This is my monthly wrap-up of November's Links & Things; you can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern. Note, however, that not all of my tweeted links make it into these month-end posts, but the links that do typically contain more detail than Twitter allows, and often I include personal comments (as if that's important to you).
This post is a bit tardy as I have had two deadline projects over the past few weeks:
My November 9 post was on the sale, yet again, of Realms of Fantasy magazine to new publisher Damnation Books. The December 2010 issue had originally been made available online as a free download, since it was to have been the magazine's final issue. Now that the zine has been obtained by Damnation Books, the December issue has gone to press and should soon be shipping to subscribers. If you purchase RoF at stores/newsstands, please look for the December issue. As to my own deadline, on December 1, I completed work on the files for the February 2011 issue -- 10 nonfiction articles and 5 short stories – and submitted the formatted and copyedited files to editor Doug Cohen. So RoF will continue to be published on schedule, and subscribers/readers will not miss a single issue.
Regarding my second deadline, I completed my review and copyedit of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Five, edited by Jonathan Strahan, and forthcoming from Night Shade Books in March 2011. This volume five is a monster: 536 pages and a nearly 250,000 words; to say the least, I was pleased when I finally finished this project and shipped it off on Tuesday to Night Shade's office. There are some very fine stories in this anthology; I think my three favorites are "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis, "Alone" by Robert Reed, and "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" by Rachel Swirsky. (I'm recusing myself from commenting on Pad Cadigan's "The Taste of Night" since it was selected from my own co-edited original anthology Is Anybody Out There?)
One final thing before I get into November's links: As I stated in my November 23 post, I will be editing an anthology tentatively titled Alien Contact, to be published by Night Shade Books in November 2011. I'm now reading stories for this anthology; since this is a "reprint" anthology, all stories must have been previously published. If you have a recommendation for a killer, not-to-be-missed alien contact story, please check my database of stories first; the database was initially sorted by author's first name, but new entries have been added to the bottom of the list. If you do not find your recommended story on the list, please add it to the database. An input form has been provided in the November 23 blog post, which you must use to enter the story information. The deadline for recommending stories is December 15, after which I will delete the input form in that blog post.
Now, on to November's Links:
- Erin Underwood interviews Kim Richards Gilchrist, the CEO of Damnation Books, the new owner of Realms of Fantasy magazine. When asked: "What do you see as the greatest benefit that Damnation Books has to offer Realms of Fantasy magazine, its readers, and its contributors?" Kim responds: "There is a little cross over with genres between both Eternal Press and Damnation Books with Realms of Fantasy. In fact we took out ads twice in 2010 for our books in the magazine. The common elements mean some of our promotion points and distribution are the same and others are ways for both the magazine and books to expand...."
- There was much discussion and hoo-ha on the web this past month regarding the theft of content that appeared in Cook's Source magazine. The subject made it to NPR, Wired.com, The Guardian, pcmag.com, and more. The web's response to this theft/plagiarism literally brought about the demise of the magazine. For the source of this controversy, you'll need to read the original LJ post that started it all, from the plagiarized author, Monica. I don't know how many Comments there are to this post, since they aren't numbered, but they fill 23 blog pages! I'm not going to elaborate any further here, but if you haven't heard about this as yet (and if not, where have you been this past month?), just search online for "cook's source copyright" and that should keep you busy for a while. Bottom line: Content on the internet is NOT FREE, unless the author so states it is. Always ask for permission to reprint anything.
- Tachyon Publications has recently published The Search for Philip K. Dick, a combination memoir/autobiography, and biography of PKD, written by one of his ex-wives, Anne R. Dick. The book was originally published by an obscure small press in the '90s, and then self-published by Ms. Dick earlier this year. The Tachyon edition has been fully edited and fact-checked making it the preferred edition. "Philip K. Dick's Masterpiece Years," an article that appeared in the November 22 New York Times, focuses on Anne R. Dick and her years with PKD, and includes additional details on this new edition of the book. From the article: "After the breakup of their marriage, Ms. Dick said she endured seeing herself reflected in several evil-wife characters in his later novels. Yet when he died in 1982, after a series of strokes, 'everything changed,' she said...."
