Larry Niven is Now a VCon Guest of Honour!

Larry Niven, author of the “Ringworld” series of books

Larry Niven, author of the “Ringworld” series of books

Yes, that Larry Niven!

Apparently the original writer Guest of Honour (or ‘GoH’) Dr. Gregory Benford is unable to attend VCon 36 due to an unavoidable summons from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (aka: DARPA). As the organizers of the September event put it: “America needs him”. Look for him to be among next year’s Guests at VCon 37 in the autumn of 2012.

If you need to learn more about the specifics about him at the event, head here to the page on the VCon web-site.

VCon is is held from September 30 to October 2, 2011 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, in Richmond, near Westminster Highway and #3 Road. I’ll be there, both as a panel member and in the Dealer’s Room selling books I publish.

VCon is the oldest general-interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, games, etc.

VCon is organized by a subcommittee of the West Coast Science Fiction Association — a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and understanding of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs. VCon is not, nor will it ever be, owned by a big business or corporation. For now and for as long as efforts continue VCon will be a convention built “For the Fans, By the Fans”.

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Pet Peeve (Part of a Series): Mis’-Use of the Apostrophe’

Sweet Mother of God: thank Heavens someone is still willing to take on this topic!

I don’t buy the argument that dialogue won’t sound believably kid-like if it’s actually grammatically correct. Read any book by Natalie Babbitt or E.B. White or Norton Juster, and you’ll be reassured that good grammar wielded well is invisible and takes a back seat to story and character every single time. Whereas I can’t even finish an easy reader in which a talking animal says “I’m taller than her.” No, you’re not!

Head here for the article ‘Apostrophes Don’t Mean, “Here Comes an S.” ‘

Cover image

Cover image

No-One Likes to See This as a Result

Well… poop.

It seems that Borders USA is looking even less likely to continue business than before last week’s auction.

For those of you just joining the saga, Borders USA has been battling the “Going Out of Business Sale” demons for nearly a year. Borders UK folded a couple of years ago, and the Australian version a few months ago, but the American chain looked like a solid contender for continuing life; especially when reports of Barnes & Noble were filled with stockholder revolt.

What with local, long term businesses such as Duthies and its offspring Ardea Books, plus specialty shops like Biz Books and others finding it impossible to operate and pay ever-increasing costs for city property and commercial business taxes, adding the above to the mix makes one wonder “will I ever walk into a book shop again?”

When it comes to pass that — as is the case with Borders’ auction last week — no one is even interested in placing a bid for a multiple-location, national chain of stores, no matter what those stores offer, you really have to wonder about things.

Sorry, no answers here, nor even much in the way of hope, just a post to note the placing of another brick in a construction of something. I’ve no idea even what that construction is shaped like, but one does feel a tad that the final form will look a bit dreary.

Blast.

There Are Things I Want You to Tell Me…

…but they don’t have anything directly to do with either Stieg Larsson or Eva Gabrielsson, per se.

Just as with earlier this week, we have an example of what I can only call “price gouging”. Here’s today’s example.

Please, can someone explain why this hardcover is discounted to less that EIGHTEEN dollars:

“There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me”, by Eva Gabrielsson (hardcover)

“There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me”, by Eva Gabrielsson (hardcover)

…yet the eBook below, while discounted by over a third, still costs nearly SEVENTEEN dollars:

“There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me”, by Eva Gabrielsson (eBook)

“There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me”, by Eva Gabrielsson (eBook)

…which is only 99¢ less than the discounted price of the Hardcover edition of the work in the listing above it?

Notice as well that the Recommended Retail Price for the electronic edition is identical to the RRP for the electronic edition.

Let me remind you once again, don’t blame the un-identified retailers, they’re working with the RRP set by the publishers, which in this case is Seven Stories Press, who seem to be bound and determined to ensure no eBook is ever purchased by any individual in the history of man, just as Corgi and Transworld were earlier this week.

Authors (even the dead ones): talk to the houses who publish your work and insist they no longer ignore the way their are slicing their own throats. Electronic bindings are not some sort of luxury, especially as one has already bought some fancy electronic goo-gaw to read the books on in the first place. They can make money through volume sold just as easily as if they locate the handful of people in the marketplace daft or rich enough to pay top dollar for the option of carrying less paper.

Someone Please Explain This to Me

…preferably as though I was aged for the target market of the book.

I’ve said for some length of time that eBooks need to be approached as being a replacement (if they can be said to ‘replace’ anything) for Mass Market Paperback editions of titles. they fulfill the same approach as the Penguin or Pocket editions of any novel: get the words to the eye-bones of the readers as easily as possible. There’s no requirement for them to last forever, they’re not meant to be cherished, they aren’t supposed to survive thousands of readings un-molested. They’re meant to be read, possibly re-read, and that’s about it really.

So, based on that, eBooks are the same, except they’re able to withstand multiple readings. None the less, however, they present the words in the simplest and plainest format for the express purpose of getting words to the eye-bones of the readers.

Thus, can someone please explain why this MMP costs TWELVE dollars:

“I Shall Wear Midnight” (Discworld Novel 38), by Terry Pratchett {paperback}

“I Shall Wear Midnight” (Discworld Novel 38), by Terry Pratchett {paperback}

…yet the eBook below costs NINETEEN dollars:

“I Shall Wear Midnight” (Discworld Novel 38), by Terry Pratchett {electronic book}

“I Shall Wear Midnight” (Discworld Novel 38), by Terry Pratchett {electronic book}

…which is actually 50¢ more than the Hardcover edition of the work in the listing above it?

Don’t blame the un-identified retailers, they’re working with the Recommended Retail Price set by the publishers, which in this case is Transworld and Corgi, who seem to be bound and determined to ensure no eBook is ever purchased by any individual in the history of man.

Authors: talk to the houses who publish your work and insist they no longer ignore the way their are slicing their own throats. Electronic bindings are not some sort of luxury, especially as one has already bought some fancy electronic goo-gaw to read the books on in the first place. They can make money through volume sold just as easily as if they locate the handful of people in the marketplace daft or rich enough to pay top dollar for the option of carrying less paper.