Pixel Scroll 12/15/16 Pixels? We Don’t Scroll No Stinking Pixels!

(1) ROBERT J. SAWYER SWEARS. In his year-end newsletter, Robert J. Sawyer reveals one of the perks of being added to the Order of Canada.

On Canada Day, July 1, 2016, I was named a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the Canadian government; I was honoured for “accomplishments as a science-fiction writer and mentor and for contributions as a futurist.” This makes me the first person ever to be admitted into the Order for work in the science-fiction field.

I will be presented with a medal by the Governor General of Canada early in the new year, and now am entitled to append the post-nominal initials C.M. to my name.

As a bonus, I’m now also empowered to officiate at Canadian citizenship ceremonies. I’ve been having the time of my life swearing in new citizens at the Mississauga office of the Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; I’ve sworn in about 500 new Canadians so far, from over 40 countries.

(2) LESSONS FROM URSULA. Nancy Jane Moore reports on The Tiptree Symposium at Book View Café.

“This is another lesson I take from Ursula: Sometimes if you don’t fit in the world, the world has to change.” — Karen Joy Fowler

Those words from Karen’s keynote speech at the ‘2016 Tiptree Symposium’ summed up my experience. The two-day event at the University of Oregon celebrating the work of Ursula K. Le Guin was a powerful antidote to the bombardment of horribles that continue to assault us after the election debacle. I came away feeling transformed.

For me, the most powerful item on the program was “Le Guin’s Fiction as an Inspiration for Activism,” a panel featuring adrienne maree brown (co-editor of Octavia’s Brood) and Grace Dillon (professor at Portland State University in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program), and moderated by Joan Haran (of the University of Oregon and Cardiff University in Wales).

(3) THE CALIFORNIA SPACE PROGRAM. Motherboard’s Jason Koebler concludes “California’s Hypothetical Plan to Start a Space Agency Is Legal and Feasible”.

In a scathing speech Wednesday in front of some of the most important climate scientists in the world, California Gov. Jerry Brown vowed to fight Donald Trump’s anti-environmental policies every step of the way. One audacious promise particularly stood out: Brown said that if Trump turns off NASA’s climate-monitoring satellites, the state “is going to launch its own damn satellites.”

Trump’s advisors have indeed said he will crack down on “politicized science,” and Trump campaign advisor Bob Walker noted that this would include NASA’s Earth Sciences Division, which operate several Earth-monitoring satellites. No one knows yet if Trump will actually have NASA turn off satellites that are much more expensive to make and launch than they are to operate, but for the sake of preparedness, I decided to look into whether or not California could actually keep Brown’s promise. I spoke to several space lawyers in an attempt to suss out how, logistically and legally, a California Space Agency would work.

(4) THE BUZZ. At The Hollywood Reporter “Rogue One: What the Critics Are Saying”.

Critics are divided, but mostly positive, about the appeals of Gareth Edwards’ ‘Star Wars’ spinoff.

If, as trailers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story put it, rebellions are based on hope, then it’s possibly true that the same can be said for anticipation for the next movie in the beloved science-fiction franchise. Now, however, the first reviews for Rogue One have hit the internet, giving fans their first chance to see whether or not that hope has been misplaced.

(5) YOUTH AGAINST AGE, At Young People Read Old SF, curator James Davis Nicoll turned his crew loose on Kate Wilhelm’s “Baby, You Were Great”.

Young People Read Old SFF has reached the 1960s. That means the fraction of stories by women is about to increase sharply [1], to reflect the increasing number of women in science fiction. And what better woman to herald that rising tide than the award winning Kate Wilhelm?

First published in the 1950s, Kate Wilhelm is a science fiction, fantasy, and mystery writer. With her husband, Damon Knight, she established both the Clarion and the Milford Writer’s Workshop. Her award nominations and wins include the Nebula, the Hugo, the Apollo, and the Locus. In 2016, the Solstice Award, given to individuals who have had a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, was renamed in her honour.

