In this edition, still more pieces that caught my eye during the hiatus (which is hopefully really over this time).
* In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Alec Ash's interview with writer Fei Dao about science fiction in China touching on the genre's history and influences in China (interestingly he identifies Soviet science fiction as one of the "big three" influences, alongside Western and Japanese science fiction), its current concerns (reflecting the country's modernization), as well as the audience for this type of work and the prejudices it is up against (which are not all that dissimilar from what it has seen in the West).
* Ian Sales on taking Amazon's bestseller lists as a guide to larger trends in book publishing.
* At Fanpop, a well-constructed response to the enmity so many apparently feel toward Game of Thrones' Sansa Stark. (I would have to number myself among those who see her character as one of the series' more sympathetic - and a reminder that much as we complain about the prevalence of Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters, a large segment of the audience all but demands them, and becomes quite unreasonable when their demand is not met.)
* A provocative piece from Airlock Alpha's Amber Hollingsworth which takes on the issue of "Why Horror Isn't Scary, But Thrillers Are."
* And last but not least, a number of Charles Stross's posts, including his response to Margaret Thatcher's passing, and its aftermath; his "Public Service Announcement" about why it is best to ignore the news; his announcement of the release of The Traders' War (an omnibus edition of the first three Trade of Queens novels, "revised and reassembled as the single book it was meant to be"); and his piece on British nuclear disarmament, which offers a succinct critical history of the country's strategic deterrent.
Incidentally, you can find my review of the Trade of Queens in its previously published six-volume form here.
Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire
Of Mary Sue and Gary Stu