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Old 04-20-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Are there publishers like Baen but for other genres?

I love the business model of Baen books and would enjoy something like Webscriptions where there is a package you can get every month, DRM-free, at a great price like that. And the free library is a nice touch too.

But I don't read a ton of sci-fi. And not THAT kind of sci-fi. If only Baen published mystery instead of sci-fi, they would probably be my favourite ebook store. Are there any publishers doing something like Webscriptions but for mystery and other genres?
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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"THAT kind of scifi"? What do you mean by that? Baen has a pretty broad range of the whole genre, including fantasy.

But to answer your question, no I don't know any other genre publisher like that.
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
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Short answer: no, nobody else is anywhere near as ebook-savvy as Baen.

Long answer: take a closer look at Baen. The free library. Maybe pick up a book or two.
You might be surprised if you actually *try* some of the content. (Dunno if you have, but... It doesn't sound as if you have.)

Upfront, try Lois McMaster Bujold's MOUNTAINS OF MOURNING from the free library.

It's, technically, a murder mystery. But just technically. There's a lot more going on in there than a whodunnit. (Bujold has several other similar volumes in the Vorkossigan Series; Cetaganda, Memory, Komar, Diplomatic Immunity, all highly aclaimed. Though personally my favorite work of hers is A CIVIL CAMPAIGN, which is pretty much unique; you don't see too many comedies of manners in any genre these days, much less SF.) The lady can write. Period.

You may also want to Check out LORD DARCY, a collection of somewhat "different" murder mysteries.

Take a look at the fantasies and humor. (The Retief stories are fairly droll, PANDORA'S PLANET is a romp--wild and convoluted but funny if you enjoy screwball comedy). And then there's Esther Friesner anthologies...

Even their hard science SF is quite approachable; you don't need to be an SF regular to enjoy stuff like BOUNDARY (a paleontological mystery about a very odd fossil in a very odd place) or INHERIT THE STARS (a corpse is found on the moon. Human. 50,000 years old. It's been described as CSI: Clavius. Even better is Hogan's THRICE UPON A TIME. About a triple murder mystery where the victim is humanity itself. Three times.)

There's a lot more to Baen than just adventure SF and there's a lot more to SF than just adventure and space opera. Give it a try; that's what the free library is for, after all.

What do you have to lose beyond an hour or so of time?
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanthe View Post
"THAT kind of scifi"? What do you mean by that? Baen has a pretty broad range of the whole genre, including fantasy.
I think it is a fair comment that Baen is mainly focussed on military sci-fi.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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I think it is a fair comment that Baen is mainly focussed on military sci-fi.
There is that *perception* but it is inaccurate.

The Webscriptions catalog is well vested in fantasy, urban fantasy, hard sf, spoofs and romps, alternate history, mystery, juveniles, and other genre variants. They may be home to some of the more prominent practicioners of military sf, but it hardly consumes them.

Edit:
Here, check this list of their more prominent series:
http://www.webscription.net/c-9-series.aspx

76 different series, hardly focused on military sf.
Not with stuff like:
PIGS DON'T FLY
CHICKS IN CHAIN MAIL
FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER
WITCHES OF KARRES
HALFLIFE CHRONICLES
ETHICAL VAMPIRES
VORKOSIGAN SAGA
BARD'S TALE
GRANTVILE GAZETTE/RING OF FIRE

Or sample their Free Library:
http://www.baen.com/library/
Free books, no strings attached. Except the stories might prove to be starter drugs.

So no, their is a lot more to Webscriptions and Baen than military SF.
Just look at the authors they carry:

