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Old 04-23-2010, 09:19 AM   #16
fjtorres
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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,
I haven't gotten around to Hodgell's series (it's in the one-of-these decades queue) but I was thrilled to finally see legal ebook versions of FAFHRD AND THE MOUSER--gave me a chance to re-read LEAN TIMES IN LANKHMAR, my all time favorite fantasy. Leave it to Leiber to posit a fantasy world with a working economy and show what happens when a recession hits.

Also loved Cook's Wizardry books. Fun romps.
("First thing, we've got to save the dragon from my wife!")

Wonder why he hasn't gone back there...
<sigh>

Too many books, too little time...
I need Prolong.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:32 PM   #17
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....

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.
....
Perfectly said

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Old 04-24-2010, 03:21 PM   #18
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Sci Fi has a long tradition with military backgrounds. Even "The Time Machine" (1895 ) has mention of armys and war.
Oh, I wasn't counting everything that mentioned armies as military SF--on the contrary.

Take the November 2010 Webscriptions. I was counting _Hammers Slammers_, _Live Free Or Die_ and _One Good Soldier_. Did I get it wrong--are they not military SF?

I agree that _Hominids_ is a very good book, and I don't count it as military SF either.

When you talk about the impossibility of filtering out everything with SOME mention of the military you are arguing against a position much more extreme than the one I took.

I don't mind some Vampire books; I don't mind some Urban Fantasy books, I don't mind some Military SF books I don't mind some High Elven books, whatever.

But when any of these minor subgenres are half of the books a publisher offers, it's perfectly reasonable to see that publisher as offering "mainly" that subgenre.

And let's face it, if you're not into football, one touchdown is very like another. If you're not into cat shows, one Siamese is very like another. And if you're not into military SF, one ravening space-beam is very like another.

So naturally some people would like to see other publishers, with other balances of subgenres and genres, take up e-books in the same way Baen has.

If Baen fills all your e-book needs, and you don't care if any other publisher joins them, that's cool.
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Old 04-24-2010, 03:47 PM   #19
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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.
The impression I got from the original poster was that zie preferred mysteries to science fiction, and in particular to military science fiction. The jump from that to zie disliking having to even *see* any references to the military seems to have been made without much supporting evidence.

Baen offers a few mysteries (the Lord Darcy books were suggested, and that was helpful) but a mystery-lover is naturally going to be somewhat disappointed by the thin selection of mysteries on the Baen website. And Baen, while doubtless well-intentioned, doesn't even have a "Mysteries" tag, (the way they have a "Non-Fiction" tag and a "Fantasy" tag) which would make it slow going to pick them out.

So let's face it, for a reader of mysteries, Baen does leave a little something to be desired, and hoping for a publisher who concentrates on mysteries to have taken to e-books in the way Baen has seems perfectly reasonable.

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Saying that a military, or ex-military person, would be better at handling adversity is anathema to an emotoid.
This seems to have gotten a bit personal. Nobody has called you a...um... "militoid" for enjoying military fiction. I don't see why it is necessary or appropriate to try to put down people who don't share your taste in reading material, and who are looking for something else.

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Old 04-24-2010, 04:26 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=fjtorres;882243] 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? [QUOTE]

Life is short and there are many books. If the original poster read everything that *seemed* like military SF in order to make sure it actually *was* military SF, zie would spend all zir reading time reading a genre zie doesn't like to make sure zie wasn't missing anything.

This doesn't strike me as a good use of reading time.

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....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 sports team affiliation.) And when these "tribes" come into conflict we invariable end up with War.
Unless we're going to widen the definition of "war" to include March Madness and the World Series, I would have to differ on that.

And plenty of excellent SF is not military SF. I recommend Sherri S. Tepper to your attention. C.J. Cherryh's "Foreigner" series. Connie Willis. Charles Stross. David Brin. Wen Spencer. Most of Heinlein.

Military SF (by which I mean the military is the setting, the majority of the characters, and most of the plot--not just that a few uniformed soldiers are seen in the background as three resourceful teens race across the city on their bikes to rescue Spots the Beagle from invading space aliens) is a subgenre of Science Fiction.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:01 PM   #21
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"This seems to have gotten a bit personal. Nobody has called you a...um... "militoid" for enjoying military fiction."

What I enjoy is reading stories where I end up careing for the characters. Belive it or not but that can happen in exceptionaly good "militay" books like "The Corps" or books with very slighty anti-US government, anti-military books like "Hominids".

I have both the corps series and the Neanderthal series and have read them twice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

When I lived in Minneapolis I worked with a person who would go on a rabid tear whenever the military was mentioned.

He worked in the hospital with me, and in most ways was very nice. He, his wife and two girls lived out in the country. They had no tv because they didn't want the children exposed to guns or violence.

