August reading ’round the blogosphere roundup

New-to-me articles, blog posts, and similar things from around the blog o’verse. Subjects may or may not be on speculative fiction, the art of writing, the life of a writer, editing, and general geekery. August 2011 edition.

Over at Writer Unboxed, Barbara O’Neil says Turn It Off. “In my writing classes, I often suggest to writers that they turn off the internet until they have written their pages for the day.  Better yet, turn it off completely on a regular basis and do other things.”

Writing Short Fiction: An Interview with Douglas Smith, from Writer in Residence. “When I started to write fiction in the late 90’s with the goal of being published, I intentionally started with short stories, for three key reasons.”

Kameron Hurley talks War, Plague, Zombies, and Corporate Excess. “On a long enough timeline, every species dies out, either because they destroy themselves through overpopulation and diminished resources or because the climate or situations simply change too fast for them to adapt to the new rules.“

What is not arbitrary about language? At TalkToYoUniverse. “It turns out that if you show experimental subjects the words “kiki” and “bouba” and ask them to assign one of two meanings to them – pointy or round – the distribution is not at all random. Most people will assign kiki to pointy, and bouba to round.”

Redefining the Fangirl – Spacegypsies. “In general, sci-fi fangirls (and fanboys) get a bad rap. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and the obsessive, creeped out superfan is a big problem. It’s a problem for perfectly sane fans who respect the celebrities who entertain us and absolutely for the celebrities themselves.”

Ian Tregillis asks: What is the Fractal Dimension of “Boy Meets Girl?” at the Apex Book Company blog. “Recently, work on a new novel got me thinking about the relationship between plot and structure…For a long time, I’ve been convinced that these two slippery entities are intimately related yet not the same. Sometimes, their relationship is simple and straightforward: the plot is the structure, and vice-versa. But sometimes, that relationship is more subtle and complex, like the relationship between hurricanes and butterflies. I’ve begun to wonder if maybe, sometimes, stories are fractal.”

The American Museum of Natural History has a podcast up of The Physics of the Future with Michio Kaku. (I think anyone interested in science fiction would likely be interested in what they have to say.) “Would you trust a robot surgeon? Strap your kids into a driverless car? In this podcast, join Michio Kaku, physicist and author of the bestselling book, Physics of the Impossible, as he offers his predictions about how today’s emerging technologies will shape the future.”

The SF Signal Podcast discusses Unexplored Themes in Science Fiction & Fantasy. “In episode 72 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester asks our irregulars: What themes are under-explored in Science Fiction and Fantasy? This week’s panel: Jeff Patterson, Gail Carriger, John Stevens, Patrick Hester.”

The Imperial Trouble podcast features the folks from Bob and Carl: Sci-Fi Janitors. “Sam and Jason are joined once again by Beau Brown, Matt Nitchie and Patrick Freeman, the creative team behind Bob and Carl: Sci-Fi Janitors. Topics include childhood science fiction influences, puppet slams, Quantum Leap, Bob and Carl’s Dragon*Con plans and pretending Godzilla is your father.”

The Messengers, Monsters, and moral Instructors of Islamic Literature. Written by Saladin Ahmed in Fantasy Magazine. “The stories and scriptures of the world’s numerous Muslim cultures are no different. Islam’s holy book (the Qur’an), its contested doctrinal traditions (the Hadith), and its various folklores are brimming with powerful nonhuman creatures…The cultures of Islam are profoundly diverse, of course, spanning centuries and continents. Local iterations of these beings reflect this diversity. But in every instance, when humans encounter these creatures, it is a test of faith, wit, and bravery.”

At the Black Gate blog, Sean Stiennon has a few thoughts on book length: Long, Deep, and Wide: Weighing Your Books. “In the past year or two, I’ve come to favor books that present a svelte profile over thousand page tomes.  It’s not that I haven’t loved some chunky books in my time, but I’m increasingly confronted with an elemental and morbid truth: Time, and life, are limited.”

YA publishing focuses too much on young women? The Mary Sue article is in response to this NY Times essay titled Boys and Reading – Is There Any Hope? From The Mary Sue: “Lipsyte has the audacity to whip out the tired and much-used argument that ‘it’s a cliché but mostly true that while teenage girls will read books about boys, teenage boys will rarely read books with predominately female characters.’”

Top Ten Reasons to Become a  Writer, by way of Kristen Lamb’s blog. “I still remember the day I told my family I was leaving corporate sales to become a writer. I think what they heard was something akin to, “Leaving any feasible way to make a living and feed myself. Joining a cult. Kool-Aid.” Or something close to that.”

I’m not generally one to pass on press releases, but this one I found interesting enough to share. Tor/Forge Books and NASA announce publishing collaboration. “In an effort to educate and encourage math and science education Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, and NASA have embarked on a collaboration to publish a series of science based, commercial fiction books, referred to as “NASA inspired Works of Fiction” around concepts pertinent to the current and future work of NASA.”


About Jessica

Dork extraordinaire, that's me! An unhealthy knowledge of Star Trek, a love of books, a fondness for purring cats.
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