Awards, writing links and yet more plagiarism in politics and nihilism in fantasy

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.

The Nebula Award nominations have been announced.

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.

Terry Windling has a lovely post on creativity and how to attract the muses.

Shanna Swendson has a nice post on the differences between writing short stories and novels.

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.

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2 Responses to Awards, writing links and yet more plagiarism in politics and nihilism in fantasy

  1. Estara says:

    And quite a few poc-authors on the Nebula awards this time. Even a woman of Syrian descent!

    The trolling reaction to criticism of popular figures, no matter how well deserved, is one of the worst things about the internet. I’m sure it happened before but you weren’t able to dish it to the critic so directly and so anonymously.

    • Cora says:

      Yes, we have several POC nominees this year. Five that I know of, possibly more. And Aliette de Bodard is not only of Vietnamese descent, but also a French citizen, i.e. Nebulas are not just for Americans and the occasional Canadian or Brit anymore. Compared to the straight white American men club that genre award shortlists were only a few years ago, this is big step forward.

      The comment sections of news websites are a cesspool of trolling and nastiness, probably because no one moderates them unless there are complaints. You’ll get nasty trolls commenting on any news story, no matter how harmless. The hate mail sent to the professor (whose e-mail address is publicly available on the university website) is even worse. In the old days, those people probably would have vented at their “Stammtisch” (though it’s unfair that Stammtische have such a reputation as the hangout of arseholes, because most aren’t), but the internet has lowered all inhibitions.

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