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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Buyer's remorse

I have to admit, I'm vastly amused at the thought of what must have gone through Patrick Nielsen Hayden's mind when he read this little bloviation from his star author. Or better yet, the mind of the executive at Macmillan who has to defend Tor's underperformance in 2016 to the Germans.
This year I'll publish/have published a novella, stories in three anthologies, a short story collection and a video game. Not a bad year.
No, not bad. But of course, that's really not what Tor Books pays him for. What appears to be missing there is the very small matter of a novel. Or two. That being said, I had better not cast too many stones, lest I find myself again addressed as "Vox RR Day" come January. Hey, I'm working on it!

Regardless, it's a simple fact that the mainstream publishers are now in decline.
Financial reports for the first half of 2016 from five major publishers showed that none of the companies had a sales increase in the first half of the year; HarperCollins had the best top-line performance, with only a minor sales decline compared to the first six months of 2015. Earnings fell at three publishers in the period and rose at two. Though sales of print books have stabilized, all five reporting publishers said sales of e-books fell in the first six months of 2016 compared to the January–June 2015 period.
Sales at Penguin Random House were down nearly 11 percent, at -10.7 percent. HarperCollins did well to remain essentially flat for the first two quarters. And it's only going to get worse, as independent publishers, self-publishers, and Kindle Unlimited continue to take an increasing share of the market.

Remember, publishing is not a zero-sum game, it is a NEGATIVE-SUM game. Because the market is shrinking, every sale Castalia makes represents more than one previous-year sale lost to the gatekeepers. And if you think they're acting crazy now, just wait until Barnes & Noble goes down and takes one or more of the big publishers with them.

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89 Comments:

Blogger Durandel Almiras September 22, 2016 11:04 AM  

I'm a bit surprised B&N is still operating. The few times I've walked into one recently, it's mostly empty except for a few people waiting in line at the in-store Starbucks.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 11:06 AM  

Generally speaking, if the company owns the property, maintenance is very marginal relative to start-up costs. B&N likely has very little in the way the latter, so they should be able to hold on for a while.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 22, 2016 11:09 AM  

...stories in three anthologies...

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think all three were for Baen.

Blogger Josh (the gayest thing here) September 22, 2016 11:17 AM  

Hey, I'm working on it!

To quote GG, shut up and finish the book!

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 11:17 AM  

I think it is a shrinking market, too. Yet on a college campus I see students with Larry Correia books everywhere. As in, more of them on campus than when they were all finishing up the Harry Potter books.

It doesn't jive with the bookreading trend among millenials that I've come to expect.

Maybe the books have just been crappy till now?

Anonymous Deadlocked September 22, 2016 11:17 AM  

Durandel Almiras wrote:I'm a bit surprised B&N is still operating. The few times I've walked into one recently, it's mostly empty except for a few people waiting in line at the in-store Starbucks.

Those in-store cafes do pretty good business; I suspect they're a good driver of traffic. In some stores, they're also using a lot more space for non-book products - gifts, puzzles, etc.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 11:19 AM  

What video game did he publish?

Blogger Vi M September 22, 2016 11:21 AM  

Which "star author" are we talking about? Haven't picked up a Tor book in so long...

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 11:21 AM  

"It doesn't jive with the bookreading trend among millenials that I've come to expect.

Maybe the books have just been crappy till now?"

You have to understand the level of writing that was presented to the average Millennial in school - "The Great Gatsby" was held up as the exemplar of its era. Hemingway referenced as one of the greatest writers of all time. "Of Mice and Men" is a staple.

So many Millennials naturally remember reading to be depressing, at best.

Blogger Alexandros September 22, 2016 11:26 AM  

I wonder if a modern-day Robert E Howard could get enough men to read again to at least ensure that the crumbling remains of this decrepit empire weren't so dominated by the mewling garbage that women supposedly read.


It's incredibly depressing to look at the offerings of these publishers.

