The ghost at the banquet – amid all our discussions of "Modernism and its Enemies," is the almost depression-level recession in Science Fiction publishing... one of several explanations for why I’ve been doing other things, folks. Oh, my novels still sell and I can still boost a big one. But the field itself is in severe doldrums. Many bookstores are even separating out the thriving fantasy section. I believe this is indicative of something looming ever since 2000, a widespread sense of trauma vs the future. (See my “Tolkien article” that discusses why this may be happening.)
How to fight back? Well, that’s what we are discussing in general. Meanwhile, getting specific, here are a few endeavors I’m part of. (Saving the best for last!)
1. A new program - AMAZON SHORTS will be offering a number of my new essays, articles and short stories for handy download, just like iPod music files. This starts now in the nonfiction category, with my essay on "The Power of Proxy Activism." Soon to follow: an article about the Mississippi River's struggles to free itself from human control, then another about a looming power struggle between citizens and the skilled professionals who are paid to protect us. I also hope to serialize a short novel!
Yes, some of these were tested-critiqued here on this blog. (Don’t tell anybody! ;-) Anyway, I could use numbers, in order to impress Amazon, so spread the word. Give this convenient new medium a try.
Find my fiction: short stories, such as The Giving Plague and Reality Check on my website.
2. Long time editor, publisher and sci fi impresario Jim Baen has decided to try the experiment of launching a major online science fiction magazine, to see if that might provide an avenue to circumvent the factors that have been pretty much crushing the life out of short fiction in SF for several decades now. The title of the magazine will be Baen’s Astounding Stories. He asked Eric Flint to be the editor of the magazine, along with David Drake and Sarah Hoyt. A goal is to recreate the kind of magazines that /Astounding/Analog /and
/Galaxy /were in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Watch for it to come out with a splash in June! Do help spread the word. (I am personally hopeful that it will help dispel the mood of stylish hopelessness and anti-progress despair that some - especially Gardner Dozois - relentlessly injected into our field across the last 20 years.)
3. Announcing the latest book from David Brin….
Quick! Run for your lives and buy…. King Kong Is Back! : An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape! edited by David Brin.
Just see what one perceptive reviewer says…
Review by Lee Gilliland
Benbella Books Paperback: ISBN 1932100644 (Smart Pop series)
Date: 28 November, 2005 List Price $17.95
King Kong has been a part of the collective unconscious since the first film. In remake after remake the audience returns. King Kong Is Back! by David Brin takes a look at what makes the big ape so appealing. Our reviewer Lee Gililand takes a look at the book.
One of the delightful things about the upcoming King Kong remake is we get a treat such as David Brin has worked up in King Kong is Back!. More than just a collection of short stories, we have reminiscences by James Gunn in "King Kong and 1930s Science Fiction", a very funny essay by Bruce Bethke on why KK must always be a period piece, an extremely informative piece by Bob Eggleton on how the film was animated, an absolutely HYSTERICAL send-up on all those silly behind-the-scenes-in-Hollywood PR fluff pieces by David Gerrold entitled "King Kong, Behind the Scenes"...and I could go on like this the entire review.
Brin has carefully crafted the book so that you have a nice rhythm going, well-paced in its continuity and imaginative in its order, so that the book can readily be absorbed in its entirety in one sitting, or you can just nibble on it one piece at a time. I found this collection an absolute delight and recommend it highly to any and all who love Kong in all his permutations.
See? Some reviewers have class. Get this book and be glad you did! ;-)