POLL RESULTS: Buying Free eBooks (Redux)

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Have you ever purchased a book that you first sampled as a free eBook?


(103 total votes)

Comments this week:

“It’s all-or-nothing for me. Either I’m not interested in the e-book and don’t buy the book, or else I read part of the e-book and then definitely buy the book. There aren’t any books I’d just be content to read as ebooks. (Although there are still shelves of books I’m just content to read in paper form.)” – Pete Tzinski

“In fact I bought Accelerando by Charles Stross and read it both in e-book and in hard copy. It was very convenient, cause I could keep on reading it in my mobile phone even if I had not my hard copy with me. I plan to do the same with Blindsight by Peter Watts.” – odo

“Is the problem here that authors are giving away something that somebody thinks we should pay for? Not that I want to mention it, but isn’t the decision to give away the book up to the author that wrote it? I also would like to point out that this has similarities how video games drive demand through the use of demos or previews.” – Tim

“How about; ‘I liked the free ebook and I liked reading on a computer screen so much I bought more ebooks.’ Sorry but I like reading books on the PC more, physical books are now passé for me I guess?” – Trent

“I have purchased a significant number of Baen Books this way. First read as a free eBook, then bought the deadtree edition and then bought the eBook!” – Fred Kiesche

Be sure to vote in this week’s poll about 2007 Summer movies!

Filed under: Polls

Klausner Backlash?

Thanks to a commenter in our own Klausner Post, I have learned that there is a bit of a backlash ensuing for Amazon’s #1 reviewer. And the backlash might be having an impact:

So, what has happened since this little investigation was launched? Well, as of this moment, the prolific Harriet Klausner, has written only 2 reviews in the last 5 days. To put that number in perspective; Harriet has posted as many as 40 book reviews in one day in recent weeks. 2 reviews in 5 days is a significant reduction. Is this merely a coincidence? Hard to tell.

The scrutiny has caused people to look at other top reviewers:

John “Gunny” Matlock has admitted that his reviews were actually being produced by a consortium of 27 reviewers and he claims to be resigning as an Amazon reviewer. Grady Harp has suddenly started getting fewer votes of approval for his reviews.

Hmmmm…the plot thickens…

Filed under: Books

TOC: Best Short Novels: 2007

The Science Fiction Book Club has put up the page for Best Short Novels: 2007 edited by Jonathan Strahan, a collection of eight novellas. Here’s what’s in it:

  • “Where the Golden Apples Grow” by Kage Baker
  • A Billion Eves” by Robert Reed
  • “The Voyage of Night Shining White” by Chris Roberson
  • Julian: A Christmas Story” by Robert Charles Wilson
  • “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” by Ysabeau Wilce
  • Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick
  • After the Siege” by Cory Doctorow
  • “Botch Town” by Jeffrey Ford

For those who are keeping score, this anthology boasts 3 Hugo nominees (by Reed, Wilson and Swanwick) and 1 Locus Award nominee (by Ford).

Filed under: Books

FINALISTS: 2007 Locus Award

The finalists for the 2007 Locus Award have been announced. Winners will be announced in June at the Locus Awards Ceremony in Seattle, June 16th, during the Science Fiction Museum’s Hall of Fame weekend.

Here are the nominees with review links. When available, title links to the online version.


  • Blindsight, Peter Watts (Tor) [See SF Signal review]
  • Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
  • Farthing, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Glasshouse, Charles Stross (Orbit; Ace)
  • Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor) [See SF Signal review]


  • The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross (Golden Gryphon Press; Ace)
  • The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow (Morrow)
  • The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)
  • Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)
  • Three Days to Never, Tim Powers (Subterranean Press; Morrow) [See SF Signal review]

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Filed under: Awards

Final 2007 Hugo Short Fiction Nominee Available Online

Thanks to Jed Hartman, the final Hugo nominated story is available online.

The 2007 Hugo Award Nominees post has been updated and now contains links to all the short fiction stories.

Filed under: Awards

Friday YouTube: The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart, narrated by James Mason, is a 1953 animated short film based on the Edgar Allan Poe short-story.

