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Simon
Posted on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 05:21 pm:   

http://www.lithaven.com/

Lit Haven has officially launched its first issue. Authors linked to include Ben Rosenbaum (Asimov's author)and Kit Reed (Sci Fiction, F&SF).
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:11 am:   

It's not really a magazine, Simon. It's more a resource merely pointing to stories already published on the web.
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Brett Savory
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

Simon: You might want to consider changing the look of your "magazine," simply because it looks like an original-content 'zine when, in fact, it's basically just a links page. It's great that you're trying to promote fiction you think is worthy of more exposure, but when I went to the site—and judging by your announcements—I thought what I was going to see was original content. That's a bit misleading. When I went to the About Us section, your masthead just reinforces this notion. The fact that you have "editors" definitely makes it seem like you guys chose and published these stories.

Again, I'm not coming down on the concept of the page—pointing people toward what you think is good fiction is, of course, your right, and you should exercise it—but I think it should be made clearer on the main page of the site that these are merely links to stories that other webzines have published, just to avoid confusion.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 10:03 am:   

It does, to me, considering this is the first "issue" seem a bit like an original webzine. For instance, would you claim, in future, that past issues "featured" Kit Reed and Aimee Bender? I think there needs to be some sort of large disclaimer at the top of the masthead somewhere.

I dig the concept, but I think the execution and presentation need some fine-tuning.
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Nuke
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 11:50 am:   

From the "contact us" page: "We are always looking for new editorial staff to send suggestions for stories to be linked to for Lit Haven."

So, if I send you a suggestion on a neat story to link to, does that make me part of the "editorial staff"? Can I call myself an editor?
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

Tough crowd. It's kind of like an online Utne Reader, in a sense, it looks like. Or, as Ellen says, a (spiffy) links portal.

JeffV
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Nick Kaufmann
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:11 pm:   

Well, no. The Utne Reader actually reprints articles and essays from other markets (I assume they pay a reprint fee as well). Lit Haven just links to other stuff. Calling it "Issue 1" and listing themselves as "editors" (and presumably anyone else who points them toward a good story as well) is what's causing the confusion. First glance at the site really does make it look a bit too much like an original content Webzine, rather than a links page.

I think it's a great idea, but I also think there's something a little misleading about the way they're presenting themselves.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:22 pm:   

Same difference, really, though, re Utne.

I didn't see the editors thing. I guess my main point is--perhaps all that's required is a slight recalibration in their approach and they're not trying to be misleading--just didn't think it all through.

And maybe it's all intentional and they're evil. :-)

JeffV
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Nick Kaufmann
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:37 pm:   

"perhaps all that's required is a slight recalibration in their approach"

Exactly. Calling Lit Haven a magazine and themselves editors when really it's just a links page may not be the right way to go. I have a links page on my Web site that links to many authors' pages, but that doesn't make me an agent. Nor do my links to magazine and books sites make me a retailer.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 12:48 pm:   

I'm just sayin' chill and let the guy respond.

JeffV
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:35 pm:   

Hey guys, sorry to take a little while to respond.

I'm not sure how many people are familiar with these websites, but I intended Lit Haven to be a kind of literary fark.com or slashdot. If you go to either of these websites, you'll see that very little on them is actually "published," and yet I consider these zines of sorts.

Yes, people on the Lit Haven staff are editors. We go to different online webzines, read the content there, and choose the best of the content to be linked to at Lit Haven, we act as editorial barriers, all the content out there being a kind of slush. If you look at Lit Haven, it works just like a webzine. You click on the cover, it brings you inside. Inside is content, and you click on the links and it brings you to that content. The only difference is that the content just happens to be at other web pages. In some regards, there's no difference between this zine, and another zine that publishes originals and reprints.

And no, you can't just send in a link to me and consider yourself an editor. As it says in the "contact us" page, you must email me with a list of either editorial or publishing credits and I'll choose from there. Being an editor also gives one a chance to post in the review blog.

I really don't think Lit Haven is that misleading. At the very top of the page, it says "Devoted to showcasing the best writings across all genres available online." By showcasing the "best," it's indicating that we're choosing from "genres available online," for how can we showcase the "best" of our own stories we publish without having some kind of best-of issue?

So what I'm trying to say is that I will stand by my statement that Lit Haven is an online magazine, just like I believe that both fark.com and slashdot are online magazines.

--Simon
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 05:15 pm:   

I really don't think Lit Haven is that misleading. At the very top of the page, it says "Devoted to showcasing the best writings across all genres available online." By showcasing the "best," it's indicating that we're choosing from "genres available online," for how can we showcase the "best" of our own stories we publish without having some kind of best-of issue?

So if the tag for my magazine is "A Showcase of America's Greatest Short Fiction" I must be heading up a reprint market too -- otherwise, how would I know my stories are really the greatest since Playboy and the New Yorker might have better ones? Of course not.

And of course, you're not ACTUALLY reprinting anything. You're providing a link. Editing is more than simply linking, so no, you're not an editor.

Btw, neither fark nor slashdot call themselves online magazines. Because they are not. They are portals. As is lithaven. Your text torture here tells me that you're being purposefully misleading there.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 05:16 pm:   

Very bad example. The big difference here is that YOU'RE not paying for it.
Ellen

<<<In some regards, there's no difference between this zine, and another zine that publishes originals and reprints.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 05:35 pm:   

"Your text torture here tells me that you're being purposefully misleading there."

With each story, the title is posted, with a link to the actual story. Below that, is the author's name. Below that, is the zine it was originally published in, with a link going to that zine's homepage. For example.

The Last Big Sin ---(text linking to story)
By Kit Reed
Sci Fiction (text linking directly to Sci Fiction)

It takes literally thirty seconds of entering the website to see what is actually going on here. I don't see how misleading it could be, even if at first you feel you've been misled, there's no hiding anywhere on this website the fact that we're linking to stories from other websites, and giving those websites credit by not only linking to the stories there, but by having an alternate link under the byline to the site's main page.

"The big difference here is that YOU'RE not paying for it."

You're absolutely right, that's a big difference. That's why I started that sentence with "In *some* regards," by showing that not only is the website not like all other webzines by *all* regards, it's not even like other webzines by *most* regards.

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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 06:46 pm:   

It takes literally thirty seconds of entering the website to see what is actually going on here.

You realize, I'm sure, that this is an admission that you're being purposefully misleading. Good website design implies near-instant awareness of what is "actually" going on, as what is actually going on is what is important.

I don't see how misleading it could be, even if at first you feel you've been misled

And again, another admission.

there's no hiding anywhere on this website the fact that we're linking to stories from other websites

If it's not a big deal, make the following changes to the website immediately so that it will be instantly and obviously clear to all readers:

New tagline: Fiction Links From Great Online Magazines, Personal Websites, and Blogs.

Eliminate the use of the term "editor."

Eliminate the use of the term "issue."

Eliminate the use of the term "staff" or all claims for qualifications for said staff, since there is no actual editorial work going on.

Then you can rightly say that you're not being purposefully misleading.
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Brett Savory
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 07:20 pm:   

Simon: I have to agree with Nick on his last post. I think all those changes should be made, because, well, rather clearly, the site is giving the wrong impression to many people, else we'd all not be posting on this board about it, you know?

Right now, it is essentially a links page made up to look like an original-content webzine, which it is not. By just changing the wording similar to what Nick wrote above, and eliminating the masthead (or, at the very least, using a different term than "editor"), you can avoid all confusion.

Links pages do not require mastheads.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 07:26 pm:   

"You realize, I'm sure, that this is an admission that you're being purposefully misleading."