Anonymous GreyS September 22, 2016 11:30 AM  

what must have gone through Patrick Nielsen Hayden's mind

Pretty funny to think about. And I assume PNH follows Scalzi on twitter. Must drive him crazy seeing Scalzi waste what should be his writing time-- hour after hour after hour, day after day after day.

Haahaha--it literally cracks me up. It's like a buddy-employee a manager vouched for to his own superiors on some big project and then that manager walks by the guy's desk every day and he's on facebook all day every day.

Blogger Salt September 22, 2016 11:30 AM  

just wait until Barnes & Noble goes down and takes one or more of the big publishers with them.

B&N is starting an Indie promotion. Amazon is looking at brick&mortar outlets. Think B&N is angling for a buyout?

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 11:31 AM  

Yeah, but I had those books assigned too. Difference was that I had OSC, Stephen King, Pournelle, Joel Rosenberg, Philip Jose Farmer and PKD in the new fiction section of my rural junior high library.

What did they have? "Your Feelings and You?" "Bullying is Boring?" "The Moon is A Social Construct?" "Starship Stupors?" "Redshirts?"

Blogger Stilicho September 22, 2016 11:37 AM  

You know exactly what went through his mind: "Strudel. They eat strudel in Germany. Yummy strudel..."

Blogger Nate September 22, 2016 11:37 AM  

"You have to understand the level of writing that was presented to the average Millennial in school - "The Great Gatsby" was held up as the exemplar of its era. Hemingway referenced as one of the greatest writers of all time. "Of Mice and Men" is a staple."

You think the millennials are the only ones that got those books?

Also.. you're mistaken. Many millennials were given crap like "Things Fall Apart" and "Ceremonies and Old Dark Men" and "There Eyes Were Watching God".

Crap.. Crap.. and more Crap.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 11:39 AM  

'Yeah, but I had those books assigned too. Difference was that I had OSC, Stephen King, Pournelle, Joel Rosenberg, Philip Jose Farmer and PKD in the new fiction section of my rural junior high library.

What did they have? "Your Feelings and You?" "Bullying is Boring?" "The Moon is A Social Construct?" "Starship Stupors?" "Redshirts?"'

Speaking as a Millennial, there's also the added issue of easy access to storytelling via television and video games. Heck, I learned more about history from Age of Empires and Civilization than I did from most of my history classes.

So take crap "literature" and mix in an easy access outlet in the form of visual media... voilà. My high school library actually had a great science fiction and fantasy section, but the "new fiction" area? Not just no, but hell no. It was so boring that I actually can't remember anything other than that it existed.

And most kids don't read the unabridged version of "The Three Musketeers" at age 10, either, so I was exceptionally well-read compared to most of my peers - and that was the 95% white middle class town where I went to high school.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 11:42 AM  

'Also.. you're mistaken. Many millennials were given crap like "Things Fall Apart" and "Ceremonies and Old Dark Men" and "There Eyes Were Watching God".

Crap.. Crap.. and more Crap.'

Must be second half of the generation. I never even heard of any of those. Though I'm actually a bit shocked that we were assigned stuff like Chaucer, which is eminently enjoyable.

Granted, they also made us read "Romeo and Juliet" when "Taming of the Shrew" would be much more useful in this day and age. And "Tuesdays with Morrie". Blech.

Blogger Student in Blue September 22, 2016 11:44 AM  

Hey now, Hemingway is a breath of fresh air compared to "On The Road" and "The Great Gatsby".

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 11:45 AM  

'Hey now, Hemingway is a breath of fresh air compared to "On The Road" and "The Great Gatsby".'

Not when they pick "Old Man and the Sea". To this day I can't make it through that pile of snores.

Blogger Johnny September 22, 2016 11:45 AM  

Don't know a thing about the market, but I would imagine declining sales are mainly the electronic age moving in. Plus there must be a lot of money in textbooks sales, the things are hugely overpriced. That should hold up some of the traditional publishers.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield September 22, 2016 11:59 AM  

JohnnyCon loves being a Writer.

He just hates having to write.

