Pixel Scroll 3/11/21 Pixels Are Reactionaries, And The Scrolls Are Missionaries

(1) IT’S TIME. Kristian Macaron analyzes “Why I Love Time Travel Stories” on From the Earth to the Stars, the Asimov’s SF blog.

Time travel is never only about the science, rather, the impossibilities.

The science and whimsy of time travel are infinite, complex, and lovely, but I love time travel stories because the quest of traversing Time can explore how possibilities and probabilities shape the person we are in the Present, the person we become in the Future. Fate is more fluid than it would like us to believe.

There are three reasons I love time travel stories. First, it’s a form of storytelling that transcends genre; next, the rules of the time machine or loop are creative and crucial; finally, no matter the plot, Time as a player forces the character to confront the infinity of their impact….

(2) CUTTING OFF CIRCULATION. Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler protests “Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too”.

Mindy Kaling has gone missing from the library.

I was looking forward to reading the comedian’s new story collection, “Nothing Like I Imagined.” So I typed Kaling’s name into the Libby app used by my public library to loan e-books. But “The Office” star’s latest was nowhere to be found.

What gives? In 2020, Kaling switched to a new publisher: Amazon. Turns out, the tech giant has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own.

Many Americans now recognize that a few tech companies increasingly dominate our lives. But it’s sometimes hard to put your finger on exactly why that’s a problem. The case of the vanishing e-books shows how tech monopolies hurt us not just as consumers, but as citizens….

(3) BUTLER’S AND OTHERS’ LITERARY ESTATES. The Writers’ Room on NPR discusses “The State Of Literary Estates” with panelists Merrilee Heifetz, literary executor, the Octavia Butler Estate, and former agent for Octavia Butler; Blake Hazard, trustee, F. Scott Fitzgerald Estate and Zelda Fitzgerald Estate; great-granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald; and Miranda Doyle, intellectual freedom chair, Oregon Association of School Libraries; district librarian, Lake Oswego School District.

Much has been made recently of the literary estate of Dr. Seuss choosing to discontinue printing several of his books due to racist imagery and stereotyping in several titles.

Some right-wing news outlets have decried the decision as an example of cancel culture, despite the estate making the decision independently. Seuss’ story isn’t particularly novel, either. Roald Dahl’s books for children have also been criticized for racist language and the author’s anti-Semitism. At the end of 2020, the Dahl family released a statement in which they apologized for “lasting and understandable hurt” caused by his anti-Semitic comments.

Many online and in the news are continuing to discuss the best way to handle problematic content in significant pieces of art from the past. But others are asking fundamental questions: What’s the purpose of a literary estate? And what’s their role in managing the legacy of an artist or author?

(4) CHINA THEME ISSUE. The British Science Fiction Association’s Vector 293 (Spring 2021) is devoted to the theme of Chinese SF, and is produced in collaboration with guest editors Yen Ooi and Regina Kanyu Wang. “Yen Ooi introduces the issue as well as many of its recurring concepts, such as techno-orientalism. Regina Kanyu Wang takes us through the history of women writing SF in China….” And much more.

One item from the issue is available online: “Chen Qiufan: Why did I Write a Science Fiction Novel about E-waste?” a transcription of a public talk given by the author in 2019.  

 …Many people have asked me why I wrote a science fiction novel instead of discussing the issue of environmental pollution in a documentary literature, if I wanted to talk about it. But for me, science fiction has a metaphorical role that cannot be found elsewhere. It can transcend the limits of the “present” and incorporate literary symbols that are applicable to all cultures in all countries concerning the imagination of the future. Thus, in science fiction, environmental issues can be generalised to a broader social context, and readers are more willing to consider how their personal actions can affect our environment, or the work and lives of garbage workers they have never met….

(5) SPEAKS VOLUMES. Elizabeth Knox’s “Metaliterary Worlds: On Fictional Books Within Books” includes a paragraph about Clifford D. Simak’s Time and Again. The post begins:

I set out to remind myself about fictional books within books and, researching, discovered how much has been said already about the cursed and forbidden ones. The characters of my novel, The Absolute Book, think about some of these in the course of the story—Lovecraft’s Necronomicon or, in Robert Chambers’ short story collection The King in Yellow, the eponymous play said to drive all who encounter it insane. I wanted to suggest that the Firestarter of The Absolute Book—an ancient scroll box which has survived so many library fires that scholars have begun to imagine it starts them—is cursed in some way. I also wanted to suggest the possibility that the Firestarter might in fact be blessed and revelatory….

