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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Selling vaporware, expensively

This is why we are going to crush Tor Books in time. Not so much because our quality is superior, although it is, not so much because people are sick of the SJW bullshit they are selling, although they are. But due to this:

Brings the Lightning, Peter Grant
Kindle: $4.99, Hardcover $19.99, Paperback $12.99, KU free
available now

Empire Games, Charles Stross
Kindle: $19.99, Hardcover $25.99
available January 17, 2017

FoundationThe Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi
Kindle: $12.99, Hardcover $19.99
available March 21, 2017

They simply can't compete, not on quality, not on price, not on value, and not on delivery. Although we signed Brings the Lightning long after Tor signed Foundation's Collapse, we will likely publish its sequel before the Scalzi book is out. They are cumbersome dinosaurs. We are fast-moving mammals. Vicious, fast-moving mammals who eat dinosaur eggs for breakfast and smash those we're too full to eat.

I'm amused at the fact that the PNH-Scalzi-Stross cabal is finally united at Tor Books. SJWs flock together. Stross could have been a great science fiction writer - on the basis of his early work, he should have been a great science fiction writer - but his gamma instincts combined with his mindless devotion to the SJW Narrative led him astray and ruined him. Tor Books will make a fitting grave for his literary career.

It's interesting to observe that Tor is already marking down the price of Scalzi's next book considering that it's precisely the same page count as Stross's. We charge less because we have no overhead, and unlike Tor Books, I don't believe in taking advantage of readers to cover nonexistent print costs on the Kindle versions. At 336 pages and $19.99, allowing for the usual channel discounts, Tor appears to be selling hardcover at very near cost.

I wonder what that signifies? Does it, perchance, have anything to do with the fact that Tor's owner, Pan Macmillan, suffered the biggest sales decline of all the Big Five in 2015, -7.7 percent?

We may have interpreted John Scalzi incorrectly. He may not be the Bernie Madoff of science fiction after all, but the Star Citizen of Tor Books.

Labels: ,

100 Comments:

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 11:34 AM  

Foundation's Collapse

kek.

Blogger David-2 July 03, 2016 11:35 AM  

... the Star Citizen of Tor Books.

The Dark Lord is cruel.

Blogger Rantor July 03, 2016 11:39 AM  

Just finished Ctrl-Alt-Revolt this morning. Excellent work. Blue science fiction fans and gamers should enjoy it. Will begin The Missionaries next and although I've never been big on westerns, despite growing up in Arizona, Brings the Lightening will follow that one.

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 03, 2016 11:45 AM  

The Collapsing Empire?

He couldn't even call it anything other than an "empire"?

He's not even bothering to pretend that this isn't Asimov pastiche.

He appears to be actively encouraging the assumption.

I can't wait for his next book, "Sand Or The Desert Planet Adventures of Prince Saul Bartreides."

Anonymous Faceless July 03, 2016 11:47 AM  

"Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

"The Flow is eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals -- a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse."

This is like how the Daily Mail trolls its readers, right?

Scalzi/PNH/Tor is offering just a gigantic shit sandwich and seeing if the idiots buy it because they are supposed to mindkill themselves until they think it's brilliant?

Anonymous Rolf July 03, 2016 11:49 AM  

@2 - yes, but he's honest.

I saw that turn of phrase and thought the same thing - ouch, that's going to leave a mark!

Blogger The Other Robot July 03, 2016 11:49 AM  

Another canary in the coal mine?

Anonymous Faceless July 03, 2016 11:49 AM  

What a plot: He is writing a book to show that putting a woman in charge literally destroys the universe.

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 11:52 AM  

The Menstrual Blood must flow.

Anonymous Faceless July 03, 2016 11:52 AM  

So, this "The Flow" thing in the Scalzi book we'll never see - it sticks around and it lets the "interdependency" grow, bear fruit, expand, get child realms, but, then, fickle thing, it becomes irregular, and then just stops for the woman emperor of the universe?

Perhaps he was scarred by the free menstrual bleeding phenomenon of late.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 11:55 AM  

He is writing a book to show that putting a woman in charge literally destroys the universe.

So sexist!

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 03, 2016 11:58 AM  

The thing is pastiche isn't nesscarily a bad thing.

Look at James P. Hogan's Inherit the Stars. He admitted that that started life as a pastiche of 2001. The difference being that Hogan produced a more thought provoking book. He broke new ground using an established work as a template. Yes, it had weaknesses, it was a first book but the ideas were bigger.

And ITS's sequels were drastically better than any of 2001's sequels.

But what Scalzi isn't even trying to break new ground. He's just plodding down the same path a little differently.