Blogger Deplorable Gaiseric September 22, 2016 12:02 PM  

I didn't mind The Great Gatsby so much. It was The Grapes of Wrath and The Sound and the Fury back to back in a high school literature class that forever broke my ability to appreciate "literary" fiction for good. After that, every book I ever had to read for a literature class, with the notable exception of some Shakespeare, Chaucer, Beowulf a single Austen book and a single Dostoevsky book, I've skipped and just gone over the Cliff's Notes.

Anonymous GreyS September 22, 2016 12:06 PM  

And of course the person who never reads this blog and who never even thinks about VD unless someone else mentions something VD wrote about him... Will now make several posts over the next few days/week about 1) How well the novel is going 2) How hard he is working at it and 3) The nuances of writing fiction and the issues he is going through with character development, plotlines etc etc

Blogger Aeoli Pera September 22, 2016 12:08 PM  

Muh PROGRESS.

Anonymous Jeff Duntemann September 22, 2016 12:15 PM  

Two points here: 1) Decline in sales of new books may be due in part to the ease of buying used books and remaindered books (of which there is a staggering number) online. I almost never buy new hardcovers anymore. I wait for remainders to go on sale for a dollar plus shipping. Patience pays.

2) is the big one: The big publishers have forgotten how to sell to small retailers. Borders, B&N, and BaM could easily float the big publishers. B&N & BaM still can...barely. But lose one or both of those, and it'll be a bloodbath. Small retailers used to be seen as a species of gravy. At some point they become the main course. Tradpub has forgotten how to use a knife & fork.

Blogger Nate September 22, 2016 12:18 PM  

"Must be second half of the generation. I never even heard of any of those."

nah.. those were even foisted on GenX. i had to read that crap way back in 1992. The garbage they have now is even worse.

Blogger Nate September 22, 2016 12:20 PM  

Are we casting stones at Faulkner and Hemingway now?

no.

no no no.

This aggression will not stand.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 12:22 PM  

"nah.. those were even foisted on GenX. i had to read that crap way back in 1992. The garbage they have now is even worse."

Well, good thing I'm not going to put my kids in public school. If nothing else it's a massive waste of time.

Blogger Escoffier September 22, 2016 12:22 PM  

S1AL wrote:'Hey now, Hemingway is a breath of fresh air compared to "On The Road" and "The Great Gatsby".'

Not when they pick "Old Man and the Sea". To this day I can't make it through that pile of snores.


Agreed. Om the whole I like Hemingway but that story is an excellent sleep aid.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 22, 2016 12:23 PM  

Alexandros wrote:I wonder if a modern-day Robert E Howard could get enough men to read again to at least ensure that the crumbling remains of this decrepit empire weren't so dominated by the mewling garbage that women supposedly read.

It's incredibly depressing to look at the offerings of these publishers.


Catcher In The fucking Rye. Favorite book of child molesters and serial killers everywhere. Tobacco Road.
All the favorite books of college Lit professors are what get assigned, and they're all women, especially the men. Never anything a normal male would read voluntarily.

Blogger VD September 22, 2016 12:25 PM  

This aggression will not stand.

And Fitzgerald. That's not right.

Anonymous kfg September 22, 2016 12:31 PM  

"Are we casting stones at Faulkner and Hemingway now?"

Whip and then fold in a Hawks and you've got my favorite movie.

But it's not literature.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 12:31 PM  

Let me sum up Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck:

"People are shitty. Also they do stupid things. Now they're all unhappy or dead. The End."

Blogger Durandel September 22, 2016 12:35 PM  

Eh, Great Gadsby was dull. I much preferred The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway to Gadsby.

Hmm, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Maybe some of the growth in betaness in young men comes from having to read these guys who wrote pedestalizing losers for protagonists.

Anonymous BGKB September 22, 2016 12:39 PM  

What video game did he publish? Depression Quest II- Get off my lawn.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield September 22, 2016 12:44 PM  

JohnnyCon: "This year I'll publish/have published a novella, stories in three anthologies, a short story collection and a video game. Not a bad year."

That's Larry Correia's daily output.

