November 13, 2004

Canada in Comics

Ok, so I'm going through the first issues of Alpha Flight (Canada's equivalent to the X-Men) and the references to Canada (circa 1983) are HILARIOUS. Apparently, Trudeau just dissolved Alpha Team (one of the heroes: I didn't vote for him!) and they're exploring the origins of one of their team - an amphibious girl.

"It began 18 years ago, off the grand banks of Newfoundland... ... In a closed, frequently inbred community like that tiny island, freaks and sports are not uncommon. The locals accepted her."

Bwah! Apologies to any Newfies out there!

Posted by JAY at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2004

Creative Licensing

The book that I'm currently reading from the library (a junky - but always readable - Mercedes Lackey fantasy) includes a CD. From the back cover:

Inside you will find a CD ROM that contains over 40 full-length novels, with no encryptions or other schemes to make you feel dumb and incompetent. You can just click on a title and read it or print it out. But be very wary. The publisher did not provide this out of the goodness of his heart, if he even has a heart.

Free books!! Or you could just download them online! Legally! Read on...


He figures you will start reading many of the genuinely first-rate novels provided herein, and discover that you really don't want to continue reading on a computer screen ... since the accompanying artwork is very memorable and can be found on the cover of the associated novel, he thinks it is likely that you will notice it the next time you see it in a bookstore -- and that you will buy the book! Could there be a more dastardly and nefarious scheme for increasing profits? Just remember: You have been warned.

On the actual CD it says: This disk and its contents may be copied and shared, but not sold.

So yeah, interesting. I suppose by putting it in a book that someone presumably bought it's targetting people who buy books. Even though I tend to borrow my books in a library, so that's probably where I'd get any books I liked, too. (Though I've been known to collect ones that I really like.)

Then again, they already GOT all my money. What drove me back to the library was my accounting software informing me that I had spent over $300 on books in a single month. (It's not really all that hard to do - it averages out to 12 books or so.)

I know Mercedes Lackey and this particular publisher (Baen) have been very supportive of this, and you can find more books online along with their savvy (but rather gimmicky worded - you'd expect more finesse from writers...) rationale for doing so at the Baen Free Library.

Posted by JAY at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2004

Author Talk: Wayson Choy

This evening I was invited to hear author Wayson Choy talk about his life and writing experiences. Karen recently gave me his novel, The Jade Peony, a character driven novel describing life in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 1930s. The event was hosted by the East Gwillimbury Friends of the Library at the Town Hall council chambers.

He spoke movingly about being "lucky", looking for signs and learning the writing craft. He also spoke entertainingy about race and growing up as a "banana" - Chinese on the outside and "white" on the inside. He mentioned that when talking to other visible minorities he found that they usually had a similar food related term: oreo, apple (native), etc. And one day he met a caucasian Scottish man who grew up in China. Apparently, he was termed an "egg"!

Posted by JAY at 09:54 PM

May 10, 2004

Agatha Raisin

and the Day the Floods Came, by M.C. Beaton

I really, really enjoy these mysteries. They're intelligently hilarious. Strangely, though, I only remember that when one of the books happens across my path and I can't put it down.

The protagonist is an immature, middle-aged, semi-retired woman who desperately wants to be loved. She considers herself a crack mystery solver, but she never manages to get any of the credit.

A memorable cast of re-curring characters and a deceptive variety of suspects make this a hard book to put down. Unfortunately, they mystery isn't often as inscrutable/neat as my fave, Agatha Christie. Still, highly recommended.

Posted by JAY at 09:45 PM