Monday, May 31, 2010

Writer J.A. Konrath Believes The eBook Will Replace Print

(Just a brief blog entry. Don't really have the time yet to blog as regularly as before, but I'll try and return as soon as I can.)

Writer J.A. Konrath believes that the ebook will replace print. Frankly, since I used to be a printer, and I've seen the numbers and felt the effects of it on a smaller scale, I think so too (though a very emotional part of me hopes I'm wrong).

Check out these blog entries of his:

And They Say That A Hero Will Save Us, where he believes authors will lead the charge for ebooks.

You Can Pry My Paper Books From My Cold, Dead Fingers, where he compares what he calls the "journey value" of the mediums for reading, as well as in comparison to other technologies.

You Can Pry My Ebooks From My Cold, Dead, Fingers, where he enumerates what the various industries have done when faced with the onslaught of technology change, those who have adapted, and those who haven't.

And Steal This Ebook, where he puts his money where his mouth is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Will be away from this blog for a while. Some other stuff will need my attention. Will just suddenly return and update the blog as soon as I can. Thanks. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On The Digital Revolution

Here are three articles I found and read within 24 hours of each other, all on the digital revolution.

First, Adapt Or Perish: Why Authors Need To Prepare For The e-Book Era, by Garth Nix. An excerpt:

First off, no one is absolutely sure exactly what is going to happen, because technological change is like that. Only one thing is pretty clear and that is that things will change, and we need to proactively adapt to those changes, lest we be forced to adapt in ways that are less appealing.

History has shown that you can't build a sandbag wall against the tide of technological change, you have to either have a boat, build a boat, or get on someone else's boat. Or be very clever and do something no one could have predicted ... perhaps with my boat metaphor this would be to grow gills or turn into a fish.

So there will be changes, but in many ways authors are less affected by the rise of e-books than some of our other other partners in the book industry, particularly printers and booksellers.

Second, author Cory Doctorow explains why he publishes his books for free online. An excerpt:

I give away all of my books. [The publisher] Tim O'Reilly once said that the problem for artists isn't piracy – it's obscurity. I think that's true. A lot of people have commented: "You can't eat page views, so how does being well-known help you earn a living as a writer?" It's true; however, it's very hard to monetise fame, but impossible to monetise obscurity. It doesn't really matter how great your work is; if no one's ever heard of it, you'll never make any money from it. That's not to say that if everyone's heard of it, you'll make a fortune, but it is a necessary precursor that your work be well-known to earn you a living. As far as I can tell, these themes apply very widely, across all media.

As a practical matter, we live in the 21st century and anything anybody wants to copy they will be able to copy. If you are building a business model that says that people can only copy things with your permission, your business is going to fail because whether or not you like it, people will be able to copy your product without your permission. The question is: what are you going to do about that? Are you going call them thieves or are you going to find a way to make money from them?

The only people who really think that it's plausible to reduce copying in the future seem to be the analogue economy, the people who built their business on the idea that copying only happens occasionally and usually involves a giant machine and some lawyers. People who are actually doing digital things have the intuitive knowledge that there's no way you're going to stop people from copying and they've made peace with it.

Third, via Guy Kawasaki's The Decaying Market For Printed Books, this article: E-Books Rewrite Bookselling. An excerpt:

But the digital revolution sweeping the media world is rewriting the rules of the book industry, upending the established players which have dominated for decades. Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.

"By the end of 2012, digital books will be 20% to 25% of unit sales, and that's on the conservative side," predicts Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of the Idea Logical Co., publishing consultants. "Add in another 25% of units sold online, and roughly half of all unit sales will be on the Internet."

Nowhere is the e-book tidal wave hitting harder than at bricks-and-mortar book retailers. The competitive advantage Barnes & Noble spent decades amassing—offering an enormous selection of more than 150,000 books under one roof—was already under pressure from online booksellers.

It evaporated with the recent advent of e-bookstores, where readers can access millions of titles for e-reader devices.

Even more problematic for brick-and-mortar retailers is the math if sales of physical books rapidly decrease: Because e-books don't require paper, printing presses, storage space or delivery trucks, they typically sell for less than half the price of a hardcover book. If physical book sales decline precipitously, chain retailers won't have enough revenue to support all their stores.

Some question whether book stores will go the way of music stores, which closed en masse once consumers could sample and download music digitally. Blockbuster Inc., the video rental giant, is struggling to reshape its business at a time when movies can be downloaded directly to digital devices.

Unlike music, the book industry didn't suffer dramatically from digital theft and, for years, couldn't figure out how to make money from e-books. There was no sense of urgency.

"It's fair to say that the leadership folks at the major trade publishers didn't believe until very recently that e-books had any economic life in them," says Arthur Klebanoff, chief executive of New York-based RosettaBooks LLC, an e-book publisher.

The success of Inc.'s Kindle e-reader recently changed all that, proving to publishers that the e-books market was real.

But it wasn't until the arrival of Apple Inc.'s iPad last month—with its promise of one day tapping more than 125 million iTunes customers—that the true potential of the e-book market became apparent.

"It's taking digital books to a new level," says John Makinson, CEO of Pearson PLC's Penguin Group.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

D.O.A. - Extreme Horror Collection

Just want to share that one of my stories will be coming out in the print anthology D.O.A. - Extreme Horror Collection, an anthology from Blood Bound Books, sometime before the end of the year. I'll make another blog entry when the full list of accepted tales and authors are released, and when the book is going to be available for sale. My thanks to the editors for taking my story in for their book!

TAYO Literary Magazine Call For Submissions For Their 2nd Issue

TAYO Literary Magazine is calling for submissions for their second issue. Check out the guidelines here.

"Falling Through The House" -- A Poem By A 9-Year-Old

Check out this poem, "Falling Through The House", by a 9-year-old boy, as seen on Brain Droppings. It's funny, it works, and it's pretty cool. :)

Usok Interview: Crystal Koo

Usok interviews PGS contributor Crystal Koo. An excerpt:

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

Given the theme that was set as a guideline for the issue, I actually started writing a completely different story, a very science-fiction one with a lot to do with computers. But I was having really big trouble with it, so one midnight I just abandoned it and started writing this one, without any planning at all, and for the most part of the first draft, it wrote itself.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?
Making the main character’s transformation credible.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?
I started off scribbling bits and pieces of things on lined paper and stapling them together into a “book” when I was a little girl. I can’t remember any of those. The earliest that I can remember is the first story I ever typed on a computer – something about a Molly.

Click here to read the full interview.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Usok Interview: Celestine Trinidad

Usok interviews PGS contributor Celestine Trinidad. An excerpt:

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

I had originally written a story about a storyteller (the same character in my story, “The Storyteller and the Giant”) and his apprentice, and that was the story I was supposed to be writing for the Palancas, but it ended up too long that I eventually decided to just turn into a novel—which, as with most ideas, had a life of its own, I swear—morphed into a series in my head. In that series, the storyteller and his apprentice will eventually face the same anak-araw that appeared in “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”, and they will be helped by other characters found in this story. I guess this is sort of a prequel to that, of sorts.

