Sunday, April 1, 2012

February Links & Things (This Post Not Quite Past Its Sell-by Date)

To say that my February wrap-up of Links & Things is a bit late would be a gross understatement. After spending two separate weeks in February in Southern California (see this previous blog post for some background), I was just too overwhelmed with catch-up in the first half of March -- and then preparing for my next (and hopefully last) trip to SoCal in the second half of the month -- to deal with February at that time; and now, here it is April 1! But there were some excellent resources in February and I didn't want to simply overlook that month entirely, so here they are, February's Links & Things: better late than never.

  • Consumers in greater numbers are finally questioning the source of their food (and what is in it), which has led more and more people to begin growing their own. So I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you that the long-out-of-print (1995) book Homestead Year: Back to the Land in Suburbia, by author (and my friend) Judith Moffett, is now back in print courtesy of the Authors Guild Back-in-Print program. [Note: I appear, though not by name, in Homestead Year, in a paragraph on "September 4" (page 258 in the original hardcover edition) in Judith's journal; she refers to me as a "[book] collector in California."]
  • What was undoubtedly the biggest news of the month (and yet I've seen no further details on this since): On February 6 Reuters reported that Amazon "plans to open a physical store in its home town of Seattle in coming months to showcase and sell its growing line of gadgets, including the Kindle Fire tablet..." (via's @galleycat)
  • A website entitled BookBub has recently come to my attention, and if you are an avid eBook reader, then you'll want to sign up at the site's home page. BookBub describes itself as "an alert service that keeps you updated on great book deals. We only notify you about deals that meet the following criteria: Free or Deeply Discounted, Top Quality Content, and Limited Time Offers." When you register for BookBub's newsletter, you can select the categories of books in which you have an interest. View the latest BookBub Deals.
  • Author N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) shares with her readers an essay she wrote for a forthcoming anthology entitled The Miseducation of the Writer -- essays by writers of color on genre literature -- edited by Maurice Broaddus, John Edward Lawson, and Chesya Burke, to be published by Guide Dog Books, the nonfiction imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. From the essay: "Not so long ago, at the dawn of the New World, black people were saved from ignorance in darkest Africa by being brought into the light of the West. This is bullshit." This is a must-read essay for all writers (and editors, too).
  • James L. Sutter's guest post on SF Signal (@sfsignal) deals with "Technology in Fantasy." Sutter writes: "Some people prefer technology that precisely matches that of a given real-world historical era. Others see nothing wrong with mixing and matching, combining swords, laser pistols, zeppelins, and dinosaur-pulled chariots. Some feel that technology itself should be the defining feature of the world (hence the ever-popular steampunk genre). Yet whatever path you choose when designing worlds for your fiction or RPG setting, there are a few important technological issues to consider." And he deals with each of these issues: 1) Anachronism; 2) Multiple Technology Levels; 3) The Question of Magic; and 4) Common Technologies, in which he covers these specifics: Airships; Sanitation; Medicine; Printing Press; Steam Power; and Firearms.
  • Artist Lee Moyer (who designed the More Red Ink logo on this blog) analyzes the cover art on two sequential series books by M. K. Hobson -- The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess; and why the first book sold well and was nominated for a Nebula Award, and why the second book didn't sell nearly as well. Is the author to blame? Or the cover art?
  • And speaking of cover art, the Philip K. Dick Trust has put together an awesome collection of more than 650 covers of various PKD books from around the world. There are 28 covers alone of novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, of which 18 are from other languages (including Greek, Polish, and Portuguese). I'm assuming, of course, that readers of this blog know who Philip K. Dick is -- and the influence his writing has had on the movie industry, ever since Blade Runner was released in 1982. (via @brainpicker @bittersweetdb)
  • From The Atlantic on February 16: "Late one night in the summer of 1977, a large radio telescope outside Delaware, Ohio intercepted a radio signal that seemed for a brief time like it might change the course of human history. The telescope was searching the sky on behalf of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the signal, though it lasted only seventy-two seconds, fit the profile of a message beamed from another world. Despite its potential import, several days went by before Jerry Ehman, a project scientist for SETI, noticed the data... Ehman circled [the signal] in red ink and wrote 'Wow!' thus christening the most famous and tantalizing signal of SETI's short history: The 'Wow!' signal.... In his new book, The Elusive Wow, amateur astronomer Robert Gray tells the story of the 'Wow!' signal, and of astronomy's quest to solve the puzzle of its origin." (via @spacefuture)
  • SyFy channel's Dvice blog (@dvice) recounts a recent talk given by Professor (and former astronaut) Neil Armstrong about his experiences in the X-15 suborbital flight program. From Dvice: "The X-15 was America's first dedicated high speed, high altitude, rocket-powered suborbital space plane, and back in the early 1960s it was busy paving the way for the commercial spaceflight development that's one of the most exciting things happening in space today." [Note: If the X-15 program interests you, then consider the book X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight by Dennis R. Jenkins, which is available from NASA as a free e-book in a variety of formats.]

From my personal space memorabilia collection.


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      - marty