Quicklinks

The Sturgeon Award nominees for best short fiction of 2007 are out. Looks like a solid list, as usual; I’d be happy to see almost any of them win, in fact.


The Campbell Award nominees for best novel of 2007 are also out. Anyone but Robert Sawyer. Please!


How far can a reviewer build a reputation on the strength of a blog? “my reputation is all about the other places where I review. Chasing Ray is just gravy on top of that – just extra. Those 700 books are not going to come to someone with a readership of a few hundred (or less) a day”


SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld asks “Which new or little-known genre writers will be tomorrow’s big stars?” There’s a contribution from me, but what I want to pull out is (a) that I agree with Jonathan Strahan’s sentiment that there’s a generation of writers coming through now who could have the same impact as Terry Carr’s Ace Specials, and (b) this aggregate list of the writers to watch:

The Top 18 Genre Authors To Keep an Eye On

1. Paolo Bacigalupi (4 mentions)
2. Daryl Gregory (4)
3. Benjamin Rosenbaum (3 mentions)
4. Cory Doctorow (3)
5. Jay Lake (3)
6. David Moles (3)
7. Chris Roberson (3)
8. Vandana Singh (3)
9. Elizabeth Bear (2 mentions)
10. Alan DeNiro (2)
11. Alex Irvine (2)
12. Ted Kosmatka (2)
13. Paul Melko (2)
14. Naomi Novik (2)
15. Tim Pratt (2)
16. Jason Stoddard (2)
17. Karen Traviss (2)
18. Scott Westerfeld (2)

So now you know. (Alternatively: who’s missing?)


This week’s blogger incentive for mentioning the Strange Horizons fund drive is a bundle consisting of Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters, Benjamin Rosenbaum’s The Ant King and Other Stories, and The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. You know you want them, so get linking, why don’t you?

41 Responses to “Quicklinks”

  1. Ian Sales Says:

    Pfft. Scott Westerfeld has been around for a decade, although he’s currently better known for his YA books. And… Karen Traviss? A Star Wars author (although she also writes non-tie-in novels)?

    But. Authors we can expect to be still going strong ten years from now… Hal Duncan… I’d like to see David Herter have more success than he has… I also suspect Toiya Kristen Finley isn’t “commercial” enough to break out…

  2. Graham Says:

    Wow. I hadn’t known that Kessel’s story from F100 was nominated for the Sturgeon, and am obviously very pleased.

    Yes, anyone but Sawyer for the Campbell. Am surprised – given the novel’s quality, and his previous win – not to see Morgan’s Thirteen/Black Man nominated. And it’d also have been nice to see two personal favorites, Palwick’s Shelter and Walton’s Ha’penny up there too. But hey.

  3. Martin Says:

    Deadstock by Jefferey Thomas is at least as bad as a Sawyer novel.

    Also, who is this Cory Doctorow fellow? Anyone I should have heard of? (Although, to be fair, all three people who pick him say he isn’t new or little-known which makes the crude aggregation rather pointless.)

  4. Niall Says:

    Ian:

    I’d like to see David Herter have more success than he has…

    You know, I would have sworn he’d been around for years, but it turns out his first novel was only published in 2000. Go figure.

    Graham: yes, the absence of Black Man struck me, too. (Unsurprisingly.)

    Martin:

    which makes the crude aggregation rather pointless.

    It also seems a little unfair to rank Elizabeth Bear as 9th and Scott Westerfeld as 18th, given that they got the same number of mentions.

  5. Ian Sales Says:

    Niall – he was dropped by his publisher after Evening’s Empire, although he apparently has a sequel to Ceres Storm finished. And plans for more books in the sequence.

  6. Liz Says:

    Yeah, the aggregation seems a bit stupid – in what world is Cory Doctorow little known? Naomi Novik? Scott Westerfeld? Points to Niall for actually mentioning his criteria even if they are made up to fit David Moles in there, and there are some interesting names that I will be following up, but the list is a bit pointless.

    Who’s missing? Well, is there anyone one there who is not from the US or Canada? If Elizabeth Bear counts as new or little-known, I think Sarah Monette does. From the UK, Roger Levy.

  7. Niall Says:

    in what world is Cory Doctorow little known?

    Someone with a livejournal account should really do a “have you head of these writers?” poll, I think.

    The list also seems skewed towards sf writers. Although at least a third of those eighteen have written fantasy, the only ones I’d say are primarily fantasy writers are Pratt and Novick. (And arguably Gregory, given that his novel is apparently fantasy.)

    On the UK thing: I considered mentioning Steph Swainston, but thought she might not be under-the-radar enough. Of course, she’s more under the radar than Doctorow. Chris Beckett is probably more under the radar than he deserves, but not really new.

  8. Liz Says:

    Was that a hint, Mr Harrison? Anyway, the poll is in the field.

