Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reasons to Yell

I don't have the Bulletin with me. I'd like to give you the exact quote, but I think I can summarize sufficiently. For those who don't know, the Bulletin is the (I think) quarterly publication of SFWA. It's of varying value to me, since I don't really follow what markets are opening or closing, or the status of the ludicrous arbitration that's surrounding the google booksearch thing, powered by the Author's Guild and supported by various other writers organizations, including SFWA. Dear people, your views on the internet are backwards. Stop litigating. It's no longer the 80s. Just stop.

But that isn't what got me going. The Bulletin has a regular article that is essentially a discussion in letter form between two famous authors. I don't know that it matters if I tell you who they are. For the last two issues (and I've only gotten two issues, so this could have been going on for a while) they've been talking about what steps need to be taken to save science fiction. It's interesting. What fascinates me about it that their opinions line up pretty accurately with my own. As in, we're essentially writing for one another, and not the readers. We reinforce this with awards, magazines, and an increasing sense of literary snobbery.

It came down to a final paragraph that essentially said that the majority of young and potential readers, as well as the majority of current readers, do not like the stories that get nominated for awards. They can't name the last five nebula winners, have never read anything on the Locus Recommendation lists, have not read the Hugo nominees and, if they were ever to pick up any of the Year's Best compilations would simply not care to finish the stories that they started.

We've given up on the average reader. And the average reader has given up on us. To both of our detriments. We can write books that people will enjoy reading, and create them in such a way as to ratchet up the quality of work in those genres. I'm just saying. There's no reason to write for the editors, when the readers aren't buying the product.


At 9:57 AM , Blogger colin said...

Your wife enjoys, or at least endures, listening to you yell about this?

That's real devotion.



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