Over the last decade, Orbit US, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, has quickly established itself as one of the premiere publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and a reliable source for everything from innovative works of science fiction to blockbuster epic fantasies. To celebrate the milestone, a selection of landmark Orbit titles is currently available on Nook for just $2.99 each, but we wanted to do more than point you toward some great titles, so we asked Orbit’s publisher, Tim Holman, to share a bit of history. Below his comments, you’ll find a timeline of key dates in Orbit’s history.
No, really, if you return to me a copy-edited article for my attention, and mention that you have made changes to the text (as well as changing the title to one that I think is misleading), please to be sending it to me with your changes tracked and marked up.
For if you are going to insult my ability to write English prose, I think I should be able to see how you have 'improved' my text without having to compare it line by line with the text I sent you.
I may possibly have dumped my bibliography on this editor's head...
Orphan Black is also a bunch of FEELINGS, also has spoilers (up to 5.07), and also comes with a content note for Significant Gore slightly beyond what one normally expects of the show, along with all the usual "everything is horrifying but I love all of them" caveats.
( Read more... )
Here's one opportunity to do just that. Rory is an acquaintance of mine and I can vouch for them being a legit person with a need.
A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke. I don't do karaoke, and I don't do duets, so this is a bit of a non-starter for me.
No, let me explain, because I'm having fun answering this meme in way too much detail. I think karaoke is an absolutely excellent idea in theory. It's really great to encourage people to sing just for fun and not worry about skill level. And it's really great to use technology to play the backing music and display the lyrics so that someone can just get up and sing the melody with little preparation.
The problem is that for me personally, karaoke means packaging up 30 plus years of abject humiliation over not being able to sing in tune, and asking me to enjoy that in public. I find it hard anyway to make myself sing in front of other people; I do it, because I absolutely do believe that music belongs to everybody (not just people who are "musical"), and shared music is a great way for people to connect. Singing in front of an audience who are paying attention to me, or even worse, in a competition, however light-hearted, is too terrifying.
Duets are possibly extra impossible, because singing in unison with someone else is already hard for me. Especially if they have a lower range; I can't really hear octaves, so I find it very difficult to join in with someone singing in the bass clef range. Singing in harmony is really really hard, because not only do I have to sing the correct notes which I always find difficult to remember, I also have to match the note which is very imperfectly in my head while being distracted by my partner singing a different note that my actual ears can hear. I can sometimes do multi-part harmony if there are several people singing each section, so I can listen to someone else who is singing the same line as me. And I'm fine with parts in music in general when I don't have to worry about pitch. But a sung duet is really tricky.
And really, I can think of very few duets that I know at all, for whatever reason, even to listen to. Let's call the whole thing off might work, because (at least in this superlatively great version with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong) it's mostly alternating verses or lines between the two singers rather than harmony. But hypothetically, if I were to find the courage to sing karaoke, I probably wouldn't start with something really amazingly great; somehow I'd feel less bad about murdering some ephemeral extruded pop product than attempting an actually good song.
I will admit, though, that my brother and I have been known to sing Always by Bon Jovi, as a sort of duet, sometimes in public and definitely not caring that neither of us can really sing. Partly because we always liked the dubious rhyme of:
I'll be there til the stars don't shineAnd partly because Bon Jovi can't really sing either, he just projected a persona calculated to appeal to teenaged girls in the 90s. So I probably wouldn't sing it actually in karaoke, and I probably wouldn't sing it with anyone other than my brother, but it seems slightly less impossible than any other options, so I think it seems in the spirit of the meme.
Til the heavens burst, and the words don't rhyme
( video embed )
I met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.
I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).
Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:
Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.
As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.
The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.
I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)
There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:
“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”
“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”
“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”
I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.
One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.
I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
While I was away I noticed on, I think, Twitter, which I was scrolling through while waiting at a bus stop/train station/whatever, somebody getting into a froth over somebody deleting their tweets upon
mature reflection, and how this was The Death of History.