No, I don't realize this. Visit any website you haven't been to before without much of a briefing beforehand, and it will take you a few seconds to figure out what's going on in it. That's beside the fact that the first words I mentioned on this forum were "Authors *linked* to include..." So even before you click into the website, I'm telling you that I'm linking to external sources, otherwise I would have said "Authors *published* include..."

Then, I said, "I don't see how misleading it could be," and you claimed it was another admission, even though the sentence speaks for itself, and then I use the words "even if" afterwards, meaning that *if* you were originally misled (which is by no means an admission), then the site reveals itself immediately.

"Eliminate the use of the term "editor."

I've already defended my use of the word editor. As I said, there's an editorial barrier to this website. You responded with, "Editing is more than simply linking, so no, you're not an editor," and just kind of left it as that, and I don't find this a sufficient argument. "Merely linking," is me coming here at Night Shades Books Discussion Board and linking to Lit Haven. Unless some kind of moderator from Night Shade drifts in here, there's no real editorial control. Since this is a public forum, anyone can come in here and argue with me and I can't stop them. Lit Haven is not "merely linking," there is a moderator who reads stories, judges them and links to them. There's also a review blog, which acts as a review publication, which is also moderated by an editor.

"Eliminate the use of the term "issue.""

Lit Haven is published on a monthly basis. Fark.com can't claim to have issues because it is updated when material become available, so there's no way to determine one "issue" from another. But with Lit Haven, on the first of every month, there is completely new content and a completely new cover. I call this completely new content and cover an "issue." What would you rather me call it? An installment? I've heard of online magazines been called monthly installments, so if you really want to grind this pony into the ground, I'm not really sure what I can call it without someone who's persistent being able to somehow argue that I'm somehow misleading him/her into believing it's a magazine.

And besides that, even if I were evil, and I were directly misleading you, and you did go into my site, it wouldn't take long to figure out that this is a zine that links to stuff rather than actually publishing it, all of which would take less than a minute. And yet here we are in some kind of chess match over something that costs you nothing but a miniscule amount of time, a lot less time than it would take me to contact my webmaster and get him to change entire parts of the website to fit *your* liking.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 07:28 pm:   

Sorry, Brett, you posted that while I was in the middle of writing my post, so please don't think I was ignoring your post.

Before I respond to what you wrote, please read my response to Nick, and if you still believe that I should change these things, we can discuss the point further.
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Nuke
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 07:48 pm:   

Simon, are you getting any sort of permission from the writers to link to their stories? You don't legally need permission to link, but as you are taking a bit of a contentious stance with the editors and writers here, I can see where the copyright holders might not want to be linked from your site.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:17 pm:   

Marina Galperina wrote to me and thanked me for linking to her story. She was informed beforehand she was going to be linked to.


Jodianne Stevenson was informed beforehand: She responded with, "Dear Simon, Thanks very much for letting me know about my link on lithaven.com. I will create a link to the zine on my website www.bowlofmilk.com where my hypermedia work is displayed."

John Briggs was informed beforehand. He responded to my email: "cool, thanks. I'm thinking about following Ould for a little while down the line.JB"

Stephen Young was informed beforehand. He replied with a simple "thanks."

I emailed New York Press. They did not respond to the email.

Benjamin Rosenbaum put his story, "The Orange," under a creative commons license. If you do not understand the legalities of a creative commons license, I suggest you research it.

I emailed Aimee Bender's webmaster. Her website does not display her own personal email address, so hopefully the webmaster will be forwarding the email.

As you can see, I did inform the writers ahead of time, and so far I haven't met a single bit of resistance. I've also posted links to lit haven on multiple forums, and so far this is the first forum to accuse me of being misleading. Which is perfectly fine, but I just want to let it stand that this forum is by no means a majority. One merely has to trek on to my journal or the rumormill to see positive comments on the website from respected authors in the field.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:57 pm:   

No, I don't realize this.

Then you are either being wilfully obtuse or you're just a simpleton.

Visit any website you haven't been to before without much of a briefing beforehand, and it will take you a few seconds to figure out what's going on in it.

Speak for yourself. After a decade of the web being around, most users of any experience can tell what a page, especially a front page, is supposed to be near-instantaneously. The sniveling backslide from "thirty seconds" to "a few" is also noted. If it takes 30 seconds to figure out what is going on with a site, it is either poor design or purposefully misleading design.

As you faked up a site to look like a magazine, and when this is pointed out to you by a number of people, you engage in a variety of rhetorical dodges, this means it isn't poor design. You want people to go to your site and think it is a magazine. That's why you made it look like a magazine.

That's beside the fact that the first words I mentioned on this forum were "Authors *linked* to include..." So even before you click into the website, I'm telling you that I'm linking to external sources, otherwise I would have said "Authors *published* include..."

Indeed, it is besides the fact, as it has nothing to do with what we're talking about, which is how you have faked up a web portal to look like a webzine. That in one exterior link you have decided to hint that all is not what it seems doesn't tell us anything about the obfuscations on the site.

Then, I said, "I don't see how misleading it could be," and you claimed it was another admission, even though the sentence speaks for itself, and then I use the words "even if" afterwards, meaning that *if* you were originally misled (which is by no means an admission), then the site reveals itself immediately.

Actually, the sentence doesn't speak for itself, it's that you stated it at all that is telling. Plain and simple: someone interested in creating a portal would, after being told by several people -- including more than one prominent webzine editor -- that the site is misleading would change their site. That's part and parcel of good web design: experienced users would not be misled, confused, or annoyed by a well-designed site. Someone interested in good web design would change it, Someone interested in playing "editor" without actually doing any editing would keep the site the way it is. You're purposefully sacrifcing usability for artifice. That's misleading. It's purposefully misleading because web pages don't happen by accident, and because after it has been described as misleading by the editors of SciFiction and ChiZine, your response is to insist that you really are an editor...except that you don't publish anything.

I've already defended my use of the word editor. As I said, there's an editorial barrier to this website. You responded with, "Editing is more than simply linking, so no, you're not an editor," and just kind of left it as that, and I don't find this a sufficient argument.

Yes, you're right, it's not a sufficient argument as stated because I made the error of thinking that you had at least some tendency toward honesty or some knowledge of what an editor actually does. All you do is link to stories. Your defense seems to be that you only link to stories that you like. Wow. That still doesn't involve any editing. You don't solicit work and you don't examine unsolicited submissions. You have no interaction with the writers or the text to prepare a story for publication or republication. You acknowledge that you don't publish the stories.

Your defense of Lit Haven is that you're the editor of a magazine that doesn't publish anything.

But with Lit Haven, on the first of every month, there is completely new content and a completely new cover. I call this completely new content and cover an "issue." What would you rather me call it?

You miss the point. Lit Haven doesn't have issues because it isn't a magazine. Your "content" isn't published by you. ("I'm telling you that I'm linking to external sources, otherwise I would have said "Authors *published* include...") You have a web portal. Linking a bunch of stuff to a central page is hardly a daring new form of anything; portalling is downright 20th century.

And besides that, even if I were evil, and I were directly misleading you, and you did go into my site, it wouldn't take long to figure out that this is a zine that links to stuff rather than actually publishing it, all of which would take less than a minute.

So the secondary defense is "Yeah, so? Even if I am misleading you, I'm not competent enough to be GOOD at it"? Yes, we already knew that much. If you were competent, you wouldn't have a dozen people clucking their tongues at you now.

And yet here we are in some kind of chess match over something that costs you nothing but a miniscule amount of time, a lot less time than it would take me to contact my webmaster and get him to change entire parts of the website to fit *your* liking.

