Saturday, 24 January 2015

why publishing is so expensive

So there’s this journal, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, that recently sent me a paper proof to check and correct.

I had submitted my paper as LaTeX and BibTeX source, using their style files.  Said style files format numbered references, such as [42].  The proofs had the references set in Harvard style (author name, year).


I reformatted my submission using Harvard style, to make it easier to check the proofs.  That took me about 20 seconds (open file, change bibstyle, make new pdf).

On checking the proofs, I noticed a few issues: (a) a name in the text was not the same as the corresponding entry in the reference list; (b) there was still one numbered reference in the text; (c) an author’s name in the reference list was mis-spelled.

Wait: that means the Harvard style references in the proof weren’t generated from my source files, but manually keyed in.  Which presumably took significantly longer than 20 seconds.  It certainly took me much longer than 20 seconds to check, and correct, the proofs.


Friday, 23 January 2015

is Arrow fantasy?

I thought those guys in who catch arrows fired at them were just fantasy – until I watched this!

 [via BoingBoing]

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Science in SF, with more authors

I’ve got a blog post in the Guardian on the science in science fiction.

I wasn’t trying to be comprehensive, but even so, a lot of the SF authors (including all but one of the women!) got cut in the final edit.  Here’s who else I mentioned who didn’t make it into the on-line version:

Justina Robson
Examples of other SF authors with science degrees: Julie Czerneda, biology; Greg Egan, mathematics; Ken MacLeod, zoology; Vonda McIntyre, biology; Linda Nagata, zoology; Larry Niven, mathematics; Jerry Pournelle, PhD Political Science; Hannu Rajaniemi, PhD mathematical physics; Justina Robson, philosophy and linguistics; Cordwainer Smith, PhD Political Science; Peter Watts, PhD biology; Liz Williams, PhD philosophy of science.

Joanna Russ
Examples of SF authors who are/were full time academic researchers: Gregory Benford, astrophysics; Jack Cohen, reproductive biology; John Cramer, particle physics; Joanna Russ, English; Carl Sagan, astrophysicist; Joan Slonczewski, genetics; Kari Sperring, Celtic history; Ian Stewart, mathematics; Vernor Vinge, mathematics.

Examples of SF authors who gave up the day job: Isaac Asimov, chemist; Arthur C. Clarke, engineer; Robert Forward, physicist; Paul McAuley, botanist; Alastair Reynolds, European Space Agency; Rudy Rucker, mathematician.

Ursula K, Le Guin
Examples of SF authors with arts and humanities backgrounds: Ursula K. Le Guin studied French literature; Jane Lindskold has a PhD in English Literature; Richard Morgan studied history; Spider Robinson has a degree in English; Neal Stephenson studied geography; Roger Zelazny studied English.

Jo Walton
Examples of authors with great blogs are: Diane Duane, Paul McAuley, John Scalzi, Charles Stross, Jo Walton, Peter Watts.

Examples of SF author duos include: Eando Binder (one name; two people); brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky; spouses Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; Fred Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth.  John Wyndham’s collaboration with Lucas Parkes on The Outward Urge is not an example however, the clue being in the author’s full name: John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris.

Material gets cut, so for the people who turned up in the comments asking why I didn’t mention X, Y, or Z:  I was edited, folks!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

circling, circling

So, I got fed up trying, and contacted the site asking whether there really was a problem their end (as it’s been going on for a while), or maybe my browser has issues.

I got an automated response: “You may find a quicker response to your query by logging on to your Subscription Account online.”  Not helpful: what I was trying to do was get a subscription account!


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Monday, 19 January 2015

now they tell me!

It’s all very well to apologise, but maybe you could have said that before I’d filled in 2 screens worth of information?

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success from "suboptimal facial hair hygiene"

A colleague sent me this cri de coeur:

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Hermione for lead!

If Hermione Were The Main Character in “Harry Potter”:

Now that’s more like it! 

(Up there with Sady Doyle’s  In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series)

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