Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews


Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012

book news Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012

RIASS stuff:

Calling all bookish Melburnians! RIASS and some bookish buddies are planning a night out at the Astor Theatre on the 9th of June. All welcome, so if you're a local (or wish to commute), feel free to drop by. Details'here.

A review of 172 Hours of the Moon, which I thought was a bizarre mash-up of Moon, Aliens, Event Horizon'and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. (Rating: star Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012halfstar Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012blankstar Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012blankstar Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012blankstar Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012)

A giveaway of'Out of Sight, Out of Time'by Ally Carter (Aus only, ends 27 May)

Are you'following us on Facebook? And have you'subscribed to our updates?

Other bookish stuff:

See what Arcade Publications has up its sleeve this month

Penguin Books Australia is publishing all the shortlistees of the Monash Prize as digital shorts

Congratulations to the finalists of the 2012 Campbell and Sturgeon Award!

Amazon bans Kindle Store spam

1600 year old Roman curses translated

Data journalism is the new punk'

Can you guess these classic books from their phantom covers?

Under 10% of self-published authors earn a living from their writing. Kind of like traditionally published authors!

An interview with William Gibson:'Cyberpunk today is mainly like a Pantone chip in the Pantone culture-wheel. 'Those pants are sort of cyberpunk.' 'That video has a sort of retro-cyberpunk feel.' We know what that means. If someone says 'her attitude is very cyberpunk', I don't think we're as certain of what's meant. I'm not sure what this means, but I do think it indicates something. In a cyberworld, there's no need for the suffix, and ours is a cyberworld. In a cyberworld, cyberpunk is punk. But it's not punk if you call it 'cyberpunk'.

Henry Rosenbloom on the doom and gloom prospects of publishing: The deeper problem, of course, is what happens to civil society when major outlets for serious journalism wither or disappear. This is not a hole that'Crikey'or'The Monthly'can fill. One final, eerie point: the drop in newspaper sales is very similar to (although not as bad as) the drop in the sales value of printed books over the same period. Thirty-five years ago, even a small publisher could expect to sell 3,000 hardback copies of any given book, and then around 5,000 paperback copies. Today, the average print-run is close to 2,000 copies (in paperback), and total sales of 5,000 would be considered a triumph. The similarity does not end there.Both print-legacy industries ' newspapers and books ' are facing similar problems for similar reasons, simultaneously. Both hope that digital developments will save them. And both don't know if they're right.

An interview with Carole Matthews:'I was always an avid reader, but never imagined that I could become a writer. I thought I might be a teacher or a travel guide or a hairdresser. I even toyed with becoming an Air Traffic Controller though I have absolutely no idea why. I spent several years working in an office, then several more years as a Beauty Therapist before taking my first steps to becoming a writer. It gave me a lot of good material for my eventual career!

Charles Stross on the state of science fiction: In recent decades SF'has'been spinning its wheels. In fact, in the past 30 years the only truly challenging new concepts to come along were cyberpunk and the singularity. Both of which amount to different attempts within the genre to accommodate the first-order implications of computers and networking as the defining technology of the near future (as opposed to rockets! for! everyone! a la Space Family Stone) ' cyberpunk was the sociological/post new wave SF modelling of a future derived from the 1970s and 1980s weltanschauung, and the singularity was the chew-toy of those members of the hard SF brigade who actually understood computers.But none of these seem to engage with the future in the way hard SF supposedly did in the 1940s to 1960s. What we call hard SF today mostly isnt hard, and isnt SF: its fantasy with nanotech replicators instead of pixie dust and spaceships instead of dragons.

Hows Kurt Vonneguts work holding up to the scrutiny of time? Well, if I've grown older and more respectable, then so has Kurt Vonnegut. Those old mass-market paperbacks you used to find him in, with their trippy covers and flaky pages, 50? used? They were part of the mystique. Now here he is, decked out in the publishing equivalent of black tie: appendices, chronology, annotations, textual notes and a page layout, as the Library of America boilerplate puts it, 'designed for readability as well as elegance.' Elegance?

YA Erskine chats about the inspiration between her novel The Betrayal: I got on with life and thought I was doing fine until nine years later when I saw my attacker in Canberra and promptly had a massive panic attack! At the time, The Brotherhood had just been accepted for publication and I was thinking about what I'd write next. So I came home and wrote and wrote and wrote ' exploring the idea of what might have happened had I pursued a complaint at the time.'Thus, The Betrayal was born.

An Interview with Shehan Karunatilaka, author of'Chinaman:'Prizes mean I get more press and a bit of money in the bank. Which are both wonderful things. But in terms of day-to-day, I'm still back at the desk grinding out a second book, which I would be doing anyway regardless of prizes.'It does mean that the book gets a longer shelf life, for which I'm very grateful. It's been a slow burn and I think this is a bit of a word of mouth book. So prizes keep the book alive, which is of course a good thing.

Interview with K. Hollan Van Zandt, author of Written in the Ashes:'The ego knows it will be annihilated in service of the muse. The best way to get around your procrastination is to stare the fear in the face and make a habit of writing- much in the way you brush your teeth every morning.

 Bookish News & Publishing Tidbits 25 May 2012

Jobs and opps:

Griffith Review call for submissions: Tasmania: The Tipping Point?


The SF Signal Podcast: An Interview with Author Helen Lowe


Ian McEwan on his writing process:

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