Follow Up on Joe Abercrombie

Amazon.com: The Blade Itself eBook: Joe Abercrombie: Kindle Store.

Last time I mentioned an e-mail exchange I had with Joe Abercrombie regarding the availability of his First Law trilogy on Kindle. A week later, the trilogy is available on Kindle.

I feel powerful.

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Author Response Speed Record

I just e-mailed a well known author and got a personal response- so not from an assistant or a bot, in under half an hour. The author is Joe Abercrombie and he is clearly not getting enough fan mail. Of course, I wasn’t precisely sending fan mail. After all, I haven’t actually finished any of his books yet. The first hundred pages or so of The Blade Itself was good though.

Here are the e-mails, for the curious. Timestamps are shifted to EST and, as I am not a public figure, my name and e-mail address are blocked out.

—-
@4:34

I’m nudging as hard as I can, man, don’t worry.

Best,
Joe Abercrombie

—–Original Message—–
From: Me [mailto: Me@mywebsite]
Sent: 14 January 2010 4:07
To: Joe@joeabercrombie.com
Subject: Kindle Publication

I picked up The Blade Itself in a bookstore the other day and read
through the first hundred pages. The person who was interviewing me at
the time was somehow still impressed which I attribute solely to the
mind numbing power of your writing.

Interview finished, I did the most mind numbingly arrogant thing it is
possible to do in a bookstore. I pulled out my Kindle to look up your
book. The sheer audacity of this action must be increased exponentially
because this was a Barnes & Noble. I later went to the Nook booth and
did a side by side comparison of the devices. Your book was available
for purchase on neither.

Now I realize that the fact I prefer to read my books in a digital
format makes me a robotic monstrosity with very little pocket change,
but is there anything you could do to try and make The First Law trilogy
available on Kindle? I understand that this is largely the publisher’s
decision, but I noticed that Best Served Cold is available for Kindle,
so perhaps they just need a little reminding.

Now, I’ve done my part. There’s a little link you can click on the
Amazon website “I’d like to read this book on Kindle” that is supposed
to notify the publisher that you would like their book to be available
digitally. Well, I clicked it for all three books. However, on the off
chance that your publisher is unaware of the fact that the satisfaction
of my every whim is vital to the future of the world at large, I thought
it best to see if you couldn’t nudge things along.

Sincerely,
Me
P.S. Thank you for contributing to the Worldbuilder’s Fundraiser. It’s a
great cause, and your’s was a good interview.

Quicksilver

I’ve just finished Quicksilver, Book 1 of Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle. This requires clarification. I have not finished the collection which was published as Quicksilver that contains three novels (Quicksilver, The King of the Vagabonds, and Odalisque) but only the first of these three.

Thus far it would appear that The Baroque Cycle is significantly less action packed than most of Stephenson’s work, including the interminably long Anathem. This is in no way a criticism of Stephenson, from my perspective. Perhaps this is largely my opinion only because the first of Stephenson’s books I ever read was Snow Crash, which has very little to do with anything else he has written. It was originally intended to be a graphic novel and it reads like one, only with words. I’ve misplaced or loaned out my copy and will soon endeavor to replace it, probably digitally. This will further mix my collection of Stephenson- I own Crytonomicon in paperback, have only borrowed the hard cover Anathem from the library (and since returned it upon finishing) and will have the entire Baroque Cycle on Kindle shortly.

