Pixel Scroll 10/31/17 Here’s Harry Mudd In Your AI

(1) HALLOWEEN VIGIL. John King Tarpinian commemorated his annual Halloween visit to Ray Bradbury’s gravesite with this photo.

(2) THE MOST GHOSTS. Halloween is a good day to be publicizing books newly available for sale from Richard Dalby’s Library.

One of the largest collections of rare and antiquarian supernatural and ghost books. If you’re looking for something special, unique and rare we might just have the book for you.

Richard Dalby was an editor and literary researcher noted for his anthologies of ghost stories. He was also an avid book collector and scholar. He sadly died in April 2017.

Read more about Richard Dalby in this article written by Brian Showers of Swan River Press, “Remembering Richard Dalby”:

 I first met Richard in Brighton at the World Horror Convention on 27 March 2010. Thinking back now, we certainly must have corresponded before 2010 as conversation was immediately familiar and friendly. I don’t think I’d ever seen a photograph of Richard prior to meeting him in Brighton, so was struck by his boyish appearance. It conflicted with the fact that his publication history goes right the way back. Jesus, how old was this guy? Not that old at all as it turned out.

But Richard wasn’t just boyish in appearance; he had something of that youthful manner about him too. Maybe curiosity is a better word for it. He was inquisitive. After brief salutations and nice-to-finally-meet-yous, Richard immediately launched into questions. I’d been working on Stoker a lot in those days, and he wanted to know what I knew about “X” edition, or if I had ever been able to track down the exact publication date of “Y”. Of course I hadn’t. Sure, I know more than the average person does about Stoker, but Richard’s knowledge far exceeded mine and by no small amount. And yet he asked me questions anyway because that’s how Richard seemed to work. He probed, asked questions, compiled, collected, and collated. I think that’s one of the key qualities Richard possessed that made him such a good researcher, bibliographer, and anthologist.

(3) MIND MELD. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has assembled a “Mind Meld” for the holiday: “Mind Meld: Monster Mayhem—Vampires and Everything Else”. The question is:

What are your favorite books or stories featuring vampires or anything uncategorizable?

And the panelists are: Gareth L. Powell, Stina Leicht, Zachary Jernigan, Jason Sizemore, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jennifer Brozek, Christopher Golden, T. Frohock, Rachel Swirsky, Jason Arnopp, Dr Gillian Polack, Jeffrey Ford, Paul Cornell, Paul Jessup, Lara Elena Donnelly, Kristine Smith, Carrie Cuinn, Beth Cato, Brea Grant and Mallory O’Meara, Jaym Gates, Gail Z. Martin, Tracy Fahey, Jaime Lee Moyer, and Tracy Townsend.

(4) LOUD OUT THERE.  Who says they can’t hear screaming in space? Mike Chua of MikeShouts says “NASA’s Playlist Of Sounds From Space Is Apt For Sci-Fi-themed Halloween Party”.

Are you going to have a sci-fi-themed Halloween party? Well, if so, you will want these spooky sounds recorded in space by NASA as your soundtrack. Like, seriously. Be warned though, these sounds are really, really spooky. The level of spookiness cannot be overstated. I have listened to all the tracks in the playlist and all I can say that they sound more paranormal than space-ish. Aptly entitled Spooky Sounds from Across the Space, the playlist on Soundcloud includes 22 tracks pulled from NASA’s archive of sounds recorded in outer space by the various probes and orbiters, and therefore do not expect sweet, varying mood, orchestrated music from Contact.

(5) COSTUME OF THE DAY. Never thought of that wordplay before —

(6) THE FIRST ONE IS FREE. YouTube Red is airing Lifeline, produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Seven Bucks Digital Studios and Studio 71.

The series stars Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and Sydney Park (The Walking Dead), and tells the story of a life insurance company that sends its agents into the future to prevent the accidental deaths of its clients.


(7) A VISIT TO THE REAL WORLD. Maggie Stiefvater: “I’ve decided to tell you guys a story about piracy”. Piracy not only costs sales, it kills series.

…There was another new phenomenon with Blue Lily, Lily Blue, too — one that started before it was published. Like many novels, it was available to early reviewers and booksellers in advanced form (ARCs: advanced reader copies). Traditionally these have been cheaply printed paperback versions of the book. Recently, e-ARCs have become common, available on locked sites from publishers.

