10.18.2004

Saving Fiction & other news items discussed

Maud Newton blogs on Ken Smith’s Junk English, which is dead-on but also can potentially be dead wrong--synonyms are not always exact matches, for they have sounds, contexts, and shades of meaning that almost never allow a 1 to 1 exchange rate.

Philip Jackson wrote in to say he has a new Robert Sheckley fan site up. It discusses a number of Sheckley stories and novels. Speaking of Sheckley's influence on others, BBC has the classic Infocom game online: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Screenwriter Ray Rhamey wrote in to say he had something further to add on the Anne Rice affair this coming Monday.

Sherwood Smith talks further about "Reader Investment": emotional involvement. Alexander Payne takes the unconventional wisdom on this matter.

Maud Newton asks, "Self-fulfilling prophecy: is fiction really dead or are publishers killing it?" Despite my love for the local bookstore which had two stacks of Through Ultraviolet Eyes by Clarion chum Stephen Woodworth (whose second novel, With Red Hands, is due in December), I wondered if chain-bookstores aren't also culpable and, thereby, singing the same old swan song: the aforementioned desire for the quick gain. I was recently informed of bookstores promising not to carry first novels in hardcover. Won't this kill the careers of the more methodical first-time novelists? Before, when the paperback came out, readers could be reminded of an author's name the second time around. Now the market appears to favor the prolific. Although the prolific certainly do write quality and slow-brewed is not necessarily indicative of quality, those who stew over works can take the time to bring in a certain quality. Perhaps this will have no effect on either type of writer, but--while I love all book stores, chain or independent--should a chain-store's descision bode ill for the fiction market, readers/customers should be prepared to respond. The Book Guys discuss ways to support the independent bookstores and to encourage reading locally--ideas that would bode well for chains as well, not to mention writers.

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