You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Aug 25, 2014 -
Best Selling author Douglas Preston
, along with 907 other authors, signed a letter
that ran as a double full-page ad in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times
, asking Amazon to stop blocking or delaying the sale of books on their site as a tactic to lower the e-book prices that Amazon is charged by the publisher Hachette.*
The three month dispute between Hachette and Amazon previously prompted a response by Amazon’s self-published authors and readers
, but it took an odd turn Saturday night when Amazon posted this letter
on a site called ReadersUnited.com, after sending it as an email to all of its Kindle Direct Publishing
authors. In that letter they include Hachette’s CEO’s email, and have asked their KDP authors to write to Hachette’s CEO telling him what they think about cheaper ebooks. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Aug 11, 2014 -
What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 27, 2013 -
"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski
, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
posted by stbalbach
on Apr 9, 2013 -
While reading an e-book copy of War and Peace
on his Nook, North Carolina blogger Philip noticed a minor glitch in the text
: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern." He ignored it and moved on, but then encountered a similar error shortly thereafter. As it turned out, the word "kindle" had been systematically replaced by "Nook" throughout the whole book. [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront
on Jun 1, 2012 -
Hack The Cover
"This is an essay for book lovers and designers curious about where the cover has been, where it's going, and what the ethos of covers means for digital book design."
posted by Fuzzy Monster
on May 29, 2012 -
Despite the popularity of long-arc, serialized TV shows, no one really wants to read serialized fiction
, apparently. That's not stopped anyone from trying, though, like say Stephen King with The Green Mile
and The Plant
, semi-successful efforts from a mega-successful author
. That was before the current rise of the ebook, though, and a few authors
) are betting technology will turn serialized novels into the next big
thing, that we're in "the perfect environment for a resurgence.
posted by nospecialfx
on Dec 7, 2011 -
A new kind of book
has been created in Holland, where its sold over 1m copies since it came out in 2009. Now finding its way to England, called the "flipback", the pages are super thin Bible paper with a special lay-flat spine and small format, making it suitable for reading with one hand, thumb page-flips, and shirt pocket storage.
posted by stbalbach
on Mar 21, 2011 -
The announcement of the iPad
earlier this week has prompted a lot of discussion about ebook prices among publishers and their sales partners. That discussion took a major turn yesterday when Amazon pulled the buy buttons for Macmillan's books off their site
. Many of Macmillan's titles are still available through Amazon, but only through third parties. Right now, one of the largest publishers in America is no longer available from Amazon because they can not agree on ebook prices. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Jan 30, 2010 -
From the U.S. National Academies Press: 3,000 Science, Technology, Medical, and Social Science Books Available Free, Online.
The interface is clunky - you can only see one page at a time, can't download PDFs (except paid) and image view is via TIFF - but!
the content is all there, and free. Some is quite technical, but much is readily accessible. Some idea of the breadth: A Doctor's Memoirs of Treating AIDS in Haiti
, The "Drama of the Commons"
, The 1872 Research Voyage of HMS Challenger
, Biography of Stephen Hawking
, Biotechnology Research in the Age of Terrorism
, Risk Reduction Strategies for Human Exploration of Space
, Forensic Lead Bullet Analysis
, 50 Short Essays on How Mathematicians Think
, Recent Research on Non-Lethal Weapons
, and Introduction to Tough Topics in Contemporary Science
Also, see their rather spiffy site on the cosmos
posted by Rumple
on Jun 12, 2006 -
Like ebooks? Want something free, nonfiction,"scholarly", publicly accessible, and more recent than Gutenberg ?
(Lately I'm on an Ancient History kick.) My problem with this "eScholarship" site is they try to make it hard to download a whole ebook to read offline. For one of those, for people who are interested in 20th-century political history-cum-theory that's never had much to do with any U.S. election, today I'm recommending the Platform.
posted by davy
on Dec 27, 2004 -
contains more than 10,000 eBooks formatted for reading on your Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, Rocketbook, eBookWise-1150, or Symbian cellphone." So if you have a PDA and especially if you're into the classics
, you no longer have to settle for lame video games
on your cell phone or inconvenient newspapers for your downtime entertainment
posted by Doohickie
on Dec 20, 2004 -
by Tim Whitaker, editor at Philadelphia Weekly
, who "kind of jests
" someone should order the main branch of the Free Library at 19th and Vine streets gutted, all the passé books written by the long since dead and decayed--books that nobody looks at anyway, thrown out, and replaced with computers.
This could be done over a long weekend, and the new Free Workstation Center of Philadelphia would open. Thousands of city residents who'd been priced out of the Information Revolution for well over a decade would rush to the free computers to experience the online rush that comes with access to the WWW.
He says Amazon's new service "search inside the book" is the first glimpse of a full-bore revolution in the way research will be conducted and books will be distributed in the future that spells the death of libraries.
He bounced this idea off of Steven Levy, a Philadelphia native who writes about technology for Newsweek, and he says "It's not that crazy, The future of libraries is a hot topic with librarians all over the country."
"Once the Web has become a full-service digital archive of the whole wide written word, it'll only be a quick innovation or two before we'll have the technology to order and bind books on our own home book-printing systems. Ebooks will finally become reality. Libraries will become mini-museums, where old books are kept under glass, relics of the pre-"inside the book" revolutionary age.
posted by Blake
on Nov 20, 2003 -
Proof of Life After Copyright
: An overexcited e-mail from the Gutenbergers
April 10, 2002 was the day Project Gutenberg reached 5,000 eBooks. By Moore's Law, October 10, 2003 could be the day for number 10,000. We are just over half way — 7,661 as I write this — 2,339 to go! That will take over 300 eBooks per month; we need you to help us push our average up from 268 per month to get to 10,000 by December, 31st.
God help us if the entire universe fails to obey Moore's Law: the IPO of the singularity
could be delayed. So pitch in.
posted by hairyeyeball
on Apr 15, 2003 -
Publish someone else's copyrighted book, DON'T go to jail.
(I can't believe no one else has posted this yet: at least, I couldn't find anything that looked relevant).
"A U.S. federal judge has rejected Random House's request for a preliminary injunction to stop an online publisher from selling electronic versions of Cat's Cradle, Sophie's Choice and six other books. U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein ruled on Wednesday that the right to print, publish and sell the works in book form in the contracts at issue does not include the right to publish the works in the electronic format."
posted by maudlin
on Jul 13, 2001 -
RIDING THE BULLET by Stephen King
E-books are here to stay or lastest of the internet crazes?
Stephen King is letting his lastest book all 1600 word or 66 pages of it out for a small $2.50 from Simonsay.com
Paperless world, mmm...
How without a laptop or you going to be able to read this in the bath tub or "reading room"?
Try also the Stephenking.com
For more information on the great writer's life and future.
posted by Max's Daddy
on Mar 13, 2000 -