(1) NEW TIKTOK BOOK AWARDS UK/IRELAND. TikTok isintroducing the TikTok Book Awards UK and Ireland 2023.
In the past year, the #BookTok hashtag has grown more than 160% to over 138 billion views – and shows no sign of stopping! The #BookTok community of authors, readers and fans is transforming the publishing world: propelling new authors into the mainstream, reviving much loved classics, inspiring a new generation of bookworms and helping to boost print book sales.
In celebration and recognition of the titles, authors, content and creators that have made the unique BookTok ecosystem what it is, we are proud to launch our very own TikTok Book Awards for the UK and Ireland. For the first time, we’re creating a true people’s choice book award – giving our community the chance to vote for the winning books, authors and creators in-app….
The award categories will be: BookTok Creator Of The Year, BookTok Book Of The Year, BookTok Author Of The Year, Best BookTok Revival, Indie Book Shop Of The Year, Best Book to End A Reading Slump, Best Book I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time, BookTok Cover of The Year, and BookTok Livestreamer of The Year.
A panel of judges is creating the longlist (they are named at the link). The final winners will be decided by the TikTok community in the UK and Ireland, through an in-app vote that will go live in July, with all winners being crowned in August.
(2) INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE. The International Booker Prize 2023 winner was announced May 23 – Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel. It is not a genre work, although that may not be your first impression after reading the description:
Time Shelter becomes the first novel originally published in Bulgarian to win the prize. In the book, a ‘clinic for the past’ offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. But soon the past begins to invade the present.
(3) RUSSIA/UKRAINE CONFLICT ROILS PEN AMERICA. The Guardian explains why “Author resigns from PEN America board amid row over Russian writers panel”.
Masha Gessen, the prominent Russian-American writer who has documented Russia’s decline into authoritarianism, has resigned as vice-president of PEN America after the organisation cancelled an event last week with Russian dissidents after objections from Ukrainian participants.
The group, which was founded in 1922 and describes itself as “stand[ing] at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression,” was plunged into controversy after it acknowledged that it had called off an event at a literary festival in New York after Ukrainian writers on a separate panel had threatened to pull out.
Gessen’s resignation – and coverage of it in the US media including Gessen’s claim that the Ukrainian position had “blackmailed” PEN America – has prompted a series of furious exchanges with Gessen accused of “gaslighting” Ukrainians by focusing on Russians as “victims of tyranny”.
… In a statement released by PEN America on Tuesday, the group admitted it had made “mistakes” and misunderstood a requirement from two Ukrainian participants, Artem Chapeye and Artem Chekh, who are also serving soldiers, that they could not be involved in PEN’s World Voices festival if Russian writers were involved in any way.
While Gessen – who uses they/them pronouns – was born in Russia but lives in the US is seen by many as an “American writer,” the presence of the two others on the panel complicated the issue with Chapeye telling the Atlantic, which first broke the story, he could not make distinctions between “good” Russians and “bad” Russians.
“Until the war ends,” he added, “a [Ukrainian] soldier can not be seen with the ‘good Russians.’”…
(4) RE-DISCOVERY LIT ANNOUNCED. Open Road’s new imprint Re-Discovery Lit has 200 titles slated for its inaugural list. Their use of a “similarity engine” to scout reprints doesn’t sound at all creepy, does it? “Imprints: Open Road’s Re-Discovery Lit” at Publishers Lunch.
Open Road has launched an imprint devoted to republishing out-of-print and reverted titles, Re-Discovery Lit. They expect to reissue about 200 titles a year, publishing primarily in ebook format, though titles will be available in print-on-demand editions as well. Mara Anastas, who is publisher of the imprint, says in the announcement, “Agents and writers everywhere have been excited to learn of this new opportunity for out-of-print and reverted works.”
Authors on the list include Barbara Delinsky, Clifford D. Simak, Roger Angell, Alan Dean Foster, and Ronald Malfi. An agreement with Alloy Entertainment brings back series including Melinda Metz’s YA Fingerprints series and Eileen Goudge’s Who Killed Peggy Sue? series.
