Thursday, March 24, 2011

Links Galore -- TV, Movie, Book Stuff

I was at my desk before 9 a.m. today. That just seems wrong. Let's hope it means I get more done today. Yesterday, I reached the halfway point in the book, but now I have to figure out how to get my characters out of the very sticky situation I've put them in, and every idea I've come up with only makes the situation worse. Bad situations are good in fiction, but I do eventually have to get them out of this instead of just piling on more bad stuff. However, we do have zombie gargoyles, which makes everything more fun. As much as I love gargoyles, the only way to make them more fun was to add the "zombie" part.

I'm not normally a big "fun with linky things" person, but there's so much fun news out there that I had to share. I tried to do the links so they'd open new windows/tabs so you can follow them without losing your place.

First, a bit of nostalgia for people of a certain age. Back in the Dark Ages when I was in elementary school (and I think on into junior high, maybe even early in high school), one of my absolute favorite things was the school book order. Every so often -- I don't remember if it was monthly or quarterly or on some other schedule -- you'd get this little newsletter-like catalogue, full of books you could order. They were mostly children's books (naturally), and since the order form was from Scholastic, I suspect most were published by Scholastic, though I did get my novelization of Star Wars through a school book order. The books were pretty cheap, in the dollar range. And if you bought a certain number of books, you usually got a free poster (ooh!). The day when the book order came in and the teacher passed out the books was like Christmas. Someone has digitized some old book order forms. Those are from after my time, but boy, do they make me long for book orders again. Hmm, I suppose that's kind of what Amazon is, the world's largest book order catalogue, only instead of your teacher passing out the books when they come in, your mailman delivers them. And the books are more expensive than a dollar (though I bet the school book order books aren't that cheap these days). And you don't get a free poster of cute kittens or puppies and some funny saying when you order five books from Amazon. They should totally start doing that, though.

Then in TV news, the channel formerly known as SciFi has announced their upcoming programming. As usual, some of it sounds intriguing (like the series about the first Cylon war in the Battlestar Galactica universe) and some of it sounds awful (their attempted reality shows). The movies sound like their typical "so bad it's good" Saturday-night fare. The thing I'm most excited about is that I get my Christmas wish to have a Christmas episode of Haven this year. I can only imagine the potential insanity there, and you know both Audrey and Nathan probably have serious holiday-related issues. Here's the scoop on all of it.

The next one is one that has the potential to be so very cool, but I'm also worried about how it will really work. Do you like crime procedural shows on TV? Or are you sick of them? Well, what would you say to one more, if it's a crime procedural show about the City Watch from Terry Pratchett's Discworld books? One is being developed by Monty Python's Terry Jones. It sounds like it's based on the characters and situations but without being directly based on the stories in any of the books. They're going to treat it like a regular crime-of-the-week police procedural series, only it will be set in Discworld, the cops will be the familiar Watch characters, and the forensics specialist is Igor. Here's the scoop, including the news release. From the sounds of it, it's just in development with interest from networks but no commitments. Meanwhile, Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore is developing a supernatural/magic cop show called something like 17th Precinct. The last I've heard, NBC had ordered a pilot. It's "an ensemble police drama set in a world ruled by magic." The cast includes a lot of BSG names, like James Callis (Baltar), Tricia Helfer (Number Six) and Jamie Bamber (Lee). No word yet on whether Callis and Bamber will play British or American, but I'm pulling for British.

In movie news, although the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie seemed to be setting up The Silver Chair, they've just announced that the next Narnia movie will be The Magician's Nephew, the Narnia prequel that shows how it all began. I'm a little irked because The Silver Chair was my favorite of the books, and I really want to see that movie, but part of me is kind of hoping that this means they're letting the kid who played Eustace grow up a little so they can add a subtle romantic element to the relationship between Eustace and Jill when they make The Silver Chair. I know it's not canon to the book, though I always liked to think of it that way, but I think it would add something to the movie, since the entire story is those two stuck together on a long journey. It's a natural set-up for them to first become friends, then to start developing other feelings.

Finally, the folks at Publisher's Weekly are doing a survey on habits in purchasing fantasy and science fiction books, and they asked for help spreading the word to get more people to take it. You can find the survey here. The survey's mostly about e-books vs. paper.

I feel like such a luddite here, as I don't really do e-books. I've read a couple of things from Project Gutenberg that I couldn't get anywhere else, mostly for reference. I do have an e-reader app on my Android phone and am very slowly working my way through David Copperfield whenever I find myself in a waiting situation. The phone is a little small for comfortable long-term reading, but I can't help but think of the number of books I could buy with the money I would spend on an e-reader device. If you normally buy a lot of hardcovers, then the cost difference might add up pretty quickly, but my reading tends to run to mass-market paperback, and it would take years worth of book purchases to even out the cost of the reader. I suppose if I traveled more often it would be something I would consider, or if the books I wanted started being only available electronically, but for the moment, I'm almost entirely paper.

But I'm curious about my readership here. I won't try to do a fancy poll, but do you do e-books or paper? How recently did you make the transition? Are you moving to e-books? There's a lot of stuff going on in the publishing world these days, with the big publishers starting to do some e-only books as a way of testing the waters before they commit to a print edition, then there are authors who are leaving traditional publishing entirely to publish themselves electronically. I just wonder how much of the market they're potentially leaving behind and whether that would hold true for my readership (not that I've got any big plans in the immediate works, but the Ongoing Plan for World Domination is a long-range plan).

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