They hated it. And they give solid reasons. But when you consider background facts like the story originally was published in the second of Damon Knight’s avant-garde Orbit anthologies, a book that featured not one but two stories by Joanna Russ, that may only mean the author’s intended message reached them.

(6) THE HORROR. The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog posted a Best Horror Books of 2016 piece. And if I was a better person I would remember who to credit for mentioning that in comments.

This year was an interesting one for horror. Not only did genre fans see new books from established heavy hitters, they welcomed a grandmaster’s novel back into print after 52 years, encountered incredible debuts, rafts of new and disturbing short stories, and at least one satire that frightens just as easily as its source material. If there were room to list every horror book released this year, we could easily just do that. The competition was tough, and many late nights were spent pondering the list and debating where the line lays between horror and dark fantasy. Finally, final selection of contenders emerged from the chaos. Submitted for your approval, here are the 15 best horror books of 2016.

(7) MEYER OBIT.  Steven H Silver of SF Site News reports former Worldcon chair Kathleen Meyer died December 13.

Chicago area fan Kathleen Meyer (b.1948) died on December 13. Meyer was a long-time member of the ISFiC Board of Directors, serving as the organization’s Treasurer. She chaired Windycon XI and XII in 1984-5 and Windycon XV in 1988. In 1991, Meyer chaired Chicon V, that year’s Worldcon. She also worked on Capricon programming operations for several years

(8) THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKIN’. Gizmodo has a photo of the boots that left the last human footprints on the moon.

Today marks the end of Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan’s three days exploring Taurus-Littrow for Apollo 17. These extravehicular activity boots were specifically designed for Cernan. They fit over the boots integrated into the base spacesuit, adding an extra layer of protection against thermal extremes and sharp moon rocks. Manufactured by International Latex Corporation, the boots have a silicone sole with woven stainless steel uppers, and are equipped with additional layers of beta cloth and beta felt. They seal with velcro.

The boots have been a part of the human spaceflight collection at the National Air and Space Museum since 1974.

(9) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

In 1954, Davy Crockett, a show that may be considered TV’s first miniseries, aired in five segments on the Disneyland program.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 15, 1974 Young Frankenstein debuted.
  • December 15, 1978: Superman, starring Christopher Reeve, premiered.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born December 15, 1945 – Steve Vertlieb

(12) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #17. The seventeenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed copy of The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles.

Today’s auction is for an autographed paperback copy of the book THE LOST PLANET, by Rachel Searles.

About the Book:

This is what the boy is told:

  • He woke up on planet Trucon, inside of a fence line he shouldn’t have been able to cross.
  • He has an annirad blaster would to the back of his head.
  • He has no memory.
  • He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
  • His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

  • He has a message: “Guide the star.”
  • Time is running out.

(13) EXPAND YOUR TOOLSET. Cat Rambo has posted her schedule of live writing classes for the first quarter of 2017. There’s also a couple of opportunities still available in 2016.

There is still room in the two live classes left this year, both happening next weekend. The first on Saturday is Linguistics for Genre Writers with Juliette Wade, at the usual 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time. This class differs from pretty much every other one I’ve seen in that Wade doesn’t just cover linguistics and worldbuilding, but how to use the principles of linguistics to strengthen, deepen, and otherwise improve your prose. I heartily endorse it.

The second, which is also a really fun and informative class, is To Space Opera and Beyond with Ann Leckie. Technical difficulties hindered the first sessions but everything is smooth and running well now! In this class, Ann talks about space opera, its characteristics, how to handle them, and the process of writing not just a single novel but a series, while we provide writing exercises to take away and use to apply what Ann has told you. Ann is a lively and congenial teacher, funny without being snarky, and above all encouraging and inspiring. I’m really looking forward to the next class, which happens on Sunday, December 18, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time. There is still room in that and the Saturday, January 7 class at the same time.

