Jane Yolen Goes eBook-ish
Posted on June 18, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 17 Comments
This isn’t quite exactly a Big Idea post, more of a “Hey I think Jane Yolen is awesome so there” post: She’s releasing four of her adult-oriented books electronically today, including the novel Cards of Grief, and asked if she might borrow Whatever to talk a little bit about them. Well, sure, because Jane Yolen.
Oldest Living Luddite Recants
by Jane Yolen
Yes, I am the world’s oldest living SF writing luddite, you know, those folks who use to break up machines because such automatons violated God’s laws.
Yes, cell phones and computers have been known to die as I walk by.
Yes, I was married for 44 years (till his death) to a man who was an early Fortran programmer and later on tenured professor and even later on Chair of the University of Massachusetts Computer Science department. He loved me anyway. Or at least forgave me my shortcomings.
And no, I don’t own a kindle, or any of its kin.
So why are the first of my old out-of-print books being rolled out in e-book formats, bright and shiny from Open Roads Media for everyone else to be able to read but me? Four of them–Cards of Grief–my very first sf novel–and three short story collections: Dragonfield, Merlin’s Booke, and Sister Emily’s Lightship (the last contains my two Nebula-award short stories.)
Why indeed. Well, I may be electronically challenged, and have so far been incapable of using a GPS or a VCR or anything that is named in capital letters, but I ain’t stupid. If there’s a reader out there who only reads online or in ciphers, I want them to be reading my books.
And maybe, just maybe,if I am lucky and the stars align, they will love me almost as much as my darling late husband did. Or at least forgive me my shortcomings.
Written on a MacBook Air, so sue me!
I, for one, will be reading them! Because, you know, Jane Yolen! But also because they are otherwise Out of Print. And don’t let her fool you – she’s not nearly the Luddites she makes herself out to be – she can be found on, e-gads, Social Networks!
Honestly, you have no idea how happy I am to hear this. My copy of Books of the Great Alta is so dog-eared and brittle that I’m afraid to read it again, for fear that it will fall to dust in my hands. Being able to get Jane’s work electronically is, so far, the pinnacle of this day – -and I sincerely hope she gets SL/SD and White Jenna out there soon, before my hardcover breathes its last, dust-and-ink-filled gasp.
My copies of SL/SD and the rest have already died- I will be sooooo happy if they come out in eBook!
I knew Jane Yolen’s husband when I was a grad student at UMass. He was a nice guy.
I met Jane at a grad student/faculty party one fall, and we started talking about children’s literature. I had no idea who she was. I asked what must have sounded like a challenging question, because I remember her answer: “Well, I’ve won some awards…” Much later, I felt like a jerk for what I might have said, even though I don’t recall exactly what it was.
welcome to the 21th Century, we’ve been waiting for you.
As you may know, already influenced in prose and poetry by Jane Yolen, I earned my M.S. in Artificial Intelligence & Cybernetics in 1974 from the same department which employed Jane’s Husband (a wonderful man), but which was at the time Chaired badly by a proven plagiarist who drove away 1/3 of the department’s faculty. I was simultaneously closing in on my MFA in Poetry there, but was denied it because I would not sleep with the Chair of that other dysfunctional department. So I buckled down and wrote poetry and science fiction and the world’s first PhD Dissertation (1977) in what’s now called Nanotechnology. So color me a quantum superposition of Neoluddite and anti-neoluddite. Anyway, Jane also delighted my son, when he was a little boy, starting with a book about dragons… And the Yolen Clan is weirdly parallel to the Post clan, for having rather a large number of professional authors and editors, and attached to Scotland. Yet, so far as I know, I’m not in any e-books, and Scalzi’s explained why, in general. And Jane still rocks!
Luddites didn’t hate or fear technology, they were against an automation process that took the skill out of their professions and put them out of work. Machines that enabled them to do their work better were welcome advances.
As such, if we are going to be historical about it, when it comes to ebooks publishers can be Luddites because ebook creation is easy enough that they can be bypassed. Authors not so much, because ebooks actually help them by getting their work out to people who only read electronically, thus helping their careers. If you’re not au fait with ebooks it might make you behind behind the curve, but not really a Luddite.
I already own dead tree editions of all of these, but I’m delighted that they’ll be more easily available. Any whatever readers who somehow aren’t familiar with Jane’s works, nab these (if you must pick one, I’m partial to Merlin’s Booke).
Very exciting. I’m allergic to some of are hard copy books so I’ve run out and added these to my wish list as I have a couple gift cards coming my way.
Yay!!!!!!! I read & fell in love with Dragon’s Blood when I was a kid, and I’m so happy to see all of these older works out as ebooks.
My son loves Jane’s kids books, but she made an impression on me first not as an author but as a storyteller.
Not in print, in person.
Should you ever have the opportunity to hear her recount a tale, do not miss that chance. She truly has a gift for it.
…and her late husband was also an engaging speaker in class, though many would consider that more anecdote than story telling. I image that “how was your day, dear” was a much more vibrant experience at their home than at most.
I love Jane. For setting my mind alight with entire new worlds and deepening my love of books forever… there are no faults to her in my mind.
With such endorsements, I would have gone straight to check out the books.
However, since I dislike Amazon, is there any way to get it somewhere else (preferably as an epub file and without DRMs)
(OOPS found it…)
Two cheers! (Not three because of the prices)
Yay! I’m thrilled that all of these books (especially Cards of Grief) will be back in print in any format!
We don’t see Jane nearly as much as we used to since we don’t get to Minicon anymore, but I’m glad when we see her and I’ll be happy to pick up a copy of these books. I’m one of those who really don’t touch paper anymore – I find paper awkward and hard to physically deal with and inconvenient – and am happy to have a way to give money to good authors and get what I want (my personal review of “Human Division” was “Scalzi needs to write more books so I can give him more money. This will make us both happy”).