(6) GRRM, DEVELOPMENT HELLION. George R.R. Martin has what seems like a pretty exhaustive list of all of his current media projects in his most recent post in “Coming…Eventually…Maybe” at Not A Blog. (This excerpt covers only part of them.)

…I am not quite sure why all these stories seem to be breaking now.   The SANDKINGS project has been underway for more than a year (Covid obviously shut things down) and IN THE LOST LANDS for something like six years.   We also have an animated feature of THE ICE DRAGON in development at Warner’s (as it happens I wrote “Sandkings” and “The Ice Dragon” within a couple weeks of each other, during a Christmas break from my job teaching college in Dubuque, Iowa — that was a good break).

And that’s just in the feature sphere.   In television, as seen here, I am working with Kalinda Vazquez on a pilot for Roger Zelazny’s ROADMARKS, and I am part of the terrific team that is trying to bring Nnedi Okorafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH to series on HBO…. 

(7) BAILIE OBIT. South African-born character actor David Bailie died March 5 at the age of 83. On TV he played “Dask” in the 1977 Doctor Who serial The Robots of Death, and also appeared in Blake’s 7. In movies, he played the mute pirate Cotton in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. His other film credits include The Creeping Flesh (with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing), Son Of Dracula (1973), Legend Of The Werewolf (also with Cushing), The Beyond (2017), The House That Jack Built and In The Trap. Bailie reprised his Doctor Who role as Dask in the Kaldor City audio drama series, and he was in Big Finish Productions audio dramas playing the “Celestial Toymaker”. Bailie also was a professional photographer, specializing in portrait photography. 

(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.

The New York Times article “A Model and Her Norman Rockwell Meet Again” focuses on how the artist often used people in his town as models. For most of them it was their main claim to fame, with one exception —  

…The people he painted were real, though. Like Sorenson in “Bright Future,” many lived in or near Stockbridge. William J. Obanhein, the police chief in Stockbridge, posed for Rockwell several times (though he was better known as “Officer Obie” in Arlo Guthrie’s Vietnam-era ballad “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” because he had arrested Guthrie for littering)….

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • March 11, 1971 — On this day in 1971, THX 1138 premiered. It was the first feature film from George Lucas. It was produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch. It starred Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasence. A novelization by Ben Bova was published. The film was not a box office success though critics generally loved it and it developed a cult following after Star Wars released, and it holds a ninety percent rating among the audience at Rotten Tomatoes. (CE)