BLLB’s e-arc escaped the site, made it to the internet, and began circulating busily among fans long before the book had even hit shelves. Piracy is a thing authors have been told to live with, it’s not hurting you, it’s like the mites in your pillow, and so I didn’t think too hard about it until I got that royalty statement with BLLB’s e-sales cut in half.

Strange, I thought. Particularly as it seemed on the internet and at my booming real-life book tours that interest in the Raven Cycle in general was growing, not shrinking. Meanwhile, floating about in the forums and on Tumblr as a creator, it was not difficult to see fans sharing the pdfs of the books back and forth. For awhile, I paid for a service that went through piracy sites and took down illegal pdfs, but it was pointless. There were too many. And as long as even one was left up, that was all that was needed for sharing.

I asked my publisher to make sure there were no e-ARCs available of book four, the Raven King, explaining that I felt piracy was a real issue with this series in a way it hadn’t been for any of my others. They replied with the old adage that piracy didn’t really do anything, but yes, they’d make sure there was no e-ARCs if that made me happy.

Then they told me that they were cutting the print run of The Raven King to less than half of the print run for Blue Lily, Lily Blue. No hard feelings, understand, they told me, it’s just that the sales for Blue Lily didn’t justify printing any more copies. The series was in decline, they were so proud of me, it had 19 starred reviews from pro journals and was the most starred YA series ever written, but that just didn’t equal sales. They still loved me.

This, my friends, is a real world consequence.

… The Ronan trilogy nearly didn’t exist because of piracy. And already I can see in the tags how Tumblr users are talking about how they intend to pirate book one of the new trilogy for any number of reasons, because I am terrible or because they would ‘rather die than pay for a book’. As an author, I can’t stop that. But pirating book one means that publishing cancels book two. This ain’t 2004 anymore. A pirated copy isn’t ‘good advertising’ or ‘great word of mouth’ or ‘not really a lost sale.’

It was preceded by this twitter thread:

And this post about why not every author can give away stuff for free:

Today on Twitter and Tumblr, I posted about piracy and the effect it had had on the publishing side of the Raven Cycle. Several readers lashed out at me and asked why I did not merely release an 11,000 word story for free if the publisher had decided not to release it — further, they noted, other “big name authors” released “loads” of free content and since I didn’t release “loads” of things for free, surely this meant I just was in it for the money.

…And I’m not going to speak to the giving away art for free business. The internet has discussed this a lot already, and the fact is that if you take away a paying-for-art model, you end up only getting art from people who can afford to work in their spare time or art that is supported by patrons — both models that we have seen before, both models that end up giving you art produced by and for a homogenous and upper class group. So moving on.

What I will speak to is the “loads” of free content business, because I haven’t addressed this before. I know there are authors who do release loads of free content. Stories of all lengths. Still other authors release loads of extra content available for a low cost, stories and novellas, etc. I can very much see how this is thrilling to readers. However, this will never be me, for four reasons:…

(8) NO OASIS IN 2018. The Orlando Area Science Fiction Society has announced they need more help to continue putting on the annual OASIS convention, and until they find it they’re skipping a year.

OASIS 29 revealed a need for restructuring our future conventions. As a result, we must regretfully announce that there will not be an OASIS convention in 2018.

We hope to present the next OASIS convention in 2019. We’ll provide the latest updates of our progress through Twitter, Facebook and the OASFiS web page.

However, that progress depends on you. Yes, you.

Each convention, we’ve asked people who love fandom to join OASFiS and help us build future conventions and events. In this critical time, we need you more than ever. It might be fun to watch fan activities from an audience seat, but it’s more fulfilling to make them happen and bring your own ideas to the world.

We want to bring greater events beyond the convention, involving all of Central Florida’s fan communities, but that requires the involvement of your minds, bodies and souls. Come to our monthly meetings – which we’re planning to move to a comfortable location in downtown Orlando, to be announced soon – and talk to us. As we’ve discovered, it’s good to have some friends. But it’s better to have more friends.

(9) JULIAN MAY. Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times’ obituary, published today: “Julian May, who weaved worlds in sci-fi, fantasy novels, dead at 86”

Julian May’s Christmas tree was bedecked with a flying-dinosaur ornament handcrafted by someone better known for writing “I, Robot” and other sci-fi classics — Isaac Asimov. Author Ray Bradbury used to bounce her son on his knee.

