SF

Kindle bargain: Rihannsu


Back in the days when the Star Trek franchise allowed a lot of room for creative novelists, Diane Duane penned a series of extremely popular novels about the Romulans. The omnibus edition of all four is $3.99 right now. Book five, written much more recently, is $8.99, but given the steep discount on the first four, who cares?

Dear Doctor Who,


  1. Last week’s odd soliloquy worked as part of the teaser, but was dropped into the actual episode with all the grace of a flaming bag of manure.

  2. This week’s fourth-wall-breaking was… jarring, to be kind. Vaguely condescending as well, which would be fine if it were Doctor-to-companion rather than writer-to-audience.

  3. Hey, at least Missy didn’t show up.

Adventures in categorizing


The latest version of Amazon’s recommendation page is built around tiles of categories, with one or more items composited as the representative image of the category. I find this less-than-useful, because I generally have no interest in the representative items, making me less likely to click and see what the other recommendations are as I skim across the page.

Also, the categories seem to be based on user-supplied tagging, so that things end up in unusual places. For instance:

Lenses for children

The 7 “children’s books” were: Zelazny’s Madwand, four of Smith’s Lensman novels, Sabatini’s Captain Blood, and some random guy’s Sherlock Holmes story. So, the representative image is something I don’t need to buy (an $8 ebook of a novel first serialized in 1939), the category name is something I don’t want, and the actual search results are mostly things I already own.

My actual wishlist for the Amazon recommendation system is a “less like this” button, so that the first N pages of results won’t be dominated by things related to a single recent purchase, like a watch, a box of coffee pods, or (ghod forbid) a Destroyer novel (seriously; never buy a book in a lengthy series (150!) without marking it “don’t use for recommendations”).

Nobody’s Home


I’ve been reading good science fiction and fantasy recently, by which I mean “the sort of thing that used to get nominated for awards” (in some cases not that long ago, before the Nebulas turned into the Women’s Award and the Hugos turned into the Superficial Diversity Award). So, Bujold, Powers, Daley, Watt-Evans, Hambly, the Liavek stories, etc.

This has led to the discovery of all sorts of new short stories and novellas released as ebooks. Last night’s was Tim Powers’ return to the world of The Anubis Gates, Nobody’s Home. It’s a pleasant little ghost story featuring Jacky Snapp. A bit pricy for only 80 pages, but it’s not like anyone else is writing Tim Powers stories…

Dear Simon and Schuster,


Why is the Kindle edition of a 15-year-old Banks novel selling for $15.99? Why is the trade paperback of it selling for $21.59? And, why, for the love of all that’s Culture, is it currently #9 in Star Trek adaptations?

Mind you, I think $9.99 is a bit high for the other Culture novels, but Look To Windward doesn’t stand out as being worth 60% more than the rest. And it’s not like you let Amazon set the price.

Dear Mundania Press,


I see from your web site that you’re mostly a romance/porn publisher, but FYI, Milo Morai is not Fabio, and the Horseclans novels are not bodice-rippers. Also, you’ve got him holding his sword like a baseball bat.

510Qf+v4E7L SX331 BO1 204 203 200

Sad Puppies (meta)4


Sad puppies 4

Organized voting block sweeps Hugos


The organized effort to vote against anything nominated by wrongfans resulted in multiple categories getting the “no award”, which would be shameful if they had shame. I’m disappointed that The Three-Body Problem won best novel, but I’m not surprised; there’s a contingent that will vote against anything fantasy, and quite a few people admitted that the only reason they hadn’t proposed it for the Sad Puppies “slate” was that no one had heard of it before the nominations. I thought it was terrible SF, myself, but I can see how people preferred it to the alternatives.