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[links] Link salad lives in a house in the sky

A reader reacts to Trial of Flowers

A reader reacts to Metatropolis

Penny Arcade on Herman Melville — I think my brain is broken now.

Photo prayers — A lovely site. (Via Bill M.)

Parabolic days ahead — The subtitle on this sign is even weirder.

The Tet Zoo guide to the creatures of Avatar — A working biologist looks carefully at the movie. Lengthy, cool post.

Chinese farmer builds robot army — I, for one, welcome our new mechanical overlords.

The Rehabilitation Of Joseph McCarthy? Texas Textbooks Process Grinds On — Confidential to conservative America: When one of your cultural heroes is a vile, prevaricating, power-hungry manipulative drunk who was one of the most destructive political figures of his era, you might want to re-examine your principles.

The Manimal Prize — More on the power of pink unicorns, and perhaps the sociology of poverty. (Via private message, thanks to my tipster.)

Hullabaloo on Pat Robertson — This ties in exactly to what I’ve been saying about the privileging of Christianity in American society. Remember: this man used to call up the fucking president of the United States. And he got through. And the president listened to him. You ever had that kind of access to power? Got it now? (This in the context of Robertson’s flatly insane Christianist remarks on the Haiti disaster.)

?otD: George or Jane?

Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 7.0
This morning’s weigh-in: 225.0
Currently reading: Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

[process] A few comments on acceptances and rejections

Yesterday afternoon, I sent a story to market. Yesterday evening, it was accepted. (No formal announcement yet, because I don’t have the all-clear from the editor, but I will soon.) I tweeted both events more or less in realtime, which sparked some questions.

Likewise, I mentioned recently on my blog that my acceptance rate was a function of the terrain of my career. That also sparked some questions.

So here’s a little analysis from the point of view of an author who’s transitioning from early career to mid-career. Since the beginning of 2008, I have sold 25 pieces of short fiction solo, and eight collaboratively, six with and two with . In that same time, I have received 30 solo rejections, and four collaborative rejections.

A preliminary look at the data suggests my self-cited 1:3 ratio of acceptances to rejections was in fact pessimistic. Looking only at my solo work, my ratio is slightly worse than 1:1. 1:3, I now realize, is my lifetime ratio. Also, these days, with rare exceptions, almost everything I write sells by the second submittal.

However, these statistics are significantly colored by the fact that I largely write short fiction to invitation. I believe I only wrote two spec pieces in 2007 and 2008 combined. I’ve written more spec pieces this year, about four, but almost entirely as a function of doing exploratory backstory or character development for my several novel continuities — Green, Mainspring and Flowers have all seen spec shorts written. (The collaborative work tends more to being spec, because the impulse that drives it somewhat different.)

So even my 1:1.2 ratio of acceptances to rejections reflects the fact that relatively few of my stories enter open slush. I still get rejected from invited markets about 1 out of every 3 or 4 times, for the very same reasons open slush gets rejected. Suitability, level of craft, editorial/reader appeal, too close to other work already acquired, wrong length, phase of the moon, etc. On the flip side, sometimes I’ll send an editor two, three or four stories on an invite, and suggest they pick the one they like. (I don’t recommend doing that unless you know the editor’s process rather well, or have queried that this is acceptable.) By definition, I’m creating rejections when I follow that pattern.

All of this is very different from five or six years ago, when the vast majority of my submittals were throwing it over the wall into open slush, and hoping to make a hit. The meaning of my rejections has changed considerably, along with the pattern and significance of my submittals. Of course, it has never hurt that my particular psychology is such that rejections don’t stress me much in any case. They’re just another form of editorial response, I note and file them, then do something else.

[links] Link salad gropes its way into Sunday morning, gets slapped

Sacramento Book Review likes Green Powell’s | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Borders ]

The New Yorker on “Seven Essential Fantasy Reads” — Which I found via this blog post from Dazed Rambling with some alternative recommendations, including my own Trial of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Borders ].

Holey Smokestack: 1865Shorpy with an odd bit of American naval history.

The Burden of Debt — Paul Krugman continues to be smart about the deficit.

The Edge of the American West on conservative accusations of liberal “royalism” — Ummm…Bush? Anyone? Once again the conservative mindset betrays itself spectacularly.

?otD: Do zombies experience tooth decay?

Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25
This morning’s weigh-in: 232.4
Currently reading: The Real Wizard of Oz by Rebecca Loncraine; Acacia by David Anthony Durham

[writing] The quarter just ended

First quarter of 2009 has been interesting from a writing perspective.

Sold three solo stories (one flash, one short, one novella) and two co-authored with (one short, one novelette). Ten short fiction rejections.

Sold three stories in reprint, along with Polish rights to Trial of Flowers.

40,900 words of new short fiction (one novella, one novelette, three short stories).

Revised Pinion and delivered it to Tor for editorial review.

Delivered The Sky That Wraps to Subterranean for pre-production.

Extended The Heart of the Beast from ‘s outline and partial, including 50,100 new words. Back to him for revision.

Outlined Endurance from scratch, twice.

Wrote the foreword for ‘s Push of the Sky.

Made the Hugo ballot, sort of, as an explanatory note to the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form nomination for METAtropolis.