To which my own reactions were:
a) Archivists have been thinking about the problems posed by the fragility of the digital record for a good couple of decades plus, this is not something no-one has noticed before. (Wasn't the Library of Congress archiving Twitter, and presumably there are some measures against tampering, if so? - hah, I see that there have been problems of processing and it's not actually accessible, or wasn't as at last year.)
b) Quite apart from the dangers of fire, flood and insect or animal depredation to which records in the more traditional forms have been exposed, there has been a fair amount of deliberate curating of the record over the centuries, by deliberate destruction or just careful concealment (whether it's the Foreign Office secret archive or the concealment of Turner's erotic drawings under a misleading file title).
c) While you can delete or destroy a particular record, you cannot always get rid of the information that it did exist - presumably it was other people commenting on the now-deleted tweets or retweeting them that led to the decision to delete them, but that doesn't eradicate the fact of their existence. This may even draw attention to the deleted record: this is why when I was still being an archivist we used to persuade donors not to ask for closures apart from those mandated by Data Protection, because the idea that something is *CLOSED* causes some people's ears to prick up in a supposition that there will be *HIDDEN SECRETS* (this was very, very, seldom the case).
I might also invoke the case that came up in Prince of Tricksters, where Netley Lucas under one of his identities was communicating with different officials and departments, possibly, it is suggested, as a means to confuse his trail: but, due to the growth of bureaucracy, as well as the social networks they belonged to, could also communicate among one another to discover that this was all the same guy.
There is also the phenomenon that I have mentioned to researchers, that yes [organisations of a certain ideological bent] have been very coy about placing their archives anywhere where people might do research in them; BUT the organisations and people they were against kept tabs on their activities, collected their literature, etc.
Also that if person/organisation's own papers do not survive, you can find out a good deal from the surviving records of those they interacted with.
What am I talking about? Stuff where Trump opens his mouth and sick toads fall out and sit on the sidewalk, blinking and vomiting. Ugly sick bloated toads, like the speech to the Boy Scouts and the outrageous dismissal of all transgender military personnel.
(My apologies to all truly healthy toads throughout the country, living their lives peaceably, eating flies and mosquitos and staying far from politics.)
I know these things are serious. I know. The president is trampling on people's value, on people's lives, in every direction, cynically and carelessly. But you cannot take them as the only thing that is happening. Horrible as they are, they are only the poisoned icing on the cake, the noxious smoke from the volcano, the peeling top layer of slate. They are *meant* to get you mad. They are *designed* to keep you upset.
Why? So you won't pay attention to what's going on behind the scenes, down there in the strata. Down there, the separation of church and state is being eroded. Women's right to have a say about how their own bodies are treated is being chipped away. The little tiny things we do not see that have huge effects, things that pile up, like permission to get past environmental checks before running oil and gas pipelines near drinking water. The elimination of much of the Congressional Budget Office staff because they vetoed Trumpnocare. I could go on and on. Often I do, and you see it here; sometimes I don't even put it here because it gets me that upset.
I am not saying not to be upset. It is upsetting. Transpeople should be able to serve in the military without comment. To say otherwise is a violation of equal rights under the law. Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts and other young people's groups) should not have to listen to insane political harangues, should not be put into that arena. National monuments, parks and seashores should stay untouched by developers, drillers, exploiters.
But yelling at Trump, writing to him, even if it feels good to you, won't make a difference. He does not give a flying fuck about any of us -- why would he care about how any subset of us is affected? He thinks health care costs $12 a month. He probably thinks someone who is transgender changes their clothes on a train, or in transit. There is no limit to his lack of understanding and his lack of caring about anything he doesn't understand.
Keep your eyes on the small stuff, the bits and pieces that aren't on page one. Look for what's on page six or the back of a section, with a smaller headline (or in places like The Hill or Politico or other politically based newsletters. Pick one or two areas that interest you, and follow what is going on with them.
And then write your Senators and Congresspeople about them -- on their own email system. (yes, here is that contact list again.) They cannot ignore mail from their own constituents for long. If the time is short, phone and ask to talk to a staff person, instead of leaving a message. Tell them what you think, what you want, briefly and to the point. Tell them you're outraged, when you are. Tell them what you think of what Trump is doing, and (if your rep or Senator is Republican) how can any thinking person possibly agree or support this, because (up to three good reasons). And then, "Thank you for hearing me as a constituent", and give them your name as it is on the voter rolls so they can look it up. Once a week. Pick one thing a week. The staffers should start recognizing your name, your voice.
And keep an eye on the vulnerable Republican seats, House and Senate, the ones that can be overturned in the next election. Support the people running in the primaries to oppose the heartless idiots in office.
Do not be taken in by the sparkly floor show with the mouthy MC. Keep your eyes on what's happening behind the curtain, up in the lighting gallery, over in the wings. That's where things are being done. Look for possible trades and swaps -- Reps and Senators voting for things they should not vote for -- and ask them why they are making such poor, harmful choices? Who benefits from these choices? Follow the money, but also follow the influence. Who's being bought and sold here?
