Daily Archives: March 3, 2014

The End of the Nook

I was given a first generation Nook by a friend of mine in 2010, and yesterday, after a week at sea and in the sun, the thing gave up the ghost. I got roughly three and a half years of use out of it. On one hand, for a piece of handheld electronics, that’s not a bad run. On the other hand, it’s a reminder that the life of electronic equipment, relative to a decently-produced physical book, is tragically evanescent. The mass market paperback of The Human Division which is sitting on my desk at the moment has the potential to outlive me and be accessible to anyone who has the ability to pick it up (and read English); the electronic version of it I have via B&N* lasts only as long, effectively speaking, as I keep a B&N account — or B&N exists at all.**

Be that as it may, I really do like e-ink readers; they’re easy on the eyes and on power supplies. So I went ahead an bought the latest generation of Nook e-ink reader (this one, specifically). Given the state of B&N’s Nook business, it might be the last e-reader of that brand I’ll have a chance to buy. But if it lasts at least as long as its predecessor I won’t have too much reason to complain. At this point, I think it’s clear that you buy these things with the understanding they don’t last forever.

* Yes, I buy finished electronic copies of my books. I can afford it.

** I am aware of course that I can strip off the DRM of any book I buy and just port it to another reader. But that takes work. I’m likely to avoid doing that work for as long as I possibly can.

Get Your Official Insect Army Coffee Mugs!

Due to popular demand, Ursula Vernon and I are making Ursula’s fabulous “Roachie the Riveter” art available on coffee mugs, perfect for quaffing your favorite beverages while you clack your way into the literary world. We’re doing the mugs through Zazzle, because it’s easy and because we know they do a pretty good job with mugs.

Also, I’m happy to say that any artist proceeds from the mugs will go to two fine organizations: The Carl Brandon Society and the Xerces Society for Pollinator Conservation. It’s a nice way to show your allegiance to diversity in SF/F and, well, bees and other such useful creatures.

(For those of you going “huh?” to this, here’s some context.)

And yes, of course, I have ordered my own. Two, actually!

In Case You Rely On Me For These Things: The 2013 Nebula Awards Nominees

And I have to say, it’s an excellent slate this year. All information taken from here. The winners will be announced at the Nebula Weekend this May, in San Jose.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Novel

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

Best Novella

‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun, Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick)
‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (lawrencemschoen.com, 8/13; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

Best Novelette

‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,’’ Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

 Best Short Story

‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Not Exactly a Case For the Scooby Gang

There is evidence to suggest the neighbor kids used the backyard hill for sledding, perhaps earlier this very morning.

Which, I would hasten to add, is perfectly fine. They’ve asked before, and we’ve given them blanket permission. It is in fact a lovely little hill to do a bit of sledding on. It would be a shame if it were not used for that purpose at all. Given how cold and cranky this particular winter has been, I’m delighted the kids are getting some fun out of it.

The Human Division Paperback Out in the World

I was on a boat and/or Grand Cayman last Tuesday, so I neglected to make a big deal out of The Human Division coming out in paperback on its release day — and indeed, had not seen the paperback version of the book before I left on vacation. However, the bookstore at the Fort Lauderdale airport had a nice stack of them. So here they are, for your perusal. It looks great, if I do say so myself.

If you’ve not previously gotten a copy, head over to the book vendor of your choice and get it. Once again, my daughter’s future college education thanks you.

Post-Oscar Notes, 2014

My cats got me up early and I can’t get back to sleep, so I might as well make something useful out of it. And thus, a few post-Oscar thoughts.

1. For those of you who missed it, I did post some updates to my predictions prior to heading off on vacation; I appended them to my original post here. With the updates, I ended up going my usual five out of six in the major categories, sticking with Amy Adams for Best Actress mostly out of sheer cussedness (although I noted I was ready for people to say “told you so” when Blanchett won). I am however happy to say my bet that Her would get a screenplay award paid off. Go me.

2. Between the Oscar nomination announcements and the ceremony, I was surprised both by the major fade of American Hustle, which I thought was going to be a front runner, and the (to my mind) resurgence of Gravity, which I thought had peaked. But then, this is why I do an immediate prediction post and then a followup — there’s more than enough time between nominations and ceremony for things to change.

3. I noted in my original prediction post that I thought a Best Picture/Best Director split was likely this year, and I was correct about that (even if I initially was wrong about to whom the Oscar would go to). As I noted at the time, one reason a split seemed likely to me was that Steve McQueen, the director of 12 Years a Slave, was also a producer of the film. He’d get an Oscar if 12 Years won Best Picture, even if he didn’t get the director statuette. This made it easier for voters to honor Cuaron for his immense technical achievement in Gravity. Note that with Gravity and 12 Years flipping the wins in the categories would have the same effect as Cuaron was also a producer on his film. Either way, however, everyone goes home happy (except David O. Russell).

It’s also significant that McQueen is either the first black producer, or at least one of the very few (my quick jaunt through Imdb/Wikipedia is inconclusive) to win a Best Picture nod (Mr. McQueen is from the UK and therefore not African American). Cuaron is likewise the first Latin American to win Best Director. A couple more barriers down.

4. Incidentally, with 12 Years winning, Brad Pitt now has an Oscar; he was a producer on the film. We also now live in a world where Matthew McConaughey is an Oscar winner, which is a state of affairs I do not believe anyone would have thought possible even three years ago. Likewise Jared Leto. What a world. There are worse worlds to live in, to be sure. Possible few that are stranger.