I am offering the six session Writing F&SF Stories Workshop again, in three different sections:

Section 1: Tuesday afternoons 1-3 PM, January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, and February 7 Section 2: Wednesday evenings 7-9 PM January 4, 18, 25, and February 1, 8, 15 Section 3: Sunday evenings 5-7 PM January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 12

I am offering the Advanced Story Writing Workshop on Tuesday evenings 5-7 PM starting January 3rd and going for six weeks. The Advanced Workshop focuses on workshopping stories each week along with lecture, discussion, and in-class writing exercises designed to help you continue to refine your skills and expand your toolset.

There’s also another dozen stand-alone classes listed at the post.

(14) CAN YOU DIG IT? Scientists are hot on the undersea trail: “Nickel clue to ‘dinosaur killer’ asteroid”.

Scientists say they have a clue that may enable them to find traces of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs in the very crater it made on impact.

This pointer takes the form of a nickel signature in the rocks of the crater that is now buried under ocean sediments in the Gulf of Mexico.

An international team has just drilled into the 200km-wide depression.

It hopes the investigation can help explain why the event 66 million years ago was so catastrophic.

Seventy-five percent of all life, not just the dinosaurs, went extinct.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chi Hitchcock, Steven H Silver, JJ, and Kendall for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

108 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/15/16 Pixels? We Don’t Scroll No Stinking Pixels!

  1. Curse you, Open Road Media! I already have so many books loaded into my smartphone I can barely lift it! There better be a longevity potion to go along with this sale, so I have a passing chance of catching up on the TBR pile before I die.

    One ORM selection I strongly recommend: BAD GRRLZ’ GUIDE TO REALITY by Pat Murphy. This collects together Murphy’s WILD ANGEL and ADVENTURES IN TIME AND SPACE WITH MAX MERRIWELL. Each can be read as a standalone, but they’re linked in various cross-dimensional and thematic ways. I enjoyed the hell out of both novels. (There’s a 3rd book that also ties in to the set, THERE AND BACK AGAIN; it also works as a standalone. Don’t know why it wasn’t included.)

    John Gardner’s IN THE SUICIDE MOUNTAINS was a story I also enjoyed a lot, but get the print version with Joe Servello’s illustrations if you can. (The art adds a lot, I thought.) Not quite as good as Goldman’s THE PRINCESS BRIDE (what is?), but is similarly playful (and not so playful) with the cliches and archetypes of fairytales and fantasy.

  2. Sitting here with a beef madras in the oven drinking hot buttered rum, thanks god it’s Friday anyway.

  3. Pat Murphy has said that the reason There and Back Again isn’t included is because the Tolkien estate objected. I have no independent knowledge on the matter.

    Does anyone here use Shelfie?

  4. This is File 770s first Space Comment written by Space Hampus Eckerman. Space out, my fellow Space Filers.

  5. Hampus Eckerman: This is File 770s first Space Comment written by Space Hampus Eckerman. Space out, my fellow Space Filers.

    This Space Intentionally Left Blank.

  6. @CRL — Thanks, I think, for the note about the Open Road Media free e-book giveaway.

    Timesink alert!!! I spent way too much time tonight crawling the offer and trying to decide what to acquire. Eventually I had to settle on a mental filter: Would I pay a dollar for this book? Yes to Brunner’s “The Whole Man” and the Robert Silverbergs; not sure about Harlan Ellison and Robert Sheckley, both of whom I read when much younger but who I might not have room for any more.

    A big endorsement for Algis Budrys’ “Michaelmas,” an AI yarn which I had been wanting to re-read.

    Mysteries: I might just limit the damage to Peter Dickinson and Loren Estleman. For Dickinson: the listed books do not feature detective James Pibble, despite the descriptions; “Skeleton-in-Waiting” is alternate history and “The Green Gene” is SF of a sort.

    In the mainstream and classics section, of interest to my wife and/or I: “The Armchair James Beard” (cooking and food); the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant; John Gardner’s book on Chaucer; Bill Gutman’s bio of Duke Ellington.

    Aieeee. I will not live long enough to read all my e-books.

