Pixel Scroll 12/8/19 Why The Pixel Shudders When It Perceives The Scroll

(1) MCINTYRE BEQUEST. Clarion West announced in August that they are the recipient of the literary assets of Vonda N. McIntyre, who wished that the organization manage her literary copyrights in perpetuity. Locus Online in an article today reported —  

She also left a bequest of $387,129 to the program, the largest single financial gift in the organization’s history: “The bequest will bolster the Clarion West endowment, strengthening our mission and ensuring our financial stability for years. Vonda’s extraordinary generosity will allow Clarion West to continue to support emerging writers for generations to come.” Janna Silverstein has joined as literary contract manager, and will advise Clarion West on how to manage “all copyright materials.”

(2) A BORROWER AND A LENDER BE. In the Washington Post, Heather Kelly looks at dedicated e-book patrons who sign up with multiple library systems (including out of state ones) because e-book sales to libraries are rationed and signing up for multiple libraries is the only way to quickly check out popular e-book titles: “E-books at libraries are a huge hit, leading to long waits, reader hacks and worried publishers”.

…And while there are technically an infinite number of copies of digital files, e-books also work differently. When a library wants to buy a physical book, it pays the list price of about $12 to $14, or less if buying in bulk, plus for services like maintenance. An e-book, however, tends to be far more expensive because it’s licensed from a publisher instead of purchased outright, and the higher price typically only covers a set number of years or reads.

That means Prince’s recently released memoir “The Beautiful Ones” recently had a four-week wait for the e-book in San Francisco. Library-goers in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County were waiting 13 weeks to download Jia Tolentino’s book of essays, “Trick Mirror.”

Library e-book waits, now often longer than for hard copies, have prompted some to take their memberships to a new extreme, collecting library cards or card numbers to enable them to find the rarest or most popular books, with the shortest wait.

(3) CLARION WEST SCHOLARSHIP CREATED. With a gift of $1,000, Blue Corn Creations, a publishing firm undertaking a variety of Native American-themed projects, has launched a scholarship for writers of Native American descent at the Clarion West Writers Workshop: “Blue Corn Creations Sponsors Scholarship for Native American Writers”

 “We’re excited about developing the next generation of Native superhero, science fiction, and action/adventure stories,” said Rob Schmidt, owner of Blue Corn Creations. “To do that, we also need to develop the next generation of Native writers. This scholarship will help accomplish that.”

Clarion West has helped emerging writers reach for their dreams of professional careers in speculative fiction since 1971. Every summer, aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers attend the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a six-week intensive whose instructors include the best and brightest in the genre. Attendees benefit from the opportunity to hone their craft with the guidance of successful writers.

“Historically the field has reflected the same prejudices found in the culture around it, leading to proportionately fewer successful writers of color,” according to Clarion West’s vision statement. That’s why the Blue Corn Creations scholarship is a great fit with Clarion West’s mission, said Schmidt. “With it the workshop can serve another group with untapped potential: Native Americans.”

The Blue Corn Creations Scholarship for students of Native descent will help cover tuition, fees, and lodging for one student in 2020. The winner will be awarded in a blind judging to those indicating an interest on the application form. 

…Blue Corn Creations and Clarion West encourage others to contribute to the scholarship fund. The goal is to establish a permanent full scholarship for students of Native American descent.

(4) BAIZE WHITE MOURNED. Mark Oshiro is going on immediate hiatus while he deals with the sudden death of his partner Baize White.

The pair figured in an important story about Code of Conduct enforcement in 2016 when they surfaced issues of mistreatment at a midwestern con: “Mark Oshiro Says ConQuesT Didn’t Act On His Harassment Complaints”.

(5) SPINNEY OBIT. Sesame Street’s Caroll Spinney died December 8 reports the New York Times:

Sometimes he stood 8 feet 2 inches tall. Sometimes he lived in a garbage can. He often cited numbers and letters of the alphabet, and for nearly a half century on “Sesame Street” he was Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, opening magic doors for children on the secrets of growing up and the gentle arts of friendship.

His name was Caroll Spinney — not that many people would know it — and he was the comfortably anonymous whole-body puppeteer who, since the 1969 inception of the public television show that has nurtured untold millions of children, had portrayed the sweet-natured, canary-yellow giant bird and the misanthropic, furry-green bellyacher in the trash can outside 123 Sesame Street.

