Interesting Discussions Afoot

Jay Lake, Tim Pratt and others talk about when to trunk stories.

A few writers-in-progress are taking apart a novel they liked to see what makes it work.

Stephen Leigh discusses fiction: how to be a success and the process.

Slashdot pointed out this CNN discussion about Hollywood and SF, including writers Harlan Ellison, Connie Willis and Bruce Sterling.

I'm neutral on the Dark Cabal. Either they do good work or they don't. Matt Cheney shows a good example of where they fall down on the job. I actually disagree with the common wisdom that Cheney espouses: "I had hopes that the pseudonymous writers would use their pseudonymity to say things with some force." Cheney points out a case example of how it should be done in Cheap Truth (curiously, Cheney was troubled by Mundane SF, which used much the same language in its manifesto as Cheap Truth--should we have hid and remained pseudonymous? Curiouser and curiouser, the "gang" of Mundanes who speak with their names attached are consistently accused of perpertrating this horrible horrible pseudonymous Cabal). Maybe it's the only way some people feel free to speak out. If so, that's too bad. I feel, however, if you're going to make a strong statement, you should probably sign your name. Perhaps there's a place for guerilla warfare, but I should hope that important writers and editors should be more open to discussion with authors willing to identify themselves. Still I do hope they take Cheney's advice on reviewing and continue to develop their ideas of what SF should be.

It is sad that the genre is in state where authors are afraid to identify themselves. I wish we could discuss these issues without rancor, but then if they were discussed without scandal, would they not be discussed as they ought to be?

Alan DeNiro makes fun of the desire to see more ______ in SF. Implicit in these discussions, for and against, is that the new or the old is best. That's too bad. There should be room for all types. I do believe in labeling and isolating fiction groups, however, as it allows for more mutations and evolution. If you know the genes or rules of one group, you can bend and distort until it mutates into something else. Stuffing everything into one box, where different fictions go after different goals, only confuses the issue. Certain works will fail to be read properly with the wrong frame of reference.