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Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010: News Summary of the Year To Date

by Merrick Shellaney

posted @ 4/01/2010 12:01:00 AM PT 

Cory Doctorow has had a busy year. First there was his ill-fated attempt to write in real-time on the Internet, with readers able to add micro-comments line-by-line as he wrote. (Teresa Nielsen Hayden stated that the reduction of Doctorow's story to a flamewar between writers of Harry Potter slash and Twilight slash was due to the lack of moderation, but Doctorow insists everything would have been fine if Jonathan Lethem had not cut-and-pasted various passages from the Marquis de Sade's oeuvre throughout.) Then there was the fiasco of open-source wet-ware, leading Doctorow to be charged with multiple counts of grave-robbing and homicide. "It is not a crime," he wrote on Boing Boing, "to liberate brains from the insanely limiting DRM of their bodies." But Doctorow appears to have learned his lesson. He claims to have eschewed all experimental publishing schemes and, released on bail and having accepted a three-figure advance, is on a book tour communicating with fans strictly face-to-face. If you spot a Lincoln Town Car parked outside a Borders Bookstore with the bumper sticker "Little Brother is Watching You," that's him. "It's a tremendous challenge, communicating with people in realtime," Doctorow said via his avatar in Second Life.

Not to be outdone, and traveling by horse-and-buggy in the Pennsylvania countryside to promote her novel Butter-Churn to the Moon, is former steam-punk writer Cherie Priest now riding the Amish-punk movement. Fans are reportedly impressed by Priest's black buggy with a small spaceship woven from straw dangling from the back stay.

Ted Chiang plans to serialize his latest short story "Inhalation" in monthly 100-word segments in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. "No more will fans have to wait a year or more for one of my stories," Chiang said. F&SF editor Gordon Van Gelder expects each segment to be a strong contender for Hugo and Nebula awards, and notes that though each section of the story is short, Chiang was still required to submit it via regular mail and not electronically.

Written on tear-stained pages from a journal found in a shoebox left in a Greyhound bus station somewhere between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky: "Neil Gaiman marries." Elsewhere, one of the forbidden brides of the faceless slaves in the secret house of the night of dread desire has been reported missing.

Ursula K. Le Guin's latest contribution to the Earthsea series pits the young wizard Ged against the loathsome Googlebux, a pervasive but invisible monster that steals the souls of the Earthsea artists, transforming them into withered husks buffeted about by the island winds. Who wins this epic battle? You can find out yourself by reading "A Wizard Alone," available either as a $25 softcover with royalties paid to the author or as a free Internet download from Yahoo.

First the plot of Stephen King's novel Under the Dome was compared to that of The Simpsons Movie. Then the sequel,Trapped in a World He Never Made, was released and critics immediately found parallels to an old Howard the Duck comicbook story, though King assured his fans he had the idea for a sequel to Under the Dome back when he was four years old, long before he ever read a comic. But suspicions continued to be raised when King's memoir of his apocalyptic childhood, The Stand by Me, contained many passages reminiscent of John Gorman's 1982 novel Blood Brothers of Gor. Said King, "Norman's work was an obvious rip-off of a little-known novel by Arthur Machen, which was my real inspiration."

Labels: April 1st

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