…Big Bird appeared in “The Muppet Movie” (1979) and “The Muppets Take Manhattan” (1984), and in 1985 starred in “Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird,” in which a meddlesome social worker sends him to live with “his own kind,” a family of dodos in “darkest Illinois.” He runs away, and has a cross-country adventure.

…With the impending 50th anniversary of “Sesame Street” in October 2018, Mr. Spinney left the show after his own remarkable half-century run as the embodiment of two of the most beloved characters on television and one of the last surviving staff members who had been with the show from its beginning.

(6) AUBERJONOIS OBIT. René Auberjonois, known to fans as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s shapeshifting Odo, died December 8. Variety noted his famous roles in and out of genre: “René Auberjonois, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Boston Legal’ Actor, Dies at 79”.

Auberjonois was a prolific television actor, appearing as Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of “Boston Legal” and as Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in ABC’s long-running sitcom “Benson” — a role that earned him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy in 1984. He played shape-shifter Changeling Odo in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and carried that role into video games, voicing Odo in “Harbinger” and “The Fallen.” His appearance as Judge Mantz in ABC’s “The Practice” earned him another Emmy nod for guest actor in a drama in 2001.

… Other film credits include Roy Bagley in 1976’s “King Kong” and Reverend Oliver in “The Patriot,” as well as parts in “Batman Forever,” “Eyes of Laura Mars” and “Walker.”

…Auberjonois was also known for his voice roles, particularly in 1989’s Disney Renaissance hit “The Little Mermaid,” in which he voices Chef Louis and sang the memorable “Les Poissons.” Fans of “The Princess Diaries” would recognize him as the voice of Mia Thermopolis’ father, Prince Philippe Renaldi, in an uncredited role.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • December 8, 1954 The Atomic Kid premiered.  It was produced by Maurice Duke and Mickey Rooney, and directed by Leslie H. Martinson. It stars Mickey Rooney, Elaine Devry and Robert Strauss. This is the film showing in 1955 at the Town Theater in Back to the Future

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 8, 1861 Georges Méliès. Best known as a film director for A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) which he said was influenced by sources including Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon. (Died 1938.)
  • Born December 8, 1894 E. C Segar. Best known as the creator of Popeye who first appeared in 1929 in Segar’s comic strip Thimble Theatre. Popeye’s first line in the strip, upon being asked if he was a sailor, was “Ja think I’m a cowboy?” J. Wellington Wimpy was another character in this strip that I’m fond of.  (Died 1938.)
  • Born December 8, 1916 Richard Fleischer. Starting in the early Fifties, he’s got he an impressive string of genre films as a Director — 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Fantastic Voyage (which came in second to Star Trek’s “The Menagerie” at NyCon 3 in that Hugo category), Doctor DoolittleSoylent Green (placed third in Hugo voting), Conan The Destroyer and Red Sonja during the thirty year run of his career. (Died 2006.)
  • Born December 8, 1939 Jennie Linden, 80. She’s here for being Barbara in Dr. Who and the Daleks, the 1965 non-canon film. Her next genre forays were both horror comedies, she was in A Severed Head as Georgie Hands, and she’d later be in Vampira as Angela. She’d show up in Sherlock Holmes and The Saint as well. 
  • Born December 8, 1950 Rick Baker, 69. Baker won the Academy Award for Best Makeup a record seven times from a record eleven nominations, beginning when he won the first award given for An American Werewolf in London.  So what else is he known for? Oh, I’m not listing everything, but his first was The Thing with Two Heads and I’ll single out The Exorcist, Star Wars, The Howling which I quite love, Starman for the Starman transformation, Beast design on the  Beauty and the Beast series and the first Hellboy film version.
  • Born December 8, 1951 Brian Attebery, 68. If I was putting together a library of reference works right now, Attebery would be high on the list of authors at the center of my shopping list. I think The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin is still essential reading and Parabolas of Science Fiction with Veronica Hollinger is very close to a Grand Unification Theory of the Genre. 
  • Born December 8, 1953 Kim Basinger, 66. She was the of Bond girl Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again. After that, it’s Vicki Vale in Burton’s Batman as far as we’re tracking her. (We’re pretending My Stepmother Is an Alien never happened.) Ahhhh, Holli Would In Cool World… there’s an odd film.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Non Sequitur has Alexa working on helping you to become a better writer.