- Ever wonder about common prefixes and suffixes in our English language? (Go ahead, admit it, you do wonder... it's okay, honest, you don't have to feel ashamed.) Here is a quick chart of English Language Roots; but it's just a small portion of the searchable 2,000 word root database on PrefixSuffix.com. For example, "belli" means "war" and is used to form the words "rebellion," "belligerent," "casus belli," and "bellicose." (via @ebrenner)
- Author K. M. Weiland (@KMWeiland) has put together a collection of past posts on her blog into a single linked post entitled "7 Tips for Editing Your Way to the Best Story on the Planet": 1) How I Edit; 2) Putting Your Ego in Your Back Pocket; 3) Killing Your Darlings; 4) Embrace Your Inner Editor; 5) Rewriting Made Easy; 6) 10 Ways to Write Skinny Sentences; and 7) Should You Edit As You Go? Of course, for the details behind each of these points, you'll need to read the individual blog posts, but I think you'll find that your time has been well spent.
- Speaking of editing, Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn) has a blog post entitled "How To Improve Your Novel: On Getting Feedback from an Editor" in which she writes: "Last month I sent my first novel Pentecost to a freelance editor for an Editorial Review. I truly believe it's important to pay for an objective viewpoint, if you don't already have an editor with a publishing house.... I received an email from [the editor] with my editorial review as an attachment. I didn't open that email for 10 days. I was that scared of what it would say...." Joanna writes of her experience, and provides useful suggestions on why a writer needs a freelance editor.
- Ms. Penn has yet another post you may find of interest: "How To Write Back Blurb For Your Book": "...the back blurb is a sales pitch. It has to be almost an exaggeration of your story that entices the reader to buy...." 1) A hint of the plot; 2) Use of words that evoke images and resonate with readers...; 3) Main characters are named and characterized; 4) Idea of setting; 5) A question or a hint of mystery...; 6) Hyperbole; 7) Quotes about the book or previous books by the author; 8) How long; 9) About the author. Details are in the blog post, along with a 5-minute video on the subject; and she shares with readers a draft of the back cover text for her own forthcoming novel Pentecost.
- I thoroughly enjoy "how to" posts from Charlie Jane Anders (@charliejane) on i09.com (@i09) because she always includes classic cover art and actual excerpts from fiction for her examples. Her recent post, "How to write yourself out of a dead end," is no exception. "So what's the foolproof early warning sign that you're going, as Starbuck would put it, the wrong way? I wish I knew. I've never found one. Oftentimes, the seductiveness of the detour is, in itself, the warning -- the detour may appear to be a clever twist in your plot, or a cool idea for shaking up your characters and putting them into a different situation....So you've got 10,000 words (or 20,000) of your novel heading down a sinkhole. Can you pull anything useful out of it? Maybe...."
- Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter), an agent with the Waxman Literary Agency, blogs about "The 10 Commandments of Social Networking for Writers": 1) Do It Thyself; 2) Be Not a Used Car Salesman; 3) Make Thyself Present; 4) Thou Shalt Think Before Thy Posteth; 5) Thou Shalt Limit Thy Number of Invites; 6) Thou Shalt Get Personal...; 7) Thy Networking Shall Support Thy Writing...; 8) Act Thy Age; 9) Thou Shall Not Engage in Flame Wars; and 10) Thou Shalt Have Fun. There's some excellent detail with each of these points. I think you'll find that the majority of these commandments pertain to anyone who is social networking, not just authors.
- Author Chris McKitterick writes: "Having my novel pirated and torrented all over the web has gotten me thinking a lot about copyright and distribution of creative work, what to do about pirating, and the freedoms that get touched when combating pirates." This opening paragraph is from his blog post "Thoughts on piracy, freedom, and making a living as a writer." Chris has made electronic editions of his novel Transcendence available for free, following in the footsteps of Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, and others, whom he graciously refers to in his blog post. There are more than 75 Comments, so obviously a lot of other readers/authors find this topic of interest.
- Lastly, Ivars Peterson has a column entitled "Math Trek" on the Mathematical Association of America website (maa.org). This particular column, entitled "Software's Origin," was published in July, but I only recently became aware of it courtesy of Rudy Rucker (@rudytheelder). Peterson has tracked the origin of the word "software" to an article -- "The Teaching of Concrete Mathematics" -- by Princeton University statistics professor John W. Tukey in the January 1958 American Mathematical Monthly.