We're planning on doing some database maintenance tomorrow and LiveJournal could be down for some users during this maintenance. It is scheduled to begin at 15:55 PDT on May 25 (click to see other timezones), will be happening over a two hour period and you might see occasional delays in connecting to some journals, pages or logging in. The delays will only be temporary and you should soon see a recovery in the site. We do not expect this work to cause wider site issues.
You can keep an eye on the LiveJournal Status Page to see when we're back, but we'll also be posting to LiveJournal's Facebook page and LiveJournal's Twitter account to let you know when we're back and to provide any additional updates if we go beyond our planned maintenance window.
(If you haven't tried it before -- you do it by posting something on a con-panel-like topic -- you can rip off one of Balticon's from here -- linking back to here, and putting a posting here to point it out. Then you watch the discussion and keep it on topic, or not if you find the digressions more interesting.)
Cover Copy: Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini have learned the ins and outs of Washington politics, not to mention how to prevail in intergalactic war and foil dangerous plots. But, in the aftermath of Operation Destruction, the Gower girls' powers are burned out, the entire A-C population has been "outed" as the aliens living on Earth that they are, and, worst of all, ACE is nowhere to be found.
Then murder and mayhem are served up at an important dinner party at the American Centaurion Embassy, and when the dust settled, Alpha Team and the Diplomatic Corps have more problems than just a dead Congressman.
Is there a single criminal mastermind--or multiple enemies--behind all the conspiracies that want Kitty dead and the A-Cs gone or co-opted to become the War Division?
The return of the best assassins in the business, the reappearance of two individuals long-presumed dead, Agent Malcolm Buchanan felled by something no one can identify or cure, and new technology that can block even the most powerful empathy on Earth . . . all this means the game's officially afoot. Then Vance Beaumont comes to Kitty with a wild theory that someone is systematically killing off the House of Representatives. . . .
It's up to Kitty and the rest of the gang to find out what's really going on and why. But will they be able to stop the killer or killers before the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives become casualties? And will the replacement Representative for New Mexico's 2nd District, who happens to be Jeff Martini, be the next to die?
The Human Division, John Scalzi
Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
Mending The Moon, Susan Palwick
Necessary Evil, Ian Tregellis
Extinct For A Reason, Scott Cooney
Tarnished, Rhiannon Held
Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge
Confusion of Princes, Garth Nix
Flora's Fury, Ysabeau Wilce
Island of Doom, Arthur Slade
Song of the Quarkbeast, Jasper Fforde
172 Hours On the Moon, Johan Harstad
Death of an Empire, M.K. Hume
Star Trek: Into Darkness, Alan Dean Foster
Red Plague Affair, Lilith Saintcrow
Gateway of the Saviours, A.J. Dalton
Long Earth, Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett
"There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view--a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man's Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King's road.
All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived . . . until Kvothe.
In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.
Yonder Comes the Other End of Time, by Suzette Haden Elgin
Daw Books, 1986, 302 pages
The Communipaths have traced a mind message of incredible strength to a seemingly empty sector of space, and now Tri-Galactic Federation agent Coyote Jones must find an invisible planet and bring back the unknown telepath who threatens to disrupt the entire Communipath system.
Bursting through a Spell of Invisibility and straight into Brightwater Kingdom on the planet Ozark, Coyote discovers a realm ruled by a iron-willed young woman named Responsible — perhaps the very telepath he seeks. But on this world where Magicians of Rank can call up a storm or cure a wounded and unwelcome offworlder with equal ease, will Coyote's psience or Ozark's spells prove the stronger?
Ozark magic vs. intergalactic telepaths. Fun, charming, and awfully damn silly.
Verdict: This is not a book you'd want to read as a stand-alone. If you have not read the Ozark Trilogy first, and preferably a couple of the Coyote Jones books as well, then Yonder Comes the Other End of Time is going to seem awfully silly and nonsensical. If you have read those books, then this book is still a little silly, but you'll enjoy it more.
Also by Suzette Haden Elgin: My review of The Ozark Trilogy.
My complete list of book reviews.
The scribes have three rules:
First Rule: do not interfere.
Second Rule: keep The Peace.
Third Rule: tell the truth as we see it.
I can see your ironic faces, those of my judges who know that I began life as a scribe. This, my defense testimony, shall show how I tried not to interfere, that I meant to keep The Peace; and I will reveal the means that enables me to tell the absolute truth.
I will being with the first important day of my life, just before the Hour of Daybreak, the spring I turned fourteen.
