Category Archives: News

Lulu Blooker Prize 2007 Shortlist

The people at Lulu has released a shortlist of the 2007 nominees of the Blooker Prize. Among them is Seth Godin‘s Small Is The New Big; an interesting novel posted online that i’ve been keeping track of – Methuselah’s Daughter, and a political, non-fiction blook written by Daily Kos‘s Markos Moulitsas, in partnership with Jerome Armstrong called Crashing The Gate.

Besides the three blooks mentioned above i’m keeping a keen eye on The Doorbells of Florence, branded as ‘cult fiction’ – that stemmed from a Flickr photoset about doorbells, of all things. Apparently the blook is about each of these 36 doorbells showcased, the stories behind them, and the lives of the people that may or may not live behind those doors.

doorbells.jpg

Quite a novel idea, pardon the pun.

The other book which i’m watching would be a webcomic called Mom’s Cancer, which i’m betting will win in the 2007 Blooker Comic category. I might give a description of what it’s about, but the introductory passage at the site is loads better:

My mother was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer.
I made a comic strip about it.

Mom’s Cancer is the true tale of my mother’s battle with metastatic lung cancer. The story describes how a serious illness affects patient and family, both practically and emotionally, in ways that I’ve discovered are very common. Many readers wrote to tell me how surprised and relieved they were to learn they weren’t alone.

momscancer.jpg

Sadly Brian Fies had to take down the web comic due to copyright issues, when he published Mom’s Cancer in book form. Apparently content cannot coexist online and offline – at least to prevent copyright headaches from popping up later on. Nevertheless, the story is touching – about mortality and loss, and the webcomic itself won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic in 2005. More information can be found in this Wikipedia entry.

The winners of the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize will be announced on Monday, May 14, 2007.

Sunday, 18 February, 2007

Harry Potter and The Last Book

Since i’ve been following the Harry Potter series religiously since 1999, i thought i might as well post something on the upcoming last book (due to be released on July 21st) which other blogs about books have been ranting about, other than the naked pictures of Danielle Radcliffe circulating around everywhere.

Now, i may be a Potter fan, but probably not as fanatical as the authors of dear Mugglenet. But, since they spend a lot of their time checking the HP world online, it’s a pretty darned good resource for finding out what is fact, fiction, pure speculation and confirmed blurb. Good ‘ol J.K.

Anyways, here’s what i found after a half an hour of secretive snivelling:

Confirmed Information

Character Information

  • We will find out something “incredibly important” about Lily Potter
  • We will find out who R.A.B. is
  • We will discover more about Dumbledore’s past
  • We will discover where Snape’s loyalties lie.
  • Something will be revealed about Petunia Dursley, although it will not be that she is a Squib
  • Viktor Krum will return (World Book Day, 2004 interview)
  • We will see a reappearance of Dolores Umbridge – “It’s too much fun to torture her not to have another little bit more before I finish.” (MuggleNet/Leaky Interview)
  • JKR has said, “There is a character who does manage, in desperate circumstances, to do magic quite late in life, but that is very rare…”

Plot Information

  • Harry will face Voldemort for the final time
  • Harry will be attempting to find and destroy Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes
  • Harry will return to the Dursleys’ during the school vacation, but the magical protection Dumbledore arranged will expire on his 17th birthday when he comes of age
  • Harry will visit Godric’s Hollow
  • There will be a reappearance of the two-way mirror
  • We will see the wedding of Fleur and Bill Weasley
  • The fact that Harry “has his mother’s eyes” will prove to be an important plot point
  • At least one character will die

Other

  • The last word is expected to be “scar,” but may change
  • We will finally learn the full reason why some people become ghosts when they die and others don’t
  • The final chapter, which has already been written, will detail what happens to the characters that survive
  • There will be no more Quidditch matches

A few things caught my eye – scar? How does that fit in the overall picture? And i like the one about Harry and his mother’s eyes. So typical of Rowling to twist something she’s been subtly reminding us over and over again for the last 6 books. It’s like Chekhov’s Gun just got reloaded, and is about to go off. With about a decade or so in between.

And the part about Doleres Umbridge returning? Now that should be interesting. :)

Read the original article here. And if any of you readers out there are Chinese and reading this … Happy Chinese New Year!

Friday, 16 February, 2007

Dan Brown Wannabes

16masl600span.jpg
Just came over this extremely hilarious article, well thought out and written with tongue so firmly planted in cheek it showed through the writer’s ear – Dear Dan Brown, All Eyes Are On You.

Janet Maslin was brilliant – she pointed out an immensely daft trend happening recently – that of Dan Brown copycats. With blurbs like “is more shocking than anyone could ever have imagined.”; “may solve one of the greatest riddles of history” as well as “from the fog-shrouded mazes of Venice to the beautiful Big Sky country of the American West.”

Here’s a little quote:

Take a sacred treasure. Add a secret conspiracy. Attach a name well known to scholars — Dante, Poe, Wordsworth, Archimedes, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, the Romanovs, Vlad the Impaler, “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,” whatever — and work it into a story that can accommodate both the Glock and the Holy Grail. If there’s any room left for the Knights Templar or DNA samples from Biblical figures, by all means plug them in.

Thanks, Dan Brown. Look what you started. In the sound-like-Brown genre the stakes are high, the scruples are absent and the copycatting is out of control. Your own next book (possibly to be called “The Solomon Key,” arrival date unknown) is already a pre-sacred text.

Oh, i’m a fan already. :)

Saturday, 10 February, 2007

The problems with digital text – Sophie

I was logged into MSN when one of friends nudged me, wanting to show me something important. The conversation we had went something like this:

Friend: Have you heard of Sophie?

Me: No.

Friend: No? You write a blook and you don’t know what Sophie is?

Me: …

She led me to a few pages, and I downloaded the introduction to Sophie, wondering what in the world it was. Apparently Sophie is a reading software touted as the next format for eBooks, all eBooks. The Institute for the Future of The Book (what a mouthful) is behind this effort, and it’s got some interesting points at the current limitations of digital text. Let’s take a look at the various forms of digital media and what they say are the drawbacks of each platform:

Saturday, 27 January, 2007

Tucker Max – Blog to Book to TV

I have to laugh. Checking through one of my Google News Alerts recently alerted me to yet another blog turned to book turned to TV show (!), which set off little alarm bells in my mind. What did this guy do? Marvelous writing? A great storyline or a girlfriend grandmother in the publishing industry?

Well, i was right on one thing. An extremely readeable blog. But more on his story:

One-time Chicagoan Tucker Max hardly seems like the kind of guy who kept a diary as a kid. Yet he has turned his affinity for writing about himself into a mini-empire.

His tales of boozing and womanizing have taken him from a self-published blogger to The New York Times best-seller list and beyond. But the Guy Page wants to know what makes one blogger rich and another just narcissistic?

Apparently he is a ‘self proclaimed asshole’ (whatever that means), and his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell is in the genre know as fratire – or chick lit for guys.

Now this got me laughing.

I have to be upfront about this – i never particularly liked chick lit, although i do suppose as a form of escapism it works pretty well. Then again i’m a guy, and i read classics. So how exactly is fratire going to work? I’m not sure, but i’ll find out as soon as possible and post something on the genre here, i suppose.

Another thing about Tucker Max – he recently got a deal with Comedy Central to write a pilot, but for what show, i’m not sure. Yet. And if it’s in a new category to make South Park run screaming away, then i must say i approve.

And of course from my vantage point, on the couch, sitting with a good book in hand.