A couple of free things

Current News On Writing

Smart Pop Books has put my controversial essay, “Barbarian Confessions,” on their website for free–one week only.  If you’ve been reading my nonfiction columns, you’ll see me refer to this essay a lot.  Here’s your chance to read it.  You can find it here.

And, last week, I got interviewed for the nifty podcast site, StarShipSofa. Check out the excerpt here. The entire interview will be posted soon.  Check out the entire website here.

7 thoughts on “A couple of free things

  1. I liked the essay. I got into science fiction in the 70s as a middle-schooler, enjoying exactly the kinds of stories you say we still need … heroic fiction with the promise of the hero winning. I love humor, I love the speculation. And then in the early 90s, it started to get harder and harder to find the stories I liked. I’m not a fan of dystopian universes. Science fiction and fantasy both seemed to offer me less and less of what I’d grown up on.

    I found myself turning more and more to mystery and romance; romance is now my primary genre. Every now and then I wander through the science fiction and fantasy aisles, but there’s still virtually nothing there to pique my interest.

    And added to that, the bookstores don’t push science fiction & fantasy. The new release paperback tables almost never have stuff that is primarily identified as sf/f; urban fantasy is the closest you get.

    The thing is, the demand is out there. I’d buy sf/f that appeals to my tastes in a heartbeat. I’m sure there are plenty more like me. But the publishers will have to be aggressive to get my attention, because unless it’s out there where I can see it as opposed to buried in the stacks of dystopian misery, I’ll continue to pass it by.

    1. Good point, Shawn, about promotion. I spend a lot of time going over the sf section, trying to see if the book is something that interests me. Often it’s not. And reviews are generally no help because (as a reviewer recently said about my work), “it does nothing new, so I [the reviewer] am not interested.” In the other genres, reviews point the way. In sf/f they obfuscate. Wish it were different. It is better now than it was when I wrote the essay, but only marginally. Thanks for your great comments.

  2. As someone who has been told time and again that I write old-fashioned adventure novels (with happy endings, oh the horror), I say YAY! I loved your essay! It is so spot-on. It articulates so well why I have such a horrible time finding good science fiction to read. I love adventure, great characters and the sense of wonder. And too often I find depressing books that inspire in me the wish to tear them apart and burn them in the fireplace. Life is depressing enough as it is, I don’t need it in my entertainment.

    I’ll be submitting my own books before the year is out into a publishing field where I worry about finding homes for them. A lot, though not all, of what is out there is not what I write. Not even close. All I can do is remain hopeful that someone out there is starting to learn what the readers are looking for.

    And yes, I’m yet another writer who is writing what I can’t find to read. 🙂

    1. Exactly, J.A. There are editors who will publish well-written adventure. That essay is a few years old now, so the situation is better. Also, check out the romance markets and paranormal markets. They publish a lot of adventure sf. Good luck!

  3. Great essay!

    I got into science fiction from some strange directions: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and the Star Trek novelizations. So needless to say, I never really fit into the “village.”

    It’s good to read one of the “Defense” essays. I’ve read David Brin’s famous Salon essays, but the “deconstructions” of his essays I’ve seen online have been, well, to be polite they’re not even in the same universe as your essay, much less the same ballpark.

    1. You’re welcome, Raphael and Tim. Glad to have introduced you to the books, Raphael. Tim, I love media stuff, and hate the prejudice against it, so I feel like you do. 🙂

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