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born March 11, 1921 F. M. Busby. Together with his wife and others he published a fan magazine named Cry of the Nameless which won the Hugo award in 1960. Heinlein was a great fan of him and his wife with The Cat Who Walks Through Walls in part dedicated to Busby and Friday in part dedicated to his wife Elinor.  He was a very busy writer from the early Seventies to the late Nineties writing some nineteen published novels and myriad short stories before he blamed the Thor Power Tools decision for forcing his retirement which is odd as he published a number of novels after that decision came into effect. (Died 2005.) (CE)
  • Born March 11, 1952 Douglas Adams. I’ve have read the book and listened to the full cast production the BBC did of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but have absolutely no desire to see the film. Wait wasn’t there a TV series as well? Yes there was. Shudder! The Dirk Gently series is, errr, odd and escapes my understanding its charms. He and Mark Carwardine also wrote the most excellent Last Chance to See. It’s more silly than it sounds. (Died 2001.) (CE) 
  • Born March 11, 1963 Alex Kingston, 58. River Song in Doctor Who. She’s in a number of different stories with a number of different Doctors and was the eventual wife of the Eleventh Doctor. She was in Ghost Phone: Phone Calls from the Dead, as Sheila, and she was Lady Macbeth in the National Theatre Live of Macbeth. Oh, and she’s in the Arrowverse as Dinah Lance, in FlashForward as Fiona Banks, and recently shows up as Sara Bishop on A Discovery of Witches, a series based off the Deborah Harkness novel of the same name. Great series, All Souls Trilogy, by the way. She’s been continuing her River Song character over at Big Finish. (CE)
  • Born March 11, 1967 John  Barrowman, 54. Best genre role without doubt is as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood.  He reprised the role for Big Finish audiobooks and there’s one that I highly recommend which is the full cast Golden Age production with all the original cast. You’ll find a link to my review here. I see he’s been busy in the Arrowverse playing three different characters in the form of Malcolm Merlyn / Dark Archer / Ra’s al Ghul.  He’s also had a long history in theatre, so he’s been in Beauty and the Beast as The Beast / The Prince, Jack and The Bean Stalk as Jack,  Aladdin as, well, Aladdin and Cinderella as, errrr, Buttons. (CE) 
  • Born March 11, 1989 Anton Yelchin. Best known for playing played Pavel Chekov in Star TrekStar Trek Into Darkness and  Star Trek Beyond. He also was in Terminator Salvation as Kyle Reese, in the Zombie comedy Burying the Ex as Max and voiced Clumsy Smurf in a series of Smurf films. Really he did. (Died 2016.) (CE)
  • Born March 11, 1914 – Francis Towner Laney.  Active fan in the late 1940s, he left telling us all why in Ah! Sweet Idiocy! (1948).  He answered FIAWOL (“Fandom is a way of life”) with FIJAGH  (“Fandom is just a [gosh-darned] hobby”); we took things too seriously, he took 130 pages to say; we were a lot of fuggheads, a term he coined, cuttingly, disputably, memorably.  (Died 1958) [JH]
  • Born March 11, 1925 – Christopher Anvil.  Twoscore stories about the Federation of Humanity; another dozen about Pandora’s Planet; another nine about War with the Outs; fourscore others; half a dozen collections; two novels; comical, daredevilish, moving.  (Died 2009) [JH]
  • Born March 11, 1953 – Judith Silverthorne, age 68.  Six novels for us; nonfiction e.g. Ingrained about pioneer Saskatchewan woodworkers 1870-1930.  Two Moonbeam Awards.  [JH]
  • Born March 11, 1964 – Libba Bray, age 57.  Nine novels, half a dozen shorter stories.  A Great and Terrible Beauty NY Times Best-Seller.  Printz Award for Going Bovine.  [JH]
  • Born March 11, 1970 – Nicole Murphy, age 51.  Seven novels, two anthologies, 15 shorter stories.  Wrote up Artist Guest of Honour Shaun Tan for the Aussiecon 4 Programme Book (68th Worldcon).  Chaired Conflux 4, co-chaired 9.  [JH]
  • Born March 11, 1971 – Jonas Karlsson, age 50.  Actor (Guldbagge Award) and author; three novels so far available in English.  Born in Salem, the one in Stockholm County, Sweden, not the one in Essex County, Massachusetts.  Played Mats, which Swedish-speakers do not rhyme with “Do cats eat bats?”, in Bang Bang Orangutang, a Swedish film which is not SF but who couldn’t love the title? which rhymes in Swedish too.  [JH]

(11) SUING FOR SUPER NON-SUPPORT. Joe George is “Ranking the Live-Action Members of Superman’s Supporting Cast” for Tor.com. Did you ever wonder who is the worst Lex Luthor? Here’s George’s candidate:

9. Jesse Eisenberg (DCEU) — Okay, I’m going to lose some of you right away, so let’s get this over with. I dislike all of Zack Snyder’s movies, especially those with Superman in them. But the worst part of his very bad Superman movies is, without question, Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Lex Luthor. There’s potential here to update Lex from an early 20th-century mad scientist to a 21st-century villain like Mark Zuckerberg. But Eisenberg’s jittery, manic take is all irritating style and no substance, coming off as the perfect embodiment of the phrase “a dumb person’s idea of a smart person.”

(12) THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS. Mental Floss says these are “14 Things You Might Not Know About ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’”.

3. BEFORE CRITICIZING PROPAGANDA IN NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, GEORGE ORWELL WORKED AS A PROPAGANDIST.

During World War II, Orwell worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation. His role with the BBC Empire Service involved creating and supervising programming that the nation would feed to Indian networks to encourage a pro-Allies sentiment and spark volunteering.

