Just Arrived, 1/27/11
Posted on January 27, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 21 Comments
Catching up on some of the books that have come to my door recently:
* Pale Demon, Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager): Witch Rachel Morgan has to get all the way across the country in order to appear at a witches convention to defend her life, in three days, without flying, supernaturally or otherwise. Needless to say, this will not be an uneventful road trip. The same thing happened to me the last time I took Greyhound. This one is out on February 22nd.
* The Girl Who Became a Beatle, Greg Taylor (Feiwel and Friends): A girl becomes a Beatle. No, for reals, y’all. It’s totally all there in the title. It’s not false advertising. This one hits February 15, and author Taylor will be here to do a Big Idea piece on it then.
* Mad Skills, Walter Greatshell (Ace): A woman recovering from a traumatic brain injury discovers that the technology placed in her head to aid in her rehabilitation has another purpose as well. A sinister purpose, you ask? As if there is any other kind! This is out now.
* Welcome to the Greenhouse, edited by Gordon Van Gelder (O/R Books): This science fiction anthology has climate change as its theme and has original stories by Bruce Sterling, Greg Benford, Judith Moffet and M.J. Locke, among others. And for all of you about to snark “What? A Greenhouse book while we’re encased in snow?!?” there’s a difference between weather and climate. Don’t make me smack you, yo. Available 2/21.
* The King of Crags, Stephen Deas (Roc): The second book in Deas’ “Memory of Flames” series packs in prophecy, political maneuvering and more dragons than you can shake a stick at. Go ahead, try. You’ll shake that stick, and then dragons will be all, “really? That’s all you got?” And then they’ll eat you. That’s what you get for annoying a dragon, fool. This arrives next Tuesday.
* Death Cloud, Andrew Lane (Farrar Straus Giroux): It’s Sherlock Holmes! In teenage form! Solving mysteries, as he does. This book has been authorized and endorsed by the Doyle estate, so there you have it. Also, Lane will be here next Tuesday to get into the details in a Big Idea post. Which is also the day the book comes out. Count the days! Count them!
* Napier’s Bones, Derryl Murphy (ChiZine Publications): A man who uses numbers to make magic finds himself on the run across two continents, on a journey where not making it out alive will be the least of his problems. Your pocket calculator will not avail you! This one is slated for the first day of Spring, i.e., March 21.
* Golden Reflections, Fred Saberhagen (Baen): This is kind of interesting: This book features a classic novel by Saberhagen (Mask of the Sun) followed by seven stories in the Saberhagens’ Inca/Aztec-dominated universe, from David Weber, Daniel Abraham, Jane Linskold and others. Not a bad way to reissue an old work to new audiences. Out Tuesday.
I read a paper ARC of “Golden Reflections” a while back. The original story was Saberhagen’s usual well-thought-through storytelling, and the implications of his base premise played out beautifully. The contributing authors took that premise and danced with it. I enjoyed all the stories, and Turtledove’s “Eyewear,” John Maddox Roberts’ “The Conquistador’s Hat,” Dean Wesley Smith’s “Remember,” and David Weber’s “Washington’s Rebellion” were particularly choice.
It was well worth my time to read them all.
Ghetto? I always thought dragons had more of a valley thing going on.
Really like the idea of presenting a classic Saberhagen tale and then offering tales in the same universe done by other well respected writers. Will definitely be picking “Golden Reflections” up.
The Girl who became a Beatle – as in becoming a Fab Fourth? that sounds interesting.
there’s a difference between weather and climate Hear Hear! Time more people pointed that out.
This book has been authorized and endorsed by the Doyle estate
Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, though, right?
They didn’t pull that thing they did with Peter Pan and make its copyright last forever did they?
John, as far as I can tell, The Greenhouse (which I have on pre-order) is to be available on 1-31, not 2-21. (At least it says “books ship 1-31”.) I have been able to sneak a peek an e-review copy of it and the foreward and introduction are intriguing, at least.
I’m going by the information on my ARC.
Like Greg, I read “This book has been authorized and endorsed by the Doyle estate” and went, Wha? The use of the word “endorsed” and the fact that Sherlock Holmes is indeed in the public domain make me wonder if this is like asking a father for her daughter’s hand in marriage, even when she’s old enough to have reached the age of consent. Asking for his blessing, as a gesture of respect. Hm. Do people still ask the father for his daughter’s hand?