So begins the story of Emras, trained as a scribe in Colend four hundred years after the era of Inda Algara-Vayir, known as "Elgar the Fox." Emras is the most industrious and diligent of students, not inclined to frivolity or intemperance of any kind. She wants nothing more than to become royal scribe for the beautiful, popular Princess Lasva, justly famed across the continent for her grace and style. And Emras gets her wish, for she is the top student in her class.
But once Emras is Princess Lasva's royal scribe, life becomes complicated in ways Emras could never have foreseen. For though Emras adores the princess, who is as intelligent and kind as she is beautiful, her position at the height of Colend's subtle, complex court as Lasva's confidant and ally is far more convoluted than Emras had anticipated.
Among the flocks of royal suitors vying for Lasva's hand in marriage are two men who no one, not even the princess' sister Queen Hatahra of Colend, has expected. The first is King Jurac of the despised Chwahir, and the second is Prince Ivandred of Marloven Hesea on the far western side of the continent. The Colendi and the Chwahir have long been enemies, and Marlovens are considered barbaric and primitive by the elegant, cultured nobility of Colend.
But when Lasva is abducted, it is Ivandred who comes to her rescue, for his remarkable martial abilities harken back to his world famous forebear--Inda the Fox.
Lasva marries her savior, now Colend's newest ally, but before they leave for the distant west, Queen Hatahra takes Emras aside and charges her with a secret mission. Emras is to search in her new home for signs of the evil magical influence of Norsunder--a mysterious realm once thought legendary, but now known to be real. The queen has heard dire rumors of the Marloven mages and fears not only for her sister, but for the world.
Emras knows nothing of magic, and the Colendi mages she consults are unwilling to teach her, saying she must go through proper channels and attend the official school. But once in Marloven Hesea, Emras finds a knowledgeable and willing tutor, and while Ivandred is conducting brilliant military campaigns, with Lasva adding style and subtlety to military negotiations, Emras is delving deep into the history and practice of magic. But she does not realize the risks she's taking and the danger she's exposing herself to.
So why is she on trial? What is she accused of? Emras was acting on express orders from her queen, so why the need for a long defense? And is marloven Hesea truly in league with Norsunder?
Which means, the time has come for me to bid you all a fond farewell. I had no idea that my crazy little idea for a community would take on a life of its own. Thanks to everyone for making this what it is.
That Word Grrl
Have a great long weekend! Remember: the water's REALLY cold, and only morons drink and drive.
Just over a year ago, I wrote about a new French law that, under the guise of dealing with the pressing issue of orphan works, implements a truly massive rights transfer.
The law empowers the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to create an online database of works published in France before 2001 that are currently out of print (this includes not just works by French writers, but foreign works translated into French). Once a work has been listed in the database for more than six months, the right to digitize it transfers to a collective management organization, which thereafter has near-unlimited power to exploit that right–including granting it to publishers without the author’s permission. The collective management organization will also be responsible for distributing (an unspecified portion of) the proceeds from such grants to rightsholders.
There’s a six-month waiting period between a book’s appearance in the database and the transfer of rights to the collective management organization. To be removed from the database, rightsholders–who are not currently being notified if their works are included–must opt out in writing before the six-month waiting period expires. If they miss that deadline, they lose control of the digital display and sale of their work, and can only demand removal by proving that that they are the sole holder of digital rights.
The database, known as ReLIRE, is now online,with an initial list of 60,000 books. According to a comprehensive post on the program by writer Gillian Spraggs, numerous problems have been noted, including data errors, inclusion of books published after the 2001 cutoff date, and inclusion of books still in print or already available in digital form. Also included are many translated works by foreign authors that are clearly not orphans.
Digital-hungry publishers are already taking advantage of the database. Spraggs writes,
‘You will have the possibility of having an exclusive publishing licence for 10 years, implicitly renewable, to exploit the book in digital form, without having to sign a contract with the author or the author’s successors in title for the digital rights.
Sofia [the collecting society] will contact the authors or the successors in title to pay them, in accordance with the terms set out in the publishing contracts’…
Two points that the FAQ discreetly avoids spelling out are:
1. The legislation specifically charges the collecting society with developing contractual relationships that will ensure the greatest possible availability of the works…This puts prospective publishers in a very strong negotiating position and more or less guarantees that the contracts agreed will be bargain-basement deals with very low royalty rates, regardless of the market value of the work.
2. Certain administration costs that in a normal publishing arrangement would be borne by the publisher will instead be borne by the collecting society, which will take them out of royalties (so all or part of them will be taken from the authors’ share of any income). These include the cost of contacting authors and estates.
For authors, Spraggs says, it is “a ripoff deal.”
Writers’ groups in the US are taking notice of this threat to copyright. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has sent the letter below (reproduced with permission) to members, a number of whom have already found their works included in ReLIRE.
