Author photo of part of the column in question. From the March 30-31 Wall Street Journal.
According to the science fiction book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, space opera is dead. In his defense, he was reviewing a book from Tor and generally only reviews books from the Big 5 imprints, and Pyr. The book had been listed as “space opera,” leading him to muse on Niven and Heinlein, Frank Herbert and Jerry Pournelle and James Schmitz. Did anyone write about Moties and ray-guns and wild adventure on strange new worlds anymore? What about galaxy-spanning empires and questions of galactic import? If the review book was an example, well… The book was not bad, but it was not space opera. The reviewer finishes by saying that the Dorsai and Kzinti are long-lost and gone. We don’t have the willing suspension of disbelief and the “macho sub-genre.”
As I said, in his defense, he reads Big 5 imprints and a very few small presses. Read more
Ruminating on Falkenberg’s Regiment
At 19 years old, I discovered Jerry Pournelle’s work in a massive omnibus entitled The Prince. I will vociferously argue that his CoDominium series with John Christian Falkenberg III, is a better, more enjoyable body of work than Janissaries. Friends disagree with me about this, but I tend to ignore them. Pournelle’s Falkenberg is an incredible character and one I can always more of in my library, hence my surprise when I learned that a new Falkenberg’s legion novel existed. Hallelujah! Then I read it… Read more
I’m not certain if it was a case of great minds thinking alike, or just something in the air, but Thursday I woke up with fragments “Mr. Roboto” and “Ironman” playing in my mind’s ear. Which got me to thinking about robots, and my aversion to them as an author.
Filed under: HFY, BEM
Grothmorgu stared around the battlefield after the indigenes had withdrawn. The remains of his Mass heaved themselves out of the heaps of gore and corpses, staggering to their pods. Few of the green-skinned savages lay among the Holy People. The ugly things had sent their wounded back, and soaked up an unreasonable number of casualties retrieving their dead before withdrawing completely. There were a few limbs, here and there. Mostly, they left broken equipment, or even bits of their own, loosely attached skin where their own medics tore it off to treat more serious wounds. The Higher’s own skin rippled in distaste at the notion, though he respected their will. The sensation was discomfiting.
Writing as profession…
I was amused to read a would-be-author in New Zealand bemoaning just how HARD it was in his local paper. I’ll spare you his missive (and him the embarrassment) but he was moaning how unfair it was that living away from the big city/University scene he was unable to afford to attend the courses and meet the right people to get him ‘in’. And getting bought on merit was just too hard, because the public had such appalling taste, and the market for books written by native New Zealanders was too small.
His answer, was, like Norway (which has a fair amount of spare cash) the Government should intervene, and buy copies of books by citizens to give as gifts to the ambassadorial staff of all foreign embassies and visiting dignitaries.
I did stop laughing before I actually died of anoxia, but it was close. Read more
Image by 7854 on Pixabay
The short story, once the absolute heart of the sf writer’s career has long since dwindled off to become so irrelevant that many a successful author never writes one, and certainly many (me included) never sold one prior to selling a novel.
Today may or may not be a little late, and for that I apologize. We had SNOOOOOOOWmageddon here in the Pacific Northwest, and the (maybe) three inches of snow has more or less ground things to a halt. I pitch a little crap at the area, but the truth is this is a once every few years occurrence, and the infrastructure is too bloody expensive to maintain if you don’t need it for months out of every year. So: snow, schools are closed, kids are home, Dave has two adorable and energetic distractions. On the upside, the house is clean (more or less) and a mess of chores done. But I’ve been having trouble getting to writing. Shockingly. We also have a military buddy staying with us. So things are … a little out of routine.