This is the Adult Coloring Book of science fiction writing.

Blogger The Other Robot July 03, 2016 12:00 PM  

@10, or perhaps he is dreaming of menopause.

Blogger Shimshon July 03, 2016 12:02 PM  

"That's so totally not a fair comparison because Bring's the Lightning is a Western (WTF?!) while many claim my superlative book (due any day now) is real Sci-Fi. Just ask NK Jemison." - John Scalzi

Anonymous Faceless July 03, 2016 12:02 PM  

The Other Robot wrote:@10, or perhaps he is dreaming of menopause.

Waiting to see what that kick of extra testosterone is going to give his wife when she and his daughter gang up on him? There's no yard big enough or dress frilly enough to save him.

Blogger residentMoron July 03, 2016 12:11 PM  

"Vicious, fast-moving mammals who eat dinosaur eggs for breakfast and smash those we're too full to eat."

Lovely imagery.

Bought CTRL-ALT Revolt yesterday.

That image reminded me of a cartoon I once tore out of the newspaper. It shows two T-Rexs on a snowy mountain-side, putting the finishing touches to a T-Rex snowman. One looks at the other and says:

"We're not taking this seriously, are we?"

By the time TOR figures out they need to take this seriously, it'll be far too late.

Blogger bruce July 03, 2016 12:14 PM  

Stross' paratime and space opera books are embarrassing failures, but don't underestimate him. The Laundry Files is pure gold. He's their last real talent since John M Ford died.

Anonymous GreyS July 03, 2016 12:30 PM  

Publishing houses, books being written, books actually produced, site traffic. Ironic that instead of the play-acting of ignoring him, Scalzi's best career move would now be to constantly attack VD every day all day.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 12:35 PM  

Stross' paratime and space opera books are embarrassing failures, but don't underestimate him. The Laundry Files is pure gold.

They were both fun and good. But the most recent one starring Mo was a disaster. Stross can't write women, as he should have realized from the Merchant Princes.

Maybe he'll pull up, but the terrible Laundry novella that won the Hugo and the move to Tor indicates otherwise.

Blogger dienw July 03, 2016 12:41 PM  

T-Rexs on a snowy mountain-side
You mean like this?

Anonymous Feh July 03, 2016 12:45 PM  

Stross' paratime and space opera books are embarrassing failures, but don't underestimate him. The Laundry Files is pure gold.

You will note that the earlier Laundry Files books are pastiches ("based on"? "tributes to"? "ripoffs of"?) of spy thrillers. Apparently there are no original ideas in pink SF. And now the two Masters of the Ripoff are under the same roof!

Blogger Ben Cohen July 03, 2016 12:47 PM  

When Tor goes bust they'll probably say nobody saw it coming and then try to hijack some other company to push their agenda.

Blogger David-2 July 03, 2016 12:47 PM  

@17, @19 - It's not just the book from Mo's POV (absolutely terrible). It's that for two (or was it three?) books before that his favorite human villains to pair with the horrors of the Lovecraftian menagerie were fundamentalist Christians. Once ... maybe - some of the excesses of the televangelists were mockable - but after that, and in increasingly deranged excesses, was way to much.

Anonymous Jill July 03, 2016 12:53 PM  

I would never pay $19.99 for an ebook. Print books are expensive because they involve typography in formatting and material costs. Incorporating that pricing in ebooks is a joke.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 12:58 PM  

I would never pay $19.99 for an ebook.

Neither would I. We price CH ebooks at the price I would be willing to pay myself. $2.99 for the small ones, $4.99 for the regular ones, and $6.99 for the fat ones.

Blogger Chris Lopes July 03, 2016 1:07 PM  

I think the traditional publishing houses would like the whole ebook thing to die out already. The prices are set so you will buy the dead tree version first, as the ebook is often just as expensive. Since ebooks require a lot less physical infrastructure to produce, they lower the bar for entry into the publishing world. And that's (if you are a traditional publisher) a bad thing,

The thing is, they are running under the assumption that they are still the only game in town. Obviously they aren't, so trying to charge 15$ for a 2 meg file isn't going to work. That's especially true if the book is just a warmed over version of something some of us read in middle school.

Control Alt Revolt is a great example of what the real reading market is about. When I first read about what happened to Nick Cole, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. When I saw the 99 cent price tag, the book practically downloaded itself onto my Kindle. As it turns out, the book would have been a bargain at 5 times of price. That's what the new publishing world looks like.

