Friday, 13 April 2012

Found in translation | SF Bay Guardian

I'm a big fan of Haruki Murakami and am constantly surprised by his work. But I read his work in English, a far cry from the original Japanese and I'm amazed at how well the surreal nature of his work comes across. I'd known for a while that he only used two translators, to preserve the quality of the original and now here's an interview with them from the SF Bay Guardian

Found in translation | SF Bay Guardian

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

You SHALL be green!

Personally I'm sick of being told to be environmentally friendly by everyone from my kids (who have been brainwashed at school) to governments (who don't seem to do much to reduce corporate energy wastage). But, one of the more interesting green arguments is how much more environmentally friendly are e-books over printed books? Obviously e-books don't need to be printed and then shipped but the devices they're read on do. So are they really any more environmentally friendly than paper?

To answer this the national geographic has an interesting piece:
The amount of paper used for books in one year was estimated at 1.5 million metric tons, and each book produced gave off an estimated 8.85 pounds of carbon dioxide. Study groups have found that the carbon released from eBooks is offset after people read more than 14 eBooks. For the life cycle of a device for reading books, the carbon emitted is offset after the first year. The savings in carbon emitted into the air is around 168 kilograms for the following years after the first year of use.
It concludes with this bit of advice:
An avid reader, who will read more than 10 books a year, should consider buying a device anddownload ebooks to benefit our environment. 
You can read the full article here.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

When is a book not a book?

The interesting thing about Amazon is that everything that is sold in their books section is classed as a book. No matter whether it's a single sheet of A5 with one word on it or the complete works of Tolstoy.

So, should there be a separate nomenclature for shorter works of fiction? I appreciate we have terms like: short story, micro fiction, nanofiction and so but they are still clumped together under the term 'Novel' or 'Novella'.

When I buy a novel I expect about 80,000 words or in laymans terms 'a good long read', when I buy a 'novella' I expect a 'good short but punchy read'. Short stories, microfiction and nanofiction are often collected into a single work and called 'a collection of...' therefore I expect another 'good long read of different stories.'

But what if what I'm writing doesn't fit neatly into those categories? I don't have enough words to call it a novel or a short story and I don't have a collection of them to bundle together. The buyer then feels short changed when they are buying my story and may not return to buy my work again.

I now want to publish the e-booklet. A single work of fiction that leaves the purchaser under no illusion that what they are getting is a very very short story. But then do we have further subcategories such as e-pamphlet, which would be smaller than a booklet?