A Brief Overview of Superhero Fiction

In the past fifty years I would venture to say that less than fifty novels and anthologies have been published that fall within the superhero genre, excluding Marvel and DC media spinoffs. If you include Marvel and DC, I think the number is somewhere between 100 and 200. So I set out to prove or disprove this supposition. The following overview of superhero fiction is the result. In this overview, I won’t be including graphic novels. Link to the full wiki version of this article.
Continue reading “A Brief Overview of Superhero Fiction”

Joy! Book order arrives

My book order arrived yesterday and I am wallowing in writing book goodness.  A week ago or so I broke down and ordered a number of books on writing and criticism that I have been lusting after.  They are:

Now I just have to find time to read them all

Have any notable books arrived in your life recently?  Or just books that you are reading now and want to comment on?

16 well-regarded books on the craft of writing compiled by Patrick

Patrick handed out the following list of recommended books at yesterday evening’s AAAWG meeting.

In descending Amazon.com users’ 5-star ranking percentage.

  1. On Writing: Memoirs of the Craft by Stephen King (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 94% (638/682)
  2. Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye by Katharine Sands (Amazon) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 88% (21/24)
  3. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 85% (76/89)
  4. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 83% (105/127)
  5. Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 80% (37/46)
  6. Creating Poetry by John Drury (Amazon) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 80% (8/10)
  7. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 79% (312/394)
  8. Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein (Amazon) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 78% (49/63)
  9. On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinseer (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 76% (135/178)
  10. Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 75% (15/20)
  11. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Cynthia Laufenber (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 73% (11/15)
  12. How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 72% (71/98)
  13. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 72% (43/60)
  14. How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them by Sol Stein (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 65% (20/31)
  15. Give ‘Em What They Want by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook (Amazon) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 63% (5/8)
  16. The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman (Amazon search) — Amazon.com 5-star rating: 58% (81/140)

Note: Amazon.com title searchs are used when there are multiple editions.

Date: 2009/10/06 AAAWG Tuesday night meeting at Borders Books, Arborland, Ann Arbor

Wiki version: 16 well-regarded books on the craft of writing compiled by Patrick


A list of various things that I have been up to recently and/or are currently engaged in (in no particular order):

  • I started reading Charles Stross’ Halting State and have been enjoying it.
  • Turned “The Shaper’s Daughter” over to a friend for copy editing while I work on researching markets.
  • Finishing up the new scene to begin “The Alchemist of Liberty”.
  • Built a double loft (basically from scratch) for Merideth over the weekend.
  • Porting a bunch of my old wiki articles to the new wiki.
  • Started watching Torchwood. Three episodes and liking it a lot.
  • Researching a PHP based bookmark tool to add to fritzfreiheit.com
  • and someone at UofM has developed a new plastic that is as strong as steel and transparent.

Orphan Stars Against A Dark Background

I ran across an article in physorg.com about orphan stars and this made me think of one of book that I quite enjoyed. So I thought I would go back and find a mini-review (transplanted to the wiki) that I wrote on Against A Dark Background by Iain M. Banks back in 1993. Here it is:

A profoundly dark book. Banks kept me on the edge of my seat both with his intricate culture and well organized plot. Rather than giving all the pertinent details of the history and character backgrounds he leaves them lying like small mental land mines. As I made my way through ”AADB” I found myself stumbling over these cunningly crafted bits of information and each time I experienced an explosion of implication that would light up the background only to fade away leaving a spectral images of potential. An excellent read.

Wired Love by Ella Thayer

Seeking Wired Love — or, at least, I am looking for the full text of Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes, a prophetic novel by Ella Cheever Thayer. Published in 1879, Wired Love is not SF, rather it is a novel of two telegraph operators who fall in love over the wire. I first encountered a reference to this book in the Victorian Internet by Tom Standage (which is well worth the read, particularly if you think that Internet age is completely unique) and ever since then I have been looking for copy to read. I have seen copies of it available online through used book sellers, but the price was rather dear, and as much as I would like to own a physical copy of it, I would be quite satisfied with an electronic copy. So if you know where I might find an eCopy or a cheap physical copy (reprint would be cool), I would be grateful.

Update 2007/09/25

Added a wiki page for Wired Love.