4. GEORGE ORWELL MODELED ROOM 101 AFTER AN OFFICE AT THE BBC.

Nineteen Eighty-Four’s most horrifying setting is Room 101, the Ministry of Love’s torture chamber in which victims are exposed to their worst nightmares. What readers might not know is that Orwell modeled the chilling locale on an actual room.

As a propagandist, Orwell knew that much of what the BBC said had to be approved by the Ministry of Information, possibly in the BBC’s Room 101. He probably drew the name of his nightmare room from there. Curious about what the dreadful room looked like? The room has since been demolished, but in 2003 artist Rachel Whiteread created a plaster cast of the room.

(13) URB BLURB. Science News reviews Annalee Newitz’ nonfiction book Four Lost Cities: “A tour of ‘Four Lost Cities’ reveals modern ties to ancient people”.

… The section on Cahokia (A.D. 1050 to 1350) — located in what is now Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis — offers an unexpected reason for a city’s emergence. Many people link cities with capitalism and trade. Cahokia’s 30-meter-tall pyramids, 20-hectare plazas and a population (at the time) bigger than Paris suggest that spiritual revival can also build a major metropolis. Cahokia and Angkor, which reached its peak from A.D. 800 to 1431 in what is now Cambodia, also show how cities can form when power gets concentrated in a few influential people. 

Through touring such diverse cities, Newitz shows that the move to urban life isn’t just a setup for a hero of a story. It’s a common setup for many ancient cultures….

(14) E.T. PHONE ROME. In “Extraterrestrials in the Catholic Imagination”, John C. Wright points out he is one of three sff authors who contributed to Cambridge Scholars Publishing’s essay collection Extraterrestrials in the Catholic Imagination: Explorations in Science, Science Fiction and Religion:

Included:

Sciopods, Blemyae, and the Green Children of Woolpit: “Aliens” in the Catholic Imagination, Premodern Era
Michael F. Flynn

What Has Outer Space to Do with Christ?
John C. Wright

Catholic Questions in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Tim Powers

I was honored to be asked to pen an essay titled “What Has Outer Space To Do with Christ?” for this volume. The burning question of whether soulless and dispassionate Vulcans can be baptized is not necessarily addressed, but questions of like magnitude are.

However, as is only to be expected, Mike Flynn’s essay on Sciopods and Blemyae is the more interesting. It is the first I ever heard about the Green Children of Woolpit — and if you have not heard these names before, prepare to be fascinated.

(15) FAIR HEARING. A reconstructed Neanderthal ear adds a new piece to the puzzle of whether the early humans could speak. “Neanderthals Listened to the World Much Like Us” in the New York Times.

…In the new study, the researchers used high-resolution CT scans of ear structures in five Neanderthals, 10 modern Homo sapiens and nine early hominids from Sima de los Huesos, an archaeological site in what is now Spain, who lived before Neanderthals.

The team created 3-D models of these ear structures and ran the measurements through a software model to calculate the sound power transmission, which describes the way sound energy moves from the environment into the ear canal and winds its way toward the cochlea — essentially how much of the sound energy ultimately makes it to your inner ear.

The researchers used this metric to calculate the occupied bandwidth, which reflects the range of frequencies in which at least 90 percent of the sound power reaches the inner ear — the “sweet spot” of hearing, according to Dr. Quam. This sweet spot is the range we hear best in, where our ears are most tuned to sound.

The study found the Neanderthal ear’s sweet spot extended toward frequencies of 3 to 5 kHz, which are specifically dedicated to consonant production. The researchers believe this optimization toward consonants could be a key sign that Neanderthals had verbal language.

“The use of consonants distinguishes human language from mammalian communication, which is almost completely vowels,” Dr. Quam said. “Like grunts, howls, shrieks.”

In fact, the study found Neanderthals’ sweet spot was the same as modern human hearing, whereas the early hominids from Sima de los Huesos had a hearing range somewhere between chimpanzees and modern humans….

(16) WHO WAS THAT MASKED MAN? Here’s a show I knew would produce a Scroll item sooner or later. And the promise was fulfilled by the opening episode of its fifth season: “First reveal of ‘The Masked Singer’ Season 5 is ‘most famous guest ever’”.