John Joseph Adams
Jerry Ahern
Sharon Ahern
Aaron Allston
James G. Anderson
Poul Anderson
Christopher Anvil
Catherine Asaro
Chuck Asay
Neal Asher
Nancy Asire
Robert Asprin
Paolo Bacigalupi
Jim Baen
Kage Baker
Margaret Ball
Laird Barron
Elizabeth Bear
Greg Bear
Clare Bell
Gregory Benford
Nigel Bennett
Ben Bova
Steven R. Boyett
Leigh Brackett
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Jeff Bredenberg
Poppy Z. Brite
Damien Broderick
Mary Brown
M. M. Buckner
Lois McMaster Bujold
Jaqueline Carey
Lillian Stewart Carl
John F. Carr
Jeffrey A. Carver
Paul Chafe
Jack L. Chalker
A. Bertram Chandler
C. J. Cherryh
Julie Cochrane
Hal Colebatch
Stoney Compton
Glen Cook
Rick Cook
Seamus Cooper
Sharon Cooper
Larry Correia
John Dalmas
Ellen Datlow
L. Sprague deCamp
John DeChancie
Virginia DeMarce
Andrew Dennis
Bradley Denton
Gordon R. Dickson
William C. Dietz
Thomas M. Disch
Chris Dolley
James Doohan
L. Warren Douglas
David Drake
Dave Duncan
Doranna Durgin
Rosemary Edghill
George Alec Effinger
Greg Egan
Harlan Ellison
P. N. Elrod
Terry England
Linda Evans
Philip Jose Farmer
Bill Fawcett
Leslie Fish
Eric Flint
Michael Flynn
Judy Forward
Robert L. Forward
Leo Frankowski
Dave Freer
David Friedman
Esther Friesner
Randall Garrett
Roberta Gellis
Mark Geston
Scott Gier
James C. Glass
Tom Godwin
Arlene Golds
Paula Goodlett
Roland Green
Martin Harry Greenberg
Dave Grossman
James E. Gunn
Ellen Guon
Joe Haldeman
Edmond Hamilton
Matthew Harrington
Robert A. Heinlein
John Helfers
John G. Hemry
P. C. Hodgell
James P. Hogan
Cecelia Holland
Sarah Hoyt
Matthew Hughes
Dean Ing
Les Johnson
Graham Joyce
Richard Kadrey
William H. Keith Jr.
Caitlín R. Kiernan
Jeffery D. Kooistra
Marilyn Kosmatka
Paul Kozerski
Tom Kratman
Henry Kuttner
Mercedes Lackey
Jay Lake
John Lambshead
John Langan
Joe R. Lansdale
Keith Laumer
Tim Lebbon
Sharon Lee
Fritz Leiber
Murray Leinster
Edward M. Lerner
Holly Lisle
Brian Lumley
Nathalie Mallet
Barry N. Malzberg
Mark O. Martin
Anne McCaffrey
Robert McCammon
Jack McDevitt
Charles C. McGraw
Shirley Meier
Steve Miller
Elizabeth Moon
Modean Moon
Howard L. Myers
Larry Niven
Ted Nolan
Andre Norton
Jody Lynn Nye
Norvell W. Page
Jerry Pournelle
Cherie Priest
Hank Reinhardt
Mike Resnick
John Ringo
Richard Roach
Spider Robinson
Selina Rosen
Joel Rosenberg
Rudy Rucker
Fred Saberhagen
Pamela Sargent
John Scalzi
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
James H. Schmitz
Martin Scott
Mark Sebanc
Charles Sheffield
Mark Shepherd
Susan Shwartz
Robert Silverberg
Dan Simmons
William Mark Simmons
Cordwainer Smith
L. Neil Smith
Walter Spence
Wen Spencer
Ryk Spoor
D. W. St. John
Marc Stiegler
S. M. Stirling
Johnathan Strahan
Charles Stross
Tim Sullivan
Michael Swanwick
Howard Tayler
Travis S. Taylor
Mark Teppo
Brian M. Thomsen
Mark Tier
Harry Turtledove
Mark L. Van Name
Patrick A. Vanner
A. E. Van Vogt
Vernor Vinge
Karl Edward Wagner
Lars Walker
David Weber
T. K. F. Weisskopf
K. D. Wentworth
Steve White
Liz Williams
Walter Jon Williams
Michael Z. Williamson
Robert Charles Wilson
Timothy Zahn
Roger Zelazny

Its not quite a who's-who of the genre but it's a darn good start.
And yes, they do carry some of the big names in combat sf, but even those folks tend to "dabble" in fantasy, political intrigue, and plain old adventure sf from time to time.

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #6
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I agree with you that Baen is much more than Science fiction. Unfortunately, some of the books are too long for my taste
Oh. I do recommend Tinker by Wen Spencer, it is a great read .

