Mind Melds, Depressing Hammers, Parasol Protectorates, and Lots of Work…

One month to go until World Fantasy Con, which is the launchpad for my five-week book tour–just added an event Dec. 10th at Chapel Hill Comics, co-featuring Mur Lafferty and special guest Natania Barron. It’s looking like 30 events in 35 days, gawd help me. I’m knee-deep in all kinds of work, so here are some links for a Thursday, and feel free to post your own or let me know what you’ve been up to (links may get caught in my spam filter and so may take a little while to appear).

– Charles Tan has an essay on the recent typhoon that hit his country, and how you can contribute to the relief effort.

– SF Signal has posted interviews with fiction anthology editors, in three parts. Interviewees include me and Ann. If you want to edit an anthology, analyzing these answers and making some bulletpoint lists would be a good start.

– Ball Peen Hammer is depressing but excellent. I’ve rarely read a book of any kind that disturbed me this much. I recommend reading it back-to-back with The Road, and then follow it up with watching Requiem for a Dream. Then just stay under the covers for a month waiting for the end to come.

– Gail Carriger’s Soulless is anything but. Ann enjoyed this one a lot, too–even gave me the idea for some of the questions. (Ann’s going to be doing a new-and-improved version of our old io9 art column, by the way, starting later this month.)

– An interesting discussion of the cost of e-books on Andy Wheeler’s blog, as well as interesting response here about where the real costs lie. The idea that e-books should be ultra-cheap is, of course, exacerbated by the number of free online downloads and other text give-aways, which create a psychological expectation that e-books should be cheap. Main thing I would argue is just: drive the cost down too low and you’re making it hard for an already struggling book industry to make a go of it. One thing’s for sure—e-books will soon become easy enough to create and distribute by authors that you’d be crazy to give up e-rights to a publisher. You’d sell the other rights, and then ride the slipstream of paper publication with your own e-book release. Or something like that. Mostly, my concern is that these types of changes, coupled with the push by some to revise copyright so it’s harder to retain control over your work, will make it more difficult to be a full-time writer. The fact is, most writers live off of the advances from their books, not money trickling in from weekly/monthly individual sales. That’s a different paradigm, and it’s not clear it’s a viable one—although it’s currently getting tested in a limited way by writers who’ve lost day jobs or been unable to consistently sustain their full-time freelancing income, through donation strategies. The irony is that those writers resourceful enough or lucky enough to find ways to get through those rough spots without resorting to donation strategies may wind up falling behind on the possible paradigm of the future. But, the fact is, none of us really know what will happen going forward.

6 comments on “Mind Melds, Depressing Hammers, Parasol Protectorates, and Lots of Work…

  1. GlenH says:

    I always find it strange when people cite The Road as hugely depressing. Sure the world and humanity as a whole is in an irrevocable mess but the world’s too removed to give a damn about, the savages too far removed from humanity to be worth morning and, most importantly, the ending is about as unambiguously happy and hopeful as they come.

  2. Yeah, you have a point. It’s become kind of a knee-jerk response to typify it as depressing.

  3. Yeah, The Road is actually one of McCarthy’s more chipper stories. I mean, Blood Meridian, The Outer Dark, Child of God… yowzers.

  4. Well, I mean, I was making a joke. But Blood Meridian–I didn’t see that one as depressing.

  5. Lol, I thought that book made car exhaust seem funny (though I still loved it). Actually, your initial joke got me thinking about how people pick books to read, or, rather, the sequence they read books in. Do you ever line up books like that? A series of dark books with thematic similarities or something? I guess I’m just curious about any causal links in choosing the order of books to be read (at least when professional concerns aren’t dictating the choices – and maybe even then).

  6. Naw, I never think about that. I can go on noir binges or nonfiction binges, but nothing more specific.

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