Gollancz opens the SF Gateway… and my wallet gently weeps

My to-read pile is getting silly. Seriously. If there’s a book-slide in my study it could take out half the street.

The trouble is that I’m addicted to the blooming things. I see a book, I want it, I buy it. My poor little brain has no concept on adding it to a wish list. At least I’m trying to use the library more. The trouble is that I can get 20 books out at a time on my library card. So I do and they join the piles in the study. And by the bed. And in the hall. And the downstairs loo.

My good lady wife has tried to initiate a ‘book in – book out’ policy. But now that I’ve chucked all her books out we still don’t have room for mine.

Of course I do have a secret weapon in all of this. My Kindle. My lovely, beautiful, slinky Kindle. Download books and store them on a hard-drive. Yes, it’s not the same as reading a dead-tree book, but at least it keeps Mrs Cav happy.

But there is a draw-back. It’s only fuelled my addiction. At least in the past, I had to go to a shop or wait for the postman (the latter option leading to a “What have you bought now?” interrogation). Now, I can just buy books by magic. Press a button and it’ll start downloading to my Kindle from the ether.

For a compulsive book buyer this isn’t good. I know this, Mrs Cav knows this and my bank balance definitely knows this.

And this is why I approach the following news with caution: Gollancz, the SF and Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is to launch the world’s largest digital SFF library, the SF Gateway, which will make thousands of out-of-print titles by classic genre authors available as eBooks.

Noooooooooooooooo! What will my children eat when their father has spent all of the housekeeping on the back-catalogues of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dicks and whichever authors from their current lists sign the appropriate paperwork? How will we afford shoes for their poor little feet? Will they mind when I send them to work up the chimneys?

Although I have to agree with what Pat Cadigan says on the press release:

“This is exactly what I’ve been hoping for now that the digital book is becoming more widespread. I have always said that the eBook will not be the death of the physical book – the eBook will save so many wonderful books from being lost. We have to remember that what we read is the book – what we read it on, whether ink and paper or pixels on a screen, is just the interface.”

This doesn’t just seem to be an online library though. The entire thing will be integrated with the online edition of The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction and will have forums, blogs and social networking malarky. Brilliant. Not only will I be broke and face an even bigger to-read pile, I’ll have another place online to waste time when I should be writing. My editors won’t be happy. Neither will Mrs Cav…

The SF Gateway will be officially launched by Gollancz in September as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of its SF list. You can also find it on Twitter and Facebook. There’s even a snazzy little trailer which I’ve embedded below.

I’d better start saving…

1 Comment

  1. Cavan – you could almost have been writing on my behalf even down to the book in / book out rule.

    How dare we have yet another site dedicated to separating me from my money and dwindling reserves of spare time!

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