Thursday News: Harriet Klausner dies, Kindle “catfishers,” best SF books(?), and new iPhone emojis
Obituary: Harriet Klausner – Janine kindly forwarded me a tweeted reference to Klausner’s obituary, which was the first I heard of her death. Indeed, I can otherwise find no mention of her death, outside of a reference to her date of death as October 15th on her Wikipedia page. Although the controversy over Klausner’s #1 Amazon review status had diminished in recent years, she was a longtime fixture in book reviewing. According to her obituary,
In 2006 Time Magazine choose as person of the year people who impacted the new information age; Harriet was one of the limited number of people selected to represent this change. – Thomas L. Scroggs
How an industry of ‘Amazon entrepreneurs’ pulled off the Internet’s craftiest cat fishing scheme – Wanna make some extra cash? Find someone who will write a book for you on, well, anything, but something like weight loss would be good. Then publish the book under a, “expert” pseudonym, find people willing to sell or trade reviews to drive it up the Kindle list, and voila! you have a Kindle bestseller and you haven’t even had to write a word. By the way, did you know that ebook sellers can use up to three pseudonyms on Amazon?
The catfishing process varies according to the specific “entrepreneur” using it, but it typically follows the same general steps: After hiring a remote worker to write an e-book for the Kindle marketplace, Amazon’s e-book store, publishers put it up for sale under the name and bio of a fictional expert. Frequently, Kindle entrepreneurs will then buy or trade for good book reviews. (Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.) . . .
Recently, dozens of self-described “entrepreneurs” have begun selling e-books and online courses that teach catfishing techniques. One online course, called “K Money Machine” — easily found by Google search — preaches the art of building a “successful Kindle Publishing empire (without ever writing a single book yourself).” Another, called K Money Mastery, promises to teach adherents the techniques that its creator, Stefan Pylarinos, says helped him buy a high-end sports car and a $1.7-million apartment. Its small print forbids “members of the media” from taking the class, unless they agree that it’s not a part of any investigation. (Neither Pylarinos nor Kevin Brandt, the man behind K Money Machine, responded to The Post’s inquiries.) – Washington Post
The 10 Best Science Fiction Books – Despite PW’s insistence on referring to this as a “best of” list, its author, novelist Ann Leckie, wisely refuses to characterize it that way. There are some interesting books on the list (including one of my all-time favorites, William Gibson’s Neuromancer), that may be more revelatory of Leckie’s work and influences than anything broader:
Yeah, I know, I hate “Ten Best X” lists, too. Inevitably the attempt to condense a huge field–one that often contains multiple subgenres, and has decades, if not centuries, of history–down to just ten (or fifty, or let’s be serious even a hundred) items is going to end badly. It can’t really be adequately done, and anyone reading the list is going to find their favorites are left off, or declare that the listmaker has a laughable idea of what’s best and essential. – Publishers Weekly
The new iPhone emojis are here! – How many of you (besides me) are wondering how and why it took so long to get a middle finger emoji?! Also, I’m totally in for the tumbler of whiskey for next year.
The Unicode Consortium, the organization in charge of the emoji standard, previously added skin tone options for a number of people emojis. Now it’s deliberating on which emojis to add next year. Early contenders include an avocado, a selfie hand, a tumbler of whiskey and a shark. – CNN