Monday, May 7, 2012

April Links & Things

This is my monthly wrap-up of April's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern; or Friending me on Facebook (FB). Note, however, that not all of my tweeted/FB links make it into these month-end posts. April was a very busy month, so there is a lot of content here; please return to this blog if necessary to take full advantage of all the links. Previous month-end posts are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

  • Philip K. Dick passed away shortly before the release of the Blade Runner movie. But, PKD did catch "his first glimpse of Blade Runner in a television segment," after which he wrote this wondrous letter to the Ladd Company, one of the film's production companies. The PKD Estate believes this is the first time the letter has been made public: "...I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people -- and, I believe, on science fiction as a field." [all emphasis is PKD's] (@WordandFilm via @PantheonBooks)
  • Grim_Noir on the PopTards blog revisits George Alec Effinger's Maríd Audran series of books 30 years later: When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss, and Budayeen Nights (which I acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press; here is my lengthy blog post on the making of Budayeen Nights, part one of three on my edited GAE books). Grim_Noir writes: "THIS is what Blade Runner wants to be when it grows up. (And I say that with the upmost respect for Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford AND Blade Runner.)...Thirty years after it was originally published, George Alec Effinger's Audran Sequence is STILL ahead of its time. The writing is sharp and goes straight at the gut, like a turbo-charged razorblade." (via Gordon Van Gelder's Facebook page)
  • After twenty-one years of teaching English Literature at Oakdale Community College in New Jersey, author Jeffrey Ford has retired from the teaching profession to write full time in upstate New York. One of Jeff's former students, Matthew Sorrento, pays tribute to his mentor, in this very personal post on Matthew's Identity Theory (@IdentityTheory) blog. For an instructor, it doesn't get any better than this.
  • On Amazon's Omnivoracious blog, Susan J. Morris (@susanjmorris) writes about "Engaging Readers on Page One" with a blog post entitled "Brilliant Beginnings." Susan covers the three most common "False Starts": Waking Up, Fight Scenes, and Origin Stories...of the Universe.
  • Speaking of first pages and opening lines: Glamour in Glass, the new novel by Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette), is missing its opening line. The sentence was there during the review of the page proofs, but then, shazam! -- it disappeared in the published edition. But not one to miss an opportunity, Mary has turned the missing line into a game, a t-shirt, and more.
  • This next entry was actually posted in March, but it didn't come to my attention until April: Adam Ruben's Experimental Error column in Science magazine's careers section tells us "How to Write Like a Scientist." "Why can't we write like other people write? Why can't we tell our science in interesting, dynamic stories? Why must we write dryly? (Or, to rephrase that last sentence in the passive voice, as seems to be the scientific fashion, why must dryness be written by us?)" (via @GrammarGirl and @literalminded)
  • How many ways do you know to piss off an editor? James L. Sutter, in a guest post on Inkpunks, provides us with all 9 ways: 1) Overconfidence; 2) Underconfidence; 3) Being a Pretty Princess; 4) Failure to Thrive; 5) No Website; 6) Going Dark; 7) Stalking; 8) Carelessness; and 9) Missing Deadlines. Check the link for a lot of detail behind each point. (via ChiZine Publications' FB page)
  • The Creative Penn blog (@thecreativepenn), which I reference quite often in these monthly wrap-ups, has another fine guest post, this one by author Matt Garland entitled "Professional Editors: The Smart Writer’s #1 Competitive Advantage." Matt writes: "Indie authors need a serious competitive advantage to earn respect and win readers’ hearts and minds. Without one, the odds of tilting the indie author playing field in their favor to attract eyeballs, establish credibility and gain loyal readers are impossibly stacked against them. So what's a smart indie author to do?" Matt recommends teaming up with a professional editor. He then details 5 points on how valuable an editor can be to an indie author.
  • Author Bradley P. Beaulieu guest blogs on The Mad Hatter's Book Review (@madhatterreview) with "Growing Pains: Lessons in Writing the Sequel." Author of The Winds of Khalakovo, and its sequel The Straits of Galahesh, Bradley writes: "While writing STRAITS I started to grow more aware of just how hard it is to write metaphysical stuff...."
  • Glimmer Train is a literary print magazine that has been known to include stories of the fantastic (don't tell them that I said this!); one of their authors, Brad Beauregard, shares some thoughts on "Where Can I Find Some Style": " isn't an outfit we don and toss in the laundry at night's end. Style is a body roadmapped with scars and tattoos, the sediment of time spent struggling, failing, and starting over. Style is the house you accidentally build while you're tearing walls down and throwing them in the burn pile. But most important, style is the thing writers struggle against, not toward." (via Jane Friedman's FB page)
  • Have you ever struggled with the title of a short story? A novel? Or even a blog post? That may be a good sign! In yet another guest blog post, on Ebon Shores, author and editor Cat Sparks shares some straight talk "On the importance of titles and why you should put some effort into ensuring yours don't suck." (via @editormum75)
  • The Center for Fiction hosts a series of blog posts by writers on writing, and in this post Dani Shapiro (@danijshapiro) talks about her never-ending fight against procrastination. "But then, finally, there comes a turning point. Finally, it is more difficult and painful not to write than to write. The not-writing feels untenable, unbearable. The feeling, for me, is a kind of exquisite despair. Here goes nothing, I think to myself. What do I have to lose? Pen poised over paper, the world recedes. And I remember again...that this is what it's all about. One word connecting, leading, to another, then another...." (via @Sirenland)
  • Andrew Zimmerman Jones, science writer for PBS's NOVA, poses the question: "Can science fiction influence the course of real science?" in a blog post entitled "Writing a Bold Future, Together."
  • Nathan Bransford (@NathanBransford), in an article for CNET News, explains "Why e-books cost so much." This article is in response, so to speak, to the current Justice Department case against ebook publishers for "allegedly colluding to raise e-book prices." Whether you agree or disagree, Nathan rolls out the numbers for an example of the "Wholesale model e-book" and the "Agency model e-book." And be sure to check out the 285 comments!
  • Author and editor Dario Ciriello writes about "Acting As If" -- "act as if, to pretend that we have the chops we actually don't yet; or, as Pat Cadigan once put it, 'show me what you wish you had.'" will "free you up, give you the space to play again, allow you to act spontaneously. It changes your line of attack from timid to confident, from negative expectations to no expectations, from fear to fun."
  • Stephen King has been in the news of late for both his newest Dark Tower book, The Wind Through the Keyhole, as well as his (political? economic? apocalyptic?) rant in The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast): "Tax Me, for F@%&'s Sake!" The header on the article reads: "The iconic writer scolds the superrich (including himself—and Mitt Romney) for not giving back, and warns of a Kingsian apocalyptic scenario if inequality is not addressed in America."
  • For all you convention participants, I'll close this link wrap-up with a blog post from Jay Lake (@jay_lake) on convention panel etiquette: "I cannot begin to count the number of occasions where the reading or panel before mine has run long, right up to the transition point, or even beyond it. Which is profoundly disrespectful to both audiences (exiting and entering) as well as the pros scheduled to have the room next. And wastes the time of a hell of a lot of people."

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