My read for Banned Books Week was certainly apropos. Fahrenheit 451 shows you the results of a book banning society. A scary, ignorant and shallow world where brutality and casual violence are everyday events done in the name of entertainment; a regressive and disabling move in social evolution, handicapping progression by limiting knowledge and encouraging selfishness.
Banned Books Week is here!
This is an annual reminder to think for yourself, to not let others tell you what you can and can’t read, and to remind those that are fond of censorship that banning a book only boosts its popularity, as 2013’s most challenged books show (which I list below).
What are some of the characters and narratives we’ve seen enough of? Is it time for the assassin with the heart of gold to take a break? Should the farmer keep farming and stop exchanging his rake for a broadsword? Could the squabbling will-they-won’t-they couple just get a room already? More generally, why are tropes used, and what are their structural, stylistic and political implications?
There are many different approaches to book blogging: some focus on news and announcements, running author interviews and ARC giveaways supported by publishers; others concentrate on reviewing and opinion pieces; still others are devoted to raising awareness of certain types of writing, like SF Mistressworks or the World SF Blog. Our panel discusses how they chose their blogs’ format and focus, how the blogs evolved over time, and how they found their ‘voice’ and their audience.
John Clute is one of the people who lifted reviewing in the field to an art form. What makes the difference between a workmanlike review that tells us what we need to know, and a review which becomes a text worth studying in its own right? Under what circumstances does a review transcend its immediate subject, and become part of the wider conversation about genre? Who are reviews for: readers, authors, industry, other reviewers?
From Earthsea to Noughts and Crosses, The Summer Prince to Akata Witch, children and teens need to see books with characters that represent the diverse world they live in, whether they are dystopian romance or fantasy adventure. Organisations like We Need Diverse Books are helping to promote diversity in children’s literature, but what actions can we take – as readers, writers, publishers, and book-buyers – to help them in their goals? And who are the great authors of the past few years we should be catching up on?
Although Amazon dominates the UK book market, there are more alternatives than you may believe. If Amazon should collapse tomorrow (unlikely) or if you’d like to boycott Amazon, there are quite a few non-Amazon owned booksellers, from bricks and mortar stores to online stores selling physical books and ebooks, and I’ll list the ones I’ve come across.
The Financial Times is the only UK news organisation to report that British publishers are pushing ‘for a competition inquiry into Amazon’s dominance’ of the UK’s retail book market by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Fanfiction, fan art, and other forms of transformative works can be a sensitive topic with authors understandably having mixed reactions to works based on their creations. In this session four successful authors embrace forms of creative (not-for-profit!) output based upon their works. They discuss the benefits and difficulties of having fans creatively engage with their material. Beyond that they openly talk about their own experiences with fan works, whether they have written, still write, or read fanfiction or produce other forms of fan works.
Bloggers have become an integral part of YA book promotion. How do authors find these bloggers? Why should readers trust their opinions? What are the best book blogs out there right now and what makes them so useful?
Plot summary: A US naval warship is secretly being tested for deployment which is actually a ruse to prevent the crew from finding out about the true nature of their mission. They’re carrying two secretive Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists who are working on a cure for an airborne virus that had only affected a handful of African villages, but after four months at sea it’s wiped out 80% of the world’s population including the United States government. It has a 0% survival rate and is highly contagious. All governments have ceased to be and the crew of the warship are on their own.
Kinda makes you think of the Ebola crisis, doesn’t it?
And World War Z.