Except that, of course, as you are the Mighty Editor, it's your responsibility not to mislead people as to what your little link farm is all about by insisting on proper design, rather than by spending the afternoon defending purposefully obfuscating design.


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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:07 pm:   

One merely has to trek on to my journal or the rumormill to see positive comments on the website from respected authors in the field.

On your journal, attributed positive comments about Lit Haven are limited to Mike Jasper, who is a good writer and a wonderful guy, but hardly a "respected author" as he is unknown.

On rumormill.org, your Lit Haven announcement seems to have simply confused Terry Bramlett, who is a decent writer and a swell guy, but hardly a "respected author" as he is unknown. He also doesn't seem to grok the site, as he first asked where the guidelines were, then admits that he didn't get what the site was all about until he looked more carefully.

The roll call doesn't impress me so far, and honestly, even if there were respected authors a'hootin' anna hollerin' over the site, their opinions would be secondary to those of editors and publishers. Writers aren't always the best judge of what is a legitimat editorial practice or a worthwhile publishing endeavor. As far as that goes, Ellen Datlow and Brett Savory have both suggested you change your design.
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JeremyT
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:18 pm:   

I hate to make this seem like a pile-on, but I'm afraid I too find the structure of the website somewhat misleading. I'll make no assumptions to the creator's intent-- the impression the site gives me is that it is an original fiction website, and I did not realize that it was something different until I moused over a story link and saw that the url was off-site.

The entire design, which is quite pretty, lends itself to the impression that this is a content provider, not a content aggregator. I compare this site to sites like BoingBoing, Metafilter, and Slashdot, and then compare it to sites like SCIFICTION, ChiZine, and the Fortean Bureau, and all the visual clues and terminology indicate that it is an original fiction webzine.

People don't like to be misled, even when it is unintentional. People here have offered their observations and opinions, and have been met only with defensiveness. That defensiveness is not helping matters, as Nick and others have pointed out.

I put a lot of time and money into my magazine. If someone else to attempt to claim "editorial" credit this way for one of the stories I had published, without actually paying the writer to reprint the story, I would be seriously annoyed.

I think if the goal here is to be taken seriously, some redesigning is in order, and soon, before more damage is done to your reputation, Simon. I know that you're a writer as well, and it just doesn't seem like a good idea if your site is going to frustrate many editors whose sites you have or might link to. I respectfully urge you to reconsider your direction here.

-Jeremy Tolbert
Editor-in-Chief
The Fortean Bureau
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:29 pm:   

Ok, to keep this civil, we'll compile a list of suggestions I'll take into consideration.

Nick, you want me to change the word "issue." What would you suggest I use to indicate monthly installments?

Also, since it's highly objected that I call myself "editor," what would be a better term to use, and what would be a better term for the people who aid me in finding these stories? Moderator, is a term I suppose I could call myself.

Then I should also change the words under the "Lit Haven," to something that clearly marks this as a linking portal. Any suggestions of concise wording?

I would hope that the conversation will from now on be toned down a bit. No name callings, please. Jeremy, I'm especially interested in hearing your input, because I'm considering Greg Beatty's "The Alien's Enter the Conversation," for the next issue, and would not want to link to it without your blessings.

--Simon
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Leah Bobet
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:46 pm:   

Simon, if you're taking suggestions on a revamp, I'd like to add one:

It concerns me greatly that you've linked to people's stories without having written confirmation of their permission to do so (as implied in an earlier post). I'm concerned that you may be opening yourself up to some serious ill-will -- if not legal issues. Speaking as an editor, I'd be mighty peeved to see a story I paid for appear without my knowledge, and speaking as a writer, if something of mine were linked to without prior permission you'd be seeing an invoice from me. Generally my going rate is five cents a word and above. *g*

I'd also like to agree that the term "editor" might be a little misplaced in this case, but you might be able to resolve issues with a prominent (and I mean prominent) blurb explaining the site to viewers.

Hope that's helpful,

Leah Bobet
Editor, Ideomancer Speculative Fiction
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Brett Savory
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:58 pm:   

Simon: On your homepage, I suggest changing "Current Issue" to simply "This Month" and "Past Issues" to "Past Months." This indicates that you update your links monthly, without using the word "issue."

I think "moderator" is a much more fitting term, yes, simply because calling yourself (and your staff) "editors" immediately puts you on equal ground with people like Jeremy, Michael, and Ellen (to use present company). But it's not equal ground because they're the ones who slogged through all the submissions, made the editorial selections, did the content editing/copy editing/proofreading, etc., whereas you are simply posting links to stories you think are worthy of attention. If only it were so easy for the rest of us! :-)

As for a suggestion for a new tag line under "Lit Haven," I suggest using Nick's idea: "Fiction Links From Great Online Magazines, Personal Websites, and Blogs," or something to that effect. I really think you need to make it clear in your tagline that these are merely links to stories, and that you had no hand in editing or publishing them.

I hope this helps, Simon, because, like I said in an earlier post, I really do think this is a good idea. The site is well-designed and easy to navigate, and writers would be fools not to want extra links to their online fiction floating around on other people's pages. Readers just need to be immediately clear that the page is made up of just links to original-content webzines. By removing key "'zine-indicator" words, like "issue" and "editor," the purpose of the site becomes much clearer.
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cpolk
Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

I had a look at Lit Haven and i'm very uncomfortable with what I see there.

A lot of it has to do with the comments that others have made. It's not a magazine, because it doesn't provide any original, independent content. Because all it does is link other stories and nothing more, it's not adding anything to the body of spec fic - not even with a personal recommendation of one of the contributors as to why this story is something that lots of others should read.

There's also another issue that pops up - it's a magazine, as you proclaim. What is LitHaven paying the authors of these stories for including their stories in your issues? Are there contracts for rights in place for each of these stories? I wonder if one of these authours could argue that LitHaven should pay them for appearing in this magazine, because it is presented in a fashion that makes one expect that LitHaven is publishing these stories, though LitHaven is not, in fact.

I don't know the answer to this question, but I can see that there could be a lot of trouble if the right person asked it.

I'm not sure why this particular form was chosen, why it's trying to behave like a magazine - the model isn't right, having monthly issues and all that.

Someone mentioned slashdot, someone else mentioned boing boing - and that's more like the model that I would think works. Update as cool stories come along - rather than month by month, with a write-up by whoever added the link, an opportunity for comment and discussion with each entry - that's what seems to fit, here. make it RSS capable so people can subscribe to it on their journal reading service, and you've got something that folks might consider handy. It also doesn't appear like it's dressing up to be more than it is.

I could go onto livejournal right now and start a community called readthisitscool, and generate a good readership and find community members who want to link stories and I imagine that few people would have many objections to that. I imagine that you never thought that this concept would meet with such disapproval, though. How shocking it must be.
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Kit Reed
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 04:41 am:   

"Simon, are you getting any sort of permission from the writers to link to their stories? You don't legally need permission to link, but as you are taking a bit of a contentious stance with the editors and writers here, I can see where the copyright holders might not want to be linked from your site.
By Simon Owens on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 08:17 pm:

Marina Galperina wrote to me and thanked me for linking to her story. She was informed beforehand she was going to be linked to. "

I wasn't. Usually I or my agent expect to deal with reprint requests.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 05:31 am:   

Well, instead of "editor" use "compiler", or "compiled by."
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 05:32 am:   

Brett, Cpolk, and Leah: thank you for your input.

