Three weeks in and I’m keeping my promise of publishing every Monday. I’m rather impressed with myself. Let’s see if it can last. I really have no excuse to fail at this – the whole thing is already written and I just have to upload a new episode each week.
Anyway, go to the A ‘Verse Full of Scum page and you can read the next installment. Drop a comment here if you have any opinions to share or feel free to email me.
I came across this little literary gem through the Brascoe Books blog. Bookseller magazine has announced the shortlist for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. This year’s shortlist is:
I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen
How to Write a How to Write Book
Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
Cheese Problems Solved
If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood
Horace Bent, The Bookseller diarist and custodian of the Diagram Prize, said, “I confess: I have been anxious that as publishing becomes ever more corporate, the trade’s quirky charms are being squeezed out. Lists are pruned, targets are set, authors are culled. But happily my fears have been proved unfounded: oddity lives on. Your submissions for the 2007 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year were as rich and varied as ever. Drawing up the six-strong shortlist was a fraught and wildly controversial process.”
You can read all about each book on the shortlist and learn more about the whole bizarre thing at the Bookseller website.
William Gibson and Michael Moorcock are both going to have a good year in 2008, gaining recognition that they richly deserve.
Michael Moorcock has been named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2008 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Presentation of the award will take place at this year’s Nebula Awards banquet in Austin, Texas, on April 26th.
Moorcock is the 25th writer recognized by SFWA as a Grand Master. Check out this list of people that make up the previous 24 recipients:
Robert A. Heinlein (1974)
Jack Williamson (1975)
Clifford D. Simak (1976)
L. Sprague de Camp (1978)
Fritz Leiber (1981)
Andre Norton (1983)
Arthur C. Clarke (1985)
Isaac Asimov (1986)
Alfred Bester (1987)
Ray Bradbury (1988)
Lester del Rey (1990)
Frederik Pohl (1992)
Damon Knight (1994)
A. E. van Vogt (1995)
Jack Vance (1996)
Poul Anderson (1997)
Hal Clement (1998)
Brian Aldiss (1999)
Philip Jose Farmer (2000)
Ursula K. Le Guin (2003)
Robert Silverberg (2004)
Anne McCaffrey (2005)
Harlan Ellison (2006)
James Gunn (2007)
That’s a list just bulging with imaginative talent. You can see the official SFWA announcement here.
William Gibson, one of my all time favourite authors, will also be honoured this year. According to Locus Magazine he will be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in June.
The induction ceremony will take place at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum on June 21st, 2008, in Seattle, in conjunction with the Locus Awards Weekend. Talking about lists of exemplary people, check out the list on the right hand side of the Science Fiction Museum website here and see who Gibson will be sharing his new home with.
Two people that greatly deserve the awards.
Reading Neil Gaiman’s online journal recently I followed the link to an article that Neil said he had enjoyed immensely. It was written in the New Yorker by the novellist Michael Chabon. I’ve read one Chabon novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and it’s a book I can’t recommend highly enough. So I took Neil’s advice and read the article.
In it Chabon discusses the reality behind the costume of the superhero and the fact that the costumes are as impossible as the superheroes themselves. It’s a brilliant article and will be of great entertainment to comic book fans and non-fans alike. Take a quick look at these examples of regular humans (but please, don’t look too long) and then go and have a read of the article yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
You can find Michael Chabon’s excellent New Yorker article here
It’s getting harder and harder these days to keep up with all the stuff on the internet that interests me. There are so many blogs and news sites that I like to keep up with that I find it hard to get anything else done. As with pretty much every time saving device, the computer has only made us busier and more frantic.
In an effort to keep these things under control the advent of RSS feeds and news readers started to streamline the whole process. I imagine that most of you out there are far more in touch with this stuff than I am. I realise that I’m a lazy philistine when it comes to keeping up with technology. However, I’ve just started using Google Reader to keep up with all the blogs that I like and I thought I might recommend it here in case any of you out there haven’t discovered it yet.
If you’re happy with your current methods, then don’t let my current novelty interests change your ways. However, if you’ve been looking for a way to keep up with things then you could do a lot worse than Google. I’m always resistant to such things. I have this inbuilt aversion to successful monopolies. I resisted Google for ages because I sneered at their data-mining activities and insidious advertising. But the truth is that they’re very successful because they’re very good. Now I use their email systems almost exclusively and I have a Google online homepage to keep all my online stuff organised. Part of that homepage is Google Reader which gathers all the blogs and things that I want to read into one place.
To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, have a look at this video. If you like what you see, use your gmail account (or set one up for the purpose) and start pasting urls into your shiny new Google Reader. Naturally you’ll want to add The Word to your collection, so simply paste the url (http://www.alanabxteronline.com) into the “Add subscription” box and you’re away.
Basically, far better than having loads of blogs bookmarked and regularly checking to see if there’s anything new, just have one reader bookmarked and check that daily. It’ll tell you if there’s any new content on any of your favourite sites.
(I wonder if anyone out there considers this news? Probably just about every Word reader is shaking their head and muttering, “Welcome to the 21st Century, Al.”)
Episode 2 of my serial novella is online now. Use the Navigation panel on the left to go to the SERIAL NOVELLA page and check out the new pdf file there.
Don’t forget to use the Subscribe box on the right if you want to sign up for reminders when new posts are uploaded and be sure to pass the link around to your contacts if you like what you read.
Direct link: http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/a-verse-full-of-scum
As anyone that reads The Word would be well aware, I’m a sucker for language. The name gives it away really. So I’m always on the lookout for good information, history, discussions, what-have-you of all things word related. Few things fit the bill better than Op-Ed Magazine. Not only am I a fan of them, but they seem to like me too and have signed me up as a contributing writer. So yes, there’s something slightly spammy about this post, but don’t let that put you off.
Op-Ed Magazine is a new(ish) online publication that touts itself as “Opposite the Editorial – World writings based on a word”. A more detailed explanation can be found on their About page:
One word can say it all and each monthly issue of Op-Ed is based around a single word. Our global team of contributers (Amsterdam, Seattle, Minneapolis, London, Taiwan, Australia) use that word to describe the world around them in whatever form tickles their fancy. It could be prose, essay, political commentary, cartoons or poetry. It’s a grab bag assortment of great writing and global creativity.
My first piece for them appears in the latest issue which has just been published, so go and check it out and see what you think. If you like it, be sure to tell all your friends, family and colleagues. And I’m always keen to hear what you think, as ever, so feel free to comment here or email me.
You can find this fine publication here: Op-Ed Magazine. There’s also a link in the Cool Places To Visit box in my sidebar for future reference.