cdave: (Default)
Ooh, apparently the British Science Fiction Association's survey of authors is winging it's way to me. Covering the results of two surveys, twenty years apart, and covering over 120 writers.

Didn't even have to ask for it, it's just a bonus to members :)

Sample survey response here.
cdave: (Default)
I'm still not reading LJ thoroughly, but I've seen a couple of different takes on the amazon macmillan dust up over ebook pricing last weekend.

I thought I'd describe my current book buying habits )
But what does that imply for ebooks?

Looking at it, most of the top end books, I get tend to be partially just because I want them now, but also because I want an author's signature or to add to a collection. So hardback novels are artefacts as much as story devilry vehicles, I'm unlikely to buy an ebook instead.

The middle ground's potentially interesting. I still feel the lack of artefact means I wouldn't want to pay as much for an ebook as a paperback, but I'd probably be willing to replace most of this purchasing habit with ebooks, if I wind up with a decent reader.

Ebooks are unlikely to replace the cheap's section as there's no second hand market for them. And I enjoy interacting with the aforementioned to-be-read piles to select something to read. Anyway, that's hardly the top end of the market they're trying to capture. Although I can imagine there's lots of free content on the net these days. It's how I've first read most of Cory Doctorow's stuff (of which I know own paper editions).

Or something like escape pod. Yeah, I can see how they'd be great for short stories magazines. I know donation driven short story sites exist online, but I'm not too keen on reading them for some reason. Actually, subscribing to something like Interzone or Analog that way would be pretty neat.


[1]As an aside, I've noticed for a while that I've not seen the shutters up at the Finsbury Park Comic shop. I'd assumed that I'd just not been past it before 6.30, when it shuts, but getting a glimpse through the open door last week, it looks like all the shelves have gone. And so has their website. It's a pity.

The owner said the Marvel/DC price hike hit at the same time as the relative devaluation of the pound. Combined with people cutting costs because of the credit crunch, he lost a fair few customers last year. Well, he lost me but that's not why. I stopped going because every single time I went in there, they hadn't put aside all of my standing order, and I had to rummage through their back issues, to see if I recognised one I was missing. They specialised in superhero comics with alternative covers anyway, so it was rare that I'd find a new serial I was interested in anyway.
cdave: (Default)
Okay, I may have failed to keep updating what I read in 2009, but I still have most of the books on one shelf, so will try and do a catch up post soon.

Meanwhile, I'd better start this year's list while I can still remember them.

1) Matter by Ian M. Banks.

Bought this ages ago, and took on Christmas holiday to France with me. On the basis that it would save me having to take 3 smaller books :)

The main "problem" with the Culture universe is that the Culture are at the top of the pecking order. Creating conflict within this utopia is tricky, so most of the novels are set at the edges. This is book that set largely outside their sphere of influence. This novel is largely centred around characters from a relatively primitive culture who are fully aware that they are several levels down from the movers and shakers of the galaxy.

Personally, this was a downside for me. The bits of this novel I enjoyed the most were the massive scale epic space opera moments. I just wasn't terribly interested as to what was happening to the these people's culture.

2) The Brentford Triangle by Robert Rankin

2nd in the The Brentford Trilogy

Hanging around with [livejournal.com profile] jamesb made me realise I'd been ignoring Rankin's books too long. Having bounced off The Da-da-de-da-da Code, when I won a review copy at the BSFA raffle, I eventually read The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of The Apocalypse and loved it, so went back to the start (pauseing briefly for Radio 7's broadcast of The Brightonomicon).

I felt this book flowed better than the The Antipope. Massively chaotic and surreal fun. Loved it. Glad I picked up the 4th book in the trilogy (with a Josh Kirby cover) for a song at the Novacon auction.

3) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

"Not Science-Fiction" my arse. I preferred cut for very minor structural spoilers. No plot spoiler. )

{ETA: Ooh! "what makes this [edition] unique is that the ending was rewritten for the Corgi edition, so dedicated fans will want to track this one down, to find out what happened in the original ending."}

4) Generation X by Douglas Coupland

I'd describe the protagonists of this as the 90's equivalent of "turn on, tune in, and drop out". The book follows three twenty somethings, who have chosen not to Be All They Can Be, but instead to work low paid, low responsibility jobs, until they've saved enough cash go backing round some far odd part of the world searching for themselves. The book is largely made up of series of stories which the characters tell each other, and serve as vignettes of the attitudes young adults in the late 80s.

I picked this up because I red a couple of his later novels last year. Personally, I preferred them, as they had a less fractured narrative.

The neologisms presented throughout in the footnote meet the "ignoble" test for me. First they make you laugh. Then they make you think.

PSA: PLR

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:17 am
cdave: (books)
Calling all authors. Seen this twice in 24 hours, via comics and SF.

I'd advise any published UK authors reading this who haven't registered for PLR to do so, as at over 6p a loan, that's a pleasant post-Xmas bonus.

Via J.N. Fenn's Garret.

RT Public Lending Rights, meaning you get a payment every time a book with your name on the title page gets loaned from a library
RT All the info you need to sign up is on their website: http://www.plr.uk.com/
RT Incidentally, you can't get away with just going into a library and writing your name on the title pages of all the books in biro.
RT Apparently.

Via @VictorianClam Laura Howell
cdave: (Default)
Last night I went to Forbidden Planet for the launch of Cory Doctorow's latest novel: Makers.

I was intending to buy the book and leave it pristine. Only rereading it once the serialisation on tor.com had finished. That plan lasted all of about 5 minutes. There's some good bits come up, some lovely character development, and at least one WTF? moment.