Before becoming a popular science-fiction writer herself, Ms. May grew up in a Cape Cod home in Elmwood Park, attended Trinity High School in River Forest and landed her first job at Burny Brothers bakery at 2445 N. Harlem.

Her books included two sprawling sci-fi sagas: the four “Saga of Pliocene Exile” novels and the six-book “Galactic Milieu” series. They incorporate aliens, barbarians, time travel, swordplay and paleontology, with elements of Carl Jung and Celtic and Norse mythology.

Ms. May, who wrote 19 science-fiction and fantasy novels and more than 250 young-adult nonfiction books, died of a heart attack Oct. 17 at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash. She was 86….


  • October 31, 1926 – Harry Houdini died.


  • John King Tarpinian encountered a question about Dracula’s sartorial splendor in today’s Shoe.

(12) MANUFACTURER’S RECALL. If you rushed to buy the new Penric novella on the first day, Lois McMaster Bujold says you need to check whether you received a corrupted edition.

I would advise Kindle customers to give up waiting on the “manage your content and devices” page and go straight to the chat solution, as explained.

… The problem should only apply to customers who bought on the first days, Friday Oct. 27 and most of Saturday Oct. 28.  (The corrected file went up Saturday afternoon/evening.)  Files sold from Sunday Oct. 30 onward should be updated and complete.  Do please pass the word, as I doubt all the first-day purchasers read my blog (although, happily, it seems many do.)

To see if you have a good copy (or not), do the “Limnos corrections cross-check”:

As discussed (at length) in the prior post, the file uploaded on Friday of “The Prisoner of Limnos” was corrupted due to a formatting glitch — 14 out of its 18 chapters were missing their final paragraphs. We caught up with the problem on Saturday afternoon, and a fresh and supposedly corrected file was uploaded at the three vendors.

Bujold concludes, “For all the aggravation, I do have to admit this beats binning a multi-thousand-copy bad paper print run.”

(13) WITCHES UNFAMILIAR. Jamie at Pornokitsch turns the pages of several recent comic books in “Hubble, bubble, toil and feminism: Witches in comics”.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also takes the form of a coming-of-age horror. While Harrow County has a positive message about female friendship, Chilling Adventures tells a much muddier story.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Robert Hack, Chilling Adventures is part of the Archie Comics horror line and sends Sabrina back to a 1960s setting. Using this historical time period –  a decade of changing attitudes – helps polarise Sabrina’s position not only as a girl halfway between the worlds of the witches and regular humans, between girlhood and womanhood, but also between the old and new ways of thinking. The old hidebound rules of the witches represent the old way, the coven standing in for the stratified social systems of family and motherhood that constrained women for so long.

Sabrina’s time in the human world – a normal teenage girl in high school – shows all the new attitudes of the 1960s. There, Sabrina is dating a football player, studying In Cold Blood and trying to get the big role in the school adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie. She looks up to the new drama teacher, Ms. Porter who, unfortunately, turns out to be a long-thought-dead witch with a grudge against the Spellman family.  Ms. Porter (a.k.a. Madam Satan) is herself something of a dichotomy. In her mortal guise she is a sympathetic confidante, a no-nonsense woman with the tell-tale ‘Ms.’.  When we see her in her witchy moments, however, she’s driven by jealousy, lust and vanity, a trio of sins classically assigned to ‘witchy’ women. In Chilling Adventures, Sabrina’s attempts to move away from this outdated view of femininity that provides so much of the comic’s thematic tension and makes its witches so compelling.

(14) GOBLIN UP THE SHORT FICTION. Jason has devoured October’s short fiction and has recommendations on the tastiest treats in the “Summation of Online Fiction: October 2017” at Featured Futures.

September was the scary month with few great or even particularly good stories but October rebounded resoundingly with several remarkable tales (out of only thirty-four read of 157K words), and from relatively unusual venues. Flash Fiction Online produced an excellent Valloween issue combining Valentine relationships with Halloween darkness. Uncanny and Apex also had stories above the usual fare. While Nature produced no recs this month, it produced a double-honorable-mention and got into the Halloween spirit with both, one of which would have fit into the FFO issue and one of which was outright horror. Plus there was a trio of quite remarkable near-misses of fantasy from a trio of other sources, at least a couple of which also fit the season and one of which was a rare webzine novella. For those not in the Halloween mood, there were still a few good tales that weren’t so dark. Speaking of scary, though, Tor.com published only one story in September and posted only two original ones in October. Here’s hoping they get back on track.