That is, if I ever get around to writing that series.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

As Pao can probably attest, this story was very different originally, before he did some wonderfully extensive editing, hehe. Mostly I struggled with the pacing of the story, since in my head it was already part of that series of books I wanted to write, but this is a short story, and hence should be written differently.

Click here to read the whole interview.

Quiet, Please: Wimbledon Appoints Its First Official Poet

Hey! I get to blog about two of my major interests: tennis and literature!

From The Guardian, Wimbledon Appoints Its First Official Poet. An excerpt:

Previous Wimbledon tennis champions may have been motivated to greatness by the rousing passage from Rudyard Kipling's If inscribed above the players' entrance to Centre Court.

But players inspired by the words "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same" now have a new muse, after Matt Harvey's appointment as the Championships' first official poet.

Harvey will produce a poem a day throughout the fortnight as the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club follows Heathrow airport and Marks & Spencer in embracing the vogue for writers in residence.

Kipling's 1899 masterpiece may be a daunting act to follow, but Harvey, who will produce a poem a day throughout the fortnight and is a regular on Radio 4's Saturday Live, will be doing his best to capture the flavour of the event, with verses published online and in special podcasts.

Expect themes to include strawberries, queues, the rain and, undoubtedly, the traditional Centre Court tantrum.

We're actually well into my favorite part of the tennis season right now. The year usually starts with a bang--The Australian Open--and then, for months...very little. There aren't that many big tournaments (at least, that are broadcasted), and the few that are which the top players join are spread out.

But right now it's clay court season, slow dirt-balling, which leads up to its climax at Roland Garros, The French Open, which begins on May 23, 2010. This is immediately followed by the very short and very fast grass court season. The warm-up grass court tourneys bring us to a head at Wimbledon.

Do you know that for the last three years, the Wimbledon men's finals have all been exciting five-setters?

Okay, okay. I'll stop now. Not many share my tennis fanaticism. And this is a blog about literature, reading, writing, books, publishing, printing. So there's my link between the two: this year, there's a poet at Wimbledon. :)

Click here to read the whole article.

Horror Bound Magazine Call For Submissions

As seen via Asia Writes: Horror Bound Magazine Call For Submissions. An excerpt:

Fear of the Dark: An Anthology Published by Horror Bound Magazine Publications

Horror Bound Magazine Publications seeks short stories for an upcoming anthology entitled Fear of the Dark (Temporary Title). The point of the stories should be to investigate the human fear of the unknown, the dark, and the common themes found in nightmares.

Reading Period: We will read stories starting March 5, 2010 to June 30, 2010 (or until the anthology is filled). Those who we offer a contract to will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Payment: Payment will be 1 cent per word (CAD), based on the final, edited word count from Microsoft Word rounded to the nearest hundred words, plus one contributor's copy.

Click here for more details.

Times Online / Chicken House Children's Fiction Contest

As seen via Asia Writes: The Times Online / Chicken House Children's Fiction Contest. An excerpt:

Are you a secret storyteller? Now’s the time to let your talent out in the open. The Times and Chicken House are on a mission to discover another great children’s writer, whose book will be published around the world by Chicken House.

How to enter
Your full-length manuscript (no more than 80,000 words) must be received at The Chicken House by October 29, 2010. The address, submission criteria, terms and conditions and tips are below.

The shortlist
The Chicken House reading team will select a shortlist of five entries, to be announced in February 2011. The judges will choose a winner from this shortlist, to be announced at Easter 2011.

The prize
The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality and originality suitable for the children’s age group. The prize is the offer of a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House, with a royalty advance of £10,000.

This may be a good contest to try for new writers, as one of the criteria is "the entrant must not have previously authored or published any whole book in any country, whether fiction or nonfiction, but may have authored or published an essay or story in an anthology."

Click here for the full terms and conditions.

Rejection Is Part Of Being A Writer

Here's a lesson for all writers to imbibe: You're going to get rejected. Accept that. Expect that. Sometimes you'll be rejected impersonally, as with a form letter. Sometimes you'll get constructive notes along with the rejection; sometimes they won't be constructive. They could even get insulting, hurtful, sarcastic. And rejection won't just come from editors and publishers, they may come from readers and critics too. Just soldier on, keep writing, keep trying to improve, keep trying to tell your stories.

And check out this list of 50 Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected. Discover that before they met success, these writers' works were turned down my many editors and publishers. But they kept at it, kudos to them.

Some of the names on the list: Asimov, Christie, Heller, Le Guin, Faulkner, Nabokov, L'Engle, Singer.

Even when their work was turned down, they kept writing and trying, and they eventually succeeded.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The New Usok

Usok #1 is now fully illustrated. And here are some more details from the blog entry about The New Usok:

The title of this post has a dual significance: first, I’m happy to announce that the new version of Usok #1, with a brand new digitally painted illustration for each of the five stories, is now live. The art credits are as follows:

  • Tey Bartolome – “The Child Abandoned”
  • Benjo Camay – “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”
  • Kevin Lapeña – “The Startbox”, “The Saint of Elsewhere: A Mystery”, and “Mouths to Speak, Voices to Sing”

I think we can all agree that these artists have done a fantastic job. Thanks to Tey and Benjo, and especially Kevin for helping arrange the art despite his busy schedule.


The second thing I’d like to announce is that I’m changing Usok’s release schedule.

I think the illustrations are terrific.

Click here to read more.

Usok Interview: Yvette Tan

Usok interviews PGS contributor and guest editor Yvette Tan. An excerpt:

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story (The Child Abandoned).

I was passing by Sta. Ana one day when I noticed the name of the church near St. Peter School called The Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned, or something like that. I thought it was a sad and beautiful name and that I must use it in a story.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

I have a horrible sense of direction, so it’s the geographical parts of the story that gave me the most difficulty. I’ve been to Quiapo several times and until now, I still can’t name streets or remember how to get to places. Of course, that just gives me a reason to visit the place again.

Saying Information Wants To Be Free Does More Harm Than Good

As seen on The Guardian, Saying Information Wants To Be Free Does More Harm Than Good, by Canadian writer Cory Doctorow. An excerpt:

For 10 years I've been part of what the record and film industry invariably call the "information wants to be free" crowd. In all that time, I've never heard anyone – apart from an entertainment executive – use that timeworn cliche.

"Information wants to be free" (IWTBF hereafter) is half of Stewart Brand's famous aphorism, first uttered at the Hackers Conference in Marin County, California (where else?), in 1984: "On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other."