Blogger Karl July 03, 2016 1:09 PM  

OT - SJWs at work trashing garlic bread memes.

http://www.toastedballs.com/image/sjw-witch-vs-garlic-bread

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/06/09/the-internet-is-warring-over-a-photo-of-garlic-bread-you-will-not-guess-why/

Blogger Dexter July 03, 2016 1:12 PM  

Personally I gag at paying more than $4.99 for an ebook.

Anonymous r July 03, 2016 1:12 PM  

The Missionaries at $4.99 was priced just right to be an impulse buy for me, and it was probably one of my better impulse buys.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 03, 2016 1:12 PM  

So, for the price of ONE (1) Tor ebook, I can buy FOUR (4) Castalia House books. Is the Tor book 4x as good?

$5 is an impulse purchase these days. I still have to think about $20.

$13 is more than it costs to see a film in a theater.
$20 is more than it costs to see a play in a theatre .
$20 is 2x-3x what I pay to buy a game on Steam or GOG.

It would have to be a hell of a book to be more value to me. And typically they're not even very good.

Blogger seeingsights July 03, 2016 1:13 PM  

The description of the novel _The Collapsing Empire_ can be interpreted as an allegory of the current state of publishing.

Traditional publishing is the Empire. The Flow is the internet. The movements of The Flow (epublishng on the internet) is cutting off the Empire.

Blogger The Other Robot July 03, 2016 1:18 PM  

@27: I could see myself paying more for a Kratman ebook.

Blogger Brian Niemeier July 03, 2016 1:18 PM  

"I don't believe in taking advantage of readers to cover nonexistent print costs on the Kindle versions."

*Slow clap building to riotous applause*

Blogger Were-Puppy July 03, 2016 1:19 PM  

@8 Faceless
What a plot: He is writing a book to show that putting a woman in charge literally destroys the universe.
---

The most recent season of Supernatural had a similar plot. God had a sister. And she is mad, and gonna destroy all of creation.

Beside it being nonsensical, how are they suppose to top that in the next season?

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 1:29 PM  

Personally I gag at paying more than $4.99 for an ebook.

Would you prefer that I break up ATOB and ASOS into three or four chunks each? I have been advised to do so by more successful writers.

It seems strange to sell an 850-page book for the same $4.99 price as a 250-page one. Plus I could publish the first two parts of ASOS now.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 03, 2016 1:33 PM  

@27 Dexter
Personally I gag at paying more than $4.99 for an ebook.
---

Me too. The most expensive ones I have gotten so far are Jim Butchers Dresden files - at $10 a pop. I keep hoping they will come down, as they match the paperback price.

Anonymous Headcannon July 03, 2016 1:39 PM  

The paperback option is the most important option to me. Thank you for for that.

Blogger YIH July 03, 2016 1:39 PM  

Wowzers. I could see promoting a book 30-60 days before publishing, many films get trailers/ads while still in production. But 9 freaking months ahead?
How much of that is even written? A couple chapters - at best? What happens if MR CAPS LOCK falls ill? Then you get delays, or worse, a project rushed to come out on schedule.
You can ask Atari what that can do to a company. Oh wait, you can't.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker July 03, 2016 1:52 PM  

". . . Pan Macmillan, suffered the biggest sales decline of all the Big Five in 2015, -7.7 percent . . . "

Top management at Pan Macmillan has likely put Tor's people on notice: "Stop the hemorrhaging or you're out. Next, what's your plan to restore Tor's profitability? You do have a plan don't you? . . . " Or something like that.

No wonder Scalzi is in extended "semi-hiatus" over at Whatever.

Anonymous Minion 0172 July 03, 2016 2:01 PM  

Johnny Con clearly enjoys being a science fiction author much more than actually writing science fiction.

I cannot imagine a SF novel title more boring and uninspired than "The Collapsing Empire."

Question: will Scalzi's book contract be enough to kill Tor, or only PNH's career?

Blogger Jack Ward July 03, 2016 2:05 PM  

@34 VD. Much as I would like to start that sequel I can get a grip and wait it out.
If its a 'fat' book at 6.99 from Castalia I can rest easy knowing its worth the money.

Anonymous Bz July 03, 2016 2:19 PM  

Terribly bland titles too. Will the Tor voting bloc even select the right one at Hugo time? Will anyone care.

Still, I suppose "Empire Games" is a marginally better title than "Potboiler 5" ... No wait a sec, it's not!

Anonymous Harry KTel July 03, 2016 2:22 PM  

I bought my first kindle on the promise from Amazon that no book would ever cost more than five dollars for a digital copy. As such, I feel as a consumer that I have been given carte blanche by Amazon to pirate any kindle book that would ask me for more than that. With the exception of a few books that cost a couple dollars over the promised five dollar limit, I have done just that.

