Cover to Cover #274B: Reviews and Commentary

Welcome to more "Cover to Cover" for your week! And a full house shows up: Michael, Michael, Summer, Brian and Tim are on tap to field the first bit of feedback, listener submitted reviews, and discussion on a specific topic or two if the questions come in.

We are not breaking off a separate voicemail show... this double shot is something a little bit different. Show A will continue to be about writing, publishing, and interviews with authors, while Show B will focus on listener feedback, but also contain book reviews and commentary, plus other informative segments.

Can you do a 3-minute audio book review? Here's what we're looking for:

  • Book title, author, publisher, cost
  • Must have been published within the past calendar year
  • Why did you like the book?
  • What about the book will you remember a year from now?
  • Why would you recommend this book to other potential readers?

Feedback and Discussion: McCoy recommends Soon I Shall Be Invincible by Austin Grossman; Will the Computer Guy on his misdirected voicemail message, and gives a high recommendation on James Patrick Kelly's audiobook version of "Burn"; Snow Cat lists books that moved him: Earth Abides by George Stewart, and The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell; Snow Cat requests future interviews with John Ringo and Lois McMaster Bujold; Tim in Missouri with kudos on the work on the podcasts, and comments on introducing younger readers to old school scifi, and wants some feedback on how the books are selected for store shelves (older vs newer); Zach Ricks comments on global warming; Will the Computer Guy comments on Seth Harwood's podiobooks and episode lengths.

Recent Reads: Tim and Brian list the books they're currently reading: Acacia, Plague Years, and the rush to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Review: Trampas Whiteman reviews Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword by Tee Morris.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Promo: Dragon's Fire, Wizard's Flame


  1. I back mccoy's statements on 'soon i shall be invincible', what may seem very tired or predictible in terms of a storyline is actually really intensely personal and explores 'behind the myth' of superheroes using the strengths of a novel instead of a visual format of comics or movies.

    Also, I dont think the oppositional side to the debate of Global warming will actually visit/listen to freshly green...its a continued nice gesture, but since the opposition is based mostly on previously framed political distaste instead of anything more solid(the caller compared the weather person on local tv news to the vast majority of professional scientists on earth's statements)'s most likely a lost cause.

    Another interesting topic you guys could give it a round in the studio is specifically in modern science fiction: hard vrs, soft sci-fi, is it a over-inflated conflict? Modern master writers(last twenty years) of both and their relative prominence in the field?

  2. Hey guys,

    This 'B' show is a great idea. I'm looking forward to all the book recommendations! I'm glad we'll only be hearing positive reviews because, yeah, I don't really want to hear what books I 'shouldn't' be reading. Tell me about the good stuff!

    (Btw - I read the last Potter book and will only say I enjoyed it and think it'll make a *great* movie. Not sure that's how you should look at books, but it's true).

  3. hey M2+B,

    great show and such a good i've not input for content just a "Way to GO!!!" i'm listening to your #273 show where you had the phil rossi interview. well i luv Cresent it is trueling an enthrawling story (did i spell that right? oh well) on the note folks who are giving the granddaddy of podcast blood&guts thrillers--namely scott siggy sigler, as well as j.c. hutchins (7th son is so frakin clever a premise i cannot tell you how i luv it)

    okay...check out Shadow Falls (, i subscribed thru this site. he's not on itunes(which i loath that setup, but hey WTH) mark has some other podcast out too. but you may really like this one.

    and like rebecca, i'm reading/read the last Potter book, forgive me i love it's darkness, nice tie-ups, will make a good movie and is most definately meant for older young kids.

  4. i stand corrected he is now on itunes...shees is my face red

  5. Hey guys,

    I really like the "B" side concept of the podcast. It really is great that you're going to be relying on content from your listeners for this one. I do have a question about the review criteria, though.

    A lot of books are now being offered in other mediums besides straight up publishing. "Fortress Draconis," one of Mr. Stackpole's novels, was published back in 2001. However, he is making it available as a podcast. Therefore, is it out of the running for reviews because it wasn't published in 2006-2007, or is it an acceptable book to review because it is being released as a podcast currently?