Speaking of WTF, that has to be the quietest book launch I've ever been to. I was shocked. I got there about 15 minutes into the hour, and there was only one person there. I spent a good few minutes fanboying (Cory recognised me from a previous signing! Eeh!) and SMOFing (Looks like he probably can't make it to Eastercon). And it was only as I was leaving that another person arrived.
cdave: (books)
At a recent BSFA interview I asked Jaine Fenn if she had heard about Charles Stross applying Bechdel test to his books, as her first novel was one of the few I had read recently that did have women talking to each other about something besides a man. She said at the time that she hadn't heard of that test, but hadn't written a strong female lead by accident. She's just realised that her next two novels don't pass.

I need to update my reading list for the year. It's tempting to apply the test to all the books as I do so.
cdave: (books)
The perils of being a science fiction author.

Charles Stross's tentative sequel to Halting State has had to be scrapped once again due to reality preceding art. Another major financial scam has come to pass.

Still I guess it's better than being pre-empted by Dilbert.
cdave: (books)
Statute of limitation on spoilers must have run out by now, but just in case, review behind cut.

Chapter 1 and 2. )

So far then. Some good characterisation in the interaction between Bond, and M. Two bits of spy background info-dumping to set up the enviroment. Everyone else has felt like background. I guess they are, but still...
cdave: (books)
Ooh, neat!

Penguin Classics are running a scheme where you get a 'free book if you blog about it'.

I've just been told I'll get Dr No. I read a couple of the bond novels when I was a teenager but haven't read one for years. It'll be interesting to see how mad the Villain is in the book version.

Having completely failed my new years resolution to blog about every book I read this year, I'm quite excited by this. Maybe I should pick that up, and start from now.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] the_magician for posting originally, and [livejournal.com profile] watervole for reminding me.
cdave: (Default)
These are the top 106 [EDIT: I count 105 here] books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you own but have not read.

Seen at [livejournal.com profile] offensive_mango

Unread book meme )

I really ought to do a recap on my new years resolutions soon. Get back on target.
cdave: (Default)
Amnesty are hosting another £1 book sale

30th August 2007
11am - 7.30pm

Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

I'm currently reading one of the books I picked up there last time, for £1. The whole Bourne trilogy.

Cross posted to [livejournal.com profile] uk_book_news
cdave: (Brains)
I'm currently cat sitting for an ex-neighbour of mine, while their on holiday. This has given me the opportunity to shamelessley pillage her daughter's book shelves, and I'm reading the entire Diana Wynne Jones back catalogue.

It suddenly struck me that Chrestomanci, and the current run of Dr Who, are really very similar. They're both Dues ex machina characters who turn up in strange worlds, or this world in a strange situation, get in trouble, then save the day for every one.

Most Dr Who episodes tend to start with the Dr turning up, and we follow the assitant as the problem is revealed ("Love and Monsters", and "Blink" being the exceptions). Where as in most Chrestomanci stories, we tend to see the problem developing, and Chrestomanci sweeps in much later. I think this perfectly reflects their mediums. Television tends to be very quick moving, whereas in a novel, there's a lot more time to lay the ground work.
cdave: (Default)
Stone by Adam Roberts.

Disclaimer )

Plot:
A criminal (a one in a billion throwback) is helped to escape from a very ingenious jail in a star. A condition is he must kill every human on a planet somewhere, or he will be turned over to the police. This is even harder than it sounds as all humans (except him as his punishment) have nanotechnology keeping them healthy. The only contact he has with his "employers" is via an AI grown in his skull.

He visits a few of planets, and cosmological phenomena, before, well, the resolution of the book.

A series of incoherent thoughts:

Quantum Mechanics is weird:
The main conceits are Nanotechnology and Quantum mechanics. It's used a few times to explain how things work in this universe, that don't currently in ours (such as FTL travel, and Intelligence). It's internally consistent, if not completely in accord with what I understand about the real world. That makes this Space Opera, but not Hard SF. Not that that's a bad thing. I do think the explanations of technology were at a good level. We get given some theory, but don't get bogged down in it. Then again, maybe I'm not the best judge of that, I like lots of infodump ;)

Characterisation:
This story is told out loud, by a Sociopath, about his earlier solo mission. It's pretty clear this story isn't going to be about relationships. The other characters who he does run across are all quite distinct, not cut from cookie cutters, and enjoyable. Ae himself though is quite likeable for someone who's trying to murder a planet.

Language:

One aspect of the world building is a language. There's lots of foot notes on the translation of the language into English. This language is supposedly derived from English, but has drifted over the years. This adds some sense realism as it really does feel like the sort of issues that translators come across. However, I found it quite jarring.

I felt the language drift was conveyed much better in the "Wellhello", which everyone says a greating. It's a nice bit of slang that: shouldn't become dated, is easy to decipher, and never appears in the middle of paragraphs, so doesn't give you a jolt. Plus I tend to associate "Well, hello" with the start of a Cory Doctorow's podcast, so it already feels futuristic ;)
cdave: (Brainy)
Dear Bookish people -

BOOKS FOR AMNESTY

BOOK SALE

Tuesday 17th April 2007
(Yes THIS Tuesday)
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL

11 am to 7. 30 pm.
with another fantastic opportunity to snap up bargains, grab your holiday reading and
satisfy that passion for books.....

ALL BOOKS £1

Nearest tube : Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Lines) then approx. 3 minutes walk.
Check out the postcode on www.tfl.gov.uk

Contact for further details on {edit: I'd better not put a mobile number on the internet, since I can't find it on Google}

Please forward this email to all bookish friends and acquaintances

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL : PROTECT THE HUMAN

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