Before lunch.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 22, 2016 12:50 PM  

Perhaps if Spacebunny cut off Vox's wine supply, he might finish "A Sea of Skulls". No write, no drink. :-)

Blogger Nate September 22, 2016 1:02 PM  

"People are shitty. Also they do stupid things. Now they're all unhappy or dead. The End."


When people insult great works of literature, it ends up saying more about them than it says about the books.

Blogger Erynne September 22, 2016 1:04 PM  

I don't know what it is, but I cannot make myself pay more than 10 dollars for a book. Somehow, I'm a natural cheapskate when it comes to new books, I almost always buy used from Amazon or local book sales, or I fish out free ebooks. Anybody who likes to read makes himself go through the classics, and with a Kindle, it's free, so boom, you have hundreds of classics to work on. Since books take time, and sometimes a lot of time to read, I can't imagine anyone having the time to go through new books unless it's very high priority. The only new books I read are from Castalia House. There's also the matter of free ebooks from Mises.org. Whenever I see a nonfiction at a B&N I think to myself, I could be reading Mises or Rothbard or Hazlitt instead of this, and for free. Blogs also cut into reading time. Who is reading all the junk that comes out of publishers these days when there is so much more to read that isn't an expensive waste of time.

Anonymous Ivan Poland September 22, 2016 1:05 PM  

Last week I was at HawaiiCon and JohnnyCon was there, ladies and gentlemen you never saw such a pathetic male in your life. Short, balding, shoulders hunched, and about 6 months pregnant. His bio picture in the program was his "marine bad ass" pic. Don't worry about the book(s), he was having a writer's workshop, charging $25 per head to get in. Yeah, I skipped it. I wonder how Tor liked their golden boy taking a 5 day (paid) vacation on the Big Island of Hawai'i?

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 22, 2016 1:11 PM  

I can only hope Scalzi is throwing a Tweet storm in support of BLM, he is right?

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 1:12 PM  

I remember the title of the English essay I had to write in 8th Grade:

A Separate Peace of Crap

I got a B- on it for writing "too casually".

I got an A on my assignment to "finish" the Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Walter discovers that hiswife is actually a government mind control handler, so he imagines a machine gun in his hands and riddles her with bullets in the end, cackling "Top of the world, ma!"

I am pretty sure that either one of those essays would have earned me my own government handler today.

Blogger Dexter September 22, 2016 1:21 PM  

Catcher In The fucking Rye. Favorite book of child molesters and serial killers everywhere.

Whiny incompetent little pussy Holden Caulfield didn't get enough beatings. Crumby book!

Blogger Shimshon September 22, 2016 1:22 PM  

Sounds like little Johnny is suffering from Second System Syndrome. 13 books in 10 years. Now it's 13 in 9 years.

OpenID randkoch September 22, 2016 1:24 PM  

I wonder if this may not be Scalzi's fault, er, exactly. Maybe Tor isn't capable of publishing as quickly anymore.

I've noticed that Kameron Hurley's THE STARS ARE LEGION had its publishing date pushed back, too. Different publisher, though. But still...

This may be another sign that things are cracking up faster than we think.

Anonymous Bukulu September 22, 2016 1:28 PM  

Hey, come on now. Things Fall Apart may be depressing, but it's not at all a bad book. And while Achebe didn't exactly deserve the huge amounts of adolation heaped upon him, his opening novel did nicely capture the discontents of the large and rapid culture changes that were (and still are) stressing Africa. I lived in a different (east) African country for 5 years; I saw this kind of thing up close and personal.

Blogger praetorian September 22, 2016 1:28 PM  

Check the video out here, guy pulling a gun when he is blocked in:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3801796/He-allowed-drive-away-alive-White-motorist-armed-GUN-filmed-driving-slowly-crowd-protesters-Charlotte.html

Notice how the tension immediately went up and people started mobbing his vehicle, sheboons started shrieking for the pack to attack, etc. It didn't clear the road and probably made the situation worse.

Blogger cheddarman September 22, 2016 1:32 PM  

The best Scalzi can hope for is that 70's style porno makes a come back, and he can get a job as a writer.

