Today in publishing and literature: the market factors that helped Ray Bradbury get over his digital publishing skepticism, another Quentin Rowan apology, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 17-year-long legal fight over A Death Foretold is over.
- Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is finally available as an e-book, but not because the author's views on the Internet -- which he called "meaningless," "distracting" and "not real" in a 2009 New York Times interview -- or digital publishing (from the same interview: "They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? ‘To hell with you.") have changed. According to the author's agent Michael Congdon, it was a compromise brought on by the fact that Bradbury's contract for the book was about to expire, and no publisher was willing to give him a new one unless he included digital right, which typically boost sales by a minimum of 20 percent.Congdon tells the AP: "We explained the situation to him that a new contract wouldn't be possible without e-book rights, He understood and gave us the right to go ahead." [AP via TechDirt via Teleread]
- Columbia'a version of the Supreme Court has ruled against Miguel Reyes Palencia in his claim that Gabriel Garcia Marquez "unlawfully misappropriated" his life story for his breakout 1981 novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Palencia's been pursuing legal action against the Nobel Prize winning author since 1994, when he filed a lawsuit demanding a co-author credit and 50 percent of the book's profits, saying the plot was lifted from an old piece of his family history in which a relative was stabbed to death for taking the virginity of another man's bride-to-be. Marquez has always maintained he's vaguely familiar with the incident, but that it was just a building block for a much larger work. Mr Miguel Reyes Palencia could never have told the story as the writer Gabriel García Márquez did, and could never have employed the literary language that was actually used," said the court in its ruling. "The work is characterised by its originality." [The Guardian]
- Between brisk sales for 11/23/63 and the rise of Newt Gingrich in the polls, November has been a good month for books of alternate histories. As The Guardian explains, the genre has several sub-species: there are "counterfactual novels", "alternate timelines", "allohistories", and "uchronic novels." This last category is the most popular, and is characterized by "a specific moment of divergence" from the set course of history. [The Guardian]
- Quentin Rowan is once again offering to explain why he ripped off large chunks of Ian Fleming and John le Carre for his spy novel Assassin of Secrets. The first time he did this, he blamed the pressure of having a poem collected in an anthology at a relatively young age for his problems. In a new post for The Fix, an addiction and recovery blog, he changes his tune, saying that upon further reflection, he was addicted to being a copycat. "Between the first piece of writing I stole in the library all those years ago and the debut of my fake spy thriller," he volunteers, I struggled with plagiarism in the same way others struggle with smoking, sex addiction, food addiction, and gambling." When Rowan takes this on the road, expect to hear how none of this would have happened if he'd just joined the Elks at an earlier age. [The Fix]