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Kelly Link's "Magic For Beginners" now free to download

Kelly Link, Magic for Beginners

Get it here!

To celebrate the publication of Kelly's new collection, Pretty Monsters, most of Kelly's previous collection Magic for Beginners is now available as a free download in various completely open formats with no Digital Rights Management (DRM) strings attached. It is licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0) license allowing readers to share the stories with friends and generally have at them in any noncommercial manner. The book is provided below in these formats: Text file, HTML, rtf, and lo-res PDF.

Kelly Link and Small Beer Press would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (USA) and HarperPerennial (UK) for their willingness to participate in making these stories available online. Due to contractual obligations, "The Faery Handbag" and "Magic for Beginners" are not included in this download.

William Gibson loves the YouTubes

William Gibson Interview -- Void Manufacturing

The whole interview is worth reading.

WG: It was only last year that my fascination with Youtube got into full swing. One day I suddenly realised that Pattern Recognition is a pre-Youtube novel, and it would not have made any sense in the real world. If I had written that book after Youtube had become what it had become, people wouldn’t be watching that stuff on forums, it would all be on Youtube. When I realised that, it was like almost being hit by a car. That could come to a bad end, and Pattern Recognition could have come to a bad end, if Youtube had launched earlier. Youtube is like Jorge Luis Borges’ infinite library. I think it’s on its way there.

The limitation to what you can find on Youtube is basically your own imagination. When I think of something, if I don’t automatically think of searching for it on Youtube, I will never see it. When something comes to mind, I try to train myself to google it and then look on Youtube, often with the most amazing results. I think, in the end, if we just kind of run this technology out to its logical conclusion, we will end up with something like a single retina that covers the entire inner surface of a sphere, looking at itself, being quite self-sufficient, and made completely of Youtube videos.

September 29, 2008

Philip Pullman vs The Censors

Philip Pullman on the pointless menace of censorship | Books | guardian.co.uk

When I heard that my novel The Golden Compass (the name in the USA of Northern Lights) appeared in the top five of the American Library Association's list of 2007's most challenged books, my immediate and ignoble response was glee. Firstly, I had obviously annoyed a lot of censorious people, and secondly, any ban would provoke interested readers to move from the library, where they couldn't get hold of my novel, to the bookshops, where they could. That, after all, was exactly what happened when a group called the Catholic League decided to object to the film of The Golden Compass when it was released at the end of last year. The box office suffered, but the book sales went up – a long way up, to my gratification.

Because they never learn. The inevitable result of trying to ban something – book, film, play, pop song, whatever – is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone. Why don't the censors realise this?

In the case of The Golden Compass, the reason the book was challenged is listed as "Religious Viewpoint", a reason that appears in connection with only one other book in the top five, a picture book called And Tango Makes Three. This is based on the true story of a pair of male penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo, who for a time formed a couple and hatched the egg of a mixed-sex couple who were unable to hatch two at once. This, if you can believe it, was challenged for six different reasons: "Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group."

Religious Viewpoint? Penguins? . . .

September 25, 2008

The Devil's Dictionary of literary terminology

Words into hype—By Chris Offutt (Harper's Magazine)

nonfiction: Prose that is factual, except for newspapers.

creative nonfiction: Prose that is true, except in the case of memoir.

memoir: From the Latin memoria, meaning “memory,” a popular form in which the writer remembers entire passages of dialogue from the past, with the ultimate goal of blaming the writer’s parents for his current psychological challenges.

novel: A quaint, longer form that fell out of fashion with the advent of the memoir.

short story: An essay written to conceal the truth and protect the writer’s family.

novel-in-stories: A term invented solely to hoodwink the novel-reading public into inadvertently purchasing a collection of short fiction.

clandestine science fiction novel: A work set in the future that receives a strong reception from the literary world as long as no one mentions that it is, in fact, science fiction; for example, The Road, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

More at the link.