For acquisitions, Open Road is drawing on the “similarity engine” technology to assess titles and use predictive analytics to see if they are a good match for the company’s marketing levers. “If it isn’t a fit, we’ll say to the rightsholders, ‘This is not a book we can help lift,'” ceo David Steinberger noted, and for titles that do align they can present a clear marketing plan for the republication.
(5) TINA TURNER. (1939-2023). One of the most successful singers ever, Tina Turner died May 24 at the age of 83. Her legion of hit performances impacted sff with “We Don’t Need Another Hero“ from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, from the film in which she also played the character Aunty Entity, and the theme song for 1995 Bond film GoldenEye. She appeared as The Acid Queen in Tommy (1975) and The Mayor in Last Action Hero (1993). The New York Times obituary is here.
(6) MEMORY LANE.
2012 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass is where the Beginning is from this Scroll. It was published eleven years ago by Macmillan Children’s Books.
She was nominated for a the Kitschie Awards’ Red Tentacle for Best Novel, an Award sponsored by Blackwell’s, the specialist bookstore.
Though she’s considered a children’s writer, I’d say that any of you would find her fantasies well-worth reading.
This Beginning gives us an excellent look at her writing style…
The Child in the Curds
One dark season, Grandible became certain that there was something living in his domain within the cheese tunnels. To judge by the scuffles, it was larger than a rat and smaller than a horse. On nights when hard rain beat the mountainside high above, and filled Caverna’s vast labyrinth of tunnels with the music of ticks and trickles and drips, the intruding creature sang to itself, perhaps thinking that nobody could hear.
Grandible immediately suspected foul play. His private tunnels were protected from the rest of the underground city by dozens of locks and bars. It should have been impossible for anything to get in. However, his cheesemaker rivals were diabolical and ingenious. No doubt one of them had managed to smuggle in some malignant animal to destroy him or, worse still, his cheeses. Or perhaps this was some ploy of the notorious and mysterious Kleptomancer, who always seemed determined to steal whatever would cause the most chaos, regardless of any personal gain.
Grandible painted the cold ceiling pipes with Merring’s Peril, thinking that the unseen creature must be licking the condensation off the metal to stay alive. Every day he patrolled his tunnels expecting to find some animal curled comatose beneath the pipes with froth in its whiskers. Every day he was disappointed. He laid traps with sugared wire and scorpion barbs, but the creature was too cunning for them. Grandible knew that the beast would not last long in the tunnels, for nothing did, but the animal’s presence gnawed at his thoughts just as its teeth gnawed at his precious cheeses. He was not accustomed to the presence of another living thing, nor did he welcome it. Most of those who lived in the sunless city of Caverna had given up on the outside world, but Grandible had even given up on the rest of Caverna. Over his fifty years of life he had grown ever more reclusive, and now he barely ventured out of his private tunnels or saw a human face. The cheeses were Grandible’s only friends and family, their scents and textures taking the place of conversation. They were his children, waiting moon-faced on their shelves for him to bathe them, turn them, and tend to them.
Nonetheless, there came a day when Grandible found something that made him sigh deeply, and clear away all his traps and poisons.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born May 24, 1925 — Carmine Infantino. Comics artist and editor, mostly for DC Comics, during the late 1950s know as the Silver Age of Comics. He created the Silver Age version of the Flash (with writer Robert Kanigher) and the Elongated Man (with John Broome). He also introduced Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl. Infantino wrote or contributed to two books about his life and career: The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino and Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. (Died 2013.)
- Born May 24, 1953 — Alfred Molina, 70. His film debut was on Raiders of The Lost Ark as Satipo. He was an amazing Doctor Octopus on Spider-Man 2 and in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and he also provided the voice of the villain Ares on the outstanding 2009 animated Wonder Woman. Oh, and he was a most excellent Hercule Poirot in the modern day version of Murder on the Orient Express. I know, not genre, but one of my favorite films no matter who’s playing the character.
- Born May 24, 1960 — Michael Chabon, 63. Author of the single best fantasy novel about baseball, Summerland which won a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. His other two genre novels, Gentlemen of the Road and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, winner of Best Novel at Denvention 3, are stellar works in themselves. He was Showrunner for the first season of Picard and was Executive Producer for the second season. He also did revisions to the script for Disney’s John Carter.