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:43 AM   #7
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I'm not sure whether angryrobotbooks.com use DRM, but they do publish their ebooks in Epub format and sell them for only £3 UK in most cases. I haven't bought one - yet - from them, so can't say if geographic restrictions apply. But they're clearly an up and coming sf imprint (as well as being part of Harper Collins) and are about as close to the Baen model, certainly in terms of competitive pricing, that I've seen yet. Anyone bought anything from them?
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:49 PM   #8
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I checked out their web site and it doesn't look like they actually sell off the site (I found no shopping cart or checkout) but rather use it to promote the books and authors in both p- and e-. They do offer free sample chapters in epub, pdf, and mobi.
More like Tor.com, I think, than Baen's storefront.
But a good move by Harper Collins UK.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
There is that *perception* but it is inaccurate.

The Webscriptions catalog is well vested in fantasy, urban fantasy, hard sf, spoofs and romps, alternate history, mystery, juveniles, and other genre variants. They may be home to some of the more prominent practicioners of military sf, but it hardly consumes them.

(snip)
Checking out the webscriptions they're generally about 50% military SF and 50% all-the-rest.

Which is a pretty heavy concentration on military SF, really. Wouldn't a bookstore that was 50% vampire books seem like it was mostly vampire books? Wouldn't a store that was 50% urban fantasy seem like it was mostly urban fantasy?

Don't get me wrong; I like Baen very much. But I don't care for most military SF which means the Webscriptions themselves are generally not a good value for me. Sure you can find non-military stuff on Baen, but you have to look for it, which usually means you have to already know which authors you want to check out. There's no equivalent of the "If you like this book you might like" sorts of pages you get on, for example, the Amazon web site.

On the other hand, I would *love* to have other publishers do what Baen is doing--making a wider selection of books--mysteries, westerns, historical fiction-- available at Baen style prices with Baen style terms would do nothing but good for e-books and readers.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:04 PM   #10
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I think it is a fair comment that Baen is mainly focussed on military sci-fi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
Checking out the webscriptions they're generally about 50% military SF and 50% all-the-rest.

Which is a pretty heavy concentration on military SF, really.
....
Sci Fi has a long tradition with military backgrounds. Even "The Time Machine" (1895 ) has mention of armys and war.

Hominids byRobert J. Sawyer is a very good book. It does have an anti military slant, but then again the military is mentioned.

I don't know if there is a way to completely filter out EVERYTHING with some mention of the military.

But if you want to devote your life to creating a website where people can go for "military free" reading recommendations I think that you should do it.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:20 PM   #11
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Different folks have different definitions but not every story featuring soldiers or even war is Military SF. That end of the SF spectrum has a lot of variation that is not immediately apparent. Military SF in the strict sense is a very specific sub-genre, where the military aspect is milieu, theme, character, and plot.

The prototype is STARSHIP TROOPERS.
(The book, not the horrendous movies.)
A lot that outsiders describe as "military SF" is actually old-fashioned Adventure SF, Space Opera, or character-based drama that happens to tap into some military element.
The argument is in fact positively ancient as the perception of mainstream SF as "overly millitaristic" goes back to its pre-Campbell origins in the 20's and 30's, but not many folks would go as far as lumping Buck Rogers (Armageddon 2419, actually) or the Skylark Novels, in with STARSHIP TROOPERS or WEST OF HONOR.
Ultimately it really doesn't matter what the stuff is called; just whether it is good writing. And BAEN does have a lot of it.
To say nothing of Webscriptions, which, let's not forget, carries non-BAEN titles.

As a minor example, my most recent purchase from them was for Harlan Ellison's DANGEROUS VISIONS and AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS. I'm hoping they'll soon add the LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS so I can complete the set in ebook form to match my original SFBC hardcovers. :-)
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Old 04-23-2010, 12:03 AM   #12
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Different folks have different definitions but not every story featuring soldiers or even war is Military SF.
.... :-)
I could easily be wrong but it was my impression that they objected to SEEING any military reference while looking on Baen (for what little they do have).

As catsittingstill said "Sure you can find non-military stuff on Baen, but you have to look for it...."

So maybe they just dislike having to see any "military" references.

And as you say "Ultimately it really doesn't matter what the stuff is called; just whether it is good writing. And BAEN does have a lot of it.".

And Baen has a lot of my money.

In Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer you will see the American government and the military are bad. I'm used to seeing that kind of stuff.

The book, though, is otherwise very good.

Many authors use the military background of a character as shorthand to say “here is a capable person”.

Others say “I emote, therefore I exist, and I have relevance. I am as good as anyone.”