I trust you, all of you. I don't know you that well, but I trust you to do the right thing insofar as you know what it is, and to ask good questions when it isn't obvious. Go find the molten lava under the rock and raise hell. Go and comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, because every one of us matters.
But it's all to say, you can enjoy the podcasts and most of this post on their own merits, and only seek out the fic if you choose to do so.
I've linked to fic under a locked post. That's also my plan going forward. I've seen the Glee cast have to put up with so much weird shit from tinhatter fans, :(
For months now, I've been listening to Pod Save America on a regular basis. During the 2016 election campaign season, it was a video semi-regular thing where Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, and Jon Lovett - former Obama White House staffers all - shot the shit about the campaign. They were very adamant that Hillary Clinton would win and that anyone who said otherwise were "bedwetters."
They were as shocked as the rest of us when Trump actually fucking won.
They stopped using The Ringer's resources and decided to create their own media empire. In honor of Trump, they named it Crooked Media. They now do ads on their shows and are trying to make money. (They also critique the ad copy WHILE READING IT ON THE AIR because Favreau/Lovett are both writers and cannot help themselves. Endlessly hilarious.)
You may have seen "Friend of the Pod" or "Repeal and go f$%& yourself" t-shirts - those originated with these guys.
Every Monday, Pod Save America releases an episode with Tommy, Favreau, and Lovett talking about politics and usually having a guest in the second half. Recently, they had Al Franken on. Every Thursday, Pod Save America releases a second episode of the week, with Favreau shooting the shit with Dan Pfeiffer, also a former Obama staffer/political strategist who's a few years older than these young bucks.
Tommy started his own weekly show called Pod Save the World. As Obama's former National Security Council spokesperson, Tommy will interview people like diplomats and other experts on international issues, usually trying to make it topical to things like North Korea, etc. He did invite Glenn Greenwald on his show after getting into it with him on Twitter, and it was actually one of the best episodes Tommy's done so far. I also really enjoyed his episode with Senator Tim Kaine about presidential war powers.
deray got his own show, Pod Save the People, after appearing as a guest and having a great rapport with the trio. (I like listening to this but it's SO LONG I have only made it to the end of one of these shows ONCE lol.
Ana Marie Cox also got her own show called, "With Friends Like These," which is meant to address like, the red/blue cultural differences, basically. She's passionately liberal; members of her family are not. How do we as society function/etc.?
And finally, Lovett got his own weekly show called Lovett or Leave It, on which he basically does political standup with a rotating panel of guests made with a lot of his celebrity contacts in Hollywood. (Last week's included Sarah Silverman.) He has some semi-regular segments, such as his own Rant Wheel, because this man can literally rant on any topic.
I think the ratings for Pod Save America especially must be pretty high because they've been getting a lot of blockbuster guests lately - Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Chris Murphy, Susan Rice, and some others. Occasionally they'll do a live show in Los Angeles or elsewhere.
They do a lot of work with Ben Winkler to coordinator with Indivisble, and encourage activism on the part of their listeners. A lot of structure for people doing calls/resistance recesses/other stuff stems in part from them.
Some people have compared it to like conservative talk radio, but I think they're a little more objective than that (although I also could be biased). For example on Monday's show they basically ripped apart the Democrats' newly-unveiled "policy plan" that has jackshit holding it together.
Anyway, between this and twitter [where I do admittedly follow a metric fuck-ton of journalists], this is almost exclusively how I consume news lately.
It makes me laugh, every single episode, which is something we all need lately IMO.
I have long been interested in Jon Favreau because I find him incredibly attractive and because he had what was basically my dream job. Obama's campaign came at a weird time for me. The campus Obama campaign leader my age was a kid who'd gone to some smart kids week-long thing in Washington, D.C. the summer after we graduated high school [my friend Chad came too]. We were told by the real-life Joshua Lyman (under W) to get involved with a campaign, any campaign.
I took this literally and was an unpaid intern for Mark Green, first in his U.S. district office and then as a gubernatorial candidate. After that, when I graduated, no Democrats would hire me. The woman running the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) at the time ran into a friend of mine [fellow page] on the street and told her it was because of my Republican experience. I couldn't even become an unpaid intern for a STATE SENATOR who was a Democrat because of it. (I became bitter and took a job on campus and am now at my second job on campus WHICH I LOVE but sometimes feel really bitter about what might have been.)
ANYWAY. This other KID was had Obama THANK HIM BY NAME and CLAP HIM ON THE SHOULDER when he did a campaign event at the Kohl Center on campus. I was so jealous. My jealousy of Jon Favreau and his youth was like 80x that.
