Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekly Round-Up (Apr.23-28)

This week, we saw the conclusion of Justin’s excellent series of Agency guest posts (by Robert Jackson Bennett and Robin Hobb); Suzanne Johnson wrote about her Urban Fantasy novel set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans; Ian Irvine wrote about the lessons he’s learned writing fantasy; Chuck Wendig provides some thoughts on the Big Idea behind Blackbirds; Tor US announced their eBooks were going DRM-free from July, and both Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi commented on the decision and what it might mean for readers and authors.

These are all largely from the first half of the week – I was rather busy after Wednesday – so feel free to share links in the comments of anything I missed.

Staffer’s Musings: Agency Series [Articles]

This week, Justin continued posting his series of Guest Posts on the theme of “Agency”. This week, Robert Jackson Bennett and Robin Hobb discuss their thoughts on the subject.

Whatever: “The Big Idea” by Suzanne Johnson [Article]

In this instalment of John Scalzi’s Big Idea series of guest posts, author Suzanne Johnson looks at the idea behind her novel, “Royal Street, an urban fantasy set in New Orleans during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina”.

Given how much New Orleans is part of Johnson’s life, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she started to feel withdrawal and homesick for the New Orleans she knew. The author also “read a fantasy book that tried to take on Katrina, at least in a tangential way, and got it very, very wrong.” It’s a really interesting piece, and has certainly piqued my interest in Royal Street.

Orbit Books: “What I’ve Learned” by Ian Irvine [Article]

“I wish I knew everything I know now, because when I began writing fantasy, I didn’t have a clue about the art of storytelling.”

An interesting piece by author Ian Irvine – whose latest novel, Vengeance, is out now.

“after all my experience, writing doesn’t get any easier. I still hate my first drafts – as, I suspect, do most other writers. But at least I know to persevere, because I now know how to turn a rough, flawed draft into a well-structured book.”

Whatever: “The Big Idea” by Chuck Wendig [Article]

“I’m dying. Don’t get excited. You are, too.”

That’s a good start… Great piece, written in Mr. Wendig’s distinctive style. I’ve only read one of his novels (Double Dead), but I hope to read Blackbirds very soon – it’s been receiving some great coverage and reviews. Maybe in the next couple of weeks. If you haven’t read anything by him yet, I highly recommend his work. Go! Buy something by Chuck Wendig!

BoingBoing: “Tor Books goes completely DRM-free” by Cory Doctorow [Article]

“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”

This is big news. And I can’t wait to see how it plays out…

"Now that there is a major publisher that has gone completely DRM-free (with more to follow, I’m sure; I’ve had contact with very highly placed execs at two more of the big six publishers), there is suddenly a market for tools that automate the conversion and loading of ebooks from multiple formats and vendors.”

It’s a very short piece, so I had to resist re-posting the whole thing, but Doctorow reckons it won’t be long before we see plug-ins and apps that allow for quick-switching of formats from Nook to Kindle and vice-versa. John Scalzi also offered some thoughts about this development:

“Does this mean it’s easier for someone to violate my copyright? It does. But most people don’t want to violate my copyright. Most people just want to own their damn books. Now they will. I support that. And I believe that most readers who like my work will support me.”

The next day, Tor UK announced that it, too, will be going DRM-free.


And on CR, it’s been a good week again – reviews of Anne Lyle’s excellent The Alchemist of Souls, Stuart Woods’s disappointing Mounting Fears, and Graham McNeill’s entertaining Eye of Vengeance audio drama; an interview with author extraordinaire Daniel Abraham; and it was a rather good comics week, with a bumper comics round-up, and reviews of Gates of Gotham, Last of the Greats Vol.1, Punisher Vol,1, and DMZ Vol.1.

Next week, I hope to bring you at least a review of Black Library’s next Horus Heresy anthology, The Primarchs and, time willing, a review of N.K. Jemisin’s highly-anticipated The Killing Moon (Orbit). I’ll also be bringing you an interview with Madeleine Ashby, author of the upcoming sci-fi novel, vN. There will be a couple of graphic novel reviews, and maybe reviews of the second wave of DC Comics’ New 52 releases: Dial H (written by China Mieville), World’s Finest, Earth Two and G.I.Combat.

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