Anonymous r July 03, 2016 2:28 PM  

@41

I remain confident that Hugo time will be the Day of the Tingler.

Blogger residentMoron July 03, 2016 2:33 PM  

Here in Germany they re-title films for local distribution when they dub the German language track.

But being German they have their own way of doing it. They tend to use the title as a plot synopsis. So, for example, a film like "Die Hard" might become "Maverick Cop Fights Urbane Euro Terrorists." (in German of course)

Scalzi's book title is a bit like that.

Blogger JACIII July 03, 2016 2:46 PM  

VD wrote:Personally I gag at paying more than $4.99 for an ebook.

Would you prefer that I break up ATOB and ASOS into three or four chunks each? I have been advised to do so by more successful writers.

It seems strange to sell an 850-page book for the same $4.99 price as a 250-page one. Plus I could publish the first two parts of ASOS now.


I dare ya'.

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 2:50 PM  

I dare ya'.

I triple-dog-dare you and would even stick my tongue to a frozen pole for A Sea Of Skulls.

Anonymous Takin' a Look July 03, 2016 2:53 PM  

They are cumbersome dinosaurs. We are fast-moving mammals. Vicious, fast-moving mammals who eat dinosaur eggs for breakfast and smash those we're too full to eat.

Better analogy is Chainsaw vs. Hand-ax. Apologies for the sperging. Dinosaurs were like sea turtles, swamp the predators. Too many eggs to even smash.

It took the Deccan Traps and an Asteriod to finish them off

Blogger Michael Maier July 03, 2016 2:57 PM  

34. VD July 03, 2016 1:29 PM
Personally I gag at paying more than $4.99 for an ebook.

Would you prefer that I break up ATOB and ASOS into three or four chunks each? I have been advised to do so by more successful writers.

It seems strange to sell an 850-page book for the same $4.99 price as a 250-page one. Plus I could publish the first two parts of ASOS now.


A THOUSAND THOUSAND TIMES: NAY!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous Spartacus xxxxx July 03, 2016 2:59 PM  

seeingsights wrote:The description of the novel _The Collapsing Empire_ can be interpreted as an allegory of the current state of publishing.

Traditional publishing is the Empire. The Flow is the internet. The movements of The Flow (epublishng on the internet) is cutting off the Empire.


That's a bit of a stretch. Maybe Scalzi is only writing what he knows about Tor and The Cash Flow.

"Humanity flows away from Tor, into non-Converged Space, and in time forgets the pozzed out skankhole of SJW Safe Space.

"The Cash Flow was supposed to be eternal -- but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Cash Flow changes as well, cutting off Tor from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Cash Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all of Tor from profitability forever, three individuals -- a 3rd rate pink-SF writer, a doddering old fool, and Empress Toad -- are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from a publishing empire on the brink of collapse."

Blogger Mike Romkey July 03, 2016 3:07 PM  

The traditional publishing model is deader than dead. It was dead, 10 or 20 years ago, when I last wrestled with it. The indie Kindle this is proving to be a challenge. Maybe small, commando-type publishers like you house will prove to be the happy medium.

Blogger St Swithun July 03, 2016 3:09 PM  

Any word on the exchange rate used though? The UK is no longer used to paying 1:1 for £:$. May be tax differentials and the exchange rate ain't what it used to be, but still...have a heart $4.99 vs £4.99?

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 3:20 PM  

Any word on the exchange rate used though? The UK is no longer used to paying 1:1 for £:$. May be tax differentials and the exchange rate ain't what it used to be, but still...have a heart $4.99 vs £4.99?

That comparison isn't relevant. The UK and EU prices now include VAT.

Anonymous Dave Gerrold's 6184th Cabana Boy July 03, 2016 3:21 PM  

"I triple-dog-dare you"

You shut your dirty mouth. I have been waiting not-so-patiently for ASOS while Supreme Dark Lord Vox R.R. Day has been frying bigger fish.

The best Christmas present would be ASOS and the first publicly stated dawning realizations from the file 770 reTords that Castalia is an existential threat to Tor books.

OpenID spawnyspace July 03, 2016 3:45 PM  

Could you walk me through the pricing process US vs UK?
I don't see how 17.5%VAT and a (what is it?) $1.35 to the £ come out to the same number in $ and £s.

You sell for what you want, clearly. But don't make a virtue of pricing while you (not scalp but) push some of us harder on price. Most US books come out as slightly odd but lower number. We're okay with that, we can handle the oddity

I've bought a Castalia book via Amazon co uk. I gave it the rating that it deserved (v. good for YA, I enjoyed it too). I'm not saying that the prices are unreasonable at all, I am raising the question of fairness. Seems reasonable to me. I remember someone LOLd in comments when the subject was raised on a preceding book, so it's not like it hasn't been noticed.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 3:58 PM  

You sell for what you want, clearly. But don't make a virtue of pricing while you (not scalp but) push some of us harder on price.

