Archive for October 19, 2008

Sony Counts On Sackboy For PlayStation 3

October 19, 2008

Sony puts its future in the hands of Sackboy

Sony PlayStation, the video games console, hopes to reverse its flagging popularity with a little-known British creation: a rag doll called Sackboy.

He is the hero of Little Big Planet, which Sony has described as the biggest game in PlayStation’s history.

I’m not one to play games, but I do like the sound of this.

I hope Sony has a huge hit with this. It needs one.

Let’s see if they can be clever and also get some eBooks out of it to pimp the Sony Reader too.

These are some screensnaps I grabbed from a video here:

I don’t know if there are any awards for videogames, but this one deserves several for design. The color palettes are gorgeous and all of it is a sumptuous melange of design styles expertly blended together. The depth of some images remind me of the dioramic backgrounds the Fleischer brothers used to do in their Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons.

Sony’s got something here.

10/19/08 Reading

October 19, 2008

Photo taken with the Philips crapcam.

Double-size enlargement:

I do this photo (if it can be called that!) because it’ll be rare for you to come across this long out-of-print paperback by Neville Smith.

It’s his novelization of the screenplay he did for the delightful movie, Gumshoe (which I raved about in the old blog).

First, I must be self-indulgent and run this passage for an old friend:

I got up and made it to the door. He stopped me.

‘Wait. We don’t see you for a year. You must want something.’

I turned to look at him, ‘I got given something tonight and I’m just checking to see if anybody I know gave it to me.’

‘A present, was it?’ he sneered.

‘You could call it that.’

‘The day I give you a present, pigs will fly.’ That’s his idea of a snappy repartee.

‘Thanks for the flying pig.’ Us Ginleys should stay out of the repartee business. I walked out.

When I first saw this movie in the 1970s, it struck me, hard. It was so delightful! Full of scenes that you wished would happen in real life — and there they were, dramatized in the movie, bringing them to fake, yet real, life.

For ages, I wanted to see if there was a book. About two years ago, I came across the above paperback in a used bookstore. Finally, I’ve read it.

It’s just as delightful as the movie. Usually, books based on movies lose something, but this one — written by the screenwriter himself — is damned faithful to the movie and also fills out bits in the light-touch narrative about the Edward Ginley character not apparent on-screen (for example, he being an ex-Teddy boy).

It’s a double crime that this book is out of print and that the movie has been released on DVD —

only in the UK.

It’s U.S. release was limited to VHS —

— which is very hard to find these days.

What I learned just now is that the stunning blonde who was brilliant in a scene with Finney —

— was Wendy Richard, who went on to star in the classic Britcom, Are You Being Served?

The music score, by the way, was by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Ah, for a soundtrack CD! (There probably isn’t enough to fill a CD, so just sell the few tracks on the Internet already!)

This is what the cover of the UK paperback looked like:

Don’t tell me movie piracy is rampant on the Internet. Gumshoe has never been on the Net. I’ve looked. (For research purposes, you understand. I’m lucky enough to have scored it on VHS off ebay a few years ago.)

This is the kind of movie Criterion should be preserving on DVD. It’s a shame it hasn’t happened.

Here’s a review of the UK DVD. No word about extras, though.

Avert your eyes at this point, print-addicts. At some point I’ll have to razor-blade this rare paperback and turn it into an eBook copy for myself.

I Am NOT Spamming You!

October 19, 2008

OK, it’s time to publicize this in my blog.

It began about a month ago.

Someone has obviously stolen many legitimate YahooMail addresses and is using them to spam people. How that’s going on, I don’t know.

One of those email addresses is one of mine! And I’ve just been spammed by my own email account for the third time! But I don’t see any spam emails originating from my actual account.

Click = big

If anyone gets a bizarre email that seems to come from me:

1) Send it back to me

2) Ask if I sent it

3) Try to reveal the complete email travel path, if possible

And no, I don’t have any frikkin pills to sell.