(15) STRANGER CONOISSEUR. Camestros Felapton is on duty beside the TV, giving us “Review: Stranger Things 2 (spoilers avoided)”:

The hyper genre-aware Netlfix show is back with another nine hour marathon wearing the early 1980’s as a halloween costume. If you didn’t like the first series, fair enough – tastes very and I’ll discuss one of the biggest issues I have with the show below. If you did like the first series then you’ll like this one also. Essentially while the characters have grown and the plot advances, the core features of the show are the same. Personally, I was absolutely riveted.

…The strength of the show remains with a great cast with strong characters. Wynona Ryder as Joyce Byers gets to be less frantic for more of the show but still conveys an electric mix of nervous energy and fierce determination to protect her family against absolutely ANYTHING. Above all she is a wonderful antidote to the cliche of the disbelieving adult – as with the first series, she follows the internal logic of the crazy situation with a compassionate ruthlessness.

The younger cast remain brilliant and charming and plausible. The addition of Max, a skateboarding new kid from out of town, broadens the gender mix of the core gang. While among the adults, Sean Astin plays Wynona Ryder’s romantic interest as an adult nerd – which is a handy trait in a show where being a nerd is often a handy superpower….

(16) ANOTHER ENTRY IN THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK. Doctor Who News predicts there will be a close encounter of the fourth kind — specifically, “River Song to Meet Fourth Doctor”.

River Song as played by Alex Kingston, is to meet the Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker, in a new set of audio adventures released by Big Finish. Series Four of The Diary of River Song, to be released in August 2018, will see the archaeologist encounter Doctor Number Four, in a set of new adventures alongside the longest serving Doctor. Meanwhile Series Three of the Diary of River Song will released in January 2018, and will feature the Fifth Doctor, as played by Peter Davison, battling against the most evil midwife in Doctor Who history, Madame Kovarian, played by Frances Barber.

(17) TAKE THREE AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING. BigThink takes the piss out of Pythagoras: “Scientists Discover the Purpose of a Mysterious 3700-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet” .

The tablet has 15 rows of numbers written in cuneiform over four columns. It uses a base 60 numeral system (called “sexagesimal”), which originated with ancient Sumerians. What was the tablet used for? The scientists think it might have been an invaluable aid in the construction of palaces, temples and canals. Before pocket calculators, trigonometric tables were used widely in a variety of fields. They let you use one known ratio of the sides of a right-angle triangle to figure out the other two unknown ratios.

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Daniel Mansfield from the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics, explained why the tablet held such mystery –

“Plimpton 322 has puzzled mathematicians for more than 70 years, since it was realised it contains a special pattern of numbers called Pythagorean triples. The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet,” said Mansfield. “Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles.”

He also called the tablet “a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius.” Mansfield said the mathematics on the tablet are advanced even for our modern trigonometry. Plimpton 322 also shows the Babylonians proved the famous Pythagorean theorem a thousand years before Greek mathematician Pythagoras was born.

Interestingly, not only is this the world’s oldest trigonometric table, it’s also “the only completely accurate” one because of its reliance on the potentially more precise base 60.

(18) JAUNTY ALOUETTE. The Traveler at Galactic Journey keeps watching the skies: “[October 31, 1962] Trick and Treat! (A Halloween candy wrap-up of the Space Race)”.

Typically, a Thor Agena B launch from Southern California means yet another Air Force “Discoverer” spy sat has gone up; such flights are now weekly occurrences.  But the flight that went up September 29 actually carried a civilian payload into polar orbit: Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite.

Alouette is designed to study the ionosphere, that charged layer of the atmosphere hundreds of miles up.  But unlike the sounding rockets routinely sent into the zone, Alouette will survey (or “sound”) the ionosphere from above.  Canada is particularly interested in understanding how and when the sun disrupts the region, interrupting radio communications.  Our neighbor to the north is a big country, after all, and it is the Northern Hemisphere’s first line of defense against Soviet missiles and bombers.  Radio is, therefore, vital to both defense and civilian interests.

According to early data, it looks like the highest “F2” layer of the ionosphere is as reflective to radio waves from the top as the bottom.  Alouette has also, by beaming multiple frequencies down to Earth, helped scientists determine what radio wavelengths aren’t blocked by the ionosphere.

(19) A MUCH DIFFERENT BOY AND HIS DOG. From Deadline: “Amblin Entertainment Acquires Tom Hanks Sci-Fi Package ‘Bios’”.

