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Archives: May 2010

Wednesday Addams Meets Pollyanna in Mystery Series

A review by P.E. Logan
Read more about GalleyCat Reviews

nggshow.jpgI have never considered myself much of a mystery fan. Growing up, I watched my middle sister Virginia devour volumes of Nancy Drew and Ian Fleming’s entire oeuvre of James Bond adventures. I preferred disaster tomes like Walter Lords’ A Night to Remember about the Titanic, and I was smitten with a history of the circus that listed all the oddities P.T. Barnum brought to the spotlight — Jenny Lind, Tom Thumb and Eng and Chang the conjoined brothers. I was the lone teen reader among my peers of Nicholas and Alexandra and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. No wonder I didn’t date.

As an adult I didn’t catch the spark for the ‘who-done-its’ that perpetually eat up prime real estate on best-seller fiction lists. But Alan Bradley has changed that with his terrific Flavia de Luce Mystery series. If there is a softer side to murder, this is it. And it’s a lot of fun for the reader.

In 2009 he introduced Miss de Luce, an 11-year-old girl sleuth who draws trouble to her like metal filings to a magnet. She is the gas for the engine in his charming series that began with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and continues in The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag.

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Stephen Fry Will Pick Best Tweet Ever At UK Hay Festival

twitter.jpgActor and writer Stephen Fry will have one eye on his Twitter account while he’s at the Guardian’s Hay festival, starting tomorrow, and it’ll be his judging eye: As a new part of the 10-day literary festival, Fry will be looking for the most beautiful tweet ever, and he’s going to crown a winner on June 6.

The lineup for the event includes Tom Stoppard, Zadie Smith and Martin Amis, among others, but apparently some of the action will also be online, on the festival Twitter account @hayfestival.

We have no idea what Fry is looking for in terms of “beautiful tweets,” but apparently it’s intentionally amorphous. According Peter Florence, the festival’s founder and director, “The definition of most beautiful tweet could fall into a number of different categories: it could prove the most eloquent; the most impassioned; the best demonstration of a clever pun or metaphor; the most evocative description of a place or emotion, or perhaps prove that brevity is conducive to levity, and be the wittiest tweet ever committed to the Twittersphere.”

Well, good luck Twittersphere. This is your chance to shine.

Jennifer Egan Explores PowerPoint Fiction

While working on her recent novel, Jennifer Egan experimented with using PowerPoint slides to tell her story. In the video embedded above, the novelist explained her process–showing other writers how to follow in her footsteps.

The slide show is part of her new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. You can see the slideshow here.

Egan spoke at BEA’s 7x20x21 event, a BEA presentation discussion curated by Ryan Chapman and Ami Greko. They gave a number of industry professionals seven minutes to present on 20 slides–allowing only 21 seconds to talk about each picture.

Booked: Larry Kramer at the Lambda Literary Awards

Tickets are still available for the Lambda Literary Awards tomorrow, where Larry Kramer and Kate Clinton will receive the 2010 Pioneer Awards.

Kramer (pictured, via) is a playwright, novelist and Ivy League rabble-rouser. Kate Clinton is a comedian and writer. The whole evening will be emceed by the comic Eddie Sarfaty, and directed by Joseph Hardy. Tickets are $100, but the price includes a cocktail reception.

A bit about the awards: “For more than two decades the Lambda Literary Awards has brought attention to and honored exceptional writing about queer lives across multiple genres published by large and small presses. If a book has a gold sticker saying ‘Winner of the Lambda Literary Award’ on its cover, you know it is both brilliantly written and a meaningful examination of the LGBTQ experience.”

The evening begins at 6 p.m., and it will be held at the School of Visual Arts Theatre. More information here.

How Four Paranormal Authors Found Inspiration: BEA 2010 Dispatch

small206-3.jpgWhere do you get your ideas? The question can drive an established author bonkers, but for aspiring writers, it can make all the difference in the world.

