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Hugo Gernsback: The man who put the Hugo – and the bad karma – in the Hugos
April 21, 2015 | 4:25 pm

The sad Sad Puppies saga in the Hugo Awards casts an unflattering light - in fact, two lights - on the man whose name they bear: Hugo Gernsback, "who founded the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories and who is considered one of the "fathers" of the science fiction genre," as the Hugo Awards Wikipedia page says. In fact, in 1960 he received a special Hugo Award as "The Father of Magazine Science Fiction." And the two lights are: first, Gernsback's personal ethics when dealing with his stable of pioneering science fiction authors, which according to quite a few sources,...

Book review: A Mirror of Shalott, by R.H. Benson, Archive.org
April 21, 2015 | 2:25 pm

English Catholic priest and author Robert Hugh Benson was one of the more eccentric and gifted scions of the family that also produced E.F. Benson (of ghost story and Mapp and Lucia fame) and A.C. Benson (author of "Land of Hope and Glory"). Son of an Archbishop of Canterbury, he left the Anglican priesthood to become a Catholic in 1903, and was appointed a supernumerary private chamberlain to the Pope in 1911. A prolific author, he published numerous novels and devotional works after his conversion, including the early dystopian science fiction/horror novel Lord of the World. He also produced ghost...

Your new literary competitor: IBM Watson
April 21, 2015 | 12:25 pm

As if competition from the giant online slushpile wasn't enough, seriously writerly folk now have an even more alarming threat: computer-generated works. And if you're a cookery writer, this is now a genuine and serious prospect. Because IBM's artificial intelligence/cognitive computing system IBM Skynet ... oops, I mean IBM Watson ... has now been set to work on human gastronomy, in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), and has whipped up "a new book...introduced on April 14, 2015 – Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson. It features more than 65 original recipes exploding with irresistible new flavors developed by Watson...

Templates on way for Google Docs editing
April 21, 2015 | 10:25 am

Google Docs may not be the first choice of writing and editing software for all authors, especially compared to venerable Microsoft Word, but Google's free text productivity solution has a lot going for it - not least integration with Google Drive for cloud-based backups, and its privileged position on the ever-more-popular Chrome OS devices. Now thanks to a scoop on Android Police, it looks like we could have a headsup on template solutions in the offing for Google Docs. These speculations are based on teardowns - essentially forensic decompiling of a particular piece of software - of the APK packages for...

Morning Links: eBook production tools. Amazon adds audiobooks to KU in Germany
April 21, 2015 | 9:00 am

kuTen Great eBook Production Tools (Digital Book World) So while this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a quick guide to some of the best tools for four key pieces of the development process that ebook designers confront day in and day out. *** Library of Congress Releases Digital Audio of 75 Years of Recordings (GoodeReader) Google’s ambitious digitization project has started on that path to preservation, but the initial release yesterday from the Library of Congress has added even more highly valuable content: digital audio of famous recordings. *** Amazon Adds 2,000 Audiobooks to Kindle Unlimited in Germany (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Audiobooks have...

Book review: Engines of Desire: Tales of Love and Other Horrors, by Livia Llewellyn, Lethe Press
April 20, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Livia Llewellyn has quickly established herself as one of the most prominent female voices of the current New Weird/nouvelle strange renaissance of dark and weird fiction. Much of that is on the strength of the stories contained in her first collection: Engines of Desire: Tales of Love and Other Horrors, from Lethe Press. "I also write about gender and sexual fluidity and inter-species relationships, mostly in stories and novels that haven’t been queried or published yet," she writes, so presumably there's quite a few more coming [no pun unintended] where these came from. I can't wait. The stories in this collection run...

Cyanogen looks to diversify mobile experience with Microsoft apps
April 20, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Cyanogen Inc., the commercial operation behind the highly popular Cyanogen range of Android OS variants, has announced a partnership with Microsoft that offers prospects of a more diverse Android platform in future - if it still counts as Android OS at all. "Cyanogen Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership to integrate popular Microsoft services across the Cyanogen Operating System," states the Cyanogen release. "Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft's consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling...

Poetry on rails with the PoetTrain, kulturBOT
April 20, 2015 | 3:25 pm

Canada is in the middle of an epic month for poetry with some of the most magical manifestations of mechanized minstrelry ever made, as the Great Canadian PoetTrain Tour hits the rails to celebrate National Poetry Month, carrying, among its passenger list of a score or so poets, my kulturBOT 3.0, a "robotic artwork created by David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller," designed to compose verse to accompany the tour. my kulturBOT 3.0, a "‘self-publishing’ robot" that looks rather like a cross between a Roomba and the BB-8 rolling droid from the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, "will produce...

My Experience as a KDP Newbie, Part 2: Becoming a Kindle Author
April 20, 2015 | 2:25 pm

kdpI wrote yesterday about my decision to become a Kindle author. I plan to put some of my teaching stuff up down the road, and hope to promote them and make them a side business. But this first book was a passion project and I don't expect to make money on it. It was simply a book I wanted to read myself! And since the work was done anyway, why not share it? The sharing process was both straightforward and fiddly at the same time. Here is what happened when I was ready to get my book uploaded. 1) Setting Up a...

The Pen Cap Stylus – a step forward in pen-ile versatility
April 20, 2015 | 12:25 pm

In my endless quest for the perfect touchscreen stylus, I recently chanced upon a new product that broadened my range of choices at one stroke - the Kikkerland Pen Cap Stylus. This handy little accessory comes in packs of two, and in a range of colors, and can, according to the blurb, transform any pen or pencil of appropriate size into a perfectly capable touchscreen stylus. Naturally, I bought the thing to give it a whirl. Despite its resemblance to a certain popular item for intimate protection, I can testify that the Kikkerland Pen Cap Stylus does its job more than...

Yale gets into the VHS age
April 20, 2015 | 10:25 am

vhs The Yale University Library and its Information Technology Services division has now assembled, as part of its Film Study Center's Video Collection, an archive of over 6500 VHS tapes that form a homage to the age of scuzz. Thanks to the diligent work of Yale librarian David Gary, scholars and students can now delve into such cultural treasures as I Spit On Your Grave or Toxic Zombies, or others that first helped define the category "straight to video." What's more, these films are not simply being digitized, but are actually being preserved as physical artifacts, in homage to what Gary defined...

Morning Links: Kobo Glo HD worth upgrading? Crowd-funding challenges
April 20, 2015 | 9:00 am

kobo glo hdIs the Kobo Glo HD Worth the Upgrade? (GoodeReader) Today, we ask the question, is the upcoming Kobo Glo HD a must buy? *** So You Want to Read Up on Hillary Clinton (Book Riot) Consider this your Hillary Clinton roundup source. *** Australia Considers New Copyright Law That Could Be Interpreted To Ban VPNs (Techdirt) Only this time, the industry lobbyists are going right to the Australian legislature to act as their bullies with the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015. *** The Challenges of Publishing and Crowd-Funding (Comics Alliance) When I finally decided to pull the trigger at the end of 2014, I had no real idea just how much...