This Wednesday, when guest host Niecy Nash removed the Snail’s stovepipe chapeau and Kermit’s adorable little green noggin popped out of a foxhole in the costume’s back, viewers were united in their excitement and delight over this meta, puppet-within-a-puppet, Russian-doll-like moment. (There was a pair of decidedly less adorable actual Russian Dolls who also performed on Wednesday’s premiere, but I’ll get to them later.) Judge Ken Jeong even declared Kermit the “most famous guest ever” to compete on the show, and — sorry Lil Wayne, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Tony Hawk, et al — Ken wasn’t wrong. Kermit is an icon… and, as it turns out, he’s not a bad Daryl Hall impressionist either.

Sadly, while Kermit the Snail gave a charming and not-at-all-sluggish performance, as he told Niecy: “It’s not easy being green, but sometimes it’s even harder being a snail!”…

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Rich Lynch.] “Right Up Our Alley” — not exactly genre, but it caught the attention of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. The video footage is not CGI.

[Thanks to Dan B., Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, PJ Evans, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Rich Lynch, John Hertz, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/11/21 Pixels Are Reactionaries, And The Scrolls Are Missionaries

  1. You have the eyes of an eagle. If I’d seen that, I’d have written the first comment myself!

  2. (10) Busby wrote a few stories for Asimov’s in the 1980s which I enjoyed very much. Also I likes his fixup novel All these Earths

    (14) I agree the Green children are fascinating.

  3. (14)
    Analog had an article about the Green Children. Can’t remember the title, and it was back quite a while. There was speculation in the article about where they were from, since they were unfamiliar with local foods, and weren’t permanently green.

  4. Mike Glyer says You have the eyes of an eagle. If I’d seen that, I’d have written the first comment myself!

    Thanks. It’s also another reference to Kage’s Company series as Ghirardelli chocolate was the favored chocolate of her cyborgs. It got them drunk faster than any other high-end chocolate did.

  5. My students and I discussed sciapods in Fall 2019 when I had them read The Vinland Sagas as part of my Medieval Journeys class. Has anyone used them in SF/fantasy besides C. S. Lewis (they were the Dufflepuds in Voyage of the Dawn Treader).

    Pixels and Scrolls, Filing Together …Mass Hysteria!

  6. 17) I actually live relatively close to the Bryant-Lake Bowl, but that’s the first time I’ve seen the inside of it.

  7. (9) Much to Bova’s dismay, the Paperback Library publication of his novelization of THX 1138 omitted the last page of his manuscript. IIRC, his plans to rectify this by either having the last page published somewhere, or by mailing a copy of it to everyone who asked for one, were thwarted because he didn’t own the copyright.

  8. 2) Yup. And we’ve all been complaining about this for years. Maybe if enough people write about it someone will actually do something.

  9. 10) Another Hitchhiker’s adaptation was a (notoriously sadistic) Infocom text adventure.

    10bis) Per someone on Twitter, it’s also Leslie Fish’ birthday.

  10. 17) yeah, I’ve never been inside, but that video was a bit nauseating (motion sickness) but still very cool all the same

  11. 10) I thought the TV series was pretty good, actually. Not as good as the radio series, and done on the cheap in typical BBC fashion, but it had most of the original cast and plot. I remember being initially disappointed though – and this very rarely happens for me – that the cast looked nothing like how I’d pictured them. The movie, on the other hand, is just not very good.

  12. 10) I also like the BBC Hitchhiker’s series quite a bit. As for Dirk Gently, I admit I haven’t read the books. I’ve watched some of both TV adaptations; the more recent one in particular was … weird.

  13. Meredith moment: Snake Agent, the first in the series involving Singapore Three DI Wei Chen by Liz Williams, is available from the usual digital suspects for a buck ninety nine.

  14. Jeff Smith says Much to Bova’s dismay, the Paperback Library publication of his novelization of THX 1138 omitted the last page of his manuscript. IIRC, his plans to rectify this by either having the last page published somewhere, or by mailing a copy of it to everyone who asked for one, were thwarted because he didn’t own the copyright.

    So why was the last page omitted? Was it a deliberate decision? Or an inadvertent error by the publisher?

  15. 10) I thought the TV series was pretty good, actually.

    And the Vogon guard who throws Ford and Arthur off the ship was played by Mike Cule who I Iast saw at the Dublin worldcon.