  7. Aaaaand I’m done trawling the ORM sale.

    Grand total: 410 books added to Mount Tsundoku. That doesn’t count one 4-in-1 compilation that I picked up after getting the four pieces separately, nor does it count the ten books that I shunted off to a wishlist because they were not-free parts of otherwise-free series. (I figure I’ll wait and see on those. They ain’t goin’ anywhere, and I might find a deal on ’em later.)

    Man, are my eyes tired. I’m both grateful for and annoyed at the Goodreads feature that lets you add your Amazon book purchases to your GR library. Grateful, because it meant I didn’t have to manually plug in every damn ASIN code. Annoyed, because the UI would really benefit from an “add all of these to these shelves” feature, and it’d be really nice if they’d fill in the “I own a copy, I bought it at Amazon, and it was on this date” information automagically. That’s why I named the shelf what I did, so I can go back in later and fill that in after I regain a few SAN points, (I’m also trying really hard not to think about how much fun it’s gonna be to import all those books into Calibre. The import ain’t so bad, but adding and approving the metadata is gonna take forever…)

    On a lighter note, it’s time for an Ebook Enhancement With Unca Bob story. Y’know, since I’m thinking about older ebooks and all that. 🙂

    If any of you remember Rick Cook’s “Wiz Biz” series, there’s a chapter in Book Four where the main character scratches a line of symbols into the sand as part of a riddle. The tree-book reproduced the symbols, but the ebook did not; it just left a few blank lines there. Some time back, I stumbled across a post discussing this, and some helpful soul had actually transcribed the symbols – which I promptly copied into a note on my iPad.

    A few days ago, I found my copy of the ebook and decided to make things right. I emailed the magical snippet to myself – to get it from the iPad to my PC – and promptly pasted the line into place. It worked about halfway; some of the symbols didn’t show up. What to do?

    Between skimming the chapter text and inspecting what Calibre said about the various symbols, I discovered that they’re from the APL computer language. Off to Google, then, where I found a decent and free font for displaying APL characters. Add it to the book, declare it in the CSS, and tell the book to display that one line using that font. Now everything shows up, and I can compare it to my iPad note to make sure it looks right. It does, so there’s one thing left to do. Calibre’s editor has a nice feature that lets you subset an embedded font. What this means is that, instead of stuffing the whole (potentially huge) font file into the book, Calibre scans the book and only includes the characters that are actually used. Why include, say, Cyrillic characters when there’s no Russian text, right? Same principle here, except I’m cutting the APL font down to only the specific symbols used in the book.

    So now I have a copy of the ebook with the arcane symbols faithfully restored, and doing so didn’t bloat the file size more than a few kilobytes!

  8. @Rev Bob

    I can see I’m going to burn up a lot of time playing with Calibre now. Up until now the best I’ve done were a few pdf or epub to mobi conversions and most of the pdf ones are riddled with errors.

    At least now I’ve got a decent keyboard for typing on again, though the wretched click pad keeps sending the cursor to random points in the screen. Keep finding half my text in the middle of the line, or in another window entirely.

  9. @RevBob: APL! There’s a blast from the past… I wasted – err, spent – three years of my life trying to develop a fiendishly complicated translation system in APL. Just getting the code printed out involved finding and firing up the one remaining teletype terminal that could handle APL characters.

    For a language which doesn’t really handle abstruse programming concepts like iteration, it worked pretty well, sometimes. I recall one time when we had to scan a block of (maths-related) text, and return the points where each bracket was, where each pair began and ended, and how many layers down they were, if the brackets were nested… the single short line of APL which did this was actually quite elegant. Wish I could remember what it was, now.

  10. So now I have a copy of the ebook with the arcane symbols faithfully restored, and doing so didn’t bloat the file size more than a few kilobytes!

    A general trick I have used to achieve similar result is to use Inkscape, a vector graphics program, to trace a scan of the arcane characters. The resulting .svg file can then be embedded as an image in the ebook.

    (When it comes to editing e-books I have bought, the compulsive archivist in me compels me to do as little as possible. I am paranoid about accidentally destroying formatting somewhere in the text. Another part of me argues this is silly, as many e-books are poorly coded anyway. To which I respond that exactly because they’re poorly coded and uses css in strange ways, changes can have unintended consequences. The inner debate ensues.)