(10) 124C2020. Nicholas Whyte is able to tell us all about the coming year because he’s been reading its history for years: “Life in 2020, as portrayed in science fiction”. Here’s what one author has in store for us:

In 1907, the gloriously named Horace Newte published The master beast : being a true account of the ruthless tyranny inflicted on the British people by socialism A. D. 1888-2020, republished in 1919 as The Red Fury: Britain Under Bolshevism. Unlike the other two, Bellamy isn’t mentioned explicitly but it’s clearly a response all the same. Newte’s hero is dismayed to see socialists come to power in Britain at the start of the twentieth century, followed of course by a successful German invasion. He then sleeps from 1911 to 2020, and awakes to find a morally degenerate country where women behave with dreadful freedom. But England is then invaded again, this time by African and Chinese forces, and he escapes to France. It’s online here.

(11) A SEASON FOR GIVING. Nerds of a Feather helps fans with their holiday shopping in a series of posts about gift suggestions, such as — “Holiday Gift Guide: Games (All Kinds!)”. Adri Joy’s enthusiasm about the Goose Game is contagious.

Untitled Goose Game (Recommended by Adri)

It will come as a surprise to nobody that Untitled Goose Game is my pick for a video game gift this year. This year’s most memeable game, from indie developer House House, combines elaborate stealth-based mechanics with the aesthetics of a rural English village, and puts you in the shoes (well, the webbed feet) of a horrible goose completing a number of tasks to mess with a series of villagers. Featuring four main areas for mischief which open up into an increasingly elaborate world, its a game whose puzzles are satisfying and unrepentantly sadistic, with a great flow through the “level-based” tasks and into more elaborate post-game tests. There’s also plenty of fun to be have in tasks which serve no in-game purpose apart from the pure-hearted joy of being a goose, and while this isn’t quite Breath of the Wild levels of “exploring the world because its there” content, it’s still a diversion that can be returned to even once your goose to-do is all crossed off.

(12) BREAKING IN. The Odyssey Writing Workshop posted an interview with Guest Lecturer JG Faherty.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

I started writing fiction in 2004, but prior to that I had been writing non-fiction for a long time. Laboratory manuals and procedures, business documents, etc. Then I got a part-time gig writing elementary school test preparation guides for The Princeton Review. That required writing fictional reading passages. I found I liked it, and here’s where real serendipity enters the equation. Makes you wonder if Fate really exists. I wanted to write horror and sci-fi, so I attended a convention (LunaCon) in New York, where I met Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos. We talked, and she said I should submit something to an anthology she was working on. I had two days before the deadline. I went home and wrote like a fiend. Finished my first-ever short story and sent it to her, unedited, unproofed.

It got rejected, of course.

But she sent it back with a note saying I almost made it in, I had real talent, and I should keep writing. So I did. And a year later I made my first professional sale, a short story. The year after that, it was two pieces of flash fiction and some poems. Then another couple of short stories. I went on like that for five years, all while also working on my first novel, which was published in 2010.

In those days, I’d have to say I was doing EVERYTHING wrong! I didn’t know about using editors or beta readers. I thought you just proofed your work and the publishers edited it. I didn’t know about first or third drafts. I didn’t know how to write a cover letter. I didn’t know anyone in the business except Jeanne. Over time, I attended more conventions. Met people. Joined the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Took some classes. Learned how to edit properly.

And gradually, the quality of my work improved.

(13) BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. In “The Hugo Initiative: They’d Rather Be Right (1955, Best Novel)”, after mustering all the possible explanations for the book’s unlikely victory, Nerds of a Feather’s Joe Sherry drops this bomb:

Is They’d Rather Be Right the worst Hugo Award winning novel of all time? I’m in the minority of readers who hated The Three-Body Problem, so that will always be in contention for my personal Worst Hugo Winner of All Time category.

(14) BONES. The New York Review of Books’ Verlyn Klinkenborg dismisses their own question “What Were Dinosaurs For?” while covering a selection of dino books.

