And to distract myself from the fun news about iBooks, a meme. I spotted this one on Andrew Wheeler’s blog, and which he found elsewhere. The idea, basically, is name the ten most played songs on your iPod or on iTunes, allowing only one track per artist.

  1. Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois, Sufjan Stevens — I love this gentle, folky piece that opens Stevens Illinoise! album. I bought it just before I went to the States last year, and listed to it over and over as we flew into and out of Chicago on the way to World Fantasy. It seemed the perfect soundtrack.
  2. I’m All for You, Joe Lovano — This is one of Lovano’s more beautiful and romantic pieces from an album that seems to be perfect when I need to just slow down and relax.
  3. Just a Song Before I Go, Crosby, Stills and Nash — Although this is the most played CSN track I have, it’s not my favorite. Oddly, I think it gets onto the ‘most played’ list because it’s the first track on the album and I tend to skip through it on my way to other stuff.
  4. Mona Lisas and Madhatters, Elton John — I came to this track via the Buckshot Lefonque cover version. It’s perfect pop, melancholic and inspirational. I don’t think John has recorded anything better.
  5. Mornings Eleven, The Magic Numbers — Last year was the year of following the critics. I bought a lot of stuff because it was well reviewed, even though a lot of it proved to be junk. The Magic Numbers debut wasn’t junk. “Mornings Eleven” is the kind of pop that the Mommas and Poppas would make if they starting up today.
  6. Isfahan, Joe Henderson — Nothing tops Johnny Hodges playing this stunningly beautiful Ellington/Strayhorn piece. That said, Henderson gives it a real go. He recorded it for Lush Life, a tribute to Strayhorn back in the mid-90’ss, which is one of my favorite albums.
  7. I Hear a Rhapsody, Bill Evans & Jim Hall — Hall and Evans recorded two simply lovely records together back in the ’60s, Undercurrent and Intermodulation. This gentle, elegiac track comes from the better of the two, Undercurrent.
  8. Theme from Blinking Lights, Eels — This is a little misleading. This almost nursery-like piece opens Blinking Lights, one of my favorite albums from last year, and most played. It really only makes sense when heard with the tracks which follow. That said, it could convert you to the Eels easily.
  9. Jailbreak, AC/DC — Sometimes you need to head bang. It’s that simple. Getting stressed, annoyed, need to wind down. Crank up Acka/Dacka on the iPod and go for it. This one grabs you from the opening riff, and doesn’t let go.
  10. Jungleland, Bruce Springsteen — This is a rarity. One of my favorite songs of all time, a favorite since I first heard it in Musgroves record store in 1979, and still a favorite today. Lush, romantic, overblown, this is teen rock drama at its very best. I love this song to distraction.

Ibooks bankrupt

As reported by The Science Fiction Writers of America, Ibooks Inc. and Byron Preiss Visual Publications have filed for bankruptcy. They will vacate their offices today. More information will, apparently, be forthcoming from the company shortly.

Ibooks Inc. was the publisher for two anthology series that I worked on, one collecting the year’s best science fiction, the other the year’s best fantasy stories. Karen Haber and I had recently delivered Science Fiction: Best of 2005 and Fantasy: Best of 2005 to Ibooks for publication, and they were set to go to press this week.

Clearly, that is no longer the case. I am currently in discussions to both arrange publication of this year’s volumes elsewhere, and to find a new publisher for the series in the longer term. I am reasonably confident this year’s books will appear, and very confident a new publisher will be announced shortly.

With regards to this year’s books, I will contact all of the authors with work set to appear in either Science Fiction: Best of 2005 and Fantasy: Best of 2005 just as soon as there’s information available. At the moment I can say that all contracts will be honored, and all writers will be paid. It’s just a matter of who will publish the books.