Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Miscellaneous and SFundry

Yet again: the dog days of summer. A time to kick back, avoid the heat ... and clear my backlog of SF and Nonsense-appropriate miscellany. (But be of good cheer: unlike in Roman times, no dogs need be sacrificed to propitiate Sirius, the Dog Star.)

Sand(worm): a summer theme :-)
Let's begin with something from an unlikely (in this blog) source: The New Yorker. For a mainstream retrospective and appreciation of a classic -- the masterwork of a giant of the genre -- see "Why Frank Herbert's 'Dune' Still Matters."

Vast scope. Brilliantly realized universe. Intricate plot. Dune has it all.

Speaking of giants ...

The largest imprint in the SF book biz is Tor. On the short-fiction side, Tor offers free ezine Tor.com.(*) Too many great genre magazines are gone (If, Amazing Stories, Galaxy, Jim Baen's Universe ...) so it's great to see a new SF short-fiction venue thrive. See (from genre news source SF Scope) "Tor.com celebrates its fifth birthday in style."

(*) Full disclosure: Tor has published many of my novels, those books have sometimes been promoted on/by Tor.com, and I have, on several occasions, guest-posted there. My short fiction has appeared in many venues, but not (yet) at Tor.com.

Have you encountered the beta feature at Amazon that ranks authors? (That's as opposed to, as Amazon has long done, ranking its sales of the individual editions of individual titles.) There's both more and less to this new feature than meets the eye. See, from current genre star John Scalzi, "Amazon Author Rankings and Who They Actually Benefit."

"I have god news and bad news."
SF is not in the business (usually) of predicting the future (it's more about considering implications of many possible futures). Who is in the future-prediction business -- whether or not they see themselves that way? Among others, the people who give career advice. Most are lousy at it.

But from some high-tech pros (IEEE = Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), IEEE Spectrum offers predictions worth some thoughtful consideration: "The Job Market of 2045: What will we do when machines do all the work?"


Todd said...

Dune always raises a question for me: what powers the worms? Are they photosynthetic? Nuclear? Surely they don't live on sand alone.

Edward M. Lerner said...

A good question (for which I have no answer). Try Brian Herbert ;-)

Janel said...

Amazon author ranking? No I have not seen that! Thanks for the heads up, seriously! Great blog here so keep up the good work!