Writers are Craig Luck and Ivor Powell. The story is about a robot on an a post-apocalyptic Earth who was programmed to protect his creator’s dog. Through that, the robot learns about love, friendship and the meaning of life. Producing will be ImageMovers Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine along with writer Powell. Bob Zemeckis, Luck and Sapochnik will be executive producer.

(20) NOW ON THE SHELVES. The Archie McPhee catalog acknowledges our debt to these unsung professionals with their new LIBRARIAN ACTION FIGURE!

What’s that in the sky? It’s our new super-powered Librarian Action Figure! We need heroes right now who can help us navigate information, point us to reliable sources and recommend books that help us grow in our understanding of our fellow humans. In other words, move over Captain America, it’s time for the librarians. Based on Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl, this action figure has a removable cape and a deep knowledge of how knowledge is organized. Celebrate an everyday hero!

[Thanks to Meredith, ULTRAGOTHA, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Juan Sanmiguel, and Wendy Gale for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/31/17 Here’s Harry Mudd In Your AI

  1. I make a point of buying favorite midlist authors new. There was a time I bought 2 copies of paperbacks of a favorite author because I knew that if I wanted her to continue to write the books I love, she had to make money.

    I also write very brief reviews their books on Goodreads and Amazon.

  2. Back when I was desperately poor and desperate for books to read, I will admit having downloaded a few e-books from piracy sites. But now that I am financially self-sufficient and have a library from whence I can get almost any new SFF book, I can afford to buy anything I can’t get from the library, and I have sworn off piracy because I know that authors still get only a pitifully small payback for each copy sold.

    I can sympathize with readers who are desperately poor, but I have little sympathy for people who can afford to pay for their books, but don’t see why they should have to do so if they can get pirate copies. Unfortunately, I have a couple of co-workers who pirate pretty much all of their books, movies, and TV shows and think nothing of it. It grieves me, but I’m not going to be able to change their mentality. 😐

  3. I have to admit that I have occasionally downloaded pirated TV shows, because sometimes that’s the only way I can watch them, considering I’m not in the US or UK and it can take a year or more for a show to reach our screens, if ever. However, when I enjoyed a show I’d watched via pirated downloads, I made a point of buying a legal DVD edition, once it became available, to support the creators and also to have version with German dubbing and subtitles to share with German friends.

    Though in recent times, US/UK TV shows have become available more easily over here with DVD releases appearing even if no German TV station has bought the rights yet (and quite often they don’t because there is a belief that German viewers don’t like SFF programs). Premium channels or streaming services also make shows available quicker, if you have them.

    There are still exceptions, though. The first season of The Expanse will come out on DVD in Germany in late November, almost to the day three years after it started airing in the US. The show still hasn’t aired on freely available TV, though a premium channel or streaming service did broadcast it.

    I have never pirated books or movies, unless you count a pirated edition of a very pricey dictionary someone brought me from Taiwan approx. 20 years back. And I only knew it was pirated when I got it – the person who brought it back for me only told me, “They’ve got lots of English dictionaries here at cheap prices. Is there anything in particular you want?”

  4. I have reviewed Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey.

    I am so behind on reading and reviewing this year. Even the best babies (and Sophia is quite possibly the best baby ever) consume a lot of your time, and more importantly pretty much all of your energy. I am hoping that I’ll be able to get back to regularly writing reviews and other blog posts, but I am realistic enough to know that may not happen for a while.

  5. Aaron: I am hoping that I’ll be able to get back to regularly writing reviews and other blog posts, but I am realistic enough to know that may not happen for a while.

    Babies are like kittens: they stop being little way too fast. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    You can write reviews and blog posts when she gets to the “I hate you! I hate you! (slams bedroom door)” stage. 😉

  6. “In 33 days you’ll die: FELINE” (as seen on the Youtube screencap) is a much more intriguing title than “Lifeline”.

  7. Proud moment: I got a Dishonorable Mention in the new F&SF competition — which means I’ve now taken every place in F&SF competitions, at least once!

    (Competition #95 is to rearrange a title, and come up with a new plot to match. Recommended 🙂 )

  8. In other news, my preorder of Joe Hill’s Strange Weather arrived this morning, and I’m kinda salivating over it a little. Hill’s written some fantastic stuff, four novellas from him are riiiiight up my alley.

