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Monday 24 July 2000

Stephen King's latest e-book, ''The Plant'', went online starting today, at Stephen King's website. The book will be published in monthly installments as long as least 75% of readers pay for their downloads. ''The Plant'' was started by King in the early 1980s; three installments were mailed to friends as Christmas greetings before the appearance of the film Little Shop of Horrors caused King to abandon his project due to similarities with the film. PW Daily calls ''The Plant'', ''an old-fashioned horror tale presented in an old-fashioned way... [A] tickler and a gut-grabber, on a par with the other books King was writing at the time (Cujo, Christine, Pet Sematary).'' King's next paper-and-ink book is nonfiction On Writing, due from Scribner in October.

Other coverage:

Awards News

  • Rebecca Marjesdatter and Geoffrey A. Landis are winners of this year's Rhysling Awards for science fiction poetry.
  • Robert J. Sawyer won Canadian Aurora Awards in both English-language categories, for long-form work Flashforward and short-form work ''Stream of Consciousness''. The complete list of winners and nominees is on this page:
  • Connie Willis won Spanish-language Ignotus Awards in both (translated) foreign-language categories, for novel To Say Nothing of the Dog (''Por no mencionar al perro'') and -- tying with herself -- for short stories ''Chance'' (''Azar'') and ''Nonstop to Portales'' (''Directos a portales''). Complete list of winners:
  • Finalists for the Endeavour Award, for best SF or fantasy book by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest, are books by J. Gregory Keyes, Greg Bear, Robin Hobb, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Louise Marley. The winner will be announced November 17, at OryCon in Portland, Oregon.

Publishing News:
German media giant Bertelsmann, owner of Random House, is moving its publishing headquarters from Germany to New York City.

Tuesday 11 July 2000

The fourth Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine) was published Saturday, July 8, and was available at many booksellers beginning midnight -- Saturday at 12:01 a.m. It was the largest first printing ever, but many booksellers were sold out by the next day; Locus Online verified that local branches of Borders and Barnes & Noble sold out their allotments of several hundred copies (most of them reserved in advance) by early Saturday.

A sampling of the news coverage:

A Salon article by Laura Miller recounts riding home on the subway after standing in line to buy the book:

...what struck me as most extraordinary about the event was neither the lines nor the TV cameras nor the spectacle of kids going wild over a book. It was the knowledge, unprecedented in a life devoted to the solitary practice of reading, that last night and throughout this weekend, I and millions of other people, young and old, will all be reading the very same book.

Slate's Today's Papers feature on Sunday put the Harry phenomenon in a certain perspective:

Yes, it's "the biggest publishing event in modern history," and yes, 30 million copies of the first three volumes have been printed worldwide. But that's still fewer than the number of people who saw the lukewarmly-reviewed film The Patriot over the July 4 weekend.

For samples of the reviews, see Field Inspections.


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