(And no, wiseass, I don’t need them, either!)

Writer Mark Jeffrey: Sony Reader eBooks!

October 19, 2008


Previously here:

Writer Mark Jeffrey Interview

Free eBooks: In French!

October 19, 2008


mozambook publie les grands textes de la littérature. Les ebooks sont au format Microsoft Reader (PC et PocketPC) et pdf (lisibles avec Adobe Acrobat Reader et Acrobat Ebook Reader). Ebooks et lecteurs sont gratuits. Le catalogue compte à ce jour 117 titres. La lettre d’information vous tient régulièrement au courant des dernières parutions (inscription au bas de cette page).

N’hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous voulez contribuer à l’enrichissement de la bibliothèque.

eBooks are in .lit (MS Reader) and PDF file formats.

They have, among others, three by Baudelaire and three by Nerval!

— Via Twitter from top_book

eBooks: The Invisible Worm

October 19, 2008

Over at Dear Author is a post and discussion about the effectiveness of advertising eBooks.


This is an essay in itself, which I don’t intend to do today. But I want to touch on some things.

How have I discovered books?

Bookstores and the public library.

I’d go into a Barnes & Noble and browse the new books in fiction, non-fiction, and several genres. I’d note the titles and authors in my PDA. I’d then check to see if I could get them from the NYPL. (Shut up. I’ve already said why I can’t buy print.)

At the library, sort of ditto. I’d see New Releases in several sections. But I’d also browse the shelves. That’s how I came across the first Ken Bruen book I ever read.

The trouble with the Internet: No shelves!

How will I — how will everyone — find eBooks? Or even writers?

This is an interesting list from my Bookmarks. These are writers I did not encounter until I came across them on the Internet (list is in reverse alpha order by surname because that’s how I lazily copied & pasted them):

Zoe Winters — via a blog post mention somewhere, and she left a Comment on this blog

Anthony Neil Smith — via Victor Gischler (a writer recommended by Ken Bruen)

Jimmy Lee Shreeve — I don’t recall, probably a blog mention somewhere

L.J. Sellers — via a Blog Book Tour post somewhere

John Scalzi — his classic Being Poor post (via MetaFilter at that time)

Jason Pinter — via MySpace

Melanie Phillips — don’t recall, probably a blog post mention

Martin Millar — don’t recall, probably a blog post mention

J.A. Konrath — a blog post mention somewhere

Simon Haynes — via Twitter free eBook offer from a third-party (I think!)

Matthew Gallagher — don’t recall, which is odd, as his blog is very new

Joseph Devon — via a blog post mention somewhere

Cliff Burns — he left a Comment at this blog in its first month

Matthew St. Amand — via MySpace

Notice how only one of these came about because of the writer seeking attention! (Cliff Burns — and the attention wasn’t for himself, it was indirectly as part of a discussion here.)

Most were absolutely indirect. The Internet equivalent of Word Of Mouth.

This is why I mention writers all the time here. This is why I post what books I’ve read (Category: Reading). This is also why I’ve changed my Internet habits and have mostly dropped what I used to do daily: visit mostly tech sites. I can’t find books to read that way. (Plus, technology qua technology mostly bores the shit out of me these days.)

Do you have a blog? Do you mention what books you’ve read? Do you mention writers by name and link to their blog or site or a post that inspired you?

That’s the first step to helping writers get noticed.

The rest I’ll have to save for another time.

Cogito Ergo Unsum

October 19, 2008

I’ve gotten a small wee teeny-tiny glimpse into an entire genre of fiction I never even knew existed: romantic erotic fiction (different than this). There are many writers doing this. Some of them are even making money selling eBooks. There seems to be an entire blogdom devoted to this genre, with blogs that cover the genre as well as blogs from individual writers.

It’s not the kind of thing I’d read. I have no interest, for example, in fantasy books (despite the fact I think Patricia McKillip is one of the best writers of it and I love her writing, but I can’t stop the fantasy elements from annoying me) and I rarely read SF now, either.

