The modern maestros of fantasy at Bethesda Softworks penned thousands of pages of text for the Elder Scrolls series, scattering 256 detail-packed, in-game books across 2006’s Oblivion, with a commensurate amount in 2002’s Morrowind. Presumably these tomes were consumed by the hardcore few. Did Bethesda spend countless hours of careful word-crafting for a fanatical minority?
“In re-organizing the priorities of book publishing—by inventing new models rather than trying to repeat past success, by valuing ingenuity over magnitude, by thinking of sales as a way to make great books possible rather than the point—indie presses aren’t just becoming the places where the best books are published; they’re already there.” Over at The Atlantic, Nathan Scott McNamara writes on why American publishing needs indie presses. For more of his writing, check out his essay on Denis Johnson for The Millions.
U.S. publishing house Little, Brown had a rough day in the news yesterday. Its coy marketing tactics have rubbed some booksellers the wrong way, reports Julie Bosman for The New York Times. Later on, The New York Post's Keith J. Kelly noted that the publisher has dropped one of its bigger titles. Jason Bennett raises some additional questions.
"What I’ve found is that a lot of soldiers are surprisingly apolitical. Their reality is, 'Today I’m going to leave the gate for twelve hours, and I’m going to make it back to the dining facility by sundown with the arms and legs of me and my buddies intact.' So you say, 'Well, what about the Project for the New American Century and the preexisting agenda blah blah blah?' They go, 'Yeah, that’s cool, but I have to get through today.' So their reality is not a political reality as much as it’s, 'If I’m driving by this piece of garbage, will it blow up?'" Revisit this old interview with Henry Rollins over at Guernica Magazine, which manages the nearly impossible: to be both level-headed and political.
New this week: Yannick Murphy's latest novel The Call is out this week, as is Tom Scocca's chronicle of expat life, Beijing Welcomes You (Both are written up in our big second-half preview). Also arriving is a new novel from Helen Schulman, This Beautiful Life, and Bed, the debut effort of David Whitehouse, which has already been a (minor) prizewinner in the UK, and which the publisher compares to A Confederacy of Dunces.