Monthly Archives: January 2004

Can Read, but not Talk

Thanks to Neal Wiser of for the suggestion for the latest tweak to the Locus Online homepage — the date headings for each group of updates.

Still suffering the flu, whose symptoms change every 2 or 3 days; lately, chest congestion that causes a cough whenever trying to sleep, or talk. I’ve been catching up on my reading, but I can’t talk to you about it.

Another Prototype

At the suggestion of a reader, yet another slight tweak of the Locus Online homepage, here, separating center-column entries with date bars, rather than listing the date with every entry. Comments?


I’ve succumbed to the virus making its rounds; not as badly as some of my friends, but bad enough to be home the past few days, mostly sleeping, and reading between naps. I’ve a mind to post reviews of what I’ve been reading, here or somewhere, now that I’ve managed to resume regular reading (not just because of the flu). Icons at right. I’ll figure it out somehow.

Further Website Irritants

To follow up on yesterday’s comments, I’ll mention a couple more recurring website design irritants, and then I’ll change the subject or risk stones being tossed at my glass house.

One which occurs even on the most professional of sites is the mention of a website URL without actually making the URL a live link. You see this even in articles on CNN or the New York Times sites. If you want to follow up, you have to copy and paste the text into the browser address window. (Worse are those occasional newspaper articles about some remarkable website that never mention the URL at all!) Newspaper sites may have slender excuses; articles are written for print, and then ported to webpages, perhaps without careful editorial oversight. That presumably explains why the Washington Post, for months now, can’t seem to format its bestseller list.

A curious irritant that has no exact corresponding print counterpart are those sites that are in effect completely anonymous. Not only can you omit dates on your webpages, you can entirely hide your identity and location. For example, there is an SF bibliography site called (heh heh) that routinely pops up on Google searches of current books. It has an awful lot of data on authors and books, and links for where to buy them. But nowhere on the site is there a clue about who compiles the data and maintains the site (or why); the only contact is an email link to Since it therefore lacks any kind of authority, and because despite the volume of information I’ve never found the site particularly useful, I’ve never bothered to link it to any of Locus Online’s links pages.

Design Irritants

The Awards Index is updated finally, so now I can come up for air…

I don’t agree with every one of the many “web design mistakes” compiled on this page and its predecessors (see bottom of page), but one I find particularly annoying is #3, “Undated content.” I take it from Cheryl Morgan’s post that the Speculative Literature Foundation site has gone live in the very recent past, but there’s no way to tell this from the site itself. (Still, it seems a significant enough venture that I linked it as an offsite news item from Locus Online… though I couldn’t help noticing the site’s conspicuous lack, among its many links, of anything at Ahem.)

I Have Some Little Lists

Prompted by the release of this year’s preliminary Nebula Awards ballot, and Cheryl Morgan’s remarks thereon, I did some comparison of the SFWA lists against an independent source — Locus Magazine’s annual recommended reading lists, compiled by Locus reviewers and guest critics, all of whom presumably read many books each year. (Disclosure: I had no input into Locus‘s lists for novels, nor any into SFWA’s Nebula ballots. I’m an affiliate member or somesuch of SFWA, but all that gets me is a copy of the membership roster once a year.)

I examined Locus’s 2002 Recommended Reading List (and the ’01 List for titles with ’02 US publication dates), and SFWA’s 2002 Nebula Awards preliminary ballot and 2003 Nebula Awards preliminary ballot. Considering that SFWA recognizes only US publication, and considering its multiple-year eligibile rule, I considered from all lists only those novels with 2002 US publications. (Given the Nebula rules, if a 2002 book hasn’t made it to a preliminary ballot by 2004, it never will. That’s why this comparison doesn’t consider 2003 novels.) I also disregarded Locus’s YA novel recommendations. Without further comment, here are three lists.