This is a chunky, chewy little koan, and as these go, it's an elegant statement of the main contradiction of life in the "information age". It means, fundamentally, that the increase in information's role as an accelerant and source of value is accompanied by a paradoxical increase in the cost of preventing the spread of information. That is, the more IT you have, the more IT generates value, and the more information becomes the centre of your world. But the more IT (and IT expertise) you have, the easier it is for information to spread and escape any proprietary barrier. As an oracular utterance predicting the next 40 years' worth of policy, business and political fights, you can hardly do better.

But it's time for it to die.

Is The iPad Supercharging e-Book Piracy?

As seen on Cnet: Is The iPad Supercharging e-Book Piracy? An excerpt:

Recently, Scott Turow, the best-selling author of legal thrillers, including "Innocent"--his just released sequel to "Presumed Innocent"--was named president of The Authors Guild. That Turow, a practicing lawyer, was named president is probably no coincidence, considering the myriad issues that authors and publishers now face as digital books and e-book readers not only disrupt the marketplace but leave it vulnerable to that nasty little vermin commonly known as piracy.

In an interview with Media Bistro's Galley Cat (see video below), Turow talked about how author royalty rates for e-books were too low, but the larger problems for authors and publishers involved piracy. "It has killed large parts of the music industry," he said. "Musicians make up for the copies of their songs that get pirated by performing live. I don't think there will be as many people showing up to hear me read as to hear Beyonce sing. We need to make sure piracy is dealt with effectively."

Why this suddenly more-alarming tone? Well, though Turow recognizes that the iPad has clearly taken the e-reader to a whole new level, he doesn't specifically single out the iPad as the No. 1 catalyst for pirating. But I am.

To put it in the context of the music world, it goes something like this: You remember the first MP3 players to catch on? They were from a company called Rio and the early ones used SmartMedia memory cards as their storage medium. Then there were more Rios, and most of them were really pretty good (I still run with a Rio Chiba). I look at these players as the Kindles, Nooks, and Sony Readers of the e-reader world.

But then the iPod showed up. Sure, there had been piracy ever since people started burning CDs, but the iPod was the big accelerant. You can say what you want about iTunes ruining the music industry with its 99-cent single-track downloads (why buy the whole album for $10, when you can buy just the two good songs on it for $2?), but the fact that so many millions of people were carrying around iPods that could store thousands of songs only fueled the transition to fully digital music, no discs attached.

As e-readers go, Amazon won't let us know exactly how many Kindles it has sold, but most estimates put it in the 2 million to 3 million range, give or take a few hundred thousand. Apple sold a million iPads in a month. And though sheer numbers and critical mass are important, what's more alarming is what the iPad can do. No, it can't support Flash, but it sure does a nice job with PDF files and a host of other document formats that can be easily imported to the device via the appropriate app, most of which cost less than $3.

Click here to read the whole article.

5 Who Built Successful Careers On Plagiarism

In light of the plagiarism thingie, I came across this article about 5 men who are said to have built very successful careers on plagiarism. All the five names are shocking and a surprise to me. Click here to read about the allegations.

And while we're on that topic, here's an article about 5 famous musicians who are accused of the same thing.

Plagiarism, they say, is theft. Intellectual theft, but theft nonetheless. Theft is a crime. So...crime pays? Or not?

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Kurt Vonnegut Essay: How To Write With Style

As seen on Clear Writing With Mr. Clarity, a Kurt Vonnegut essay: How To Write With Style. Here's the introduction:

Here’s another list of practical tips for writers. It’s an essay by the great satirist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The essay is titled “How to Write with Style.”* Not surprisingly, it is both practical and entertaining.

Spoilers I've Delivered To English Lit Majors

As seen via Eliza Victoria's Facebook page: Spoilers I've Delivered To English Lit Majors, from McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Click on the link for a good laugh. All of them had me giggling.

50 Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read

As seen via Pinay writer Christine V. Lao's Facebook: 50 Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read, by English writer China Mieville. Here's his introduction:

This is not a list of the “best” fantasy or SF. There are huge numbers of superb works not on the list. Those below are chosen not just because of their quality—which though mostly good, is variable—but because the politics they embed (deliberately or not) are of particular interest to socialists. Of course, other works—by the same or other writers—could have been chosen: disagreement and alternative suggestions are welcomed. I change my own mind hour to hour on this anyway.

Click here for the list.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5 Reasons Fiction Writers Should Blog

As seen on Write It Sideways: 5 Reasons Fiction Writers Should Blog. An excerpt:

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of internet articles related to writers and blogging.

Since marketing a book is largely being left up to its author these days, fiction writers are becoming more and more curious about whether or not to start blogs of their own.

Less than a year ago, I was in the same position. In fact, I was a complete social media moron until after I started Write It Sideways. Twitter seemed like a complete waste of time, Facebook fan pages looked silly–never mind all the other social outlets.

I just didn’t get it.

Now, I’m so happy I started blogging, even before I have a book published.

The Stories Of Ray Bradbury

As seen via gelo's in(s)anities: The Stories Of Ray Bradbury. An excerpt:

Ray Bradbury is one of the most prolific writers of our time—and our parents' time, and our grandparents' time. As he approaches his 90th birthday, he continues to publish, his pace slowed only slightly by a stroke that requires him to write by dictation. (His daughter is his amanuensis; he calls her on the telephone and she faxes him back the typed pages.) Thanks to Fahrenheit 451, now required reading for every American middle-schooler, Bradbury is generally thought of as a writer of novels, but his talents—particularly his mastery of the diabolical premise and the brain-exploding revelation—are best suited to the short form. Two of his better-known novels, The Martian Chronicles andDandelion Wine, are story collections in disguise, and even Fahrenheit 451 began as "The Fireman," a short story. So while the Everyman's Library edition of The Stories of Ray Bradbury—which includes only 100 stories and runs a mere 1,059 closely printed pages—represents just a microscopic fraction of Bradbury's work, it's not a bad place to start.

The best stories have a strange familiarity about them. They're like long-forgotten acquaintances—you know you've met them somewhere before. There is, for instance, the tale of the time traveler who goes back into time and accidentally steps on a butterfly, thereby changing irrevocably the course of history ("A Sound of Thunder"). There's the one about the man who buys a robotic husband to live with his wife so that he can be free to travel and pursue adventure—that's "Marionettes, Inc." (Not to be confused with "I Sing the Body Electric!" about the man who buys a robotic grandmother to comfort his children after his wife dies.) Or "The Playground," about the father who changes places with his son so that he can spare his boy the cruelty of childhood—forgetting exactly how cruel childhood can be. The stories are familiar because they've been adapted, and plundered from, by countless other writers—in books, television shows, and films. To the extent that there is a mythology of our age, Bradbury is one of its creators.

