Monday, August 31, 2009

August Links & Things

Here are my links and such for the month of August. There aren't as many as there could have been, as I've had to become a bit more discriminating this month due to big projects and short deadlines. But hopefully everyone who reads this will find something of interest. These links are all from my previous tweets. I've listed them here, all in one post, and with additional detail and comment. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter.
  • I'm co-editing a theme anthology on the Fermi Paradox, to be published next year by DAW Books. One of my contributing authors, Paul Di Filippo, sent me a link to an article from MIT's Technology Review entitled "Fermi Paradox Points to Fewer Than 10 Extraterrestrial Civilizations." Making a number of assumptions, such as advanced civilizations will send out probes first to investigate other worlds (just as we have sent out the 10 Mariner probes, for example), and if "these probes can leave longer-lasting evidence of a visit -- evidence that remains for 100 million years -- then there can be no more than about 10 civilizations out there." Intriguing reading.

  • SF Scope reports: "This October, the Library of America will be celebrating the foundations of fantasy and horror in American literature by publishing the two-volume American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub." The two volumes -- 86 stories plus an introduction to each volume by Straub -- can be purchased separately, or as a boxed set. The article lists the complete table of contents, including the story title, author, and original date of publication. The stories date from 1805 to 2007.

  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her online Freelancer's Survival Guide. Now that she's finally completed her seven-part discussion on "Money" (in all its glory -- and pain), she's begun a new topic: "Employees (Part One)" -- or, "People You Hire To Do Stuff for You." Kris writes: "Here's the most important thing to remember about anyone you hire for any task: No one else will care about your business as much as you do. No one else will work as hard as you do. No one else will ever have as much at stake in your business as you do." Kris repeats this mantra in "Employees (Part Two)," but she also concludes this section with: "Finally, my advice on all things -- the more informed you are, the better off you'll be. That goes for employees, workers, finances, and just about everything else covered by this Freelancer's Guide. Stick to that principle and you'll do well -- even when hiring others to help you keep your business afloat." (via @KristineRusch)

    And one of the most important aspects of freelancing: "Time": "So I have a monthly nut—the amount it takes me to live every single month.... You need to figure out what your time is worth. You need to factor in the intangibles as well as the tangibles. (I don't take a lot of pain-in-the-ass projects; nor do I take projects that'll require me to leave home for months at a time.) You'll need to make sure you make your monthly nut plus some profit. And you'll need to factor in how much work you can actually do versus how much you think you can do."

    And, of course, "Deadlines": "Keep your deadlines. Be on time for your appointments. Open your stores on time and don't close them early. Respect your clients. Then they'll respect you in return."

    And "Patience": "You have to be so patient that at times it feels like you are doing nothing but being patient."

  • The New York Observer headline: "Note to Authors: Make Your Deadlines!" Evidently, in these difficult economic times, publishers are now starting to require that authors make their deadlines! Gawd, what a unique concept! Publishers are using late deadlines as reasons to renegotiate contracts, and even require that authors repay the advance. And if the book is way past deadline, publishers are now considering whether or not they still want the book. But as the article quotes at the end: "The reality is, you don't have to worry about lateness if they want your book. You only have to worry about lateness if they don't." (via @powells and @jay_lake)

  • The website "Marooned - Science Fiction Books on Mars" has compiled a list of 20 links to online stories about Mars. Authors include Kage Baker, Mary A. Turzillo, and Liz Williams. The blogger is calling it The Mammoth e-Book of Mindblowing Mars SF. Good -- and free -- online science fiction!

  • And speaking of "mindblowing SF," Matthew Cheney's blog, The Mumpsimus, has a list of "mindblowing" SF stories -- all but two by women authors -- that have knocked his socks off, so to speak, over the years. I was pleased to see my friend Judith Moffett's story, "Tiny Tango" (Asimov's, February 1989; reprinted in Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection, and Pamela Sargent's Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years anthology) included in the list; it was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula awards. [Disclosure: I helped Judith with a bit of PR for her latest novel, Bird Shaman, and I acquired reprint rights for her first novel, Pennterra, for Fantastic Books.]

  • Unless you've been hiding underground, I suspect you've heard that director John Hughes passed away on August 6 at age 59. Hughes directed such wonderful movies as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles, and Home Alone. Evidently, he began a "pen pal" correspondence with a young girl between 1985 and 1987, and that young girl, Alison -- now, obviously not so young -- shares her thoughts and those letters with us, including a telephone call she received from John Hughes in 1997, during which he explained why he left the Hollywood film rat race. Wonderful reading; guaranteed to bring a little moistness to ye olde eyes, no matter how much of a curmudgeon you are. As of this writing, there are over 1,330 comments, some just as wonderful -- just awesome. Enjoy! And thank you, Alison, for sharing with us this tribute to director John Hughes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marty Halpern Interview

Charles Tan interviews me today on his acclaimed blog Bibliophile Stalker. Charles asks a number of questions including how I got started in the field, my current projects, what, in my opinion, are the necessary skills for the various editor roles, and so on. I think I'm fairly straight forward with my answers, though pages would be required to fully respond to most of the questions. Regardless, the interview is more than 3,400 words so there is still plenty of content for inquiring minds.