As for paying for reprints, I must say that I'm kind of shocked that people think that I'm reprinting their material. Every day I visit online blogs and see people linking to other people's work online to call attention to it. That's what Lit Haven is meant to do, to call attention to work, to promote work that is already available online for free. I can understand your complaints if people think that I'm publishing original material, but am I to assume that as long as I change it so it's really quite obvious what I'm doing, then linking to it alright?
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 06:15 am:   

The only problem is Simon, you have declared yourself a magazine. When a blog or journal links to a story, that's the same as telling your friends to check out a story. When you call yourself a magazine, the implication is that you are a separate source for this content from the original, ergo, a reprint. And, even though something is posted online (say at SciFiction) and is there in perpetuity, this does not indicate that anyone may link to it at will. I am sure there is a fairly strict contract between SciFiction and its authors as to how the content can be used. I do not know if there is any language in the contract concerning links to the fiction, but I'm sure it's something agents would love to control.

I think the fact that you contacted every author (or in the case of Rosenbaum invoke creative commons license) but did not contact Kit Reed or her representatives is underhanded at best. If you have contacted them and were waiting for a response, it's quite a show of audacity to make the link before hearing from them. And then you either didn't see Kit's post or you ignored it and didn't apologize to her. Authors are rightfully testy when it comes to online publication of their fiction.

For me, coming here to a post titled "New Magazine Launch" (which should have at least been New Webzine Launch, since you are not creating a physical object, i.e. a magazine) lead me to believe that you were another promising young editor with a potentially exciting new print publication.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you wrote up this post without considering what it was going to do: make people think that you had a new publication (online or physical) with new stories from Benjamin Rosenbaum and Kit Reed. Yes, your post does not say that, but people will see the heading "New Magazine Launch," click the link to the post, see Rosenbaum and Reed, and click on your link to LitHaven without even reading your post completely. Yes, we are at fault for that. My point is, your post uses the two biggest name authors listed on LitHaven, and you put them in your post to drum up interest in LitHaven. Whether you like it or not (whether you meant it or not), this was deliberately misleading and done so that more people would click on the link and go visit LitHaven. Which obviously worked. Li

IMO, your site should be "LitHaven: Connections to the Best Fiction Online."

JK
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Brett Savory
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:08 am:   

I would think so, yes, because people are free to recommend online stories without having to clear said recommendation with the authors, publishers, copyright holders, or anyone. Here's an example of Nick Mamatas doing it:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/nihilistic_kid/480530.html

All Nick is doing here—and it's immediately clear—is recommending Gary Braunbeck's story at the Warner Books site. He didn't ask them if he could link to it, he just did. But the difference is that it's clearly just a personal recommendation from someone who enjoyed the work. So yes, there is a distinction that needs to be drawn. Nick didn't set up that entry to look like he had a hand in editing or publishing Gary's story. It's a simple recommendation from a fan to others who might enjoy the tale. Again, it's all in the presentation.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:29 am:   

Ok, the changes will be made as soon as I can get hold of my webmaster.

Underneath the words Lit Haven, he will place the words: "Providing links to the best stories in *other* blogs and publications across the internet."

My position as "Chief Editor" will be changed to "Moderator," and all other editors will be changed to "Reviewers."

All references to "issues" will be removed, and it will simply list the month. And instead of "previous issues," it will simply say "Previous Months."

The reason I didn't apologize on here to Kit is because I sent a joint email to Kit and Ellen after I got back today. The email read as follows:
"Ellen and Kit,

Before I start this I want to offer my apologies for all mishaps which have been caused. My intent was to promote Kit Reed's work by providing more traffic towards the story, not to create any false assumptions that I was publishing the story. As soon as I can get hold of my webmaster, modifications will be made to the site to make it more obvious that this is a link portal and not one to publish originals.

A few questions: Kit and Ellen, once modifications have been made, would you like me to still remove "The Last Big Sin" from being linked to at Lit Haven?

Ellen, would you like me to refrain from linking to all future Sci Fiction stories?

Thanks for your time, and again, I'm very sorry for the confusion.
Simon Owens"

***

I just want to also say that I'm somewhat saddened that this happened, especially so soon after the website's launch. My thought process when I was developing Lit Haven: There are thousands of web publications across the erotica, SF, mainstream, and nonfiction genres, and it's literally impossible for anyone to wade through them all. So I wanted to create a team of readers who would spread out across the internet and pick out the best from all these stories so I could link to them and call attention to them. Never did I want to set up any false pretense that I was publishing the material myself, that's why I was careful to document underneath the byline of each story which site is hosting these stories. And the reason I labeled it a "magazine," is because I thought that this was a magazine, just that it was a magazine that happened to link to external content. I did not wish to be misleading with this, and for those who were misled or offended, I apologize.

I realize many people I admire have visited this message board, including Ellen Datlow, Kit Reed, Brett Savory, Nick Mamatas, Jeremy, and others, and I hope that you can forgive me for taking foolish steps with Lit Haven. My intentions are good, and through the modifications I'll be making by the end of the day, I hope that the website will be agreeable to all.

Also, from now on, in future links provided in Lit Haven, I will make sure to email the editors and writers and get permission to link to their websites.

Any other input is welcome.

--Simon
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:39 am:   

Simon,
Thanks for your note. Once Lithaven is modified I'd be happy to have other stories from SCIFICTION linked to.
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Brett Savory
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:41 am:   

Simon: Very gracious and very well said. :-)

I think your ideas for change to Lit Haven are good ones.
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Kit
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 07:48 am:   

Being noticed is nice. Being notified is even nicer.
Happy it's sorted out.
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JeremyT
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 08:58 am:   

I'm happy to see the changes you're making, Simon. I want to take issue with what Leah said though-- at least in U.S. courts, you are not required to have permission to link to other sites. If he had been posting the content of the stories on his own site, this would be an entirely different problem. The Internet would fall apart if we needed a contract for each link we wanted to make.

Anyway, I have no problem with you linking to the FB with these changes. I'm sorry LitHaven has gotten off to this start, but I look forward to seeing where it goes now!
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Nick Kaufmann
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:10 am:   

Good job, Simon! I'm delighted to hear you're making the recommended changes. As I said before, I think the idea of Lit Haven is a great one, with the potential to benefit readers, authors and publishers alike. Best of luck with it!
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Bob Urell
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:31 am:   

Actually, I admire your efforts, Simon. It's a worthy -- albeit GIGANTIC -- goal to winnow through the Internet for fiction worthy enough to compile and link to. I wish you much luck and more fortitude. If I ever have anything on any site that you'd wish to link to, this is blanket permission to do so.
The end.
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bryan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:37 am:   

just read through this thread and i must say that i'm disgusted at (most of) the responses simon got.

he's obviously a fan of the material he chose for the website/magazine/whateverthefuckyouwanttocallit. seems like there are some people on this discussion board who feel he's stepping on feet. how? i mean really, what harm is he doing? the writers have already been paid for their work, he cites/advertises where he gets the stories from, and it's a clean good looking site. it's not like the stories aren't online for free as it is. perhaps there are people out there who have taste similar to simon's and will be thrilled to have a collection of stories that cater to their aesthetic. in a sense, simon is an editor. he's choosing the stories from online sources, he did the layout of his magazine. you people are just splitting hairs, and at the same time putting me off by picking on a fan with good intentions. you should be ashamed of yourselves. i for one, have no intention of picking up a novel by nick mamatas simply for the fact that i'm put off by the way he went at simon. what ever happened to art for arts sake. this corporate bullshit attitute is what is wrong with just about everything i can think of. what happened to the oral tradition? to the folk tradition? i mean, i can understand if someone is going out of the way to make money off of your hardwork, but this wasn't the case at all. it was egoville, and simon was getting poked by needles while tripping in yarn.

be good to your fans.

regards,
not a huge fan of the notion of intellectual property especially with regards to the arts
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:45 am:   

Bryan,
So you don't believe that artists or other creators should get paid for their work? (segueing off from the original topic --which has nothing to do with LitHaven).