The most recent person is one that I work with now. I NEVER mention the M word to him. I really, really mean irrational on that subject.

So when I say that some people don't want to see any military references I do mean that.

I started to grow up at the end of the "beatniks" in the 50s. And went through school as a "hippy".

I can't say that I'm that much smarter now, so much as I can say I gradually gained a little more knowledge.

You do need police and the military. There are some very bad people out there.

When people emote rather than think, like I too did in the 60s, I think "just grow up".

Lets just say that I'm sorry for offending anyone.

And if someone wants to devote their lives to peace, I encourage you to do so. Really.

But think a little too.

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Old 04-24-2010, 07:10 PM   #22
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Back to the original question. There isn't a mystery equivalent to Baen's. Harlequin is doing some Baen-like stuff in romances (so I've heard), but that's about it.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:23 PM   #23
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I really wish a mystery publisher would do the same. I'll admit, my secret weakness is mysteries. The problem is, I generally only read them once (a few like the Brother Cadfael books being the exception) and they start piling up on the shelves. I don't want to get rid of them, so they continue filing up my shelf space. *sigh* I'd love to be able to buy them as ebooks for five or six bucks a pop, like Baen SF, and have them storied tidily away on an SD card, not filling up my cubic footage.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:37 PM   #24
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Oh, I wasn't counting everything that mentioned armies as military SF--on the contrary.

Take the November 2010 Webscriptions. I was counting _Hammers Slammers_, _Live Free Or Die_ and _One Good Soldier_. Did I get it wrong--are they not military SF?
One for sure and two probables.

On the other hand, the May 2010 Webscription features:
http://www.webscription.net/p-1173-w...scription.aspx

Much Fall of Blood - A Fantasy by Mercedes Lackey at al
Migration - A post apocalypse hard SF adventure by James P. Hogan
The darkling fields of Arvon - A fantasy by James G, Anderson and Mark Sebanc
Storm from the Shadows - David Weber's Honorverse, yup! Military SF
Grand Central Arena - by Ryk Spoor, looks to be old fashioned action/adventure
The Rolling Stones - Heinlein's classic

June features two Liaden Universe volumes, two Military fiction titles (Ringo and Drake), an Andre Norton Omnibus, a solid hard SF adventure from Flint and Spoor (I bought the eARC and don't regret it), and an action adventure (I think) volume from Mark L. Van Name.

March and April have similar mixes. Personally, I'm looking forward to the October package (MYTH, Inc!) and november (a new Vorkosigan volume).

I'm not singling anybody out or looking for an argument, just pointing out that yes, BAEN features a lot of Military SF but that is hardly the extent of their catalog. And that is is possible to overgeneralize on the basic of factual data.

Nor was I advocating reading every book to weed out the non-SF; BAEN does offer free online sample chapters, after all. So it *is* possible to weed out non-combat fiction if the author isn't familiar.

And finally, BAEN's catalog is not wedded solely to the Webscriptions packages; they do offer up single book sales at the baseline US$6 price. Me, I favor webscriptions simply because I find it a cheap way to explore authors I'm not familiar with.

I agree with the recommendation of Tepper, Cherryh, Brin, et all; good writers all. I'm particularly fond of Brin's UPLIFT and Cherryh's Morgain sagas. I'd also offer up Tanya Huff, Elizabeth Scarborough, and for humor, John Moore (let's say; BAD PRINCE CHARLIE and HEROICS FOR BEGINNERS).

And no, BAEN isn't my sole source of fiction (much less the other 50% of my reading material), although for the next year or so I *will* be boycotting all content from the Agency-Model 5 (e- and p-) but that is a whole 'nother discussion.

Have fun, folks!

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Old 04-24-2010, 11:30 PM   #25
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I really wish a mystery publisher would do the same. I'll admit, my secret weakness is mysteries. The problem is, I generally only read them once (a few like the Brother Cadfael books being the exception) and they start piling up on the shelves. I don't want to get rid of them, so they continue filing up my shelf space. *sigh* I'd love to be able to buy them as ebooks for five or six bucks a pop, like Baen SF, and have them storied tidily away on an SD card, not filling up my cubic footage.
My first thought was to ask if you have checked out your library.

I then checked The Philadelphia Free Library for anything from "Edith Pargeter". No luck.

I then checked the web and came up with this "Edith Pargeter: Ellis Peters".

"An introductory biography of the life and work of Edith Pargeter, author of sixty books, but internationally known as Ellis Peters, author of the popular Cadfael Chronicles...."

So I searched The Philadelphia Free Library for anything "Ellis Peters".

They have two audiobooks "Dead Man's Ransom" and "The Hermit of Eyton Forest".

Although you may not want audiobooks you might want to redo you search using "Ellis Peters".

Good luck.

