June 19, 2015

Chasing Tale [June 19, 2015]: The Tor You Know

Summer is called the silly season, because politicians and news media tend to focus on the most trivial and easily sensationalized topics, until the real work kicks in again in the fall. And the controversies and outrages get more and more inane as the summer wears on. Well, it appears that at least for 2015 the same holds true for the SF/F community.

Of all the shenanigans this year in the writing world, the most caustic has unquestionably been the Hugo Awards kerfuffle. What's that, you ask? Oh ho, don't ask. After countless weeks of bellyaching by some right-wing authors about a secret cabal of social justice warriors hoarding Hugo Awards like a shut-in hordes pizza boxes, the arguments have circled back on themselves and everyone has just been treading water with several more weeks until the awards are even handed out.

The whole thing was running on fumes and I think everyone knew it. And in politics, when the heat dies down and you need to whip up support, you throw some red meat in the ring. Something that puppies could gnaw on. Since many in the fray have had a longstanding resentment towards Tor Books, decrying the publisher as a kind of literary Illuminati, it seemed like they were juicy red meat indeed. So that's what happened this month, as somehow from the myriad of hyperbolic slings and arrows people in the SF/F community have hurled at each other, a single Facebook post by a Tor employee was presented as a smoking gun. Subsequently, a series of demands have been left at Tor's doorstep and if they are not met, everyone boycotts starting today. Well ... not everyone.

Seeing the absurdity of the boycott, many are making today "Buy a Tor Book Day" and taking to social media to rah-rah for their favorite Tor books and authors. For as many people supposedly swearing off the publisher for the sake of ... reasons, more people would rather just keep buying the books they want. It's a bit like when One Million Moms threatened to boycott JC Penney because Ellen DeGeneres had lesbian cooties or something. Turned out that the homophobes exaggerated their numbers, and way more people ended up shopping for pastel cardigans and khaki capris in support of Ellen and feminazis everywhere.

Anyway, it reminds me of something I read about boycotts. Something to the effect of "A boycott, especially when you advertise it to the world, can backfire when people outside your circle find out about it."

So ... yeah. I bought books. Plus some more review copies arrived. What have you added to your to-be-read pile lately?

Trust No One by Paul Cleave - This looks like a very promising psychological thriller coming out from Simon & Schuster Canada in August. It's about a crime writer diagnosed with Alzheimer's and comes to believe his fictional crimes are real and he's the killer, while those around him believe it's mere delusion due to the disease.

London Falling by Paul Cornell - This is the first Tor book I bought. I've had this one on my watch list for a while, ever since I heard Paul on an episode of the Squeecast. I dig urban fantasy, especially when it's the gritty stuff, and this London-based one sounds especially gritty.

Dead Spots by Rhiannon Frater - The other Tor book leans towards the horror genre, because I am a horror hound after all. A car accident sends a woman into a realm between the land of the living and of the dead, in search of a boy calling for help who may or may not be a demon. Eep.

Gunmen by Timothy Friend - One Eye Press has a new western out. An under-appreciated genre in my book, as evidenced by some great books to come out recently from the likes of Joe Lansdale, Ed Kurtz, and others. I'm looking forward to this one.

The Darkest Lullaby by Jonathan Janz - There was a freebie going on last week with Audiobooks.com, and I managed to get a copy of this early Janz novel. I've started listening to it this week and the narrator's voice is made for horror fiction.

ClownFellas by Carlton Mellick III - Bizarro fiction seems to be on the rise, and one of the biggest names in the genre has a new book out through Hydra, which published Adam Cesare's Mercy House and the Dark Screams anthology series, so I'm thinking this one should be pretty darned good in its own rite.

After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson - Some apocalyptic fiction in audiobook form hit my eardrums this month. I had the Kindle version, but Scott was cool enough to send me a review copy of the Audible version to, so I could do a kind of Whispersync review of it.

Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith - This is a new fantasy novel through Harper Voyager that'll hit shelves in July. Smith will stop by the blog in a couple weeks for an interview too, to discuss the book, so watch out for that.

Cape Cod Noir edited by David L. Ulin - There is a whole series of noir anthologies Akashic Books, and I managed to get my hands on a copy of this one with thirteen stories all set around the Cape Cod area. Should be interesting to see how grim the noir is around that area.

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