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eReaders February 18, 2009

Posted by Lee in Books, Future formats.
2 comments

We’ve been thinking about eReaders in the office, and wondering whether to get one. They’ve been pretty popular with editors, recently, and with good reason. Carrying multiple novel submissions in hardcopy isn’t practical, and reading from a computer monitor is ok for a short while, but not for long periods of time (and again, it’s not practical to take one everywhere you go, just on the off-chance you’ll find some spare reading time).

 

 

droppedimage_5A dedicated electronic reader, though – that’s a practical option. They’re generally the size of a hardback book, and the better ones use something called electronic ink – a process that makes the screen as easy to read as paper – with little or no glare from other lighting sources, and readable in bright sunlight.

 

 

There are a few problems with eReaders at the moment, though, and although they have generally been solved there is a geographical disadvantage. The Sony PRS 550 eReader, for instance doesn’t allow you to annotate manuscripts – the replacement PRS700 does, but it’s not available here in the UK, yet. Likewise, the Amazon Kindle (and Kindle 2) is a US-only device.

 

 

The problem was largely solved for me recently by a friend who gave me an iPod Touch (everyone should have friends like that).

 

 

On her recommendation I downloaded an eReader application called Stanza. It was the work of but a few moments to ascertain how to get the Angry Robot submissions list onto the device, and while it doesn’t allow annotation, it’s small enough to put in my pocket wherever I go, and that’s a good trade-off.

 

 

The screen is big enough to make reading pleasurable, and extremely clear. In fact, the more I use it, the more I wonder why manufacturers of dedicated eReaders feel it necessary to make them ‘book size’. Surely, the advantage of an eReader is that it can carry hundreds of books in one – size and weight is evidently a major factor, so why not go the whole hog and reduce the dimensions?

 

 Perhaps the reason is that at over £200 a device, the manufacturers feel it necessary to give some physical substance to the device.

  

Personally, I don’t want something bigger. I’m perfectly happy with Stanza on my iPod. It works well, so why carry something bigger? I can carry the entire Angry Robot submissions list with me wherever I go, and it weighs no more than a mobile phone. Surely that’s the point of an electronic book…

Learning from the greats January 28, 2009

Posted by Marco in Books, Writers.
1 comment so far

sfsignal-biglogo001Every so often I have the massive honour of being asked to contribute to one of SF Signal’s Mind Melds, wherein the august genre news site gathers the great and the good, and some lowly publisher types too, to offer opinions on a particular topic. Being far more of a backroom boy these days, it was a major shock to find myself amongst some of my idols in this week’s Mind Meld, on the topic of the best writing advice one ever received. Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe, Walter Jon Williams… oh wow, I am definitely not worthy!

Check out their sage words if you have any intention of becoming, or any experience of being, a writer.

The “C” word November 9, 2008

Posted by Marco in Books, Future formats.
4 comments

mash it up!At World Fantasy Con this year I heard a great deal about Crossover. (What did you think I meant? For shame…) It’s not that new a term, but more and more people are using it. For a while we at Angry Robot, along with others from other imprints, have been debating our thoughts on just what to call what might even turn out to be a whole new genre of fiction.

It’s that stuff that sits, well, somewhere in the hazy middle of the traditional genres such as science fiction and fantasy, as well as crime, historical, comicbooks and more, and takes massive influences from all. It’s the stuff which, while ostensibly from one obvious genre, doesn’t just add a pinch of flavouring from another, but mashes them all together wholesale. They do it in computer games, they do it in movies, ethnically you even get presidents like this, and by god they’re doing it in books now as well.

“Crossover” has started to stick, and it seems to solve problems that other names – “modern fantasy”, “dark fantasy”, “cult”, “pop culture” among them – have simply not addressed. And it isn’t “slipstream”… that stuff was everything around the edge of SF/F, rather than at its new core. Perhaps “crossover” will stick around a little longer, but I ain’t so sure, mostly because it doesn’t actually describe anything. Suggestions on a Comment form please if you have a better idea. Whatever this new mixed-up genre ends up being called, however, there is right where Angry Robot is aiming.

Jeff Vandermeer is a crazy Predator November 3, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Books, Other people's business.
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Jeff VanderMeer's Predator tie-in novel - what a combo!

Jeff VanderMeer's Predator tie-in novel - what a combo!

Jeff VanderMeer, over on the rather excellent blog at Amazon.com, talked recently about his writing of a Predator tie-in novel for Dark Horse, Predator: South China Sea.

This excites me, for two simple reasons.

1. Jeff rocks – Cities of Saints and Madmen is one of the most surprising books I’ve read out of genre for years. A twisting, Calvino-ish mass of fragments and vignettes that comes alive taken altogether.

2. Predator rocks – Arnie’s greatest moment by a country-mile (way beyond Terminator), a vicious, punchy barrage of Jungle ultraviolence.

So put ’em together and something good has GOT to happen right? I hope so – it’s not always easy to get worked up about tie-ins, even when someone as good as Jeff is writing them. But Predator, that’s enough to get me hoping for something dark, hard and nasty to come crawling out of the Jungle. Jeff – don’t let me down!

Check the original movie trailer for some good memories:

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