Tag Archives: online

BSFA short fiction shortlist to be podcast

Now this is a good idea. The StarShipSofa boys are going to podcast all five of the short stories on the shortlist for this year’s BSFA Awards.

The first one will appear on Monday 10th March, with one daily after that – which means they’ll all be ready well in advance of voting time at Eastercon.

So none of your “I was too busy to read ’em” excuses*!

If you aren’t too busy to read them, here are the links:

So, who’s psyched for Eastercon, eh? 🙂


[ * OK, to be fair, this is usually my excuse. ]

That long-awaited announcement

OK, ladies and gents; the cat is out of the bag.

Yours truly is now publisher and editor-in-chief of Futurismic.

This is a very big deal for me, and also more than a trifle scary. But I’ve been talking the talk about web publishing for a long time – so when the opportunity arose to take the wheel at Futurismic I figured it was high time I walked the walk as well.

I hope those of you who’ve been following Futurismic for a while will stay on-board – we’re going to start publishing fiction again next month, and non-fiction columns will follow shortly after that.

Those of you who don’t already follow Futurismic, I hope you’ll subscribe and come along for the ride.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Paul Kincaid’s book reviewing credo gets my vote

Well, the Readercon panel on book reviews seems to have generated a lot of dicussion around the issue … kind of the inverse of the Eastercon panel, which took place after the worst of the smoke had cleared from that particular salvo.

But here’s the inestimable Paul Kincaid, hitting the nail on the head and describing my own standpoint on how and why I review books almost exactly:

“My own credo is simple. A review should be honest (any reviewer who allows her opinion to be swayed by friendship, bribery, peer pressure or whatever, is not worth reading), defensible (I don’t mind if people disagree with my judgement, I am quite used to being the only critic to hold a certain position, pro or con, on any particular book, but I want to be sure the readers can see why I reached that particular judgement), and, so far as I am able, well written (a review is also an entertainment, the reader should be rewarded for taking the time to read the piece). This credo, it should be noted, is an aspiration; I have no idea how close I ever get to achieving it.

Notice I say nothing about reviews being good or bad, positive or negative. It is part of the honesty of a review that if you don’t think a book is any good you have to say so. It is also part of the honesty of a review to recognise that very very few books are entirely wonderful or entirely terrible, and the job of a reviewer is to identify and note that balance. Because of that I do not believe I write positive reviews, or negative reviews – but I hope I write honest reviews.”

Result. Paul Kincaid is one of my newly-inherited reviews team at Interzone, which – given his pedigree and experience – is quite bizarre, because by rights he should be the person editing me. Though I doubt he wants the administrative headaches that come with the post – another indicator of his native common sense!

He and I (and others) are keen to see what comes from Jonathan’s plans for Son of Scalpel, too. This debate – for better or for worse – probably has a good few years mileage in it yet.

Scalpel Magazine launches, plus more print vs. online debate

Having been out of town on the relevant evening, I’m late to the field in trumpeting the launch of Scalpel Magazine (although I actually mentioned it ages ago, and let the cat somewhat out of the bag in the process). Most of the genre blogosphere appears to have taken the news of a new reviews and criticism outlet fairly positively, notwithstanding Nick Mamatas and friends. There’s some fine content on there, too. I for one hope it will last the course – and not merely because I want another venue to send my own work to, either.

Pat Cadigan’s guest editorial for Scalpel mentions the decline of book reviews in mainstream print media, which is a hot topic at the moment, especially in the US. I’ve found that the Print Is Dead blog has had some wise things to say on the matter. Meanwhile, the UK’s very own Grumpy Old Bookman has added his dime to the jukebox:

“Finally, however, let us remember one simple fact. However erudite the print reviewer may be, and however exquisite his taste and critical judgement, he is handicapped by comparison with the most humble blogger. Our print man cannot link directly to other sources.

This is, I would suggest, a major problem. Twenty years ago, of course, no one could even imagine it. But now it has to be faced.”

That’s about right, I think. I’m not gloating about the declining relevance of print media (in reference to book reviews or anything else), but nor am I willing to shut my eyes on what, to me, is an obvious and irresistable trend. Selah.

Authors@Google – videos now online

There’s no need to feel jealous of Google employees for getting to see lectures and presentations by the great and the good on work time – because the Big G has decided to share the wealth and let us lowly web-heads watch the events in video form. I knew they had to be buying YouTube for a reason …

Of most interest to genre fiction fans will be videos of Jonathan Lethem, Kelly Link and Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, and the incredibly recent visit by John “If rocks stars can tour, so can I” Scalzi.

There’s lots of others interesting people in the selection too; I’ve not watched them yet, but I’m guessing that Lawrence Lessig and Chris “Long Tail” Anderson will be well worth watching, too – whether you’re already interested in copyright issues and internet marketing or not.