Tag: Reading

Making e-Reading Easier: Change Your Screen Orientation

I just had kind of a revelation about reading on my laptop. One of the things that bugs me about reading PDFs is that it’s very difficult to maximize your screen real estate since laptop screens (and most PC monitors) are widescreens, displayed in the landscape view. For a PDF, a laptop screen would be ideal in portrait view, since it approximates the dimensions of a sheet of paper and it would allow you to view one whole PDF page at a time, which makes turning pages in the PDF much easier. So I thought, if I turn my laptop on its side, can I make Windows change the orientation of my display? The answer is yes.

For some machines, apparently the default Windows hotkeys will be in place, so all you have to do is hit CTRL + ALT + [Right Arrow] to rotate your display orientation 90 degrees to the right. To return to normal orientation, hit CTRL + ALT + [Up Arrow].

If, like me, that doesn’t work for you, you can go into your display properties (Start > Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings) and click on Advanced. Click on the tab for your video adaptor. Then from there, you’ll have to play around with your settings.

In my case, with a GeForce FX Go5200 video adaptor, I have a list of options, including "NVRotate". Opening that screen presents you with the option of changing your screen orientation. That’s kind of pain to do, though, if you’re going to be switching back and forth. So you’re going to want to setup your own hotkeys to accomplish what some lucky users have setup by default. In the same tab for your video adaptor, in that same list of options, there will be one marked "Desktop Management." Click the plus sign to expand the list, then select Hot Keys. Click on the plus beside "Display Mode" then select "Rotate Display" and double-click and follow the on-screen prompts to select your hotkey to change your screen orientation (the default Windows hotkeys mentioned above seem to make sense to me, so that’s what I used). Note you’ll have to setup two hotkeys, one to rotate the screen 90 degrees to the right (CTRL + ALT + [Right Arrow]), then another hotkey to return the screen to normal orientation (CTRL + ALT + [Up Arrow]).

I’m rather pleased with myself for figuring out how to do this. Given all the reading I have to do on screen (while reading for anthologies), it helps a lot to be able to just use my laptop rather than having to put stuff on my Pocket PC phone (which requires file conversion and doesn’t read PDFs well at all). I briefly investigated doing the same thing on my PC, but the settings were different (although the video adaptor is made by the same company) and there didn’t seem to be any option for changing the orientation.

So anyway, I thought I’d share my discovery in case that would be of use to anyone else. Of course, if you have one of those sweet rotating monitors, you don’t need this.

Read More

Metal Songs Based on Fantasy Novels

Random House’s Suvudu blog has a cool post on metal songs based on fantasy novels. Of course, I had to chime in with some additions in the comments, which I’ll duplicate here:

  • Amon Amarth–who are obviously named after Mount Doom, though they generally sing about Vikings–have a song called “Amon Amarth,” in which they reference Mount Doom, but they also mention Vikings, so I don’t know if it counts as being “based on” Tolkien.
  • Every song by Battlelore. I knew that they sang about swords-and-sorcery sort of topics, but wasn’t sure until I checked Wikipedia just now–apparently ALL of their lyrics are derived from Tolkien. Which is appropriate, because I always pictured the dueling vocalists as an orc and an elf singing. (Give them a listen and you’ll know why.)
  • A band called Jester’s Funeral adapted a bunch of John Shirley stories into songs for one of their albums (which they released online for free), called Fragments of an Exploded Heart.
  • If Dante’s The Divine Comedy counts as fantasy, then this counts for the list: Sepultura did an album based on that.
  • White Zombie’s “I am Legend” is based on I am Legend.

Can you think of any others not mentioned by me, or the original list?

Read More

Top Ten SF Novels by Women

In the Guardian, Gwyneth Jones has a Top Ten list of SF novels written by women. It’s an interesting list, though I note that only two of them are from the 21st century. Which is fair enough, considering it’s a Top Ten of all-time sort of list. But seeing the list made me wonder: What would this top ten list look like if we restricted the timeframe to books published in 2000 or later? So let’s hear it: What’s in your top ten? (Keep in mind we’re specifically talking about SF here, not fantasy.)

[Cross-posted to the F&SF blog. Please leave any comments over there.]

Read More

Tor’s free ebooks

By now most of you will have noticed Tor’s shiny new Tor.com website, which is chock full of geeky goodness. What you may not have noticed is that through July 27, you can go download all of the free ebooks that Tor had released via its Watch the Skies promotional newsletter over the course of the last several months. So go download before they’re gone forever!

Read More

More free fiction

Jeremiah Tolbert, who has stories in both The Pirate Issue and in my forthcoming anthology Seeds of Change, just updated his bibliography on his website, and included links to all of his online fiction. Some good stuff there, go check it out.