If not, then how are they to support themselves? Seriously, I don't understand the notion of not being a supporter of intellecutal property (in or out of the arts).
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:45 am:   

Thanks, Bryan, but these people had some good points, and I'm glad I received the input so early after the Lit Haven launch. Either way, the site is down and will be up again soon with new changes to make our mission more clear.

:-)
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:47 am:   

Thank you again, Simon, for listening to our points ov view. Good luck with the site--let us know when it's back up.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:49 am:   

Ok, the site is back up:

www.lithaven.com

If there are any other suggestions, I'm open.
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bryan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:53 am:   

"So you don't believe that artists or other creators should get paid for their work? (segueing off from the original topic --which has nothing to do with LitHaven)."

it's up to the artist/creator. but, in general, i believe they should get paid for their work. my point is that the whole concept of intellectual property has gotten out of control. it's obviously one of the drawbacks of capitalism, but that doesn't mean i need to like it. it's the suing of middleschool kids for downloading song/albums they never would have bought. the media is controlled to the point where it's near impossible to get distribution without making a pact with the (christian) devil. i like the internet because like minded people can share and negotiate without having the usual intrusions.

"If not, then how are they to support themselves? Seriously, I don't understand the notion of not being a supporter of intellecutal property (in or out of the arts)."

i think it's been taken way too far. power is in too few hands.
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:54 am:   

Simon,
You don't have to italicize "other" in the subtitle ;-)

Otherwise, I think the changes are very good. As I think someone mentioned though, you might consider having your reviewers (and yourself) write up a little mini review to explain why you chose these particular stories.
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bryan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:57 am:   

"Thanks, Bryan, but these people had some good points, and I'm glad I received the input so early after the Lit Haven launch. Either way, the site is down and will be up again soon with new changes to make our mission more clear."

it wasn't their points that pissed me off, it was their attitude.

i'm glad you sorted things out and have come up with a solution that makes you more comfortable, but i think the site was fine to begin with. if you were trying to deceive people, why would you post it at this site?

i think it's a great maga... whatever you choose to call it.

regards,
bryan
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EDatlow
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:58 am:   

Bryan,
That I can agree with. I think copyright law is important but Disney and other corporations are keeping things out of the public domain that they should not.

I think copyright should be limited to the creator's lifetime plus a reasonable extra time (not over 25 years after their death). With regard to fiction, this is a big problem in getting permission to publish reprints --if the copyright holder is stupid or greedy an author will fall into obscurity because no one will be able to read her/him.
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bryan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 09:59 am:   

"Otherwise, I think the changes are very good. As I think someone mentioned though, you might consider having your reviewers (and yourself) write up a little mini review to explain why you chose these particular stories."

that is a great suggestion.
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bryan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:08 am:   

"That I can agree with. I think copyright law is important but Disney and other corporations are keeping things out of the public domain that they should not."

when i worked at midtown comics in nyc, our store sold a ton of bootleg videos. we didn't feel guilty about this because the copyright holders, for one reason or another, sat on the product. as soon as an official release came out, we took the videos off the shelf and replaced them with the reissue. although, the politcally correct reissue of j. quest justifies a readily available bootleg alternative. i mean, lets face it, many of these products are our childhood memories. we have a right to them.

"I think copyright should be limited to the creator's lifetime plus a reasonable extra time (not over 25 years after their death)."

agreed. i also think that bootleggers shouldn't have to worry about being prosecuted if a company is sitting on the rights without putting out the product.

"With regard to fiction, this is a big problem in getting permission to publish reprints --if the copyright holder is stupid or greedy an author will fall into obscurity because no one will be able to read her/him."

yeah, i never understood having the intellectual rights to art and not doing anything with it.

it's good to see that we can be of like mind and not get into a tiff about semantics. i think you and i are a lot closer in view than either one of us would like to admit.
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Ahmed A. Khan
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:16 am:   

I agree with Bryan about the way some people went after Simon who was doing what he was doing with perfectly good intentions. No harm was being done to anyone. In fact writers and ezines were receiving some extra exposure - free of cost. Instead of being thankful we go and grate Simon on silly semantical issues.

Congratulations, Simon, on your excellent - and thankless - undertaking.

Ahmed
http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/fictiononline/myworks.html
http://whortleberrypress.9f.com
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 11:05 am:   

Imagine my surprise to check out this thread today and find 51 postings. Sounds like it all worked out okay. Simon--just so it's clear, my "evil" comment was tongue-in-cheek/sarcastic.

And anyone who can remain calm while Mamatas is doing his best impression of an incensed bulldog has my respect. :-)

JeffV

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Benjamin Rosenbaum
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 12:30 pm:   

Wow, I missed the firestorm.

Having only seen the new look for LitHaven, I will simply say that I like it, it's nicely laid out, and it was clear to me that it was a collection of links. It's nice to see more filterings of the boingboing/slashdot variety. I'm pleased to see "The Orange" there, that was indeed the idea of putting it under Creative Commons.

One minor note, it might be better etiquette to make the acknowledgement of prior publication (the third line under title and name) the place it was first published -- so in the case of "The Orange", that would be Quarterly West, not benjaminrosenbaum.com. You could link the author name to the author's website if you can find one.

Good luck with it.

Is there going to be a review blog or any kind of commentary on the fiction part? I agree with Ellen that that would strengthen your role as reviewers, and the site's usefulness.

(Oh, and JK, I'm flattered, but I think Aime Bender, at least, is a bigger name than I am! :-> )
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JeremyT
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 01:01 pm:   

I'd like to add my voice to "commentary" requests. Some commentary on why I should like the story--it doens't have to be much, just like a slashdot story--would really help give me a reason to click on the stories. I like the site the way it is now, but I think this would be an improvement.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 08:59 pm:   

seems like there are some people on this discussion board who feel he's stepping on feet. how?

Well, as had been explained at least half-a-dozen times before you asked this question, he was stepping on people's feet by claiming to be the editor of a magazine, when in fact he edited nothing and Lit Haven is not a magazine. And in fact, even that was okay, but when he responded at first, it was with a lecture about what an editor is.

Non-experts lecture experts on the subject of expertise at their own risk.

in a sense, simon is an editor.

No. Editors actually have interaction with a writer and a text prior to publication or prepublication.

he's choosing the stories from online sources

So does anyone who ever linked to any story. Doesn't make them an editor.

he did the layout of his magazine. you people are just splitting hairs

No, you are just spouting nonsense. According to you, if I do this: Hey, check this out!, I'm now the editor of this bboard, if not of War And Peace.


and at the same time putting me off by picking on a fan with good intentions. . i for one, have no intention of picking up a novel by nick mamatas simply for the fact that i'm put off by the way he went at simon.

Oh no! Whatever shall I do? Someone who may not have planned to send me $2.50 in six months has now indeed definitively decided not to do so! I guess I'll have to hustle on the streets to provide a Christmas for my seventeen crippled children now!

Sweet God, have we stumbled into grade school here? And I mean that literally -- once past the sixth grade, people almost universally stop thinking a public pronunciation of "Well, I'm not gonna be your friend, cuz you're mean!" actually has some sort of impact on the behavior of others.

I've just received an important clue fax: boycotts of one give someone neither moral nor practical power over the actions of others. Christ, and you're a "fan"? Oh whom? Which writers do you buy the books of, Bryan, and tell me, how can you stand to be fans of people who will shut up or stifle their opinions because of a threat to withhold royalties equal to a single sale. Forget me, my book's a hardcover; do the paperback writers you read bow and scrape to your every whim for an extra quarter or forty cents? Let me know, so I can end their misery for them and lead them to a brighter world...with a 2x4.


what ever happened to art for arts sake.

