellison nominated for Grammy for the best spoken word album for children category for his recording of Through The Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There.

SF Awards Watch has several year-end awards and nominees for awards for speculative fiction

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Victorian Internet

Here's an interesting article from Ars Technica about the Victorian Internet, telegraph network of the 187os. It seems little has changed since then. Though we have broadband (no snickers from you time travelers from the future!) and the Victorians had the narrowest of narrowband, they had control freak/net neutrality issues similar to our own. In this article you'll read about the rigging of elections using the telegraph systems (including copying private telegraphs to the senders' political foes), Enron-like scandals in the railway business (the necessary partner of the telegraph system), the manipulation of stock in Western Union so that a speculator could buy control, and deals to force all newspapers to use the AP network.

Says the author:

In many ways this story is far field from our contemporary debates about network management, file sharing, and the perils of protocol discrimination. But the main questions seem to remain the same—to what degree will we let Western Union then and ISPs now pick winners and losers on our communications backbone? And when do government regulations grow so onerous that they discourage network investment and innovation?

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Admission: Future of Publishing Unknowable

Finally someone admits it: in this article in Resource Shelf, the author states his belief that the future of publishing is unknowable. So while some publishing analysts agonize over specifics, such as:

  • whether the B&N Nook will overtake the Amazon Kindle before Apple enters the field with one of several hypothetical devices,
  • or whether the brick and mortar stores will survive,
  • or whether *some* form of digital bookselling will win out,

the author of the article suggests that there are too many variables to make a reasonable guess. The variables include shrinking profit margins due to digital technology, the structural transformation of the publishers and sellers due to conglomeration, and rapid cultural changes that obviate serious reading.

Read the short article for more details of this issue, or go to this LA Observed article for yet more detail. The latter article is a summary of a speech given by agent/book editor Steve Wasserman, a former Los Angeles Times book editor.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tweeting Stories a Mixed Blessing--Rick Moody

Novelist Rick Moody, known especially for his novel The Ice Storm, experimented by tweeting a short story, "Some Contemporary Characters," in 153 tweets over three days, according to this Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy article: Rick Moody’s Twitter Short Story Draws Long List of Complaints.

The experiment was complicated by at least three factors: two publishers were simultaneously publishing the story, some of the followers followed both publishers, and the publishers mixed the story tweets with ordinary tweets. Some followers therefore received duplicate tweets, and may also have received unrelated tweets interspersed with the story tweets. The immediacy of the tweets was one attractive aspect of the experiment for the author, but one can imagine other issues, too, such as time zone differences (killing the immediacy).

It seems like these are not insurmountable obstacles, the solution being, don't do that: don't simultaneously publish and don't mix tweets (by creating a special tweet address for the occasion). The complaint about the mixing of tweets seems specious; avid Twitterers may get tweets from many unrelated sources.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SFRevu Review of Flash Fiction Online

SFRevu's Sam Tomaino has a kettle full of reviews of short fiction now, including his review of FlashFictionOnline.com's November 2009 issue. The Nov. 2009 issue of FFO is here before the Dec. issue is published, and here thereafter. Sam seemed to like "Irma Splinkbottom's Recipe for Cold Fusion" best:

...the story by Janene Murphy calls for water, baking powder, and salt with the mixture to be micro-waved. She tries several different combinations of ingredients and zapping time until she finds the right recipe in another hilarious tale.

Sam also has new short fiction reviews of these SF/F magazines:

  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact - January/February 2010 - Vol. CXXX Nos.1 & 2
  • Apex Magazine - November 2009 - Vol. III, Issue IV
  • Asimov's Science Fiction - January 2010 - Vol. 34
  • Black Static Thirteen - October/November 2009
  • Electric Spec - Volume 4, Issue 3, October 31, 2009
  • Interzone – Issue #225 - Nov/Dec 2009
  • Jupiter XXVI: Isonoe – October 2009
  • Murky Depths #10
  • Nth Zine Nov/Dec 2009 Issue 3
  • Space and Time #109 – Winter 2009
  • Talebones #39 - Winter 2009 [Final issue]


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