Things I know, things I wonder, things I’d like to say:
* Notable science fiction author Norman Spinrad has had difficulty placing his novel He Walks Among Us with publishers in the US and UK, so he’s released it as a shareware novel, with a suggested price of $5 (although he notes in the text of the document that "more will be gratefully accepted and less will not be scorned"). Spinrad suggests that his novel "may be the world’s first shareware novel," although personally I can think of at least one other novel that started out that way, and some six years ago at that. Nevertheless I welcome Mr. Spinrad to the ranks of shareware authors and hope it works out as well for him as it did for me. You can get more information on the book, plus links to where it’s downloadable, off of Spinrad’s own site.
* In the realm of books that you have to buy — not only because that is how they need to be acquired but also because you should acquire them — is Pretties, Scott Westerfeld’s latest YA novel and the sequel to Uglies, both of which take place in a world where everyone is made to be beautiful whether they want to be or not (that’s pretty much the gist of it, anyway). The reason you want to buy this is because not only is Scott a good friend of mine, but he’s also the writer that when you were a kid you wished you could be when you grew up, provided you wanted to be a writer when you grew up (and possibly even if you didn’t). This and Uglies would also be fine, fine books to give to a teenager right on the cusp of giving up the ghost of individuality and throwing their lot in with the vapid shallow types because that’s just how high school is. This is the sort of literary intervention session for which you’ll be thanked later. I’m just saying, is all.
* One more interesting thing, writing-wise: Claire Light clued me in to Chasing the Fourth Crusade, a blog in which author Nicole Galland is following in the steps of (guess!) the Fourth Crusade, which is the one where the Crusaders had planned to take Jerusalem by way of Egypt but then took a wrong turn at Alberquerque and sacked Constantinople instead. Like you do. You may not know this about me, but I’m endlessly fascinated by the Crusades, particularly the ones that ended poorly for the Crusaders (which would be most of them, actually), so this combination history/travel/writing blog is pressing most of the right buttons for me, and I think you might enjoy it as well.
* My quick reaction to all the news of the last several days:
Meirs Withdraws: I’d probably be more excited if it weren’t for the fact Bush will now most likely nominate someone to the right of Pat Robertson.
Sheryl Swopes Comes Out: Good for her. Shame she plays in a state that’s about to ban all marriage to make sure them gays don’t get any hot marital action.
Iran Wants to Annihilate Israel: What, this is a policy change?
Dick Cheney Wants to Let CIA Torture People: What, this is a policy change?
I’d have deeper things to say about each of these if I wasn’t waist-deep in submissions at the moment. But I am. In fact, I need to get back to them right now.