PS I downloaded "The Hermit of Eyton Forest", and another search found the pbook "The Hertic's Apprentice".
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:26 AM   #26
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Okay, I'm not understanding something here. I complain about the lack of a mystery publisher with the same business model (free samples, no DRM, reasonable prices) as Baen Books, and you think I'm trying to find out the name of the author of books that I have on my shelves, and specifically ones that I said I've read more than once? Either one of us is speaking Martian, or I need more caffeine than I thought I did.

And, unfortunately, I'm not sure how knowing that a library hundreds of miles away from me has audiobooks of novels which I already own in paperback will solve the problem of there being no mystery publisher selling the ebooks I want in a form that meets my needs and a price that fits my budget. I'm not interested in borrowing audiobooks (even if I was a patron of the relevant library); I want to buy ebooks.

But in any event, Baen Books is doing quite well for themselves despite giving away numerous books, and not only giving them away, but encouraging the recipients to give them to everyone else, too. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a Calibre tag for separating the free from the paid, so I don't inadvertently give away the wrong ones. Given that mysteries share with SF a very strong series orientation, I'm really surprised that someone isn't doing the same in that genre. I can think of three different series that I started buying because I picked up one volume for a buck off the charity book table at my local supermarket, two more that I read some random volume of at my mother-in-law's place, and several others I found via short stories included in big shovelware collections (mostly the "Mammoth Book of..."). I'd think that "give them the first one or two, and they'll buy all the rest" would be as effective a business model for mysteries as it is for SF/fantasy and narcotics dealing. Of course, that is contingent on selling them for a reasonable price, which the big publishers seem to be unable or unwilling to understand.

In another thread, it was revealed that publishers make about 90 cents on a $26 hardcover, once everything from printing costs to returns has been accounted for. Let's say that for ebooks, they're paying 25% of cover in royalties, and $1 for overhead. Let's also assume, for the sake of discussion, that they're selling through a retailer with a 100% markup, just as they do for pbooks, so that they actually gross 50% of cover. And, further, let's assign that book a $6 cover price. So, from that $6 cover price, after the $1.50 in royalties and $1 of overhead has been accounted for, they're making 50 cents.

That's a loss, right? Only if you assume that the demand for books is totally inelastic. That is, of course, not the case. Books compete with other forms of entertainment, and if the cost to the buyer drops, the demand will increase. Few people spend all of their leisure hours reading. They have more time to read if reading becomes more attractive than, say, going to movies. So if the price of books drops, sales will increase.

Now back to our 50-cent-profit ebook. For the list price of one HC, I could buy 3 ebooks (and have enough left over for a bagel). So instead of 90 cents (the profit on one HC), the publisher has made $1.50 from me (the profit on 3 ebooks). The author, instead of the $3.90 he would have gotten from the 15% royalty on that one HC, has cleared $4.50 from me. The publisher wins. The author wins. The retailer loses very slightly, because of that $2 left over that I bought a bagel with. If we re-price that pbook to $24, so that it's equal to the price of the three ebooks, they break even. The printing plants, the trucking companies, and the warehouse landlords all lose, of course, but such is life. Maybe they can get work building, storing, and shipping ebook readers.
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Old 04-25-2010, 12:05 PM   #27
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Okay, I'm not understanding something here. I complain about the lack of a mystery publisher with the same business model (free samples, no DRM, reasonable prices) as Baen Books, and you think I'm trying to find out the name of the author of books that I have on my shelves, and specifically ones that I said I've read more than once? Either one of us is speaking Martian, or I need more caffeine than I thought I did.

Have some more coffee.

"The problem is, I generally only read them once (a few like the Brother Cadfael books being the exception)"

The Cadfael books sounded interesting to me too, so I looked them up.

"and you think I'm trying to find out the name of the author of books that I have on my shelves"

I have no knowledge of what is on your shelf, and don't know if you have the complete collection.

Then too I was trying to be helpfull - If you are searching for books under the name "Edith Pargeter" and I wanted to mention that she is " internationally known as "Ellis Peters"

So I say -"My first thought was to ask if you have checked out your library."


"and specifically ones that I said I've read more than once? "

Did you not say "(a few like the Brother Cadfael books being the exception)"

And, unfortunately, I'm not sure how knowing that a library hundreds of miles away from me

Here you are right. I had assumed that an example of one library system having any of the books that you are interested in might inspire you. (My first thought was to ask if you have checked out your library.)

After all if a library doesn't have a particular book in it's own building it may have it in their system.


has audiobooks of novels which I already own in paperback will solve the problem of there being no mystery publisher selling the ebooks

(Sigh) I have no knowledge of what is on your shelf.

I wanted to download one of those in ebook format too. With none available I figured that I could at least find out if I liked the books.