  9. kev McVeigh Says:

    A quick run down the authors on the 1980s series oF Ace Specials edited by Terry Carr is interesting. These were the First novels series unlike the 70s series of Ace Specials.
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Lucius Shepard
    William Gibson
    — these three are extremely well known and still producing excellent work in quantity.
    Carter Scholz & Glenn Harcourt
    — Scholz is an unjustly neglected stylist, Harcourt I never heard of again.
    Howard Waldrop
    — already very well known as a short story writer by the time Them Bones came out, still known as a short story master.
    Michael Swanwick.
    — not far behind the first three probably.
    Jack McDevitt
    — not my thing but quite poular I believe.
    Loren MacGregor
    — who?
    Richard Kadrey
    –I’m a big fan of Kadrey but he isn’t so well known.
    Ted Reynolds
    Gregory Feeley
    Claudia O’Keeffe
    –I’m not aware of anything else by any of these three in almost 20 years. Feeley is better known as a critic.

  10. Niall Says:

    Gregory Feeley had a great novella in Asimov’s a few years ago, “Arabian Wine”. There was an expanded (but still no more than short-novel) version published as a limited edition, but I never managed to get my hands on it … every so often a copy pops up on Amazon marketplace, but it tends to be either (a) expensive or (b) from a not-very-highly-rated vendor.

  11. kev McVeigh Says:

    Niall: I enjoyed Feeley’s novel (as I did with most of the Specials — not read O’keeffe) but it wasn’t in the same league as the first 6 or Kadrey.

  12. James Says:

    I guess Cory Doctorow is not well known if you don’t have the interweb turned on.

  13. Ian Sales Says:

    I had the O’Keefe, and read it. I don’t remember it being that good. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what I did with book…

  14. kev McVeigh Says:

    Of course, we all also have our list of unjustly neglected authors who have been writing for years. Some just because their output is sparse (Leigh Kennedy, Carter Scholz) others through the inability of marketing to find a niche for them (half my bookshelves it seems).
    Some of this list will turn out to be part of this group whilst someone we have all considered a ‘minor’ writer will suddenly produce a major work out of the blue.

  15. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    I dislike the tone behind the comment about Karen Traviss and her writing Star Wars novels. Work for hire is always better than no paying work at all and I get annoyed whenever I see other writers who should know better slamming those writers who choose to – ya know – actually take a job that will help pay the rent.

    Her Star Wars Republic Commando novels are extremely gritty and – according the the bazillion fan letters she gets from soldiers every month – realistic portrayals of life in the military. (Being as she does come from the military.)

    But Karen was writing the Wess’har cycle for EOS before she picked up the SW writing gig, and they are extraordinary novels, some of the very best out there. I’ve always wondered why she never developed more of a following in the U.S.

  16. Liz Says:

    I grant that part of Doctorow’s recognition is due to his blog (and Elizabeth Bear made the same point over on LJ), but he’s also published 4 novels with Tor, and Little Brother is on the NYT Bestseller List (or one of them, anyway). Maybe he’s not achieved mass success, but I tend to think that’s in a different league to those who are just putting out their first collections or novels, and not bestsellers yet. Similarly Novik, and Westerfeld and Traviss may be better known for their YA/tie-in books than their adult SF&F but I don’t think it makes them little-known.

    The main problem is that what counts as “new or little-known writers who will be tomorrow’s big stars” gets defined differently by different people, and so the list is an amalgamation of different criteria.

  17. Niall Says:

    Colleen:

    Her Star Wars Republic Commando novels are extremely gritty and – according the the bazillion fan letters she gets from soldiers every month – realistic portrayals of life in the military.

    I have to admit I’ve also heard good things about them, from multiple sources; but I haven’t got around to reading them myself yet.

    I’ve always wondered why she never developed more of a following in the U.S.

    Whereas for me the question is why she doesn’t have a UK publisher at all (for her non-SW books).

  18. Ian Sales Says:

    There’s no tone there. Since Traviss has written Star Wars novels, she’s unlikely to be unknown. Because, you know, they sell a lot of Star Wars novels.

  19. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    Niall –

    Wait, really? She has no UK editor for those books? That’s kind of crazy. They are so well-written and the characters are unforgettable, really.

    Simon! Simon Spanton! Where are you??? Why aren’t you publishing Karen Traviss in the UK???? Call Diana Gill now!

    :-)

    C-

  20. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    Ian –

    The problem is that about 80% of the folks who read Star Wars novels ONLY read Star Wars novels; they don’t read anything else. (God knows we tried to get them to when I worked at Del Rey. We even handed them free books – Richard Morgan, China Mieville, Alex Irvine. And we’d get blank stares followed by “Did they write any Star Wars books?” Sigh.)

    So it’s possible that despite her success with the Legacy of the Force and the Republic Commando books, that she is still relatively unknown amongst the majority of genre readers.

  21. Martin Says:

    I’ve always wondered why she never developed more of a following in the U.S.

    Well, she doesn’t have a UK publisher but she is a bestseller in the US so that’s not a bad following.