…As I was reading some recent books on dinosaurs, I kept wondering, “What were dinosaurs for?” It’s a ridiculous question, and I wondered why I was wondering it. After all, dinosaurs were “for” exactly what we are “for,” what every organism has been “for” since life began. Every species that has ever lived is a successful experiment in the enterprise of living, and every species is closely kinned at the genetic level with all other species. This is harder to grasp than it seems, partly because the logic of that Satanic preposition—“for”—is so insidious, so woven through the problem of time. Teleology is the moralizing of chronology, and nowadays science tries to keep watch for even the slightest trace of it, any suggestion that evolution has a direction tending to culminate in us or in what we like to call intelligence or in any other presumably desirable end point.

(15) LEGACY. PopHorror interviewed the actor about his myriad projects including his one-man Ray Bradbury show: “He’s No Dummy – Actor Bill Oberst, Jr. Talks ‘Handy Dandy,’ Ray Bradbury And Bill Moseley’s Beard”.

PopHorror: Are you still touring with Ray Bradbury Forever (Live)?

Bill Oberst, Jr.: Yes. I’ve got a show in Atlanta next year and then I’m going to Walla Walla, Washington. I wanted to go there just so I could say Walla Walla. It’s fun. And then I’ll be performing at some libraries next year because it will be the 100th anniversary of Ray’s birth. We did it on Broadway, and we did it in Los Angeles. We did about ten performances last year, so I learned what worked and what didn’t work. My goal is to get it to the point where people who know nothing at all about Ray Bradbury, people who have never read a word of his, can say, “Wow, I got something out of that.” I’m not interested in the Wikipedia info, where he was born and what he wrote and all that.

Think about it: after we’re all gone and all the people who have known us are gone, what’s left of Tracy and Bill? What were our lives lived for? What did we stand for? What is it about us that future people can say, “Well, I don’t know anything about Tracy or Bill, but this thing they did could apply to my life.” That’s the test. In 100 years, who is going to remember you unless you have some legacy, some mark.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Darrah Chavey, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Danny Sichel, Nicholas Whyte, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day David Shallcross.]

57 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/8/19 Why The Pixel Shudders When It Perceives The Scroll

  1. Okay, I feel a strong need to file a complaint with the universe. Three genre-relevant death announcements seems excessive for a single day. The universe needs to get its act together and avoid this excess.

    (2) The problem, of course, is the publishing industry’s unshakeable conviction that readers are thieves, and that ebooks are too easy to steal.

  2. (10) I believe a good deal of Disch’s 334 can be presumed to take place in 2020, since the novella that makes up the second half of the book is stated to be 2021 through 2026 and the events in the first half seem to be slightly earlier.

  3. @10: “dreadful freedom”? How very old-Tory.

    @13: I also disliked The Three-Body Problem; ISTM it was a badly-written slog that fell over the mysticism cliff. I think I wouldn’t call it the worst Hugo winner on an absolute scale, but I thought it was further behind its time than They’d Rather Be Right.

    edit: fifth!

  4. @James Davis Nicoll–

    Four. Marina Sirtis’ husband Michael Lamper has also died.

    Okay, four is just completely beyond the pale. The universe needsa severe talking to.

  5. (2) A BORROWER AND A LENDER BE. Wow. That’s me! When I went to San Jose for WorldCon, I ferried my NZ friend around the state. I carefully plotted which different libraries we would be near and acquired library cards from Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Clara Co. Santa Barbara Co., and Monterey Co. Those were additions to the ones I had from all around S. California.

    And, of course, I use my friends’ NZ account and my (dead) brother’s account in WA. The NZ account is useful to get books by Australian and NZ authors.

    I am not a total leech. The libraries I use will get significant bequests when I die, since I’m childfree. Also, I buy books I’ve loved. Sometimes multiple copies to support the author (e.g. Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy) and give away to make converts.

  6. Joe Sherry: I’m in the minority of readers who hated The Three-Body Problem, so that will always be in contention for my personal Worst Hugo Winner of All Time category.

    This doesn’t really seem like a “bomb” to me. I’ve seen a lot of people say this on File 770 and on social media.

    I didn’t hate it. It had some interesting ideas, but a very dry execution with very cardboard characters and some overt sexism. I saw it mentioned on Reddit that on a Chinese fan site, Liu said that one of his translators had removed or modified 1,000 instances of sexism in one of his books, and I thought, hoo-boy, if this is what it reads like after the sexism was removed, then I can’t even imagine what it was like beforehand.