    And I am still waiting for his Gunpowder to be reprinted, in some shape or form. It had a limited edition from PS Publishing, and then gone, which is basically a crime against humanity.

  9. Meredith Moment:
    The new Amazon UK Monthly Kindle sale includes John Scalzi’s newest ‘The Collapsing Empire’ and Paul Cornell’s first Shadow Police, ‘London Falling’ both at £1.19, and Mark Gatiss ‘The Devil in Amber’ at 99p.

  10. Good luck to everyone Nanowrimoing this year. Here in 9133, we are still doing it. The latest fashion is to do it “Iron Man style”: Writing it out longhand. Given the lack of writing longhand anything these days, its a real challenge.

  11. Current NaNo wordcount: 2008. Yes, I stayed up and started at the stroke of midnight….

    Regarding piracy, I have heard the argument that “information wants to be free” and also the counter-argument “people who create information need to eat”. I find the latter more compelling. Heck, I even bought, legitimately, A Throne of Bones, when it was priced at what it was worth….

  12. Piracy: I’m also agin’ it, and I’m very much in favor of creators (and, to a lesser extent, the corporate entities behind same) getting paid.

    Having said which, I sympathize with what Cora said above because there are few things more frustrating than when I want to pay a creator for their work but am unable to because I’ve been region-locked out of it; and I’m pretty sure I own, e.g., at least a few DVDs of dubious provenance, which I’ll happily upgrade to legitimate, authorized versions the second they become available.

  13. It’s hard to know what effect piracy has actual sales without knowing how many units a given title, i.e. Cornell’s London urban fantasy got cancelled but I’ve no idea how it was doing though I know all of the books are on multiple pirate sites.

    Video piracy makes no difference upon the total numbers as even a low rated show as legit viewers in the millions. A book on the other hand can have in hardcover as few as a thousand units total such as most volumes in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror had.

    Almost every major publisher now makes digital copies available usually on a secure site but sometimes directly to the reviewer in a pdf or ePub format. Baen Books and Pyr has everything available fas digital Reviews copies. Some such as Tor are more selective.

    My iBooks collection also has myriad boks sent to me by the author. I don’t share them but it’s likely that someone does as I notice them cropping up on pirate sites from time to time.

    Pirate sites even if you don’t download anything are instructive as they show you who’s popular and which of their titles are.

  14. (7) For all that I don’t doubt that there are illegitimate copies of Maggie Stiefvater’s books floating around, that does not imply that they hurt her actual sales in any significant manner. My impression is rather that a lot of the illegitimate downloads are either done by persons who can’t afford to buy the book otherwise or by hoarders of e-materials. The latter have no interest in reading the books; the former could use the library, if they had a nearby functional library. Sadly, the latter is not always the case.

    (12) Why am I not surprised that Amazon cares the least about books here?

    (13) Nice overview, though I’m a little sad that two out of the three comic books were by men only, when trying to approach a decidedly feminine experience.

  15. Karl-Johan Norén says Why am I not surprised that Amazon cares the least about books here?

    I’m not sure who’s to blame here. Did she sent a formatted file to Amazon, or did her publisher? A formatting error like this can happen at multiple points on the history of the file being formatted. It’s an odd error as effected multiple chapters the same way.

    Amazon cares about books like it cares about anything, only as much as need be. Their audiobook company, Audible, actually is the best managed part of their book operation.

  16. (5) I love that.

    (6) Fascinating premise. I’ll have to check that out.

    (7) I’ve never pirated books, although I still pirate television extensively. My film piracy has been reduced to almost nothing and so has my music piracy. The reasons are twofold: 1) I make enough money to buy things now. I was desperately poor for most of my life, and a couple of trade paperbacks was enough to knock out my discretionary spending for a solid six months. I mostly bought used books or used the library; everything else was pirated. Now I make enough money to buy whatever I want, although television and to a lesser extent film remains dramatically over-priced, not so much in terms of the volume or quality of the content, but because of how incredibly behind the curve they are in terms of access. Gone are the days when tuning into a show at its scheduled time was something I had the time or inclination to do; I don’t run my life around what’s on television, and DVRs suck. 2) iTunes and Netflix have both solved the ease of use, cost, and availability issues, for the most part, for music and film. I buy music and rent films from iTunes regularly, and I watch Netflix even more regularly. I will now only pirate music when I literally can’t find a legitimate way to pay for it; ditto movies. Television remains prohibitively expensive on iTunes, and the selection uninspiring on Netflix. Literally every other service available to me actually offers me a lower-quality experience, not just in terms of cost but also in both availability and picture/player quality, than piracy. TV pirates release far higher quality products that are easier to access and use than the people who expect you to pay for it. That alone makes it a winner.