Lyle Blake Smithers:
As someone who got the consent and approval of the Piper estate before selling Fuzzy Nation, even though the original is in the public domain, let’s just say that having the go-ahead of the estate has its benefits.
Seeing this news had me feeling put-out for about ten minutes, and then I discovered that my contributor’s copies were waiting for me at the post office. And now I have them, so I no longer have reason to feel crabby.
I agree with John about the “Sherlock Holmes in the public domain” thing. Nobody’s saying the character *isn’t* in the public domain, but it’s a nice gesture of respect to at least ask the estate first. For all anyone knows, if some great great grandchild of Conan Doyle reads a non-endorsed story and doesn’t like it, it’s at least theoretically possible the author could be looking at a lawsuit. It’s highly unlikely such a suit would actually go forward, but it’s a good idea (imo) to hedge one’s bets just in case.
Wikipedia says Henry Beam Piper died in 1964. Current copyright terms are life-plus-50 years, which would put his books into the public domain in 2014. I believe there were some points where copyright terms were extended that some works did NOT get the benefit of the extension due to odd timing. The Copyright Act of 1976 changed terms from 28 + 28 years to “life+50”. maybe “little fuzzy” didn’t get picked up by the extension?
It is available on Project Gutenberg, so it’s definitely PD.
Here’s a weird graph of term lengths.
Wikipedia says about the 1976 copyright act: “The extension term for works copyrighted before 1978 that had not already entered the public domain was increased from twenty-eight years to forty-seven years”
Learned something though. I think. Maybe.
current terms are life plus 70.
it’s at least theoretically possible the author could be looking at a lawsuit. It’s highly unlikely such a suit would actually go forward, but it’s a good idea (imo) to hedge one’s bets just in case.
you can get sued for anything. Whether it goes forward or not is a different matter entirely.
Way back in the day, when copyrights in America could expire while the original author was still alive, I’d probably at least have a conversation with the original author before writing a derivative once the original work entered the public domain.
I’m not entirely sure about consulting whomever inherits the copyright, especially given how inheritance several times over can result in someone who didn’t even know the original author suddenly becoming the rights holder of their works.
Some day, all the music written by the Beatles will be public domain. But the rights to the Beatles music was recently owned by Michael Jackson just before MJ died. Not sure who inherited the rights after he died. I don’t think I’d feel compelled to get their (whoever they are) permission to use a Beatles song once they enter the Public Domain.
Just once, I’d like to see the technology not be sinister. Like maybe it’s helping you live your best life or be your best you or lose weight or find true love or anything other than yet another sinister plot. Why can’t we have brain-implant-Oprah instead of brain-implant-Manson?
Eridani@15: Because it doesn’t make an interesting story, usually. There are cases where you have “brain-implant Oprah,” but it’s usually (never?) the main focus of the story. For the same reason, aliens are usually the bad guys, unless you’re writing Star Trek (or Agent to the Stars). Frankenstein stories sell. A feel-good story about the technological betterment of humanity is something we tend to *think* we want, but without conflict, it’s boring.
Genetically-enhanced people portrayed in a positive (or at least neutral) light is just as rare; the only example I can think of at all is in Japanese animation (specifically Universal Century Gundam, where the “newtypes” are nominally the bad guys, but Tomino routinely shows them to be ordinary people). Everyone just assumes that every genetically enhanced (or even naturally evolved) human will be Khan Noonian Singh.
The Girl who Became a Beatle? Someone finished Larsson’s fourth Millennium book? Excellent!
For non-sinister implants you could see Iain M Banks’ Culture novels. They’re part of the world-building rather than at the core of the story but they certainly affect the lives of the characters significantly and benignly.
The The Girl Who Became a Beatle, eh? I guess the cockroach thing has been done.
Oh, and ditto Elaine Gallagher’s comment at #4, re weather/climate. People who make “smart” remarks about this or that bit of weather disproving (or proving) climate change are either ignorant or are trying to be funny and failing. (And/or they’re slimy politicians like Jim DeMint.)
The Girl Who Became a Beatle, is this about Yoko Ono I wonder?
Definitely looking forward to Pale Demon, I love this series. Although I thought Rachel Morgan got her problems with the witch authorities mostly straightened out in the last book?
Looked up The Girl Who Became a Beatle on Amazon. It’s totally a wish-fulfillment YA novel with a fairy godmother, yo. Just a heads-up for those thinking it’s non-fiction.