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Posts by Peter Grant

Reading and writing in a pandemic economy

I was very interested to read how bookstores are coping with the challenges of a coronavirus-hit economy.  The BBC writes about “How bookshops are helping with isolation“.  I’m going to quote from their article at some length, to illustrate how innovation and enthusiasm can compensate for other problems.

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Around the writing and publishing world

Several articles and reports caught my eye over the past couple of weeks.  I thought you might find them interesting, too.

First, the BBC has a fascinating video report on ancient libraries in a town in the Sahara Desert.

The ancient African town of Chinguetti was once a stopover for trade caravans and pilgrims in the Sahara Desert.

As many of the people passing through were rich and educated, libraries started opening along the route to allow visitors to read and write.

Today the remaining libraries are fighting to preserve these ancient books in the hostile desert climate.

I can’t embed the video, but you’ll find it at the link.  It makes interesting viewing.

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Writing in an intolerant society

We all remember what’s happened in the overall publishing market, and in science fiction and fantasy in particular, over the past couple of decades.  Political correctness, “woke” thinking, and intolerance have come to dominate traditional markets for authors.  Fortunately, independent publishing has become a viable alternative, offering a platform that isn’t dependent on one’s views on anything in particular.

However, there’s a wider issue, and that is the society within which and for which we are writing.  We need to take into account that our society is changing, and probably not for the better.  How are we going to adjust to this in the way we write, and perhaps in our content?  Is it even necessary to do so?  For some of us, it probably isn’t;  for others, it certainly will be.

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Critics, reviews, and character assassination

On several occasions during my various and sundry careers, I’ve heard a well-known legal maxim.  It’s said to be advice given to lawyers during their education.  It goes something like this:

  • If the facts are against you, argue the law.
  • If the law is against you, argue the facts.
  • If the facts and the law are against you, assassinate the character of the witness (or “scream and shout”, or “appeal to the jury’s emotions”, or whatever).

I’ve seen that applied on more than a few occasions, in many and varied circumstances, so it seems to be borne out by experience.

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Things to ponder

Several articles caught my eye recently.  Some are only tangentially related to writing and publishing, but all have a bearing on it to a greater or lesser extent.  Here goes with a roundup.  The title of each article is a link to the original.

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Old-school journalism, old-school writers

I was interested to read an article titled “The Golden Age of Fleet Street“.  The author reminisces about his career in journalism, and how, in the old days, reporters had to “climb the career ladder” from local, to provincial, to national newspapers, and “earn their stripes” the hard way.  He points out that the current model is radically different.

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The way things were… and may be again?

I was reading an article about how Louis L’Amour got his start in writing Westerns, written by his son Beau.  It’s titled “Louis L’Amour and the Legend of the West“.  A number of points stayed with me, but one in particular got me thinking about current trends in the book market.  Beau writes:

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