  11. My google-fu is failing me, or I just haven’t had enough caffeine yet. Can someone give me a link to the Open Roads Media books at Amazon that are free? I go to amazon.com and put in “open roads media” and get travelogues….

  12. Cassy:

    For strictly SF/F, this sorted link will work:

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_10?sf=qz&fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A133140011%2Cn%3A154606011%2Cn%3A668010011%2Ck%3Aopen+road+media&sort=price-asc-rank&keywords=open+road+media&ie=UTF8&qid=1481987749&rnid=133141011

    That sorts all of their kindle books in SF/F by lowest price first–so the first several hundred entries will all be free.

    There is no more elegant way to get at the books. It takes a little Amazon fu.

  13. When you search Open Road Media, first sort by Price: Low To High. Then look to your left and you should find options to narrow your search to your specific interests.

  14. And now my Kindle-for-PC won’t open. I click the icon and nothing happens. Damnit. (I haven’t used it in…. oh, probably close to a year….)

  15. Cassy B.: And now my Kindle-for-PC won’t open. I click the icon and nothing happens. Damnit. (I haven’t used it in…. oh, probably close to a year….)

    Sometime this year, they released a Kindle-for-PC update that was required (probably to enforce DRM, though I forget what their explanation was). You should probably just uninstall what you’ve got and reinstall the latest version.

  16. Just “purchased” 20+ books (and purchased one other for $6.15 because it was the first in a trilogy where the other two were free). I ended up overwhelmed and passed on approximately 20 more that were just as tempting.

    Thanks and curses for pointing out this sale.

  17. Paul:

    For strictly SF/F, this sorted link will work:

    Thanks, that was useful!

    Here’s what I snagged, if anyone cares:

    MORTALITY BRIDGE
    Steven R. Boyett

    THE CAT’S PAJAMAS: AND OTHER STORIES
    James Morrow

    SHADOW OF ASHLAND
    A WITNESS TO LIFE
    ST. PATRICK’S BED
    Terence M Green

    [SHADOW OF ASHLAND wasn’t free, but the other two are, and the whole trilogy looked so interesting that I figured it was worth gambling the less-than-four-bucks.]

    DRAGONFIELD: AND OTHER STORIES
    Jane Yolen

    FAIR PERIL
    Nancy Springer

    THE GENERAL ZAPPED AN ANGEL: NEW STORIES OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
    Howard Fast

    IN THE SUICIDE MOUNTAINS
    John Gardner

    THE ART OF ARROW CUTTING
    Stephen Dedman

    It was tempting to just grab anything that looked remotely interesting, but I find that unread books on my shelves (even virtual shelves) feel like an obligation. And I’d rather pay to buy a book that I discover later that I want to read than have it hanging over me for years and years…

  18. @Kurt:

    James Morrow is indeed the Cat’s Pajamas; I’ve liked him since I discovered Only Begotten Daughter. I snapped up everything of his that I didn’t already have.

  19. More on the Open Road giveaway. Some of the books which have a $0.00 price, notably some by John Gardner and Robert Silverberg, I am informed are not available in my country. (I’m a vanilla USA-resident using US Amazon, just like the last many years.) At least one of the books I noted as available yesterday is completely off-sale today, Bill Gutman’s “Duke” (Ellington).

  20. I exercised a lot of restraint: 31 books.

    Questions I asked myself, in search of that restraint:

    – Do you have this in hardcopy already?
    – Do you want to read this, or do you want to own it?
    – Is this a book you want to read, or a book you feel you should read?
    – If you get this, will you ever get around to reading it?
    – No, really, will you ever get around to actually reading it?

  21. @Bruce Arthurs:

    – If you get this, will you ever get around to reading it?
    – No, really, will you ever get around to actually reading it?

    Ooh, particularly incise questions! One of the reasons I don’t purchase many books is that I have trouble actually reading books I own. I’m too easily distracted by other shiny books that my dealer the library provides.

