Monday, December 5, 2011

The commercial challenges of "real" Science Fiction.

At the risk of being a lazy blog poster today I'm offering links to a trio of (rather brilliant) roundtable discussions from Locus Online, the magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The table consists of of a panel of SF writer and editors discussing many of the issues facing SF. Also known as "hard", "speculative" or even "real" Science Fiction, depending if you lean that far to the end of the snob-o-meter.

Some discussion points on the intricacies of writing in genre that really stood out to me, not only as a reader but also as a writer still trying to find his place on the Sci-Fi---SF spectrum. A lot of the issues discussed in this rountable have been questions I've been asking myself about my attempts within the genre for a long time now.

- Should you write what's commercial...or what you like?

- Most SF books ARE NOT and DO NOT become break-out hits vs. other genere's. Why am I writing it?

- I will NEVER be as smart as a Brin, Bear, Baxter, Banks  (lot of B's, I know) Niven, Poul, Stephenson, etc. Why am I even trying to write in the same genre?

- Since I'm NEVER going to write from some brilliant arena of scientific extrapolation..won't I forever be a Sci-Fi HACK!

- Conversely...seeing as how the overwhelming majority of the "serious" SF bloggers and readers (and more than a few authors) regularly glare down their tenured, credentialed noses at the "cheap seats", the SF humor novels, the serialized Star Trek, Star Wars, Video game novelizations, space marines vs. an evil alien/bug/cyborg empire shoot-em-ups, etc...(most common criticism: ack...weak science)...why is the "real SF" consistently outsold by them?  

- What's the subject matter of the biggest grossing, most anticipated summer movies...sci-fi? Save fantasy standouts like Rowling and Meyers, why isn't this reflected more in the publishing world?

Here's the opening, links below:

A question came up: Has contemporary science fiction become too self-absorbed, or does it still have the capacity to cross over to a mass audience? If so, who are the authors and books that have managed to do so? And who do the folks in our Roundtable discussion group think are likely candidate to break out of the genre and find a large non-genre readership in the future–and why?

Cecelia Holland, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Paul Di Filippo, Ellen Klages, Karen Lord, Carolyn Cushman, Elizabeth Hand, N. K. Jemisin, Gary K. Wolfe, Rachel Swirsky, James Patrick Kelly, Jeffrey Ford, Gardner Dozois, Paul Graham Raven, Rich Horton, Russell Letson, and Guy Gavriel Kay all join in the discussion.

Roundtable #1

Roundtable #2

Roundtable #3

Extremely interesting reading regardless of your chosen genre regarding the issue of whether or not to write popular and commercial.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I would say write what you like. A lot of readers are looking for something off the commercial path - something different. I guess that is one of the best things of indie publishing - you can write how you wish.