Vaguely book-related

You know the drill: links with pithy comments.

  • Let’s start off this list with Jo Walton costing me a pile of money. I’ve mentioned before enjoying her reviews, and finding significant alignment between her tastes and mine… so when she reviews a series of spy novels that I somehow have never even heard of, and makes them sound very interesting indeed, that’s going to get me interested in reading the books. Then when the comments support this almost universally, and include the fact that I’ll have to have read these in order to get all the in-jokes in the next of Charles Stross’ Laundry books… well, let’s just say I’m going to have to track down a set of these books. Fortunately a mission like that, which once would have been a noticeable effort, has been reduced to the work of but a few minutes at the keyboard. Although I might just wait, since it looks like Phoenix is starting to reprint them in July. (And how is it that I’ve not previously heard of Price–it seems rather unlikely.)
  • Generally speaking, I prefer print interviews and transcripts to video and/or audio–I find I can take in the material faster, and in most cases that’s the key point. For some authors though, I like to try and get a better sense of their personality through the additional information you get via those other channels. This is generally why I enjoy Rick Kleffel’s interviews. Another example would be Peter Straub’s Youtube Q&A session. Or Lawrence Block doing a reading. I’ll take the time to watch those.
  • I believe I have made my feelings on Fred Phelps and his brood pretty clear, so you can imagine how pleased I was to find a whole book on them, free online. There’s some interesting back-story to why the book is currently public domain, but since it is, you can have a look at Addicted To Hate. You know, if you have a strong stomach. If you’re more of a video guy, I’m still recommending the piece Louis Theroux did–you can find it on youtube by searching for “The Most Hated Family In America“.
  • I have distinct memories of reading The Merchant of Venice in high school English–and unlike rather a lot of Shakespeare I haven’t revisited it, or had chance to interact with it as an adult. Even given that, I did find this piece about how teaching the play has changed over 30 years for a particular instructor very insightful.
  • In one of those weird bits of synchronicity, the link to that last article was immediately preceded in my RSS reader by a link to this. Gifted Toronto artist Eric Kim has been doing two panel versions of The Bard’s works (“Thespian Thursdays”), and that’s his take on The Merchant. You should absolutely also check out Eric’s online web comic Streta. It starts off looking like it’s going to be a relationship story, and then right around page 5 things get nuts! Great fun so far, check it out.
  • I’m not too impressed with the it’s-not-plaigarism-it’s-remix-culture-you-don’t-understand-because-you’re-a-dinosaur argument. First off, I have Negativland albums that I’ve been regularly listening to since before the person making the argument was conceived, and I am–right now, as I type this–listening to the Kleptones, so don’t tell me I don’t get remix culture. Secondly, you know what one of the key characteristics of a remix is: that you don’t start by claiming it’s entirely an original work until you get caught sampling. Bah. Get off my lawn.
  • Yeah, so they’re going to do a trilogy of movies adapting Asimov’s Foundation trilogy… as 3D motion capture movies. Yes, that’s right–you will be able to see the predictably behaviour of statistically significant sets of humanity over time IN 3D. I predict a lot less talking than in the books, and many, many more exciting space battles.
  • Hey look–a free electronic version of one of John D. MacDonald’s pulp novels. Have I mentioned my contention that JDM is the single finest storyteller produced by America in the last century?
  • Hmmm. Harry Stephen Keeler seems to be tweeting from beyond the grave. You know about Keeler, right? Gaiman calls him “one of my very favourite authors in the world. Greatest bad writer, or worst great writer, of 20th century.” I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s sure fun to read–even in 140 character chunks.
  • And finally, you writing process junkies–and you know who you are–might want to watch Graham Joyce’s feed closely for the next little while.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada
This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.