Saturday, July 28, 2007

Jim Baen's Universe 06 - Eric Flint

This mag again has 14 stories, so probably around the level they are settling on. With all the columns, articles, etc., that is a lot.

Making a text version and subjecting it to gnu wc, suggests around 130,000 words. Doing the same thing with a recentish Asimov's gives around 70,000 words. So, not quite twice that, and bimonthly, as opposed to the basically monthly competition.

JBU is 6 bucks for a single issue, one issue of Asimov's is $3.99 at Fictionwise (and subs for both of course are cheaper). So on amount of content alone seems the former is ahead. If you look at a html etc. version you actually get a bunch of illustrations with the stories, too, if you like that sort of thing. Also, no direct 'log in and read online sitting at your desk' option at Fictionwise, or plain html or rtf, although you can create them secondarily if you want, as the Fictionwise mags are also pleasingly open and multiformat.

For non-fiction :-

Pinchefsky talks about tourism associated with sf.

Basically an essay talking about the nifty stuff in a physics textbook and what that would be worth 100 years ago, or the same thing from the future. A bit of the perpetual motion thing and energy from small scale motion, relating from the self winding watch.

Flint explains why ease of electronic copying is not a threat to publishers.

He gives an example of his own work, and explains:

"But the fact remains that the material damage done to authors by such activity is so minimal that it can barely be distinguished from zero—if there's any material damage at all, which I doubt.

I am not guessing about this. The reason I initially put up my first novel for free online was because I got fed up reading the hysterical howls of some authors in online discussion groups, shrieking that their livelihood was being mortally threatened.

To prove that was nonsense, as graphically as I could, I put up one of my own novels for free. "Pirated myself," if you'll allow me the absurd expression. That novel, Mother of Demons, has been available online for free for almost seven years now. And . . .

It's still in print, and still keeps selling."



As he mentions in an earlier column, not a lot of books that old stay in print.

After this he talks about the setting up of the Baen Free Library, which keeps expanding.

Talking about why people copy things :

"And that's what drives most—not all—electronic copyright infringement. People do not generally "pirate" an electronic text in order to sell it for a profit. They do it in order to get the text itself, for their own use."

Amusingly, he also points out that books generally aren't that valuable as to be targets of professional criminals. How many people break into bookshops so they can flog Sherlock Holmes books at markets?

"A DRM-crippled text is a royal pain in the ass for legitimate customers"

"The buying public, by now, has long and bitter memories of the way the entertainment industries have shafted them over and over again, by introducing one technology, forcing everyone to adopt it—then scrapping that technology in favor of yet another."

"We now have the grotesque phenomenon that publishers typically charge more for an electronic book than they do for a paper book—even though everyone knows perfectly well that electronic texts are far cheaper to produce and distribute."

Pointing out : We now have the grotesque phenomenon that publishers typically charge more for an electronic book than they do for a paper book—even though everyone knows perfectly well that electronic texts are far cheaper to produce and distribute. "

He then talks about Baen's pricing policies, and how that works for them.

All in all, these essays are very good and well worth reading.

Malzberg talks about sf writers as futurists.

Resnick talks about why Baen pays so highly compared to other publications, his background in the porn distribution industry, and the internet as eyeopener, particularly associated with podcasting like Escape Pod.

Also that the editors are being paid in profit sharing, and the lack of physical overheads of a paper magazine.

The fiction average for the magazine is 3.36, a little lower than last time, basically because of one not too good story, otherwise, quite similar.


Crawlspace,Dave Freer, Eric Flint
Newts,Kevin J. Anderson
Chance of Storms,Edward M. Lerner
Dinosaur Egg $6,Chet Gottfried
The Ten Thousand Things,Mark L. Van Name
Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War,Garth Nix
Midnight at the Quantum Cafe,K. D. Wentworth
Redemption of Nepheli,E. Sedia
The Gnarly Man,L. Sprague de Camp
Slan Hunter Part 3,A. E. van Vogt, Kevin J. Anderson
The Ancient Ones Episode 4,David Brin
Fish Story Episode 6,Andrew Dennis, Dave Freer and Eric Flint
Common Ground,Mackey Chandler
New Moon,Mike Barretta


Even an uplifted bat brothel protest murder investigation could use a tea-boy.

4 out of 5


Eunuch last stand decision.

4 out of 5


Bad luck story.

2 out of 5


Live Tri raffle payback.

3.5 out of 5


Stroke location memory download deal.

3 out of 5


Lizard lancer mercenary godbothering, no dummy.

3.5 out of 5


Reality dumping dames, with drinks.

3.5 out of 5


Siege sorcery.

3 out of 5


Neanderthal lightning strikee holds his age like Vandal Savage.

3.5 out of 5


Slans to the rescue.


It isn't good for the older generation in this book, as the hunt for Jommy and the tendrilless realisation that further true slans are being born, no matter what they do. A surprise waits in space for everybody concerned.

3 out of 5


Cheesy music man.

3 out of 5


Thor thinks soccer is for girls, can't possibly be drunk on American beer, but they are now on a mission from god.

3.5 out of 5


Alien first contact arrival communication, no direction.

4 out of 5


Apollo 11 mission toasted.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

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