Blogger cheddarman September 22, 2016 1:33 PM  

The best Scalzi can hope for is that 70's style porno makes a come back, and he can get a job as a writer.

Blogger Stephen Ward September 22, 2016 1:41 PM  

"
You have to understand the level of writing that was presented to the average Millennial in school - "The Great Gatsby" was held up as the exemplar of its era. Hemingway referenced as one of the greatest writers of all time. "Of Mice and Men" is a staple.
"

Each of those books deserves the "great literature" appellation. Now, they're not junior high level for a general audience, and they are a much different kind of storytelling than the kind used in popular media, and the works mentioned are... depressing; but none of that is any reason to claim that their level of writing was poor.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 1:46 PM  

JS: This year I'll publish/have published a novella, stories in three anthologies, a short story collection and a video game. Not a bad year.

PNH: Uhh...you also published a press release. Remember that? $10 Million in novels ring a bell?

JS: Pat, my old chum! You didn't take that seriously did you? Don't you remember it was going to be another one of our schemes?

PNH: Schemes?

JS: Yeah, like that "Christmas Miracle" we pulled on Old Man's War. You know, where I claimed to have "published" the novel on the internet, building a viral fanbase for the book, only to "delete it" after you picked it up based on the "buzz?"

PNH: Yes, yes. I remember that scheme well. What I don't recall is this latest scheme--

JS: Come on. The brilliant one where you pay me $10 mil and then we make it all back on pre-orders? Then, with that enthusiasm, we convert the novel process to kickstarter, using crowdsourced fan fiction for rewards?

PNH: I know nothing about this scheme...

JS: Hey, neither do I, wink wink. Let's keep it that way.

PNH: ...

JS: So...Hey, did you get my expense report from the Hawaii conference?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 22, 2016 1:47 PM  

Dexter wrote:Whiny incompetent little pussy Holden Caulfield didn't get enough beatings. Crumby book!
You wanna talk Omega? I mean, you just know that when he grew up he got into the habit of kidnapping middle-aged women, tying them up, and throwing vodka at them before lighting them on fire.

cheddarman wrote:The best Scalzi can hope for is that 70's style porno makes a come back, and he can get a job as a writer.
They had writers? hunh, learn something every day.

Anonymous patrick kelly September 22, 2016 1:49 PM  

"People are shitty. Also they do stupid things. Now they're all unhappy or dead. The End."

Spoiler: Walking Dead - It's exactly the same but with zombies.

Blogger praetorian September 22, 2016 1:53 PM  

Damn, wrong thread for my comment above.

Anonymous Jon Bromfield September 22, 2016 2:00 PM  

There was a surcharge to hear JohnnyCon's self-serving BS at Hawaiicon?

How many rabbits did he manage to shear?

Anonymous Ivan Poland September 22, 2016 2:13 PM  

I skipped it, there were better free sessions on how to indie publish comics and films. Plus taliking with the real Sci-fi stars.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 2:28 PM  

"Each of those books deserves the "great literature" appellation. Now, they're not junior high level for a general audience, and they are a much different kind of storytelling than the kind used in popular media, and the works mentioned are... depressing; but none of that is any reason to claim that their level of writing was poor."

Gatsby, at the very least, is shoddily written. The characters are cardboard, the pacing is all over the place, and the sentence structure is about on par with the average internet comment.

"Of Mice and Men" is just depressing.

--------------------------

"When people insult great works of literature, it ends up saying more about them than it says about the books."

Are you saying my description is inaccurate? Not that it matters. As an ign'ant resident I'm Wyomin', I am not expected to appreciate fine literature. And that's alright by me.

Blogger J Van Stry September 22, 2016 2:31 PM  

Wow, that's all he did? This year I published three novels (all Amazon top 100 sellers - in the top 1000 overall) and hope to have at least two more complete by years end. Plus several novella's under a pen name.

Wouldn't be surprised to find out I have better sales numbers on Amazon than him too, and my advertising budget is only $100 a month.