Come on. Are you really going to complain about paying less than half what you'd have to pay for a competitor's book? Our pricing is set so that we don't find ourselves shortchanged due to currency movements, as kept happening when we were trying to maintain equitable pricing.

Since the UK only represents 3.3 percent of our US sales, we can't afford to spend the time required to actively manage prices in the interest of transnational fairness. We no longer do translations for much the same reason; we tried it, and no one was interested.

OpenID spawnyspace July 03, 2016 4:03 PM  

That's an acceptable business argument. Fair enough. Having spent decades being charged 1:1 £:$ for tech equipment etc this is a sore point for me. But your business, your rules. I expected Amazon to provide a tool of some kind. It seems not.

p.s.
I absolutely want the puppies run rampant over the corpse of the SJW establishment. I am not the enemy, I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous JD July 03, 2016 4:04 PM  

Would you prefer that I break up ATOB and ASOS into three or four chunks each? I have been advised to do so by more successful writers.

Consider splitting the difference: publish the smaller chunks at the short-novel price (assuming they break down nicely into satisfying novels in their own right), then publish the whole thing, when finished, as an Omnibus Edition at the longer-novel price. Pick up both the "I won't pay $6.99 for a single novel" market and the "A multi-novel omnibus is a bargain at $6.99" market.

In a bookstore, the heft and size of an 850-page novel conveys immediately and physically that it's worth a somewhat higher price. The word "Omnibus" serves the same function for an ebook, indicating this is a larger work than an ordinary novel. (You can also scroll down and look at the page count, but most people don't.)

I suspect you'd make more money doing it both ways.

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 4:09 PM  

VD can't complete A Sea of Skulls before he can conjure up a scenario in which Clericus is more of a Leeroy Jenkins than Jon Snow. Sad, really.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 4:14 PM  

That's an acceptable business argument. Fair enough. Having spent decades being charged 1:1 £:$ for tech equipment etc this is a sore point for me.

I've lived in Europe for 20 years and run a UK tech business for nearly a decade. Believe me, I understand the irritation. But we simply don't have the manpower to concern ourselves with it at this point in time.

But we appreciate your support all the more knowing that you have to put up with that sort of thing and you still support us.

Blogger VD July 03, 2016 4:14 PM  

VD can't complete A Sea of Skulls before he can conjure up a scenario in which Clericus is more of a Leeroy Jenkins than Jon Snow. Sad, really.

I was hoping to hire Aaron as a battlefield consultant.

OpenID spawnyspace July 03, 2016 4:22 PM  

For an Evil Dark Lord of Evil, you aren't so bad.

Perhaps the SJWs ought to get to know you better before adjourning to the fainting couch?

Blogger Dave July 03, 2016 4:38 PM  

Damn Spawny if you're signed up to the New Release Mailing list you also get a free bonus book. How many outfits do that?

OpenID spawnyspace July 03, 2016 4:43 PM  

I am signed up, cheers. Just one of my pet peeves. Just thought I'd give it an airing whilst waiting to see if our politicians are going to honour our referendum result. Which on balance, is the bigger 'peeve'

Blogger en_forcer July 03, 2016 6:48 PM  

+1 Star Citizen reference

Anonymous Steve July 03, 2016 6:48 PM  

Yeah, I've noticed Tor's pricing on Kindle is frequently optimistic.

They no longer publish anything I'd care to buy though, since (AFAIK), John C. Wright's books are now released via Castalia House.

Just out of curiosity I popped over to Tor UK to see what they're pushing:

* Scalzi's next book. I paid good money for REDSHIRTS, so I'll pass.

* FALSE HEARTS, a book about:

Conjoined twins Taema and Tila were raised in a secluded cult called Mana’s Hearth. They escape and are separated and fitted with mechanical hearts. Ten years later, one twin is accused of murder, and the other must assume her identity to prove her innocence and save her life.

Is this science fiction? Sounds like a Lifetime Original Movie. And in a shocking plot twist, it's by some identikit SJW female, so... nah.

Anonymous Steve July 03, 2016 6:56 PM  

Control Alt Revolt is a great example of what the real reading market is about.

I second the CTR-ALT-REVOLT love. Nick Cole is on my SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY list now.

Anonymous Fed Up Aussie July 03, 2016 7:02 PM  

@33 Beside it being nonsensical, how are they suppose to top that in the next season?