    I’m quite willing to accept that it’s considered some of the best SF that’s being produced in China in the Chinese language, but I certainly don’t consider it anywhere close to the best SF that’s being produced in the English language. I found it so meh that I didn’t bother reading books 2 or 3 — especially after reading other Filers’ assessments of those books.

  7. The prologue of 3BP is an incredible piece of work, which in my opinion by itself qualifies 3BP for some of the best writing that year (if not particularly sfnal). The rest of the book didn’t quite live up to it in power, at least for me, and I put The Goblin Emperor first on my ballot – but quite clearly for a lot of fen it worked just fine, else it wouldn’t have won. It’s a bit of a marmite work, I think, but certainly not amongst the worst winners.

  8. I had problems with 3BP, pretty much all of which I was perfectly putting down to lost in translation. I’m pretty sure I’ve never met a work translated from some other language that entirely worked for me.

  9. One genre stage credit for Rene Auberjonois – I once saw him play the devil in Don Juan in Hell. A tiny studio production and I still don’t know how I managed to get tickets. The other actors in the cast were Ed Asner, Harris Yulin, and Mira Furlan. A treasured memory. I wonder if it was ever recorded.

  10. I suspect a lot of people might have a pet hate or two among the list of Hugo winners – and they may be able to work up more ire about their pet hates than they can for the eminently forgettable They’d Rather Be Right. Some Hugo winners provoke strong opinions… but They’d Rather Be Right isn’t really worth getting worked up about. IMHO.

  11. I dislike quite a few best novel Hugo winners (not to mention winners in other categories), but even with winners I dislike, I can usually tell why they won.

    However, no one seems to like They’d Rather Be Right and everybody seems to be baffled why it won, since there was much stronger competition out there that year.

    Okay, I’m kind of baffled why Fritz Leiber’s The Wanderer won in 1965, because it is a weak book (it’s not even the best Leiber of 1964, let alone one of the best ever, and soem excellent 1964 books didn’t even ), but I put it down to Leiber being a beloved author with a big fanbase. Clifton and Riley don’t even have that.

  12. Almaden’s Ron Leibman, who was in Slaughterhouse-Five and Zorro: The Gay Blade. He also did voice actor work for Fish Police, Duckman, and Archer.

  13. My favorite Hugo nominee for best novel has to be Donald Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite. Now I totally understand why it didn’t win (ahem, “people who eat people are the luckiest people”) but I thought it was a great book once you accepted his premises.

  14. One of my favorite Rene Auberjonois (and Robert Altman) films is 1972’s “Images” which is, imho, genre-adjacent. If memory serves, it was part of the film program at 1he first Kansas City Worldcon (Midamericon) in 1976, which is where I also saw the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the first time.

  15. Of those I’ve read of the Hugo Best Novel winners, those who baffle me most are The Gods Themselves and Foundation’s Edge. I can’t understand what people liked about them. On the other hand, I haven’t read the competition.

  16. @Hampus
    Re: The Gods Themselves is, IMO, one of the few cases where the middle of the book (from the aliens point of view) is the strongest section.

  17. Other Rene Auberjonois genre roles include the narrator who gradually transforms into a bird in Altman’s 1971 weirdoid contemporary fairytale “Brewster McCloud, while he’s played both sides of the street as a camp vampire in the teen comedy (and gay friendly parable) “My Best Friend’s a Vampire” (1987) and as the vampire hunter in the stage musical adaptation of Polanski’s “Dance of the Vampires”

  18. I highly recommend the film “I Am Big Bird”. I had the pleasure of seeing Caroll Spinney and his wife Debra at a screening in 2015, and Caroll brought Oscar along. He comes across in the film as the gentlest of souls. Many parts moved me to tears, including Jim Henson’s memorial service, and the reunion of Caroll and Debra with Lisa Ou, who had starred as a young girl in “Big Bird in China”.

  19. First Nog and now Odo. Deeps Space Nine just got a loot emptier 🙁

    I did really like Three-Body-Problem, but the second and the third book in the series where considerable weaker imho. The second hat a good conclusion after a long time of stuff that happend to simulate a passage of time, the third I actively disliked in all aspects and it suffered from the “A.I,”-syndrome of not knowing how to stop for at least a tonally fitting ending.
    Theyd rather be right was in early Hugo times, they havent found their stride yet. Most winners are all right, even if I would have chosen a different book (Anathem over the Graveyard book for example). I cant say there was a winner I hated (although Im not a big fan on Robinsons writing style, but thats personal taste).