At the BEA panel Paranormal Fiction for Teens: From Vampires to Werewolves to Zombies and Shape Shifters, three writers shared their other-worldly influences.

Urban fantasy author Richelle Mead (pictured) explained: “I looked at a snippet of Romanian folklore. It was enough for me to start building a world [for Vampire Academy series].”

“I hadn’t read the kind of paranormal fiction I wanted to read,” said Ivy Devlin. “So I said, ‘What the heck? I’ll write it.’”

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Scribd Transitions to HTML5

btn_logo_red_122x44.gifYesterday Scribd announced their full-scale transition from Flash to HTML5. This new programming language will make Scribd content available across a larger swath of mobile devices, especially the iPhone and iPad.

Scribd co-founder Jared Friedman had this statement: “Publishers benefit from HTML5 tremendously … The distribution of their content across the social web and mobile platforms becomes virtually automatic — no technology barriers between them and their readers, no need to build native mobile apps, an ability to easily insert multi-media or advertising into their content. The possibilities are endless.”

With the update, you can now read the April edition of GalleyCat Reviews on your iPhone while shopping for books or browse through the Best Book Reviewers on Twitter list while tweeting on your iPad.

See our complete Scribd page here.

Bestselling Author, David Baldacci’s Writing Schedule

New York Times bestselling author, David Baldacci is the author of 18 bestselling novels including his latest novel, Deliver Us From Evil.

With that many books, GalleyCat wondered what his writing schedule was like. In today’s interview, Baldacci tells us all his writing secrets including how many hours a day he writes and what he says about the dangers of outlining.

Virtual Economies Get Real World Unions

Reviewed by Maryan Pelland
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forthewin.jpgMassively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) used to be a teen niche of Internet gaming. MMORPG have become, in Cory Doctorow‘s new novel, a sub-culture as powerful as real world economies, leaking riches from make-believe to reality. For the Win, Doctorow’s latest, takes place in the real world thoroughly interlaced with cyber-culture. It is the 1984 of 2010, and it’s scary.

For the Win is a YA novel, and experienced young readers who embraced Harry Potter’s complicated universe should find this one satisfying. It also fits the adult fiction audience like a glove.

What happens when real world money-manipulators and power mongers discover real profit in virtual economies of MMORPGs? The moniker massively multiplayer is no exaggeration — millions of players interact with each other in real time on huge warring worlds. Players get sucked into cyber-cultures and these worlds become as real and competitive as everyday life. Relationships form, rivalries boil, and acquisition of virtual money, property, possessions, and power is very serious.

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Cellphone Novels and Fiction Coming with Figment: BEA 2010 Dispatch

This summer, Figment will launch a new mobile platform for YA fiction–bringing the community interaction of Japanese cellphone novels to American teenagers. In the video above, Figment CEO Jacob Lewis explained the idea behind the company.

Here’s more from Figment’s Facebook page: “Figment lets you read and write fiction on your computer or cell phone. We launch in summer 2010. Write yourself in! Figment’s goal is to provide a platform for the promotion and digital distribution of young-adult fiction and to transform the way this material is created and accessed.”

Lewis spoke at BEA’s 7x20x21 event, a BEA presentation discussion curated by Ryan Chapman and Ami Greko. They gave a number of industry professionals seven minutes to present on 20 slides–allowing only 21 seconds to talk about each picture.

Harper’s Magazine Loses Two Editors

harpersmay.pngAfter a spate of departures earlier this year, two more editors from Harper’s magazine have decided to leave.

Yesterday the NY Times confirmed that senior editors Bill Wasik and Luke Mitchell will leave the literary magazine.

Here’s more from the post: “[The] departures leave just a single senior editor, Donovan Hohn. While the Harper’s staff was never huge, it appears to be down to a handful of people: acting editor Ellen Rosenbush, literary editor Ben Metcalf, and Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, who was promoted from an assistant editor to managing editor in April.”

In March, we noted that associate editor Paul Ford and senior editor Jennifer Szalai had both departed.