May 28th, 2008, 03:50 PM
Old Fogey Fan
Just to clarify a few points - because its obvious that my assumptions about what other people would assume were not completely on target:
(and yes, due homage to the adage about what happens when you assume)
1. in my day, english classes beyond speeling and grammur equalled a study of US/UK literary history. concentrations varied as did reading lists, but most at least surveyed the roots of western lit (myth, greek plays, norse sagas, chaucer, bronte, dickens, shakespeare) so I was assuming that anyone who can read has had at least some minimal exposure to that.
2. I chose the word reinterpret deliberately, as opposed to, say, 're-write'. Perhaps a clearer word would have been 're-imagined'. The implication was anything BUT an updated copying
3. I mentioned root, branch and crown (all three) BECAUSE what's on the shelves now is what was actually written 12 to 36+ months ago. A contemporary example might be Space Vulture. In my humble opinion it is right now at the absolute cutting edge of the reinterpretation of the space opera genre (self-reflective, humorous, stylistically 'new'). It was in writing for two years and just released this February. Whether TOR will continue in that particular vein is going to come down to sales of that 'test' book. If I were writing space opera (got one in the works), I'd take note of that possible direction. I wouldn't start trying to write in that vein immediately. If it is successful, its a new sub-genre (literary space opera?) and it will be around for a bit.
Then again, its all probably moot within another decade anyhow. The SciFi Channel has just announced that they are 'expanding' the definition of SF into the dumbed-down, moronic "what if?". The President of SFWA is already wondering if written SF shouldn't be 'dumbed-down' as well (to insure greater financial success). A host of writers, many of whom I admire, have already weighed in on the subject and announced their 'immunity': they are all univerally of the opinion that visual 'sf' is different from 'written' sf, for all kinds of intellectually satisfying reasons, and they're all wrong (hate to say it) because once the 'new definition' of SF starts churning dollars on the boob tube, the publishers, who are all owned by media conglomerates with boob-tube holdings, will be pressured to 'do the same thing'. True SF may remain, but it will be a very small section of the bookstore, hidden away next to the volume after volume of 2nd grade vocabulary words strung together called 'novels' that are based on the 'what if' television shows currently raking in the bucks; the dollars spent on that trash is going to come out of the budget that is currently spent on (halfway) decent stuff.
Ten years, max. More likely we'll see significant effects from this within three years.
May 28th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Live Long & Suffer
A killer paragraph for sure. As merely a reader of SF I don't have RW's perspective on the biz but maybe we should consciously form clans of SF readers that like different types of SF. Maybe the readers should define the types and ignore the publishers. When I started reading SF in grammar school I didn't know anyone else that read it and didn't start swapping books with other kids until high school. But now the internet creates an entirely different information sharing paradigm.
Originally Posted by RimWorlder
Sci-fi is partly about how technology enables changes in society. It is only reasonable that sci-fi readers should use the technology to bypass publishers and bookstores. I would just need a way to recognize e-books that I would have a high probability of liking. $2 for an ebook versus $6 for a book from a book store with nearly 100% of that $2 going to the writer doesn't sound like a bad deal for authors to me.
May 28th, 2008, 05:21 PM
Old Fogey Fan
I'm going to re-post that under its own thread since its waaaaaay off topic for this one.