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Jared
London
Book loon. Occasional llama.
Recent Activity
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A quick update on where we are. Continue reading
Posted 20 minutes ago at Pornokitsch
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From Gangsterland to Choke Hold, Jared picks five books that explore the (not so wholesome) possibilities of Las Vegas. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Pornokitsch
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All the British & Irish works recommended by H.P. Lovecraft - with links! Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Pornokitsch
There's definitely a 'Booker Effect' - http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/oct/10/booker-prize-2012-winners-sales-data Which varies, but still has a fairly high 'minimum boost'. Bless it. But that skims over one of the Booker's not-so-dirty not-so-secrets, which is the very substantial 'marketing' contribution made by the publishers. It'd be interesting to compare the impact of the Booker vs the impact of, say, a targeted sales campaign for a single shortlisted book, using the same amount of money. I'm sure the Booker will come out great, but it will also, as you say, come from the vast amounts of publicity and incredible reputation. That's not to knock the Booker. More the reverse: it is an award that knows what it is doing. And still manages to make the news it generates about the books, unlike, say, many genre awards.
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The full interview itself won't shared until later this week. But let's be honest, that's not why you're here. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pornokitsch
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The perfect combination of sandworms, sock puppets, science and cake - get your tickets now! Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Pornokitsch
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Our occasional round-up of stuff: featuring the death of the book, ethical consumerism, vampires and Vermilion. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2015 at Pornokitsch
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New submissions opportunities - and more coming! Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2015 at Jurassic London
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As with all lists on the internet, this is absolute and definitive. Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2015 at Pornokitsch
That's really good news for all three. I actually rate Morgan and Abraham both immensely highly, and, in both cases, I've only read the first book of their epics. Which is ridiculous, as, in both cases, I liked the book a lot, but never got to it. So it'd be very handy if they snuck on... I'm completely with you on the 'good novels' vs 'fluff'. And, actually, Morgan and Abraham are examples of fairly hefty, weighty fantasy novels that have - as you say - intense themes and moral examination, while still being entertaining. (At least, the first two books seemed so.) I think Weeks might be in the camp of much more entertainment focused, but that certainly doesn't make it 'bad', just a different sort of good than, uh, 'good'.
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2015 on DGLA Season: Bring the Noise! at Pornokitsch
From the point of view of a small press, awards are a real cost/benefit thing - and analysis like this (as well as your tips for publishers) is very helpful. (My personal cost/benefit bugbear being awards that don't take digital copies - because the cost of shipping a half dozen physical copies all over the world can be a real deal-breaker for a small press.) From personal experience as someone fortunate enough to be on the publishing end of a few SF award nominees. The caveat is that some of these are nominations for a story, some for an entire anthology, some for non-fiction; so, ultimately, not comparing like for like, and rather horrendous anecdotal evidence. Definite sales uptick: Shirley Jackson Tiptree (by far the biggest boost of them all, and still going) EFG Sunday Times Short Story Award I suspect the first two are niche-but-respected juried awards, and people genuinely use the shortlists as recommended reading lists for that particular interest. And with the Sunday Times, it was simply 'big' enough that even if .01% of the people that noticed it bought the book, it made a noticeable difference. Nope: BSFA BFS Hugo It is worth noting that one each of the BSFA, BFS and Hugo nominations were for this website, and none made a noticeable bump in web traffic. The Hugo is also noteworthy in that, for the Best Related, we gave away 7,000 copies of the book in the pack - which is substantially more copies than have ever sold (by a factor of 10 or more). Given that this is the exact audience that 'should' have been buying the book, it could be that we simply cut our own throats in the eager attempt to win the prize. If we hadn't, and only 10% of Hugo voters had paid for the book instead, we would've doubled our overall sales. (But, needless to say, I'm immensely sympathetic of publishers that don't give away their novels in the voter pack.) As Tom says, measuring the value of awards by sales - short term sales, especially - alone is short-sighted. Jurassic gets a great deal of legitimacy from having trophies: they help us make new partners and recruit new writers & artists. Even if awards don't make a difference to actual readers, there's a certain industry currency to them. And, most importantly, it helps out the authors. Especially when you're a small press and you're not handing out six figure deals, being able to reward your authors with some sort of critical acclaim (or the chance thereof) goes a long way. And they deserve it!