Science fiction dates as quickly as any genre, and Bradbury is not entirely immune to this. The futuristic rocket ships he wrote about in 1950 look a lot like the first-generation NASA rockets; the music of the future is Rachmaninoff and Duke Ellington; and in the terrifying "Mars is Heaven," the planet bears an eerie resemblance to Green Bluff, Ill., right down to Victorian houses "covered with scrolls and rococo." But the reason Bradbury's stories still sing on the page is that, despite all his humanoid robots, automated houses, and rocket men, his interest is not in future technologies but in people as they live now—and how the proliferation of convenient technology alters the way we think and the way we treat each other.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sale At Fully Booked May 14-16, 2010

Saw this sale notice:
Get 20% off on imported books at Fully Booked Greenbelt 5, Eastwood and Sketch Books from May 14-16!

Midnight Madness Store Hours (Greenbelt 5)
Friday and Saturday: 11am – 12midnight
Sunday: 11am – 10pm

EastwoodFriday and Saturday: 11am – 11pmSunday: 11am – 10pm

Discount is not valid on N-code, local and consigned items.

Brave New World Audio Reading

Aldous Huxley himself narrates his Brave New World here.

The Future Of Genre Fiction

As seen on Grasping For The Wind: The Future Of Genre Fiction (Part 1 and 2). The entries discuss how genre fiction has changed over the years, how the readership has changed, and how the digital medium is affecting the way genre is read.

Five Creatures That Prove Life Could Exist On Other Planets (Or In Space)

This post got my imagination going: From io9, Five Creatures That Prove Life Could Exist On Other Planets (Or In Space). An excerpt:

Want to know what life will look like on other planets? Look no farther than these five creatures, who are already prepared for life on Saturn's moon Titan - or in the hard vacuum of deep space.

Unlike humans, with our pesky need for things like oxygen and sugar, some creatures are more flexible in the habitats where they feel comfortable. Here are five lifeforms who are prepared to live on other planets right now.

What Science Fiction Books Should Be In Every Fan's Library?

From SF Signal: What Science Fiction Books Should Be In Every Fan's Library? Check out others' lists and then share your own!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Online Publications: Who Benefits?

Here's a piece about online publications by writer Eliza Victoria over at The Philippine Online Chronicles. An excerpt:

Here is a fact: we will never run out of stories to read.

This is more evident now than it ever has been before. Online speculative fiction publications easily number in the hundreds, including many new publications looking for worthy submissions and just itching to get up and running (e.g. GigaNotoSaurus and Smash Cake Magazine). Just to illustrate: to date, Duotrope lists166 fledgling markets, or those markets with a publication history of less than six months.

Even the Philippines, horribly late in the technological race, generally speaking, has two active online publishing entities: Rocket Kapre, which has published Usok 1 and the charity anthology Ruin and Resolve; and Estranghero Press, which has published the anthologies The Farthest Shore (secondary worlds) and Demons of the New Year (horror). As in the rest of the world, online publications appear to be a growth industry, as evidenced by the upcoming launch of the POC Review (which is not genre-bound) and ( a bit farther into the future) the online version of the Philippine Genre Stories.

So: why an online publication? From the viewpoint of a publisher, one factor to consider is that online publishing is cheap. Compared to a print publication, an online publication is easy to set up that it can actually begin – and even remain – a one-man endeavor. For example, the now defunct (and quite brilliant) Lone Star Stories listed only one person under “Staff” – publisher and editor Eric Marin.

To start an online publication, all you need is a web-publishing platform (Expanded Horizons, for example, publishes using Wordpress), good internet connection, submission guidelines, and time that can be devoted to going through the pile of submissions. Compare this with the money you’ll have to shell out in order to produce your first print issue, factoring in the cost of printing, distribution, and the like.

Click here to read the whole article.

11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China

As seen on 11 Points: 11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China. An excerpt:

I've always found the Chinese bootleg industry -- which is scarily enormous -- to be fascinating. It's clear they have an affinity for Western brands... but have such different cultural values and backgrounds that they never quite "get" the nuances, the appeal, the subtleties that define those brands. That leaves their rip-offs being, well, tragically bad.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon the Chinese "Harry Potter" fake book market. Here, it seems, Chinese authors have seized upon the Potter popularity and decided to run with it. It's hard to say how many new "Harry Potter" books have come out of China -- most of the articles I read put it around a dozen -- I found almost twice that during my research and picked my 11 favorites to share here.

These are 11 amazing fake "Harry Potter" novels written and bootlegged in China, and a little info I found out about each of them. Although they're truly unbelievable, each of these is very much real.

My favorite is "Harry Potter And The Chinese Porcelain Doll".

Click here for more.

The Scholastic Asian Book Award

Have you written a children's story that is inspired by Asia? If yes, please do consider joining The Scholastic Asian Book Award. An excerpt:

The National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia are jointly launching the Asian children’s book prize. The award, called the Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA), will recognise Asians and children’s writers of Asian origin who are taking the experiences of life, spirit and thinking in different parts of Asia to the world at large. The award would also promote the understanding of the Asian experience and its expression in innovative and creative forms.

First prize is S$10,000, and it will be awarded in May 2011.

I can think of possibly three PGS contributors who might want to give this a try. :D

Creative Science 2010 In Kuala Lumpur

From my email inbox, care of PGS contributor MRR Arcega:

Victor Callaghan of Essex University emailed me about Creative Science 2010, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur on July 19.


1st International Workshop
"Creative Science - Science Fiction Prototyping for Research" (CS'10)
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia. 19th of July 2010

Background and Goals: This workshop will explore the use of science fiction as a means to motivate and direct research into new technologies and consumer products. It does this by creating science fiction stories grounded in current science and engineering research that are written for the explicit purpose of acting as prototypes for people to explore a wide variety of futures. These ‘prototypes’ can be created by scientists and engineers to stretch their work or by, for example, writers, school children and members of the public to influence the work of researchers. The outcomes of these interactions are then be fed back, to shape the science research and outputs. In this way science fiction prototypes act as a way of involving the widest section of the population in determining the science research agenda, thereby making science investment, and science output more useful to everyone ranging from companies, through scientists and engineers to the public, consumers and the government that indirectly fund R&D. In this way fictional prototypes provide a powerful interdisciplinary tool to enhance the traditional practices of research, design and market research. The goals of the workshop are to act as a catalyst of this new approach by acting as a forum where researchers from differing disciplines (notably science fact and science fiction) can come together to explore how to develop this area.


For more information, such as paper submission details and fees, visit the event's website:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Library Books Held Hostage

As seen on Eternal Moonshine Of A Daydreaming Mind: Here We Groan Again, a blog entry about how a mother locked up some library books she thought were inappropriate for young adults. An excerpt:

A couple weeks ago I posted about an effort in Lake County to have warning labels put on YA library books , or force libraries to move "bad" books to their own shelf. (Because you know, an entire YA section just isn't good enough anymore.) This time, a mother decided she'd just keep the books off the shelf all together.

