It’s Pride Month in the US, so there’s all sorts of interesting and educational links popping up at the moment. There’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Straight Privilege Edition, from unusualmusic at theangryblackwoman.com, and a great series of articles on avoiding stereotypes in YA fiction from Malinda Lo. The Examiner is listing calls for LGBTQ submissions.
Publishing: Does DRM mean Google have already won the eBook wars? The article is a little confused on some points, but the thust of the argument regarding the Cloud remains the same. I am very much anti-DRM, but despite my shiny new android phone I’m not exactly pro-Google, either. The whole Google Books settlement leaves something of a sour taste, and seems to be another commercial decision taken without considering whether it will be legal outside of America (like the Agency model).I don’t think DRM is its current manifestation will survive (there’s quite a nice visual model of why here) but I don’t think it’s going to disappear for good. Mobipocket is in the doldrums; once upon a time they set out to be the universal format, but they got bought out by Amazon shortly before the appearance of the Kindle (hmmmm) and now Agency 5 books won’t be available in the format at all.
Mike Shatzkin make 6 suggestions for today’s publishers that many can’t apply, based on ePublishing models (he’s speaking to Harlequin, who’ve already implemented most of them). The question is, why are Harequin so ahead of the game? They bought out most of their major competition years ago, they have an incredibly loyal reader base, they have books in every bookshops and most other shops too. Their basic model hasn’t really changed, with the heavily branded lines and user subscription. Maybe we’re just looping back to the early paperback days. Maybe they’ve always been right.
A comic book publisher has won a legal battle over Ulysses Seen for the iPad. As much as Apple want to censor iStore contents (having already pulled sexy aps from the iPod, but left Playboy), they’re being forced to acknowledge that you can’t just place a blnket ban on these things. I don’t think there should be a ban at all, to be honet, but if they are going to keep erotica out but Playboy in they have to admit they’re playing it by ear anyway. Also, as Robert Berry (the illustrator of Ulysses Seen) points out, it was fairly obvious their contact didn’t know what Ulysses is.
Interest-Piquing: Still on publishing, really, but a less technical angle. As news broke of Penuin Canada’s CEO sudden departure, shortly followed by a report he’s facing sexual harrassment charges, other women in publishing have started to come forward about their experiences. ‘Panic’ blogs about her experiences in one of her first jobs, and many other women come forward in the comments. The only way to change the culture of harrassment in predominantly-female-except-at-the-excutive-level industries (sadly, most of the them) is to object to it, out loud.
InsPiring: The BBC’s word of the week appears to be “Albedo”, appearing in both Kuiper Belt World Measured in Star Pass and Can Painting a Mountain Restore a Glacier? The first link is important to me for Space Romance. The second interest me, but the fact the word albedo appears in both just tickled me 🙂
If you’re looking for less specific inspiration, try the Seventh Sanctum. They’ve collected and created ‘generators’ that combine random elements to help you create chracters, settings and plots. It reminds me to the games we used to play at writing group, drawing elements out of hats.
Procrastintion: Index Ape, a collection of public domain stories of wild childs, hollow earths, advanced ape societies and Darwinism being mocked. There was an interesting discussion on colonialism in the comments of a recent review over at Dear Author (I stick my oar in as well, though I haven’t read the book in question), which prompted me to take another look at FeralChildren.com, which handily has a whole section on feral children in fiction. Now, a lot of the stories in the first link are going to contain Imperial trappings, mainly because of the period they were written in. But we don’t live in that era any more, and though there’s a very fine line to walk between preaching and self-awareness (and an even finer one between modern attitudes and anachronous characterisation), you can’t expect to skim past the issues without being called on it these days.