July 1st, 2012


Plunge in Progress

Plunge Magazine is now OPEN for submissions!  Issue 1 will feature queer women in mythology.  All flavors of queer (lesbian, bisexual, asexual, genderqueer, etc.) are welcome.  Send us fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.  Please read the submission guidelines for details.  Share the news with anyone you think might be interested.

Buzzkill: Apocalypse

This popped up on the SFPA list recently:

Diane Borsenik's end-of-the-world poetry anthology "Buzzkill: Apocalypse" just came out as a chapbook from Night Ballet press.  It's not a science-fiction poetry anthology per se, but of course with a theme of the end of the world, it does trend toward speculative poetry, and you'll see a lot of familiar names in the SF poetry community, along with a lot of poets not usualy associated with SF poetry.
And yes, apocalyptic literature IS science fiction because it's set in the future.

Ebooks and Information Loops

I found this article, "Your E-book Is Reading You," courtesy of Jason M. Waltz on Facebook.

From the main article: "It's no secret that Amazon and other digital book retailers track and store consumer information detailing what books are purchased and read. Kindle users sign an agreement granting the company permission to store information from the device—including the last page you've read, plus your bookmarks, highlights, notes and annotations—in its data servers."

I am strongly against ebook programs recording how people use ebooks.  That information is very valuable and VERY dangerous.  If it's tracked at all, it should be done only on an opt-in basis by fully informed users.  For me, it's another reason to avoid ebook readers, and an outright dealbreaker for the Kindle (one of several). 

Jason's remark on the forwarded link was, "This is all for the better I believe. My only hesitation would be if authors began awaiting feedback before continuing to write, rather than continuing to write while using the feedback. I agree entirely with Jonathan Galassi's statement "We're not going to shorten 'War and Peace' because someone didn't finish it." As for 'Big Brother' fears, there's still printed books."

I think that one valuable aspect of writer/reader feedback is that it can identify which material more people wish to continue.  Crowdfunding is terrific at that, because the more popular projects or items within project will get more sponsorships and prompts.  This happens with my poetic series, for instance.  Some have only a few poems; others have dozens.  Readers want more of their favorites, and I want to write stuff that is more likely to sell.  I like almost all the stuff I'm writing -- aside from a few oddball prompts that I tackle just for the exercise and wouldn't have chosen on my own -- so it's quite helpful to me if other folks help prioritize what gets more of my writing time.  I'm still free to continue series that I love just because I think they're important.  But I find that my favorites coincide pretty closely with my audience's favorites, most of the time.  The big series are all ones that I love too.

A potential drawback to this kind of feedback loop is mentioned in the main article: "Mr. Hilt says that when the data showed that Nook readers routinely quit long works of nonfiction, the company began looking for ways to engage readers in nonfiction and long-form journalism. They decided to launch "Nook Snaps," short works on topics ranging from weight loss and religion to the Occupy Wall Street movement."  Tailoring material to reader tastes, great, maybe those short pieces will attract more eyeballs and fill the gap left by the plummeting magazine and newspaper subscriptions.  But the catch is, if people cut back or quit writing and publishing full-length nonfiction books, we're going to left with nothing but sound bytes.  That's a disaster.  Many topics do not lend themselves well to article length.  There's more to writing than popularity or profit -- sometimes it is about gathering, recording, and spreading important information.  The people who need that will darn well finish the book.  If it exists.