Saying that a military, or ex-military person, would be better at handling adversity is anathema to an emotoid.

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Old 04-23-2010, 03:19 AM   #13
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I generally like military SF. However, oddly enough, that's not what I've been buying from Baen. My last purchases were the complete Lankhmar collection (even though the last one sucks), and P.C. Hodgell's new book (and all the rest in that series). I've gotten some of Rick Cook's "Wizardry" series, the Harve Rackham stories by Dean Ing, and one or two others. Now, granted that one reason I didn't buy any military SF is that I have most what I want on dead trees, and most of that duplicated from the Baen Free Library and the CD collections, but still, my recent purchases should be some indication that there's a lot more there.

Heh ... talking about Baen gave me an itch for books ... thanks to y'all, I'm now $20 poorer, and have a few more books. Because two thousand books just wasn't enough.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:29 AM   #14
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I appreciate the recommendations. I don't know much about what ;military' SF is. I did get a free month of webscriptions from someone and I know none of the included books really worked for me. I am more of a straight mystery reader and the only sci-fi I really like is what would probably be more 'paranormal' than straight sci-fi. I was hoping there was a mystery publisher who was doing something like what Baen does.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HorridRedDog View Post
I could easily be wrong but it was my impression that they objected to SEEING any military reference while looking on Baen (for what little they do have).
I think you may be reading a tad too much into it.

All I saw was a lack of familiarity with the actual books and I was cautioning that appearances/reputation/inferences from promo blurbs can be deceiving.

David Drake, for example, is an esablished author of alout military SF and ne of his more prominent series, the RCN/Leary&Mundy stories, has all classical trappings of the same, yet within the series (about a young, dashing, womanizing starship captain and his best friend, a slightly older, female librarian) you'll find all sorts of different kinds of adventures ranging from the oh-so-common "escape from behind enemy lines" to stories of political intrigue in a very Classical-rome milieu, to an outright, 19th century-style travelogue narrative full of colorful planets, cultures, and peoples. As a whole, the RCN series gets classified as military SF (fair enough as far as that goes) but an individual story like the FAR SIDE OF THE STARS most definitely is not, even if it does feature a space battle climax. But the only way to appreciate this is to actually read the thing. Easier to say all the RCN stories are military SF and move on, right? Except for the fact that it is a very good story and an example off the kind of experimenting BAEN does. (It is available for free on one of the BAEN Promo CDs available at the FIFTH IMPERIUM website and the promo CD includes a free audiobook version of the story in DRM-free MP3 format. I nice reading, too. As I said, those folks experiment with publishing tech; they don't stand still pretending its the 19th century out there.)

Now, examples/anecdotal evidence is easy to find for any position, of course, but the issue of SF militarism is intrinsic to the genre. Simply put, good drama/adventure comes from conflict and/or danger. SF, naturally, tends to play out large; large in ideas, large in milieus, large in ambition (world-building is usually the smallest part of the author's job), and off course large in scale. And large-scale conflict is but another definition of war.

Lost in all the debate (which will not be settled any time soon--it is 80-90 years old I suppose) is that good SF is all about humans (we're the readers and the writers after all) and their ideas, their conflicts (even if often wrapped in alien metaphor) and that humans are by nature tribal. We *always* seek to define ourseves in terms of the familiar vs the alien, us vs them, in every large scale activity. (Even if we have to invent artificial distinctions like sorts team affiliation.) And when these "tribes" come into conflict we invariable end up with War.

We are used to thinking of large-scale conflict as war and of war as something to be avoided. Which it is.

But the reality is that things that should be avoided can't always be avoided and rarely are. That too is human nature. And it can be discomforting to be confronted with that reality too closely, too often. And since SF at its best aspires to examine/illuminate the so-called human condition by looking at human issues and concerns from other angles, other viewpoints, through story-telling (which, as I've said, involves large scale conflict), good SF is going to inevitably poke at the sore spots that make us uncomfortable.

Hence the long-standing debate ad sensitivity about the "militaristic" nature of SF. Which teds to make us long-term consumers of the genre antsy because we are familiar with the genre's aspirations, conventions, and subtleties that are not apparent from the outside, and because a lot of the charges of militarism have *historically* come from outsiders with no real interest in the genre's aspirations.

Doesn't mean we're ready to go to war over it but we do get defensive about inaccurate charges. After all, we *have* to defend our tribe, no?
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