News & Notes is a weekly Saturday post featuring book- and publishing-related news, links to interesting articles and opinion pieces, and other cool stuff
- U.S. House of Representatives votes to save library funding, NEA, and NEH after Trump budget proposal slashed or eliminated their budgets. (Publishers Weekly)
- Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries. The languages were rediscovered as researchers photographed and deciphered a number of palimpsests, or manuscripts written over older, erased manuscripts, at St. Catherine’s Monastary in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. (Smithsonian)
- The 2017 Man Booker Award shortlist was announced. (Man Booker Award) And NPR talks about the shortlisted books.
- The National Book Awards longlists are out for Young People’s Literature, Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. (National Book Foundation)
- Hide a Book Day is Sept. 18. And you can join Goodreads and The Book Fairies by leaving a book in a public place for someone else to find and enjoy. (You don’t have to wait until the 18th, either. BookCrossing has been promoting this idea for years.)
- Bookstores recovering, reopening in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (Shelf Awareness) and also this article.
- The Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Has Finally Been Decoded. And it’s basically a medical manual on women’s health. (Ars Technica)
- SFF Publisher Orbit foresees even more growth to come (Publishers Weekly)
- A replica Parthenon made of 100,000 banned books has been erected on a former bookburning site in Germany. The art installation by Marta Minujin incorporates 100,000 copies of 170 classic, vintage, and contemporary books that have been banned at some point. The exhibit, in Kassel, Germany, runs through Sept. 17. (Lonely Planet)
Jerry Pournelle, science fiction and technology author, died Sept. 8, 2017, at the age of 84. A long-time collaborator with Larry Niven, the duo was probably best known for their classic The Mote in God’s Eye (1974), which was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards. But Pournelle also wrote SF on his own, under his own name and the pen name Wade Curtis. In addition to his SF writing, Pournelle served in the Korean War, earned his Ph.D. in political science, spent years working with the defense and aerospace industries, served as president of the SFWA in the 1970s, and wrote a monthly technology column for Byte magazine (later Byte.com.) He may also have been the first author to write a novel on a computer. Pournelle’s politics have been variously described as extremely right or libertarian, which did not always endear him to the wider SFF community, particularly in recent decades.
Pournelle’s death came barely a week after he attended DragonCon, following a sudden illness.
Obituaries and tributes: SFWA; SyFy.com; The Verge. Tor.com offers a review of Pournelle’s A Spaceship for the King alongside a look at the author’s life and career.
- DACA Rescinded and Poets Respond (Poetry Foundation)
- Caribbean-born SF author Tobias Burckell on how to help hurricane-ravaged islands
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hero “was originally black” (The Guardian)
- Booksellers and Librarians on the Weirdest Requests They’ve Gotten at Work. (Book Riot) I can attest that booksellers, at least, field some doozies. There was the person who came to ask where we kept the faucets, and left in a huff after we politely suggested that perhaps he wanted a hardware store. It was only after he left that we realized that he was asking for books published by Fawcett, once an independent publisher but at that time an imprint of Ballantine books. Since he never said “Fawcett books”, we never shelved books by publisher, and most of us (relatively new hires) weren’t that familiar with publishing imprints, this explanation for his question simply didn’t occur to us.
- Terry Pratchett exhibition offers peek into writer’s own world (The Guardian)
- Mea Culpa, Library, Mea Maxima Culpa. New mom Brenna Clarke Gray writes about the things she loves about her library, and the ways she sometimes messes up her relationship with it. (Book Riot)
Free Fiction Online
- “Henosis”: N. K. Jemison’s creepy take on literary fame and literature prizes. (Uncanny magazine)
Book & Movie Announcements
- The BBC plans a Harry Potter documentary “in tandem” with the British Library’s 20th-anniversary exhibition. I can only hope it will be available in the US as well. (Book Riot)
- The 10 Best Female Detectives in Fiction Written By Women (and one man.) (Keith Rice, for Signature)
- 22 YA Books You Need To Read This Fall (Buzzfeed)
That’s it for this week!