  22. @Kurt Busiek: I care what you snagged ‘cuz the list was too long for me to go through, and although I don’t normally get Amazon Kindle ebooks, I’m going to get Boyett’s Mortality Bridge. 😀 So thanks!

  23. My pleasure, Kendall. Not just for being OF use, but because MORTALITY BRIDGE is the only Open Road freebie that was already in my Wishlist, so it was a treat to receive.

  24. Downloaded Mortality Bridge on the strength of Filer’s, erm, saying that they downloaded it….

  25. I ended up with only a dozen SF books, plus the entire 6-book set of Jane Dentinger’s theatrical mysteries. There was a lot of stuff in the SF section that I looked at and then realized that my tastes have changed enough over the last decade that I would probably find them to be wall-bangers now. But I got some Jane Yolen, and some Andre Norton, and one book by Barbara Hambly that I’ve been curious about but not enough to buy, and the Tales of Nedao trilogy by Ru Emerson, and a couple of things that just looked Really Interesting (Jaguar Princess, about a were-jaguar in the Aztec Empire!). So yeah, worth the time spent to go thru it all.

  26. @Lee said: plus the entire 6-book set of Jane Dentinger’s theatrical mysteries.

    I loved those books so much. I thought they were smart and funny as well as being interesting puzzles.

    I resisted the call of the Open Road Media sale for more than a day and then succumbed. It was a painful struggle, but I did not download all the Elizabeth Hand books (I already have them). I’m afraid the suck fairy has been at them, but I downloaded Elizabeth A. Lynn’s Chronicles of Tornor, also a book by Harlan Ellison that I remember liking quite a lot, one Fritz Leiber I haven’t read and one by Barbara Hambly that I don’t remember reading but probably did, plus two books by Lisa Goldstein that I’d been wanting for awhile.

    I was relieved when I got to the end of the SFF without adding anything else to the TBR mountain of doom, but I think I need to stop reading this scroll because I just downloaded Mortality Bridge because I made the mistake of reading the synopsis.

  27. It’s not part of the Open Road Media selections, but Amazon has the Kindle version of I, Libertine up there for Zero dollars and Zero cents! This is much better than having the podcast version, which was so damn arch I couldn’t finish the first chapter. It’s possible to find images of the paperback cover (by Kelly Freas) online, as well as the back cover with the author photo of Frederick R. Ewing (Shep) on it as well.

    https://www.amazon.com/I-Libertine-Theodore-Sturgeon-ebook/dp/B00D00W9TM/ref=sr_1_28_twi_kin_1?srs=7712209011&ie=UTF8&qid=1482088525&sr=8-28&keywords=book

  28. JJ Sometime this year, they released a Kindle-for-PC update that was required (probably to enforce DRM, though I forget what their explanation was).
    Well it didn’t work for that objective, at least on the few I’ve converted to ePub since…
    BTW Amazon’s Shared Library is handy, and my partner has got me started on the PC Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch.

  29. Of course I downloaded a ton of Open Road Media books. For me, the most notable ones were many unfamiliar titles from Nancy Springer, Continent of Lies by James Morrow, and Barefoot in the Head by Brian Aldiss.

  30. @ Cheryl: Nice to meet another Dentinger fan! One of the things I loved about those books when I first read them was that the protagonist held her ground about not wanting to marry the love interest. I’ve dropped so many mystery series because they took a woman who had her life arranged in a way that suited her and pitchforked her into a marriage because otherwise she’d lose him. I think if the books had gone on, we’d have found that Dentinger’s heroine would rather lose him than give up her own life.

    Beyond that, I found the mysteries to be fascinating even though I know very little about the theatrical scene. I am quite sure that for someone more knowledgeable, there must be little Easter eggs sprinkled all thru them — but you don’t need that knowledge to enjoy the books.

    I should note, for anyone who might be intrigued, that several of them touch on the tragedy of AIDS in the late-20th-century NYC theatrical community.