Thanks! That's very flattering! From what I've read, my personal shortlist would be something like: Half a King, City of Stairs, Smiler's Fair, Retribution and Sworn in Steel. It would actually be kind of fun to have five votes, not just one. As it was, I voted for Smiler's Fair. The Boy with a Porcelain Blade got my debut vote, with The Emperor's Blades also a contender. The Incorruptibles is very good. I suspect all three will be on the shortlist as well, but who knows? The debut category is wacky. I'd really like to read Arcanum, the latest Richard Morgan, The Natural History of Dragons and the Gospel of Loki. And I suspect I will/would enjoy the Brent Weeks and Brian McClellan books. In fact, on that note, Lagoon may be the most critically lauded book on the list. But also the one that is least Gemmellian. Or epic fantasy. Or even, arguably, fantasy. A weird list, but a really good year!
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2015 on DGLA Season: Bring the Noise! at Pornokitsch
I am pretty glad I don't have to. Even the positive reviews I've read make it sound like it is a distillation of everything I hated about Wise Man's Fear. I'm not sure I could handle the experience!
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2015 on DGLA Season: Bring the Noise! at Pornokitsch
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And we're off and running with the David Gemmell Legend Awards, the prize that celebrates the year's epickest epic fantasy,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at Pornokitsch
Yup.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2015 on Weekly Fiction: Open for Submissions at Pornokitsch
Hi Kate - slightly buried in the list above! Try the 7th bullet under "Practicalities"!
We're looking for stories for Pornokitsch! Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at Jurassic London
Thanks Janine - someone else asked on Twitter at exactly the same time! And - good luck!
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"Let's get down to it. Hit me with your best shot. Why don't you hit me with your best shot? Fire away." Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at Pornokitsch
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I'm having a weird time with Joe the Barbarian. I struggled a bit while reading it, and thought this review was going to be a lot more... negative... but as I revisited it, I kept picking up on the bits it did well (the art, the delerium, the nifty minor characters). But I'm still not wholly sure how I feel. It may go into the 'good, but not for me' pile. I will check out Skullkickers now!
Hey Ciaran, I have indeed done my research. I'm a dual US/UK citizen and pay attention - and am kind of terrified - of both parties. I'm sure there are pleasant, nice people in them all [I've met some very nice UKIP voters], but that still doesn't comfort me when it comes to their policies. All that said, before our discussion of politics in SF becomes politics in politics, I'm very happy to agree with your point that opinions (beliefs? whatever) of various radical fringe elements have been incorrectly attributed to the Sad Puppies as a whole. I suspect if everyone started saying that I held the same views as, I don't know, Requires Hate, I'd be equally as discomforted. I wonder if the pre-war golden age-ness was also about the fact that there were fewer voices. I don't just mean that in the diversity sense (although that sort of applies), but also few outlets/channels/etc. etc. So the whole genre felt a little more single-minded. I'm not sure where this is going... Hmm. Ok. I think I believe that there's more good work coming out now than ever before in the past (even just as a matter of percentages, since there's so much stuff coming out). But because of the fragmented way fandoms work - and doubly fragmented with politics - we're not getting a holistic picture, and we're all being kept from seeing good work for bad reasons. Again, a frustration is with the Hugos is that we haven't been talking about the works for years, just the various structural flaws. I am very sympathetic to everyone's complaints (from all sides) about the Hugos not being representative because so many of people from lots of different places (geographic, demographic, political and 'taste') felt the same way (say, the entirety of the UK SF scene). There was a lot of good work that was simply never going to stand a chance of seeing a Hugo, and that was frustrating and unfair. Especially as the award loudly purported to represent the 'best in Science Fiction'. I think the Hugo might even qualify as a victim of its own success: the award convinced everyone that it mattered, so we all felt screwed over. Anyway - cheers for being polite, even as we disagree on some of this!