I wonder how much better I'd do if I could get into a bookstore? Or have a publisher backing me? Better than he does, I'm rather sure.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 22, 2016 2:43 PM  

No need to wonder, J Van Stry. You'd be doing considerably worse assuming you were working through a trad pub house for distribution. If you were managing your own distribution, it might be worth the marginal gains, but your audience left the book store about 8 years ago, so I would bet on it not being worth it.

Anonymous Bruce September 22, 2016 2:46 PM  

Last time I was in a Barnes and Noble, they'd cut back on adult books for a huge children's section. Lot of kids there. Young Adult section was bigger and had customers. Coffee shop was busy too.

. . .

So when do we get the Martin van Crevald and William Linn commentary on Jerry Pournelle's Strategy of Technology ?

Anonymous Jon Bromfield September 22, 2016 2:48 PM  

Catcher in the Rye gets my vote for the most overrated novel in the English language. I am at a total loss as to its appeal. A banal, annoying "protagonist," events without any relevance to anyone outside of shallow upper class indulged white teenagers, written in a style so stultifying I never could get beyond the first twenty-five pages.

Most overrated play? Easy. "Death of a Salesman." I would prefer a 3 hour root canal without anesthesia.

Blogger Student in Blue September 22, 2016 3:05 PM  

@Nate
"When people insult great works of literature, it ends up saying more about them than it says about the books."

Nate, S1AL is entirely correct that there are way too many things being called "great works of literature"... that aren't. They're only okay at best.

Really, and this is addressed to everybody, the problem with 'great works of English literature' appears to be the same thing that happened with art. Everyone who was a 'professional critic' and taught about the subject wound up being broken unhappy people, and believed "true" art and literature to be about broken unhappy people.

Because that's who they were. Solipsism in action, really.

Anonymous Bukulu September 22, 2016 3:09 PM  

"So when do we get the Martin van Crevald and William Linn commentary on Jerry Pournelle's Strategy of Technology ?"

Now there's a book I'd pay for! And go over whoever-it-was's self-imposed $10 limit.

Vox are you listening???

Anonymous LastRedoubt September 22, 2016 4:09 PM  

While I enjoyed Arsenic and Old Lace and King Lear, and they had Animal farm waaaay back in the late 80's as well, they tried to inflict on me the stupid lottery story, Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Old Man and the Sea, Catcher in the Rye, and just... dreck. Well written dreck, but depressing dreck. GG and Hemingway I could at least udnerstand __why_ people liked them, but LotF?

I still loathe that book.

Blogger Bob Loblaw September 22, 2016 4:16 PM  

"You have to understand the level of writing that was presented to the average Millennial in school - "The Great Gatsby" was held up as the exemplar of its era. Hemingway referenced as one of the greatest writers of all time. "Of Mice and Men" is a staple."

If only. Nate is right - the books you've listed are of much higher quality than the ones millennials were forced to read. There's no way teachers today can get away with books written solely (or even mostly) by white men.

Speaking of which, go to Google and type "American inventors" in the search box. You might want to have a drink handy. Sailer's got an article about it.

Blogger Matthew September 22, 2016 4:22 PM  

Faulkner's great. Hemingway and Fitzgerald were foisted and promoted because of their connections with the spook community.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 22, 2016 4:37 PM  

Faulkner is a great writer who should have just gone ahead and killed himself, saving the world a great deal of depression and angst.
Hemingway was a good writer who has been promoted way beyond the quality of his work.
Fitzgerald I can't really speak to, as I've only read Gatsby. But Gatsby was awful. Just awful.
Only modernists and nihilists would have thought it was good, and nobody in the history of the universe is capable of enjoying it.

Anonymous SumDood September 22, 2016 4:49 PM  

Folks, bear in mind that many of these "classics" have been deliberately altered from the original author's words:

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/gatsby-without-greatness

Anonymous kfg September 22, 2016 4:56 PM  

@68:

Start hoarding old editions of Huckleberry Finn.

Blogger Student in Blue September 22, 2016 5:18 PM  

@68. SumDood

Even with those passages altered, I still either had zero emotional connections with the characters, or were actively disgusted by them.