The art of...linking? I think that after some initial confusion, confusion caused by Lit Haven's misleading layout and Simon's dance around the issues -- and note that I'm quite happy to see Simon come around and make the changes to the site, it's on my bookmark list now -- nobody here is saying that Simon or, well, anyone, cannot or should not link to anything they like.

this corporate bullshit attitute is what is wrong with just about everything i can think of.

Really? What's the ACTUAL connection between the corporate bullshit attitude and Lit Haven being a misleading website? Did you really read the damn thread?

what happened to the oral tradition? to the folk tradition?

Whatever happened to keeping an idea in your head for thirty seconds? What the hell does Simon mistakenly calling himself an editor and Lit Haven a magazine, and then getting defensive about it, and then coming around and doing the right thing about it, have to do with the oral tradition? Be sure though, that I shall be singing songs of Bryan The Bboard Poster Who Didn't Understand at many a bonfire from now on.

it was egoville

Indeed it was, and Simon was the mayor. Luckily, our intercession saved him from also being elected governor of boobtown. I do hear that the position of king of the planet of the dumbshits is still open though...

As simple as it gets: Being an editor is hard. Running a magazine, even a reprint magazine, is hard. Simon declared himself the editor of a magazine when he wasn't. When someone takes the easy way out in what seems to be an attempt to claim a mantle that doesn't belong to him, people will respond.

The lesson is that publication is the action of making public. Make something public, the public will tell you whether you're doing it well or doing it poorly. Simon was doing it poorly. Now he's doing it well. Would he be doing it well now if he were not told? Probably not. So, who is helping Simon more, the people who pointed out the problems, engaged with him over them, and made constructive suggestions, or the yutz who thinks we were, sans evidence, siding with RIAA and Disney? Ooh ooh, pick me, I know the answer!

Btw, on the issue of intellectual property and the arts, Bryan, as you put it:

when i worked at midtown comics in nyc, our store sold a ton of bootleg videos. we didn't feel guilty about this because the copyright holders, for one reason or another, sat on the product. as soon as an official release came out, we took the videos off the shelf and replaced them with the reissue.

Unless you were selling those videos for the same exact price as a blank videotape or DVD, you were a bunch of hypocrites.
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John Shirley
Posted on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:56 pm:   

After all this, I am not buying Nick Mamatas' second novel! Period! No matter how much hot lesbian action it has.
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s.j. bagley
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 04:49 am:   

'. i for one, have no intention of picking up a novel by nick mamatas simply for the fact that i'm put off by the way he went at simon. '
oh no!!!1!
that's two dollars out of nick's pocket!
how will he ever survive!!!
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Neil A
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Simon, I think the idea at the heart of Lithaven's great, and agree with all the changes that have been made. I'm sure it will prove a useful site. Might even link to it myself, if that's allowed. ;)
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:02 pm:   

you can nitpick and misinterpret what i said all you'd like. have a go at it. the point is: you were being an asshole to simon for no good reason.
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:48 pm:   

"I've just received an important clue fax: boycotts of one give someone neither moral nor practical power over the actions of others."

who ever said anything about a boycott? you misinterpreted what i said. my point was - before coming to this site - i didn't know who the fuck you were. taking into consideration your high horse attitude, i thought "well this guy must think he's something special, the way he talks, he's probably a writer." so i went to amazon, typed in your name, and books came up. there was even a listmania book list that is hilarious given your hegemonic view with regards to publishing. how you ever got an essay in the disinformation guide is beyond me. well anyways, i associate the name nick mamatas with being a cruel petty asshole whose bark is louder than his bite. perhaps you are a good writer, but you haven't given me any reason to find out.

"Christ, and you're a "fan"? Oh whom?"

on this site? m. john harrison, lucius shepard, glen hirshberg, matthew hughes, kathe koja, kelly link, matthew rossi, gene wolfe, etc...

"Which writers do you buy the books of, Bryan, and tell me, how can you stand to be fans of people who will shut up or stifle their opinions because of a threat to withhold royalties equal to a single sale."

i read lucius shepard. just bought 'louisiana breakdown'. we got into a bigtime semantic argument about feminism when i first got here. when it was all said and done, it didn't make me think twice about not picking up his work. don't look at me, look at scarecrow me... over there. you know, the one you constructed. maybe you should take breaths before you read posts.

like i said, i never threatened you. i was just saying that my first impression of you is that you're a blow hard asshole. why would i want to read anything by you? when i feel like reading a blow hard asshole, i read jim goad - at least he has a brain.

"Forget me, my book's a hardcover; do the paperback writers you read bow and scrape to your every whim for an extra quarter or forty cents? Let me know, so I can end their misery for them and lead them to a brighter world...with a 2x4."

hold on hacksaw. i could give a shit how little money you make off of your work, that's your business. i just don't like it when straw men are built in my image and then responded to without understanding what i actually said. remind me to be especially articulate the next time i talk to you, because you obviously didn't do very well in you literary interpretation classes. perhaps you mistook literary for literal, because the way you nitpick people's posts you might as well be a baptist.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   

who ever said anything about a boycott?

I did. I called your silly "You're a meanie! We ain't friends!" footstomp, plus the solemn admonition that people must be good to their fans a "boycott of one." It's a boycott of one because, you see, you're making a public declaration not to consume some commodity based on the perceived nasty behavior of its producer, and it's a boycott of one because it's just you.

there was even a listmania book list that is hilarious given your hegemonic view with regards to publishing.

I somehow suspect that you have no clue as to what my view of publishing is, since the only thing I've expressed here is:

a. if you call yourself an "editor" it should be because you edit stuff
b. if you call your website a "magazine" it should actually publish things, you know, like a magazine, instead of just link to them, you know, like a portal.

If by "hegemonic" you mean that I expect words to mean what people generally agree they mean, I guess you're right. If you think you have any clue as to my thoughts about intellectual property, let me assure you that you are mistaken. You see, I haven't even said anything about IP ,except that your little comics store was being hypocritical for selling bootlegs for more than the cost of the blank tape/DVD. Which they were.

how you ever got an essay in the disinformation guide is beyond me.

FOUR Disinformation guides, and sixty-three dossiers on the original Disinfo.com site, thanks for asking. And yes, I imagine such a notion is beyond you; you see, getting a solicitation from Russ Kick and Alex Burns to write for Disinformation requires actually knowing what the hell one is talking about. I do, so I'm in. You don't, thus you crap yourself on bboards and blame others for the smell.

Btw, Disinfo doesn't actually have any political litmus tests. It's easy to find the entire spectrum of political sensibility, from monarchism to revolutionary socialism, in its texts.

i associate the name nick mamatas with being a cruel petty asshole whose bark is louder than his bite.

You ain't seen my bite, I don't think.

i just don't like it when straw men are built in my image and then responded to without understanding what i actually said.

Oh, I understood you perfectly well. You're one of those Online Blowhards who sees his little shibboleth wherever he turns. A bunch of people are talking about what editing is and what a magazine is, and you come in here babbling about poor treatment of "fans" and intellectual property rights. Simon, I know, is a writer and wants to have more involvement in the biz, as it were. He's not engaging in fanac.

As far as your howls about the folk tradition and the oral tradition, or claiming a right to sell videos that their owners don't want sold (and conveniently, that you don't pay them for) that's just you having another conversation altogether. Did you notice how Ellen, for example, disclaimed her remarks ("segueing off from the original topic --which has nothing to do with LitHaven") about IP?