  16. If an extra-terrestrial species ever makes contact with Earth, the collective excitement of humankind will still be lower than the hosts of the Masked shows during an unmasking.

  17. 2) This is why, as an independent author, I don’t do Kindle Select. Yes, I put my books on Amazon because I’d be stupid not to do that. But they also go up on Draft2Digital, where people can buy my works through Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc and…libraries can buy them as well. Besides not selling well in Kindle Select (yes, I’ve tried it, my primary sales seem to be through BN–I really wish more people would buy through Kobo and Apple because being limited to a single site is worrisome), I’ve had a philosophical issue about only being available on one vendor.

    Just another reason not to buy into all the hype about the so-called joys of Kindle Unlimited, in my opinion. I’ve been frustrated by what I can and can’t get on Libby and now understand why. It’s annoying, frustrating (especially since I want some books for research) and makes me even more determined to make sure that I’m publishing wide rather than just to Kindle.

  18. 2) The article also mentions that Amazon blocks self-published authors from selling to libraries. Did anyone here publish through Amazon’s KDP? If so, does Amazon actually have such authority? I was under the impression that self-published authors are fully in control over the distribution of their work.

    14) I came across the Green Children when I read William’s of Newburgh historical work. I was interested in the period of Anarchy, of which he’s one of the primary sources. I found his mentions of revenants in England to be even more fascinating than the Green Children.

  19. the collective excitement of humankind will still be lower than the hosts of the Masked shows during an unmasking.

    But what if the two events are one and the same?

    (In 2378, of course, we know they were.)

  20. @Bruncvik. Self published authors have the option of signing a kindle exclusive contract- this gets them included in Kindle Unlimited and better promotions on Amazon but blocks them for selling elsewhere including to libraries. Authors can change their minds and opt out pretty much anytime so I suppose those who stay in see some benefit.

  21. @bookworm1398: Thank you for the explanation. So, I guess, in this specific case the responsibility lies with the authors. I don’t blame them – they know what’s best for them – but I can’t blame Amazon, either.

  22. @bookworm1398–Did you read the article, or just the excerpt?

    The article isn’t about Amazon’s self-publishing platform, in which, yes, self-pubbers who want to can keep their books accessible on other sites as well.

    It’s about Amazon as a publisher, under names including Lake Union, Thomas & Mercer and Audible. When Amazon is the publisher (which, to be clear, for Audible titles, they aren’t always; just a growing percentage of their Audible titles), they do not sell to libraries. Do. Not. And the author has no way to change that. They either agree to be published by one of Amazon’s house brands, or they do not. If they do, their ebook or audiobook will not be in libraries. This may be the best deal for the author in the short term. It’s a bad deal for libraries and readers–and in the longer term it’s not that great for authors, or publishers actually primarily in the publishing business, because it’s harder for readers to discover someone new, or new to them, and decide they MUST HAVE their next book.

    Which is how new book buyers are made.

  23. @Lis Carey: The article explicitly mentions self-published works under KDP:

    “And it’s not just about bestsellers: Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the self-publishing business that’s open to anyone, produces many books about local history, personalities and communities that libraries have historically sought out.”
    [. . .]
    “Amazon announced in December it is in negotiations to sell e-books to a small nonprofit called the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which makes tech for other libraries. But those negotiations don’t include Audible audiobooks and Amazon’s trove of self-published books.”

  24. Those self-publishing through Amazon can avoid being exclusive on Amazon, though, even if Amazon does a lot to encourage them to be, and may continue to make it harder to avoid. They can be sold through other outlets that do sell to libraries, though they won’t necessarily be.

    Anything actually published by Amazon, under one of its own imprints, will not be sold, as ebooks or audiobooks, to libraries, full stop, end of discussion. And that’s the main point of the article.

    Which limits what libraries and readers have access to, hurts readers, hurts libraries, and in the longer run, hurts the writers.

    It also risks some harm to the market for books, in the long run, but I suspect Amazon would say, “so what?”

  25. Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android is enough reason to see the Hitchhiker’s feature film–once, anyway.

  26. @Cat, re the missing last page of the novelization of THX1138:

    So why was the last page omitted? Was it a deliberate decision? Or an inadvertent error by the publisher?

    Purely accidental.

