April 2007 Archives

I love checking galley proofs for typos. No, really. It beats whacking myself on the big toe with a hammer any time. And it beats the sense of mortification that steals over you when you open your latest first edition and realize you've mis-spelled the main protagonist's name in the first paragraph, and your editor, copy editor, and the external proofreader have all missed it. (This hasn't happened to me, yet, but it's happened to other authors I know.) It is, basically, a necessary evil, and part of the job of being a writer.

As Linus Torvalds pointed out in another context, "many eyes make bugs transparent". The more pairs of eyeballs that scan a page, the greater the probability that one pair will stumble over a glitch in the prose. And these days, paperback proofs are prepared by simply re-running the Quark or InDesign files for the hardcover edition, using a different paper size (and tweaking the front matter, and correcting any typos that have been unearthed by the several thousand readers to date).

This is the season of proofreading, and I need to know: if you've spotted any glitches in the hardcover of THE CLAN CORPORATE (Tor, March 2006) you can do your bit to help preserve my sanity (and tidy up the mass-market paperback) by mentioning it in the comment section of this blog entry. And while I'm on the subject, if you spot anything problematic in the hardcover of THE JENNIFER MORGUE, I could do with a heads-up. (GLASSHOUSE is too far on in production — the paperbacks are being printed Real Soon Now.)

Thanks in advance!

I'm very pleased to announce the release on the web — in honor of International pixel-stained technopeasant day — of MISSILE GAP, which is shortlisted for the Locus readers' award for best novella this year.

Read the whole thing here.

I am pleased to report that I am told that my novels, "The Family Trade", "The Hidden Family", and "The Clan Corporate" have collectively been nominated for the Sidewise Award for alternate history.

UPDATE: Two of my novels are finalists in the Locus awards — "Glasshouse" in the list for best SF novel, and "The Jennifer Morgue" in the list for best fantasy novel — and "Missile Gap" is in the list for best novella!

I'm off, tomorrow, to Penguicon 5.0 in Troy, MI. I'll be back home Tuesday. I may have time to blog while I'm gone ... and then again, I might not.

I'm just back from the British easter SF convention — last weekend, in Chester — and one of the things that irritated me while I was away was the level of spam I was having to mop out of my email account.

I did a little experiment yesterday; I emptied my trash then began letting it build up. As I normally archive all "real" email, this allowed the spam to build up. As of 24 hours, there are 796 items of bulk unsolicited email in the trash can. About 70% of it is in non-western character sets — among the ones I recognize are Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Russian, and Japanese, along with what I suspect is a metric ton of Chinese — and of the stuff that's readable, most of the headers appear to be preoccupied with (illegal non-prescribed sales of) drugs for weight loss and sexual dysfunction, attempts to persuade me that I've won a lottery I never entered or that an online bank account I don't have has been compromised, offers of financial help from Nigerian clergymen's widows, attempts to sell me software for an operating system I don't use, and rather dodgy hardcore pornography.

... And Kurt Vonnegut is still dead.

Meanwhile, just what's happened while I've been away? (I mean, aside from the usual political posturing over Iran, the unfolding train wreck in Iraq, Tony Blair doing his best to ensure that his place in the history books is not the one he was hoping for, and George Bush making people nostalgic for Richard Nixon.)

Days after the system went live, the operators of a talking CCTV surveillance system in Middlesborough are having to apologize over a case of mistaken identity for yelling at the wrong person in public.

Colony Collapse Disorder has arrived in the UK, with who-knows-what implications for agriculture.

It's beginning to look like there might be an extra EU member state shortly after the May 1st elections in Scotland.

... And the world is about to be menaced by the dire spectre of Bill Gates in Spaaaace!.

Damn, I wish Kurt was around and writing. He'd be sure to have something to say about all this.

This can only be construed as an April Fool jape in the broadest sense, but I am reliably informed that Release 1.-94.-3 of the CLC-INTERCAL compiler (for the INTERCAL programming language) has escaped from captivity and can be downloaded here. If you want to get a flavour of the language without trying it, all you need to know is that INTERCAL is an acronym for "Computer Programming Language with No Readily Pronounceable Acronym".

If you want to know more, here's the Necronomicon reference manual.



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