Friday, August 21, 2009

End of the Week Round-Up

Happy Friday, geese and ganders! This is the part where Eric usually says something about how he doesn’t do the round-upsthe fabulous and stunning Laura does. But he’s asleep at the switch, as it were, so I have to introduce myself. So: Laura here, rounding up. And don’t miss this week’s contest, below!

If I ever need to defend my life from ruffians or hooligans or kids on my lawn, I will reference last week’s fantasy weapon contest for the best ways to dispose of my fellow man (and woman). From the classic crowbar to the eerily disturbing Orifice Relocator, you guys really outdid yourselves. But I have to say, my favorite entry was from Andrea Cremer, whose blesions have taken the cake. You know, blesions—lesions that erupt when demons bless you. Christ heals your leprosy, and the devil gives it right back.

Pimp My Novel: blaspheming since 2009.

Seriously though, fantasy books love them some violence: just look at this chart of fantasy covers from 2008. Swords and (potentially aggressive!) glowy magic are very popular. There’s a great round-up of the ramifications of this chart here. But don’t be fooled—fantasy is also dealing with the serious issues of LGBT rights and the representation of the disabled. So perhaps some of that glowy magic brings tolerance. The swords, probably not so much. Jason Sanford actually lumps this under “SciFi Strange”—society has accepted things that were once deemed sensational, and sci-fi is trucking on along to the next thing.

The next thing…which is steampunk! There’s a great post here defining steampunk, and reasoning through why it’s here to stay. The problem with writing steampunk is that it’s retro-futuristic, so it’s hard to pick characteristics that feel authentic, instead of like a hodgepodge of zaniness. And that’s where this timeline of historical foods comes in—never again will a character erroneously eat a turnover before 1798.

While we’re noshing, Frank Bruni talks about his book and life as a restaurant critic (although the interviewer’s first question, “Reviewing restaurants sounds like unadulterated fun. Is there a downside?” seems a rather callous thing to ask a former bulimic), and this cookbook about what we eat when we eat alone is on my list of presents-because-I-want-things-but-not-for-any-real-celebration.

How’s your literary diet, anyway? Check out the literary food pyramid to see how you stack up (I’m a carnivore in life, but a book vegetarian, it seems). Just don’t actually eat the books, like bed bugs apparently do.

You can avoid the bed bugs in your shelves by only having e-books, I guess. In fact, I hear that free e-books should always be part of the picture for writers—although some things, like the number of books you can choke down in a lifetime, probably won’t change that much when our robot e-book overlords settle in. And there’s something sad and stick figure-esque about collecting e-books, so maybe let’s not do that.

Unfortunately for our e-book overlords, I hear that digital skills are sorely lacking in publishing, and so they might not be in power as quickly as they had hoped. Um, hello, publishing? I have digital skills. Tons of them! And can tone down the smarm if I have to…hello? Publishing?

The rise of e-books also may mean the rise of the library. And those libraries are sneaky! They’re swiping expensive dust jackets and throwing offensive books in the clink—without letting them make their one phone call first. Our robot e-book overlords may have to fight off the library goons for control of our teeny, tiny reader brains.

But they won’t have to fight at all if we all die of swine flu. And that’s where the comic books enter this epic battle, educating us all about sneezing in our elbows and washing our hands. Honestly, I don’t think there will be enough “pow!” and “zap!” to this comic book, so my contest to you all this week: create a superhero that fights (or is) your favorite disease. Extra points for creating an arch-nemesis for your superhero, and extra extra points for designing a costume.

You get negative points if your hero resembles, in any way, Hannah Montana. I don't care if she wears a wig and has a secret identity. Discussion over! But do feel free to read this round up of books about Miley Cyrus, and feel bad when you realize you don't even have ONE book written about you, and you are of voting age. Also this list of must-read children's books is important to your happiness—an all-time favorite of mine, Daddy Long-Legs, is on there. And instead of doing work, I read the whole thing on Project Gutenberg when I found this link two days ago. And it's still good.

Now you can read these great children's books to your kiddies from afar, by recording yourself reading them for the younguns. And when they play it back, it shows the pages. Ah, the internet—a much better babysitter than that sassy TV, never watching its language. Or enroll your kid in an online book club, and trick them into reading with internets. Either way, you should probably keep minors away from William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies.

That's all for this week, ladies and gents. So submit your disease(d?) superheroes and nemeses in the comments, and we'll hang out again next week!


  1. I have a question for you about book trailers. Will sites like amazon and start allowing authors to use these to advertise their books on their sites? I mainly see book trailers on youtube, and am wondering if there is a more productive place for authors to use this tool. What do you think is the future of book trailers?

  2. You're my hero for linking XKCD, Laura! I'm thinking about the name for the contest. I'll come back when I got one.

  3. I would like to nominate my superhero, Joe "Teeth" Biden, defender of dental health, battler of gingivitis and halitosis. His enemies are those "we make holes in teeth" monsters.

    You think I'm kidding, don't you? I'm NOT.

  4. My favorite children's book author for really little kids has to be Beatrice Potter! Then I suppose I go toward Disney until Harry Potter age! My illustrator, Hillie Dijk did an awesome job on the cover of, The Puzzle King, my new children's fairytale. She really told the story on the cover in a way! Please check it out!

    Nina Cordelia Craft

  5. First time poster, long time reader!

    My contest entry, such as:

    He slinks slinkily through the pages of your manuscript: stealthily, sexily, dashingly! He's the Adverb Avenger, and when he splooges his adverb-ridden disease mites on your formerly austere literary masterpiece, it turns into Poetry From a College Lit Journal! Oh noes! Who will save us?! Luckily (or should I say "lucky for you"?) his arch nemesis, the Exhausted Editor, shuffles in to save the day with her Red Pen of Refuting. You can always tell when the Adverb Avenger comes a-calling, callingly, for he wears a glitzy, complicated little costume which clings to his slightly-pudgy frame bulgingly.

  6. OMG, I won? Squeeeeeeee!! Thank you, Laura, for appreciating my twisted view of the celestial.

    As always another great post, I'm going to have to set aside a designated time to read your posts because I always end up clicking all the links.

  7. Your blog brings me much joy. And a super big thanks for the food timeline! It makes my information-junkie heart go pitty-pat.

  8. Yay for libraries! That's how I get most of my books. And I love that they are now getting more and more digital titles.

    I actually used to work for OverDrive, the company that partnered with Sony for eBook distribution to the libraries. I left just before this all became a big thing, but I have to admit, I miss that job a lot! It's interesting to see how eBooks have really become huge over the last couple years.

  9. Remember, bed bugs don't "eat the books," they just move into them, while waiting to feed on you.

  10. Love your posts and those links. Clicking away.

    The literary pyramid was fun. In real life I eat anything and everything. But in the literary world apparently I'm lactose intolerant and I don't eat enough fruit. Serious carnivore.

  11. ooh, I'll go with the villian SCURVY DOG, who sneaks up on impoverished lit fiction writers struggling with their opuses (opusi?) and shopping bills. SCURVY DOG'S nemesis? LEMONPEEL IN A CUP OF HOT WATER AND HOPE FOR THE BEST MAN.

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