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SF Tidbits for 1/7/09

  • John Scalzi turns the Whatever mike over to Jim C. Hines, author of The Stepsister Scheme.
  • Los Angeles Times interviews Jane Espenson. [via Whedonesque]
  • Emma Bull shows off the cover for her book Bone Dance.
  • For your consideration…the Hugo Award nominations are open and SF Awards Watch is tracking the various “pimping pages” are starting appear.
  • Free Fiction [courtesy of QuasarDragon]:
    • @Manybooks: The Panchronicon by Harold Steele MacKaye (1904).
    • @Kat and Mouse: Guns for Hire: “Easy Money” – Part One” by Abner Senires .
    • Audio Fiction: Zombie Astronaut has Steve the First, Steve the Second, and a version of Dracula.
    • Everyday Weirdness is a daily source for morsels of weird SF/F/H (flash fiction, poetry, artwork, comics, audio, and video).
    • Over the next 12 weeks, Bantam will be serializing The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume One by Gordon Dahlquist. Here’s the first excerpt.
  • AOL is shutting down Ficlets on January 15 and warns: “If you’ve written any Ficlets, please back them up as soon as you can.” [via Wil Wheaton, who has lots to say about it]
  • Jane Lindskold talks about Hard Fantasy: “My feeling is that writing Fantasy should be harder–not easier–than writing any other kind of fiction. Why? Because every magical element, every immortal (or nearly so) race, every enchanted sword adds to the ramifications and complications of your creation.”
  • Meanwhile Jennifer Fallon asks: Is Epic Fantasy on the wane? “…traditional fantasies…that have been the mainstay of the genre for decades, are starting to give way to more contemporary fare. The biggest fantasy sellers of the past few years, after all, are about a kid in a magical boarding school and a vegetarian vampire. This is not to say that traditional epic fantasy is dead. That sorry fate, according to my agent, belongs to science fiction at the moment, which she can hardly give away, let alone sell for actual money.” Ouch!
  • The joy of secondhand bookshops. “Buying from charity shops and dusty independent shops is a great way to discover writing you didn’t know you liked – and to save money.”
  • Lists:
About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

2 Comments on SF Tidbits for 1/7/09

  1. “The biggest fantasy sellers of the past few years, after all, are about a kid in a magical boarding school and a vegetarian vampire.”


    The biggest fantasy sellers of the past few years have been… YA novels. Doh. Different market. Comparisons do not apply.

  2. I went over and read more of Jennifer Fallon’s post, particularly what she and others have to say in the comments.  Not sure that I agree that publishers cannot find any ‘good’ sci fi to publish nor that there are not any ‘new’ writers putting out good science fiction.  It is easy to argue that science fiction isn’t the leading genre in book sales, but to stretch that argument to say that there is no good sci fi nor any new authors putting out good sci fi is way off the mark.

    And I was thinking the same thing that Ian Sales mentioned.  Too often people are lumping books into larger categories making for unfair, or at the very least, misguided comparisons. 

    If ‘epic fantasy’ is on the wane, however, I would argue that one of the reasons is that it is very, very difficult to get and keep loyal readers when the next book in the series takes many years to come out.  Using the examples she did of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer, the novels in their ‘epic’ series came out in rather rapid succession.  Setting aside all thoughts about quality, the fans of those novels did not have to wait an inordinate amount of time between novels to find out how their beloved stories would play themselves out.  I look at authors like Robert Jordan, may he rest in peace, as an example of how one limits their readership.  When decades go by and a series still is not finished; when so much time has passed between each volume that readers feel they have to reread or do research to remember characters, etc., then you are severely limiting the possibility that anything near Rowling readership is going to jump on board. 

    That may be a symptom of our ‘I want it now’ mentality, and it certainly is just my personal opinion, but I do believe taking an ‘epic’ amount of time to put out an ‘epic’ fantasy, or any other genre series, limits potential readership over the long run, thus limiting sales.


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