- Born May 24, 1960 — Doug Jones, 63. I first saw him as Abe Sapien on Hellboy, an amazing role indeed. To pick a few of my favorite roles by him, he’s in Pan’s Labyrinth as The Faun and The Pale Man (creepy film), a clown in Batman Returns, the Lead Gentleman in the “Hush” episode of Buffy and Commander Saru on Discovery.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- Free Range demonstrates a good reason why logic is no use against childhood fears.
- Dee Fish shows a Jedi in action. Or trying to be. Lise A says the lesson is, “The important thing is to face all threats without fear and to act fast.”
(9) IMAGE COMICS CHANGES DISTRIBUTORS. “Image Comics ditches Diamond for Lunar to get its comics into comic shops after a 25+ year relationship” reports Popverse.
In a move sure to cause surprise throughout the comic book industry, Image Comics — the third largest single-issue comic book publisher in the North American market, after Marvel and DC — has announced that it has signed a worldwide exclusive distribution deal for comic store distribution with Lunar Distribution, to take effect this fall.
What does this mean for Image Comics customers?
The new deal — which specifically covers distribution to the comic store ‘direct market,’ as opposed to digital, bookstores, and other outlets — means that, for the first time in the publisher’s existence, single issues will not be carried directly by Diamond Comic Distributors, which has been Image’s exclusive distribution partner since April 1995. Instead, Lunar, which has been DC’s primary distribution partner to North American comic book stores since 2021, will take over all duties relating to the ordering and shipping of single issues and collected editions to comic stores inside the United States as well as internationally. The changeover will happen effective with Image’s September releases, which will open for retailer orders on June 14.
(10) TREK CROSSOVER COMING. Entertainment Weekly introduces the Strange New Worlds season two trailer: “See ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ stars in live action on ‘Strange New Worlds’”.
…The new trailer for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2, premiering on Paramount+ this June 15, brings with it our first look at the big crossover event. Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome, who voice the animated characters Beckett Mariner and Brad Boimler on Star Trek: Lower Decks, will embody their characters in live-action form.
“Surprise!” Newsome’s Mariner tells a perplexed Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and Spock (Ethan Peck), alongside a noticeably purple-haired Boimler….
(11) STRIKEOUT. SYFY Wire reminds fans how “The Last WGA Strike Stranded a Heroes Character in a Dark Future”.
…When Heroes premiered on NBC in 2006, the first season was a huge hit. This was pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the idea of an exciting, sprawling superhero universe on TV was an instant draw. Season 1 focused on a group of characters, including the ostensible protagonist Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia), as they came to terms with the mysterious superpowers they had acquired and rushed to “save the cheerleader, save the world.”
Season 2 was not beloved in the way that Season 1 was. It’s not necessarily fair or accurate to say that the shortcomings of the sophomore season were all due to the 2007-2008 WGA strike — creator Tim Kring admitted that there were several problems with the season — but the fact that the strike made it so they only produced 11 out of a planned 24 episodes certainly didn’t help. The show rushed to wrap up the season early in an attempt to bring things to a conclusion rather than leave the season abruptly unfinished….
(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In this Christopher Plummer plays Vladimir Nabokov lecturing on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”.
This is a short TV movie based on Nabokov’s lecture at Cornell upon “Metamorphosis,” Kafka’s bizarre story about a man who wakes up one morning to discover he has turned into a giant bug. This was filmed at 1989 by Peter Medak, and Christopher Plummer is portraying Vladimir Nabokov.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Hampus Eckerman, Lise Andreasen, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bonnie McDaniel.]
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(Is there an echo in here?)
I’m wonder if anyone has decided to market chocolate pixels? I mean we have chocolate bunnies, so why not chocolate pixels? Make mine dark chocolate filled with peanut butter.
(10) Was there a demand for this crossover?
(4) They had bloody well better talk to the rights owners.
mark says They had bloody well better talk to the rights owners
You did read the entire excerpt, didn’t you?
“If it isn’t a fit, we’ll say to the rightsholders, ‘This is not a book we can help lift,’” ceo David Steinberger noted, and for titles that do align they can present a clear marketing plan for the republication.
(4) The odd thing about this new initiative is that’s what Open Road has been doing for years, rescuing out of print books.