Blogger John Wright September 22, 2016 5:43 PM  

"When people insult great works of literature, it ends up saying more about them than it says about the books."

In this case that says they have good taste. We're not talking about Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil, Milton, Dante. We are not even talking about Raymond Chandler or GK Chesterton. Many modern authors are substandard, and write crap, and are overpraised and foisted off on schoolkids as great literature. This ensures a lifelong hatred of literature in children, and lifelong pride and arrogance in the self anointed elite.

Blogger Jose September 22, 2016 6:22 PM  

@63 said:
"
"So when do we get the Martin van Creveld and William S Lind commentary on Jerry Pournelle's Strategy of Technology ?"

Now there's a book I'd pay for! And go over whoever-it-was's self-imposed $10 limit.

Vox are you listening???"

Yes, can we please get this book going? And maybe get these three to collaborate on a "4GW meets China ascendant" book, like Brad Thor, but accurate? :-)

Anonymous Gen. Kong September 22, 2016 6:59 PM  

cheddarman wrote:The best Scalzi can hope for is that 70's style porno makes a come back, and he can get a job as a writer.

Maybe if McRapey's lucky. He'd never get to star as the gay moustache though. I think Michael Medved had that one wrapped up at least a decade ago.

Blogger S1AL September 22, 2016 7:28 PM  

To be fair to my curriculum, we actually did have portions of Milton, Dante, and Homer. "The Picture of Dorian Grey", which remains one of my favorites. The problem was that almost all of the good works were senior year, long after most of the students stopped caring.

Anyone have recommendations for homeschool curricula? My parents used Abeka (homeschooled through 5th grade), but it was stuck in the past.

Blogger VD September 22, 2016 7:32 PM  

Vox are you listening???"

We've already signed it. It's on the list for next year.

Blogger David The Good September 22, 2016 8:09 PM  

The Great Gatsby is awesome. Philistines.

Anonymous wildcard September 22, 2016 8:28 PM  

Do you guys use bookbub, bargainbooksy, fussylibrarian, ereadernewstoday etc.?

I recently read this article and thought it was interesting:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-alvear/it-isnt-amazon-publishers_b_8307708.html

Anonymous kfg September 22, 2016 8:48 PM  

"Anyone have recommendations for homeschool curricula?"

Honestly? Don't use one. Just teach them stuff you think they should know and run with whatever stuff they think they should know.

If you're careful about return dates you won't even have to spend the buck fify on library fines.

"Curricula" are for ivory tower pedagogues of social engineering, not parents.

Anonymous Professor September 22, 2016 11:27 PM  

Does Kindle unlimited take away from Castalia's bottom line? Its an easy way for me to read the books, but I would not want to do that at a cost to Castalia-since we have to fund our own institutions.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 22, 2016 11:35 PM  

Professor wrote:Does Kindle unlimited take away from Castalia's bottom line?

Vox has written before that KU is actually MORE profitable for Castalia, since it pays based on pages read, and many more people are willing to read when there is no incremental cost. In fact, access to KU is the major reason Castalia House is Amazon exclusive. Marketing through Kobo and B&N would not make up for the lost KU profits.

Blogger bob k. mando ( the hardest troll here ) September 22, 2016 11:51 PM  

74. S1AL September 22, 2016 7:28 PM
Anyone have recommendations for homeschool curricula?


The Man in the Iron Mask
Ivanhoe
Fair Blows the Wind
The Fountainhead ( careful of Ayn's masochism fetish )
pretty much any of the Heinlein juveniles

The Hobbit, obviously. assuming they like that, LotR. Silmarillion for advanced.

there's a lot to critique in Ender's Game, you'd want to go through that with them


Byline: Ernest Hemingway ( non-Fic collection ) is quite interesting, i like it much better than his fiction. also demonstrates that much of his reputation was self promotion.

our estimable Mr. John C. Wright is also worthwhile.

