On Gender in SF Blogs – Brainstorming Needed

Science Fiction has never been the darling of mainstream book review coverage. Newspapers, magazines, television, and other venues where reviews of books are published do not make a huge effort to cover the genre. There are a number of science fiction focused magazines such as Asmiov’cs, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Locus. But their circulations have been dwindling overall. Zines have been another set of venues for discussion of science fiction. I don’t have any kind of documented basis for the following, but my sense is that zines as a whole do not have the importance in science fiction coverage that they have had in the past. So where do…

I Win Con Or Bust – 2012

One of my favorite charity efforts is Con Or Bust, which, in association with the Carl Brandon Society, sends fans of color to science fiction conventions. I love it for its single-minded-ness as well as the fact that I think it’s a worthy goal to diversify science fiction. The effort is funded through donations and t-shirt sales, but most of the money comes through an annual auction held on their LiveJournal community. People donate all sorts of things for the auction, but there are usually quite a number of books. This year’s auction ended on Sunday. I bid on a number of items and ended up winning a bunch of…

John Christopher 1922-2012

I’ve been on a cross-country road trip for over a month, and traveling even before that. I had planned on remaining silent on this blog until I returned home. I have books to tell you about, but not while I have things to see and places to go. But I have to take a break from my hiatus to remark on the passing of John Christopher a couple of days ago. John Christopher was my introduction to science fiction. I read every book of his that the local library would carry. On re-reading the Sword of the Spirits series a couple of years ago, I was amazed by how brutal…

Responding to Amazon’s dick move

Last week one of the book world’s outrages was Amazon going after independent stores by offering $5 off an order for using their price check app on a mobile phone inside an independent store. No, it’s not a very nice thing. Authors and book bloggers are almost universally pissed. But you know who isn’t pissed? Amazon customers, who are growing in number every day. Amazon offers a lot features, unprecedented selection, and best in business pricing. It’s pretty hard to compete with that. Most of the responses to this promotion strike me as pretty unproductive. It’s not that they are wrong, it’s that the retorts aren’t going to get people…

Administrivia: How do I Link Irresponsibly?

I’ve periodically posted link round-ups on bookish topics, but I’m finding that format doesn’t really work for me. That’s mostly workflow related, not content related. I like the idea of posting links that I find interesting because I see a lot of content that doesn’t seem to make the rounds. What I’d like to do is post the links with a bit of commentary as I find them. I’m not quite sure what format and venue would work best. Here’s what I’m considering: Google+ Read Irresponsibly has a Google+ page, and I’ve been posting some links there. I think the format there works really really well for links. There are…

Linking Irresponsibly: The Year’s Best Men and Women

James Nicoll ran some numbers on the numbers of male and female authors in the last five years of each of the major Year’s Best Collections. I am aggregating his numbers here in one place as he spread them across several posts, and I like to have one place to view and compare. He also has a few posts counting comparable numbers for discontinued year’s best series. Following are the tables and links: Gardner Dozois: TitleTotalMaleFemale Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection33249 Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection32257 Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection30228 Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection32248 Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection2821½6½ David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer: TitleTotalMaleFemale Year’s Best SF 1621156 Year’s Best SF 1524168 Year’s Best SF 1421138 Year’s…

Death Of The Mantis / Michael Stanley

Cover of Death Of The Mantis
Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip form the writing team of Michael Stanley. They are native South Africans and are writing crime fiction series set in Botswana. Unlike the more famous one set in Botswana, the Detective Kubu series are police procedurals rather than cozies. LibraryThing’s EarlyReviewers had copies, so I grabbed one. Detective Kubu’s real name is David Bengu, but due to his size has received the Kubu nickname. That’s a Botswanan word for hippopotamus, though I don’t recall if the authors ever said which language the word comes from. This is the third book in the series, though he doesn’t make an immediate appearance. The murder happens at the…

Buy Irresponsibly – My Best Reads of 2011

Welcome to my buying guide for 2011, also known as my annual best read of 2011 list. I like calling these buying guides because that’s what most of the Best Books of 2011 lists really are. They come out now so that a business (Amazon, B&N, etc.) can talk customers into buying stuff for Christmas. This is one of the few times of the year where I’m going to get specifically promotional about books. I think you should read these books. These are not books published in 2011. They are books I read since Thanksgiving last year. In fact, one of them won’t be out until January. In no particular…

No Hero / Jonathan Wood

Cover of No Hero
Jonathan Wood wrote Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle (link is non-working; hopefully E.V. will get migrated over soon) which appeared in in Electric Velocipede’s Winter 2008 issue. I thought the story deserved to be in a Year’s Best anthology of some sort. Used to be when a reader found something good they would search for books that author had written. That happens still, but these days I more often find their blog or Twitter account and follow them. When they talk up their next project, if it sounds like something I would enjoy I will then pick it up. Mr. Wood’s book No Hero was on sale…

Scandalous Women / Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Cover of Scandalous Women
Scandalous Women might be the first non-fiction blog-to-book project I’ve read. I grabbed this at a fundraising table at WisCon in May. It’s a series of short biographies of scandalous women throughout history. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon notes in her introduction that most This Day In History bits cover men predominantly. Her stated goal with the blog and book is to reclaim history, one woman at a time. All the included women caused a scandal, a commotion, they bumped up against the status quo. The obvious thing about a patriarchal society is that pretty much any woman who did anything before recent times was bound to piss people off and cause…