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Posts Tagged ‘Cory Doctorow’

What Is Steampunk?

The next time somebody asks you “What is steampunk?” just show them the trailer for the upcoming documentary, Vintage Tomorrows. (embedded above).

The documentary already includes authors Cherie Priest and Cory Doctorow, so we look forward to the parts about steampunk books. This GalleyCat editor has found himself stumbling to explain the word “steampunk” in the past, a unique blend of science fiction, historical fiction and crazy creativity.

Here’s more about the movie: “Trailer for the coming future casting documentary ‘Vintage Tomorrows’ about what Steampunk can teach us about the future.”

Authors Sign Petition Against HarperCollins Library eBook Policies

Several authors, including some currently signed with HarperCollins, have joined a petition launched by librarian Andy Woodruff protesting the publisher’s decision to limit library eBooks to 26 check-outs. reports that HarperCollins author Marilyn Johnson wrote about her disdain in a blog post: “HarperCollins says it is working to protect its authors, but I wasn’t consulted and I had to read about this on Library Journal and on the blogs and tweets of my librarian sources. This isn’t what I want, e-books with evaporating powers! Are you kidding? No author wants to write a book with the power to disappear.”

According to the article, Cory Doctorow, Judith McQuown, and Orel Protopopescu have signed the petition. So far, Woodruff’s petition has drawn more than 65,700 signatures.

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Will Hackers Dodge The New York Times Paywall?

On March 28, The New York Times will roll out a metered paywall plan, charging avid readers $15 a month to read the paper online and with a mobile app. The iPad subscription will cost $20 and an all access plan will cost $35.

The plan includes a big loophole: “The Times will allow access to people who arrive at its Web site through search engines like Google and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. There will, however, be a five-article limit a day for people who visit the site from Google.” Author Cory Doctorow wonders if hackers will create a “browser redirection service” to dodge the paywall.

The plan launched in Canada today. If it works, the newspaper could pave the way for more paid content on the web, from newspapers to magazines to online journals. Will you pay $15 to read the paper every month? Will this plan change the way we read online?

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Write ‘TK’ for Missing Facts: NaNoWriMo Tip #14

coryd23.jpgWhen working on your National Novel Writing Month manuscript, don’t let unknown facts slow down your writing. Instead of inventing facts or plagiarizing somebody work, just type TK and keep writing.

Novelist Cory Doctorow shared the simple and practical tip at Lifehacker: “[D]o what journalists do: type ‘TK’ where your fact should go, as in ‘The Brooklyn bridge, all TK feet of it, sailed into the air like a kite.’ ‘TK’ appears in very few English words (the one I get tripped up on is “Atkins”) so a quick search through your document for ‘TK’ will tell you whether you have any fact-checking to do afterwards. And your editor and copyeditor will recognize it if you miss it and bring it to your attention.”

This is our fourteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project. For more writing advice, read our interview with Doctorow.

Virtual Economies Get Real World Unions

Reviewed by Maryan Pelland
Read more about GalleyCat Reviews

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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Cory Doctorow: ‘It Is Impossible to Monetize Obscurity’

In this encore edition of the Morning Media Menu, we spoke with novelist and blogger Cory Doctorow, author of the 2010 book, For the Win. He spoke about online currency, book promotion and the feasibility of unions in digital culture.

Doctorow discussed his strategy of releasing a free eBook edition of his book alongside the print book. Press play below to listen on SoundCloud. Here’s an excerpt:

I make the books available as free downloads under a Creative Commons license that encourages my readers to share them and remix them, provided they are doing so non-commercially. That means one reader who loves the book who knows another reader who would love the book can put the book in that reader’s hands … Tim O’Reilly says: ‘The problem with writers isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.’ It may be hard to monetize fame, but it is impossible to monetize obscurity.

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iPad Reviews: Critical Cheat Sheet

ipad23.jpgApple only let a small, influential crew of tech writers actually review the iPad before the April 3rd launch day. GalleyCat Reviews has collected a few early reviews of the iPad reading experience. You can use this critical cheat sheet when some literary person in your life asks, “will the iPad save publishing?”

Here’s NY Times journalist David Pogue on the iPad bookstore: “The new iBooks e-reader app is filled with endearing grace notes. For example, when you turn a page, the animated page edge actually follows your finger’s position and speed as it curls, just like a paper page. Font, size and brightness controls appear when you tap. Tap a word to get a dictionary definition, bookmark your spot or look it up on Google or Wikipedia.”