I want in a form that meets my needs and a price that fits my budget. I'm not interested in borrowing audiobooks (even if I was a patron of the relevant library); I want to buy ebooks.

Some libraries (like The Philadelphia Free library) do have ebooks (1,425 at the moment). And you don't even need to live in Pennsylvania to download them.

....
I really would like to help you, but it doesn't seem like I can
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #28
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Well, that's the problem: the only one who can help me is a publisher.

Specifically a publisher getting a rush of brains to the head and saying "hey, that little nobody house Baen became a major player by inventing that business model; let's try it with our mystery line." Well, that or Baen opening a mystery division and luring my favorite authors away from their current publishers. Also, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny may show up at my front door lugging a basket of books. That's probably the most likely option.

By the way, the Brother Cadfael books I own all say "Ellis Peters" on the covers; it wasn't until I'd read a fair number of them that I found out the author's real name ... and, oddly, that I didn't much like her other books.

My local library system isn't far past the stage of stone tablets and baked slabs of clay. Paper books are enough of a modern miracle for them.
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Old 04-25-2010, 04:48 PM   #29
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Are there publishers like Baen but for other genres?

Which begs the question - Has anyone written to them? info@baen.com

Also - "PS. One final note. Users of the Library are welcome — encouraged, in fact — to send in their comments and questions, on any subject which is relevant to the Library and its contents. Write to me at: Librarian@baen. com"

just askin'
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:06 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
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.
Baen free offerings that are my favorites and that are character-driven, with the military aspect of the story being just one of many elements in it (not overwhelming it):

Eric Flint's "1632":
Quote:
In the year 1632 in northern Germany a reasonable person might conclude that things couldn't get much worse. There was no food. Disease was rampant. For over a decade religious war had ravaged the land and the people. Catholic and Protestant armies marched and countermarched across the northern plains, laying waste the cities and slaughtering everywhere. In many rural areas population plummeted toward zero. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.

2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia. The mines are working, the buck are plentiful (it's deer season) and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire membership of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.

THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED....

When the dust settles, Mike leads a small group of armed miners to find out what's going on. Out past the edge of town Grantville's asphalt road is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell; a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter Iying screaming in muck at the center of a ring of attentive men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot.

At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of The Thirty Years War.

Catherine Asaro's "Primary Inversion":
Quote:
In an unusually masterful first novel, physicist Asaro combines hard speculative science and first-rate storytelling to look at the galaxy's distant future. Earth's peaceful Alliance shares power with two other empires, those of the Skolians and the Traders, who are mortal enemies of each other. Heir apparent to oversee the Skolian empire, Sauscony Valdoria is a bioengineered fighter pilot who has inherited rare psychic abilities that link her to the powerful "psiberspace" Skolian Web. Taking shore leave on a neutral planet, Sauscony encounters Jaibriol, an heir to the throne of the sadistic Trader Empire. During a fortuitous melding of minds, Sauscony not only recognizes Jaibriol as her psychic soul mate but realizes her new love has been bred specifically to give Traders the power to vanquish the Skolian empire. Asaro innovatively blends computer technology and telepathy into the electrifying, action-rich drama she creates.

David Weber & John Ringo's "March Upcountry":
Quote:
Roger Ramius Sergei Chiang MacClintock didn't understand.

He was young, handsome, athletic, an excellent dresser, and third in line for the Throne of Man ... so why wouldn't anyone at Court trust him

Why wouldn't even his own mother, the Empress, explain why they didn't trust him Or why the very mention of his father's name was forbidden at Court Or why his mother had decided to pack him off to a backwater planet aboard what was little more than a tramp freighter to represent her at a local political event better suited to a third assistant undersecretary of state

It probably wasn't too surprising that someone in his position should react by becoming spoiled, self-centered, and petulant. After all, what else did he have to do with his life

But that was before a saboteur tried to blow up his transport. Then warships of the Empire of Man's worst rivals shot the crippled vessel out of space. Then Roger found himself shipwrecked on the planet Marduk, whose jungles were full of damnbeasts, killerpillars, carnivorous plants, torrential rain, and barbarian hordes with really bad dispositions. Now all Roger has to do is hike halfway around the entire planet, then capture a spaceport from the Bad Guys, somehow commandeer a starship, and then go home to Mother for explanations.

Fortunately, Roger has an ace in the hole: Bravo Company of Bronze Battalion of The Empress� Own Regiment. If anyone can get him off Marduk alive, it's the Bronze Barbarians.

Assuming that Prince Roger manages to grow up before he gets all of them killed.
All three of the books mentioned above are the beginning books of their series. Don't be misled by covers that emphasize weapons and space ships; I found that I became completely invested in the characters and that in any scenes that could be deemed "military" the emphasis is on the characters, not on reams and reams of techno-geek babble. These authors all know how to create a universe that is totally believable.
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