Half Century

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Yep, I hit the big 50 today and pretty much the most exciting thing I did today so far was renew my plates and driver’s license. Now I need to dig up that AARP card they sent me.

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Why I filter my comments. . .

I had really nice comment today on my latest blog post:

“With your ability, certainly you have learned praises before but I just want to involve to the many who have thanked you for what you’ve attained. Your work are one of a kind and show great insight. Thanks for your contributions!”

I almost approved it, since I rarely get spam on new posts. Then I look a little closer and note the slightly broken English. Then I note that while the comment might reflect the post I made on Book Chick City, it didn’t actually mention the post, or writing, or anything else concrete. It could be about anything. Then I look at the URL the poster used: a link trolling site.

Akismet Y U No catch this spam?

Internet randomness and cover design.

This post shows up in my RSS feed, which takes me over here, where one of the first links leads me over to this thread of awesomness.  Here’s the concept: Take random Wikipedia article, feed the subject into the LIFE photo archive and pick a picture, the article is your book title, the image is the raw material for your cover. . .

Some of the covers are fantastic, I want to actually read the book. . .

Twinkle twinkle little star

ADDENDUM: Charlie Stross gets in on the act.

God do I love Scalzi’s posts sometimes. Before I get into details, I should point out the origin of this meme in the actions of one asshat extrordinaire, Deborah MacGillivray who engaged in gaming the Amazon.com review system, mobilizing internet stormtroopers to vote down and report negative reviews as abuse and, in the height of insanity, precipitated a pile-on victimizing a single poor reviewer who complained about her tactics, to the tune of collecting personal information, making threats and generally behaving like a stalker a few pages short of a copy of Catcher in the Rye. Punchline? The reviewer so abused had dared to post a three-star review.

Scalzi’s response to this insanity seemed highly appropriate and psychologically healthy. He posted a selection of his own one-star reviews, and provided the following challenge:

[…] [T]o other authors with blogs, LiveJournals and etc: Post your one-star (or otherwise negative) Amazon reviews, if you have them, and you probably do. Oh, go on. Own your one-star reviews, man. And then, you know. Get past them. If you’re lucky, some of them might actually be fun to read.

So, in solidarity with all sane authors who don’t hire a PI or a hitman when someone trashes their baby, I hereby present— free of hand-wringing, teeth gnashing or snarky commentary— a selection of my less than stellar Amazon reviews:

Dragons of the Cuyahoga

It’s a mystery with any real conclusions. It moves from accusations of one group to accusations of another. The conclusion of the book is not supported by any facts in the story. It was merely conclusions that could have been taken any number of ways.

The authors writing left something to be desired. The use of big words added nothing to the story and did nothing but slow me down. It was as if the author was trying to show off his intelligence.

The use of profanity was unnecessary. The use of profanity by characters added nothing to the character development. There was no point to having it in the book.

Finally the book has very little to do with dragons. The first dragon dies in the prologue and the only other dragon in the story adds nothing to the story line. The title of the book is misleading.

Forests of the Night

It’s sad to be excited about a book beacause of all the good reviews here on Amazon, and then to find it is filled with racial stereotypes. I suppose this book is fine for people of European descent, but people of color like myself might be put off by the use racial slurs like “Japs” and “wetbacks” which are used by the main character. Am I supposed to like this character? The dipiction of black people also left me saddened. This book wasn’t written in the 50’s, was it? And here I thought he was going to be using the concept of the moreau as a critique of rasicism as opposed to more of the same old, same old.

Teek

This book is not a new concept. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have written about telekinesis and evil organizations attempting to control and experiment upon those with telekinesis before. It’s not a crime not to start out with an original concept: authors do it all the time. But what Krane failed to do was to provide an original slant and original characters. I couldn’t look at any of the characters and think of someone they reminded me of or that one of them might be someone I’d like to meet. They weren’t believable. Especially not Chuck. What teenager talks like that? He was full of annoying anachronisms.

Omega Game

This is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Very difficult for the reader to keep track of the twenty-odd characters in “The Game.” The characterizations are poor and no reason is given for the reader to care about these people. The plot is so tenuous and obscure that it is an effort to maintain interest. By the time you find out what has been happening and why – you just don’t give a d—. This writer knows very little about writing – at least in this genre – and I will not read anything else he writes. Save your time and money. If I could have rated it lower than one star, I would have.

Meme Ahoy!

Caught this from Maureen McHugh’s blog.
Meme: Post the first line of your first journal entry of each month for 2007.

(One thing strikes me doing this, how quickly Wolfbreed went from idea to sale.)

January, I’m Back. . .

  • And actually moderating comments.

February, New Blogger

  • Well, I just spent a good two hours updating this blog to the new Blogger layout, and if I’ve done everything right, you’ll probably notice no difference at all…


March,
Copies are in!

  • Yay!

April, Still Cranking

  • Hit 40,000 words on Wolfbreed yesterday.

May, Two Thirds. . .

  • I hit the two-thirds point, and plot-wise it’s all downhill from here.

June, O frabjous day!

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Wolfbreed is complete!

July, Agents Is Win

  • My search for a new agent has borne fruit! I have secured the representation of Elanor Wood at the Spectrum Literary Agency.

August, A Non-SF Novel Every SF Writer Should Read

  • People trolling in the genre mines of Science Fiction and Fantasy often harbor some resentment towards “mainstream” authors who manage to write books with heavy genre elements and get them to be taken seriously by people whose job it is to take books seriously.

September, Kirk Lives!

  • For Star Trek fans who thought James T. should have gone out in more of a blaze of glory…

October, But, then, how can you go around freaking the Mundanes?

  • There is a movement afoot, complete with manifesto, called Mundane SF.

November, I is playing wit mai toyz

  • I added a new little feature to the blog here. In the lower right there’s now a widget that’s keeping track of writing posts I flag on RSS feeds I’m subscribing to with Google Reader.

December, Guess What I Got in the Mail Today?

Eddie Vader Lego

Everyone’s doing it. . .
SF Signal, Big Dumb Object, Whatever. . .
. . . so I have to post it too. Eddie Izzard, Lego, Darth Vader.


Just to be different, here’s a bonus Eddie Izzard Lego video about movies. (Bet you didn’t know that was an actual subgenre) Warning, language not work safe.



More Blended Titles

Continuing the prior meme

* Behold the Man in the High Castle by Phillip K Moorecock
* Brave New Worlds of the Imperium by Aldous Laumer
* The Man Who Sold the Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein II
* The Eyes of the Dragonriders of Pern by Stephen McCaffrey

Title Blender Meme

I’ve caught another meme from the SF Signal Blog (patient zero for the meme being Literary Compass) The idea is to blend two book titles together by using the last word of one title and the first word of the second title. If you want, you can blend the authors’ names too.

Here’re my books:

* Trader to the Stars My Destination by Poul Bester
* Lucifer’s Hammer’s Slammers by David Niven and Jerry Drake
* Mission of Gravity’s Rainbow by Hal Pynchon
* Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Look Up? by Philip K. Brunner
* Lord of Light of Other Days by Roger C Clarke and Stephen Zelazny

If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged with this meme.

This Blog’s First Meme

I picked up this meme, it might be a little stale, but it is a cool idea:

This is a list of the 50 “most significant” science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, and put an asterisk* beside the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson*
7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury*
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe*
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison*
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester*
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson (couldn’t get much into book #2)
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson*
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven*
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson*
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner*
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer*

I’m a great Heinlein fan, but somehow I just haven’t gotten to his two books on this list.