  22. Ian Sales Says:

    Colleen – point taken. But would that make her unknown among non-SW readers?

  23. Martin Says:

    Once again I see I am too late to the party…

    (Surely the SW books are just parachuted in by Del Rey as well as the EOS or do they come out under another Random House imprint?)

  24. kev McVeigh Says:

    Colleen– might handing out free books with some similarity to SW not have been more effective than expecting the leap from Star Wars to New weird to work?

  25. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    Star Wars are Del Rey (Random House). EOS is part of HarperCollins. Totally separate.

  26. Micole Says:

    We’re getting into different assumptions going into “little-known and new.” Karen Traviss now has, what, five or six Wess’har novels out? I think they deserve more attention than they’ve been getting, but that’s different from being new, even excluding the Star Wars tie-ins, which are almost as invisible to me as the Wess’har novels are to the exclusively tie-in audience.

    I am meanly hoping the Campbell goes to Sawyer so it can have three years of Sawyer-Bova-Sawyer and expire of shame. Or go extinct after an ice age caused by undetermined reasons with most favored cause being meteor strike triggering climactic change. Something like that.

  27. Martin Says:

    Yes, Colleen. In the UK her Wess’har book are only available as EOS imports and I thought the same was true of the SW Del Rey books. However, Niall was suggesting the SW books were published in the UK as well ,so I wondered if they came out as another Random House imprint.

  28. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    I think Random House UK publishes them but the UK rights are controlled by Lucasfilm, Ltd., so I can’t recall. Sorry!

  29. Niall Says:

    Micole’s right that this is wandering off-topic a bit, but:

    so I wondered if they came out as another Random House imprint.

    Nope; they come out from Orbit (e.g.), which unless I’ve completely lost track of who owns what is nothing to do with Random House. Which makes it even more weird that the Wess’har books aren’t published over here — I would have thought they’d fit on Orbit’s list very nicely, but apparently not.

  30. Martin Says:

    Ah, I think I understand: The Republic Commando ones are published here by Orbit, the Legacy of the Force ones are only available as imports. As you say though, a digression too far…

    I have to admit that if I was a publisher and City of Pearl had come across my desk I wouldn’t have felt the urge to buy it. It struck me as competant but nothing more.

    PS Did you see they now have a The Top 21 Genre Authors To Keep an Eye On list just to mess with you?

  31. Liviu Says:

    If you put someone like Novik on that list I cannot understand how you can omit Patrick Rothfuss who may be the new superstar in adult (non YA) genre in terms of both quality and sales.

    Or Ekaterina Sedia who has several novels and edited an original anthology.

    In sf, I would bet a lot that David Gunn, Andy Remic, Philip Palmer and Mark Van Name will be with us for a while, while Gary Gibson though not exactly a newcomer with 3 novels may be the new Peter Hamilton with his Fire trilogy.

  32. Martin Wisse Says:

    kev McVeigh asks who Loren MacGregor was:

    Somebody who worte a really great cyberpunk novel for that Ace Specials series, then got a serious case of writers block.

  33. Jonathan M Says:

    I was going to point out that Pat Cadigan is still immensely cool despite writing wookiebooks but then Colleen said :

    “Her Star Wars Republic Commando novels are extremely gritty and – according the the bazillion fan letters she gets from soldiers every month – realistic portrayals of life in the military.”

    …and then I hurt my arm because I tried to fall over clutching my sides whilst pointing and laughing. ‘Gritty’ and ‘Realistic’ tend to be terms that get wheeled out by suits when they have a Harry Potter film to sell to a mainstream audience.

    They are also (along with ‘erotic’ and ‘insightful’) the words that are least apt when describing the Star Wars universe. Though I can sympathise with soldiers who would like to think that it’s realistic. I’m sure that being separated from your legs by a suicide bomber seems a lot less harsh if you can think “I’ll be fine as soon as some Jedis turn up! They’ll have me patched up in no time at all”.

  34. Adam Roberts Says:

    Jonathan: that comment was … gritty.

  35. Ian Sales Says:

    I’m still trying to get my head round erotic Star Wars fiction. For some reason, I keep on thinking of metal bikinis…

  36. Colleen Lindsay Says:

    Pat Cadigan doesn’t actually WRITE Star Wars novels.

  37. Paul Says:

    To me, Rachel Swirsky and Ken Scholes are missing from the list. Both are excellent writers and are certainly going places in the near future.

  38. Jonathan M Says:

    Pat Cadigan doesn’t write star wars books, I use “wookiebook” as a generic term for any tie-in novelisation and Pat’s written some books for the Lost in Space and Jason X IPs, and they’re arguably worse than Star Wars in terms of street cred (though having said that, I’d rather see Lost in Space again than any of the second trilogy of Star Wars films).

  39. James David Nicoll Says:

    Someone with a livejournal account should really do a “have you head of these writers?” poll, I think.

    Done, in two parts.

  40. James David Nicoll Says:

    But only because I didn’t look down one freaking entry to see it had already been done.


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