As one of the few people in the civilized world who hadn’t yet seen Cameron’s Avatar, I finally broke down and went to see it this past weekend. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of original story (Dances with Smu…er, Wolves meets Disney’s Pocahontas), I went because people like my friend Wil McCarthy, who knows how to tell a story, said it was still worth seeing for the 3D visuals. He was right.
One of the details — the kind of thing that lends a subconscious feel of verisimilitude — that I appreciated was the 3D pictures within the picture. Computer displays, photographs taped to a locker, etc, were each themselves in 3D. That’s non-trivial. It’s reminiscent of the myriad display screens visible in many of the scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s the kind of throwaway detail that adds richness to a movie, or a story. Avatar was visually wonderful. I can hardly wait until someone applies the technology, both the 3D and the motion-capture animation, to a film with a plot worthy of it. (Niven’s Ringworld, perhaps?)
Michael Stackpole has been posting recently about what writers should do to best survive the current shake-up in publishing (of which the recent Amazon-Macmillan-Apple fracas is just the latest round). Joe Konrath has been saying many of the same things for a while.
One key point is that writers should be making at least some of their work available as downloads independently of what their publishers are doing. (Contracts permitting, of course. You don’t short out your publisher on something you’ve granted them exclusive e-pub rights to.) As it happens the exclusivity period on a couple of my short stories (“Snowball” from the Footprints anthology for one) is at or near an end, so I’m considering making them available for download here.
That in turn raises all kinds of questions I’ve barely begun to think about. What format(s)? How much (if anything) should I charge, and how? (And a lot of factors go into that decision.) And so on. I’ve set up a poll over there on the right to let you vote on format(s). This is my first use of this plug-in so bear with me if it’s a bit flaky. Even better, go ahead and comment below and tell me what you think.
And hey, if someone wants to nominate “Snowball” for a Hugo, I’ll send them a free copy. 😉