  27. @ Lis Carey. I was only answering Bruncvik specific question not trying to address the article as a whole.
    More generally, I don’t like Amazon’s stance on this. And I think it hurts their authors as well as the public, making it harder for them to be found by people. I suspect it will backfire on them in the long run

  28. I was more interested in Extraterrestrials in the Catholic Imagination before I knew Wright was in it. I’m impressed by the quality of neither his thoughts nor his expression.

  29. As with Joyce, my self-published books are not exclusive to Amazon, because s significant part of my sales has always come from other vendors (Kobo and DriveThruFiction are the biggest non-Amazon vendors for me, followed by B&N, Apple, Smashwords and Tolino). My books are available to libraries via platforms like Overdrive, Bibliotheca, Hoopla, Baker-Taylor, etc… I don’t get a lot of library sales, but I do get some on occasion.

    Meanwhile, books published via the various Amazon Publishing imprints (47 North, Thomas and Mercer, Montlake, Lake Union, Audible Originals, Amazon Crossing, etc…) are ONLY available at Amazon. You can’t purchase them at B&N or Kobo or order them in a bookstore. Until this article, I didn’t know that Amazon Publishing doesn’t sell to libraries either. I find it rather shortsighted, but I’m not surprised either.

    As far as I’ve heard, Amazon Publishing’s terms are pretty good for authors. However, due to the exclusivity requirement, authors lose out on a lot of sales they might have made otherwise, because their books are not available at other online vendors, in bookstores and libraries.

    I know a US romance author who signed a contract with Amazon Publishing to publish her book in German. She was thrilled because her book was available in a different language and she did not have to pay for the translation and she was an Amazon bestseller in Germany. I did not tell her that Amazon’s marketshare in Germany isn’t all that big, that she is losing out on all of those tolino and physical bookstore sales and that her book might well have been in supermarket spinner racks, because it was that sort of highly commercial romance/women’s fiction. With another German publisher, provided one would have agreed to translate and publish the book, she would almost certainly have done better.

    Also, I find that at least the books published by Amazon’s SFF imprint 47 North leave little cultural impact. I rarely see them reviewed and discussed and they don’t pop up on awards shortlists either. The 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List includes only one 47 North book, Bridge 108 by Anne Charnock. Anne Charnock’s Clarke Award winner a few years back was also published by 47 North, as was Meg Ellison’s Book of the Unnamed Midwife, which won the PKD Award. The only Hugo finalist published by 47 North was the Marko Kloss novel that was slated onto the ballot in 2015, before Kloos withdrew.

  30. @CoraBuhlert observed: Also, I find that at least the books published by Amazon’s SFF imprint 47 North leave little cultural impact.

    47 North is notoriously bad at marketing, by all accounts. I’ve had a number of friends get bitten by this – which is a shame, because they do publish some decent and (IMO) interesting stuff sometimes.

    I hadn’t been aware of what Amazon was doing to libraries, and it’s a decent reason to leave KU, imo. Not supporting libraries is…just shitty and shortsighted and makes me grind my teeth at the thought one wouldn’t support something that is so clearly a public good.

  31. Much to Bova’s dismay, the Paperback Library publication of his novelization of THX 1138 omitted the last page of his manuscript.

    That’s definitely the case. Since I hadn’t had a chance to see the film yet when I bought that book, I was very confused by the ending of the book,.

  32. (10)….Born March 11, 1914 – Francis Towner Laney…(Died 1958)

    Harry Warner, in All Our Yesterdays, wrote that Bob Tucker insisted that he had seen Laney after the date of his announced death, thus the suggestion that Laney may have faked it to either escape fandom forever or simply set up a hoax that he would have the choice to perhaps return from. And Sharon McCrumb’s Zombies of the Gene Pool’s Laneyesque character indicated that she may have heard this rumor as well. Does anyone have any more info on when and where Tucker’s supposed sighting may have been? Where there any other I’ve seen claims elsewhere that other fans saw his actual death certificate.

  33. I just rewatched THX 1138 tonight and I won’t say I’m not confused by the ending.

  34. Censorship in File 770? I Googled “Fandom is just a [gosh-darned] hobby” and the only thing that came up is the File 770 post. The correct phrase is, “Fandom is just a Goddamned Hobby.”

    Unless it was John Hertz, being Cute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.