Filed under: Books

NOMINEES: Sidewise Awards

Finalists for The Sidewise Award, given to works of alternate history and named after Murray Leinster’s 1934 story “Sidewise in Time”, have been announced:


  • Robert Conroy for 1862 (Presidio Press)
  • Paul Park for The Tourmaline (Tor Books)
  • Charles Stross for The Family Trade, The Hidden Family, and The Clan Corporate (Tor Books)
  • Harry Turtledove for The Disunited States of America (Tor Books)
  • Jo Walton for Farthing (Tor Books)


  • Stephen Baxter for “The Pacific Mystery” (The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction edited by Mike Ashley, Carroll & Graf)
  • Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff for “O, Pioneer” Paradox 8
  • Gardner Dozois for “Counterfactual” (F&SF, June 2006)
  • Chris Floyd for “History Lesson” (Moscow Times, February 22, 2006)
  • Martin Gidron for “Palestina” (Interzone June 2006)
  • Brian Stableford for “The Plurality of Worlds,” (Asimov’s August 2006)
  • Andrew Tisbert for “The Meteor of the War” (Paradox 9)

See also: Past winners.

Filed under: Awards

SF Tidbits for 4/20/07

Filed under: Tidbits

A Century of Science Fiction

The University of Delaware Library offers an online exhibit From Verne to Vonnegut: A Century of Science Fiction.

There are several “rooms” to explore…

Early work opens with Sir Thomas More’s Utopia from 1516 and showcases books by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (The Last Man, her first major work after Frankenstein), Edgar Allan Poe (Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque), Jules Verne (From the Earth to the Moon), H.G. Wells (Tales of Space and Time).

The Magazines room briefly covers Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and If.

Other rooms showcase other types of books. The Aliens and Others room shows samples relating to robots, martians and first contact. The Other Voices room profiles works by women, African American authors and books the deal with gender issues. Dystopias shoes the obvious, but also Alternate Histories and Disasters. There’s also a Curator’s Choice room offering exhibit curator Iris Snyder’s best picks of the genre (standalone and series).

Filed under: Web Sites

Over the years, I’ve refined the kinds of things we post about. Generally speaking, I avoid rumor posts and such minutia as casting calls, box office tallies, DVD releases, etc. I mean, do we really need to write a post every time George Lucas farts?

So it is with some trepidation that I submit this casting rumor about Kate Beckinsale being tied to a remake of Barbarella. But I owe Pete a favor. Pete’s infatuation with Kate Beckinsale (some would call it a borderline stalking obsession) is legendary in these parts. Or those parts, if you know what I mean.

Enjoy, Pete!

Filed under: Movies

SF Tidbits for 4/19/07

Filed under: Tidbits


Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Greg Bear has been writing professionally for forty years. His works range from memorable short fiction, like “Blood Music” and “Hardfought”, to novels like Eon, The Forge of God and Darwin’s Radio. His latest novel is a a near-future thriller called Quantico, available from Vanguard Press. (See SF Signal review.) SF Signal had the opportunity to talk to Greg via email about the Quantico, Eon and making books available online for free.

SF Signal: Hi, Greg. What prompted you to write Quantico? How did you get the idea, and did that idea change as you were writing it?

Greg Bear: A visit to the FBI Academy to attend a conference on the future of crime and criminal investigation gave me a chance to speak with agents and law enforcement officers from around the country. It was a fascinating and sobering experience–these people have some of the most difficult jobs on the planet, are under constant scrutiny, and without them, we’d be in very serious trouble indeed. The stresses these responsibilities produce, in a time of political change and terrible threat, seemed to me perfect for a new kind of thriller–a near-future, hardcore look at where we might end up if we keep making strategic screw-ups, and continue to misuse and abuse our front-line defenders, be they military personnel or law enforcers.

SFS: Was there any backlash from the book?