The 4 books in question are The It Girl series (inspired by Gossip Girl). The mom in question flipped through her 13-year-old's selections and "saw numerous curse words and terms such as 'stoned' and 'marijuana,' and a reference to sleeping with a teacher."

(Wait, you mean these books contained all the things I heard about and was surrounded by when I was in high school nearly two decades ago? Surely, those words and issues aren't STILL around. People must have figured out some kids do these things and put a stop to it by now. )

Long story short, Mom hides the books in her closet and refuses to return to them to the library because "If I turn them in, they will be put back into circulation and and they'll be available for more young girls to read."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Only Human: The Limits Of SF Imagination

Here's an interesting article from The Apex Book Company, Only Human: The Limits of SF Imagination. An excerpt:

We writers are only human.

Oh, in the course of storytelling, we can imagine that we’re something else, by taking on a point of view of, say, a Martian, and whisking the reader away with us for the journey. But the sad, immutable reality is that our imaginations are constrained by our experience as homo sapiens, mammal bipeds on this tiny planet in a rustic, backwater star system, in the prosaic “Milky Way” (as the late Carl Sagan would remind us, just one of “billions and billions” such galaxies).

“Write what you know,” the old saw goes. And yet all that we know is Earth (and a tiny bit about our immediate neighbors). Actually, the sad fact is that many of us who live in the United States have seldom traversed past even its borders. We lack even first-hand knowledge of our own planet!

So it is that we writers of spec fic (often prideful of our sophistication beyond “the mundanes”) are akin to the inhabitants of a small, isolated hamlet in Appalachia, who’ve never experienced anyone else, and conjure up wild stories of what the outside world must be like. We’ve been doing it for millenia, under the guise of cosmology, myth, and religion. We’ve only been doing it as self-aware speculative fiction (recreational myth) for the past few hundred years.

Given the dilemma of our smallness, what would an alien civilization think of our science fiction? My guess is that they would look at almost all of it as naively provincial, influenced more by the limits of our biology and geography than our imagination. Our planet is three-quarters water, so it is common to read of a “sea of space”. The implements for interplanetary travel are referred to as “ships”. We speak of Earth as an “island home”. Our modern SF is full of military “armadas” and “Captains” along with not-a-few “pirates” in space.

Reverse Inspiration Challenge: Speculative Fiction

As seen on Fiction on Demand, Reverse Inspiration Challenge: Speculative Fiction. An excerpt:

Speculative fiction is an umbrella fiction genre covering the more specific genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history. (Yes, I pulled this from Wikipedia!)


For you, my readers, to write 300 to 500 words of speculative fiction using the following as inspiration:

“It was, rather, the quiet time under the tree, with the green leaves against the blue sky, the mild breeze, the soft sound of animals, and Giskard opposite him with faintly glowing eyes.”

Taken from the end of Isaac Asimov’s, “The Robots of Dawn”.

You don’t need to use this line, and you shouldn’t use the characters. No Asimov fan-fiction please. Just go with any image the passage puts in your mind, and take it from there. There are no wrong answers, only interesting writing. The competition is open to everyone, regardless of age, writing ability, or location on the planet.

Click here for more details.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Editor Is Always Right

Here's a funny article over at Storytellers Unplugged: Submit--Or The Editor Is Always Right. An excerpt:

Papal infallibility? Maybe so, maybe no, but if you are a beginning or journey(wo)man writer … The editor is always right. If the editor says, “We would like to publish your story but you have to change your protagonist, a circus midget who likes plaid, into a blind, African-American who plays center for the world’s only visually impaired touring-Patagonian basketball team,” you do it. You don’t go running to tell your big brother, recently released from the asylum, about the philistine editor who …

You’d be surprised how many editors wound up becoming editors because they know something about writing. They view their job, in part, as educational–and they can teach you.

Way back machine, to when I’d only been writing and publishing, say, for a little over a decade. In 1977, James R. Pack, then editing The New Infinity Review, called me to say he wanted to drop the last line from my short story “Henderson’s Place.” I was proud of that last line. I thought it a last line that had a rightful slot in the Guiness Book Of Marvelously Memorable Last Lines.

So I told James R. Pack, “Okay.”

This Plagiarism Thingie (Updated)

The scanned image of the article from The Village Voice,
from my Facebook friend--thanks very much!

No, not that older issue. A lot's been said about that already.

What happened was that a friend on Facebook informed me that my notes on the May 10, 2010 ballot, which I wrote down during an election seminar I attended in my barangay and shared on my own Facebook account and on this blog, was published in the Edsa-Ortigas issue of The Village Voice. My friend also told me that the byline for these notes was claimed by a certain Alfredo Figueras.

I wonder if Mr. Figueras was there during that seminar too. :)

A part of me is irritated, of course, but another part is glad that there're hard copies of these notes circulating that could help many voters. That was my goal in sharing them via the web, after all. Well, there is the option of contacting The Village Voice--my friend gave me their contact info: email address is villagev(at)pldtdsl(dot)net, telefax numbers are 525-2065 and 526-1066 ;-)--but I'll think about it first. After all, the elections are tomorrow, and there's going to be a lot going on. But I have to admit this plagiarism thingie feels kinda' weird. :-/

Here's hoping for a successful election day, and that the Philippines can move forward in a positive, just, and progressive direction from hereon. The realist in me knows that this is hoping for a lot, but I believe it's a good goal to strive for.

Updated: A friend texted me that The Village Voice issued an erratum in a succeeding issue. My thanks to them for this.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Best Of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009

The Bibliophile Stalker has compiled his Best Of Philippine Speculative Fiction for 2009. I'm happy that there are a number of PGS contributors in the list. You can also download the PDF or ePub versions, whichever suits you. Congratulations to all who made his list, and congratulations to The Bibliophile Stalker himself for his site and his compilation!

Diana Gabaldon On Writing Fan Fic

Writer Diana Gabaldon shares her thoughts on Fan Fiction And Moral Conundrums. Her blog entry has reached 607 comments! She's very much against fan fiction, by the way. An excerpt:

OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.

Now, if I understand the arguments presented in favor of it, they run like this:

Click here to read her entire entry and the comments.

Update: The original link is gone. Maybe the poster took it down because the comments were getting heated. But here's a link to the cache of her original entry.

TOP Music Video Short Story Writing Contest 2010 (Updated)

Here's a new contest, the TOP Music Video Short Story Writing Contest. Deadline is on July 31, 2010. An excerpt:

Welcome to the 1st Tagalog Online Pocketbook (TOP) Writing Contest! The aim of this contest is simple: Create a one-shot short story based on the following music videos (MV).

