I’m busy with school prep work and a big translation project, one of those 100 plus page operation manuals, that just came in. So here is a link round-up:
Today, my local paper published an insightful interview with Andreas Fischer-Lescarno, the law professor at Bremen university who broke the Guttenberg plagiarism scandal. Unfortunately, only a short excerpt of the interview is online and the comment section is full of pro-Guttenberg trolls.
Anyway, to sum it up, Professor Fischer-Lescarno came across Guttenberg’s dissertation, because it fell into his field of specialty, international and constitutional law. He intended to review the dissertation for an academic law journal and found it somewhat lacking and uneven. There was one passage, where he felt the argument was particularly weak, so he plugged it into Google, thinking that Guttenberg had borrowed the argument from one of his own political speeches (which would not be illegal, you are allowed to plagiarize yourself). Instead, he hit plagiarism paydirt. For his troubles, he has been inundated with hate mails and has been called green-leftist propagandist. Because one obviously cannot care about academic honesty and quality without a political agenda.
On to the second hot topic of the day, Juliette Wade discusses the current epic fantasy debate in a cultural and anthropological context. Of all the many posts made on this issue in the past few days, including several by yours truly, this is my favourite.
I haven’t read several of the nominated works and don’t necessarily agree with those I have, but that is a nice, diverse list there. I am particularly pleased by the many women nominated. There is no fiction category entirely without female writers and in the novel category, five of six writers nominated are women. This is a very good development, particularly considering that only a few years ago there was a Hugo shortlist with only one or two female nominees in the fiction categories altogether.
I’m in a similar boat to her, though I have actually managed to sell some short stories. Nonetheless, my writing generally tends long. Very few of my stories are actually short, quite a few push 8000, 10000 or even 12000 words. I also have a handful of pieces that started out as short stories and then morphed into completely unmarketable novella lengths. Maybe I’ll revise those unmarketable novellas some day and see if I can do more with them (especially since some of them were quite good) now that e-publishing has eroded many of the old length restrictions.
In the past few months, I’ve also tried to push myself and write shorter pieces and even flash fiction as well. Not every attempt goes somewhere, some ideas just fizzle out, while others clearly want a larger scope. But the advantage of writing shorts and flash is that the time investment is low, they make for a good palate cleanser and there are a lot of markets for them.