And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Linkee-poo is wondering why all the egg nog is gone

You may have to know my family to get that joke.

"We’re writing stories… And stories are for everyone." Kameron Hurley ostensibly talking about how we talk about SF/F books, but also making the point on how we should talk about books amongst ourselves. There's this thought out there that one of the reasons why SF is dying (it's always dying, BTW) is that the entry level is too high. You need to have read some previous works to understand the new ones. Complete elitist bullcrap. If I need to have read 15-20 books of canon before I can really read your book, you're doing it wrong. Now, if I have read those books, if it makes the experience of reading this new book richer, I'll buy that. I'll even buy that I need to read your series in order, although I think that's a market limiting move, myself. But if I need to have amassed previous knowledge of other works (or, say, have at least a masters level understanding of physics) to understand your story, I don't think you know how to tell a story.

It's somewhat of an open secret that genre writers have been involved in writing porn. In case you ever wanted to know why, "I was putting my daughter through college with the profits." From an article on how Amazon is cracking down on "cryptozoological erotica." "'The crackdown was meant to target the obvious offenders — ebooks… that fetishized incest and rape — but in their fervor to course-correct, the online bookstores started deleting… 'not just the questionable erotica but [also]… any e-books that might even hint at violating cultural norms.'" Want to make a quick million? Launch the Amazon of erotica (since Amazon seems bent on eliminating it from their shelves, but only the "bad" stuff they say, not the "literature" which sells. Also note, Amazon's not offering to give up any of the money they made from those earlier sales. There's a lot to this conversation that I'm going to skip over, though (such as, when all the participants are characters in a book, can we even talk about the concept on "consensual sex"? But over all I do support the impulse to ban incest and rape pornography/fantasy). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The dialect quiz map. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Cleveland Public Library just discovered it owns an original first edition of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I might need to take another trip downtown. (Grokked from

"The Kids’ Right to Read Project… says attempts to remove books from classrooms and libraries went up 53% this year, based on 49 attempts in 29 states." (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

The Krampus.

The five things photography has taught me. "When a graphic designer spends 15 minutes explaining the thinking behind a magazine spread and the hidden beauty that lies deep within—yep, you guess it: I don’t care. You won’t be there to explain your design to my readers, so you don’t get to explain it to me." You wouldn't believe how many times I've had to explain that philosophy when clients don't understand my presentation style. Can I do that dog and pony show? Sure. Are you going to hire me to do it for all your customers? Also, all these points are pretty good for writers as well.

Using Star Trek for evil. A man sells investors on tricorder technology, which doesn't exist. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Or you can use my phrase, sometimes the movie ain't about you. The ring theory when it comes to who one can dump their emotions on. "Comfort IN, dump OUT." (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The eight ways jellyfish are awesome and terrifying. Not to mention, some of them are huge.

The Yellowstone magma reservoir is larger and fuller than initially thought. Just another thing to keep you up at night. Also note, with a 640,000 year cycle, being 1000 years off is an error of less than 0.2%. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"But Chief Judge Theodore McKee, writing for a three-judge 3rd Circuit panel, said that 'in a world where air passenger safety must contend with such nuanced threats as attempts to convert underwear into bombs and shoes into incendiary devices,' the decision to detain George was reasonable." Let me just say that form an actual security standpoint, this is complete and utter bullshit. While I'm first to admit most criminals (and, yes, I'm a bleeding heart liberal because I believe that terrorists should be tried as common criminals, but mostly for the political message it sends) aren't the brightest (and thank the gods for dumb criminals), I don't think many terrorists use flash cards to learn Arabic. Call me naive if you will, but I think I'm on pretty solid ground here. This is security theater at its worst. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

The Edward Snowden interview. After all this and the people involved still don't get it. "Led by Google and then Yahoo, one company after another announced expensive plans to encrypt its data traffic… It was a direct — in some cases, explicit — blow to NSA collection of user data in bulk. If the NSA wanted the information, it would have to request it or circumvent the encryption one target at a time." That's so cute they think that. I really hate to say this, but for those people who watch and are attentive, what Snowden "revealed" was not news (including the tapping of Chancellor Merkel's phone). One bad website launch and people call for the repeal of Obamacare, but the revelation of an organization gone crazy on authority and there are no calls to repeal the Patriot Act (the foundation cause which started us down this path, there's been other laws since then), but only "modifying" laws to counter-act some of the things that have been revealed. Priorities, Congress doesn't have them in correct order. For long-time readers of this blog know my position on this, that President Obama hasn't rolled back these programs is my greatest critique of his presidency. There was an implied promise to do so. Screw all the other crap, this is the most important thing he could do. This is also why some of us, right after 9-11, argued vociferously against giving the government this power. It's crack to governments and once they get hooked, it's a hard, cruel cold turkey program to quit. And the cure is dangerous, and we as the people need to accept the danger it requires. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"Iron Maiden hired a(n)… analytics company… to determine where piracy of their music was highest, then scheduled tours of those countries. They made millions touring Central and South America." And that, friends, is how it's done.


Mer said...

Want to make a quick million? Launch the Amazon of erotica

Well, in fact, that's the problem. There are "Amazons of erotica" out there, but they don't have the household name recognition of Amazon. This is like when I was semi-mournful about the Decemberists writing a middle grade book that handily outsold mine and how--and my friend suggested starting a band so I could some day be a more successful MG author. :)

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Mer, well that is the problem that to find those other sites you need to go to the edges of the internet to find them. There's a lot of people who read erotica who don't like to be seen reading erotica and feel buying form Amazon doesn't make it so "naughty" (like reading 50 Shades wasn't "bad" because it was popular). So one of them needs to realize there's money in them that hills and gain popular brain space.

It's a tricky business model. I have a feeling (without researching it too much) that most of these sites feel if they try to gain general brain/market space they'll become a target for the purity brigades. Which is a well founded fear, IMHO. They'll have to tread a very fine line (which includes knowing and vetting all of the products they sell, which is enough to sink any venture right there).

I didn't say it would be easy, but there's gold at the end of that sweat soaked rainbow.