Plus a bunch of blog posts, twittering, miscellanous blurbage, nonfiction writing and Ghu knows what else.

How was your writing year so far?

[links] Link salad for a hump day

I’ll be closing the Caption Contest Voting Poll in the next day or so — Vote if you haven’t yet.

A Romanian (I think) review of Trial of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon ]

More crazy logistics from Dark Roasted Blend — Highly entertaining photos, for the most part.

Earth-mass Exoplanets and Their UsesCentauri Dreams with more on exoplanets.

APOD with a stunning photo of a lenticular cloud

Inauguration Day From Space — (Thanks to .)

Why the Ideological Melting Pot Is Getting So Lumpy — I’m not sure I buy this thesis, partly because there’s some serious false equivalency going on in this article, but it’s still interesting. (Thanks to .)

Rejecting Bush Era, Reclaiming Values The New York Times on Obama’s Inaugural speech. I heard it this way, too, as a strong and relatively detailed refutation of the disastrous missteps of the Bush administration and conservative rule in general.

?otD: Was the walrus Paul?

Body movement: 40 minute ride on stationary bike
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville

[links] Link salad for the first Saturday of a bright new year

A reader reacts to Trial of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon ] — And of course, Madness of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon ] will be out shortly.

Dilbert on the cold stench of death

Norman Bel Geddes Airliner #4 — This has always been one of my favorite examples of Big Science era design.

The New Motor, or the Steam-Powered Messiah — Pulled from Dark Roasted Blend‘s own best of 2008. Mmm. Steampunky goodness.

Gems Point to Comet as Answer to Ancient Riddle — Nanodiamonds. Coooool.

?otD: How low can you go?

Body movement: 40 minute ride on the stationary bike
This morning’s weigh-in: 220.6
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville; Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout

[links] Link salad, up too late edition

Metatropolis is Out! — As usual, scalzi says this much better than I could.

A reader reacts to Trial of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon ] — He didn’t like it so much.

Tulipmaniagoulo sends this along for you fans of Black Tulip, my ever-unwritten Dutch historical.

Treatment on a plate — A dietary approach to treating addiction. (Thanks to lt260.)

Shorpy with a previous generation’s version of uploading and downloading. R-mail?

The Atlas of the Real World — Comparative mapping of various demographic and economic factors. Food for thought. (Thanks to tetar.)

A reader explains why he won’t buy any more of my books — In life, all is politics. I’m with scalzi on this one. (Note I am not calling this reader out as wrong — I hold precisely the same perspective concerning Orson Scott Card’s vile beliefs about my gay and lesbian friends. It would be hypocritical of me to object to this gentleman’s stance.)

MI Republicans Admit to Illegal Foreclosure Scheme, Surrender to DemocratsThe settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. Hey, conservatives — tell me again about the crisis in voter fraud? Seems to me that you all are creating it to whip up your own base and block likely Democratic voters where possible.

Angry attacks on Obama have many roots“I can’t recall a campaign where so many people held beliefs about a candidate that were demonstrably false,” said Adam Schiffer, an expert on American political behavior and media at Texas Christian University. Note the story maintains the pretense that the anti-Obama vitriol isn’t being perpetuated by the McCain campaign.

Barack Obama turns rivals’ words on them in Florida“It’s true that I want to roll back the Bush tax cuts,” Obama said. “John McCain calls that socialism. What he forgets, conveniently, is that just a few years ago, he himself said those Bush tax cuts were irresponsible. He said he couldn’t ‘in good conscience’ support a tax [cut] where the benefits went to the wealthy at the expense of ‘middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.'” Hahahahahah. I guess McCain was for it before he was against it. In a Democrat, that would be a flip-flop. In a Republican, it’s Straight Talk!™

Body movement: 90 minutes suburban walk
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 228.8
Currently reading: Nation by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad for an Omaha Tuesday

elfs with a review of Trial of Flowers Powell’s | Amazon ]

I wish that son of a gun would take that other hand out of his pocket.The Edge of the American West (a history blog) comments on Robert Heinlein, libertarianism and sex. Definitely worth the read.

Bird on a Wire – Flying Wing UAV Recharges on the Fly — A UAV which leeches power from existing lines. Man, this is very cyberpunk.

Galaxy evolution and the language of violence — Interesting essay on galaxy formation, and the way astronomers discuss it.

Freakonomics on climate change — Once again, this blog is challenging my conceptions, though in a rather lateral way. This post discusses a paper which looks at the historical relationship between climate change and economic crisis, with some unexpected (to me) results.

Nanotube Radio — Tunage for your gray goo! Seriously, this is some way cool ultraminiaturization. (Thanks to lt260.)

Deeply awesome Antactic photography — (Also thanks to lt260.)

Obama and FISA — Between this and his faith-based announcement, I’m starting to feel a little played here. I realize politics is politics, and he needs to capture a bigger tent than the corner where I happen to stand, but the FISA stuff is b.s. The whole point of his campaign is to roll back the radically extra-Constitutional agenda conservatives have foisted on this country in name of “security.” I can wrap my head around the faith-based stuff, that’s always been part of his positioning, it just disappoints me. (Thank to my Aunt M.)

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (travelling)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: Pavane by Keith Roberts [ ]

sitioning, it just disappoints me. (Thank to my Aunt M.)