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Posts from the ‘POLIT(ICK!)S’ Category

Uncharted territory. Here be dragons

I suppose part of the appeal of sf and fantasy are that the stories go off into uncharted territory. That of course appeals to those who are open to such exploration.  We want to find the dragons. You know, our species would be long extinct in some obscure corner of Africa if this was not part of our genetic make-up (yes, pretty certain our lineage traces back to Africa. Africa is your ancestral land, if you’re human. Lizard-people of course come from elsewhere. At the moment the jury is out as to whether they come from Betelgeuse or Hollywood. I favor Hollywood, as the logic employed there is so alien and inimical to human life.) Read more

I Was Warned

I WAS WARNED

A lot of writers have expressed concern about Amazon’s effective monopoly, and I’ve been trying not to think about it, because I use Amazon so much and it would be extremely uncomfortable to walk away from it. Not only is it the platform for my indie books; I’ve been using KU as a source of quick light reading now that it’s physically difficult for me to walk up and down library stacks carrying a load of books; similar limitations have caused me to turn more and more to Amazon for everyday shopping. So… I’ve been coasting along, hoping that I could stay under their radar, trying to ignore the increase in obnoxious virtue-signalling.

I’m not sure I can do that any more. Since, oh, about the third day of the George Floyd riots, every time I open the Kindle app on my iPad, I get a row of “anti-racist” books shoved into my face. Read more

Tock tick

Ve know your trope makes ze genre tick, ja. But ve vill interrogate it until its resistance is exhausted and is it villing to TOCK!”

I happened to read yet another critic saying that a book in a competition lacked what its competitors had – They defied classic genre conventions, interrogated tired tropes, and celebrated inclusivity, and it merely reflected the sort of sf that was popular in the 80’s. Read more

Censored

We flourish, as writers, as a society, hell, as a species, with our ground fertilized by hard-won freedoms. Often freedoms paid for in blood and treasure.

But always, these are fragile. And – despite the provable fact that we all do better long term for these things being conserved and nurtured… there is always some dim-witted idiot who thinks their personal immediate short-term advantage is best served by abusing these. They think that because it serves their interest NOW, that it’ll never come around to them, and bite them the ass.

And of course, there is collateral damage. Read more

Scary Forecasts

Sales will be slower next year. That’s a spooky forecast, and one that is easy to make, because your collective Mad Genii have seen this pattern for quite a while. 2020 is an election year in the US. The uncertainty will slow sales of books. Election years are like that, even when it is a year where the presidential election is more certain (2012) or a mid-term election. It is not one hundred percent guaranteed that sales will slow, but I’d be willing to bet money on it.

What does this mean for us, besides more time to write as we try to avoid political ads and campaign stuff on the TV and phone? Read more

Mayflies

Now I lost interest in Twitter back when I found out that besides being the crack cocaine of social media (and just as good for you) it was the worst rated for sales/reader conversion. Something like 1 sale per 1000 followers, IIRC.

I’ve got books to write, a life to live, a farm to finish developing. But one the fans brought this bit of twitter-snark about an anthology I was delighted to be included in. A CHRONICLE OF DAVIDS. A chance to be in the same collection as Dave Drake and Dave Weber doesn’t come my way every day.

So this is his priceless (as in you can have it for free) gem (as in one man’s turd is another man’s treasure, especially in North Korea). Read more

Literature through Russian eyes – and what it says about political correctness

Today I’m not going to say much myself.  Instead, I’m going to quote several paragraphs from a very long, but very thought-provoking, analysis of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Russian authors, and how literature came to represent a moral crusade for them, and for their fellow countrymen.  It’s in the New Criterion, titled “How the great truth dawned“, written by Gary Saul Morson.  It’s very different from our Western attitudes towards literature, but I think it offers a perspective from which we could learn.

That’s particularly important in an era when political correctness is more than ever a determinant of what’s put out by traditional publishers.  One’s work usually has to conform to “contemporary priorities” or “modern understanding” if it’s to have any chance of acceptance by a publisher.  By those standards, the Big Three of science fiction – Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein – wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Neither, of course, would Henry Miller, Dorothy Parker, and a host of other greats.  Nor would Solzhenitsyn.

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Random Musing on Writing: Something Completely Different

From one of Maximilian’s childhood textbooks. Author photo.

Celebrity books are not new. Nor are people angling for endorsements from celebrities in order to sell more books. It’s just that the quantity has increased since the mid-1400s.

I was intrigued and amused to discover that Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I Habsburg (1459-1519) wrote and published epic poems and novels. One of the poems, Theuerdank, is a fictionalized account of Maximilian’s trip to meet and marry his first wife, Mary of Burgundy. It falls somewhere between the literary allegory pattern of things like the drama “Everyman” (Jederman) and adventure stories. Theuerdank was originally released in a collectors’ edition in 1517 and given only to nobles. Then a revised popular edition came out for the general market two years later. Both had lavish illustrations via woodcuts. It is one of the early books printed in German, and in fact a special type-face had to be designed for the work.
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Pie

Soon, Dave will be finished moving! (It’s never as easy or cheap or fast as hoped.) And then, he’ll be able to bake more pie! This one’s from August 06, 2018.

I like pie…

Now my answer to who gets what share of the pie in publishing (actually in most things) is hey, let’s make a bigger pie.

That’s always seemed a sensible answer to me. I’ve spent years talking about ways to make reading more popular with as many people as possible. I can summarize many thousands of words into this: Give as many readers as possible what they enjoy. Help them find it, keep them coming back for more.

A rising tide floats ALL boats. Read more

If only… (On Alternate History)

While Dave is moving, here’s another great piece of advice from July 2015!

Maybe Alternate History’s appeal comes down to the fact that every human, ever, says ‘If only I had…’ That, perhaps and the fact that most of us (we’re all victors of a sort, in the battle if not the war, because we’re still alive) are constantly indulging in the victor’s privilege of re-writing our own history. In truth, history is never really pretty. On the individual level, on the state level, on the world level, there’s always something we’d like to have another go at – even the bits we didn’t actually do too badly, and would probably make a horse’s butt next time. Read more