Author Cory Doctorow bashed an iPad comic book application: “I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone spelunking in the used comic-bins at a great and musty store to find back issues that I’d missed, or sample new titles on the cheap … So what does Marvel do to ‘enhance’ its comics? They take away the right to give, sell or loan your comics. What an improvement. Way to take the joyous, marvellous sharing and bonding experience of comic reading and turn it into a passive, lonely undertaking that isolates, rather than unites.”

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Jon Stewart to Introduce Condoleezza Rice at BookExpo America

9780446691864_154X233.jpgBookExpo America (BEA) has today announced that Jon Stewart will make an encore BookExpo America performance–serving as master of ceremonies at the Author Breakfast on Thursday, May 27. In a crazy political pairing, the host of The Daily Show will introduce memoirist and politician Condoleezza Rice.

According to the Grand Central webpage, the host’s book The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book) will be published in September. Stewart first hosted the BEA breakfast in 2004. Among other big guests at the two-day fair are: Cory Doctorow, William Gibson, John Grisham, Sara Gruen, Christopher Hitchens, Patton Oswalt, and Mary Roach.

Event Director Steven Rosato had this statement: “We are incredibly fortunate to have these authors assembled at our show and I know that will be a great draw for BEA and will ensure that these events will sell out. Above all, I am thankful to the publishers who support us, and who bring their authors to BEA so that we might all enjoy meeting them, and hearing what they have to say. It’s a very unique and special opportunity for anyone who is part of the book industry and who attends BEA.”

The complete release is embedded below.

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The Top Audiobooks Stories of 2009

Susan23.jpg.jpgTo find out more about the year’s biggest audiobook stories, GalleyCat caught up with self-identified audiobook fanatic Susan Dunman (pictured)–host of the website Audiobook DJ. She assembled an excellent list of the top audiobook stories of 2009, complete with commentary–reflecting on a year of digital innovations and controversies.

Audiobook question of the year:
“What exactly is an audiobook? Controversy erupted over the text-to-speech function of the Kindle 2 when the Authors Guild claimed it was a violation of copyright for the device to read e-text aloud. As a compromise, Amazon said it would allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable the function on a per-title basis.”

Digital downloads-only debate:
“More publishers are offering titles only as digital downloads– there are no equivalent physical CDs to purchase. While this may help publishers defray costs and publish more titles in audio, it has serious ramifications for brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries. Some publishers do make CDs available to libraries for titles that are offered as ‘download only’ in the retail market, but in many cases, if a physical copy of an audiobook is not available, then it does not ‘exist’ for customers/patrons without computers or broadband access.

Tweeting an audiobook:
BBC Audiobooks America embarked on an experiment using Twitter to create an audiobook. Written entirely from a compilation of individual, 140 character tweets, ‘Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry’ was crafted with 875 tweets from 124 contributors in 6 countries writing 14,385 words. Read by award-winning narrator Katherine Kellgren, the project brought audiobooks to the attention of a broad audience in a unique and imaginative way. The audiobook can be downloaded for free at this link.

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The Future of Free Books

speaker_susandanziger_100x100.jpgIn the an afternoon session at’s eBook Summit yesterday, three new media literary pioneers debated the recent trend of offering free content online.

Electric Lit founders Scott Lindenbaum and Andy Hunter spoke about eBook lessons. Earlier this year, they gained 10,000 followers and grew traffic by 300 percent while serializing a Rick Moody story on Twitter–they now have more than 60,700 followers. Using a print-on-demand print schedule, they can pay authors $1,000 for a story. Nevertheless, they noted that they have only raised enough money (so far) to publish for a year.

Susan Danziger (pictured), founder and CEO of the newly free DailyLit, a company that serializes books and stories in daily newsletters. “We had a number of pay titles that didn’t have a lot of traction,” she said, explaining why they switched to a new free model. However, with the site’s new free model, they will experiment with “pay what you want” model and a donation model patterned after Kickstarter. “Our subscribers are amazingly affluent,” she said, “but they like free content.” She also announced that popular novelist and blogger Cory Doctorow will launch a science fiction channel for the site.

Follow all the summit action on Twitter: @galleycat and @eBookNewser and @RonHogan; also, check the hashtag #ebooksummit for even more 140-character wisdom.