    As far as impacting sales: while it’s true that in general piracy doesn’t have a dramatic impact on sales, that doesn’t mean it’s never true in a particular instance. It does happen. As far as television goes, in North America it literally only matters if you’re a Nielsen family. Nobody else’s views count, unless it’s a digital-first series like Stranger Things. I don’t have a Nielsen box, so whether or not I tune into The Good Place doesn’t matter in the slightest as to whether it gets renewed or canceled; I’m not being counted either way. Ratings are statistical/demographic extrapolations based on Nielsen scores and nothing more. It’s entirely possible there are shows on the air that are not actually popular at all with the general public, but for whatever reason have hit home for Nielsen families (or vice-versa; they may be killing shows that are watched heavily by the general public but that for whatever reason haven’t connected with them).

  17. I don’t think I’ve ever really pirated books or TV/Movies. Maybe a few songs where I couldn’t get the CD from the library and only wanted the one song off the album. It’s not a moral thing, but I’m old enough to remember when downloading a movie would take forever and pirating books made no sense because it would cost almost as much to print them out on the inkjet printer. No doubt if I were younger, I’d steal with the best of them.

    My lawn. You are on it and should not be so.

  18. @Karl-Johan Norén

    (12) Why am I not surprised that Amazon cares the least about books here?

    Where did that come from? This was Bujold’s error, not Amazon’s. Amazon updated the site for new purchases instantly, and it updated earlier purchases within three days.

  19. I don’t pirate books. I will pirate television series when I can’t get a hold of them easily. I insisted we pay for Star Trek Discovery rather than pirating because I want them to count our views and not cancel the show.

    I have a couple friends who I cannot convince to use the library instead of pirating copies. We’re in a bookclub together so I make a point now of buying copies of the books and then lending them so at least one person has bought the book rather than them using pirated copies.

    Even if your library doesn’t have a copy, you can use interlibrary loan.

    I read the Maggie Steifvater essay as pretty strong evidence that yes, piracy does impact sales. The people I know who pirate books are not desperately poor. They could afford to buy the book, just not as many books as they want to read in a month. They still have disposable income though.

  20. I’ll pirate TV but generally only the first episode to see if it’s something I’d like to buy when it becomes available, or buying the DVD as soon as it becomes available.

    The only time I’ve pirated music has been when a much loved CD has become scratched and I need a replacement for a particular file to load it onto the iPod.

    Books, very rarely these days, almost entirely ones where I have paid for a physical copy and would like to read it on a device. Generally where I have paid for hardcover.

  21. (12) Because Amazon apparently was both the tardiest in updating their copy of the book and caused the most hassle for readers to get a corrected copy.

    Compare Apple iBooks, which notified readers via their update function.

  22. I have occasionally looked at pirated texts so I could hit them with search functions, but those tend to be books I own at least one copy of. There is also one math text that I’ve gone through three copies of, which I own a copy of somewhere, which costs fifty cents a page to buy, which I look at the pirates of any time I feel like it.

  23. @ Karl-Johan Norén

    (7) For all that I don’t doubt that there are illegitimate copies of Maggie Stiefvater’s books floating around, that does not imply that they hurt her actual sales in any significant manner

    Even though she offered the hard data from her publisher about e-book versus hardcopy sales number changes? It’s hard to do controlled experiments about this sort of thing, but I found that part of her presentation very convincing.

  24. I am here to confess that I have pirated books — but only by the antique method of hand-Xeroxing them from a library. My research interests have involved a significant number of books that are long out of print (though not out of copyright) and with no expectation of ever being reissued. But as expiation for that piracy, I have a policy that if I ever find a copy of one of those books on the second-hand market, I’m obligated to buy it and discard the photocopy. Books that I’ve redeemed in this fashion have included things like Denholm-Young’s Handwriting in England and Wales (1954), Bartrum’s Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (1966), Seebohm’s The Tribal System in Wales (1895 — ok, that one probably wasn’t in copyright), Williams’ Graamadegau’r Penceirddiaid (1934). And if anyone ever turns up a copy of Schlabow’s Textilfunde der Eisenzeit in Norddeutschland … ah, never mind, I see it’s now available as print-on-demand. One more redeemed.