So you see, just because someone points and laughs at you about Topic A (how babyish it is to publicly declare that you're not going to buy someone's book because you think they're a big ol' meaniehead), that doesn't give you any particular insight into what someone might think about Topic B (IP rights).
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 05:58 pm:   

"Being an editor is hard"

so is working at mcdonalds, what's your point?

so are you saying you weren't an asshole to simon?
oh, that's right..., to paraphrase you, your "intercession saved him." kinda holds true to the statement i made about you being a baptist doesn't it?

don't you have a column to write for the village voice or something? no point in wasting your time on an "online blowhard," especially when you can reach enlightened nyu intellectual types.

why don't you type a little blurb about this incident on your blog, and call it a night?

i'm a little bored of your shtick. i read a few of your columns, i know your type.

You're like a dull knife / Just ain't cuttin' / You're talkin' loud / and sayin' nothin' - James Brown & Bobby Byrd

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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 06:22 pm:   

so is working at mcdonalds, what's your point?

The point is that because it is hard, one shouldn't fold a newspaper into hat, stand outside a McDonald's, hand out some napkins you liberated from inside the store, and declare that you work there at the McDonald's when you do not.

so are you saying you weren't an asshole to simon?

That's right. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only asshole in this whole thread is you.

oh, that's right..., to paraphrase you, your "intercession saved him." kinda holds true to the statement i made about you being a baptist doesn't it?

Nope, not if we actually bother to read the whole sentence you're quoting out of context.

don't you have a column to write for the village voice or something?

You seem to be wasting a lot more time and energy on this than me.

no point in wasting your time on an "online blowhard," especially when you can reach enlightened nyu intellectual types.

So you're not enlightened? Poor thing. Btw, the Voice is ready far more widely than by NYU students. It is available in the city for, you know, FREE, so even you qualify for ownership.

And don't you have to go and do...uh, whatever the hell it is you do? Stand on street corners and play ukelele? Shoplift candy bars? Check under the bed for those evil feminists who drove you out of grad school?

i'm a little bored of your shtick.

And that would be the ...knowing what an editor does shtick?

i read a few of your columns, i know your type.

And that would be the...knowing what a magazine is type?

Thanks for reading my stuff! Btw, with those extra hits to the website, I'm more likely to get future gigs. Since I make as much from an essay as I do from an entire advance payment, you've done me a much greater service than just buying my book would.

You know, this book, which is available right here at this site. The sales even help support this message board!

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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 07:09 pm:   

i find this conversation as interesting as the free village voice i picked up every week when i lived on staten island.

when it comes down to it, your just not very interesting. at least lucius kept my attention for a little while when we were bickering. you? well, you're boring.

if you're just interested in promoting your writings and telling every body how you know the be all and end all about magazines and editing, i think you've built yourself a platform big enough that even people offline can hear your bark. i just hope, for your sake, that it can hold the weight of your ego.

good night.
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Mikal Trimm
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 07:14 pm:   

Y'know, way back when I first read Nick frothing at the (figurative) mouth, I, too, thought he was a self-important, blathering, useless, Grade-A (and you can guess what the 'A' stands for) loon who posted at the RM (where I first read his, um, *content*) just to see his own insanity in print.

I still think he's a Grade-A (see previous comment), but he's one of OUR 'A's, if you get my drift. (Of course, you'd have to be a writer to pick up the scent of that particular drift, Bryan, but I digress...)

Bryan, give it up--you're losing by a margin not seen since the election of God as the
Supreme Being with the best three-letter name.

And you can't even be bothered to spell-check.

Nick--find me, somewhere, somehow, and I'll buy the beer.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

i find this conversation as interesting as the free village voice i picked up every week when i lived on staten island.


Hmm if you're anything like the Staten Islanders I know, that means you're staring at the screen and playing with yourself while fantasizing about calling one of those transgendered hooker outcall ads. Of course, as there are no such ads here, God knows what's getting you all hot and bothered...I haven't given a massage in a French maid's outfit in, geez, WEEKS!

(Note: no disrespect meant to the transgendered sex workers out there; I love you all!)

how you know the be all and end all about magazines and editing

Well, I'll go so far as to tell everybody that I know what a magazine IS and what editing IS. Except for you, Bryan, everybody else has figured it out already.


Mikal:

Nick--find me, somewhere, somehow, and I'll buy the beer.

Sign me up!
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:16 pm:   

"I still think he's a Grade-A (see previous comment), but he's one of OUR 'A's, if you get my drift. (Of course, you'd have to be a writer to pick up the scent of that particular drift, Bryan, but I digress...)"

so your a sycophant, what's your point?

"Bryan, give it up--you're losing by a margin not seen since the election of God as the
Supreme Being with the best three-letter name."

see the above. i called him an asshole, you agree - i don't see the dispute. case closed.

"And you can't even be bothered to spell-check."

oh great. another editor, that's all we need. oh wait, better be careful, or else nick mamatas'll start trying to save you. i'm pretty sure you'd like that.

and yes... i'm an asshole for carrying on like this. what's that make you for responding?
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:20 pm:   

"so your a sycophant, what's your point?"

so YOU'RE a sycophant, what's your point?

exuse me.

signed,
bryan the editor
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:27 pm:   

"Bryan, give it up--you're losing by a margin not seen since the election of God as the
Supreme Being with the best three-letter name."

actually my vote is for IAO.
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:31 pm:   

exuse me.

EXCUSE me.

signed,
editing IS hard work
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bryan
Posted on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:33 pm:   

okay, done playing. you must admit that this whole exchange has been rather fun.

nighty night,
bryan
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Niall Harrison
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 04:11 am:   

Going back a few posts--Simon, I second (or third, or fourth, or however many we're up to now) the idea of brief reviews with each link. That'd be great; there aren't enough reviews of short fiction anywhere.

Also, have you considered providing some kind of RSS feed?
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Kameron Hurley
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:14 am:   

Briefly:

Simon, I love the revised site, and it's cool that you took the suggestions from pros because, as said, you didn't legally have to. Very cool.

>>After all this, I am not buying Nick Mamatas' second novel! Period! No matter how much hot lesbian action it has.>>

For the record, I just *bought* Nick's latest book, and hot damn, there's lesbian action in the second?

I'll preorder.
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Mikal Trimm
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 03:36 pm:   

Oh, crap--guess Bryan won't be buying my book, either...

(Oh, wait--I don't HAVE a book!) ;p

Nick, can he boycott your book twice and let me count it as one for me?
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Robert Burke Richardson
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 05:43 pm:   

I tried to return Nick's book last night but the manager said they couldn't return a book for spite!
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 06:36 pm:   

Adding reviews to the stories we link to is being discussed with our reviewers. We haven't decided yet if we'll be doing it for this month's links or if we'll wait until next month.

We'll post on here when we make our decision.
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BANDWIDTH EATER
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 08:06 pm:   

Hey Mamatas: why are you wasting time arguing with this numbnuts fuckwit? You like to hear the sound of your own voice?
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 04:00 pm:   

Good lord! What a sprawling root-system of issues. I see what happens when I stay away for awhile. I just wanted to respond to Ellen on one point, and that is...

"I think copyright law is important but Disney and other corporations are keeping things out of the public domain that they should not."

This depends, of course, on how you think of copyright, and whom you consider the creator to be. I'm as frustrated as the next guy when I can't get cheaper copies of an old work. But if a work is actually created by a corporate entity, then the life of the corporation should, by rights, be the life of the creator. Right?

