Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon Pulls Macmillan

The fallout from Apple's entry into the e-book marketplace has already begun. As reported in the New York Times, Macmillan publishing, one of the largest publishers in the U.S. whose brands included the science fiction publisher Tor Books, has been pulled from Amazon over an e-book publishing dispute. Macmillan is one of the publishers that signed with Apple to publish their e-books on Apple's new iPad.

Macmillan has been pushing to raise the price of its e-books from Amazon's set price of $9.99. Amazon deeply discounts their e-books to encourage sales of Amazon's Kindle e-reader. Apple is expected to allow publishers to set higher prices for e-book sales which could cut into Amazon's strategy.

Expect an ongoing struggle between other publishers and e-reader distributors over the future of nascent e-book industry. It will be interesting to see what the effects of the more e-book distributors with different e-readers and e-book formats will have on traditional publishing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Future is Here, Now What?

Let me preface this by saying that I am an Apple geek. That being said the Apple iPad brings personal computing and media interaction to a new level. A large touch sensitive screen for viewing and manipulating print, video and other media applications. How far are we away from "Minority Report" when we'll be able to control computing with hand gestures alone?

To be fair, Microsoft might be the one to get us there. Their Project Natal is designed to control video games through hand gestures alone, rather than the Wii's wireless controller. I can't help but think that it will be used for other applications as well. Maybe we'll be dreaming of electric sheep before too long, too.

By the time I publish, my works will probably appear in e-book form either on Amazon's Kindle or the iPad, or both. It's a brave new world and the publishing industry is just going to have to find a way to make it work so that authors get the royalties they deserve and the publishing companies can still make a decent profit. I just don't like the idea of paying for the New York Times in e-format.

Avatar Tops List

Well, "Avatar" is now the highest-grossing film of all-time, earning more than $1.86 billion. Hopefully, this will spark renewed interested in science fiction literature. There are a few top-notch science fiction films over the past year that have not been huge box office draws but are not to be missed including "The Road," "Moon" and "District 9." They reaffirm that science fiction is alive and well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Writers of the Future on YouTube

Yesterday, Writers of the Future started a YouTube page which includes videos on the last awards ceremony and interviews with the contest judges including notable science fiction writers Jerry Pournelle, Robert J. Sawyer, Kevin J. Anderson, Tim Powers and Doug Beason, among others. I highly recommend you check it out to learn more about this amazing contest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Honorable Mention

I received my honorable mention certificate from Writers of the Future along with my story with a short note from coordinating judge K. D. Wentworth.  They're a real stand up organization. I've got to come up with a story that's got a real shot against some serious competition. I'm looking forward to reading the winning stories.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WOTF Results 4th Quarter 2009

I just saw on the Writers of the Future blog that I got a honorable mention. Not bad considering this was my first science fiction story and there were literally thousands of entrants. While I was hoping for a better finish, this will only serve to motivate me to continue writing. I have some stories that I am currently writing that I believe will get me to the next level. Better luck next time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

WOTF January Update

The first set of honorable mentions for the 4th quarter of Writers of the Future were announced last sunday. I wasn't among that set and with any luck will make it to the next round. More honorable mentions should be posted soon on the WOTF blog, then the semi-finalists and finalists. The suspense is killing me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avatar Soars

Avatar is now the third highest grossing film of all time, only behind "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and James Cameron's other home run, "Titanic." It also received a "black lung" from for Sigourney Weaver's character, a scientist on another planet who can't put down the smokes. Despite that anomaly Avatar is a fun, totally immersive ride. While I didn't find the 3-D to really jump off the screen, the lush imagery was more than enough to suck me in. From the applause at the end of the film it's apparent I wasn't the only one. Avatar is definitely worth seeing, and if you are going to see it do so in 3-D.