2002 Novels recommended by Locus that reached a Nebula preliminary ballot

Lion’s Blood, Steven Barnes (Warner Aspect)

Kiln People, David Brin (Tor)

The Mount, Carol Emshwiller (Small Beer)

Light Music, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Eos)

A Scattering of Jades, Alexander C. Irvine (Tor)

Chindi, Jack McDevitt (Ace)

The Impossible Bird, Patrick O’Leary (Tor)

Ombria in Shadow, Patricia A. McKillip (Ace)

The Scar, China Miéville (Macmillan; Del Rey)

Bones of the Earth, Michael Swanwick (Eos) [reached final ballot in '03]

Ruled Britannia, Harry Turtledove (NAL)

Also, Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire (Eos) reached the final ballot in ’03, though it had not appeared on the preliminary ballot; presumably it was added by the jury, which has the option of adding one item per category to the final ballot

Novels recommended by Locus that failed to reach any Nebula preliminary ballot

The Eye of Night, Pauline J. Alama (Bantam Spectra)

The Sky So Big and Black, John Barnes (Tor)

Origin: Manifold 3, Stephen Baxter (Voyager; as Manifold: Origin Del Rey 2002)

Vitals, Greg Bear (Del Rey)

Transcension, Damien Broderick (Tor)

Shadow Puppets, Orson Scott Card (Tor)

Kushiel’s Chosen, Jacqueline Carey (Tor)

White Apples, Jonathan Carroll (Tor)

The Lady of the Sorrows, Cecilia Dart-Thornton (Macmillan Tor Australia; Warner Aspect)

Schild’s Ladder, Greg Egan (Gollancz; Eos)

The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde (Hodder & Stoughton; Viking 2002)

The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, Jeffrey Ford (Morrow)

The Alchemist’s Door, Lisa Goldstein (Tor)

Guardian, Joe Haldeman (Ace)

Evening’s Empire, David Herter (Tor)

The Summer Country, James A. Hetley (Ace)

A Fistful of Sky, Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Ace)

Smoking Poppy, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Pocket 2002)

Probability Space, Nancy Kress (Tor)

Fires of the Faithful, Naomi Kritzer (Bantam Spectra)

The Fall of the Kings, Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman (Bantam Spectra)

A Bed of Earth, Tanith Lee (Overlook)

Just Like Beauty, Lisa Lerner (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Warchild, Karin Lowachee (Warner Aspect)

Child of the Prophecy, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia 2001; Tor)

The Devil and Deep Space, Susan R. Matthews (Roc)

Whole Wide World, Paul McAuley (Voyager; Tor 2002)

Voyage of the Shadowmoon, Sean McMullen (Tor)

The God Who Begat a Jackal, Nega Mezlekia (Picador USA)

The Red Church, Scott Nicholson (Pinnacle)

Night Watch, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperCollins)

Chasm City, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Ace 2002)

The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson (Bantam)

Spaceland, Rudy Rucker (Tor)

The Isle of Battle, Sean Russell (Eos)

Permanence, Karl Schroeder (Tor)

The Book of Splendor, Frances Sherwood (Norton)

A Winter Haunting, Dan Simmons (Morrow)

The Omega Expedition, Brian Stableford (Tor)

Coyote, Allen Steele (Ace)

The Visitor, Sheri S. Tepper (Eos)

The Golden Age, John C. Wright (Tor)

Novels not on Locus’ recommended reading lists, that made Nebula preliminary ballots

Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 1 — Kevin J. Anderson (Warner Books, Jul02)

Diplomatic Immunity — Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen, May02)

Fitcher’s Brides — Gregory Frost (Tor, Dec02)

Maximum Ice — Kay Kenyon (Bantam, Feb02)

The Consciousness Plague, Paul Levinson (Tor, Feb02)

Picoverse, Robert A. Metzger (Ace, Mar02) [reached final 2003 ballot]

Technogenesis, Syne Mitchell (Roc, Jan02)

Fallen Host — Lyda Morehouse (Roc, May02)

Dreams of the Compass Rose, Vera Nazarian (Wildside Press, May02)

Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer (Analog, Apr02; Tor, May 2002)

Argonaut, Stanley Schmidt (Tor, Jul02)

The Peshawar Lancers, S.M. Stirling (ROC/NAL, Jan02)

This Time For Sure

The makeover homepage is now posted, after a few days more tweaking the link colors and whatnot.

I do try to resist gratuitous design changes, but once or twice a year an idea occurs to me that seems an obvious improvement, so why not implement it? In the latest case, there was also the matter of reducing the work of updating two front pages to the site with almost every update.

Now that this latest revision is done, I’m confident that the design is perfect and need never be changed again. Just like last time.

Now back to compiling the tally of books on best of ’03 lists, and polishing the update to the awards index. And I really need to update the sidebar thumbnails of recent books and CDs…

Makeover Draft

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the proposed change to Locus Online‘s homepage, but I finished a draft anyway. It should be easier to find new content on the site with this version: everything’s in the homepage center section (including some offsite news items), or in the Blinks column (where everything is offsite). Further comments welcome.