Anyway, that was my hook into following Favreau on twitter and then jumping into these podcasts.
Jon Lovett is gay; Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor are ostensibly straight [Favreau just got married]. However, Lovett frequently complains about having to appear on tv with the two of them because of how hot they are. He has also referred to them as "bromosexuals."
On Chelsea Handler's show last week, they were talking about how much time the three of them spend together. "Sounds super gay," Chelsea says.
"Super gay," Favs agrees.
"NOT NEARLY GAY ENOUGH!" says Lovett.
Because of comments like these, and their chemistry and obvious affection for one another, we have ended up with: a fandom.
Jon Favreau and his wife Emily have a dog named Leo.
Jon Lovett owns a dog named Pundit (because that's how he feels about pundits) who is Leo's sibling.
Also bonus: Lovett and Tommy lived together when they lived in DC while working at the White House.
Here's a link to an actual transcript of part of an ad they did on Pod Save America's Monday episode this week for Sonos, a speaker company. [Link goes to tumblr, no images in post.] And here is the followup in the form of Facebook comments, where Lovett upholds Pundit's honor and accuses Leo of being a werewolf.
Here's a link to a tumblr post that has an embedded image of an Instagram post, plus screencapped comments from it. Tommy Vietor and Jon Favreau sitting side-by-side looking at their laptops, doing a Q&A. This was when they campaigned about health care in DC right after Favreau's wedding. In the comments, someone cheekily says they look like a before/after advertisement for self-tanner, and Tommy (the very pale one) says, "That is...so accurate." (They are all very self-deprecating.)
This is a gifset on tumblr of Lovett introducing Tommy Vietor on his Lovett or Leave It podcast. [It's a podcast but they do it in front of a live audience bc it's comedy.] It's hilarious because it's a perfect example of how Lovett talks, and because Tommy can't stop laughing even though Lovett is roasting him.
"Honestly, Tommy looks like a boat shoe became a person."
"He's the WASPiest thing I've ever seen. They based...they based many of the characters of the Sound of Music on his face."
Here's a tumblr gifset mostly of Tommy and Lovett interacting with one another.
Lovett is almost always angry/ranting but occasionally he gets really serious and is very eloquent when he does so. Almost like...underneath his bluster, he's an idealistic kid who writes really well and worked for Obama :*) Example!
SO YEAH. Anyway.....me, the person who never writes fic, have my first 5.3k fic in this fandom out with like 5 ppl [IF ANYONE ELSE WANTS TO BETA PLS LMK I NEED FEEDBACK.]
2. Sometimes not doing research for a long time because of the cost of travel, and health issues, pays off.
When I started looking for information on Ebenezer Allan, in particular some information on his correspondence with Gen. Haldemand in Quebec, I stumbled across the Michigan Historical Society's annual publications from the late 1800s -- which specialize in the history of the Great Lakes region. And they have published in four volumes Haldemand's correspondence since he was assigned to this region (he had previously been in Florida, I'm sure I don't know why) from 1776 to about 1790. And it's all scanned in online now.
I have the links so I can read it on computer, but that's kind of tedious when it's 1800 pages or so -- and I want to know more about the context. So I am downloading the volumes, one at a time, to my Kindle, reading and making bookmarks; when I'm done, I can go back to the online version (which does not have transcription errors) and copy/paste or type the relevant passages with the bibliographic data (which doesn't come through completely on the Kindle).
Where I'm reading, at the moment, Haldemand has arrived, and is telling the officers running various forts that they are spending way too much money and they have to cut back, and can't the soldiers live on venison and fish they catch from the lakes? I have already read a later letter back to him from Brigadier MacLean, who ran Fort Niagara, about the problems of running out of treaty-specified gifts to Indians of various tribes -- they are supposed to get trousers and he only has shirts, and has had to borrow some from the men, which is not right, and even get some from Fort Erie -- and as I read it I can see MacLean gritting his teeth and trying not to scream because he's writing his boss -- but it comes across at times as *massively bitchy* in the best understated British sense of it. One of the references I already have is a letter of MacLean's to a friend (filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers in the Archives of Ontario) where he lets his hair down and his ire out of the bag and says exactly what he thinks of what's going on when Haldemand did not send the troops to back up the ones retreating and how angry and disappointed everyone was: "The Indians say, "The king has a fool for a general." I cannot disagree."
This is going to be *fun*.
ETA: The other places this info is available is in Michigan and in Quebec, neither of them near enough for convenient research, certainly not for the time to read all 1800 pages. So this is truly a gift.