Here are my links and such for the month of August. There aren't as many as there could have been, as I've had to become a bit more discriminating this month due to big projects and short deadlines. But hopefully everyone who reads this will find something of interest. These links are all from my previous tweets. I've listed them here, all in one post, and with additional detail and comment. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter.
- I'm co-editing a theme anthology on the Fermi Paradox, to be published next year by DAW Books. One of my contributing authors, Paul Di Filippo, sent me a link to an article from MIT's Technology Review entitled "Fermi Paradox Points to Fewer Than 10 Extraterrestrial Civilizations." Making a number of assumptions, such as advanced civilizations will send out probes first to investigate other worlds (just as we have sent out the 10 Mariner probes, for example), and if "these probes can leave longer-lasting evidence of a visit -- evidence that remains for 100 million years -- then there can be no more than about 10 civilizations out there." Intriguing reading.
- SF Scope reports: "This October, the Library of America will be celebrating the foundations of fantasy and horror in American literature by publishing the two-volume American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub." The two volumes -- 86 stories plus an introduction to each volume by Straub -- can be purchased separately, or as a boxed set. The article lists the complete table of contents, including the story title, author, and original date of publication. The stories date from 1805 to 2007.
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her online Freelancer's Survival Guide. Now that she's finally completed her seven-part discussion on "Money" (in all its glory -- and pain), she's begun a new topic: "Employees (Part One)" -- or, "People You Hire To Do Stuff for You." Kris writes: "Here's the most important thing to remember about anyone you hire for any task: No one else will care about your business as much as you do. No one else will work as hard as you do. No one else will ever have as much at stake in your business as you do." Kris repeats this mantra in "Employees (Part Two)," but she also concludes this section with: "Finally, my advice on all things -- the more informed you are, the better off you'll be. That goes for employees, workers, finances, and just about everything else covered by this Freelancer's Guide. Stick to that principle and you'll do well -- even when hiring others to help you keep your business afloat." (via @KristineRusch)
And one of the most important aspects of freelancing: "Time": "So I have a monthly nut—the amount it takes me to live every single month.... You need to figure out what your time is worth. You need to factor in the intangibles as well as the tangibles. (I don't take a lot of pain-in-the-ass projects; nor do I take projects that'll require me to leave home for months at a time.) You'll need to make sure you make your monthly nut plus some profit. And you'll need to factor in how much work you can actually do versus how much you think you can do."
And, of course, "Deadlines": "Keep your deadlines. Be on time for your appointments. Open your stores on time and don't close them early. Respect your clients. Then they'll respect you in return."
And "Patience": "You have to be so patient that at times it feels like you are doing nothing but being patient."
- The New York Observer headline: "Note to Authors: Make Your Deadlines!" Evidently, in these difficult economic times, publishers are now starting to require that authors make their deadlines! Gawd, what a unique concept! Publishers are using late deadlines as reasons to renegotiate contracts, and even require that authors repay the advance. And if the book is way past deadline, publishers are now considering whether or not they still want the book. But as the article quotes at the end: "The reality is, you don't have to worry about lateness if they want your book. You only have to worry about lateness if they don't." (via @powells and @jay_lake)
- The website "Marooned - Science Fiction Books on Mars" has compiled a list of 20 links to online stories about Mars. Authors include Kage Baker, Mary A. Turzillo, and Liz Williams. The blogger is calling it The Mammoth e-Book of Mindblowing Mars SF. Good -- and free -- online science fiction!
- And speaking of "mindblowing SF," Matthew Cheney's blog, The Mumpsimus, has a list of "mindblowing" SF stories -- all but two by women authors -- that have knocked his socks off, so to speak, over the years. I was pleased to see my friend Judith Moffett's story, "Tiny Tango" (Asimov's, February 1989; reprinted in Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection, and Pamela Sargent's Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years anthology) included in the list; it was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula awards. [Disclosure: I helped Judith with a bit of PR for her latest novel, Bird Shaman, and I acquired reprint rights for her first novel, Pennterra, for Fantastic Books.]
- Unless you've been hiding underground, I suspect you've heard that director John Hughes passed away on August 6 at age 59. Hughes directed such wonderful movies as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, and Home Alone. Evidently, he began a "pen pal" correspondence with a young girl between 1985 and 1987, and that young girl, Alison -- now, obviously not so young -- shares her thoughts and those letters with us, including a telephone call she received from John Hughes in 1997, during which he explained why he left the Hollywood film rat race. Wonderful reading; guaranteed to bring a little moistness to ye olde eyes, no matter how much of a curmudgeon you are. As of this writing, there are over 1,330 comments, some just as wonderful -- just awesome. Enjoy! And thank you, Alison, for sharing with us this tribute to director John Hughes.