They should have ended the show at the end of season five. When Dean is kneeling, broken, bleeding and bloody, his friends dead, at the place where his brother sacrificed himself to drag Lucifer and Michael into the abyss and prevent Armaggedon the scene ends. Then there is one more scene that shows Dean fulfiled his promise to his brother and went back to Lisa and her son and lived a normal life even though he is wracked with guilt and loss.

End show.

Blogger en_forcer July 03, 2016 7:07 PM  

+1 Star Citizen reference

Anonymous Steve July 03, 2016 7:25 PM  

Spawny - Mate, I admire your parsimoniousness, but arguing over the cost of something that's cheaper than half a packet of fags, but will provide you with hours of entertainment, seems daft.

Also, VAT is 20%.

Blogger Mad Italian July 03, 2016 7:38 PM  

Regarding splitting ASOS into sections, the head spinning when all 3 parts are short listed for their own Hugos and the full set nominated by itself would be worth it in entertainment value alone.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 03, 2016 8:09 PM  

@65 Steve

Is this science fiction? Sounds like a Lifetime Original Movie. And in a shocking plot twist, it's by some identikit SJW female, so... nah.
---

Huh? I expected to see at least 400 more pounds!

If I was an SJW girl

first, I have to cut my hair very short using the old shoneys big boy as my model.

Second, I have to make my body conform to the same shoneys big boy model.

Third, I need an eye searing, irritating neon pastelish color in my hair.

Fourth, I must scour the kingdom high and low lest an offense go unnoticed.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 03, 2016 8:11 PM  

@66 Steve

I second the CTR-ALT-REVOLT love. Nick Cole is on my SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY list now.
---

Did you read his "End of the World as We Knew It"? It's good.

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 03, 2016 8:12 PM  

I was very busy today. But I so wish I could have had the time to scribble down a quick version of Dune as written by John Scalzi.

Saul Bartreides scion of his Great House is shortly to move to Doone. Xhe has some fairly extreme gender identity issues due to Xhiz being the product of a Bene Geseradt breeding designed to create the Universal Super Being who shall transcend all race, gender, belief, sexual identity or non-sexual identity. To say nothing of species, phylogenetic tree and biocentric kingdom.

His phather Leetoo is murdered by his holy-mother's oppressive if rather progressively open-minded patriarch Baron Vladimir (Putin jokes don't work here) Hayden-Zimmmer-Bradley...

Blogger Dexter July 03, 2016 8:19 PM  

@50 are you the Vampire Papers Mike Romkey?

Anonymous Bosch2000 July 03, 2016 8:38 PM  

@5 "the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war -- and a system of control for the rulers of the empire."

Huh. The Interdependency's form of control and beliefs about humanity sound exactly like those of the EU Globalists. If they turn out to be The Bad Guys All Along, Scalzi will be committing Progressive Heresy. Perhaps this explains the delay: rewriting the third act.

That being said, the whole blurb is truly-dreadful. Is 'the flow' the natural outwards expansion of humanity suggested in the first paragraph? How does it then end up with the Self-Important Capitals suggesting it's a antagonistic force acting with wilful intent in the second?

"Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever..."

Note the unprofessional redundancy: these two sentences are, functionally, the same sentence.

"Just as a river changes course"

This is why I loathe Midwit Sci-Fi. They're talking grand concepts and world-spanning action, then immediately reach for the most mundane, earthbound cliché they can reach for to illustrate it.

Is all of his writing this bad?

Blogger The Other Robot July 03, 2016 9:03 PM  

@75: Have you read Binti? I am trying but it is hard.

The shuttle was one of the new sleek models that looked like the bullets my teachers used to calculate ballistic coefficients during my A-levels when I was growing up.

Blogger seeingsights July 03, 2016 9:26 PM  

@ 49. Spartacus xxxxx

Hilarious improvement on my analogy!

@ 75. Bosch2000

My take on The Flow is that it is a name for stargates or wormholes. However, The Flow was not created by intelligence, but from natural occurring processes.

Honestly, I think The Fold is not a bad SF idea. Stargates and wormholes make the idea of a galactic empire, in a SF story, more plausible. I'm a fan of Asimov's Foundation novels, but I'm not clear how the characters in Foundation travel easily across vast interstellar distances.

Blogger John Wright July 03, 2016 9:57 PM  

@77
"but I'm not clear how the characters in Foundation travel easily across vast interstellar distances"

Hyperdrive. Powered by atomic engines.

