This week's must-read - Jake Little on the why of books:
The biggest reason we spend money on books is because we want to read them (eventually), but that isn’t the only reason: we also like to look at them, and to look at other people looking at them.... The way I treat my books shows that no matter how important they are to me as things to read, they also exist as decorative objects and status symbols.
Little's piece is a much better-written and far more articulate way of this piece from two years ago, in which I tried to talk about books as collectibles across a number of, uh, 'dimensions' - text, object and artifact. As Little says, with the rise of digital books as the most efficient way of reading/collecting text, there's got to be something in why we keep hoarding the physical lumps as well.
Also brilliant - Hossein Darakshan on 'The Web We Have to Save', and the changes in blogging over the past few years:
There’s no question to me that the diversity of themes and opinions is less online today than it was in the past. New, different, and challenging ideas get suppressed by today’s social networks because their ranking strategies prioritize the popular and habitual....
As well as a thoughtful piece on the political impact of the new social media landscape, this is a practical guide as well - highlighting how the currency of the internet - the humble hyperlink - has shifted over time.
Ok, this week was full of must-reads - former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao speaks out about bullying:
The foundations of the Internet were laid on free expression, but the founders just did not understand how effective their creation would be for the coordination and amplification of harassing behavior. Or that the users who were the biggest bullies would be rewarded with attention for their behavior. Or that young people would come to see this bullying as the norm — as something to emulate in an effort to one-up each other.
Kim Kardashian, poster-child for the cultural apocalypse, is actually kind of awesome:
But what has Kim done since the [sex tape] release? Released like a dozen clothing lines, given her name to a series of fragrances, created a million dollar phone app, had a bit part in CSI, been named woman of the year, been in a billion series’ of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, released a book of selfies, brought to the forefront her Armenian culture, practically invented contouring, amongst a fistful of other things that have garnered her a net worth of around $48million. The result being that she launched herself into stardom.
FINALLY! Bookriot explains how the three star review is, by definition, totally fine:
If the worst book in the world — I don’t know, something Bill O’Reilly wrote on the toilet — can only receive 1 star at worst, and the best book in the world — let’s say Harper Lee co-writes a double-secret prequel to Harry Potter with Salman Rushdie — can at best earn five stars, then surely it’s true that the vast majority of books ever written anywhere by anyone are going to be three-star books. That’s how bell curves and standard distributions work.
I know I seem obsessed with streaming, but it is the current distribution model of choice. The (SAVE THE) BBC gathered a few different folks to give their opinion. Obviously, given a choice, I'm going to quote Lars Ulrich:
When there's less people buying music, there's less money generated back and record companies take less chances and instead of promoting 500 records a year, they promote 50 records a year and they don't put the same amount of money into breaking new art. The saddest thing about all of this is that there's less and less money being put into younger artists and there is a danger of younger artists coming close to extinction.
(thrashes in agreement)
Pornokitsch People Doing Things
The cover and TOC have been announced for the Mahvesh-edited Apex Book of World SF 4! You can read about it - and pre-order it - here.
Rob writes about Draw the Line Here and being heckled in the name of free speech.
Bex did an AMA! Learn about her involvement with Doctor Who and Zombies, Run!, her passion for Dick Marcinko and Person of Interest, and, of course, Smiler's Fair.
Speaking of which, the foxy limited edition of Hunter's Kind has started shipping from Goldsboro Books.
And Bex is being interviewed for the BSFA this coming Wednesday. Free entry. Details here.
A whole big ol' ton of us - including Bex, Stark, Anne and Jared - will all be taking part in Nine Worlds. Details and schedules to follow.