September 1st, 2009


An Epic Journey Begins

Friday 16 October 2009, 7pm, DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids MI
One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them.
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is going to do a live orchestra performance to the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. How cool! I might have to go see this. Ticket prices are from $32 to $90.

Take this once in a lifetime journey through Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Experience the epic film Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring like never before with live orchestral accompaniment. Watch the visually stunning full-length film projected above the orchestra and chorus as they perform Howard Shore's unforgettable score live!

A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far Away...

When I had graduated from Northwestern and worked first delivering Chicago Tribunes and then for a couple of years at the Northwestern University Library, there were times when I didn't have a lot of money. And one regret I have is that the Chicago Symphony did a live concert to the epic 1927 silent movie Napoléon -- this would probably be the "USA:235 min (1981 restored version)", because the performance ran for 4 to 5 hours, included two intermissions and you could order boxed lunches, as I recall. Alas, tickets were like $100. But dammit, I should've gone anyway.

Dr. Phil

I Should Know Better Than To Get Into This

Disappearing For An Hour Or So

There are days when I wonder why I bother to write a blog, because so few postings get comments, compared to some of the blogs I follow. But that's crap -- I write because I want to write. It's a journal that just happens to be online. That few people comment isn't that big a deal because I know that only a small fraction of readers tend to comment anyway.

Even worse, though, I cannot figure out how one can survive when you regularly get hundreds or even over a thousand comments on a particular post. One of the reasons I don't spend a lot of time at the Nielsen Hayden's Making Light is because I just can't afford the time to wade through all the comments -- because some of them are interesting.

Now, there is a point to all this.

That Old Literary Versus Genre "Debate"

It's been going on for a long time, and the current one I've run into a couple of times in the last few days, but have resisted going deep into it. But... one writer I follow on LiveJournal is nihilistic_kid Nick Mamatas. I've mentioned Nick before and he's an acquired taste, but I appreciate the way he uses language as precisely as he can, though not everyone appreciates that.

So this is all part of a much larger discussion literary versus genre, but I found this gem from Nick starting here and working south:
2. I'd contend that SF/F requires enormous amounts of work on the part of the reader. The ability to sit through lengthy infodumps on means of propulsion, the neologisms, the immense casts of characters and endless 800-page volumes that take place over the course of generations, the many references to earlier literature, outright didacticism on everything from statecraft to sexual politics, and the topic of science in general require significant synoptic facilities and patience from readers. Many many readers simply slam shut a book when the first page contains many crazy terms and weird names--for these readers complex or unusual sentences about the everyday is LESS work than trying to read SF/F. This may be one reason why many adult SF/F readers come to the hobby as children while relatively few people start reading SF/F as adults--one needs years of experience to read the contemporary material in the field.

Okay, Forget The Topical Debate (grin)

To me this is a nice statement both on why some people really get into SF/F and why some can't. I look at my own novel I am currently editing and realize that I do ask my future readers to work some. Whether it is sellable, whether anyone else will think it's any good -- or at least entertaining -- I am too close to my own writing to say.

But it's a statement I can resonate with.

Dr. Phil

Ah-Ha! A Scammer Thwarted!

An Update On A Vanity Press/Agent/Publisher/Whatever

Having just posted about staying away from Making Light because I get sucked in for too much time... I went and glanced at Making Light's front page. And found this gem:
But what of the lawsuit? The one of which the judge said, “This Court concludes and finds that this case was brought in bad faith by the plaintiffs for the mere purpose of causing great inconvenience and financial costs to Crispin and Strauss (as set out in Fletcher’s pre-lawsuit e-mails to the defendants, Crispin and Strauss). This case is frivolous and this Court finds so, finds that the two plaintiffs and their lawyer, Jerrold G. Neeff, knew it to be frivolous before it even commenced.”

The Context

In my earlier post about the War of the Words first novel contest, I got an anonymous comment from someone glowing about their first published novel. When I looked the book up, I discovered that they'd been scammed by a vanity press, Eloquent Books, part of a larger operation which SFWA's Writer Beware had been warning about for a long time. And Crispin and Strauss of Writer Beware had been sued. And the court threw it out and says the defendants can recover legal expenses.

This stuff is so hard to wade through and tough on the courts, that it's good to see The Forces of Good Triumph Over The Forces of Evil once in a while.

And though I doubt my anonymous commenter, whom I could name but I shan't, probably never came back after either plugging their novel or reading my reply saying they'd been scammed by a vanity press -- I hope they read about this. The Florida Attorney General is investigating. Maybe they can get some of their money back?

Dr. Phil