My Thoughts on the Hugos

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Because I can’t hold up my head and call myself a science fiction fan if I don’t have some:

All in all, a victory for truth, justice, and the fannish way.

Also, the air that was full of smoke and dust and apprehension on Friday was clear and blue on Saturday, when the awards would be presented later that evening . . . which is a thematically appropriate weather progression that nobody could get away with in a piece of fiction, on the grounds of sheer implausible hokeyness.    But as is often pointed out, fiction needs to be believable, while real life is under no such constraint.

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The Internet is Full of Nifty Stuff

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

On the days when it starts to feel like the internet is nothing but insult and outrage from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, it helps to go look at some of the other things.

For example:  here’s an informative post from Tumblr, giving workshop instructions on how, exactly to gird your loins (if you’re wearing long skirts, or a robe of some sort.)  Note that the process not only gets the material out of the way, but also provides certain crucial areas with extra padding.

This isn’t the same thing, by the way, as simply kilting up one’s skirt, which is a simpler process, involving tucking the extra fabric into one’s belt to shorten the garment.

And here’s a report on the recent RWA (Romance Writers of America) convention, including some very cogent remarks on the need for representation in romance.  Short version:  Romance is the genre…

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Neophilia

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Which is to say, I’ve upgraded my desktop system to Windows 10 and – so far, anyhow – nothing vital has either exploded or disappeared into the ether.

I did take good advice, though, and didn’t use the “Express” setup option, because it defaults to sharing everything with everyone everywhere, which is a stupid thing to default to, but it wouldn’t be a Windows operating system without at least one stupid default.

(And no, I don’t want to switch to the Apple side of the force.  There are people for whom the Mac/iWhatever interface is deft and intuitive, and there are people for whom it is intensely frustrating, and I’m one of the latter. )

So now I’m checking to make sure all of my previously installed apps are still working as advertised, this post being a test of Windows Live Writer.  If you’re reading these words, then presumably Live…

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Novella vs. Novelette

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

(Or, novelet.  The spelling varies.)

John Barnes explains the real difference, over here.   The explanation comes with a link to the first episode of an actual serialized novelet, also by John Barnes.  He’s a good writer and a clever guy – go read and enjoy.

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Today’s Mail

jamesdmacdonald:

What Doyle didn’t mention is that ours is the lead story: “Silver Passing in Sunlight.”

(BTW, if anyone can’t figure out what’s in the box … just ask me and I’ll tell you.)

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

DecoPunk CoverIn addition to the usual unsolicited credit card  offers at rates that make “usurious” sound like a good deal, the postalperson today brought us our authors’ copies of the anthology Decopunk: The Spirit of the Age, which contains our short story, “Silver Passing in Sunlight.”

I really like that cover, by the way . . . if they made a poster out of it, I’d  put it on my wall.

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Questions That Nobody Asked Me, Take One

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Q.  I really loved To Kill a Mockingbird, and Atticus Finch was my hero.  Do I have to change all that in view of the publication of Go Set a Watchman?

A.  Only if you want to.

If you don’t want to, there are several good reasons why you shouldn’t have to.

Reason One:  Go Set a Watchman is not a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird just because it takes place in a later decade.  It was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but wasn’t published until just now.  If either version of Atticus Finch is to be regarded as the “real” one, the title should go to To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus (“Atticus Prime”, as the Star Trek fans would put it) rather than Go Set a Watchman Atticus (or “Reboot!Atticus”, to continue the Trek analogy), by right of prior publication.

Reason…

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Peeve of the Day

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

Today’s peeve:  breech and breach are two different words. 

Breech refers to the rear end of something, as in a breech-loading rifle, which is one where you don’t have to shove the powder and ball down the muzzle with a ramrod.  Likewise, a breech birth is one where the arriving infant shows up rear-end first.

Breach, the noun, refers to a gap or a broken place, as in breach of contract, where some part of the contract has been broken, or a breach in the defenses, where some part of the literal or metaphorical wall has been taken down. A breaching charge is an explosive charge designed to take down a door or make a gap in a wall.

Breach, the verb, means to make a gap or a hole in something, usually by force.  Don’t use breech when you mean this one, either.  (There is

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Link of the Day

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

When it comes to the most frustrating aspect of the freelance life – to wit, actually getting paid for the work – this piece in The Toast nails it.  (The comment section is full of additional spot-on commentary.)

The single most reliable and prompt payer I have ever personally dealt with was a comic-book company; they paid their freelancers every other Friday on the dot.  They also got swallowed up in the Great Doom that befell the American comics industry in the mid-nineties, so go figure.

The worst? Universities, hands down.

(These are the honest companies and institutions we’re talking about here.  Of the dishonest ones, we shall not speak, mostly because to do so would require the use of very bad words.)

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Link of the Day

jamesdmacdonald:

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess used Russian words, unfamiliar to most English speakers, even those who could do Latin/Greek.

As far as making up words, we did that. In that in our short story “Remailer.” How well or poorly, I leave the reader to decide. http://www.sff.net/people/DoyleMacdonald/notwoman.htm

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

xkcd on the use of made-up words in fiction.

He’s basically right, too.  Unless you’re J. R. R Tolkien, and marinated so thoroughly in philology, literature, and Indo-European linguistics that you might as well be writing your novel in Elvish or Anglo-Saxon and translating it into standard English as you go along . . . think twice before adding neologisms to your story’s vocabulary.

But if you have to do it —

Make certain that your invented words can be read and pronounced by an English speaker (if you’re writing in English for an English-speaking audience) with no more than a typical grade-school acquaintance with phonics.  If you’re unsure about any of your words, get somebody else to tackle them cold and listen for what works and what doesn’t.

Compounding your new terms from Greek and Latin roots can provide your story with an erudite or technical flavor.  If you…

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Weekend Comma Upcoming

Originally posted on Dr. Doyle's Editorial and Critique Services:

We’ll be at the Burlington, MA, Marriott for Readercon, which we’ll be doing on a relaxacon basis again this year (also on an extremely attenuated shoestring, thanks to the necessity of paying off this past winter’s even-higher-than-usual electric bill.)

One of the things we usually do at Readercon is finish up on Sunday with a summer movie.  I’ve heard some good word-of-mouth about Spy, of the “Don’t let the posters mislead you” variety.  And there’s always Jurassic World, or the latest Terminator outing, either of which would at least provide the requisite summer-move quota of violence and explosions.

In any case, if you’re in or around Burlington this coming weekend, Readercon is a nice place to be.

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