  • "Spooning," Ideomancer, June, 2003. (read online)
  • "Storm Come’s A’Callin," Ideomancer, February, 2004. (read online)
  • "The Girl With the Sun in Her Head," Polyphony 4. (read online)
  • "Instead of a Loving Heart," All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories. (listen online)
  • "The Yeti Behind You" Fantasy Sampler, 2007. (read online)
  • "Captain Blood’s B00ty" Shimmer Magazine, 2007. (read online)
  • "Babe, I’m Going to Leave You" self-published, 2008. (read online)

Complete bibliography is here.

Read More

Download Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey for Free

Night Shade Books is releasing the entire text of Richard Kadrey’s novel Butcher Bird available as a DRM-free download, in a wide variety of formats.

See below for the press release.

Back in 2005, a very different version of Richard Kadrey’s novel Butcher Bird began its life as a free download posted online at The Infinite Matrix. At the time, it was called Blind Shrike. In 2007, Night Shade Books published our version.

Now it’s back. With the cooperation of Richard Kadrey, Night Shade Books is proud to make the entire text of Butcher Bird available as a DRM-free download, in a wide variety of formats, so that everyone can enjoy this amazing novel of black magic and arcane mysteries, however and wherever they want. The World of Butcher Bird is one where angels and devils brawl in the streets, where the Black Clerks charged with keeping the Dominions in check have developed their own dark agenda, where the swordswoman known as Blind Shrike battles monsters in deadly combat, where a civil war has broken out in Hell, and where Spider Lee, an unassuming San Francisco tattoo artist, and his drinking buddy LuLu Garou, have been dropped right smack into the middle of the action.

Richard himself describes the book as "the Gnostic Gospels meets Wild at Heart." Butcher Bird is an odyssey that will take you from the San Francisco underground to decadent palaces to the very gates of Hell… and beyond!

Richard Kadrey is the author of six novels, including Angel Scene, Kamikaze L’Amour, and the quintessential cyberpunk novel Metrophage. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, as well as the magazines Asimov’s, Interzone, Omni, and Wired.

Visit our Downloads page at http://www.nightshadebooks.com/downloads

Read More

Go Read This: "The Rapeworm"

In case you missed it, the first issue of the new horror magazine Noctem Aeternus is now available. It’s 100% free–all you have to do is sign up for a free email subscription to receive the magazine in PDF format. I haven’t read much of it so far, but I did read Charles Coleman Finlay’s story, "The Rapeworm," and was blown away by it. He’s written lots of great stuff in the past, and this one ranks right up there with his finest work to date. Go check out the magazine, if only to read Charlie’s story!

Read More

Tor.com: Watch the Skies

Go on over to Tor.com and sign up for their newsletter–as a reward for doing so, you’ll get some free ebooks. The first is Brandon "Finishing the Wheel of Time" Sanderson’s The Mistborn. And next up is supposed to be John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.

I got the first book via email the other day. It looks like it’s just the typesetting file converted to a PDF, so it’s not an ideal ebook–I wouldn’t want to try to read this on a hand-held device, but I guess I can’t really complain since it’s free. I do wonder, though, how much effort it would have taken to convert the text to a hand-held-friendly format.

Read More

Listen: Instead of a Loving Heart

My pal Jeremiah Tolbert has a story up at Escape Pod this week:

EP145: Instead of a Loving Heart

Published by SFEley on 14 Feb 2008 at 6:32 am. 1 Comment.
Filed under Podcasts, Rated PG.

By Jeremiah Tolbert.
Read by Jared Axelrod (of The Voice of Free Planet X).
First appeared in All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories (ed. David Moles & Jay Lake).

We are somewhere among the tallest mountains of the world. When we arrived, I was locked away in a cargo hold, so I don’t know exactly where. Our home is a small, drafty castle and a separate laboratory. Dr. Octavio had the locals construct the lab before he tested the new death ray on their village. There’s very little left there. In my little bit of spare time, I try to bury the bodies and collect anything useful to the doctor’s experiment.

My primary duties consist of keeping the castle’s furnace running and clearing the never-ending snow from the path between the two buildings. Sometimes, it falls too fast for my slow treads and shovel attachment to keep up with and I find myself half-buried in the snow. It is horrible on my gears when this happens, but I use heavyweight oil now and it helps.

It is one of the few benefits of my metal frame that I appreciate. Life in this contraption is like being wrapped in swaddling clothes. I wonder if I would feel anything if my casing caught on fire? I need to ask the doctor when he isn’t in one of his moods.

Go check it out!

Read More