Blogger Markku July 03, 2016 10:18 PM  

For ebooks the UK VAT is indeed 20% because ebooks are not currently considered books. I checked, our 4.99 USD books are 4.16 GBP excl. VAT. On today's rate, 4.99 USD is 3.76 GBP. So, today, you are paying 0.40 GBP more than Americans.

I feel your pain.

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 10:29 PM  

Hyperdrive. Powered by atomic engines.

*Snickering* IIRC, the earliest Foundation FTL was powered by coal.

Anonymous Sagramore July 03, 2016 10:42 PM  

@12 I just bought one for hippies to give to a friend visiting from Switzerland. Colouring in mandalas is supposed to be calming, even though it is one of the safer places to be.

@44 Yippee cahier, Herr Falk.

Anonymous Anonymous July 03, 2016 11:11 PM  

Forst time poster here.

I was a big fan of Stross' Eschaton series.

Side note: I had no idea about the cultural war going on, but noticed the bizzare dip in Hugo quality. I used to refer to it for stuff to read. The dinosaur one was revolting. I did not know what SJWs were at that time, call me sheltered.

Back to Stross.

I tried reading the android space opera, I was excited and then I almost gagged from the blatant girl power/trans/gay fantasies, weird dildo fetishes and hate towards men. Couldn't finish it and I make it a point to finish books no matter the quality.

Anyway, I was subbed to his blog, I noticed the guest bloggers were becoming more and more weird. Feminists, people with strange agendas, etc

One day I asked him about it in the comments section. What happened? What's with the political inserts and feminism crap. I don't want that in my science fiction. All my comments were deleted. I persisted. At the end I did my research and saw how he has been falling down the SJW cliff. I told him he just lost a loyal reader and his response was something like "good riddance you pathetic MRA"..... I did not even know what that abbreviation meant.

I then found out about the puppies, you, the whole war going on... man, that explained a lot of the crap in tbe novels I had been reading.

I would love to see a detailed post about Stross (if you do those).

An eye opening moment for me.

p.s. your collaboration with is awesome. The last one explained a lot about current sci-fi publishing.

Anonymous Anonymous July 03, 2016 11:14 PM  

Your collaboration with Stefan*

Anonymous Wyrd July 03, 2016 11:37 PM  

Forst time poster here.

For the second time!

Anonymous Jack Amok July 03, 2016 11:58 PM  

Would you prefer that I break up ATOB and ASOS into three or four chunks each? I have been advised to do so by more successful writers.

Well, now that you mention it... Funny thing, the price is really the most obvious indication of the size of an ebook. Sure, sure, there's a page count listed somewhere, in min-sized font, down the page a ways. But unlike a paperback (or hardcover) the thickness isn't obvious. A $2.99 is probably slim, but is a $6.99 thick, or just overpriced a la Tor?

And then there's the time factor. Thinner books more often - I'd have a better chance of remembering who the characters are. I think there's something to be said for it. I'd be happy with that schedule. Not sure if it's still what you want to write or not.

Anonymous LastRedoubt July 04, 2016 12:37 AM  

@Bosch2000


Is all of his writing this bad?


Yes

Anonymous Bosch2000 July 04, 2016 1:13 AM  

@77 See, that's exactly my issue with the blurb.

"Humanity flows away from earth" sounds like the natural human flow of people in the process of exploration, colonisation and migration.

Something like this would have made more sense:

"Long-ago, Humanity discovered 'The Flow' - a naturally-occurring space anomaly that allows faster-than-light travel - and used it to spread out from a soon-forgotten Earth to forge a powerful Empire across the Galaxy.

"Known as the Interdependency... blah blah..."

See how the reader would know exactly why and how 'The Flow' was important? This is an amateur hour synopsis.

Blogger Bob Loblaw July 04, 2016 1:38 AM  

Twenty bucks for a kindle book?

Are people actually paying that or is it just to keep kindle sales from cannibalizing hard cover sales?

Anonymous Spartacus xxxxx July 04, 2016 2:07 AM  

Bosch2000 wrote:@77 See, that's exactly my issue with the blurb.

"Humanity flows away from earth" sounds like the natural human flow of people in the process of exploration, colonisation and migration.

Something like this would have made more sense:

"Long-ago, Humanity discovered 'The Flow' - a naturally-occurring space anomaly that allows faster-than-light travel - and used it to spread out from a soon-forgotten Earth to forge a powerful Empire across the Galaxy.

"Known as the Interdependency... blah blah..."

See how the reader would know exactly why and how 'The Flow' was important? This is an amateur hour synopsis.



http://amzn.to/29eRyeQ

Oh ffs. I thought the passage was a VP comment and a parody, not THE ACTUALLY FREAKING PITCH.

