Tag Archives: Jonathan Green

MIND MELD: What is the Next Big Thing in Speculative Fiction?

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

As a critic, aspiring author, and a fan of fiction I always keep an eye out for what could be the next big thing. This could range anywhere from authors to series, from genres to themes. But who better to provide an opinion on the matter of The Next Big Thing than authors themselves?

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What do you think will be the next Big Thing in SF/F? What authors do you see leading the way? What genres or trends?

Here’s what they said…

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam writes speculative short stories. Her first professional publication, “The Wanderers” came out in this February’s Clarkesworld. Her second will be published in Strange Horizons this April. She reviews short fiction on her blog, Short Story Review.

I’ve always been bad at predicting the future, despite my claims as a kid that my dreams were prophetic; I tend to worry over the worst possible scenarios. But in terms of the future trends in speculative fiction, I’m optimistic. I’ve been noticing a strong focus on diversity in speculative short fiction. I mainly read short stories, so I will speak in terms of the next big thing in short story writers. As a bisexual woman, I was thrilled last month to read “Inventory” by Carmen Maria Machado in Strange Horizons, in which the main character’s relationships with women and men are depicted as equally important to her. I think in the future we will certainly see more of an emphasis on diversity in sexual orientations and gender identifications.

Some other writers I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future: I keep running into Damien Walters Grintalis’ work. Brooke Wonders’ “Everything Must Go” in Clarkesworld 74 blew me away, and I think Wonders will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Helena Bell’s work has been popping up a lot lately; her Clarkesworld stories “Variations on Bluebeard and Dalton’s Law Along the Event Horizon” and “Robot” are worth checking out. I’ll be keeping an eye on Brooke Bolander as well. It’s great to see so many up-and-coming female short story writers in the speculative fiction field, and I think that this trend will continue as well.
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BOOK REVIEW: Treacheries of the Space Marines edited by Christian Dunn

REVIEW SUMMARY: Another batch of short stories from the Black Library, ranging from mediocre to fantastic.

MY RATING: 

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A collection of short stories focused on the dastardly deeds of the Chaos Space Marines, with contributions from promising new talent.

MY REVIEW
PROS:
Sarah Cawkwell and Andy Smillie’s short stories are the best to be found in this anthology.
CONS:
“Throne of Lies” by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is largely pointless and “The Long War” by Andy Hoare lacks purpose.
BOTTOM LINE:
Treacheries of the Space Marines is a mixed bag but worth paperback price for sure.

The Black Library has a surplus of talent at the moment. There is of course the old guard, names like Abnett, McNeill, Counter, Swallow, and King that have put Warhammer 40,000 fiction on the map. Then there is a new crop of skillful authors that are just now testing the waters. I have high hopes for these writers, names like Dembski-Bowden, Cawkwell, Smillie, French, Zou, and Sanders. The Black Library needs such new perspective if it is to remain fresh and appealing. I’m happy to say that there is little risk of the Black Library stagnating and Treacheries of the Space Marines is proof.

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