  31. re Dentinger: oh ghu, now I have to try another series. I don’t do much theater now but spent too many years heavily involved in various mostly-amateur work; the idea of theater-related mysteries \and/ a lead not getting pitched into marriage is irresistible.

  32. So, I gather Amazon Prime actually has free-or-nearly-free books all the time. Anyone here use it? Any feedback? What’s their SFF selection like, generally? Can one download books or does one have to read them in the cloud? (I’m twitchy about that; I like to HAVE the books I read….)

    Shorter above: Does anyone find it worth the subscription fee for books alone?

  33. Good question. I downloaded a bunch of things (lots of Ellison!), and they were supposed to be sent to my Android tablet and my Android phone, but the only place I see them is if I open the Cloud Reader.

    It says I can download them for offline reading, but I think they’re still tied to their reader. Maybe Calibre can untangle them, but I don’t recall how to do it, if I knew.

  34. Damnit. Downloaded the Dentlinger. I’ve been around community theater for too many years not to be intrigued. Mt. File770 just gets taller and taller….

  35. I thought I could exercise restraint when hitting the Open Road sale. 59 books later…
    But now I have to go back. Too many recommendations for the Dentlingers and Mortality Bridge.
    While everyone else has their Mount TBR, I am a bookseller by day. I live in a cave deep below the TBR ranges and every new book I bury myself a little deeper. At least I has my precious.

    Kip W: I have them sent to the Kindle application on my desktop computer then grab them from the application’s folder and drop them in Calibre for conversion and transfer to my Kobo reader.

  36. Kip W, what Mister Dalliard said. JJ upthread posted a link to download Kindle For PC, if you don’t have it already. Get and install Kindle For PC on your computer, open it and tell it to synch to your Kindle library. (You may need to go to your library on your android device and tell it to send the books to Kindle For PC after you install it; I don’t know for sure.)

    I have Windows 7; the procedures may be slightly different for other platforms or Windows versions, but what happens for me is, this will create a folder in your My Documents file called “My Kindle Content”. In that folder will be a bunch of .azw, .apnx, .phl, and/or .mpb files. The names are hashed, so you won’t be able to identify which book is which other than by download date. Import them into Calibre (then the names and authors will show!) and run a conversion on them. If they have DRM, you will need to get a Calibre plugin to remove it. Then you can put them onto whatever reader you have in whatever format you like.

    Hope this helps!

  37. Mister Dalliard and Cassy B.
    It should indeed help. I have the Kindle app on this computer, so I’ll follow the procedure from there. Naturally, I did all the downloading for everything but Kindle, since I stopped using my actual Kindle some time back in favor of an Android tablet (because its first purpose is to be my sheet music—turn it on, put it on the piano’s music stand, and off I go), so I may have to go to the Cloud Reader and re-save each book again.

    I have Calibre, but I don’t think I have the DRM plugin, so I’ll have to figure that out as well. I hope this isn’t one of those ones that gives all the simple instructions in XTML or Swahili or C++ or whatever. I’m simpler than they can ever dream.

    Thanks very much for the explanations. I hate DRM, and I really dislike the illusion of ownership that is the dominant paradigm in the download market.

  38. Kip W, I was able to figure out the de-DRM plugin, and I’m not a computer wizard, for what it’s worth. I seem to recall that if you google “apprentice alf” you’ll find the plugin and instructions. For what it’s worth.

  39. @Andrew M: “Isn’t Apprentice Alf a Tolkien character?”

    I thought that was Epprentice Elf.

    BTW, Cassy B.: The Kindle book filenames aren’t hashed – they’re the ASIN numbers. Not that that’s much clearer, but it is easier to match up.

  40. Kip W: Apprentice Alf’s instructions for installing the DeDRM plugin are clear and straightforward. You shouldn’t have any trouble. The only difference between that and any other Calibre plugin is that the DeDRM plugin isn’t available via the built-in plugin fetching function for legal reasons. It needs to be downloaded and installed from the downloaded file.

    Once installed it runs so smoothly and seamlessly that you can easily forget you’re running it. As I did. Which is why I didn’t mention it.

    ORM book count now 105.

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