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May 15, 2013

Five novels that originally had terrible titles

5 Books with Awful Original Titles

May 10, 2013

Has speculative fiction *always* felt like it was running out of new ideas?

The answer is yes. Cycles of Exhaustion | Ruthless Culture
In a recent blog post over at Locus Online, Karen Burnham draws an interesting comparison between the complaints made by Damon Knight about the state of 1950s science fiction and the complaints made by Paul Kincaid and me about the state of 2010s science fiction. Here’s the money quote, from an essay published in 1955: I have the feeling that in spite of itself, science fiction is pulling in its horns. In these stories, we are visited three times by beings from else-where, but our own far traveling is limited to wistful glimpses of distant worlds [...] The flow of technological marvels has dried up. Of the eleven stories which make some use of the familiar “world of tomorrow” background, only one–Asimov’s–explores the consequences of a new invention; the rest merely postulate the usual equipment, spaceships, robots or what have you, and go on from there.

May 03, 2013

The people demand ever more stories about sexy vampires

Charlaine Harris, who writes the Sookie Stackhouse books that HBO's TRUE BLOOD is based on, has the final book in her series coming out this month. Many fans upon hearing that this is the last book have not taken it well. Not at all well. Fervent Consumer Demand Is Only Unfortunate If You’re Sick Of Writing About Sexy Vampires – Consumerist
Charlaine Harris is no vampire, however, and at 61, the Wall Street Journal says she can’t keep going forever. Especially when she’s been sucked dry at having to weave together science fiction, crime, romance, fantasy, sexiness, werewolfiness, and all the other genres that get thrown together in the series. From the WSJ‘s very interesting, detailed look at what it’s like to be such a loved author: She ran out of fresh story lines about her bubbly blond protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who tangles with an ever-expanding supernatural cast of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, demons, goblins, elves, witches and fairies. She struggled to keep track of the convoluted mythology she’d invented. Things that used to excite her, like unveiling new supernatural creatures, started to feel stale. That’s why she announced next week’s Dead Ever After would be her last in the Sookie series. Cue the maddened cries of her fans, who are protesting, campaigning, and otherwise doing everything they can to keep her on task forever and ever and oh god, don’t take her (and Eric) away from us. Thousands of readers have written her and begged, while others have resorted to taunting her online and saying she’ll regret killing the series. The WSJ says one fan even reportedly threatened to commit suicide if the ending isn’t up to snuff. No pressure, basically. “I’m very fortunate that people are so invested in the series,” Harris told the WSJ. “At the same time, it can be a source of some anxiety to get emails that say, ‘If Sookie doesn’t end up with Eric, I’m going to kill myself.’ “

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roberts to leave, says he was instructed to “blow up” & “dismantle” district

UPDATED x2: Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roberts to leave, says he was instructed to “blow up” & “dismantle” district | Eclectablog
Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said he had expected Roberts to discuss Monday’s upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “When he said, ‘I’m stepping down,’ all of our mouths just dropped,” Johnson said. “I can’t say it’s a bad day. I can’t say it’s a good day, because we don’t know who’s coming next.” Roberts also told those gathered more shocking news: His initial instructions when he arrived in Detroit were to “blow up the district and dismantle it,” Johnson said. “He’s got nothing to lose by saying it now,” Johnson added. Roberts said he spent the first several months of his tenure convincing state officials the district was worth saving, according to board members. “Blow it up – those were his exact words,” Detroit School Board member Tawana Simpson confirmed. Board member Reverend David Murray echoed disbelief at Roberts’ statements. “He told us they wanted this district completely demolished,” Murray said. Roberts refused to do that, the board members said.

April 26, 2013

This 4th Grade Charter School Science Quiz Is Proof Charter Schools Are An Expensive Joke

The kid got an A+ for being factually wrong on every answer. But he was right if you are a religious teacher who wants to teach actual lies instead of facts. snopes.com: 4th Grade Science Quiz