Dear SFWA Members,
As many of you already know, the ReLire program currently underway in France has scanned many books it considers to be “orphan works” in order to make them available through a public database. This database has already been found to contain many titles that are clearly not orphan works or in the public domain, including a number by prominent SF and fantasy authors. A more detailed explanation of the program is available here.
As this is a program of the Bibliotheque Nationale Francaise (French National Library), the Board is currently discussing options for applying pressure to the French government to prevent further works by SFWA members from being scanned and made available through this program, and we invite any members who have connections with the United States Trade Representative or any relevant branch of the U.S. Government to contact us. For the moment, however, we are informing all members of the issue and making them aware of the process involved in finding out whether a work is included and how to request that it be removed from the database.
All parts of the ReLire website and database are available only in French. The Society of Authors has produced translations of four key pages:
Here is a direct link to the advanced search page. The search fields are Titre( Title), Auteur (Author), Editeur (Editor) and Date d’edition (Publication date). If you are aware of any works of yours that have ever been published in French, you are strongly advised to search under all of the first three fields, as the entries in the database have been found to have many typos. Please notify SFWA of any of your works that are found in the database, as that will be valuable information in our efforts to protest the program.
If you do find any novels, stories or any other works belonging to you in the database you may request to have them removed. Please note that at this time it appears as though you will need either a French identification card (only available to residents of France) or a valid passport to make the application. We are awaiting clarification on the question of whether any other forms of identification will be accepted.
Thanks to Aliette de Bodard, Lawrence Schimel, Michael Capobianco and Jim Fiscus for their help in researching and co-ordinating SFWA’s response.
If any of your works have been published in French, and you find them included in ReLIRE, see this step-by-step manual for applying to have the work removed. For many other helpful resources and links, as well as some of the writing/publishing community’s reaction to ReLIRE, see Gillian Spraggs’s blog post, French Copyright Grab: the Machine Creaks into Action.
Spraggs writes that a group of French authors are planning to challenge the new law on constitutional grounds. She concludes by urging all writers to protest ReLIRE:
Whether or not you find that any of the books on the list are by you, or contain works by you, make a complaint to your government about the ReLIRE project, and talk to any author societies to which you belong.
The Berne Convention says: ‘Authors of literary and artistic works protected by this Convention shall have the exclusive right of authorizing the reproduction of these works, in any manner or form.’ (9.1) This can only be overriden ‘in certain special cases’ and ‘provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author’. (9.2) The Convention says of all the rights that are guaranteed under it: ‘The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality‘. (5.2)
By compelling foreign authors, in order to prevent their works’ being co-opted into collective management, to search for them on a database and request their removal, the French government has imposed an illegal formality on their exclusive exercise of the right of reproduction.
The ReLIRE scheme is in no sense a ‘special case’ within the meaning of Article 9.2. By intervening in such an outrageous manner in the fast-developing market for digital rights it interferes with the normal exploitation of the works and most unreasonably prejudices the legitimate interests of the authors.
We've just brought User Cluster #9 back online, and the errors being caused by the maintenance should stop occurring. Notifications are sending again, but may be delayed as there is a backlog of notifications waiting to be sent. If you are still encountering any errors, please open a Support request so we can investigate the issue.
We are still in the process of bringing User Cluster #9 back online, and it is unfortunately taking longer than we anticipated. We are making progress, but are still several hours away from this being fixed. To address a few common questions we are seeing:
How many user clusters are there?
There are 13 user clusters in total.
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You can see which user cluster you are on at http://www.livejournal.com/misc/wheream
I am not on cluster 9, but still can't post or edit entries. What's happening?
Trying to update or edit posts may still fail even if you are not on user cluster #9. An Error 500 will appear when loading the update/edit journal page if you have posting access to a community which is located on this cluster. The update module at http://www.livejournal.com/portal/
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What other things aren't working right now?
Twitter digest posts are not currently being imported as a result of this maintenance. Some other pages & features may display errors if they need to access information located on user cluster #9. The inbox and community management pages are both known to be showing errors for people affected by this.
We will post again either when user cluster #9 is back online, or if we have any additional information to post. Thanks again for your patience while we work to fully restore service to the site.
We successfully finished maintenance on cluster #7. All accounts’ owners from this cluster can now log into their journals.
We are working on restoring the user cluster #9, it will take approximately an hour. We will keep you informed. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.
To followup on the previous post, the same symptoms for user cluster #7 are also present for users on cluster #9, so we're in the process of fixing it as well. Having 2 clusters to work on rather than 1 unfortunately means that we expect it to take approximately 6-8 hours for everything to be resolved. We do, however, know how the problems with each cluster started and it is not something which will cause any additional clusters to have these issues. We'll post here again either when the issue has been resolved, or if we have any significant developments to update you on.
