Sunday, September 19, 2010

New and Noteworthy (Charles Stross, Cable TV, Publetariat)

In today's edition:

* Charles Stross, drawing on Alvin and Heidi Toffler's 1970 book Future Shock, recently looked back at the place of religious tolerance inside a world that is looking worrisomely authoritarian; and offered his thoughts on authorial fact-checking of minor details, with Carrie Vaughn's Discord's Apple held up as an object lesson.

* Airlock Alpha's Michael Hinman on HBO's recent loss of subscribers, itself part of the unprecedented, broader slippage of cable, this year seeing a drop in paying customers for the very first time. This has often been taken as a reflection of the broader economic crunch, but some also wonder if cable isn't suffering from competition with Netflix and the Internet.

There's surprisingly little comment so far, though, about how cable has tried to cope with that competition. Far from trying to fight by offering a better product or better prices as market enthusiasts would have us believe is the response to such a situation, the industry has dedicated itself to simply making it as difficult as possible for consumers to get the Internet on their TV screens, while offering less product and higher prices--yanking channels out of their analog line-ups without cutting their rates, but clearly pushing them to pick up more expensive digital packages (with John Luciew earlier this year offering an interesting take on one particularly affected group, those who rely on TV to help get them through their exercise routine).

I leave you to draw the obvious conclusions about this situation.

* And finally, I'm recommending Publetariat: People Who Publish, "an online community and news hub built specifically for indie authors and small, independent imprints." There is a fair amount of standard how-to stuff here, admittedly, but there is also quite a bit of news and commentary about the business itself, oriented to this marginal but heavily populated side of the publishing business (mentioned here in my blog post of the 7th this month).

New and Noteworthy (Soviet Arcade Games, Hollywood Remakes, "The Next Big Thing," McCalmont on New Model Army, Self-Publishing, the Hugos)

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