Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November Links & Things

I'll be offline throughout the Thanksgiving weekend -- and the following week I'll be finishing my current project. So, I decided to post this month's Links & Things now, as opposed to later.

About this current project: I'm editing/copyediting the forthcoming (third) "Bob Howard/Laundry" novel by Charles Stross, entitled The Fuller Memorandum, to be published by Ace Books next year. The first two titles in this series are The Atrocity Archives (2004) and The Jennifer Morgue (2006), which I had acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press. And thanks to Charlie Stross's recommendation, I am able to work on this third title as well. I'm on target to complete my work on this book next week, after which I hope to blog about how this project came about.

Until next post... Here are my links and such for the month of November. 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: @martyhalpern.

  • For those of us who bemoaned the demise of Firefly on Fox seven years ago -- and must now content ourselves by watching the series on DVD -- the writers of ABC's Castle, which stars Nathan Fillion, gave a bit of a shout-out to Captain Mal Reynolds with this opening clip from the Halloween episode. This is just pure fun!

  • And in the same spirit, here is Jimmy Fallon with a spot-on impersonation of 1970s Neil Young, singing "The Prince of Bel-Air." I am a die-hard Neil Young fan, and if I was just listening to the audio of this performance, I would swear it's the man himself. The only thing missing would be the myriad patches on Neil's/Jimmy's jeans. A wonderful performance.

  • Every month there's always some big blowup in the world of writing and publishing; last month it was the new Federal Trade Commission guidelines, and this month it is the new Harlequin Horizons imprint. Essentially, Harlequin announced a new imprint for self-publishing. When they reject an author's submission -- a work that's not good enough to be published by the Harlequin name -- they will suggest/recommend the Horizons imprint through which the author can self-publish said book that wasn't good enough for Harlequin. Unfortunately, the author will pay to have this book self-published, get only 50% of the NET (not cover price) of each copy sold, and Harlequin makes all the rest of the money. In response, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) have dropped Harlequin from their "approved" publishers list. Jackie Kessler, an author of dark fantasy and paranormal romance ficition, has done a line-by-line breakdown of Harlequin's response in her current blog post; as of this writing there are more than 125 comments.

    Update: In an article in the San Francisco Examiner, Harlequin has announced that they will rename this self-publishing imprint, thus removing the Harlequin name. And, the
    Mystery Writers of America have also threatened sanctions against Harlequin, removing their name from MWA's list of approved publishers as well, if Harlequin does not respond to accusations by December 15.

  • If you are a fan of cover art, web site presents "A History of Science Fiction Classics, Told in Book Covers." The books include 1984, Brave New World, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Fahrenheit 451, I, Robot, Neuromancer, Stranger in a Strange Land, and War of the Worlds, to name but half of the titles. From hardcover dust jackets to paperback covers, with a few foreign editions thrown in for good measure, the covers are all here. Some great cover art, to be sure.

  • For all you Fantasy geeks: on SciFi Scanner author Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) talks about "The Eight Worst Anachronisms in Fantasy" movies. For example, in Kate and Leopold (2001), Leopold, Duke of Albany (Hugh Jackman) knows the plot for the opera La Boheme -- a play that didn't premier until 1896, yet the movie takes place in 1876. In King Arthur (2001) barbed wire is used, but it doesn't get invented until 1874. The comments provide additional examples. So, words of wisdom for all Fantasy writers: Do you homework! Fact-check!

  • According to, "A group of US authors, including Ursula K. Le Guin, is bypassing the traditional publishing process by publishing direct on Amazon's Kindle and Sony's e-reader. Book View Press was founded earlier this year by members of Book View Café, a co-operative of 27 award-winning and bestselling authors." Other authors in the collective include Vonda McIntyre, Sarah Zettel, and Laura Ann Gilman. In fact, Ms. McIntyre is serializing her novel Superluminal (Houghton Mifflin, 1983) on Book View Café, with free weekly downloads. Chapters 1 through 11 are currently available.