Back to the book; with Stephenson a lack of action is perfectly acceptable for the regions in which he most excels involve character and world building. Mostly world building, because his characters evolve believably largely as a consequence of this. One thing many other readers don’t much like about Stephenson is his tendency to explain things. When you finish Cryptonomicon, you will have learned a surprising amount about basic cryptography. Having finished only the first book of the Baroque Cycle, I already know far more about the Baroque period in Europe than I did before.
If textbooks were written like this we would not have nearly so much trouble with reluctant students. I have always believed that historical fiction and period fiction ought to play a larger role in the teaching of history than they do. Ah well.
Now, I have a good deal of writing and other work I must do before continuing with The Baroque Cycle, but there was one notable weakness in the work. The main character is a Puritan most of the time, but I don’t believe it. When we first meet him he’s an atheist, but most of the story takes place while he’s a Puritan, but while I can’t pin down why, I don’t buy it. He doesn’t seem to think Puritanically. Sure, he is appropriately guilty (usually) when he thinks particularly un-Puritanically, but the point remains. He seems to occupy the same middle ground as the majority of humanity.
Perhaps this says something about the point Stephenson would like to make about Puritans, but I still believe a more demonstrable change should have taken place over time. How, I don’t know. Stephenson’s plenty impressive enough as it is, I leave it up to his fantastic skills.

Amazon Pricing Tactics

While the whole $9.99 Kindle book boycott has yet to be satisfactorily resolved, Amazon‘s begun a new marketing tactic on the opposite side of things. Free e-books.

Nothing new, some of you say. While I don’t deny that this new phenomenon could have been occuring for a little while without my noticing, here are a few things that I don’t mean.

I don’t mean a ten cent copy of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith which was one of my very first Kindle purchases.

I don’t mean the books (such as The Wealth of Nations) whose copyrights are long expired and were offered for free on Project Gutenberg long before Amazon caught on.

I mean relatively recently published, popular books being offered for free: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, for example. Go on, look. It’s actually free.

Frankly I’m not terribly fond of the Temeraire books. I read His Majesty’s Dragon at the library not long after  it came out and never bothered to read the others. Nothing wrong with the books, not by any means (except, perhaps, a weak protagonist), I just didn’t feel compelled to read further.

Amazon is hoping others will disagree. While His Majesty’s Dragon is offered for free, all the later books in the series are listed at full price ($6.39, fairly standard for a book that’s available in paperback). Every other free e-book of this type offered, at least so far as I can tell, is also the first in a series.

Needless to say, I just went on a free-book-binge. Here are a few books that I ‘bought.’

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove

Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

For Love of Mother Not by Alan Dean Foster

Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter

Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham

Here are another couple that I didn’t ‘buy,’ for one reason or another.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (I’ve read it, and recommend it for anyone seeking quality high fantasy)

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (didn’t strike me as something I might enjoy)

Let me know if you find any others and I’ll add them to the list (and my library!). While ‘speculative fiction’ is all I’ve seen so far, I would be excited to learn of more traditional offerings as well.

P.S. I support the $9.99 boycott for mostly selfish reasons, along with the fact that when I bought my Kindle, all the e-books were $9.99 or below, and I seem to remember a pledge to that affect from Amazon.

Update:

I’ve found several more- it turns out that many of these are part of a special promotion by Random House which will last through October

Free Friday: Dune

Hey all, sorry I’ve been conspicuously absent. It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been preparing for a short trip down to Virginia today and tomorrow. In any case, today I’ve found a copy of Dune by Frank Herbert which, if you haven’t already read, you should. And it’s a good thing to have in your library in any case.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Also, here’s an XKCD comic I found a few days ago. This happens to me sometimes on the Metro.

Free Friday: Dracula

Recently I was pointed towards projectgutemburg.org as a source for free e-books. Insert schpeel about how much I love my Kindle here.

In any case, one of the first things I found and downloaded was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Believe it or not I had not read the book before, and i twas high time I started. Unfortunately, the version I downladed from Project Gutenburg was rather badly formatted, though I don’t believe this is the case with all, or even the majority of their books. It could just have been the download source or mirror I chose as well.

Shortly after this, when I was a few chapters into the book, Stumble Upon threw manybooks.net my way. There I found a well formatted version of the book and continued from where I had left off. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in classic literature, horror, fantasy, or even sci-fi. (And we all know those last two are the same thing, right? ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,’ afterall.)

You can find the download here. The file is available in just about any format you can imagine, even as an audio book. And, of course, its free. If you want to download it directly to any device with a wireless internet connection (like a Kindle) you can go to the mobile site, www.mnybks.net and use the ID# 6694 to find and download it.