Morning Coffee – 8 April 2015

398403223_6db9c0311c_bHere are 6 stories to read this morning.

image by ljguitar

About Nate Hoffelder (11597 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Morning Coffee – 8 April 2015

  1. The Dear Author piece is interesting. Seems like romance is starting to deal with the same kinds of border issues that have long plagued SF&F. In SF&F some people seem to think SF is “just a setting” or just a set of props and that the nature and tone of the actual story don’t matter.
    The old STAR TREK vs STAR WARS debate.

    In romance the issue is coming to the forefront with the liberty afforded by ebooks and indie publishing but in SF it is an ongoing struggle with some pretty noisy battles ongoing.

    • I’m not sure “starting to” is appropriate when aimed at the question of enforcing the boundaries of romance as a genre. Crusie’s piece from 2000 is mentioned (go read it — it’s worth it: http://www.jennycrusie.com/for-writers/essays/i-know-what-it-is-when-i-read-it-defining-the-romance-genre/), and her definition took, altho it is often abbreviated to “emotionally satisfying ending” because the debate almost _always_ centers around whether or not the author is allowed to mindfuck the reader and still call it romance. Without touching the speculative fiction definition debate, romance as a genre is a huge seller, and there are a lot of authors who would like to sell books to the people who buy romances, but who also want to produce an ending that those readers specifically Do Not Want. As far as I’m concerned, this is a straightforward issue of fraud: if the only way you can get people to buy something is by convincing them that it is other than what it is, you are committing a crime against the consumer.

      Over in the land of sf/f/etc., it is a lot less clear what is going on. The sales numbers are way lower, and the buying public is not nearly as unified on the make-or-break criteria, so when an author says something is sf (or whatever) and someone gets mad, it is less clearly a matter of the author attempting to up their sales numbers by misrepresenting the product to the customer. Altho I will concede that litfic, as a genre (yeah, I know — gonna get some pushback on _that_), has even worse sales than sf, so there are some idiots over there trying to push litfic as sf to sell more books. Very few of the romance/sf or romance/fantasy mashups (and they are common) are marketed as sf, because there isn’t any compelling profit motive to do so.

  2. The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

    As I was a STEM major, where note-taking involved copying down problems, a laptop wouldn’t have been useful for taking notes. For example, a Greek Delta symbol, or integral and derivative symbols are much easier to write down directly by hand instead of finding the special symbols on a keyboard.

    My undergrad days were before the days of PowerPoint. In the old days, whereas a STEM lecture was often not readily comprehended , they were still comprehensive. By going over the lecture notes after class, one could more readily comprehend what was being taught, because you had a comprehensive record of the main points of the lectures.

    Some 20 years after getting my BS degree, I returned to school. I attended a Chemistry class by an award-winning teacher. He used PowerPoint, and as a result had a much faster lecture than would have been possible in the days of writing equations on a chalkboard. Result: a set of lecture notes that were not comprehensive, as there were many gaps due to the quick speed of the PowerPoint slides. If you can’t take comprehensive notes, you cannot understand the lecture. There are advantages to being lectured at the speed of writing material down on the chalkboard.

    In my return to school, I took a math course. Before I enrolled, I attended lectures by different profs in different sections. One prof went so fast-without PowerPoint- that he didn’t write down the main points on the board. Ten minutes before the end of class, he terminated the lecture and asked for questions. If he had slowed down the lecture so that he had written down on the chalkboard all the main points, there would have been no need for questions. [Or rather, even if one didn’t grasp all the points of the lecture, one could have later grasped them by going over the complete lecture notes.] I decided that prof wasn’t for me.

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