Bottom line: American authors in particular (but also British authors to a less disgusting degree) had a long, tough battle to acquire the copyright legislation they have now, and which is still anything but perfect. Any inroad against copyright is something of a slap in the face to a lot of writers. Writing is perhaps one of the few remaining forms of labor which is not acknowledged as such, and until that changes, you are going to see hotly-debated arguments between producers and consumers. Some of these arguments will be reasoned, as in the case of you and Simon, and some will betray a rather atavistic and willful resistance to reason, as Bryan's comments have done.

What all this means in relation to Simon's efforts, IMO, is that linking to one's favorite authors is commendable, but anyone doing so should beware of a justified jealousy on the part of producers. His acceptance of other people's suggestions, following a good deal of spirited self-defence, is (I think) honorable. With the changes suggested, the site should be a valuable resource for the writers listed.

Ideas DO NOT want to be free; else the pseudo-anarchists would have come up with them all on their little lonesomes.
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EDatlow
Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 08:14 pm:   

No. I don't think producers (such as Disney) should hold onto rights of characters that they've used in their productions but were created by others.

Nor do I think they should have rights in perpetuity. That stifles the creative process. Even corporations should be limited.

Drug companies patent drugs. After a certaid period of time the patent expires and generic drugs can be created for the common good.


I'm afraid I can't think of Disney examples. Perhaps someone else here can. Or maybe I'm just mis-remembering.


<<<This depends, of course, on how you think of copyright, and whom you consider the creator to be. I'm as frustrated as the next guy when I can't get cheaper copies of an old work. But if a work is actually created by a corporate entity, then the life of the corporation should, by rights, be the life of the creator. Right?
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 12:57 am:   

But if a work is actually created by a corporate entity, then the life of the corporation should, by rights, be the life of the creator. Right?

Not really, since the idea of creating a life-limit (and life-limit+finite time) was done with the assurance that the length of copyright would be finite. As a corporation can live indefinitely through assigns and heirs, it clearly isn't an analogous situation.

That said, current law does limit corporate copyrights and things do fall into public domain, but the issue is complicated by two things: trademark and its expansion from source identifier to commodity in its own right, and the habitual extension of copyrights on the behalf of some of the leading corporations.

If individuals and corporations are really supposed to be legally the same, then let's see some corporations thrown in prison for crimes including theft, manslaughter, and murder. As that can't happen, they clearly aren't legally identical in any real way, but only when it is beneficial for corporations to be legal individuals. Law isn't a matter of logic in practice, but of power.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 09:12 am:   

Nick, good points. All too often, the corporate entity is a mask behind which culpable individuals can take shelter--corporations enjoy some of the same protections as private citizens, but carry fewer responsibilities. You'll never see a corporation summoned for jury duty or drafted into the army; in those instances, of course, it is not a body, but an abstract entity. The shiftiness of the category contributes, in the worst cases, to what Stanley Milgram called "the fragmentation of the total human act," a parcelling-out of blame which should fall squarely on the shoulders of a decision-maker and those who act on his or her behalf. You're right; it's about power, not logic.

In the matter of copyright and trademark, I agree with both you and Ellen, that rights should not be held in perpetuity, but especially by someone other than the creator of the property. To Ellen's "Even corporations should be limited," I would respond "Especially corporations should be limited," but there I'm probably on very shaky ground and betraying more ideology than reason.

Part of the problem, historically, has been that we don't really seem to know how to frame a relation between intellectual property and material goods. Some judges in the nineteenth century in America even went so far as to deny writers the rights to their works on the reasoning that "ideas" and "language," of which texts are composed, are already public property, and wasn't it nice of the public to let the writer borrow them for a while? The question of the writer as laborer was not at issue because there was, at the time, nothing recognizably professional about writing; it was seen as a game for idlers until well into the nineteenth century, and many people still look at it that way today, drawing a bold line between "work" and writing.

The earliest copyright laws in the U.S., in fact, protected books only while they were still in manuscript and privately held. Once they became printed and published artifacts, pirates could copy at will. The problems with this are obvious; that first print run had better sell damn well, because after that, the writer was lucky to see another nickel from his work, and the original publisher would have to grin and bear it as cheaper versions of his product (often badly produced and with glaring errors of typography and content) hit the stands and sold like crazy.

As one example, Matthew Carey ran a thriving publishing house largely on the profits of reprinting works he didn't pay a dime for. He even sent a letter to one of the female authors he pirated, congratulating her on the brisk sales her book was seeing. Apparently, he did this without a trace of malice, and without a single ethical qualm! It was just the way things were done.

Likewise, Harriet Beecher Stowe found, when she sued a pirate who translated her book into German, that U.S. courts considered Uncle Tom's Cabin in English a totally different piece of property from Uncle Tom's Cabin in German; she lost any semblance of rights in the story upon translation. And that's not even counting the stage renditions of UTC, some of which were being produced and performed before the novel had even finished its serial run in the story papers! That's why you can still find versions of UTC for the stage which end with Little Eva's death; the rest of the novel hadn't even been written before it was pirated.

Things have changed a lot since then, but not because publishers suddenly got religion and decided to pay the worker what he was worth, and not because the legal system abandoned its prejudice against intellectual producers or learned how to categorize "text" as property. Rather, U.S. copyrights, which were adamantly opposed by publishers before mid-century, became important to those same publishers when their businesses became squeezed by the story papers which serialized pirated novels for pennies an issue. Only then, when the pickpockets found their own pockets were being picked, did they begin to yell for the cops. Things have gotten better since then, but we still can't seem to agree on what a "text" is, or who owns it, for how long, or in what way.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 09:28 am:   

Sheesh, sorry for the history lecture. I thought I could leave academia behind for a while, but it's nailed itself to the backs of my knees.
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:26 am:   

Simon,

Coming to this conversation rather late, but just wanted to say that I think you've got a great idea there with Lithaven, now that it's modified, and kudos to you for your grace and responsiveness in handling criticism. Keep it up!
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:34 am:   

Simon,

Coming to this conversation rather late, but just wanted to say I think you've got a great idea there with Lithaven, now that it's modified, and kudos to you for your grace and responsiveness in handling criticism.

One other suggestion: You might want to put a list on the left or right of the main page of all the common places to find good fiction on the Web, listing them alphabetically. That way, even if your readers' tastes seldom match up with yours, which will happen often, your site can still act as a gateway to all those other sites. I know I'd be much more likely to bookmark it and use it reguarly as a portal if that was the case.

Keep it up!
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:39 am:   

Ellen: "I'm afraid I can't think of Disney examples. Perhaps someone else here can. Or maybe I'm just mis-remembering."

I could also be mis-remembering, but wasn't there some kind of legal dust-up over the Tennant film "Ever After"? I seem to recall that Disney kicked up a fuss about the use of "Cinderella" in (or as) the title. Of course, if that's the case, it would be a good example of what you're referring to: the Disney version was loosely adapted from the work of Charles Perrault, who in turn adapted his version from folklore. Granting a corporation the right to trademark folklore is particularly odious; it's like permitting someone directly to pilfer the ultimate public domain.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 06:52 am:   

The next month of Lit Haven has launched.

http://www.lithaven.com

Reviews of individual stories and a few more staff bios will be added soon. There's also a comment section now. Feel free to test it out.
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;)
Posted on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

oh no! here we go again!

j/k
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 11:30 am:   

We're about to make some major changes to Lit Haven in order to increase traffic. Instead of a monthly basis, we're going to combine the current format with a slashdot-type blogger format.

We'd like to open up to ideas and discussion regarding suggestions for changes.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 05:48 pm:   

Just writing this to say that Lit Haven is back up and running, and it's gone to blogger format:

http://www.lithaven.com


Check it out, tell your friends.

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