    RE: Ghostbusters trailer: Just found this comment in my timeline, which perfectly sums up my feelings: “t’s like watching this very polished and almost solemn trailer in which a kid ominously opens an old closet and, as the music soars, he finds… Ferris Bueller’s old jacket. It’s very silly.”

  20. (2) A BORROWER AND A LENDER BE.

    The situation for audiobooks is much worse than for ebooks. Wait lists of 6 months are not uncommon, and there is much less selection.

    I’ve just started playing with library memberships. It certainly can save on audiobook bills, but it’s far from perfect — especially in areas with smaller library budgets and fewer libraries!

  21. (2) so, selfish people who won’t wait their turn are gaming the system and using non-local libraries that they don’t support with tax dollars/volunteering, thereby worsening service and lengthening wait times for the actual locals. Yeah, it might not technically be against the rules. Didn’t the Pups say something similar?

    The tragedy of the commons strikes again.

  22. Contrarius Says The situation for audiobooks is much worse than for ebooks. Wait lists of 6 months are not uncommon, and there is much less selection.

    I’ve just started playing with library memberships. It certainly can save on audiobook bills, but it’s far from perfect — especially in areas with smaller library budgets and fewer libraries!

    The overall costs of producing an audiobook run much higher than those of an ebook which are usually just a matter of formatting. Hiring an voice performer or a full cast, engineering, music and special effects if need be — all add up.

    And I’m guessing that the listening audience might be smaller still for a genre novel that the reading audience. Or require more resources to attract. Do the readers of Asher’s Polity series also listen to those novels? (An amazing experience by the way.) I get lots of Audible emails as a member but they rarely hit on something I’d listen to.

  23. @Hampus Eckerman: Looking at the 1983 voting breakdown, Foundation’s Edge‘s 36-vote margin over The Pride of Chanur came primarily from Clarke and Heinlein transfers. I obviously wasn’t there (seeing as how I wasn’t born yet) so am speculating but there seems to be a pretty big Golden Age-liking fan contingent that carried the voting.

    Martin

  24. “Miles Carter on December 9, 2019 at 9:54 am said:

    “(2) so, selfish people who won’t wait their turn are gaming the system and using non-local libraries that they don’t support with tax dollars/volunteering, thereby worsening service and lengthening wait times for the actual locals. Yeah, it might not technically be against the rules. ”

    Last I checked, you had to have proof of residency in San Francisco.

    I thought all the outrage over the delay of e-books by the publishers was over-done and that lots of people needed a reality check, but this is such self-obsessed nonsense. If I see something I’d like at the library, I put it on hold and move on. If you can’t wait, then just buy the damn thing. What would you do if your library wasn’t ever going to get it, anyway?

  25. Harold Osler, not everyone can afford to buy whatever they want. If you can then I’m happy for you.

  26. I buy a lot of e-books. I also check out a lot of ebooks (backlist mostly) from Kern County Library (where I live) and Los Angeles County Library (where I own property). LA County Library will give a library card to any state resident who can come to a physical branch. A number of CA libraries do this. This is a good use of my tax dollars!

  27. @Harold Osler, @Miles Carter–The problem is that libraries are not being allowed to buy and lend ebooks the way they do other formats, whether print or audio disk books. They pay more for ebooks, but have as much as a three month delay to receive them, can’t buy multiple copies when they’re most in demand, and are limited by licenses that pretend hardbound books just up and fall apart after 26 checkouts/checkins and treat ebooks “the same way” by requiring libraries to buy a new license if they want to continue to have the ebook available beyond that.

    Libraries obey these asshat, luddite restrictions because they have to, but if you think they respect the idiots who invent them, you’ve got another think coming.

    And yes, librarians knew all along that these restrictions would result in pardons who use ebooks to register with more libraries in order to have more access. Note that in order to get borrowing rights with a public library you do generally have to be a resident of the area that pays taxes to support it. I have cards in my own city and in the Boston Public Library. Most public libraries in Massachusetts get some state funding (there are standards they have to meet, which include participating in inter library loan), and BPL is explicitly funded to provide some services to the entire state. I could legally have cards in other communities, but I don’t. This isn’t a matter of “not technically against the rules”; it’s explicitly within the rules.