So all of my comments are from the point of view of the outsider.

Writer Ann Somerville left a Comment at this blog. I went to her blog and came across two posts: this one and this one.

The subject being one I addressed — again — in fury last night: Writers: Just Effing SAY It!

This being the Internet, I quickly went from link to link. Yeesh.

I came across a post by a publisher musing about the behavior of writers (and an infamous “morality clause” that’s been inserted into contracts by one British dying dinosaur of print publisher).

I also came across a really bizarre post that seems to hold publishers responsible in a sleazy guilt-by-association way for the behavior of its writers. (But it also makes an on-target point about how ePublishers must have websites that inspire transactional confidence in potential buyers.)

And there were many other links that referenced past battles that have erupted in this writing culture.

But there was one post that lit the bulb over my dim head and put it all in perspective: The Erotic Romance & Epublisher Comparison blog (EREC) takes a look at publishers’ sales figures.

Here is the problem:

The “average” in question is an arithmetic mean. So the average EC book is selling 796 books a year. I thought that was fairly clear but I live and learn. Whether that is enough for any given author is up to them once the info is made available.

And here’s an explanation of the figures for ebooks out for a year or more from another reader:

EREC has received information on sales for 24 seperate EC titles.

Averaging out those sales for the 24 books (total number of all 24 titles sold divided by 24) equals, on average, an EC book sells 1206 copies in its first year.

That’s not a market. It’s a club!

I’m not disparaging it. I think it’s great that writers have paying readers for their work. It underlines the point I made here and which I repeated here.

I call it a club because the number of readers is so small that everyone is bound to know everyone else. It’s like a stifling small town in the midwest that intelligent young people grow up in, finally take a real look at, and then flee.

I think its writers must flee.

For those toiling in that field, take a look at this: Sony eBook Store: A $2.38 eBook!.

I bring up that point because sales on the Sony eBook Store are one way to go beyond the boundaries of a small town/club. Looking at its bestseller list illustrates that the audience isn’t genre-heavy, but brick and mortar general bookstore-like. (Let me pre-empt one future Comment: Yes, I see the ePublisher. Yes, I see it’s a member of The Club. Still: it’s the Sony eBook Store.)

Flee. Get creative about marketing yourself and your work to places other than the expected. I first heard about William Gibson’s Neuromancer — shortly after its publication — not from SF addicts, but from people who consulted in the technology field. And these people were not SF addicts (and, for a litmus test, regarded Star Trek as just another TV show; blasphemy, I know!).

There has to come a point in every life where an assessment is made of present surroundings and a decision has to be made: Do I continue to wallow here or do I get the hell out and take my chances?

Take your chances!

All of you must live near radio stations or TV stations or newspapers. Have any of you sent out press releases to them? Positioned yourself as any sort of authority on topics they might cover (cheating spouses — hey, I know about that! fantasy lovers — ditto! Sex on the Internet — have I got tales to share!)? You must find a microphone outside of the The Club. It’s the only way to attract readers and the only way to tell the moralistic groupies to go Fuck Off.

Let me tell you: This is work. Hard work. But every writer has to reach a point between books, when writing isn’t being done. Or even burnout. Or the frightening writer’s block. There is time to do This Hard Work.

It’s a decision every writer who wants a career is going to have to make.

For all those writers out there feeling the press of a bluenose’s thumb, make the decision to get out from under.

Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

— Charles Bukowski

(Note: Writer Zoe Winters might disagree with some of the above.)

(Further note: Erotic fiction writer Mitzi Szereto went before a bigger microphone. Scroll down for MP3 of radio interview.)

Sony Reader Revolution Cam #9

October 19, 2008

I blame Gear Diary for this. They pimped the cam and now not only can’t I get into store view any longer, sometimes street view gives me spinning arrows.

Yeah, I’ve been away for a while, but I have eight prior posts here about it! I should have like, you know, a special Mike Cane Priority Override. Or something. Ha!