Appliance Trouble Linkdump

I haven’t been blogging for the past few days, because I had some appliance trouble at home that limited by internet time. This will take a few more days to resolve, so blogging should be light over the next week at least. On the plus side, I’ll have a new e-book to announce tomorrow.

And now for some links:

This year’s Ingeborg Bachmann award goes to Russian German writer Olga Martynova. The winning text may be read (in various languages even) on the official Bachmann prize website as well.

I wrote a bit about the Ingeborg Bachmann prize, which is awarded after what is basically a public and televised writing workshop critiquing session, last year. What is more, I also blogged about spotting a Kindle in the hand of one of the readers at this year’s Bachmann prize over at the Pegasus Pulp blog.

Pornokitsch interviews Jane Rogers whose novel The Testament of Jessie Lamb managed to unusual feat of both landing on the Booker Prize longlist and winning the Arthur C. Clarke award earlier this year.

Here is an older, but very worthwhile post: At Trac Changes, Rachel Stark dissects the troubling trend towards having dead looking girls on the covers of paranormal YA fiction. There’s also a follow-up post with links to reactions by other bloggers here. I have to say that I hate the current trends for YA covers. The dead girls are the worst of it, but the waif-like girls in evening gowns who are not quite dead yet (since they are still standing), but look as if they will soon be, are annoying as well, especially since every second YA novel has such covers. Indie writers are even worse. In the past few weeks, I have seen at least four indie YA writers change unique and interesting covers to generic waif-like or dead girl covers, because they believe that those covers will sell more books.

At the Book View Café, Sherwood Smith has a great post about stealing ideas and the various ways to do it today.

SF Signal‘s latest Mind Meld asks whether space opera has lost its luster and whether the popularity of Steampunk is to blame. My answer to the question (not that anyone asked me) would be “Yes, it has” and “No, it’s not Steampunk, it was those singularity folks”.

Still Eating Oranges points out why “plot requires conflict” is a western notion. Found via Jay Lake. I’d add that the overemphasis of “conflict” is not merely a western, but particularly an Anglo-American idea, since Germans don’t harp on about the importance of conflict nearly as much as Americans do. Ditto for the emphasis on agency, which is another thing that Americans insist on, whereas you rarely to never hear it in the rest of the world. Aliette de Bodard makes a similar point in this post from last year.

The discussion about Fifty Shades of Grey is still going on. At the Guardian, Vanessa Thorpe wonders why British women are turned on by Fifty Shades of Grey. Apparently, Fifty Shades of Grey is both the fastest selling paperback and bestselling e-book ever in the UK. So much for my idea that this particular book spoke mainly to Americans and that it won’t be as successful elsewhere.

Talking of erotic fiction, at Terrible Minds Chuck Wendig has 25 tips for writing about sex.

At The Atlantic, Scott Meslow wonders whether people who dislike Aaron Sorkin’s work are simply too stupid to grasp the wonderfulness that is Aaron Sorkin, as Sorkin fans tend to claim. As someone who disliked Aaron Sorkin’s work intensely before I ever learned his name I have never seen anything wonderful about his scripts, hence I’m always a tad pleased whenever something of his fails like that Studio 66 on Sunset thing. Indeed, the most charitable thing I can say about Sorkin and his work is that he is “too American” for my tastes.

There’s also been a couple of notable deaths in the past few days:

American actor Ernest Borgnine, whose career literally spanned sixty years from From Here to Eternity to Spongebob Squarepants, died aged 95. As a child of the 1980s, I mainly associate Ernest Borgnine with his roles in Airwolf (which I loved as a kid, but cannot watch anymore) and Escape from New York.

American actor Andy Griffiths died Tuesday at age 86. Again, I’m probably showing my age here, since to me Andy Griffith was Matlock, the Southern lawyer of the white hair and white suit and rather dull show that even back in the 1980s, when any American show was a rare treat, was considered “for parents and old people”. I don’t think I ever saw The Andy Griffith Show at all. It probably never made it to our shores, because it was deemed “too American”, never mind that the whole folksy small town thing did not match the image that Germans wanted to have of the US, which is basically big, glittery and rich. Though come to think of it, we did get a few of the folksy shows, since I remember watching The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams in the 1970s and have particularly fond memories of Tammy, the Southern girl living on a houseboat with two elderly relatives. Interestingly enough, neither Tammy nor Grizzly Adams were particularly popular in the US itself, though they both were big hits on German TV.

Finally, Austrian singer and dancer Margot Werner died last Monday after a freak accident at age 74. Her performances were a staple of variety shows on German TV in the 1970s and 1980s.

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