Tor, Scalzi, thou art doomed.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit July 04, 2016 5:11 AM  

Markku wrote:For ebooks the UK VAT is indeed 20% ... I feel your pain.

Euros are so used to paying VAT they don't see it as a tax. No one I've met has ever been as disgusted as I am that the government, after taking half of what you earn now take 20% of what's left if you spend it.

The US "sales tax" is a much more honest approach which is probably why it is usually less.

20% (1/5) of the money you spend in EUrostan (except for a decreasing number of exceptions) goes straight to the government!!!

I stopped smoking once I realised how much of the price of tobacco was just tax - as far as I'm concerned, government is worse than cancer

Blogger weka July 04, 2016 6:42 AM  

Stross needs to go back to writing Bob (this is not my real name) Howard. His last Laundry book is the weakest so far, and I Like that series. This Scalzi one... no.

Amazon directs me to fifteen dollar ebooks. That is about twenty Kiwibucks (without GST, which is on books, Marrku, but not on bits bought elsewhere. Yet). It is too much. Heinlen used to say he was competing with beer money. Given that, you could price a book at around the cost of a decent beer six-pack... which is less here.

They are using the Hasselblad strategy, just abandoned: take an OK camera and put their badge on it and charge five times as much. Does not work in cameras. Won't work here.

(Hassy have just released the first practical mirrorless Medium Format Digital camera, because they can't sell rebadged Sony cams)

Anonymous Steve July 04, 2016 7:49 AM  

Were-Puppy - Yar. She's not 500 lbs yet, but give her time. She's already compulsively Tweeting about microagressions and how everybody who voted for Brexit is literally Hitler. Big Seanantude can't be far off.

I did read THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNEW IT and it was very engrossing. Nick Cole has a very readable style. His WYRD tales are a lot of fun too.

Anonymous Steve July 04, 2016 7:54 AM  

Euros are so used to paying VAT they don't see it as a tax.

It's because - unlike US sales tax - European consumer goods and services are usually quoted with VAT included, not listed seperately.

The main exception is tradesmen. Every fule kno you get a better deal if you pay a plumber or sparky cash in hand.

Anonymous Lawyer Guy July 04, 2016 10:00 AM  

I kind of wanted to see where David Weber's massive 'Roman Catholic Church is evil' SciFi (Safehold) is going, but I won't because Tor. However, reading this I paged over to amazon. $14.99 for a kindle? AYFKM?

Blogger bob k. mando July 04, 2016 11:51 AM  

40. Minion 0172 July 03, 2016 2:01 PM
I cannot imagine a SF novel title more boring and uninspired than "The Collapsing Empire."



seriously.

the least he could have done was to have gone for something slightly more obscure. "The Schwarzschild Empire", perhaps.

Anonymous Minion 0172 July 04, 2016 12:37 PM  

Something along the lines of "Lest Darkness Fall," or "Against the Fall of Night," or "Triumph and Twilight."

A good SF novel title should be poetic and intriguing, to catch your eye and heart and make you want to read more. "The Collapsing Empire" is as mundane and bloodless as the man(?) himself.

Anonymous LastRedoubt July 04, 2016 12:44 PM  

@lawyer

It had some of his traditional weaknesses regarding female characters but had heroics, derringer-do, building shit, logistics, and development.

What completely ruined it for me was a scene where a superhuman female android severely beats up a misogynist who was so bad that he clearly "had it coming" - and everyone observing/etc. were on board.

There were a number of points that could have been made about the equalizing effect of guns per Sam Colt, especially off the battlefield, if one merely wanted to hammer a point home with a 4x4. But no. Had to have the superhuman android physically take the guy apart and nearly kill him to demonstrate that women were "equal"' despite the fact that no woman on the planet could replicate that feat.

But then, he'd already demonstrated during at least one interview that while he understood technology was a force multiplier for women that enabled more options, that he failed to comprehend it was one for men as well, and that technology could also not always be assumed to be available.

He also forgets that even in the future, someone has to take care of the kids, so either a parent spends a lot of time at home or you have massive day care, with its own issues.

Blogger jon spencer July 04, 2016 5:28 PM  

One could buy one Tor book at $20 or spend the twenty on two months of KU.

Blogger BigFire July 06, 2016 4:47 PM  

The current volume of Laundry novel is a significantly improved over the previous one. The previous novel is a checklist SJW list pastiche on super hero. This novel is more or less his take on occult warfare and the sjw elements is significantly cut back. He also went back to writing what he writes best, geeks as main character. I think he managed to write himself into a corner with Bob Howard, so he cannot be use as main character.

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