Science fiction and fantasy                                            







   

Musings and rants

Mastodon For SFF Fans
Where to go in the Fediverse to find the best speculative fiction and literary discussions.

Nine Political Books That Change The Conversation
Following news that Simon and Schuster plan to publish an inflammatory commentator, here are nine political books that deserve more attention.

Penguin Random House Withdraws Union Recognition
Penguin Random House have decided not to recognise Unite and the NUJ as a result of staff negotiations, leaving the publisher with a stain on its reputation as an employer.

Authors Support Stop Funding Hate
Some authors have had enough of divisive and xenophobic elements in the British press, and are willing to make an ethical stand.

Women In SFF: Indie Edition
A list of indie and self-published women writing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction genres.

Amazon Finally Makes KU Appealing For Novelists
The new per-page payout for the Kindle Unlimited subscription service makes it a much better deal for authors of longer novels.

Thoughts On The Sieghart Report On Libraries
The Sieghart report on libraries missed its mark by miles. Yet the real cause of the decline of the UK library network is depressingly obvious.

A Shout-Out For The Good Guys
When nastiness dominates online conversations about books it is time to appreciate the well-behaved authors.

Critique Circle: Shaping Fabulous Stories
The appeal of a certain writing critique website. Or, why I have neglected this blog.

Where Shall I Point This Pitchfork?
Some thoughts on Jonathan Ross, Loncon, and the twitchfork mob.

Reading Is Not A Race
Why I will be abandoning annual reading challenges in 2014.

What Book Discovery Is Missing
The current state of book discovery is narrowing our reading choices and squeezing out midlist writers. How can it be fixed?

An Explosion Of Discovery Tools
New book discovery engines are popping up all over the web. But which ones will come out on top?

Blog Tours From Both Sides
Blog tours are the lastest marketing fad. But what are the pros and cons of this kind of publicity?

It's Not Your Story Any More
When a book is published, authors lose control over how the story should be read. They should let go the reins and enjoy the ride.

Same Old, Same Old
Are current methods of book discovery pushing us further away from original literature?

Female Protagonists In Genre Fiction
A list of recommended SFF books for adults which feature a female as the main character.

Is This The End Of Sweeping Vistas?
Do recent trends in fantasy art styles and the constraints of online book discovery mark the decline of landscape cover art?

A Rising Tide Floats All Boats
Authors: stop thinking of other writers as your rivals. They're not the enemy.

Reviews Are Useless Without Context
With so many review blogs, quick ways of understanding their authors are more important than ever.


Reading Resolutions For The New Decade

29th December 2019

  Some series I hope to finish

   Radiance    
   The Wraith King series
    by Grace Draven


   Between Two Thorns    
   The Split Worlds series
    by Emma Newman


   Johannes Cabal The Necromancer    
   The Johannes Cabal
    series by Jonathan L. Howard


   Mine To Spell    
   The Mine series
    by Janeal Falor


2020 is around the corner, and alongside puns about clear vision it's traditionally time for some resolutions for the new year. Only this time it's a new decade, so it's ten times the weight of guilt for breaking them after only a week. With that in mind, I've gone for reading resolutions that are largely around making things easier, simpler, and more enjoyable.

1. Quality over quantity

Various apps exist to track reading progress, as well as it being an integral feature of some ereaders. These measures can get in the sea. They tend to encourage binge reading, completionism, and a rush to finish as many books as possible, no matter how that mars the experience.

Reading is supposed to be about learning and enjoyment, and neither of these are optimised by speed reading. I'll be paying less attention to how many books I read, and more to how good they are.

2. Drop unsatisfactory books quicker

Sometimes a book starts slowly and picks up later, but experience has taught me that this is by far the exception. Usually if a book annoys me for some reason in Chapter 1 it will still be annoying me in Chapter 30, and the only difference will be that I'll have probably figured out the reasons that it jarred with me by that point.

3. Ignore price when deciding whether or not to drop a book

It's very easy to pick up free books, decide I don't like them, and then remove them from my reading list if they're not my bag. Nothing spent, nothing lost. However, if I paid something for a book, even in a sale, I'm much more reluctant to abandon a book without reading it.

But time is more valuable than the cost of a book. There are more great books available than I'll be able to read in my lifetime, and time spent reading something that doesn't pull me in is time I could spend on a story that does.

4. Ignore author reputation too

I've been disappointed by critically-acclaimed authors who have won awards and had their work adapted onto screen, stage, or radio. It happens. In the past I have been slower to drop books by such authors, persisting with prose and characters that don't light my fire. But whilst critical acclaim is a good sign, the reasons books get highlighted by others can include luck, fashionable themes, and other elements that don't necessarily match what I'm looking for in a story.

5. Finish what I've started

There are quite a few series starters that's I've found to be excellent. But I've been distracted by shiny new series, rather than enjoying the promising works of authors I rate.

6. Pick series that can be finished

However, I'll be avoiding long series that never seem to end. Between three and five novels is about ideal, but anything that goes on for longer I'll be avoiding. I like closure.

7. Read green

This is probably the most important resolution, given the climate crisis. For me this means reading more on my Kobo, which uses little electricity and compares well to producing and shipping heavier paperbacks. It means using the library for dead tree books where possible, and lending with friends. It will also mean buying fewer new paperbacks.

The 2020s are likely to be the hottest decade so far in modern times. So it's important to look at everything we do and examine whether we could have a lower impact on the environment by doing things differently.

What are your 2020 reading resolutions?