    There are also several professionally published books that are online for free download as e-books. Here's a sampling.

    * Brotherton, Mike. Stardragon: Tor, 2003.

    * Maddox, Tom. Halo: Tor, 1991.

    * McDonald, Steve. The Janus Syndrome: Bantam, 1981.

    * Walton, Jo. The Prize in the Game: Tor, 2002.

    All of these fall outside of the caldender year, but they are available to everyone. Shouldn't professionally published books that are available online for free (but not in the public domain) be eligible for review?

    I know this is a long post, and I apologize. I just wanted to iterate that there are a lot of options out there, and was wondering how those options would fit into the parameters of the reviews.

    Thanks very much.

  6. Michael Mennega says

    @Jay... I would say that if they have come online in the last year, then they are open no matter when they were published.

    The reason for this, is they are available in a new form. (Just like when we talk about books that come out in paperback, even though we already talked about them in hardcover)

    If it is something that has become recently available... Let the world know and feel free to review 'em.

  7. lisa in Indiana says

    Guys I love the idea of the "B" side and hope to have some content for you soon.

    Keeping it within a one year publication date is going to be tough, though I understand your reasoning. It's just that sometimes we don't hear about a great book for a while, even with all you guys do to try and keep us informed. And then there's the question of not enough hours in the day...
    For instance, I just discoved the Dresden series recently.

    My family and I have always had a rule about buying books. Quite simply, if the author is living and the book is still in print, you have to buy it "New" from a chain store. (I know, but that's how authors are measured!). If the author is dead then the book is fair game from an independent bookseller or a second hand shop.

    Would you consider in the future loosening up the publication requirements a bit so that books published in the past 3 or 4 years but still in print could be included?

  8. I liek lisa's idea. Fact is, I rarely read a book within a year of it's release unless it's an event book (Harry Potter, The Dark Tower, Alex Cross), or I happen to know the author (Welcome to Percotran, Sanguisuga). Example: I only just now started reading The Lovely Bones.

  9. Hey Lisa,
    " if the author is living and the book is still in print, you have to buy it "New" from a chain store. (I know, but that's how authors are measured!). "

    Does it really make a difference to author sales figures? I buy all my books from an independent seller because I love them and want them to stay in business forever. Am I doing wrong by my favourite authors? Not sure how or why it would make a difference?

    Thanks 🙂

  10. lisa in Indiana says

    My understanding is that not all independent bookstores report their sales figures to the major "best seller" lists.

    Amazon and the other on line retailers use "pure" sales figures, but the NY Times, LA Times, etc survey only the major chains and a select few select independents. There's a great article in USA today from a few years ago that describes how bizarre the process is. Just google "How to make the best seller list" and you'll find tons of stuff.

    Maybe one of our published authors could give us a true picture, and some advice as to how to best support our favorite authors.

  11. Hey guys,
    Glad to hear Will the Computer Guy calling in to talk about episode lengths and answer some of what we started. Just FYI: I'm currently coming in around 40-45 minutes per episode now, with at least 30 minutes of hard-boiled content. Come check it out. Eager to hear what you think, Will.

    Jack Palms Crime

  12. Hey, thanks, Lisa.

    It does sound like a bizarre process, but very interesting. I'll go google it then I might ask my local bookseller what his take on the whole thing is. Perhaps it's different for here in Australia, though I don't really see why it would be.

    I agree, maybe one of the authors around here could chime in or discuss it on the show.

  13. Lisa,

    We can talk about it again (I was hoping for 2 years, myself), but I later realized that sometimes, a book isn't on the shelves 2 years after it's been published, and having everyone go out and purchase the book used won't give the author that store sales bump that Mike S. was talking about.

    Yes, everyone could probably still get it from Amazon, but personally, I'm not convinced that the publishers would take a big jump in Amazon orders or rankings as seriously as a similar jump in in-store purchases.

  14. Isabelle Martinez says


    Living in France, Amazon is still my best (and almost only) option to buy books in English. I'm a bit disappointed to know that the figures from Amazon are not taken into account (and I imagine the ones from even less). I guess I'll comfort myself by thinking that every book counts for the author ;-))