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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Time Event
11:19a
The Growth of Government is the Loss of Liberty
Americans, your nation is being sold before your eyes. Your children and grandchildren will be in debt their whole lives to pay off the expenses of the final month of the Bush Administration, and the first week of the Obama Administration.

The Orwellian-named 'fiscal stimulus package' takes money from investment markets, typically the most powerful engine of new job creation, or borrows from China. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, some of the items in this package, where the government, not the consumers, will spend your hard-earned money:

There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

 
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12:52p
Science Fiction! "The Book is the Boss"!
oscillon says he will buy a copy of Null-A Continuum if I write a post about Science Fiction instead of about politics. Fair enough!

Over at SFSignal, they asking SF writers what is the best writing advice they ever received.

You will be fascinated by Robert Silverberg's answer to the question. Lester del Rey told him not to sell himself short.

Here is Silverberg:

The best piece of advice I ever got came from Lester del Rey, the veteran writer and editor who, when I was in my twenties, had become a sort of Dutch uncle, or perhaps even a second father, to me. At the beginning of my career in the mid-1950s I had trouble selling my most ambitious stories, the ones that I thought were the best in me, whereas the minor, more conventional pieces sold quite easily to the magazines. There were several reasons for this. The main one was that I was competing for slots in those magazines with the likes of Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, James Blish, Alfred Bester, Damon Knight, C.M. Kornbluth, and other greats of that golden era for the science-fiction short story. What I was writing, at the age of 21 or 22, might have been ambitious but it still wasn't in a class with what those more mature writers were doing. On the other hand, all the magazines, even the top ones, were constantly in need of conventional 5000-worders for the back of the book. It seemed to make more sense to me to churn out competent potboilers for those magazine editors instead of trying to knock Sturgeon or Leiber or Knight out of the top place in the issue, and very shortly I was earning a nice living indeed writing formula fiction at a fast pace. (I was, in fact, earning more per year than any of my literary heroes by the third year of my career.) By playing it safe this way I was indeed able to pay the monthly rent, and then some. But I wasn't contributing anything worthwhile to science fiction, and, though I didn't realize it just yet, I wasn't even acting in my own best interests.

From Mike Resnick:

Paul Neimark, my first editor and my first collaborator, told me very early on, back in the mid-1960s: you can give up on an editor or a market, but never give up on a good story.
Gene Wolfe:
"The book is the boss." I got it from Alfred Bester.
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5:50p
More stuff about SFF! The 1000 Novels of Dr. T! PART ONE

Oscillon asked me to post a science fiction journal entry. He said he would buy my novel Null-A Continuum if I did so. I did, and he lived up to his word like a gentleman. Now, I will publish another science fiction related entry, merely in the hope that he will buy a copy of WORLD OF NULL-A or SLAN or some other Van Vogt book.

The London paper Guardian has been running a series called
1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read and has recently published their 124 science fiction and fantasy picks. I have seen this list on one or two other blogs I frequent, and so thought I would add my own comments here.

Anything in bold I read: when I put it aside unfinished is so noted. I marked with a star those novels I agreed with Guardian must go on your must-read pile. One line book-reviews or snark follow any books on the list where I was prompted by my daemon to make a comment.

(My daemon changed shape when I was younger, but upon majority, assumed the form of a Shuggoth
a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train, a shapeless congerie of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light. The Magesterium employs me to run over gyptian villages or sink Turkish armadas, and I am safe from the Gobblers since my ego is so large that it cannot fit into the intercission chamber.)

I am a bit embarrassed to see how many books are on the unfinished list. When I was younger I had a strict reading discipline: only one book at a time, must read to the end, and no more than three books a day.

Here is the list. Collapse )

5:53p
The 1000 Novels of Dr. T! PART TWO
The list was too long to include in one post, so here it continues

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5:54p
The 1000 Novels of Dr. T! PART THREE

Still too large! Here is the rest: Collapse )

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