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Robert Aickman to receive more recognition with tribute anthology
December 20, 2014 | 4:25 pm

From underappreciated minority taste, English weird and dark fiction author Robert Aickman seems on the fast track to resurrected greatness. And one further step in the process is the release by Undertow Publications, publishers of the very wonderful Shadows and Tall Trees, of Aickman's Heirs, "an anthology of strange, weird tales by modern masters of weird fiction, in the milieu of Robert Aickman" and paying tribute to his legacy, edited by notable weird fiction author Simon Strantzas. The table of contents for this volume has just been announced and includes contributions by John Langan, Richard Gavin, Lynda E. Rucker, D.P. Watt, and other...

Sieghart Report warns of “absolute disaster” in UK library services
December 20, 2014 | 2:25 pm

bookshelves-at-the-libraryThe just-released "Independent Library Report for England" launched by the UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has outlined a situation that its chief author, William Sieghart, has referred to elsewhere as the brink of "absolute disaster." And it calls for both wholesale renovation of the UK's library network, and recognition of their fundamental importance in society. For one thing, the Report seems to to all too aware of the danger of its conclusions being ignored by politicians. "There have already been far too many library reviews in recent years which have come to nothing," it warns. "Not enough decision makers at...

Macmillan CEO pens interesting letter on publishing state of play
December 20, 2014 | 12:25 pm

john-sargent.jpgJohn Sargent is CEO of Macmillan, itself one of the Big Five publishers, although perhaps lower key and less controversial than the other four. And he penned an end-of-year message to the company's "Authors, Illustrators, and Agents" which has appeared in full on the blog of Macmillan imprint Tor. It makes for some interesting reading. Sargent's choice of date is significant. "Today a portion of our agreement with the Department of Justice (called a consent decree) expires, and we will no longer be required to allow retailers to discount e-books." In principle, at least. Although, as Sargent explains, the verdict in...

Imtiaz Dharker receives Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry
December 20, 2014 | 11:38 am

Pakistan-born British poet Imtiaz Dharker has received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, one of the prizes and awards within the gift of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Instituted in 1933 by King George V, on the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry "is given for a book of verse published by someone from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm. Recommendations for the award of the medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, under the chairmanship of the Poet Laureate." I can't do better than...

GamerGate Zoe Quinn rape story self-published, pulled from Amazon
December 19, 2014 | 11:46 pm

ethicsgameI can’t say I ever expected to have an excuse to write about GamerGate here on TeleRead. The movement generally hasn’t had anything to do directly with e-books. Until now. TechCrunch carries the story of a 3,000 word e-book posted for sale on Amazon, in which five men rape a “controversial video game designer” named “Zada Quinby”—a very thinly-veiled Zoe Quinn, the game developer who has been the focus of many of GamerGate’s attacks. Lest there be any doubt, the book had “#GamerGape” (sic) in its title. The e-book has since been taken down, but the...

Ensorcelled by ‘ensorcelled’
December 19, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ensorcelledFrom Aaron Sorkin at his two HBO series hits "The West Wing" and the just-concluded "The Newsroom"  to poet and literary critic Wayne Koestenbaum, the seldom-used (but now increasingly spoken and printed) word "ensorcelled" has been making the rounds. Danielle Berrin at the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles likes the word, too, and has used it in some of her columns there. In a story about the famous acting teacher Stella Adler and her one-time student Marlon Brando, Berrin noted that the young actor was "ensorcelled" by Adler. Let me cite some other examples, too, and then I'll discuss this charming, enchanting,...

eReading while cruising
December 19, 2014 | 10:27 am

ereadingWhen I mentioned to Chris Meadows that I was leaving for my first ever cruise, he suggested I write something about ereading while cruising. I wasn't sure how I'd approach that, until I'd been on the ship for a couple of days. It was interesting to walk around the decks and see what devices people were using. Here's what I saw. The first day, Nooks outnumbered Kindles, but that turned out to be a fluke. After that first day, I saw only one other Nook. Kindles abounded, although most of them were the eInk versions. I saw lots of Paperwhites, one Touch,...

Morning Links: Amazon launches Prime Now. Book culture heroes of 2014
December 19, 2014 | 9:00 am

prime nowFive Book Culture Heroes of 2014 (Book Riot) I say this every year, but folks: it’s never been a better time to be a reader. This year, in particular, we’ve been blessed by some incredible people who are making book culture better and more inclusive. So here’s to the book culture heroes of 2014: thanks for your great work. We salute you. *** EU-Canada Trade Agreement May be Incompatible with EU Law (Techdirt) By seeking to move "behind the borders", tackling "non-tariff barriers" that are actually regulations protecting health, safety, the environment, etc., these agreements may interfere with too many core functions of how...

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, John Sargent: Major publishers learning, trying new things with e-books
December 18, 2014 | 6:30 pm

Here are an interesting juxtaposition of posts that just came to light today. In the first, Kristine Kathryn Rusch at last returns to blogging about the publishing industry with an end-of-year post that is both interesting and scary. Last year, I wrote an open letter asking the Big Five publishers if they’d learned anything from the Apple verdict. In her new blog post, Rusch suggests that they have, and it might not be good news for the authors who sign with them. Touching once more on the sales problems inherent in publishers no longer being able to schedule book...

‘Stormteller’ mixes fantasy, cli-fi
December 18, 2014 | 6:25 pm

StormtellerDavid Thorpe has penned a crossover YA fantasy novel titled "[easyazon-link asin="B00P1HYQOS" locale="us"]Stormteller[/easyazon-link]" and by crossover I mean it's for both young adults and adults. In a recent interview with Mr Thrope in Wales, where he has lived for more than 20 years, I found a man who writes not only to tell a good yarn but also to offer hope in a world that sometimes seems devoid of hope. Thorpe is a true optimist. And with "Stormteller," he has something important to import to his crossover audience of teens and adults: that one gains hope in the face of global...

Book review: Tales of Jack the Ripper, edited by Ross E. Lockhart, Word Horde
December 18, 2014 | 4:25 pm

With Christmas near, the evenings drawing in, the fog pooling in the alleys, and rapt listeners gathering closer round the fire to hear dark tales of quivering horror, now seems a good time to review Tales of Jack the Ripper, Ross E. Lockhart's superlative collection of modern-day stories inspired by one of London's most notorious sons. Or daughters. Or halfbreed offspring of drug-mutated monsters. Or deathless pursuers of fungoid parasites. Or any one of the 19 interpretations of that great unsolved mystery that you'll find in this book. Ross E. Lockhart, an author in his own right, has already built his...

Are there any real costs in open access publishing?
December 18, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The UK's JISC (formerly Joint Information Systems Committee), a government-linked think tank for IT leadership in education, has just released a new article purporting to lay bare "the true cost of publishing in open access." The implication of this title, of course, is that open access publishing does involve costs, including unacknowledged ones. But if so, how far? The article quotes Research Libraries UK figures "that the UK’s universities now pay around £192 million [$300 million] per year for access to academic journals and databases: that is nearly a tenth of the total QR budget for research funding." It details article processing...