  28. @Miles —

    (2) so, selfish people who won’t wait their turn are gaming the system and using non-local libraries that they don’t support with tax dollars/volunteering, thereby worsening service and lengthening wait times for the actual locals.

    Not necessarily. Many libraries sell library memberships to non-residents. Some do it for in-state people who live in different counties, and some do it nationwide. It’s a great service for people whose local libraries are poor or even non-existent.

    @Cat —

    The overall costs of producing an audiobook run much higher than those of an ebook….And I’m guessing that the listening audience might be smaller still for a genre novel that the reading audience.

    Absolutely true on both counts. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying! 😉

  29. Harold Osler says I thought all the outrage over the delay of e-books by the publishers was over-done and that lots of people needed a reality check, but this is such self-obsessed nonsense. If I see something I’d like at the library, I put it on hold and move on. If you can’t wait, then just buy the damn thing. What would you do if your library wasn’t ever going to get it, anyway?

    One of my local City Librarians pointed out to me that there are a number of loan systems, both ePub and audiobook, each with a limitation on the number of copies available and each having a specific cost. She said several vendors had proven to be simply not doable due to the cost associated; others had too low a limit on the number of copies that could be loaned simultaneous.

    And she admitted they wanted a system that had a high limit on the popular books that they really didn’t want to purchase copies of , i.e. the stuff that crowds the best seller list for a year and then sits on the shelf.

    And what these digital services carry can be weird. I did a search for Heinlein one afternoon when they were allowing access to four systems s an experiment. None had more than a dozen of his books, mostly the so-called juves. Starship Troopers and The Rolling Stones popped up the most frequently.

  30. Contrarius says Absolutely true on both counts. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying! ?

    Not at all disagreeing. I will say as someone who listens to hundreds of hours of them each year that the quality of them, both the narrative aspect and the engineering, has impressively improved in he last several decades. I cringe when I listen to some of the older ones still in the digital archives here as the engineering particularly is quite bad.

    The companies producing them haven’t really figured out the economics of them yet. If you listen to a lot of them, Kindle Unlimited is your best bet as it includes Audible in it.

  31. @Rob Thornton–I think that at least part of the reason Courtship Rite didn’t win the Hugo is that it was up against books by some very big names. While most people aren’t voting for “favorite author who published a novel last year,” they do tend to vote for books they’ve actually read: a Heinlein fan would want to read the new Heinlein, an Asimov fan the new Foundation book, and Kingsbury didn’t have a fan base. ISTR that some people tried to nominate Kingsbury for Best New Writer, but that he was disqualified based on one or two short stories published years earlier.

  32. @Cat —

    The companies producing them happening really figured out he economics of them yet. If you listen to a lot of them, Kindle Unlimited is your best as it includes Audible in it.

    KU sometimes includes audiobooks, but not all that often — and they are rarely the “good” ones. I have gotten some occasionally, though — for instance, Mark Lawrence’s new time-travel books are on KU, and you can buy the audio versions for just $1.99 if you first borrow the ebook for free. That’s a great deal.

    I listen to more than 100 audiobooks every year. Economically, I think Scribd is probably the best bet for something that won’t make you wait for library holds, and it’s easy to avoid their throttling policies (you can pick any book you like for the first three books, but after that your choice is severely limited) by simply downloading a bunch of books to your phone and then turning off both wifi and cellular data to that specific app. As long as the app can’t talk to their servers, you can listen to as many books as you’ve already downloaded to the phone. I’ve done that for a couple of months, and the company doesn’t seem to care (meaning that they haven’t limited my membership in any way once I reconnect).

    Unfortunately, the Scribd website and app are both lousy, and they are really really annoying to use for multiple reasons.

    The Libby app, which works with Overdrive (for folks who don’t do the online-library-membership thing, this is the library portal for ebooks and audiobooks), is a wonderful app so far as I’m concerned. Very clear, clean, and convenient. I only wish that: 1. we didn’t have to worry about holds and return dates and so on; and 2. it could handle imports of audio files (for instance, that I could import my own files into Libby). I would love to use the Libby app for all my audio — big thumbs up from me to the app’s developers.