If you should happen to read the interview, and have some additional questions or issues or comments for me, I would be most grateful if you would post them here on "More Red Ink" at the end of this blog entry. This will allow me easier access to respond, and in addition I will automatically be notified so that I will be able to respond in a timely fashion.

So I hope you'll click over to Bibliophile Stalker and check out the interview. It's my first online interview since early 2003, when Golden Gryphon Press publisher Gary Turner and I were interviewed
on SF Site by Nick Gevers (with whom I am currently co-editing an original anthology), upon the publication of The Silver Gryphon anthology.

Monday, August 3, 2009

July Links and Things

Since I just posted a new blog essay on the 31st, I thought I would wait a few days before posting July's links. And there are indeed a lot of them -- hopefully something to satisfy even those who think they've seen/read it all! In fact, to cut down on the number of these links in the months ahead, beginning this month (August, not July, as this is still July, so to speak) I'm no longer going to post any ongoing serializations. So if you are reading the serialized fiction being posted online by Cory Doctorow, Tim Pratt, Catherynne M. Valente, and John Shirley, then you may want to subscribe directly to those blogs/websites. I'll still tweet when new pieces are posted but I won't list them in my links listings in the future, only if it's a new serialization. You can receive all these links in real time by following me on Twitter. I have listed all of the July links here, all in one post, and with additional detail and comment.

The first July links entry is the publication of the reprint edition of author Judith Moffett's first novel, Pennterra. This was my first acquisition for Warren Lapine's Fantastic Books imprint, which, by the way, now has a new website. I had the pleasure of meeting Judith for the first time at ReaderCon in Boston last year, and we've become virtual friends, I guess you could say. Judith Moffett is not your typical SF author! She is an award-winning poet with a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, a couple of Fulbrights under her belt, and grants from both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also a world-class translator of Swedish poetry, who presented at the 1998 Nobel Symposium on Translation of Poetry and Poetic Prose. The list of accomplishments in her Wikipedia entry is awe-inspiring. When Pennterra was originally published in 1987, Nebula Award-winning author Michael Bishop wrote: "Stunning... the best first novel I have read in at least a decade... dangerous and breathtaking to behold." Ms. Moffett has a new novel available as well, Bird Shaman, that was published to coincide with her ReaderCon appearance; you can read about the new novel on her website and even order a signed and inscribed copy directly from the author (and at a discount, too). So am I plugging both of these books (and the author)? You betcha!

Here are the rest of my July links and things:
  • Author, geek, futurist Bruce Sterling gave the closing talk at June's Reboot 11 Conference. Video available. According to "In his closing talk from last month's Reboot conference in Copenhagen, Bruce Sterling guesses at what it will be like to live through the next ten years: 'It is neither progress nor conservatism because there's nothing left to conserve and no direction in which to progress. So what you get is transition. Transition to nowhere.'" Ya gotta love Bruce! (@bruces)

  • CrunchGear headline: "Indie Kindle author lands book deal." Boyd Morrison, self-published author of the Kindle ebook The Ark lands a two-book contract with publisher Simon & Schuster; the contract is for The Ark, to be published in hardcover in 2010, and the sequel. Morrison became a member of the Kindle Boards and did all his own self-promoting. This is the first reported instance of a self-published Kindle author scoring a book contract with a major publisher.

  • Author John C. Wright (The Golden Age et al.) shares his writerly expertise with new writers in his "Ten Commandments for How to be a Writer." Actually, there is an Eleventh Commandment that John refers to as the "unwritten rule": "When you get a rejection slip, be thankful." His insights on rejection slips are quite inspiring.

  • The Deadline Dames (@DeadlineDames) are a group of nine urban fantasy & paranormal romance authors. Dame Devon has posted an essay entitled "A Forest Full of Trees," in which she discusses rewriting/revising one's manuscript. Good stuff, for writers and editors both. She lists twenty-one "Big Picture Revision Questions" to ask yourself about your manuscript. #4: "Are the senses fully employed? (Sight, smell, touch, taste, sound)" #10: "Is the dialogue working to move the story forward in ways the narrative can't?"

  • Author Holly Lisle's (@hollylisle) blog provides a lot of step-by-step material for writers. A recent entry, "How To Create a Character," lists six bullet points, followed by a lengthy discussion on -- you guessed it -- character creation. The last bullet point is: "Do write from your own life." At the end of this blog post, you'll find a link to a "Character Creation Workshop," which links to a "Dialogue Workshop," which links to a "Maps Workshop," which links to a "Scene Creation Workshop"... Also at the end of the "How to Create a Character" post is another link on "How To Finish a Novel," which links to "How To Revise a Novel," which links to "How To Collaborate," etc. You get the idea. You could probably spend days, if not weeks, on this site.

  • Author Kim Wilkins steps us through "The Science of [Self-] Editing" -- the author doesn't include the word "self" in the blog title, but I feel the need to do so, since "self-editing" is far different from what I term "editing." Regardless of the nuances, Kim has some good stuff to say about the self-editing process: "For those of you embarking on a self-edit, the most important thing to remember is to be methodical and detached.... I do this, all the while imagining that I'm not the person who has to fix it. Makes it far less overwhelming (though a little more pathological)." She goes on to explain her own [self-]editing process.