Stefan Hayden

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Archive for the 'books' Category

Awhile ago I was listening to a podcast about video games. They focus mostly on console games but for whatever reason they were talking about PC games which is where most of my interest lie and they just said obviously wrong thing after obviously wrong thing. And it made me so angry. So angry that I actually just stopped listening to all of the small handful of podcasts I was subscribed to.

Slowly I am bringing them back. First to catch up with Welcome to Nightvale and then Serial which has swept the internet almost as quickly as Nightvale did. But also Reasonably Sound a great podcast about an area I know very little about.

For me the greatest problem is just that podcasts are something I tend to do on my commute and which is also where I do most of my reading and so they tend to take me from reading. I’m already not reading as much as I should as I let Game of Thrones slow me down to a halt.

Elsewhere I’m having a good debate on why Graceling is called feminist when so many other seemly feminist YA books are not called feminist. I’m still confused by the incosistancy.

The fact that online (and especially youtube) interest in Harry Potter seems to cross over with Twilight alot is pretty frusterating. Though as time goes on more and more “fans” seem to becoming at least down on the side of “awesomely bad”.  Over at i09 they have a very good take down of why the movie is a faithful adaptation of a poorly written book. Hint: it’s mostly weak characterization.

HBO has commissioned a pilot of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Because it’s HBO I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Unlike the Legend of the Seeker which I assumed would be horrible and have yet to force myself to watch on TiVo. I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while and I think I’ll actually need to do it before this happens.

This video makes me seem lamer then I remember being. Perhaps I can be happy for high self esteem?

I just finished Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix and wanted to repost my review here:

I have 2 issues with these books. Part of my problem with these books is that both Mogget and the Disreputable Dog are basically deus ex machina. God like characters that explain nothing, know everything and fix all problems and because of that all agency is taken away from the main characters. YA books should be about giving agency to teens and Garth Nix just refuses to do that.

whew… they are finally releasing the Harry Potter story The Tales of Beedle the Bard! I was fine waiting but they never said it would be released in the first place.

Tor has put tons of awesome books online. Though I don’t really like reading books on my PC I checked out the HTML versions and was surprised there was no way to save your place.

The HTML on the pages is well formed and each page is marked off ready for bookmarking. Here is a bookmarklet to add the page numbers. When you are ready to stop reading just save the link for the page to jump back in to the book where you left off.

Drag this link: Tor HTML page numbers to your Firefox bookmark toolbar, then just click it on the HTML of a Tor book to add page numbers. Try it out on Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell.

Here is the code:

javascript:void((function(){j=document.createElement('SCRIPT');j.src='http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.pack.js';document.getElementsByTagName('HEAD')[0].appendChild(j);setTimeout(function(){$('a').each(function(e){$(this).text($(this).attr('id'));$(this).attr('href','#'+$(this).attr('id'));this.style.position='absolute';this.style.left='10px';});},5000);})())

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)J.K. Rowling is in an interesting situation and creative commons is the answer. The Harry Potter Lexicon wants to publish a reference book. No big deal but it seems all they want to print is (to simplify the situation) an alphabetized list of characters and magic spells.

There is a long history of letting people publish reference books but the key seems to be that the book add enough original content to justify a “transformative work” or one way to say they are not just reprinting J.K. Rowlings words. The argument is that the Harry Potter Lexicon is adding no original work and so should not be printed. Most people in the know see that as the reason that Rowling will win. Most of the critics saying she will lose seemed to have missed the fact that there is “no new work” in the Lexicon that they have planned to print.

The trouble is the law see no difference between the web and a printed book. And if the Lexicon breaks the law in a book then they also break the law online. If Rowling loses because she did not enforce her copyright while the Lexicon was in the digital format then she now has to go after all the harry potter infringement going on online that she has happily left alone. Fan fiction and bands will quickly have cease and desist coming at them killing one of the most vital fandoms on the net. But even if Rowling wins she is still trying to make the copyright law do something it was not meant to do. This was a law suit that could have easily been avoided with a creative commons license.

With a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license it would be very clear what can and can not be made money on. Fans could continue to create songs, write fan fiction, and even compile reference books as long as they make no money on it and allow other to continue to modify their work as well. Any one who wanted to make money could strike a deal with Rowling to get a license where they could make money.

This license might create some situations that the publishers might not like but there is no reason to worry. For example people would be free to share the text of the book for free. There is no reason to fear a wildly available ebook though as one has existed since before the book came out and had no impact on sales.

Other possible problems could be that Wizard Rock bands might not be able to sell CDs but the great part about Creative Commons as opposed to Copyright is that it’s easy to extend extra rights to who every you want. Rowling could grant CD sale rights to all bands.

Copyright is not doing want J.K. Rowling wants it to do. It would be easy to make Creative Commons do whatever she needed it to do. So why does Creative Commons continue to be so controversial when it’s fits so great in to letting a fan base grow while keeping the right to make money in the authors hands.

Little BrotherI’ve been waiting for Little Brother to come out since Cory podcasted it last year. It has been a long wait but definitely worth it.

One thing I hope comes out of this book is that people push Cory to write more near future fiction. He really shines at that. Down and Out was far future, Some One Comes to Town was present day / magical realism. All were good but his near future story always rock the hardest.

Anda’s game was the first to catch me but Little Brother really sends it home. Cory knows the bleeding edge of technology so well that it’s effortless for his to jump four to eight years ahead. The changes to the world in Little Brother are extremely small and if anything extremely likely.

If anything this book was too short. The second half had several instances where it seemed like things were going to take a unique twist only to to take another twist. I would have liked more time to explore each scenario Marcus almost gets stuck in. I think it might have fit better in to two or three books. Neil also makes some good criticisms you might want to check out.

I think few things live up to a whole year of anticipation but Little Brother definitely did. It’s a super fun book (a boy book no less) and I can’t imagine any teen who likes computers not liking this book.

Brisingr (Inheritance Cycle Series #3): this series makes me want to puke.

Beta-testing a novel using Amazon’s Kindle. This idea would work really will for non-fiction but also interesting for fiction. Though being a slight traditionalist I doubt I would enjoy reading a non finalized version of the book. I’m weird when it comes to cannon and enjoy having a tome of text that will forever be unchanged. But who knows if even that idea will hold up over time or not.

The last Terry Goodkind book comes out November 13th. I’ve been reading this series for about six years and and have slowly gotten sick of everything in the books besides the main plot line which I must follow to conclusion or the lack of closure will kill me. Here’s hoping he just ends it. He’s already threaten to write other books set in the same world. My stomach turns at the thought of it.

On this I Am America (And So Can You!) day eve I finally got a chance to try Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream. And you know what, it wasn’t half bad.

Philip Reeve’s book Larklight now has a sequel by the name of StarCross. The US cover sucks, I’ll have to import the UK version. It seems the series has also been optioned by Warner Brothers. (via Brass Goggles)