The Coldest War, by Ian Tregillis
Tor, 2012, 352 pages
Someone is killing Britain's warlocks.
Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR. For decades, the warlocks have been all that stand between the British Empire and the Soviet Union-- a vast domain stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel. But now each death is another blow to Britain's security.
Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain. Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary humans with extraordinary abilities, then prisoners of war in the vast Soviet effort to reverse engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.
Because that's where former spy Raybould Marsh lives. And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.
As Marsh is drawn back into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war. And as he strives to protect Queen and country, he's forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.
The sequel to Bitter Seeds fast-forwards from World War II to the Cold War.
Verdict: A great sequel, and a book that makes me eager to finish the trilogy. Mixing superpowers, magic, and alternate history in a very grim world of 1963, The Coldest War is a fast-paced bombshell of an adventure not afraid to threaten to destroy the world.
Also by Ian Tregillis: My review of Bitter Seeds.
My complete list of book reviews.
We're doing some emergency maintenance on one of our databases (user cluster #7, there are 13 user clusters in total. You can see which user cluster your account is on here). The estimated duration of this maintenance is 4-5 hours.
If your account is located on user cluster #7, you will not be able to login to your account until this maintenance has been completed. If you are already logged-in, you will be unable to post, edit, or delete any material on LiveJournal until the maintenance is completed.
If your account is not on this cluster, LiveJournal will still be up, you will be able to login. You may be able to post, edit, and delete content, but if any communities you have posting access to are on cluster #7, you will see an Error 500 when attempting to load the update/edit journal page, or viewing your inbox if any messages have been received from a user on cluster #7. Other pages may also be similarly affected if they attempt to load usernames or data from this cluster. You may also encounter problems viewing journals, entries, comments, or private messages from accounts which are on this cluster.
We're working as quickly as possible to get everything back up & running, and appreciate your patience during this maintenance.
Magician's End, Raymond E. Feist
Make Good Art, Neil Gaiman
Faeryland, Freda Warrington
Icons, Margaret Stohl
Loki's Wolves, K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
Raven Girl, Audrey Niffenegger
Red Moon, Benjamin Percy
The Country Of Wolves, Louise Flaherty & Neil Christopher
The Reluctant Assassin, Eoin Colfer
Never, K.D. McEntire
The School For Good And Evil, Soman Chainani
Yellowcake, Margo Lanagan
Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi
Bedlam, Christopher Brookmyre
The Shifting Price of Prey, Suzanne McLeod
Ghost Knight, Cornelia Funke
The Serpent's Shadow, Rick Riordan
The Prince Who Fell From the Sky, John Claude Bernis
Spirit And Dust, Rosemary Clement-Moore
Alien Invasion And Other Inconveniences, Brian Yansky
Cabinet of Earths, Anne Nesbet
Throne Of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
Deep Space, Ian Douglas
Whoops – Somebody Naked?
…Glancing around, Gus saw that each group had been sequestered in its own spot by the Berkeley police. The Lezzes in Fezzes shook their signs angrily as they shouted “Marines Get Out!” Beyond them, the Feed The Earth Pullets Not Bullets protestors screamed through their feathers and rubber chicken beaks. Even the Naked Guy was there wearing only a strategically placed stop sign…
- SERGEANT GUS AND THE DAY OF JOY in Soldier’s Song.
Oh No – A Predator On Campus?
… She held out her arm, which I could now see was dripping blood. Mr. Brett glanced at me quickly, pressed the decoration money into my hand and shooed me out of the office. But I was already starting to worry. On the way home with Jordan I refused to speak to him…
- DANCES WITH CROWS in Twisted Redux.
Shhhh – Wicked Secrets In The Castle?
“… don’t be afraid. I’ve always protected you haven’t I?” Mira nodded, but she jumped when the boom of a battering ram reverberated through the castle…”Come here little one, come to me, I will not let them hurt you.” Mira crept to her mistress and let Nadhera’s cold arms enfold her. She did not resist when her mistress brought a smooth hand to her head and tilted it back. Nor did she cry out when… her mistress’s fangs sank into her neck…
- ASCENDANCY OF BLOOD in New Visions
Intriguing stories…. but it’s not necessarily what you think!
Just good writing; exquisite twists and turns; unexpected endings.
Click story title to access Anthology. From there Click stories to preview, then click author’s name to access other stories in the AB data base. Scroll down to see other anthologies containing that author’s stories.
enjoy - foxtaleOriginally published at AnthologyBuilder.com.