Episode 6: Live with Gary K. Wolfe

Every Saturday morning now Gary and I fire up Skype to record the latest in our series of chats. Gary’s usually not that long home from his office in Chicago, while I’m mostly still pottering around after breakfast while the kids are off at swimming lessons.

We did it again yesterday morning, and we once again reveal our collective lack of technical skills in the audio arena and briefly mention:

  • getting contributor’s copies,
  • re-editing classic books,
  • ebook design and the iPad,
  • books I’d like to see exist that don’t,
  • The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson and how humanists wrote short fiction,
  • entry-level SF novels and anthologies,
  • year’s bests,
  • the lack of SF for children, and
  • spend some time discussing Nnedi Okorafor and her novel Who Fears Death.

There’s probably some other stuff, but we recorded this yesterday and I’m not going to re-listen to the whole thing. We hope you enjoy it as always and will see you next weekend!

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7 thoughts on “Episode 6: Live with Gary K. Wolfe”

  1. Jonathan — Re your point about the terrible formatting of most eBooks, I could not agree more. However, I think that this is a result of the way that publishers have been pushed into eBooks by early adopters and people who like the format.

    One of the arguments for eBooks is that they’re ‘just another revenue stream’. That the work has been done and all that publishers need to do is, as you say, print to PDF and suddenly they’ll be able to sell the same books in a different format and/or to a new group of readers who might not have picked up the dead tree editions.

    As a result of this argument publishers are printing to PDF and sticking the stuff online with no read thought devoted to type-setting or design.

    This is particularly evident in gaming where a lot of publishers were convinced to threaten their existing business model (DRM is one aspect of that conservatism) with the promise that if they would just make the final electronic copy of the manuscript available then people would buy it. Of course, it then turned out that people wanted to be able to search their RPG books and that whilst dead tree editions featuring white lettering on dark photos look really cool, they’re a nightmare to read on a monitor or a laptop.

    So I agree that someone somewhere needs to put some effort into designing an off-the-shelf eBook template for anthologies and magazines, but I am not in the least bit surprised that said template has not yet emerged.

  2. There are some well-designed ebooks, but they mostly seem to be ‘showcase’ titles like the Alice for iPad app, rather than the norm. I hope that someone will pick that up. Right now there doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for it.

  3. If Gary wants to check up on Kress, then here, all the Year’s Bests collected

    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/14782

    She’s definitely up there.

    Last time I ran the program, anyway, something like this :-

    52 Campbell, Ramsey
    51 Wolfe, Gene
    50 Silverberg, Robert
    49 Swanwick, Michael
    46 Lee, Tanith
    41 Reed, Robert
    38 Kress, Nancy
    37 Ellison, Harlan
    34 Guin, Ursula K. Le
    33 Sterling, Bruce
    31 Leiber, Fritz
    29 Baxter, Stephen
    29 Egan, Greg
    29 Gaiman, Neil
    29 Kelly, James Patrick
    29 Royle, Nicholas

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