Sowell on book reviews

Over the years, I have come to find writing book reviews even more distasteful than reading them. Part of this is my own fault, for being one of those old-fashioned holdouts who still believes that you should actually read the book before reviewing it.

Sometimes I am only into the first 20 pages of a 500-page book when it becomes painfully clear that this one is a real dog. The rest of the ordeal is like crossing the Sahara Desert—except that often there are no oases. True, the reviewer gets to slaughter the author in print at the end of it all, but this merely appeases the desire for revenge, which only real blood would satisfy.

—Thomas Sowell, ‘Some Thoughts about Writing’

Sowell on editors

If there is any rhyme or reason to the way editing varies from one editor to another, it seems to be this: The less the editor has written under his own name, the more he wants to write under someone else’s name.

—Thomas Sowell, ‘Some Thoughts about Writing’

Thomas Sowell on writing methods

My own writing practices are the direct opposite of that followed by these prolific and renowned writers. I write only when I have something to say.

—Thomas Sowell, ‘Some Thoughts about Writing’

André-Philippe Gagnon, a cast of thousands

I mean to say, of course, that André-Philippe Gagnon is a cast of thousands. The Beloved Other and I went last night to see him in concert. I had seen him once before, in the early nineties; for her, it was a new discovery.

And what a discovery! He began the performance with a one-man history of rock & roll, impersonating singers from Elvis Presley to CeeLo Green. His star turn was a duet between Céline Dion (herself, on video) and Frank Sinatra (André-Philippe, live).

Here, by the magic of YouTube, are some highlights of his show, as performed in a different (and rather more posh) venue:

Visit André-Philippe Gagnon’s website.

Now on Google Live Chat

‘Superversive SF Roundtable: Thanksgiving and SF’

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New release: WHERE ANGELS DIE, Episode 1

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Now live on Amazon in a country near you:

ANGEL KEEP
Episode 1 of Where Angels Die

Buy your copy for the trivial price of 99 cents (U.S., Canada), 99p (U.K.), or €0.99 (Eurozone), or the equivalent in your local dosh.


‘A demon is the spirit of a bad idea. The Taken are just its victims. If they kill you, you lose. If you kill them – you lose. The only way to win is to kill the idea itself. That’s where we come in.’

Enter Revel Enfield: paladin, exorcist, Knight of the Covenant of Justice.

Every enemy is hidden.

Every friend can be turned.

Even the Angels of Life can be killed.

This is his war.

[Read more…]

Finally, a mailing list!

Every self-publishing (or ‘indie’) guru out there insists that the #1 way for an author to build an audience is to have his own mailing list and keep track of his customers that way. I have not followed this excellent advice until now. The sheer number of decisions involved (and the possible financial outlay) gave me a splitting headache.

Today, however, with the trivial investment of several hours of time and several hanks of hair ripped out, I managed to sign up for, and test, a free account with MailChimp. This will allow me to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send out up to 12,000 emails per month; which (a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me) means that each of my 3.6 Loyal Readers can be represented on the list 555 times. Or, you know, there might actually be more readers than that; but the figure of 3.6 is hallowed by time and custom, and I shall not change it now.

I would be most obliged to my Loyal Readers, however many there are of you, if you were to use the handy form in the right margin, just over there, and sign up for the list. I promise not to sell you any encyclopaedias; I’m only here to burgle your flat notify you about new releases.

Thanks in advance, all!


P.S. For those who are wondering, the final touches on ‘Angel Keep’ are now being applied. I needed to make sure that the link to my signup page worked; which it seems to. All I need now is to finish another Clever Biographical Assassination, upload the files, and let the KDP mills go to work grinding out sausages ebooks.

Snippets

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From episode 1 of Where Angels Die:

‘Forgive my friend,’ said the Badger smoothly. ‘He was raised by screech monkeys, and thinks tact is how carpets are secured to the floor.’

Podcast Saturday

The SuperversiveSF Monthly Roundtable Live Chat is coming up this Saturday, November 19, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (20:00 GMT). Your Obedient Servant has been invited to participate, and the invitation has been accepted. Watch this page, or the SuperversiveSF blog, for links to the live event.

As I understand it, recordings of previous episodes are available in podcast form. I shall ask the Persons in Charge for links.

If Yr. Obt. Svt. is unable to attend, I still urge you to listen in, as you will be hearing words of wit and wisdom from such superversive figures as John C. Wright, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Jason Rennie of SciPhi Journal. The topic for this month: Gratitude in fiction, characters, and daily life.

Culture wars

So, the culture is still there waiting to be taken.  Pick up your kit and follow me, into the trenches.  The advantage of a culture war is that even those of us who are old and ill can fight, and even those who don’t create can provide perspective, review and dissemination.  Onward.

Sarah A. Hoyt