(4) That “similarity engine” dies sound a little creepy, though.
(Officially not awake. Type softly.)
What can you say about chocolate covered pixels?
This is Just to Say
I have eaten
for the scrolls
you were probably
would go out
they were delicious
and so scrolled
I particularly liked Alfred Molina in a short-lived tv series, MONDAY MORNINGS, from 2013. Ensemble cast (including Ving Rhames & Jamie Bamber) medical drama from David E. Kelley. Molina played a hospital’s Chief of Medicine, with the show centered around the weekly Morbidity & Mortality conferences where doctors discuss how cases with poor results might have been treated in different ways or had better endings. I was really disappointed to see the show fail to be renewed after its initial 10-episode run.
@Jeff Smith: Yes, and a rediscovery series is nothing new. Equinox/Avon did one in the 1970s. Keeping books in print is a good thing.
(7) Alfred Molina voices and provides the motion capture for the Wise Old Roadkill in Rango, which is very weird and clearly genre, unless someone knows some talking reptiles in real life.
(10) I’m hoping this is as fun as it promises to be.
Molina is one of those actors who is just interesting in pretty much everything he does, no matter the quality of the rest of the project. His character in Boogie Nights is a highlight of that movie, and his Amazon detective series Three Pines is worth seeking out.
4.) Yeah, the “similarity engine” sounds kinda creepy because…besides the machine learning piece, it’s just comps under a different name. In other words, looking for the same old bestselling formula that agents and editors are doing for new work.
What can you say about a twenty-fifth century pixel scroll who filed?
“I thought Muddy Waters scrolled that pixel.”
@Lis: “Similarity engine” is a term of art, The whole thing’s pretty vague (for understandable reasons) but from the Lunch excerpt (and a NYT article https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/24/books/old-books-out-of-print-open-road.html) I would not expect them to be using a model trained on actual content.
It’s like they’re doing ‘Moneyball’, but for books.
7) Alfred Molina’s “Murder on the Orient Express” is underrated. I’ve seen multiple versions for the Agatha Christie, She Watched project so believe me, I know!
He was poorly served by wardrobe. Poirot can be tall (see Peter Ustinov) but he’s never, ever a slob.
He was also poorly served by the script adding in Vera Russakof and then not properly having him answer her.
It’s a fun film, updated to be a contemporary. Watch Meredith Baxter chew up the scenery as Mrs. Hubbard! She’s a celebrity too, as she tells Poirot.
@bill: (Molina’s) Amazon detective series Three Pines is worth seeking out.
I really hope we get a second season of that.
If it wasn’t for pixel scroll, I wouldn’t have no scroll at all!
(4) Open Roads is supposed to be coming out with a new ebook edition of the anthology that included my first pro sale, though I don’t know whether it’s part of this program. (Anthologies go out of print relatively quickly, I understand.)
(11) I’ve told this story before, but it never gets less infuriating to remember: Heroes Season Two had me intrigued at first by its setting part of its storyline in post-Katrina New Orleans. Then it pissed me off royally when a character in that part of the storyline said, “Half the people in this county are still living in FEMA trailers!”
“County.” In Louisiana. How’s that meme go? “Tell me you never even cracked open a map of Louisiana without telling me you set a story against my hometown’s catastrophic tragedy without even bothering to crack open a map of the place, you incurious and exploitative jerks.”
(For those who don’t know–and unless you, too, are trying to tell a story set in that region, there’s no reason you should–Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that does not have a counties system. Instead, it has parishes, hailing back to its Catholic colonial days. New Orleans is in Orleans Parish. I grew up next door in Metairie, in Jefferson Parish. There are no counties in Louisiana.)
(Also, there are no sub-basements in the French Quarter, Brian Hodge–but that’s another story.)
Definitely not a thing that could be blamed on the writer’s strike. Also, not really fond of articles propagating the idea that “Writer’s strikes. are why we can’t have nice things!” All support and sympathy to the WGA, y’all.
@Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that does not have a counties system.
Louisiana and Alaska. AK has boroughs, not counties – and not all of the state is part of a borough.
@Patrick Morris Miller – I did not know that about Alaska! What a fact to bite me in the butt, after that screed. Thank you for enlightening me!