Oodles of Google doodles

Link: Official Google Blog: Oodles of doodles.

The guy who draws those Google logos has written a blog post (see above). He’s open to suggestions. As he says: "when a user writes in to suggest that we honor the once-every-122-years Transit of Venus on our home page, we actually do it!"

There are links in his post to the archive of very lovely Google logos.

Petronarati’s silver generation

Link: Booksellers Association: Face Value.

If you are confused about FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube et al., you could do a lot worse than read the above post, which explains all.

Martyn Daniels asks when there is going to be a geriatric version of one of these sites. That’s a good question, which makes business sense. For one thing, it is quite boring reading articles with headlines like "91-year-old man is top on YouTube" — yeah, yeah, we all know that people who have been round the block a few times are actually quite interesting. And for another, the sedate and silver haired amongst us have plenty of money and (if retired) plenty of time for a bit of networking while we look for outlets on which to spend our ill-gotten gains, or pensions. So I look forward to a Web 2.0 sharing site especially catering for the cultured, erudite and otherwise mature interests of the Petrona generation.

Spinning out of crime

Marydell, in a comment to a post about Ray Bradbury, writes: "it’s interesting how SF, fantasy, and horror always seem to get grouped together. It wouldn’t be hard to put together a SF list of 50 books that are purely SF without other genres creeping in, but I’ve never seen one.

Since you’re a crimefic fan, is there another genre that seems to naturally tag along?"

It’s a good question. I’m never too sure about the term "crime fiction", or how precisely it is defined. There are mystery stories ("whodunnits" or puzzles); thrillers (cliffhangers); detective novels (characterisation often taking precedence of the "solution", indeed sometimes the solution is forgotten as the book progresses).

Blurring of the boundaries beyond these three main categories does indeed happen. Horror is one common example – a supernatural element explains or is part of the explanation for events (Edgar Allen Poe, Wilkie Collins, Susan Hill, John Connelly). Law is another. These days we have John Grisham, Scott Turow, Philip Margolian and many others, categorised as "legal thriller". In its day, would "To Kill a Mockingbird" have been classified as such? Nowadays it is in with the classics.

There is also "SF crime" ;-), for example J D Robb (Nora Roberts’s Eve Dallas series), and that police procedural futuristic series set in Scotland by an author whose name I forget (detective begins with Q?). And what of magical crime (J K Rowling)? Historical crime (Lindsey Davies, Ellis Peters)? Literary crime (Ian McEwan, Kate Atkinson)?

Impossible to pin down a genre in any event that includes a spectrum from Elvis Cole to Miss Marple as "core" . But once one starts to answer Marydell’s question, the head starts to spin.

Self-publishing help

Dave Lull sent along a link the other day to the Independent Publisher, "the voice of the independent publishing industry". This online magazine celebrated its 20th birthday in 2003, and here explains what it’s all about.

The current issue contains articles like "Helping authors negotiate the tricky world of self-publishing contracts" or "From the trunk of the car to the big screen: self-publishing success does happen" (Eragon being the type-example of the moment). There’s a massive archive of past issues on the site.

There are various resources, such as a listing of books released by "independent, university, and self-publishers" to increase recognition, advice about how to sell more books, and a "share your story" archive. The organisation also sponsors the annual Independent Publisher Book Awards.