Bakit may ganito? Simple lang… para ganahan ang lahat na magsulat at magkaruon ng mas malalim na dahilan upang tangkilikin natin ang sarili nating kultura bilang isang Pilipino. At siyempre, para naman magkaruon ng kakaibang activity sa net tungkol sa pagsusulat, diba? (teka nga, back to my english speaking mode) ~foo

Click here for more details.

Update: A PGS blog reader, macoy, commented that:

rule #8 seems a bit on the shady side:

"8. All submissions will be owned by TOP."

they will basically be farming other people's stories and ideas for free. in other words, spec work.

doesn't sound like the type of contest this site should be endorsing.

So, be forewarned, thanks to macoy. If this rule bothers you, don't submit to the contest.

Update 2: A contest organizer made a comment and said that the rules have been edited.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Miguel Syjuco Article On The Wall Street Journal

Here's an article on Pinoy author Miguel Syjuco from The Wall Street Journal: Climbing The Literary Ladder Backward. An excerpt:

After being rejected by dozens of agents and publishers, Miguel Syjuco, 33, is emerging as one of this year's most surprising literary Cinderella stories.

His novel, "Ilustrado," a postmodern mystery set in New York and the Philippines, won the prestigious Man Asian literary prize two years ago, when it was still a manuscript with no publisher attached. Farrar, Straus & Giroux snapped it up shortly after. Now "Ilustrado," which came out in the U.S. last week, is being translated into 13 languages and published in 18 countries.

Mr. Syjuco says he was expected to go into business or politics (his father, Augusto Syjuco, served as a cabinet member under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and his mother, Judy Syjuco, is a member of Congress). Much to his parents' disappointment, he flunked out of his economics classes and majored in English.

He took odd jobs to make ends meet after receiving his master's degree in creative writing at Columbia University in 2005. He bought designer purses for $10 at sample sales and sold them on eBay for $100, rented himself out as a medical guinea pig in psychological experiments, tended bar, painted apartments and worked as an assistant bookie at horse tracks in Adelaide, Australia. He wrote fiction in his free time, and gathered a stack of rejection slips from agents and literary magazines. "Ilustrado" was rejected by every one—one agent advised Mr. Syjuco to read E.M. Forster's "A Passage to India" and try again.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Newsweek For Sale, Online Competition Blamed

Yet another print magazine suffers losses from the onslaught of digital competition: Newsweek is up for sale after incurring huge losses over the past few years. An excerpt:

The Washington Post Co. has recently put up the 77-year-old Newsweek magazine for sale, citing financial losses, reports

Chairman of The Washington Post Co., Donald E. Graham, said, “We have reported losses in the tens of millions for the last two years… Despite heroic efforts on the part of Newsweek’s management and staff, we expect it to still lose money in 2010. We are exploring all options to fix that problem.”

Since people now have access to more immediate and free online news, the US newsstand stalwart has been struggling with declining ad revenue and circulation. From a circulation of three million in the 1990s, Newsweek promises its advertisers a circulation of only 1.5 million this year, according to Its competitor, TIME, ranks first in the US with a circulation of 3.4 million in 2009.

He added, “If anyone should take the blame for this ending, it is me for not seeing early enough and reacting in the right way to the changes that have come to our industry.”

Would You Give Up US$500k A Year For Literature?

Someone named Gary Buslik did. An excerpt from the article:

When Gary Buslik graduated from college with a degree in English, his parents were concerned about how he'd earn a decent living. "It worried them to hear me quoting Shakespeare," he jokes.

Their fears were misplaced: Buslik went on to start an alarm company in Chicago that would eventually grow to $6 million in annual sales and earn him $500,000 a year. But he wasn't happy. "My passion was literature, not alarm systems," he says.

So when Buslik turned 50, in 1997, he sold his business (for several million bucks) in order to pursue that passion. With a recommendation from a pal who was an assistant dean, he got into the English Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In return for his work as a TA, the school waived his tuition.

Buslik graduated in 2007 and now teaches there part-time while writing books on the side. He makes just $13,500 a year, but "I've never regretted my decision," he says. "I'm content to be sending Shakespeare lovers into the world."

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Why We Must Defend Writers

Author Margaret Atwood shares her thoughts on Why We Must Defend Writers. An excerpt:

You’re arrested, you are condemned, you are tortured, you are shot, you disappear. Those doing the shooting and the torturing, whether they are from the left or the right, whether they represent theocracies or secular totalitarian dictatorships or extreme factions, all have one thing in common: They wish to silence the human voice, or all human voices that do not sing their songs. They wish to indulge their sense of power, which is best done by grinding underfoot those who cannot retaliate. Writers—artists in general—are easy prey for the silencers. They don’t have armies. They can be cut out from the herd—they‘ve already cut themselves out, by daring to speak—and few in their own countries will be foolhardy enough to defend them.

Voices can be silenced, but the human voice cannot. Our languages are what make us fully human—no other creature has anything like our rich and complex vocabularies and grammars. Each language is unique: To lose one is to lose a range of feeling and a way of looking at life that, like a living species that becomes extinct, can never be replaced. Human narrative skills are found in every language, and are very old: We all have them. We writers merely use them in what we fondly believe are more complex ways. But whether written down or not, stories move—from hand to paper to eye to mouth, from mouth to ear.

And stories move us. This is their power. Written stories are frozen voices that come to life when we read them. No other art form involves us in the same way—allows us to be with another human being—to feel joy when he laughs, to share her sorrow, to follow the twists and turns of his plotting and scheming, to realize her insufficiencies and failures and absurdities, to grasp the tools of her resistance—from within the mind itself. Such experience—such knowledge from within—makes us feel that we are not alone in our flawed humanity.

Click here for the full article.

The Writer And The Web

Two interesting pieces, first: Can The Author Survive The Internet? An excerpt:

But the aura around printed books is fast dissipating. With sales of e-books increasing by 176% in the last year, Spice fears that book chains may soon collapse, making it impossible for publishers to keep manufacturing hard copies.

Tóibín, who was recently awarded the Costa prize for his latest novel, Brooklyn, chimed in with a lament for the days of the “Net Book Agreement,” which used to prevent British bookstores from flogging bestsellers at knock down prices. The agreement’s demise in the 1990s proved to be fatal for hundreds of small booksellers.

But Tóibín was keener on blogging which he compared to the thriving pamphlet industry during the 18th Century. Swift, he said, might have knocked out a few blog posts in between finishing Gulliver’s Travels and delivering a sermon.