  25. I dont get pirated books, you can get so many good ones for very little money legally, that I dont see the point. Also social pressure to read specific works is much lower than wit movies or tv shows imho.

    Oh, November writing thing is still a thing? November is probably the worst month to write for me due to heavy workload and the fallout of the biggest boardgame fair in the world. But Ill try and finish editing this novella at least…

  26. @Heather Rose Jones
    I could certainly go on the lookout for a physical copy of “Textilfunde der Eisenzeit in Norddeutschland”.

    But if hand-xeroxing out of print reference books in a library counts, then I’ve also pirated books.

  27. I’ll admit to once pirating a book, clear back in 1980. I, and several classmates, noticed before a database class started that the textbook was very expensive for the time. We individually went to the professor, who told us all to hold off buying it before the first class.

    During that first class, he said something like “Several of you have complained about the price of the textbook. It’s that way because it’s imported from whereever, but I really feel the book is the best for the class. I should mention that I know the author, and frequently exchange letters with him. Now, as to the password for the class account, it’s XEROX. You’re all smart kids, you’ll figure something out”.

    So we all (it wasn’t that big a class) went en masse to the bookstore and split the cost of one copy of the text. We then went next door to the Student Union and monopolized a copier until each of us had a copy of the text. We then figured what seemed to us a reasonable amount for the author to get based on what we knew about how book prices were determined and each contributed our share. Someone was then chosen to take that money to our professor in an envelope with the author’s name on it.

    Next class, he mentioned the author would no doubt be pleased with the contents of the next letter he’d be sending him.

  28. @ Cora

    Sorry I was too oblique — as I was typing the comment about Schlabow, I looked the book up on AbeBooks and discovered that it’s available by print-on-demand so I ordered a copy. But thank for the offer to look for it!

  29. (5) COSTUME OF THE DAY. Hehehe, groovy.

    (7) A VISIT TO THE REAL WORLD. Ugh, that sucks, though the final outcome after her trick of using piracy against itself was kinda cool. I roll my eyes at people who think piracy has no noticeable effect. Sure, not every instance is like hers, but she provided a decent overview and IMHO showed something as well with her trick of flooding pirate sites. 😉 That may not work again, but it was nifty. I hope she continues to sell well.

  30. @nickpheas: Thanks for the Humble Bundle tip! I’m interested in the books by Salyards, Mamatas, and Wells, and one or two of the anthologies look good, though I tend to read more long than short fiction. A couple of others caught my eye, too: 3 Glenn Cook books – I’ve never read him, but heard good things; and Amazon keeps pushing Jodi Taylor at me (like every book of hers shows in the rec list!). So, it’s a weird assortment (by design) and probably 1/3 or more horror, but I can’t resist this one, given some of those are books on my list. 🙂 Plus I can pick my favorite charity (it came up in their search), yay!

    In unrelated news, Amazon.com’s color scheme is going off the rails. Some of their new colors (extra-greenish teal, near-fuschia, hot pink, and orange-yellow) are making my eyes hurt! Bleah. Someone got loose with a weird box o’ crayons. And it’s not like they were a paragon of web design excellence before.

  31. Whoops, sorry, “Glen Cook” – not “Glenn.” (blush)

    @Daniel Dern & @Mike Glyer: Love the scroll title today (er, two days ago)! 😉

  32. Standback on November 1, 2017 at 1:15 am said:

    Proud moment: I got a Dishonorable Mention in the new F&SF competition — which means I’ve now taken every place in F&SF competitions, at least once!

    How about, “winning entry then used as title for book collection of F&SF collections”? Which, if memory serves, is/includes yours truly.

    … along with my “really most unlikely rejection letter even, with a happy ending”… a story I did promise Mike that I’d chronicle for a scroll post (maybe next week).

  33. We pirate tv and movies, partly because the distribution chain is messed up (I feel least guilty about the Big Mouse’s stuff because they artificially MAKE their distribution chain even worse.) Partly because we are just coming out of a stretch where we were both mostly unemployed for 2 years. Outside that stretch, we had a tendency to do the “pay for legit copies when available” thing with DVDs/Blu-rays. And should get back in that habit, at least with less known stuff.

    I have never pirated a book. I can’t say my husband hasn’t (especially audiobooks) but we tend not to, and part of it is that they are produced and distributed in a much different system.

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