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The Mercury Music Prize shortlist has been announced:


Athlete - Vehicles and Animals
Eliza Carthy - Anglicana
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
The Darkness - Permission To Land
Dizzee Rascal - Boy in Da Corner
Floetry - Floetic
Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons
Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
Soweto Kinch - Conversations with the Unseen
The Thrills - So Much for the City
Martina Topley-Bird - Quixotic
Terri Walker - Untitled

I know less records on this list than I did last year (only Coldplay, Radiohead and Athlete, although I've at least heard of The Thrills, The Darkness and Lemon Jelly). And I knew less records last year than I did the year before. Sigh. So whilst my heart would like Radiohead to win - they've never won before, and Hail To The Thief is a fine album - my head knows that I can't really make a fair judgement. On the upside, no terrible omissions immediately spring to mind.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earthlight, the SF&F imprint of Simon & Schuster, is being closed. People are not happy:
In what they're calling a "sweeping restructuring" of the adult trade portion of the company, pig-ignorant bosses at Simon & Schuster - a large, international, multimedia conglomerate with absolutely no care for anything but the bottom line, obviously - have decided to completely do away with their science fiction and fantasy imprint, Earthlight.

This is part of a wider program of cutbacks:
Simon & Schuster Inc., the book publishing unit of Viacom, plans to chop the number of its new titles each year and ax about 5 percent of its global work force.

The cutbacks amount to 75 of the house's 1,600 employees, and insiders said editorial as well as back-shop operations will be hit.

Charlie Stross comments here:

The real headaches fall on the midlist British writers. People like John Courtenay Grimwood, Ian MacDonald, Mike Cobley, and a bunch of others. They're going to be scrabbling to find new homes, in competition with said reprint rights for the big US reprint names, and it's going to be bloody. Earthlight was one of the big guys, accounting for maybe as much as 20% of the UK's SF/fantasy publishing, and while it's to be expected that the competition will pick up some of the slack, lead times being what they are it will take a couple of years before things get back to normal. In which time, some of the smaller fish will be left gasping on the side of the pool.