James Wood was somewhat less pleased with the “vituperation” he associates with the blogosphere (though Wood himself, it must be said, has been no shrinking violet when it comes to dispatching the pretensions of what he has dubbed the “hysterical realist” school of fiction). He said he finds looking through readers’ comments on blogs to be akin to a descent into Hades. He added that his friend Andrew Sullivan is buckling under the strain of writing three hundred blog posts per week, which has interfered with his ability to concentrate on anything longer than a few paragraphs. According to Wood, one of the Internet’s longest-serving and most prolific bloggers could even be about to call it a day as a result. (Contacted by The Daily Beast after the debate, Sullivan replied that “I have felt that way for five years and I’m still blogging!” He confirmed, however, that he had indeed considered calling it quits recently but would persevere if he could get an extra staffer.)

Wilmers admitted that she tends to limit her own exposure to cyberspace. “The only blog I read is our blog,” she said, “and I think it’s rather similar (to the essays in the magazine).” She was more intrigued by the emerging possibilities for narrative, particularly in the wake of historian Orlando Figes’s confession that he had deliberately smeared his rivals’ books on “There’s a plot there,” she said.

Click here for the full article.

And then, Writers And The Internet. An excerpt:

The poor darlings. It must be terribly difficult for writers of Literature to finally have to answer to readers now, in addition to critics who may or may not go to the same dinner parties.

I guess this is where the SFF community has been for several years, if not decades. The history of fandom is one where authors have engaged in a dialogue with readers, to some extent. And it’s one reason I think the blogosphere is a good thing: it has devolved power of opinion from a few gatekeepers, to the many. There certainly doesn’t seem to be as much rigour of analysis in reviews as there used to be with the early blogs, whose competition then was the established quality e-zines. Now, anything passes for a review, even a rough synopsis. Things are often reduced these days merely to “I did / did not like this book”, which is a loss to the genre). And the author experience differs – there is so much more discussion of their works, but more of it is emotional gut responses, rather than a full-on engagement, for better or worse. Now, a year’s work can be reduced to “ZOMG you suck”. These reactions existed previously, but now they’re digital, and for the world and the author to see.

With great power comes great responsibility – little do online commentators realise how fragile creative egos can be. You might chuckle, but to some, a damaging comment can prevent a writer from doing his or her job properly. Some might crumble for a week, who’s to say? I’ve been pretty lucky, but I cringe at reading scathing reviews of other authors’ work. So whilst I was full of snark at the start of this post, I do actually understand how such things can harm writers. And yes, some writers really do care about what people think of their work. Yes, they receive Google Alerts about the fruit of their labours. Surely that’s a good thing, that they give a shit? I suppose if you’re the kind of person who enjoys attacking creative works for kicks, then you need a little more help than this blog post can offer.

My opinion to new writers: all you can do is develop a thick skin very quickly, and deal with it. (And, ironically, be concerned about the amount of coverage, rather than its quality.)

The full article here.

The Loss Of The Short Story In The Current Genre Fiction Market

And of course, in light of my post about Short Story Month 2010, here's an article that laments the loss of the short story form in the current genre fiction market. An excerpt:

If there's one thing about the current publishing environment I lament more than any other, it's the loss, at least on a relative scale, of the short story. There was a time, the era of the pulps, when the short story was the primary home of genre fiction. Now, I don't want to go back that far--I'm a novelist, first and foremost, and a novel-reader, first and foremost--but I would like to go back to the short story being a well respected second.

I'm not sure exactly when it changed, but pinpointing a precise date really isn't necessary. What I do know is that the relative quantity of genre short fiction markets that pay at a pro level is a fraction of what it once was. And most of those that do exist aren't really interested in the classic (I'm sure they'd say "tired") forms of the genre, such as S&S. (I give major kudos to the few publications, like Black Gate, that are not only interested in but focused on those; but they're so few and far between that they're closed to submissions as often as not, and the competition to get in while they're open is brutal.)

The state of short fiction in anthology form is no better. It's no secret that those tend not to sell very well, and they're becoming ever less common as a result, despite the efforts of imprints like Tekno to keep them going.

May Is Short Story Month 2010

As seen on Emerging Writers Network: Short Story Month 2010. An excerpt:

...the Emerging Writers Network will indeed be celebrating Short Story Month again this year and once again we thank Steven Seighman for designing our logo for this year. You'll see his handiwork at least around 100 times this month at this blog alone, though I will not go so far as to promise 3 posts per day this year.

I have some fun planned though - bringing back some old story collection reviews, some guest posts, looking at stories from some collections and journals I've just not quite gotten to yet, as well as pointing people to other places celebrating short story month.

Click here for more details.

I read a lot of novels, but I also love the short-story form. It takes a different mindset to read (and write) both forms; one's a marathon, the other's a sprint. But when both are well-done, they're really enjoyable reads.

So, it's currently short story month for this year. Go and pick up an anthology of short fiction and dive in!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Let's Vote For The Garapata! (Part Two)

The Talents Of A Middle-Aged Brain

I'm there already, so to all those who are younger, I apologize for linking to this article that makes me feel better about my grey cells: The Talents Of A Middle-Aged Brain. An excerpt:

After we hit 40, many of us begin to worry about our aging brains. Will we spend our middle years searching for car keys and forgetting names?

The new book “The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind,” by Barbara Strauch, has the answers, and the news is surprisingly upbeat. Sure, brains can get forgetful as they get old, but they can also get better with age, reports Ms. Strauch, who is also the health editor at The New York Times. Ms. Strauch, who previously tackled teenage brains in her book “The Primal Teen,” spoke with me this week about aging brains and the people who have them.

So what’s the bad news about the middle-aged brain?

Obviously, there are issues with short-term memory. There are declines in processing speed and in neurotransmitters, the chemicals in our brain. But as it turns out, modern middle age is from 40 to 65. During this long time in the middle, if we’re relatively healthy our brains may have a few issues, but on balance they’re better than ever during that period.

So what kinds of things does a middle-aged brain do better than a younger brain?

Inductive reasoning and problem solving — the logical use of your brain and actually getting to solutions. We get the gist of an argument better. We’re better at sizing up a situation and reaching a creative solution. They found social expertise peaks in middle age. That’s basically sorting out the world: are you a good guy or a bad guy? Harvard has studied how people make financial judgments. It peaks, and we get the best at it in middle age.

iPad Sells A Million Faster Than The iPhone

The iPad has been selling very well, even better than the iPhone, which we know is another one of Apple's bestselling products. An excerpt:

Apple sold the millionth iPad on Friday — the day that the 3G-embedded version of the iPad went on sale — according to a statement from Cupertino early Monday. Steve Jobs boasted that "demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers."

Back in 2007, the original iPhone took 73 days to cross the million mark. The iPad managed the same feat in just 28 days, about 2½ times as fast as the first iPhone did.

iPad apps are selling at a blistering pace as well, Apple claims: more than 13 million iPad apps and 1.5 million iBooks downloaded. About 5,000 iPad apps are now available in the App Store, according to Apple's statement Monday.