Sooooo... I agree that Correia and Torgersen have been credited, somewhat incorectly, with the politics of Vox Day and their other bedfellows, but I don't think that's unfair - when you join a slate with racist dogs, you pick up their fleas. Or whatever. (Mixed metaphor.) I'm not sure your political examples were particularly compelling. Or they may have been slightly more spot-on than you wanted them to be. I don't know much about French politics, but I struggle to see either UKIP and the Tea Party as role models of 'sensible' or 'not overtly bigoted' behaviour. (And, let's be honest, 'not overtly bigoted' is a pretty crap goal to aim for - how about just 'not bigoted'?) If you're going to find a Sad Puppies metaphor that paints them sympathetically, I wouldn't choose those parties as role models. I will grant them 'self-aware' though. They know exactly what they want and how to go about getting it. I don't agree with their philosophy, but I'm certainly impressed by the results. I'm not going to lie - I do find a lot of the rhetoric, from all sides of the aisle, irritating as hell. And I like the phrase 'spittle-flecked rant', and think it applies to a lot of the articles and blogging I've seen. The problem with party politics is that you wind up standing shoulder to shoulder with people you might not agree with. But even with that, I'd rather be on the side of the most frustratingly worthy "SJW" than Vox Day. Obviously other people may (and have) choose differently. Which, I think, brings us full circle to Justin's article? (Possibly?) It sucks (if you'll excuse the language) that our hobby - our choices of entertainment - are are now being dragged into the political quagmire. I like idea of science fiction as one of those things that unites the world - wherever we stand geographically or politically - and lets us talk/debate/argue/enjoy about Big Ideas and Interesting Things in a safe, positive, exciting, universal way. Having one's hobby degenerate into a crap microcosm of politics kind of sucks. I suspect that's something we can all agree on!
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Three new titles from Patrick Ness, Sally Green and Andi Watson. All brilliant, but in very different ways. Also, cats. Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2015 at Pornokitsch
Wheel of Time was in the packet (big packet!) - I think people kicked off that Orbit UK only put in extracts from a few of the others (Ancillary Justice, and the Stross and the Grant, I think?). But the voter packet is, from what I understand, more about getting the short fiction and other hard-to-find stuff. Publishers do sometimes dump in novels, but it isn't particularly cost-effective for them. Nor are they hard to find. SpecFic12 was in the voter packet the year it was nominated. Meaning we gave away something like 10,000 copies of a book that sold maybe 1/20th of that. Granted, given the nature of the book (showcasing bloggers' work) that's fine for our mission. But if we were actually a for profit entity? Ouch.
I have to say, the DGLA love is a weird result from the Hugos. I personally would recommend Goodreads Choice as a better example of an open-to-all vote. Not that I don't enjoy the DGLAs, but they've a) had some tech quirks that make them vulnerable to some arguments and b) are essentially a single category award. And they are also a demonstration that with zero barrier to entry, your shortlists look a lot like total sales. Now maybe that last thing isn't a problem: with the DGLA it isn't, because they are expressly about celebrating epic fantasy. It isn't an award about discovering the unread masterpieces or digging up quirky underdogs. It is about the joy of the blockbuster, and demonstrating the size and spectacle of a genre that otherwise goes un-celebrated (critically speaking. It does well in sales.) The Hugos have always taken the stance that they're an 'elevation' award - they are discovering and promoting based on 'quality' - the 'best of the year'. A system that purely and openly rewards popularity won't fly. Hell, look what happened when the Wheel of Time 'snuck' on there. GCA is probably a better comparison when it comes to something the (potential) size, scale and complexity of the Hugos. They also have multiple rounds of filtering. The only mystery there is how they populate their initial (very) longlist (which is also open to write-ins. But, again, Locus do that. You can be Recommended and have a running start, or have to be written in. Generally speaking, the more voters you have, the more useless subjective criteria become. The Hugos are currently at the sweet spot where they're not big enough to be a properly representative popularity contest and yet they're too big to have any sort of shared definition of 'quality'.