Daily Archives: December 4, 2008

Never Mind This Post

It’s just a test to see if I can write an entry from my phone. Just in case, you know, I HAD to. And the answer seems to be: apparently I can. Just very slowly. Go me.

Also, to answer the question of how I’m doing with the BlackBerry storm: tolerably well, thanks. It does not fill me with the bitter hate it seems to engender in others; I suppose it helps that this is my first smartphone and I have either no basis for comparison or bad habits to break. Either way, it’s working fine for me. Suck it, David Pouge.

Okay, now let’s see if I can publish this sucker.

Suggest Some Books For the Holidays

Since I mentioned a couple of entries back that one way you can help the publishing industry pull out of its fiery death spiral is to actually, you know, buy some damn books, I think it’s appropriate at this point to open up a thread and let people suggest books they think people should consider as gifts this holiday season. Suggest books in any genre you like, fiction or non-fiction, or for any audience — what matter is you think they’re good. I would only offer three tips in making your suggestions:

1. Pick recent books (the last year or two is good);

2. If you’re an author, don’t flog your own books, flog someone else’s;

3. Per point two, don’t suggest my books; I figure people here don’t really need to be prompted on that score.

I’m personally suggesting The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway, because it’s meaty wacky crazy involved future apocalyptic reading that people seem to either love or hate but are definitely never bored with, which makes it perfect for people who like to argue both about and with their books, which is most people I know. Also the fuscia-and-green cover certainly makes it stand out, doesn’t it (here’s the somewhat more sedate UK cover).

What do you suggest, book-wise, for this holiday season? Share! Share! We have shoppings to do!

Religion and Science Fiction Movies

My AMC column this week looks at how religion and spirituality is portrayed in science fiction film, because it was an interesting panel topic this last weekend at LosCon, and I thought you might like to play the home version as well. As always, comments are closed here but open over at AMC, so be sure to leave some thoughts there; this one has the potential to be a juicy comment topic.

Also a small note that the column, after several months, is finally revealed to have a name:

This was a title I gave it before it started, but it’s not been used until this week. If you have to ask what the referent is in the column title, I’m sorry to inform you that you must turn in your geek badge now, and never come back. That’s just the way it is, chum.

Publishing Asks Why It Is In a Rapidly Descending Handbasket

Yesterday I received a few solicitous inquiries from friends and/or fans asking if Wednesday’s massive publishing industry torpedoing (chronicled here by Andrew Wheeler) had somehow sucked me into its briny wake. The answer, in brief, is no. I’m fine, my books under contract are fine, and while I’m as concerned as anyone would be about their chosen industry going all explody around them, for various reasons I’m personally well-positioned to get through this stuff reasonably well. So: No worries here. I appreciate the concern.

That said, these are gruesome times for publishing, and a lot of folks are not as well-positioned as I am. Imprints have vaporized, layoffs have begun, and it’s better-than-even odds that a number of authors and books are going to get shaved off of publishing lists. 2009 is also likely to be a singularly lousy time to be an aspiring debut author, as publishing houses consolidate their lists and focus their resources on established avenues (i.e., spend their money on people who are already bestsellers) rather than seeking out new folks. Basically, life’s gonna suck in publishing for the next year or possibly two.

You ask: What can I do to help things suck less? Well, in a larger, overarching sense, there’s not much you can do — publishing isn’t the only industry that’s hurting at the moment, as you might be aware, should you keep track of the news. We’ve all got to get through this crap together. In the smaller, more immediate sense, however, there sure is something you can do: Buy some damn books.

Fortunately, this advice is well-timed: Books are inexpensive yet valued objects, which means that they make lovely gifts for whatever holiday festivities you subscribe to this time of year. Now is a fine time to introduce friends and loved ones to some of your favorite authors — and in doing so, you’re boosting that author’s sales, which will make his or her publisher marginally less liable to dump their shivering ass onto the street. You’re giving a gift a loved one will appreciate, you’re doing your favorite authors a favor, and you’re doing your part to keep editors and publishers from hurling themselves out of high-rise windows. Truly, everybody wins.

So, go: Make this a bookish holiday season. You know you want to anyway. I, my fellow authors and a grateful publishing industry thank you in advance for your cooperation, and for your seasonal purchases.