The most popular paid app for the iPad as of Monday: Apple's own $10 Pages word processing app, followed by GoodReader (a 99-cent document reader), Numbers (Apple's $10 spreadsheet app for the iPad) and Pinball HD (an excellent pinball game for iPad, especially considering the $2.99 price tag). As far as free iPad apps go, Apple's iBooks e-reader app tops the list, followed by Weather Channel Max, the streaming Netflix app (a killer app for the iPad if there ever was one) and USA Today's iPad app.

Yet the current iPad sales figures may well pale in comparison with next year's expected iPad 2, which (I'm guessing) could see a simultaneous international launch, not to mention more storage and the oft-requested front-facing camera for video chat. Remember how iPhone sales exploded in 2008 once the speedier 3G- and GPS-enabled next-gen model arrived? I'd expect the same thing to happen for the iPad come 2011.

If this keeps up and this isn't a fad, I think it's logical to assume that this will have an effect on physical book sales. Like I said before, if the iPad becomes as big a hit as the iPod, it'll have a not insignificant impact on how the content of books and magazines are read, similar to the impact the iPod has had on listening to music.

Afterburn SF Open For New Submissions

Afterburn SF is now open for new submissions.

...we are looking for action-oriented, well written stories in Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. We want action-driven short stories that present a complete, well rounded tale, with strong characterization, clear description, and clean prose. Length should be between 1K and 10K words, although we will consider longer works based on their merits. We publish bi-weekly and stories may run up to six months after they are accepted for publication.

Reprints will be considered, as long as the author owns the copyright.

We cannot accept fan fiction, because we don’t like being sued.

More details here.

The 15th Chizine Short Story Contest

Chizine is holding their 15th short story contest. Submissions will be accepted from June 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. Winners and honourable mentions will be announced on July 31, 2010. More details here.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Diaspora Ad Astra: Science Fiction from the Philippines

Estranghero Press has issued its latest call for submissions for Diaspora Ad Astra: Science Fiction from the Philippines. An excerpt:

Our upcoming next anthology will look into the future (near or far). Will we still be exporting human workers to Mars or to Alpha Centauri? Will we be ruling an Empire of Humanity? Or will we be running a guerrilla war against robots that we’ve invented as the rest of homo sapiens flee into space in derelict battleships?

What do you think?

(Unlike the previous collections, we’re hoping these stories will be focusing on Filipinos as characters or as a race in these stories. As the title implies, we may have the future but it’s our future at least.)

Diaspora Ad Astra: Science Fiction from the Philippines edited by Joseph Nacino & Professor Emil Flores” will be published electronically to make this collection of stories available to a wider international audience. Through this anthology we will be able to show the world that the Filipino writer can create worlds with the best of them.

Click here for more information.

Pakinggan Pilipinas Needs You

PGS contributor Elyss Punsalan has generously taken up a project called Pakinggan Pilipinas, which will post online podcasts of Filipino works of short fiction. An excerpt:

This blog aims to bring together podcast links of Filipino works of short fiction, either in Filipino or English. The vision for the future is to produce our own high quality story podcasts and distribute for free, but for now, let's collect stuff that's already available out there.

If you've come across any Filipino short story, English or Filipino, that's been read, recorded, and posted online, send me the link through email (elysspunsalan(at)gmail(dot)com) . Include in your email the title of Work, name and website of the Producer (or, creator of the audio file), name of the Author, and email or website of the Author. Do include your name, something about yourself, and if you can, what you thought of the story (in a 100 words, or less) because we'd all want to know you better.

Her deadline is May 31, 2010, so please email her your favorite stories as soon as you can! Click here for more details.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Serial Fiction Vs. Flash Fiction

Writer Tony Noland wrote a blog entry about Serial Fiction Vs. Flash Fiction. An excerpt:

I've been waffling on making Just Enough Power into an ongoing serial. Ideally, I'd write the whole thing, then publish it in ~1K episodes, posting them weekly. So as not to interfere with the FridayFlash, Tuesday would be a good day for these.

Having left everyone with a cliff-hanger last week, I feel a sense of obligation to you to let you know what happens. It's not a story that can be told in a single post, believe me.

I'll be honest, though. As much as the idea of a serial, particularly this serial, appeals to me,
I have a lot of other things on my plate at the moment. I'm not sure I could polish up a serial and do a decent FridayFlash every week. Sad fact, but there it is. Unless something changes, I'm going to have to post episodes of "Just Enough Power" on an occasional, rather than a regular, basis.

Why not kill two birds with one stone-cold-awesome and publish the serial on Fridays?


As much as I love so much of the writing that people post on Fridays with the #FridayFlash hashtag, I'm going to try to stick to a narrower definition of flash: stand alone story, closed plot arc, twist ending. I'll stretch this a bit to say that different stories can take place within the same world, but the basic structure of a flash piece has to be there.

Why? Why be so pedantic? For the writing discipline it imposes.

Elizabeth Gilbert On Nurturing Creativity

Here's a video of a talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity. The blurb reads:

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

Why I Don’t Say “Science Fiction” Or “Fantasy” To Regular People

Author Richard Kadrey writes why he doesn't say "Science Fiction" or "Fantasy" to regular people. An excerpt:

The moment you tell regular people that you write fantasy or science fiction they look at you like you just said you’d had a lobotomy and that your favorite color is “fish.” This condescending attitude strikes me as strange. “Avatar,” the most successful movie of all time, while dumb science fiction, is pretty damned science fictiony. If you ask many people their favorite movie you’re going to hear “Star Wars” or “Lord Of The Rings.” Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings are also two of the most popular book series in history. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was just awarded the Newberry medal. But something funny happens when you say that you write these kinds of books. People’s eyes glaze over. You’re suddenly one of those funny guys they tell jokes about, socially retarded weirdos who play dungeons and dragons all day and live in their mom’s basement.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Digital Piracy Hits The E-book Industry

As seen on CNN, Digital Piracy Hits The E-book Industry. An excerpt:

When Dan Brown's blockbuster novel "The Lost Symbol" hit stores in September, it may have offered a peek at the future of bookselling.

On, the book sold more digital copies for the Kindle e-reader in its first few days than hardback editions. This was seen as something of a paradigm shift in the publishing industry, but it also may have come at a cost.

Less than 24 hours after its release, pirated digital copies of the novel were found on file-sharing sites such as Rapidshare and BitTorrent. Within days, it had been downloaded for free more than 100,000 times.

Digital piracy, long confined to music and movies, is spreading to books. And as electronic reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble's Nook, smartphones and Apple's much-anticipated "tablet" boost demand for e-books, experts say the problem may only get worse.

"It's fair to say that piracy of e-books is exploding," said Albert Greco, an industry expert and professor of marketing at Fordham University.

Sales for digital books in the second quarter of 2009 totaled almost $37 million. That's more than three times the total for the same three months in 2008, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP).