Paul Jessup, novelist and prolific blogger, has put together a list of his favourite novels available for free in e-Book form.

So, last week I showed you some links to grab some free literature in ebook format. But browsing those sites can be a little like drinking from the fire hose, it’s hard to tell what’s out there and what’s good. So, today I’ll be posting some of my favorite free ebooks and links where you can grab them*. Feel free to leave your own links in the comments. And remember, these aren’t books I just like, these are books I love to pieces

The list includes everything from Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon, George MacDonald’s Lilith and Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue. On top of these, there are about two dozen others available completely for free.

Check out the whole list HERE.

SyFy LogoIn one of the most ill-advised marketing moves ever, the US based SciFi Channel is rebranding itself as SyFy.

From TV Week:

In some universe, the name “Syfy” is less geeky than the name “Sci Fi.” Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel, is betting it’s this one.

To that end, the 16-year-old network—owned by NBC Universal—plans to announce that Syfy is its new name March 16 at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.

Erm… really? SyFy is less geeky than SciFi Channel? Really?

And even if it is, do they not realize that their target audience is, um… geeks?

Sci Fi is coming off the best year in its history. In primetime it ranked 13th in total viewers among ad-supported cable networks in 2008. It’s a top-10 network in both adults 18 to 49 (up 4%) and adults 25 to 54 (up 6%).

Geez, only their most successful year ever? Of course it’s time to rebrand!

“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.

Mr. Brooks said that when people who say they don’t like science fiction enjoy a film like “Star Wars,” they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie.

“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”

Mr. Howe said going to Syfy will make a difference.

Yes. Going to an awkward misspelling of a ubiquitously geeky term is going to make all the difference in the world. In fact, it might even make up for the fact that all their current viewers won’t have to tune into SyFy anymore for Battlestar Gallactica, considering it’s nearing its final episode.

At least they didn’t alienate their target audience by calling them ‘geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that’.

Oh wait….

The network worked with the branding consultancy Landor Associates and went through about 300 possibilities before selecting Syfy.

“When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Mr. Howe said. “It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

Uh… there is just so much wrong with that bolded part that even I’m not going to go there.

To rub further dirt in the wound, Syfy is a Polish word (the pluaral of Syf) which means:

dirt, filth, grime
(colloquial) pimple, spot
(colloquial, vulgar) syphilis

Naming your Television channel after a Polish slang term for Syphilis, really classy guys. Way to do your homework.

“We need an umbrella brand we can attach to new businesses: Sci Fi games, Sci Fi kids. It does no use to attach ‘Sci Fi’ because there’s hundreds of sci-fi Web sites and sci-fi publications. So it’s changing your name without changing your name,” Mr. Howe said.

Great! SyFy Kids! Who wouldn’t want their kids playing with that?

I think the lesson here is simple: don’t let your marketing team drink on the job. Or name your Television channel after a venereal disease. Or based on how someone would TEXT IT.

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 3Over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, we get a sneak peak at The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 3 by way of a brand new short story by Daniel Abraham, author of the Long Price Quartet. Abraham is quickly making a name for himself as one of the brightest new writers in the business, so this is a great way to get introduced to his work.

From Fantasy Book Critic’s review of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 3:

Another superb story, this time about a mysterious corporation called Fifth Layer which dominates current tech with extraordinary inventions that are unorthodox and inelegant, but work. There is talk of the Roswell theory, namely that Fifth Layer is a front for secretive aliens, so older investigative reporter Jimmy is put on the case since a senior executive of Fifth Layer was his girlfriend thirty years ago. Highlight of the anthology for idea-based sf.

You can find The Best Monkey by Daniel Abraham HERE.

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

The Warded Man

AuthorPeter V. Brett

Pages: 432
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: March 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 0345503805
ISBN-13: 978-0345503800

When Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man was first released in the UK last year (under the much superior title of The Painted Man), it started garnering a considerable amount of buzz, some even going so far as to call it the best debut novel since Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. Doubly impressive when you consider that The Warded Man is steeped in the values of light, traditional fantasy, a sub-genre much maligned by many of the Internet’s pundits.

The blurb on the back cover marks The Warded Man as pretty standard fare – demons rising from the night, world in danger, young protagonists setting out to save the world – but from the early pages it’s clear that Brett is determined do something different in the world of traditional fantasy.
Read More »

Leave it to Guy Gavriel Kay to talk some sense. In a recent article published by The Globe and Mail, Kay addresses the subject of book delays, but more importantly he tackles on the idea of what a blog means to the relationship between author and reader; and where those fans with a bloodthirsty sense of entitlement that haunt folk like George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss come from.

From The Globe and Mail:

It is at least worth debating whether an author engaged in a multivolume work that readers have bought into has some sort of implied contract with his readers to conduct his life in such as way as to ensure the book gets done. But surely readers who insist that means “do nothing else” are betraying a pretty shaky sense of how the creative process works, especially when spread over what might be two decades and more.

Martin wasn’t happy. “Maybe it’s okay if I take a leak once in a while?” he wrote. His blog response was accompanied by a flashing “angry” icon face.

It is all too easy for another writer to sympathize, and I do, hugely, but I can’t help but note that the only reason readers know about holidays and football games (and his favourite team) is that Martin has told them. On his blog.

Read More »