Worlds & Time

Friday, April 24, 2009


I don't usually offer responses on news stories. I figure that you've probably gotten your fill from the bajillion other sources out there. I do, so presumably you have your choice sites like Digg and Fark and GoogleNews that hunt down and tag stories for your pleasant engorgement.

I did almost miss this, for the most part though. Orson Scott Card is now on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which is that group that created the oft mocked "Gathering Storm" video.

That doesn't surprise me, really. OSC's views on gay marriage are fairly well known. He's Mormon, after all, and he has that long running column over in the Mormon Times where his opinion has been made explicitly clear.

My first reaction to all of this was almost instinctual at this point: I remind myself that there's a reason that I don't buy his books new any more. Granted, it was Empire that spurred that more than his politics but the revelation of his beliefs certainly provided that last little FU that kept me from turning back.

Buying them used is fine, of course. No money goes to him or his publisher from that.

Then I reminded myself that it doesn't really matter whether I buy his books. He's trying to get a movie made of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow and he's going to be filthy rich and tithing loads of cash to an organization that hates me anyway.

But the movie has been floating around and hasn't been made yet. It's always in the works but never in production, seemingly.

Using this neat little writer's trick I learned somewhere, I imagined that I was a cappucino and coke snorting secular capitalist movie producer drone. Would I, as aforementioned mindless drone, want to make this movie still? Yeah, the book won some awards that I'm not familiar with and all my assistants assure me that it has a huge following but I also know that if I make this movie now I'm probably going to have to end up explaining to the gay director, star, and four fifths of the production staff why this author's position on gay marriage is not reflected by the production company.

With all of the crap that's been thrown, sometimes litterally, at the Mormons over Prop 8, there could even be protests. Protests with A-list stars speaking out against this movie just because author is in the news right now.

So, even though this property may eventually make me, the cappucino and coke snorting mindless secular capitalist movie producer drone, lots of money in the future, right now it would probably be a good time to quietly renew the movie rights and hope that gay marriage is decided soon so that this author can market his work for us rather than against us.

(Just found this, might be interesting to some)

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Friday, April 03, 2009

1111 Books

So, today I picked up a few books at a science fiction used book sale and after putting them in my incredibly geeky spreadsheet I discovered that I have one thousand, one hundred and eleven books. I'm not a numerologist, but it's still very pretty to look at so I decided to write a bit about it here.

If you want to know what books I have specifically, you can check them out over at library thing, which I've kept updated. However, it is missing a few text books and obscure books so the library thing count is only 1065.

Because of the obsessively anal way that I keep track of my books, I have a bit more statistics than even appear in my library thing profile. Especially since I don't use library thing to keep track of which books I've read or not.

Here are some random numbers that should be as boring as all get out to anyone else:

Of those 1111 books, I've read 575 or 52%. Some of those volumes contain more than one book, and if you count those, I've read 685.

732 of those books are paperback, 187 are trade paperback, and 146 are hardcover. 46 are textbook sized or larger. 30 are signed (13 are just signed, 13 are personalized, and 4 are personalized first edition hardcovers).

The best represented publisher is TOR/ORB with 144 books. In second place is Del Rey with 121. Third is a near tie between ACE (88) and Bantam (87).

444 of those books are fantasy and 519 are science fiction. Altogether my speculative/strange/sf/f collection is 989 books. Interestingly, while the ratio of fantasy to science fiction is around 77/90 I've read a lot more fantasy. The ratio of sci-fi to fantasy that I've actually read is around 41/73.

The average number of pages per book is 384, the median is 339. I've read 197,440 pages of fiction in my library and I have 166,443 to go. The total number of pages is 427,013. I would guess that the average words per book is around 86,479. That means I've probably read about 44, 424,000 words from the books I own.

My collection contains 168 Hugo Award nominees and 48 Hugo winners. It also contains 84 Nebula Award nominees and 34 Nebula winners. 15 have won both awards. I've read 31 of the Hugo winners and 19 of the Nebula winners (but as I mentioned, 15 of those have won both award). I've also read 40 of the Hugo nominees and 33 of the Nebula nominees.

I also track the Locus Award, John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, World Fantasy Award, James Tiptree Jr. Award, Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and Lambda Literary Award. Usually good books will collect more than one award, so of 1111 books, 307 have won or been nominated for one or more of these awards. Of those, I've read 104, or around 34%.

If you were me, you'd be wondering what the most honored book in my little library is. Well, that depends. If you just go counting awards and nominations then China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh is by far the top with six. It was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula, won the Locus for best first novel, the Tiptree and Lambda Litterary and garnered special recognition from the Gaylactic Spectrum folk.

If your a writer and you ever wonder if anyone has sold a novel through the slush pile, then be aware that during a Boskone panel, the editor of China Mountain Zhang pointed out that it was a slush pile submission. Also, if you've never read it and you like exceedingly intellectual science fiction, then I highly recommend it as one of the best novels that I've ever read.

You'll notice that it only was nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula though, so you're probably also wondering what the biggest winner is, then I have a way of weighting books as well. I give a point for a win and a half point for a nomination (actually, it's more complicated than that, but I don't feel like explaining right now). If looked at that way then Shadow & Claw, the first half of the Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe is ranked highest. This is a omnibus edition of Shadow of the Torturer and Claw of the Conciliator. Between these two books this volume has one Hugo nomination, one Nebula win and one nomination, one Campbell nomination, one WFA win and one nomination and it won the Locus for best fantasy novel.

Alright, so what's the most recognized single volume work? Including the gay sci-fi awards, that's still China Mountain Zhang. If you discount those though, it's a tie between Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and Gateway by Fredrick Pohl both of which achieved the quad win: Hugo, Nebula, Locus and Campbell.

Here's a few other weird things that I know about my collection. 83% of it is in boxes right now because of my move out east. For every movie on VHS or DVD that I own, I own 18 (almost 19) books. Finally, if I read a book per week, it would take me more than 13 years to get to the number of books read that I have. Which is actually a little embarassing to me, considering that I've been reading novels a lot longer than that. It means that some weeks I've been slacking (or stuck on a particular book).

I have no idea why I so obsessively and compulsively keep track of my books. It's just this thing that I do, and sometimes it helps me keep track of things and sometimes it annoys the crap out of me (like just now, when I discovered that The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon did not win the Campbell and I had to go back and fix it and this post, grrrrr).

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