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Interviews

Subterranean Magazine, Spring 2007

The Spring 2007 issue of Subterranean Press Magazine has been posted online with the following offerings:

  • Audio: “Rude Mechanicals” by Kage Baker
  • Column: Bears Examine #2 by Elizabeth Bear
  • Column: Me and Lucifer by Mike Resnick
  • Fiction: “A Plain Tale from Our Hills” by Bruce Sterling
  • Fiction: “A Season of Broken Dolls” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  • Fiction: “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Fiction: “Eating Crow” by Neal Barrett, Jr.
  • Fiction: “The Leopard’s Paw” by Jay Lake
  • Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 edited by Mike Resnick
  • Review: The Last Mimzy by Henry Kuttner
  • Review: The Best of the Best Volume 2, 20 Years of The Best Short Science Fiction Novels
  • Review: Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor Volume 2

Filed under: Web Sites

R.I.P.: Jamie Bishop

Sad news…

Artist and Professor Jamie Bishop, son of SF author Michael Bishop, was among the victims of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy.

[via Locus Online]

Filed under: Art

SF Tidbits for 4/18/07

Filed under: Tidbits

(Note: The impetus for creating this post hit my while I was reading this over on Lou Anders’ blog, right around the section talking about Michael Chabon and the Oprah Book Club).

As we are all aware, July 21st, 2007 is P-Day (Potter Day) for the book publishing industry. At 12:01 AM, the newest, and last, Harry Potter book will be made available for sale. Undoubtedly there will be many book stores staying open, or opening there doors, to allow fans to purchase the book as soon as humanly possible. Now we, as science fiction fans, could sit back and grumble at how a ‘kids’ book, and fantasy at that!, is getting all the attention while SF gets the short shrift. Or, we can do something positive about it. Just think of all the people who read Harry Potter who haven’t tried anything else fantasy or science fiction related, or maybe they’ve read something in the field but didn’t like it. In either case, Harry Potter has a tremendously huge number of readers who maybe willing to try something different. We, as fans, have a huge opportunity to try to reach out to the Harry Potter readers and introduce them to other worthwhile reads available in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Thus, I bring you:

The Harry Potter Outreach Program!

This program is our attempt to raise the awareness of non-genre readers about the many good books they are missing if they only read Harry Potter and nothing else. It will work like this. On this site, I’d like to see us come up with a list of books that might appeal to Harry Potter readers. There will be six categories: (SF) 12 and Under, (SF)Young Adult, (SF) Adult, (F)12 and Under, (F)Young Adult, and (F) Adult. I ask that you list up to three books in each category. About two weeks or so before the release of the last Potter book, the results will be tabulated and the result will be a PDF file listing the top 3 books in each category suitable for printing on a 4×6″ index card. Something along the lines of: “You like the wonders of Harry Potter, you may like to read some of the following books…” This will be open to discussion as well.

You can then, if you so choose, print these out and take them to your local bookstore to hand out to those people waiting in line. There will also be a link on the card pointing back to this post showing that there are a lot more choices than just the ones presented on the card. I think this is a good time for us in the SF community to actually do something to spread the word about the Science Fiction and Fantasy community. I’ll create a permanent link on the right hand side of the main page pointing back to this post, and I’ll try to have weekly, if not more often, reminders about the program. To kick things off, here are my choices:


12 AND UNDER: Larklight by Philip Reeve, City of Ember by by Jeanne DuPrau

YOUNG ADULT: Mortal Engines, Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

ADULT: Old Man’s War/Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi


12 AND UNDER: Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton

YOUNG ADULT: Here There Be Dragons by by James A. Owen

ADULT: A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin

I’m not expecting to change the minds of the adults, but I bet we can reach some of the kids, who, after all, we will need if SF is to gain new readers.

Also, if you do go out, take a camera and send us your pics. We’ll find a place to host them so we can all see the magic in action!

Now, have at it!

Filed under: Books

REVIEW SUMMARY: My first foray in Martin’s well-regarded fantasy series.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A squire named Dunk carries on the tradition of his dead master and enters a jousting tournament to begin his career as a knight.


PROS: Exceptional storytelling; excellent pencil work and coloring.

CONS: Too many characters, houses and relationships to keep track of.

BOTTOM LINE: A fine introduction to A Song of Ice and Fire.

Read the rest of this entry

Filed under: Book Review

SF Tidbits for 4/17/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Calls For Cthulhu

More Monday YouTube….

Cthulhu answers your calls in Calls For Cthulhu! Call 1-800-SOL-EATR…

See also: Episodes two, three and four.

[via raincoaster]

Filed under: CthulhuHumor

SF Tidbits for 4/16/07

Filed under: Tidbits

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