Anonymous Mr. Deplorabional September 23, 2016 12:32 AM  

Jon Bromfield wrote:Catcher in the Rye gets my vote for the most overrated novel in the English language. I am at a total loss as to its appeal.
"In 1932, Stalin directed the Communist Party apparatus in the U.S. to "cultivate the ugly, futuristic and aberrant in art, literature, the drama and music...."

LastRedoubt wrote:GG and Hemingway I could at least udnerstand __why_ people liked them, but LotF?
It's a story about the fragility of civilization.  It should be ESPECIALLY relevant to you right now.

kfg wrote:Start hoarding old editions of Huckleberry Finn.
Just prep a PDF file for print-on-demand.

Speaking of which, is there a decent utility for formatting text for printing on standard page sizes so that they can be easily cut and bound as paperbacks?  If all you needed for a small-scale samizdat operation was photocopiers or laser printers and some industrial strength rubber cement to bind the spines and attach the covers, you could run off enough for a classroom here and there fairly cheaply.

John Wright wrote:Many modern authors are substandard, and write crap, and are overpraised and foisted off on schoolkids as great literature. This ensures a lifelong hatred of literature in children
That, I believe, is the goal.  They especially want to teach boys to hate reading.

Anonymous Bruce September 23, 2016 1:38 AM  

>Martin van Crevald and William S Linn commentary on Jerry Pournelle's Strategy of Technology
>'We've already signed it. It's on the list for next year.'

Best news I've had since I got my motorcycle license. Vox, you really impress the hell out of me.

Blogger Chris September 23, 2016 1:57 AM  

Publishers 1960s to yesterday: let's import millions of illiterates to replace the people that buy our products.
Today: why are we going out of business?

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky September 23, 2016 2:30 AM  

C'MON. Quit your bitching. _The Great Gatsby_ is a fine work. Okay, okay, I'm with you on the overestimation of Steinbeck.

BUT - Give me your Fitzgerald! Give me your Hemingway! Give me your Faulkner (kneels)! Give me your Steinbeck!

But don't give me that damn Scalzi.

Anonymous Avalanche September 23, 2016 8:18 AM  

@64 "I could at least understand __why_ people liked them, but Lord of the Flies?"

What BETTER way to start teaching kids to mistrust everyone? (and kill a high-trust society!) To start them thinking everyone is a savage -- and that's a good thing! I call it the "Dumb and Dumber" effect: (((Hollywood))) is working SO hard to make boys STAY boys and never grow to men!(Notice how men are almost never adults in ANY modern movie or TV show? They're eternal adolescents with no morality or common sense (which is why they always have to be rescued by the noble negro or the fabulous feminist)!

Seen any John Wayne or Bogie or Jimmie Stewart or ANY *adult male* movies lately? How are boys to know what a grown-up looks and acts like, if they are exposed (wanna bet intentionally -- all across the board?) only to chronologically advanced boy children?! (Not giving a 'pass' specifically to any o those (it was (((Hollywood))) THEN too!) but you don't see male heroes much anymore. Nothing to aspire to except "Dumb and Dumber" and "Flies." {frown}

Gee, (((who))) dyah suppose benefits by that?

Anonymous kfg September 23, 2016 12:24 PM  

"Seen any John Wayne or Bogie or Jimmie Stewart or ANY *adult male* movies lately?"

The 13th Warrior, 1999. The Patriot, 2000.

That's all that comes to the top of my head, both a swan song of the 20th century. Both period war pieces, not an exemplar of how men should act in contemporary peace time.

Blogger rcocean September 23, 2016 5:16 PM  

The success of "Catcher in the Rye" is a mystery to me. But it seems to have great appeal to certain personality types, including assassins, serial killers and child molesters.

As for Faulkner and Hemingway, they were great writers and neither "broken" or "weirdies". Most of their books are "downers" but their target audience in the 1920-1960 time-frame had grown up reading plenty of "upbeat" classics. I wouldn't feed a kid a diet of Faulkner and Hemingway anymore than I'd start a novice film buff with "Tokyo story" and "Winter Light"

Blogger world entertainment September 24, 2016 3:25 AM  

not a real thing. for more info about that.

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