  33. @JJ:

    Liu said that one of his translators had removed or modified 1,000 instances of sexism in one of his books

    Fascinating — but not terribly surprising.

  34. I enjoyed The Three Body Problem but it is a book (and series) where its strengths and flaws are obvious. It’s not hard to see where the mixed reactions to it arise.

  35. @Camestros
    I described it as the prose clunked a little more than it needed to do. (I read it from the library, to decide if it was ballot-worthy.) Haven’t yet read the other two books, though if they also have footnotes I’d go for dead-tree format.

  36. P J Evans on December 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm said:

    @Camestros
    I described it as the prose clunked a little more than it needed to do. (I read it from the library, to decide if it was ballot-worthy.) Haven’t yet read the other two books, though if they also have footnotes I’d go for dead-tree format

    The middle one is the weakest.
    The third one is the wackiest.

  37. Nina says Meredith Moment: Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country is on sale for $1.99 at Amazon and possibly elsewhere.

    It is at Apple Books and Kobo. These are instigated by the publisher so they are across all the ebook sellers. They generally are short-lived so grab fast if you want that particular book.

  38. Contriarius says The Libby app, which works with Overdrive (for folks who don’t do the online-library-membership thing, this is the library portal for ebooks and audiobooks), is a wonderful app so far as I’m concerned. Very clear, clean, and convenient. I only wish that: 1. we didn’t have to worry about holds and return dates and so on; and 2. it could handle imports of audio files (for instance, that I could import my own files into Libby). I would love to use the Libby app for all my audio — big thumbs up from me to the app’s developers.

    Let’s be clear about one thing. Overdrive is only one of a number of Library portal services being offered out there. Another one is the 3M Cloud Library which I like a lot.

    Each offers up a different menu of books and audiobooks charging a library a different fee structure for accessing their holdings depending, well, that’s where it gets almost Cthulian in complexity. And the Librarian I noted earlier says that some of the older SF carries a higher per lending copy price tag because a certain publisher changes more than really is warranted in her opinion. Hence the lack of certain titles. It’s cheaper, she said, just to keep fresh hardcovers in stock than have ePub access for them.

  39. @Cat —

    Let’s be clear about one thing. Overdrive is only one of a number of Library portal services being offered out there. Another one is the 3M Cloud Library which I like a lot.

    Right. I should say something like “Overdrive is a widely used portal, and it’s the one used by the libraries I’m familiar with.”

  40. @Hampus Eckerman

    Of those I’ve read of the Hugo Best Novel winners, those who baffle me most are The Gods Themselves and Foundation’s Edge. I can’t understand what people liked about them. On the other hand, I haven’t read the competition.

    The Gods Themselves and Foundation’s Edge are both weak. I suspect they won a Hugo because they were written by Isaac Asimov who was considered one of the big three SF writers at the time, but had never won a best novel Hugo, though the Foundation trilogy did win the one-of best series award. Furthermore, Fundation’s Edge kicked off the long awaited continuation of the Foundation trilogy, so fans may have been more enthusiastic about the book than it deserved. Though Foundation’s Edge is at least better than Foundation and Earth, which is pretty dreadful.

    For 1973, Dying Inside would have been a better choice than The Gods Themselves IMO. I haven’t read any of the other finalists. For 1983, The Pride of Chanur, Courtship Rite and Sword of the Lictor would all have been stronger choices, but Friday would have been worse. I can’t comment on 2010, since I’ve only seen the movie.

  41. Though Foundation’s Edge is at least better than Foundation and Earth, which is pretty dreadful.

    I enjoyed Foundation’s Edge (I didn’t vote for it – I didn’t vote for the Hugos that year), but Foundation and Earth turned me off so much that retroactively I realized the faults of Foundation’s Edge!

  42. Contraisius notes that Right. I should say something like “Overdrive is a widely used portal, and it’s the one used by the libraries I’m familiar with.”

    Yeah, I’ve heard of, and have a list currently of, 3M Cloud Library, OverDrive, Hoopla Digital, Flipster, BorrowBox, RBdigital, BiblioBoard Library. And I know Von Holtzbrink is developing one now. And of course there ones for audiobooks as well.

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